The Instigator
Shadowfox
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Kleptin
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points

Religious indoctrination of children

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Kleptin
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/23/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,035 times Debate No: 9314
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (2)

 

Shadowfox

Con

I argue that children should not be indoctrinated into their parents religion. While children are technically free to choose their own religion once they reach adulthood being raised in a certain religion can make the process biased, painful, and unnecessarily alienating. It's wrong to imbue opinions on impressionable children who aren't capable of making informed decisions and accept what trusted adults tell them as fact. The best course of action would be to wait until a child is old enough to make rational decisions and then expose them to a wide range of religions and let them choose one, none, or a mixture of religious principles.
Kleptin

Pro

I thank my opponent for this debate and shall begin posting my response.

My response shall be organized thusly:

1. Definitions and parameters
2. In-Depth analysis of my opponent's opening post.
3. My argument against my opponent
4. Conclusion

1. DEFINITIONS AND PARAMETERS

http://dictionary.reference.com...

Religion has many definitions and I find the following to be the most relevant:

"a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion"

My opponent argues that parents should be forced to wait until their children are capable of making "rational decisions" before introducing their own religion to them.

My opponent is the Instigator and I am the contender. Although my position is that of PRO, as the contender, I simply argue against my opponent's proposal. I am not for religious indoctrination, but I am against my opponent's proposal.

I argue that it is wrong for any limitations to be set on how early a parent can introduce religion to their child.

2. AN IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS OF MY OPPONENT'S OPENING POST

"I argue that children should not be indoctrinated into their parents religion. While children are technically free to choose their own religion once they reach adulthood being raised in a certain religion can make the process biased, painful, and unnecessarily alienating."

My opponent is correct in saying that this "can" happen, but how often does it occur? He has already admitted that we all have the choice to abandon our religion in favor of others, and I find it absurd that he is suggesting that we limit bias so that the decision will be fair. In reality, bias exists whether we like it or not, unless we raise the children with robots.

"It's wrong to imbue opinions on impressionable children who aren't capable of making informed decisions and accept what trusted adults tell them as fact."

I am unsure, but the way my opponent phrased this, it appears he finds the act of raising a child to be immoral. The sole duty of a parent is to guide such children through their trust in making the right decisions. Where does the line get drawn? Should a parent forgo lessons about the Golden Rule just because it appears in the Bible?

"The best course of action would be to wait until a child is old enough to make rational decisions and then expose them to a wide range of religions and let them choose one, none, or a mixture of religious principles."

I find this suggestion to be utterly absurd, impractical, and poorly thought out. What my opponent suggests is that we devise a bias-free environment for children until they are 18-20 years old, then allow them to choose moral, cultural, and social values as if though they were picking out what to wear to the prom.

I completely understand where my opponent is coming from. My opponent is concerned that religious indoctrination impacts a child's ability to make decisions in life because it would make their later decisions biased. However, even at the beginning of this debate, he has already admitted that we are capable of changing out religious views at any moment in time, just that it might occasionally, for one or two people, be a stressful and complicated process.

3. MY ARGUMENT AGAINST MY OPPONENT.

This will be a two pronged attack. First, I wish to show the impracticality of my opponent's proposal, and secondly, I wish to show the danger and damage that implementing this proposal will do.

To repeat again: My opponent proposes that we should encourage free decision by withholding the "indoctrination" of religion by parents until a certain age.

1. There is no practical way to enforce this proposal

My opponent's suggestion, even if it were acceptable, would be impossible to implement and impossible to enforce. It is hard enough to detect whether or not children are being beaten by their parents, how are we going to deal with whether or not children are being indoctrinated by them? Install security cameras and listening devices in every home?

2. There is no clear distinction between culture and religion

With the infinite number of "religion" existing today, how are we justified in barging in on how a parent decides to pass on cultural views to his or her children? Many cultural practices revolve around Religion. Are children then forbidden from attending Church? I am a Chinese male. Are my children then forbidden to light lanterns with me during the moon festival? Should Jewish children gorge themselves on shellfish and pork? Should Hindu children do the same with beef?

3. This proposal goes against the first amendment.

America was founded on the principle that all religion would be tolerated. Since its earliest days, people have come to America to escape religious persecution. While I understand that my opponent is concerned about the freedom of religion for children, this point is completely moot because they always have the free choice to abandon their religion. I am concerned with the freedom of religion for the entire history of American immigrants who have come to this country to build a better life for their children, passing down their cultural values, and keeping the love of their homeland alive. One of the most painful things for a parent is alienation from their children, which is exactly what my opponent's proposal will do.

4. The morality of my opponent's decision in formulating this proposal is questionable.

My opponent wishes to eliminate bias from a person's freedom of choosing religion. However, my opponent's proposal does not do this. In fact, it makes it substantially worse. His assumption is that by refusing to expose children to their parents' religion, it eliminates bias. All it does is make it a bias against the parents' beliefs. Children will be exposed to the beliefs of others, the typical American culture, values, etc. In short, bias is not eliminated in the slightest. It is heightened in favor of everything *except* the parents' culture.

4. CONCLUSION

My opponent's proposal is very poorly thought out, and founded on several incorrect notions. We should not attempt to interfere with a parents' relationship with his or her child. Their culture, values, beliefs, etc. cannot be split from their religious beliefs, and there is no moral justification in forbidding a parent to pass on such an important part of themselves onto their children. It is cruel, unamerican, and inhumane to do so. Futhermore, even if it is implemented, this proposal will be completely and totally useless. It cannot be enforced and would waste taxpayer resources, and the motives/means are morally questionable. It does not eliminate bias, it only shifts bias around, while harming all parties.

I look forward to my opponent's response. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
Shadowfox

Con

First off I would like to thank my opponent for accepting the challenge and presenting the argument as they did. I'd like to run through the comments in order and in the process clarify my position.

"My opponent is correct in saying that this "can" happen, but how often does it occur? He has already admitted that we all have the choice to abandon our religion in favor of others, and I find it absurd that he is suggesting that we limit bias so that the decision will be fair"

I'm glad my opponent acknowledged that changing or rejecting religion can be stressful but I fail to see the relevance of the question of "how often does it occur?". This of course hints at practicality, implying that although cases may occur they might be so few in number as to not warrant any attention. There is really no statistical data for this sort of thing so I can't even begin to hint at a need to impliment any sort of system based on need. However in my original statement I am not arguing the need for a system, I state that I believe it to be the ideal system. I'll touch on my opponent's statements regarding a system for this later on as well as the existence of bias.

"Where does the line get drawn? Should a parent forgo lessons about the Golden Rule just because it appears in the Bible?"

I guess I failed to make that statement fully clear, it was rather short. I have no problem with the act of raising children and I agree that a parent's job is to guide their children, but in what ways are beneficial and healthy. For example, my opponent implies I call into question teaching the golden rule because it appears in the bible. The mistake my opponent makes is in implying that morailty can't exist with religion. I think that teaching facts to children is perfectly fine, the problem I have is with teaching opinions, I think opinions should be formed and not taught as facts. I'll clarify, teaching that the earth revolves around the sun, I think everyone would agree, is perfectly acceptable. However, few people nowadays are comfortable with the idea of teaching a child to hate a particular group of people for any reason. One is fact and the other is an opinion, these of course are extreme examples although there are some examples in which that sort of thing is done. Now going back to morality, I consider that to be within the realm of fact and as such should be taught to children. We all live within a society that has rules and it's important to follow those rules, likewise if you don't treat other people well then you've got no reason to expect them to treat you well. Now it's true that "facts" like these regarding conduct do exist within religion there are things that can only be regarded as opinion that also exist, various myths and such that are taught as fact.

"I find this suggestion to be utterly absurd, impractical, and poorly thought out. What my opponent suggests is that we devise a bias-free environment for children until they are 18-20 years old, then allow them to choose moral, cultural, and social values as if though they were picking out what to wear to the prom."

My opponent suggests that I think people are only capable of making decisions at ages 18+. I simply said an age capable of rational decision, however I did not specify what I thought the age range was so I can easily see the logic in the mistake. I personally would consider this age to range to be at the very earliest 6 or 7. My opponent suggests I equate moral, cultural, and social values to picking out clothes. I do equate them to that in the sense that it should ultimately be the child's choice but I in no way equate them to picking clothes in the sense that it's something simple and of little consequence. I in fact imply that opposite wanting the child to be exposed to a broad range of religions and values and be of rational mind because it's that important. Now before my opponent attacks the argument I just made, I stated that I believe 6 or 7 to be an age of rational decision making for the big decision I'm making this out to be. I'm sure my opponent would because I would. I don't believe that children should be free to make large decisions that could negatively impact their future health or future in general. As stated before a parent is supposed to guide a child and ensure their physical and mental health. I believe that beginning at the ages of 6 or 7 a child should be exposed to different religious systems (opinions), namely the mythology because they are more capable of understanding and likely have a more solid model of reality than say a two or three year old. Keep in mind I made the distinction between religion and morality.

Since there is no specific data indicating that it is simply one or two people undergoing mental distress there is likewise no date indicating it's not hundreds or thousands. However upon further research the penalties can be quite severe including kidnapping or even death. http://en.wikipedia.org....

Now moving onto my opponent's argument of practicality, there is no argument from me. In my original statement I never say that a system of enforcement is practical. No such system is practical, we can no more enforce parents to ensure that their children get a fully nutritious well balanced diet let alone enforce them to restrain themselves from forcing religion on them. However we absolutely do encourage parents to give their children a well-balance diet. Enforcement can't work, encouragement has a chance atleast, and I content that restricting teaching opinions and teaching myths as fact is as mentally beneficial as a balanced diet.

As my opponent states there are many religions. I am not proposing "barging in" or forbidding and while many cultural differences and practices do revolve around religion as I stated before there is a difference in teaching fact and opinion. In fact, one of the things I AM proposing is exposing children to different religions and therefore different cultures which could promote more understanding across cultural boundaries and encourage the decision making in children. I've got no problems with kids going to church or festivals, it's a family activity, but telling a child that things depicted in myths and ancient text are a certain way when there are some many religions that say differently is what I take issue with. On shellfish and pork with Jewish people and beef with Hindu, I'll take the Amish as an example. Amish children are free to use technology and at a certain age can make the choice to stay and become Amish or to leave and embrace technology and the modern world. There are still Amish people around even though their children have access to things which are taboo for their culture, why not extend choice to other cultures?

I'll try to keep this part short. I suggest the exposure of many religions to children (the most likely method being through school) which in turn does not heighten everything else except the parents beliefs because the parent's beliefs are of course included in that exposure, it levels the playing field a little. Bias of course can never completely be eliminated, however that does not mean that attempts to reduce it should not be made. My opponent mentions pain of alienation of children moving away from parent's religion and or culture, which is moot since there could be cases of the pain of children being forced to stay when they want to move. Also just because a child has a choice to accept another religion other then their parent's doesn't mean they will. Having the freedom of choice made easier would be beneficial in teaching them to be independent and make decisions on their own. Being taught certain things at an early age ingrains those teachings very securely and makes that more difficult from the start.
Kleptin

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response and will now submit my own argument.

Before I begin, I would like to make something clear. This debate is about moral imperative towards a course of action in order to remedy what my opponent believes to be a transgression of morality. The issue at hand, as my opponent has clarified, is that parents (in raising their children) subject them to bias that hinders their ability to choose both as children and as adults later on in life.

Since my opponent has already admitted that he is *not* suggesting a course of action, a change, the implementation of any sort of rule, or the enforcement of anything as such. In fact he conceded all the points I brought up on impracticality in his last round. Thus, I will treat this debate as one where we argue the morality of my opponent's concern.

My opponent's responses were quite scattered and thus, I am forced to abandon the structure of my first round to suit my opponent's response. In addition, my opponent's counterpoints did not hit their mark, I personally found that my opponent did not understand my focus at all. Thus, I will begin with a short rebuttal of each point, then a longer argument.

1. My opponent has stated that he agrees that any sort of enforcement is impractical and thus, this debate will be limited to the morality of the issue. As such, I will ignore all counterarguments directed at my assertion that his proposal is impractical.

2. My opponent has failed to understand my point regarding "where the line gets drawn". My opponent reiterates that children should only be taught facts and clearly told when things are opinions. This robs them of a cultural upbringing because the line between cultural practices/values and religion is quite blurred. If I wish to show my child the importance of family values and respect for our elders and ancestors by burning incense and praying, then pouring wine and bowing to show respect (as per Chinese custom), must I then go over the cultural practices of every other culture known to man and follow with the addendum that spirits may not exist at all and I am just doing a show for no logical reason?

3. My opponent misses the focus on my 18+ remark. I was drawing attention to the absurdity of leaving a child with no spiritual or cultural upbringing for the X amount of years before "rationality", which will more often than not, be puberty. My opponent's obsession with ensuring that children have "free choice" and an unbiased upbringing has blinded him to the fact that culture and spirituality should be fostered at a young age and into adulthood. My opponent has conceded that we should not interfere with the way a parent raises a child. If the parent believes that nudging his child towards his own religious path is the best for the child, then my opponent's argument fails.

4. Flawed source. I ask that the audience reject the source that my opponent submits on the grounds that it has no bearing on this debate whatsoever. This source details the religious "punishment" that Islam proposes for those who reject the Islam faith, something that is antiquated and no longer practiced, not to mention an act that goes against the Muslim freedom of religion doctrine as stated further down in my opponent's own source.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

That having been said, I will comment on the rest.

The question now, since my opponent has conceded that his proposal is impractical, is whether or not there is a moral imperative for us to change the way things are. My opponent has failed to do so. He has failed to outline a specific reason why it is immoral for a parent to guide his children down a cultural and religious upbringing that the parent chooses.

What my opponent does not understand is that the moral values by which he is weighing this decision, liberty, freedom of choice, etc. is taken too far out of hand. My opponent, by the stance he portrays, would stand against a parent who is telling his child that his great grandparents are in heaven, and would instead prefer that the parent confuse the child by telling him the opinions of a dozen other religions.

This obsession with being fair to everyone, this obsession with making sure that everything is on equal playing ground, it borders on absurdity. There is absolutely no plausible benefit in granting a child an education such as this because it is redundant, unnecessary, and possibly detrimental to his upbringing. Not only that, but any advocate of this type of confusing overexposure during the formative years would be contributing to driving a schism between parent and child.

The parent has no moral imperative to teach the opinions of other people if he believes that he is raising his child the right way.

I will say this once more:

The parent has no moral imperative to teach the opinions of other people if he believes that he is raising his child the right way.

As of now, I still don't see a proper argument from my opponent's side. What I do see is a vague and malleable position that says the extremes of religious indoctrination are bad. This goes without saying. The extremes of *anything* is bad. It is my opponent's burden to show that it is a moral transgression for a parent to mold his child's values and religious/cultural upbringing before the child can think for himself.

It was very difficult for me to structure this argument because my opponent's response was not in a step-by-step response to my points. Since there are two rounds left, I respectfully request that my opponent forgo a response to my rebuttal here and instead, offer an organized, step by step, bullet-point or numbered list of arguments pertaining to his point so that I may argue in sections instead of encompassing walls of text.

I look forward to my opponent's response. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
Shadowfox

Con

Shadowfox forfeited this round.
Kleptin

Pro

My opponent has forfeited his last round and all of my arguments extend forward.

As a reminder:

1. There are aspects of culture that are not necessarily founded on fact, but on spiritual faith.
2. There exists an external culture, one that differs from that of the person's ethnic culture, that threatens a child's cultural growth. In other words, there is always bias, no matter what you do.
3. This intrinsic bias already handicaps a parent's intrinsic right to pass down his values onto his children.
4. To further express the need to teach only facts, or to overexpose children to cultures not of his own, is to undermine and violate the rights of a parent to pass on his own culture.
5. My opponent's proposal does more harm than good, as any attempt to eliminate bias only shifts bias towards the generic "culture", and also makes it unfair for the parent.

I await my opponent's response. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
Shadowfox

Con

Shadowfox forfeited this round.
Kleptin

Pro

My opponent has forfeited his final round. I thank the audience and my opponent.

Please vote PRO.
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Kleptin 7 years ago
Kleptin
As usual, troll, your view is far too simple compared to everyone else's.

If it were that simple, you would be right. However, the problem is that we have to make a decision on this issue WITHOUT the knowledge of what beliefs are true.
Posted by DATCMOTO 7 years ago
DATCMOTO
It depends on what is true:
IF Christianity is true (it is) then to NOT bring children up in the faith is an immoral wickedness beyond belief as you are leaving them to the perils of the world and therefore satan.
IF Christianity is not true (it is) then to bring them up in the faith is absurd.
This debate is only relevant ONCE you have established WHAT is true.
Posted by Kleptin 7 years ago
Kleptin
I tried to hold off as long as I could for this round because my opponent forfeited. I hope this allots him enough time.
Posted by SirAntonyP 7 years ago
SirAntonyP
Religion is a way to control the masses, pure and simple fact, it is only used as a means to gain, money, power, recognition ect.

It has good core principles be good to each other and so on, but you don't need to devote your life to something that has been proven contradictory on many occasions, not to mention crazy at times, how about not being a total twat? that may work eh

If we was all let to grow up and not had religion pushed on us then there would be alot less religious people out there simple fact they havent had it drilled into them since they was a kid and see sense that it is in-fact bullplop.

The people who take it to extremes that need to sort themselves out doing wrong for your religion is not going to make a right, if your dos does exist you really think youl get into heaven haha? that includes pushing it on your kids or anyone els, you may think it's for the best but as most things its most defiantly not.
Posted by GeoLaureate8 7 years ago
GeoLaureate8
"I believe that religion is a method of brain washing" - GodSands

I never thought I'd hear a Christian actually admit to this.

.
Posted by GodSands 7 years ago
GodSands
Basiclly you need to be born again. Simpler way to put it.
Posted by GodSands 7 years ago
GodSands
The issues at heart*
Posted by GodSands 7 years ago
GodSands
I believe that religion is a method of brain washing, if the person does not fully understand in issues at heart.
Posted by Rezzealaux 7 years ago
Rezzealaux
oh, nvm.
Posted by Kleptin 7 years ago
Kleptin
I'm practicing my debate skills, what does it look like :O?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by dogparktom 7 years ago
dogparktom
ShadowfoxKleptinTied
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Vote Placed by patsox834 7 years ago
patsox834
ShadowfoxKleptinTied
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