Feeling Sorry for Anne Rice as she Quits 'Organized Religion'
By Royal Hamel
From time to time I run into sincere people who tell me, “Well I’m into spirituality, but I’ve got no use for organized religion.” Often I’m tempted to tease them by saying, “Look, if you think organized religion is bad, just think how much worse it would be if it were disorganized.”
But, jesting aside, many people are rejecting so-called “organized religion” and embracing a “disorganized,” self-made religion often referred to as “spirituality.” Just recently the well-known author Anne Rice, who wrote Interview with a Vampire, bailed out of her Christian faith. Despite returning to her Christian roots in 1998 she recently spurned that return to faith by writing on her Facebook site, “ In the name of…Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen”.
From other comments Anne has made it appears that she has no problem with Christ and maintains that she still believes in him, but she has major problems with Christians and Christianity. She further commented on her Facebook site, “It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group.”
In a National Public Radio interview Rice insisted that while it was difficult for her to reject Christianity, yet the teachings of the church on a wide range of ethical and social issues including same-sex marriage were not teachings that she was able to accept and embrace.
She stated in the NPR interview that, “We have to differentiate between a conversion to Christ and a belief in God, and a conversion to organized religion.” So it seems that Rice is seeking a spirituality that will allow her to in some way believe in Christ, but one that at the same time will allow her to pretty much believe what she wants about major ethical issues. From my point of view she wants to keep her faith in God and Christ while rejecting the values of the church that Christ established.
I am certainly not unsympathetic to the fact that at times there is much controversy, battling within the church, and even hurt as the church seeks to hold to truth in an age that widely rejects the very concept. And don’t get me wrong. In no way am I defending all the deeds of Christianity throughout its history. For on those occasions when she has acted against the clear teaching of scripture in violation of her own standards people certainly have a right to critique her. However I feel sad for Anne Rice for I think she is profoundly misguided in thinking that one can pick and choose, cafeteria style, what is right and what is wrong, and in the meantime somehow hold on to Christ. Does she truly believe that at the end of time Christ is going to be fine with that?
Suppose that people came up to me and praised me as a minister and said things like, “We just love you, we believe you are right on, we want you to know that we are right behind you, and we are going to continue to follow you”. So far so good--but what if they went on to say, “But we do have a problem with that wife of yours. Sorry, but she is old, out-dated, and way behind the times. Frankly we don’t want anything to do with her. Yes, we’ll accept you, but frankly she’s a hag.”
That’s exactly what people do when they say, “We want Christ without Christianity”. But here is a huge problem. For Christ gave his life for his body, the church; he loves his church with an eternal love; she is his beloved bride and he is the bridegroom. I wonder what Christ will say to people on that final Day of Judgment who claim to have loved him, but freely admit they despised his church and the values it stood for? Just wondering.
Published 14/8/2010 in Faith Section of Guelph Mercury