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There are good arguments against religion being taught in schools


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I need to defend the statement in the title.
My opponent must establish beyond reasonable doubt that the title is untrue. The same burden of proof applies to my defence.
What constitutes beyond reasonable doubt of course comes down to the discretion of the voter.

Round 1
Welcome snehal 27 to his first debate & good luck

Welcome to snehal27 and good luck.

Nicholas Humphrey

I will cut straight to the chase and begin with the words of Nicholas Humphrey.

Children, I'll argue, have a human right not to have their minds crippled by exposure to other people's bad ideas

Teachers & Education

There can be little doubt that a humans perceptions of religion begin forming by indoctrination from their peers, which include school teachers.

Children often acquire religious views approximating those of their parents, although they may also be influenced by others they communicate with - such as peers and teachers. Matters relating the subject of children and religion may include rites of passageeducation, and child psychology, as well as discussion of the moral issue of the religious education of children.

Santa Claus

A child usually begins becoming indocrinated before they are old enough to be able to doubt what they are being taught. A child is usually seven or eight by the time they are old enough to question the existence of Santa Claus, but by this time they have already mostly been baptised, awarded a denomination and are singing hymns and saying prayers in school assembly.

"And as the capacity for believing is strongest in childhood, special care is taken to make sure of this tender age. This has much more to do with the doctrines of belief taking root than threats and reports of miracles. If, in early childhood, certain fundamental views and doctrines are paraded with unusual solemnity, and an air of the greatest earnestness never before visible in anything else; if, at the same time, the possibility of a doubt about them be completely passed over, or touched upon only to indicate that doubt is the first step to eternal perdition, the resulting impression will be so deep that, as a rule, that is, in almost every case, doubt about them will be almost as impossible as doubt about one's own existence."
— Arthur Schopenhauer, On Religion: A Dialogue
Richard Dawkins

Let me allow Richard Dawkins to explain it.

Dawkins proposes that religion is a by-product arising from other features of the human species that are adaptive.[10] One such feature is the tendency of children to "believe, without question, whatever your grown-ups tell you" (Dawkins, 2006, p. 174).

Child abuse

According to Wikipedia, several authors have argued that religious indoctrination of children amounts to child abuse. 

Several authors have been critical of religious indoctrination of children, such as Nicholas Humphrey,[8] Daniel Dennett[9] and Richard Dawkins.[10] Christopher Hitchens and Dawkins use the term child abuse to describe the harm that some religious upbringings inflict on children.[11][12] A. C. Grayling has argued "we are all born atheists... and it takes a certain amount of work on the part of the adults in our community to persuade [children] differently."[13]
All born Atheist

I would actually not agree with the claim from Professor Grayling that children are born Atheist however. An infant simply has not been met with the argument yet and has yet to form an opinion on the subject and indoctrinating a young child to believe they are an atheist is yet another liberty. 

Professor Grayling argues that 'we are all born atheists... 
What I would agree with

What I would agree with is that we are not born Christians, Catholic, Islamic, Jewish or other, and those are all man made doctrines which continue to seperate and divide us. However a child is awarded with their denomination and taught the core aspects of this denomination before they are old enough to decide for themselves.

Richard Dawkins

Perhaps Richard Dawkins says it best.

Dawkins states that he is angered by the labels "Muslim child" or "Catholic child". He asks how a young child can be considered intellectually mature enough to have such independent views on the cosmos and humanity's place within it. By contrast, Dawkins points out, no reasonable person would speak of a "Marxist child"[a] or a "Tory child."[11] 

Infant baptism

If we are going to teach children that have already been baptised about religion, are we also going to teach them about the religious controversies surrounding infant baptism? 


pouring water over a baby's head is not unheard of within the Greek Orthodox Church.

Is This Video of a Baby Being Violently Dunked in Water Real? Mixture

Paranoia about Satan

Are we going to make children aware of all the paranoia they are being subjected to regarding Satan?

'Priest from hell' violently baptises screaming baby because 'Satan is in her'
WARNING - DISTRESSING CONTENT: The naked two-year-old screams as she is repeatedly pushed hard under the water in the church font in Russia
Sadist priest

Are we going to keep terrorising children, or are we going to teach children not to submit their own children to the terror they themselves were submitted to?

Mum stops ‘sadist’ priest at baby son’s baptism
Why are we even baptising children, let alone hurting them. Is it lack of education?

Greek Orthodox Priest is Accused of Injuring Baby During Baptism
Baby suffers cardiac arrest after three submissions in holy water

Orthodox Church under fire in Romania after baby dies following baptism
This article is more than 2 months old
Six-week-old suffered cardiac arrest during ceremony, which involves three immersions in holy water
Infant Baptism is enforced membership

Mary McAleese argues that Infant Baptism is enforced membership of the Catholic Church. 
One could argue that it is enforced membership to any Christian denomination which practises this ancient and barbaric ritual.

What is baptism anyway?

What is baptism anyway? and does anyone that baptises their baby actually believe that by having their baby baptized they will belong to God's covenant?
According to certain paedobaptists baptism is the Christian equivalent of circumcision.

Reformed paedobaptists frequently cite Col 2:11–12 as evidence that baptism replaces circumcision as the covenant sign signifying the same realities. For example, question 74 in theHeidelberg Catechism asks,Q. Should infants, too, be baptized?A. Yes. For they as well as adults belong to God’s covenant and community (Gen. 17:7)and no less than adults are promised forgiveness of sin through Christ’s blood (Matt.19:14) and the Holy Spirit, who produces faith (Ps. 22:10; Is. 44:1–3; Luke 1:15; Acts2:39; 16:31).


If we are going to teach children about religion, why do we not teach them about the dangers of creationism seeping in to Science classes throughout the world, which totally undermine the more Scientific evolution theory?

Many countries have only recently started taking a systematic look at how the topic of evolutionary theory and biology is addressed in classrooms. Early research suggests that not only does anti-evolution instruction make its way into science classes worldwide—from the European Union to Southeast Asia—but in many regions, it also seems to be on the rise.

In some parts of the world, such as countries in northeastern Asia, evolution has had a relatively solid toehold in curricula for decades. But even in the U.K. the rise of publicly funded free schools allow alternatives to state-approved science curricula. And in some Muslim-majority countries, such as Pakistan, many teachers tell students to disregard the evolution unit entirely because the theory is incorrect.

Child marraige

Mary was supposedly a virgin that gave birth to Jesus at twelve years of age.
One of the wives of Muhammad was only six when she became married to the prophet.

 At about the same time Muhammad contracted an engagement with 'A'ishah, the six-year-old daughter of Abu Bakr,
10 year old files for divorce

1400+ year old documents are just not compatible with modern society and children should not be getting taught religions which are clearly draconian by todays standards. Today we no longer accept that it is ok for adults to have sexual relations with juveniles., yet children are taught about Jesus born to a virgin as part of their most basic religious education. Yet the education that the children are receiving should surely come with a warning.

The warning for children receiving an Islamic religious education should be that some scholars of Islam still allow for child marraige to older men.

As lunchtime arrived and the crowds of noisy men and women cleared away, a curious judge asked her what she was doing sitting alone on a bench.
“I came to get a divorce,” 10-year-old Nujood Ali told the jurist.
Yemeni child bride dies

(CNN) -- A 12-year-old Yemeni bride died of internal bleeding following intercourse three days after she was married off to an older man, the United Nations Children's Fund said.
More than half of Yemeni girls are married off before aged 18

Children's rights group draws attention to plight of child brides in Yemen
  • 12-year-old Yemeni girl Fawziya Ammodi died after painful three-day labor
  • Fawziya left school and was forced to marry a 24-year-old man in 2008
  • More than half of all young Yemeni girls are married off before the age of 18
Mormonism still allows for child plural marraiges

Even today in the United States fundamentalist branches of mormonism still allows for child plural marraiges.

Child Brides, Inegalitarianism, and the Fundamentalist Polygamous Family in the United States
My argument

We "should not" be teaching in our schools anything that when taken to the most fundamental includes marraige between children and adults. Either that or the teachings should come with a "warning".

Medical care

The teachings of Jesus include all kinds of uncorroborated stories such as miracles and acts of faith healing.
Yet, I do not require to provide a source to corroborate the fact that when taken to the most fundamental extreme, stories like this have certain religious groups eschew medical care including vaccinations and blood transfusions in favour of faith healing, exorcisms and other forms of quackery.
We are quite literally teaching children to become conspiracy theorists.

Some religions treat illness, both mental and physical, in a manner that does not heal, and in some cases exacerbates the problem. Specific examples include faith healing of certain Christian sects, denominations which eschew medical care including vaccinations or blood transfusions, and exorcisms.[23][24]
8 year old boy died in the .U.S after exorcism

Here is just one example of the abuse that religion imposes upon children.

An autistic eight-year-old boy has died during a prayer service held to supposedly cure him of the evil spirits blamed for causing his condition.
Power of prayer

We have all been taught about the power of prayer. But has believing in the power of prayer killed more than it has cured? Why then do we make school children say prayers?

A detailed study in 1998 found 140 instances of deaths of children due to religion-based medical neglect. Most of these cases involved religious parents relying on prayer to cure the child's disease, and withholding medical care.[28]
Religion in Israeli schools

Now religion being taught in schools pertains to schools throughout the world. Not only schools in the .U.S or UK, and in Israel religious education is mandatory.

The State of Israel recognizes all religious schools, at every level, whether they are publicly funded or privatized. The state has taken on a "melting pot" mentality to education in Israel, meaning they back all religious schools and teachings of religions as long as they follow the mandated structure set by the Ministry of education. Religion plays a large role in the education of all students in Israel.[5]

Now, why is it beyond preposterous that Israel backs religious education in its schools so strongly? Well, taken to its most fundamental abrahamic religion teaches that there will be a war between the East and West called armageddon, and here we are in Israel with Jewish children and Arabic children literally being taught to oppose eachother as part of their school curriculum. How insane is this, given the already fragile relationship between Palestine and Israel? Teaching an Arabic pupil about Allah and a Jewish pupil about Yahweh "is not" the best way to resolve the situation in the middle east.

This becomes more complicated when trying to compare students from schools that teach different religious historical backgrounds (i.e. Arab schools and Jewish schools.) Furthermore, a recent study found that the rising budget cuts to state secular and state religious schools drove up the number of students who attended private institutions for religious or academic studies, and critics argue that this creates a bigger divide among the wealthier and lower classes, primarily the Muslim and Jewish populations. Critics argue that a bigger wedge between varying religions cause further divide among the different ethnicities within the state, causing long term tension.[13]

Worship in schools

In England and Wales it is mandatory under the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 for pupils to take part in a daily act of Collective Worship. Though parents can remove their children from acts of daily worship, and sixth formers are allowed to decide for themselves.

Parents have the right to withdraw their child from the daily act of collective worship if they wish.
Sixth-formers can decide for themselves whether or not to attend, without giving a reason for doing so.
What is being worshipped?

But what is being worshipped here? Not only is it a God which science has yet to find evidence for, but also a God which opposes the God of those from the same classroom worshipping a different God.

This is not the best way to defeat racism and bigotry. This is teaching seperationalism and then expecting children to accept multi-culturalism all of a sudden when they leave school.

Guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) defines worship in this context as "reverence or veneration paid to a divine being or power."[5]

School prayer

There is an argument that I brought up earlier, that prayer may have killed more people than it has cured, and it is Scientifically objectionable that prayer has the power to heal, yet allowing religion in to schools also comes with the school prayer which is simply encouraging impressionable children to submit to peer pressure and become part of the majority. It is not teaching them to think for themselves.

On the opposing side, others have argued that prayer has no place in a classroom where impressionable students are continually subject to influence by the majority.[3]

Thank you, I will now pass this over to snehal 27. All the best.
Round 2
Unfortunately my opponent has forfeited the first round

Unfortunately my opponent has forfeited the first round. However I will continue to present a few more arguments for snehal 27 to respond to.

The Intelligent Design Creationist Movement

The  intelligent design movement is a campaign supported by a conservative Christian think tank named the Discovery institute which proposes teaching creationism in United States public high school science courses whilst discrediting the evolution theory and investigating the controversy of evolution.

"ID's home base is the Center for Science and Culture at Seattle's conservative Discovery Institute. Meyer directs the center; former Reagan adviser Bruce Chapman heads the larger institute, with input from the Christian supply-sider and former American Spectator owner George Gilder (also a Discovery senior fellow). From this perch, the ID crowd has pushed a "teach the controversy" approach to evolution that closely influenced the Ohio State Board of Education's recently proposed science standards, which would require students to learn how scientists "continue to investigate and critically analyze" aspects of Darwin's theory.
Scientists say there is no controversy

Most scientists appear to believe that the "controversy" that the Discovery institute want to investigate in school science classes is purely religious and political in nature and not scientific.

Some bills seek to discredit evolution by emphasizing so-called "flaws" in the theory of evolution or "disagreements" within the scientific community. Others insist that teachers have absolute freedom within their classrooms and cannot be disciplined for teaching non-scientific "alternatives" to evolution. A number of bills require that students be taught to "critically analyze" evolution or to understand "the controversy." But there is no significant controversy within the scientific community about the validity of the theory of evolution. The current controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution is not a scientific one."

Secterianism and discrimination

One of the biggest arguments against children being taught religion in schools is the fact that religion discriminates against others of different faiths and beliefs and breeds secterianism, which is exactly why Humanists UK campaign against faith schools, and religion being taught in schools.

Schools are where many people – parents, children, and teachers – first encounter religion and discrimination by certain religious groups; school-related requests for help, advice, and guidance constitute the largest single category of requests that Humanists UK receives from the public. We have campaigned and lobbied for over a century for the rights and interests of humanists and other non-religious people in education, for non-religious beliefs to be respected in schools, and for a genuinely inclusive school system where all pupils receive a rounded education and are taught together, not separately according to the beliefs of their parents.

Hope to see snehal 27's argument soon. Thank you

As Snehal 27 forfeited the first round, I shall not post anymore arguments this round.
Round 3
I will simply use this round to correct my spelling error. Sectarianism.

Thank you.
Round 4
In the absence of an opponent I have nothing else to add.
Round 5
Unfortunately my opponent has failed to show.
I wish him luck in future debates and hope he returns.
Thank you.