Things You Only Know If You’re A Christian In The 21st Century

Think being a Christian is all bible-bashing, Jesus-freaking, Kum Ba Yahs? Think again...


by Carrie Lloyd |
Published on

The word ‘Christianity’ makes some people shudder as much as inadvertently wearing an outfit that exposes the camel toe. Perhaps it’s decades of poor behaviour from some sections of the church which has made many become haters of the religion. That, or we’re disturbingly associated to trigger-happy pedants who want to ‘bomb thy neighbour’.

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But trust me, the real Christians – the healthy ones – will not judge your choices as much as they will not judge your breed of dog. However, they may well be judged themselves for sticking to religion in an era which doesn't exactly celebrate it. Here's what you know if you're one of them:

You're more likely to get attacked by the religious right than you are non-believers

I know. Confusing isn’t it? But for some, the term ‘religion’ suggested a set of rules, meaning they're more interested in measuring whether something is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. And being right becomes more important than intimacy with others (or God). Today, those often overzealous Christians are the ones who tweet my church during a live streamed service to complain about the wardrobe choice of my worship leaders, whether their tops are too low or the shorts are too risqué.

In another moment, some who follow religion are likely to email me and label me a murderer because I’ve chosen to love and counsel girls who may choose to go for an abortion. I stipulate the girls' right to free will: they tell me to ‘repent now – before it’s too late. They also add that this is exactly 'why Christ still hangs on the cross', to which I’m tempted to respond: ‘Have you not read the rest of the book?’

These kinds of comments, the judgements, are exactly why I hate to be called 'religious'. And yet, in society, I’m placed into the same bracket. It’s for this reason why I also get it in the neck on social media most days from someone feeling the need to share: ‘I hate religion. I think it’s f***king mental’. ‘So you don’t believe in dinosaurs then?’ (What?). And my favourite: ‘OH COME ON GUYS, JESUS DOESN’T EXIST. WE ALL KNOW THAT SHAKESPEARE [sic] WROTE THE BIBLE’. And so on.

I’m stuck between the Bible, the religious and atheists' hatred – and it’s not an easy ride.

**Work can be tricky **

I worked in the rather decadent yet brilliant advertising industry where people are very happy to speak their mind without a filter. One boss decided to make me photocopy many pages of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I did as requested and when I passed over the papers, he was surprised to hear me announce: ‘You know that of all the atheist books out there, this is probably the most poorly argued reference to date? I’d try Hitchens, maybe Bertrand Russell or Nietzsche?’ I left the room with baffled glances.

To be a Christian means that you are often viewed by others as brainwashed and someone who hasn't done your own philosophical or scientific research. This assumption runs into popular culture, too – people often assume that I’d be offended by people like Katy Perry dressing up in a dress depicting the Virgin Mary. But how is it my right to have an opinion on another person's costume when we both believe in God? Especially when 600 of my church are singing Roar to the top of our lungs as a new spontaneous 'hymn'. That’s why it’s sometimes tempting not to mention my religion until I really get to know someone at work.

**Holding out for sex before marriage really is a thing **

People in their 20s and 30s who've had sexual lifestyles (whether it be friends who are former prostitutes, or others who just had a busy sex life) are reforming back to waiting out for sex until marriage. Because – BREAKING NEWS - Christians think sex is awesome. We loved the sex, but it didn’t bring the intimacy, the fight for love, the love itself, the commitment, the respect, the yearning we so longed for on its own.

Sex is powerful and healthy Christians don’t deny sexual desires, they just manage them from a position of self-love. Climactically, God is seen as the creator of the orgasm. Holding out is to avoid hurting others in our own self-gain.

But holding out for sex isn’t always simple – whereas some of my friends are able to merrily enjoy Tinder, hook-up apps are obviously off-limits to me and sometimes it feels like I’m staring down a cultural black hole because everyone else is talking about it.

Yes, my religion affects my fashion choices

Whereas I was once happy in nothing longer than a belt, I now find myself wearing much more conservative lengths. But maybe that’s just because I’m getting older as well.

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**People are quick to get defensive with me **

Conversations over my resistance to my burning loins (no sex until marriage) can become a little lacklustre. The aggression I face can be so strong from some, I can only assume it’s because they see my own choice as a subliminal judgement call on their own sex life. It hurts when I choose not to judge, and yet my lifestyle choice is the butt of attack.

To feel so unknown in this process can be painful, making you want to just hang out with those who have the same lifestyle, but that’s the beginning of segregation. Interestingly, the ones with the most sexualised lifestyles – the polyamorists, the bondage girls, the former strippers, the current strippers – are the least judgemental of my friends. This is because, I guess, they’ve suffered enough judgement themselves to last three lifetimes.

If you made it this far down before clicking off, then lastly…

we’re sorry

We’ve been learning from our mistakes and we’re sorry for how the church may have treated people. We’re sorry for our judgement. We’re sorry for not bringing out the best others. We’re sorry that we weren’t honest about our own crap. This behaviour does not reflect God accurately.

But we’re in transition. Honesty is now heralded as powerful: dishonesty and guardedness is seen as weak. We’re honest about our addictions, our pornography dabbling, our infidelity, our power hunger, our mishaps and our pride. Whatever we do as Christians, it’s our misinterpretation of God that creates a poor PR. Pride damages society, so we’re aiming to be a more humble generation. After all, if a humble man like Jesus was famous for loving others isn’t that what Christians should be famous for, too?

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Follow Carrie on Twitter @carriegracey

For more from Carrie – check out her blog

Her book ‘The Virgin Monologues’ comes out November 2014.

Picture: Joaquin-Musta-Torres

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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