Should atheist children have to go to church with their christan families?
Debate Rounds (4)
First off, I don't think you can have "Atheist" children in a Christian family, at best you could have a child with agnostic tendency's. Not just that, but if children are not considered to be capable of making informed decisions about politics (allowed to vote) why would anybody assume that they are fully capable of making informed decisions about whether or not God exists? I expect atheist children to be brought up atheist and christian children to be brought up christian and it goes without saying that teenagers will rebel against their parents beliefs no matter what. Its part of the whole human life cycle. Become an adult, study the subject objectively and then and only then make up your own mind.
It's for this same reason that minors are not allowed to vote and why there are laws that protect them from the manipulative sexual advances of adults.
You said "The purpose of Christian church is to worship a God". That is only part of it, the other part of it is being part of a community and connecting with people outside of the home. To some parents its an activity of togetherness that they can share with their child, and hopefully provoke meaningful conversations with their child.
Lastly Con you said; "Even if the family is Christan, the child shouldn't go if she doesn't believe." That's a debatable point some would argue that a child participating in out of school activities is a socially healthy thing. If a minor truly doesn't believe that's fine with me, but what's wrong with respecting the parents beliefs? The fact is, that if you don't look for God you guarantee that you will never find him. This is a choice.
There is an old saying;
"The older I get, the more I realize, how little I know".
You also said "the other part if it is being a part of a community and connecting with people outside of the home," I can understand your respective, but since the child is atheist, he/she wouldn't be able to fit in the community. Say for example, in the worship the family goes to, they say the Apostle's Creed. The atheist child should not say the Apostle's Creed since the creed is basically saying that the person believes in the trinity. The last thing the child should want to do is lie about their belief. About the connecting with people outside of the home part, unless the child is homeschooled, they can easily talk to people at school. School is just one place where the child can socialize. They can talk to people at sports or other clubs.
Finally Pro, you said "If a minor truly doesn't believe, that's fine with me, but what's wrong with respecting the parent's beliefs?" I never said that the child shouldn't respect their family's belief. If the child doesn't believe in any God, it's their choice that nobody can change but theirselves.
Remember this, The only person who can change what you believe in yourself.
You are ignoring the biggest factor here, the point of my previous post and source was to show you just one thing. Children frequently exhibit bad judgement because of this lack of frontal-lobe development. To make a decision as to whether or not God exists for a child is pretty much meaningless. Some children will cling to their childhood notions about life throughout adulthood (as posted in comment), others as they grow and learn more will see the wisdom of their parents beliefs. Not going to church will only limit the amount of information you are exposed to and when any rational adult makes a life-changing decision they generally weigh the pro's and con's of the implications of that decision as well as their personal opinions. But when you lack good judgement that decision can be warped and twisted (not objective). This can lead to inaccurate or a biased decision.
I posted before that children are mostly agnostic, this is true. This word means (A - without) (Gnosis- Knowledge) and this is the true state of all children. To learn about God or to learn about secular humanism (evolution + abiogenesis) is something that I believe that everybody should do. If you only study one or the other you are making an uninformed decision because you are not weighing all the evidence.
I would also like to point out if a child disagrees with their parents beliefs, they should calmly and rationally tell them why and engage in a polite debate with them. Ask their parents and the youth leaders in their church why they believe something. There is nothing wrong with information gathering, and there is nothing wrong with pointing out inconsistencies.
Con you said "I can understand your respective, but since the child is atheist, he/she wouldn't be able to fit in the community." Again I would encourage the child to ask those tough questions, and ask themselves some tough questions. I would ask them to define what it means to be an atheist to them? How do they think that the universe was created? Have they studied up on the antithesis of their beliefs as well as the things that support them? Please don't answer these questions in this debate as it will sidetrack it from the point.
You said "Say for example, in the worship the family goes to, they say the Apostle's Creed. The atheist child should not say the Apostle's Creed since the creed is basically saying that the person believes in the trinity."
I absolute agree that no child should be forced to say anything that they don't truly believe. But that is not the point of this debate either.
So far I've responded to your questions so now I want to ask some of you.
If a child believed that they weren't learning anything in school and that it was boring should they be forced to go?
At what point should you give the child the self-determination as to whether or not they should go to school?
If a child decides that they don't need as much sleep as their parents think they do, should the child be able to determine their own bedtime?
These are all decisions that children can make. But should they make those decisions when its known that their frontal lobes are under-developed and they frequently exhibit bad judgement?
As an atheist, school and church are completely things. School is used for children to gain knowledge. Since younger children lack decision-making compared to older children, they are more likely to want to believe in something else. (http://www.psycontent.com...) Because of the child's responsibility to stand up for his/her beliefs, she/he should be responsible enough to know what's right for himself/herself. Most children know that they must go to school so they can get the education required for adulthood. But since you're concerned about me considering the frontal lobe dilemma, I did indeed mention it in one of my arguments, (I even quoted your mention of it). I understand that children are not the best at making good decisions.
If the child wants to be an atheist, they probably have been at the church long enough to understand the religion. (Especially if the parent took the child to Sunday school, confirmation, etc.) If the child know that she or he is an atheist, she or he should tell their parents about what they believe. (Which you mentioned in one of your arguments "I would also like to point out if a child disagrees with their parent's beliefs, they should calmly and rationally tell them why and engage in a polite debate with them.")
It was a nice time having this debate which really challenged my thoughts. As a minor, I do not understand much about relgion compared to adults. (Not that I care much about relgion in all honesty, but I had this debate because the topic was based off a true story and I wanted to see how this debate will turn out.) I do not request votes for any specific person. I only request honest votes.
I would disagree with you at this juncture. School is about learning about the natural world, Church is about learning about the spiritual world. Both institutions are dedicated to learning but about two very different things. In this sense they are a lot more similar then they are different.
However to be fair to you I can, in a larger sense see your point. Teenagers, although still technically children, are indeed better decision makers then the younger children and I believe more deserving of certain rights of self-determination. However I am still a big believer in family times and think that any situation in which a family is spending time together is a good thing. As a minor it might be hard for you to think about a world without your parents. For many adult's this is an unfortunate reality.
As a former teenager myself, I HATED church, it was boring and the message always remained the same "God wants you to do good things, and not do bad things." My father would drag me along every Sunday to church (probably much like your family does with you). I would spend most of my time doodling on the church bulletin with a pen I always brought. But to be honest if I could go back and do it again, I would've paid more attention to what was being said and would've spent more time getting to know my (actual) Father and asking him all the big questions that didn't make sense to me as a child. Unfortunately my Father passed away from cancer and I can't help but think I wasted a lot of time fighting with him over relatively small issues (like church).
You said "If the child wants to be an atheist, they probably have been at the church long enough to understand the religion. (Especially if the parent took the child to Sunday school, confirmation, etc.)"
I believe this is true for you, but just like children like you are raised Christian there are always the children of Atheist parents who are raised Atheist. But I do think from what you have shared in this debate that you definitely have a grasp of Christianity. But I would encourage you to continue to study the phenomena of faith just as much as I would encourage you to study the phenomena of our ever progressing science.
I would say that if you are firm in your Atheism, then nothing anybody say's or does will change that. So go to Church with your parents and enjoy their company. Before you know it you will be off to college where nobody is going to drag you to church and you will have the full rights of self-determination.
Thank you for this debate, and I wish you all the luck and happiness in the world. Keep on debating too, it keeps the mind sharp.
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