Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mentally abused every Sunday!

     Wouldn't be interesting if the next time you went to church, you were met by sharply dressed men carrying clipboards, whose primary duty was to ensure you signed something like the following before being admitted into the service:
"Initial here, here and here..."
"I, the undersigned, do freely and legally agree to release V.F.* Community Church from all liability for any mental and psychological stress that could result from the following service.  I acknowledge that I have been warned of possible negative side effects which can include, but are not limited to:  low self-esteem, conviction of sin by a Supernatural Being, extreme anxiety regarding a place of eternal punishment, feelings of guilt, humiliation, inferiority and/or inadequacy.  I also understand prolonged exposure to biblical content (without an internal transformation) can lead to narcissism masquerading as depression, acute hardening to and hostility towards Christians and additional content, and a hypersensitivity to rebuke over wrongdoing, real or perceived.  This religious institution is not liable for these or other effects resulting from observation of, conversation with or instruction by individuals with higher moral standards than myself."
      Are you aware that much of the "biblical content" we proclaim can be (and/or most certainly will be) classified as "toxic and abusive"?  Most of you have heard the recent comments of Bill Nye, pleading with Christians not to raise their children with the same backwater, obscurantist denial that they daily operate under.  I've got an atheist coworker who, based on his acceptance of views by the late Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, has accused me of child abuse by religiously instructing my offspring.  And the existence of an eternal punishment likely ranks as the most egregious psychological offense that Christians afflict upon their fellow men.
     So what to do?  Halt these mental assaults immediately?  Obviously to do so would amount to a total compromise and utter uselessness for the kingdom of God;  instead, let's take a deep breath and remind ourselves Who causes us to differ from another (I Cor 4:7).  There's nothing in us that makes us more receptive towards biblical truth... it is God who opens some eyes and shuts others.  Next, don't be shocked by such opposition:  "If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub (or even child abusers!), how much more shall they call them of his household?" (Matt 10:25).  The proper attitude is profound gratitude to suffer for Christ (I Pet 4:14) and careful introspection to ensure any offense originates from the content, not its couriers.

*:  I thought Vanity Fair would be an appropriate locale for all the John Bunyan fans out there!

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