Of course Christians indoctrinate their kids but, doesn’t everyone? 

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One of the things I hear from evangelical non-believers all the time is that Christians indoctrinate their kids.

I would be fine with this if the accusation, as it more often than not does, didn’t include the implications that not only is indoctrination necessary to mold impressionable young minds because older people with critical thinking skills would never buy a religious myth but that it also an evil act that borders on child abuse.

When non-believers, depending on who they are of course, mention indoctrination to me I almost always think they imagine classrooms full of five and six year olds who are consistently threatened with eternal torture unless they blindly believe what they are told. That they imagine angry, prudish, bigoted, and close-minded parents relentlessly bludgeoning their kids with the idea that they are horrible sinners who will die a horrible death unless they admit they aren’t and will never be good enough. And that they imagine parents screaming at their kids to reject everything their schools teach them about science or the devil will have his way with them.

Is that how religious indoctrination works in the minds of religion’s more vocal opponents? Of course it is, if they live inside a cartoon of their own making but in reality, not so much

In fact, indoctrination is common, low threat, and never frowned upon unless it’s religious, specifically Christian.

The definition of indoctrination is “instruction in a body of doctrine or principles; the instillation of a partisan or ideological point of view.” Indoctrination is seen as the act of imparting facts as truth without imparting the ability to critically consider those facts. In this way, we all indoctrinate children.

As parents we provide the basics such as; clothes for wearing, beds for sleeping, toys for playing, and the implementation of rules in our households to ensure, to the greatest extent possible anyway, good order and discipline.

But we also provide knowledge regarding what we believe, what we know about the world from our own personal experiences, and what we believe to be true about politics, philosophy, customs, traditions, and everything else.

For example, I teach my kids that smaller government is better than bigger government, the value of personal responsibility, the value of (although I tend to lean libertarian) conservative ideals, the value and health benefits of exercise and good nutrition, the value of education, that global warming is a myth not backed up by science, that no good and decent person roots for the Dallas Cowboys, that happiness is more important than wealth and status, that creativity and the arts are important, that alcohol leads to all kinds of trouble and should only be consumed infrequently and in moderation, that abortion (this is a belief I held before I was a Christian) is wrong. That guns, regardless of what many people say, are not inherently bad. That hard work and determination, not reliance on government, is how we achieve success.

I could go on and on all day but I think you get the point that we all, in spite of the fact that they might be argued against, have what we believe are truths and we all pass on these truths to our kids. And we do so even when they are too young to fully process them, too young to refute them, too young to see error in them, and too young to form their own rational opinion about whether or not they believe them.

So, naturally, Christian parents do the same thing with Christianity.

We believe Christianity is the truth so we teach our kids. Imparting truth, or what we sincerely believe truth is, should be the goal of any parent. To do otherwise is at best laziness and at worst abuse. Christian parents indoctrinate their children in Christianity because they believe it is true. First Corinthians 2:12-13 says, “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” By passing on truth, parents show their love and respect for their children.

We believe children will benefit from understanding Christianity so we teach it to our kids. If Christianity is true, then learning about it will be beneficial. Receiving training in God, humanity, sin, and salvation becomes absolutely vital.

We believe we are living out their beliefs so we teach them to our kids. Just as the child must be actively engaged in Christianity in order to benefit, us parents must also. This includes ensuring our children understand our faith.

So, how is indoctrination a bad thing?

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Categories: Apologetics, Christianity

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5 replies

  1. Spot on!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, it would be the height of arrogance for a momma duck to expect her ducklings to walk not as turkeys.

    I say indoctrinate the little furry things! Expect them to walk like mom, lest they be the laughingstock of kindergarten.

    So too, like begets like, and any upbringing worth its salt demands that if something is valuable and right, it is nurtured in its entirety.

    Godliness is valuable and right. We are of more value than turkeys. Train them up in the way they should go, and this WAY is courtesy of the Creator.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Atheists are starting to wake up to religious domination in society. With this “you are born a sinner” delusion and the bigoted condemning of people to hell drags many people of our society down into their own phycological hell. Religious freedom starts with our children, indoctrination techniques have been refined and utilised in the brutalising of children into submission for many decades to keep up the numbers of future financial donators and godly preachers.

      Like

      • Steve,

        “…indoctrination techniques have been refined and utilised in the brutalising of children into submission…”

        Name 10 western Christian churches that have been brutalizing children into submission. Not 10 unverifiable anecdotes from individuals but 10 churches where this is a common practice.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What does our Father do with us? He instructs us in His Word by His Spirit to inform us, reform us, transform us and conform us to the image of His Son. He performs the work to prepare us for His glory and expects us to teach our children the purpose for His creation and redemption. It is not a hit and miss proposition, but one of obedience to His Word in bringing up our children in the way they should go, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, with discipline and chastisement when needed. The unbeliever does not listen to us, but even with Jesus’ ministry, want to that take our minds off of Him. We live in two different worlds. We can understand where they are coming from ~ we have been there. 🙂 But they can never understand the kingdom of God and the joy of our relationship with the Father, His Son, and Holy Spirit. We need to live before the world in love, joy and peace while they wonder how, and seek for answers that would make a difference in their lives. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this subject. Have a blessed week-end in the joy of our Lord. ~ Fran

    Liked by 2 people

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