Hell and Richard Dawkins

Teaching a child about hell is a very frightening thing, as survivors of Goldenbridge and other Industrial ‘Schools’ know only too well. They were reminded every day of their lives that they would be threatened with the flames of hell if they were deemed out of order by the nuns. I also think that child sexual abuse is very damaging to children. Scars remain with them for the rest of their lives. In the finality, both threats of hell and child abuse are severely damaging, and have left children from Industrial ‘Schools’ with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPSD).

Dawkins: Catholicism is Worse than Child Abuse

Back in October of 2002, Richard Dawkins wrote an essay for The Dubliner magazine entitled, “The God Shaped Hole”. In this essay, Dawkins compares Catholicism to the sexual molestation of children, and argues that Catholicism is worse: ”Regarding the accusations of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, deplorable and disgusting as those abuses are, they are not so harmful to the children as the grievous mental harm in bringing up the child Catholic in the first place. I had a letter from a woman in America in her forties, who said that when she was a child of about seven, brought up a Catholic, two things happened to her: one was that she was sexually abused by her parish priest. The second thing was that a great friend of hers at school died, and she had nightmares because she thought her friend was going to hell because she wasn’t Catholic. For her there was no question that the greatest child abuse of those two was the abuse of being taught about hell. Being fondled by the priest was negligible in comparison. And I think that’s a fairly common experience.” I can’t speak about the really grave sexual abuse that obviously happens sometimes, which actually causes violent physical pain to the altar boy or whoever it is, but I suspect that most of the sexual abuse priests are accused of is comparatively mild – a little bit of fondling perhaps, and a young child might scarcely notice that. The damage, if there is damage, is going to be mental damage anyway, not physical damage. Being taught about hell – being taught that if you sin you will go to everlasting damnation, and really believing that – is going to be a harder piece of child abuse than the comparatively mild sexual abuse.” 

I got into a discussion with a young person on twitter. Not a follower, thank goodness. I was trying to bring the HELL perspective mostly into the conversation, without saying that it was more evil than child abuse. I think it went on deaf ears. I think it is just a black and white situation with a lot of people who’ve probably never had the threat of hell thrown at them every single day of their young lives in institutional settings. I can only make that summation. I don’t know exactly. I’ve seen the black and white term mentioned in critical thinking manuals. I think they may not be looking at the ‘full breath’ [another critical terminology] of Richard Dawkins meaning of same. I don’t want to diminish sex abuse, as it is not my place to make judgements on others who have been sexually abused, I know noting about at all.

Ophelia Benson gives both the Hell and sexual abuse of children their individual place.

…[H]ere’s the thing. I agree with people who are outraged by the “worse than a child being sexually abused” part, but I agree with Dawkins that the badness of teaching children that hell is real is terrible and that that gets neglected.

I think this means I’ve irritated everyone. So it goes.

I think it’s a big mistake, and especially so for Dawkins and at this stage of the game, to compare it with anything else, and to minimize child sexual abuse. (TGD came out before the Ryan Report. I would guess Dawkins has read the Ryan Report. I think it was front and center at the time of the protests against the pope’s visit. If he has, it seems odd that he’s still arguing that priestly child sexual abuse isn’t always a big deal.

I think OB has a very good point there when she points out that the TGD came out before the Ryan Report. The timing of both was not good at all. They clashed dreadfully with each other. I also do not think that RD would have said what he did to The Dubliner, post the Ryan Report. It would have been out of place. However, I sincerely empathise with his condemnation on the ‘flames of hell’ ideology preached to little children and the untold damage arising from same. The Ryan Report shocked even the politicians. I know for a fact that survivors of child institutional abuse were getting untold grief for years from people who had an agenda with the church. It angered me, and still does to this very day that survivors of child institutional abuse were passed over and neglected by a large contingent in an unnamed ‘community where they thought they would be listened to and welcomed with open arms. However that’s another issue.

OB continues down further…

He may be right that for some children it really isn’t, but it’s a very dubious thing to argue, especially when the church is still trying to brush it under the carpet.) I think he should just separate the two, and then leave the other one strictly alone. Focus on hell, and leave the child abuse issue alone; that’s my advice.

Yeah, that is what I was trying to do at Twitter, just focus on the HELL element. Instead, I found that I was being linked to those who thought that I came from the camp that thought child sexual abuse was of a lesser evil than HELL.

I’ve been standing on metaphorical soap-boxes for years decrying the damage that both child sexual abuse and indoctrination of Roman Catholicism has done to children. I lost out on a loving relationship with relatives who meant the world to me because I sided with the opposition.

Read the rest: In which I annoy everyone all at once

I wasn’t going to mention the name out of politeness. However, now that I’ve been blocked, I see no reason to hold forth to my otherwise polite post demeanour. See following tweet from one Bailey in Ohio, USA.

Finally had to block someone who was screaming at me for saying Dawkins/Harris’ statements about #rape & #religion were disgusting.

I never said such a thing, let alone use/scream the ‘disgusting’ word. I never brought Dawkins/Harris names into the equation at all.

Ad hominem: Latin for “to the man.” An arguer who uses ad hominems attacks the person instead of the argument. Whenever an arguer cannot defend his position with evidence, facts or reason, he or she may resort to attacking an opponent either through: labelling, straw man arguments, name calling, offensive remarks and anger.

Blocking a person can be a form of an attack on a person, instead of trying to understand ‘the breath’ of the argument.

All this critical thinking stuff is rubbing up the wrong way with a lot of people. Am getting into trouble a lot lately.

Bailey says further down:

11mBaileyBailey ‏@the_author_

If you want to try to defend that shit, please rethink your stance and don’t bother taking to me. #Dawkins #Harris

So Bailey has come to the conclusion that I’m defending the alleged story that child sex abuse is not as bad as hell. The only comparison I made was that both caused CPTSD. Nothing else.

I’ve been blocked at Twitter once already for giving my long-winded opinions on the pinkification of girls. I’m not against pink at all. I love the colour pink and spent part of the summer taking photos of gorgeous pink roses in a pink garden that I was wild about. I was picked up wrongly there. I’ll have to study English much better if I’m to truly understand and relate to my audience. I’m not very good at sussing out the audience at all. Oops, I feel a sense of cognitive dissonance coming on. Beware! Nonetheless, I’m not into blocking people. I don’t like to use ‘power’ in that shoddy way. I’m all for free speech.

Of course I was teasing out the damage that Hell did to children in the past at twitter with Bailey and the psychosocial sequelae. Blimey, I’m now in need of a Bailey’s after my disconcerted manner not to try to offend anybody.

I’ve just looked at the twitter followers of Bailey and it appears that she follows a plethora of followers whose names I’d be most familiar. Makes me sad. Perhaps I should have checked out who I was interacting with before embarking on what would be considered by others a sheer rant.

2 comments:

Badger3k said…
Well. it’s nice to see that others can jump to conclusions as well as theists. He did explain it in his Point of Inquiry interview – I’d give it a listen if I were you (http://www.centerforinquiry.net/) (since this is news, I assume you haven’t heard it yet). Of course, you could be saying “sigh” because he is giving more fodder for the extremists to quote-mine (and apparently other atheists as well), but then, anything he says will be fodder for the clueless. 6:01 AM
es said…
Dawkins comments further on this remark in his new book, The God Delusion. He says it was an “off the cuff remark” made in “the heat of the moment” but for a number of reasons defends himself. He is not trivializing the sexual abuse of children so much as pointing out how similarly abusive the religious indoctrination is. And perhaps the religious indoctrination and mental torture it often involves (in terms of teaching children they will burn in hell if they don’t believe a certain doctrine) is worse. Why? Because we all agree that sexual abuse is wrong and evil. But most of the people in your family and of course everyone in your church thinks that teaching you what I can only call EVIL religious doctrines is just fine and dandy. And that YOU are wrong to protest or reject it. So which is harder to recover from, ultimately?The Uncredible HallqTweets to be read in reverse.

Ah, this what was said by M Francois-Cerrah

Tonight, Dawkins argued that teaching a child about hell is worse than a child being sexually abused,which he said ‘she might feel was yucky’

About 1/3rd of the audience agreed w/Dawkins that teaching a child about hell is worse than he/she being sexually abused #oxfordunion

@MFrancoisCerrah

M Francois-Cerrah

There was a little clarification on “yucky” in a subsequent tweet:

@stillicides I pretty much expressed that sentiment-esp when he spoke of ‘mild’ touching which ‘she might find yucky’#arghhh

@MFrancoisCerrah

M Francois-Cerrah”

Tweets

@the_author_ Can’t make any judgement on what Dawkins/Harris said, as I haven’t read what was allegedly said. Am responding to tweets per se.

 View conversation

@the_author_ Exactly, because if you did, you would probably have a better inkling of the worldview I hold regarding untold damage caused by the usage of Hell and Damnation in my childhood.

@the_author_ Yeah, so psychological that it can be on a par with child sex abuse when it comes to clinical CPTSD manifestation outcomes. I don’t want to demean child abuse.

@the_author_ Gosh, tell that to the millions upon millions of Irish people, who have nowhere to escape from religion. The Vatican rules Ireland.

@the_author_I come from a background that wreaked havoc on wee mites, whose whole lives were destroyed by being told they would go to hell.

@the_author_ The affects of being told ‘you’ll burn in the flames of hell’ stay with one forever, and cause Complex PTSD, as does child abuse.

@the_author_ Granted, it’s just that I was specifically replying to tweet re ‘choice’ as opposed to argument, simply because you mentioned same.

@the_author_ Well, despite coming from same RRC camp, we’re obviously also coming from opposing social/generation/educational backgrounds?

@the_author_ Bailey – Moving away from religion is not as easy as it sounds, when you live in a country that eats, sleeps, thinks RC catholicism. Period.

@the_author_ @socialutionsorg “Religion is a choice,” R U 4 real? RCC forces religion on new-born babies from baptism onwards. Brainwashed?

Tonight,Dawkins argued that teaching a child about hell is worse than a child being sexually abused,which he said ‘she might feel was yucky’

 Retweeted by Marie T O’Loughlin

Expand

@LFBarfe @MFrancoisCerrah You’d shake your head in disbelief if u knew the fear that damnation of hell caused 2 industrial school survivors.

@MFrancoisCerrah @LFBarfe Survivors of Industrial ‘Schools’ have never recovered from fears of burning in hell reminders that was instilled in them as child inmates.

@PenguinGalaxy @MFrancoisCerrah Children in the past were told they’d go to hell and burn in the flames. They grasped no other concept of hell, but the real burning flames.

@LFBarfe @MFrancoisCerrah Children in the past, from my perspective, were told they’d burn in flames of hell for all eternity. Not an idiot!

@LFBarfe @MFrancoisCerrah Teaching a child about hell, as I’ve experienced was rather more than a concept It was meant to be taken as real.

Critical Thinking revisited: http://bit.ly/UD03Of 

 View media

Tweets

@leScoob There are SO many valid comparisons that could have been made and that would have been relevant or worth saying.

If you want to try to defend that shit, please rethink your stance and don’t bother taking to me. #Dawkins #Harris

Also, Dawkins saying raping a child is bad b/c it might “make her feel yucky” is ludicrously demeaning to survivors of abuse.

I’m not saying religion never causes harm, but that their statements about rape being the lesser of 2 evils are sickening.

Finally had to block someone who was screaming at me for saying Dawkins/Harris’ statements about #rape & #religion were disgusting.

@MarieTherese39 Saying that what Dawkins/Harris said is wrong doesn’t detract from the harm religions do cause.

@MarieTherese39 There are plenty of Irish atheist groups out there, as well as Irish expats, working against that.

@MarieTherese39 I would never dispute that religious abuse can cause horrendous psychological trauma.

@MarieTherese39 I don’t know anything about your background, but if you think religion is worse than child rape, we are in opposition, yes.

@socialutionsorg Ha, thanks. It just seems like a no-brainer to me. Religion is a choice, rape is a crime. I know which I dislike more.

@the_author_ @socialutionsorg “Religion is a choice,” R U 4 real? RCC forces religion on new-born babies from baptism onwards. Brainwashed?

@MarieTherese39 Yeah, and once people grow up and move out, they can move away from it. Never said it was always a choice/a good choice.

@the_author_ Bailey – Moving away from religion is not as easy as it sounds, when you live in a country that eats, sleeps and thinks RC Catholicism. Period.

@MarieTherese39 It wasn’t a valid comparison, and it’s not helpful dialogue in terms of helping people move away from religious belief.

11:40 AM – 24 Nov 12 · Details

@socialutionsorg Ha, thanks. It just seems like a no-brainer to me. Religion is a choice, rape is a crime. I know which I dislike more.

@the_author_ @socialutionsorg “Religion is a choice,” R U 4 real? RCC forces religion on new-born babies from baptism onwards. Brainwashed?

@MarieTherese39 Yeah, and once people grow up and move out, they can move away from it. Never said it was always a choice/a good choice.

@the_author_ Bailey – Moving away from religion is not as easy as it sounds, when you live in a country that eats, sleeps and thinks RC Catholicism. Period

@MarieTherese39 Religion is not a good force in the world, I’m not arguing that. What I am arguing is that what Dawkins/Harris said was sick

11:39 AM – 24 Nov 12 · Details

@the_author_ Granted, it’s just that I was specifically replying to tweet re ‘choice’ as opposed to argument, simply because you mentioned same.

@socialutionsorg Ha, thanks. It just seems like a no-brainer to me. Religion is a choice, rape is a crime. I know which I dislike more.

@the_author_ @socialutionsorg “Religion is a choice,” R U 4 real? RCC forces religion on new-born babies from baptism onwards. Brainwashed?

@MarieTherese39 Yeah, and once people grow up and move out, they can move away from it. Never said it was always a choice/a good choice.

@the_author_ Bailey – Moving away from religion is not as easy as it sounds, when you live in a country that eats, sleeps and thinks RC Catholicism. Period

@MarieTherese39 But it can be done. You can’t be un-raped, and you can’t un-rape someone. Rape is a crime. Religion isn’t.

11:38 AM – 24 Nov 12 · Details

@the_author_ The affects of being told ‘you’ll burn in the flames of hell’ stay with one forever, and cause Complex PTSD, as does child abuse.

About 1/3rd of the audience agreed w/Dawkins that teaching a child about hell is worse than he/she being sexually abused #oxfordunion

@MFrancoisCerrah So Dawkins/Harris think religion is a greater evil than rape? I’m an atheist, but that’s sick. These men don’t speak for me

@socialutionsorg Ha, thanks. It just seems like a no-brainer to me. Religion is a choice, rape is a crime. I know which I dislike more.

@the_author_ @socialutionsorg “Religion is a choice,” R U 4 real? RCC forces religion on new-born babies from baptism onwards. Brainwashed?

@MarieTherese39 And I went to a Catholic school, so I’m very familiar with how religions influence kids-didn’t stop me from leaving religion

11:21 AM – 24 Nov 12 · Details

@the_author_ Well, despite coming from same RRC camp, we’re obviously also coming from opposing social/generation/educational backgrounds?

@MarieTherese39 I don’t know anything about your background, but if you think religion is worse than child rape, we are in opposition, yes.

@the_author_ Exactly, because if you did you would probably have better inkling of worldview I hold regarding untold damage caused by Hell and Damnation terms thrown at one every single day as a child.

About 1/3rd of the audience agreed w/Dawkins that teaching a child about hell is worse than he/she being sexually abused #oxfordunion

@MFrancoisCerrah So Dawkins/Harris think religion is a greater evil than rape? I’m an atheist, but that’s sick. These men don’t speak for me

@socialutionsorg Ha, thanks. It just seems like a no-brainer to me. Religion is a choice, rape is a crime. I know which I dislike more.

@the_author_ @socialutionsorg “Religion is a choice,” R U 4 real? RCC forces religion on new-born babies from baptism onwards. Brainwashed?

@MarieTherese39 Rape, however, is a violent crime. Teaching kids religion isn’t great for their minds. But it’s in NO WAY comparable to rape

11:20 AM – 24 Nov 12 · Details

About 1/3rd of the audience agreed w/Dawkins that teaching a child about hell is worse than he/she being sexually abused #oxfordunion

@MFrancoisCerrah So Dawkins/Harris think religion is a greater evil than rape? I’m an atheist, but that’s sick. These men don’t speak for me

@socialutionsorg Ha, thanks. It just seems like a no-brainer to me. Religion is a choice, rape is a crime. I know which I dislike more.

@the_author_ @socialutionsorg “Religion is a choice,” R U 4 real? RCC forces religion on new-born babies from baptism onwards. Brainwashed?

@MarieTherese39 Yeah, and once people grow up and move out, they can move away from it. Never said it was always a choice/a good choice.

11:20 AM – 24 Nov 12 · Details

@the_author_ Bailey – Moving away from religion is not as easy as it sounds, when you live in a country that eats; sleeps; thinks RC Catholicism. Period.

@MarieTherese39 But it can be done. You can’t be un-raped, and you can’t un-rape someone. Rape is a crime. Religion isn’t.

@MarieTherese39 Religion is not a good force in the world, I’m not arguing that. What I am arguing is that what Dawkins/Harris said was sick

@MarieTherese39 It wasn’t a valid comparison, and it’s not helpful dialogue in terms of helping people move away from religious belief.

@the_author_ Granted, it’s just that I was specifically replying to tweet re ‘choice’ as opposed to argument, simply because you mentioned same.

I’ve campaigned for years against institutional child abuse. A commission to inquire into institutional child abuse (inclusive of sexual abuse] was set up in Ireland in 2002. The Ryan Report was the outcome. I’ve been supportive of the Ferns, Murphy Report into clerical child sex abuse. Most of my twitter followers have child sexual abuse concerns to the fore. A lot of them have first hand knowledge of child sex abuse.
It’s your account, and you’re entitled to do as you wish.

Finally had to block someone who was screaming at me for saying Dawkins/Harris’ statements about #rape & #religion were disgusting.

12:49 PM – 24 Nov 12 ·

@the_author_ Good! They are disgusting!

So Becky Escalator and Julian Francisco have cheered on the accuser @BeckyEscalator‘s profile reads “I mostly follow blogs, news and organizations and tweet about random things.”
Well for your information BE, I follow blogs and interact with people all the time who have child sex abuse issues to the fore. I would not have this journal if it were not for child abuse issues of the past. I was told I was ‘disgusting’ throughout my young life so you are telling me nothing new. Too bad you did not do your homework before you decided to tell a blocked twitterer that they were ‘disgusting’. Or, were you just randomly making a comment?

Penelope Grace @callistacat’s profile advocates being “Pro-being nice to my fellow three-dimensional beings.” I’m all for one ‘dimensional’ niceness, especially when it concerns the truth. It would have been so ‘nice’ if you’d actually read the tweets of the person who was blocked before deciding to retweet same.

24 Nov

Also, Dawkins saying raping a child is bad b/c it might “make her feel yucky” is ludicrously demeaning to survivors of abuse.

 Retweeted by julian francisco

Expand

I’m not saying religion never causes harm, but that their statements about rape being the lesser of 2 evils are sickening.

Retweeted by julian francisco

Expand

Finally had to block someone who was screaming at me for saying Dawkins/Harris’ statements about #rape & #religion were disgusting.

 Retweeted by julian francisco
  • Becky EscalatorPenelope Gracejulian franciscoDeimusHenry Garcia III
12:49 PM – 24 Nov 12 ·

@canislatrans make some issues much worse but in and of themselves they don’t cause trauma like sexual assault.

Have you any evidence to back up that ‘in and of themselves’ they don’t cause trauma? I beg to differ very much having lived in a religious environment where ‘flames of hell’ threats were constantly thrown at children and caused immense psychological damage. The result being that the slow drip-fed trauma suffered over decades, was told to the Irish commission to inquire into child institutional abuse.

@canislatrans compliance coerced through threats of punishment aren’t all that abusive even at their worse. They’re manipulative and can…

Codswallop. You talk out of the side of one of your avatar images.

Tonight Dawkins argued that teaching a child about hell is worse than a child being sexually abused, which he said ‘she might feel was yucky’

@MFrancoisCerrah That is so atrocious I need to see evidence he said that. Even though it would not totally surprise me.

@gregladen @MFrancoisCerrah I don’t think it’s completely batty. Hell is TERRIFYING. That’s his real point.

Hear! Hear!

@OpheliaBenson Some child abusers use terror. Others rape, others beat. Discussing which is “worse” pointless. @gregladen@MFrancoisCerrah

@canislatrans But we’re not talking about abuse. We’re talking about telling a kid about hell. While hell is def worse than prison, the

Blimey, is he for real.

11:20 AM – 24 Nov 12 · Details

Tonight,Dawkins argued that teaching a child about hell is worse than a child being sexually abused,which he said ‘she might feel was yucky’

@MFrancoisCerrah That is so atrocious I need to see evidence he said that. Even though it would not totally surprise me.

@gregladen @MFrancoisCerrah I don’t think it’s completely batty. Hell is TERRIFYING. That’s his real point.

@OpheliaBenson @gregladen @MFrancoisCerrah minors is definitely something worth talking about. But it doesn’t scar like sexual abuse.

Yes, it does. For some.

11:18 AM – 24 Nov 12 · Details

@JlnFrancisco @gregladen @MFrancoisCerrah Yes it does, for some. But I agree on the basic: both suck, & it’s pointless to compare.

@the_author_’s account is protected.

@the_author_ Here! Here!

 Hide conversation

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