Bruce Gerencser has published a post revisiting Christianity’s degradation of its followers; start here and be careful to read all the comments.
According to the Bible, we are the lowest of low, little more than dung beetles, slugs, or worms. Thanks to Adam and Eve eating fruit from a tree in the Garden of Eden, all human beings are born depraved sinners — haters of God worthy of having the judgment and wrath of God poured out on their heads. None of us can escape this condemnation. As soon as the egg unites with sperm in the womb of a woman, a new vile and repulsive sinner is created. We don’t become sinners, we are sinners. Or so says Christianity.
I occasionally marvel that devout believers seem to be oblivious to the abasement at the heart of Christian thought; it seems to be the sort of thing you can hear, or you can’t hear — and that’s that.
I am sure of this much: Once you have heard it, you can’t sit through a sermon and not hear it.
It has some ugly implications, too, and chief among them is that, in order to eat, Holy Men need for you to be miserable and convinced that you’re no damn good. Why else, after all, would you belong to his club? Because you love to listen to the bad soloists?
Emphatically, this is not to say that Pastor Bubba knowingly makes his flock miserable; I think, rather, that Pastor Bubba has bought into, and sincerely promotes, a belief system that if taken seriously can have no outcome but human misery. Think of all the times you’ve heard some preacher howling and bellowing that you must aim to eliminate self-interest and self-direction from your life because all your desires are evil, because whatever originates within you is evil. Think of all the times you’ve heard some preacher say you’re not the parent you should be unless pleasing Jesus is more important to you than your children, that you’re not the spouse you should be unless pleasing Jesus is more important to you than your spouse.
Family values, my ass. Christianity is innately hostile to the instincts of healthy life.
Self-loathing is not innate to any of the other Abrahamic faiths, but is at the center of Christian thought. Why? Where does that come from? Honestly, I don’t know, but the most plausible explanation I’ve ever encountered is in Bishop John Spong’s suspicion that Paul was gay.
Paul was a student of the Law. If homosexuality was his condition, he knew well that by that Law he stood condemned. His body was a body in which death reigned. He lived under that death sentence. What Paul knew himself to be, the people to whom he belonged and the Law to which he adhered called abominable, and Paul felt it to be beyond redemption. Is it not possible, even probable, that this was the inner source of his deep self-negativity, his inner turmoil, his self-rejection, his superhuman zeal for a perfection he could never achieve?
We’re never going to know the truth about what turned Paul on but, yes, it’s a plausible idea that explains a lot. And, frankly, it tickles me to imagine that, after millennia of Christians tormenting gays, it may be the case — granted, inadvertently — that gays have returned the favor.