William Lobdell, the author of Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America — and Found Unexpected Peace, uses Anne Rice‘s recent defection from “Christianity” (at least in name) as a starting point to discuss how American Christianity is in big trouble.
Pollsters — most notably evangelical George Barna — have reported repeatedly that they can find little measurable difference between the moral behavior of churchgoers and the rest of American society. Barna has found that born-again Christians are more likely to divorce (an act strongly condemned by Jesus) than atheists and agnostics, and are more likely to be racist than other Americans.
How to explain the Grand Canyon-sized gap between principles outlined in the Gospels and the behavior of believers? Christians typically, and rather lamely, respond that shortcomings of the followers of Jesus are simply evidence of man’s inherent sinfulness.
But if one adheres to the principle of Occam’s razor — that the simplest explanation is the most likely — there is another, more unsettling conclusion: that many people who call themselves Christian don’t really believe, deep down, in the tenets of their faith. In other words, their actions reveal their true beliefs.
That might explain why Roman Catholic bishops leave predator priests in ministry to prey on more unsuspecting children. Or why churches on Sunday mornings are said to be the most segregated places in America. It also would explain why most Catholic women use birth control even though the practice is considered a mortal sin.
Culturally, America is still a Christian nation. The majority of us still attend church at least occasionally, celebrate Christmas and Easter, and pepper our conversations with “God bless you” and “I’ll be praying for you.”
But judging by the behavior of most Christians, they’ve become secularists. And the sea of hypocrisy between Christian beliefs and actions is driving Americans away from the institutional church in record numbers.
Glad to read some good news today.
It’s easy to see why Anne Rice doesn’t want to be called a “Christian” anymore — who even knows what that means anymore? And why would anyone in her right mind want to be associated with its current “stars”?
Time after time, we see that religion doesn’t make people any better than atheists. Sometimes, it makes them worse.
Don’t let anyone get away with the argument that they’re on higher moral ground because of their faith.