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Religion and God – absolutely necessary?

Confused kid.

Are the concepts of Religion and God absolutely necessary? I would say yes and being an atheist myself, this does sound ridiculous and ironic. I was born into a Hindu family, and was brought up as a devout Hindu, but later on in life I grew up into an inquisitive individual who favors logic over dogma. Hence now I am an agnostic and to a certain extent can also be called an atheist. This was not an overnight realization and it happened over time and it was a gradual transition that developed along with my ability value reason, rationality and evidence, also because I could entertain a strain of thought without having to accept it. I’ve reached point  where my mind is open, mature and has developed enough to accommodate such ideas. As I said this process took time, now I understand the concepts of morality, equality and freedom as an intrinsic part of the human experience. Hence I no longer need a god to justify my set of values or beliefs, to be precise, I grew out of religion and god; but, consider an infant who has just started to experience the world around him, his mind is not mature enough to entertain such elaborate ideas that root its validity on evidence and rational argument. Can you have a rational discussion with and infant who has just learned to talk and understand? The set of values that you teach him, wouldn’t it have a greater effect if it had an illusion of divinity, so that he is persuaded into following them till the point where he could develop a mind fertile enough to accommodate for the validity of rational argument and evidence?

We have all observed kids, and they tend to do the things that they are asked not to do when they feel that they are not being watched. Wouldn’t the illusion of an all knowing power watching over them convince them to observe the set of moral values acceptable by the society? Wouldn’t the concept of Religion and God be of some use to us in that early point of development to help us keep an under developed mind in check as its being used from the early ages?

This was just a spark that originated in my mind. I myself have my doubts about this premise, and would love criticism on it. If you don’t agree that this is a valid argument, I just have one single question to you that has been plaguing me for quite some while now. Is atheism something that can be taught to a kid or an infant? If so, how do you do it?

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6 thoughts on “Religion and God – absolutely necessary?

  1. I’m not sure that the idea of an all-seeing god would have much positive effect on behavior. I think parental approval carries more weight, and little kids tend to internalize their parents’ values even before they can reason them out for themselves, so I think god stories would be unnecessary.

    But even if we assume that a god story had a positive effect, you’d still be lying to the child by acting as if you believe something you don’t, so your moral instruction would be based on hypocrisy and dishonesty, and a child would eventually see through that… maybe a lot sooner than you expect. It would then become very difficult to teach him or her the value of honesty and intellectual integrity. I think in the long run it’s best to base moral instruction on empathy and compassion. A child can grow into these values without believing in divine surveillance.

    • I see your point, telling a kid that you believe in something even though you don’t, would be lying and it will set a bad example but will it be any different than telling him santaclaus and the tooth fairy exist?

      • That’s a good question. I think the difference is that Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny are all fun characters — they “exist” to bring goodies to kids, and adults treat them as lighthearted figures that children are expected to outgrow. I’m not aware of anyone who approaches religious instruction this way, though I suppose in theory it could be done. God naturally tends to be a much more serious figure, involved with matters of life and death, and so outgrowing childhood instruction about god tends to be a more serious and difficult matter than outgrowing the Tooth Fairy (at least that was my experience).

  2. I was taught about a God, or rather I should say, I learned about a God of now, a good and even fun God. My concept of religion keeps maturing, dropping off the dogma. Religion is tool, I suppose the word God is too. We humans like our tools and words to be able to explain things.I haven’t “ourgrown” God or religion, only false concepts of them. thanks for your thoughts

  3. Pingback: An attempt on a scientific Moral Compass. | Shadow's Shadows

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