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Proselytizing in Class

Student tapes teacher proselytizing in class

On Sept. 14 -- the fourth day of class -- Paszkiewicz is on tape saying, "He (God) did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven, so much so that he took your sin on his own body, suffered your pains for you and he's saying, 'Please accept me, believe me.'"

He adds, according to the tapes: "If you reject that, you belong in hell. The outcome is your prerogative. But the way I see it, God himself sent his only son to die for David Paszkiewicz on that cross ... And if you reject that, then it really is to hell with you."

Paszkiewicz didn't limit his religious observations to personal salvation, according to the tapes.

Paszkiewicz shot down the theories of evolution and the "Big Bang" in favor of creationism. He also told his class that dinosaurs were on Noah's ark, LaClair said.

On Oct. 10 -- a month after he first requested a meeting with the principal -- LaClair met with Paszkiewicz, Somma and the head of the social studies department.

At first, Paszkiewicz denied he mixed in religion with his history lesson, and the adults in the room appeared to be buying it, LaClair said. But then he reached into his backpack and produced the CDs.


 

Comments

for anyone interested, i've posted the best clips with my own transcriptions from the audio recording that was posted on the internet.

you can read and listen to those things on my blog, here.

Here's some questions for you atheists:

What is your idea of utopia, and how would that be accomplished?

What should happen to the people who don't want to accept science, logic, and reason as their means?

Are people who have the greatest access to education, philosophy, and material resources supposed to be the happiest in society?

Are the children born to abusive atheist parents in an unjust atheist society completely screwed?

If I was born into poverty and in a violent society why shouldn't I turn to drugs to alleviate the pain of reality?

Hi Dan, here's my answer.

Hopefully you'll learn more from it than from a stale and sterile and repeatedly edited religious text : >

1] The first step to achieve utopia is to reform religion. If not possible, eradicate it as religion has been the most important cause of violence and war since time immemorial with Christianity (by far), Islam and Judaism (in modern day Israel) being the worst offenders.

Utopia will never exist as long as religious bigotry, intolerance and conflict has their imprint in the affairs of the world today.

2] People who don't want to accept science, logic, and reason as their means hare well within their rights to do so.

However, they need to stop lying that they know the truth and the only way to Heaven is their war because they are not mentally sound and will may well mislead others to a road marked by violence and ignorance.

2] Happiness is more than living in a lie or religious self-delusion such as the so-called truth that Jesus came to save us when the Bible clearly stated that Sesus repeatedly said he was sent for the Jews, not non-Jews or Gentiles.

Many people who have access to education, philosophy, and material resources at least have the humility to acknowledge their doubts and failings while being open in mind and heart to learn more about things.

And happiness very much depends on one's state of mind and condition of the family, which are more crucial factors than the materialistic factors you sighted.

3] No answer to that as it's a hypothetical situation.

4] Even if you are born into poverty and in a violent society, you can still turn to books and study to face, and not alleviate the pain of reality.

Most Asian immigrants in Western countries are born into the exact same violent and poverty-striken environment that you mentioned.

But they are willing to study hard to change their sad lot by building a new future. Many of them do not believe in Western religions and come from materialistic and rational societies.

====

Religion is never the answer, just the path to escapism to avoid addressing or changing reality.

... And the superintendent is quoted as calling Paszkiewicz (who first lied and denied) "a wonderful teacher". It does take one to know one. In the middle of all that, American kids are having their brains fuc-ed and the US may end up the laughing stock in every conceivable human discipline. Sad.

My answers are slightly different from kes', so here you go:

What is your idea of utopia, and how would that be accomplished?

"Utopia" literally means "noplace," and for good reason. Perfect harmony cannot exist. Conflicting interests and thwarted expectations are unavoidable.

People who truly believe utopia can be achieved are dangerous. To believe this is to believe that it is possible for everyone to think and act according to a single standard. It entails the elimination of all freedom and implies that those who do not comply are evil.

The best we can do is to perform a constant balancing act between tempering one's own desires and convincing others to temper theirs in order to maximize harmony in particular circumstances. It's imperfect even when we don't make mistakes, and then of course we always do, but that's life.

What should happen to the people who don't want to accept science, logic, and reason as their means?

If you're trying to bait an atheist into suggesting that something should be done to such people, then you're very likely to be disappointed. "Convert or die" isn't a very common attitude among atheists. Many believers have assumed, or been informed, quite wrongly on this point.

The difference between science and religion is that a religion is a specific set of beliefs, while science is a general procedure for testing whether beliefs have any practical value, taking into account the ease with which humans tend to fool themselves about such things.

Thus while there may be consequences associated with rejection of science, those consequences are not imposed by nonbelievers, and we take no particular joy in them. Determined belief of untrue things by people who refuse to verify them leads to much sorrow in the world. If thinking of your own religion in those terms makes you uncomfortable, think of primitive "volcano gods" demanding human sacrifices. How tragic that there's actually no such thing. Likewise, how tragic for Ted Haggard if it turns out there actually is not an old man in the sky who wants him to loathe himself for being attracted to men.

In short I certainly won't try to force anyone to adjust their beliefs, and so long as believers extend me the same courtesy, I'm comfortable taking my chances on those terms.

Are people who have the greatest access to education, philosophy, and material resources supposed to be the happiest in society?

I am not entirely certain how to answer you here, as I'm not sure what you're getting at. Asking whether certain people are "supposed to" be a certain way, assuming you use that phrase advisedly, may contain a teleological assumption with which most atheists will not sympathize.

The question is not who "should be" happy -- ideally everyone should be -- but who is happy, and if there is any strong correlation between one's religious leanings and happiness, I am not aware of it. There are happy and unhappy people in all walks of life. Certainly the common believer's assumption that on the whole atheists are less happy than believers is very far from accurate.

Are the children born to abusive atheist parents in an unjust atheist society completely screwed?

Again, I am uncertain what you are trying to ask. It sounds very much like you are couching a slander in a question. To answer your question at face value, children of abusive parents in an unjust society are pretty screwed no matter what the people involved do or do not believe.

I am assuming by "unjust" you mean a society that provides no recourse by which the abuse may be ended. Surely it is unnecessary to mention that far too many children around the world find themselves in precisely such straits, and atheism is not particularly implicated.

If you are asking whether good people who do not believe in gods would abandon such children to abusive circumstances where good people who do believe would not, the answer is "certainly not" and the implication is offensive.

If I was born into poverty and in a violent society why shouldn't I turn to drugs to alleviate the pain of reality?

In general terms, whatever the additional challenges posed by one's circumstances, anything that reduces one's ability to understand and react to one's surroundings in an accurate and timely manner necessarily reduces one's ability to succeed within that environment.

More specifically, if one is born into poverty, starting an expensive and hard-to-break habit seems incredibly ill-advised. Ultimately financing such a habit must necessarily draw one into the violence you postulate, whether as a perpetrator or a victim or, most likely, both.

A couple of questions to all the Christians out there; Why would anyone need to be killed so that people could go to heaven? If God is all powerful, why didn't he just allow people into heaven? Why does having a child, for the purpose of having him cruxified, make God merciful? And what sins? I know my 10 month old niece has never done anything that could even remotely qualify as sin, yet your religion implies otherwise. She most certainly hasn't done anything that would justify cruxifiction.

Here's some questions for you atheists:

Questions just for atheists. This should be fun. :)

What is your idea of utopia, and how would that be accomplished?

Ok, first to define 'utopia': Utopia, in its most common and general meaning, refers to a hypothetical perfect society. It has also been used to describe actual communities founded in attempts to create such a society. The adjective utopian is often used to refer to good but (physically, socially, economically, or politically) impossible proposals, or at least ones that are very difficult to implement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia

I'll dismiss the how to accomplish utopia since this would be impossible. If possible, utopia for me would be an abundance of good art, good food, good sex, and good friends to have stimulating conversation with. It would also consist of a complete lack of any physical pain.

What should happen to the people who don't want to accept science, logic, and reason as their means?

They should not be teaching in the schools or hold public office. But then this requires, in a democracy, that most people feel this way. In the U.S. there are many people who don't accept science, logic and reason who are teaching and who have powerful positions in government. Now this situation is harmful to those who are affected by the laws that said people inflict upon society. Not much to do about this except to express one's opinion and hopefully dissuade such backward way of thinking from spreading like a virus.

Are people who have the greatest access to education, philosophy, and material resources supposed to be the happiest in society?

No, not necessarily.

Are the children born to abusive atheist parents in an unjust atheist society completely screwed?

Bizzare question. I don't get why the parent being an atheist is specifed. Why would having abusive atheist parents be any different than abusive theist parents?

If I was born into poverty and in a violent society why shouldn't I turn to drugs to alleviate the pain of reality?

I don't know. Why shouldn't you? In fact, I think that you should get high, have a cold one, sit back and relax and enjoy.

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wow, jo anne, sounds like you're already living in utopia. for many, if not most of the people on this godforsaken planet, utopia would be ANY art, ANY food, ANY sex and ANY friends, in ANY quantity. depending of course upon your definitions of these things. :)

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we all live in someone elses utopia. who's living in mine?

Hi Jonathan,

Yeah, while I was typing that out, I thought that I already am living in a sort of utopia, except for the part about physical pain. I should be more grateful I think. Maybe you already are living in your own utopia and you just aren't aware of it. :)

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well, jo anne, as a careful reader and onegoodmove regular, you know where i live. i like to think it could be my utopia, but there are an awful lot of hostile and heavily armed people who don't think i have a right to it. come to think of it, some ornery part of me probably considers this a prerequisite for proper enjoyment of any effective jonathanbeckerutopia. it takes all kinds, as they say. i truly hope whatever physical pain you suffer is neither serious nor chronic, but there are folks out there who would consider this (physical pain) a prerequisite for their utopias. the world is an unfathomably weird place. wishing you good health.

Jonathan,

Yes, I am aware of your situation. Because we have gone way off topic here, I've decided to answer you in the onegoodmove forum designed for this kind of situation. I will post it under the "Issues" category with the title of "Israel".

http://www.onegoodmove.net/bb/index.php

Jon, your utopia was created by Jews by slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Arabs with 8 million Arabs living in refugee camps.

Of course, they have every right to be hostile. Before forming Israel in 1946, Israel only owned 6% of the land legally in Palestine.

Case in Point:

Israeli Map Says West Bank Posts Sit on Arab Land

JERUSALEM, Nov. 20 — An Israeli advocacy group, using maps and figures leaked from inside the government, says that 39 percent of the land held by Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is privately owned by Palestinians...

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/21/world/middleeast/21land.html?ex=1321765200&en=fcdc2fa8abaf254e&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

But no worries. By 2049, the Arabs will be the dominant majority in Israel. And we'll see what happens when the shoe is on the other foot.

We can continue this at the thread Jo provided:

http://www.onegoodmove.net/bb/index.php

Ahh, the joy one can find in answering pointed and slanted questions is too tempting to resist. I'm jumping on this bandwagon ...

Here's some questions for you atheists:

Given the history of Norm's blog, I can't say I blame you for framing this as such.

What is your idea of utopia, and how would that be accomplished?

The idea of utopia has already been described by many of the posters above, though admittedly I'm quite confused as to what it ought to be, if anything. I was taught a decade or so ago that people are controlled through hate, love, fear or some combination of the three. Given that fear is the most effective of the three methods, would utopia consist of communities of the repressed who cannot make any utterance at the risk of punishment? It reminds me of that Simpson's Halloween special where Bart turns Homer into a punching bag ... everybody has a big fake smile on their face ... jks all around. As far as I'm concerned, it isn't the job of an atheist, or any given labelled group, to propose how utopia should be attained. On a personal level, I don't think of how to attain utopia. If one is suggesting that utopia occurs where all participants have all they could ever need, the scarcity of natural resources would make that impossible. In either case, we're nothing more than a pack of lemmings, racing to snatch up all that's left ... wow I'm going off-topic.

What should happen to the people who don't want to accept science, logic, and reason as their means?

The current solution seems to entail hiding in church and enrolling one's children in Catholic and Sunday schools, to pat each other on the shoulder for winning creationist competitions with "My uncle's not a monkey, so how can evolution make sense?" I suspect that a secular society - that is to say, a society where the majority of citizens are of a secular world-view - would let the religious people go about their own business. What matters to the secular people is that the general postulation be that we ground our science, education and political processes in processes of rational logic, rather than resorting to 700-2000 year-old texts that have been edited beyond whatever the original hoax was meant to put across.

Are people who have the greatest access to education, philosophy, and material resources supposed to be the happiest in society?

I'll try to answer this as simply as I can: the happiness one draws from life comes from how one perceives their personal capabilities and how their environment can foster it.

To give another simple response to another simple question that might follow, I believe the largest problem humans face arises from one word: scarcity.

Are the children born to abusive atheist parents in an unjust atheist society completely screwed?

Children born to abusive parents have it worse off than children who don't. I doubt that attaching the 'atheist' label to such a situation would make much of a difference. Conversely, the child born to abusive Catholic parents has to tolerate both the physical and the mental distress of being let to believe that s/he is guilty for existing.

If I was born into poverty and in a violent society why shouldn't I turn to drugs to alleviate the pain of reality?

In my opinion, the use of narcotics to alleviate suffering is an implicit statement of personal defeat. There is always the option of being grateful for whatever you do have, rather than opining over what you don't. If you need an example, think Rent vs. Desperate Housewives.

By the way, it wouldn't hurt to at least acknowledge our responses. I've noticed that so many believers love to postulate - heh, I'm saying it too - their own slants and leave before the response is given.

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