There are lots of people who are decent and good in this world. Some of them subscribe to one of the many religions humankind has devised over the eons, with some of those choosing or falling into Christianity. Others don’t choose or fall into any religions at all. Being Christian has nothing whatsoever to do with being decent and good for any of those people, just as being decent and good has nothing whatsoever to do with being Christian. There are decent and good Muslims, pagans, Christians, atheists, Jews, Pastafarians, you name it.
Part of being decent and good is realizing that religion doesn’t make someone decent or good.
Such a person is aware that there are lots of different ways humanity’s come up with to seek and connect with our spiritual sides, and that nobody really knows for sure which way is the best way. Maybe there isn’t even a best way for everybody, just a best way for each individual person, and that one person’s best way might not be another person’s best way. A decent and good person is already aware that the best expression of religion is always going to be in how it encourages its adherents to treat other people and how to live with integrity and authenticity, and that almost all religions agree with those two ideals in the main.
It’s important to remember that though religion has harmed a lot of people in recent years, religion’s not the enemy in and of itself, and that simply being a member of a religion–or not being one–does not make someone good or bad.
If there’s an enemy at all for us, it is zealotry, not religion.
Zealotry takes the good parts of religion and shits all over them like a barn animal on its own bed. It demands compliance and conformity. It must destroy and silence dissent. It cannot tolerate the existence of other religions or even the presence of dissenting voices within its own religion. It insists that its way is the only proper way and that there are no other proper ways.
Zealotry demands control over other people’s lives even if those people aren’t even members of its group. It is not love but hate, though zealots may relabel hate as love to make its members think that by harming others, they are really showing love to them (though the people being harmed are not fooled in the least).
Zealotry doesn’t care about facts in its rush to push its bizarre understanding of “truth;” it will do whatever it must to spread itself, because spreading itself is what is important. Love, truthfulness, faithfulness, a servant’s heart, charity, none of it matters to a zealot. The ends justify the means. When I was a Christian, zealotry was considered a good thing; it meant the Christian was “on fire.” None of us really thought about just why we thought being on fire was a good thing (but we still conceptualized Hell as being a pit of fire; now there’s a philosophical musing I’ll be chewing on all day).
Zealotry-infested systems attract people who are either zealots themselves or who respond to its message of control and savage suppression. It attracts not people wanting to serve and love its god and their fellow humans, but who instead crave power and see that zealotry-infested system as as the best way to get what they want.
So a Toxic Christian is someone who is part of that narrow subset of zealots who harm others in the name of their religion, want to force their narrow interpretation of their religion’s dictates on everybody else, confuse love with hate and abuse with caring, and care more about proselytizing than they do about following their religion’s primary commands. They are a poisonous cloud of gas seeping over every surface and poisoning everything they touch, and their form of religion just spawns more people like themselves: zealots ready for the cause.
Zealotry is what makes religion toxic, not gods, not rituals, not buildings, not organized hierarchies. Zealotry is what we must fight and what we must stop.
What is a toxic Christian?
You May Be Right... Or You May Be a Toxic Christian.