God & Women’s Mental Health
I’ve come to the conclusion once and for all that a male god, especially as presented and defined by fundamentalist Christianity (or any other religion) is not good for women’s mental health. Millions of men swear by the good ole boy in the sky, but I can’t. I think millions of women are just like me, too. I sincerely believe that we concoct our own gods out of our various upbringings. The de-Convert’s Creation Story pretty much sums up what I believe happened with religion over the centuries. The gods are of our own making. Therefore it makes sense that the myth makers in history, being mostly male, concocted the god of their choosing.
Coming out of fundamentalist religion, which is completely patriarchal, is very hard, emotionally. The threat of hell and punishment is everywhere in the corners of your psyche. The god of fundamentalism is portrayed in the bible and in church and in all the literature as a punishing daddy who wields a rod of chastisement like nobody’s business. Oh the preachers all say god is merciful and loving, but that’s just double-speak. It’s to prevent reasonable people like you and me from running from the church. This god found in the bible and in church is the idol of every fundie parent’s eye and the supreme model for punishing their own children. I find this abhorrent. For every child out there suffering under the rods of their fathers and mothers steeped in fundamentalism, perpetuating the god as father image is tantamount to spiritual and emotional abuse of the worst order. To hold out this god as the ideal husband and father is abusive in itself.
However, fundamentalist men have a vested interest in keeping women under their control. They desire women for breeding, sexual enjoyment, and housekeeping and women are used only for reflecting their little god-sanctioned kingdom: the marital household. There is something destructive in the bible literalist, who demands and demands others become what he wants them to become, unnaturally and without mercy.
I don’t see how the ideas promoted by fundamentalism can EVER be good for women and children. As the most marginalized subset of society, women and children are ripe for exploitation and religion does more harm than good in this respect. As far as my mental health goes, I’ve tried many, many times to “submit” to the god of fundamentalism. When believers try to tell me that there is a difference between the god of the literalists and the god of their imaginations, I say that’s all well and good to say so. Their imaginations must be ten times more powerful than mine because every church I’ve ever been in, every book I’ve ever read on the subject, and every conversation I’ve ever had with believers is predicated on the notion that god is this male. He is this god the father, god the divine “He” that chastises sometimes unto death if we do not behave. I’m not interested in debating the very small distinction between the supposed “true god” and the god preached by millions of bible literalists every day. There is no distinction. It’s a ruse to get you to believe by any means necessary and nothing more.
The god of fundamentalist Christianity cannot bring peace of mind to women without women first denying who they really are at the core. I cannot live in two minds that way. I can’t live worshiping my abuser. I can’t live imagining that I’ve committed sin that a male god finds so offensive he’ll “take me out” of this life to save my soul. I’m going to find my spiritual sustenance elsewhere.
– Mystery Of Iniquity