Now it’s time for a few definitions to get the ball rolling:
At its most basic, school is defined as "An institution for educating children"; emphasis on educating!
To educate someone means “To 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”.
And what makes someone an educated person? An educated person is “one who is able to perceive accurately, think clearly, and act effectively on self-selected goals and aspirations. It requires a practice of persistent disillusionment a consistent method for having an on–going dialog between the world and one’s mind to constantly revise one’s concepts of what is really going on in the world.”
While some religions do try to educate children – some of course being much better at it then others – the fact of the matter remains that by and large, religions and their adherents seek to indoctrinate. If the 613 commandments in the Old Testament are not enough, I have an idea for another one – Thou shall seek to indoctrinate the young!
So what is my problem with religions referring to their programs as Sunday School and/or Vacation Bible School? It’s that pesky little word, SCHOOL. In both of these cases the word school is a misnomer. There is very little, if any, schooling going on at these places; children are not being educated! These places are for religious indoctrination – not education!
The difference is vast but subtle. Let's compare:
|Involves seeking facts, and learning about what is the truth, and what is not.||Aims to influence people to believe in facts, without being able to back up these newfound facts with anything but opinion.|
|Can be supported by data that is derived from facts.||Tends to use broad generalizations, such as "all" or "every" as statements of fact and lacks specific references and data.|
|Points out that there are different and subtle distinctions that allow multiple solutions to the same problems.||Ignores distinctions and subtle differences, and poses the belief that there is only one solution to the same problem.|
|Uses statistical analysis to encourage thought toward reasoning, and proposed solution finding.||Uses statistics but offers no analysis (i.e., size, duration, controls, etc.) leading to misrepresentations used to only support the beliefs being posed; rejecting statistics that might dispute the beliefs are simply left out and ignored.|
|Unbiased, appeals to reason to stimulate thought and discussion, and supports arguments by appealing to facts and logic using impartially selected data.||Appeals to authority, emotions, and automatic responses; oftentimes has an agenda and is used to encourage the embracing of another's beliefs that are developed blindly and in complete (though not always) agreement with those beliefs.|
Allow me to introduce two new proper nouns:
Sunday School Indoctrination; for short, SSI
You see, there is no education going on at these supposed "schools," only one-sided indoctrination. It's the Get 'em while they're young approach (which is another topic for another day). They are instructed and trained on how to think correctly - god forbid they be taught to think for themselves! For it is only after they have been taught how to think correctly that they are allowed to consider material for themselves, safe in the knowledge that they too will concur with the prevailing paradigm on all matters. Then, of course, there will always be the bright few who show the ability to conform well to this model that are allowed passage into programs where they can receive advanced training on their way to becoming a Sunday Indoctrination Teacher or a Vacation Bible Indoctrination Teacher themselves.
Recognition and awe are reserved for those future tithe paying adherents who show a capacity to lap up that which is spewed and for understanding the 'tough stuff' that is patronizingly obtuse. It reinforces the internal vocabulary of god's chosen people in the last days.
At least - so long as one stays within the accepted parameters…