Is Teaching Children ‘The Bible’ Child Abuse?

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Jimmy Neutron's picture
Is Teaching Children ‘The Bible’ Child Abuse?

I think a strong case can indeed be made that the answer is yes.

I’m sure that many people, even on this website, will find that to be a bit of a stretch, or maybe even complete nonsense, but please hear me out before you dismiss the notion or call it an overstatement.

I’ve read many, many personal stories on here and I always find myself feeling almost overwhelmingly envious of the extremely fortunate people that grew up without any religion of any kind. Try as I might, I almost can’t even begin to conceive what it would have been like to have experienced childhood without thinking and feeling that I was being watched and listened to while being judged on my morality every minute of every day. I can’t even image how great it might have been to not worry myself sick over the loved ones that died that were surely burning in hell because they weren't 'saved'. I sit and ponder how glorious it may have been just to go to the bathroom in complete privacy, never even giving it a second thought that I was, of course, the only one in the room. And in a half-joking way, how absolutely fantastic would it have been to just close the door and enjoy masturbating without God being present; watching, judging and being totally disappointed by my total lack of willpower. Oh, and what would it have been like to not feel the shameful guilt afterwards? These things are almost unimaginable to me!

But maybe the biggest thing I’m most jealous of is how great it would have been to be able to reason my way to my atheism without being riddled with fear about how I was heading towards becoming the very worst thing a person could be in this life; a ‘backslider’ or an ‘apostate’ because I’ve ‘turned my back on God.’ There was special torment waiting for me in the afterlife for sure! So that was fun to face every day.

So I’m not saying it’s like being raped as a child, or punched in the face by your parents, or any of the other horrors that come to mind when you consider child abuse. I understand that there are degrees and some things are worse than others. But I’m suggesting that the severe damage of what religion does to you psychologically, and how it plays a huge role in preventing you from the free thought that helps you to find your way in life, well, it simply can’t be ignored or dismissed in contemplating whether it's child abuse or not.

(Just to be clear, I don't mean to suggest in any way that what I learned in church was child abuse by my PARENTS. Not at all. I don't blame them one bit for doing what they thought was best for me and sending me to church. What I'm suggesting is that what I was taught inside the walls of the church was ultimately so emotionally and psychologically damaging that it could very conceivably be considered abusive.)

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Algebe's picture
In my own experience, yes.

In my own experience, yes. When I first attended school in London at the age of five, we had a teacher who was some kind of religious loon. She delighted in picking the most horrifying stories from the Bible and indoctrinating us with them. The ones I still remember are the slaughter of the innocents, the Plagues of Egypt, and of course the special day when Jesus had his nails done. The story that most disturbed me was something about the Israelites capturing enemy soldiers and hanging their arms on the wall. Not knowing that "arms" also meant "weapons", I found this horrifying.

Eventually all the parents went to the school to complain because in addition to her religious mania, this bitch wouldn't let five-year-olds use the bathroom during class time. That also resulted in a lot of trauma and extra laundry. And this wasn't some exclusive private school. This was a publicly funded state school.

You wouldn't let five-year-olds read de Sade or watch Rambo. The Bible is worse. Kids should be shielded from the Bible (and Christianity) until they are old enough to understand it and make their own decisions.

Tin-Man's picture
@Jimmy Re: "But maybe the

@Jimmy Re: "But maybe the biggest thing I’m most jealous of is how great it would have been to be able to reason my way to my atheism without being riddled with fear about how I was heading towards becoming the very worst thing a person could be in this life; a ‘backslider’ or an ‘apostate’ because I’ve ‘turned my back on God.’ There was special torment waiting for me in the afterlife for sure! So that was fun to face every day."

This one paragraph jumped out at me the second I read it. Dude! I can SO totally relate to that! Took me a vast majority of my life to finally get past that ever-present fear, so I know exactly how you feel/felt. That shit ain't no picnic. However, now that I have finally put that silliness behind me, I am set on living the remainder of my life free from that suffocating feeling of dread and doubt. And so far it has been fantastic. Life is good... *big grin*...

Jimmy Neutron's picture
Thanks, Tin-Man. I

Thanks, Tin-Man. I appreciate that you always have something supportive, friendly and interesting to say whenever I post something. I, too, am determined to live the remainder of my life as free of that nonsense as I'm capable of. Like you said, it ain't no picnic, but it sure beats the alternative, right?

David Killens's picture
That is the problem Jimmy

That is the problem Jimmy Neutron. When you condition a child from day one and use fear as the driving force, breaking free from that is incredibly difficult and painful. With the threat of hell, religion has created a near-perfect box one cannot escape from. But it is not perfect because it is all built on the assumption there is a god. Once you get past the fear and realize the stories about a god are pure BS, it is possible over time to defeat the fear of hell.

Even totalitarian states that indoctrinate children never used such powerful tools.

Anyhewww, once I was liberated, my life has become one devoid of the fear of death and hell. Life is good.

Cognostic's picture
@Jimmy Neutron: Bible =

@Jimmy Neutron: Bible = Child Abuse.
When you hit them over the head with it... Absolutely.

I have a similar story about my GF's daughter in the Philippines, A Catholic Nation. She turned 13 and began her period. I happened to call the same day. My GF told me that the daughter's Aunt had told the daughter not to shower for 7 days and that menstruation blood is dirty.

The tirade I went on at that point lasted for two hours. I yelled at my girlfriend for being an idiot and not standing up to the Aunti. I yelled at the fucking aunt and uncle for being backwards thinking pieces of shit. I yelled at everyone for not preparing for this day. I told my GF to go to the store and buy a cake and celebrate because her little girl had become a woman. And I told everyone to let the daughter take as many showers in a frigging day as she liked. I WAS PISSED. My GF was to take the girl to the store with her and teach her how to buy feminine products. NOW! Why in the hell was that not done before? Why were they not prepared? What kind of parents / relatives were they. Were they living in the fucking dark ages? The FUCKING DAMAGE that 30 minutes of negative bullshit religious indoctrination could have on a young girl who was scared to death over her first menstruation could follow her the rest of her life.

*End of the story. Mother told her she could take showers. Welcomed her to womanhood with a party. Took her to the store and explained how to buy pads. I was too angry to talk to the daughter at the time. I spoke to her later about the event and gave her an excellent book for any teen "The Teen Age Body Book."

*Later I found out that the daughter had taken the book to school and was sharing it with her friends. The teacher at the school, a religious school, asked her where she got the book. She told the teacher that it came from me and from America. All the teacher said was, "Wow! We don't have books like this in the Philippines." SMART TEACHER. It would have been Cog. against the Philippine school system else-wise. I was happy to hear that the teacher was not so ignorant even though schools in the Philippines are religious.

“You must not approach a woman in her menstrual impurity to have sexual intercourse with her” (Leviticus 18:19)

"And whoever touches anything upon which she sits shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be unclean until the evening; whether it is the bed or anything upon which she sits, when he touches it he shall be unclean until the evening.
And if any man lies with her, and her impurity is on him, he be unclean seven days; and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean.’ (Leviticus 15.19-24)

Menstruation: what did the Bible teach?
How did this affect women’s lives?
Jesus & the menstruating woman, Bible textThe biblical law states when a woman menstruates she is unclean for seven days. The text says that

‘whoever touches her shall be unclean until the evening.
And everything upon which she lies during her impurity shall be unclean; everything also upon which she sits shall be unclean.
And whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.

The woman reaches up towards Jesus, barely touching him
The woman reaches up towards Jesus,
reluctant to touch him

And whoever touches anything upon which she sits shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be unclean until the evening; whether it is the bed or anything upon which she sits, when he touches it he shall be unclean until the evening.
And if any man lies with her, and her impurity is on him, he be unclean seven days; and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean.’ (Leviticus 15.19-24)

Note especially:
A Bible law that governed the life of the menstruating woman cured by Jesus:

"If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, not at the time of her impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond the time of her impurity, all the days of the discharge she shall continue in uncleaness; as in the days of her impurity, she shall be unclean." (Leviticus 15:25)

Luke 8:43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44 (JESUS EVEN HEALS THE UNCLEAN MENSTRUATING).

IS THE BIBLE ABUSIVE - HELL YES!

Cognostic's picture
Thanks for the Post. It

Thanks for the Post. It reminded me that I had to buy the updated version of the TBB, for the cousin of the daughter who also lives with my GF and just turned 12. SHE WILL NOT GO THROUGH THE SAME BULLSHIT! I will see the girls on the 31st.

Jimmy Neutron's picture
Thanks for the post, Cog. I

Thanks for the post, Cog. I was also very determined that my kids would not, to use your words, 'GO THROUGH THE SAME BULLSHIT' that I did. They are 38 and 36 years old now, and I still think that one of the best things I ever did for them as a parent was to not allow any religious indoctrination when they were children. They will never know the anguish I may have saved them from and I couldn't be happier about that!

David Killens's picture
It is child abuse to

It is child abuse to indoctrinate them (from the moment they can comprehend and communicate) that they have serious flaws and not nice people.

It is child abuse to hang Damocles' sword over their head with the threat of hell.

It is child abuse to not allow any child to be just that, a child, full of wonder and joy. Stifling those characteristics with self-doubt, guilt, and a sense of diminished self-worth is, IMO, one of the very worst things one can do to a child.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Teaching anyone about the

Teaching anyone about the collection of texts known as the bible is education. Teaching anyone that the bible is the infallible word of god and a moral guide is heinous abuse.

CyberLN's picture
Well, when you stop to think

Well, when you stop to think about it, there is not a parent on the planet who has not fucked up somewhere, sometime when raising kids. I didn’t raise my kids with any gods but I sure as hell made my share of mistakes. Could those mistakes qualify as child abuse? I’m sure my kids thought so when they were young.

Shitty parenthood is shitty parenthood, with or without any gods. My best friend was raised by a xtian preacher. His folks were loving and kind. I was raised without any gods and my parents were abysmal at it. Religion is just not the fulcrum upon which all crappy or great parenting rests.

noreason's picture
no, a book can't be abuse.

no, a book can't be abuse.

Parent's and people's presentation of the bible, or anything else, is the abuse. your parents abused you. they may have used the book, but thats still on them. It hurt you because of you and your family.

Dark One's picture
I think it's just cultural

I think it's just cultural transmission of a persons 'memes' to the next generation. There can be good memes and bad memes like there are good genes and bad genes. For many people the meme of their religion they were brought up with is life long and they gain something positive from it so it's not really anything detrimental from their own point of view. It's detrimental from our own outsider perspective for them to believe things that aren't actually true or founded in reason, but that's just us.

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