Spiritual Terrorism
Christianity Without Insanity
Boyd C. Purcell, Ph.D. www.HealingSpiritualTerrorism.com and www.ChristianityWithoutInsanity.com
Catholicism

                       NEGATIVE CONCEPTIONS OF GOD

 

Father Gerard Hughes insightfully addressed the problem of fearing God and trying to love and worship God in his book, God of Surprises.  He called this condition "religious schizophrenia."  Hughes likened God to the figure of "Good Old Uncle George" who lived in a huge mansion, professed unconditional love, but tortured men, women, and children in his basement.  The authors of Good Goats, Healing Our Image of God, Dennis, Matthew, and Sheila Linn, borrowed this concept of God as "Uncle George" from Hughes.  They too are Roman Catholics and also used the term "religious schizophrenia."  There are a lot of mixed messages in Protestantism and Catholicism as well as in other religions.  The Linns shared that "Uncle George" had shown them his basement, where children as well as adults were being tortured in the furnace of fire.  This "show and tell" was to let the children know what would happen to them if they did not come back to visit Uncle George every week.

 

Later, their mother asked them if they loved him with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength.  And, though they reported "loathing the monster," said, "Yes," and continued to say that they loved "Uncle George" and wanted only to know and do his will because they did not want to join the line at the furnace.  They concluded that religious schizophrenia sets in at a very early age.  Lest any reader is in doubt, "Uncle George" is a made-up story but what is the moral of the story?  Is this not exactly the image religious officials and many loving parents, even with good intentions, paint for children when they tell children that God loves them but they must accept Christ, attend church faithfully, and live right or God is going to burn them in hell fire forever?  That certainly was the image painted for me by the preachers in Protestant Churches who shaped my conception of God as I was growing up.  They were very sincere, had good intentions, but were very badly informed.                                                                     

                 ...........................................................................

 

                                RECIPROCAL BIGOTRY

 

Many Fundamentalists teach that Roman Catholics, as well as all non-Christians will go to hell.  The Catholic Church used to teach that all non-Catholics would go to hell since it was the one and only true church.  It still teaches that it is the one true Christian Church but it has softened its stance in the last 40 years on the salvation of those who are members of other Christian Churches.    While in college, I visited a Roman Catholic Church with a friend who was Catholic but he told me that he could not visit a Protestant Church since it would be a mortal sin for which he would go to hell, not purgatory.  If he were to visit a non-Catholic Church, he stated, he would have had to go to confession and receive forgiveness for having attended a false place of worship.

 

                ...................................................................................

 

 

                                VENIAL VS. MORTAL SINS  

 

The Roman Catholic Church, as I pointed out in  Chapter 3, distinguishes between venial sins (misdemeanor), which send people to purgatory temporarily, and mortal sins (capital), which send people to hell forever.  But the distinction between the two is arbitrary.  According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in regard to mortal sin,"If itis not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. Mortal sins are not just "big" sins such as murder and adultery but also such sins as pride and anger.  Such doctrine puts billions of normal people on spiritual death row because if "sinners" die before confessing these sins, God will damn them to eternal hell fire!  But as the authors of Good Goats:  Healing Our Image of God rightly contend, for people to have a valid basis for rejecting God’s grace with finality, they would need to experience an eternity of God’s love!

                        ........................................................ 

 

TRUSTING GOD

Teaching the lie about God, in relation to punishment being eternal, according to George MacDonald, the "master" of the great writer, C.S. Lewis, people can never trust themselves to God.  This creates an unhealthy church, people, and society....

 

.......................................................................................................................

 

 

     ABOLISH THE FALSE DOCTRINE OF ETERNAL PUNISHMENT

 

How can flawed human beings ever be expected to be more just in the administration of civil justice than God is perceived to be in the dispensing of divine justice?  JUST AS WATER CAN NEVER FLOW HIGHER THAN ITS SOURCE, SO CREATED BEINGS CAN NEVER BE MORE JUST THAN THE CREATOR! 

 

                   .............................................................................

 

 

                     TEAR DOWN THIS WALL

 

 

On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan addressed the German West Berliners at the Brandenburg Gate near the Berlin Wall which divided the east from the west since its construction in 1961 to keep the citizens of communist East Berlin from fleeing to freedom in West Berlin.  President Reagan declared, "There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of peace.  General Secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberation, come here to this gate.  Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"  This was really a dramatic challenge but did anyone, even President Reagan, think that the Berlin Wall would be torn down soon, in his lifetime or, for that matter, ever torn down?  Yet, little more than two years later, November 9, 1989, without Soviet interference, West Berliners took sledge hammers in hand and demolished the wall which had stood as an eye sore to communism.  Soon the communist Soviet Union fell as well.

 

There is one sign which would be unmistakable and that would advance dramatically the cause of Christian unity—destruction of the wall separating the whole Christian Church from celebrating Holy Eucharist/Communion together.  Destruction of this wall could well be the needed impetus for Christians united to lead the way to tearing down walls, which separate us as a human family, and building bridges to our brothers and sisters in other religions.  The Pope, who has the authority to make such an important far-reaching decision for Catholics, holds the key.  Pope Benedict XVI, since you desire unity, seek unity, and pray for unity with Anglican, Orthodox and Protestant Christians, please do what is necessary to accomplish unity—tear down this wall!

 

 

                        Boyd C. Purcell, Ph.D., Author

                        Spiritual Terrorism:  Spiritual Abuse

                        from the Womb to the Tomb

 

Excerpts from various chapters

Copyright, All Rights Reserved, 4-7-08

 

                        HealingSpiritualTerrorism.com