An Indictment of American Christianity

How Christians Have Undermined Their Own Religion

First things first: I should point out that while I personally DO believe in the divinity and resurrection of Christ, I have a difficult time classifying myself to the satisfaction of most Christians. I am more skeptical of the Bible than most, because I understand the contortions that emperors and oppressors enforced upon it. I believe the Word of God incarnate was Jesus Christ, not the texts in which humans documented his life. This distinction alone ostracizes me from connection within most churches, especially when included with my penchant for psychedelic plants and my propensity for using the word “fuck”.

I identified as an atheist for a little over 7 years: all through adolescence, and a little into my adult life. This background gives me a dualistic perspective that I hope will aid in bridging some of the miscommunication between us here on Earth. It would seem that no sooner than Jesus ascended through the clouds, the people He tried to teach already started bickering over what He said.

With that out of the way, let’s address a few of the proverbial elephants in the room. It’s my belief that the primary misstep of Christianity is the frankly disturbing obsession with the crucifixion and torture of Christ. Although I wear a cross necklace myself on occasion, I personally prefer the less-frequently-used fish to the cross as a symbol of Christianity. If your hero was executed by electric chair, wearing an electric chair necklace or hanging electric chair paintings around your home would seem like a bizarre way to honor their memory. The cross is the accepted symbol so I use it as necessary, but I do so with a degree of reluctance. Making this morbidity the focal point of the religion for however many centuries, rather than the lessons Christ taught, enabled spiritual corruption of the highest degrees.

In 2019, we’re so absurdly off-course, the title of priest has nearly reached the status of a synonym for kiddie-fucker. There are a seemingly endless number of denominations within Christianity that are often at odds with one another, and usually over minutia. The secularist can quite rightly claim that he can be good without belief in a God, but only under a relative morality. There can be no moral objectivity without an outside observer with full awareness of all sides of the story. Whether or not we recognize any given truth as such has zero impact whatsoever on the reality implicated by that truth. We’re physically limited by our three dimensions, and so is our perception.

Secondly, the self-assurance of divine forgiveness that most Christians flaunt gives way to a metric fuckton of religious hypocrisy, which, ironically, was one of Jesus’ biggest pet peeves. The attitude of “I know I’m already forgiven, I can do whatever guilt-free,” is all too common and overtly visible to outsiders. For me personally, that was one of the earliest catalysts of doubt to which I can trace my memory. The hubris of conservative Christianity has paved the way for deceptive rhetoric to muddy the spiritual waters and drive away countless souls.

Another significant blow to my faith as a youth was the adamant insistence on the Bible’s absolutism. As most people have realized by now, there are innumerable historical inconsistencies, fantastical elements that don’t remotely correspond to our experience of reality, and some sections which can be argued as downright immoral. However, we don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater, nor should we. The Golden Rule is something we should all apply more than we do. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount was an iconic moment in moral philosophy. There is reason to keep the Bible around, but not to treat it as a dictation from God Himself.

Finally, the complete and total humorlessness of the average Christian is fucking conversion repellent. Laughing at one’s own predicaments is absolutely integral to the human experience. The unnecessarily uptight, puritanical positions that Christians have traditionally been known for touting are often what alienates them from reaching across cultural boundaries. It has always been a complete mystery to me how people seem to think Jesus was popular enough to draw the attention that he did by going around being a judgmental dick. It’s not that either the Old or New Testament is more right or wrong than the other, so much as they were documents written for another culture in a completely different era. Christ’s allegorical parables can be translated to meaningful takeaways for today, but to pretend as though the story of Balaam’s talking donkey (See: The Book of Numbers, Chapter 22) is going to win over any hearts and minds in 2019 is to be in complete denial of the time and space that one is in.

I don’t want this piece to come off as a total smear job; I don’t despise Christianity. I’m well aware that there are innumerable stories of people being taken in by a church family or assisted in their darkest hour by a pastor. Those stories are still heartwarming to me, of course, arguably more so than average, because my expectations of Christians are so low. However, those anecdotes, for their individual value, unfortunately don’t outweigh the damage done by bad believers to furthering faith in God. A soul is worth far too much for it to be thrown away out of spite for holier-than-thou religiosity. It’s my hope that with some humor and a little relaxation, the church can learn to build more bridges than walls.

A 26-year-old phlebotomist who lives in Grand Rapids, MI. His interests include movies, linguistics, philosophy, religion & spirituality, comedy, and sexuality.

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