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Bill Gothard and religious abuse (spin off) - Page 2

post #21 of 56

Subbing. I don't have personal experience with such groups, but I find it very interesting. The Duggars seem like nice people. But that's just it. They SEEM that way. I am very suspicious of what potentially lurks just below that persona they project publicly.

post #22 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post

  Instead of a discussion on Bill Gothard and the plight of young people who need or want to make their own spiritual decisions, it is turning into a discussion on "knowing God" and as a result achieving true happiness. 

I found true happiness by leaving the controlling religion I grew up in. My life is so much better than ever before.joy.gif

Yeah, it bothers me and the kids that my parents and extended family all believe we are going to hell. But I don't believe in hell... so there you go. We are kind, moral folk who help our neighbors and volunteer in our community.
post #23 of 56
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by genifer View Post

 I wanted to ask if anyone would be surprised if the smiles and happiness, and joy was genuine? Do you find it impossible to believe that people can genuinely be full of joy just bc in your experience it was forced?
 

 

no, I don't find that hard to believe at all. I also don't believe that all parents following the teachings of Bill Gothard are abusive. But I do believe that all parents following his teaching are do some bad parenting.  winky.gif

 

This is the thing -- punishing a child for feeling unhappy is, in my mind, bad parenting. My parents punished me in an abusive way, but other parents might handle it in a gentle way. When I need to correct my own children, I do so by gently talking to them. If a parent gently talks to an unhappy child and tells them that being unhappy is a sin and shows disobedience, they are disciplining in the exact same way I do. However, I still think they are doing harm to their child, because I believe that treating unhappiness as a sin is very damaging.

 

(I don't believe applying the same discipline techniques to things like picking up after one's self or wearing seasonally appropriate  clothing is damaging to my kids).

 

It's not about the technique, but WHY a child is being corrected.

 

If a child has been brought up this way, however gently it has been done, then why would any one assume that they are full of joy if they are smiling? They are simply *acting* the way they have been taught, and the act *may or may not* match up with what they feel inside.  If you believed that not smiling were a sin, wouldn't you spend a lot of time smiling whether or not you actually felt happy?

 

This really has nothing to do with mainline Christianity, but with the teachings of Gothard, which I getting the feeling you don't have any experience with. It also isn't a debate about the Duggar children -- none of us know how they feel about anything. I hope they ARE happy.  I really do.

 

Any christian who takes the bible seriously and tries to live like Christ and is familiar with these teachings would find them unsound. To put it in bible terms, Gothard is a false prophet and the people who follow him are like the pharisees. Most of the writing on the web by escapes are written by people who are still practicing Christians. I'm not knocking Christianity, just the teaching of Bill Gothard.

 

So, to put it back in your lap -- do you think that punishing children (however gently) for showing unhappiness is biblical? Do you think it is a good parenting?

post #24 of 56

I agree with you that Gothard is a false prophet, just so there's no confusion. :)

 

I believe it is bad parenting and unBiblical to punish children for experiencing emotions.  Or to punish them for expressing negative emotion.

 

However, again because I have observed the teaching of taking a joyful attitude in a non-punitive manner in other families, and because I have observed the Duggar children freely express opinions of dislike or not being happy with something as well as personal preferences (both with words and facial expressions), I think it is entirely possible that they and others have done this in an entirely non-punitive way, while not discounting the fact that other families have done it completely inappropriately and punitively, which is your experience and which I am very sorry you suffered through.

post #25 of 56


Do you know the Duggars?  Or are talking about observing through watching TV. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

I agree with you that Gothard is a false prophet, just so there's no confusion. :)

 

I believe it is bad parenting and unBiblical to punish children for experiencing emotions.  Or to punish them for expressing negative emotion.

 

However, again because I have observed the teaching of taking a joyful attitude in a non-punitive manner in other families, and because I have observed the Duggar children freely express opinions of dislike or not being happy with something as well as personal preferences (both with words and facial expressions), I think it is entirely possible that they and others have done this in an entirely non-punitive way, while not discounting the fact that other families have done it completely inappropriately and punitively, which is your experience and which I am very sorry you suffered through.



 

post #26 of 56
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post


One of the most disturbing things that I saw on the website that Linda posted above was Godhard's theories on mental illness.  Mental illness is seen as something that is self-inflicted as a result of some spiritual deficit.  Add depression and other forms of mental illness together with the guilt of not truly knowing God and I think you are left with a ticking bomb.  I remember being a bi-polar teen w/eating disorders.  I was fortunate that there were medical and mental health professionals who could assist me in recovery and viewed it as a serious issue.  It was helpful, too, that no one treated my problem in the context of my personal failures (whether spiritual or otherwise).

 

If someone knows all the options, chooses to remain within certain theological boundaries and can achieve real happiness at the same time, then good for them.  What if a child or teen thinks differently, then what?  They may be faced with rejection, sense of failure and life long guilt.  Sometimes it may be easier to stick with the program.



yes -- the attitude toward the mental health profession is bizarre. Not only do these teachings make people more likely to NEED help, they make that help less assessable. I was taught that therapist and counselors majored in psychology in an attempt to figure themselves out -- because they had problems they didn't know how to deal with in the first place. That the entire profession is the blind leading the blind. I was taught that every problem as a spiritual solution, so turning to "man's wisdom" was turning away from god and away from the real wisdom.

 

Here is a quote

<<Gothard emphasizes that guilt is a main reason that people feel stress, which develops into mental dysfunction, such as depression or anxiety. Finding the root of the problem and fixing it will alleviate the guilt, leading to moral freedom...

Gothard promotes as fact that painful memories are caused by incorrect responses to an offense. He emphasizes the need to learn why God allowed hurtful events to happen and to thank Him for allowing the events. The next steps to resolve painful memories are discovering the benefits of the offense, blessing and forgiving the offender, and asking forgiveness for our own offenses..>>

 

http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2011/11/tragic-misguidance-gothards-view-on-mental-health-treatment-and-the-petit-family-murders/

 

This is exactly how I was told to process being sexually assaulted. I was told that the depression was caused by me feeling guilty. The solution was to bless the offender.

 

Even once I got out, it was very hard for me to get mental health help because the brainwashing had been so thorough. It was very, very hard to trust the process, trust a therapist.  (I eventually did, and have spent much of my adulthood in therapy, I still check in with a therapist once a month. Now it provides a nice support and sounding board -- remember I lost all my extended family because I don't believe the same way they do)

 

I was faced with rejection and a sense of failure and guilt when I left. It was very difficult to get out. Even when out, the teachings still messed with me head.

post #27 of 56

I suppose, since we dont know the Duggars personally, we're speaking from personal experience and the experiences of what we've witnessed from people we do know irl. I mean, Ill be honest, this thread has given me pause to reflect on my own relationship with my kids. I dont like it when they have a bad attitude, but even before this thread started I was being introspective about it all and I realised they get their bad attitude from ME and dh. Anyway, we're talking from personal expriences here, arent we, so... I come from a christian perspective, if you couldnt tell. I didnt grow up in a christian home, but I have been a completely devoted and adoring follower of Jesus for 13 years and Ive raised my kids with an understanding of the same faith. I guess when a thread like this comes up, people like me (or just me then!!) feels like we have to defend our faith. All I was trying to say is that its possible that the happiness in the things you witness in other people might just well be genuine, just bc your's was forced, doesnt mean its the same for everyone else. It was a automatic defense reaction. I wasnt trying to steer the thread in anyway, just pointing out a fact. 

 

I think it really really upsets me when I hear about experiences like your's, Lindaonthemove and Imakcerka, bc I know its not how it should be. I know its not how it should be. And I really really feel for you. For me, Im an imperfect parent who makes mistakes. Im very much into my faith, and how my faith plays a part in changing who I am, makes me more like Jesus, by making me realise how Im SO not like Him in the first place. And Im not sorry to talk like this, I am kind of sorry it makes people feel a way that makes them want to react negatively toward my responses but I am who I am and Ill just go ahead and feel free to express myself in the way I feel.

 

So, Ill be honest here, there was a time, when I was out of control myself, that I could have gone a way that would have been very similar to the negative way some of you describe you were raised, but I stopped myself, and ironically, for reasons I cant explain, it was my faith that steered me in the opposite direction. I became more patient, more kind, and stuff. For example, I have certain automatic reactions, personally. When one of my dd's gives me that cheek that is one of her automatic reactions, back chat, snarkiness, sarcasm (she's 12), I want to do things that betray my faith, my committment to gd, and so forth, its an automatic reaction. I want to scream at her... atleast. However, contrary to your experiences, I hear a voice that says 'Would I treat you that way?' I know its God (I can say that, this is the religious studies forum) and I say 'No Lord, you wouldnt.' and it stops me in my tracks. Its real, its genuine, its not fake or false or put on for anybody to see. Its between me and my God. Thats why I respond to threads like this, I suppose I dont need to. Oh well, I do almost every time!

post #28 of 56

You don't have to defend your faith.  This isn't about some normal Christian home.  This isn't even about Christianity... In my opinion.  It's about people using something that could be good and turning it into something so very ugly.  Faith can be beautiful, but not when it's used against you.  .  Asserting control.  Spoonfeeding guilt.  Shaming. 

If you feel you need to defend your religion over other peoples pain... you need to look deeper into yourself and realize you are not who we are talking about.  Don't make this about your positive relationship with your faith.  We know that it can be that way.  It wasn't for us.  No pity needed.  We're just discussing the issue at hand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by genifer View Post

I suppose, since we dont know the Duggars personally, we're speaking from personal experience and the experiences of what we've witnessed from people we do know irl. I mean, Ill be honest, this thread has given me pause to reflect on my own relationship with my kids. I dont like it when they have a bad attitude, but even before this thread started I was being introspective about it all and I realised they get their bad attitude from ME and dh. Anyway, we're talking from personal expriences here, arent we, so... I come from a christian perspective, if you couldnt tell. I didnt grow up in a christian home, but I have been a completely devoted and adoring follower of Jesus for 13 years and Ive raised my kids with an understanding of the same faith. I guess when a thread like this comes up, people like me (or just me then!!) feels like we have to defend our faith. All I was trying to say is that its possible that the happiness in the things you witness in other people might just well be genuine, just bc your's was forced, doesnt mean its the same for everyone else. It was a automatic defense reaction. I wasnt trying to steer the thread in anyway, just pointing out a fact. 

 

I think it really really upsets me when I hear about experiences like your's, Lindaonthemove and Imakcerka, bc I know its not how it should be. I know its not how it should be. And I really really feel for you. For me, Im an imperfect parent who makes mistakes. Im very much into my faith, and how my faith plays a part in changing who I am, makes me more like Jesus, by making me realise how Im SO not like Him in the first place. And Im not sorry to talk like this, I am kind of sorry it makes people feel a way that makes them want to react negatively toward my responses but I am who I am and Ill just go ahead and feel free to express myself in the way I feel.

 

So, Ill be honest here, there was a time, when I was out of control myself, that I could have gone a way that would have been very similar to the negative way some of you describe you were raised, but I stopped myself, and ironically, for reasons I cant explain, it was my faith that steered me in the opposite direction. I became more patient, more kind, and stuff. For example, I have certain automatic reactions, personally. When one of my dd's gives me that cheek that is one of her automatic reactions, back chat, snarkiness, sarcasm (she's 12), I want to do things that betray my faith, my committment to gd, and so forth, its an automatic reaction. I want to scream at her... atleast. However, contrary to your experiences, I hear a voice that says 'Would I treat you that way?' I know its God (I can say that, this is the religious studies forum) and I say 'No Lord, you wouldnt.' and it stops me in my tracks. Its real, its genuine, its not fake or false or put on for anybody to see. Its between me and my God. Thats why I respond to threads like this, I suppose I dont need to. Oh well, I do almost every time!



 

post #29 of 56

Genifer: I don't think that OP is trying to suggest that all religious experience is corrupt or that all parents who bring religion into their parenting are doing a disservice to their children.

 

I think she's saying that Bill Gothard, and others like him, are destructive and dangerous, for many reasons, not the least of which is that their work is very subtle and insidious, and therefore it's very hard from the outside to see what they are really doing. From the outside, it may look like they are genuine spiritual leaders with good guidance to offer, and yes, their followers may appear happy, at least when someone is watching. But damage is being done, and it takes a few brave people to break free, bring the truth to light, and show the world what is really going on. I have great respect for the OP & lmackcerka & others for sharing their stories and raising these difficult questions.

 

False prophets (or sociopaths, as I consider them) like Bill Gothard give religion a bad name, and that's a huge problem. Religion can be such a powerful force for good, it can provide community and help people grow and help families be stronger and all of that. But it's not a given that just because someone claims to be coming from a religious perspective that their motives are good or their work is noble. And it's really important to separate out the true religion (the stuff that actually helps people) from the bad (the stuff that makes people miserable and crazy), which is why these conversations are so important.

post #30 of 56
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by genifer View Post

I guess when a thread like this comes up, people like me (or just me then!!) feels like we have to defend our faith.


 

but this thread isn't about Christianity, it's about the teachings of Bill Gothard.

 

Unless you actively follow this guy, you've got nothing to defend.

 

(I do think Christians reading the thread can learn from it -- Gothard comes across as normal at first, and people get sucked in. It's good to know who the crazy, off-track teachers are so you can stay away from them and keep your kids away from them. Off-track, pseudo-christian leaders aren't neatly labeled IRL)

 

You seem to feel the need to defend the Duggars, and I don't get that. They advocate using the Pearl's discipline book, they circumcise their boys, they won't let their DD leave home, they consider their adult offspring children until they are married, they use their older kids like slaves. I don't understand why people who don't parent like that think they need to stick up for people who do. I don't really want to debate about them --  I don't know them. I suspect we only get part of the story. What I do know makes me shake my head, but it isn't because they believe in jesus. I just think that's a lot of bad parenting. I don't think they abuse their kids -- they are under way too much scrutiny. If those kids weren't being taken care and treated of as the law requires, everyone would know.

 

I started this thread because I'm trying to sort out my own crazy religious upbringing.  I'm kinda over the Duggar thing, except as an example of Gothard's teaching in a reality TV show (the dresses, long hair, no TV, no dating, etc)

post #31 of 56

Imacerka, I don't know them personally.  Just like everybody else here (afaik), in reference to them, I'm talking about what I have observed.  And since I have apparently observed different behavior than some others, that is where my disagreement comes in.  I just don't see "fake happy all the time" there.  It's kind of a wierd conundrum for them because often in the same places they're accused of having the fake-happy thing going on, they're also accused of having rude, snarky, ill-tempered, and ill-behaved children, again based on what people see on the show and how they interpret that.

 

But in broader terms, I'm also talking about families that I do know IRL, some ATA/Gothard, others not, who have a similar belief about joy/happiness, and address it in an utterly non-punitive way, not associated with guilt for having feelings.

 

So the combination of those two makes me hesitant to swallow the idea that the Duggar kids are necessarily being slapped around, or emotionally abused into being fake-happy all the time.  It's always possible that the Duggars are in fact evil slime under a nice veneer, but at this point I don't think it's at all probable.

 

 

All that said, I still want to repeat that I understand *why* people interpret what they're seeing in a different way.  We all filter these things through our experiences, and I understand that.

post #32 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
But in broader terms, I'm also talking about families that I do know IRL, some ATA/Gothard, others not, who have a similar belief about joy/happiness, and address it in an utterly non-punitive way, not associated with guilt for having feelings.

 

So you see families around you raising kids with the belief that unhappiness is a sin, but doing it in a non-puitive, non-guilty way, so you are fine with it?

 

I don't get that.

 

I think "sin" is a heavy word and should be saved for really big things. One of the bizarre things for me growing up this way is that sooooo many things were all lumped together as "sin," some of which were very minor and some which were really huge. For example, doing cocaine and listening to rock music were both in this same category of sin, and while any reasonable person can  see that listening to rock music or doing cocaine will have very different impacts on one's life, what I was taught is that all sins are equal, and the problem with sin is that it divides you from god.

 

When I got away, I had NO moral compass. Because everything, and I do mean everything because this is a system that micromanages all aspects of life, got thrown out, I had no standard left to figure out what sort of actions and attitudes would help me build a life for myself that worked for me.

 

So I made a train wreck of my life.

 

Nothing that I had been taught about right and wrong and sin and non-sin made any sense to me. It was all such bullshit.

 

Eventually, I figured out my own moral code. I spent some time religion hopping, and I've picked up bits and pieces from different ways of looking at life that work for me. I spent a couple of years practicing and studying Buddhism and most of my moral code formed during that time. I eventually left the ritual aspects of Buddhism. (I can only get so far into any formal religion before I freak out and run the other way.) The core of my moral code, although formed when I was a Buddhist, is found in the bible -- in the verses about loving others as yourself and reaping what you sow.  In focusing on a long, long list of do's and don't's and outward appearances, those got really glossed over in my religious upbringing.

 

************************

 

cappuccinosmom, I'm finding your posts very, very helpful in sorting this out in my head. I appreciate that you are coming at it from a completely different point of view. I hope that you stay in the thread and continue to question what I say against your own experience because it is helpful for me in my process. I hope the dialogue is also helpful to you in some way.

 

peace.

post #33 of 56

No.  I am seeing families who do not interpret the teaching on joy (either Gothard's or generic Christianity's) to mean "experiencing unhappy feelings is a sin".  Starting at the same point (pursue joy, reject self-pity, look for the positive), they are going in a completely different direction than what you were subjected to.  Though my particular experience is a little different in how it played out (different cult), the same thing applies.  Many perfectly loving, reasonable, non-culty people hold beliefs that started at the same point that the cult's did, but took it in a totally different direction.  They might even use the same terminology, or refer to the same Scripture.  But the one direction is fine, and the other is, just, well....culty and abusive.

 

Trying very hard to convey what I'm saying in a way that doesn't discount your experience, I totally acknowledge that yours is valid and have seen similar craziness myself.  hug2.gif

post #34 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

I am seeing families who do not interpret the teaching on joy (either Gothard's or generic Christianity's) to mean "experiencing unhappy feelings is a sin".  Starting at the same point (pursue joy, reject self-pity, look for the positive), they are going in a completely different direction than what you were subjected to.


 

How do you know what is going on in someone else's family, unless you know them very, very well? And there is a limit as to how many people we can know well. What we see as the outward show -- how they behave at church and homeschool group, the face the put on for others see, isn't knowing someone well. Most of the families in your circle of friends you don't know well. It's just how life works.

 

(one of the things I came away from growing up with this nonsense with is a complete inability to assume that others are doing things in a sane way without knowing them very well for a long period of time, partly from my own family, and partly because of stories I heard from my peers from other families.)

 

So far in this thread, in discussing bizarre practices such as those taught by Bill Gothard and practiced by the Duggars, which are not biblical, you feel they are OK because the kids look happy. Having been told by a variety of people that for a child being raised this way *looking* happy doesn't mean that the child is actually happy, you stay stuck on the happiness issue.

 

You are convinced that all the families you know, and even a family from a reality TV show that you don't know, are handling the happiness issue in an emotionally healthy way. Even though you have zero evidence of that. Even though Bill Gothard teaches that for a child to act unhappy is a sin. Because it is the only thing you've got to hold on to saying that any of these conservative teachings aren't harmful to children.

 

What if you are wrong? What if some of those kids, who you think you know so well, are miserable? What if some of them are well on their way to being cutters or attempting suicide? What if in your little chats with their moms, you right now have opportunities to point out that legalism and extreme control (such as dress codes, courting, rock music, etc) aren't biblical, may cause conflict with their kids, may drive their kids away from them, and may drive their kids away from god, but you keep you mouth shut because, right now, the kids look happy?

 

What if you have chances to say that you'd rather your kid be visibly unhappy but to be REAL and HONEST about what is going on with them, than to look happy, even though you believe that happiness can come from faith in god? What if you said that your relationship with your child is more important than how well they fall into someone else's ideal of what a well brought up Christian child looks and acts like, and explained that you've heard tell of what happens when parents lose sight of that? What if you used your position within the conservative christian community where you live to be a voice for sanity?

 

May be it would make a difference for some other child or teen.

 

 

post #35 of 56

Reality T.V. always portrays the truth... That's a little off to me. I've known many families that look so good and happy on the outside. Some truly were and others I've found out later on were not. Incest and abuse... One was a deacon at our church. That was very heartbreaking because his daughter was portrayed as a liar and a drug abuser. Since she was on the same cheer squad as I was I knew it was all lies. We had been close and I was the one who told. Thankfully we remained friends. It all looks good until someone is accused of something. Or someone speaks out. Then the abuser who for years had been a stellar manipulator... continues on manipulating, most of the church believed he was innocent. SICK!

post #36 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


 


 

I agree. I do believe in tolerance and freedom, and I'm confused right now as to where the line is. At what point do others have the not only the right, but a responsibility, to say that the way someone else is practicing their religion is socially unacceptable?  That what they are forcing on their children is a form a abuse?

 

I feel like there is a massive double standard in the US. Many traditional Muslim practices to control women are seen as unacceptable, but similar control measures over protestants are seen as acceptable.   I think that the show 19 and Counting as made a level of control that most would find shocking seem socially acceptable by making the mom seem nice.

 

I'm hoping that by writing about my experiences and talking about them with others, I can get more clarity in my own head about where that line is for me. I'm not trying to tell anyone else where that line is for them.

 

Up til now, I've had a really hard time explaining why the transition to adulthood was so difficult for me, how my parents intentionally undermined me. I'm just now starting to see that part of the problem was that their belief system didn't include independent, adult offspring. Gothard teaches that children are children until they marry. So much of what my parents did was subtle, so when I talk about how it messed with my head I think I just sound weak. Unless one understands the level of brain washing that had been going on for years in advance, there's no way to make sense of the way events unfolded.

 

 



I have to disagree with you on the bolded section - as a practicing Muslim, who has also studied theology at a major university prior to reverting to Islam, Islam does not seek to control women. In fact, historically Islam was the first major religion to give rights to women, at a time when Christianity was still trying to decide did women have a soul and were they truely human. 

 

99% of the practices attributed to Islam as controlling women are not religious practices, but are holdover practices from the Arabic culture that are in fact in violation of religious edicts. In fact the ONLY practice mandated was that women cover. And ever that is a personal choice, as there is no compulsion allowed in Islam - no one can make you do anything you don't want to for religious reasons. Now legally in some countries is a whole different story, but religiously they can't. 

 

Please don't attribute the practices to Islam, when in fact they are cultural practices.

 

 

And yes, I'm quite familiar with the Gothard lifestyle {and yes I refer to it as a lifestyle - it is an odd tangent on Christianity that IMHO tosses about half of Jesus's original teachings out the window}, while my family did not practice it we had several families in our local homeschool group when I was a teen who did. I was friends with many of them, and attend church with them for several years. The kids who grew up in those families, from my experience, were always affected by it - most of the girls married the 1st guy they could find as their ticket out or got pregnant on purpose so as to be disowned. The boys joined the military and never came back. Many completely changed their names and identities just to escape their families and their upbringing. 

post #37 of 56
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by frugalmama View Post



I have to disagree with you on the bolded section - .....

 

99% of the practices attributed to Islam as controlling women are not religious practices, but are holdover practices from the Arabic culture that are in fact in violation of religious edicts.

.....

 

And yes, I'm quite familiar with the Gothard lifestyle {and yes I refer to it as a lifestyle - it is an odd tangent on Christianity that IMHO tosses about half of Jesus's original teachings out the window}, while my family did not practice it we had several families in our local homeschool group when I was a teen who did. I was friends with many of them, and attend church with them for several years. The kids who grew up in those families, from my experience, were always affected by it - most of the girls married the 1st guy they could find as their ticket out or got pregnant on purpose so as to be disowned. The boys joined the military and never came back. Many completely changed their names and identities just to escape their families and their upbringing. 


OK -- I understand what you are saying about the difference between the Islam religion and culture, and I'm not quite sure how to phrase things to respect that difference, but I will work on it. thumb.gif

 

With this added in, I see even more parallels between the two situations: women in Arabic  culture and women being raised in a Gothard lifestyle. The role of women is limited and controlled, but not because of the true religious teachings. The difference lies in that the Arabic culture, the practices are long standing traditions, but in the Gothard lifestyle, they are very recently added (the last 25 years or so).

 

One of my confusions over how socially acceptable the Gothard stuff is revolves around how recently all this stuff got made up. It's not like we are talking about Hasidic (sp?) Jews or the Amish who've been living an alternative lifestyle for generations. The parents in Gothard families had normal culture growing up, and are practicing a massive social experiment with their kids. I'm baffled as to why the "respecting other people religious views" comes into play when the practicing are not based in the religion and have so little track record.
 

I'm still sorting out the difference between what I was taught Christianity is and what it actually is. I'm finding articles on the ways in which these teachings are not biblical very helpful right now. I'm not a christian and no desire to ever be, or to go to church at all, but I like the idea of softening my understanding of Christianity.

 

The more I read, the more  confused I am as to why any Christian would defend this nonsense it. I think they should be fighting it.

post #38 of 56

You bring up a very good point Linda.  I've been trying to figure all this out for so long.  Through studying I have found the true Christian religion is rather beautiful.  It's the people that make it ugly.  Twisting words from the bible to fit their agendas.  I've read the bible more times than I can count and I've always enjoyed reading it.  I just didn't enjoy "church" and the things I was taught to believe that in a whole destroyed my self esteem as a young adult.  I wish I could introduce my children to a religion free from the ugliness.  I just don't know how to do it.  That being said, I do believe there is some sort of creator.  I just don't know who he/she really is.  And because I think that way my family feels I'm hurting my children and my marriage. 

 

Christians defend the nonsense because they feel it's an attack on them when it's not.  They act as if their way of life is constantly being destroyed.  Complaining that Christ is being taken out of Christmas when they themselves buy into the commercialism and celebrate pagan holidays.  They worry that Christ is being taken away in the schools and expect that their prayers be allowed while all others are not.  I found Christians to be less tolerant.  Last year I wasn't given Christmas off to be with family of three all alone because I was told the other guy I work with was Christian and it wouldn't be fair for me to celebrate the holidays while he was at work.  I no longer work for that company and I did make a complaint.  The manager that made the decision was and is still angry with me because I had no right to the pagan traditions/christian holiday while the other guy somehow did.  That is fine, the manager is no longer a manager there since he sexually harassed another employee.  Hypocrisy is a beautiful thing.

post #39 of 56
Quote:

Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

With this added in, I see even more parallels between the two situations: women in Arabic  culture and women being raised in a Gothard lifestyle. The role of women is limited and controlled, but not because of the true religious teachings. The difference lies in that the Arabic culture, the practices are long standing traditions, but in the Gothard lifestyle, they are very recently added (the last 25 years or so).



The comparison still fails, for multiple reasons, not the least of which being that there is no such thing as an "Arabic culture."  Really, you're talking about complex things, or rather not talking about them but invoking them to make a point that has nothing whatsoever to do with them.  Which almost never works, on any level, beyond that of serving the narrative that huge, broad, autonomous cultures may be easily reduced to readily grasped monoliths.

post #40 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugalmama View Post



 In fact, historically Islam was the first major religion to give rights to women, at a time when Christianity was still trying to decide did women have a soul and were they truely human. 

Some branches of the church may have needed to decide this but the Bible (and therefore true Christianity) never had any doubts.

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