What’s Wrong With Believing In A God?

Posted on March 14, 2021


Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them.–Bill Ayers

Of course, with thousands to choose from, it depends on the god. Believing in a god does not necessarily present a problem, but believing in the god of the Bible, for a certain sector of society, means embracing and perpetuating anti-Black and misogynist ideas. As a result, American democracy is under threat from Christian Nationalists, and we must organize a response as a nation to nurture secular government that protects the human and civil rights of all, but that’s not my focus today. Today, I want to focus on Christianity’s effect on individual consciousness.

For me, the FIRST and FOREMOST problematic idea of Christianity is “original sin.” At its root, this idea supplants an individual’s sense of self-worth with guilt, fear, condemnation–and self-hatred.

As a parent, I cannot imagine a more harmful idea than telling a child that they are condemned to hell for all eternity unless they give control of the most important decisions in their lives to external religious authorities (text, clergy, traditions).

On the contrary, I raised my children with the ideas that first and foremost, I accept them for who they are, and they can feel safe and confident in their own minds and ability to understand and navigate the world. I wanted my children to be free from fear, guilt, and self-loathing. I wanted them to feel good about themselves. Telling them that they are full of sin and must adopt an attitude of self-hatred, self-doubt, guilt, and fear of eternal punishment would be counter-productive to that end.

As a mother, I felt it was my job to give my children the unconditional love and support that would allow them to be confident, independent adults who could contribute in positive ways to the community. As a mother, I tried to provide my children with a safe and nurturing environment that allowed them to pursue their interests and passions without any expectations for who they needed to be, except themselves.

As a mother, and as a teacher, what’s wrong with Christianity is that the idea that “all have sinned” and must convert to avoid eternal punishment is the exact opposite of good parenting. It destroys a child’s confidence in themselves and in the world by introducing invisible, omniscient, omnipotent, supernatural threats to the child’s well-being. It undermines the idea that a person can understand our world and how to live in it.

A lot of White, American Christians talk about how they want to take over public schools with their harmful ideology, but just imagine how they’d react if teachers acted like Christian clergy. What if, as a teacher, I said that I had prayed about it, and, before I even saw the class list, God told me who would earn which grades in the course? What if, as a teacher, I said that I would pray about the assignments that had been turned in, but I provided zero feedback on the work during the course, but assigned a final grade that could never be questioned when the term ended? What if, every time a student asked me for assistance, I offered prayer, fasting, or a quote from scripture?

No parent would accept such behavior from a teacher, because they know it would harm children.

And that’s why no parent should indoctrinate a child with the Christian idea that they are sinful and in need of salvation. It’s a bad idea that destroys self-confidence and makes the world incomprehensible.

Let’s raise our children to feel good about the human bodies and minds they were born with. Let’s teach them how to use their intellect and emotions to understand and navigate life in a good way.

How do we know how to do that?

The world is rich with experts who have devoted their lives to learning what children need to grow up in a good way. Many of them have written books to help us learn how to be good parents and teachers for our children; the Bible is not one of them.

Children need to feel safe to be able to have trust in their parents and in the world.

Children don’t need “god’s love.” They need human love and helpful guidance, no gods required.

Kids don’t stay with you if you do it right. It’s the one job where the better you are, the more surely you won’t be needed in the long run.—Barbara Kingsolver

lisa eddy is a writer and editor for-hire, researcher, educator-for-hire, youth advocate,  musician, and gardener.

On Twitter: @lisa_eddy
On email: lisagay.eddy1@gmail.com