The Pagan Blog Project: G is for Gnashing of Teeth
“And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – Matthew 13:42
My earliest memories of equating fear and religion came from the Christian church. Like many children who are only really exposed to one religion growing up, I believed Christianity was the one true religion. So I didn’t understand why a place of suffering needed to exist.
As I grew up and made friends who followed other faiths, the reality built around Christianity trembled in my mind. For years I stayed in it completely out of fear. After all, if I looked anywhere else, I would go to hell, right? And there can’t be anything good about hell.
Thus the entire reason Christianity ultimately turned me away. As it was taught to me, the message of love became warped into that of fear. You must be Christian or else. It was even worse that the stories I related most to in the Bible were the Fall and anything involving Satan or Lucifer. Along with that, I saw church politics literally almost kill my father who was a pastor in my childhood.
After years of straying, I have come to some kind of peace with Christianity. Parts of it even still speak to my spirit, but it took a very long break from it to shed that fear that had coiled itself around me. I could not have faith in fear alone, and that’s all there was for so much time.
While I do not consider myself Christian anymore and doubt I will again, I am at least able to acknowledge it again as the religion which formed me and not count that as a negative. I’ve found things to love about it again, and to respect in those that do follow it. I also understand that what happened to me was a result of the religion in human hands, a danger no matter what path you walk. There is still so much more that I know I can learn from Christianity, too.
I don’t pretend to know what happens beyond this life. Maybe it will be a gnashing of teeth after all. But if that’s the price of curiosity and knowledge, I’d still make the trade.