Personal Problems with Mainstream Christianity
While driving today, I passed a church with a billboard. It was the usual sort with removable/replaceable letters that gets turned into photo memes. This one said: “God created moms to be the heart of the family.”
It rather instantly rankled. For any number of reasons. My brain sputtered quite a bit. (I think the first sputter had to do with the grammar, which I have mentally corrected, and now I can’t remember what they left out or included that irritated me, because it’s been a few hours.) The ones that burbled to the surface after the grammar snarl coalesced from incoherent grouchiness into: “what the heck happened to free will? and when did God start objectifying people anyway? and women in particular?” Which was an a-ha moment for me.There’s another quote traveling around at the moment which I’ll try to embed to the right:
In case it doesn’t work, please click here for original link.
Between the two items, I had a more concrete “that’s it” reason why a number of Christian church examples just don’t work for me. Yes, on some readings of the bible, women are chattel, and pretty much worth less than livestock. I don’t believe we live in that world today. I suspect quite a few people don’t believe we live in that world today, at least in the West and honestly in quite a few other countries. (The United States is one of only a few countries that does not provide paid leave for new mothers, of extensive periods. Some countries give new mothers an entire year off paid, if they wish it. Some countries also extend this benefit to new fathers.)
But so many traditional mainstream Christian churches do treat women as objects to be controlled, with no agency (or intelligence to acquire agency) of their own. And beyond that, so many of those same churches treat humans in general as stupid.
Do These Good Things Because God Said. (Or, alternately, Because If You Don’t You Will Go to HELL!)
What happened to doing good things because they are right? I understand when things get grey, that some guidance is comforting and we seek it out. But some of the most basic things seem to be assumed to be uncommon sense. So often church and the liturgy and the leaders treat their parishioners as if they are stupid.
I have never had patience with people who treat me like an idiot. Once, yes. I might forgive that. They don’t know me, they don’t know what I can do. I don’t know yet what they’re trying to tell me and uninformed is not the same as stupid. But twice? Nope. You’re out of chances.
I keep hoping that slowly, the church I was raised in is going to come out of the Inquisition age. I keep thinking that maybe it is, and then it does something and I have to sigh and realize that nope. They just changed the set dressing. They are still quite definitely looking for witches to burn in an intellectual and empathic sense.
And until then, even though I try very hard to live in what I suspect is a Christian manner at heart by caring for others, and respecting others, and doing my very best to be good, I know that I just can’t be a part of the mainstream church. And it also means that quite often I won’t participate in discussions that I see old classmates get into. Because I do not believe in a Shaming Punitive God. I believe that whatever god there might be (or gods really, because why rule things out I know nothing of?), he or she is a loving and forgiving and teaching god. And shame and punishment are crappy useless methods of instruction.
They only teach the student to fear the instructor. Not to learn the lesson.