An article I saw linked today via the Richard Dawkins Foundation, claims that new research reveals that raising children without religion may be the better alternative.
Among the quotes from the article, there are some quite telling findings.
The results of such secular child-rearing are encouraging. Studies have found that secular teenagers are far less likely to care what the “cool kids” think, or express a need to fit in with them, than their religious peers. When these teens mature into “godless” adults, they exhibit less racism than their religious counterparts, according to a 2010 Duke University study. Many psychological studies show that secular grownups tend to be less vengeful, less nationalistic, less militaristic, less authoritarian and more tolerant, on average, than religious adults.
Personally, this does not surprise me. I was also raised in a largely secular household and apart from a short lapse of reason when I accepted Christianity as an adult, I’ve always had a secular, humanistic view of life. I am not nationalistic at all, not militaristic and allergic to an authoritarian approach.
I think this has a lot to do with the fact that children who grow up in a secular household, aren’t taught to confirm at an early age, they are not afraid to ask questions and don’t see people around them accept things unquestioningly. It’s natural they should adopt those ways.
Recent research also has shown that children raised without religion tend to remain irreligious as they grow older — and are perhaps more accepting. Secular adults are more likely to understand and accept the science concerning global warming, and to support women’s equality and gay rights. One telling fact from the criminology field: Atheists were almost absent from our prison population as of the late 1990s [ … ]— the unaffiliated and the nonreligious engage in far fewer crimes.
I feel supportive of women’s equality and gay rights or equal rights for all people. In fact, I think the entire notion that someone is superior or inferior based on how they were born, is a notion as foolish as it is dangerous. Someone may be a superior runner or singer but sex, skin colour, or sexual preference have no bearing on their “value” as a human being. I also tend to be highly moral and tend to think that human well-being is more important than some creed.
I don’t doubt for a second that raising children to be responsible, moral and happy adults can be done and can be done better without religion, partly because I am the product of such an upbringing but also because it makes sense. Why should we tell our children what they should believe? I think it is better that we teach them how to decide for themselves and how to arrive at sound conclusions. What are your thoughts on this? Do we need religion to raise our kids?