This single question
brings up a helluva lot of issues
. A veritable minefield
of tank busters. I'm thinking a couple of conflicting concepts here:
- The right to your own belief system.
- The idea of getting a minor (one who, frankly put, is considered too young to be fully responsible for themselves) to do something, or believe in something, for their own good, and from that...
- The extent to which you can force (i'm talking subversion as well as brute-force) any child to do the aforementioned, before it is wrong. For instance, a lot of kids don't want to go to school. We (that is, society, and the government) make them. I do not believe this is wrong.
The first is or at least should be
undisputed. Unfortunately, this righteous spearhead
of- well, righteousness
gets horribly shafted
by the second and third arguments, which are also not without their merits. Of course they are also issues unto themselves, with such a massive level of complexity that, like abortion
, I'm not going to touch it with an x foot pole
However, for the sake of simplicity let's just assume that the pro argument for issues 1 and 2 do indeed have their merits. In that case it is possible that there exists a good, positive rationale behind why Christians bring their kids up as Christians.
Let's first consider the Christian belief, and hypothesize that Christianity is indeed true (A valid assumption coming from a Christian parent) Now I don't claim to be any sort of theological expert, but I'm quite sure that when it comes down to Judgement Day, if God sees 'Christian' on your holy resume it's going to look real good (maybe better than a Nobel Prize or a Ph.d in Metaphysics).
So, from the totally materialistic bastard point of view of a God fearing parent, bringing up your child to believe in Christianity is much like making them to go to school - it's for their own good. They might not like it, and maybe when they grow older they can change their ways, but for now that's how it stands.
But wait, you might say, we know that forcing kids to go to school is ok, but Christianity is only a belief and probably doesn't exist!
And who are you to say that? How do we know beyond all certainty that forcing kids to go to school is better for them in the long run? Sure, we have statistics, but in the end it will boil down to a belief.
I am not a Christian, and barring some sort of major catastrophe involving alcohol, car accidents, rubber chickens or failing my degree I do not intend to be one. I personally believe that I am a better, more enlightened person as a strict aetheist. In my younger years, as early as a few months ago, I would have no hesitated, as a militant aetheist, to launch a scorching retort to this question that would put Sarcasmo's to shame. However Everything2 has taught me that the problem is not Christianity but people.