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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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Religion and Children - February 18th 2009, 04:25 PM

I was just wondering what your opinions are on teaching religious values to children over absolute truth (I mean nobody really disputes that 1+1 = 2 in base 10)

In my opinion it is a form of brainwashing since, at least in the first world, nobody needs to be religious to do well in life. However, I also concede the point that religion can teach important morals about right and wrong yet overall the evil teachings of it (abortion is bad, kthx) stifles objective learning and giving children the tools to work out for themselves whatever beliefs they want.

I also do not think many people below about 14 can objectively decide what they believe without looking to authority whether a teacher, pastor or family to tell them what to think.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Dawkins
Children should not be labeled by their parents’ religion; terms like “Catholic child” or “Muslim child” should make people flinch, as children are too young to make their own mind up on issues of theology. We should instead refer to “children of Catholic parents”. To put this in context, ask yourself how you would feel if a small child was described as atheist, agnostic, Marxist or as a secular humanist; we would surely find this strange because the child would clearly be unable to grasp the implications of such ideas.

Last edited by Hyper Sonic; February 18th 2009 at 04:39 PM.
   
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Re: Religion and Children - February 18th 2009, 04:35 PM

I would like to quote Richard Dawkins here:

Children should not be labeled by their parents’ religion; terms like “Catholic child” or “Muslim child” should make people flinch, as children are too young to make their own mind up on issues of theology. We should instead refer to “children of Catholic parents”. To put this in context, ask yourself how you would feel if a small child was described as atheist, agnostic, Marxist or as a secular humanist; we would surely find this strange because the child would clearly be unable to grasp the implications of such ideas.

Dawkins argues that indoctrinating a child into a religion at an age when they instinctively trust and do not question adults is not only dangerous in preventing the child from making its own mind up, but also that it constitutes “child abuse”.

What do you guys think?


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Last edited by Rican Roll; February 20th 2009 at 12:29 AM.
   
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Re: Religion and Children - February 18th 2009, 04:39 PM

I would agree with that post in it's entirety, it is a far better post than my original one
   
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Re: Religion and Children - February 18th 2009, 05:16 PM

I agree with both of you, especially that quote.
   
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Re: Religion and Children - February 18th 2009, 07:11 PM

Quote:
I also concede the point that religion can teach important morals about right and wrong yet overall the evil

You can teach them right from wrong without religion.

Quote:
Catholic child or Muslim child

Argh... I hate when people say that


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Re: Religion and Children - February 18th 2009, 07:17 PM

I say around the age of 13 or so (puberty) is when most childhood development theorists believe that children can start to comprehend religion on a deeper level, a more adult level. But even then, this is just the beginning.




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Re: Religion and Children - February 18th 2009, 07:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyper Sonic View Post
I was just wondering what your opinions are on teaching religious values to children over absolute truth (I mean nobody really disputes that 1+1 = 2 in base 10)

In my opinion it is a form of brainwashing since, at least in the first world, nobody needs to be religious to do well in life. However, I also concede the point that religion can teach important morals about right and wrong yet overall the evil teachings of it (abortion is bad, kthx) stifles objective learning and giving children the tools to work out for themselves whatever beliefs they want.

I also do not think many people below about 14 can objectively decide what they believe without looking to authority whether a teacher, pastor or family to tell them what to think.
If I ever have children, even though I don't want any, I will not make them go to church. My mother actually got quite angry when I said this, most likely because she believes the more you force it upon someone the more they'll believe it. Heh, who knows. I'm not going to be the Christian parent that ruins God in the eyes of my child by forcing it upon him/her. I want my children to experience in on their own, and not be resentful like lots of atheists I know.

The only time I'll make them go to church is Christmas or Easter. That's fair. They will be C.E.O's (Christmas Easter onlys)

As for children in general, children are highly influenceable. Religion is not good, morals and ethics are though.


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Re: Religion and Children - February 18th 2009, 08:24 PM

I think that teaching a child your religious values is fine, just as long as you're not brainwashing them or forcing them to believe it through fear. Children should know that they have a right to choose whatever religion they want to, and I intend to teach my children about as many religions as I can, so they can not only choose for themselves, but have more of an understanding of different people.


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Re: Religion and Children - February 18th 2009, 08:31 PM

As a firm supporter of Dawkins, I agree with almost all of what he has to say. Yes, indoctrinating children into the lives of their parents can be very much akin to brainwashing. However, I do not see what is wrong with taking your children to church. My opinions on the subject are a little mixed at the moment. I'm not sure if I support a secularist ideology, or a downright "atheist and proud" one. l would say that parents should be careful when teaching these things to their children.

On the other hand, lots of parents teach their children that Santa Claus exists, and they eventually grow out of it. Surely teaching them that God exists as a child cannot be harmful, as they will make up their own mind about it when they are older.
   
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Re: Religion and Children - February 18th 2009, 08:49 PM

I think very few people go into raising a family thinking they are going to brainwash anyone. Mostly people just want to pass down their traditions.


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Re: Religion and Children - February 18th 2009, 08:57 PM

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I think very few people go into raising a family thinking they are going to brainwash anyone. Mostly people just want to pass down their traditions.
Exactly. When the traditions are passed down, the kid feels pressured to accept the family faith. Which often results in resentment.


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Re: Religion and Children - February 18th 2009, 09:02 PM

Children (especially young children) will believe ANYTHING you tell/show them, so you're kinda brainwashing them one or the other.


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Re: Religion and Children - February 18th 2009, 09:06 PM

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Originally Posted by spider*man(girl) View Post
Children (especially young children) will believe ANYTHING you tell/show them, so you're kinda brainwashing them one or the other.
Uh huh. I got my sister to believe all kids of stuff. She was bugging me one day... I think we were watching tv with the shows for "feed a child for 70 cents a day" or whatever... I told her that the kids that don't get sponsored get turned into "kid pie." She believed me. Time passes and one of the moms in the neighborhood told my mom she couldn't play with her son anymore because she was talking about "cutting kids up and pies" lol.

I realized I went too far... But that's how far kids will go to believe something.


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Re: Religion and Children - February 18th 2009, 11:12 PM

I don't at all believe in indoctrinating children, but I can see the position of the parents. The religious parents usually do truly believe that their children are in some form of spiritual danger/will not have an after life/will go to hell if they aren't appropriately raised in their religious fashion. They truly believe they are protecting their children. More scientific people who do not agree with the religion may point out brainwashing and how its detremental to the child, but are we abusing the rights of the parent to not let them protect their child in whatever way they think they need protecting?


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Re: Religion and Children - February 19th 2009, 04:35 AM

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I don't at all believe in indoctrinating children, but I can see the position of the parents. The religious parents usually do truly believe that their children are in some form of spiritual danger/will not have an after life/will go to hell if they aren't appropriately raised in their religious fashion. They truly believe they are protecting their children. More scientific people who do not agree with the religion may point out brainwashing and how its detremental to the child, but are we abusing the rights of the parent to not let them protect their child in whatever way they think they need protecting?
If the parents are brainwashing their child, and we know of the said parents, then there's a responsibility to report it. They do have the right to teach the kids but to abuse them, no. For example, let's say a couple has a kid but the kid gets very ill from some disease. Instead of doing what most people would do and bring the kid to the doctor, the parents sit around and pray while the child begs to get treated and slowly but surely dies. Let's also suppose you are very well aware the child is ill and that the parents are doing nothing but letting the kid suffer. Would you consider that worth reporting as being child abuse? The parents have a right to religion but they don't have the right to abuse the child. So, if you were the observing person, would you let the parents continue and the child surely dies, or would you report it, or would you be bold enough to take the kid to the hospital? Let's assume the disease is medically curable and the parents and you both have the resources to finance and take the kid there.

Religion isn't needed to instill moral and ethical values. Let the kid decide from themselves once they're old enough to understand it, what to decide.
   
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Re: Religion and Children - February 19th 2009, 12:54 PM

Horahh for Dawkin's!
Now, everyone go out and buy The God Delusion!
anyway... If parents stopped brainwashing their children into a faith, then Religion would slowly die out and you would see that 19% which represents the combined groups of "No Religion" and "Atheist" grow rapidly.




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Re: Religion and Children - February 19th 2009, 06:42 PM

I agree. Kids need to be taught logic and reason. It's not wrong to present them with your religion, or other people's religions, but until a person is mature enough to make a decision reasonably, it will not make sense to them. They'll just go along with it because it's what their family wants them to do.

Unfortunately, the majority of religious people do not hold these same beliefs because they have been told that their religion is the only right way. And if they hold the belief that their religion is the only right way, what reason do they see to teach their children anything else?

That's the main flaw in religious thinking.


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Re: Religion and Children - February 19th 2009, 07:20 PM

I think teaching a kid religion is quite a lot like brainwashing... especially if you don't open other options to them. They don't know what they're believing in, they're just doing it because "mummy told me God is real and that I will go to hell if I don't pray."

If I ever have children, I will do like my family did with me, and keep religion out of their lives. My family always told me that when I was older and could decide for myself I could believe whatever I wanted, but I had to know what I was believing first. My mother even told me I could be baptized when I was older if I decided I wanted to be. However, when I got older, I realized that I was perfectly happy being an Atheist .



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Re: Religion and Children - February 19th 2009, 10:29 PM

I was raised through my childhood religiously, and now... have no religion.

I don't see a problem with raising a child with religion. I think it can fill a huge gap for the them, and that parents have a right to teach their beliefs to their children. Obviously, if the beliefs are imposed through abusive means there is a problem, but.

At an age where the child becomes aware, critical, and able to make these kinds of decisions on their own... then if they want another religion, if they question their beliefs, then I think it is fine for them to carry through with that and state where they stand. And they will...

I am glad that I was raised religiously. It gave me something to hang onto. And, when I did reach critical thinking, I had something concrete to work with. I knew what life felt like holding belief like such.

And, personally, I see raising them "without religion" equally as impactful as raising them with one. So...


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Re: Religion and Children - February 19th 2009, 10:48 PM

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And, personally, I see raising them "without religion" equally as impactful as raising them with one. So...
How so? Now I'm curious, could you please elaborate?


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Re: Religion and Children - February 19th 2009, 11:03 PM

Well, I'm not sure about this. I brought this up earlier, and people's opinions were different.

I'm undecided on bringing someone up in religion, I'm okay if it's moderate. But if it's deep south, ultra-conservative, gay and you get shot, Christian, then no. That is not okay.




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Re: Religion and Children - February 19th 2009, 11:20 PM

I don't really agree with religion at a young age. I don't think parents should force their beliefs on their children just because they can. Children can be influenced very easily. Also, that child doesn't understand everything that they are hearing from their parents or the church that they go to. They should be allowed to make a decision when they are old enough to fully grasp all of the concepts of the given religion.

Parents should not use religion as a rule or to enforce a moral. Parents should be able to teach their children right and wrong without saying the kid will be punished when they die for it.

I think that religion does have positive morals to it, but I think that a child needs to grow up and build their own morals before finding a religion to suit them.


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Re: Religion and Children - February 20th 2009, 03:09 AM

I think that it is fine to bring children up in the church, but let them know that there are other options out there. When they are old enough, give them the choice to explore other things or experiment with different religions.


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Re: Religion and Children - February 20th 2009, 03:09 AM

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How so? Now I'm curious, could you please elaborate?
Eventually they're going to find out religon exists, then they'll wonder why they were never taught.


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Re: Religion and Children - February 20th 2009, 03:14 AM

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Eventually they're going to find out religon exists, then they'll wonder why they were never taught.
You can raise a child without a religion but still teach him about religious histories and such. You don't have to grow up a christian to know about Christianity.

I fail to see the point you are trying to make.


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Re: Religion and Children - February 20th 2009, 03:25 AM

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Eventually they're going to find out religon exists, then they'll wonder why they were never taught.
I disagree, I was not brought up with any religion and when I learned about it I researched different religions myself. Never did "what wasn't I taught" enter my mind, it didn't matter to me in the slightest because after my research I found (and still find) all religion to be silly
My Parents never baptized or initiated me into any religion, they thought that it should be my choice what faith to follow when I came of age to be able to understand what each religion taught and stood for. If I ever had a question about a faith that they knew the answer to, they would answer it. I would not have it any other way. (thanks Mom and Dad!)
Personally, I believe all children should be raised with the same respect for individual choice.
My Parents taught me morals, ethics, and what it means to be a good person without any religious values what-so-ever.
I am active in my community, help the poor and old, organize and work in community, beach, and river clean-ups, Teach lesson plans to children in elementary school, and am great friend and the best boyfriend Imaginable, I am a genuinely nice person and treat everyone with respect and empathy regardless of race, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. I am a good person, all without the slightest religion influence.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rican Roll View Post
You can raise a child without a religion but still teach him about religious histories and such. You don't have to grow up a christian to know about Christianity.

I fail to see the point you are trying to make.
As I stated above, I am proof of this methods success.


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Last edited by Smitten; February 20th 2009 at 03:32 AM.
   
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Re: Religion and Children - February 20th 2009, 04:07 AM

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Originally Posted by spider*man(girl) View Post
Eventually they're going to find out religon exists, then they'll wonder why they were never taught.
It's not about sheltering children from religion, it's about allowing choices. You can still learn about religion and not be religious. I read the Bible all the time, even though I am nonreligious.


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