This is a very debatable topic, what do you guys think? i think that telling your children that they are going to burn in hell forever if they don't believe in your god is child abuse. give me your thoughts?

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For about four years, I was on a site called Experience Project, where there were a number of atheist and atheist-related groups and discussions.  One of those groups was entitled: "I Believe That Indoctrinating Children With Religion Is Child Abuse."  Needless to say (I hope!), I was then and continue to be in complete agreement with that premise.

I have said this many times: children are SPONGES.  They absorb what their parents and adults around them have to say without an intellectual filter, mostly because that filter comes with a great deal of time and life-experience.  Impressions at young ages tend to stick and can be exceptionally difficult to pry loose once made.  It is no surprise that we hear religions talking about "getting them young."  What the religions want us to believe by that statement is the idea of impressing children with their morals and teachings they deem to be important.  The problem is that those teachings have little to no basis in fact, that they are frequently used by leaders of those religions for the purposes of control and the aggregation of power and influence.  Were these priests and imams and rabbis to attempt to deliver the same lessons to a thinking and sophisticated adult, they'd be laughed out of the room.

I think the innocence of a child needs to be respected, not exploited ... and that indoctrination of children with "truths" which are anything but is indeed child abuse, PERIOD.

very true my friend, living in fear because of what your parents tell you is definatly child abuse.

Fear, shame, coercion, intimidation ... these are the "sticks" of religion, with the supposed carrot being heaven, pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by ... yet there isn't one shred of substance to it, and they depend on the lack of sophistication of children to grow their numbers.

Yet their numbers are dropping and especially among the young, in large portion because kids these days are growing up with the internet.  That vast and easily accessible fount of information and communication is doing yeoman's service in pulling the pants down on religion, documenting its hidden secrets and dubious "truths," and as a result, the kids in large portion ain't having any.

YouTube vlogger Thunderf00t said it and I agree: the internet is where religion goes to die.

Loren, you nailed it again.

Though I agree with your statement. I do not think that all children have no intellectual filter. I'm 13 and I completely shun religion. I think it depends on the independence of the child's mind. Their ability to think for themselves.


I do not think this is debatable at all, children at the age of 4 to 6 are told this" going to hell" bit as part of indoctrination with parents consent is absolutely child abuse and must be a chargeable offence   

Some years ago here on A|N, a guy related a story about how he was pulled out of church service because his five-year-old son was freaking out in Sunday school.  You get three guesses as to what the subject of that day's lesson was.  Unfortunately, he has since left A|N and his posts with him, but his description of it remains vivid in my mind.

I keep asking myself: who would do that to KIDS.  The answer keeps coming up the same: someone truly F***ED up in the head.

I whole heartedly agree with both Mark and Loren. As a matter of fact, this was an issue that I discussed in detail with a friend recently. Children are so completely susceptible to indoctrination to any idea presented them by a trusting adult. Think about all the fantastical ideas they buy into.. Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy, etc. I am amazed that it took me so long to recognize that religion was simply another of those fantasies until so late in life but, as Loren said, when you get a child to buy into those things it takes a lot to undo the brainwashing. I would absolutely support a law barring religious teaching until the logical, abstract processing center of the brain is fully formed (typically around 12 years old).

It ís child abuse! I never minded hell or heaven very much - the daily struggle in my fundy parents' house was bad enough. They were convinced that a xtian woman should be obedient, submissive, and constantly aware of her inferiority, stupidity and ugliness. So they tried to keep me stupid and to break everything that was strong in me. I'm over sixty now, and I still hate them for that. And my self-confidence never fully mended.

Chris, such stories as this make me weep. Do you have children? If so, how have you brought them up? My wife and I brought up our three children as good, loving, responsible, friendly, world-caring atheists.

Our parents were harmless, non-churchgoing, non-thinking christians. So I was allowed to think atheistically for myself from a very young age. My wife was taught at school by nuns, but happily escaped into atheism when marrying me. We were lucky. 

This be the verse


They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

   They may not mean to, but they do.

They fill you with the faults they had

   And add some extra, just for you.


But they were fucked up in their turn

   By fools in old-style hats and coats,

Who half the time were soppy-stern

   And half at one another’s throats.


Man hands on misery to man

   It deepens like a coastal shelf.

Get out as early as you can

   And don’t have any kids yourself.



                                         Philip Larkin (1922 – 1985)

I took Philip Larkin's advice, and tried to solve my own issues before I inflicted my pain on someone who'd be hurt by it. By then I was past child bearing age. But I've been a loving aunt when posible, helping children see that the world is bigger than their parnts' thinking, and that they have a choice.

So good to hear that your family escaped and thrived!




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