Recommended Posts

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."

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


PLEASE EXCUSE THE ANNOYING COMMERCIAL BREAKS IN THE CONVERSATION:

As with everything these days, the cost of keeping the Ex-C forum up and running has been rising. Inflation? In part, but the primary reason is this: As participation in the forums grows, costs increase. The Ex-C forums will remain free of charge to everyone, but if you believe this little corner of the Internet provides value to you or others, and you feel inclined to help keep us online, please consider making a one-time donation or becoming a regular contributor. Contribution options appear under the "Upgrade" link above, and can be accessed by clicking here.

Oh, and as an incentive (no, you won't be given any bogus promises of eternal bliss), if you do become a regular contributor by signing up for any monthly or yearly patron package, this annoying ADVO will disappear.

And now, back to the regularly scheduled conversation...



Being "tested" beyond what I could bear is one of the main reasons I'm an ex-christian. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Being "tested" beyond what I could bear is one of the main reasons I'm an ex-christian. 

^^^^^^^ Ditto the above for me!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a pretty good tool for recasting any doubts or inconvenient counter-arguments as a manifestation of the Devil, and then pat yourself on the back for being an asinine hero who passed the 'test' through such coping mechanisms. "You doubt this perspective? Get away from me, Satan! I can see through your test!"

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the thoughts that directly led to my deconversion was, "If god is omniscient, doesn't he already know the quality and quantity of my faith?  If so, why does he need to keep testing me?  What more could he possibly find out that he doesn't already know?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From my anecdotal observations it seems that the "being tested" Christian meme is grounded in reactionary teleological thinking.  It appears quite presumptuous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now