Is Raising Children with Religion Child Abuse?

Richard Dawkins has often touted that indoctrinating children with religion is not just equal to, but worse than child abuse. Not only is he being vitriolic, he is flat wrong in the face of evidence. I thought he was a man of reason and science? The evidence suggests children are far better off being raised religious.

Is Raising Children with Religion Child Abuse? | Fazale Rana

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28 thoughts on “Is Raising Children with Religion Child Abuse?

  1. Hayden,
    I had, yesterday, an encounter with a young man that had been raised with religion to the extent of having schooling entirely in Christian schools. In our discussion, he was more motivated with advising an old man than to accepting advice from a voice of experience. I have, unfortunately, experienced similar encounters in the past and found that there is a lack of understanding the importance of others. Many Christian sages have failed to offer a balanced message to the importance of other opinions without finding the importance to the value of all opinions. With the regard to the encounter yesterday, the young man was not acceptance to the importance of silence and reflection. You have a great ministry and keep the work moving to the positive.


    1. That’s unfortunate. The bible is clear that we should be slow to speak and quick to listen, especially when it comes to our elders. Thank you!


  2. This reminds me of the scripture, “train a child in the way he should go and he will never depart from it when he is older.” (Proverbs 22:6)

    I’ve studied a lot of atheists such as Richard, Stephen, Lawrence, etc. and the darkness is real with them. He only says stuff like this in spite because he wants people to be like himself. But, if I could suggest, perhaps something happened to him when he was younger from religious people that made him hate God. As you said, these people are smart, they should know of a greater power. But they have an agenda. It is really sad to see. My eyes have changed over the years from laughing, hating these types of people to often feeling bad for them because they don’t either know or want to know. Or something happened to tear them away from the truth.


  3. Those responsible for the Twin Towers disaster were raised with religion as were/are every devout Islamic Terrorist.
    They are taught it is Allah’s Will. That is most certainly abuse at its most vile.

    The Catholic Church is considered directly responsible for the deaths of untold numbers due to HIV/AIDs because of its stance on contraception.
    A great many religious deconverts, and especially those from the more fundamentalist sects speak first hand of the abuse they suffered.

    Every child schooled in ACE ( Accelerated Christian Education) which is based on Y.EC is abused, emotionally and academically.

    Calvinism is a very abusive sect of Christianity. Calvin even had his friend burned alive over issues about doctrine for goodness’ sake! How is that not abusive?

    And every child indoctrinated to believe that failure to toe the religious line will result in them being damned for eternity to Hell(sic) is the victim of abuse.


      1. I read the article you posted. The article shows that their are places where religiosity is declining and quality of life is increasing. Great! I never argued that that couldn’t be the case. The blog I posted showed that children in America raised in religious homes are better off than those not in terms of the societal ills specified in the study. This doesn’t mean that non-religious areas can’t increase quality of life. It means the idea that religious people are “abusing children” is utter nonsense and beneath civil discussion. Not to mention, it has nothing to do with whether or not God exists, or that particular religion is true.


      2. Children in America. Yes!
        What about other countries?
        What about Muslim children?
        Mormon kids, Jehovah witness kids.,

        It means the idea that religious people are “abusing children” is utter nonsense and beneath civil discussion.

        Which flies in the face of evidence if taken on a global scale.
        The video the cage should demonstrate that perfectly.


      3. I’m not Muslim, Mormon, or Jehovah witness. The point is that religion itself isn’t the abuse. If you are religious and abuse someone, the abuse isn’t the religious teaching, the abuse is the abuse. It’s so obvious I had to use a tautology to explain it.


      4. Yet it is, as it encourages such behaviour as continually demonstrated by its practitioners.
        Two classic examples: Belief in such nonsense as Hell and Demon Possession.
        Indoctrinating such rubbish into children is abuse. Plain and simple.,


      5. As a child I was taught that hell exists and so do demons. lo and behold, I am not psychologically impaired and neither are billions of people around the globe who were taught the same. You are making a verifiably false statement. We can and have tested this, just as my original article stated, the evidence shows that religious children grow up not only just fine, but even flourishing compared to non-religious. You are making a hypothesis that has been tested and proven wrong. I don’t know how else to say that. At any rate, thanks for commenting, best of wishes.


      6. And yet, Hayden, the link I provided demonstrates how false your statement is.
        Whether religious upbringing leaves any long lasting psychological damage does not absolve it from the fact it is still abuse.

        Furthermore, around 250,000 young people are walking away from fundamentalist Christianity every year.


  4. I don’t want to be provocative, but I believe that the truth lies somewhere between religion is never abuse and religion is abusive. Healthy religion teaches a child to love and trust God and to believe that God loves and cares for them. It also teaches them to respect and love other people, even those who look different and follow another faith. Unfortunately many of us did not grow up with this idea. I grew up in an almost closed Calvinist group in Scotland. It wasn’t quite a cult, but it could be described as a sect. I was told all about sin and hell but almost nothing about love and salvation. Salvation was only for the Elect and most people didn’t think they were Elect, and so it seemed hopeless to think I wouldn’t be going to hell no matter what. This kind of teaching caused my siblings and I all to suffer from serious mental health problems (two attempted suicide). We all left the church. Eventually, after many years of hating religion, I came back to Christianity through the Catholic church (yes, I know. Catholic teaching has also been distorted and used to control people rather than to lead them to God’s love but God has used this to bring me to a recognition of His love). So, it has been a relief to me that some kinds of religious upbringing are now recognised as causing childhood trauma. I wish I had had a loving experience of Christianity as a child, but I didn’t and I am still working through that. I am glad I can begin to accept God’s love and grace If you want to read about my struggles accepting the idea of a loving God, I’ve written a longer story here


    1. “Healthy religion teaches a child to love and trust God and to believe that God loves and cares for them. It also teaches them to respect and love other people, even those who look different and follow another faith.” So true! I agree.


  5. I agree with you. Raising children with religion doesn’t hurt them but betters them. Whether it be Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism. Studies have actually show that religion is increasing around the world. Despite its decline in the west.


  6. Raising children with religion doesn’t hurt them but betters them.

    How does it ”better them”?

    All religion is designed to create separation.

    Even among Christian sects there is huge disparity regarding interpretation of doctrine.

    The fundamentalist stance regarding Catholics is that they are not even Christian! Many sects are actively discouraged from interacting with other Christian sects.

    How can this be developing children to be ”better”?

    ACE for example is one of the worst for this practice. Furthermore they teach Young Earth Creationism and an active promotion of the absurd doctrine of Hell.

    The highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the States are among Christian fundamentalists

    This one negative aspect of religion alone and its effect on society is enough to demonstrate that all the indoctrination in the world will not prevent kids from having sex.


  7. From an Australian POV, having had our national RoyalCommission into Institutional Responses of Child Sexual Abuse it is interesting viewing over many of these ‘defensive’ comments/responses of whose blame it truly is. From both a survivour’s perspective, having met with & counselled newer victims, now willing to begin legal claims, none of these events should have happened! In what seems to be a religion-vs-religion, country-vs-country & class-vs-class, the simple fact is that the most vulnerable of all were targeted, having much of their innocence wrenched away by Predators, in some form of a ‘power play’. All children, everywhere deserve their right to grow through a natural childhood, yet some adults continue to misunderstand this basic, human right.


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