[Weekend rant, a day early because I may be out of touch tomorrow. This is about religion. Be warned.]
My reaction to the above video goes beyond anger: it makes me sick. These kids are deliberately being deceived. Brainwashed. And, yes, abused. In the name of some religion or other, they are being told to reject verifiable fact; told to ignore explanations that are literally right in front of their noses; given permission -- no, being required -- to reject the idea of thinking for themselves. Indoctrinated. In the guise of teaching, their idiot instructor is making them parrot a catechism of cluelessness. The bible says it. End of discussion.
Chill, Sid. It's religion. We have to respect it. Freedom of religion is a foundation of our country. Right. But I don't see a need to acquiesce silently to the hijacking of minds too unformed to understand religions, let alone choose among them; nor do I see a need to approve of intellecticide. Comforting make-believe is one thing. It's quite another deliberately to remove your children's reality-testing, to close off whole parts of their brains. Because in addition to harming them, it affects me; it affects us all. These people may grow up to become voters (if they don't also reject the science of medicine and the wisdom of looking both ways before crossing the street). They are being led to extremism which differs not from the kind that creates believers in paradise filled with virgins. And we know where that leads. (By the way, is their virginity self-renewing? Because eternity is a relatively long time. Seventy-seven copulations would be over -- by my reckoning -- in a decade or two. Then what? If sex with virgins is worth dying for, it seems sort of over-promised and under-thought. And seriously exaggerated, total-experience-pleasure-and-talent-wise.)
By "extremism" I mean thinking which willfully rejects fact; I mean belief that flies in the face of reality -- not to mention into buildings. The above-displayed sort of belief and that suicidal extremism differ only slightly, if at all. The one leads easily to the other. What is it but extremism that has these men trying to inculcate in children that which is demonstrably false? I don't doubt their motives: and that's the point. I'm sure those guys fully believe what they are saying, just as much as the 9/11 hijackers believed they were going to promiscuous paradise. They think that in getting children to reject rational thought, implanting in their brains blocks to thinking for themselves (which they describe, entertainingly, as "thinking for themselves") they are doing something wonderful. Saving them. Sincerely. Which is what's so sickening. The smug certainty. The rectitude of wrong.
There are people in the world (I know some!) who are religious and who find a way to reconcile their beliefs with wonder at the way the world is, as opposed to needing to bolster belief by harboring plainly incompatible and disprovable dogma. When religion requires one to deny the world -- no matter how sincerely -- and gleefully to dimish the ability of one's children to think for themselves, it endangers me. It pollutes our nation with people incapable of the clear-heading thinking required of a democracy that works. These are the people putting religious tests to our potential leaders, proclaiming their holiness above mine, placing more importance on the words of a person's pastor than on that person's own words, banning books and destroying public education. Rioting over cartoons. These are the people claiming our country needs more religion, even as their religion-above-all attitude is subverting the very foundations of our democracy and aiming us toward societal failure by substituting indoctrination for education. It worries me that there's no future in the future. So yeah. It makes me sick.