Atheism is a more adult world view than theism. Adults, we would hope, would talk to each other with reason and respect; of course in the real world it rarely works like that. However, in the real world an atheist
talking to a theist is almost always similar to an adult talking to a
child. Anyone who has raised a child knows that you have to use much
more than just reason to get through to them. If it is a child you care
about, you are going to try anything you can to help put that child on
the path to becoming a good adult.
It might seem that the analogy of an adult talking to a child is condescending, but it is not. An atheist's understanding of the nature of consciousness is more evolved than that of the theist. Because of this, atheists have a certain obligation to try and help others move towards intellectual maturity. The question is, how do we proceed? Rational arguments have been out there for years, some for centuries, and they totally support atheism. Obviously rational discussion alone is not enough to convince our descendants to adopt the scientific method over blind faith, or even to compel my son to wash his face. So what other tools to we have in our tool box, and how should we best utilize them? Shame, guilt, ridicule, rule of law, and military force are a few examples that come to mind.
Well, it appears that religion is losing their share of the market just because of the overall scientific progress of our species. It's happening slowly but it's happening. I'm fine with looking at ways to speed up the process but I think we can be relatively sure that it's going to happen eventually.
I could not agree more...
Much like Santa Claus, Jesus and the spokespeople from the various other religions are introduced to children to help explain that society can be benevolent, each of us can control our own actions, and there are consequences for our actions. Whether the tool to get children to behave works or not, we perpetuate the invented image of Santa in childhood until it is no longer prudent to continue the facade. I just see religion as the same, tired, object lesson that, as adults, we have outgrown.
When children begin to understand the world around them a little better, and learn the lesson of self-control, consequences of your actions, and benevolence, we let the images of childhood fade. What's left is the atheist that they would have been had we not tried to teach them lessons through analogy.
I think the best thing to do is to be outspoken. The more atheists they know, the more they will think it's okay to have doubts and to use their "not god given" brain. The first person I knew who was outspoken about his deconversion and disbelief was a very good friend of mine. He planted a seed, once we were talking about the Christians supporting the Jews. My Baptist church very strongly supported them as allies with the U.S. He said to me "except you believe they'll go to hell.'' OUCH! Guilt and shame do work, I'm certainly ashamed of how I felt about others and that I believed anyone would be tortured eternally.
Children are not brainwashed by religion. They are “brain soiled” or polluted by it. It is a poison that hinders critical thinking and stifles their innate curiosity with the “goddidit” answer to everything. It can take a long time to clean the brain after this soiling and some – like some recent zealots on this site - never break free of it. They do not see that they are deluded but think that Atheists are. They think that their faith is a personal revelation from God to them that they have discovered it by themselves. It never occurs to them to analyze where they got it from. It has become normalised behaviour for them. Fundamentalists are the worst because the live only with those who think the same way and so have their beliefs constantly validated rather than challenged.
“My parents, family, relations, neighbours, school, friends and peers or the group (cult) I live with have the same belief as me – so it must be right!!” They seldom ask it the other way about - “I have the same belief as everyone I know – why is that?” “I learnt it in school when I was young so it has to be true because there has to be a god”. For some it might be easier to keep the same views as they had as children. To me that lack of thinking is immature.
This is good too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTepA-WV_oE
"Parent are stewards of their children"