The fundamental problem of modern Christianity, as I see it

There are these two facts:

A) Modern Christians are and want to be nice people: compassionate, loving, democratic, all for sensible moderation and not being an asshole.

B) Traditional Christianity was (and is, as far as it is still practiced) a fairly awful autocratic, sadomasochistic, tyrannic joyless apocalyptic death cult full of somewhat arbitrary and pitiless, outdated sins, punishments, demons and Hells, i.e. an asshole nirvana.

The way to bring A and B together is usually extreme vagueness, because one can’t in good conscience abandon A, or get rid of B as it still has some good, famous, stirring parts. Then again, I’m all in favor of this cherry-picking if the book is to be kept; I’m of the opinion that most Christians are better than their holy book; their utter un-Biblicality is a shining triumph of human decency over dusty dogma.

Egads, I wouldn’t want any former version of the Jesus cult over the liberal ones we have now. Not what the world-ending Jew himself thought he taught, not the early sweaty apocalypticists, not the feuding epistle-screaming bishops, not the playboy Popes, not the joyless Puritans, not the legions of racists, sexists and life-haters; and certainly not the two-faced prudish Victorians! Modern Christians are much better than their heritage or their sacred texts. The history of Christianity has been — if you ask me, a totally impartial atheist — not a descent from Jesus, whether a corrupting or a refining one, but an escape from under his tyrannic shadow into ever better and less Biblical morals and ways of life. (Weird, that: the conservatives are right about this — them liberals aren’t very good Christians. What they miss is the liberals are better people for it.)

Thus, whenever a modern Christian is confronted by a theological question… the answer is usually a smokescreen of theological proportions, with so many funky terms and circumlocutions it is quite impossible to know what, if anything, is being said.

Usually, nothing is, and that is all right; then there’s a nice humanistic message of modern tolerance, love and goodwill we can all agree on, theist and atheist alike.

2 Responses to “The fundamental problem of modern Christianity, as I see it”

  1. Iason Ouabache Says:

    Modern Christians are and want to be nice people: compassionate, loving, democratic, all for sensible moderation and not being an asshole.

    Obviously you don’t know any Calvinists.

  2. Bob O'H Says:

    I think the problem is that A and B are in the Bible too. A is the Gospels (aside from a couple of passages), and B is large parts of the rest of the Bible. Ironically, a lot of Christians don’t dwell much on the bits about Christ and what he said.

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