Religious Education

There was an article in the Spectator yesterday about the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests. The issue just won’t go away. Like mosquitos and taxes and rain on the weekend, it just won’t go away! Deal with this aspect of child abuse and move on. There’s more!

Because as horrible as this is, and I really can’t think of anything more terrible than child sexual abuse, these endless investigations and recriminations have to be dealt with before another insidious and wide-spread form of child abuse can be addressed.

I am dead set against all separate schools and all religious indoctrination of children. I think it is absolutely, unforgivably wrong!

If it is accepted that children can be lied to, punished if they question or doubt, forced to memorize and regurgitate nonsense they neither understand nor believe, and manipulated into an artificially imposed conformity and obedience, then children are obviously not respected. And when they are not respected, their vulnerability can be exploited in many different ways! They may face a lifetime of guilt and pain because of sexual abuse. They may also face a lifetime of guilt and pain over being taught that they were born in sin, that they are unworthy love and of respect, that Jesus died because of their sins, that they are BAD, despite their efforts to be good.

Dr. Marlene Winell talks about religious trauma syndrome here.

Listen to this closely reasoned explanation about childhood religious education. Martin J. Willett  argues that religious indoctrination is child abuse, but that it is done  because adults don’t fall for religion unless they are already damaged.

Jesus Camp is a documentary film about the systematic, religious indoctrination of children at the hands of fundamentalist Christians. And no, using this extreme as an example does not prove that all religious education is equally harmful. That would be an irrational argument, a reductio ad absurdum approach. But look at what intelligent, sincere, well-funded religious bigots are willing to do. Watch the whole film below and weep. Or at least watch the clips edited here.

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