I avoid religious discussions here on Filosofa’s Word as much as is possible or feasible, for I am non-religious and feel I don’t have a horse in this race, but every now and then I tread softly into the topic. There are two ‘men of the cloth’, religious leaders, for whom I have great respect: Padre Steve Dundas, a recently retired Navy chaplain, and John Pavlovitz, a writer, pastor, and activist from Wake Forest, North Carolina. These two men are not ‘preachy’, but are fair, open-minded men who actually live their beliefs rather than weaponizing religion as so many today are doing.
I’m sharing a portion of John Pavlovitz’ most recent blog post today because it defines what I see as being wrong with the Christianity that we see today and why people are turning away from their religion, leaving their churches. This is only an excerpt and I highly recommend you read John’s entire post in which he addresses American churches, but here is a portion of it …
October 12, 2022 / John Pavlovitz
You’re dying because of your willful ignorance.
People are tired of your war on Science.
They are sick of your arguing with Biology.
They are exhausted by your attacks on women.
They are horrified by your justifications of racism.
They despise your posturing nationalism.
They know the earth is round.
They know it is billions, not thousands of years old.
They know dinosaurs walked it.
They know that it is warming rapidly.
They know people here don’t choose their sexuality.
They know whoever and whatever God is—doesn’t appoint Presidents or hand out weapons or attack people with tornadoes.
You’re dying because of your devotion to cruelty.
People watch you dig in your heels against others because of their gender identity and sexual orientation; the way you continually exact violence upon them, the way you try and blame God and the Bible for your fearful bigotry and your predatory behavior.
They’ve seen your intolerance to other religious traditions: how you vilify anyone who finds spirituality and meaning outside of your precise expression of Christianity, how you so easily disregard the faith stories of those who don’t reflect your own.
They’ve watched you so revel in being the bully to those you were originally called to protect.
You’re dying because of your complicity in violence.
Good people have seen you so often be a safe haven for misogynists, domestic abusers, sexual predators, and white supremacists—who all receive protection in your antiquated words, in your personality cults, and in your enabling culture.
They’ve heard your explicit silence in the face of a brutal and rising flood of anti-Semitism, of open racism, of hostility toward immigrants, of attacks on Asian people and Muslims.
They see your pastors and leaders misuse their positions and leverage their influence to victimize the most vulnerable and to serve as scapegoats for discrimination.
They’ve watched you be the last, hateful holdout in matters of gender equality, racial diversity, sexuality, and theological difference; lagging behind almost everyone in the world in the kind of goodness you say you aspire to.
And this from a man who has been a Christian pastor for some 25 years. Christians would do well to listen more to him and less to the evangelists like Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins, Pat Robertson, et al.