Christianity Lost Me. Why?
The hang-ups didn’t happen like I expected them to. It didn’t begin with a forbidden temptation, a burning desire to get high or sleep with somebody. It didn’t start with something dark within me whispering that maybe, I knew better than the Master of the Universe. Growing up, I always heard that my faith would be tested. For a long time, that’s what I thought the questions were: tests. Challenges that must be met and weathered, with my smiling Savior happy to reward my steadfastness, somewhere on the other side.
But the questions kept on piling up. Months passed, then years. I began to wonder if this rough patch wasn’t just a patch, after all. Ultimately, I’m not really sure when it happened, because it happened so gradually. It slipped away in pieces. Looking back, though, I can identify some of the pieces and why they slipped.
Growing up, Democrat was a dirty word. Conservatism was preached at the podium and often conflated with piety and trustworthiness. As I grew older, I became disenchanted by conservative politics and knew I had to move away. As my political ideals shifted, Christians became suspicious of me, quickly. The side-eye and even incredulity when I disagreed about “Christian-conservative” ideas, as they have been branded, forced me to ask myself: If conservatism is tied so closely to Christianity, and I know I can’t abide with conservative politics — should I be questioning my ties to my faith, as well?
Christians tend to be so weird about sex. I mean, they make it a huge deal and yet at the same time its a huge taboo. They equate natural, wonderful things like sexual attraction, with awful things like adultery. Orgasming, wet dreams, sexual health… there are so many parts of sexuality that exist whether they’re deemed necessary or pure and making them taboos just makes growing into your new adult body, as a teen, totally isolating (even scarring.) For example, how modern Christianity deals with nudity is wild. Nakedness is both this immensely sacred state and this immensely dirty state, and we’re expected to emotionally understand the differences between them, and feel properly sacred when we ought and dirty when we deserve it. However, everything just ends up feeling dirty and weird, we end up repulsed by body parts and body functions that we should be valuing, and we end up placing grave importance on aspects that really don’t need to matter at all.
And if you’re a sexual minority, wow. The mental gymnastics you’re expected to go through to align your personal reality with Christian cultural expectations is incomprehensible.
Dogma may not have been the first straw, but it may well have been the biggest. It’s a pervasive, underlying attitude of arrogance and ethnocentrism, protected from deserved criticism by shrouding it in God’s name. People of faith seem to feel entitled to speaking on behalf of God and providing the answers to the universe, because, clearly, their interpretation of the Bible and of reality is enlightened by the truest, realest version of God, and anyone else who disagrees is clearly not getting their information from God as well as you and your clan are. The sheer numbers of people adamantly claiming that God revealed opposing things to them is laughable.
Infighting is a neighboring disease to dogma. Christians tear each other apart, far too often. I’m not saying it’s all they do, but wow, as a group, Christians are comfortable drawing hard lines about say, who is a bad influence, or who gets to be excommunicated. From dress code to Baptism to speaking in tongues to the Sinner’s prayer to evangelism to what day of the week to hold meetings, Christians have shown an appalling readiness to split off from each other over differences of questionable urgency.
There was a rude awakening some time when I was 13 or 14 when I realized that the concept of God creating a population so susceptible to falling, and then damning the creation for following its own sin nature, made no sense at all. Especially not within the lens of Christian compassion and understanding. So, for a while, I tried to convince myself that Hell was a metaphor. Nope.
Oh, the hypocritical self-importance of praying for miracles. I couldn’t reconcile how people praised God for intervening on their behalf to heal a church-member’s sore knee or help someone land a job interview, while hundreds of thousands of His children’s prayers were not being answered. Claims of the miraculous seemed like a mockery of reality. How could you say that it was God who got you that interview, while at the same time, another congregant was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and another lost a child in a car accident? I thought, if God is indeed choosing to get involved, and only choosing to heal sore knees and land interviews, that’s not a God I want to worship. The concept of a God that could be swayed by human intercession seemed weak and immature, and the concept of a God who withheld good things from vulnerable people simply because someone He wanted to ask Him for it didn’t ask for it seemed manipulative. Honestly, sometimes the Christian God seems a bit sadistic.
What a twisted mindfuck. Women are fawned over and belittled at the same time, the patterns intersect, and both sides are nauseating. Too often, there are only a few accepted roles for Christian women to fall into, and stepping outside of them makes you both ungodly and undesirable. Male headship is a joke, while women’s more feminine instincts are cultivated at the sacrifice of many of their other strengths. I’m tired of watching husbands push their wives around in the name of Christianity. And the idea that we’re supposed to feel protected instead of degraded when we are asked to cover such offensive body parts as shoulders and knees is a great way to make a girl crazy.
It’s All God’s Will
No, it’s not. It’s not God’s will to watch your children die slow and painful deaths. It’s not God’s will to watch your relatives mourn their dead children and withdraw. It’s not God’s will to stay in an abusive marriage, it’s not God’s will to get into some horrific accident during a psychotic episode, it’s not God’s will that you lost your baby. You can believe it and worship your own cold, cruel, and mysterious God. I’ll look elsewhere.