It has always struck me as peculiar that while we have basic laws protecting minors from drugs, alcohol and abuse, no such protection exists for religion. The rationale for drafting up the former set of laws is sound: children are unable to fully assess the consequences of their actions so the government intervenes on their behalf. But for the latter, religion is an indoctrination of the impossible and absurd, carried out at a time when a child has difficulty differentiating between her imaginary friend and reality. Shouldn’t laws protect children when their minds are at the most vulnerable?
In a study (published in Cognitive Science) carried out by the researchers of Boston university to find out how religious exposure affects a child, they concluded that religious children have a much harder time differentiating fact from fiction. After all, if you believe Muhammad flew on the back of a winged donkey or that talking snakes are real, surely goblins and fairies had to be true. Religion severely impedes the ability to detect bullshit and fries the mental circuits of critical thought. Ironically, if there was an infection that targeted young minds and impaired their ability to reason, religious parents would scramble desperately for a remedy – but they will fail to see their faith as the disease.
Additionally, it’s hard to be optimistic about religion: Mainstream religions like Islam and Judaism encourage the inhumane practice of male / female genital mutilation because it is seen as being in line with their religious ‘morals’; the hostility towards abortion, climate change and other religions is exacerbated by the increasing Christian fundamentalist sentiment in America; and all religions are terribly allergic to reason and logic, and therefore hostile towards the scientific method and those of a ‘sinful’ sexual orientation. Shouldn’t young minds be protected from such divisiveness and bigotry?
Because children are yet to develop higher order thinking, many religious organisations hold conversion ceremonies disguised as social outings and festive parties because they KNOW it’s far easier converting a child than an adult, and if you can get them young, it’s easier to keep them trapped especially since religion has become supremely good at social blackmail. Don’t want to come for church? All your church friends will alienate you or spam your phone with messages begging for your return. Don’t want to pray at a temple? Well it will be hard for our leaders to help you if you are not on the same spiritual level as we are. These predatory practices should be outlawed. It’s nothing short of mental molestation.
The call for children to be protected from faith is not new. Richard Dawkins has advocated for schools to openly protect children from being indoctrinated by their religious parents. Given the existence of faith schools, it’s doubtful how such a suggestion can ever be carried out. But there is another reason why such an implementation will not go through: Any intelligent leader will recognise religion as an important tool for controlling the masses. That it is absurd or highly likely to be false is of no concern as long as each citizen believes their lives to be meaningful so that they can keep working till death for the glory of the government and country.
So, Have you thought about (HYTA) why children should be protected from religion?