I appreciate the fact that Winell and Tarico – critics of religion in general – recognize in the title of their article that not all forms of religion, nor even all forms of Christianity, create such effects.
The purveyors of religion insist that their product is so powerful it can transform a life, but somehow, magically, it has no risks. In reality, when a medicine is powerful, it usually has the potential to be toxic, especially in the wrong combination or at the wrong dose. And religion is powerful medicine!
– Marlene Winell and Valerie Tarico, in an article in Alternet.
I can remember in my teens, as a recent convert to Pentecostalism, that I sought to maintain spiritual highs in ways that made for mood swings; that I spent time worrying about which way God wanted me to ride my bike to school, and committing the unforgivable sin, and the Rapture. My born-again experience was life-transforming. But so too was moving beyond the kind of approach to religion that I adopted immediately thereafter, and finding instead a less dogmatic, less obsessive, less neurotic approach to Christianity.
Winell and Tarico refer often in the article to this movement as “Bible-believing” and the like. Yet that whole introspective and individualistic approach to faith is not actually found in the Bible. It is a modern phenomenon.
What are your stories of the positive and negative impact that religion – or the lack thereof – has had in your life?