• An Intolerance of Uncertainty is Linked to Anxiety and Depression. Here’s How to Get Better at Tolerating It by K. Wong

An Intolerance of Uncertainty is Linked to Anxiety and Depression. Here’s How to Get Better at Tolerating It by K. Wong

I find some of what follows applicable to religious thought not just to mental health (anxiety, depression).

Many Christians, those of other faiths, and even many atheists, act completely certain about topics such as religion, salvation, the after-life, or if a deity (or deities) exist.

This following page reminds me a little bit of Pete Enns’ work on the topic of certainty in Christianity:

The Sin of Certainty by Pete Enns

“The controversial evangelical Bible scholar and author of The Bible Tells Me So explains how Christians mistake “certainty” and “correct belief” for faith when what God really desires is trust and intimacy.”

I’ve become more comfortable with uncertainty over the last few years and find myself rather put-off by people who claim to understand everything perfectly, who act as though they understand why everything happens, to claim to know definitely that a God does not exist, and so forth.

Being at that level of certainty can make a person arrogant or closed-off to considering other views, or to considering that maybe their opinions or understanding of some topic or another may be incorrect.

An Intolerance of Uncertainty is Linked to Anxiety and Depression. Here’s How to Get Better at Tolerating It

Excerpts:

If you’ve ever taken a philosophy class, you’ve probably heard of the Socratic paradox: “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.”

It advocates for the benefits of uncertainty, a point of view that happens to be backed by modern psychological science, too. Namely, uncertainty “improves our decisions, promotes empathy, and boosts creativity,” says Jamie Holmes, a Future Tense Fellow at New America and author of the book, Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing.

Likewise, a 2014 study suggests that uncertainty can also be motivating. A little uncertainty is good for you.

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• Assessing Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life by Greg Boyd

Assessing Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life by Greg Boyd

Christian theologian Greg Boyd has written a series of posts about Jordan Peterson’s views.

Peterson has become a very revered figure among certain conservative people.

I myself am conservative, and while I agree with Peterson on a topic here or there, I don’t agree with him on much of what he says about women or gender roles.

I posted previously about Peterson on my blog here.

My conclusion about Peterson is that he’s essentially the secular version of a Christian gender complementarian. He holds what appears to be many of the same views about women that gender complementarians do – which is enough for me to reject his views.

Part 10 (of 15): Who Gets To Interpret The World? by Greg Boyd

Snippets:

In my previous two posts (post 8 & post 9) I critically evaluated Peterson’s thinking on hierarchies, race and white privilege. In this post I’ll address three other aspects of Peterson’s thought that was outlined in post 5, post 6, and post 7.

On the Power of Women’s “No”

First, we’ve seen that Peterson claims that “[w]omen’s proclivity to say no [to men] more than any other force, has shaped our evolution into the creative, industrious, upright, large-brained (competitive, aggressive, domineering) creatures that we are” (41).

Because females naturally want to mate with males who are as high up on the social scale as possible, finding the bottom half to be undesirable (41), they have been the central means by which advantageous genes got passed along while disadvantageous genes were selected out.

Hence, the playing field on which men must compete for mating rites has been getting higher and higher throughout our biological and social evolution.

While I don’t dispute the research demonstrating that women are choosy maters, I’m not convinced women have always, or even usually, had the power to say “no” that Peterson ascribes to them.

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• The Marginalization of Single Women Via The Billy Graham Rule, Fleeing the Appearance of Evil, and James Dobson

The Marginalization of Single Women Via The Billy Graham Rule, Fleeing the Appearance of Evil, and James Dobson

There is much more I could say about the Billy Graham Rule (sometimes also referred to these days as “The Mike Pence Rule”) than what I am writing about here and now, but for this post, I wanted to narrow it down a little bit.

In the context of the Bill Hybels scandal discussion, news sites and abuse survivor blogs are mentioning how mega-church preacher Bill Hybels told one of his targets that under the advice of Focus On The Family’s James Dobson, he wanted to watch some pornography movies.

So, Hybels  – who was married – asked his target, an unmarried woman staffer at his church, a Pat Baranowski, to run out and buy or rent porn, then he watched it with her while wearing nothing but a bathrobe. Baranowski also lived with Hybels and his wife in their home for approximately two years.

One of the spiritual abuse survivor blogs covering this whole ordeal is The Wartburg Watch in this post, where one of the TWW bloggers, Dee, wrote this:

James Dobson was part of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography in the latter half of the 1980s. Note how Hybels cleverly used something that was true to give him plausible deniability.

Mr. Hybels told Ms. Baranowski that he had been told to educate himself on the issue by James Dobson, founder of the ministry Focus on the Family, who had been appointed by President Ronald Reagan to an anti-pornography commission.

Calling it research, Mr. Hybels once instructed Ms. Baranowski to go out and rent several pornographic videos, she said, to her great embarrassment. He insisted on watching them with her, she said, while he was dressed in a bathrobe.

I am opposed to the BGR (Billy Graham Rule), for a few reasons, one of which is because it (like a lot of complementarian teachings, though side note: I don’t believe Hybels was complementarian) assumes several obnoxious things and perpetuates sexist stereotypes: it assumes that men, all men, are unable (or maybe unwilling?) to control their libidos, that all single women are sexual temptresses who have loose sexual morals and are willing to have affairs with married men.

Because of these assumptions, some Christians believe that men and women should not be alone together, especially not married men with single women.

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• How to Be Assertive – Even When You’re Constantly Talked Over by M. Welding

How to Be Assertive – Even When You’re Constantly Talked Over by M. Welding

Unfortunately, a lot of women don’t learn the assertiveness skills this article is addressing, especially not women who were (as I was) raised under Christian gender complementarianism.

Complementarianism fosters codependency mindsets and behaviors in Christian girls and women, and unfortunately tells them such passive behaviors are godly, desirable, God’s design, good, right, and feminine.

These teachings actually handicap girls and women through their lives.

Such teachings convey the message to girls and women that they should be conflict avoidant, which does them no favor, because as you get older and go through life, there will be situations when you have no choice but to deal with rude, mean, or abusive bosses, co-workers, boyfriends, etc.

Complementarianism, and similar secular belief sets taught to girls, does not adequately prepare them for adulthood.

Notice, by the way, that the solutions presented in the article (a few of which I’ve copied to my blog below) do NOT rely on the “male headship” complementarian belief, where the man gets “final say so” in a dispute merely just due to the fact he has a penis (that he’s a man).

Two adults in a dispute can compromise with one another, or find another solution that does not involve one person automatically caving in to another based on biological sex.

How to Be Assertive – Even When You’re Constantly Talked Over – by M. Welding

Some snippets from that page:

Aggressive people are hostile, adopting the “my way or the highway” stance. Passive people give up their power and are easily taken advantage of, which creates a surefire recipe for burnout and resentment.

You want to be the happy medium—an assertive person.

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• Christians Cannot Agree on Christianity – Not Even the Essentials of The Faith – So Why Base All Life Choices on the Faith or the Bible?

Christians Cannot Agree on Christianity – Not Even the Essentials of The Faith – So Why Base All Life Choices on the Faith or the Bible?

If you are a Christian person, you should base your life decisions on what you believe and know to be best or right for you and your particular circumstances, rather than-

Relying on what you think God wants and prefers, or on what your church’s pastor thinks the Bible is conveying, or on what your interpretation of the Bible is, or on what your favorite Christian author is telling you on about any given topic.

Christians – even those whom say they adhere to Sola scriptura or Prima scriptura – do not agree with each other, or with other Christians, or with other Christian denominations, on many subjects.

Why would you subject major life choices, such as if to marry, whom to marry, when to marry, or whether to divorce or not, based on what you think the Bible (or your church) says on these issues, when your interpretation, or theirs, could be incorrect?

And when your church’s understanding conflicts with that of another ten churches on the same subject?

Your church or pastor or favorite preacher may say God never allows divorce for any reason at all, but at the same time, there are 500,000 other preachers, churches, and denominations which do say that it’s “biblical,” moral, fine, and acceptable, for one person to divorce another in cases of physical abuse-

And / or, in cases of adultery, and/or or perhaps in cases of neglect, emotional or verbal abuse, or in other scenarios.

So, does it really make sense to base your choice of what to do in life on what one church, one denomination, one flavor of theology, or one Christian says, when Christians themselves are not in consensus on what God thinks or prefers on these matters?

White American Christians at one time used to use the Bible to justify and defend the practice of 19th century whites owning black people as slaves.

Most of us today recognize slavery as being immoral, even though the Bible does contain passages addressing the treatment of slaves in the New Testament, and I believe in the Old, as well.

(That the Bible mentions something, or establishes rules for something already in place in a culture, such as slavery or polygamy, does not necessarily mean that the Bible, or the God of the Bible, agreed with whatever that practice was, or that it was ever God’s intent for humanity in the first place. This is a point that is often lost on critics of the Bible or of Christianity.)

If Christians misused the Bible to perpetuate the evil that was slavery – and they did in fact do so – that goes to show that Christians can misuse and misunderstand the Bible concerning other issues today, such as divorce or gender complementarianism (women’s roles).

Who says your church’s preacher’s interpretation is correct?

Or that John Piper’s is correct? or Al Mohler’s or J. D. Greear’s or Russell Moore’s? Or Mark Driscoll’s? Or that the Roman Catholic Pope’s  or Magisterium’s is correct?

Or who says the interpretation of the Bible by other Christian authors, theologians, or preachers, on these and other topics, is correct?

They could be absolutely and terribly and thoroughly in error on whatever topic they are addressing, whether they are appealing to biblical passages or not.

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• The Words “Feminism” or “Feminist”

The Words “Feminism” or “Feminist” – Why They’re Problematic And Aren’t Clear – And Why I Don’t Use the Label for Myself

Just recently, the owner of Spiritual Sounding Board blog brought attention to a post on You Tube, a video by a complementarian guy, who was railing that feminism is supposedly a “rebellion against God.”

I was initially going to post a link to that video and comment on it here on my blog – which I may still later do.

But wow and boy howdy, did I ever get clobbered by two of the blog’s self-professing feminists in the comment box, a woman named Carmen (who is, I believe, also an atheist), and by Lea (who I think has said on TWW blog that she is liberal(?) – later edit: but she was indicating to me in one post she holds more conservative positions than she cares to let on).

As much as I find KAS to be obnoxious and repulsive, my opinion of atheist Carmen has now sunk after our exchange today. I previously felt pretty good about her. I thought she was a-okay.

It’s odd, surprising, and sad, too, because I assumed up until this point that Carmen and I were on okay terms.

I guess not. She sure isn’t making me want to leave the Christianity-Agnosticism limbo I’ve been in to become an atheist, any more than KAS can convince me to re-join complementarianism.

Here is a link to the SSB post in question, where this all went down:

Feminism: Is it a rebellion against God?

I may be repeating – or even directly copying and pasting – myself from that thread, where I left several comments.

I do not identify as a feminist or use the feminist label for myself, nor do I use the word “feminism” to describe my views.

Though I am a conservative, I don’t always agree with other conservatives in their treatment, understanding, or characterization of feminism.

I’ve written blog posts before explaining how my fellow conservatives sometimes misunderstand some of the concepts that (especially liberal, secular) feminists bring up.

Many feminists appeal to the standard dictionary definition of the word, such as (and this is taken directly from the top of Google’s result page for the word “feminism”),

feminism – the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.

-to draw support for use of the word.

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• How Simply Acknowledging Another Person’s Pain Can Help Them More Than Telling Them to Cheer Up by Megan Devine, via Lori Dorn

How Simply Acknowledging Another Person’s Pain Can Help Them More Than Telling Them to Cheer Up by Megan Devine, via Lori Dorn

“How Simply Acknowledging Another Person’s Pain Can Help Them More Than Telling Them to Cheer Up”

Well, no kidding!

I’ve been saying this very thing forever at the Christian blogs I’ve been posting to for eons now.

Most Christians I went to for empathy after my mother died victim-blamed me, shamed me, offered unwanted and unsolicited advice, and tried to give me theology lessons.

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