Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

When someone says, "I'm a Christian," what does that mean to you?

Asked by JLeslie (47107 points ) October 7th, 2012

Please state whether you are Christian or not in your answer.

Is it odd to you for someone to use this line when the conversation had nothing to do with religion?

Does it make a difference how you interpret the statement if you are speaking about religion or not?

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55 Answers

Adagio's avatar

As a former Christian (I was a Christian 18 years but let my faith go almost 14 years ago) I’m always somewhat cautious of someone who announces their Christianity, especially uninvited and out of context. Having said that I still have a number of very close friends who are practising Christians but I notice they are rather more relaxed about their beliefs these days, I’m sure the beliefs are still held strongly but they are practised somewhat differently than in former years. So in answer to your question “what does that mean to you?”, I would have to say I am somewhat wary until I get some kind of feel for the person and their motives in regards to me, if they have any.

SavoirFaire's avatar

“The only time anyone’s admitted they were a Christian before was when they were busy telling me why they’re better than me.”
—Randy K. Milholland, Something Positive

woodcutter's avatar

It means we are probably going to get into politics and religion soon and thats my cue to try to change the subject. If I have it on good info that they have done something shady in their business dealings, then I dismiss anything they have to say because right then they become a hypocrite in my mind.

jonsblond's avatar

I can’t remember anyone ever saying this to me without the topic of our conversation having something to do with church or religion. Does this happen quite often with others?

I’m agnostic.

Sunny2's avatar

I’m not a deist. If someone announced they were a Christian, I’d say, “Good for you.”

rooeytoo's avatar

If it were not relevant to the conversation, I would wonder why they are announcing it and I would wonder the same thing if it were an atheist making a statement of their beliefs. I remember it was once said that you should not discuss religion or politics and that really seems the safest path to follow. Of course you can also add spanking, breast feeding and circumcision, they seem to be pretty contentious as well. Actually it’s not really safe to discuss much of anything because there is always someone there, waiting to pounce!

Symbeline's avatar

I’m atheist. I also don’t remember anyone telling me they’re Christian without it being relevant to the discussion that may be happening, nor do I recall myself ever telling anyone I don’t believe in God for no reason, or out of nowhere.
Nevertheless, what do I think? Not much. There are plenty of Christians out there, in fact they probably make up a great percentage of the Western Hemisphere, so when someone says that to me it’s just pretty normal. There are no instances that that I might remember where someone saying that to me would mean more than if another Christian did. I have Christian and believer friends, and we sometimes have debates and discussions, but by then I already knew they were Christians a long time ago. :/

ucme's avatar

Ye olde lion food.

Blackberry's avatar

“Don’t make a joke. Don’t make a joke. Don’t make a joke…..”

It’s a little strange when someone says that for no reason. This goes for any belief, though. For example let’s say I tell a stranger “bless you” after they sneeze. If that person says “I’m an atheist, but thanks anyway.”, I’m going to think they’re a bit strange lol.

I really wouldn’t know what to assume other than they are very serious about their beliefs. This actually happened to me at a bar once. Two older ladies started a conversation with me, so we’re chatting away when out of the blue they say “We’re christians.” and kind of smile nicely. So I just said “Oh, cool.” and smiled back lol.

elbanditoroso's avatar

If that’s the first thing they said (as opposed to a broader conversation on religion in general), I would think that the person is
-anti-science
-doctrinaire
-unwilling to listen to reason
-limited in his/her outlook on the world
-arrogant

I suspect that we would not be the closest of friends.

woodcutter's avatar

Its even curiouser when they ask the other person if they are. As if they are getting their foot in the door to preach or judge. I’ve had this happen to me a few times as I currently live in the bible belt. I wonder if people have the nerve to do this in other places.

glacial's avatar

For certain types of Christians, every conversation is about religion. I would associate a comment in that context with born-again or evangelical Christians.

Edit: I am not a Christian, but I was one.

thorninmud's avatar

Along the lines of @glacial ‘s comment, when I hear someone self-identify as “Christian”, that tells me quite a bit about the particular flavor of Christianity they espouse. Evangelicals like to think that there’s Christianity, and then there’s all of those named “religions”—Methodists, Episcopalians, Catholics, et al—that have misunderstood what being a Christian is all about.

woodcutter's avatar

Nothing wrong with being a Christian it’s when their faith is worn on their sleeve that makes it mighty tiresome. Most of them are good intentioned people.

SomeoneElse's avatar

I inwardly groan as I just know the person thinks they are better than me, when they are usually fake or ‘social’ Christians and don’t actually live their lives as well as they should.
I believe, but don’t think that there is a need for all the rites and rotes and carry on as there is.
(The Pope has a butler so he isn’t living all that humbly is he and, on paper, you don’t get a bigger Christian!)

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond Here in the south sometimes I will be having a conversation and the person will declare they are Christians. I take it to mean they are stating they have integrity or something along those lines. That was my assumption. Kind of using the words Christian synonomous with good. Again my assumption, and assumptions are often wrong. I also get asked here what church do I go to within the first few minutes of a conversation. Not most of the time when I meet someone, but often enough. The first 32 years of my life I had never had anyone ask me that question, especially before they knew what religion I was. A sort of assumption I am Christian. Well, if they knew I was Jewish and they were Jewish, once in the bluest moon someone might ask if I go to temple, to see if maybe I go to the same one if I go, but that happened maybe 3 times in my life in 32 years, but the Christians asking me what church I go to has happened at least 10 times in 7 years.

What brought on this question is a facebook friends posted a photo that said this:

When I say “I am Christian”
I am not saying, “I’m clean living.”
I am whispering I was lost now I am found and forgiven.”

When I say “I am Christian”
I don’t speak of this with pride
I’m confessing that I stumble
And need Christ to be my guide.

When I say, “I am Christian”
I am not trying to be strong
I am professing that I am weak
And need His strength to carry on.

I found this Interesting, because I had no idea all that was in someones mind when they say they are Christian. When I say I am Jewish, I just mean I identify as a Jew, I am not stating anything else really, and I would only state it if someone else was Jewish and we were connecting, or doing a religious discussion it might come up.

Seek's avatar

In most conversations with acquaintences or even strangers it seems that Christian is the “default” setting. People mention keeping so-and-so in their prayers, or telling me “Oh, that little boy of yours is a blessing from God and the angels, or what-have-you. Not only do they presume that I know they are Christian, but they assume that I am as well.

It’s incredibly hard to keep from coming back with something along the lines of “I’ll put my faith in Anna’s psychiatrist instead” or “Actually I worked really hard to make sure my little boy is as wonderful as he is, and God had nothing to do with it.”

Usually the latter is answered with “Thanks, I made him myself.” It’s the nicest thing I can think to say without directly shooting down their religion-themed compliment.

My own feelings are… complicated. Obviously I live in an area with a wide religious population, and as an atheist I’m in the minority. I’m also in an area that tends to make snap judgments about people based on their appearance. As I’m clearly a red-headed white girl, that means I must be Christian. However, on my Henna days (when I wear a scarf wrapped around my head if I go out, to cover up the green goo all over my hair) people look sideways assuming that those Muslims got another of our white girls. Whatever.

I suppose when it boils down to it, I’m used to being around people that interject their beliefs into every conversation, and I’ve had many lively discussions with people because of not holding back my own after they open the door.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I agree with @elbanditoroso, if someone identifies themselves as being a Christian, it instantly brings into play my defenses. I was raised as a Christian, but the older I got, the more illogical the whole religion belief system appeared. So I am no longer a Christian. And usually if someone announces that they are a Christian, it generally means that I am going to be ‘preached at’, like I am less than the person who has identified themselves as being a Christian. I live in the Bible Belt, so I am very familiar with the aspersions that are cast onto anyone who is NOT a Christian.

glacial's avatar

@JLeslie Oh, I thought that you meant you were in conversation with someone, and out of the blue, they said “I am a Christian”.

When I hung with Christians, they would often have verses like the one you re-posted hanging on their walls, or on their bookmarks, or whatever. It’s a thing among certain born-again Christians.

Mind you, I do sometimes see this kind of schmaltzy sentimental stuff posted by non-religious friends on Facebook – I don’t think there’s as much in common between Christians who post what you showed us and Christians who don’t… as there is between Christians who post what you showed us, and people who post this sort of thing.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’m a Christian. Sometimes it comes up in random conversations because religious beliefs tend to affect your outlook on life, the way you treat others, etc…

JLeslie's avatar

@glacial Well, when I saw the photo it made me think of when Christians just say it in conversations. It is very odd to me.

@KNOWITALL What do you mean when you say it? What are you communicating by saying you are a Christian when you say it in the middle of a conversation where no one is really talking about religion.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Well, what I mean by that depends on the conversation of course, but for instance let’s go with SSM- Same Sex Marriage. Most people think it’s wrong where I live, because we’re predominantly Christian/Family/Hetero society so when we’re discussing politics and it comes up that I am for SSM, they’re always like what, I though you were a Republican. I say first I am a Christian and my God tells me that love is love and we are not to judge each other.

In another instance I passed an old lady having heat stroke and asked her if I could run her home in my car because it was too hot for her to be at the bus stop. When I ran by after work she was okay but hadn’t had any food so I took her. She asked why I would do that for a stranger, I said because I’m a Christian and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Where I live it is very common.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL As much as it is odd to me to state you are Christian in that context I understand where you are coming from. In your example you actually explain to the other person why being a Christian compells you to do the things you stated. For instance, you say “I’m a Christian and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves” so, you qualify that you live by love our neighbors as ourselves. So, I don’t have to guess what you mean by saying you are a Christian in that instance. In your other examples I bet some Christians would say “I am a Christian” to defend why they are against same sex marriage, but for you being a Christian is why you are for it. Interesting. See, I would not state I am Jewish or I am an atheist to explain why I might do something. I do sometimes bring up I am Jewish to explain some sort of cultural norm, almost the same as when someone says something is common in their family, or common where they grew up, a lot of time there is sarcasm with it, like, “what can I say, I’m Jewish we talk with our hands, or we obsess about food,” or whatever other stereotype that is many times true, but never in the way you describe.

I have to say that sometimes when someone says it to me it puts me off, it feels like it matters to them when people aren’t Christians.

glacial's avatar

@JLeslie But it does matter to them when people aren’t Christians. How many times have you heard that an atheist can’t possibly be moral? I hear this a lot from Christians. The implication is that they have a moral code because of their Christianity, so to say “I am a Christian, therefore I do this moral thing” is quite natural to them, if not to everyone outside of that.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@glacial I would have to agree with you on that. Sometimes, not always and certainly not myself, isolate themselves with only other Christians who all parrot each other. My uncle is very much a Christian that I can’t stand to be around at all. We haven’t talked for over a year now because of his Christianity and judgemental attitude.

As far as putting people off, quite frankly I agree with that as well, JLeslie. I tend to shy away from other Christians because they are often judgemental and sanctimonious, etc… I am my own person, but I do acknowledge God as my creator and as my ‘guide’ for living and treating people with love and respect.

My fellow Christians are so against SSM because the Bible tells them very clearly that it is wrong. I, whether right or wrong, choose to believe in love and God’s love for all his children no matter what they’ve done or will do. To me (& my mom who raised me this way), It’s all about the love whether you’re a hippie an athiest, Christian or Native American Indian.

Blondesjon's avatar

It means that Mr. Slater and Mr. Dior are interested in getting to know me on a first name basis.

My religious affiliation is Newly Reformed Orthodox Smartass.

Seek's avatar

@JLeslie I totally agree with that post.

To take a bit off @KNOWITALL‘s post (merely as an example, and I have the utmost respect for your aid to that poor woman, regardless of your reasons for doing so) my husband and I are struggling in a major way, but we try to help where we can. There are some older, single men in our neighborhood that are holed up in an abandoned mobile home. Twice a week, the hubs will drive them down to the “feeding” at a local soup kitchen. “Local” is a bit of a stretch for these guys – it’s about seven miles away.

Every so often, we’ll find a person in the neighborhood who becomes our dinner buddy: they join us for meals because I know there’s no way they’re eating anything good that day unless I feed them.

While I can’t remember anyone specifically asking me why we do this stuff, if they did my only answer would be that we don’t want to see anyone go without if it’s within our power to help. I can’t fathom religion being a serious motivator.

We would be horrible millionaires.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Acknowledging your kindness here, Seek, that is wonderful of you. admiring

I think part of the equation some of you are missing is that people who are Christians are told repeatedly in the Bible and in teachings to give all glory to Christ, who died for our sins, that is why I mention my personal motivation when asked.

By our acts of love, we are witnessing for our God/ religion. Every day, the way we treat people has to be above reproach because we could be the only Christian a person meets that day, that year, or in their life, so we must be above reproach if possible.

Hey, I’m certainly not perfect and I don’t go to Church (Business), and I don’t pray as much as I should, I don’t hang out with a lot of other Christians because they annoy me, but I believe in God and try my best to live up to the example He set for us in the Bible.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@KNOWITALL – is the implication that I – as an avowed non christian – cannot do good things for people?

In other words, was it your christianity that made you act nicely to the woman, or was it your humanity? Does one have to be a christian to do good works? Can you be a christian and be evil?

Does christiantiy equal good?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@elbanditoroso Absolutely not and I apologize if that is the message you rec’d from my posts. Anyone can do good things for anyone else, religion aside, of course.

It was my humanity that made me be nice to the woman, but when the little thought ran through my head of using my lunch hour, then my guilty conscious wouldn’t let me go home w/o stopping by, then spending 2 hours walking through a grocery store with her…I kept telling myself, ‘God would want you to do this’...it really wasn’t easy for me, I’m naturally not a very giving person, I have to work on that charactar flaw all the time. (I’m an only child so I come by it naturally!)

Christians can be evil, I’ve met a few myself, which is why I don’t go to church anymore.

I have noticed in my own friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances that it is mostly the ‘spiritual/ religious’ people that I hear doing nice things for others however.

I don’t see athiests, agnostics, Wiccans or anyone else sponsoring any kind of fundraising events, clothing the poor or feeding the hungry, maybe it happens in other areas of the country, but not here. When the church does those things for your family, you feel emotionally obligated, does that make sense?

One lady told me that her church took a collection as usual, on a Sunday morning that happened to be Mothers Day, and when the service closed the pastor said that all kids and mom’s who didn’t have money to do something nice, should come and take some money. Of course no one wanted to get up and do it, so he said it will be in this room and if you need some no one will see you, and there was still a bunch of money in the plate, and the congregation kept going in to drop in more for the poor.

As Christians shouldn’t judge others, nor should others judge Christians. There is not one mold that fits us all. Peace.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I am pretty sure Bill Gates is an atheist, maybe agnostic not sure. What I have read is he is not much into religion, even though he thinks there are some positives about it. He said something along the lines of spending time in church on Sunday would not be a productive use of his time, and that he is too science and proof oriented. He certainly has been extremely charitable. There are many atheists who have driven many important causes and donated a lot of money.

Don’t get me wrong, many religious organization have done great things to help the poor, injured, and many other causes. Since atheists aren’t organized, when they help it is more likely to be an individual. Moreover, most people are not aware of who is an atheist, so we might not be aware of athesist who have done incredible things through philanthropy, fundraisers and creating charitable organizations.

I am social chairperson for the Porsche Club of the Midsouth, and we are a charitable organization, we gave just short of $900 to cancer last month, have organized dinners and given money to Ronald McDonald house and St. Jude’s research center. We just did a car event at Youth Villages which usually raises over $10k. A few of us are atheists, it is a coincidence that the person who tends to lead up the majority of the fundraising is an atheist, and I am as well.

Response moderated
KNOWITALL's avatar

Like I said, I’ve known people of all religions, and I’m all about personal freedom and even Christians acknowledge that God gave us a brain to think with. You either believe or do not, either way it’s your right.

Maybe atheists don’t like to advertise, and for Christians, as I mentioned earlier, it’s part of our directive to ‘witness’ to others about our faith.

Mark Twain, Brad Pitt, Edgar Allen Poe, Susan B. Anthony, Helen Keller and many other briliant people are atheists, I’m not judging, it’s against my religion…lol

Paradox25's avatar

Most Christians that I know of do not do this, but I’ve run into an arrogant few. They think they’re special, think that they’re the only ones that’ll have a pleasant afterlife, and disguise their religion by terming it as having a ‘relationship with Him’. It amazes me how many religionists continue to either ignore or not research about near death experiences, automatic writings, cross correspondences and mediumship communications which in my opinion debunks the only way notion. Basically we usually get into an argument and I tell them to f off, and they usually do.

On a side note, Christianity isn’t the only religion which is hostile to infidels and/or other religions. Islam isn’t too fond of nonbelievers either, but I rarely see the criticisms pertaining to that religion. In many Muslim countries Christians are regularly either jailed, tortured or executed, but I guess that’s ok. I guess that most people have a tendency to criticize the devil that that they know, but sometimes the other devil is even worse.

rooeytoo's avatar

No one group of people corners the entire market on jerks and idiots.

Shippy's avatar

It depends on the statement. If they said I was saved, and I am Christian, then I would understand that they were not drowning or dying at the time they got saved.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I guess what I still don’t understand is why there is so much antagonism towards Christians. If you know what the religion is about, and you know we ‘witness’ or try to give you information out of kindness and love, what’s the problem?

Yeah, there are some that are jerks, just like every other religion, but I also feel like some people are actually looking down at us for believing ‘a book’ and a hysterical ‘story’....I mean, it’s our religious right to believe what we want to believe so why the antagonism?

I’ve studied a lot of religions and have many friends of different faiths, for us it’s a form of respect to listen and/ or respectfullay disagree.

Shippy's avatar

@KNOWITALL I was thinking about this, this week. People are less “upset” about Christianity over here, where I live. We are tolerant of all religions as our country has many different kind of spiritual beliefs. Or at least if it is not shown, we are forced to be educated a little on traditions and so forth. You would rarely be outed for being a Jew for example, or a Muslim. I think we have a lot of “progressive” Christians here because our country has been through so much. I don’t know if that statement makes sense to you? Also there is a lot of focus on Gods love, his grace and the serenity that loving Christ could bring, as opposed to a book of rules or hell and brimstone. So possibly early experience of Christian lives or parents an so on can change ones perspective.

However, I do know Christianity is probably the least tolerant of other belief systems. But having said that, so is an atheists belief system. I use the term atheist as in, I am an atheist I am in direct opposition to Christianity. Not the I am an atheist, just simply because I am, with no mocking or attack.

We are all on different paths spiritually, even the same belief systems, people are on different paths at different times. I have begun to think that everything about a Christian is nothing at all about God.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Here it is almost admitting you still believe in the Tooth Fairy, like you’re an idiot, brain-washed and loving it. It’s hurtful. I try so hard not to judge others, and like I said, I don’t even go to church and still it’s like admitting you’re an addict or something.

My Christianity gives me a moral compass and peace, and frankly, gives me a reason to love my fellow man. :) Your place sounds nice, where are you at again?

And we do have a lot of people who believe the hellfire and brimstone path…that’s why I left Southern Baptist and went Catholic, a much more gentle version….lol

Shippy's avatar

I am in South Africa. It is rare here to meet a person who is not spiritual in some way. Meaning different types of belief systems. I haven’t met anyone that doesn’t believe in anything at all. I put it down to culture to be honest. Lack of family structures and lack of social structures can make you pray!! or do other things to help yourself. I have found a lot of different religions or beliefs also offer the person peace. I have also found most spiritual laws are very much the same. Not only Christians are taught human kindness, love and generosity for example. They all seems very interwoven.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I love that, thank you for sharing with me. :)

Paradox25's avatar

@KNOWITALL I think it is the faith requirements pertaining to ‘being saved’ that gets under most people’s skin. This kind of spits in the face of other religious/spiritual beliefs, and many of these other religions are much more tolerant of other belief systems. This also spits in the face of those who’ve lost loved ones, especially if they were nonbelievers and considering that they could be burning in hell.

JLeslie's avatar

@Paradox25 Exactly.

I don’t get offended easily, but the whole thing about me not being able to get into heaven feels offensive.

SavoirFaire's avatar

“The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, and then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”
—Brennan Manning

While I agree that some of the doctrines about salvation are part of the problem, I don’t think they are the whole problem. As @KNOWITALL says, Christians are called on to witness. Many of them, however, severely misinterpret the Great Commission. Evangelism is certainly part of Christianity, but the sort of thing that people find offensive these days is the arrogant assertion of faith more reminiscent of the Pharisees than of Jesus. Christians were called to spread the Word through being a good example and preaching to those willing to listen, not by attempting to force Christian dogma on others.

Jesus lived in a time and place where public discussion was a common tradition. He used public forums that people expected to be used for preaching. He did not knock on people’s doors during breakfast or manipulate small and desperate communities by offering help conditional on conversion. Regardless of whether or not we like Jesus’ message, he operated appropriately within his context. The same cannot be said of contemporary evangelists, be they amateur or professional. Indeed, the very existence of professional evangelists is contrary to the Christian religion. But say so and you’re the one likely to be crucified.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Honestly, I can’t defend my fellow Christians because humans are all fallible. The Christian faith does not.

The Bible specifically says that all who believeth in me shall not perish but have everlasting life and other instructions for getting to Heaven. Most Christians take that very literally. We call that Fire & Brimstone preachers, like the Southern Baptist Church or the Fundamental Baptist Church. I believe that Catholics believe that as well among others.

When a Christian witnesses to others, imo we should tell people of our faith and God’s love for all His children. Nothing is unforgiveable. There are commandments to live by which are to be used as law/ moral compass for Christians as well.

If someone were to tell me I was going to Hell, which they have (because I was born out of wedlock), I would tell them that is between my God and myself. If I choose not to go to Church or be judged by Christians, that is my choice. We are not to judge each other because that is only God’s domain and right, at Final Judgement when He reviews our entire lives before admitting us to Heaven. So there are contradictions throughout.

To me, my Christianity has come to mean that I love and care for my fellow man as myself, and if I am able to help someone find Christ’s love in their own lives, that would be a wonderful thing. We as Christians cannot (or should not) make our religion something to cram down someone’s throat or scare people into thinking if they don’t believe they are going to Hell. To me, it is wrong. But I also earn the scorn of other Christians for saying SSM is okay by me, because my God is a God of love for all his children, not just the conformists.

Do I live the life of a Christian? Perhaps. I am human and am fallible. I don’t drink much or desecrate my body with tattoo’s and piercings (except my ears!), but that is my choice, I don’t think my God would mind too much as long as I’m doing His work. I try to be the best person I can be, and my family feels like I hold myself to very high standards. In that way I am often disappointed by others because they can’t practice self-denial and love like I do, but again, that comes back to judging each other, so I work on that every day.

peace and love

gailcalled's avatar

I would only want someone to bear witness to his faith in my presence If I had invited it.

Uninvited advice, on any subject, is aggressive and hostile behavior, no matter what the preacher believes.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@gailcalled I completely agree. I told my super evangelical uncle (the one I don’t speak to anymore because he is ‘one of those’ Christians) that if I wanted to talk to him about religion, I would tell him, otherwise he turned me off. I don’t think he understood and was offended. But again, I completely agree with you, you can’t force someone to change their beliefs or to listen, it’s pointless.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL If a Christian believes you cannot get into heaven because you were born out of wedlock…well that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. To fault an innocent child is ridiculous. It is part of the reason I take so much issue with the idea of original sin. Sin? A baby? A beautiful perfect child? I find it disgusting anyone thinks that way.

As for someone cramming their religion down my throat, I don’t feel just declaring your religion (I am not talking about you personally in all this) is cramming their religion down my throat, but I do feel the idea that God would reject me into heaven, even if I lived a good life, as Jesus would have wanted, just because I did not accept Jesus as my savior. That line of thought in and of itself is offensive and illogical. I think God loves all His children, and judges them on how they treat each other, if He judges at all.

But, there are places in the bible that say following God’s request is more important than using logic. I think this is shown with the story of Abraham willing to sacrifice His son. But, the bible also says taking care of our family is more important than even believing in God. So, which is it?

In the end I think Christians can decide how they would want to be treated. Do they want people declaring, “I am Jewish,” or, “I am Buddhist,” pick a religion out of the blue as some sort of reason they do the right thing? I always say let’s use the golden rule. I think probably a lot of Christians would say they have no problem with others stating their religion and putting up their religious symbols around town. But, I don’t believe it to be honest. The people who say that the most live in communities that are extremely Christian statisticaly, and they seem unable to really imagine what it is like to live in a diverse community.

I know you are more liberal and open minded than the more extreme Evangelical, so I am not lumping you in, and I appreciate your explanations of why Christians do what they do.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I know right?! I couldn’t believe it when I was told that and he quoted me Bible verses to prove his point. Absurd! And if my mother would have aborted me, then she would have gone to Hell right?! You can’t win at that game, which is interpreting the Bible to suit your doctrine. That is why I believe a LOT of churches are simply in business, not necessarily in the business of saving people, like I believe Jesus/ God intended.

I try to be different because I do live in a community that prizes faith or ‘being a good Christian’ as some do money. For example: One preacher here dressed in unkempt clothing and rubbed dirt on his face, basically presented as a homeless person, and stood outside the church on a Sunday. When he took the pulpit he told his congregation that he was ashamed that his ‘flock’ hadn’t invited the ‘homeless person’ in to church, not one single person.

To me, that true story really touched my heart because EVERYONE should treat each other as they’d be treated, regardless of religion, but especially those touting their religion for attention or ‘goodness’ or whatever their reasons.

We have many churches here who expect you to dress or act a certain way if you attend, and to me that is horribly wrong and offensive. Another reason when I do attend, it’s to a Catholic Church, which feels and acts more responsibly and kindly in our community.

Thanks for sharing as well.

Nullo's avatar

I think that what we’re getting at here is that Christianity flavored the culture so that non-Christians end up acting similarly.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Nullo And it was so efficient at doing so, that it retroactively “flavored” pre-Christian societies as well?

Nullo's avatar

@SavoirFaire It’s been a while since my last look at ancient history, but as I recall there were striking differences in what they’d find permissible and what you would find permissible. Child sacrifice, for instance, was popular in Mesopotamian society.
Some things, like the unpopularity of murder, are going to happen as people react to events.

Seek's avatar

@Nullo Only after the men started running religion/government. When matriarchal societies reigned, the only things sacrificed were the first crops of the harvest. I believe your bible clearly demonstrates the push toward that transition right around Genesis chapter 3.

Seek's avatar

Also, see Code of Hammurabi, which predates the Judeo-Christian texts bu hundreds if not thousands of years.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Nullo Almost every Christian moral belief can be found in a previous culture, and many of them can be found in ancient Greek culture. Remember that early Christianity, like the Romans, lifted a large portion of its moral philosophy from Plato and Aristotle. And that’s not even to mention the number of parallels that exist between Jesus and Socrates (the latter being the ancient Greek originator of a little known maxim as “do not repay evil unto evil,” which you may know as “turn the other cheek”). Most religions contain the same old basic set of social adaptations in slightly different packaging.

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