Christians are masochists

by onacruse 33 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • onacruse

    Paul: "We also rejoice in our sufferings" (Romans 5:3)

    Jesus: "Rejoice and be glad [when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you]" (Matthew 5:12)

    Historical: "The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace" (Acts 5:41)

    It is the ordinary lot of humanity to suffer.The degree to which some suffer is beyond deplorable, even unimaginable! However, a modicum of suffering, however, is considered the unavoidable nature of life.

    No one "likes" it, they just accept it. If someone "likes" to suffer, it's called masochism, and can lead to being institutionalized as a means of protecting the individual from further harming themselves.

    Based on the Scriptures above quoted, I submit that Christians are therefore masochists.

    I was myself a Christian masochist, so I'm not trying to disparage anybody with the above assertion.


  • Narkissos

    I essentially agree, with three reservations:

    - I think the subtle interplay of suffering and death provides a better picture for the dark side of the Christian mysterium.

    - It works as one moment/facet in an economy, the other side of which is (one's or other people's) life, health, joy, etc. The vicariousness is central.

    - Few Christians will admit to it. To the vast majority it's a sort of secret they occasionally glimpse into but most of the time keep away from themselves. It cannot be faced very long anyway: in Getsemani the disciples can't help falling asleep.

    Cioran is a remarkable example of post-Christian (or hyper-Christian?) masochism... he was an insomniac, too.

  • bernadette

    Interesting topic onacruse.

    Narkissos, don't understand the first 2 reservations in your comment. Do you mind explaining?


  • Narkissos

    Hi bernadette

    1. I just meant to add the notion of "death" to that of "suffering". Suffering and death are two distinct yet related "meanings" of the cross. It's neither "just suffering" nor "just dying". It's suffering leading to death as its (ambiguous) end.

    As Kierkegaard deeply noted, this suffering happens only once (even though we may come in and out of this "once" throughout our lifetime).

    2. What imo distinguishes "Christian (or otherwise 'mystical' or 'spiritual') masochism" is that suffering/death is "enjoyed" not in itself but as the other face of joy/life etc. -- a mysterious but real necessity for any "good" to occur in your own life and others'. And I think that the latter, "for others," was essential especially in Pauline thought. Cf. for instance 2 Corinthians 4:10ff:

    always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

    (An aspect of the "economy" of suffering/death which Protestant individualism has seriously obscured, by limiting vicariousness exclusively to Jesus.)

  • Fe2O3Girl

    You can't paint all Christians with the same brush, but I observed some time ago that some Christians do seem to be obsessed with sin and suffering. They hate it if someone sidesteps the suffering. Their Jesus wants everyone to suffer.

  • bernadette

    Narkissos thanks for explaining

  • RAF

    Masochism is when you like to suffer. (something that please you)

    the christian's goal (by nature) is not about pleasure, it’s about forgetting about ourselves when needed (a good reason). It means it’s better to suffer for justice/truth than being happy from injustice/lies (because then you rely on nothing good).

    On the spiritual matter Chirst says the reverse:
    Matthew 11: 28. "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30. "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

  • RAF

    also for instance : JW's who apply the WTBS's doctrine which lead to suffer because of their false doctrines (lies) ... looks like masochists ... (but they are not masochist they are just misleaded - they think that they suffer for the truth or ... salvation and in this last case they are working for themselves if it leads to make someone eles to suffer - that's when they are against the real doctrine).

  • Sad emo
    Sad emo

    From reading the replies here, I can see some relation between the early Christians - who thought the end of the world was nigh - and JW's today - who think the end of the world is nigh!

    I suspect interpretation of the verses depends on whether you're reading the Bible as simple literature or whether you look beyond that - read between the lines and/or see the bigger picture. I'd also like to look at the original Greek on some of these too as some of the accuracy of intent is occasionally lost.

    To me, these verses don't mean I enjoy the actual suffering itself, rather I rejoice in the results of it. This is because I view any suffering as having a kind of refining influence on my faith/relationship with God (ie it is strengthened).

    Maybe the closest non-religious word I can use to describe it is optimism - like having a tooth pulled, you don't enjoy the process but you know you're gonna feel tons better once its done!!

    k, I'm rambling now...

  • RAF

    SadEmo : Maybe the closest non-religious word I can use to describe it is optimism

    Well said ... you forget about the suffering part because it leads to something good ...

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