Saturday, March 21, 2009

AHHHHH Life is Fun.....

I spend way too much time analyzing life.

If I complained to you that I hated cold weather and you told me you loved it, would that put our friendship at risk?

If I said I could never live on the East Coast (which I actually love, this is hypothetical) because everyone is in a bad mood and you vehemently disagreed, would that cause us to then distrust each other?

If I said I was a Marxist communist (I am not) then you told me you were a radically pro-Capitalist.... well, that is when it might get a little heated....

However, have you ever known a topic so volatile to emotions, that can threaten close relationships and cause so much deep distrust as the topic of religion?

If you were wrong about the date of your spouses birthday, it might be hurtful to them. If you told a colleague that he had bad breath or a piece of food in his teeth, it might be embarrassing for both of you, but you'd forget it. However, if you say anything to someone about their religion, you can deeply offend them and often times it would require a heartfelt apology for them to be on speaking terms again. If they don't seem offended, often they back away emotionally from you or begin to distrust you. 

Religion cuts so deeply into our self-image and core identity we immediately feel defensive or attacked if anyone even questions what we believe. What is it about spirituality that permeates our pride and fear? We are terrified to be wrong about our values and religious beliefs. History is littered with wars whipped up by tyrants using our faith to get us to risk our lives.

If our image of God, our ideas of God are held up, scrutinized and mocked by someone we have even a modicum of a relationship with, we are shaken to the core. (Not everyone of course, but people in general.) 

Continually I am shocked by people who are so emotional or offended by our criticism of some of Adventism's doctrines. It is not theology to them, it is personal. I have not criticized a set of doctrines, I have personally slashed them--so they believe. This is a ubiquitous reaction of everyone I have encountered regardless of religion, so I am not particularly picking on Adventists.

I would love to have some input as to why you out there believe we are so profoundly wrapped up in our own ideas about God. Do you think that we somehow place ourselves into our image of God so that when anyone criticizes God we believe they are criticizing us?


lindylou said...

Good observation, Teresa! I've seen how you've been attacked on FB when you've brought up the topic of religion. It's amazing the vehement reaction that you get!
I personally think it has to do with two things - pride and fear!

Belonging to an organization such as the SDA church - a church that considers itself the pinnacle of all other religious beliefs - breeds a kind of snobbish pride in people. This is couched in an attitude of supposed humility, but which when explored further is really a sense of conceited satisfaction that "truth" can only be found in this church.

Fear is another major factor in people's reactions. Fear, coupled with a deep-seated insecurity about one's eternal life.

I've come to the conclusion that everything we do or say comes from a place of fear or love. And the SDA religion is full of fear!! Putting God in a nice neatly packaged box gives people a false sense of security. When you upset that wrapping, it is very unsettling!!

Teresa Beem said...

Thanks Lindylou! I think you are right. Fear is one of the biggest motivations when one's digs down deep. I am so glad that fear has been removed from my life (at least spiritual fear!) Praise the Lord!

Anonymous said...

Is not about feeling pinnacle of all religous belife is about knowing the true what the bible says, and i can just see tha is GOD is caming soon and the devil is working so much in ppl and want us to feel that same way you do and that is not the case god is love and want us to be safe.

Anonymous said...

teresa I think you are doint a great job for you know who?

Anonymous said...

Great piece Teresa,
I agree with Lindylou. It is the fear of being wrong, that makes most SDAs defensive and there is a definite pride, in thinking they are the end day remnant.
Like you, I have worshipped with many Christians of varying denominations, and not one of them has ever been challenged by someone who might see things differently than they do. The Pastors have always been gracious, and willing to engage, without the need to convince or convert. I have found that most refreshing.

Randy Gerber