The Amazing World of Humans on Planet Earth
By Mark Mason at Jun 30, 2011
Think about it. The Spanish Catholic Church in the Philippines accompanied the Spanish military during the Spanish military conquest of the Philippines. The Spanish Catholic Church supported the brutal Spanish colonization of the Filipino people for about 300 years. The Spanish Catholic Church did not make any attempt to prevent or end Spanish colonization of the Philippines. The Catholic Church was a part of the brutal system of domination and exploitation that lasted about 300 years.
How do the Filipino people of the modern era justify the existence of the Catholic Church in the Philippines? Think about it. This is an astounding achievement of propaganda! If two people held you captive for 30 years, one person with a gun in his hand and one other person without a gun but offering words that insist it's god's will for you to obey the other guy with the gun, would you kick out the guy with the gun and keep the other guy around to continue telling you what to believe?
The profound power of religious propaganda, applied for 300 years, is impressive. The Catholic Church is a scam, one of the most sophisticated scams going---pretend to be meek and non-violent while offering words that do as much or more damage to a person than a gun could do. This is psychological abuse, and as it's applied to children, it's child abuse. Religious dogma, as noted by Richard Dawkins, is child abuse. it's time to recognize that people who are 35 years old cannot be expected to have the capacity to assess how the world works if they have been subjected to intense indoctrination as infants and children. This is more generally true of any indoctrination. Pounding the impressionable minds of infants and children with an insistent claim that blacks or Jews are inferior is very difficult to overcome as an adult--not impossible, but difficult if everyone around you "says so." By the same token, drumming the claims of religious doctrine into the brains of children is also seriously problematic and, again, it is child abuse.
Curiously, the term "child abuse" didn't exist prior to about 1960. Isn't that amazing? Today, who would deny that such a thing exists? Prior to fifty years ago, there was no such thing. A parent could beat a child or a husband could beat a wife, and some discomfort and disaffection might be expressed but few people said this is not only wrong and immoral but it should be illegal. Beating up blacks, or Jews, or gypsies or gays fits into the same category of deplorable actions that not so long ago was considered unpleasant, but routine. Beating beliefs into a child using the word-sticks of fear and shame is arguably indistinguishable from physical beatings.
We have much to think about. No one has the right to indoctrinate children into any dogma. It should be illegal to force children to attend church, as it would be illegal to force children to beat up other children who have a different skin color...which brings me to the astounding fact that in the Philippines, of all places on the planet, people with dark skin are still, to this day, considered by many to be ugly, whereas the lighter-skinned Filipinos from Spanish and American mixture are considered superior......this....is....crazy! Why do people tolerate this discrimination? When I visit the Philippines, turn on the TV, I see light-skinned celebrities. When I go to the local mall, I see people with a variety of skin tones, many of which are quite dark. The people are dark-skinned but the elites have light skin. I'm not making this up!
Isn't it ironic that a white guy, me, with pale skin, is pointing out to dark-skinned Filipino friends, this horrible form of racism in modern Filipino culture? Not one Filipino friend has talked to me about this. If the topic is raised, it will be by me.
Bombarding children with any dogma is child abuse. Children are vulnerable to indoctrination not simply because they are young and inexperienced but because biologically, they are immature. The brains of children are not young versions of brains of older people. Humans are born premature--each one of us is born premature. There's a long story behind this, but for the purposes of this essay, I will make this assertion but implore those of you interested to pursue the factual basis of my claim. Pouring beliefs into a child isn't like having a discussion with an adult. How and what we pour into impressionable infants and children should be of the utmost concern to us, not only as parents, but as a culture. Engaging in a discussion about what and how we teach children should be part of every school experience for young adults. Yes, we're going to offend many people, but telling people in Georgia in 1820 that, even though slavery is a normal part of life in the American South, there's nothing defensible about it, and therefore part of the way out of injustice is how and what we teach our young.
Challenging the reflexive, automated transmission of culture is a core principle of the Enlightenment. Is culture about unitary function and reproducible stability--the capacity to obey orders, or is it about promoting the human capacity to reflect? Obeying orders has it's functional advantages, just as the members of a beehive contribute to the reproductive success of the group, but surely, we humans lie somewhere beyond obedient bees. The human capacity to learn how to think just like everyone else, whether it be religious doctrine or economic doctrine, has its proponents in the fascist submergence of self to state. Maybe this is why Catholicism has been so friendly to monarchies.
The world of humans is a very strange thing, indeed.