Toxic Christianity, round two

In the October 15th Best of the Web, James
Taranto asks:

So let’s see if we have this straight: The head of the Anglican
Church is telling us that the wanton murder of thousands of innocent
people [by Palestinian terrorists] is a sign of “serious moral goals,”
while the liberation of millions [of Iraqis] from one of the world’s
most vicious dictatorships is, as he has put it, “immoral and

Is this really what Christianity is all about?

Well, since you asked…yes, indeed it is.

To understand why, you first have to confront what Dr. Rowan
Williams is actually doing. He is aligning himself with Islamic
terrorists against individual Christians and against the liberation of
Iraq from an Islamizing dictator by a predominantly Christian

Now, why would the head of the second most prestigious of all
Christian denominations do that? What is it in Christianity that
could make him so confident in the morality of this position? What is
it about the U.S.’s actions that make it so threatening?

A clue to the problem is that though the U.S. is demographically a
mostly Christian nation, the effect of U.S. cultural hegemony is a
secularizing one. American popular culture severs the bonds of fear
and ignorance that hold people unquestioningly to their ancestral
relgions. The American vision of each individual as an autonomous
being who derives his rights from his humanness, from the simple fact
of his capacity to assert them, is deadly antithetical to any
religious tradition that vests moral authority in a transcendant

The Founding Fathers of the U.S. understood this antipathy full
well. The pro-forma nods towards the distant god of the Deists in the
Declaration of Independence and U.S. Consitution failed to conceal the
fact that the Founding Fathers were freethinkers, agnostics and
atheists almost to a man. As George Washington and John Adams
explained to the Knights of Malta in 1787 “The United States is in no
way founded upon the Christian religion”. It could not have been so
founded without a fatal conflict with its aspiration to be a nation of

The Archbishop of Canterbury cannot be dismissed as a fringe figure
as some are (incorrectly) wont to do of Pat Robertson. His enmity
towards the U.S.’s anti-terror strategy, his willingness to line up
with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden after no more than a pro-forma
disclaimer of terrorist means, proceeds directly from this fundamental
conflict. It is diagnostic of a deep sickness, an abiding evil in the
heart of Christianity itself — the exaltation of obedience, the
denial that humans can have any worth other than through the
condescension of God.

Nietzsche called this one correctly. Christianity, which purports
to be the religion of love, is only sporadically anything of the kind.
It is primarily a religion of slavery and submission. Christian
individualism, when it exists at all, is legitimized only by obedience
to God. In a Christian worldview there is always someone to be
obeyed, whether visible cleric or invisible Nobodaddy. You must
submit; the only argument is about to whom your obedience is owed, and
what humans under what circumstances may transmit the orders of God.
Without that sinew of obedience the entire world-view

To a Christian cleric, a properly terrified and obedient Muslim is
less of a threat than a person who has rejected the God of the
Abrahamic faiths. The Muslim is still within the system of
submission. Only a handful of symbols separate him from the Christian;
the basic program is the same. Therefore, from the point of view of
the operators of the religious obedience machine that is Anglicanism
(or almost any other Christian denomination) Osama bin Laden is a more
natural ally than any freethinker.

Am I accusing Dr. Rowan Williams of being part of a conscious
totalitarian conspiracy? No; he is something far more dangerous
— a leading figure in an unconscious totalitarian
conspiracy, one which denies its own nature just effectively enough to
fool others as well. That conspiracy encompasses every tyrant
who has ever told human beings that their path to happiness lay
in the exaltation of some authority, whether God or the State.

It is in this context that Dr. Williams’s statement makes perfect
and consistent sense. For him, better a thousand terrorist acts than
even one human being waking up to discover that he need not after all
fear the wrath of God.

Blogspot Comments

Categorized as Culture


  1. I’ve just discovered your blog, having become interested in your thinking process after reading some of your books on linux & open source.

    What you are describing here is similar to what I’ve felt for a long time, but my ability to put thoughts into words is not as refined as yours. My way of approaching it has always been this question:

    Humans are made “in gods image”. I assume this does not mean that god has 2 arms, 2 legs, 2 ears, 2 eyes, a nose & a mouth in basically the same places we do, but rather that our mind & thinking processes are similar. Why, then would he want to create beings that should worship him? What is the universal point to making free will, then telling these newly created beings to give up their free will in order to avoid the worst punishment & torture conceivable?

    Humans have historically rejected other humans who have acted out desires of this nature, and yet accept this from a “supreme” being. I’ve never really understood that.

  2. Maybe you yourselves should read the bible and investigate it’s claims. In choosing anything besides God, humans destroy themselves. God is what you are looking for. According to the bible, God created us to know him and to love him, that’s WHY we we were created. What else shall we do besides our intended purpose?

  3. If you don’t believe the Bible in the first place, why do you comment on it? I think you comment on it because it intimidates you. You have to convince yourself that it’s not true. But what if it is? If the bible were meaningless, there would be know conversation or controversy about it. It would just be ignored. The problem we have to face is: Who was Jesus? What does it mean if the Bible’s account of Him is what the disciples really saw? What does it mean if all that stuff about Moses and Egypt and the Garden of Eden really happened? Hell, we have to answer alot more serious questions than that about our own existences first! Who am I? Why am I here? Why would I ask these questions in the first place? Why do other people’s belief systems scare me? Why do I believe truth is exclusive? Answer these, and we’ve begun our trip down the existential rabbit hole that naturally leads to Christ. All your beliefs about life will naturally spring from your belief about human origin. Answer that question, and you’ve determined where all other personal philosophies will go.

  4. We are created equal by God, he is the one who gives us life, we dont have the right to take the life of others just because of our belief, as what the bible says that we should love one another.

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