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The Sign of Abuse - Comments

jel's Avatar Comment 1 by jel

I agree, we are for ever being told that children must not be shown images of torture, sexuality etc., that they must be allowed their childhood yet, when it comes to religion, all that goes out the window and they are shown the most graphic images possible, told in gory detail the most horrific details of someone dying in agony and, somehow, this is good for them. It beggars belief!

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 11:29:23 UTC | #570056

Pete H's Avatar Comment 2 by Pete H

Perhaps children aren’t as frail as they seem. They’re more likely to get bored than terrified. And even boredom has a benefit in stimulating the imagination. When I was a young child my imagination was exercised generating reasons why us kids should be sent out of the service to kick a ball around the graveyard near the church.

They used to go on about torture in church services but all it achieved in my case was to establish an association between religion and intense boredom. My memories of church attendance are the mind-numbing dullness, an entire morning lost forever. When you’re very young and haven’t actually had that many Sunday mornings then each one is much more precious than for an adult. That’s the real child abuse.

There was one exception: the church organ was pretty amazing stuff – at least during the preliminaries. But I always wondered why the music during the actual service was so bland compared to the few minutes of fiddling around from the organist as the victims made their way to their seats.

Something similar happened to me around the same age with cricket. If there is a hell for those who have not accepted cricket into their lives then that’s where I’m headed.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 11:37:20 UTC | #570060

josephor's Avatar Comment 3 by josephor

I agree with the sentiment expressed and the whole crucifixion thing along with many parts of the Bible should be X-rated, totally unsuitable for children and mentally damages some adults,and turns them into killers or terrorists. Paul Hill is an example of how screwed up some of these people are. Kids are being used all over the world by religious fanatics and those who criticize them are vilified by the politically correct cowards or threatened by fanatics. The greatest honor for a Catholic mother in the very recent past, was for one of her sons to be a Priest in the mid east mothers are very busy rearing Suicide Bombers. Religion harms people both physically and mentally people should be made aware of this and to heck (almost said hell)with religious sensibilities.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 11:53:43 UTC | #570066

Matt B's Avatar Comment 4 by Matt B

I'm glad you bring this up, there is certainly something off kilter about the religious obsession with the torturing of jesus. I have a Columbian coworker who has a small crucified jesus statue on her desk, in painfully exquisite detail. When I asked her why she had something that hideous as a decoration, I received a cold stare; once again, people who think they know my views feel that my genuine questions are a form of mockery, even when they're not.

Such a campaign would be a great idea, though I have little insight myself as to the best way of approaching such a feat. Especially in a way that can cut through the traditional mindset and be seriously considered by the religious.

There is always the option of fair comparison; picking one of the billions of humans who have undergone torture and suffering in the history of our race and highlighting those cases. For some reason, torture is horrible concept to the religious except when it comes to jesus. The only issue with this approach is that we would then be providing exposure to torture, which is what we're aiming to eliminate.

Perhaps if we were able to interview children who are exposed to these sickening ideas (the virtues of being tortured) so that other adults could see what they're really doing to the children?

Well, I may not have good ideas, but if one comes along, I'm willing to take up arms and back it up as best I can.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 12:02:38 UTC | #570070

G0LCU's Avatar Comment 5 by G0LCU

To comment 2 by PETE H...

Wow, my sentiments exactly...

Reminds me of a quote someone said to me when I was a kid in church...

"Never since the field of human conflict have so many been f***ed about by so few."

NOT Winston Churchill!

(As for the Church Organ, I would dearly love to see and hear 32 and 64 footers in operation.)


Back to lurk mode.


Bazza, G0LCU...

Team AMIGA...

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 12:05:54 UTC | #570071

Jay G's Avatar Comment 6 by Jay G

It seems to me, and please don't take this as a personal attack, that the more recent posts here have been devoted solely to the subject of religion bashing. I don't have any problems with religion bashing, but it's like a musical theme that gets repeated over and again until one is sick of hearing it. (like when the radio stations used to play 'Stairway to Heaven' until one wanted to jump out the nearest window) Maybe it's the holiday season that is bringing this out but there have been few if any posts dealing with other subjects.

I'm sorry to have hijacked your post for the purpose of venting. You may now resume your religion bashing.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 12:17:50 UTC | #570077

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 7 by Stevehill

True, and well observed.

But kids are resilient - my 2 and 4 year olds were laughing their heads off in another room the other day. Eventually we investigated to see what was the cause of such merriment. Our cat had dragged in a live blackbird and was toying with it while it got round to ripping it to pieces.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 12:55:18 UTC | #570089

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 8 by SaganTheCat


I have nothing against children being made aware that torture exists. for example in many theocracies, women, homosexuals and other infadels are often tortured. this should be far more relevent to children today than trying to tell them one particualr image of torture is a "nice" thing.

as mentioned above I think most children are more resilient than people give credit for. can't remember who said it but i heard a children’s author once say "children learn by picking up dog-ends". the things parents try to shield them from are the things they become curious about and shining a light on a subject isn't always a bad idea

however, shielding children from a bit of swearing on TV while desensitising them to the image of actual harm humans inflict on each other.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 13:16:30 UTC | #570096

Ygern's Avatar Comment 9 by Ygern

I agree and disagree.

I think kids are all too capable of handling the subject of cold-blooded torture - perhaps more easily than adults because they can't or don't until a certain age fully empathise with the suffering of a stranger or non-human. In fact The Blank Slate and other books show us that even adults have only relatively recently come to empathise with other species and non-family humans.

And then there are how many beloved fairy tales have truly gory horror and abuse at their heart: Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel to name only a few. Although Disney sanitised them and edited out most of the blood, they remain oft-repeated tales of child abuse and murder. Kids love them.

On the other hand it is appalling and utterly inappropriate that little children are exposed to instruments of torture and death and are indeed encouraged to wear them around their necks, kiss them (The Veneration of the Cross should only be between consenting adults).

But perhaps the strangest thing is that I am not sure that children fully comprehend the exact gory truth about the cross. They are exposed to this thing at such a young age, it goes largely unmentioned on walls, in church, on rosaries and on jewelery for most of the calendar year that they are largely inured to it; rendered callously indifferent to the hideous suffering by over-exposure and the knowledge that the figure depicted is God, last seen romping around the portals of heaven.

To my mind the damage done is not shocking or upsetting children, it is the almost inevitable numbing of their sensibilities where they can walk past such a thing with barely a glance, let alone a wince.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 13:20:17 UTC | #570097

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 10 by Steve Zara

This may sound rather extreme, but with all the continuing child abuse news and the behaviour of the Pope, I don't want to see any accommodation of the awfulness of Christianity, and we put up with quite a lot from religion that we would not accept if it was from a secular organisation.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 14:15:13 UTC | #570121

green and dying's Avatar Comment 11 by green and dying

There's some quite horrible stuff in fairytales too. I'd rather not shelter children from everything unpleasant. I've never heard of a child being upset by this and I was a very over-sensitive child.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 15:55:51 UTC | #570166

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 12 by Steve Zara

If we "ban the crucifixion" then we might as well ban violent films, violent video games, violent books etc...

We do for young children. That's the point.

To be honest, I'm not really worried about the crucifixion having an effect on children. I'm just trying to point out the hypocrisy of religion in this matter. Why should sick tradition get a free pass because it is religious?

Is this related to the way that the Pope manages to escape prosecution on the matter of covering up child abuse?

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 16:55:25 UTC | #570200

Matt B's Avatar Comment 13 by Matt B

Yes, there's horrible stuff in fairy tales (no need to say "too") - but children are not generally taught that such horrible acts are required because they have inherent sin. With other fairy tales, they are not shamed into believing that they are flawed, despicable creatures that must put all of their hope and salvation into the characters of the story else they might suffer eternal damnation. xtians teach that the horrible torture of christ is their fault for not being born a perfect creature, having the blood (or at least apple-juice) of their ancestors hands on their own. There is certainly a line of distinction here, and it is most definitely not a fine line.

I was also an overly-sensitive child (and am now an overly-sensitive adult), and I was fortunate to never have this aspect of religion shoved onto me as a child.

This does not mean it isn't being done to other children around the world. If you want to see first hand, go to youtube and search for the "jesus camp" trailer. It chills my blood just thinking about it.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 16:55:47 UTC | #570201

blitz442's Avatar Comment 14 by blitz442

The Christian concepts with the most potential to traumatize children (and adults) are: 1) God monitors your every thought and action, 2) mere thoughts can be sinful and, 3) the existence of Hell.

Imagine going through childhood knowing that every move you make is being recorded, and that despite your best efforts you may go to a bad place when you die, forever separated from your loved ones. I haven't checked, but I'd bet that there are some real cases of profound and lasting psychological disorders arising specifically from this lethal cocktail of beliefs.

The "thoughts can be sinful" part might be the worst one of the bunch. You are guaranteed to go through life sinning, even if you never actually act on those thoughts, and who knows whether the culmination of these "sinful" thoughts might be construed as a rejection of God by the big man himself. I can't imagine a healthy adult mind being labored with these beliefs, much less a child's, and even so-called sophisticated or moderate Catholics could do without their diluted version of this mental poison.

I think that a little dead man on a stick pales in comparison to this.

I'd also add that certain denominations of Christianity up the ante by introducing the idea of the Rapture.

It's like Western religions were invented by Wes Craven.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 17:07:56 UTC | #570214

green and dying's Avatar Comment 15 by green and dying

The "you are born in sin" stuff I do have a problem with. People shouldn't teach that to children. But I have no problem with telling children about the crucifixion of Jesus, or gruesome fairytales, or things from actual history.

Once again, just remove the supernatural parts. The stories and culture and tradition I either don't care about or actually like.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 17:09:20 UTC | #570217

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 16 by Steve Zara

With respect, Sir, there is nothing to stop a mother or father, or any other relative from buying a violent video game or movie for a child. Same with books. It is up to the parent what they let their child experience.

Not really, thank goodness. If it was found that a parent was doing this routinely there would soon be investigations.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 17:32:04 UTC | #570236

blitz442's Avatar Comment 17 by blitz442

Comment 18 by Steve Zara

Not really, thank goodness. If it was found that a parent was doing this routinely there would soon be investigations.

So if a parent buys R rated movies and lets their child watch them, they should be investigated? Under what law?

To be honest, I'm not really worried about the crucifixion having an effect on children

You backed off of this pretty quickly. That's unfortunate, because I thought that the idea of traditions causing harm was a salient point. I think that your point about the "sick" tradition getting a free pass, as opposed to a silly or inane tradition, is weakened if you can't show any harm done.

A more interesting line of inquiry might be the link between Christian beliefs and traditions and actual behavioral problems and real world effects. Does the lack of outrage about the child-abuse cover up, especially from Catholics, reflect learned helplessness and overly passive behavior? Is there a relation between the nature of Catholic beliefs and the seeming incapability of Catholics to act as anything other than a herd of cattle when presented with evidence of the cover-ups?

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 17:46:34 UTC | #570245

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 18 by Steve Zara

You backed off of this pretty quickly

I haven't backed off anything. I'm trying to get a discussion going as to why religion gets a free pass while it gets up to awful things in societies.

What led me to think of this was the recent Though for the Day by the Pope - why isn't the Pope facing questions by the journalists in the Today Programme instead of being allowed such a privileged platform?

What else does Christianity get away with?

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 18:27:27 UTC | #570278

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 19 by crookedshoes

I have news for everyone. There are very few crueler things on the planet than kids. They will smash each other to bits for no reason at all. They will pick on and pick at another weaker kid until they commit suicide and then shrug their shoulders and move to the next bit of hateful torture. Kids shoot up schools. Kids bully.

I know some of you will tell me about their home lives and even point to (perhaps correctly) about the hate in the bible and the crucified christ imagery... But, show me a day care center and I'll show you cruelty (child to child). from tearing a toy out of another kids hands to ostracizing a kid for being different... It is cruel through and through.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 19:19:04 UTC | #570308

holysmokes's Avatar Comment 20 by holysmokes

Well put crookedshoes. (comment 21)

Why does this happen? Is it because the mind has not yet developed? Perhaps people are inherently mean because of selfishness, (survival mode), toward others and must be trained to behave?

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 20:44:26 UTC | #570369

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 21 by crookedshoes


I think we are mean to others until we learn how it feels when they are mean to us. Some never seem to learn this.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 20:48:10 UTC | #570372

blitz442's Avatar Comment 22 by blitz442

Steve is the yellow press of the new Atheist 'movement'

Steve is the gunner of this site. Extremely prolific, sometimes melodramatic, but often quite brilliant. I have to admit that I have learned a fair amount from Steve's posts, and I generally respect him. However, the sheer quantity of his musings guarantees a few airballs from time to time.

I wouldn't brand him as yellow press, that's not fair. In my experience, he'll usually concede an argument if he is shown to be incorrect.

However, like all intellectuals, he's not going to be easily budged from a position which he has spent some time thinking about. I wouldn't let this frustrate you. Just pick apart his arguments if you see holes. No need for name calling.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 22:16:57 UTC | #570421

jonny5509's Avatar Comment 23 by jonny5509

No name calling intended!

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 22:22:00 UTC | #570429

jonny5509's Avatar Comment 24 by jonny5509

'Yellow press' might have been a little too much.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 22:24:08 UTC | #570431

blitz442's Avatar Comment 25 by blitz442

Comment 27 by jonny5509

Sorry, that comment was poorly worded.

I extend to you a belated "Welcome to the site", if that 280+ post thread was your first time here. I wouldn't apologize for challenging specific people. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a vigourous exchange of ideas!

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 22:31:53 UTC | #570436

jonny5509's Avatar Comment 26 by jonny5509

Comment 29 by blitz442 :

Thanks for the welcome Blitz, sincerely. I've been 'loitering with intent' for a year or so. It turned out to be quite hard work defending a viewpoint!

I'm sure Steve will jump in at any moment to defend his bonkers view of R.E. being child abuse... ;)

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 22:44:29 UTC | #570446

locutus7's Avatar Comment 27 by locutus7

Christians beleve you have to terrify kids into being good. How's that working, christians?

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 23:47:31 UTC | #570471

jonny5509's Avatar Comment 28 by jonny5509

I think to label R.E. as child abuse, somehow undermines the proper use of that term. It's kind of like when white supremacists use the term "genocide" to describe miscegenation. It's a pretty vile and negligent thing to say and it somewhat disempowers the meaning of the term. Child abuse is not sitting watching "The King of Kings" on a Monday afternoon. People must keep things in perspective. If Religious Education, and faith based education/indoctrination was half as bad as certain new atheists make out, then why has adherence to Christianity (in all its guises) reached crisis point in the United Kingdom?

I completely agree. I've made this point before (but didnt really convince anyone of it) - my feeling is that it has become so difficult to improve upon the arguments and views already expressed by the new Atheist intelligenstia, that it quite often leads to us radicalising their views in order to bring anything new to the conversation. This inevitably results in the depature from reason, and in outrageous claims such as 'religious education is child abuse' and 'just having faith is immoral'.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 23:52:15 UTC | #570473

jonny5509's Avatar Comment 29 by jonny5509

Christians beleve you have to terrify kids into being good. How's that working, christians?

My mum terrified me into being good and she was, and still is, a life-long atheist.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 23:53:43 UTC | #570475

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 30 by Steve Zara

I think to label R.E. as child abuse, somehow undermines the proper use of that term.

What I'm trying to highlight with this post is the way our societies have somehow ended up being silent about some shocking aspects of religion and shocking behaviour by religions people both through familiarity and because of the undue respect that is shown to religious ideas.

If the crucifixion was not already so widely established as to be boringly familiar, the idea of telling young children about that short of thing would be thought disgusting and totally inappropriate. I can remember how I was taught about it. It wasn't like some fairy-tale about grandma being gobbled up by a wolf, it was horribly detailed, with the scourging and the agony of the crown of thorns, and the long death on the cross.

Of course, children love being nasty, or at least some do, but religion is not some night-time beastly tale, told once and forgotten in a few days, it is supposed to be some eternal truth.

Sometimes I think society is somehow anaesthetised by the parasite called religion that we just can't or won't see it's awfulness.

As for there being so much religion bashing, I say good. There isn't anywhere near enough.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 23:57:40 UTC | #570478