Maybe this is just another example of confirmation bias at work, only as viewed through this atheist’s rose colored glasses, but why does it seem that whenever something particularly horrible, or pathetically sad happens, somehow religion or religious sensibilities seems to be lurking in the background, or coloring the fringe? Vjack has an ongoing series over at Atheist Revolution on the topic, continually pointing out the sordid news that occurs when religious people take their beliefs to extremes, something along the lines of “Know Them By Their Deeds”. He rightly points out Christian hypocrisy with real life stories of religious extremists who rationalize their bad deeds with their religion. It looks like another one looming on the horizon.
The news item that caught my eye wasn’t the sort that immediately made me think “OK. Another Christian nut” until I read the article a little further down the fold. You’re probably all familiar by now with the case of the 11 year old girl who was kidnapped in 1991, long thought to be dead, and who has recently been found, and hopefully reunited with her parents at the age of 29. The odd part of the story is that she was held by her kidnapper for 18 years, and actually bore two children to the man, the first when she was 14. Here’s one of the online articles.
Apparently, he kidnapped this little girl, sexually abused her (she had a child at age 14, so it would be hard to deny sexual abuse) had two children by her, children who have apparently never been to school or a doctor. And how does he get caught after all this time?
Their identities were revealed after police spotted Mr Garrido as he handed out religious literature at the University of California Berkeley campus with the two young children.
He was handing out religious literature, when he was called in by his parole officer. As a registered sex offender, it’s a condition of his parole to not be around little children, yet he’s handing out religious material with little children in tow. He must have wanted to get caught.
It sounds like he was a bad boy, and his demons got the best of him. Then, once he realized what he had done (after siring two children to a teenager) he “got” religion.
Some of those who had had contact with Mr Garrido over recent years said he had developed increasingly strong religious beliefs.
Tim Allen, who did business with Mr Garrido’s printing firm, told Associated Press that Mr Garrido gave the impression he was planning to establish a church. “He rambled. It made no sense,” Mr Allen said.
It doesn’t sound like religion had anything to do with the man’s pedophilia, or his kidnapping of the child -yet. But I still find it strange that he had the type of mentality that led him to want to establish a church, and hand out religious literature to people on street corners. Clearly a disturbed individual. It sounds like he was simply looking for another outlook for his inherently warped viewpoints, and religion seemed to fit the bill, once he got too old to abuse little girls.
So those of you who are inclined to point out that it was after he got religion that he fessed up, and therefore religion is actually the cause of the child being reunited with her family, ask yourself why religion is even in this news story. Shouldn’t religion have prevented this in the first place? And why is it that clearly disturbed or aberrant humans are so attracted to religion?
No conclusions here. You can start to get a sense of his mind, however, from his blog. He also was in the process of starting other blogs, equally religious. Either he changed his mind or he was arrested before he could add content. We’ll have to probably wait until all the facts are known, especially after all the material the man left with authorities that show a
…most powerful, heart-warming story…
is released to the public, before we know exactly what motivated him.
I suspect, however, that religion is not going to come out of this one smelling like roses.
I’ve always found it curious that almost all the outgoing crazy people you run into tend to rant about God, and the government. I don’t know how many times I’ve been handed some crazily convoluted government conspiracy newsletter by one of these guys, usually peppered with bible verses. (Once, though, I did meet a guy who knew how to shoot down invisible ufo’s with beams from his eyes. Pretty impressive, I had to admit).
Not all religious people have mental disorders. But nearly all people with mental disorders have religious beliefs.
Then again, depending on which part of the Bible you read, these nutters may be the only honest Christians, neh?
I don’t think religion will come out smelling like roses, but I don’t think it will come out smelling like a dead fish wrapped in newsprint either. Unless someone makes an explicit connection between his religious beliefs and his criminal (as well as grossly immoral) activities, religion probably will not (and probably should not) play a major role in this story.
Did I overlook a confession?
If getting caught handing out religious flyers is the evidence that religion was responsible for reuniting the family, then what if he was handing out flyers about mind control, which seems to be another passionate interest of his? Would that then be indicative of the power and truth of mind control, or can evidence like this only be used to support arguments for the power of religion?
“I suspect, however, that religion is not going to come out of this one smelling like roses.”
LOL! When does religion EVER come out smelling like roses with you, SI?
I’d go along with what Evo says about religious beliefs, as religion is a good way out with those wishing to escape accountability. I’m glad we’re using the term religion, here, as Christianity, practiced by TRUE Christians, doesn’t allow for such stuff.
Jim, where did you meet this guy with the beaming eyes… at an AA meeting? LOL!
Oh, I’m sorry, I must have missed Billy’s insightful comment.
Actually, I didn’t, nor do I.
Did you mean God there? Since, as you state, the man confessed after he found religion, the question seems odd.
Not all religious people have mental disorders.
That’s only because the people who decide what is and what isn’t a “mental disorder” have the religious mental disorder themselves.
Is it the weekend already, Giddyup? Damn, it sneaks up so fast.
I’m inclined to think that not all believers have mental disorders, just as not all drinkers are alcoholics and not all gamblers are problem gamblers. For whatever reasons, people indulge in vices but some can’t control their need to indulge and/or can’t discern when it’s appropriate and when it’s not, like driving or voting.
@ Philly & EX –
Ex makes a very interesting point that I’ve given some thought to lately. Just as morals change, over time, so do psychiatric description of what is and is not an “illness”. Really how it works is – if most people do it (and particularly elites) then it isn’t an illness.
For instance, if you look at the medical definition of the word “delusion” (not the Oxford Dictionary, but a psychiatric textbook) you will see that it is really quite close to describing nearly anyone with religious beliefs (not just the “nutters”).
And yet, there is no definition of religion as mental illness – only descriptions of “psychotics” who hear the voice of god, devil, angels, etc. The extreme cases that is.
Now, I don’t think that in 200 years there will only be a handful of people with religious beliefs. But **if** that happens, I would predict that such beliefs would have a psychological definition of disease, as Ex implies.
I almost wrote an article on this story. I didn’t because it seems like religious remorse led the man to confess.
But religion is playing a role here. If, as he claims, he changed his ways when his younger daughter was born, why did he keep them captive all these years?
I have a speculation to offer: he rationalized that his past sins had been washed by the blood of Jesus, and a few of those sins had to do with Dugard: kidnapping her, raping her, keeping her captive, making her have his children.
In his mind, God forgave him for all that, so he has no guilt about it, which nicely exemplifies one of the problems of Christianity: If offers hope to the UNDESERVING.
I met that guy in a hotel lobby at 2 in the morning. I was a night auditor for a large hotel in OR back in the day. You wouldn’t believe the crazies who’d wander in late at night. The only place ever topped that for hearing nutso stories about all kinds of crazy shit, was church. “God did this. God did that. God spoke to me. God grew a new eyeball for my friend. God showed me the end of the world in my dream. I open the bible at random, and God talks to me like that. God reveals His presence to me through cold chills, or sometimes hot flashes, or when I speak in tongues like this…shandedikasandorechtimadadosandiergglurgglechbocceballamoebanecktie.”
Good writeup. You took the words right out of my mouth. If he was proselytizing, you would think he would be living his “faith” instead of siring kids with a kidnapped child. Kinda defeats the purpose, eh? Or maybe he wanted to start a religion because he felt like such a guilty sinner. A kind of twisted penance. But one can’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t have just been easier not to commit the heinous crime in the first place?
I wouldn’t be surprised if it came out he was molesting his daughters, too. The mind just reels.
And John Evo, you nailed it.
Conspiratorial ramblings are almost mandatory as people begin to lose their minds.
It seems to me that the nut-jobs are attracted to religion because the religious are gullible by nature; providing an instant safe haven, surrounded by trusting individuals who take you at your word! If a Christian for example; sees you in church, they automatically assume you must be a good person. It’s a marriage made in “heaven” for a sick F*ck looking for a place to hide.
“It seems to me that the nut-jobs are attracted to religion… it’s a marriage made in “heaven” for a sick F*ck looking for a place to hide.”
Sounds like a good place for you to hide, there, Zedge. Trust, however, is a virtue, something lost on hard-bitten infidels like yourself.
I don’t automatically assume that everyone claiming to have Christ is good, in fact, that’s against scriptural teaching. In God’s view, none are good, only Christ.
You need to read your Bible, boy, and not Skanks Illustrated!
There have been a couple of references to the guy confessing due to his religion. That, if you’ll pardon my French, is une pile de merde.
The guy got pulled in for breaking the terms of his parole and had to explain who these two kids were and where they came from. I doubt anyone was going to take “I dunno,” as an answer.
He didn’t walk in off the street and fess up out of overwhelming guilt. The guy got caught breaking his parole. His parole officer was going to have to look around his house. Getting caught was inevitable. All he did was throw up his hands and say, “It’s a fair cop.” No brownie points for that.
What happened, Giddyup? You send the Highwayman back to the Highway?
“Skanks Illustrated” – LOL
I dunno… he must of seen your ugly face, and got scared? I know I would be!
Obviously not scared enough.
Maybe not, but your puss might do the job!
Thus, Harris’s observation that “there is sanity in numbers.”
Some of you might enjoy this farce.
Have a nice day
I see that the “no true Christian” defense is getting airplay at Desert Pastor’s blog, to which you linked. I expect many other Christians are following suit, as there seems to be little else they can do except distance themselves from the creep.
In your honest opinion, was Pekka-Eric Auvinen a true atheist?
The only way one can be “no true atheist” is to believe in a god or gods. Period. We’re not the ones with a problem acknowledging that there are people who agree with us, re: gods, who are crazy, homicidal or both.
Yes. And if they say they are an atheist, then change their minds (something a true freethinker is allowed to do) then they are no longer a true atheist.
And who the fuck is Pekka-Eric Auvinen? Better yet, who cares?
Never mind. I looked him up. The second question still stands.
I care, because I’m trying to understand the logic behind these “No True Christian” complaints atheists like yourself and the chaplain often use. When somebody who calls themselves a “Christian” does something horrendous, others who also call themselves “Christian” are faced with a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” type situation. For example, that guy near you who shot up the gym: on the one hand, atheists and skeptics are constantly complaining that the “moderate Christians” need to speak out against the fanatics and fundies. Okay, fair enough. Yet, OTOH, when “moderate Christians” do speak up and criticize the fanatics and fundies, certain atheists reply by mocking them with “No True Christian” allegory.
It just doesn’t add up.
I ran across a blog before with self-proclaimed atheists who said they pray to various gods, including Thor. I think it’s fair to say that they’re doing it wrong.
Unfortunately the only requirement for being an atheist is to think god claims are crap, but what’s missing in the definition is what that opinion is based on. That’s where an atheist is in danger of a NTS if they claim the atheists who arrive at their opinions due to reading tea leaves, trusting their guts or something similarly silly aren’t true atheists. There needs to be either a new word or a modifier word tacked on to atheist to reflect how one got there, but we’ve been over this before.
Of course the way for anyone to avoid NTS is to simply make it personal, such as saying, “that’s not what I think of as X” or “he’s not my kind of X.” Of course that’s impossible for the religious since there is no such thing as a different kind, only their way (the true way) and the wrong way (not true way), so their doomed to committing the fallacy.
Oh, and the Desert Pastor finally ran out of defenses for my questions, so I was deemed a troll and my comments no longer accepted. You do have to love a comment policy with a rule like “We will not tolerate your intolerance of our intolerance.” LOL!
I understand your idea here, but I still don’t see how that would help. As we all know, “atheist” – in and of itself – simply denotes lack of belief in God(s). As such, it shouldn’t matter how one got there. Now, if we’re discussing rationalist, that’s different, because the “how one got there” is crucial: tea leaf reading isn’t rational. But why should the atheist who believes on account of empirical data be judged any differently than the atheist like Ex who figured it all out at age 6?
I think the problem is that “Christian” implies a certain code of behavior that “Christians” are expected to exude – Christlikeness. Atheism doesn’t imply anything other than absence of belief, so it’s impossible for one atheist to use the “No True Atheist” trope to marginalize atrocities committed by other atheists – because there’s no “set behavior” atheists are expected to exude.
The heart of my question is this: in what way can one believer criticize another without certain atheists getting snippety?
I feel your pain. Atheists are no better than Christians when it comes to wanton disregard of free speech.
It probably didn’t help that Gideon went on and told them you were a troll. He’s about as helpful as a bag of cement to a drowning man. Of course, he’s a self proclaimed “true Christian” so they automatically accept his word.
Crying about trolls doesn’t help anyone except those who are either frustrated and/or can’t win an argument.
Atheists are no better than Christians when it comes to wanton disregard of free speech.
On the one hand, there is a certain truth to this – did we not just agree that regardless of how one becomes an atheist – being an atheist simply means “no god beliefs”? If that **is** all it means then whether one disregards free speech or not is of no relevance.
OTOH – Since some % of atheists actually achieve non-belief by the use of reason, while few (if any) Christians arrive through this process, and since reason will carry on in other areas of intellectual pursuit, you might predict that Christian blogs to have less respect for free speech overall than atheists blogs.
Despite cl’s personal experience (which doesn’t include the very blog at which he is making the statement), I feel confident that the data would confirm the prediction.
“Of course, he’s a self proclaimed “true Christian” so they automatically accept his word.”
They knew what you were long before I even showed up, Chief. And, one look at your blog is enough to show anyone what a closed-minded twit you are.
You slander and vilify Christians, wantonly, and now all of a sudden you’re a victim? LOL! Gimmee a break!
You censor comments you don’t like, and suddenly free speech is a concern with you? What a fucking liar and con artist you are!
And you, Spantard Iniquity… you’re about as useful as tits on a boar, yourself! You’re not interested in anything that you didn’t dream up, yourself, just like most of the other infidels, here.
I can well imagine what a two-bit shyster you are, in real life. I wouldn’t hire your services as an attorney unless I WANTED to lose, because, you can’t muster even the remotest objectivity. You’re probably a prosecutor… you’re good at labeling and judging folk, when you know dick about them.
cl… I’m not crying about anything. And, I don’t see you wearing these guys down with anything you say, either. I’m certainly not frustrated, because I know what truth is. If they can’t or won’t accept the truth, I’m not going to lose any sleep over them.
Remember what Christ said about those that won’t listen? I guess not, because you’re still here.
Me… I’m here, because, I think I’ve got a little of Samson in me!
Bag of Cement?
Me… I’m here, because, I think I’ve got a little of Samson in me!(Bag)
Obviously not enough, he’s dead, you on the other hand aren’t.
Bag O’ Cement
Ahhh… thank you SI. Would you suggest I start reading your comments?
While I do enjoy your vitriol, the following is a bit too far:
Do I think Philly’s the most open-minded person out there? Of course not. Still, I don’t see why you felt the need to show up and taint things for everyone. That just makes you look suspect, or inspired by ulterior motives. I think you should’ve criticized “Desert Pastor” if anyone, because Philly had a point in that thread.
Feel however you want. It doesn’t change the facts.
Just mine. You can ignore Bag O’Cement’s. Unless you need a chuckle from a chucklehead.
cl, why bother?
Unlike some, I’m not bothered by being labeled a troll or banned. As the old saying goes, I’ve been thrown out of far classier joints than that.
Refusing to publish my comments reflects poorly on them, not me, so no worries. 🙂
cl — LOL! There were no “facts” at issue – from me **or** you.
Actually, the only thing you said was – “Atheists are no better than Christians when it comes to wanton disregard of free speech.” Perhaps you had some “facts” hidden in there that I missed. FLOL! WHERE IS YOUR EVIDENCE FOR THIS FAITH-BASED STATEMENT?
Oh, my bad. You did say one other thing about it – “I feel your pain.”
Hey, **feel** any way you want, cl. It doesn’t change the facts!
Here it goes again… 😐
Indeed SI – why bother about what I say to Gideon? Does it bother you that I talk to him? If so, why? If not, relax and let me live.
Hey, remember what you said about assuming now. 😉 See, I was never bothered by being labeled a troll or banned, for exactly the reasons you describe above: it does “reflect poorly on them.” The only thing that bothers me about my detractors is that their constant accusations detract from the actual arguments.
Yes, as does their accusation and ad hominem nonsense, but I noticed you didn’t make that connection for some reason. As for me, I’m just glad you seem to have given up your old ways. 😉
I bet they’ll ban me from there pretty soon, too, as I took to your defense. We’ll see.
Here’s a very simple, non-nuanced, “yes-or-no” type of question: if SI were to ban you from his blog right now, would it be a fact that SI banned you from his blog?
What? Philly. Tell me it’s not true!
Well I’ve given up on buying Becks cans because I realized they were cheating me out of 0.8oz per can and now buy Heineken.