Thinking aloud – why there is a need to critique

The article “Why Sex May Be the Greatest Threat to Christianity” succinctly describes how mainstream Christianity has been repressive and oppressive to people regarding human sexuality because the Christian narrative feeds on guilt and the religion itself thrives on control. It is therefore liberating and important to not allow ourselves be subject to any kind of control or guilt manipulation by the Christian religion for our own peace and well being, so that we are free to be fully ourselves, and accept ourselves in the totality of our human experience.

In fact, I am learning to let my voice be heard when it comes to making critiques on errant people or systems or mindsets. I have been contemplating about my role or calling in my life – I used to think I have a gift of encouragement, as I like to affirm and uplift others so that they can be free from any kind of self-imposed or society-imposed shame and condemnation and let their true beauty shine from within. I would like to believe I still have the gift of encouragement.

However, when it comes to making critiques or criticisms, I am usually reluctant to do so, or I would tend to feel awkward or uncomfortable whenever I do so. Since young, I have been reticent to confront or criticise others, probably partly due to the fact that the society tends to frown on any open show of criticism, and partly because I was wondering whether I myself would be criticised in return if I criticised others. I mean, isn’t that how “karma” works? If I criticise others, won’t the natural law of cause and effect work in such a way that I will also be criticised back by others? I don’t really like to be criticised myself, so I have been trying to refrain from criticising others as far as possible. Also, I would remind myself that Jesus has taught people not to judge lest we be judged.

Then again, when Jesus talked about judging, maybe there is a fine line between making destructive criticisms (in terms of biased opinions and outright condemnation by imposing arbitrary, subjective moral standards onto others to put them down) and making constructive criticisms (in terms of informed opinions and perceptive arguments to liberate others from oppressive forces). Jesus himself demonstrated the latter when he judged and criticised the Pharisees and teachers of the law for abusing their authority to control and oppress others. Similarly, I realise that when it comes to dealing with racism, sexism, misogyny, classism, religious dogmatism and fundamentalism and other forms of systemic oppression, there is a dire need for us to offer constructive criticisms to challenge and dismantle such systems and mindsets of oppression, in order to liberate and empower ourselves and one another.

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