A lot of news has emanated from the vampire novel community in the last few years, most of it not too helpful. But last week when Anne Rice declared that she “quit being a Christian,” she became a part of an important ongoing conversation about common perceptions of Christians and our faith.
Rice is an accomplished vampire novelist who authored such bestsellers as Interview with the Vampire and The Queen of the Damned, but eight years ago she converted to Christianity and nailed her vampire novels into a coffin. “In 2002 I made up my mind that I would not write anything that wasn’t for Christ,” Rice once told Beliefnet.
Hers is the kind of radical spiritual conversion stories you don’t often hear coming from the American intellectual elite, which makes her recent Facebook confession that she’s had enough of Christianity all the more interesting. She proclaimed, “As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.”
Rice admitted in another post that she remains “committed to Christ as always but not to being ‘Christian’ or to being part of Christianity.” Over 3,000 people on Facebook said they “like” her post and more than 4,000 have commented.
Is Rice alone in her sentiments? Or is she expressing an increasingly common sentiment—even among the faithful—that Christianity as we now see it expressed is often far from what Christ would have it be? The research commissioned by Q and released in the book, UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity . . . and Why it Matters, indicates that the latter is true. An entire generation has had enough of a judgmental, hypocritical, intellectual expression of the Christian faith.
It’s a bleak picture, but some believe we may be on the cusp of a great revival of our historic faith. Not the kind that will return Christians to some sort of cultural or political prominence, but rather an awakening to the roots of our faith. A new generation of Christians is re-imagining the faith, and their boldness and creativity should encourage us all. As we’ve observed, their stories may be the silver lining in Christianity’s recent black cloud and will be told in Q Founder Gabe Lyons’ forthcoming book, The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America (How a New Generation is Restoring the Faith).
As Gabe recently told the news conglomerate GalleyCat in response to Rice’s comments, “The good news about many younger generation Christians (who’d agree with Anne by the way), is that they aren’t defined by political activism and moral grandstanding. The next Christians live with a humble posture and are embracing the issues their faith’s originator would support. They care not only about abortion and gay marriage; they also want to work on restoring every corner of the earth through promoting justice, fighting poverty, caring for the lonely, opposing nuclear weapons, curbing environmental destruction and so on. If Anne Rice was exposed more to this kind of restoration-minded Christian, she might even re-evaluate her position.”
Do Rice’s statements resonate with you, offend you, or confuse you? Do you know people who feel like Rice in your own life?