1. SubscriberFMF
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    14 Aug '16 03:01
    Would it be better for religious people to postpone seeking to inculcate their children with specific religious beliefs until they reach their teens when they might be better equipped (intellectually and emotionally) to explore spiritual ideas, and to find out - and understand - what their beliefs are?

    I don't mean "inculcating" in a negative way. Many elements of socialization rely on inculcation.

    Similarly, should atheist parents resist any temptation they may feel to denounce or dismiss religious beliefs in the eyes of their children until those children are mature enough to get their heads round spiritual concepts in a relatively independent way?
  2. Donationrwingett
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    14 Aug '16 13:51
    Originally posted by FMF
    Would it be better for religious people to postpone seeking to inculcate their children with specific religious beliefs until they reach their teens when they might be better equipped (intellectually and emotionally) to explore spiritual ideas, and to find out - and understand - what their beliefs are?

    I don't mean "inculcating" in a negative way. Many eleme ...[text shortened]... n are mature enough to get their heads round spiritual concepts in a relatively independent way?
    I don't think it's possible to avoid passing on your general religious sentiment to your children. But that's why the anabaptists don't believe in child baptism. They leave baptism for when the child reaches adulthood, so they can "freely" choose on their own. Of course, the new adult has already been thoroughly socialized into his/her religion by then.
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    14 Aug '16 18:56
    Originally posted by FMF
    Would it be better for religious people to postpone seeking to inculcate their children with specific religious beliefs until they reach their teens when they might be better equipped (intellectually and emotionally) to explore spiritual ideas, and to find out - and understand - what their beliefs are?
    'Better' for whom? It would certainly end most religions very very quickly. But I don't think religious parents would be very pleased about that.

    Similarly, should atheist parents resist any temptation they may feel to denounce or dismiss religious beliefs in the eyes of their children until those children are mature enough to get their heads round spiritual concepts in a relatively independent way?
    I did not actively preach to my son (but then there isn't much to preach about as an atheist) but did make my own views known. His mother is a Christian and I did not object to here making her views known and rather more actively trying to preach to him.
    But having said that, I think your question is dangerously close to saying:
    If you notice your child getting heavily into astrology or seances, do you just ignore it until they are old enough to understand? As an atheist, some things are just obviously false, and I think I should point it out to my children. A theist presumably feels exactly the same way. My own reservations were partly as respect for his mothers beliefs and partly that religion is largely a social thing and being openly atheist can have significant negative consequences. I also prefer to teach him how to think for himself rather than telling him what to believe.
  4. SubscriberFMF
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    15 Aug '16 01:26
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    'Better' for whom? [...] I also prefer to teach him how to think for himself rather than telling him what to believe.
    I had 'better for the children being socialized' in mind and for the reason you mention in the quote above. Whether the parents are theists or atheists, ideally, they ought to want to teach their children how to think for themselves rather than telling them what to think. That's my view, anyway. I'm wondering whether others think that fostering such independent thinking skills is good and necessary in so far as it applies to most things, but that [in practical terms] the issue of belief/non-belief is too fundamental to be postponed in the way the OP suggests.
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    15 Aug '16 02:551 edit
    Originally posted by FMF
    Would it be better for religious people to postpone seeking to inculcate their children with specific religious beliefs until they reach their teens when they might be better equipped (intellectually and emotionally) to explore spiritual ideas, and to find out - and understand - what their beliefs are?

    I don't mean "inculcating" in a negative way. Many eleme ...[text shortened]... n are mature enough to get their heads round spiritual concepts in a relatively independent way?
    I think parents have a moral obligation to tell their children what the believe and why.

    Then again, if your beliefs are not that important to you, or you are not that sure of them, I suppose you could let the slide.
  6. SubscriberFMF
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    15 Aug '16 03:30
    Originally posted by whodey
    I think parents have a moral obligation to tell their children what the believe and why.
    I agree. Parents should let their children know what they believe. The proposal here, though, is that - in the case of religious beliefs - it should be postponed until the children at least have the ability to weigh such beliefs with some degree of independence.

    I doubt you think parents have a "moral obligation" to tell their children that they believe, for example, that God seeks child sacrifice under certain circumstances, or that God will reward a suicide bomber for their holy martyrdom with eternal life in heaven.
  7. SubscriberFMF
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    15 Aug '16 05:43
    Originally posted by FMF
    The proposal here, though, is that - in the case of religious beliefs - it should be postponed until the children at least have the ability to weigh such beliefs with some degree of independence.
    Correction: The proposal here, though, is that - in the case of religious beliefs, or lack of religious beliefs - it should be postponed until the children at least have the ability to weigh such beliefs with some degree of independence.
  8. SubscriberSuzianne
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    15 Aug '16 11:19
    Originally posted by FMF
    Correction: The proposal here, though, is that - in the case of religious beliefs, [b]or lack of religious beliefs - it should be postponed until the children at least have the ability to weigh such beliefs with some degree of independence.[/b]
    And at what age do you think children generally achieve this 'independence of belief'?
  9. SubscriberFMF
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    15 Aug '16 23:29
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    And at what age do you think children generally achieve this 'independence of belief'?
    Maybe it starts to develop 12-13 onwards although it's a work in progress. I didn't talk about waiting till they achieve "independence of belief", I talked about waiting for an ability to emerge to weigh beliefs with a degree of independence.
  10. SubscriberSuzianne
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    15 Aug '16 23:39
    Originally posted by FMF
    Maybe it starts to develop 12-13 onwards although it's a work in progress. I didn't talk about waiting till they achieve "independence of belief", I talked about waiting for an ability to emerge to weigh beliefs with a degree of independence.
    So you disagree with my wording merely because I posted it and with an economy of words.

    I would like your explanation of how my wording is somehow different from yours.
  11. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    15 Aug '16 23:44
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I don't think it's possible to avoid passing on your general religious sentiment to your children. But that's why the anabaptists don't believe in child baptism. They leave baptism for when the child reaches adulthood, so they can "freely" choose on their own. Of course, the new adult has already been thoroughly socialized into his/her religion by then.
    One of the best ways to pas on religious sentiments to your children is to present information on various faiths and have them make up their own minds.

    Forcing undeveloped minds into your way of thinking is frought with danger, sepecially when they mature and realize you've been putting your own agenda onto them.

    I have seen many practicla examples of this and not only
    Christians but Hare KRSNA devotees kids as well.

    The most powerful of (spiritual) convictions come not from strong indoctrination but strong inner drive to find the truth.

    (bearing in mind that smart people looking for evidence generally have a strong independent, non biased preconceptions and hence have the best appraisal of whatever they may be investigating)
  12. SubscriberFMF
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    15 Aug '16 23:50
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    So you disagree with my wording merely because I posted it and with an economy of words.

    I would like your explanation of how my wording is somehow different from yours.
    I don't see it as being a case of waiting until children have achieved independence, per se. I see it as a case of waiting until an ability to weigh things on their own bat starts to develop. What do you think about the idea of maybe 12-13?
  13. SubscriberFMF
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    15 Aug '16 23:51
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    One of the best ways to pas on religious sentiments to your children is to present information on various faiths and have them make up their own minds.
    Starting at around what age?
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    16 Aug '16 03:29
    Originally posted by FMF
    I agree. Parents should let their children know what they believe. The proposal here, though, is that - in the case of religious beliefs - it should be postponed until the children at least have the ability to weigh such beliefs with some degree of independence.

    I doubt you think parents have a "moral obligation" to tell their children that they believe, for ...[text shortened]... , or that God will reward a suicide bomber for their holy martyrdom with eternal life in heaven.
    I would think that I would have a moral obligation to teach my children what I thought was right and what is true.

    As I said, those that are not sure or have no strong convictions probably won't and probably should not.
  15. SubscriberFMF
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    16 Aug '16 04:53
    Originally posted by whodey
    I would think that I would have a moral obligation to teach my children what I thought was right and what is true.

    As I said, those that are not sure or have no strong convictions probably won't and probably should not.
    That's what you said before. You have added nothing.

    I agree that raising children to behave in a morally sound way is every parent's moral obligation but this can be done without reference to religious beliefs or assertions about the existence of supernatural beings.

    The Christian notion of "sin", however, is an abstract notion that even the parents cannot show to actually exist. They can of course demonstrate their faith as it relates to such things, and the affect their faith has on their behaviour (which would surely have been demonstrated amply to the children since they were babies), but isn't there an argument for tackling abstract theological notions and concepts a bit later in the lives of children?
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