In a conversation I was having with a good friend of mine and he posed a question, “what does it matter if people want to believe in religious doctrine or faith and who does it hurt?” Now I understand the nature and context of the question, which was a particular mutual friend of ours who is very deep in the Christianity cult, and we discussed personal views of reality, truth, etc. The question is still lingering, who does it hurt? In the context of belief, it doesn’t hurt anyone that is within that circle. But outside that circle, well, that is a much different story, it can devastate.
In the context of my life it hurt lots of people. #1) the first person it hurt was me. I felt betrayed, lied to and manipulated. I went through the pain of releasing my past loved ones to the oblivion of uncertainty instead of the promise of heaven. I am still going through guilt that I've done the same to young people I ministered to. #2) the second person I hurt was my wife, she stood crying not understanding how I went from the statement of faith that guided my life, to one of doubt and regret because of it. (She is still a believer, though her ideas of what that is has change, at least she isn’t religious anymore. ) #3) another is, I hurt my family. I have very religious people in my family and the tradition runs deep so they take it as a failing on their part, a rebelling on me towards their personal savior.
Those are the top three, but there are more, much, much more. But what hit me the hardest was when I was uploading a video of my son’s first haircut; I realized who it hurts the most. It hurts the kids. Innocents are lost in early indoctrination. The churches of the world teach from a very early age who god is, and what man did to hurt god. They learn about Jesus and his death, by their hands. Ever seen ‘Jesus Camp’ ? This is how I grew up, I remember camp being awesome, it wasn’t this extreme, but looking back this is child abuse if it was in any other venue. Do a YouTube search of ‘Westboro Baptist Church’ and see what they are all about. The fact is, they have biblical reasons for doing what they do. See this two part video of ‘Nate Phelps’. There are other examples, and they are all on YouTube if you want to find out more.
Who does it hurt? Who doesn’t it hurt may be an easier question.