What does life look like post graduation from graduate school? I am about to find out!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Anne Rice and Quitting Christianity

In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of ...Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.
Anne Rice

In Sunday School at LakeView this week, we talked about this quote and discussed the implications of it. I don't often get to attend the Sunday School class because I'm usually running around doing things during that time but I am glad I got to come this week as this is a quote that has really been on my mind for the past couple of months. As I mentioned in a previous post, I spent several years as an atheist and some of that had to do with the fact that I didn't approve of the hatred that I was seeing Christians participate in. I have always believed that God loves everyone and that hatred has no place in Christianity. Growing up in a fairly conservative area, I was subjected to a lot of hatred and vitriol being spewed in the name of Christ. It really put a bitter taste in my mouth toward the whole concept of Christianity. I personally didn't want to believe in a God that would preach hatred toward others and didn't want to be associated with that. So, I decided that I would just become an atheist and not be affiliated with Christianity at all.
So, as you can see, I should be sympathetic toward Anne Rice and her reasons for quitting a religion that admittedly has plenty of reasons not to be a part of it. However, where I take issue with Rice is how quick she is to label all Christians as bad and put them in a box. I've come to realize that not all Christians are anti-gay, anti-birth control, anti-science etc. and that is the kind of Christianity that I belong to. I have no issues with those Christians that believe differently, I just strongly disagree with them and am quick to make that known to them. That kind of Christianity is the kind that turned me off to the religion in the first place.
Being a follower of Christ is not easy and there are plenty of times when I don't always want to believe or want to yell at the conservative evangelicals that they are wrong but ultimately, I choose to follow an imperfect religion because I myself am imperfect. It's only recently (really since I signed on to be a YAV) that I have even felt comfortable calling myself a Christian. I used to be so ashamed to call myself a Christian because I was afraid that people would lump me in with the evangelicals and that was not me at all. I'm no longer ashamed to call myself a Christian because if people know I am a Christian, hopefully that will change their views on Christians. It's my job as a Christian to exhibit the love of God and the openness of the Holy Spirit and if through that, people get a new perspective on Christianity, then all the better. Being a Christian means taking the good with the bad. I believe that the media likes to portray Christianity in a negative light. All you ever hear about on TV is the Westboro Baptist Church and such but you almost never hear about the good things that Christianity is doing in the world. Yes, Christianity is responsible for a lot of absolutely terrible things but it has also been responsible for some wonderful things and I think that needs to be acknowledged as well. Rice and so many others like to paint Christianity in a bad light and as Christians we need to be more vocal about how wrong they are about us. The majority of non-Christians will never view Christianity in a positive light unless those of us who are the "liberal" Christians stand up and let our voices be heard. I'm not trying to knock conservative evangelicals as they are children of God and followers of Christ too. I'm simply saying that those of us who are pro-gay rights, pro-choice, pro-birth control and Christians need to let people know that we exist and that there is another way to think about God and the Bible. Otherwise, we risk alienating and losing even more people like Rice who have become disillusioned and disheartened with the church and what they perceive to be its message of intolerance.
Rice may be a fantastic writer (I wouldn't know, I haven't read her stuff) but she deeply offends me when she attempts to label all Christians as intolerant and homophobic etc. That's not the Christianity I proclaim and it is not one that is endorsed by the YAV program. I am proud to say I am a Christian and will remain one now and forevermore. The church isn't perfect but neither am I and that is why I remain with it. Hallelujah and AMEN!!

1 comment:

  1. Amen! Tad, you are a great writer and your post was uplifting and something I can totally relate to. I considered myself agnostic because I too could not associate myself with all of the hatred that many Christians showed towards their fellow men. This Sunday, our priest reminded us that Christ told us to love our enemies--pretty much a lot of what he said can be summed up in your post. We are called to love everyone regardless of their beliefs, lifestyles, etc. What particularly struck me about your post was that you didn't get into bashing conservative Christians, you honor them as children of God in a respectful way while still disagreeing with their views. Thank you.