Today’s entry is inspired by this story, about a Christian man living in Texas, who burned down a house with people living in it, because they determined that they did not follow the bible.
What the headline misses is that the person he killed in the burning house was his brother, and the other person who he put in the hospital was his mother.
Not only did he set the house on fire, but he also waited outside with large stones. His intent was to kill them with the stones if they lived. While THAT part sounds VERY biblical, I have to wonder about the killing part. I think the Christian god Yahweh had that in his popular Top Ten list.
He felt very righteous and superior when he did this. He passed judgment as if HE were the god, and enacted out punishment with the same posture.
Indeed, the bible he claims to live by has some interesting things to say about what he did. Specifically, that he is wrong.
Oops! Guess he didn’t read his bible carefully enough, did he? To be fair, most American Christians can’t be bothered to read the bible. I’ve read it, but that’s because I’m an Atheist, so I want to have an idea of what I am talking about.
AMERICA HAS A BROKEN CHRISTIAN PROBLEM
The American Christian problem can be traced all the way back to the low bar of entry to become a “Christian.” All you have to do is say that you believe, and say that you let Jesus into your heart.
You don’t have to engage in any significant study. You don’t have to engage in works. You don’t have to live a life of example. You don’t even really have to go to church every day. Many go twice per year.
The worst thing is that you don’t have to learn anything about it, which means you don’t have to become a better person as a result of taking on this religious belief.
It’s like someone who tells you they’re a mathematician. They don’t actually PERFORM any mathematical equations, and don’t use it in their lives. But they waive a math book around and judge anyone who isn’t in their math class, as they brag about their superior mathematical skills, which they don’t really have.
It’s treated more like an exclusive club or a fraternity than it is a place of spiritual development and retrospective.
Church is treated more like a place you go when you have to get forgiven, because you did something wrong that you plan on doing again next week.
HOW AMERICANS APPROACH CHRISTIANITY
Okay, this is not an “all Christians” thing. That said, my points are supported by the fact that the number of American Christians who are broken is significant enough that it is reasonable to consider the idea that this a problem that needs to be fixed.
Americans approach Christianity as if it’s a club membership that magically makes them better than other people. It’s tribalism. So they declare themselves to be Christians, they’re given the label, and then they use that label as a shield to protect them from accountability. They use it as an excuse to look down on others or to cause them harm.
They use it to be better than YOU.
They also use it as a political device, which effectively cheapens Christianity. To be fair, it would cheapen ANY spiritual practice.
As a result, American Christians have very little faith. They have so little faith that they stockpile guns while paying lip service to “the power of prayer.” They have so little faith that they will cheat in an election, and accuse others of cheating while they are in the process of cheating.
American Christians will TELL LIES if it means bolstering their tribal club. It’s okay to lie if it benefits god, right?
This is a question that American Christians apparently cannot answer. Or maybe they CAN answer the question, but they’re too lazy or unwilling to engage it.
If you look closely enough, you will find that American Christians are the polar opposite of what Jesus would do, or what Jesus would want.
Here are a few examples.
Jesus: Come to me and I will heal you. I will save you.
American Christian: Look at that lazy bum! Probably a junkie. Bet he’s not a “true Christian.” He’s filthy and disgusting. Hope he doesn’t show up at my church looking for a handout.
Jesus: Come to me and I will feed you.
American Christians: Stop asking for a hand-out, you lazy Liberal Communist Socialist scum! Quit being lazy and pick yourself up by your bootstraps. You should have planned for it.
Jesus: The healthy do not need a doctor. I will spend time with the non-believer and encourage them to see the light.
American Christian: Get away from me, you heathen! I only associate EXCLUSIVELY with Christians. I’ll bet you practice witchcraft and worship Satan! And NO, you cannot come to MY church, as it’s only for TRUE Christians.
Jesus: Welcome, traveler. You must be weary! I have some space for you to stay tonight, and you will dine with me.
American Christian: Those damned foreigners, always coming here! They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. Those filthy people aren’t Americans, so they don’t belong. Arrest them for being foreigners! Lock them up, then deport them back to where they came from. Only WHITE Christian Americans are allowed here.
There are more examples, but I’ll stop here. If you read the bible and learn about how Jesus treated other people, you’ll find that American Christians generally DO NOT do what Jesus would do. Ever.
WHY IT’S SO EASY
An important question to ask is, why is it SO EASY to become an American Christian? There is no study, no test, and you don’t have to do anything much. Why is it so easy?
What it comes down to is money.
If American Christianity required actual study, work, and accountability in order to be regarded as a member of the faith, then their numbers would be low. Americans would not be interested. They’d go do something else.
Americans are into what I call “fast food salvation.” They can’t be bothered to read a book or actually practice a faith, because it’s too cumbersome or boring, even though they claim to believe that it’s all about salvation from eternal damnation.
Boy, if I believed in eternal damnation, and believed that practicing Christianity was the only way to avoid it, then you could bet that I’d be reading and practicing every single day. I’d evaluate my failures and work to fix them. I’d be afraid of the consequences that would come with NOT reading, studying, and practicing.
Many believe that going to church is enough. They also believe that going to church, or even simply BEING a Christian is what makes them better people. It does not.
MY EXPECTATIONS OF AMERICAN CHRISTIANS
Suffice to say that my expectations of American Christians have NEVER been met. Not even close. I spent the first 21 years of my life as a non-believer in the Midwest, where Jesus is a really big deal.
Not ONE person ever talked to me in a way that was caring or inviting. Nobody ever invited me to church. Considering the fact that Christians are TASKED with saving souls, I would say that EVERY SINGLE CHRISTIAN I have ever met has failed in this regard.
While I have never received an invite [and it’s WAY too late now], what I DID get from American Christians was judgment, condemnation, isolation, death threats, bullying, hatred, and more.
That is NOT how one behaves when they are tasked with saving souls. They are all poor stewards of their faith. You can’t just TELL me about “the love of Jesus” while all that you are capable of doing is hating, judging, and being cruel.
I am a human being, so I REFUSE to be treated like an abused housewife. That kind of treatment of another human being is ALWAYS wrong.
American Christians have never lived up to the expectations placed upon them by their own bible.
AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WANT THINGS THAT ARE BOTH UN-CHRISTIAN AND UN-AMERICAN
Wow, that’s my longest heading to date!
Examples of things they want that are un-Christian include things like obtaining wealth or avoiding caring for others.
Examples of things they want that are un-American include forcing prayer in public schools, installing statues [graven images] of the Ten Commandments on government property, and the abolition of the Secular state, which is what allows the tens of thousands of brands of Christianity to exist in the first place.
They want to be surrounded by people who are exactly like them, because their “faith” is so fragile and shakable.
With all of this, you might be shocked to learn that there are TWO American Christian role models who actually did a good job of being stewards of their faith AND were successful in their PRACTICE of the faith.
How did they get it right?
Firstly, they hardly EVER bring it up. They never declare, with pride or indignation, “I’m a Christian.” The thing with American Christians is that they CONSTANTLY have to tell you that they’re a Christian, because you would NEVER guess it based on what they say and do, or how they behave.
Neither of these men EVER told me that I was a devil worshipper, a witch, a demon, less-than-human, or any other insult.
They never told me that I had to be a Christian.
They never told me that I had to read a bible.
They never told me that I was going to hell.
They never had or expressed hatred of “others,” and never engaged in “othering,” which is popular among American Christian Republicans.
They avoided passing judgments.
They cared about others, even those who were not Christians and not Americans.
They have/had a healthy attitude about human beings, life, and Humanity.
They are/were empathetic people who were understanding.
The list could go on. Basically, they didn’t do ANYTHING that American Christians would do.
And yes, there are more than two. These are just the only two who have name recognition. That said, decent Americans who happen to be Christians are a VERY rare find.
A PHENOMENON OF GOOD AND BAD
In America, we have an insane phenomenon happening, where good and bad are not judgments assigned to words or acts. Instead, they are assigned based on tribal affiliation.
To the American Christian, being Christian is what makes you a good person, by definition. Conversely, being a non-Christian, an Atheist, or even being the WRONG brand of Christian makes you a bad person by definition.
It’s what I consider to be a very child-like, reductive, uneducated view of morality.
Does being a Christian mean that someone is a good person? No. It only means that they identify as Christian. Nothing more.
To be fair, this is not just a Christian thing. Republicans are doing it as well. Their idea is that being Republican makes you good, by definition. You know what they think of their opposition already, if you have deductive reasoning.
This brand of tribalism is animalistic, weak-minded, and highly destructive. It is currently being used to install the final nails into the coffin of the country once known as America.
IN THE END
I could go on, but I’m going to cap it off for now with a few thoughts.
I had a personal encounter with some misguided Christians at the end of 2019. I had gotten in touch with a former girlfriend from 1982 who still lived in Indiana. Indiana is in the American Midwest, and it’s a place where Christians are horrible people.
The former girlfriend told me that she didn’t really go to church, and that she didn’t really believe. She also said that she didn’t really know anything about Donald Trump, even though she voted for him and was re-Tweeting him.
Yea, she LIED to me about very important details. But don’t worry, Jesus only harms liars who are not forgiven. After I called her out on her lies, she moved out, started going to church, and voted Trump again [and lied to me again about it].
I know, Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven. When someone LIES, and they keep lying, and they don’t STOP lying, then you’ve got someone who calls themselves a Christian who don’t care about the fact that they’re a liar, or how their lies harm everyone around them. That’s an American Christian, not a good person.
But there was another interaction that came from one of her Christian friends. As it turns out, a good number of her friends were worried about her getting with me because I am a self-declared Atheist, which means that I am an evil satanic monster, by definition. They way they talked, it sounded like they were genuinely afraid.
Some even got confrontational and threatening, as is expected from American Christians.
One of them even started yelling and crying about how “the gays took the rainbow away from god.” This was on the phone, and I heard her son yell, “Mom! Stop it!” That one also sent me a bible.
But one of them asked me a question, and I thought that it was actually a decent question.
“Do you consider yourself to be a good person?”
While I think the question is good, I am certain the person asking the question had some reductive and biased reasoning for asking it. The idea, of course, is that I cannot call myself a good person when I am not a Christian, because only Christians can be good people, and only Christians are good, by definition.
I gave it some careful thought before answering.
“I do not think that it is up to me to make the determination of whether or not I’m a good person. That is for someone who knows me to decide. In my efforts to BE a good person, I do my best to live a life where I do not cause harm to others. I am helpful when I can be. I listen when someone needs an ear. I give to my community. All I really can do is try. And I don’t need to be called ‘good’ in order to keep living that way. I don’t need rewards or prizes, any more than I require threats of eternal damnation from a god in order to do what I think is the right thing at any given time. I don’t have to ‘be good’ because a god might be watching. And I do NOT need membership in a tribe in order to be a good person.”
She was expecting me to blurt out a simple, “Yes,” so that she could ask me how I could be a good person when I’m not a Christian. I gave her a thoughtful answer instead, and she had no idea of how to deal with that.
I understand these people more than they understand themselves. It’s called “The Heartland” because the brain is not there.
I spent the first 21 years of my life interacting directly with these people, so I know where they’re going when they ask these questions. They don’t really care about my answers, because they don’t care about me, because they don’t like me, because I’m not a member of their tribe.
It’s the “good/bad, by definition” problem. It’s called “guiding the conversation,” as they were taught by their preacher, who also teaches them outright lies and horrible things about non-believers.
I have friends who are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Shinto, Hindu, and Atheist. We don’t talk about religion. They don’t try to convert me. I have respect for them.
Because they don’t pass judgment on me, and don’t try to convert or otherwise change me. They live their lives, and don’t waste time judging others. They’re not mean, vindictive, or hateful. They are not professional victims.
Does being an Atheist mean that I’m a good person, by definition? No, it does not. It only means that I don’t believe in any gods, regardless of whether or not they are commercially available for purchase. This still leaves the door wide open for believing other things, like astrology, tarot cards, ghosts, devils, demons, angels, heaven, hell, etc.
Literally, Atheist only means not believing in any gods. That’s it.
In other words, just as being a Christian does not make a person good, by definition, being an Atheist also does not function in this same capacity.
If it did, or if I suggested that it did, then I’d be a hypocrite.
Being a Christian only means that you declare belief in a god. Nothing more. It doesn’t mean that you’re a good person. Declaring one’s self to be a Christian in America also does not mean that you read the bible, obey it, understand it, or practice it. Sadly, the way American Christians behave, it is coming close to meaning that you’re a bad person, or unstable.
As one self-declared “good Christian” told me when I called her out for not reading the bible, “I don’t need to READ it, when I BELIEVE it.” That statement makes no sense, because you can’t believe in something you don’t know or understand. Christian membership often times relies on a lack of critical thought that reaches this type of depth.
While American Christians whine about being victims in America [they are NOT], they set out to victimize others who are not like them, because those “others” are below them. It’s ugly, pathetic, and sad.
To the point of the story, this is something that happens every day, to varying degrees. We’ve had “good Christians” who put their babies in the oven or microwave, or they drown their children, because “god told them to do it.” We have Christians who will be driving and will get scared and literally “let Jesus take the wheel,” by letting go of the steering wheel and closing their eyes.
We even had self-decalred “good Christian Republicans” engage in an attempted coup, to interrupt a Constitutional election and to overthrow the American government. We also have “good Christians” who believe that they don’t need a vaccination from a virus because they are “bathed in the blood of the lamb.” Sounds creepy!
This is one of the many dangers that come out of comingling one’s religious beliefs with political affiliations, not to mention when they politicize a public health crisis. Where we stand now, Christian Conservative Republicans are the most dangerous tribe in the country.
These people are far more aggressive and dangerous. If they encounter someone they don’t like or don’t agree with, then stalking, threatening, and executing them is not out of the question. Sure, it’s far away from WWJD, but they don’t care.
To give this perspective, if anyone in the town where I live ever finds this and reads it, and then figures out that it is me, I will be lucky if I’m just harassed until I leave town. Christians LOVE their guns, and they love using them on Atheists, Democrats, and those who believe differently. They might draw the line at those who practice a different brand of Christianity.
HERE’S MY PERSONAL POINT: I don’t care one bit about your religious practices, until they start causing harm to others. Once they start causing harm, I’ve got something to say about it. What I DO care about is how your religious beliefs guide your life, how they impact the community, and how they impact individuals.
American Christianity is a sad negative force in our country. It’s dragging us down.
If you are an American Christian, and you practice your faith in a way where it has a positive impact on the community, a positive impact on others, and functions in a way where it passes no judgment or causes harm to me, then I would most definitely welcome you as a friend. It shows that you learned something from it. I would commend you for your efforts and personal grown, while simultaneously lamenting the fact that there aren’t more of you.
I would also challenge you to work toward influencing those who are abusing the label to get right with it or get out. The people who call themselves Christians without learning are making you look bad. Some aren’t even contributing to the tithing efforts. Their presence is allowed because it helps the popularity contest.
But if you’re an American Christian who is a tribal, grunting knuckle-dragger who is reductive, biased, racist, sexist, uncultured, or ignorant of the world, then I would ask you to stay as far away from me as humanly possible. You need to look in the mirror and realize what kind of monster you truly have become. Because you’re the kind of person who would set a house on fire while your brother and mother are sleeping in it, for your god.
So if you hear a voice in your head talking to you, and you believe it to be god, how do you know that satan isn’t tricking you? It’s not like you can recognize thier voices.
But fear not, for that voice you are hearing is not satan. There is no satan, just as there is no god. Notice how this “god” voice in your head always agrees with you 100% of the time.
That’s because it’s not the voice of any gods.
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