Author Topic: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths  (Read 8307 times)

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Offline jedweber

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Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« on: November 08, 2011, 11:20:28 AM »
The NY Times has done a profile on fundie parenting "experts" Mike and Debi Pearl, whose books on biblical child-rearing have sold hundreds of thousands of copies. They advocate beating children with PVC tubing and starting physical discipline on babies as young as six months.

Despite several deaths linked to their methods, the Pearls are unapologetic, saying that the overly abusive parents are just doing it wrong.

Quote
Preaching Virtue of Spanking, Even as Deaths Fuel Debate
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/07/us/deaths-put-focus-on-pastors-advocacy-of-spanking.html?src=recg

Offline velkyn

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2011, 12:29:33 PM »
hmm, it's a wonder they simply didn't say "It was God's will that the parent beat their child to death.". 

And gee, the bible says it's perfectly okay to kill your disobediant child.  Gasp! Are they speaking against God? 
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Offline dloubet

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2011, 02:19:39 PM »
If Lawn Darts were yanked from the shelves because people "did it wrong", then surely their books should suffer the same fate.

At least a fucking warning label stating this book can kill your kid.
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Offline Historicity

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2011, 02:47:07 PM »
I had heard of them before.  Thanks, JedWeber, for the update link.

Offline Nick

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2011, 03:02:17 PM »
Maybe they need some illustrations so parents can see the right way.   No, hitting Billy over the head repeatedly with a PVC pipe can cause some kind of brain damage or death.  Two or three times no problem.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2011, 03:10:10 PM »
While discipline is necessary and children need to know that there are limits they can't cross without consequences, I certainly draw the line at what amounts to beating a child with a stick unless they're really out of control (in which case, the parent wasn't doing their job to begin with, and their ineptness might well have provoked the out-of-control behavior).  And Mr. Pearl's characterization of his methods being like those the Amish use to discipline mules is actively offensive.  Children aren't dumb animals, who only respond to a crude reward/punishment scheme.  A child is capable of reason and comprehension, and there are certainly ways to correct errant behavior without resorting to the crudeness of beating them simply because an adult is stronger.

Offline Hatter23

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2011, 04:10:30 PM »
The NY Times has done a profile on fundie parenting "experts" Mike and Debi Pearl, whose books on biblical child-rearing have sold hundreds of thousands of copies. They advocate beating children with PVC tubing and starting physical discipline on babies as young as six months.

Despite several deaths linked to their methods, the Pearls are unapologetic, saying that the overly abusive parents are just doing it wrong.

Quote
Preaching Virtue of Spanking, Even as Deaths Fuel Debate
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/07/us/deaths-put-focus-on-pastors-advocacy-of-spanking.html?src=recg

They aren't "Real Users of Our Method/Christians"
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline curiousgirl

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2011, 05:09:19 PM »
This kind of topic enrages me. Hitting a kid with PVC tubing??? Spanking a 6-month-old with a switch???!! My son is almost 3 and time-outs or redirecting his attention gets him to behave better.

I saw Mr. Pearl on CNN recently and he denies that his book is to blame for the deaths of those poor children. I say he is an idiot in denial. From the article:

Quote

Some of the Williamses’ other tactics also seemed to involve Pearl advice taken to extremes; the Pearls say that “a little fasting is good training,” for example, and suggest hosing off a child who has potty-training lapses....

You don't make a child go hungry for bad behavior. And you don't hose off a kid who is having trouble potty-training. You have to encourage them and use positive reinforcement.

Quote
Mr. Pearl describes child-rearing as a zero-sum test of wills. If a verbal warning does not work, he said, “you have the seeds of self-destruction.”

How freaking ignorant. Children test parents with their behavior because they are learning what behavior is acceptable, not because they are on the road to self-destruction! Pearl needs to get his ass to a few parenting classes. Hitting a kid teaches "might equals right" and to live in fear. I am speaking from personal experience.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 05:11:41 PM by curiousgirl »
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2011, 05:39:17 PM »
Children are pretty resilient.  I don't think it's necessarily bad to use limited physical discipline, as long as it's infrequent and is reserved for really egregious behavior.  For example, if a child were to start deliberately hurting animals by pulling on their tails (someone who is willing to hurt animals for enjoyment is not far from being willing to hurt people for the same reason).  What teaches "might makes right" is when an adult primarily uses physical power as discipline.

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2011, 05:45:31 PM »
That video of the Texan judge whipping his daughter is nauseating. Neat revenge on her part though (she posted it), and six million people have seen him for the abusive creep he is.



Apparently he's beyond the reach of the law because of the statute of limitations...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/03/texas-judge-william-adams-beats-daugther
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 05:50:26 PM by Gnu Ordure »

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2011, 05:49:34 PM »
Jaime:
Quote
While discipline is necessary and children need to know that there are limits they can't cross without consequences, I certainly draw the line at what amounts to beating a child with a stick unless they're really out of control
So you condone beating a child with a stick in certain circumstances?

Did you watch that video, Jaime? Do you approve or disapprove?

Offline Traveler

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2011, 06:08:58 PM »
...Children aren't dumb animals, who only respond to a crude reward/punishment scheme...

The idea that "dumb animals" learn well with physical discipline has been totally and thoroughly debunked. Animals learn faster, more thoroughly, and with less damage to their temperaments if they're treated with positive reinforcement and gentle training methods. That anyone still hits their child or their animal, in what should be a more enlightened age, sickens me.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2011, 06:21:58 PM »
I think I got a bit carried away when writing that paragraph.  So, in order to avoid rationalizing:

Gnu Ordure:  No, I don't condone beating a child with a stick to punish them.

Traveler:  I also don't condone punishing animals with physical abuse. 

Offline curiousgirl

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2011, 06:36:25 PM »
Children are pretty resilient.  I don't think it's necessarily bad to use limited physical discipline, as long as it's infrequent and is reserved for really egregious behavior.  For example, if a child were to start deliberately hurting animals by pulling on their tails (someone who is willing to hurt animals for enjoyment is not far from being willing to hurt people for the same reason).  What teaches "might makes right" is when an adult primarily uses physical power as discipline.

OK, let's discuss your example about hurting animals. My little toddler son used to slap our cat and pull its tail to see what would happen, but I did not use physical punishment on him, because that would have taught him that his hitting was OK if I had hit him. I consistently gave him time-outs and he realized I would not tolerate his behavior, so now he is gentle with the cat.

Time-outs for bad behavior and positive reinforcement for good behavior are the best and most effective ways to parent, IMHO. It's great how quickly my son picks up his toys when I sing "The Clean-Up Song" because it is positive for him. Most kids are not "bad" kids, and love praise and encouragement or rewards that they can earn. They will respond much better to that than to being hit.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2011, 06:48:49 PM »
Don't have time to comment on the rest but when I first heard about the judge case I figured it to be a situation blown out of proportion. A spoiled angry kid looking to embarrass her daddy over getting a spanking. I was only able to watch about 5 seconds after his first strike. I am all for corporal punishment as a rare tool in a parents arsenal but what I just saw constitutes assault in my mind. Even when I have been furious at my oldest daughter I never cussed her. I never used anything other than my hand. I never struck her more than once. Afterwards we had a nice long talk about what she did and why it was wrong.
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Offline Traveler

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2011, 06:53:47 PM »
...Traveler:  I also don't condone punishing animals with physical abuse.

Cool beans.  ;D
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2011, 06:57:48 PM »
Well, I'm certainly not suggesting that it's appropriate to hit a child just because they hit or hurt an animal.  But if one were to hurt a pet in order to get enjoyment...well, I'm not going to arbitrarily rule out all possibility of corporal punishment, especially if I'd already tried other means that didn't work to stop it.  In general, I completely agree with you.

Offline Traveler

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2011, 07:03:45 PM »
They say that harming animals can be a prelude to harming humans. One of several indicators (at least in hindsight) of criminal pathology. Kids who burn cats, kill animals, etc., are sick and need help and guidance. If they're a true sociopath, I'm not sure that any punishment or guidance will make a difference. I don't know enough about the pathology to know that. General kid's stuff, i.e., experimenting with harm before they've grown a conscience, I suspect would be easily fixed with gentle parental guidance. You know, kids who pull legs off spiders and such when they're young, but generally grow into normal, kind human adults.

p.s. I'm no expert on child psychology, but I don't honestly know how one would effectively deal with a child who derived pleasure from harming animals. I think if I were in that situation I'd be consulting with every child psychologist I could get to talk with me, and wishing I hadn't had kids. Scary stuff.
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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2011, 07:23:50 PM »
Jaime:
Quote
So, in order to avoid rationalizing: Gnu Ordure:  No, I don't condone beating a child with a stick to punish them.
OK. Kudos for the swift retraction.

Quote
I think I got a bit carried away when writing that paragraph.
Indeed. One wonders why, Jaime?

(And your phrase 'a bit carried away' echoes the reason why some children end up in hospital - because their parents got 'a bit carried away' administering their violent retribution).

Corporal punishment tends to be an emotional issue. Parents who use it are reluctant to lose the argument, for obvious reasons. Victims of it may be in denial, for other reasons.

Quote
someone who is willing to hurt animals for enjoyment is not far from being willing to hurt people for the same reason
As Traveler said, a child who knowingly inflicts pain for enjoyment is showing a sign of severe disturbance. Very few children do this. Those that do need psychological help; they certainly don't need beating, which is likely to disturb them further.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 07:31:49 PM by Gnu Ordure »

Offline curiousgirl

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2011, 07:35:41 PM »
OK, Jaime and Jay, I see where you are coming from. I would not condemn another parent for spanking their child gently on the behind one time in rare cases because I cannot think of every single situation in which a parent would need to discipline their child. I am just saying that it should not usually, IMHO, be used as a form of discipline because there are usually better ways (as I mentioned earlier). It usually does more harm than good to spank:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/06/26/health/main513469.shtml

Quote

After analyzing six decades of expert research on corporal punishment, a psychologist says parents who spank their children risk causing long-term harm that outweighs the short-term benefit of instant obedience.


Also, I think motivating a kid to behave well through earning a privilege like watching a show they like or a reward like stickers is a good way to encourage behavior. Or even just using praise like, "Good job!" You can also take away fun things if they behave badly, which works amazingly well.

Obviously, modeling good behavior is of utmost importance, too. For example, my son learned how to be gentle with the cat because he saw me petting her nicely. If I had spanked him at this age for hurting the cat, it would be a case of "do as I say, and not as I do" because I would be modeling the unwanted behavior.

Back to the main point, what frustrates me about the Pearls is that they think they are right because they are doing God's will. However, that spare the rod and spoil the child stuff is an archaic ignorant shepherds' belief that needs to go. No one needs to take a rod and beat their kid to get them to be good. It just takes lots of love, effort and patience to teach a kid good behavior.
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."-Carl Sagan

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2011, 07:51:32 PM »
CuriousGirl:
Quote
OK, Jaime and Jay, I see where you are coming from. I would not condemn another parent for spanking their child gently on the behind one time in rare cases
That's just blurring the line, CG, because the individual parent defines 'gentle' and 'rare', so the definitions can vary widely.

Also, surely corporal punishment requires an element of pain? It's supposed to hurt.

So a gentle spanking is an oxymoron.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 07:55:38 PM by Gnu Ordure »

Offline curiousgirl

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2011, 07:58:00 PM »
Gnu, I personally don't spank at all. I also would not advise it. However, I can't say that it is wrong to spank in every single situation because I do not think morality is objective. I would not condemn Jay for spanking his daughter once. I disagree with spanking, but if parents are going to spank regardless of my opinion, I would hope it would be gentle and rare.
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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2011, 08:29:08 PM »
Quote
Gnu, I personally don't spank at all.
I know you don't, CG, hence my comment; I was surprised that you were willing to move the line to condone some violence in some situations.

As soon as you do that, you invite subjective interpretations of how much violence is permissable.

Any deliberate infliction of physical pain on a child constitutes abuse. That's a clear line; why blur it?

Offline curiousgirl

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2011, 09:06:45 PM »
Quote
Gnu, I personally don't spank at all.
I know you don't, CG, hence my comment; I was surprised that you were willing to move the line to condone some violence in some situations.

As soon as you do that, you invite subjective interpretations of how much violence is permissable.

Any deliberate infliction of physical pain on a child constitutes abuse. That's a clear line; why blur it?

Gnu, in my ideal world there would be no spanking. But that is the problem: my wishes are too idealistic because there are parents out there who would think that moderate spanking is right. Some will always think that, no matter what I say, because morality is subjective. Since morality is subjective, I do try to understand and respect those who have an opposing viewpoint, within reason. As for your clear line, even that is subjective. I would accept your clear line/definition in my own personal parenting, but Child Protective Services won't take away a child from his/her parents because they got spanked on the behind one time and it hurt. They would not even call it abuse. They came to my house many times when I was a kid and did not take me away even though my mom slapped me many times (I consider it abuse, they did not). So, again, I disagree with spanking and discourage it, but I cannot say that I am objectively right.
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."-Carl Sagan

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2011, 09:09:50 PM »
Hi JayB,
Quote
I was only able to watch about 5 seconds after his first strike.
Good, we agree that such behaviour constitutes child abuse.   

Quote
Even when I have been furious at my oldest daughter I never cussed her. I never used anything other than my hand.
That's not particularly reassuring; it's possible to seriously injure or kill a child using hands or fists.

Quote
I never struck her more than once.
Likewise, it's possible to kill a child (or destroy a relationship) with a single blow.

Quote
Afterwards we had a nice long talk about what she did and why it was wrong.
What you did was wrong. Would you like to have a nice talk about it?  :)
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 09:25:23 PM by Gnu Ordure »

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2011, 10:12:27 PM »
Quote
Gnu, in my ideal world there would be no spanking.
And in the real world, corporal punishment/spanking is illegal in the following countries:

Austria - Bulgaria - Croatia - Costa Rica - Cyprus - Denmark - Finland - Germany - Greece - Hungary - Iceland -Israel - Kenya - Latvia - Luxembourg - Moldova - Netherlands - New Zealand - Norway - Poland - Portugal - Romania - Sweden - Spain - Tunisia - Ukraine - Uruguay - Venezuela.

That's not many, but it's a start.

It's not a question of subjective/objective. Lines have to be drawn, and they can be drawn in different places - on both personal and societal levels.

You know violence against children is always wrong, CG. You'd never abuse your child, you've said so and I believe you (and if one day your child drives you to distraction and you do lash out in anger - I imagine that you will feel remorse and guilt and that you will apologize). 

Quote
Child Protective Services won't take away a child from his/her parents because they got spanked on the behind one time and it hurt.
No, of course not. Who said they would?

Offline jetson

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2011, 10:29:34 PM »
No physical violence towards children at all.  That's my line, and there is zero compromise.  When I was a much younger parent, I spanked my boys, and I know that it was out of sheer frustration and anger on my part.  After I realized how wrong I was, I apologized to my boys and told them they would never be hit in any way, ever again by me.

We need to work towards laws that do not allow physical abuse of children, and we can draw the line at, no physical hitting, smacking, spanking, slapping, etc.  I've seen kids arms pulled out of their sockets by parents who have no control over their anger and emotions when their kids get out of line.  Fuckin idiots...should be arrested and put in front of a judge, and told one time that they will lose their children if they do it again.  Sadly, some kids would only get one chance.

There's few things in my mind worse than physically beating kids.  Hell, I can't stand seeing parents yell at their kids, much less hit them.  The only exception I can think of is genuine self defense from a violent child.

Some adults will call me lame for being too nice, and not showing the kid who is in charge.  But I have already had several adults in charge of children's camps, and other events tell me how well behaved my son is, and he has never been hit by his parents.

Anecdotal, but it's working, and I have no reason to think that any form of hitting or violence would have been as effective.

Offline curiousgirl

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2011, 11:20:30 PM »
Quote
Gnu, in my ideal world there would be no spanking.
And in the real world, corporal punishment/spanking is illegal in the following countries:

Austria - Bulgaria - Croatia - Costa Rica - Cyprus - Denmark - Finland - Germany - Greece - Hungary - Iceland -Israel - Kenya - Latvia - Luxembourg - Moldova - Netherlands - New Zealand - Norway - Poland - Portugal - Romania - Sweden - Spain - Tunisia - Ukraine - Uruguay - Venezuela.

That's not many, but it's a start.


I am honestly glad that those countries made spanking illegal, but unfortunately, here in the US (I live in California), spanking is still legal. My point with this is that the morality of spanking is subjective because it is not universally felt that it is wrong.


It's not a question of subjective/objective. Lines have to be drawn, and they can be drawn in different places - on both personal and societal levels.

I really think it is a question of subjective or objective, because people from different parts of the world are going to have different opinions on whether spanking is right or wrong, so different lines will be drawn. Which is why I would call spanking subjectively wrong, rather than objectively wrong.

You know violence against children is always wrong, CG.
Yes, but I can only agree on a subjective basis because not everyone actually considers spanking violence. Your sentence implies that spanking is objectively wrong, but there is no objective morality. Honestly, I feel frustrated that the morality of spanking is subjective because I have a friend who spanks her son, but to her it is not abuse, and I feel like I cannot order her not to spank him in her own house. So I have to be content with the fact that I do not spank my own child.


You'd never abuse your child, you've said so and I believe you (and if one day your child drives you to distraction and you do lash out in anger - I imagine that you will feel remorse and guilt and that you will apologize). 

You are absolutely right. You know, Gnu, I think we agree with one another for the most part. Maybe it is just that you see spanking as objectively wrong, and I see it as subjectively wrong?


No, of course not. Who said they would?

I was just using the CPS illustration to show that although you said inflicting pain on a child is abuse (and I agree with you), CPS would not take action because although they usually take action when there is abuse, they do not have the same definition that you mentioned because moderate spanking is fine to them (again, because the morality of spanking is subjective).
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."-Carl Sagan

Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Child-beating Pastors Unfazed by Childrens' Deaths
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2011, 11:45:18 PM »
Hi JayB,

Hey Gnu

Quote
What you did was wrong. Would you like to have a nice talk about it?  :)

Actually, yes. Sure. What would you like to know?
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