Three Challenges to Christianity

I am a feminist, an environmentalist, and a pacifist. I used to be a liberal Christian, but trying to maintain my belief in Christianity in the face of so much open hostility to feminsim, environmentalism, and pacifism was just too difficult. And so, I accepted the fact that Christianity is essentially, not just coincidentally, anti-woman, anti-nature, and anti-peace, I left the fold, and in doing so liberated myself from many of the internal and external conflicts with which I had been struggling.

No longer was I filled with anger and frustration when right wing Christians spewed forth their hatred and narrow-minded judgements on the rest of society, believing they were misrepresenting my beloved religion, which I had thought was about love. I now know my undertanding of Christianity was a snare and a delusion and the right wingers have had it right all the time.

The basic values of Christianity are all about the concentration of power and authority and value in a single dominant male figure — God, father, CEO, president, king, general, etc. — on the one hand, while, on the other, devaluing the dominated — those who must sacrifice their value and their lives for the good of the authority figure — women, slaves, the laboring classes, the conquered of every land and every time, etc.. The crucified Christ, who exemplifies absolute obedience to absolute authority, terrible suffering, and bloody sacrifice, is the model for these poor souls.

Feminism challenges Christianity because it posits that women are equal in value to men. In doing so, feminism brings into question the entirety of Christian belief which is saturated with worship of the male — both Father and Son — and everything maleness represents.
If women were truly accepted as equal in value to men, it would upset the social applecart. For centuries, marriage and the nuclear family has been understood as the basic building block of society. With Dad on top, and Mom and the kids stairstepped below him in position and power, the traditional family provides the foundation for patriarchal hierarchy — dominance and submission, a surefire recipe for social injustice.

Granting woman the value which is rightfully hers and which was robbed from her through the elevation of a maleness to the position of ultimate value through the symbol of the Christian God brings balance into the marital relationship and provides a new egalitarian model for a new social structure — a social structure which provides a system of values which is beyond God the Father and more just than anything Christianity has to offer.

Environmentalism challenges Christianity because it posits that nature, like woman, has intrinsic rather than utilitarian value. Environmentalism challenges our understanding of the human relationship to nature. According to Christian doctrine, humans, unlike the rest of nature are made in the image of God, and are therefore, like God, separate from and superior to nature. Elevated to these dizzying heights, we have truly lost our balance and have come to believe in the deepest parts of our being that this special position gives us the right to dominate, exploit, and manipulate nature for our own ends. We delude ourselves that we exist on some other �higher� plane and can therefore escape the consequences of our destructive, polluting ways. Environmentalism brings home to us the truths that we are not separate from nature, but an integral part of nature — and that our lives depend on a nature that provides us with the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the ground we stand on. It leads us to value all life, not just human life, because the same Life Force which �through the green fuse drives the flower� drives us and we are all connected in the most profound way. Environmentalism dispels the ignorant and arrogant Christian illusion of transcendence.

Pacifism challenges Christianity �s take no prisoners, dominance/submission approach to social organization. Although Jesus is often called the Prince of Peace, there is not much evidence to support this appelation. As the pope has often said, Christianity is about the redemptive value of suffering as demonstrated and symbolized by the crucifixion. Peace, however, has been translated into docility, going as Jesus did like a lamb to the slaughter, willingly obeying those in authority to the point of giving one�s life in the most painful of circumstances. The most obvious example today of bloody sacrifice to the will of authority is the sacrifice of lives and limbs in the war in Iraq — senseless sacrifice on both sides in the tradition of our savior. In this self-proclaimed Christian nation, war is the default mode of the patriot and peace is downright subversive. We need a new value system that no longer celebrates the suffering of the many for the benefit of the few. Christianity claims to be on the side of the poor, the downtrodden, and the conquered of this world, when in fact it celebrates power and collaborates in the injustice which leads to war.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.