What is Religion Doing to Your Children?

Religion is a very controversial subject at the best of times. It is also one which I usually avoid, mainly because I have no desire to listen to people who follow a book (whichever one you choose) blindly, without questioning the stupidity inside. See it’s starting already. I’ve probably offended enough people with that one sentence. But that’s not the point of this post.

I’m happy to leave people to follow whatever they want, as long as they don’t push their views on me. But when I see stories like the one I’ve just come across, I feel sick.

We’ve all seen stories about honour killings, different branches of the same religion fighting each other (I’ve never understood that), and the horrible creatures who used their religion as an excuse to brutally murder a soldier.

But this story really touched me because it’s so heartbreaking. They didn’t do anything out of hate, in fact they were filled with love, and they thought they we’re doing the best for their son. – Just Because He Breathes: Learning to Truly Love Our Gay Son. It’s not my place to comment on this story, other than to say that my heart goes out to them. I can’t even imagine what the family is going through, or what Ryan went through.

It brings up the question, what is religion doing to future generations? I naively thought as a child that I could ignore religion because I didn’t believe in it, and it wouldn’t affect me. But now I truly believe that it is a dangerous thing.

I watched a documentary a while ago on this subject and thought it was going a bit too far. But over the years I’ve come to realise why religion scares people. It has caused so much conflict  over countless years – as if people need another excuse to fight.

I also watched a documentary years ago when I was at college, called Jesus Camp, which really disturbed me. There were children in tears while praying and asking for forgiveness. All I could think at the time was what could these children have done at that age that could be seen as a sin? Who would put their child through that? (You can watch it for free here)

In theory religion could be a good thing. It can bring comfort to people who have lost someone. It should help to teach children right from wrong. But it obviously doesn’t work that way in practice.

In this world of science and common sense (most of us) we should be able to teach our children right from wrong without making them follow a story book. That’s all it is really. In fact there are so many other books that can teach them about morals and life, without forcing them to ‘believe’.

I’d rather read Peppa Pig to my little cousins than The Bible.

Why should we be haunted by what comes after death? Because that’s all it’s about. We should be able to enjoy life, and as long as our morals stay in tact, we should be able to die peacefully when our time comes without worrying that we may burn in eternal hellfire.

I know it would be stupid to think that we can ban religion all together. Religion has been around as long as people. It would just never work to attempt to cut it out. But something needs to be done to take away its power.

Just to clarify, by religion I mean ALL religion. I’m not picking on any religion in particular.

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6 thoughts on “What is Religion Doing to Your Children?

  1. I, too, often think about what the hell we’re gonna do about the place of religion in our modern society. On one hand, as you say, it’s been around forever, and so many of us are living without it successfully, as well as there being successful “modern” combinations of religion and postmodern society. On the other hand, it acts a barrier to (what we perceive as) free living, even free thought, in so many places, and it results in the imprisonment and even murder of people all around the world. A tough subject for sure.

    • I was pretty worried about writing about it. But all you’ve sadi is completely true. It’s something that needs to be looked into. I’m not sure who by though.

  2. A huge challenge awaits anyone foolish enough to take on religion. First define religion, then decide if all religion is essentially destructive, then if you find a religion or set of philosophical beliefs that are benign (I’m thinking of paganism that reveres nature and the godlike in all people, but there are others) are they to be expunged too?
    Indoctrination of children is always a bad thing and morality is not dependent on the teachings of any book but our schools now should bear the name Young Consumers Indoctrination Centres teaching the buying of more crap, the taking out of loans and acknowledging the need to turn all wants into needs.
    Many people have not developed the ability to ‘internalise the safety net’ and rely on externals to remain sane. Goods, jobs from which they are easily dismissed, partners, spouses or lovers
    or indeed religious belief. Deprive them of these props to self-esteem and you’d better come up with an alternative.

  3. You’re right. I’m sure many people have tried to take on religion and failed, and I’m not about to become one of them. But I’m also not going to cover my eyes and ears and hope it leaves me alone because I’m pretty sure it won’t.

    I have to stick to my statement that religion is dangerous. I haven’t looked into each one individually because there are so many it would be impossible. But following something just because you’ve been told to believe without question it is destructive in any case, and that is how I see religion. It’s not about self-esteem, it’s about being controlled.

    • Really, your last sentence prompts me to suggest you misunderstood my point. Yes religion is about being controlled, that’s a given but it is just one of the many ‘dangerous things in life and for some poor souls choosing who or what to be controlled by is a definite choice and self-esteem and feeling supported by whatever seems to you and I ridiculous works for them.

  4. I don’t think self-esteem is the right word to use. I understand that people rely on religion. But there are many people who don’t. If nobody taught it to their children in the first place they wouldn’t miss it. But for those who are already religious, I guess until they realise that they can get through life without it there’s not much that can be done.

    It’s hard because I can argue that there is not proof that any kind of god-type figure exists. But they can argue that there’s no proof that he/she doesn’t exist.

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