Just let that sink in for a minute. According to facebook, this is from some kind of (written/published for profit, which is a whole other can of worms) course for Christian youth group leaders to teach to their charges. I don't even know where to start with all my what-the-fucks. I've seen some comments referring to the symbolism of the armor for Christians to "be strong in their faith." But then, why the enormous gun? What kind of confrontation are Christian youth being taught to prepare for? NO SERIOUSLY, BECAUSE THIS IS FUCKED UP AND SCARY. Just a guess, but I don't think the discussion will center on how this concept contradicts with "turn the other cheek."

I think this is related to the persecution complex a lot of Christians, and particularly evangelicals, seem to have. I think placing an image of actual physical warfare next to a passage that refers to "spiritual warfare" is awful and dangerous. Christianity originally spread at the end of the sword, but that doesn't mean "Get saved or die" was a good policy. The Crusades are fucking over, and they were horrible. I cannot imagine what goes on in the mind of a person who would encourage Christian youth to conceptualize themselves as literal soldiers.

Advertisement

This also made me think about the way Christianity perpetuates/reinforces patriarchy and the prioritization of the masculine. Presumably, this will be taught to both male and female youth members. The soldier is a man, and there is no woman to be seen, either as a fellow soldier or as the more-likely-in-a-Christian-group "helpmate" type. The Lone Warrior is such a glaring masculine stereotype, and conceptualizing one's spiritual life as a state of warfare seems like a very stereotypically masculine viewpoint.

I think this is gross and wrong. The fact that things like this are taught to large groups of people in church settings (like the one I grew up in) is exactly why I don't go anymore, and why I would not want any child of mine being involved in any kind of religious group where this was taught. I would love to hear other reactions/thoughts.