Child abuse of a pernicious kind

I write this in anger. Today a Jehovah’s Witness knocked on my door. He had in tow a girl of about eight years, who I later learned was his daughter. I quickly told him I wasn’t interested, and pointed out the extent of inconsistency and forgery in the Bible. One thing led to another, and he started on evolution and the Big Bang. He asked “Do you believe we are descended from apes?”. I said we have a common ancestor (sadly forgetting that we are apes!).

When he pulled out a leaflet on creationism I really lost my rag. He got both barrels – I said that what really irked me was not so much that he believed this rubbish, but that he was indoctrinating this young person with it. I told him it was child abuse and he should stop. He claimed that surely parents had the right to tell their children whatever they liked. I said no they don’t, if they are going to tell them things that are not true and are harmful.

I asked if he had ever read any of the evidence for evolution. He said “I choose not to”. In fact he had not read any science book since school. I asked him why he was coming to me with irrational ideas, when he had not bothered to look at any of the evidence surrounding the debate. He said “Well I respect your beliefs”.

“No no”, I blustered, “you misunderstand all this, it is not about belief, it is about evidence. My belief counts for nothing, only the evidence matters, and the evidence for evolution is so overwhelming that it is no longer considered a theory, it is a fact”.

Well I have summarised a bit, but the whole exchange was only about five minutes. I just hope that I sowed a tiny seed in that developing brain, that will one day germinate into a question about belief and evidence. But I am not very hopeful. I really don’t handle these situations well, they just make me too angry.

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2 Responses

  1. I was brought up in the JWs and remained in it until my early twenties. I recall my older sister saying once how her teacher in junior school had been telling the class about evolution – which got the parental response, “Then your teacher is a very wicked man.” A couple of years later when I went into that terrible guy’s class I discovered what a wonderful teacher he was. and I still consider myself indebted to him.
    Yes, just sow a tiny seed here and there. They sometimes grow.

  2. Actually, I once persuaded a visiting Jehovah’s Witness that the Bible was written by 4 groups of people at different times (J, E, etc.). I had just completed a Religious Knowledge O-level. If you start from their belief in the Bible, they will quickly come to realise the inconsistencies, and how it shouldn’t be taken literally.

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