We often get accused by secularists of indoctrinating children into believing their parents’ Christian faith. But who’s really doing the indoctrination? Here at Answers in Genesis, we try and equip parents so that they can teach their children to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks them a reason for the hope that is in them” (1 Peter 3:15). We equip parents so that they can show their kids the major problems with evolutionary ideas, show them the difference between observational and historical science, and reveal to them how the evidence confirms God’s Word from the beginning. We want students to learn how to think so they won’t be indoctrinated by the false teaching of the world. Actually, every parent indoctrinates their children—but it’s a matter of what they are being indoctrinated with.
We make no apologies that we start from the position that the Bible is the history book of the universe. Yes, we have assumptions and presuppositions, such as the Bible is God’s Word and, because it was written by a perfect God, it is perfectly true and reliable. But secularists also have assumptions and presuppositions! They assume that life arose naturalistically, that supernatural explanations are not possible, that the universe is billions of years old, and that God does not exist. This is a religion! A religion of purposeless, meaningless, naturalistic atheism.
Now, not only does God’s Word explain the world as it is today, but observational science confirms it. Also, the Bible makes it clear that if we search after truth and really want to know God, He will reveal himself to us. And He will make clear the free gift of salvation that He offers to us.
My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And> lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:1–6)
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Dawkins Is Against Indoctrination . . . Really?Recently atheist Richard Dawkins stated, “There is a balancing act and you have to balance the rights of parents and the rights of children and I think the balance has swung too far towards parents.” Of course, what Dawkins means by this is that parents have been given too much of a right to teach their children their own religion. He goes on to say, “Children do need to be protected so that they can have a proper education and not be indoctrinated in whatever religion their parents happen to have been brought up in.” So children need to be “protected” from religion by having a “proper education” so they won’t be “indoctrinated.” But Dawkins believes that children should be taught evolutionary naturalism as fact. He wants his religion of naturalism imposed on them. So children shouldn’t be taught religion by their parents—they should be taught the religion of atheism by their teachers! All Dawkins is advocating is replacing one religion with another religion. You can’t raise or educate children “neutrally.” There is no neutrality! When you take away supposed “religion” (which usually means Christianity when Dawkins uses that word), then all you have done is replaced it with another religion—the religion secular humanism.
In an article for Time magazine, Dawkins writes, “Religious labels [on children] . . . at very least . . . negates the ideal, held dear by all decent educationists, that children should be taught to think for themselves.” So Dawkins thinks that children should be taught to think for themselves? Should children be allowed to think for themselves when crossing a road, or when jumping into a swimming pool, or when putting their hand on a hot plate on the stove? Should children be potty trained or just allowed to think for themselves?
Does Dawkins mean that children should be taught the major problems with evolution? Does this mean that children should be shown the evidence that supports the Bible’s history? Does this mean that children should learn the difference between historical and observational science? Dawkins definitely wouldn’t think so! By writing that “children should be taught to think for themselves,” what he really means is that children should be exclusively taught a religion of atheistic, evolutionary naturalism—and no other options. This is not education or teaching kids to think through issues for themselves—it’s indoctrination, but indoctrination in a false religion! So Dawkins wants to do the very thing that he says parents shouldn't do!
Dawkins also writes, “Indoctrinating your opinions into the vulnerable minds of your children is bad enough.” So Dawkins thinks that indoctrinating children is wrong. Yet he wants to do that very thing! He just wants to make sure that children are only taught his religion! Dawkins is being utterly inconsistent.
Observational Science Confirms God’s WordReportedly, Dawkins was also “warning against the ‘power of childhood indoctrination’” and “he said it was futile debating with people who put the Bible ahead of scientific evidence.” He allegedly said, “‘You have to write off those people’ but you can try to convince younger people to avoid superstition.” Well, as biblical creationists, we do start with the Bible and we interpret the scientific evidence in light of what the Bible says. And observational science confirms what God’s Word teaches! We aren’t against science—we love science! But because we start with God’s Word and Dawkins starts with man’s word, we reach different conclusions about the past (historical science).
Now, based on his comments about “people who put the Bible ahead of scientific evidence,” Dawkins is obviously against people putting their beliefs “ahead of scientific evidence.” But this is exactly what those who believe in evolution do! Evolutionists put their belief in naturalism first, and ignore any evidence that contradicts their position. For example, everything we see in nature confirms the law of biogenesis. This law states that life only comes from other life. Despite years of study, we’ve never seen an exception to this rule, nor do we know of any mechanism that could bring life from non-life. And yet, according to evolutionary ideas, life had to come from non-life at least once when the first non-living chemicals came to life. So Dawkins and others who accept Darwinian evolution put their belief that life arose naturalistically ahead of what we actually observe in science.
When Dawkins writes that “forcing on [children] un-evidenced opinions about the nature of life or the cosmos” is not acceptable we would agree with him. But it’s not biblical creation that is “un-evidenced opinions about the nature of life or the cosmos”—it’s evolution! We are teaching children to think and to examine the evidence. Atheists like Dawkins don’t even want children to be taught the major problems with evolution! They really don’t want children to think—they want kids to accept their ideas of atheistic naturalism. And they are getting increasingly aggressive about it.
I encourage you to be bold in teaching your children to stand on the authority of God’s Word from the very beginning. Secularists are working hard at indoctrinating our children, and we need, more than ever, to equip our children with solid answers from God’s Word and from science that confirms what the Bible teaches.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.