My often scatter-brained but many times super-wise friend Courtney once remarked that it is difficult to investigate one’s own personality because to contemplate one’s self is to play a game with fishhooks or monkeys-in-a-barrel. To pull up one issue is to pull up several others attached to it, some of which you may not be ready to face.

My thought process works like this often, and I find it difficult to express, concisely and coherently, exactly what it is that I want to express.

In other words, try to bear with me. My thoughts here may not necessarily be so clear.

Christianity puts many people off in the modern era. This much is true. This much is undeniable. If you think otherwise, go ask someone who isn’t particularly religious how they feel about Christianity, and you’re likely to get a negative response.

Only a few years ago, I felt something quite similar in this regard. The transition blog (Memoirs of My Religion…4 or so) has yet to be posted, but we’ll get there. The point is, though, that I really had a bad taste in my mouth when I thought of Christianity.

Naturally, I had a particular image in my mind of what Christianity was, thanks to my fundamentalist/evangelical/lowest-of-the-low-church days.

What I’ve come to learn, thankfully, is that the particular image of Christianity I had was only one image and not a summation of the entire faith and all the varieties of denominations.

Christianity, as a whole, makes many mistakes as far as religions go. Some are theological, and some are attitudinal, which in turn affects the theology.

One of the biggest mistakes of Christianity is the attempt to the culture of “there and then” and insist that we abide by said culture in the “here and now.” Many Christians try to look at the world 2000 years ago and suggest that this is the way the world really is supposed to be and we should thus live our lives in that manner.

Such is the mistake of, and I can say this in no kinder way, simple-minded people.

Somewhere along the line, the reality that Christianity is a Living Tradition in the Here and Now was discarded in favor of a Golden-Era-Truth-in-the-Past-to-Which-We-Ought-to-Return. Further distorting reality, people began to suggest that this said Golden Era was described perfectly in the Bible.

Uh…perhaps something like the first two chapters of Genesis, sure. But have you read the rest of the Bible? It’s pretty much filled with people not listening to God and not being in tune with God.

There is a certain world view held by the characters in the Bible- they lived in a particular culture, spoke a particular language, had particular scientific understandings of things, particular prejudices, and so on and so forth. The same holds true for us as well.

But we don’t live in that culture. Your average Evangelical Protestant will quote from the Bible and make all kinds of commentary on it as a historical model without having the proper knowledge of the cultural context in which said things are happening- and that is to say nothing of them missing the entire point of what’s being said, the entire message being carried.

People are quite quick to whip out Jesus in this day and age to back up their point of view on something. You especially hear the self-styled “conservative” camps in the United States quoting Bible verses to back up their views on things, but they might surprised that self-described “liberal” camps, too, can back up “liberal” views using the Scriptures.

Anyway, the point: we cannot go back to the past, we cannot go back to the cultures of old, and no, contrary to what some people seem to think, things will not all be all right if we would just subjugate women, beat our children, execute gays, and enslave the blacks, and allow men to be in charge of everything, just like in the Good Old Days in the Bible.

I’ll close this entry with a quote from Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, which is rather a good summary of how I feel about Christianity at times:

From the Crusades to the Inquisition to American politics, the name “Jesus” had been hijacked as an ally in all kinds of power struggles. Since the beginning of time, the ignorant had always screamed the loudest, herding the unsuspecting masses and forcing them to do their bidding. They defended their worldly desires by citing Scriptures they did not understand. They celebrated their intolerance as proof of their convictions. Now, after all these years, mankind had finally managed to utterly erode everything that had once been so beautiful about Jesus.