There should be more religious education in school rather than less. This will get rid of the indoctrination of the idea that there is one true religion and allow a balance of opinion. Children will not necessarily believe they have to have the beliefs of their families. Atheism has nothing to fear from knowledge of religion, but everyone will have fears if religious ideas become laws and commandments that all must follow regardless of the ethics of them.
Obviously it is a parent’s duty to equip their children for survival in the world and that means educating them. This is done by our school system at least in part. Some children may not like it but are not responsible enough to make up their own minds about it.
Is teaching facts and imparting information including religious studies indoctrination? Of course not. Most schools teach subjects that are well established through facts and research. Indoctrination is completely different and can occur in faith schools as well as home life. Indoctrination is instruction in the fundamentals of a system of belief such as a religion. This is making children believe in the un-provable and usually exclusively, i.e. ‘This is the one and only true church’. It is this indoctrination that Dawkins refered too as, perhaps too emotively, child abuse. Indoctrination entrenches beliefs, and encourages irrational thought. Children grow up distrusting, even hating those of a different sect or belief with no room to compromise because ‘god has given them the right’.
But education is more than learning facts. Children need to be able to integrate into society so they will learn the values and culture biased toward the society they are most likely to be in. Britons learn British history for example but not necessarily Hawaiian.
Is teaching children about current affairs and healthy eating indoctrination in the truest sense? The government in power may put their spin on things but these subjects can be studied through the media where policy is often openly criticized. Religious indoctrination is a lot different. Understanding other sects’ points of view is normally discouraged and there may be punishments and penalties for not believing or conforming.
Education in religion is vital, but if it is unbalanced it can lapse into indoctrination. My children have went to a faith school because it has an excellent academic record. I do not think they indoctrinate to a point that would worry me and they have me ensuring a balanced view, I do not preach non belief to them, it is enough for them to know I do not believe and they will make up their owns minds eventually. But there are other faith schools that are not Christian. I'm sure most of these are fine, but some have come under criticism for their fundamental views. What type of adults could their most successful pupils, (in the schools eyes), make?