Ladies and gentlemen, I realise as an atheist I am in the minority. No doubt some of you have stopped reading past the first sentence, but this is about our children. I hope you will give them the decency to make it through my case. Spanking is harmful, and we must now as loving humans accept this – just as Christians had to accept the Sun was the centre of the Solar system many years ago. There is overwhelming evidence now that compels anyone who divorces themselves from bias, that it is wrong and immoral.
As an atheist, there is nothing that need confirm my lack of belief in a God more than when it is put centre of a topic for which no other evidence exists. I can tell you that if there was a God, and he demanded that I acted in an immoral fashion – as these cowards from Joshua Generation Church seem to suggest – I would ignore his commands of evil.
Why would I say this? Why would I ignore the commands from a God even if he did exist? It is very simple – because an immoral act is immoral regardless of who commands it.
But ladies and gentlemen, it is nothing like this scenario. There is no false dichotomy of either obeying God or disobeying him in the issue of spanking. Yes, Joshua Generation Church would have you believe there is – but in fact not all Christians agree that the verses commanding the rod – Proverbs 13:24, 22:15 and 23:13-14 for example – should be taken literally. And instead say that these ancient sayings of wisdom were traditions at the time but should be treated as philosophical rather than literal. Consider Proverbs 30:17:
“The eye that mocks a father,
that scorns an aged mother,
will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley,
will be eaten by the vultures.”
Is this a literal verse? If you mock your father with your eye, do vultures and ravens appear to eat it? Going further than this, some Christians reject it as part of the new covenant. In the same abandonment of the Leviticus and Exodus slave laws, some Christians do not insert this into their new understanding of post-Christ faith. And why would they? Did Christ not come to replace these laws with messages of mercy as he spoke from the mount?
Some Christians tell me that he did. The cowards of Joshua Generation Church, who will have you believe that you must beat your children, tell you that he did not.
They tell you that to love your child, you must stand over him with a rod while he cowers in fear before you. It is true. I was also a Christian once, and used to believe exactly as they did. I also repeated the mantra of “spare the rod and spoil the child” - I have smacked my child with a wooden spoon before as he begged me not to with fear and tears in his eyes. But no mercy came. Only the hard unbending retribution of pain.
What a terrible thing, to have made me believe I should do to my children. And that I can only truly love them by this barbaric form of discipline. That we must demand our children love us and fear us at the same time. Is this not the definition of sadism? Is this not the definition of masochism? This is why I can truly say that when these Christians from Joshua Generation Church tell you to spank your children – they are cowards.
We all make mistakes as parents. I have even made the mistake of spanking after knowing it was wrong, but we can still try to aspire to be better. We can try to be the best parents we can be, and when we make mistakes apologise for them and move on.
But most of all, I refuse to believe that that is a thinking human here who when presented the evidence – and you can easily see it yourself online – would not agree that we can now use the wealth of science and information of the 21st century instead to discipline our children.
We don’t need to have a 1st century conversation with our kids anymore. Let’s have a 21st century one.