Hi! So I was brought up in a Lutheran home. I am a Christian, but I am very mindful of the fact that I am one person who believes in the God of the Christian faith and there are thousands upon thousands of other people out there who believe in other gods, no god, or the same God as I do. I try really hard to think, “Well, just because I believe in (topic) because of my faith, that doesn’t mean that this person agrees and it isn’t cool for me to force my thoughts down their throat because I believe (topic).” Like you, I don’t like it when people say, “Well it says in the Bible…”, because it is an unfair assumption that everyone present shares the same beliefs as you.

I can’t stand when people use their religion as scare tactics to regulate behavior. The psychological impact is so indescribable. For example, when I was 11, my dad gave me the sex talk. The talk began as a very factual conversation, but then it went into religion. My dad very aggressively explained that if I had sex before marriage, Jesus would hate me because it says in the Bible that God hates fornicators. So 11 year old me, who knew nothing besides what the Bible and her parents said, was terrified that she would do something horrible to make Jesus hate her. So I wasn’t afraid of sex before marriage, I was just plain terrified of sex in general. I was sexually assaulted as a teenager and was scared beyond belief that I was damned to hell because I was involved in a sexual act, not necessarily sex, even though I didn’t consent. So I never told ANYONE, especially my family, because I didn’t want them to hate me too. I remained abstinent until I met my now-husband. Going to get into some detail here, my apologies. The first time we tried was truly traumatizing. I started sobbing uncontrollably because I was “giving into the desires of the flesh” and was terrified that because I was having sex a few months before marriage to the man that I was going to marry, God would hate me. My husband, who is agnostic, was completely caught off-guard and was really upset that my dad would do something like that to an 11 year old. Long story short, I got over it with a tremendous amount of help from my husband. The first time was awkward, as most first times often are, but the sky did not open up, I was not struck with a lightning bolt, nor did I feel this sudden rush of Jesus dropping me like a hot tamale. If anything, the whole situation made me realize how many individuals are controlled by aggressive religious statements like that (not just Christianity).

So yeah, I guess my problem with religion is the assumption that all people feel the same way as you and therefore should believe everything you believe, and how religion in the hands of fanatics and ill-informed parents can be used to manipulate people. I believe in God, I’ve read the Bible many times through, and I read it through a critical lens. It’s so important to understand that religion is the sum of beliefs and traditions passed down for centuries and it is not okay to use your religion to be hurtful. As a Christian, I can say that isn’t the way Jesus taught us, and there are very few religions that are based off of harming others. Most are based on love and moral standards, and I think if we keep that in mind, we won’t fight as much about religion.
Sorry for the rambling! I have lots of feelings about this.

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