Christianity: n. God needs blood to fix the universe (but only his own magic blood is powerful enough to do it, so he gave himself a body and then killed it). –Richard Carrier, PhD. (Discussing the definition of modern Christianity)
I took a lot of heat recently for stating that we should ridicule the beliefs of children as a way to motivate them to question authority and think independently for themselves.
Some people found this claim offensive in the highest degree. I even lost friends and loved ones who were so outraged at the notion that they blocked me from Facebook.
Needless to say, these people were reacting to their own insecurities rather than the content of my proposal, which you can read HERE.
Many of the offended took my proposal to mean something like ganging up on children, holding them down, then bullying them and telling them how stupid they are. They literally pictured the scene in Steven Chow’s amazing satire Kung fu (2004), where the child reading Kung fu comics gets beat up in a field and then gets pissed on by the entire group of bullies.
Certain people thought that’s what I meant.
I mean, really?
I can only deduce by their responses is that they did not actually read the content of my article closely enough, or if they read it at all, they failed to grasp it–as I went out of my way to ensure that this proposal had nothing to do with bullying or cruelty, but rather, dealt with the honest pursuit of teaching critical thinking skills to children.
Now, a savvy commenter mentioned that we don’t necessarily need to single out children, but instead could introduce them to content that ridicules their beliefs indirectly. Instead of taking the “Santa Claus” approach and using peer pressure to force them to feel uncomfortable with the ideas they hold, via what I call “strategic light hearted ridicule,” it was brought to my attention that by simply introducing children to “strategic light hearted ridicule” of their beliefs–indirectly–the effect would essentially be the same.
I fully agree.
In fact, it may even work better, as it is not creating any unwanted confrontational tension. For example, if there was a worry about hurting the child’s feelings by directly challenging them, then it would be wise to challenge them indirectly. In fact, this is what movies like Monty Python’s The Life of Brian do exceptionally well. They mock and ridicule religious ideals, and then get the religious to laugh at the absurdity of their own beliefs! That’s the magic of ridicule.
Also, it shows that we can ridicule others and still have them feel good about it. There is no reason this needs to be a negative attack. Ridicule doesn’t need to be polarizing–just thought provoking!
Richard Carrier ridicules Christianity too in many of his Skepticon lectures, and I have provided his Skepticon 3 talk in which Carrier discusses the delusional aspect of Christians. I think his talk shows another great way to ridicule people indirectly as a way to challenge their beliefs/thinking.
Feel free to go post this video on Facebook and share it with all your Christian friends! I don’t mean for you to spam their private wall, but perhaps practice a more friendly activism and post the vid to your own wall and tag them in it. Hey, even if you lose a few insecure Christian friends, it will still be one small step for skepticism, one giant leap for mankind.