I have for long pondered the effects of the teachers of my childhood upon the attitudes and thoughts that I have today. To ascribe the prompting of this post to any handful of individuals would amount to a betrayal of the multitude of those other individuals whose influence has prompted this post.
This post focuses on the influence of all those teachers when it comes to the matter of religion.
I will take it as a given that any claim which is not supported by falsifiable evidence is of itself ridiculous. Readers may care to look at a previous post illustrating this point.
My first experience was at the age of seven, when a teacher took great glee in terrorising the class with the tortures endured by Jesus, and saying that it was to redeem us for our sins, while at the same time saying that unless we observed the Word of God we would ourselves go to Hell. My parents immediately withdrew me from her class, and moved me within a matter of weeks to another school.
The second experience was the milieu of heaven, hell, eternity and damnation that was fostered by the social forces of the day. The Pope was the only source of authority by which little kids could save themselves from spending the rest of eternity in Hell.
The third experience was having a headmaster who was a Bible literalist. His view was that the words of the Bible must be taught to all his charges (including me). He would have refused to discuss the chromosomal mass problem associated with the notion of the Virgin Birth.
All this was in the social context of a right-wing militaristic bullying atmosphere that pervaded Australia in the 1960s, the Menzies era if you like. As children, we where taught to march around the school playground to the sounds of marshal music. This was the time of the Vietnam War. The intention of my “elders-and-betters” is unmistakable.
At the same time, the Federal Government was not only trying to Keep Australia White, it was also stealing Aboriginal children from their families in much the same way that priests and nuns were stealing new-born babies from their mothers in Spain.
There is now enough evidence to assert that the government of the day was aiding and abetting the inculcation of inhuman, some would say evil, attitudes into the following generations: “We, The State, Knows Best”. There are echoes of Stalinism here. (Considering that it was a right-wing government, this can only be considered to be an example of black humour.)
By the time I was 11, my teachers had finished doing their dirty work on my mind. It was to take me another 20 years before I was able to identify the poisons that they had implanted therein, and to be able to start dealing with it. When I realised what they had done to me, I became incandescent with rage. That rage has not subsided. If anything, it has grown. I see the evil that is perpetrated by the likes of Tim McKenzie who claim that “DNA wasn’t invented then”.
There is now doubt that the forces of ignorance will continue to seek personal advantage over the rest of society for the foreseeable future: it seems that the Catholic Church will survive for centuries yet, even though it has conceded that it was wrong over the minor little matter of the geocentric model. This is not the same as those who believe in God as a purely personal matter: such people do not seek to bully those around them, and I commend their belief system to them: we all need to make sense of our own lives.
Ultimately, I stand against those who, for whatever reason, seek to impose their own unreasoned views on the rest of us. To put into terms that theists might understand, the army of atheists is growing stronger, and if theists continue to seek to bully people of sound mind, we will defend ourselves.