The other night as I was watching the local New Hampshire news, a report came on about a beloved elder Christian minister and high ranking church official having been caught in a church van raping a 15 year old boy, a member of his congregation. Twenty-five years ago this would be big news and cause uproar. Today clergy abuse is so common place that it’s met with “So, what else is new?”, barely raising eyebrows.
Earlier in the week another report about the polygamist Fundamentalist Mormon’s, whose leader, Warren Jeffs, is in prison for suborning the rape of a 14 year old member and other children. Authorities were initially refused access to their “temple” to search for a 16 year old mother (and wife to a 50 yr old man) who had called police for help. The girl has yet to be located, although 200 women and children were removed from the “compound”.
Over the past three weeks there have been two separate and well publicized cases of parents of Christian sects refusing to seek medical help for their children (one with diabetes, and the other with pneumonia). While they prayed to God for their children's recovery, they both died agonizing deaths. Medical experts said the children could have been saved by timely medical treatment.
About once a year we hear about a Christian mother killing her children because she was directed to do so by God; and / or because she wanted them to have a better existence in heaven; or as a result of extreme corporal punishment where the “Good Book” was invoked as a guide and justification.
I’m not suggesting that rape, polygamy, child abuse, and child murder is the sole provenance of Christianity. But clearly these acts, especially the three latter examples, are directly influenced by their devotion to the supernatural, indoctrination by religious leaders, and influence of religious scripture. Surely without the concepts of God, Heaven, Hell, Satan, salvation, “God’s Will”, damnation, etc., etc. being implanted in their minds since childhood, these horrific events would never have occurred. These are anti-social / psychotic acts that are directly related to their “faith” and belief system. That’s what makes the acts particularly grotesque.
One thing I know for sure, you’ll never hear about a confirmed atheist raping a child and convincing them its okay because it is “Darwin’s Will”, and intimidating him/her with the absence of hellfire and damnation for reporting the abuse.
I know of no atheist organizations, or atheist "cults", which suborn polygamy and child marriage / statutory rape, much less invoke interpretations of writings by Dawkins, Hitchens, Robert Price, Sam Harris or Mark Twain as justification for same.
I can find no example where atheist parents stood over their sick child chanting from a copy of “The Portable Atheist” or “Origin of Species”, withheld professional medical attention, and watched their child convulsed with fever die in the throes of agony.
I’m unaware of any atheist mother dismembering and murdering her children because they were compelled to do so by the spirits or voices of Carl Sagan, Ernest Hemingway, or Kurt Vonnegut; or because they were convinced that the rotting non-existence of the grave was better for their child than a full and healthy life.
It prompts the questions: