My Kid & Religion: Part 3 – Modern Christianity
What do you think of when you hear the word Christian? Some of the things that come to mind might include the street preacher downtown with the blow horn that everyone walks past. Why is he doing that? Has anyone really heard that and wanted anything to happen other than find a way to avoid the noise? The judgmental old person on your block who thinks everything fun you do is wrong and tells you about it. Does that person really think you care what they have to say? Maybe you think of the homophobic preacher who says gays will ruin America. All the while he/she is neglecting the fact that the church they run just spent more money on a new sound system than the church has ever given to the local homeless shelter or food pantry.
I disagree with almost everything modern conservative Christianity has become. I’m obviously not saying all Christians. I’m referring to the ones that are the loudest, who get the most TV time, those that use the Bible in politics (and elsewhere) to beat people they disagree with over the head with condemnation, judgement and hatred. This version of Christianity (broadcast to the world via social media and news outlets) seems to be no more than a selfish social club for those who follow the rules. If you want to join and be truly accepted the rules generally state you have to:
- Vote Republican
(Because Jesus was one!)
- Listen to only “Christian” music
(Because the Christian art world knows nothing of mediocrity)
- Oppose social safety nets.
(Because those people on unemployment are just lazy bums!)
- Think Jesus was a capitalist.
(Because there is no way Jesus would support the societal good!)
- Think God hates anyone who isn’t straight.
(Because if you follow the Bible you shouldn’t get divorced either, but no one seems to care about that in church.)
- Call yourself “pro-life” but support policies of death.
(Things like war, denying healthcare to those who can’t afford it, taking food and educational opportunities away from children who are our future and the death penalty.)
I don’t know if I believe in God. I like the idea of a loving creator, but can’t reconcile the existence of one with all of the pain in this world. I know I don’t believe that the Bible is without error, but I do think it has some good “moral of the story” type passages that can be learned from. It also has some really terrible examples of the evils that exist in the world. Some of those same types of evils are being committed today in the name of “God.” I don’t know how I can justify exposing my kid to that. I’m open to attending a church with my family. I’m very apprehensive about it too. I have a lot of anger towards The Church as a whole and don’t know how to get rid of it. Many of the things that cause that anger are a regular occurrence in Sunday morning services across America.
I think there are Christians out there who believe like I do. There are people who love Jesus and think equal rights should be given to people because they are people and not because they have somehow earned it. How people vote or who they chose to love doesn’t matter. There are Christians who promote the social good over the personal pocket book. There are Christians who want nothing more than to see people feel loved, accepted and to become better versions of themselves. Right?
In my experience those types of Christians are much harder to find. Is it because there are less of them? Or is it because they follow 1 Thessalonians 4:11: “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.” (NLT) If I’m going to take my son to a church it has to be one that includes people, not separates them. I’m not sure that such a church exists near me.
Part Four: “Community” can be read here.