Religion as child abuse—missing the point of the claim
|August 4, 2013||Posted by News under Religion, Culture, Naturalism|
Here’s some usual stuff from the Richard Dawkins spoutworks:
Forcing a religion on your children is as bad as child abuse, claims atheist professor Richard Dawkins
He said children should be taught ‘religion exists’ but not taught it as fact
Prof Dawkins repeating claims that sex abuse does ‘arguably less long-term psychological damage’ than being brought up a Catholic
Unfortunately, many people respond to this kind of thing by addressing the ridiculous charges themselves. They miss the dangerous underlying implications: that, in general, government should be concerned about what parents teach their children even when it does not lead to delinquency.
Whatever Dawkins may intend, many people in society have historically been quite ready to determine who should or shouldn’t raise children. The eugenics movement, founded, as it happens, in Darwinism, was just such an explicit cause.
People who charge “child abuse” via religion, junk food or whatever often assume that interference or removal of the child from the home will usually make things better.* Except in cases of severe physical or mental abuse or neglect, that is rarely true. Typically, a child prefers what he is used to, even if adults would consider it objectively inferior to what they would provide instead. That is one reason why child welfare services are always a mess. But don’t expect zealots to see why their interference would be less helpful than they think.
At any rate, it’s important to challenge the underlying assumptions of the zealotry as well.
* Even in those cases, intervention often doesn’t so much make things better as simply increase the chances that the child will grow up at all, which certainly forces our hands in the matter.