Christianity: The Message and The Belief
The central message of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ is abhorrent. The concepts of Heaven and Hell as reward and punishment for belief or nonbelief are immoral. The very idea that we have the “Free Will” to believe or not is absurd. “Original Sin” doesn’t stand up against modern science. Furthermore, the very notion of deciding our eternal fate based on which mythology we believe renders Christian morality hopelessly subjective. The concept of supreme sacrifice collapses under scrutiny. The morality of a god who would punish his own creation for being the way he made them is deplorable. The very concept of “sin” is absurd. The “moral lessons” we can derive from the Biblical stories are hardly worth our admiration.
Christians say God’s love is unconditional. It is not. They say the afterlife is comforting. There’s plenty of evidence that it’s not. The concept of the “soul” is a simple category error. Belief does not provide any extra “meaning” in life.
Evangelical Christians still believe in the existence of angels and demons, and believe they are magically controlling events in both our individual lives and in the movements of nations.
Fundamentalism vs. Liberalism
Christians are divided into two general groups: Fundamentalists (or literalists) and Liberal Believers. There are huge problems with both approaches. If one accepts that the Bible is inerrant, he is forced to acknowledge and then somehow explain away the horrific atrocities commanded and committed by the Biblical God. Perhaps even more daunting are the glaring historical and scientific inaccuracies.
There are typically two kinds of responses to these issues. One camp stubbornly refuses to acknowledge science, denying evolution, creating “scientific” models for the Biblical Flood, Noah’s ark, the twelve plagues of Egypt, and other such absurdities. These responses can only be described as delusional in the extreme.
The other camp shoots themselves in the fundamentalist foot by claiming that scientific misstatements and historical inaccuracies are due to misinterpretation of the holy text, which is an appeal to liberalism and a refutation of literalism. Things only get worse when they try to find God’s message in the world around them.
The liberal camps — both implicit and explicit — face their own doctrinal problems. To begin with, most liberals assert that there is a balance to be struck between faith and reason. This is simply not true. Furthermore, since there are no (sane) individuals who genuinely believe and follow every word of the Bible literally, the only difference between liberals and fundamentalists is the degree of credulity. Because of this non-distinction, the functional result of moderate or liberal Christianity is to facilitate and implicitly condone fundamentalism.
Christianity and the Myths
With Orwellian precision, Christianity has managed to re-write history and re-define humanity. We have been taught that human sexuality consists of a narrow and rigid set of “normal” behaviors, and that anything outside of these norms is abnormal and harmful. The truth is that human history is filled with sexuality myths, and the bulk of Christianity’s prescriptions come from a political land-grab, not any sort of “higher morality.”
The Christian conception of a “nuclear family” and a “one man, one woman, and their children” model is based almost entirely on myth. Likewise, our current obsession with individualism and freedom of responsibility towards our fellow man.
Religion as a Virus
A very popular meme these days equates religion with a virus. I like the analogy. In virtually every way, religion spreads and “infects” human minds in the same way as computer viruses which spread from computer to computer.
There have been many attempts over the years to reconcile the logical contradictions and inconsistencies of the Christian doctrine. One of the most common is the Kalam, or Cosmological argument. Because it deals with a lot of topics that are beyond the reach of most people’s education, it can be daunting, but it actually fails without the need for detailed knowledge of cosmology. When we do get down to real knowledge, it’s not the Christians who have it.
Similarly, Christians will often point out the “fine tuning” of the universe, which seems to point to intelligent design. This argument is logically empty.
Pascal’s Wager is probably the single most common argument raised by the average Christian. Ironically, it’s probably the easiest to defeat, as it is so riddled with faults that even Pascal himself was not ultimately convinced by it. Surprisingly, the wager can be turned against God himself! Most people who are falling back to this gambit are really just trying to reassure themselves that they’ve made a good bet. It’s become almost a ritual in many Christian circles.
”Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.” ~ Blaise Pascal
Many Christians point to miracles — especially magical healings — as evidence of the existence of their God. But there are many problems with this argument. Healings can be explained without God. More importantly, “miracles” themselves have been diminishing as science progresses. Perhaps most importantly, any “verifiable” miracle has always been something that could have occurred naturally. God does not heal amputees.
Christianity and Culture
Beyond the philosophical and scientific errors in Christianity, there are significant real-world consequences to belief.
Christian Therapy is arguably one of the scariest examples of religion’s dangerous effects on individual mental health. Christian dogma has insinuated itself into civil rights, notably in the area of women’s reproductive rights (example), assisted dying, and gay marriage. Religion, in and of itself, is divisive. The obsession with virginity and purity is harmful and misogynist. Abstinence as education and birth control is a joke. There’s considerable evidence that emphasis on abstinence backfires. The Church regularly blames its followers for its own atrocities. Some Christian “virtues,” when taken literally, lead to bizarre extremes (example).
There is a powerful organized political effort in America to legislate Christianity. It is almost indistinguishable from Theist Fascism. It targets both the public and Congress from multiple fronts. It has virtually taken over the Republican Party, and instigated a campaign against science. Ironically, there is no mention of the most famous example of a Christian-led regime in recent history.
Christians have claimed responsibility for far more societal good than they’ve actually accomplished.
Ultimately, the fundamental problem with Christianity is that it teaches Faith is a Virtue. In doing so, it claims exemption from the need to prove itself. Christians have created a culture of ignorance, and in doing so, have sent the nation into a steep decline. They have made us gullible. They have rewritten history.
Christianity and Indoctrination
Unfortunately, Christianity is not spread primarily through the free choice of converts. Its primary method of reproduction is childhood indoctrination. Powerful lies about human nature and the nature of the universe are reinforced before children’s brains are capable of sorting them out for themselves. The threats involved, especially with the very young, are frighteningly severe.
The power of indoctrination is strong enough that it seriously skews adults’ moral compasses. It allows the mind to rationalize acts of immorality that would otherwise be unthinkable. It convinces us to give God a free pass where we would hold others accountable. It gives us an invisible friend who takes the blame for our personal faults and prejudices. It uses guilt to paralyze us. It uses our sexuality against us.
As we mature into adulthood, indoctrination manifests in strong peer pressure and the fear of being ostracized. The fear of being labeled an atheist is based on a harsh reality. Atheists are reviled and discriminated against (example) (example), largely because of the belief that they are immoral and evil.