Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Power of Religion to Hurt People

I’ve been reading Boy Erased by Garrard Conley. It’s a story about a gay son of a Baptist minister who got outed to his parents. They placed him in a conversion therapy camp to “cure” him, and so far in this biography, things are not going well for the young man.

It’s slow paced to the point of being numbingly boring. Yet, I find myself fascinated, not by the story line, but by the total Christian brainwashing this kid went through, and how much anguish and humiliation he suffers because of his absolute belief in God’s punishment. Being an atheist, I find it appalling that our society condones this brainwashing of innocent minds. I understand that Christians will, no doubt, turn that argument around to say that it’s being gay that has caused this person’s pain, not his belief in God. And there we must agree to disagree.

When I read stories like Boy Erased, I can’t help wishing for a world free from beliefs in Gods and Devils, heaven and hell, angles and demons.

Being an atheist does not mean one is unanchored to empathetic ideals. There are some things I’m absolutely passionate about—the Golden Rule, the need to battle cruelty in all its forms, the value of love and charity, humility and grace. One doesn’t need to be beaten over the head with a bible in order to live a compassionate life.

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