Putting Christianity ahead of Christ

Most of the Christians that read this blog seem to get it. They know that when someone has been abused by Christians, that is not the time for evangelism. It is the time for supporting victims and standing up against injustice. But sometimes we get a reader who is more concerned about the image of Christianity™ than they are about caring for people. Or someone who thinks that a victim might be low-hanging fruit for conversion. Evangelicalism: Spreading itself by preying on the weak.

Typically, the critic will take offence and claim that the blog suggests all Christians are abusive (which it never does). Why have I not specifically mentioned in every post that not all Christians are like this? How could I attack Christianity like that? To which my response is: What the hell is wrong with you? You can read a blog post about a girl being raped, and your first concern is that it might make your religion look bad. You know what actually makes religion look bad? Covering up rape, you morally bankrupt fuck.

So someone complained yesterday, for instance, that the distinction was not adequately clear between fundamentalist Christians and other Christians (had they read the post?). Anais’ post also mentioned that her abuser was a man. Would you like me to point out that not all men are rapists? The post mentioned she was home schooled using ACE. Do I need to add that there are other homeschool curricula available?

Some of the people Jesus criticised most harshly were Jews. Are you upset that the Lord didn’t stop and add “Of course, not all Jews act like these Pharisees?” Should Jesus have kept quiet about the money lenders in the Temple to avoid bringing harm to the reputation of Judaism?

Some of the most valuable supporters of this blog are Christians. They don’t bring up irrelevant arguments in the comments. They remind us all through their actions that not all Christians are fundamentalists. They do this by showing compassion for the victims of fundamentalism.

The article in question is about a girl getting raped. If someone later uses this as an excuse to attack all Christians, they will be wrong to do so. But this hasn’t happened yet, and may never happen. Deal with that problem if and when it comes up. In the meantime, have a good hard think about why you were more keen to defend the  institution of Christianity than  you were to act like Christ.

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About jonnyscaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on November 26, 2013, in Accelerated Christian Education, Atheism, Christianity, Fundamentalism and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Thanks for this Jonny, I really hope it reaches it’s target audience.

  2. THANK YOU. That was the most bizarrely horrible thing I noticed in the Catholic-molestation coverups, too. “We don’t want word of this to get out, because it would make us look bad.” In the Information Age.

    Word WILL get out of what the bad apples in your organization do. Which reputation would you rather have:

    1. “This church or organization tries to sweep it under the rug when bad members do horrible things. Clearly they don’t care about the victims at all.”

    2. “Wow, this church or organization is REALLY tough on sex offenders! It’s good to know that they care about keeping people safe!”

    Because you can only pick one.

  3. I read the comment you’re referring to. Was inclined to say something very similar to what you just did, though rather less diplomatically. One thing I’m trying to figure out is if it is clueless people that are drawn to religion, or if it is religion that makes people clueless?

  4. I’ve come to realize that a trigger warning would be beneficial whenever the terms Christian or Christianity are used. The foundation of Christianity is based on the Bible, the Christian’s guild book a.k.a. ‘the word of god’. It condones the subjugation of women, rape and child abuse. When I read that person’s comment yesterday, I didn’t get angry. I felt sad for her. Any woman who has read the Bible and still supports Christianity is, IMO, dealing with a type of Stockholm Syndrome.

  5. I definitely agree one ought to be compassionate first. But it is all too human to first think on defending one’s cherished ideas, however immoral that might be under certain circumstances.

    If an atheist tells to me he has been bullied by fundamentalists, I will first sympathize with him.
    But if he says that the whole Christianity is wicked, I will correct him, even though I know it is psychologically and humanly very understandable he thinks that.

    I am all too aware of the misdeeds of conservative Christianity (like those against homosexuals ) and I spend a considerable amount of my time exposing them.

    Your experience with fundamentalism is a horrible one and I admire you for being a respectful atheist, despite all the hardship and nightmares you have faced.

    Since fundamentalists view me as a heathen, I think it is fair to say we are largely in the same boat and will burn in hell together if they are right.

    Cheers from the cloudy Lancaster.

    • Sorry, Lothar.

      An ideology that depends on revelation and unthinking, yes, unthinking, faith is definitionally suspect. Wrong, even. Religion is inherently flawed as a methodology and template. And you may (repeatedly) deny this, but there is far, far more scriptural, institutional, and historical support for the nastier side of Christianity than there is for your rather unique and undefinable model. Even if your model does appear more “moral” and kind, it is still based on a just-so story which has weaker support in history and doctrine.

      It is correct that there are many fine Christians who even support his blog. Christians who do fine things (although arguably because they are inherently good people, not directly because of their religion). But the christian God, as outlined in the Bible, as worshipped throughout the vast majority of congergations and sects, is NOT a fine thing. Neur is absolutely correct.

      • You may have bitten off more than you can chew here, Brian. I read Lotharson’s blog. I disagree with her about many things, but I couldn’t ever call her unthinking.

        I’m happy enough to have this debate here (as long as it doesn’t extend to thousands of pages) but remember the house rule to be polite. Also, your comment carries assumptions about what Lotharson’s believes which can’t be deduced from her comment. I’m guessing you are basing this on your view of Christianity in general. Be careful. Not all Christians treat the Bible as the Word of God.

      • Hello Brian.

        I would certainly disagree that “faith” (as I understand it) involves unthinking.
        “Faith” means hoping in something not implausible in the face of unsufficient evidence.
        But I am always open to new facts and will give up my hope if it can be shown that God most likely does not exist.

        As for the nasty side of the Bible, I believe you can find many different and even CONTRADICTORY views of God in Scripture and all other Jewish and Christian books.

        So you can find scriptural support for BOTH loving your enemy and praying for the violent death of his children.

        People in the past had much less scientific, empirical but also moral knowledge than us.
        Therefore it is not astounding that their theological knowledge was also deficient and that they projected many petty things on God.

        As I explained in the link just above, I don’t believe that the Biblical writers were more inspired than writers outside the Biblical Canon (however shocking this might sound to a former Protestant fundamentalist).
        Therefore I view theological errors in the OT in the same way I view them in the writings of Martin Luther or John Wesley.

        The foundation of my theology is not an inerrant Scripture but God’s ultimate perfection according to which every religious experience should be judged.


    • I think it’s great that people like you put your human decency first before your religion. The unfortunate fact is that no matter how much moderate or gay Christians may try to bend it’s meaning, the Bible is against homosexuality. I guess one big difference between fundamental and moderate Christians is that moderates progress with civilization regardless of what their Bible says, while fundamentals remain entrenched in the barbaric beliefs of Biblical times.

      • Given the fact that not only do we not “know” what “god” wants, but that there is no way we CAN know what God wants, what good does religion provide? Is it enough to assume that there is some all powerful, all benevolent force in the universe? Does one or does “humanity” “need” such a belief…especially when such beliefs are AS OFTEN used to justify and encourage horrific things?

        Such as the original post.

        And again, I look at history and I am not sure history shows any god exhibiting perfection…certainly no entity using religion and his people in a consistently positive way. The record seems very very mixed to me.

        What does “ultimate perfection” even mean? In the context of a world with the Ebola virus, tsunamis, black holes and gamma radiation, what is perfection? Nor do I buy the “God’s ultimate plan” bollocks. Easier to believe in an indifferent reality than some vast, unknowable chessmaster moving sentient beings around like expendable pawns.

        The universe does not exhibit any type of perfection-it is hostile to life as we know it.

        Could an all knowing, all seeing entity outside of time and space and alone in itself even be anything other than utterly insane…or at best so alien and outside our comprehension that our religions again, are useless. Why would such an entity be interested in squabbling primates ?

        I promise. No more thread hijacking, jonny. This is my last argumentative post. Back to the horrible topic at hand.

      • The Bible is also firmly against most modern conceptions of family, women’s rights, economics (a wierd contradictory combination of obey your masters, slaves, versus join a communist religious cult and give up all your possessions!) and politics. (Theocracy. Or at best monarchy or rule by preistly judges. Because God establishes EVERY ruler. So no American Revolution for Christians, contra David Barton! )

        Gay rights are a pretty minor part of the problem with Biblical tradition.

  6. Understood and mea culpa, Jonny.

    My main point is that reliance on “faith” is per se suspect.

    “Unthinking” was meant as more of a general comment on what faith requires, and certainly no implication on Lothar generally herself. But still, she does posit a Christianity which is not “mainstream” or dominant in the tradition at all. Her Christianity is still not based on anything concrete other than her “faith”. And, I would argue, that there is less support for her Christianity than there is for the more noisome varieties. Tradition does not really provide much support for a Christianity that rejects the Bible as Word of God. Liberal, even extremely liberal, social views are not supported very firmly in either the texts (unless read in very…convoluted…ways), or church traditions.

    More power to her, of course.

    But even given her extremely liberal and perhaps kind views, she still worships a flawed, even monstrous deity that blames Its creations for the fallen state of the world. That remains a horrific theology to me.

    I will try to avoid ad hominems, though!

  7. Unfortunately a lot of people put Christianity and its image to people ahead of actually practicing what Jesus taught. A disgustingly large number of people. So many people let hidebound tradition and their own prejudices get in the way of what’s actually right.

  8. This is a pretty serious problem. I’ve been in two churches where this kind of thing happened. In the first, the youth minister exposed himself to a child, the elders got word, and he was immediately fired. They didn’t prosecute (but probably should have) because it would involve dragging an under-aged child into court, and that would have been traumatic and stigmatic. They did let any churches that were looking at hiring the guy know what he’d been fired for, and AFAIK he never got another ministry job.

    At the church I went to until recently, the youth minister was raping children. When the elders found out, they contacted the police themselves, cooperated fully with the investigation and admitted negligence. The guy had passed a background check, he had a wife and kids, so they just never bothered to supervise him. There was a court case, the church did not attempt to defend itself and simply said “We’ll pay any judgement the court demands,” and have done so without complaining, despite the fact that it’s bleeding them dry and they lost about half their membership over the scandal.

    I wish things like this didn’t happen, and I wish that all churches would behave as honorably as those two did, but unfortunately stories like the one you linked to are vastly, vastly, vastly more common. It’s disgusting.

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