The Instigator
QandA
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
Michaelphelps
Con (against)
Winning
2 Points

Young children should not be forced into religion.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Michaelphelps
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/4/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,101 times Debate No: 37362
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

QandA

Pro

I usually make the first round to be an acceptance round only however I will try a new structure for this debate. I invite my opponent to present their argument in round one. The following rounds will then be back and forth argument as usual. I will be for the notion that it is not acceptable to force a young innocent child into a religion through the means of parenting, school, community etc. Good luck and happy debating!
Michaelphelps

Con

I would like to thank my most worthy opponent for taking the time to post this debate. I hope although for some this can be a sensitive issue I will try my hardest to avoid making any offensive comments.

I would like to begin by stating my first point. What this issues boils down to is that in the end it's the parents choice. If a parent or guardian would like to expose a child to religion at a young age it is their choice. Most parents believe that their religion is true and therefore they want their children to be exposed to the joy and abundance of blessings and opportunities they feel their religion provided for themselves. If a parent doesn't want to bring their child to church or the mosque or other religious gathering places it is also their right.

My second point is that the child when he turns 18 can cease associating themselves with their religion. When a child is old enough it is their choice if they want to go to church. or not.
Debate Round No. 1
QandA

Pro

Thank you for accepting the debate.

Firstly, onto your arguments.

I agree that it is a parents right to bring up a child whatever way they see fit however that does not make it morally right. Young impressionable children are being fed religious teachings from a very young age, especially through school and community. I do not feel it is right to shove all these teachings down the throat of a child who is too young to think rationally. All these ideas are being sub-consciously formed in the child's brain which is blatant brain-washing as they cannot possibly know any better because they are being pulled into religion at such a young age. As the saying goes "there is no such thing as a religious child, only a child with religious parents".

Would it not be so much better and moral if a child is taught that religion exists and what it consists of but is not blatantly and helplessly forced into it. That way when the child is old enough and is able to think rationally on the information in which they have received, they can then decide which path to follow, whether it be religious or non-religious.

And in response to your second, point, the truth is that the more a child is forced into religion, the harder it is for them to rationally decide on religion as they grow older. They will end up having a biased opinion. This is why I feel it is better that a child is taught that religion exists and what it consists of rather than being forced into following it.

I also feel that children should not be forced into religion because it can cause them harm. If a young child is told that there is a place called hell and that if they are bad in their life they will go to it, not only is this immoral but it also in no way can be good for the child's pshycology. It is brainwashing an innocent child who cannot think for themselves on the subject. Religion also teaches children that it is okay not to question anything as there is already a supposed explanation and that "God" will take care of everything. This is teaching kids that they are basically puppets and that such ownership is okay. Creationism is taught in many elementary schools. This is filling children with ideas that we know are just not true and how can you say that teaching children false information is not causing them harm? Maybe it isn't directly causing harm but it certainly is mentally causing harm.

I look forward to your response.
Michaelphelps

Con

Thank you for your response.

Now onto my argument,
You said" Young impressionable children are being fed religious teachings from a very young age, especially through school and community. I do not feel it is right to shove all these teachings down the throat of a child who is too young to think rationally." Although a child may not be able to think rationally. Should we be allowing our children to do what ever they want or whats best for them. Our should I choose whats best for them.

You also stated that: "Would it not be so much better and moral if a child is taught that religion exists and what it consists of but is not blatantly and helplessly forced into it". A simple solution which many parents employ is to have their children attend but do not force them to believe the teachings. this is beneficial to both parties it allows the children to for thier own opinions which they can make when their older and it does not put pressure o nthe parents to FORCE their children to believe.

You also said they will have a biased opinion. This will not be the case if they are not forced to believe. They can be taught about the principles of the religion but encouraged to form their own opinions on what is right or wrong.

You said that: "I also feel that children should not be forced into religion because it can cause them harm. If a young child is told that there is a place called hell and that if they are bad in their life they will go to it, not only is this immoral but it also in no way can be good for the child's psychology" I don't see how this is bad. it teaches children that your actions have consequences and are therefore taught that if your good and make good choices you will be rewarded and vice versa.

You said: Religion also teaches children that it is okay not to question anything as there is already a supposed explanation and that: "God will take care of everything." Many religions actually encourage inquiry and questing in order to increase their understanding. And lots of religions don't teach that god will take care of everything they teach that you have to work and that if you are righteous that god will support you.

I look forward to your response
Debate Round No. 2
QandA

Pro

Onto your points,
You say "Should we be allowing our children to do what ever they want or what's best for them, or should I choose what's best for them".

We should always do what's best for our children of course but I don't feel forcing them into a religion is doing what's best for them. Many parents feel it is but at the same time that doesn't make it right. I have already explained why I feel this way in the previous round so there is no need in repeating themselves.

You say, "A simple solution which many parents employ is to have their children attend but do not force them to believe the teachings."

I am sorry but this statement is invalid to the debate topic as the topic is "Young children should not be forced into religion", and not "Are young children always forced into religion". As a result of this we are obviously then talking about the parents who do force their children into religion and whether or not it is right when children are forced into religion. We are not posing the question "do all parents force their kids into religion". There is a big difference between the two. This then applies to your statement where you say "this is beneficial to both parties as it allows the children to form their own opinions which they can make when their older and it does not put pressure on the parents to FORCE their children to believe." (I fixed your spelling).
Funnily enough, this was basically one of my points in the previous round, that it would be a lot better for children to learn about what religion is, rather than just being told to follow it, they would then be able to form their opinion when their older with no bias views on the matter.

You say that children will not have a biased opinion if they are not forced to believe. This was my point exactly.
Remember I am on the pro side to the notion that young children should not be forced into religion and you are on the con side which means that you are arguing AGAINST the notion that young children SHOULD NOT be forced into religion. Again it is not valid for you to say that they will not have a biased opinion if they are not forced to believe as that is a contradiction to what you are arguing. Please do not alter the topic or your stance on the topic, with all do respect.

You say that you see no problem in a young child being told that there is a hell and that if they are bad in their life they will go to it. Apart from it being a superstitious belief and not necessarily true at all, it is a cruel and fearful statement to tell a child, which would most certainly damage them pshycologicaly. You say that "it teaches children that your actions have consequences and are therefore taught that if your good and make good choices you will be rewarded and vice versa."
If a child actually does do good deeds because they are told that they will go to hell if they don't, then this is teaching a child to be good solely out of fear, nothing else. How can anyone not see a problem in this? There is absolutely no moral code involved. Instead of a child learning to be good and moral for the sake of being a good person it is teaching them that they better be good and moral or else they're burning in hell. A young impressionable child would then have the mindset of living in constant FEAR of everything they do, just because someone told them that they will go to hell if they are bad. This is disgusting and sad at the same time and follows no sense of morality, just a religious idea forced into a young impressionable child's head.

"Many religions actually encourage inquiry and questing in order to increase their understanding. And lots of religions don't teach that god will take care of everything they teach that you have to work and that if you are righteous that god will support you."

The truth is that many religions don't encourage inquiry into their own teachings because they feel that they already have a perfectly good explanation for everything. This "explanation" is then told to young children and because they are too young to know any better they believe it as true, despite it just being a superstition. Not only do they believe it as true, it is taught to them as being true. This hinders a child's development as in this case, development of the mind can only be achieved by researching information and posing questions. And yes, religions may not teach the exact principle that God takes care of everything but young children are certainly told that, I know because I was taught that.

Creationism is taught in many elementary schools. This is filling children with ideas that we know are just not true and how can you say that teaching children false information is not causing them harm? Maybe it isn't directly causing harm but it certainly is mentally causing harm.

I am saying that the idea of what religion is should be taught in school however it should not be taught in a way which is forcing superstitious teachings into an innocent child's head. When the child is older it can then make an educated, thought-out and rational decision on what ideas to follow instead of losing this chance at an extremely early age.
Michaelphelps

Con

Although children cannot fully form their own opinions yet church helps them become better people and learn how to become good people it children who grew up in a religious household and went to church on a regular basis less likely to turn to crime this says that if a child is introduced to religion at a young age they can learn to make good choices and that they make you happy.

You say that If a child actually does do good deeds because they are told that they will go to hell if they don't, then this is teaching a child to be good solely out of fear, nothing else. I have to disagree, if a child is told to be good to reach heaven they will have a true desire to be good people because they can become good individuals. You stated that: "children should not be forced into religion because it can cause them harm" you said the idea of hell causes mental harm what harm does this cause. Religion does not teach people to be good or else you will go to hell. Although this is one of there teachings they encourage individuals to be righteous and good to be good and because it is the right thing to do not simply because you will go to hell it isn't that simple. You also said "It follows no sense of morality". As a matter a fact it does. Religion teaches that you should be good people because that is the right thing to do.

According to many religions hell is a place where you will be taught the gospel, and sometime following their repentance they will be resurrected to a degree of glory of which they are worthy. Those who will not repent, but are nevertheless not sons of perdition, will remain in hell throughout the Millennium. After these thousand years of torment, they will be resurrected to a telestial glory. Therefore Hell is not simply a dead end or the end of the road. It is a place where those who have not even tried to follow god or rejected him are taught about him not simply the end.

I may I ask how creationism is causing kids harm: it is a belief and is not necessarily incorrect. Many theories suggest creationism is the correct theory.
Debate Round No. 3
QandA

Pro

It is not the role of the church to make children better people, this is the role of parents. Again to prevent going around in circles I have already stated why I don't feel it is right for children to be forced into religion through school, parenting, church etc. I'm sorry but where is the proof that children who grow up in a religious household and go to church on a regular basis are less likely to turn to crime? Please don't make such a bold accusation unless you have evidence to back it up.

You say "if a child is told to be good to reach heaven they will have a true desire to be good people because they can become good individuals."

This was essentially what I dealt with except I reversed it as going to hell if they are bad rather than the sweeter sounding going to heaven if they are good. As this is essentially the same point or principle of point that I have already discussed so I shall group them together. Even if a child has a true desire to be good individuals because they are told that they will go to heaven if they are and hell if they are not, this is still the child wanting to act moral out of fear of being greatly punished. It is in no way wanting to be moral for the sake of being a good person or for the sake of helping others, it is being moral out of fear of burning in hell. This in turn is then teaching kids that it is okay just to be moral out of selfishness as the idea of doing good things just to save your own skin and that you don't actually truly care about morality or helping people is undoubtedly selfish. But this of course is not the child's fault, it is the fault of the individual who told the impressionable child such a wicked and fearful thing.

You stated that you would like to know how the idea of hell causes mental harm to a child. Very well.

The idea of hell, like all religious teachings are superstitious stories so first of all they simply shouldn't be told to the child as true. They should just be told that "this is what Christians believe" or whatever the religion may be. Now, bring this into the concept of the hell idea. This is completely a superstitious idea therefore how is it right to tell a child potentially false information and have a child to believe that such superstition is 100% true, rendering them in a mode of fear and worry. Not to mention that the idea of a young child going to hell is utterly grotesque.

The bible also talks of exactly who will be going to hell:

Revelation 21:8 ESV / 54 helpful votes

"But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.""

Granted a young child mostly wouldn't be told about such passages but in hardcore Christian schools, churches or communities it is very possible that young children would be taught such ideas, it is after all in the bible. Also if a child can be told that they will go to hell if they are bad then I don't see why they wouldn't be told WHO goes to hell. I cannot seem to find the video now but Richard Dawkins tells of a time when a woman wrote to him saying that when she was 7, her friend died (who was also 7). As her friend was of a different religion, she was told that her friend had gone to hell and would roast there forever. How can such a teaching not harm a young impressionable child who believes this as true? I say keep superstitious teachings as JUST superstitious teachings rather than have a child believe that such horrific ideas are what's 100% true with no question. This is brain-washing, mental child abuse and deeply immoral.

You say "Hell is not simply a dead end or the end of the road. It is a place where those who have not even tried to follow god or rejected him are taught about him not simply the end."

You have provided no evidence of religions that teach this or where this idea can be found.

You ask how Creationism is causing kids harm. It is causing them harm because of the simple fact that it is wrong information. Creationism has been disproven, Evolution on the other hand is a FACT. Where is the logical reasoning behind teaching kids wrong information? The only reason it is being taught is because it is a religious idea and people love the idea of young children following religion. This sounds reasonable enough however it is the way in which religious teachings are being taught where I see a major problem. The idea of a young impressionable child being forced into religion and then taught that such religious teachings are the absolute truth and that they need not think any more about it frustrates me greatly.

Again, taking everything I said into account, the idea of what religion is and what it consists of should be taught but should NEVER be forced.
Michaelphelps

Con

Onto your first point.
Parents can facilitate children's behaviours and teach the m what is good and bad but the church can certainly reinforce it.

"I'm sorry but where is the proof that children who grow up in a religious household and go to church on a regular basis are less likely to turn to crime? Please don't make such a bold accusation unless you have evidence to back it up."

The book of Crime Correlates by Lee Ellis (http://books.google.ca...) says that according to multiple studies children who are raised in religion are far less likely to turn to crime.

"This is completely a superstitious idea therefore how is it right to tell a child potentially false information"

You say Hell is purely a superstitious idea how come it is a widely accepted theory worldwide? The fact of the matter is nobody can know for sure whether or not hell exists. Please do not make claims like that without backing it up.

You also stated that:Hell is harmful because it renders children in in a mode of fear and worry.
This is not necessarily true depending on which religion we are talking about many do not introduce the concept of hell to children they simply wait until they are old enough to grasp the concept I will use the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as an example. They do not even mention hell to their younger church goers the concept is not even touched upon until the children are about 12 years old.

You stated that when I said "Hell is not simply a dead end or the end of the road. It is a place where those who have not even tried to follow god or rejected him are taught about him not simply the end." "You have provided no evidence of religions that teach this or where this idea can be found."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints believes this (http://www.lds.org...)
Believes that if you repent that those who go to hell can become good again.

I feel that Parents have the right to have their children attend church. And should be taught if it is the parents wish.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Michaelphelps 4 years ago
Michaelphelps
Whoops
Posted by Jonathan11 4 years ago
Jonathan11
I think the pro is winning
Posted by MysticEgg 4 years ago
MysticEgg
I think you should change the title to:
Young Children should be forced into religion" and then take Con.

Also, while I agree, it is clearly almost impossible in principle. The
"join the crowd, join the family, and don't disappoint the family" aspects put pressure onto a child, willing or no.
Posted by glowingdisco 4 years ago
glowingdisco
I am a Christian, and I was not forced into the Christian religion.
Yes, I was taken to church at a young age and was exposed daily to Christian teaching, but I was not 'forced'. The decision to personally become a Christian was a choice that I made.

Religion isn't forced on anyone. Yes it may be encouraged by the individual's school or parents, but religion is a personal decision made by the individual himself.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Jonathan11 4 years ago
Jonathan11
QandAMichaelphelpsTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:12 
Reasons for voting decision: Both did very well, I can't pick a winner but Con had a few spelling errors, but he did have 2 sources which are both reliable.