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I Was Traumatized By Christian Dogma: I Won't Do The Same To My Child


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This article was written by an attorney and former evangelical Christian after he and his wife adopted a child.  His story will be part of an upcoming anthology, Happy Heretics: Journeys of Recovery from Harmful Religion, by Dr. Marlene Winell.


The author describes so many things that are familiar to us -- from despicable bible quotes to the Stockholm Syndrome to the Good News Clubs shoved down innocent children's throats by well-meaning parents.  


Major snippage..here's the link.




Before I became a father, at the age of 36, I never suspected that adopting a young child, Nathan, would so powerfully dismantle my fortress-like evangelical beliefs. Nor did I anticipate the storm of turmoil, anger, and grief I would soon experience, as I relived my own childhood and confronted the dogmas I grew up with.


Nathan’s exuberant ADHD personality challenged and enchanted me and my wife from the day we first saw him. Nathan lived most of the first five years of his life in a dimly lit orphanage in western Ukraine...




From day one, Nathan’s innocence, mischievousness, inquisitiveness, explosiveness, and affection fascinated and challenged me. He was so different from me, so much livelier, so able to live in the moment, and so unstunted in his capacity to enjoy life. Yes, Nathan desperately needed to develop communication, social and behavioral skills. But I didn’t want to destroy his spark. On the contrary, I hoped to learn from Nathan how to enjoy life and live in the moment.


As I contemplated my deep parental bond with Nathan and how I ought to raise him, I began reexamining the Christian dogmas with which I was reared. Childhood memories of the dreadful dogmas I had been taught at Nathan’s age boiled up to the surface. I recoiled with bewilderment, grief and anger.


One of the first memories to surface was of an eerie summer day in our little house in Tacoma, Washington. I was just five years old, and my Mom decided it was time to teach me about hell...





God, we have all been told, cannot tolerate sin in his presence. That’s why he created hell. But I could not imagine any good father hating his child for acts of disobedience. I could not fathom how “justice” would move a father to torture his child in hell.





Reflecting on my love for Nathan, I imagined myself a five-year-old again, like him. I became angry and depressed that my parents had inflicted such painful dogmas on my young psyche. Why had my parents, neither of whom were raised in fundamentalist households, embraced and imposed these dogmas on their own flesh and blood? Why didn’t their own parental instincts anticipate, and recoil in horror at the damage those dogmas would cause? I felt betrayed and wounded.


It took me more than 30 years to begin consciously processing the damage I suffered as a child...



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Interesting story. Thanks for sharing.

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