Christianity Slows Progress

LGBTOver at the Booman Tribune they provided some useful information, Religion and Gay Marriage in the Senate. What it shows is that the only ten Democratic senators who have not come out for gay marriage are all Christians. The article also presents a rundown of the religious affiliations of all the Senators. Other than Jewish and Buddhist, they all have a pretty bad record. I find this really telling.

Christianity is supposedly a forgiving religion, and yet, in the hands of most followers, it is just about bigotry and exclusion. So far from being edifying, Christianity warps its followers into being even worse than they normally would be. Think about it. Under normal circumstances, no one would really care about the sex lives of other people. But Christians are dragged back socially thousands of years by teachings of their religion that are not even primary.

Modern American Christianity seems focused on two issues that only have the vaguest of relation to spiritual matters: abortion and homosexuality. This is, sadly, what you get when you think that God wrote a book with a bunch of rules for you to follow. Or when you think that all you have to do is “believe in” Jesus and you are assured a seat next to God in the afterlife.

There are a lot of really smart and interesting people thinking about spiritual matters. Some of them are even Christians, but I think they are insightful despite their religion, not because of it. The main thing is that on the whole, Christianity limits the way people think. And it stops them from being inclusive, until they just can’t avoid it any more.

Of course, that is exactly what is happening now on the gay rights issue. Greg Sargent wrote this morning, Profiles in Courage: Dems Rush to Endorse Gay Marriage Before It’s Too Late. The truth is that in a hundred years, Christians will think no more about homosexuality than they do shellfish. But until then, they will have to be dragged kicking and screaming toward modern tolerance. It is worse than sad; it is evil.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Christianity Slows Progress

  1. I doth suspect that Christianity’s rep as a "forgiving" religion is merely what modern adherents like attributing to it. If we look at medieval paintings of Hell, or read about witches (aka, independent women) burned alive, "forgiving" isn’t the first word that comes to mind. It may be the first word that comes to mind for Christians who see their religion as a salve for personal failings or a justification for personal success.

    I’ve seen the quote "religion is good for good people" attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr, Dorothy McCarthy and others; I don’t know who said it first. It does strike me as very apt. If you’re prone to being humble and considerate, well, religion can help reinforce your sense that these are useful behaviors. If you tend to be a self-righteous, self-centered turd, religion can tell you that’s God’s plan.

    I don’t see Christianity as better or any worse than any other stridently-held faith. What I think damaging and destructive is the notion of faith itself (Arthur C. Clarke once called faith "a four-letter word.") One can find very wise and very decent statements of moral truth/intelligence in the sacred writings of any religion. One can also find pure hate-screedy garbage.

    Our buddy Sam Harris has a bone up his butt about Islam since its most flamboyant current adherents are Neanderthals. Which is a fair assessment. But there were periods in history, and not that long ago, where Christians were the barbarians and Muslims the comparatively sane ones. (Like, as recently as the 1950’s — and that era’s stupid imperial hubris of Christians helped push Muslim activists into fundamentalism.)

    W.S. Burroughs once wrote that the mark of a definite asshole is his need to be always right (and Orwell observed that keeping a diary is useful because it can remind you when you were wrong.) The problem with religion, to me, isn’t the teachings of this or that faith — they all pick and choose which pieces of ancient texts to ignore or emphasize — but the way that religion gives absolute certainty to deranged followers. Nobody should ever be absolutely certain about anything. I can assume that some things are 99% established (like my belief that raping baby squirrels is wrong), but the minute I close my mind to even a fraction of a chance to be convinced otherwise, I’ve become a dimwit. (Or more of one!)

  2. @JMF – Speaking of Mr. Harris: I don’t understand the focus on Islam. I focus on Christianity, because I’m surrounded by them. But I have no use for any of the Abrahamic religions. Although note: all the Jews are for marriage equality. As you say, they pick and choose. And that’s my problem: why even pretend that these religions provide anything but a catalog bronze aged intolerance?

    I do take issue with you implication about Neanderthals. I think they were probably very nice once you got to know them.

  3. @JMF annd Frank:
    I find Sam’s and the late Hitch’s distraction with Islam to be a flaw in their otherwise solid message. If you are worried about apocalyptic religious lunatics gaining control of powerful conventional and nuclear weapons, your focus should be squarely on the United States.

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