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Slate: 'Is religion good for children?'

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    A topic we've gone round and round about many times.


    According to the piece, studies indicate that religious children are better behaved, because they believe that more is at stake and, I would guess, are simply able to better process the difference between right and wrong when they believe that it has objectively been decreed so.

    On the other hand, "(a)ll that talk of snake-inspired subterfuge, planet-cleansing floods, and apocalyptic horsemen might hamper kids’ ability to differentiate between fantasy and reality—or even to think critically."

    In other words, religious kids tend to have more difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality.

    We don't talk about religion very much at home, and certainly not in the disciplinary context. My son was exposed to it at his Catholic preschool, and I'm not thrilled at the amount of Biblical miracle stories he was read, especially because I think that they are presented as literally true. I explained to him one evening the concept of myths.

    I do think that religion in the home more would make discipline easier - he can be way too defiant. We don't spank, either, so our tool box is quite lacking.

    Anyway, it's a thought-provoking, relatively short piece that's definitely worth your 10 minutes, especially if you're a parent of young children.
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Religion? Or Slate?

    "Distinguishing between fantasy and reality" is bringing a grown-up concern into the way a child looks at the world, which is usually a pretty bad idea. The reality portions add in as they get older.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    That's addressed.
  4. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    Freakonomics had an interesting podcast that said that families that go to church are happier, stay married more often and make more money.
  5. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    That's like the studies that say the same thing about eating breakfast together.

    I am more into bacon than I am into hellfire and guilt, so we do breakfast.
  6. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    Asking the question as a blanket, "Is religion good for kids" will never get a satisfactory answer because it depends on what faith (if any) you're raising them in, how you and your family relate to it, and how it informs your day-to-day life and relationships.

    My kids used to go to Catholic school. At a certain point, my wife and I believed that the environment at the school and church was not good for our kids at all.

    We switched to a United Church of Christ church and put our kids in public school. Now we feel like that religious environment does a lot of good.

    In each church, there are people who come and go because they believe that denomination is good/bad for their kids.
  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    It doesn't surprise me that religious families are happier. They belong to a community, for one thing, in a time in which sense of community has largely been eroded. Their lives have a ready-made purpose and moral code - and an end game in which they dance to the Backstreet Boys on a cloud. So there's that, too.

    Deluded? They may be that, as well.

    To each his own to decide whether it's worth the trade-off.
  8. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    At some point, though, the parents must encounter the specter of America's rampant anti-Christian operating system and the way their children will be shut out of it.
  9. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Very true. But is that in and of itself a bad thing?

    If you can deal with all the suffering in the world (yours and others) without spiraling into depression and hopelessness because you happen to believe "there is a bigger force at work" and "everything will be fine in the end" . . . then chances are you'll live a happier life than many who don't subscribe to that line of thinking.

    "God has given me all I need" will tend to make someone more happier and less resentful than "Why did Bob get a bigger raise than me? Why didn't MY kid get picked for the travel team? Why does everyone seem to be passing me up the ladder of success?"

    Happiness is so little about what happens and so much about how you perceive what happens.
  10. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    This compulsion to infantilize people of faith is really something you should work on.
  11. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I believe that's a reference to the movie, "This is the End."

    Anyway, this time tomorrow on Slate, "Why happy people suck and here's how to make them unhappy by attacking their beliefs."

    The day after that, "Why you are a terrible parent and here's how to make it worse."

    The day after that, "Feeling guilty about your upper middle class lifestyle? We can make that worse."

    And so on.

    Slate needs to try harder.
  12. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    You are confusing Slate with The Atlantic.
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