There's a Hemingway story -- very brief, 3 or 4 pages maybe -- called "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen". In it, two tedious doctors discuss a 16 year old boy who'd come into their emergency room a few hours earlier and wanted to be castrated. He'd begged the doctors to free him from his impure urges. These sinful feelings came to the boy every night, you see, and the boy felt they were sins against the Lord, against purity itself. The doctors told him to get lost. A few hours later, the boy is brought into the hospital near death because of blood loss. Since the doctors wouldn't help him, see, he decided to perform a little self-surgery with a razor. Sadly, the boy's understanding of the facts of life was weak. He'd misplaced the seat of his lust. He'd misunderstood the meaning of the word "castrate", and so what he cut off was not his nuts but his dick.
You know, in my opinion, the trouble with Christianity -- at least as it is practiced in the U.S. -- is that it lets just any old unqualified person in. This is how you end up with high school students ignorant of the scientific method and thus contemptuous of evolution. This is how you end up with people thinking it is somehow crucial, above all else, that prayer be allowed in school. This is how you end up with preachers who feel that it is the fault of gays and feminists that we were attacked on September 11, 2001.
See, you take this thing that has the potential to address profound issues of human suffering, and you hand it out to people who have no idea what suffering is. You turn this potentially beautiful thing into an idiot religion. It just seems grotesque to me, and I'm not even a Christian.
I think people should not be allowed to be Christian until they have lived lives like Jesus Christ lived his. They should have to live as the least of us for as long as Jesus did -- 33 years or so. You know, maybe then their religion could become about something important again, with something deep and meaningful to say about human suffering, rather than being about voting Republican, or supporting Roberts for the Supreme Court, or telling gay people they can't commit themselves to each other before the law.
I dunno, maybe other religions should do the same thing -- have some sort of apprenticeship program for living as a human being first, and then, after a suitably long learning period, a guy can graduate to becoming a member of their religion. I can't say. I was raised in a Christian nation and can only see the particular idiocies of the way that religion is practiced here.
Honestly, Christianity in America today is no better than that idiot kid who thought he could solve his lust problem by cutting his dick off instead of his nuts. Their depth of misunderstanding of the real facts of human life is as profound as that poor boy's.
Except, come to think of it, assuming that kid did bleed to death (we never really find out in the story), I guess he did manage to solve his lust problem after all. Kind of his own personal Armageddon and Rapture all rolled into one, I guess.
Say, there's something we can all look forward to.