As a child, Christianity didn’t make much sense to me. I didn’t understand the preoccupation with death. It didn’t make sense that a loving God would only provide people with two options of heaven or hell. I also didn’t find the concept of heaven appealing when it meant worshiping at someone’s feet for all of eternity. That didn’t sound like a fulfilling time.
As I got older and was able to express my concerns and dialogue with people, I was often met with comments of, “You just need to have faith.” In essence: “This thing may not make sense, but you just have to trust that it is true.”
That is a dangerous thing to teach a child. It teaches that in some cases you must deny what your feelings and thoughts are telling you and place your trust in a “higher power.” What is problematic with this is that the “higher power” is still largely defined by man. It is defined in a book that was written by men and deeply shaped by culture.
In the Christian culture I grew up in, I was taught that the Bible was written by God. That God used the inspired writers and therefor it was perfect and infallible. Which simply isn’t true. If we look at the history of how the Bible was put together and its multiple translations, there is nothing about it that is perfect and infallible.
However, Christianity will tell you to just “have faith” that the Bible is true. To back up that claim, they will quote you verses from the Bible. It’s called circular reasoning and it’s a logical fallacy.
I’m not here to take down Christianity or the Bible. I’m here to name the unintended harmful consequences of Christian culture.
When someone doesn't believe a Christian teaching because it goes against their feelings and thoughts, and are then instructed to “just have faith,” they are inadvertently teaching a person to not listen to their own intuition. It severs a person from themselves. It actually cuts them off from their true power.
In therapy, I work with individuals who grew up in religious environments. Many no longer hold religious beliefs, but they still struggle with the unintended consequences of the religious environments they grew up in. After an entire childhood of being told to deny themselves and place their faith in a higher power, they lose connection with themselves. It is difficult to claim their own feelings and name their own needs.
Therapy is a process of reconnection with the self. Of slowly saying, no, you don’t need more faith. You need to listen to and trust yourself.
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