summer

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Gentleness. Self-control. in christian culture, these are known as the ‘fruits of the spirit’ and are seen as the result of the ‘holy spirit’ working in your life. This is an interesting concept, as many other world religions hold similar/identical values as something to strive for – a concept held in in disbelief by christianity as they profess to be the ‘only religion founded on love’; words heard in multiple churches, bible studies, and conversations I’ve been a part of over the years.

I don’t know of very many instances in our world where sending your own son to be whipped, beaten, tortured, and killed is considered an act of love. However – that’s for a different time.

A concept that struck me this morning is the predatory nature of the christian faith – though it could apply to many more religions, christianity is the one I’m most familiar with – which I will explain below.

As I’ve grown older and become more in control of my own life, I’ve begun to apply and practice many of the ‘fruits of the spirit’ to my life, which is completely void of religious beliefs. As a functioning adult, I realize that if I do not have patience in my life, I can easily become a bitter and disagreeable person, prone to outbursts of impatience and rage – something that I do not want to have as a part of my life.

Other aspects of my life have now begun to sprout fruits of love, acceptance, and forgiveness. Again – these disciplines have been developed without the least bit of religious belief. I simply realize there are real-life consequences for actions and behaving poorly, and have decided that’s now the type of character I want to be known for.

That being said, children, teenagers, and even young adults are never found to be born with an ingrained value for the discipline of patience, forgiveness, or thought of others; we’re born as selfish individuals who care little for the welfare of others, as it is our evolutionary nature to adopt self-preservation. When a baby is hungry – it cries until it is fed. When a baby cries – the mother (all things being normal) loves the child enough to care and nurture the child.

Where the christian faith takes a predatory stance on this fact of life is that it makes the individual feel as if they have done something wrong to be born this way, with the only way to fixing this problem being found in the walls of the church and in accepting a dead historical figure as their ‘savior’.

One doesn’t need to go to a church to realize that it’s an asshole move to be impatient, rude, or unkind to others. However, the church wants you to believe that the answer to our innate sense of immaturity; being selfish, impatient or unpleasant can somehow be corrected through application of its religious beliefs; swallowing a whole lot more than simply the discipline of the ‘fruits’ and teaching many damaging beliefs that can be disastrous to the human mind.

It is as if you found somebody who was hungry and began to make them feel as if it were their fault for being hungry, with the only ‘answer’ being found at your restaurant and stating all other restaurants are poison. 

Sometimes we just need to eat.

As I have encountered situations with my own family (my younger brother, in particular) that have required me to have patience, I have been realizing that his emotions aren’t the result of ‘sin nature’ but simply because he is 13 years old and doesn’t yet have a full grasp on the consequences of his actions, words, or habits.

Rather than try to beat it out of him with religious practices that make him feel as if he is nothing without jesus, I try to remind him that his actions have lifelong consequences on his life and those around him that can be positive or negative, depending on what his choices are.

You’re angry? Ok. Let’s talk about it and why you feel that way.

You’re sad? I know how you feel. It’s OK to feel that way.

Sitting a young man down and trying to pray away his anger, insecurities, and pains, something that happened to me on many occasions in the church/home growing up, didn’t solve these issues.

No more will prayer stop blood gushing from a knife wound than it can heal emotional pains and hurts. Were my spleen to rupture, it would be normal to take me to the emergency room for surgery. However, many normal human ‘pains’ that deal with emotions; sadness, depression, anxiety, anger, insecurity, loneliness, etc. – these are simply given prayer rather than the treatment and human understanding they desperately need.

It’s cruel and unusual to tell a young teenager, ripe with hormones and sexual energy, that they will go to hell if they act on these chemical responses in their body. One would think it to be absurd to tell somebody they will go to hell if they urinate or defecate – normal bodily functions. Yet, it’s completely acceptable in many churches/households across America to tell this teenager they are committing hell-worthy sin if they masturbate.

Touchy subject? Absolutely. However, it needs to be talked about and addressed.

I’ve seen, firsthand, the damage that can be done to an individual when they are made to feel like a wretched person – or somebody full of demons, as I was made to believe were the source of my teenage wild years – and it breaks my heart to see the continuance of these disastrous practices in well-funded pulpits across the world.

It. Must. Stop.

A pregnant Pakistani woman was recently beaten to death, with bricks, by several dozen members of her own family.  (link)

Her crime? Choosing to marry somebody she loved.

It’s completely acceptable to be appalled by this action. There is no circumstance where a brother, sister, cousin, father, or mother can rightfully beat their own family member to death with bricks for choosing to love and marry.

However, one finds many instances in christian bible where similar actions are justified and commanded. (link)

It saddens me to know there are many young men and women who are afraid to be who they are because they have been indoctrinated with the belief that they will go to hell if they do so much as be themselves – or masturbate.

Featured Image From Deviantart

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