“Worthless sinners” — a doctrine of abuse
The core of religious abuse for LGBT+ people is in the destruction of our worth as human beings, instilling a deep sense of self-loathing. Even without being LGBT+, we are taught, as Christians, that we are intrinsically evil, born in sin, incapable of doing any good and often summed up as “hopeless sinners saved by grace”.
This particular theological doctrine has done more damage to humanity than we can comprehend. It keeps us in perpetual bondage to our apparent worthlessness as a human being. Saying that God alone gives us any worth/value does not make it any better. It pushes the beauty of our humanity even further away, creates deep division by inflating the “us vs them” mentality, which could be articulated as “we can’t accept you, or anything you say/believe, because without God you are evil — born evil — and nothing you can do will change that unless you believe the same as we do”.
In psychological terms this is referred to as submitting to an “external locus of control”. Christianity says that we must submit to an external force (the Holy Spirit) that acts in us and through us. Although the claim is made that this force lives inside us, it’s still not “us” — we coexist with this entity in the hope that we will eventually conform to it’s likeness. Even though it lives in us, its an external locus of control that we willingly give ourselves over to.
There is a certain aspect of self responsibility in this, where doctrines say we are responsible for our actions, but the foundation and motivation is centred around giving up our most basic sense of self to something else. No matter how we paint this, with all the doctrines of God living in us and creating a far better version of ourselves, we are abdicating our humanity and creating a delusion of worthlessness.
There is, of course, the attempt to address this through doctrines that say our worth is found in God’s love for us — that he loves us so much that he died for us — but that still says that we are worthless without him, so submitting to his control is the only solution.
This stands as one of the greatest “evils” that the church has given mankind!