How important is religion in raising children

Why should parents raise their children religiously?

Why educate religiously? You have already given yourself the answer by visiting this page: Because you have a sense of "more" in life, however vague it may be. You will not find a catalog of arguments here. This is about longing. The desire to raise a child religiously arises from the longing for a lot of space in the upbringing. Room for much more and other things than teaching the child rules and techniques of lifestyle. Space that a child can use in abundance. So welcome to this little room inspection - especially if you are new here: Those who have not been brought up religiously will not be left behind. Religious education is not primarily about imparting knowledge. The common search and the carefully attempted answers connect young parents with the most clairvoyant theology professor.

Most parents who want to raise their child religiously want their child to be able to believe in something else, as baptismal conversations show.

“Something different than consumption”, which the children catch on at an early age, “something other than egoism”, is what parents dream of against the experience of broken relationships and a lack of community in their immediate environment. The educational scientist Micha Brumlik opens up something different than “just achievement” as a perspective. Something different than ... “: Do you already know what other experience you would like your child to experience?

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to get wood, prepare tools, assign tasks and divide the work, but awaken in them the longing for the vast, endless sea." This guide by the French writer and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944) may describe why religious education has its value in life: life is not just about what needs to be procured, achieved and worked on. You can't believe that, you can only do it - or fail because of it. It's about the broad horizon that people call God and that gives meaning to life.

Setting the course

What is not there. For example, a ballet boarding school for children from the age of eleven. A child who primarily dances there from morning to night will find it difficult to change saddles at the age of 18. Large football clubs run boarding schools and youth academies from which great players emerge. If you register your child for this, you are entering into a commitment that is decisive for the future. Not every decision that parents make for and with their children is of such importance.

But no child's life goes without a course being set. The language, the food, the tone of voice - a child is constantly influenced at home. It would be window dressing to accept a delay for religion, of all things: "Our child should be able to decide for himself later." An education that lets religious questions and God out does not keep any decision open. It is most likely to shape the child for a life without God - because it was finally possible for 14 years. Without a religious upbringing, it is difficult for the child to find out what to choose.

You can read up on how confirmation means a conscious decision young people make for God and the Church if you follow the corresponding link.

Religious upbringing is also crucial for the future. But what kind of future decision is religion?

What you put into the soul

Religious upbringing fills the space that the child naturally brings with them. “Have you forgotten that two year olds already have a soul? A soul is an abyss so wide that it can absorb God into itself. I implore you in the name of your children: Think what you put into their soul ”, these words are laid down by the author Bernhard Meuser in the book“ Liebe Elisabeth! ” St. Elizabeth in the mouth. Every child develops a longing for “more”, wants to go beyond the limits set by the small body, the untrained head and the limited scope for action. Whoever fills the abyss not only with their own explanations, not only with their own concepts, not only with their own techniques, will do justice to the child's longing for an unlimited life - not for an unsteady one. Christian education “processes the experience of the boundary between what the individual can do for the success of his life - and what he cannot do himself, but of course does not have to do either” (Christian Albrecht on baptism). It includes God in life, who loves limitlessly and can thus give limitless joy, who in his Son Jesus Christ endures without limit what even a child suffers from, and who offers space and yet secure support in the Holy Spirit.

Society on a small and large scale

It is quite normal for a child to cherish the first riding cap or the first football winner's jersey. It may be normal that some young people decorate their room with pictures of themselves, with newspaper clippings that prove one of their “masterpieces”, with tennis cups and other decorations. It is normal for children and adolescents to initially revolve around themselves in their perception. It must not be normal and calls for change when the others fall by the wayside.

The upbringing that God brings into play broadens the view of the weaker ones in one's own environment, because God focuses on them in particular. The Bible tells of this in songs, for example that of the righteous servant of God or in the hymn of praise, the Magnificat, of Mary. Jesus Christ sets an example of how God does it - the Bible tells of Jesus' words in which he speaks for the weak and of his deeds in which he takes their side.

The family is small-scale society. What is practiced there, contributes afterwards to large society and to shaping the world. From Jesus, who strengthens the weak, love can be learned for domestic use over all weaknesses and kept for the future. A religious education is worthwhile for this.

Stable thing

In some contexts, injuries and psychological insecurities from religious upbringing are criticized. This happens rightly where religion is misused as a means of discipline, God degenerates into the world's chief trainer and fathers and mothers claim God's authority for themselves, where they themselves find no respect as an educating personality. It's not a religious upbringing, it's a power game with bad consequences. Religious education without power play succeeds where “a word freely received from God”, said Klaus Mertes SJ in his speech “Freedom fought over power and trust”, is passed on in a free and liberating manner.

Religious upbringing worthy of the name works well. People who go to church are happier with their lives. Studies show that religiously educated adolescents are more willing to take care of social issues than their peers. The magazine “Psychologie heute” reported that faith can give support and religious rituals comfort, especially in crisis situations.

I am not alone

Religious education worthy of the name enables life, encourages faith and invites to love. It has been passed on for generations. " The old story, ”some might say, whose families are deeply rooted in the tradition of faith. Those who are not will want such a wealth of experience for themselves. The religious educator and theological writer Fulbert Steffensky puts it in words: “I am not the first and I am not the only one. There were others before me who found their language and gestures for hope. I will speak my language and I will take over their language where my language fails. "


  • Bernhard Meuser (1993): God Therapy. Why the Christian faith makes you healthy, Schwabenverlag, Ostfildern.
  • Angela Reinders (2001): Children need God. How to give children confidence in life, Pattloch Verlag, Munich.

Further contributions by the author can be found here in our family handbook


Angela M. T. Reinders, born 1965, graduate theologian, editor at Bergmoser + Höller Verlag AG, Aachen


Angela M. T. Reinders
Purweider Winkel 10
52070 Aachen


Created on February 20, 2002, last changed on December 11, 2014