Religion should be illegal to teach to children. Is this a violation of religious freedom?

I personally do not feel that barring adults from teaching religion to children is a violation of religious freedom, I do not think parents have the right to push their personal belief system on their children. Rather, parents have the responsibility to equip children with knowledge and skills to think and act critically. Parents do not have the right to enslave children, children are not the property of parents, and they are not their personal "spiritual minions" or servants.

I believe children are individuals but are vulnerable to intellectual manipulation, and religion is a very insidious and harmful form of manipulation. It harms children in their ability to reason and think clearly.

Therefore, religion, religious materials should be as pornography. I think its illegal to show pornography to children, and clearly its illegal to involve children in pornography, and I feel that religious teaching is at least equally as harmful.

That said, should the police be bursting into homes of families with children and confiscating any materials that could be deemed religious as they do with child pornography? Should parents who expose children to religion be treated the same as parents who expose their children to pornography, or worse, children who are coerced to become involved in teaching religion to others, is that the same as child pornography? Why or why not?


Views: 2529

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

What I fear the most about when I have children is what OTHER people will teach my kids about religion without my consent. Drugs, sex, violence, pornography, alcohol etc.. These things while not easy, have less of an impact then the jesus talk. All of these things have physical ramifications that I can show my child without them experiencing it. Drugs and alcohol have the deaths and such, sex/porno theres the pregnancy issue, and violence and murder has the human element that I can explain through images and talking. There are no negative stigmas or connotations I can physically show or explain in terms a child can understand that will guide them away from religion until they are old enough to understand it, and they will likely be ostracized by the other kids and some adults if they do not participate in religious outings. How do you explain that yes, millions of people believe in jesus, and, while it's not a bad story, all those people are wrong?

I completely condone the suing of a school district when an atheist parent's views are violated by the schools. I also feel teaching of religion in school as anything more then history or cultural implications is wrong.
I think it is a bad story, and taught my children such as soon as they were able to listen to us talk. Perhaps the philosophy taught in the Gospels is okay minus the mystical, but otherwise I consider Paulist ideas as poison. One is required to read them with historical context flaming in one's face.

I also consider teaching a child to pray as abusive as teaching a child to smoke. Just sayin'.
I agree with you, but how do you explain this to an 8 year old child in terms that they can understand? I feel the concepts are too complex for an 8 year old to grasp. Now maybe a 12 year old. It's unnerving to think that someone out there will poison my child's mind with this garbage and feel good about doing so.
I don't think it's so difficult for 8yo, even 6yo. Perhaps even younger, if you started with a base of reality vs. fantasy. Is a cartoon real? is it really possible for a man to fly? If I'm telling you something, is someone making my mouth move, or is it me? Teaching kids to use their imaginations is important, but as important is teaching them the above differences, to keep imagination and action in their own areas.

Generally, people who cannot separate reality and fantasy from the stories have a hard time thinking outside the "believe box." My in-laws and my mom both tried to get our kids indoctrinated, but we wouldn't put up with it. Vigilance is the price of liberty. etc.

I'm not saying to eliminate Santa Claus from the vocabulary, just to give honest answers to their questions and own up to the tooth=money thing as soon as you forget the first time. My 9yo son defended his position to a religious college student when she started talking down to him about her beliefs.

Dang kids wont shut up now.
Religion as pornography. It's a nice thought, but it'll never fly.

Parents are the last defense against an ailing public school system. If you truly want your children to echo your own beliefs, homeschool them. If you want them to understand what's going on in the world with critical thought, go over their lessons with them and learn enough yourself to teach them what they aren't learning in the classroom. However, if you don't want them to learn what the rest of the world is into, send them to a private school where they'll be brainwashed with the best of them.

Your best bet? Keep on top of what your kids are learning, and then teach them, yourself, what they need to know. It's hard, it's tedious, but it's worth it.
Since kids are so impressionable with what they are told, I think religious doctrine is a bit heavy for a kid. So forcing any one religion on a kid seems a bit unfair and damaging. But once kids are old enough to think critically, when they start wondering about that age old question of where we came from, I think a comprehensive objective class on World Religions would be really beneficial. It wouldn't be forcing, it would be a history class more or less. This way, a person could decide for themselves if they believe in any of the religions out there, or maybe they want to switch from the one that was crammed down their throats from their parents, or embrace atheism. It would also allow the person to be more worldly and understanding of the people we share this planet with.

In this sense, I don't agree that religion and religious materials are 'pornography'.
I agree with that, as a world history context, but teaching children that a delusion is actually true and attempting to warp/manipulate them into your ideology does still seem like something that, well, probably shouldn't be legal at all - as fraud is illegal.

Obviously it would be nearly impossible to enforce. We'd end up with a lot more "underground children" and things would get ugly fast as the religious extremists would form huge enclaves where they could indoctrinate their own offspring and "protect" them from reality. So perhaps keeping it in the open is the best way to ensure kids at least have a chance to escape or catch a glimpse of the real world.
To an extent, all students at some point should be taught religion. Without a Judeo-Christian background, they'll never understand Milton. Without Greco-Roman mythology, they'll never quite get Pythagoras. Religion, as such, is an invested part of our history; however, we have to take it upon ourselves to let our children know that it's fallible, historical. Nobody takes the Vikings seriously these days, and in another thousand years, nobody will take the Christians seriously. They're all just fads, really...and if so, there's nothing wrong with teaching our children what they are. Just keep it in the right context.
The problem is that parents see children as "theirs" and not children of the "state" or of the community, or of the world. The current paradigm concerning the intellectual freedom of children is still very conservative and it begs the question of, but they got to learn something, and everything is in some ways, "brainwashing, ain't it". That is how they stretch the flawed argument far and wide.

Personally, I think that is why the education of the current generation regarding intellectual freedom is so important so that future parents can have the sensibility to allow their kids to not be instantly immersed in a religious doctrine at a young age.

But given that religious fanatics will always be around, this will always be a continuing battle.

I am sitting on the fence on this one. On one hand, while I think it is ideal that children are not coerced into a religious ideology from young, on the other hand, if the only alternative we have is to use legislation to regulate this, it comes across as kind of dictatorial.

I suppose here's where the education (secular) can really help, to help cultivate good reasoning habits for children to help them think through these issues independently.
Illegal, no? Should the practice be looked down upon? Should I scoff at my friends every time they send one of there little bitty, impressionable children who isn't even of writing age to church to be brainwashed by the religio-machine? Yes. Most definitley. I assure you it will be illegal to preach to any children I may have. And the penalty will be as my father so succinctly puts it "a boot in the ass".
What a provocative question. If you make teaching religion to children illegal does it violate the parents' religious freedom? You clearly think that religious indoctrination of children is harmful enough to be illegal and you compare it to the exposure/involvement of children to pornography. If some parents claimed that pornography is important to their religious worship would they be allowed to use it with their children? If not, would that violate the parents' religious freedom? Some religions forbid invasive medical procedures. Does it violate parents' religious freedom to force them to allow such a procedure on their child to save the child's life? These questions and others like them are about where we draw the line on child welfare vs. religious freedom (or parental rights). I don't think (and most people would probably agree) that parents should be allowed to do whatever they want to their children in the name of religious freedom. Just as you said--children are not their parents' property. I don't think it violates anyone's religious freedom to protect children from abuse or to insure that they get necessary medical care. What I am getting at is this; if teaching children religion is harmful enough to be comparable to abuse then making it illegal is not a violation of religious freedom. Do I think that religious indoctrination of children is harmful enough to be against the law? I'm not sure. A strong case could be made for it. It might be better to require that all children be taught about many different belief systems, including the lack of belief (atheism).

All of this is aside from the issue of how practical such a law would be. It would definitely create a large underground movement.
Your conclusion that the banning of religious indoctrination of children driving it underground touches on an interesting concept. If religious ideas were elevated to the status of narcotics, tobacco or even alcohol there would indeed be a black-market in such ideas, but the greater public discourse would likely continue to stigmatize their practice.

We control the distribution of drugs based on the perception (empirical) of harm to society, and we give cultural badness to certain political ideas based on their perceived opposition to the 'republican ideal', could we similarly classify certain ideas or thought processes that allow lapses in rigorous or objective observation, that denigrate scientific methods? Social welfare is at stake here! Religious arguments rally on the same point, that dissent is bad, but they don't have science in their favor, only laziness and ignorance.




Update Your Membership :



Nexus on Social Media:

© 2020   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: The Nexus Group.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service