Fundamentalism vs. reality: How fundie faith destroys itself

Fundamentalist Christianity guarantees a crisis of faith for those indoctrinated into its all-or-nothing package deal. This is stupid and cruel.

Fundamentalism: Take out one piece and the whole thing topples to the ground.

It’s stupid because that all-or-nothing package deal includes dozens of things that are not so. Lies. Falsehoods. Easily falsifiable falsehoods projected into the Bible and then mined back out of it as holy writ.

That’s bad enough on its own. It’s immoral to teach such lies at all, let alone to teach them as “God’s Word.”

But the problem isn’t just that those indoctrinated into fundamentalism are taught things like that the Earth is only 10,000 years old, or that homosexuality is a sinful choice, or that Noah hung out with dinosaurs before the flood, or that God hates you because you’re not perfectly holy. The larger problem is that according to fundamentalism, those falsehoods are inextricably linked to everything else. Everything. So if it turns out that the Earth is actually 4.5 billion years old, then, according to fundamentalism, life has no meaning, happiness is impossible, love is illusion, Jesus is dead, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins, and we are of all people most to be pitied. And that is cruel.

But enough from me, I’ve written about this enough times that you probably don’t need to hear another variation of my rant on the subject. So let me instead direct you to a post from Defeating the Dragons. DtD is a new-ish blog — started just this year — but it’s earning some well-deserved attention with its candor, honesty, deeply personal storytelling, and terrific writing under the name “forgedimagination.”

Here is the most recent post, “What Christian fundamentalism means to us,” which takes on the all-or-nothing, package-deal aspect of fundie faith by looking back at it from the other side of its collapse:

For those of us who grew up and left our fundamentalist nests, it was caused by our engagement with reality – for most of us, for the very first time. We befriended people in the LGBTQ community, and realized that everything we’d been taught about homosexuality (the BTQ part was completely dismissed) was either deeply misguided or just plain wrong. We encountered science for the first time, and for many of us who were taught that Genesis 1-11 was the bedrock of the entire Bible, finding out that AiG and ICR misrepresented evolutionary theory was the first nail in our theological coffins. For many of us, it was simply meeting people. We made friends with Christians who weren’t fundamentalists – we made friends with people who weren’t Christians, and it shook us profoundly. We met atheists and agnostics for the very first time, and suddenly, all our “right answers” couldn’t make sense. For many of us, the psychological dissonance was so bad we abandoned Christianity completely.

Sometimes, we abandoned Christianity for a time, but then we came back – and our Christianity looked utterly different. Some of us are Unitarian now. Some of us are Progressive. Some are Universalist. Some of us are Catholic, or just liturgical. Some of us hold the basic truth that God loves us, and we are trying to see the world through that love and nothing else.

Which gives us another core problem to face in fundamentalism: the absolute certainty, the absolute necessity of possessing “all the right answers” is coupled with another concept known as foundationalism. It’s the notion that there are “bedrock” ideas (like inerrancy and young earth creationism) and that, if those fall,everything else falls with it. And this has held true in many of our lives – our faith, when we took it out into the real world, was nothing more than a house of cards. And it wasn’t because we didn’t believe enough, or weren’t taught correctly enough, or hadn’t been instructed enough, or that we were secretly never believers and just couldn’t wait to “get out.”  It was because of what were taught, it was because of what we believed – that Christ was not really enough.

Go read the whole thing.

  • aunursa

    God hates you because you’re not perfectly holy.

    Few Christian Fundamentalist theologians teach that. Most of them teach that God loves you but hates your sin. They teach that God the Father (the 1st member of the Trinity), who is perfectly holy, cannot be in the presence of sin. I’ve rarely heard mainstream Christian Fundamentalists preach that God hates sinners.

  • aunursa

    We made friends with Christians who weren’t fundamentalists – we made friends with people who weren’t Christians, and it shook us profoundly. We met atheists and agnostics for the very first time, and suddenly, all our “right answers” couldn’t make sense. For many of us, the psychological dissonance was so bad we abandoned Christianity completely.

    I’ve frequently corresponded with Christians who never had their beliefs seriously challenged. They are often shocked when I don’t respond to their arguments the way that (they expect) Jews are supposed to react. One woman told me of her cognitive dissonance at what she had been taught all oer life — that all non-Christians will go to hell — versus her experience with me as a nice Jewish person who doesn’t believe in Jesus. She reconciled the dissonance by deciding that Jews can go to heaven. I’m not sure what her reaction would have been if I was a “nice” Muslim or atheist.

  • SisterCoyote

    With all due respect, Aunursa, quite a lot of them teach it by implication. No, it’s not written out in black and white on the chalkboard, but it’s hiding underneath the lines in so many places, it’s impossible to ignore.

    It’s almost like a proof:

    God is good, and goodness, and all goodness comes from God.
    Perfect goodness cannot abide evil.
    Therefore, God hates evil.
    A little leaven leaveneth the whole loaf.
    Mankind – each and every one of us – is not perfectly good.
    Therefore, mankind is “leavened” by trace evil.
    And therefore, you are evil –
    and therefore, God hates you.

    It takes years to shake that off.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    The Jenga tower is certainly representative of what I’ve seen. I’ve often likened it to a house of cards myself. It’s amazing how often it revolves around parts of the Bible which seem like the stupidest things to make fundamental to one’s faith — say, if the Flood wasn’t literally how it happened, if it could possibly be in any way open to interpretation as a metaphor or a parable, then everybody is doomed.

    It must be a frightening life where just the merest alteration of perspective renders one’s entire life invalid and futile.

    So. My vacation in Michigan took an interesting turn. About two hours ago, I was throwing water on the back wall of the house, trying to keep a fire from eating all the way through. The wall’s a complete loss, the electrical system is a little iffy, but we’re all fine for the most part.

  • aunursa

    I dunno. I just Googled “God loves you” and “Jesus Christ” and got 690,000 hits. Then I Googled “God hates you” and “Jesus Christ” and got 66,000 hits. Sure, it doesn’t prove anything … but it seems as if the message that God loves people is more prevalent.

  • MaryKaye

    As part of a pagan rite of passage I had a year-long series of email conversations with a fundamentalist Christian (it’s a long story, how this came about, but it made sense at the time). One thing that came up over and over was his distress that there were basic questions of pagan theology for which I had no answers. What is the source of moral law? What happens to us when we die? Where did the universe come from? I don’t know, and I acknowledged that I didn’t know. He wanted to argue that this was unacceptable–that a valid religion HAD to have answers to all of the major questions.

    I’m a scientist; one of the core foundations of science is that it’s better to know you are ignorant than to hang on to false knowledge. I am staring right now at a big question about cancer where we have nothing but flimsy guesses and a whole lot of basic ignorance. It’d be nice to know more, but in the meantime we stand firm on our ignorance. (And fight tooth and claw with a colleague who has, in my opinion, decided he needs to be more sure than the data actually warrant.)

    My fundamentalist partner really could not accept this point of view–that I could hold to a religion that did not tell me conclusively what would happen when I die, in particular. He urged me to switch to his not because it was right but because it was *complete* and he felt strongly that an incomplete religion was invalid.

    The conversation ended when he broke the promise he made at the beginning and sent me a “you gotta convert” screed, trying to use everything he’d learned about me to make it as emotionally painful and upsetting as possible–luckily he didn’t understand me very well, but I objected strongly to the oathbreaking and we’re not speaking any more. I wonder whether on some level even being involved with someone so steeped in doubt was becoming emotionally painful or harmful to him, and he took this step to end the discomfort one way or another–either get me to stop doubting, or to stop talking to him.

    A Tibetian Buddhist nun once told me that theology is a fun after-dinner conversation, but if we’re serious about our lives we’ll realize that the real question is “what should I *do*?” That’s basically where I stand. I have enough grasp of morality to guide action, and it doesn’t matter whether when I die I become a disembodied spirit or come back on Judgement Day or get reincarnated or just fertilize some daisies–I still know I ought to be doing good for people and the world in *this* life, and I figure that’s what counts. Somehow, looking at fundamentalists, I can’t help thinking that the more people add to that basic recipe, the less they put into doing the basics.

  • SisterCoyote

    …yeah, again, that’s. Um.

    No, that doesn’t prove anything. Like I said, it’s an implication. If the preacher gets up every day in front of the congregation and goes “God loves you!” and then the other 10,079 minutes of the day, you’re constantly told and reminded by your church and homeschooling group that you are flawed, partially-evil, and basically full of evil fleshly thoughts that God abhors (a theory that is, I might point out, continuously self-reinforcing)…

    Which message is going to sink in?

  • aunursa

    He wanted to argue that this was unacceptable–that a valid religion HAD to have answers to all of the major questions.

    Yes, Christian fundamentalists argue that every religion must answer certain questions. Of course the questions are important to their Christian faith, but they may not be at all important to non-Christian religions.
    Christians expect that Jews must want to know what the Messiah will be like so that we will recognize him when he comes. (See, for example, Tsion ben Judah’s search of the messianic passages in Tribulation Force.) Many of them are baffled when I say that the identity of the Messiah is much less important than what the world will be like when he makes his appearance. Fundamentalists also cannot understand how Jews atone for our sins without a blood sacrifice. It’s not only not a problem in Judaism, but we have much more important things to concern ourselves with … such as when does a Jew who lives in Northern Alaska observed Shabbat and the other Jewish Holy Days.

  • Patrick

    I’ve never heard mainstream Christian Fundamentalists preach that God “hates” the human race either.

    But I’ve certainly heard them preach that God finds every single member of the human race so wretched, repulsive, and worthless that he can’t even abide to be in their presence, and would rather throw them into a pit of unending horror and suffering in order to keep them from polluting him with their existence. In fact, God literally can’t NOT do that, because his nature is such that he reacts to humans the way my mother in law reacts to spiders- with involuntary spasms of revulsion and violence. And of course, that’s what those worthless humans deserve anyway.

    So basically they sometimes teach that God relates to us in the same way demons do in Dungeons and Dragons.

    I mean, then they turn around and claim that God loves us anyway in spite of everything they just said, but sometimes its hard to get past the first part.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Have seen quite a few people say that Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God is one of the best sermons ever delivered. To quote:

    The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times so abominable in his eyes as the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.

  • Valancy Jane

    Fundamentalists are very careful not to flat-out say they hate people, but they abuse them incessantly in the name of a particularly sick, toxic form of “love” that any battered spouse would recognize instantly.

    Nobody is fooled anymore by the “love the sinner/hate the sin” rhetoric, especially since it’s so often coupled with particularly vile anti-gay opinions. Many times, “the sin” that fundamentalists hate is bound up in a person’s very being, like their sexual orientation or their attitude toward women’s rights, and cannot be easily divorced from that person. Any fundie who is still using this tired old rationalization for abuse needs to stop doing it, because I don’t know about others, but if I hear it, I know that I’m likely dealing with a Christian who gets abuse and love confused in his or her head.

    In short: Don’t tell me you love me. Let me guess. By the same token, I know hate when it is directed at me.

  • JustoneK

    Huge difference between overt, blatant message and millions of smaller subtle ones hiding behind it.

  • Valancy Jane

    It was a relief when I got out of Christianity and realized I no longer had to worry about what happened to me after I died. Christianity creates a need–a fear of death, a fear of eternal torture for finite thought crimes–and it simultaneously creates a solution to “fix” that need. Christians absolutely MUST have that question answered, because they’ve been told their whole lives that the whole reason for doing all this stuff was to escape a fate considerably worse than death.

    I can’t even remember what it was like, really, to fear death and eternity. Do I know what will happen after I die? No. Do I care especially? No. Does it matter in the least if I know or don’t know? No. NOBODY knows for sure what happens after we die; anything I chose to believe about it would be pure wishful thinking, as well as a distraction. What happens in THIS life is much more important. If there are gods at all, and if they are just and good at all, they will care much more about what my religious faith led me to do, and they will not be interested in the least in what form that faith took. Meanwhile, I am at least and at last honest about my lack of positive knowledge, rather than taking refuge in wishful thinking.

  • JustoneK

    That, aunursa, is something I can wholeheartedly agree on. We got shit to do here in this here planet.

  • Valancy Jane

    It’s funny, but we were just talking about this exact topic on a FB group I’m in today, Fred. What’s insane is that all this stuff that fundamentalists insist is soooo important and soooo essential to being TRUE CHRISTIANS is, in fact, totally and completely irrelevant. At best it’s nothing but a distraction from the spiritual thrust of Christianity, neither refuting it nor affirming it really; at worst it is, as you’ve so eloquently said, a wedge that leads a Christian to wonder what *else* is totally wrong. That is exactly how I began my de-conversion: I noticed that stuff my church said was absolutely, positively true simply didn’t line up with the reality that I observed every day around me. I began to question everything at that point, and left the religion not long after the day I realized that one small point was absolutely not the case.

    At this point I see creationism and all the other flat-out lies that fundamentalists believe as just in-group beliefs, things that mark fundamentalists as different (and superior, in their minds) to those who do not accept such ignorant drivel as true. It’s just bizarre to me that fundies cling to this stuff when it’s so obvious that it’s causing more and more young people to question the religion as a whole. When fundie leaders set creationism up as something that is absolutely, positively essential to being Christian, and it turns out to be completely wrong, that seems like the very definition of being hoisted by their own petards. So let them do it, if it makes them happy; there’ll remain a core group of unbelievably ignorant, frothing-mad, slack-jawed believers who wouldn’t change their minds over any amount of rational evidence, but the penalties for questioning and leaving that core group will get lower and lower as more and more people go that route, making it in turn easier for the next crop of questioners and dissidents. This is not a circle fundamentalists should be willingly heading into, but it seems to be very clearly exactly what’s happening.

  • P J Evans

    That’s not something you want to have happen, especially on vacation.
    I’m glad you’re okay.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Yeah. Michigan was already my mental version of Hell without being inside a room that was half a foot from erupting into flames.

  • stardreamer42

    God loves you, but you are broken and worthless.

    God loves you, but you are rotten with sin.

    God loves you, but nothing you can do is ever good enough.

    Don’t tell me that those messages (and so many more like them) don’t add up to “God hates you.” Especially when they come from people who claim to represent God, and who really, seriously DO hate you and make that unmistakably clear with every word they speak and every action they take.

  • cyllan

    I had a very similar conversation, although the fundy that I was speaking with was more confused about why I wasn’t running through the streets killing everyone who annoyed me since I didn’t believe in hell. I was too young to have an appropriate response to this at the time, but I remain horrified by the implications of that conversation.

  • Random_Lurker

    Some people are naturally uncomfortable with uncertainty. Saying “I don’t know” is not an option for them, because not knowing causes a creeping anxiety within them that they must keep down. What causes people to be like this I don’t know for sure. It could be innate, it could be learned, it’s a mystery.

    My wife is such a person. She was raised Nazarene (fundy, but closer to the sane end of the spectrum), but naturally wormed her way out of it because it’s answers were unsatisfying to her. Nonetheless, in discussions, explanations, conversations and especially arguments, she would become extremely agitated, to the point of starting to yell, when faced with an absence of explanation. Whether she didn’t know something, or I didn’t know it and was trying to tell her so, it really got her goat.

    Over the past 7 years or so she’s gotten much better, so I think it may be learned. At the same time, she’s started being able to analyze and make judgements about complicated ideas, something she almost never did at the beginning. I suspect that this anxiety with uncertainty is similar to being lost, or claustrophobic; panic due to a sense insecurity. Basically, these people were never taught to think on their own and rely on themselves, and have no ability to cope with something they no pre-existing answer for. That’s my theory anyway.

  • heckblazer

    As it happens Hell is located in Michigan.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I once said that the only way I’d ever make it out of Michigan was if Hell froze over.

    The year I boarded a plane for the west coast, the town of Hell flooded and then much of the waters froze on the street.

  • Wednesday

    They are often shocked when I don’t respond to their arguments the way that (they expect) Jews are supposed to react.

    Yeah, my experience is that Conservative Christians have a lot of really weird ideas about Judaism, and I’m not entirely Jewish.

    About 90% of the people* who tell me I can’t be Jewish because I’m from interfaith parents are Christians telling me “you can only be Jewish if your mother is”, never mind that Conservative and Reform Judaism don’t abide by that rule.

    (Either that, or they’re too busy treating my existence as some super-impossible hypothetical, eg, “interfaith marriage? Well, I suppose maybe it would theoretically possibly work, in theory, if it was a messianic Jew and a liberal protestant denomination, but… “, as if my existence is some sort of hypothetical.)

  • aunursa

    Christians telling me “you can only be Jewish if your mother is”, never mind that Conservative and Reform Judaism don’t abide by that rule.

    Actually NO Jewish movement would tell you that you can’t be Jewish. Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform all accept converts.

    As for Jews-by-birth, the Orthodox will accept you if your mother is Jewish. Same with the Conservative movement. The Reform will accept you if at least one parent is Jewish and you were raised Jewish.

  • JustoneK

    well, to expand on that, I’ve long theorized that it helps culture survive and flourish. you don’t have to waste time making decisions that affect everyone’s lives if you’re already following rules made by trusted benevolent authority, leaving brains with more time to innovate and build and whatnot. the problem is it only works to a point…

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Whoa! :O I’m happy you’re okay! :O

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The conversation ended when he broke the promise he made at the beginning and sent me a “you gotta convert” screed, trying to use everything he’d learned about me to make it as emotionally painful and upsetting as possible

    That kind of douchebaggy conversion attempt really makes me wonder how many such ‘Christians’ purposely seek out drug addicts and alcoholics as easy marks to lay on the whole “you suck as a human being, but *I* know how to fix it all better!” spiel.

  • JustoneK

    There are entire _ministries_ devoted to this. They’re easy, like scared foreign/inner city merican kids. And considerably safer for the monied.

  • hagsrus

    “Such as when should a Jew who lives in Northern Alaska observed Shabbat and the other Jewish Holy Days.”

    Sorry to be dim but what’s the problem? The sunset or lack thereof? And is there an accepted answer?

  • ReverendRef

    Some people are naturally uncomfortable with uncertainty. Saying “I
    don’t know” is not an option for them, because not knowing causes a
    creeping anxiety within them that they must keep down. What causes
    people to be like this I don’t know for sure. It could be innate, it
    could be learned, it’s a mystery.

    I just had this conversation with a parishioner earlier tonight. I’m really okay with saying, “I don’t know . . . it’s a mystery.” Not because it’s a cop out, but because the IDK answer has (I hope) the challenge to keep searching, keep looking, keep questioning, keep learning.

    And, because it’s late and I’m tired and I’m easily amused . . . I just noticed that if you abbreviate “It’s a mystery” you get IAM … which just happens to be the name of God.

    Yes, I amuse myself.

  • Fanraeth

    Growing up gay in a fundamentalist family so extreme in their beliefs that they think Southern Baptist churches aren’t Christian enough, I can attest to constantly being made to feel that God personally hated me. And this is with them not even knowing (and still not knowing) that I’m gay.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    I feel bad laughing at your mortal danger, but… that’s a great line.

  • forgedimagination

    Mark Driscoll specifically said “God hates you” in a sermon dedicated to that idea. So did Jonathan Edwards, as well as a huge host of figures revered on fundamentalism.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    It also might depend entirely on who the “you” in question is.

    For example, if you have desires which you are told every week are sinful desires that God hates, then you too try to hate your own desires. But no matter how much you hate them , no matter how much you tell them “Get thee behind me,” they are still there. Eventually, you start to feel like there is something seriously wrong with you because of it, and you hold those feelings in painful shame. You start to think that if God really loved you, He would have taken those feelings away, He has the power to, and you have devoted yourself to Him so strongly that he has no reason not to grant you that grace. And yet He does not, and you start to think that maybe He really has it in for you, and you really are that wicked and wretched…

  • Matthias

    Could you explain to me why as a Christian you had to worry about what happens after your death?

    Because I’m a Christian right now and never worry about it. Jesus promised that I have the eternal live after death and this settles it.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I cannot speak for Valancy Jane, but my read on the post was that there was always the worry in the back of the mind that maybe they were not as good as they thought that they were, that maybe they had sinned too much or did not believe sincerely enough. The panic one gets when one fears that even trying one’s hardest one still cannot try hard enough. What if after all you have done, you find yourself turned away by Saint Peter at the pearly gates because you did not measure up to the high standard set for you?

    That is where the fear of death comes in.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Can’t speak for Valancy either, but for me it was my sexual orientation.

    I had never even *heard* the word homosexuality when I first realized that I liked other girls. I had no idea about the concept. It just wasn’t discussed in my home, or around the kids in the church we attended. So it was never a question for me whether or not my sexuality was a “choice” I made. I knew from the word go that I was born Bisexual.

    Knowing that, I then had to wrestle with the fact that the god of the bible thoroughly condemns what I am. I heard often how I was evil, unlovable, headed for the pits of hell.

    My thinking ended up being thus: If god created me the way I am, and yet says that he condemns people like me to burn for eternity, can I really be sure that he’ll forgive me? He’s already proved fickle once.

  • Matthias

    Speaking of Saint Peter: He denied knowing Jesus not only once but three times in a row. Yet he still ended up as the gate keeper of heaven. For this reason alone I would expect him to show clemency.

    He is also not the only one. The apostle Thomas set a pretty high standard for doubt which is still forgiven.

    Aron immediately agreed to the building of the golden calf and was willing to lead the worshiping of it, yet he was still made high priest of Israel. (This is by the way an example where the grace of good drastically exceeds mine: I would expect far more steadfast of a high priest)

    Moses killed a man, yet was made God’s prophet.

    The king David, sinned against God several times, yet God still called him a man of his own heart.

    The list can be extended as much as one likes …

    So although I’m aware that I have many failings I’m still sure that God will accept me despite them as he did with so many other people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    I… think you just made a Northern Exposure reference. If so, thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I am sure he will. But not everyone has the fortune of being in a church that stresses that as much as yours clearly does. Say you are in a church where the preacher is much more of a firebrand, much more focused on scaring the flock straight with threats of sin and damnation unless they follow Jesus. People who grow up in a church like that can be a lot more jumpy about their ultimate fate than people who grow up in a more understanding church.

  • SisterCoyote

    D: Geez, dude, I’m glad you’re okay. That is a… well, hellish thing to happen. Hope the electrical system is… fixable.

  • Dorfl

    It’s kind of scary how the fundamentalist God usually comes across as a fairly unpleasant child, blown up to gigantic size.

    I have set an insect on fire once, half by accident, and felt very ashamed of myself afterwards. But Jonathan Edwards talks about holding insects and spiders over fire – just because they’re ‘vile’ – like it’s a perfectly ordinary thing to do.

  • Carstonio

    That’s my stance as well, and that nun had an excellent way of stating it.

  • Carstonio

    The comparison is very apt. Fundamentalist theology strongly resembles the mentality of an abused person who has internalized the abuser’s views of both people.

  • The_L1985

    Or worse–the feeling that one is so loathsome, one might as well go on ahead to Hell and save everyone else the trouble of dealing with one’s brokenness. My teen years were horrifying, because I kept fearing that I wasn’t a good enough person, setting ever-higher benchmarks for “good enough,” then finally, inevitably, failing because I was being too unrealistic with my goals.

    This does not combine well with clinical depression, nor with the sudden influx of all those hormones from puberty. The main reason I didn’t attempt suicide at that time was because I was actually depressed beyond the point of doing it–I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to kill myself right, and would then cause extra worry and pain from people trying to help a girl who was convinced she was beyond help.

  • The_L1985

    I heard all the same uplifting messages. However, I also had clinical depression.

    Depression doesn’t care about good stuff. Depression zooms in on the brokenness, the wrongdoing, the horrible feeling of being utterly monstrous and broken. Reading “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” in literature class was the straw that broke the camel’s back–even though I never heard that sort of preaching in church.

    Being in a religion that believes in a Hell is much harder when you have depression, because you are already there in life and convinced you will be there after death. Nobody could convince me otherwise for several years, because of the vice-grip that depression had on me.

  • The_L1985

    As I mentioned in another comment on this thread, that sermon triggered particularly horrible effects because of my (then-undiagnosed) clinical depression.

    It’s a disgusting, horrible sermon, and I think Edwards may have had some issues himself to have come up with it.

  • Carstonio

    This author shares many of Fred’s opinions about the current state of evangelism, but with a more drastic solution:

    http://www.salon.com/2013/04/21/idolatry_of_god_author_modern_religion_is_a_macguffin_partner/

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Many people go their entire lives without having any of these examples really expanded on for such a perspective. If they come up in a sermon, expect it to be about how much they sinned and you’d better not let this be you, or God might not be so forgiving!!

    For me, it’s Romans- “through the death of one came life for everyone.” No qualifiers, just “everyone” (or “for all men” in some translations, but F that noise). Or Peter’s “God has shown me that I must not call anyone unclean or profane. As far as I’m concerned, those settle the argument for me, and if they turn out to not be true, then I wouldn’t have wanted to worship such a callous, merciless entity in the first place. :p

  • Fusina

    We had to read that sermon in English class. I hated it then, I hate it now–it is bloody awful. Scared the crap out of me at the time. I have since come to believe in a kinder, gentler god. One who courts us like a lover–and with a newly dating pair of youngsters that I get to observe, it is a wonderful thing to see, and to imagine. The flaws and faults? who cares, the lover just wants to be with the beloved. And that, to me, is god.


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