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Is Pushing Christianity And Other Religions On Children Abuse?


AKR

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First, let's get straight on the legal definition of child abuse, according to the US government. I'm sure other governments have similar definitions.

 

http://www.childwelfare.gov/can/defining/can.cfm

 

State Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

 

Within the minimum standards set by CAPTA, each State is responsible for providing its own definitions of child abuse and neglect. Most States recognize four major types of maltreatment: neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. You can locate definitions for your State by conducting a State Statutes Search on the Information Gateway website.

 

The examples provided below are for general informational purposes only.

 

Neglect is failure to provide for a child's basic needs. Neglect may be:

 

* Physical (e.g., failure to provide necessary food or shelter, or lack of appropriate supervision)

* Medical (e.g., failure to provide necessary medical or mental health treatment)

* Educational (e.g., failure to educate a child or attend to special education needs)

* Emotional (e.g., inattention to a child's emotional needs, failure to provide psychological care, or permitting the child to use alcohol or other drugs)

 

 

Emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior that impairs a child's emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance. Emotional abuse is often difficult to prove and, therefore, child protective services may not be able to intervene without evidence of harm to the child. Emotional abuse is almost always present when other forms are identified.

 

 

What do you think Child Protective Services would say if they found out a couple was telling their children that they were horrible kids, and that they deserved to be tortured forever and ever? Then, those parents tell those kids they need to apologize to this alien and ask for his mercy. If they did not believe that this alien existed and/or refused to repent and worship him, this couple says that this alien will come and get them at some point and torture them for eternity in the most horrific place filled with frightening creatures. They tell them stories of how this alien had commanded armies which slaughtered all who opposed him; murdering men, women, children, and even their animals. Sometimes, they would kidnap the virgin females and force them to breed with the soldiers. Other times, the alien would send down creatures to murder first born children. One time, he was so angry, that he murdered every living creature on the planet except a few, all because they did not love or worship him. So these parents devote their lives to telling children about this alien and demand that they obey him and don't seek a life outside of him. You could take it a step further if these parents sent their children to a special school that inflicted more fear, and lied about science, causing them to have a bad education, just to please this brutal alien.

 

Being ex-christians, you all know exactly what I'm talking about, but if you were to report an incident like that to a social worker who wasn't familiar with this type of religion, they would consider it abuse. But, as it often happens, it would be laughed at and shrugged off by most people, because religion (christianity in particular) gets a free pass for things that would otherwise be illegal.

 

Many christians scoff at this idea, but I'm sure many of us here who were raised as christians from birth had real emotional stress from this religion. I think many of us became desperate to figure the religion out, one way or another. Personally, I would have left the religion when I was 15 or 16, but because I was afraid that if I was wrong, I was going to burn in hell, I kept struggle with it on and off for the next 5 or 6 years. I was so distressed at times, because I couldn't totally free myself from the religion, so from about the age of 14 on, I was afraid that god was some horrible, sociopathic nutjob, and because I had grown to hate him, I was screwed, even if I kept on believing.

 

 

Even as a child, I always made sure to pray to be forgiven, and I asked god into my heart multiple times, because I was afraid that I somehow wouldn't end up in heaven. So please vote and if you want, give an account of why or why not you consider this type of religion to be abusive to children.

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I think there should be an option there saying, "in some cases". I was unable to vote yes or no.

 

I happen to agree that religion is capable of being used to emotionally abuse children. And I have heard one man, who dealt with abused children, say that emotional abuse can be the worst of them all.

 

But this is a tricky thing, right? Who is going to be so brazen (or stupid) to suggest that parents are not free to teach their children as they wish?

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Guest eejay

I voted yes, because in my particular situation it definately was abuse, both physical and emotional. However, I don't think you could classify every parent who teaches x-tianity to their children as abusive. If the situation I went through personally as a child with my mom happened in this day and age, she would have gone to prison or a mental facility. Back then, you couldn't do too much about those kinds of things. My mom used religion as the sword so to speak, but I often wonder if she was so mentally deranged that the abuse may have happened religion or not. Her obssession seemed to harbor on the view of sexuality as dirty and disgusting, and this was her mantra with me growing up. I mean she was literally obssessed with trying to catch people doing shameful things. I think telling a 6 or 7 year old kid they're going to burn in hell because they discovered an area on their body that produced pleasant sensations, is just plain sick. But she'd literally beat the crap out of you. Tell you how bad a thing that was. I can't even describe how bad things got when I reached adolescence. I was the the most demon possessed kid on the face of the planet and she did annointings wiith oil on my belongings, exorcisms, you name it. I was definately abused, but I don't think you can say that in every case.

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I think there should be an option there saying, "in some cases". I was unable to vote yes or no.

 

I happen to agree that religion is capable of being used to emotionally abuse children. And I have heard one man, who dealt with abused children, say that emotional abuse can be the worst of them all.

 

But this is a tricky thing, right? Who is going to be so brazen (or stupid) to suggest that parents are not free to teach their children as they wish?

 

Now Damn it, Legion Regalis......you got to stop thinking exactly as I do...pretty soon people will start thinking we are the same person....LOL.... :HaHa:

 

Seriously...I agree....there needs to be one that says "In some cases"....I would not want the government coming down on me telling me what I can or cannot teach myown kid. Plus, there is apart of the United States Constitution, "Freedom of Religion." Now...that being said, you can teach anything you want so long as it is not causing violence or harm coming to the child. Basically, it would be view much the same as any other parents who were or were not religious. The government cannot interefere as long as the child is not in any visible physical danger.

 

 

Actually, you're wrong; the government can intervene even if there is no physical abuse. As shown on the government's own website, emotional abuse is child abuse, and legally, they can take action. The freedom of religion does not allow you to break other laws in the name of your religion, and emotionally damaging your child with crazy threats and assaults on their self esteem is legally child abuse. Unfortunately, the government has too many severe cases to deal with instead, and people allow more then the law allows when it comes to religion, so children to will continue to be brainwashed.

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Guest eejay

Even I can remember a catholic prayer book of sorts, that had a artist's rendering of a person laying on a grate with fires burning underneath them, to suggest purgatory. What kind of shit is that to show to a toddler? Why is it I remember something like that? Must've made a serious impression.

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Between having fundy xtian parents and being a diabetic in grade school in the early 60's, I had 0.0% chance of even a vaguely normal chidhood. I think the religion was the most detrimental of the two.

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You have to remember that there is no black and white line between child abuse and non-child abuse. Just about every parent alive has made some mistake or another at some point. Nor is criticism or threats, used appropriately necessarily abuse. Saying "It was wrong for you to hit little Johnny" is after all, a form of criticism, and promising a time out, removal of some privilege, etc. for such behavior is a type of threat. I'm not trying to be silly here: the point is that somewhere between this and "You're a worthless piece of shit! God is going to make you burn in hell forever for rebelling against me!" there are criticisms/threats that are not so clear cut: they may not be cool, but when do you deem them abusive? How deep a pattern does it need to be? Also, bear in mind that different people draw the line at different places.

 

Tie this further into fear based religions that deflate self worth, such as xianity. Very liberal xians may reject the doctrine of hell, deny doctrines held elsewhere in xiandom such as original sin and that we are innately evil, and otherwise cherry pick to make their rendition of the xian god truly loving, rejecting anything from the bible that indicates otherwise. While I would still say that the liberal xian mindset is superstitious and requires one to shut his or her brain down, I would not call someone like this a child abuser (unless, of course there was other abuse going on). But then, there is a continuum of xians taking progressively harder lines on dogma, AND USING IT MANIPULATIVELY IN THEIR PARENTING to various degrees. The worst cases are clear cut abuse if I ever saw it.

 

In general, I'd say we need to be careful about calling abuse and intervening: yes, by all means do so when we clearly need to, but if we're not careful about it I see the potential for taking people's children somewhat arbitrarily and taking children of people who are raising their own children as they see fit and are not necessarily the worst cases.

 

I'm glad the "sometimes" option was added: that's where my vote goes.

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SNM I thought that was a good post.

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In the UK legislation is built around the notion of 'good enough' parenting. In practice the 'harm' a child may be experiencing at the hands of their parents is also balanced against the 'harm' they may experience if they are separated from their parents.

 

I think as more and more people speak out against the effect some religious teachings had on them as a children - the climate of what is acceptable will begin to shift.

 

I have been involved in some cases where the 'abuse' being investigated stems from a parents religious beliefs, although emotional harm may be listed as a risk factor, it is still physical/sexual abuse that usually ensures intervention. It was necessary to show that the particular church followed teachings that were considered 'extreme' by mainstream churches.

 

This applies across the board - it is still harder to protect a child from emotional abuse (whatever the parent's motivation) than it is physical or sexual abse or material neglect.

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I think as more and more people speak out against the effect some religious teachings had on them as a children - the climate of what is acceptable will begin to shift.

I suspect you may be right Alice.

 

This applies across the board - it is still harder to protect a child from emotional abuse (whatever the parent's motivation) than it is physical or sexual abse or material neglect.

What are your thoughts about this fact?

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What are your thoughts about this fact?

 

I think everyone working in the field accept that whilst physcal injuries generally heal - the emotional harm that is linked to the other abuses we do intervene in, that causes the longest lasting and deepest pain. The problem lies in measuring the extent of emotional harm.

 

If there is a system out there that can always fairly determine whether parenting is 'good enough', and whether the harm caused by leaving a child with questionable parents will outweigh any harm they might experience by being separated from their family - I haven't found it.

 

Some cases are obvious ones for intervention - but a good number I deal with inhabit a great big grey area that has me regularly waking up at 3am and pacing the floor wondering if I'm doing the right thing. I tend to try and balance examining 'intent' with the extent of the harm caused. Some parents, victims of the hell meme themselves, teach their child how to avoid this by a relationship with a god of love, other parents use hell to belittle, control and terrify. (I know that hell is scary full stop - but I think there are bad ways of presenting the concept and really bad ways of presenting it)

 

If a social worker had removed me from my parents I think I would have found the experience terrifying and all the more so because I'd been taught that non christians were servants of satan and incapable of real love - so a foster home may not have felt like a 'safe place to me'

 

I think that emotional abuse is particularly contentious because we've all probably had our emotions hurt at one time or another.

 

I think solutions are most likely to be found in education and increased understanding. This is where 'intent' comes in. I regret much of the parenting I inflicted on my eldest two children in their early years - this was a product of my own upbringing and limited understanding at the time. I hope however that whilst I was still in my James Dobson (I shudder to admit this) phase, if someone had turned up in my life and shown me sensitively that aspects of my parenting were hurting my children, I would have listened and learnt.

 

Religion does seem to be one of the hardest area's in which to intervene - because religious freedom's are held so dear. I think here in the UK we would intervene much sooner in emotional harm being caused because of race or sexual identity issues.

 

Rambling now ....

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Religion does seem to be one of the hardest area's in which to intervene - because religious freedom's are held so dear. I think here in the UK we would intervene much sooner in emotional harm being caused because of race or sexual identity issues.

 

I think you're right. And I think more often than not it become abusive because of the fact that people don't know when, or are too afraid to interevene in cases like this.

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oops, logged in as my gf.

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You have to remember that there is no black and white line between child abuse and non-child abuse. Just about every parent alive has made some mistake or another at some point. Nor is criticism or threats, used appropriately necessarily abuse. Saying "It was wrong for you to hit little Johnny" is after all, a form of criticism, and promising a time out, removal of some privilege, etc. for such behavior is a type of threat. I'm not trying to be silly here: the point is that somewhere between this and "You're a worthless piece of shit! God is going to make you burn in hell forever for rebelling against me!" there are criticisms/threats that are not so clear cut: they may not be cool, but when do you deem them abusive? How deep a pattern does it need to be? Also, bear in mind that different people draw the line at different places.

 

Tie this further into fear based religions that deflate self worth, such as xianity. Very liberal xians may reject the doctrine of hell, deny doctrines held elsewhere in xiandom such as original sin and that we are innately evil, and otherwise cherry pick to make their rendition of the xian god truly loving, rejecting anything from the bible that indicates otherwise. While I would still say that the liberal xian mindset is superstitious and requires one to shut his or her brain down, I would not call someone like this a child abuser (unless, of course there was other abuse going on). But then, there is a continuum of xians taking progressively harder lines on dogma, AND USING IT MANIPULATIVELY IN THEIR PARENTING to various degrees. The worst cases are clear cut abuse if I ever saw it.

 

In general, I'd say we need to be careful about calling abuse and intervening: yes, by all means do so when we clearly need to, but if we're not careful about it I see the potential for taking people's children somewhat arbitrarily and taking children of people who are raising their own children as they see fit and are not necessarily the worst cases.

 

I'm glad the "sometimes" option was added: that's where my vote goes.

 

 

 

Don't worry, SNM, as I said, they are way too busy with other abuse to even consider taking kids away, unless physical abuse is involved. I don't know how things are in the UK where Alice works, but it's probably a similar situation there, where even if there is some fairly bad shit going on, it will get little attention because the system is so bogged down. (You sound like maybe you work in the system, so maybe you already know all of this)

 

And as Alice said, they weigh any harm to the child against the harm of taking the child out of the home. They would try to work with the parents on an issue like this instead of break the family up. Unfortunately, it's not very easy to get parents to change their ways, especially when religion is involved.

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I'm sure one can think up exceptions to the rule, but inasmuch as "fear-based religion" means today's jebus- or allah-cult morontheism, my answer is a clear "YES" (until proven wrong in any individual case ;) ).

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You have to remember that there is no black and white line between child abuse and non-child abuse. Just about every parent alive has made some mistake or another at some point. Nor is criticism or threats, used appropriately necessarily abuse. Saying "It was wrong for you to hit little Johnny" is after all, a form of criticism, and promising a time out, removal of some privilege, etc. for such behavior is a type of threat. I'm not trying to be silly here: the point is that somewhere between this and "You're a worthless piece of shit! God is going to make you burn in hell forever for rebelling against me!" there are criticisms/threats that are not so clear cut: they may not be cool, but when do you deem them abusive? How deep a pattern does it need to be? Also, bear in mind that different people draw the line at different places.

 

You deem criticisms abusive when the child is traumatized by the experience. Words can hurt you for years. My mother was uber-perfectionistic and would tell me things like I would never amount to anything, I would go to hell, nobody would ever love me, I caused her cancer, etc. Even though she has been dead over a decade, those words STILL haunt me today. As you said, there is a difference between constructive criticism, such as "Johnny, you did not clean your room, so you won't get to play video games tonight," and repeatedly yelling at the kid.

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Are fear based religions child abuse?

 

 

 

I answered Yes due to the fear factor. I believe many adults are also abused as well, and believe that both the mental abuse and the abuser are 'love'.

 

Not all dogmas have the fear factor as the central theme. Many people whom are Christians are 'Sunday Christians' who don't take the dogma very serious. These types of dogmas I don't believe are abusive. It is the more extremist flavor such as the Ass of God and such who are chronically talking about death, demons, destruction, punishment, self hate and the like that are abusive.

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I answered "sometimes". When the sin-and-punishment theme is emphasized, I would say yes...abusive. There is no good reason to frighten children with that nonsense. When religion as associated with kindness, tolerance, forgiveness is emphasized, that may contribute positively to a child's development. Too bad that so many denoms too often emphasize the former.

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through my perspective, yes, always.

 

 

Religion is human abuse.

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  • 4 years later...

I think it is abuse in over 90% of cases, so I answered yes.  I think habitually "lying" to your child and giving them false information that distorts their perception of the world is abuse.  Yes I know the parents don't believe they are lying, but they might as well be teaching their kids that 2+2=22.  Forcing their kids to be "dumb" in a certain aspect just isn't right.

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Not according to our culture. It would be for Muslims. bill

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The key word here is "pushing".  If you tell a child that some religion is the truth and they have to believe it or else consequences then that is a problem.

 

However if you introduce a religion as culture and keep your statements open minded then it's not so bad.  If you want to tell your kid "Some people believe . . . " and do it that way you should be okay.

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I'm all for the "some people believe..." approach.

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Indoctrination that is too heavy handed could be abuse but I love a free society so I am going to say no it isn't because otherwise the state becomes the parent and it's 1984. It is sad to see an arch Christian discipline fanatic neigh their family however it really makes you pity the kids however such patenting sows the seeds of rebellion later on and this is good. I've seen ultra Calvinist pastor and wife parents end up with roadies in rock bands as kids. Praise god the boy got free!

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I'm not really sure, either.  Raising your kids according to Mike and Debi Pearl's toxic horse shit is obviously abuse. Teaching kids to even censor thoughts is pretty abusive as well.  But there's a difference between "things I would disagree with" (raising kids with any sort of religion) and "bad parenting" (raising daughters in a more conservative, patriarchal brand of religion) and "outright abuse" (raising kids in a fundamentalist environment where harsh physical punishments and emotional abuse are a daily event).  

 

I'm not about to tell any liberal or nominal Christians that they shouldn't send their kids to Sunday school when the fundies are beating their kids and neglecting their social, emotional, and educational needs.

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