Parents take their babies to the Roman Catholic priest for baptism into the Catholic Church. Most of them would not if there was a trend for the baptised to become real Catholics in their belief. Parents often see baptism as superstition or as symbolism as best but know that their children will turn out ordinary. They don't mind watered down Catholicism much and they will not send their children to a Catholic school that teaches Catholicism in all its vice. They usually get their babies baptised for the wrong reasons. The fact remains that they are promising to have the child converted to real Catholicism. It is wrong.

The Roman Catholic Church claims that sprinkling water on a baby or an adult while saying, "I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" does amazing things. It takes away the sin we are born with, original sin, and any other sins and grafts us on to Jesus making us his servants. It puts Jesus and God inside us to live in us and inspire us. The Church says that baptism heals the inclination towards sin that original sin causes. Baptism is a sacrament. It pictures cleansing from sin and the effects of sin and actually does what it pictures.

As baptism makes a statement of faith that there is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who have the authority to be obeyed as God it is clearly promising to raise the child in accordance with that faith.

Baby baptism is supposed to confer membership of the Catholic Church and the Catholic faith on the baby. Therefore it involves a promise made for the child by proxy to turn the child into a believer. The baptism is meant to oblige the child to honour the Roman Catholic Church and its doctrines. Adam and Eve caused all the children to be born after them to have original sin meaning they are born outside God's family and faith and need baptism to be brought in. The Adam and Eve story has them breaking a law of God not to eat from a tree. The message is clear: Adam and Eve didn't do anything harmful. If you break a law of God that is sin. Goodness is not really about being harmless or helping others. It is about obedience. That is a vile message to give a child. And it is a message that is demonstrated and represented by baptism.
If children become Catholics at baptism, then when they get older, others have a right to expect them to believe exactly what the Church tells them to believe and to be able to state the case for such faith - evidence etc.
The Catholic child is not raised to honour say Islam or Mormonism or Evangelical Christianity but raised to honour Catholicism. Parents may say that a child being raised to honour Catholicism does not imply the child is being raised to dishonour or disrespect other religions. The child is being raised to just not honour them or dishonour them. But if say Islam is the true faith then it follows that the child is being raised to dishonour it. Truth deserves honour. To approach it with the attitude that you will not honour or dishonour it is to dishonour it.
Manipulating a child in religion is never well-intentioned. It is a refusal to accept say a child as he or she is. She or he must be a Catholic or regarded as Catholic in some sense to be accepted. We all know and see the power of conditioning - we know how easy it is to do to a child. There is no excuse for we have experienced it ourselves and been hurt by how sneaky and manipulative it is. If a child was truly accepted, the child would be nurtured to condition herself or himself rather than it being done by the Church and teachers and parents. Parents need to be guides not brainwashers.
If indoctrinating or influencing a child to embrace a particular religion is not taking advantage of the child, then why would Catholic parents object if they send children to Protestant schools that said they would give the children an education to develop their Catholic faith and they end up educated in another faith? If it is not taking advantage, why should it matter what faith the teachers propound to the children? You may answer that it is cruel to teach children a faith that does not match that of their parents. Let us keep that view out of it. Anyway the view implies that mixed marriages are unhealthy for children. A child reared in Islam has every chance of being as well-behaved as a child raised Catholic or Mormon or Calvinist or Buddhist for example.
Parents would not approve if children were conditioned to follow a cult like Militant Islam or Jim Jones People's Temple. They think of those who get caught up in those cults as gullible or stupid. No. They were and are as smart as anybody else. Conditioning works on the emotions to trick the victim into thinking he or she believes and it influences them to cleverly invent reasons to see these beliefs as plausible. If Catholics should condition then other religions should do it too so that should show you how dangerous and anti-truth conditioning is.
Some people think that the conditioning is no big deal when very intelligent theologians seem to believe in the Catholic faith. But they don't realise that the reason clever people can believe nonsense is because they are experts at coming up with reasons and excuses that seem to justify the belief. But they are clearly deciding what they want to believe and tricking themselves that they believe. When you work too hard to make a belief sound reasonable you show a need to convince yourself that it is correct. You can use 99% truth and correct reasoning but the 1% tiny errors and distortions that are hard to spot could be the Achilles heel of your whole argument. The best liars make tiny lies go a long way. When scientists are very very wrong, they use a lot of truth and correct logic in the process so that the errors are hard to find.
Truth will win out and expose the lying doctrines and errors that we have been conditioned to support one day. Conditioning endangers and hurts. Imagine the disappointment a child could have when realising that Jesus was a fraud if he lived?
It is natural that if a child is baptised that the parents should buy her or him a Bible. In it she or he should read that God ordered the genocide of the Canaanites. Jesus spoke a lot of repetitious and unhelpful tripe and never condemned all that God-sanctioned mass murder. That silence says a lot about him. Also he went as far as to declare the revelations from God that demanded such evil to be truly God's impeccable word. Approval. Christians attempt to justify this by saying the Canaanites were completely evil and there was no other option but genocide. There was no room for loving these sinners and hating their sins for there was nothing worth saving or worth loving about them. Is that the kind of thing you want your child inspired by? Baptism would require that he or she should have access to this evil poison. If you should hate then you should hate those who have personally hurt you. But the Bible incites to hatred purely on religious grounds.
Christianity is guilty of moral relativism. That is it thinks it was right for God to urge his people to murder and rape and pillage before Christ and that kind of behaviour is wrong now. I am not saying moral relativism is wrong or right. I am saying that it is what the Christians have got. It happens because the Bible cannot agree with itself. It has one moral principle contradicting the other. This is dangerous. Many fanatical or insane Christians have actually gone out and murdered people because the Bible God commanded the death penalty for these people.
We cannot hope to have a personal relationship with God or Jesus Christ unless we know them. And we cannot know them unless we know ourselves. Catholicism claims that it works to give children such a special relationship as a gift. This is a lie for children do not know themselves and yet God and Jesus are pushed on them.
Prayer is self-centred. Children are taught to pray for their parents. Like all human beings, they will care for their parents and not give a toss about some other child's parents in some strange land. This not caring shows a willingness to see others hurt. If you don't care for others then whatever evil befalls them is okay with you. That is a bad human trait. But prayer makes it a worse trait. How? Suppose you are a praying child. You are asking God not to care that you don't care. You wouldn't be praying and offering prayer unless you thought God approved of it. So you increase your evil by indicating that God approves. Also, you are trying to get God to run the universe in such a way that your parents get special treatment. It is actually attempting to hurt others supernaturally. A belief that you had only so much magic power and that you were using it to cast a spell to help your parents only simply because you can't do it for all parents would be better.
Is the prayer both self-centred and unselfish? If it is then how can we call any act selfish? When a child does not share his sweets he hurts his relationships with others and so wasn't thinking of himself. But he is still selfish. So in that case we can safely say that the prayer is selfish and in a vicious way.
Jesus said seek and you will find. Millions have prayed for years to be able to see that Christianity is true and their prayers were never answered. That is proof that the faith is false. To say that those people were not true seekers is just insulting and a cop-out. It is like saying you have a cancer curing medicine and if it saves no lives it is because the cancer patients didn't really want to be cured. To give Jesus to your children as a friend when he makes false promises is just demeaning to the child and also cruel.
Christianity encourages children to look forward to Heaven where they will get rewards for the good they have done on earth. Suppose a child does well in an examination. The child may feel the rewards that come after diligence and hard work and success. Giving the child a reward such as a party will dull the satisfaction she or he will have felt. It takes away the most important rewards. So we conclude that Heaven is not a good thing to be teaching children. Also, it increases the likelihood that the child will prefer the reward for doing right to doing right. Worse, rewards make children less likely to do things that do not carry a reward.
You can do great good and be ready to swear that you do it selflessly and without any selfishness. And you can still be wrong. You cannot see all your motives or priorities. Indeed you often mask them from yourself. You could still be chiefly selfish. The atheist who does not believe in God or heavenly rewards has a better chance of being selfless than a believer. This is because religious faith adds to the temptation to be selfish and to have ulterior motives. We care about goodness. We do. But if we feel we are doing good out of selfishness, we will tend to hide that from ourselves. Religion adds to the pressure to do that.
Doctrines such as that bad people or sinners go to suffer forever in Hell are perversely satisfying especially to children. Parents who know what they are doing will not expose their children to a religion that teaches such doctrine. And baptism requires them to so it should be abandoned. Atheist children who harbour a vindictive pleasure at the misfortune of their enemies will not be as malign as those who believe in Hell. You would be very evil if you would enjoy the thought of somebody suffering forever. Christianity will deny it encourages such thinking but it knows that children will be children so it does encourage it.
Only a few Christians do what may be described as heroic good works. The rest find that their faith helps them to cope with the harsh realities of life but they are not very willing to change these realities! Generally speaking religious faith is a vice. For example, if you believe God is all powerful and ultimately responsible for all that happens then his will will be done. Whether you help cancer patients by giving donations or not doesn't matter. God is working and there is every reason to be optimistic even if all cancer patients never get another minute of help.
Psychologists have shown that we have the tendency to see the world as fair though the evidence is that it is not. We tend to treat people who win big prizes for example as if they deserved it. We tend to blame people for their own misfortune. The concept of a God who is in control and who is fair makes this vicious tendency worse. Catholic Church, we are bad enough as we are without you coming along to make us worse!
Every hypocrite goes about pretending and claiming to be a well-meaning person. A religious person who teaches a faith that isn't true is not a well-meaning person no matter how much of a do-gooder they are. You are only well-meaning if you do the wrong thing while genuinely meaning to help others and don't have the chance to know any better. Religionists can and should know better.
The Catholic Church teaches that we have no free will to live a sinless life. We only have free will to decide what sins we are to commit. This is not an encouraging message. A child with the use of reason - which means he develops free will then - that wouldn't sin would have to do it to avoid contradicting the faith and is in fact conditioned to sin. The Church reckons children become capable of sin around seven years old.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that it is infallible and irrevocable doctrine that faith is infused by God’s miracle power at baptism. You can't then be a Catholic and deny it. But the Church is unable to prove this. Statistics certainly show that Catholics today show a weaker inclination than say Mormons or Muslims to believe in their religion without picking and choosing the doctrines that suit them. That cherry-picking is a sign that faith is absent! There is faith but not in Catholicism! So, in the context of all that, baptism is just an excuse for claiming the right to indoctrinate children. There would only be such a right if proof existed.
The child that is baptised is not allowed to doubt any information about faith and morals coming from the Church at all. The Church teaches that the teaching authority of the priests and bishops who are one in heart and communion with Rome must be heeded and obeyed by all who are baptised. What is so special about these men that we should do that? This is manipulation. At least pagans are better off for the Church says they can doubt all they want before they are ready for the gift of faith. Infant baptism is vicious and an assault on human rights when it is claimed that it turns a person into a believer and member of the Church, the body of believers. Making the child a Catholic at baptism makes the child feel that adults have the right to make decisions for it. They do but not to that extent!
Conditioning is dangerous. It makes young Catholics hate Protestants. It makes young gay people hate themselves. It makes some young Muslims become suicide bombers or approve of such activity. People like to fit in so they absorb the prejudices of others. The young are not sure about how to live in the world so they take the easiest and most convenient route. They start to depend on the example and opinions and influence of their segment of society and environment and take on some of that identity.
The prejudices may be against groups and races and seen to be bad or against certain views which is just as dangerous. Conditioning works like hypnosis. It takes away our freedom and restricts us.
It is said that children have an inclination to believe in God so human nature then is inherently religious. Even if that is true, why not teach children spirituality without forcing any particular religion on them? A child would be happy not to go to Church which indicates that we should not describe children as religious but maybe as spiritual. Children have a tendency towards animism. If they fall over a brick they blame the brick because they think that things have consciousness and are bad or good. So it is more correct to say that their nature is inherently superstitious not religious. If they become religious later on then are they not swapping childlike superstition for religious superstition? If the religion is true, they may still be motivated by superstitious desires to follow it. It is better to be conditioned by science and secularism than religion for at least you are going to have a high regard for criticising your beliefs and you will be humbler than the believer in religion. You will revere evidence while religious people manipulate evidence and twist it to suit their faith. As Valerie Tarico noted, the brain is like a lawyer. It wants to be seen as believing what is right or true. It does not really care about being right (page 217, The Dark Side, Valerie Tarico, Dea Press, Seattle, 2006). That is a warning that the promotion of religion or anything else that decides what to believe and then looks for evidence to justify it is dangerous. Evidence should create belief. Science can't explain everything that does not change the fact that we should use the critical scientific method and only apportion belief to evidence.
There are so many things we are conditioned to believe or assume and religion is just one of them. There can be no doubt that the lack of interest in most religious people to find the truth - if they did work hard to find the truth there would not be so many different squabbling religions - is a sign of being conditioned. Brides get upset if they think their husbands-to-be see them in their wedding dress before the ceremony. This is another example of conditioning.
A woman is raped. The rapist drowns himself. Should we then hypnotise the woman to think the rape never happened? It will help her get on with her life if we do. But all agree we should not do it. If so, then religious delusion and religious conditioning and religious hypnosis are wrong. Religion doesn't mind deluding and conditioning people so it makes a travesty of right and wrong.
Religion should encourage people to find the faith or non-faith that works for them. Catholics should be encouraged to become Protestants by Catholics if they so wish as long as they are acting seriously and with deliberation. This doesn’t happen which shows there is a lot of prejudice and perhaps hatred simmering under the surface.
Baptism is against the kind of religious freedom we have commented on. It is pro-conditioning. It marries a child to the Church and the Church’s idea of God (God is not necessarily the Church’s idea of him so it is really the Church that is being served not God when God is served) and is making a commitment to the Church for the child and resolves to condition the child to make that commitment later on his or her own.
Conditioning is dangerous and degrading and individuality must be explored and nurtured. It is bad not because of the bad results that it can have – St Padre Pio would have been an Islamic suicide bomber had he been in the time and place for that when he was a boy. Religious conditioning is saying to the child, “We don’t want you as you are. We want you to be like us or our Church.” It is child-abuse.
Conditioning cannot be avoided completely so it is important to teach a child only what is true and proven. The religious fantasies that religions makes doctrines of are dangerous. If you teach a child that God will send her to Hell for being bad, the child will see God as bad and the universe he runs as a threat. It will fill the child with anger for she will feel she cannot be free when she has to do good to avoid hell. To tell her that God is good is to present her with a bad example for she will see God as somebody bad who you have to pretend is good.

Nobody has the right to promise to unduly influence their child never mind indoctrination!  Don't impose what was done to you on somebody else because it was done to you.