Are you a Christian? Why not? People ask me this question a lot. But as far as I know, there are very few people today who call themselves Christians. According to a recent Time magazine article, the image of Christianity is deteriorating in US. Majority of Americans, some 83% identified themselves as Christians just a decade ago but today, those who hold a ‘favorable view’ of Christians are dwindling down. The numbers will dwindle even lower, the article predicts because the younger generation are increasingly identifying themselves as non-Christians.
Christianity has changed a lot in the US in last decades; while President Carter’s claim of being a Born-Again Christian contributed to his loss in Presidential elections, President Bush caters mostly to Born-Again Christians. American Christians are becoming more fundamental—meaning that they are interpreting the Bible literally rather than implementing the moral behind it. This increasingly fundamental Christianity of US lacks tolerance, it is impotent to change with time, it has uncompromising attitude towards newer scientific concepts, and it sends contrariant messages; thus any worldly and open-minded person has hard time supporting it.
The TIME article mentioned above underscored the Church’s views on anti-homosexuality. But the modern American Christianity is also intolerant of other faiths. May be it has always lacked tolerance against other faiths but people seem to be more intolerable than before. May be the war on terror has changed Americans’ views of Islam and other religions. But it needs to be understood that it is not Islam but a few leaders of Islam who advocate Jihad that are the roots of terrorism. Besides US has contributed heavily on creating these Jihadists. Saddaam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Ayatollah Khameini are a few radical Islamists who exist due to US contributions to their respective countries at some time in the past. It is not Islam or any other faith but the American past that is haunting US today but the blame goes to Islam.
In addition to lack of tolerance, American Christianity is impotent to change with time. With the rise of fundamental Christianity in the US, basic rights such as abortion is in jeopardy. A woman should be able to choose whether she wants to give birth or not. Fundamental Christians are not willing to allow abortion even if the mother’s life is in jeopardy. And they do not support abortion even if a girl was a victim of rape. I do not think Jesus ever advocated for forced childbirth. Did he?
Modern Christianity of America has also not been able to keep pace with scientific technologies. Not that the Church has ever greeted science with open arms (poor scientists who argued with the church regarding the shape of the world) but American Christianity seems to reject modern ideas such as stem cell technologies with increasing scrutiny and this rejection is causing American scientists to pursue their career elsewhere. The most bizarre logic of fundamental Christians that is hard for me to understand is that why is it okay to kill the embryos by throwing them away but it is not okay to use them for stem cell research which can actually assuage people? How can such obtuse thinking attract modern youngsters?
In addition to its rigidity, various sexual allegations and confusing messages the church is sending out is not helping improve its image. There are overwhelming sexual allegations against the priests and ministers of the Catholic Church that every parent will think twice before sending their kids to church. When parents do not send their children to church, the numbers of Christians will obviously dwindle. Some desperate measures implemented by churches across the country to attract more young peoples include using the videogame Halo, according to the NEW YORK TIMES.This recent policy of the Church has ticked off the parents who shouted their lungs off to ban the action pact video game Grand Theft Auto. So, violence used by videogame companies to make profit is condemnable but the same used by the church for recruitment purposes is commendable? Why? I bet Jesus himself would condemn this move of the church.
I believe Christianity is not bad as a religion. I do not condemn the Bible or Jesus. I believe it is good thing to have faith. Belief in Faith makes one stronger and more powerful but doing bizarre things in the name of Faith is simply stupid. One should make intelligent decisions and stand up even against their spiritual leaders when things start going wrong. One should change with time or else one goes extinct. If fundamental Christians remain so rigid and uncompromising, they too will be extinct.
I wish there were a religion that would look that people’s actions but not judge people on the basis of their appearance and lifestyle. I wish there were religious leaders who were compassionate enough to distinguish between right from wrong and smart enough to find innovative ways to incorporate science and technologies into religion such that both could move forward. I wish there was a religion that would be so right and so cool that it did not have to implement draconian measures to attract people.