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2 Bumps

Can there be Christian children? (s/o of earlier question)

How about Buddhist or Muslim children?

Or do these children have parents who are Christian or Buddhist or Muslim?  In other words, is it correct to assign a religion to children before they are capable of understanding the history and philosophies of religion, dogma and ritual just because of the parents' religious choice?  Is a child who was born to a Hindu family but adopted by a Christian family Hindu or Christian--or neither?

Would we call a child a Moderate Republican at age two, simply because his parents are Moderate Republicans, or do we wait until that child is grown-up enough to understand politics and how they relate to his life and understanding of the nation?  Probably not, so why do we assign religion to children before they are capable of understanding it and able to make a conscious choice?

Answer Question
 
jsbenkert

Asked by jsbenkert at 11:36 PM on Jun. 25, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 37 (89,331 Credits)
Answers (26)
  • One of the most affective ways to make somebody something is to assign a label to them. Calling somebody something from early childhood as well as engaging them in activities to compound the label will reinforce the ideology that the label has.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:45 PM on Jun. 25, 2011

  • I think there can, however, not nearly as frequently as people believe. Just as my son wasn't raised atheist but identifies one, surely there are some who are attuned to whatever factor it is defines their faith. That hardly means it's the one they're being raised in or paying lipservice to. How many future Muslims, Pagans and Buddhists are living today in Christian homes, being identified by their parents as Christian kids? How many Christians are being raised by atheists, convinced their kids haven't thought about it yet?
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 11:51 PM on Jun. 25, 2011

  • Their parents are. I think it's wholly unfair to deprive a child from finding their own, natural beliefs.
    kit_manson

    Answer by kit_manson at 11:53 PM on Jun. 25, 2011

  • No, I think a child does not have a religion until they learn and accept one.
    judimary

    Answer by judimary at 11:55 PM on Jun. 25, 2011

  • Interesting points, NP. However, I'm not thinking of future influences. I identify myself as a Secular Humanist, but it would seem strange to give my children that label, when they can't really have an understanding of what it means. It may be that someday, they will feel that it suits them, too, or they may choose another path, but it seems inappropriate to give them a label for something that requires thought and study. By the same token, it seems equally ridiculous to call a child by any other religion until that child is old enough to understand and make that choice for him or her self.

    jsbenkert

    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 12:12 AM on Jun. 26, 2011

  • I was baptized Catholic as an infant. We attended mass on holidays, that's it. When I was 9, my dad started attending a Nazarene church and I went along. I was dedicated as a Christian at 11. My parents used to argue over my religious label, mom argued I was Catholic, Dad, Christian. They fought about their beliefs occasionally, which made me think as a kid, that god equaled fighting, division, & I wanted no part of it, but didn't feel I could say that out loud. I felt obligated to pick a label, even though I had idea what those labels really meant, nor was it a priority. My mind was being written on by my folks. Without their influence, I was just free of the idea that a label was even necessary. That was a good freedom, however brief..
    clarity333

    Answer by clarity333 at 12:39 AM on Jun. 26, 2011

  • *no idea.
    clarity333

    Answer by clarity333 at 12:41 AM on Jun. 26, 2011

  • There can be a Christian child. I was one...I was baptized as Catholic as a baby, and we went to church quite often. Even if my parents didn't feel like going to church I asked them to drop me off because I wanted to go, not because they wanted me to go. I eventually decided that Catholicism wasn't for me when I was in HS, I started going to a Baptist church, which was fine by my parents...they just wanted me to be happy. They only told me that my grandparents could never find out that I wasn't a confirmed member of the Catholic church, while my parents were very understanding, my grandparents are not. They still don't know that I attend Protestant services with my husband and daughter, guess they will find out when she isn't ever baptized as a Catholic.
    AF4life

    Answer by AF4life at 12:45 AM on Jun. 26, 2011

  • I personally was a Christian from a very young age, definitely under age five. I listened in church and Sunday school and I understood the concept of a God who is love and of Jesus who saved us from sin, and my religion was very important to me. Why can't a child be a Christian?? It is a set of beliefs, not an age.
    GrammytoTrin

    Answer by GrammytoTrin at 12:50 AM on Jun. 26, 2011

  • I think so, depending on the age. If they are too young to know whats going on then no.
    Trinity001

    Answer by Trinity001 at 1:25 AM on Jun. 26, 2011

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