The Instigator
heatfran
Pro (for)
Losing
5 Points
The Contender
HandsofManos
Con (against)
Winning
22 Points

Children have the right to their own religion

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
HandsofManos
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/16/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,691 times Debate No: 15991
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (5)

 

heatfran

Pro

I believe children have the right to choose their own religion, and that their parents should not be able to intervene. The Deceleration of Independence says "all men are CREATED equal," therefore children have the same rights as any adults do.
HandsofManos

Con

Great! I'll get right to it.

Pro only offers a single piece of reasoning for his argument, and it is flawed on many levels. Pro quotes the Declaration of Independence, a document that has no bearing on our legal structure. It does represent some of the intent and ideas that the founders held when creating our nation, remember though, that while the Declaration was signed in 1776 the Constitution, the body of laws that our nation is founded on, was not ratified until 1787, more than ten years later.

The constitution does state that one must be a certain age in order to hold public office. This is important as it implies that anyone younger than that age is unfit to hold a position of such high responsibility.

Children, especially young children are incapable of making rational decisions on their own. That is why we have a legal age limit for nearly every form of responsibility, from getting a job, to driving, from drinking and smoking to voting.

Pro's argument also falls into the category of what is a parent allowed to do with their children. We already have many laws that protect children from abuse. Telling a child that they must go to church every Sunday, say a prayer before a meal, and all the other little ceremonies that go along with the parents chosen religion is hardly abuse.

Lastly, it is impossible to actually "force" someone to believe something without completely damaging their psyche through either physical or emotional abuse, both of which are already illegal.
Debate Round No. 1
heatfran

Pro

Thank you for your input.

First off, my first "argument" wasn't much of an argument, it was merely a statement to get things started.

Second, Con claims that there is no way to "force" a child to follow a certain religion. This is not true. While the child may not believe in the religion itself, the parents can make the child abide by the rules the religion contains. For example, if the parents are Catholic, they will punish the child for eating meat at school on a Friday during Lent. Con also claimed that physical and emotional abuse are illegal. This is true to an extent, but not wholly. Corporal punishment is still legal within the United States. While it is true that a parent cannot whip a child with a belt anymore, spanking or slapping the child is completely legal. There are even worse methods of physical punishment, and they are "legal" as long as no marks show.
Also, the parents can take away the child's privileges, like watching television or using the Internet. I understand that this does not "force" the child to follow the religion, but the child should not be punished if he/she is doing nothing that today's society sees unfit.

Thirdly, Con argued that children are incapable of making rational decisions on their own, like smoking or voting. This is completely true, even to the extent of teenagers. But drinking, smoking, and job accepting have something in common, they all will affect your future in great proportions. Choosing your religions has no direct effect on anything that will determine your future. You may argue that becoming a priest is a future for the child, but if said child has doubts on his religion than becoming a priest probably is not the best career choice. I was born into a Christian family, and I also wanted to become an architect. At age 13, I became atheist, and now I am a very successful architect. Your religion may have small effects upon your life, but there is also the possibility that it has no effect what so ever.

I would greatly appreciate it if Con would elaborate on the "certain age to hold office" idea.

Lastly, I would like to to point out the Children's Bill of Rights. It is a legal document, ratified by seven countries, including the United States. Section I, article 3 states "Children have the right to form their own views in matters of conscience and religion."(Children's Bill of Rights).

I understand that no one can make you believe one thing or another, but it is the right of the children to be able to follow their religion, including rules and rituals, without the direct intervention of parents. This is why I urge voters to choose Pro.
HandsofManos

Con

Excellent.

I'd like to first correct Pro on one thing. I never claimed parents could not "..."force" a child to follow a certain religion." In fact i pointed out that parents could force a child to perform the various ceremonies of their religion. What I said was one cannot force someone to "believe" in a religion without serious damage to their psyche.

Pro stated the following as well:
"Con also claimed that physical and emotional abuse are illegal. This is true to an extent, but not wholly. Corporal punishment is still legal within the United States. While it is true that a parent cannot whip a child with a belt anymore, spanking or slapping the child is completely legal."

Pro is attempting to equate corporal punishment with abuse. I take great offense to this as I was spanked by my parents and I spank my two boys. Spanking or slapping a child is not abuse. I do recognize that there is a very fine line between abuse and discipline. If a parent were to spank a child because they told them they did not believe in God, that could probably be seen as abuse. Especially if it happened repeatedly, and dependent upon the severity. But again, we already have laws that govern child abuse, and so long as a parent does not abuse their child, then there is no harm. by definition, abuse means harm is coming to the child.

Pro also points out that a child should not be punished for doing something that is deemed ok by society. That is absurd. There is not a child alive, nor an adult alive, that as a child was punished for eating a piece of candy, or a cookie, when they were told NO, or not given permission.

Pro also argues that religion has no direct effect on an individuals future. Last time I checked, religion, for better or worse, has been the single most powerful force in all of history, shaping it at every turn. Entire wars have been fought based simply on a belief. To state that it has no direct effect on a person is absurd.

I did a two google searches:

http://www.google.com...

and

http://www.google.com...

Wikipedia shows no such bill of rights, and the first google search turns up this:

http://www.newciv.org...

the above is in no way a legal document.

I had brought up the age limit to hold public office as an example of how we, as a society, feel about the idea of "life experience" and how important it is.

I want to be clear. A parent should never, NEVER, be allowed to abuse a child. We have many ways of protecting children from abuse, but unfortunately they are not perfect. Nothing ever is.

Children have protection from abuse. Parents also have the right to raise their children as they see fit. From what movies and television programs they are allowed to watch, to what kind of food they are allowed to eat. When they can go out, when they have to stay in. Parents control virtually every aspect of their child's lives. This includes going to church and any other ceremonies. As a parent, I believe you have to strike a balance of giving your child freedom while telling them what to do. But that's me, that's my decision.
Debate Round No. 2
heatfran

Pro

I apologize for offending you, that was not my intent.

First, I would like to quote myself. "While the child may not believe in the religion itself..." says that the child does not have to actually believe in the religion. But what use is there to bringing the child to these religious events if they don't believe in the core of the religion itself? Why should the child be forced to perform the rituals that pertain to a religion that has no emotional impact on said child? If the child has no will to follow the religion, then there is no reason to force the child to participate in that religion's activities.

Let me elaborate on my previous argument on the "abuse" topic. I was not trying to equate corporal punishment with abuse. Again, I apologize for offending you. I was merely saying that the parent could use physical punishment as means to force the child into religious activities. I believe corporal punishment is completely acceptable, I even think that the laws on corporal punishment are too harsh on the parents. I am just saying that spanking the child is not acceptable when it pertains to what religion said child follows.

Con pointed out that eating a cookie is something that allows the parent to punish the child. The act of eating the cookie is not the part that is socially unacceptable. It is the act of defying authority. Defying authority is completely unacceptable, but not the cookie itself.

Con made a good argument on the impact of religion, but I believe they misunderstood me. I am not talking of social problems, these can be dealt with easily, through understanding and acceptance. I was referring to the future of the individual, not society as a whole. If I wanted to be an astronaut, my religion would not affect my ability or my determination of becoming that astronaut.

The Children's Bill of Rights is a completely legal document. It is just not a legally certified law of any country. But this does not mean it is an unofficial document. Children have all of those rights listed, every single right is completely fair and just.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I greatly apologize for offending you. This was no where near my intent, and I hope no hard feelings have been made.

Parents have every right to control a child's life, but they must understand that these controlling decisions may hinder the child's ability to succeed in life. That's the goal of every parent, right? While I realize that many religions believe it is the parents responsibility to teach the child about their spiritual duties, they might as well just let it go if the child is unwilling to learn those duties. For example, in the Christian religion, the main aspect is to have complete faith in God. The child who does not believe in God will go to hell, whether they went to church every Sunday or not. The parent had their chance to teach the child of their religious practices while they were still young and ignorant, but once they realize that the religion the parents had picked out for them was not the right one, it has become too late.
HandsofManos

Con

I humbly accept Pro's apology and offer one of my own. I should have realized that he was not attacking me personally and I should not have gotten offended so easily. I am sorry.

Now back to the debate.

Pro quotes himself and then goes on to ask "Why should the child be forced to perform the rituals that pertain to a religion that has no emotional impact on said child?" If there is no emotional impact on the child, other than possibly boredom, then there is obviously no harm coming to the child.

Parents make their children go to church for a myriad of reasons. Sometimes, especially in a small community they do because it is what is expected of them from their friends and neighbors. Other times the parents truly believe that if there child does not share their beliefs, their child, whom they love dearly, will go to hell. Both are legitimate reasons for making your child go to church. I would imagine that the most common reason is simply to be a part of the family and the family activities.

I do not believe it is right for a parent to force their children through abuse to follow any religious ceremonies. However it is within the parents rights to deny their children leisure activities such as video games, etc. should the child willfully disobey them, by refusing to pray at a meal, or attend church with the rest of the family.

Pro has offered a "children's bill of rights" as a source. Follow my above links and judge for yourself if it is a "legal" document that has been "ratified by seven countries." Pro even admits that it has no legal standing in any country, despite his first assertion of its ratification.

I am a proud parent of two epically awesome sons. I am also an atheist. The majority of my wife and I's family are christians. One of our aunts takes the boys to church every sunday and wednesday. At some point, probably around age ten but maybe sooner, the boys will ask me why I don't go to church. I will tell them then what I believe, and they can make their own decision about what to believe. But that is my choice as a parent in how to handle the issue of faith and religion. It might not work for everyone but it works for me.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by jaydieburd 6 years ago
jaydieburd
dont think so
Posted by wizkid345 6 years ago
wizkid345
children have the right to there own religion. my father had to go through 18 years of church, then one day he bought his own house and left. Hes 100% atheist now, im an atheist to but you want to know the difernce between his childhood religion and mone. The diference is choice, i can be whatever i want to be and he has told me so. Also i would just like to say that anyone who has ever tried to change or lead someone into a different religion should alow kids to have there own religion
Posted by HandsofManos 6 years ago
HandsofManos
im definitely enjoying myself. really glad i stumbled across this site.
Posted by leah12 6 years ago
leah12
Great job guys! this will be interesting!
Posted by Brenavia 6 years ago
Brenavia
Good luck on this debate! Ur both great debators, and Im intrested to see how this plays out!
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Aaronroy 6 years ago
Aaronroy
heatfranHandsofManosTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Con won hands down
Vote Placed by DylanAsdale 6 years ago
DylanAsdale
heatfranHandsofManosTied
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Vote Placed by Eliazar 6 years ago
Eliazar
heatfranHandsofManosTied
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Reasons for voting decision: better debating knowledge
Vote Placed by nerdykiller 6 years ago
nerdykiller
heatfranHandsofManosTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con gave sources...
Vote Placed by boredinclass 6 years ago
boredinclass
heatfranHandsofManosTied
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Reasons for voting decision: pro had alot of assertians as arguments