Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
29-08-2011, 06:07 PM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
Quote: @Ghost: By saying that telling a child there's a hell is child abuse, you ARE implying that it's the same as beating a child. I refuse to accept that.

Are you implying that child abuse is limited to physical abuse?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_abuse

On this point I disagree. If you used graphic descriptions of violence that you would perpetrate on a child if they did not obey (let's use flaying for this example) do you not think this would cause emotional distress and thus possible trauma for the child? Is that not emotional abuse?

In my opinion, at the least it indicates a lack of imagination on the part of the parent and religious leaders. To use the idea of hell to control the behavior of adults is one thing. To not filter this information away from your children just seems irresponsible and unimaginative. Sadly, at least in my case, it's an effective form of control, even for the children (maybe especially so) making it appealing to the practitioners (not to mention written in scripture). This by no means makes it right.

My son is autistic. To use the idea of hell to get him to behave would be criminal in my opinion. I have learned (most of) the things he will respond to. I have to use my imagination when trying to gain control of his behavior. When I'm exhausted at the end of the day, it's not easy. I can see how folks who believe would use hell simply for its convenience. I still consider it lazy parenting.

I mostly agree with your other points though. Big Grin

He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy! -Brian's mum
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
29-08-2011, 07:10 PM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
Hey, Cardinal.

No. I'm not saying that it's limited to physical abuse.

No. I don't think it's emotional abuse.

Have a smurfy day though Smile

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
29-08-2011, 10:50 PM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
(29-08-2011 07:10 PM)Ghost Wrote:  No. I'm not saying that it's limited to physical abuse.

No. I don't think it's emotional abuse.

Would you give an example of what you think is emotional abuse if you think threatening children and the people they love with everlasting torture is not?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like xander's post
30-08-2011, 12:10 AM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
Defining the teaching of christianity to children in itself may not be physical child abuse, but when you have severe extremists like these shown in that first video link, I know first hand that physical child abuse is always right around the corner.
A child from that kind of family is raised in the "spare the rod, spoil the child" fashion. To these people that teach hate murder and violence, there would be no mercy on a child that disagrees with them. Many of these children are most likely raised in terrible fear of their parents responses to alternative beliefs. I would not be a bit surprised to find that these children are abused behind closed doors. That's the way it was in my childhood. The "perfect christian family" was the public image, but mortal terror was often the truth inside the walls of our house. If any of you have seen the movie "Mommy Dearest" you would have a rough idea of what I mean. Noone from outside the walls really knows what goes on behind them.
It seems that every time a former member of some cult, or wacko religion is interviewed after leaving, the stories of brainwashing, physical violence, psychological torture, frequently child abuse are on the list of methods for punishment. These people will do whatever it takes to make an example of the those who will not follow "the order".
In short, it is possible and even likely that child abuse is present in these "organisations", but the teaching alone may not be considered "abuse" in it's own right. Never mind the fact that you are limiting the child's future by by deliberately misguiding them on what is real and what is not. Teaching them that hate is right, and science and tolerance are wrong is to destroy their ability to truly judge right from wrong in the future.
And to condemn scientific learning will diminish their capabilities of supporting themselves when they are grown up. The world is becoming more technologically dependent every day, and those who cannot adapt to this change will find themselves limited in what they can do to support themselves and their future families.
This is just my own opinion, but as far as a statement made earlier about taking the kids away and putting the parents in jail or prison, well...maybe taking them away from that negative learning environment would not be such a bad idea. And as to prison, well those parents teaching their kids to protest at soldiers funerals...prison is far too good for those stupid bastards!

Oxymoron: "Religious teaching"
"Simple common sense goes out the window when religion comes in through the door." Me (Blasphemy Fan )
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes blasphemy fan's post
30-08-2011, 12:28 AM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
(30-08-2011 12:10 AM)blasphemy fan Wrote:  Defining the teaching of christianity to children in itself may not be physical child abuse, but when you have severe extremists like these shown in that first video link, I know first hand that physical child abuse is always right around the corner.
A child from that kind of family is raised in the "spare the rod, spoil the child" fashion. To these people that teach hate murder and violence, there would be no mercy on a child that disagrees with them. Many of these children are most likely raised in terrible fear of their parents responses to alternative beliefs. I would not be a bit surprised to find that these children are abused behind closed doors. That's the way it was in my childhood. The "perfect christian family" was the public image, but mortal terror was often the truth inside the walls of our house. If any of you have seen the movie "Mommy Dearest" you would have a rough idea of what I mean. Noone from outside the walls really knows what goes on behind them.
It seems that every time a former member of some cult, or wacko religion is interviewed after leaving, the stories of brainwashing, physical violence, psychological torture, frequently child abuse are on the list of methods for punishment. These people will do whatever it takes to make an example of the those who will not follow "the order".
In short, it is possible and even likely that child abuse is present in these "organisations", but the teaching alone may not be considered "abuse" in it's own right. Never mind the fact that you are limiting the child's future by by deliberately misguiding them on what is real and what is not. Teaching them that hate is right, and science and tolerance are wrong is to destroy their ability to truly judge right from wrong in the future.
And to condemn scientific learning will diminish their capabilities of supporting themselves when they are grown up. The world is becoming more technologically dependent every day, and those who cannot adapt to this change will find themselves limited in what they can do to support themselves and their future families.
I absolutely agree with this. This all looks like child abuse to me. My problem is that Hitchens and Dawkins are implying all religious education is child abuse which obviously cannot be true. And this gives religious people an argument against us.

(30-08-2011 12:10 AM)blasphemy fan Wrote:  This is just my own opinion, but as far as a statement made earlier about taking the kids away and putting the parents in jail or prison, well...maybe taking them away from that negative learning environment would not be such a bad idea. And as to prison, well those parents teaching their kids to protest at soldiers funerals...prison is far too good for those stupid bastards!
First do no harm.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
30-08-2011, 05:22 AM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
Hi everyone. This is a topic very close to my heart. I am very impressed with nearly everyone's comments so far.

We can argue about the definition of "abuse". Whether we call Christian education "abuse" or not, I have no doubt it is detrimental to all children (and the adults they become). I have researched and written in some depth about this.

I can offer a fresh perspective on this. There is no doubt in my mind a "religious education" has as its very core an agenda of establishing power and control over an innocent child.

It is a free world so churches have the right to interpret history to their own advantage and to advertise to adults, but when they impose their beliefs on young children they are playing dirty. Churches have always made children one of their key targets because it is much easier to sell mythical nonsense to a young child than to a rational adult. The uncritical, sensitive and trusting mind of the child is usually where the Christian seed is first planted. Children’s heads are filled with exorbitant amounts of Christian propaganda in the form of prayers, hymns and stories about heaven, hell, Jesus, angels and devils. Good and bad behavior is described in Christian terms, and children are told God is watching them and can read their thoughts. Christmas toys and chocolate Easter eggs, obviously designed to appeal to children, are associated with Jesus’ birth and resurrection. Churches run schools in which children are taught about the Bible, complete with Christian prejudices, as part of the curriculum. The promises of Christian fundamentalism create fear, then appeal directly to the primitive security fears of a child to relieve it!

Well-meaning Christian teachers fail to realize churches are using them to fill children’s minds with so much superstitious nonsense it makes the advertising on television look small time. This unrelenting blitz develops brand loyalty. Brainwashed children become compliant adults, obedient Christian adults willing to part with their cash. Compliant adults help brainwash the next generation and the cycle continues. Churches have refined the art of keeping themselves in business, and make the corporations of the commercial world look like amateurs in comparison.

Does this hurt the children? Oh yes. Convincing a child he or she is bad does untold harm to basic self-esteem. To a child, Satan can be a very real person, waiting to devour him. Many children are psychologically scarred by their Christian upbringing, although the damage sometimes doesn’t become apparent until later in life. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and other doctors are way too familiar with the issues. Early childhood experiences are so embedded in the subconscious that people often have recurrent troubling thoughts and nightmares. The problems include paranoia, poor self-esteem, poor self-expression, irrational thinking, fear of the devil, fear of hell, guilt about sexuality, and hurt due to exposure to hypocrisy and unhealthy prejudices. It is just not right to indoctrinate children with an ideology that causes this many problems!

If Christian adults disagree with me and genuinely believe the Christian agenda is so wonderful, why the pressing need to indoctrinate and pre-prejudice young minds with so much of it? Why not teach Christianity to children when they are old enough to better think for themselves? Geography, trigonometry, and economics are universally regarded as valuable, but no one thinks a five-year-old needs to be saturated with them.

Parents should not allow churches to use psychological tricks such as repetition in prayer and musical messages in hymns to promote the dogma to their innocent children! If the dogma is that valuable it should sell itself without trickery.

The truth about this is that churches know it is vital to get inside children’s heads as early as possible. That very fact means their agenda is focused on the good of the church, not the good of the child. That, in my opinion, is not excusable from organizations claiming to preach social harmony and morality.

Children deserve a lot better. What young children soak up like a sponge is human love, fun, gentle discipline, stimulation and truthful facts about their world. That is what makes them happy and gives real meaning to their lives, as shown by the well-adjusted and happy children in many close knit communities who have never heard of God or Jesus. Human love and stimulation are real. Nonsense about an ancient God with odd ideas who they can’t see, touch or understand is not.

Church authorities may accuse me of being cynical. These people have probably never really thought about church greed and the reality of indoctrination. Brand loyalty has been so heavily stamped into their minds they can’t fathom the idea of their church losing its grip on the market. Consider the typical fundamentalist’s response if a Christian denomination other than his own were to educate his children. The teachings are almost identical, yet many would be horrified because a “Christian education” is all about shoring up the power of one type of Christianity, not about providing a blueprint for a happy life.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Mark Fulton's post
30-08-2011, 12:20 PM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
(30-08-2011 05:22 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  There is no doubt in my mind a "religious education" has as its very core an agenda of establishing power and control over an innocent child.
This is our opinion. It is not shared - and probably never will be - by lots of perfectly decent and rational people.

(30-08-2011 05:22 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  It is a free world so churches have the right to interpret history to their own advantage and to advertise to adults, ....
And there is nothing wrong in a parent discussing their opinions with their children in the hope of passing on those opinions to another generation. The problem does not arise when the opinions are wrong. The problem arises when there is an emotionally coercive element. Or it can arise when it as presented as the same status of information as science - often by presenting science as consisting only of unproven theories.

(30-08-2011 05:22 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  but when they impose their beliefs on young children they are playing dirty.
Churches have always made children one of their key targets because it is much easier to sell mythical nonsense to a young child than to a rational adult. The uncritical, sensitive and trusting mind of the child is usually where the Christian seed is first planted. Children’s heads are filled with exorbitant amounts of Christian propaganda in the form of prayers, hymns and stories about heaven, hell, Jesus, angels and devils. Good and bad behavior is described in Christian terms, and children are told God is watching them and can read their thoughts. Christmas toys and chocolate Easter eggs, obviously designed to appeal to children, are associated with Jesus’ birth and resurrection. Churches run schools in which children are taught about the Bible, complete with Christian prejudices, as part of the curriculum. The promises of Christian fundamentalism create fear, then appeal directly to the primitive security fears of a child to relieve it!
Indeed. But we are in danger of being accused of something worse. The accusation from, say Peter Hitchens, is that we are trying to sever the binds of parental instruction so we can impose on them our own twisted morality. This accusation has potential for real resonance which can damage our cause.

(30-08-2011 05:22 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  If Christian adults disagree with me and genuinely believe the Christian agenda is so wonderful, why the pressing need to indoctrinate and pre-prejudice young minds with so much of it? Why not teach Christianity to children when they are old enough to better think for themselves? Geography, trigonometry, and economics are universally regarded as valuable, but no one thinks a five-year-old needs to be saturated with them.
Well first of all I think children should be taught morality and should be taught objectively about religion. But it is important to teach ethics to children. We need to make it very plain that we care as much as about ethics as they do.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
30-08-2011, 01:12 PM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
(29-08-2011 04:37 PM)Ghost Wrote:  There is no line for me to draw because I consider all of this worthy of ridicule (this, not you).

By saying that telling a child there's a hell is child abuse, you ARE implying that it's the same as beating a child. I refuse to accept that.

For anything you're saying to make sense, you have to redefine everything. It's an argument that relies 100% on reframing things and appealing to the emotions.

I don't think raising a child as a racist is child abuse. I think that notion is ridiculous. I don't think that it's clear harm to the child. I’d be interested in hearing an argument for why it’s so clear.

I'm not saying racism is fine and, like I said already, I'm not saying that nothing is questionable about religious doctrine. Saying that it's not abuse is not saying that it's perfectly OK. It's problematic, it's disagreeable, we can address it, but it's a legal right and it's not abuse.

Suggesting that teaching your children these things is child abuse is suggesting that it is a criminal act, which is what child abuse is and that the children should be taken from their parents by the state and that the parents should go to prison. I'm sorry, but as far as I'm concerned that's depraved.

Hi Matt,

Well, as you might suspect, I beg to differ. Wink

First of all, I’d tend to use a term like “depraved” more for what the Phelps clan is doing to their kids than for any attempts to remove their kids from that toxic environment, but I won’t harp on that.

As I see it, the big issue here (and also in other threads, like the ones on circumcision) is to what extent the state should interfere with what parents do with their children. On the one hand, you have the right of parents to raise their kids as they see fit. On the other, you have the right of the state not only to protect children from harm and ensure that their rights aren’t violated but also to have a say as to what kind of citizens the kids will grow up to be. This has everything to do with drawing lines, because the rights of neither side are absolute.

Take our basic topic here, education. Can and should the state interfere with a child’s education, or is that the exclusive domain of the parents?

EXAMPLE 1
A Taliban sympathizer thinks girls should not be educated—the only thing they need to know is how to cook, clean, make babies, and please their husbands. Does this parent have the right not to educate his daughter?

In the U.S., the country I know best, the answer is no. Education is compulsory, although the required amount varies from state to state. So in this case, the government’s compelling interest in producing a certain type of citizen trumps the parent’s right to exercise his beliefs with respect to his kid.

EXAMPLE 2
A devout Muslim parent in the U.S. believes that the only necessary education for children is learning to recite, and ideally memorize, the Qur’an in Arabic. Can this parent prevent his children from receiving a secular education?

Again, no. Even for home-schooled children, the government mandates not only the fact but also the content of education. Kids have to be taught English and reading, math, science, “social sciences,” . . . (Here are some of the legal requirements for my own state, California.) Again, the government’s compelling interest trumps parental rights.

EXAMPLE 3
A sexually radical parent thinks his kids will benefit if they’re exposed to sexual material as early as possible. So he regularly shows his very young kids explicit videos, including porn. OK?

No. (At least I don’t think so! I’m assuming there are laws against this, and that parents caught doing this kind of thing would be deemed unfit and would have their children taken away. If anyone knows anything to the contrary, please enlighten me.) Although there’s no physical abuse here, the state has determined that the psychological harm done to kids in this situation is sufficient to prevent the parents from exercising their freedom in raising their kids as they think best.

EXAMPLE 4
The Phelps clan indoctrinates their children with the belief that God despises homosexuals, and also Jews, Catholics, and anyone in the U.S. military. Can the government intervene to prevent this indoctrination?

Evidently not. And this seems inconsistent to me. If the state can mandate the content of education to the extent it stipulates what you must teach children—presumably because if you don’t, you’ll produce an adult who will be a drag on society—why can’t it also stipulate what you must not teach them, in this case hatred of others, and for the same reason, i.e. that the results of such indoctrination are inimical to the kind of society we want to live in?

I realize this has gotten a bit far from the original question, which is whether all religious indoctrination should be considered child abuse. Clearly, I think, the answer to that one is no. But some kinds of teaching, religious or otherwise, seem to me to do harm to children and society. And then the drawing-lines issue I’ve been talking about kicks in: at what point can and should the state intervene in how parents are raising their kids? I don't see an easy answer to that question, but I sure wish there were some legal way to remove those poor kids from their cretin parents in the Westboro Baptist Church.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
30-08-2011, 01:47 PM
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
It seems to me that there is a fair amount of consensus on this thread that a lot of religious education is bad, but attempting to do something about it runs up against parents' responsibility to form their children into responsible parents. There is some argument over where to draw lines and what constitutes child abuse.

However, I don't find that debate very interesting. My question really is does anyone else see how this debate appears to religious people - and I mean the most reasonable and rational religious people - not Westboro nutcases? I suspect that we are making the chasm of misunderstanding on a narrow point of common interest far wider than it needs to be. Can anyone else see this?
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
30-08-2011, 02:17 PM (This post was last modified: 30-08-2011 02:23 PM by Joe Bloe.)
RE: Dawkins and Hitchens have overstated their case on "child abuse"
Father Furniss was famously known as "The Children's Apostle" and in 1855 he wrote "The Sight of Hell", about which the Vicar General of Dublin said, "I have carefully read over this Little Volume for Children and have found nothing whatsoever in it contrary to the doctrine of Holy Faith; but, on the contrary, a great deal to charm, instruct and edify our youthful classes, for whose benefit it has been written."

Here are some excerpts from the 1882 version of that "little volume for children"
[published by the Catholic Church in various editions over a period of at least thirty years]

Quote:See! It is a pitiful sight. The little child is in this red hot oven. Hear how it screams to come out. See how it turns and twists itself about in the fire. It beats its head against the roof of the oven. It stamps its little feet on the floor of the oven. You can see on the face of this little child what you see on the faces of all in hell -- despair, desperate and horrible!
[...]
Come into this room. You see it is very small. But see, in the midst of it there is a girl, perhaps about eighteen years old. What a terrible dress she has on -- her dress is made of fire. On her head she wears a bonnet of fire. It is pressed down close all over her head; it burns her head; it burns into the skin; it scorches the bone of the skull and makes it smoke. The red hot fiery heat goes into the brain and melts it.
[...]
But see more. She is wrapped up in flames, for her frock is fire. If she were on earth she would be burnt to a cinder in a moment. But she is in hell, where fire burns everything, but burns nothing away. There she stands burning and scorched; there she will stand for ever burning and scorched! She counts with her fingers the moments as they pass away slowly, for each moment seems to her like a hundred years. As she counts the moments she remembers that she will have to count them for ever and ever.
[...]
Look into this room. What a dreadful place it is! The roof is red hot; the floor is like a thick sheet of red hot iron. See, on the middle of that red hot floor stands a girl. She looks about sixteen years old. Her feet are bare, she has neither shoes nor stockings on her feet; her bare feet stand on the red hot burning floor. The door of this room has never been opened before since she first set her foot on the red hot floor. Now she sees that the door is opening. She rushes forward. She has gone down on her knees on the red hot floor. Listen, she speaks! She says; "I have been standing with my feet on this red hot floor for years. Day and night my only standing place has been this red hot floor. Sleep never came on me for a moment, that I might forget this horrible burning floor. Look," she says, "at my burnt and bleeding feet. Let me go off this burning floor for one moment, only for one single, short moment. Oh, that in the endless eternity of years, I might forget the pain only for one single, short moment." The devil answers her question: "Do you ask," he says, "for a moment, for one moment to forget your pain. No, not for one single moment during the never-ending eternity of years shall you ever leave this red hot floor!"

http://www.saintsworks.net/books/Fr.%20J...0Hell.html

Christians past and present, teaching their children about hell - they make me sick.

Believe nothing you hear and only half what you see
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Joe Bloe's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: