Obligtory Repost… Do you think this is true?

posted 3 years ago in Christian
Post # 3
Member
1234 posts
Bumble bee

@Rachel631:  First off, I will say that I’m not a Christian, but I certainly grew up in the heart of the Bible belt. I have been lucky enough to surround myself with many who support more “liberal” ideals, such as LGBT rights; on the other hand, I am sad to say I know those who vehemently oppose gay marriage and contraception. Honestly, I don’t necessarily associate the word “Christian” with negative connotations; most of my friends are Christians AND support the policies that this article outlines, but I certainly understand why people would (unfortunately).

Post # 4
Member
1749 posts
Bumble bee

Do I see evidence of people trying to change the negative connotations or do I see the negative connotations themselves? Which is the question?

 

I’d say most people I know have a problem with Christianity. The hate speech and so forth that pours forth from people toting their bibles as their defense.

 

I personally am not a fan, and am not a fan of organized religion in general, but especially Christianity due to the effects I see in my own country.

 

Do I see a movement for change? Not really.

Post # 5
Member
252 posts
Helper bee

Honestly, I feel like not liking, or supporting, Christians because of the loudest idiots out there mucking things up, is a naive take on things. Do people hate all white people because of the KKK? While it isn’t a direct corrolation, I think my point is obvious: One type of people cannot define the entire group. 

For instance, the church I got married in, will also allow “commitment” ceremonies (unfortunately Gay marriage is not yet legal in my state), and are extremely open minded. However, you also have the Westboro nut jobs, or people using faith to push their political agenda.

As for me, I don’t really identify as anything, Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, so on and so on. I guess I am in the “I never really cared enough to give myself a label” group? I was raised Christian, but never really felt it was me. 

ETA: Yes, the church DH and I married at knew my stance on things. DH and I got married at a church because he and I didn’t care where we got married, but it was important to my mom, so we did. Just incase anyone else finds the fact that someone who isn’t Christian (or religious) got married in a church. I sure find it funny.

@Baimee: I personally am not a fan, and am not a fan of organized religion in general, but especially Christianity due to the effects I see in my own country.

 It isn’t Christianity that is causing negative effects, it is Christian extremeists. If it were Christianity, this country would have been destroyed long before you or I were born, as Christianity has been in the country since it’s founding. 

 

Post # 7
Member
3341 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

For me, a lot of it boils down to the Catholic church’s inability (unwillingness?) to modernize itself and change with the times. Yes I know that the article is about Christianity in general but I think the Catholic church is one of the bigger culprits, in my mind (my DH is a practicing Catholic). There is still no room for women to become priests and their beliefs on very modern and controversial topics remain rigid (i.e. Homosexuality). It feels like a more exclusionary group that inclusionary, when that seems to go against the very principles of Christianity (we are all equals in the eyes of Christ, we will take your meek, poor,  sinners etc.). I am not a Catholic and when I go to mass with DH I always feel like an outsider and uncomfortable.

I think the new pope is doing wonderful things for the image of the Catholic Church and Christianity in general, because he is actually carrying out the principles of Christianity. Unfortunately even he admits that the Catholic Church is not likely to change it’s stance on major issues like gender equality within the church and gay marriage.

 

 

Post # 8
Member
252 posts
Helper bee

@Rachel631:  I quite agree. My cousins in Japan don’t have as negative a view on Christianity as many Americans have either (though I don’t really speak politics and religion with them, and they are Christians). I think that it is very likely that one of the reasons why it is so commonly seen that someone, somewhere, is taking Christianity to its extremes, is because Christianity is a major religion here. Heck, a lot of people still automatically assume you are a Christian, just because it is a popular religion (do I agree with making these assumptions? Of course not!), and because of this, I feel that people are able to push their agendas using Christianity as a front runner, getting more and more extreme with each view. So yes, I do think that Christianity is not the problem, but instead the people who are using it for their own gain/agenda (or for whatever the hell Westboro Babtist Church is trying to do…)

Granted, I am no historian, but I would reckon to guess that if you followed religion and politics throughout the history of the US, you would see a pattern.

I can honestly say that I have met many people from different religions/beliefs over the years, and most of them were extremely kind, giving, caring, etc. And those that made me take a step back and go “Whhhhaaaa?” I strongly believe that no matter what religion or belief that kept, they would have still be the type of person they are. 

I do think that Christianity is being used as a tool to create a road block for the Equal Rights movement in the US. But this is not a debate that needs to be had in this thread!

You do bring up a point that I know others have made in the past in the great religion debate, and that is the idea that religion’s sole purpose is as a tool to be used to control the population. Now, that is a very extreme view in and of itself (and not saying it is mine), but if you look at it from that angle, you’ll see that religion can be used as a tool to control parts of the population, regardless of if it you believe it was religion’s intended purpose or not. (For example, what we are discussing right now!)

 

(Oh and PS, I am speaking with you, not at you. I think you and I share a very similiar mindset from the sound of your post.)

Post # 9
Member
3596 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Just to be clear I am an atheist. But I have always been interested in religion and how it shapes the world around it.

 

I will say this, while there has been growth in agnostic and atheist. There has also been a huge rise in people who have belief but don’t like organized religion or attended church for all of the issues raised.

 

Also there seems to be a lot of more liberal (not in political sense but social one) churches sprouting up.  A lot of young Christians my friends and family included don’t like the overarching messages and positions the church takes on a lot of issues.

 

The world is changing and there been a huge shift in how younger generations of Christians think feel and I think both the catholic (I am a fallen one I guess) and other churches need to get with the program.

 

Interestingly enough if you watch the current Pope he seems to be shifting the focus and want’s the church to be less critical and harsh and focus on other things.

 

Post # 10
Member
8426 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

I’m not Christian, however I will say that the one thing that stops me from having any faith in churches is that many do not follow the parts of the Bible that I feel are most important (Matthew 6:24, Timothy 6:10, etc).  If the churches start acting more like Christ, and less like large corporations, I think more and more people will be attracted to the faith.  I think there have been some great changes, especially with the new pope, but there is still a lot of “tarnish” due to the intolerance, exclusion and lack of compassion that the article talks about.

Post # 11
Member
5222 posts
Bee Keeper

@Rachel631:  

I will preface by saying I am a Christian and I also live in the buckle of the Bible Belt portion of the US. I found the article interesting, and I can see the authors POV.

My *own personal opinion* about the “brand” of Christianity is this: people ( Christian or otherwise) are going to have negative and positive experiences with Christians because Christians aren’t saints, they aren’t perfect and for the most part—they aren’t any more moral than non Christians ( most of the time they’re the freakin worst lol). A lot of Christians use their religious beliefs to blanket over their lifestyles, to have access to unlimited forgiveness and to, at the end of the day, say they’re able to get into heaven. So—the concept of the “ brand” being damaged isn’t new, and to think that the US is full of new fangled Christianity is a little off base, IMO.

What has hurt Christian reputations is that before Twitter, Facebook, news outlets and the constant in your face viewpoints of people and politicians is that if a person had a bad experience with a Christian —that was that. Maybe that person was having a bad day or is just an asshole—but the experience stopped there, and the non Christian moved on and maybe encountered another jerky Christian, or maybe encountered a nice one and then they went on with their day. NOW the jerky ones have unlimited platforms, and they have unlimited tweets and Facebook posting abilities and people present opinions as fact and become combative and abrasive. Christians who are REALLY interested in affecting change need to get off of Twitter and put their money where their mouth is. I am not interested in labeling myself as a “moderate” or “extreme” or “fundamental” Christian—because all that does is further splice and divide.  So, to answer the question more—I don’t see a rise in Christian moderates or Christian left because Christians think that being nice/generous to those who live a lifestyle contrary to what the Bible says means they condone that type of behavior—so they alienate themselves and draw a clear line in the sand of us vs. them.

 

Christians feel like they have to “ take a stand” against everything under the sun. This is propagated by churches and is really common where I live. They feel they need to take a stand against homosexuality, so they picket and petition and make declarations from the pulpit. Where they miss the mark is that God isn’t asking for your voter registration card at the pearly gates, so it doesn’t matter what “ stand” you take , because if you’re being a jerkface ( yes, I said jerkface), then what good is your stance? No one wants to listen to someone spewing hate speech. So, keep your stance on those issues between you, God and the voting booth and in the meantime volunteer at a home for battered women or an AIDS patient or befriend a family of immigrants. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with EVERY SINGLE aspect of their lives, but they probably don’t agree with every aspect of yours ( general you).

 

Politically I am conservative—and this is not something I am ashamed of or try to hide, even though I know the Hive is generally pretty liberal ( by US standards).  This is how I reconcile the way I vote: I don’t vote based on whether or not I agree in abortion, in gay marriage or in immigration reform. I vote based on the fact that I am more concerned about a smaller central government, more states rights and conservative spending. Like I said before, God isn’t interested in if I am a Republican or Democrat—so dragging that into the church is ridiculous. When my name is called, I highly doubt that He will standing there going over who I voted for in 2008 and 2012 and how many times I “amened” when pastor such and such said that Obama is “ruining the family structure”—what God is going to be concerned with is whether or not I was a decent freaking human being to EVERYONE. That doesn’t mean I have to abandon my views or align with the “Christian left”—it just means I have to keep my mouth shut and think: is what I am going to say or do  going to hurt someone’s view of Christianity more than it will help their view or experience?

 

Wow-, this got long winded. Sorry! PS—these are just observations from my area of the US—which will differ greatly than many others since it is a very, very red state.

Post # 14
Member
5222 posts
Bee Keeper

@Rachel631:  What I find interesting about your reply is this: how connected should politics and religion be?

Honestly? I don’t know. If you feel strongly about something, whether that includes a religious slant or not, it is bound to bleed over into other areas of your life. In theory, separating politics and religion sounds like the way to go, but in practice I don’t think it is as black and white as that. On top of that, politics in the US is so intertwined with religion– starting from the President down– that I think it would be very, very difficult to break the two apart. And if we want to break that down further by region– it would be even more difficult. Where I live in the US is extremely, extremely conservative and political figures even on the small scale ( school superintedents, judges, Aldermans) are also your pastors, deacons and mens small group Bible study leaders. I can see separating the two being an “easier” task in an area of the US that isn’t Bible belt-ish.

Post # 15
Member
1311 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 1994

I think the biggest problem people have with organized religion is the hateful things people do to one another in the sake of ‘religion.’ Also, the religious folks who try and dictate how other people should live, or cast judgement because of such. And the mixing of religion and politics.

Post # 16
Member
252 posts
Helper bee

@Rachel631:  I suppose I’m lucky that the UK is really a very secular society, despite having no official divide between church and state

Honestly, I think it could be because there is no official divide. Of course I would have to do a lot of research to try and back up my point, but there are a lot of people who use the fact that the US does have a divide between church and state, to find fault with all sorts of things. (Money with In God We Trust, the pledge with “One nation under God”, having the 10 commandments posted at a government office, etc. With that said, I see why the line could be crossed, but I personally am not offended by these things.)

It could very well be that, if there were no official divide, these things wouldn’t be nearly as offensive as our country could have been molded differently. Of course it could have become a horribly oppresive country too, we’ll never know, but the UK seems to be an amazing place for religious freedom (I’ve got some athiest friends who live in the UK and they don’t seem to complain as much as my US athiest friends).

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