Telic Thoughts On Richard Dawkins and His Wonderful Plan For Your Children
Don't miss the posts at Telic Thoughts on Richard Dawkins' views of religious teaching of children by parents as "child abuse," and his views on what the government role should be in preventing that. Mike Gene provided this quote from Dawkins' book, The God Delusion:
'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.' The adage is true as long as you don't really believe the words. But if your whole upbringing, and everything you have ever been told by parents, teachers and priests, has led you to believe, really believe, utterly and completely, that sinners burn in hell (or some other obnoxious article of doctrine such as that a woman is the property of her husband), it is entirely plausible that words could have a more long-lasting and damaging effect than deeds. I am persuaded that the phrase 'child abuse' is no exaggeration when used to describe what teachers and priests are doing to children whom they encourage to believe in something like the punishment of unshriven mortal sins in an eternal hell. (page 318)
As a result of the attention drawn to his statements and actions by the Telic Thoughts blog, Dawkins apparently has expressed regret (repented? recanted?) over signing a petition that endorses preventing parents from teaching their children about religion. However, as far as I can see, he has not taken back his statements in his book (and elsewhere) that "the phrase 'child abuse' is no exaggeration when used to describe" religious instruction in certain of the historic Christian doctrines.
So is Dawkins against government protection of children from child abuse? It seems that he needs to clarify which forms of "child abuse" merit government intervention and which do not. Or perhaps he could come up with a different, and less inflamatory, description. It would also be enlightening to know which other religious doctrines rise to the level of child abuse.