What a great question, one that, for some, might be coming out of the blue. Is Christianity dead? How could you even think that?
Let me clarify, then: I believe the institutional nature of most sects of Christianity lack Jesus. Who He was on earth, what He embodies then and now; the core, eternal values we need in this world aren’t the current focus. That’s where we fall short, and we cause more harm than good.
My clarification probably still sounds vague. I know, and that’s why I’m here to explain the problems and what we should be doing to solve them. Simply put, we need faith back in all our religions because that’s where peace lies.
all part of the routine.
I’m a very spiritual person, but I haven’t been to church in a hot minute. In my short existence, I’ve never walked into a church and felt more connected to God. Instead, I want to pull out my hand sanitizer and quietly sneak off before Communion.
Religious rituals are beautiful. Baptisms, Muslim daily prayers, Buddhist meditation: all these and more leave me in awe. Where they stop enthralling me as a participant or onlooker is the sense of routine. Obligation. Going through the motions because it’s what we always do. We rote memorize prayers and verses because so-and-so told you it was important, and you forgot the reason why.
Not all religious people go to church, and not all churches are religious. They’re beginning to operate as businesses. Just because a building has stained glass windows and a sign out front doesn’t make it a place of authentic religious practice. Eating a stale cracker and drinking a shot of grape juice has no inherent purpose unless faith oversees it. Christianity is dead because we’re not acknowledging Christ as a reason and motivation for our behaviors.
Not only are we copying and pasting every religious act, therein lies the “business” part: churches and all places of worship need to make money. That’s the reality of a capitalist society. However, the way we go about this very often feels like transactions and deals and that economic jazz. If you’re a member of a church and you give money on at most services, why? Because you’re “supposed” to tithe? You maybe get some money back on your federal tax form? Church authorities are pressuring you and/or making you feel guilty if you don’t?
How churches and religious organizations work is very…reactionary. A continual cycle that will keep churches in business, but they don’t help us progress in the long-term. Most of what we see churches doing is helping the needy, which is amazing. They’re feeding the hungry, giving shelter to the homeless, and many other acts of kindness.
But think: if we actually equipped these people with the education and resources they need, then…what’s left for churches to do? If there were no more hungry, homeless, unemployed, uneducated people, then what? The work churches do is noble, but it relies upon problems and conflict. They need more poor people. More privileged billionaires to corrupt the vulnerable.
If churches acted in core spiritual values of love, tolerance, and justice, they’d frankly do more, or feel compelled to do more. They wouldn’t belittle others as “needy,” but treat them as equals. Through creative innovation, I believe churches could become effective actors in human rights. But that requires spiritually minded individuals who, like me, are fed up with King James-esque words and ingenuine financial intentions. Personal gain is the polar opposite of Jesus’s teachings. Christianity is dead because associations deemed as Christian are perpetuating un-Christlike practices.
mixing politics (and science) with spirituality.
The separation of church and state is nothing new. We continue to face this problem, whether it’s a pro-life crowd trying to defund Planned Parenthood or forcing creationism in national science classrooms. The Pledge of Allegiance—an outdated creed in of itself—gives to “one nation, under God,” but we’ve got millions of “Gods” we might assume it’s referring to.
Issues of law and social progress are meant to be separate from spiritual progress. We may gain insight from our spiritual morals, but those morals shouldn’t directly correlate to legislation. Each field of the human experience, in this case, has and should continue to evolve independently of one another.
Otherwise, we’re in for religious war. We wonder why so many denounce religion altogether: the institutions themselves, when acting as political authorities, clash with a secular civilization. Religion is a source of morals, not laws. Trying to combine the two is like reverting as a species to primitive times. In biblical times, yes, Moses writing down the Ten Commandments and all the other rules acted as the Israelites’ laws as a group.
Times now are more complicated. Religion influencing politics blinds us. This is true for political and natural sciences. While religion evolves separately from secular fields, it nevertheless evolves given what we continue to learn about human nature and the universe. If God allows for continual progress and modernization in His earthly kingdom, then why would we assume He’d want us to follow stagnant doctrine?
If you believe in God and His continual work in our lives, you’ll find Him everywhere. I’m forever dumbfounded by how many scientists turn off their spiritual instincts completely. If you choose to let God in, then scientific study becomes a constant discovery of how amazing He is. Look at the order! The precision! Hot diggity dog! Christianity is dead because those deemed Christian manipulate Him for personal gain and stubborn ignorance.
we deserve better.
Only .1% of all human DNA is genetically different. Otherwise, we’re all the same. As much as we all want to feel special, the elite who possesses the secret elixir, such a mentality is ignorant and downright selfish. Churches send out missionaries to “convert” developing countries to the “right way,” as if indigenous religious are barbaric. As if privileged people with Bibles in hand, uneducated about local traditions, will “heal a broken world.” News flash: shoving ideas down others’ throats doesn’t result in genuine spiritual beliefs. Christianity is dead because it’s blinded to the black and white of Biblical text.
We’re too busy drawing lines in the sand rather than bringing life to Jesus. There’s plenty of talk with what others have said about the Bible, as well as separate dogma, but we neglect showcasing Jesus. Maybe you don’t think of Him as the Savior, but you cannot deny that His words, His acts, and His nature are how we should strive to be. WWJD, for real.
Christianity is dead because it’s not doing what it preaches. And by “it,” I mean Christians. The solution to this problem, to breathe life back into this faith, is through us. Jesus embodies love and peace; we must actively pursue these same goals. Each moment, we must ask ourselves, “How can I be more loving? How can I find more peace in this situation? In what ways can I treat my neighbor like family?”
I believe, and will always believe, that humanity is innately good. God has made us capable of remarkable feats. In many ways, we’ve stirred away from God’s pure, loving nature. Just as we’ve stirred this direction, we can turn back to a people’s religion, one that is purely intended for spiritual growth and the betterment of all.
Christianity is dead; it’s time to bring it back to life.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie