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Child Abuse

“Why is it nonsense to accept the existence of these things?”
It’s a double standard to demand conclusive proof from scientists and not demand a similar standard from your church. This applies especially to beliefs that have significant consequences to our way of life.
You can't use reason to talk someone out of a position they didn't use reason to arrive at. When asked what they would do if scientists were to disprove a particular religious belief, nearly two-thirds (64%) of people say they would continue to hold to what their religion teaches rather than accept the contrary scientific finding (October 2006 Time). The mind-boggling part of this is that they consider this attitude to be a virtue. That's where early education in critical thinking is important: children shouldn't grow up believing that stubbornly clinging to an idea despite all the evidence against it makes them look heroic. It makes them look stupid.
“The thing about the Bible is that it says that there is a God, who made us, and therefore understands what's good for us better than we do. Smarter than us, with a highly vested interest in our success collectively and individually. Significant, I think.”
The MO is to convince people they are broken and then offer a fix. “We are all sinners in need of salvation! We can’t be moral without God!” Of course the “fix” comes at a price – subservience and unquestioning faith. “God works in mysterious ways!” (he obviously hates amputees but loves the occasional cancer sufferer). Having played on our insecurities (usually indoctrinated during childhood) the follow up threat of eternal damnation in hell is the clincher. All this without the slightest bit of proof! Just a feel-good story extracted from a book of illogical fantasy, atrocity and threat. OK, the Bible has some good bits but other contemporary writers were far more eloquent and moral.
“So the accusation pretty much applies to all parents, and everyone putting out their message.”
No it doesn’t. When children are taught by their parents and teachers how to think rationally, evaluate the evidence for themselves, determine their own conclusions, argue their case and be flexible and reasonable in their thought processes – that is not child abuse. To teach a child reality is not child abuse. To teach that your particular flavour of superstition is reality is certainly child abuse as it causes great injury to the child’s ability to distinguish reality from fiction. This is an abuse of the power of authority and trust. Of course, religious parents usually do not see it in this light. They love their children and want the best for them (or what they think is best). I don’t say they do this out of malice but the detrimental effect is not lessened by good intent. They don’t want them to burn in hell forever - the cycle is perpetuated.
“Richard Dawkins seeks to impose his views on others. It seems he just isn't content to keep his opinion to himself.”
There is a huge distinction between stating an opinion, backed with evidence, to “imposing a view”.
“how about we say secular humanists abuse their children with their views and we'll call it a stale mate.”
No. No doubt some secular humanists do abuse their children if they simply impose their opinions without teaching their child how to think rationally. Rational thought does not come naturally. It must be taught – the scientific method, philosophy – as we are predisposed to using intuition and accepting the beliefs of others we trust.

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