"When a child asks why God lets the Devil do bad things and you explain about free will, Biblical prophecy, God’s will and the need for things to happen in God’s time and such, all you’re doing is confuse the child and give him/her a warped sense of fairness and morality. When you tell a child that it’s not ok to sin, or he/she is originally sinful because of Adam, Eve and the Talking Snake, all you do is fill their mind with guilt and shame.

"From a psychological standpoint, guilt and shame makes a great deal of sense. It’s no surprise that a child who is repeatedly reminded of their inadequacy, dirtiness, and worthlessness will most likely become an adult who struggles with feelings of guilt and shame, one who never feels clean, worthy, valuable, adequate, or forgiven. Someone who is never at peace. Children should not be indoctrinated into their parent’s religion. They were technically free to choose their own religion once they reach adulthood. Being raised in a certain religion can make the process biased, painful, and unnecessarily alienating."

~ Early religious indoctrination results to low self-esteem?

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Replies to This Discussion

That might be true.  I had no self-esteem, growing up.  Other issues probably contributed - there was some physical and emotional abuse, and a lot of bullying - but I'm sure religion didn't help.  I think some of the repercussions are life long.  But if we are fortunate, and work at it, and have good opportunities, and good influences, and determination, and intelligence, and luck, I think we can overcome most of that.

Daniel, I know people can overcome family violence and poor parenting techniques. I have seen it happen often and the difference is education. People have to want to change and when I had boys at the ranch, those parents who were out of control of their boys who wanted help were able to learn better parenting skills. Those who didn't want to change, didn't.

What impresses me most is what happened to Laura and Craig, my twins. They will be 50 years old in February, they were ten when I brought them to Spokane and changed parenting styles; they have been very successful in raising their children in non-violent ways. Even my great-grandchildren have no violence in their homes. The parents don't use it because they have the skills of communication and resolve problems and conflicts with good communication skills.

Our heritage is nothing but violence. The scions have no violence. The only difference is skills. That means learning. Anybody can do it.

I know there are scars in those of us who did grow up with physical and emotional abuse and bullying. No! religion does not help!

I agree with absolutely, "But if we are fortunate, and work at it, and have good opportunities, and good influences, and determination, and intelligence, and luck, I think we can overcome most of that." We can live in calm, reasonable, healthy ways. You prove it yourself!

Hm-mm, America's first laws protecting non-human animals from their owners' violence date from shortly after the Civil War.

America's first laws protecting children from their parents' violence date from about a century later.

Yes, law will someday protect children from the violence, much of it verbal or emotional, of religious education.

Tom, you are correct.
"The history of child protection in America is divisible into 3 eras.The first
era extends from colonial times to 1875 and may be referred to as the
era before organized child protection. The second era spans from 1875 to
1962 and witnessed the creation and growth of organized child protection
through nongovernmental child protection societies. The third, or modern
era—the era of government-sponsored child protective services (CPS)—
began in 1962. (For in-depth analysis of the history of child protection in
America see Myers, 2004, 2006, 2010.)

My first son was born in 1963 and was not protected by that law written in 1962. I screamed hysterically in emergency rooms and no one had the guts to stand with me to confront my husband, and I did not have the guts to leave. I should have been charged with a crime of not leaving. I yelled enough, but nothing changed. When he was ten years old, we ran away. I feel shame and guilt to this day!

A Short History of Child Protection in America

Joan, thanks for the Short History.

It reduced the chaos in what I knew and will be the subject of a Toastmasters speech.

I'm sure it's true, at least where I grew up. To be the warzone between god and devil from birth, to have a name that meant "belonging to christ", to be considered ugly, stupid and unwanted - I wonder how I managed to get any self-esteem at all. But I managed it, even if my self-esteem is as frail as a cardboard home in a favela. And I'm not ashamed to live there.

Oh Chris, I read a lot of pain in this piece; it is a wonder you managed to crawl through all that junk and become the beautiful person you are. Well, you are not there now, you can stand on your own two feet, shoulder to shoulder with your husband, and breath in the air that brings you life. I am so lucky to have you for a friend. 

Your wisdom and contributions to this site enrich me and many others. You have special gentleness yet toughness; I suppose it comes out of your experiences and yet you have the courage and insight to grow through the ugly memories and create a solid foundation for yourself. We have more than gardening in common!

Joan, you're such a lovely friend! And you're right: sometimes the pain takes over and I see nothing but ruin. But that's only half of the story, of course. Thanks for reminding me!

I like your new hairdo very much!

Reading my posts doesn't help because I write about what is wrong with our system. Perhaps it is time to write about options, i.e. things we can do to make our system work better. 

Thanks for the comment about my hedgehog hairdo. My upper lashes started to come back this week; see no signs of lower lashes or nose hairs. My deep wounds from radiation heal nicely, only a small area that hasn't grown new skin and is still peeling. I am well on the way to healing and grateful for my medical team. My family continues to amaze me. 

Doesn't much of it go back to the old 'spare the rod spoil the child' garbage?  Cruelty abounds in the good book.  Along with any other nasty thing one can think of.  Sexism,racism,...fill in the blank.  If you can think of it the bible has a negative view of it.

My quarrel with religion is the modern behavior of religious who claim their god and scripture is about love, forgiveness, and justice even as they deny the vicious, bloodthirsty stories from Adam and Eve to the present killings. Many claim land that their invisible god "gave" them. Such delusions deserve no respect. Yes, spare the rod is an important part of the belief system and is utterly in error. The scriptures based on Abrahamic traditions are death documents. They promote hate. 

Evidence? Israel/Palestine; in Ireland: Catholic/Protestant/; USA: pro-slavery/anti-slavery; 

In Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bosniaks predominantly Muslim / Serbs predominantly Orthodox Christians / and Croats Catholic Christians.  

This hatred is so senseless, after all, we are all related to each other, from humble beginnings in Africa 200,000 years ago. 

This one comes under the heading of "Intuitively Obvious."  I mean, when everyone is being constantly told that:

  • You're born in sin
  • You fall short of god's grace
  • Only through a process of belief (which you have to FORCE YOURSELF to do) can you gain redemption

And doubtless you have people who look at the true believers and ask themselves, "Why can't I believe like THEY do?"  It's like the catholics and the virgin Mary, faced with an impossible standard to live up to, yet still expected to emulate.  Is it any wonder that some christians feel inadequate and have low self-esteem?  As Christopher Hitchens said so many times, “We are created sick and ordered to be well.”  Indeed, so ordered with a gun to our heads, with the threat of eternal damnation.

Of course, that's how the RC church and the evangelicals want their sheep - with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt and positively RIVEN with GUILT.  Such people can be played for bucks they didn't know they had and for as long as they live.

This Is ABUSE ... whether of children or adults ... and it should be referred to as such.


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