"Why shouldn't a bunch of bible-bangers brainwash the next generation." From the lips of Law and Order's tough Detective Lennie Briscoe
“Most people are religious because they’re raised to be. They’re indoctrinated by their parents.”
So goes the rationale of my nonreligious friends.
Maybe, but a study entitled “Faith in Flux” issued this week by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life questioned nearly 3,000 people and found that most children raised unaffiliated with a religion later chose to join one. Indoctrination be damned. By contrast, only 14 percent of those raised Catholic and 13 percent of those raised Protestant later became unaffiliated.
A few of the new atheists like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris have all hinted at the dangers of religious education of children. Perhaps governments should consider it a form of abuse.
A new Pew study opens a new window on childhood religious or irreligious training. Religion is just indoctrination? Maybe it's unbelief that has to be inculculcated in order to keep the infection of faith from taking hold. See this NYT column and the Pew study behind it.