Why You Shouldn't Teach Religion to Your Child

Why You Shouldn't Teach Religion to Your Child


A lot of parents, even atheist parents, think they need to raise their children with religion to teach them ethics and morals. 

Now, obviously, you can do these things without religion. I mean, even kids can tell you why lying and stealing are wrong because they don't want anyone to do it to them and Jesus never comes into the equation.

Some parents teach their kids religion because their parents or relatives want it to happen that way. 

But I want to tell you that raising your kids with religion, especially if you don't believe it, is a really bad idea.

Here are 5 reasons why you shouldn't teach religion to your child


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Religion often teaches children to do the right things for the wrong reasons

As a former math teacher, teaching kids religious reasons for behaving ethically is like handing kids a formula sheet before a test. 

They may get some answers right, but they have no clue how to apply the formulas in difficult situations. 

You're better off teaching them how the formulas came about, and how they apply in various cases, and how they don't always work in every situation.

Religion often teaches children to suppress their doubts and questions.

Do you remember reading Calvin and Hobbes where Calvin would ask very good questions, but his dad would make up these crazy fictional answers just to mess with them? It was funny. But that trust can fade. 

If you want your kids to take you seriously later in life, when the stakes are much higher, you can't lie to them from a young age. And that's a problem for religious parents since religion is all about telling lies to anyone who would believe them.

Kids will believe whatever you tell them, so don't lie

This applies especially to those parents who are atheists themselves, but they want to raise their kids with religion. 

Kids are gullible. I mean, it's fun to mess with them. Do you remember reading Calvin and Hobbes where Calvin would ask very good questions, but his dad would make up these crazy fictional answers just to mess with them? 

It was funny. But that trust can fade. If you want your kids to take you seriously later in life, when the stakes are much higher, you can't lie to them from a young age. 

And that's a problem for religious parents since religion is all about telling lies to anyone who would believe them. 

Parents teach religion to children in the hopes that they will eventually embrace the faith. They mean well. But it doesn't mean the religion isn't bullshit. 

Even Christian leaders know you got to get them while they're young before they're old enough to know any better. In fact, go to Wikipedia right now, and type in "The 4/14 Window". 

That's the age range when some evangelicals want to indoctrinate children. Because they know you're not going to go along with the whole Jesus story if the first time you heard it, was when you were 28. But when you're 8, you might actually go with it. 

So, if you tell your kids that the Bible is literally true, they're going to believe you. But eventually, they're going to grow up and realize you're wrong. 

And when that happens, your bond is broken. At least, a little bit. And they're going to wonder whether or not they can trust you on other important matters. 

By the way, some atheist parents feel the same way about Santa Claus, too. They don't tell their kids about Santa Claus, they don't play that game, because they don't want to lie to their kids on principle, ever. You know, even if it's all in good fun.

It suggests that faith is a virtue

We all want to raise kids, who are creative, and curious, and imaginative. But religion often puts a halt to all of that. Religion teaches kids to be obedient and to take things on faith alone. 

You should never believe anything just because a figure of authority says so. I mean, that's unwise at best and dangerous at worst. And as a parent, you never know what messages your child is going to come across. 

You can't keep them in the bubble forever. You have to prepare them for what's going to come their way. 

So, you have to teach them how to treat this new information. You have to teach them how to ask the right questions. 

You have to teach them how to discern whether or not an idea is true. If kids are taught to take things on faith, and not question them, there may come a time, later in their life, when they are taught something, that is way more dangerous than just some religious ideas and they won't be able to handle it properly. 

They'll believe it because of who said it, and how it was presented to them. And at that point, you won't be able to do anything about it.

It teaches them to accept bad explanations.

Religion is a set of bad answers to good questions. Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? Why do bad things happen to good people? 

Those are great questions. And they don't all have answers. But religion has created answers based off of nothing. And people accept those answers because they don't like to live with uncertainty. 

But we shouldn't settle for bad answers when there are better ones out there or if there are no answers at all. Let's not stifle the incredible curiosity of children by giving them the answers to questions that they need to work out on their own. 

But that's what religion does.

Why am I telling you all this? 

Because I want to live in a world where children are taught how to think, not what to think. I want to live in a society where we don't pass down bad ideas just because it's tradition. I'm not a parent yet. 

I know this is all easier said than done. But when I talk to parents who raised their kids without religion, I promise you their kids are just as ethical and thoughtful as anyone else. It can be done! 

And, to be clear, I am completely in favor of teaching children about religion. They need to know what others believe. 

But let's not give religious ideas more respect than they deserve.



Originally published by Hemant Mehta on the Atheist Voice. Published on Fadewblogs by Dave Martin.

Disclaimer: This article is published on Fadewblogs with the permission of the author.
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