Hello to all,
In my conversation with parents at the Amazon.com Parenting Forum that has been ongoing for 18 months some facts are starting to emerge. By comparing the statements parents make with regard to forcing faith on their children against personal narratives posted on web sites like exchristian.net we can see that parents are clueless about how the process is affecting their children. Conversely, children are not sophisticated enough to formulate arguments so anything they try to question or ask for clarification about gets ignored. Some questions children have can easily drift into the category of heresy or blasphemy and those questions are promptly squelched. So children don't have a clear understanding of their parents, especially pious authoritarian types.

This is my working theory in broad outline. I have to confess that I need to know more from people exactly about their experiences as children. While many people do describe some of their thoughts as children, our research would be greatly strengthened if we had a more complete picture.

So with that out of the way, I will cut to the chase. I really want to know as much as I can about how people that were indoctrinated viewed the process as a child. I know memories dim with age so younger volunteers are most in demand, but everyone is encouraged to participate. Here are some thoughts about what to include:

1. Your age now

2. Age when your indoctrination started

3. How long it lasted

4. Denomination or sect

5. Parental tactics to coerce compliance

6. Your overall assessment: were you frightened about things you learned like atonement and sin, hell and damnation?

7 Age when you started to think there was something problematical about religion.

8 Age when you decided you did not believe

9 Did you tell your parents or keep it a secret

10. Any and all details that you care to add.

Perhaps a social scientist has researched this topic, but I have never found any reports of such research that focused on ill effects. I put this down to the fact that there are taboos against being critical of religion and parenting is considered a sacrosanct endeavor.. I have found many papers written by the faithful that recount the glowing advantages of indoctrinating children. Looking closely at the research reports is not very convincing but I won't detail all the problems I see with the "research" I have found. The most glaring problem is the fact that the research subjects are drawn from religious families and almost never include children raised in secular families.

Here is the link where you can put your narrative:

http://www.endhereditaryreligion.com/forum/forum.php?id=24

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Comment by Richard J. Collins on September 5, 2009 at 12:19pm
Thank you Chanda and The Nerd. Can I post your replies to our web site? These early childhood experiences can help us possibly devise strategies for enlightening parents. As it stands there is this huge gulf. I want to bridge that gulf in a public way.
Comment by Not important on August 28, 2009 at 10:29pm
I'll post here.

1. Your age now= 28

2. Age when your indoctrination started= ~14. When my mom decided that my doing drugs, smoking and drinking was bad even though she did drugs herself.

3. How long it lasted= ~1yr

4. Denomination or sect= wherever I was taken

5. Parental tactics to coerce compliance= i couldn't drive so was only taken to church functions or to be around other "church kids"

6. Your overall assessment: were you frightened about things you learned like atonement and sin, hell and damnation?= I've always like horror movies and books. It all fell under the made up scary shit category.

7 Age when you started to think there was something problematical about religion.=~9-10?

8 Age when you decided you did not believe.=~ 14-15

9 Did you tell your parents or keep it a secret. = came out by college

10. Any and all details that you care to add.= When I was younger I wanted to be a model citizen. My parents were screw ups and I already knew that. I wanted to be a do-gooder and volutarily went to VBS & read bible stories to my little sisters. I had the perception that church going and belief in God was a good thing & I would be respected for it. My dad is a non-believer and my mom believes in God but not enough to go to church or follow any of the rules.

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