Devout Christians have oftentimes been vilified by the media in recent history. Their opposition to gay rights and abortion have been highly publicized and Christians are viewed, in my opinion, as a stubborn demographic that is set in their ways and needs to evolve with the times. The Westboro Baptist Church is a disgusting example of how religion can divide people, and I feel they are exploited by the media to give an unfair representation of true Christian values. Even the Catholic Church gives an unfair representation of the original message of Jesus Christ. There were thousands of gospels and books that were considered to be included in the Bible, and a small fraction of these scriptures were chosen for the Bible to convey the message Jesus Christ was actually trying to send. Jesus was not God. He was a carpenter who disagreed with the society he lived in. He recognized that all people were created equal, though some were born into better situations than others. He saw the lavish life the high priests live and saw the life the poor did. Organized religion, which at the time was what his society was based around, was nothing more than an institution to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, and Jesus recognized this. The people in Israel were God-fearing people, and they followed laws and paid taxes because God said so, according to those in charge. After Jesus’ death, his message spread through writings and word of mouth, and Christians were persecuted everywhere in the Roman Empire. It was not until Constantine “saw God” that Christianity was became the official religion of the empire. The way history writes it, it seems as if Constantine truly did believe he saw God in some form, though in my opinion it was probably a result of lead poisoning, an alleged factor in the fall of the Roman Empire.

The original message of Christianity was can be summed up in one sentence, one I previously noted: Treat others as you want to be treated. It was not an organized religion, but more a movement of helping others and striving for the same sense of equality. If we all did this, we would be a much more productive society. Unfortunately, someone saw how to exploit the ideas of Christianity into a system where they would profit at the expense of others, and that turned into the Catholic Church. Eventually, true Christians saw that the true message of Christianity was no longer being spread, and this lead to events such as the Protestant Reformation. This also played a part in the Great Schism, though there were many other factors involved in that decision. There are thousands of Christian denominations, many of which continue to exploit people, along with Christian “charities,” many of which collect money in the name of God, yet use less than fifty percent to help the needy. If we can find a way to stop exploiting our peers and instead help them in the same pursuit of happiness, we will be much better off as a society.