The Doubter Series – Discussion 2: Burdens of Guilt – Part 4
Have you met anyone in the “praying Patty” guilt group before? These are the family members or friends who, as soon as you drop that same hint of doubt will come to you with prayers and love and nothing but ‘God’s blessings” to bring you back to the fold. Their guilt trip is used to make you feel that only God can bring true happiness. These people want you to have everlasting life when you die. Their concern is genuine and kind, which is very endearing, but incredibly annoying. Those of us that were raised to never be mean to people, especially those who are not inherently mean to others, have a very hard time with this type of guilter. They will want to bring you to their church to show you how amazing God and the church community can be. They will want you to come to prayer groups, Bible studies, retreats, see miracle workers [see Doubters Series Discussion 1] and experience all that can be with God in your life. You cannot hate this person. Remember, they are good and have no ill intentions. As much as you want to tell this person to go jump in a vat of holy water or to go fornicate in the baptismal font, you just can’t. You feel bad for upsetting this amazing individual but you can’t bring yourself to just say what you really want to say. Even when you know believe everything coming out of the pastor’s mouth is complete rubbish, you can’t say anything. You would feel too guilty.
Guilt can be detrimental to doubters who experience some of the types of guilt and people described above, especially those who are very sensitive and empathetic. For a doubter wanting to reveal themselves as an agnostic or atheist, these types of people can be stop signs on the journey to breaking free. The best thing we can do to help these doubters is to be patient with them and be there to offer support and advice if needed. They are not alone in breaking free and that’s what any person who feels isolated by their beliefs wants to feel, community.