top of page

Christian Homeschooling Program ATI Is A Nationally Accepted Form Of Mentally Abusing Children



Written By: Anton Sawyer


Christian Homeschooling Program ATI Is A Nationally Accepted Form Of Mentally Abusing Children


This article must begin with a couple of warnings. If you are offended by the topic of sexual abuse of any kind, then you may want to go elsewhere. Also, if you are someone who is deeply Christian and don’t want to read negative things said about your beliefs, then you may want to choose another path as well.


With that out of the way, I also want to make it clear that I have no problems with personal spirituality or religious beliefs in and of themselves. Though no longer there, having lived 93.18% of my life in the state of Utah, I have been able to see the growth and development of my friends over the years as it pertains to faith and its impact on their lives (both good and bad). Culling from a sample size that ranges from toddler to adulthood, to say that all organized religion is somehow evil and nothing but a bane to the lives of those who follow a rigid set of beliefs would be absurd.

 

In an attempt to maintain complete transparency, all research and statistical fact-checking for all articles can be found in the bibliography linked here.


If you can spare a few bucks to support a starving artist, buy me a coffee!

To support for free, follow me on Twitter

 

I’ve seen people use faith as a weapon in combating their demons brought about by drugs and alcohol quite effectively. Faith can be a positive thing. The problem I have is when money and power become involved. It’s when these elements become a part of the normal landscape that the original intent of the religious text gets warped into a tool of controlling the masses. That's what I'm delving into today: the indoctrination of children to a specific set of beliefs through both public education and homeschooling. I’m also going to examine the homeschooling section thoroughly by looking at the curriculum used by the Duggar family and how through the conflation of faith and science we get magical thinking which allows monsters like Josh Duggar to be unable to understand how what he did was so gravely wrong.


Understanding abuses of power and the interconnectivity of church and state in America causes me to carry this unpopular opinion, I don’t think children should be allowed to join a church through ritualistic expression (i.e., baptism or the like) until they are at least 16 years old.


I find it difficult to understand how a child of any age under 16 can even begin to conceptualize what it means to give over their eternal soul to a specific deity which will have consequences not only now, but also into the hereafter. For those faiths that believe baptism should take place sometime during childhood, as the Catholics during infancy and the Mormons at age eight, it’s even more difficult to understand how you could think that a child is doing anything more than following the lead of their parents. For those of you who disagree with this sentiment because you feel that faith should be a part of every child’s life, then don’t worry; places like Texas are making sure your beliefs are being effectively propagated via the public education system.


As recently as 2018, the Texas board of education approved keeping a reference to the Biblical character Moses in the state's social studies curriculum despite recommendations from one of its working groups to remove the biblical prophet. Moses would be portrayed as a lawgiver that had a direct influence on the writing of the United States Constitution.


The Republican-led board voted along party lines to keep Moses in the curriculum, with Republican board Chairwoman Donna Bahorich of Houston abstaining, although she has indicated her support of retaining Moses in the past. "In the United States, the most common book in any household in this time period was, in fact, the Bible, and people who didn't necessarily believe in religion as such ... still had a great knowledge of the Bible. In referencing Moses in the time period, they would have known who Moses was and that Moses was the lawgiver," said board member Republican Pat Hardy of Fort Worth.


Bahorich has yet to learn that just because something is well known/popular doesn't make it a fact. That it is taught in North Korea that Kim Jong-Un has never had a bowel movement in his life as reality is a good example.


Of course, one of the main arguments used by those who are proponents of this removal of the separation of Church and State when it comes to public education is that the entirety of our nation’s core (the Constitution) is derived from the Ten Commandments. This argument only works if there’s substantive proof showing a direct correlation between these two documents. Sadly for them, the proof points in a different direction.


41 law professors and legal historians were brought together by Steven K. Green, former legal director at Americans United and now law professor at Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon in 2003. This group wrote a friend-of-the-court brief thoroughly debunking the notion that the US Constitution was directly influenced (or were indeed codified through) the Ten Commandments. "Indeed, the legal and historical record does not include significant and meaningful references to the Ten Commandments, the Pentateuch or to biblical law generally." The brief also notes that the US Constitution lacks even "a perfunctory or formalistic reference to God" and says during the debate over ratification of that document, delegates discussed Roman law, British law, and the laws of other European nations but "as can best be determined, no delegate ever mentioned the Ten Commandments or the Bible."


For those Christians who see these statements as an attack on Christianity itself, or as a means to try to kill God in some way, many have decided to circumnavigate the whole mess by removing their children from an environment filled with secular ideologies and have opted for homeschooling. But not just ANY homeschooling, no. Though there are a few different companies to accommodate these parents' needs, all of them do have a singular core: complete indoctrination based on utterly destroying the lines between facts and faith.

Due to the (un)popularity of the Duggar family in the American pop-culture landscape, I felt the program they used would be the best of the faith-based homeschooling options currently running to look at. This educational program is the one that, due to its obliteration of every core tenet of legitimate science, helped allow the proliferation of child abuse via incest, all while done in front of the eyes of millions. Advanced Training Institute (ATI).

Jim Bob Duggar, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Jim Bob Duggar, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

ATI is a “Biblically based” homeschooling program that lets Christian families integrate their kids’ daily, hours-long moral learnings with just a dash of secularism. Its various pillars include doing exactly what’s expected “instantly and cheerfully,” not asking questions, strict adherence to patriarchal standards, and, of course, shielding yourselves from any influence or human that might lead you off the beaten path.

Before I go too far into the specifics of the curriculum, I need to address its founder, Bill Gothard, post-haste. It's nearly impossible to separate his heinous acts of sexual harassment and abuse allegations from the schooling he was a leader of. But due to the in-depth nature of that topic by itself, I will have to cover that another time. Also, not every child subjected to the teachings of ATI will be impacted by Gothard. They will be impacted by the lessons themselves, guaranteed.

Those lessons consist of bizarre, forced attempts at inserting some type of traditional education into biblical passages. Which is where you get questions such as: “How did the ‘Socratic method’ of reasoning come from a sodomite manner of living?” “How can graphs help to visualize the consequences of lust?” And “How do prime numbers illustrate the principle of ‘one flesh’ in marriage?”


One of the most damming pieces of evidence comes from a science teacher who works with at-risk students named “Mel.” Having ordered the "ATI Wisdom Booklet 1 - Science Portion- How Eyes Work" and posting pictures of the lessons from the provided materials themselves, you can see how it would utterly terrify anyone who values how real science works.


Right off the bat, the booklet starts by teaching an oversimplified lesson. It wants us to “train our minds to see things others overlook." You would think that given its self-proclaimed ties to science, the lesson was going to be about how eye muscles work to give vision; it turns out that’s incorrect. On the following page is an illustration of the different structural portions of the eye and how each can impact focus. After explaining what Myopia (nearsightedness) and Hyperopia (farsightedness) are, it takes a complete left turn by throwing a spiritual question at the bottom of the page that is somewhat related. In this case, "Can you apply each of these disorders to errors in spiritual perception?" Each page has a similar theme: scientifically-based information followed by religious examination.

The next section begins with a series of questions that you are supposed to see if you can answer before the lesson begins. Of the nine questions, five are science questions and four are pseudo-theological questions. Practically speaking, at this point, asking “what are spiritual strabismus and astigmatism?” is a poor teaching choice since the term “astigmatism” hasn’t been introduced yet.

I'm not going to continue, but please know that these lesson examples aren't cherry-picked in an attempt to portray the worst of the worst. These ARE the standard.


When digging deep into this type of homeschooling, it’s scary to think that these are the types of things helping to mold the minds of future generations. Knowing that there are millions of future voters being shaped into thinking irrefutably that Moses wrote the Constitution as fact, then you can see how some of the conservative leaders in this nation can use misdirection so easily.


But in the short term, in the home, we saw this education and its unintended consequences play out in real-time on our TVs with the Duggar family. Knowing that this piece today just scratched the surface of what education looked like for the kids in that family and how it has been completely untouched by reality, there is no way that any of those young girls would have been able to understand just how wrong Josh’s actions were. This lack of real education led them to go along with the ineffective punishments their older brother would receive at camp. That’s the scariest part; knowing there are going to be millions of kids out there who could wind up being victimized and nobody knows that it’s wrong because they’re all living in “scientifically-justified” fantasy land.

 

If you can spare a few bucks to support a starving artist, buy me a coffee!

To support for free, follow me on Twitter

Comments


bottom of page