[FoRK] reas. conv. 12/4: Beyond Faith

Jeff Bone < jbone at place.org > on > Tue Dec 5 13:55:33 PST 2006

On Dec 5, 2006, at 3:24 PM, Jeff Bone wrote:

> On Dec 4, 2006, at 9:26 PM, Dr. Ernie Prabhakar wrote:
>> Put another way, would you favor government policy that officially  
>> discouraged religion,
> I would favor a government policy that explicitly advocated  
> separation of church and state...

It occurs to me that the previous is going to confuse some people, so  
let me put it differently:

No, I don't advocate a government policy that "officially  
discourages" religion, Ernie, but that's mostly because I don't  
generally advocate government policy for anything, or government  
policy in general.  I would strongly encourage the development of a  
culture of anti-theism which explicitly discourages religion.  It's a  
matter of memetic engineering, though --- not government.

OTOH, I don't think government should do *anything* to *encourage*  
religion either.  Such as tax breaks, free advertising space for all  
the "branding" on public properties (dollar bills, court houses,  
etc.) --- distribution of tax dollars ("faith-based initiatives"  
anyone?) or indoctrination of children through the teaching of  
religion, particularly on the tax-payer's dollar.  None of that.  No  
encouragement, no discouragement --- total non-acknowledgment.

Children, though, are actually quite a thorny problem.  I've come  
around to the point of view that religious indoctrination of children  
is child abuse.  As such, there's a very valid discussion to be had  
on whether the government should or should not have a role in  
preventing this, even coercively if necessary.  In general, I'm anti- 
authoritarian and this sort of thing makes me queasy...  but it's an  
issue of grave importance, practically and morally.


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