The Instigator
Con (against)
3 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Is religion harmful to children?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/5/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 773 times Debate No: 45270
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




First round is for acceptance only. I look forward to this debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Religion is the foundation for morality, and the only way one can explain absolutes. It should be universally recognized that all children should follow guidelines of decency and respect. Yet while non-religious people can teach their children a degree of morality, they cannot account for their teaching. Without a Higher Power, how can there be standards of any kind if everything originated from random natural processes?

Again, non-religious people can teach their children good morals, but to do so they must borrow principles from a theistic worldview that has an explanation for absolutes. For non-religious people who argue there is no Higher Power to turn around and criticize religious people strikes me as hypocritical.


I apologise, but are you suggesting that humans have no morals to begin with? That they are so bad, and rotten and evil, the only thing making them care about anything is religious morals? That before organised religion came into play, no one cared about anything or anyone.

By saying as such you must believe society would not exist without religion. That people cannot be people without religion. That they are no better than animals without a higher power.

Needless to say, I disagree.

People have morals before religion. A person can teach a child decency and respect without god ever coming into play. I must say though, long-term, religion can be harmful for a child's development. How can a child progress in life filled with fear?
Debate Round No. 2


You're fundamentally misunderstanding my argument. An atheist can be a moral person, so indeed an atheistic parent can teach a child standards of decency and morality. But by doing so, this parent is borrowing from the worldview of a theist, who believes in a God who created absolutes. If everything is created by natural processes, how can a non-religious person account for standards of any kind? Sure, he can believe in them, but isn't such belief arbitrary without an ultimate determiner of right and wrong?

Since an atheist cannot account for standards of any kind, how is it possible to criticize religious folks? Isn't it arbitrary to personally expect theists to follow certain standards when an atheist cannot account for them?


I'd like to begin by pointing out that you have possibly gone off topic. With your points in relation to the topic, why should borrowed morals matter (though I am not saying I believe they are indeed borrowed), if they are morals as good and valid and strong as original ones?

Again in regard to the topic, no one is criticizing religious people. It is simply being pointed out that religion may possibly have a negative long term effect on children's development, and instead of being scared and forced into religion from a young age, why not allow them to make educated choices based on their own beliefs?

(by the way, if you want to argue about borrowed morals, i would not mind opening another debate)
Debate Round No. 3


But I'm not going off topic. My point about religion providing the only foundation to moral standards is that it is unreasonable for an atheist to be able to make judgment calls about the way another human raises children. Again, if there is no Higher Power, how can you possible criticize religious folks for how they raise their children without borrowing moral standards from theists, who can actually account for them?

You're not criticizing religious people but think their beliefs could have a long term negative effect on children? This doesn't make sense.

Why do you assume religion imposes fear on children? I don't know why you make this assumption. If abused, religion can impose fear, but why are you making a blanket accusation?


But surely borrowed morals cannot criticize against the original morals? If they are indeed borrowed, and people cannot create their own morals, than surely one cannot make "unreasonable judgement calls" against anyone who has the original morals?
Which brings me to my point. They are not borrowed. They are cultivated by personal experience. I am not being unreasonable (I am also not atheist but not the point). I can account for my own morals. They are mine.

I apologize. You are right. I was criticizing. Religion is, fundamentally, fear. Its the only way it motivates people (along with promises of an afterlife). Such a thing can only have a negative effect on a child.
Debate Round No. 4


I can't make any sense of your first paragraph.

You are assuming a lot about religion. I am a devoted born again believer, and am not motivated in the least by fear. You haven't done anything to document that claim. As someone apparently not religious, how can you feel so confident about how those who are religious feel?

I understand you feel you have your own morals, but how can you impose those views on others? That it what you are doing by claiming that religion is harmful to children. How can you do so while rejecting the only way one can have solid absolutes? I understand you feel your own beliefs are good enough for you, but you are going on the offense and attacking those of another. I'm yet to see evidence of your view.


I'm sorry, I find it difficult to write sufficient argument in 750 characters.

Though I'm non religious, I was raised with religion and went to both primary and secondary Catholic schools. We got given out to for not going to mass, forced to an hour of religion a day, and then to do a state exam in it. It's wrong.
And it's harmful for children, that telling them having sex is wrong, feeling desire is wrong, homosexuality is wrong.

How can you tell a child these things? By teaching a child religion from an early age, you're removing it's free will to look objectively at the world.Fundamentally, you a
re teaching a child to be entirely dependant on the world, on god/s. You're disabling the child. A child is too young for something so powerful.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by andrewbarnard94 3 years ago
When I started this debate I thought I was limiting arguments to 750 words, not characters. So it was nearly impossible for either side to make expounded arguments. For myself, most of my comments tried to lay a foundation to address specific issues, but I ran out of room before I could expound.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Hierocles 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Overall, this whole debate got off topic. All but the last round was about the metaphysical, or lack thereof, source of morality rather than whether or not religion is harmful to children. Con gained some ground in the round by arguing that religion provides a beneficial moral foundation for children. Pro took some ground from Con, by undermining Con's moral ontology claims but I think Con still wins this one on potential marginal benefits in the moral foundation of children. Pro could of won this debate if she provided arguments, especially one's supported by scientific social studies, that demonstrated how religion is harmful to children's psyche. She made her best arguments in the last response, all of which were totally new, and never gave Con an opportunity to respond. Therefore, I can't fully consider them in my decision.