Struggle

As some people may know, recently I have been struggling more than normal with living in a world dominated by Christian thought and principles. I have made more Facebook comments than normal, even though, usually, I refrain, knowing that the comments won’t make any difference one way or another. I suppose to some people that I come across as bitter…I’m not exactly. I’m just more than a little angry lately that Christians can advertise their beliefs wherever they want, while I am restricted from doing so. This isn’t really a new thing. The concept of everything mainstream being accepted and everything “other” being vilified is something that every era of human history has in common with another. However, that being said, I find that as I get older, it gets harder and harder to just “suck it up” and “deal with it.” So, in answer, I’ve contributed more of my thought lately to Facebook posts that cause me irritation than I used to. So far, most of the threads in which my opinion has been rendered have been deleted. Particularly those that make valid points about how militant, warmongering and unforgiving Christianity’s tenets can be. I’ve elaborated on my disdain for the religion because of what it causes people to do to one another. So far, I’ve been called a bigot, an idiot, a dummy… I’ve been accused of wanting to see the demise of Christians and their faith (which is not true, I simply want them to allow for other opinions and give those opinions the respect that they themselves expect as Christians).

I have before written in blog posts about my beliefs, or rather my inability to forgive the Christian religion for its dark history and its trespasses against humanity (e.g. the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Witch Burnings, the Old Testament supported genocides, the coming of an Apocalypse in which all people who disagree with Christian tenets will be severely murdered) and the things those who typically follow the doctrine end up being forced to support: the denying certain people their equality because of their sexual orientation, color or gender; the doctrine’s desire to take away a woman’s choices regarding her own body; the tendency toward keeping the white male in supreme dominance over everyone else as is evident by the white male’s total dominance in government; the desire to kill or destroy those who practice Islam by claiming it to be full of only militants who demand America’s demise; the latent belief that women are not as capable as men at leading; or even that women are responsible for the sin and downfall of the world and should be avoided (Thanks, Paul the Apostle), etc. ad nauseum. BUT, for me, the way I feel, the hatred I have for such a vicious religion as Christianity, has nothing to do with God. Not really. I’m an atheist, sure. I don’t believe there is anything after death, or that there is a god who cares about us individually. I do not hate the idea of a God. I don’t hate people who believe in God, and I don’t hate Christians even though I despise most facets of Christianity itself. (Although the quotes on the love of money being the root of all evil or doing good to those who despise you I can agree with.) I remove that idea of Christianity from the people who practice it because most, if not all, of the Christians I know are excellent people who want to help others and who rely on the “grace” portion of Christianity to get them through life, without thinking about all the rest. I don’t think these people are idiots, or dummies, or bigots. I think sometimes that they willfully close their eyes to certain truths that are too painful for them to digest, as all of us are wont to do.

For example, there can be no doubt of all the terrible things the Christian God did to other races in the Old Testament. The murder of people is one of the core staples of the Old Testament. It cannot be denied that the Old Testament supports and encourages this murder, endorses slavery, denies those with afflictions from God’s temple, or even condones rape. It cannot be denied that the only two books in the Old Testament by women support the idea that a woman is either a.) a good wife to a man or b.) a prostitute in some version or another (Ruth vs. Esther). Those things are in the Bible in black and white. But, if you mention these to a Christian, the doctrine tells them to ignore those things, and to say that we live in the Age of Grace and that we don’t need those laws anymore because Jesus died for us. That’s a convenient way to sidestep the issue. However, my question is, why did we need those severe laws in the first place? Why would any benevolent leader allow children to be murdered, and even command it? Why would someone who has sex with his daughters, or commits the act of incest be among God’s chosen emissaries? Why did we need laws that stated a man should be put to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath? Why should not a benevolent leader speak out against slavery instead of saying that a slave that does not do his master’s will by accident will receive few stripes while a slave that does not do his master’s will on purpose will receive many? Why not denounce the act of slavery altogether? These are my questions. Why would anyone follow a leader who commands so much massacre and violence in the first place? Forget whether or not Jesus was put to death to bridge the gap between a mean, jealous God and us, and tell me why he was mean and jealous in the first place!

An easy way out is to tout free will. To say if we had not sinned, God would be nice to us. However, so many things God did involved an erosion of a person’s free will. Such as when he hardened pharaoh’s heart so that he would not let the Jews go. Pharaoh didn’t decide that. God did. And even Jesus himself says that he did not come to “bring peace, but a sword.” WHY is Christianity so violent? It’s violent because the people who created it were violent. That was the way life was back then. Why cannot humanity’s involvement in creating Christianity be acknowledged by its followers? What kind of God urges his followers to follow blindly with faith, ignoring all reason? Who would follow a human leader like that? No one! And those who did cause terrible things to happen (i.e. the Germans following Hitler).

This is what I hate about it. And, in my opinion, any moral person SHOULD find these things disgusting. Any person with a moral nature should reel in horror at the things mentioned in the Old Testament as the works of God. Drowning the entire Earth’s population except for one man (and his family) who was a drunk and a lecher? Burning and destroy the whole towns of Sodom and Gomorrah including the babies and the children who have had no chance to even make choices? Even Lot, who survived, had sex with his own daughters! And he was considered godly? Killing David’s newborn baby to punish him for killing Bathsheba’s husband? Making this man the greatest king in recorded biblical history, despite his murderous tendencies? There are MANY people in the world today who would never think of killing anyone, even if they did covet another person’s wife. What about them? Why aren’t they God’s examples?

I’m not saying any of this to try to convince anyone that their religion is wrong. I’m saying this to explain why I, personally, cannot believe in it. Morally, I recoil at the idea that any race should be put to death, whether they were the Midianites or the Muslims or the Jews OR the Christians. I cannot justify Christianity’s dark history in my mind nor in my heart. I cannot “forgive” a religion that causes so much infighting and destruction while humanity tries to reason out its principles. (This goes for Islam, Judaism or any monotheistic or polytheistic religion that fits this category.) I simply cannot do it.

I’m not angry with God. That would be like me being angry at Santa Claus, who I also do not believe exists. I’m not angry at spiritualism that says there’s more to the Universe than just science and flesh and bone. I think that would be neat, even though, personally I haven’t seen much to indicate there’s a deity out there. It would still be cool if there were a nice one to help me in my day to day life. I’m not angry at Christians, who are mostly good people, at least if they are serious about their faith, who want to do good and want to save the world from evil. I’m angry at the doctrine. The doctrine that says that “If you are not with me, you are against me!” (Would it work the same way to say, “If you are not against me, then you must be with me?” I think not.) I’m angry at the doctrine that says it’s wrong to be gay, even if you’re a good person and you were born that way, and that therefore your lifestyle and person must be vilified and your choices taken from you. I’m against the doctrine that forbids people who believe in Christianity from being “unequally yoked” with those who do not believe, thus forcing Christians to be judgmental in that way. I’m against a doctrine that says “Judge not lest ye be judged,” but in the same breath advises its followers to “be aware of wolves in sheep’s clothing” and “false prophets” which makes it impossible for a Christian to then be non judgmental. I’m angry at a doctrine that sets us up to fail and then continually focuses on our failures and constantly touts us as weak and unable to be good people without some kind of threat of fire and brimstone or eternal suffering. I’m angry at a doctrine that causes people who would normally like each other and get along fine to be constantly wary of each other an unable to trust. I’m angry at a doctrine that vilifies Jews or any other race/religion as less than, or worthy of slaughter. I’m angry at all the things Christianity has made possible, at least, in the sense that it has allowed others to hide behind its tenets in order to commit their evil deeds.

If you are a Christian and you are my friend, then rest assured I am not saying you are not a good person because you’re a Christian, or that I consider you less of a friend. I base my friendships on how people treat me and how they treat others. My inability to believe in your religion is in no way intended to belittle you or to say that you are obviously misled or uneducated. My inability to believe in your religion and to forgive Christianity’s dark and dangerous past isn’t personal, or about YOU in any way. If you feel I’ve stayed away from you, it’s only because I have not wanted to offend you by my presence, which makes some Christians uncomfortable, knowing they have an atheist in their midst.

I am trying to avoid posting my thoughts on religion on your “private threads” or comments or posts. Not because I think that Christianity is benevolent and moral, but because it makes it hard on other people (in my family especially) for their friends and other family members to know the truth about me. I, for one, though, am tired of being forced to keep silent for fear that Christians as a whole will be offended by what I have to say. I get offended by Christianity in one form or another every day. Not because of God, but because of the doctrine which I feel is oppositional, judgmental and unfair. Because of a society that insists that the Christian God, as doctrine has come to define him, is moral and will save us from our doom. BUT, that said, I am going to tone it down because my personal beliefs put those I care about in danger of alienation or ridicule by those in the Christian majority. As for my Christian friends, those who are close to me know intimately my problems with Christianity as a whole. Many of them have the same questions and irritations that I do. Those Christians realize that there is a difference between the God they believe in and the God as Christianity has come to define him. They are not threatened by my beliefs. Their God is fair and righteous and full of grace. In fact, most of the time, I’m convinced that theirs is a different God altogether, one that is much more worthy of praise and admiration. There are also those who desire to be willfully offended. They will intentionally mistake my words and twist my complaints in the light most favorable to the doctrine of their choice. That’s fine. I can’t please everybody. To those of you who are my friends, though, rest assured that I am not out to destroy your faith. I believe you should be allowed to practice it in whichever way is suitable to you. I will go to bat for your rights to practice Christianity, so long as it stays out of government and avoids trying to insinuate itself into places where it does not belong (such as legislation). I feel the same way about Satanism, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Judaism, or any other religion that seeks to influence public policy in its favor. So, Christianity, don’t assume that you are being persecuted simply because you are being held to the same standard as everyone else. Fair is fair.

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~ by ImaginaryCanary on September 17, 2014.

One Response to “Struggle”

  1. Well said. It’s amazing how eye-opening it can be to step back from the church culture and think for yourself.

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