Christianity Isn’t the Problem – Hateful People Are the Problem

A gay man posted a link to his church on Google Plus, along with a wish that “people would understand that not all Christians are narrow-minded, bigoted rednecks who attend mega-churches and believe that 99% of humanity is doomed to hell.”  I agree with this guy. Christianity isn’t inherently bad. The only people I’ve met who come close to actually following Jesus’ teachings are the Quakers, but there are many more relatively open Christian sects.

I often find myself ranting about “Christianity” or even religion as a whole because I’ve gotten upset with what many Christians (or Muslims or Jews) are doing in the name of their religion. The fact is, at least in the case of Christianity, the Old Testament Christians, as I like to call them, ignore the Gospels because following Jesus’ model demands something these people don’t have in them. They latch onto Christianity because it’s the predominant religion here in the US and focus on the Old Testament in order to justify their pre-existing hatred and fear of the other. The vast majority of Christians (and all so-called Conservative or Evangelical Christians) believe and act antithetically to what Jesus taught and stood for, and when I rant about Christianity, that’s who I’m protesting against.

The world needs religion, at least for today, because humans have a need to make sense of the world, to give meaning to what happens in their lives, and not all of us are able to accept the Humanist worldview, based as it is on science and reason. Many people feel more comfortable believing there’s a supreme being watching over them and ordering the universe for ultimate good, and it’s not really anyone’s place to deny someone such a comfort in life.

The problem arises when people do evil in the name of religion, as they often do. I suppose we need a better means of separating the person doing evil from their claimed religion and focusing on the evildoer. It would certainly be helpful if the actual followers of Christ’s teachings publicly denounced those who hate in the name of Christ, helping the world to separate the person from the religion they’re using as a shield and justification, but it seems that’s not to be. Moderate Muslims have done a better job generally in denouncing extremism within their ranks than Christians. Maybe the followers of Christ can learn something from their Islamic counterparts.

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