Friday, September 12, 2014

Progressive Christianity Is Not A Better Christianity

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I can't really define Progressive Christianity, other than what I have witnessed it as, which is basically a group of Christians who hold the title of Christian and follow the "core message of Christianity" while taking on many of the positions of progressive liberals, such as reproductive rights, gay rights, religiosity, etc . They are in stark contrast with their evangelical brethren, who are best represented by the likes of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, as well as our American Tea Party Republican Christian drones (that's a nice title) and televangelists like the professional hate mongering fossil Pat Robertson. These Christians take on a more dominionist approach, with God ruling over everything, from our schools to our laws. Well... fuck that shit.

So, you would think that I as an admitted bleeding heart liberal would see Progressive Christianity as a breath of fresh air, given that it is so fundamentally separate from the bigoted, discriminatory practices of its next door neighbor-in-arms. We want the same rights for everyone and we don't think people or corporations should be given special exemptions to discriminate, coupled with the belief that Church and State should be kept separate (I also want to stress that these are not "core" liberal stances as you will find that we do not all have the same opinions or beliefs; these are more general examples).Yeah, you'd think that I would be championing this new wave of more tolerant Christianity... but nothing could be further from the truth. 
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Progressive Christianity, to me, is just making the best of a bad situation that had no business getting as bad as it did or even being taken seriously in the first place. It is some kind of illogical marriage between Christianity and secularism that is part moralistic, part theistic, and all cognitive dissonance. Here is what I mean by that: Many of the issues that Progressive Christians support run in direct contrast with the bible's scripture or its tone. We can get into the literal, metaphorical, allegorical, and/or contextual interpretation of biblical passages, but the bible itself has a tone that hardly presents it as this insightful guide on human enlightenment and open-mindedness. Add that to the fact that science has all but proven to be a terrible friend of religion to the point where many religions have had to drop certain things in their belief system because of the evidence against it, or they opted to engage in some goalpost moving and incorporate scientific discoveries into their faith. I never really get a good answer from Progressive Christians on science and faith so I'd love some insight from them on this matter. 

Many Progressive Christians (though not all) do support same sex marriage and gay rights, even when challenged with such scriptures like Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, Romans 1:18-32, and 1st Corinthians 6:9-11. The usual counter is,"Jesus never directly mentioned homosexuality in the bible", and/or "Jesus was about love and taught his followers to never judge." But, is the former really a valid answer? I mean, there is a lot of shit that Jesus didn't directly address, namely because most of it didn't exist during those times and the concept of human rights was nonexistent, so for some odd reason, the ignorance of the Gospel writers on matters like online dating, selfies, and double penetration is reflected through Jesus (almost like he was trapped within the context of his time period). This notion that "Jesus came out of love" and "Jesus taught love" that I hear a lot from these Christians is hella condescending to those of us who have read the bible and came to a much different conclusion. Jesus definitely had his highlights with the beatitudes, but he definitely was not all love.

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Another problem I have with Progressive Christianity is that it engages in the same intellectual dishonesty as that of its evangelical counterpart. You can proclaim left and right what the bible is saying, but the only thing you have to support that is your own interpretation that coincidentally has Jesus/God supporting everything you have to say. PC (I've abbreviated Progressive Christianity) takes on a more political approach to their faith, which, if you ask me, strips it of any supernatural aspect and reduces it to teachings that quite frankly are as enlightened as they are original, and that's not saying much. The problem with attempting to modernize these religions is that it takes away the dogma and concedes that many of the practices and customs are not "divinely commanded" but are mere products of the misogynistic, homophobic, and barbaric times from whence they came. I don't know about anyone else, but it just feels like a Jesus without the magic crap; that's not necessarily bad, but let's not pretend he's not in there making crazy illogical shit happen.
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But, I must thank PC for putting another nail in the coffin of religion and reminding everyone that religion is subjected to the same game of Evolution by natural selection that we are all unwilling participants in. In order to survive in our changing environment, we must learn to adapt to our new surroundings. To do that, we must be able to adapt quickly, which means we must acquire new traits or lose old ones, making us a distinct but similar version from our predecessor until later on we are notably different from our starting point (This is a terribly simplified explanation of Evolution only for analogous purposes only). Evangelical Christianity in America has seen a serious push back with the dawn of LGBT rights and women's health rights, putting many of them at odds with individuals who feel it is none of their business to insert their biblical morality onto a political landscape. This brand of fire and brimstone faith is starting to lose favor with the younger crowd, and in its place is a more gentler kinder brand of Jesus. Evangelicals are falling victim to a changing environment and will see themselves go the way of the dodo bird if they do not find a way to get their message across to the youth. 

Progressive Christianity, on the other hand, is a reminder that evolution is not always a good thing for the evolving entity, especially since it still fails to answer the serious questions in life and simply glosses over many of its past mistakes and glaring immoral instances without bothering to remove them or address them honestly Yes, a lot of the bible's stories are indicative of the times, but the unchanging god stuff? What up with that? How do you tell your children and followers that Jesus is a god of love when just a testament over, he's murdering millions of people in a flood and commanding the murder of thousands? How do you support LGBT people when you have doctrine that not only commands gays be put to death in one part, but then has them being shut out of your Heaven in another? What is Progressive Christianity but Jesus masked in liberal objectives and goals? Not that conservatives (read: Evangelical Christians) don't do this as well with their "God loves guns" bullshit, but I would have to say that they probably follow the bible more to the letter than Progressive Christians, which is probably why the PCs are better at policing themselves without appealing to a god. So pat yourselves on the back, Progressive Christians because you're a more tolerant group, a more inclusive group, and more culturally relevant branch of your Christian faith.

You're a kinder Christianity... a more condescending Christianity.

Okay, I'm done.

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