In 1991 I underwent a religious conversion during a time of great personal stress. Since then I have been a Christian, but I’ve only gone to church for the first two years and very intermittently since. My particular faith is most easily described as “evangelical”.
The reason I haven’t had much to do with churches is that nothing about the culture of American evangelical Christianity is tolerable to me except the Gospel itself. This is a big problem, because you’re not just supposed to pray and learn, you’re supposed to interact with others. I’m instructed to be a member of a spiritual group and also to share the faith with others. At first it was just the problem of everyone being sort of corn-pone and not culturally aware, which is a lot more important when you’re in your 20s. Increasingly I ran into disagreements about science and politics that were a bit worse, and I stopped spending a lot of time with churchy people. After this election, though, I’m through. I’m walking out.
It’s time I stopped describing myself as Christian. I can’t do it. I look at the people who claim an evangelical faith and they make me physically ill. I can’t break bread with them.
The first thing that happens after a fellow believer discovers my spirituality is congratulation and a big smile.The second thing that happens is some political or theological litmus test. We are all supposed to support the war, support the current government, love capitalism, despise “liberals”, hate homosexuals, and deny the last 300 years of Western civilization. I am not to agree with the theory of evolution. I must support not only my own government’s wars but all those of the state of Israel. I am supposed to care very deeply about unborn children but let them starve or be bombed once they’re born. I’m supposed to reject the last 200 years of biology and embrace crackpot pseudo-science.
I look at the people around me that I love and you want me to hate all of them. I refuse. Hate me too, instead.
You people physically disgust me. All of you. I can’t be in fellowship with a nation of murderous ignorant hypocrites. Go back and read Amos and Isaiah, and think on this: are you the prophet, or the faithless nation?
You can call me a “liberal”, and I’ll thank you. You can call me a “humanist”, and I’ll smile. You can even tell me, as you have been lately, that I’m un-American and unwanted in your country, and I’ll respectfully disagree. But don’t call me Christian. My conscience won’t allow it.