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Breaking the Trust - Is it ok to lie to our children?

Updated on June 1, 2011
Wisked into heaven on a tornado of fire.
Wisked into heaven on a tornado of fire.

Films Mentioned

Brainwashing begins early

Brainwashing techiques demonstrated in the film "Jesus Camp"

Raising an army starts young

All children are born aethists

"It is an interesting and demonstrable fact, that all children are atheists and were religion not inculcated into their minds, they would remain so" - Ernestine Rose

Do children have any choice in where they are born? Which family they are born to? Which religion their family practices? Its interesting that good parents strive to give their children the opportunity to live their own fruitful lives, to peruse their own interests, explore their own career and life options but when it comes to religion, the prevailing notion is to brainwash the child at an early way and to give them a single choice.

I believe religion should not be introduced to children under the age of sixteen otherwise its simply brainwashing. It also sets up the parent child relationship for a possible confrontation later in life when the child leaves the nest and discovers that the world is not a black and white as the parents and church made it out to be. Can you imagine the amount of hurt a child feels when they find out they've been lied to?

In the documentary film "The God Who Wasn't There" by directed by award-winning filmmaker (and former Christian) Brian Flemming, Brian takes us on a personal journey from schooling in a fundamentalist school, to his questioning of his religion and to the conclusion of confronting the people at the school he accuses of downright deceiving him.

In the film "Jesus Camp" we get a glimpse at extreme religious adults "hell-bent" on creating a new generation of super-religious Jesus warriors. They see fundamental Muslim groups in the middle east indoctrinating children to become tools for extremist groups and they want to do the same with Christian children. Watching the movie I could not help but think that the techniques used were brainwashing and child abuse. What gives any adult the right to take away a child's free will and natural abilities to reason and think?

Isn't Santa A Lie?

I remember a good Dr. Laura radio moment when a caller asked the radio advice host if we shouldn't push Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny myths on our children. Won't we be breaking the trust with our children? Dr. Laura's advice was that these were "white lies" that we all share as a society. Unless one goes over the top with trying to keep our children believing in Santa past a normal age, it was harmless. Basically the kids figure out that Santa and the rest are all just fun stories with a great payoff for believing. The kids know its all a game way before the parents catch on that the kids know. Its a "wink wink" sort of lie.

Of course kids don't start out believing that the Bible stories told at Sunday school are any different that the other stories they hear. To kids God is about as believable as Courdory the Bear or their own stuff animals who keep them safe at night. The difference with religion is that the parents and adults around them don't stop when the kids figure it out. Instead the brainwashing intensifies as the wisdom of the curious children figure out that something doesn't quite make sense among all of the fantastic tales of Noah, whales who can swallow people, walking on water and the parting of seas.

If your adopted religion (one of thousands available) is truly the best then why not wait until the child is old enough to make the decision to join on their own?


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    • peanutroaster profile image

      peanutroaster 6 years ago from New England

      Children should learn how to learn and then they can gather their own information.

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 6 years ago from The English Midlands

      Hi :)

      Children should be given information, but not indoctrinated, in my opinion.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Yes, I heartily agree!

    • peanutroaster profile image

      peanutroaster 6 years ago from New England

      I think the Christian myths are an important part of ones general education as well as learning myths from other cultures such as native Americas, Greeks, Romans, Norse etc. Understanding that all cultures make up stories to explain the unexplainable can only lead to better understanding of other people and real PEACE.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      I purposely exposed my own children to different denominations and belief systems to prevent the brainwashing I was subjected to as a child in a family of Methodists.