Raising Children to Make Their Own Decisions

This is not a very good explanation of a study done on atheists and religious services, but it still raises interesting points. The article on physorg.com is far more informative.

The article says, “The researchers found that 17 percent of atheists with children attended a religious service more than once in the past year.” It goes on to cite a variety of reasons that these individuals do so. I really like one comment from a study participant:

One study participant raised in a strongly Catholic home said he came to believe later that science and religion were not compatible. He said what he wants to pass on to his daughter – more than the belief that science and religion are not compatible – is the ability to make her own decisions in a thoughtful, intellectual way.

“I … don’t indoctrinate her that she should believe in God,” the study participant said. “I don’t indoctrinate her into not believing in God.” He said he sees himself as accomplishing this by exposing her to a variety of religious choices, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and others.

I like this for multiple reasons. First, my mother barely indoctrinated me to believe in a god, and it worked out so very well for my siblings and me. Second, I think it is wonderful to expose your child to a variety of religious traditions (just as it’s a good thing to expose them to multiple cultures). Third, when an atheist can teach their child to be reasonable and make their own decisions it really demonstrates a superior quality. I am not referring to atheism as that superior quality. What I mean is that the parent possesses a wonderful quality embodied by a desire to teach a child to think and trust the child to use that ability to make life decisions.

Instead of trying to control what a child does, says or thinks, a parent can guide their child to use reason and critical thinking skills to navigate their way through life. If only more people in the world were raised in such a way, not just in regards to religion, but politics and any life choices as well. Raising the world’s children to make reasonable decisions based on observation and reality would make Earth a much better place to live.

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