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Mon Feb 11, 2013, 02:22 PM

Is there any religious basis for "tough love"?

A minister in my family has stunned me by being very hard-hearted regarding another family member who is struggling and fighting to regain stability following a bitter divorce and the wallop of recession. The minister falls back on the old model of "tough love", saying that a person often has to hit bottom before they can make decisions that will bring stability.

That old model does not agree with my understanding of moral teachings, and I repudiate it.

Insight: this minister in the family is an authoritarian who was married to an alcoholic.

I asked this minister if any support for "tough love" could be found in religious teachings. I got no reply.

21 replies, 1411 views

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply Is there any religious basis for "tough love"? (Original post)
grasswire Feb 2013 OP
GeorgeGist Feb 2013 #1
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #2
Warren Stupidity Feb 2013 #3
dimbear Feb 2013 #9
cbayer Feb 2013 #4
rug Feb 2013 #14
southernyankeebelle Feb 2013 #5
FBaggins Feb 2013 #6
grasswire Feb 2013 #7
okasha Feb 2013 #18
grasswire Feb 2013 #19
intaglio Feb 2013 #8
Warren Stupidity Feb 2013 #10
intaglio Feb 2013 #11
Warren Stupidity Feb 2013 #12
intaglio Feb 2013 #13
ProgressiveProfessor Feb 2013 #15
LeftishBrit Feb 2013 #16
cbayer Feb 2013 #17
grasswire Feb 2013 #21
grasswire Feb 2013 #20

Response to grasswire (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 02:24 PM

1. NO.

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Response to grasswire (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 02:26 PM

2. Here is some tough love for ya.


http://www.amazon.com/Train-Up-Child-Michael-Pearl/dp/1892112000


Other titles include; How to beat your child and not go to jail, keeping your wife submissive and obedient.





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Response to grasswire (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 02:28 PM

3. Sure, Jesus said "beat the crap out of both cheeks of your child if he dare turns the other one"

it is in the Book of Marks.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 05:16 PM

9. Turn the other cheek is to keep any one part of your body taking too much punishment.

Courtesy of Father Castell.

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Response to grasswire (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 02:31 PM

4. I am a strong proponent of "tough love" in certain circumstances.

For me, it has always meant that you no longer enable a person who is engaging in behaviors that are destroying them.

I have never thought of it as a religious concept or one backed by religion, more of a psychological concept.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 06:47 PM

14. +1

This minister sounds like he selectively went to alanon.

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Response to grasswire (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 02:31 PM

5. My mother-in-law's father was a Lutheran minister way back in the day. I

 

mean they had a farm and 4 kids and they had a maid. The kids couldn't even eat dinner in the dining room. They had to eat in the kitchen with the maid. She was a hard h eaded woman. We struggle some and they helped us once. With all the money in the bank she didn't want to help. But my father-in-law helped. We paid some of the money back and we were going to give him the rest and he said you paid me back. We tried to argue that we didn't. We knew better but you couldn't change his mind. He just didn't want the money back. He was a generous man. She was a strange person. I just think it was the way she grew up. Not much affection when she was little. The church can really be help on a personal level. But the church can't solve your problems. Sometimes you have to work it out yourselves. But if it is possible you can help them with some financing and not expecting anything back then you will be great family member for a friend.

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Response to grasswire (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 02:50 PM

6. Of course there is.

But just as "of course" - it depends on how you're defining the term.

In the Christian tradition, there's also a great deal of basis for mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 03:49 PM

7. got any citations or quotes establishing...

......a religious or spiritual basis for the "get tough" model?

I don't know of any.

Yes, the Christian tradition espouses mercy, grace, and forgiveness. This minister is of a very liberal church denomination that has no doctrine of grace.

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Response to grasswire (Reply #7)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:29 PM

18. There's the prodigal son.

He engages in addictive, self_destructive behavior, hits bottom and seeks help. His father receives him back with mercy,grace and forgiveness.

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Response to okasha (Reply #18)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 10:58 PM

19. yes, thanks

That is my counter to the tough love model. Always.

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Response to grasswire (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 03:51 PM

8. In Christianity? Yes - Start with the tale of Jephthah' daughter

Judges 11:30 - 39, Child Sacrifice
Deuteronomy 21:18 - 21, Exodus 21:15 and 17, Rebelious children should be put to death
Proverbs 13:24, He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Repeated in Proverbs 19:18
Proverbs 30:17, Mocking and despising your parents? eyes plucked out.
Jeremiah 2:30, you can correct people by killing their children.
Then there's Matthew 10:21,
That's just the start, remember Abraham? and the whole story of Jesus, accepted at face value, is child abuse.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 05:24 PM

10. Matthew 10:21 is not a rule about how to beat your children.

It is a warning of the dire shit that is going to happen to the apostles as they proselitize.


But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.

20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.

22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 05:46 PM

11. It is predicting intrafamilial violence and abuse

and does not condemn it. It does say that such abuse should be endured if you truly believe.

You want to know how it is framed?
"Read your bible, child. Only Jaysus is your salvation, I'll kill you if you don't believe ..."

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Response to intaglio (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 05:48 PM

12. no really I think you are misreading it, but go ahead.

The beat/kill/maim your children stuff is pretty much all old testament.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #12)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 06:04 PM

13. I agree that it is a misreading

except that extreme fundamentalists like Daniel and Debbie Pearl, their devotees and the Phelps clan do use such passages. They would say that your reading was wrong and that you were condemning both yourself and a child to hell by your beliefs. It is not as if the Bible is very clear because for every ethical passage in it there are others that are unethical.

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Response to grasswire (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 08:40 PM

15. YES

Though the definition of tough love varies considerably

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Response to grasswire (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:00 PM

16. So far as I know, not in the sense meant here.

The idea probably comes from an overgeneralization of something that came up with regard to his wife's alcoholism. 'Tough love' has many meanings. Sometimes it's used just to mean 'discipline'. But in the context of addiction, and apparently as used by this minister, it means more than just discipline or even punishment: it means withdrawal of support in order to avoid 'enabling' a self-destructive behaviour. It is sometimes recommended that people who are addicted to alcohol, drugs, or some self-destructive behaviour such as pathological gambling, should be subjected to 'tough love': allowing them to hit rock-bottom in order to force them to see the need to change their ways. This may have some validity with those who are indeed addicted (though it does not always work). But generalizing it to everyone suffering misfortune, stress, real or perceived failures, or mental health problems, is inappropropriate and often cruel. It is overextending a drastic 'kill or cure' treatment for a serious and potentially life-threatening problem to situations where it doesn't apply. It is as though we were to decide that, because some serious health problems require radical surgery, that it is justifiable to stick a knife into everyone who has any sort of health problem.

At the extreme, so-called 'compassionate conservatives' treat almost every social and economic problem as a form of addiction, and equate poverty with 'welfare dependency' which must be treated by cutting benefits. Often they actually use the term 'tough love' for this. This is in my opinion one of the uglier attitudes of the Right.

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 07:17 PM

17. I agree that this is often used in the context of chemical dependency and

that it can be misused as a kind of "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" kind of way, but it is also used (and used appropriately) in other situation.

Lots of times it is used when treating adolescents who are getting in all kinds of trouble and have parents (or others) that constantly bail them out. It is indeed a very, very tough thing to do. I know. But sometimes it's all you can do.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #17)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 11:11 PM

21. I value your insight.

It's a complex issue. My hope is that one size does not fit all.

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 11:10 PM

20. thank you

I agree with everything you say.

And since I have become familiar with the *diagnosis* (not DSM yet) of "complex PTSD", I think it is more difficult than ever to think that "tough love" should be applied to people who are broken by their circumstances.

The therapy for Complex PTSD begins with finding or providing safety for the subject. And that begins with the person's basic needs (shelter, food, etc.) This stands in direct contradiction to the "tough love" model that would leave a broken person on the street, scrounging for food, unsafe, likely to encounter violence and humiliation, and with no path to stability or recovery.

It isn't just the Right that promotes this model. Many people, as you say, extrapolate this model (which is rooted in addictions therapy) to anyone in desperate circumstances.

There is another facet of this, of course, and that is the moralization by those who are influenced by the old Calvinist standards of "worthy" and "unworthy" of assistance or charity. More effort is spent on keeping assistance from "unworthy" people than is actually devoted to making broken people well or whole again.

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