Atheists are merely ideologues who want to ram down their own version of belief into every child they can. From a psychological perspective such people do this because they are dissatisfied. And they have much to be dissatisfied about because their life is meaningless; nothing but a futile existence with no hope for eternity.
Here is a short critique of the atheist Grayling's views byThe Maverick Philosoper Bill Vallicella.
That religious instruction constitutes child abuse is another theme of contemporary militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins and A. C. Grayling. Consider the competing 'truths' taught by different faith-based schools, e.g. that Jesus is the Son of God, that he is not, etc. Grayling complains thatt
. . . in schools all over the country these antipathetic 'truths' are being force-fed to different groups of pupils, none of whom is in a position to assess their credibility or worth. This is a serious form of child abuse.It sows the seeds of apartheids capable of resulting, in their logical conclusion, in murder and war, as history sickeningly and ceaselessly proves. There is no greater social evil than religion. It is the cancer in the body of humanity. Human credulity and superstition, and the need for comforting fables, will never be extirpated, so religion will always exist, at least among the uneducated. The only way to manage the dangers it presents is to confine it entirely to the private sphere, and for the public domain to be blind to it in all but one respect: that by law no one's private beliefs should be allowed to cause a nuisance or any injury to anyone else. For whenever and wherever religion manifests itself in the public arena as an organised phenomenon, it is the most Satanic of all things. (A. C. Grayling, Life, Sex, and Ideas: The Good Life Without God, Oxford 2003, 34-35, emphasis added.)
Our dear atheists are certainly becoming militant these days, aren't they? What an intemperate and extreme statement by one who claims to be a philosopher! Is he serious? Is he just trying to sell books?
1. I don't think that Grayling would object to a certain amount of indoctrination in the schools, to the 'force-feeding' of historical and arithmetical truths even though the pupils are in no position to do historical research (How can one be quite sure that the Normans conquered England in 1066 and not in 1067?) or derive the truths of arithmetic from the Peano axioms and thus "assess their credibility or worth." His objection is to religious indoctrination, to the imparting of empirically unverifiable private beliefs that contradict other empirically unverifiable private beliefs and inspire contention and bloodshed. But if religion is problematic in this regard, why not also the genus of which it is a species, ideology in general?
For example, consider Grayling's belief that "There is no greater social evil than religion." This is one of Grayling's private beliefs, one so extreme that not even all militant atheists would want to maintain it in this undiluted form. Should it too be confined to the private sphere? Or does Grayling have a right to express this belief in public, in the classes he teaches and in the books and articles he writes? It is an empirically unverifiable value judgement and may cause contention and bloodshed. Is the average student capable of "assessing the credibility or worth" of this assertion? No, but Grayling has no problem with this sort of indoctrination. Why not? He might say that he can argue for his view. No doubt he can. But the theologians and philosophers of a given religion can also argue for their views, and I don't mean by citing scripture.
There appears to be a double standard at work here. Religion is to be confined to the private sphere, but ideology in general is not, even in those cases where non-religious ideology shares the very same obnoxious characteristics as religion such as empirical unverifiability and likelihood to inspire violent opposition. Communists murdered 100 million people in the 20th century. So why do Dawkins, Grayling, and the rest single out religion as the source of social evils and not ideology in general?
Or consider any of the views Grayling expresses in the book cited, views on sex, war, guns, marriage, and numerous others. Should he be forced to keep his liberal views to himself lest he infect the minds of impressionable people? Suppose he were teaching in an elementary school and advocated some liberal idea, e.g., that a just tax code must redistribute wealth, or that there should be a ban on handguns. Should he be silenced? If not, why should those who promote religious views be silenced? Why are they not entitled to transmit their beliefs to coming generations in the same way that anarchists and socialists and communists and conservatives and whatnot are entitled to transmit their beliefs?
2. Grayling claims that the "logical conclusion" of religious instruction is "murder and war." This is a surprisingly sloppy and absurd thing for an academically trained philosopher to say, for what it comes to is the claim that religious indoctrination logically necessitates war and murder. Now that is obviously false. The most one could say is that certain forms of religious instruction, some Islamic instruction, for example, raises the probability of war and murder.
But again there is the problem of the double standard. Why focus on religion while excluding political ideology? If there is something wrong with a private school teaching Jewish beliefs, say, then why is there not something wrong with a private school teaching liberal or socialist beliefs? And what about ethical beliefs? They are empirically unverifiable and likely to cause contention. Should they too be confined to the private sphere?