Is Religion Child Abuse?
Yes, and No. Why, well because;
My response could be misunderstood, as the question is itself, a "loaded" question. Therefore, we should all agree, to start us off, that there is no equivocation between repeated extreme child abuse and, for example, letting your child believe in an invisible dragon. I hope you can guess just how far one could take the invisible dragon metaphor.
However the fact remains that believing in imaginary dragons can cause potential harm, (or perhaps even real harm). Now, we can further imagine the harm that a belief in one or more omnipotent Deities might potentially cause or actually cause. In fact the list of atrocities and abuses committed against human's, directly by other human's, in 'the name of religion' (which includes the horror caused as a result of a belief in a Deity) is almost endless - So I will have to be summary, even terse, in my conclusion. Teaching children fables as fact is potentially harmful, as is repeatedly lying to children. So, Religion is child "abuse".
"A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage"Suppose (I'm following a group therapy approach by the psychologist Richard Franklin) I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you'd want to check it out, see for yourself. There have been innumerable stories of dragons over the centuries, but no real evidence. What an opportunity!
"Show me," you say. I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle -- but no dragon.
"Where's the dragon?" you ask.
"Oh, she's right here," I reply, waving vaguely. "I neglected to mention that she's an invisible dragon."
You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon's footprints.
"Good idea," I say, "but this dragon floats in the air."
Then you'll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.
"Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless."
You'll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.
"Good idea, but she's an incorporeal dragon and the paint won't stick." And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won't work.
Now, what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all?"
- Carl Sagan (Demon Haunted World)
Thanks, Brady :)