Once again, I am beat. I am working on getting the forum together, because clearly, we need one on this site. But I thought I would offer some random thoughts, some of them in regards to posts that have been written in the last few days.
I have gotten hundreds of emails after doing The View. Most of them, the vast majority of them, positive and encouraging. Several have been from Mormons, correcting me about their Church's belief in the Virgin Mary and the divinity of Jesus. Of course, as most of you know, I understand that. When I speak about the Mormon missionaries and their stories, and then say that I couldn't be condescending to them because I believed in things like a virgin birth, etc. What I meant was that I also had mythical stories that I took seriously. I didn't mean to imply that the Latter Day Saints didn't also believe in those stories as well as their own, specifically Mormon stories. All I have to say to all those emails is... WOW.
I also got some disgruntled letters from atheists! One said I wasn't smart enough to be an atheist! Well, I'll show him or her! I will not be smart AND be an atheist and, and... just take that, mister. Or, sister.
Anyway... WOW. I think this person in particular was upset about comments I made on this blog about Christmas songs being sung at public school. (Combined with being what was characterized as overly polite to the Elizabeth on The View...) I have been thinking about that -- and since I wrote that blog entry I have been literally drown in a sea of Christmas -- every radio station (almost) filled with stories about Our Lord And Savior's Birth -- and I was thinking how sick I am already of it and how GLAD I am that when I go to Mulan's "Holiday Celebration" next week I will mostly hear about Kwanzaa. But after being so snidely insulted, I offer more defense of my original idea. I, like all of you fellow non-believers - think the Christian stories are myths. I am still not sure that making those stories off-limits in public schools is making things better. I am not sure that every teacher would teach the Bible with a believers slant and I offer up England, Australia and much of Europe for evidence. Yes, based on principles, Christian stories should be kept out.
But what if there was a group of people who seriously believed that Santa Claus was real? Would we have to stop anyone from talking about Santa Claus in a public area? Then the Santa Clausists might feel persecuted and huddle together - starting their own schools just so their kids could talk about Santa Claus openly. I think it's a difference in opinon in the matter of strategy. What will make the myth of Christianity become more obviously mythical? Having kids do nativity plays in public school and singing Christian religious songs? Or having them not mention a word about Jesus during Christmas time? I think that we blew it, frankly. Or possibly. My own strategy would have been to innundate the kids with Jesus to the point where they were puking from it. (The Shick Center Concept for getting rid of Christian Myths!) And I don't think having this opinion makes me "less developed in my thinking." (As one writer put it.)
For the record: I am not the president of Atheists of America or any group that is like that. I am not even an op-ed writer for a newspaper. I am just me. I have opinions. Not everyone is going to agree with them. I might even change some of my opinions as I get more information. But that's no reason to start calling me names. C'mon you atheists who wrote me in anger, jeez!
Also, Norma. In response to your response to Becky. Not every one of us is rational through and through about everything we do. I can totally understand Becky's desire to send her children to CCD (Catholic religious school) to get a "conscience." Norma wondered, in the face of all the obvious damage that Christianity has done - specifically Catholicism, and in spite of the fact that Becky herself didn't need continuing "conscience" education as an adult, why she would want to send her children to get indoctrinated.
Well, maybe I can answer.
1.) Maybe Becky wasn't sure why she had a "conscience." Maybe she felt her own morality had been shaped partially by her church and then she took it from there. Maybe she felt her church had inculcated a sense of deep morality in her that she couldn't instill in her children on her own. Now - mind you - I don't think this is the case. I can just understand why someone would think that way. It's reasonable.
2.) Churches and church communities offer lots of opportunity for reciprocal altruism. There are lots of personal interactions and much social debt that is spent and accumulated at a church. As we know, this is the basis for the evolving of a moral conscience. Maybe there was no other equally dense social opportunity for her to immerse her children in that would cause them to be aware of how they treated others with such scrutiny and such payoff.
3.) How old was she? It sounds like she was in her twenties. If I had had children in my twenties, they would have all been Catholic. I think my decision to raise them Catholic would have been reasonable, given my age and circumstances.
What else? Oh yes, my interest in fantasy in film. I loved "Heaven Can Wait" before and after I believed in God. The Lubitch film is brilliant. But on the average, I am more inclined to reality-like films than fantasy-based films. I don't know why. I would take Yasojiro Ozu's "Late Spring" (where the big drama is a subtle shift in attitude) over Star Wars. Which brings me to my next admission. I have never seen Star Wars. But if I did... Okay, that's not fair. I should have seen Star Wars. I am just not one for fantasy or science fiction. I do like The Wizard Of Oz.
And now I get to Mulan. So, recently Mulan put it together and figured out that The Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus were not real. Because I want to encourage her skeptical thinking, I admitted it when she asked. I couldn't keep up the ruse. Basically she found a baggie of her teeth in my bathroom and one question led to the next. It was a pretty funny conversation we had. Of all the moments I wish had been secretly filmed between us, that was the time. And to be honest, I was proud of her.
But now Mulan has told one of her friends that there is no tooth fairy and the mother of this friend has complained to me. I talked to Mulan and she promised not to reveal this to anyone else. But then she said, "But... I want to tell!" And I thought, "I TOTALLY understand."