According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, “The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.
In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public).”
So what’s going on in Christendom? Valerie Tarico, gives us something to think about in her article on Alternet.org on September 26, 2012 titled, “Why Do the Craziest Religious People Get the Most Attention? “There’s no question that religion can have some ugly moral and social consequences. The homophobic and misogynist attitudes of many American Evangelicals come straight out their sacred texts.[…] The fact is, putting God’s name on Iron Age morality contributes to Iron Age behavior.”
And mixing Iron Age morality with postmodern neuroses results in some pretty wacky maledictions. Unfortunately, these folks get all the publicity while the vast majority of serious and sincere believers go unnoticed. Here’s some examples of the twisted revisions of Christian teachings coming from this segment of Christianity today. They would be humorous if they didn’t cause so much suffering.
Jesus said, “love one another as I have loved you.” To these folks he really meant to “love those who agree with you and share your lifestyle, preferably have achieved a certain level of financial security and come closest to your color or complexion. Be particularly selective in your love of Muslims, people of color and homosexuals.”
Jesus said, “what you do to the least among us, you do to me.” To these folks he meant “don’t take me literally. If the least among us look like dope addicts, winos, queers or the homeless, they probably deserve their plight. If you help them you keep them dependent and that’s a sin. It’s okay to help the least among you only if they deserve it. And who better to determine if they deserve it than you?
Jesus said, “judge not lest ye be judged.” Their interpretation? Get serious! It’s required of you to judge anyone who is lower in socio-economic status. Anyone who disagrees with your theology is inferior too, so go ahead and judge your little heart out. Hint: The way to feel superior and make them inferior is to judge yourself by your intentions and them by their circumstances.
Jesus said, “Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven”. This is one that they acknowledge may not apply today as it did in the time of Jesus. Today, we have safety nets for the poor so they don’t need your money, unless they’re just too lazy to partake in the princely benefits at the government trough. And if they are, you don’t need to worry about them. Anyway the poor cannot be trusted to manage money effectively. And it would be a sin to give it them, so keep it yourself.
Jesus said, “turn the other cheek.” What he meant was if you’ve exhausted all other possibilities, like standing your ground, ready to use lethal force with your concealed carry weapon and you run out of ammunition that you’ve been hoarding since Obama got into office, and finally, in a moment of lucidity, you find that your antagonist is not really that dangerous.
Jesus said, “let he among you, who has not sinned cast the first stone.” Notice that he didn’t say “she” which is his dog-whistle method of pointing out that women should not be allowed to even hold, let alone, throw stones. And if you take this to its logical conclusion, meting out punishments is reserved for those in authority. And If women can’t throw stones, they are not fit for positions of authority. They really should stay in the home doing housework.
Who wants to belong to this tradition? Twenty five to thirty percent of Christians in America, that’s who.