Americans are famously bad at passing on knowledge about religion to their kids. Religious parents are bad at passing on religious knowledge outside their own faith groups; non-religious parents are bad at passing on anything at all.
As a result, relatively few of the nation’s children are in a position to truly understand those who believe differently than they do. And it means that they are more likely to be humiliated in public by their lack of basic knowledge.
And that’s just plain awesome.
Now you might assume that instilling a high level of religious illiteracy would be difficult. On the contrary! There are plenty of ways to ensure your kid has no interest whatsoever in spiritual beliefs. You could go out of your way to avoid any and all religious references in popular culture; you could be super-serious and somber about religion all the time; you could FREAK OUT every time Grandma sends your child a Bible or a Torah for Christmas. The list is endless.
1. Wait as long as possible to talk about religion with your kids. If you introduce religion when kids are young — ages five to eight, say — they are likely to be quite interested in what you have to say and to ask questions that will undoubtedly deepen their knowledge. Wait until they’re teenagers, and your discussions will be contrived and difficult. Plus, they already will have formed their opinions, which may very well be unfair, inaccurate or unkind. Exactly what every parent wants. [Read more...]