When I was in the church I joined several “Accountability Groups”; groups of men who shared their struggles with the common temptations that face young Christian men.
I remember many nights standing in the garden after worship services, confessing, encouraging, and sending each other off emboldened to do better in the coming week. It was clear to me: Accountability was a deep part of Evangelical culture; when we weren’t afraid of confronting each other on sin, we all did better.
The Two Christians
As the years passed I studied the word and I applied the morality that I derived from scripture this way: That we should love sacrificially, we should take care of the poor above all, we should uphold non-violence, scorn power and riches… tenets I thought were reasonable interpretations of the bible.
But many of my brothers took their faiths a different direction: Their own rights/freedoms are the priority, we should laud the rich, romanticize those with guns, insist on political power… and I found that this competing version of Christianity was, in fact, not derived from scripture, but rather a different source:
Why would anyone want to be a part of an institution that can only unify behind controlling women?
I left the faith not because I wanted to go rape, murder, or have premarital sex and smoke the occasional organic matter. I didn’t do it so I could have an abortion. I didn’t leave the church because of its unholy matrimony with the Republican party which is a morally bankrupt and corrupt institution (although this one is true).
I left the faith because God is weak.
When I fell for Jesus, when I committed my life to it, I believed in a powerful God, one who could create galaxies and tapestries of life with a wave of his hand. I would rather believe in no god than a weak one; nothing proved how weak God is as much as what happened last week.
A lot is pulling me toward England, even more pushing me away from America.
When I was young I remember watching episodes of “20/20”, journalists were exposing stories of toys that were choking kids. After one kid died and the 20/20 show aired, the toymaker recalled all of their products and released a new one safer for babies.
I recall having the feeling that adults would change their practices and lose a ton of money, all to save the life of one child; it was too costly for a company to appear ok with even one child dying.
Both the Rittenhouse and the Arbery cases show that gun rights people believe the second amendment authorizes them to do much more than shoot a home intruder.
In both cases the perpetrators BROUGHT their guns to the people they wanted to shoot. In both cases when a scuffle ensued DIRECTLY AS A RESULT OF THE PRESENCE OF A GUN, they shot their weapons and killed unarmed people.
In both cases they used self defense as justification for their actions.
I thought I needed Christianity in order to be moral, in fact it was the other way around: my innate morality drew me to Christianity. Now, post-christianity, what do I do with it?
When I left my faith I didn’t immediately start raping and murdering and punching babies in the face… as I suspected I would when I was an Evangelical.
Sure, I started drinking more (well, anything is greater than zero), but significant parts of my Christian life remained: My priority of human connection/community, the belief that it’s a moral obligation to look after the poor and the alien… I still raise above all kindness, thankfulness, self-sacrifice…
Hence the term: Deconstruction. It means taking apart your faith, discarding the parts that don’t work, and repositioning the ones that still do.
…was the phrase they were chanting while others prayed in front of a life sized crucifix. After beating policemen and breaking into the Capitol, they led a prayer from the dais of the senate. On Jan 6, 2021, the mob both embraced Jesus and the conspiracy theories that fueled their extremism.
Where did this unholy marriage between Evangelicals (Evies) and conspiracy theories come from? What is it about the church that make its followers fertile ground for believing wild conspiracies like Donald T**** won the election, QAnon, Covid is a hoax, and more?
I spent 18 years inside the Evangelical Church, leading bible studies, worship teams, going on short-term missions trips… the whole nine yards. I have an intimate insider perspective on these 6 constructs in the Church that make followers primed for brainwashing.
I have a question for you. I hope our years together in the faith would bring you to honour me with considering this plain question… although it may make you uncomfortable. I am deeply troubled by the diseased state of Christianity right now, I’m hoping that you can illuminate how it got here.
Tell me if there is any validity to this perspective that I hold: radical religiosity is dangerous. It leads to all sorts of harmful events from the Crusades to 9/11. But extremism is only half-fueled by radical/violent belief… the other half comes from moderates standing by and feeding the flames with their silence.
The rise of Donald Trump is particularly on the shoulders of the Christians, and despite scandal after inept scandal, the unshakable support of the church allows him to cling to power. As the impeachment process grinds on via a mountain of evidence, I ask you: Why have you remained silent?