Victoria NeuroNotes

Into the Gray

The difference Between Educating and Indoctrinating Children


When viewing the second half of this video, keep in mind that over half of Americans “absolutely believe in Satan“.

More than four in 10 Americans continue to believe that the Abrahamic god created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago; a view that has changed little over the past three decades. A full 69% if they attend church weekly.

By the year 2050, 41% of Americans believe that Jesus Christ will have returned to earth. Fifty-eight percent of white evangelical Christians say Jesus will return to earth in this period.


Religions tell children they might go to hell and they must believe — while science tells children they came from the stars and presents reasoning they can believe.

I’ve told plenty of young kids about stars, atoms, galaxies, and the big bang — and I have never seen fear in there eyes. Only amazement and curiosity. They want more.

Why do kids swim in it and adults drown in it? What happens to reality between our youngest years and adult years?

~Phil Hellenes




Author: NeuroNotes

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

95 thoughts on “The difference Between Educating and Indoctrinating Children

  1. It was studying Christian history that was a significant contributor to the erosion of my faith. One recurring theme in Christian history is that sincere Christians invariably think that Jesus will return in their generation. So pervasive has been this theme that I now conclude that Christians who continue to think this way show that they have not studied the history of their faith – if they did study that history, and were prepared to learn from it (a big if) then they would be cautious in trumpetting that view – why would they be correct when ever previous generation of Christians have been wrong!

    Liked by 4 people

    • I couldn’t agree more, the ignorance on this issue kind of infuriates me. Each generation of self-important Christian fools myopically reading the bible. I was reading 1 corinthians this morning, on marriage, where it is clearly so clearly stated that people shouldn’t really bother getting married because the end of the world was coming. And each generation thinks this applies to them… but oddly enough still get married.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Actually Violet you have reminded me that the real problem lies in the Bible itself. The passage you quoted plus something similar in 1 Thessalonians and in the Oliviet discourse by Jesus all clearly suggest the second coming within a generation.

        It is the later works like 2 Thessalonians and the letters of Peter that try to water down this expectation because it had not come to fruition.

        That is part of the problem in the Bible it is riddled with contradictions – this is why Christians have so much trouble agreeing what it actually teaches.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Hahah Violet.
        This generation is exactly not my generation in christian speak

        Liked by 1 person

    • So true, Peter. What I find disheartening is that so many seem to want it to happen — like they have a disdain for life. I suspect it has a lot to do with them being indoctrinated to believe that Satan controls this planet and nearly every inhabitant except those who are “saved”. I can remember that fear mongering being preached nearly every week. Turn on any TV in America, local channels, cable or satellite and there will be televangelist reinforcing the fear mongering. Of course, they want you to send them money in the meantime.


  2. Jesus Camp is like a horror show. Very scary stuff. Thank you for the reminder about this film. I am grateful I never had to endure anything like that.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree Josh, but unfortunately, this goes on in fundamentalist churches across America and abroad. Just breaks my heart to see this abuse. Note: the video is loud when it first starts.


      • That’s just so wrong I really don’t even know where to begin.

        Liked by 2 people

        • To me, what that video clearly shows, is an alternate form of pedophilia. Those poor, vulnerable children being emotionally raped like that. Sickening. I am able to translate the gibberish talk, aka tongue-talk, you hear, however. It says, “Give your money to this pastor and this church, you dumb, ignorant cattle. Your children are ours; your money is ours; your minds are ours, and though we’d say otherwise in ‘real English’, we fucking despise all of you. $Amen$”

          Liked by 3 people

        • It literally makes me sick to my stomach — and what’s disgusting is that these children are being told they are filthy, sinful creatures that required a sacrifice due to their depraved nature.

          Liked by 1 person

          • This does contravene the UN’s child Protection Laws. Has any group (like Freedom from religion) tried to prosecute these bastards?

            Liked by 2 people

            • John, not that I’m aware of. In fact, the Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely and rapidly ratified human rights treaty in history. More countries have ratified the Convention than any other human rights treaty in history — 192 countries had become State Parties to the Convention as of November 2005. Only two countries, Somalia and the United States, have not ratified this agreement. Rather disheartening, isn’t it?

              Liked by 1 person

              • Damn! Seriously, the States hasn’t signed on? What on earth would keep your government from ratifying it?


                • I haven’t the foggiest idea, but my personal feeling is that it has to do with children still being viewed as property. Here in the U.S., you can be charged with a felony if you hit a 250 lb man, but not a child.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  • That is strange. I can understand your government not signing onto the International Criminal Court (you don’t want to be prosecuted for all your crimes abroad… yes Dick Cheney, we’re looking at you :)), but not signing the child protection treaty… that’s just bizarre.

                    Liked by 2 people

                    • Here’s what I found so far:

                      “The United States government played an active role in the drafting of the Convention. It commented on nearly all of the articles, and proposed the original text of seven of them. Three of these come directly from the United States Constitution and were proposed by the administration of President Ronald Reagan. The Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20 November 1989 and came into effect on 2 September 1990.

                      On 16 February 1995, Madeleine Albright, at the time the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, signed the Convention. However, though generally supportive of the Convention, President Bill Clinton did not submit it to the Senate. Likewise, President Bush did not submit the Convention to the Senate. President Barack Obama has described the failure to ratify the Convention as ’embarrassing’ and has promised to review this. The Obama administration has said that it intends to submit the Convention to the Senate, but there is no set timeline for it.”


                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ahhhh, I understand what’s going on now. It all makes sense! A few years ago, when I was in Sao Paulo, a neighbour of ours asked me to translate a letter for him and have it certified for submission to court. Weird request, but being the good neighbour that I am, I said, “No worries.” It was somewhere into the third sentence when I realised this was no ordinary letter. It had been written by a woman, a Brazilian, to a couple (also Brazilian) who were the heads of some cult based out of the States. I can’t recall the name of the cult now, but a cult it was. Turns out, my neighbour was trying to rescue this woman from the cult and this letter was going to be used as evidence for intervention. Bear with me, its gets better. As I worked my way through this letter, dripping as it was with praise for the cult couple, I began to see the dastardly truth of the US government and its evil operations. It turns out, aliens are on earth, they introduced themselves to the US government (when, I don’t know), and in return for some secrets they asked the government to house them and service their needs. No ordinary needs were these. The aliens were homed in New Mexico, a subterranean bunker, of course, and… here’s where it gets a little weird… they only ate human babies. No, I’m not making this up. The woman writing the letter was praising the couple for uncovering this “truth,” and she was aghast that the world didn’t know. Now, to satisfy the aliens dietary needs the government started (and continues to run) a witches coven in New Mexico as cover for their baby stealing enterprises. You see, they steal fresh babies from maternity wards, which they then drop off for the aliens… only it’s not the government, rather the witches. Clever, huh?

                      And again, no, I’m not making this up. I really did have to translate this letter.

                      Buuuuut, evidently, now we know this is true! This is why the US hasn’t ratified the child protection treaty. To do so will piss off the aliens, and complicate their baby stealing witch cover.

                      Makes sense, right?

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Now I get it. Thanks, John for clearing that up. Thank Jeebus for the truth, even though it is sometimes hard to hear. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ummm. Oh dear — we wouldn’t want to piss off any aliens. Makes perfect sense.

                      Liked by 1 person

                  • God bless the American way!


                • BECAUSE it’s our government, John. ‘Nuff said. 🙂

                  Liked by 1 person

  3. Terrific video, Victoria. Sagan is like a cool breeze calmly flowing over you while you gaze in wonder at the infinite beauty of the heavens. Religion is like a burning hot injection of methamphetamine straight into your amygdala that, though it burns, makes you crave more because you’ve become addicted to it. In the case of Jesus Camp, we see children being exposed to the drug of hateful, fear-filled religion without anyone swooping in to save them. Sickening. Abusive. And utterly disgusting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jeff, and I agree with you about Sagan. He was such an inspiration. I also agree with you that fear can be addictive. Think about the billions of dollars in the entertainment industry where people voluntarily spend their hard-earned money to have the crap scared out of them. Seems the same is true in churches. People tithe 10% plus of their income to be taught over and over that the devil is gonna get them if they let their guard down.

      “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Religion instruction isn’t education by any definition of the word

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Unadulterated child abuse in that second half. Emotion over Reason. Belief trumps facts.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Why do kids swim in it and adults drown in it?

    Oh, what a line!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Sagan: You are made of star dust, a special part of a beautiful and amazing galaxy

    Jesus Camp: You are evil and broken, part of a sick old world that is broken because of you

    Never went to camp like that, but grew up in this tradition. Remember feeling that everyone was so angry and that no matter what I did, I wasn’t going to measure up b/c I didn’t want to be that angry, that sweaty, that fat, that judgmental, that ignorant, or that out of control. Did speak in tongues only as an adult, can’t say I understand why or how; but Dan Barker also did and says he can even as an atheist, so I can finally accept it isn’t supernatural.

    People in this tradition really do believe what they’re preaching, that it is their moral responsibility to teach their kids the most important eternal truths they’ll ever know. It isn’t just a show or some grand conspiracy. But, even knowing that, I can’t excuse it. I know what it’s like, because the long term effects haunt me even though I doubt everything else. I still panic when I can’t find my family in the house, wonder if I missed the trumpet call and have been left behind. I still worry about hell. And I’m having an anxiety attack from the triggers in this video.

    I don’t want my child to feel like she has to dismiss science or accept having irrational fears about end times and eternity. I want her to have the wonder and the freedom to explore and fully live this life, and to see how wonderful she is, made of stardust and possibility.

    (BTW, what ever happened to Phil Hellenes? His videos, especially How Science Saved my Soul, helped me immensely!)

    Liked by 4 people

    • Skirtonavent, I’m so sorry about the trigger. You know, it’s been over 10 years since my deconversion and I can still get triggers from time to time. I wasn’t pulled into fundamentalism until after my partner died. Christians were responsible for his suicide. He had seizures due to a traumatic brain injuries, and the clergy and elders convinced him he had demons and wanted to cast them out. Christianity thrives when people are ill, down trodden, and vulnerable.

      Also, as you know, when you’re around a language long enough you will learn to speak it. It’s no different with speaking in “tongues”.

      Your comment was powerful and touches on so many issues that should be addressed. Like you, I can remember not fully fitting in. But, I thought there was something wrong with me — that I must not have the “holy spirit” and/or have some “sin” in my life that I was unaware even though I prayed on my face before “God” to forgive me of what ever it was, or to bring it to my remembrance so that I could repent of it. I was raised Catholic but got re-baptised in an Assembly of God church. After I came out of the water, I went down the steps and 3 ladies were waiting for me. They prayed over me to receive the holy spirit, and they prayed and they prayed for what seemed like an hour. They told me that if I had the holy spirit it would manifest with evidence of speaking in tongues. I hadn’t been in the church long enough to learn the language. The experience left a sick feeling inside me. My heart was so sincere and I couldn’t help but wonder why Jesus didn’t see that if he really knew me. But the worst of it was being told over and over that there was no good thing in me.

      I’ve been keeping up with the comments over on Violetwisps blog and there is a Christian lady who said this just today:

      “The Bible warns us not to throw pearls before swine. If someone genuinely has questions and wants to know what I believe and why, I am more than happy and thoroughly prepared to give a reason and an answer for all that I purport as truth. On the other hand, if it is obvious that an someone is an enemy of the cross seeking to discredit the Bible and its messengers and spread false ideas under a guise of spirituality and even Christianity, I will not waste my time arguing with them. My time is precious and there is a lost and dying world who I am called to share the gospel with. Bantering with arrogant fools is not within the sphere of my call. Our armor is made up of truth, scripture, prayer, faith, salvation, wisdom, and discernment.”


      Not only did she dehumanize unbelievers, people like her see everyone as an enemy who doesn’t think just like her, according to her interpretation of the Bible. Indoctrinating people with fear and disgust of the Other is profitable.

      Liked by 5 people

      • What a loving, Christ-like message…! This type of self-righteous arrogance wins ’em every time. I checked out violetwisps blog and responded to lorirodeheaver. I doubt she’ll see it and if she does it won’t matter to her a hill of beans. But it was cathartic for me. I hate bullies of all kinds, believer and non believer alike. You were kind to call her a “lady”. She isn’t. She’s a mean girl, an online bully in the name of a God whose name she claims to make herself feel bigger and more important than she is. She got my goat. I need to go take a xanax now 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • This is one of those “wish I could give you a hug moments”. So sorry Skirt that you are still left with so many ghosts of your fundamental upbringing. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Victoria. First let me start by saying, thank you for posting a blog. It has been far too long, and I have missed your blogs. One could argue that I have done well without your blog for a long time so I should be fine. However it’s also true that I was okay without cocaine for a long time as well. 😉

    I saw the Jesus Camp documentary on Netflix. It was frightening and horrible. Seeing the empathy and love torn out of little children. Rebuilding them will take a large amount of therapy and it’s terrible.

    In pondering the question posed at the end I think there are a couple possibilities, although I’m not sure whether either is right or predominant. Certain strands of religion don’t encourage questions, so being indoctrinated into a philosophy that doesn’t encourage questions can and in fact scares you into thinking you shouldn’t even have questions is going to stifle that curiosity for knowledge. The second thing I thought of, which could be actually related to the first thing is that stories and science are somewhat indistinguishable to the young man. ‘Really a man flew up to heaven? What’s heaven? How did fly? Does he have superpowers?”. Stories beg just as much questions as knowledge derived from science. And from the child’s perspective it is all coming from people who the children see as authority figures. And when the adult doesn’t sell there religious tale as a story, how is a kid supposed to know. That’s why, I think in faiths that still encourage questioning, while you might not get an atheist, but you are generally going to get a more progressive human being that is at least able to admit that there are other ways in which one can derive knowledge. When you are sold a story as truth, and critical thinking is suppressed from fear, you become reliant on authority as your sole source of knowledge as opposed to trying to think for yourself. This is why I feel conservatives default to their authorities so easily. Their pastor, the bible, their parents, even as adults. So I guess the connection is that really it’s about still being encouraged to ask questions. In the end religion never stands up very well to questions, because there will eventually answers will contradict themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “Victoria. First let me start by saying, thank you for posting a blog. It has been far too long, and I have missed your blogs. One could argue that I have done well without your blog for a long time so I should be fine. However it’s also true that I was okay without cocaine for a long time as well.”

      Swarn, thank you for your thoughtful comment, but that last sentence caught me off guard. I’m still laughing. 😀

      “In pondering the question posed at the end I think there are a couple possibilities,”

      I think your analysis makes a lot of sense. If you think about it, it has been through the imagination of science fiction that many things in science came to fruition.

      “Certain strands of religion don’t encourage questions, so being indoctrinated into a philosophy that doesn’t encourage questions can and in fact scares you into thinking you shouldn’t even have questions is going to stifle that curiosity for knowledge. “

      Exactly. To question means to doubt and to doubt means you have a lack of faith, and a lack of faith could be your one-way ticket to hell.

      “And from the child’s perspective it is all coming from people who the children see as authority figures. And when the adult doesn’t sell there religious tale as a story, how is a kid supposed to know. “

      Spot on. Humans frontal lobes (critical assessment) is not fully developed until between 25 and 30 years of age. A child usually looks up to adults to help them understand the world around them. Children are trusting and that trust gets taken advantage of. It is known among clergy that if you can get them while they are young, between specific ages, they are less likely to leave their religion. Now we have neurological evidence that indoctrinating children at specific ages will reinforce synapses that are used often, and less likely to be pruned.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you for your response! I’ve definitely lost the shakes now that you’re back. 😉

        What do you think about indoctrination being considered child abuse? I struggle with this question, but in general I lean towards yes. At least for the simple fact that if I smacked a kid in the face over and over again it would definitely be physical abuse, so why do we not take such a stand against this type of “intellectual abuse”? Of course such a ruling in a court of law would open the door to a lot interpretations that could be unhealthy. It could also be difficult to prove. I think it’s just one of those things where we have to try to get a change in culture as opposed to taking some sort of legal stance.


        • “At least for the simple fact that if I smacked a kid in the face over and over again it would definitely be physical abuse, so why do we not take such a stand against this type of “intellectual abuse”?”

          You think we should criticize people and take a stand against those who indoctrinate children and subject them to this kind of “intellectual abuse”?
          And how close are you to the people in this group? Grew up with them? Related to them? Are they good friends of your parents? If questioning people and taking a stand against the people who do this ended up in a loss of job opportunities or you were somebody who didn’t have the greatest grades or didn’t have a lot of money and were stuck in that area and had to live next to those people day in and day out, how likely would you be to criticize and take a stand against those people for perpetrating such intellectual abuse?

          In case you haven’t noticed Swarn, what I have written is almost a verbatim argument that you presented to me on April 20th when I asserted that I would leave a group that I knew to be promulgating hate and intolerance and ignorance. I just wanted you to see how ridiculous your arguments are when they’re played back to you.
          But go ahead and tell me how this is “different” or how I’m “making a straw man” or I haven’t “listened to anything you said” or whatever other excuse you can come up with. Because you see Swarn, I’ve been listening very closely. So closely in fact, that I knew exactly where to go on Victoria’s blog to find your answer to your own question.


          • Hmmm…I believe I only posed the question to Victoria and posed arguments on both sides. While I do think it is harmful to indoctrinate children, not only for religion, children can be indoctrinated into hate and prejudice as well. I still stand by my arguments before and this is exactly why it would be difficult to make any type of legal argument for indoctrination. The best defense is keeping the society free and making sure there is no censorship, education quality is high, and we maintain separation of church and state. I’m sure it’s beyond you, but you can be upset about something but realize that there isn’t always a direct action you can take. Some solutions require maintaining a framework in a society that exposes children to diversity and good information to try to counteract the indoctrination. So while you may think that my arguments are ridiculous, that is your opinion. And no the situation is not analogous because in the the scenario you quoted I was talking about a person within a community and in this case I was talking about actions for the society at large. So good job with your failing arguments again. Your position is full of privilege and it shows like the makeup on a televangelists wife.

            Liked by 1 person

            • So let me just see if I can sum this up and be perfectly clear about it:

              When I say that I would leave a group that would promulgate hate and intolerance, your response “How close are you to these people…” is perfectly valid argument.


              When you ask how we can stand up to people indoctrinating children, your own response “How close are you to these people…” is a failing argument.

              Now, if that’s not as illogical, irrational, stupid and pathetic as a human being can get, I don’t know what is. If that’s your best argument, you have shown everyone here quite clearly that you couldn’t think your way out of a paper bag.

              “I’m sure it’s beyond you, but you can be upset about something but realize that there isn’t always a direct action you can take. ” Not it’s not beyond me. I stated this before. Someone who would look upon institutionalized hate, tyranny and intolerance and not want to take “direct action” is A COWARD. To make excuses for such behavior is worse still. Even if characterize the “direct action” as merely criticizing religion and religious belief, which is the reason all of this exists in the first place, you’re STILL opposed to it because you want to be accommodating because there are a lot of really nice religious folks and they might have another way to produce knowledge with their religious beliefs. This goes beyond being a coward and into enabler territory. Not only do you sit by and watch this happen, you make excuses for the people who do it or excuses for reasons not to criticize it. Congratulations sir. You must be very proud of yourself.

              I notice that Victoria was able to take a stand and free herself from the chains of religion that were oppressing her for so very long. I’ve read through her blog and by the sounds of things, it would be an understatement to say that it was an unpleasant experience. But according to you, because she had a lot of friends and family and it would be very difficult, it would have been better if she took another approach. The “just play along” approach, because hey “you can be upset about something but realize that there isn’t always a direct action you can take. “. Right?
              You are a pathetic excuse for a human being.


            • “And no the situation is not analogous because in the scenario you quoted I was talking about a person within a community and in this case I was talking about actions for the society at large.”

              Because when making arguments about how to curtail, stop or even merely criticize destructive behavior, it matters if it’s “a person within a community” or “actions for the society at large.”

              Jesus H f*&^ing Christ. How do you get out of bed and put your pants on in the morning?


        • ” I think it’s just one of those things where we have to try to get a change in culture as opposed to taking some sort of legal stance.”

          Swarn, here’s what I’ve been thinking, and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what everyone is saying here in this discussion. I agree with you that indoctrination is a form of child abuse, and I’ll explain why later. But first I want to touch on the quoted comment from you.

          Here in the U.S. — legal measures have had to be implemented to change the culture, i.e., women’s rights, civil rights, same-sex marriages, etc. These rights, I think, would have not come to fruition had it not been for some sort of legal stance. The same with corporal punishment. In some states (nineteen if I recall correctly), it’s still legal in your most conservative states, which also tend to be the most religious. Why? Probably because adults hitting children is condoned in the Bible. Women being ruled over by their husbands and commanded to submit and obey them is condoned in the Bible. Homosexuality is considered an abomination in the Bible.

          We’ve had to pass laws so that women had the right to attend colleges and universities, vote, to get a divorce, own property, own patents in their name, etc. Laws have had to be passed to make corporal punishment illegal in 31 states, though we’ve still got a ways to go with the generally conservative, religious culture. We’ve had to pass laws to allow same-sex marriages, though we still have a ways to go with the predominately conservative religious culture. But based on history, they won’t change their ways until they are forced to by laws, and as you and I have discussed, it’s probably due to a form of the Backfire Effect. So, if we tell indoctrinated people that their beliefs about these issues are not in the best interest of society — even when we present solid evidence, their established beliefs do not change but actually get stronger.

          With that said, we would be going against the Constitution if we made the practice of religion illegal. That’s not going to happen, so children will be susceptible to indoctrination. The only way I think we can effectively change the culture is through legal means and of course, education and awareness. The only other option is war, and that is an option that should be the very last resort.

          Getting back to indoctrination being a form of abuse — I’m going to share why I think it is from a personal perspective. As a child I had night terrors for several years due to the indoctrination of hell and eternal torment. My parents took me to see a couple of doctors, and their assessment was that this was normal childhood behavior of a child with an active imagination. Never once did the doctors address the core issue — religious indoctrination.

          At a young age, I was indoctrinated by the Roman Catholic Church to believe that I was part of the reason why Jesus had to suffer and die a brutal death, and that I wasn’t capable of being good on my own. Without Jesus I was depraved, filthy, and fallen. I was expected to submit to all authority figures, and I didn’t have a voice. There’s more as noted in this graph.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Thank you for sharing your perspective. And thank you for sharing some of what you have gone through. It really helps to hear about it from your perspective, because I’ll be honest I don’t have any idea of what it feels like to be raised in such a way. I am so sorry. I can only imagine that level of conditioning for belief.

            I do agree that laws do change people’s minds and shift culture. I use the desegregation laws example all the time. I guess the reason I asked the question is because as you talked about the impact on forcing a belief on to someone by imprinting on those neural pathways, it starts to sound more like a physical effect. I suddenly got this image of a bruise on the brain. And I think if we could focus on demonstrating that physical impact on the brain then we could make a good case for abuse. Maybe the real problem then is that in the “minds” of many people, mind and body are separate. All this neuroscience stuff is so amazing and gives us such incredible insights into how we work, but when compared with other pop science articles it doesn’t come to the fore as often. At least that’s the way it seems to me. I would really love to see more of this neuroscience stuff taught in the classroom. A lot of it is as threatening to religious thought in my opinion as evolution was. We are still fighting to get evolution to be taught in this country. What will it take to get neuroscience and cognitive biases to be taught in high school. I think we could easily teach whole semester on neurobiology! In regards to legal grounds more presently, are there cases you know of where mental abuse has been labeled abuse? Are their avenues we might take to tie in those cases to indoctrination into fundamentalist religions? Is it illegal to say teach your kid every day that jews are evil? Sorry if those are stupid questions, I really don’t know the answer. I think if there have been cases and we use neurological evidence…might we have a case? You said that you had similar to PTSD and that’s a clinical psychological condition. It seems like there is some ground.


            • Swarn, you ask “Are their avenues we might take to tie in those cases to indoctrination into fundamentalist religions?”

              Take note: ALL religions contain fundamental beliefs. All are fundamental in the basic tenets that define them. This is not a trivial point. That’s why it’s important to realize that indoctrination is not isolated to some perceived ‘extreme’ or ‘fundamentalist’ faith; it is common to all. The only difference is of degree, yet fundamental precepts (like ‘sin’ and ‘hell’ and ‘god knowing your thoughts’) are the source of so much damage. No one wakes up in Salt Lake City and think, “Hey: I believe in Vishnu”. Religious belief has to be taught and this is done almost exclusively by indoctrination, which takes many forms blatant and subtle but all are manipulative not to seek out what’s true and knowable but to impose a set of faith-based beliefs that divides and isolates people before bringing them back into the religious tribal fold. And that’s why it’s always so disheartening to find atheists who seem quite willing to go along with this fountain of never-ending abuse out of some noble idea of showing tolerance and respect for diversity because it’s not understood to be abusive when it is. Religion is a cause of this abuse through indoctrination and it is religion itself that needs to be held accountable and not just the most extreme versions of it.


              • ” No one wakes up in Salt Lake City and think, “Hey: I believe in Vishnu”. Actually, that’s not exactly true. Many of the modern Witches/Wiccans that I know literally woke up one morning realizing that they believed in the Goddess, the Mother Earth. Many of these people had previously been members of various Abrahamic religions of the Christian type. Possibly that preconditioned them to believing in Gods/Goddesses in general, I don’t know about that, but some of them also had never had any particular religious upbringing before also. So, you never know, but just to be safe, stay out of Salt Lake City! 😉

                n.b.the smog in SLC will get you if nothing else does!


            • “You said that you had similar to PTSD and that’s a clinical psychological condition. It seems like there is some ground.”

              Absolutely, Swarn. Progress is slow because it’s taboo, even among mental health professional, to associate religious indoctrination as a form of abuse. I may have shared this with you before, but published in the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies, Dr. Marlene Winell states:

              “At present, raising questions about toxic beliefs and abusive practices in religion seems to be violating a taboo. In society, we treasure our freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. Our laws and mores reflect the general principle that if we are not harming others, we can do as we like. Forcing children to go to church hardly seems like a crime. Real damage is assumed to be done by extreme fringe groups we call “cults” and people have heard of ritual abuse. Moreover, religious institutions have a vested interest in promoting an uncritical view.

              But mind-control and emotional abuse is actually the norm for many large, authoritarian, mainline religious groups. The sanitization of religion makes it all the more insidious. When the communities are so large and the practices normalized, victims are silenced.

              As therapists, we have no real appropriate diagnosis in our manual.

              But religious indoctrination can be hugely damaging, and making the break from an authoritarian kind of religion can definitely be traumatic. It involves a complete upheaval of a person’s construction of reality, including the self, other people, life, the future, everything. People unfamiliar with it, including therapists, have trouble appreciating the sheer terror it can create and the recovery needed.

              Religion can and does cause great personal suffering, fractured families, and social breakdown. There are many individuals needing and deserving recognition and treatment from informed professionals. We need to let go of making religion a special case in which criticism is taboo. It is our ethical responsibility to be aware and our human obligation to be compassionate.”


              You wrote: “And I think if we could focus on demonstrating that physical impact on the brain then we could make a good case for abuse. Maybe the real problem then is that in the “minds” of many people, mind and body are separate.”

              Exactly. and I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m not sure if you read the comprehensive CDC study, ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences). I watched a 2 hour lecture with one of the authors of the study and he mentioned environments and beliefs common to authoritarian religion the have contributed to adverse childhood experiences.

              Quote: “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.

              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. It is critical to understand how some of the worst health and social problems in our nation can arise as a consequence of adverse childhood experiences. Realizing these connections is likely to improve efforts towards prevention and recovery.”


              “Childhood abuse, neglect, and exposure to other traumatic stressors which we term adverse childhood experiences (ACE) are common. Almost two-thirds of our study participants reported at least one ACE, and more than one of five reported three or more ACE. The short- and long-term outcomes of these childhood exposures include a multitude of health and social problems.

              List of Major Findings:

              Child Maltreatment Definition: “Child maltreatment is any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver (e.g., clergy, coach, teacher) that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child.”

              Physical abuse
              Sexual abuse
              Psychological abuse
              Physical neglect
              Emotional neglect
              Medical and dental neglect
              Educational neglect
              Inadequate supervision
              Exposure to violent environments


              Liked by 2 people

              • Sorry! This one is a bit long!

                Thank you so much for this response. I guess I knew that a lot of the scientific groundwork must have been done already, but it was helpful to read more of the specifics. I read several article in the past that talked about the importance of addressing ACE early. Most violent criminals in jail can be traced back to undiagnosed childhood trauma. Many of the psychological profiles of shooters in this country also show undiagnosed mental conditions for the child, psychological trauma, or mentally ill parent as creating an environment that leads to the child’s deviant behavior. There is a great documentary called Valentine Road that profiles a school shooter and the victim as well to contrast the differences on how they were raised. You can sort of see that the shooter had almost no choice but to head down a path of violence based on their environment growing up.
                So it seems like we have the scientific groundwork for making a good legal case. I wonder if in some of the more secular and progressive European nations if they have addressed this issue and have been successfully legally? It seems like the FFRF would be an organization that would lead the way for something like this. Do such cases get thrown out of court here, or is the judge at least willing to listen to the case. I would think that from a legal point of view it would be best to take the specific religion out of it, and focus on the cognitive dissonance and impacts to the brain for the victim. There are certain commonalities in any fundamentalist approach regardless of the religion that should be extractable. However I can see the public outcry “Southern Baptist mother on trial for teaching her child about her religion”. That is how it would be sold from the religious right. I can see a defense attorney calling other children of Southern Baptists and saying…look these people are happy and harmless…blah blah…blah. Thus I think the focus in court has to be away from religion itself but on the content of the message that is being reinforced. In doing a little research I have noticed that even when it comes to “physical abuse” (even though mental abuse is also physical) that courts often have a hard time drawing the line between corporal punishment and abuse. That being said psychological research demonstrates that any sort of regular corporal punishment, regardless of how light, can be harmful. Again we find ourselves wandering down a spectrum both in terms of the level of abuse and a certain genetic nature which might make one more or less susceptible to the harmful nature of the abuse. Where do lines go on a spectrum? Personally I believe that we can use statistical techniques to find that line and that statistics are a valid way in which to make a decision, but legal defenses always argue that such lines are arbitrary. And what if the parent was simply brainwashed the same way, can we justifiably blame a parent for simply passing on what they have been told is true? Knowing that those neural pathways were forged as a child as well and they might have been just as helpless to break away from them as well. I don’t believe in free will, at least not in terms of us having absolute choice over everything we do. As I watch my child grow, it is clear to me that he doesn’t have free will. He imitates, he is driven by instinct, he observes and learns…his choices are completely shaped by what we give him as choices. But if anything it really points to the importance of really raising your children to have critical thinking skills and philosophy centered around the scientific method.
                When it comes to intellectual abuse it seems that we have to tie together the threads that go across even religious lines to get traction in the legal system. I am certain that even an atheist could intellectually abuse their child by teaching them to hate all religious people. Although such things are rare now, but I know my father-in-law although he is an atheist himself, grew up in Soviet controlled Poland and has a very different view on how atheism can also be taken to the extreme. Fundamentalism, is fundamentalism. I am sure there is also some good academic work regarding defining fundamentalist views that separate it from any particular religion or philosophy. Conspiracy theorists as well would easily fall under such a definition as well.
                This is interesting stuff, and while progress is slow, it does really seem like some positive progress is being made. This would be a major revolution culturally for us to get out of this dangerous mindset that separates body from mind , but it’s a revolution that needs to happen for the world to be more just in my opinion.


                • Swarn says “So it seems like we have the scientific groundwork for making a good legal case.”

                  I sincerely hopre you don;t think a scientific groundwork is in any way a reasonable approach ot ending religious exemptions for child abuse. That would be incredibly naive. Or maybe you’ll actually be shocked to learn that is already legal to KILL children for religious reasons in 17 US states. So much for ‘scientific groundwork’.

                  You may read and be amazed at the scope and extent and perniciousness of religious privilege when it comes to putting children at physical risk. If we can’t even agree that killing children for religious reasons crosses a ‘scientific groundwork’ line, what hope is there for addressing ‘mere’ indoctrination that causes often irreparable psychological damage?

                  So hold on to your belief in the inherent reasonableness of religion and the legal privileges awarded to it (in the name of freedom, morality, goodness and community and comfort and so on) then read this list and see if you can comport the two. I can’t.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  • I agree with Victoria that in the past we have had to use law to force changes like women voting and the end of segregation and on, and of course, the force of war to end slavery. But the laws wouldn’t have gotten passed or the war effort funded and pushed if social opinions hadn’t already been changing. So the other place to push besides in the law and the courts is in the media. Movies, books, television are all powerful culture changers. It’s a multifaceted approach and it works. This is why the push from the Right that the is a Christian Country founded on Christian principles is building force. Once the general public start thinking that this might be true, or that this sounds true, the culture starts to shift again. This is anything but a Christian country although there are a lot of Christians in it. As for being founded on Christian principles, I’ve never found anyone who could tell me what those were supposed to be. Wish us luck, I may be coming at this from a different direction than most of you, but we seem to agree on all the basics.


                    • If one clicks on the link I provided, one will see that there’s a smattering of court cases currently being supported by this organization.

                      And you’re right: the zeitgeist of public opinion has to be moved. Welcome to the only way this seems to happen: by engaging the claims and criticizing them for their pernicious value.

                      Of course, people like Swarn and other ‘I’m an atheist, but…’ crowd will attempt to ‘correct’ this ‘militant’ and ‘hostile’ approach while defending the cozy loveliness of diverse faiths living in a kumba ya world existing only in the Liberal imagination as the correct narrative… while tsk tsking the more obvious cases of open abuse caused by acting on fundamental religious beliefs as if this were the exception rather than the rule.

                      The good news is that New Atheism – and the outspoken, loud, and sustained criticism of privileging religious nonsense in the public domain – is having a demonstrable effect. The next generation is leaving their parents’ religious nonsense behind in ever growing absolute rates. In the under 35 age category, the ‘no religious affiliation’ (or ‘nones’ as they often called) here in Canada is above 50%. The atheist and agnostic identity is over 25% and growing (atheists growing form 10 % in the late 90s to now over 20%). The internet is where religious belief comes to die. and that’s very good news.

                      In the meantime, we have to continue to fight the good fight and continue to publicly criticize religious privilege and point out the pernicious effects our rendered tax dollars support when used this way. We have to shock people into questioning their religious certainties and use reality as our ally. This kind of criticizing, this public challenging, works… not on those willing to capitulate the welfare of others in the name of some imaginary tolerance and faux-respect, and not on those dedicated to maintaining their religious certainties, but on the next generation who is reading, who is listening, who is doubting, who is deciding whether or not to board the train to Crazy Town with believers who honestly think POOF!ism by Oogity Boogity is a reasonable and equivalent alternative scientific theory to how stuff has come to be or step back and live the more down-to-earth, scenic route where reality is granted some say in claims made about it.

                      I think we are approaching a tipping point similar to what happened in secular European countries where religion fades into a quaint but weird history that left behind some beautiful buildings and laws badly in need of updating.


                • Swarn tells us that ” I am certain that even an atheist could intellectually abuse their child by teaching them to hate all religious people. Although such things are rare now, but I know my father-in-law although he is an atheist himself, grew up in Soviet controlled Poland and has a very different view on how atheism can also be taken to the extreme. Fundamentalism, is fundamentalism.”

                  No, it’s not. Atheism means non belief in gods or a god. That’s it. That’s as fundamental as it gets. This association between a totalitarian government and atheism is selected as a single data point by the apologist, the accommodationist, the faitheist, to smear atheism by conflating the political intolerance for any competing source of political power with atheism. It’s not atheism that causes intolerance; it is the political ideology that will go after ANY and ALL competing sources of power. The Nazi regime is a perfect example of a ‘good’ Catholic using religion as a means to gain moral authority and then political power (have you never read Mein Kampf?) and then going after it once that power is being consolidated. Atheism has NOTHING to do with it.

                  Please, repeat after me: atheism means non belief in gods or a god. Why is this so difficult to accept? Because it goes against the narrative faitheists try to sell that they hold a reasonable and tolerant and nice position between extremes… when the extremity is all on one side: religious belief. For example, I know of no atheist who teaches his or her children to hate religious people. But I do know a lot of atheists who teach their children to use critical thinking when examining such horrendously dysfunctional ideas such as religion. This Ben Affleckean approach to confuse criticism of bad ideas with intolerance of those who hold them is standard apologetic smearing. This is what you are doing.

                  Non belief skewed to be anything else other than non belief in gods or a god is a lie. It is an intentional misrepresentation. It is a gross distortion.

                  How so?

                  Consider: is it really an ‘extreme’ position to not believe in the unbelievable and criticize legal and social privilege awarded to those who do believe in the unbelievable? You keep suggesting that it is, that this is an extreme position, and I will take you to task for it each and every time you make this kind of intentional smear. For that is what it is.

                  Non belief is the DEFAULT you and I share for unbelievable claims. Both of us think this is reasonable and we can support that assertion. Yet you categorize non belief to be ‘extreme’ only by making a special exemption for religious belief in your head and not not for good reasons external to it, not for reasons that hold up to independent scrutiny and rational argument, but because you FEEL this makes you a more tolerant and nice person. You aren’t when you have to make victims of others by character assassination, by smearing atheists with this kind of puerile nonsense about an imaginary association to totalitarians and fundamentalism and extremism in order to promote yourself, and the victims you make are the character and respect of atheists AS PEOPLE who have zero desire, zero motivation, zero evidence that as a group they want to create and support a totalitarian state, zero evidence that they hold any ‘extreme’ views, do any ‘extreme’ actions similar or equivalent to religious extremists. You’re mis-characterizing atheists time and time again all to serve your desire to appear to be tolerant and reasonable and nice when you are none of these things when smearing atheists.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  • I will even tack on to your statement Tildeb “For example, I know of no atheist who teaches his or her children to hate religious people.”
                    Even if atheists DID do that, they wouldn’t be doing so because they stopped believing in god. There’s no amount of logic that says because you stopped believing in god (or never believed in the first place) that you must instruct your children to hate people who do believe in god. There could well be atheists who do instruct their children in such a way, and that’s because there would definitely be underlying issues of psychology (i.e. past abuses, mistrust, etc) amoung other things.

                    To critique Swarn’s earlier statement “Fundamentalism, is fundamentalism.”, one needs only look up the definition of the word fundamentalism. Excluding the definitions of religious fundamentalism, you will find, in the broadest sense of meaning “strict adherence to any set of basic ideas or principles”. This is why it’s impossible to say that atheism can be “fundamentalist” – because there is no set of basic ideas or principles to be fundamental about. It is simply, as Tildeb said “…non belief in gods or a god.” It’s the rejection of a belief system. It is the exact opposite of a belief system. It has no principles and no basic ideas.

                    Liked by 1 person

                • Swarn, you wrote: ” I read several articles in the past that talked about the importance of addressing ACE early. Most violent criminals in jail can be traced back to undiagnosed childhood trauma. Many of the psychological profiles of shooters in this country also show undiagnosed mental conditions for the child, psychological trauma, or mentally ill parent as creating an environment that leads to the child’s deviant behavior. There is a great documentary called Valentine Road that profiles a school shooter and the victim as well to contrast the differences on how they were raised. You can sort of see that the shooter had almost no choice but to head down a path of violence based on their environment growing up.”

                  For the most part, our “Justice” System is still based on the Old Testament laws purportedly written my a guy who got his instructions from a burning bush. At the top of the U.S. Supreme Court, who is depicted front and center? Why of course, it’s Moses holding two tablets.

                  I’ll check out that documentary. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. According to a recent study:

                  About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City’s jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that’s the latest in a growing body of research documenting head trauma among young offenders.

                  Experts say the findings, published this week in The Journal of Adolescent Health, could lead to better training for correction officers on how to deal with the possible symptoms of such trauma, which include problems with impulse control and decision-making.

                  What’s happening with many of these kids, these young adults in the criminal population, is they’re having them early in life,” and their consequences aren’t noticed until later, he said.

                  An estimated 60 percent of adult prisoners have a brain injury, according to a study of prisoners in South Carolina. Not all correction departments screen inmates for the injury — a practice public health officials say should change.”

                  Brain injuries are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because people with them don’t necessarily show obvious, immediate signs of injury. Source

                  According to the Brain Injury Association of America, someone sustains a traumatic brain injury every 15 seconds. Swarn, the more I researched about the brain, the more I realized that the Abrahamic religions have played a huge role in hindering human progress and well being, especially where children are concerned.

                  From my other blog

                  Children who experience early damage in the prefrontal cortex never completely develop social or moral reasoning. As adults, even on an intellectual level, they cannot refer to such behavior because they have little concept of it. In contrast, individuals with adult-acquired damage are usually aware of proper social and moral conduct, but are unable to apply such behaviors.

                  Liked by 1 person

              • I also have to wonder if the prevalence of depression in our society in all walks of life don’t have some link to the pervasive background attitudes that stem from the large segment of Christian type Abrahamic religions also present in our society. Even among lifelong non-believers and non-church goers, there is a general background belief in the Abrahamic worldview. Just gotta wonder, that’s all.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Mariah, I think that if a culture has been programmed to feel shame for being human, that there is no good thing in you (Romans 7:18) — that your heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) — sooner or later, it’s going to fuck with your head.

                  Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t know how I missed this chart. It explains everything!!!!! Thank you for posting!

            Liked by 1 person

    • Swarn, you’re doing it again:

      faiths that still encourage questioning, while you might not get an atheist, but you are generally going to get a more progressive human being that is at least able to admit that there are other ways in which one can derive knowledge.

      It’s this kind of scrambled thinking upon which apolgetics and accommodationism is built and then falsely advertised.Let’s test that claim of mine:

      Please name another way of knowing anything about anything if not grounded first in methodological naturalism. Note the two words: method and natural. Now come up with some other kind of knowledge not using these foundations.

      I’ll wait….


      • You are also doing it again with your straw man arguments. Never said there was another way of knowing that was better than a scientific approach. Only said the admission for someone to be able to accept other ways of knowing is a step in the right direction. It is your inability to understand how the brain works that makes you not relevant to the conversation that I’m trying to have with Victoria. Keeping dreaming your dream that your scrambled ability to understand other people’s arguments and make useful ones of your own will continue to build walls while the rest of us try to build bridges. You might be intelligent, but that intelligence serves no purpose if you can’t make it accessible to those who you say need it the most. So you can continue to criticize and misunderstand my arguments, but I’m really not interested in wasting more time conversing with you since you really aren’t interested in learning from anybody else, but just seem to be impressed with your knowledge set. Good luck to you.


        • “(I) said the admission for someone to be able to accept other ways of knowing is a step in the right direction.”

          Right That’s what I’m criticizing. You presume this is a direction worth stepping and that it indicates a progressive approach. It’s not and it doesn’t. It’s a crock peddled by religious apologists and accommodationists and need to be challenged.

          That’s why I asked you to reproduce some knowledge supposedly attained this way.

          I notice you haven’t done so.

          That’s not a straw man argument I’m presenting; it’s a challenging question to see if you have anything to go by other than this misguided belief of yours that there is, that it is good, that it helps us to be ‘progressive’. All of this I think is a pile of bullshit. It’s simply espousing apologetic and accommodationist mumbo jumbo in order to pretend that religious belief – if done properly, of course – is somehow victimless and therefore harmless but if done imprperly then, oh my, what a shame, how terrible, something ought to be done… but not against religion itself as a failed method that empowers this kind of abuse. Oh no, we can’t have that because, well, there;’s this other kind of knowledge, you see, and it’s very progressive to think like this.

          What’s so galling is the attitude you have – that to question this assertion you make and challenge you to back it up about some other ways of knowing – implies the opposite of reasonable, rational, and progressive. And this implication is an absolute lie and another smear against those who do question and draw a conclusion from compelling evidence you want to just wave away. Religion poisons everything.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Swarn!

      I’ve only got about 5 minutes to drop a short comment here; not enough time to say what I want for Victoria… which will have to wait til later today or tomorrow. 😦

      BUT I couldn’t help but notice that you STILL have a target on your back, and your back only! No one else here. And weirdly, and this is where I found it to be GLARING, is that your detractors have made NO COMMENT whatsoever on Victoria’s post. LOL 😛

      Did you just piss off some people in a previous life, or on some other planet in an alternative dimension? Cuz Dude…there’s some serious tunnel-vision sniper scopes only on you! How’d you get so popular? 😉

      P.S. Haven’t forgotten about my feedback over on your blog… and now 3 posts Sir. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • LOL…thanks for your comment. And no worries…I might try to get one more blog post up this week, but then I’ll be storm chasing for a couple of weeks and you’ll have plenty of time to catch up!

        Yeah, I’m not sure. I guess some atheists get tired of berating Christians and so they thought they’d try berating another atheist hoping they would have better luck. Ironically I feel like I’m the one conversing with fundamentalists now. lol Actually another blogger I was conversing with about this said something that I thought was a good analogy that was also in my mind. That they have math but no science. I love math, don’t get me wrong, but every scientist knows it is in the end only a tool. It must be applied, or math has no value other than just admiring it. I need to just let them enjoy their math and take the oft spoken and oft unheeded advice and not feed the trolls! Have a good end to your semester! Looking forward to hearing more from you!

        Liked by 2 people

        • “Ironically I feel like I’m the one conversing with fundamentalists now. lol”

          Yeah, you keep telling yourself that Swarn. I’m sure it’ll make you feel all warm and cozy on the inside. A quote from John Rogers that sums up you and your co-religious apologists TO A TEE:

          “…one of the great secrets of human nature is that the one thing people want more than love, security, sex, chocolate or big-screen TV’s is to feel hard done by. Why? Because being hard done by is the shit. Feeling hard done by is the sweetest of drugs. If you’re being persecuted — it must mean you’re doing the right thing, right? You get the mellow buzz of the moral high ground, but without arrogantly claiming it as your own. You get an instant, supportive community in a big dark scary world of such scope it may well literally be beyond rational human processing. When you are hard done by, you get purpose in a life where otherwise, you’d have to find your own. And when you ride that high, then no amount of logic, no pointing out that in actuality you and your beliefs are at a high point of popularity and influence for the last hundred years — is going to pry that sweet crack-pipe of moral indignation from your hands.”


      • Because Swarn is the commentator who still doesn’t get Victoria’s point: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EDUCATING AND INDOCTRINATING CHILDREN.

        Teaching children about respecting faith is indoctrination; teaching them to respect people is education. Swarn has confused the two and thinks it is respecting faith that is the central path to progressive thinking. It’s not. It’s a guaranteed way of maintaining an unjustifiable social acceptance for religious indoctrination. Swarn assumes there is a good kind. And that’s why I criticize and challenge his assertions straight up. It’s not personal; his ideas in this regard are not just wrong but a way to continue excusing and apologizing and accommodating pernicious religious indoctrination.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. A very enlightened fellow, Sagan was. We lost him way too early.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Victoria,

    A little late to the party and I see that many others feel the same way I do – that the adults in the second part of the video deserve to have their faces plastered all over social media as the abusers of children that they are. My guts hurt, watching that kind of sick oppression of those trusting, innocent children – those cups at the end of the video shouldn’t have been what got smashed. I feel the same way when I read the accounts on Homeschoolers Anonymous – surely there has to be a way to make these adults pay for what they’ve done to the children in their care. Absolutely heinous that religion warped their brains to that extent. My heart goes out to anyone who’s had to go through that kind of mental/physical hardship. It should not have – nor should it be – happened/happening. . .sigh. . .

    Liked by 2 people

    • “My heart goes out to anyone who’s had to go through that kind of mental/physical hardship. It should not have – nor should it be – happened/happening. . .sigh. . .”

      Not only does this mental/physical hardship impact individuals, such abuses can and has impacted whole nations. It is not out of the question that we could go extinct, as a species, due to our unwillingness to learn from history.


  11. Interesting link on the devil in America Neuro. As a recent catholic I can tell you Satan is a huge part of their teachings…I believe without him for a scapegoat, the church would not be standing today.

    I do have one question…in the article it states, “Though the Catholic Church has gradually moved away from more traditional and literal interpretations of Hell and Satan…” Do you know what that means? Because my church fully believed in hell (as in the Lake of Fire where you burn for eternity) and in Satan as a living being. I have no idea what other interpretations Catholics might have.

    I simply could not watch that video when it got to the jesus camp part, as it actually made me nauseous. While my indoctrination wasn’t quite as “charismatic” in nature, it was just as powerful, and was motivated by extreme guilt and fear. Such a tragic thing to do to children. I’m thankful I came to my senses when I did, because when I was pregnant I planned to send my son to a catholic school. Egads. He’s enrolled in public school now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Violet, you wrote: “I do have one question…in the article it states, “Though the Catholic Church has gradually moved away from more traditional and literal interpretations of Hell and Satan…” Do you know what that means? Because my church fully believed in hell (as in the Lake of Fire where you burn for eternity) and in Satan as a living being. I have no idea what other interpretations Catholics might have.”

      I’ve been out of the Catholic loop for a long time, so I’m not exactly sure myself. But I live in a very Catholic area here on the Gulf Coast, and all my family is Catholic, and they all still believe in the traditional and literal interpretation of Hell and Satan. In that article I posted is another article (New York Magazine) interviewing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who as you know is very Catholic. Here’s what he had to say on page 4 –

      Scalia: I even believe in the Devil.

      Interviewer: You do?
      Scalia: Of course! Yeah, he’s a real person. Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.

      Interviewer: Every Catholic believes this? There’s a wide variety of Catholics out there …
      Scalia: If you are faithful to Catholic dogma, that is certainly a large part of it.

      Interviewer: Have you seen evidence of the Devil lately?
      Scalia: You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore.

      Interviewer: No.
      Scalia: It’s because he’s smart.

      Interviewer: So what’s he doing now?
      Scalia: What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.

      Interviewer: Well, you’re saying the Devil is ­persuading people to not believe in God. Couldn’t there be other reasons to not believe?
      Scalia: Well, there certainly can be other reasons. But it certainly favors the Devil’s desires. I mean, c’mon, that’s the explanation for why there’s not demonic possession all over the place.

      Interviewer:That always puzzled me. What happened to the Devil, you know? He used to be all over the place. He used to be all over the New Testament.

      Scalia: Right.
      Interviewer: What happened to him?

      Scalia: He just got wilier.
      Interviewer: He got wilier.

      Interviewer: Isn’t it terribly frightening to believe in the Devil?
      Scalia: You’re looking at me as though I’m weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the Devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the Devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil! Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the Devil.


      Just looked to see what the Vatican says about hell. I’ll post the contents in my next comment.


    • Continue

      From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, on Hell:

      IV. Hell

      1033 (snip) To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.”

      1034 Jesus often speaks of “Gehenna” of “the unquenchable fire” reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost. 612 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he “will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the <strong?furnace of fire,”613 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!”614

      1035 (snip) The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.“615

      1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”616

      Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where “men will weep and gnash their teeth.”617


      Doesn’t look like much has changed since the time I was indoctrinated with this barbaric, inhumane belief.

      Liked by 1 person

      • So, other than the devil becoming “wilier”, it seems like catholicism has NOT changed their idea of hell. The only change I can think of is that they now say babies who died before baptism don’t temporarily burn in purgatory until they’re prayed into heaven…they just go straight to heaven now. How merciful, no?

        Thanks for looking into this for me Neuro. Though I haven’t even been out of the the catholic church for a year yet, other catholics are constantly telling me I learned bad doctrine. I don’t understand how that could happen since all catholics are taught to study the catechism…but I guess there are even different interpretations of that. *sigh*


  12. It seems to me that a reminder of decent behaviour on blogs is needed, after reading some of the comments here: IDEAS should be attacked, not individuals.

    That suggestion is put forth by someone who also needs a reminder from time to time. 🙂


  13. One of the most striking lines was the very last one – what happens to our reality between childhood and becoming an adult? That said, I have a better and less ‘scary’ understanding of everything now than when I was a child. For years, I lived in fear that I would be struck down and end up in hell. What five year old thinks she/he deserves hell? Thank goodness I moved away from that. And, like Violet above, took my daughter out of Catholic school before any more damage could be done. She and I still talk about it.
    Thank you for always making me think and discern with common sense. You will always be one of my dear friends. xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michelle, I am honored that you took the time away from writing your book and crazy busy schedule to watch, read and comment. I’m with you — I had the same experience — exposed to fearful teachings and taught at an early age that I could be struck down and end up in hell. I think adults can get so desensitized and not grasp the enormity of this abusive teaching — especially from a child’s perspective.

      “You will always be one of my dear friends.”

      Ditto ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Victoria,
    Here’s an example of a completely indoctrinated young woman (14) who feels she is ‘broken’ already. So terribly sad. I wrote to the only contact on that site (I don’t ‘do’ Disqus, so can’t reply to her directly) but I doubt the administrator will pass my comments along to this lovely young girl. Basically, I said that she certainly DOES have control of her own life and that she is, by no means BROKEN; she’s human. (I also pointed out the irony of the title of the blog – “Lies Young Women Believe”. ) Like I say, I have no illusions as to my comment actually being passed along to Aliyah (the writer of the Guest post). ..

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Another excellent post Victoria… or can I say, “revelation” 😉 on the difference between education and… well, let’s call it what it is: “scare-tactics” to control.

    Every single infant, toddler, and child brought into this world/life will be a product of their immediate environment, then a product of their community as they age. By the time we/they reach their… what(?)… late teens into mid-twenties, much of our pathology, psychology, and world-views are pretty firmly set no matter WHAT the Natural evidence and plural-poly, sub-atomic systems up to the cosmic macro-systems demonstrate. The human ego is a fricking MEGA-BEAST and sometimes impossible to untangle or slay! 😛

    With this perspective Victoria, I try — and sometimes try very, very hard — to treat others with deserved respect, common courtesy, no matter HOW BLATANTLY opposed their world-views might be within the aforementioned Natural systems… i.e. the evidence or glaring evidence! I do have my childish frustrating moments with those types and in the end I regret it — I hope those tantrums are fewer and further between! LOL I sometimes remind myself that I was… we were ALL once innocent, gullible, malleable children greatly effected by our own individual environments — we are Naturally gregarious primates craving acceptance. Plain and simple. Does that excuse reasoning, scientific consensus, and inevitable evolution and change? No! Certainly not! Antiquated myths and legends — especially those of non-ownership, a Proxy, in place of our actions and behaviors — need to be completely eliminated from humanity! All those false antiquated religious tenets have mostly achieved mass genocides, deep hate, fear, and immeasurable psychological and physical disfigurements for far too many generations! The cycle MUST BE STOPPED. But how? What is the most effective counter to those mentalities?

    Ninety-five percent of the time I choose (or want to choose during my imperfections)… Mahatma Gandhi’s approach.

    However, as this post reveals, making those on all sides of an issue aware, is certainly part of the solution. Well done Ma’am! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Professor. Thanks for stopping by again, and for your comments. I was thinking about you the other day, and the situation you are in as a teacher in Texas. Are you going to be forced to teach creationism to your students or lose your job? I was stunned at what I read:

      “When public-school students enrolled in Texas’ largest charter program open their biology workbooks, they will read that the fossil record is “sketchy.” That evolution is “dogma” and an “unproved theory” with no experimental basis. They will be told that leading scientists dispute the mechanisms of evolution and the age of the Earth. These are all lies.”

      And this:

      “Christian conservatives win, children lose: Texas textbooks will teach public school students that the Founding Fathers based the Constitution on the Bible, and the American system of democracy was inspired by Moses. Credible historians warn the misguided attempt to suggest biblical origins for the Constitution would lead students to believe that “Moses was the first American.”

      Scholars claim the decision to include the biblical figure of Moses in social studies education is part of a concerted effort by Christian extremists to promote the idea that the United States is a “redeemer nation” – giving a divine justification for supposed American exceptionalism.

      The proposed textbooks are deeply flawed, and have no place in a public school classroom. It is wrong and factually incorrect to teach Texas public school students that the Founding Fathers based the Constitution on the Bible.

      On Friday the Republican-controlled Texas State Board of Education voted along party lines 10-5 to approve the biased and inaccurate textbooks. The vote signals a victory for Christian conservatives in Texas, and a disappointing defeat for historical accuracy and the education of innocent children.”

      Note: this article was published last November. What it looks like to me is that this would fall into the ACE category of child abuse. Educational neglect.

      Liked by 2 people

      • That is horrendous. I vote we cut Texas out of the Union and let Mexico take its place. Wall the bloody christian conservatives up in the damn state but let normal humans leave first. Shit like this REALLY pisses me off. Ugh!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Are you going to be forced to teach creationism to your students or lose your job?


        Sadly, what you’ve read is indeed the case — textbooks WILL have erroneous information presented as fact according to Conservative groups and politics… NOT what is a consensus per University academia. Naturally the state “selection committees/boards” for the new 2015-16 textbooks have flat-out denied their bias, but their stance became empty when even the subject of more neutral evidence/writing was proposed and they fought that too… and won. 😦

        Two other good articles on the controversy:

        Over on RoughseasintheMed’s blog,, a commentor/follower there, philosophermouseofthehedge, who is a former Texas Supervisor, Dept. Chair, Staff trainer, Textbook Committee member, etc, is not too alarmed by the widely publicized controversy and said this to me…

        You do know the state textbook selection process? Always amusing. Mostly drama/tricks by the textbook companies…makes good national tv. No district is forced to take a book that’s useless…districts have much more choices now. And you can always keep the old useless book. Personally, I think textbooks should be outlawed as they are horrors created by for profit companies trying to please everyone. The state has good course guidelines, teach those and the kids will be fine…if we could just get rid of the endless testing which does not good except teach kids how to take multiple choice tests and provide data for publishers, program authors, and for the public to beat up teachers. There’s no way to know how much a kid actually knows by looking at multiple choice test results….or how good a teacher is.

        He is correct in saying a teacher can use the “old useless books” but unless you are a very tenured teacher or Dept. Chair you WILL get flak or pressure to follow department heads and THEIR guidelines, which falls in line with the school’s Administrators/Principals, which in turn follow the District’s guidelines. Therefore, he is correct in saying that IF — emphasis on IF — your district is more moderate (liberal?), typically in the large metroplex areas, a teacher DOES have more flexibility, more leeway to “skirt” the erroneous content. Philosophermouseofthehedge has it partially correct, but his assertion is not complete… throughout the state’s key/critical Education positions, from State Board of Education chairperson seats, all the way down to individual District Supervisors to Dept. Heads… individual teachers WILL MOST CERTAINLY have to remain in good graces with their superiors to obtain exceptional evaluations and hope for renewed annual contracts based on those evaluations, all the while being paid on average $35k to $52k per year over a 5-7 year period with an average yearly increase of 3%. Bwahahaha!!! Is it really worth it when most teachers put in 10-11 hour days, sometimes more, outside of the classroom!?

        Two months ago I did get asked/questioned by our Science Dept. Lead-teacher if I would have a problem next year with the new textbooks. My answer was I’m still on the fence (of course I’m not in ANY stretch of the imagination!) BUT I’d prefer to let the student’s PARENTS sort all of that creationism vs. evolution stuff out at home and SKIP the parts in the textbook that blatantly favor a “biblical slant”. She didn’t seem too thrilled with my “dance”. lol 😛

        In Social Studies or History — my FAVORITE subject to teach — the controversy is a LOT more severe and the bias slants more amplified, e.g. Muslims and their history are horribly and negatively slanted. I could not tolerate that one bit in my classroom next year even with my own personal viewpoints on all Abrahamic religions! And I could address several other hot-button topics Victoria regarding next school year’s American history, our Bill of Rights, Constitution, and the portrayal of Manifest Destiny! I want to scream! 😦

        It comes down to my conscience: teach more toward “what to think” rather than “how to think” for the sake of my LOVE for teaching and Social Studies/Science (for shitty pay)… or stay true to my own convictions of teaching “how to think” using consensus University academia, which is now opposed by Texas, the State Board of Education, its Congress who is closely tied to said BOE, and yet represents only pockets of the general public throughout the state!

        Rick Perry’s massive educational cuts back in 2010-11 has already pushed me out of a position teaching Special Ed for students that were/are Wards of the State — in severe need of quality education to even have a decent chance in adult life not in our penal systems! — but who now do NOT get that quality… which has all sorts of long-term repercussions on the state and its taxpayers! I’m tired Victoria; exhausted with what my state, its government, and its VOTING population values in life and for its youth-of-the-future. I feel the heavy obligation to stay and fight it… but no surprise, I’m in the minority… on a LOT of issues! LOL 😛

        I have a very major career-decision to make this summer. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Looking back, I can see that my deconversion process was from spring 2010 to spring 2012 when I officially called myself an atheist right at 39 1/2 years old. I think what got to me about the whole indoctrination/education thing as a parent was reading the Bible with my husband and kids during that period of time I realized that I wasn’t being an authentic Christian. I began some heavy questioning about God and the Bible way back in 1991 while I was at Bible School and thoroughly studied Scripture. As I was having those more recent Bible reading times with my family during my deconversion, I found myself intentionally skipping entire chapters. I didn’t want my children to read or hear about bloody wars, ethnic cleansing or fathers who rejected and abandoned their children. Often I knew what chapters to skip because these were the same chapters that I had read dozens of times and tried to reason the violence away, but I never could. I felt flaky as a “child of God”, but I also knew that I didn’t want my kids serving such a vile God. This all caused me to really see where I stood as a Christian, but also as a human being.

    Like other Christian parents, I explained it all away as Old Testament violence that didn’t apply to the New Testament/current times. However, I realized that God tells us he is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Bible also preaches that Jesus didn’t come to condemn the law, but fulfill it. I tried to redeem my redemption with Jesus, but it wasn’t working. He too was a violent man. He smarted off at his mother who was simply trying to encourage his first miracle. He called a disciple Satan. He arrogantly answered just about every question with another question. He also said that he did not come for peace, but with a sword to divide. Jesus is the answer alright, but he is the answer to close the door on salvation.

    My kids are now 10 and six. For about two years my oldest has confidently called himself an atheist. I will not lie, I discouraged it for a while because I felt that he was too young to give himself such a label. However, seeing how he handled himself through the whole “anti Christ” fiasco this past Christmas, I believe he is competent to carry such a hefty title. My youngest gives no thought to such things and that’s okay. He’s caught up in nature and playing , that’s fine by me. I think seeing how open my spouse and oldest are about their non belief and this whole openly secular campaign has encouraged me to be more open. I found it difficult to encourage my little ones to be their authentic selves when I didn’t do the same. Neil’s last words on that CBS interview gave me that gentle shove that I needed to be an out atheist.

    Liked by 2 people

    • and am happy for you C.
      Hi and how have you been? Nice to see you again


      • I’m okay. Noel. I’ve really missed you all an awful lot!

        My youngest is nearing the end of his second year in school and he has spent much of it horribly sick with allergies. This year was even worse than the previous. As a result, we decided to get rid of our sweet doggie this past Sunday and it seriously hurt my heart to see my oldest boy so broken hearted. We did all we could for the 13 months we had our pet and decided that to give him away was the last option we had. We went through some trouble to find him a good home because we know that even though an animal shelter claims to be “no kill” it still might euthanize when facilities are overflowing.

        Mother’s Day is approaching and I hate it. I was grocery shopping a couple of days ago and I couldn’t stand hearing all the ads played over the intercom. I’ve found myself listening to Johnny Cash’s Nine Inch Nails’ cover of Hurt over and over again. Then I couldn’t stop singing it over and over again.

        I’m struggling in my marriage. I just am. When you build a life, marriage and family on a lie it’s hard to know who you really are after deconverting. I don’t want to get into specifics, I just think that we’re both realizing we’re in our forties and we have yet to really live our lives for ourselves. It’s as though there’s this constant gnawing tearing us up inside. Then again, I sometimes wonder if marriage is as outdated as religion. How is it relevant to modern times? I’m sure people will criticize me for such thoughts, but in all seriousness I wonder what role marriage plays without religion.

        Sorry to be such a bummer to all of my beautiful non believing friends. I miss you, Noel, Victoria, Zoe, Vance, Ruth, Deborah and Nan. If I’m forgetting anyone, uh, yeah, Ark and Arch as well….I’m sorry for leaving anyone out in my comment.

        Victoria, some Christians will never get our disgust regarding this topic. And if they did, they will never mention that doubting voice in their mind. To admit to a huge error that you have subjected yourself to then practice along with your children can be quite traumatic. I know it was for me, but I take solace in knowing that my kids were only seven and three years old when we deconverted. I was quite apologetic to them about our teachings, discipline, exposure and the crummy Church nurseries they were exposed to as babies and toddlers. I’m glad they were still young.

        I wish you all a great weekend!

        Liked by 2 people

        • “Victoria, some Christians will never get our disgust regarding this topic. And if they did, they will never mention that doubting voice in their mind. ”

          I agree, Charity. I also think that the need for certainty and death anxiety trumps any harm that their belief system has caused and continues to cause. I have missed you and your strong voice here on WP, and I’m so happy when I see you pop in from time to time. You know — the hardest part of my deconversion was not having to face my mortality and uncertainty, but realizing that I’d been sorely duped. I feel like a damn fool for being so gullible and trusting, but then again, you and I were programmed from early childhood when our brains were the most fertile. Your children are very fortunate that they will not have to go through what we had to go through — years of deprogramming — synaptic pruning of neural networks that had once been reinforced by madmen.


  17. All far too clever for me Victoria. I’m just a pretty flowers, veg and dogs person. Different life I guess. I mean I did quite feel like picking holes with one of your commenter’s gender assumptive comments regarding MY blog, but as it was OT and this is your blog, I won’t change the subject. Hope you are well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL — oh ye humble one, nothing is too clever for you. Btw, this blog is OT friendly.


      • Well it is, because I am too idle to bone up on things unless kind persons provide *written* links 😉

        That’s good to know. Wouldn’t want to be having a conversation about hockey out of nowhere …

        But to go back to my off topic point. One does not assume from an internet pseudonym that an articulate intelligent educated person is a man 😦 Interestingly, I’ve had conversations with said woman about this, the implications, inferences, etc. anyway. Nuff said.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Some people are just slow learners or incredibly insecure. For years, during debate, I always used a gender neutral moniker because I found that once certain mindsets found out I was female, my opinions, though always backed by solid research, weren’t taken as seriously. 😉

          And speaking of OT, have you seen this this? I tend to agree. You don’t have to watch the video — it’s spelled out for you. See, sometimes I can be kind. 😛


          • I’ve used a male one elsewhere, just to see the difference. Fascinating. I also split my age in half. Amazing the women pals I got …

            I always liked Turner as an actress. Really powerful and strong characters. Didn’t she do VI?

            Mmmm, thanks for that. You Americans and videos. The written word is easier and faster. Reproductive rights is an interesting term. Can’t say I like that. Otherwise, it’s all sound stuff.


  18. Pingback: Teaching Children – Carl Sagan (Science) vs (Religion) Jesus Camp – YouTube | Scotties Toy Box

  19. Pingback: The difference Between Educating and Indoctrinating Children | Scotties Toy Box

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s