Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stamping children into religion

[One of the biggest dangers in Integral Yoga/Education as currently practiced (and I have experienced this) is in the realm of vital education: Here, subjective notions of say, Beauty, in our current state of Avidya, are interpreted and privileged by those in power, with unfortunate consequences that greatly restrict the freedom of artists in a community of Integral Yoga practitioners. Re: Sri Aurobindo's Integral Education in Contemporary Higher Education Bindu Wed 29 Jul 2009 11:56 PM PDT]

['Parents impose their belief system on children' Times of India 29 July 2009
As president of the Indian chapter of the Centre for Inquiry, Innaiah Narisetti has come up with the controversial thesis that children's rights should include complete freedom from religious belief or conditioning. He talks about the rationalist movement with Manoj Mitta: Your latest book, Forced into Faith, has a rather provocative subtitle: 'How religion abuses children's rights.' How do you justify that? Child
marriages are prohibited. Voting rights are denied to kids. The same restraint is, however, not observed when it comes to stamping children into religion. Parents treat their children as property and impose their belief system. It's time parents refrained from indoctrinating their children into their religious beliefs so that they have the freedom to adopt or reject religion when they become adults. The conditioning they suffer in their childhood renders them incapable of exercising choice in the matter. Why do you argue for a UN convention on what you describe as the religious abuse of children? The UN convention on children's rights adopted in 1989 is observed more in the breach. Though the UN has come out against child abuses like genital mutilation of girls and deploying children in wars, it is shy of holding religion guilty of polluting the minds of children with retrograde beliefs. Children accept without question whatever the parents dictate. They carry that habit into their adulthood. Leaders practising superstitions set a bad example. It was sad that somebody like Abdul Kalam, when he was president, thought it fit to touch the feet of Sathya Sai Baba. That to my mind was more outrageous than his being frisked at an airport for security reasons despite his former office.]

Without agreeing with all that the rationalist movement stands for, Savitri Era Religion supports Narisetti's "thesis that children's rights should include complete freedom from religious belief or conditioning." [TNM]

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