Religion and indoctrination of the young

Amish girls in a buggy. (R. Miller, Flikr, CC BY 2.0)

This is a querie close to my heart:

Why should parents be allowed to enforce religion on their children?

Indeed, why should they? I make this point in the footnotes to my essay GOD 3:

"That children will be indoctrinated is one of the most despicable aspects of religions; as Richard Dawkins says in The God Delusion: “Children are too young to defend themselves against religious falsehoods and indoctrination.”

"People must be sixteen to drive a car, eighteen to go to war, twenty one to drink alcohol … children should be at least fourteen years old to join a religion; they simply do not have enough maturity to make an educated decision any earlier."

This argument is debated at length in the article, with more questions like ...

"What about the too-often-debilitating effects of enforced supernatural religion on children?"

"What, legally and constitutionally, can be done about that?"

"If you think this is an invented, exaggerated issue, take the time (click the link to the article) to read these searing personal accounts of religion-scarred children of different faith traditions now all grown up and fighting back.

"These frank, first-person accounts all expansively illustrate the broad suffering of children raised with the fantasies of fundamentalist religious belief, the coercive power of organized religions and the rigid, intolerant communities they foster.

"Besides wrenching angst, these unwitting apostate children endure yawning intellectual and practical deficits when they leave their faith communities - shunned by family and lifelong friends - and journey into an alien, unfathomable secular world.

"These wages of egregious religious abuse can’t just be waved away under the rubriks of 'religious freedom' and 'parental rights.' What about kids’ rights?"


On my Unity page I feature a video that details the issues around "What shall we tell the children?" My Unity: Spirituality Without God project advocates a secular education for children ...