Indoctrination? Atheism? Really?

Indoctrination Vs Education Vs Growing up

This groups says that “indoctrinating” people with “atheism” should be considered child abuse.

This is topic or experience is clearly a clash between realities. The reality you all share, against the reality which seem to be “abusive”. In my opinion, it more reflects a certain fear towards the topic that seem to be “evil” in origin for all of you. Cause the group could easily be called “indoctrinating children is considered child abuse”. But in this case it’s specifically against “atheism”, and nothing else.
The first question you people should ask yourself is: “what is indoctrination”.

According to the dictionary:
verb (used with object), in•doc•tri•nat•ed, in•doc•tri•nat•ing.
to instruct in a doctrine, principle, ideology, etc., especially to imbue with a specific partisan or biased belief or point of view.
to teach or inculcate.
to imbue with learning.”

I see a post of people talking about North-Korea and other “extreme” left countries. Well, you can find the same idea with “Right-Fascist” countries at well. In this case, the indoctrination trough propaganda and mass media is clear. People are forced to believe in what the government wants you to believe. This reality is shaped by filling our minds with data that the power holders control. Therefore your mind will create an idea of reality that has been constructed with the information given to the public. (in this case we are in point 1 of the explanation according to the dictionairy)

When it comes to children. Who is actually indoctrinating when it comes to children? I guess we all do, cause our children in most countries, are not educated by the state itself. There is some freedom in our parts. The data running free in our society creates our view on reality. And children at a certain age can either embrace it, or revolt against it.

When it comes to indoctrination… on child level. I believe it’s more honest to see it as a way of education. (In this case we hit point 2 and 3 of the explanations of the dictionary)

What should be considered “child abuse”. (

In case of child abuse… I guess we can all keep it simple by saying that we are abusing the child in a certain way. The child will experience negative effects due to the actions we confront it with.

If you educate your children with an EXTREME world view that has no touch with reality at all. I would consider that child abuse. Cause the child, when grown up to adulthood, would enter a society that he’s not in touch with the common reality. This can create extreme feelings of anger and depression. Cause his reality will crash into the social reality we all form.

So the questions are, if you educate your children in atheism, do you abuse them? There are a lot of atheists out there, atheists follow logic and science, so far it’s neither proven or disproven if god exists or not. So is atheism and extreme world view? I really don’t see it. Will the child become out of touch with its reality? Yes there is a chance that will happen. But if this happens it’s because the child comes into conflict with other believes and realities that were not his own. In this case it can strengthen or debunk his idea of the reality he comes in conflict with. Is this abuse?

What’s also funny is that most Atheists just don’t say that the holy books are true or not. The most interesting of them read religion, they just don’t believe in it. So the information in an atheist culture is free, and everyone can read what he/she wants, and make up their minds. Is this indoctrination?

Let’s see the other part of the medallion. Today we also see places where children have to learn religion because their parents are religious. And in most cases people only learn 1 form of religion. I have yet to see a Christian family where the holy Koran is a part of their library. While in a Muslim family the “Torah” is not found in their bedroom.

So most the data in those households are limited to the stuff they know. And they will be teached and educated by parents, priests, muftis, rabbi, etc… Some of them even grow up in a reality where most people are religious. Some of them deny scientific proof (I’m thinking of the creation of the world, evolution, the existence of dinosaurs, etc etc). So we are not ONLY working in second and third explanation of “indoctrination” , but also a lot in the first one…. The one most of us didn’t like and scares us.

People that are religious are indoctrinated. Cause they were teached to believe. What if people are very religious? And they grow up? And they come in confrontation with problems in our social realities. Can this cause problems for the child? I would argue that it does. (This in cases where people have EXTREME faith)

You see countries where people that believe in scientific proof on topics like “evolution” that are threatened by assassination. You see people where animosity towards lesbians and homosexuals rises to amounts that are not healthy in society. Why are these children filled with hate? Cause the faith they are learned to adore so extremely clashes with the reality they live in when they are grown up. Is this a form of abusive? I believe it is. But I understand that discussion will flow, cause all of these terms are abstract, and are worth discussing about.

Now let’s do one more thought experiment. What if someone grows up in a society that is totally filled with atheism and the idea of “god” is none exciting.

When the “conquistadores” entered Latin America, the locals had their own believe. But for the conquistadores this was the same as a devotion to Satan.

For the sake of argument, I would like you all to imagine that these people don’t believe in any god at all. In what way would the missionaries react to this idea? Denying God, especially in those times, would also be considered blasphemous. (How much have we changed… sigh?) So the reaction would have been the same, if there was no god at all.

Why is it important to make the Latin Americans believe in nothing? Because else everyone would have argued that they were not atheist, and so not important to the discussion.

Where all the Latin American children abused in this case? They have this reality, which clashes with the ones the conquistadores brought? But in their own social relations, just under the natives, they would have no problem at all. If they were abused in this case, it’s not because of the parents, but because of the religious folk that considered their culture blasphemous. The religious give themselves the right of “God” himself, and they punish the “guilty”.

So I have a problem with the statement.
I don’t really see the indoctrination with Atheism. It’s just information and your child can choose which religious (or non-religious) idea it will follow. Most of the time I see more problems in non-atheist families when their child starts getting curious towards the idea of atheism then I see in atheist families when their child starts learning the stories of holy books.
Do we abuse our children by learning them an other way of thinking? I don’t see that as well, unless you are going to argue that by doing so we will put our children in the disgrace of God and they will have to go to Hell. But if this is your argument… then let me say that the existence of hell is just as abstract as the existence of God.

Before I end this long post. I’m neither an Atheist, nor am I subscribed in a religion. My collection of books has a Bible, Koran, Bahgavad Ghita, … I even have “mein kampf”, Nietsche and Richard Dawkins (the last one… I absolutely dislike).
I believe that if you don’t want to abuse your child, you should let them read all of these books, so that he/she can make up their mind. Also, if you want to get into discussion about religion, I would also suggest you read much more then your own. That’s true education. And then decide yourself.

But at this point, I feel that this group is more “against” atheism. And that the “indoctrination” remark is pure rhetoric, and not really founded on good arguments. But that’s just me.
kwek kwek
31-35, M
2 Responses Jan 27, 2012

I think it's entirely possible to "indoctrinate" a child in such a way that she holds antitheistic biases or to impart her with a kind of strictly-ontological philosophy of naturalism.

I just don't think this is all that common.

If I had to guess, I'd say this is mostly just a knee-jerk reaction to filthy, godless heathens like me, who have the audacity to suggest that religious indoctrination -- which is very real, and which can be extremely damaging to the well-being of an impressionable young mind -- is abusive.

And yet, as much as I wholly despise religious indoctrination, I wouldn't want to live in any country in which it's illegal to pass our biases down to our children.

I mean, you could argue that our whole identity is constructed around our biases. Our biases determine our taste in music, fashion, cuisine; not to mention our values, hobbies and a host of other things that are crucial to the way we define ourselves.

From a very young age, my parents drilled this notion of God into my brain, and when I was around twelve or so (shortly after my uncle died) it really took hold. I became an atheist because my beliefs were repeatedly challenged, and because (in an odd way) I desired to challenge them. Over time, the same rigorous series of questions I apply to every other facet of my life was applied to my belief in God. In this way, my atheism is a product of my skepticism; it's the result of critical thought and argument properly applied to faith.

So, at the end of the day, while it's certainly *possible* to "indoctrinate a child with [strong] atheism," I don't think the word "abusive" is in any way accurate. How many atheists do you know who tell their children they deserve to be tortured for that over which they have no control? That's what we're talking about when we say religious indoctrination is abusive.

Telling your kids things like "just don't pay any mind to that garbage" or "don't be silly, gods don't exist" isn't abusive; it's just intellectually lazy. If you're going to pass your biases down to your children, pass down your bias for the truth. If you must "indoctrinate" them with something, don't let it be atheism, but skepticism.

The atheists I know don't have any desire to teach their kids what to think, because they're far more concerned with teaching them *how* to think.

Just as indoctrinating them with religion is child abuse as well? <br />
<br />
Indoctrination of anything is bad news. I can attest from personal experience that be being indoctrinated any bull-s||t holy beliefs totally screwed up my life as a child, teenager and adult. And I'm 44 now. My religious indoctrination eventually turned me into an atheist. Kids should be indoctrinated with science as to how the world really spins, and sure, if parents want to expose them to the world's beliefs fine. As minors kids are forced to deal with it, so at day's end it's the parents' call.