Richard Dawkins: Religion is Child Abuse

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Lauren's picture
Richard Dawkins: Religion is Child Abuse

There are a number of compelling videos on YT from Richard Dawkins about religion being child abuse. Even for me as an atheist I scoffed at the title of the videos but after viewing them I have determined that bringing up children in a religious environment is a much more serious issue than we may think. How do you feel?

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Tom Sarbeck's picture
I quit Catholicism in the

I quit Catholicism in the late 1950s, after 12 years in its schools. Since then I've told all who will listen that the mental and emotional bullying that happens in Catholic schools will someday be treated as child abuse.
The downside is that American law protected domestic animals from abuse for a century before the first such laws protected children from abuse.
BTW, leaving our children a massive debt is also a form of child abuse. It's mostly been getting bigger since the 1980s.

damanar's picture
I agree with Dawkins here,

I agree with Dawkins here, not so much for Tom's experience as I am unsure how prevalent that is, but for a cognitive skill perspective. Teaching children superstition is real teaches them that faith without evidence is a viable strategy for success. It teaches them not to question claims by authoritative figures. It teaches them that justice is not based in man, it is based in post-death. It teaches that belief is more important than living morally.

SammyShazaam's picture
I'm not sure if it qualifies

I'm not sure if it qualifies as child *abuse*, unless those who are teaching these approaches to children are themselves aware that it's an ineffective approach to life.

Although, at least in America, it might be considered child abuse to keep your child away from school systems and forcibly keep them as illiterate as possible. I believe that this qualifies as neglect, and not outright abuse, but again I am not a social worker so I have no conclusive idea.

However, I do think it parallels keeping the children's analytical skills suppressed by dogmatic religion.

Michael Clark's picture
Eveu n if you had a

Eveu n if you had a relatively happy time in a faith based school, you are left with skewed World view where what you intuatively know to be true is at odds with what teachers, priests, imams, parents and roll models tell us.

Some spend years agonising over this until they free themselves yolk of superstition. Some never break free and either; remain tormented for the rest of their of their lives, suspend all critical faculties or in the most extreme cases end up insane; institutionalized or a threat to themselves and others.

mysticrose's picture
My parents are religious

My parents are religious people and when I was young they encourage me to go to church and do my obligation. In fairness to them, they did not frighten me about going to hell during few times that I felt lazy waking up and attend to early masses. I agree that too much discipline while using the name of religion to demand proper attitude to a child is one way of abusing him/her emotionally and spiritually.

Trevor's picture
It really is child abuse if

It really is child abuse if you think about it. The children are raised to fear using their common sense and questioning anything related to religion. This is definitely along the lines of abuse.

Zaphod's picture
Yes, raising people to live a

Yes, raising people to live a life based on fear is one of the most disabling things I can think of to raise a child into. People should be raised to understand right from wrong and respect for others human and non-human lifeforms alike. People should make the right decisions because they they are good people not because they fear God will punish them if they are bad.

Rob's picture
It's ok if you have a family

It's ok if you have a family that raises you in any religious doctrine, but also makes sure you do not fear any consequences if you dont care to attend church or if you dont pray. The way it becomes abuse is when you get fear into the mix.

SammyShazaam's picture
I had this discussion with my

I had this discussion with my teacher and a few other students in one of my labs this year. We were talking about the differentiation of the hemispheres of the brain, and what that meant for people who are left-handed vs right-handed. According to brain scans, people who are lefthanded have less specialization of the hemispheres due to having to cope with a world built for right handedness... which has several effects on the brain and the personality that's built on it, I'm not going to dish that out here :)

I was wondering what this meant for Catholics, and raised the point. I was born left handed, and my nervous system shows this. My father was as well. However, in Catholic schools (which are the only acceptable choice for our culture, even though both my father and I are non-religious) we were literally beaten until we were right handed. My teacher also had the same experience. I had never thought anything of it, but one of my classmates had not been raised Catholic, and was appalled that there was a school system that openly beat children's left hands until they could no longer be used to write, so as to force them to use their right hands for penmanship...

I suppose that is rather barbaric isn't it? So, I suppose that I do see at least one way where religion can be equated to child abuse. Nevermind the pedophile scandals that erupt *constantly* from the church.

Matty Arnold's picture
The notion of hell is abusive

The notion of hell is abusive, plain and simple. Telling a child that they will burn for eternity once they die is disgusting. And as one victim of child abuse through religious proxy that Dawkins interviewed put it, to an adult Hell may be metaphorical, but such powerful images of hellfire are very real and very damaging to a child.

James's picture
It is child abuse to threat

It is child abuse to threat kids with hell for being a "bads" kids but it is even worst that religious people are the ones whom molest them the most...

mysticrose's picture
When I quit Catholicism, I

When I quit Catholicism, I promised myself not to force my children to do religious stuffs if they don't understand it yet. I will not allow anybody to obliged them to go to church even if they saw children going there. When I was in elementary, being in a country where most people are Catholics, I saw how my non-catholic classmates received different treatment from some religious teachers.

DarkLight's picture
I think Dawkins is completely

I think Dawkins is completely right.Forcing children into religion is like condeming them to give money to a corrupt entity that has always existed to make money at the expense of fear to go to hell, and at the expense of believeing you have something up there protecting you while you are here.

News flash people, you are your only protector, with maybe the exception of a handful of people in your life, you are on your own for the most part.

SammyShazaam's picture
Just thinking of it, but most

Just thinking of it, but most parts of the bible, if rated by today's standards for protecting kids from media, would be PG at best. If it's abuse to take your toddlers to see Rambo, then it's best to keep them away from Isaiah.

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