WHY CHRISTIANITY IS IMMORAL
BY JON NELSON
Any person, group, organization or religion that asks you to accept what they are saying on faith is tacitly admitting that their ideas cannot withstand critical examination and need some kind of a “boost” in order to gain acceptance. It has been said that the religious person accepts authority as truth rather than the truth as authority and Christianity illustrates this point perfectly. Once one accepts any irrational idea (such as the existence of a god) on faith, one has abandoned the reasoning process and thus, the standards by which we are able to distinguish truth from falsehood and, as we shall see, good from evil.
A critical, rather than reverential examination of the key doctrines, dogmas and beliefs of the Christian religion will show that, far from being the wonderful moral standards most people assume them to be, most of them are contrary to our best interests both as individuals and as a society. Many of these doctrines can be shown to be downright evil. Here are but a few of the more egregious examples:
First, the idea that a man/god died to save us from our alleged sins is a profoundly immoral idea. Intelligent and honest people take responsibility for their actions and do not attempt to throw it onto others. To see how Christianity perverts justice, all we need to do is take the idea of Christ’s alleged sacrifice, and put it in secular terms. Consider the following example: Mr. Jones murders Mr. Smith, is captured, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. Before the execution takes place, Mr. Jones’ brother comes forward and offers to take his brother’s place in the electric chair. This is a secular version of the Christian doctrine of substitutionary atonement. While this might be seen as a nice gesture on the brother’s part, would it be considered moral if the authorities accepted the offer and electrocuted him as a substitute for Mr. Jones? Clearly it would not. Then by what possible stretch of the imagination does an obviously immoral secular idea suddenly become moral in religion? Why does substituting the probably mythical Christ figure and the allegedly “sinful” human race for Mr. Jones and his brother suddenly make substitutionary atonement moral? Obviously, the real intention of the biblical authors here is to instill a feeling of guilt rather than justice; there can be no other logical reason. When objectively analyzed fear and guilt, rather than love and hope, are the real emotions Christianity seeks to inculcate in its followers. Guilt is the more important of the two, for while a fearful person may suddenly rebel, a person with deep feelings of guilt is an emotional wreck and unlikely to do so. Clearly, the idea of substitutionary atonement serves the interests of the church well, as it was no doubt intended to do.
Second, Christian morality is nothing more than a primitive system of rewards and punishments, not unlike a child’s understanding of Santa Claus: If you are a “good” Christian and do not question what you are being told, then you are rewarded with eternal life. However, if you are bad and dare to show independence of thought and/or action, the lump of coal in the children’s Christmas stocking becomes something much more sinister: eternal torment in the flames of hell. This has historically been what Christianity has inculcated in its followers. Although many of today’s more liberal denominations, embarrassed at this Dark Age doctrine, tend either to modify it or reject it altogether, it remains a core dogma of the Christian religion. The ideas of heaven and hell perfectly illustrate the pre-rational and pre-moral nature of Christian ethics. The fact that most Christian fundamentalists to this day continue to believe in this and other forms of biblical nonsense illustrates the threat they pose to America.
The third reason why Christianity is an immoral religion is because human bondage, a widespread practice in the ancient world, is universally accepted in the Bible. Today most of us have moved beyond such pre-rational nonsense and recognize that it is morally wrong to enslave other human beings, but we certainly did not get this idea from the Bible. How is this oversight possible if Christianity is supposed to be such a superb guide for moral behavior? Questioning the institution of slavery no more occurred to the Bible’s authors than any other universally accepted social system or construct of the time. It isn’t merely that the Bible doesn’t condemn slavery; it accepts it as an acceptable condition of society. Jesus, the supposed moral exemplar, advocated the beating of slaves “with many stripes” (Luke 12: 47).
The fourth example of Christianity’s immorality can be seen in the fact that women are treated as second-class citizens throughout both Old and New Testaments, both of which support the primitive notion of a male-dominated social hierarchical structure. For example, Paul of Tarsus tells women never to speak in church. Jesus never once uses the word “family” and was disrespectful to his mother, telling her: “woman, what have I to do with thee?” (John 2: 4).
Next, by emphasizing the alleged crucifixion, Christianity not only inculcates feelings of guilt, it also promotes death rather than life as a standard of value. This is because the promised afterlife is just like all other religious doctrines—objectively unprovable and thus a mere pipe dream. The crucifix, so happily worn by Christians, illustrates this point well. It serves as a reminder that Jesus suffered and bled to death in a horrible way. If Christianity were a positive, life affirming religion, one would think there would be happier, more positive symbol than a crucifix. Instead, this perverse image, coupled with its other negative doctrines shows how successful Christianity has been in reversing good and evil and in turning human values into anti-values: suffering becomes “noble.” Death becomes “eternal life.” Truly, a more backwards and immoral system than Christianity would be hard to contemplate.
The sixth point is a corollary to the aforementioned emphasis on suffering and death, which is the curious focus Christianity places on bloodletting. To be sure, blood is essential to life, but Christianity perverts this life force by showing it not coursing through our veins, but rather gushing from nail and spear wounds. This is yet another example of Christianity’s death fixation, perversely advanced as moral righteousness. Renaissance art graphically depicted Jesus in all his bloody “glory” and these sick images still constitute the essence of visualized Christianity to most believers. Blood rituals such as the Eucharist serve to reinforce this image. The end result is that believers become de-sensitized to bloodshed and convince themselves that suffering, misery and death are our lot in this “vale of tears” called life, and that our only hope is to deny the reality of death and accept the false hope of eternal life.
Next, by teaching people to be meek, humble, and accepting of their lot in life, Christianity virtually assures the perpetuation of evil by making it so much easier for any would –be despot to seize power and keep it. This doctrine is a carte blanche for every injustice imaginable; it is an open invitation for dictatorial rule. Dictators since the time of the Bible have looked to scripture to justify their actions. It is highly significant that nowhere in the Bible are the oppressed urged or encouraged to rise up against their oppressors. Instead, they are told to accept their lot in life in the false hope that the imaginary next life will be better for them. Who are the real beneficiaries of such a system? It is obvious that since the time the Bible was written dictators have used it as justification for any action they chose to undertake, while their victims console themselves with the illusion that their god will somehow make it all right in the end not in this life, of course, but in the one to come. Napoleon once said “We have religion to keep the poor from murdering the rich.” Christianity has been the dictators dream for two thousand years; it is the oldest scam in the history of the world, and it is still working.
Eighth, by teaching people not to trust in “mere” reason, Christianity shows itself to be fundamentally anti-knowledge and hostile to thinking. From cover to cover, believers are encouraged not to think, but to uncritically accept biblical nonsense as “revealed truth.” The only type of “knowledge” Christianity has historically accepted is that which the Bible and the church teaches, or that which does not contradict church teachings. Again, this anti-reason doctrine has been watered-down somewhat due to the irreversible damage caused by the Enlightenment, but faith is still elevated above reason in most churches. How many lives have been thrown away in the world’s convents and monasteries by unquestioning monks and nuns in an imagined subservience to Christ? Even more appalling is the countless millions of people who have suffered and died for the imagined “crime” of daring to have thoughts different from those contained in scripture. The pointless loss of so much human potential is truly staggering to contemplate. The reason for all this carnage is simple, if stunningly perverse: How many people, convinced that the answer to all life’s problems can be found between the covers of a two-thousand year old book, will have any incentive to look beyond it? Clearly, it is much easier to believe than to think. Christianity is a colossal monument to mental laziness. A monk or nun withdraws from the world; a scientist tries to improve it. One competent scientist is worth more than all the world’s monks and nuns put together. The fact remains, however, that it is the mentally lazy and morally corrupt who are leading the countries of the world, certainly including the United States, into a new Dark Age.
The ninth immoral Christian injunction concerns the earth itself. By teaching that this earth is here for our benefit, free for us to use and exploit, Christianity has created a mindset contributing to widespread ecological disaster. The Bible tells us that we have “dominion” over the planet and all living things; it also tells us that Jesus will be returning “soon” to save us from our own excesses. Consequently, while over 80% of Central America’s rainforests have been decimated in the last half century, Christian leaders by and large seem strangely unconcerned. Thus, the blind acceptance of Christian dogma spells doom for the future of the planet—and for our very survival as a species.
Tenth, the notion of “judge not lest ye be judged,” while found in the Old Testament, is often cited by Christians as another example of sublime biblical morality. However, this is one of the most destructive of all biblical dogmas; if literally followed, no one could judge anyone else’s actions to be immoral, since only their god can do that. Where does that leave judges and the courts and plain old moral sentiment? No criminal act could ever result in conviction as convictions would be acts of judgement. This ludicrously evil doctrine assures that our lives are doomed to perpetual suffering; the weak are forever condemned to suffer under the arbitrary will of the strong. The Bible attempts to assure the weak that they will “inherit the earth” but unfortunately, the strong keep contesting the will and they need look no further than the Bible for justification. When we cease passing judgment on others, evil-doers have free rein to do as they please. “Judge not lest ye be judged” means we are not to judge Hitler, Stalin, or any other dictator or murderer. Instead, we are admonished to “turn the other cheek” and god will make everything all right—again, not here in this life, but after we are dead. It doesn’t take too much imagination to see who the real beneficiaries are of this idea.
“Beware the sin of pride,” the eleventh injunction, is yet another example of Christianity’s maddening ability to turn a value into a non-value by calling it “sin.” A sense of pride in one’s accomplishments contributes to our self-esteem and how we feel about ourselves will determine how we feel about and treat others. Prisons are not filled with people of high self-esteem. However, those convinced of their own worthlessness, of their sinful nature, of the idea that this world is evil, and of the idea that life is but a prelude to death are far more likely to become prison inmates. Examining those atheists around the world who are in prison, we find that in many cases, their “crime” consists of not believing in the accepted religion of that country. Moreover, every study of prisons and their inmate population has disclosed the same basic fact: the more devout the individual is, the more likely he/she is to wind up incarcerated. And, in another example of pro-Christian bias, those who profess belief in god are much more likely to be released early from prison than their (few) atheist counterparts.
Lastly, it should be noted that Christianity operates under what may be called the “malevolent universe” premise. This idea, like number ten above, can be found in every major religious system. It holds that we humans are destined to live a life of pain and suffering and that this is the natural state of affairs. The earth and our life on it are innately depraved, and our only way of escaping this lifelong misery is to look to some other form of existence (meaning death, perversely portrayed as “eternal life”) for “salvation.” Christianity expands on this notion with the theme that all people are inherently evil; “All have sinned in the eyes of the lord” according to the scriptures. Yet this same malevolent universe and our existence in it were supposed to have been created by an all-loving and all-powerful deity. If this were true, then evil exists because god wants it to exist. Even the Bible recognizes this obvious fact: Isaiah 45: 7 has god somberly intoning: “I form the light, and create darkness. I make peace, and create evil. I the Lord do all these things.” So much for the notion of an all-benevolent deity.
If history has shown us anything, it is that evil always springs from one fundamental cause: the failure to think rationally. All of our human-made problems stem from this one basic shortcoming. If Christianity were essential for morality, then atheists would form a majority population in the world’s prisons and reformatories. Since they do not, evil must mean something different to the religious believer than it does to the atheist. And indeed it does.
Simply put and at the most fundamental level, evil to the Christian means not believing, and not following Christianity’s twisted moral system. Evil means to be independent, to question, to judge, to be productive (as opposed to the biblical notion of take no thought for the morrow), and most importantly, to dare to think.
For the atheist, evil means to abandon the mind to the minds of others. Evil means to blindly accept anyone else’s word as true or to accept any doctrine on faith. Evil means to cause unnecessary pain and suffering to others. Virtue means having the ability and willingness to stand alone, if necessary, and tell others what evil really is.
Atheism is the only honest, rational, and moral position to hold.