You’re not a bad person….

17 Jul

Just a thought I’ve been having lately.

I personally know two people who when I first met them, they were in no way religious. Now both of them are evangelical christians preoccupied with their “unworthiness” and “sin.”

What happened to them? They seemed totally fine on the outside, then out of nowhere they convert. I talked to one of them loosely about this and he said he had no liked who he was in the past, and didn’t realize how much of a sinner he was.

This took me as a shock because the friend I was talking to was a really nice guy. He was extremely popular because of his personality, never drank or smoked, and only had sex with one woman with whom he was in a steady relationship.

The other friend claimed to be Buddhist at the time I met her, though I think she was only saying that because I was Buddhist at the time too, and she also wasn’t particularly religious either. She drank, though not any more than the typical college freshman, and had had sex before, but nothing outrageous. Unlike my earlier friend, she was not very popular. She only hung out with my and another girl at school.

She was a bit strange however. She wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, and she did a lot of awkward things socially, but that was about it. She eventually dropped out of college for a bit, converted, got married, and is now going somewhere else.

These conversions totally took me by surprise. I’m starting to suspect that my two friends are victims of the “you’re a sinner” mentality. Now I don’t know if they are in a full fledged exclusive cult, but convincing a person he or she is damned/a bad person is a universal trait among all cults/religions*.

“You are a sinner and you must except this and repent in order to be saved. The reason bad things are happening to you is because you haven’t accepted (insert deity/religion here) into your life.”

Here is an interesting site that details this tactic, along with many other tactics cults use.

I think it’s pretty sad that my two friends have fallen into this. They are so convinced of their own worthlessness it’s despicable.

You’re not a bad person! There is no heaven or hell, and there was no talking snake with an apple that condemned everyone to eternal fire. By extension there is no such thing as sin. (Post on that pending) Sure bad things happen to people in life, it’s not because you don’t belong for belief system X. Sure you might have done some things in the past you weren’t proud of, everyone has. Human beings make mistakes, it is natural. Seek forgiveness from yourself and those you have wronged, not by convincing yourself that you’re somehow unclean…

*Except Unitarian Universalists ~_^

7 Responses to “You’re not a bad person….”

  1. Oddysey July 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    Heh. I’m converting you! 😉

  2. isnessie July 20, 2009 at 2:55 am #

    I find this idea of seeing oneself as a sinner when not having been brought up with that mindset, very interesting and strange. Although I was born into a Hindhu family, and as such raised to be a Hindhu, I was never really introduced to this concept of sin. It was always rather about doing unto others as you would have done unto yourself (an er… questionable concept in itself). I still managed to grow up under a very liberal, easy-going sort of religious umbrella and rarely suffered religious guilt. It seems strange then, that I managed to convince myself that I was a sinner, having had very little background indoctrination in that kind of thinking. Without that image of myself I could never have become a Christian. Don’t get me wrong, I was hardly self-flagellating when you look at how some religious people call themselves sinners and hate themselves – but the idea was always there. Seems strange now being an atheist and realising that the concept of what ‘sin’ actually is, is a bizarre thing.

  3. Brian July 26, 2009 at 6:10 pm #

    You might want to dig deeper, if this won’t offend people. I sense of worthlesness is not generally compatible with most mainstream Christian views on the crucifixion. I’m not saying these people don’t consider themselves worthless, only that such views are not typical from my (admittedly non-scientific) experience.

  4. KT July 27, 2009 at 3:32 pm #

    I am personally glad that I have stopped being a fundy (was one about a couple years back). GP, hopefully your friends will realize the wear and tear fundamentalism brings and will convert back to what they were, if not something else un-fundy. Being a christian (and 25% agnostic) myself I only follow the ten commandments and some things such as not raping people; that’s ALL a christian should do. If there IS such a thing as a christian who is stupid for being christian, it would be an evangelical one.

    The only thing I want extremists to realize is that they can be wrong. I can be wrong. So can anyone else. Oh, and one more thing: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, EVEN IF HE IS NONEXISTENT, DO NOT FORCE YOUR BELIEFS ON OTHERS.

  5. Thomas Wayne August 5, 2009 at 1:16 am #

    Just a few tidbits based on the post & comments above…

    If you’re an atheist, then I would expect sin to be a bizarre concept. Sin (as defined by Christianity) is doing something against God’s commands.

    Saying whether someone is a “bad person” or not depends on how you define “bad”, obviously. And it’s complicated, too — most everyone does good things AND bad things, so who’s to say whether someone is good or bad? And is it our place to judge their motives?

    By saying to everyone “you’re not a bad person!”, are you implying there are no bad people? By what standard do you decide someone is good or bad? Is it based on what you consider bad? If so, what if the person in question considers it good? Is it both good and bad at the same time?

    Also, if there are no bad people, then are there good people? Can there be good people without bad?

    And on comment #4, can a person be a Christian if they don’t accept all of Christianity? The religion is based on Jesus Christ and His teachings. Is it really Christianity if you choose what you want to believe?

  6. KT August 13, 2009 at 2:53 pm #

    I wonder sometimes why I even bother. I just personally believe a good deal of the mainstream christian no-nos are blatantly lies and misinterpretations. That, and I’m not a very good christian at that.

  7. ME:) April 22, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    I think we all need to relize that no one knows for sure how we got here or why we are here if there is a reson at all. All Religions are are peoples rationalizations someone could be right but they cant be sure maybe they are crazy the only difference between a lunatic and a profit is whos right 🙂 lol well all find out when we die i guess woohoo something to look forward to

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