Brain dump: Is forcing a child to be religious a form of child abuse?

In 2013, the American Psychological Association (APA) added Child Psychological Abuse to the DSM-5, describing it as “nonaccidental verbal or symbolic acts by a child’s parent or caregiver that result, or have reasonable potential to result, in significant psychological harm to the child.[40]

In 1995, APSAC defined it as: spurning, terrorizing, isolating, exploiting, corrupting, denying emotional responsiveness, or neglect” or “A repeated pattern of caregiver behavior or extreme incident(s) that convey to children that they are worthless, flawed, unloved, unwanted, endangered, or only of value in meeting another’s needs[41]

I was raised in a religious cult, but I’m fortunate to have parents who came to their senses and left early enough to avoid causing severe long-term damage. They were also logical about it, and encouraged us to engage in critical thought, have friends outside the religion, and develop empathy. 

I’m lucky, though.

If forcing a child into religion was legally considered child abuse, I wonder if the world would be in the predicament it’s in today. 

If telling a child bald-faced lies and terrorizing them by threatening them with ridiculous concepts about right and wrong, heaven, hell, “paradise”, the end of the world – whatever – was punishable by law, maybe we’d be raising children with the ability to think for themselves and make choices about their own spirituality once they’re fully-formed adults.

Instead, religious parents indoctrinate, they induce fear and guilt, and they raise children who spew hatred, spread fear, and perpetuate toxic myths in turn. They probably don’t know any better and think they’re doing the right thing for their kids, but that’s probably because they went through the same bullshit when they were young, and can’t move past those thought processes. 

I’m sad for all the children who will waste their lives waiting for a second chance in heaven (or wherever) that will never happen, and spend their time trying to force people into thinking the same way; instead of spreading love and empathy and living their short lives to the fullest. 

Leave religion out of parenting, and let your kids figure it out for themselves when they grow up. It’s the right thing to do.