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Monday, August 26, 2013

Substitutionary Atonement: How It Promotes Dissociation and Empowers Abusers

There was a member of the church I grew up in that was addicted to pornography. We'll call him Bob. Bob was around 30 years of age and was constantly meeting with the pastor and other men in the church for support in his struggle with sexual addiction. The church leaders told Bob that he needed to leave his sinful nature and be satisfied with Christ, singularly defining Bob as the cause of the problem and neglecting to explore childhood trauma producing his sexual addiction. Bob presents the problem: unhealthy sexuality producing sexual addiction. Church leaders present the cure: be satisfied with Christ, read Bible, and pray. Sadly, the cure didn't work. Bob raped an underage girl shortly thereafter, spent time in prison, and came back to the same church. The church welcomed Bob with open arms and celebrated that he had justification in Christ, and that Christ had provided restitution for his sins.

The similarities in application between substitutionary atonement and dissociation are startlingly obvious, yet none of the material that I've interacted with in psychology or religion has portrayed this synchronous relationship. In this post I will show the similarities in practice between substitutionary atonement and dissociation, and present arguments that substitutionary atonement promotes dissociation and is inherently harmful (this should've been my thesis for my religion degree).