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There was a pretty good turnout at the usual CFI venue, a beer and pizza retreat called the Lucky Lab.  David is younger than I expected, pretty much right out of school having gotten a master's in Religious Studies.  He points out the difference between Religious Studies and Theology right up front: his education is more about comparative religion and history than about the dogma of any one ism.

He has written several books, including Disproving Christianity, which he wrote right out of undergrad school I believe. The Belief Book and the Book of God are intended for the education of children by parents who want to satisfy their natural curiousity with actual information instead of indoctrination.  And he announced last night for the first time in public that he has signed a contract for his next book, No Sacred Cows, which will be a manual for teaching critical thinking to children and adults.

I am very excited that this young man has taken to writing, and based on his public speaking, I suspect he is a clear and concise writer.  I look forward to reading some of his books, and I may start giving them as gifts too.  =-]

His main point in this talk is that the reason that there is so much dogmatic religion in the US is the lack of religious studies education.  People who do not know what religion is and what it has done in history are more likely to be religious, and more likely to be fundamentalist.  He says that to protect your children from falling prey to fundamentalism, teach them about all relgions, and satisfy their curiousity with real information.  Without this education there is in his words a "snowball effect" that leads to a widespread lack of critical thinking---which is exactly what we are seeing in today's political sphere.  If there were a strong component of religious studies integrated into primary school history and philosophy classes, there would be more critical thinking nationwide.

He mentioned an organization called the OASIS network, which is jokingly called "atheist church" but really it "an alternative to faith based community" that provides among other things programs for kids.  For freethinkers surrounded by religiousity, the name is really appropriate

Here's his blogpost on how to respond to door to door religion sellers:
https://davidgmcafee.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/how-to-respond-to-door-to-door-evangelists-and-hotel-room-bibles/

**Created tag: freethinker

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Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
bobby1933
Mar. 25th, 2016 10:32 pm (UTC)
Very interesting.

I well understand the connection between ignorance and lack of understanding of religion. I have a harder time figuring out how otherwise very intelligent people sometimes end up with such a firm belief in the unbelievable. Marx, C. S. Lewis, Malcolm Muggeridge, Dorothy Day, Chesterton, Richard Dawkins, etc., etc.

Heard a middle aged Israeli woman last night on NPR talking about how she went from a secular person to a devout Jew who has become a "settler" trading what i consider a healthy skepticism and tolerance about religion for a "fundamentalist" view thAt insists that Palestinians deserve only such rights in the Near East (Israel, Gaza, Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon) as Israeli's are willing to grant them.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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