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Friday, October 25, 2013

Religious education and child abuse

Brush aside critical thinking and rational argument and enter the realm of religion, where the laws of physics are suspended while miracles are performed and children are subjected to religious indoctrination, including the forced worship of a supernatural being.

Francis Xavier, the co-founder of the Jesuit Order, was alleged to have said ‘Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.’ The implication is that the best opportunity to indoctrinate a person into leading a life of belief and devotion to religious dogma is when they are very young. Ironically, Xavier surely intended the statement to signify achievement for the good.

Google 'Islamic rights for children' and you will find the following:
  • Children have the right to be fed, clothed, and protected until they reach adulthood.
  • Children must have the respect, to enjoy love and affection from their parents.
  • Children have the right to be treated equally
  • Children have the right to education.
  • Parents are recommended to provide adequately for children in inheritance.
Not unreasonable and certainly uncontentious you might think, but what about the fourth statement. What type of education? Might it be, just might it be, the Islamic kind? Might it be the kind of education that is centred around a book constructed, by all accounts, from revelations visited on a largely illiterate merchant over his lifetime? Of course it is and the unfortunate child has no right of appeal, no chance of experiencing other opposing forms of education, including the kind that is faith-free.

The Catholic Church has some words to say on a child’s education. "… Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith of which they are the "first heralds' for their children. They should associate them from their tenderest years with the life of the Church …" (from CCC 2225).

These, albeit pointed, religious narratives demonstrate an insidious form of child abuse that are akin to brainwashing but nonetheless seem to be tolerated by secular society.