Christianity: The World’s Most Prevalent Form of Terrorism
I wish I could write a substantial and scholarly review of all religions from Egypt or ancient Mesopotamia until now and compare every aspect, side by side with Christianity. I’m not an expert on any religion in any scholarly sense, but I know at least as much as common Christians in my part of the country do, and hopefully a bit more, if only because I’ve chosen to expose myself to influences outside of that faith. I am not Christian. I have never truly been Christian. I’ve tried several times in my life to be Christian, I’ve believed as hard as I could and prayed night and day, obsessively, giving up everything I loved or believed in to be a devout follower of Christ. I received nothing in return.
I have a religious family. My mother believes that I’m lost, she asks me to give Christ a chance to change me and change my life. But I don’t want to be changed. And therein lies the core of what I want to talk about: Christianity, like any other major organization, particularly a religious one, uses fear to control people. A lot of what I’m going to say here was taken from a conversation I had with a friend on the internet, and some more thoughts I’ve thrown in. I could talk about this for days, or maybe a lifetime, because my entire life has been a constant and prolonged exposure to Christianity. My intention here isn’t to hurt anyone who is a believer in Christ, but simply to share my opinions on this religion as a whole. Do I hate people? Not always. Sometimes I do, and you know what? I think a certain amount of hatred is healthy. All things in moderation. It’s okay to hate Fred Phelps, even though he’s dead. It’s okay to hate Adolf Hitler. But allowing that hatred to consume and control you is deadly.
All of this began because I learned something I hadn’t known about a musician I’ve always had a lot of respect for. Bryce Avary is the frontman of the band The Rocket Summer, and in fact, he IS the band. He’s a solo artist that uses a band name, and even though he tours with other musicians, all of the lyrics and music are composed by Bryce, and he plays every instrument on his albums. He’s incredibly talented, and his music is very uplifting. I’ve always loved that about his music. Today I discovered that he is a Christian, and I couldn’t help but allow it to skew my view of him and his art. Where once I believed that his lyrics and music were motivated by an indomitable will to survive amidst a chaotic and terrifying world, I can’t help but feel it’s really just motivated by the worship of a deity. It seems, for me, to destroy the validity of the work, even though there are several Christian artists (like Relient K, Flyleaf, Skillet and Paramore) whose music I greatly enjoy. But I guess it’s because I didn’t go in knowing that Bryce was a Christian that I find myself so surprised by this. I thought that his messages of hope were based on personal experience and the constant struggle against the beast that is life, and while it all may very well still be, there’s a part of me that can’t help but wonder if it’s really all about putting off one’s own personal responsiblity to themselves and others onto Christ, and blindly following what they believe to be an ultimate power in the universe, rather than fighting for themselves and speaking with their own voice. Bryce won’t define The Rocket Summer as a “Christian band,” because he finds that limiting and narrow, and good for him, but as someone who has experienced so much suffering at the hands of Christians, I can’t help but feel a little betrayed, knowing that the messages of hope in Bryce’s songs may really just be blind messages of worship of a diety that isn’t there.
Now, as with all art, the listener is left to interpret things as they see. I hear very obvious religious messages in songs like Comatose by Skillet or Again by Flyleaf, but I still see those songs as what they are: messages of hope, of love, and of the will to survive among this turbulent life. There is absolutely no difference between those messages of hope and the messages found within Bryce’s work, and I’m not indicting him. He’s free to find solace and relief from the world any way he chooses, and his talent speaks for itself. I’m not angry at him for being Christian, and I’m not dissapointed at him personally. But I can’t help but find myself dissapointed in general, and find his music less moving, less touching to me personally, now that I know it’s at least partially motivated by a relationship with a deity.
This is not a Bryce Avary problem, this is a me problem. It’s not my intention to shame or hut anyone. I’m just talking about how I feel, and I feel a lot of mixed emotions upon finding out that Bryce is Christian. It seems silly, I know, but it affects me. Christians have hurt and abused me all throughout my life, and though there are plenty of people who say to me, “Not all Christians are like that, don’t judge the whole group by a few,” I can’t help but think, yes, maybe not all Christians are judgemental and biogted, and maybe there are nice Christians, but weren’t there also nice Nazis too? I’m sure there were plenty of Nazis who believed they were serving their country and their people and detached themselves emotionally from the atrocities they commited. The Nazis who slaughtered people in concentration camps had families, homes, lives, emotions. And by the same token, the Christians who slaughtered the witches of Salem or marched upon Jerusalem in the Crusades probably weren’t all bad. I’m sure plenty of them were nice people who felt compassion for others and love for the world. But that doesn’t negate the actions of the organization they’re allying themselves with, and make no mistake, a religious organization is still an organization.
It’s not that I think everything a Christian does is motivated by the need to please God, but I do believe that Christianity is an organization that derives it’s power from a cycle of self-harm that teaches people to be ashamed and to put off all of that shame onto Christ, perpetuating an endless cycle of suffering and self-loathing, indoctrinating future believes to be ashamed of themselves and seek Christ’s salvation so that the system itself becomes the monarch, the leader, the dictator, and no one person has to stay alive forever to command it.
I have a difficult time with this issue. I want to be accepting of Christians and not view them any differently once I know what they believe, but throughout my life I’ve seen what I believe to be the true face of Christianity, and it’s one of bigotry, hatred, intolerance, ignorance, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, anger, greed, gluttony, murderous violence, suppression of thought and progress, self-deprivation, depression, guilt, and shame.
My best friend, who happens to be Christian, and who is very understanding about my thoughts here, told me that he sometimes wonders if religion itself is something people invented so that they wouldn’t have to fear death. I believe it’s that and so much more. I’m fascinated by gods and by mythology, I love them. I love the ancient lore and I even love many moments and stories in the Christian bible. Christ’s acceptance of duty in the face of torture and death, and his words to those he loved at his last supper, always bring me to tears. I appreciate that for what it is without believing in the deity, and I see a person in a beautiful story doing something noble for people that he loves. Do I think that story is fraught with misguided ideals, horrific violence perpetrated not just on Christ but others, and the senseless self-loathing of entire nations of people? Absolutely.
We create gods to represent aspects of ourselves: those we love, those we hate. We created Athena to represent our conquering spirit and prowess in battle, our determination in the face of war and chaos. We created Hades to be the bearer of our guilt, our darkness, and our shame. We drew upon the same concept overs and over again. Horus became Zeus, Jupiter, Buddha, Krishna, and Christ. Osiris became Mara, Rahu, Angra Mainyu, Lucifer. They morphed over and over again, always representing a part of ourselves, our goals, our ideals, the things we love, the things we hate.
Ultimately, though, I find belief in the Christian god to be essentially masochistic. The believer truly gains nothing. Not inner peace, because the believer is taught to be ashamed of their sins, constantly begging God’s forgiveness and accepting again and again the sacrifice of Christ so that they can be cleansed of their self-imposed shame, and fear of the so-called “end times,” fear of God’s judgement and wrath, and more than anything, fear of a fallen angel they call Satan. A supposed demon, or leader of demons, who they believe can read your thoughts, fill your heart with negativity and doubt, or possess your body and make you commit atrocities. They fear demons dwelling all over the Earth, entering into creatures and torturing them from the deepest part of themselves, overtaking their body and spirit.
They fear Hell, that place that more than anything keeps children caught up in the cycle of despair, that place that they fear they will be cast by a supposedly loving and wise God, to burn in fire for all eternity, because they broke some self-imposed cosmic rule. The believer in Christ gains no personal independence, no inner peace, no transcendence, no nirvana. No freedom from guilt and shame. They look only forward, to their afterlife, where they believe they will be rewarded in a glorious kingdom called Heaven, to be forever at peace and one with God, and so they abandon this world and this life as “of the devil,” they forget about what they call “worldly concerns,” and motivated as humans always are by greed, store up “treasure for themselves in the Kingdom of Heaven.” I’ve met so many human beings who believe that the streets of Heaven are lined with gold, that there are mansions filled with treasures in Heaven. Why would these things matter to someone who has transcended the Earth into a place where currency and status mean nothing? But there are people among my own family who have told me that in Heaven people are given crowns with many different jewels adorning them according to what deeds they’ve done in their lives. Ultimately, Heaven is an attempt to justify life, to give it meaning, and to alleviate the fear of oblivion that comes with death.
In Christianity, the vitcims are the believers, who suffer so that those who have power in the organization (the pastors, the priests, the Pope, the clergy) can line their robes and pockets with gold at the expense of the ignorant masses donating their guilt into the collection plate every week in the form of money, believing they are tithing to God and not realizing that the money in their hands is a real form of currency, going directly into the hands of corrupt leaders who use it to continue perpetuating the cycle of grief, doubt, sorrow, and inhuman acts of violence and hatred. Christians incite others to violence with their claims that God does or does not support one way of life or another, that one way to worship God is the only true way and all other ways are false and lead to damnation, that Christ is “the way, the truth and the life,” and that any who don’t believe in him, be they adults or children, those who foster peace and practice compassion, those who have heard of Christ or those who haven’t, will suffer for eternity, regardless of the life they chose to live, and even worse, that those who commit rape, murder, and thievery on a massive and unknowable scale can be easily absolved of their crimes and atrocities by simply claiming Christ as their savior and believing.
Nobody questions it, because the system teaches you not to question it.
But maybe you should. Maybe you should think for yourself. Maybe you should stop being afraid of the devil, that proverbial boogie-man hiding in your closet and under your bed, and even more so stop being afraid of God, who in his own supposed holy word commits far more atrocities than his adversary Satan ever does (genocide, mass murder of children and adults, cruelty to animals and living creatures, destruction of the Earth on several occasions).
And that’s why it’s hard for me to accept people’s decision to follow this religion, because I see only a self-perpetuating cycle of fear, anger, and death. It’s unhealthy, and it’s tearing the entire world apart. Not just Christianity, but all those organizations like it, who seek to divide people for the material gain of a few at the top, or seek to foster shame and unrest among people so that they stay loyal to an organization whose primary goal is to steal from the poor and feed the rich, be they the poor and rich of material possessions or of spiritual freedom.
Question it. Think for yourself.