Maybe if the Kid Tells People They’re Going to Hell, They’ll Listen…

It’s bad enough when you’re a Christian preacher who makes crazy statements on a college campus.

It’s even worse when you make your kid do your dirty work for you, like one preacher did at The Ohio State University yesteday:

Remind me again how this isn’t a form of child abuse?

(Thanks to @ANDREW_R_W00D for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Rwlawoffice

    So you are assuming this boy is not old enough to do this as his own decision?

    • http://twitter.com/0xabad1dea Melissa

       There isn’t really such a thing as a child who made an informed, rational choice to believe Christian theology.

      Whence Christianity.

      • Rwlawoffice

         That is quite a generalization about children. So at what age do you think children can make rational informed choices?

        • http://wordsideasandthings.blogspot.com/ Garren

           Thirty

        • Webellion

          According to Christians, 7 year olds are rational thinkers. Nuff said.

          • brianmacker

            Some are. I figured out that there was no god at around this age.

        • Aaron Scoggin

          If a child made the decision to go to the park holding a sign that says everyone else will go to hell, then there’s something seriously wrong with the kid and it should be looked into.

          • Piet Puk

             And if it was all his own choise, where did he get the sign? Did he find it? Did someone give it to him? Did he save money so he could have it printed like that?

            • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

              I meant to bring this up earlier but it slipped my mind amid all the other issues being debated.  How DID that child manage to have that sign made up?

        • Jim Jones

          Children? John McCain chose Sarah Palin. 
          Rational informed choice?

        • Stev84

          Aren’t you pretending to be a lawyer? The law has something to say about this matter

          • Rwlawoffice

            So point me to a law that says raising a child as a Christian is child abuse.  I would love to see it.

            • teressa81

               Do you really need a law that says teaching children that they can do something so bad that they will be unloved FOREVER is bad????

              I mean, sure, laws are good and all that, but methinks having to spell that out legally leaves a good deal of your moral character in question….

              • Rwlawoffice

                 What I was asking for is a law that calls it child abuse.  The idea that you think it bad to teach your limited understanding of Christianity does not make it wrong or child abuse.

                • teressa81

                   So you don’t teach your child that they will go to Hell if they don’t follow the rules?

                  Now truly, that would be a show-stopper.

                • Dietrich

                  It takes no more than a limited understanding of Christianity to figure out that the child in the picture has been taught that he will go to hell forever if he doesn’t follow Jesus.

                  Just because something is legal doesn’t make it a good idea.

                • http://www.facebook.com/chrisdizz22 Chris Riedesel

                  I think many of us are Atheists not because we don’t understand Christianity, but because we understand it all too well.  I think it takes a “limited understanding” of Christianity to believe in it and not find it totally absurd. 

                • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

                  I agree with you.  I do know some Christians who are very intelligent and scholarly…  they tend to be very socially liberal and not take Christian rules very seriously.

                • Demonhype

                   I don’t think it’s so much “teaching your kids Christianity” so much as “set up an offensive and hateful sign damning everyone who isn’t like you to hell then park your child in front of it like a target” that looks like abuse in this case.  There’s something both disgusting and cowardly about that.  You’re either making your kid a target for abusive language and behavior “for the faith” or you’re using your kid as a way to deflect criticism and argument (because what kind of horrible person would argue with a child?)  Maybe a little of both.

                  Besides which, to insist that we’re only allowed to talk about abuse that is in the law books is to attempt to derail the conversation.

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  It can be child abuse without being illegal. 100 years ago you could beat your child, perfectly legally. Today we’d call that abuse, and the law would treat it as such. (It is interesting that much of that physical abuse was justified by the Bible, Proverbs 13:24. It was because people started arguing that beating a child was abusive that it became illegal- over the objections of many “good” Christians who preferred not to “spare the rod”.)

                  In 100 years, people may look back at what parents were allowed to teach their children, and recognize that as abuse, as well, despite being legal at the time.

            • Stev84

              I was speaking about contract law and the legal capacity to consent you moron. Criminal law also makes distinctions for minors. But suddenly when religion is involved, they are magically aware of everything they do and its consequences?

            • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

              There were once laws in America that said it was okay to punish runaway slaves with castration.  I guess that must not have been abuse by your standards, because there was no law against it.

          • Rwlawoffice

             If you are talking about certain decisions like voting or drinking, then I agree there are certain ages of maturity. That however doesn’t apply to decisions of faith. If it did, I would suggest you contact the organizations trying to set up atheists clubs in high school and tel them they are starting too young.

            • http://wading-in.net/walkabout Al Denelsbeck

              I like how you make the logic leap from the organized, constant, and above all extremely early efforts of churches to present an overriding fear of consequences (not to mention baseless assertions,) to a strictly voluntary and no-pressure extra-curricular group. Yeah, they’re totally analogous.

              Again, the grownup table awaits.

              • Rwlawoffice

                 Quite a miss on the point I made.

                • Piet Puk

                  Try to make more sense the next time.

            • Lucilius

              Hey, thanks for admitting that your religion has nothing to do with “rational, informed decision-making,” as you put it earlier, and don’t require any degree of maturity.

              Now, this is the point at which a smart lawyer would swallow hard, sit down and hope to have better luck in the next case.

              • Rwlawoffice

                 Read again.  I never said anything of the sort.  But nice try.

                • Lucilius

                  Oh, I didn’t expect you to admit, or probably even realize, you’d bungled your argument that badly. Fortunately, it’s obvious to anyone with decent reading comprehension.

        • http://twitter.com/0xabad1dea Melissa

           Obviously it is a little different in every circumstance, but so many people ditch religion around college age for a reason, whether or not they actually attend a university.

          But Christianity in-particular gains almost ALL converts from children, as actual Christian evangelists will gladly tell you. Most adult “converts” were already informal Christians who make a new commitment (usually after an emotionally traumatizing event). When I was in the religion, I was told by our own evangelists that almost all Christians are Christian by age 10-ish, with a tail off towards age 14, and you’ve basically lost your window of opportunity after that.

          To a Christian this means to spend more money on advertising to children – the camps and happy fun times that they try to use to suck in unchurched local kids. To a non-Christian, this means children. are. gullible.

          Children naturally are inclined to believe whatever their elders  tell them, and in general that is a good thing. However, when religious authority figures get involved, fairy tales are taught as factual history, distorting the base of common sense the child has been building. It’s no surprise that they then go on to believe the most ridiculously absurd things into adulthood, and perpetuate the cycle with their own children.

          The kid in the picture doesn’t look quite old enough to be sneaking alternate philosophy textbooks under the table just yet (although such things do occasionally happen with exceptionally precocious children). It seems quite reasonable to assume that he’s just like I was at that age: the preacher said it, my parents trust the preacher, therefore it’s true.

          I am not sure where you stand. But if you are a Christian, ask yourself this: what is wrong with your philosophy, that it can only make converts out of the ignorance of youth?

          • Rwlawoffice

             Would your assumption be the same if he was holding a sign that said God isn’t real and Jesus never lived?

            As far as your question it is based upon a false premise that only ignorant youths come to Christ.  That is simply not true.  It is also based upon the totally irrational belief that the only rational decision one can make is to become an atheist.

            • http://twitter.com/0xabad1dea Melissa

               You are placing words in my mouth. I take no serious issue with many non-atheistic philosophies. Obviously I disagree with them, because if I agreed with them, I would be one, but I do not find adherence to them to be fundamentally questionable.

              It would be quite strange to see a child holding such a sign (the atheist equivalent of the hell sign). It is strange to see a child holding ANY sign advertising a contentious viewpoint. It is strange *because* we know they are probably not ready.

            • Spherical Basterd

              Show us that picture please..

              • Rwlawoffice

                Whether there is one or not is not the point.  My question was how would you feel about that. Would you consider it abuse?    Or would it not be abuse just because you agree with the message.

            • Fsq

              Again dinkus, go back to the archives and find the post regarding the young boy telling Michele Bachman that his mother didn’t need any changing – she being a lesbian.

              The outcry here was a general feeling that the child was used and that the child needs to grow and learned come to his own comclusions, so it shows that your little bout of false indignance is hokum.

              Unlike your evil pedophilia church, this group shows integrity in its statements and is consistent, even when it goes against the group belief.

              Once again, you lose.

              • Rwlawoffice

                 So asking one poster how she would react is the same to you as attacking the whole set of people who post here.  You are right, you are very consistent in your ignorant generalizations.

                • Onamission5

                  If you’re not intending to attack everyone here, then why are you hogging the forum ? You do realize that sometimes things just aren’t all about you, don’t you?

                • Piet Puk

                   He is practicing how to keep his delusion. Probably for brownie points.

                • Onamission5

                  I’m rapidly becoming convinced that his whole intention in being here is to send all commentary into the spiral of column death, rendering it unreadable, and therefore, at least in his mind, moot.

            • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

              While it would be better, since at least the sign would be accurate (almost certainly true that God isn’t real, and very possibly true that Jesus never lived), just sending a kid out into a park with any sign carrying an advertisement demonstrates bad parenting.

              BTW, I didn’t say that the act of putting this kid in the park with the sign was abusive. It’s just bad parenting. What’s abusive is teaching a kid that gods or devils are real.

          • constructivist

            Preying on children has long been part of the evangilizing tradition; in fact, this was one of 2nd century Celsus’ criticisms as preserved by Origen in Contra Celsus. Many of the points Celsus brings up are just as relevant today!

            http://www.bluffton.edu/~humanities/1/celsus.htm 

        • Ndonnan

          Remind her of the child artist with athiest parents called Akianne [google her]or the #1 best seller on the New York Times list,4yo Colton Burpo book,Heaven is for real.

          • Rwlawoffice

             Know about her.  Wonderful story and beautiful painting.  Very talented young girl.

        • http://wading-in.net/walkabout Al Denelsbeck

          At the age that they’re given good schooling in weighing alternatives and consequences, and when they have been given useful, unbiased information.

          • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

            If this child has meticulously researched all of the world’s known religions, read all of the important philosophical texts, has a comprehensive knowledge of world history, fully understands evolutionary biology, and has a little bit of knowledge of physics, then maybe the child is capable of making such a decision.  Since it would take longer than this child’s entire lifespan to digest such knowledge, and the child’s brain isn’t particularly developed yet at his age, I find this to be highly unlikely.

        • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          Evidence suggests that the brain reaches its adult potential in terms of making important decisions at about age 26. Ideally, that would be the age of legal adulthood. In practice, that would be difficult, so we gradually transition kids into adults. They can drive at 16 (I’d increase that to 18). They can vote at 18. They can drink alcohol at 21.

          I’d probably set the age at which they could legally attend church at 18. Before that, they just don’t have the mental maturity and education to handle the nonsense and (often) hate.

        • Fsq

          Seeing as how my girlfriend has a PhD in developmental psych from one the best universities in the world, I get privy to information about just this sort of thing. And it is a lot more complex than our little world of ignorance even comes close to.

        • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

          If this child has meticulously researched all of the world’s known religions, read at least a few important philosophical texts that don’t all represent the same stances, has a comprehensive knowledge of world history, fully understands evolutionary biology, and has a little bit of knowledge of physics, then maybe the child is capable of making such a decision.  Since it would take longer than this child’s entire lifespan to digest such knowledge, and the child’s brain isn’t particularly developed yet at his age, I find this to be highly unlikely.

    • Webellion

      Oh of course he is!. That’s why we let 8 year olds vote and drink and sign legally binding contracts and go out in public alone at night and decide whether or not they want to attend school. 

      Ohwait, no we don’t.

      • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

        Objectively, this child’s brain is not even out of its very early developmental stages.

    • Piet Puk

      Maybe.. in the same way KKK kids giving the Sieg Heil sign.

    • http://wading-in.net/walkabout Al Denelsbeck

      I certainly am. There’s a long history of christian indoctrination and reliance on baseless assertions. Not to mention that the sign certainly doesn’t look hand-painted…

      But hey, I’m sure it’s possible that a, what, 8-year-old boy?, decided on his own to go parade around a college campus, because he’d certainly identify with college kids better than his own friends, or neighborhood, or whatever. And it’s certainly possible that he feels perfectly confident correcting people 2-3 times his age. As long as you never ask me about likelihood, you’re safe.

      However, let’s try to move you from your self-appointed status as the forum contradictarian and start playing an adult game. What do you really think is the case? Be honest, now – remember, that’s one of them commandments.

      • Rwlawoffice

         An assumption based on absolutely no evidence- not very rational of you.  I don’t know one way or the other, but I am not jumping to the conclusion that it is child abuse just because of the message in the sign.

        • Piet Puk

          You and your double standards..

        • Glasofruix

          “An assumption based on absolutely no evidence”

          Now you need evidence in order to make assumptions? How not very christian of you….

        • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

          So an atheist needs evidence to assume an 8-year-old was coerced into evangelizing the doctrine of eternal punishment in hell on a college campus, yet you continuously scold me for requiring evidence that your religion is true?  If you cannot see the hypocrisy, then it is out of your own willful ignorance.

        • http://wading-in.net/walkabout Al Denelsbeck

          What did I just say about adult games? That kind of playground bullshit doesn’t work with me, Sparky.

          So I take it you’re not going to answer my direct question, then?

          But yeah, the message in the sign is the child abuse everyone is talking about: introducing psychological fears of everlasting torment over vague aspects of bronze-age superstition. However, I’ll stick to discussing such aspects with people a bit more capable of mature discourse, if it’s all the same to you.

  • mud raidman

    Why would this be child abuse? What child wouldn’t want to spend an afternoon in a beautiful park under the shadow of a tree? What, you think his parents made him do it? Give me a break.

    • jdm8

      I think it’s the message the parent is using the child to push.

      • Rwlawoffice

         So Christian theology in and of itself is now child abuse?

        • jdm8

          Making a young child evangelize for you might be, with all the brimstone and hellfire.

        • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

          I’d say that teaching a child to believe mythology without questioning, instead of to use critical thinking, is run-of-the-mill bad parenting at the very least.  To teach a child that they will be eternally tortured by having their flesh burned from their body in a lake of fire for making mistakes (even relatively minor ones, and doing some things that are totally ethically fine) absolutely IS emotional abuse.  Since that constitutes an integral part of the doctrine of almost every form of Christianity, then yes…  Christian theology in and of itself is child abuse.

          • Rwlawoffice

            You really have a gross misconception about Christian parents and Christian theology.  

            • teressa81

               Alright then. Let’s play.

              1) Do you tell your child about Hell?

              2) Do you tell your child it is eternal?

              3) Do you tell your child they can be sent there, by God, if they do not ascribe to certain rules?

              If the above three questions are answered with “Yes”, then no, we haven’t a “gross misconception” of what you are teaching your children. We actually understand quite clearly.
               

            • Glasofruix

              I’ve read the bible, and he’s pretty mild as there is some REALLY disturbing stuff in that book.

            • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

              Actually, like most people in America – Alabama no less, I was raised by Christian parents.  Great human beings, I love ‘em to smithereens, but they absolutely did teach me about Hell.  I have also read much of the Bible, and everything I asserted is in that generally-awful book.  It is absolutely absurd to claim that eternal torment in Hell is not a part of Christian theology, and that Hell is not considered to be a place of eternal punishment and suffering by way of burning.  It’s so absurd that I don’t even know how to begin countering that assertion.  Almost every subset of Christianity teaches the idea of Hell as absolute reality.  Hell is a place where you go for disbelieving in the divinity of an ancient carpenter.  Hell is a place you go for having sex with someone of your own gender.  These are things that are in no way unethical, just prohibited by the archaic laws of ancient peoples (the smartest of whom were incredibly ignorant by modern standards).  If you think these concepts are not part of Christianity, then you are the one with a gross misconception of Christian theology – either that, or you are being dishonest.  You might personally  be a moderate or liberal person, and you might like to think of your deity as a kind and loving god of peace, but that does not change the fact that eternal torment in Hell plays a colossal role in Christianity.  You can attack me personally by saying I have a gross misconception about your religion and the beliefs/practices of people who believe in it, but that does nothing whatsoever to refute my points that teaching children they’ll burn eternally in the lake of fire for falling out of line with the rules of the Bible is an integral part of Christianity, that Christian parents teach this to their children all the time, and that it is an absolutely disgusting thing to tell a child.

              • Coyotenose

                 “It’s so absurd that I don’t even know how to begin countering that assertion.”

                Amazingly, it’s actually more absurd than the neocon professional columnist who I saw write last year that the Republican Party did not run on a “family values” platform.

                He maintained it even after someone else found that exact phrase on the GOP’s website page about their platform. Really.

          • Stev84

            See the recent letter to Richard from a girl who cried herself to sleep every other night because she feared other people and her friends would be tortured in hell.

            • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

              That used to be me.  When I was young I used to have  problems sleeping because I would lie awake crying for hours both for others I feared would be punished in hell as well out of my own unwarranted sense of guilt for having done things (mostly harmless, trivial things) that I was taught to believe were sins.

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                 And now I am so glad the indoctrination never “took” for me. I have anxiety issues that I am medicated for, and I still do that “lay awake and worry about nothing” thing at least two nights a week. I don’t think throwing the fear of salvation and hell and being all responsible for saving other people’s souls thing on top of that would have a pleasant result.

                You have my sympathy.

        • Jim Jones

          What sort of “moral system” starts off by lying to trusting children? And continues to lie to them?

          • Rwlawoffice

             So because you don’t believe it Christianity is a lie.  I guess that solves it. 

            • Jim Jones

              I also don’t believe that trolls live under bridges. How would you feel if I taught your children that, yes, they do, and if they cross a bridge the troll will eat them? 

              Why is there no proof for Jesus or Christianity after 2,000 years? Nothing but endless humans, the gullible and the fearful?

              • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

                I suspect trolls might live on this thread.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              I do think lying requires intent.  I think what they’re saying is untrue, but that’s not the same as lying.

            • Fsq

              There is no proof of god, Jesus, or any of the other now retired mythological gods. Yes sweetie, Christianity is a lie. From a purely bullshit stand point, it is the greatest con job in the history of the planet, so at least you have that feather in your pious cap….wear it with PRIDE.

            • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

              Almost everything about Christianity is untrue, much of it demonstrably so.  Whether it’s technically a lie may depend on whether the person professing it believes it to be true, but it is a lie nonetheless.  Not just because I don’t believe it, but because it is absolutely absurd and contrary to all known evidence. Jesus may very well existed, although he is very very poorly documented (all written accounts dating from well after his supposed death).  I’m willing to assume that there was a historical Jesus, although I’m not 100% positive.  There is absolutely no evidence however that he was anything but one of many ascetics who led a bizarre Jewish cult, a very common phenomenon in his day.  There is no evidence of anything supernatural, including deities, so there is no reason to believe that he could be divine.  The very concept of divinity itself is bankrupt.  There is no reason to believe he was any more capable of healing the sick without medicine than are any modern-day faith healer, which is to say “not at all capable.”  Not only that, but it is absolutely impossible – IMPOSSIBLE – that he resurrected anyone from the dead or rose from the dead himself.  Even if he was crucified and resurrected, why would that be necessary in the eyes of your god in order to grant his creations forgiveness from sins that he personally tempted them with, omnisciently knowing that they were imperfect (as he created them) and would take the bait?  Couldn’t he just forgive without human sacrifice?  I can forgive without human sacrifice.  You can forgive without human sacrifice.  Why can’t an omnipotent deity?  It’s barbaric.  The concept of sin itself is repugnant – eternal reward and punishment for violating arbitrary laws written by priests without accepting the divine nature of an ancient Jewish carpenter whose very existence is not supported by any observable evidence.

              • Rwlawoffice

                 I really suggest that you read a book- I Don’t have enough faith to be an atheist by Norman Geisler.  This book answers alot of your questions much better then I could do in this short space.

                Just because you are a naturalists and don’t belief in miracles doesn’t make it not so.

                To answer your questions as to why Jesus’ sacrifice was necessary it would take a course in soteriology to explain that in detail.  However the short hand version is that since the price of sin is death, the payment for sin needed to be death and God being just, didn’t call for the death of a human but sent his own son to pay that price,  a price that we all otherwise earned. For a good explanation of this read Romans.  
                       

                • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

                  I don’t disbelieve in miracles because I’m a naturalist.  I disbelieve in miracles and am a naturalist because that is where all evidence lies.  All evidence confirms it, no evidence refutes it.  Miracles are totally unsubstantiated by facts, and very easy to refute.

                  In response to your Jesus-sacrifice answer, I’ve heard all of that before in extreme detail.  The price of sin is supposedly death because God said so.  He decided there needed to be a death, not anyone else. No one held a gun to his head.  It’s totally his call whether or not to just simply forgive or to have a person brutally tortured and killed by being whipped and then nailed to a cross.  He’s supposed to be omnipotent.  If he actually existed and were everything he’s claimed to be, he can do anything you or I can do and more.  So why not just say “I forgive you” and move on?

                • Rwlawoffice

                   You talk in circles.  I stand by my statement.  You look only to natural evidence to try and prove something that is supernatural. 

                  For you to describe how God could have done things is really only how you would have done things. In response I will tell you what one of my professors told me once- If you knew what God knows and you were as loving as God is, you would do the exact things he does.  

                • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

                  I, unlike you, most certainly am not talking in circles.  I have, however, repeated certain points that you have insisted on misrepresenting over and over again.

                  Please, explain to me what evidence exists for anything supernatural, and what type of evidence I should be looking at other than natural evidence that proves your particular god is real.
                  You’re right about one thing:  I explain how your god could have done things in terms of how I would have done things, which any person using reason could plainly see is infinitely more ethical than the way your god supposedly chose to handle things.  You can say “If you knew what God knows and you were as loving as God is, you would do the exact things he does,” but that means nothing.  You are saying that if we knew things we don’t know and don’t even know we don’t know then we would do things the way they are described in an ancient book.  There’s no way you can pretend to know that.  If I knew what your god supposedly knows, I would still not ravage the world with disease and famine.  I would never torture anyone for eternity by burning them because they behaved in a way I disapproved of.  That is not, as you say, “loving.”  That is the definition of hateful.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   If you are looking for a natural explanation for miracles that defy the laws of nature by definition then you show the limits of the types of evidence that you think is the only valid evidence, thus you will by your own definition of evidence limit the other types of evidence that exists.  Again, this type of discussion is too limited to explain fully, but I suggest you read the book I gave you and this is explained in great detail.  But in summary, I will tell you that when I see a universe that was created out of nothing and if hawing is correct that before then there was no natural laws, then I daily see evidence of a supernatural event.

                  If you believe that from your finite perspective both in time and knowledge that any decision that would make  is better then a decision that God who has the perspective of full knowledge and eternity, then you are giving yourself way too much credit.

                  The answer to alot of your issues is the free will of man.  We were made with free will out of love by God the fact that we have chosen to abuse that free will is our fault, not God’s.  And now that you know that there is famine in the world and other tragedies, and it wouldn’t be here if you were  God, what have you done to prevent it in your life?

                • Piet Puk

                   That is some sick reasoning. Made possible by the destructive powers of delisional thinking.

                • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

                  I asked you point blank: If not natural evidence, then what?  And you have dodged that question, like my other questions before.

                  Yes, I do believe from my finite perspective that burning someone for eternity or having them whipped and beaten and nailed to a cross is evil and unjustified in any circumstances.  I don’t know how you could even argue with that.  I’m not giving myself way too much credit (and I give you the same credit I give myself, because I’m convinced you’d never burn or crucify anyone), I’m just not giving your idea of a deity any credit at all (because I think it deserves none).

                  First off, I don’t necessarily believe in free will – at least not as you probably define it.  Even assuming for the sake of argument that we have absolute free will, I don’t think I’ve abused that free will in any way.  I’m an ethical person.  I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve learned from those mistakes.  People I’ve wronged I have asked for forgiveness and done my best to make it up to them, and worked on being self-aware enough to not repeat the same mistake.  I don’t need divine forgiveness for the way I live my life.  I think it’s mighty presumptuous and judgmental for you to assume that I would.

                  I’m not a god and I can’t fix the world’s problems, but I do try and help in any way that I can, even if that’s just by spreading the information about what’s going on so that others who might be in a better position to help can do so (or so people who are contributing to the harm can understand what they’re doing and stop).  Although I live below the poverty line myself and have health conditions that suck up a lot of the money I do make, any time I see a homeless person I try to help them out.  If they’re selling newspapers, I buy one.  If they ask for food and I have money on me, I buy them a meal.  A week or two ago I bought a homeless man a bag of groceries that should have lasted him a few days.  A few days later, I passed a homeless man with a bad leg who had fallen down on the side of the road.  I turned my car around, helped him up, and supported his weight as I walked him back to the place he was living (the porch of an abandoned house).  I’m not bragging about this stuff, I’m not saving the world here.  But this is how I live my life, helping in any way I can when I see something going wrong.  Like I said, I’m not a god.  I can’t snap my fingers and fix the world.  But if your god actually existed, he could.  And doesn’t.

                • Piet Puk

                   Supernatural? where is your evidence? REAL Evidence pleace.

                • Piet Puk

                   He should have called his book “I Don’t Have Enough Sense of Reality to be an Atheist”.

                • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

                  Honestly, I’m not going to read that book.  I’ve heard and read the best that Christian apologists have to offer – over and over and over.  The very title of the book is an absolutely ignorant (but very common) assertion that has been made in various ways for ages.  It’s been said by some very intelligent Christian scholars, and it just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.  I can’t read a new book every time someone re-words the same old arguments I hear over and over.  My time is better spent reading Uncanny X-Force, an admittedly frivolous and superficial comic book that – unlike the Bible – at least has the guts to highlight the moral ambiguity of all the senseless violence it celebrates.

            • Coyotenose

               It’s demonstrably a lie. The Bible is supposedly the word of God, but is filled with fallacies: Pi = 3, diseases are caused by evil spirits, no record of the Jews’ enslavement, creation of the world goes unnoticed by civilizations already in place, global flood fails to discomfit other extant cultures, zombies rise en masse and no one notices…

              … God is eternally loving but sets up humans for a fate more evil than imagination can grasp…

              So yeah. Your book is a worse lie than The Cake.

              • Rwlawoffice

                 Well thanks for clearing that up. Coyotense says its a lie so it must be so.  

                • Piet Puk

                   Or do you have evidence that shows otherwise?

            • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

              Not a lie. Just false. They aren’t quite the same thing.

              • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

                It’s not ALWAYS a lie, but it can be.  It’s hard to know if the people who concocted the various aspects of Christianity actually believed it themselves.  It’s hard to know if a member of the clergy believes everything they’re preaching, or if they think people need their stories and myths and that they’re adding to the greater good by encouraging them.  It’s also hard to know when someone like Rwlawoffice actually misunderstands every single response he/she gets, of if he/she is intentionally misrepresnting them.

            • Fsq

              Oh you ignorant….willfully ignorant jackass.

              Give us one iota…just one piece of evidence your flavor of intolerrant and hate filled myth is real and we will gladly be quite. But, make it real evidence.

        • NickDB

           I have a wife, a son and a daughter, daily I order my son to love me, my wife and daughter above all others, the 3 of us are 1. If he waivers in his love, or does something that I disapprove of like hanging out with gays, or if he turns out to be gay, if he doesn’t believe everything I tell him or goes against my word and will I promise him that I will burn and torture him for the rest of his guilty sinful existence.

          Pretty neat uh? Not child abuse in the slightest.

          • Rwlawoffice

             Then its a good thing you are not God.

            • NickDB

               Oh, so it’s ok for god to do it, but not us humans?

              Aren’t priests human? Or do you just have to do it in god’s name for it not to be abuse? Guess I can add that bit to the daily telling my son of how unworthy he is unless he does exactly what I tell him to.

              It’s simple, those types of actions are abuse, whether you’re human or imaginary or deity, if you disagree, then I guess I can’t change your mind.

              • Rwlawoffice

                 You did not accurately describe God in your last post, nor did you include all of his attributes, so that is why I said it is good you are not God.  Neither are priests and the fact they abuse children is not an indictment of God, it shows they are animals that should be thrown in jail.  If a priest tells a child that they are unworthy unless the child does what the priest tells him, then that priest is not teaching the Christian message.

                • Piet Puk

                  He did not describe YOUR idea of what a god should be like accurately.
                  Plus bonus: No Real Scotsman Fallacy.
                  You’re on a roll today!

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  nor did you include all of his attributes

                  An abusive spouse who gives you chocolate and flowers is still an abusive spouse.

            • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

              I think the proper conclusion here is that it’s a good thing for all of us that there is no god (most especially not the Abrahamic god, which is a real piece of work).

            • Fsq

              Prove he isn’t.

    • Sue Blue

      Sure, a child likes to spend an afternoon in a park…playing.  Swimming.  Throwing a ball or a frisbee around.  Riding bikes.  Playing on playground equipment.  But holding up fire-and-brimstone religious signs for hours while passers-by ridicule him and roll their eyes?  Not so much, I think.  

      I hope you’re joking.  That sign is bigger than the kid, probably pretty heavy, and – unless he can’t read and no one told him what the sign says – probably pretty embarrassing as well.  

      • mud raidman

         I *was* joking.

        Whether this legally constitutes child abuse or not, I don’t know. But it’s  a sad sight. It’s bad enough that adults carry such signs; making their children do it too is utterly grotesque.

        Sorry, I’m new to this forum, I didn’t know what I said could be interpreted as non-sarcasm.

        • Onamission5

          I figured you were being sarcastic. No worries.

        • pagansister

           Sorry, I read your previous statement “wrong” also,  thus my reply to you above.    It is sad to see a child doing this, I agree. 

    • teressa81

      The abuse part comes from convincing a child that there is a being who can and WILL cast you into an eternity of torment, without reprieve or hope of ever leaving that torment, if you do not follow the rules.

      A parent would never (or at least SHOULD never) tell a child “There are things that you can do that will make me turn from you, forever. I will forget you exist and you will be punished forever.”

      And yet it is perfectly acceptable to teach your child that God says that.

      This is not good parenting. This is teaching a child that they are inherently worthless and deserving of such condemnation.  That is child abuse.

    • Nick

      It says right in the source that a street preacher had him do it.

    • pagansister

       I tend to think the kid didn’t volunteer.  But that’s just my opinion.  Most kids these days would rather be playing some “game” , which could be played sitting (not standing) under a tree in a park.

  • Onamission5

    It is most definitly a form of abuse– psychological.

    -religious abuse survivor-

  • Thin-ice

    Either @mud raid man and @rwlawoffice are being sarcastic, or they are real christians thinking that this scene should not be thought unusual. If it’s the latter, then you are totally out of touch with reality, thinking an 8 or 9-yr-old child would want to spend a couple of hours holding a sign parading in front of 20-yr-old adults. Much less this sign!

    • Rwlawoffice

       I am a Christian and proud of it.  What I am reacting to is the assumption first by Hemant and now through the commenters is that just becuase ths is a Christian message the boy had to be forced to do it.  That same boy standing there with an atheist message would not be viewed the same way.  Now even worse is the idea that the very idea of raising your child going to a church is considered by some here as child abuse.  So much for tolerance.

      • mud raidman

         Perhaps if the sign said something like “Jesus is love” or “Jesus loves you”, people wouldn’t be as shocked. There are flames there, for crying out loud.

        • Coyotenose

           Flames make everything cooler*, though. Look at Optimus Prime.

          *Ironic, that.

      • teressa81

        There is nothing in that sign that points to the “tolerance” you are now seeking from atheists.

        In fact, that sign preaches some pretty heavy INTOLERANCE.

        In the words of Inigo Montoya: Tolerance: “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

        • Rwlawoffice

           Who said anything about the sign pointing to tolerance.  My comment is about the comments here.  Calling parents teaching their children Christian theology child abuse is what is intolerant.  

          • teressa81

            Christianity DOES point to the very intolerance that the sign is preaching. “Do what I say to do, or else be completely forsaken forever.” A good parent tells their child that yes, they will make mistakes and yes, sometimes the parents will be disappointed, perhaps even angry.

            But a parent should never tell a child that breaking a rule can sever the parents love and devotion to them permanently.

            But parents tell their children that God – the ultimate “parent” figure – will do exactly that.

            I can’t imagine anything MORE intolerant than teaching a child that.

          • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

            If a Christian teaches a child something unsubstantiated that could potentially lead them to severe mental and emotional anguish (and a permanent guilt complex), then that DOES constitute child abuse.  I’m totally tolerant of Christians’ right to exist and speak their mind, I’m not tolerant of teaching children horrifying untruths.  You are conflating these two concepts.

          • Coyotenose

             The vast majority of children who are raised in churches are taught what that kid in the photo has on his sign. It is directly representative of what we’re criticizing as abuse. That most children don’t carry signs doesn’t change the evil things they’re being taught. Please learn to read for comprehension.

            • Rwlawoffice

               My comments were about the comments here. Don ‘t agree with Christianity and parents who teach it are committing child abuse.  That is what is intolerant.  

              • Piet Puk

                 Wow, you ARE doing your very best to miss the point huh?

                • Au_catboy

                   Willful ignorance is the core tenet of Rwlawoffice’s religion. 

              • Fsq

                Have you be sipping at th e sacramental wine again?

                You really are a dense little dude.

      • Pascale Laviolette

        If he were carrying a sign promoting reason, I’d be equally likely to assume the kid would MUCH rather be doing something else.  But a sign promoting reason is virtually innocuous compared to a sign implying that “sinners” will go to hell without Jesus.  What if that kid is gay?  or masturbates?  He could be going through an immense amount of fear and anguish thinking he’s destined for those flames.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        I’ll give you I don’t think he was directly forced, any more than the kid who asked Bachman why she hated his mom was forced or otherwise coerced.  I think both are the product of their environment.  But I do think in all cases we should give kids the benefit of the doubt and treat them like people.  Some limitations, sure, but to assume that this kid didn’t make his own decision to hold that sign isn’t a far cry from those who claim Jessica Ahlquist is just a pawn.

        Now, whether telling kids that some people go to hell is abusive or not is another matter. 

      • Onamission5

        I find it amusing that you seem to believe when atheists say what we think, we’re being “intolerant,” but when you say what you think, you’re somehow not.

        • DG

          The opposite could be argued of course.

          • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

            Correct, but there is one Christian who is saying over and over and over that atheists are intolerant for disagreeing with that person’s particular beliefs, and the atheists are not doing that in return.  So this is why it is worth point out on Onamission5′s part.

      • Fsq

        Actually dinkus when the little kid with his mother who went up to Michele Bachman, your hero, and told her pro lgbt issues, the crowd here had the initial reaction of “how lame the kid was forced to say those things”. So you are as deluded as always, even I the face of fact.

        A proud Christian. Think about that statement slick. Now go read your rule book, the bible, and look up the snippets about pride….you fucked up again genius.

        • Rwlawoffice

           Oh genius on Christian theology, please point out where the bible says I am not to be proud to be a Christian. or where it says that I am not to stand up for my faith. Or maybe you just  don’t understand what the word pride means or how it becomes a sin.

          • Fsq

            Oh yes, I forgot, you are the only one privy to the true interl of the bible. How silly of me to forget. You and your ilk alone can cherry pick and read as you find comfortable or convenient.

            Also, nothing about the false rhetoric of you calling us intolerant or that if atheist kid said aiming we would support it. You have been shown to be a fool and factually wrong, yet you use misdirection and false indignance it he face or your incorrect statements.

            Typical.

            Are you sure you are a real lawyer, or are you a lawyer kiDNA like how doctor pepper is a real doctor, or captain crunch is a real sea going officer?

            • Rwlawoffice

               You made a specific allegation that the Bible taught us not to be proud of our faith as the sin of Pride.  I asked for where it says that. This is not misdirection this is asking for your proof.  If you don’t have it that is fine.

    • mud raidman

      I was being sarcastic :) This sight is not only unusual, it’s horrible. It represents a lot of what’s wrong with religion: people don’t consciously choose a religion, they more often than not just go with whatever their parents impose on them.

  • Upbeat Lobster

    Bahaha. Parents do funny things. That’s why we have teenagers and twenty-somethings.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    Bringing a child up inside any church, or exposing him to religion as anything other than mythology is certainly a form of child abuse, which results in often permanent damage to that child (and consequently, to society as a whole).

    It is, however, perfectly legal abuse. The only practical fix is to cure the parents before they are parents… which is why there is so much hope in the current exodus of youth away from religion.

    • Rwlawoffice

      So raising a child in church is now child abuse and you guys call yourselves the tolerant ones.  

      • mattman

        Yes – Religious indoctrination is instilling a false truth based purely on belief and not evidence.  And it’s not a fun belief like Santa and whatnot, it’s a belief that affects the way you look at yourself and the way you treat others.  This is a bad thing.

      • Onamission5

        Telling an innocent child that anyone who doesn’t believe in exactly the same religion/politics/whatever that Mommy/Daddy believe deserves to be tortured for infinity, and in fact ARE going to be tortured for eternity, and it’s the child’s job to try and stop that…

        Yeah. That’s child abuse.

        • Rwlawoffice

           All of these responses are the same and very telling. Those that have rejected Christianity focus on the portion of the doctrine that deals with that rejection and call it child abuse while at the same time ignoring the rest of doctrine that teaches grace, forgiveness and love.  

          • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            I never bought into Christianity in the first place. To suggest I “rejected” it makes as much sense as saying I rejected the KKK, the Tea Party, or any other organization that no sane or ethical person would go near.

            It doesn’t matter how many positive things Christianity might teach, it can’t make up for the fundamental harm of all theism, which is believing in something that isn’t real. And it can’t make up for the specific ethical disaster of Christianity, that a person can be forgiven by somebody other than the person that was harmed.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            I hope I focus on the part where someone else tells me what I should or should not do based on what their book says.  Sometimes that means pointing out the hypocrisy of telling me the entire books is the inspired word of an all loving being, meanwhile ignoring or excusing the portion of the doctrine that deals with rejection.

            • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

              Exactly.  People see what they want to see. Rwlawoffice wants to only see the good things about his/her religion and ignore all of the evil that accompanies it.

          • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

            The reason these responses generally espouse the same point of view about one particular aspect of the religion, is that this particular conversation is about a very specific topic.  Please see the post we’re responding to.  It’s about indoctrinating children with the idea of hell, and sending them out to teach it to others.

            Regardless of whether there are some parts of the doctrine that teach positive messages about love (there definitely are, and those are the ones I focused on exclusively when I was a Christian), the negative parts are still very much in there and they’re not just kind of negative, they’re atrocious.  And it’s not just a matter of them being intellectually displeasing.  These doctrines actually cause real-world damage: discrimination against homosexuals, women, and non-Christians; poor people giving all their money to a preacher; people dying of AIDS because the church disapproves of condoms; Christians in Africa attacking children as witches and killing homosexuals; and tons more.

            Some here have not actually rejected Christianity, as you say.  They never believed it in the first place so they haven’t “rejected” it anymore than they’ve “rejected” Harry Potter.  I HAVE HOWEVER REJECTED CHRISTIANITY.  I was once a Christian and thought that was a good thing, but I began to see that the doctrine itself was actually not true and that believing something untrue was making me and those around me act in irrational, destructive ways.  Maybe you’re not aware of the harm Christianity causes others because it isn’t harming you personally, but that doesn’t mean the harm doesn’t exist and affect real people.

          • Onamission5

            Please explain the loving, forgiving kindness involved in teaching children the doctrine of hell and eternal torture, then sending them out to share that with people much older, wiser, and bigger than they are.

            Thanks.

          • Au_catboy

             So, are you going to pretend that it is NOT child abuse to threaten a child with neverending torture?  Or are you just going to keep on LYING about what people are saying?  Isn’t that imaginary god of yours supposed to have some sort of problem with bearing false witness? 

            • Au_catboy

               I see that Rwlawoffice has made the choice I expected.  It has chosen to lie, constantly, without any shame or remorse.  It worships its own lies and willful ignorance, and calls those things “god”. 

          • Piet Puk

             ” All of these responses are the same and very telling.”
            Yes, all those intolerant atheists against child abuse, terrible.
            But then again, religion and child abuse go hand in hand.

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        I am tolerant. I have a very libertarian viewpoint on what adults should be allowed to do.

        Religion is like pornography. It should be completely legal, but it is inappropriate for children.

        If children weren’t indoctrinated in this false belief system, few would adopt it as adults. And a good many of the world’s most serious problems would simply go away.

        • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

          Please don’t insult pornography by comparing it to religion.

          • http://profiles.google.com/joebbowers Joe Bowers

            This.

      • Isilzha

        As someone raised in very religious household–yes, raising your children in a very strict religious environment and forcing them to attend church is absolutely child abuse.

      • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

        I am tolerant of an adult’s right to think whatever they want and to say it without being punished by the government.  I’m even tolerant in that I’m okay with people disagreeing with me.  I am not tolerant of child abuse, and if the particular brand of religion that is forced on a child constitutes child abuse then I am not tolerant of that.

        • Rwlawoffice

           I hope you realize  how intolerant you really sound.  I can teach my children whatever religion I want, but if you disagree with it you call it abuse.  Labeling it abuse is evidence of intolerance.  It is like labeling people who disagree with you bigots.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

             *sigh*

            Idjit.

          • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            It depends on the nature of the disagreement. In some cases they might be bigots. In other cases not.

            For those of us who believe exposure to religion results in actual harm to a child, how could we not see it as abuse?

            • Rwlawoffice

               It is a label placed on a teaching you don’t agree with just like calling a person a bigot.  It is s way to villianize something you reject and it shows your intolerance. 

              • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                People teach their kids all sorts of things I don’t agree with, and I don’t consider them abusive or challenge their parenting skills.

                This isn’t about teaching something I disagree with, it’s about teaching something that causes lasting damage to a child. Precisely the thing that we should be intolerant of.

          • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

            Once again, you are conflating two issues.  You can teach your children whatever you want, of course, and just because I disagree that doesn’t make it abuse.  I’ve said this outright.  TELLING YOUR CHILD THEY WILL BE TORMENTED FOREVER IN A LAKE OF FIRE WHERE THEIR FLESH WILL BE BURNED FOR ALL ETERNITY IF THEY DON’T DO WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS is abuse.  THAT’S THE ABUSE.  Not taking them to church, in and of itself.  Not telling them Jesus is divine.  TELLING THEM THEY’RE GOING TO BURN FOREVER IF THEY DON’T CONFORM TO YOUR IDEAS.  THAT’S ABUSE.  NOT THE “GOD IS LOVE” message, the “BURN IN HELL” message.

            • Rwlawoffice

               I believe that children are taught things that are age appropriate. 

              • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

                At exactly what age is it appropriate to threaten someone with the prospect of eternal torture by fire?

                You are very consistent at dodging the actual content of my posts.

              • Piet Puk

                You sick fuck..
                When you show the extend of how your religion has detachement you from what is good, I realise how much of a part of the poison of religion you are.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   The fact that you focus on the parts of Christianity that justifies you demonizing it does not make it that way. Nor is it not good based upon your own definition of what is good. And if you think that I taught my children Christianity by telling them things that were a threat or unloving, then you are intentionally mistaken.  The story of Christianity is one of grace and love and that is taught without any discussions of threats or hate. 

                • Piet Puk

                  The parts that I focus on are the parts christian wave in my face.

                • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

                  This is correct.  Most Christians don’t run around saying, “It’s okay that you’re an atheist, because you will be going to heaven too.”  And the sign we are all discussing here is not about the positive message of love or eternal reward.  It is about eternal torment, and that is why we are focusing on that concept in this discussion.

                • Fsq

                  Jesus ass wiping Christ, you are like Johnny Cochrane yelling “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”

                  You keep giving sound bites and mantra with no actual argumentation and you ignore the logical points being made.

                  You are an asshole.

                • Au_catboy

                   Well, maybe if christians didn’t constantly make terrorist threats of neverending torture, then people wouldn’t laugh in your face so much when you say that your sick fantasy of watching people burning alive forever is a story “of grace and love and that is taught without any discussions of threats or hate”.  But as long as your primary method of propping up your delusions is to threaten people, you will not get anyone with a brain to take you seriously when you claim there are no threats involved.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   You make alot of wrong assumptions in this post.  I do not prop up Christianity through threats of eternal torture.  Christianity is a religion based upon love and grace.  It is true that there are two places your soul will go after you die and that if you reject Christ your soul will go to hell. But that does not have to be taught to children or adults as a threat as you have consistently implied it is.  The people in hell are those there by their own choice. As C.S. Lewis wrote, there are only two kind of people those who say “God, they will be done” and those to whom God says “they will be done’.

                  Eternal destiny is a part of Christianity and for you to pick that “detail” out and say teaching a child this is abuse is really no different then saying teaching Christianity is abuse even if you try to split hairs. But I would agree with you that if this doctrine is taught in a manner to scare or make children fear God then that is wrong and should not be done.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                   nor did you include all of his attributes

                  I’m just glad to see you imply that not all parts of Christianity are puppies and rainbows.  At least that’s what I think you’re implying.  I honestly don’t mean to put words in your mouth, but since all we hear from you is the nice loving bits, I feel a need to sometimes raise my hand and say “Yes, but..”

                  Keep up the charity work (not that you need my encouragement).  I just wish you’d stop dancing around the nasty bits, which your church says are also the word of God.

                  Kind of like how you call out atheist hypocrisy?

              • A Morris

                Rwlawoffice, I take it that you agree with the message on the boy’s sign. I therefore assume you believe there is a heavenly reward for accepting Jesus as your personal saviour.
                Why then, wouldn’t it be more appropriate for the boy to be carrying a sign espousing the rewards for belief? I expect such a positive message wouldn’t generate the response desired by the preacher who encouraged (possibly required) the boy to hold this sign.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   I agree that the Christian message of love and grace is one that should be spread and is very appropriate.

                • Piet Puk

                   And the christian message of hell and eternal torture?

                • Rwlawoffice

                   Hell is the eternal separation from God. Gos doesn’t put people there, they go there by their own choice.  It would be torture to know that for eternity that it could have been different.

                • Piet Puk

                   I allready have eternal seperation from god. Just like with every other non-existance.

                • Au_catboy

                   So, your particular flavor of the christian delusion doesn’t agree with the image of flames and torture conveyed by the sign you’ve been defending all this time.  Then WHY do you keep pretending that there’s nothing wrong with threatening to torture people forever in fire? 

                  Either you’re lying about what you believe, or you’re a sociopath.  Or, most likely, both. 

                • Rwlawoffice

                   The message of Christianity is not about a threat of eternal torture.  It is a message that Jesus is the way through grace that you are saved from your sins and have eternal life.  If you don’t accept that gift of grace through faith, then you will spend eternity in hell but that is not a threat. Teaching everyone that message of love and grace and how it effects the eternal consequences of your decisions is not something I am ashamed of at all. But i have never threatened anyone, child or otherwise with eternal torture.

                • Fsq

                  The message of Spiderman is that we swinging is fucking cool.

                  But wi great power comes great respo…..

                  Oh fuck it, you don’t get the analogy…there is a much realism and relevance to spiderman as there is to your myths.

                  Acting like Jesus message is like arguing about Peter Parker’s message. Neither are real, and at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter one lick shit. Except for the fact that the followers of one try to hurt others and restrict their freedoms while the other doesn’t.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                   I’m only hitting you because you MADE me do it…

                • Rwlawoffice

                   No more like, you decided that this is the path you wanted so I am giving it to you.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  You really are just that stupid, aren’t you?

                • Rwlawoffice

                  If you can’t determine the difference than you should not be casting dispersions. 

                • Au_catboy

                   The sign you’ve been defending is not spreading “the christian message of love and grace”.  It’s spreading the christian message of arrogance, fear, hatred, and pain. Though I’m not surprised that you’re so heavily brainwashed that you can’t tell the difference.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   In reality it is spreading that message.  It says that jesus is the way to avoid the effects of sin.  That is the Christian message.  By the grace of God, we have been reconciled with him through our faith in Christ Jesus and as a result we have eternal life. That is the Christian message.

              • Au_catboy

                 So, at what age is it appropriate to THREATEN A CHILD WITH NEVERENDING TORTURE, AND SEND THEM OUT TO MAKE THAT SAME THREAT AGAINST OTHERS?

                • Rwlawoffice

                   All caps aside, teaching that Jesus is the way to eternal life can be done in an way that is appropriate for their age at most ages. For example, ever hear of the song Jesus loves me? Just like I am sure you teach your children about death without telling them that their body rots in the dirt and then decays into nothing, Christian parents can teach their kids about death and their soul without threats or details that they are too young to understand or comprehend.

                • Piet Puk

                  “Christian parents can teach their kids about death and their soul
                  without threats or details that they are too young to understand or
                  comprehend.”
                  You wrote “indoctrinate” wrong.

                • Au_catboy

                  Since you fled in abject terror from my question (not that I expected anything else from you), I’ll ask again:

                  At what age do you consider it appropriate to THREATEN A CHILD WITH NEVERENDING TORTURE, and send that child out to make the same threat against others, the same threat made by the sign the child in the picture is holding, the same sign you have been defending all this time? 

                • Rwlawoffice

                   I do believe that accepting Jesus as your savior is the way to avoid sin and hell.  That is a message of love and grace when you take Christian doctrine for the whole message that it is and not cherry pick the ones you like.  this message can be taught to children of all ages without the threat of torture, so to answer your question, I see no need to teach torture to any child regardless of their age.

                • Au_catboy

                   So, by your own admission, the treatment of the child in the picture is not appropriate.  THEN WHY THE FUCK HAVE YOU SPENT ALL THIS TIME DEFENDING IT?????!!!!

                • T-Rex

                  Choosing your own fictional savior over the reality that is Zeus is not wise. You might want to change your belief system before Zeus turns himself into a swan and comes down and fucks you…or maybe even releases the Kracken on you.  How could you possibly practice such a new religion as Christianity when there are so many other older religions out there that are based on even earlier texts and mythology. For shame!

                • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

                  So you don’t believe eternal punishment awaits in hell for those who don’t follow certain rules and live by certain standards laid out in the Bible?

                  And you would never tell a child that this hell is real?

                • Rwlawoffice

                   I would tell a child that the way to eternal life is through faith in Christ jesus. I would also tell them that hell is real, but there is no need to go into detail that are beyond their compreehnsion,

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  In my opinion, you can’t teach this to a child without damaging them. Period.

                  You are teaching them that magic is real. You are teaching them that there is such a thing as “eternal life”. These things have no basis in reality. In teaching these things, you take away from a child the very thing that makes us human: the ability to think rationally. That’s what makes teaching religion a form of abuse. Nothing about the torture of hell. Nothing about the intolerance most religions endorse. Nothing about the bad ethics attributed to Jesus. Nothing about the sadistic Abrahamic god. The abuse is in destroying rationality in a young mind.

                • Pascale Laviolette

                  It’s impossible for things to “decay into nothing”. Ever heard of conservation of matter?  Your atoms just re-join the earth’s substrate — you are returned to the universe.  My atoms, that were at some point in the core of a star, and will continue on a journey through countless organisms.  I’m just glad they get to have consciousness at least for a brief while!

                • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

                  The caps were to emphasize a particular point I have stated over and over again that you refuse to answer.  I will ask my question again without the caps, so as not to offend your font sensibilities:

                  At what age is it appropriate to threaten a child with never-ending torture, and send them out to make that same threat against others?

          • Au_catboy

             You can teach your children whatever idiotic bullshit delusions you want, but if you threaten to have them tortured forever if they question your delusions then you ARE abusing them.  Torturing a child is child abuse.  Threatening to torture a child is child abuse.  Knowingly and deliberately turning a child over to a third party to torture them is STILL child abuse.  Threatening to do so is ALSO child abuse.  The dogma of hell is child abuse and terrorism, and your compulsion to repeatedly lie about that fact and misrepresent what people are saying to you will not change that. 

            • Rwlawoffice

               Picking a portion of the doctrine that you disagree with or don’t want to accept doesn’t make it not real.  The story of Christianity is ultimately a story of grace and love that that was taught to my children. 

              • Piet Puk

                Except for the part about hell and eternal torture.

              • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

                A story of grace and love where, if you screw up, you get tortured for eternity.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   Actually it is just the opposite.  Despite our screw ups we are given the gift of eternal life all we have to do is accept it.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson
                • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

                  You say it’s the opposite of what I said, so you’re saying that if you screw up, you don’t get tortured for eternity?

                • Rwlawoffice

                   Despite our sins, and really because of them Jesus came and redeemed us. So because of our screw ups we are  saved by grace through faith.  All you have to do is accept the gift you have been freely given.

                • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

                  Not “freely given,” “conditionallygiven.”

                • Rwlawoffice

                   No the gift is freely given all you have to do is accept it. 

      • Coyotenose

         To all the other replies, I’ll add a reminder about the bizarre amounts of fetishistic violence,
        misogyny and porn (up to and including snuff porn!) in the text that said children are taught to believe is sacred and reflective of capital-L Love.

        Complaining that we aren’t tolerant of abuse because it’s religious is pretty sad. And pretty typical. Are you Catholic by chance?

        • Rwlawoffice

           Not a Catholic.  Go to a nondenominational grace church. 

          Website: http://www.brcc.net

          Calling it abuse because you disagree with it doesn’t make it abuse, it just makes you intolerant.

          • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            So to be clear, you’d be okay with a parent to took their kid to KKK meetings?

            • Rwlawoffice

              Tell me where I said that. 

              • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

                What Peterson is saying is that you continually claim that we are intolerant for disapproving of indoctrinating children with a particular detail of Christianity that is harmful to them, assert that we are doing so simply because we don’t believe in your religion, and stating that you can teach your child what you want.

                Peterson is saying that some people believe wholeheartedly in the messages of the Klan and involve their children.  If you really believe parents can teach their children whatever they want with no negative repercussions and that anyone who criticizes that is intolerant, then you must also stand by the rights of racist bigots to indoctrinate their children with KKK values.

                I, on the other hand, think that would be child abuse.

          • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

            Likewise…  Saying something isn’t abuse just because you read it in an ancient book that you believe wholeheartedly in, doesn’t make it not abuse.

      • Au_catboy

         Torturing a child is child abuse.  Threatening to torture a child is child abuse.  Threatening to turn a child over to a third party who will torture them is also child abuse.  The dogma of hell is child abuse, and cannot be anything else. 

        • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

          Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.  Very few people here have even implied that raising a child in church might, in and of itself, be child abuse.  Most of us as speaking specifically about threatening the child with eternal torture.

          • Au_catboy

            Of course, rwlawoffice is incapable of addressing anything said by an actual human being.  It is only capable of conversing with the voices in its head and strawmen of its own construction.  Must be a pretty shitty lawyer. 

      • http://profiles.google.com/joebbowers Joe Bowers

        We are tolerant. Tolerant of those of different races, sexes, sexual orientations. What we are NOT tolerant of is racism, 
        sexism, and homophobia. We do not tolerate intolerance, and religion is the greatest cause of intolerance in the world.

        • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

          I agree, but I think blind adherence to any ideology (religious or otherwise) causes intolerance and other big, big problems.  We humans sure like our political and economic models a lot as well…

        • Rwlawoffice

           So you are tolerant of the ideas that you agree with and those that you don’t you label. That sounds very tolerant of you.

    • Tinker

      The only problem is that people that are leaving the church are not having as many children. We may get one or two of the kids to wake up but out of a family of 8 we are still losing ground.

  • martymankins

    “So if I stand here for 4 hours with this sign, I will get a Nintendo 3DS?  Ok.”

  • rhodent

    I know two wrongs don’t make a right and thus would never seriously suggest this, but I think it would be interesting to send an eight-year-old to walk around carrying a sign that said “There’s probably no god.  Now quit worrying and enjoy your life.”  The thinking behind sending kids out with Christian proselytizing messages is that even us horrible atheists would never be so mean as to berate a child for doing that.  Why do I suspect many Christians would be all too happy to berate a child for carrying an atheist “proselytizing” message?

    • Jim Jones

      They certainly go berserk when there’s an atheist sign amongst the Christmas nonsense in state houses.

      http://articles.cnn.com/2008-12-05/living/atheists.christmas_1_sign-freedom-from-religion-foundation-nativity-scene 

    • Bob Becker

      And some of us are just as quick to complain about atheist groups targeting children.  That’s one of the reasons I hated, absolutely hated, the FFRF billboard of a smiling Santa saying “Yes, Virginia, there is no god.”   That targeted children. Bad bad idea. 

      • http://profiles.google.com/joebbowers Joe Bowers

        Teaching the truth is not indoctrination, it is education. Teaching children that there is no God is just good sense.

    • Jim Jones

      Delete the ‘probably’ and I’m down with that. And have your kid tell the other kid he’s getting $5 per hour and ask how much he’s being paid!

    • http://profiles.google.com/joebbowers Joe Bowers

      Teaching the truth is not indoctrination, it is education. Teaching children that there is no God is just good sense.

  • Jim Jones

    I’d ask the kid if he wants to go to hell. Then I’d ask him why not and where he does want to go. Then I’d tell him this:

    Heaven is just like being in church – all day, every day, forever, listening to the same things over and over again while sitting on a hard bench.

    Hell is just like Disneyland – it’s the happiest place not on earth. If they ask about the fires and devils tell them it’s a scary, fun ride where nobody gets hurt – obviously since you can go back as many times as you like. And there’s always a place to cook the hot dogs unlike church.

    Ask them whether they want to spend forever in church or in Disneyland. Ask them if they ever got a toy that looked good on TV but was boring when they got to play with it. That’s heaven.

    That should make them wonder why adults lie to them. I remember an old cartoon in Playboy (I wish I had saved it). IIRC, it was a Gahan Wilson and showed a picture of Hansel and Gretel looking at the witch and her cottage. Hansel turns to Gretel and said, “Adults. First they f*** up your head, then they sell you out”.

  • Onamission5

    This gives a whole, weird new meaning to Take Your Child To Work Day.

    • teressa81

       I almost spit out my soda with this! ahahaha!

      • Onamission5

        Pleased to be of service!

  • Bob Becker

    Didn’t Theodore Dreiser’s great novel, “An American Tragedy” begin with a fundamentalist family using their child for street prostelyzing in Kansas City?  As I recall, it did not end well. 

  • DG

    I went to OSU in my undergrad days, and we had the campus preachers there every day.  I wonder if he’s related.  That was their approach.  Somehow, agnostic that I was, I knew this represented a small portion of the religious world.  As for child abuse?  No.  Child abuse is child abuse.  It is not someone doing something with a child that I would never do for reasons with which I disagree.  Just because someone has their child doing something I might find appalling does not make it abuse.  Once we go down that path, heaven – or pick your favorite reality – help us. 

  • ReneCourtney

    Though I do have an issue with this type of evangelism in the first place, you can’t assume that it is child abuse. It is possible that this child could be being psychologically manipulated into holding the sign and believing what he does, but on the other hand, this child could really believe it and be convinced that this is how God can use him even in his young age. I definitely think it is possible to teach your children the logical arguments for Christianity, even present the arguments from those who oppose it, and the child decide based on the evidence to choose Christianity. 

    • Collin

      What evidence?

    • Piet Puk

       So… he decided on his own there is a god, and the most important thing this god wants him to do is cary a sign stating that people will get tortured for eternity?

      Really..?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=3203340 Michael Dann

    Sadly, this is the only way that child is ever going to set foot on a college campus!

    • http://profiles.google.com/joebbowers Joe Bowers

      Hah! So true.

  • Dan Dorfman

    It is not morally acceptable for a child to be told “Some people will be tortured horribly for all eternity, and they will deserve it”. Cut and dry, no bones about it.

  • Hater

    Poor little minion… getting corrupted so early

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

    I think they like to use kids to preach this garbage because they know most people won’t say anything back to a child as they might to an adult.  It’s sad and disgusting the way they use children this way.

    • Onamission5

      My parents would send me to “witness” to the most unfriendly looking people, or the teenagers. People who’d have maybe cussed my mom out but felt obligated to be polite-ish to a kid.

  • pagansister

    My question is—was the father watching to make sure no one harmed this child, while he had him hold that “warning” sign?   He was on a college campus, but that doesn’t mean he was safe, IMO.   Preacher man needs to have his head examined doing this to his child.   

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    @f9ab744ac2cf87a6ea19f6dc4f252ac0:disqus   — If you can’t spell “aspersions”, you might not wanna use the word. (Just sayin’)

    And I know abuse when I see it. Bible-God’s passive-aggression, manipulation, and demands to “obey me or I won’t love you”? Those are abuse.

    Here, read this article, it might help you get the point.
    http://atheism.about.com/od/whatisgod/p/AbuserAbusive.htm

    • Rwlawoffice

       You are correct I used the wrong word, but I see you got my point.

      I read the article. I got the point it was trying to make, but it fails.  I saw that it did not quote any Bible verses to support the author’s view of God’s attributes.  He then tries to tag human motivations onto God which fails miserably. For example, he says that human abusers are insecure and then claims that God is insecure.  There is no biblical support for that. There is also no Biblical support for mood swings or that God changes.  In fact those descriptions are the opposite of God’s attributes- the Biblical description is that God does not,  has not and will not change for eternity. The description of God’s love being dependent upon our love for Him or our obedience is also an invalid description so it an invalid comparison.

      Overall, the attempted analogy to compare God to an abusive relationship simply fails to properly take into account the attributes of God or His relationship with his creation.      


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