Do You Think Kids Need Religion?
Anthony Brandt wrote his essay “Do Kids need Religion” under insecurity, since he cannot answer his own questions or form his own opinion. Brandt claims to be an average skeptic on the issue of religion, but he does not take a side on an argument that he imposes. With the very few claims he makes, he does not provide much evidence, nor is that evidence valid. I cannot agree or disagree with his opinion because he does not make his point clear.
Brandt’s imposed argument is whether or not “kids” need religious beliefs in their lives. He balances some major points on both sides of the argument. However, the validity of his evidence is questionable. Those who believe that kids need religion are religious parents. Brandt, also from the parental perspective, thinks of religious education as a “joke” (194). Both arguments are personal anecdotes and not expert facts. Brandt refers to some psychologists, but their quotes do not answer Brandt’s title question; they reflect back to the parents’ position on the matter. With Brandt’s claim to skepticism, the assumption is that Brandt does not think that kids need religion.
Brand does make some clear and well-developed major points in his essay, but at the same time, he contradicts himself. He first claims that our culture does not revolve around religion (as it did years ago) and that we now live in a “secular society” (192), but then later says, “... without religious beliefs, social behavior would come unglued,” (196). He also denied his kids of attending Sunday school because it would have been “hypocritical” of him since he himself does not practice religion in the least (193). On the other hand, he says that the lack of exposure to “religious traditions” does children a “disservice” (195). Which side is he on?
The structure of Brandt’s imposed argument clearly shows that he compares and contrasts both sides of an argument. What is unclear about the argument is which side Brandt takes. He begins his essay colloquially, using slang terms such as “kids,” “fun-of-the-mill,” and “a joke,” making it seem that he does not think too highly of religion. His tone changes to academic later on, when he seems to believe that religion is important.
It is hard to decide whether to agree or disagree with the author when the author himself does not clearly state his answer to his own title question. He balances the opposing sides of the argument. However, that balance is useless if the author’s stand on the argument is unknown. Brandt’s essay does not have any direction, leaving the reader to run around in circles.