High and Low Christianity: Perspective Is (Almost) Everything

High and Low Christianity: Perspective Is (Almost) Everything May 11, 2013

It’s hard to relate meaningfully about religion until we find some kind of perspective and common ground established. On that note, I perceive components of high Christianity and low Christianity in the religion. People tend to gravitate to one or the other in their practice and understanding of it. Let me show you these ideas today.

(pfly, CC license.)

(My dear friend, The Apostate over at A Pasta Sea, is good at deconstructing these theological ideas — feel free to visit him when you can!)

The Whole Motley Mess of ‘Em.

High Christianity concentrates more on orthodoxy and higher-flown theological concepts. By contrast, low Christianity features more folk faithways like snake-handling, the Rapture, and praying to intercessory saints.

Obviously, I come at the topic from the headspace of low Christianity, which is where most people seem to hang out. It’s more emotional, more orgiastic, less intellectual. And I’m quite certain its existence horrifies the upper echelons of proper seminaries and priesthoods as much as it did in the early days of Christianity, but what can they do now that they’re not allowed to Inquisit everybody with slightly-off-kilter beliefs? At least such semi-pagan folk beliefs keep butts in pews.

Meanwhile, the high Christianity adherents roll out oodles of weird doublespeak that is barely intelligible to anybody but themselves and harrumph at the mere idea that their ravings are somewhat less than compelling.

Shifting and Evolving.

Religions are like languages in many ways; they shift and bend depending on what group is involved, and one approach often begins to outpace the other in some areas and situations. Some groups are intent on maintaining the purity of the language or religion; others passionately emphasize its flexibility and work to make it fit current society. And in a funny way, languages and religions desperately need both crowds as a sort of checks-and-balances system meant to try to maintain purity yet also move things forward to be less barbaric.

Me, I figure if it’s okay to convert into the religion without having the faintest idea who the Marcionites were, it’s okay to de-convert out of it without knowing that.

Amusingly enough, in the decades since my leaving Christianity, I’ve learned a hundred times more theology than I ever learned in the decades I spent in it, but nothing I’ve learned has actually approached the level of “actual evidence,” a topic we’re coming up to shortly. I haven’t forgotten that I promised I would write soon about just what I read in the Bible that broke my back, and I assure you that we’re getting there.

Stay tuned, Bat-Believers!

Handling serpents at the Pentecostal Church of...
Handling serpents at the Pentecostal Church of God. Kentucky, 09/15/1946. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I still simply cannot believe I used to go to a church that wasn’t a whole lot different from this one. o.O


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About Captain Cassidy
Captain Cassidy grew up fervently Catholic, converted to the SBC in her teens, and became a Pentecostal shortly afterward. She even married an aspiring preacher! But then--record scratch!--she brought everything to a screeching halt when she deconverted in her mid-20s. That was 25 years ago. Now a comfortable None, she blogs on Roll to Disbelieve about psychology, pop culture, politics, relationships, cats, gaming, and more--and where they all intersect with religion. You can read more about the author here.
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