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Is teaching religion child abuse?

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posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 05:06 AM
reply to post by pieman

parents teach their children that there is a god and he needs to be worshiped and prayed to etc.

You missed out "Or else" Pieman (happy new year by the way) which is the important bit the child is taught through fear George Carlin sums it up better than I.

Why don't we offer kids both sides of the discussion from the outset why aren't children taught that what the bibles have to say is only what the parent believes to be true an not necessarily true ?

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 05:33 AM
reply to post by muzzleflash

Here is what you Anti-Religious nuts say "Think as I think or DIE!!!"

Way to sensationalize the statement in order to insult only.

Did I say *all* religious people? No.

Did I say think as I think or die? No.

Why don't you digest that one for a minute without taking a statement out of context you nitwit.

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 05:34 AM
reply to post by moocowman

This is going to be a long post so i will have to split it up. But i will answer all parts of your question, i am not purposefully ignoring parts of it but it might seem that way for now.

I understand what you mean but i feel that there are things you are either ignoring or unconscious of. Your question asks that if believing in somethng that isn't real, an "invisible man," is harmful because the supposed invisible man will kill or torture them for not obeying him. In order for what i have deduced to be your a priori on the question, "yes it is harmful and because the concept is very basic, therefore it is 100% true 100% of the time" Therefore it relies on truths that are unestablished. It relies on the non-existence of a god, but the idea that "god is not real" is not a scientifically or philosophically veritable term. The very nature of god makes this impossible. Like carl sagan once said, god can be relegated to distant places and times therefore in order to say there is no god would require a great deal of knowledge about our universe. Despite the advances we have made in our time since carl sagans death and work we still do not know much about our universe. We have observed less than one percent and at any moment those observations can be rendered invalid. That is the nature of science. Therefore to make the assumption that this is harmful because it teaches kids about something that does not exist is not a scientific nor philosophically valid argument. It would be like me arguing that because dark energy or superstrings do not exist it is harmful to teach people about them. Or because there is not a transitional fossil for one certain animal evolving into an other animal it means that inter-species evolution does not exist. This is a very basic concept both scientifically and philosophically. Undiscovered knowledge does not equate to an absence of knowlege or proof.

The second part of your question relies on the assumption that it is fact that god actually willfully kills people for not listening to him. This is a very gross generalization but it should be noted that this is a very possible scenario.

First off it relies on chapters and verses in the bible that say that disobeying god is putting oneself at risk for death or torture. This is not 100% true, it is 100% possible and in the bible and other abrahimic texts there are verses that support this notion. So you are right to a certain degree. the reason this is not 100% true is because god does NOT kill everyone who disobeys him. In the bible did god kill adam and torture adam and eve? No. Do homosexuals get dragged down to the pits of hell when they willingly have sex with members of their own sex? No, in fact some of them attend church and can receive spiritual unions in Jewish temples or gay friendly protestant churches? Why are these churches not being destroyed by god and why did they even exist in the first place if this supposed word of god is true? The logical answers is that god either did not care to begin or is no longer concerned by such things. This also could serve as evidence that god does not exist to begin with.

And that brings me to the third point. The bible is NOT gods true 100% solid word. God is capable of changing his mind and as such we can not assume that the bible or other texts are accurate depictions of gods will and testament. The basis for this conclusion makes itself evident in multiple ways, for example when you Said that the only record of 2 million jews leaving egypt was in the bible and Tanakh. You said that from the city of Aten there is believed to be a monotheistic cult much like judaism which could mean that judaism itself is a branch off and adaptation of this cult. Not an actual religion forged by an actual jewish god. This is why when reading the bible or other texts we must take into account possible historic contradictions, its context within church history, and then into the context of what was then contemporary culture. We have to determine what isn't the word of god and what is the word of man. This is not an easy task, but because of it we have multiple ways of interpreting what is and is not gods word. Therefore when the bible says that Something is a sin or that you will be punished for certain acts we must assume the possibility that it is the word of man trying to impose control, Homosexuality is a prime example of this. In ancient meditterranean cultures homosexual rape and intercourse was used to either gain political power or to reduce a persons social standing as well as for mutual sexual pleasure. What is the bible actually referring to when it says that laying with a man is a sin? Same thing with the kosher laws, it is possible that god or one of his followers set up these laws so as to keep man healthy, not to be spiritually clean. What does this all mean? Very simply it means gods judgement is not knowable by mortal man. When we say god will punish you we say that with faith, not with fact. The bible itself touches on this very issue saying that god is the ultimate judge and for that we can not assume what is and is not gods judgement.

But here is the thing. You are right. There are people who tell their children that a god that may not exist will torture and kill them for disobeying him. Personally this is not the god i know. There are people who pray to god to heal them and in turn receive no physical healing. This we can safely assume. So yes in that context it is harmful to teach your kid about an invisible man who will torture and kill you for disobeying him. However this is not the truth, the truth itself is unknown to us. To me the sin is not that they tell their kid they will die at the hands of a non-existant god, The real harm is that they assume god agrees with their notion that their child will die at his hands. And for that alone the parents should be admonished. But it may not be my right to pass judgment such as that. I am not an authority when it comes to the nature and psychology of god. At best i am a humanly biased observer

The only real truth we may be able to attribute to the god question is that god is not knowable by current scientific means and can be relegated both possible and impossible by philosophical means. That is the most logical conclusion we can make without relying on an a priori.

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 05:40 AM

Originally posted by moocowman
reply to post by pieman

(happy new year by the way)

happy new year, sorry, never thought to say, it seems so long ago......

You missed out "Or else" Pieman which is the important bit the child is taught through fear

that's a whole discussion by itself, i'ld imagine that if a child is taught religion through fear they are probably taught everything through fear. that speaks to the mind of the parent and their abilities. the subject being taught isn't the issue, it the parent's teaching method.

Why don't we offer kids both sides of the discussion from the outset why aren't children taught that what the bibles have to say is only what the parent believes to be true an not necessarily true?

that was what you believed was right to do, with your children in your circumstances. that this is the right way to do things is just one mans opinion.

in other places and families, it might not be right for the child, might not be what the parent believes to be the way to go, might not be something the parent is equipped to teach, there's as many reasons as there are families.

i don't see any good in labeling everything you don't agree with "child abuse", as far as i'm concerned, with something this subtle, you need to have some hard indicators that something is causing children actual harm before you label it abuse.

[edit on 5/1/10 by pieman]

[edit on 5/1/10 by pieman]

[edit on 5/1/10 by pieman]

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 05:42 AM
I wasn't taught anything about God when I was little and I'm indefintely grateful for it. My twin brother and I believe in God, but not after hard searching through philosophy and metaphysics did I, myself, believe in the existence and it's heavy distortion of it in today's and yesterday's logic. I think it would be better not to be taught about God until we're of an age to grasp it greatly. I personally don't like the ostentatious atheists who don't believe in God, but I was one too. The modern Christian thinking of God is the only God I thought was meant, and that obviously enough isn't right. People who get stuck in dogmas haven't seen anything beyond what they are ready to see, we must let the people want to burst through and see what they need to and help themselves.

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 06:00 AM
reply to post by DeathShield

Can you give good reason to teach a child to love with all their heart an invisible man and call him father, when this being is alleged to do what most normal loving parents could not even consider "kill their own child"? are a very angry soul.

I'd say it is just as harmful as teaching kids that there are people who have genetic markers that make them retarded, homosexual or carriers for a rare disease and that to eliminate these things we would need to either eliminate the person or force people to alter the genetic structure of their embryos. And even then it would be pointless because genes can randomly mutate therefore there is never going to be an end to suffering in the world regardless of how religion or god free it is. That if a person is murdered the best thing you can hope for is the person to be imprisoned or killed and that education will help prevent future actions. That when they see or hear stories about babies killed by american, israeli, palestinian or japanese soldiers that that babies life was permanently extinguished and there is no way it will ever receive true retribution? To me that is exactly as harmful as telling my kid about an invisible sky wizard who kills people even though he loves them. God or not reality is a very horrible things at times, and no amount of religious or atheistic psychological conditioning will change this. The only thing we are certain of is that at some point we will cease to exist as intelligent matter and may one day completely disintigrate into a purely elemental state. Can you give me a good reason for teaching this to a child? That their life only matters in some bizzare psychological sense because matter is interacting with other matter? Why would you give a child the means to view humans and other living creatures as nothing more than a composition of what is essentially a mere happenstance of organized atomic interactions?

As for why you would tell a child to love a creature that kills its' own creation?
As of this moment i do not really have a solid answer for you, at least not one that has stood up to my personal scrutiny. The best i could tell you right now is that god allowing his children to die is a completely different thing from directly killing them. God has directly killed people, he deliberatley destroyed things in the great flood. As for his reasoning behind this? I can not tell you. I am not god. Nor am i an authority on what is and is not gods reasoning. You could argue that by allowing people to die he is indirectly killing them. It could be argued that true love is not permissive, therefore god does not let people die because he doesn't love them but because he wants their soul or spirit to perform a certain task. You'll probably ask why bother putting the person on earth at all? The answer for that would be this. If you used blue cable sleeving in your computer yet realized that you should have used red sleeving does that mean that it was pointless to use blue sleeving in the first place? No, it just means you changed your mind. What gods plan may be for you one second could radically shift in another. I know it sounds pointless since god is supposed to be omnipotent, but all it means is that god is capable of changing his mine. For what reasons and why? Again, i am not god, i can not tell you.

Moocow look, personally i am raising my kid as a jew, but should he decide at any point he doesn't want to be a jew and instead decides to become a muslim an atheist or scientologist i am still going to love him and respect his choice. I am still going to tell him that there are plenty of reasons to believe in god but he is not forced to accept them. Even though i am a messianic jew i still hold a very agnostic stance on the existence of god. There are too many ways to define god in order to definitely say what god is or isn't. The bible makes this clear to us by showing that god is an all encompassing presence of various forms and shapes. There are many ways to interpret it, you can think of god as being the universe or you could think of god as an actual physical entity that exists in planes and locations within and outside of our universe. It is a very abstract concept and any intellectually honest theist will tell you that.

I was raised in a very strict christian home up until my mom and dad split up. I know first hand how religion can be manipulated to do horrible things. And it would be foolish to say that religion has not been used to attempt justification of horrible things. What you need to understand is that it is not religion that is the problem. It is THE PEOPLE who are the problem. Would you support a ban on genetic research because it is used to justify Eugenics programs or Genetic-discrimination?

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 06:16 AM

Originally posted by moocowman
reply to post by virraszto

Why the hell do you need to "seed" the minds of your children, why not just teach your children to think and apply reason and critical thinking skills in order to make decisions ?

No it's not a good idea for children to learn about different religions it's a good idea to teach children to find commonality not invent differences.

When I said I was ok with teaching different religions in schools, I was thinking more along the lines of religion as a part of history. Not teaching religions to indoctrinate kids into any particular religion.

Didn't we learn anything about mythology in schools? I know I did way back in the 5th grade. What about Native American religions? Ancient Sumerian? Greek mythology? Celtic mythology? Paganism? Christians, the Jews Buddhism, Hinduism? Mayan, Aztec religions all the way up to the Puritans, the Mennonites, etc. Creation myths of different religions and cultures, ancient and modern.

Teaching kids about world religions, ancient and modern, is different from forcing them to adhere to and be indoctrinated by any particular religion.

Talking to my kids about say, Fred Phelps and what he stands for, does that mean I'm pushing my kids to believe as he does?

Either I didn't explain myself correctly, or you are putting much more into what I wrote. I, myself am an agnostic, but I think it's important that my kids are not totally ignorant of different religions and their histories.

[edit on 5-1-2010 by virraszto]

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 06:17 AM
reply to post by DeathShield

Wow that is a long one (lol) will respond in while have to make arrangements for my heathen children to get from school your god just decided to drop an ice cap on the UK lol.

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 06:20 AM

Originally posted by moocowman
reply to post by pieman

Why don't we offer kids both sides of the discussion from the outset why aren't children taught that what the bibles have to say is only what the parent believes to be true an not necessarily true ?

That is generally what i argue amongst my fellow Theists. One of the biggest components of being a christian or jew is conciously making the choice to "follow" god. Despite what the bible may say about raising your kids to love god it defeats the purpose of them being concious of choice and free-will. It is my opinion that it is far better to let a child or adult choose to be christian or jew than it is deliberately make them into one.

But think of it this way. Would you get upset at a parent for not teaching their kid about left or right wing politics? Would you get upset at them for not teaching them that cannabis is not linked with cancer? Why should you get upset at them for not teaching there children that there might be no god? At some point the child will learn that there are people who do not believe in god, and they can actively seek out information that argues there is no god. Unless there parents are purposely shutting them out from society then it is well within the childs grasp to learn what other people consider the truth about god.

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 06:21 AM
reply to post by NuclearPaul

I have grandchildren as well.The grandmother shouldn't have scared the
children.Children only need to be told what is appropriate for their age.
Really young children should only be told that Jesus loves them,stories
of David and Goliath,Jonah and the whale,Noah's ark...
As they grow,they will learn more,until then,baby steps.

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 06:37 AM
reply to post by moocowman

That woman in the video,was not an example of a christian woman!
She was cussing,out of control and totally wrong.

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 06:37 AM
reply to post by DeathShield

WoW DeathShield.

Your signature is really relevant to my point of view on this entire discussion.

"The bigotry of the nonbeliever is for me nearly as funny as the bigotry of the believer.

- Albert Einstein"

Couldn't have said it any better myself. And VERY relevant to this topic.

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 06:52 AM

Originally posted by mamabeth
reply to post by moocowman

That woman in the video,was not an example of a christian woman!
She was cussing,out of control and totally wrong.

What about this?

No cussing, no being out of controlled going on, just a peaceful march preaching about how God hate's fags.

[edit on 5-1-2010 by sirnex]

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 07:10 AM
Parents are responsible for their Children. As long as there isn't physical abuse or neglect then everybody should leave everyone else alone. I can't stand people who think they are better somehow then others either because they are super religious or enlightened athiests.

All I can say is that if a person is looking to take away the rights of someone else, they had better look at which rights they themselves are willing to lose. What goes around comes around. History is full of "upper classes" being slaughtered as a backlash to oppression of others.

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 07:10 AM
reply to post by sirnex

I'm sorry,but this video is not on topic,this thread is about children being
taught religion,abuse or not.Please stay on topic.

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 07:16 AM

Originally posted by mamabeth
I am not talking about religion being taught in public schools!I am asking,do you believe, teaching children about religion,is a form of child abuse? If your answer is yes,I would like for you to explain why.

Yes it is a form of abuse to not allow another human being the opportunity to decide for themselves what they will believe. Although it is most proably not child-abuse in the strictest of senses.

This is the problem with religious education.... It puts its message across as Facts, not as the Theory that it is. This is done via Indoctrination from an early age and modelled by the family, the culture and the media in order to insure no other possibility is considered.

Originally posted by mamabeth
There are so many atheists screaming about children being brainwashed by religion.Why are atheists afraid of a subject they deem to be nothing but fairy tales and myths? What harm could there be in telling children stories of Jesus, or any other religious figure?

Atheists are not afraid of religion. They are concerned with the limitations of a belief-system that is enforced from early childhood so that the person cannot ever be allowed to consider any other possibility.

The harm is when the stories are seeded as Facts. And children will believe what they are told when it is put across to them as facts.

By all means we could inform children about all religions on the world, without adding any Value-Judgements of our own. But, no one does that, instead we seek to maintain the status quo of our christian society by Indoctrination.

And YES. Teaching Doctrine is Indoctrination, like it or not.

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 07:26 AM
If you teach children the bible or the koran is the abolute truth,
which is done a lot, then I do think it is a form of mental abuse.
Allow me to explain why.
There are many contradicting stories in those books;
Like Abraham killing his son for god is presented as a good deed,
or the promise of 70 virgins in heaven if you decide to kill for allah.
Seems to me Abraham (if he ever existed) was hearing voices just like schizophrenic people do.
A book later we are not allowed to kill anymore.
Burn in hell after a mistake or forgiveness?
Children don't understand this. And they should'nt!
Also just plain lies as saying the earth is the central planet and the rest moves around it is just false and thanks to science this is out of the world of fables.
Such contradictions can be very distorting for a child, not giving it clear rules.
Children need clarity in what and what not is allowed in their environment.
Young children can not think for theirselves yet, they mostly copy what mom and dad do, thinking that is good.
Religious companies know this all too well and exploit it to the maximum possible. For the love of god?
No, for money!
Religious leaders, especially American, are filthy rich, swimming in gold taken from the weak and accrediting themselves with 'divine' powers they do not possess at all. All makebelief and superstition.
Children should be able to grow up neutrally, being able to choose religion later on if they want.
The bible is one of the best fictional stories there are in this world and reading it like that it can give you some nice insights in life if you are not able to think for yourself and listen to your environment
The book itself is not bad, and some of it seems more or less true, like Sodom and Gomorra and the great flood.
Its just not suited for kids because of the explicit violence, monsters and scientific impossibilities. (resurrection, virgin birth, miracle healing, etcetra)
There should be a 16+ rating on it in my view.
Just like on the koran and every other book describing explicit violence.
I was raised as a christian, but when I found out there are more religions like this, I was very confused. Why would 'our' god bet better than theirs?
And why would people fight about this?
I don't see any reason in killing eachother in the name of whatever god.
Their violent actions is what children see on tv or in front of their own eyes, scarring them forever in their trust in the world and respect to so called grown-up people.
Religion comes from astronomy, the worship of the sun and the beauty of nature.
Can't we just leave it there; as a guide not as truth.
With many difficulties to come in our climate, we need rational people, humble scientists that can (or at least try to) explain natural phenomena to save this world from degenerating much further.
Not people that think the end of the world is inevitable if jesus will not come to save us.
Unite, don't divide!

thank you for reading.

Sander van der Ent
the Netherlands

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 07:43 AM
Teaching a child religion is not abuse, in itself. Taking the issue too far is abuse. I am a Wiccan, as is my wife and grown son. We have two boys who are school age. Our neighbors are moderate Christians, in that they don't try to save the whole community, and they have offered to take our boys to Sunday School and Youth night at their Church. I look at this as an opportunity, I have taught them a little bit about Wiccan, and how it compares to Islam and Christianity, in general. I am completely honest with them. I think hearing another version is good for them. I also feel like they can be spies for me, if you know what I mean. Our littlest one has already had an encounter, he sees the dead, as I and many others do, and he talks to a little girl his age that died 60-80 years ago, based on her clothing. The church people told him it was a demon. I sat him down and explained to him the truth of the matter, and how some people believe what they hear, and are told, and that is how they think, and that cannot be changed. It's funny too, because Early Christians did believe in reincarnation. With all of the people who see ghosts in the world, it is a real thing to us who do see it. Some people, when they die, just stay here, for some reason or other. When you pass over you do have choices, and one choice is the stay. I will continue to let my boys go to church, at least until they come home and tell me I am going to Hell. On another note, and going to the thread topic, I have been accused of child abuse for our children about Wicca, but of course that charge refused to stick, under the First Amendment.

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 07:58 AM
reply to post by DeathShield

Can you give good reason to teach a child to love with all their heart an invisible man and call him father, when this being is alleged to do what most normal loving parents could not even consider "kill their own child"? are a very angry soul.

Whether or not I'm angry is not the issue can you just kindly answer the above ?

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 08:00 AM
Potentially, leaving a child UN-instructed in any belief system is inhuman.
Every culture teaches their offspring the beliefs of the people. Your parents determine what you are first exposed to, so obviously you can accept it or not, but soon enough, the child will be an adult and legally able to do as she or he wishes concerning belief systems.

Child abuse is child abuse. But teaching them little to nothing about God leaves them dealing with things from a sadly limited human perspective only.

Isn't that really more cruel? People need support, and the ability to gain further understanding, all their lives. I want my son to be able to find it when he seeks it, all through his lifetime. I want him to make rational decisions about his faith, and not blindly follow. Anyone with kids knows this is completely foolish, since kids are rebellious by nature to whatever their parents teach. Only as adults can they have a mature outlook about those topics of dissent. Why would the parents' religion be any different?

However, the Bible mentions that people will never be ashamed if they trust God. As a parent that wants my child to trust and believe me, it is incumbent upon me to make sure that what I teach holds up through the test of adulthood and changing times.

I came to Christ as the result of much study, questioning, observation, and finally, logical conclusion. I give my son the very best of what I have to give, and it's up to him to receive proof, and a real God has no problem providing my son or anyone else with their own front-row seat to His kingdom.

Your point is well made and well taken, Mamabeth! Thanks for giving people a chance to have an open discussion about this topic. I read the comment that inspired this thread, so I understand where you're coming from. If most people felt that way, it would become apparent in their answers, and they could make a case, rather than a baseless accusation.

People who abuse kids are abusers, period. If only abuse WAS confined to religious figures, it would be much easier to shut down.

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