Debunking the Religion-as-Child-Abuse Argument

In a previous posting,  I dismantled the popular New Atheist argument that a religious upbringing is a form of child abuse.  We saw that such a position works equally well with the political socialization of children, which would entail that New Atheists who share their political views with their children are actually abusing them.   Yet New Atheists are not willing to remain completely apolitical around their children.  We also saw that any attempt to implement the “religion as child abuse” position though societal or legal pressure is likely to cause great harm.

It’s now time to take the dismantled parts of the New Atheist argument and sweep them into the trash bin.

There is a glaring fact that completely undercuts the “religious indoctrination is child abuse” position – there is no evidence to support it.

Typically, when New Atheists make this argument, they try to support it in two ways:

  1. They engage in philosophical arguments about children’s rights and the need for people to arrive at their own conclusions free of parental influence. But unless someone is willing to make the same case for political socialization, there is no reason to respect the position when it comes to religious socialization.  Even more problematic is the simple fact that regardless of the validity of such reasoning, it fails to constitute evidence that any child abuse is occurring.
  2. They often cite stories of people who claim to have been harmed by their religious upbringing. Yet most of these stories are unverifiable and those that can be verified rise no further than the level of anecdote. As such, they are easily canceled out by people who can tell stories about how their religious upbringing cause no harm.

The thing that is most annoying about all this is that the claim “religious indoctrination is child abuse” is easily testable by science.  Yet the New Atheists, who claim to champion science, have shown no interest in exploring this issue from a scientific perspective.

From the scientific perspective, child abuse disrupts the normal development of the brain. The effects of abuse can, and have been, extensively studied by science.  Some are listed in the link above.  Or, you can go the CDC webpage.  Many of the effects can be detected well into adulthood:

Children who experience abuse and neglect are also at increased risk for adverse health effects and certain chronic diseases as adults, including heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, liver disease, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high levels of C-reactive protein.

In one long-term study, as many as 80% of young adults who had been abused met the diagnostic criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder at age 20. These young adults exhibited many problems, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and suicide attempts.

Children who experience abuse and neglect are at increased risk for smoking, alcoholism, and drug abuse as adults, as well as engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors.

And, of course, the effects can be detected in childhood:

Studies have found abused and neglected children to be at least 25% more likely to experience problems such as delinquency, teen pregnancy, and low academic achievement. Similarly, a longitudinal study found that physically abused children were at greater risk of being arrested as juveniles, being a teen parent, and less likely to graduate high school.

What happens if we turn the New Atheist talking point into a scientific hypothesis?  It makes predictions.  For example:

  • If religious indoctrination is a true example of child abuse, children from religious families should be show a greater likelihood to experience problems such as delinquency, teen pregnancy, low academic achievement, drug abuse, high-risk sexual behavior, and at greater risk of being arrested as juveniles, being a teen parent, and less likely to graduate high school compared to children raised in secular households.
  • If religious indoctrination is a true example of child abuse, adults who came from religious families should be at increased risk for adverse health effects and certain chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, along with being at a much higher risk for at least one psychiatric disorder at age 20, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and suicide attempts, compared to adults who came from purely secular households.

Since there is no evidence to think that a religious upbringing results in higher risks for such physiological, behavioral, and psychological problems as children and adults, there is no evidence to support the “religion as child abuse” hypothesis.  In fact, this is not really a situation of people not looking for the evidence.  Scientists did not have to go on fishing expedition to see if a history of child abuse might come with physiological, behavioral, and psychological effects.  The effects of child abuse are so pronounced that they simply got noticed, then documented, then studied.  Put simply, that the “religion as child abuse” position is held only by partisan and activist communities, and not by the scientific community itself,  underscores just how vacuous it is from a scientific perspective.

But it gets worse.  Science has studied the effects of religiosity and childhood development.  And it is usually the case that the effects are the opposite of what we see from child abuse.  I have seen several of these studies myself over the years (and can post if someone wants).  For now, let me quote at length from Tom Gilson:

Christian Smith, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, led a massive, authoritative study called the National Study of Youth and Religion. The results were published in the 2005 book, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Eyes of American Teenagers (with co-author Melinda Lundquist Denton), published by Oxford University Press (yes, that’s Dawkins’s university). It is the best study of its kind to date.

This study sorted its 3,290 participants into levels of religious involvement: the Devoted, the Regulars, the Sporadic, and the Disengaged. Because America’s predominant religious groupings are Christian, the “Devoted” and “Regulars” were predominantly Christian—Protestant and Catholic. Therefore these results can fairly be taken as relating specifically to Christianity. (Results for other religions are hard to determine from the data.)

The closer teenagers were to “Devoted” rather than “Disengaged,” the less they engaged in these negative behaviors:

Habits: Smoking, drinking, marijuana use, TV watching, pornography use, “action” video game use, R-rated movies;

At school: Poor grades, cutting classes, getting suspended or expelled;

Attitude: Bad temper, rebellious toward parents;

Sex: Early physical involvement, including number of partners and age of first sexual contact.

Those more “Devoted” on the scale showed more of these positive outcomes:

Emotional well-being: Satisfaction with physical appearance, planning for the future, thinking about the meaning of life, feeling cared for, freedom from depression, not feeling alone and misunderstood, not feeling “invisible,” not often feeling guilty, having a sense of meaning to life, getting along well with siblings;

Relationships with adults: Closeness with parents, number of adults connected to, feeling understood by parents, sensing that parents pay attention, feeling they get the “right amount of freedom” from parents;

Moral reasoning and honesty: Belief in stable, absolute morality; not pursuing a “get-ahead” mentality; not just pleasure-seeking; less lying to parents and cheating in school;

Compassion: Caring about the needs of the poor, caring about the elderly, caring about racial justice;

Community: Participation in groups, financial giving, volunteer work (including with people of different races and cultures), helping homeless people, taking leadership in organizations.

The findings are overwhelming. On page after page, chart after chart, on every one of the ninety-one variables studied, the closer teens were to the “Devoted” end of the scale, the healthier their lives were. These are the results of Dawkins’ “child abuse.” This is what he complains is so bad for children.

In other words, not only is the “religion as child abuse” position void of evidential support, it is a position that is falsified by the evidence.

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35 Responses to Debunking the Religion-as-Child-Abuse Argument

  1. pennywit says:

    I generally don’t think that religious indoctrination is child abuse unless it, well, involves child abuse. (When I say this, BTW, I’m thinking particularly of Scientology).

  2. mechanar says:

    @pennywit Please do me a favor and stop using the word indoctrination when talking about a Religious upbringing

    indoctrination= military style Brainwhasing

    Upringing/education = A normal family life where religion plays an important role but is not the Only defining attribute of the person/family

  3. pennywit says:

    Mechanar: Are you the author or proprietor of this blog?

  4. Regual Llegna says:

    mechanar says:
    “indoctrination= military style Brainwhasing

    Upringing/education = A normal family life where religion plays an important role but is not the Only defining attribute of the person/family”

    For gnus atheist indoctrination is anything that they don’t say is their SCIENCE tm or indoctrination is anything that is not their own reasons, they claim REASON tm but they never say if it is a good or bad reason/s for others to follow, eg.: most support abortion for socio-political reasons and i bet parenthood is not one of their priorities, but because of their dogmaless, goaless and ruless “atheism” they should not have opinions about this topic. The same with gay “rights” and their weird secularism (non-political) ideas.

  5. Mechanar says:

    @pennywit never said I was I just think its important not to adopt this kind of manipulativ language

  6. Occupy Reality says:

    ” I dismantled the popular New Atheist argument that a religious upbringing is a form of child abuse.”

    You tried to do so.
    You failed.
    You tried to conflate socialization with religious conditioning-as you continue to do here.
    You also glossed over the differences between socialization and political advocacy vs. religious indoctrination as you continue to do here.

    “We saw that such a position works equally well with the political socialization of children, which would entail that New Atheists who share their political views with their children are actually abusing them.”

    Utter nonsense.
    What political persuasion threatens underage children with burning in hell in a mythical after life as a means to debilitate their reason?

    “Yet New Atheists are not willing to remain completely apolitical around their children.”

    Political indoctrination in the same manner as religious indoctrination would be child abuse (although to a lesser degree if threats of eternal torment were absent, no?).
    It is quite possible to socialize children and acquaint them them with politics and religion and teach them critical thinking at the same time.
    But that’s not what we’re talking about.

    “We also saw that any attempt to implement the “religion as child abuse” position though societal or legal pressure is likely to cause great harm…..”

    We saw no such thing.
    It is a flaw in your argument to assume that all child abuse results in the same kinds of overt manifestations listed in all the studies you cited.
    It is indeed quite possible to be a model citizen because of a regimented upbringing and be in mental turmoil. Elephants put on display in circuses are models of decorum but are brought to that state with electric prods. A child (or an adult for that matter) in fear of burning forever might behave but it would be difficult to argue that wold constitute a healthy mental state.

    I must also add that those in christian communities who choose to reject christian conditioning often end up being ostracized and internalizing the disapproval and overt hatred that is often directed toward them which results in anti-social behavior.

  7. Vy says:

    @Mechanar, you’re under the assumption pennywit is interested in accuracy.

  8. pennywit says:

    Mechanar:

    1) if you’re not a proprietor or writer here, you lack the authority to police language.

    2) The term “indoctrination” was used by the author of this post. I followed his lead. If you find use of the term offensive, please address the author instead of me.

    3) You misspelled “manipulative.”

  9. Vy says:

    You tried to do so.
    You failed.
    You tried to conflate socialization with religious conditioning-as you continue to do here.
    You also glossed over the differences between socialization and political advocacy vs. religious indoctrination as you continue to do here.

    You failed to do anything more than demonstrate your inability to deal with anything Mike said.

    Utter nonsense.
    What political persuasion threatens underage children with burning in hell in a mythical after life as a means to debilitate their reason?

    Your kneejerk response to hell due to your butthurt does not bolster your claim.

    * Why are Atheists so obsessed with hell?

    Political indoctrination in the same manner as religious indoctrination would be child abuse (although to a lesser degree if threats of eternal torment were absent, no?).

    Bald assertion.

    We saw no such thing.

    “We” did, you ignored it.

    It is a flaw in your argument to assume that all child abuse results in the same kinds of overt manifestations listed in all the studies you cited.

    It is a flaw in your thought process to assume that we should believe that religious upbringing is child abuse despite it not producing the same effects as other forms of child abuse. “Religion is child abuse because I’m butthurt and I was brought up so” is not gonna fly.

    A child (or an adult for that matter) in fear of burning forever might behave but it would be difficult to argue that wold constitute a healthy mental state.

    Through out my very Christian high school life, I never met anyone who talked about hell as much as butthurt Atheists like you. Why so obsessed?

    I must also add that those in christian communities who choose to reject christian conditioning often end up being ostracized and internalizing the disapproval and overt hatred that is often directed toward them which results in anti-social behavior.

    Like Richard Carrier? Jerry Coyne? Or is it Francis Collins? Oh wait, Francis Collins went the other way and was attacked for his beliefs.

    In other news, break up and ostracization due to anti-Trumpism.

  10. Vy says:

    if you’re not a proprietor or writer here, you lack the authority to police language.

    You’re new to this blog but you should familiar with Atheists who come in here saying god rather than God when referring to the Christian God and I’ve witnessed more than a few posters asking them to not do that. Similarly, Mechanar asked you to do him a favor and stop using what he deemed manipulative, and since he gained to the privilege to comment here and you have no authority to stop his commenting rights, he has every authority to ask such a thing. You’re free to do agree or disagree.

    Also, the (title of the) post is pretty indicative of Mike’s take on religious “indoctrination”.

  11. pennywit says:

    You’re new to this blog but you should familiar with Atheists who come in here saying god rather than God when referring to the Christian God

    Well, that I wouldn’t do unless quoting Christopher Hitchens’ god Is Not Great. When referring to the Christian deity, “God” is a proper name and thus demands a capital letter.

  12. Kevin says:

    “When referring to the Christian deity, “God” is a proper name and thus demands a capital letter.”

    Thank you for reminding me that intelligent, reasonable atheists exist. The hostile Occupation of Reality is…hell-bent…on proving otherwise.

    *ba-dum chk*

  13. Vy says:

    When referring to the Christian deity, “God” is a proper name and thus demands a capital letter.

    You’re one of the rare ones accept that fact.

  14. Vy says:

    “one *who* accept”

  15. Vy says:

    Arrggh! “*ones*”.

  16. pennywit says:

    Thank you for reminding me that intelligent, reasonable atheists exist. The hostile Occupation of Reality is…hell-bent…on proving otherwise.

    Back off, buddy.

    Did you hear about the lawyer who became a vampire? Nobody noticed the difference.

    A priest, a rabbi, and an imam walk into a bar. The bartender says, “What is this, a joke?”

    I’ve got more where those come from.

  17. Vy says:

    Apparently the kids are now learning “A is for Activism”.

  18. Occupy Reality says:

    “You failed to do anything more than demonstrate your inability to deal with anything Mike said.”

    Wrong.

    {“You tried to conflate socialization with religious conditioning-as you continue to do here.
    You also glossed over the differences between socialization and political advocacy vs. religious indoctrination as you continue to do here.”}

    I dealt with it pretty directly.

    “Your kneejerk response to hell due to your butthurt does not bolster your claim.”

    Are you suggesting you can prove either an after life or hell is real or that threatening children with hell isn’t abuse?
    Just curious.

    * Why are Atheists so obsessed with hell?”

    We are not.
    We are against the use of the concept to frighten children.
    That should be obvious from this conversation.
    Your question is the rough equivalent of asking why the police are obsessed with crime.

    {“Political indoctrination in the same manner as religious indoctrination would be child abuse (although to a lesser degree if threats of eternal torment were absent, no?).”}

    “Bald assertion.”

    LOL
    No, a logical presentation of facts that you really can’t deny.

    {“We saw no such thing.”}

    “We” did, you ignored it.”

    LOL
    You’re not very good at logic.
    If I didn’t see it you can’t use the royal “we”, can you.

    {“It is a flaw in your argument to assume that all child abuse results in the same kinds of overt manifestations listed in all the studies you cited.”}

    “It is a flaw in your thought process to assume that we should believe that religious upbringing is child abuse despite it not producing the same effects as other forms of child abuse.”

    Wrong.
    You really do suck at logic.
    As I demonstrated, quite clearly, it cannot be assumed that all child abuse results in the damage Mikey listed.

    “Religion is child abuse because I’m butthurt and I was brought up so” is not gonna fly.”

    Straw man.
    And weren’t you just ranting against bare assertions?
    Indoctrination that results in children living in fear is abuse.
    My personal experiences with religion have nothing to do with my argument or my sentiments.

    {“A child (or an adult for that matter) in fear of burning forever might behave but it would be difficult to argue that would constitute a healthy mental state.”}

    “Through out my very Christian high school life, I never met anyone who talked about hell as much as butthurt Atheists like you. Why so obsessed?”

    Nice red herring.
    So you have no rebuttal on that point.
    Noted.

    {“I must also add that those in christian communities who choose to reject christian conditioning often end up being ostracized and internalizing the disapproval and overt hatred that is often directed toward them which results in anti-social behavior.”}

    “Like Richard Carrier? Jerry Coyne?”

    Oh, please.
    What university hired Carrier? Oh…that’s right….none.
    And Coyne is still very jewish culturally.

    “Or is it Francis Collins? Oh wait, Francis Collins went the other way and was attacked for his beliefs.”

    LOL
    He has been elected to the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science.
    Quite the attacks.
    And Christopher Hitchens considered him to be a personal friend.

    You’re really not very good at this.

    “In other news, break up and ostracization due to anti-Trumpism.”

    WUT?
    Are you feeling okay? LOL

  19. Occupy Reality says:

    Kevin

    I refuse to genuflect in front of your imaginary friend or any other “god” or “gods”.

    Deal with it.

    And I invite you also to prove there is an after life or a “hell”.

  20. Occupy Reality says:

    “Apparently the kids are now learning “A is for Activism”.”

    Are they being threatened with hell for not being activists?

  21. Kevin says:

    “I refuse to genuflect in front of your imaginary friend or any other “god” or “gods””

    Regardless of whether I had an imaginary friend or not (childish insult, there’s a new tactic from the oh-so-skeptical crowd), the rules of grammar don’t change. Zeus is Zeus, Barack Obama is Barack Obama, Mom is Mom, God is God. That’s grammar. If you prefer looking like an idiot in order to avoid showing the “respect” of following grammar when capitalizing God as a name, then far be it for me to try and get you to not look like an idiot.

    “And I invite you also to prove there is an after life or a “hell”.”

    What does this have to do with Michael’s post?

  22. Occupy Reality says:

    Nonsense.

    If there were only one “god” then grammar would be on your side.
    Unfortunately for your argument there are thousands of “gods” and “goddesses” invented by and worshiped by humans.

    It’s a pity that you regard a description of reality as a “childish insult”.
    Do you need a hug?

    “What does this (hell) have to do with Michael’s post?”

    Seriously?
    It is the primary cudgel used to beat children into submission when they are indoctrinated into christianity.

    But far be it from me to try and get you not to look like an idiot.

  23. Vy says:

    Despite the red-herrings, projections, immense fear of hell and caricature of Christianity that alludes to a sad childhood, you did get one thing right – you are “Wrong!”

  24. Occupy Reality says:

    Vy

    “Despite the red-herrings…..”

    Citation needed.

    “….projections….”

    Citation needed.

    “….. immense fear of hell….”

    Nope.
    I am quite comfortable with my mortality. And I’m certain to a very high probability that neither hell nor your after life describe our situation.
    It’s kind of a shame that your fear of death requires you to believe in warm and fuzzy fairy tales rather than standing in the harsh cold light of the real.

    “….and caricature of Christianity….”

    Citation needed.

    “….that alludes to a sad childhood….”

    All christian children have (varying degrees once again LOL) sad childhoods. It’s not easy convincing thinking beings that their reason is useless nor easy to stifle their natural curiosity and problem solving aptitude.

    “…you did get one thing right – you are “Wrong!”

    LOL
    About what?

    Citation needed.

  25. Vy says:

    Butthurt Atheist finds himself on an article talking about how X is not child abuse because it has shows no effect that child abuse presents and his first comment is:

    “What political persuasion threatens underage children with burning in hell in a mythical after life as a means to debilitate their reason?”

    Literally the first mention of hell. And then he goes on to rant about cudgels and needing citations. Truly fascinating.

  26. Occupy Reality says:

    Vy

    “Butthurt Atheist finds himself on an article….”

    I choose to be here-for now.
    Routed from the skeptic zone where I’m
    skeptical just took apart Mikey’s arguments bone by bone.

    “….talking about how X is not child abuse because it has shows no effect that child abuse presents…”

    Sorry, you don’t get to define your argument as true by definition. LOL
    Religious people consume more pornography, more pharmaceutical happy pills.
    Google it.

    “….and his first comment is:

    {“What political persuasion threatens underage children with burning in hell in a mythical after life as a means to debilitate their reason?”}

    “Literally the first mention of hell.”

    So?
    It’s the metaphorical 500 pound gorilla in the room that all of the religious here are tip toeing around. It needed mentioning because…as I said….”cudgel”. (Again-metaphorical.)

    “And then he goes on to rant about cudgels and needing citations. Truly fascinating.”

    Hilarious coming from the woman (?) whose first comment accused me of offering a “bald assertion” and is now coughing up strings of ‘bare’ assertions and balking at giving even self referential citations from my posts.

    I think we’re done here.

  27. Vy says:

    Hilarious coming from the woman (?) whose first comment

    The woman indeed, more adorable comments from you. And oh, my first comment was to mechanar. You just keep demonstrating your lack of comprehension with every post.

    I think we’re done here.

    What? No more posts about your fear of hell?

  28. Occupy Reality says:

    Vy,

    first comment to me, dear. Don’t nit pick.

    Yea, we’re done.
    Don’t bother responding-I’m out.

  29. Vy says:

    Vy,

    first comment to me, dear. Don’t nit pick.

    Backpedaling now, are we?

    Yea, we’re done.
    Don’t bother responding-I’m out.

    But your hell posts were so adorable. Please don’t go. I need to know how deep that fear runs; it’ll make a lovely screenshot.

  30. Occupy Reality says:

    Vy,

    done, dear,

    May I suggest a lonely hearts club or a chat room?

  31. Kevin says:

    “If there were only one “god” then grammar would be on your side.”

    It wouldn’t matter if there was one god or many gods. However, based on your behavior, I’m assuming you are not yet old enough to have covered this material in school. When used as a name/nickname/title (such as “Hey Mom, can you come here?), God would also be capitalized. When discussing gods or goddesses as nouns, then obviously they are not capitalized, much like mother as a female parent is not, but Mother as a nickname is.

    “It’s a pity that you regard a description of reality as a “childish insult”. Do you need a hug?”

    Your description of reality exists only in your head. I see no reason why I need concern myself with it. I’m guessing “Do you need a hug” is a failed attempt at being witty, so I have no comment on that.

    “It is the primary cudgel used to beat children into submission when they are indoctrinated into christianity.”

    I know of no one that fits this description, and most people I know are Christians. In my experience, children are taught about God in a safe environment. The hellfire and brimstone, dictator-like parents who do what you are incorrectly calling the “primary cudgel” are extreme outliers.

    There is no evidence that teaching children about God abuses them, in any way. Thus, your embarrassing behavior aside, there is no reason for us to take you seriously.

  32. Vy says:

    done, dear

    Indeed.

    May I suggest a lonely hearts club or a chat room?

    Your knowledge of whatever those things are supposed to be essentially turns your advice into an appeal for help. Take heart.

  33. Michael says:

    ” I dismantled the popular New Atheist argument that a religious upbringing is a form of child abuse.”
    You tried to do so.
    You failed.
    You tried to conflate socialization with religious conditioning-as you continue to do here.
    You also glossed over the differences between socialization and political advocacy vs. religious indoctrination as you continue to do here.

    Those differences are insignificant. After all, no one expects religious language to be identical to political language. That misses the point.

    The “religion as child abuse” argument has two lines of attack.

    First, there is the “children’s rights” angle. The idea here is that people should have a right to decide for themselves what they want to believe without being unduly influenced by the beliefs of their parents. The argument sounds nice, but has two deadly serious problems.

    a. The argument cannot be restricted to religious influence, as children also tend to pick up the political beliefs of their parents. The “children’s rights” angle collapses under the weight of human reality – socialization, which comes in many forms and shapes how and what children think.

    b. Any attempt to implement the “religion as child abuse” position will likely cause great harm to the children that are supposedly being protected. For such implementation would be an attack on familial socialization, erecting a wall between parent and child that would cripple attachment. Children who don’t sufficiently attach to their parents typically end up as adults with social and psychological handicaps.

    The second line of attack is to assert that religious socialization is harmful. This posting demonstrates such a claim is not only without any evidence, but that the evidence we have falsifies that claim.

    “We saw that such a position works equally well with the political socialization of children, which would entail that New Atheists who share their political views with their children are actually abusing them.”
    Utter nonsense.

    It’s easy for atheists to recognize the nonsense essence of the notion that political socialization is child abuse, but that’s because it includes them. It’s easy to flippantly accuse the out group of “child abuse.”

    What political persuasion threatens underage children with burning in hell in a mythical after life as a means to debilitate their reason?

    You are arguing against a caricature here. The issue I think you are trying to get at is that parents should not make their children feel threatened. As such, we saw a political persuasion that did make children feel threatened – being opposed to the election of Donald Trump. I posted about this a few days after the election after reading several news stories about children crying, having nightmares, being afraid, etc. after the election of Trump. Just where do you think that fear came from? Their parents, obviously.

    And then there is eco-anxiety. Think of the children whose extreme environmentalist parents teach them the Earth will be an apocalyptic wasteland by the time the kids are grown up.

    To keep things politically balanced around here, think of the children of far right conspiracy theorists who believed Obama would never give up the Presidency and declare martial law and put conservatives in FEMA camps.

    For that matter, think of the children of any extreme conspiracy theorist. Like someone who thinks space aliens are among us running the planet.

    The point is that there are a lot of sick parents out there. So, yes, you might be able to find an example here and there of a religious parent threatening their child with hell for having a dirty room. But in all likelihood, such behavior would like still exist if that parent was not religious. All that would change is the nature of the threat. Perhaps instead it would be a threat to give the child away. Or to kill the child. Or the parent might threaten to kill him or herself. Despite what you may have read from anti-theist propaganda, religion does not take happy, well-adjusted, emotionally stable people and magically turn them into abusive people who scream hell threats at their children. That’s simply not how the human brain works.

    It is quite possible to socialize children and acquaint them them with politics and religion and teach them critical thinking at the same time.

    Sure. Lots of Christians do this:
    https://douggeivett.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/teaching-logic-critical-thinking-to-grade-school-kids/

    It is a flaw in your argument to assume that all child abuse results in the same kinds of overt manifestations listed in all the studies you cited.

    Scientific thinking is not a flaw. As I explained, child abuse results in physiological changes to the nervous system. That’s what science has taught us. Essentially, you seem to be arguing that child abuse occurs without having negative, scientifically detectable effects. In other words, your position is unfalsifiable and not worthy of serious scientific consideration.

    It is indeed quite possible to be a model citizen because of a regimented upbringing and be in mental turmoil. Elephants put on display in circuses are models of decorum but are brought to that state with electric prods.

    It doesn’t matter if they come across as a “model citizen.” Compared to people who were not abused as children, they will exhibit higher rates of physical and psychological problems. A “model citizen” could be dependent on anti-anxiety or anti-depression meds. They could be battling with migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, etc.

    You don’t seem to understand you are trying to win an argument with nothing more than armchair philosophy and your opponent is a mountain of scientific evidence. I could go on and on, but here’s just another example discussing the effects of child abuse:

    All take a toll, and this new research study confirms that abuse has a long shelf life. It takes a continuing toll on both physical and mental health well into adulthood. The study, conducted by researchers at UCLA and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined the effects of abuse and corresponding lack of parental affection across the body’s entire regulatory system. It found strong links between negative early life experiences and health, across the board. The effects permeate one’s entire mind-body system.

    This study of 756 subjects suggested that “biological embedding” occurs through programming brain circuitry in ways that shape response patterns to subsequent stress. That causes wear and tear extending across multiple mind-body systems, and creates adverse health outcomes decades later. The researchers suggest that toxic childhood stress alters neural responses to stress, boosting the emotional and physical arousal to threat, and making it more difficult for that reaction to be shut off.

    Can’t you see how the “religion as child abuse” is scientific nonsense? Why do you think it is that the only people who take the fringe argument seriously are New Atheists, the same people who come to the table with an immense anti-religious bias?

  34. pauli says:

    I can confirm that both Atheism/Liberalism and religion are both forms of child abuse. I was forced (or coerced) to vote for a certain political party when I was younger and living under the roof of a psychopathic left wing nutcase. I was also forced to go to catholic church and school which I consider abuse. When I refused to go to church I was forced to go anyway. Eventually this stopped, but, still abuse while it occurred.

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