Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More on Christian Child Abuse!

My friend Becky pointed me towards this blog entry. It's an amusingly written account of her family's general feelings about religion, raising a young and intelligent boy. It seems this young and intelligent boy doesn't like Christianity, and here's the reason why:

Because Alex loves music so much, we bought him an alarm clock with a radio and a CD player for Christmas. A few months ago, he was listening to the radio and tuned it to a religious station by accident. Thinking it was the news, which he likes because something exciting is always happening on it, like a building on fire or something, he kept it there. Imagine his horror when he learned that the End Days were upon us and giant scorpions were going to take over the Earth. He was frightened, and Steve had to spend some amount of time trying to tell him, that no, it wasn't the news he was listening to, and no, giant scorpions are not going to take over the Earth, and no, we're not all going to hell because mommies murder their unborn babies.

Now, when I say that Christianity teaches child abuse as a means of raising their children, this is precise the sort of thing I'm talking about.

While it is definitely my experience, and the experience of many non-theists I've spoken, that most Christian religions very vocally tell children the more horrific fate of the world and people who don't follow Christianity's (often absurd and contradictory) rules, one of the more popular refutations is that, well, it just doesn't happen. It doesn't happen that churches and parents don't sit their children down and say, functionally, "do this or you're going to be tortured forever in a lake of fire and when the End Times come you're going to be crushed by the Four Horsemen and the Whore of Babylon is going to cover you with filth and giant scorpions are going to sting you forever". My retort has always been, "That's untrue! Not only in my personal experience, but the whole conceptual framework of Christianity is formed around the idea that disobedience to the Christian god is punished by eternal horror and pain! The whole structure of Christianity is framed around Jesus dying -- in a brutal and horrific way in and of itself! -- to redeem us for our sins, and unless we consciously choose to accept that brutal human sacrifice then we go to Hell! This is the foundations of the religion, people!"

But almost every day and almost in every way, Christianity reinforces the suffering and horror inherent in the religion. Children are never allowed to forget that disobedience is punished by hellfire. So frequent are these messages that some unsuspecting child can just randomly find them on the radio and be swept up into the terrifying world of Christianity, where eternal suffering and mind-shattering horror lurk everywhere.


Intergalactic Hussy said...

All (the Abrahamic ones anyway) religions are some form of child abuse. Many parents tell their kid(s) to do well and enjoy learning but as soon as he/she asks a legitimate questions, the parents shrug or tell them he's going to hell in a forceful way. In addition, just teaching your kids religion without the major hellfire is wrong. Telling them improbable stories as truths and "making" them believe.

I was recently emailed by a religious Jewish guy, telling me I never had a formal Jewish education. I went to Hebrew school for a bit, so I know something about it. My interpretation is I just wasn't brainwashed enough...

It's almost funny when parents push their kids to do well in school and then it backfires on them later in life.

Chris Bradley said...

LOL. I have that exact same sentiment. As a youth, I went to parochial school and as a teenager I realized that theology is a way of teaching you to think and telling you not to. ;)

Anonymous said...

Jer 17:9 The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Gen 8:21 ...for the imagination of man's heart [is] evil from his youth;

Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.

These verses and the concept of "original sin" were the context in which I was raised during the "charismatic movement" which was the forerunner of the evangelical american church as we know it today.

They enlist you best as a child and covertly/overtly employ the concept that you are shit... well that is before you believed and was saved. Then you become "the" shit. You know, the one with all the "right" answers and assurity that you are in possession of the only "truth".

25 years of adult life it took me to break the spell, and 3 years into my recovery I'm still very mis-aligned socially and psychologically.

Each child is precious, capable and filled with potential. But if they live in a world where they are told they are evil, deceitful and wicked they will begin to believe it.

Hell, reason allows you to easily disassociate from your actions if you believe the concept of original sin. Afterall, it isn't your fault your evil, you were born that way.

It is sad.

Monkey Rocket Surgeon

enthymeme said...

Hello, I read your post on Nelbock, the Nazis, Logical Positivism, and Popper.

You concluded that Logical Positivism didn't die on the merits but because political events (tha Anschluss and WWII) overtook them, scattering the Vienna Circle to the four winds, allowing the likes of Popper to interject his philosophy into prevailing climes, where it soon displaced the Logical Positivist philosophy that was dominant in interwar Vienna but could find no champions in England or the Anglophone world.

This is patently ahistorical and wrong on the facts.

First of all, the Logical Positivists had great champions in the post-War years in England - A.J. Ayer being the most notable. His _Language, Truth and Logic_ was a sensation in Anglophone philosophy long before Popper's Logik der Forschung was translated into English in 1959. If anything, the Positivists had a headstart - the likes of Hebert Feigl and Carnap arrived in the United States long before Popper could even secure safe passage out of Austria prior to the Anschluss.

When Popper finally managed to find a way out - it was into the academic wilderness that was New Zealand - where for months he could not even find a publisher for _The Open Society and its Enemies_ let alone procure enough books for his research due to rationing and the war-induced paper shortage.

In the time that Popper was in academic exile, Carnap, Feigl, Hempel and the likes of Ayer were well placed in both the United States and England, where they were actively engaged in the positivist program and the philosophy of science. Indeed, Carnap's _The Logical Syntax of Language_ was published in 1937 - at a time when he was already safely esconced in the United States. It is hardly the case then that Popper's anti-positivist program somehow took over a space vacated by the chief proponents of Logical Positivism. On the contrary, it was the other way round!

As for Logical Positivism dying on the merits, suffice to say that by as early as 1934, Popper had pointed out the fatal deficiencies in the positivist program on such things as the verification principle, as well as the difficulties inherent in Carnap's phenomenalist program as presented in _Logische Aufbau der Welt_. By the time Carnap tried to rectify these deficiencies in the _Logical Syntax of Language_, he was already fighting a losing battle, as far as the purported merits of positivism were concerned. By all accounts, the beast was mortally wounded in the interwar years, enjoyed a short revival in the English-speaking world due to Ayer, then died on the vine as Wittgenstein and ordinary language philosophy took over British philosophy departments, with the Americans taking a somewhat different tangent across the pond.

Popper, for his part, has always been outside the academic philosophical mainstream; out of step insofar as academic fashion was concerned. He enjoyed huge success with _The Open Society and Its Enemies_ as well as _The Logic of Scientific Discovery_ when these were published - but his acclaim has been mostly amplified by working scientists and the intelligent reading public who have found his ideas congenial and persuasive.

Even the likes of Quine - so representative of American analytic philosophy, and not uncritical of Popper - found him formidable. No serious historian of philosophy would say that he eclipsed the logical positivists because of the contingencies of war. Quite the reverse: the contingencies were against him, but he eclipsed them anyway.

Chris Bradley said...

Monkey Rocket Surgeon,

Yeah, I feel what you're saying. As someone who also had to overcome religious indoctrination, I know the difficulties in overcoming it. Even today, sometimes when I am very depressed or half-awake I find myself thinking I should "give myself to Jesus" -- fortunately, then my mind goes through all the ways that 1. Christianity is obviously a fairly silly religion and 2. that Christians aren't any happier than atheists (if one counts from the rate of divorce, suicide, teen pregnancies, illiteracy, education, wealth in America, etc., etc.).

And I find it equally crude that Christians deny the abusive aspects of their religion, even though, time and again, openly and publicly, I've had Christians come here and other equally public places and say that unless I give myself to Jesus I'm going to go to Hell. They never "get it" that's the actual attitude of abuse I'm actually talking about! This hideous attempt at intimidation by threatening hellfire!

Lord Nazh© said...

"This hideous attempt at intimidation by threatening hellfire!"

Quote: 'If you walk down that street, you will get mugged."

Is the above quote intimidation or advice? :)

You don't seem to supply any of the other parts of Christianity (you know the Love and forgiveness) but you do like to talk about the damnation (cause and effect).

Did you notice that in your example, the child goes to a station that tells him that if he doesn't do A then after he dies he will goto Hell and yet he was trying to find the news, so maybe he could get some excitement.. you know fires, murders, etc. Seems the 'child abuse' you talk about isn't just religion, but everything that a child comes into contact with.

Using your analogy, telling a child that if they don't get out the cold, they'll freeze is abuse?

(just stopping by to say hi^)

divabeq said...

I think that any intelligent person can suss out the difference between my saying to my children "If you don't do this, I'll ground/punish/spank you." And my saying to my kids ""If you don't do what I say, I will cut off all your skin and boil you in oil."... it's not even a particularly subtle distinction.

Or, even closer to your mugging analogy... "If you run into the street, you may get hit by a car" versus "If you disobey me, I will cut off your skin and boil you in oil." I say so, because telling someone not to go into a bad neighborhood lest they get mugged is a *warning*, not a threat. The threat of Hell is very much that. A *threat* made (according to the bible) by God against people on earth. He, personally, created hell and consigns people to it, according to Christian based religions. Which is just a touch different than getting mugged, or warning someone of the possibility of a mugging.

And carrying this down to parents saying it to their kids, the fact is that there *could* be nuclear war but I don't terrorize my kids with the possibility of it to them *because it would terrify them* and they're *kids* and I can't verify that there *will* be a nuclear war. Why have my children living in terror of such things. There are better ways to teach children about the values one holds dear, ways that will last, that will be meaningful to them and will not do the potential emotional damage of threatening torture and horror. My kids, for instance, are honest, caring, conscientious and respectful kids, and their values mean a great deal to them because I teach them that their character is an important facet of who they are. I teach them that they have a responsibility to themselves, to their family and their community to be a certain kind of person, and teach them to take pride in that.

And I don't threaten them. So, if you can get the same results without threatening your kids in ways that can cause (as has been attested to by many on this blog) lasting emotional damage... even if you want to teach them religion... then why not do that without the hell?

The fact that *it can be done better* without harming them, yet people fall back on this terrifying, damaging trope is what makes it child abuse. Because it is consciously, willfully and pointlessly damaging children.

Chris Bradley said...


Becky already said most of what I said at least as well as I could have said it. Your argument was, at heart, ridiculous because you (and other Christians who advance this idea) conflate mindless nature (catching a cold) with an act of will (your god creating a place of eternal misery and then choosing to send people there when that god has innumerable more humane ways to do whatever he wants). It's silly.

But the reason I don't praise Christianity for the parts that are "good" is because they are in no sense whatsoever distinct to Christianity. As far as I can tell, all people in all cultures have come up with the ideas that love is better than hate, peace better than violence. The message of love does not distinguish Christianity from anything much at all and to say otherwise is largely poppycock.

Lord Straf-Moran said...

Correction - Catholic clergy child abuse. Christians, by definition, don't do this.

Chris Bradley said...

Correction - Catholic clergy child abuse. Christians, by definition, don't do this.

Uh, wrong? Christians, by definition, are sinful. That a Christian commits a horrible sin doesn't invalidate their Christianity. Otherwise, there'd be no Christians, right, because all Christians sin.

pathway said...

Laugh all you want this isnt the first time the earth was destroyed remember the guy with a big boat?

Source-born again christian

Chris Bradley said...

You mean that old Sumerian story about Ziusudra? ;)

There have been large scale mass extinction events - the worst being the Permian-Triassic, where something like 90% of all biodiversity on earth was destroyed about 250 million years ago. I think that our current age of global warming might give the Permian-Triassic event a run for it's money before it's over. But I think that's not really what you're talking about, is it?

But I will laugh, in a black humor sort of way. I always find it deeply funny, and a bit sad, when a person wraps themselves up in religious fantasies while ignoring the very real events going on outside their window.

Anonymous said...

The hellfire doctrine is abusive enough, but add the rapture doctrine and it gets even worse.

I couldn't tell you how many times I woke up as a child, alone in the house, and left to search frantically for some sign that my family would be coming back. I believed that Jesus had taken them but had forgotten about me, that I had missed the boat and would be left to suffer with all the heathens that would be cast into the Lake of Fire at the end of the Tribulation.

No child should EVER have to fear such things. It's bad enough to think that if you do something wrong that God will torture you forever, but to BELIEVE in it and "have Jesus in your heart" and believe that he said "Oh, never mind, I don't want you after all" is awful.

Things like this are why I became a Satanist.

gavin said...

Jehova is a child sex offender! The Bible states that Mary was a virgin at the time that Jesus was conceived , all jewish girls (in families that practice Judaism) at the age of twelve have their Batmitzva and are therefore considered under Jewish law to be ready to be married. It is doubtful Mary would have been older than 12 years of age when she conceived of Joshua Bin Nazereth. I assert that under Australian law at least Jehova should be tried and convicted as a child sex offender for what most Christians consider to be immaculate conception. Batmitzva is quite obviously child abuse and sexual in nature. Look it up on Wikipedia and have a good read