So, a couple days ago I came across You’re Not Enough (and that’s okay) by Allie Beth Stuckey on NetGalley and…near immediately vomited at how disgusted I was when I found out that this is a book that pushes problematic kinds of Christianity. For more thoughts on that, feel free to click over here. So, because I like to be informed about what I discuss as being problematic, I decided to read the book. And honestly, there is a lot to unpack. But, what it all comes down to is this: Stuckey’s message, ultimately, is that in many, many ways no one is enough and will never become so, therefore, the only thing to do is to believe in “god” because only “god” is enough.
It’s a clear example of pointing out a problem and trying to force a magical and fictitious solution upon the world that doesn’t actually solve the problem.
Any amount of good message Stuckey manages to send is drowned out and degraded, pushed aside for disturbing “Christian ideas” and terrible messages posited as selflessness. Ultimately, You’re Not Enough is Christian propaganda and Stuckey’s way of telling other people what to do with their lives more than anything else.
And it’s sad because when I first saw this book I was genuinely intrigued by this argument that we are not enough and it is okay to accept this truth so long as we’re willing to do something about it. The only toxicity in the idea of “you are enough” I see is that it potentially supports laziness in actively trying to solve our problems. Saying “I’m enough” isn’t going to resolve issues within a relationship someone may have.
But recognizing what one has been doing in a relationship and how it may not resolve current problems can give people motivation and purpose. It allows us an opportunity to step up and find ways to better ourselves and resolve issues. I’m okay with the idea that I’m not enough in the sense that I can find purpose in improving myself, in becoming a better person and in helping the rest of the world be better, too.
But this isn’t really where Stuckey goes with her “you’re not enough” message.
Point one: you need Jesus (a.k.a. people aren’t religious enough).
I find this argument of hers massively depressing. Stuckey doesn’t seem like a complete idiot and is fully capable of sounding coherent, but much of her message is dripping with this nonsense idea that god is all that matters. She suggests that the only things making people today depressed are support for self-love and lack of religion. This theory completely ignores literally every single problem that exists within the world (there are far too many to count) and suggests that if we all found and obeyed god, we’d be happy.
Not only is this ludicrous, but it’s also disgusting.
And sure, ignoring facts and logic to hide behind a fantasy of faith does tend to make some people feel better. But, ignoring problems, as Stuckey also points out, only makes them worse. Faith, in and of itself, is the same bandaid to problems that Stuckey refers to the temporary relief self-love “you are enough” messages as being. It ultimately doesn’t really fix anything.
Not to mention that her entire book is filled with commentary about how god is perfect and we can only aspire to work for and obey him in our unworthy-ness for the hope that he will forgive all our horrible sins. Stuckey’s “god” sounds like an abusive boyfriend: “you’re unlovable, you’re not worthy, I am perfect, only I can tell you who you are what to do and what you’re worth, your job is to glorify me, you’re not good enough to determine what’s true because only I can do that, my love is the only love you need, you are undeserving of my love, you belong with me, I forgive you for being sinful and not good enough.”
I think I just threw up again.
Point two: god is the only determiner of morality.
Also known as god is the only one who knows what is right and wrong; he is the only one who can decide this and no one has the right to complain about morally incorrect things unless they are religious. Also, the only way you won’t be selfish is if you’re religious.
To say that selfless acts can only come from working for god is nonsense. I can say that I personally see self-sacrifice and helping others as a generally good thing to aspire to do in your life. Stuckey suggests that the only possible place to do such things is in service to god and religion.
She also posits that right and wrong can only be determined by the “moral authority” that is “our [imaginary] creator.” I’m sorry, what the hell kind of message is it to tell people that they’re incapable of knowing right from wrong without religion? You’re honestly going to suggest to me that the only way to be a good person is to “work for god”?
To say that people who do not buy this religion nonsense have no right to be angry about the Holocaust and slavery if they don’t believe in god is egregiously disgusting. And yet, that’s more or less what she is saying. It’s as though the collective decision of society to tell everyone that mass murder and enslaving others simply because they are different from us are horrible things to do don’t even matter. Why?
Point three: if you are gay or not cisgender, you are wrong.
Honestly, there’s a lot to unpack here and it was hard since there were so many instances of Stuckey pushing these disturbing narratives about who people should be. And all of it was problematic.
According to Stuckey, gender and sexuality other than what has been “normed” by the bible do not exist, should not exist, and are a problem. She practically voices her support for conversion therapy for people who are trans, making statements like “whether he believed he was a girl or not was largely irrelevant,” “his god-given biology indicates his gender–period,” “will probably grow out of their gender confusion after puberty,” and “every compassionate effort, then, should be made to help him reconcile his mind with his body, not the other way around.”
She defines marriage as all the homophobic religious sorts do, “as between a man and a woman.” Though she does not spend an immense amount of time here, she makes it very clear what she thinks of the LGBTQ community. She holds no respect for them, no care for who they are or how they identify. She sees them as diseased people who need to be “fixed.” Marriage, according to Stuckey must be “rooted in creation” as though the only possible reason to be with another person is to procreate.
Point four: you must be a mother.
And really, this isn’t all that surprising at all because she later goes on to shame women for not wanting children.
Her opinion on the matter amounts to telling those who’ve made the mature decision to hold off on having kids to “grow up” and have them already. She suggests that it is women’s “god-given” purpose to be a mom more than anything else, “pouring [themselves] out, even when [they] don’t feel filled up” because even though they are not enough, “god” is. She even goes on to say that anyone married, mentally stable, and physically able is ready for children, entirely leaving out a whole slew of other reasons why someone might not be ready.
The notion that we were only “put on this earth” to procreate is, honestly, quite disgusting. It’s ironic how she talks about motherhood as being selfless; I’ve always found this ironic, really. So often in life, having a child isn’t a selfless act, but rather a selfish one. Some person decides they want a baby and suddenly, here they are, subjecting an innocent child to a potentially difficult life because they just weren’t ready for the responsibility. Often, they haven’t reached a point where they can devote themselves to adequately raising a human being or weren’t financially stable enough. But, wanting a child of their own to love them was more important than ensuring a stable and positive childhood.
Point five: do what I say because god says.
According to Stuckey, our relationships (dating, marriage, etc.) exist only to bring us closer to “god.” I’ve already lost count of the number of times I have rolled my eyes reading this book and writing this review. Therefore, as far as she is concerned, marriage is only something a person should do if their goal is to use it to become closer to “god.” She suggests we should be defined by what sort of relationship we have with “god,” so therefore if we date and it does not bring us closer to Jesus, we’re doing it wrong.
This brings me to her next point, telling us that if we’re not married we should be. Stuckey suggests that it is wrong to wait to marry someone. She thinks it’s wrong to aspire to have a stable career first, to travel first, wrong to better ourselves first. She calls it a waste of time. “Get married now,” she says. And there’s something deeply disturbing about this since not only is this Stuckey’s advice to her readers, but she goes on to tell us that “husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loves the church and wives are called to submit to their husbands as they submit to the Lord.”
And honestly, to this, the main thing I have to say is what the fuck? When women push this sort of patriarchal and controlling agenda, I want to scream. “God” forbid women be their own person, forbid they make their own decisions. No, their abusively controlling “god” must dictate their actions and choices. Their husbands lay down the law further. I pity this woman and all who agree with her.
Point six: not racist, but intersectionality is propaganda.
Stuckey spends precious little time on this point, but I think it’s important to note that she says it. She seems to be the sort of person who believes racism began and ended back with slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. I hate people like this. They always try to push this fictitious idea that racism no longer exists today. What frustrates me the most about this is that society–especially white society–perpetuates this idea.
I, too, once fell for the idea that racism no longer existed. The way history is taught in the classroom, at least where I grew up and I’m sure in many, many other places always made the way anyone who wasn’t white was treated seem like something that was over. It wasn’t until I was in high school and even college that I even began to understand the real truth that the world tries so hard to hide. But I digress.
The point is, Stucky tells us intersectionality, as it relates to social justice, is “arbitrary, confusing, and ineffective” and that it has “no place” in religion. She basically uses this argument to suggest that privilege is not a real concern, the wage gap is non-existent, and all this stuff that people fight for in social-justice is nonsense. She posits that social justice is wrong so long as it is secular and the only social care that occurs should come from Christians.
I wish I didn’t have to point out that this line of thinking is wrong, but people like Stuckey exist to prove that I need to.
Stuckey is kind of a hypocrite.
The most hilarious piece of this all is the fact that Stuckey regularly insists that one must use logic and facts to recognize that we’re not good enough and must be able to prove injustice. I am all about being able to prove injustice and using logic and facts all the time, but honey, you can’t pick and choose when these ideas apply to you. You either use logic, facts, and proof with everything or you don’t. When you pluck out the facts you like and ignore the facts you don’t, you’re not spreading some amazing truthful message. You’re just a massive hypocrite.
You can’t really say you support logic, facts, and proof when you are also suggesting that some invisible being lives up in the sky, created us, and somehow loves us all enough to be massively involved in every minuscule thing that happens in our lives. You can’t say you support logic, facts, and proof when you deny science. You can’t posit that basic science says only male and female genders exist when you can’t even understand the basic science of pregnancy viability.
You can’t pick and choose which pieces of science and fact that you like so you can use it against other people, only to throw away the ones that mess with your fictitious faith.
It just doesn’t work that way.
In the end, Stuckey’s posits regularly that people are not special and not enough, that they are unlovable and undeserving or unworthy of “god’s approval and affection.” Yet, at the same time, she is pushing this idiotic idea that they’re so important as to have this creator that loves them and this demon determined to corrupt them. It’s hilarious, really. As a result of Stuckey’s inability to decide whether people are insignificant or special, her message doesn’t actually add up.
She tells us that we are told, especially if we’re little girls, that we are perfect from childhood. This is where I face-palm repeatedly at her inability to recognize just how often little girls are shown and, yes, told that they could never be perfect unless they measure up to an insane number of impossible standards that society thrusts in their faces. This idea that any child is given the opportunity to think that they are perfect is so ludicrous that I’m honestly mind-boggled by it. I don’t know where she gets this idea that people tell children they are perfect, but it’s a lie.
And funnily enough, she goes on to dispute it toward the end of her book when she tells us that people refer to children as “brats.”
With the number of contradictions in her entire book, I don’t know how anyone could really take her ideas seriously. But then again, I suppose not everyone is going to pick them out like I did. I’ve noticed there is often a lot of “believing” without critical thinking or questioning when it comes to faith.
This is a terrible book.
Plain and simple, nothing good can come from reading or listening to Stuckey until she changes her mind about a lot of things. The agendas and ideas she pushes in this book are horrible in so many ways. I’m so thoroughly disappointed that I couldn’t really find anything worthwhile in this book since the idea that initially intrigued me about this it wasn’t a terrible one. Recognizing faults and taking strides to improve ourselves for us and others is a genuinely good idea.
But Stuckey doesn’t really care about that. She just cares about “god.”
There’s plenty more I could say about this, but I’m honestly just tired at this point.
And really, there’s little good that can come from the mind of a woman who watches Fox News, has spoken on Fox News, and supports the despicable monster, Donald Trump.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.