The Inauthenticity of Teaching Religion to Kids with Wes Bertrand

So, today’s show, as you can tell from the title, is very controversial. But I think it’s important to tackle controversial topics. We can’t be afraid to have important conversations—and this is a very important conversation.

Now I do want to set this up a little bit—this show is about the inauthenticity of religion at the core of religious teaching. It’s not an attack on any specific religion. We are not going to be nitpicking bible verses or challenging historical accuracy. We are approaching the topic primarily through the lens of authenticity and we’re honing in specifically on the consequences of teaching religion to children, one of the most important being the systematic sabotage of self-esteem.

Another key point that came up in this show is that the challenges we face in the world are unlikely to be solved if religion continues to be the primary mode of seeking morality, structure, and organization. Beliefs that cannot be validated (religion) will always result in conflict and unmet needs. Reason, on the other hand, gives everyone an opportunity to arrive at the same conclusion and have their needs met.

Regardless of what you think about religion, I want to encourage you to listen. I want to encourage you to be open to the arguments we’re making. I think you’ll see that we made it a point to be empathetic and reasoned and our primary concern is with the wellbeing of children.

My other goal for this show is to get a lot of feedback. We want to do a follow up show responding to the feedback we get. So if you have questions, comments, arguments, whatever—please participate by calling (678) 804-8036 and leaving a voicemail recording. We’ll use the recordings to create our follow up show. You can state your name and city if you want or you can be totally anonymous. Either way. Again, the number is (678) 804-8036. I’ll give the number at the end again as well. Again, I think it’s very important that we have these conversations so please participate.

Okay, so here’s a basic outline of the show. The first 30 minutes or so is going to be dedicated to Wes and I talking about our personal history with exposure to religion as well as some random opening arguments. Then we’re going to get into the meat of the show, which is a list of consequences that come with teaching religion to children. Finally, we’re going to wrap up with some takeaways and thinks to think about.

We hope you enjoy this conversation and get a lot out of it—and we also hope that you’ll jump in and participate with questions and feedback.

The Consequences We Cover

  • To believe that “to sin,” or to treat themselves or others unkindly, is a general tendency.
  • To doubt their own senses, and instead become obedient to imaginary concepts and “authorities.”
  • To believe that rejecting an invalid or unprovable concept such as “God” is sinful (i.e., “wrong” or “evil”).
  • Imposes shame and guilt, which are emotions that deny self-worth and facilitate domination of self and others.
  • To live in a constant state of fear of the purported punishments if they reject supernaturalism and other religious tenets. And the insistence that they need to be saved by some supernatural being.
  • To live up to other people’s expectations, based on dogmatic beliefs, rather than their own understanding of life. To seek someone else’s (or “God’s”) approval of one’s worth and behavior, rather than to make independent value-judgments based on what is in service to their own lives and well-being
  • To think in terms of moral rightness and wrongness (based on flawed conception of self-worth), instead of thinking in terms of met and unmet needs in self and others.
  • To accept and promote a primitive and inaccurate understanding of human psychology—the nature of cognition, rational evaluation, and human motivation.
  • To use their emotional faculty to support faulty assumptions and illogical premises rather than to think more clearly and be attuned to their feelings and needs. To become self-estranged, as a result of intense pain and fear and denying one’s reasoning capability.
  • To blindly follow the “authority” of adults and scripture, which supposedly know better about what is real and true.
  • To not think skeptically about–and not try to falsify–their own beliefs, so that they can achieve objectivity. To consider their own minds impotent to correctly judge the facts of reality, thus directly undermining their self-esteem and in turn fostering pseudo-self-esteem based on adherence to religious tenets…
  • Erodes trust in parents and leaders.
  • To be guided by things external to themselves, by a “moral” code that’s external to their own judgment and locus of control, thus making them more susceptible to superstitions and “authority”
  • To act contrary to their nature as inquisitive and sentient beings who naturally seek pleasurable experiences
  • To not stand up for themselves and their beliefs and assert themselves in a way that rids their world of falsehoods and destructive personalities.
  • To extol faith as just as (or more) important than reason in human affairs.
  • To defend false beliefs because they “feel them in their hearts,” rather than think critically about them and explore their emotions in a way that’s connected to their own needs as conceptual and social animals.
  • To practice social conformity in order to maintain connections with others (a costly and unnecessary way to meet their needs). To cultivate fake connections with self and others, in which everyone avoids being real about the nature of themselves and the nature of reality.
  • To attempt to convert and convince others to do any of the above, thus keeping humanity locked in mind-crippling mass superstition and cultish behaviors.

Have a Question You Want Answered on the Show?

Kevin would love to answer your questions on the show. You can call in to (678) 804-8036 and leave your question on our voicemail. Include your name and city before asking your question.

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The Inauthenticity of Teaching Religion to Kids with Wes Ber…

by Kevin Geary time to read: 4 min