Last night my daughter and I were listening to a recent podcast from The Thinking Atheist. Since I am new to this community, I don't know who all the movers and shakers are, but I felt that Seth Andrews conducted himself in an amazing manner during the debate.
My daughter is 15. Unfortunately, she had to deal with my questioning phase during her early years, and thus was victimized by some childhood indoctrination. I am feeling some guilt about that, but am pleased that I at least had the sense to attend a church (Quaker) that believed in egalitarianism, social equality, and ne'er spoke a work of hell.
Last night we were preparing dinner and having some lovely mom-kid time, and put on Seth's podcast "Clash from the Past." To those who have often watched debates, I imagine that this one was enormously irritating. The guest was clearly a fairly uneducated, yet sincere believer that appeared to have read a "how to stump an atheist" book immediately prior to the show. He failed miserably. Seth was beautifully compassionate.
My daughter and I sat at the dinner table in rapt silence as we listened to the lengthy debate. I observed her facial expressions as she heard the christian's arguments, and heard him become flustered. I explained that he was using "common arguments" and that similar debates have been played and replayed over the decades.
What she said gave me hope for the human race and the future. She stated, "you can't have an inquiry about something if you already are convinced of the answer" and "you don't have to prove something doesn't exist."
These are not earth shattering statements. They are practical basics in the skeptic's tool chest. The amazing thing was that I never taught her those points. To my knowledge, her school did not teach her those points. Because of her access to information, she came to that all on her own. She saw through the errors of logic immediately. My favorite moment was when the topic veered toward children "inherently believing in god." She said, "no we don't...we only believe in god when someone tells us to believe in god."
This gave me a lovely moment to apologize to her for her childhood indoctrination. She looked back and said, "no problem mom." I was so glad she had not been trained to say "it's okay mom." Because it's not okay. Intergenerational trauma passed down over the centuries is not okay, and somebody along the chain has to stop it. Ignorance is not an excuse. However, I do know now that it's "no problem," because her children...if she has them, will be the first of my line to not be victimized by childhood indoctrination.