Thursday, November 21, 2013

Why I Am Drifting Away From Christians and Closer to Christ by Andrew Patterson (Part 2 of 3)

Religion has the most influential force on humans throughout history for one reason; the comfort it provides to people. Go to any Christian church in Suburbia, USA and check out the pictures of Jesus. They’re praying to a white guy! I’m not hearing that looking for Jesus bull. People want what’s easy and cool for them. The Bible is stretched, shaped, and configured to offer the user whatever it comfortable for them.

You know what’s uncomfortable for many people? Self-reflection. Moreover, recognizing the flaws in one’s character, one’s history, or one’s behavior. The ego of Christianity is humongous. There is plenty of evidence of that, but one of the most unnerving trends I notice is the fact that Christianity never seems to admit its mistakes. 

I don’t know much about The Crusades, but from what I can gather, they weren’t very Christ-like. What I am familiar with is the history of slavery.  Throughout the entire stretch of my religious driven education (4 years in high school and 5 years at two different catholic colleges) I cannot recall a single instance of being formally educated about the real truths of slavery. 

The mature me now understands much more.  This is America, and they don’t really want to teach the suburban white kids about how this country was stolen, and then built by treating an entire race of people as property for 400+ years. I get it. But looking back, I am ashamed at the schools that I love, especially my high school, for not keeping it a little more real.

It wasn’t just brute force or threat of violence that allowed one group of men to control another for almost 5 centuries. They used the Bible to justify and assist in it. I wont go into detail here, but simple research with show what I’m talking about. Why didn’t my education include not just those, but any of the historic examples of the Bible was misused in an admittedly wrong fashion? Wouldn’t that be a more complete assessment of the religion they push? Can’t the church use the mistakes of the past as a way to teach humility?

The lack of humility Christianity has is one thing. The overtly hate-based factions of the religion today are much worse. And the Christians that shy away from denouncing those factions are doing the most damage.

America really isn’t as great as we’d like to believe. If you ever watch the first episode of “The Newsroom”, the main character, Will McAvoy does a great job in summarizing why fall short of the America we fetishize. However, one thing America does lead the world in is Christians, or as he put it, “people who believe in Angels.”

Most of my time is spent working from home, and therefore, my TV is rarely off. I spend most of my daytime viewing hours between ESPN, food network, business news, and political shows. Any reasonable person hip to current political affairs cant dent fact that conservative Christians strongly influence our political system. It is also undeniable that a growing, hate-based force is making its way into mainstream politics. 

We’re not dumb, we see it. It’s the people that bring confederate flags to the dwelling of the first black President. It’s the people that call said black President, the anti-Christ. It’s the people that call Mexicans drug mules. They condemn the poor. They don’t want equal treatment of women and the LGBT community. Those people that charge all Muslims as terrorist. The majority of those people would classify themselves as conservative, Bible thumping Christian folk. We know that.

Those people are fear driven. They justify that fear with trumped up beliefs, mislead overreactions, and misguided perceptions. Those people are an issue, but it’s the smarter people that do much more harm. 

Believe what you want about other races, the poor, gay people or whatever social issues that mean something to you. But as CHRISTians, our moral foundation very isn’t difficult to build on. It’s summarized in all the bright red ink. Love God and love everyone else. Simple. That’s it. 

It’s the people that understand the message of love, but don’t portray it, that are the problem. I’ve seen publicly and privately on numerous occasions a believer in Islam denounce the Jihadist extreme. Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X and others battled the hateful elements of the Nation of Islam movement. One reason I have the utmost respect for John McCain is because he openly separated himself from the racist elements on the Republican Party. 

What I don’t see enough of is smart Christian leaders speaking out against the hateful elements of the Religion. I see a lot of silent Samaritans. Tons of really great people that are too apathetic to the misuse of the religious text. Intelligent and possibly influential people too content with living in their Sunday bubbles where its nice and cozy.

To me, it’s obvious why there is a decline of the number of genuine Christians in this country. The entity of Christianity lacks humility and has a growing hate-filled fringe. I don’t witness enough outward expression of love from the believers. I can’t tell you when I saw a Christian leader have the balls to stand up to hate in the name of the faith. 

In my eyes, Christians do a really bad job at living like Christ. And to me, that means he is truly special. 

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