Victoria NeuroNotes

Into the Gray

Terrorizing Children in the Name of God

74 Comments

Warning:  Graphic Image

This wasn’t the post I had planned on publishing next, but after reading an article yesterday titled —

Why Are Americans So Inclined to Disrespect Children?:  Even those who work with kids are unlikely to always afford them the dignity they deserve.”,

— I was reminded of my childhood — being taught about the flames of torture in a hell that a supposedly loving god created.  I was indoctrinated from an early age by the Roman Catholic Church, and attended Catholic schools for a couple of years.  Using biblical teachings to instill obedience was not uncommon.   I felt utterly voiceless as a child.

At a very young age I learned that the Christian god got pissed off at his creation — humans — and thought that the only ‘moral’ solution was global genocide.  This “loving act” included children and infants.  I was a sensitive kid, and  empathic early on.  When I’d listened to the story of Noah’s Ark, I had visuals in my mind of that dreaded scene; I was overcome with fear and trepidation.  This fear of god’s wrath played a major role in the night terrors I experienced for many years when I was a kid.  At one point it got so bad my parents took me to see a doctor.  My dad was in the Air Force, so the doctor’s office was at a military hospital.

He assured my parents that this was nothing to be concerned about and that it would pass.  He also told them that I was probably “acting up” to get attention.  This doctor, who was a young military GP, did not have the credentials to make such an assessment.  It was the first and only time he examined me.  He asked my parents if he could speak with me alone.  Since many saw doctors as though they were gods themselves, they agreed.  I was around the age of 7 at the time.  He took me into a room, sat me on a gurney, and said “do you know what this is?” pointing to the gurney.  I said, “no sir”.  He said, “this is a special operating bed we use to cut open children — children who lie.”

 Our brains are sculpted by our early experiences. Maltreatment is a chisel that shapes a brain to contend with strife, but at the cost of deep, enduring wounds. —Teicher

I can’t even begin to tell you how scared I was — terrorized.  I felt so alone, and became even more afraid — that when I had another night terror it would only make my parents angry.

Night terrors commonly occur when brainwaves slow to a low alpha – high theta brain wave state, just before falling asleep.  It’s when the imagination is the most active and vivid.

 *****

 

Noah's ark4Why is it that parents and religious teachers don’t put themselves in the shoes of children, and realize that sharing stories like Noah’s Ark and hell is cruel and a form of child abuse?  Probably because societies have historically and traditionally viewed children as property and therefore dehumanized them.  My parents didn’t teach me about Noah’s Ark and hell.  The Roman Catholic Church did.  They instilled the “fear of god” in me at a very early age.  Go to most department stores in America, where they carry nursery accessories, and you will see Noah’s Ark themes in crib and bed linen, pictures, mobiles, etc.  Interestingly enough, the Noah’s Ark theme is one of the most popular decor themes for children’s rooms.

Sugar-coated genocide!

 

The quote in the header from Psychologist Alice Miller (who is now deceased) had a PhD in philosophy, psychology and sociology.  Dr. Miller authored 13 books, and dedicated her life’s work to raising awareness about the consequences of child abuse (physical, emotional, sexual.)   Her research is being confirmed by recent discoveries in neuroscience.  Child abuse in all its forms profoundly affects the developing brain.

 

From Ounce of Prevention.org“Starting Smart:  How Early Experiences Affect Brain Development”:

“Negative early experiences can also profoundly affect the development of the brain. Unfortunately, child abuse and neglect are pervasive social problems. Each year in the United States there are more than a million substantiated cases – and many more than that probably never come to light. Maltreatment increases a child’s risk of developing depression, self-destructive behavior, eating disorders, attention deficit disorders, drug and alcohol problems, sexual promiscuity and delinquency.

At the moment, we know the most about how traumatic experiences affect the brains of children who develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Similar to adults with PTSD, these children have trouble sleeping, can’t control their memories of the trauma, and seem to be on constant alert (Kaufman & Charney, 1999).  While experiencing the symptoms of PTSD, children have difficulty learning and maintaining positive relationships with family and peers.

Although the ability of the brain to put abused children on constant alert may help them to survive in traumatic environments (for example, the battered child may be able to better avoid the abusive father when he is in a bad mood) it exacts a cost, for the child and for society.

It is important that we not assume that a poorly parented or traumatized child is incapable of healthy functioning later in childhood or adolescence. Research on the developing brain suggests continuing opportunity for change into adulthood and provides no evidence that there is some age beyond which intervention will fail to make a difference.”

While the studies are encouraging regarding probable rehabilitation from the harmful effects of child abuse, it doesn’t necessarily negate the long-term physical health problems in adulthood.  Peer-reviewed studies show that adverse childhood experiences can also lead to disease and early death.

Photo credit: Center For Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/ace/index.htm

 

From the Center For Disease Control:

“The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. The study is a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego.

More than 17,000 Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) members undergoing a comprehensive physical examination chose to provide detailed information about their childhood experience of abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction. To date, more than 50 scientific articles have been published and more than 100 conference and workshop presentations have been made.

The ACE Study findings suggest that certain experiences are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death as well as poor quality of life in the United States. Progress in preventing and recovering from the nation’s worst health and social problems is likely to benefit from understanding that many of these problems arise as a consequence of adverse childhood experiences.”

*****

 

 

In 2008, I ran across a website (link below) while doing research on the effects of religion and childhood brain development.  Posted was a story being taught to young children from Grace Baptist church in California.

bears, prophet, children

It’s a lesson adapted from II Kings 2:23-25.

 

SUBJECT: The Prophet, The Children, and The Bears

“Listen up kids!

Today I’m going to tell you a story from the Bible. Because it’s from the Bible, you know it’s interesting, true, and important. The story took place almost 3,000 years ago in the land of Israel. This is not fairy tale; it’s not a bed time story. It really happened. And what happened way over there a long time ago has something to teach you and me.”

 

He tells these young, impressionable children about the biblical prophets, Elijah and Elisha and how they were called by ‘God’ to bring ‘his’ message.  You can read the full lesson from the pastor here, including an audio.

 

“Elisha put the coat on and made his way to the city of Bethel. The name, Bethel, means “the House of God”. The city had a rich history. Long ago, Jacob had met the Lord there; later, the tabernacle had been there for a long time. You’d think the people of Bethel would be the holiest people in Israel!

But you’d be wrong! In fact, the people of Bethel were among the worst sinners in Israel. For many years the grown-ups had worshiped The Golden Calf – which was an idol the Lord hated.

Rotten parents had rotten kids! When the kids saw Elisha, they weren’t happy to have a prophet in town and they weren’t thankful in the least.

Instead of greeting him with kind words, they tore into him with a vicious joke. Now, there’s nothing wrong with joking. And if you want to say something funny about me, I don’t mind. But the joke the kids told that day wasn’t innocent, it wasn’t funny. It was cruel and hateful. When they saw God’s prophet, they mocked him, saying,

“Go up, you bald head!

Go up, you bald head!”

Calling a man “bald head” was not very nice. But that wasn’t the worst part of the joke.

No, it was “Go up” that was so offensive. Why? Because it meant, “Why don’t you go up there where Elijah is-and leave us alone!”

The Curse

“When Elisha heard what they said, he got very mad. But not only did he get mad, but the Lord did too! Elisha cursed the kids in God’s name, and two mother bears came out of the woods, and tore those kids to pieces.

Why? Because they did not respect the prophet of God. Which is another way of saying they did not respect the Word of God.

Can you imagine how scary it must be to be attacked by a bear? Can you imagine how much the long claws and the sharp teeth must hurt when they sink into your arm or leg? Can you imagine how the parents felt when their kids didn’t come home?

But this really happened! There was a road or a field in Bethel littered with little arms and legs and dead bodies. 42 kids killed for not respecting God’s Word.”

The Lesson

“The lesson is this: You must respect God’s Word.”

“Disrespecting the Word makes God very unhappy. And gets you into trouble.”

Read here under How To — what he tells these children — how they should respect the Bible bible, “God’s word”.

CLOSE

“Kids, everything in the Bible is true, but not everything is equally important. Respecting God’s Word is one of the most important things you can do. And not respecting it is one of the worst sins you can commit.

So why don’t you respect it? When you don’t feel like it, think back on the kids who didn’t.  And learn from their mistakes.

God bless you, every one. Amen.”

 *****

 

Why is religious terrorism allowed to be taught to children?  Why is this legal?  Churches are getting tax-exempt status by the U.S. government while terrorizing children. As I wrote this post, I was reminded of a movie I watched when I was a kid — Bless the Beast and the Children, a 1971 film adaptation of the novel of the same name, by Glendon Swarthout.  There’s a scene where the children are gathered in the coral being shot at by hunters, sportsman/women who are their parents.  It is incredibly sobering and symbolic of how many cultures (including America) perceive and treat children.

A tune is playing in my head featured in the movie, sung by Karen Carpenter. Bless the Beast and the Children  There are a few images in the beginning that are heartwarming.

“Bless the beasts and the children
For in this world they have no voice
They have no choice

Bless the beasts and the children
For the world can never be
The world they see

Bless the beasts and the children
Give them shelter from the storm
Keep them safe, keep them warm

Light their way when the darkness surrounds them
And give them love, let it shine all around them”

 


US Copyright Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107

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Author: NeuroNotes

Victoria predominately blogs about religion, and the brain's role in religious type experiences.

74 thoughts on “Terrorizing Children in the Name of God

  1. Wow, excellent post! I love the point about Noah’s Ark being in children’s stuff, you’re right, it’s everywhere. It’s our most traditional ‘animal’ story. I’ve got such a bad memory, but I’d love to go back in time and see what stories I was told in Sunday School.

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  2. When I was visiting some friends a year ago – friends who knew me as a Xian and know I no longer am – one of them bragged about the great Sunday school lesson they had taught fourth graders that morning. The lesson was to be good because Jesus is watching everything you do. How is that good news? Looking back I wish I had questioned her but the time and place didn’t feel right.

    I never experienced quite the level of trauma you did but I remember asking forgiveness for my sins nearly every night for fear that I might die unforgiven.

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    • Hi Michale, thanks for your comment. Children’s frontal lobes are not fully developed until around 20 to 25 years of age. Therefore, they are primarily functioning from their limbic system, where the fear center is located. When people teach children to fear in this manner, they are causing the child’s brain to increase in gray matter volume in the right amygdala (fear, negative emotions, fight or flight).

      I, too, remember praying nearly every night for fear I might die unforgiven, and I was petrified of the devil — Satan.

      “The lesson was to be good because Jesus is watching everything you do. How is that good news?”

      Exactly.

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  3. Another great post! In my own case, I was not force-fed any religious dogma. I was in Jr. High when I first heard about Armageddon from a Jehovah’s Witness I had a huge crush on. She showed me a book that had illustrations about all the death and destruction in our future. It was pretty scary even at that age.

    Yet the point I wanted to make is that there is so much terrorizing that goes on in normal society that we seem to be completely desensitized to. It usually gets the name Reality. Like, the news exists to show us Reality. Uh-huh. Again, I was in Jr. High, but I remember being subjected to Signal 30, the share-all film about traffic accidents we had to watch. Or being sure the Russians wanted to bomb the crap out of us good Americans. Just a bunch of stuff like that.

    Some of the most gut-wrenching video I see is when there are films of little kids spouting off religious-based hatred, like against gays. Little kids who probably don’t even know what being gay means already persuaded by their church that Satan has them in his sight.

    I hope Jesus is watching this can of worms.

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  4. Hi Victoria – Yup, the bible really isn’t a very good kids book. With telling Abraham to kill his kid to laws about allowing the beating of slaves as long as they don’t die; and then all the rape as well as human sacrifice, it’s just a very ugly book. And then the New testament came along and made an attempt at rising above it but then had some verses that affirmed everything in the Hebrew Scriptures and also went ahead and threw in the worst thing of all – the fear of an eternity of pain (and isn’t even all that clear about exactly how to avoid it).

    P.S. – I really hope that picture with the bears isn’t used by Christian churches!! Please tell me it’s not.

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    • Yes, these are all fabulous comments!! If you say this to any of the kool aid drinkers, they freak out!! I drank the kool aid for a very long time. No longer. I am free.

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    • You’re so right, Howie. I remember the day I heard the story of Abraham and his young son, Isaac, when God commanded Abraham to kill his son to prove his loyalty to God. That child was powerless. I visualized what must have been going through that child’s mind at the time. How betrayed he must have felt from someone he’d put his full trust in and had no voice, no say in the matter.

      I don’t think the picture was used by Christian churches. Not to my knowledge, anyway. But I certainly wouldn’t put it pass them.

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  5. Great stuff, Victoria. Have you ever looked into The Good News Club? That is some insane stuff, and its targeted only to children.

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  6. Awesome post. Thank you. I hope the people who need to see this will be able to. Awesome!

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  7. This proves that minors should not be involved with religion. Like smoking and drinking, religion should be considered as an adults only kind of thing: and prohibited for minors.

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    • Spot on, Mordanicus. I really do get tired of hearing the same BS that people aren’t interpreting the Bible correctly. These people are equally responsible for sugar-coating what is clearly anti-social behavior, and can lead to anti-social behavior. It is written that Jesus commanded that people (including children) worship his psychopathic father, and that Jesus would come back and slaughter all those who didn’t submit and obey his daddy.

      Christian institutions like the two largest in America, the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention, are being rewarded through tax-exempt status to mentally and physically abuse children.

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      • Honestly, I don’t care whether people are interpreting the bible, or whatever “holy” scripture correctly. However, I care about people’s right t believe or not to believe, and to do whatever they want as long as they do not harm non-consenting others. Children are not able to give informed consent, and are heavily dependent upon others; hence the public should protect them against abuse.

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        • Well said, Mordanicus. Christian parents, for example, will claim persecution (as mentioned in the bible), never thinking about the abuse their children endure, and the negative, long-term effects on society. That’s because children have been dehumanized. These parents and religious teachers think they are actually being loving, sparing these children from eternal hell, all the while these children are already living in hell on earth.

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  8. Great post – being raised by an Irish Catholic mother and going to a convent school I can relate to a lot of this. I was terrified to go to sleep at night in case I would die and go to hell for some minor infringement. My mother ruled me by telling me I would go to hell all the time. Meanwhile of course she is a cruel narcissistic woman.
    Slightly amusing point showing how ridiculous all this is. I remember praying very hard for all the little babies in limbo. They were there because they had not been baptised. From a young age we were taught how to baptise babies in case we ever came across a dying one. WTF?? Anyway the babies in limbo who would be there “until the end of time” when they would then go to heaven – were my special case that I devoted much prayer and sacrifice to. Recently the pope says “Limbo no longer exists” !! So admitting to all it was just a figment of someone’s weird and perverted imagination anyway. Why oh why do people believe in this rubbish. Would be funny if the consequences weren’t to serious.

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    • Thank you Cleo. I’m so sorry to read about your own personal experiences. I can also remember thinking about limbo. In a child’s mind, being separated from a parent figure — someone who would protect and nurture you, will eff with your mind. All those babies and children (basically orphaned) left without anyone to care for them until Christ’s return. Now, as you mentioned, limbo no longer exists in the eyes of the RCC. Well, for those of us who were raised with this diabolical belief, the thoughts of that belief is forever imprinted in our minds. The damage is done.

      Well done RCC. Hope you’re enjoying your riches at untold costs to humanity.

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  9. This was a truly excellent and disturbing post. You cut right to the heart of the issue.
    I think there must have been a part of me that always thought it was bullshit, because I never really let the Bible stories get to me. It wasn’t really until I had my own children that it really bothered me.

    I didn’t call myself an atheist until my daughter was about a year old, but I was given a Noah’s Ark photo frame when I was pregnant with her. At first I was annoyed the gifter assumed I was religious, but then I started thinking about the implications. None of the Bible stories were ever viewed the same way again.

    I count myself fortunate to have grown up without the dogma of Hell. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that it is not congruent with a loving God, it’s actually what led to the JW’s creation as a separate sect. The people that seem the most venerable and distressed by religious stories are the ones that find it hardest to leave. At least in my experience. I’m so glad you escaped, V.

    The image I posted (if it even works) has been making the rounds on the internet for a while so you might have seen it. It manages to make me angry and sad and hopeful all at once.

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    • Madalyn, thank you for your feedback. I was raised early on to obey, not think for myself. I know I’m certainly not alone. To have doubts of was I was indoctrinated to belief as ‘truth’ was a sin — and in the eyes of the RCC — a mortal sin.

      ——————————–

      “Mortal sins ((Latin) peccata mortalia) are in the theology of some, but not all, Christian denominations wrongful acts that condemn a person to Hell after death if unforgiven. These sins are considered “mortal” because they constitute a rupture in a person’s link to God’s saving grace: the person’s soul becomes “dead”, not merely weakened. A mortal sin does not usually mean a sin that cannot be repented; even after a mortal sin there is a chance for repentance. To Roman Catholics, repentance and a firm resolution to sin no more or to avoid occasions where one would be likely to give into sin (with at least imperfect contrition) restores the link to God’s saving grace in the sacrament of penance; and restoration outside confession if the contrition is perfect. Perfect contrition rises from the love of God who has been grievously offended.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortal_sin

      ——————————–

      I went to confessional a lot as a kid — just in case. Talk about a mindfuck.

      “Bless me father, for I have sinned. It has be ______ since my last confession, and these are my sins.”

      Some things you never forget.

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  10. Great post and very close to home. Mum’s side of the family were Roman Catholics and she instilled the fear of God’s wrath from a very early age. I’m not sure if I had an understanding of people’s idea of heaven, but I certainly had the full visuals of a burning hell for all the bad children.
    Fortunately, my early memory of these RC beliefs was that they were probably untrue. Rather than persuade some good behaviour, I learned to mistrust most of what Mum was saying. When it came to the important stuff in childhood, I had already switched off and would never listen to her advice. It usually involved God or his punishment in some form, so it was easy to switch off.
    I was also disturbed by the Old Testament stories of parents sacrificing children or selling them to slavery. We learned some of this at a very early age in Bible class. It made me mistrust my parent’s even more. What used to bother me about Noah’s Ark was how the nasty old man could only take some of the animals and leave the rest to drown. Another one that used to get me was the tragic story of Job in the Old T and how the poor man suffered, but still made excuses for his God.
    It seems God has evolved over time. The God of the Old Testament is certainly not the same forgiving and loving one most people like to think of today.
    As for the video of the little boy singing….well, that is very disgusting!

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    • Cat, I really appreciate your feedback and your support. I really admire you and your inner strength —- you’ve been through so much, and you have inspired me many times with your raw honesty and willingness to be vulnerable. You wrote:

      “Fortunately, my early memory of these RC beliefs was that they were probably untrue. Rather than persuade some good behaviour, I learned to mistrust most of what Mum was saying. When it came to the important stuff in childhood, I had already switched off and would never listen to her advice.”

      I came from a very large family (not immediate family) on my mother’s side — all Catholics and my father’s side were all Catholics as well, going back a couple of hundred years. We had lots of family reunions and I have many fond memories of those times. They were pillars and prominent members of their community, very much liked and respected. I had god parents, too. I lived with my Nana (my mother’s mother) for a couple of years, and we had a very close relationship. I also attended Catholic school when I lived with her, and we never missed a service. For my parents, I think the RCC became babysitters for them, as they would often drop us off at church but not attend themselves. We also had to attend CCD classes after school.

      But my point in all this is to say that when you have a close relationship — dearly love those who are caring for you, you look up to them and it’s easy for a child to believe that their caregivers must be right about their choice in religion and belief in god. And I think it is natural to want to please the ones you love and emulate them. I was convinced in the belief in God and the doctrine of the RCC by positive reinforcement from my primary caregivers. That’s what made it difficult to doubt these beliefs.

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    • “It seems god has evolved over time. The God of the Old Testament is certainly not the same forgiving and loving one most people like to think of today.”

      I figured out quite young that who Jesus came to save us from was God. After all, he’s the one who brings all the misery to the world because of his permanently pi*sed off nature. Over time, of course, I realized that Jesus was just as phony as the Father god, then everything brightened up. Sometimes I wonder about the street corner preacher whose name got picked up by the “Church Fathers” and made into the Jesus of NT fame. Who knows?

      Fasinating stuff, thanks a million!

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  11. It’s nice to hear your empassioned voice ring, Victoria. I was raised in a very open-belief environment; I could choose to read, believe, research, question, anything and everything. I was lucky to have a mom who encouraged me, like Buddha, to question everything and to find my own truth.

    I wish we all were raised with that mentality.

    Love you, Christy

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    • Thank you Christy. You were so fortunate to be raised in an open-belief environment. That’s how I raised my daughter, even though I was a Christian for most of the time I was raising her. She still thanks me for this freedom of choice.

      “I wish we all were raised with that mentality.”

      I couldn’t agree more. No doubt the world would be a better place.

      I love you, too, my friend.

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  12. Victoria – you have such a wonderful and caring heart.

    And I just had to add a comment – because one of the things that makes me angry is to so many Christians misinterpret the bible verse that says “spare the rod, spoil the child” – so many of them MIStake this to mean that beating a kid is okay – and actually suggest it is needed because it prevents the kid from being ruined/spoiled. but even mere common sense debunks this idea because it doesn’t make sense – “let’s really hurt them into wholeness???” not…..

    anyhow, the term (spare the rod) is a farming term – from a farming analogy – about a shepherd’s use of a rod to guide the sheep – it was to GUIDE them = not beat them with! The rod was used with tapping patterns and an occasional realigning – gently – or the firm hook in once in a while (I guess) but never to beat. It aches my heart to see people misread that and then hit their kids – claiming it is biblical and for their own good. Instead, kids have minds that can be taught and reasoned with – and explained things to – and guided and loved on – and RESPECTED!! And this verse better is translated as “without the proper guidance, kids will be lost and flounder” –

    ~yvette

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    • “Instead, kids have minds that can be taught and reasoned with – and explained things to – and guided and loved on – and RESPECTED!! And this verse better is translated as “without the proper guidance, kids will be lost and flounder””

      Yvette, thank you! You are spot on — children can be taught and reasoned with, have things explained to them to help guide them rather than hitting them. And YES — respected! Its just very disconcerting that so many denominations within Christianity, including the two largest, believe and teach that corporal punishment is a godly way — to seize control of a child by using force. In America, if you threaten and use force against an adult, it’s called assault and battery and is illegal. And we wonder why our country is dysfunctional? 19 states allow corporal punishment, even in school. When you look at the U.S. map, it’s pretty telling.

      “A 1977 Supreme Court ruling determined that while corporal punishment violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment,” the clause did not apply to students. Under the majority’s logic, criminals could not receive corporal punishment, but students could — even without their parent’s permission.”

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      • wow – still reading stuff via that link – but oh my goodness…. come out of the dark ages – it only hurts the child to the core – and hurt people hurt people. the pain and wounds and brutality that a child has goes into adulthood – and well then we wonder why we see certain expressions of anger – like the student who recently attacked people with two large blades in each hand – it is modeling for children that violence is the answer. (duh…)

        and then besides the psychological scars – which are many – and besides just hurting them as a person – and crushing their affection and moods – well the physical injuries are real too. and don’t give me that spanking on the “butt” is benign! a child’s body is growing and the spine is interrelated to everything – and as you know in your areas of brain expertise – the human body can get injured in ways that are not always easy to see the damage of.

        well thanks for taking the time to reply – I almost did not write, but then just had to – and hopefully this will stop. Also, “behind the times” state legislation does not surprise me — because when we moved to Virginia I was shocked to see that smoking was still allowed everywhere. One year – we were near – in like 2005 – we were in the DC area and all dressed up to dine out- but had to eat at a small pizza place because we could not find one smoke free restaurant – not one! – and it was 2005 with all the knowledge about hazards of smoking. okay – enough – well I hope you have a great day –

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    • Yvette, that’s very interesting; I had never heard that meaning before but it makes sense. I googled it and found this page which starts out with the fundamentalist interpretation followed by the one you shared. http://www.religioustolerance.org/spankin13.htm

      With the fundie interpretation, however, there is another Proverb used which does specifically state to “BEAT” with the rod:

      ‘Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell’.” (Prov.23:13-14)”

      Of course that verse also exposes the twisted theology of the bible… :/

      Liked by 1 person

  13. One of the most tangible and accessible areas of child abuse that should be recognized and stamped out is circumcision for religious reasons.
    I doubt any modern Jew or Christian (can’t say for Muslims) could provide a sane reason for forcing it on children in this day and age.

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    • I couldn’t agree more, and the American Academy of Pediatrics states that what benefits they found in studies are not great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision. However, I disagree with them when they say that the final decision should still be left to parents to make in the context of their religious, ethical and cultural beliefs. NO, it should be left to males to make that decision when they become adults NOT the parents.

      How about teaching boys and men to wash their hands before they touch their ‘pee pee’ and lift the foreskin and clean there too. *gasp* what a concept, eh? How about teaching young men to wear condemns, to cut down on STD’s.

      Nono, that’s too much trouble, I suppose. Let’s cut off the foreskin, the most sensitive area, removing some of the sensitivity, therefore reducing sexual pleasure. 🙄

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      • Well, this was the premise behind circumcision for Christian males, which, when one considers the flourishing trade in optometry it didn’t make a blind bit of difference, now did it?
        But this was not the reason for Jews and Muslims of course.

        The issue was brought to the European Court(?) last year and was booted out, but at least it was raised, and it will be looked at again, I am sure.

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        • “it didn’t make a blind bit of difference, now did it?”

          Nope.

          “The issue was brought to the European Court(?) last year and was booted out”

          I remember reading about that. Seems I also remember Germany giving in to the fanatics. Let me check —

          OK, here it is:

          Germany’s Justice Ministry has outlined a planned new law that will allow the circumcision of infant boys and end months of legal uncertainty after a local court banned the practice.

          The ruling in June by a district court in Cologne outraged Muslims and Jews and sparked an emotional debate in the country, leaving an embarrassed government to promise legislation by the autumn protecting the right to circumcise.

          It further states:

          According to the spokesman the outlines were based on parents’ constitutional right to bring up their children and decide on all matters concerning them. The state, however, has a responsibility as watchdog to protect a child’s wellbeing.

          The speed with which national lawmakers agreed in July to pass a new law underscored sensitivity to charges of intolerance in a country haunted by its Nazi past. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany risked becoming a laughing stock if Jews were not allowed to practice their rituals.

          http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/25/us-germany-circumcision-idUSBRE88O17Q20120925

          A laughing stock? WTF? What about the children? What about their constitutional rights?

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  14. Sorry, excellent post.

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  15. The Curse

    “When Elisha heard what they said, he got very mad. But not only did he get mad, but the Lord did too! Elisha cursed the kids in God’s name, and two mother bears came out of the woods, and tore those kids to pieces.

    Why? Because they did not respect the prophet of God. Which is another way of saying they did not respect the Word of God.

    Can you imagine how scary it must be to be attacked by a bear? Can you imagine how much the long claws and the sharp teeth must hurt when they sink into your arm or leg? Can you imagine how the parents felt when their kids didn’t come home?

    But this really happened! There was a road or a field in Bethel littered with little arms and legs and dead bodies. 42 kids killed for not respecting God’s Word.”

    The lesson: Don’t question the preacher and don’t question the book. If you do there’s hell to pay. Is it any wonder it took some of us so long to even utter a doubt?

    Great post!

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  16. Victoria,

    I’m sorry I haven’t been as faithful (seriously NO PUN INTENDED!) in following your excellent work and posts. My evenings or very infrequent days, when briefly free, barely offer time to write on my blog. It is frustrating not being able to keep up with such good work. 😦

    This is another marvelous, insightful post on the ‘venom’ of the Abrahamic religions via their canonical scriptures. It also demonstrates how openly malleable the human brain can truly be, especially during the toddler-adolescent years. Groups of uneducated or hyper co-dependent adults can be equally malleable as demonstrated in this fascinating documentary “Kumare”…

    Wishing you the best my friend…Namaste. 😉

    Like

    • Professor, don’t you dare apologize. I’m serious. You have no idea how much I appreciate you taking what spare time you have and reading and commenting on my post. Thank you for sharing about the Kumare doc. I had not heard of it, but will definitely look into it.

      Wishing you the best as well, my good friend, and again, thank you! 🙂

      Like

  17. Victoria – I’m gonna shill for Kumare as well – a friend recommended that movie to me several months ago and if you haven’t already seen it then I think you will find it well worth the time – it’s right up your alley.

    Like

  18. great read vii. .. kudos to u for addressing this issue, am speech less

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Victoria, this is an issue which has bothered me ever since I stopped being a Christian. When I was 8, my babysitter took me without my parents’ permission to a meeting at her Baptist church, where they showed a movie about the end times. After that I started having religious nightmares, and my parents took me to a psychologist, and after one visit they stopped. But of course even without these extreme exposures, the indoctrination done to kids is damaging in itself. (The movie was “A Distant Thunder” and the 1-star reviews including mine mostly deal with showing it to kids.)

    American Dad did an episode on Armageddon called “Rapture’s Delight,” part of which points out the horrible things we expose children to in churches. Here’s the excerpt regarding kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIXWcIebWg4

    The story which has always distressed me the most every time I think about it is the one told by Stephen King, about a young girl sitting next to him in the theater watching “Passion of the Christ.” Here’s the write up he did about it in Entertainment Magazine. http://www.ew.com/article/2007/02/01/stephen-king-passion-phenomenon

    Like

    • Wow — I watched/read the links. I felt so bad for the child (Alicia) in the Stephan King article. It reminded me of a Psychology Today article, about what happened after a 5 year old child (the author’s daughter) was exposed to a room full of crucifixes. Excerpt:

      “It was about eight years ago. Our older daughter had a school assignment to visit a California mission. Built by the Catholics in the 1700s and 1800s, the California missions are a vital part of California history. And so we were excited to take our daughters to check one out, about 20 miles from our home.

      And the mission was lovely: beautiful landscaping, old buildings, indigenous flowers, a trickling fountain. And then we walked into a large hall — and that’s when my younger daughter lost it. The space was full of crucified Jesuses. Every wall, from floor to ceiling, was adorned with wooden and plaster sculptures of Jesus on the cross: bloody, cut, and crying in pain. Some were very life-like, others more impressionistic. But all exhibited a tortured man in agony. My daughter had no context to understand it; she had no idea what Christianity was all about and had never been exposed to this most famous killing in history. She just saw what it objectively was: a large torture chamber. And she burst into tears and ran out.

      I followed her outside, and once I had caught up with her in the courtyard, she wanted any explanation.

      But how does a secular parent explain such gore to a five year old?

      https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-secular-life/201408/does-christianity-harm-children

      The American Dad video was so spot on. I’ve saved it to my favorites on my YT channel. I will share that in a future post and on other blogs. It grieves me how Christian adults can sit in a theater, scarfing down larges buckets of popcorn (as King noted), all the while their children are losing their innocence, with psychological repercussions that could last a lifetime.

      I’m sadden to read about your own personal experience. I’m so glad Easter has come and gone. I live in the bible belt and the local media, TV stations, showed the various churches in the community who were performing an reenactment of this morbid, sadistic ritual — not giving one ioda that young children could be watching.

      Also, these reenactments are displayed outside in the public. This dude in this clip is just hanging out on a cross, looking like he’s torn to shreds, and like one person said in the video — it’s just creepy. Imagine what that small child, on his dad’s shoulders, must have been thinking.

      http://www.wyff4.com/news/crucifixion-reenactment-get-mixed-reactions/32177934

      Amy, thanks so much for taking the time to read, post links and comment.

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      • Ugh. All so horrible. But you know, kids need to know that Jesus died for them and the gruesomeness of what he suffered for their sins!! *sarcasm off*

        Like

      • Just watched the reenactment video. “Every church should do it.” Oh pleeeeease no!!!

        Like

      • I came back here to reply to a new comment, and looked at our conversation again. I’m now reminded of a theme park in Orlando (where I’m from) called the Holy Land. I really liked it when I went as a Christian (and the food was AWESOME LOL), but I remember now that they had a re-enactment of the Via Dolorosa (with the song) and the crucifixion and resurrection. I’m sure I didn’t notice at the time but I have no doubt there were kids there watching this.

        Check out the lovely photo on the site’s page about it!! *sigh* http://www.holylandexperience.com/exhibits/calvarys_garden_tomb.html

        Of course to offset that, there’s also this kiddie area: http://www.holylandexperience.com/exhibits/adventure_land.html

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s so sad. You are probably aware that the first genocide theme park (The Ark Encounter) will be opening July 7th in Kentucky. Ken Ham does not plan on sugarcoating the message. He thinks that’s dangerous — that kids (and adults) should be afraid, very afraid if they don’t chose the right god — his god, of course.

          Like

          • Seriously??? No, I had not heard about that. I just looked at their website. This page about the flood (https://arkencounter.com/flood/) says “The Bible says that less than 17 centuries after creation, man had become so evil that God judged them with a worldwide flood. Today the world is covered with billions of fossils in rock layers laid down by water—even on top of mountains. There are also hundreds of flood legends from around the globe that are remarkably similar to the Bible’s account.”

            Even if the flood did happen, how does anyone know it was not due to a natural cause rather than “God’s judgment” on evil mankind??

            Liked by 1 person

  20. It’s pretty sobering to see so many various ways children can be terrorized from the bible listed in one place… from Genesis, through the OT, to the crucifixion, to Revelation. Do all religions do this to kids??

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Do all religions do this to kids??”

      To my knowledge, all authoritarian religions do. In Christianity, it is mostly evangelicals protestants and conservative Catholics. Evangelical protestants are the biggest perpetrators, IMO, and most adults are so brainwashed they think that terrorizing children is an act of love.

      Like

  21. I just read this article. Because of “religious freedom,” Christian boarding schools for “at risk” youth have no outside oversight and can open and do whatever they please, and what they please to do is be highly abusive. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/06/12/rapes-daily-beatings-and-no-escape-christian-school-was-hell-for-these-boys.html

    Abuse at religious schools like Blue Creek Academy and Miracle Meadows is underreported and frighteningly prevalent, according to Marci Hamilton, a professor at the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University and author of God vs the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty.

    “These small institutions can be very dangerous to kids because they are isolated and fly under the radar,” Hamilton told The Daily Beast. Because some fundamentalist parents agree with physical abuse as discipline and sexual abuse is often dealt with internally or covered up, Hamilton said, it can be “easy for these groups to get away with it for quite a while, while endangering a series of children.”

    “This is a common problem, which calls for a National Commission on child sex abuse and for states to work more cooperatively on tracking entities that permit and foment child sex abuse and neglect.”

    Indeed, a lack of cooperation by states is the very thing that allows abusive Christian teen reform homes closed by authorities in one state to be reopened in another, sometimes using the same name, and frequently run by the same operators.

    The Government Accountability Office found thousands of allegations of abuse at teen reform homes and camps from 1990 to 2007, some of which involved the death of a young person. The 2007 report was unable to provide a specific number however, as “it could not locate a single Web site, federal agency, or other entity that collects comprehensive nationwide data.” In fact, the only tracking of these types of homes and the abuse that often occurs in them, comes from bloggers and advocacy groups.

    Like

  22. When I was a kid, I wanted to be in another planet to get away from this God.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. It really is incredible how parents can teach this graphic rubbish to children! I’d never thought of it to the same extent you’ve outlined here, but you are absolutely on the money.

    Like

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