Voluntary Submission to the Creator: Indoctrination or Freewill?

Mehran Banaei

Abstract: Atheism is fond of putting itself on a high pedestal and flaunting itself as a superior scientific viewpoint. It is time to expose that not only this Emperor has no clothes, but also he has a severely deformed body. The author makes a strong case against the atheists’ campaign strategy that pretending to be open-minded, do not validate their arguments or to say the least, make them look rational and sophisticated intelligencia. He asserts that ideological quarantine is a good indicator of who is truly intolerant and dogmatic, and concludes that atheism is just another form of false theism.

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Centuries ago, a Medieval European King, Fredrick II was curious to know if no one ever spoke to a baby, what language that baby would naturally acquire when he or she grows up. Fredrick was wondering: could that language be a foreign tongue i.e.: Latin, Hebrew, Greek, Persian, etc. To satisfy his curiosity, he ordered a certain number of babies to be brought to a controlled nursery and kept in isolation. Their mothers were only allowed to come to breastfeed and bathe their babies, then leave immediately. Mothers were strictly prevented to converse with their own infants.[1] As it happened, the expected longitudinal study unpredictably did not last very long, for within a few months all babies forced to participate in this experiment died one after another. The cause of death was later identified to be lack of care and interaction with the babies. In short, they all died from parental mallove. The tragedy is that Fredrick did not really need to conduct such a cruel empirical study; common sense would have sufficed to depose the proposed thesis.

Similarly, the above billboard sponsored by the Minnesota Atheist Organization suggests a parallel absurd hypothesis with respect to theism and the nature of belief surrounding the acceptance of the notion of the First Cause, the Uncaused Cause. Proponents of atheism seem to propose that if parents and the social environment abstain from talking to children about the notion of such a Creator or “religion” in general, then the children would all grow up to be atheists. That is to say, they will somehow intrinsically end up believing in an accidental or uncaused eternal universe assembled by a mindless self-guided cosmic processes of natural selection. Atheists erroneously assume that for children’s sake ideological quarantine is the best protection to immunize children against the “religion” virus. Daniel Dennett, one of the “Four Horsemen of New Atheism”, goes one step further; he believes parents’ teaching their own children their faith in God is a form of psychological abuse.[2] One may wonder: would he not teach his own atheistic belief to his own children, and if so, how is that not a form of psychological abuse?

Interestingly enough, the empirical data that some scientists demand to be so essential to prove the existence of the Uncaused Cause, is already there to disprove the above atheist’s unscientific assertion. Here, the atheist’s assertion, far from being intelligent, is indeed nonsense upon stilts, or in this case upon billboards.

The idea of not telling children what to believe and then examining their belief is nothing new. Such an experiment has been spontaneously conducted historically and cross-culturally over and over and over again, the result has consistently proven to be otherwise. Anthropological studies clearly show, for instance, what the isolated people in Papua New Guinea, the Capalco tribe of Pappara, the aborigines in Australia, the native North American Indians, and the African bushman believed before the European explorers or the colonialist conqueror landed at their foot door and started telling them what to believe. It was certainly not atheism; but theism of one form or another, a belief in one self-sufficient God, a non-personified creator, the sustainer and the cherisher of the universe who is not subject to aging, etc.[3] For example, the indigenous Maasai tribe in East Africa still believes in one supreme God, whom they call Ngai. Ngai is said to be neither male nor female. Ngai is the Creator of everything on the earth and in sky.

Moreover, other indigenous people or ancient civilizations may have believed in an anthropomorphic god or multiplicity of gods like the Aztecs and Mayans. These two of the oldest civilizations are notorious for building magnificent pyramid shape temples all over South and Central America where they worshiped their gods. Some other primitive cultures believed in animal figure gods. The Greeks and Romans believed in multiplicity of demi-gods, some mortal and some immortals. The Inuits of the Arctic worshiped nature; and Sedna, the goddess of the sea, depicted as an old woman, was their main deity. The ancient Chinese worshiped and made supplications to their ancestors. The pre-historic novice homosapiens of Neolithic era who could not put two and two together were still cognizant of a power above themselves. They realized that they are not always in control. When they found themselves helpless, some tribes worshiped the sun, others the moon, or manmade idols, to show devotions preformed ritual animal sacrifice, etc.

An extensive £1.9 million research involving 40 separate studies conducted over 3 years in 20 countries with diverse range of cultures, concludes that human beings are predisposed to believe in a supreme deity and the afterlife. Dr. Justin Barrett, an anthropologist and psychologist at Oxford University claims that in some cultures children believe in a God even when religious teachings are totally withheld from them.[4] Barrett provides compelling arguments against atheism as the natural state of human mind.

Ironically, all atheists would tell you, for instance, “I became atheist at the age of” 17, 21, 30 or whatever, meaning they used to believe in X, then converted to atheism. No one is born an atheist. It seems that atheism too is picked up somewhere along the way just like any other ideology that one may adhere to. X may have very well been an irrational prevailing doctrine with a nonsensical concept of God, but the irrationality of X does not justify a new belief in a mindless Eternity or that the universe is self-made; something just as irrational as X.

All these cases overwhelmingly suggest that Man is innately a worshiping species, has the propensity to pose deep existential questions and search for meaning. While the object of worship may have varied from culture to culture, the act of worship has been nevertheless universal. On the contrary, anthropologists cannot find any culture, not even a single tiny subculture where people ever believed in atheism, agnosticism or in the notion that the universe came to exist out of nothing by a grand lottery style game of random chance. Even in the present Western world where atheism is predominantly being flourished and systematically exported aboard, the atheists have recognized the vital need for something to be divinely cherished to replace the notion of God, i.e. the almighty god of materialistic scientism.

The atheists, consciously and subconsciously, transformed the supposedly simple rational empirical human investigation into an entity akin to some tribal primitive religions where nothingness actually exists before the universe and this nothingness was somehow capable of creating the universe! But, if one looks at this universe just at a casual glance, one can easily observe that this universe functions base on one and only one fundamental law. That is the inescapable and ubiquitous law of ‘cause and effect’. We can see this law present everywhere in both natural and social domains. Scientists should know better that in this physical universe nothing ever haphazardly just pops in and out of existence without any apparent or yet to discover cause(s). Now, we are told by atheist-scientists who are experts on explaining the interrelationships between various aspects of ‘cause and effect’ that the universe of cause and effect had uncharacteristically no cause, that is, it is only the effect of a “no cause”. This explanation is contrary to elementary science and is so absurd as to be beyond comprehension, yet somehow it seems so widely accepted and promoted by atheist-scientists in ivory towers that purport to shower scraps of knowledge to the masses below.

Furthermore, the empirical science is being smoothly changed into a hybrid of science-fiction and conjectures where filling the gaps with impossible to conceive speculations is seen as a necessity to neutralize the potential gains of credible theistic positions! For examples: credible science and academic journals are full of articles promoting theories of multiple universes without empirical observational data, and farfetched stories of nonexistent causes causing the universe to spring into being from nothingness! Thus, in what is promoted under contemporary institutionalized science there is constructed, thanks to the ardent atheist-scientist, anti-science of the like, who unscientifically claim: causes do not need to ontologically exist to cause effects! In the absence of empirical data and logic, science seems to be emptied out to join the ranks of gods that satisfy the social needs of a particular community. This one is for the community of atheist scientists, secular humanists and their fans, disciples, institutions and associations. Do these atheist scientists, gurus and their staunch disciples not realize that by turning science into a new god on the block, and atheism/humanism into a new religion, they are actually making, quite ironically a strong case for theism?

The 20th century American philosopher, Paul Tillich argued that one’s god is indeed the ultimate concern of that individual.[5] For a Muslim, it is Allah, everything a Muslim does is to please Allah. For a Christian it is the person of Jesus Christ. For some else it may be fame, for others it could be money and power. For evolutionists it is the higher principle of natural selection, which constitutes as the Absolute. We owe our existence to this higher principle alone. When the belief “there is no god” or scientism becomes the ultimate concern, as it has become for many atheists, to the extent that their whole life and career revolve around this central issue, then they too end up having faith and religious beliefs involving a total act of acceptance and surrender to the ultimate concern.

Irrational Foundation of Atheism

Atheism advocates that our universe may not be anything complex, special or significant. Furthermore, something can indeed spontaneously evolve from nothing with no external agency. For them the universe with such an intertwined multifaceted life support systems on earth is a prime case in point.[6] Therefore, the self-created universe out of absolutely nothing makes the notion of God a redundant fairytale.

ManmadeSculpture
The universe is said to be like this image, self-created. Is this sculpture self-created? For the universe to create itself, it must have existed prior to its creation to create itself. The cause of the universe cannot be within the universe.

Roger Penrose, a mathematical physicist calculated that the probability of life developing on earth after the Big Bang by sheer chance is 1 followed by 10123 successive ‘0’s.[7] Apart from an impossible probability, for something to be created spontaneously and absolutely out of nothing, if possible at all, you got to have conducive conditions to allow this phenomenon to happen. There must be a physical law to allow self-creation to spontaneously start, and systematically evolve. Thus, the atheist refutation in itself is a form of argument from design, requires a Designer and a Facilitator. A Being must have came up with the idea to create the universe in this fashion and set the prerequisites, this Being is the very same God that is being refuted. Consequently, if we accept that the cause of universe was accidental and a self-starter, and all the processes involved are also accidental, self-designed, self-guided and everything from the Big Bang to present time was accidentally put on automatic-pilot, this still does not prove that there is no God. Because a crucial question remains ignored, that is: who came with the idea that universe can be spontaneously created out of nothing, who came up with the idea of what and how the processes of this accidental universe should be, both at micro and macro levels? Who came up with the idea that for instance, fire burns, water wets and not the other way around if there is no purpose involved? When there is an idea, there ought to be a mind that produces that idea. “I think, therefore I am”, Descartes asserted against radical skeptics, where he concluded that the act of thinking firmly proves the existence of the thinker. Likewise, one can be as skeptical as one could be, and argue that the existence of this majestic universe, this miraculous physical universe is totally inconclusive to prove that it has a Creator. However, the idea of creation out of nothing in any shape and form alone proves that there is a “Mind” behind it who came up with the idea to create and set the mechanism for its evolutionary development. The greatness of this creation directly correlates with the greatness of the “Mind” of this Entity.

Astronomer Carl Sagan says: “In many cultures it is customary to answer that God created the universe out of nothing. But this is mere temporizing. If we wish courageously to pursue the question, we must, of course ask [the] next

where God comes from. And if we decide this to be unanswerable, why not save a step and decide that the origin of the universe is an unanswerable question? Or, if we say that God has always existed, why not save a step and conclude that the universe has always existed?”[8]

There are many atheists like Sagan who have problem with the claim that the Being who created the universe always existed and has no creator. However, they seem to have no problem to believe that His creation, the universe, always existed and is eternal. If one can think that it is possible to conclude that the universe always existed, then why not take one step further and conclude the Creator of this universe always existed. Or, if you are not certain about the former, how can you be certain about the latter. Is this position not so inconsistent? Atheists have a problem in believing in an uncreated God, but they have no problem in believing in a non-conscious, un-originated universe. Furthermore, if one assumes that the Uncaused Cause must too have a cause behind it, then the question would be, what was the cause of the uncaused cause, etc., thereby leading to a black hole of infinity with no end to reach. The reality is that one of the two options, either God or the universe must have always existed. The atheist choice of the universe, a finite physical reality over God is not based on empirical evidence and moreover leaves the question of consciousness and intelligence engrained in the processes of the universe completely unanswered.

Although, in criticizing an all-open concept of “religion”, atheists may throw some good punches where it deserves, in defense of atheism they are utterly helpless to justify their own belief. They often mix sense with nonsense, the end result being multiple nonsense. Further, it appears that atheists cannot scientifically validate their own claims and depend on assumptions and blind faith. Their ubiquitous claim of rational superiority is hollow and often more disingenuous than the competition.

Moreover, in criticizing opponents, the atheist ideology suffers from glass-house syndrome, as atheism too is being propagated by indoctrination, peer pressure and propaganda and not merely by free inquiry, for otherwise, why would anyone bother setting up such a big billboard? What is the purpose of it? Who pays for the billboard and why? Who is speaking here for that neutral child in the picture? Judging from the poster above and below, who is really appealing here to sneaky indoctrination tactics and effective advertising schemes?

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To have the upper hand, the game plan is to manipulate the masses in order to make them think that the debate between atheism vs. theism is polarized. Science and reason are exclusively on the atheist side, and sheer blind faith with violent tendencies on the theist side, while, in reality the truth could be quite the opposite. Or, at least the atheists could be as intransigent about their own pseudo-scientific views as the religious people they so badly despise. Each of them can be the obverse and converse of the same coin. Atheists always superciliously and bullishly portray that whoever believes in theism in general, is an intolerant religious fanatic fundamentalist, a gullible fool, a stupid close-minded loser. Surely some theists are, but it is absurd to generalize that all theist are as described as such. Conversely, whoever believes in atheism is an independent hardcore critical thinker with ‘scientific objectivity’ at his or her disposal. If this campaign strategy is not deliberate, it is then puzzling, as to what is indeed the basis of this arrogant and unsubstantiated assumption that they alone have sound intellect, and what makes them to think that their own conviction is not a product of subtle or direct indoctrination? If belief concerning the Uncaused Cause is only a product of indoctrination, not an individual rational investigation and verification, then logically the belief in atheism is not immune to this criticism either. Thereby, the allegation made with respect to all religions would also apply to atheism. One can argue, all children should be protected from indoctrination of all kinds, including from this new organized faith-based secular religion called atheism. In the above case the indoctrination seems to have been sponsored by the Minnesota Atheist group, an identical church-like organization in the USA competing for the market share in the business of follow-me. The difference between the two is, this organization is mass promoting the view that they do not believe in God, a veritable fairytale which does not exist. God is put in the same category as Santa Claus, vampires, mermaids and unicorns; however, this is the only fairytale that its unbelievers need to form a community and persistently brag about their disbelief.

Just like other religions, organized atheism too has different denominations, i.e. agnosticism, secular humanism, Darwinian evolutionary atheism, dialectic materialism, etc. Similarly, they have their own priests and imams; they have their own congregation and conventions. What is the difference between a man who claims he knows better just because he is a well-known scientist, with another man who acts like he knows it all, because he is the Pope or the Grand Ayatollah?

Each atheist sect engages in missionary work to persuade theists to give up their theistic belief, tries its best in recruiting more members, appeal to propaganda like the ostentatious approaches adopted by the group calling themselves: “The Thinking Atheist”.[9] Or, the Atheist Alliance International, a global umbrella organization of atheist groups around the world committed to promoting atheism and the eradication of religion for a secular world.

What if to avoid falling behind, the competition uses the same pretentious and effective PR campaign, which is seems now imperative. Perhaps all churches in Minnesota should call themselves the Minnesota theists group/organization or Assembly of Trinitarians (AOT). This approach not only may not raise an eyebrow, it could, to the contrary, totally polish up their tarnished theocratic image and beat the atheists at their own game. Cosmetic surgery is costless in theology, likewise other groups can adopt the same makeover approach. For instance, a Hindu temple can be called: House of Vegetarian Polytheists (VHP), a mosque can be called, Center for believers in the First Cause (CBFC), a synagogue can be referred to as Society for the privileged “Chosen People” (SPCP), etc.

Furthermore, it is puzzling, if the message of the above billboard would have been, for instance, there is no god, but the God, it is indoctrination. However, if the message is: there is no God whatsoever, it is then considered to be a bright thought or critical thinking. Thus, the difference between critical thinking and indoctrination is not in the process or methodology by which one arrives at a conclusion, but in the final Finish line. The difference seems arbitrary and has nothing to do with science or the assertion of a dogma; it is all about the preferred or un-preferred belief. To truly protect children against indoctrination is not to prevent them from exposure to the opposing ideas i.e. the intelligent design and restrict them merely to a particular favoured theory i.e. evolution. It is to create a free healthy environment for them to explore all the existing ideas and let them decide freely on their own. Let the chips fall where they will. This would be the real intellectual freedom, and the exercise and development of true critical thinking.

The fact is, Truth, whatever it is, needs not to be manufactured or to be subject to modes of indoctrination, it must, rather be sought and discovered irrespective of what everyone around us thinks it is, irrespective of the desires, the inclinations and prejudices including the seekers and discoverers themselves. As a wise man once said, Truth with the capital T is not for the complacent who makes no efforts, it is for genuine seeker who questions and earnestly separates facts from myth.

Mehran Banaei is a freelance writer and author with a Masters Degree in Social Philosophy from York University. He has no “religious” axe to grind; his area of keen interest is to look for the Divine signature, from snowflakes and feathers to the distant galaxies.

References:


[1] Shattuck, Roger (1994), The Forbidden Experiment, Kodansha International Ltd., Chapter 2.

[2] Dennett, Daniel C. (2006), Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, Penguin Group, page 326.

[3] Hammond Atlas of World Religions (2009), Langenscheidt Publishing Group.
Hinnells, John R. (1997), Dictionary of Religions, Penguin Books.

[4] Barrett, Justin L. (2011), Born Believers: The Science of Children’s Religious Belief, Free Press.

[5] Tillich, Paul (1957), Dynamics of Faith, Harper Torchbooks.

[6] Krauss, Lawrence M. (2012), A Universe From Nothing, Free Press.

[7] Penrose, Roger (1989), The Emperor’s New Mind, Oxford University Press, page 445.

[8] Sagan, Carl (1980), Cosmos, Random House, page 257.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4E-_DdX8Ke0&NR=1&feature=fvwp

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1 Comment

Filed under Philosophy of Science and Religion

One response to “Voluntary Submission to the Creator: Indoctrination or Freewill?

  1. In a world without international travel, migration, global media and a general mixing of cultures the religious and other cultural beliefs of your ‘tribe’ or community would be passed onto you. There would be no competition and no other world views to use as a reference point.

    It would be extremely rare for a child to reject the religious and cultural beliefs if they were practised almost universally by their entire community. They would become ostracised from that community as a consequence (and perhaps actively shunned as well). Their very survival might be jeopardised by refusing to ‘go along with the herd’.

    If you were to swap two babies from two different communities with different religious and cultural belief systems they would grow up adopting the religious beliefs of their new community and NOT the community which they were born into.

    This proves that cultural and religious belief is learned and not innate. It is something which is imposed upon all children.

    Feeling a wonder and awe at the mystery of the universe is natural, but religious belief systems is not. It might be true (as you suggest) that we are naturally inclined to worship or deify (or perhaps just congregate and celebrate life), but that is not the same as worship within, and adherence to, a rigid religious belief system.

    If you do not teach children anything about trees and mountains they will still discover trees and mountains for themselves (even if no trees and mountains are never mentioned in society). Not so with religious beliefs. If religious belief systems are NOT imposed on children – and usually from a young age – then those children will grow up to see religious belief systems as foreign, bizarre and alien.

    The same is also true when religious beliefs ARE imposed onto children. Religious belief systems are all based on the idea that their beliefs are right and other religious beliefs are wrong. And so a child raised as, say, a Catholic will grow up to find Muslim religious beliefs to be foreign, bizarre and alien.

    Therefore imposing one set of religious beliefs onto a child actually raises that child to be far more of an atheist than imposing no religious beliefs onto that child. A child raised with one set of religious beliefs MUST by definition actively reject all other religious belief systems.

    A child raised without having religious beliefs imposed on them does not have to actively reject ANY religious belief systems.

    By analogy we might say that raising a child to believe that “whites are the best race” creates an inherently racist child. Even if you are not teaching them that blacks and asians are inferior it is logically implied.

    In the same way, raising a child to believe that “Catholicism is the best religious belief system” creates an inherently atheistic child with respect to all religions EXCEPT Catholicism. Even if you are not teaching them that other religious belief systems are inferior or invalid that is what is logically implied.

    I would like to end by adding that western materialistic science can also be thought of as a religious belief system and it is ALSO possible to impose materialistic scientific dogma (beliefs) onto a child. Millions of children are raised to believe in scientific dogma…. such as the idea that the universe is essentially ‘dead’ and everything (including humans, plants and animals) is just some kind of giant machine or computer program with no purpose or meaning.

    In light of this the best thing to do would be to teach children about all religions and all aspects of science with an open, unbiased, questioning – and above all RATIONAL – mind.

    By doing this we can give them the wonderful gift of allowing them to make up their own minds 🙂

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