Christian Culture and Fake Love

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Caleigh Royer’s blog, Profligate TruthIt was originally published on November 11, 2013 with the title “When did Christian Culture become a culture of fake love?”

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Disclaimer: I realize this does not cover all Christians, I’m not writing about all Christians, I am writing about what I have seen and what I have an issue with. Do not accuse me of accusing all Christians of being like this.

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I am completely caught off guard when a post of mine gets shared over 10 times, but when it’s quite a lot more than that, I just don’t know what to say. I didn’t expect my response to the marriage post that has been disturbingly viral would get so much attention. For me, it was a lot of attention, and I say thanks to those who took the time to comment and share.

It’s always difficult to come back after a post of mine gets a lot of attention. I don’t write to get the hits, I write to process, I write to give myself freedom and permission for my own voice, and I write because I know I am not alone.

I know how important it is to have someone come alongside and say “I’ve been there too. I know what this is like.” 

What I’ve been through has been hell for me personally and it’s the type of hell that makes me feel isolated from everyone and everything. To me, this is a fact. That’s all it is. The feelings aren’t as painful, the anger, blind pain, and suffocating brokenness aren’t my constant companions anymore. But, as I’ve said time and time again, I still have a long way to go.

My writing has been in a slow downward spiral of sorts, I’ve been really tired and not been sleeping well as my body struggles to adapt to sudden changes in the weather. This time of the year always affects me poorly when the weather goes from balmy fall weather to frigid temperatures in the course of a few days. Even though my body is struggling to stay afloat my mind has not stopped mulling over things and trying to continually piece things together. Something that keeps tripping me up is a culture/community I have a part of since I turned 7 1/2, was baptized, and took communion for the first time. I have serious concerns about the Christian community and the more I see the more I no longer want to be a part of it.

I can’t reconcile the fact of Christians turning away and not accepting people who do not believe their exact beliefs.

I can’t come to terms with how vicious Christians get when someone challenges their beliefs or practices, even if the challenge comes in the form of sincere genuine questions. I can’t get over how obscenely rude Christians are about putting down someone who finds a small strand of courage and admits they’ve been struggling with whether God exists or not. I cannot for the life of me understand how Christians, who claim to have the love of God, can so harshly shove verses at and shun someone who participates in an activity or practice that goes against their moral beliefs. Or the same Christians who say they love someone but then cruelly do not accept someone. I can’t reconcile the love Christians say they have with the very lack of acceptance that I have seen time and time again. I can’t reconcile how Christian culture treats those who come out publicly as homosexual. 

I cannot reconcile tearing down someone who is speaking out about abuse and sharing their horrendous story. Those people who have been severely damaged by the church are the very ones who need true love, true acceptance, true willingness to come alongside and say “I don’t care what happened, I’m here now and will not leave.”

I don’t want to be a part of a culture where people claim the love of a higher being but who then horrifyingly rip someone apart who is ever so slightly different than them or who is asking questions.

Love is accepting someone unconditionally, their minds, their hearts, their very being despite what they think, despite not seeing eye to eye, despite their choices.

When I see parents say they love their children but then tell their children how pained and hurt they are over their children’s decisions, I see pride in the parents’ ideas of child rearing. I see pride that has been hurt and being taken out on children who are their own unique individuals who have to make their own decisions and live with their own life. I see parents who are not accepting or truly loving their children. “If you love God you will do what I say” is not something that seems to me to be true love. That’s manipulation of parents who are pushing their own agendas, not loving and accepting their children’s decisions and who their children are, body, mind, and soul.

When I see Christian snub and turn away people who are questioning their faith, who are working through seriously difficult questions about their own sexual identity, I see Christians who don’t want to get their hands dirty and who want to keep their own little sets of predetermined rules. I am still working through my own beliefs about same sex marriage and relationships, but I can say this at the moment:

I hate what I have seen among Christians on this matter, and I don’t want any part of their actions.

No part.

When I see Christians gang up and push down an abused child in order for the parents to gain further control over a nasty situation, I see children being silenced and people being shut down who need to have a voice. When I see Christians turn away people truly in need, I don’t see love, acceptance, I see uncomfortable people who don’t want to have their own beliefs shaken.

Want to know the truth of what I’m actually thinking?

I don’t really know if I want to believe in God anymore. I don’t really want to be associated with being a Christian.

I don’t want to be grouped with people who are known for their vicious attacks on people who need love and acceptance, not the strange version of so called love that spews from the mouths of those who claim to have love. I don’t understand how Christians can be so proud of their “defense” of their beliefs when they are razing hurting people in their path. I don’t understand why my own questions with my own beliefs have been so easily brushed aside as “just a season,” just something I’ll get over. I’ve been shunned by the very people who claim to have a “heart of love for those who are hurting.” I have been silenced and brushed aside by people who claim love but deny acceptance because I’m suddenly a black sheep for asking questions they would never think or even dare to ask. 

There is a massive group of us who are trying to recover from the denied acceptance and love from the Christian community.

I just can’t reconcile any longer the very lack of real love from Christian as something Jesus did or didn’t do. I don’t see the connection between how the Christians I have been around and grown up with act and how Jesus acted/acts. I don’t understand where the disconnect happened, I don’t know where the puzzle piece is missing, but I do know i don’t want any part of it anymore. Maybe one day I’ll come back, and my opinion will change, but that’s not where I’m at right now. I make no promises. 

I can’t understand how the Christian culture has become a culture of defending their faith like sociopaths and turning away people in need of real love. 

11 comments

  • It gets discouraging. I know. *hugs*

  • Too many Christians define “love” as demanding conformity and shoving their beliefs down other people’s throats, no matter how much harm it causes. They need to understand that real love involved empathy, respect, and efforts to help someone thrive.

    May you find that love, and may it help you grow and thrive.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      This reminds me of the TV Tropes entry “People’s Republic of Tyranny”, whose real-world application is “The more adjectives about Democracy and Freedom in a country’s official name, the nastier a dictatorship it is.”

      Is there a corollary that “the more I preach about My Heart of Love, the more of an abuser I am”? I remember Joan Crawford (a real piece of work even for abusive celebrity parents) insisting her abused daughter address her as “Mommy DEAREST”. Like the more perfect the outside of the whitewashed tomb, the more corrupt the inside.

  • Caleigh, I profoundly admire your courage. Christianity is a culture of shame. I, too, had to learn that the hard way.

  • Reblogged this on The Road.

  • I deconverted from Christianity earlier this year and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve tried to explain how horrifying the responses have been from some Christians only to hear, “Well, you know they love you.”

    Actually, no. I DON’T know. Because I’m finally in a position to sort through the bullshit and see that their behavior has been very, very unloving all along. Why would I want to continue to be in a relationship with someone like that?

    It just flabbergasts me that so many Christians are so quick to excuse their brothers and sisters in the faith when they say and do horrible things because they can’t imagine that someone who believes the same things that they do could be a sorry, nasty excuse for a human being with bad intentions.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      It just flabbergasts me that so many Christians are so quick to excuse their brothers and sisters in the faith when they say and do horrible things because they can’t imagine that someone who believes the same things that they do could be a sorry, nasty excuse for a human being with bad intentions.

      It’s called circling the wagons against the Heathen/Infidel. You saw a similar tribal identity reaction among a lot of Muslims after 9/11.

  • I am sorry that you are hurting.

    Something you said, “true willingness to come alongside and say “I don’t care what happened, I’m here now and will not leave.”

    I think you need someone to come along side and say, “I deeply care what happened. And it should not have. It is not your fault.” Then to stay by you.

    Things that have happened should not have. The world is filled with hurtful people, inside and outside the church.

    As a Christian, Jesus is our example. We should be examples to one another, but so often we fail.

    May you be healed through and through. You are Gods beloved!

  • When I had a boyfriend who was not a christian and my father found out, he told me that it was purely my decision to marry him or not and he will never object to it and even help in the wedding but in his heart though it will hurt him a bit because me being a chrsitian was choosing the wrong path and I could get hurt in future. I think I saw the love of my father and also his pain at the same time. My father actually sacrified a lot for me and even sold his properties so that I have an excellent education and life. I left my buyfriend explaining the situation. there are better ways of saying things to your kids and for me I believe that my father had the right to say that and I love him for pouring his heart in front of me but I know often times people are too pushy..

  • Unfortunately I’ve seen a lot of the same thing in churches. Some churches are better than others, but the pain is real.

    What has helped me the most is to focus on Jesus and my faith in God. When I have no one else, I always have Him. Other people in the Bible felt the same way…look at David and some of the prophets.

    If I can encourage you in something, please don’t stop loving God or even the Christians who have hurt you. I’ve been through very painful, lonely times and even then we’re called to return good for evil, to love our neighbors/enemies, and forgive everyone. Perhaps you can find a better church? It’s hard, I know. I’ll pray for you – and I mean that.

  • I understand what you are going through, it is very hurtful.

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