Debunking the Devil

Thought this was a great article. I haven’t researched it to the degree that this author has, so I can’t speak to the complete accuracy of what he says. But he makes a great case, and it’s the same view I’ve held for a while.

Michael A. Sherlock (Author)

The ancient Persians had a significant impact upon some of the core myths that underscore Judaism and Christianity.  Among other things, Judaism and Christianity owe thanks to the Persian priests of Zoroaster for the light versus darkness motif, the belief in an impending apocalypse, and the messianic dogma.  But above all, both Jews and Christians should thank Persia for the Devil himself.  I think it’s fair to say that had they not adopted this fictitious character from the Persians, they might not have succeeded with such ease in persuading and maintaining their frightened and superstitious flocks.

The religion of Zoroaster, or Zarathustra, received its name from a Magian Priest by the name of Zoroaster (Greek)/Zarathustra (Persian), who was a loyal servant of the “one true” Persian God Ahura Mazda, or Ormuzd.  Ormuzd was commonly referred to as the “The Holy Spirit” in the pre-Christian portions of the Avesta.(1)  This…

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147 thoughts on “Debunking the Devil”

  1. I think this is pretty much mainstream thinking now (outside of those with an apologetic agenda).

    As an example this article from the Biblical Archaeological Society Journal, by Adjunct Research Professor Shawna Dolansky of Carleton University Ottawa, argues much the same thing as Michael Sherlock’s article:
    http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-interpretation/how-the-serpent-became-satan/

    Well there goes my excuse, “The Devil made me do it”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed the article Nate right up until the “gullible masses’ mindless adherence to absurdity” comment. As a Christian, I appreciate well-written articles that highlight some of the faults, discrepancies, and counter-historocity (if that’s a word) to my own faith. But, honest question here, why do some atheists feel the need to devolve an otherwise informative treatise into ridicule and name calling? (And the fact that Christians oft-times do the same thing is not an answer) Personally, I feel it only hurts the conversation for those of us truly interested in learning about the “other side” of the issue.

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  3. “I enjoyed the article Nate right up until the “gullible masses’ mindless adherence to absurdity” comment.”

    I looked at this statement more as an assessment of the situation. I don’t think name calling or ridicule was the writer’s intent here.

    These phrases have been used numerous times throughout history to describe masses of people who followed Hitler, Jim Jones, David Koresh to name a few.

    If you google gullible masses you will find countless numbers of examples which include many non-Christian examples.

    I do and have in the past appreciated your comments here Kent.

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  4. I agree with you, Kent. I think we naturally devolve into an “us vs them” mentality, and it’s something we should be pushing back against constantly. He probably just meant the people who don’t take the time to really think deeply about these kinds of things, and those kinds of people can be found everywhere. Still, there are better ways to say that.

    Just so you know, I had read this article several days ago and didn’t reread it before posting it last night. If I had, I like to think I would have commented on that line as well.

    Out of curiosity, what do you think about arguments like the one this author is making? I know from the fundamentalist viewpoint that I’m familiar with, it would all have just been dismissed. Even if someone from my old congregation could have been convinced that Satan doesn’t really show up in the Bible until much later, he/she would probably just argue that God simply chose to reveal it that way, and we can’t know the mind of God. Or something along those lines.

    But since you’re not a fundamentalist, how do you see it? And I’m not looking to debate the points or anything; just curious about how these kinds of articles strike you.

    Hope you’re doing well, btw!

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  5. Thanks Nate and KC. (Good to see we can be lumped in with such good company as Hitler and Koresh, heheh! ::-) ) I understand where the author is coming from and he lays out a very good argument. As far as my own views, I don’t put much stock in a literal hell but, as you know from my books, I’m a little more interested/fascinated by the spiritual aspects of angels vs. demons, etc. I’ve looked at the historocities (if that’s a word) from writers like this and wonder if the journey of man through religion (all religions, including Christianity) hasn’t been a “stealing” of one from another or if it might be a “narrowing” as if through a funnel closer and closer to an actual truth. I don’t know, just my thoughts.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. HA! I feel vindicated! Everything written by Michael Sherlock confirms exactly what I discovered in the research for my book. In fact, I included much of the same information — the big difference being my version was considerably condensed. 😉

    Hopefully, there are those who will read his dissertation and be willing to put aside (at least temporarily) their personal persuasions and see the “devil” for what he really is … a re-scripted mythical character, adopted by the Jews of the Persian Period, passed onto Christians and fed into young and trusting minds as a bogeyman that will torture you if you dare not submit to the religion of Christianity.

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  7. ” (Good to see we can be lumped in with such good company as Hitler and Koresh, heheh! ::-) )”

    I needed a chuckle today. 🙂 This is one thing that sets you apart from other Christians who comment here. You do have sense of humor.

    “I’ve looked at the historocities (if that’s a word) from writers like this and wonder if the journey of man through religion (all religions, including Christianity) hasn’t been a “stealing” of one from another or if it might be a “narrowing” as if through a funnel closer and closer to an actual truth. I don’t know, just my thoughts.”

    One of the most enlightening trips I ever took was to Egypt in 2008. Looking at the hieroglyphs especially in the tombs of the Valley of the Kings, it was apparent to me and the people I traveled with that borrowing took place.

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  8. I’m a little more interested/fascinated by the spiritual aspects of angels vs. demons,

    Hi, Kent. Would you be able to elaborate on this statement please?

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  9. “I’m a little more interested/fascinated by the spiritual aspects of angels vs. demons”
    Hi, Kent. Would you be able to elaborate on this statement please?

    Well, I can try 😉
    In my fiction books, I incorporate a lot of my own perception of the spiritual world into the stories. The Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about any of these beings and I tend to use that as license to freely write about how angels and demons interact with humanity, how they interact with each other, etc. As to the validity of whether or not these beings actually exist, I couldn’t say. Personally I believe they do, and I believe in the concept of spiritual warfare, but this is based almost purely on personal experience—things I can attribute to luck, karma, circumstance, timing, etc., though I, because of my faith, tend to put a spiritual bent on them. Overall though, my interest/fascination is based solely on being able to play in the gray areas of what is not written into scripture rather than on the truth/validity of what is. That probably didn’t help much, but there you are. Thanks for asking, Ark.

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  10. Personally I believe they do, and I believe in the concept of spiritual warfare, but this is based almost purely on personal experience—things I can attribute to luck,

    Interesting. Do you have kids?

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  11. Sorry, Ark. I’m not gonna go there with you. I know well your feelings on ‘indoctrination’ and I respect your opinions on the subject, but mine obviously will differ and I hope you can respect mine. I just don’t care to get into a debate about them.

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  12. I know well your feelings on ‘indoctrination’ and I respect your opinions on the subject, but mine obviously will differ and I hope you can respect mine

    Maybe…. do you think a person deserves respect if they teach children that angels and demons are real?
    Do you think they deserve any respect if they teach kids that hell is real?

    If you believe the veracity in these thing then you should have no qualms at all about defending them, surely?

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  13. I certainly don’t want to speak for Kent, but from my conversations with him, I imagine that he’s the kind of parent who explains what he believes and why, but stresses that those positions are his beliefs, which could be fallible.

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  14. As I said Ark, I’m not going there with you. I respect you. Hell, i even like you. But I don’t care about “defending” anything that I may or may not believe, or that I may or may not teach my own children. Being on the “defensive” makes it sound like someone is therefore on the “offensive” which doesn’t in any way sound like a conversation to me. It sounds like sport. It sounds like war. And I’m simply not interested. Thanks anyway.

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  15. If this is the case, Nate, then that deserves a little more respect, and if so, there seems no reason why Kent would balk at saying so rather than being ambiguous and possibly creating a false impression.
    It would certainly mark him among the faithful as not being a true christian.
    However, knowing the general reaction of every christian I have dealt with on the internet I am going to stick my neck out and say … if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck….

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  16. It would certainly mark him among the faithful as not being a true christian.

    I’ve known some Christians who aren’t as dogmatic as that. I know that Kent makes those allowances about his own beliefs, because he’s done so in conversations with me. Of course, I’m not one of his kids, and I’ve never had the pleasure of hanging out with him in person, so I don’t know for sure that he parents that way. But even in the ultra-conservative Christian circles that I used to run in, you’d sometimes find thoughtful people who wouldn’t look down on a Christian who acknowledged their beliefs could be wrong.

    But I do agree with your overall sentiment: dogma is rampant, and not just among Christians.

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  17. …quack

    Assuming this was not sarcastic at least you did not ‘duck’ a reply. So kudos.

    How do you think your kids will react if/when they discover you have lied to them?

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  18. Man, you just won’t take ‘no, thank you’ for an answer, Ark. So let me ask you: Why do you keep asking Christians the same line of questioning? A) You have yet to receive a satisfactory answer, or B) There is no satisfactory answer.

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  19. Then exactly why did you respond with ”quack”?
    I suspect you probably smiled and couldn’t resist could you? If you’re really honest
    😉

    No satisfactory answer? Of course there is, Kent! Don’t you know this?

    So, now that you are ”playing along”…

    Let me rephrase the question for you, Kent.

    ”So, Dad, how come you never told us the story of Moses and Noah was all ….( insert appropriate word/phrase of child depending on age) ie ….Bullshit, crap, nonsense, archaeologically demonstrated to be nothing but geopolitical-myth, hokum, just a story, all make believe?

    ”You don’t believe that stuff do you, Dad?”

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  20. I suspect you probably smiled and couldn’t resist could you? If you’re really honest.
    I’m not honest, Ark. I’m a Christian! ;-D

    No satisfactory answer? Of course there is, Kent! Don’t you know this?
    Nope. I don’t know that.

    So, now that you are ”playing along”…
    Nope. Still not playing along. (Still quacking up about it all though)

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  21. In late 2011 I attended a seminar led by a visiting evangelist who advertised about operating ‘in signs and wonders’. At one session I happened to be sitting in the front row as he was praying for certain people. A mild mannered very normal looking middle aged lady was next in the line for prayer. As the evangelist went to pray for her (I am not sure he even touched her), she let out a blood curdling scream and fell to the floor.

    This all happened about two feet away from me. So the evangelists says she must be demon possessed. He gets one of his assistants to try and expel the demon from the lady, but apparently this is unsuccessful so a local pastor and his assistant come up and take the lady, who is comatose on the floor, away to another room (to work on her). Later this pastor told me he expelled two demons from the lady.

    At the time, when I called myself a Christian, I found these sort of events very compelling. I was just glad when the evangelist prayed for me later that nothing like that happened to me.

    So what do I make of all this now? Well I am not really sure, but I am prepared to say that there surely must be other possible explanations other than demon possession. The problem with these sort of occurrences is that it is incredibly hard to establish test conditions to determine what is really going on.

    In this particular case something definitely happened but I don’t know quite what. History shows me that attributing phenomena we don’t understand to supernatural forces is a common human trait, but at the same time it has thus far proved to be 100% incorrect. There may still be much about the human body/mind that scientists are yet to discover.

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  22. ”No satisfactory answer? Of course there is, Kent! Don’t you know this?”
    Nope. I don’t know that.

    Well, you are no doubt reasonably convinced of your position, certainly enough to consider yourself a Christian, and as part of the Great Commission you are ”commanded” to spread the word.
    What I would like to know is this: Something convinced you that what you believe is the real thing.
    You are an adult, a parent, you seem responsible enough, and you are a writer,therefore, no dummy. So exactly what was it that turned your former world on its head and convinced you that Christianity was the way to go?

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  23. Great comments Peter, especially “There may still be much about the human body/mind that scientists are yet to discover.” I totally agree.

    Ark: Ironic that you would ask as I am putting out a book by the end of this month on my own personal testimony, detailing a few of the things that “turned [my] former world on its head”. But, in a nutshell, why I am where I am today as far as faith has to do with a fatal car accident, a business closure and bankruptcy, the birth of a daughter with a disability, the death of a close friend, and a few other things. But mostly it was the people who surrounded me during all these times. I saw a level of love, and care, and selflessness that I choose to ascribe, in part, to the influence of the Divine, including, ironically, what I’ve felt from my friend Nate here as he well knows.

    Could there be a thousand other explanations for any and all of this? Of course. But this is the faith and belief path that I’ve chosen to walk. I’ve never been a fan of “apologetics” which is why I continually choose not to enter the fray of debates on the validity/accuracy of scripture within comment sections like this one. As the writer, Donald Miller, has put it, eventually “the argument stops being about God…and now it’s about who is smarter, and honestly I don’t care.” (Also, are you getting the overriding theme here of all of this being by my “choosing”?) Like I’ve said time and time again on this blog site, my faith is something deeply personal to me. I was never “evidenced” into it, and so far I haven’t been “evidenced” out. I have always appreciated differing viewpoints on the subject because, at the heart, I am thirsty (and open) to learn. THIS is also how I’m raising my kids, as if that’s any concern of yours. If you can’t respect me for this, that’s fine. But please don’t bother badgering me for further explanation. I will fully concede that you are much “smarter” than me on the subject and “I honestly don’t care.”

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  24. @Kent
    Wow! Amazing. Well,guess what? We have a few things in common after all. I lost one of my brothers in a fatal car accident when he was 18,I also almost went though a bankruptcy with my first business and my wife also lost a child before bringing it to term.

    And, I also received loads of support and selfless love from all around me, by and large by non-believers, but I never experienced any sense of the divine at all, even though my mother is quite devout.

    As a believer could you explain why the god you worship chose to ”reveal” himself to you, subtle as this apparently was, and yet decided to be a tight-arse bastard and not even whisper , ”Hey man It’ll be all right, you’ll see”.
    And if not for me, at least to comfort the rest of my family and my wife after she lost the child and was just a tad devastated?

    You see, Kent, I do respect your position to believe whatever cockamamie thing you choose, even if under other ( non religious) circumstances such belief would likely be cause for concern.
    This is choice and you are an adult.
    However, that this stuff is passed on to kids is really not nice, as it so often comes with the kicker, Hell, and those that do try to inculcate children are delusional and /or not nice too.

    You ”chose” because of circumstances that you believed were divinely directed. Fair enough.
    You ask for respect and I am prepared to give it. All I am asking is this: Do you have enough respect for your children ( and others) to allow them to discover this ”divine call” all by themselves?

    Well, do you?

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  25. @Kent.
    I thought I would re read you previous comment in case there was something nuanced that I missed.

    I’ve said time and time again on this blog site, my faith is something deeply personal to me. I was never “evidenced” into it, and so far I haven’t been “evidenced” out.

    ”…time and time again ….”
    This struck me as rather odd, Kent. I am curious, if you are so secure in your faith, consider your faith so ”deeply personal”, why on earth would you want to keep coming back to an atheist site? Especially one run by a hard and fast deconvert like Nate?
    What could you possibly be looking for on a blog run by and frequented almost exclusively by atheists?

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  26. As a believer could you explain why the god you worship chose to ”reveal” himself to you, subtle as this apparently was, and yet decided to be a tight-arse bastard…
    I don’t know.

    Do you have enough respect for your children ( and others) to allow them to discover this ”divine call” all by themselves?
    Yes.

    why on earth would you want to keep coming back to an atheist site? Especially one run by a hard and fast deconvert like Nate?
    Because, by all appearances, Nate seems to hold his belief with much the same grip as I hold mine; assured and yet with an infinitesimal sense that we could be wrong. Nate respects the journey I’ve been on (and has even encouraged me *gasp!*) and I’ve respected him on his. We’ve shared private discussions that I believe both of us have walked away from both stronger and more informed than when we entered in. Most importantly I guess, even though I’ve never “met” him, I consider Nate a friend.

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  27. Excellent! As long as you don’t expose your kids to this stuff in any ”this is the truth” sense then good for you. Leave the kids alone, and they will grow up just fine.

    Because, by all appearances, …etc

    I agree, by all accounts Nate is a great bloke. But you’re a god believer and he most certainly is not and considering what he went through I am pretty sure your ”infinitesimal” comment is simply wishful thinking on your part.

    But this still doesn’t pan out as to why you would want to hang out on an atheist site?
    Unless you are not sure? Otherwise,would you not be so much happier and more at home with other converts where you can share testimonies and swap bible stories and spiritual encounters?
    Seriously, what do you expect to glean from a bunch of atheists, Nate included?

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  28. As someone who was brought up in fundamentalist Christianity and had the be-jeezus scared out of my on the topic of Hell, I believe that it is evil and immoral to teach children that if they do not behave and THINK as Mommy and Daddy say they should, an invisible being is one day going to toss them into a pit of fire to burn for all eternity.

    Any parent in our modern, enlightened society today who threatens his children with being burned alive for misbehavior is labeled as a despicable child abuser. Yet, millions of conservative Christians terrify their children with the exact same threat.

    It is evil.
    It is immoral.
    It is CHILD ABUSE.

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  29. If Hell were real, then it would be paramount to warn others about it. In that sense, I totally understand why parents think they have to instill warnings about it in their children. But yes, I also really suffered from those kinds of teachings. There was a time when I was confident that some of my loved ones had died and gone to Hell. It’s a terrible feeling. I even went back and forth over whether or not my wife and I should have kids, because I was so afraid of the possibility that they wouldn’t live as a faithful Christian and would wind up there.

    I don’t have a solution to this problem. The parents think they’re doing the right thing, even though they aren’t. I know there are Christians who are uncertain about Hell, and they tend to not be nearly as dogmatic with their children. I’m thankful for that. But I really do feel for the kids who grow up in fundamentalist homes where their sense of right and wrong is warped into thinking that a good, loving god could also send people to an eternity in Hell. When you twist those basic definitions of “good” and “bad” so severely, it’s no wonder that “God-fearing folk” can sometimes do such heinous things.

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  30. …would you not be so much happier and more at home with other converts where you can share testimonies and swap bible stories and spiritual encounters?
    Says the man who just left a comment on my (overtly Christian) site. I don’t have to just my presence to you here on this site or any other. If Nate wants me gone he can block me. Further, I don’t give a rat’s ass how you fell about what I or anyone else feels about what I do or do not tell my children They are my kids and I’ll raise them the best way I know how.

    And about your comment/questions on my site. I’m neither going to approve the comment nor answer it. You’re obviously not listening when I’ve said I don’t agree with nor much care for apologetics and I Honestly. Don’t. Care!.

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  31. Says the man who just left a comment on my (overtly Christian) site

    If you don’t blog about Christianity to inform the world of your god belief and the commanded to proselytize then why are you blogging about Christianity? Ego?

    I don’t have to just my presence to you here on this site or any other.

    Of course you don’t. I am simply curious as to why someone who is so ”in bed with god” would continue to visit an atheist site? Are you looking to challenge the views of a former fundamentalist turned atheist or are you not quite as sure about your position as you try to make out?

    And about your comment/questions on my site. I’m neither going to approve the comment nor answer it. You’re obviously not listening when I’ve said I don’t agree with nor much care for apologetics and I Honestly. Don’t. Care!

    And I say you’re a hypocrite of the first order.

    Yet your site is replete with Christian posturing and posts, including the self-effacing way in which you casually ”announce” you are also a Christian. Just what is that if not apologetics?

    As far as my own views, I don’t put much stock in a literal hell but, as you know from my books,

    And from your own blog…

    I believe in Hell. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, and no second chances. (Sorry, Mr. Bell)

    You note your use of the capital H, I hope? Did I misquote you, Kent?

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  32. @Kent

    Regarding your 100% belief in Hell:

    It is a complete and utter Christian fallacy.

    It does not feature in Judaism and the place supposedly referred to by the non-historical biblical character,Jesus of Nazareth is Gehenna.
    If you refuse to acknowledge the truth of this, and the etymological evidence is freely available, then you are nothing but an indoctrinated slave.

    And non-supernaturalist is right; any attempt to instill such beliefs in children, no matter how oblique, is child abuse. Period.

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  33. You know what, Ark? You’re right. I lost my composure yesterday, and I apologize. Was there ego involved? Hypocrisy? I think there was, and maybe still is. You and I disagree on Christianity and belief, but as I’ve said from the beginning, I respect your views. Have some of my beliefs within this broad umbrella called Christianity changed over the last few years? Yes, they have, as you’ve clearly pointed out. Honestly, I had totally forgotten about some of those ‘listings’ on the About Me page (if I remember their place correctly), and I will work on updating those over time. But that’s beside the point. You’ve called me out for hypocrisy and rightly so. Maybe that’s unavoidable on my part, as a believer, and I’m willing to own that. It doesn’t shake my faith, but…maybe this is the answer to your question as to why I continue to visit sites like Nate’s. It keeps my thinking, keeps me searching, and keeps me honest. And, for that, I thank you.

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  34. I have found that many “moderate” Christians who still believe in Hell laugh at the idea that anyone burns in Hell. “That is fundamentalist nonsense!” they will say. “There is no physical torture in Hell.” But I always push them to explain to me what exactly what then happens in this place.

    The most common response I get is that it is a place of shame. “That is the unbeliever’s punishment: eternal shame.” But I then ask them, “Why will I be ashamed then if I’m not ashamed now? Is this shame imposed on me? If the shame is imposed on me, then it is a form of torture.

    Why does Jesus torture people for choosing to reject this love and affection?

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  35. @Kent

    It is a fact that the character, Jesus of Nazareth never taught the Christian Hell, any more than he taught Original Sin, both of which are Christian doctrine. This then raises some very pertinent questions; questions that many Xians may not have encountered;

    With no Adam and Eve there can never be any Original Sin. Now, the Human Genome Project has established beyond any doubt that there never was an original couple.
    Even if we take into consideration Mitochondrial ”Eve”( I detest using the name, but one has to pander to the believers at some level) the rest of the DNA to come from somewhere, and that was from other ”Eves” ( Therefore, in a nutshell,we know there is no truth to the biblical tale – if in doubt consult a secular geneticist)

    This puts Paul in a bad light as based on his ”words” he firmly believed Adam and Eve were the genuine historical first couple. So did Irenaeus and so did Augustine.

    So no Adam and Eve, no Original Sin.
    No need for a saviour and no need for a human sacrifice.

    Bearing all this in mind, please explain to me (Kent) why exactly are you a Christian?.

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  36. Christians would not tolerate being threatened by another human being with this: “Love and obey me or I will toss you into a dark hole to experience eternal shame.”

    “But he is our Creator. He can do with us as he pleases,” Christians will respond.

    If that is true, you are correct. But then please stop the absurd claims that “our Creator” is loving, merciful, and good. No being is loving, merciful, and good who threatens to torture you for not loving him. Call him what he really is: a Monster!

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  37. I think we may be getting carried away with “abuse” on the subject of hell. maybe it’s irrational and unreasonable to think that all parents should have all knowledge and suggest that they should never teach their children any falsehood, even if the parent believes it to be true.

    I think it’s harsh, absurd and untenable… especially when that parent was taught the same thing and had it reinforced by every influential person in his or her life since that time…

    Is it abuse to to tell your kids about Santa or the Easter Bunny? C’mon.

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  38. @ Ark & nonsupernaturalist: You both ask some good questions. I was going to call it done here, but your questions, primarily on the Human Genome Project have sparked my interest in doing some of my own research (which, as I said earlier, is a reason I keep coming to sites like Nate’s). I’m also currently on a little summer vacation with the family, so answering back is going to be a little spotty. BTW, thank you William for your comments on this whole “raising children” crap.

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  39. @William

    I think it’s harsh, absurd and untenable… especially when that parent was taught the same thing and had it reinforced by every influential person in his or her life since that time…

    Is it abuse to to tell your kids about Santa or the Easter Bunny? C’mon.

    I am prepared t give Kent the benefit of the doubt. Therefore, now that he knows that the Christian notion of Hell is simply bullshit, then he can now be perfectly honest and say, ”No, I will not teach this garbage to my kids or anyone else in future.”

    As fr Santa. You might be surprised that there are more than a few who do consider teaching this to young children highly questionable, if not abuse, as it is know to cause considerable trauma in some kids. You can Google it if your are seriously interested, William.

    Who would have guessed?

    But it is worth remembering no kid was indoctrinated that they would be sent to hell for eternity to be tortured by the Devil for not believing in and living Jesus.
    In case you had forgotten ….

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  40. I was going to call it done here, but your questions, primarily on the Human Genome Project have sparked my interest in doing some of my own research

    For the gods’ sake, do yourself a favour and only research proper scientific sites and not fundamentalist crap or evangelical sites as you will come across stuff like ”We can’t rule out the possibility that there was a single human couple”.

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  41. Ark,

    I really do get where you;re coming from. I don’t like telling my kids about Santa or other fictitious stuff as it were real. I remember when I found out about Santa and I felt stupid. I remember when I found out about the bible, thought back to Santa, and felt stupid again.

    I’d advise against all of it.

    I just think labeling at abuse is a bit much.

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  42. @William

    I’m of half mind about this child abuse label.

    If a parent was taught and believe that one should pray to god when you are sick, and didn’t bring the kid to the doctors when the kid is suffering from diabetes because “Jesus will banish the demons causing diabetes”, is this child abuse? Can we prosecute the parent for thinking like this despite him growing up and believing it to be true?

    Past case law says yes in certain states in the US, and similarly applies in most of the developed world.

    So where do we draw the line with regards to parents belief vs their actions? I do think that if it’s been established without doubt that religion is bunk, there’ll be a high chance that society will deem it child abuse to teach religion to kids especially when it interferes with a kid’s education.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean we will need to police and force people to not believe, just that when they are older they can believe whatever they want, just leave the kids alone.

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  43. I never suggested that the police should take Christian children away from their parents who teach them to fear Hell. But threatening your child with being burnt alive for disobeying a person/Being in authority, IS abuse.

    The doctrine of a literal Hell is evil. Teaching children this evil story is abuse.

    Period.

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  44. Except it isn’t as cut and dry as you’re trying to suggest, nonsupernaturalist… even if you end your comment with, “period.”

    But regardless, people teach their children what they think is right to teach them. If they think their religion is correct, then of course they teach that to their children. Whether that’s good or bad, whether we call that “abuse” or not.

    But I just find it difficult to lump a parent teaching their own children about their religion in with punching a baby in the face or molesting a toddler in a public restroom stall – those are examples of abuse. teaching your kid about hell isn’t in that category.

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  45. @ william,

    I absolutely agree with you regarding physical abuse … but would it not be considered emotional abuse when a child is threatened with the burning fires of a hell? Especially when it’s done to ensure they “behave themselves”? Certainly it’s not “visible” — it’s not going to result in any physical scars — but it is going to affect their psyche and will be a part of their subconsciousness for many years to come.

    Teaching a child about one’s religious beliefs is one thing. Threatening them with hell is an entirely different matter. JMO

    Liked by 2 people

  46. Sure, I mean I see where everyone is coming from, but I just don’t agree.

    If a person believes that their religion is true and that part of their religion involves a danger of hell fire, then they’ll certain teach that to their kids. Why wouldn’t they? just like if I think the kids arent safe unless they lock the door, I’ll tell them to lock the door, even if now they feel more scared of whatever potentials lurk outside that may want to come inside to get them and cause them harm.

    But parents also teach their kids about dangers of firearms, playgrounds, power tools or whatever – and there are so many variations on how that can be done, too many opinions on the appropriate way to educate, either going too far or not far enough.

    I was taught about hell fire. Sure it impacted me, but it didn’t damage me any more than anything else does. “Damage” is part of the aging process anyways and I think we get way too carried away with it all. Maybe some people are too damage prone.

    And then I think it gets too tedious to keep up with. Not all science is even fact, but theories that continue to change and some are better than others, so science camp theory A thinks that Science camp theory B is wrong, and if believed, could influence someone in the wrong way, and vise versa, and then each camp thinks the other is “abusive” if taught to children because it negatively influence them, etc, etc. It begins to seem silly.

    It just gets weird. Hell has been taught for a long time. If it’s abusive, it’s to a degree that’s negligible…. which seems counter to what abuse means.

    I think it’s wrong to teach because I think it’s not real. But I don’t think it’s abuse, or criminal, or whatever – I just disagree that it’s an actual place or an actual threat.

    We all think there are consequences of doing wrong, some just think there’s a bad place for bad people after you die, but we all think there’s reasons to avoid being bad.

    I think teaching kids that hunting is wrong, is itself wrong. I think keeping kids in the dark about where meat comes from is wrong, and while I think those things can negatively affect a child, even setting them up for a potential damaged psyche later on, I still don’t think it’s abuse. I think some bad feelings are just part of life and that we may as well say storm clouds are bad.

    I think we’d have more luck discussing logical problems of hell and actual problems with the bible and I think telling a bible believer that teaching their children about hell is “abuse” will carry as much positive influencing power as a believer telling us that we “just want to rebel against god” or “righteousness” or whatever. It doesn’t mean anything to me, it doesn’t provoke me to think, “hey, maybe I’m wrong about all of this, because this guy I don’t really know, who believes what “I know” to be truth is actually wrong, says that my view is “bad.””

    It doesn’t work that way. So I don’t think teach children about hell is abusive and I don’t think it’s persuasive to bible believers, so I really don’t see why it’s worth saying.

    But I can agree to disagree.

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  47. Sure, I mean I see where everyone is coming from, but I just don’t agree.

    If you get where everyone is coming from, have thought long and hard about what it’s like to produce emotionally traumatized kids ( even if you managed to shrug it off) who grow into adults, m any of whom eventually need therapy, have researched and found the medical evidence that supports the assertion that this is abuse, yet still disagree , then I’m sorry , William you are nothing but a Dickhead.

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  48. LOL, people need therapy because they were taught about hell?

    This is part of what i hate about the world, everyone is becoming too stupid or too weak or both. Maybe we should have the courage to question the goofy religions we’ve been raised into. maybe we should also be tough enough to not let one of those goofy teachings traumatize and damage us so badly.

    I can be a dickhead. I’m not proud of that. It’s something I really try to work on, really, but c’mon – people are too prone to fall into the corner and weep about their own misfortunes. GET UP! Everyone has misfortunes in their life. We all have hardships, heartbreaks and we all endure stupid and hurtful shit. If you’re traumatized because you’re afraid of the dark, or because you once thought hell was real, then maybe you’re just weak.

    People need to get over themselves and look around.

    I think saying that a parent teaching their children about hell is abuse, is really just an “Emperor’s New Clothes” way of trying to trick people out of their religion and I don’t think it works.

    It could be a dickhead move to tell a christian that they’re abusing their children by telling them that hell is real.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Well, here I am, back from a nice, relaxing vacation with the family and as far as answering any of the previous questions, I just got to thinking: What’s the point?
    1) William seems to be doing a very nice job of addressing the whole “child abuse” issue (even though Ark still called him a potential Dickhead (nice capitalization there, Ark)
    2) I did a fair amount of research and looking around at the Human Genome Project and peripheral issues, but when it came up that I should only look into, “proper scientific sites and not fundamentalist crap or evangelical sites”, I got to thinking that I had no idea what “type” of sites I had been researching, and besides, the definition of “proper” seems to be as individualistic as the person reading.
    3) As far as belief in this or that issue, I believe in the first five words of the Bible, “In the beginning God created…” So what? Many on here don’t. I have no problem with that. Anything written after those first five words is kind of a moot point though as far as “belief”. In fact, this ties in with what I said about interpretation. The only thing that I can truly tell you about my belief is that I don’t believe in “surety”. I’m not sure. So I believe in the first five words of the Bible, I could be wrong! *gasp* Yes, I question, I doubt, and I rage at my God from time to time. But nothing in my life so far has led me to walk away. There are many people on here who have. I get that, and I can’t tell you you’re wrong for feeling as you do. And, Ark, I can’t speak for God as to why he does or doesn’t intercede or answer prayers. Maybe that’s one of the things that makes me different from other Christians who’ve come on here and tried to evangelize (including the earlier me), I don’t know. All I know is that I enjoy the conversations here, very few of which I actually get involved with. Some insights I take to heart. Some I dismiss. Don’t we all? I’m not here to convince or debate. Any answer I give concerning belief will probably not come from the Bible anyway, but from my life. If you’re not satisfied with that, that’s not my problem, I’ll just keep coming back to the fact that I’m not here to convince or debate. I respect your positions here. I only expect that in return (and to a large extent have received it, so thank you all.) But, if I can’t get that, or if it’s conditional or earned (I’m looking at you, Ark), I also “believe” that’s not my problem.

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  50. @william … I don’t know you, but in past readings, I’ve enjoyed your comments and perspective, even though we may not always agree. However, I have to take issue with a remark you made in your most recent comment: People need to get over themselves and look around.

    To me that’s such a smug, unsympathetic, and thoughtless remark. Perhaps YOU have the wherewithal to face life and all that it throws at you, but not everyone has this same strong resolve … not everyone is able to just pick up and move on. In fact, there are many who have suffered greatly from the burden and “shit” that religion (i.e., Christianity) has put upon them. And for many of them, it started at a very early age.

    Personally, I experienced comparatively minimal effects from leaving the faith. But I’m not everyone, and when I read about what some deconverts went through, I thank my lucky stars that my transition was comparatively easy.

    IOW, william, try a little tenderness.

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  51. Nan, point taken, but please keep in mind, it’s hard to be tender after being called a dickhead… even if the label isn’t completely wrong – I love Ark, and can’t get mad at him.

    Believe it or not, I sympathize a great deal with people. I have lived a very cushy life, but while on my travels with the Army, I’ve seen some people who truly suffer, and among those, most had no other choice but to get up and keep going, and they seemed to do so without production.

    I grew up in a very strict religious house. I was spanked with belts and wooden spoons and switches and hands regularly and also taught about a hell that was real, that was eternal, terrifying and excruciating. I refuse to believe that I am just some sort of emotional tough guy who can endure things that most cannot, especially having seen others who’ve experienced far worse and seem to get along just fine.

    I want to help those who need help. I feel bad for people who feel bad, but the truth is, the help that many people need, is to remind them that everyone goes through bad things, and that they just need to deal with it.

    Think about Bambi. He was shot, being chased by hunters and the forest was on fire. he laid down, which makes a lot of sense, since he had been shot. And then think about the mind game of being hunted while your world is being burned… man, that’s crazy and lot to endure. But here comes Bambi’s dad, like a jerk, and just yells at him, “GET UP, BAMBI!”

    It probably seemed harsh, and let’s ignore the fact that bambi’s dad had no harms, so he couldn’t help carry bambi out, but the only real solution was to tell Bambi that you have 2 options: 1) get up and move on, or 2) sit there, which would only keep him in his problem.

    Some of this may come, not only from parents and grandfathers who demanded toughness, but also coaches from sports, and Army Drill Sergeants and/or other NCO’s or Officers – circumstances where you were constantly goaded to farther than you thought you could, to push beyond what you thought your limits were – maybe that’s one distinction, i just don’t know, but I do think that “toughness” is a virtue that is largely forgotten and undervalued.

    So yeah, I think that getting up and looking around, you’ll see that others have it bad and a lot of times much worse, so if they can get up and go, then you’ll see that you have no good excuse not to.

    Instead, I think we’ve let ourselves be conditioned to think that we’re supposed to lay down and play dead. Conditioned to think that if we feel bad, then we must be very bad off and need help, when the reality is that while it may not be easy, and while it may take a lot effort, we are usually very capable of getting up and putting one foot in front of the other.

    This seems like a first world problem. All throughout history people have had to cope with the possibility of Hell, but also much more death, disease, famine, hunger and all the other bad stuff than we do… but here we are, living cushy lives in our AC, perusing FB on our smartphones, but now need lots of emotional help because our parents told us there was a hell… I just have a hard time feeling too sorry for this person. Lost a limb? Lost a child? Spouse cheat on you? molested by your uncle? dipped in boiling water and locked in the closet? These are bad things, but being taught about hell is not up there with these, as unfortunate as it may be.

    Maybe there’s a specific way you can teach on of hell that you’re all saying is “abuse,” but what I believe was said was that a parent who teaches their children about hell, is abuse. It’s not.

    Have tenderness? Sure, even for Christians who teach their children about the religion they believe is true.

    PS – I really do like you guys, Ark, Nan and nonsupernaturalist. I really don’t mean to be a dickhead or unsympathetic, this is just how I see it. I’m fine if we don’t agree, but so far I cannot conceded.

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  52. @William

    I really don’t mean to be a dickhead or unsympathetic, this is just how I see it. I’m fine if we don’t agree, but so far I cannot conceded.

    And can’t spell either, it seems.

    Yes it is abuse and you can educate yourself, stop continuing to behave like Dickhead and reference the word.
    What pisses me off with such an attitude is in days past people did not understand PTSD and I am sure many sufferers were told to ”toughen up”.
    Try this site.

    @Kent.
    proper scientific sites are those that do not have any Christian leanings or affiliations. ie Biologos.

    I’ll just keep coming back to the fact that I’m not here to convince or debate

    Once again, just what are you here for then?

    Tell me, Kent, which god are you talking about? Does he have a name? Can you tell me his name?

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  53. Ark, if your best argument is to call someone who disagrees with you a “dickhead,” then maybe your position isn’t as grand as you’re trying to suggest.

    So. You’re saying that if a Christian parent teaches their child about he’ll, then that is abuse?

    You’re also saying that these children can get PTSD from this teaching?

    But what you find absurd, is for someone to suggest that a person with PTSD from hell teaching abuse, needs to toughen up?

    LOL

    Is this a joke?

    This type of mental and emotional fragility would have evolved out of mankind had we not fallen into this artificial world, supported by technology. It’s weakness of will and resolve, and it’s sort of silly, like getting PTSD from the dark.

    Yeah, I can’t be the only one who finds this as trivial, weak and lame.

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  54. @William, I agree with your earlier argument that if a Christian parent truly believes that ‘Hell’ awaits non believers then warning their children is a loving thing to do. That is the real dilemma of the issue.

    @Ark, much as I appreciate your contributions I agree with William that calling someone a ‘dickhead’ detracts from your otherwise thoughtful comments. To the outsider the person who resorts to abuse implies that they are losing the argument, so it becomes an own goal.

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  55. @William

    You’re also saying that these children can get PTSD from this teaching?

    Er … where did I mention that children suffered PTSD? I would have thought it was obvious this referred to war veterans and the fact this syndrome was in the past not recognised?

    Maybe you ought to sharpen your reading skills? Or at least attempt a bit of critical thinking?

    LOL, people need therapy because they were taught about hell?

    Yes, I think this qualifies as a dickhead comment of note.

    And did you even bother to read the link? Here it is again. Just in case you feel the urge to stretch yourself just a little.
    An excerpt; just in case you find it a little too intellectual to take in.

    Cycle of Abuse

    The doctrines of original sin and eternal damnation cause the most psychological distress by creating the ultimate double bind. You are guilty and responsible, and face eternal punishment. Yet you have no ability to do anything about it.

    http://journeyfree.org/rts/

    @Peter

    If one takes into consideration William’s initial foray into this conversation and his insensitive dismissal of the very real damage done through religious indoctrination then he fully deserves the title.

    As this week saw the opening of Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter we now have a glaring example of how religious indoctrination sets out to warp minds of kids and their equally warped parents.

    That it can produce individuals such as William who are, for all intent and purpose, blind to this reality is quite bewildering.

    Under the circumstances , being labelled a Dickhead should be the least of his worries and maybe he should be acknowledging the problem and thank me for giving him a metaphorical kick in the arse!

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  56. Ark, i’m not the intellectual giant that you are, but surely someone of your cognitive powers and william-surpassing intelligence can understand my aloofness, having suffered the abuse of being taught about hell.

    If I missed your PTSD reference to combat soldiers, and mistook it for a PTSD reference to children who’d been taught about hell because due to my primitive reading comprehension, or maybe because the present discussion pertains to children being abused by being taught about hell; that, and being busy, I read through these quickly.

    If the mistake was mine, I’m sorry… but i also asked for clarification. So I’m not sure the foul was that egregious. Maybe you just get upset easily, which is why i forgive you.

    But let’s say I agree with you, that teaching hell is real, actual abuse, and that saying some people need to toughen up is also somehow wrong and silly – what now?

    Nothing.

    Christians aren’t trinked into disbelieving their religion.

    Child services won’t go “prorect” the victims.

    Children are still taught about he’ll.

    Legislation defining doctrines of hell as abuse aren’t being made.

    So, smart guy, sure, let’s call it abuse. Now, nothing’s changed, Kent and other Christians still teach their children what they believe to be true, with no concern for ark’S opinions on it, you’ll still think that I’m being insensitive while simultaneously being insensitive to a Christian’s love and care for their own children.

    Also, this is a blog discussion had mostly among anonymous strangers. There’s no real reason to get so upset and resort to keyboard tough guy.

    Plus, in your mind, I’m a victim of abuse. Have some compassion, you heartless monster:)

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  57. I learned about Hell as a kid and I grew up in a very laissez-faire Anglican environment and didn’t afford it any credibility at all.

    However, in strict fundamentalist homes Hell is indoctrinated as very real indeed.

    What is odd is you still seem to be attempting to hand wave the problem.

    That people like Kent will venture onto a site like this and merrily admit to teaching his kids that Hell is very real and is proud to do so and this doesn’t seem to even register on your radar is also odd.

    I wonder at what point do you draw the line as far as religious indoctrination goes?

    Maybe we should embrace the Ken Ham’s of the world as wonderful examples of diversification?
    And why not embrace all other forms of Evangelical Fundamentalism; ID, Creationism, YEC and also acknowledge that maybe ISIS really do have a point and there is a real genuine place for thngs like Sharia Law.

    And it’s also right to allow kids to espouse hate about Jews/Muslims/infidels etc?

    One you allow religion into the mix you open the lid of Pandora’s box.

    How am I blind to my reality?

    I wrote, this reality.

    Read it again …. slowly.

    And your throwaway line ….

    Plus, in your mind, I’m a victim of abuse. Have some compassion, you heartless monster:

    …means you get to keep the Dickhead badge a while longer.

    Hurrah for you!

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  58. Ark,

    Looks like I’m not the only one who suffers from reading comprehension deficits.

    I don’t condone religion, and I think it’s well and good to show it as fiction as well as show all its problems, but what I have said is that placing the label of abuse onto the teaching of hell from parent to child is an unhelpful exaggeration.

    Hope that helps

    Like

  59. Hm, on cell phone and don’t know how that posted….

    I think maybe they actually feel bad in some way, but feeling bad over things doesn’t mean you really need therapy.

    Like if, and I’m just tossing this out as some random example, not based on anything whatsoever, but say you called someone a “dickhead” several times, and that person got their feelings hurt.

    I could sympathize with them and understand that. I wouldn’t think they’re pretending to have hurt feelings, but if they felt like their world was crushed and needed therapy, I’d say they’re making it more of a thing that it really is, and they need to get over themselves and get on with life.

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  60. Ah, so you read the link I provided … twice…. and presumably disagree with it.
    As such religious trauma is a recognized medical condition on what (professional) grounds do you dismiss it?

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  61. I haven’t read your link yet. So I’m not dismissing it, I’m just dismissing the idea that teaching about hell is abuse.

    And I’m saying that if a person needs therapy for being taught about hell, then they’re fragile. Maybe that’s not their fault. Maybe they actually lack the faculties to carry on, but even so, it’s still fragile

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  62. Ah, so I posted the link twice, didn’t read it, but felt clued up enough to continue to dismiss it?
    And you still wonder why I bandy around the term Dickhead.
    Oh well… when you’ve had the time to read it, get back to me and maybe we can discuss it?

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  63. You could post the link 1000 times, but since my world doesn’t revolve around you and your reading recommendations, I’ll get still just get to it when it’s convenient for me.

    Also, like if unclee shares a link on how prayer is helpful to you, one article probably isn’t enough to sway our opinions about some things.

    Does your article conclude that teachings on hell is abuse? Their research conclusively supported that it’s abuse, or that it makes some people feel bad?

    If making people feel bad is abuse, then you’re the most abusive person here.

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  64. As a general rule of thumb, I only call people who behave like dickheads, dickheads.
    I certainly wouldn’t indoctrinate someone with this and would never ever use it on a child.
    Maybe you are unable to see the difference?
    Maybe you lack any sort of empathy? Would you like me to drum up someone who is in actual therapy?
    Perhaps you could laugh in her face when she tells you the trouble she has been through?
    Maybe you could demonstrate to her how to ”toughen up”?

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  65. Sure, if you think it would be helpful, although I wouldn’t laugh in her face.

    Good grief, why would I do that?

    But I was raised in house where hell was taught as real and terrible, so I could relate.

    But I mean seriously, between the two of us, I’m the dickhead? Lol, I thought you were joking this whole time, but I’m beginning to think you’re really trying to hurt my feelings.

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  66. You could post the link 1000 times, but since my world doesn’t revolve around you and your reading recommendations, I’ll get still just get to it when it’s convenient for me.

    Petulance too? It gets better.
    Maybe you ought to read back and remind yourself of your initial unqualified disparaging remark re: abuse?

    You feel compelled to continue to dismiss the notion of abuse yet are truculent when asked why you have not bothered to read the link, whether posted twice or ”1000 times” ….

    UncleE has had an agenda from the off. Furthermore his or any one else’s links to prayer are unsubstantiated superstitious bullshit based upon a spurious worldview, one that you should be very familiar with, so why the Hell (sic) would I want to read any links about prayer?

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  67. But I mean seriously, between the two of us, I’m the dickhead? Lol, I thought you were joking this whole time, but I’m beginning to think you’re really trying to hurt my feelings.

    Joking? About what? The abuse?
    You don’t strike me as one who could empathise with a victim of religious abuse so why would you believe I was really trying to hurt your feelings?

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  68. I don’t care if you read them or not.

    Your comments are often amusing and sometimes insightful and informative, but I dont value you as thoughtful person. Because the basic concept that your message is less, not better, served when ridiculing your intended audience, is completely lost on you. It’s a simple and basic truth, yeah you never seem to understand it, instead prefer to act like a 12 year old in a lunch room.

    As a result, I kinda take your stuff with a grain of salt anyways.

    So, when you try to force the idea that parents are abusive for teaching their children about hell, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s not convincing.

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  69. In your research, has it shown that teaching on hell is harmful or can be harmful?

    Does it show that teaching on hell alone is harmful or when coupled with other things?

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  70. when ridiculing your intended audience, is completely lost on you. It’s a simple and basic truth, yeah you never seem to understand it, instead prefer to act like a 12 year old in a lunch room.

    *Smile*
    I think you adopt a rather narrow view, William. Maybe it’s because of the indoctrination you suffered?
    Those of a religious bent (unklee for example) who venture onto religious blogs and/or hold any sort of societal influence deserve to be shown up for what they are and why their particular religious based worldview has no place in society.

    Would you really want ken am to teach your kids?

    Religious people who are genuinely seeking alternate answers to the problems they encounter with faith-based doctrine often visit such sites and ask questions because they are unable to voice such questions/fears among their highly indoctrinated religious peers/friends family etc.
    Some merely lurk and read.

    Those that come here ( and to my blog and others) to ”discuss” (unklee, Brandon, Kent etc) religion have no genuine intention whatsoever of reviewing their faith and this has been demonstrated time and time again.
    Any atheist that that has ever interacted with unklee, Colorstorm, Godsmanforever, Silence of the Mind, Brandon,Insanitybytes,Tricia etc will know this. Ask Nan.

    So while some prefer the Two Step or the Shuffle and believe they are good at it,they invariably never get to lead in the dance. For better or worse, I am a lousy dancer and always seem to step on their toes. Some like sugar some don’t.

    So it goes ….

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  71. @William.

    It sounds funny, admittedly, but I will. I promise.

    Others are following this thread and might balk at some of your seemingly callous responses.
    Just a thought.

    In your research, has it shown that teaching on hell is harmful or can be harmful?
    Yes.

    Does it show that teaching on hell alone is harmful or when coupled with other things?

    I don’t believe you thought that question through before posting. Want to have another shot?

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  72. What I find most fascinating about this discussion is the plain and simple fact that there is no hell. It’s rather astonishing that both believers AND non-believers consider this a real place.

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  73. Interesting indeed.
    I was going to ask Charity to visit and discuss therapy( not actual sessions, of course) with William, but I recall she was uncomfortable over the topic on Clear Lens so I think it best I don’t.
    However, I think you might relate to her better than I. If you think she might be up to it?

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  74. What I find most fascinating about this discussion is the plain and simple fact that there is no hell. It’s rather astonishing that both believers AND non-believers consider this a real place.

    *Smile* I sincerely hope you don’t lump me in with those that believe it is a real place!

    Liked by 1 person

  75. First — re: Charity. I think rather than ask her to join the discussion, perhaps you could link to the post where she discusses her experiences. Since she’s already “bared her soul,” I don’t think we should ask her to do it again.

    Second — Absolutely not! But truly, I* find it more than amazing how many non-believers discuss the topic as if it were a real place. SMH

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  76. Hmmm. Thought it was on your blog. I did a search on her name on mine and didn’t come across any comments related to hell. The only substantive comment she made was on my post about Paul (a year ago). Plus, I think she follows (or at least reads from time to time) the posts on Nate’s blog so perhaps she’s already seen this discussion?

    Liked by 1 person

  77. Second — Absolutely not! But truly, I* find it more than amazing how many non-believers discuss the topic as if it were a real place. SMH

    Atheists often feel obliged to enter such discussions with believers by using their terms to even start a discussion. Look at Kent’s reaction.

    If the language/ terminology used is not what the believer can relate to then dialogue often falters at the outset. I think it was Sam Harris or someone similar who expressed this view?

    In this specific case, William doesn’t believe in Hell so we both realise we are talking about fictitious nonsense. Only the effects of teaching this as real are in dispute.

    Now, with Kent, who believes it emphatically, no $200, no second chances and no returns, one would have to explain why it is nonsense and talk about Gehenna, the Valley on Hinnom, Hades, Sheol and how Jesus never taught it nor the Jews etc etc.
    He probably would not accept this, but one is always mindful of the lurkers.

    Liked by 1 person

  78. Ark I do think you have been quite harsh in your judgement of William on this post.

    I have followed Williams comments for some time and consider him to be a thoughtful person who has much of value to say on these topics.

    Perhaps I just have some empathy for William as I see he has taken a similar journey to me. You might find his story interesting:
    https://gonewilliam.wordpress.com/about/

    I just encourage you to ease up on him.

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  79. I think he enjoys the banter. Not once has he expressed any genuine empathy toward the very real problem religious abuse causes children.

    His opening salvo was contentious and somewhat dismissive.
    Neither has he expressed any real interest concerning what is acknowledged a genuine medical condition. His attitude has largely been along the lines of: ‘well, we all suffer ups and downs from time to time, so buck up!’

    He even wrote:

    It sounds funny, admittedly, but I will. I promise.

    No one forced him to comment and I am presuming he is old enough to understand that differences of opinion – sometimes quite heated – will arise over such topics.

    I can hardly see how a subject like Debunking the Devil will not get some people’s dander up.

    Helping kids to become ”tough”, self-reliant, independent and other positive virtues we try to instill
    is no a simple matter, and for some children, having to contend with a massive guilt burden of never being good enough and truly believing they will be going to Hell for not shaping up must be … well, hell.

    Truly, I am not surprised in the least that some kids go off the rails.
    Yes I understand that if the parents truly believe it then blame is difficult to assign, but this in no way lessens the level of abuse, or the ultimate responsibility.

    Therefore to hand wave this away is tantamount to tacitly saying, ”So what?”

    It is no wonder the number of adults who still believe crap like this.

    I think you need to rather discuss this with a few people who went through this trauma and see how they feel about it.

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  80. Ark,

    You typed,
    “*Smile*
    I think you adopt a rather narrow view, William. Maybe it’s because of the indoctrination you suffered?”

    I don’t know for sure. What do you attribute your religious fervor against religion to?

    Then you typed,
    “Would you really want ken am to teach your kids?”

    No, and I’m not sure I see what this has to do with anything. I don’t want you teaching them either. But we weren’t talking about that, we were talking about parents teaching their own children about the religion that they believe is true.
    I don’t want you or anyone else deciding what a parent should, or should not teach their own children.

    You also said,
    “Those that come here ( and to my blog and others) to ”discuss” (unklee, Brandon, Kent etc) religion have no genuine intention whatsoever of reviewing their faith and this has been demonstrated time and time again.”

    This could be true, although I’m not sure I’d agree completely. I imagine that some on these blogs, whether believing or nonbelieving, hold unflattering opinions about you as well, so it may not be helpful to tell people what their motives are, or call them names if they disagree with you, as it proves nothing and serves nothing of value. It may be best to stick to the topics and let the facts and let reason rise to the top – but that’s just an opinion.

    Then I was surprised to see you type this,
    “Others are following this thread and might balk at some of your seemingly callous responses.
    Just a thought.”

    Of course you’re right and I know that. I am not as callous as I seem, but I do know that what I have said shock some… but Ark, and seriously I do like you, but you’re typically a jerk on here, LOL, I mean really, so this strikes me as Matt 7:5 example, or the pot lecturing the kettle on being black.

    Let’s say you fell down and scraped your knee and I was there to witness it. I’d rush over and ask if you were alright. I may even ask if I could help you up, or ask if I could get you some water or a Band-Aid or whatever, because I know what it’s like to scrape a knee. It stings and burns. There is real pain and it is a real injury.

    But, if you laid there screaming, calling me dickhead, and demanding an ambulance, acting like your scraped knee was an amputation, shouting and complaining about how you’ll never walk right again or whining about how much you’re suffering, sure my sympathy may quickly evaporate, because even though I can understand there being some pain, I know it’s nowhere close to an amputation, or a break or a sprain or any other, actually serious injuries.

    Being taught about a real, literal hell is commonplace, like a knee scrape on a sidewalk. Sure it stings, sure maybe it would be nice to have a hand to help you up, but if you think this is a terrible injury, then you’re either extremely fragile, or have led a very sheltered and otherwise very cushy life. If I have sympathy for you now, it’s mostly because you’ve likely been spoiled and coddled into this weakness – but you’re still capable of getting up and moving on, even if you think you can’t.
    I think that having the rest of us pretend a scraped knee is an awful injury, we’re not actually helping, but just enabling and excusing. I think a knee scrape victim is better served by showing them that they can get up on their own, showing them that everyone else does it and that most everyone else has had the exact same “injury.”

    And regardless of how much I value your comments or nan’s or anyone else’s, I will have a hard time shaking this view point. People aren’t weak invalids because they can’t actually go on, but mostly because they only think they can’t.

    And you said,
    “I don’t believe you thought that question through before posting. Want to have another shot?”

    Sure, I guess. Does the link you provided twice show that the teaching on Hell IS harmful or that the teaching on Hell COULD BE harmful? There is a difference.
    And

    Does it show that the teaching on hell is harmful by itself, or does it take into consideration other factors like how hell is taught, whether positive aspects of religion are focused on less or more, or coupled with other strict and harsh teachings as well? In other words, I’m wondering if you’re saying that Hell is abuse, when in actuality, the entire picture may reveal that hell is harmful only when along with other doctrines and minus a few other aspects, while hell by itself is more like a pebble in an avalanche.

    At the moment, I could buy it being one pebble in an avalanche or being like a scraped knee. I’ve been taught about hell. A lot of people I know were taught about a literal hell, so when I hear that a very small percentage actually “suffers” from it, and then using that vast minority to define the entire thing as “abuse,” seems like a desperate stretch. It seems like you hate religion so much that you attack it with a religious fervor, attaching yourself to anything, whether sensible or not, so long as it supports your crusade against it. I disagree with that approach. I didn’t leave religion to jump right into another.

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  81. Peter, I appreciate the support, but it’s alright, really. I know what i am saying about this is unpopular with some, and while I’m not intentionally trying to be the odd man out, i’m not afraid of it either.

    I only chimed in when I read Nonsupernaturalist say that parents teaching their children about hell was child abuse. I not only disagree with that statement, I think it only resonates with those who already agree with that view while making those who oppose it, view those who espouse it, as not serious, making it easier to dismiss any points they may have had that were actually good ones.

    I just think it’s an unhelpful exaggeration. And I didn’t want to just sit idly by as kent was called an abuser of his own children because Ark might call me names. It’s okay and I’ve been called worse, and somehow don’t get upset when someone calls me a name anyways, nor do I mind having to defend my views and opinions.

    But I think Hell is fiction. Even so, I think it can actually sting and can make people scared and can make people feel guilt, so I get the problem with it – I just don’t think those things are inherently bad. I think having high standards or goals can make one feel guilt if they fail to achieve them or fall short of them – does that mean that aspiring to be better is bad because it can lead to guilt?

    of course not.

    I grew up thinking that most people I knew were going to hell. It wasn’t just Christians who went to heaven, but only the “right kind of christians,” so that meant the majority of people I knew, including close family and friends, were likely going to burn forever in hell. It’s not a comforting thought, but it’s not crippling. I think we can let it be crippling because we have the luxury to. I think in second and third world places, they don’t have the luxury to fret over this stuff, so they get up, put their pants on, and go about their lives because they can. So yeah, I think this is first world problem.

    Go watch some kids dying of cancer or starving to death, suddenly the terrors of being taught about hell seems pretty small.

    So ark and I see this differently. I’m fine with that, mostly I didn’t want kent called a child abuser without saying something to the contrary.

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  82. You reply was quite long so I will address only the points I feel relevant if you don’t mind. Please excuse the editing, there is no intent to cherry pick.

    I don’t know for sure. What do you attribute your religious fervor against religion to?</blockquote?
    Probably discovering it is all fiction and that it is still being taught as truth.

    I don’t want you or anyone else deciding what a parent should, or should not teach their own children.

    Sorry, William but neither you, me or any parent has complete carte blanche in this regard. A child has rights and thus a democratic society generally respects those rights too.

    Being taught about a real, literal hell is commonplace, like a knee scrape on a sidewalk. Sure it stings, sure maybe it would be nice to have a hand to help you up, but if you think this is a terrible injury, then you’re either extremely fragile, or have led a very sheltered and otherwise very cushy life. If I have sympathy for you now, it’s mostly because you’ve likely been spoiled and coddled into this weakness – but you’re still capable of getting up and moving on, even if you think you can’t.

    Well, if this was the case then those that were indoctrinated with it would have disregarded this nonsense as adults. However, in a great many instances this is simply not true.

    And regardless of how much I value your comments or nan’s or anyone else’s, I will have a hard time shaking this view point. People aren’t weak invalids because they can’t actually go on, but mostly because they only think they can’t.

    Now you are confusing an individual’s ability to deal with the trauma as opposed to whether it is trauma-inducing and whether it should be defined as such. As certain branches of the medical profession do regard it as trauma then I am inclined to side with professional opinion.

    And you said,
    “I don’t believe you thought that question through before posting. Want to have another shot?”
    Sure, I guess. Does the link you provided twice show that the teaching on Hell IS harmful or that the teaching on Hell COULD BE harmful? There is a difference.

    If you read it then why are you asking the question? The answer is there.

    Does it show that the teaching on hell is harmful by itself, or does it take into consideration other factors like how hell is taught, whether positive aspects of religion are focused on less or more, or coupled with other strict and harsh teachings as well? In other words, I’m wondering if you’re saying that Hell is abuse, when in actuality, the entire picture may reveal that hell is harmful only when along with other doctrines and minus a few other aspects, while hell by itself is more like a pebble in an avalanche.

    Hell is a foundational tenet of Christianity. It cannot be taught in isolation. I would have thought this was obvious?
    What is taught about hell depends on how fundamental the upbringing. This is what we are discussing.
    That it is a complete fiction is not in dispute, but the degree of reality and severity indoctrinated into kids.

    I disagree with that approach. I didn’t leave religion to jump right into another.

    What other religion had you in mind, William?

    With Nate’s leave ….I am sure you will enjoy these. Grab some popcorn….

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  83. Oh, and I had no other religion in mind.

    I just mean that I didn’t leave religion to jump back into the “religious mindset” that I feel like you have against religion, with an unhealthy hatred, where you take any argument against it, whether reasonable or not, and not only run with it, but curse any who disagree with you to any degree.

    It’s that religion-like position I have no interest in aligning with.

    I don’t believe that a parent teaching their religion to their children is abuse, and I think to suggest such is both desperate and absurd.

    I think whatever “damage” it causes is typically negligible and shared by all. Everyone experienced the same “damage” through religion or by some other life experience that’s common to all men, and i think it’s akin to sun damage or old age – it happens to everyone, so yeah, while that sucks… get over it.

    And I see that we disagree there. Ok. I’m fine with that.

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  84. I don’t believe that a parent teaching their religion to their children is abuse, and I think to suggest such is both desperate and absurd.

    The topic at hand is whether teaching/indoctrinating Hell is abuse. It is inappropriate to move the goalposts, William.

    I think whatever “damage” it causes is typically negligible and shared by all etc …

    A condescending hand wave comment. Yes, negligible in a great many people who likely do get over it.
    But do we write off those that don’t as collateral damage? ”Tough titty for you, ”Fish Face!”

    And what about those that remain in fundamentalist religions who continue to indoctrinate this shit into the next generation and the next ad nauseum?

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  85. I’m not the one who moved that goalposts. Earlier it was you who said how obvious it was that the teaching of hell didn’t exist in isolation and couldn’t be separated from itstuff religion.

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  86. Look, I haven’t moved any goalposts, and I still stand by hat I’ve said.

    And we disagree.

    You think I’m wrong and oI think you are, yet, somehow, the world keeps Turing.

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  87. Sorry, you were trying to isolate the teaching of Hell from religion in general. Or at least this is how it came across..
    It has to have a foundation, obviously, but as I tried to point out the versions/interpretations of Hell differ depending on which cult of Christianity a believer adheres to.
    While I do concur that all religion is abuse this is not specifically what our discussion is about.

    You should actually do a Google search and check out the different opinions and read some of the mind blowing things certain fundamentalists write about ”teaching” 5 year old kids that they will burn in hell for eternity if they do not comply with ”God’s Laws” etc

    Some really sick people out there.

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  88. You think I’m wrong and oI think you are, yet, somehow, the world keeps Turing.

    I am afraid this is about more than just our opinions, William. Evidence supports the assertion that it is abuse.
    I did not make the initial claim or report the first case, or medically diagnose the first victim.
    This condition was here a long time before I arrived on the scene.
    You want to challenge me? Great.
    But also have the integrity to refute the medial diagnosis while you’re at it.

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  89. Neat. But I still disagree.

    I wasn’t harmed by hell. It didn’t abuse me. So no matter what conclusion some unknown person reaches, even if it’s packaged as if it were some universal medical consensus, which it isn’t, I’m still not convinced.

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  90. I wasn’t harmed by hell. It didn’t abuse me.

    And, IMO, herein lies the problem. You weren’t affected so it’s troublesome/impossible for you to imagine that others could/might be affected.

    Is it so difficult, william, to admit there may be, possibly could be, others who were so impacted by the warnings of hell that it created mental and emotional problems in their adult life? And thus, it could be considered childhood abuse by those who have studied such matters?

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  91. @William

    I wasn’t harmed by hell. It didn’t abuse me. So no matter what conclusion some unknown person reaches, even if it’s packaged as if it were some universal medical consensus, which it isn’t, I’m still not convinced.

    I don’t really care if you are convinced or not, to be honest.
    And you obviously didn’t pay too much attention to the videos either, by the sound of it.
    And there are a lot of similar ones if you were truly interested.

    Those reading along will read the responses and evaluate for themselves.Yes,some will consider my forthright stance objectionable but those who are a tad more sympathetic to the abuse, or have personally suffered will recognize your intransigence and somewhat callous attitude and may well consider the epithet ”Dickhead” fully deserved.

    After you pull your head out of the sand make sure you get all the grains out of your ears,okay?

    Super!

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  92. Nan,

    I think it’s like a scraped knee. I think those do hurt. I think for someone who’s not experienced anything worse, or has never really considered that anyone else has experienced much worse things, might feel like it’s a terrible injury.

    But, while I can imagine some pain there, I still have a very difficult time thinking it’s actually as bad they make out.

    Could I be wrong? I know I could be, I just know that with everyone out there who’s been taught that hell was real, the amount of people who act like it’s so harmful are a minority, and I still suspect that they are overly sensitive and exaggerating the effect. It;s not unheard of for people to overreact, is it?

    Is it so hard to imagine that some people inflate their problems and think they’re worse than what they are?

    And I think it’s laughable to assert that Kent or anyone else has abused their children by teaching them about hell or any other aspect of mainstream christianity. I think it reeks of desperation. I think it falls on deaf ears and actually does more to turn people off to what else you might say because now they just think you’ll say anything that comes to mind, whether that’s actually true or not.

    And I think calling it abuse is pointless. Even if you wanted child services to go and rescue these poor victims, saving them from their abusive, hell teaching parents – they won’t.

    Go ahead and call it abuse if you like. I don’t agree and I think if this is someone’s problem, then they’ve actually had a pretty cushy life, so good for them.

    I think think that calling it abuse and letting your heart bleed for them only enables them to keep from functioning.

    Yeah, i think people need to toughen up. I don’t apologize for that. I don’t think that’s lack of compassion, I think sometimes people need a hand to help them up, but sometimes what would help them better is to show them that they actually stand up on their own, because one day no one else may be there to help them.

    I think suffering so much from being taught about hell is just as silly needing a god to have morals or purpose.

    But again, it looks like we disagree and I’m running out of ways to say it.

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  93. I haven’t watched your videos yet, or read your link yet, Ark. I’ll get to them when I get to them. But like you with unklee’s articles on prayer, I just don’t really care that much, and it would still take more than a few random videos and an article to sway my opinion on this.

    So share the links all you like, I’ll get to them when I don’t have better things to do, is all I can promise.

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  94. Okay, I’ve finally caught up on all the comments since last week. I think I see where both sides are coming from, so maybe I can help bridge the distance a little.

    Being taught about Hell was tough on me. I really took it to heart that most people I had ever known were probably going to Hell, and I kind of thought that I’d probably wind up there myself. I believed it 100%. I don’t think I’d say I suffered any real trauma over it — I just viewed it as a very unfortunate aspect of reality.

    When I stopped believing, I very quickly stopped being afraid of Hell. Once I understood that it was logically and textually incoherent, it lost all its power over me. But that’s just how my brain works. I know that it’s a completely different story for some people, so I can recognize that, for them, it really does merit the label “traumatic.” I think it ranks far, far above a skinned knee.

    On the other hand, I also see what William is saying. Sometimes, children learn about death first hand, due to losing a parent or sibling, etc. No one wants that to happen, but sometimes it does, and people have to deal with it. Granted, therapy often helps, but it’s still an issue that has to be dealt with.

    I think William’s saying that religious parents teach their children about Hell because they believe it would be far more dangerous to the child if they didn’t. They probably don’t enjoy teaching about Hell, just as they wouldn’t want to tell a child that a parent had died. They simply view it as a necessity.

    When we say that teaching a child about Hell is abusive, it implies that something should be done about it. Well, what? I think all we can do is continue to discuss religious beliefs with those who are willing, in the hopes that it will lead to more non-believers. Or at the very least, that it will lead to believers who are more moderate.

    But if we focus on saying that teaching about Hell (or religion in general) is abusive, William’s right that it doesn’t really gain us anything. The Christian already doesn’t agree with us, and we aren’t giving them any data that might cause them to question their beliefs. We need to explain why Hell isn’t really taught in the Bible, why the notion of it is totally illogical, and why other aspects of Christianity completely fail. Maybe then we’ll actually make a dent in the number of kids who are taught that Hell is a real place.

    Liked by 1 person

  95. I’ve been away for a few days…

    William: “LOL, people need therapy because they were taught about hell?”

    You think that is funny, William? I went through HELL trying to leave Christianity because of my intense fear that I and my children would burn in Hell. You must not have been raised fundamentalist. You have no idea the psychological trauma that fundamentalist children experience regarding their indoctrination.

    Liked by 1 person

  96. We need to explain why Hell isn’t really taught in the Bible, why the notion of it is totally illogical, and why other aspects of Christianity completely fail. Maybe then we’ll actually make a dent in the number of kids who are taught that Hell is a real place.

    There are a zillion places and people who do demonstrate that the Christian version of Hell is simply nonsense, but children are unlikely to be swayed by any of this even they come across comprehensive evidence that demonstrates why.

    Unless they have serious reason to doubt their parents, in all honesty who are the going to believe?

    If they are part of a tight knit community, as you were, where all adults feel the same and all peers as well, then this is what they will fully accept .You did.

    The degree of trauma will impact differently on everyone.

    This does not detract that it is abuse and is recognised as such.

    William is trying to assert that it isn’t really abuse and people must just get over it.

    This is akin to telling a manic depressive or someone suffering from bi-polar that they are
    just feeling a bit under the weather and they must put on a happy face and pull themselves together.

    While the doctrine is an integral part of the Christian faith and taught as such to kids it should always be viewed as abuse.

    If religious leaders were to openly condemn the practice/doctrine then maybe suh condemnation would carry a bit more weight.

    Until then ….

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  97. But most of the religious leaders aren’t going to condemn it because they think it’s true.

    From a fundamentalist’s point of view, it’s child abuse to not tell children about the “dangers of Hell.” I don’t think we want to get into a situation where the government can take children away from people who aren’t teaching their children the correct things, because it’s very easy for those kinds of things to backfire.

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  98. Nonsupernaturalist, I was raised fundamentalist. It was taught all about hell and christianity and had it force fed down my throat as a child. I believed it all. I have children and had them when I was a believer, so when I thought it was real, i taught it to them as well, because that’s what parents do.

    The prospect of dying isn’t nice either, but i don’t fall apart over that either, and think some things maybe just suck, but sucking doesn’t always equate to abuse or substantial trauma.

    Yeah, I know what it’s like. yeah, I think that saying it’s laughable or worthy of therapy is laughable. But that is from my perspective, sure – who else’s perspective can I give that through?

    You and I must be different. I have a hard time seeing your difficulties with it, while you have a hard time understanding how someone can get over it pretty easily. I don’t know the answer,

    I probably shouldn’t mock or belittle, that’s unfair of me, and not helpful. Sorry. And you probably shouldn’t say people like Kent are abusing their children.

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  99. @William

    Neat. But I still disagree.

    I wasn’t harmed by hell. It didn’t abuse me. So no matter what conclusion some unknown person reaches, even if it’s packaged as if it were some universal medical consensus, which it isn’t, I’m still not convinced.

    Your arrogance is telling. I offer links, provide videos and you can’t be bothered to spend five minutes watching them? Because you have ”better things to do”? Yet you do have the time to post an endless stream of derogatory comments backed by nothing else but you unqualified opinion?

    Yeah, I think that qualifies as being a Dickhead.

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  100. “If religious leaders were to openly condemn the practice/doctrine then maybe suh condemnation would carry a bit more weight.”

    of course! Why didn’t anyone else consider having religious leaders condemn the teachings of their own religion?

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  101. So some of you have a hard time seeing this from William’s perspective, and he has a hard time seeing it from the perspective of someone who has been traumatized by the doctrine of Hell. He has at least acknowledged that now.

    Can we just leave it at that? And can we please dispense with the name-calling? It’s never helpful, and I find it really tedious.

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  102. Very serious. Your attitude is also condescending and callous. But mostly stubborn born out of willful ignorance.
    You come across in a similar vein as a Creationist when they demand ” Were you there?”

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  103. So some of you have a hard time seeing this from William’s perspective, and he has a hard time seeing it from the perspective of someone who has been traumatized by the doctrine of Hell. He has at least acknowledged that now.

    I don’t have a hard time seeing it from his perspective at all, Nate.
    His view is: It didn’t affect me so therefore it can’t be that bad and likely exaggerated and I am not going to be swayed by a link or a video. Yet he shows no inclination at all to watch or read.

    How is one supposed to interpret such an attitude?

    What would he tell a kid?
    ”It’s all make believe – get over yourself already.”

    Yeah, that’ll help!

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  104. of course! Why didn’t anyone else consider having religious leaders condemn the teachings of their own religion?

    You may recall it was mentioned that there are various interpretations of the doctrine of Hell.
    Perhaps if the ones who do not believe in eternal torture in a fiery pit made an effort to convey this it might help?

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  105. Actually, I do think you’re having a hard time seeing his point. It’s more nuanced than what you’re describing. In part, he’s saying that maybe we’re labeling things as “abuse” and “traumatic” too quickly these days. It’s similar to the epidemic on college campuses where students don’t want to hear from a speaker who has a point of view that differs from their own. That kind of isolationism is dangerous.

    I don’t necessarily know that William is right about that, but I do think it’s an interesting point worth discussing.

    As to your responses to him, the merits of your points are great. You just have a tendency to devolve into personal insults, and that’s why it does seem ironic that you now criticize William of doing what’s essentially your M.O.

    I just hope we can drop all the personal stuff and move on. :/

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  106. You may recall it was mentioned that there are various interpretations of the doctrine of Hell.
    Perhaps if the ones who do not believe in eternal torture in a fiery pit made an effort to convey this it might help?

    From what I understand, they do. Remember all the fuss when Rob Bell put out his Love Wins book? The problem is, fundamentalist Christians run in fundamentalist circles where the preachers very much believe in a literal Hell. There’s just not a quick solution to this problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  107. I think the issue can only be resolved in the same way that any backwards thinking is resolved — through time and education. We can’t stop redneck parents from teaching their kids to be bigots. At least, not directly. But we can make sure that people who espouse that kind of hatred face social consequences, and we can make sure our public school systems teach the values of diversity and equality.

    The same thing happened with LGBT rights, and I think the same thing has to happen with fundamentalist religion and the doctrine of Hell. In mainstream society, it’s already viewed as kind of backward. Things will get better, even if it’s never eradicated. I just think it takes time.

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  108. William,

    If a father tells his children that if they do not behave HE will burn them alive, wouldn’t you agree that that is child abuse? Would you also agree that if same father tells his children that the Boogeyman under the bed is going to burn them alive if they do not behave, that that is also child abuse?

    It seems that what you are saying is that if the father really and truly believes that there IS a Boogeyman under the bed who will burn his children alive if they do not behave, that threatening the child with stories of being burned alive by a Boogeyman is not child abuse because unlike the second situation above, the father truly believes it to be true.

    But if we excuse parents for doing bad things to their children simply because they believe that what they are doing or saying is “good” for their children, we need to start excusing all kinds of horrific, superstitious behavior. For instance, in some cultures the genitalia of little girls are mutilated for superstitious (religious) purposes. Should we accept this practice as “moral” and “acceptable” simply because of the INTENT of the parent? If we go back far enough in history we would find parents brutally slitting their children’s throats as human sacrifices to appease angry gods. Since the INTENT of the parents was “good”, do we excuse the killing of children in religious human sacrifice ceremonies as “moral” and NOT condemn it as child abuse?

    I think you are getting hung up on the PENALTY for child abuse. You are worried that I am advocating the removal of children from homes in which the doctrine of Hell is taught. I am not. However, I am in favor calling Evil by its true name. Teaching children to fear being burned for misbehavior is evil and it is child abuse regardless of the context of the threat.

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  109. Yeah, I see your points, but still.

    So, slitting your kid’s throats is definitely abuse. I’d say that female circumcision is too, but I wouldn’t go as far to say male circumcision is.

    I don’t like pierced ears and don’t know why parents do that to their kids, but i wouldn’t call that abuse either.

    If a parent told their kids that the police were going to put them in jail if they keep acting out in a restaurant, then I wouldn’t say that was abuse, just bad parenting.

    I don’t think it’s hard when we beginning looking at all the many things that can cause pain or discomfort or fear, to varying degrees, before we see a gray area.

    And while looking at all of it, we see that pain isn’t necessarily bad, or else we’d all be anti-vaccineers. We couldn’t say that all bad feelings are bad, or we’d all keep our children from learning about death, either their own or their pets or loved ones, we wouldn’t let them play with others for fear of them getting their feelings hurt or whatever.

    At some point we decide where a line should be. Like walking to ledge: if it’s solid and sturdy rock, then maybe we’d walk right up to the very end, feeling confident that the line is clearly defined, but with other ledges made of dirt, we don’t quite know where that “better safe than sorry” line is, and two people will likely feel very differently about where the real line is in respect to the visible ledge – but we can probably agree on a range, even if we cant on exact coordinates. The vewry edge is too dangerous in that case because it’ll give way, somewhere back from the ledge is safe, but where exactly?

    Ark can imply all he likes, but Hell Doctrine is not universally recognized as abuse in the medical community, even if someone wrote one article about it. You think it’s abuse, I do not. You can act like I’m crazy, and I can imply you’re weak – but nate’s right, it’s not fair or helpful.

    But, is teaching hell abuse? is giving little girls pierced ears abuse? Is male circumcision? Are dental braces for cosmetic reasons? Is little league american football abuse? Or child level boxing? or making a son chop firewood? Is a parent using the “police threat” abuse? The line isn’t clearly defined, and I don’t see where hell is abuse, but you do, so maybe it’s gray.

    This may be the best I can do here. You suffered from being taught about hell. I was also taught that hell was very real, very literal, and I do not suffer from it, so it’s hard to imagine someone thinking that maybe they should hurt or suffer more than what they do or have from something they’ve been through firsthand.

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  110. And also, if we go on crusades about what we consider to be evil, that’s eerily similar to religion.

    I understand that hell isn’t real and can be scary. But fiction and scary don’t define “abuse” and aren’t always bad in and of themselves.

    I think we can agree on the extremes; punching a kid in the face is abuse. Molesting a kid is abuse.

    Telling them that their mother was just killed in a car wreck, when really she wasn’t? I mean, I think that’s terrible and a jerk move – not at all funny, but would I call that abuse? I may even say it’s wrong, but I don’t think I’d be comfortable saying it’s abuse. I could see such a cruel joke as being hurtful and emotional – but enough to wreck someone’s life or cause lasting harm? I’d have a hard time with that.

    That’s why I used a “scraped knee.” It may not be the best analogy, but a scraped knee is real pain, and a real injury, but it’s also common – lots of people have experienced them, and while it stings and hurts, most people are capable of getting up and walking on – but most of us also aware or have seen one or two people blow the injury out of proportion, acting as if they’re about to die and that they can’t get up. Those of us who’ve had multiple knee scrapes in our time don’t feel more sympathy for the one who wont get up, but frustration, because we know what it’s like, sometimes worse, and are able to forge ahead.

    I could be wrong here, looking at hell that way, but for now, I don’t see that. Listing to some sufferer tell me about how bad it is for them will likely be no more convincing than having an “eyewitness” tell how they saw a miracle, so I should believe it too.

    It may be that I’m naturally a jerk. It maybe that I’m just not conveying my thoughts well enough here. It may also be that I’m right. None of it matters in the long run though.

    Sorry you’ve struggled with it (no sarcasm). I just do not, and it’s hard for me to relate. Sorry.

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  111. Is giving permission to a doctor to operate on your ten year old with acute appendicitis evil, even if your child is adamantly against having the surgery? Of course not. It is not evil because western society knows from scientific/medical research and reason that the surgery is in the best interest of the child.

    And the same is true for vaccinations, and I would say, for male circumcision.

    But there is no scientific research that supports threatening your child with ancient superstitions of being burned alive as a consequence of improper behavior and immoral thoughts. Teaching children baseless, frightening, superstitions to mold desired behavior and thinking should be labeled as immoral, evil, and abuse. At least in my opinion. I’m not advocating “jail time”. I’m advocating removing the social respectability and acceptability for abusing children with this nonsense.

    Gary
    ex-Baptist fundamentalist/evangelical/LCMS fundamentalist

    Liked by 1 person

  112. To me, “abuse” is a difficult word because I think it describes two things: it describes the attitude of the parent (or abuser), and it describes the effect on the child (or abused).

    When it comes to teaching a child about Hell, I agree with William that “abuse” isn’t the right label for the parent, because their intention is to help the child. This gets more complicated in areas like female circumcision, because the parents probably think it somehow helps the child, but I think the harmful effects of it are more demonstrable than our ability to show Hell doesn’t exist. I’d rather not get that complicated with the analogy.

    However, when teaching a child about Hell, “abuse” might be the right label to describe its effects on the child. In that way, I do agree with Gary, Ark, etc that teaching a child about Hell is abusive. It may not cause any long-term harm for the child, but it’s certainly not a healthy situation for the child to be in. And we do know of cases where the teaching really did cause needless trauma. In fact, while I don’t suffer directly from that trauma, I feel the effects second-hand, because I think fear of Hell is one of the main reasons my parents and in-laws aren’t able to see the flaws in their beliefs.

    But because I don’t think the “abuse” label accurately reflects the parent’s status, I’m not real comfortable using the term liberally. I doubt I would use it when talking to a Christian, because I’d be afraid it would put them too much on the defensive. Even worse, they might not understand the point and think I’m being irrational.

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  113. Well, I can agree that I’d like the teaching to stop. and maybe I just got caught up in semantics, i don’t know.

    But I don’t think male circumcision is medically beneficial.

    And ear piercings, cosmetic braces, etc also fall outside medical necessity and I guess that’s my point – there is a gray area, even if we disagree where the blurry edges begin or end,

    But I’ll just focus on our common area from here on – Hell is fiction and we should work towards eliminating that fiction from being taught and believed as reality.

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  114. Not to go too far down a rabbit trail, but…

    I can understand the concerns people have about male circumcision, but as a physician I see the benefits. I have seen several uncircumcised teenage males with very painful phimoses (google it) and research shows that uncircumcised males are at greater risk of STD’s.

    However, if the only purpose of circumcision was religious, I would be in favor of outlawing it.

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  115. sure, well, I have no beef with circumcision. I might be apprehensive signing up for the procedure now.

    Fortunately, my foreskin was cut away in a modern practice of an ancient and barbaric tradition.

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  116. A motion was put before the European Court a few back to try to have Male circumcision declared abuse. The motion was vetoed, mainly by the German delegates if memory serves, and you can imagine why. But at least the motion was put forward and one day i may succeed.

    I did not say indoctrinating kids about Hell is universally recognised by the medical profession as abuse. Read the comment carefully. Maybe this is half you problem ,William?

    That the parent is unable to recognise that it is abuse is indicative of the indoctrination and abuse the parent has also suffered.

    Of course it would be nice if this doctrine was not taught, but it is an integral part of Christianity so stating it should simply be regarded as fiction is a somewhat pointless pursuit if leveled at believers. And telling non believers is preaching to the choir.

    Acknowledging it is abuse because it causes serious trauma for many kids brought up in a fundamentalist environment is the first step to eliminating it.

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  117. Maybe it is, I just don’t see it as serious trauma. But maybe it is.

    I don’t live in Europe or the UK. What’s your take on the Brexit ( I hate that I even typed ‘Brexit’)?

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  118. South Africa? I’d like to visit. I was a fan of District 9. I mean, I don’t know how do you guys cope with all of that.

    I also hear there’s a lot of secrets in district 9.

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  119. No feelings on the Brexit?

    You are so unemotional, Ark. Let go a little bit once in a while and really express what you feel.

    🙂

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  120. I am not au fait with European Politics these days so any ”view” I expressed would be one of mostly ignorance.
    I generally don’t like to express an opinion unless I am reasonably clued up about the topic at hand.
    However, based on much of political history I suspect for the”man in the street” little difference will be noticed for a considerable time, if at all, and it will largely be a case of ”As you were.”

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  121. Actually, he is quite accurate, as I’ve mentioned this scenario from time to time myself. Those Jews held in captivity in Babylon were exposed to many Persian stories long before the Persians attacked and defeated the Babylonians, then helped the Jews rebuild Jerusalem and its temple.

    Liked by 1 person

  122. Zoroastrianism has a good god – Ahura Mazda – and an evil god – Angra Mainu, as well as a man born of a virgin – the Sayoshant – who at the end of the world, after Angra Mainu is defeated, will lead the righteous through a river of fire that will burn their sins away before taking them to paradise.

    There seems to have been a great deal of intermixing theologies that took place in the Middle East.

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