Teaching religion to children is a form of abuse.

I don’t think I’ve seen anything much more depressing than the sight of hundreds of schoolchildren fawning over a wooden cross. Seriously. It’s just plain sad that religious schools are allowed to brainwash them in this way, and more so that the government subsidises them to do so.

I don’t know whether or not these schools were chosen for the report because they were populated with an unusually high number of children from ultra-religious families, but it was a considerable contrast from my time at school, where the vast majority of us were so contemptuous of religion that the school didn’t even bother offering religious classes in years 10 and above…

4 responses to “Teaching religion to children is a form of abuse.

  1. I would guess from your comments you were not brought up in a home that tought the Bible or the tenants of Christianity, or perhaps you were, but by hypocritical people who didn’t practice what they taught.

    I would offer, from my point of view, that your suggestion that I not be allowed to send my children to a religious school/church is as controlling as the Communist Chinese. Teaching children in China is outlawed as you’d like it to be. I find that a scary world to consider.

    From here in the States, and my personal point of view, I’m in favor of restricting cults that truly do brainwash their members, or at least removing tax-exempt status from so-called religions that hide behind religion to collection money (Scientology) – these things I see as harmful.

    However, as I raise my children, and as they are taught in Sunday school, it is only to give them a basic foundation and to teach them to study the Bible and pray on their own and learn what God has to say on their own. This isn’t brainwashing, it’s structured teaching until they can learn on their own.

    In my opinion, you’re abvocating for the same (teaching children a worldview), except that it be a religionless vacuum, that has a godless humanistic worldview.

    You want the same thing, just with your worldview.

    I disagree that teaching religion itself to children is abusive, and say I have not only a right but a duty to each my children my own worldview.

    • paul: couldn’t agree more. i’ve long thought that religious indoctrination of children is a form of child abuse. they’re not old enough to be able to make up their own minds, or to make a valid choice about what, if any, religion to believe in.

      Dawkins talks about this at some length in The God Delusion. very much preaching to the choir, but worth reading if you haven’t already.

      jason:

      1. it’s “tenets”, not “tenants” – unless god is your landlord.

      2. children should be protected from religious brain-washing just as they should be protected from marketing targetted at their vulnerable minds, and protected from the delusions of their parents.

      when they’re old enough to make their own choices, then they’re old enough to be exposed to religious teaching.

      3. religious schooling IS as controlling and dangerous to vulnerable young minds as communism or any other ideology.

      4. there is no difference in kind between ‘religions’ and ‘cults’. it’s only a difference in degree, and in the number of members. popularity does not make the brainwashing any less dangerous.

      nor does the popularity of a delusion make it any less delusional.

      5. please prove, to the satisfaction of an independant, objective observer that your preferred religion is any less of a cult than scientology.

      7. humanistic ethics are a better source of “moral” behaviour than religion. some religions believe that it’s good to kill those who don’t believe – no matter how you dress it up, that isn’t moral. some religions, even now, believe in human sacrifice. again, there’s no way that that is moral.

      8. a godless humanistic worldview is entirely appropriate for a godless world. there is no god or gods, only delusions of them.

      9. your children, like other people’s children, are people in their own right, not property for parents to do with as they wish.

      children have their own rights, and sometimes the law has to step in to protect children and their rights from parents and other family members who do not acknowledge that children aren’t property.

    • Spoken like a true brainwashee.

  2. Paul: I wish that I’d been more up to date reading your blog before I posted my last post. I too went to a “religious” school, however Scots Albury canned religious ed after year 9 (I started in year 11) and it was owned by the Uniting Church anyway which are ‘wet liberal’ theologians, anyway. There was never going to be any serious religious push there. Agree that this is brainwashing and when can I post basic HTML and paragraphing?

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