Saturday, February 14, 2009

We Must Tread With Awful Reverence -- Not!

For centuries organized religions built their followers by imposing their dogma and superstition on non-consenting children too helplessly naive and powerless to reject what they are commanded to believe. Much of what is so maladaptive and destructive about organized religion will be discarded if religious institutions have to create their theology to pass the scrutiny and questioning of mature minds that value free inquiry and demand sensible answers to their questions. If several generations can be raised free of hereditary religion, totally new and reformed religions will have an opportunity to form. As things stand now, humanity is stuck in the iron age.

President Thomas Jefferson, a Deist, said,
"This doctrine ['that the condition of man cannot be ameliorated, that what has been must ever be, and that to secure ourselves where we are we must tread with awful reverence in the footsteps of our fathers'] is the genuine fruit of the alliance between Church and State, the tenants of which finding themselves but too well in their present condition, oppose all advances which might unmask their usurpations and monopolies of honors, wealth and power, and fear every change as endangering the comforts they now hold." --Thomas Jefferson: Report for University of Virginia, 1818.
The End of Hereditary Religion provides news, research resources, and discussions about how to end hereditary religions. The scope is international and a main focus is working to eliminate the early and intensive indoctrination of minor children. Parents are the controlling vector for perpetuating hereditary religions. The debilitating effects of present day organized religions more appropriate for ancient tribes than for modern people, can be and must be ended. Educating parents and motivating them to change is the goal.

No three year old toddler looks up at their parents and says, "yes, please mommy and daddy sentence me to your ancient primitive religious delusions for life". If a small child was aware of what was coming they probably would say, "let me develop the maturity of mind and ability to wisely choose whether I want a religion in my life and if so, which one."

Children deserve to be listened to and to be treated with dignity as individuals. The days when they were treated as chattel are past. Accordingly, parents should only have a revocable privilege to supervise the medical treatment, education, and religious involvement or freedom from religion of their children -- not an inherent right. Such a parental privilege carries with it the obligation to make decisions for children from the perspective of the child, not the parent. Parental decisions must not harm them physically or mentally and must never, never foreclose a child's future options.

Attending to children's rights is a timely undertaking as the year 2008 has been declared the year that child rights will be mainlined. It is about time. The United Nations International Convention on the rights of the Child (CRC) was developed in 1989. The UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights will celebrate a 60 year anniversary this year.


Max said...

might be of interest


BEAST said...

Religion has been given too much reverence and leeway with regards to children.

Try to imagine this: What will you think of the mother who calls a child a Tory Child? Or a Liberal Child. You'd think the mother is stark mad!

Yet, when this warped reasoning is applied to religion, it becomes perfectly normal. No one bets an eye if someone calls a child a muslim child, or a protestant child.

Its a little offensive, in my view, to even associate a child with religion. Let the child decide for himself. It should not be enforced or affixed to the child based on merely the family he or she is born into.


Michael Hacker said...

Childhood indoctrination is crucial to the perpetuation of religion. Without it, you would see a considerable drop in the amount of practicing believers.

The best way to begin limiting the effect of this indoctrination is education. Require all children to attend school until they are legal adults. No more excuses for the Amish, or for fundamentalists, or any other group of people. Homeschooling, while I think it should be allowed, should be strictly monitored with higher standards than public school education.

The statistics agree: on average, the more education a child receives, the less religious he or she will ultimately become. By encouraging education, you discourage religion. It's a win-win situation.

Quantum_Flux said...

Please tell the McCain/Palin Campaign (preferrably politely) why teaching creationism in our public schools around America is superstitious and is not in our nation's best interests. These are the feelers McCain has out there, the way in which Americans can have a voice and be heard by his campaign:

Contact his campaign directly here:

Or go to his blogs and leave a polite message about the subject matter wherever appropriate:

Remember, McCain does a lot of things right and is a great heroic war veteran who genuinely puts his country first, but Creationism is one key area where he is completely wrong and could potentially create a major setback for American students and businesses. We can't let America fall behind foriegn countries in the departments of Science and Technology because of his superstitious beliefs.

Candace said...

This is a wonderful concept, but I'm skeptical its objective could ever be achieved.

I'm definitely linking your blog to mine, though, because I'd like to follow it and tell others about it.

Maggie said...


Well I'm sure no one wants to be told how they should raise their children. I would HATE to see what would happen if a believer tried to teach my child about their god. So I think that the opposite would be true as well...

To each their own.

Profile said...

Interesting post, especially the date. Why 2009? I agree with your idea of respecting children and not pushing the parent's agenda onto kids. Of course, it's not realistic, but it's a good ideal.

I don't agree with Michael Hacker about education and religous belief. It would be interesting to see a study. I think it's more a combination of education and where you live (more metro or rural). I know my ex- has a PhD and is extremely religious. I know many highly education who are extremely religious.

Rich said...

The 2009 date is so this post appears at the top of the blog posts. Blogspot does not have a mechanism to control this any other way.

Maggie, we agree with you. Our position is teach children how to think and let them decide whether they want to believe. There is no reason to hustle children into church when they are barely out of diapers unless your agenda is to co-opt their ability to decide for themselves. Christianity will still be there when they reach the age of maturity. If it is as great as adherents say it is, then a mature child will observe this and decide accordingly.

Children from age 3 to age 7 will pretty much accept anything you tell them is true. They will likewise retain what they are told in these formative years, even if they don't totally understand.

It's like clubbing baby seals in the degree of unfairness that childhood indoctrination represents. They have no intellectual defenses.

gracieallan said...

Only Maggie here appears to have a clue. The only way you could come close to accomplishing what you propose would be to take every infant at birth and place them in a sterile, silent environment for 10 or 12 years. Then, you will have succeeded in non-indoctrination. Face it, every child is influenced religiously by his/her parents and the environment the parents choose for the child. An environment where God is never mentioned teaches a BOATLOAD of information about how God should be related to. If God really exists, this is of course tragic. If God does not exist, (and that is what the supporters of this Draconian measure apparently believe) then this approach will do no harm. But that's the bottom line isn't it? We disagree as to whether or not God exists. At least as a Christian I respect your right to raise your children as you see fit. You on the other hand want to dictate to me what I can do when I raise mine. It's amazing to me that the people who yell the loudest about tolerance seem to demonstrate so little of it.