18 November 2015

The Agony and the Apostasy

Yesterday, I more or less publiclyif you count the ten people who pay attention to my Facebook posts—renounced my participation in organised religion. And then I cried for a good half hour.

The breaking point had been coming for some time. For my entire adult life, I have been patiently explaining that “Christianity” is not monolithic. We have denominations, and we do not all believe the same things, but are bound together by a basic shared philosophy. The former two points are things I still find to be true. The latter is not.

The vast group of people who call themselves Christians do not share the same basic philosophy any more than the Daesh and Boko Haram, and pretty much every other Islamic group ever do. At best, we have a shared scriptural canon and a mostly shared history.

And I am tired of engaging in apologetics. I've tried, and I've failed.

I am probably still willing to call myself Lutheran, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, but that is so specific that I am not even sure how to go about explaining that. I just want to distance myself from any notion that I might be a Chtistian because I am ashamed of the idea that I might be perceived as such.

The irony is that when I was in elementary school, I attended a nondenominational youth group on Wednesday nights called AWANA (which stands for Approved Workmen are not Ashamed. The phrase is taken from Paul's second epistle to Timothy. Pretty sure it is in the second chapter). Well, perhaps I am not an approved workman, because I am damn well ashamed.

I am also disappointed.

I see nothing of Jesus in the cowards who will not allow Syrian refugees into our country. We did not let Jewish refugees into our country in the thirties, either.

I see nothing of Jesus in the people who hate gay people so much. I do not care what they think of me; I can take care of myself. But I do have a problem with a philosophy that instills fear in people. This has affected me personally, and both breaks my heart and makes me angry.

I see nothing of Jesus in the platitude that “everything happens for a reason” when someone is grieving. Eat that. That is not compassion; that is laziness and cowardice and selfishness.

I could go on.

What I find distressing is that when I, in a fit of pique, did post my anger, I was immediately greeted with the “don't paint us all with a broad brush,” “we aren't all like that,” “I am not like that.”


I've been fighting this fight for years. I know, better than a lot of people, to be honest, the differences between religious groups. It is not God in whom I have lost my faith, though my relationship with God continues to be complicated. It is the people who claim to follow the philosophy laid out in the Christian scriptures, and I shan't defend them any longer. I have taken enough arrows, especially this year. I am tired.

Take your own damn arrows.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,