The Instigator
Con (against)
6 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
10 Points

Should children be the victims of their parents religion?

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/6/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,998 times Debate No: 51759
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (3)




Richard Dawkins brought up a good point in his documentaries on reason. Should children really be made to practice their parents religion? Should parents be able to punish their children for not participating in religion? Is labeling children with a religion they have no choice in joining a good thing? What do you guys think?


I am partly playing Devil's Advocate, because I partly agree, but I do have some interesting arguments, but would appreciate it if you could start with your arguments, thank you.
Debate Round No. 1


OK I suppose I should have done that initially. To begin would be to mention a common counter argument which is that not teaching a child religion is the same as teaching them one. This is a fallacy because even if the parents are non religious people they are not demanding the child except some ultimate claim about the universe. If the parents are atheists they should not just say "ok son you have to be an atheist" just as a Muslim, Jew or Christian should not do the same. But by not passing down your religion to your child by indoctrination or force (force being I'll ground you if you do not go to church etc..) you are in no way acting as the opposite equivalent. I mention this first because I did not want to have to deal with the fallacy later wasting time.
Now for an argument against. Well first of all this is in a great sense removing a persons right to religious freedom which has no age limitations. A parent does not have the right to make their child practice a religion. If a child refuses to go to church with them they do not have the right to punish them for not coming nor force them to in anyway. Would one let a Satanist parent force their child to go to a service? One could say 9 times out of 10 one would say no but we let other religions do it by the millions and think nothing of it even though it is the same thing. To continue this is indoctrination which keeps the child from being able to make decisions about religion in the future that are more thought out. No to say this makes someone stupid, NOT AT ALL, but you can understand the logical fallacy of saying I'll raise them Christian and then when they move out they can make up their mind about this stuff just fine. If a child is not forced to practice a certain religion while growing up this would allow them to critically evaluate religion rather than look at it through the lens of the religion they were made to believe. From my own experience (perhaps worthless) I was raised catholic and even when finally allowed to see religion for myself I found that I was making judgement about Islam, Judaism and non believing based on my own catholic beliefs rather than critically thinking about the claims/reasons for all this. It took me years to myself out of that hole so that I could view religions on a fair and logical basis. Yes I am atheist but I could have chosen any other religion. Plenty of people are raised without religion and later join one thus logical fallacy in saying you are taking religion away from the child forever. We do not label our children as Republican, Democrat etc why label them with religion and raise them so that they are forced to accept an ultimate truth they don't get to evaluate critically.


Thank you for your point, and I would like to this round introduce the framework for my argument, of why parents should be allowed to make their children partake in a religion.

1. A Perspectival View
From the perspective of a religious person, their beliefs are an absolute truth. They are as true as their existence, and infallible. God is real. Christianity for example, is the truth. That means a lack of faith in this case means Hell, and a chance to miss out on the grace given. From religious father, not making their children religious is basically sending their child to Hell. From the perspective of a Buddhist, not making their children follow the religion will only make them re-born in a worse fashion. From a secular parent, not teaching your child morals is only damning them for a bad life. From a secular parent, not allowing your child to know about anything, to appreciate knowledge in general is a negative, leading them to stupidity. It is all the same, so enforcing not allowing parents to do this is unfair. Everyone has religious freedom, but what use is it if firstly, a child does not have any knowledge of religion and two, does not even though they have this right. Children simply are too ignorant to decide that they want to be religious. They are simply too young and ignorant to have the mental capacity to truly want to find out and believe and devote themselves to a god.

2. Religion is a Personal Benefit with Right Parenting
Correct parenting should teach a child to evaluate, decide and make choices for themselves as an adult. With a good parenting, anyone, whether religious or not should be able to make choices about what they believe. The bonds of indoctrination should be loosened if a child is brought up to think for himself and make choices and follow what makes him happy. A parent as I said before maybe distraught, but at least they know their now grown up child has thought it through and he will be happier. In an ideal world, where this should happening, religion creates no issue whatsoever on a personal scale. People will believe in whatever faith they are made to up until they are an adult, and then they can formulate their own choices, and this is better. Firstly, because it is harder for an atheist to convert as from their perspective, it is harder to go from logic, analytical thinking and adhering to where the BOP lies, to faith, trust and belief. For someone to have a complete shift from the accepted, popular and proven paradigm, to faith usually takes more than analytical thinking. Atheism also uses a biased lens, one which follows this paradigm of logic, so your whole example is fallacious. Switching from both sides will infer bias, but from a religious person's perspective they will be brought up with their religious view as well as the common logical view of things, which is taught all throughout education. Someone who is religious in an ideal world has more of an even balanced view as society uses a secular paradigm, and religion uses faith, so when they have experienced both, they can choose. That means that any issues you brought isn't actually an issue with a child being made religious is to do with the parenting, or the child, as ideally, it works. So the issue isn't this. Now, you could say that in both cases they would be happy no matter what, which is true and about an equal amount of people will have mixed emotions, so here, unlike in most occasions, my third argument is actually valid.

3. Pascal's Wager
Yes, I am using Pascal's Wager in an argument, but here it has its uses, in two ways. Perspectival to a Christian for example, if God is real, and his child is a Christian, then he goes to Heaven. If God is not, and his child is a Christian, then nothing happens. If God isn't real and his child is atheist, then nothing happens, but if God is real and his child is an atheist, then he goes to Hell. So there is more safety in being Christian, and perspectively, this is true for any religion. So if a parent teaches his child a religion, he has more religious safety and thus is better off religious. From the perspective of a religious person this is true and there is a benefit no matter the religion, as only atheism will always fall into the lesser category. And considering roughly 80% of people identify themselves as religious[1], I think you can see the large benefit. Even from a non-religious person's point of view, if we scale it up, there are 4,200 religions in the world (an estimate). So if your religion is true, you are lucky. If there all religions are false, you are lucky, and if another religion is true then you aren't. With atheism, if god isn't real then you're lucky, but else, you aren't, so it is a win-lose-lose, so imposing your motion only increases the chance of people suffering, which is why Pascal's Wager is relevant.

So from the perspective of about 80% of the world, their child is better off religious, and from no perspective, they are as well, but if they want to be atheist, with right parenting they should be able to, so the issue isn't really the religion itself. And as bias is inevitable, having more of a taste of the two is easier. This is what I have proved this round, thank you.

Debate Round No. 2


Ok good now that the points are out. Ok well to continue you have mentioned first off that a child is too ignorant nor has the mental faculties to determine whether they want to be religious or not. This I agree too completely because that is the point. They aren't old enough to evaluate any of this critically so why take advantage of their lack of knowledge and indoctrinate them into a religion rather than teaching them to be a critical thinker? This is a question because that argument is so far used in the CON side so idk what good its doing the PRO. Next you again made the fallacy of equivocating non-religion upbringing with a religious one and then you for some reason said it was fallacious after this was just explained to you so...? You have brought up however the main strong point for the PRO side which is a parent may view their child not following the religion to have eternal consequences in that religion. The problem is that this is eternal consequences according to that parent not reality. Again you re-mention what I did that the parents religion has an ultimate truth, making the child accept this truth against their will is trespassing on that individuals freedom of speech and religion. Lastly you made the point that if you raise a child in a non-religious way they will have a more logical and reasonable way of evaluating religion. Well of course they will that's the whole point. You should determine what you believe using logic and reason it should have nothing to do with indoctrination or upbringing or emotion or myths with good morals. It should be entirely based on logic so yes there is a logic based bias because the last thing you want is an upbringing that will evade that, a religious one. To go further we do have to take into account that many children who try to defect from their parents religion are around 13 and up. Not to say this is when we are wisest nor to say invulnerable to having an advantage taken of us but this is when we develop enough mentally to at least question why we should believe what we are being told. Also to add lets not forget what we are talking about here, not just indoctrination but enforcement of it. If your child comes to you and says they never want to go to church again or that they do not want to believe in your god(s) or that they wish to change religions it really is not your right to tell them no. If you bring up someone in a faith you can of course teach them to think critically but only to certain point as thinking critically would mean they will in no doubt demand evidence and reason to defend your religion. Raising a child religiously will rob them of this or make their first 17 years of life years they cannot use this.
As you pointed out religion is different from logical bias but if you can't defend your belief using evidence and logical argument what right do you have to make your child say it is true. If you cannot prove it then the child should have every right to defect and if that makes them an atheist or another religion too bad.
If there is something I did not mention or counter I apologize. It doesn't seem to let me go from typing to the debate page to typing again without forgetting what I wrote.


I'm sorry, but I have a very large problem with everything you've just written. I will sum up your argument to show why.

1) Children cannot formulate opinions so should be brought up to think critically instead.
2) Eternal consequences aren't reality.
3) Logic and reasoning is something which is a must, not emotion or morals.
4) If a religion cannot be proved, the child has every right to defect.
5) Religion must be proved or it robs a child's life.

I don't know whether the floor can see this, but he firstly did not answer the motion, and there is nothing objective here relating to this.

"Should children be the victims of their parents religion?"

This is the motion, this is what we are arguing but instead you have decided to put your atheistic views as fact here. You state that logic is the right and best objective paradigm, as if it is the only one and that every parent must adhere to it, but this is subjective. Saying a religious person must follow logic is imposing your subjective beliefs, which follow the popular mentality, that logic is the correct paradigm, but at the end of the day it is subjective so that point an all points relating to it are false. Teaching your child that logic and reasoning is the only way is indoctrination, because at the end of the day everything you teach your child is indoctrination in relation to moral, ethics, politics and philosophy. You will never avoid indoctrination whether it is secular humanist to Buddhist, telling me that a parent has to prove and use logic and reasoning and bring a child to do the same is wrong. It may be the popular mentality, but it doesn't mean it is an absolute truth.

You stated that "raising a child religiously will rob them of this or make their first 17 years of life years they cannot use this". This again is bordering bigotry. Whether religion is positive or negative is subjective. Whether not adhering to logic is good or bad is subjective. What you had to prove to me is how religion serves a utilitarian or objective disfavour to a child, and saying because it promotes a different paradigm other than the right one isn't an argument, because it is subjective.

And because you have this set of beliefs, you state that religion must be proved and tested, which not only as I have said before is subjective, but goes against the idea of religion. Religion requires faith and relies on not having evidence but believing anyway. It relies not even using a paradigm but rather faith, so to state that it needs to be proven is false, subjective, not on point with the motion and irrelevant, a completely different debate.

In the end, you did not explain why children should not be the victims of indoctrination, as all your arguments relied on your personal beliefs which you tried to impose as objective. Whether the floor believes in your motion is irrelevant, because you simply have not argued it whereas I have, so I urge the voters to vote for me, because he did not argue the motion on an objective level but rather his one which he views as right. In this argument you were expected to argue why religion should not be enforced unto children, so you needed to argue that religion was objectively bad, but rather debated as if this was already a fact. Thank you for this debate however.
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ZebramZee 6 years ago
Ridiculous. That makes a nice bumper sticker slogan, but is far from the truth. Secular humanism is a set of values about the world. Any set of values that contradicts it is considered wrong. If a child believed that killing animals and babies was a wonderful thing, would secular humanist parents allow him to think that freely? Or would they bend him into accepting their secular humanist ideology of 'free thought'?
Posted by Charliecdubs 6 years ago
Posted by Charliecdubs 6 years ago
I would like to clarify that my choice of words for the topic was only to give it a stronger advertisement. If victim does not work for you I'm sure you can place another word. I think the current word choice is a good eye grabber and gets to the heart of the matter effectively but again I'm sure you could put it differently the topic is still the same
Posted by Alter1 6 years ago
every home has a pattern of religion, it can be religious, half religious or not religious at all.
The child gets his bacground from his parents, but don't forget we live in a plural society and that is
definitely a big influence. When the child becomes an adult he has the choice in choosing his way
of religion and the parent should give him the freedom of choice. Usually home influence has a big
impact, which can only bring to a positive result.
Posted by perplexed 6 years ago
@CJKAllister and ZebramZee
secular humanist ideology is about free thought....not the same thing as dogma.
not in a million years.
Posted by Jifpop09 6 years ago
I don't like his choice of the word victim in the resolution.
Posted by CJKAllstar 6 years ago
ZebramZee that was one of my arguments. Parenting will inevitably bring indoctrination as what is right is subjective, as I will explain more in my argument, but I agree with you completely.
Posted by ZebramZee 6 years ago
I don't think children should be the 'victims' of their parents' religion. However, I see no difference between being the victim of their parents' religion or a victim of their parent's secular humanistic philosophy either. They are both fundamentally the same.
Posted by Actionsspeak 6 years ago
If children weren't forced to follow their parent's religion I doubt any religion would have above 50 million followers.
Posted by ESocialBookworm 6 years ago
I agree.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by rross 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Great topic from Con and an interesting debate to read. I agree with Pro that if Con's argument assumed that religion is wrong or at least that it's unknowable whether it's true or not. However, this assumption was neither stated in r1 nor proven anywhere (arguments). About S&G, I really found Con's sentence structure kind of convoluted and difficult to follow at times.
Vote Placed by Cooldudebro 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:43 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct goes to con because of the beginning statement of round 3 by pro. S/G goes to pro for many errors commited by con. Sources also go to pro because he was the only one to even touch a source. Pro was winning in the beginning, but con came from behind and stole the victory. I think pro was so confident he didn't fufill his BOP, that he did not debate to his full potential. Overall geat victory by con. I can't wait to see more of his debates.
Vote Placed by Jevinigh 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I Googled the Richard Dawkins documentary and it was interesting to listen to. Even though he din't really source it so much as referenced it, I will award a point for it in my vote. Also, Pro din't so much raise better points as he structured his argument better and made it more clear and precise than Con's argument which was not direct enough in my opinion.

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