I can’t be the only one who sees that present day Christianity is just more and more of a watered down ego stroke where every Christian is loved, is god’s favorite, is blessed, and god is their own personal force in the universe orchestrating every tiny detail to make them happy. Excuse my language, but this is total bullshit and completely unbiblical. Today’s Christian does not have to go to church to ‘know Jesus’. They don’t have to have read their Bible cover to cover before teaching their kids from a biblical homeschool curriculum. They know just enough to feel like god has their back, but not enough to be revolted by the biblical god. After all, Noah’s ark themed Christmas ornaments and nursery decorations are just precious, aren’t they? It’s hard to think about the extermination of like 99% of the human race as well as most all of the animals on earth (who did nothing sinful). Nope, the little zebras and giraffes walking in two by two are just too cute. Christianity is ‘comforting’ and the imagery familiar. There’s no need to question it.
And yet, many ARE questioning it. Christianity is losing numbers every day and the ranks are shrinking. Personally, I would attribute this to casualties of the war between the religious right in Washington and the growth of progressive ideals in popular culture. It becomes more difficult as time goes on to stay aligned with a religion that actively works to oppose the rights of others. It think it is this tension has caused many to take a look at their faith and distance themselves from it. Some individuals, like me, reject the faith entirely. Others reject only the “church” as a corrupt organization, but keep on loving Jesus because it’s a relationship, not a religion. Others adopt a “New Testament only” mentality wherein they just completely ignore the Old Testament or actively reject it because Jesus eliminated it for them. They are no longer bound by the law. Many have and continue to “cherrypick” the Bible, just focusing on the happy verses while explaining away ones that we know to be untrue, immoral, or bizarre as contextual or a product of the time period. (Why would god be bound by cultural norms of a specific group of people in a specific region of the earth at a specific time in history?) But, the oddest adaptation yet that is entirely new to me is people who categorically reject the Bible in its entirety, but still call themselves Christians. I won’t address what is theologically and logically problematic about these various approaches here. I simply want to acknowledge that while at one time, it would be unheard of to take any of these approaches to Christianity (except cherrypicking, that’s been around for a long time) – there is a new breed of 21st century Christian that is a stark departure from the fundamentals of Christianity.
I think it was easier to accept the premises of the Bible before the advent of the internet. Now, our understanding of the world around us far surpasses that of the Bible. So much so that many of us have been able to ‘break the spell’ so to speak and see it for the primitive text it is.
21st century Christians are the exact type of followers the Bible warns will be spit out of his mouth – lukewarm Christians. But if you are a Christian who has never fully read the Bible, you never have to face this reality. If you spend all your time repeating Jeremiah 29:11 type of verses to reinforce the idea that somehow this whole world and everything in it are all for you his most precious and wonderful child – then yah you aren’t going to see it.
Instead they may attend church on Sundays and hear over and over that they have been chosen by the one true God who loves them and provides for their every need (to the degree that their socio-economic status can provide for those needs). They are all to happy to hashtag #imhisfavorite or brag about god showing off for them by providing a beautiful sunset while completely unaffected by the suffering and torment in the world. Now, of course no one is going to walk around thinking about the world’s suffering every minute of every day and yes we are going to have moments of appreciation in our lives, but the idea of being god’s favorite speaks to a level of narcissism that is disgustingly arrogant. WHY would god ignore the pleas of a child asking that her mom’s boyfriend not find his way into her room again tonight or the heartfelt prayers of a million kids at that very moment asking that god end their suffering due to war, abuse, hunger or any number of unthinkable situations they may find themselves in. Do you not think that children who have been abducted, raped and murdered did not PRAY for help? Why would god ignore them and yet rearrange the sky to look like a beautiful canvas just for his one little favorite white middle class American adult? How do they reconcile all the cruelty going on at the very moment that god is making their day just a little bit brighter? It’s simple. They don’t. If confronted with the question, they content themselves to say the horrors of this world are a product of free will. After all, they can’t help it if there are sinful people out there doing sinful things. God doesn’t intervene because he respects the free will of his children, even the bad ones. Wait. This logic suggests that god respects the freewill of the rapist more than the body, dignity, or life of the child he is raping. (Funny how these are often the same christians that would do the opposite and deny a woman her free will but prioritize the life of a blastocyst to ‘save’ it. Weird.)
Either god intervenes or he doesn’t. Does he only intervene to bring about the good fortune of a happy Christian’s life but doesn’t intervene to save a child (even a christian one)? What kind of god would pick favorites like that?
If the christian god, the god of the Bible is up there watching all of humanity, what does he think about the partial or entire rejection of his holy book by those that claim to worship him? Do they actually worship him or the idea that the earth and everything in it has been created for them and that this all powerful being does them special favors precisely because he loves them soooooo much? Today’s christianity really is more like a security blanket, a stroke of ego, a constant reminder that each individual is truly the center of the universe.
If the Bible is no longer a requirement for christianity because it is wrong, unnecessary, or has gone out of date, what does that say about the god contained within it?
That is probably not a question that today’s Christian would waste time thinking about.