Atheist Presidential Candidate Wants to Make Teaching Religion to Children a Crime

I wouldn’t classify Zoltan Istvan as a leader in the New Atheist movement, but he is clearly someone who has swallowed New Atheist rhetoric and taken it to the next level. In a sense, he is one example of a 2nd Generation New Atheist, one example of a someone who has become even more extreme than his leaders. He shares in the common New Atheist idea that religion is evil and its adherents are mentally ill.But while Harris and Dawkins blame religion for terrorism, Istvan blames religion for the fact that we all die.  In his mind, if it wasn’t for the obstruction of religious people, science would have long ago discovered immortality.  So there!  All death is blamed on religion.

And while Harris and Dawkins embrace scientism as the means to all truth, Istvan’s scientism goes further and casts science as the Savior.  New Atheists have long preached about how a secular utopia would emerge if we could solve the Religion Problem and Istvan is one New Atheist who has stepped up to flesh out one particular vision of this utopia.

So it’s no surprise that Istvan would push radical New Atheism is yet another context.  In the past, Richard Dawkins has tried to equate a religious upbringing with child abuse and early on in his role as Leader of the New Atheists, once sign and circulated a petition to make a religious upbringing illegal.  Jerry Coyne has written on his popular atheist blog that the religious indoctrination of children should be illegal.

So along comes Zoltan Istvan, running for President of the United States.  Istvan follows the lead of Dawkins/Coyne and fleshes out some more details about this Gnutopia.  But first, he cites another atheist scientist who shares such extremist thinking:

“Religion should remain a private endeavor for adults,” says Giovanni Santostasi, PhD, who is a neuroscientist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and runs the 10,000 person strong Facebook group Scientific Transhumanism. “An appropriate analogy of religion is that’s it’s kind of like porn—which means it’s not something one would expose a child to.”

Istvan then links to yet another atheist who proceeds to the next logical step:

Therefore, religion, religious materials should be as pornography. I think its illegal to show pornography to children, and clearly its illegal to involve children in pornography, and I feel that religious teaching is at least equally as harmful.

That said, should the police be bursting into homes of families with children and confiscating any materials that could be deemed religious as they do with child pornography? Should parents who expose children to religion be treated the same as parents who expose their children to pornography, or worse, children who are coerced to become involved in teaching religion to others, is that the same as child pornography? Why or why not?

Thoughts?

Clearly, if the analogy is valid, atheists are in support of using the State to forcefully remove children from the homes of religious parents and then imprison then those parents.

Istvan then lays out his position:

Like some other atheists and transhumanists, I join in calling for regulation that restricts religious indoctrination of children until they reach, let’s say, 16 years of age. Once a kid hits their mid-teens, let them have at it—if religion is something that interests them. 16-year-olds are enthusiastic, curious, and able to rationally start exploring their world, with or without the guidance of parents. But before that, they are too impressionable to repeatedly be subjected to ideas that are faith-based, unproven, and historically wrought with danger. Forcing religion onto minors is essentially a form of child abuse, which scars their ability to reason and also limits their ability to consider the world in an unbiased manner. A reasonable society should not have to indoctrinate its children; its children should discover and choose religious paths for themselves when they become adults, if they are to choose one at all.

Ah yes, the wonders of Gnutopia – a place where it will be illegal to give your child a religious upbringing because such an upbringing is deemed child abuse.  Looks to me like Gnutopia is a totalitarian state – for the good of the species, that is.

 

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15 Responses to Atheist Presidential Candidate Wants to Make Teaching Religion to Children a Crime

  1. notabilia says:

    Thanks for keeping up the steady criticism of the atheist movement – you’re actually, no snark, doing a fairly decent job keeping us antitheismists aware of the various meanderings of our cult-like thought-leader types, like my man Zoltan, who’s actually a good dude in a lot of ways, absent his weird enthusiasms.
    Yes, this is a bizarre suggestion – about the pornography, I mean. We antitheismists are foursquare for it! What kind of childhood could I have had outside of pornography?
    You Christians are massive furtive enthusiasts of good ol’ pornography, or does shadowstolight rise above the earthly temptations of concupiscent flesh proffered freely on the webs?
    Antitheism is not part of the anti-fun brigade. Good for shadowswithlight for noticing this retrograde thought detour.

  2. TFBW says:

    So, notabilia, if I understand you correctly, you’re taking exception to Zoltan here because he’s suggesting that we should keep porn away from minors. Is that right? No problem with the whole making it illegal to expose a minor to religion, then? The conspicuous lack of denouncement makes it look like tacit approval on your part, you see.

  3. Dhay says:

    If you bother to follow the link to the source article, you will find him, as usual, plugging his book: “Author of #1 bestselling Philosophy novel [named] …”; “In my philosophical and atheist-minded novel [named] …”

    (“Philosophy novel” sounds very lightweight; I guess that is so that the peers who will peer-review it will be readers of science-fiction rather than actual philosophers.)

    Buy my book, buy my book, ooh, please do, do, do buy my book.

  4. TFBW says:

    It’s a philosophy novel in the same way that The Matrix was a philosophy movie.

  5. FZM says:

    Ah yes, the wonders of Gnutopia – a place where it will be illegal to give your child a religious upbringing because such an upbringing is deemed child abuse. Looks to me like Gnutopia is a totalitarian state – for the good of the species, that is.

    The Gnus who write about making it illegal to give a child a religious upbringing usually seem oblivious to the fact that this kind of thing has been tried out on a large scale already, or is still an ongoing policy in some major countries. (Though in China they seem to be relaxing the anti-religious line now, still a lot of the world’s atheists and non-religious seem to live there and in other East Asian countries ruled by anti-religious one party regimes).

    The ‘rationale’ for policies of this kind always seems flaky. There never seems a clear explanation of what religious indoctrination is; apparently it is just teaching a child about any religious ideas, exposing a child to any religious practices on a regular basis, or having them participate in anything religious. As opposed to secular-atheist ‘education’, which is teaching a child secular-atheist ideas, making sure they adopt a purely secular-atheist lifestyle, having them participate in secular-atheist activities to the exclusion of anything else.

    Then, more significantly there isn’t usually a clear explanation of what religion is, or how to separate a religious idea from a ‘safe’ secular-atheist one; the range of beliefs and practices that can count as religious or which are part of one religion or another is huge. This adds ambiguity and arbitrariness to any interpretation of the policy.

  6. notabilia says:

    OK, TFBW, do you have any idea how much porn is clicked on by “minors?” Go look up the numbers – the Internet has made porn-watching by minors the number one connection between the joys of sex and the horrors of guilt-inducing repressive religio-madness. You might as well try to ban ice cream for them, too.
    I love how this shows the stupidity of bringing up this analogy. And the stupidity of using the legal system to ban religious stupidity.
    Any of you alleged theists want to explain your porn-viewing habits?

  7. TFBW says:

    @notabilia, if your main point was that laws are ineffective in this regard, that certainly wasn’t clear from your first comment. Whatever the case, I have no further questions.

  8. Michael says:

    I love how this shows the stupidity of bringing up this analogy. And the stupidity of using the legal system to ban religious stupidity.
    Any of you alleged theists want to explain your porn-viewing habits?

    Please stop trying to derail the thread. The issue is not stupidity or porn viewing habits. The issue is the authoritative nature of various vocal Gnus. I myself would never believe or advocate that it should be illegal to raise a child as an atheist. It’s quite informative to note these Gnus can’t say the same. It’s simply more evidence that I am right when noting that modern day New Atheism is essentially a reboot of soviet-style militant atheism.

  9. Kevin says:

    “if your main point was that laws are ineffective in this regard, that certainly wasn’t clear from your first comment.”

    Is that what the point was? I admit to complete confusion as to what he was trying to say, now it all makes sense.

  10. TFBW says:

    Given that the only similarity between the comments is the salacious aspect, I came to the conclusion that there never really was a point — it was just an excuse to talk about porn. Nothing to see here.

  11. notabilia says:

    I guess you don’t want to answer the questions – fine, it’s your closet, your secrets.
    There’s been no urgent directive from GnuAtheistZentral commanding us to arrest you child-indoctrinating religionists, so this is, as they say, a non-issue.
    We’re all in agreement – or, there will be, once you agree to work to withdraw all the state-sanctioned bigotry against atheists, alternative religions, LGBTGTBTTGB, indigenous people, and others who have had their children taken away from them, who have been denied equal parenting status, or who have been harmed by courts and legislatures employing Christo-fascist rules.
    And, no, sorry, “modern day New Atheism” is not a reboot of any “soviet-style” anything – the clothing is way, way better.

  12. Ryan says:

    This is called culturicide, according to wiktionary: “The systematic destruction of a culture, particularly one unique to a specific ethnicity, or a political, religious, or social group.” Let’s be frank, this nut is suggesting that making almost every culture in the world illegal is a good idea. Almost every traditional culture in this world has strong religious elements which are passed from parents to children. Zoltan the Magnificent wants this chain of cultural transmission to end. The next step would be to have a Year Zero https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Zero_(political_notion) and then humanity can be “freed” from the chains of its own “irrationality” and “superstition” by this paragon of logic and philanthropy. We should feel blessed that such an amazing intellect wants to impose happiness upon us.

  13. TFBW says:

    notabilia: “I guess you don’t want to answer the questions …”

    Correct: I don’t want to answer your off-topic questions.

  14. TFBW says:

    And, no, sorry, “modern day New Atheism” is not a reboot of any “soviet-style” anything – the clothing is way, way better.

    Gnutopia: it’s Soviet Russia with better fashion sense.

  15. FZM says:

    We’re all in agreement – or, there will be, once you agree to work to withdraw all the state-sanctioned bigotry against atheists, alternative religions, LGBTGTBTTGB, indigenous people, and others who have had their children taken away from them, who have been denied equal parenting status, or who have been harmed by courts and legislatures employing Christo-fascist rules.

    Of course, nothing like Soviet Russia, just after the anti-‘Christo-Fascist’ comment appears…

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