Recently our friend over at The Atheist Blogger wrote an interesting piece on Religious Child Abuse. In it he posted a video from a BBC Documentary about the Drapper family, a fundamentalist Christian – home schooling family in the UK.
In the Documentary posted in 6 parts below; Deborah Drapper, age 13, is extensively profiled. The cameras follow her around while she goes about her daily activities , interviews her about her faith, and even goes with her on a trip to her brothers college apartment. Deborah is naive…very much like I was at her age…She is an intelligent young girl, my intention is not to call Deborah stupid here, at all.
When I was about 15 years old I decided to start living my life for God again…I had been “saved” at the age of 6 just like Deborah claimed to be. At these young ages both Deborah and I claim to have understood 1: That man was depraved and doomed to eternal torment and 2: That Christ died on the cross as a scapegoat for our sins – thereby saving anyone that accepted this belief in Christ and his sacrifice from the eternal furnace. Do you think we could have possibly understood this? Do you think that we could understand the Biblical fall of man or the doctrines of Atonement? I truly don’t. I think at the earlier age we were merely repeating the things we had heard from church, or in Deborah’s case – her parents.
Deborah’s parents don’t seem overbearing or mean…they are indoctrinated, but I don’t at all see them as devious people with bad intentions for their children. They are just extremely convinced that their Truth is The Truth…much like I was at one time.
The only glaring problems I see with Deborah is that she settles for Pseudo-Science with the likes of Ken Ham and Ray Comfort, she even listens to Ken Ham as she goes to sleep at night and uses Ray Comfort’s infamous Atheist Test Tract and almost quotes him word for word in her witnessing techniques. That tells me that Deborah is not thinking for herself yet. Though her blog shows me that she is far more intelligent than the BBC Documentary makes her look. She is concise and articulate if not robotically redundant, which gives me certain hope that eventually she might just snap out of it all.
Watching this documentary, however, makes me really sad for Deborah…she sees people, she is kind to people, but she believes that everyone she meets that is not saved is going to hell, she is open about that- she tells people that. I remember the intense emotions I felt back when I encountered someone that was not “saved” and it hurts in me that she has to feel the same thing at her young age. It is a painful thing to see everyone as hellbound, to feel that you have to find a way to get them “saved” to spare them from eternal agony and pain. This is to me the true crime of fundamentalist parenting: It brainwashes and scares the kids so much. It isn’t that Deborah’s parents don’t love her, or even that they don’t love the people they try to witness to…the really do. I think Penn Jillette is the one that said something to the effect of ,”How much do you have to hate someone to NOT try to save them from Hell?”.
I think that this is where a lot of Atheists are incorrect. They often think that people like the Drapper family are just aweful people, deluded and small minded, but this simply is not always the case. Sometimes they are just fearful for themselves and for you. Sometimes they are just doing their damnedest to try to save you because they love you and honestly, I cannot find fault with that. The only fault I can find is that they haven’t challenged their understanding of God enough to question the motivation behind a place like hell, to find error in the Bible, and to live free of the oppression of religion.