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Ch. 9 - CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION 
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Post Ch. 9 - CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION
Please discuss Chapter 9, CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION, in this thread. ::44




Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:22 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 9 - CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION
Just to keep up with current events, it should be noted that Pastor Ted is no longer the president of the 30-million-strong National Association of Evangelicals (p. 319), having confessed to paying for homosexual sex acts and drug abuse just prior to the November elections. Presumably, President Bush no longer favors him with a phone call every Monday...

Fiske

PS: I think there might be some talk of guest appearances at Hell House performances for Christian youth, however...

Edited by: FiskeMiles at: 1/8/07 10:40 pm



Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:38 pm


Post Re: Ch. 9 - CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION
Well, I've already addressed this issue in my blog, so I'll just post an excerpt from it here, if you all don't mind:

"The problem with Dawkins' argument is that he doesn't realize his "child-abuse" argument could apply to any number of beliefs or facts that are taught to children. Now, does this mean that it is never abusive to teach an unsuspecting and uncritical child certain things? Of course not. There are clear cases where such an act would be considered child abuse without question. If, for instance, I teach children that it is acceptable to murder people or steal, thereby turning them into criminals, then I am certainly abusing children. If I teach them that going outside will result in the great moomba in the sky sending them into an eternity of spanking, or teach them that talking to other children is punishable by death and the police will come get them if they do so, then it is arguable that I am abusing the children. These examples are obvious cases of child abuse, not because what the children are being taught is not actually understood by the children, but because what the children are being taught makes them incapable of functioning in society in some way and thus harms them. This is the criterion that Dawkins forgets when he describes religious upbringing as child-abuse. It doesn't matter if the child can't understand what is being taught to him. If I teach a child not to touch a hot stove, he certainly won't understand exactly why I have prohibited this, but that doesn't mean I am abusing the child. It also doesn't matter if what I am teaching the child is false. I can tell a child that the tooth fairy or Santa Claus will give him rewards for certain deeds, but this wouldn't make me abusive. What matters is that the beliefs being taught to children are not going to harm them or harm others. A belief in Santa Claus isn't going to cause anyone any real harm, and this is why it would be ridiculous to suggest it is abusive to teach children about the jolly fat man. But if I teach children that murder and theft are acceptable, then it is clear that I am abusing the child



Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:40 am
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Post Re: Ch. 9 - CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION
Just a quick note, and of course, take this with a grain of salt since I haven't read the book in question, but it strikes me that all this talk of "child abuse" has a certain linguistic bias. I wonder how our perception of Dawkins' argument would change if we were to cast it in a semantically different light. Why not talk about that old Platonic crime of "corrupting the youth"? That seems, to me, more to the point -- particularly if Dawkins' concern is more about what sort of people this children turn into from a social point of view, rather than the personal suffering they may sustain.




Sat Jan 13, 2007 3:49 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 9 - CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION
I am not up to this part yet, but I think child abuse can be satisfactorily applied without any semantic dilutions...like when children are delivered up to predatory priests in the Catholic Church...other than that...being brought up in a system of guilty conscience can effect how a child lives his/her childhood. Being homosexual in a strict religious family can be something that eventually may lead to suicide (I speak from a personal experience here) because the religion (and the parents) just will not have it!! This can be seen as an abuse, unless one is willing to look away that is.

Now whether or not this results in the total ruin of an individual is not the point, just that it can cause undue stress and instill feelings of despair, worthlessness and fear in the individual for not obeying god or the parents without question. Of course there are intelligent people that escape this abusive
indoctrination. Thank god!

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I'm not saying it's usual for people to do those things but I(with the permission of God) have raised a dog from the dead and healed many people from all sorts of ailments. - Asana

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Tue Jan 16, 2007 5:22 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 9 - CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION
Dear Mr. P:

I think in some instances, religious beliefs can lead to child-abuse. In particular, I'm thinking of Christian Scientists who attempt to deny their children proper medical care. This is just one example, obviously. Some of the disciplinary tactics practiced by fundamentalists also fall into the abusive category.

But, just as Dawkins argues that the word God shouldn't be redefined to mean scientific principles, I don't think it is reasonable to redefine "child-abuse" to include religious instruction per se. That certainly won't meet any generally understood definition of the term.

Fiske




Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:59 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 9 - CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION
This is an issue that has concerned me for some time. Frankly, I was gratified to see Dawkins raise it in his book. Hopefully it will help to raise awareness of some of the damage that can be done to children in various ways by religion.

It's also important to note there is a difference between exposure to the teachings of religion and brainwashing of the sort that is sometimes done. I don't think



Tue Jan 16, 2007 8:29 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 9 - CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION
Fiske:

Great point about the Christian Scientists! See, this is where one less 'puff' when I was younger might have helped me out!

lol

Mr. P.

Mr. P's place. I warned you!!!

Mr. P's Bookshelf.

I'm not saying it's usual for people to do those things but I(with the permission of God) have raised a dog from the dead and healed many people from all sorts of ailments. - Asana

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"

I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper




Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:03 am
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Post Re: Ch. 9 - CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION
I think it was rather harsh of professor Dawkins to generalize so broadly by likening the teaching of religious values to child abuse.


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Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:10 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 9 - CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION
Ant, what specifically in chapter 9 did you disagree with?



Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:47 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 9 - CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION
Chris OConnor wrote:
Ant, what specifically in chapter 9 did you disagree with?



Just the overall point Dawkins is essentially repeating in chapter 9 - religion is responsible for horrific deeds across the board.

Just as religion is responsible for monstrous deeds, it also has been responsible for loving deeds throughout history. Dawkins never really acknowledges the flip side of the coin.


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Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:07 am
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Post Re: Ch. 9 - CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION
With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.



Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:40 am
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Post Re: Ch. 9 - CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION
I'd say it takes fanatical devotion to something, some ideology that demands that we give up our independent and instinctual sense of what is the right way to treat other people.
We become in thrall to a power over us which is really nothing more than authority run amok. The examples of this that we see most often involve religion, but of course ideologies are sometimes not based on the supernatural.

The great majority of both religious people and ideologues remain in the sub-fanatical range. They do use their beliefs to make life less stressful for them, and their beliefs might help them accomplish much that is good. I agree with ant on that.


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Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:56 am
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Post Re: Ch. 9 - CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION
Chris OConnor wrote:
With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.


I understand that, Chris :)


There is no denying the fact that atrocities have been committed due to political ideologies.
And there is no denying the fact that acts of compassion and giving have been motivated by religion as well.


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Don't be a chickenhead ~ ant


Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:36 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 9 - CHILDHOOD, ABUSE AND THE ESCAPE FROM RELIGION
I know I’m waaaay late in this discussion. I don’t even know if all of the members who participated are still members but I’m reading the book now (I only read it in spurts) and I came across something in Chapter 9 that I think explains well religion’s capacity for abuse on children (and adults).
Dawkins talks about a woman who wrote him about what happened to her when she was a little girl:

“… I received a letter from an American woman in her forties who had been brought up Roman Catholic. At the age of seven, she told me, two unpleasant things had happened to her. She was sexually abused by her parish priest in his car. And, around the same time, a little schoolfriend of hers, who had tragically died, when to hell because she was a Protestant. Or so my correspondent had been led to believe by the then official doctrine of her parents’ church. Her view as a mature adult was that, of these two examples of Roman Catholic child abuse, the one physical and the other mental, the second was by far the worst. She wrote:

Being fondled by the priest simply left the impression (from the mind of a 7 year old) as ‘yucky’ while the memory of my friend going to hell was one of cold, immeasurable fear. I never lost sleep because of the priest – but I spent many a night being terrified that the people I loved would go to Hell. It gave me nightmares.”

Saint Gasoline wrote above, "What matters is that the beliefs being taught to children are not going to harm them or harm others." I think Dawkins pinpoints well, in this instance alone, the harm inflicted by the beliefs taught to the little girl.



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