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Sticks And Stones?


Guest wayfarer2k
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Guest wayfarer2k

“…may break my bones, but words can never harm me.”

 

Really?

 

I would love to write a book called “Dangerous Doctrines”. The church, down through the ages, has invented doctrines about the nature of God, Jesus, the bible, humanity, and our world to help it to try to discern what it’s purpose is and what it’s message should be. In a sense, that is a good thing. We should always be taking stock to see how we can best impact one another and our culture for the good, how we can be a light to our world.

 

But when theologians, especially those of the conservative, fundamentalist flavor, sit and pontificate about the exact nature of God and our universe, and then reach the conclusion that they know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the “rules”, doctrines can turn dangerous.

 

Sometimes liberal Christians are said to believe, “It doesn’t matter what you think…as long as you are sincere.” I think this is a wrong view, not only because it misrepresents liberal Christians, but because it implies that God himself doesn’t care what we think…as long as we are sincere about our beliefs.

 

But as other threads here on this forum demonstrate, what we believe and the doctrines we hold to have a direct impact upon how we act, upon how we treat our fellow human beings.

 

I expressed on another thread that my wife and I had lost two children to miscarriage and that the conservative, fundamentalist leaders in our former church told us our unborn children were burning in hell. Let me assure you, this belief about our children is thoroughly supported by the doctrine of “original sin” and “the fall” as well as the doctrine of “God’s holiness.” You won’t find the phrase “original sin” in the bible. Neither will you find “the fall”. But, somehow, theologians have pulled certain verses out of Hebrew mythology, turned them into literal truth, and then feel that God himself consigns children to hell because, it is thought, children are born evil, they never place their faith and trust in Jesus and his atonement in order to be forgiven for

“indwelling sin”, and God cannot stand to have an evil creature in his presence in “heaven”. Therefore, they go to hell.

 

Some conservatives, of course, would balk at such a notion. While holding to the man-made doctrines of original sin, the fall, and the literalizing of hell, they would hold to another man-made doctrine called “the age of accountability”. Try finding that doctrine in the bible. In the OT, when God supposedly commands the Israelites to kill their neighbors, no infants or children are spared. Occasionally virgins are, but no infants and children. There is no “age of accountability”. Conservatives invent that doctrine because, to some of them, the notion that babies are burning in hell seems atrocious – as it should.

 

Conservatives who hold to the doctrine of “the age of accountability” should be, of all Christians, the most pro-abortion. After all, if ALL babies automatically go to heaven, then it is best to kill human beings in infancy, thereby guaranteeing their future.

 

I’m not trying to be rude or coarse here. I’m just trying to demonstrate that words CAN hurt. Doctrines that confine or twist the nature of God, Jesus, the bible, humanity, and our world can be VERY harmful to people. And, I believe, they distort the nature of God.

 

So when someone tells you they believe in “original sin” or “the fall”, it does matter what they believe. They need to be called on it. They need to know how their cherished doctrines translate into real lives, how their air-tight arguments can bring harm to others, and how, as Jesus said, their man-made doctrines seek to nullify the very life that is the word of God.

 

It does matter what we believe. Good theology leads to good practices and good people. Bad theology leads to bad practice and bad people. Jesus said we would know his followers by their fruit. If the fruits around you tell you that children go to hell, find another tree as quickly as you can.

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"…may break my bones, but words can never harm me."

 

<snip>

 

Conservatives who hold to the doctrine of "the age of accountability" should be, of all Christians, the most pro-abortion. After all, if ALL babies automatically go to heaven, then it is best to kill human beings in infancy, thereby guaranteeing their future.

 

I've made the same argument. It is one of the inconsistencies of the anti-abortion evangelical/fundamentalist/conservative stance. Also, calling themselves pro-life when they are pro-capital punishment & pro-war.

 

I watched a George Carlin routine where he points out the hypocrisy of the supposed pro-life people who really pro-pre-born. Because once that child is born all their "pro-life" ideas go out the window! He said it much more crassly but very effectively!

 

There is a book I read when I was in Seminary: I don't know how it would all sit with me now but at the time I found great comfort in it:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Dangers-Growing-Up-C...3645&sr=8-1

Edited by October's Autumn
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[i expressed on another thread that my wife and I had lost two children to miscarriage and that the conservative, fundamentalist leaders in our former church told us our unborn children were burning in hell. Let me assure you, this belief about our children is thoroughly supported by the doctrine of “original sin” and “the fall” as well as the doctrine of “God’s holiness.” You won’t find the phrase “original sin” in the bible. Neither will you find “the fall”. But, somehow, theologians have pulled certain verses out of Hebrew mythology, turned them into literal truth, and then feel that God himself consigns children to hell because, it is thought, children are born evil, they never place their faith and trust in Jesus and his atonement in order to be forgiven for

“indwelling sin”, and God cannot stand to have an evil creature in his presence in “heaven”. Therefore, they go to hell.

 

I hope you do write the book, and I'm VERY sorry people added to your pain when your wife had miscarriages. I had never considered the damage the doctrine of original sin could do before, because I never experienced what you did. I think mankind has always struggled with the fact that if God is all Good and God is all Powerful, why do bad things happen? The Garden of Eden story is an attempt to explain why our God created world is not perfect. I also think that after Jesus died, those closest to him had to try to understand the meaning of His life and death. They came from a sacrificial system and linked Jesus to the paschal lamb. I think the people of that time bought it, but I think it has done more harm than good in recent times. Human understandings of God are always limited. Thank you for this insight!

 

I think the progressive Christians state that "we embrace those who have been hurt in the name of Christianity. " Humans seem to say some of the worst things to each other in grief situations. It reflects our own discomfort. Better to say nothing at all!

 

 

 

Horrible, horrible, how that doctrine was used to hurt!!

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