We have been considering a "reasonable proposition" put forward by distinguished psychologist, Nicholas Humphrey--to the effect that Christian parents who raise their children to know, understand, and believe the Christian faith are committing a form of child abuse. He puts it in the same category as parents performing clitorectomy upon daughters.
Children have a right not to be taught myths and lies, he averred to his audience at Amnesty International. The right to the truth overrides all parental and child rights. It overrides all free speech rights. He will defend free speech rights strenuously, but not in the home, unless children are being taught his particular world-view--which happens to be the dominant world view of our age. Children must be taught and trained in the world-view of scientism, which to materialist and atheist Humphrey is the only truth.
We can see how purblind he has become in his own ideology and secular religion in the following quotation:
Belief systems in general flourish or die out according to how good they are at reproduction and competition. The better a system is at creating copies of itself, and the better at keeping other rival belief systems at bay, the greater its own chances of evolving and holding its own. So we should expect that it will be characteristic of successful belief systems—especially those that survive when everything else seems to be against them—that their devotees will be obsessed with education and with discipline: insisting on the rightness of their own ways and rubbishing or preventing access to others. We should expect, moreover, that they will make a special point of targeting children in the home, while they are still available, impressionable and vulnerable. For, as the Jesuit master wisely noted, "If I have the teaching of children up to seven years of age or thereabouts, I care not who has them afterwards, they are mine for life."In Humphrey's evolutionist world-view the mark of a successful belief system is that it gains adherents. It survives. It is fitter than other belief systems. The key ingredient to survival of dangerous myths like Jesus Christ and His Father, the Living God, according to Humphrey, is that the devotees are obsessed with education and with discipline: "insisting on the rightness of their own ways and rubbishing or preventing access to others."
The self-serving hypocrisy of this argument is worthy of note in passing. OK, so the success of a belief system has nothing to do with truth, but everything to do with inculcation. Apparently. So how has atheistic, materialistic scientism been doing, then? How successful has it been? For over one hundred years schooling in the United States and Great Britain and in the West generally has been thoroughly committed to inculcating Darwinian evolutionism into the hearts and minds of students. How has that inculcation gone? Humphrey tells us (although he misses the deadly indictment to his own position and of his argument):
A survey published last year showed that half the American people do not know, for example, that the earth goes round the sun once a year. Fewer than one in ten know what a molecule is. More than half do not accept that human beings have evolved from animal ancestors; and less than one in ten believe that evolution—if it has occurred—can have taken place without some kind of external intervention. Not only do people not know the results of science, they do not even know what science is. When asked what they think distinguishes the scientific method, only 2% realised it involves putting theories to the test, 34% vaguely knew it has something to do with experiments and measurement, but 66% didn't have a clue.The belief systems of scientism and materialism and evolutionism and atheism are not doing too well, since they are failing to produce a universal population of committed disciples, despite controlling state funded education at every turn. But rather than face up to the implications of the signal failure of atheistic evolution to gain universal traction--which is evidence that his own belief system is inadequate at best, riddled with contradictions and irrationality at worst--Humphrey wants to shift blame to someone else--the parents of children whose households overtly and deliberately reject his belief system of secular atheism. This gets to the nub of Humphrey's case: public education is failing because parental influence is so strong. Therefore, parents need to be attacked, neutered and controlled.
The first obstacle to be obliterated is home-schooling. The state--get this--the State must outlaw it.
All sects that are serious about their own survival do indeed make every attempt to flood the child's mind with their own propaganda, and to deny the child access to any alternative viewpoints. In the United States this kind of restricted education has continually received the blessing of the law. Parents have the legal right, if they wish to, to educate their children entirely at home, and nearly one million families do so.
Then, secondly, there are private schools and colleges which must be neutered as well:
But many more who wish to limit what their children learn can rely on the thousands of sectarian schools that are permitted to function subject to only minimal state supervision. A US court did recently insist that teachers at a Baptist school should at least hold teaching certificates; but at the same time it recognised that "the whole purpose of such a school is to foster the development of their children's minds in a religious environment" and therefore that the school should be allowed to teach all subjects "in its own way"—which meant, as it happened, presenting all subjects only from a biblical point of view, and requiring all teachers, supervisors, and assistants to agree with the church's doctrinal position.So the State has to shut them down as well. But it gets worse. Humphrey acknowledges even then--even if home schooling were made illegal (as it is in Germany), and even if all faith-based schools were shut down-- it would not be enough to ensure the successful inculcation of his religion of atheism. Parents can influence their children informally, even if they are now restricted to secular atheistic schools to impart the "Faith".
Yet, parents hardly need the support of the law to achieve such a baleful hegemony over their children's minds. For there are, unfortunately, many ways of isolating children from external influences without actually physically removing them or controlling what they hear in class. Dress a little boy in the uniform of the Hasidim, curl his side-locks, subject him to strange dietary taboos, make him spend all weekend reading the Torah, tell him that gentiles are dirty, and you could send him to any school in the world and he'd still be a child of the Hasidim. The same—just change the terms a bit—for a child of the Muslims, or the Roman Catholics, or followers of the Maharishi Yogi.So, its control of parents that Humphrey is after. In the Soviet Union, parents were forbidden to mention anything about the God of the Scriptures to their children. They could not include them in any Christian celebrations or ceremonies. Their children were taken into indoctrination services, such as the Young Pioneers. Children were encouraged to inform on their parents if they conducted any religious practices in the home.
Priests and their families were subject to severe persecution. A priest's children were barred from middle or higher schools or from state employment unless they renounced and broke off all connections with their fathers. Priests were disenfranchised along with criminals and the insane. They were also denied ration cards, often necessary for survival in periods of shortage. [Peter Hitchens, The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), p. 180f.]Why would one connect Soviet totalitarianism and ruthless persecution of Christians with today's secular materialists? Both alike were and are militantly atheistic. It should come as no surprise, then, that well respected scholars, such as Humphrey openly advocate state control over parents to ensure that all speech in the home conforms to secular materialist atheism. That is why Peter Hitchens speaks of the "totalitarian intolerance of the new atheists". It is a fair representation.
We are certain of this: materialist, evolutionist atheism can only succeed in human history by the power of the gun. It is an inane, conflicted and barren ideology. It is ultimately irrational. Unable to win and maintain control of hearts and minds by peaceful means it must turn inevitably to the gun and to the power of a totalitarian state to gain and continue control. Dawkins and Humphrey are channelling Lenin and Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. It is one of the great ironies of the decade that Humphrey first gave this speech to Amnesty International--a group ostensibly dedicated to fighting against state oppression everywhere. The fact that Humphrey's propositions were not publicly repudiated on the spot tells us that they have lots of fellow travellers--in place where one would not expect them.
The course to violent overthrow and seizure of power tends to follow a well-trodden path: demonise something as oppressive, cruel, and destructive. Promise that if the demons were removed, all our problems would dissipate or dissolve into facile solutions. Then, for the sake of peace, the sake of truth, and for the love of fellow men all the principled and courageous must stand up to fight. Right now, the demon is Jesus Christ and His people are the enemy. They are the pathological child abusers of our time . . . or so the propaganda runs.