Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Is Religion Abuse?

I've never quite realised this before, but it's been pointed out that the religious world-view, particularly the attitudes towards punishment and sense of self-worth, share a lot of symptoms with Battered Woman Syndrome.

1. The victim believes the violence was their fault.

We've seen this over and over again. Earthquakes, floods and natural disasters are always believed to be the fault of the victims, where God is punishing them either for their sins, or because they have turned a blind eye to other people's sins.

2. The victim has an inability to place the responsibility for the violence elsewhere.

Continuing on the first point, instead of knowing that often bad things like earthquakes just happen, or that they are caused by well known natural phenomena, they are seen as being a result of the victims' sins.

3. The victim fears for their life and the life of their children.

Fear of hell, fear of eternal torment, fear of sinning. The devout are afraid that either their actions will give God no choice but to punish them because He loves them.

4. The woman has an irrational belief that the abuser is omnipresent and omnipotent.

Obviously, most religions hold this belief about their deity. It makes sense that with bad things happening anywhere at any time (as they are random and subjective), anyone with a belief that these events were controlled by their god would believe that their god could see everything and do anything.

I like this video because it shows a new way to view religion. In particular, it gives insight into how the Abrahamic religions may have formed the way they have, becoming belief systems that trap the believers in self-reinforcing patterns of belief. It also reminds us that often, believers are also victims.

I hope that any believers who do watch this video will be given new insight, something to make them have another look at what they believe. Maybe they too will break free.


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