Love Me Or I Will Hurt You!

4 June, 2008

I consider my (((Wife))) and I quite lucky.  We found each other in college (on our first date (Dawn of the Dead on VHS in a dorm room) I put my feet on her and said she was cute (and she STILL married me)), I proposed around six months after we met, and we married a week after I graduated.  The past 19+ years have been good, weird, occasionally tough, chaotic, educational, exciting, and never boring.  We have grown together into a couple quite well.  Sadly, many couple do not have an equal relationship.

So why the hell is (((Billy))) bragging about his marriage?  Well, in high school, there was a couple who had been ‘going with’ each other since they were in seventh grade.  He did not allow her to talk to any other male.  If he called her home phone and she was not at home, she was in trouble.  If she broke any of his arbitrary rules, she was in trouble.  She sometimes came to school with bruises, sometimes with a black eye.  We all knew it was her boyfriend.  Many times, we tried to convince her to leave him.  Her normal answser?  This is how he shows his love.  I deserved it.  He loves me.  He’s done so much for me.  Any of this sound familiar?

I think most, if not all, of us have known someone in an abusive relationship.  Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes not.  But in every case, the basic reaction of the abused partner is similar:  he loves me, I deserved it, he’s just showing he loves me, he’s done so much for me (I’m using the masculine for simplicity, I know that sometimes the female of the couple is the abuser — not often, but it happens).  The abused partner becomes more dependent, clinging closer to the abuser.  Often, the abused partner developes an attitude of worship towards the abuser.  In a human couple, this is called an abusive relationship.  In church, this is called a healthy relationship with God.

God is the father of humanity and, according to the beliefs of a majority of Christians, he chastises humanity for our collective and individual sins.  And God (the omnipotent Judeo-Christian God as developed through1700+ years of Christian study and apologetics) comes across as an abusive husband.  An omnipotent God  is involved with everything that happens — not even a sparrow can die without his say-so, or at least knowledge.  Everything is part of God’s great plan.

So if a human suffers, God is showing his love by hurting the person.  If a human suffers, that person deserves it.  If a human suffers, that person disobeyed a rule.  The abuse is how God shows his love.  And through the Bible and priests and ministers and pastors, the flock believes it!  Just as an abused mate defends her husband, so too do Christians defend God.

And the true believer, through the mental and (according to the idea of an omnipotent God) phsical abuse, rather than rejecting the idea of God, become more dependent, more attached, and more defensive.  Just as an abused wife loses her independence, her self-confidence, her very consciousness through the abusive husband, so can a Christian (or other theist (I write about Christians because they are the dominant religion in the United States and they are the ones I have had the most contact with)) become so dependent on the abuse of religion that they lose themselves.

Some may think I’m being to harsh.  Think, though.  How many times have you heard some variation of “God love you and and if you don’t love God unconditionally, you will burn in hell for all eternity.”  Love me or I will hurt you — in a marriage, that’s abuse.  In religion, that’s normal.



  1. I can already here the Christian response…

    “It’s God’s will”
    “The suffering is a test from God”

    Reminds me of the website whywontgodhealamputees?

  2. Ted: Then God (their version of God) is an abusive bastard.

  3. It is interesting…

    When I was a kid they told the story of the biblical “rod and staff” and “The Good Shepherd”.

    We were told that when the shepherd had a lamb which “strayed” the shepherd would take his rod or staff, break the leg of said lamb.
    The shepherd of the story would carry that lamb, hand feed it, care for it, and the lamb would grow to love the shepherd, and always stay near.
    (I admit it, when I hit puberty and sheep, rods, and staffs were mentioned I got some very disturbing mental pictures. Also, I trained horses and worked with cattle and other livestock in those years and one HEARD things, you know… odd things…)

    They never told you what the shepherd WANTED with the sheep, WHY he was herding them. It wasn’t because they just loved sheep. (True, one heard things…)

    Cruelty to be kind.

    At this stage of my life cancer has made a come back and it looks like it’s here to stay. When I see someone I know advancing on me with a certain look of determined gravity and sober earnest intent I know that I’m going to hear one of two things or both. They are:

    A Go To School And Get A Degree Before It’s Too Late

    B Accept Jesus As Your Personal Savior Before It’s Too Late

    I am told that their deity is “talking to” me by this disease process, chidinging and chastising me for my own good. This is a chastening in the name of love. For my own good.

    I can’t really understand why anyone would think I would want to waste my remaining time and resources on anything which takes me away from my favorite people, pursuits, and will do me no good at all.

  4. I’m no PR guy, but if I was and had this god character as a client, I’d suggest more of the playing footsie and telling people he thought they were cute, and much less of this giving people cancer thing. I’d also suggest some self esteem building workshops for him, because he’s WAY too caught up in this need for people to love him. Of course if he’s just make believe and all this is just crap twisted minded assholes tell people to bully them to join their club, then that’s a whole other problem that I think requires more of a psychiatrist than a PR guy. 😉

  5. What’s truly irksome is that this bastard God doesn’t just hammer the crap out of his church, the “bride of Christ”. He gladly beats on the rest of us too, whether we love him or not. It seems so arbitrary – why, it’s almost as if there were no higher power up there at all!

  6. Is putting your feet on a woman some sort of (((ritual)))? Do you wear (((shoes))) for it, or go (((barefoot)))? On what part of the body are you supposed to put the (((feet)))? What if your feet (((smell))) bad? Does the (((woman))) respond by putting her (((feet))) on you? Is she supposed to use her (((feet))) if she wants to say (((get your feet off me, you oaf)))?

  7. Sarge: Sorry for the delay answering you. You have my sincerest sympathy. I have known a couple of men and women who have had cancer, sometimes fatal, sometimes survivable. The one common thread for all of them (high school aged through retired) was do what YOU want to do, not what others want you to do. My thoughts are with you.

    The idea that a higher being punished individuals or peoples through the (natural seeming) vehicles of illness, disease, earthquakes, accidents, fires, etc. puts me in mind of a small child with a magnifying glass, a sunny day and some ants. If ‘twer true, ‘twould be cruel.

    Philly: I would love to see the PR plan. Maybe they could get the same advert company that does the atrocious Burger King adverts (or are (((Wife))) and I the only ones totally freaked out by that king thing?). Could be amusing.

    Yunshui: Wouldn’t it be nice if all of ‘god’s’ trials and tribulations just impacted Christians who need a kick in the right direction. The arbitrariness does argue for naturalness.

    Ric: I never said I was smooth, but that really is the way we first noticed each other. There is no ritual involved (and I think the bad horror flick (we also watched Attack of the Killer Tomatoes the same night) is optional). I don’t remember if I was wearing shoes (but it was New Hampshire in January, so . . .). I think I put them on her lap, and she massaged my calf.

  8. The arbitrariness does argue for naturalness.

    That’s my argument Billy, the universe behaves just as we should expect if there weren’t a god, or at the very least a god that takes an active interest in our affairs.

  9. Tommykey: I agree. Ockam’s razor (use the spelling you prefer) is usually referred to as ‘the simplest explanation is most likely correct.’ The best version I have run across (most likely closer to his original thoughts) runs ‘do not multiply entities without necessity.’ If you can explain it without invoking goddiddit, do so. And the arbitrariness couples with predictability can be explained through natural processes without invoking a deity.

  10. Have you been abused by God, Billy?

  11. Edward: How can I be abused by something that does not exist? I have, however, been abused by people who claim that what they are doing is sanctioned by god, or who claim that, because I do not believe exactly what they believe, I am fair game for abuse.

  12. eddie g

    Have you been abused by a priest or minister? Perhaps if you have you can take comfort in knowing that god told them to do it.

  13. I forget his name, but the guy behind the BK campaign is considered the hottest name in advertising now and has been recently hired by Microsoft to spin their Vista nightmare and the very MS name as cool. Perhaps some guy with a big prop Bill Gates head like BK? I don’t know.

    Have you been abused by reality, Edward?

  14. Philly: I’ve never really liked BK, but after the pink cowboy add campaign, and then the scary king, I have decided it is a place I never need to go to again.

    Have you been abused by commercials, Edward?

  15. I can’t figure out whether Edward Gordon’s posts are serious or satirical. He’s posted on a number of other atheist blogs and, if he’s serious, his ignorance and lack of logical reasoning have raised buffoonery to a new level. If he’s being satirical, he’s doing an excellent job.

  16. I believe that says a lot about christians. You never know if they’re sincere buffoons or satirical geniuses.

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