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Teaching Children About Hell


bfuddled
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Ran across this article and thought it summed things up pretty nicely. Im treading carefully with my kids because my husband is still a believer and is not happy about my deconversion, but one thing I'm NOT allowing them to be taught is that hell is in any way real and/or allow it to be used as a scare tactic. Even before deconversion I had given up on the concept of Hell. It's only now that I'm realizing the extremely negative effects that indoctrination has on kids and the way they process things. Especially those of us who were taught this crap from birth and formed our self concepts/identities with Christian theology.

 

Even IF you believe in Hell.. what point is there to teach the concept to children? If they haven't reached the "age of accountability" they don't need to know about it, right? It's controlling through fear and it's really sick when you look at it properly.

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Yes, it is sick.  It can really affect some people, even long after deconversion.  I was taught about hell as a child but for some reason I don't remember being scared of it, maybe because I thought I wasn't going there.   I think it is a very good idea to not teach your kids about this particular myth.  If someone else teaches them (maybe kids at school?) then you may need to explain that it's made up.  I hope they believe you.

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Have you guys noticed that most denominations cut the negativity out of indoctrination for the very young?  They will wait to mention that stuff until after all the positive brainwashing has taken root.  They do the same for adult converts who are called "baby Christians" who only get "milk".  Finding out that Christianity is not free after all is the "meat" and only for "mature Christians".

 

My wife and mother are trying to get my youngest started on faith.  They have only the most basic things to say about God and Jesus.  And that won't stand a chance because I'm teaching my daughter critical thinking.  When she reaches the age of reason one will make sense and the other won't.

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Sounds to me in the event of the indoctrination of small children with the concept of hell, you need to arm yourself with a large weapon and walk up to whomever is doing the indoctrination and say in a loud clear voice,

 

"This is your only warning, indoctrinate any child with the concept of hell again and I'll break all your bones!"

 

Then when they freak out, say to them one last thing.

 

"It's not nice to be afraid is it?"

 

(But don't actually break their bones)

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I took a different view.  I've told my son all about hell and how horrific it is supposed to be.  Then I told him it didn't exist, but that many people who believe in the christian fairy tales also believe in hell.  I warned him that they would try to tell him that he would go there if he didn't believe in jesus and that his first response to such a threat should be "Prove it!"  Now, every time we open The Brick Bible together, he always wants to go and look at the pictures of hell.  He thinks Lucifer is much more interesting than jesus.  My little satanist.

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Lucifer is a much more compelling character than Jesus.

 

The Bible would be much more interesting if Lucifer/Satan had a more developed character, stronger narratives, etc.

 

If he was, he would steal the show.

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Lucifer is a much more compelling character than Jesus.

 

The Bible would be much more interesting if Lucifer/Satan had a more developed character, stronger narratives, etc.

 

If he was, he would steal the show.

 

 

Lucifer knew that he didn't have a chance.  There was no way to win.  But God's evil was so bad that it must be opposed even if doing so is suicide.

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I took a different view.  I've told my son all about hell and how horrific it is supposed to be.  Then I told him it didn't exist, but that many people who believe in the christian fairy tales also believe in hell.  I warned him that they would try to tell him that he would go there if he didn't believe in jesus and that his first response to such a threat should be "Prove it!"  Now, every time we open The Brick Bible together, he always wants to go and look at the pictures of hell.  He thinks Lucifer is much more interesting than jesus.  My little satanist.

 

That makes sense. I was referring more to the use of it within the Christian religion with children. I personally did not "fear" hell, mostly because I thought I was saved and wouldn't have to worry about it (for myself at least). I do remember, as a child, telling one of my friends that they were going to go to hell because they went to the Buddhist church. I couldn't have been more than 7 or so.

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I definitely agree that the christian concept that children are worthless sinners deserving of hell is a form of child abuse.  Anyone who ever says something like that to my son will quickly find out how Southern Gentlemen handle their business.

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I'm in the exact same boat! Stopped believing in hell before deconversion as well. I can accept the possibility of many things. I can accept that a creator god might exist. I can accept that a loving god might exist. What I absolutely cannot accept is the idea that a loving god would send anyone to eternal firey torment, especially for the thought crime of disbelief. That is illogical and thus not possible. I can tolerate my wife and family teaching my kids about most any Christian doctrines, but I draw the line at the literal hell idea for unbelievers. Nothing but a fear tactic derived from Zoroastrianism and other older religious mythologies.

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