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Featured Children should be permitted to make up their own minds about religion

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by JJ50, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    And you'd be wrong. There are many documented situations in which parental actions, rooted in religious belief, have openly harmed children physically, mentally and emotionally. The simple fact is, no one should ever just default follow the "spiritual" direction of anyone else. Ever. Take all the information in, come to your own conclusions. This is what everyone should be taught. Anything else is dishonesty. "Spirituality" is such a malleable, unreliable, protean thing. There aren't hard and fast rules or facts to be shared, and as such it is never anything more than advice. Instructing your children that you "know" the truth about anything supernatural is like telling them you know exactly how love works. Giving them specific instructions on what they need to do to "be right" spiritually is like telling them you know the specific steps they need to take to fall in love with someone and receive love in return. in other words, you don't have it all figured out, and to say you do is a lie.

    You can instruct your kids on things like mathematics, or things like the discoveries that have been made about the various forces in play in the universe, and they can actually use those tools reliably again and again and again. There ARE hard and fast methods and results in those categories of knowledge. Completely different from anything "spiritual" - which ends up being a crap-shoot at best. As good as random chance ever has been.

    I believe this to be crap also - and a very weak, cowardly stance, if I am being completely honest. I simply CAN'T turn a blind eye to stupidity when I see it. Now I am not even necessarily talking about how people treat their children, but how they act in general.

    I knew a family in which the son was basically shunned in all manners, punished often without reason... and my best guess, based on the evidence I came to have, was that they simply found him awkward, didn't feel he fit in with the family. He had two sisters, and they left him out of family photos, took the daughters to Disneyland and left the boy with a relative, and always talked about what trouble the boy was. He showed up at my house one day because he was friends with my daughter. Turns out his step-dad kicked him out of the house for using the step-dad's WII-U gaming device without asking. The kid is 13. Well guess what - that kid's problems and the whole family's shenanigans had JUST BECOME MY BUSINESS. I called the mom - a freaking school teacher no less, and still a complete and utter idiot. When I took him home I tried to talk to her... I was less than accommodating with her attempts to excuse her idiot of a husband, and didn't take too kindly to her trying to blame the boy for everything. So she beat a hasty retreat into her home and tried to ignore me. I stood outside the house, calling them out loudly, for the entire neighborhood to hear for about an hour before the weaklings called the police. As if I was going to do anything to them. Please... their lives are already a hell of their own making. I sincerely just wanted to talk - so I could make my case to them about what morons they are. Do you know what the police did? Absolutely nothing. They frisked me, asked me what I was doing, and sent me on my way. They also said "we know sometimes things suck, but you can't tell a parent how to parent their own children." And I literally told them "Well, I can sure as hell try". And who's going to stop me? You? That's a laugh.

    I was afraid the boy would catch hell from his indecent, dishonest sacks of crap of parents for what I had done. But apparently they left him completely alone. And do you know what? The boy went into school the next day and was telling the story as if I was the person who had done the nicest thing for him in his life. That's what. To have an impact, you have to DO something. And sometimes it may not be the easiest thing. Sometimes people are going to tell you to "mind your own business." To hell with that. We're all in this together. And I don't abide by people trying to tell me otherwise.

    The closer you cozy up to "do as your told" as the mentality you adopt, the more tyrannical you are. It's sort of a pretty straightforward formula. And as I said, as long as you have good reasoning that you can share with whoever you are instructing to do whatever it is you want them to do, you're golden. When you don't... you need to stop and think. Period.

    According to my understanding of the world, this is completely untrue. What a terrible way to view things, honestly. We're God's children? To get an idea just how terrible that notion is, think on this: how would you feel about me, as a father, if I were to decide never to interact with my children directly? I'd leave them a book of vague, confusing instructions that didn't fit with their more modern times, and I would have proxies and go-betweens that would tell them things like "I love you" for me. I'd never actually do any of it myself. In other words... I would behave exactly as God does toward His "children." What would you think of me as a parent? Be honest. Oh... oh wait wait wait... I forgot... IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Is that right? You wouldn't care, right? Or you'd force yourself not to care, is that it? Maybe you'd care, but just wouldn't act... is any of this correct? How exactly does this "none of my business" stuff work? You care? You don't care? You don't care enough to act? Don't care enough to even say anything? You're scared? What is it? It has to be something now, doesn't it? It sure as hell better not be out of "respect."

    As mentioned above, I believe this to also be completely untrue. And there's another sort of secular "Pascal's Wager" that goes along with this. Where Pascal's Wager asks the non-believer, "What if you're wrong?" about the consequences of unbelief as pertains to an afterlife, I would ask you "What if you're wrong?" with your insistence that God is going to take care of tidying up all the wrong that is being done in the world, by punishing people AFTER THEY ARE DEAD. In other words, after it is too late for anyone to be helped if God isn't actually there. What if you are wrong? What if you are letting slip by chances to actually help people, and show them some human-to-human care because it's "none of your business"... and because you are "leaving it to God?" What if YOU are wrong?
     
    #81 A Vestigial Mote, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  2. Muffled

    Muffled Jesus in me

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    I believe children do not have the maturity to decide such an important question.I also believe at age thirteen that maturity starts to come into play and at that point it is not a good idea to compel participation. I am not sure when my brothers stopped going to church but I suppose it was around that age. I kept going because I loved church and one of my brothers went with me. I still work on my unbelieving kids (44&37) but it is a hard sell.
     
  3. Muffled

    Muffled Jesus in me

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    I don't believe it works. I wish my guidance teacher in high school would have done better. I had to flounder around a lot to find my way. A person's religious beliefs will also flounder around unworkable paths unless it is guided.
     
    #83 Muffled, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  4. Thirza Fallen

    Thirza Fallen Crazy Cat Lady

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    Spirituality is a personal thing. Not for schools.
     
  5. Segev Moran

    Segev Moran Well-Known Member

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    It is nice to hear :)
    I encounter many children who can't really have the choice as they have no access to other educational paths.
    I really hope you teach your children sciences and religion.

    When i face questions from my boys (2 boys around 10 yo), I always give them several answers and live it to them to decide what makes sense to them :)
     
  6. Prestor John

    Prestor John Well-Known Member

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    There is no reason to enter into the realms of the absurd.

    Obviously my comment about children doing as instructed by their parents fall within the boundaries of law.

    The OP was asking about adherence to any particular religion.

    All children, while they are still children and live at home, should do what their parent instruct them to do in regards to religion.
     
  7. JJ50

    JJ50 Active Member

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    They should not be expected to if they don't see it their parent's way.
     
  8. Prestor John

    Prestor John Well-Known Member

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    I agree, once they become adults.

    If parents are going to be held legally responsible for their children, while they are still children, then they have every right to instruct their children in any way they see fit.
     
  9. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    No, you're still missing the point. The OP was about what parents choose to do, not what the children are expected to do.

    The very fact that children are expected (often legally required) to do whatever their parents tell them to gives parents a powerful responsibility. Blindly forcing your children to practice your own faith (or equally significantly, forcing them to not practice any faith because you don't), regardless of whether they believe or are drawn towards, isn't necessarily fulfilling that responsibility.
     
  10. Prestor John

    Prestor John Well-Known Member

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    Exactly.

    The parents choose what faith/religion/ideal their children are to participate in.
    Obviously.
    According to who? You?

    Unless laws are being broken, how parents choose to raise their children is none of our concern.
     
  11. Prestor John

    Prestor John Well-Known Member

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    How far does this logic run?
     
  12. JJ50

    JJ50 Active Member

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    I am talking about religion. If your parents believed there were fairies dwelling in their garden would you be wrong if you didn't believe that to be true? Much of the Bible is as credible as believing fairies exist.
     
  13. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    They don’t have to though. Parents can (and many do, religious and not) choose not to blindly indoctrinate their children and force them to practice the parents exact faith/domination and lifestyle but instead give the children more scope to learn, question and find their own path in life, especially as those children get older. We’re not talking about allowing children to run wild or not have any rules or limitations, only not making it a case of exactly copying their parents or nothing.

    You have absolutely zero interest in how the children in our society are raised? You’ve never questioned or objected to the (legal) policies of parents, schools or government in relation to the raising, education and wider treatment of children?
     
  14. JJ50

    JJ50 Active Member

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    Just because someone is religious doesn't mean they are necessarily good decent, people. Those with fundamentalist views are often the dregs of society!
     
  15. Prestor John

    Prestor John Well-Known Member

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    No one can force anyone to believe anything.

    If a parent wants their child to observe a particular religion - such as going to worship services, engaging in family prayer, etc. - the child is obligated to do those things as long as he/she is still a child and living at home.
    Your opinion is noted and not worth anything to me.
     
  16. JJ50

    JJ50 Active Member

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    Our children, now in their 40s, were certainly given an academic education, that was extremely important to us, my husband's was an academic, science being his subject, before a brain haemorrhage trashed half his brain. As I have said before, we permitted our children to make up their own minds about religion, and they saw something in the Christian religion which appealed to them, although they are not Biblical literalists. Our two married daughters a allowing their children to make up their minds about religion too.
     
  17. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    Children who are not clearly taught one religion are statistically likely not to have any faith as an adult. By telling your kids they should make up their own minds, you pretty much decided that they would not be religious, or at least only culturally so.
     
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  18. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    So? Is that any different to effectively deciding they will be religious? And surely it would be easier to move from no religion to a particular faith than from religion to another in later life if you actually wanted to. If religion needs to be indoctrinated in to children and unindoctrinated adults are less likely to choose religion, maybe that tells us something about religion (or at least the religions on offer to us today)? Note that religion is distinct from more general beliefs and faith about the world and wider universe.
     
  19. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    There are two differences.

    The first is that you are patting yourself on the back by telling yourself that you are not influencing their decision, when in fact you are.

    The second thing is that according to scientific research, your children wwould be healthier, happier, psychologically sounder, and longer lived if they are religious. You are ignoring that.
     
  20. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    I don’t (and I don’t expect the OP would) deny the inevitable influence of parents, upbringing and wider society on children regardless of what we actively try to do. I would still argue that leaving the child with a more open choice is better than forcing them in to your own faith regardless of what they believe. I also suspect that in a number of faiths, not believing but faking it (especially being forced in to faking it) might be considered worse than not practicing at all.

    I think it’s very difficult to establish definitive cause and effect for such a subjective characteristic that itself is strongly influenced by and influences a whole load of other relevant characteristics. I also doubt it’s been established that following a religion you’ve been forced in to as a child is healthier than not following a religion by choice or if being indoctrinated as a child and then moving away from religion is worse than never following one in the first place.
     
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