Thursday, April 21, 2011

Is religion child abuse?

"Is religion child abuse?", someone asked the other day.

No, I don't really think religion is intrinsically child abuse.


I definitely think it lends itself, by design, to allow it. And in some situations, to even demand it.

Abraham attempting to kill his son, Isaac.
Interesting how all protrayals of this show an Angel 
stopping Abraham, thus glossing over the fact that a crazy
old man was going to kill his son, for God. God used to be such a hoot.

You see, it is a philosophy for a way of life for those who are needful of such things and who are without a type of enlightenment that would not find it, unnecessary. And because of that, and considering there are never enough rules to cover all situations appropriately, it leads its followers into making incorrect actions at times and also, it supports paranormal  beliefs in such things as to hold people back from rational thought, to expect action or consideration from without oneself, rather than from within oneself.

Which is always an unsafe way to proceed. If you always only expect help from within and without external support, when no support is reasonable, available, or offered, there is nothing less to your considered action or plan.

If however you allow an external expectation, in the larger external considerations in life, you can theoretically, go further, do more, and exceed even your own limitations and expectations. The trouble there is if you come to depend upon it, or expect it to help you in some way. If you decide an action upon a consideration of external expectation, but not upon an expectation for external help, you can do the work of the extraordinary.

It is inherent in Human nature, to require a belief in something bigger than the self. Yet, to believe in more than only the self, is questionable at best and destructive at worst.


As soon as Humans were able to think rationally, it was only partially rational. We did not suddenly become aware and high functioning, that came with time, evolution, or at least, if you don't buy evolution, through development. The functional part became rational, for the things that were observable, were attainable. I see a fruit, I grab it, I eat it.

But those unobservable or unattainable things, then brought para-rational thought. It was needed and practiced. And thus was born the paranormal, the spiritual, and the non-corporeal, supernormal, thought.

From that could only come one thing, that there would have to be generally acceptable understandings among the group, of what these thoughts were. Rules would then have to be applied; un-agreed upon at first. Rules would have to be standardized, and that would have lead to self-importance and later, ritual. Which leads to generational acceptance and incorporation; assimilation to the core of the group.

Communicating to other groups would show disintegration in the common understanding and rigidity would have to be enforced. Enforcement would not work, so ultimate enforcement would then be needed and from that, the importance of the thoughts to be believed would be made more grandiose; by design and necessity.

This would be cyclical and lead to the harshest of punishments for disregarding the codified rules. All this would lead to a deepening of all elements involved in the original thought (the original sin); that being, that rational thought would be applied to irrational observations and imagined synthesis of misperceived observances.

This would lead to... religion. Because of what religion therefore is based upon, it would have to lead sooner or later to incorrectly applied actions, and since they are at least once removed, reactions. This would then have to lead to the ultimate punishments being meted out for the misperceived slights against the greatest and highest principle in the creation of this form of thought, that being, God or GodHead. Again we would run into the different groups, the different Gods, the different expectations, and two groups, adamantly opposed where the ultimate punishment would have to be brought to use. There is also in that, the fear of the unknown, the unknown group, the cohesiveness to the group against all others, the world, the fears from without.

Due to environment, totally autonomous religions would evolve and when two of these contact one another, it would be obvious that only bad could come of it, unless the religion were either based entirely or mostly in reality or rationality, or they were designed in such a way that they were extremely tolerant. But this form of development does not lend itself well to tolerance by initial and ungoverned design. Because these ways of thinking, are based in survival and that has to do with life or death, so these thoughts too, would have to lead to life or death.

So basically, any religion becomes a questionable pursuit as one has to, too far and too frequently, ignore the tenets of one's own religion, merely to make it functional or, to "please" one's GodHead, in order to follow the beliefs; yet also in order to be able to survive from day to day, and not be killed by outsiders finding you extremely annoying, or come to grow inured to your religious beliefs, thereby finding it necessary to pick and choose whatever you liked from the core belief, simply so you can live with it and yourself, with the core belief existing in a book, scroll or some other unalterable form or medium (which could be word of mouth down through the ages).

In the creation of some solid state reference (Bible, Quaran, etc.) you have then opened up another avenue for discontent and argument on context, meaning and requirements, that would lead to factions going off on tangents (Opus Dei, Muslim terrorists, etc.). In an attempt to make it rock solid and unarguable, you have put it down in a form that allows for interpretation according to linguistic variations, living language differences and twisting words to your own devices and ends.

All of which is why I liked Buddhism when I first leaned of it. This isn't an article on pushing Buddhism. I'm just saying it worked for me.

It too has many of the ritualistic elements. But I find to pick what makes the most sense from it and live life to live life with the Buddha Dharma as guide, works very well. Buddha having said, to paraphrase, "think". You are supposed to use your mind, know what is wrong, or right. The Tibetan Buddhists monks have, as part of their development, debate as an integral part of becoming Enlightened. Critical thought, is a major component. Sad that this has been warped in places by organized religious paradigms. But if you can stand aside and "see", you can see where these paths lead the wrong direction and avoid them.

And so, my long time contention that organized religion is intrinsically, bad. I would alter that now to say that for the masses, for the uneducated and ignorant, it can be helpful. Up to a point. But one needs to know when to shed off the childish and move on to an adult understanding of the Universe.

So, is religion child abuse? No, not intentionally. I don't think so. But it lends itself to the possibility. You've heard how power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Religion, is power. The ultimate power over Humans. Always has been. Those in charge have done great and horrible things. Imams have asked for Jihads, for murder. Catholic Priests have abused children as we know now; stories of babies buried beneath nunneries from Nuns impregnated by Priests in the middle ages are no longer hidden horrors. Yes, religion has done good. But does it outweigh the bad? Honestly? That will never be known.

Ritual, as in music, acting, sports, or anything, is there to get you up off the ground floor. But at some point, hopefully, you are above that. Even if you want to argue you still need ritual (push up, weight training, etc.) to maintain what you've achieved, you need to ramp that up to a higher understanding and level, to a more professional level possibly. But you don't keep doing the basics you did in grade school, if you want to make it to the Olympics. You'd have no chance of even getting picked for the team.

Think about it.

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