People raised in fundamentalist churches often have condemning thoughts. These thoughts are encouraged and voiced by friends still in the fundamentalist churches:
“Your depression is caused by your guilt.” “You have sin in your life.” “God is trying to tell you something.”
These are powerful messages when one has been raised in the atmosphere of a fundamentalist sect. These are silly messages when heard by people not raised in this atmosphere. It can be helpful to analyze these messages, ask questions, and unpack what is being said:
“Are you saying that God would prefer me to vote for a party that believes in x [fill in the blank]?”
“Are you saying that God is harsh and angry?”
“Are you saying God sends depressed, angry, sad, immature, squashed people to me to discourage me into coming back to your church?”
In the case of the hard line Churches of Christ: “Are you saying that God has a rule book that is hidden in the book of Acts, that we have to ferret out?” “Are you saying that God is sneaky?”
“Are you saying God is unreasonable and unpredictable?” “Or maybe you are saying God is not very intelligent since He came up with a way of interpreting the Bible that doesn’t make much sense.”
“Are you saying God prefers angry, narrow-minded, zenophobic, self-righteous white people to worship Him instead of the happy people clapping their hands across the street?”
The hint of sneering disapproval or angry judgement is powerful, but turning on the light in a dark room lets you know that what you heard was not the reality. The reality is that people stuck in hard line churches are scared ten year olds who demand that we be scared ten year olds with them.
When we first emerge from the primordial ooze of the fundamentalist sect, it is scary to walk on the dry land and to have to answer so many questions and figure so many things out for ourselves. It would be so easy to go back in, yet we know that we can never live that truncated a thinking life ever again. We have to move forward. Those in the pool are furious we have left them, and they use every effort to pull us back in.