I used the term “Christian cocoon” in an editorial to describe
conservative upbringing which includes claims that gays and heathens like me deserve to burn in hell. The Old Testament and Romans 1 offer 2,000 year-old primitive thinking that fuel such charming ideas.
Most raised within a given faith aren’t so indoctrinated that one could use that term, thankfully, but many are and its purpose is to limit information, to indoctrinate, to keep children from knowledge we all share.
Some even resort to homeschooling to make sure only restrictive religious instruction can occur.
Joshua Johnston wrote a thoughtful reply to my use of the term and I appreciate his effort and clarity. Dialogue is what it’s all about; thanks are in order.
I’m glad he had a positive experience as a child and finds faith positive, although he uses that term in three different senses; faith in the religious sense as belief without evidence, faith as hope and as trust. We share the latter two, which are not exclusive to religion.
He implied, however, that outside of a conservative faithful upbringing, childhood is often neglectful and abusive. Not so. The vast majority of the rest of us: liberal Christians, non-Christians, yes even us nonbelievers experienced caring, fostering upbringings similar to his.
A nurturing upbringing is not exclusive to the Christian cocoon, and there are as many neglectful, abusive households within Christianity as there are in the general population; points Johnston might already appreciate had he not been brought up in one. Additionally, within the “cocoon” a lot of ugly nonsense occurs that is solely a factor of extreme religious ideas which aren’t taught in mildly or nonreligious households: telling children they’re sinners, wicked in the eyes of god, condemned to eternal torture in the fires of hell.
Such disgusting mental abuse that countless children endure is exclusive to conservative religions.
Johnston need only attend a few LGBT meetings to discover the results of growing up gay inside that cocoon.
The suicide rate being higher for LGBT kids here in the South is one of the more charming side effects when the cocoon is wrapped a bit too tight.
Furthermore, you don’t need to be gay to consider suicide when you have been indoctrinated as an impressionable young child or adolescent that you are responsible for your many sins, you are an uncontrollable sinner and consider killing yourself to avoid the shame of your unavoidable wickedness.
Isn’t that just special?
Johnston should attend our secular meetings and hear such lovely experiences others have had growing up within the cocoon.
There is also an ignorance of real world knowledge and a wealth of wholly wrongheaded ideas that can develop.
The supposition that others must live deprived, depraved lives without a religious upbringing exactly demonstrates my point. You think you know all about how the world works from what you were taught yet you’re clueless, full of Christian propaganda instead of real knowledge.
Listen to any Republican politician of the last few years spewing forth inanities they learned from their conservative Christian faith such as “women can’t get pregnant from rape,” “the Big Bang, evolution and embryology are lies from the pit of Hell,” “abortions cause cancer and birth defects” and other such gems. That’s what can happen to little religious larvae.
They grow up not to become beautiful butterflies but intellectually retarded little moths of misinformation flying around the flame of absurdity.
The denial of science, the restriction of knowledge exchange in this country is predominantly a function of conservative Christianity.
You can’t blame the poor fool politician, he’s been taught his whole life that his religion, his Bible, has all the answers. It is inerrant, it is unquestioned and some yahoo his minister brought to his church who vehemently denied “Evilution,” claimed abortions will cause cancer, or rape victims can’t get pregnant must have been telling the truth.
They didn’t bother to Google it or source a textbook on the subject or have one of their staffers call the CDC for the latest statistics on rape pregnancies in this country.
They didn’t give it a second thought, because thanks to the cocoon (that some still appear to live in) they didn’t need to; they undoubtedly assumed they already had the truth.
So the point is education, which living in any religious cocoon restricts. I’m not interested in “stirring” anyone up. I’m interested in the exchange of information; education.
Knowledge is the point and growing up within any ideology restricts information about other people.
Heck, maybe I’ll save some future Republican the embarrassment of shooting his or her mouth off with some inanity they learned through their church by bothering to check the facts first.
Like them, if you grew up in the cocoon, you probably need to get out more.
Column by William Zingrone, Associate professor of psychology