Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Child Abuse

Richard Dawkins, known for both his subtlety and desire to stay away from controversial areas, has recently suggested that teaching children to follow a religion is nothing less than child abuse, meaning they need to be protected from it. This is the sort of comment you would expect from a man who has been described as one of the world’s leading atheists, but it has still managed to rock the boat quite a bit.

Quoting people who were brought up to follow religion, but have since abandoned it, he has said that they often experience nightmares or anxiety when they are told about things such as hell. Therefore, by teaching them these subjects, parents are committing a shameful act that is no worse than abusing them.

This is an interesting argument, and I imagine that it is hardly the first time it has been heard before. In fact, the Soviet Union used to ban under18s from hearing about religion in a positive way, something that I am sure a lot of atheists would like to do, simply because they believed that religion was like a poison for society. Like alcohol, cigarettes and certain films, religion is something that really should be kept away from the children, an argument is as simple as it is wrong.

For those of us who are Christian, we would regard it as harmful to children not to teach them about our faith. It is our duty to go out there and tell people the good news, so to prevent children from knowing about God, and about our hope in salvation in Him, would be like not telling a them where the fireman is if they were in a burning building.

It would be cruel not to tell children about what we believe, even if Dawkins does believe us to be nutjobs with quite a few issues to sort out.

The idea that families should not be able to share the same faith, and that children should be protected from the error of religion, is something that is quite a serious thing to propose, since faith is something that supports and underpins family life. In fact, the whole idea of working together as a family, having love for your brothers, sisters and parents, is an idea that is reinforced in the Bible.

The Christian faith is a foundation of people’s lives, something that cannot be taken away, and is of incredible value to people of all ages. Children need to know about it as much as any adult would. Yes, occasionally there are bits in the Bible where things that are potentially scary to children are talking about, but the overwhelming story of salvation is something that children love to listen to.

Although, you might want to be careful when it comes to reading the story of Noah and the Ark, because, if you do not tell the children that there is a happy ending, they might not like the story as much. I speak from experience here.

No comments:

Post a Comment