Today I am going to write about the one thing that bothers me about Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion.
I loved the book but if he needs to truly argue that religion is child
abuse, then he cannot so blithely dismiss the impact of sexual abuse on
children raised in Christian environments.
The absolute power of
the Christian god is embedded in Christian children from their birth.
Whatever that particular god structure is, it is consistently reinforced
by their parents, their church communities and sometimes their school
Dawkins wouldn't disagree with this, but when he uses an
example of a one time experience of sexual assault by a priest
(described as "yukky" by the woman recounting it) to point out that
psychological damage is far more damaging, he is does a massive
disservice not only to those abused in a Christian context but, of all
things, to his own argument that religion is child abuse. Dawkins just
doesn't really get it when it comes to the impact of sexual abuse of
children in a religious context. Perhaps he needs to see Deliver Us From Evil (http://www.deliverusfromevilthemovie.com/index_flash.php). Or perhaps he needs to read Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal by David France. He
migh then get some idea, albeit secondhand of just what kind of damage
the combination of religion and sexual abuse can cause.
two possible reasons for his dismissal. The first is that that it never
really happened to him and he is therefore making a false
generalization from his own experience and people who have had "minimal"
experience of sexual abuse (these do exist - and it is a far cry from
what I and millions of other children were subjected to). He quite
clearly does not know anyone who has been devastated by the sexual abuse
which includes all of the other forms of abuse that can knowingly be
inflicted on children. The second possibility is that perhaps it did
happen to him and he has never had to look at it. In other words, he has
successfully managed to live a life without running into a situation
that will cause him to have flashback or emotional crisis.