Christians: Understand the Child Abuse You are Supporting



The first thing that any rational, intelligent human being should do upon watching this video is a prompt face palm. This hardly deserves an answer, but one is warranted in case there is anyone confused about why the arguments presented here are fallacious.

In the first minute of the video, the narrator explains that there are a spectrum of beliefs within Christianity. He identifies the fundamentalist and Evangelical end of the spectrum as the dangerous ones, and explains that the more moderates, simply by being Christian, are lending support to the fundamentalists.

He illustrates the "insanity" of the fundamentalist sect by a quote from Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family in his book The New Dare to Discipline (Tyndale House Publishing: 1992):
The spanking should be of sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely. After the emotional ventilation, the child will often want to crumple to the breast of his parent, and he should be welcomed with open, warm, loving arms.
This is as the quote appears in the video. I have attempted to verify the context of this quote, and as of this writing I haven't been able to.

Based on several reviews I have read, it is clear by reading the remainder of the book and not focusing on this selective quote, that Dobson doesn't advocate child abuse. He doesn't even recommend spanking for all children, as each child is different. Spanking, when used, should only be reserved for the most major of offenses: repeated willful disobedience or causing serious harm (or potential harm) to self or others, for example.

With no evidence, such as citing relevant scientific studies, the narrator asserts that striking a child is insanity. A quick Google search of "spanking" (I highly recommend doing that with Safe Search turned on) reveals that the experts are divided. Many say that spanking, in any case and for any reason, is found to increase aggressive behavior in children. But others note that adults who received spanking as children are happier and more well-adjusted. Where reader comments were allowed, the anecdotal evidence seemed to tell the story that kids who were spanked are more disciplined, while the cousins they grew up with who had no discipline are all in jail now.

Experts still caution parents who wish to use spanking to use it sparingly, as a last resort only, and never in anger. The critics of spanking are unable to point to a single study that definitively shows it to be bad parenting and producing children prone to violent outbursts.

Bearing all the above in mind, it is just plain wrong for the narrator to operate on the assumption that spanking is harmful when no consensus exists among child-rearing experts. At best, one can conclude that spanking itself is neutral, but the way it is carried out and upon whom the punishment is inflicted are all factors in determining whether or not it is actually good or bad.

Next, the video does an underhanded and dirty trick. Maintaining that he is still directly quoting Dobson's book, the narrator re-emphasizes part of the above quote, but switches the word "spanking" to "beating"--no doubt for maximum emotional effect. He then attempts to show that this is insane by replacing "child" with other terms, like "woman," "your spouse," "the dog," and (my personal favorite) "the puppy."

The relationship in view in Dobson's quote (which ceases to be a quote when the narrator switched words) is parent to child. Man to woman, husband to wife, and master to dog are completely different relationships and therefore the comparisons are irrelevant. The narrator does nothing to show that spanking is inherently wrong beyond the bare assertion. Substituting "puppy" in the quote is another argument by outrage, designed to invoke the maximum emotional outrage and so shut down all rational argument.

As the two minutes or so of video that follow from this point have been demonstrated to be based on false premises and argument from outrage, there is no need to respond any further.

If you are a rational, thinking, adult, this video should be obvious for the mindless drivel that it is.
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