I hope you’re doing well, finding peace, and are in a comfortable space to listen to this week’s episode. Today I will be talking about earning our belonging again, but this time, I’m exploring how that Dominant Dogma relates to spirituality. Before we get too deep into the conversation, I wanted to let you know that I will be discussing the harm of Evangelical Christianity, citing a popular Christian Theologian, and quoting a bible verse which relates to today’s Dominant Dogma. If you are currently recovering from religious trauma and find topics like this triggering, please take care and feel free to skip to the next episode.
That being said, I’m very eager for you to hear my insights and research points about this big topic. Let’s jump in (or move very slowly and gracefully — whatever feels best for you)!
This week, I will explore:
- The painful (and untrue) cultural belief that you are inherently corrupt just by existing
- How many theological creation stories make us believe in and practice perfectionism
- The monopoly evangelical Christianity has on the United States, and how we are only redeemed when we pledge our allegiance
- A reminder that spirituality as a whole is not bad, but using it to control, manipulate, and abuse others is.
- The truth that you are safe, worthy, and loved with or without a connection to religion or spirituality.
Listen to the episode wherever you like to listen to your podcasts.
Hello hello, creative humans, today I am writing to you from my home office in Lake Geneva, WI. I have my green velvet chair supporting me, my matcha and water on the desk next to me, and I’m wrapped in a sweater waiting for the heat of the day to make it’s way into my space.
As we begin today’s episode I encourage you to pause for just a moment and notice your surroundings. Notice the light, the shadows, the colors, the sounds, the weight of what is holding you. This is a practice of freedom, a practice of presence, and it’s a practice that no one can take away from you.
Before we begin, in today’s episode I discuss the harm of Evangelical Christianity and I will be quoting a popular Christian Theologian and recite bible verses which relate to today’s Dominant Dogma. This in mind, if you are currently recovering from religious trauma and find topics like this triggering, please take care and feel free to skip to the next episode.
Today, we are going to talk about the Dominant Dogma that shares you must earn your belonging with your spirit, also thought of as your essence or your soul. This Dominant Dogma doesn’t provide any room for respite, because it states that you, your soul, the core of your existence, is not enough. You are not worthy as a person and in fact you are morally corrupt just for exsisting.
Essentially all Dominant Dogma falls underneath this core narrative of unworthiness, and it has likely impacted your life by causing you to feel:
- Not Enough
- Stuck and Stagnant
- And like you don’t even deserve your dreams for a better life
In episode #15 of this podcast I referenced an article by James Boyce for the Guardian, and it feels appropriate to integrate that here as well. Within his writing he shares about the West’s obsession with perfectionism (i.e. this belief that there is a perfect, and that many of us fall short from it), and how this has largely been said to be due to our own creation story myth.
Passed down from our ancestors is the belief that we are inherently bad, or sinful, resulting in the sensation we are not enough, that we need to somehow earn our worth by pledging our allegiance to the Christian God/Trinity, then essentially prove our allegiance by, “bearing fruit” (John 15:8 ESV) according to the Western interpretation of the Holy Bible.
To showcase this, here is an excerpt from an article published about self-worth by well regarded and beloved theologian John Piper: “I believe that man apart from the regenerating work of God is totally depraved. That is, he is capable of no holy act or thought. Romans 14:23 says, “What is not of faith is sin.” Therefore the unbeliever only sins, even if he gives all his good to feed the poor and his body to be burned (1 Corinthians 13:3). Reason: good, value, worth, etc., can only be properly defined ultimately with reference to what honors God. Things done with no reference to God and from no trust in his mercy are not good. “There is no one who does good not even one!” (Romans 3:12).” – source
Therefore, according to the faith on which the country of the United States was founded, if we do not pledge our allegiance to the Christian faith, nothing we do, nor who we are, is good. We are depraved, we maintain a sinful status, and we will pay the price both in life through hardship and lack of purpose, and in death through eternal punishment in hell.
Whether you identify as religious or not, due to the historical and ancestral roots of this belief, many of us are born subconsciously living from this disposition. The result? A toxic relationship with life, which largely mirrors the mental state of folks coming from abusive and dominering relationships. Which is what many denominations of Christianity have become: abusive, manipulative, and dominering reltionships with a patriarchal and narcissistic God. We unconsciously mask an appearance of perfection trying to earn our belonging. We chronically live in fight-or-flight or freeze. We face unstable attachment styles. We adopt a sense of “imposter syndrom” where even our most aligned, educated, and helpful skills feel not enough.
On top of all this, the internalized feeling of being not enough primes us as targets for marketing schemes within the capitalistic model.
To quote James Boyce, who I mentioned earlier, he states, “The need for redemption has shaped the language of the market, technological innovation, advertising, politics and, most obviously, self-help movements.” – source This market he discusses, includes the church. The Christian church, in it’s modern form, is a marketing funnel. A carefully crafted system that picks at the very pain points it created (being unworthy and depraved), to then offer you the “solution” of being, “saved” so you feel like you belong, you’re enough, and you are loved (but only if you stay in the fold).
Now, I want to pause for a moment because the truth is, I don’t believe spirituality as a whole is harmful. Having a sense of connection to the greater world, having a higher power, and having historical books which teach myths and archetypes to support growth and self-reflection is incredible. I myself have spiritual practices that I love and that ground me.
However, as I’ve shared in previous episodes:
- It is how dominant culture misuses the stories, beliefs, and virtues that they become toxic tools of manipulation.
- It is how we are required to fit into Dominant Dogma to be accepted and safe.
- It is how patriarchy, supremacy culture, and those at the top of the capitalist food chain, benefit from your playing small and feeling broken.
It’s how the stories and beliefs have become Dogma instead of concepts and perspectives that we can evaluate, contemplate, set healthy boundaries around, and yet still empathize with.
I want to pause and define dogma real quick.
A belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted. – source
Which leads me to also define Dominant Dogma:
Dominant Dogma is a term I coined to encompass all the cultural narratives and beliefs which externally, and subsequently internally as adaptive strategies, tell you who you’re supposed to be, how to do it, and what you need to buy to live that out.
What we are evaluating here on the podcast are the narratives surrounding each one of us that become our conditioning. We do this so we can drag the unconscious out into the light, evaluate it, and determine if it’s actually serving us, or if we need to hand it back for something more supportive. To quote Carl Jung, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Which is the freedom on the other side.
The Freedom on the other side: You are worthy, and you can evaluate the narratives which have made up your conditioning, determine if they are supportive for you, and choose a new path forward. Your new path? It starts by living your freedom now.
The Dominant Dogma that says you must earn your belonging and worth, is instantly dissolved when you find peace and freedom in the present. When you hone in on the small bit of beauty in yourself and in your world, you are actively participating in the dismantling of power over systems and the Dominant Dogma that has kept you captive.
Love, I say it every week, but I want to really drive it home today: FREEDOM IS YOURS.
Yes, we will always be navigating the ups and downs, we will be healing, growing, learning, navigating loss, pain, and sorrow, AND the magic of life is found when we can hold the complexity of the both/and. When we can find freedom and joy amidst the Dominant Dogma. When we set ourselves free.
And that is what I want to leave you with today: Freedom is yours.
As we close today’s episode, I’m so excited to let you know I am now accepting Summer Coaching bookings and if today’s episode resonates and you are desiring support as you uncover the unconscious Dominant Dogma in your life, I would absolutely love to come alongside you!
Whether you are struggling with anxiety, navigating a life change, or expanding your leadership role, I’m here to support you, facilitate breakthroughs and coach you step-by-step so you can live your liberation, so you can live your freedom, now.
You can learn more about my 1:1 coaching and apply now at megscolleen.com. If texting is more your thing, shoot me a text at 312-815-2774.
All right, I’ll see you next week!
Freedom is yours,
“This Dominant Dogma doesn’t provide any room for respite, because it states that you, your soul, the core of your existence, is not enough. You are not worthy as a person and in fact you are morally corrupt just for exsisting.”
“I don’t believe spirituality as a whole is harmful. Having a sense of connection to the greater world, having a higher power, and having historical books which teach myths and archetypes to support growth and self-reflection is incredible.”
“What we are evaluating here on the podcast are the narratives surrounding each one of us that become our conditioning. We do this so we can drag the unconscious out into the light, evaluate it, and determine if it’s actually serving us, or if we need to hand it back for something more supportive.”
“The Dominant Dogma that says you must earn your belonging and worth, is instantly dissolved when you find peace and freedom in the present.”
Mentions & More:
- Reflections on self-worth by John Piper: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/reflections-on-the-concept-of-self-worth
- James Boyce’s brilliant interpretation of original sin and its impact on modern society
- A little insight from Carl Jung
- Learn more about my 1:1 coaching offerings!