“I do not know where his belief came from. We have not instilled that belief in him. It may be from our religion. Now I see why you should be careful while teaching religion to child,” The mother said.
That hit me hard, very hard indeed. It was the third boy I was meeting who had developed serious mental health issues for the same reason.
All the three boys (age: 10, 15, 16) experienced the feelings of attraction towards the girls (normal phenomena at that age).
But this was contradictory to what their religion had taught them. They thought that it was sin to be thinking about a girl.
That belief led them to suppress their emotions. They felt guilty and they constantly fought with themselves. They became obsessed, depressed and non functional.
The Latest Case:
My last case was of a 21 years old boy. Let’s call him Abhay. Abhay belonged to a middle class family. He was clever, sincere and nice boy. When they were in Xth standard, one girl in his class liked him and wanted to be his friend. The girl was a topper.
Abhay was shy and quiet. He ignored the girl. He went in his cocoon. He became more reclusive.
Later, he confided in his mother that he liked the girl too but ignored her because it was sin.
He became obsessed with this thought. He could not study further. He stopped going out. Since last three years, he is at home doing nothing but worrying.
Bright young life is being wasted for no reason.
If you are thinking that it is one off case, you are mistaken.
Some Religious Teachings Can Be Harmful:
Religious teachings can be misinterpreted like in above case.
Religions teach to give up everything in life. You can feel guilty if you are making money/ saving it or loving someone.
Sin and guilt are powerful negative emotions which religion uses to teach life lessons.
How Jesus died for your sin or I am a sinner, I ask for your forgiveness in every prayer (this is there in every religion) helps the child who has just come into this world?
Children believe What They Are Taught
Childhood is a tender age. The mind of child is impressionable. They believe everything that they are taught.
Religion preaches them to “Believe. Do not question. Have faith.”
So, they believe religious doctrines that they are taught.
Several authors have been critical of religious indoctrination of children. One of them is Dawkins. He writes that the children have the tendency to “believe, without question, whatever your grown-ups tell you.”
Let childhood be innocent time.
Religion can be intoxicating.
Religion is very powerful. It has the capacity to alter our neural pathways. How else can you explain 13 years old girl fast until death?
Do not people kill one another on the name of religion?
In organized religion, there are priests (or munis, sadhus, nuns, mulla). They can have powerful influence on your child.
Your plan and their plan for your child can be different. They may see your child as their disciple when what you want for your child is that he leads a normal life.
Sometimes, their belief can be different than yours.
I was listening to one religious leader’s sermon. He said, “Cut the wings of the children so that they cannot fly.”
I switched off the T.V. why shouldn’t children fly?
Parents should be careful while teaching religion to child.
Religion encourages blind faith.
It is okay to apply logic and ask questions. We progress by exploring.If any Religious beliefs, practices or rituals make you feel guilty, scared or ashamed, question… Click To Tweet
Go with the natural flow of life. Many rules explained in religion are for those who are seeking moksha.
These rules may not apply to the ordinary person.
Teach Morality without Instilling Fear of God.
Fear is a negative emotion.
Teach morality in a right way.
For example, we should be honest with others because we want others to be honest with us. We live in a society. We want to live together.
It helps if we take care of one another and live by the rules. So, it is better we follow certain rules of the society like – telling truth.
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