Monday, May 19, 2014

Religion is Child Abuse

A Google+ friend of mine shared this image earlier today, and it got me thinking...

It's completely right... and completely wrong.

Religion Done Wrong

I was brought up in the church... or, at least, with a church history and education (Sunday School, Pre-confirmation, confirmation, attendance at church many Sundays, etc. I was taught that I am:
  • Broken
  • Flawed
  • Sinful
  • Dumb
  • Weak
  • Nothing
I've witnessed other people - children and adults - being taught the same thing. The pastor/preacher/priest prattles on from the pulpit about how we're all broken, sinful people. We're all unworthy nothings. And... there the message stops (and/or, that's where we stop listening).

Religion Done Right (aka Relationship instead of Religion)

The full message, if the pastor/preacher/priest were to finish it (or, if we were to listen to the end) is...

We're all broken, sinful people. We're unworthy of God's love. But that's okay. We're still beloved children of God. Whether or not we deserve God's grace and love does not matter - we have it anyway. Through Christ, our sins are forgiven and our brokenness is overlooked and we are not nothings.

God did not create worthless people with nothing to offer this world. He created people who are
  • Full of wonder
  • Smart
  • Great learners
  • Beautiful
  • And who have a potential for greatness!

Religion is Child Abuse... But Not Always

With the picture above, when it was shared, talked about how religion is child abuse. And, I've heard this before - teaching children religion is child abuse. Well...

Anyone who lets the message stop at us being broken, sinful and unworthy - yes, I would agree this would be child abuse (or, adult abuse). Anyone who would insult another to this degree, knocking them down and making them feel like they can never be enough - yes, they are abusing the person, abusing God's Word, and abusing the position of teaching God has given them.

Those who teach that God did not create us to be worthless... those who teach that God did not say "you will never be enough"... those who teach God's love regardless of our sinfulness and brokenness... These are the people who understand the message of God. These are the people who are not abusing the child (or adult).

Maybe it would be better for us to teach... With Christ, you are Something! rather than Without Christ, you are Nothing! I don't know... it's the same thing... and yet...

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