One of the functions of a civilised society is to protect its members from fear and terror. I will take it that we all agree that brandishing a knife or a gun in a victim’s face causes such fear and terror, and that we all know that laws exist to protect all of us from such threats.
This post examines this duty to protect in the context of religion.
My thesis is that while society protects its members from overt forms of violence, it is woefully inadequate when it comes to covert forms of violence. Moreover, some sections of society are keen advocates of such covert violence, and the rest of society just shrugs its shoulders and pretends that such covert violence does not exist, or at least excuses it on the grounds that “it is religion, so it is okay”.
Readers can at this point expect me to find evidence for my claims so far.
There is a Facebook discussion on “Astrology, Global Warming and Creationism” where “Annette” writes “The children were a bit disturbed by the ‘reward/punishment’ concepts and by being told by a few of the other children that they would go to hell if they weren’t Christians” (my emphasis). We have a similar sentiment expressed by “Xx.jessielovesart.xX” at http://www.kidzworld.com/forums/express-your-faith/t/915814-dinosaurs-and-re?page=1. A Google search using the phrase ‘christianity “go to hell”‘ produced over 5,000,000 results at the time of writing. This would suggest that the concept of unbelievers going to hell is well-established in the Christian mind. Readers may also have their own anecdotes along similar lines.
Children will ultimately get the idea of unbelievers going to hell from adults. Children will also get the same message from their peers, who themselves have been taught by adults. In the school context, we can lay the blame for such learning entirely on the teachers, more often than not through Religious Instruction lessons.
An article entitled “Judgment Day” is available from the familyradio web site. In this case, the audience for the hellfire-and-brimstone message is not children, but listeners, most of whom can be expected to be adults. A little bit of mental arithmetic on that piece assures us that 97% of humanity is going to hell, and will be doing so before the end of 2011.
There can be little doubt that instilling into children the fear of going to hell if you are not a Christian is widespread. (Again, a Google search using the phrase ‘children “fear of hell”‘ produced over 800,000 results.) This is a form of threat: “Believe what I tell you, or you will scream in agony in Hell for the rest of eternity.”. This is an extremely powerful message to any child; it is as strong to a child as a gunman facing a victim.
There are individuals in every society whose mental faculties are not as strong as the majority. Such people are easily lead. In the absence of being able to form their own well-informed opinions, it is inevitable that they will believe the statements emanating from organisations such as familyradio.
We now have two vulnerable groups of people who are being actively targeted by the hellfire-and-brimstone merchants.
An individual trained in the martial arts is perfectly capable of disarmed an armed attacker, and doing so with ease and almost complete safety. This comes down in part to the individual’s bodily preparedness. In the same way, an atheist can scoff at the statements of the hellfire merchants. This comes down to the individual’s mental preparedness.
Contrast this with the inability of the two vulnerable groups to defend themselves against Religious Indoctrinators (RI). People who have been victims of RI and have turned to atheism for comfort describe their experiences in much the same way as victims of physical violence. The article “Extinguishing the Fear of Hell” provides a graphic example of this.
I think that we now have enough evidence to conclude that the covert violence inflicted on society by the RI is just as real and just as damaging as by the overt violence of gunmen.
The governments of Australia are doing nothing to address this issue. To make matters worse, they are funding RI to promote this sort of activity, as demonstrated by the Tim McKenzie case.
The cause of such government complicity is easy readily identified: Christianity. We have John Howard’s love affair with Christianity. We have Kevin Rudd’s avowed Christianity. Then there is Julia Gillard’s enthusiatic support for the School Chaplaincy Program at the behest of the Australian Christian Lobby.
Australia seems to regard itself as multicultural. There is active government support for multiculturalism. And yet we have daily Christian prayers said in the legislative bodies throughout the land.
There is an effective majority of politicians in this country who are blinded by their Christianity and the damage that this is causing to the Australian way of life.
This country needs to stop the Christian tail wagging the Australian dog.