This image from Rosita Boland’s Irish Times article on finding her childhood religious indoctrination schoolbook has been doing the rounds turning up on Pharynugla and Eric MacDonald’s site.
Apart from being creepy (I love the juxtaposition of God preferring his babies baptised and the space at the bottom of the page for the child to enter when they were procured for him), it highlights the way religion is a source of division and conflict. The child doing this exercise is being encouraged to divide people into same and ‘other’ with the clear implication that they are superior (“He gives them more gifts”) to anyone not of their faith. This is fostering sectarianism and the modern history of Ireland unfortunately bears out the terrible problems that brings.
I think it interesting as well that apparently God loves some more than others and neglects some children for his favourites. The corollary of this of course is that if God is capable of varying degrees of love, then he must also be capable of hate. So who does he hate? Best ask that child that’s been learning to divvy the world up into Us and Them.