Toxic Christianity – The reality and the truth

Toxic Christianity — a topic that is taboo and not openly spoken about. The combination of toxic and Christianity somehow gives a feel that they do not go together but it does exist.

Oct 22, 2021

Toxic Christianity — a topic that is taboo and not openly spoken about. The combination of toxic and Christianity somehow gives a feel that they do not go together but it does exist. We have heard many comments or opinions regarding Christianity being toxic which has led to some people leaving the Church or the faith.

On September 3, EMPOWERED had a live sesison on Instagram with Fr Stanley Goh, SJ on this topic.

The session was very engaging and touched on various areas both within the community and issues raised in the media affecting young people in the community. The discussion took place with the understanding of an open heart and there were plenty of questions from viewers to gain insight regarding their experience with toxic Christianity. Fr Stanley was very open and responded to the questions raised.

The session dealt largely on issues faced within the Catholic Church community, especially among the youth and young adults. Lately, it seems more people have been leaving the Church and the COVID-19 pandemic has further created a dilemma for people — to remain faithful and stay in the Church, or leave.

Why some youths are leaving the Church
From a survey conducted among the local community, as well as some friends abroad, the responses were rather astounding. Among the reasons given were that they faced unpleasant experiences in the Church or community, and hypocrisy.

For example, some suggested that Church leaders should practice what they preach. When they notice a church leader making a mistake or behaving inappropriately, they feel justified in their thinking that the Church is no longer a good place. And so they choose to leave the Church, having concluded that there is no difference between the Church and the secular.

Another interesting point raised was the idea that church leaders may be inattentive to members when they need advice or a listening ear. For example, when seeking advice, members only received responses such as “I’ll pray for you”, or “What would Jesus do?” Some were provided with a Bible verse to reflect on, which they appreciated, but they felt no time was invested to hear them out.

Are church leaders failing to invest time in members? Are they too busy with the administration of the Church or the ‘bigger things’ to the extent that the welfare of the church members is neglected? Are there some areas that need to be improved or repaired?

In addition, sometimes members feel judged by church leaders and other members. Due to the fear of feeling judged, they choose to leave the Church. It is not uncommon to hear the phrase “the Church is so judgmental”.

Other areas raised included the sexual harassment cases among priests, bishops or cardinals and there were queries as to what the Vatican is doing about it. News regarding such matters appears in the media often, which has raised questions such as “Why are the Church authorities or the Pope not taking action?” Are they are turning a blind eye or sweeping these cases under the rug? Unfortunately, some of these cases were not dealt with properly in the past which may have caused emotional trauma among the victims.

Other areas briefly touched on included LGBTQ, secularism and the WOKE culture in the media that has influenced young people in the community.

                       "  The world screams, God whispers."

Heart Speaks unto the Heart
Fr Stanley shared various insights to the issues raised and highlighted the need to speak with God, quoting from St John Henry Newman, to speak heart to heart. God pierces to the core, and we must nourish our relationship with God in a very loud world that is screaming at us and telling us what to do. We can try to connect with God in ways that are best suited for us, be it through music, meditation or nature, and listen to our hearts in order to better manage the challenges of the world. The world screams, God whispers.

For those who would like to tune in,, visit IG: empoweredkch IGTV or — Empowered Ministry Kuching, Today’s Catholic

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