The official blog of University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, & Agnostics
So far in this series I’ve mostly discussed romantic love and sex and other lovely things that 20 year old godless ladies like to talk about. This week will be a little different because I’m going to change my focus to a different kind of love: the love one shares with a child, the love you express by hanging up their baffling artwork or playing catch at the park. Children are helpless and impressionable and I find it absolutely deplorable that it is culturally acceptable and even encouraged to indoctrinate them with harmful bullshit. It makes for a very confused and psychologically unhealthy development, and it is definitely not a reasonable act of love.
We tell children some pretty bizarre things. Santa watches you and slides down the chimney with gifts. The Tooth Fairy buys your teeth like a creeper. An anthropomorphized rabbit steals your painted eggs and hides them along with chocolate replicas of itself.
Children are often crushed when the truth inevitably comes out. Many resist adapting to the new reality at first because fuck you, this is Santa and you can’t take him.
And these are pretty much white lies in comparison to telling them that there’s a magical man who will save them if they apologize for being horrible, or else they’ll be tortured for eternity. Or when we give them the idea they’ll see Grandma and Fido again after they die, so long as they don’t break some ambiguous rules. So of course ingraining these beliefs early will turn out kids desperate to cling to this worldview, especially because they are trained to be dependent on it to avoid damnation.
These kids are told that perfectly natural things like sexual curiosity will send you straight to Satan’s pit, that being human by default makes you drenched in sin unless you repent hard enough. Unfortunately, this frame of mind is very easy to manipulate, which is what we see the church doing time and again. The most obvious example is tithing, but we even see the Pope bribing the herd to follow him on Twitter in exchange for a reduced purgatory sentence (which isn’t even in the Bible… what?).
Far worse than scamming parishioners of their time and money is taking advantage of the trust a child gives to the person they think can connect them with their savior. One of the most recent cases to come to light is that of Father Donaghy, who was already serving a ten year sentence for child abuse when additional counts were brought against him. A seven year old boy came forward with his story: he submitted to sex with Father Donaghy who told him “that this was to get his grandfather into heaven and that if he told anyone it would not work.”
What the actual fuck?
Parents are priming their children to fear all the wrong things and trust the clergy without question. Instead of developing critical thinking and post-conventional morality, these individuals are stuck in the moral mindset of a child, making decisions based on obedience and punishment. Of course, the subset of our population raised this way are not all drooling drones, parroting the Church’s word. But plenty of them do bad things in the name of their God, manipulate people with the threat of their God, or even simply refuse to accept facts that their God does not like.
This all boils down to two simple points:
If this were being done in the name of Zeus, the parents may be charged with neglect or emotional abuse. This behavior is damaging to a child’s psyche, setting them up for failure, and practically delivering victims to people like Father Donaghy.
That’s not love. That’s sick.