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← Indoctrination of children - how to escape?

Indoctrination of children - how to escape? - Comments

jbyrd's Avatar Comment 1 by jbyrd

Get the hell out of that country.....problem solved.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 00:04:17 UTC | #864314

JuJu's Avatar Comment 2 by JuJu

You somehow allowed yourself to be put in this position and it is you that will have to get yourself out. Do not let religion suppress your life. Move to a country or place where your thoughts are welcome, where you can raise your children openly and honestly without fear of being persecuted. Be fair to yourself first, make the right decision now and in ten years you'll be thanking yourself, and so will your children.

Reevaluate your entire situation, my suggestion is for you to get the hell out of dodge and don't look back.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 00:46:43 UTC | #864320

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 3 by DocWebster

You can anything you want with yourself but you have no right to subject an innocent child to the problems that will arise given your current situation.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 00:53:41 UTC | #864321

raytoman's Avatar Comment 4 by raytoman

Religion is a mechanism for exercising power and control over others. This is largely achieved by indoctrinating children from birth, typically by their parents and reinforced by their culture and religious leaders.

The religion doesn't much matter.

Get out of there.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 02:02:30 UTC | #864334

Jay G's Avatar Comment 5 by Jay G

If the situation is really as bad as you suggest, don't do anything to put your children at risk of harm. Perhaps as they grow you can find a way out or perhaps they will grow and as young adults, you can indirectly open their minds a bit.

In short, if you can avoid having children in this situation, remember that you put them in this place and you have a responsiblity to them to see they have a chance to reach adulthood.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 02:32:32 UTC | #864337

Ranting Socrates's Avatar Comment 6 by Ranting Socrates

Muslim men ARE allowed to marry women of the book. Muslim WOMEN are NOT allowed to (marry men). If you are a female who is a Christian or a Jew then a Muslim man can marry you.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 03:07:21 UTC | #864339

Bobwundaye's Avatar Comment 7 by Bobwundaye

Comment Removed by Author

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 03:22:29 UTC | #864341

Bobwundaye's Avatar Comment 8 by Bobwundaye

Kids generally learn and express the life philosophies that their parents live by. The values, attitudes and patterns of thinking that a parent teaches at home are far more important to them than what they learn at school. So I think that as long as you do your job at home, communicating in an intelligent rational manner, explaining your beliefs (and even why you have to live this double life) then they will understand and more than likely will grow up to reflect the same open-mindedness that you have.

Of course, their safety is a concern (as is yours), and without knowing the exact details it is difficult to make a judgment call. However, I think you will know when/if/whether it is time to get out, so keep your passports ready and up to date. So, don't worry too much about the long term as long as you are there for them in the now.

The idea that you have to move to a secular country (unless you know there is imminent danger) in order to give your child a good education and a good reasoning mind is ridiculous.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 03:23:45 UTC | #864342

SoHelpMeReason's Avatar Comment 9 by SoHelpMeReason

We like to be optimistic here at RDNet because we like to think we can strengthen up the movement and awaken a wave of reason and reflection. Encouragement should be liberally fountained out to all potential and current rationalists, says the court of atheist public opinion. But, warily, as in all matters, we mustn't jump ahead of ourselves.

I think you're in a tight fix, to re-state a redundant and obvious reality. I don't think you have much wiggle room. While it's nice what people are posting, about being reasonable with your kid and instilling critical thinking faculties and so on, keep in mind...kid, the key word is still kid. Therein lies the worry.

I'm not saying kids can't be smart or mature, but I've noticed a trend in the quality of revealing too much information. Talk to any child, and the little scamp may very well not tell you what they earned on that math test, but mummy and daddy's opinions, embarrassments, and private affairs are quite a different matter. In that case you'd be greatly advised to evaluate your potential consequences.

I like the great many friendly and thoughtful commenters on this website. I quite enjoy reading their input. But let's be careful and realistic here...these are people's lives. We need be cautious about playing dice.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 05:58:45 UTC | #864367

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 10 by Stevehill

You can't take any chances with your kids' wellbeing in an environment where the penalty for apostasy may be death. It might actually be in their best interests to be raised as genuinely pious Muslims. I imagine your husband might have views about you embarking on any course of action which might make martyrs of them.

You also need to think about whether you can really be honest with your kids about your own atheism. At some point they might let slip to e.g. a religious teacher that you're a heathen. What consequences might then ensue for your family?

You have three realistic alternatives:

  1. Move to a more tolerant country: you both appear to be qualified professionals and can surely get some sort of work even if there is some change to your living standards?

  2. Don't have kids: it's optional these days.

  3. Give up on this marriage.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 06:26:46 UTC | #864370

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 11 by Premiseless

You are host to a multigenerational schizoid parasite much greater and powerful a mental illness than any person on planet Earth, or in whatever generation they reside.

Where you go from here is less clear, but take note, that is what you are victim of. Free choice is not an option, if it ever was to start with?

Que sera and best of goodwill to you in your tightly constricted human zoo of mind control - which breach inter personal boundaries. Deliberate partitioning of the mind seems hardly much different than the delusional partitioning religion imprints. Your child will be likely more a silent revolutionary - for their own sakes - but in some ways this will have a torment of its own for them to subvert themselves to and endure. Hopefully they will at least know why and how they behave to be less manic, but putting on a repeated show for the benefit of others delusions must have some trade offs that are quite painful and likely personally disturbing. I suppose one wants to educate in ways which don't compromise the child's own grasp on their own mind or their personal safety which will be scrutinised by others no doubt, by observation and duty and perceived responses to such.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 06:41:56 UTC | #864371

aball's Avatar Comment 12 by aball

I have alot of sympathy for you. I myself live in one of those Asian "muslim" countries for almost 10 years and have first hand experience of the islamic bigotry endemic there. The truth is, for as long as you remain in that country, you will never be free to express yourself as you would like to. Atheism is not an option for either you or your children.

@Stevehill is right. You either live with it and play act for the rest of your natural life or you leave the country. What are you more comfortable with?

I have known a number of westerners who have married muslim locals, converting to Islam in the process (you can't marry if you don't convert). The Islamic conversion is a farce, they continue drinking, eating bacon, partying and enjoying themselves. But the people I knew were men, so they have much less social pressure to contend with.

We on this site can't tell you what to do. You'll need to work that out for yourself depending on what you see as your priorities.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 09:59:44 UTC | #864385

milliee's Avatar Comment 13 by milliee

This is basically your own life, so I'm sorry if I will seem a little cold-hearted. However, I am thinking of your own rights, and that of your future children. So these are the possible options you have, and I'm not saying that this is all you can do:

  1. Get a divorce. You've given up so much to be with your husband, but if things all go in favor of your husband's beliefs, reputation, etc., then I don't see why you and your future children should be suffering. As you said yourself, you are currently in a country where your beliefs are not tolerated by the society (and by your husband?). That really makes everything very difficult as I see it. You could solve the whole problem by giving up on your marriage and getting out of that country without fighting the whole situation. 8 years with your husband is a long time, but how much is it worth?

  2. Move out of the country. Moving out and finding new jobs however less your income may be is worth the risk.

  3. If you decide to continue your marriage and live in that country, have a (very?) long discussion with your husband with the goal of having your husband to acknowledge you as an atheist instead of having you pretend to be a Muslim in front of him, and establish whether to raise your future children as Muslims or atheists. I know that you will still have to pretend that you are not an atheist to the other people around you, but that is all you can do as I can very well understand the kind of society you live in. Perhaps you should just refrain from engaging in conversations about religion with others. That should prevent you from pretending or lying any more than you already are. It is frustrating enough. As for the latter, I am aware that children, when taught from the beginning, from an early age, about religion, they tend to continue on believing what they were taught. I have no idea how to effectively solve the problem regarding any future children you and husband may have. Your husband is a Muslim, you are an atheist. Which one to choose? Either way, just as you strongly believe that there is no God and that that is all a lie, your husband strongly believes in the opposite. I have decided to break this topic down into two scenarios:

a. You taught your children Islam at home. As I am happier that your husband is not a very devoted or very strict Muslim so that your children are most likely to grow up believing in a God who created the universe, heaven and hell, right and wrong, evolution is true, and that is all (no headscarves, no fasting, so on), the only problem that remains is the environment that your children will grow up. I can relate this with my cousin's son. Both of his parents consider themselves as Muslims, believing in God and having certain moral values. However, as far as I know, they both accept what science teaches them. For instance, they definitely accept evolution, even though I know that they do not fully understand it. Not only atheists accept evolution. The country they now live in (they both lived in a secular country before) is like yours that you described. Islam is a compulsory subject in school so their son was taught it. At school, however, Islam was taught in a different way, just as you described. Reasoning and free thought were not encouraged, even though the students had science classes and were not taught Intelligent Design, for example. The result of all these years is that their son is now one of the most narrow-minded people, and still a child, I know. He seems to use his own reasoning when battling certain ideas, but he is severely limited in how he does so. I don't really know how to explain it effectively, as I also see my cousins a few times a year. I can only conclude that what you will be teaching your children at home and what schools will teach your children will not be the same. It is highly possible that your children will adopt what they have learned at school and from their environment.

b. You did not teach religion to your children. But living in the country you are in now will just make what you want to be done more complicated and perhaps impossible to fulfill, going back to 3.a. Of course, if there is an international school with a different curriculum and a different learning environment where you are located, that might work.

All the best in your endeavors.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 10:28:11 UTC | #864389

Sample's Avatar Comment 14 by Sample

Potential cultural misunderstandings aside, there seems to be something very odd about this entire plea, something seems to have been left out in its telling. You've had a glimpse of the road that can lead to your dreams being fulfilled but you choose differently.

I don't understand.


Fri, 26 Aug 2011 10:37:29 UTC | #864390

ollipehkonen's Avatar Comment 15 by ollipehkonen

It's very difficult to imagine what your situation is really like, for I live in a country where religious freedom is enforced and embraced. I have a story about my grandmother that has some relevance to your situation: When my grandmother was 6 years old, a civil war broke out in my country between parties called the reds and the whites. She lived in a place that was the heartland of the reds, while her family was of the whites. Her father spent half a year living in a hidden attic in the barn, hiding from the lynch patrols, and the mother would bring him food and water in the night after the children had gone to bed. The only child that was told the truth about where the father was, was the 15-year-old eldest child. The younger children were told only the official lie in case they would blurt it out.

I think you need to be very careful how you raise your child and when you start teaching them about other world views (if ever). Also they might need to be older than you think to be ready to handle and conceal the truth about yourself, if you ever tell them. You might also want to consider the reality of broken religious families in the west, where a person has come out as atheist. If your children need to be raised as devout believers, they might disown you as their mother if you come out.

If moving away is not an option, I would think more than twice about having children. Your husband might understand you, especially if you think you need to hide your beliefs and fake piety to your children for at least over a decade. I hope you find the least hurtful solution, but I believe any solution will be hard and costly in the situation you have described.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 10:44:10 UTC | #864391

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 16 by irate_atheist


Fri, 26 Aug 2011 11:09:47 UTC | #864395

valla's Avatar Comment 17 by valla

I have the impression that you have no intention of leaving the country. Therefore, if you have children I don't think you have a choice: you will have to raise them as good muslims. If they start repeating in school what you teach them against religion, it might get ugly.

I guess you would be able to be more open when they will be adults: if they decide to break the social conventions of the country, it would be their informed choice.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 11:21:18 UTC | #864399

Amphiprion's Avatar Comment 18 by Amphiprion

Dear all, Thank you so much about your views on my situation, it helps, even though I have to solve these problems on my own.

Ranting Socrates: The muslim judges here suddenly ignored the Quran when it came to a (pretending)Christian woman marrying a Muslim man - not accepted. Convert or bye-bye. That was the option I had. Hypocrites! They are really scared of Christians or Jew living in their country (though hundreds of thousands visit and leave as tourists every year).

My wish is, as Jay G said, to indirectly open their minds.

Raising them as pious Muslims is not an option for me, since I'm a convinced Darwinist, a biologist, and a "scientist" (I don't publish papers, but I was taught science and teach it as well). I would already be hard for me to tell them there is a God watching over them, just like Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny - but that's the maximum I could accept (since I can see my life was NOT spoiled even though my parents used to tell me the Easter bunny and Santa Clause story as well for some years). Abut talking about hellfire and fasting without food and water to get your "plus-points" is too much for me. I just met a 6-yr old boy who proudly said this Ramazan, he has been fasting 17 days already. That's child abuse for me.

Divorce is also NOT an option for me, since I am otherwise very, very happy with my husband- in every single other way than religion. Moving to another country is not an option at this point of time, but we may have no other choice later...

I would, by nature, tell my children how the world is, even if it contradicts religion. They would then learn in school, where Islam is a compulsory subject, that it might be different from what I said. Then? They will tell e teacher that "but mommy said..." and I would have to face some narrow minded faith heads at school who've got lots of power here.

aball) It sounds like we are both located in South-east Asia...

Thanks also milliee) I think I will have to face this veery long discussion with my husband soon when it comes to considering making a child... I'm slowly preparing him that I signed the conversion paper just for the purpose of marrying him, even though it's hard for him to accept. He knows my thinking but just can't accept it. He said I should first read the whole Quran, study it and THEN judge. I said I read half of it and already found enough scientific erroros in it to reject it, I could show him right on the spot. Suddenly, my English translation might not have been a good one, because "Christians", (again their fear), "also write fake translations" (the book was approved by some supreme sunni and shii commitee of Lebanon). Then I said let's check some different translations and compare them, but suddenly he doesnt know which is a good one... and that's how it continues. He will eventually bring me a translation that is "a good one", I will show him the errors and he will realize that I'm right, but won't accept it, because he was indoctrinated to refuse what non-Muslims say, even though he is otherwise a very smart, intelligent, rational man.

Even though I never really bothered much about religion, it was the religious country that made me a convinced Atheist, because I see what religion has done to people. No wonder that is country didn't bring up many scientists...

My local step son is just struggling to pass in Islam in his O'levels. He says he is trying to study but it just doesn't stay in his head. What can I say? - I tell him I can understand him, but he just has to pass to complete school (compulsory here!). My husband has no problem with is, luckily (i.e he doesnt expect me to tell his son that Islam is important for his life, his morals bla bla); he just wants him to pass! You can see his - otherwise - relaxed standpoint here.

THANK YOU again for the comments!

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 11:32:33 UTC | #864402

notany's Avatar Comment 19 by notany


Fri, 26 Aug 2011 11:39:32 UTC | #864406

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 20 by aquilacane

Until you live as yourself, it doesn't matter what you do.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 11:47:00 UTC | #864409

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 21 by irate_atheist

Comment 18 by Amphiprion -

My wish is, as Jay G said, to indirectly open their minds.

You are deluded.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 13:32:34 UTC | #864429

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 22 by irate_atheist

You are surrounded by lunatics.

You want to have children, who will be indoctrinated by lunatics, educated by lunatics and brought up by lunatics.

You cannot tell them not to be lunatics or to point out to them that all the other people are lunatics.

And yet you think you can subliminally teach them not to be lunatics, but they cannot tell anyone else they are not lunatics and would probably fear telling you and your husband they are not lunatics, because they are not allowed to know that you are not a lunatic nor are you allowed to let them not be lunatics, so you may never even really know if they are lunatics. And what about their children.

Get a grip on reality. Leave. You made a very bad decision and you are looking at compounding the problem. And screwing up other people's lives as well. People who don't even exist yet. So cut the crap.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 13:44:30 UTC | #864433

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 23 by irate_atheist

P.S - If 'indirectly opening their minds' was a technique that worked on people, Comment 22 would just have needed to be "Well, I suppose you may think it's a good idea to do this and lots of other people do but some others don't, although I'm obviously not one of them and......"

Yeah? That would work, wouldn't it.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 13:48:41 UTC | #864435

dandelion fluff's Avatar Comment 24 by dandelion fluff

Bringing up children in that country is like bringing them up next to a toxic waste dump. Realistically, the only good options are to move away first, or don't have them at all.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 13:49:11 UTC | #864436

aball's Avatar Comment 25 by aball


I have lived in both Brunei and Malaysia. I am guessing you are in Indonesia - a country where your official religion is on your identity card and "no religion" is not an option. Even in Malaysia (the so-called "tolerant" country in the islamic world) it is not a good idea to make it known you don't believe in god. A malay guy in Perak province made that mistake a few years ago. The Sharia Court gave him the choice between prison (still better than stoning I guess) and religious reaffirmation sessions with a court-appointed imam.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 14:21:08 UTC | #864442

TheRationalizer's Avatar Comment 26 by TheRationalizer

Firstly you really need to get out of that country. You cannot teach your kids that what they believe is rubbish as you said, but can you afford to let them think it is true?

If you are truly stuck then the only thing I can suggest is that you get as many books on different religions as possible (past and present) and make sure you teach them about as many as possible. It might be enough to make them realise that whenever they hear religious claims at school they group them with the others you have taught them at home.

PS: Keep in mind that the father automatically gets custody of your children - I think some countries might not permit them to leave the country without the father's permission too.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 16:25:42 UTC | #864479

Iguider's Avatar Comment 27 by Iguider

Love makes blind.

So you loved a "moderate" muslim, and in order to marry him, you just converted to Islam and signed a conversion paper in Indonesia ( I guess ) without thinking about the consequences. Congratulations ! You just screwed up your life and surely the life of your future children !

I'm an atheist ex-muslim and I lived in a muslim country, and I know too exactly how the hell it is. PLEASE GET OUT OF THAT COUNTRY NOW BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE !!!

You're just naive ! You're thinking about how to raise your children to be "free-thinkers", WTF ! First think about their basic rights !

=> Death penalty or imprisonment ( depends on how "moderate" the country is ) + death threats if your children say that they are atheists.

=> Death penalty ( because it is apostasy ) or imprisonment if your children eat in Ramadan and someone knows it.

=> Suspicions if people see that your children never go to the mosque ( very easy to notice who is praying and who is not ), and that IS NOT GOOD.

=> Death penalty if they "leave" Islam. Yes, that's the f**k where you will put your children in, because in Islam, a child of muslim parents is automatically declared a muslim. So that means that if they choose another religion at some age, legally it means apostasy, and of course death.

etc... you just have to look at the stories of ex-muslims.

Now, is that what you want for your children ?

Please be realistic, leave that country and if your husband isn't ready to make concessions then leave him ( Why do YOU have to make concessions and not HIM ? You're already acting like inferior to him ). That blind love isn't worth turning your life and that of your children into hell.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 16:56:22 UTC | #864487

Amphiprion's Avatar Comment 28 by Amphiprion

Thanks really all for giving me a realistic view of e complete drama. No it's not Indonesia or Malaysia, but it doesnt matter. The only good thing is that schools use the Cambridge system, so that the government can't interfere too much in their education, but still enough to spoil a child.

Well I guess my naive view of bringing up an open-minded child in this country under this curriculum is an utopia. So the option is to put it into school in my secular country and move, or not having children at all. I guess I just have to accept that.

I knew problems would come up one day, but I didn't expect the country to interfere my life that much. I could manage everything with my husband alone (we ignored premarital intercourse, we ignore fasting, we ignore that alcohol is forbidden etc and we both make fun of some long-bearded extremists), but coming from a secular country, I never expected that another government could dictate and directly & indirectly involve into a couple's private matter that much.

It's not difficult to get away for me, I can leave anytime I want. But when it comes to a child, I may really destroy another person's future... Iguider is right with death penalty, imprisonment, suspicion etc. - probably my own deportation.

Let's see how it goes, things change very quickly here, at least. After 30 years, the opposition has overthrown a dictatorship, and I can see atheists now hiding behind the fassade of the internet but still too scared to cme out and fight for their rights - just like the political opposition less than 5 years ago.

Thanks again everyone!

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 17:35:49 UTC | #864502

Iguider's Avatar Comment 29 by Iguider

@Amphiprion :

It's the basis of Islam to dictate people's lives. The tool by which this is possible is called Sharia. I assume you already know about it, because if not, then you really have to forget about the "scientific errrors" ( there will be in any creationist religion, and still, they can give you a fake interpretation which actually doesn't seem to contradict science at all ! ) and instead look for the "moral errors" like for example when their prophet Mohammed married Aicha when she was 6 years old and he around 53 years old and then had sexual intercourse with her when she was 9, or the verse which clearly encourages beating women ( "Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great." Quran - 4:34 ).

I'm glad you finally opened up your mind, although I still think you should leave even if you don't make children. ( and I apologize for my rude tone by the way )

Finally, if you're talking about the "arab spring", then no, things are getting even worse. Extremism, antisemitism and anti-Americanism are rising in countries where the dictators got overthrown. In Egypt for example, we see anti-Jew motto's like "The gas chambers are ready". Still in Egypt, Coptics are being killed and their girls kidnapped and converted by force to Islam after marriage. In Tunisia, caf├ęs and restaurants which open are being attacked by extremists THIS Ramadan. In Libya, the 1st article of the draft of the new constitution that the NTC published explicitly says that Sharia will be the source of law, and although they didn't explain which Sharia they talk about, it's still worrying.

You're talking about the possibility of seeing atheists speak out in those countries... Just to show you how the situation is, I went to Arab Facebook groups of the protest movements, and I saw many times messages like "let's clean our revolution from those infidel secularists !!"

PS : Not that I'm saying that I support the overthrown dictatorships, I just say that the revolutions will fail because they don't question Islam's place in society and people let extremists take over their revolutions. See how Iran became a theocracy.

PS 2 : A little gift to learn more about Islam : :-)

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 20:44:37 UTC | #864563

Pitchguest's Avatar Comment 30 by Pitchguest

Comment 29 by Iguider

So you're an ex-Muslim. You're upset. I get it. But I'd appreciate if you didn't exaggerate the situation with propaganda by misinformed and biased sources. Memri TV, for example, is a Zionist network. Obviously it would be selective when it comes to anti-semitic content, like the case in Egypt. If you think it's a coincidence that they blow the signs out of proportion, think again. Then you actually go on and link to the abysmal Yeah. Do you want to enlighten the rest of us about the harsh nature of Islam or do you just want to insult our intelligence? Two propaganda sites in one go. Not a very good start.

It's usually also not a very good idea to strengthen your argument with anecdotal evidence, a la your experience on Arab Facebook.

As for your admonishment on Arab Spring, claiming "it's worse than before?" Don't be absurd.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 23:10:09 UTC | #864628