Well, We’re Not Sweden — But We’re Not “Christian,” Either

You’ve seen them — the Internet memes that show how a country like Sweden, for example, is 80 percent atheist and yet has lower rates of incarceration, or crime, or violence — whereas 78 percent of all Americans claim to be Christians, and we have massively higher rates of all three.

The point, of course, is to applaud the sensible atheism, as they see it, of those safe, profitable, egalitarian, and almost idealic places to live, as well as to shame the “Christianity” of a country like the United States, which is and has forever, pretty much, been awash in myriad social problems that reek of immorality, injustice, unrighteousness, and unconcern for the poor.  Predictably, these memes outrage Christians.  They should.

But not for the reasons they usually do.

If the economic, religious, social, and political climate of this  country is the result of more than three-quarters of its people sharing a profound devotion to Jesus Christ, something’s wrong.  In fact, something’s fatally wrong, because the society our “Christianity” has brought about is killing people directly and, also directly, causing them to scoff at and reject the message of Christ.  So there seems to be a bit of a conundrum here.

But wait. Could it be that these 78 percent of “Christian” Americans actually just share a profound devotion to American Christiandom instead of to Jesus Christ? Could it be that American Evangelical Christiandom, or Christiandumb, has become a sad, sick, impotent and irrelevant expression of Jesus’ message? Could it be that TV preachers and their almost uniformly silly and vapid or foul and perverted “gospel” has defined the faith for so long that we haven’t the faintest idea what lives of mature discipleship and solid theology even look like? And could it be that a huge chunk of this 78% presumes that they’re Christian simply because they once said a prayer, or said the Pledge, or were born not-something-else, and, for the purposes of the rich and powerful who shameless exploit them and still garner their support, that was good enough?

Could it be that a huge percentage of the huge percentage of Americans who call themselves Christians have no idea whatsoever “taking up your cross daily” and following the Messiah really means?  Because something’s not right here.  Either atheism is a preferred practice for individuals and communities, or Christian faith is.  So when the Christian faith that’s evinced leads to the horrific injustices here not found there, we probably ought to — need to — examine if what we’re calling “Christianity” has the slightest thing to do with the message and life of Jesus Christ.

And guess what?  I’m pretty sure that I’m on solid logical, social, and, more important, Biblical ground in asserting that the injustice-indifferent, corruption-coddling, masculinist, materialistic, feel-good, market-driven, unbalanced, childish spectacle that tickles our ears and makes us willing to whore ourselves with every Gospel-countering political movement that soothes us even as it offends Christ isn’t Christianity at all.  It is, however, a potent portrait of patriarchy in practice, and I can’t think of much else that’s more antithetical to Jesus Christ than that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the religious, economic, social, and political climate of this country is the result of more than three-quarters of its people sharing a profound devotion to Jesus Christ, something’s wrong. Oh, wait. Could it be that they share a profound devotion to American Christiandom instead? Could it be that A.C. has become a sad, sick, impotent and irrelevant expression of Jesus’ message? And could it be that a huge chunk of this 78% presumes that they’re Christian simply because they once said a prayer, or said the Pledge, or were born not-something-else, and, for the purposes of the rich and powerful, that was good enough?

Leave a Reply