A ViewPoint by Debra C. Rufini
I have written a small piece exploring the unfortunate spiritually abusive actions carried out by certain Christians and the misunderstandings they have surrounding the concept of “belief.”
My motive for writing my book, The Artist’s Page, was to introduce a Divine Creator who is deeply saddened by a lack of recognition for the brilliance of their creativity and love gift, while also feeling joyous over those who do recognise the hand behind the Masterpiece produced for any of the takers.
My motive for the yet-to-be published sequel, The Artist’s Rage, is to explore the consequences of the attitude that has misrepresented The Artist, and made them unappealing to know — where the self-righteous take it upon themselves to judge and batter others, where pride and boastfulness replace compassion and humbleness.
I have found there to be two different types of Christians. I think there are those who humbly come before God, acknowledging that they are a sinner in need of a Savior — understanding that we all are in the same boat with sin, so it is purely their duty to love others, as we are called to do. Then, we have what I refer to as “the narcissistic Christian,” who are those who give their lives to Christ with the proud and boastful knowledge that they have been specially selected by God as one of the chosen few, where it is their duty to judge the salvation status of others, as they are best friends with God . . . and if you are God’s best friend, then God can give you messages to pass on to those whom the Divine Creator is apparently less likely to communicate with, can conveniently tell you all the things you wish to hear and order you to do the things you wish to do . . . because God has, apparently, told you. And, if you are instructed by God to inflict your harm and judgment onto others, those the Lord appears to have fallen out with in the playground, an apology is never required.
How this must devastate the God of truth, such abuse being carried out by the cruel hands of those who claim to love, honor, worship, and represent an all-loving Supreme Being–where the victim is then blamed for their lack of belief, lack of wanting to know, or their backsliding–taking no responsibility for the harm and damage they have caused. When the non-believer slips up, they are deemed the dreadful, dirty, worldly Heathen. Yet, when the Christian narcissist slips up, it is Satan’s fault! The Christian narcissist will always justify their bad behavior. When the humble Christian dares to challenge them on this, their salvation is questioned as well.
The Christian narcissist is devoid of the fruits of the spirit.
I recently interviewed Dr Jeffrey Long on my radio broadcast with ArtistFirst Radio Network. Dr Long is a lovely Christian, and is the founder of the Near Death Experience Research Foundation. During the interview, he mentioned that there were three main reasons for disbelief:
1) The individual has thought it through, concluding that, to their mind, there is no sufficient evidence to suggest a Divine Creator to be the plausible first cause of the existence of the Universe.
2) The individual has experienced such suffering in their life that they have arrived at the conclusion that there cannot possibly be a divine and loving protector. This is not to be confused with anger against a Divine Creator whom the person does hold belief in.
3) The individual has received such damage caused by a believer that they are basically put off from wanting to know or care. Why would they want anything to do with the God represented here? This is why it is vital to try to mirror God to the best of our ability.
Many Christians tend to confuse disbelief with rebellion or rejection. As a Bruce Springsteen fan, I would love to believe that The Boss is living in my attic. (I would keep him well fed if he truly was!) However, my disbelief in this concept is so strong that I am not going to bother going up there to see. As much as I would love to believe, I am certainly not in rebellion of the idea.
A person who genuinely disbelieves is someone who struggles with believing something to be true. Many would love to believe in the safety and comfort of an all-loving God. Who would deliberately choose an eternity spent in unquenchable torment? It is terribly judgmental for believers to claim that all disbelievers have a heart filled with rebellion and just want to live their own sinful life displeasing to God, a God they don’t hold belief in! What believers may view as evidence may not be viewed as sufficient evidence for the disbeliever. If we claim there is no such thing as disbelief, then we are claiming that atheism doesn’t exist.
At the end of the day, all we can do is trust that God will judge in fairness in accordance to the degree of belief and goodness we have been capable of. Our Divine Creator is vast enough to comprehend our hearts. And we need to allow God to be God: an almighty, wondrous mystery, unfathomable to all Creation.