Should teaching kids about hell and hell fire be considered psychological torture?

I personally believe that the teaching of hell fire and damnation is a form of psychological torture and this brutal and primitive belief infested upon our youth can and does cause psychological damage for their development and ultimately for the rest of their lives in the majority of people. I believe that the teaching of hell fire is one way that the virus of religious belief is such a potent virus that keeps passing down from generation to generation...should the teaching or excessive teaching of hell fire and damnation be considered a form of psychological torture and therefore technically be illegal? I think about you?

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Yes. I would consider it a torture of sorts. I used to teach a primary( Sunday school) class that consisted of eight five to six year olds. I remember teaching a lesson about Satan's fall and hell and such. I still remember the fear in a boy's eyes as he asked me if he was going to hell for hitting his sister.

 I look back and only feel disgust and loathing for what I did. Thank (insert here) that I was able to break free of religion and find my rational mind. 

Anything which brings/increases fear in someone's brain should technically be illegal.
It depends on how you do it.
This way you could outlaw Santa Claus & fairy tales too. These things are a part of growing up & unless parents use them in a really horrible way, its fine.
My view is that children should be free of religion. They should be taught about the different religions when they are old enough to understand, and then they can choose which religion to follow when they turn 18. I know its not gonna happen but we can hope.

I agree that it is a form of psychological torture.  The damnation-salvation factor traps a lot of otherwise rational people in religion.  However, the legality of teaching about hell is a whole other debate because then we're getting into limiting people's expression of religion and freedom of speech. 


As a side note, fear of hell was a major part of what kept me from planning and executing suicide as a catholic child.  Then again, if I hadn't been a bisexual in the catholic church, I probably wouldn't have ever become suicidal in the first place. 

Only someone with severe mental illness (e.g. schizophrenia) will spend more that 28 seconds worried about a possible world with hell. Are all those parents reading Dr. Suess afraid there offspring will believe in the Lorax? The Headless Horseman? Ogres and troll from TLotR? Children - all children everywhere - check with their peer group and not parents for what to believe and how to believe it. These are two different things. The ability to experience a story without believing it is part of growing up.
I had a discussion of this sort at work and posed nearly the exact same question, which if not mistaken I recalled from Hitchens. Never the less, and to put it into perspective, since I've never been religious it's sometimes difficult to understand the reasoning of the faithful, I therefore ask them quite a lot of questions in the hopes of gaining some knowledge of their thinking process. Having asked this question of numerous christians, the response was as predictable as it was unanimous. Of course they said "no" with an equally predictable degree of shock and disdain. Then I asked a "former" christian, her response was quite different. She stated that for years she lived in fear of seeing her father (a non-religious type) burning in hell and added that she indeed had numerous nightmares of this sort. The next part was even more telling, she went on to say that she avoided making friends who were not "devout" as she didn't wish to be close to someone inevitably doomed to burn for eternity. Que Monty Python scene "Hint hint, nudge nudge. There is, more often that not, a genuine though insidious logic to the tactics of the faithful. Unfortunately for them she was not so credulous as to be completely buffaloed for her entire life and as a result I took great pleasure in instructing her on what to say during her "coming out" party with family. I apologize for my long winded agreement Sassan.
Jason never apologize for Monty Python reference!!!!!!
Was by no means apologizing for that kind sir, but that some statements require a bit more explanation. Thank you for your reply.

I don't necessarily think that the teaching of hell should be illegal. I say that because if you teach children that throughout history hell was believed as true by many people then it isn't harmful. At the same time one should make it clear that there is no evidence for hell's existence nor is there any reason that the children should fear it. Once all the facts are presented on hell then the children can decide for themselves whether hell is real or not. 

But religious organizations don't work that way. They never let people choose and decide for themselves.


They have a choice about the degree of their teachings though. My religious education was pretty mild. I was certainly taught about the concept of hell and that's fine. It's such a common idea and is part of many figures of speech. They'll be exposed to it one way or the other.


But my church also never made it a point to actively scare children into obedience under the threat of eternal damnation. Others certainly do. Either unwittingly because they take the whole thing too seriously or because the church is blatantly malevolent. In any case it can leave lasting psychological damage and is definitely a form of child abuse.

I think that at certain degrees teachings of hell can be harmful to a child. I think it comes more from when a church or parent specifically threatens the child with the prospect of hell and eternal damnation. Otherwise how can it be illegal for a parent to a teach a child what the parent themselves believe is true.


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