Should we treat children as psychological egoists? If children are sometimes altruistic, the fact remains is that they think of themselves most of the time or nearly all of the time.
If children are psychological egoists then to tell them there is a God has the following results:

# They will believe that they are more important than this great being. The result is arrogance.
# They will believe that he should be the slave to their needs. The result is arrogance and “I want it and I want it now! Stomp! Stomp!" They will soon expect that of other people too.
# They will believe that God should favour them and their friends and ignore everybody else.
# They will be resentful and angry when they feel God lets them down.
# Telling a child that if he doesn’t get the bike he prayed so hard for he will get something better from God is just cruel. A spoilt child gets everything he wants and ends up expecting instant gratification all the time. Are you not trying to make your child feel spoiled by God?
# A child is a natural would-be magician. Her prayers are not what they seem to be - they are really spells. The child is trying to manipulate creation.
# A child tends to blame the table if she hits her leg against it. This is animism - the thought and perception that non-living things are really alive and have responsibilities.
# Nobody has the right to get a child to behave by having that child fearing to offend God by doing wrong. A child should not have to fear a being whose existence cannot be proven.
# Love the sinner and hate the sin will make no sense to a child. And children feel free to be as bad as they want to be. To tell a child to hate sin is simply to tell the child to hate. When a child is scolded or disciplined, the child is sullen and resentful. The child sulks. They more than anybody do not believe that they are loved when that happens. They do not believe that the real target of the reprimand or discipline is the sin. Love the sinner and hate the sin is the foundation of God religion. Without it the whole thing collapses.

Children judge actions to be bad purely on the consequences of the action and disregard whether harm was intended or not. This is a fact of psychology. Also, they base their judgement on the relatively immediate impact. They think the dentist is bad just because he pulls teeth. They think that if their favourite toys are destroyed in a fire that this is worse than somebody taking one of their toys and deliberately burning it. To tell them that God is in control and watching all things is making them endure a being who they perceive as a bully. It is child-abuse.
Children's simple way of thinking means that when the parent or school or minister or priest tells them that God is their father, they will feel let down when their prayers are not answered or when they cut their hands or suffer a bad fall. Parents that allow this risk to their child are a disgrace. The child will respond to it the same as she or he would if she or he was abused by a parent or neglected. If the children are sexually abused they will wonder why God didn't protect them from the abuser and blame themselves.
If children find their parents to be careless or neglectful or abusive, they may take comfort in the parenthood of God instead. This can lead to a failure to respond to the parents when the parents try to make things right. Where the child is encouraged to see God as the only real parent and Father the child will compare this idealised parent to his or her real parents. The parents will inevitably go down in their estimation. The children end up feeling worse about their parents and the relationship may be polluted forever. Perhaps one day it will be completely ruined.
Children are encouraged to put their whole life in God's hands and to be confident that he knows what is best for them. This is bizarre. Evil by definition is that which is uncontrollable in itself - confining it is not controlling it and God is said to confine it. So it follows that God might not do what is best for an individual for it will destroy or damage his plan. There is a bigger number of people to consider.
It is of extreme importance that children are treated correctly and with love. Anything that risks damaging them should be discarded and that includes religion. Religion has no reality check - it conditions people to fail to see that if it is wrong that it is wrong. That is dangerous in itself.
Parents might say, "None of that religion and God stuff did me much harm." Not much? What a good endorsement of religion! Also, they may have recovered from the harm or buried it deep so that it is still there but they are less conscious of it. You hear adults claiming that being beaten senseless by the Church in its homes for children did them no harm. Do not believe that. They must think they have reasons for saying nothing.


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