Ellinas Posted January 13, 2019 Share Posted January 13, 2019 On another forum, a question was raised that related to Christian ideas of being "tested". I should say it was not a Christian or ex-Christian forum and I have no beef with the questioner - I just couldn't resist launching into a diatribe. Anyhow, these were my thoughts: "As you all know (or, at least, as I've never kept secret), I am a former fundie Christian. In such circles, "testing" is often mentioned. It is seen as inevitable. It is seen as a validation of Christian faith. It is based on texts that tell the believer to expect to be tested - ideas that go all the way back to sparing the rod being a method of spoiling the child. One might object that the Christian god, being so very omniscient, needs not to test the faith of his believers. The stock answer is that gold is put into the fire not to prove that it is gold but to burn off any impurities. Leaving aside the accuracy of that statement, it boils down to suffering being a seen as a method of gaining spiritual maturity. It's a useful excuse to put before anyone who objects that a "good", "wise" god would hardly be expected to cause sometimes extreme suffering. I suppose it convinces those who use that excuse - at least, as long as they refuse to think about it too deeply. The bottom line here is that "testing" is linked to suffering in the Christian imagination (those who die for their beliefs are merely privileged to be tested to the extreme). Whilst it is true that Christians draw comfort from saying that god will not test any person beyond what he can bear, the shallowness of that thought process, when the person enduring the suffering has little choice but to bear it, seems not to occur to them. This is deeply entrenched in Abrahamic thought processes. The whole religious system is linked to death, suffering, even genocide (in the Old Testament) and through to the promise of ultimate vindication in the never ending suffering of unbelievers. It is also part of a fortress mentality that sees persecution (widely defined, so as to include, e.g, someone taking a satirical swipe at their dottier ideas) as part of that "testing" that validates their faith and purpose. So, for the Christian, testing is a necessary part of their belief system and the structure of their faith. Hence, those that suffer little will cast around for something, anything, that can be termed a "test". If they can claim that the suffering has created doubts that they have overcome, so much the better. They have "fought the good fight". This is a form of brainwashing that renders the Christian secure in his own assumed (and false) humility. It is the mindset that insists that man is worthless, god is all-worthy, and everything that happens to the believer, however painful, is good and is controlled by his deity. It creates people who are servile in their attitude to deity and proud (albeit that would never be admitted) of just how weak and worthless they can represent themselves to be." 3 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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