Archive for July 16th, 2019

How Christianity Teaches You to Hate Yourself

2019/07/16

(Patheos::Godless in Dixie) – Neil Carter:

If you want to know what Christians believe, don’t watch their debates. Listen to the songs they sing.

There is a song they often played at the gym that was once on my running music playlist back in my Christian days. It’s called “So Long, Self” and it’s sung by MercyMe, the same group that brought us the perennial funeral standby, “I Can Only Imagine.” Here is a sample of the lyrics of the song:

So long, self! Well, it’s been fun, but I have found somebody else
So long, self! There’s just no room for two, so you are gonna have to move
So long, self! Don’t take this wrong but you are wrong for me, farewell
Oh well, goodbye, don’t cryyyy…woahoah so long, self!

Does this strike you as a subculture that teaches people a healthy view of themselves? Me neither. And lest you think I’m making much ado about nothing, I maintain that you can learn a lot by listening to the songs people sing, especially when those songs were specifically written to reinforce centrally important theological ideas the way songs do on Christian radio stations.

I see at least four things that result from this persistent and pervasive message of self-loathing.

  1. It makes you easier to control. …
  2. It teaches you unhealthy self-talk, which is a self-fulfilling prophecy. …
  3. It gives you an overly negative view of the rest of humanity. …
  4. Finally, it damages your ability to have healthy relationships because it teaches you to invalidate your own personal needs. …

In real life, you have to balance the needs of self with the needs of others. That’s the only kind of relationship that’s sustainable. It’s not always about “dying to self” and ignoring your own needs in order to take care of the needs of others. That may be the most “Christian” way to love, but it is a recipe for neglect, dysfunction, and even potentially abuse. …

godlessindixie to-hate-yourself

Jesus wants in

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Better News

2019/07/16

(Patheos::Godless in Dixie) – Neil Carter:

I’m trying to stay positive and optimistic about the prospect of forging a common vocabulary and finding common ground with progressive Christians but right this minute I’m getting very discouraged.

See, it only works up to a point. We start out in agreement on a number of things. But then I suggest that human beings aren’t broken—they aren’t sinful or lacking something essential to their wholeness—that they just are what they are and they’re not “supposed to be” something else and then the conversation changes.  I’ve just touched on something bedrock for them, immovable.  Apparently for them, many things are on the table for reconsideration but not this.  They feel compelled to say something is fundamentally wrong with human beings or else the conversation cannot go forward.  For them, this is a non-negotiable.

“Apart from me, you can do nothing,” Jesus said.

I have much more to say about this issue of low self-image and the Christian faith, but I’ll save that for my next post. Tune in next time. In the meantime, repeat after me:

I am Not your project. I do not have space in my life for people who can’t accept the person I am because they think I am lacking something essential to my life. Find someone else to fix. I am not broken.

The Good News is that not that there is no condemnation in Christ; it’s that there is no condemnation, Period. It was a fiction from the start.

That’s Better News. …

godlessindixie not-broken

Fiction