There is a lot of shame in religion.
I was taught that mankind is so totally depraved due to our inherent sin nature that we are incapable in ourselves of reaching out to God for help. We are incapable of really doing good, because even when we do acts of goodness, our motivation is flawed. This sums it up rather concisely. . .
“Total depravity is the fallen state of human beings as a result of original sin. The doctrine of total depravity asserts that people are, as a result of the fall, not inclined or even able to love God wholly with heart, mind, and strength, but rather are inclined by nature to serve their own will and desires and reject His rule. Even religion and philanthropy are wicked to God because they originate from a selfish human desire and are not done to the glory of God. Therefore, in Reformed theology, if God is to save anyone, He must predestine, call, or elect individuals to salvation since fallen man does not want to, and is indeed incapable of, choosing Him.However, in Arminian theology prevenient grace (or “enabling grace”) does reach through total depravity to enable people to respond to the salvation offered by God in Jesus Christ.” Source: wikipedia.org
What does it feel like learning to not trust anyone you meet or know who is not of your religion because they are a potential threat to your well being? Well, bluntly, it turns any social invitation (of the very few you receive) to a ‘no’ by default. Because the first thing you feel is not excitement at being with your friends doing fun stuff, oh no. . .that would be for normal folks. We are talking about people that have been raised in a lifetime of these ideas that you have to be on guard from any unsaved person asking you to go somewhere or do something that would violate your beliefs. What you feel is fear, sadness, and loneliness. Here’s why.
Let’s do a mind experiment here. . .Suppose you have an unsaved friend who asks you to go to dinner and a movie. Well, your red flags of fear go up because you might be asked to go into a restaurant that serves alcohol, or even more of a bar atmosphere. What if your friend drinks and suggest you pay for the food if he/she pays for the movie tickets and snacks? Paying for drinks might violate your conscience. Let’s say that your friend wants to see an R rated movie that happens to have a lot of swearing and even nudity. How fun does this feel now? And if you tell your friend about your concerns, will that friend accommodate you once, but never ask you to do anything with them again? There’s the sadness and loneliness kicking in. Do I hear a loud yawn for the BORING PERSON?
So the inherent starting belief that humans are ‘bad’ until God saves them from the pit of sin, cleans their hearts, and rejuvenates them builds a HUGE, rather uncross-able divide between you and all the normal people on the planet!
And it does this also. . . Since God reached down and chose (elected) you to be saved, pulled you out of the mass of humanity all flowing down the river to hell, you are very special. More than special, you are better, cleaner, morally superior to everyone else on the entire planet!
Of course you are lonely and your social life is highly limited by strict parameters, but if you make the church, and church activities your social network, then you can ignore all those ignorant, immoral unsaved people you work with every day. They don’t know what good, wholesome fun is!
And as long as you can be inside your particular church bubble of happy beliefs and activities, you can ignore your own festering wounds of extreme loneliness, ignorance of much of scientific realities, inability to really think for yourself, problem solve, or develop your own healthy identity as well!
The good, clean people are independent, sincere, Baptist fundamentalists; everyone else are either weak, jelly fish compromisers unworthy of your respect, or unbelievers who are on their way to spend eternity in hell.
God loves His chosen people! Be happy and thankful you are in the select group!
And try to recover from this horrible, warped mindset and be able to join humanity. . .
It was never clear to me how one could if they were really chosen by God to be part of His people. I always got the message that if a Christian was too far off the rails of following all the “do” and “don’t” lists, then that probably meant they were not really a Christian in the first place, as the fundamentalist logic would go.
Perhaps my brain is being obtuse, but I am unclear on your meaning when you wrote “It was never clear to me how one could if they were really chosen by God to be part of His people.” Would you be willing to clarify a bit?
Thanks for reading my intermittent blog posts – I find that I will start with a title and certain intent to the content, but as I write, each post takes on its own direction, so this was far from my original intent, but that’s okay.
Looks like I left out a word in that sentence. It should read: It was never clear to me how one could KNOW if they were really chosen by God to be part of His people.