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Jim Curtis: Religious indoctrination is child abuse

Jim Curtis

By Jim Curtis

I realize how repugnant this will be to many people, but facts are facts — imposing religion on children is child abuse. 

Children have been terrorized with the threat of living an eternity in a lake of fire. That’s unequivocally been the source of nightmares and PTSD for millions of kids. Lesser abuses include instilling false hope of post-life justice for evildoers, teaching wishful thinking, and lying about the effectiveness of prayer.

Sadly, but accurately, religion, alcoholism, drug and domestic abuse trend in families from parents to children. Abuse victims tend to become abusers when they have their own families.

Some of the most abusive government officials in the country are Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. It’s quite possible that they were victims of religious child abuse. And, now, they are abusing defenseless citizens of their states.

While victims of abuse deserve some compassion for their victimhood, at some point in the life of adults, we should all come to a realization that we were gaslighted and indoctrinated into abusive relationships and mindsets. People with integrity will do critical self-evaluations to determine if what we have been led to believe — about everything — is valid, true, and supported by evidence and/or logic.

There is no widely disseminated, publicly known evidence for any purely religious claim. No evidence for any god. No evidence that prayer works. No evidence for post-life existence. While there is plenty of testimony, we all should know how fallible testimony is as “evidence.” We should all know about conditioning, and how people routinely misinterpret personal experiences. Testimony is unreliable. Two witnesses who provide contradicting testimony of a singular event prove how unreliable testimony is.  

Virtue signaling

We all should know what tribal virtue signaling is. It’s a way to signal membership in a tribe, whether that’s a nation, state, community or any other grouping of people. Virtue signaling doesn’t necessarily prove belief or adherence to tribal rules or norms. What much virtue signaling does is appeal to other members of the tribe for inclusion. Claiming to believe the tenets of a religious sect or belonging to a church tribe is often a form of virtue signaling. 

I can regale you with stories from mostly male friends who don’t believe much of the Christian dogma, but they find membership in a church tribe useful for social and business purposes, and to keep peace in the family. I’m not sure how one could calculate how prevalent this is, but based on my observations of self-described Christians, very few of them act very Christ-like.  I surmise the prevalence of insincere virtue signaling is significant.

There are logical arguments which attempt to prove that the cosmos has a creator, or had to have a creator, using the logic that the cosmos couldn’t have created itself or popped into existence without external stimulus or causation. These arguments are promulgated in numerous websites, debates, lectures, books, etc.  Most of them fail on faulty premises. The most common fallacy I’ve observed is what’s called “presuppositionalism.” This methodology presupposes that a creator exists (or existed) and then uses syllogisms to come to the conclusion that a creator exists (or existed). That’s circular, invalid, fallacious reasoning. 

Here’s their biggest weakness: One cannot prove any claim by logic alone. Only evidence counts as proof, and there’s no evidence for any purely religious claims. If you doubt that, please produce the evidence and claim your Nobel Prize in science and the admiration of half the planet’s population. If there was evidence for any religious claim, there would be no reason for doubters to doubt, just as nobody doubts the existence of diamonds and gold.

So, when are we going to acknowledge that religious beliefs are delusional? When are we going to break the cycle of abuse?

Please consider this: The perpetuation of religious beliefs is a thousands-of-years-old conspiracy that’s had millions of conspirators working to make people believe purely religious claims. The evidence for this is monumental, overwhelming and convincing. Churches are institutions devoted to the perpetuation of religious beliefs. Families and communities have been both victims and victimizers who conspire to maintain purely religious beliefs. 

In what we call the Dark Ages, the Roman Catholic Church held power over the state, and enshrined purely religious offenses into secular legal code. Blasphemy and heresy were statutory crimes. Who’s the victim in these crimes? A fictional character called “God.” 

Religious grifters

In the secular world, if we put grifters out of business, does anybody cry crocodile tears over their loss of livelihoods? No, we consider that a good thing — justice.

In the same vein, I have no concern for the loss of livelihood that would be inflicted on modern-day religious professionals. They are not only abusing their victims and engaging in fraud, they are profiting from it. They are selling an invisible product, for which the evidence could only be confirmed should their claims about afterlives turn out to be true. If it turns out they’re lying about an afterlife, which is almost certain, none of their victims will ever know. They’ll be dead. Their consciousnesses die with them. It’s quite a genius scam. And, it’s 100 percent legal over most of the planet.  

And, to make matters worse, most of these grifters are held to be respected members of their communities. Who tells you to respect religious professionals? Their victims.

It’s a popular conception that before intrepid sailors departed Europe to seek new riches and trade routes, the majority of Europeans likely believed the Earth was flat. The primary guidebook to Christian religious misinformation, a collection of Bronze Age fantasy fiction called “the bible,” describes a flat Earth with “four corners.” Galileo was put under house arrest for claiming, contrary to the bible, that the Earth wasn’t the center of what’s come to be known as our solar system. The bible proposes a demon theory of diseases and the existence of witches. We know better now.

Billions of people can have incorrect beliefs. Popularity has never been and never will be a determiner of what is true. It doesn’t matter how many billions of people have been defrauded by religious claims. They have still been defrauded.

No amount of past abuse, even a strong tradition of abuse, can justify continued abuse. No matter what you call it, imposing religion on children is abusive. Tricking gullible adults into believing fantasies is abusive. Billions of us need to acknowledge that we are or were victims of abuse, and end this cycle, end our participation in this vast conspiracy. We need to destroy institutions of lies and fraud called “churches.”

I’m sure that at least some religious professionals have good intentions and are in the business to help people. But they should be able to utilize their humanitarian talents in secular humanitarian organizations, such as Doctors Without Borders. There should be no place in an ethical society for preachers with mansions, yachts, private jets, deluxe wardrobes, trophy wives (or boytoys), fame, and other rewards from their swindling.

There should be no exemptions from laws for “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Do we give exemptions for sincerely held racist beliefs? If your neighbor sincerely believes that Blacks and Hispanics are inferior to Whites, should he or she be able to deny employment to Blacks and Hispanics? Our laws and courts don’t reward delusional racist beliefs. Nor should they. Nor should our courts recognize and reward delusional religious beliefs.

The hatred against transsexuals being demonstrated in Texas, Florida and other states is entirely based on religious delusions. Our courts are granting special treatment to people who claim to have religious delusions. The courts aren’t even asking for evidence of sincerity as they did for conscientious objectors to the draft in the 1960s and ’70s.  They are accepting sincerity purely on the claim. Why the special treatment for religion?

Increasingly, victims of religious indoctrination like Abbott and DeSantis are proposing and signing into law persecution of transsexual teenagers — teenagers! — based on their abusive indoctrination. We must not let this stand. Where will this end? What other laws can we expect them to enact based on their religious delusions? What other group of children or minorities can we expect them to bully and persecute based on their religious delusions?

We must vote out these degenerate victimizers. We must reject their religious fantasies. We should value honesty and truth over wishful thinking and religious delusion-inspired bigotry. Yes, we should declare war on religion, which will certainly provoke Fox “News” and other broadcasters. But, we have the evidence of a longstanding conspiracy and tradition of abuse that they cannot honestly defend.

Jim Curtis is an FFRF member who lives in Texas.