PZ Myers had a post on his blog asking readers their experience with being taught about hell.
Here is my response:
I was raised Catholic so hell was a prominent feature of many sermons. We weren’t constantly barraged with it, but it was always lurking in the background, to be brought to the forefront whenever the priest felt that his flock might be forgetting that God’s mercy wasn’t infinite.
I do remember a period of time in my pre-teens or early teens when I lived in constant, palpable fear of going to hell. It was an overwhelming, irrational, terrifying fear that was akin to having a major panic attack on constant basis.
To subject people, especially children, to this kind of terror is unspeakably cruel and is emotional abuse, as far as I’m concerned. I see no difference in scaring a child out of her wits with visions of hell and the threat of physical violence for any possible trespass. Why we allow people to do this to children is beyond me.
Why is it that a parent can be charged with child abuse if they threaten physical harm, but not a Sunday school teacher when he promises the same child eternal torment for the same offenses?