Insensitive, Clueless, or Off-Base Responses by Christians to Pedophile Preacher Article on Christian Site
I wanted to discuss some of the comments I saw below the last article I just blogged about, which comes from the CBN Site. I blogged about it here:
I skimmed some of the comments under that article (edit: link now fixed) on the CBN site.
Alex is an adult who says when she was a child that her preacher father sexually molested her. Later in life, she and her brother reported their father to the police, where the police discovered he had raped and molested other children, too. He was arrested.
Alex said she walked away from the Christian faith as a result of the abuse.
Here is what she said, and this is what some of the self-professing Christians in the CBN comment box were reacting to:
Alex has traveled a road that’s not uncommon for abuse victims of spiritual leaders. She stopped attending church and has no desire to go back. “I don’t like the idea of God as a fatherly thing,” she said. “If that’s who He is He wasn’t there for me. If my dad was supposed to be someone who was spreading His word – that’s not the case at all,” she said.
Unfortunately, some of the Christians reacted to Alex’s rejection of the Christian faith inappropriately – rather than just express their condolences towards her that she was harmed by her father, they chose to defend the Church or God.
Sample comments of what I mean:
Comment by Melinda Morgan
I think the daughter [Alex] needs prayer that she’ll realize not all churches are bad and that God is indeed our Heavenly Father.
I hope Alex doesn’t see comments like that there. I wish Christians would just sit and empathize with hurting people instead of acting as non-stop apologists who believe it’s their duty to act as Defense Attorney for Church and God every time some says they were hurt by a church and are leaving the faith.
People who have been hurt by Christians or by the church need empathy, not theology lessons, or to be given warnings about they will perish (i.e., receive eternal damnation in Hell after death) if they don’t rejoin the faith, and so on.
Someone named Deborah Doebler made this dubious claim (the first part of her remark I take no issue with – pay attention to the bold face portion):
Comment by Deborah Doebler:
My heart and concern is for his many victims. Sexual abuse is a very hard thing to overcome. It can and usually does take many years. Just ask anyone who has been a victim.
This man will go to prison and have to deal with his own demons and I do pray he comes to realize the horror of his actions. The damage is done.
I pray now the victims will get the proper healing they need so desperately, from Christian counselors. Secular will only make them worse. I know.
Ms. Doebler, if “Christian” counselors helped you in whatever your trial was, that is truly wonderful.
But what worked for you may not work for others. I would direct Ms. Doebler to this post, also on my blog:
Also consider material such as this (also on my blog):
Many persons who identify as Christian Counselor (or “Biblical”) are legalistic and judgmental and have admitted on their sites they are not interested in helping a hurting person become healed of their pain.
Like a typical AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meeting or mindset, they are instead more interested in victim-blaming you, asking you how your own sin supposedly played a role in whatever issue is troubling you, rather than in giving you empathy and giving you tools to help you get through your problem.
Secular psychiatrists (and even one self-professing Christian one I saw) and the medications they prescribed did not help me with my issues either – but then, neither did Christianity.
Reading books by Christian counselors and their online articles did not help.
The Christian “faith only” approach did not work for me, either (i.e., pray to God, ask and believe for a healing, attend a local church regularly, read the Bible often, volunteer at charities, etc).
Absolutely none of that healed me or helped me.
(I finally found a lot of healing and help by going online and researching my own issues to figure out what was wrong with me and how to take steps to overcome or deal with it! I had to play my own psychologist.)
Many people have stated online in blog discussions about biblical counseling (aka Christian counseling) that they have been further wounded by such counseling.
One guy in the CBN comment section, a Wesley Mahan, said he left the Christian faith years ago, due in part to seeing that most self-professing Christians do not act any more moral than Non-Christians. Here is part of his comment on the CBN site, under the article about the pedophile preacher:
Comment by W. Mahan:
I am a former missionary and evangelical of 46 years, with a theology degree from a well-known Bible college. Two things prompted my intense re-evaluation of my personal belief in God and Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: hundreds of evangelical preachers/leaders caught in adultery and child sexual abuse…
Those two things were enough to prove to me that Christian believers were no more moral – and sometimes far LESS moral – than other religious believers, atheists and agnostics.
Today I do not believe in any deity, and I can honestly say that I am happier than I have ever been, and have a fuller life than ever before, with not the slightest fear whether there is a real hell, or even if there is an afterlife at all….
Mahan received the usual push-back from a few Christians, such as a woman with the screen name of “Velma” and someone named “LightsOn,” who told him he was foolish for rejecting Christ on the basis of people’s actions.
I will say that Velma at least sounded heart-felt and not rude or condescending.
But those are the expected responses. I’m not surprised.
The usual Christian responses to the sort of questions or problems asked above by agnostics or atheists in the comment box stopped working for me and satisfying me years ago.