The Instigator
Vaibanez
Pro (for)
Losing
15 Points
The Contender
Mangani
Con (against)
Winning
53 Points

Labeling children as any religious denomination is wrong

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/8/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,092 times Debate No: 10761
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (14)

 

Vaibanez

Pro

Thanks to the opponent who accepts my debate.

First let me make clear that I am not attempting to prove anything about religion and/or it's validity. The focus of this debate is why it is wrong to label children as any religious denomination, including labeling them "atheist" (ie "Christian Child, Buddhist Child)

I also want to make clear that I am not going to debate whether or not labeling children as a particular religious denomination is abuse. That's for a different debate. I claim it is simply wrong.

A few definitions to start.

Wrong: Not in accordance with what is morally right or good.

Child: A person between birth and full growth

Mature: Fully developed in body or mind

Complex: Composed of many inter connected parts

I. My first argument will be that children are not mature enough to understand the complexity of religious ideas. Labeling children "Christian" or "Hindu" ect, is no different than labeling them as "Democrat", "Fascist", or "Communist" ect. These ideas are far too complex for an immature child to understand, and therefore to label them as such is wrong.

II. To elaborate on the argument made in point I regarding the sheer complexity of religious ideas. Just as being a "democrat" or "republican" implies that one is capable of understanding complex political terminology and positions such as "liberal" or "conservative", religious ideologies contain equally difficult terms and ideas such as "spirits", "salvation", "sin", "reincarnation", "heaven and hell", "purgatory", ect. To assume that a child is mature enough to grasp the sheer complexity of these ideas enough to make a rational decision on what they are "religiously" is foolish. Which brings me to my final argument regarding personal choice.

III. By labeling a child as any religious denomination bars that individual from the right to make their own decision about personal belief. Religion should be a decision made only by the individual, and should never be imprinted upon them when they are still of an age which they are more concerned with playing in the mud. Labeling children imprints an idea upon their confused minds, thereby making it more difficult if not impossible to rethink their position on such a delicate personal belief later in life.

Therefore labeling children as any religious denomination is always and wholly wrong.
Mangani

Con

Thank you, Vaibanez, for presenting this debate topic.

My opponent argues that labeling children as (belonging to) any religious denomination is 'wrong'. He defines a child as 'a person between birth and full growth', and wrong as 'not in accordance with what is morally right or good'. I would first like to point out that though I do agree you 'shouldn't' label children as being adherents to a religion, it is not 'not in accordance with what is morally right or good'. In short, it is not 'wrong' by my opponent's definition.

He has presented simple contentions which I will refute as enumerated by him:

I: Understanding complex religious ideas does not require adulthood, nor is it a pre-requisite for being labeled as an adherent of a religion. In fact, being labeled an adherent of a religion only requires that you follow the traditions, teachings, partake in the rituals, etc. of that religion. Though children are not always informed enough to compare and make a choice, it does not matter as their morality is nonetheless being developed through some structure that will resemble that of their parentage no matter how they choose to label themselves. Furthermore, no one but the parents should decide what is 'wrong' or 'right' to label their own child.

My opponent also states this is no different than labeling them as "democrat, fascist, or communist". This is untrue. To be officially a Democrat, one should be registered to vote as one. To be fascist, one must demonstrate the political leanings of fascists, and the same goes for communists. To be a Catholic, a child must simply live in a Catholic home, and be baptized into the Catholic Church shortly after birth. You see, religion is part of the social environment of the home, and is often dictated by culture. For example, to say an Afghan child- a child which lives in a country and is part of a culture in which 99% of the population (http://en.wikipedia.org...) is Muslim- should not be labeled as Muslim is ridiculous. The question as to whether or not it is right to indoctrinate children is another, but to label them as such is not 'wrong'.

II- The question of whether or not a child can understand the complexities of religion is not as foolish as the implication that they cannot simply believe these ideas if they are taught. Parents reserve the right, and bear the responsibility of teaching their children. If they choose to raise them as liberals, conservatives, atheists, Buddhists, Christians, etc., it is their choice. Understanding "spirits, salvation, sin, reincarnation, heaven and hell, purgatory, etc." is no simpler for and adult than it is for a child. In fact very few adults who have spent their lives as adherents of a religion ever learn the complexities of the religions in which they profess belief. Religion is never a "rational" decision, and in this irrationality adults are no more mature than their children.

III- Though my opponent correctly states that religion is an individual decision, he ignores the fact that many (if not all) religions teach you to teach your child that very religion. Labeling a child as part of a religion does not "bar that individual" from changing their mind later on. It does not "make it more difficult" to follow an individually preferred path. In fact, my opponents third contention seems to be a complaint about how difficult it is to convert individuals once they have grown as part of a religion. Well, if religion is an individual decision and personal choice, who cares? If one is going to lack rational, not being 'labeled' as a child would not afford them any more rational than they would have otherwise acquired throughout life. A child would have to be completely isolated from society to not have a 'majority influence' on his/her life. The parents would have to hide their religion and beliefs, and the child would have to not be allowed to attend church, Sunday school (if Christian), weddings, funerals, etc. The child would have to be completely sheltered from any experience which can lead to a label. THIS is ridiculous.

In conclusion, if parents don't label their children somebody else will. If they don't teach their children, somebody else will. If parents don't exert the influence and take the responsibility they have been given as parents, somebody else will. It is not wrong to label children as adherents to a religion. Not always, not wholly, and not unless you want somebody else to do it for you.
Debate Round No. 1
Vaibanez

Pro

Thanks to con for the reply.

I. I would like to begin by pointing out that con reinforced my point by stating that�
"children are not always informed enough to compare and make a choice".
�This is exactly the issue. Children are not capable of understanding ideas of this level of complexity, and to "label" them as being part of this or that belief system without that very understanding is what I am pointing out as wrong. Con also claims that understanding is not a pre-requisite to religious belief and practice. Which is true if the individual "chooses" to remain ignorant and still adhere to a belief or practice. Children are incapable of making this choice since they don't poses the core understanding in the first place. Con also claims that religion provides a moral "structure". I refute this by claiming that an individual does not require religion as a "structure" to be a moral individual nor to teach morality to others. The point remains that if the individual is incapable of understanding the idea, he/she should not be labeled as being an affiliate.

"Furthermore, no one but the parents should decide what is 'wrong' or 'right' to label their own child"
Parents shouldn't be labeling an individual anything that they are too young to understand what it is they are being labeled, especially religion.�

My opponent states that to be a political denomination one must simply register as such, and may remain ignorant of the ideas and beliefes that go with the package. Clearly this is true, but yet again children are incapable of making this informed decision.
The claim that�it's a "cultural" thing is no different, and refuted in te same breath.

II. "The question of whether or not a child can understand the complexities of religion is not as foolish as the implication that they cannot simply believe these ideas if they are taught."

Teaching children "blind faith" is teaching them to be ignorant of fact. Yet again "You don't have to understand to believe" is perfectly fine, so long as you are capable of making that decision understanding what it is you are doing. This children are incapable of.

"Parents reserve the right, and bear the responsibility of teaching their children. If they choose to raise them as liberals, conservatives, atheists, Buddhists, Christians, etc., it is their choice."

Parents reserve the right to believe what they want to believe, this is perfectly fine. To impose those beliefs upon a mind incapable of understanding the beliefs is exactly the point I'm making, it's wrong. And if adults are incapable of understanding their own beliefs, as con states, they should not be imposing the same ignorance upon innocent minds.

III. Con makes the point that religion teaches it's adherents to teach their children their religion. This is not justification for doing so. This assumes that religion is ultimate authority in regards to truth, which is surely not the case. I wish to point out that labeling children will lead them to believe they are what they are being labeled. Such as someone who is told they are stupid over and over will begin to believe it. This holds especially true for children, even more if it be the parents doing the labeling. Parents are like gods (no pun intended) to their children.�
I want to make clear that there is nothing wrong with teaching children to be moral individuals, and yes the parents should do so in order to prevent others from doing so, who may do so with I'll intent. I never made the claim that children should be sheltered from attending funerals, weddings, etc, as this does not impose a label upon them and is not labeling. Telling children they are "atheist", "Christian", "Muslim", etc is labeling. Refer to the definition I provided in my first argument.

The fact remains that religion is not something easily understood, as con also pointed out. Labeling a child a religious denomination who is incapable of understanding it is still wrong. �
Mangani

Con

Before I begin my second round arguments, there are two things I want point out:

This is my opponent's definition of wrong:
"Wrong: Not in accordance with what is morally right or good."

And this is what it means to refute:
Refute: to prove wrong by argument or evidence : show to be false or erroneous http://www.merriam-webster.com...

These definitions are important to the points I am about to make.

I: First off, my opponent agrees that children are at least sometimes informed enough to compare and make a choice. My opponent twists my statement a bit about understanding not being a pre-requisite to being an adherent. He quotes me as saying "understanding is not a pre-requisite to religious belief and practice". This was not in fact my statement, rather it was "being labeled an adherent of a religion only requires that you follow the traditions, teachings, partake in the rituals, etc. of that religion". This fact he does not argue, and my point stands.

He says children are incapable of making the choice as they do not possess the core understanding of a particular belief system. May I point out that if a child simply does not have the capacity to choose whether or not they believe in God, and is not taught anything about God, they are by definition Atheist. Remember his Round 1 statement: "including labeling them "atheist" (ie "Christian Child, Buddhist Child)". If the children at school speak of a christian God, and the child knows not of this invisible being they speak of, he may think them silly and say "there is no god; you're silly", and thus he is rightfully labeled an atheist.

On the other hand going back to my first statement in this argument, children sometimes ARE informed enough to compare and make a decision. In fact, to make a quick semantic argument, by my opponent's definition of "child": Child: A person between birth and full growth, he is one as males reach "full growth" between the ages of 25-30. In any case, this is not a semantic debate. However, even if we consider a 12 year old a child some are much more "informed" than many adults.

I never argued that children should be labeled by political parties, rather I said they cannot be for they cannot register to vote. Registering to vote is the only way to be officially labeled as belonging to a party.

He does not argue about my cultural points, and yet claims they are "refuted in the same breath". You cannot refute a point without presenting an argument or evidence against an argument, and so this point stands.

II- My opponent argues the strawman here. I have not said anyone should teach children "blind faith". This argument is about labeling. If a parent chooses to be Christian, and their children- even their 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 year old children- follow the rites, traditions, practices, and even profess the beliefs of the religion they are rightfully labeled as such. Being capable of making the decision is ultimately the child's choice. Indeed a 5 year old is fully capable of telling his/her parents that he/she is sick of Sunday school and doesn't believe in this "Jesus" character. If they are incapable of choosing a religion on their own, then they are also incapable of rejecting the religion of their parents. Who is to decide the capacity of the individual child if not the child?

My opponent makes the following statement about parents: "To impose those beliefs upon a mind incapable of understanding the beliefs is exactly the point I'm making, it's wrong."

He apparently feels that children should be left out in the woods to learn on their own. Otherwise, anything taught to the child by the parent would be an imposition of beliefs upon a mind incapable of understanding ANYTHING. Teaching the child ANYTHING would be wrong, as a child is incapable of understanding until the child is taught.

III- My opponent claims that belief in a religion is not justification for teaching this religion to your children. I counter that being the parent is justification enough. http://en.wikipedia.org...

Teaching moral, social, and spiritual development are functions of parenting, and the structure the parent chooses is a right reserved by the parents. These choices are a fundamental right. http://www.rutherford.org...

My opponent argues that this assumes that religion is the ultimate authority in regard to truth, and claims this is surely not the case. In a debate about logical choices, or a question of truth about religion this statement would matter, however, because we are talking about what's "Not in accordance with what is morally right or good", truth is subjective and a personal choice. With regards to children, I have already shown this is a parental right. I am not arguing that religion is right. That point is irrelevant. Any two parents can look at another pair and say "this is wrong", however, that opinion would also be subjective. With regards to subjectivity, the opinion of the parents is what is ultimately important.

My opponent says that labeling a child will lead the to believe what they are being labeled. This is a general statement that is A- not always true, and B- irrelevant to whether or not it is "Not in accordance with what is morally right or good" to label them. The label itself is what can be considered "Not in accordance with what is morally right or good", like my opponent's example of labeling a child as "stupid". Labeling a child as Christian is hardly "Not in accordance with what is morally right or good".

My opponent makes the claim that there is nothing wrong with teaching children to be moral individuals. He contradicts himself in saying that parents should do so in order to prevent others from doing so, as this is fundamentally contrary to his position. Under his dictatorship, parents who follow a religious or anti-religious moral code would not be able to teach their kids this moral code. Indeed children are astute enough to deduce that if they are taught the moral code of Jesus, and others say they are "Christian", and their friends who follow the moral code of Islam and call themselves "Muslim", the label applies.

My opponent also says that children should not be sheltered from weddings, funerals, etc. "as this does not impose a label upon them". I disagree. A Jewish child who attends a Jewish wedding inevitably understands that he/she is Jewish. All his cousins wear the yamaka, his father wears the yamaka, a rabbi presides over the nuptials, and the term "Jew" is thrown around during toasts as they make jokes about each other. So let's say no one ever "labeled" this child a Jew. Is he not rightfully a Jew if he has Jewish parents, learns the Torah, and has a Bar-Mitzvah when he is 13, at which point he decides he is happy and proud to be labeled a Jew?

In conclusion, my opponent has failed to prove that labeling a child as an adherent of a religion, ie. calling him a atheist, Jew, Christian, etc. is "Not in accordance with what is morally right or good". It is the parent's choice to determine what is "in accordance with what is morally right or good". Even taking a completely objective point of view, like that of the Supreme Court, it is ultimately the parents fundamental right to do so.
Debate Round No. 2
Vaibanez

Pro

I'm satisfied with the arguments I've presented and have no further points to make. Thanks again to my opponent for accepting this debate.
Mangani

Con

Well, it seems my opponent is convinced he has made his point. He has not refuted any of my points, and completely failed and/or refused to oppose my second round arguments. I have proven that per my opponent's definition of "wrong", his premise is not true. There is nothing wrong with labeling children as their parents see fit, especially once that child has reached an age where they understand the religion. He did not refute the ages of the children I presented, and per his definition even an 18 year old is still a child.

On a personal note, I am no longer Christian. When I was 16 I was, and no problem with being labeled one. I know now that I fully understood at the time what a Christian was, and feel that the label helped me more than it could have hurt me seeing as how I come from a very violent hometown. Violence is very rarely manifested against "Christians" where I come from, and the label helped me survive in a city with 40,000 population, and twice the crime rate of Chicago and DC combined.

It is also important to note that a large portion of DDO members are "children" by my opponent's definition. Many choose to identify themselves by the religious, and even political leanings they have learned at this age to follow. My opponent has not shown how it is wrong for any of them to do this, nor has he shown how it is wrong for parents to teach their kids to follow in their own footsteps, whatever religious label that may lead to.

I urge you to vote Con. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
I think parents have an obligation to raise their children according to what they believe to be the best for them. For example, if the parents believe "do not steal" is a good rule, they need to teach that, not leave it as an open question for the child to resolve as he wishes. Leaving it open means in practice it will be resolved by peer pressure rather than parents. Thus, atheists would be wrong to raise their children as Muslims because the atheist thinks that is not the best way to cope with life.

Religious rituals like baptism really don't have any enduring meaning. When children become adults, they are not impaired in reaching their own decisions by having had some water sprinkled on them.

I suspect there are ore debate topics here ...
Posted by Mangani 7 years ago
Mangani
Thanks for the RFD, guys. My personal beliefs, as are most of yours, are that children should not be labeled as members of a religion. I have always felt it is an ignorant practice for Catholics to baptize children, as baptism is a confession of faith, a sign of re-birth, and the beginning of a new life. It is a metaphor of birth, and if the child was just born... well, you get my point.

Even so, I do not feel "immoral" or "wrong" when I call a child from a Catholic family Catholic, nor do I feel wrong or immoral when I call a child from an Orthodox Jewish family in Israel a Jew, nor do I feel wrong if I refer to the children of Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (the son of the Crown Prnce of Saudi Arabia) as Muslim. It's kind of a given, and though we might have personal reservations as to how our own children are labeled, we also reserve the right to determine their racial makeup, their cultural upbringing, and ultimately, what religion they identify with at least in their childhood (if any).
Posted by cjl 7 years ago
cjl
My vote was not based on personal preference, but on the debate itself. My reasons for voting negative are because the affirmative acted a bit arrogant when he simply restated his first arguments, and the con presented better attacks and defense for his case. This does not change my personal preference, which is in affirmation of the resolution. Good round guys!
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Goes to Con based upon his second contention. For example, it is not wrong to say that Anne Frank was Jewish.
Posted by Shakespeare 7 years ago
Shakespeare
Labeling children as any religious denomination is not 'wrong,' per say, but it does make for much less religious freedom in the world. Children are not as naive as people are making them out to be. Parents should teach their children about ALL the different religions, then a child can make their choice as they grow, while in the meantime, they go to church, or temple, or whatever place their parents force them to go to. Then, they can be labeled as 'informed.' :D
Posted by brockghering 7 years ago
brockghering
First off I would like to state that the pro side lost the argument due to the definitions they presented. The main definition being children.
to have actively achieve a common ground in proving there presented argument the pro side should have defined child as one who ids incapable of fully understanding the choices they make.
Such as a lawer does during a trial. The definition use by the Affirmative left too much room for the negative to there for prove that by definition a 18 year old man is still a child due to the fact that they are still fully growing. and the affirmative case is allowing the use of mental growth to be brought into the argument as well.
By using a psychological definition like the one I stated above you can then ague how labeling them as a certain religious group you are taking there freedom of choice. Not only that but the hole point of most religions is that you are suppose to choose your religion or God based on faith rather than making a choice based upon what someone calls you. I would have sided with the pro if they had not make that mistake.
Posted by EinShtoin 7 years ago
EinShtoin
Hmmm... me thinks this question is retarded. The voting is rigged.

I will give an assessment:

Before/After- Con- Dumb question. Nobody labels children as a religious denomination. You label a church as part of a religious denomination. Labeling a child as a religious denomination would be ignorant, but not wrong.

Conduct: Con- Pro did not argue in Round 3. Bad form.

Spelling/Grammar: Con- Pro's mistake begin at his debate title, and never end.

Arguments: Con- He is right- leave it up to the parents. You may believe it's wrong, but your opinion doesn't matter in the life of someone else's child.

Sources: Con. Pro has no sources. End of story.
Posted by Nails 7 years ago
Nails
I'm thinking CON will win this one.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
All babies are agnostically agnostic.

Win.
Posted by lliwill 7 years ago
lliwill
I'm just curious, in your debate, what are you considering children? From the ages of 1-10, or higher?
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