Do you think that forcing children into religion is child abuse? Would you go so far as to call your parents child abusers?

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I was raised a Jew,and I don't feel I was abused as a child in that context..I tried to take my own children to synogogue,but I just couldn't drink the kool aid anymore...As an adult I saw social aberrations that were abusive...cliques,an over emphasis on money as a social marker to name two. In some religious
Fundamental Christians that I know ,I think that the most glaring example of child abuse I've ever seen w as a very intelligent young lady who wanted to be a Dentist,but her father forced her to go to a third rate
Christian real science,no chance of ever getting accepted to a dental school....being the mother of two college aged girls I was mortified that someone would put their religious faith in front of the future of their child....
Thanks for all the interesting responses. It's just a question that crosses my mind from time to time and like a lot of you I think it depends on different things like age, levels of indoctrination, age of the child, the demands of the religion and so on. Personally, I think that a child should be able to make these kinds of decisions on their own when they're old enough. I think that scaring a child with some pretty immoral and horrific biblical stories as well as stories of hell is completely out of line. Looking back on my own religous childhood, the only lessons of value that I learned from religion are the ones that the church didn't want me to learn. Everything else was either trash or added confusion. I don't think that my parents were abusive. I think that they were confused and scared themselves much of the time (my mother had cancer and died when I was young.) I can remember looking at it all happen in front of me, the prayer circles, the emotional dynamics, the religous language and self-assurances, the dying, the death, the funeral, the pain, the questions and confusion, and then they became very transparent. I could see that they (the adults) were all really still children like me. They didn't have any real answers or confidence in what they were doing and saying. They were just kind of faking it and trying the best that they could. They were scared and telling themselves stories to make it all better. I can't judge them too harshly for that but it does open ones eyes to reality. I think that children sometimes percieve more than they're given credit for. Religious parents should probably keep that in mind. Anyway, thanks for all the responses. There's obviously a lot of room for debate on this issue.
"I could see that they (the adults) were all really still children like me."

Therein lies the trouble with most of humanity throughout human history. People rarely grow up. Their bodies mature, but their minds do not.
I'm not sure about child-abuse.. neglect, perhaps. Neglecting to teach your child -reality- and prepare them for it.

It's something bad, at least. Whether we go so far to call it "abuse" or not is a touchy subject today, with absolutely everything being called "abuse" and the phone at the fingertips of every pre-teen in America to call CPS if their parents so much as glance at them the wrong way.

My mother put the "fear of God" in me, and she wasn't religious! What I mean is, I got yelled at when I was bad, hit when I was horrible, and I was daaaamn scared of her pretty much all the time.

Now if you are terrified of going to Hell, so much so that you turn to religion because your parents told you that was the only way out.. if your actions as a little child not knowing any better are motivated from fear... is that not "negative"?

But "abuse"? I want to call it abuse. In my head, I "feel" like it's abuse in a way.. but let's go to the dictionary. The -basic- definition of "abuse" is simply "To use wrongly or improperly; misuse" -- the problem here is "intention". On the one hand, I'm quick to say "Well there you go, Parents mis-use the fear of God to get their kids into religion" -- but wait, there's more! Parents also believe in what they are telling their children. As a result, they aren't "mis-using" anything. They are simply using it...

Suddenly "abuse" is all in the eye of the beholder. And we cannot base blanket adjustments based on subjective evidence, I suppose.

As a result, calling the indoctrination of children "abuse" is just.. sticky. But I still think it should be illegal, and being a formal member of any religion should have an age limit: 18+, no exceptions.
I love the age limit idea. It's like cigarettes!
Religion is a lie foisted on the innocent. Unequivocally it is abuse. Degree of force or matter. The fact that those inflicting the abuse may or may not be aware... no bearing whatsoever.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
Depends on what kind of BS they are feeding the children! In my opinion, if you tell themthey are nothing without god, I think that is child abuse! And i say that because when I got back from Iraq, I had all of these reintegration classes and they basically had cps there telling us what was child abuse and what was not! They said something along the line of if you call a child stupid, that is child abuse! Religion can get a lot worse than that! But that's just an example! I don't have any children myself but like I said, I had to do a lot of mandatory classes about what you can and cannot do to children! And from what I learned, religions cross that line but since it is religion, it gets a pass! That is wrong in my opinion!
No, I don't, but I do think it is wrong to choose religion over one's child and to force your own beliefs on your offspring. There is a difference between raising a child in a religious home and completely indoctrinating least in my opinion.
Parents do what they feel is right for their kids. Do i believe that religion at an early age brainwashes children and scars them for life? Yes. Do I think parents are abusing their children? not so much. I am a tried and true atheist, I was raised southern baptist and around the age of 15 I became an atheist. Not an out one, mind you, but an atheist. I realized that it was all nonsense. I went to church for the social aspect and to make my parents happy. I no longer bowed my head in prayer, i no longer took part in the rituals, and I no longer dressed up for god. I just showed up. I think abuse has some sort of implied intent. Abusers know they are abusing the children. The parents are just doing what they feel will give the child the best upbringing. Also, They themselves are brainwashed. I don't feel it is abuse, but, I do feel it needs to stop.
Yes. Though my parents didn't waste their time trying to force religion upon me. They didn't encourage my objecting, but they didn't put it down either.

I think *INSTRUCTING* that *ONE* religion is *RIGHT* and that others are not is the same as teaching racism to your children.
Wow, this is pretty polarized. You people are pretty cutthroat about this. I agree that it's bad and needs to stop but labeling a loving parent an abuser is wrong. I know there are some parents that use it as a form of abuse, and yes I would label those parents abusers, but the simple girl who takes her kids willingly to church. provides for her children, and loves them unconditionally just has the wrong perception of what is and isn't real, shes not an abusive mother.



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