God, Humanity, Depravity, and Self Esteem

The conservative evangelicalism in which I grew up requires that in order for people to be saved, they must admit that they are in and of themselves utterly lost and sinful and deserving of eternal torture. Within this conception, it’s not surprising that the idea of “self esteem” should be suspect. I recently came upon a blog post by a conservative evangelical blogger arguing just that.

God has created each individual to be exactly what he or she is: a marvelously-crafted bearer of God’s image, complex and beloved for those complexities. A lack of gratefulness and contentment with what God has endowed you with shows low God-esteem, not low self esteem. God is the one who has created you, not you yourself or even your biological parents. Your dissatisfaction with yourself is more a dissatisfaction with God’s creation than anything else, because you choose not to see the good He has wrought in you, but see only what you judge to be bad. High self esteem starts and ends with high God-esteem. You worship the creator (God) rather than the creature (yourself). In doing so, you turn your infatuation for personal perfection into infatuation with God, and you who are infatuated with God cannot help but mirror Him in all His splendid perfection.

She then goes on, adding a subheading:

Low Self Esteem Is Spiritually Healthy

So we are to have high God-esteem, and with that comes high esteem for God’s creation, including ourselves. This is not an arrogant, conceited esteem of ourselves, but rather it is an objective view from a position outside of ourselves, in a sense looking across the room at ourselves and saying, “God has given that person (me) much to be thankful for.” This is the only kind of high self esteem that is honoring to God.Now, there is a type of low self esteem that is also beautiful and precious to the heart of God, and that is humble repentance. It is the self esteem that confesses to God and to others that it has failed at keeping God’s righteous and holy laws, and that there is “only evil in my heart continually.” It is the self esteem that esteems others more highly than itself. It is the self esteem that lives to be trampled down and crushed if it will only build God’s kingdom. The meek are blessed, Jesus says, for they shall inherit the earth. This is the opposite of what many influences will tell you, such as “Believe in yourself,” “Follow your heart,” “Fight for what you want,” “Just do it,” “Be proud of yourself.” However, it is the meek who will inherit the earth. Who made Rome fall? Who founded America? Who freed a downtrodden people from a slave state? Who killed a giant with only a stone? The meek.

So you see, a proper view of God will create a filter through which you can see yourself in a better light. Understanding that God has created you helps you to not despise the person He has made you to be. Understanding that your own sin mars the pure beauty God planned for you helps you to honor God’s perfection and to keep you from elevating yourself above God and others.”Let him who stands take heed lest he fall,” [1 Cor. 10:12] and “let each esteem others more highly than himself.” [Philp. 2:3]. Understanding that God is the one who deserves high esteem lifts the burden off of you from either being too “down” on yourself or too “high” on yourself. It doesn’t really matter what you think of yourself! But what you think of God is a matter of life and death.

It’s not all about you and how you view yourself.

. . .

You were created to highly esteem God, to have confidence in God, to spend life seeking to please Him. It’s not all about you.

I had a lot of thoughts while reading this. For one thing, it is true that Christianity offers individuals a sense of purpose—a belief that they are part of something greater, and that they matter because God says they matter. But as I led with, the conservative evangelicalism in my youth begins with an admission of utter depravity and worthlessness outside of God. As a teen, I struggled with the fact that I was proud of my accomplishments and of how carefully I was following the Bible. I believed that if I thought highly of myself, this could invalidate my belief in my utter in my utter sinfulness, and thus threaten my path to heaven. In the end, I strove to convince myself that I only mattered because I mattered to God and that any sense of self worth outside of God was a problem.

The article quoted above argues that we have worth because God chose to create us, and that as a result we should think highly of ourselves, as God’s creation. This argument, coupled with the idea that it’s what we think of God that matters, and not how highly or lowly we think of ourselves, might have helped me as a teen, had I not considered it heresy. And I might have. Time Magazine’s 2012 theologian of the year was once asked to sum up his thoughts on humanity, and he did so in two words: “We’re shit.” Other theologians are fond of referring to humans with epithets like “pond scum.” John Piper himself has talked about how he intentionally brings up his faults to remind himself of his worthlessness apart from God. This wasn’t just me—it appears to be endemic throughout much of conservative evangelicalism—so much so that self esteem becomes a dirty word.

There are of course more progressive and mainline Christians who believe that man does have worth independent from God, but in the conservative evangelical world, those are called “heretics.”

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • psykins

    I’m confused by this part:

    “it is the meek who will inherit the earth. Who made Rome fall? Who founded America? Who freed a downtrodden people from a slave state? Who killed a giant with only a stone? The meek.”

    Um, what?

    • ako

      All the Gothic tribes who invaded Rome were infamously meek, you know. And the US Army has a strict “Meek people only” policy up until 1950. They’d test all new recruits for meekness before letting them in.

      • Alice

        LOL

        When I first read that paragraph I thought the author was saying Christians were responsible for Rome’s fall. Then I thought, “Fundamentalists usually say Rome fell because of all the moral depravity, so this author is saying the immoral people were meak?!” I still have no idea.

        Also, “A slave state” is weird phrasing since there was a lot more than one.

        Edit: Wait, maybe she means Moses? But Egypt was/is a country, not a state…?

      • The_L1985

        Before and outside the US, “state” generally means the same thing as “nation.”

      • http://Thechurchproject.me/ Tracey

        I think Moses is the reference. Perhaps this uses ‘state’ as a concept. As in- a state of bondage.

    • Mel

      Yeah, calling David and every general in the US Army meek is….welll….um…..I don’t have words for that one.

      • smrnda

        Particularly when you had Generals like Patton.

      • Lucreza Borgia

        I do…

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Is that ASL for *cough* “BS”?

      • Kate Monster

        Yep.

      • Lucreza Borgia

        Yes, why yes it is!

    • Kat

      That was my first thought too. Especially “Who founded America?” Apparently meekness means thinking that A) vast amounts of already inhabited land should belong to you rather than the people who currently live there, and B) you’re important enough that you have the right to rebel against your king and start your own country, despite the fact that such an action is definitely not in line with what the bible teaches. Interesting definition of “meek.”

      • Trollface McGee

        They also tend to think that America was created by God as a replacement Israel until the state of Israel could be reformed. So thinking your country is God’s chosen one… that’s meekness for you.

      • Karen

        Who founded the US? (Calling ourselves “America” is a bit rich, but whatever.) People with the hearts of Marines. People who knew they were setting up a war, and considered it such an important issue that they did it anyway. These were not “the meek”. They may have not been totally right (witness Kat’s point) but they were not meek.

      • http://exploringthejungle.wordpress.com/ Kat

        Just to be clear, I was deliberately trying to sidestep the question of whether the actions of those who founded the U.S. were right or wrong, if only because I don’t think it’s that clear-cut. All I meant was that giving the king the finger can be considered many things, and could even be considered virtuous (courageous, wise, noble, etc.) But not meek, by any stretch of the imagination. The thing is, many situations do not call for meekness. That’s all I was trying to say above.

    • Miss_Beara

      This was exactly my reaction.

  • Trollface McGee

    It’s a pretty horrible view of self but it explains how they manage to hold some of their other rather odious positions. Damning huge swaths of people to hell? That’s ok, they’re just scum and without God they’re worthless. Killing people? Same thing. God brings you into the world, he can take you out because you, alone are worthless and only exist as a trophy for God, and if you’re that 2nd grade bowling trophy gathering dust, it’s no big deal for you to go in the rubbish bin.

    As someone who’s struggled with self-esteem and self-image for the majority of my life, I’m very happy I wasn’t taught this kind of view, it’s bad enough being able to use every little thing to find fault with myself, having “God thinks you’re scum” would be a pretty powerful source of self-deprecation. For all the people in religion who have these issues, I imagine it must be sheer hell.

    And they really don’t like history, do they?
    “Who made Rome fall?”
    A combination of countries seeking power and the internal problems with running a vastly over-extended empire, financial problems and corruption.

    “Who founded America?”
    I assume they mean the USA. America was founded by nomadic tribesmen who likely came over from Asia through Alaska. But yeah, neither the European countries/companies that came over to colonise this area, or the revolutionaries who stood up against the greatest powers of the day were very meek.

    ” Who freed a downtrodden people from a slave state?”
    What country are we talking about? There is more than two countries in this world! In Russia, it was Alexander II. In the USA it was an Amendment passed after the Civil War. In all cases it was because the costs of slavery were vastly outpacing any benefits.

    “Who killed a giant with only a stone?”

    Well, no, you can be meek but that’s certainly not a requirement for giant-killing. You can be meek but unless you’re brave, have good aim and damn good luck, you’re giant toe-jam.

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      Also, this is definitely the first time I’ve ever heard David described as “meek.” Huh?

    • Monimonika

      “giant toe-jam”

      Ha! Great wording, there. :-D

  • Mira

    My issue with this “god esteem” crap is that I find it a lose-lose. If you DON’T have good self esteem, you’re telling god he’s not good enough. If you do that, you’re a bad person and you should be ashamed. And telling god he’s not good enough is arrogant. But you have to simultaneously like yourself while realising that you’re utter shit and depraved but it’s totally okay because…then I just get confused.

    I still struggle mightily with esteem issues and eating disorders because of my upbringing teaching me that I was a lowly, disgusting worm before god. Ugh. My deconversion helped a good bit, but I’m nowhere near done.

  • Mel

    I’ve never been terribly sure what meek meant. I am certain, though, that my heretical Catholic Church believes this bizarre definition of meekness to be a form of spiritual pride. I always learned that true humility meant really looking at your abilities/weaknesses. The first step in being thankful for the gifts God gives us means being able to see what you are honestly good at. I can’t imagine anyone finding “God has given me many talents” to be more thankful than “Thank you, God, for making me a good cook.” The first way is dour; the second is freeing.

    • Rosie

      My church-of-origin paid lip-service to finding one’s “God-given talents”. But in practice, the fact that I was born female pretty much limited my options to things I’m no good at, like music and childcare. So it didn’t do much for my self-esteem.

  • Jayn

    I’ve been trying to pin down what bothers me theologically about this (it bugs me on a visceral level too, since I suffer from depression and feeling like I’m worthless is pretty much the cause of that) and I think I’ve finally figured it out–it portrays being thankful for what God has given you as being incompatible with having intrinsic value. I can agree that we’re imperfect, but this mindset takes ‘imperfect’ and runs over into ‘worthless’ with it. I don’t see being imperfect as being the same as having no intrinsic worth, it just means we could be better than we are. A day-old biscuit isn’t as good as a fresh one, but that doesn’t mean it’s total crap. It’s more of the black and white mindset that seems so pervasive–you can think you’re the Best Thing Ever or that you’re inherently worthless without God to prop you up, with no middle ground. The former is bad, but the latter ain’t healthy either.

    Then again, I’m much bigger on self-improvement than on begging God for forgiveness.

    • Karen

      I used to think I was the biggest piece of crap (literally; I’ve always been heavy) that some deity ever made. It made me cry, it made me sob for no reason at inappropriate times, it made it difficult to concentrate. I was such a piece of shit, and how the people around me didn’t notice baffled me.

      Then I got diagnosed for depression and got some good meds. Now, yes, there are areas of my life where I can do better, but I’m not some POS anymore.

      • The_L1985

        Ugh. I remember that feeling. “But how do you not notice that I’m an unlovable, stupid screwup?” Because I’m really not–that’s just the depression talking.

  • Miss_Beara

    I never heard of this until I had a friend who was evangelical and tried to convert me to her brand of God Lovin’. She was going on and on about how worthless, weak and useless she was. I really had no idea what to say. She said this with a smile on her face because God was her reason for living. I told her that I thought she was a strong and very worthwhile, but she looked at me like I was the one spouting off nonsense. I really cannot grasp how people can think so little of themselves because of their God. I had my own severe problems with depression and anxiety, I think if I heard “actually, you are weak and worthless unless you have God in your life!” I would have been dead a long time ago.

    • Lucreza Borgia

      People who think highly of themselves don’t need to be saved?

      • Things1to3

        Wow. Flashbacks.

        Romans 12:3 “For I say to every man that is among you, through the grace given unto me, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

        So if you think of yourself highly, then you are being proud, and should take a step back and assess if you really should actually think highly of yourself. It’s probably an indication that you need saving all the more because you’re pride is blinding you to your own need for salvation.

        At least that was the answer I would have gotten from pretty much every religious person I grew up with. :-)

  • Patrick

    It was beliefs and teachings like this that made my religious life an absolute hell. Every week, the preacher would find some new sin to remind you about. Something else to make you feel worthless and unworthy of god’s love. And on weeks where you felt like you were content and happy, you’d be chastised for being complacent and lukewarm. It never stopped.

    I also noticed as time went on that as our church moved from hymns to more modern worship songs that the lyrics got so depressing. God, shatter me and reform me into what you want because what I am isn’t worth it. God, I don’t deserve to eat at your table. I am only worthy of the crumbs. It was horrifying.

    I have nothing but contempt for this. I was so constantly miserable while I was religious that I assumed everyone hated me as much as I hated myself. And this type of thinking doesn’t magically leave when you leave the church. My default assumption is still to take the most negative view of myself as possible. And, sadly, I think this is exactly what they want.

    • Alice

      Hmm, I hadn’t thought of that but it’s true…

      “Burn me up, burn me all the way ’til there’s nothing left but you”
      “Break my heart, tear all the barriers down”
      “I am nothing without you”
      “And you become clear, as I disappear”
      “Cause I know the me without you is a lie”
      “I need more of you and less of me.”
      “I don’t deserve you, but I need you to love me.”
      “Take my life, take my mind, take my soul, take my will.”

      Now there are some depressing hymn lyrics such as “For such a worm as I” but they might not be as common. This also reminds me of the disturbing poem by John Donne where he begs God to seize him the way a soldier burns down a town and overpowers a woman. http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/sonnet14.php

      • Jayn

        “I am nothing without you”

        The only time I’ve had anything I would term a ‘vision’ in church, it was when those lyrics popped up on the powerpoint and what I saw was a very deep, dark hole that I’ve spent years climbing out of. Wrong type of inspiration, there.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        “Take my love, take my land
        Take me where I cannot stand
        I don’t care, I’m still free
        You can’t take the sky from me.”

        Sorry, I had to. Those are so depressing. They did bring the Firefly lyrics to mind, though, which are much more inspirational.

        Full lyrics here: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/fireflylyrics.html

      • Hilary

        Take me out into the black
        Tell them I ain’t comming back
        Burn the land and boil the sea,
        You can’t take the sky from me!

      • Hilary

        Maybe you’ve already found this, but if you haven’t, here’s a treat: Mal’s song, ie the Ballad of Serenity with a few verses.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUn-eN8mkDw

        Official YouTube video.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I hadn’t. That’s awesome. Thank you.

      • Alice

        Thanks! Also, to make up for the depressing lyrics, here is a gentle snark of wacky Christian song lyrics. http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/music/7-head-scratching-lines-ccm

        I’m glad I’m not the only one who has always thought “WTF, these guys must be on crack” after hearing any part of “Breakfast.” I never heard the “sloppy kiss” song, but it makes me think of a Saint Bernard.

    • Stev84

      Typical cult tactic. Breaking people down like that makes them easier to control and manipulate.

    • Jayn

      That’s been bugging me too. We’ve recently started attending a (liberal!) Lutheran parish, and some of the lyrics are, well, what you just talked about. But I’m Catholic, so it’s not like I can really argue that we should attend my church instead :/ At least, not with a clear conscience.

    • smrnda

      This is something that gets me. I mean, let’s say I had kids and I had totally unreasonable standards for them and I kept telling them how bad they were. The kids aren’t bad or making bad choices, I’m bad for setting standards they can’t meet.

      If you grew up like that, it probably always seems right that people are critical of you since you’ve been told you’re the one at fault.

      Someone can imagine a god like that but it’s just incompatible with any notion of love that makes any sense.

      • The_L1985

        Hey, you just described what my dad did to me!

        And..yep, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, lots of risky behavior in college…

    • Things1to3

      “Every week, the preacher would find some new sin to remind you about.
      Something else to make you feel worthless and unworthy of god’s love.
      And on weeks where you felt like you were content and happy, you’d be
      chastised for being complacent and lukewarm. It never stopped. ”

      Yes. So much Yes. There was no escape. Thank you for posting this. I’ve been trying to explain my perspective on this to friends for literally years and they look at me like I’m crazy. I’d hear over and over how “all our good deed are as filthy rags” but then it was “Smile! Jesus Love You!”

      The last time my parents dragged me to church I had what I later realized was a panic attack and it was because I was finally beginning to dig my way out of the pit of depression this whole issue caused. Now if I have to go to church (for my kids or for my family) I have to spend time before and after arming myself with positive thoughts so I have enough mental armor to get through the sermon without being dragged back down.

      • ako

        I know one non-religious person who takes comfort in a “So what if you’re worthless, you are loved” perspective, and I find it hard to wrap my head around. Intellectually, I can see it in her case (she had a really abusive childhood, and trying to feel not-worthless involves a lot of effort on her part), but emotionally, it feels the opposite of comforting. Like wouldn’t the self-hatred be compounded by guilt, knowing you were getting love and sacrifices despite not deserving them?

      • Caravelle

        Maybe it depends on how much you value what other people think of you vs. what you think of yourself. After all people loving you means they’ll be nice to you, you can (hopefully) go to them with your troubles… And really, utilitarianism aside it does give me a warm, positive feeling to know some people love me. So I can see a perspective where one could be comforted by knowing others love you even if you think you’re worthless.

      • Things1to3

        That might be why I have so much trouble with it when my friends didn’t seem to. I’m an introvert and what others think really doesn’t matter to me. Being “right with god” mattered more, but there was no way to tell if you were “right” or not. (If you were worthless or miserable, then god must be using you. If you were happy, then you were lukewarm, or prideful. Round and round we go…) It was an exercise in frustration trying to find out and the potential concequences of being wrong were so very high.

  • Ahab

    It’s easier to control people when they have no respect for themselves, and believe that they have no intrinsic worth outside of a deity. Chilling.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      It’s abusive, what it is. Abusers tear you down until you have nothing, are nothing, and have lost all self-respect.

  • Apple

    Pond scum?!? Isn’t that one of the issues the YECs have with evolution? They say that teaching kids that we evolved from “pond scum” devalues human life. Human life that was whole created in the image of God… they better stop teaching their kids logic….

    • Nancy Shrew

      Clearly the fact that we started as “pond scum” and made it to where we are now thanks to millions of years of evolution is much less amazing than coming from a puff of dust or a dude’s rib.

  • Ryan Hite

    That is the worst thing about Christianity. They tell you that you are not good enough and you need something or you will be nothing. Why?, in this world that is bad enough already with human nature taking hold, do we need the added stress of not being good enough for something that may not even exist?

  • TLC

    This is one of those weird feedback loops that just boils down to mind control. You’re saved and forgiven! Jesus has washed your sins away! But you’re still a piece of crap. Likewise, you’re told you’re a child of God and you’re made in His image. But the moment you celebrate that, either alone or with someone else, then you’re told you’re vain and full of pride. That also is true if you defend yourself or worry about your reputation. But then they quote Joshua and tell you “claim your territory” and don’t let Satan steal what’s yours. In the end, all they want is for you to remain confused and downtrodden so you won’t think, question, fight back or stand up to them or anyone else in authority.

    The best thing I can do as a human being is to take the talents, gifts and blessings that God has given me and make the most of them. This means that I will probably accomplish things that I will be proud of and therefore, build my self-confidence. If that builds my self-esteem, no problem there! It just means I will be better able to use the gifts I’ve been given. And in the end, that will give honor and glory to God, the person who created me.

  • Lucreza Borgia

    Circular logic makes my head hurt. I can only have high self-esteem if I have good god esteem…yet even then I’m screwed because high self-esteem doesn’t matter anyways. Do people actually pay this man to talk such nonsense?

  • Mr. Pantaloons

    As a former homeschooler, if there’s one thing that instantly infuriates me more than the name Michael Farris, it’s the doctrine of poor self-esteem equating to spiritual holiness, or the acquisition thereof. In my experience, that is probably the absolutely worst lesson to give…well, anyone, really – but ESPECIALLY anyone with any sort of authority as Moral Guardian du jour. They WILL weaponize it in their Christo-fascist worldview of free will as the agent of Satan and children as mere grenades to be filled and then thrown. In my case, as soon as my whacko Christian-nationalist mother HEARD this degenerate idea from those psychopaths on Moody Bible Institute radio, she used this as a blank check to turn the verbal abuse up to 11. You weren’t allowed to show how insulted/hurt/angry you were at having hours of your life wasted at a time to these one-sided screaming fits you had to tell everyone else were “family discussions,” because not only do you have “nothing to be proud of” as the rebellious child, but any sort of self-defense contradiction was doubly intolerable as an attempt to establish self-worth or dignity or even some emotional stability that wasn’t expressly approved by God, who can obviously speak reliably through the parents exclusively.

    Obviously hubris isn’t healthy and usually winds up costing more than it gives, but going to the other extreme – and worse, putting that other extreme onto other people like some overgrown playground bully – is the same hysterical false-dichotomy-in-sheep’s-clothing that the Right uses to justify every other power play and form of spiritual blackmail in its playbook. Fuck. That. Shit.

    And now I’m going to go do jumping jacks until this caffeine and pissed-off rush wears off.

  • LizBert

    I hated this so much. One of the things that I realized right away when I left Christianity is that it’s ok to not constantly hate yourself. It’s ok to think that you a pretty decent human being. It’s alright to be proud of yourself and be honest about your accomplishments. I don’t think it’s necessary to toot your own horn all day but you can be truthful about your abilities and be happy.

  • Sally

    As a whole, I see no difference in Christians than I see in other regular people. Sometimes there’s an individual who seems transformed by becoming a Christian (improved) because they have found a new purpose. But as a body in general, I see no difference. So if we’re nothing without God, we sure ain’t much with him.

  • Rose

    While I was struggling with severe depression, my evangelical parents took me to a counselor at our church. He told me, and I’m quoting him because this statement was the beginning of my deconversion, “your low self-esteem stems from an inadequate appreciation of God’s grace”

    Oddly enough, a year later after a suicide attempt I found out my low self esteem was the result of clinical depression for which I had a genetic propensity and was probably helped right along by a hefty serving of spiritual abuse. Thank you total depravity….

  • Norm Donnan

    This is screwed up logic,not biblical teaching in context.You should be proud of who you are.Teaching this stuff ,especially to teenagers who naturally are at an insecure stage of life is crazy.Personally l think the point of their low self esteem is a good thing is its good to not focus on ones self,which has some merit.I find it hard to believe that anyone really is taught they are depraved apart from God,it certainly isnt biblical teaching.

    • The_L1985

      True. But these people are telling others that it is.

      Libby Anne’s entire point is to give this warped form of Christianity exposure so that everyone sees it for the abuse it is.

      The self-loathing idea got so bad in my case that while I have a great respect for Christians and Christianity, I cannot be both Christian and sane at the same time. For me, “Christianity” is emotionally associated with self-loathing, suicidal ideation, and several different forms of being a jerk. I don’t want to risk going back to that mental state ever again.

      • Norm Donnan

        Then these people are fruit cakes.What they are teaching and if its what you were taught isnt biblical.You should feel proud of who you are as a Christian your the child of the most high God,humbled that He considers you His child yes,but honored at the same time.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Sorry, not buying it. This might be considered rude, but if a parent told me that if I disobeyed ambiguous orders or ever said bad things about them (blasphemy), they’d torture me, I wouldn’t be happy, humbled, or honored to be their child. I’d GTFO as fast as I could, in fact.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Yeah, and then contact the authorities, because threats of torture are Serious Business.

      • Norm Donnan

        And thats why your here with all the others with totally wrong understanding of Christianity.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Does God not say that, then? Because I can totally point at those Bible verses.

      • Norm Donnan

        You can find what you want to find but the context and understanding is what is sadly lacking here.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Context, eh?

      • Norm Donnan

        [Comment removed by moderator. Comment contained personal attacks and no attempt to address previous commenter's actual argument.]

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Norm, this is your only warning. If you continue to launch personal attacks rather than actually addressing arguments I will ban you.

      • Norm Donnan

        ok sorry,lm assuminig this works both ways?

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        And the point of your comment is . . . ? I just read through your conversation with Feminerd here and there were no personal attacks on her side. To be honest, your comment here comes across like a kid who, when spanked after a fight with a sibling, responds with “you’re going to spank my brother too, right?”

      • Norm Donnan

        And there it is right there,bingo.Libby youre the mod here so if you see someone getting rude or derogatory then fine, step in and say something,instead you come back with put down. Ive also re read my conversation with Feminerd and really carnt see what your offended by, even then lve apologized because l recognize people see things different ways .Youre running a blog here that strongly criticizes others for living their lives contrary to how you think they should,do you really just want people here who totally agree with you or is this a fair discussion???

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        The comment of yours that violated my comment policy—and seriously so—isn’t there any more because I deleted its content. Perhaps that’s why you don’t see anything wrong when you reread your conversation here with Feminerd. As for a “put down,” if you think I was unfair, how about you explain what else responding to my warning that you need to address arguments rather than attacking people with “I’m assuming this goes both ways” could possibly mean? As for running a blog criticizing others, I strive to attack ideas rather than people and I think I usually succeed. And finally, as to whether I only want people who totally agree with me commenting here, if that were so don’t you think I would have banned you weeks ago? And second, how in the world is asking commenters to address *ideas* rather than attacking *people* a sign that I don’t want “a fair discussion”?

        In case you didn’t notice, this is my blog. If you don’t like how I run it, leave. Otherwise, I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with how I run it. This isn’t a public forum. It’s my personal blog. If you question how I run it again, I will ban you. And if you don’t like that or feel like it’s unfair, well, I really don’t care. Believe it or not, I don’t run this blog with the goal of pleasing every contrary commenter.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Yeah… NO. Our understanding of Christianity is fine.

        You, on the other paw, sound like a DV victim — “you don’t understand him like I do!”

        Having been there and done that in meatspace, I’ve no desire to repeat the experience with a cosmic sky-husband.

    • The_L1985

      In re: your other comment (can’t reply there because it’s still awaiting moderation):

      Christianity is a “religion” in the semantic sense. Every dictionary I’ve ever checked (several) defines religion as, essentially, a system of beliefs and/or practices centered around one or more gods. Christianity is definitely a system of beliefs about Jesus, and one of those beliefs is that you should have a relationship with Jesus. I call that a religion.

      Also, “religare” as “to bind” meant “binding humans to God/the gods.” Ancient peoples honestly believed that the sacrifices they made brought them closer to their deity of choice. Look at how many times important people in the Old Testament make sacrifices to YHWH. There’s a lot.

  • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

    When I was a teen, I did some volunteer work and I was troubled by how good it made me feel about myself. When I mentioned to my father that I was afraid that I was only doing it because it made ME feel good rather than to selflessly help others, his response was “that’s absurd. I’m proud of you and you should be proud of yourself.”

  • Andrew

    I can completely identify with the thought process of, “I’m only worth something if someone else (e.g. God and others) tell me so.” It led to me hating myself and not living up to my potential. Life has been improving for me since I changed my mind about that.


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