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Does religion psychologically abuse the human mind?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/24/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,166 times Debate No: 98407
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (32)
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I believe that religion can be extremely harmful for the mental health of young minds who are born into a particular faith system. I will support the notion that children must have the right to choose by themselves what to believe or not believe, when they reach an appropriate age of understanding the world around them.


I was raised Catholic but now that I've grown and become accustomed to the world, I have identified as an agnostic atheist, and my parents accept me for it.

I don't think that religion hurts the mind, it actually gives a sense of faith and hope as well as community with those of the same religion. I think as a child, having the sense that you believe in something bigger than yourself and the universe (other than the scientific view) will make it easier to later comprehend truth and fiction within your own mind.

Of course, everyone has their own views on what's right and what's wrong, and throughout your childhood and early teenage years, people are being able to discover themselves, and their own religion.

To me, it doesn't matter where you start, nor do I think that having the same religion as your parents/family growing up, and/or when you're older "psychologically abuses the mind;" it's just a mere starting point.
Debate Round No. 1


Let me explain more what I mean when I say psychological abuse. I do not support the notion that religion is overall bad. Having faith and teach your kids morals benefits various societies in a very high degree. Social events like baptisms, marriages and funerals play an important role in human uniting.

But let's investigate more the God hypothesis. There are thousands of religions all over the world today with a respectful amount of followers. Some have a longer history than others, some are more complicated to grasp than others, but none of them has been proven to be correct. There is no evidence or proof that such a thing as a devine being exists and intervenes over our lives. We choose to believe and have hope that God exists. It depends of how we interpret the book of our faith, how we see the world around us, and how educated we are in matters that discuss our existence.

When a child is born for example in a Christian family, he is introduced to God and all the good things he does for humans. He is also introduced to statements such " God will punish you if you do not behave", " You will burn in hell for eternity if you sin" and "The devil will come to you if you do not pray or go to church". As you understand, these statements are heavy enough for a child's mind. It can cause nightmares, phobias or in extreme cases paranoia that the devil will get him.

Is faith based on fear healthy? If you read just a few pages of the Quran you will notice how much they emphasize fear of Allah. Religion is based on a reward-punishment system. Why should people fear an entity that the only proof we have of its existence is their own personal beliefs? And if they wish to raise their children within their religion, they must provide an option for them to debate it. But unfortunately that is not the case in truly religious families especially in Islam. Apostasy for Islam is death according to the Quran. How do you think muslim children interpret phrases in Quran such " death to non-believers"? How isn't that psychological manipulation?


Though I don't agree with the virtues of Catholicism, I'm going to reference the 12 Commandments and sinning. It all feels like a way to teach children to have a good character. Yes, putting fear into this mix because normally when children are scared, they want to get rid of the feeling, so they'll listen to instruction of how to do this (not be punished for doing wrongs). In this case, one of the Commandments is, "Thou shalt not steal," and many are like those, the basic lessons.

It's like at school when teachers promise punishment for those who don't follow the rules. The difference is, the teachers' rules have to do with supplies and behavior whereas rules for certain religions are more life-based. "Thou shalt not kill," "Honour thy father and thy mother," all things that teach life skills.

Throughout childhood, kids are given these standards to follow them, so that in the future they can apply them with others and be faithful and of course, religious people. Fear leads to obedience in most cases, and sometimes kids need to know their boundaries. Since the devil is metaphorical and fictional to me, I see it as a stricter and more regulated way of showing children that when you don't follow the rules set by your superior (in the Christian case, God), then you will be punished.

For those who follow faith and religion, fear is a set-in-stone part. There are always the evil gods or beings like Tartarus, and there are the good and kind gods/beings like Zeus. Personal beliefs are what shape religion. You have to consciously be aware of that religion and its aspects 24/7 if you are dedicated to it. When rules such as Commandments come into play, along with the punishment of Hell, it shapes responsibility for oneself. As in, it makes you wary of day-to-day decisions. Especially young children.

Children need to know that there is evil in the world, and religion is a way of showing this. The Commandments of Catholicism show what's right (at least to that religion), and when they're warned that God will punish them, they know that sinning is something they shouldn't do to be a successful human being.

About Quran, and the punishment in Islamic faith, along with "death to non-believers," this threat is a warning, and a confirmed one at that, as you have mentioned. Of course this is extreme, and puts children to fear so that they will comply with the rules that religion has to offer more so than some others. Children can't just opt out of their religion so early in life, but they can learn to develop with it, and no this doesn't show psychological harm, but rather the ability to overcome obstacles.

Later in life, they may choose to convert religions, or maybe they'll stay because of their stable faith and beliefs. It's important to keep in mind that in religion, like Christianity or Muslim etc., there is always a reward for those who carry a good life and can learn to live alongside their fears (like those sparked by devils and evil beings) so that even if they were scared as a child, they know that peace is possible, and those who are evil are punished for their sins. Much like government punishes those who disobey the law.

--That was long, sorry if it's an eyesore...
Debate Round No. 2


I will have to agree with you about the 10 Commandments. The ones you mentioned are characterized as the "good" Commandments. It is important to teach children moral values and help them to distinguish right from wrong. You can successfully teach your children valuable lessons with fun and entertaining moral tales regarding compassion, respect, integrity and responsibility like the ones we grew up with. Parents can do that with stories from the bible as well. Humans have the ability to develop empathy and the sense of responsibility without ever being taught a religion. As you said, fear causes obedience and the idea of punishment by God drives children to behave appropriately especially in young ages. But thats not the only way we as humans can be moral. Morality is innate in us. We need it to survive and perpetuate our human species.

If you accept that there is a God, you cannot say that the devil is fictional. A priest once told me that once you accept the one you accept the other automatically. Unfortunately they go together, the good and the bad. I know it is scary but that's how it is.

Of course Christianity and Islam offer an alleged reward to those who carry a good life. It's a reward-punishment system of controlling society. Many people still believe that if they spent their life without sinning they have a place in heaven. They literally believe that. Christianity also says that even though you lived your life sinning, you can still go to heaven if you confess. That option upsets a lot of believers. The whole point is that we are on the 21st Century. There are thousands of religions in the world all teaching pretty much the same values and morals. Although we have tremendous scientific evidence regarding our existence, we still teach children that we come from Adam and Eve. Don't think that this is funny because a lot believe in that scenario as the absolute truth.

I believe that since we live in a world of uncertainty, the best thing to do is let young minds think for themselves about life and existence without brainwashing them with matters that we ourselves have no clear answers. We can teach them the life of Jesus or Muhammad but pay attention to when to draw the line from fiction to non-fiction.

If you are interested and have free time watch the BBC documentary "The most hated family in America". It's interesting and sad at the same time to see how belief messes with your head!



This debate is not about whether beliefs from religion are false or factual, rather they are about whether the ideals within them can cause psychological harm to children.

Giving faith and hope to children and adults is the main part of religion, showing something bigger than what we are on earth. However, as I mentioned early, I'm an agnostic atheist, and I don't indulge myself in such beliefs.

If you would like an example of an unaffected victim of forced religion, take me for instance. I was raised on such phrases as "God will punish you if you sin." to me, God was always like an authoritative figure whom I respected; a parental figure, almost in that He was kind, yet not wary in inflicting punishment onto those who unjustly misbehaved. Most of all, though, he forgave those mishaps, so I knew there was always someone watching over me with high expectations of my character. When I grew older, though, I started to match religion and science; sorting fiction from reality, if you will, and I have since discovered myself along the way.

I was not brainwashed as a young child, just immersed into a culture of forgiveness, and peace to all people. Religious beliefs may change when you grow older, but I was never psychologically damaged by what I now name falsehoods. Instead, I carry some of the things I learned of; respect, integrity and honesty into future experiences.

-NP! You were excellent to debate against :)
Debate Round No. 3
32 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by arpost 1 year ago
Humanists mistake wantoness for liberty, and sin for freedom. Sin enslaves; it does not free. "Why do the
heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take
counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and
cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure." (Psalms 2:1-4)
"Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make
you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:34-36) God"s law does not enslave, but rather frees: it is the "law
of liberty" (James 1:25).
Posted by arpost 1 year ago
The media asked me if I would hold a funeral and if so would there be prayer. My answer was simple but Biblical and sort of surprised them I am
sure. I said, "They are already either in heaven of hell, praying over them now will not make a difference."
Posted by arpost 1 year ago
In August of 1995, Madalyn Murray O"Hair, William"s
brother, Jon Garth, and his daughter, Robin, disappeared.
Madalyn was 77 years old at that time. For three years the
national atheist organization Madalyn led claimed that she had
left the country with a large amount of money"but that was
not true. In the first half of 1999 evidence came to light that Madalyn, Garth, and Robin had been murdered
on September 29, 1995, about 30 days after their kidnapping and disappearance. The murderers were three
convicts: David Waters, Gary Karr, and Danny Fry. Madalyn had hired convicted murderer David Waters to
be her office manager, William believes, because "she had found that employees who were convicted felons
allowed her to work them harder and many times under pay them,"160 and because "she got a sense of
power out of having men in her employ who had taken human life."161
The evidence is strong that Madalyn was tortured before her death. Robin was repeatedly raped and tortured.
After Madalyn, Robin, and Jon Garth were murdered, their bodies were dismembered, burnt, and
then buried on a 5,000 acre ranch near Camp Wood, Texas.
Wrote William later:
The media asked me if I would hold a funeral and if so would there be prayer. My answer was simple but Biblical and sort of surprised them I am
Posted by Zourida 1 year ago
Sir the story you are being so passionate about has nothing to do with the topic i was debating so please stop being annoying.
Posted by arpost 1 year ago
Why an Atheist Turned to God
Atheists take pride in calling themselves freethinkers. But a person is not really free whose mind is so
chained in the bondage of sin that it cannot come to logical conclusions. The man who has never tasted
alcohol (or drugs, or illicit sex, etc.) is free from its addiction. But the man who takes that first drink (or fix
or fornication) often finds that he is not free to quit. And until his sin makes such a hell out of his life that he
can no longer ignore it, his mind is no longer going to function properly. Even then it will take the grace of
God to bring him to the truth. William Murray testifies that he came to believe in God as a result of seeing
the extreme evil in his mother and in his employer at that time, Tom Evans. Says William, "One day while
driving home from work the truth struck me. I thought, There has to be a God because there certainly is a
devil. I have met him, talked to him, and touched him. He is the personification of evil. He is Tom Evans, my
mother, and others like them I have met."157 When William became a Christian, Madelyn cut him off with
this vicious remark: "One could call this a postnatal abortion on the part of a mother, I g
Posted by arpost 1 year ago
Atheism is Pagan Religion
After William Murray turned from atheism to God, he went to Washington, D.C. to testify before a senate
committee debating the Supreme Court Jurisdiction Act of 1979. Wrote William of his testimony: "I noted
that by precluding all religions advocating faith in God from public schools, the Federal Government was in
fact establishing a materialistic atheistic religion by default."155 William made an exceedingly vital point.
Atheism is pagan religion. It is worship of self, and worship of Satan. And it has, in fact, been established as
the state church of the U.S.A.
William reports that Madalyn"s atheism did not prevent her from believing in the forces of darkness, the
spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. While hiding from the law in Hawaii, Madalyn
helped arrange meetings for a psychic from Seattle to conduct seances.156
Why an Atheist Turned to God
Atheists take pride in calling themselves freethinkers. But a person is not really free whose mind is so
Posted by arpost 1 year ago
was only seventeen years old. Susan soon became pregnant out of wedlock.141 This was just the first of many
illicit affairs William experienced up to the point he found Christ.142 During his life without God, William
also stole,143 abused alcohol,144 faked an automobile accident in order to bilk an insurance company,145
used drugs,146 dabbled in the occult,147 battered his girlfriend,148 sold drugs,149 deserted the army,150 took
bribes,151 defrauded men at a cock fight,152 and engaged in a gun battle.153
Life without God really sounds ethical, doesn"t it?!
Posted by arpost 1 year ago
Atheism Destroys Moral Foundation
Atheists/humanists love to talk about ethics. They pride themselves in being "ethical." But just how ethical
can one be who believes (as atheists/humanists do) that right and wrong are determined from within by
the individual himself rather than from without by God? People who accept such an idea feel immediately
"liberated" from all moral restraints. That is simple fact. As already shown, Madalyn Murray O"Hair"s whole
life demonstrates that fact. Two more examples will now be given.
The Example of William J. Murray
As already discussed at length, William J. Murray is the illegitimate son of Madalyn Murray O"Hair. It was
her atheism that caused her to give birth to two illegitimate sons. Instead of admitting that she had sinned in
sleeping with men with whom she was not married, she called fornication "a beautiful story."137 She taught
such principles to William. William says virginity had no meaning to him since he had not been given any
foundation of morality at home. Therefore, he went farther than just kissing Jennifer, his first serious
William goes on to tell how Jennifer introduced him to Susan with whom he immediately had sex.139
Susan"s father was opposed to her relationship with William. Madalyn, rather than supporting Susan"s dad,
invited Susan into her home to share William"s bed without even discussing it with William first.140 William
Posted by arpost 1 year ago
Embassy refused to grant them visas because of Madalyn"s poor work record and because she had two
illegitimate sons. The embassy official told her:
In looking at your work record, it would seem you would be working for the most part at half pay."Besides, you do not speak the mother
tongue. More than likely your two fatherless boys would become wards of the state. Perhaps you and your children would be better off working
for the revolution in your native land.131
Madalyn was forced to purchase the cheapest tickets available, and return to the United States
immediately. It was while enrolling William back in school after this trip that Madalyn learned of the Bible
reading and prayer that began each class day there. She became incised. Soon she was plotting how to stop
this violation of her atheistic beliefs. This eventually led her to file lawsuits which in 1963 would bring her to
the United State Supreme Court to hear the decision that she had won her case.
While Madalyn was waiting for her lawsuit to work its way to the Supreme Court, she became manager of
a Communist party bookstore"the New Era Book Shop, 101 W. 22nd Street, in Baltimore.132 Shortly after
this, in 1962, an event transpired which illustrates clearly that humanism and communism are essentially
Posted by arpost 1 year ago
Madalyn Murray O"Hair Hated Her Country
William wrote of the above mentioned radical socialist meetings:
I remember sitting at the edge of these meetings, fighting off sleep as I heard that the United States was bad because it had rich people. Rich
people were bad because they did not work; instead they exploited the labor of others. Our nation was, in fact, an enormous fascist slave labor
camp. We had been tricked into believing we were free. A dramatic Socialist revolution was needed to divest the rich of their wealth. Then the
workers would control the means of production under the benevolent protection of a leftist dictatorship." Heated discussions of this type"
always seething with righteous indignation"would continue deep into the night.127
That Madalyn believed this Socialist propaganda is obvious from her actions. So deeply did she come to
detest America that she eventually tried to defect to the Soviet Union.
In 1957, Madalyn became a follower of the communist party of Leon Trotsky. This militant group held
anti war demonstrations, protested against the House Unamerican Activities Committee, and supported
Castro. However, so strongly did Madalyn hate the U.S.A., this anti-America activity did not satisfy her. She
began contemplating moving permanently to the Soviet Union.128
From that time Madalyn began filing papers with the embassy of the Soviet Union in Washington, D.C.,
requesting to be granted citizenship. Despite her repeated efforts over the process of many months, she was
never given an answer. Finally, she grew impatient, and decided she would take her two boys to France to
apply for Russian citizenship at the Soviet embassy in Paris. So certain was she of success that "she wrote to
the U.S. State Department and formally renounced her American citizenship."129 On August 24, 1960, they
departed for France on the Queen Elizabeth.130 In Paris they were in for bitter disappointment. The Russian
Embassy refused to grant them visas bec
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