Nothing to Fear but God Himself

| October 5, 2017 | 0 Comments

As I sit here in my almost 1,000th Sunday church service, I can’t help but wonder what if my life wasn’t like this. Last week at Coffee and Conversation, our convo took a detour from sports and got into nationalism and religion (how we got there is quite a mystery to me still). The thought that was brought up was that children shouldn’t be indoctrinated with nationalist pride or religion because more times than not, they grow up and start to resent/renounce the very thing that was forced upon them. The religion snippet grabbed my attention.

I think when parents have children there’s an overwhelming fear that comes over them. Will their child grow up to be a good person? Will they be able to provide for and love them? Much of this fear is granted because this is uncharted territory that has no map. However, this fear often gets channeled into religion. The mindset is a child that grows up in a religion will be a better and well-rounded person. There also might be a search for control within that as well. What if a child rebels and doesn’t become what the parents have envisioned for them? But, if you hang religion over their heads, the blame gets shifted to a high entity while the parent gains all power. While this is an overgeneralization, in my situation I feel as though this was the case.

It’s easy to interpret actual terror as the fear of God. Growing up in a strict Pentecostal household, God was an entity to be reverenced and never questioned. The almighty that did no wrong, was always on time, the ultimate perfection. When you glorify someone that much, the reverence can be twisted into fear. Going to church was a constant reminder of my impending doom if I didn’t abide within the Bible guidelines. Life was not to be lived, but rather spent diligently keeping your life pure. The amount of times I woke up in cold sweat terrified the rapture had taken place is astonishing. As a child, I couldn’t humanize and rationalize Christianity. It was something that drove my life, but the owner’s manual was in gibberish. I followed blindly, very confused, very scared, very unsure, and feeing very inadequate.

I’m not here to bash my family or my church by any means. Now, if the point was to scare me into obedience, mission accomplished. But now that I’m in my late teens, the fear factor is starting to wear off. Critical thinking has taken over and I want to be genuine in all my ways. My whole life has been about doing what was the right thing to do in the name of Christianity that I never developed a sense of what I wanted. Starting at square 1 when everyone else is at square 4 is not easy.

Would things be different if my parents allowed me the freedom to choose whether or not I wanted to be a Christian? It was never a choice I had; only an obligation. I have seen so many youths in the church renounce the church once they go off to college, and I often wondered if they would have stayed if they weren’t pushed so much. What if parents allowed children to have agency over their religious practices? What if they allowed them to explore spirituality and find what works for them? These questions may not have any answers, but one thing is for sure. While Jesus was on earth, he never forced anybody to listen or follow his teachings. Funny how that often gets lost.

Featured photo credit: Angela-xujing The Church of Almighty God | Church life – Pray 02 via photopin (license)

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Category: featured, Philosophy and Religion, Thurman Thoughts

Ruth D.

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Ruth is a sophomore studying Health Science. She's a VERY passionate Beyoncé stan and is willing to box if you think otherwise. She has a new found love for dogs & spends too much time thinking about questions that don't have answers. And about tacos.

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