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Austin Cline

Atheists Ashamed of Christianity

By September 5, 2005

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Christianity is a dominant force in America - but is it a force for good? Christians certainly seem to think so and they act like it's the best possible influence that a nation can have. For many others, though, Christianity is not only not a good influence, but as practiced in America it's actually an embarrassment.

Tso Fakin Wat writes:

Iím ashamed that most Judeo-Christian thought in this country is characterized by Old Testament meanness. ...Iím ashamed because the current Christians pull more from the historical propaganda of a racist, xenocidal, genocidal tribe than from the books in which their Savior speaks.

And when conversation does get around to Christ, itís filled with a simpering, morbid martyr complex, a reveling in the brutality of his torture. Wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Not to mention the lie of persecution. An offshoot of the martyr complex. In a country run by a Christian tradition, Christians always consider themselves a minority. Partially because theyíre so fragmented, so fond of their own narrow views, that they donít recognize the other offshoots as Christianity.

Well if this country is run by secular interests, explain to me how there are at least 500 Christian churches in this county alone, and I canít find one fucking adult bookstore. Or why I canít purchase beer in supermarkets? Or why ďunder GodĒ is still in the Pledge of Allegiance? Or why Iíve never seen a major political figure that doesnít profess to either Christianity or Judaism?

Why donít Christians ever mention the Beatitudes?

Everything pointed out here is, think, partially attributable to the fact that American Christianity is at least as American as it is Christian. This tends to be unrecognized by Christians themselves and if you point it out to them, they are likely to deny it ó for them, their Christianity is a pure faith and a personal relationship, not a culturally-conditioned belief system. Just a brief examination of how Christianity has been pursued in other nations and other times demonstrates, though, that what we find in America is not the standard.

The question is thus raised: how much of what is ďbadĒ in American Christianity really a product of American culture? How much of it would basically be there, in some form, even if America were Hindu or Buddhist? Thatís hard to say, given how deeply intertwined Christianity and American culture can be, but it is an interesting question.

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