People fail to recognize just how corrosive traditional Christian theology is to the human psyche and behavior. On the one hand you have those who view themselves as saved, who then feel compelled to propagate a message of fear, mistrust, and opposition against those who differ. In the process of doing all they perceive as required by God, they demonstrate an attitude of smugness and self importance which completely obscures anything positive in the message of Christ. One simply cannot claim the right or obligation to be an instructor in righteousness without falling prey to self righteousness. The situation is reminiscent of C.S. Lewis’s comment in “Mere Christianity” that humility is lost as soon as anyone recognizes they are humble.
In contradistinction to the “heady” saved, we see non-Christians feeling alienated by the special privilege claimed by the Christians in our society. The message they hear is- Be a Christian or else. Jesus loves you and you better love Him back. If you are not a Christian, you are nothing, less than nothing really. Dividing the society into these two groups cannot be God’s plan.
So let’s further examine the consequences of Orthodoxy? What does this theology promote in the minds and behaviors of those who fall under its influence? A message of fear, separation, and alienation produces just what you would expect- fearfulness, paranoia, bigotry, anger, frustration, resentfulness, endless criticism, and a mindless attitude of anti-intellectualism (Whatever else you do, don’t think about and question anything the church teaches. That amounts to a lack of faith and is a damnable sin). The resulting behaviors are not the ones that we usually want to associate with the teachings of Jesus. Jesus condemned the outward piety and self righteousness of the religious of His day along with their efforts to be the instructors of others. Jesus never sent people to seek the advice of religious leaders. Toward the wayward He was always gentle and kind, not at all like the way Orthodoxy handles those they see as outsiders, lambasting them with endless judgments and failed ideas of personal transformation. The Greatest Commandment was given to man by Christ not as a mere synopsis of the old Law, but rather as another means of revealing the true nature and motive of God in His dealings with mankind.
When and if the church ever embraces what Jesus was all about, it will look nothing like it has for the last 2000 years. Transformation of individuals and humanity at large was God’s plan, but the change Jesus envisioned was never to come because of fear of punishment, either now or in the hereafter. That was Old Covenant thinking; and, though Jesus lived and died as an Old Covenant Jew, His mission was to proclaim something much, much better than more calls to obedience and the fear of failing that call. His mission was to reveal the true picture of the Father, because mankind to that point still did not understand what God was all about. It took a sacrifice of the magnitude of Christ’s to demonstrate the magnitude of God’s Love and Mercy. God didn’t do that and then demand more obedience and fearfulness just like He did of Old Covenant