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. That most of what they see on the news is biased ans should be taken with a grain of salt…

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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20 replies

  1. Very good post, I am going to reblog this one for you,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree…great post and thanks for re-blogging it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “In fact, indoctrination is common, low threat, and never frowned upon unless it’s religious, specifically Christian.”
    In fact, this is not correct. Do not get teaching confused with indoctrination. The key point is the “ideological point of view,” consider the communist ideals that started from childhood. This process is literally changing the brain.
    “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.”
    If you call teaching children social skills and safety rules or even mathematics and language skills as indoctrination I believe you have the wrong end of the stick. These skills are not an ideology that will rule a life and change the future of the child, however these skills will only assist them through life within certain applications or situations.
    “Imparting truth, or what we sincerely believe truth is, should be the goal of any parent.”
    This is so wrong if you want your child to think critically and decide for themselves what is right for them when they are old enough to be able to make decisions. Sure, it is fine to explain to them what you believe if they show an interest, however does it really make that much of a difference to your life and devastate your world if they take a different stand on politics or decide to follow a different religion? If so, it is a selfish and a potentially damaging attitude.
    Of course, it should not, you must love and support your children and respect their decisions on adult issues such as these regardless of your personal opinions. As children they will always change their minds and should be allowed to investigate all options and find their own opinions into adulthood.
    “If Christianity is true, then learning about it will be beneficial.”
    Is this not the whole point? This is your ideology; all religions are ideologies claimed as truth just as the many strong political beliefs. Learning about ideologies is fine if all are presented equally. Religious learning quickly becomes indoctrination through obligatory repetitive processes.
    I believe children deserve this freedom and this is a basic human right.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well said. Passing on life skills/good judgement/ethical values etc is fine but corrupting a young vulnerable mind with personal world views is anything but fine.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not well said at all, Ken.

        The mere fact that you take what sklyjd seriously reduces your credibility to less than worthless.

        Now, if you and sklyjd want my vote for most profoundly ignorant bloggers on WordPress, that is something we can discuss 🙂

        Hate to be a jerk but I think we would all be better off if you both just found another blog to ejaculate your lame nonsense on.

        Like

  4. You rightly say //Christian parents indoctrinate their children in Christianity because they believe it is true// but you do not address why they believe it is true. Unless & until you do address why people believe what they believe, it is just a self perpetuating circle that goes unchallenged.

    Like

  5. The other day I read on an atheist blog the following(paraphrased)
    “I don’t expose my child to atheism. I just don’t teach them to believe in some mythical God.”
    How is that statement very coherent? The same commenter was claiming the high ground for teaching his child “critical thinking,” that he exposes the child to as he put it, “varied worldviews.” Yet, there was absolutely zero exposure to any religious teaching at all. Yep, that’s really teaching how to think critically.
    Final note. It cracks me up when a Christian blogger opts not to entertain endless debates with people who have NO intention of actually considering it, that suddenly we are not doing our jobs of attempting to convert them. Yet, their overriding desire, as proven by comment after comment, is for us to shut up. So, they scream shut up, and when one of us does, then they judge us as bad Christians for shutting up.
    Yet more clear proof that the atheistic worldview is stupid, incoherent and completely illogical.

    Like

    • I have never met an atheist who believes their atheism isn’t a product of their intellectual superiority Wally. Therefore, the mere idea that atheists don’t teach their kids their worldview is absurd. Of course they do.

      I wouldn’t say it cracks me up but I have always been more than a little miffed that atheists believe every single Christian they interact with online is morally obligated to entertain them.

      The atheist who commented on my blog most recently (Ken) believes exactly that and, because I haven’t, his arguments are better.

      Truth be told, his arguments are so bad, they blow my mind. I would say dumb as a box of hammers but that would be insulting to hammers.

      Like

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