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  • Writer's pictureThe Gimp

Science Vs Belief: What Abuse Looks Like

Updated: Jan 6

This is what I grew up with in the 80s and 90s. I was raised in a very strict, abusive, fundamentalist Christian household. I heard the name "Turtles," learned that lived in a sewer from the kids in Sunday School and had maybe seen a them on the cover of a magazine, but like E.T., Home Alone and other such "Satanic" institutions, they were expressly forbidden. Until I was well into my teens, I was convinced that I would burn in hell for watching Sesame Street. Apparently, I was acting too much like Oscar the Grouch, who to this day is still one of my heroes. He lives in a garbage can and he still finds a way to sing about it and be somewhat content in his shitty, rotten life. He's been an inspiration to me.

My freedom and knowledge about the world around me was predicated on my father's belief that I didn't know my ass from a hole in the ground. Whenever I expressed any kind of knowledge of "adult" or "bad" things, even in my 20s, the response was always shock, dismay and disappointment. The verbal abuse still persisted, but it was more sophisticated. While I still got the rage-filled antics, I also got tears.

My son, it saddens me that you know so much about these things that are so clearly of the devil.

When you've been homeschooled until the age of 16, your development and maturity as a person can take a real hit. That's why I don't concern myself with "parental rights." Schools can be an indoctrination centre on their own, but at least they deal in things backed by hard evidence rather than a snowflake parent's feelings or out-right delusions.

A belief doesn't have to have any evidence to support it. Let's just say after 2 years in private religious school, my final 2 years in high school weren't just an adjustment - they were an unmitigated disaster until I was so burned out that I gave up in my last semester and barely passed my courses. I was never thought to think in terms of logic or evidence. I didn't learn how to prove or disprove any of the recycled ideas passed down to me until I was almost 20.

That doesn't make faith good or bad. Human beings make it good or bad in how they apply it to the real world and more importantly, how they apply it to others with whom they have authority over. If you're more paranoid about your kid's inclusion in a faith than their overall knowledge of the world in an evidenced-based sense, you're an abusive parent right off the bat. And while people tend to be intolerant of that when it occurs outside their faith, they're usually generally supportive of it in their own.

My dad made it fairly clear to me from a young age that he wasn't interested in being my friend (mission accomplished) and that my happiness (which of course was a "choice") and success were irrelevant. All that mattered is that I regurgitated whatever processed chemicals he'd "taught" me verbatim. "I want to see you in heaven." I didn't want to see him then or now, much less in an afterlife. You mean there's a place I can go after death where I won't have to deal with you? At least he gave me "options." He'd tell me "life is summation of your choices" before taking the choice away from me for fear I'd make the "wrong" choice.

So while I appreciate the fact that my recently deceased mother introduced me to such venerable institutions as the BBC for both comedy and drama, I look at the sum of my childhood and most of my adulthood and say, thanks, but no thanks.

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