Filicide as child sacrifice in the Judeo-Christian worldview in the United States

Keith Reyes, University of Texas at El Paso


This study is exploratory in nature examining what function, if any, the Judeo-Christian worldview plays in contemporary filicide cases in the U.S.. Contemporary filicide cases (n=8) between 1994 and 2004 are examined to reveal the correlation between the Judeo-Christian worldview and filicide. I argue that within the American social context, some mothers' with preexisting mental conditions may view filicide as a positive moral act. This is because values underpinning filicide are directly related to a socially pervasive Judeo-Christian worldview. In those mothers without preexisting mental conditions, I postulate that in some cases of crisis the functions of behavior dictated by the religious institution are emulated by individual members of society in order to ease the intrapersonal and societal chaos they are experiencing. This is because religion, particularly the Judeo-Christian tradition and its consequent worldview, in its positive capacities prescribes moral norms and religiously-described functions of behavior (Durkheim, 1915; Wilson, 1982 et al.). Arguing against the Weberian notion that religion would decline as society becomes more rational in its composition, I propose that religion plays a more prominent and latent role in contemporary filicide than in times past. Religion has not become obsolete as a social institution, but dangerously concealed, and society oblivious of its influence.^

Subject Area

Religion, General|Sociology, Criminology and Penology

Recommended Citation

Reyes, Keith, "Filicide as child sacrifice in the Judeo-Christian worldview in the United States" (2008). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1453842.