Friday, May 18, 2018

The Weekly Pep Rally: Churches Without a god

Being someone who grew up in the church and who, then, worked in churches for about two decades, I know what church is like. Or, well, I know what church is supposed to be like. Church used to be a place of moral authority, which is what it's supposed to be like, sort of, but, these days, it's become more of a... slot machine. It's a change largely instituted by Boomers through their wholehearted embrace of the prosperity doctrine and the idea they've pushed that church should be FUN! WooHoo!

And I'm not saying necessarily that church shouldn't be fun, but it shouldn't be about being fun. Of course, the whole fun thing is really only about making money.

And I'm also not saying that those morals in the "moral authority" were correct, but, at least, the people who attended paid some semblance of respect to those morals and tried to live lives that matched.

Without going through the history of the decline of the church in the United States, it abandoned any pretense of moral authority with its embrace of Trump (#fakepresident). You can't tell people they shouldn't commit adultery while supporting a man who views adultery as a victory. You can't tell people to "love your neighbor" while supporting a man who abuses his neighbors of other skin tones. You can't tell people to "love God" when you support a man who only loves himself.

I could go on...

Church is no longer about "being good" or "bringing people to Christ" or helping the needy. In fact, "christianity" is no longer about following Jesus at all. "christianity" has become a political position, and church is nothing more than a weekly Right-wing pep rally.

Which, you know, was a very eye-opening thought. It explains why a fairly small minority of the population is able to stay so organized and retain so much power.

Lookit, "the moral majority" Right-wing fundamentalist fascist fuckheads makeup, at best, about 30% of the population, and, yet, they have been able to stay in control of the reins of power for far too long because they are able to stay focused on a small number of issues. It keeps them motivated, and it's why they turn out for all of the elections.

It's like this:
A "friend" of mine from Texas with whom I went to college told me he "literally would have voted for the Devil rather than vote for Clinton." He used abortion as the excuse for his stance (though it sounded more to me like it was about having a woman in charge because "christians" hate women in power). Another "friend" (also from Texas and also from college) quickly echoed the sentiment. Having their votes be about an issue also allowed them to be able to doublethink (look it up if you don't know), "Sure I voted for Trump, but I'm not a Trump supporter."

But let's not go down all of those rabbit trails, as appealing as they are. Or not appealing.

All of that to say that I think those of us on the Left could probably benefit from some kind of similar weekly pep rally that would help us to stay focused on particular issues and motivated about getting out to vote. We could call it Church of the Godless, which would not be substantially different from "christian" churches, but it would be more honest.
But, then, it is rigid fundamentalists who are the ones more prone to hypocrisy. It must hurt to have so many planks in one's eyes.


  1. One has to wonder how many of them have read the Bible. They claim to live by it, but they don't. (Not that I know anything about the Bible, but I don't claim to be Christian.)

    1. Liz: In my experience, none of them have read the Bible. Including the pastors. Less than 1%. Way less.

      For an example, when I was in college, I had a lot of friends who were ministerial students, NONE of them had read more than bits and pieces of the Bible. In fact, not a single student in the ministerial program at the time had read the book. On the other hand, I, a lowly English major, had read it TWICE. It made some of them feel bad, but not bad enough to do anything about it.

  2. So many people only seem to use Christianity as a means to be superior to others, and to control them. They act like their beliefs are an armor that protects them from any moral failings, so they can do whatever they want. The only time they ever read the Bible is when they need something to justify their behavior.

    1. Jeanne: That's not called reading the Bible; that's called cherry picking some verses.

  3. I think the Unitarians come closest to the pep rally on the Left you've described. But to me, that has always felt like a religion that isn't really a religion at all - the only unifying belief being that there is no unifying belief. It's just a nice group of people to meet for coffee once a week. I like coffee chats just fine, but it's not the sort of spectacle that inspires the numbers the megachurches do.

    I know I'm only saying what you already know but hypocrisy in organized religion is hardly a new idea. Trumpism is just the latest disgusting form. Attempts to engage in thoughtful conversation don't appear to help, either.

    1. TAS: No, there is no thoughtful conversation. Too many of them have the attitude of, "You don't need to know anything that's not in the Bible." And when I say "anything," I mean ANYTHING, even or especially learning anything about the Bible before the KJV came into existence.

      And, yeah, the Unitarians can't cut it. It needs to be something more focused.