An Easy Checklist for Damaging Theology

Someone recently asked me how we can know if our beliefs are damaging to others. Here's a few thoughts.

  • If other people believing exactly what you believe is very important to you, your theology is probably damaging.
  • If your faith is more about changing others than changing yourself, your theology is probably damaging to others.
  • If you tell half of your church to keep quiet, that they cannot teach, or to keep their heads covered, your theology is probably damaging.
  • If you spend more time pointing out the sins of others than working on your own life, your theology is probably damaging to others.
  • If you believe you have a right to tell others how to live, including those not in your community, your theology is probably damaging.
  • If you've ever told someone "these aren't my words, these are God's words," your theology is probably damaging to others.
  • If you ask people to choose between scientific fact and God, you're theology is probably damaging to others.
  • If you use church discipline or authority to abuse or manipulate people, your theology is certainly damaging to others.
  • If "speaking the truth in love" causes you to be cruel or abusive, especially toward someone with less social standing, your theology is certainly damaging to others.

Being a light in the darkness should look a lot like loving your neighbor. When a religious expert asked Jesus who his neighbor was, Jesus told a story of a hated minority helping a man who'd been beaten after the religious leaders of that day passed the victim without stopping.

May all who claim to follow Christ be a good neighbor.

My website is a safe place for people whose beliefs about God are changing. Many are recovering from spiritual abuse or trauma. Please remain civil and kind in the comments section at all times.