Fundamentalist Religion

I'm becoming increasingly frustrated with fundamentalist religion.

I mean, it's not like they're doing anything, but...

I don't know.

It's just like, Really? Your way is the only way? Ever? Really. Because it seems to me that things were done a lot differently than your way for eons. Your way is a product of a certain time period, a certain school of thought present in a certain era... Yet that now automatically becomes the only right way to do things ever in the history of mankind and anyone who deviates from it is hellbound.

I guess I'm just frustrated with the rigidity and the insufferable arrogance that precipitates the statement that "we alone have the truth". 

No, it's not about "being allowed" to do things or not do certain things. It's not about, "I never got to go to the movies as a child." It's not about, "I can't eat this or I can't drink that."

It's about being right. It's about black and white, truth and deception, and the idea that if you don't subscribe to a certain set of beliefs then you're deluded and will face eternal doom. It's about no room for relationship, for pilgrimage, for honest-to-god seeking and trying and working out your problems. It's about I'm too tired to try anymore. It's about too many people being torn down, stomped on, and damaged by the straitlaced certainty that Jesus is coming and you damn well better be ready.

It's about this.

Fb status update on my timeline--
"Different personalities praise God most genuinely in different ways. Different generations praise God most genuinely in different ways. So no one style of worship should be imposed on everyone as morally correct. That makes church services stifling. Worship turns into ritual. Everything begins to seem memorized. The most joyful worship happens when people find a language that speaks to their innermost emotions, that gives voice to their inner self before God. That language could be a certain style of music, it could be a certain kind of congregational sharing, it could be a certain experience that a speaker shares. What will help people find their worship language is to allow room in the church for a variety of creative expression."
{Steven Mosley}

Response from certainly well-meaning fundamentalist friend--

Hate to be an old stick in the mud, But there is only one way to worship God.

It's about how I wish we could all be free to be who we really are without that message hitting us in the psychological groin... You know, the Christian worldview. God made you in his image, so you were supposed to be good, except that we're all screwed up because of sin so you really aren't good, but you can be good with God in your life, except that you'll never actually be a good person, it's just God puppeting. Good puppeteer, bad puppet. Sorry kid, that's the breaks.

The sign on the church down the street blares this message at me every time I drive by: "God loves you not because you're awesome, but because he is."

Well, thank you for that.

No, seriously. You just taught me how not to parent. Think about it-- would you not be outraged if you heard a parent tell a child in all earnestness, "You're rotten, but I love you. See how wonderful I am?"

Uh, no. 

If we don't buy this on the human scale, why do we buy it on the cosmic scale?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not preaching the gospel of entitlement, here... I'm just advocating for intrinsic worth... something I feel that I have yet to find inside the doors of a church.

Maybe I'll end up a new ager. Maybe I'll end up a secular humanist. Maybe I'll realize that all this stuff I thought Christianity was saying was actually a misunderstanding on my part.

Whatever happens, I know I'm not going to be joining a church if I still hear this message from the people and the pulpit.

(By the way, ever read the book Sybil? It's horrifying and captivating-- an insight into a deeply wounded mind that did what it had to in order to survive. Guess what? Sybil's parents were SDA. That's right, she was raised among our ranks. Now, I'm not saying that's got anything to do with her torture, because her mom was legitimately insane and psychotic and a horrible, horrible person, SDA or not. However, seeing the religious compunctions and restrictions that come up during her recovery are... interesting. Obviously, having been raised in the 30's, the mindset was different. Decidedly more Victorian. However, considering it to be sinful to be unhappy? Yeah, I've heard that in recent years. Therapy is of the devil? Yup, heard that too. You just need to pray through your problems? I've definitely heard that one. Anyway, just an interesting side note. I resonate more with Sybil than I'd care to, on many levels, including the SDA background.)

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