If your belief surrounding what happens when you die requires you to belittle those who don’t agree with you, you’re an asshole and your belief is bullshit

The only thing I don’t like about being a progressive Christian is having to explain myself to countless angry progressives who seem to go all “Durr?” at the concept of any Christian not being some inbred, Bible thumping, neanderthal. I don’t mind the fear and hatred I get from the Christian right, whatever, but it’s the progressives who can’t seem to get past the idea that all Christians are idiot bigots that I don’t like dealing with.

Progressive Christianity is kind of a big thing. Many, many, many Christians are pro social justice, pro choice, feminist, pro LGBTQ, anti war, and they believe in evolution. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

Sojourners

The Progressive Christian Alliance

The Christian Left

Christians Against the Tea Party

Evolutionary Christianity

The Naked Pastor

Reconciling In Christ

Nuns on the Bus

These are just a few of the many Christian organizations that are out there doing progressive works in the world and embracing modern, educated, and forward thinking ideals like social justice and science. We don’t care if you are Christian or not and we’re not trying to convert you, all we ask is that you respect our beliefs and not call us names or make fun of us for it. The same way we don’t call followers of other belief systems, including atheists, names.

I recognize that many non Christians are bullied and made fun of by the Christian right in this country, and I despise it as much as everyone else does. If it’s any consolation, the Christian right hates Christians like me more than they could ever hate any non Christian, because we’re out there showing people that Christianity doesn’t have to be a cess pool of hate, fear, and ignorance, and that that’s actually probably never what Christ intended in the first place. They work really hard to silence us in whatever way they can, mostly by shouting louder than us, but also by directly attacking us (such as Glenn Beck’s regular attacks on Sojourners and any church that preaches social justice), so that people don’t know about us. But we’re out there and we’re tired of being misrepresented.

That’s exactly why it hurts so bad to see the very people who are with us being bullied and victimized by the Christian right sinking to their level and bullying and victimizing right back. I try to be as easy going as the next person, and I can laugh at a Christian joke, but there comes a point where a line gets crossed and I have to ask, “Is this really what you think of me?”

You really think I’m an idiot because I have faith in something I can’t see? Really? You really think that deep down inside I must not really be a feminist, or care about social justice, or believe in evolution, just because I go to church? Really? You think I’m a bigot and a gullible moron? Gee thanks. I love you too, buddy.

I don’t want to jump on the “Christians are oppressed” bandwagon (I know that we are not), but if I were to make the kinds of statements about Muslims or Jews or Pagans or Buddhists that people say about Christians, I would be called a bigot. And rightly so. So why is it okay to make these statements about Christians? Because we’re the privileged group? Yes, we are, and there’s nothing wrong with pointing that out, but you don’t have to do it in a belittling, hateful manner. When you do, you’re no better than those Christians using their privilege to oppress you. If you had the privilege that Christians do, it sounds like you’d be just as much of an asshole with it as the Genn Becks, Michelle Bachmans, and Rick Santorums of the world are.

I hate to point fingers, but it seems to me that atheists are the worst about this kind of thing. I try to be understanding, since they seem to be like Christians in that it’s still pretty socially acceptable to pick on them. It’s natural to want to lash out, and when they do so in a manner that is logical and not just mean for meaness sake, I tend to side with them. I feel their pain. I empathize with them. But a lot of it is just mean for meaness sake, and I’m getting a little peeved with it. Here’s a few examples of stuff I’ve seen lately that bugs me.

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Okay, so I’m not in control over my mental faculties, and I’m putting other people in danger? Gee, thanks! And for the record, I’m fine letting an Atheist drive (assuming drive is a metaphor for assuming political or societal power), as long as they’re not an asshole (and by asshole, I mean shoves their beliefs down my throat like the religious right does).

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This may come as a shock to many, but The Bible is not intended to be proof God exists. There is no proof God exists. At least, not any proof that I can give you. That’s why it’s called faith. Get a dictionary and look it up.

The Bible is meant to be a historical record of our faith. That’s it. And like most Christians, I do not believe that it was meant to be taken completely literally, nor do I believe it’s exactly accurate. Much of it is simply a series of lessons being presented in the same way Aesop presented his fables. But just because it’s not literally true doesn’t mean there’s not still some valuable lessons there. Just because a city mouse never really visited his mouse cousin who lives in the country doesn’t mean that the moral of to each his own doesn’t have any value.

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Wow. So now religion is like rape? Where do I even start with this?
Okay, so anything that’s ever caused any kind of harm in the world is always a terrible thing, and any good that thing may have done is always wiped out by it’s negative deeds? Okay, so every thing and every one is evil. Case closed. I know that religion has been used to justify a lot of shitty things in the past, I recognize it, I own it because I want to learn from that and move on. But religion it’s self did not do the crusades or the witch hunts or the inquisition or slavery or sexism or genocide or terrorism or marrying twelve year olds or honor killings or mass suicide to go live in the tail of a comet or protesting Soldier’s funerals. Some (mostly male) people’s interpretations of religion were used to justify the acts that some (mostly male) people perpetrated. And since most of the perpetrators were men, I could rightly use the same logic as this meme and say “saying men have done some good things too is like saying he may be a rapist, but at least he wore a condom.” Is it fair to label all men as the cause of all this bad shit because they were major players when it went down? Of course not. So why is it fair to do to religion? Sure, religion has been in the picture big time when a lot of bad things have gone down, that doesn’t make religion the cause. Men have been involved big time when a lot of bad things have gone down, does that make men the cause? Here’s a science term for the creator of this meme; correlation is not causation. Just because something correlates with something else does not make it the cause of the other thing. It’s pretty simple.

And even if correlation were causation in this case, the creator of this meme just compared the acts of Mother Teresa, Ghandi, and Martin Luther King Jr. to rape with a condom. Way to go. Yeah, a lot of terrible stuff was inspired by a warped and self serving interpretation of religion by some evil nut bag (most likely a man). But a good person can read the exact same religious material, come to a totally different conclusion, and do amazing, beautiful things inspired by that same religion. I think that shows that the problem is not the religion itself, but the person interpreting it.

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This one is interesting, and certainly true sometimes. I’ve known lots of Christians like this (and worse), and lots of Atheists like this. You know what else? The opposite can also be true! I’ve known lots of atheists who live their lives according to a philosophy that goes something like this. “There’s just this one life and when it’s all over that’s it, so I’m just going to do what makes me feel good and not give a shit about consequences because there are none! Nor is there any meaning or purpose! This is just one big accident and living my life as if there’s any meaning or purpose to it would be a huge waste of time and something that only gullible suckers would do!”

At the same time, I’ve known plenty of religious people (in Christianity and other faiths) who roll a little more like this, “Wow! Look at all of this beauty all around me that God created! How wonderful and precious I must be to Him that He thought I was important enough to be even a small part of this beautiful, amazing masterpiece! Sure, there is a lot of bad in the world, but the good and beauty of it far outweighs it! And I am even luckier, because not only has God granted me the gift of being able to live in all this beauty, but He has given me the ability to enact change upon it, and work to make it more beautiful and good for my posterity! I will do that to bring honor to my generous creator, and joy to all who come after me, so that they may be at least as blessed as I have been, and hopefully more so!”

You know what I think? I think if you’re prone to gratefulness and good works, you’re going to be that way, with or without religion. If you’re probe to be a selfish, miserable, asshole, you’re going to be that way, with or without religion. Let’s leave faith out of it.

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Here’s a good one! What better way to say “I hate religion, but I’m also a sizist!”?

Possibly classist and ableist too, but maybe I’m reading too much into this. Here’s a tip, sinking to the level of bigots to make your point doesn’t make you look any better than the people you’re making fun of.

Last but not least …

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I actually agree with this one, I just would like to add a follow up.

Religious just means I believe in something bigger than myself.
Christian just means I worship that something using traditions and philosophies laid out by Jesus Christ and those followers of his that I most agree with.

– It does not mean I’m a bigot
– It does not mean I don’t believe in science
– It does not mean I vote Republican
– It does not mean I hate, fear, or distrust people who don’t share the same beliefs as I do.
– It does not mean I’m ignorant to history

It just means that I think that guy Jesus said some pretty good stuff, and I’m going to try to live by it as best as I can, because I like it that much. That’s it.
Is that cool?

If not, you’re probably not the kind of person I want to associate with anyhow. Why don’t you go chill with Focus on the Family, or some group like that? You have a lot more in common with them than you think.

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About Rockingthehomestead

Badass feminist environmentalist.
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