Sunday, October 29, 2017

Christians Don't Make Atheists

In the article The Christians Making Atheists, John Pavlovitz makes an argument that the reason people are not coming to Christianity is due to the bad behavior of its adherents.  He closes the article by stating:
... the reason the Church soon will be teetering on the verge of extinction and irrelevance will be because those entrusted to perpetuate the love of Jesus in the world, lost the plot so horribly, and gave the world no other option but to look elsewhere for goodness and purpose and truth.
I can agree with most of his critiques here of American Christianity - there is little Jesus left in the faith. It is often just a bastion of bigots waving tribal flags in the faces of those it calls "other".

However, Christians behaving badly is not the reason most folks become an Atheist. As my friend Brook said, "Christians are not the biggest obstacle to people taking Christianity seriously. That's just a story Christians tell themselves so they don't have to face the fact that their story and entire foundation sounds utterly ridiculous to non-Christians."

Religion will make little sense to most folks not raised in it. And it makes less sense to more and more religious folks as they are being exposed to the thoughts and religions of their neighbor.

Religion continues based on two foundations:
  • Its ability to control the narrative delivered to children
  • Its ability to control the narrative delivered to its members. 
Religion is losing control on both fronts.

When I was growing up, every kid I knew went to church. Maybe not my church, but a church. Nowadays, kids usually have a friend or two that does not attend church or belongs to a completely different faith. When I had questions regarding my faith when I was a young person, there was no one to talk to about it other than those within my faith. Today, people with questions have many resources available. Religious groups are losing the ability to control the narrative.

Mr. Pavlovitz assumes people are leaving his faith because of the bad behavior of its members. I left religion because I realized that the sincere devotion of others to their religion was no different than what was occurring in mine. When my religion ceased to be uniquely true... it ceased to be true. I no longer believed.

The bad behavior of those in my tribe was incidental.
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