Although I’m an agnostic atheist, I tend to dedicate a lot more time to criticizing the religion of Statism than that of Christianity, because quite frankly Statism is far more dangerous, especially insofar as Statism and Secularism are religions to which most atheists flock quite happily, thinking they’ve discovered a non-religious alternative, when in reality they are simply replacing God with State, and Priest with Politician.
Interestingly, my criticisms below do not stem from doubt about the veracity of the claims made by Christians. In fact, in many cases I’m going to assume that the fantastical claims are actually true, even though I don’t believe them myself.
I also realize that not all of the doctrines below are taken to heart by every one of the various Christian sects, and many of them have been rejected by protestants (good for you!), but nonetheless, here are a few things I find very odd and in many ways frighteningly evil about Christianity.
The Panopticon doctrine
The Panopticon (opticon – observe, pan – all) is a type of prison designed in the 18th century that allowed the guards and watchmen to observe all of the prisoners, and this without the prisoners knowing whether that they were being watched.
Christians, however, have been believing in a very similar variation of this prison since ancient times. Their all-seeing deity watches their every move, as if you were in fact in a prison, and God had a billion CCTV cameras trained on all his followers (and the heathens too, of course), with countless rooms with millions of screens displaying the activities of everyone on earth.
Sounds like a dystopian science-fiction nightmare to me. Never mind that this is the ultimate form of submission to authority. In light of the protests of many religious conservatives about the growing police state and mass surveillance, this is kind of ironic.
The doctrine of Eternal Damnation
I’m a firm believer that it takes a very sick mind to come up with an alternative dimension in which every sinner, heathen, and non-believer (mostly code-words for “people not part of our group”) are tortured with fire, for eternity.
I’m not sure I would wish that on even some of the most evil people who have lived, never mind the vast majority of whom Christians would consider sending to hell.
The doctrine of Original Sin
This is the wonderful idea that because someone sinned a few thousand years before you were even born, you are now also a sinner.
It is not your actions in life, your decisions to be good or bad that make you a sinner – it is an event entirely outside of your control that transpired before you even came into existence.
Seems to me like an utter perversion of justice, and what a great way to excuse someone from personal responsibility for their actions.
Worse – what was the original sin? Seeking knowledge! That’s right kids, kill those instincts of curiosity and science in you before you become even more of a sinner. If I was a devil looking to oppress a gullible people through ignorance, I couldn’t think of a better way of doing it than by making the seeking of knowledge a sin.
Seeking forgiveness from a priest
This one is to my mind screwed up on many levels. First of all, the idea that certain human beings, mere mortals, are capable of knowing the mind of God to a sufficient degree to dispense judgment on his behalf. Seems pretty damn arrogant. I think that if I were a deity that routinely dished out punishments of eternal damnation and rewards of heaven, I wouldn’t want some arrogant man in a booth doing it for me. “Who does he think he is, this priest, to presume to know my will?!”
Secondly, why is it that forgiveness is sought primarily from the priest, and not from the injured party? I suppose that apologizing to a stranger is easier than apologizing to the person or the family of the person that you actually hurt. Seems like a cowardly way out though. If you truly feel guilty for what you’ve done, only the people you’ve hurt have a right to forgive you – not a priest, and surely not on behalf of a supernatural deity whose mind he cannot possibly know.
Where’s the Spirituality?
This part is maybe the biggest mystery of them all. To me, humans came from the wilderness – from the forests and from the plains. Even the original mythical place in which God allegedly created the first humans is called the Garden of Eden. In my mind, the best way find spiritual solace is out in nature.
But rather than celebrating nature, the “House of God”, the church, is often an immense stone construct, and what is it filled with? Trees and plants, the living things of our world? No – it is filled with gold and silver, and great wealth. Thus, to an unindoctrinated rube like myself, it appears as though Christians build a testament to materialism, and then call it spirituality. Not that Christianity is the only religion to confuse the two. Personally I have nothing against materialism, but hypocrisy? Not a big fan of that.
No where is it clearer that humans have strayed from the path of spirituality than in the wholesale slaughter of the wilderness. There’s virtually none left in Western Europe, and in most countries where it is left, it is left in nature preserves – small enclaves that people have promised not to destroy. Personally I think Christianity and other similar religions are partially guilty for this. Perhaps if they taught that spirituality is to be found out in nature (where after all you can better connect with all of God’s creations), and not in a massive stone construct filled with shiny precious metals, maybe more Christians would grow up with an appreciation for the forests.
Is Christianity a Cannibalistic Death Cult?
Let me try and explain what I mean. There is a tradition in Christianity called the Eucharist, in which many Christians believe that they are actually drinking the blood of Christ, and eating his flesh. In all fairness, they’re just eating bread and wine, but the metaphor, the belief, is some pretty sick stuff. In fact, were it true, it would amount to cannibalism.
Why death cult? Well, it seems as though Christians are obsessed with the death of Christ. Although they could worship him as he is (presumably now) in heaven, or perhaps prior to his earthly death, they consistently choose that period of time during which he is either dying or dead. Every church I have ever been in has Christ nailed to a cross, suffering in agony (which, by the way, is idolatry). And worse – many Christians have chosen to carry around a cross as their symbol, an instrument of unimaginable torture and suffering on which millions have died throughout human history.
What a life-affirming view, to carry around the symbol of a torture device around your neck! At least the Yin and Yang of the Taoists has some kind of wisdom to it.