Last Updated on 2022-03-09 by Joop Beris
This post is a deeper dive into why I dislike many forms of organized religion, in this case Christianity. Now you may ask “What’s wrong with Christianity?” Many people don’t see the harm in it because in most Western nations, Christianity has been “domesticated”. It’s a watered down version of originally extreme beliefs, cherry-picked from the Bible and with most of the unpleasant stuff left out. That unpleasant stuff is still there though, buried just under the surface. And I’m about to dig it up. Here’s what’s wrong with Christianity.
No historical events
If I’m honest, there’s a lot wrong with Christianity. I am not going to dive into history so I won’t mention the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the witch hunts or other historical events. I’ll look at the problems I have with Christianity in today’s world. I know not all Christian denominations have the same attitudes concerning these topics but this is the general sense you get from many Christians today.
Christianity is anti human
This is one of my main points of objection to Christianity. It’s the belief that we are somehow not worthy. Christianity teaches that humans are sinful. It teaches self-loathing, to the point that it’s better to mutilate ourselves if we do something wrong in the eyes of God rather than risk losing God’s approval .
No matter how good we are, we are never good enough for God. To live with that mindset, is to live as a slave, cowering on our knees at the feet of the master, hoping for mercy that we are undeserving to receive. That’s hardly a healthy mindset for thinking about yourself.
Granted, I think we could do better as human beings and we should do better as human beings. Not because we owe it to some unsubstantiated deity but we owe it to ourselves, to our fellow humans. We can, if we want to, outgrow our barbarism, superstition, bigotry and hatred. Since religion is one of the forces that drives us apart, the sooner it becomes a strictly private affair, the better.
Christianity relies on fear
Christianity teaches that there is an eternal punishment for those falling short of God’s expectations: Hell. Here, those who fail to forsake sin, who do not worship God with all their heart will suffer unbearable torment for all eternity. No matter how unrealistic and immoral the idea of eternal punishment for temporary sin may be, generations of Christians grew up with that idea and still do.
It is the fear of Hell that keeps the faithful on the path to salvation. It’s also what keeps them from asking questions and exploring their doubts. To doubt God is to set one foot in Hell. Thinking in the wrong way can be cause for eternal damnation because God, we are told, is always watching and knows all. Even the secret thoughts in your mind. Christians live under ceaseless and perfect surveillance, not even enjoying privacy of thought, always running the risk of being convicted of thought crime.
To have no privacy means you can never be yourself, may not even be able to form an identity of your own. To live under a magnifying glass your whole life, causes stress which is bad for your health, as demonstrated by Dr. Andrew Newberg. Even if that magnifying glass exists only in your mind. And what to think of the mental anguish experienced when you imagine one of your loved ones going to Hell? Or imagining yourself going to Hell?
In addition, Christianity exploits our fear of death to good effect. It “sells” us eternal life in Heaven, free of hardship, sorrow and pain. A Heaven where we can all be close to God and where every delight awaits us. As long as we fear death, people are going to fall for stories like this.
Terrifying children, the dying and the gullible with the notion of damnation, eternal punishment and unending torment with no reprieve is immoral and evil.
Christianity focuses on the after-life
While Christians may enjoy their life and find joy here on Earth, the life they live here is ultimately of secondary importance to many of them. It’s the life after death in Heaven that is the one that counts the most. I am fine with this belief, if it causes you to feel less stress and less fear of death, giving you a more fulfilling life.
What I do object to, is when this attitude makes you indifferent to suffering in this life. I’ve heard Christians sigh and accept suffering because “this world is of the Devil”. How often are we told that God works in mysterious ways or we must trust His plan when confronted with situations that are in our power to change? If your expectation of an afterlife causes you to forsake your current life, the one you are sure to have, you are wasting the life you have now.
Suffering of others
People forsaking their own life is of course their right. However, this kind of thinking is especially harmful if it causes you to ignore or think less of the suffering of others, since they are supposedly destined for a glorious afterlife anyway. A good example of this, on a large scale is how dogma of the Roman Catholic Church is actively contributing to the spread of AIDS in Africa. Getting AIDS is obviously not a good thing, but it’s not as bad as using a condom. Condom use is a sin, says the church and as such, thousands of Africans have attracted the disease which condoms could have prevented.
Christianity is elitist
While Christians tell us that Christ’s example makes them humble, often this is not true. There is something inherently elitist about many faiths and Christianity is no exception. Christians believe that through their salvation, they are now part of God’s “inner circle”, the chosen few who will go to Heaven. They are redeemed while others are destined for Hell. This creates an “us and them” attitude while dealing with the world.
Christians will attest to having a personal relationship with God. Imagine being so conceited that you think that the creator of the entire universe wants to have a relationship with you. This attitude is what makes some Christians so intolerably sanctimonious.
How do you know it’s a good plan?
Somehow, they seem to know what God wants or likes while the rest of the world is not privy to such knowledge. This is the “God hates fags” and “God doesn’t want you to have an abortion” crowd. These are the people who will insist that God has a plan for you. Their “personal relationship with God” apparently gives them the right to tell others how to live their lives.
In reality, no one can know what God wants or what He has in store for you or anyone else. That’s because God does not speak plainly to people, not even to the most sanctimonious of Christians. He doesn’t speak at all because the Christian God doesn’t exist.
Christianity denies people their rights
The roots of modern Christianity go back to a time when there was no idea of universal human rights. It was a time when slavery was perfectly acceptable, a time when men were masters of their house. Women were second rate citizens at best, considered the property of their fathers and when married, of their husbands. Corporal punishment of women and children was appropriate and even encouraged. Being gay was tantamount to a death sentence when discovered.
We still find that attitude throughout the Bible. Verses declaring the husband the head of the house, instructing women to be quiet in church, verses not to spare the rod when disciplining your children, verses calling male on male sex immoral, the list goes on and on. It’s verses like these that are used to condemn same sex marriage, pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia laws and laws to protect children from physical harm.
Society has moved on
However, human society has come a long way in the past 2000 years. Although it was a long and often painful process, our views on the position of women, children and LGBT people have shifted dramatically in most modern societies. We have made progress towards actual equality for all people. We still have a long way to go and the progress is being actively slowed down by the religious, including Christians.
Pointing to texts written in many cases over 2000 years ago, in a time far less enlightened and more barbarous, Christians today oppose abortions, euthanasia and same sex marriage whilst advocating for their right to beat children under the flag of religious freedom. Women are still viewed as incapable, in need of training or even correction. Christianity is holding us back by attempting to deny whole groups of people their rights.
Christianity glorifies a human sacrifice
One of the most amazing things about the Christian faith, is the worship of the alleged sacrifice by Jesus on the cross. Each Sunday all over the globe, otherwise decent people symbolically recreate a bizarre, cannibalistic ritual of eating human flesh and drinking human blood. Christians believe that Jesus’ death on the cross absolves them of all sin, simply by accepting what is essentially a human sacrifice. This is the core belief of virtually all Christians worldwide.
Jesus’ function in all this is that of the scapegoat. The scapegoat was originally an animal that was ritually burdened with the “sins” of a community and was then driven into the desert to die. This absolved a community of any guilt it had in the eyes of their god. The practice predates both Christianity and Judaism.
This is where the symbolic eating of Jesus’ flesh and the drinking of the blood come from. Just as I mentioned above, the roots of Christianity go back to barbarous times and this is one of the places where it shows the most. Christianity, at its core, is a blood cult. At its heart is the morally repugnant idea that the death of another person can absolve you or me not only of our sins but of our responsibility for them. Washed in the blood of their savior, Christians can be assured of being accepted by God.
I say morally repugnant because there is no way that the death of another, innocent person can relieve anyone of their responsibility for their actions or inaction. Killing someone for your own faults and calling it even, is a barbaric notion indeed!
Christianity is glorified ignorance
Like any faith, Christianity is pretending to know something which no one can possibly know. Nobody can know that God exists because there’s no evidence for it. There’s certainly no one who can know what God wants. It’s impossible to know anything through faith. We believe by faith but we know by facts.
I’ve literally had Christians tell me that they don’t need to look for the answers or for the evidence because they already know the truth. I’ve had Christians tell me that I am the Devil because I made them doubt and question their faith. And what to think of Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis fame, who in his famous debate with Bill Nye kept saying “We have this book”, referring to the Bible as containing everything a person could possibly want to know.
Only right by accident
And yet, despite Christian claims to the contrary, the church has lost every major argument it has had with science since the Age of Enlightenment. Whether it is the heliocentric model of the solar system or the theory of evolution, in every case the church has had to give ground. The Vatican even went so far as to accept evolution as fact, despite vehement opposition against it in the past. The simple fact is that Christianity is wrong on almost every aspect of the natural world and where it is right, it is right entirely by accident.
Despite this, there are still faith schools that teach the Genesis narrative as an alternative theory. There are also still active attempts to have “intelligent design” (creationism) taught in classrooms as an alternative to evolution, even though neither of these faith-based narratives have any scientific merit.
Christianity withholds medical care
Fortunately this horrific fact is not true for most Christian denominations but there are denominations such as the Jehova’s witnesses who refuse certain life-preserving treatments purely on dogma. I do not care much if this is the patients own choice, presuming they are not pressured and have all their mental faculties intact. After all, I think a person should have the right to refuse medical treatment if they wish. However, there’s often children involved. Parents who sit by their child’s bed, praying and slowly watching their child die.
It is only their religious belief which makes these parents choose prayer, anointing with oil and such superstitions over often simple medical procedures such as a blood transfusion. Medical procedures which are known to work, maybe not always to heal but to make symptoms bearable or at the very least to remove discomfort.
Only deeply held religious belief or mental illness would cause parents to withhold medical care for their children. Someone less generous than me might argue that these conditions are indistinguishable.
Christianity preys on the young
“Give me the child until he is seven and I’ll give you the man”. A quote from Aristotle but made famous by St. Francis Xavier. Being fully aware that children at a young age are highly impressionable and easily indoctrinated into faith, Christians have always been eager to build schools and educate the young. In Europe, during much of the Middle Ages, the only hope of an education at all was a religious education!
That’s not the only way that Christianity preys on the young. Scarcely a month goes by without a new scandal surfacing of Christians sexually assaulting and/or physically abusing children. The lists are endless, the victims number in the tens of thousands at least and we don’t even know how many there are because people don’t come forward out of shame. The churches involved do their very best to hide these sordid secrets, instead of cooperating with law enforcement. This is absolutely horrific and shameful!
If this was any other organization, they would have been outlawed and prosecuted years ago. However, since the perpetrators are often ordained ministers, somehow they get treated differently. This is unacceptable in my view.
Christianity is obsessed with sex
From a very early time in the development of the religion, Christianity has had an unhealthy attitude towards sex. This began with St. Paul, arguably one of the most important apostles. His authority on many matters has become dogma in the church. Unfortunately, Paul appears to have been a misogynist, advocating sexual abstinence for men.
Very soon in the early Christian church, sex became synonymous with sin, virginity with goodness. It got to a point where one of the most influential figures, Origen of Alexandria, even castrated himself in order to stay away from sin. A practice apparently so popular that the First Ecumenical Church Council, held at Nicæa in 325 forbade men who had castrated themselves from becoming priests. Sex was a necessary evil for the purpose of procreation but not something to be enjoyed, to give pleasure and increase intimacy.
Instruments of the devil
St. Jerome and St. Augustine sealed the matter further, labelling sex as “disgusting, unclean and degrading” and women as the damnation of men, instruments of the Devil. Unfortunately, this attitude has never really changed much. Western civilization became ashamed of sex, ashamed of the naked body and saw sexual pleasure as a necessary evil, something to be engaged in only for making new Christians.
Only religion could turn a natural, healthy and very necessary aspect of human existence into something that can’t be discussed and can’t be enjoyed and ideally shouldn’t be engaged in. Fortunately, in the last 100 years, we have been emancipating ourselves from Christianity’s unhealthy obsession with sex.
Christianity is obsessed with torture
Apart from having such an unhealthy attitude towards sex, Christianity also has an obsession with death, suffering and torture. Christian art is full of images of people being tortured and executed in gruesome ways, most notably Jesus himself. In churches, in homes and on street corners even, you find crucifixes with either a dead or dying Jesus on them. Thanks to advances in cinematography, Mel Gibson could show his Passion story in all its gory detail, horrifying cinema-goers worldwide. Many people have become so used to seeing the crucifix that we forget what it was: an ancient, barbaric device intended to give people a slow, tortuous death. And yet, Christians worldwide see the crucifixion as an image fit for children.
Even worse than that, in emulation of Jesus, there are people who have themselves voluntarily crucified during Passover celebrations. Some even go so far as to actually have nails hammered into their hands and feet. There are processions in the street with flagellants who whip their backs raw and bloody.
A lot of the imagery shows bound, half naked or naked people, being subjected to gruesome torture or execution. The victims are mostly calm, serene and suffer their anguish with grace, casting their eyes towards heaven in supplication. Often the idealized body of the victim, the pose and the attention to detail suggest something else entirely. Look at the images above and see for yourself that there is an undeniably erotic element in them.
There seems to be something deeply sadomasochistic inside Christianity. Early saints were revered because of their mortification of the flesh. Monks and nuns engaged in self-flagellation and other acts of self-punishment. These practices haven’t ended but continue to this day. It should be clear to us that many saints of old would end up in a psychiatric ward today.
Christianity is hypocritical
A drawback of being in a religion that has rules which no sane person can follow, is that no matter how hard you try, you will fail. That’s why many Christians choose the rules that they follow and which to ignore. We call these “cafeteria Christians” because they treat the Bible like a buffet. While it’s often used as a derogatory term, we should be thankful that most Christians are cafeteria Christians! Anyone who follows the rules of Christianity to the letter, finds himself at odds with the law very quickly.
It’s not a buffet
This practice makes Christianity hypocritical. Picking and choosing which rules to follow means choosing which parts of scripture to follow and which to ignore. In essence, cafeteria Christians choose their own gospel. However, if the Bible is the inerrant word of God as Christians believe, they shouldn’t be treating it that way.
So if the Bible condemns masturbation as sin, any Christian who has masturbated can’t be called a good Christian. If same sex marriage is sinful as the Bible says, then on those grounds all Christians should condemn it. Fortunately, many Christians these days are more with the times and ignore these backward stipulations. In doing so, they basically admit that modern morality and liberty is better than what is described in their holy texts.
Only on Sunday
Another type of hypocrisy is that of the Sunday Christian. This type of Christian sits front row each Sunday morning service, only to do whatever they please for the rest of week. They confess (often loudly) with their mouths but their actions speak differently. If there were an almighty and omniscient God, He probably wouldn’t be fooled by such displays but their fellow humans might.
The most notable hypocrisy is of course when well known, powerful Christians are discovered to be hypocrites. The bigger they come, the harder they fall. Names like Jim Bakker (rape and theft), Kent Hovind (tax fraud), Jimmy Swaggart (sex scandals with prostitutes) and George Alan Reekers (anti-gay minister hiring male prostitutes) will forever be linked to their hypocrisy.
We’ve taken a quick dive into what’s wrong with Christianity. Some of these things are the anti-human attitude, reliance on fear of death and damnation, hypocrisy and denying people their rights. What’s your biggest issue with Christianity? Do you agree with my assessment or do you have another opinion? Kindly let me know in the comments below.