Talk 08: Let’s Not Forget About Spiritual Abuse
Speaker: Hieromonk Kosmas
(Duration: 2hr 2min)
In the last few decades, much has been said about the effects of emotional, sexual, and physical abuse, particularly on children. What is often overlooked is that not all forms of abuse are so obvious. Many parenting practices that the world sees as perfectly normal and even beneficial are very harmful spiritually. By engaging in these practices through ignorance or slackness, many Orthodox Christians become guilty of spiritually abusing their own children.
In this talk, Father Kosmas examines a number of common practices that in reality are spiritually abusive. He brings to light that many problems experienced by adults stem from the spiritual abuse they suffered as children, and he describes how many spiritually abused people either never come to the Church or, if they do, find even basic spiritual life very difficult.
The following questions are also discussed: can the devil heal? Are all sins forgivable? Is demonic possession always bad? Are God’s judgements always fair? How does the devil make false promises? What is the “can’t feel” syndrome? Why are jails and hospitals full? How does the devil present himself as our friend? How does monasticism have a positive effect on society? Can God’s chastisement be an act of love? Is it foolish for parents to be preoccupied with their children’s intelligence and academic success?
Other topics covered in this talk include: how social and emotional problems in children can stem from spiritual abuse; the harm caused by early education of infants and toddlers; encouragement of fantasy in children; exposure of infants and toddlers to television; promotion of interest in the occult in young children and teenagers; the Antichrist and miracles; society’s disdain for childbearing and the upbringing of children; bringing up children using various psychological theories; and how Christians can mistakenly emphasize secular education over moral education.
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