Bad Things about Christianity
I while back I was eating lunch with my brother who is a Christian. I always enjoy our talks, and this time he asked me if I didn’t believe any of the claims of Christianity, how did I think it came to be and stay around for so long? I told him that I thought it was just something like a meme that had caught on and self-perpetuated. My brother then said to me, “well at least it’s a good meme.”
I don’t think that Christianity is a good meme. Its faults don’t seem to be overwhelmed by its goodness. I’m not even convinced that it’s matched evenly. I think it’s time to talk about the some of the bad things I see about Christianity. What things make my short list of problems?
- Faith as a Virtue
- Victimless “Crimes” as Sins
- Afterlife and Armageddon.
Now I know that there are Christians that come in every flavor. Just about any statement that you make about Christians as a whole there is someone somewhere that doesn’t match. Some claim that they don’t believe in or at least don’t care about an afterlife. Others have rejected the idea of sins or a personal omniscient God. But I think you will find that these items apply to the majority of Christians and Christian groups. If I’m wrong please let me know know about it in the comments.
Faith as a Virtue
My biggest beef with Christianity is the fact that it sees faith as a virtue. Faith is one of those slippery words that doesn’t seem to like to be pinned down. The best definition that I have heard is Peter Boghossian‘s “pretending to know things that you don’t know.” I’ve heard other definitions including “belief based on evidence,” but said evidence never seems to materialize. At best perhaps its sticking with what you like?
Christianity in general makes it out that having faith in its propositions is a virtue. Some groups even say that this having faith is what provides you with all the benefits of being a Christian such as love, eternal life, and free parking on Tuesdays. People are encouraged to keep their faith strong and do their best to hold onto it and let it grow.
This is bad. No where else in life is it considered to be a significant virtue to stick to a conclusion without good evidence. Is it needed sometimes? Yep. We don’t have enough time in the world to track down every single buried assumption and factoid. But we should be dogmatic and stick to our guns on these things we don’t really have evidence fore. Instead we should wish we could learn more, and we should be willing to say whoops when we find out that what we thought was true wasn’t. It should not be a virtue to keep believing things when people point out we don’t have good reasons to. It should be a serious vice to keep believing when we not only find out we don’t have any good reasons to believe but instead have good reasons to doubt. It should be considered a virtue to question and revise our beliefs as we learn and grow. Faith is a brake that keeps us from moving forward and doing better. Christianity is bad for us all when it teaches people that this vice is a virtue.
Victimless “Crimes” as Sins
What’s something else bad about Christianity? How about the fact that it sets up as crimes worthy of death things that are not crimes at all. Does a teenager need to be told they deserve to burn in hell for masturbating? No. Do they even need to feel bad about it? Nope. What about someone that falls in love with a person of the same gender? Is this something they should repent for and do their best to ignore and suppress? Absolutely not. Should people be told that they are bloody murders because they terminate a pregnancy of their own body before it has a chance to turn into a child? No.
But by setting up a God that is the ruler and judge Christianity works to make it so that nothing is out of bounds of its control. Have a lustful thought pass through your head? Should you just consider that you are a mammal and work to understand your drives and control them or indulge them as you see fit without hurting others? No, instead Christianity teaches you should think that your quick thought instead hurt the feelings of the omniscient creator of the universe and that you should know you are a bad person for having the thought and therefore as a bad person you deserve whatever ever bad things this all-powerful busy body wants to do to you. After all, you messed up his perfect plan. They make up the rules such that no human can be perfect and tell you that only perfection can be tolerated. This my friends is building a market.
Since there is no evidence that the thoughts and preferences attributed to the Christian god are actually the thoughts and preferences of an omniscient, all-powerful, loving creator of the universe, people should not be taught that they should feel bad for going against these thoughts and preferences. Instead people should be taught to empathize with their fellow humans and work together as equals. They should not consider themselves to be blessed with the one and only true set of divine commands, but just a fellow human with some things to share and lots of things to learn.
Afterlife and Armageddon
What else is bad about Christianity? How about the central theme that Jesus is coming back and Christians will live with him eternally? This is a double whammy of delusion and wishful thinking that has real negative consequences here on this planet. After all, if this life is just a shadow and foretaste of an infinite, why should we focus on making this life better? That’s bad math. With the mathematical trick of infinitely great, infinitely long paradise on the horizon, you can justify being miserable or making others miserable in this life. After all, its just a short time of trouble before paradise. What’s seventy or eighty years of repression and submission to external authority when you have an afterlife that will be worth it all?
But the problem is that there isn’t actually any good reason to think that this wished for afterlife will really happen. Or that Jesus or anyone else will pull back the veil and destroy the Earth we have which is full of sickness and trouble and make us a new perfect one. So because they have been fed these delusions people make decisions that otherwise don’t make much sense. They may decide to not do things that make themselves happy and might lead to a better life because they don’t think happiness here is worth giving up the eternal bliss they have been promised.
And why focus on long term problems? If Jesus is coming back any day, who needs long term planning? After all, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Don’t just stop with your life, either. Why worry about the cumulative effect of humans or what the world will be like in 100 years? After all, aren’t the signs clear that we are in the end times? Famines aren’t a sign of global warming or things we need to fight, but rather a sign of the birth pains of the new perfect Earth Jesus will give us. All the bad things aren’t things that need to be fixed, but rather signs and portents that Jesus will come back to save us very soon.
This is just more wishful thinking and delusion. It takes people’s focus away from where it needs to be, making the world a better and safer place for all of us, and instead puts it toward battening down the hatches, spreading the word of our impending damnation, and letting everything go to hell in a handbasket.
So there’s a short list of things I think are bad about Christianity. I could list many more, but I hope this is enough to answer the question about why I don’t think that Christianity is such a good thing. Sorry, brother.