In my previous post, ‘Why Would Homosexuals Still Want To Be Christians? I pondered the question of why homosexuals would want to continue being Christians, given what the deity worshipped in Christianity is believed to have said himself regarding homosexuality and homosexuals. As you must have guessed, of course, it was a rhetorical question. Homosexuals choose to remain Christians for the very reason that everyone else chooses to become Christian, i.e..they believe it..and they have found ways of rationalising the disturbing parts of scripture, that otherwise should bother their good sense.

This pattern of rationalisation has led many, including myself, to compare adherence to certain religions with Battered Women’s Syndrome.

What is Battered Women’s Syndrome?

Battered Woman Syndrome describes a pattern of psychological and behavioural symptoms found in women living in battering relationships. Here are some general characteristics of the syndrome:

  1. The woman believes that the violence was her fault.
  2. The woman has an inability to place the responsibility for the violence elsewhere.
  3. The woman fears for her life and/or her children’s lives.
  4. The woman has an irrational belief that the abuser is omnipresent and omniscient.

Now replace woman with believer.

  1. The woman believer believes that the violence was her fault.
  2. The woman believer has an inability to place the responsibility for the violence elsewhere.
  3. The woman believer fears for her life and/or her children’s lives.
  4. The woman believer has an irrational belief that the abuser is omnipresent and omniscient.

The similarities are impressive.

Abusers start by making their victims feel worthless about themselves. The victims in either case accept bad things that happen to them as ‘happening for a reason’ or that they ‘deserved it’, and are made to feel grateful for any good that might come their way (in light of their perceived self-worthlessness).

The latter view is exploited the most by Christianity. We are told that ‘we are wretched sinners who deserve death’ on one hand, but then guess what..‘God’ in all his infinite love decided to ‘pay the price for your sins’. This is somehow supposed to guilt trip us into feeling grateful for this so-called ‘sacrifice’, which – when you actually think about it – really isn’t one to begin with.

If one can bring himself/herself to believe the odious claim that they are wretched sinners, is it at all surprising that he or she will act in ways hoping to gain the approval of this deity, who – it is claimed – is the only way out of this ‘wretchedness’ and its accompanying punishment?  No. This is exactly the kind of brainwashing that victims of emotional abuse are made to go through. A prominent organisation dedicated to helping abused women asks its female visitors some interesting questions on its website, to help them know whether or not they might be in an emotionally abusive relationship. Here are two:

  • Do you feel that you cannot do anything right in your partner’s eyes?
  • Are you told that no one else would want you, or that you are lucky your partner takes care of you?

How is this different from Christian doctrine? Christians believe they are ‘not right’ in the eyes of their deity, and are asked to be grateful that this deity ‘loves’ them nonetheless. It definitely qualifies as emotional abuse, especially since it there are no good reasons to think any of it is true, or that any deities even exist.

We are not wretched sinners. We do not deserve death (or ‘hell’ or whatever). Our sense of self-worth is not and should not be determined by the degree to which we grovel at the feet of an imaginary being, or the degree to which we believe all manner of outlandish myths associated with it.

You, I and everyone.. are much, much better than that.