I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.
The above quote was posted by Anne Rice, author of the Vampire Chronicles, on her Facebook account. Continuing my series of posts in reaction to this quote, today I will write about Rice’s last complaint — that Christianity is anti-life.
This is complaint is a bit of a head scratcher. With the Church being one of the last vanguards defending the sanctity of life and crying out that all human life, regardless of race, creed, language, sex, age, sexual orientation or any other artificial division you want to come up with (especially when it comes to the unborn and those on death row), it is difficult to see how Christianity is anti-life.
If, however, by “life” Anne Rice is referring to those things one might be contemplating if stating, “I need a life,” then it is quite possible to understand Christianity as “anti-life.” Long has Christianity insisted on a high moral standard that in the eyes of most Americans today might seem restrictive, draconian and even life destroying. Ironically, the Church might very well say the same things about the way many Americans go about trying to live their lives.
According to the Fathers of the Church, we are constantly assaulted by what they call the passions. These are like thoughts or ideas that lead us to sin. Life in Christ and His Church helps us combat these thoughts and ideas — it empowers us to say no and to find freedom in Christ. In contrast, the Fathers see succumbing to the passions akin to slavery.
Realizing that our former self was crucified with Him, so that the self which belonged to sin should be destroyed and we should be freed from the slavery of sin. — Romans 6:6
An extreme example of this path is drug or alcohol addiction. It starts out as “living” — having fun, partying with friends, etc. The passions then lead us down a road that says we can’t have fun without drugs or alcohol. Then it becomes we can’t live without drugs or alcohol. Finally, it becomes do anything in order to get our next fix. This is not freedom, it is slavery.
Those things in the life of the Church that seem to interfere with “life” — prayer, asceticism, etc. — are actually means by which we control the passions. They are the means by which we shake off the shackles of slavery and find true life and freedom in Christ.