Why do Christians feel the way they do? September 10, 2005 7:23 AM   Subscribe


42 comments and counting, maybe 4 of which are actually from Christians. Is it okay to pull answers out of your ass just as long they're in regards to religous stoopids?
posted by klarck at 7:23 AM on September 10, 2005


So, because the questioner expressed a special interest in the opinions of Christians, the rest of us aren't allowed to comment? Hmm. Maybe I'll do a "I'm only interested in what white people think of this issue" AskMe.
posted by Decani at 7:36 AM on September 10, 2005


Er, the questioner does say 'if there are any Christians...'

ie. s/he wasn't asking exclusively for replies from a Christian viewpoint. And he got a succinct, correct answer from xmutex in the first comment.

Whether this is a question ideally suited to AskMe is a different matter.
posted by jack_mo at 7:37 AM on September 10, 2005


Decani: there is certainly a fuss when male members (heh) comment in AskMe questions about diva cups, vaginal rashes and the like.
posted by klarck at 7:42 AM on September 10, 2005


there is certainly a fuss when male members (heh) comment in AskMe questions about diva cups, vaginal rashes

No there isn't, generally. I've seen guys have completely helpful answers in a lot of the girl-topic threads, and it's appreciated. The fuss you refer to is the rare exception, or occurs when people start making unhelpful noise in threads where questioners have gone out of their way to ask for a serious discussion.

I think curtm also tried pretty hard with his question to keep the discussion civil, but MetaFilter just isnt a great place to get a wide range of viewpoints on this topic. There aren't a lot of openly Christian members who likely share the perspective he is trying to understand and there are a lot of members that have fairly predictable responses which, while not pulled out of their asses per se, do not do much to help curtm with his question.
posted by jessamyn at 7:52 AM on September 10, 2005


Very few of the responses are actually from Christians, but many are from people with Christian relatives or friends, surely that's almost as good.
curtm says that he is a "blue-state, non-religious liberal" and that he "simply [doesn't] understand what these people are talking about". I don't see why responses from people who do understand are a problem.
Obviously the answers from people who actually believe this are best, but selfnoise's answer is one that many of the evangelical Christians I know would accept.
Sure, there's some snark, but I hardly think that discussing the beliefs of parents and coworkers is inappropriate, especially as curtm has admitted that he's from an environment where he may not know *any* people that hold these beliefs.

The 'problem' is that while MeFi has plenty of Christians, it doesn't have terribly many who believe that their religion is actively under attack.
posted by atrazine at 7:54 AM on September 10, 2005


Is it okay to pull answers out of your ass just as long they're in regards to religous stoopids?

It is always okay to pull AskMetafilter answers out of your ass. People get very defensive when you tell them not to do it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:56 AM on September 10, 2005


it was an unfortunate question. here on MeFi there seem to be very few "Christians" (especially if by "Christian" one means "fundamentalist Protestant", like so many Americans do). it's like when people ask on askmefi," how do you say this in Italian?"
I don't think that there are more than five or six Italian speakers around here, maybe two or three who are native speakers. if they are not around, most of the advice will necessarily suck

in the Christian thread, relatives of Christians gave some interesting "hearsay" evidence, so to speak, but with the exception of konolia and a few others very few people had the knowledge to give good answers to begin with
posted by matteo at 8:14 AM on September 10, 2005


MetaFilter just isnt a great place to get a wide range of viewpoints on this topic.

Agreed. Beliefnet isn't a bad place to start reading about and discussing why people believe what they do. I like the site because it does not grind any particular axe; it is legitimately a place to share information about various types of spirituality.

MeFi has plenty of Christians, it doesn't have terribly many who believe that their religion is actively under attack.

Agreed again. I myself qualify as Christian, but I want nothing to do with the opinion that 'Christianity is under attack.' The population being asked is simply not represented here.
posted by Miko at 8:34 AM on September 10, 2005


Exactly. And, as I noted a couple times in the thread, I'm really tired of people conflating all Christians with fundamentalist, evangelical Protestant Christians. It's a big faith, and one only shows one's own ignorance when asserting that "Christians" will always believe x, or do y.

Because the only thing that really ties all Christians together, from Coptics to Episcopalians to Orthodox to Southern Baptists to the UCC or Roman Catholic Church, is a shared belief in salvation through Jesus. That's it. And to ascribe a set of political or social beliefs to all of the above is just ludicrous, not to mention offensive.
posted by Vidiot at 8:45 AM on September 10, 2005


Vidiot, then you should tell those Christians to stop speaking for all of you, because they are. They're your public face, and they're the ones that are on tv everyday pushing a political and unChristian agenda.
posted by amberglow at 8:47 AM on September 10, 2005


Okay.
Memorandum

To: All Christians On TV
From: Vidiot
Re: Agenda

Please stop. Thank you.
Let's see if that works.
posted by Vidiot at 9:07 AM on September 10, 2005


See, amberglow, I don't think the problem is my over-sensitivity here. Do I like it when the fundamentalist evangelical radical Protestant message is presented as speaking for all of Christianity? Of course not. But that doesn't mean I have to like it either when people are attacking that message and tar all Christians with that brush.
posted by Vidiot at 9:09 AM on September 10, 2005


Metafilter : there's some kind of plan to make you as shallow, violent and irreligious as possible.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:12 AM on September 10, 2005


I strongly second the Beliefnet suggestion, awesome site with enormous diversity of opinion.
posted by matteo at 9:18 AM on September 10, 2005


Amberglow: What makes you think that fundmentalist looneys will listen to liberal Christians like me or Vidiot any more than they'll listen to liberal atheist/agnostics like you?

Let's face it - if Christ came back tomorrow and preached the same message that he did 2000 odd years ago, they'd have him back on the cross in no time flat.
posted by ninthart at 9:29 AM on September 10, 2005


Amberglow: What makes you think that fundmentalist looneys will listen to liberal Christians like me or Vidiot any more than they'll listen to liberal atheist/agnostics like you?

This is true, but I do think more liberal Christians do need to make themselves heard, if for no other reason than to show people that the Fallwells and Robertsons are not the only face of Christianity.
posted by jonmc at 9:33 AM on September 10, 2005


if Christ came back tomorrow and preached the same message that he did 2000 odd years ago, they'd have him back on the cross in no time flat.

Interesting that you say that. That was Dostoyevsky's view as well.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:36 AM on September 10, 2005


Let's face it - if Christ came back tomorrow and preached the same message that he did 2000 odd years ago, they'd have him back on the cross in no time flat.

"If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in His name, He'd never stop throwing up." -- Max von Sydow in Hannah and Her Sisters.

It is always okay to pull AskMetafilter answers out of your ass.

Please host them off first.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:38 AM on September 10, 2005


Er...hose them off.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:39 AM on September 10, 2005


They're your public face, and they're the ones that are on tv everyday pushing a political and unChristian agenda.

&

but I do think more liberal Christians do need to make themselves heard, if for no other reason than to show people that the Fallwells and Robertsons are not the only face of Christianity.

Are both of you completely oblivious to the fact that a large majority of this country IS Christian? They don't give a rat's ass that "Christianity is getting a bad rap" for several reasons. One, one of their fundamental tenets it to get new recruits. Two, they have better things to do than defend their faith to non-believers. They have nothing to gain by arguing with atheists, Jews, Muslims, etc. Three, Mormonism is (I believe) the fastest growning religion in the world.

For good or bad, their message is being heard. The ethics of how they convey their message is secondary to practicing their faith and converting others, if possible. Besides, I think most mainstream Christians are far more passive about their faith.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:42 AM on September 10, 2005


more liberal Christians do need to make themselves heard,
Taking seriously the actual message of Jesus, though, should serve at least to moderate the greed and violence that mark this culture. It's hard to imagine a con much more audacious than making Christ the front man for a program of tax cuts for the rich or war in Iraq. If some modest part of the 85 percent of us who are Christians woke up to that fact, then the world might change.

It is possible, I think. Yes, the mainline Protestant churches that supported civil rights and opposed the war in Vietnam are mostly locked in a dreary decline as their congregations dwindle and their elders argue endlessly about gay clergy and same-sex unions. And the Catholic Church, for most of its American history a sturdy exponent of a "love your neighbor" theology, has been weakened, too, its hierarchy increasingly motivated by a single-issue focus on abortion.

...

As in so many areas of our increasingly market-tested lives, the co-opters - the TV men, the politicians, the Christian "interest groups" - have found a way to make each of us complicit in that travesty, too. They have invited us to subvert the church of Jesus even as we celebrate it. With their help we have made golden calves of ourselves - become a nation of terrified, self-obsessed idols. It works, and it may well keep working for a long time to come.

When Americans hunger for selfless love and are fed only love of self, they will remain hungry, and too often hungry people just come back for more of the same.

posted by matteo at 9:56 AM on September 10, 2005


We know a large majority of the country is Christian. We also know that the public face of all those people is those hateful assholes. Quite frankly, many of us non-Christians have decided that it's ok with the rest of you, and that's pathetic. Denunciations of them by you ring hollow. (especially when people making those denunciations are actually in a position to change it and present a better face, or at least lobby their bosses to do so)
posted by amberglow at 9:59 AM on September 10, 2005


Yes, the mainline Protestant churches that supported civil rights and opposed the war in Vietnam are mostly locked in a dreary decline as their congregations dwindle and their elders argue endlessly about gay clergy and same-sex unions.

If you'll bear with me, I think there's reasons for that decline, aesthetic ones. The pro-civil rights and anti-Vietnam preachers still preached with the same zeal and fervor as their fire-and-brimstone counterparts. And I think that often, people look to their churches for that sense of moral certitude and solidity of belief. As the 70's and 80's approached and issues became more murky and complicated, the more liberal churches, like a lot of liberal people in general I think, became more...ambivalent, I guess is the word, which made them lose some of their drawing power.

Style over substance I realize, and as usual, I'm probably not making as much sense as I 'd like, but take it for what it's worth.
posted by jonmc at 10:02 AM on September 10, 2005


Quite frankly, many of us non-Christians have decided that it's ok with the rest of you,

Please, amberglow, in the case of me and vidiot, I think we've made it clear in no uncertain terms that it's not OK with us. And there's prominent liberal ministers like Mel White and Bruce Bawer who making strong efforts to change things and I've gone out of my way when confronted with intolerant fundamentalists to let them know that I disagree and that there are other perspectives. If that's "hollow," to you, I don't know what to say.
posted by jonmc at 10:07 AM on September 10, 2005


Remind me to talk to amberglow in more depth regarding the politics of the Christian church since he's proven himself to be so "fair and balanced". ::rolls eyes::
posted by SeizeTheDay at 10:09 AM on September 10, 2005


Damn, amberglow: does your knee hurt from jerking it so much?

Quite frankly, many of us non-Christians have decided that it's ok with the rest of you, and that's pathetic.

You know what's pathetic? Deciding to believe that I think something is "ok with me" when a brief look at my posting history or conversation with me will convince you that I think nothing of the sort?

Denunciations of them by you ring hollow. (especially when people making those denunciations are actually in a position to change it and present a better face, or at least lobby their bosses to do so)

What exactly are you saying here? Because I work for [a big news organization] I have the power to dictate what we say about everything...and am somehow derelict in my duties because I don't present The Gospel According To Amberglow? Or because I realize that people who are espousing teh crazy-talk always get more attention than those who are measured and less extreme in their beliefs? Or are you saying that I don't sufficiently express my beliefs for your tastes? Or are you saying that I actually am a fundy, but in seekrit and I just put on a liberal-Christian face, oh, for my own amusement or something?
posted by Vidiot at 10:25 AM on September 10, 2005


I'd like to add, for anyone that's interested, that my answer in the thread was based on my personal experience with self-declared Christians I've met and dealt with personally. My answer is not meant as a smear on Christians, unless you just have to take it that way; re: the original question.
posted by odinsdream at 10:27 AM on September 10, 2005


Seriously. Amberglow? Reality check. Who is this "we", kemosabe?

One of the top ten coolest people I've ever met was a hard drinking, foul-mouthed, socialist/anarchist possibly ex-Catholic priest who literally devoted all of his time to feeding, clothing and loving the poor, the destitute and the diseased of body, mind an soul.

Sometimes I secretly hope and pray that a real Christ - a bodhisvatta, a Buddha - will return and drive out the money changers, the truly evil-hearted, the greedy, the mean and the malicious.

And then I'm usually forcefully reminded that this possibility (hopefully) exists in each of us.
posted by loquacious at 10:31 AM on September 10, 2005


amberglow: That's essentially the same argument used by Republicans to paint all Muslims as being in favor of terrorism. "You didn't denounce it ENOUGH."
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:36 AM on September 10, 2005


amberglow:

Yeah, the public face of Christianity are the nuts. And the public face of homosexuality are the nuts. The public face of Islam are the nuts. The public face of comic book fans are the nuts. The public face of musicians are the nuts.

The fact is that crazy people are discussed far, far more than sane people. In almost any given group, the public face is composed of the people who are the wierdest. Vidiot put it perfectly:

Vidiot : "people who are espousing teh crazy-talk always get more attention than those who are measured and less extreme in their beliefs"
posted by Bugbread at 10:44 AM on September 10, 2005


To put it another way, if a self-proclaimed "gay leader," says something stupid or offensive, should I call you up and ask what your going to do about it? As a Jewish person should I hold you responsible for someting Meir Kahane or Areil Sharon said or did? Next time Marion Barry or Al Sharpton makes a misstep do I have to ring up every black person to get their personal condemnation?

That's just plain prejudice. And the fact that the prejudice springs from genuine righteous anger dosen't make it any less so.
posted by jonmc at 10:54 AM on September 10, 2005


Wait, righteous anger doesn't make something justified? Holy crap, my mind is blown.
posted by darukaru at 11:24 AM on September 10, 2005


Not when that righteous anger sours into full-blown prejudice, it dosen't.
posted by jonmc at 11:27 AM on September 10, 2005


Can we get some Bob Marley on ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:36 AM on September 10, 2005


Three, Mormonism is (I believe) the fastest growning religion in the world.

The high rate of growth among Mormons is vastly inflated, actually.
posted by Jeanne at 12:01 PM on September 10, 2005


I guess it's more difficult to acknowledge the truth in Amberglow's comments than to tear it a new asshole. Christianity represents a majority ethos in the country, and there seems to be no objection to seeing it hijacked to force the Right's agenda down America's gullet. When people asked me why I was so disgusted by the Republican party during the elections, I compared it to waking up and realizing that The Greens had suddenly infiltrated the Democratic party and were formulating defacto policy for the country.

If a gay leader, or a Jewish leader, or anyone else says something stupid or offensive, the ultimate effect on the country is nil. If dozens of congressional leaders, televangelists, newscasters, et al can't open their mouths without spewing fundamentalist rhetoric then people damn well have the right to wonder where the hell the voices of moderation and normalcy are. Otherwise, too fucking bad if identifying yourself as a Christian makes people cringe.
posted by docpops at 12:06 PM on September 10, 2005

"The authors conclude that American Christianity is "either degenerating into a pathetic version of itself or...is actively being colonized and displaced by a quite different religious faith." When asked to articulate their faith, not one of their interviewees mentioned self-discipline, working for social justice, justification or sanctification, and 112 of them described the purpose of religion in terms of "personally feeling, being, getting, or being made happy" (using the "specific phrase to 'feel happy' well more that 2,000 times")."
What is a christian anyway?
posted by peacay at 12:11 PM on September 10, 2005


many of us non-Christians have decided that it's ok with the rest of you

It's not true that it's OK with 'the rest of us' -- but the crazies are not listening to me, a Quaker, any more than they are listening to you or to anyone else who does not subscribe to their narrow worldview. There's nothing I can do about that that you can't do, because fundamentalist protestant evangelicals only listen to each other. As someone who believes in utter free thought, freedom of speech, and civil liberties and takes a basically humanist and near-agnostic view of religious matters, I could not be their enemy any more if I sat in cemeteries burning live chickens.

It's not as though they percieve me as being in their 'ingroup' or speaking for them. It would be ridiculous to speak for them - members of these religions find fault with liberal Christians such as Unitarians and Congregationalists and even moderate mainline faiths like Lutheranism, so they sure as hell aren't going to allow themselves to associate with me. And I speak against them all the time, since I am unwilling to see their ideas adopted by the greater society. So I'm not sure what else it is I should be doing that an athiest or agnostic can't.
posted by Miko at 12:25 PM on September 10, 2005



I guess it's more difficult to acknowledge the truth in Amberglow's comments


Great. If we beg to differ, we're refusing to "see the truth." Sound familiar?
posted by jonmc at 12:25 PM on September 10, 2005


Everyone always says the only way to counter speech is with more speech. Start with the more speech. Otherwise, you're acquiescing with your silence.
posted by amberglow at 12:29 PM on September 10, 2005


The thing is, I think we're already speeching. The mainline leadership could be doing better, I suppose. But I will also say that I'm personally not into running around and talking about my religion. It's un-American to me. So I argue against these folks all the time, but I do it on moral principles that are not related to religion. I usually don't identify myself as a member of a Christian denomination unless challenged. It's just not anybody's business, which is how I feel about evangelicals. Keep it out of my face, off my porch, out of my laws, out of my government.

I think it's perfectly legitimate to fight creeping evangelicalism with the right tools. My-God-is-Better-than-Your-God is not the right tool to use with them.
posted by Miko at 12:35 PM on September 10, 2005


Miko,

I'ts heartening to read your eloquent response. I still think that most people are lazy enough about their faith and conviction that the notion of suppressing freedoms in favor of a religious agenda really doesn't alarm them, since the overwhelming sense they have is that the end result will still be pretty much in line with their beliefs. I work in a large clinic, and the clerks, medical assistants, etc. are a pretty decent cross-section of lower/middle-class America. They don't seem to take to heart what you put so well. That is, they are anathema by virtue of not being pure enough, and until they
posted by docpops at 12:42 PM on September 10, 2005


Amberglow, you're ducking my questions.
posted by Vidiot at 12:43 PM on September 10, 2005


I used to ask why the rest of you Christians didn't speak up (and i've done it here a lot)--I've stopped asking nowadays, and if you don't like the impression that's being given, too bad.

I know you guys won't want to live in a country that's run according to their rules, and there's no place in it for me, or Muslims, or Hindus, etc, but that's exactly what's happening. When Pat Robertson's charity is listed on the Government's Katrina response page as one of only 3 approved organizations, it's what's happening (and that's just one tiny example--the Administration meets with those people continually and acts according to their wishes).
posted by amberglow at 12:44 PM on September 10, 2005


If we beg to differ, we're refusing to "see the truth." Sound familiar?

Oops, caught, yet again, being a True Believer.
posted by docpops at 12:46 PM on September 10, 2005


How many people have to say it, and how many times do they have to do so? We're speaking up. But it's not really our problem if we're not doing it on your terms, okay?

Your condescension is becoming irritating. Particularly when you act this way to people with whom you presumably agree.
posted by Vidiot at 12:48 PM on September 10, 2005


Do I like it when the fundamentalist evangelical radical Protestant message is presented as speaking for all of Christianity? Of course not. But that doesn't mean I have to like it either when people are attacking that message and tar all Christians with that brush.

Let's see--you're tired of them speaking as if for you, and also you don't like it. But what do you do about it? You will continue to be tarred with that brush until other brushes are inserted into the discourse. I can't insert other Christian brushes--only you Christians can, and you don't do so, even as their brand of Christianity gains more and more of a voice (as the only voice) and what was once considered beyond the pale of social discourse (and is often just insane) is completely mainstreamed by the media, and is used to make policy and political decisions as well.
posted by amberglow at 12:50 PM on September 10, 2005


You will continue to be tarred with that brush until other brushes are inserted into the discourse

I think you are confusing "discourse" with "media-whoring".
posted by eddydamascene at 1:03 PM on September 10, 2005


Otherwise, too fucking bad if identifying yourself as a Christian makes people cringe.

if you don't like the impression that's being given, too bad.

"If you muslims don't like the impression people get of you as violent extremists, too bad."

"If you gays don't like the impression people get of you as effeminate sex-fiends, too bad."

Yeah, let's not take a reasoned, unbiased view at individuals. Let's just fall back on popular opinions and stereotypes and damn the people who don't like it. Too bad, indeed.

On preview: But what do you do about it? You will continue to be tarred with that brush until other brushes are inserted into the discourse. I can't insert other Christian brushes--only you Christians can, and you don't do so

What the hell is that? What are you basing that on? What else do you want Vidiot to do exactly? Seriously, specify precisely what you want Vidiot himself to do to "insert another brush" into the "discourse".
posted by Stauf at 1:06 PM on September 10, 2005


I have a few announcements:

All Muslims will be tarred with the same brush until I decide that they are doing enough to speak out against terrorism.

All Jews will be tarred with the same brush until I decide they are doing enough to speak out against the crucifixion of Jesus.

All homosexuals will be tarred with the same brush until I am convinced that they are doing enough to prevent the spreading of AIDS.

Thank you.
posted by Krrrlson at 1:09 PM on September 10, 2005


By the by, I just wanted to return to the original point of this MeTa callout, and the reply to it by saying that the athiest grumblebee's reply was one of the best comments in the entire thread, and did a lot more to defend a subset of the Christian belief system than most of the posts by Christians. As others have said, that's the beauty of Metafilter not letting a questioner impose some blanket restriction on who can reply...
posted by delfuego at 1:17 PM on September 10, 2005


Yes, ditto on grumblebee's response; I could not have said it better.
posted by brownpau at 1:34 PM on September 10, 2005


Yes, but grumblebee didn't even answer the question.
posted by geoff. at 1:52 PM on September 10, 2005


Who did?
posted by brownpau at 1:57 PM on September 10, 2005


Secret Life of Gravy?
posted by hototogisu at 2:04 PM on September 10, 2005


Bill Moyers: ...We can't wiggle out of this, people. Alvin Hawkins states it frankly: "This is a problem we can't walk away from." We're talking about a powerful religious constituency that claims the right to tell us what's on God's mind and to decide the laws of the land according to their interpretation of biblical revelation and to enforce those laws on the nation as a whole. For the Bible is not just the foundational text of their faith; it has become the foundational text for a political movement.
True, people of faith have always tried to bring their interpretation of the Bible to bear on American laws and morals--this very seminary is part of that tradition; it's the American way, encouraged and protected by the First Amendment. But what is unique today is that the radical religious right has succeeded in taking over one of America's great political parties--the country is not yet a theocracy but the Republican Party is--and they are driving American politics, using God as a a battering ram on almost every issue: crime and punishment, foreign policy, health care, taxation, energy, regulation, social services and so on. ...

posted by amberglow at 2:38 PM on September 10, 2005


Amberglow, I do agree with that. What I don't agree with is the idea that I, somehow, have a special or additional responsibility that people of other or no faith don't have. Like I said, I'm not one of them, so nothing I do or say has any more strength than what you do or say.

I can't take responsibility for what people think about Christians as a large group - it's overly simplistic to think about Christians that way. 'Christian' is a general enough term that it's not very useful here. That's why I keep talking about 'fundamentalist evangelical Christians', which I suspect are the strain you (and I) find most objectionable in their political and social overreaching. But there are many more different strains of Christianity than there are of Judaism, Islam, Paganism, or whatever. If an observer can't be troubled with making distinctions amongst them, why is that my job? It's like me saying to a Reform or secular Jew "Those Orthodox people are so misogynist! Can't you get them to stop?"

I think what you're asking for is a liberal fundamentalist evangelical opposition. I don't know whether that can be found. In the meantime, I prefer to oppose evangelical fundamentalism not in its churches (because we are all free to worship as we want or don't want) but in the field of public discourse and shared civil society, which is our true concern here.
posted by Miko at 3:37 PM on September 10, 2005


grumblebee's friend John, an observant Christian, answered under gb's name.

I'd like to know why blacks still feel discriminated against. Please, any white, upper-middle class professional, with a posting history of hostility towards affirmitive action, but who knows people who are black, post a reply. I'm sure you know best why blacks feel the way they do.
posted by klarck at 3:46 PM on September 10, 2005


We know that Americans hold a large amount of world power. We also know that the public face of all those people is those hateful assholes. Quite frankly, many of us non-Americans have decided that it's ok with the rest of you, and that's pathetic. Denunciations of them by you ring hollow. (especially when people making those denunciations are actually in a position to change it and present a better face, or at least lobby their bosses to do so)

Let's see--you're tired of them speaking as if for you, and also you don't like it. But what do you do about it? You will continue to be tarred with that brush until other brushes are inserted into the discourse. I can't insert other American brushes--only you Americans can, and you don't do so, even as their brand of American-ness gains more and more of a voice (as the only voice) and what was once considered beyond the pale of social discourse (and is often just insane) is completely mainstreamed by the media, and is used to make policy and political decisions as well.



Amberglow, until you stop the American government from speaking for you, and being your public face, I'll consider all your protestations about the war in Iraw and so on and so forth as weak, since you haven't done anything about it, since it's still happening.
posted by Snyder at 3:57 PM on September 10, 2005


...I do think more liberal Christians do need to make themselves heard...
posted by jonmc at 9:33 AM PST on September 10 [!]

Yes, me too. They should be heard saying "Okay, I was wrong. I realise that claiming, falsely, to believe in "salvation through Jesus" or that "the Bible is God's Word" is not compatible with my knowledge of history, science, basic honesty, justice, spirituality, or anything else good. Therefore, I will no longer describe myself as a Christian, even though I may still pray, believe in God, be nice to people, and even read the Bible sometimes."

That's what I'd like to hear liberal Christians say. Or something like that. But that's just me.
posted by cleardawn at 6:01 PM on September 10, 2005


cleardawn, I belive that your answer to my comment has more to with extending a pissing contest than any interest in dialogue, but here goes anyway.

I believe in science, I believe in my fellow man, I belive in basic decency, compassion and honesty. I also believe that people can find what you might call salvation through Jesus. and through Buddha, Mohammed, Bertrand Russell, Karl Marx, or L. Ron Hubbard. And as long they don't force it down anyone else's throat or harm anyone else in the process, that's no skin off my nose.

It's a rough world, people need something to cling to to get them through the night. Who am I, you or anyone else to take it away from them?
posted by jonmc at 6:12 PM on September 10, 2005


I should clarify further just for my own edification. By "get you through the night," I don't mean some magic guardian who's going to magically protect you from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (although whatever comfort you can gather there can't hurt either, I guess). What happens in this world is due the cause and effect of human actions and pure random chance.

I'm talking about pulling away from our worst selves. I'm no kind of saint. Like everyone else, I'm a prideful, envious, gluttonous, lustful, raging, greedy, slothful bastard left to my own devices. If something helps you pull yourself away from that, whether it's religion, politics, philosophy, whatever, that's a good thing, right?
posted by jonmc at 6:20 PM on September 10, 2005


I think there is something instructive in what cleardawn has to say, however. Simply - there is a significant and vocal secular component of this community who doesn't really want to hear anything a self-described Christian has to say except "I'm wrong, you're right, I believe what you believe now." Golly, that ideological basis sounds kinda familiar, don't it?
posted by nanojath at 6:41 PM on September 10, 2005


Golly, that ideological basis sounds kinda familiar, don't it?

Bingo. Replace the King James Version with Das Kapital and there you are. Another person with a magic book that reduces a complex world full of complex beings to simple formulas.
posted by jonmc at 6:45 PM on September 10, 2005


People like cleardawn and amberglow won't stop until we renounce our faith and trod upon our bibles.

And that's why Christians feel persecuted.
posted by brownpau at 6:45 PM on September 10, 2005


Howzabout one of us "I am NOT represented by Pat Robertson" Christians put up an AskMe question about how we might best go about making our contrary viewpoints on the message of Christianity more evident and relevant in the current culture? See how nice that little conversation is.

(I'd do it myself but I used up my AskMe this week looking for first year birthday presents for my boy. Maybe if nobody takes the bait I'll do it next week. It certainly seems like a valid question and I'd actually like to see what serious respondents had to say about it).
posted by nanojath at 7:03 PM on September 10, 2005


i'd love to see that nano.

People like cleardawn and amberglow won't stop until we renounce our faith and trod upon our bibles.
bullshit. Stop trying to make all the rest of us live by your religious rules. Stop trying to change our laws and Constitution. Live and let live, and recognize that this country is not only for Christians. And counter the hateful shit we hear from those public "Christians".
posted by amberglow at 7:16 PM on September 10, 2005


Back to the (implied) question at hand: that thread is great, do not close or delete it.
posted by voltairemodern at 7:24 PM on September 10, 2005


Stop trying to make all the rest of us live by your religious rules.

Did you read this conversation? Aside from a loud, obnoxious minority, most of us don't want you to.

Live and let live

That goes both ways, my friend. And yeah, there aren't any marauding bands of anti-Christian terrorists in the gay liberation ranks, but some of the rhetoric I hear is enough to make you wonder.

Larry Kramer (a man who is admirable in many ways): I love gay people. I think we’re better than other people. I really do. I think we’re smarter and more talented and more aware and I do, I do, I totally do. And I think we’re more tuned in to what’s happening, tuned into the moment, tuned into our emotions, and other people’s emotions, and we’re better friends. I really do think all these things.

He repeats that statement throughout the speech several times like a mantra, so it's no slip of the tongue. Since he believes that gays are "better," are the rest of us inferior for not being born gay? I realize that Larry Kramer has little or no power outside the gay community, but if he really belives that, I'm not too eager to give him any.
posted by jonmc at 7:31 PM on September 10, 2005


bullshit. Stop trying to make all the rest of us live by your religious rules.

I'm not.

Stop trying to change our laws and Constitution.

I'm not.

Live and let live, and recognize that this country is not only for Christians.

I do.

And counter the hateful shit we hear from those public "Christians".

I do.

Anything else?
posted by brownpau at 7:33 PM on September 10, 2005


Also if you could just renounce your religion and tread upon your Bible that'd be just swell, tia.

Your attitude, amberglow, is far more likely to make you enemies among sensible, modern Christians (or any religious folk, for that matter) than it is to root out nutjob fundamentalism.
posted by Krrrlson at 7:45 PM on September 10, 2005


This whole conversation is especially frustrating, since amberglow is someone I know to a fundamentally decent, tolerant, even congenial guy, whom I've broken bread with and consider a friend. I don't like arguing with him, but I still feel compelled to speak my piece. I imagine there's others reading this thread who feel the same way.
posted by jonmc at 7:49 PM on September 10, 2005


People like cleardawn and amberglow won't stop until we renounce our faith and trod upon our bibles.

Do you think they feel the same way about, say, Jews? If not, why do you think their reaction to Christians is different?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:51 PM on September 10, 2005


Actually, Orthodox Jews are not exactly freinds of the gay community either nor are fundamentalist Muslims. It seems to be something reactionaries of all faiths can come together on in a rainbow coalition of bigotry. Oh, rapture.

But in Christianity like other faiths, there are people trying to help faiths evolve beyond simplistic, legalistic veiws of the world, like Bruce Bawer. It's a bay and bathwater issue.

I'm just hoping for the day that we'll all embrace eachothers common humanity, when the Christopher Street drag queen, the firebreathing lefty firebrand and the backwoods preacher can drop their bullshit and see eachothers innate wonderfulness. But I'm probably nuts or some kind of pollyanna.

"I believe in Kingdom Come, where all the colors bleed into one.."
posted by jonmc at 8:01 PM on September 10, 2005


Sensible, modern HUMAN BEINGS should be denouncing those people from the rooftops--and you can't disassociate yourselves from them, no matter how much you'd like to. You don't want to hear it, but it's true--they are the public face of American Christians, especially as seen by many of us who aren't Christian. Choke on it or change it.

People talk about how it's the freaks in the gay community who are always shown on tv--Guess what? We changed that, and now there's a whole range of people shown, from old couples marrying to conservatives to families, etc. -- it's not just drag queens and dykes on bikes and s/m folk as the only visible faces. There's a lesson in that for you, especially if you don't like them speaking for you.
posted by amberglow at 8:02 PM on September 10, 2005


Choke on it or change it.

What do you think we're trying to do here by speaking our minds? All we're saying is that you declaring that we're all like them by default isn't helping.

You don't want people considering all gays to be S&M freaks and Dykes On Bikes (not that there's anything wrong with either, and I'm not being funny) return the favor.

(dude, it actually pains me to be fighting with you this way. do you honestly see Me and Vidiot as no different from the Fallwells and Phelps of the world? That hurts, man)
posted by jonmc at 8:08 PM on September 10, 2005


and jon--there's a giant difference--Orthodox Jews and Radical Mullahs are not the only public face of Judaism and Islam. Both communities have made giant efforts to ensure that we're not represented by our most radical wings here in America. Why haven't you guys? You don't see Meir Kahane people on TV as our public face. You don't see firebreathing Islamic clerics on TV as American Muslims' only public face either.

That's not true for Christians. Your public faces ARE those radical elements and you give them legitimacy by not countering them at every opportunity.
posted by amberglow at 8:08 PM on September 10, 2005


Sensible, modern HUMAN BEINGS should be denouncing those people from the rooftops--and you can't disassociate yourselves from them, no matter how much you'd like to.

Okay, I went up on my rooftop and denounced them. Quite loudly. I think we should see Jerry Falwell conducting gay marriages by Monday.
posted by brownpau at 8:09 PM on September 10, 2005


Orthodox Jews and Radical Mullahs are not the only public face of Judaism and Islam.

News to me. Especially, since 9/11, it's mostly radical muslims we see in the media mainly because they make good copy. The same is true of the coverage of Christians. "Christian Preacher Preaches Love and Compassion!" dosen't make a good headline, and in many cases in runs counter to a publishers ideology. I counter it wherever I see it, but I have no control over what the major media decides to cover. I don;t ask the world to revise itself to the Gospel According To Me. One, that'd be wrong and two, I don't have the energy. And there's people like Bruce Bawer and Mel White and countless others who are trying to change Christianity.
posted by jonmc at 8:20 PM on September 10, 2005


acually, that strain of Christianity has always been there:

Jesus Christ was a man who traveled through the land
Hard working man and brave
He said to the rich, "Give your goods to the poor."
So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
Jesus was a man, a carpenter by hand
His followers true and brave
One dirty little coward called Judas Iscariot
Has laid Jesus Christ in his grave
He went to the sick, he went to the poor,
And he went to the hungry and the lame;
Said that the poor would one day win this world,
And so they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
He went to the preacher, he went to the sheriff,
Told them all the same;
Sell all of your jewelry and give it to the Poor,
But they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
When Jesus came to town, the working folks around,
Believed what he did say;
The bankers and the preachers they nailed him on a cross,
And they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
Poor working people, they follered him around,
Sung and shouted gay;
Cops and the soldiers, they nailed him in the air,
And they nailed Jesus Christ in his grave.
Well the people held their breath when they heard about his death,
And everybody wondered why;
It was the landlord and the soldiers that he hired.
That nailed Jesus Christ in the sky.
When the love of the poor shall one day turn to hate.
When the patience of the workers gives away
"Would be better for you rich if you never had been born"
So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
This song was written in New York City
Of rich men, preachers and slaves
Yes, if Jesus was to preach like he preached in Galillee,
They would lay Jesus Christ in his grave.

-Woody Guthrie
posted by jonmc at 8:34 PM on September 10, 2005


Of course Jethro Tull offers an advisory:

If Jesus saves -- well, He'd better save Himself
from the gory glory seekers who use His name in death....
posted by jonmc at 8:37 PM on September 10, 2005


All's well that ends well, and this ended well when I added all of you to my killfile.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:43 PM on September 10, 2005


Hey, Krrrlson can't hear any of us anymore. Let's make fun of him and/or her! That Krrrlson... killfiles... what a jerk, huh? In your face, man!
posted by nanojath at 8:50 PM on September 10, 2005


No matter how long I've been a member of MetaFilter, I find it deeply disappointing that kind, open-minded, literate, and tolerant members go apeshit and accuse other members of being in bed with the likes of Pat Robertson simply for being a Christian. The Christian community is not--and has never been--a monolithic whole. If you insist on attributing the most extreme views of the most extreme religious conservatives to each and every Christian you meet, that's your problem, not mine.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:07 PM on September 10, 2005


amberglow's an asshole. Film at 11.

:>
posted by pardonyou? at 9:16 PM on September 10, 2005


And i find it deeply disappointing that these people are unchallenged by their own religious brethren, even when they say they speak for all of you over and over, daily. That these people are actively harming America, and my own rights and freedoms. That these people are hurting even you guys--all of us. That you ensure that more and more people see them as the representatives of your religion by not challenging them or presenting alternatives to them, which is not that hard a thing to do. Deeply disappointing---and ensuring that their agenda and hijacked version of your religion will be the one that grows and prevails--in the public arena, the bully pulpit, and in politics and law and the administration. That something's really not quite right when "I'm not my brother's keeper" is the prevailing attitude among Christians who don't think as the ones spreading "Christianity" in every schoolhouse and courthouse and legislature do.
posted by amberglow at 9:22 PM on September 10, 2005


you can't disassociate yourselves from them, no matter how much you'd like to.

I agree with jonmc's cogent statements. And I normally agree with almost everything Amberglow has to say. But I am simply no more responsible for wack-job Christians than a liberal white person is for the Aryan Defense. Yes, indeed, they're all white; but different, different, different. And I just don't care what the majority opinion on Christians is, really, since no one would have to know what I believe unless I choose to talk about it. But lumping them all together is choosing not to address specific behaviors that are unconstitutional.

brownpau: come on, now. 'won't stop until we trod upon our Bibles?' That's exactly the kind of extremist statement that is contributing to this problem. Obviously you don't intend to tread upon your Bible, so what is that statement for? Are you insecure in your beliefs, or something?

cleardawn: They should be heard saying "Okay, I was wrong. I realise that claiming, falsely, to believe in "salvation through Jesus" or that "the Bible is God's Word" is not compatible with my knowledge of history, science, basic honesty, justice, spirituality, or anything else good. Therefore, I will no longer describe myself as a Christian...

You can't know that someone's belief is or isn't false. Also, not all Christians believe that 'the Bible is God's word.' Some (like me) believe it is a collection of historical texts. I would even argue that not all Christians believe in salvation through Christ, except in the most general possible way: as jonmc said, by identifying Jesus as a moral example of an ideal human being, and doing your best to follow that example. I don't find that at all incompatible with science, history, or justice. In fact, it informs and supports science, history, and justice. I'm an extremely rational, reality-based individual, and that really doesn't have to preclude me aspiring to a spiritual ideal. So, should I not call myself a Christian? Why not? If I don't, then I leave the label completely to those who are perverting it!

I would suggest that those who are most strongly making statements about what Christianity is might not know enough about the historical development of the faith, and what it really is and isn't. I suspect they have accepted narrow evangelical fundamentalist definitions of 'Christian,' which state that only other fundamental evangelicals are Christians. Folks are now applying those narrow definitions to all Christians, without recognizing that those images and definitions themselves are a tool of oppression. In fact, the term "Christian" does not imply any piece of dogma; you don't even have to 'accept Christ as your savior' or whatever. It simply means "following the teachings or manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus Christ", according to one swiftly found web definition. That's all. It's hard to argue that Jesus didn't provide a pretty good moral example. That's all that's entailed in Christianity for many of us. Why let the fundamentalists determine what this term means?
posted by Miko at 9:33 PM on September 10, 2005


... their own religious brethren ...

See, that's where your train jumps the rails. I'm astonished that you continue to lump any and all Christians into a single monolithic group headed by, apparently, Pat Robertson. Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Southern Baptists, they're all the same to you. Why? Just because Robertson is off his nut and proclaims to speak for all humanity doesn't make it so. You would do best to simply ignore him. That's what most mainstream Americans, Christians included, do.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:36 PM on September 10, 2005



... their own religious brethren ...

Agreed. Liberal Christians and fundamentals are absolutely not. brethren. They don't read the same publications, attend the same churches, listen to the same radio stations, read the same books. There are no points at which they meet and have debates. They are utterly separate communities with beliefs and behaviors that are totally distinct from one another. It is not as though the label "christian" gives you some special access or password that makes them listen to you. They don't listen, any more than they do when the secular world takes them to task. They don't listen to anyone outside their small world.

I stand by my belief that the only arena worth challenging them in is the public one. There are no opportunities to crack the extremist beliefs they cultivate within their sects. The only place it matters, the only place we do indeed have a voice, is on common ground, in laws and in our civic debate.
posted by Miko at 9:41 PM on September 10, 2005


There’s really no point, though - no matter how many examples of groups and individuals you might provide people like amberglow are simply incapable of recognizing that things are not as black and white as they believe.

This attitude is just another hurdle for progressive Christianity to overcome.
posted by nanojath at 10:01 PM on September 10, 2005


Agreed. Liberal Christians and fundamentals are absolutely not. brethren.
That's news to me. I'm stuck with my radical brethren--whether you're Orthodox or Reform or Reconstructionist or even Hasidic--you're still Jewish. So, why do they speak of "Christians all over the country" and "this Christian nation" and "Christians want God back in Schools" and so on and so forth every day in the public arena? Why do they speak for all of you? Why don't you stop it?

I stand by my belief that the only arena worth challenging them in is the public one. There are no opportunities to crack the extremist beliefs they cultivate within their sects. The only place it matters, the only place we do indeed have a voice, is on common ground, in laws and in our civic debate.
That's my whole point, Miko.
posted by amberglow at 10:16 PM on September 10, 2005


This conference needs to be publicized--...How has the progressive message gotten lost in the media? What long-term strategies have traditional Christian lobbies used, and what can we learn? What can progressive groups do to change the national agenda? ...

(oh, and i'll add that even Jews for Jesus are still my brethren, however misguided i may think they are)
posted by amberglow at 10:21 PM on September 10, 2005


And why do even the people organizing that conference use terms like "traditional Christian lobbies" if you're not connected/brethren?
posted by amberglow at 10:22 PM on September 10, 2005


I think this is all arguing at utterly cross-purposes. I don't think any progressive Christian really wants to be arguing here that we don't see a need to create an alternative Christian voice that has a broader public reach, or that the responsibility for creating this voice rests with us as the representatives of the salient viewpoint. So why are we arguing so vehemently with amberglow? This whole issue of whether we get "lumped in" with fundamentalists is really just a sidetrack. We would do better to stop defending ourselves and focus on opposing these viewpoints we abhor. Our voice of opposition is really the best and only demonstration needed that our views are not represented by Pat Robertson and Co.

On the other hand, amberglow, I'd suggest that your attitude in this and other threads demonstrates one part of the challenge that progressive Christians face in achieving this aim. People in this thread have gone out of their way to disassociate themselves from the message of regressive, fundamentalist Christianity. We have provided numerous examples of groups and individuals who are actively engaged in trying to increase the influence of progressive Christianity. And overwhelmingly you just ignore these representatives of what you claim is needed. Is it unclear to you that the primary obstacle in this voice gaining presence and influence is in getting people to see it and accept it as serious and acknowledge that it is there? But refusing to do so is just what you are doing. In your own small way you are then a part of this problem. Do you honestly not get it? We are trying to create what you say needs to be. This is happening. This movement is out there. But gaining public acknowledgement and a public voice with real reach is difficult. And the hostile, dismissive attitude of secular liberals like yourself just makes it that much more difficult.
posted by nanojath at 11:14 PM on September 10, 2005


When I spotted this link on MeTa, I followed it and didn't bother checking out the MeTa thread itself -- I assumed that klarck was actually trying to get some persecuted-feeling Christians anywhere he could find them to come and help answer the question.

I read the AskMe thread all the way down to klarck's let's-take-this-to-the-grey comment, quite interested in it all the way, finding some of the answers very good reading, and so once I got there and noticed the callout, I realized what was up.

wtf. It's a good thread. Calm down.
posted by blacklite at 2:42 AM on September 11, 2005


Okay, okay, I'm calmed down. But it's an askMe thread, not the blue. If the questioner wants to know why a group feels persecuted or whatever, why do posters with a history of hostility towards the alleged persecutees start horning in? I saw a lot of old anti-religion axes being ground early on in the thread. It's just plain not answering the question.

I also checked back later. I think it's good too...but posters are breaking rules for the green.
posted by klarck at 5:31 AM on September 11, 2005


Decani: there is certainly a fuss when male members (heh) comment in AskMe questions about diva cups, vaginal rashes and the like.

Well, when I've seen that it's usually because some chap has made a rather sniggery adolescent observation. Surely reasonable responses aren't attacked? I wouldn't know, of course, because threads on all that icky girly stuff make me feel ewwy. Probably. :-)
posted by Decani at 6:35 AM on September 11, 2005


Decani: yes I understand and agree. I make a perhaps tenuous comparision between those adolescent observations and the hostile athiest responses that all Christians feel under attack because they are Chicken Little FSM worshippers who feel threatened by new ideas and scientifical knowledge. Neither answer the poster's original question.
posted by klarck at 7:02 AM on September 11, 2005


That's my whole point, Miko.

I agree with that point, but have to respectfully say that it doesn't seem to be the point you were making in your posts. You've been saying that I/we somehow should or could exercise power over other groups who say things like "Christians want prayer in schools." I don't have power over what other people say. That use of the word, and related words like 'people of faith', and 'the Christian majority', are talking points and propaganda techniques. Those groups are purposely trying to obfuscate the fact that there is dissent and a diversity of opinion. Why help them do that by refusing to recognize the differences?

And it does not solve the governmental problem simply for progressive groups to stand up and say "Well, these Christians over here don't want prayer in schools!" That's because our decision about prayer in schools should not be based on what any member of any single religion wants or believes. It should be based on our civil principles.
posted by Miko at 7:53 AM on September 11, 2005


nano, i get it entirely, but i don't see it. The voices and countering needs to be much more visible, and since Christians are like 80%? of the population it shouldn't be hard--or invisible.

And meanwhile, i'm being directly hurt by these people--we all are. Everyday brings a new attempt at infiltrating schoolboards and legislatures by people who say they speak for all Christians, etc. For the supposed majority of other Christians, only Wallis gets on TV and that's only once in a blue moon. And i'm not secular--I just believe that our government must be, for my survival and others.
posted by amberglow at 7:57 AM on September 11, 2005


Miko, i'm calling all of you out for not taking back your religion from those who are hijacking it and using it to harm America. Talking points and propaganda techniques are harming you, me, and all of us, and they're very powerful and effective. The aims of those talking points and propaganda mean there'll be no room for me in this country--or you.

And your statement about it being civic principles and not religion seems to make my point too--is it ok with you what they're doing? is it ok with the majority of Christians? from where i sit, it seems so. When any one religious group (and they're using and including all of you to lend force to their fights) tries to change life, laws, culture, education, constitutions to fit what they say you all want--they have to be fought, not disassociated from. They have to be countered, not just disapproved of. Your religion is being horrendously corrupted in the public arena, and i'm telling you that as time goes by more and more people think you all agree with them. The mainstreaming of just their views hurts you too. The mainstreaming of just their version of Christianity means that you are directly implicated if you don't forcefully stop them.
posted by amberglow at 8:17 AM on September 11, 2005


As to the Brethren question: it's interesting, but it's true that Christian groups are more scattered and have a much less strong relationship with one another than Jewish or Islamic groups seem to. There is very, very little that all Christian groups could be said to have in common: it really comes down to a single shared idea, that of following the teachings of Jesus. (And there are a lot of Christian groups that have clearly thrown even that out the window, IMO....).

So, though I might use the same (or similar) basic religious text as other groups claim to, I could never say 'hey, we're all Christians' in the same way you can say 'we're all Jewish'. Christianity has less in the way of shared cultural heritage, ethnicity, and geographic origin than Judaism does. Because it's a religion into which people are converted rather than descended through family lines, anyone, anywhere can declare themselves a 'Christian' at any moment, and thus the connections amongst the various groups are not strong. Even people who grow up in Christian families are presented with some sort of point of choice in the form of baptism, confirmation, or a conversion ritual.

In addition, Christian history has been a history of dissenting and splitting on important theological points, from day one. The flavors of 'Christian' that are out there now are all separate shards and fragments that have resulted from an endless series of schisms over two centuries. It's really no surprise that different denominations have utterly different cultures and belief systems at this point.
posted by Miko at 8:18 AM on September 11, 2005


What are the implications of being a Christian and an American? What are your responsibilities?
posted by amberglow at 8:20 AM on September 11, 2005


it's that following the teachings of Jesus thing--what do you do when they're not being followed, and the people doing that are saying they speak for all of you?
posted by amberglow at 8:24 AM on September 11, 2005


Your religion

This is the problem right here. I actually don't consider 'Christian' to be my religion. I consider 'Society of Friends/Quakers' to be my religion. 'Christian' is a giant, broad umbrella concept under which you can group an enormous, diverse, and only historically connected bunch of denominations. When you ask people 'what religion are you?' You'll hear 'Catholic, Methodist, UU, Lutheran, AME Zion' -- not usually just 'Christian'. However, evangelical fundamentalists present themselves grouped under that simplistic, one-word title because, at this point, they are working at eroding the idea of 'denomination'. They are moving toward churches that are organized around charismatic preachers rather than around theological points. And it's more of a cultural phenomenon born of an isolating society than it is a religious phenomenon.

So when you call out 'Christians', you're not really calling out me, at all. I think these are important subtleties. I also think, though, you can't assert that people speaking here aren't doing enough to counter this. I suspect that most members of Christian denominations that are here are making efforts to counter it. I'd like to see the mainline churches do more, because they are percieved as more legitimate and established - but they are afraid. They're walking a fine line as they watch their moire conservative congregants drifting off to the evangelical churches where they have Friday night ping-pong tourneys and Starbucks in the lobby, and their more liberal congregants pushing them toward accepting gays in the clergy, women in the priesthood, and other more progressive philosophies. There are more splits coming (Episcopal Church, great example), and that will further empower the generic evangelicals and weaken the traditional denominations -- unless they elect to leap with both feet into progressivism. We'll see what happens. Personally, that's why I came from a long history of agnosticism into a church that already has both feet in progressivism. This denomination is already one of the most social-justice-oriented and politically active in the world; it's not really one that needs to be called out. It's already out. This is why awareness of denominational differences is important.

I understand and support your call to action. I just think the net you've cast is much too wide. Beginning with an understanding of the present array of denominations and how they are aligned would allow you to make finer distinctions, and target your comments toward those denominations where they will do some good.

posted by Miko at 8:34 AM on September 11, 2005


What are the implications of being a Christian and an American? What are your responsibilities?

Same as yours.

it's that following the teachings of Jesus thing--what do you do when they're not being followed, and the people doing that are saying they speak for all of you?

I argue, I write letters to the editor, I vote, I don't give money to bigots, all the usual things. If others aren't following the teachings of Jesus, I don't have police power to make them do so. All I can do is lead by example and engage them in the public sphere. And they're not actually saying they speak for 'all of us'; but they certainly are trying to get you to think that, and trying to get anyone who hasn't examined matters closely to think that. That's why it's important to look deeper and see that this is an attempt at creating an illusion of unity.

I think what you're asking for --more vocal opposition of the conservative evangelical agenda from other religious groups -- is something that's already happening. But, as someone upthread pointed out, it's frustrating that you can't yet see it succeeding -- much as when Europeans look at Americans and say "Why did you vote for Bush? Why do you let the conservative agenda prevail? You aren't doing enough!" To the outsider it might appear that everyone is rolling over and acquiescing to these people. But at the micro level, within churches and in the public sphere, there is much progressive Christian work going on. Enough? Not yet, or we'd be the majority. But not nothing, either.
posted by Miko at 8:43 AM on September 11, 2005


Who is the majority?
posted by amberglow at 9:24 AM on September 11, 2005


Amberglow, you ignorant jackass: Maybe one of the reasons that you don't think of Christians as progressive is that you're such a dick to them that no progressive Christian would talk to you.
Hey, take a moment to look up the Episcopalians. They ordained a gay bishop at the risk of schism, because it was the right thing to do. Check out the Quakers and the Congregationalists. Hell, even Lutherans who aren't Missouri Synod are pretty damn liberal, as are the Methodists. My pal's mom, a Methodist pastor, doesn't drink alcohol but advocates for gay marriage.
But they're also part of a religious tradition that advocates humility, so they're unlikely to get on the news.
But this whole thread has been you blaming Christians for your ignorance. It's like saying that because the news reports black people as criminals, that it's not your fault for discriminating against them. While liberal Christians should try to get their message out there better, it's your job to educate yourself so that you don't come across as an antagonistic dumbass. I certainly don't take you to be representative of gays or jews.
Oh, and the constant harping on what a "Christian" nation this is? That's a talking point for the right. You can choose to believe it if you want to, but know that the vast majority of those folks who identify as Christians on polls like that are Christmas and Easter folk only. And they'd be more likely to talk to you if you weren't such an ass about it.
posted by klangklangston at 10:32 AM on September 11, 2005


it's that following the teachings of Jesus thing--what do you do when they're not being followed, and the people doing that are saying they speak for all of you?

I call them hypocrites. You've seen me do it here countless times, and other people, too.

Amberglow, you ignorant jackass


Amber's neither ignorant nor a jackass, just stubborn as mule.
posted by jonmc at 11:03 AM on September 11, 2005


Alos, amberglow, there are many people who call themselves Christians who consider my denomination (Roman Catholicism) to be apostates ahd heretics. It bugs me, yes, but I don't assume that all Christians are that way, or even most.
posted by jonmc at 11:05 AM on September 11, 2005


Who is the majority?

I don't know. But you appear to be confusing the loudest with the largest. Christianity is not a religion. It is a collection of religions with a few shared tenets. The differences between various Christian religions is significantly larger than those between you and your "Jewish brethren," I think. For example, I don't recall any bloody wars between Jewish sects like those between Catholics and Protestants in Europe. It's worth pointing out that a signficant impetus behind the creation of America was some Christians being persecuted by other Christians.

Within Catholicism, there are a few people who can speak for the religion - the Pope with regard to Roman Catholicism, the various heads of the Orthodox sects. There is no similar head or unifying force within Protestantism, no authority to whom to appeal. So for you to criticize people like Miko, a Quaker, for "letting" people like Pat Robertson "represent" Christianity is quite silly.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:06 AM on September 11, 2005


amberglow is correct that the "evangelical Christian right" (or whatever you want to call it) tries to represent "Christianity" and to a very large extent succeeds (for whatever reason and by whatever mechanism), while miko is correct that there are people who call themselves Christian -- "non-denomimational Christians" as well as members of largely non-"evangelical Christian right" denominations (like the United Methodist Church that my parents raised me in) -- for whom the "evangelical Christian right" does not speak. In fact there is a schism in the Baptist community here in Louisville: some churches have even left the Southern Baptist Conference over this stuff we're discussing (I'd offer to dig up more on this but it's laundry day).
posted by davy at 11:46 AM on September 11, 2005


*dies of parenthetical overdose*
posted by Stauf at 12:23 PM on September 11, 2005


This has been interesting. Jonmc's point about humility is good too. It's really one of the reasons I don't wear religion on my sleeve, don't stand up in town meeting and say "I'm religious, and here's what I think!"

There are two important points in the Gospels that touch on religion in civic discourse. One is the recommendation that we 'render unto Ceasar the things which are Ceasar's, and render unto God the things which are God's." The exact meaning of this is debated (what isn't?) , but it asks us to make a distinction between civil society and religious observance, and not mix the two. Second, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus recommends that his followers not be loud about their religious observance. Matthew 6:

1 Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. .... 5 And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

So yeah, 'Christian'-type people dragging God into politics are total hypocrites. But when I say that, I say it with no more power than when anyone else says it. Also, if I were to do it -- that is, drag my own view God into politics and pit him against somebody else's view of God, then I start grandstanding -- and then I'm violating these recommendations. I much prefer to deal with the political issues in the forum where they belong. They are Caesar's.
posted by Miko at 1:12 PM on September 11, 2005


I don't know about the US, but in the UK most of the time Christians get in the media is when sects are fighting between each other. Gay bishops, female bishops, abortion, Northern Ireland. There's plenty of dissent here, sorry about your media.
posted by hugsnkisses at 1:52 PM on September 11, 2005


Moms Mabley has the last word
posted by jonmc at 1:57 PM on September 11, 2005


miko: I respect your point. By your definition, I am a Christian. I've studied the Bible, and I meditate, pray, experience spiritual insights from time to time, and generally do my best to be good, just because it feels better that way. I feel a genuine, loving relationship with Jesus. (and a different, and possibly deeper, relationship with the Buddha, and with Sri Maharaji Neem Karoli Baba, and with Lord Ram, and with Lord Krsna, and with Lord Siva, and with many other wonderful teachers, but that's beside the immediate point). So by your definition, I can call myself a Christian, with far more honesty than Pat Robertson.

However, there are problems with that. The main problem is the definition of "Christian". Obviously, it means different things to different people. There is, however, a broad consensus - particularly among the uneducated - that a Christian is someone who (a) believes the Bible is the word of God, and/or (b) believes that Jesus, the only Son of God, can save your soul by taking you into Heaven if only you believe in Him. There's also a belief that Christianity denies the reality of other religions (as it often does).

Now, claiming to be "a Christian" is dangerous for many reasons. Firstly, because the Bible is mostly a pack of lies. It contains made-up cosmology and a whole lot of hatred (particularly of women and gay people) and explicitly advocates genocide as a tool of statecraft.

So, when you or jonmc say "I'm a Christian" what most people hear is "I agree with everything in the Bible" - that is, gays should be stoned, non-Christians burn in Hell for ever, etc etc etc.

I don't want anyone to think I believe that. Therefore I say that I am not a Christian. That option is open to you, too.

God knows the truth, but ignorant people do not. Those of us who have had the fortune to be educated have a responsibility in that direction.

To make my point forcefully, I'm going to play a nasty trick on Miko here, using text substitution from his/her earlier post.

I'm going to substitute the word "Christian" for the word "Nazi" into your argument, just to see what it looks like. I'm not for a moment calling you, or anyone else, a Nazi. You seem like a jolly nice person to me, and I definitely owe you a beer for doing this to your post, but I just want to show you how your argument looks in that form. Here goes:

You can't know that someone's belief is or isn't false. Also, not all Nazis believe that '[insert horrible Nazi belief here].' Some (like me) believe it is a collection of historical texts. I would even argue that not all Nazis believe in [insert horrible Nazi belief here], except in the most general possible way: as jonmc said, by identifying [insert blameless pre-Nazi German hero here] as a moral example of an ideal human being, and doing your best to follow that example. I don't find that at all incompatible with science, history, or justice. In fact, it informs and supports science, history, and justice. I'm an extremely rational, reality-based individual, and that really doesn't have to preclude me aspiring to a spiritual ideal. So, should I not call myself a Nazi? Why not? If I don't, then I leave the label completely to those who are perverting it!

Nasty trick with the text, that, I know. And I hope I didn't offend you. There are lots of nice Christians. It's just that "Christian" just isn't a helpful label any more - if it ever was. To my mind, it lost its beauty around the time of the Cathars, or perhaps the Conquistadors, or maybe the Inquisition. Bear in mind, also, that Jesus never used the label Christian.

God already knows what you believe. It's people who are confused by labels.

And for the record, pretty much everything I've said about educated Christians applies equally, in my view, to educated Jews and educated Moslems, too.

May love and peace find ever-greater expression as we learn through all our imperfect words and deeds.
posted by cleardawn at 4:14 PM on September 11, 2005


So, when you or jonmc say "I'm a Christian" what most people hear is "I agree with everything in the Bible" - that is, gays should be stoned, non-Christians burn in Hell for ever, etc etc etc.

I have no control over what other people hear, and I'm really sick of you using me as your scapegoat for everything that's wrong with the world. I'm not blameless, but as some once said "You're either part of the problrm, or you're a fucking liar," and you don't know me well enogh to make that determination.

Judge not, lest ye be judged, cleardawn.
posted by jonmc at 4:23 PM on September 11, 2005


I didn't really follow the Nazi analogy -- the problem is that all Nazis did believe, or at least follow, the same dictates, whereas people in Christian denominations have widely varying views. The two things you mentioned as "what Christian is": the belief that the Bible is divinely inspired, and salvation by faith, are not universally accepted in Christian religions. Each denomination has a different take on those ideas.

But if it makes you feel any better, you'll notice that my very first post in this thread said I am technically a Christian. The 'technically' is in there because I don't believe the term is a good descriptor, either.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has found this thread exhausting by now. Now just imagine trying to have this conversation with an evangelical fundamentalist. Oh, wait; I forgot that in most cases they wouldn't have this conversation with us, except to let us know we are all going to hell unless we sign on to their view. There's just no reasoning with that. The only thing we have to take that down with is our founding documents and their commitment to the non-establishment of a state religion.
posted by Miko at 4:41 PM on September 11, 2005


So, when you or jonmc say "I'm a Christian" what most people hear is "I agree with everything in the Bible" - that is, gays should be stoned, non-Christians burn in Hell for ever, etc etc etc.

I don't want anyone to think I believe that. Therefore I say that I am not a Christian. That option is open to you, too.


I don't see how you can speak for what "most people" hear. I know few Christians who agree with everything in the Bible. Catholic priests typically don't agree with everything in the Bible, in my experience. Since the Bible itself contains many contradictions, it would be very difficult for anyone to literally agree with everything in it.

In addition, I think that even by Miko's broad definition of Christian identity, you would fall short of being a Christian yourself. The Jesus of the Bible is pretty clear about only reaching salvation through him, as opposed to the Buddha and so on.

Finally, it strikes me as arrogant in the extreme for you to define what Christianity is, then recommend to others not to identify themselves as Christian because of this.

Bear in mind, also, that Jesus never used the label Christian.

So? His acquaintances probably didn't call him Jesus, either, as none of them spoke Greek instead of Aramaic. I fail to see how that's relevant to, well, anything at all.

Nasty trick with the text, that, I know.

And that's all it is - a trick, and nothing more. It's certainly not a useful comparison or analogy of any sort. Christians are followers of Christ. Nazis - or, to be more specific members of the NSDAP in Germany between 1933 and 1945 - are, literally, followers of Hitler. They pledged allegiance to Hitler specifically. One can make the argument that the Biblical Christ is a moral exemplar. One cannot make the same argument about Hitler.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:44 PM on September 11, 2005


jonmc: I am not, and have never, used you as a scapegoat for anything, let alone for "everything that's wrong with the world"!

I've merely responded to your posts by politely pointing out what I see as the errors in your reasoning. I'm sorry if that upsets you, but it's what discussion is all about. Personally, I rather enjoy it, and I'm learning things from it, too.

I certainly haven't judged you, and I wouldn't consider myself qualified to do so.

However, when you say you "have no control over what other people hear," you're missing something quite important. You get to choose what you say (and post). And that is the basis of what others hear (and read). So it's important, I think, to use that control skilfully, to say things that are honest, and that increase the amount of compassion and beauty in the world.

"You're either part of the problem, or a fucking liar" - Well, yes, that's one way of putting it. Another, perhaps, is to say that the only problem is my own limited consciousness. In other words, the problem (spiritually speaking) is all in our minds, and the small part of the truth which we have each discovered through our life experiences is the only solution we have to give.

Miko: Your earlier post said "I myself qualify as Christian". But your point does hold. This was, indeed, an exhausting thread, and I'm glad we can finish it with some degree of consensus!
posted by cleardawn at 5:11 PM on September 11, 2005


"The Jesus of the Bible is pretty clear about only reaching salvation through him, as opposed to the Buddha and so on."

me&mymonkey: By your definition, then, I am not a Christian, and nor is anyone else who believes that salvation can be reached through means other than Jesus, such as Buddha or other teachers.

So we're both agreed that people who don't believe in Jesus as the unique source of salvation (or that the Bible is the truth) should not call themselves Christians. That, I think, was my point - so, although you didn't agree with my reasoning, at least we can agree on the conclusion!
posted by cleardawn at 5:21 PM on September 11, 2005


me&mymonkey: By your definition, then, I am not a Christian, and nor is anyone else who believes that salvation can be reached through means other than Jesus, such as Buddha or other teachers.

As an atheist, I would hesitate to claim that definition as my own creation. However, that is my understanding based on my Roman Catholic upbringing. I'll just elide over the faith vs good works stuff for the purpose of this discussion, because I think this definition is close enough for our needs.

So we're both agreed that people who don't believe in Jesus as the unique source of salvation (or that the Bible is the truth) should not call themselves Christians. That, I think, was my point - so, although you didn't agree with my reasoning, at least we can agree on the conclusion!

Belief in the Bible as literal truth is not required by most Christian sects. I think that most Christians do, however, believe that salvation is achieved (one way or another) through Jesus. I would go so far as to say that this is a requirement for being a Christian. So, I'm not sure that we agree on anything, since you were saying something quite different than you are now. You were saying that Christians should not self-identify as such, because others may associate their beliefs with fundamentalism.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:30 PM on September 11, 2005


I was arguing that "liberal Christian" is, in the way those words are widely understood, an oxymoron.

Most Christians, as you said, believe that Buddhists are not eligible for salvation, for example. That is a highly illiberal opinion. Stoning women for adultery is also highly illiberal.

Similarly, most liberals believe that homosexuals are morally equal to heterosexual people. This is directly opposed to what it says in the Bible.

So I think "liberal Christians" generally have a choice to make. You can be Christian, or a Liberal, but you can't honestly be both, unless you have some unusual twisting of the definitions of the words. Miko and I were both able to twist the words to fit it, but then we're both unusually good with words, and both prepared to admit that the Bible is wrong about a lot of things. By most Christians' definitions, I probably don't count as a Christian. I'm not sure about Miko, you'd have to ask her.

Europeans liberals mostly stopped calling themselves Christians fifty years ago, interestingly. That's why we have so much lower church attendance, and so much better politicial debate and social systems, in most of Europe than in America, where many liberals continue to prop up the creaking, corrupt structures of the Christian Church. Interestingly, those countries who attend church the most are the least generous..

Just to make my own posiition clear, I believe Jesus talked a lot about the AntiChrist, and false prophets in His name, and what he meant - if you read it, it's clear - was the Christian churches. They preach the exact opposite of what Jesus taught. He taught humility, while they build huge palaces (churches) to demonstrate their wealth and power.

Organised religion is a tool of evil. On the other hand, don't forget that evil itself is ultimately (and unknown to itself) always working just as God intended.

Satan thinks he's big and strong, with all his money and bombs and jets and power and TV evangelical stations, but hey - when push comes to shove - who d'ya think is gonna win, baby? Who ya gonna trust?

Incidentally, all the bona fide religious teachers I've come across agree that God is Love. (or as Buddha put it, the fundamental nature of the Awakening Mind is Loving-Kindness). How liberal can you get?
posted by cleardawn at 6:10 PM on September 11, 2005


Most Christians, as you said, believe that Buddhists are not eligible for salvation, for example. That is a highly illiberal opinion.

Really? Why? What does liberalism have to do with salvation? You are making the same mistake that fundamentalists do - you believe that religious people cannot separate the sacred from the profane. There are plenty of people who hold strong religious beliefs, but do not want to see those beliefs imposed on others by the state or society.

And, I suspect that most Buddhists believe that Christianity is a path that leads away from enlightenment. Does this make them illiberal as well?

Similarly, most liberals believe that homosexuals are morally equal to heterosexual people. This is directly opposed to what it says in the Bible.

The Bible doesn't say much about homosexuality, actually. The concept of homosexual identity is relatively new. And again, the Bible has lots of contradictions, and few Christians believe that the Bible is the literal word of God.

So I think "liberal Christians" generally have a choice to make. You can be Christian, or a Liberal, but you can't honestly be both, unless you have some unusual twisting of the definitions of the words.

I feel like I'm conversing with Humpty Dumpty. Words don't mean what you say they do, no more and no less. There are plenty of people who believe in Christ as the path to salvation and who hold liberal political positions.

Interestingly, those countries who attend church the most are the least generous..

I had no idea that countries attended church. How do they fit through the door? From your link:
... the United States was the most generous in terms of its private giving -- citizens gave an average of six cents a day to private charities that financed overseas aid ...
That's why we have so much lower church attendance, and so much better politicial debate and social systems, in most of Europe than in America, where many liberals continue to prop up the creaking, corrupt structures of the Christian Church.

The whole point of this thread, as a response to amberglow, is that there is NO SUCH THING as the "Christian Church." There are many, many religious groups within Christianity, spread across the political spectrum.

In addition, I wouldn't be so quick to credit lower church attendance with better political debate and better social systems. Personally, I'm for all three, but correlation doesn't indicate causation.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:57 PM on September 11, 2005


A lot of self-described 'Christians' wouldn't consider me Christian, either, or any other Quaker, for that matter. The theology of Quakerism allows that what some people call 'Christ' is exactly the same spiritual force that others know as 'the Buddha,' 'nature', 'Mohammed', or whatever it may be. So it is not necessary to earn salvation (however you concieve what that is) through belief in Jesus Christ specifically. It is recognized that those in other cultures and belief systems have equal access to spiritual forces, though we all describe them differently. Also, the Bible is not believed to be divinely inspired. Quakers believe that the same spiritual insights which were available to Jesus and the other prophets and all religious leaders everywhere is also available to us as individuals, and thus it is up to us seek those insights. More here.

So yeah, though I come from a denomination which is historically Christian, an evangelical would call this almost-not-at-all-Christian. So be it. I do refer to and use the Bible, and particularly the New Testament, a lot, though. Because my family was Roman Catholic on one side, Fundamentalist Christian on the other, and free-thinking in the middle (my parents, that is) I grew up with a lot of Bible knowledge and metaphor which still informs my spiritual understanding. And although I believe spiritual understanding (salvation, if you want) is available through many channels, I don't have a problem seeing it as available in the words and deeds of Jesus as well. It works just as well as any of the other belief systems...if you actually read what he says.

Anyway. Good night all and on to life and new topics.
posted by Miko at 8:04 PM on September 11, 2005


man, cleardawn got jizz all over this thread.
posted by shmegegge at 8:34 PM on September 11, 2005


me&mymonkey: All your straw men seem to disagree with you, but I don't. We agree on almost everything there!

Point by point - Italics indicate your text:

1. What does liberalism have to do with salvation?
Nothing. That's my point. Yours too! To go into this more deeply, we would need detailed shared definitions of the two terms. At this point, we have not agreed such definitions.

2.You are making the same mistake that fundamentalists do
No, actually.

3. you believe that religious people cannot separate the sacred from the profane.
I believe everything is sacred. Profanity is an illusion. For atheists, everything presumably appears to be profane. I am extremely religious. (did you miss that?)
Fundamentalist Christians claim there is a distinction between the sacred and the profane. Like Buddhists, I believe that no such separation exists.

4. I feel like I'm conversing with Humpty Dumpty. Words don't mean what you say they do, no more and no less.
Words mean what WE say they do. Without shared definitions of words, conversation is meaningless.
I think this is perhaps why you're struggling.

WE, together, can agree shared definitions of disputed words (here 'Christian' is disputed). One of us, alone, can only propose a potential meaning for the purpose of discussion. After we agree, we can use that word successfully, with the agreed meaning.

Usually we appeal to some dictionary or common language, but in this case, since we're arguing about definitions of words, we have to give each other the specific definitions of the terms we're using. Otherwise the conversation is meaningless. Here, you seem to have rejected both your proposed definition of "Christian", and mine, since neither fits your argument! What definition are you using, again?

5. True, I made a grammatical error. I should have said "those countries whose people go to church the most, give the least aid." Thanks for the correction.

6. You quote very selectively, giving a deliberately misleading impression of the article. Here's the conclusion of the para you quoted.
U.S. ODA averaged only 15 cents per day per person, bringing the total to 21 cents/day/person. By contrast, Denmark, the leading aid-giver, spent an average of 90 cents/day/person, 89 cents of which came from the government and only one cent from private sources.

In aid terms Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands led the other 17 donor countries by a wide margin. The worst performer was Japan, followed by Italy, the United States, New Zealand, and Australia in that order.


7. Good point! "Christian Churches" is a much better phrase than "Christian Church", and more accurate. Thanks. I'll try to remember that in future.

8. correlation doesn't indicate causation.
True, only the correlation is proven, but causation is implied, and there is a clear mechanism for it. People who don't waste their time on churchgoing (and money on building churches, paying priests, etc) have more to spend on charity work, reading, thinking, chatting, politics, volunteering, meditation, and whatever other things they enjoy. The correlation and the causation are both quite clear, I think, although not completely proven - sociological phenomena are seldom completely provable.

Consensus yet?
posted by cleardawn at 8:48 PM on September 11, 2005


Miko, thanks, you put that much better than I did!

And lest there were doubts, I agree with you completely.
posted by cleardawn at 8:59 PM on September 11, 2005


Perhaps the problem here (and the reason it's so hard to make good examples) is that it's a relatively unusual case: a majority group (Christians) whose public face is presented by a minority group (fundamentalists), misleading members of another minority group (non-Christians). The majority of the people in the US, being Christians, understand that the public face is not representative, but, since that's clear to the majority of the people, don't find it as important to point out the difference. This is unlike, for example, the gay-pride-rally-weirdo/gay issue, where a minority group (gays) public face was presented by a further minority group (gay-pride-rally-weirdos), misleading the majority group (non-gays).
posted by Bugbread at 12:08 AM on September 12, 2005


I think the problem is that a lot of people confuse "being nice" with "being a Christian".

Some people even think they mean the same thing, when in fact, they mean exactly the opposite.
posted by cleardawn at 12:34 PM on September 13, 2005


cleardawn : "I think the problem is that a lot of people confuse 'being nice' with 'being a Christian'.

Some people even think they mean the same thing, when in fact, they mean exactly the opposite."


"Exactly the opposite"? Yeah, that whole "turn the other cheek, don't cast the first stone, forgive people, be humble, do unto others as you would have them do unto you"...sounds like a bunch of cocks, alright. "Punch back, cast the first stone, never forgive, be a cocky asshole, do things to others you don't want them to do to you" sounds much, much nicer.
posted by Bugbread at 6:55 PM on September 13, 2005


So I forgot all about posting about the 'Rightist vs. Non-Rightist' schism in the American Baptist community, and nobody reminded me of it, so I guess I'm off the hook.
posted by davy at 1:01 PM on September 14, 2005


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