Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H

Dogmatic Upbringing and Non-Dogmatic Upbringing Contrasted

Christianity claims to be about the meaning of life. It claims a monopoly on telling you what life is for.

It claims a monopoly in particular for telling your child what life is for! It acts through parents and guardians. They cannot say they are acting for themselves. They are not. They baptise and allow and facilitate and agree to the indoctrination of the child.

It claims that it is to help you see that you do not give your life meaning. You need light to see what the meaning is.

In the light of such claims, indoctrination must be understood as particularly cruel - unless Christianity really is the true religion.

Even atheists who rail against child indoctrination worry about giving a person the right to sue those who indoctrinated him or her. They hold that atheist parents may end up in court as well accused of indoctrinating.

To protect against abuse, only a selection of cases should be allowed to go forward to avoid opening the floodgates.

And also, the allegation should be well supported by testimony and be of an unusually serious nature. For example, if a picture of Hell is put up in your bedroom to remind you that you must not question the Church despite the affect it has on you. Or if you are beaten up for not going to Mass.

Religion through and with parents claims that it is a duty to teach religion to children in such a way that the children are required and expected to believe the religion. With this, a religion is taught as true. It is not taught in a neutral and comparative way. It will be claimed that children will only be confused and think one religion is as good as another if it is. Teaching a religion as true and teaching about other religions in a neutral way could result in as much confusion if not more. Children will be confused if they are taught there is only one true religion and when they hear about several religions. The Church will have to assert that if confusion is to be avoided the child must be taught nothing about other religions at all and demand that only Catholicism must be taught.

If the children consider one religion as good as another they will tend to take on board teachings such as respect one another and do not steal and so on. Such ideas are common to all religions. They will not be confused in the matters that really count. My problem with some religions is that though they teach good things, they throw in ideas that destroy them. The good ends up warped.

Children will not be confused if they are taught to respect others and themselves. In fact Catholics telling children rubbish such as Mary having a baby without sex will be confusing for they know that sex is needed for babies. Can you imagine many kids caring how Mary had a baby? Or how Jesus can turn into a wafer? Or how a priest can take away sin in baptism? Kids see and hear magic when they hear such things. Then they are confused by being told that magic is nonsense and a sin. The Church does not care if children are confused. It pretends to worry about children being confused if they are taught religion in a neutral way only because it wants to have a hold over them. It is not confusing the children that bothers them but that the children might find a religion that suits them better and fulfils them better than Roman Catholicism.

Is it not worse to frighten a child by saying that he will go to Hell if he fails to believe or obey the Church than to confuse the child?

There is no convincing argument for indoctrinating the child. Let us compare indoctrination and being neutral on religion. What is best for the child?


DOGMATIC UPBRINGING Lots of people claim that their religious upbringing never did them any harm and was good for them

NON-DOGMATIC UPBRINGING But many disparage their religious indoctrination. Also it depends on the religion. A Buddhist indoctrinating a child will not do the same harm as a Fundamentalist Christian or Muslim indoctrinating a child will. It also depends on what the child is being told. A heretical Christian who teaches the child that you pick and choose what makes you feel good seems not to be indoctrinating but they are. They are saying the faith is not worth taking seriously and you should lie that you can be a true Christian and that dishonest!

Indoctrination is bad. To say it is not as the dogmatists do, is simply to claim that the end justifies the means. The manipulation of children is wrong no matter how good the results are. The victims should be disturbed by it.

DOGMATIC UPBRINGING Claims religious indoctrination is acceptable for children are indoctrinated anyway - for example, in geography at school

NON-DOGMATIC UPBRINGING Claims that religious indoctrination is wrong for it cannot be verified as geography can. Claims that accidental indoctrination is one thing but deliberate is another and is unacceptable. Claims that religious belief depends on indoctrination more than any other kind of instruction given to the child. Claims that it depends on wilful and deliberate indoctrination.

We know there is such a thing as subtle abuse. If religious indoctrination, even in a mild form, doesn't qualify then what does?

Secularists want crucifixes removed from classrooms and want schools to have only the option of teaching religion in a neutral way or not teaching it at all and teaching ethics instead. They do not care about creating a non-offensive environment for children from different faiths but about promoting atheism.

Removing crucifixes from classrooms and making religious teaching optional and only tolerating it if it is neutral and avoids indoctrination is not promoting atheism. It leaves the children free to make up their own minds. It is about being neutral and fair to all faiths. A Catholic school that has no crucifix is not promoting atheism. It may be trying to promote an environment where all feel welcome. The welcoming itself could be a tool for Catholic evangelism. If Muslims get a great impression of Catholics they might think about Catholic teaching and become interested in becoming Catholic.

DOGMATIC UPBRINGING It is child abuse not to indoctrinate your child against the errors of non-Christians. We must prepare the child for a merciful judgment and saying nothing means the child could grow up to die estranged from God and sentenced to everlasting torment

NON-DOGMATIC UPBRINGING This is just hate speech.

Anybody can invent a religion that makes similar threats. Naturally the Christian has to teach that indoctrinating children is saving them from the everlasting torment of Hell. This definitely implies that raising a child as undecided or as an unbeliever is child abuse of the most horrific kind. Christianity slanders and rouses hatred against those who don't share its twisted views on raising children. Their doctrine of eternal torment in Hell certainly implies that the Law should not tolerate any indoctrination except their brand of religion.

DOGMATIC UPBRINGING False religion does harm to children by indoctrinating, the true religion does not.
The true religion informs but does not indoctrinate. Error is always bad even when it does good. It can make you opposed to the disciples of truth even though you don't mean to be. It always harms truth and often leads to hurt and trouble.

NON-DOGMATIC UPBRINGING All forms of religious indoctrinating of the child are manipulative. The indoctrination is abusive in that sense. To tell a child that he must love God as much as Jesus said, that he has original sin, that people go to Hell at death if they don't believe or obey God, that God may hurt and kill people and that he must be very upset by any sin he sees is strong child abuse.

Any religion can say: False religion does harm to children by indoctrinating, the true religion does not. They mean that when a child is told its teaching is true that is informing but if any other religion does the same thing its not informing but indoctrinating. They see indoctrinating as teaching false doctrine. It is not. People can be indoctrinated in TRUE doctrine too.


DOGMATIC UPBRINGING If a child grows up to reject the faith, we don't try to compel her or him to return. Therefore our indoctrinating children isn't wrong. We may baptise a child but the child can reject that baptism when he or she gets older.

NON-DOGMATIC UPBRINGING Yes but what about now? You still take and seek an unfair advantage. The child can suffer grave trauma later in life as he or she tries to extricate himself or herself from the faith especially if that faith claims to be essential to genuine goodness and if it says people go to Hell if they leave it. Are you saying it is okay to do wrong to a child now for later he or she can get over it?

If you are really concerned about treating the child fairly, if you really believe the child should decide when old enough, then it must be wrong to impose a religion on that child to give that child the bother of perhaps renouncing the religion later on! You claim that baptism confers an obligation on the child to believe and obey the faith that baptises it. You are making out that if a child rejects the baptism or church membership that the child is letting you down and breaking loyalty and has no sense of duty to the faith. You are urging the child to live up to the baptism on pain of sin and everlasting torment in Hell. In other words, you are acting like a spiritual bully. You are a bigot.

DOGMATIC UPBRINGING If children are not taught to believe what we believe, they will believe any rubbish. We abhor superstition.

NON-DOGMATIC UPBRINGING It is true that many people get alienated from their religion and soon start looking to mediums and tarot cards to find meaning in life. They are merely exchanging one superstition for another. To a Protestant, Catholic miracles are superstition. To Catholics Islamic miracles are superstition. Miracles are not really any different from magic. Christians say that Jesus rising from the dead by God's power is a miracle. If a witch did it, they would be saying it was magic. They are being arbitrary. They are being superstitious.

DOGMATIC UPBRINGING The child must be baptised and made a member of the Church without his or her consent

NON-DOGMATIC UPBRINGING Consent is all important. The child will not feel, "I am better than Zainab next door for she was never baptised to put God's spirit in her" if he or she is not baptised. Religion collects people into a community that separates from other communities in the name of dogma - in this sense it is worse than racism. The person who separates from members of his own race will find it easy to start discriminating against and distancing from people of other races!

Original sin says we are born with a sense of rejecting God and being rejected by him so we don't want him. This doctrine is used as a justification for infant baptism which allegedly cures it when clearly if the child is made anti-God only a personal free choice can reverse that. You have to presume consent not to be baptised.

DOGMATIC UPBRINGING Baptism turns the sinful child into a holy person. Being baptised is a great protection against the desire to do evil.

NON-DOGMATIC UPBRINGING The child doesn't have to pretend baptism made a difference. Catholicism should be sued for making claims about the supernatural power of baptism to make a person very good and holy and yet if you compare baptised and unbaptised people you see little difference. This is deliberate spiritual deception. The Church could be sued for the return of the baptismal fee or quackery.

DOGMATIC UPBRINGING The child is told that the Roman Catholic religion is the only right one, the only reliable one

NON-DOGMATIC UPBRINGING The child is taught about different religions and none. The child is encouraged to pick what he or she likes out of them provided it is helpful to her or him becoming a decent person. All pros and cons will be brought before the child. It should not be about making the child an atheist or anything. It should be about informing the child and supporting the child.

DOGMATIC UPBRINGING The child will be urged to thank God at meals and pray in accordance with the rules of the Church.

NON-DOGMATIC UPBRINGING There will be no pressure either way

DOGMATIC UPBRINGING The best child, at least potentially, is a Catholic child

NON-DOGMATIC UPBRINGING The best child is a child who is willing to learn and improve and to decide because he or she thinks about people before he or she thinks about God or religious rules or religious organisations

DOGMATIC UPBRINGING The child is taught that the rules of the Church and the commandments of God tell us how to behave

NON-DOGMATIC UPBRINGING The child is taught to understand why he or she must behave in a good way. If the child understands, the child will see guidance as loving and not as authoritarian and something to be rebelled against. If the child does wrong, he or she will feel that he or she can be a better person using his or her inner resources.

Experiencing the confidence that comes from learning for yourself instead of being dictated to, the child gets a boost in the motivation to do better. A child that finds wisdom instead of other people trying to manipulate the child to have their ideas of wisdom has the self-confidence to overcome the failure.