Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christianity and Child Abuse

Living by myths and irrational beliefs usually gets us in trouble. We need an accurate road-map (or GPS) to get us where we want to go. If it’s inaccurate, we’ll end up in Timbuktu, costing us valuable resources.

The same principle applies to our beliefs. If they don’t accord with reality, they will lead us to make costly decisions. Decision-making requires accurate data. When we see clearly, we can drive our car through traffic without a fender-bender.

We should therefore expect that those who are most deluded will experience the most problems – physically, mentally, emotionally and relationally. Generally speaking, people who think that they literally are Julius Caesar don’t get far on the job or with their friends.

If Christians are following a set of myths, we should also expect that our lives will also show more wear-and-tear for it. However, this is not what we find. Instead, a multitude of surveys have shown that practicing Christians experience many and varied benefits. This also includes children of “religious parents”:

  • Andrew Whitehouse, of the University of Western Australia, recently summarized a 2008 study that looked into “whether growing up in a religious household conveys advantages or disadvantages in the behavioral and emotional development of children.” Whitehouse wrote that it “turned out to be a bit of a landslide in favor of more religious parents. Children of religious parents were rated by both parents and teachers as having a greater self-control, better interpersonal skills, and less likely to have depression or impulsivity problems. (Salvo, Issue 22, 18)
Instead of discounting the ways of Christianity, investigators should be examining them more closely to determine what it is that accounts for these favorable outcomes.

These findings are contrary to the expectations of atheists, who call the Christian upbringing “child abuse” and even worse. Weep your eyes out Dawkins, Harris and Dennett!

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