Religion As Child Abuse

For some years I’ve been making the case that indoctrinating kids with Religious belief constitutes one of the more serious forms of child abuse.But frankly I can’t see any obvious way to prevent it without totalitarian coercion by the State (as practised, for example, during the 20th century in both China and Russia) against all those religious parents who think they’re actually benefitting their child by passing on the indoctrination they received themselves at the same age.

The one area where the State can legitimately intervene is in the publicly funded education system where they could prohibit all religious indoctrination (such as the compulsory “act of worship” required in UK schools) and restrict them to religious education, where students could be taught about the full spectrum of religious inquiry; the history of religion, its psychology, its attempt at answering the principal philosophical questions, its successes and failures at answering those questions and its overall benefits and costs. If done properly this could only offend fanatics and would greatly reduce the negative effects of home indoctrination. Over time, it should begin to reduce recruitment.

In contrast this case shows how stupidly the authoritarian State can handle such delicate issues.

What it amounts to is an assertion, by the State, that because a 7 year old boy rejects the fairy story the school is trying to inculcate (the Christian story) and prefers the fairy story taught by his Jehova’s Witness mother, the child has been emotionally damaged and should, therefore, be taken from his mother and placed in care. That is an obscene overreach by the State.

Now we can’t reach any firm conclusions about the individual story because we certainly can’t trust the source (Daily Mail). So it’s entirely possible that the Judge is responding to a wealth of plausible evidence regarding emotional damage which may or may not be entirely focussed on the religious issue and which the Daily Mail simply isn’t bothering to report. So we’ll take it with a pinch of salt and treat it only as an example of the potential dangers of allowing the State to use its coercive powers to intervene.

But the real point is simple. Why does the mother’s indoctrination constitute abuse while the school’s indocrination doesn’t?

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