If you ask Dawkins, Hitchens and others, childhood indoctrination in any religion is a form of child abuse. By pushing a religious ideology on a child, while their brains are rapidly developing, you cause children to ignore logic and critical thinking. I don't see this as much of a problem today as it probably once was, because we are living in the information age. At one point, everything you knew came from your parents, teachers and pastors. There really wasn't any way to get information other than through authoritative figures in your immediate circle. Today, however, information is available to us at the push of a button. Any questions you have about your religion have been discussed thousands of times on the internet with perspectives from all walks of life. Getting answers is easy. Perhaps asking questions might be the hard part? If you are indoctrinated early in life, what would cause you to want to go outside of your circle to seek answers? I mean, if you have a problem with your religion you should just ask your pastor, right? What made me (and many of us) lucky enough to see through the bullshit answers and go look for answers on our own?
Perhaps it is a form of child abuse, but as with all generalizations, some forms of religions are worse than others when it comes to affecting the way a child develops reason and logical thinking.

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I understand what they are saying but that's a little willy-nilly throwing around "shock" words like "child abuse".

Parents are going to want to pass down their most cherished beliefs and customs. But fortunately children are going to rebel against them. That's how it always has been and that's how it always should be and not just because chicks and rebel and get lip piercings are hot but because that is how entire paradigm shifts in public thought occur.

The numbers of former fundies and their offspring here is clear proof of that.

You bring up a fantastic point about the new information age. Here's hoping they get to Wikipedia before Conservapedia.
I totally agree, "child abuse" is a little extreme. However, it does pose an interesting dilemma. For me, being in an unevenly yoked marriage (wife is a christian, teaches at a christian school where both my kids attend), I have struggled with how much indoctrination I want to allow. It's tough to know when to speak up and when to keep my mouth shut for the sanctity of my otherwise happy and healthy marriage and family life. I wonder if it is safe to allow the indoctrination to continue until they are adults, then step in and give them my opinion (which is what my wife would prefer) or if I should rely on the fact that they will continue to ask more and more questions as time goes on that I will be forced to answer truthfully. After all, they have to wonder why I never go to church, no praying or bible reading. I think my kids are lucky, because they have at least one rational and logical parent. Without me, they might be doomed to years and years of wasting their lives away while they wait for their eternal reward.
Children need to be armed with the tools of critical thinking and discernment. I honestly do not think "indoctrination" is a fair characterization of most christian family homes. Even in my case with fairly strong christian parents, most of my "indoctrination" came from me and my interests. They'll read you verses and try to encourage you towards their bias, but as long as they tell you about making their own choices and that its important for the decision to be the child's, and how to consider all sides with a clear head, its no big deal. I think you would be hard pressed to find many parents who could really be accused of "indoctrination" which really implies strapping a person to a chair and forcing them to read the bible or watch christian videos while depriving them of food or sleep. That kind of thing would fall well inside the legal definition of child abuse, so its not really necessary to go much further.

That said, since many aspects of Christian teaching are patently false, such as creationism, you could make a strong case for going after pastors, parents, and religious authorities for fraud, or worse fraud to minors. A lot of parents telling their kids about Santa Clause are suddenly culpable too though.
Until kids get to choose their own religion or way you'll have them falling victim to bad leaders and or corrupted, non-intellectual, corporate sponsored bad stuff, never outside the box life.

Perhaps TV is the abuser more-so these days.
Granted some pastors with too many people in their grasp can be misguided along w/their children as we know of in Jonestown days. Again, I'm a strong atheist so this subject lies in the no holds barred zone.

change the channel
change their mind?

just tell them not to bully the different kids in life
they'll get it just as bad when their older. my 2 cents
Good point Verne. It's our job to teach our children what is right, so if we think christianity is right, why wouldn't we teach it to them?

Ryan, I don't agree with your definition of indoctrination. I don't think it involves force feeding them doctrine and not offering food or sleep. You are mistaking indoctrination with some sort of torture tactics. Indoctrination, in my opinion, is teaching them one specific religion from the time they are born- thereby removing their "free-will" to actually make a choice. Verne pointed out it's pretty much unavoidable, but there are certainly levels to it. A Quaker kid for example, is going to experience a level of indoctrination far greater than what you experienced. After all, you might be the only one in history who had christian parents give you the pros and cons and then allowed you to make an intelligent decision on the supernatural as a child. I assume they read you the Koran and Book of Mormon too? You were indoctrinated too...just sounds like it was more mild than some.

For me, my kids are in a christian school….with christian science books. That’s right, they get a healthy dose of folk science like flood geology and early earth discussions along with actual science.
Either you've misjudge the quakers, or you know very different quakers that me.

I have known quite a few, and they were some of the most accepting believers of athiests and agnostics I've ever met. Lovely people. I don't think they have indoctrination at all, especially when their services are "silent" worship services.
none of us are taught every possible point of view. We're all generally taught from less than a few biases. The point I tried to make is that for indoctrination to qualify as "child abuse" it needs to be forced under threat. For it to qualify as fraud, it simply needs to be untrue, and potentially lead the victim to financial disadvantage.

The main thing is being taught critical thinking skills. The irony of Christian Evangelicals is they teach these skills in order to guard children against the "cults" and "evil atheists", and I'd wager many christians turned atheists used the very skills they were taught in apologetics class to reason their way out of the faith. My personal "exit strategy" was Calvanism. Point is, I was taught critical thinking, so I wasnt "abused" and I am not a "victim" of christian indoctrination, and I think this kind of hyperbole does not serve our cause of "reason".
I think it's a double-edged sword. In hindsight, a lot of the beliefs we're raised with might be later considered child abuse. But in the moment, when intentions are good, can we really call it that?

If I was raised in the 1930s to believe that smoking was not only not harmful but actually kind of good for you, would that be child abuse? Few people then even suspected otherwise. How about riding bicycles without helmets before bicycle helmets were realistically available? Parents who let me chop wood at the age of 6? Skewed and prejudiced ideas about 'enemy' countries? I liked "Red Dawn" as much of the rest of my high school friends I saw it with.

When my Native American friends teach tribal customs and traditions to their children ... I'd fight to the death to preserve that right for them.

But if in doing so they were forbidding their children to learn English or basic science or to make friends with the Anglos, "You will dance in the Pow-Wow this weekend or you will find yourself without a home" then I'd say that situation is truly harmful to the child, stunting their growth in larger society, a line is being crossed and it's getting into the realm of abuse.

Likewise in Christian households. Safe to say most of us here think a whole lot more poorly of the cultural value of, say, Mormonism versus a Navajo child being raised Navajo. But so long as the Mormon child is generally free to pick up non-Mormon books at the library, won't be beaten or kicked out for bring home a Jewish or atheist boyfriend, isn't of the branch of Mormonism that's marrying them off at age 12, then legally the parents have the right to raise their child that way.

But I will be there at the library to strongly encourage that child to question the revelations of a supposed magical being called MORONi. To ask the questions their parents apparently never thought or were too afraid to ask.
Depends on the indoctrination.

If a child is indoctrinated, like with the FDLS to get married at 11 or 12 years of age, and if they do not they will go to hell, or the young males at 17 and 18 are being taught it is perfectly fine to support pedohphillia, then yes, I would consider this abuse.

Even if it isn't that extreme, yes I still think it CAN be abusive, however I also think getting into the quagmire of what is or is not abuse will open up such a kettle of worms as to render any attempts at a common ground meaningless.

The catholics, at one point believed it was "abuse' to raise a child jewish, and if a child was "baptised" in secret that child could then forcibly be removed from their homes and raised by a catholic family. We hear this and think it is terrible.

If we come across a child that is being raised religious and we decide it is abuse and take them away from their homes, are we really that different?

I'd rather support areas we can affect, such as education and all children being educated at least partically in school, along getting as much information out to the general public as possible so that access to real options and possibilities.

We are walking a very fine line in calling religious education abuse. They would consider n ot raising a child without God abuse too, since the eternal soul is now in serious Jepardy.How could we not raise them christian? and...who wins this argument? Those with the bigger army? That isn't the athiests....not yet anyway :P
Here is some actual "indoctrination" reported today in the news:
[link to cnn.com]

I guess if you can find parallels between what happened here and what happens routinely in religious homes, you could make an official case for indoctrination as a form of child abuse.
I think religious or atheist indoctrination of children is child abuse. Nobody knows the truth, if people claim to know they are being dishonest or they are delusional.

I think instilling dishonest or delusional ideas in children about things they simply can not comprehend is abusive and will one day be recognized as such.
Which is no different than the "No Child Left Behind" mentality that everyone is equal and everyone is a winner/anti-competitive indoctrination bullshit.

No difference whatsoever. Indoctrination of every kind/type/form will occur because children are "acculturated".

So apparently, all parents, teachers, schools, sports leaders, after-school programs directors are child abusers as well.

I need no further proof that not only is Dawkins the exact same agenda driven, unreasoning cretin that the church leaders are, and have been; he doesn't even have intellectual honesty. He is summarily a narcissistic, deluded fool of the first order.




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