I'm not damning Christians.
This is just what they believe.
Remember original sin? Original Sin... That's right. Christians believe that they were born damned by God – because Adam and Eve didn't do what they were told.
Can you imagine what that must do to their collective psyche?
I can only imagine the pressure of believing that you're already destined for HELL... unless you do exactly as you're told... and then you only might be forgiven.
I can only imagine being told: You're not worthy. You were born not worthy. Start groveling now, you worthless piece of humanity. (And furthermore, anyone who believes otherwise is even more worthless.)
The psychological impact on a culture has to be hugely intimidating and repressive (which would likely lead to the intimidation and repression of others). Every facet of Christians' perception of reality must be effected in a way that pressures them to conform to the culture of the Christian power elite.
You better watch out.
You better not cry.
You better not pout.
I'm telling you why.
Jesus Christ is coming to town.
He sees you when you're sleeping.
He knows you when you're awake.
He knows if you've been bad or good.
So, be good for goodness sake!
(Actually that last line isn't really applicable. Christians aren't really being asked to be good for goodness sake. They're being told to be good – or they're going to HELL!)
They want you to be afraid, very afraid – so that you won't speak up. But speaking out is the first step towards improving our society. We live in a culture that effectively stifles dialog that might lead to innovation and change for the better.
I'm sure that some academic by now has asked the question; what does this fearful attitude do to a culture? If you know of their conclusions, please leave a comment. But for now, I'll just hypothesize.
I am somewhat of a Christian myself; because I was raised in a Christian culture. I don't go to church. But I have been to a few. Personally, I didn't like how they were organized. I didn't like how we all had to sit there and listen attentively to some guy tell us how to live our lives. I believe that if there is a God/Creator, it gave us all our own individual minds – so that we can think for ourselves.
Not that Christian church “leaders” actually have that much power. History has shown that they don't. We always have the power to go to a different church – or not go at all. And if that starts to happen, those Christian church “leaders” had better change their sermons, quick, or their church will go extinct.
For centuries now, we have witnessed Christian belief systems evolve. As our technologies have changed, as our communities have consequently changed, and as our political systems have adapted; so have our cultures and our belief systems.
Sometimes, our societies have changed for the better because of Christian beliefs. The abolition of slavery in the U.S. was primarily driven by Christians.
However, when Christians and the political elite get together, the results have usually been disastrous – such as during the Inquisitions.
My point is simple. We live in a very dynamic culture that is driven by numerous desires and restrictions. Even our religions are constantly changing. (Just a generation ago, there were no mega-churches.)
So; what is the point of claiming absolute knowledge of right and wrong – and scaring the bejesus out of people into doing as they are told?
Quite obviously, no human organization is above reproach. If you involve people, there will be corruption. If there is power to be taken, there will be those willing to lie to take that power. And the temptation to get even more power, wealth, and influence can drive even Christian “leaders” to ally themselves with the scheming demons within our society.
The unholy alliance between the Christian right wingers and the corporate oligarchy is the most dangerous example in our present society of making deals with the devil to grab political power - and stifle change for the better. The ultimate risk of this to Christians is that our society could easily slip into a form of violent, oppressive fascism that perverts the true message of Christianity.
And what is the true message of Christianity? Don't ask me. Ask Jesus.
The Bible, of course, quotes Jesus saying a lot of things. It would be nice to know what Jesus considered the most important. But we do know. Even in Jesus' case; actions speak louder than words. What was Jesus willing to die for?
The one thing we all know that was of utmost importance to Jesus Christ was his attitude about the “money changers.” Ultimately, his comments regarding the “money changers” got him crucified.
It appears that in Jesus' eyes; “selling out” was the most important wrong an ordinary person could commit.
So, if Jesus did come back and saw so many Christian “leaders” obsessed with money and power; what do we think he would say? If Jesus were to see the televangelists preaching power, money, control, and hate; my guess is that he would be just as unhappy as he was at the money changers - probably more so.
But not all Christianity looks like the greedy, self-righteous, power-hungry people we see in front of the cameras. In fact, I beleive most Christians are not like that. These are the people who are a force for good within the churches. And like Jesus, they need to speak up, even if there is a risk.
I have been very impressed that some churches are becoming more environmentally aware. It is my hope that living sustainably will become a Christian priority. It only makes sense:
If there is a Heaven, our odds are pretty slim of being welcome there if we ruin the world we have domain over now.