It’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of religion, and have issues with fundamental Christianity in particular. Now before you close your browser and bathe yourself in holy water to cleanse your spirit of the evil I’ve already infused in you via my previous posts, hear me out.
Let’s get this out of the way right up front: I’m not anti-Christian. In order to be anti-Christian, I’d have to be biased against an entire group of people based on one common factor. Since I’m not an asshole, I don’t tend to judge individuals that way. I’m simply anti-anything that encourages people to hate each other based on who they love or what they look like or what god they choose to believe in. I get why my general anti-religion stance comes off as anti-Christianity; I live in an area where Christianity is the most popular religion, and much of the idiocy I encounter is perpetuated by Christians. Trust me, if you’re being a dick based on your Jewish or Muslim or atheist beliefs, I’ll call you on that too.
Religion doesn’t have anything directly to do with god, or gods, or the lack thereof. Religion is about a group of people linked by their shared belief in their interpretation of their version of god, and the official documents and decrees that have to do with that interpretation of god. Religion is about following a set of man-made rules ostensibly set forth by whichever interpretation of god that particular man happened to believe in.
Religion, to put it simply, is just a political movement with the word “god” in it.
I’ve been accused of brainwashing my children by not forcing them to go to church and indoctrinating them with beliefs they’re too young to understand. I’m “brainwashing” them by sharing my own views with them-even though if those were Christian views, I’d just be “doing the right thing, raising them up in the way of the Lord!”-and discussing other beliefs with them, so that they can see what makes sense to them and make their own choices. The horror, people. The fucking horror! Before you know it, they’ll be choosing their own socks and asking for sugar cookies when I set out chocolate chip. And from there, good lord, it’s chaos. Anarchy! The whole world will go to, well, hell, I guess-if we start brainwashing our kids into thinking for themselves.
Go tell a fundamentalist Christian that she’s brainwashing her kids by not telling them that atheism is a valid and logical perspective. Go ahead, I dare you.
I do believe in certain aspects of certain religions. The “judge not” and “love thy neighbor” parts of Christianity are awesome, although those bits of wisdom seem to have been forgotten by many professed Christians. The Baha’i faith teaches that everyone is one and should explore their own beliefs. I love that. Meditation, self-reflection, loving nature: all are things drawn from and fundamental to certain religions, and they’re all good things. I take issue with the arbitrary rules and the notion that everyone should believe and act the exact same way. And I have a HUGE problem with any group, organization or individual who uses fear and threats to make its members follow its rules-especially when that kind of mental cruelty extends to children. I try to teach my kids appropriate behavior based on kindness, compassion and consideration. Don’t sing at the top of your lungs while your brother’s trying to do math, because it makes it hard for him to focus. Don’t hit, because it hurts. Don’t steal, because it’s not nice to take things that aren’t yours. Some branches of Christianity teach kids from a very young age that they were bad from the time they were born, and if they don’t follow the rules ostensibly made by some invisible man in the sky, they’re going to burn in hell.
Put on your censor glasses, folks, it’s about to get ugly.
What the flaming fuck on a pulpit is THAT? You don’t threaten kids into submission, and you damn sure don’t punish them for something that’s beyond their control. I don’t care if it’s wetting the bed or some mythical chick biting an apple, that is NOT OKAY. And then, THEN you teach them that how they behave isn’t really important because they’ll never be good enough anyway; all they have to do in order to go to the Magic Happy Place in the Sky after they die is say they believe in something? I’ve actually heard people say “Being a good person isn’t enough.” Sorry, but being a good person is pretty much the ONLY thing that’s enough. If a parent holds his child to impossibly high standards, so high that they can’t possibly be met, and then punishes him when he fails, that’s considered abusive behavior. Tell the kids there’s no way they can live up to the standards of some false entity, and he better say he believes in this thing that he can’t even comprehend so he doesn’t end up burning up for eternity, and that’s just fine Christian parenting.
Doing what’s right based entirely on the potential consequences isn’t called being a Good Christian, it’s called being a sociopath.
I don’t have a problem with parents taking their kids to church, if that’s part of their family culture. Some folks do yoga together, some veg out in front of the TV, some go to church. No biggie. My son goes to a church group because his friends go. My daughter has gone a few times because she wanted to spend some time with her father’s girlfriend. It’s not the end of the world. And I get why church is a popular activity. People like to hang out with like-minded peers. We’re a socially needy species, generally, and while I’m far less inclined toward social interaction than most people, when I do want to be around people, I go where I know I can find others like me and who will be accepting of me. Besides the social aspect, church can fill other beneficial roles. My daughter attended a church, briefly, that focused a lot of attention on community service. That was fantastic. I can see how it could help people who are feeling lost and alone, too. But when the core beliefs of that church are rooted in hate and bigotry, I have a problem with your religion. When you’re talking about people of other faiths believing in the “wrong god,” I have a problem with your religion. When you’re teaching from a text and ignoring the parts that don’t support your hate and bigotry, I have a problem with your religion. When you’re teaching kids not to think and not to question but to blindly claim faith in something they’re too young to understand, I have a problem with your religion.
Not all denominations are like this. I’m not naming any particular ones, because I love people that belong to those sects and don’t want anyone to feel like this is a personal attack. It’s not. It’s an attempt to get people to think. It’s an attempt to make people see exactly WHY I have a problem with certain aspects of certain religions.
Bottom line: if I’m “anti-Christianity” for disliking the fact that people perpetuate fear, hatred, bigotry and oppression under the guise of being “Christian,” I’ll wear the title proudly.
And to all of my friends and family of every faith who have proven to me that the extreme examples I cited above are in no way indicative of every member of any religion, thank you for being who you are. I love you. Faith is not the problem. Aligning yourself with ugly beliefs and practices in the name of that faith is.