A friend of ours recieved this book for Christmas, rather ironically!, and he and B stood discussing it in the kitchen on Monday evening. The girls bustled around the table serving black eyed peas, greens and cheese grits (our New Year's Day tradition) and I eavesdropped from the dining room, sipping my chardonnay and being a total chick who eavesdrops. I generally stay out of discussions about God and religion, but with an atheistic husband, I tune in and see if I can learn something new. The topic seemed to be about organized religion as child abuse, something I've never thought about. I'm from California! Eternal damnation is not discussed in the grocery lines as I imagine it might be elsewhere. And though I come from a line of quasi-baptisty-types, I've never actually been threatened with going to hell, even for the worst of my misdemeanors. So the idea is that when little children learn about Hell and how you can get in there and not get out, and how very, very hot it surely is, it can be very frightening for them. I reckon they might envision the judgy "Hangman God" as Elizabeth Gilbert describes Him, sitting up on an ornate throne beyond the gates personally deciding the fate of naughty little children and slashing the heads off of thieves and such. I'd never thought about it, but this sounds really fucking nightmarish! I've never thought about what a child must think when they are threatened with eternal damnation. Hmm. Another weird thing that I didn't know was that atheists or those who question religion (i don't think he meant spirituality, mind you) cannot be elected to public office. Is this true?? Maggie, I know you will be able to enlighten me here. (Please note that I would have linked Maggie, but I keep getting redirected to some weird page with a dog and a scanty Santa on it.) I'm on fire with the topics these days, but I'm just itching to see what you readers think. Could organized religion be considered child abuse? Go!