Another Moronic Richard Dawkins Rant: 'Forcing a religion on your children is as bad as child abuse.'
Source: the Daily Mail
Professor Richard Dawkins has claimed that forcing a religion on children without questioning its merits is as bad as 'child abuse'.
In typically incendiary style, the leading atheist said he was against the 'indoctrination of religion' and teaching it as fact.
The evolutionary scientist, speaking at the Chipping Norton Literary Festival yesterday, was repeating claims he made last year which were roundly condemned by charities and politicians.
Professor Dawkins said at the festival that children should be taught religion but scorn should be poured on its claims.
'What a child should be taught is that religion exists; that some people believe this and some people believe that,' the Daily Telegraph reported he had said.
'What a child should never be taught is that you are a Catholic or Muslim child, therefore that is what you believe. That's child abuse.'
He added that teaching children religion would help them understand literature.
Professor Dawkins, a biologist who revolutionised the theory of evolution with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, added that he thought it was still important to teach children about different faiths.
'There is a value in teaching children about religion. You cannot really appreciate a lot of literature without knowing about religion. But we must not indoctrinate our children,' he said.
The former Oxford professor - who has been condemned as attention-seeking and unhelpful by critics - said last December that the mental torment inflicted by the religion’s teachings is worse in the long-term than any sexual abuse carried out by priests.
Prof Dawkins' best-selling book The God Delusion argues that belief in a supernatural creator is irrational and harmful to society.
In the earlier interview, he claimed he had been told by a woman that while being abused by a priest was a ‘yucky’ experience, being told as a child that a Protestant friend who died would ‘roast in Hell’ was more distressing.
In remarks to Qatar-based TV network Al Jazeera, he said: ‘Horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was, the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing the child up Catholic in the first place.’
Interviewer Mehdi Hasan asked: ‘You believe that being bought up as a Catholic is worse than being abused by a priest?’.
Professor Dawkins replied: ‘There are shades of being abused by a priest, and I quoted an example of a woman in America who wrote to me saying that when she was seven years old she was sexually abused by a priest in his car.
‘At the same time a friend of hers, also seven, who was of a Protestant family, died, and she was told that because her friend was Protestant she had gone to Hell and will be roasting in Hell forever.
‘She told me of those two abuses, she got over the physical abuse; it was yucky but she got over it.
‘But the mental abuse of being told about Hell, she took years to get over.’
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