K. Sreeman Reddy

Right to be not brainwashed

Many things which were considered to be morally acceptable centuries ago are now considered to be crimes like, for example, slavery. One such morally bad thing which is currently considered as acceptable throughout the world is brainwashing innocent children in the name of religion. As is evident from the above statements I am against cultural relativism. In my opinion, combining negative utilitarianism with rights is the best among current ethical theories.

It is quite obvious that the reason why the majority of people in the world believe in religion is childhood indoctrination. Once children are brainwashed it will be hard for them to come out of those delusions compared to those who are brainwashed after they became adults. If an average human had never heard about religions until he became a grown man, he would see how silly, immoral, and unscientific religions are. The same person will probably believe in it sincerely if he was brainwashed from his childhood that it is true.

Responsibility of family

Parents and relatives are the people who generally teach children about their religion. The biggest problem is that they teach these as if they know that these things are 100% true. Even if they want to teach these things they should always tell children that they believe in these things and they are not sure if these are correct. They should instead mainly teach the type of knowledge which is almost certainly true like mathematics, science, history (not religious pseudohistory like “Ancient India was technologically advanced to the extent of being a nuclear power”) etc.

Bertrand Russell started his book The Problems of Philosophy with “Is there any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it?”. The answer is most probably no. (If I haven’t included “most probably”, that sentence itself will become some knowledge). Not even mathematical statements are absolutely true. To show that a mathematical statement proved using an axiomatic system is absolutely true we need to prove the consistency of that system which cannot be done due to the second Gödel’s incompleteness theorem. I agree with Russell’s statement-“Skepticism, while logically impeccable, is psychologically impossible, and there is an element of frivolous insincerity in any philosophy which pretends to accept it”.

You may say that in my view they should teach nothing as there is nothing that is absolutely true and anything including mathematical proofs and scientific theories are true only if you believe in the consistency of mathematics and the validity of the scientific method (Science assumes methodological naturalism and induction. See problem of induction). My counterargument is that it is quite obvious that belief in the consistency of mathematics and the validity of scientific method is a lot superior to belief in some old religious book written by people who knew nothing about the universe we live in and that is what I meant by the “almost certainly”.

Responsibility of government

Government should be careful when it is creating textbooks for children. They should not add religious or mythological things which not only don’t have evidence for but also have large evidence against their credibility. Government should also add a chapter in children’s curriculum which explains to them that they should not blindly believe everything they hear from their parents and others and instead they should question everything logically. If instead they are forced by the government to learn by heart some dogmatic things to get marks in exams they might unknowingly believe them as true.

Government should consider the Right to be not brainwashed as a basic human right and it should change the education system such that even the people who were brainwashed by their family will become normal.

Example of government’s failure

When I was in 10th class we had an abridged version of Ramayana in our Telugu textbook divided into 10 chapters. The last paragraph of Ramayana in the 10th textbook says that Rama ruled Ayodhya for 11000 years. The same thing is there in the original Sanskrit version also (Source:Balakanda sarga 1 shloka 97). It also says that Rama’s father Dasharatha lived for 60000 years (Source:Balakanda sarga 20 shloka 10). This is utter nonsense but I had to write them in the exams. Our teachers taught as if they really lived that many years. Recently I remembered it after seeing my younger brother reading that.

When I was in 11th and 12th classes we had similar nonsense in our Sanskrit textbook, like how Bhagiratha meditated for 1001 years without eating and drinking, how Krishna magically made Kuchela or Sudama a wealthy man because he was a devotee (their relation ship is very weird how can you be a big devotee of your childhood friend even if he is the supreme being of that fictional universe? In friendship there should not be any superiory or inferiority complex).

These types of ridiculously false lies should be removed from the mandatory curriculum. Religion should not have any role in education or politics.

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