Written by Kaitlyn Deaux
Although religion has been a source of hope and connection for many, I tend to find more issues with it than good. These issues are especially prevalent in organized religion.
Growing up in the Adventist church, I was often reminded by pastors and private school teachers that we need to spread Jesus’ message by “loving your neighbor as yourself.” This phrase is quoted verbally more times than it is put into practice. Today, I observe the effects of hateful and judgmental Christianity as my own generation walks away from religion to seek other sources of community and fulfillment.
I have listened to the stories of traumatized ex-evangelicals who felt ostracized from the church because of the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their gender identity, their political affiliation and so much more. Too often, individuals have become the victim of what Jesus became flesh to defeat.
There are still some who search within Christian churches for purpose and healing. They yearn for the Gospel message to introduce a merciful Savior who promises a better way of life and an eternal gift of freedom. Instead, these curious people are judged. They are told that no matter what they accomplish or who they meet, God is the only thing that will bring value and joy to their lives; that without the awareness of the God-shaped hole in their hearts, they can never be fulfilled.
“Make a commitment to God today!” yells the pastor.
So, the hurting person makes a hasty decision for the fear of missing their last opportunity or out of guilt for their sinful nature. They are called selfish for living their life any differently from God’s divine plan. They are made to feel worthless and submissive.
Without religion, there would be no love. There would be no hope, no future, no purpose, no community and no grace. And without religion, there would be no hate. There would be no racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and so much more. Religion has been a source of pain for me and many others. I do not believe that there can be healing crawling back into the same cage we fought so desperately to get out of.