Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Haggard Comes Clean…Sort Of

It seems that Haggard, without getting specific, is finally admitting to what was obvious to everyone else days ago:

In a letter that was read to the congregation of the New Life Church by another clergyman, Haggard apologized for his acts and requested forgiveness.

“I am so sorry for the circumstances that have caused shame and embarrassment for all of you,” he said, adding that he had confused the situation by giving inconsistent remarks to reporters denying the scandal.

“The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There’s a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life,” he said.

I think that pretty much ends the notion that all he had was a massage and it was all innocent. Now if only he would recognize that the truly dark and repulsive part of his life was the part devoted to spreading anti-gay hatred and bigotry.

Comments

  1. #1 Russell
    November 5, 2006

    It’s hard to fathom the psychology of someone who hates himself so much.

  2. #2 llewelly
    November 5, 2006

    If you are gay, most forms of christianity will teach you to hate yourself.

  3. #3 kehrsam
    November 5, 2006

    I truly feel for Mr. Haggard and his family. Notwithstanding that he has caused countless harm through some of his public positions, he clearly is a tortured soul. May he someday find the mercy that would deny to others.

    My ex-wife was abused as a child, and as a result, showed a lot of the same symptoms as Haggard. It is not a life I would wish on anyone.

  4. #4 Andrew McClure
    November 5, 2006

    Slacktivist wrote:

    Haggard has waged this political battle against homosexuality while living a lie. That requires two, related responses… the second response — which I can’t ignore — has to do with Ted Haggard the person who is, among other things, my “brother in Christ.” There’s a script for how this will play out in the evangelical community — a script written out on that very same [National Association of Evangelicals] page cited above:

    “…homosexuality [is] a sin that, if persisted in, brings grave consequences in this life and excludes one from the Kingdom of God.

    Individual Christians, ministers, and congregations should compassionately proclaim the Good News of forgiveness and encourage those involved in homo¬≠sexual practices to cease those practices, accept forgiveness, and pray for deliverance as nothing is impossible with God. Further, we should accept them into fellowship upon confession of faith and repentance, as we would any other forgiven sinner.”

    All that language — forgiveness, deliverance, confession, repentance — really means here only that Haggard needs to go back to living a lie. If he agrees to live that lie, and with clenched teeth to continue proclaiming that others must join in living that lie, then Haggard will be “accepted” back “into fellowship.”

  5. #5 Matthew
    November 5, 2006

    I don’t feel sorry for him, I feel sorry for his wife. She’s been married to him for how many years, thinking they had mutual love for each other, only to find out now that she was his mustache. And all because he’s too much of a coward to admit to who he really is. I stop feeling sorry for people like him when it causes pain on others, as it clearly has here.

  6. #6 Rob Knop
    November 5, 2006

    I don’t feel sorry for him, I feel sorry for his wife. She’s been married to him for how many years, thinking they had mutual love for each other, only to find out now that she was his mustache. And all because he’s too much of a coward to admit to who he really is. I stop feeling sorry for people like him when it causes pain on others, as it clearly has here.

    Having been personally close to another case where the wife was deceived and the husband was doing things that he knew were wrong and that he despised, but that he kept hidden….if only it were all so simple. It’s nice to find a villan and hate him. It’s nice to call cowardice and assume that all of us good people would never fall trap to such poor judgement.

    But it’s not so simple. The people doing the decieving, while perhaps dispicable, and certainly not deserving of being excused for the pain that they have caused, are often in pain themselves. They are suffering themselves, and have serious problems that will be difficult to deal with.

    A few years ago I might have said the same thing, but now that I’ve been close to somebody whom I care about and who was a deceiver, I no longer think everything is so straightforward and simple. Yeah, there’s a villan and there’s a wrongdoer, but the villans are rarely the premeditated evil-for-evil’s sake Iago types that you see in movies.

    In this case, we probably have a guy who is just naturally gay. And, yet, he suffers tremendous cognitive dissonance because he grew up and thrived in a community that held that being gay is a sickness. Rather than escape from the community, he hid it for as long as possible, perhaps even from himself, perhaps hoping that he would “get better.” Eventually, he starts doing secret things. Eventually, he gets in a position of power and authority, and probably gets the idea that so many in power seem to have (“I can do no wrong”).

    I don’t like this guy. I don’t like the horrible things he does to homosexuals in this country. But — he’s gotta be suffering, and he’s gotta be suffering severe psychological issues. It’s too bad that given his philosophy he has 0% chance of receiving *real* help for his psychological troubles. (Real help would recognize that “gay” isn’t the problem.)

    -Rob

  7. #7 writerdd
    November 5, 2006

    As time goes on, I agree more and more with Dawkins’s idea that religion is child abuse. Just look at the kind of horrible self loathing Haggard lives under. All because he’s been taught that homosexuals are evil and that homosexuality is abnormal. So he probably still does not even know consciously that he IS gay. Very sad indeed. I don’t think he will get the proper kind of help that he needs.

  8. #8 dogscratcher
    November 5, 2006

    “There’s a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life”

    Does that mean he embraced it as a youngster?

  9. #9 Matthew
    November 5, 2006

    Rob, I wasn’t talking about the things he does to other homosexuals, I was talking about the thing he did to his own wife, the woman he lied to for who knows how many years (they have 3 children), whom he used to disguise who he really was. That alone is enough to remove any shred of pity I have for him. Not even taking into account the bile he spreads through his “ministry”. He might be in pain himself, but that pain is at least partially caused by his own need for validation from others, and it certainly wasn’t caused by his victim (his wife).

  10. #10 PennyBright
    November 5, 2006

    Personally, I would be unsurprised to learn that Mrs. Haggard has been aware of her husbands orientation for some time. It would explain the notable lack of “supportive spouse” soundbites for his lies, and the lack of his specific mention of her in his public apologies.

  11. #11 PiGuy
    November 5, 2006

    PennyB:

    I was about to say the same thing. While we can’t be sure, I have a feeling that she was a part of the money machine as well and was willing to live like this rather than give up the lifestyle.

    Matthew:

    I agree that you that there’s more to a relationship like this than meets the eye. A relationship between two people doesn’t end up like this without the other, not only knowing about it, but actually having some hand in it. The “hurt” person isn’t usually blindsided though they pretend to have been.

  12. #12 Rob Knop
    November 5, 2006

    Rob, I wasn’t talking about the things he does to other homosexuals, I was talking about the thing he did to his own wife, the woman he lied to for who knows how many years (they have 3 children), whom he used to disguise who he really was. That alone is enough to remove any shred of pity I have for him.

    I know — I understood what you said. And, yes, he is unambiguously the wrongdoer and his wife is unambiguously the victem. However, again, as I said, having been close to a case (not quite this severe, but similar in character) where I cared about both people involved, and knowing in that case that the husband had deep psychological troubles that he’d been hiding for a long time, I know that there is pain and suffering on the part of the wrongdoer. And, as such, I think it’s worthy of recognizing that he is human and allowing for the reasonableness of some pity.

    A few years ago, before I had been close to such a case myself, I might also have had the same “hang ‘em high, they screwed somebody else over” attitude. But being human is very complicated.

    -Rob

  13. #13 Rob Knop
    November 5, 2006

    I agree more and more with Dawkins’s idea that religion is child abuse.

    Of course, coming to that conclusion based on this and based on other news stories would be about as reasonable as coming to the conclusion that scientists are all bent on world destruction based on reading articles about the development of nuclear bombs.

    -Rob

  14. #14 Timcol
    November 5, 2006

    FANTASY: Now that Haggard’s secret is out, he finally comes to grips with being gay. In doing so he realizes that his faith, rather helping to overcome his “problem”, has just perpetuated a deep self-hatred that has resulted in him acting out in ways that have hurt him and those around him. This leads him to a full and proper investigation of his faith in general and after discovering that Christianity is really nothing but ancient mythology and totally ineffective to change a person’s life he becomes an atheist. He also leaves his wife and sets up house with one of the cute junior pastors at New Life that he’s had his eye on for a number of years now. He writes a best-selling book (with a foreword by Richard Dawkins) and hits the talk circuit and in time becomes one of America’s most outspoken atheists. In 2010 he is honored to be asked to be the Grand Marshal of the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade.

    REALITY: Haggard enters some kind of “reparative” therapy center and disappears for a few years. He re-emerges to announce that he finally, truly has the “victory” and is now “cured” of this dark and awful problem. He and wife re-commit their love for one another and renew their window vows. He resumes his ministry by becoming a pastor of a new church in central California. Within 10 years the church grows rapidly to 10,000 people… etc, etc

  15. #15 MikeQ
    November 5, 2006

    This is just his “tearful apology.” It’s the next step in the evangelical character remodeling when someone’s done something wrong. There’s nothing new about it, there’s nothing original there. It’s the same old song and dance in the latest way.

    As usual, though, the fundies are confused. What “Pastor Ted” did that was wrong was being a hypocrite and standing against gay equality, not the fact that he was gay himself. But these subtle shades are lost on evangelicals.

  16. #16 Sastra
    November 5, 2006

    My understanding is that Haggard teaches a rather bizarre literal belief in demons who lay in wait for the unlucky or unsuspecting and jump on people in order to “take them over.” If so, in addition to the usual ‘repentent sinner’ role, he has a ready-made excuse which his congregation might actually accept. It was the demon.

    Of course, the majority of Christians would see this as a major stretch and real shabby excuse. But if Haggard’s main concern is to repair his reputation among his own particular flock…

  17. #17 susannah
    November 5, 2006

    PennyBright;

    “Personally, I would be unsurprised to learn that Mrs. Haggard has been aware of her husbands orientation for some time. It would explain the notable lack of “supportive spouse” soundbites for his lies, and the lack of his specific mention of her in his public apologies.”

    Looking at her face, I can see that she knows and has known, at least, that something “was wrong”.

    Having been, for some years, in a situation comparable to hers, and reading her statement to the women of the congregation, I get the impression that she (as I was) is trying to adhere to the teaching on “good, Christian wives”, just as much as he tried to hide (from himself? At least for some time.) that he is gay. I may be mistaken, but that is how it looks to me.

    The teaching on the proper submission of a wife to her husband, no matter what he may do, is, in my opinion, as abusive and dangerous as the teaching on homosexuality.

  18. #18 jpe
    November 5, 2006

    I don’t feel sorry for him, I feel sorry for his wife.

    I feel bad for the kids, but I certainly don’t feel bad for her. She emerged from the same homophobic environment, and doubtlessly is trying to get him enrolled in Exodus International at the moment.

  19. #19 Matthew
    November 5, 2006

    Yes, she is a homophobe, that doesn’t mean that anything that bad happens to her is just. The person who wronged her was not one of the people that she had wronged herself, and therefore she is a victim in this instance.

  20. #20 Will
    November 6, 2006

    So, how long will it be until Ted is “cured” of his homosexuality and he starts using his experience to bash other homosexuals all over again? Even his apology was a subtle homo-bash.

  21. #21 ck
    November 6, 2006

    He’s still claiming it was just a massage. The church found that to be enough evidence to dismiss him.

  22. #22 GH
    November 6, 2006

    A couple comments:

    A few years ago, before I had been close to such a case myself, I might also have had the same “hang ‘em high, they screwed somebody else over” attitude. But being human is very complicated.

    I agree with Rob here. People are complicated and I do feel pity for Haggard at the same time finding it somewhat humurous when such people get theirs after causing pain to who knows how many. I personally wish him no further suffering.

    But I disagree with Rob here:

    I agree more and more with Dawkins’s idea that religion is child abuse.

    Of course, coming to that conclusion based on this and based on other news stories would be about as reasonable as coming to the conclusion that scientists are all bent on world destruction based on reading articles about the development of nuclear bombs.

    -Rob

    I’m sorry Rob but Dawkins has more of a point than you do here. Religion teaches children about demons, hell, to fear among other things perfectly normal human functions and ideas. Putting this into the minds of the most impressionable is not something to laud.

    My understanding is that Haggard teaches a rather bizarre literal belief in demons who lay in wait for the unlucky or unsuspecting and jump on people in order to “take them over.”

    This is neither bizarre nor isolated. It is taught in the majority of Christian churches.

  23. #23 Raging Bee
    November 6, 2006

    There’s a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life,” he said.

    If he had acknowledged and understood that part of himself, rather than trying to deny and fight it, he might have a more balanced and honest life today.

    I’m sorry Rob but Dawkins has more of a point than you do here. Religion teaches children about demons, hell, to fear among other things perfectly normal human functions and ideas.

    “Religion” also teaches children about tolerance, mutual respect, proper conduct toward others, forgiveness, and peacemaking. Funny how people like Dawkins and his defenders never mention this. Funny, also, how Dawkins and his defenders can’t seem to tell one “religion” from another. Even the fundie convert knows his religion is different from all the others, and if Dawkins can’t match even that sliver of insight, then what good is he?

  24. #24 GH
    November 6, 2006

    Religion” also teaches children about tolerance, mutual respect, proper conduct toward others, forgiveness, and peacemaking.

    Oh good grief raging bee. I find this argument you make weak simply because if you need your religion to teach children to be forgiving and have proper conduct I would question your skills as a parent. I would also question which religions do what you say they do as most create a us(correct) vs. them(wrong) mentality.

    And which ones promote peace making? Buddhism? Hinduism? I may agree there.

    Funny how people like Dawkins and his defenders never mention this. Funny, also, how Dawkins and his defenders can’t seem to tell one “religion” from another.

    Yeah he never addresses other religions. This is a tired weak argument. He focuses on one for the most part but his arguments have validity across the board.

    Even the fundie convert knows his religion is different from all the others, and if Dawkins can’t match even that sliver of insight, then what good is he?

    One need not have a fundie version of religion to have the more hurtful ideas implanted into the heads of the young. What religion isn’t fundie in some form or another?

  25. #25 Raging Bee
    November 6, 2006

    I find this argument you make weak simply because if you need your religion to teach children to be forgiving and have proper conduct I would question your skills as a parent.

    Here, again, we see the hypocritical double-standard of militant atheists: on the one hand blaming “religion” for all manner of evils, without specifying a cause-and-effect relationship (or even specifying which “religion” they’re talking about); and on the other hand, insisting that “religion” is not necessary to preach or enforce good conduct. If “religion” is not necessary toward good conduct, then how can we be sure it’s necessary toward evil conduct? If you’re so sure we can have good conduct without religion, then how can you be sure we can’t have evil without religion?

    Yeah he never addresses other religions. This is a tired weak argument. He focuses on one for the most part but his arguments have validity across the board.

    So religions are all different but it’s still okay for Dawkins to treat them all the same? Now THAT’S what I call a “tired weak argument.”

    And if Dawkins “focuses on one for the most part,” why doesn’t he specify which one he’s focusing on? Don’t you think this sort of sloppy over-generalization is a bit…um…UNSCIENTIFIC?

    One need not have a fundie version of religion to have the more hurtful ideas implanted into the heads of the young.

    Care to be a little more specific? Now you sound exactly like the religious bigots you pretend to oppose: warning against something you don’t understand, and substituting vague warnings about “protecting the children” for actual insightful arguments against what you oppose.

  26. #26 GH
    November 6, 2006

    Here, again, we see the hypocritical double-standard of militant atheists: on the one hand blaming “religion” for all manner of evils, without specifying a cause-and-effect relationship

    HAHA, I’m not even remotely an atheist. Nice try to pigeonhole and stereotype. I never said religion was the cause of all evil. Please show me where I said that in my comments. Your creating and fighting your own argument. I said religious imagery of terrible ideas is not a good thing. I think Dawkins is correct here.

    If “religion” is not necessary toward good conduct, then how can we be sure it’s necessary toward evil conduct? If you’re so sure we can have good conduct without religion, then how can you be sure we can’t have evil without religion?

    Of course religion isn’t necessary for good conduct and I’m sure you wouldn’t argue that it is. Likewise I think people will do bad things with or without religion. But to use a famous quote: ‘To make a good man do a bad thing now that takes religion’.

    And if Dawkins “focuses on one for the most part,” why doesn’t he specify which one he’s focusing on? Don’t you think this sort of sloppy over-generalization is a bit…um…UNSCIENTIFIC?

    He does. Again and again. But what he says as a general argument for his stance that faith is irrational can be applied to all religions. If he focuses on Christianity and Islam but ignores paganism is he guilty?

    Now you sound exactly like the religious bigots you pretend to oppose: warning against something you don’t understand, and substituting vague warnings about “protecting the children” for actual insightful arguments against what you oppose.

    I sound like a bigot? By stating all religions have there steadfast adherents? Ok but I do appreciate the understanding that I oppose bigots.

    And of course the ‘I don’t understand’ argument. Which smells of the one true scotsman fallacy. How much of an ‘insightful’ argument does one need to not tell your kids about demons and horrific punishments that await if they don’t do this that and this. It is odd to me that someone would need more than that information to conclude this is not a positive idea.

  27. #27 Will
    November 6, 2006

    Can you specify which militant atheists you are speaking about?

  28. #28 GH
    November 6, 2006

    oops, double post.

    :-)

  29. #29 Will
    November 6, 2006

    I was addressing Raging Bee.

  30. #30 Raging Bee
    November 6, 2006

    But to use a famous quote: ‘To make a good man do a bad thing now that takes religion’.

    Did it ever occur to you — or whoever said that “famous quote” — that making a bad man do good things might also take religion? I’ve heard several “bad people” (i.e., drug-addicts) say that their belief in a “higher power” helped them do good things (i.e., get sober and start acting responsibly).

    (And what makes this “famous quote” a valid argument, anyway? Arguing from authority is a logical fallacy, especially when the authority is irrelevent — or, as in this case, not even specified.)

    But what he says as a general argument for his stance that faith is irrational can be applied to all religions. If he focuses on Christianity and Islam but ignores paganism is he guilty?

    Yes, if he fails to even address the differences between various religions. Some religious beliefs are more “irrational” — and more destructuve — than others. Not all forms of “irationality” are alike. Labelling all of them “religion” or “irrational” does not justify treating them all as identical, any more than making a big deal out of black people’s skin color justifies treating them all the same.

  31. #31 GH
    November 6, 2006

    With all do respect Raging Bee…what the hell are you arguing about here?

    Did it ever occur to you — or whoever said that “famous quote” — that making a bad man do good things might also take religion? I’ve heard several “bad people” (i.e., drug-addicts) say that their belief in a “higher power” helped them do good things (i.e., get sober and start acting responsibly).

    I have stated before I am sure good people do good things with their religion. I have never said it was all bad nor for that matter has RDawkins. I DO think religion does make some good people(and I think Mr. Haggard may be a ‘good’ guy) do some bad things. In his case hide, lie, and hurt his family over an issue that shouldn’t be.

    Yes, if he fails to even address the differences between various religions. Some religious beliefs are more “irrational” — and more destructuve — than others. Not all forms of “irationality” are alike. Labelling all of them “religion” or “irrational” does not justify treating them all as identical, any more than making a big deal out of black people’s skin color justifies treating them all the same

    I think there are a few religious ideas that are rational. But it seems to me your argument is basically my black isn’t as dark as your black. An irrational idea is an irrational idea no matter how far from rational one thinks it is.

    I think treating all irrational ideas as what they are is quite consistent. I think attempting to determine which irrational ideas are more/less so is an exercise in futility.

  32. #32 Raging Bee
    November 6, 2006

    I DO think religion does make some good people(and I think Mr. Haggard may be a ‘good’ guy) do some bad things. In his case hide, lie, and hurt his family over an issue that shouldn’t be.

    Are you sure his religion made him do those things? Are you sure it couldn’t have been a gut-level hatred and/or fear of sexual issues that permeated his society independent of any religion? After all, not all Christians who find they’re gay behave this way; and not all people who have these gut-level fears and hatreds follow the same religion.

    I think treating all irrational ideas as what they are is quite consistent.

    Yes — and “what they are” is noticeably different from one another.

    I think attempting to determine which irrational ideas are more/less so is an exercise in futility.

    So it’s futile to distinguish between, say, a taste for kung-fu movies and mindless hatred of gays? Are these two “irrational ideas” indistinguishable in your mind?

  33. #33 GH
    November 6, 2006

    Are you sure his religion made him do those things? Are you sure it couldn’t have been a gut-level hatred and/or fear of sexual issues that permeated his society independent of any religion?

    I am very sure the feelings his religion promoted had a large influence over his current situation. Do you deny this?

    I think he would have found a place in our culture as many/most gays do if it where not for his religion.

    After all, not all Christians who find they’re gay behave this way; and not all people who have these gut-level fears and hatreds follow the same religion

    No they don’t. So? That doesn’t change the fact that religion mattered in this case.

    So it’s futile to distinguish between, say, a taste for kung-fu movies and mindless hatred of gays? Are these two “irrational ideas” indistinguishable in your mind?

    Good grief, ok you win. We are discussing religious ideas. You know like whether Xenu and an invisible virgin play cards in an invisible realm you get to go to when you die minus a vehicle for transportation.

  34. #34 Raging Bee
    November 6, 2006

    Hey, GH, don’t get all sniffy because you chose the wrong words, made a wrong argument, and got called out for it. If you were speaking of RELIGOIUS ideas, you should have used the word “religious,” and not substituted “irrational” instead. (Not that it would have made your arguments any more plausible, since you’re still left with the fact that not all religious ideas are the same — even within one particular religion!)

  35. #35 GH
    November 6, 2006

    Raging Bee,

    I did not make a wrong argument and you certainly didn’t call me out on it with your statements. Silly me for thinking we where discussing religious ideas on a post about a preacher. My initial response was to simply state Dawkins(IMHO) is correct and sticking thoughts of hell/demons is simply wrong. But since you asked:

    a taste for kung-fu movies and mindless hatred of gays? Are these two “irrational ideas” indistinguishable in your mind?

    Both are irrational. One causes no harm the other harms people directly. In the case of the harmless one can safely ignored while it in the case of the other one should not.

    Neither has anymore claim to rationality than the other.

    My question to you is what are you using to determine the difference?

    Not that it would have made your arguments any more plausible, since you’re still left with the fact that not all religious ideas are the same — even within one particular religion!)

    Give me one example where I said this? You have spent more than a few words essentially arguing with yourself. Of course not all religions are the same. My initial statement was very narrow and for whatever reason you chose to conflate it with whatever issues you choose to have on this topic.

    I have repeatedly stated I think religion has some good to it and some bad. I think RD’s arguments apply to many, many religions although I know he doesn’t address all that exist in the world. But who can go head to head with 1000’s.

  36. #36 Raging Bee
    November 6, 2006

    What do you mean I’m “arguing with myself?” Was I only imagining that you said “I think attempting to determine which irrational ideas are more/less so is an exercise in futility.”?

  37. #37 GH
    November 6, 2006

    Ok Raging Bee.

    I made a simple comment affirming a prior posters point of view and I did say what you said above well later in the discussion. It was an answer to a post of yours I think. I think attempting to determine which irrational ideas are more/less so is futile.

    Liking Kung Fu or hating gays may both be irrational but expending any effort to determine how they become more or less so is a waste of time.

    The only thing that matters to me is if it brings harm to others. One does, the other doesn’t. So what is your criteria as I asked you previously?

  38. #38 Dave H.
    November 6, 2006

    GH, give it up.

    Raging Bee is a militant anti-atheist, and trolls the boards looking for any anti-religious presence that he/she disagrees with. He/She is often illogical and absolutely vitriolic. He/she has attached personal worth to his/her religious beliefs, including a former (or perhaps recurring) dependence on alcohol from which his/her beliefs were help in recovery (Raging Bee has admitted as such in argument).

    Raging Bee is not here for rational debate, or to learn, or to help out in any way–he/she is only here to randomly and violently react on these comment pages against anything that questions his/her beliefs, because to do so shakes the only level ground a person like Raging Bee has–probably because of a lack of self-confidence (and subsequent dependence on religion to fix things).

    What’s ironic is that while he/she appears to be against fundamental Christianity, anti-gay bigotry, and similar conservative attitudes, Raging Bee uses the same rhetoric tricks as those he/she is supposed to disagree with–like labeling the other side militant, or employing personal experience as argument (it hasn’t happened on this discussion yet…), and being fairly snide and aggressive in demeanor.

    So, my advice to everyone here is to just ignore Raging Bee. You won’t get anywhere. Like with Ann Coulter.

  39. #39 Raging Bee
    November 6, 2006

    Gee, Dave, your screed might be a bit more credible were it not for the fact that you, not I, were the one explicitly advising others not to engage in debate.

    And what’s wrong with employing personal experience in arguments about religion? My experiences relate directly to what others here have said about what religious people believe. Besides, as many here have repeatedly said, ALL religious experiences are personal. How else can one determine what people believe — repetable experiments?

  40. #40 Martin
    November 6, 2006

    ow if only he would recognize that the truly dark and repulsive part of his life was the part devoted to spreading anti-gay hatred and bigotry.

    That was poetic and on the mark.

  41. #41 kehrsam
    November 6, 2006

    Guys, let’s not make the discussion about the Raging One. I happen to appreciate his commentary, although we sometimes disagree. But we’re better off discussing Rev. Haggard.

    The consensus on one side of the debate seems to be that Haggard would have been better off admitting his sexuality earlier in life and that his beliefs as a Christian were all that prevented him from confronting that sexuality. I’m not sure this analysis is correct (I’m not sure that it is not, either).

    First, these arguments discount the possibility that Haggard’s religious beliefs have been of great personal help to him. We have no evidence of bisexual behavior or drug use dating back more than three years; before that, he married and had five children in an apparently stable marriage. In addition, it is clear in viewing any of the YouTube footage that a great deal of the success of Haggard’s ministry was built upon his level of public energy — energy very likely sublimated from his sex drive.

    A Christian does not have to be a homophobe to follow Biblical instructions re homosexuality. I don’t happen to agree with the fundamentalist interpretation of the text, but I can see why some accept the “literal” interpretation. Had politics not intervened, I think most denominations less hidebound than the Southern Baptist Convention would have adopted much more liberal positions with regard to homosexuality. Fortunately, I believe the current politicization of religion has passed its zenith. Things will get better, although it is going to take a long time, and incalculable harm has been caused to individuals in the interim.

    Religion provides many benefits (both public and private) to believing individuals, a fact which makes the Dawkins position troubling. I’m not sure how one quantifies these benefits, or the supposed costs. That being the case, I would suggest that it might be rational to believe in a religion, even if the belief system itself is irrational to outsiders. (That, of course, was the position of many Stoics with regard to pagan religion; it was probably bunk, but the public good of general conformity outweighed and personal inconvenience).

  42. #42 kehrsam
    November 6, 2006

    I meant, “any personal inconvenience,” of course.

  43. #43 GH
    November 6, 2006

    Kersham-

    I don’t disagree with much of what you have said as anything is possible but I don’t think there is any real way to make the bible not be anti-gay. I think secular attitudes and understanding will make people ‘reinterpret’ these areas and 100 years from now all will be ok.

    Religion provides many benefits (both public and private) to believing individuals, a fact which makes the Dawkins position

    And it also has many negatives. Dawkins position is simply that children need not be taught all the imagery of a religion until they are older. I find this a very common sense idea. People won’t let their kids watch horror movies at 5 but instill far worse into them on Sundays and potentially create a life of self loathing, fear, and guilt over very natural life events. It astounds me that people anywhere can this think a good thing.

    I think this is much more likely what happened to Haggard. I doubt he discovered his homosexual tendencies 3 years ago. I suspect this has been an inner battle for some time and in that regard he has my sympathies as it must have been terrible for him. I have no sympathy for the pain he has caused others.

    That being the case, I would suggest that it might be rational to believe in a religion, even if the belief system itself is irrational to outsiders

    I disagree here. It is or isn’t. If it is to believers it is to non believers as well. I would suggest that it is simply ok to buy into an irrational idea now and again for a host of different reasons than to pretend what one believes is rational when it isn’t. Believe what you wish and discard that which you find objectionable. Or poke around until you find a group who believes as you do and join up:-)

    Which is about what you said about the Stoics.

  44. #44 kehrsam
    November 6, 2006

    I doubt he discovered his homosexual tendencies 3 years ago.

    I agree. My argument is that he may have derived substantial benefit by sublimating the desire. I can’t prove that, of course.

    And it also has many negatives. Dawkins position is simply that children need not be taught all the imagery of a religion until they are older.

    I’m not certain I disagree. I came to Christianity as an adult, having been raised in an atheist home. I teach 3-4th grade Sunday School (rather amazingly, seeing the degree to which I disagree with Southern Baptist orthodoxy) and don’t see hatred or fear in children of that age. Personally, I don’t believe that it is a necessary component of belief, or else I would have sought a more liberal denomination.

    Obviously, we disagree as to whether belief in a religious community has a value above and beyond the rational element of belief. I, being in such a community, will tend to emphasize the benefits; someone outside may well emphasize the costs.

    Thanks for the discussion. I think it valuable to point out that there is more going on in Ted Haggard’s life than reciting Bible verses by rote and later serving as the moral to a liberal fable. He is a real person, suffering from a real conflict which he ultimately prove unequal to. While I do not share his Biblical understanding, I understand all too well the human predicament of living in one reality while dreaming of another. That challenge is a large reason for the existence of religion in the first place. Peace.

  45. #45 kehrsam
    November 6, 2006

    By the way, my argument concerning Dawkins would be that he makes an excellent argument — from the viewpoint of the society as a whole. However, the cost/benefit analysis has to include the personal value of the religion to the believer. As religions appear to be recurrently selected by human societies, regardless of “rationality” concerns, this seems to suggest that they have an overall positive effect. It is in this sense that I suggest that religious belief itself is rational. Obviously, as a Christian, I reject the proposition that belief in, say, pagan gods and goddesses, is rational. But it may well be rational to believe in something, however implausible. It was in this sense that I offerred the Stoics as an example.

  46. #46 GH
    November 6, 2006

    Hi kersham-

    He is a real person, suffering from a real conflict which he ultimately prove unequal to.

    I agree with you on this.

    my argument concerning Dawkins would be that he makes an excellent argument — from the viewpoint of the society as a whole.

    I understand your point I just don’t think I agree with it. I think a sound argument is a sound argument and while I generally see shades of grey on this I don’t.

    However, the cost/benefit analysis has to include the personal value of the religion to the believer.

    As mentioned I know people gain from their religion but generally I think religion is a cumbersome beast.

    As religions appear to be recurrently selected by human societies, regardless of “rationality” concerns, this seems to suggest that they have an overall positive effect.

    I think they have a positive emotional affect as we are a group species and they increase our sense of belonging. In this regard I find religion perfectly natural.

    It is in this sense that I suggest that religious belief itself is rational.

    I wouldn’t use the word rational so much as required for a certain number of our species to feel part of a group. Although I suspect one could substitute other groups for this equally well.

    Obviously, as a Christian, I reject the proposition that belief in, say, pagan gods and goddesses, is rational.

    I disagree here and would simply say one cannot reject one as irrational and accept yours as rational simply because you believe it. As previously mentioned better to just be honest with oneself and accept the fact that irrational ideas give one comfort and a sense of peace. Nothing inherently wrong with that in practice.

    But it may well be rational to believe in something, however implausible. It was in this sense that I offerred the Stoics as an example.

    It doesn’t get any more implausible than Christianity.

    I appreciate the discussion kersham.

  47. #47 Raging Bee
    November 7, 2006

    People won’t let their kids watch horror movies at 5 but instill far worse into them on Sundays and potentially create a life of self loathing, fear, and guilt over very natural life events. It astounds me that people anywhere can [think this] a good thing.

    Which “people,” exactly, are you talking about here? I’m getting a little tired of the persistent and unspoken assumption that all religious people — or even all Christians — raise their kids the same way and feed them the same scare-stories at the same age. This assumption is demostrably false, and any reasoning based on it will lead to false conclusions.

    (My father was Catholic, he took me to church every Sunday, even after my parents got divorced and he moved out, and yes, he did tell me about Hell, but only at the age of eight or so, and he never made a big deal out of it, nor did he need God’s help to scare me away from misbehavin’. Furthermore, I NEVER met a kid who was visibly paranoid about divine punishment, nor did the Catholic before-school program I was (briefly) sent to even mention Hell.)

    I also think that the word “irrational” is being seriously overused — as an epithet — in all these Dawkins-style arguments against “religion.” First, a belief can simply “make sense,” and be helpful to an individual believer, or to a society as a whole, without being “rational” in the proper sense of the word. Second, and most important, we really ought to stop all this quibbling about “irrational” beliefs and get back to the more, um, RATIONAL practice of judging people by their actions, and the consequences thereof, not by what we think of their thoughts.

  48. #48 GH
    November 7, 2006

    I love this Raging Bee you argue against what I’m saying then make my point for me.

    and yes, he did tell me about Hell, but only at the age of eight or so, and he never made a big deal out of it, nor did he need God’s help to scare me away from misbehavin’.

    So 8 is ok but 5 is bad. Thats pretty funny. Nor has anyone said everyone does this or that as a matter of fact I think this discussion has generally avoided absolutes. Of course not all Christians believe the same way but the majority likely expose their children to these concepts at a young age while avoiding lesser material on the TV set.

    also think that the word “irrational” is being seriously overused — as an epithet — in all these Dawkins-style arguments against “religion.” First, a belief can simply “make sense,” and be helpful to an individual believer, or to a society as a whole, without being “rational”

    No thats something different but I don’t disagree in principle as written above. But that doesn’t make Dawkins wrong.

    we really ought to stop all this quibbling about “irrational” beliefs and get back to the more, um, RATIONAL practice of judging people by their actions, and the consequences thereof, not by what we think of their thoughts.

    Your quibbling about belief. I AM talking about actions. The actions of adults filling the heads of the most impressionable with tripe and horrific ideas that may affect them for the rest of their lives.

  49. #49 GH
    November 7, 2006

    I love this Raging Bee you argue against what I’m saying then make my point for me.

    and yes, he did tell me about Hell, but only at the age of eight or so, and he never made a big deal out of it, nor did he need God’s help to scare me away from misbehavin’.

    So 8 is ok but 5 is bad. Thats pretty funny. Nor has anyone said everyone does this or that as a matter of fact I think this discussion has generally avoided absolutes. Of course not all Christians believe the same way but the majority likely expose their children to these concepts at a young age while avoiding lesser material on the TV set.

    also think that the word “irrational” is being seriously overused — as an epithet — in all these Dawkins-style arguments against “religion.” First, a belief can simply “make sense,” and be helpful to an individual believer, or to a society as a whole, without being “rational”

    No thats something different but I don’t disagree in principle as written above. But that doesn’t make Dawkins wrong.

    we really ought to stop all this quibbling about “irrational” beliefs and get back to the more, um, RATIONAL practice of judging people by their actions, and the consequences thereof, not by what we think of their thoughts.

    Your quibbling about belief. I AM talking about actions. The actions of adults filling the heads of the most impressionable with tripe and horrific ideas that may affect them for the rest of their lives.

  50. #50 Raging Bee
    November 7, 2006

    Of course not all Christians believe the same way but the majority likely expose their children to these concepts at a young age while avoiding lesser material on the TV set.

    “Likely?” You mean after all that argument about how evil religion is, you can’t actually be sure the initial assertion is true?

  51. #51 GH
    November 7, 2006

    Raging Bee I’m going to end this here simply because you essentially argue with yourself. I have never said religion was evil. I initially said Dawkins has a very valid point and I stand by that statement.

    I’m going to take Dave’s advice and just stop.

  52. #52 DuWayne
    November 7, 2006

    GH said –
    I don’t disagree with much of what you have said as anything is possible but I don’t think there is any real way to make the bible not be anti-gay. I think secular attitudes and understanding will make people ‘reinterpret’ these areas and 100 years from now all will be ok.

    Why do we have to wait 100 years? Some of us re-interpret it now and think it’s ok. Simply because the prevailing belief among Christians is contrary to that does not make our beliefs any less valid.

    As mentioned I know people gain from their religion but generally I think religion is a cumbersome beast.

    That is simply a matter of perception. A lot of people see their faith as a liberating factor, not a millstone around the neck.

  53. #53 GH
    November 7, 2006

    Good grief.

    Why do we have to wait 100 years? Some of us re-interpret it now and think it’s ok. Simply because the prevailing belief among Christians is contrary to that does not make our beliefs any less valid.

    Nobody said it was any less valid.

    As mentioned I know people gain from their religion but generally I think religion is a cumbersome beast.

    That is simply a matter of perception. A lot of people see their faith as a liberating factor, not a millstone around the neck.

    Liberating from what? But I understand that as well and agree it is perception to a degree hence the use of the word ‘I’ when composing my comment.

  54. #54 DuWayne
    November 7, 2006

    GH –
    So 8 is ok but 5 is bad. Thats pretty funny. Nor has anyone said everyone does this or that as a matter of fact I think this discussion has generally avoided absolutes. Of course not all Christians believe the same way but the majority likely expose their children to these concepts at a young age while avoiding lesser material on the TV set.

    I think the point Raging Bee was making is that every parent teaches their child differently. It is not just the age in which concepts are introduced but the manner as well. To me, I am more concerned about creationism than I am hell. I want my son to understand evolution, celestial mechanics and the big bang, before he hears about the biblical creation account. I also want him to have a firmer grasp of abstract thinking before we discuss the bible and it’s origins. I am not very keen on explaining divine retribution and the like until he has developed enough to work out a lot of it himself. For now we are working on the idea that actions have consequences – good or bad, sometimes indifferent. I even go as far as to say that negative behavior, aside from having direct, practical consequences, also have hae abstract consequences. The first is that it dissapoints his parents – this is far more effective than just putting him in time out or swatting his butt. The second is that it dissapoints God – which has less impact than my own. The third is that it is easier to make and keep friends when we behave in a reasonable fashion – becoming very effective as he works his way through pre-school. Finaly, I make it clear that when he does things, good or bad, he is changing. The more he does things that are wrong, the easier it is to mis-behave.

    I also think that it can easily become the abuse that Dawkins describes. I do not agree with Dawkins, because of the context in which he puts it, but it can be somewhat traumatic for a child to hear some of the imagery and descriptives because of what their minds do with it. The children of a friend of mine occasionaly say some very distrubing things because they have misunderstood what they have heard, or put it into a different context.

    My problem with Dawkins statement is that he generalizes it to all religious imagery. That is where he gets absurd. He says it is, I would argue that it can be.

  55. #55 GH
    November 7, 2006

    I think the point Raging Bee was making is that every parent teaches their child differently

    I am beginning to wonder if folks can read. Where have I said the above statement isn’t true? Of course they teach there kids differently. It doens’t change the fact that teaching kids about hell(which many do) and such while shunning TV violence is hypocrisy at best and harmful at worst. It’s a dualmindedness that should be obviously apparent.

    My comment was about a specific idea.

    I am not very keen on explaining divine retribution and the like until he has developed enough to work out a lot of it himself. For now we are working on the idea that actions have consequences – good or bad, sometimes indifferent.

    Thats fine. Why teach your child an invisible being may punish him when he dies when you have no evidence this is even remotely the case? Why would you do this to a child?

    Do you also teach them that if they don’t believe in Allah they will go to hell?

    I do not agree with Dawkins, because of the context in which he puts it, but it can be somewhat traumatic for a child to hear some of the imagery and descriptives because of what their minds do with it.

    So it’s the context rather than the intent itself? This type of response baffles me. There is no way to sugarcoat hell, it’s a disgusting concept dreamed up from the sickest of minds. What possible positive context can an idea like that have?

    My problem with Dawkins statement is that he generalizes it to all religious imagery. That is where he gets absurd. He says it is, I would argue that it can be.

    I am not a Dawkins apologist although on this thread I sound like one but I simply do not see what you are referring to in his writing and I question whether you have read him correctly. He does not say this about all religious imagery.

    Whats amusing to me is how adults actually defend teaching kids such horrific concepts. It is simply astounding and a little horrifying. These are children for goodness sakes why put such ideas in their heads at all?

  56. #56 Raging Bee
    November 7, 2006

    So it’s the context rather than the intent itself? This type of response baffles me. There is no way to sugarcoat hell, it’s a disgusting concept dreamed up from the sickest of minds. What possible positive context can an idea like that have?

    No one’s “sugarcoating” Hell; different people have different ideas of what it means and what a kid needs to be told about it. If this “baffles” you — and I can’t see why it would, since I understood it when I was a teenager — then maybe you should take a break and stop commenting on subjects you don’t understand.

    I am not a Dawkins apologist although on this thread I sound like one but I simply do not see what you are referring to in his writing and I question whether you have read him correctly.

    Yes, you do indeed sound like one: pretending not to see what’s obvious to everyone else, then insisting that those who disagree with Dawkins simply haven’t “read him correctly.” (Sort of like “Biblical inerrancy,” eh?) I hear similar weasel-words from Chomsky apologists: “The Blessed Saint Chomsky can do no wrong, therefore if you prove him wrong, it’s your fault for reading him incorrectly.”

    But then, you’ve just admitted you’re “baffled” by ideas that are common to other people, so maybe you’re the one who’s read Dawkins incorrectly.

  57. #57 Ted
    November 7, 2006

    Whats amusing to me is how adults actually defend teaching kids such horrific concepts. It is simply astounding and a little horrifying. These are children for goodness sakes why put such ideas in their heads at all?

    By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil” (Proverbs 16:6).

    We want to keep our kids from evil, don’t we? What kind of parents would we be otherwise?

    The first is that it dissapoints his parents – this is far more effective than just putting him in time out or swatting his butt.

    Ha! If it disappoints you what then? Do you withhold love, comfort or food?

  58. #58 DuWayne
    November 7, 2006

    Ted –
    Ha! If it disappoints you what then? Do you withhold love, comfort or food?

    No. Along with whatever other punishment he gets (withholding privaleges, time-out, spanking), I make it clear that reather than being proud of him for doing whatever he did, I am very dissapointed in him. I also make it clear that I love him and will always do so. And I do so with him in my lap, my arms around him – I look him in the eye and tell him that what he did makes me sad and dissapointed, my facial expression supports it. Believe me, my son is no more excited than when his mom or I tell him we are proud of him for soemthing he has done. In certain circumstances, simply telling him we are dissapointed in him is punishment enough.

    I generaly figure this is a better aproach than lying to him and saying I’m proud of his negative behaviour. Of course, as I mention in my comment above, this is an abstract approach, I’m sorry if that makes it incomprehesible to you. All that really matters is that my four year old son understands and responds to it.

  59. #59 GH
    November 7, 2006

    I said I wouldn’t comment on it again but I just have to I guess.

    No one’s “sugarcoating” Hell; different people have different ideas of what it means and what a kid needs to be told about it. If this “baffles” you — and I can’t see why it would, since I understood it when I was a teenager — then maybe you should take a break and stop commenting on subjects you don’t understand.

    Is it completely lost on you that you are arguing from one perspective while I am arguing against a particular idea. You simply don’t understand other perspectives and apparently how to see that my comments are intended for those that do teach their kids about this concept a particular way. Of course I know the teaching varies. You act as if no one teaches their children about hell in church and those that do shouldn’t be addressed because apparently you where taught differently. I guess your version of hell is a warm and fuzzy version that all kids should hear about while they are watching spongebob.

    I mean eternal punishment fits in marvelously with play dough and legos.

    pretending not to see what’s obvious to everyone else, then insisting that those who disagree with Dawkins simply haven’t “read him correctly.”

    Can you read? I mean seriously. Dawkins never says all religious imagery is bad. Since you read him correctly please point this out.

    But then, you’ve just admitted you’re “baffled” by ideas that are common to other people, so maybe you’re the one who’s read Dawkins incorrectly.

    No it’s baffling to me people subject their kids to ideas about invisible places of suffering and at such young ages. If these ideas are common to other people than I think I’m in good standing. In fact your acceptance of such as being ok essentially makes mine and Dawkins points for us.

    We want to keep our kids from evil, don’t we? What kind of parents would we be otherwise?

    You can’t keep your kids from ‘evil’ without telling them about a place where people suffer forever?

    Duwayne- I think how you parent and instruct your child is great in your post at 3:49.

  60. #60 DuWayne
    November 7, 2006

    GH said –
    My comment was about a specific idea.

    But you are defending Dawkins who makes no such distinction. I happen to agree that pushing the idea of hell on a small child is wrong. But Dawkins goes much further, calling any exposure to religious imagery abusive.

    Thats fine. Why teach your child an invisible being may punish him when he dies when you have no evidence this is even remotely the case? Why would you do this to a child?

    Do you also teach them that if they don’t believe in Allah they will go to hell?

    Where did I imply I teach my child any of that? I don’t.

    So it’s the context rather than the intent itself? This type of response baffles me. There is no way to sugarcoat hell, it’s a disgusting concept dreamed up from the sickest of minds. What possible positive context can an idea like that have?

    Actually, I meant Dawkins context. Such as, upon seeing children taking part in a live nativity scene, remarking it was abusive.

    Whats amusing to me is how adults actually defend teaching kids such horrific concepts. It is simply astounding and a little horrifying. These are children for goodness sakes why put such ideas in their heads at all?

    For the same reason that purely secular ideas that have unpleasant connotations are also explained. For example, when my son was two we lived in a part of the greater Lansing area, that was a virtual cop free zone. This meant we had a huge homeless population, many of whom we got to know when we were out and about. We discussed their situation both together and soemtimes with the homeless people themselves. He felt bad for them and would insist on packing huge picnics regularly, so we could share with our homeless friends and neighbors. the first time he came to work with me and actually helped (cleaning up scrap), I paid him for it. His first inclination was to give it all away to his homeless friends. I convinced him to just give a little of it away, but his empathy was apparent. That winter, when we had the first snowfall, he was excited at first, but when it came towards bedtime he freaked out and started crying. He made the connection that it was bitter cold, snowing and at least some of his homeless friends were stuck outside in it. This was all very traumatizing to him. Even though I figured it would take longer for him to connect that his homeless friends have it really rough in bad weather, I knew it would happen and assumed he would react in a manner similar to the way he did. Should I have with held that from him because it might upset him quite deeply?

    One of the people we see a lot when walking between his mother’s home and mine is a severe crack addict. When we first met her, she was not in bad shape and we talked to her about what she was doing, tucked away in a doorway hitting her crack pipe. We then talked more about it as we walked and I explained that if she kept doing it, crack would do serious damage to her mind and body. She has continued to and deteriorated quite a bit. She is nearly incoherent, has little motor control and is often vacant, not recognizing people. This is very upsetting to my son – especialy as he has noticed other, obvious crack addicts in our neighborhood. Should I just have glossed over it – hidden it away the best I could – spared him the horror of wittnessing what consequeces come from that lifestyle choice?

    Kids are exposed to a lot of horrific imagery, whether we like it or not. Personaly, I am not going there with my son, but it is not nearly so traumatizing as you seem to think it is. I don’t think that children should be so oversheltered as to miss out on understanding what their parents might believe in. Some parents do it in a very foolish manner that may well screw up their child – but I think that many more don’t. Hiding the darker aspects of human existence, seems far more abusive to me. I don’t want my son to suddenly realize that all sorts of foulness are a part of the human expierience – in many respects that is what I went through and it really screwed me up. I want him to grow up with the fundamental world-view, that there is good and bad – everywhere.

  61. #61 Ted
    November 7, 2006

    I’m sorry if that makes it incomprehesible to you. All that really matters is that my four year old son understands and responds to it.

    Yeah, I would have thought the approval approach would build you a needy and obsequious little person that grows dependent on the approval of others as part of their self-image. But hey, that’s one way to support the status quo — we desperately need more people to suck up to authority in exchange for loving glances. Hope he meets up with my kids some day.

    You know, kids are so cool because we can try all kinds of behavioral experiments on them. And as long as we leave no physical marks, it’s usually allowed. Sweet.

  62. #62 DuWayne
    November 7, 2006

    GH –
    Just read your response to Raging Bee. I get where you are going and think that we ultimately agree to a certain extent. I think the problem is that you say exactly what you mean, no more no less. Not that that is a bad thing, but I think we are reading more into your statements than what you are saying.

    Although, Dawkins does generalize a lot more than you do. That is part of the continuance of misunderstanding I would imagine.

  63. #63 DuWayne
    November 7, 2006

    Ted –

    I generaly don’t consider behaving in a reasonable manner as sucking up for my approval. Here in the real world, when my son becomes an adult, I would like him to have reasonable relationships with people. I want him to understand that there are consequences to everything he does and he has to decide whether or not the consequences, both negative and positive are worth commiting himself to those actions.

    I do not with-hold my affections or love, just my approval. When he behaves well, I make it clear I am proud, when he behaves badly, I make it clear I am dissapointed. This is not teaching him to suck up, this is teaching him that the people in his life are going to have these reactions to the things he does and he needs to determine those factors as well as the more practical, physical consequences to his actions. Or should I just shelter him from these sorts of abstract consequences and let him discover them for himself when he’s an adult? That just seems plain foolish to me, but if it works for your kids, great. If it doesn’t, forgive me, but I hope he never runs into your kids.

  64. #64 Chance
    November 7, 2006

    I just read through alot of this thread and I have no idea what the big deal is with what GH is saying. He says he thinks teaching kids about hell is a bad thing. He has been pretty clear. He has made no general statements about religion and clearly acknowledges the variety of ideas.

    Duwayne- I will add that what your using as imagery with kids(the homeless, drug use, etc) is part of the world that is real. Filling the heads of children INTENTIONALLY with unproven disgusting supernatural ideas meant to cause fear is both unnecessary and in my view also should be to absurd to even contemplate.

    Hiding the darker aspects of human existence, seems far more abusive to me. I don’t want my son to suddenly realize that all sorts of foulness are a part of the human expierience

    Yes the human experience. Telling kids hell is a place that bad people go is not only bad it’s horrible. Whats a ‘bad’ person? I don’t think the homeless and drug users are ‘bad’ people. I don’t think many humans are ‘bad’ people. I think there are alot of bad ideas though.

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