Define Education, Please…

Dictionary.com says:

noun

1. the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
2. the act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, as for a profession.
3. a degree, level, or kind of schooling: a university education.
4. the result produced by instruction, training, or study: to show one’s education.
5. the science or art of teaching; pedagogics.
Origin:
1525–35;  (< Middle French ) < Latin ēducātiōn-  (stem of ēducātiō ), equivalent to ēducāt ( us ) ( see educate) + -iōn- -ion
I’m not a person of letters. I don’t have diplomas hanging on my office wall. One might say that my education is not complete yet others would say that I am an educated person. I personally like to think that I’m intelligent but not so much that I’m somehow special. I took an interest in learning where our traditions come from. Every little saying was investigated, every symbol, every tradition. There is really very little which is actually special about most of our traditions, yet they all seem to be quite special to at least some of us. The specialness doesn’t come from the tradition but from the specialness we personally ascribe to them. For some of us there is “Friday at home movie night” or Sunday coffee in the park. They don’t have to be global things to be special.

So, go on then, what’s all this education talk about?

Last night, in the middle of one of those special to me type traditions, I was sharing some time with friends out on the patio, drinks, smokes, and requisite finger food included. It was good fun. We talked about many things.  These are not atheist friends. GASP! Yes, I do have friends who are not atheist. Some of them don’t even know that I am an atheist. It’s not the only subject I am about to talk about. Last night the conversation came up though, but like I said, these are friends so I kept all my words strictly to what I personally believe and did not try to provoke any deep discussions on why religion is wrong.

As it turns out, like myself, one of my friends is the child of a preacher. Between the three of us we found no support for organized religion, none. In fact, there was no support for the Christian holy texts either. Breathe deeply. Yes, I was with two Christians who did not believe in organized religion nor their holy text. I did exactly what you’re doing now: I wondered how they can be Christian if they don’t support religions or bibles?

Religions: are too conservative and hard line, full of whack-os and brainwashed idiots.
Bibles: are full of contradictions and can’t have been interpreted correctly and say so much wrong stuff.

Those are not my words. Those are the words of Christians I know. People I call friends.

The one thing that became painfully, palpably clear to me in this conversation (that I did not start) is this: They seem to hold on to belief because of many reasons and have no real reason to let go of it for only one, lack of education. Among the things that they are ill informed of were these gems:

  • Aramaic is a dead language so translations can’t be even close
  • Evolution has an end goal, intentions, and no proof that it’s true
  • We can’t have evolved from ‘monkeys’ because there are still monkeys
  • Constantine did not have anything to do with the Christian bible, no they didn’t know who Constantine was.
  • Muslims, Jews, and Christians all worship different gods
  • Pascal’s Wager is a new thought and the reason to believe rather than question, no they didn’t know who Pascal was.
  • DNA cannot tell us anything about the history of evolution on this planet

That’s only seven of them, and it was a good two hours getting that far. Fortunately, they promised to go look up the ‘facts’ to show me that I’m wrong. As you might guess I told them I’m looking forward to them looking up those facts so we can discuss them.

Educator is the role of the non-believer. This is what I’m becoming convinced of. Every conversation with a believer convinces me more that this is the role that we should take; the role of educator. Not to proselytize, just to inform. Not to inform about the wrongs of religion, but about the actual facts of history and science. Elsewhere in my posts I’ve asked the question “I’m an atheist, now what?” and never had a good answer. I think I have it now. Go educate those you know. Correct them gently. Inform them. Help them find the facts that lead us to where we are now, not because they need to get rid of belief, but because they deserve to  know the truth of the world around us.

On a side note here is some education for you. He’s not an MIT professor or even close. He does have some facts that you can look up. You have to wonder why YHWH’s chosen people need so much help.

Happy Father’s day to those that care.

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    • Apollodorosh
    • June 18th, 2012

    Actually there are still people speaking Aramaic. The Assyrians for example speak a form of Neo-Aramaic (Neo- just denoting it’s the latest phase of the language, not that it is reconstructed, it has a continuous evolution from antiquity to this day). The wikipedia entry on “Aramaic” features a section on present day forms of thelanguage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aramaic_language

    But I do agree, as the language has evolved for roughly 2000 years it’s gonna be difficult to get accurate translations from the ancient forms of the language.

  1. Forgive my ignorance, but what Bible books were written in Aramaic anyway? From a quick google, it looks like the main bits are parts of Ezra, parts of Daniel, and two words in Genesis.

    The bigger problem is that Jesus and his followers spoke it, but the New Testament is in Greek. And it’s unlikely any of the disciples could even write in their own language, let alone Greek.

    Anyway, I agree, education is the answer.

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