Psycological damage to children due to religion?

I am doing research on possible psychological damage that religion causes children (and/or adults). Is anyone aware whether this has been formally studied (as opposed to a simple accusation by Dawkins) ?

The sorts of things that might be harmful, particularly to children or "former children" (adults):

1. The belief that we are born with an inherent evilness (original sin).

2. The belief that there is an invisible "voyeur" watching their every action, and that if they don't believe in the invisible being, they'll burn in fire forever, probably separated from their parents who will be living in heaven.

3. "2+2=4" logic, such as the trinity, or assertion of the scripture as "inerrant" despite obvious contradictions and errors, or that "God is everywhere" despite tangible evidence to the contrary, or the classic Epicurean paradox (regarding evil, plague, famine, etc., that God is either malevolent, or impotent).

4. The implication by ministers that almost all sex is "dirty".


I stand corrected, I meant to say that there is no tangible evidence to support the belief that "God is everywhere", not that there is tangible evidence to the contrary.

15 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    In my opinion, the most damaging thing is their theology of Irresponsibility.

    "I do wrong things and I can just pass the consequences on to Jesus." He will suffer for me.

    Children need to be taught that wrong action has bad consequences, regardless of what you believe.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I don't believe you have tangible evidence against the idea that "God is everywhere."

    .. Regardless, I do agree with a small amount of what you're saying. However, so much of this depends on the environment that people grow up in, and I feel like spiritual beliefs are only a small part of that issue.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    When i was a child (like 7 or 8 years old) i wanted to be Christian because my best friend's family were fundamentalist Christians (well, pretty much). So i got this children's book with a story from the bible for every day of the year, and i started to praying. My family isn't Christian.

    I was a disturbed kid.

    Anyway, from this religious book the only lessons i remember learning were about being about being good and kind, not murdering, loving god, etc, but i also remember being VERY worried that if i didn't pray God would be angry at me and punish me. (lol. like i said, i was weird.. back then.) Basically it was all about fear - organized religion, in my limited experience, is largely based on fear.

    So yeah, even from that tiny bit of exposure i had to religion as a child, it affected me negatively. I agree with your points.

    Anyway, i don't know why i shared that random anecdote. thanks for reading, if you did. kbi.

  • You have it all wrong. We get rid of evilness by seeking forgiveness. Number 2 is not a problem if you believe and accept the responsibilities of life. You cannot prove that God isn't everywhere if He created the universe and reigns over it(For as far as is the heavens from the earth, says the Lord, so far is my thinking over yours) . Sex is only dirty and implied to be when it goes against the teachings of the Lord.

    God Bless

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  • 1 decade ago

    Alot of organized religion is damaging, not only to children to adults as well. People put their faiths in these doctrines thinking that what man says will save them from their fears. Alot of followers do love God but they are blinded by additions to the bible. Meaning that people make up doctrine to appease their own indulgences and lusts, and sorry to say that it hurts many people, and also gives the true Christian church a bad name.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Oh man, psychologists really piss me off. I don't know what about your study, but has it ever occurred to you that psychology is like religion? millions of theories, and people act on them, because they make sense, not because there's any proof. everything contrasts and it foils itself. Nobody knows what the **** they're doing, despite all the pomp. That's why I left that field.

    Besides, it can't be damage if it's the norm (which it still is). Wait a few years before you try this one, OK?

  • Seni
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Watch Jesus Camp, you'll have hundreds.

    Religion can view other people of society or see society itself as a threat to their faith.

    Also, having a to think that everyone is going to hell in a hand basket and they are going to heaven for being devoted.

  • 1 decade ago

    A child that doesn't grow up in an open-minded environment is always damaged psychologicaly...

    It doesn't let them evolve as a human in a positive way.

  • 1 decade ago

    interesting thoughts but is this study or observation on Judea-Christian beliefs only or other religions?

    Im a devout Catholic but many religions have different beliefs, all of your points only go towards the Judea Christian beliefs so you might want to narrow your study to those

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The only religious crap that hinders me is number 4, I guess. I was taught that oral sex was sin.

    As a married adult, I read in the Bible itself that the marriage bed is undefiled--meaning pure, so anything I do with my hubby is okay.

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