One of the things that I always found to be off-putting about Christianity (the Gospel in particular) even as a child was the suggestion that I as a human being was somehow “sinful”, or “wrong” in some manner. This is the idea that there is something fundamentally in error or “corrupt” about my person or nature.
I would listen to my Pastor every Sunday. I would listen to my Sunday school teacher about how marred, imperfect and sinful I was as a human and I would reflect upon this mantra on a daily basis. I grew up thinking this way. Now I find myself detesting this kind of thinking—this style of thinking that presses itself upon my brain and makes me feel lowly and unworthy. This kind of thinking that teaches you to hate who you are—your personal characteristics, the way you think, your mannerisms and every minutiae of your person that you have little to no control of anyway. The Gospel message is like the girlfriend or boyfriend who psychologically abuses their partner by telling them, “You’re only good with my help/advice/support…you only can be good/worthy/important because of me! You’re only good if you could just be like me!”
I have a problem with the gospel message in the same way that I have a problem with other human beings in society who arrogantly tell others, how awful or “wrong” (i.e. sinful/imperfect) they are. These are the individuals who always resort to giving advice to others about “how they should change their mannerisms, style of dress, personal quirks/characteristics” simply to align with their own subjective preferences. It is one thing if an individual is committing crimes that are deserving of a prison sentence, it is an entirely different thing when a person is admonished by someone’s thought-policing; that is, when someone begins interjecting their own subjective standards on others to make them feel “not good enough”.