sins of the children
From the observation of over a 100 babies and children you couldn’t convince me in a million years that we don’t have sin nature – go work in the nursery at church for a couple of weeks and the case will be settled.
The idea that humans are innately sinful is peddled by many Christians in their truly disturbing view of life. It gets worse. They think that the behaviour they view in babies and children is evidence for this. Wonky world views are the individual right of every person, but when they completely neglect the basics of developmental psychology, or even common sense (for those who can’t be bothered reading), they are treading on worrying ground.
When certain Christians make children out to be ‘bad’, they are encouraging misdirected, inappropriate and even abusive responses to natural behaviour. These responses that can affect the normal growth and development of children. Here I present a frightening selection of some of the ‘sinful’ charges laid against babies and children.
sin 1 – lack of empathy
Without being taught, children call each other names, make fun of people different from them, …., pull the dog’s tail even when he yelps in pain.
Any expectation for a child to have a full adult empathetic understanding of the world is frankly bizarre. Children begin to learn to identify with the feelings of others, in a gradual way, from two to six years old. They need role models and intelligent encouragement on this journey of discovery. Basic parenting tips can be found on the Sesame Street site for any Christians tempted to punish their ‘sinful’ child’s embarrassing behaviour: “A child’s empathetic behavior can be negatively affected when a parent expresses displeasure over bad behavior (like hitting a younger sibling) rather than praising him for good behavior (like sharing a favorite toy).” Lack of full empathetic awareness combined with poorly executed parenting is often at the root of behaviour along these lines.
sin 2 – curiosity
[they] run in dangerous places when they’re told to stop … when they want to pull on electric cords and are told no
Toddlers and babies are prone to doing quite silly things, in spite of clear instructions from the important parent person. There is an excellent publication from 1833 called The Christian Mother by John (surely they mean Jane?) Abbott. This gives you a glimpse into the world of perceived disobedience almost 200 years ago … and it seems also today. How do these people think the human race advances? Is it really considered sinful to be curious about the world?
One of the most fundamentally important traits that explains why the human race has advanced, is our need to know things. What will happen if I do this? What is over there? How does that work? Why is that there? Obviously it’s important that children learn to listen and trust the instructions they’re given, for their own safety and the safety of others. But they have to keep pushing boundaries so they don’t spend their whole lives in a padded cot. Overprotected children who never take risks, who are forced to pay heed to their cautious parents shouting orders, who never get to make their own decisions, are more likely to be insecure, indecisive and fearful of the world. Children need to investigate, be impulsive, and push for independence.
sin 3 – expressing need
[nine-month-old babies] actually cry when they’re put down but want to be held, when they’re put to bed but want to stay up, when they’re given a bath but don’t want one.
I’m struggling to see how anyone could be so far removed from understanding babies to even start to utter that thought. For those of you who haven’t been there, babies cry due to discomfort – pain, hunger and tiredness being the main culprits. Unfortunately, due to communication gap (inconveniently, they are not born talking) it’s often difficult for the adult care-givers to guess what exactly the problem is at any given moment, and often even more difficult to find a solution. The crying is irritating, it’s annoying, it’s painful to listen to, and it takes us away from the things we would rather be doing. When we can’t solve the problem, it’s confusing /distressing/ maddening but just because we don’t know the physical reason, it does not for a second mean that the child doesn’t have a genuine need that is the caregiver’s responsibility to meet.
sin 4 – selfishness
They want what they want and aren’t happy when they’re told no, when they don’t get their way. Someone once said, babies come into the world thinking they’re the center of it and spend the rest of their lives finding out they’re not. Pretty true.
Yes, the final ‘sin’ is that babies are ‘selfish’. If babies weren’t ‘selfish’ and born craving love and attention, they would die. It’s that simple. They can do nothing for themselves.
And how can it be considered sinful for any human being to have preferences and expectations?
If we were to ignore every ounce of common sense and behavioural science that exists in the world, and accepted these charges, let’s imagine what a ‘sin-free’ child would be like. A child born pre-programmed to understand the feelings of others; a child that has no interest in exploring and learning from the world; a child that utters no sound when it is hungry, tired or in pain; a child who wants no attention and has no personal preferences. An interesting proposition. Robot, dead or psychopath? You choose.
Are you talking about a miniature version of a fundamentalist reborn Christian?
Nic pic, btw.
Change your theme….make the photos bigger.
The more I find out about these fundies, the more I realise why you go ranty overboard with them on occasion, although I do stress the woman who wrote this stuff seems very nice.
I like my theme, it’s nice and simple, although it seems to cut off bits of comments after about 4 replies to comments, which is a bit annoying. I like small pictures, it leaves the viewer wanting more, hehe.
Ah…yes, the comment thingy. Was going to mention this. Initially thought it was me and the anti xian stance. Odd that it cuts them off. Maybe adjust your comment settings?
I am not going to go ‘ranty overboard’ for a while. Rather stay in the boat and confine my ‘biting wit’ to humour as opposed to biting.
Haha, can’t wait to watch this!
I need to get out the Spam tin, right? I was warned by SOMEBODY…no names.
Ark, I’d better stop commenting here or I’ll join you in the spam tin 😉
Not at all! I’m delighted to have discussions with everyone and appreciate the opportunity to go into more detail.
Okay, changed theme. What do you reckon? I really like it – only thing is the light colour of the typeface, which might make it tiring or difficult to read. I didn’t know there were so many themes to choose from.
This woman’s thinking is deplorable.
“They want what they want and aren’t happy when they’re told no, when they don’t get their way. Someone once said, babies come into the world thinking they’re the center of it and spend the rest of their lives finding out they’re not. Pretty true.”
They don’t come into the world THINKING at ALL. They have TEN TIMES the neurons that adults do … none of which start organizing themselves in any personally “meaningful” way (basic structures can be influenced in the womb based on the stress level of the mother) until observations are made … behaviors are mimicked, & the neuronal architecture begins pruning itself. Adults LITERALLY have control over the SHAPE of a child’s “mind”.
Excellent point! It’s taken me ages to do this post because it’s just so wrong on so many levels, but where to start …. I really appreciate some basic scientific facts, it’s really helpful. I hope someone with more of a background in developmental psychology will chime in too.
Becky’s actually really nice and engages in meaningful dialogue in a useful way. That’s kind of what made the whole thing even more shocking. And she didn’t budge an inch. I’m sure she’s nice to children, in spite of her seriously dangerous view of them.
Another thing she is not considering is what an incredibly small sample size she is dealing with. 100 babies? So what? And do they all come from the same community? If 100 babies were randomly selected from all around the world, her observations would say a little more- but not much.
Yet another case of human beings and their poor maths skills.
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Actually the header quote is not her. It was a quote she took from some people that ran a church nursery (gulp!) to confirm her view of things. I expect all of them were left to ‘cry it out’ as babies and slapped every time they were disobedient. That sort of thing combined with totally natural kiddy behaviour.
Unfortunately, we have that ideal. Away in a Manger: “The little Lord Jesus no crying he makes”. Well, babies are not crying all of the time.
Original sin is a strong concept in Christianity, but so is Original Blessing.
Jared Diamond’s is the Radio 4 Book of the Week atm, and he writes of children being allowed in other societies to play with risky things- sharp objects, fires, hot pans- and learn from their mistakes. It is an option. Parents here would feel responsible if a child played with a knife and cut himself, and that would be something absolutely to avoid. He reports that hunter-gatherers punish children far less, and posits that this is because the child cannot damage anything valuable; but farmers with livestock punish more, because a child could leave a gate open so that valuable stock escapes.
Excellent! I’ll definitely try and listen to that, sounds really interesting. My in-laws think my European over-protective ways are very weird. Families of four and five squeeze on to mopeds without any helmets, and kids and babies clamber around cars with no seatbelts on. We get so used to our standards of safety, rightly based on research and cutting down unnecessary deaths, but it’s a shock to the system to see what happens in other countries.
“They want what they want and aren’t happy when they’re told no, when they don’t get their way. Someone once said, babies come into the world thinking they’re the center of it and spend the rest of their lives finding out they’re not.”
Man I’m not sure I’d apply that to babies (though it sounds pretty accurate, they have their needs and to deny them their needs is called child neglect) but it sounds pretty much like those people that want all the sex they can have and when it backfires, quickly run to get an abortion.
Haha, yes, and I’m delighted to have opinions that make no sense either. 🙂
I did post this link before… am posting it again…