Some atheists have claimed that religion infantilizes man by rendering him dependent upon some other for purpose, meaning, direction in life, etc. Apparently these atheists have never observed the stages of human development. I have children, and while they do depend on me for all that they have (e.g. food, safety, clothing, knowledge, correction, discipline, etc), they do not depend on me by choice. My sons, instead, want me to provide them with things, but they want absolute independence. Sure, they’re cuddly and sweet; however, that all comes to an end when they are reminded that they are not in control.
Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child (Prov 22:15a, KJV). It is the adult, and not the child, who has learned that he is not in control of all things, and it is the adult who has learned to submit himself to others in order to receive knowledge, wisdom, and assistance in general from others who have what they themselves lack. The child, by contrast, acts on his every impulse, considers only himself, kicks against all authority, harms himself and others in the process, and eventually comes back to his parents to apologize once he’s seen how foolish he has been and how right his parents have been all along.
Ironically, the atheist believes that religion infantilizes individuals because it makes them functionally identical to wise adults. There is a reason why impulsive men are said to be acting like children when they rebel against authority, refuse help, and live from impulse to impulse without ever considering the ramifications of their behavior with respect to their own lives, the lives of others, and society in general.
I have yet to meet an infant who wants to be subject to the authority of his parents, even if his parents’ laws can literally save his life. There is a reason why child-safety locks exist. Children, because they are impulsive and utterly opposed to authority, cannot always be trusted to do what they are told – even when what they are told to do is meant solely for their individual benefit.
How, then, does religion infantilize men? How, moreover, does atheism mature individuals? Religion (i.e. Christianity) teaches individuals to act responsibly, with regard for others, with regard for their own well-being, with regard for society at large. Atheism teaches individuals to ignore the needs of others, to seek only one’s own well-being, to refuse correction from others, and to rebel against all authority, even those authorities whose intention is solely the well-being of the atheist. Christianity makes men. Atheism infantilizes men.
Soli Deo Gloria.