Is Christianity in conflict with “Family Values”? What are the “Family Values” of the Christian Tradition? An interesting article at Counterlight’s Peculiars explores these questions:
Christianity is a Rotten Family Values Religion
I remember reading years ago that Martin Buber’s biggest complaint about Christianity was its individualism. There was no sense to it of nationhood, of a continuing community of blood ties as well as belief and ritual down through the generations. Anyone was free to come into the Christian religion and become part of it. There was no sense of historic collective covenant to it at all, nothing passed down directly from parents to children.
I doubt that the founders of that apocalyptic religion, Christianity, imagined that there would ever be anyone born into their faith. They apparently believed that they would live to see the end of the world. If they didn’t see it in their lifetimes, then surely it would come upon the junior members of the congregation. Saint Paul describes marriage as a grudging concession to human need as the expected Eschaton was already delayed a generation. St. Paul preferred that those who are waiting for the Second Coming to remain celibate.
Christ was a young man who apparently never married (despite modern claims to the contrary), never started his own family. Instead, he appears to have deliberately left his working class family, and the family trade, behind. He died in disgrace, executed like a common criminal, without children. Many of his followers left behind — abandoned — their families to become His followers. Children left behind parents (James and John), and fathers left behind spouses and children (Peter). They believed that their world was in its last days, and that the business of raising new generations didn’t matter much.
When told that His family was looking for Him, Christ pointed to His followers and to the multitude and said that they were His true family.