Do I Stay Christian? No!

The title of Brian D. McLaren’s latest book Do I Stay Christian? poses a pertinent question for people who claim Christianity as their faith.

In the first third of his book McLaren provides excellent reasons why it would be better to leave Christianity behind.

Kent Monkman’s painting The Scream shows Indigenous children being forcefully taken away from their parents and sent to residential schools. The Pope said recently that these actions were genocidal.

McLaren claims one reason to not stay Christian is because of the bloody violence the Christian church has employed in its war against other religions. He cites the horrors of the Holocaust, the brutality of the Crusades and the genocide of Indigenous people in many countries by Christian colonizers.

Anneken Jans an Anabaptist burned by other Christians for her beliefs.

McLaren also deplores the way Christians have killed and tortured one another. My own Anabaptist ancestors were burned and drowned by Catholics and Lutherans.

Only a few years ago an American President voted into power by a strong Christian contingent tore children away from their Christian parents and put them in cages. The results have been catastrophic as a recent article in The Atlantic explains.

The movie The Eyes of Tammy Faye showed how money corrupts Christian organizations

McLaren looks at the way the love of money has corrupted the Christian church. Wealthy donors keep Christian organizations and institutions operational and so they hold the power. Clergy often compromise their beliefs and principals to keep the wealthy faction happy. I had to think of all the television evangelists who grew wealthy taking money from their devoted followers.

The current leadership team of the Mormon Church. Photo from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints website

Also problematic is the fact that old white men run the church and have developed most of the church’s theology. McLaren points out how men in Christian leadership have sought to aggressively control the bodies of women while not exhibiting the same zeal for controlling the bodies and behaviours of pedophile priests and abusive pastors.

McLaren examines the failure of Christianity to evolve in the light of new scientific knowledge. This means adherents routinely ignore evidence about evolution, our changing climate or the determinants of sexual orientation. Many Christians seem to leave their intellect at the door when they enter the realm of faith.

McLaren observes that millions of Christians still accept a kind of suicidal theology that welcomes the end of the world and puts more stock in an evacuation plan to heaven than a transformation plan for the earth.

A homeless man reads his Bible outside a shelter and soup kitchen in Mississippi- photo from Mississippi Today

Christianity has been a failure because it has been unable to transform people or make life better for them. McLaren points out that the same five American states with the highest Christian church attendance also come in dead last when you look at longevity, educational opportunities, median household income and happiness. Interestingly they come in first when it comes to number of teen pregnancies.

The Church of our Lady of Grace in Evora Portugal. There are 30 cathedrals in Evora but so few people attend them mass is held in only one church each day. They all take turns.

Finally McLaren says the Christian church is SHRINKLING. It’s a word that combines sinking and wrinkling. The community of Christians is aging and dwindling as more and more young people jump ship. Why stay aboard a shrinkling vessel?

McLaren makes a convincing argument for exiting the Christian faith in the first part of his book.

In the second part he tries to convince readers not to leave Christianity. I will look at his reasons for doing that in a future blog post.

Other posts……….

Abusive Relationships and the Church

What an Audacious Statement!

No More Churches !


Filed under Religion

2 responses to “Do I Stay Christian? No!

  1. Excellent! Thank you for writing this, Mary Lou! This article looks at the Christian church in general. Carol Penner and I gathered and published stories specifically from Peace Churches, which will be hard for many to read because in the end, one must question whether one can stay a part of this particular arm of the church which has weaponized theology and brought so much harm to its own members.


  2. Pingback: Do Children Have An Innate Spiritual Intelligence? | What Next?

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