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Are All Christians Bad?


TexasFreethinker
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As an atheist, I'm often occused of hating all christians. That's not the case, tho - my response to christians varies person by person and is directly tied to the way they act on their beliefs. It seems to me that there are four levels of human reaction to religious beliefs...

 

Level 1. Religious beliefs have little influence on personal behavior

Level 2. Religious beliefs have significant influence on personal behavior, but the believer doesn't try to impose his or her beliefs on others

Level 3. Religious beliefs have significant influence on personal behavior, and the believer attempts to force others within a small group (usually family members) to behave according to those beliefs

Level 4. Religious beliefs have significant influence on personal behavior, and the believer attempts to force everyone else to behave according to those beliefs.

 

It's my opinion that the first two levels should be of no concern to society - that's the basis of religious and intellectual freedom.

 

The third level is problematic for me because it blurs the lines between religious freedoms (of the children) and the rights of parents to prepare their children for life.

 

The fourth level is where the danger to a free and diverse society is the strongest, and for me, this is where the line between church and state must be vigorously defended. Any law that is based on "revelation" from a deity, rather than on secular reasoning should be repealed. Any attempt by a governement body to acknowledge one or more relgions as true should be ended.

 

People who endorse the fourth level (including Bush, Katherine Harris, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, etc.) fall into the category of Christian/Religious Exremenists or Christian Domionists. Their attempts to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us undermine the concept of a free pluralist society, and it's this group of people (rather than all christians) that draw the anger of atheist and religious minorities.

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Right on, Tex - that's exactly how I see it. There are a lot of xtians who are decent, excellent people, and their religious beliefs are of no concern to anyone but themselves.

 

The only time they get problematic is when they try to make decisions for others. And Dominionists are actually un-American, and counter to everything the founding fathers stood for. They should be opposed at every turn.

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TexasFreethinker, I agree 100%. I have no objections to people practicing any religion they like, as long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of others.

 

I'm against indoctrinating children (your type 3), but most of society seems to think it's perfectly okay for parents to force religion down their childrens' throats.

 

Luckily, kids have a way of turning out to be their own real selves, regardless of what parents might prefer.

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I just realized I left out another "level" - those for which religious beliefs have little or no influence on their own behavior, but who attempt to force others to act according to those beliefs. The beloved hypocrite!

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.........

Level 2. Religious beliefs have significant influence on personal behavior, but the believer doesn't try to impose his or her beliefs on others

........

It's my opinion that the first two levels should be of no concern to society - that's the basis of religious and intellectual freedom.

.........

TFT, I'm with you 99% of the way in your assessment, however I believe #2 may require some closer examination.

 

Your type 2 believer may not be OVERTLY trying to impose his/her beliefs, yet neither are they making any effort to CONTAIN their beliefs from influencing society. They have no problem supporting the Dominionists, with their unthinking participation via church attendance, tithes, and VOTES for the "Christian Agenda."

 

It is the type 2 Xian who blithely and innocently keeps the religious juggernaut going by saying "God bless you!" every time I sneeze, exploiting the church's tax exempt status and insisting on celebrating Xian holidays for EVERYBODY. I don't believe it's truly possible for religion to have a "significant influence" on someone and then think that influence doesn't somehow IMPOSE itself on their surroundings. It may well only be subconscious, but it's still there.

 

The type 2 Xian may not be TRYING to impose his/her beliefs, but they aren't doing anything to keep those beliefs from wrongly intruding into secular spheres. And for my money that makes them just as dangerous and guilty as their type 4 brethren.

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Your type 2 believer may not be OVERTLY trying to impose his/her beliefs, yet neither are they making any effort to CONTAIN their beliefs from influencing society. They have no problem supporting the Dominionists, with their unthinking participation via church attendance, tithes, and VOTES for the "Christian Agenda."

 

It is the type 2 Xian who blithely and innocently keeps the religious juggernaut going by saying "God bless you!" every time I sneeze, exploiting the church's tax exempt status and insisting on celebrating Xian holidays for EVERYBODY. I don't believe it's truly possible for religion to have a "significant influence" on someone and then think that influence doesn't somehow IMPOSE itself on their surroundings. It may well only be subconscious, but it's still there.

 

The type 2 Xian may not be TRYING to impose his/her beliefs, but they aren't doing anything to keep those beliefs from wrongly intruding into secular spheres. And for my money that makes them just as dangerous and guilty as their type 4 brethren.

I might should have been more precise about that second level. I was thinking of people who consciously attempt not to impose their beliefs on others.

 

Voting for a dominionist, or trying to force everyone to celebrate christmas would place you in level four in my book. I would think that belonging to and financially supporting a church that forced its beliefs on others politically would also be an indicator of a level four person.

 

Your point is well taken that there are various ways (some subtle or indirect) to impose religious beliefs on others.

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Good points...

 

I agree with Grinch. Those personally devout, "quiet" type 2's are being used by the more radical types. They are easily manipulated, and prone to follow a strong leader...more inclined to agree with a Falwell type than speak out against him, or at least take a neutral position. If and when the shit hits the fan, and they have to put up or shut up, they'll shut up and follow.

 

And lately I wonder whether Bush is really so much in league with the dominionists, or whether he's just exploiting their support for his own ends.

 

“The Fathers of the Church can well afford to preach the gospel of Christ. It contains nothing dangerous to the regime of authority and wealth; it stands for self-denial and self-abnegation, for penance and regret, and is absolutely inert in the face of every indignity, every outrage imposed upon mankind.” (Emma Goldman)

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..........

Your point is well taken that there are various ways (some subtle or indirect) to impose religious beliefs on others.

Thanks. I didn't mean to rain on your parade, it's just that I'm overly sensitive when even the HINT of the scent of the "Nice Xian" crops up. Most of us don't realize how intrusive and invasive their covert actions are. Like "saying grace" or having a "moment of silence" or the religious trappings of funeral ceremonies. We've allowed these so-called "innocent", under the radar and covert behaviors to dominate our culture, and they've been handed down generation to generation mostly by the type 2 Christians. And no one scarcely notices or objects. (What year is it, BTW? 2006 Anno Domini. "The year of OUR Lord"? He ain't MY fucking "lord"! :twitch: ) We've been thoroughly "Christianized", whether we like it or not.

 

Anyway, I'll step down off of my soap box now. Sorry for the intrusion.

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I just realized I left out another "level" - those for which religious beliefs have little or no influence on their own behavior, but who attempt to force others to act according to those beliefs. The beloved hypocrite!

 

I think this is what Mr. Grinch is referring to, and I must say I feel strongly against this type of christian. Those christians who if they dared to examine their personal beliefs, they would find out that they don't really believe. But they don't want to think about it because the religion is serving them well. It gives them power, prestige, and often money--many times even sexual favours from weaker church members.

 

I truly detest those sort of people.

 

The preaching type I don't hate. Those I feel sorry for. They've been deceived by the hypocrites previously mentioned and are acting out the brainwashing. I feel sorry for them because to a certain extent, I was one of them. These people I almost feel like "preaching to."

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Consider the term "useful idiots", the flockers who make up the assorted unorganized masses of believers.

 

Can't influence them enmass, they have minds made up, groupthink is the proper way to use minds, free thought forbidden by convention.

 

It is a cutsie saying in my world "It's not the bullet with your name on it you need worry about. It is all those addressed "To whom it may concern"".

 

Consider it isn't the Magees, Falwells, or the Robertsons you need worry about. Those cats are safely behind their paid for security and protection by well armed young men.

 

What we need to be concerned with is the Level 2 sorts who can be inflamed and turned in to a mob of more targets than you've got Ballots to Veto them with..

 

The mobs of the wishy washy sorta motivated belivers in any system are those easily used for the purposes of *dirty work* by their Leaders.

 

The Heads never get hands dirty or bloody, nor are they ever charged with the henious crimes when shit goes south..

 

Best thing to do is keep head up, aware of your surroundings, the people and attitudes that accompany the daily routines that you have to live with.

 

Shit can and does goes sour fast, may be to your advantage to have scouted out the best way to get out and away when the flocksters start to bleeeeAAAt loudly and start stamping hooves, looking for targets..

 

kFL

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I see where you are coming from Tex....

 

but imo.....some of the more 'liberal' types are 'more dangerous'....than the level 4 (to use your scale)

 

At least with the 'fundies'....you can catch em' out on the bullshit - hypocrasy etc.

But with a 'liberal'....they swerve and sway around and basically are slippery little suckers that can 'get away' with saying all kinds of wayout crapola....and feel justified.

Don'tcha love that saying....'not reading the bible but seeing it as a picture'.....

 

People like Oprah Winfrey comes to mind immediately..................& look how much influence she has on the world.

 

I tend to see it as Nivek does....'best to keep yer head up'.

 

I was a fairly open minded creature...but had a good old 'aversion' to anything xian for 30 odd years....well ...completely understandable after a childhood in a SDAist household...

 

then I let my 'guard' down...only because it was my sister feeding me the good ol' line.....& I didn't immediately fall for it 'hook line & sinker'.....in fact the only reason I ended up 'baptisted' was to please & I left after 4 'meetings'.....

Deep down I knew I was in 'danger'....but played the game anyway.

 

So...for me...I'd add another category....the family member is one of the most 'dangerous'...that emotional tie is often used to control all kinds of behaviours if you let it. Emotional backmail is very subtle.

 

Lastly.....I don't think anyones 'beliefs' are out of bounds....especially religious ones. Why do I have to respect them....and not question them. I think its more important for people in public office to 'come out'...with their core beliefs...and not (as they have) waited till they are sprung by a lucky question asked by the media ... (I'm refering to AUst)

......all the PC is bullshit! Is more like .....that people are too afraid to break some kind of etiquette that's been set up by fuckknows who.

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Not all Christians are bad.

 

You also have to keep in mind the "independent" non-churched nominal Christian who yet still has some belief. My midwife was like that, and she was darned nice. Knew we were Pagans, didn't faze her one bit.

 

Where the rubber hits the road for me is how well they respect the personal boundaries of other people, particularly when the other people are of a group that might be offensive to a "real" Christian. If they can behave around atheists, gays, pagans, pro-choice folks, and the like, then they are probably not too weird.

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I don't think all Christians are bad. I don't care what people believe, as long as they don't harm anyone by it.

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I don't believe that all Christians are bad. I will say, however, that when someone tells me that they are Christian, a part of me does tend to look down on them for it, and for that I do feel bad. I should be more open to people who do still have a belief in Christianity; I think I've just been screwed up so much by it that it saddens me that people still believe it's the best belief system out there.

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I don't believe that all Christians are bad. I will say, however, that when someone tells me that they are Christian, a part of me does tend to look down on them for it, and for that I do feel bad. I should be more open to people who do still have a belief in Christianity; I think I've just been screwed up so much by it that it saddens me that people still believe it's the best belief system out there.

 

 

Many christians are excellent people who observe their faith quietly and with passion.

I, on the other hand, despies it when someone starts preaching to me how they found fuckin jeezus. How he turned their life around and can do it for me. Fuck that!

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