The Pastor Rudy Experience

Where Religion and Real Life Intersect

Quitting Christianity?

Posted by PastorRudy at 8/13/2010 5:37 AM CDT

Those of us who are Christians should care that bestselling author and novelist Anne Rice “quit being a Christian” in July according to a post on her facebook profile. Regardless to how her declaration made you feel, 3,656 people liked the statement enough to hit the “like” button on their facebook profile. Rice’s manifesto went on to say, “I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life.” In that regard, if all that religion does is identify what we are opposed to then, Ms. Rice and I completely agree on the items we both refuse to condemn. I believe religion is more than a list of don’ts, hates, and oppositions. I think the power of faith informs us more of the possibilities that life has to offer than a list of prohibitions and pitfalls. Even the atheist icon Christopher Hitchens in his book “god is not Great” remarked on the transformative power of “pro” versus “anti” in Dr. Martin King’s use of religious allegory and metaphor which ignited a faith perspective that encouraged his followers (and faith practitioners alike) to continue pursuing freedom and “in the face of endless provocation and brutality,… to become the moral tutors of America and the world beyond its shores.” When we fail to defy xenophobia we crater to type of self-righteousness identified with many on the far right of religious thought. Writer Anne Lamott in an article entitled “God Doesn’t Take Sides stated,”

“What the right has “appropriated” has nothing to do with God as most of

us believers experience God. Their pronouncements about God are

based on the great palace lie that this is a Christian country, that they were chosen by God to be his ethical consultants, and that therefore they alone know God’s will for us.” She went on to say, “You can tell you have

created God in your own image when it turns out that (God) hates all

the same people you do.”

Its no wonder the church has been identified as a enemy combatant of society and is subsequently wrestling with catastrophic decline in every quadrant of religious affiliation in this country. In the August 7th issue of a Chron.com editorial, Miami Herald writer, Leonard Pitts quoted a 2008 study by Trinity College saying,

“Religiosity is trending down sharply in this country. The American Religious Identification Survey, which polled more than 54,000 American adults, found that the percentage who call themselves Christian has fallen by 10 since 1990 (from 86.2 percent to 76 percent) while the percentage of those who claim no religious affiliation has almost doubled (from 8.2 to 15) in the same span. Pitts goes on to say, “Small wonder atheist manifestos are doing brisk business at bookstores and Bill Maher’s skeptical Religulous finds an appreciative audience in theaters. Organized religion, Christianity in particular, is on the decline, and it has no one to blame but itself: It traded moral authority for political power.”

In her parting comment Anne Rice put in perspective the sentiment of many people I encounter who are critical of the movement called Christianity. “Christ didn’t fail her, she said. Christianity did.” Christianity didn’t fail Ms. Rice the people who represent Christianity failed her. The people aspect of Christianity explains why atheist manifestos and books advocating religious elitism are flying off the shelves. Inclusive expectations of religion are difficult for people in search of a utopian religious experience but the religious practice of Jesus was founded on a transparent and authentic relationship with God, self, and with others which can only be achieved through unconditional love and acceptance. Practicing faith is not easy and never has been. It requires the practitioner to peer into the darkness of uncertainty believing for the best out of people, circumstances, and God realizing the only thing we can control of the three is how we respond. An authentic response to the message of Christ requires us to return to a novel religious concept with universal implications and that concept is LOVE, the kind of love Jesus modeled as a love revolutionary. Because of this love we should not only care that Anne Rice quit Christianity but we should care that anyone would leave because of loveless experience. Don’t quit the movement instead change the perceptions and try love.

What do you think of Anne Rice’s decision?

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Josh2005 wrote:

Here’s the thing about Rice’s statement: It doesn’t make any sense. First of all, it’s completely stupid for her to say, “In the name of Christ, I reject Christianity.” And we can talk all day about what the Bible says about homosexuality and abortion, but I won’t bother getting into it. However, most egregious is her statement that, “I refuse to be anti-secular humanism.” If that’s the case, then she was never a Christian in the first place. Wikipedia defines secular humanism as “a secular philosophy that espouses reason, ethics, and justice, and specifically rejects supernatural and religious dogma as the basis of morality and decision-making.” Basically, it’s all about how man can find his own perfection and salvation apart from God. It is diametrically opposed to Christianity. Prominent secular humanists include Noam Chomsky, Richard Dawkins, Friedrich Engels, Christopher Hitchens, and other militant atheists. You might even call them anti-theists. It’s impossible to be both a Christian and a secular humanist. So in my opinion, Anne Rice isn’t changing anything but her habits on Sunday. And as the great Keith Green once said, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald’s makes you a hamburger.”

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