Religion and Kids
By Anna House, Grade 7

There’s one huge controversial issue that comes up in a lot of religious conversations and debate: enforcing belief from birth.

It’s very opinionated, and of course, there are two sides. The first is those for it. The second is easy to guess: those against it. They both have good arguments, but it’s up to you to choose what you believe; there is no true right or wrong.

Many people argue for it by saying that teaching their respective religions from birth is important to the child’s spiritual journey. Others say that they would like to do everything that they can to ensure that their child shares their beliefs.There are people who articulate that their religion requires that it be taught from birth, and that religion highlights values. One main argument is: Why wouldn’t we teach what we believe from the very beginning? After all, it is our child.
              
Every argument that they have (even if you do not agree) is perfectly valid. But now we come to the other side. They, too, have interesting and valid arguments. They say that it is wrong to force your religion on your child, because if you don’t they might find what they truly believe (and not what they are told they believe) much faster if they are not introduced to religion as fact. There is also the fact that even if you introduce your religion to them very early, they could still convert later*. There is a quote by Ernestine Rose that has been used: “It is an interesting and demonstrable fact, that all children are atheists and were religion not inculcated into their minds, they would remain so.”

Truly, there is also another side. Those in that group believe it is the parent’s choice, it doesn’t matter, or that you should teach them all religions and allow them to choose (however, this requires they be old enough to understand). What do you think?

Sources:
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/atheists.html#ixzz1LUvb14Us
*http://friendlyatheist.com/2011/04/10/handling-children-who-are-not-atheists/
Cliques
By Maggie Poling, Grade 9

One of the best things about a virtual education is that you do not have to deal with status symbols, bullies, and cliques.

Especially the cliques, who are bullies in their own right. They do a good job of hurting other people, even when they’re not trying to. The stereotype of these groups may be overly dramatic, but even still, each clique is very proficient at leaving outsiders, out.

When you’re the new kid, it’s hard enough to make friends, but cliques make it harder. They stick together like love bugs to a windshield and no one new is welcome. Perhaps this act of inferiority comes from the members' own insecurities. Maybe they felt just as alone as you do, so they came together to form a union. Even still, their ways of staring at you from across the room, the way they seem to gossip and laugh with each other, it makes the outsiders feel even more left-out.

Whether it’s insecurity, or a mean-spirit, I don’t understand why we can’t just get along. We’re all unique, and no matter the significance of the hobbies we share, or the color of our hair…everyone deserves to be accounted for.

And so, I ask you this. Please, next time you see someone who has no one, help them. Talk to the person, smile and laugh at their jokes (even if they’re not funny). Try to get to know them, and allow them to ask you questions, too. Not only will they feel better, but so will you, because you will have done the right thing.
JosephC
6/20/2011 10:55:45 pm

Jeremiah 17:9 says "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

Our founding fathers recognized the "depravity of man" when they formed the Constitution--because they understood the Scriptures which say that since Adam first sinned, all humans born, have had instilled in them a "sin nature" (a desire to do wrong). Man left to define morality on his own, will be wicked.

Leaving children to define their own version of morality, instead of instilling the truth of Scripture, is irresponsible, and damaging to the outcome of their lives.

I'd like to continue this discussion, either through the comments section or at my email (josephcookemail@gmail.com)

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Rosemary, News Editor
6/21/2011 12:06:42 am

Fantastic article, Maggie! I am the biggest wallflower, and can be very shy in groups. It always helps tremendously when I have friends to talk to, and help me feel more comfortable. Great job! :D

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Christy
6/21/2011 07:55:55 am

I agree with you, Joseph. I think that beliefs should be taught to children. It's not like they can't choose whether or not to believe later. But if they aren't taught or shown beliefs, they might miss out on something really wonderful because they didn't look for it.

However, I also think that when children are old enough, they should learn about all beliefs. Understanding different beliefs is a very central part of understanding other people. It's a rather important life skill.

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Rachael
6/23/2011 11:00:27 pm

Christy, I agree 100%. Learning about all different belief systems is vital to understanding your own beliefs and respecting and understanding other people as well, even if you don't agree with them. I believe Christians should train their children. After all the Bible says to train up your child in the way he should go. :D

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Delany P.
6/24/2011 07:37:53 am

Great argument Joseph. I completely agree that it's irresponsible to leave a child to 'find their own version of truth.' There is only one truth, and that is Jesus Christ. (John 14:6)
When a child does not grow up maturing in a stable God-centered environment, they can be susceptible to all kinds of sin (drugs, alcohol, etc.) When somebody doubts the existence of God, they feel alone, insecure, and vulnerable. Jesus died for everybody, and he's there to help anyone who asks.
"Revelation 3:20 - Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." It's up to the individual person whether they open the door or not. That is the real choice - the eternal life and death choice.
Everybody (child or adult) should get to know that they have undying love of the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth at the door ready to give them his incredible grace!

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Anna H.
6/25/2011 07:46:44 pm

I didn't even know this got published! Wow. Anyway, I believe that it's the parent's choice. But I'm not going to. When I have kids, I'm going to educate them on all of them, and not tell them that this one is right, or that one is right. And not when they're 5, either. When they're 7 or 8, I'll explain to them about religion and whatnot. Hopefully. After that, they can go to church with their friends if they want to, or decide they're going to believe in the Greek gods. Because it's their choice, not mine, what they believe. and that wouldn't be 'irresponsible' of me, because I don't know what's true. And frankly, no one else does either. We could be in a simulation right now, and how would we know? We wouldn't. Because we wouldn't know what real life is like.

P.S. Delany, I don't feel alone, insecure, or vulnerable. And trust me, I have a lot of doubt in the existence of God. It's hard not to, since lately I've been questioning everything I've ever believed down to the very core, and the question of God leaves the most room for doubt.

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KelseyG
7/23/2011 10:50:12 pm

I too, agree with Joseph. I believe that parents should teach their children what they believe. I mean, I could see this from many standpoints whether the parent is a Christian, Muslim, budhist, or whatever. I could see that they'd want their children to believe what they believe is right and I think that they'd be crazy to think things like: I don't care what my child believes. I mean, what if your child came up and said he believed that theft and murder were okay? Wouldn't the parent want to step in and say it's wrong? What's different about religion?

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Sydney F.
7/28/2011 03:01:30 am

Unfortunate enough, I must disagree with all of you.
My parents never forced upon me religion and I've never been one to truly care one way or another. My mother's father is a pastor in a Christian church (to retire at the end of August), and he always told her that it was her choice what religion she believed in. My father is a Christian as well, but he's not one to shove it down your throat.
From day one I'd only ever been to church on Christmas Eve while visiting my grandparents in Ohio.
I now, at 14 (soon to be 15), am sad to say that I disagree and do not believe in a higher being or as you call a 'God'. I am an atheist. I do not judge anyone for their beliefs, as I hope you will not do me.
I do not understand why you would bare a child and then bang into his/her head all the reasons why said 'God' is real. Why not let him choose for hisself?

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A.D.
8/2/2011 02:36:20 am

I think it's a bit narrow minded to say there's only one truth because not everyone believes that and you can't force your thoughts on someone else. Also, as to the drugs and alcohol that Delany mentioned: it is true that someone raised in a Christian household may be more likely to turn down drugs and alcohol but not necessarily. Children that have good sense will turn them down anyway if they are taught the negative effects, it doesn't have to have anything to do with religion.

Those who doubt the existence of God don't feel insecure, they may actually feel confident because they rely on themselves and don't have to look for approval.
Just food for thought.

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Anna H.
8/8/2011 04:08:55 am

Sydney and A.D.: I totally agree with you. Sydney, I'm athiest too (well, technically Pastafarian, but since it's not a real religion, it doesn't count). And Kelsey, if I ever have children, I would like to think that I won't care what they believe. I really hope I can be secure enough with my belief that I don't have to force it on them or be mad that they believe something else. That doesn't seem sane to me. If I raise them, I would like them to be smart enough that I don't have mold their mind(s) so that they are perfect replicas of me. Or force them to believe something they might not otherwise. I'm glad to have parents that, while being a bit religious, do not set it up so I have to be. Or my older brother, who has also chosen a different path.

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