Friday, July 30, 2010


In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. In the name of ... Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.
Anne Rice
This somewhat overwrought declaration isn't entirely correct, as it seems that the author is still a believer, but she has decided that she can't remain in the Roman Catholic Church in good conscience. There seems to be a lot of movement between different faiths, denominations and between being religious and being not. According to a Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey from 2009, approximately half of the adults in the United States have changed religious affiliation at least once in their lives (although their overall sample size may be a bit small for that sweeping a claim). And Anne Rice is part of the general exodus away from Catholicism, which seems to losing members at nearly four time the rate it gains them. Like many of the ex-Catholics in the Pew survey, she realized (decided?) that she simply couldn't maintain a belief in the church's teachings.

The constant movement between faiths in the United States is interesting, if for no other reason than it demonstrates the continuing deterioration of "brand loyalty" to institutions in general. The overall consensus seems to be: "I know what I need, and I don't necessarily need you to help me get it." This could be bad news for churches, as well as other institutions whose primary currency is the size of their membership roster. But perhaps it is a call to change the way things are done. When I was a child, it was simply assumed that you went to a church with your parents, you dutifully listened to what the men at the pulpits had to say and you believed it. Asking questions, especially if you were persistent about it, wouldn't exactly get you into trouble, but it wasn't a recipe for being well-liked in religious circles (at least, until you were old enough that someone could try to recruit you without sparking controversy). The issue is, that low-level hostility to questions didn't make the questions go away - it just locked them in the closet until they could pick the lock.

I know a number of people from broadly divergent religious backgrounds, and they one thing they all have in common seems to be a basic inability to present their religion in such a way that it makes logical sense to someone who doesn't already believe it. Perhaps once that changes, the religious landscape will seem a little more firm.

1 comment:

Jim Bauer said...

I think it follows along the same line as partisan politics, for example. I can be a republican, but not adhere totally to ALL of the republican ideology. People, as things go, are only human. We all are individuals who interpret things in our own unique way. I don't see why the Bible, or any religion would be different in that we would not interpret each in our own separate and individual way.