Posts Tagged ‘abuse’

Bad/Good Theology + Good/Bad People = Big hurt

June 11, 2008

Abuse within the spiritual and religious realms is not limited to one group or one end of the liberal/conservative spectrum (if there is such a thing). Abuse show up everywhere.

I am tempted to believe that religious or spiritual hurt originates bad people who do bad things. I am tempted to believe that, but I just can’t. At least I cannot limit it to that. Beliefs (theology, philosophy etc) and more importantly the beliefs about how to share/spread/multiply those beliefs in others do matter when it comes to living a Christian life.

For example, if someone believes that sin gets you a ticket to Hell adn losts of sin can get you there even faster, that is certainly one thing. That’s the belief. Now, if the tactic (the belief about how to implement the belief) for sharing that message is to go around threatening people who are sinners (a very tricky thing to learn without being a hypocrite) with Hellfire and to take names later, then that is certainly another thing.

The very same belief about a sin and hell connection could be dealt with by befriending “sinners,” helping them deal with the natural consequences in their lives that they have accumulated for themselves, showing them kindness, forgiving them constantly, being gracious when they are crude, etc. A process theology of goodness, generosity, grace, and humility can really help alone a theology of sin and Hell. The original belief is not necessarily the problem, but it is the belief about how to implement the belief that could be the problem.

That is a theology problem because theology is not just about the WHAT, it is also about the HOW.

Now, there are some very bad theological perspectives which I think have only one end to them – hurting people, but i do not want to get into those in this post. The important thing is that even good people can get swept into bad theology, from any point int he theology spectrum, and end up doing harm regardless of intention.