Friday, September 14, 2012
Is it immoral to...?
Is it immoral or unethical to expose a child to the religious or faith based teachings of their parents or legal guardians?
I don't have a ready answer of my own, but to be sure, it is certainly preoccupying my mind. I asked a friend this question the other day and we have both been pondering on it. I have had discussions with my Dad about this exact idea and we found each other on opposite ends of the spectrum during our talks, as if often the case. That does not mean the position we argue from is the one we espouse, but rather, it is more productive for two minds to disagree and dissect an idea that it is for two to blithely agree and mutually congratulate each other on arriving at the same conclusion.
My gut reaction to the question, based on my own experiences and thoughts on the matter is to answer in the negative. I believe it is immoral and unethical to expose a new human to organized religion and faith based teachings as a child. It indoctrinates a child into a world in which they have no experience or frame of reference and predicates their continued acceptance, support and affirmation from their family and community structure on the choice of acceptance of the position offered to them as "truth". They did not have an experience of their own that prompted them to seek and ask questions about the meaning of their existence, the possibility of a higher power or any of the other myriad of questions that religion and faith seeks to answer. Rather they were told, instructed and manipulated into accepting whatever their parents and social community believes in order to sustain their quality of life and support the collective belief system.
This is not an easy question, I know. But it strikes more closely to the root of the ideas and thoughts I was thinking and wrestling with yesterday. Doing this to a child sets up all types of scenarios that play out into their future, often with devastating and emotionally scarring results, internally and externally. There are also benefits to be had, for sure, but over all, is this a good thing to do, and if it is not, why do we keep doing this to our children? I certainly cannot put all my thoughts down in the few minutes I have before I leave for work, but I do think it is a good question and will be in my head today.
What are your thoughts?