Is Christianity an Abusive Relationship with God?

Here is a Spiritual Conundrum submitted to Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life by a reader named Gonzo:

Hi.

I love reading your posts and do find them both comforting and inspiring in my personal life.

As one who’s coming to Christ as of recently, I want your insight on the notion, that I often feel holds some truth, of Christianity being an “abusive relationship” with God, or an abusive relationship with those who speak for God with the absence of a physical God here on Earth. The article below outlines this, and although it’s clear the guy writing it seems to be pushing a different religious agenda, his points do still stand for me:

Christians, Are You in an Abusive Relationship with God? by Dr. Bo Bennett

Much thanks.

Thanks for your kind words, Gonzo, and for your good question and the related link.

As he says on his website Positive Humanism, Dr. Bennett is a secular humanist. He rejects God and religion altogether, believing in human philosophy, reason, and science instead. It is not surprising, then, that he takes a dim view of Christianity. In the introduction to the linked article he writes:

Michelangelo, Creation of the Sun and Moon, face detailThankfully, many organizations exist to help both men and women who find themselves in abusive relationships and people, in general, are becoming more aware of the signs of abuse—at least when it comes to abuse by mortals. But what about the Christian God, or at least the idea of the Christian God? Without question, some interpretations of Christianity and God are more benign than others, but it is those “others” that we need to worry about. I will argue that Christianity is, at its core, a system that promotes this abusive relationship where God is the abuser and his flock is the abused.

I share Dr. Bennett’s thankfulness about our growing understanding of abusive relationships, and about the many organizations that are now helping people to break free from them. For one such organization, see the website of The National Domestic Violence Hotline (USA).

But does Dr. Bennett have a point about Christianity?

Yes and no.

For more on Christianity and abusive relationships, please click here to read on.

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Posted in All About God, Sex Marriage Relationships, The Bible Re-Viewed

What if my Family Doesn’t Approve of the Person I Want to Marry?

Here is a recent comment (slightly edited) that a reader named Alyssa left in response to the article, “What if My Partner and I Have Different Religious Beliefs? Can Interfaith Marriage Work?”:

True love

(stock photo)

I really enjoyed reading your article. I am a Christian and was raised in a strong Christian/conservative family. My boyfriend of three years is spiritual but does not identify as a Christian. My family does not accept him at all. I have felt many times like I must choose between him and my family. Moreover, I am (was) very close to my family. My grandmother told me that she would not come to our wedding if we got married. As engagement gets closer (I think he is going to propose soon) I am becoming increasingly worried about the rift with my family only getting bigger. My grandmother is the most important person to me and it is going to break my heart if she does not come to the wedding. Additionally, my mom has only talked to my boyfriend a few times in the three years we have been dating and has not allowed him to come over or accepted his invitations to get to know him better. Is this going to ruin our marriage? It has already taken a toll on our relationship at times. However, we have talked in detail about where our religions align and where they differ. We have talked about raising children, and come to a common consensus every time. But I am worried that this issue with my family is going to tear us apart. Thoughts?

Here is my response, again slightly edited, and with headings added:


Hi Alyssa,

Thanks for stopping by and telling your story. Unfortunately, this situation is quite common, and there isn’t an easy answer. It looks likely that you will indeed have to choose between your boyfriend and your family—at least, as far as where your primary relationship and loyalty will lie.

Here are two principles I would suggest in navigating this very difficult issue and decision:

  1. If your family objects to your marrying someone, it is a good idea to listen to them and consider whether they have valid concerns.
  2. Once you make up your mind to marry someone, that relationship must replace your relationship with your family as your primary relationship.

For more on family vs. marriage, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Sex Marriage Relationships

Answering the Lord’s Invitation

The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. (Matthew 25:1)

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The Biggest Banquet Ever

The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. (Matthew 22:2)

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Buying Into Heaven

The kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vine­yard. (Matthew 20:1)

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Debits and Credits

The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. (Matthew 18:23)

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A Fish Story To End All Fish Stories

The kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore, sat down, and gathered the good fish into baskets, but threw the bad away. (Matthew 13:47–48)

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Finders, Keepers

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When someone found it, he hid it again. Then in his joy he went and sold all he had, and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he found one pearl of great value, he went and sold everything he had, and bought it. (Matthew 13:44–46)

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Trials and Fermentations

The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour until all of it was leavened. (Matthew 13:33)

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Littlest to Biggest

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and planted in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds; yet when it has grown it is the largest of the plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the sky come and roost in its branches. (Matthew 13:31–32)

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Lee & Annette Woofenden

Lee & Annette Woofenden

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