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Submitted on
January 17, 2013
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Religious Child Indoctrination: Request by cbMorrie Religious Child Indoctrination: Request by cbMorrie
A request for :iconmariojuggernaut23: who asked about my thoughts on religious child indoctrination.

What I said in the comic is pretty much it. Basically, it sucks, but relax, in this information age it is nearly impossible for children and young adults to not be exposed to opposing information.
Any measure to prevent religious indoctrination through law would be impractical and break too many freedoms.

Edit: I don't think I made it very clear in the short space of the comic but I'll better define how I view indoctrination here. Just because a parent is teaching their child about their religion does not mean the parent is indoctrinating their child. Teaching and indoctrinating are not interchangeable. I view indoctrination as one method of teaching that I think is wrong and limiting to children. Indoctrination is also not exclusive to religion though admittedly more commonly found there.

While religious indoctrination may cause emotional damage, it is not always the same as mental abuse which we do not tolerate as a society. Mentally abusing a child normally involves yelling at them, calling them names, or threatening to hurt them. Therefore, a child emotionally disturbed by the thought of hell is not recognized as being mentally abused. I'd agree that it is a fuzzy line and identifying children who are being mentally abused is tricky by itself but there are some signs to look for. Children who are being mentally abuse often self-harm, don't eat, are unfocused and anxious, and have considerably low self-esteem.

As for physical abuse, I was not including that in indoctrination because we do not tolerate it regardless of a parent's religion. Also, systematic physical abuse to force someone, or a child, to conform to a religion is brainwashing. Brainwashing is a darker type of indoctrination but not the same in my opinion. There are many disturbing cases of individuals being broken down and becoming compliant through torture. If a parent is almost ritually hurting a child so he/she better complies to a religion then that should be considered intolerable with no exceptions.

So my view of indoctrination is teaching a child to accept something uncritically. It is hard for me to explain an example but basically it seems to involve parents teaching their children what answers they want to hear. "Here is the conclusion. What facts can we find to support it?" The conclusion is non-negotiable which is counter-constructive to critical thinking. Everyone else is saying "Here are the facts. What conclusions can we draw from them?" If you want a good example of religious child indoctrination, I would watch Jesus Camp on youtube.


Thanks for the request!
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Owlor Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
There's a third option you didn't mention but I think are already aware of, expose religious indoctrination, show exactly what the problems with it is. Just plain holding people responsible for it, that's the sort of thing that works wonders in the long run. Just look at how many christians have a problem with religious indoctrination for example. Taking their beliefs at face value, they are endangering their children by NOT indoctrinating them, and thereby risking that they might "reject god" and burn forever in hell. yet they understand that's a really STUPID idea, because they don't have people around to help normalize and justify it. Most christian parents are prolly raising their children to be humanist, they just don't know it yet...
NekoRevan Jan 18, 2013  Student Interface Designer
Unfortunately, I read in my Criminal law that apparently children are required to participate in any religion that their parent or guardian figure requires them to be a member of.
I myself, was raised in a house where I was told if I wanted to choose a religion, I could. My mother is agnostic, if I remember correctly. I never adopted a religion, because I wasn't the type for that sort of commitment, as well as my lack of knowledge for religions.
MamaLucia Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I disagree in the cases where the child's life is at stake because of bogus "religious" understanding of medicine, or in cases like Jimmy Jones. :(

And teaching kids religion is a lot like teaching them that 2 + 2 = 5. Most kids figure out that 2 + 2 doesn't REALLY equal 5, except occasionally and under very special circumstances, so they can generally get along with the rest of the world that knows 2 + 2 = 4. But, like it or not, it is a handicap to their understanding of the world.

Much as I appreciate the threat that my telling believers how to raise their kids gives them the "right" to tell me how to raise mine, I think what reality really is should be more important than what we believe it is. :nod:
cbMorrie Mar 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Ignoring the medical needs of a child because of religious reasons would be neglect and unlawful. (At least it should be unlawful) But otherwise that is not what I counted under religious indoctrination.
TheArtisticGenius Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
My parents haven't really done this to me. More or less, they simply showed me about the religion, taught us about things, we weren't forced to do things and live strictly religious, which is good. Islam says 'no compulsion in religion' so it encourages parents to let their children learn a little about other religions and be more tolerant to those who aren't Muslim.

Peace :)
cbMorrie Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That's a good policy to live by. =D
Yep, saw the ending coming. There is a light at the end of the tunnel :)
cbMorrie Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yup, I had to have the final say. XD
I was raised by religious fanatics.... I was physically and mentally abused, and brainwashed every day of my life until I got away from my mother.
Thank the gods I managed to break away from it... Yes, parents have the right to teach children as they want to... but they shouldn't FORCE their religion down their throats.
cbMorrie Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I made some clarification in the comment to better define indoctrination as not the same thing as abuse.
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