Sunday, May 24, 2009

Life's Challenges. Rewards or Punishments?

Being a *good* parent ("Any butt-reaming asshole can be a father" ~Ted Theodore Logan) gives one a very unique perspective on the universe. First off, there's the decisions to make, the biggies. Not just- vaginal or caesarean, breast or bottle, cloth or disposable. But the long reaching decisions that will effect our children for the rest of their lives. Like discipline. Spanking or time-outs. That kind of thing.

I was spanked as a child, with a belt. I don't consider myself abused, it wasn't that kind of trauma. I totally disapprove of it, but I've read "A Child Called 'It'" and talked to people who suffered horrifically as a child, it wasn't like that. Just good people who were spanked themselves and who spanked me because "that's how it was done".

The thing is, I was mostly spanked in anger, but occasionally spanked by a totally rational parent.

Now that I'm a parent, and in trying to be a good parent I have read *heaps* of parenting books on discipline and childrearing and thankfully found some awesome alternatives to striking my child, I see spanking much differently now than I did as a child. As a kid, I hated my parents for hurting me and was afraid of them and their anger.

Yet, it was the non-pissed off spankings that really creeped me out. Even as a kid I understood, a little bit, the desire to hit something when you were mad and a kid makes an easy target. (That is the lesson that spanking teaches, by the way. If something angers you, hit it. Especially if it is smaller than you are. How man spanking parents out their continue spanking their child when they grow stronger than they are? I wonder why? Maybe spanking parents should think on that a bit.)

But what kind of cold-hearted bastard saves up the spanking until hours later and applies it coldly and methodically. "This hurts me, more than it hurts you." Bullshit. If you truly abhor hurting your child, you'd find an alternative. If you genuinely believe the little bugger deserves every lash of that belt, then it doesn't hurt you at all. They deserve it.

Let's think about God the Father and his ability to discipline us, his children. Does he involve himself in our day-to-day lives up to the extent of rewarding us (miracles, answering our prayers, etc...) and punishing us for our misdeeds (lost job, poor health, sick kids)?

Some say yes, some say sometimes, some say no. (And all have bible verses to back them up. Convenient?)

For the sake of argument, let's say a person has 2 children and both are diagnosed as autistic.

How and more importantly why does a god-fearing person end up with two children with autism?

Maybe God decided that you deserve two kids with autism. Maybe he looked at the kind of life you lived (good or bad, and presumably the life you WILL live) and say, "Hmmmm, let's see here, yes indeed, two kids with autism will suit you just fine."

If that were the case, then I would be left wondering, maybe if I had actually stolen my neighbor's ass that I had long coveted and went for a joy ride up and down the streets with it and then denied it... hmmmm that's 3 commandments, would I then have no longer been worthy of having 2 children with autism? If I had been a bit worse, maybe God wouldn't have trusted me with their care. Maybe my children have autism because I was TOO good.

Or perhaps it was the other way. If you lead a life of sinful misdeeds, in spite of being raised by a Christian family, maybe God is using your 2 little ones to help you grow into a stronger, more productive Christian, a perfect member of his flock, tried in hardship and now obedient to his will.

If that were the case, then I would be left wondering, if I had just been a better person, neither of my kids would be like this. They could have been "normal" and not face all the challenges that autism will bring them in their lives. If only....

Or did God place the challenges of two autistic kids on your shoulders because he consulted his Book of Life and said,"Let's see.... max load for you is 500 ppsi and if I cross reference 2 children with autism... yep that's 475 ppsi, an average life is 20 ppsi, yep. You can handle that. We'll just keep her right at 495 ppsi and she can handle it, 'cause the Book of Life says so. Plus I'll be there to help her. Hope she's read the Footprints poem, I'll be carrying her through their whole lives. Heck, I might as well just sling her over my shoulder, this is gonna be a dooooozy. *snicker snicker*". (Yeah, God laughs in chocolate bars. *snerk*)

If that were the case, then I would be left wondering, how could God condemn two beautiful children to a life of autism as a challenge to me? Why were their brains allowed to be twisted and distorted and changed so that they cannot function the way "everyone else" does???? Why? Why?? Why??? Is it my fault? Am I too strong? Not strong enough? Too good? Not good enough?

That kind of self-doubt will eat a parent alive... Are the circumstances of my child's life, my fault?


Now let's consider God's ultimate discipline- hell.

In the course of parenting your child, it is very easy to become fairly angry with them. One careless bounce of a ball into a big plate glass window can lead to thousands of dollars in repair. It was just a tiny error that led to some very big consequences. If a spilled ice cream cone that costs $3.75 gets a slap on the hand, and ramming your sister with your bike gets her a $30 tetanus shot and you a slap across the face, and putting the car into neutral and letting it roll down the drive way, denting the fender for $450 in car repairs gets you 10 lashes with the belt.... how much physical trauma does breaking a window and costing $5000 in repair work get you? 20 lashes every night for a week?

Escalating punishment has to end some where or the law steps in. It is morally reprehensible for ANY parent to beat their child to death regardless of provocation.

So how does God, who bills himself as our "heavenly father" handle our punishment?

With God, one sin --> hell.

One "God dammit!"...hell.
One lie... hell.
One hint of jealousy... hell.
One bout of anger... hell.
Sex with someone else's husband...hell.
One murder... hell.

Wait a minute... a murder is the same as a lie is the same as having sex with someone's spouse is the same as saying "god dammit"????

Ever lasting punishment. 4 out of 6 of those are thought crimes. Victimless crimes. Yet God says you will burn in fire and brimstone for all eternity for just one of them one time.

Talk about the ultimate spanking.

I wonder what the punishment for burning your child alive is? I wonder what the neighbors would do to the person who had been found to keep their child burning for as long as possible, maybe cutting them down to heal a bit, not letting the flames actually consume the flesh, maybe just scalding them repeatedly in boiling water? I wonder if a parent could keep that going for a week or so?

I wonder how the neighbors would treat you if you were discovered to have treated your child is such an utterly repugnant, horrific fashion. Think a good ole linching might result? A little "good for the goose is good for the gander"??

Then who steps in when God, the supposed moral compass for the universe, burns somebody alive for an eternity. Not just 1 week. No, no. An eternity.

Hell is a spanking that never ends. The most hideous, ugly kind of torture that will never ever stop. No mercy. No ending. Only misery, forever.

What parent never stops? Even a physically abusive parent who beats his child with the claw end of a hammer has to stop, because the child DIES!

With god, there is no death. A "sinner" will suffer forever.

Who am I to judge god?

I am a mother. A good one. I understand about discipline and know what is appropriate and what is inappropriate discipline.

And no child, regardless of the sin, deserves an everlasting spanking.

And as for the challenges we face in our life, they are not put here by a morally bankrupt concept invented by illiterate goatherders to explain why the sky goes flash and the clouds yell boom right before it rains.

Nobody "deserves" two kids with autism. It isn't fair. It isn't just. Their autism has nothing to do with who you are as a person. It doesn't have anything to do with your past deeds, good or bad. They weren't put here to challenge you. They weren't put here to test you.

I used to think that it was awful that life was so unfair.

Then I thought, "Wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair? And all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?"

So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.

~Marcus, Babylon 5

(cross posted on Doubting Faith?)


Richard said...

Well, what can we add to that???

The bottom line: once all the smiling facades & claims to happiness-in-God have been peeled away, religionists are terrified of real life &/or hate the responsibilities. So they pawn it all off onto one Fairy Godfather or another.

Thump Thump Eyes said...

I cant imagine how screwed up you must be after having been brainwashed into thinking you 'deserved' all the shit that life throws at you!

Shame on those brainwashers!

The stupid, it burns like crazy!

Orion77 said...

And yet it all makes perfect sense to so many people around the world. The evidence is, a square peg cannot fit into a round hole but that doesn't matter for those in the know. It can, and does through the power of faith.

If not, then death is final and apparently that is a concept most people cannot accept. Everyday is spent rationalising absurdity, pain and injustice as tests to be endured for the gift of immortality to be received.

Richard said...

"Everyday is spent rationalising absurdity, pain and injustice as tests to be endured for the gift of immortality"...

...& then they die.

Johnny said...

Excellent post mate he's a real arsehole that god isn't he.... but I have to be a pedantic tool and point out that it wasn't Ted Theodore Logan but Tod Higgins. :p

Dwarfers are coming soon!

Richard said...


Ted —Adventures with Bill
Tod —Matrix, or Real?
God —It's all Matrix!

Rimmer —through the prism
Superman —Bizarro
:-P —is that a threat or a promise?

Fiery said...

Johnny- AAARRRGGGGGHHHHH you're right. DAMMIT! Was thinking of Keanu and bollocksed the movie. ohhhh the shame, it burnzzzzzzzz. Dammit dammit dammmiittttt

Richard- shhh there there. It'll be ok.

Richard said...

Okay, I know analyzing a joke is a real party downer, but Fiery's remark is under my skin!

At first, I thought I had caught Johnny's connection. Then, when Fiery commented, I thought my comment had prompted Fiery to see it. But then she threw in: "Richard- shhh there there. It'll be ok." ...Wwhha? >:-|

I had caught that Tod Higgins was played by Keannu Reeves in "Parenthood", and was Neo in the "Matrix" 'franchise'.

Going by this intense discussion on metaphysics, life after death and all, I thought the theme of the Matrix was Johnny's indirect reference, via Tod.

That is why I connected Tod with Matrix? Then it only made sense that Johnny's Dwarfer reference was to the multi-Universe of "Red Dwarf". Rimmer traversed Universes through a prism mirror thingy, rather the same way Neo slipped into the Matrix.

Was that wrong? Don't tell me I'm like the last guy to laugh, awkwardly, at a joke, only to find he was way off track. I better start wearing black socks with sandals.

Fiery said...

ummm wow Richard. Over think things much? I'm sure Johnny is flattered that you think he quintuple layered his comment but it seemed pretty straight forward to me. I bitched the quote. And the Red Dwarf comment was a private message to me and not related to the content of the post itself. Or maybe it was.

Didn't I just see that cat walk through here?

And mine to you wasn't directed specifically at your last comment but at you in general and my assumption of your presumed mental state. oops. Unnecessary empathy and proferred comfort withdrawn.

Johnny said...

Sorry Rich, Fiery is right I was merely pointing out that it was Keanu as Tod not Ted, although not a lot of difference between the name or the character(thank you Keanu for your deep well of acting nuance!) in fact so easy quote to mix up thus no real foul ;)
It was a private message about the dwarfers, although they won't be coming as soon as I had hoped as my computer at home has completely shat its pants and I am looking at having to get a new one which I can't afford and really hoping I can strip what info was on the hard drive off it otherwise I WILL be pissed. So at the moment I am tortured by having to use the fairly limited access I have at work!!
But thank you for thinking I could layer a joke in a message so well :)

Richard said...

Snerk. "The joke's on me", as they say. Still, it was fun following the leads, and was good for a snicker from you and Fiery. That's gotta be a good thing too :-)