Continuing my thoughts from yesterday, another idea intertwined with Christian love was the devaluation of love found outside the faith. In the video I watched, several references were on hand relating to this notion that the only real love can come from the Christian deity. Everything else is less than, imperfect, wanting in some important aspect.
Feeling insecure yet?
The whole point of saying such things is to create doubt. Doubt about the intentions of others. Doubt about the level of trust given to others. Doubt even about the safety of relationships.
Practically speaking, doubt like this creates an artificial need. Safety can only be found in others who attend church, who claim to follow the same divine commandments. There is a denial of security in a world outside this safe harbor. Stay and be safe, leave and be in constant danger.
I’d like to say that this insecurity ends with one’s faith, but the truth is that such conditioning is hard to break. While I don’t feel like the only path to emotional security is through a church, I also am not rid of the doubts I fostered over the years. It’s infinitely difficult to connect with people when one constantly doubts the well-meaning of others. Such feelings can leave me isolated in the largest crowds.
The insecurity is not rational.
Churches do not hold a monopoly on love or meaningful relationships with others. If that were so, people in non-Christian cultures wouldn’t know what these things are. It is the tireless work of people that makes community and togetherness worthwhile and possible. One doesn’t have to be a Christian to be a decent person.
I know some people who have found great contentment and joy from practicing their Christian faith. Likewise, I know many people who find great contentment and joy in secular pursuits. People are free to find it where they may, without the permission of any organization.
It will be hard to remember this at times for myself. I am aware of many of the little things some people might say to downplay what I write here. Is happiness without a deity really happiness? Are they sure they’re content? Can they really trust someone who doesn’t read their Bible?
The answer to those questions is a solid yes.