Effects of Religion on Children,
Positive or Negative?
Anthony C. Antonelli
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This work will discuss the positive as well as negative effects of religion on children. The factors of depression expressed through many published studies include: participation in religious practice, willingness to participate in illegal activities for children who go to church regularly in contrast to those who do not, children who have agnosticism parents that do not believe in gods versus those wherein parents are theistic, and the negative effects on children in more taboo religious practices. Points also articulated are: the increased pros or cons of parent involvement within the church and at home, as well as conflicting religious beliefs between parents in the household.
Keywords: theism, agnosticism, children, morality
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Effects of Religion
On Children and Adolescents
Could religion be a bad thing for children; would dismissing religion be a better approach? Rich Deem (2010) found that studies at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill scrutinized the point made by Richard Hawkins in his work, “The God Delusion.” In his work, it states that religion can be bad for children. The study was completed over a pool of 2500 children, and the results clearly stated that children without religion in their regular routine were more likely to commit more of their time involving themselves in illicit activities versus that of children that regularly study doctrine from their church. In concurrence, Melinda Wenner (2008) found that John Bartkowski, a sociologist at Mississippi State University, surveyed parents and teachers of roughly 16,000 children, most of them within 5 to 7 years of age. He surveyed them in order to speculate the amount of ethical self-control that was applied by the brood. According to the regularity of the religious practice, many factors affected mood and behavior. These factors include: occurrences that the child portrayed evidence of poor mood or behavior, how well they interacted within their peer group, and whether or not the parents argued regularly about their religious differences within the household. According to the results, children that recurrently practice worship have better general mood and behavior. Hanna and Myers (2011) have stated in contrast, “Difficulties with respect to authority, contradictory behaviors, and control issues may arise for adults dependent on a
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simplistic conception of God”, this suggests children raised within a cult, who are indoctrinated into certain religious practices are inhibited from participating in the more refined, adult, stages of maturity such as sex and imperative social self-grooming. Richard Collins (2011) stated, “Certain religions, Christianity for example, gives children nightmares to think that an impending Hell awaits those who commit sin; yet all people are sinners. In contrast, the religion Islam is chauvinistic in favor of males. This leaves the women of that faith to have insecurities. Also, it condemns them to be sex-slaves. “One of the few studies to look at the effects of religious participation on the mental health of minorities suggests that for some of them, religion may actually be contributing to adolescent depression,” stated McGuire. Research from past experts depicted religiously active adolescents less likely to become depressed due to “social support and sense of belonging” (McGuire). New advocating studies on the subject suggest otherwise, stating that within Caucasian and African-American groups hardly any had depressive attitudes toward religion; versus the Hispanic and Asian groups which according to McGuire, had a 4%...