11 December 2012
The Dangers of Forced Religion
Many children are born into families with predestined beliefs. They grow up forced into following what their parents believe through years of pressure and influence. However, when religion is forced upon individuals, harmful effects can occur. It can lead to a lost sense of self or instill fear and oppression which can distress them into adulthood. Forced religion is dangerous, because it obstructs an individual’s composure by constricting natural behaviors.
Religions consist of rules in order to keep individuals pure and worship the desired god. Consequently, some restrict natural behavior such as sexual intercourse. For example, Christianity and Catholicism require abstinence until marriage. If an individual is forced into this type of environment, they will be required to follow the rules and remain abstinent. However, they will desire to have sex once they experience puberty. If they disagree with the rules and participate in the sin, they will be scorned and most likely punished. They will be viewed as sinners for doing something that is natural and that they independently chose to do. This can cause stress and constraint on the individual, because they will feel as if they are not allowed to make their own decisions and think for themself.
Along with disobedience, forced religion can result in unplanned pregnancies or the obtainment of sexually transmitted diseases. Research has shown a negative relationship between religion and risky sexual behavior (Gibbons). This is because humans have a natural urge to have sex. When humans are restricted from pleasure, they are more likely to be secretly rebellious and disobey. As a result, decisions are not as wisely deliberated as if they were able to be comfortably made. Some studies indicate that when female teens who consider themselves highly religious have sex for the first time, they are less likely to use contraception, putting them at risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (Moore and Bridges). When children are put into a religious environment by their parents, they remain ignorant to proper sexual education. Religious groups tend to avoid teaching subjects that are forbidden by their law. As a result, children grow up with no understanding of their own bodies as well as the opposite sex. This can be detrimental to their well-being, because they will leave their parents’ watch and be vulnerable to the many thorny elements of life. They will lack real world experience and only have general parables to protect them from pressure filled situations.
By forcing religion upon individuals, there is also a loss of the opportunity to express their natural sexual orientation. At a young age, many individuals experiment with homosexuality. Those who are in a religious environment are consequently punished for such behavior. Some move on and forget about the incident, while others go the rest of their life struggling with not being able to express their natural feelings. Whether homosexuality is in one’s DNA or not is not the issue. The argument is whether it is “normal” or not. Though society may accept it; the religious community scorns it. They create a stern definition of what is “normal” regardless of what an individual feels or believes (Sheblom). When someone is forced into believing this, they become more psychologically strained than if they were just openly homosexual.
When someone is forced to believe in something non-physical out of faith, they lose the chance to think and learn for themselves. Rather than learning through social interaction and relatable, recent examples, they learn about moral responsibility through ancient stories of people in completely different social conditions. For example, the Old Testament of the Bible contains stories of men who had multiple wives and sacrificed animals for repentance. This section of the book also contains laws that say you