The Harms Done to Children Even in Our Highly Informed Times Merits Extended Discussion.

Inspired by Joan Denoo’s post today in Hang With Friends about the MMR fraud. Posted here because Water Cooler has many more readers than Family etc.

Decades ago I read in the news of a West African nation whose rulers were so corrupt that many of its people became so apathetic that parents stopped caring for their own children.

Here in the US of A, laws protected domestic animals (cats, dogs, etc) from abuse for a century before laws protected human children. I read of an 1860s court case of a mother who had beaten her daughter so severely that an attorney for the daughter cited the laws protecting domestic animals. I don’t recall reading of how the case was decided.

In 1976 when I moved to San Francisco, I saw in the news that San Jose was the first city in the nation to take children from violent homes and send their parents to anger management programs.

Many of us know of more harm done to children, including the religious indoctrination of young children.

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Indoctrination of children can be obvious, such as devoutly theistic parents not allowing their children to play with evil atheists, as I had experienced in my childhood, from the atheist side of the equation, I lost friends when at Sunday school I made a crude joke about Jesus's resurrection, or was that an erection or a tilt in his loin cloth. :-D~

Suddenly some of the parents who overheard my joke, dragged their children away from me and banned them from associating with me. 

And it can be very subtle, such as nice children's stories which seem innocent at first, but have underlying themes that induce a belief and fear of a supernatural overlord or an evil supernatural adversary plus feel good fantasies provoking and promoting wishful thinking and concepts of an afterlife.

Though Nietzsche would disagree, as he thought people needed such wishful thinking to avoid depression.
Which is why he actually mourned the death of God / religion.
Psychologists today realize that the only use of religion is to give people a sense of something more than this painful and often less than satisfying existence by giving hope in something better in an afterlife.

Philosophers are struggling to find ways to comfort those less robust than many of us atheists, since there are many who cannot be content with knowing that this life is all there is.

Education may be the only avenue we have to build robustness and acceptance of our torrid mortal existence as being all we will ever have, but I suppose we must remain tolerant of the need for many who cannot cope with such knowledge or don't have the intelligence to comprehend that humans are just mammals.

Read “people uninquisitive enough to think they should just stay with whatever religion they happened to be brought up in” perhaps as:

1) “people too indoctrinated”,

2) “people too slavish”, or

3) in any of a variety of other ways more, less or equally judgmental.

Now, Bert, if like a well-trained Catholic you still need to pass judgment on others, ignore all that follows and be fucked. L O fucking L ! ! !

My Kindle now has on it the free sample of Pollan’s book and I’ve read its opening words.

They reminded me that in the extended family I knew, people didn’t use mind-altering drugs. Instead, they (two of them) committed suicide. I considered doing so, and in that brief moment I broke  the chains Catholicism had somehow installed in my mind.

How did they do it?

How did they do it, stated more clearly, is How did Catholicism install metaphorical chains in my mind?

Bert, I too looked to the past, until the existentialist in me. quitting his teeny bopper ways, told me

“When you place responsibility on people in the past for what they did, you take responsibilty from people in the present for dealing with the consequences.”

In short, there are no excuses.

BTFW, the shit started long before the inquisition.

Initially, I didn't want to become a parent because I didn't want to be the one to shove my kid or kids into the mold of my own expectations, because that is precisely what my father did to me, a circumstance for which I never confronted him and for which I will never forgive him.  He was a dominator type, as I suppose Ruth would say; as long as he was getting his way, he was happy, and I suppose he thought we'd all come out okay in the end.  We did, but almost certainly as much in spite of him as because of him.

I became a parent anyway because my first wife wanted a kid, and I effectively went along for the ride – not a great reason.  That said, when my wife broached the subject, I insisted that our daughter was NOT going to be baptized, for multiple reasons, not the least of which were that neither of her parents were church goers (and I for one was not about to restart!), but also because at some point I knew that she could become a good person without all the religious superstructure (for which you may read: dead weight!).  Turns out, she's turned out way better than I did at her age, a fact about which I am pleased no end.

In retrospect, I remain furious at my parents for the clueless and pro-forma way they did raise me and to this day I wonder what I could have been, had I been given a chance to sort things out on my own.  As a culture, we're only beginning to realize that this is one harm among too many parents foist on kids in this day and age, and I wonder how long it's going to take to unlearn that worse than useless lesson.

I guess I was lucky in that my father was a Freemason and my mother an ex-Catholic.
They only went to church as in small country regions, the church was the best meeting place for the community, so they went to see their friends.
While they bundled us children off to the Sunday school where we were given religious stories and played games based on the Bible, but I had no interest in the crap at the time.
So it went in one ear and out the other, I was more interested in just having fun with my friends than the garbage being fed to us.

Though when we moved to another region where they knew nobody, they ceased going to church and thus Sunday school also ended, we were all considered by the new town as atheists, since we shunned the religious folk who tried to get us interested in attending their church. 

It was I who broke the line of atheists when they sent me to a Christian boarding school, because my parents were advised to do so, because of my IQ test results stated I was wasting my time at the lowly ( by the adviser's standard) public school.

So I became the only Christian in my entire family and started street preaching and even preached to my family, who wouldn't have a bar of it and ignored me.

It took me several years to realize my family was right all along and I returned as an anti-theist, instead of just being a garden variety atheist like the rest of my family.

Today our family has extended to 4 generations of atheists. 
Atheism is now our family tradition. 

It makes for a wide variety of wedding settings for those who bother to get married, like gardens, barns, golf courses, football stadiums, etc.....
Never churches. :-D~ 

Like my parents and their siblings practiced, not one of their children were ever taught to fear irrational supernatural beings.

Though superhero movies and even some comics contain fear of such monsters, as one of my cousins was fearful of noises in the night, from reading superhero comics, I forget which one it was, but they never affected me that way. 

But many families around us did indoctrinate their children into such beliefs and a girl I had a crush on, was raped, got pregnant and committed suicide because of her strict Catholic upbringing and her fear that her very strict Catholic parents would not accept her.

Though I have other reasons for disliking the Catholic church, such as their property greed, where they essentially stole an elderly woman's property from her, by having her committed as insane after she left her property to the church in her will.
She had changed her mind and wanted to sell her property to move back to Britain to live with her only surviving sister.
But the church had her deemed incapable of managing her own finances and stopped her from travelling to Britain, so she became a prisoner of the church until her death and then the church took ownership of her property.

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