Someone please save us from god

The fundamentalist machine of Christianity – and its attendant programme of social engineering – is gathering pace at an alarming rate. While public chastity vows have been a regular feature of parts of American society for 7 or so years, we’re now also able to take our teenage daughters to “chastity balls“, where fathers and their offspring can slow dance to songs about god’s love, and promise to protect/be protected from impurity until “the right time” arrives.

Besides the fact that the stats show none of this makes much difference (STD rates are similar whether or not these sorts of vows are taken, and 90% of girls dont adhere to the vows anyway), the possible consequences for the social welfare of the daughters is alarming, as mentioned in the linked article.

One also fears more generally for the impact these movements have on the person’s ability to develop into an effective human being, who can adequately deal with with the sort of shit life throws at you on a regular basis. Unless you manage to keep your (now socially retarded) child in familiar surrounds, surrounded by equally socially-retarded friends, they’re basically being set up for some form of world-view collapse at some point in their future. And surely even towns like Zoloft Jesusville will one day be dragged into the real world?

For a look at the belly of this beast, visit Focus on the Family, where you can find moving accounts of chastity balls, all sorts of advice, books like “Longing for Daddy”, and of course opportunities to either pray for, or give money to, Dr. James Dobson. Also, check out this image of girls at a (seemingly pagan) prequel to a chastity ball – aren’t they sexy?

By Jacques Rousseau

Jacques Rousseau teaches critical thinking and ethics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and is the founder and director of the Free Society Institute, a non-profit organisation promoting secular humanism and scientific reasoning.

7 replies on “Someone please save us from god”

I am not sure of the point of your post. I assume that you would agree that it is the responsibility of parents to influence the morality of their children. I maan, if you think racism is wrong, I doubt that you would object to the child’s parents trying to both educate and persuade them to not engage in racism. So, if these parents believe that premarital sex is wrong for both religious and emotional reasons (both of which are valid reasons with the latter having a scientific basis), what is the problem with trying to pass along that belief to the children? If the child understands and accepts the view that this activity is fraught with potential problems and consequences, is the vow a bad thing? Sure, they may later change their mind and reject the vow (no one expects 100% of the children to live up to the vows), is there really something wrong with putting off pre-marital sex and its consequences even for a few years? Isn’t the fact that many of the children will live up to the vow a good enough reason to ask them to take the vow?

I would be interested in clarification of this objection which seems to be simply disdain for a group of people — Christians, specifically — who believe that pre-marital sex is both immoral and harmful.

Of course I agree that parents have a responsibility to act as moral educators. But replacing education with dogma means ignoring that responsibility, especially when the dogma in question has a strong chance of causing more harm than the harm it’s intended to avoid. As for reasons, we clearly have very different standards when it comes to deciding what counts as valid. For the case at issue here, the debate around pre-marital sex is obscuring a more fundamental disagreement, hinging on the fact that I certainly do have a disdain for any system of social control that isn’t founded on rational standards, and that perpetuates the infantilisation of both children and adults.

Replacing education with dogma? My friend, all of us have dogmas. Some our based on the almighty “what I think” and some are based on religious conviction. We all inclucate our children with what we believe to be true.

And as for your clam that seeking to have children take vows against pre-marital sex having “a strong chance of causing more harm than the harm its intended to avoid”, I personally don’t think that’s true. At minimum, it is a value call because what is worse is somewhat left to the conscience of the evaluator. But there is no question about the problems associated with pre-marital sex — sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, and out-of-wedlock childbearing. As well, teen sexual activity is linked to emotional problems, such as depression, and increased risk of suicide. Asking kids to take a vow against pre-marital sex is not only not evil, it is sensible.

Finally, I reject any notion that this is a form of social control or that it isn’t based on rational standards. It is parents who are doing what they think is best for their children both morally and emotionally. The children aren’t forced to do anything — as you point out, they certainly can break their vows. But I get back to the point that they are not being harmed by the chastity vow and this post’s efforts to make it look as though it is bad for them is simply misguided, IMHO.

I have no idea where to start, except perhaps by pointing out that it’s either highly presumptuous or very condescending to address me as “friend”. Apart from that, the expected return on responding to your “arguments” is so low that I doubt the investment will pay off. Yes, we may all have dogmas, but some of us believe they are evils to be rooted out, rather than virtues to be cherished.

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