Christianity is not a conglomerate

I have noticed with regularity that Christianity is burdened with the negatives displayed by other religious faith systems on the part of skeptics.  I don’t think this is my personal bias talking either.  It seems like I am regularly saddled with the task of having to set the record straight.

It happens more than one might think if you’re listening for it.  Not that it’s a dog-whistle of the likes Chris Matthews purports.  I notice, for example, that violence committed by Muslims is generalized into religious violence, which is then sometimes slipped under the door mat of Christianity.  For instance, right now in Islamic nations, the murder of homosexuals is sanctioned by the government (if not officially sanctioned, it is consciously overlooked).  Women are forced to cover from head to toe and not be seen in public alone or be subjected acid thrown in their face or stoning.  They are refused education in many Islamic states, as well as prohibited from driving or working outside the home and may not vote. Yet we hear how Christians hate gays and want to oppress women.  However, actual instances of Christians expressing hate, save for the Westboro Baptists, is virtually non-existent.  Mere disagreement with sexual activity, or believing the government should not endorse the sexual relationships of homosexuals  is not actually hate.  There is no Christian movement to outlaw homosexual sexual relationships.  I also know of no concerted Christian movement to oppress women to any degree.

I also find it common that when discussing religious convictions that the superstition common among Roman Catholics is also attributed to Christians.  Praying to saints, chanting over beads, praying at statues, transubstantiation, burying statues in the yard for good measures, rubbing medallions of patron saints, the sign of the cross, holy water, et al., is often associated with Christianity proper when it has no place among Christians.  Of course there may be some semblance of superstition among the Word Faith movement, but that is hardly a large enough population to ascribe the eccentricities of their members to the Christian community as a whole.

Personally, I don’t see these as honest examples of ignorance.  I’m convinced this is an intentional association designed to protect the skeptic from looking at Christianity with a true open mind.  Why else would someone not only assign these perceived negatives to Christianity, but also resist correction?  After all, the more violent, hateful, and comical you can make a group of people appear, the easier it is to dismiss them out of hand.

It’s so striking to see skeptics who consider themselves rational, logical, free thinking, intelligent, science-minded, compassionate, and intellectually honest make such inappropriate associations.  I’m open to correction here myself though.  Perhaps a skeptical reader could help me understand why Christianity deserves such labels.

Comments

  1. “Perhaps a skeptical reader could help me understand why Christianity deserves such labels.”

    Which Christianity? Including Catholicism, there are literally over a thousand versions of Christianity. For everything I could say about the Christianity you believe, there are dozens of others who could complain that my comments aren’t about their version of Christianity.

    Your earlier argument seems to be ‘the Muslims are worse than us, so leave us alone!”. Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.

  2. ” Are you saying that people call Christianity violent hateful and otherwise nefarious because of centuries ago?”

    I don’t think my comment made any reference to past centuries.

    I’m saying that, your argument seems to be “You can’t call us hateful because Islam is way more hateful than we are!” That may be true.

    And I’m glad you’re not as hateful or violent as certain extreme Muslims. But that doesn’t mean you’re perfect. And there’s still a lot I can complain about.

  3. “After all, the more violent, hateful, and comical you can make a group of people appear, the easier it is to dismiss them out of hand.” I think this is why it happens, but you’re looking at it from a different side. I think people use all religions as a yardstick because they don’t want people to dismiss all Muslims as simply crazy because of Islam and dismiss them. They want us to remember that Christian history has had it’s violent past, and so to not simply call Muslims violent.

  4. It would be great to hear this logic when you’re taking credit for the founding of America, religious pluralism, the need for belief in god, or that made-up concept of “Judeo-Christian” values. I’ll stand right beside you and say that Christianity is no monolith. Christian values and beliefs are as varied as the people who claim to be Christian. As soon as Christians themselves stop trying to lump together Catholics and Lutherans and Jews and Mormons, then all the non-Christians will also stop doing it.
    Be careful though, if you do that, you won’t be able to dismiss minority beliefs and values because your beliefs (whatever kind of Christianity they may be) will be in the minority as well.

  5. So talking about opressed Muslim women: Have you ever seen this as more of a culture rather than a religion? Nowhere in the Coran, for example, states that women should be covered from head to toe, but some are (very few in relation with the number of Muslims or Muslim women in the world) or the fact that they should be uneducated. It is more about the culture rather than the religion. Don’t you think?

  6. I also find it common that when discussing religious convictions that the superstition common among Roman Catholics is also attributed to Christians. Praying to saints, chanting over beads, praying at statues, transubstantiation, burying statues in the yard for good measures, rubbing medallions of patron saints, the sign of the cross, holy water, et al., is often associated with Christianity proper when it has no place among Christians.

    It’s no more superstitious than casting out “demons” in megachurch fashion, as is so common among many so-called “Evangelicals.” And I’ve seen this with my own eyes. My wife and I attended a non-denominational Evangelical church – until we realized the people were plain crazy. (“I was doing spiritual battle with a Warlock last week,” waxed one lady.)

    I’ve explained before that Catholics do not worship Saints nor ask of them forgiveness; they ask them to intercede on their behalf.

    Second, Catholics don’t “chant over beads;” the beads help one to remember the Rosary, a serious of prayers.

    Third, Catholics don’t “pray at statues;” they speak to the Saint in the same manner one would speak to a loved one at a gravesite.

    I don’t know what “burying statues in the yard” is supposed to mean.

    The rubbing of medallions is not peculiar to Catholics; it’s peculiar to certain people of all walks of life. Never seen someone rub a rabbits foot? I’ve never seen a Catholic rub any sort of medallion – ever. I’ve never done it; my wife has never done it; my father has never done it; my friends have never done it. I’ve never seen any of them do it, nor have I ever seen any of them with a medallion of any kind.

    The sign of the cross? Really? People wear crucifixes around their necks, for crying out loud. How is it different?

    Holy Water is completely Biblical. Numbers 5:17

    Furthermore, the belief that wine transforms into blood is not peculiar to Catholics. I’ve been to Baptist services at which the Pastor hands over the cup of wine and says, “This is the blood of Christ.” And last night. our Pastor at our Lutheran church said the same thing upon handing us the cup.

    You must stop allowing your misunderstanding of Catholicism to influence your opinion of Catholicism. Make an effort to understand it – and then, if you wish, criticize it. But let’s keep in mind, without Catholics, Islam would be the largest religion on earth. Don’t be so quick to distance yourself from the “evil” Catholics.

  7. You want to pick on Catholics for perceived superstition, but say nothing of the Pentecostal snake handlers, the Evangelical “healers,” the Evangelical “exorcists,” (the Catholic Church rarely sanctions exorcisms, by the way, and when they do, a psychiatrist MUST be present), or the plethora of other crazy, off-the-wall customs common among many denominations. To pick on Catholics is simply disingenuous. It proves, I think, that you’ve been brainwashed. You clearly don’t understand Catholicism.

    I’d much rather claim ownership of Catholic “superstitions” than some of those other nutjobs.

  8. It would be great to hear this logic when you’re taking credit for the founding of America, religious pluralism, the need for belief in god, or that made-up concept of “Judeo-Christian” values.

    For God’s literal sake, read early American documents like the Northwest Ordinance; the Declaration of Independence; the Constitution; nearly every state’s constitutions; and the diaries of many of our Founders. It’s CLEAR that America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles.

    Other faiths are welcome to worship as they wish, but that doesn’t imply that America was somehow founded on secular, nihilistic principles. You’re clearly ignorant of American History.

  9. Trying to legislate their morality and prevent homosexuals from getting married or adopting children.

    Studies show that homosexual relationships are unhealthy for children. This is why there is some reticence to allow homosexuals to marry and adopt children. Government should not be in the business of promoting – through acceptance – an inherently unhealthy family unit. It has nothing to do with legislating morality.

    Trying to get their religion taught in public schools as science fact.

    Intelligent Design is not Creationism. People who say that simply don’t understand Intelligent Design. But….

    “If a book be false in its facts, disprove them: if false in its reasoning, refute it. But for God’s sake, let us freely hear both sides if we choose. –Thomas Jefferson

    Trying to get the government to promote their religion and religious symbols.

    America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. This is just fact.

    What? What’s that you say? You have nothing to prove that modern Christianity is hateful? Oh, okay then.

  10. “Studies show that homosexual relationships are unhealthy for children. ”

    No they don’t.

    A single study shows that if parents cheat on each other with gay partners, then that is unhealthy for the children. Which has nothing to do with homosexuality.

  11. Well, there’s not much left except to put links to all the news stories of Christians being violent in the last 50 years. Violent in action, word, and by inaction they perpetuate violence. The attack of Christians on science education is a particularly incidious violence against the minds of children. The entire original post is a diatribe of snivelling self-righteous self-pity. If your little splinter group sect of sanctimonious ‘christians’ was busy going out in the world and fixing problems then nobody would lump you into the fray. Clearly no christian group has stood out in the news lately except when the pastor is raping teenagers or stealing from the church ocffers, or the priest is raping young boys, or the church is supporting witch hunters and murderers in far off lands, or denying sex education to those most needing it, or medical services to those that most need it….

    In fact, the ONLY time that Christianity of any color, size, or shape makes the news is when they are completely screwing up, breaking the law, ruining people’s lives etc. If you want Christianity to have a better name – go earn it and stop your whining already.

  12. No they don’t.

    You lose.

  13. ” No they don’t.

    You lose.”

    No I don’t.

    A Christian website that says homosexuality is bad. I, for one, am SHOCKED.

    That website is not a study, nor does it link to any studies that back up your claim. Nice try, though.

  14. NotAScientice,

    You just proved that you’re not interested in the truth. It may have been a “Christian website,” but all the scientific studies I alluded to were referenced in the bibliography – notwithstanding your contrary claim. There are 72 items referenced, and you didn’t read a single of one them.

    I know the Left likes to worship at the alter of science, but that’s only when the science agrees with their ideology. When it doesn’t, the Left begins speaking in generalities – “rights,” “liberty,” “choice,” and so on – which are agreeable, if not arousing, at first; but utterly meaningless upon reflection.

    The Left, as you have proven, is anti-science. You cheapen the institution by claiming otherwise.

  15. All legislation in reference to human behaviors is “legislating morality.” The question is whether we legislate for morality or for immorality. Homosexualists are doing their best to legislate their immorality and forcing everyone to accept it.

    No one has ever tried to prevent homosexuals from getting married. What we are trying to prevent is the redefinition of what marriage is!

    Evolutionism and secular humanism are both religious viewpoints taught in the public schools. Creationism is NOT a religion, rather it a cosmology.

    And for Terrance, I will have to step on toes here, because Roman Catholicism does NOT represent biblical Christianity. It is full of apostate and heretical teachings. And to twist Numbers 5:17 to justify “holy water” is unconscionable. Roman Catholicism does that because they believe that the Church replaced Israel, which is why they have the unbiblical idea of priests. But I’m just making this point here; I do not want to take this string off topic. My point is that whenever skeptics and atheists appeal to the horrific abuses of the Romanist church throughout the ages, they just demonstrate their own ignorance of what the Christian faith actually teaches. Don’t blame the faith for its abuse by people who claim to follow it.

    Christians who actually follow the teachings found in the Bible will not be violent. Muslims who actually follow the teachings found in the Qur’an WILL be violent. That is the difference between the two religions in regard to violence.

  16. Glenn,

    We can respectfully disagree with respect to Roman Catholicism. Regardless, Christians of all denominations are united in their faith, forgetting the particulars, against a leftwing society that embrace nihilism as though it were a lover. And it’s that nihilistic worldview that is responsible for abortion, same-sex marriage, and sexual immorality generally.

    That’s one issue. The other issue is that Christians of all denominations are expected to take responsibility for the intolerance of other God-faiths. And I use the term “God-faiths” because I firmly believe that progressivism itself is a faith, a godless one. No better an example than the Climate Change cultists; that itself is a quasi-Paganism.

  17. I should also mention that while I defend Catholicism from misconceptions, I am no longer a Catholic. We are WELS now, which is a better fit for us. Catholicism is so wrapped up in ritual that you feel as though you’re just going through the motions; like it has no meaning.

  18. Glenn,

    Unfortunately, you’re right – most Catholics do vote Democrat. It’s because most Catholics in this country have strong ties to union labor. Or, at least this is true in my area.

    WELS stands for Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

  19. Hey John, as per your hate and violence request? How about the murdering of abortion providers? The blowing up of clinics? The mantra that your god is punishing this country for it’s wickedness and pulverizing us with storms and wars and end times…or that gay marriage equals dead soldiers? All of these acts and the fact that Pastor Fred Phelps at Westboro Baptist church knows for a fact that you are going to hell for allowing gay soldiers in our ranks. You and your little self righteous club of zealots on this kid gloves blog are cornering the market on ignorant, arrogant, below average, culture war divisiveness. Why not leave the judging of others to your god? It looks from the outside like more hypocrisy. I can’t seem to find the plethora of books in the bible where jesus bemoans every little inconsequential thing, every word spoken, every roll of the eyes by some group of people as being hatred upon him or christians. This faux war on you and your “we are more equal/important” than others bs simply serves to feed your unhealthy ego and your abundant cognitive dissonance. Why wasn’t your jesus a complaining, whining cry baby but you and your club can only exist through this neurotic condition?
    Please define the differences for us about how the Puritans building this country on the murderous rampage that took countless Quaker lives and even more native peoples lives and culminating with a psycho zealot movement of murderers who every day seem to have more and more in common with their islamic jihading retard compatriots. It looks like from the outside that you want the country going back to 1745.
    It’s repeatedly hysterical the amount of judging happening here and even sadder/funnier that all of the “christians” here are in fact all interpreting the bible and it’s tenets differently. It reminds me of Irish politics.

  20. Wow. This post got a strong reaction. Huh?
    I reread it trying to figure out where it came from. I think I get it. Perhaps a “gay like me” kind of study would be a great study for you to try.
    And also, I think there is a lot of ignorance in Christianity. It’s not made up by outsiders, i see it and I’m Christian. many have good head nodding abilities and no actual conviction.

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