Linked this video in “Vase“, relating to theme of religious hypocrisy. The speaker is Breanna Lynn, also known as Breanna/Bre Podgorski, of Pepperdine University, affiliated with the Churches of Christ:
The first thing that strikes me about the video is that, despite the speaker’s sarcasm, cynicism, gestures and frowns, I wonder about her life experience and whether it is sufficient to trust her condemnations of organized Christianity. The second is that her evidence is one male chauvinist from an outlier church I’ve never heard of, and that from that single case she is generalizing to 2.14 billion people she says allege they are all Christians. I wonder if her condemnation of Christianity is akin to her chauvinist’s condemnation of women’s voices.
It’s not that I am unsympathetic. Kierkegaard talks about Christianity and Christendom. He argues that most Christians are cradle-Christians, born into a tradition but not really practising Christian values as defined by Christ, and I more or less agree. He argues there are very few truly devoted Christians trying to model their actions after Christ’s recommendations, and again, I more or less agree.
What I do disagree with is the general condemnation. Christ/God forgives when people repent. If everyone lived perfect lives, what would there be to forgive? Or repent? But when people don’t live perfect lives, as they don’t, and the institutions they staff are also not perfect because they are created and staffed by these same humans. This speaker suggests we should condemn them, as opposed to trying to help them to see how they are in sin, and should repent, and try to do better. In my opinion, hers is not a Christian attitude. Not what Jesus was about, though common enough as an attitude among those – all of us – in need of improvement. Most of us certainly feel free to condemn others, though usually not so freely ourselves.
What does it mean, in your original commentary, about “not living the substance?” Are you referring to people who are not living up to Christ’s expectations? I thought I had been taught that no one was living up to those expectations. In the end, a person is forgiven and “saved” by God’s grace and not by his/her own efforts. I thought one of Christ’s issues was with Pharisees who believed that if they followed all the rules, they could guarantee their own salvation, regardless of God’s will. Jesus was there to argue that many of the rules themselves were inhumane in their treatment of others.
Who am I to condemn “traditional rituals” as ridiculous if the people following them aren’t living “the substance”, if that substance is an unattainable ideal that will require forgiveness through grace? If the rituals give people comfort, or like the confessional might motivate even just a minority to behave more ethically, then isn’t that of value?
The video speaker sounds quite Unitarian. I have had much experience both being a Unitarian, and being with Unitarians. Unitarians believe they have the right and obligation to define their own theology. Not a problem. The speaker could readily leave the chauvinist church. She could join another church more to her liking, or follow some other source suitable to her spirituality. That’s surely the part of free speech that doesn’t deprive others of their free speech. However, who is she to condemn so many that God may forgive, based on their whole lifetimes of experience, that she will never see or know.? How is she so better than those she is condemning?
I hope I am not regarded as condemning her, simply by disagreeing with her.
Curious if she would disagree. I guess.