You can do no good.
You are not worthy of love.
You should feel guilty for your constant sin.
Everything in your life has been laid out for you and you have no control over it.
Nothing you can say or do can get you into heaven.
That’s never something you like to hear, is it? So why would it be okay coming from your God?
One thing I despise about Christian teachings is the idea of total depravity: the only good is from God, and all we are capable of is sin, and we would never be worthy of his love. What surprises me is that the same Christians that believe in total depravity also tend to respectfully pity atheists and feel the need to remind us that without religion, our lives are not complete. They want me to agree that there is a holy loving Father looking down on me, and without religion, I am missing out on a beautiful and beneficial relationship.
Although his malevolent personality is not the reason why I don’t believe in God, it definitely contributes to the list of reasons why religion leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Christians, I know that the reason why you tell me to “open my heart to God” is purely out of love and concern for my well-being, but the teachings of your religion make me feel concerned for your well-being as well.
Christians, I want to tell you that you are capable of doing good. You are worthy of love. You should not feel guilty for not being perfect. You have the power to take control of your life. As a matter of fact, you ought to know that it isn’t bad to be proud of yourself. It isn’t a bad thing to live autonomously. Feelings of lust are completely natural, and they’re nothing to feel guilty about. Your life is worth more than constantly groveling or begging God for forgiveness or to get into heaven. I believe that these beliefs are detrimental to your self-esteem, and that it is time to stop making yourself out to be less than you are worth. In addition to loving and respecting others, you ought to love and respect yourself.
P.S. Just because you may not believe that one of these “religious claims” is not scripturally sound does not mean that I haven’t heard it from the Christians I know. In one way or another, the bible lead them to that conclusion. Whether or not the bible leads you to the same conclusion doesn’t change the fact that your fellow Christians believe it. Whether or not I know how scripturally sound their beliefs are is irrelevant, so pointing out to me that you believe that it is unfounded is pointless.
Furthermore, just because you believe that these religious claims are biblically sound doesn’t mean that I agree with them. I’m an atheist. I don’t believe that the bible is the word of God or that it has the final say on anything at all relating to human nature. Saying that one of these self-worth-diminishing ideas is justified because it is in the bible doesn’t, in my eyes, justify it at all.