Tugging at the Pillars

The particular Jesus popular at my church in my youth focused on the miracles of feeding and healing and the wisdom of the parables. I was taught that the message of Jesus was that we should all be helpful to each other, and treat neighbors as family. Had this been the long and short of my religious life, I might not have ever spent any time thinking any more about it.

While this was my experience, there were other less pleasant versions of Jesus available at the time – a Jesus who just wanted to be your friend, so long as you had money; a Jesus who could heal you, if you didn’t use drugs like aspirin; a Jesus who always knew you were worthless chump and heading for Hell; a Jesus who wanted you to be miserable so as to best know God; a Jesus who just wanted you to shut up and do what you were told. The people I knew who suffered under one of these other guys ended up with trauma of one form or another. Just in terms of odds, walking into any church at random was more likely than not to bestow one kind of trauma or another

I just happened to be lucky enough to be born to a family that went to a liberal, progressive church. My grandmothers were all strong willed, great hearted women who enthusiastically embraced their faith. I have known so many people in my life who could claim their faith in God or Jesus or Mary or the Church had helped get them through a difficult time in their lives, regardless of the brand of Jesus they attended. For these reasons, I cannot categorically state that all forms of Christianity are abusive, traumatizing, and encouraging of administrative abuse and political corruption. 

In the US, anyone can form their own religious denominations, and many have. Specific mainstream denominations of Christianity, like the Southern Baptists, have been formed in order to politically support slavery as a sacred economic benefit, dominate politics nationally, and to celebrate the natural superiority of English-speaking european descendents. 

An entirely novel Christian ‘tradition’ called Evangelism was invented from whole cloth to spread the gospel of American exceptionalism, petulant individualism through greed, and patriarchy founded on toxic masculinity, and it has managed to infect the popular media and put three presidents into office. Escapees from Evangelical churches often report repressive cultures that freely used social approbation, fiscal penalties, and even violence to cow their members into specific behaviors, beliefs, and voting patterns.

A related home-grown Christian tradition, Dominionism, presents the specter of fascist authoritarianism dominating every sphere of culture with its abusive and infectious philosophy. Ike warned us of the Dominionists, yet mainstream congregations have been subsumed into its realm and their collective voting power has elevated malignant and neglectful psychopaths into public office. Their enthusiastic support of patently criminal and overtly treasonous candidates for the highest offices borders on active betrayal.

The combination of Evangelical theology with Dominionism nationally has produced a kind of mass amnesia, such that priests and ministers now regularly report that when they teach of Jesus healing or forgiving, the congregants become agitated that a more aggressive, violent Jesus wasn’t being presented. Whatever good it may have produced, Christianity has been poisoned by our culture of enthusiastic greed and selfish isolation and now serves only to further isolate and impoverish all of us.

At one time, I felt that only certain denominations were “getting it wrong” and needed correction. Later, I felt that keeping Christianity out of the political process would be sufficient. I didn’t want to attack believers for their beliefs because I support the fundamental right of diversity in belief, that each one can worship as they choose, even when I felt that certain beliefs were problematic. But after years of study, I have come to the conclusion that the core, the root, the branches, and the body of Christianity are fundamentally antithetical to progressive human development. If we ever wish to move as a culture away from such ideological boat anchors, we need to identify, discuss and recognize them for what they are and encourage people to reclaim their spiritual sovereignty.

The impact of Christianity on European and American history, and the current use of Christianity to push frankly fascist and authoritarian governments in the US and other countries worldwide has been more than enough incentive to encourage me to find a way to defuse the Bible, deconstruct Christian authority, and dismantle Christian doctrine from civic laws. It is vital to find ways to stop people from using pulpits and bibles and people’s own inherent need for community and faith to manipulate politics, usurp political control, and collect money from their victims. 

This will correctly be seen as an attack on Christianity, and as an attack on our culture. But folks have been saying for centuries that Christianity is a drag on culture. Folks have been pointing out more recently that the Christian mentality of being divorced from nature has done irreparable harm to ourselves and the world around us. Our toxic ideas of individualism and intensive gatekeeping have driven up suicide rates and maintained generations long cycles of abuse. It’s actually been clear for a long time, to many people, that Christianity is a much bigger problem than it ever might have been a solution for.

Not only is it harmful on an individual and social level to allow Christian theology and ideals to continue unabated without significant modification, failure to make significant changes will lead us to our doom. If we cannot help people to understand that we are fundamentally connected to each other and the world around us, we will all die from our own hubris. This isn’t about me being inconvenienced that some people have religion – I’m a big fan of religion, which was why this was such a hard decision to make. This is about confronting and dismantling fascism, which must always be confronted and dismantled, and so the decision is actually very easy. 

The political and economic abuse visited upon us by oligarchs and foreign governments because they were able to manipulate this religion should be a red flag that this religion has got to go. The abuse and trauma affected by people and communities identifying as Christian should be a red flag that this religion has got to go. The fact that this faith has clearly encapsulated and transmitted an ancient psychic virus promoting authoritarianism and xenophobia should be a red flag that this religion has got to go. Like Lot seeking one good man in Sodom, it is a fool’s errand to try to retain some core goodness of this faith, as there isn’t one. It’s time that our culture moved on and embraced a holistic faith in the real world and its peoples.  


One response to “Tugging at the Pillars”

  1. Very clear and well written. I appreciate your inclusiveness.

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