Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login


Closed to new replies
December 22, 2012


Replies: 133

"Being raised Catholic is worse that sexual abuse"

blackpoppies Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
It's not the first time he's made the claim, but recently Richard Dawkins has come under fire for claiming that the emotional trauma of being raised Catholic is worse than, and outlasts, the emotional trauma of child abuse. He cites the testimony of an Irish Catholic woman who on one occasion was molested in a car by a priest, and at the same time a protestant friend had died and she'd been told that her friend would burn in Hell - according to this woman, the sex abuse was 'yucky' but she got over it, whereas the image of her friend burning in Hell tormented her for years.

I can sort of see where Dawkins is coming from here. In my opinion, there are certainly cases where religious upbringing almost amounts to child abuse. My problem is this: Richard Dawkins is not qualified to make this claim. He was neither abused as a child (to my knowledge), nor was he raised Catholic. He cites the evidence of one woman who encountered an incident of minor, although undoubtedly wrong and shocking, sexual abuse, but was taught an extreme version of Catholicism in a very harsh way. She cannot speak for all children of Catholic families, nor all victims of child abuse.

There are different shades of both things. Some people recover from child abuse, some don't; some people are affected horribly by a Catholic upbringing, some are not. This is something which will be different in ever case, and I certainly don't think that Dawkins is in a position to quantify it as 'one is worse than the other'.


You can no longer comment on this thread as it was closed due to no activity for a month.

Devious Comments

Calkubo Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012
Don't know who that guy is, but he's obviously an attention whore.
Spudfuzz Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Dunno who Dawkings is but I didn't like this bit here:

"Richard Dawkins is not qualified to make this claim. He was neither abused as a child (to my knowledge), nor was he raised Catholic"

You don't need to be a professional in a field or necessarily have any personal experience to have an opinion on an issue. That logic would lead to things like "Oh you're not a politician so you don't need to know about this bill we're going to pass that's probably going to be detrimental to your income". Seemingly unrelated experiences can also lend clues to individuals about what another may feel or think about something they going through.

Sure the background education or experience helps a lot, but as long you've got a mind that's capable of critical thinking and introspection, that should be more than enough regardless of what conclusion you reach. Similarly, if he had been one or the other, would you have said he isn't qualified to make the claim because he is clearly biased?
DragonsNapalm Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012
Tell the truth, I'd put a lot of religious upbrinings on par with child abuse. Not necessarily what the parents do unto the child, but the long-term negative effects of what the upbrining does.

To use myself as an example, I experienced both growing up: I was abused as a child during my later years, and raised as a devout Catholic during my earlier years. And if I could wave a wand and eliminate any of those periods of time, I wouldn't hesitate to wave away my Catholicism.
The negative outcome of my abuse came in many different forms: anti-social behavior, animosity towards my parents, and very inverted mentality that lasted me well into my teens.
My Catholicism did me worse. From the time I was very young, I was taught the Catholic definition of "sin". I was taught what it was to sin, and the everlasting consequences (after my death) of sin. Whereas the effects of my abuse lasted a few years after it ceased, my dogmatic Catholic nature plagued me longer still after separation from my evangelical family, and would've lasted longer if I maintained them.
I was constantly afraid of the things my religion implied. I was taught that if I didn't devote myself wholly to the Church and it's morals, I was spiritually doomed. Imagine hitting puberty, while convinced that every sexual thought or action you committed could condemn you to an eternity of torture. Or, if you would, imagine all the prejudices instilled in the Catholic mind against gays, atheists, members of other religions and ethical classifications.

Both abuse and extreme religion leave lasting scars upon the minds of people growing up, and if it instilled in the mind of a child, the religion lasts a lifetime whereas abuse lasts only a certain period of time before it diminishes.
So, as an ex-Catholic, formerly abused child who's all grown up now, I'd say that if every child growing up in a Catholic family has had to endure what I've had, I'd have to agree with him.

Abuse hurts the child, but a religious mindset that's devoid of compassion or realism hurts both the child and everyone around them. But hey, there's always moderate religion.
VISIONOFTHEWORLD Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
Were you raised catholic? If not, then how do you see where Dawkins is coming from?
I can think of a few crazy religions that are worse than being catholic. Most protestants like the baptists, for example, and lutherans, are pretty fucked up. The people you hear about walking around mumbling in public and then randomly going up to people to yell at them about the baby jeezus- those nutty people are usually protestant. Richard Dawkins doesn't have much credibility... you are aware of this, I hope.
saintartaud Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Professional General Artist
It's hard to take the guy seriously when he utters such nonsense.
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm with Higgs; he's really a fundamentalist about these things. :|
Mclandis Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Well, considering that Dawkins is prone to his own bouts of misogyny, I would put about as much stock in him as I would in the psychic hotline.
kaikaku Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Dawkins really needs to put his boots in his mouth sometimes. >_<
OprahWinfreyX Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I was raised catholic and although it did really suck I wouldn't go as far as to say it was like child abuse. Ireland is fairly catholic state so I would imagine the catholic teachings are a bit more harsh. I have big resentments to religion but unfortunately I don't agree with Dawkins on this one.
Vulpimo Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012
Dawkins is just an undereducated loudmouth, actually. He gets many fans just because it's rather popular to be an atheist nowadays (oh, look how smart I am, despite the fact that half of the things I'm saying doesn't make any sense XD) and he writes what people want. He's Justin Bieber of science, actually.
Add a Comment: