So my younger sister happens to be Catholic, she is 8 years old and goes to a catholic school. I really don't know what to tell her I mean she is a sweetheart and is always looking out for me and my other sister but she keep asking me questions about Jesus and where he is and about the Eucharist and she gets really happy when Jesus is brought up at the dinner table.

It's almost as she is obsessed with Jesus. The other day she asked me why I don't go to church, I told her "Well I mean I don't really believe in God or Jesus", she said "Why not? You're going to hell if you don't believe" this made my mouth drop. I couldn't believe my sister would say that, I'm not sure if this is the kind of stuff they teach her at her school, if so this is child abuse. Fear mongering and threatening children with hell if they don't believe.

After I told her this she has brought up God more often and is really starting to get annoying and I as a 16 year old can't tell her God doesn't exist because I want her to think for herself but I don't know what to tell her. My other sister whom is 12 is agnostic, she was a moderate Catholic but became agnostic 3 months ago when she asked me about my opinion of God and religion. I explained the whole thing to her and looked into her faith and eventually became agnostic after realizing for herself (with my help) that the belief in a god(Judeo-Christian sense) isn't rational. Keep in mind I'm not the type of atheist to tell people that God isn't real but to have them think for themselves and evaluate the evidence and decide for themselves, but if they still come to believe to not go out and tell people to believe in their god.

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No I don’t Bob, do you? But 8 years olds do if indoctrinated into believing it by adults who are authority figures in their lives. I am not the one telling children that they or their brother will burn in Hell. That is what Catholic adult teachers are doing. I would not allow effigies of blood stained corpses nailed to a cross hanging on the walls of places of education. The only reason your Church insists on telling these stories to children is because if they waited until they reached the age of reason they would never be ensnared. I have seen Catholic priests threaten children for even questioning them. I have seen Christian Brothers flay children with leather belts while telling them they would burn in hell. They are vulgar and vile humans and if I ever see them near any children I know they will answer to me. I am actively working to have them removed from the education system.

Eight year olds believe all sorts of things.  They're "indoctrinated" into it by adults who write comic books and fairy tales and fantasy novels and animated movies with talking fish who are trying to get home.

If they're not real, why would you worry about them?  Kids grow out of the things they believe when they are children all the time.  Otherwise we'd have a lot of people believing in big, purple, singing dinosaurs.

The only reason to be concerned is if you as an adult actually believe that hell is real.

As for the rest, I'm sorry you've seen bad priests or teachers.  Yep, they should be removed and where appropriate prosecuted.

Viewing an entire group of people as vulgar and vile humans, and wanting the whole group to be removed or lose their jobs, though, doesn't follow.  That's what we call bigotry and prejudice in our country.  We have it, for sure... those who trot out the crimes committed by individual immigrants and argue that all immigrants should be expelled; those who point out that blacks in the U.S. are more likely to commit crimes than whites and who use that to justify discrimination against all African-Americans.

Is that what you view as rational?

I am not viewing the entire clergy as vile or vulgar. I was referring only to those that beat children or sexually assault or rape children. I have a high level of regard for many religious people. However most of these are not involved with the education of young children. They would work “in the field” with the less fortunate, at home or abroad.

I do not recall any teacher spending 30 minutes or more each school day in the “faith formation” of children on the role of (say) Barney the dinosaur in their lives. I have never met a child who was convinced that Barney was going to burn her family for not believing he was real, even if there is more evidence for his existence. Children (most of them) know instinctively that Barney is not real. They are not told everyday by people in positions of authority that they are real. That is the difference which I am surprised I need to point out. A video from Sunday School yesterday.

Introducing the black\white argument is not necessary.

Sorry if I misunderstood.  "Christian Brothers" is an order of male religious... it's a large group of people.  Same with "priests".  When you use those terms, I think of the group.  If you're talking only about individual men who are abusive, I will be right there with you in giving them the boot.  In fact, I think you'd have to get in line...

  It's being an asshole.

I see we hit a nerve here Dr. Bob. You cannot possibly believe that an imaginary friend who conveys no special world view except fun and fantasy is the same thing as a psychotic sociopathic God threatening torture if you don't do everything he tells you to.

If you met a child with an imaginary friend called Billy-Sue who was a tyrranical character that ordered the child to do all sorts of strange things and not do perfectly natural things and threatened the child with severe punishment if they didn''d certainly talk with the child's parents.

No...only when the imaginary friend is the Christian God....does anyone not become totally completely alarmed by this kind of sociopathic imaginary friend.

I don't believe that you believe a pink smiling happy giraffe imaginary friend is the same thing as a bearded man in the sky friend with an austere world view threatening severe punishment if you don't do everything he says.

You don't believe it's the same...I cannot understand why you would compare it.

+1. A pack of wolves has a working social order. Why is it so hard for Christian moralists to understand that all normal brained humans have the same basic understanding of good versus bad modus operandi inherited from millions of years of trial and error. Religions and philosophies have adopted and sometimes refined these behavioral limits and at other times they have distorted them.

I think the context is different between a theist (Bob for example) and an atheist (Not Bob for example).

Bob sees the story of Jesus and his being nailed to a cross to execute him as a heart warming story, illustrating god's love for mankind, and can't see the harm of it.

Not Bob, sees the story as a horrifying act of child abuse and atrocity.

Bob sees Jesus as Harvey the Rabbit...a harmless imaginary friend.

Not Bob sees Jesus as closer to Chucky, but more along the lines an imaginary friend that adults you trust, tell you that you have.

IE: You imagined the invisible rabbit, and, your mind made it playful and fun.

Your parents did not tell you what your imaginary friend must be...and did not tell you that you had to do what it told you to, etc...or it would torture you forever and ever in a lake of fire...because it loves you SOOOO MUCH!


You think telling kids the story of Jesus is "child abuse"?

No, as long as your let them know it is a story and you tell them about all the other religions and their stories too. It is abuse and exploitation if you insist that what you are telling them is the truth and that they will be punished (harmed) if they do not believe you.

Why do you even want to tell this to young children? Why not wait until they are at least capable of thinking critically? We both know the answer to that. Please watch the video I linked. It will explain further.

This is an interesting analogy... We know the 8 year old's invisible friend is probably not real because there's no evidence for them... taking the analogy back to real issue, what do we find? Dr Bob's invisible friend...

Is your invisible friend real, Dr Bob? Perhaps, unlike in your analogy, you can provide evidence of your invisible friend's existence?

"Honey, how can I go to Hell if it doesn't exist? When you give up belief in God, belief in Heaven and Hell go with it."

Hi @Marino.  I apologize.  Sometimes as a visitor the threads I touch seem to get hijacked into the Dr. Bob show.  I've deleted my posts that didn't have replies, so that others aren't tempted to reply to me rather than to your very real question.  

You've got my thoughts.  I'd treat her like a little girl.  As long as you don't believe in hell, I'm not sure there's any reason to be upset.  She'll see that, and think about it.

I'll let the rest of the group proceed from here.  Feel free to message me if you want input from a Catholic scientist.  There's good fun in baiting bad theology teachers, I will agree. ;-)

She'll see that, and think about it

Why inflict her with the idea in the first place? She is only a child.

PS - Would it not be more accurate to say "a scientist who is a Catholic".:-)


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