When I went through my divorce after 33 years of a very unhappy marriage, all family members, friends and acquaintances immediately split into two camps: The Christians all coalesced into one camp, and everybody else was, by default, left in the remaining camp.
The Christians- even though they didn’t all know each other (I had two different groups of Christian friends: those from High School and those from my 3 decades of being heavily involved in the Christian church ministry) the Christians all seemed to have read from the exact same playbook at the exact same time, and my divorce was the event that kicked their playbook into action.
The Christian playbook was filled with the grand majority of Christians immediately cutting off all tangible forms of love, they spread rumors, they made judgmental pronouncements, they defriended me both literally and on social media, they avoided eye contact, and they were horrible to my daughter (long story there). I instantly became – or represented – an enemy to them, the “bad guy”, a dangerous son of Satan who fell out of the fold and was to be avoided at all costs, lest my sinful ways would rub off of them.
The non-Christian friends, family members and acquaintances all seemed to be following a very different playbook. Their reaction to the news of my divorce was one of an immediate outpouring of love, support, and offers of help. They didn’t care who may or may not have been at fault in the breakup – they didn’t care about assigning blame. Very different from the default Christian response, they didn’t spend any time at all examining my life to see whether or not it matched up to their doctrinal expectations, and therefore worthy of their very conditional love.
During the divorce and the years following, I became acutely aware of the fact that IF Christianity had a shred of truth to it, applying that “truth” to ones life – or “accepting Christ” seems to have no positive impact.
Contrary to Christian claims, becoming a Christian does not improve one’s life, it often messes it up in the deepest ways – often unrepairable – and turns many, otherwise great people into judgemental, holier-than-thou assholes who say and do the most idiotic things in the name of their god.
I know because when I was a Christian, I too often made judgements upon others I barely knew. I took part in the secret shaming, the defriending, the withdrawal of love from anyone who didn’t agree with my church’s interpretation of the Bible, from anyone who “fell away” from the faith (which includes divorcées).
Why do Christians get the concept of love so wrong and behave so badly en masse when it comes to divorce? Because Christian theology is based on an “us vs. them” mentality. There are “the saved” and “the unsaved.” The saints and the damned. Those who harbor the truth in their hearts and those who have allowed themselves to be deceived by the Devil. The majority of people who are dead and wallowing in their sins, and the holy minority who feel it is their god-given obligation to fix the majority.
It’s all exhausting, of course… to the point where Christians often turn on each other. They point at other Christians and say, “he’s a luke-warm Christian,” or “that one struggles with her faith”. If you want to find out what’s wrong with the First Baptist Church, just ask the Second Baptist Church. Want to know what’s wrong with the Christians in the first pew? Ask those sitting in the second.
Obviously I am no longer a Christian. I believe that Christianity is a man-made religion that can have a horrific net impact on one’s life. Sometimes I’m asked what I replaced Christianity with. My typical answer is… when you get cancer cut out of your body, what do you replace it with?