Thursday, January 10, 2008

religious indoctrination = child abuse

Saying this will garner you gasps of shock from believers and even a fair number of nonbelievers as well.

Child abuse is the physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect of children by parents, guardians, or others.

So how can religious indoctrination possibly be considered child abuse? How can “teaching kids about Jesus" be as bad as convincing a child he is utterly worthless, or raping a seven year old girl, or beating a four year old boy to death? Religious indoctrination is child abuse because it goes so much further than just "teaching kids about Jesus".

Saying that raising a child to believe in a "Supreme Being" is child abuse is strong, fairly harsh language. The other forms of child abuse are much more immediately devastating. The effects of religious indoctrination are much more subtle but the impact can be as long lasting. The problem lies in the damage that faith based education can do to a developing mind.

Evil Concepts Espoused by Religion:
1- original sin- you are an evil sinner and nothing you can do will change that

2- hell- a place of eternal, everlasting, never-ending misery and torment that is yours by right of birth

3- cannibalism- to avoid hell you must eat the body and drink the blood of your savior: the once dead, now living, human yet divine son of god

4- sex is shameful- do not touch yourself in pleasure, do not touch your opposite-sex-spouse in pleasure unless it is to procreate, then you may enjoy sex briefly, but only the appropriate parts of the body.

5- guilt- you deserve to suffer for eternity because you were born evil and only the death of another can save you so you better behave lest that redemption be taken from you

6- martyrdom- lay down your life for others and for god and earn rewards in heaven

7- self-sacrifice- everyone else is more important than you, give them all that you have, all that you are

8- pride is a sin- you are worthless, all that you are comes from god, without him you are nothing

10- infallibility of god and by extension his appointed here on earth- god never makes mistakes, you are not morally superior to god, you cannot judge him sinful for his actions in the old testament, if something bad happens in spite of prayer to the contrary, it is all part of his plan and we cannot know what that plan is. Pastors, priests, ministers, cardinals, bishops, the pope, etc… are gods anointed and appointed here in on earth. They have a direct connection to god that you don’t have.

11- thought crime- someone is always watching you: judging your every thought, word and deed for which you will be held accountable.

THAT is what is meant when an atheist says, "Religious indoctrination of children is child abuse." Religious indoctrination abuses a young and developing mind, warping and twisting it at its most vulnerable, and setting up mental habits that can take a lifetime to overcome.

As Thump said, “The whole idea of religious indoctrination is abuse, to stifle logic and reason cannot, in my mind, be considered anything else.”

33 comments:

Stardust said...

good post, fiery. Religious indoctrination is indeed child abuse. Teaching a child that an invisible sky daddy is watching over them 24-7 is sort of like instilling schizophrenic behavior in children. Then when they grow up, if they do develop mental illness, such as schizophrenia they might just do something like this guy didbecause the Bible tells them to do it. Like I said in my post, "many of them consider the Bible to be the LITERAL WORD OF GOD." Good thing that most "Bible literalists" don't take all of the Bible literally. But some really crazyass things happen sometimes when they do!

Jacob said...

I'd say most fundies have trouble with 7.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Nice post fiery, just can't think of anything more intelligent to add.

Fiery said...

Stardust- I wonder about the incidence of mental illness (especially paranoia) among people raised hyper religious vs. those in a atheist/non religious households.

Hi Jacob!!! One thing about the concept of demanding self-sacrifice. Those who really harp on those teachings usually want to be on the receiving end of the sacrificing.

Thank ya Sean! Thank ya very much! :D

Joe said...

I poached the top 10 and linked to it on my blog. I know its preaching to the choir, but I don't get how anyone with half a brain can buy into any of it.

Reg Golb said...

1. What is evil about telling someone they have sinned? Is it that there is no such thing as sin?
If there is not sin, is there such a thing as an evil act?

2. Where does the Bible say that hell is our birthright. Death (hell) is our payment for sin, not for being born.

3. Cannibalism. Not even close.

4. Where is sex shameful in the Bible? Try Song of Solomon.

5. total lack of understanding.

6. What is evil about laying down your life for a friend? or your beliefs? Would you live as a Muslim or choose death? I wouldn't renounce my faith, belief, would you renounce your unbelief?

7. Self sacrifice is evil? So much for compasionate conservatism and bleeding heart liberals. "Ask not what you can do for anyone else, ask who will take care of you and yours"

8. Is vain pride good? I don't know, lets ask Britany, Lindsay, and Paris?

9. HMMM

10. "Pastors, priests, ministers, cardinals, bishops, the pope, etc… are gods anointed and appointed here in on earth. They have a direct connection to god that you don’t have." I'm glad that's not in the Bible.

11. Give me an example of a thought crime and how it is good for you as a person. This aught to be good.

I can't think of anything else to add.

Lynn said...

Last month, my father-in-law (a 70-something life-long Catholic) was UNDER-charged 50 cents at the market. When he discovered the mistake he returned and insisted they take the money back (lest he burn in Hell for stealing). They refused, saying there was no mistake. He's tried a couple times now. To no avail. He's beside himself.

Of course, I could go on for weeks with stories :) Life for him (and mother-in-law) is all about self-denial and suffering. Such sad, miserable lives they've led :(

Reg Golb said...

If they choose misery, that is theirs to make. Oh, I think commandment twelve said something like thou shall not be undercharged and when you are and you try to fix it thou shall live in misery.

Fiery said...

Hi Lynn! Welcome to my blog! :D Great to see another atheist homeschooling Mum out there! Certainly aren't many of us.

I find it interesting the different interpretations of the bible represented here.

Lynnn's Grandfather- Thou Shalt Not Steal (has a familiar ring to it)

Reg- Don't Worry Be Happy (also has a familiar ring to it)

I wonder which one is the real christian?

What an awful thing for him to be worried about, eternal punishment for half of 1 dollar.

Lynn said...

Fiery: I am so glad I found another atheist homeschooler, too! :)

Reg: I think my father-in-law is probably following the teachings of Paul:

Rom 13:7 Give everyone what you owe him.
Rom 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding.

OzAtheist said...

Reg
Nice religious apologetic stuff, but all complete BS or simply avoiding the question.

It really doesn't matter what is, or is not, in the bible. We could quote chapter and verse to support every one of Fiery's claims, but there will always be at least one person to come up with a different interpretation.

And if it's not in the bible, then there is always some religious leader that will state it anyway.

The bottom line is, no matter how you try and twist it, there are millions of religious people who believe exactly what Fiery states. Each individual person may not believe all 11 (10?) propositions, but they will believe some. Reg if you were honest to us, ignoring if you concur with Fiery's conclusions, which of those 11 do you believe in?

Now point by point:
1. Fiery mentioned 'original' sin, not just any sin. Yes there are such things as 'evil' acts which one should feel bad about. However, original sin basically says that everyone is born a sinner - that is the abuse.

2.

3. The cannibalism is a fairly new one on me too. For many years I had never considered that taking communion (eating the wafer and drinking the wine) related to cannibalism until recently when I read someone's interpretation of it on a blog. I had one of those eureka moments and thought "I'd never thought of it that way, but it makes perfect sense".
- eat this bread/wafer to represent my body, drink this wine to represent my blood -
sure you are not physically being a cannibal, but you are definitely psychologically being one.

4.

5.

6. Matrydom - There is a BIG difference between laying down your life for someone in order to save them (good samaritan) than purposefully killing yourself or letting yourself be killed purely on the belief you will go to heaven.

7.

8. There is a difference between vain pride (which is also not good) and pride in yourself because you are worth something, or have done something good. Being told you are not allowed to have any pride because you are nothing without god is the problem.

9. Hmmm, I'm with you on this one Reg, what happened to 9?

10. not in the bible - be that as it may, it is still true; the pope says so himself (and he's not alone in saying such).

11. OK now you really confused me Reg. Give me an example of a thought crime and how it is good for you as a person. This aught to be good.. It isn't good for you, that is exactly what Fiery said!!!!! The point is, religious people are lead to believe that god is always watching them, therefore, you can't even think something bad without thinking you'll go to hell for it.

I may, or may not come back and finish answering the ones I missed (for some just re-read my opening paragraphs) but I have to go now, off to the pub for dinner, and a few drinks -taxi!

Fiery said...

Good heavens I left off #9. How may edits did that one make it through good grief!!!!! I was going to correct it now, but that will just leave the comments confusing so, meh.

Should come up with a ninth one though. Surely there's more. Will think on it.

Well doen OzAtheist, hope you get a chance to fill in the blanks!

Reg Golb said...

1. If you would like to use evil instead of sin, fine. What makes you evil? How many evil things do you have to do or think to be evil? Take my daughter, when I say "NO don't touch the TV" and she stands there looking right at me fully knowing what I just said and does it anyway. Or when a kid steal a candybar. Is that good? No, that is his nature, he can't help it.

3. I don't think you helped fiery's already weak argument for cannibalism. Jesus said to do this in rememberence of Me. Every year at thankgiving we have this really unique "thing" my mamaw used to make. I always remember her when I eat it. Don't see how that is such a bad thing.

6. "purposefully killing yourself or letting yourself be killed" Give an example of a person who killed themselves for a friend? What is bad to give your own life for your friend or family member? Some people are willing to kill an unborn child for their own convinience, that is way sicker than dying for a person or your belief. Also,nothing in the Bible says being a martyr will get you into heaven.

8. I still don't see the problem with humility. As a coach I always give all the credit to my players, I refuse to take any credit. I am proud of them, not myself. As a Christian I will boast in the cross, not myself.

10. I am a Christian, not a popian.

11. "The point is, religious people are lead to believe that god is always watching them, therefore, you can't even think something bad without thinking you'll go to hell for it."

Lets look at the original point. How is telling a kid that thinking bad thoughts indoncrination? Does an atheist tell thier kids that bad thoughts are ok? Do they say "Sally, so long as you don't actually kill Billy, it is ok to think it."
Remember, thoughts don't send you to Hell, you are already going there anyway. see # 1

Richard said...

Reg you twist & turn in the wind, changing meanings (equivocating) however it suits your need to evade.

Crazyman Bob said...

Holy Cow! Everyone mark Jan 13th down on the calender!

Richards shortest post!!!!

Good job Richard!!! Whoo hoo!

Richard said...

Ya think? :)

Fiery said...

*snerk*

Reg Golb said...

Thanks for the example.

twinkletoes said...

Hey Fiery,

So nice to find another non-religious homeschooler in cyberspace! I am an ex-christain fundamentalist missionary who is now a freethinker. It is a powerful thing to raise my two kids to be freethinkers instead of indoctrinating with the tactics of fear, self-hatred, and false god-authority. Look forward to joining your dialogue!

Fiery said...

TwinkleToes,
A very VERY warm welcome to you, nonreligious homeschoolers are rare as hen's teeth and a delight to find.

I'm looking foward to reading your thoughts on the various subjects that come up here!

It is a pleasure seeing my kids raised without inherited guilt, original sin, etc...
gotta go, got buns in the oven that are done.
lol

flymorgue2 said...

Your "evil concepts" have been adequately rebutted by other posters as profoundly ignorant, so I will not comment. But what is your goal? How do you 'protect' younguns from this child abuse? The only way is to wrest them from their evil parental units. the fascism at the root of this is exposed.

Fiery said...

How convenient for you to declare the "evil concepts" rebutted as profoundly ignorant. It's easy to win a debate if you get to declare your side the winner, isn't it?

Why are you, an obvious fundy, reading an atheist blog? It's not like the heading emblazoned across the top doesn't give it away.

Either add something to the discussion or go find a "Jeebus loves me" site and post your tripe there.

actualstuff said...

I've rewritten the original argument/blog post so that maybe those who see a different world view in it might gain a better perspective:

Atheist indoctrination = child abuse?

Saying this will garner you gasps of shock from secularists and even a fair number of religious people as well.

Child abuse is the physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect of children by parents, guardians, or others.

So how can atheist indoctrination possibly be considered child abuse? How can “teaching kids there is no God" be as bad as convincing a child he is utterly worthless, or raping a seven year old girl, or beating a four year old boy to death? Atheist indoctrination is child abuse because it goes so much further than just "teaching kids there is no God".

Saying that raising a child to believe in a lack of a "Supreme Being" is child abuse is strong, fairly harsh language. The other forms of child abuse are much more immediately devastating. The effects of atheist indoctrination are much more subtle but the impact can be as long lasting. The problem lies in the damage that atheism based education can do to a developing mind.

Evil Concepts Espoused by Atheism:
1- accidental origin- you are an accident and any love anyone has for you is also an accident

2- no afterlife- all of your strivings are dust and the horrendously evil go to the same oblivion as the generously good

3- no justice- the horrible things you see will never be redressed. Never.

4- might makes right - there is no one who can decide what is right or wrong that doesn't back it up with force

5- solipsism- you can never now anything else is real. your family, your friends, they could all be meaningless manufacturing of your own mind. You can't know for sure.

6- meaninglessness- nothing you do ever means anything. you can artificially ascribe it meaning, but deep down inside you know it's a lie.

7- selfishness- everyone else is less important than you, take from them all that they have, all that they are

8- objective human value is non existent- you are worthless, all that you are comes from nothing

10- there is no good or evil- whatever others tell you is good or bad is only a matter of opinion and their ability to enforce it.

11- superiority complex - you are superior to all those foolish religious people who believe in fables

THAT is what is meant when a religious person says, "atheist indoctrination of children is child abuse." Atheist indoctrination abuses a young and developing mind, warping and twisting it at its most vulnerable, and setting up mental habits that can take a lifetime to overcome.

As Thumb said, “The whole idea of atheist indoctrination is abuse, to stifle morality and meaning cannot, in my mind, be considered anything else.”

NOTE - PLEASE DO NOT BOTHER NIT PICKING THE 10 REASONS OR ANY PARTICULARS TO SHOW THEY ARE MISSING A POINT OR ARE OFF BASE. THE ORIGINAL POST HAD STUPIDITY LIKE SAYING COMMUNION WAS CANNIBALISM. THE POINT IS TO GIVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEE THE NOTION OF THE ORIGINAL ARGUMENT FOR WHAT IT IS: CRIMINALIZING THE BELIEFS OF OTHERS AS ABUSING CHILDREN.

Will you take the opportunity?
__________________

Richard said...

The difference is that atheism actually leaves children's minds free to deal with actual stuff! That's not indoctrination, that's just living and learning. In fact, the term "indoctrination" could not have been formed if genuine learning did not actually exist.

So 'actualstuff' is trying to wipe out actual learning by calling it 'indoctrination'. S/he has to do that, or admit there is a difference.

It is amazing how people who have a narrow, 'revealed', view of thinking processes, assume others think the same way they do.

There is no need to fisk 'actualstuff's' rewrite, as atheism is not a moral system (as has been said a 'hundred' times at this blog).

Of course, fundies cannot imagine that morality and value can be achieved without an appeal to vacuous "notactualstuff". So they run around claiming their
notactualstuff IS actualstuff.

That's about as smart as saying black and white are the same thing in the same time and context, or that not having a brain and having a brain are the same thing to living humans. [Oh wait, they already do that with brain dead patients.]

Fundies are prehistoric minds trapped in a mental cave of their own design, appalled that other human minds might not want to stay there too. I can hear them now: "It's not a cave, it's actual stuff."

actualstuff said...

I'm sorry your anger keeps you from understanding the rhetorical point and made and instead has you engaging in making fun of my screen name.

Abuse number 11 is "thought crime" which criticizes the notion that there is a being who will read and judge your thoughts. To say that an then turn around and call those holding a view you don't like the equivalent of rape or beating a 4 year old to death is so ironic.

Here's a question: Do you actually think that a parent who religiously indoctrinates their child have their children removed from their custody and then charge them with abuse as a crime?

And yes, atheists can be as zealous and fervent as any fundie. An atheist parent could easily indoctrinate their child to hate religion and to look down on others who practice religion. The indoctrination is more about the process of teaching/imparting that "doctrine" than the content of that doctrine.

I'll leave you to your zeal.

Richard said...

Anger, sure.

Anyone who understands the evil that communists did to entire generations of children and adults ought to be angry.

Religion is every bit as evil to children, & to billions of people's lives over that millennium known as the Dark Ages. That evil continues today but on a lesser scale thanks to those who accepted more rational ideas. Cravenly, most did so while maintaining but compartmentalizing their religion. By compartmentalizing, their religious beliefs do not interfere as harmfully in their necessary day to day efforts to live a productive comfortable life.

However, those facts were not in my mind at the time I responded to your comment and I was not angry. Of course, derision for someone who contrives nonsense to argue that that non-existence exists, might be taken as anger.

On your idea of my confronting a "view I don't like", it is a matter of understanding that philosophy, however muddled and cherry picked, directs each human's actions. Collectively those ideas and the actions that result produce entire cultures, and are the stuff behind all historical events. E.g., the Dark Ages, Communism, the National Socialist German Workers' party of Germany (Nazis). It was the ideas of the Catholic Pope and Palestinian Muslims, etc. that gave the Nazis support, gave the communists support and caused the Dark Ages. So yes, I don't like your ideas because they are flat our wrong, and are particularly despicable given the plethora of evidence that religious belief has always done more harm than good.

If St. Paul had not promoted religion to the ignorant with so much zeal, perhaps the ideas of Aristotle would have prevailed.

When Aristotle's ideas did begin to take hold (1500s CE) it took about four hundred years for mankind to come up with modern trade, modern agriculture and medicine, mechanized travel, man on the moon, to highlight a minute fraction. Religion opposed those things at every step! Where would we be today, if all that we have now had been developed by CE 500? The 1500 year difference is a direct consequence of crap ideas you and other fundies hew to.

It is disgusting, but necessary for you, to consider my views to have an arbitrary basis for no better reason than that yours do.

To answer your question about custody (itself an exposure of your ignorance), a moral crime is different from a legal crime. As an American you should understand why freedom of speech (and of ideas) is politically necessary, but that does not mean all kinds of speech and ideas are morally equal. It does not mean that indoctrinating children with BS is not abuse, just because it is legal. It IS abuse.

"Zeal" is not itself a bad thing. I have a great deal of "zeal" for reason, political freedom, for good food, for the developing child's mind, for breathing!. I also have as much "zeal" for eliminating religious nonsense or the practice of burning witches, as I have for having a good crap, and for the same reasons... so I don't die of the toxins!

[Perhaps our host can direct you to the considerable discussion about the nature of atheism vs the nature of religion on this blog. You have dropped into the middle of a much much larger context of discussion than you realize.]

twinkletoes said...

I have a article to recommend to blogger actualsuff:

http://www.ditext.com/cohen/dsr.html

Confront the problem of evil and your theology will wither before this daunting reality. I was a Christian for 30 years and contemplating this question obliterated my "precious" Christian belief system. The foundations of this belief system are cruelty and ignorance. I was a victim of religious indoctrination and it was nothing short of being put in a mental straight jacket.

Christian theology is a house of cards easily destroyed by rational and humane thoughts. I will admonish you with this quote by Holocaust survivor Eli Wiesel, "Whatever you say about God you should be able to say standing over a pit full of burning babies."

Richard said...

Has actualstuff (NOT!) actuallyleft?

Fiery said...

Of course he actually left Richard.

He came, dropped his turd in the pool, and swam away, probably laughing merrily at his "victory" over the deluded atheists.

Typical useless fundy.

Frankly, I find it highly unlikely that actuallyamoron actually read ANYTHING else at all on my blog, let alone the comments left directly in response to the skid mark he left on my blog.

Richard said...

"skidmark" Yeuck, you do have a way of painting things in bold colors, so to speak.

Colleen said...

I treasure you taking the time to share this. My exhusband is total religion guy and its been 10 years of being railroaded by him with this abuse!! I left 7 years ago-my kids are still there(long story) but I know they are being abused. my 13 year old daughter cut herself the other day. I want to quote something said by my husband 7 years ago

When I left my ex and met a new guy my ex husband stated this verse from the bible

Deuteronomy 22:22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.

My ex husband believes the bible tells him he has the right to Kill my new love and me?

(for all you christian out there)--I'll leave you with your own thoughts on that one

Richard said...

Wow Colleen, that is terrible. One that I did not know, and for him to use it on you is despicable.

There are many more like it, which you can see at websites such as http://www.evilbible.com/.

Fiery's site links to a few via her side bars, and the atheist sites mention lots more.

Perhaps you are unsure of your own position on God. Scattered amongst the fun on this site you will find some pretty clear reasons why this life is the only one that matters, and any other conceptions of afterlife, reincarnation or higher beings are sheer bunkum.

The child abuse your husband is heaping on your children is similar, though perhaps in greater degree, to the abuse you received that set you up to accept such a man as your one true love, because you are only now reaping the consequences.

I for one hope you stick around. My atheist, logical, insensitive and unyielding heart goes out to you, but even more it goes out to your children. Get them reading until they are able to be guided* through Atlas Shrugged and the ideas of Ayn Rand. It might save the happiness of all three of you, and even save your daughter's life.

* "guidance" might have to come from you, so the first task would be for you to understand, not only Atlas Shrugged, but much of her other work. Many people read Atlas without understanding it properly the first time (me), some do not have that "Ahah" or "Eureka" understanding until someone prompts them to read it a third time, so be careful.

Fiery said...

Colleen, a very warm welcome to my blog. I see Richard has already taken note of your presence and welcomed you accordingly. :)

Childhood religious indoctrination can be overcome. What is unfortunate is that it is an obstacle that must be overcome and so much energy is spent doing just that, instead of living a purpose-driven life.

As for your ex's bible verse. *shudders* How creepy. Keep yourself safe! Makes me want to mention the "He who is without sin" verse, but I wouldn't want to give the medievalist any ideas.

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
- Blaise Pascal

And as for Richard's atheist, logical, insensitive and unyielding heart :) The only part of that which isn't true is the insensitive part. I don't think insensitive properly characterizes any of the wonderful people that post on my blog.

Again, welcome! Hope to see your name pop up again. Best of luck to you and your children.

~Fiery