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Parenting and Religion, a Philosophical Question

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posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 10:56 AM
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Would a child take the religion of their parents had they not been brought up in that specific religion?

Some related questions-

Do children feel an attraction to a religion, or religion in general, because they grew up with their parents feeling the same way? Or is there some genetic component?

If two parents have different religious beliefs, why might a child feel a preferance to one towards another if they are raised equally with both?

If a child is brought up in a household that is religious but does not attend religious services, is the child more or less likely to seek such services in their adulthood?

Do parents who provide more religious options for their children ultimately have better relationships with them?


I know that the general trend is for a child to follow the same religious path as their parents. Personally, I do not agree with this philosophy. I don't know why it came about, but probably to ensure future generations of the religion to sustain the beliefs, and also to prevent the negative things that are stated to happen in some ancient religious texts regarding intermarriage and lack of faith.

Didn't know whether to put this in religion or philosophy.

With the widespread internet and more world travel, is it appropriate to allow a child to investigate and try other religions before choosing one? Or traditionally should the child follow what their parents follow.

Is there a conspiracy regarding parenting and religion which ensures the continuation of specific religions in the future? AKA- "We believe it is wrong for you to be any religion but x and raise your child as such" which, over time and throughout the world, cements that religion in place for that sole traditional reason?




posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 11:18 AM
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Just from my own personal experiences... My mom was raised Catholic, went to Catholic School, the whole nine yards. When she had kids she chose to let us decide what we wanted to believe in. She herself no longer follows the Catholic faith because she said she never really felt comfortable with it. My dad on the other hand I am not sure what his particular faith was since I havent seen him since I was about 5 or 6.

While I was in HS I joined the Youth Group at a local Methodist church. I went all four years and just realized it wasnt for me. I have looked into all types of religion and I just personally dont want someone telling me I will go to hell or sin if I choose to do something they consider wrong. It made me uncomfortable. Now I do my own thing and I am quite happy with it.

Hope that answered some of your questions

S&F

[edit on 7/13/2009 by mblahnikluver]



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 11:21 AM
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reply to post by mblahnikluver
 


That's probably what I would do. But I think that my grandparents' generation was more strict about ensuring that their children followed the religion that they themselves followed. But even today, many parents decide for their children.

What about baptisms? Circumscisions? Bar mitzvahs? When you're a kid, especially a baby but even until 18 really, your parents decide things for you. You can get confirmed, whatever. It could me meaningless to you. You may not even WANT to. What happens when you go through everything and decide later on you didn't want any of it to begin with?

You can't reverse some things like that.

Even things like youth groups, as you mentioned... I think they're geared to almost bribe kids into staying in whichever religion their parents chose for them. It sounds harsh, I guess I don't mean it like that. But I know some youth groups are very open about wanting kids of one religion to meet others of that religion (which obviously neither had chosen... these are birth religions) so that they will eventually marry and have a family.

I think that's wrong. I think religions have created quite a system to ensure their survival. Your kids are supposed to follow your religion. I think it's an unwritten law.

I don't follow it, of course. I think people are shying away from that. But whether it means religion will diminish, I don't know. I think the most outrageous religions are the ones with the most foolproof plans of locking kids into it.

[edit on 7/13/2009 by ravenshadow13]



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 11:22 AM
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reply to post by ravenshadow13
 


I have never felt an attraction to any religion.
It was forced upon me by my mother and she doesn't even know why she believes it.

If two parents have different religious beliefs, why might a child feel a preferance to one towards another if they are raised equally with both?

I think they would side with the more dominant parent that they might like a bit better or think more of.

Do parents who provide more religious options for their children ultimately have better relationships with them?

I don't think so...I don't even talk to my mom and have no respect for her.

With the widespread internet and more world travel, is it appropriate to allow a child to investigate and try other religions before choosing one? Or traditionally should the child follow what their parents follow.

I think it is more then appropriate to let a child figure things out themselves.It is wrong to fertilize a childs mind when he is too naive to know any better.

Is there a conspiracy regarding parenting and religion which ensures the continuation of specific religions in the future? AKA- "We believe it is wrong for you to be any religion but x and raise your child as such" which, over time and throughout the world, cements that religion in place for that sole traditional reason?

I don't think it is a conspiracy so much as it is just plain ignorance.
I love questions like this.





posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 11:29 AM
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Originally posted by ravenshadow13
reply to post by mblahnikluver
 


That's probably what I would do. But I think that my grandparents' generation was more strict about ensuring that their children followed the religion that they themselves followed. But even today, many parents decide for their children.

What about baptisms? Circumscisions? Bar mitzvahs? When you're a kid, especially a baby but even until 18 really, your parents decide things for you. You can get confirmed, whatever. It could me meaningless to you. You may not even WANT to. What happens when you go through everything and decide later on you didn't want any of it to begin with?

You can't reverse some things like that.


My grandparents were a little concerned with my mom not raising us the way she was raised. My mom said she didnt really like it growing up but she had no choice back then so she wanted us to decide for ourselves. I knew about the Catholic religion growing up from my grandparents and my mom. My grandfather was the one who was most upset over it but he understood and never tried to force any of us to follow his faith. I was never baptised and some people say mean things because I wasnt but IMO I dont feel any different and I sure dont feel like I will not go to "heaven" because of it.
No you cant reverse those things and I honestly dont know how one would deal with it because I never went through that. I feel like I fit into many different religious categories but I dont claim one in particular.



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 11:29 AM
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Originally posted by DrumsRfun

... she doesn't even know why she believes it.
- Could it be because her parents did?

I think they would side with the more dominant parent that they might like a bit better or think more of.
- I think so, too. Or, even though it sounds completely wrong, if the kid grew up liking the gifts and traditions that came with one religion over another, it could condition them to associate positive things with the religion in general and they would be more likely to stick with it in the future.

I don't even talk to my mom and have no respect for her.
-But it sounds like you didn't have a lot of options with your religion growing up. Maybe if she gave you more choices and didn't force it upon you, you could have gotten along better?

I don't think it is a conspiracy so much as it is just plain ignorance.
I love questions like this.
- Me too. I'm starting to think though that somehow religions needed a way to gaurantee their survival. And this is it.



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 11:29 AM
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My daughter has always called God, She, who am I to tell her otherwise.

When our friend died she told me that he had gone to Heaven and that he was ok and that if he wanted to come back he could find a hole and crawl through it.

These are her beliefs and I can't tell her any different because I have no right.

Think I'll follow her religion, let the child teach me a thing or two !



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 11:31 AM
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reply to post by mblahnikluver
 


I know lots of people who were baptized and confirmed and regard it as a waste of time later on. But since they don't follow that religion, the ceremonies were meaningless.

I guess that's okay for them. But what if... you're raised one religion and you have to convert to the religion that you want? It's common, but I think converts are regarded with less respect in some religious communities. Like, if you have to be baptized as an adult.

It's strange to think about.



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 11:34 AM
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reply to post by scared angel
 


That's so sweet, first of all!
But I wonder where her religious beliefs came from, if not from you. With television, friends, who knows what... I'm not saying her in general but I have little cousins who have said similar things and I just can't fathom where they get it from.

I wonder what sort of religious beliefs would develop if a child was completely isolated from hearing about religion. Not something to try, of course! But a cool hypothetical psychology experiment.



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 11:35 AM
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Originally posted by ravenshadow13
Originally posted by DrumsRfun

... she doesn't even know why she believes it.
- Could it be because her parents did?

I think they would side with the more dominant parent that they might like a bit better or think more of.
- I think so, too. Or, even though it sounds completely wrong, if the kid grew up liking the gifts and traditions that came with one religion over another, it could condition them to associate positive things with the religion in general and they would be more likely to stick with it in the future.

I don't even talk to my mom and have no respect for her.
-But it sounds like you didn't have a lot of options with your religion growing up. Maybe if she gave you more choices and didn't force it upon you, you could have gotten along better?

I don't think it is a conspiracy so much as it is just plain ignorance.
I love questions like this.
- Me too. I'm starting to think though that somehow religions needed a way to gaurantee their survival. And this is it.


That is exactly what her parents did.They actually kept her locked in an attic for the first few years of her life because she was born out of wedlock.
When it comes to the mom thing its really a bigger can of worms I am dealing with but being forced to go to church didn't help either.

I think when it comes down to it,it should be like the economy...if it can't survive then let it fall.
Its just more insecurity and that speaks volumes to me.
If it needs that much help surviving then that says alot to me.



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 11:40 AM
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Originally posted by DrumsRfun

That is exactly what her parents did.They actually kept her locked in an attic for the first few years of her life because she was born out of wedlock.
-Jeeze. That's extreme. That's not right. It's things like that which cement my philosophy that religion is fine as a belief system but once it starts messing with your day to day life... something is wrong.

I think when it comes down to it,it should be like the economy...if it can't survive then let it fall.
Its just more insecurity and that speaks volumes to me.
If it needs that much help surviving then that says alot to me.
- I think it's outdated, personally. I also think that it's so vague, no one knows what to make of it anymore. And there is too much conflict.

And like... the way many parents address religion isn't "We believe that God is this and that He had a son named Jesus who did this and we think this is right because..." Instead, they say "God is real and Jesus was real and this happened this way."

Even if they said it the former way, kids do have really extreme imaginations. Not that religion is made up necessarily, but they may really believe it is more probably and likely than they would if they were introduced to it later in life. Pair that with the fact that kids listen to their parents (most of the time) and look up to them and how they act and what they believe... it just works. It shouldn't, it's not right, it limits the spiritual experience of the individial... but it works.



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 11:58 AM
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Originally posted by ravenshadow13
Originally posted by DrumsRfun

Even if they said it the former way, kids do have really extreme imaginations. Not that religion is made up necessarily, but they may really believe it is more probably and likely than they would if they were introduced to it later in life. Pair that with the fact that kids listen to their parents (most of the time) and look up to them and how they act and what they believe... it just works. It shouldn't, it's not right, it limits the spiritual experience of the individial... but it works.


I can compare it with how I do music.
When I am writing a new tune or recording something new,I try to make sure not to listen to any other music as I want no influences so that I know that what I make was made purely of my own thoughts.(even though I know my influences do creep in there regardless but I try)
When I listen to music I can hear the influence of what I have been listening to turn up in my song.
Its the same as religion.When you have heard something your whole life and have been influenced then it is not your thoughts...its someone elses.
If they were taught nothing and questioned it themselves then they would come to more pure realizations without anybody elses influence and thoughts.
Being taught religion makes your spiritual journey unpure for the fact that the thoughts you have had about it have been placed there and are not your own thoughts.

Even if you are wrong you are being influenced by yourself and yourself only and have nobody to blame but yourself so it makes it have a bit more merit in the grand sceme of things.
I hope i made sense!!



If I told you a nursery rhyme and said it was true your whole life...you might actually believe the cow jumped over the moon.



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 12:23 PM
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reply to post by DrumsRfun
 


"When you have heard something your whole life and have been influenced then it is not your thoughts...its someone elses."

That's exactly what I was trying to say! You're so eloquent.



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 12:38 PM
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This question has been bantered about in one form or another for centuries. I see it as part of the reasoning behind caste-based societies; after all, if a child is raised by someone who knows nothing except peasantry, how could they ever be more than a peasant?

The actual answer, IMHO, is that yes, to some extent a child will gravitate toward their parents' religious values. They will also gravitate toward their parents' political positions, their parents' moral foundations, their parents' world views, etc., etc., etc. That is the way life works: one will become comfortable with familiarity.

That does not mean that a child will necessarily keep their parents' viewpoints, however. The prisons are full of young adults incarcerated for something that their parents would never have done. Voting rolls are filled with young people who are now voting opposite their parents. And it follows that a great number of young adults are also of a different religious persuasion than their parents.

When we are born, we are born with no knowledge of how the world we find ourselves in works. It is the responsibility of our parents to provide us with the teaching and training to learn to handle ourselves in society. That training is more physical than oral; the actions our children see us taking mean much more than the words they hear us speaking. Children seem to be very adept at recognizing hypocrisy. A parent who relaxes with a six-pack of Bud every night after work can cry about the dangers of alcohol until they are blue in the face; it will do no good, because their actions say alcohol is a good way to relax.

This extends to religious beliefs as well. I was very good when I was younger at finding the errors in the religious teachings I was exposed to. The preacher could lecture all day on the ills of alcohol, but if he drank a beer after he went home, his hypocrisy became all too apparent. He could berate the parents in the congregation for the way they raised their children, but it meant nothing when his was in trouble with the law on a regular basis. He could talk until doomsday about the evils of anger, but all it took was one flare of temper to make it all a moot point.

So at some certain age, children will begin to question things for themselves. They will try new ideas and new methods of dealing with the perceived ills of society. A well-raised child will be able to make these adjustments without falling into the same old traps that history is full of, but too many young people today seem so willing to simply throw away everything they experienced in their youth in favor of the same old thing that has plagued mankind for ages. That can be communism, blind trust in politicians, blanket denial of other views, racism, anger, class envy... the list goes on and on.

The most dangerous of these traps is the idea that one must be right and no other viewpoint can be tolerated, much less allowed to flourish. It is the basis for tyranny. Ultimately, the question posed by the OP will turn to the idea of not allowing parents to instill these "antiquated" beliefs in their children. After all, it is society's place to protect the children in it, right?

But let's examine the practical aspects of this idea: how does one enforce such a program? Who is deemed able and unable to properly raise a child? Is it the ones who pray before every meal? Or perhaps the ones who do not pray at all, but who regularly get drunk and beat each other? Should someone who ambles be prevented from passing this habit on? How about someone who smokes? Perhaps someone who does not agree with the political party in power at the time? And don't forget about the guy who spit on the sidewalk in front of your house, or the neighbor who let his yard get too high. Neither should we forget to make sure that the old man down the block who drives an older car should never be allowed to pass on such a ridiculous habit to his offspring!

I think everyone can see where I am going with this: when we even consider the possibility that societal ills can be attributed to parental involvement, we consider removing that one thing most important to the children we wish to protect: the love and support of a family. And we can even consider doing so for the most asinine reasons imaginable. Now I know no one on this thread has suggested such a thing, but it is an inherent integral part of such a discussion. Whenever one begins to focus on a potential problem, someone will demand it be "solved" regardless of the totalitarian means necessary to do so.

I would think that we have the best method of child-rearing that is possible in a society: each parent acts as they see fit to (hopefully) improve their offspring's chances in life. Outside intrusion should (and must) be limited to the fringe aspects where child abuse or torturous neglect is apparent. That way, each child becomes a limited experiment in societal adaptation, able to succeed or fail on the basis of their choices, instilled by their parents. Should one fail, then that failure is limited to that one; should one succeed, then others can adopt similar methods to increase the chances of success for their offspring, allowing successful results to flourish and improve society.

There will always be holdouts to every success. That is simply human. But such are inherently short-lived and limited in scope, as the position in society of those who fail to raise well-adjusted children will be doomed to generations of failure. This sounds cruel but it is still preferable to any attempt to 'standardize' what children should be taught from a moral point of view, where a single failure can be repeated ad infinitum throughout a generation and a nation.

Yes, a child's early exposure is no doubt a factor. No, I don't think that is a problem.

TheRedneck



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 12:48 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


You make some excellent points.

My only concern is the religious customs that parents may expose their children to at an early age which are irreversible. A parent may baptize their child because they are Catholic and expect their child to be Catholic, but when the child decides that he or she does not want to be associated with that religion it is in a way too late. They are automatically registered. Although it may not affect the child in the long run, they are technically Catholic. Generally people assicate your religion as the religion you were born with, not the one you choose. This especially has repricussions for religions with bad reputations or religions that are racially linked.

Religion is brought before a child at an early age. It isn't really like parents sit before their child and explain it when they reach a certain maturity level. Maybe it's because of holidays, or because parents want their kids to start on the "right path" early on. But many kids are getting religious education even before they can read.

Although it may not be harmful in the long run, I do think it is a problem. Especially with so many options out there, and a greater respect for agnostic beliefs or even choosing to form your own beliefs and remain uncategorized.



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 12:51 PM
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Originally posted by ravenshadow13
reply to post by mblahnikluver
 


I know lots of people who were baptized and confirmed and regard it as a waste of time later on. But since they don't follow that religion, the ceremonies were meaningless.

I guess that's okay for them. But what if... you're raised one religion and you have to convert to the religion that you want? It's common, but I think converts are regarded with less respect in some religious communities. Like, if you have to be baptized as an adult.

It's strange to think about.


My best friends husbands family converted from being Catholic to Jewish. They said they did their family tree and found out their families religious origins were Jewish so they converted. They seemed to be ok with it but others thought they were a bit crazy.



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 12:55 PM
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reply to post by mblahnikluver
 


I've known a handful of people who converted to Judaism. It's a huge ordeal and some people don't like it. My boyfriend's mom actually almost converted and now she's a Christian Priest. Episcopalian.

And I mean, you can be Bar/Bat Mitzvahed later in life but it's kind of awkward and you miss out on it as a kid.

But if you are Jewish and you step away from the religion, you could have a Bar/Bat Mitzvah wasted because you didn't really want it or believe in it.

It goes both ways. I think religious ceremonies should be put off until you're comfortable enough in the religion to know it's what you want, at least for awhile.

Lots of people my age, teenagers, even younger kids, really really don't want to go to Church or here or there or do whatever. They don't believe it, they don't like it, they do it because they have to. And that's not what religion is about.



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 01:02 PM
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reply to post by ravenshadow13
 


I think you have to look at it this way. A parent who believes in a certain religion believes that religion is good for them or they wouldnt partcipate. So naturally if they think it is good for them they are going to raise their child with the same beliefs, customs, ceremonies, etc...

Not believing in anything is also a belief system, so raising a kid as an atheist is no different the raising them as a Christian, Muslim, Catholic, etc...

We are all going to learn belief systems from our parents one way or another. I dont really believe the Bible so much anymore but I think there is great wisdom and a good model to live your life by in certain parts.

I think religions started as that...a way to pass down the knowledge of a society about certain behaviors that are good for the society they are based in. I dont really see it as wrong to teach your child religious beliefs but you need to give them the freedom once they are adult to make different choices.

[edit on 13-7-2009 by grapesofraft]



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 01:07 PM
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reply to post by grapesofraft
 


I think so, too. I think the Bible is a good place to learn respect and care from. If for no other reason, just because it's classic.

Little kids learn animals with Noah, they learn about the Garden of Eden and to listen to rules. But I think it needs to be clear that it's a story, it's a book. It's hard to explain to kids "Some people think this is true, and you can decide later on. But you need to do good things."

I think it's also easy to get kids to do the right thing to be "Like Jesus" or "Because God wants them to" or things like that. Not that it's true, but if they can relate to a story, it becomes realistic and they may be more likely to do it.

But then I guess it's hard to forget these things when you've grown up believing they are true. It's like parents have a whole system of childcare through religion, too. It's odd.



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 01:12 PM
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reply to post by ravenshadow13
 




I think it's also easy to get kids to do the right thing to be "Like Jesus" or "Because God wants them to" or things like that. Not that it's true, but if they can relate to a story, it becomes realistic and they may be more likely to do it.


LOL, depends on the kid I think. Stuff like that never worked on me and it doesnt seem to work on my kids either. Though, I have met one person that was good because he really thought Jesus could see everything he did. I find those types of people interesting.

The thing is with people like that they were just born to follow rules. It is just their personality. So if it wasnt religion it would have been something else. They just want to please their parents and adults.

Darn I wish I could sucker my kids into thinking that though




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