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I wrote this a few years ago and finally published it in January on a semi-defunct blog I've used sporadically to write about religion and morality. You can click here to jump past the personal history stuff into the “what is Christianity” stuff, or use the table of contents in the upper right.
I'm just one of many, many people out there who grew up in a conservative, fundamentalist Christian home. I'm from the Midwest, where you can get away with assuming someone is a Christian and generally be correct in your assumption.
I wasn't raised in a homeschooling, quiverfull family where the women can't cut their hair or wear pants. It wasn't that crazy. It turns out, however, that just because you seem normal in comparison to the real nutbags, you aren't necessarily living in a very normal family. Even though we didn't seem like your average fundie family, I still went to a conservative Protestant Christian school, went to church twice a week, and frequently wrote in my diary about my paralyzing fear of going to hell because either (a) I didn't get saved the right way or (b) I forgot about some trivial sin committed in days gone by and God wouldn't be able to look at me as a result.
This was my life until my senior year of high school, when I realized that there was a world outside the cozy little close-minded Christian bubble. I started working at Starbucks part time, which in turn exposed me to diverse range of people, both as coworkers and customers. That was the first step - realizing that non-Christians were people just like me, and might even be good people, even if they didn't go to church every Sunday and follow Christianity's doctrine.
The next step was more profound, although at the time I didn't really realize just how profound. My senior year, my mom made me see a counselor in the wake of my parents' divorce, which in the Christian world means regular meetings with a pastor at your church - it's free, and most of the time, counseling is about giving advice more than anything else, so it can work okay.
I'd been seeing my youth pastor weekly for awhile. We talked about all kinds of stuff, and he was very candid and straightforward with me about anything I wanted to talk about. He knew I was smart and could hold my own, so he didn't use subjective, emotional pleas of spirituality to try and manipulate me. In one of our sessions, I told him that I was becoming increasingly bothered by the nagging realization that Christianity meant nothing to me. I told him I had done everything I was supposed to, and that was true. I knew all the Bible verses used for forming an argument to convert someone to Christianity. I understood what I was supposed to believe and why, but it meant nothing to me. I can't overstate this.
It's hard to explain, but it's like this: spirituality is an emotional aspect of humanity. Emotions are, by definition, irrational. We feel certain ways about things, but those feelings are the product of an infinitely complex web of free-willed decisions and involuntary experiences (like trauma) that make up our whole person, which means feelings aren't objective. Objectivity is rational. Subjectivity is irrational. Humans possess both, and religion takes the inherent irrationality of spirituality and its emotions, and uses those feelings to persuade people to change how they make choices in their lives.
TL;DR - I've never gotten any emotional fulfillment from Christianity in any meaningful capacity. People talk about how their faith is comforting to them, how prayer and reading their Bible got them through really hard times. I totally appreciate that…but I don't identify with it at all.
When I was a kid, it was easy enough to go along with everything. I had a pretty volatile home life, which meant that at school I was generally desperate to please any adults in my daily life. That meant I did my best to do what I was told to do, including memorizing Bible verses and singing fun, animated Sunday school songs about how the Christian god annihilated all the people of Jericho.
The older I got, teenage angst and hormones kept the emotions running high, but an increasingly volatile home life meant I was burning up a lot of emotional capital pretty much constantly. There's a funny thing about emotions. Once you get past the emotional part of your mind, the rational part takes over. The more emotional I was, the more rapidly I approached the point where my rational, intellectual side took over.
As I started to get my bearings and try to make sense of what my life was turning out to be, I realized that for all the time and emotion spent, Christianity offered me nothing. I got no comfort from prayer or reading my Bible. Both were chores, things I did because I was told I had to, not because I wanted to. I got emotional at various spiritual revival events, but it was meaningless emotional drainage, like crying during a Lifetime movie.
So when I told Shane that Christianity meant nothing to me, that it made me feel nothing and I got nothing out of it, his response surprised me: “then there's not really much else I can do for you.” He didn't mean it as a slam or as cynical sarcasm, though. At least, that's not how it came across in the context of our conversation. He went on to tell me that if it meant nothing to me, that's just life. I can choose to try and do something about it, or I can choose not to.
The choice to not do something about it was easy once I got to college. I had no interest in hauling my butt out of bed every Sunday to drive halfway across the city to a church I hated to be around people I hated, people who made my life hell and succeeded in making me feel inferior and unimportant every chance they had. I'm really fuckin' weird, and weird just didn't fly with early-2000s fundamentalist Midwest evangelical Christian life.
College led to a lot of bad decisions on my part - not because I left the church and faith, but because my childhood was full of bad life examples, leaving me a directionless, emotional train wreck (like most gen-y women, amirite?)…except I had the intellectual capacity to muddle my way through keeping a job (sort of) and supporting myself (also sort of). In trying to ensure the continuation of my basic survival, religion just fell by the wayside and I didn't think much of it. I still considered myself kind-of a Christian and figured I'd want to marry a Christian man some day, so we'd be on the same page about other things only tangentially related to Christianity - like politics and finances and worldview. I still had a hard time admitting out loud - or to even my close friends - that I was officially Not A Christian.
About those Mormons...
The next step is one that I never would have made without the vast expanse of information available on the Internet. I started reading about Mormonism. I'd always been fascinated by it, because I knew so little about it, and I'd heard rumors about how strange it really was. Thanks to social media, you can now watch secret Mormon temple ceremonies for yourself by way of intrepid risk-takers who covertly recorded everything. I found the whole thing very interesting, particularly once I'd learned that Joseph Smith essentially appropriated a bunch of stuff from freemasonry, added a Christian revivalist spin to it, and called it a new religious movement.
It was all a sham, and not because Smith was preaching something other than the Bible. It's because there's lots of conclusive, documented evidence that he made everything up and stole all the supposedly sacred, divine ceremonies from things freemasons have been doing for a very, very long time.
Once I started reading more in-depth on the subject of Mormonism, I discovered this very tiny voice popping up from time to time in the back of my mind.
If Joseph Smith was wrong, why do we assume the Christian narrative is right? It's been around for a couple thousand years, but that doesn't make it right…it just makes it resilient. I still wasn't ready to openly admit I rejected Christianity entirely. To be honest, I'm not sure I did reject it entirely back then. I just had doubts about its absolute veracity as I learned more about other religious movements and their evolution.
It wasn't until I was about 28 that the next big step happened. First, to recap:
Step one was realizing non-Christians weren't all intractably evil.
Step two was realizing that Christianity didn't mean anything to me, and I didn't necessarily have to do anything about this realization.
Step three was learning through my odd fascination with Mormonism that maybe, just maybe, Christianity isn't necessarily The One True Religion.
How A&E ruined Christianity for me
The catalyst for the next step came from what some might think an unlikely source - my partner (now husband) and I decided to binge History channel's 2013 miniseries covering the major events chronicled in the Christian Bible, when it showed up on Netflix. Something profound happened in my mind and soul as I watched the entirety of the Biblical story played out in high definition, every story in chronological order.
Seeing just how many civilizations were destroyed by the ancient Jews, supposedly at the behest of their god - the same god Christians worship - was shocking. When you learn about Joshua and the battle of Jericho through cartoons and cute Sunday school songs as a young child, it has the long term effect of shutting off the rational part of of your brain as you get older, so you're less likely to critically challenge why the Judeo-Christian deity commanded the complete genocide of an entire society.
By the end of the miniseries, all I could think was, “holy shit, God's a sadistic monster” - and if you look at the stories in the first half of the Bible, he really is. None of it makes sense. I was always taught that what we read in the Bible was righteous and true, and it wasn't our place to question the judgement of the Christian god.
What a ridiculous thing to say. It isn't the Mormons' place to question Joseph Smith or their quorum of twelve, either, and guess what? It turned out both Smith and their quorum had lied to them, knowingly and intentionally.
It bothered me a lot to realize that the old testament really was so violent and brutal and, most importantly, gratuitously sadistic. There's so much unnecessary torture of humans at the hands of the Jews, commanded by their god. It's completely arbitrary to claim that this was righteous and just simply because of who did it.
I realized that there was something very wrong with the Christian doctrine and narrative. The deity described in the old testament was nothing like the deity described in the new testament. He was brutal, violent, genocidal, vindictive, reactionary, emotional, and sadistic. It didn't make sense to me that arbitrarily, about two thousand years ago, said deity decided to suddenly change how the whole universe worked, in terms of the afterlife and the reason for our existence as a species of sentient beings.
At that point, I realized Christianity had too many contradictions and irrational premises to accept it as absolute, incontrovertible truth. I understood even less why people stuck with the religion, but I recognized that others did, and given that spirituality and religion are irrational at their core, I had to accept this, even if I didn't understand it.
From indifference to hostility
The hammer fell in 2016, as it did for many people in the world.
Donald Trump running for the presidency triggered something in me. It pushed me to start really aggressively, deeply analyzing everything I'd been told was true - not about religion, but about politics, the United States, and the world as a whole. Trump running for office terrified the existing post-WWII power structure and global order, and it was causing some incredibly disturbing facts to be exposed for the whole world to see.
One of the most important things Trump forced me to question is globalism. Globalism means all kinds of things and is a very politically-loaded term, so for the purpose of this post, I'm going to define it for you:
Globalism is the belief that the entire world should coexist as one, unified population. It's premised on the assumption that humans are all the same “inside”, meaning that our way of life is innate in all humans, and we should therefore be able to coexist peacefully with everyone else, all living our lives the same way. In the globalist narrative, we are all one people, World Citizens™ with an obligation to the kinship of the entire planet's population.
Globalism in its current form has attempted to economically unify the world, through what's colloquially referred to as “free trade”. Economic globalism has crushed the west, destroying our ability to produce the goods we consume, and favoring third world exploitative labor and the Chinese Communist Party's deep pockets over the prosperity of our own citizens. It was easy for me to recognize that economic globalism was a bad thing.
The cultural unification has been attempted, but has never succeeded, and understanding why multiculturalism has failed so miserably was the crucible in which my deeper understanding of Christianity and Abrahamism, and my current philosophy on our existence, have been forged.
To be blunt, multiculturalism and cultural unification have failed so miserably because we're not all the same.
That doesn't mean we're not “equal” in basic human worth. It means that what's right for one population isn't necessarily right for another. It's why there are such stark differences between cultures.
If culture were merely a product of “social constructs” and environment (which is the postmodern consensus), theoretically culture can organically change simply by manipulating those constructs and environmental factors, right?
This has never worked. The 20th century saw the United States working doggedly to “spread democracy” all over the globe. It has failed every single time. Why? Because we're trying to force an American worldview on populations that are fundamentally not American. America's foundational principles were not just words in the minds of men. These principles used to flow through the blood of every American in our nation, because we demanded it of everyone who wished to move to our country and take part in the American dream of freedom and liberty and self-agency.
Americanism isn't the result of people who happen to exist within the geographic or political borders of the United States. It's the result of both genetics and the consequences of the events in our nation's storied history. If you take away one or the other, you won't end up with another America. You'll end up with something very different.
I realized that the current global power order was trying to change America, by changing our society's “constructs” and environment. I realized I didn't want that to happen.
And that was the moment that everything exploded into clarity for me.
The true nature of Christianity revealed
What is Christianity, objectively? It's a religion, but what does that mean? Organized religions - that is, religious beliefs that have some hierarchical structure, absolute authority, and a defined doctrine - serve the purpose of uniting people through shared beliefs. So how did Christianity accomplish this, and was it a good thing?
In reality, the Roman Empire used what, at the time, was a fringe Jewish death cult, as a way of forming a new state religion that would be used to force all of the Empire's varied populations (and cultures) under one set of beliefs, values, and expectations.
It worked. It didn't work because Christianity is “right” - this is irrational and a self-validating hypothesis. It worked because Constantine aggressively pushed to convert the entire Empire. Since the Roman Empire spread into much of continental Europe, this meant that the existing civilizations living throughout that part of the world were forced to abandon their own traditions, beliefs, culture, values, and social fabric in favor of a foreign religion that was brought to them by force.
Christianity served as the mechanism for globalism to spread. It enforced a unified culture and orthodoxy among disparate populations, and used both subversion and offensive violence to ensure it prevailed over all indigenous beliefs and traditions. Those existing beliefs were intentionally demonized, and their history was rewritten, to ensure the people fully rejected who they had been before Christianity.
This is exactly what's been happening to America for over a century.
Christianity cannot coexist with nationalism. It cannot coexist with the notion that a nation is more than a mass of formless humans, defined only by whomever happens to be within its borders at the moment. Christianity cannot coexist with the belief that globalism and a one-size-fits-all government are fundamentally flawed and lethal to our inalienable rights as free-willed people.
Christianity is a one-size-fits-all doctrine. There is no way to avoid this fact. Christian doctrine clearly states it is the only set of beliefs and “truths” that will allow all humans on Earth access to a happy afterlife. Christianity preaches that anyone who rejects it will suffer for eternity.
Is that much different from the current state of political affairs in the west, where the left has told the rest of us we must comply with their myopic worldview and Marxist doctrine of oppressed, oppressors, and allies?
Is it only different because you and your parents and your grandparents and your forefathers for centuries were told Christianity is true?
If all cultures are equal, if all traditions and values and practices are equivalent, Christianity can claim no moral high ground over other religions or philosophies.
If cultures are not all equal, if beliefs and traditions and values and practices are not all equivalent, it's impossible to rationally, objectively argue that Christianity is necessarily superior to everything else. Religion isn't based on rational arguments; it's based on persuasive emotions.
We have no real evidence of such moral superiority.
All we have of the practices and beliefs of the ancestors of modern white, European-descended people are the historical records of the very people who arrived to force our ancestors to convert to Christianity.
Did you know that before Christianity became the Roman state religion, Christians were characterized by Romans as being baby-sacrificing monsters?
Did you know that the accusations of white European tribes and societies engaging in human sacrifice are completely unfounded? There's not a single shred of objective evidence to support this claim. It's based entirely on the writings of historians who were very clearly motivated by their own political agenda. More recently, our assumptions about the history of Europe's populations is based entirely on an academic narrative, and we know that modern academia has been completely co-opted and weaponized to inflict a political agenda on unsuspecting students.
So if it's impossible to actually prove that Christianity is necessarily and inevitably superior to every other belief in the entirety of humanity and will always be superior, where does that leave us?
It leaves us with a religion that was popularized for political reasons and exists to this day because it used cultural annihilation to establish itself as the reigning cultural and moral authority.
It disturbed me more than I can really articulate to realize all this. The more I've pondered this - and I've spent a lot of time thinking about it - the more certain I am that Christianity is nothing more than a weapon used to control minds at mass scale, for the purpose of maintaining authority.
That is not freedom. That is not self-agency. That is tyranny.
We in the west have become so accustomed to viewing the entire world in black-and-white absolutes. To us, there is no legitimate western religion other than Christianity. Our minds make room for other cultures to follow other religions, like Shinto, Hinduism, or Buddhism, but when it comes to what white people and westerners believe, the assumption is that you're an atheist if you don't believe in the Abrahamic (Jewish) deity.
Instead, consider the possibility that the supernatural events that lead people to a strong conviction that the Christian god is real…didn't happen because of the Christian god, but instead happened because of some other supernatural or otherwise yet-to-be-understood force. Does that mean supernatural events are evil? No! That's another absolute view that carries over from Christianity. It means that we don't actually know what causes a supernatural event to occur. It means that we inevitably use a lot of conjecture to ascribe a cause to a supernatural event…but that doesn't mean we're right.
When you want to control thousands or millions or even billions of people, of course you want to convince the masses that anything supernatural (and positive) is of the deity you're using to demand total compliance with your authority.
Christians believe that the west only exists because of their religion. In reality, the west exists in spite of it.
Christianity teaches its followers all the same basic points used by Marxism to convince millions of people that a violent revolution and overthrow of government is the only possible solution to their problems.
We'll start with that last bit:
a violent revolution and overthrow of government is the only possible solution to their problems
The Book of Revolution-I-mean-Revelation
The book of Revelation in the Christian Bible describes the “end times” - it's a vision (or hallucination, depending on your view) describing what's going to happen on Earth to set the stage for the return of the Christian messiah, Jesus.
Revelation describes the establishment of a malicious, evil, single, global government by the antichrist. It then explains how a great violent war will shake the entire planet, the government will be destroyed, and a new, perfect, single, global government will be established by the messiah.
You know, like a revolution.
Also note that Revelation actually posits that while Earth will be ruled by an evil one world government, in the end it will be ruled by a non-evil one world government.
But still a one world government.
That doesn't actually work. It's never worked. We've been over this. Christians believe that the return of their messiah will magically make all humans exactly the same inside, so we can all live in peace and harmony and never have conflicts about anything.
The assumption is that Jesus will return and simply remove human nature from us, turning us into creatures who only exist to serve him.
That's a hell of a doctrine to impose on people, and it causes people to want to spread their message to the rest of the world. After all, the only way this works is if everyone agrees to it, because there is no middle ground in Christianity - you're either saved or depraved. So, Christians are told to go to all the nations of the world with their message, converting the entire planet's populations to one world religion and one world culture.
Ideological cage match!
There's another religious doctrine that claims to have found the answer to human nature. It doesn't have a deity, but it's a religion by any practical definition of the term.
Marxism establishes that there are two kinds of people - good and evil. Evil people are capitalists, who selfishly want to own private property and ensure the future of themselves and their children over everyone else. Good people are communists, who unselfishly only seek to improve “the greater good”.
Marxism also establishes that there is one, universal, all-encompassing worldview that fits the entirety of the human species. Anyone who opposes the Marxist worldview is necessarily viewed as an enemy, and enemies must be destroyed.
The Marxist worldview posits that mankind is a problem to be solved. It assumes that, while humans are capable of unselfishness, if left to their own devices humans are too selfish. Marxism seeks to correct this by labeling any expression of selfishness as evil, as it leads to capitalism and the inequalities of private property and self-agency.
In the neo-Marxist worldview of cultural Marxism, mankind is still a problem to be solved. it assumes that humanity is composed of oppressors and those who are oppressed. Cultural Marxism seeks to correct this by assigning a status of “oppressor” or “oppressed” based on genetic characteristics like gender and race. Oppressors who are willing to convert to The Truth become allies, committed to rejecting their innate, oppressive nature and righteously attempting to live their lives for the benefit of the oppressed.
Christianity establishes that there are two kinds of people - good and evil. Evil people are unsaved sinners, who selfishly refuse to abandon their own beliefs in favor of the Christian religion. Good people are Christians, who accept “the gift of salvation” and righteously attempt to live their lives as they believe their deity wants them to.
Now, a Christian will immediately argue this point by saying, “no, Christianity says that all people are sinners”…but what does this actually mean? It assumes that all populations are morally equivalent in some way. It's impossible for everyone to be positively morally equivalent, and we know this, as there are populations to this day who roundly reject western ideals of self-agency and egalitarianism, which are virtues once cherished by the majority of the west, in spite of Christianity's overt male preference and belief that humans only exist for the pleasure of a creator who is at best mercurial and at worst sadistically psychotic. Since we can't level everyone along a positive moral baseline, the only option is negative. That means we reduce everyone to the lowest common denominator - the most evil of evil people. All sins are equal, and all people are equally sinners.
Where in Marxism, the path to salvation is rejection of selfishness (capitalism and innate oppression) and unquestioning embracing of its doctrine, in Christianity, the path to salvation is rejection of selfishness (sin) and unquestioning embracing of its doctrine.
Christianity also establishes that there is one, universal, all-encompassing worldview that fits the entirety of the human species. Anyone who opposes the Christian worldview is necessarily viewed as evil, and enemies must either be converted or, if they refuse, destroyed. There is no nuance or gray area in the middle on this. The Bible is quite clear. Either you're saved, or you're not, and if you're not, your soul will be damned for eternity.
I've had many Christians try to argue with me on this point, insisting that Christianity isn't universal or globalist at all. After all, they say, you can choose to not accept salvation.
But can you, really? According to the doctrine, rejection of salvation will result in either your eternal torment or your permanent annihilation, preferably after a long, drawn-out episode of torture and misery on Earth as the world is glassed to prepare for the entrance (and, for Christians, re-entrance) of the Jewish messiah. If that's not universal, what is?
The Christian worldview posits that mankind is a problem to be solved. It assumes that humans are intractably evil and sinful. It establishes that it's impossible for humans to overcome their evil, sinful nature without divine intervention from their deity, who has chosen to save them from an eternal torment (or annihilation) he created.
Like Marxism, Christianity reduces the human condition to its most negative, base form. It ignores the reality that all populations aren't the same, and that populations behave differently from each other so fundamentally that it's impossible to establish one universal baseline to which all people can be reasonably expected to adhere.
The more I understood the philosophy behind communism, the more clearly I saw the parallels between Christianity and Marxism. Communism isn't merely what we all think of when asked to describe it. It's not just the government taking over everything and reducing the population to the lowest common denominator.
It's also a philosophy on life, a worldview and set of fundamental tenets that depend on that worldview being accepted as absolute truth.
Communism preys on our natural confirmation bias by using deeply corrupt elites to turn the masses against an existing government and society. It points to the worst of “capitalism” and insists all capitalism is equally evil and thus must be conquered and destroyed. Cultural Marxism identifies “oppression” in a particular group of people and insists all members of that group are necessarily oppressive.
Christianity does the same thing with sin - by finding the most abhorrent actions among humanity, Christians insist all sin is equal and thus all people are evil unless they purify themselves through a blood sacrifice at the behest of a sadistic all-powerful deity.
It's definitely a religion
What has evolved since 2016 is the oppressed-v-oppressor communist dichotomy. It has shifted radically against white people, particularly white men. The original sin doctrine of the Catholic church has found a new home in progressive secular Marxism. Even since I started writing this a few months ago, the religion of radical leftism has mutated and become more dogmatic and militant.
Globalism by religion is still globalism. Marxism and Christianity are both globalist at their core, and globalism itself is an existential threat to any population that wishes to remain sovereign and independent.
Both are highly committed to an absolutist worldview that demands total, unquestioning compliance. Both teach people that humans are all the same inside and therefore can be expected to behave the same. Both reduce all unique individuals to a single moral lowest common denominator, decreeing that because some are evil, all are evil. Both use shame and humiliation to break the psyche of believers. Both insist any challenges to the orthodoxy are necessarily evil and immoral and must be censored.
It's impossible to oppose Marxism and communism and globalism while still maintaining belief in the absolute authority of Christian dogma. Christianity is far more Marxist than free - it leaves no room for nuance or difference of opinion on the fundamentals, and it imposes those fundamentals on all societies it's encountered throughout history.
There is no greater threat to a people's sovereign, unique existence.