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Does Christianity Foster Low Self Esteem?


LosingMyReligion
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This morning I was watching Good Morning America, and there was an expose on a documentary called "Jesus Camp." It was a summer camp for Evangelical fundie children. And, as you have probably already deduced, it was basically a bunch of little kids being turned into drones...

 

The kids are looking up into the air, weeping profusely, waving their hands to the sky(the obligatory Christian position), rocking back and fourth, speaking in tongues, and praying for god to wash away their sins....

 

Mind you, all of these children are under the age of 12.

 

The woman who is heading the summer camp is telling them how they are all worthless sinners and need to be cleansed in the blood of Jesus. Then she takes out a bottle of flavored water and tells the children wash away their sins and shit like that...

 

THEN, in another clip, the facilitators have a card board cut out of DUBYA and the children start sprinkling holy water on it and praying for a "good christian" to lead the nation...

 

And of course Harry Potter is demonized left and right. The woman with the bottled Holy Water starts talking about how Harry Potter should be killed and blah blah blah...

 

I kept thinking, " These kids are going to be future terrorists..."

 

I do feel that Christianity fosters low self esteem. How many times can you listen to an adult authority figure tell you that you are worthless before you start to believe it?

 

"You are worthless, depraved, wretched, and vile...But, smile, JEEBUS loves you!"

 

It was so sickening...I think I'll go see it just to throw milk duds at the screen. :scratch::shrug::nono::Wendywhatever::HaHa::vent:

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I can't wait to go see it. I think it opens next weekend.

 

As for the low self-esteem, damned straight it does. It's classic cult brainwashing.

 

"You're nothing without the acceptance of" :insert cult leader name: ", our glorious savior!"

 

Break them down so they are totally dependent on the cult for their self-worth. Sickening, disgusting, filth. It ought to be fucking illegal!

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THEN, in another clip, the facilitators have a card board cut out of DUBYA and the children start sprinkling holy water on it and praying for a "good christian" to lead the nation...

:twitch: Sweet evil Jesus!

 

WTF? How is that any different than some voodoo witch doctor, shaking a severed chicken foot dipped in blood? These people are OBVIOUSLY insane, and I just BET that the TV report failed to point this out, didn't they?

 

I am REALLY tired of all these deluded nitwits and their sick fascination with myth and superstitions. And just think...some of these people could be your neighbors, or members of your family. :eek:

 

"Calgon®, take me away!"

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From my own experience, I would say it definitely does foster low self-esteem. Being brought up to repeat phrases like "I am not worthy" etc. in church every Sunday certainly cannot help. Nor does being brought up to think that self-worth is "pride" and therefore a "sin". Nor does being raised to think that you are so awful and so horrible that if you do not believe in the cult's teachings, you deserve to suffer eternally in the afterlife for your "sins".

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I agree that christianity fosters low self-esteem. But, ironically, it also fosters a sense of self-righteousness so that christians don't feel any qualms about looking down on non-christians or even on other christians who don't belong to the "right" denomination. It's as if they think, "I'm a lowly worm, but I've been washed in the blood of the lamb so I've better than those hell-bound heathens." But, I guess if you feel worthless, it's a bit of an ego booster to identify someone else as being further down the totem pole -- sort of like how the most blatant white supremists don't really have any thing to be proud of, other than their skin color (like that's a great accomplishment :loser: )

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Oh...no doubt about it, christianity destroys self-esteem and the individual with it wherever it can. All you ex-fundies, you know exactly what that means...we are all sinners from birth, without the shed blood of jesus we're worthy of nothing but eternal rejection by god, etc. etc.

 

Christianity's foundations are guilt, shame, and fear..."the heart of a man is evil from his youth", "except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of god", "the wages of sin is death", I could go on and on...I remember all this crap and I haven't read a bible in years.

 

And the children, as in that horrific documentary of blatant child abuse? Why, they're easy prey for this damnable doctrine, because it is the young and innocent whose self-esteems are most fragile, as they're still developing. I just hope that one day those young ones will see that they were victims of a cult leader and act accordingly.

 

 

 

"Every sensible man, every honest man, must hold the Christian sect in horror." (Voltaire)

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I love Voltaire! If anyone hasn't please read "Candide." It is excellent at satirizing wacked out fundie fanatacism...

 

As it is I totally believe it indoctrinates children with low self esteem. I was one of those kids...

 

And I see it in everyone that I know who is devout, particularly my beloved mom. She truly believes that the human race is worthless and we'll all be better off once we're dead...

 

I can't believe the majority of society can't see how fucked up that is.

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I have only one Christian friend and he suffers from cripplingly poor self-esteem complete with a victim mentality. He looks to other people and circumstances to fix things up for him rather than take action to help himself. It really fits well with his religion where you turn things over to Jesus in the hopes that he'll make everything OK for you in the end.

 

It's not just the "I'm a wretched sinner" message but also the attitude of dependency that robs Christians of their self-esteem. You're supposed to pray and leave everything in God's hands instead of thinking that God's given us all we need and the rest is up to us. The idea that we should be proactive is not compatible with the Christian worldview.

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The obvious answer is yes, Christianity does foster low self esteem. It's why so many Christians display symtpoms of narcissistic personaloty disorder. It's why so many Christians have stress and anxiety disorders, and are overweight because they find comfort in food. It's why so many figures in the churches molest children, because Christianity stunts their normal sexual development, routing their desires for developed members of the opposite or same sex for the less-than-developed ones. It's why so many Christians ae bullies, finding joy in punishing others as their invisile man in the sky punishes them, for nothing more than being a human being. It's why they must convert everyone in the world: if they don't, there will be someone to point out the flaws of their belief and remind them that, no, there are no easy answers. When you believe things like that, it's only natural for the body and the mind to respond in that way.

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I think religion also attracts people with the leaning towards low self-esteem. It's like a virus, if you don't already have low self-esteem, you'll likely pick it up if hang with carriers too long.

 

Makes you wonder about the leaders. Would they also suffer from low self-esteem or would they be the oppisite? Power hungry or power trippers? Getting off on screwing up peoples lives?

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I think religion also attracts people with the leaning towards low self-esteem. It's like a virus, if you don't already have low self-esteem, you'll likely pick it up if hang with carriers too long.

 

Makes you wonder about the leaders. Would they also suffer from low self-esteem or would they be the oppisite? Power hungry or power trippers? Getting off on screwing up peoples lives?

 

Part of the problem is that so many people, myself included, were brainwashed into Christianity from birth. Our parents were brainwashed, and likewise their parents, and theirs as well. I agree that it is indeed a mind virus of sorts. It seems to perpetuate low self-esteem in its victims and to convince them to perpetuate low self-esteem in their children. After all, why join a cult if you have enough self-confidence that you don't believe that you're a horrible, awful, unworthy person in need of saving from eternal torture in the first place?

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Aside from just telling you that you are worthless and incapable of making changes without their god, the religion also does it's best to prevent it's followers from accessing anything that would show them a different way of coping. I mean they try to keep people as ignorant of science as possible. They don't encourage you to study other religions or philosophy. They just tell you that god is the answer for everything. It really isn't suprising that so many Christians feel badly about themselves, they have been denied the tools to let them think any differently.

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St. Paul says stuff like "it is no longer I that liveth, but Christ that liveth in me." There is at least one Christian song out there using that verse. I think on the one hand, this mentality effaces the person's true self, and on the other, it promotes deluded self-righteousness.

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Aside from just telling you that you are worthless and incapable of making changes without their god, the religion also does it's best to prevent it's followers from accessing anything that would show them a different way of coping. I mean they try to keep people as ignorant of science as possible. They don't encourage you to study other religions or philosophy. They just tell you that god is the answer for everything. It really isn't suprising that so many Christians feel badly about themselves, they have been denied the tools to let them think any differently

 

That's so true. And it's probably worse than just telling them they are worthless in the first place. Psychology is "of the devil" so Christians who are depressed are suicidal are denied the counseling and/or medication they need. The very fact that they are depressed in the first place is proof they don't love Jesus enough and invites plenty of tongue lashing from other Christians. Making them even more depressed. It's a vicious cycle. It reminds me of an abusive husband breaking his wife's self-esteem and then isolating her from the world, so that he can control her.

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That's so true. And it's probably worse than just telling them they are worthless in the first place. Psychology is "of the devil" so Christians who are depressed are suicidal are denied the counseling and/or medication they need. The very fact that they are depressed in the first place is proof they don't love Jesus enough and invites plenty of tongue lashing from other Christians. Making them even more depressed. It's a vicious cycle. It reminds me of an abusive husband breaking his wife's self-esteem and then isolating her from the world, so that he can control her.

 

Yep. My marriage might have been saved (but there still would have been my dying faith to deal with) if my ex would have agreed to go to counseling. However, her idea of counseling was going to talk to the pastor.

 

:Doh:

 

The pastor huh? You mean the guy that embezzled a couple hundred thousand dollars from the church then resigned and fled the state when people started getting suspicious? Yeah. He's the man to give us advice about our marital problems.

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That's so true. And it's probably worse than just telling them they are worthless in the first place. Psychology is "of the devil" so Christians who are depressed are suicidal are denied the counseling and/or medication they need. The very fact that they are depressed in the first place is proof they don't love Jesus enough and invites plenty of tongue lashing from other Christians. Making them even more depressed. It's a vicious cycle. It reminds me of an abusive husband breaking his wife's self-esteem and then isolating her from the world, so that he can control her.

 

Yep. My marriage might have been saved (but there still would have been my dying faith to deal with) if my ex would have agreed to go to counseling. However, her idea of counseling was going to talk to the pastor.

 

:Doh:

 

The pastor huh? You mean the guy that embezzled a couple hundred thousand dollars from the church then resigned and fled the state when people started getting suspicious? Yeah. He's the man to give us advice about our marital problems.

 

 

I can feel you pain a bit on this one. My wife and went to marriage counseler, but he had to be christain based. I refused to let him use his Jesus/God routine. He actually wasn't a bad guy. I think that not letting him use religion forced him to deal more with the issues. Even in light of this, I would not go back. I would be willing to go to a secular counselor, not religous. I think it would be good for the wife, but she sees and does things approved by christianity.

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I was brought up to believe that my only purpose in life was to stroke God's ego. I remember one night during a worship service scowling when the pastor sang "Undeserving, that's what we are" and thinking he was manipulating people. And that was the pastor I liked.

 

 

Edit: Misspelled manipulating.

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Yesterday, I was looking back and trying to work out what came first...the anxiety/depression or my belief in Christianity. I came to the conclusion that it was a very close call and that the Christianity wouldn't have helped. I definately agree that Christianity can foster low self-esteem, anxiety issues, etc.

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That camp Jesus sounds much like some of the Christian schools I went to when I was younger. I have never met a Christian that doesn't have low self-esteem; the religon itself requires it. You're not given the option to have pride in yourself at all, in fact it's seen as evil. You can't even take credit for something you've achieved. I remember when I was a little kid, if got upset that I was told I had to give all the credit to god for something I had accomplished. My brother, who happens to be a very talented artist (and unfortunately a Christian) and could have really made some money and/or got recogition for his work, refuses to because he sees that as a sin.

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THEN, in another clip, the facilitators have a card board cut out of DUBYA and the children start sprinkling holy water on it and praying for a "good christian" to lead the nation...

:twitch: Sweet evil Jesus!

 

WTF? How is that any different than some voodoo witch doctor, shaking a severed chicken foot dipped in blood? These people are OBVIOUSLY insane, and I just BET that the TV report failed to point this out, didn't they?

 

I am REALLY tired of all these deluded nitwits and their sick fascination with myth and superstitions. And just think...some of these people could be your neighbors, or members of your family. :eek:

 

"Calgon®, take me away!"

 

I've heard folks who homeschool their kids do so because they do not want their kids subjected to the evils of those kids who are in public schools. They wanted to give them a more "moral" and christian based upbringing. I used to think that their kids were missing out on life because they did not get to socialize with people who are different then them.

 

I've really changed my opinion on that one. I'm glad they are homeschooled. I just wish they would continue to homeschool them through college. I sure as hell don't want them coming into the public school system to contaminate my kid.

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"The woman who is heading the summer camp is telling them how they are all worthless sinners and need to be cleansed in the blood of Jesus. Then she takes out a bottle of flavored water and tells the children wash away their sins and shit like that...

 

THEN, in another clip, the facilitators have a card board cut out of DUBYA and the children start sprinkling holy water on it and praying for a "good christian" to lead the nation...

 

And of course Harry Potter is demonized left and right. The woman with the bottled Holy Water starts talking about how Harry Potter should be killed and blah blah blah..."

 

:blink: Gag me with a spoon.

 

The woman in the trailer was taping kid's mouth shut. I don't get it...any other time if someone would have done that, they would have gotten in big trouble. But this is considered 'okay'?

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It's not just the "I'm a wretched sinner" message but also the attitude of dependency that robs Christians of their self-esteem. You're supposed to pray and leave everything in God's hands instead of thinking that God's given us all we need and the rest is up to us. The idea that we should be proactive is not compatible with the Christian worldview.

Absolutely! Agree 100%. As Christians we are made to feel bad about who we are. We are not good enough. We have to be like Jesus.

 

I think another big problem is the way we are taught to deal with difficult people, eg bullies. We are expected to "turn the other cheek". My Christian mother always used to tell me to be nice to people who didn't like me. It pretty much made me a door mat. I can still remember numerous times as a kid being taken advantage of by bullies, because I had tried to take her advice and been generous towards them. But I still continued to believe what she said was right. It wasn't until I was a single adult in the work place that I realised the only way to deal with bullies was to stand up to them. If only I'd realised that when I was a kid. If only I had been encouraged to stand up for myself, I would have had a lot more self-esteem growing up and a lot more confidence.

 

My 10 years old son is a very faithful Christian kid who is just way too nice to people. I try to teach him to stand up for himself and not to be so nice that people take advantage of him. Fortunately he is a popular kid, so doesn't have to deal with the amount of bullying I had to as a kid. But I still worry a lot about him. I'd hate to see his self-esteem go to crap because of other people and because of his mother's Christian fanatasism.

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I too had low self esteem and was a human door mat because of the way I was brought up. The do unto other thing wasn't so bad; however, I was always told to turn the other cheek and to forgive and forget.

 

Because of it I was too trusting and was always hurt. It took quite sometime for me to stop being that way. I actually went through a very tramatic time over a year ago and finally woke up and realized that I no longer wanted to be that way. I will do anything for you but when you hurt me, I decide whether or not I will forgive you. I no longer keep turning that cheek so you can hit me on the other side. I pick and chose who I will forgive and what I will forgive. As the saying goes burn me once shame on you, burn me twice shame on me.

 

It's funny now the reactions I get. There are two people in my life who always did or said things that hurt me and they would apologize and as far as they were concerned everything was fine. I finally decided that I no longer want to associate with them and have been keeping my distance and refuse to accept their apology. They can't understand why I'm not forgiving, forgetting and coming back for more.

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It sure as hell fostered poor self-esteem for me.

 

I had a bad enough time with self-esteem anyway; when I got into Xianity at 16 it just reinforced it with a vengeance. I sometimes wonder if that was really what galvanized the crippling perfectionism I struggle with today - the impossible idea that if I don't do everything Absolutely Right, not only will I be a failure, but I'll go to hell, and probably take others with me.

 

Plus my damn alcoholic mother found Jeebus just before I did (which was a big reason why I converted too). It was just another addiction for her and she was as fundy wacknut as she had been alcoholic wacknut. She was amazingly critical and I think it just intensified that, because now not only could she ream me out for displeasing her and my father, she could ream me out for displeasing God too.

 

The churches we went to didn't help. Later on my Xian marriage didn't help either, because it was a miserable, cold, barren pile of crap, and yet I was supposed to stay in it because that's what the Buybull said. I thought there was something terribly wrong with me for being unable to singlehandedly fix my failing marriage, despite the lack of participation from my stonewalling spouse.

 

That kinda shit'll really fuck up your day.

 

I'm hating Xianity right now, I'll admit it. Just hating it with an utter blind rage, because it was such a big part of the systematic destruction of who I was.

 

That's kind of all I feel I can say right now. :/

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