Christians are an interesting group of people. The entire Christian religion is based around the words of Jesus of Nazareth, a loving and peaceful man who spent the majority of his time with the undesirables and often criticized the establishment. He was selfless and compassionate, even to those who wished him great harm. Above all, he ranks rather high in the list of great pacifists of the world, next to Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. There was that outburst in the temple with the money changers, but hey, who doesn’t yell at those guys?
So, if Christianity is based entirely around this guy and his practices, why are Christians about the biggest bunch of hypocritical, violent, and hateful people you’ll ever meet? Please note: I’m not talking about every single Christian ever here. I’m using the view of Christianity that most non-Christians have. So any condemnation I dole out in this post is aimed at the vocal but false Christians who preach their bigotry as the real deal. Please, don’t get all pissy at me because you think I’m some militant atheist who’s out to destroy religion. If you honestly think that’s me, you haven’t read the post. Just FYI.
I’ve met a lot of Christians. Most are good Christians. They follow what Jesus said. They don’t wish anyone ill, they don’t condemn people based on their lifestyle choices, they don’t boycott movies because an atheist wrote the book the movies were based around. There are also the bad Christians. The ones who hold signs saying “Repent or burn in hell!” or claim that homosexuals are evil. It’s easy to spot the difference: good Christians lead by example; bad Christians lead by threats. In other words, a good Christian can show you his faith simply by being who he is. A bad Christian resorts to telling you you’ll go to hell for being gay/black/Jewish or daring to watch anything on TV that’s not Lifetime (or Hallmark, so long as M*A*S*H isn’t on) and then backing it up with Bible verses taken out of context. A bumper sticker I saw today summed it up nicely: “When Jesus said to love your enemies, he probably didn’t mean kill them.”
Strictly speaking, I’m not a Christian at all. I’m not even especially religious. Does this make me an atheist? Not necessarily. I won’t bother going into my religious beliefs as they are complex and completely irrelevant. What matters is that I used to be a Christian, so I know what I’m talking about. Heck, I’ve found I know more about the finer things in Christianity than some church-going Christians, which might be part of the problem. If you don’t know your chosen religion that well, how can you practice it properly? Perhaps if people paid attention to what Jesus actually said and not what they think he meant, life would be a lot nicer. We wouldn’t have to deal with those crackpots over at Westboro Baptist Church, for one thing. They’re still stuck using verses from the Old Testament. Christians should pay more attention to the teachings in the New Testament, leaving the Old Testament for history. WBC must not have gotten the memo.
I like to think that keeping my distance from Christianity has given me a more even view at the issues within it. Other people like to think that it makes me despise religion entirely. Don’t be like those people. Oversimplifying religion is one of the biggest problems here. You may happen to disagree with everything I’ve said here, and that’s fine. This blog is about my opinions, after all. I’m not expecting anyone to like them.