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.