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← "Telling children hell exists is child abuse"

Bipedal Primate's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Bipedal Primate

Comment 3 by some asshole :

"Many adults, especially Catholic adults, never really manage to shake off [the fear of hell] and guilt they imbibed as children."

I can attest to that. They made the mistake of trying to raise me Catholic. (I came to my senses, at the age of 13, right before I was to be "confirmed".) I absolutely do not believe in hell, but there is a tiny part of my brain that won't let the concept fully die. I can't explain it. My guess is that a young mind pondering such a horrific concept can cause it to be burned in somehow, where it is inaccessible to rationality. It's literally a mental scar.

I have an underdeveloped hypothesis that this idea is not just a matter of mental programming during childhood. The specificity of eternal hellfire is undoubtedly strictly cultural and memetic, I'd guess, but the notion of reward or punishment after life may not be the same thing entirely. I've never had to suffer through any religious indoctrination myself, and the first time I encountered the Hippie Carpenter Cult I pretty much thought something along the lines of "WTF?" and I doubt I'll ever stop thinking exactly that about this obviously man made system of social control and mass hypnosis. But it's still got it's clutches in my brain, somehow, and I've always been drawn to artworks depicting Hell and it's enhabitants.

Anyways: The thing is this: I've always carried with me this fantasy that I will encounter some kind of judgment after the end of my life, even though I'm not a believer. And I will be told about what I did wrong and where I could or should have done better. That doesn't mean I also think this is true, though.

Aren't we all pretty much hardwired to the thought that at the end of a task we should be rewarded according to our efforts? Isn't life almost automatically perceived as a task by most of us? Can there be some kind of genetic programming going on here? My notion couldn't exist entirely independent of the influence from judeo-christian culture, probably, but still...

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 18:10:31 UTC | #880589