Monday, November 23, 2009

Latest Atheism Ad as Attack on Childhood

The last of the atheistic ads in London is finally here.

After months of bus ads using snappy, superficial cliches and clever comments, the ads will finally culminate in a billboard waiting to be defaced by logic.


The ad attempts to undercut parental authority by questioning their natural and God-given right to direct the spiritual nurturing of their children. The billboard displays a happy young girl with words to her right (see article): Please don't label me. Let me grow up and choose for myself.

This less overtly negative ad was in response to many supporters. As Guardian writer Sherine noted (approvingly): "Many of you felt strongly that children should be given the freedom to decide which belief system they wanted to belong to, if any, and that they should not have a religion decided for them."

Its not the rank and file atheists asserting this bizarre attitude: "The atheist campaign team shared this point of view." Dawkins supports this campaign. As do other other organizations.

Even so such an ad hides a multitude of attitudes and theories about the relationship between children and parents. At and the guardian website a number of irate unbelievers asserted surprising attitudes more Americans need to be aware of:

"Absolutely right, allowing our children to be brainwashed by obviously delusional people is abuse."
"Parents don't own their children"
"To take advantage of the open minds of innocent, unaware children in this cynically oportunistic [sic] way is something that makes me sad and angry at the same time."

The question is: do the new atheist leaders agree with such dangerous sentiments?


A myriad of responses are appropriate for this insidious attack upon what remains of Christian civilization. Yet the critiques with more punch are usually from within atheism:

"Do you not see the irony in telling other people how to live their lives and even raise their own children? I don't like faith schools, or the fact that i was baptised, but i would dislike even more someone telling my parents how to (or how not to) raise me." (Garou, Nov. 18)

With biting irony, gillesboy commented: "Bah! And to think of all those years of vegetarianism and humanism. I hate you dad!"

One observant commenter summarized the real underlining issue many people on both sides are hiding from:

"Religious power hierarchies are all about control. Because children's minds are uniquely receptive it is schools that are the prize in the battle to control people and populations...Let children's minds be free!" (LeDingue, Nov. 18)
Yes, the debate is about power and control. Those are unavoidable conditions of reality. The real question is who gets to control the children? If not parent, then who? The local city council? The state bureaucrats? Or maybe the atheists themselves?

This ad actually intends to "free" children to the bondage of anti-God behaviors. The Christian position is antithetical: one is for God and His Christ or against Him. There is no middle ground. Christians have historically defined freedom differently than atheists.

In all fairness, the article asserts that everyone should "see children as individuals, free to make their own choices as soon as they are old enough to fully understand what these choices mean..." Defining "old enough," "fully understand," and "choices" is a legal quagmire let alone a social nightmare. Are they "old enough" to have sex? commit suicide? join the army?
Once again, there are more questions than answers. The atheists in this campaign are hiding behind generalizations and loaded language that they themselves do not agree upon.

The bold undefended assertion that pits children as individuals against their larger group associations is historically ignorant and philosophically naive. Are not children members of the British society? Given the rights therein of police protection by the state? Or are they "individuals" who ought not to be raised in a society that "labels" them British?

To answer this question is to vitiate the entire ad.
Let us examine this more philosophically: "the freedom to decide which belief system they wanted to belong to" is the freedom to self-label. It is not labeling per se that this ad wishes to attack but labeling done by others, done against that precious commodity of men-in-sin: free-will. Besides, the children are already labeled by atheists: 'free,' 'innocent,' and 'child'.

In contrast, God has labeled them and all humans 'sinner' and 'rebel'. In his grace, He has labeled church (covenant) children 'mine'. Both labels are intolerable to atheists and secularists and any other religion not Christian. Thus their desire to rip children from their parents and churches.
And thus the real debate comes to the fore once again. Does God exist? What are the implications of His existence?

The implications of His non-existence for many atheists are clear: parents ought not enculturate their own children. Thus this atheism can truly be labeled an attack upon childhood and the family.

(this article published nationally here)

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Interestingly enough, it turns out that the stock photos selected for the ads are of two children from one of England's "most devout Christian families". ("Devout" seems to be the word that is often used. I can't judge this, but their father is the drummer for a well-known Christian musician.)

Their father said that their Christianity had shown through. “Obviously there is something in their faces which is different. So they judged that they were happy and free without knowing that they are Christians. That is quite a compliment. I reckon it shows we have brought up our children in a good way and that they are happy.”

Very amusing and ironic.