ten percent

"I reached the realization sometime this year that Christianity is about 90 percent bullshit -- and that the 10 percent that isn't bullshit just won't let go of me." -- Marauder, from comments to this entry

Which, I think, is pretty much the long and short of why I haven't already packed up my theological toys and found a different playground. Christianity has a lot of bullies, a lot of potholes, poison ivy everywhere... and a set of truly kickass tire swings with really cool people in one corner if you stick around long enough to find it.

Logically speaking, when the way I thought about my relationship with my religion started to sound similar to a battered spouse ("I know that s/he still loves me DEEP DOWN, maybe we can still work things out once s/he stops beating me over the head!") I had to wonder if there's much left to debate, and I'm just clinging to the last shreds of my faith as a philosophical security blanket. Which very well probably is some of it. I was born and raised in this religion, and it would be painful to uproot my entire worldview.

But generally speaking, it's not really been the principles on which my orthodoxy was based that have changed as it has been a rethinking of the orthopraxis I was taught. I still believe in the power of the Bible, but I tend to locate that specialness in terms of its metaphors and narratives instead of its rules and prophecies. It's lost the sort of talismanic properties it held growing up; a Bible is just a Bible, but The Bible is something more than the sum of its parts.

For that matter, a lot of my progressive tendencies are rooted IN my religion. If everyone is at base a child of God, what with Galatians 3:28 and all that, why should society play favorites when God doesn't? What should the kingdom of Heaven on Earth look like, if not a place where everyone is treated with equal dignity and consideration? Was Jesus not, after all, the original dirty hippie radical?

I have a lot of sympathy for why many GLBT folks feel the need to leave religious institutions for atheism or more welcoming traditions, but at the same time I don't feel like I can abandon the same faith that's gotten me through a lot of the pain that resulted from how those hierarchies treat us. It's made a big difference to me to separate the church institutional from the church universal, to draw strength from the one while I end up in opposition to the other. I doubt I could ever quite convince myself of the nonexistence of God even if I frequently doubt God's existence, because there will always be the fact that the God I think of has only the most tenuous connection to the actual God that is, given that I'm constrained to think inside human limits. So even if it came to that, I'd still be a Christian agnostic at heart, and that same agnosticism would be more of a refusal to keep asking "if."

I suppose I feel like I do more good, ultimately, by sticking around to fuck up some paradigms than I would by leaving and accepting their definition of Christianity as the "correct" one.


thus saith Liadan at 3:26 AM


Blogger titration saith at 5/05/2008 8:31 AM...  

I can related to these thoughts a lot. It's why I changed churches to a church that is "reconciling". My christian church will have a float in the pride parade. But wow do I get this post. :)

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