Pope Ratzi won’t read this, but Karl Giberson—he of the “it’s-great-to-teach-your-kids-religion” school—might well.
Over at one of her websites, ex-catholic girl, Miranda Hale has written a sad and eloquent account of what her Catholic upbringing did to her. She didn’t experience physical molestation, but it’s abuse nonetheless, and the effects have lasted into adulthood. Go read it—it’s seven short paragraphs that distill a lifetime of damage.
. . . Catholic childhood religious indoctrination is chillingly effective. Its most powerful weapons are guilt and the fear of a literal hell. When a child is taught that the simple act of doubting or questioning any of the Church’s teachings is a sin, and that even the tiniest of sins can result in an eternity spent in a literal hell, they quickly learn to suppress those doubts and to feel intense shame, guilt, and fear when they fail to do so. . .
Then there is the guilt. According to Catholic teaching, humans are born sinners and cannot help but continue to sin throughout their lives. The only way for a Catholic to atone for these sins is to confess them to a priest, do the required penance, and be absolved. As a child, I obsessively recorded in a little notebook anything that I had said or done that could possibly be considered sinful. Then, when the time came for confession, I would recite this list to the priest, my head hanging in shame, my cheeks burning. I’d do my penance and be absolved. For a fleeting, blissful moment, I would feel light and pure and holy. But soon I would sin again, the guilt would return, the little notebook would be filled up with a record of my indiscretions, and I would return to the confessional and repeat the process over and over again. .
. . . The Catholic Church loathes children. Loathes them. To the Church, children are Catholics first and humans second, and the lifelong trauma caused by childhood indoctrination is mere collateral damage in the Church’s battle against the outside world.
I hope Giberson, and those who defend “mainstream” religious indoctrination, are listening. There are thousands and thousands of stories like this one (many appear in the 1200+ comments on Giberson’s article), and most will remain unknown. Why is it okay to teach politics, language, diet, and morality to your children but not religion? Because teaching religion almost invariably means teaching lies. And in Miranda’s case, horrible hurtful lies.