Sanctuary for the Abused
Friday, February 22, 2013
Religion and Victimhood
by Kathy Krajco
Religion, especially Christianity, can be sharply criticized for making us feel that we must put up with abuse. That we must forgive even ongoing and unrepented offenses = that we must dociley submit to abuse. As though there is some virtue in victimhood.
Back when I was a Catholic, I was amazed at the disconnect between the actual theology and what we hear in the preaching, whether from the pulpet or from "religious" people telling us what we should do and how we should feel.
For the most part, the actual theology is enlightening and sensible. But on the lips of preachers it gets warped, almost beyond recognition in places. And it DEFIES common sense.
In my opinion, whenever it is being promulgated for show, watch out. That show is either to sell it or to sell the preacher. In that case, what matters is what seems. Not truth and reality.
I discovered Christian theology upon reading Dante's Divine Comedy. That piqued my interest in this fascinating body of thought, so I made it my business to find out what my relgion actually taught.
It was nothing like what I heard on Sunday. For the most part, what we hear on Sunday from the majority of preachers is half-baked. It betrays an amazing lack of understanding. A childish lack of depth in understanding. The result is a picture of Jesus as some long-suffering wimp who chose to sacrifice himself to abuse and whom we're supposed to emulate.
But show me a parable of his that says so. Those parables are nothing but brilliant studies in practical common sense, so where did all that anti-common-sense stuff come from?
Sell copy is just sell copy. It must never tax the prospective customer with the need to think. And religion put on for show is shallow as a puddle too.
In fact, if you check it out, you'll find much preaching today contradicts established doctrine and what people like St. Augustan, St. Thomas Aquinas, and even Jesus himself said. Unfortunately, few know enough about their religion to notice that these days.
For example, take the Christian teaching that punishing an innocent scapegoat for our sins saves us from them. That's what Christianity on this point has been reduced to - a sound bite, the buzzword that "punishing the innocent scapegoat has saved us from our sins."
But how? How could that be, of all things, God's justice? What kind of god would consider that justice? It's a travesty of justice that dooms those who commit it and saves only those so shamed by it that they stop committing it.
Understanding that would require some explaining and mature thinking, but marketers know better than to try to sell anything that way: so it's easier just to believe the doctrine backwards instead.
Similarly, when did "God forgive them" come to mean "I forgive them"? Likewise, how is God praised and honored by your letting others trash what he has made? Didn't he make you too? Then how is he praised or honored by your letting a narcissist trash you?
Common sense, common sense, common sense has gone out the window and virtually made the ultimate good, justice, an evil thing in the heads of the simple-minded. This HURTS the victims of narcissists.
And recent scholarly research on the oldest extant scriptural documents (including the NT), when they were actually written, how apocryphal they all are, how frequently the passages contradict each other, how many passages have gone through so many translations of translations of ancient language that they now amount to gibberish, how often and by how many hands they have been edited over time - all this should sink in already. Where in the Bible does the Bible claim to be authored by God?
Result? Which blurb do you cherry-pick when trying to sound holy? "An eye for an eye" or "Turn the other cheek"?
As a consequence, many victims of narcissists become embittered at religion because of how it made them feel morally obligated to submit to abuse = to give the narcissist permission to abuse them. So, whose side is religion on? Self-righteous holier-than-thous sound holy by using religion to pile on the victim playing the part of Job's Comforters and denying the victim's right to do anything to make the abuser stop it. Anything. They even make it sound evil for the victim to just abandon or divorce the abuser! In other words, they use religion to commit the Sin of Sodom = making the victim bend over for abuse.
In a way, it's a bad rap, because Christian theology isn't really that ridiculous. In fact, even I will say that there is much truth and wisdom in it. But what preachers and holier-than-thous make of it - THAT is a different matter. THAT is garbage.
Then religious leaders wonder why they lose adherants. The blame is not with "society these days." The blame is with THEM. They should do something about the warping of the message, because it's their own fault people find it unacceptable and turn away.
(Note on this post by my friend, the late Kathy Krajco.
Kathy, like myself, was raised Catholic. Some may think this villianizes Christianity. I don't believe it does. I feel it villanizes any religion that convinces a victim MUST stay with an abuser because of "biblical" reasons. I get email every week from Christians struggling with leaving their abuser because of pressure from their pastors, priests or fellow parishioners. Any Christian who is struggling can click here for some help. Never allow anyone to convince you to stay with someone who abuses you and makes you feel bad. No matter what your religion, I don't believe any God wants their creations to be miserable & abused. Even myself.
By the way, anyone who continues to call me a hypocrite or liar regarding leaving your abuser and my own marital situation should talk to me rather than smear me. - Barbara)