Evangelical Christianity has Become Alien to me

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

Isaiah 5:20

It’s very rare for me to have such big feelings about something, but also at the same time to be almost entirely speechless in my ability to articulate them. Here’s a shot. I’ve been a Christian for the vast majority of my life, but what Christianity has become to people in this country is completely alien to me. I don’t recognize the church in the midst of the undeniable bigotry, racism, hatred, and lies that Christians proliferate in the name of politics. I’m quite frankly ashamed and embarrassed.

While the evangelical church has always had its problems, the past six months has brought out the worst I’ve ever seen in Christians. I’m not talking about some fringe group either; it’s easy to dismiss groups like Westboro Baptist as an example of what Christianity is not. I’m talking about the mainstream evangelical church – relatives, friends, and people I’ve even grown up with – who were once a much needed example of Christianity to me – have severely disappointed me in the way they’ve conducted themselves, causing me to question if I ever truly understood what they believed for nearly 30 years.

Christianity celebrates a meek savior who saw the intrinsic value in people regardless of their race, their past, or their status. He called for the lifting up of those who were downcast and mistreated by society. He called for sacrificial love of the disenfranchised. God also made no bones about hating evil, having nothing to do with the wicked, and would never support agendas that bore the fruit of wicked people or values contrary to his own. Christians once stood to me as an example of integrity, doing the right thing, and standing up for the truth, even to one’s own detriment. I don’t see the character of Jesus Christ in today’s American Christians anymore.

Christianity teaches of a savior who was so uninterested in the irrelevance of politics that he once said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s”; yet the complacency and refusal of Christians to impact society directly has led the church to a dark place: Christians today have become obsessed with installing judges and other political saviors to legislate morality for them, even if that means aligning themselves with white nationalist groups and expressing blind, cultic loyalty to immoral demagogues in exchange for influence. Christians are proliferating hate, violence, racism, and division through their choice of leaders, the causes they support, and by trafficking in misinformation. The net effect of this is the antithesis of the virtues that Christianity teaches. A house divided against itself cannot stand. The church cannot condone lies, hate, and immorality, yet expect the world to see Christians as arbiters of morality. The world has already seen through that ruse, and that leaves today’s church as having largely failed at its mandate.

In retrospect, this has been a long time coming. Is it any surprise that Christians now support racist leaders? The church has become the most segregated institution in the country. White Christians have spent generations basking in the privilege of not having to think or preach about things like racism and inequality, while black and brown Christians in churches down the road are haunted by it daily. The ability to simply believe away racism has been the darling sin of every white suburban Christian church since history was first tormented to create a white Jesus. And is it any surprise that Christians have become so extreme anti-science, even in the broad daylight of infectious disease killing fellow believers? The relationship between the church and science has been a contentious one for centuries. The church’s inability to grasp their own God as chief architect with any tools other than magic has caused otherwise intelligent people to become modern society’s imbeciles.

How on Earth are Christians not terrified of standing before God one day to give an account for this behavior? We are called to be innocent of evil, so how is it possible that Christians can support the gross immorality of those we elect to govern us, or to support fringe people or groups, when it has so clearly borne the fruit of the violence, hatred, and death we see every day now? This is not the church I know, and certainly not any kind of church I want to be a part of.

As a Christian, this grieves me in a way I cannot describe, because I know that this doesn’t remotely resemble the God that I worship. But why should I be the one to abandon my faith, when it looks like most of the church has already done that? I’ve seen God work in my life in far too many obvious and clear ways for me to ever abandon my faith or deny God’s existence. The church is the one that has failed both God and man, and in her hypocrisy has destroyed her witness. Whatever false religion the evangelical church has taken hold to lately, it in no way represents Christianity anymore. This strange spell the church is under is not the influence of the man Jesus Christ, but of … something else. My faith in Christ is unshaken. My faith in the church and in other Christians, however, is in ruins.