One of the ways toxic religion is a disservice to people is how it theologizes life in a way that prevents people from responding to situations as they truly require.
“Honor your father and mother” should never mean accepting their manipulation, abuse, or toxic interactions or behavior.
“Turning the other cheek” should never mean that you allow someone to violate your boundaries.
Being a “person of faith” should never mean that seeking professional therapy is a sign of spiritual immaturity.
“Taking up your cross” should never mean denying your needs, desires, and individuality.
Being a “Proverbs 31 woman” should never mean assuming a posture of inferiority, submission and appeasement to men, or tolerate domination or abuse.
The “fear of the Lord” should never mean living in a state of anxiety and uncertainty about being unconditionally worthy of acceptance and love.
“Obey your leaders and submit to them” should never mean giving another human being authority over your life and choices.
People are not told that the right choice in life includes:
- standing up for yourself
- saying “no”
- enforcing boundaries
- terminating toxic relationships
- seeking professional therapy
- caring for yourself
- honoring your needs and desires
- zero-tolerance for disrespect or abuse
— Jim Palmer, Chaplain with the American Humanist Association, Facebook
Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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