Is it ever possible to LOVE what we cannot TRUST?

Sadly, more children are spiritually, psychologically and emotionally maimed by having grown up swathed in “religion,” than any other influence. Consistent, faulty pressure and programming from parents to “fear” God is for many, at the heart of emotional dysregulation and psychosis~ not to mention, physical disorders.

I sometimes see men’s social media profiles online, that lead with “I’m a God-fearing man.” But what does this mean, exactly? Were these fellows taught to believe in a harsh, punishing and wrathful deity from the time they were old enough to walk? If so, what or who has benefited from implanting this scary belief system?

Has threatening a young child with “the wrath of God” been a way to control and manipulate him into conforming to whatever agenda or wish the parent entertains in any given moment?? Is it not enough to say to a kid, “I don’t like that behavior, and I need you to stop it!” ?

I was once friends with a couple who were so rigid and punishing to their young son, he became pathologically perfectionistic and neurotic. He grew up believing his parents had “the perfect marriage,” (far from it) and each was without flaw. I’d first met this kid when he was only about 8 years old. He’d been heavily programmed to be overly-polite, and seemed robotic. I knew I was observing a child that’d one day get up on a rooftop with a loaded rifle, when his long-suppressed personality dimensions finally broke outta their prison cell~ but I’ve digressed.

My dad once said, “more wars are fought in the name of religion, than anything else.” Daddy was a wise man~ not as bright or articulate as my mom, but street-smart. He imparted many tidbits of wisdom during my young adult years, which I’ve embraced like precious gems ya never wanna take off. I find myself often quoting him to my clients. This is my father’s legacy to me, and I treasure it.

Recovering Catholics have the hardest time relinquishing their “fear of God.” Perhaps the pompacity of the Catholic church combined with the absurdly pios notion of having “original sin” at birth, is enough to keep people from drawing outside the lines of conformity just one tiny bit. Guilt is a big-ticket item for Catholics and Jews, and mothers from both religious sects have for centuries, weaponized it to manipulate their children.

I rejected the Jewish faith when I was very young. My personal ideation of God contrasted sharply with the wrathful, vengeful God the Old Testament portrayed. MY deity has a terrific sense of humor, even when I’m cursing irreverently~ yet I’ve never feared being struck down by lightning. My god is generous, kind, protective, patient and lenient~ though he pisses me off when an unexpected setback (like having to re-roof my house) makes me wish I coulda bypassed that stressful and costly ordeal. Fists are occasionally shaken at the sky in stern revolt. God just chuckles.

I was baptised in the Methodist church at 15~ but that didn’t take, either. No details are necessary here. Suffice it to say, as a young woman I made up my mind to fashion God in an image I thought would serve me best. (Perhaps there’s some Greek blood in my lineage.) The upshot? We’ve forged an intimate, ongoing relationship.

Children are extremely impressionable and gullible, or Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny could never have become highly-grossing commercial heydays for companies that manufacture confections and toys for tots. Do they rake in Big Bucks every year, despite a struggling economy? You BET they do! But how is it that people annually spoon-feed these mythical, iconic figures to their kids as being joyful entities~ yet instill fear in ‘em about GOD?

[I could go into all the ‘background’ gobbledigook that generationally turns perfectly good humans into emotional morons, but this essay is already lengthy enough to test the limits of your attention span.]

To a small child, their parent IS a god. If parents (like my former friends) are unduly harsh and punishing to their offspring, fear, dread and mistrust are instilled in him. Should a mommy or daddy be feared by a child? I think not~ yet if we grew up with emotional, psychological or physical abuse, we’re gonna find it tough to even imagine (much less believe in) a “Benevolent God” ~especially if he’s consigned us to living with torturous parents!

Most people will tell ya they “believe in God,” but never pray, never engage, never thank God for near-misses in traffic or for an especially weather-perfect day. God to these people is a mere figurehead. An idea. An abstract concept of a “higher being,” who is never turned-to for help~ even when one is in dire need. But WHY?? ‘Cause based on painful early life experiences, many tortured souls feel undeserving of care or assistance!

Our parental units were our original template for the way we view and relate to God. If we couldn’t trust them to deeply care about us and our comfort or happiness, how can we trust a total stranger to? If we’re lucky, we may one day navigate a journey of real healing with a solid professional who helps us surmount our childhood fear of authority (a moldy leftover from early abuse), and build authentic, unshakable self-worth.

Under these conditions, we could finally get to feel worthy of receiving care, support and protection from an all-seeing presence who digs having brief chats with us during our day-to-day activities. Don’t believe me? Think of it like calling an old pal just to hear a friendly voice, and give it a shot sometime.

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