• Christianity Did Not Help Me, It Did Not Work For Me

I was a very devout Christian from childhood up to my early, maybe mid, forties.

These days, I don’t know what I am (religiously speaking).

As I look back over my life, I can see that not only did the Christian faith not help me much, but as some of its teachings were taught to me, it created obstacles in my life, and kept me stuck in harmful patterns or ways of thinking.

Supposing there is an afterlife with a Heaven and a Hell, and acceptance of Christ means a ticket into Heaven upon death, that works out just fine. I can sure see how that is beneficial later on.

Christianity, though, did not really help me with very much in the present life.

Any pain, problems, or stress I’ve had so far were not relieved by the Christian faith.

Prayer, Bible reading, believing in Jesus, volunteering at charities, attending church – none of that alleviated my problems.

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• Insensitive, Clueless, or Off-Base Responses by Christians to Pedophile Preacher Article on Christian Site

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:

The Pedophile in the Pulpit: How a Respected Pastor Abused Hundreds of Children for 40 Years, and No One Knew by Heather Sell

Article Comments

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.

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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.

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• 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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• Non-Christians Twice as Likely to Seek Mental Health Counseling as Practicing Christians: Barna Study

The Barna Study is here:

Americans Feel Good About Counseling

Millions of Americans face mental illness each year, according to NAMI. Yet the stigma surrounding mental health is acutely felt—even in the Church, which has at times struggled in its messaging on the issue.

This is despite the fact that, according to new Barna data, Americans by far have positive experiences with counseling—a practice that helps them heal from trauma, facilitate mental health, build strong relationships and change destructive patterns of thinking.

In a new study, Barna wanted to know just how many American adults are engaging in counseling and how they feel about the practice.

The article about the study:

Non-Christians Twice as Likely to Seek Mental Health Counseling as Practicing Christians: Barna Study

By Michael Gryboski , Christian Post Reporter | Feb 28, 2018 11:01 AM

Non-Christians are more than twice as likely to acknowledge seeking counseling for mental health issues than practicing Christians, according to a recent study by the Barna Group.

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• Man Copes With the Death of His Wife By Hiking

 Man Copes With the Death of His Wife By Hiking

What may become my standard opener for posts about death and grief:

My mother died a little bit before the year 2010 (yes, I am being intentionally sketchy about specifics because I would like to remain anonymous).
I discovered the hard way after my mother’s passing, and I was shocked and deeply saddened and disappointed to find, that most Christians are terrible at helping someone who is in grief.
Many Christians do not even want to try to be there for someone who has experienced loss, whether out of laziness, selfishness, or feeling uncomfortable with open expressions of emotional pain.
Whatever the reason, most Christians do not want to weep with the one who weeps and therefore leaves them to cope with the loss completely alone, which I feel is terrible and insensitive.


I watched a Christian program that involved a man whose wife died of breast cancer. He started hiking to cope with the loss.

Before I get to the link and his story, I wanted to use his story as a reminder: conservative Christians keep offering this fairy tale story that marriage will solve all a person’s problems.

The conservative church portrays singleness after the age of 25 as being second class or merely a waiting period until one eventually marries (what if one never marries? they never address this possibility).

Getting married is not a solution to loneliness, financial problems, or about anything else problematic, as so many Christians like to portray it.

Should you marry, your spouse may turn out to be abusive (whether physically, emotionally, verbally, or financially), your spouse may announce one day that he’s not in love with you any longer and wants to divorce you to marry another; or, your spouse may come down with a mental health problem or get into a car wreck and become paralyzed.

And, of course, as this post shows, should you marry, your spouse may die from a physical cause.

Hiking Through – One Man’s Great Adventure on the Appalachian Trail

Snippets:

Each year thousands of people attempt to hike the entire Appalachian Trail from start to finish. Only one in four completes it. When then 58-year-old Paul Stutzman took his first steps on the 2,176 mile journey, he wanted more than a great adventure. He was looking for an encounter with God.

Years before, Paul was busy living life. He was happily married, had three children and a great job managing a large restaurant in Ohio’s Amish country.  Then in 2002, doctors diagnosed his beloved wife Mary with breast cancer. Although they did everything they could and believed God would heal her, Mary passed away four years later.

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