Christianity and Domestic Violence
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16-07-2013, 07:14 PM
Christianity and Domestic Violence
I would love for Seth to cover this in a podcast but I'm wondering if there is a correlation to Christianity and tolerance of domestic violence.

We all agree that the Bible depicts women horrendously. We also agree that there is a mentality of the religious that God allows bad things to happen but it's either your own fault, or your own good (God is doing it because he loves you). Does that re-enforces the mentality that abuse - of any kind - is just a test of love and faith and your steadfastness?

Does this mentality contribute to the battered spouse syndrome? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

As an aside, my mother was hell bent on not allowing me to engulf myself in the Disney Princess stories as a child. She felt the women were terrible role models. In fact, she never let me watch Beauty and the Beast until I was much older. She saw how Beast isolated Belle, was a tyrant and a monster, and the underlying message of the story was that if you can just love him enough, he will turn into a prince. She wanted me to know that monsters don't turn into princes...no matter how much you love them. So if a boyfriend tried to isolate me from my friends, I immediate recognized the abusive behavior and left the relationship.
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16-07-2013, 07:34 PM
RE: Christianity and Domestic Violence
I don't think so. I've known women who have been across religious (and non religious) lines become abused. For some religion might be an excuse to stay. But I think fear is the real motivator (the fear you know verses the uncertainty).

Domestic violence crosses all ethnicity, religious and financial lines. I've known a few wealthy, non-religious types who abused their wives.

I never saw Beauty and Beast in the way you described it. I love that movie.


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

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16-07-2013, 08:04 PM
RE: Christianity and Domestic Violence
My question was not if Christianity makes you abusive and I apologize if I wasn't clear.

My question is: does the mentality that punishment is for your own good, that its a test of your faith and steadfastness, contribute to women (or men) STAYING in and tolerating their abusive relationship?

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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16-07-2013, 08:19 PM
RE: Christianity and Domestic Violence
I have had relatives that this applied to, and even more relatives that have told other women to remain in abusive relationships because god doesn't like separation/divorce, and it's better to just stay and work things out (even when being abused). So I'd say that it does seem to contribute in some cases.
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16-07-2013, 08:20 PM
RE: Christianity and Domestic Violence
(16-07-2013 08:04 PM)Cathym112 Wrote:  My question was not if Christianity makes you abusive and I apologize if I wasn't clear.

My question is: does the mentality that punishment is for your own good, that its a test of your faith and steadfastness, contribute to women (or men) STAYING in and tolerating their abusive relationship?

No, because on a whole women stay across all religious, economic and economic lines. As I said, I suspect fear is the greater motivator and I don't think it's all about fear of hell or what the bible says or is meant to say.

Are they're a few? Perhaps who stay because of what they believe. I don't think it's a majority or even close to half.


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

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17-07-2013, 02:02 AM
RE: Christianity and Domestic Violence
Power in Families

In the Bible people are ordered to obey God, and punished if they don’t. In Ephesians 6:1, Paul states that children should obey their parents, as if it were a universal and infallible truth. It’s no surprise that parents feel justified in lording it over their own children, and that the abuse of power is a serious issue in many fundamentalist families.

Good parents know that good parenting requires thought and effort. Interactions with children need to be perceptive, individualized, and developmentally appropriate. Fundamentalist parents often avoid the effort and complexity of this responsibility. Rather, doctrinal rules are applied, and fear of punishment used for control. The family is deprived of the constructive process of developing rules, values, and mores. Children can fail to learn how to take on the personal responsibility of making choices about life issues later in life.

Physical and Sexual Abuse

Physical punishment is sanctioned in the Bible:
“ He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” (Proverbs 13:24, KJV.)
Some parents take this to extremes, believing it’s necessary to break the will of their children to gain their respect and obedience. This dictatorial attitude is typically patriarchal, and, once again, reliance is placed upon Paul’s mantras on women and children for justification.

Some fundamentalist wives have difficulty stopping the cycle of physical abuse in their marital relationships because of biblical beliefs about marriage and sex-role stereotypes.

Sexual abuse occurs in many strictly religious families, for a number of complex reasons. Certain attitudes about sex may contribute to the problem. In my opinion fundamentalist beliefs frequently inhibit emotional development and compromise communication skills. This impairs normal adult-to-adult sexual intimacy; which may be why some adults turn to children for sexual gratification. This fits with the fact that pedophiles are often emotionally immature.

The fundamentalist mother, often encouraged by her beliefs to treat her husband like a little god, is less likely to question or interfere with the father’s behavior, or report him to the appropriate authorities.

Children are told to be obedient and to revere their parents, especially their fathers, so they’re more vulnerable and less likely to seek help.
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