Thursday, May 14, 2009

Is religion or atheism a form of child abuse?

"Why shouldn't a bunch of bible-bangers brainwash the next generation." From the lips of Law and Order's tough Detective Lennie Briscoe

“Most people are religious because they’re raised to be. They’re indoctrinated by their parents.”
So goes the rationale of my nonreligious friends.

Maybe, but a study entitled “Faith in Flux” issued this week by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life questioned nearly 3,000 people and found that most children raised unaffiliated with a religion later chose to join one. Indoctrination be damned. By contrast, only 14 percent of those raised Catholic and 13 percent of those raised Protestant later became unaffiliated.

A few of the new atheists like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris have all hinted at the dangers of religious education of children. Perhaps governments should consider it a form of abuse.

A new Pew study opens a new window on childhood religious or irreligious training. Religion is just indoctrination? Maybe it's unbelief that has to be inculculcated in order to keep the infection of faith from taking hold. See this NYT column and the Pew study behind it.


  1. I think we need to raise a generation of skeptics and free-thinkers. Teaching our children what to think in my opinion isn't as good as teaching them how to think. If my ideology/religion is truly right, then my kids will be able to find it using their own senses and reason. What I should do is encourage critical thinking and an inquisitive attitude. As Socrates once said, "The unexamined life is not worth living."

  2. Are you familiar with Catholic Pedagogy and the variety of thinkers it produces?
    -St. Archbishop Nicolas Steno, the “Father of Geology”
    -Abbot Gregor Mendel, the “Father of Genetics”
    -Franciscan Friar, Roger Bacon, the “Father of Scientific Laws”
    -Blaise Pascal, the “Father of Hydrostatics”
    -Archdeacon Nicolaus Copernicus, “the Father of Heliocentrism”
    -Msgr. George Lemaitre, the “Father of the Big Bang theory”

    If you are implying that the Catholic Church is an obstacle to reasoned thinking then I challenge you to explain why the Catholic Church has contributed more to the advancement of human intellectual thought than any other institution in history?

    All you need to do is google search "1000 Years of Catholic Scientists" and you can find an even more comprehensive list than the one provided for you here.

  3. You also do ill by neglecting the over 90 universities that the Roman Catholic Church constructed during the middle ages.

    Philosophically speaking, you do not have to be Catholic in order to promote critical thinking, but history has already tested and proven that the Roman Catholic Church has been the MOST successful institution at elevating the intellects of men to achieve a greater understanding of our universe.