One of the most difficult debates of this generation is this one, should we be a follower of a religion because we are raised to or because we choose to at an age of understanding?
Is raising a child in a religion a breach of their human rights?
For thousands of years our religions have been taught to us by family and our society, by our culture as well as our religious books. Yet in this modern era the changes in our global society has provoked this question today.
Some say that raising a child in a religion is like child abuse and that they should discover their own religion and morals. Others say that it’s a life and death, heaven and hell situation that should not be so lightly taken with a freedom of choice mentality.
Some have likened their religious child rearing as watching a child approach the road when a car is coming and giving them the freedom of choice to step out in front if the car or not, you simply wouldn’t do it which is why they raise their children in their religion rather than giving them the choice.
We don’t give children the choice to attend school or to become unemployed we train them almost every day of their childhood to believe that work is a must and they must attend school whether they want to or not. This is stealing their human rights to choose also based on the mentality of freedom of choice as a basic human right.
Where should we then draw the line? Do we lift all the barriers of our society and just give everyone the freedom of choice for their human rights? The right to not attend school the right to choose which religion, the human right to choose to not pay taxes the right to choose to not work?
For thousands of years a child was owned or governed by their parents, the parents had the freedom to raise them however they chose, to discipline them however they chose, even to sell them into slavery if they chose this still goes on in many countries today but we want it changed.
This provokes the question who really owns a child? By owns I don’t mean as in a car or material possession but in the personal sense of ownership. This strangely also refers back to my other blog “is there only one humanity?” Is there only one right way to parent? Is every other person getting it wrong is their humanity wrong?
We like think 2 important points in this, we like to think the older generation got a good education from the government which would make them sensible and capable to raise a child correctly, and we would hope that a parent loves their child enough to do what’s best for their child in their own humanity.
So isn’t it this same love and good sense that is what drives a parent to raise their children in their religion?
If a football fanatic raises their child a fan of the same team and takes them to a game each week we see them as a good dad, if a Muslim dad raises his son Muslim and takes his son to Mosque each week we see them as fanatical or in breach of a child’s human rights.
A family is a society within the walls of a home, in that society all are expected to follow social rules in order to keep peace within the society, the oldest is usually the primary social norms giver and this is usually inspired by the greater society and their age and exposure. If you have a family of five people in one home and each one chose to be a different religion can you imagine the conflicts and arguments. Even if one of the family was an atheist by choice it would create arguments because of a conflict of interests and morals.
In each society there is a law to govern all people alike and it is enforced upon us not by choice but by necessity, in a family home a similar situation presents itself where freedom of choice is lost to the greater social needs for peace and unity.
If it is deemed against human rights to raise a child in a religion it must also be deemed against human rights to raise a child an Arsenal fan. So too it is a human rights violation to enforce a law upon a human that doesn’t choose to obey that law but this is called anarchy and if it is called anarchy in society then it must also be called anarchy in the home. As I said where should we draw the line?
It seems to me if you try to meddle too much in something not quite perfect in order to make it perfect each change has a knock on effect of change which can eventually mess the whole thing up entirely.
If we are to make such changes to our society then we must strategise these changes many moves ahead much like chess, with moves and counter moves if things start to go wrong. It’s not something to take lightly or rush into assuming it’s a great idea.
So then what is the answer, if any?