In what way, and more importantly why, do you mean to teach a child religion?
I mean to teach a child religion. I have heard attributed to Richard Dawkins the claim that it is but I don't know if that's true, haven't read his books etc.
Either way I'd be interested in putting some meat on the bones of the idea and to know what people here think. At present I haven't given it a great deal of thought, I've only just come across the subject reading an article in the Guardian on superstition, but it seems an interesting topic.
Mt first instinct (note the sound rational basis!) is to say not but that comes more from being concerned we will forever add to the list of what is child abuse until it loses it's potency in describing some of the disgusting acts I've known done to children.
I suppose defining terms might help! Answers.com give this as a definition of the 4 types of child abuse - I'm happy to go with it as it seems quite pithy and not so long winded as to be stifling to any discussion.
I'm less sure I fancy defining religion in a hurry!Types of abuse
PHYSICAL ABUSE. Physical abuse is the nonaccidental infliction of physical injury to a child. The abuser is usually a family member or other caretaker, and is more likely to be male. In 1996, 24% of the confirmed cases of United States child abuse involved physical abuse.
A rare form of physical abuse is Munchausen syndrome by proxy, in which a caretaker (most often the mother) seeks attention by making the child sick or appear to be sick.
SEXUAL ABUSE. Charles F. Johnson defines child sexual abuse as "any activity with a child, before the age of legal consent, that is for the sexual gratification of an adult or a significantly older child." It includes, among other things, sexual touching and penetration, persuading a child to expose his or her sexual organs, and allowing a child to view pornography. In most cases the child is related to or knows the abuser, and about one in five abusers are themselves underage. Sexual abuse was present in 12% of the confirmed 1996 abuse cases. An estimated 20–25% of females and 10–15% of males report that they were sexually abused by age 18.
EMOTIONAL ABUSE. Emotional abuse, according to Richard D. Krugman, "has been defined as the rejection, ignoring, criticizing, isolation, or terrorizing of children, all of which have the effect of eroding their self-esteem." Emotional abuse usually expresses itself in verbal attacks involving rejection, scapegoating, belittlement, and so forth. Because it often accompanies other types of abuse and is difficult to prove, it is rarely reported, and accounted for only 6% of the confirmed 1996 cases.
NEGLECT. Neglect—failure to satisfy a child's basic needs—can assume many forms. Physical neglect is the failure (beyond the constraints imposed by poverty) to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or supervision. Emotional neglect is the failure to satisfy a child's normal emotional needs, or behavior that damages a child's normal emotional and psychological development (such as permitting drug abuse in the home). Failing to see that a child receives proper schooling or medical care is also considered neglect. In 1996 neglect was the finding in 52% of the confirmed abuse cases.
— Howard Baker
Last edited by Floppit; 27th August 2009 at 07:49 AM. Reason: Adding definition quote.
In what way, and more importantly why, do you mean to teach a child religion?
Bloody typical, they've gone back to metric without telling us.
No - but I would actively protect her from abuse. Currently, I wouldn't give the same level of protection re someone trying to tell her there's a god.
I'm interested in whether the statement is true or not and in the reasoning that underlies either point of view.
These first few words of your OP. Should they be taken in isolation - i.e. you intend to teach a child religion or do they refer to the thread title i.e. Is to teach religion child abuse? I fear some might read it wrongly.I mean to teach a child religion.
There does not seem to be a match between teaching a child religion and any of the four definitions of different types of abuse you have listed.
My apologies, my first words were to clarify the title rather than to describe personal intent.
I'm still interested in the reasoning behind saying that it is abuse.
Chaggle what do you mean by a match? There's a connection between anger and child abuse but anger itself isn't abuse, are you arguing that religion is 'the same as' sexual assault?
I would have to disagree IF that was what you were trying to say because sexual assault involves specific sexualised behaviour that many religions actively try to prevent - even when the kid becomes adult!
Last edited by Floppit; 27th August 2009 at 12:09 PM.
Speaking as someone who is a devout atheist and whose child goes to some local church run playgroups, I think what they do to the kids is terrible but to call it abuse is maybe the wrong word.
The people running these groups are completely absorbed into ensuring the children get the daily god-dose. My wife has told me a couple of things that go on that are a bit disquieting such as the parents going to the bible sessions and leaving small babies or toddlers with the older church members who aren't equipped to look after small children and the screaming and chaos that creates - it's better to let the kids scream for their parents than interrupt their bible session. Which I think is pretty cruel.
Overall I think it is rather sad that children are taught something at such young an age that is clearly false, it will influence their whole life or at least until the get old enough to think for themselves (which may be their 20s or 30s realistically). They are giving a large part of their life across to something they have been brainwashed into believing and I think that is pretty cruel and does amount to abuse. However, some people are happy to go on believing for the rest of their lives I guess.
Mousse from a bowl is very nice, but to put it on a person is demented!
I think cruelty requires intent and as the believers doing the teaching believe it to be correct I'm not sure it would class as cruel. If it is the falsehood rather than intent that makes it cruel then the Father Christmas myth would be equally cruel. If it is the lasting effects then we would have to show suffering at a level higher than those who'd stand up saying it brings them joy.Overall I think it is rather sad that children are taught something at such young an age that is clearly false, it will influence their whole life or at least until the get old enough to think for themselves (which may be their 20s or 30s realistically). They are giving a large part of their life across to something they have been brainwashed into believing and I think that is pretty cruel and does amount to abuse. However, some people are happy to go on believing for the rest of their lives I guess.
I'm not saying you're wrong - apart from an initial hunch I don't actually have a firm opinion.
Surely it is the presentation of a single religion as if it where straightforward fact that is the problem. Exposing kids to religious ideas, particularly from multiple religions, in the context of belief systems that some people follow and others don't, would be fine. We tell kids fairy stories but it is always understood that they are not literal history.
Forget the children! It's adult abuse!
Indeed it often backfires. The more you are taught about religion, the easier it is to see that it's nonsense. My own childhood and that of most of my close friends was completely steeped in Methodism both at home and in numerous church-based activities, but almost all of us eventually rejected religion completely. Indeed a straw poll at a recent reunion of our village Methodist Youth Club revealed that only one of the 35 there still attended church services and most were clearly atheist, though they may not admit to it.
Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. - Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)
I'm inclined to agree with your overall position particuarly that giving information about religion entails a higher risk of the flaws being seen.
However if I look at this as a question to answer "How else could you categorize telling a child that her recently deceased best friend is suffering the torments of hell because she'd died a Protestant? (That was an example quoted by Dawkins if memory serves.)" - I could describe it as factually incorrect and emotional hurtful, but then I'm not sure I could distinguish logically to the irrational approach many parents have to stranger danger. I think it's both wrong and hurtful to teach a child that whether they know someone or not is the best deciding factor of whther they are at risk from them - sometimes that misconception can put them at extreme risk. In a sense the above example seems to me as much stupid as abusive. Even so not all religions teach such stuff and not all those who follow a religion which holds that belief choose to highlight it to a child - if anything it may go the other way with them being told hanni the hamster is with god now. Perhaps they think we are abusive to say that the dead are - well, just dead!
EDIT - damn! She stirred but didn't wake, leaving me time to be appalled at my bad grammar! I'll leave it for humility's sake, not laziness you understand...
Last edited by Floppit; 27th August 2009 at 01:08 PM.
I think I would differentiate between teaching a child "a religion" and teaching a child "about religion". I can't really bring myself to say the first is actually abuse, but it's certainly limiting and prejudicial to their intellectual advancement. The second is something I think should be taught from the earliest age.
You are feeling sleepy, sleepy, sleepy. Look into my eyes, not around my eyes, into my eyes, my eyes and you're under.
You can trust me, trust me that everything I say to you is the truth. You believe what I tell you, what I tell you is the truth and you cannot question it.
There is a place called hell. Hell is eternal suffering. Eternity is a very long time, much longer that an entire lifetime or even a hundred times that long. There is another place called Heaven which is eternal paradise. That's where I'm going when I die, Grandma Betty is in heaven. You'll go there too if you carry on going to church. If you stop going to church then you'll go to Hell when you die and then you'll burn forever. Other poeple who don't go to church or who go to the wrong church will also go to hell, where they'll burn forever. Yes that does include your friend Kemal.
Last edited by Matt; 27th August 2009 at 04:37 PM.