often acquire religious
views approximating those of their parent
s, although they may also be influenced by others they communicate with - such as peers
s. Matters relating the subject of children and religion may include rites of passage
, and child psychology
, as well as discussion of the moral issue
of the religious education
Rites of passage
infant baptism in the United States.
Most Christian denomination
s practice infant baptism
to enter children into the faith. Some form of confirmation
ritual occurs when the child has reached the age of reason
and voluntarily accepts the religion.
is used to mark Jewish and Muslim and Coptic Christian
and Ethiopian Orthodox Christian
infant males as belonging to the faith. Jewish boys and girls then confirm their belonging at a coming of age
ceremony known as the Bar and Bat Mitzvah
A parochial school
(US) or faith school
(UK), is a type of school which engages in religious education
in addition to conventional education. Parochial schools may be primary or secondary and may have state funding but varying amounts of control by a religious organization. In addition, there are religious school
s which only teach the religion and subsidiary subjects (such as the language of the holy books), typically run on a part-time basis separate from normal schooling. Examples are the Christian Sunday school
s and the Jewish Hebrew school
s. Islamic religious schools are known in English by the Arabic loanword Madrasah
Prayer in school
Religion may have an influence on what goes on in state schools. For example, in the UK the Education Act 1944
introduced the requirement for daily prayers in all state-funded schools, but later acts changed this requirement to a daily "collective act of worship", the School Standards and Framework Act 1998
being the most recent. This also requires such acts of worship to be "wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character".
The term "mainly" means that acts related to other faiths can be carried out providing the majority are Christian.
[Catholic Education Service]
The creation–evolution controversy
, especially the status of creation and evolution in public education
, is a debate over teaching children the origin
of life, mostly in conservative regions of the United States
. However, evolution is accepted by the Catholic Church
and is a part of the Catholic Catechism
Display of religious symbols
In France, children are forbidden from wearing conspicuous religious symbols in public schools
Religious indoctrination of children
Many legal experts have argued that the government should create laws in the interests of the welfare of children, irrespective of the religion of their parents. Nicholas Humphrey
has argued that children "have a human right not to have their minds crippled by exposure to other people's bad ideas," and should have the ability to question the religious views of their parents.
"Parents' religion and children's welfare: debunking the doctrine of parents' rights,
Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer
spoke of the subject in the 19th century:
Several authors have been critical of religious indoctrination
of children, such as Nicholas Humphrey
, Daniel Dennett
and Richard Dawkins
and Dawkins use the term child abuse
to describe the harm that some religious upbringings inflict on children.
A. C. Grayling
has argued "we are all born atheists... and it takes a certain amount of work on the part of the adults in our community to persuade hildren
Dawkins states that he is angered by the labels "Muslim child" or "Catholic child". He asks how a young child can be considered intellectually mature enough to have such independent views on the cosmos and humanity's place within it. By contrast, Dawkins points out, no reasonable person would speak of a "Marxist
child" or a "Tory
He suggests there is little controversy over such labeling
because of the "weirdly privileged status of religion".
On several occasions, Dawkins made the claim that sexually abusing a child
is "arguably less" damaging than "the long term psychological damage inflicted by bringing up a child Catholic in the first place".
Dawkins wrote an illustrated scientific book for children, The Magic of Reality
, in which some natural phenomena that have usually left explained to them by means of the action of gods or other mythical creatures are demystified. Each chapter book is devoted to a single natural phenomenon, such as earthquakes, always starting with a myth or folklore of world's major religions followed by an actual scientific explanation that debunks the latter.
Some scholars of Islam
has permitted the child marriage
of older men to girls as young as 10 years of age if they have entered puberty. The Seyaj Organization for the Protection of Children describes cases of a 10-year-old girl being married and raped in Yemen (Nujood Ali
a 13-year-old Yemeni girl dying of internal bleeding three days after marriage, and a 12-year-old girl dying in childbirth after marriage.
Latter Day Saint church
founder Joseph Smith married girls
as young as 13 and 14,
and other Latter Day Saints married girls as young as 10. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
eliminated underaged marriages in the 19th century, but several fundamentalist branches of Mormonism
continue the practice.
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Some religions treat illness, both mental and physical, in a manner that does not heal, and in some cases exacerbates the problem. Specific examples include [[faith healing of certain Christian sects, denominations which eschew medical care including vaccinations or blood transfusion
s, and exorcisms
Faith based practices for healing purposes have come into direct conflict with both the medical profession and the law when victims of these practices are harmed, or in the most extreme cases, killed by these "cures."
A detailed study in 1998 found 140 instances of deaths of children due to religion-based medical neglect
. Most of these cases involved religious parents relying on prayer to cure the child's disease, and withholding medical care.
Jehovah's Witnesses object to blood transfusion
primarily on religious grounds, they believe that blood is sacred and God said "abstain from blood" (Acts 15:28–29).
Religion as a by-product of children's attributes
Dawkins proposes that religion is a by-product arising from other features of the human species that are adaptive.
One such feature is the tendency of children to "believe, without question, whatever your grown-ups tell you" (Dawkins, 2006, p. 174).
Psychologist Paul Bloom
sees religion as a by-product of children's instinctive tendency toward a dualistic
view of the world, and a predisposition towards creationism
Deborah Kelemen has also written that children are naturally teleologist
s, assigning a purpose to everything they come across.
* Children's rights
* ''Daugherty v. Vanguard
* Emmanuel Schools Foundation
* Freedom of religion
* Islam and children
* Lost boys (Mormon fundamentalism)
* Preacher's kid
* Religion and abortion
* Religious male circumcision
External linksLove Thy Neighbor: The Evolution of In-Group Morality
By John Hartung ''Skeptic'', Vol. 3, No. 4, 1995. Includes the responses of Israeli children to the account of the Battle of Jericho in the Book of Joshua