Post # 1
So, I just got done watching a movie where the villian is portrayed as a religious nut job. I feel like the writers took every negative stereotype about christianity and rolled it into one unbelievable character. I get really tired of that. Not all Christians hate gays, hate science, hit people over the head with a bible while blindly following or voting republican, while ALSO wishing we could have made George W. Bush King of America. I’m not saying I haven’t met people who are obnoxious about what they believe, but I have met people like that across the board:christian, atheist, pagan, etc. Obnoxious people are everywhere!
So, here is my question to other Christians: How do you respond to these stereotypes? Do you feel like people have pre-conceived notions about what you believe or how you will handle certain situations? I am also interested in hearing from other people in what their experiences with Christians have been like, and if they feel like the media has influenced their opinions on Christianity in general.
Please, lets be respectful of each others opinions. This is not meant to be a political debate thread or an argument about religion.
Post # 3
I agree, we live in a very secular society, and honestly I find that tough, but a life with Christ is not suppose to be an easy one so I’m fine with that.
to answer your question:
“Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words” -St. Francis of Assisi
Post # 4
@asianbarbie: Right on! I have studied St. Francis’s life quite a bit. “The Lessons of St. Francis” was an awesome book.
Post # 5
I believe educated people do not form opinions about large groups of people based on stereotypes portrayed in the media. The media regularly portrays stereotypical images of Jews, Italian culture, Hispanics, etc. However, I think we are the most sensitive to the portrayals of a group we are part of.
To answer your question, no the media has not influenced my opinion of Christianity.
Post # 6
IMO everyone has preconceived ideas about people, BUT if they aren’t willing to challenge their own ideas they probably aren’t very intelligent and I wouldn’t value their opinion.
I’m an aethiest, but one of my best friends is a christian and she is not AT ALL what people might expect. Not preachy, supports gay rights ect. She’s a really cool person, so I know that not all christians fit into the bible bashing stereotype.
No, the media has not made me feel negatively about christians (or any other group of people defined by something other than their own actions). I’d like to think I’m smart enough to form my opinions of people rather than copy what someone else thinks.
Post # 7
Thank you for the posts. This why I have enjoyed becoming a part of WB, there is a such a diverse and intelligent group of people on here!
Post # 8
The problem is that the media does stories showcasing the loudest/most obnoxious extremists are the ones who are given the most air time because that gets viewers which in turn generates ratings and ad dollars. The problem is unlike @lovemelovemyhorses, a lot of the public is not discerning enough to disregard the zealots that are prominently displayed by the media.
Another problem is that there are fundamental views that are held by those who are religious and it has become popular to disregard these views. So, religion can no longer be a basis for someone’s genuine feelings, unless you want to be labeled a bigot, homophobe, ignorant, etc.
I’m a Christian and believe that the way to lead others to Christ is not through judgment and damnation, it’s by letting your life be a positive example of what it means to accept Jesus as your lord and savior.
Post # 9
@Bridey77: Yeah I hate the stereotypical portrayal of nutjob Christians. I used to watch the show Degrassi and anytime they had a Christian character on there they always made them so over the top and almost cultish. I don’t feel that people I meet have preconceived notions about me because of my faith though, so that’s relieving.
Post # 10
The media needs to get views, and ‘normal’ is boring. No one cares to hear about a regular guy who has moderate views about everything and does not prove any stereotypes other than being a normal well mannered person.
It’s not just Christianity, have you seen what they say about Muslims? Or Jews? No crazy obnoxious stereotypes about Italians out there?
Post # 11
What I dislike most about our portrayal is we are either religious nut jobs or we are extremely dull and boring. I would have to admit that the majority of Christians I know are neither of these things!
Post # 12
@Bridey77: I’m in my 40s and it bothers me a lot less than it used to. I think it’s not as bad as it used to be in the 80s and 90s. Or maybe I just watch less TV now 🙂
Post # 13
I know this is directed at Christians, I hope it’s ok if I present my agnostic opinion…
I used to be a really devout Christian, was a summer missionary for awhile, etc. My first response to your question is, to which media do you refer? I don’t think that TV shows that show Christian stereotypes affect my opinion whatsoever, nor are other people like me that I know really affected by that.
However, I AM affected by actual public figures and the way that Christianity is used to promote policies or cultural phenomena that I vehemently disgaree with. This could be on television, or others I have seen in person. For instance, I am affected by the preacher in the grove at my university campus who used to scream damnation at gay couples he saw. In the “media,” I am affected by anti-gay protests I see pictures of. I am affected by the use of Jesus by public political figures to legitimize policies that further social inequality. I am affected by the hype over the “war on Christmas” and screams of Christian persecution when I see much more obvious REAL persecution elsewhere in the world (and, to that point, elsewhere in America). This is both on news networks, and also, people who I meet who say “Don’t f***ing say happy holidays to me.”
I think most educated people recognize that these people do NOT represent the entire Christian community. Like @Mizoma said, louder and more extreme voices often monopolize the spotlight, and educated people know that. Moreover, having spent much of my adolescence in this community, I know this quite well. I would be lying, however, if I said that very public figures using religion to promote things I disagree with did not affect my opinion of the religion, even if I recognize that I can’t say that all Christians feel this way. This, however, is less about stereotypes than the fact that there are a few very vocal people who somehow create for themselves the position of speaking for the religion as a whole.
Post # 14
@Bridey77: i can def see how it can be fustrating,but when it comes down to it i have to remeber that Gods Word has prepared ones who would strive to walk “the straight and narrow ” it speaks about this in John 17:14 Jesus said to his Father “I have given your word to them, but the world has hated them, because they are no part of the world, just as i am no part of the world.” This is such an inportant point bc this is how its happening, for my personal experience is that i m sterotyped for my faith all the time in books, the media, sitcoms and the list goes on but i always remember this means i must being doing it right bc if they hated Jesus and mistreated him and im striving to be his follower they will treat me the same. But that also gives me a personal responsibility, i need to make sure my Conduct, Speech , the way i live my every day life in accord with Being a Christian. Many ppl have formed these thoughts by obseving ones who claim to be a Christian but dont truly follow Gods word and now formed these preconceived notions about anyone that might be called a Christian. Thats really not fair but that is how the world goes now a days and even in Bible times, so for me this means i personally try to “walk the walk and talk the talk” Im not perfect by no means but am conscience of it at all times..the scripture in 1Peter 2:12 brings out “Maintain your conduct fine among the nations, that, in the thing in which they are speaking against you as evildoers, they may as a result of your fine works of which they are eyewitnesses glorify God in the day for his inspection.” So for me i just do as the scriptues say so i give no cause for complaint, people might not agree with what i believe and may have comments but i treat all with respect and if given the opportunity i can show them y i feel the way i do and if not i go on my way peacefully and make a reply just by the way i respond its def not easy but i love how 1 peter 2:15 brings out “For the will of God is, that by doing good you may muzzle the ignorant talk of the unreasonable men”
Post # 15
I find it tiresome. A friend from church likes to describe herself as a “Christian – NALT,” meaning, “I’m Christian, and no, we’re Not All Like That.” It’s too bad. It seems these days if you say you are Christian, people assume you are super right-wing, anti-women’s rights, anti-same-sex-marriage, anti-science, anti-whatever; I feel also that our American brothers and sisters fare worse in this stereotyping than we Canadians do.
The truth is, as PP stated, regular people doing regular things and not being harmful and outlandish simply isn’t news. When the news goes looking for the “Christian view,” they go right wing because it’s (often) more outrageous. No one wants to hear a Christian say, “I support a woman’s right to control her reproductive destiny, and I also support community health initiatives that may help reduce the need for abortions.” That’s boring and it’s not news.
I try to just live my life as best I can, and be a living example of what true Christian life is: helping others, showing kindness and compassion, walking in faith with humility, and being a positive member of my community.