Growing up in a Christian home was very confusing. I remember never being able to watch Saturday morning cartoons because of a preacher doing a sermon on the evils of modern day culture. While my friends talked about their favorite cartoons I watched bible cartoons about Noah, Samson and Jonah.
My mother protected me at all costs from the evils of the world and wanted me to grow up righteous and holy before God. I commend her valiant effort but a simple lack of education followed by blind belief is a deadly combination for radicalism.
In church I learned I was a sinner and without Jesus I was going to be tormented for eternity in the worst place I could ever imagine. My actions even at the young age of 8 were that of a sinner and therefore I needed someone to “save” me. I was 8 and I remember feeling like I was a bad person but I didn’t know why.
Then the teenage years came.
I wanted to listen to rap music, (ok maybe that was evil) but that was a sin.
I had all these thoughts about sex in my head and I felt evil for them because my pastor said if I look at a girl with lust I am committing adultery in my heart.
I wanted to please God but the more I sinned the more I hated who I was. How could I ever love myself when I constantly hurt the one who I wanted to please? Here is where Christians use their famous word: “Grace”. God loves you even when you don’t love yourself.
Neat… Ever try receiving love when you don’t love who you are? Yah, doesn’t work. Ask the countless broken relationships and marriages who try that.
I was confused, depressed and constantly afraid of my sexuality and sinful nature. I would ask questions like, “If God didn’t want me thinking these thoughts why did he put the urge there only to repress it?” The church would tell me that when I am married then I can act on these urges but until then don’t do anything or it’s a sin. They would tell me that everytime I sin it is like driving a nail into Jesus’s hands.
Thanks.. I really want to be responsible for that too..
Christianity was more and more about what I couldn’t do and instead of freeing me it enslaved me to a prison of self loathing. If you are a Christian reading this I am sure you have your judgements and opinions and I honestly invite you to comment but ask yourself this one question…
When Jesus said that you should love your neighbor as you love yourself… How can you love your neighbor if you don’t love yourself?
Answer.. You can’t.
I can’t tell you there is a heaven and I can’t tell you there isn’t a hell but I can tell you that repressing your sexual nature and the constant grief and self loathing of being sinful will ruin your self esteem. Maybe if Christianity focused on being more Christ like and less on anti-gay, republican, pro-life agenda they would create a world more like their Lord and less like his people.