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Mr. Rogers Had a Simple Set of Rules for Talking to Children (theatlantic.com)
451 points by panic 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 164 comments



The article makes an oblique reference to it, but it's worth noting that Fred Rogers graduated from a theological Seminary and his television show was his Presbyterian ministry. Mr Rogers is at the same time a sort of stereotypical Christian character (imagine The Simpsons' Flanders without the satirical comedy aspects) and also not the image of a Christian minister that we usually see in the mainstream media and popular culture.

Mr Rogers may be most intentionally-Christian cultural influence that wasn't widely noticed as "Christian", in the lives of millions of people -- for both many people who don't think Christianity is a part of their lives as well as for many people who do.

I write this not to proselytize or to suggest that you should become Christian if you respect Mr Rogers, but as a reminder that the image you have in your mind of an X (for whatever X that is a large weakly-connected community) should not generalize to all X, and some very X-ey people might not look X-ey at all.

The article also shows that there is often a lot of hard work and educated insight behind things that look very simple and basic.


I believe that there are a small number of people who are able to, as I call it, "straddle two worlds," and people like this fascinate me. Steve Jobs was famous for bridging the divide between "technology" and "design." Benjamin Franklin embraced science and the Enlightenment while maintaining his grounding in traditional Puritan values. Fred Rogers came from a very privileged background (white, upper-class, Protestant, etc), but consistently advocated on behalf of the least fortunate (children, the handicapped, the marginalized; i.e., those at whom public television was originally aimed). He was an ordained minister who, in the course of seeking out how best to install values in children, based his program on the latest scientific research of the time. He was a television performer who was the same person, whether talking to small children, or testifying in front of Congress. He was, in his own way, traditional and progressive at the same time.

Further reading and watching:

Walking The Beat In Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood https://www.npr.org/2016/03/11/469846519/walking-the-beat-in...

Mr. Rogers On Arsenio Hall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1geWczVpUbE

http://neighborhoodarchive.com/


> whether talking to small children, or testifying in front of Congress.

You say that like these are two different things.


For further reading, a must read is "Can you say…Hero?" by Tom Junod, which originally appeared in Esquire in 1998.

https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/a27134/can-you-say-...

You may not know me, but trust me.


Whenever hardcore atheists criticize the religious, they are inevitably focusing on the worst that is done in the name of religion and ignoring all the good that is done in the name of religion. I have consistently found intensely, cerebrally religious people to be some of my favorite people to talk to. And I see so much good come from people who seat religion at the head of their table, so to speak. I wish secular folk could see and appreciate all the good that religion does.


The people who do good in the name of religion, by and large, don't need religion to do good. They may (or may not) use religion as an excuse to explain why they do good, but that's just it, an excuse, and without religion they'd almost certainly still do good.

On the other hand, there is a tremendous amount of evil done in the name of religion that wouldn't be done at all if it weren't for religion. An incredible amount of hate and bigotry and oppression and violence all rooted in dogma.

People don't need to be taught how to love. But they do need to be taught how to hate.


I have known people who made a radical conversion to Christianity and stopped drinking, doing drugs, whatever. Plenty of people do need to be taught how to love, having never really had any in their life.

There are plenty of Christians giving Christianity a bad name. That doesn't mean it is Christianity's fault that they are like that. Over the years, it has splintered into endless sects because you give the same book to different people and they come away with different interpretations of what it means, in part because it is filtered through the lens of whatever mental models life experience has given them.


Also, it's not the same book. There are literally hundreds of lineages of the Bible, having traveled to us through multiple languages, very different cultural perspectives, rewritten and re translated adding in their current perspectives and removing one's they don't agree with. Not to mention just plain old misunderstanding.


I dunno about the whole Christians giving Christians a bad name. For example the Catholic Church doesn't support gay marriage or even condom use in AIDS torn Africa. Is the Pope giving Catholics a bad name? It would seem to me the opposite, Catholics who support gay rights and condom use are just bad Catholics.


Catholicism is just one of many Christian sects.

My favorite biblical passage:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’

23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

https://www.biblica.com/bible/niv/matthew/7/

So, the Bible itself suggests that Christ himself foresaw that many evil things would be done in his name and he would disavow such people and deny them entry into heaven.

My personal opinion based on stories like the one below is that, yes, the Catholic Church has lost its way and is giving Christianity a bad name.

http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1883598,00...

I'm not Christian. I did attend church for a time in my twenties. I have plenty of criticisms of Christianity myself. It isn't really my cup of tea. I imagine it would have been 2000 years ago when it was being studied in secret in small groups. Now that it is a major religion, it strikes me as more a means to publicly identify as A Good Person.

There are inherent problems with publicly identifying as A Good Person. One of them is that there comes a point past which looking good and doing good part ways. If public identification as one of the good guys matters to you enough, you may well choke when it comes time to stand your ground against the tide of public opinion.

But my personal criticisms of religion do not in any way make me think it is reasonable to claim that religion is purely a source of evil and no good comes of it.


You seem to have dodged the point entirely. You don't get to just arbitrarily claim the good parts of Christianity are the only ones that matter. And Catholicism is certainly not the only sect that has regressive dangerous policies which cause wide spread harm, it's just the simplest example because it's one most people are likely to be familiar with. The top five Christian denominations in the US are: Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Pentacostal, and Lutheran. There are sub-sects of each of those families which allow gay marriage, but the main-line official doctrine is opposition to gay rights for all of them.

So what, the vast majority of Christian sects are giving Christianity a bad name? But you personally somehow know what real Christianity is? I feel like that really stretches credulity at some point.


You are really putting words in my mouth here.

Christianity began as belief in one guy, Jesus Christ, as the only begotten son of god. He himself predicted that much would be done in his name that he would disavow.

That's not my judgement. That's in the Bible. (It's also a blatantly obvious social observation that intent gets bastardized by others with some incompatible agenda on a routine basis.)

Gay rights continue to be fought for across the globe. There are many countries where it is illegal to be gay. Would you say this makes the existence of countries inherently evil?

I hope we will someday see a world where neither countries nor religions persecute homosexuals. But I am not saying that only the good parts count here. I am merely rebutting the assertion that has been made that religion is all downside with no upside.


> I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.

The operative phrase there is "knew you", not "evildoers". In Christian theology, Christians themselves aren't anything to write home about. They're just favored due to their relationship with God.

People can go out, find "good people", and emulate them. Though that's missing the point according to Christian theology. In fact, part of the sacrament of baptism involves admitting you're not a "good person". These aren't secret rituals or something. On the contrary, they're supposed to be public statements.


I'm aware that the Bible says we are all sinners, we should value humility etc. I also grew up in The Bible Belt and have met plenty of Christians. Regardless of what the Bible asks of people, the reality is that attending church has de facto become a means to signal goodness and many Christians don't really accept other people who do not themselves identify as Christian.

Public identification as Christian is a means to open certain doors socially. There are plenty of people who follow that script for the social benefit it entails. As just an obvious example that comes to mind, my understanding is most mobsters are Catholic.


>For example the Catholic Church doesn't support gay marriage or even condom use in AIDS torn Africa.

It seems like your criticism is something along the lines of "I don't like the choices they make" which when it comes to morality isn't a very strong argument. Below is an explanation of why they make those choices. Perhaps you can make a deeper criticism.

You have to understand that Christians in general and Catholic's in specific reason about morality differently. Something is moral if God has declared it so. Something is immoral if God has declared it so. The Bible isn't detailed enough to answer every question in life so theologians have thought up answers to questions like "Should gays marry" or "Should people in Africa use condoms." The general process is, do we have something specific God has said that applies? Do we have a principal that we have derived from God's words that we can apply?

For the gay marriage question, the Catholic Church has said that passages that talk about homosexuality interpret those that God says gay sex is immoral. Thus since gay marriage increase gay sex, it is also immoral. Thus it should not happen.

For the condom's in Africa question. Does God talk about using condom's? No. But, the Catholic Church has long held that the procreative aspect of sex is so central that you should not intentionally keep procreation from happening. Condoms keep you from procreating thus using them is immoral. Yes, the spread of AIDS is bad but the Catholic Church holds that you should never do something immoral. So even though using condoms would help the AIDS epidemic, that help isn't worth doing something immoral.


There's a few problems with your premise... First, evil has been done without religion. For examples look at the millions of deaths in the ex-Soviet Union, China, North Korea...atheism can be just as dogmatic and evil as religion can be, and the horrors that are done in the name of idealism happen with or without religion. I suppose this depends on your definition of religion and if atheism can be a form of religion, but I would argue that at the very least, every person has a list of presuppositions that make up their worldview, and in some ways every person is ideological (though not every person is violent, both from those that are religious and those that are not).

Secondly, it doesn't take a spiritual belief to be dogmatic. Look at politics, or baseball fans, or some vegans. People generally are dogmatic over their belief systems, whatever they're composed of, religion or not. I imagine that evil stems from the intensity and nature of the belief systems, but also the person and the circumstances.

Finally, people are taught to both love and hate at a VERY early age, regardless of the influence of religion. Society does a fine job of this, my 1 1/2 year old is just as capable of being a kind and loving son as he is being selfish and mean. Now perhaps you mean more developmentally, but every human is just as capable of love as they are of hate, I would say regardless of religion. Some religions may encourage one or the other more than others, just as some teachers do in the classrooms or in certain subject areas. I imagine what you're referring to are the studies that showed that racism is taught (and it is), but racism is not a necessary component of evil. Selfishness or greed can be just as effective as a root cause of evil as racism. How much evil has been done in the name of money, separated from beliefs?

Religion is just the scapegoat in your argument, when the things you're stating are more general to human nature.


The most intelligent Christians I know regard communism as a Christian heresy. As a minimum, communists had sacred beliefs, which sounded more like those of a Western religion than an Eastern one. The trumpet shall sound, and we shall be changed etc.


> The people who do good in the name of religion, by and large, don't need religion to do good.

I doubt Fred Rogers would agree with you.

I also think "religion" is a loaded word. Depending on what you mean by it, Jesus was anti-religion.

And finally, I think people people don't need theism to create a dogma of hate, bigotry, and oppression. History is full of stories of evil men who commit atrocities in the name of dogmas with absent or incidental theism.


How do you know that same evil wouldn’t be done without religion? Hate and evil finds justification for itself wherever it can. Often it is religion but it can also be in culture, tradition, racism, otherness etc. I’m not convinced a lack of religion would correspond to a net reduction in that kind of evil. It might just shift somewhere else as humans try to justify their terrible actions.


This is likely true for the large scale evils, where religion is used to coerce people into terrible acts. It's less clear for smaller evils that religion is to blame for. Having a discussion on the ethics of something like homosexuality becomes much harder when a significant portion of crowd thinks a vengeful god has forbidden it.

Further, I find the long running system of a tithe to be rather evil, and can't see an equivalent without religion. A tax for the general well being of your afterlife is rather unique.


I have long held that the ability to rationalize one's actions is the root of all evil. IMHO, this is orthogonal to religiosity.


That doesn’t make sense to me - rationalizing your actions is a very necessary coping skill for living every day life. You have to make sub optimal decisions at times and you need a way to move on. That a person can rationalize evil decisions is unfortunate, but it doesn’t take away the necessity of it.


The point is that religion taught them to hate in the first place.

There is an incredible amount of hatred and discrimination in this world that can be traced back to the text in some book said that some particular group of people were bad and other people accepted that as the word of God. The only reason these people have to hate that group is because an authority figure (the authority figure) told them to.


If you wanted to do evil to other people, justifying that evil via some higher power seems like a pretty obvious move to me.


> People don't need to be taught how to love. But they do need to be taught how to hate.

You need to hang out with more toddlers.


Toddlers don't hate. They balk.


It seems like some kind of fallacy to insist that good done in the name of religion is never actually about religion, while evil done in the name of religion is 100% only about religion.

If nothing else, I don't know how you could even begin to prove that. It sounds like something people believe without evidence because they find it comforting, which is pretty ironic given the context.


The lack of symmetry in your position should be unsettling to you.


> People don't need to be taught how to love.

Yes, they do; there is plenty of evidence of this from what happens when people aren't taught that, by example, in very early childhood.


"...how much cruelty among Christians is acted under the colour of Religion; as if we could not be Christians, unless we crucify one another..."

--Charles Stuart, _Eikon Basilike_


>I wish secular folk could see and appreciate all the good that religion does.

Secular folk disagree that religion is an optimal, or even necessary, way to do that good.

Specifically, religion as it relates to and requires a belief in the supernatural, and in the precedence of the supernatural over the natural. You can walk the straight and narrow path without the carrot of eternal salvation or the stick of eternal damnation.


>"Secular folk disagree that religion is an optimal, or even necessary, way to do that good."

You cannot speak for all of us. I believe that religiosity is likely an optimal state for most humans, in which the masses function best. Some strains of it are more successful than others, and a few people on the edges don't need it to get through life, but most people don't have the time and/or intellectual capacity to find secular coping methods and are therefore best served by keeping their religion. My personal experience with people has led me to believe that nihilism and hedonism are common outcomes for most people when they lose their religion and I believe both are generally harmful to people and/or society in the long run. I know that's controversial, and I don't ask you or anybody else to agree with me.

I believe the above, and yet I am an atheist. Why am I an atheist? Because believing that religion tends to be a net good for people doesn't make me believe in any god, anymore than believing that children enjoy the fantasy of Santa Claus makes me believe in the guy myself. (Patronizing? Yes. I don't care.) My lack of religion was not and is not a political decision for me; and therefore you cannot speak for me in any matters concerning politics. I am not an anti-theist atheist. I am a pro-theist atheist.


>My personal experience with people has led me to believe that nihilism and hedonism are common outcomes for most people when they lose their religion and I believe both are generally harmful to people and/or society in the long run.

My personal experience is that the loss of religion can cause one to value life and humanity more deeply, because one realizes that life is truly finite and fragile, and that there is no framework of justice or ethics other than what we, humans, choose to create. Religion, meanwhile, seems to lead many people to disregard the value of the temporal for the sake of the perceived eternal.

I know quite a few atheists and I wouldn't describe them as necessarily nihilistic or hedonistic - that seems to be more of a stereotype born from the common religious belief that morality itself derives explicitly from belief in the divine, and often the result of turning to atheism as a form of rebellion, which (at the risk of running into a "no true atheist" fallacy) is no more genuine than the person who turns to extreme ascetic religion for similar reasons.

>My lack of religion was not and is not a political decision for me; and therefore you cannot speak for me in any matters concerning politics.

Fair enough but... I don't think I mentioned politics?


>"Secular folk disagree that religion is an optimal"

Whether or not religion is optimal is a political position.


> ... nihilism and hedonism are common outcomes for most people when they lose their religion ...

If you are an addict and you stop you will suffer for some time but then you will get better. Not as good as if you never touched the stuff but still better.


In my view, becoming an anti-thiest atheist is the "becoming a smack addict" stage. Some people get over it, and are better off for it, but they often cause a lot of damage to the people around them (not to mention themselves) before they finally get over it. And some people seem to never get over it.


Could you explain why do you feel that becoming atheist negative towards your former religion and/or religion in general is similar to becomming addicted to heroin?

I fail to see the parallels.


> Secular folk disagree that religion is an optimal, or even necessary, way to do that good.

This is tricky.

As an atheist, sometimes quite a militant one, I think that religion is not necessary in principle. But, oh boy, there is a very long road from "not necessary in principle" to "we have a fully functional replacement, without bad side effects". And if you think you can simply throw away something that has evolved for millennia, replace it with a product of armchair reasoning, and get anything other than a complete disaster... well, seems like evidence is on the opposing side.

Fully replacing religion is a task that needs to be taken seriously. Otherwise you are not a real atheist, but a mere believer in a No-God Fairy that will somehow make things magically right after religion is removed.

To appreciate the complexity of the problem, just think about all the existing social classes: religion applies to most of them. Does your solution? Or are you proposing a morality which will e.g. work pretty okay for middle-class educated people with IQ over 130, but will result in a social disaster when average or below-average people will try to copy it? (Because, trust me, they will. People love to copy the manners of those above them on the social ladder; especially the bad ones.)

> You can walk the straight and narrow path without the carrot of eternal salvation or the stick of eternal damnation.

Oh, you definitely can, but will you? And what about the others? How much of current non-religious morality is built on inertia from previous religion? How long will the inertia stay after the original religion is gone. In general, do atheists in traditionally Christian countries invent the same morality as atheists in traditionally Muslim countries? (Heck, do even atheists from the same culture agree with each other?)

And if there is the "secular Way", who will be the one to teach it to the next generations? Who will pay the expenses of the teaching, solve the logistics, etc. With religion, we do have an answer: it is in the selfish interest of the religion (its institutions of power) to replicate its values. What is the answer for atheism? How many atheists will sacrifice their careers to make sure the next generation remains culturally compatible? Why would they? Will the whole atheist society just fall apart after a generation or two, when their kids decide that superstitions or cults are more cool.

Don't get me wrong...

I believe that this problem can be solved.

But also...

I believe that this problem is difficult.


> Fully replacing religion is a task that needs to be taken seriously. Otherwise you are not a real atheist, but a mere believer in a No-God Fairy that will somehow make things magically right after religion is removed.

Not believing in a god doesn't mean you have to think religion is bad. I'm an atheist but I don't think everybody else needs to be, largely for the reasons you mentioned. I agree with your points but in the context of if somebody wanted a largely atheist society.


As an atheist, sometimes quite a militant one, I think that religion is not necessary in principle

There is no-one more religious than the militant atheist. It's funny how they never look in the mirror.

Consider that broadly-similar religions tend to emerge spontaneously among cultures that have no contact with each other. Any historian can tell you that. So we can say with a reasonable degree of confidence that a belief system is an inherent psychological need in humans. Take it away and a human will latch onto something else. Could be a political leader (who knows this and does it deliberately), or a philosopher, at diet or exercise programme, or a pound-shop demagogue like Richard Dawkins.


Then the challenge, as the grandparent stated, is to engineer a belief-target such that religious-like belief in it produces optimal consequences for society, and where the previous clause includes not impairing technical personnel with an antiscientific worldview.

Of course, "optimal consequences for society" is a debate attractor. e.g. I for one will do my damnedest to remain agnostic, if for no other reason than the principle that convincing me to act against-my-own-purposes should have a higher pricetag than "the feelies".


> There is no-one more religious than the militant atheist. It's funny how they never look in the mirror.

Could you be more specific? Of course a serious atheist and a serious believer are going to have something in common; for example the ability to be serious about stuff. What else?

> Consider that broadly-similar religions tend to emerge spontaneously among cultures that have no contact with each other.

Yes, "broadly". Some things seem to be common among humans, for example propensity for magical thinking. Some things seem to be necessary for a functioning society, for example a rule that an average person is not allowed to kill random people on a random day. Taken together, many cultures will have rules like "if you kill random people, you will be magically punished".

But still a lot of freedom remains. There are religions that forbid you from killing anyone ever, even in self-defense. There are religions that say killing is okay only when your boss says so (e.g. war, death penalty). And there are religions that require regular human sacrifice. There are also other differences, such as whether you have to cut away body parts of your children, etc. Or more subtle theological topics, such as whether it is okay to explore the laws of nature, because the laws of nature were created by god(s), and understanding the work of god(s) better is desirable; or whether the idea of a "law of nature" is itself a blasphemy, because it limits the sovereignty of god(s).

> a belief system is an inherent psychological need in humans.

People have a need for certainty; some of them greater, some of them smaller. I agree that those with the strong need can easily switch from traditional religions to... almost anything.

I don't know. Maybe this need can be overcome by upbringing and education; maybe some fraction of population (maybe even majority) will necessarily always be "believers" in some sense. But in a sufficiently civilized society, perhaps there could be some kind of "secular organized stuff" that would fulfill this desire. This just suggests that religion cannot be removed blindly, without leaving a proper substitute for people who psychologically need one.

I mean, what exactly is the content of that psychological need? A certainty of opinion; a message of hope; a goal that transcends an individual life? For certainty of opinion, provide a simplified explanation of all known science (high-quality popular science with good rhetoric available freely for everyone); for message of hope, provide existing good news (reduction of poverty during the last century, technological progress) and detailed information of people and groups who try doing good things (kinda like TED Talks); for a transcending goal, eradication of poverty or diseases etc. The idea is that you can fulfill this need without having to resort to lies or supernatural explanations. Someone just has to actually do it; otherwise it will not exist.


> social disaster

At worst, such disaster will end with police - in accordance with doing their damn jobs - forcefully putting down some dangerously violent below-average rioters ... no?


You're replying to a sentence asking for appreciation and celebration of a culture and people.

By the way, "the straight and narrow path" is the one to salvation. An atheist doesn't need to be saved, so there's no path to worry about. And Christian theology doesn't claim that Christians are especially good people. Or that non-Christians are especially bad. "Belief" (translated, trust) in the Christian sense isn't about using psychological tricks to become a better person. On the contrary, it's really pointless to try hard to be a good person if getting to heaven is the concern.

I don't know who teaches this stuff people have in their heads, but they're way off.


> An atheist doesn't need to be saved, so there's no path to worry about.

There are many straight and narrow paths which exclude the supernatural as motivation.

Spirituality and deep-seated moral compasses are not the exclusive domain of theists. Some of the most spiritual people I know are atheists. All of the least spiritual people I know are rabid Christians. Both facts are certainly a result of my particular circumstances and aren't meant to generalize to either group.

> On the contrary, it's really pointless to try hard to be a good person if getting to heaven is the concern.

Many seminary lectures have been filled by the intellectual quagmires that grow out of "let grace abound".

> I don't know who teaches this stuff people have in their heads

IME growing up in the church, mostly American Protestants. And I don't only mean that in a coy way. Many American Protestant churches do not require their clergy attend seminary. The result is predictable -- some excellent diamonds in the rough giving competent sermons, surrounded by a whole bunch of crazy rants vaguely grounded in some words that do indeed come from the bible.


I think you're missing what I'm saying. It's mostly a literary point. Here's the context:

"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."

If there are many ways and they don't necessarily lead to salvation but self-determined good things, then we're not talking about the way anymore. We're basically disagreeing with Jesus (the speaker).

That's anyone's prerogative, for sure, but a different metaphor is warranted at that point.

EDIT: Reading your other comments, it looks like the "blind men and the elephant" metaphor is your preference, which is fair, but it's contradictory to the "straight and narrow path" metaphor.

> Many seminary lectures have been filled by the intellectual quagmires that grow out of "let grace abound".

How a Christian should behave and how people get to heaven are two separate questions. Ephesians 2:8 and Galatians 2:16 are pretty straightforward. And there are plenty of other supporting verses besides.

But my point here is that people look at Christians and get caught up in the question of who are good people, which is really a secondary concern in Christian theology. It makes sense to assume it's a big deal to salvation theology since most world religions (and casual personal theologies besides) make achievement a central concern. But there's nothing in the Bible that says the worst Christian is better than the best atheist or anything. Or that Christians deserve any special consideration that agnostic people don't.


> But my point here is that people look at Christians and get caught up in the question of who are good people, which is really a secondary concern in Christian theology.

I think "secondary concern" is a stretch. The entire religion is centered around the notion of sin; without sin, justification (and therefore Christ) is unnecessary.

Regardless, the important point is that:

> how a Christian should behave and how people get to heaven are two separate questions

I.e., regardless of whether goodness is a secondary concern in Christian theology, it is not a secondary concern in Christian culture.

Which is significant because you are explicitly asking for:

>> appreciation and celebration of a culture and people.

and in response to a thread rooted with claims about the goodness of Christians.


Thank you for your nuanced opinion.


And you. I ver much agree with your sentiment that:

> I have consistently found intensely, cerebrally religious people to be some of my favorite people to talk to. And I see so much good come from people who seat religion at the head of their table

But have equally seen other things at the heads of those good tables. And some truly bad fruit in each case!

My own understanding today is that there are many good people in the world, all feeling different parts of the elephant, and we all need each other to figure out the whole:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant#The_...


I’m not so sure that a willingness to make your existence subordinate to a higher power is all that separable from doing good.


> I’m not so sure that a willingness to make your existence subordinate to a higher power is all that separable from doing good.

It's quite separable from doing good, as there are endless historical examples of people subordinating their existence to a higher power and doing virtually unmitigated evil as a direct consequence.

OTOH, it may be the case that recognizing a very specific kind of higher purpose than one self is deeply linked to doing good, but to the extent that is true I don't think is all that strongly correlated with religion; I do think the right framing of religion is beneficial (and wrong framings harmful) to channeling that pre-existing inclination into good results, but that's a different issue.


You seem to be saying that atheists can't do good. If you want secular folk to be more appreciative of your religion, you should be a lot more careful about expressing such bigoted sentiments about us.


I’m not religious, fwiw. What I said applies to both religious and non-religious people. I just think people who subordinate themselves to a higher power (or purpose) tend to be more concentrated among the religious.


> What I said applies to both religious and non-religious people.

My problem is that it applies to theists in a positive way and atheists in a negative way. You complain that hardcore atheists are too critical of the worst of religion, then you say something absurdly critical about atheists.


I was mainly saying something about my intuition of how certain traits correlate with each other. I’m probably wrong, btw; I use HN as a thinking apparatus, so I tend to go out on a limb here and see what people push back with.


I didn't read it that way at all. My ex was not religious, but was a patriot and had a military career.

There are lots of ways to devote oneself to some larger cause or purpose.


My existence is not subordinate to a higher power. I read that as saying that I can't do good.


FWIW, I should have said higher purpose. From what I have observed, most good people subordinate themselves to a higher purpose. That can be all kinds of things. Belief in doing the right thing, God, your children, etc.


Tying a higher purpose to doing good is meaningless if you're just saying that good people believe in doing the right thing. I believe in doing the right thing, but I wouldn't say my existence is subordinate to that. It also doesn't make sense as a reply to someone saying that "you can walk the straight and narrow path without the carrot of eternal salvation or the stick of eternal damnation."


> From what I have observed, most good people subordinate themselves to a higher purpose.

So do many of the most evil people. Often, superficially at least, the same higher purpose as good people.

God, certainly, ranks high on that list.


Good done for some community/charity/etc. in the name of religion, almost certainly. And I don't doubt the reported psychological benefits for addicts, impoverished, and other such downtrodden types.

Yet, religion in general tends to inspire a certain selflessness, as a cost of this mental-stability.

I have to consider: would improving solely my mental health, be worth the time, effort and resources that I would only find reason to expend (in service of some "good that is done in the name of [my] religion") if I were to become religious?

And while I might have thought differently last month, when I was a futureless undergraduate student ... I'm now fairly certain that the answer is "no". Analogously: why should I purchase a diamond-covered crutch, when I already have four good limbs?

So while I don't necessarily criticize the religious - there indubitably exist people who are better off by being that way - I do criticize religion itself.


Most people are confused about most things and yet still manage to produce some value.


As an atheist, I think good people are gonna be good. What does religion have to do with it. I was once very religious, and my experience is that good people are good, regardless of belief or lack of.

You'd probably be a good person without your religion, so I'm not convinced that I should give any credit to your religion. Probably more credit goes to who raised you.


And yet, religious people give more to charity than secular people.


The effect disappears when tithing is excluded from consideration.

There are many ways to slice that, but in any case, it's NOT symmetric. To the extent that religious people "donate" more, it's only because one of their primary outlets for self-expression happens to be considered a charity!

My previous church expected full members to tithe (not required, but strong social pressure). And that counted as "charity" even though the vast majority of that money only benefited us (worship space and a pastor eats up a huge percentage of funds). I'm sober-minded about the fact that this space was really for ourselves, no matter how charitable the intent.

However, membership dues in my local hackerspace (where we also do some charity, but where again the vast majority of funds go towards infrastructure for ourselves) aren't considered donations. Those are dues, not tithes (aka donations).

In any case, as someone who tithed for years, IMO maybe 10% of tithing goes to truly charitable causes. Maybe.

So when I hear "Christians donate more to charity!" and then read "but effect disappears with tithing is excluded", what I really hear is "we spend lots of money maintaining our clubhouses". Not because I'm judgemental or anything, but because I've seen both church and other non-profit entities finances. It's just the reality of most community-organized non-profits that don't have explicit charitable goals as their primary intent.

So, to be clear, there's nothing wrong with funding a space and your pastor's salary (or, for that matter, paying to lodge for out-of-town hackers/lecturers). But the asymmetry in how those are accounted comes with hopefully clear entailments about any purported higher moral ground for one over the other.


Thank you for this response. I, too, gave 10% of my paycheck to my church for many many years. It was "charitable donations". I still give, but in different ways. And not to huge organizations with no accountability or transparency.

As if donations were a measurement of personal quality anyway...


Thanks for the info. I have updated my assumptions accordingly.


With time, I have come to realize that giving to charity is not a good measure of goodness. In statistical terms, it would be if the data was not biased. However, that's not true.

A lot of religious institutions tell followers that charity is required by God, and doing charity would make them more liked by God (and hence you will get a better treatment in after-life). This makes it very difficult to compare the data across the two groups.


Giving to charity is not some absolute measure of goodness. Plenty of charities are of questionable value. Plenty of people who give to charity still treat other people really badly, even abusively so.

It's part of the culture of religion. It isn't per se a measure of goodness.


I'm from Australia and therefore didn't have much exposure to Fred Rogers, but, from what I have seen, it seems that it doesn't really matter if the show was presented from a Christian viewpoint.

As an athiest, I'm happy to see any ethical children's TV, no matter what faith, or lack thereof, the presenter may have.

I agree that there is a cultural battle going on (not just in the US) regarding religion and faith, and I agree that most media representation of both sides leans towards the extremes. That's how the media works.

I'm glad to say that Mr Rogers was a great example of moderate Christianity, and he represented what I'd like to say was the majority view of Christians around the world (in regards to how we treat people, especially in regards to tolerance). I'd also like to posit that most people, regardless of particular faith, lack of faith, difference of culture etc., would agree with Fred Rogers' general approach to teaching children, and indeed adults.

Basically, I'm agreeing with you: People's preconceptions shouldn't be generalised based on faith or culture, but I'm pointing out that Mr Rogers' ministry goal wasn't just a Christian ideal, but is wide-spread across most people on the planet.


>Mr Rogers may be most intentionally-Christian cultural influence that wasn't widely noticed as "Christian", in the lives of millions of people -- for both many people who don't think Christianity is a part of their lives as well as for many people who do.

It helps that, as far as I recall, he never actually mentioned Christ or tacked Christian doctrine onto any of his moral or ethical lessons.


"You are special" is a Christian doctrine. Luke 12:7

EDIT: I guess the point wasn't clear. Most Christian doctrine is very non-controversial to the point of banality. Just about everything Fred Rogers covered in his show counts as Christian doctrine. Sure, Rogers didn't do altar calls on his show, but that doesn't mean he was behaving agnostically or something.


Exactly. Christianity didn't invent "Treat others as you want to be treated" or "Everyone is worthwhile". People can subscribe to those beliefs without believing that Jesus was born of a virgin or died and was resurrected.

If you believe in the former then Christianity is not necessarily a part of your life. If you also believe in the latter then it is.


> Christianity didn't invent "Treat others as you want to be treated" or "Everyone is worthwhile".

That's a theological claim. "Love your neighbor as yourself" is in Leviticus 19:18. In context, those are words spoken by God to His people. Presumably, at least in Judeo-Christian philosophy, God is the originator of that line of thinking.

But, sure, the golden rule is a good idea. Who says it's unique to Christians? I don't see why Fred Rogers being a Christian and a teacher at the same time is the same as condemning non-Christians as amoral.


> "Treat others as you want to be treated"

Just a random aside: If you think about it, this is kind of weird rule. Not everybody's into the same things. AFAICT it should be more like "Treat others as they want to be treated".


Both rules can go wrong in some situations.

"Treat others as you want to be treated" fails when the other person prefers other things than you do. Like when your cat keeps bringing you the delicious dead mice.

"Treat others as they want to be treated" fails when you believe that other people want something they actually don't (and which would be obvious if you would try imagining yourself in their shoes). For example if you believe that women or blacks actually want to be treated as inferior -- and they may even agree with you if they are brainwashed by the society to believe so.

That is, you can go wrong both by ignoring existing differences, and by imagining nonexistent ones.


True.

However, it does seem the latter at least leaves room for "oh, crap, I was wrong" and generally less certainty simply because most reasonable people realize that they cannot know another's mind. Hopefully.


The actual meaning of the rule is "don't do to people, what you wouldn't want to be done to you".


When it comes to safety and affection we all pretty much want to be treated the same.


> Mr Rogers may be most intentionally-Christian cultural influence that wasn't widely noticed as "Christian", in the lives of millions of people

I'd put Dr. King in the same category.


Are you saying that not everyone knew he was a preacher? I don't have that impression.


I think popular culture considers him an activist first and a preacher incidentally. When people condemn Christian culture and teaching as hateful, they are likely forgetting Dr. King is in the picture.

> ...not the image of a Christian minister that we usually see in the mainstream media and popular culture.

The trope of a Christian preacher in popular culture resembles Bakker or Osteen more than Rogers or King.


I just learned that he was a preacher.


Other than the adultery, of course.


I think we're letting our bias show in cases of religion. Why care what religion someone is, as long as they're ethical, accepting of others, and generally non-toxic? The fact that some Christians are intolerant of others doesn't mean all Christians are, and it's sad that we have to have a disclaimer such as yours, to "remember that not all Christians are bad".


Also worth noting that the it's often the most disagreeable people who shield their actions with the label of Christianity. And of course, far too much blood has already been shed over declaring who a 'true' Christian is.


Shedding blood over identity is not unique to Christianity. It is a human universal.


Dying for what you believe in? Sure, I'll buy that.

Killing for what you believe in? Nah, that's pretty much the realm of fanatical extremists, of which religion has its greater than fair share.


A peculiar feature of The Soviet Union and Maoist China is that they suppressed religion. As far as I’m aware, those two ideologies have the largest body counts ever recorded.


Both of those examples were effectively a religion-as-state with their state heads elevated to the status of gods.

I don't think all that many non-religious people actually care/object when religious people practice their religion as long as it doesn't infringe on anyone else's rights.


You're defining "religion" broadly enough that some religions would be considered anti-religion.


How so?

These examples share a huge number of common traits with (fundamentalist) religion.


Largest body counts as a percentage of the population? Surely God holds that record, what with smiting everyone but Noah?


I prefer to stick with historical (as opposed to mythical) facts.


You edited your reply ;). Replying to the first edit, You mean that The Flood took longer to kill everyone who wasn't on The Ark?

And to your second edits meaning: I also like to stick to facts, but I was replying to Christians claiming that non-godly people are more evil than godly people by pointing out how nasty they believe God to be.

Estimates of how many citizens were killed in the Soviet Union vary and depend on how you count and what you count https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_deaths_in_the_Sovi... 2-6m seems a bad enough number for Internet arguments.

Ww2 killed 60-80m and that was caused by Hitler who was Catholic (although he didn't kill in the name of religion).

Of course other things God supposedly created have killed far more, such as Spanish Flu which killed 500m and The Black Death which killed 30-60% of everyone in Europe.


> You edited your reply ;)

Guilty as charged!

The conversation was generally about what people do in the name of religion. What god has supposedly done is not really relevant to that...


Your comments about intolerance and toxicity is sequitur to what? Am I missing a deleted post or a radical edit to the parent to yours?


Perhaps the reason we have these kinds of exceptional disclaimers for religious types [and conservatives] is because it is absolutely true, the exceptions are exactly that.


maybe because MANY christians say that ALL non-christians are bad and going to hell?


Christian theology teaches all people are bad deep down except God (including Jesus) alone. That idea doesn’t mean anybody can’t do good things, but biblical Christianity says judgment doesn’t have anything to do with being or doing good, because everybody’s already disqualified!


I am not religious so I won't make any comment on that part, but I do hope we can culturally somehow figure out how to avoid someone like Mr. Rogers being considered a pedophile (and maybe he was a pedophile or a serial killer I don't know). Otherwise, all of our kids will be trained by AI robots that aren't capable of emotion to avoid any possibility that a human being could have a sinister motive as opposed to just trying to leave humanity in a better place than what they were born into? :) I haven't checked all of them, but I suspect if you search for any famous people that worked with kids (their fault for trying to influence the lives of more kids on television of course) and add the word pedophile to the search query, you will never fail to find results. So I don't want to speak about Christians specifically, I do very much appreciate people willing to teach the next generation, likely for a lot less money than they could earn elsewhere, out of some sense of compassion or duty.


From my perspective, it's about people who see religion as the point versus religion as a tool to get to the point.

For Mr. Rogers the point wasn't conversion. He didn't set out to make people Christian. He set out to foster kindness, caring, understanding, and happiness. And for him, Christianity was a pretty darn good playbook to gain inspiration from.

I've often said that being a good person looks strikingly like the fundamentals of most religions.


His show was an exhibition of positive philosophy. Calling it a Christian show is pushing a misleading narrative.

Also, Christianity is not just the positive parts. Selectively emphasizing only those parts means leaving out much of what makes up Christianity, now and throughout history.


One of my favorite examples of public speaking is Mr. Rogers testifying before a Senate subcommittee in support of funding for national public television. He is calm, thoughtful and thorough through the entire process, speaking simply and without grandeur. It's a small wonder he found such success, and a great example of the importance of clear communication.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKy7ljRr0AA


I have a playlist of Fred Rogers videos including an AMAZING 4.5 hour interview that covers everything you could ever want to know about him: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1eNhoNMQfyH0OCAwcixA...


Hey, thanks a ton. I'm only on the second video, and it already blows my mind how the man is even more the character than the character.


There’s a great clip out there of Levar Burton describing being invited to Roger’s set for the first time. He says he was impressed by the character, then by how Rogers stayed in character between takes, then he saw Fred speak with his wife and realized it wasn’t a character.


Part 4 of the interview is my favorite, but the entire thing is wonderful!


I only know Mr Rogers from the little american TV I watch (I'm from germany) and I'm feeling very happy for the generation(s) that were fortunate to see this program.

Until now I didn't see a single episode, but hearing him speak about it made me at least a little bit curious to what this program is all about. The article of course did the prework for it.


I was a child in the 80s in the US and there were some wonderful programs aimed at children that made a huge impact on my generation if nothing else: 3-2-1 Contact, Reading Rainbow, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Sesame Street all left indelible and positive marks on my person and have made be a better person.


As a young child in the 70s I apparently learned how to read from Sesame Street and Electric Company. My parents were students in university and too busy to teach me, but by the time I was 4 in kindergarten I was reading to my classmates.


I never watched sesame street even thought it aired here. I watched Löwenzahn and a bit "Die Sendung mit der Maus" when I was young and I couldn't imagine who I would be today if I didn't watched this when I was young.

It's a bit sad (at least for me) to admit, but I think some programs helped shaped me into the person I'm today, for better or worse.

Today the TV hopefully hasn't got the impact on me that it used to have and I only watch selected programs and not the mainstream TV (I mean the broadcasted channels), but I guess series and movies are still a big part of my life that have a bigger impact on me than I would like to admit.

Anyway what I really wanted yo say is that I'm happy for content that tries to deliver good values and information without trying to manipulate.


> It's a bit sad (at least for me) to admit, but I think some programs helped shaped me into the person I'm today,

Why is that sad? This the large purpose of culture, of art and literature.


I thought oft it as sad, because my opinion on TV is as low as it can get and never realized the true influence this medium had on me. It's also sad because this influence was positive and I (at least I think that I) see the decay of modern entertainment.


Today the programs shaping kids seem to be videos on Youtube Kids of random people unboxing new toys.


Also my favorite, Wishbone - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-7WUuSVNVs


And if you received TV Ontario there was also Readalong, Read All About It, Write On, The Edison Twins, Eureka!, and probably others I've missed. All highly focused on educational content.

Oh and Mr. Wizard's World coming out of Calgary.

At least we still have Sesame Street.



The Edison twins are on netflix Canada. SI was shocked to see it.


I can identify with being interested in each of those programs. However, any lessons must be in my subconscious as I can't relate any values, lessons or knowledge back to a memory of any of those shows even though they were aimed at education. I just know that I liked them at the time.


mathnet


I saw 'Won't You be My Neighbor' on Thursday, and this scene is in it, but before that something I hadn't seen: Clips of the previous 2 days of testimony, which were NOT going well for PBS. The senator holding the hearings was, I believe, legitimately interested in getting to the core of the issue and had VERY little tolerance for weak arguments or filler.

That's why, at the beginning, Fred is asking him to read the written statement: The senator had banned people from just reading pre-written statements.

It also adds so much more weight to the Senetor's response at the end, knowing that Fred wasn't being rushed in for a quick decision, but the last in many many hours of testimony that was not going well for PBS.


You sent me on a trip of watching videos about him. Pretty touching & enlightening stuff. Thanks.



The Emmy speech mentioned there:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Upm9LnuCBUM


I literally cried the first time I saw this.


An interesting article, though I don't think this bit is entirely accurate:

> because he knew that children—the preschool-age boys and girls who made up the core of his audience—tend to hear things literally.

It's not about hearing things 'literally', but it's that children are less adept than (some) adults in dealing with the polysemy inherent in natural language, and especially in navigating polysemy based on context. The example they provide is a good case in point:

> For instance, Greenwald mentioned a scene in a hospital in which a nurse inflating a blood-pressure cuff originally said “I’m going to blow this up.” Greenwald recalls: “Fred made us redub the line, saying, ‘I’m going to puff this up with some air,’ because ‘blow it up’ might sound like there’s an explosion, and he didn’t want the kids to cover their ears and miss what would happen next.”

So blow up meaning "explode" isn't any more 'literal' an interpretation than blow up meaning "to inflate". In fact, if anything, the latter is the more literal interpretation. But the point is that blow up is polysemous, and the "explode" sense is common enough that children might take that to be the primary sense and (especially) younger ones might not be able to use the immediate context (nurse with a blood pressure cuff) to discard that sense as unlikely.


This is just so interesting - I think these rules are more applicable to everyday communication between adults than they may seem at first glance. The point on taking a negative statement and rephrasing it to be positive reminds me of the time I spent in customer support... I feel like people react more strongly to the way something is said than the bare content of what you’re saying.


These rules might not always apply well to discourse between adults. On the other hand, if you are an adult who is speaking to - and leading - children, Mr. Rogers still provides a positive example of how to approach the subject. Distilling challenging subjects into simple, factual, statements without negative emotional attachments can be extremely difficult. When it works well, you provide an invaluable level of education. If it doesn't, at least you've done your best - and in general children will respond positively to the attempt.


The abstraction works well for everyone: communicate thoughtfully with deep intention and understanding. Do all you can to know the perspective and interpretations that your audience will have and work diligently to express things both clearly and compassionately.

For example, think about how much good could be achieved if the knowledge of people that the advertising industry holds were used exclusively to present only messages truly in the listeners' best interest and with real compassion.

To reword my abstraction: be mindful and compassionate in everything you communicate and always seek the best expert sources in improving your communication skills.


I have to admit that as a child I tried to avoid watching Mister Rogers Neighborhood as I much preferred cartoons like Tom & Jerry that contained frightening levels of violence looking back in retrospect.

But decades later as a parent I am incredibly grateful for the body of work Fred Rogers and his collaborators and guests created.

As an adult I see the value he created and the value millions of kids captured.

Fred Rogers was a great human being that helped make the world a better place, one kid at a time, for decades.


I think much of the value Mr. Rogers brought was just that we knew he existed. That we could carry around this archetype of pure goodness as a thing to strive toward. And the amazing thing is that you get that even if you didn’t want to watch the show as a kid.


How secure and loved did you feel as a child?

I suspect that people who felt lonely and scared in their life may have gravitated to Mr Rogers.

Also are you sure you remember far enough back? Mr Rogers target market is preschool, younger than most of your childhood memories.


Mr. Rogers sings the line "It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood," but many people growing up remember the line as "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood."

When I grew up it was "in THE neighborhood", not "this". Who else remembers this? What the hell?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FL3xSctTB5c


I never until this moment even thought he said "this."

But it totally jibes with the article. It may not be a beautiful day in the neighborhood where the child is watching, but it's a beautiful day in this neighborhood.

Fascinating!


How many times did you hear Mr Rogers singing it, and how many times have you heard other people singing it? When people replay a memory or reproduce an experience, they clean it up.

"THE" sounds much better to most people, so unless you are actively watching Mr Rogers singing it, the singer usually sings "THE".

Pop Culture is full of "THE" version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MXerenZzJI

(but Mr Rogers said "THIS" in his 1997 Emmy Award speech)

Daniel Tiger changed "THIS" to "THE" in the version that has been playing on PBS for the past 6 years:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiPBu_AtU8k

https://www.fredrogers.org/frc/store/product/its-beautiful-d...


This is my favorite example of "The Mandela Effect".

https://www.snopes.com/news/2016/07/24/the-mandela-effect/


It's always been "this". I remember as a child how it seemed jarring.


Stop! This is like finding out that the Berentstein Bears are actually the Berenstain Bears.


Mandela effect?


I'm sure the timing of this article is not coincidentally aligned with the release of the Mr. Roger documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor? :) I haven't seen it yet, but I'm sure it's wonderful.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhwktRDG_aQ


Absolutely! Every non-controversial article in the mainstream media has one paid PR guru or another behind it.


Also, the trailer for the TV drama "Kidding", with Jim Carrey playing a character somewhat inspired by Mr. Rogers, was released yesterday:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzwU7dbmAyY


I saw it last night, it was wonderful and very well done.


"..concerned that it could lead to false expectations from children of personal support from a televised figure.. ..he went back to production carefully screening scripts for any hint of language that could confuse children in that way."

In today's world, producers would probably do the opposite to up-sell merchandise and stuff.


In the world then, Captain Kangaroo did sell merchandise.


So what do you think Mister Do Bee was selling??? I was so confused as a child. Didn't he go on to develop three.js?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDvdSGkN0aU

"Happy Jack says it's time for Romper Room, and time for us to say good morning to Do Bee. And welcome to Romper Room. Do Bee would like you to put on your wings. Put on big Do Bee Wings and then start flying with us all over Romper Room! Come on, flap those wings!"


This is fascinating! I'm absolutely floored whenever I see anyone who has such a meticulous and detailed mastery of their craft.


Amongst other things, worth noting how informed his approach was.

At a time when a lot of pedagogy, and professionalism regarding same, seems to be under assault.


Well - you know - those are soft skills.


But was he right? Was this best? A lot of research from the 50s turned out to be bad. The article doesn’t help us out here.


That depends - do you still remember to look for the helpers?


What do you think?


It's interesting that Mr. Roger's Neighborhood(the TV show) isn't a bigger deal. The show doesn't need I improving, all of the subject matter is still highly relevant in today's world, and it's entertaining.


New episodes stopped over 15 years ago, after a 30 year run. It played in reruns for at least another 10 years (I'm not sure if it's still airing), and the animated spin-off has been airing new episodes for the past 6 years.

It's still kind of a big deal. It's aimed at pre-schoolers, so you won't find too many teens and adults talking about it online much.

Old stuff always gets stale, and does so more quickly these days where fashion and technology change so quickly.


I don't have any idea why the top comment here is about Christianity. Understanding the psychology of small kids and good communication practices has nothing to do with religion.

It's a great read. I'm not as taken with the nine steps at the end for how to speak Freddish. I do agree with some of the steps, but not all.

Some of those steps are a good communication practice with any demographic, such as framing it positively. The mind has some trouble with statements framed as "Don't do X." Modeling what does work is generally vastly more effective, efficient and comprehensible.


> I don't have any idea why the top comment here is about Christianity.

People around here don't like Christianity. See the TV show Silicon Valley S5E4.

You wouldn't see a thread about the merits of being Japanese, female, or vegetarian in a tangentially related HN post. People put religious identity in another category for some reason.


That's a funny thing to read here given that two of the top three people on the leaderboard very publicly admit to being Catholic. My impression is there are quite a lot of Christians on HN and most of them just don't wear it on their sleeve while posting here, which is as it should be, in my opinion.

Additionally, as a woman, I see threads derail on the detail of gender identity a lot. I have spent nearly nine years working at making it possible to post as openly female without irrelevant questions about my gender routinely derailing discussions that I choose to participate in.


Right. People are pig-headed about gender, but people generally don't deny that women deserve respect as women. And they generally don't argue that diversity of gender is worth celebrating.

The top comment in this thread is basically celebrating Fred Rogers as a Christian and there are many threads and responses arguing that the Christian part is irrelevant or even despicable. I would expect analogous comments about women to be moderated out of the picture here. And I have seen that happen.

I can't say why Christian members of the HN community aren't more outspoken about this shortcoming in tech diversity culture. I suspect the answer to that question is fairly personal and complex.

As to "wearing on their sleeves", I don't see that happening much at all. On the contrary, I see people behaving much more in a closeted manner if anything. I don't think that's healthy for anyone.


My original point was that this was a good article about communication best practices. Sadly, that element seems to have been given short shrift in favor of mostly discussing religion, which I am guilty of participating in. The vast majority of the discussion here is not about principles and practices of good communication, a thing I would have very much enjoyed.


I agree 100% with Berkeley Breathed when he wrote:

Mister Rogers: Welcome to my neighborhood, boys and girls!

Did you enjoy meeting Senator Kravitz today? I did. He told us about something called "inflation," didn't he? Can YOU say "inflation?"

Opus: Inphlabph.

Mister Rogers: Good! Can you say "Mister Rogers should be paid more dough?"

Opus: Mister Rogers should -

Mister Rogers: Can you put it on a postcard?

https://78.media.tumblr.com/dad9d0c81aab7c572572e6151483dd8c...

I believe that was a Soupy Sales reference:

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/greenmail/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-OGy3Kh7yM

Here is Mister Rogers talking to the children in Congress, successfully asking them to send him millions of little green pieces of paper:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKy7ljRr0AA


LOL. I'm purposely using complicated language with my kids. They many time get only gist of it but its lot of fun. For example, instead of saying "go ask you mom", I would purposely say "Have you considered proposing this question to your mom?". I'm not sure what child psychologists would say about this.


I agree with this approach. They understand the message, and learn a richer and more complex vocabulary and language in a natural way, which may eventually lend in more subtle and complex mental model.


That seems significantly less complicated to me. After all, you're presenting the same overall concepts explicitly and without concatenation. The concept of "big words are scary" in much of our modern education is one that I have difficulty in understanding; a word should be judged on the complexity of its meaning rather than its spelling or pronunciation.




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