The Christian church says a lot about redemption, but demonstrates a glaring lack of competence to redeem. The proof? Christians invest far, far more into arguing that they are redeemed than showing and living it.

The church’s version of redemption is:

Here are the hoops. Jump through them and you will be redeemed.

Ask yourself: Who does the redeeming in that model?

The arguments about redemption across innumerable schisms within and between Christian sects, often euphemized as denominations, concern the hoops. None of them argue that redemption does not involve hoops. Some promote hoops of “grace,” others hoops of “good works,” yet others of ritual observance or tradition. All of them stress “giving” and “self-sacrifice.” And all of them stress attendance and participation in indoctrination programs. Why? Because their models are false and alien.

Yet, for all their superficial differences, these models of redemption are essentially the same: to be redeemed, we need to comply. The church sets rules, we follow them, and it calls the result “salvation.”


That’s the age-old formula for perpetual extortion and abuse. It has nothing to do with love or God.

It’s easy to redeem someone. You simply look for the good part that they intended, said, or did, focus on that and consider everything else in light of it. Find the gold and put the dross aside. Winnow the wheat and let the chaff blow away. Look at the heart–don’t sweat appearance. We all know how to do this when we want to.

But the church taught us to not want to.

The church taught that we can’t rejoice in the gold until dross is no longer detectible; that as long as chaff must be winnowed away, the wheat remains polluted. It’s like a contagion reflex gone awry, blinding us to the incorruptible divinity of our own love. The church reversed healthy priorities, subordinating the inward to the outward, defiling our essential goodness by fear of incidental, circumstantially construed appearances of evil.

Read the words of Jesus. Understand his attitude. Absorb his message. His priorities were the opposite. That means that the church’s priorities are anti-Christ.

The church taught us to deny the good part unless it is “pure,” meaning that nothing else can be seen. This denies and overturns what Jesus and the Apostles taught. This is the hypocrisy that underlies its perversions of “holiness” and “sainthood.”

Redeeming each other is so easy to do, it makes the church’s bastardization of redemption nothing short of criminal. Redemption has nothing to do with the esoteric bullshit promulgated by church theologians. It is as simple and real as love and intimate as heart connection. A child can do it, and children often do–even better than their “superiors.” All it takes is looking for and recognizing each other’s heart. The effect is instantaneous, magical, and unarguable.

The church redeems nothing. It forces us to redeem ourselves, which is a patent self-contradiction and a travesty. Redemption is relevant only to the helpless.

We can only be redeemed by others: those who truly love, truly see, and truly honor the good that is already present in us, but that we cannot–for whatever reason–recognize ourselves. This recognition is the beginning of godliness, the inspiration that moves us to grow and excel, the very spirit of life. The church kidnapped it for ransom.

What should we say to an institution which taught us that we have no good apart from submitting to its rules, jumping through its hoops, and thereby earning its approval; but instead that evil fills us and must be eliminated before our goodness matters?

You are a liar.


About Millard J. Melnyk

Motley past, promising future exploring an open, potent understanding of mutuality, individual dignity and personal power through trust. DEAUTHORITARIANIZE EVERYTHING!
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2 Responses to Redemption

  1. David Brown says:

    Excellent! This is exactly what Pope Francis is talking about. Legalistic Christianity is no different than the evil of Jim Jones and his “cool aid” Temple or any other religion in general. Legalistic Christianity is the “opium” Karl Marx referred to. The REAL “Church” is being prepared for the “Bridegroom”……it is in the Christian’s heart…. NOT the church he attends. Let’s pray that this Christmas will be the world’s first REAL Christmas!

    • Thanks David!

      I think there’s a bigger, deeper problem than legalistic Christianity. Laws per se are just limits on behavior. They are just tools, symptoms of the need to impose those limits.

      There are reasons why people look for leverage by which to dominate. Laws are just one way of imposing domination. Just like guns don’t kill people, but people who want to kill people use guns or knives or bombs or clubs, laws don’t dominate or enslave, but people who want to dominate and enslave use laws, hijacking of material resources, fear, intimidation, propaganda, and brute force.

      The problem is the desire to dominate. Truly powerful, secure people find no need to dominate. They are strong enough and competent enough to let others honestly be who they are without preemptively imposing limitations on them for fear that they’ll run amok. In actual fact, people don’t run amok when free from laws, except in reaction to domination past or present. So, those who impose and dominate do so because they are insecure and weak. Their show of strength is a defense against the truth of their vulnerability being exposed.

      If domination doesn’t characterize the Roman Catholic Church, and most churches for that matter, I don’t know what does.

      A lot of people are excited about Pope Francis because he’s bringing change. I’m all for it. However, I won’t be getting excited unless he announces fundamental changes, particularly relinquishment of the church’s highly centralized power to dictate and impose belief as part of frank admission that the Holy Spirit dwells in and speaks to the hearts of every faithful person, not especially the clergy, (and realistically, especially NOT the clergy, lol!) and relinquishment of the nauseating opulence it controls. On that scale I’d be more willing to think he isn’t just doing some great PR.

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