Faith schools are immoral, children should not be indoctrinated.
Debate Rounds (5)
No rules, just don't let this turn into a flame war esque exchange.
Accepted on the premise that faith schools are moral and should not be outlawed.
I will argue that children should not be brainwashed, but the indoctrination that children are exposed to within faith schools is not immoral.
When we send our children to school, why do we do it? To educate them. I believe that when you tell children things, they will believe them for the most part unquetioningly.Take for example, Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. I think that it is unfair to "get them when they're young", and teach them faith based belief as if it were fact.
In your acceptance, you stated that you also felt indoctrination of children is wrong, but what are faith schools if not indoctrination? Lets have a look a the definition of "indoctrination":
the act of indoctrinating, or teaching or inculcating a doctrine, principle, or ideology, especially one with a specific point of view: religious indoctrination.
So it seems like indoctrination means teaching a particular ideology with a specific point of view. That sounds remarkably simlar to the way faith schools are run. In fact, it is how faith schools are run.
Often in faith schools, only one ideology is taught, and the rest excluded, for example in a Plymouth Bretheren school, they usually ban the chldren from learning aout different religions, being taught good sex education, and most importantly, large areas of science education availible to most other chidren in the UK (probably because when they get taught how science works they begin to question things).
I believe this is wrong, and children should all be entitled to the same education regardless of their parent's beliefs.
"In your acceptance, you stated that you also felt indoctrination of children is wrong
"I will argue that children should not be brainwashed, but the indoctrination that children are exposed to within faith schools is not immoral."
I never said, nor is it the subject of the debate, that faith schools do not indoctrinate children.
"So it seems like indoctrination means teaching a particular ideology with a specific point of view."
Good.. that's how it should seem...
It seems that my opponent's opening statement is devoid of debate.
Faith Schools are not immoral:
In faith schools, children receive basic moral teaching. They are exposed to (for ex.) the Catholic take on life, and are taught some basic bible stories. They still have the ability to decide their own philosophy and theology.
I accepted this debate because of personal experience, and so I'll share two stories:
I was indoctrinated into the catholic faith at birth, not through school but trough mass, Children's Liturgy of the Word, and Age Based Catechism.
This served to give me a basic knowledge of the Catholic Faith, the Bible, and Catholic morality.
Now, at about age 8, despite all this indoctrination, I did not beleive in God.
He was, to me, just other story that adults had cooked up like Santa and the Easter Bunny.
Praying to God was like making cookies for Santa. A silly pretend person who we did stuff for.
So what had indoctrination given me? Knowledge and morality; my faith was still my own.
(What happens later is a different story, one I'm sure you all would love to read, but is not relevant to this debate.)
For the next portion, I will talk of a friend of mine... let's call him... "Red"
Red is a "cradle catholic." He has, to the extent of my knowledge, attended Catholic school since Preschool, and yet, he is atheist, coming to a conclusion of his own. Yet, he has an indelible moral compass and a working knowledge of the faith so that he is able to hold philosophical conversation and form his own, educated philosophy.
Faith schools indoctrinate children, giving them a working knowledge of their parent's faith and a set of morals.
Children are then capable of forming their own faith, with the benefit of perspective.
Faith schools give without taking, and are thus completely moral.
Yes, I meant to say that indoctrination and brainwashing are kind of the same thing. And I should have mentioned in my first paragraph, I am referring to all religious indoctrination of children in all schools, not just faith schools.
In your argument, you appear to assert that because faith schools produce a lot of atheists, the indoctrination wasn't very effective. That is not what I'm saying. I am arguing against indoctrination on principle that it is wrong to brainwash children when they are too young to decide on their religion themselves. After all, would you think that it is ok to send a child to a communist school, where they are indoctrinated into communism and told that communism is equivalent to being a good person?
I say this, because that is what I experienced as a child. I did not go to a faith school, but an ordinary state school in which Christianity-based indoctrination was part of the everyday routine. I was taught that believing in god makes you a good person, so when I had doubts about god's existence, I thought that I was a bad person, because that's what was drilled into my head from the age of four. Is that a healthy way to bring up our children?
You also seem to equate morality with religious teachings, in the example you used, Catholicism. Now I personally think that Catholic morals are some of the worst around, but that's a different debate. Can we not just teach our children to be moral by helping them empathise, and teach them that morality is relative, giving them the tools to decide what is moral and what isn't, or should we just save them the bother of thinking, and tell them this is wrong and this is right because god said so? Children can have morals without being brainwashed into whatever religion their parents feel like.
And I am not against teaching religious stories and morals in school, but the key word is teaching. Religious beliefs should be taught in context, as beliefs, rather than facts, as they are in many faith schools. Beliefs belong in Beliefs lessons (lessons are no longer allowed to be called Religious Education in England for these exact reasons, and are instead called "Beliefs" or "Religious Studies").
Also, an additional point is that faith schools are discriminatory, another reason they are immoral. Would it be ok to make a white school, where only white children are accepted, and they are taught that whiteness is tantamount to morality, with the implication that people of other colours are somehow less moral.
Giving children a knowledge of their parents faith and a set of morals does not require indoctrination. It only requires education.
I disagree with Pro's first two statements:
In my argument, I assert that indoctrination and brainwashing are not the same thing because indoctrinated childen still have great freedom of choice in the matter, wheras brainwashed children would not.
And again, I do not assert that the indoctrination is not effective, I simply state that the indoctrination does not brainwash. I never claimed that faith schools producemany athiests, the examples were only to explicate the freedom of mind "indoctrinated" children still posess. There is an obvious difference between schools that teach morals and schools that teach politicals in that children indoctrinated into communism gain nothing, except possibly a rudimentary understanding of econmics.
Faith schools teach that good people:
Givie to the poor
Love their neighbors
Do not lie
Do not steal
Do not gossip
Do not hate
Beleif in a god is but only one pillar of faith schools. Any faith school that does not teach these other values is a failure and an ecception to the rule.
Let's think of what our planet would be like if
1. Everyone went to a good faith school
2. Everyone was completely and totally brainwashed
3. They remained effectively brainwashed for the remainder of their lives
Everyone would be compassionate, would give to th poor, would resist crime and would be generally knder and more pleasant.
And everyone would worhip a god that (apparently) doesn't exist.
Large gain, small loss.
Now, as I argued last time, I do not beleive that people will be effective brainwashed into a relegion, so I see large gain, no loss.
Your "white's only argument" is a valid analogy, save one point: white supremacy is no moral we wish to engrain upon our youth, generocity is.
But, for the sake of debate, I will say (and I'm black) that such a school might be worth it if they were also taught to be kind to other races and to live out pure lives of charity and good deed.
Large gain, little or no loss as explained in my previous argument.
Yes, it's a bit of an equivocation to say indoctrination and brainwashing are the same thing, I apologise, however that's how I felt as a child being forced to praise a god that I was starting to see wasn't really there. Again, I am arguing against indoctrination on principle that it wrong to indoctrinate children into any ideology, because although it may leave them freedom of mind, what is drilled into a child's mind when they are young will have an impact on them forever.
My point with the "communist school" analogy is that it would be immoral to indoctrinate children into any ideology, communism being an ideology with it's own values and ideals, some of which are good (sharing, being equal) and some of which are not so good (no ambition etc.).
And again, I'm not against the teaching of morality, I'm just pointing out that religion does not equal morality (if it did, I'd be some kind of kleptomaniac rapist serial killer). You can teach children to be good people and to be moral without the added baggage of faith being attached to it. Lets have a look at some of the other things faith schools often teach:
There is one god, the (insert faith) god. (Implication: other religions are wrong)
Jesus was an actual person who actually performed miracles and was resurrected.
There is an afterlife.
Abortion is wrong. Period.
Contraception is wrong.
Masturbation is wrong.
Abstinence is a good idea.
And I know the following are not regularly taught in "conventional" faith schools, however in many schools, for example Plymouth Brethren schools here in England teach that:
The Earth is less than 10000 years old
Dinosaurs walked with people
There was a "Great Flood"
Animals do not evolve.
These statements would all be fit to teach our children if they started with the simple addition of "some people believe that". In that case, we would be educating them about others beliefs, rather than indoctrinating them into any particular one. And that is the main reason I believe faith schools are immoral, that faith schools deny children a full education, and I want children to be as educated as is humanly possible.
And to address the argument that faith schools teach children morals. Well, as I mentioned in the previous round, children do not need to have faith based morals drilled into them. Rather, they need to be educated about morality, and told not just that you shouldn't steal, but why you shouldn't steal, and also taught that morality can be relative. For example, if you were starving and literally the only way you could survive was to steal food, would you steal? Children need to be encouraged to question everything, even whether or not they should question everything. Do you know what happens to kids who ask loads of questions? They grow up smarter.
I cannot stress this enough: You do not need a religion to be a moral human! What you do need, however, is education, and yes that includes religious studies.
You missed the point of the "White School" analogy, faith schools tend to teach that faith in god=morality, leaving some children unable to seperate the two. This can lead to children thinking that other religions are somehow not as moral, and children (like myself) who find themselves doubting the whole invisible sky wizard thing also begin to doubt (as I did) my morality as a human being. They might think that they are a bad person, and cause unneccesary guilt, which, incidentally, is what fuels most religions.
I would like to begin for thanking my opponent for such a civil, logical debate.
Unfortunately, a logical point is not always a sound one, especially when it is attached to emotion:
"that's how I felt as a child being forced to praise a god that I was starting to see wasn't really there."
My issue with this point is that one cannot be "forced to praise a god" because praise is a function of the mind. One could be forced to kneel, though I highly doubt physical manipulation of children is commonplace in faith schools; it's illegal in America though I digress. Praise is a feeling of gratitude and love for a "superior" being, and, if children don't believe in such being, they cannot be forced to praise it. It's wrong in the same way as forcing children to pretend that America is made out of chicken and giant ice-sickles. It can't be done (yet) and if it could, I wouldn't call it a moral infringement.
"My point with the "communist school" analogy is that it would be immoral to indoctrinate children into any ideology"
Assuming that the ideology is equatable to a faith school, I fundamentally disagree.
"I'm just pointing out that religion does not equal morality"
It does not, and I never claimed that it does. I merely wish to explicate that religion is laced with moral teachings, and children who attend faith schools will receive a healthy dose of these morals.
"Abortion is wrong. Period.
Contraception is wrong.
Masturbation is wrong.
Abstinence is a good idea."
I agree with three of the four, and even the Abortion one can go either way in my mind. I assume that you don't wish to debate these issues, but if you do, I will counter in the next round.
"The Earth is less than 10000 years old
Dinosaurs walked with people
There was a "Great Flood"
Animals do not evolve."
This is, in my area, a silly exception. My mother is a science teacher at a Catholic school, and all of these are adamantly rejected. Anyone with half a brain between their ears can decode this, and anyone without can live in blissful ignorance.
"I cannot stress this enough: You do not need a religion to be a moral human!"
No, you do not. I never claimed that this was true. It's saying "you don't need to go to a candy store to get chocolate." You don't but it is a way.
Faith schools are one way for children to obtain morals. My argument stands:
Large gain, negligible loss.
(My analogy was never addressed.)
By "forced to praise a god" I mean being made to sing hymns etc, and I know it wasn't that bad, but I didn't even go to a faith school, that's just normal state school stuff, it seems to me that public schools (or if you're American, private schools) are worse for indoctrinating children as they have greater freedom within the curriculum.
"It's wrong in the same way as forcing children to pretend that America is made out of chicken and giant ice-sickles. It can't be done (yet) and if it could, I wouldn't call it a moral infringement."
I would argue that that would be a moral infringement, of course it's wrong to teach children things that we know aren't true (unless it concerns major holidays or how good their drawings are). I would be outraged if my child was being taught that America is made of chicken and icicles, we just know it's not true.
"It does not, and I never claimed that it does. I merely wish to explicate that religion is laced with moral teachings, and children who attend faith schools will receive a healthy dose of these morals."
Religion is also laced with prejudices, but that's another matter. My point here is that yes, religion is laced with moral teachings, as fanta is laced with vitamin c, but that doesn't make it the best way to learn morals, as drinking fanta isn't the best way to get vitamin c. The best way to get vitamin c is eating an orange directly, and I think that the best way to get morals is to be taught morals directly. I don't know about America, but in England children have compulsory PSHCE (physical, social, health and citizenship education) lessons, where children are taught and involved in discussions about what makes a good person, why do we have laws, sex education etc etc. I think this is a far more constructive way of building a better society, without involving religion in a direct way.
Why use outdated scriptures as moral foundations (scriptures that advocate racism, sexism, homophobia and incest) when we can educate children instead.
I disagree entirely with you, and I would look forward to a future debate on masturbating or abstinence. But that's for later.
"This is, in my area, a silly exception. My mother is a science teacher at a Catholic school, and all of these are adamantly rejected. Anyone with half a brain between their ears can decode this, and anyone without can live in blissful ignorance."
Yes, anyone with half a brain can smell bulls**t here, the problem is that the children are being deprived of education in favour of religious doctrine, and are therefore often not educated enough to see the problems in their own beliefs. And the reason I use such extreme examples (usually only found amongst Jehovah's Witnesses and Plymouth Brethren) is that you can see the ridiculousness of teaching children fabricated pseudoscience, which to me is no different from teaching children that the existence of god is a fact. Although a person can lead a perfectly normal and happy life believing in a god, the existence of god is not a fact, and should be taught as a belief, not as fact.
Faith schools are a way to gain morals. So are secular schools. Faith schools advocate the indoctrination of children. secular schools do not. Faith schools do not give children freedom of choice in religion. Secular schools do. Faith schools teach dogma as fact. Secular schools do not.
Faith schools teach moral absolutes that are unquestionable because god said so. Secular schools teach relative morality and encourage discussion amongst students.
I know which I think is the right way to educate children.
(By analogy, I assume you mean the hypothetical scenario where everyone is successfully indoctrinated, I felt I had already addressed the point by saying that morals are not absolute and that you don't need religion to be good.)
Thank you for an interesting debate and your arguments from reason rather than airy fairy spiritual arguments.
It seems we have run into a philosophical difference here regarding "correct" and "good to know," but I will resist introducing it seeing that it is round 5.
"I would argue that that would be a moral infringement, of course it's wrong to teach children things that we know aren't true (unless it concerns major holidays or how good their drawings are)"
Now ask (and I will need to answer myself), how does telling children that God exists differ from telling them that Santa does? My opponent concedes that there is no issue with telling kids that "Santa brings them presets," where i the issue in telling them that "God Exists and answers prayers," especially when the parents believe in a god? I see no moral infringement here, and by Pro's concession, it does not sound like he does either.
"My point here is that yes, religion is laced with moral teachings, as fanta is laced with vitamin c, but that doesn't make it the best way to learn morals, as drinking fanta isn't the best way to get vitamin c."
Unfortunately, it misses one fundamental point:
Children are often deficient in "Vitamin C," those who drink "Fanta" are, in general, much healthier than those who don't.
This is an obvious analogy for religion; here I argue that, on average, children who go to faith schools have, on average, stronger morals than the general public, though I cannot source this on round 5, but I'll support t below.
"children are taught and involved in discussions about what makes a good person, why do we have laws, sex education etc etc. I think this is a far more constructive way of building a better society, without involving religion in a direct way."
To continue with your analogy, this is placing a "orange" before children leaving them to decide weather or not they eat it. Some will, but without the idea of an all knowing deity, how many will eat the orange? If they ae given "fanta," and are supervised by a God as they drink it, I think that their chances of ingesting sufficient amounts of vitamin C are greatly increased.
(Translation for any simpler voters: Children will be more likely to accept religion than general, unenforced and unjustified teachings.)
"anyone with half a brain can smell bulls**t here, the problem is that the children are being deprived of education in favour of religious doctrine"
It seems here that Pro switches the focus of his argument to a "it wastes time from other teaching." I counter with two arguments:
1. The college acceptance rates of Faith school graduates is much higher (Which, in fairness I will not site, though voters can check themselves.)
2. Morality is more important than math or science or English, and I believe that we agree here. It's no waste.
"Although a person can lead a perfectly normal and happy life believing in a god, the existence of god is not a fact, and should be taught as a belief, not as fact."
It sounds as if we agree: nothing is lost worshiping a God. I, for the sake of debate, do not care if that person's god exists or not. I wish to reference "If everyone were christian and god did not exist" argument.
My conclusion stays unchanged:
Negligible loss, substantial gain.
I thank my opponent for my favorite, most pleasant debate thus far, and encourage voters to
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by CalvinAndHobbes 12 months ago
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