The 21st century has made the Abrahamic God obsolete. This was always an inevitability. Ever since Sir Francis Bacon (ironically enough a devout Christian) developed the scientific method, the days of religion as an all-knowing oracle were numbered. While Christianity has expanded and thrived several centuries since, its death was imminent. This is partly because of what Christianity represents to the average person in today’s day and age.
Christianity has done a lot of good. That much is true. It has its focus imbued on community and togetherness. We can derive comfort from going to a chapel and praying when a loved one is on the verge of death. And assuming that the worst happens and said loved one passes away, there religion is, comforting us with an afterlife and the promise of immortality (also termed “eternal life”).
But in extolling the virtues of Christianity and religion in general, we tend to overlook the damage done by it. And society simply cannot continue to bear Christ’s cross any longer.
Homophobia, misogyny, slavery and more have been promoted in the Bible. Pastors espouse hatred and bigotry almost every time they stand behind the pulpit. Yet these are only symptoms of the larger disease plaguing Christianity, and therefore our world.
Religion is stagnant. It has changed relatively little through the ages, and in so (not) doing, has reached its sell-by date.
This is what drives the socially conscious out of the church: the idea that a slightly tweaked Middle Eastern philosophy can continue restricting a scientifically and technologically literate world to a barbaric, oppressive belief system.
Then, the priests stand atop their imagined pedestals and speak of social progress as the greatest evil. Ironic, as it is they who show evil by taking a supposed “religion of love” and using it to shame, exclude and lambast.
In a world that has the vast majority of people as religious, we sure have a disorderly world. There are still widespread misconceptions about people of colour, women, people on the LGBTI spectrum, and even people of different belief systems. This reflects the society of several centuries ago, when heterosexual men were held in high regard because of some inherent wisdom that was bestowed to them upon conception.
Fast forward to today, and diversity has usurped every obstacle in its way. As people of all races, genders and sexual orientations have made valuable contributions to the world, the words of the Bible have lost their relevance. Yet, despite this, these concepts are still taught, preached and forcibly survive generation after generation.
The fear religion instills makes it impossible to be any other way. Fear that without the order that it brings, we shall become immoral and ungovernable, raping babies and beheading each other at the slightest provocation (both of which are hallmarks of a group of Islamic extremists, known as ISIS, coincidentally enough). This argument has been used by many to control and conquer countries, including the advent of apartheid right here in South Africa, where the Dutch Reformed Church used scripture as justification for the inhumane policy.
Celebrated political activist, the late Steve Biko alluded to this when he wrote, “this cold cruel religion [Christianity] was strange to us but our forefathers were sufficiently scared of the unknown impending danger to believe it was worth a try.”
And so Christianity was incorporated into our collective culture, until its patriarchal figure- the “jealous God” of yore- shook our forefathers with hellfire and brimstone if he didn’t have a monopoly on their spiritual lives. They dropped our cultural values to the realms of superstition, and began carrying something else. They began carrying The Cross.
Its weight of expectations has carried over into the present (“the sins of the father fall onto the son”), and if we do not drop it, it is us who face obsolescence.