There are three big genres I avoid and since it’s coming up on time for me to address that category, I’m going to go over why I’m not a fan of those three genres. This week? Religion, more specifically, Christian books.
I’m agnostic/spiritual. While I think there’s an order to the universe, I don’t think any one religion got it exactly right. Almost all faiths have a grain of truth residing in their core belief systems that is worth finding and exploring. However, the politics of organized religion can readily obscure that.
**This post is a bit long so if you want the TL;DR, skip a bit**
My father wanted me to be Catholic like he was but it never stuck. He tried to take me to church but it was just a boring obligation where I couldn’t read and didn’t understand what was going on. I think he may have expected me to just inherently have the faith he did without having to do much of anything to explain it to me. Clearly, this plan did not work.
I wound up going to a Catholic high school because the public schools sucked and the nondenominational private schools were hella expensive. Obama sends his kids to one of them to paint you a picture. The only classes that were mandatory all 4 years were English, math, and religion. 10th grade was church history and Odin’s eye did that backfire on me. The crusades, the Borgias, the woman pope, and the fact that the Catholic church controlled most of Europe for the better part of 1,000 years soured me on the inherent divinity of that faith. Not long after this the priest sexual abuse scandal in Boston broke and all my respect for the Catholic faith was stone dead.
Between a Catholic high school and comparative mythology class in college, I noticed a lot of inconsistencies in the Bible. The two main narratives in Genesis don’t line up. Some of the ‘thou shalt nots’ contradict each other. Hell, the Old Testament and New Testament contradict how God behaves. Did he create Zoloft in between?
How about all the books that were left out by the massive editing committee of papal authority? Where they less true or divine or did they just not fit the correct political image necessary at the time? And can we please acknowledge, for once, ever, that someone, somewhere, may have fucked up a translation? It’s been a few thousand years so can we not rule that out?
What really sent me running from the faith and it’s literature wasn’t the history or politics but the people. Jesus was a nice guy who had a lot of important things to say. Some of the modern people might want to go back and reread them because something clearly got misinterpreted. Let’s modify What Would Jesus Do and replace the verb with Bomb, Torture, Rape, Kill, Shoot, Deport, Judge, or Hold a rally against?
**TL;DR start below**
Even on a smaller social scale, I have met so many Christians who are the most holier-than-thou, judgmental, and generally useless wastes of carbon. My mother worked with someone who would bog down everyone’s mail box with daily blessings full of bad gifs and clip art. The same woman wanted her house to be so Martha Stewart perfect her husband didn’t live there. She was so obsessed with her stuff that she had it written into her will that her kids can’t throw out any of her things until she’s be dead for a year.
A woman I used to work with would blast her gospel music all day, every day. If I asked her to turn it down, she ignored me and turned it up. It would have been less annoying if she didn’t constantly snap her fingers, tap her feet, and sing along. Did she care that it bothered me and distracted me from doing my job? Nope. Worshiping her god at work was more important than the comfort of others. She was just one of many catty ‘good Christian’ woman in that office who didn’t like me. One who stopped just short of openly hating me had a book about how to be a good Christian wife!
The only thing I did wrong to those woman was not tolerate their BS. The only reason they turned the other cheek was so they could gossip about other women who weren’t as devout/nice as they were. Other than church, gossip, and bad reality TV, I don’t think there was anything else that interested these women. I can think of several other examples but we’d be here all day.
I have known and currently socialize with several people of faith. It is a part of what makes them such high quality human beings. But no amount of awesome on their part can redeem the faith to the point where I’m jumping on board. I’ll respect it and be kind to those of faith who are kind to me but the sour taste runs deep.
I can’t get past all of the ugly history and horrible people tied to the Christian faith. I found a book that really spoke to me in Barnes & Noble once but seeing it labeled as Christian Fiction made me put it down. I eventually came back to it but I dragged my feet. Dear Mr. Knightley was a lovely book and it was mislabeled as Christian Fiction. Faith was only a small part of the story and by no means dominated.
Once again, I ask you, internet, if you know any Christian fiction that has plenty of story going on and doesn’t beat you over the head with Jesus?