There are many popular misconceptions about anarchism, and because of them a great many people dismiss anarchists and anarchism out of hand.
Misconceptions abound in the mass media, where the term 'anarchy' is commonly used as a synonym for 'chaos,' and where terrorists, no matter what their political beliefs or affiliations, are often referred to as 'anarchists.' As well, when anarchism is mentioned, it's invariably presented as merely a particularly mindless form of youthful rebellion. These misconceptions are, of course, also widespread in the general public, which by and large allows the mass media to do what passes for its thinking.
Anarchism has never found wide acceptance in North America. Neglecting the reasons why this did not happen in the past, it's necessary to ask why anarchism remains a marginal, misunderstood philosophy. Conditions certainly seem ripe for a flowering of anarchist ideas and activity. Popular mistrust of government and business, as measured by public opinion polls, is much higher than it was 25 years ago. Official unemployment figures continue to hover near seven percent, while actual unemployment is probably far higher. The suicidal madness of the arms race could hardly be plainer. And the bankruptcy of marxism is all too obvious. Marxist regimes the world over have utterly and abjectly failed to create anything approaching free, equalitarian societies.
Yet interest in anarchism and the amount of anarchist activity in North America remain pitifully small. Why? A large part of the blame must be assigned to the educational system, the mass media, organized religion, and the hierarchically structured unions which have strangled the labor movement. But external factors provide only a partial explanation. Internal factors must also be considered.
We live in a world which is deeply unsatisfying for most people, a world in which many of our most basic needs--for love, peace, freedom, security, and meaning in life--are not being met. Most of us face constant worry about economic survival, loneliness and isolation, or fear of it, and a constant feeling that there's never enough of anything good to go around, be it love, sex or money.
As well, for many--probably most--people, there's a constant fear of violence. And for even more, there's a feeling of powerlessness. The end result is hopelessness, apathy, and often bitterness, meanness, and, all too often, outright sadism.
This pamphlet briefly looks at many of the reasons that Christianity is undesirable from both a personal and a social point of view. All of the matters discussed here have been dealt with elsewhere at greater length, but that's beside the point: the purpose of 20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity is to list the most outstanding misery-producing and socially destructive qualities of Christianity in one place. When considered in toto, they lead to an irresistible conclusion: that Christianity must be abandoned, for the sake of both personal happiness and social progress.
As regards the title, 'abandon'-rather than 'suppress' or 'do away with'-was chosen deliberately. Attempts to coercively suppress beliefs are not only ethically wrong, but in the long run they are often ineffective-as the recent resurgence of religion in the former Soviet Union demonstrates. If Christianity is ever to disappear, it will be because individual human beings wake up, abandon their destructive, repressive beliefs, and choose life, choose to be here now.