Hawking Up Hairballs

Monday, March 02, 2009

Hating Christianity

I hate Christianity. I really do, and I've said it before. Don't get me wrong. I don't hate Christians. As they like to say themselves, hate the sin, not the sinner. Nor do I think that Christianity should be outlawed or anything of that sort. People believe a lot of foolish things, and it's their right to do so. Just pat them on their little heads, and tell them not to bother the grown-ups.

Why the antipathy toward Christianity? One of the things I really hate about it is that it teaches people to be ruled. Christians will say that God helps those who help themselves, which would seem to imply a participatory democracy, but that's not what Christians believe. Look at the evangelicals. They're always running around calling Jesus "Lord". In fact, one of their favorite exclamations is, "Jesus is Lord!" And what is a lord? According to The Oxford College Dictionary, its historical meaning is "a feudal superior, esp. the proprietor of a manor house." It also means "a master or ruler". So, evangelicals are saying that one's relationship to Christ should be as that between a serf or slave and his master. The language of Christianity is rife with these expressions that imply a feudal relationship between the Christian and God. To take just one example, how about, "God's will be done." This too is feudal, where it is the duty of the vassals to submit to the will of their master.

With Catholics, this master and ruled relationship is even more blatant. Their church an out-and-out feudal organization that makes no apologies about it. The Pope in the Vatican is the king. It is even claimed that his pronouncements on matters of faith are infallible. Yes, boys and girls, infallible. You see, he has a pipeline directly to God, so he can't be wrong. It's just the old divine right of kings rewritten a bit. The cardinals and bishops are the lordly earls and dukes, and the priests are the knights, responsible for keeping the serf-like flock in line. So a few renegade priests pop the cherries on the poop chutes of a few boys here and there, it pales in significance to what priests do for the church hierarchy. That's why the church does its level best to protect those priests from prosecution by the legal authorities.

Now there are those who will say that evangelicals and Catholics aren't representative of all Christians. They will maintain that there are Christians with a more nuanced understanding of the faith. To which I reply, bullshit! These supposedly more liberal varieties of the Christian faith still embrace a relationship between God and believer that is like that between master and ruled. Here's just an example. Even these denominations would say that they worship God. Look at that verb, "worship". It implies an unequal relationship. Remember all those Hollywood movies where people refer to kings and lords as "your worship". Now, I'm not saying that the Hollywood usage of the term is historically accurate, but it does touch upon the understanding of "worship" in the popular mind. Of course, this still leaves sects like the Unitarians, but are they really Christians? I had a roommate in college who was a Unitarian and he liked to say that Unitarianism was for people who no longer believed in God but couldn't break the habit of going to Church on Sunday.

Nothing that I'm saying here is new. Friedrich Nietzsche was much more eloquent on the subject than I could ever be. As he put it, Christianity is a slave religion. He claimed that the reason it spread so rapidly was because it maintained that the virtues of a good Christian were those of a good slave. Thus, the downtrodden of the Roman Empire rushed to embrace it. Whether or not that's historically true, I don't know, but his fundamental point is correct. Christianity is a slave religion, that lauds the virtues of slaves, which means that a lot of people were bound to love it. The fact is that human beings aren't democrats by nature. They don't want to put out the time and energy that it takes to rule themselves. An interesting book on that point is Fanshen by William Hinton. He happened to be living in a Chinese village during the Communist revolution. In the beginning, that revolution was characterized by a lot of idealism, and attempts were made to implement a radical democracy in the villages of the country. As Hinton shows, the people of the village in which he resided soon grew tired of the constant votes and meetings. That was the beginning of the end for true communism, and the beginning of totalitarianism. The fact is that we're sheep, and sheep we shall remain, but that doesn't mean we need a Jesus Christ or any other half-assed shepherd.


Anonymous barbara in decatur again said...

Feminists have chewed this one up and spit it out big time. I think the rise of fundamentalism two decades ago was a direct response to women who entered seminaries and gained the skill sets to look at the ancient texts for ourselves. I have an entire corner of my personal library devoted to some of the texts on this.

I also think of the Greek dramatists when you point out the Christian embrace of servility (at least for the laity). Greek plays are full of parents and children murdering each other and gods behaving like petulant teenagers. Naturally I find this refreshing, if not downright amusing, as well as supportive of your overall point about Christians.

10:15 AM  

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