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"Children are often oppressed in religious households"; when I read that line in Mark Galli's op-edover the weekend, I literally stopped reading mid-sentence.  Here's the whole passage:

   But the fact that children are often oppressed in religious households suggests that there is indeed something in religion which tempts parents in this way. That temptation is the inherent human fascination with law and control. People become religious for many reasons, good and bad. One for many is that their lives are completely out of control morally and socially, and they see in religion a way to bring order to the chaos. Religion as inner police. Such adherents are attracted to religions, or denominations within religions, that accent discipline and obedience. This happens -- surprisingly -- even in Christianity.

Max Blumenthal documented the tendency of religious conservatives to control their children in his book Republican Gomorrah.  Describing James Dobson's popular approach to child-rearing, Blumenthal observed that it was a response to the supposedly lenient and indulgent child-rearing of popularized by Dr. Benjamin Spock.  Dobson's books - with titles like Dare to Discipline - include advice on how to appropriately beat your children into submission, including which size of stick to use while beating them.

Galli's piece is part of the Room for Debate series at the NY Times opinion pages.  One of the op-eds, by Kimball Allen reads in part:

Years later, too afraid to confront my parents, I sheepishly wrote them a heartbreaking coming-out letter. My naivety gave me faith that the teachings of Jesus Christ would conquer all and touch the hearts of my parents. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34-35 A few weeks later I received letters from my parents. My mother called homosexuality "repulsive" and hoped I would "never blame the church" for my actions. And my father wrote that it would be possible for me to escape the "clutches of homosexuality" and return to a God-approved lifestyle.
Asma Uddin writes of Islam:
   Unfortunately, when rituals are prioritized over spirituality at this tender young age, religion can become restrictive rather than liberating. Many young girls want to wear the headscarf because they find it beautiful or comfortable or because they want to mimic their mothers. But in some cases, parents are convinced that Islamic modesty has to be ingrained in their child as early as 3 or 4 years old — and the best way to do it is to make them wear a headscarf even while they are still hanging from monkey bars.

    Instead of helping them cultivate healthy relationships with the opposite sex, such strict standards of modesty, and gender segregation among young people, leave them confused about sexuality and, at worst, lead them to rebel and break boundaries.

Shoba Narayan writing about Hinduismsays:
   I believe that raising children within the broad precepts of a religion is good for them. Faith grounds them and gives them part of their identity. My hope is that it will help them later when life throws monkey-wrenches at them. I hope that chanting the mantras that they learned at home will give them the strength and resilience to deal with difficulties . . . [snip]

    Although Hinduism is an easy religion to follow — we don't have to keep kosher or go on pilgrimages, for example — there are some constraints that continue to make me uncomfortable as the mother of two daughters. Sons have to cremate fathers, for instance, and mantras like the Rudram, a hymn in praise of Lord Shiva, are supposed to be chanted only by men.

    Such sexist rules anger me. I combat them through disobedience. And I try not to expose my daughters to them.

Religion can offer profound meaning and community but it has a shadow side.  When religious parents object to schools teaching evolution in biology class or acceptance for nontraditional family structures or comprehensive sexuality education, they often do so behind the cloak of parental rights arguing that such classes violate the rights of parents to control all the ideas to which their children are exposed.

Children have rights of their own, inherent because of they are people.  I like what the UN Convention on the Rights of Child offers:

It spells out the basic human rights that children everywhere have: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life. The four core principles of the Convention are non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child. Every right spelled out in the Convention is inherent to the human dignity and harmonious development of every child. The Convention protects children's rights by setting standards in health care; education; and legal, civil and social services.
In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins describes religious upbringing as abusive.  He argues that under the guise of religion, parents often claim extraordinary and harmful control over their children.  Some parents use religion as a reason to deny their children badly needed medical care.  Other parents use religion as an excuse to lock their children in the house at night and call it protecting their children.  Dawkins and other New Atheist writers point out that far too often if someone says "Oh it's my religion" we automatically grant them leeway to do as they see fit, even if we know what they're doing is oppressive to their children.

I won't pretend to have the answers but I go back to Galli's insight that many people are attracted to variations on religion that teach obedience and discipline as primary virtues for children.  Rather than a force for liberation religion becomes a force for oppression.  Valuing obedience and discipline in children, automatic deference to authority figures, is connected to the use of religion to support racism, sexism, heterosexism and other forms of bigotry.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I have very mixed reactions to this kind of diary (13+ / 0-)

    On the one hand, I absolutely agree that parents should not physically strike their children. And, frankly, there's been a push over the last two decades or so to educate parents so that, I think, far fewer use physical punishment than did back in the dark ages when I was a child.

    However, absent that, I'm not sure what you are pushing for.  If it is to educate and/or enlighten parents, that's fine, I'm all for that.  

    However, I have a real problem with juxtaposing treating parents imparting their religious beliefs on their children with "abuse" or "exploitation."  That suggests that someone must intervene to prevent parents from imparting their religious beliefs on their children if someone decides those religious beliefs are not "good" ones.  Wearing a head scarf, for example, is not something I believe in or practice.  However, to suggest that a parent (whose religion requires that women wear a head scarf) who has their young daughter wear that, is "abusing" or "exploiting" that child crosses the line.  It suggests that someone must intervene to prevent that parent from imparting his/her religious beliefs on his/her child because someone else doesn't like those religious beliefs.  That goes against everything this country stands for, not to mention the First Amendment free exercise problems.  

    I am not in any way condoning physical abuse, or verbal abuse in the traditional sense.  I do have a serious, serious problem with trying to label imparting religious beliefs as "abuse" or "exploitation."  

    •  For once, I agree with you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites

      I grew up in a mainline Christian household (Lutheran-Missouri Synod or "Misery Synod" as I'm wont to refer to it) and did not feel oppressed; my mother (who was my single parent from the age of 11 after my father died) pretty much gave me free rein once I got through Confirmation. She put no restrictions on reading material as long as it didn't have excessive sex or violence (so I just read those at the library instead of bringing them home), and while she despaired of the "radical" education I was getting in some of the classes I was taking in my alternative high school program, she didn't threaten to pull me out. Got to admit she did a decent job with me for a racist homophobe Republican.

      It may depend on the type of religious household; those from a more fundamentalist bent might be more likely to be oppressive than a more mainstream religious family, especially more liberal denominations such as ELCA, UCC or the Episcopalians.

      "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

      by Cali Scribe on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 11:28:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So you think a Burqa is a permissable requirment? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      How about circumcision?  How about female circumcision?

      •  WTF? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JDsg, Catte Nappe

        How do you equate wearing a burka to circumcision? You know one is a scarf and the other is slicing off body parts right?

        Just because the person you are replying to is okay with little girls wearing scarves does not mean she is okay with mutilating those little girls. I don't see how you jumped from one to the other.

  •  What bugged me about the NY Times "discussion" (8+ / 0-)

    was the lack of atheist voices. The question they asked was, "With children, when does religion go too far?". I would have liked to see at least one writer represent the view that any religious indoctrination of children is going too far.

    Mitt Romney = Draco Malfoy

    by ubertar on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:10:55 AM PST

    •  Please explain to me how you would (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eowyn9, Cali Scribe, Deep Texan

      impose this belief?  Would you make it illegal for a parent to bring a child to church?  To own a Bible or Koran - or at least to read it in the presence of the child?  To set rules for a child that comport with the religious views?  To have religious discussions at the dinner table?

      As an athiest, I find this comment one of the silliest I've ever read in Dkos my entire however many years I've been here.

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:28:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nobody would suggest imposing it (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tardis10, ubertar, splashy

        It's a philosophical argument, really, not a practical one.

        Or so far as I understand the OP's motives.

        "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

        by McWaffle on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:55:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't you think there needs to be at least (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Texan

          some remote possibility of a position or something close to it being somewhat attainable before it's even worthy of discussion in a philosophical sense?  Otherwise, it's a complete waste of time and thought and argument.

          "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

          by gustynpip on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 11:03:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Utility of abstract debate aside, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ubertar, shieldvulf

            just because one has a belief doesn't mean their end goal is imposing that belief on everybody. You're just shouting down the viewpoint with unfounded accusations of totalitarianism. Yeah, if the OP wanted to hunt down religious families and arrest them, that'd be totalitarian and awful. But there's absolutely no reason to jump all over them without evidence.

            "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

            by McWaffle on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 12:02:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, I simply asked rational questions. I (0+ / 0-)

              made no attempt to "shout down" anyone.  Someone suggests parents should not subject their children to religion.  I ask how is this to be accomplished, and you consider that shouting that person down.  Methinks you're just a tad bit sensitive and/or defensive.

              "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

              by gustynpip on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 01:07:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Um, you said it was the "silliest thing" (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                You've seen on Kos and a "waste of time, thought, and argument". Not sure how those are conducive to debate. Your "rational question" was asked in bad faith, as it implied that the OP wanted this policy to be enacted, when in fact they were likely stating it as an abstract ideal. From there on it's all straw men and reducto ad absurdum.

                So yeah.

                "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

                by McWaffle on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 02:24:13 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Expressing an opinion that religious (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        McWaffle, GreenPA

        indoctrination of children is a bad thing is a far cry from calling for outlawing it. People can be for or against lots of things without wanting to impose their views on others through law. Further, the idea you expressed below that there's no point in expressing this opinion unless you want to impose it on others is ludicrous. The silliest thing ever on dKos indeed. Lots of people have strong convictions for or against co-sleeping, for example. That doesn't mean they want it to be either outlawed or made mandatory, and not wanting to force others to conform to your beliefs is no reason to be silent about them either. Utter foolishness.

        Mitt Romney = Draco Malfoy

        by ubertar on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 12:52:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So do you have any suggestion for how parents (0+ / 0-)

          are to impose this imaginary line between parenting and the parents' religious views?  

          It's a quite simple matter to either co-sleep or not co-sleep.  I'd be very interested in hearing how one is to parent while keeping your religious views a secret from your children.  Because letting them know what they are would, of course, tend to indoctrinate them with those views.  

          See, the example you gave is one of something that is  easily possible.  The one under discussion is something that is literally impossible.  

          "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

          by gustynpip on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 01:11:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's not necessary to keep one's views a secret (0+ / 0-)

            in order not to impose them on one's children, any more than with, say, one's taste in food. Letting your child know what your favorite flavor of ice cream is does not equal imposing that preference on him or her.

            Mitt Romney = Draco Malfoy

            by ubertar on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 03:32:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Gack! Where to begin? (13+ / 0-)

    How 'bout with... "religious" does not equal "conservative"

    nor does it equal fundamentalist. nor does it equal anti-science nor anti-enlightenment nor authoritarian nor controlling nor abusive nor....

    Anyhow... within the quite extensively large wide and even GInormous category of "religious" there are to be found pretty much all the viewpoints found in the category known as "non-religious." There most certainly are authoritarian, fundamentalist, conservative, controlling, oppressing, anit-science, anti-enlightenment jackasses and they find "religion" quite useful in pursuing the rest of their agenda... and they generally quite loud and obnoxious about it all so that people start to equate "religious" with them and their bullshit.

    But... there are also a lot of people who think all of that is horseshit and are just as openminded as everyone else... and quite religious all at the same time.

    Gack! Makes it hard to even have a conversation when it all gets framed as if religious equals fundamentalist. You can't even talk about the rest of it until that shit gets thrown out.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:18:55 AM PST

    •  further (4+ / 0-)

      "religious beliefs" do not always equate "Spiritual values". A lot of so called religious "beliefs" are dogma and ideology. For instance, God does not tell you how you are supposed to be baptized, but some religions will insist on full immersion, others on a few drops of water on the head. Some will insist on praying to various Saints to intercede, others believe this is idolatry. Neither of the two examples have anything to do with spiritual values

      "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

      by azureblue on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:46:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a thought provoking diary. Unfortunately, (10+ / 0-)

    it will probably turn into a religious meta diary as most anything about religion does.

    As someone raised in a super religious family who is now an athiest, I agree that children are, without question, often suppressed in a religious household.  However, I question whether religion is the reason or the excuse for such suppression.  I also question whether suppression is always a negative thing.

    Children are going to be suppressed, regardless of where or how they're raised - unless they're neglected.  Suppression is a part of raising children.  You suppress their tendency to protect what is theirs by teaching them to share; you protect their natural urge for self preservation by teaching them what is actually dangerous and what is not; you suppress their natural tendency to fart, belch, pick their noses, etc. in public.

    The question becomes when the suppression crosses the line.  I went to church constantly and wasn't allowed to go to movies, dances, drink, smoke, play cards, and a lot of other things.  Were some of those rules silly and pointless?  You bet.  Did they harm me?  Some.  I wasn't socialized well, I missed out on a lot of fun things.  Did they also serve me well?  You bet.  I never started smoking, I had my first drink at probably age 22, I learned how to have a ton of fun without alcohol being involved, and a whole lot of other beneficial things.

    So I was forced to conform to my parents beliefs and behavior while growing up.  Big deal.  That's called being a child.  

    Where it crosses the line is if children are beaten, mistreated, or kicked out if they don't follow the rules or are taught to hate and hurt others, and are rejected when they grow older and reject the religion.

    There are no doubt other things that cross the line as well, but those are the ones that pop into my mind immediately.

    The thing to keep in mind is that religion is not the reason - it is the excuse.  It is something that people with strong authoritarian personalities see as an easy out, a good excuse for imposing their will on others, whether it be their children or their "flock".  Religion, in and of itself, is neither good nor bad; it's the people who engage in the religion that determine its outcome.

    "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

    by gustynpip on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:18:57 AM PST

    •  Honestly,as a woman,I have never (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      been able to separate people (& their goals) from the religion.
      Guess that's why I embrace the ever-waffly spiritual but not religious position.

      "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

      by tardis10 on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:49:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A thoughtful and insightful response. (4+ / 0-)

      And, imho, you are absolutely right.

      I was raised in a religious (SDA) household. My parents were "strict" about some things -- no TV watching on Saturdays, for example -- but this sort of rule never bugged me (it meant that I got out of doing any homework on Saturdays, for one, which more than made up for the TV thing). Though we went to church weekly, my parents always made it clear that we were free to decide on our own religious beliefs. In this sense my parents were not "authoritarian".


      My mom could be, in her own way, quite the control freak. She had obsessive tendencies as well as high standards and it was clear we were expected to meet them. She reserved the right to criticize us at any time, for anything (which happened a lot) while any complaining or protesting on our part drew immediate censure from her. I hated what I saw as her hypocrisy and her arbitrary authoritarism.

      (I must point out here that I love my Mom dearly, but she'd be the first to admit that she's not perfect.)

      Was I "suppressed"? In some ways, yes, as all children are. Was I scarred for life by it? Not any more than most children are.

      Was my mother critical and controlling because of her religious beliefs? No. Her religion had nothing to do with it. That was simply her personality. If I had been reared as an atheist or an agnostic, I would have been "suppressed" in exactly the same way.

      Climate activists unite: we need a symbol. A name. A vision. Join the discussion.

      by Eowyn9 on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:50:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  this sounds like a bias (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, JDsg

    what sort of study can he pinpoint to that says most children are oppressed? i find this offense and this kind of thinking is why the gop say that the dems are not christians.

    not that the dixiepubs are christians, but i find this offensive. i raised my kids in church, i was raised in church, and my parents were raised in church. my parents did not attend church when i was growing up, but made me go.

    i thought that hypocritical and stopped going. when i became a parent and i went back to church and walked the walk and talked the talk.

    children being raised to be religious and spiritual is not oppression if the parents have the proper understanding of what the scriptures are saying. many parents do not, and yes, those kids maybe oppressed, but to say raising children religiously is abusive is nothing more than satan talking! of course satan does not want you to teach your children to love the lord and follow his precepts

    •  Maybe a little over reaction? Bringing up a (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenPA, SilentBrook, Deep Texan

      topic is satan talking?  Really?

      First, the word used, I believe, was "suppressed", not "oppressed", and there's quite a difference between the two.  And second, all children are indeed suppressed; it's called raising kids.  Teaching kids how to behave is suppressing their natural tendencies.

      I see two big problems with the diary.  The first is the assumption that suppression is necessarily a bad thing.  The second is the assumption that it's religion that causes the suppression.

      I understand how the second would automatically raise the hackles of a religious person, but once you get past that, it can lead to a thought provoking discussion regarding just what limitations there should be on parents "suppressing" their childrens' natural tendencies, what is good and what is bad about that, and what the potential consequences are.  Attacking is as being the work of satan is pretty silly - especially since a whole lot of us don't believe in satan.

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:35:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  what is this Satan (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Prinny Squad, Rogneid

      You speak of, save only a creation of your religious dogma?

      "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

      by azureblue on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:48:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  IMO more a poorly written take on a common... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...truism which is that a tool in the hands of an uneducated or unaware person can become a weapon. Teaching a child to grow in grace is surely not authoritarian or abusive, but some parents don't or can't recognize grace amidst the religiosity they do know, they are of the letter and not the spirit, so the fruits they bear are of their own "beast within" rather than of the grace of God.

  •  Religion can be used for good or for ill (6+ / 0-)

    Can a religious upbringing be harmful to children? Yes, be it the Muslim who performs female circumcision on his 8 year-old daughter, the fundie Christian that teaches his children intolerance and hits them, the Jew who screams whore at little 7 year old girls that he thinks aren't properly dressed.  Often times, religion is just an excuse for crappy parents, or those that get off on controlling others.

    But religion can also be used for good and to instill life affirming principles in children, the value of love, respect for others and God's creation, an other-centric versus me-centric way of life. So, I would not put it down to any one religion or religion itself; rather, it is how you practice it and define your relationship with God that matters.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:44:15 AM PST

    •  I would add that while religion can indeed be a (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, Deep Texan, DruidQueen

      tool to teach good, etc., it's not the only one.  All those positive things can be taught as easily and as well without religion being the tool that's used to do so.  However, I have no objection to religion being used for that purpose.  I just wish it wasn't so often used for the opposite purposes.

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 11:06:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is one very specific manifestation of (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, Cali Scribe, DruidQueen, JDsg

    'religion'.  The kind that Stephen King depicts in the movie 'Carrie'.  Fundamentalist zealotry and the deprivation of individual thought.  

    I have never encountered this behavior, although I know that it does exist in places.  The Jewish households in which I, and every member of my extended family and friends were raised--as well as the Catholic and other Christian households of many other friends, neighbors, etc.--were always warm, open-minded, loving places.

    Please don't implicate 'religion' in such things--people who have the capabilty to behave this way would have that capability whether guided by religion or not.

    •  It's like any created item (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You can use it for good -- going by the precepts of "whatever you do for the least of these, you do for Me" and such, or you can use it for evil to gain some sort of power over your underlings. You see the same thing with politics -- you'll have the Ted Kennedys and Bernie Sanders who seem to be concerned about the needs of their constituents...then you'll have (insert names of your favorite GOP politician here) who's only out to serve the wealthiest members of society and screw the rest. And if talking about inanimate objects, some folks will drink alcohol and simply get giddy, while others will drink and then beat their Significant Others or go out and drive drunk and kill someone. Religion is overall neutral; it's how it's used in the hands of those that possess it.

      "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

      by Cali Scribe on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 11:39:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wish people here would realize that. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, ebohlman, DruidQueen, JDsg

        Religion is neutral.  Science is neutral.  Money is neutral.  Sex is neutral.  Resources are neutral.  Anything can be exploited.  The anti-religion fervor I sometimes see on this site (from people who really fail to understand religion at all) drives me crazy...

        •  It is not a neutral act to tell children (0+ / 0-)

          things that have no basis in reality and then make their lives and their thoughts constantly bend to those ideas.

          •  who said it was? That is something that certain (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            people do with religion.  I personally haven't encountered more than a handful of such people, but I know they're out there in places.

            99.9% of people I know who are religious allow their families to think for themselves and encourage open-mindedness.

            •  Yes, that could be true in your experience. (0+ / 0-)

              However, when children see their parents believing in mythologies as true and deities as real and verbalizing those beliefs, even if the parents say they are encouraging open-mindedness verbally, the children are unable to actually "think for themselves" on these issues especially when they love and admire their parents.

              •  Do you have any idea how ridiculous you're (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DruidQueen, JDsg

                sounding?  There are so many beliefs that people have, religious and otherwise, and of course children are going to be influenced by them.  That's part of raising kids.  There's virtually no way for a parent to not influence their children.  And if there was, is that really what you want?  If so, I kind of doubt you have children.  

                Children are much smarter than you seem to give them credit for.  I guarantee you they're quite capable of thinking for themselves even when they see their parents believing certain things.

                "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

                by gustynpip on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 02:02:13 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I have two children and... (0+ / 0-)

                  most children do not use their critical abilities until they are much older. And when it comes to religion, it is often quite a struggle to let go of what you have been taught. It can also be quite stressful.   I know a former Mormon woman whose parents consider her as dead because she no longer believes.  There are millions like her.

                  •  I went to Hebrew school as a kid. I was able to (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    gustynpip, Catte Nappe

                    think for myself.  If I have kids, I'll put them through Hebrew school as well.  And they'll be able to think for themselves.  Which will serve as a nice complement to the well-rounded education they will receive both through school and through the family.

                  •  Well, I certainly hope you're not letting your (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    JDsg, Catte Nappe

                    atheism or liberal political views influence your children in any way.  Because that's a terrible thing to do to children.  And it you're letting them know what you don't believe or what your political opinions are, it's going to be tough for them to let go of those nonbeliefs.

                    You're not using cases of children being influenced; you're using one of parents rejecting their child for not believing the same thing.  Yes, there are many like her.  And there are many more whose parents accept them even though they don't believe the same.  There are also parents who reject their kids for nonreligious reasons.  Some people are narrow minded people unable to accept anyone different than them in any way.  If it wasn't religion, they'd have another excuse for their behavior.  

                    I know many people who were raised in religious households, including myself, who don't feel they suffered because of it.  I've rejected my parents beliefs, but don't resent the way they raised me in their beliefs and certainly have no reason to regret their decisions.  I might not have liked it much at the time, but it bred a strength in me that I'm now very grateful for.

                    "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

                    by gustynpip on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 12:58:11 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  When I realized that the religious ideas (0+ / 0-)

                      that were handed down to me were based on unfactual tales (mythologies) and imaginary deities, I certainly decided that as a parent I would not present those ideas as factual truths about the universe to my children.

                      So what "rubbed off" on my kids in terms of religion was the concept of "telling the real truth" and not accepting ideas without scrutiny and research.  If that is what "influenced" them, then I think that is a positive thing, don't you?

                      •  In other words, it's good to influence children (0+ / 0-)

                        in the ways you believe is good and bad to influence them in ways you think is bad.  Got it.

                        You might want to consider that other people have different ideas than you about what is good and bad and you don't have some kind of magical fix on which is which for all.

                        I was taught all the mythologies and it didn't hurt me at all.  In fact, I can easily list a number of positive things I learned along with those mythologies.  And it turned out I was perfectly capable of thinking for myself, scrutinizing and researching, and rejected them quite early on.  With no damage.  

                        Sorry you seem to have been so deeply damaged that you now think you have the answer for everyone else.  I suggest you consider the idea of letting others make up their own minds about what's good and bad and just focus on your own family and your own decisions.

                        "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

                        by gustynpip on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:12:34 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Where did I say that my opinion (0+ / 0-)

                          is a "magical fix", that my experience or approach to all this is the only one, that other people can't make up their own minds about all this, etc.???  And where in the world did you get the idea that I have been "deeply damaged"?   Seems to me that you are overreacting just a tad.

                          •  Your sense of superiority throughout this (0+ / 0-)

                            discussion led me to believe you've been damaged, just as your judgmental attitude towards those of belief led me to believe you think your opinion is that your choice is the only good option.

                            You consistently draw conclusions based on extremely faulty theories.  For example, you claim that studies that show that a small percentage of people reject the religion in which they're raised is proof that people raised in a religious household can't think for themselves.  You fail to perceive that it just might that those people have thought for themselves and have decided the religion in which they were raised fulfills their needs and so decided to embrace it - after thinking for themselves.  You seem to think that those who reject religion are the only ones who think for themselves, and therefore are superior to those who choose not to reject it.

                            I guess it's that sense of superiority over believers that I'm finding objectionable in your posts.  I just don't understand the need for that feeling or the need to put others down for believing.  One is not better than the other; they're just different.  

                            If someone gets comfort from believing the death of a loved one means only a temporary parting, who am I to judge them for that?  If someone believes  following the rules of their religion make them a better person, who am I to judge them for that?  If it comforts them to believe there's some all knowing father figure up there who will take care of them when the worst befalls them, who am I to make fun of them for taking that comfort?  Religion serves a purpose for many people.  Because it doesn't serve that purpose for me does not make me better or smarter or more rational or  or more anything else.  It just makes us different.

                            "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

                            by gustynpip on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 09:31:30 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Whew! I hope you feel better now! (0+ / 0-)
                          •  I do, because I finally grasped what it was (0+ / 0-)

                            that was bothering me so about your posts.

                            "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

                            by gustynpip on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:43:43 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's what I'm here for.. (0+ / 0-)

                            to help atheists who aren't really atheists figure themselves out.

                            Re-read the whole thread. I think others figured you out too.

                            Have a nice evening.

                          •  You are quite hilarious. It's good to know (0+ / 0-)

                            anyone that isn't so arrogant as to feel superior to others who believe in a god aren't "real" atheists.  I never realized before that being a bigot was a requirement for being an atheist.  From now on, I'll proudly call myself an atheist who isn't really an atheist because I'm not a bigot, too.  And you can just continue feeling proud of being a bigot.  Because you KNOW you're right and everyone who doesn't agree is just STUPID.

                            But just an fyi, being an atheist simply means not believing there's a supreme being.  It doesn't require any other belief whatsoever, including a belief in one's superiority for being an atheist.

                            "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

                            by gustynpip on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 08:09:54 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Two suggestion and then I'm done. (0+ / 0-)

                            Scan all my posts for the use of the term "stupid".

                            Look up the definition of sarcasm.

              •  This is bullshit. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Eowyn9, JDsg, Catte Nappe, gustynpip

                My parents were Catholic and raised me that way, but my mother never forced me to go to Church if I didn't want to, and she encouraged open-mindedness. As a result, I have explored the various religions until I finally settled on Wicca. I very much love and admire my mother.

                The idea that raising a child within a religious household breeds children incapable of "thinking for themselves" is not based on reality. Most of the Liberals on this website were raised in religious households of varying degrees, and yet here we are. Plenty of those same Liberals are agnostics and atheists.

              •  the people I associate with aren't mega-church (0+ / 0-)

                types.  Yes, I know they're out there.  But those are the types of people you're referring to--not just people who happen to be religious.

                Most of those types are probably not even religious--they're just nuts.  You can't be truly religious and base your entire existence on a single line in Leviticus...

                •  As long as you hold any religious text (0+ / 0-)

                  as having some kind of "divine" or "moral" authority, you can base you life on a whole host of "nutty" ideas.

                  •  only if you choose to. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    And while imbuing a text with 'divine' authority may subject you--to some extent--to the mythologies of that text (whiich I don't see as problematic unless misused)

                    what's wrong with deriving 'moral' authority from it?  Everyone draws morality from somewhere.   Nothing wrong with a religious text.  Now if you appropriate the moral codes for self-aggrandizement at the expense of others, then you have a problem.  But you can choose not to do that.

        •  Started to rec, until I hit the "antii-religion (0+ / 0-)

          fervor" part.  I see very little of that here.  I see a lot of "I really resent having others' religious beliefs imposed on me" fervor here.  Unfortunately, many religious believers consider that anti-religion fervor.  

          One other complaint - who are you to say who else "understands" religion?

          "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

          by gustynpip on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 01:59:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  there is anti-religion fervor, whether you rec my (0+ / 0-)

            comment or not.

            Look at the pile-ons sometimes whenever someone makes some snide 'magic pink sky unicorn' remark, and you'll see it.

            I'm a secular agnostic Jew, myself--but it is patently obvious.  I didn't say everyone--I said some people.

            also when did I say who is entitled to understand religion and who isn't?  I don't see that in  my comment.  I do think that people who are as closed-minded about religion as those they speak out against probably don't understand religion very well.  

  •  I wonder how many commenters read the OpEd? (5+ / 0-)

    There are quite a few comments that seem to take umbrage at what they perceive as an attack on religion, yet the essay comes at it from a very different angle, and begins as follows:

    Many readers of the magazine I edit, "Christianity Today," are refugees from strict fundamentalist families. They've been raised in an oppressive and legalistic Christian faith, and in their adult years, they move toward moderate evangelicalism to escape the unhealthy strictures and, frankly, to heal psychologically and spiritually.

    Legalism and authoritarianism are temptations in conservative Christianity, and strict obedience of children to their parents is one cardinal rule.

    Neither the author of the OpEd, nor the author of this diary seem to be taking the broad brush view that all religion is bad and oppressive and abusive (common enough as those viewpoints are on this site).  It seems to me we have a thought provoking example of a religious person pointing out and calling out the excesses practiced by others under the name of that same reilgion - something we all need to do from time to time.

    "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

    by Catte Nappe on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 12:28:34 PM PST

  •  Like racism, sexism, and many other evils... (3+ / 0-)

    ... child abuse happens in homes of every sort.  Abusers in religious households often use religion as a bludgeon against their victims.  In non-religious households, abusers will find something else to use.

    To say "children are often oppressed in religious households" is to suggest that it happens in most religious households, or primarily in religious households, or simply because those households are religious.

    To which I can only say [citation needed].

  •  I think the issue is pretty simple (0+ / 0-)

    in some ways.  We should not tell children that mythologies are true. We should not present deities as factual beings.

    It takes so many people a long time to retrain their brains to see the world clearly and use their sense of skepticism and reason. Teaching children religion is a form of brain washing and whether mild and unintended or harsh and abusive, I would love to see our species grow out of this phase.

  •  I notice that most of the patrairchal religions (0+ / 0-)

    Are very oppressive toward girls and women. It's all about how the men are attracted to them, so the girls and women must pay the price of trying to keep the men from doing anything about the attraction.

    The men, on the other hand, have far more freedom to move around, which makes no sense since the problem is with the men.

    It's all about letting the men off the hook when it comes to controlling themselves.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 02:10:16 PM PST

  •  For those who want to read more (0+ / 0-)

    Here is an interesting web page - a useful overview of some elements of the larger picture, plus a very useful list of references at the end.

    Children's Health Care

    Some religious groups have spoken out against corporal punishment, but lots more have gone to a lot of trouble to defend their right to beat their children - at least partly because of aspects of their religious doctrine. That's not at all to say that religion always leads to oppressive treatment of children, but it's worth thinking about.

    Anecdotes about kindly religious families we all know are not really to the point. What are the larger patterns? Do beliefs in things like divine retribution, damnation, original sin, "spare the rod and spoil the child," the father as having authority over the household as God does over the Church, etc, predispose people to use authoritarian parenting methods? It seems quite likely that they do. (But I don't know what the data say. The references on that page I linked probably provide some actual statistics. The diarist asked a question that is perfectly sensible and calls for looking for relevant facts) Given that some people certainly do use those beliefs as explicit justification for authoritarian parenting and  corporal punishment, would the same people use those methods whether or not their religious leaders encouraged them to do it? We don't know, but I bet not all of them would. Does being religious necessarily commit you to this set of beliefs or any particular response to them? Obviously not. Does that mean that religion has no effect on how people treat their children (or each other in general)? Obviously not.

    Babylon system is the vampire... ~Bob Marley

    by sfinx on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 06:37:16 PM PST

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