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Someone recently argued that greater educational attainment in first nations is the driver behind a reduction in religious belief. I would disagree. I would argue instead that it is the indoctrination into the public educational system itself, as it has supplanted the village as the major societal definer & enforcer of acceptable norms of thought & behavior. And as religious instruction is all but left out of the curriculum & implicitly shunned, religious adherence declines. We are still human beings, evolved to mirror & conform to the will of the village. It is the counter village of the religious community coupled with the instinctual attribution of the unknown to supernatural forces that keeps religion alive despite its general decline.

Nunya 6 Mar 5

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I do not know if you are an educator or in the education field, but my experience is contrary to your argument. Having taught for 31 years at the high school level, in six different schools, I find religion was a significant part of every school culture.

I have taught First Nation for 21 years (and still am). and Ive taught in main stream culture for 10 years. In all that time, the theists drove the culture, if not directly, then indirectly. It was unsafe carreerwise to profess it be known as an atheist or agnostic. When theist teachers or Adminstrstors thought it necessary, they always inserted their beliefs and religious opinions into the circumstance. It was unwise or unacceptable to contradict or challenge them. And I am not known as a shrinking violet.

I have fought social, cultural, and racial injustice my entire adult life. Most of the time against my own white privilege peers much to their dismay. But in all that time I knew there was a line I could not cross and keep my job.

That line was challenging the ardent theists on the staff. I could council for tolerance and point out errors in stereotypes and judgements. But if a theist wanted a prayer at an assembly, even if half the population were not Christian, it was dangerous to challenge as most teachers are Chrisrian, as are most Administrators, and most parents in the country.

Even in First Nation (at least in my present community). Although that wasn't true in my first First Nation community, there Native culture and beliefs were still more intact than many tribes. Although Christianity was encroaching and assimilating religious-cultural beliefs as Christianity is so good at doing.

Ok - "First World Nations" - not indiginous cultures! I was trying to fit the post into the character limit so it would actually post!!!! As in, industrialized societies!


If only educational systems would carry out their "true" functions, and teach comparative religion.


Not public education, there is a separation between church and state for a good reason, no theocracy has ever been good as it promotes one religion over others. There are many people of different beliefs living here Christian, Moslem and Jewish along with Buddhist etc. That's why we have freedom of religion so all can worship as they see fit . Theocracy promotes one over others. Religious teachings belong in places of worship not in schools

@Jetty yes in college where it belongs not public schools


Welcome to the asylum. Enjoy your stay.

I disagree.
I was born an atheist. Indoctrination didn't take.
I've always been a non-conformist. I escaped the stupid "village".
First World, Third World, doesn't matter.
We are ALL born not believing. That garbage must be taught.


Note: "first nations" has a different meaning in Canada. It's different than "first world nations".

There's a character limit on posts. I was endeavoring to get my point across & simultaneously shorten the post. The first one I wrote that disappeared because it went over the character limit did say first world nations btw. But yes, I'm aware that "first nations" is often used to refer to native peoples. No disrespect intended.


When we are in school as kids, while under the care of our parents, they can do a lot to counteract what is taught in public schools. I learned well how to ignore things that contradicted what I was taught at home. I did have questions on occasion, but I was also taught how to set those aside.

I started college when I was twenty-seven and I was worried about going to a secular community college and then to a secular university; but it was what was affordable and I figured my faith was strong enough to withstand the assault I felt I was going to be subjected to.

Well, my beliefs were not directly assaulted as I expected them to be; but my mind was certainly opened to other ways of seeing things, other ways of thinking.

Unlike when I was in grade school and high school, I could no longer just accept things because that was what I had been taught. And, out from under the strong influence of parents and pastors, I was able to allow myself to fully question my beliefs. I was terrified when I started my journey, but it was one I had to make.

Perhaps I would have eventually come to the same conclusions had I not gone to college; but, at the very least, it helped things along.


Introducing people to Critical Thinking as problem solving, as taught in education, is what I think it mostly responsible for the decline of religion.


Personally, my liberation from religion was the result of getting a public school education and learning to think scientifically. I applied the scientific method to religion and proved to myself that the scriptures are full of falsehoods, and that religion is a scam based on mythology.


People are sheep. Some of us are just black ones, that think for ourselves.


The public education system is just that, and most certainly corrupted like most of society. It is not meant to instill critical thinking, it is designed to beat conformity and acceptance to authority in children. It turns out adults with no means to explain or debate a specific subject yet they take adamant stands based on what someone told them to believe, just like religions. Academia is always the last group or people who recognize and acknowledge a paradigm shift in understanding upon subjects.


Michael Shermer wrote a book titled "How We Believe" in which he discusses various aspscts of belief within our society. One aspect he examined was educaton and he discussed the results of 2 surveys - one taken from redpondants from the Skeptic Society and one taken by a polling company from a random sample. As expected, the magnatude of the results from the Skeptic Society sample were greater than the randon sample but the trend from both studies were consistent. This trend clearly showed that greater education coresponded positively to a greater degree of disbelief. Those who fit into a category of having earned an advanced degree such as a Masters degree or PhD were more likely to disbelieve than those who had earned a BS or BA, which were more likely to disbelieve that those who has some college but did not earn a degree or who had earned an Associates degree, and this group was more likely to disbelieve than those who had earned no greater education than a High School diploma. Other factors also come into play of course. Other explanations may also explain the observation and correlation does not prove causation. The fact still remains that greater degrees of disbelief corresponds with higher levels of education attained.

Yep! And I would argue that this is due, primarily, to two factors. 1. The social programming that comes with prolonged exposure to the norms of the educational system, and, 2. That those who obtain advanced degrees have IQ's that are above average, meaning that they have an above average ability to apply critical thinking. Just my two cents.


In the United States there may be some truth to your conclusion. America is the single exception. The conclusion is steadfast for the rest of the world.


By your reference to Native Americans as First Nations, may I assume you're Canadian? If so, what religious belief(s) do Canada's public schools tend to squelch?

First World Nations - not indiginous cultures. It was a typo dude. As in industrialized, capitalist nations.

@Nunya Thanks for clarifying. Now that I understand your point, please disregard mine.


Welcome and enjoy your stay!


I would agree with this post 100% if you replaced "public education system itself" with "corporate sponsored social media herd mentality".


I agree all animals are born Feminist Atheists and religions are counter to natural short faiths were invented by shamans to rape women and brainwash boys into violence against neighboring tribes raping their women stealing their village contents


I would argue that religious belief is largely being done away with by the the Internet itself and the fact that most people have access to the Internet.


And I think you're trying to blame a completely non-religious function for the failure of religion. There was, when I was a child, lots of time spent in Church and doing Church functions that had nothing whatsoever to do with school and vice versa. Religion does NOT belong in public schools except as a study of culture and even then it should include ALL of them, not just the one that is held by the majority ( a shrinking majority I'm happy to say) of the populace. Any time you equate basic education with 'indoctrination', you're projecting what religion does in its so-called 'Sunday School', not what happens in the average classroom.

I'm saying that it supplants the village. Our brains are evolved to mirror or mimic our surroundings. This is true for all social animals.


Most people go to school but not all of them get an education, just because you show up doesn't mean you contribute or learn how to think. It doesn't help matters that some governments have focused more on programming for obedience and not on teaching logical thought. This is why, in my opinion, some Western nations have fallen behind and why standards of living in those nations are falling.


No, you had it right the first time. Education leads to a decline in religiosity in most cases.
There is no "instinctual attribution of the unknown to supernatural forces," as you so laboriously put it.
What learned, erudite nonsense!
You seem to revel in using incendiary language..."indoctrination into the public educational system" which amounts to an "enforcer of acceptable norms?"
So all these "enforcers" have to do is "shun" religious instruction and presto! People abandon religion! Wow! That was easy!
So who exactly ARE these "enforcers," pray tell? Some sort of evil Satanic cabal of secular humanists kidnapping impressionable young minds?
So to cut through the pseudo-intellectual gobblygook, we have two competing "villages," right? And it just depends on which side your on?, I think you are confusing yourself with all your vocabulary-infested mental gymnastics:
Clearly, learning the world is billions of years old is not "indoctrination." Finding out facts counter to superstition is a good thing, despite your insinuation it's an atheistic conspiracy.
Or did you just write yourself into a corner?

What are you talking about? Ok - so...all social animals have brains that have evolved to mimic or mirror the behaviors of the social group - doesn't matter if you're a dog, a monkey, a bird, an elephant, or a Homo sapien - we mimic the social group. That is what literally shapes our personalities. In modern societies the "village" is the public educational system, the nuclear family, the employer, & any religious/recreational/and or civic institutions we associate with regularly.

@Nunya Yes, but some "villages" base their ethos on superstition, falsehoods and wishful thinking, others on a combination of those fallacies and fact, and some primarily or completely on facts.
Public education is the closest we've ever come to creating a fact-based "village," but unfortunately it is now splintering into ever more narrowly-focused cult-like 'hamlets,' each a fantastic hodgepodge of fact and fiction, depending on what is convenient for them to believe in order to advance their own agendas.
So truth becomes a malleable commodity, "education" becomes a relativistic tool to be used like a weapon against other "hamlets" with competing interests, and neo-ideologies spring up based on whatever set of circumstances one wishes to selectively mold for specific purposes into a custom-made mini-ethos.
Thus a "village's," or a nation's, for that matter, ethos is lost.
I would ask you: when the educational system, the increasingly rare nuclear family, the employer, and civic groups all take their core beliefs (ethoses) from disparate sources, what happens to this supposed village? What happens to it when the educational system loses it's ability to unite this community, if you speak of it as a geographical place? When neighbors turn against neighbor? When one "nuclear family" hates the one three blocks over for being communist, or theists, or racists, or whatever? When your employer thinks contributing to your health plan is just another example of "takers" mooching off "makers?" When your church group thinks another church group is heretical or downright Satanic? When Johnny is home-schooled by survivalists, Mary goes to an Evangelical Christian school, Tasha Johnson goes to the public school with Maria Lopez, and Freddie goes to Catholic St. Mary's?
Think they will ever see eye to eye?
Some village!

@Storm1752 I never said the village had to be (or needed to be) homogenized, bro. Simply making the argument that the public educational system in first world nations - as a generally secular institution - is more responsible for the decline of religious adherence than the education obtained from such a system. That is all.

@Nunya Either way, I totally disagree with that statement. You seem to think the institution of public education itself is anti-religious and harbors antipathy toward religion, almost as if it is a deliberate competitor for the allegiances of impressionable children. That's certainly what many religionists think. Which is why they think the teaching of sex education or evolution, for instance, is Satanic; so the teachers and administrators must be Satanic.
Which is why many of these religionist parents refuse to participate and let their children attend.
But they're wrong to think that, of course. The curriculum is fact-based, which means it often and necessarily contradicts the bible.
But that means the EDUCATION itself, the facts learned, lead to the "decline of religious adherence," not the "secular institution."
To say that is ridiculous.


I am not sure that I can agree with your "instinctual attribution of the unknown to supernatural forces" (emphasis added), though I agree with everything else you say.

I disagree on that part as well...I have never had super natural leanings!

I think I would mostly agree with instinctual attribution, but disagree with everything else. Religion is taught in Canadian (as @p-nullifidian infers above) and British schools, which haven't stopped their populaces from being two of the most secular around. I thought I heard about an opt out option in Britain though, but don't hold me to that.

@Rossy92 Your point is well made. The kirk in Scotland is losing people very fast.


Ahh so I see you've never heard of catholic schools or other religious based schools, ie islamic or jewish schools. Where religion is in fact part of the curriculum. I'd say my nation is a better developed nation than Murica and yet I was stuck in catholic school through high school.

Public schools in First World Nations - of course, private & religious schools are going to yield different results - but the same rules apply. The school supplants the village. I'm sure that experience had dramatic effects on your personality development - i.e. opinions, beliefs, actions.

Next time it may just be easier to type : developed nations vs developing nations. I understood what you meant, and I still think my nation outranks yours as a developed nation. Merica is becoming a developing nation fast, by many metrics from infrastructure to education to other metrics,


FIRST WORLD NATIONS - AS OPPOSED TO THIRD WORLD NATIONS - THIS IS NOT A REFERENCE TO INDIGENOUS CULTURES! OMG TYPO! With that said, the influence of the social group on any of its members regardless of location or ethnicity, is what shapes our personalities. (The public educational system, the nuclear family, the employer, the religious institution, etc.) That was the point of this post. Just to clarify.

Nunya Level 6 Mar 15, 2020

The public educational system is hardly a system, as public (taxpayer funded) schools vary widely, from one state to another, and within each state, one school district to another, and even schools within a district. For example, a small, rural public school is likely very different from an urban school.

With varying curricula, values, cultures and ethnicities represented in the public schools across the US, it is difficult to envision a core set of doctrines upon which American children would be indoctrinated, nationwide, other than pluralism itself. Many religions in the US, even those who have their own educational systems, are grateful for the lack of religious instruction in the public schools, as it necessarily begs the question, 'which one?'


You are saying that religion poisons village at a time.


How would you support this statement?

“It is the counter village of the religious community coupled with the instinctual attribution of the unknown to supernatural forces that keeps religion alive despite its general decline.”

While I'm too lazy to go find you research links, I will just say that generally, human beings (as well as most social species) are pre-programmed to mirror & conform to the beliefs, attitudes, actions, etc. of the social group. As churches still have a rather significant place in most societies, they remain a significant enforcer of norms. As for the pre-programmed proclivity to attribute intent to forces of nature, look no further than our evolution to read intent in other human beings.

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