Social Question

amujinx's avatar

What is religious oppression?

Asked by amujinx (5155 points ) January 25th, 2013

Some Christians say they feel oppressed on this site because of how many atheists/agnostics there are on here. Is just being the minority when it comes to religion actually make you oppressed? Does it require more to actually be oppressed? If you feel oppressed, why do you feel oppressed?

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64 Answers

Shippy's avatar

I’m not oppressed, no ways a bunch of people going to have that effect on me. But I sometimes find people a tad rude. Like being called stupid etc. Good manners are about good breeding.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

Oppression is quite a strong word to use because to me religious oppression is something that I associate with situations such as practitioners of Falun Gong being jailed for their beliefs in China.

I think on here there are various times where some people try to ridicule others for what they believe and poke fun at them and I do wonder why some find it so difficult to accept that people believe certain things.

JLeslie's avatar

Just being the minority doesn’t make people feel oppressed in my opinion. Not feeling like you can freely express yourself regarding your religion would be oppressive. I guess some Christians feel that way here, or feel they are misunderstood. I think there are misunderstandings at times.

I feel opressed as an atheist where I currently live. I avoid telling people I am one.

Pachy's avatar

I can’t speak for anyone on this site who might feel the way you describe, but he/she is certainly not suffering “religious oppression” by a majority like, say the Jews in Nazi Germany. Disagreements about religion may get heated here, but no one, regardless of his or her beliefs, need worry about another jelly showing up on his doorstep in the middle of the night to haul him or her off… and, like the religious oppressed in countries all over the world who are trapped inside their borders, we are all free to either ignore any question or leave the site entirely.

But wait… I hear a knock on my door…

KNOWITALL's avatar

Oppression——1.Prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control.

Frankly, I’m tired of being called an idiot for believing in God. Or that God is a cartoon character. Or I’m stupid for believing. If I hadn’t received multiple PM’s from Christians thanking me repeatedly for openly expressing my belief in and love for God, I would probably have let it go, but there are too many of us feeling the same way to ignore.

Like other oppressed people, some Christians here started keeping silent, or kept themselves from participating in conversations about religion due to the treatment received. It’s unacceptable. And I would hope all jellies want this to be a place that is free of oppression.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I think I mentioned on the other Q, I think the other Christians should have come onto that Q and helped you explain your position. They were silent while you endured.

I have a couple questions about oppression:

Do you ever feel as Christian your life might be in danger?

Do you worry about being misjudged about something you might do? I don’t mean misunderstood in how you might think on a topic, but actually that you might do something that you never would do.

tom_g's avatar

I suspect that what Christians are experiencing is an environment (fluther) that differs from the general culture because their religious beliefs are not immune to investigation/analysis/debate here. I reject the notion that there are beliefs or claims that should be immune to criticism and debate.
If I jump into a thread and declare that I believe in trickle-down economics, everyone in the thread will jump in and ask me to provide evidence. If I couldn’t provide it, and people called me on it, I wouldn’t claim that I was being “oppressed”. But with religion in the US, people are so accustomed to getting a free pass when they make claims about the existence of a god, that when called on it, it might feel uncomfortable and hurtful. It shouldn’t be taken any more personally than if we called you on your economic theory or understanding of the impact of anthropogenic climate change.

So, what I’m trying to say is that many of us non-believers don’t mean to make people feel bad. And we certainly don’t think believers are “stupid”. But we do want to be able to debate these ideas as openly and honestly as possible without fear that someone might run out of the room with hurt feelings. For many of us, everything is on the table. Everything.

DominicX's avatar

@tom_g I feel the same way. But calling believers “stupid” is not debating; it’s just flame-baiting. Like I’ve said before, I think some believers (I don’t think there are any on this site, however) see just disbelief in God as an affront to their beliefs. I don’t think most people on this site feel that way, but a lot of the atheists take their criticisms/debating too far. There’s a difference between debating religious beliefs and insulting them. However, depending on how sensitive the other person is, they may consider something “insulting” when the other person just sees it as questioning/criticism/debating.

Shippy's avatar

@JLeslie Good observation, a lot of Christians were absent. Maybe they were sick of fighting it? However, that is not for me to say. But thanks to you, you always have an open mind. As well as a great approach. Personally I respect any belief. It is the rudeness I cannot take.

tom_g's avatar

@DominicX: ”@tom_g I feel the same way. But calling believers “stupid” is not debating; it’s just flame-baiting.”

Like I said, “we certainly don’t think believers are ‘stupid’.” I don’t think I recall anyone calling someone “stupid”.

DominicX's avatar

@tom_g Yeah, I know, I don’t see it too often either, but I have seen it before. Maybe not “stupid”, but saying that believers have a childish mind/desires or are somehow deficient. I’ve seen the exact thing said against atheists, of course.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Yes well, I should be strong enough in my faith to face down Satan himself with the power of God as my only ally, so it’s all good.

I don’t feel like my life is in danger, yet. I don’t want to get into politics or the second amendment again here, so I won’t but it ties in to your question.

Sure I do. I don’t want anyone to think I would ever blow up an abortion clinic as Seek posted yesterday during our ‘discussion’. That’s why I hate generalizations about any group of people.

@tom_g People don’t like to admit they’re wrong about anything, I get that and I feel the same, but it’s not that our religious views aren’t open to debate, it is that you’re taking a dump on one of the most important and sacred things in my life. And I do take it very personally. Open debate doesn’t require name-calling either, and anytime my Lord who had helped me so much is called a cartoon character or compared to a unicorn, the discussion ends.

One thing I suggest to all of you, is if you see one of your ‘fellows’ getting ignorant or intolerant, or attempting to suppress another person who is discoursing in a mature manner, you call them out on it yourself. If you don’t, I often assume you are agreeing with their idiocy and immaturity. Both which prevent informative discourse.

If yoiu believe or don’t believe, I can’t say that I don’t care, but I try very hard not to judge as God teaches us. I would love to start preaching to all of you who are unbelievers but you know where to find me, and after my Q all the rest of us, if you are ever interested in getting to know God better. :)

DominicX's avatar

@KNOWITALL As an atheist, I believe your God is just as non-existent as any other non-existent entity. I’m not going to insult your beliefs or name-call, but that is my belief. Is that belief of mine, on its own, offensive? I don’t know, so I’m just asking.

jerv's avatar

Oppression – A way to claim victimhood when you are not 100% in control and thus forced to endure the presence/existence of others.

While it’s true that sometimes there is a dog-pile on a Christian, the truth is that we all just hate pompous, self-righteous asshats. There are many decent Jesus-worshipping people, so if any of you Christians ever feel oppressed, odds are that it’s not your faith that makes you a target; it’s the fact that you are being a dick.

@tom_g Correct. If you cannot stand to have your beliefs (or lack thereof) scrutinized, then Fluther is definitely a bad place, and you might also want to avoid society at large and just cloister yourself away with like-minded individuals.

Shippy's avatar

@DominicX I respect that!

Shippy's avatar

@jerv Once again, sigh!, scrutinize all you wish. Don’t insult. Not you personally just a general statement. I don’t call @DominicX stupid or lacking in education because he is an atheist right? You get it now? And I would certainly frown on a Christian who didn’t respect his views. Or approach people in a respectful way. Fluther is a small pond. Don’t forget that @jerv

KNOWITALL's avatar

@DominicX Nope, not at all.

@jerv Maybe your team are just being dic%s, goes both ways honey. No victims, I went on the offensive today, and you even admit that sometimes there’s a dog-pile on Christians. You are so contradictory, jerv.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I doubt seek thought you would ever blow up an abortion clinic, but I do understand your point by giving it as an example.

I do feel my life can be in danger. I think that is a big differences between white Christians in America and all the rest of us. Some minority groups more than others feel more vulnerable to violence. I don’t walk around daily worried someone will kill me because I am an atheist or Jewish, but when in a temple I think, here we all are, in one spot, if someone wanted to they could get a bunch of us at once. And, indeed there are attempts on synagogues. I just never think of Jews or atheists wanting to hurt physically or murder a Christian for just being a Christian. Maybe there are rare cases of it I am unaware of.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Well considering I’m in the middle of America and it’s a majority of Christians in the “Bible Belt” and we have a bunch of nuke silo’s, a lot of food production and cattle farms, I wouldn’t say I feel safe….lol

One nuke and probably half the US Christians are gone, should be irresistable to some I’d think. I’m not scared of death though, I know where I’m going, and if for some reason ya’ll are right and there is nothing but a blank black sheet after death, I’ve lost nothing.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Funny. :) But, I gather you don’t have that threat cross your mind much.

It is not about being scared of death. For Jewish people for instance it is about our own deaths of course, but also death of our people. We just now are getting bacl to pre holocaust numbers. The holocaust murdered about 30% of our total world population. Now 70 some years later we are getting back to that number of 18 million worldwide.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie You should read Epicenter by Joel Rosenberg then you’ll understand. He’s Jewish!!

My grandfather helped liberate concentration camps and still teared up over it even over 80 yrs old. He’s passed now, but I’ll never forget the pain in his eyes when I asked him about it, and he simply couldn’t. And he wasn’t an emotional man, what a horrible example of intolerance.

josie's avatar

It isn’t oppression if you can reasonably escape it. Fluther is voluntary. Nobody is forced to be here. Being outnumbered is not the same as being oppressed.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@josie That is not the definition. Why would any of you, regardless of your religious affiliation or lack thereof, want to alienate anyone purposefully?

Of course you could change the site to say “Tap the Collective Atheist Mind”, which would make that goal easier and clarify a Christians position in this collective.

Can’t we all just get along and be mature? All these semantics just cover up the fact that apparently some atheists can’t be polite or mature. It’s not rocket-science people.

Shippy's avatar

@josie You feel safe on the side of greater numbers? Just a thought. As for me I walk on the wild side. I’m not afraid to voice what I feel. People don’t intimidate me, even in numbers.I get scared of myself more. (Of course I do hope, that I have manners and respect when I voice things, because really I can go off the rails at times with that).

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

While this majority Christian society considers itself tolerant to people of other faiths, I can assure you that in the 58 years of my life so far I have experienced social exclusion, threats of and acts of physical violence against me and my family members. I have been subject to discrimination in public schools and in the workplace or in admission or hiring practices.

I have heard the sermons of Christian clergy vilifying Jews and blaming them for allegedly historical crimes and for modern day crimes where we are blamed for all kinds of concerns they have about current and ongoing events in our society.

Easter sermons I have heard actually advocated violence and other forms of retributions against Jews. Far too many “Christians” blame Hitler for failing to complete the total eradication of my people. There are plenty of self-proclaimed Christians who refuse to speak out against those who deny the Holocaust.

Both in my father’s youth and in my own, Christian youths actively harassed us and when they outnumbered Jews walking home from Saturday morning Synagogue services. Some were only too willing to knock us to the ground, steal our head-coverings or prayer shawls when we came outside during brief breaks we took during services. Others just stood by laughing, taking delight in the cruel antics of their friends. This is what religious oppression I have observed or experienced.

My experiences may have been exceptions to general benevolent treatment by Christians to those who believe and worship differently. I know that I would not feel safe in today’s society if I were a devout Muslim or even a Sikh whose distinctive customs and types of wardrobe draw attention to their status as “Different” and therefore perceived threats without any evidence about most of these individuals.

Being a member of the religious and cultural majority does not give someone the rights to threaten or abuse others. In fact it places on them the responsibility to see to it that others are accorded the same tolerance and respect to which they themselves feel entitled.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence Well that’s just crazy. No one gets tested for sanity before they are allowed to call themselves by any religion though.

Interestingly enough, my mom and most people I know, are all about the Jews and that they’ll build the Temple and all kinds of good things. My mom gets really excited about it and I hear people talking about the US and Israel all the time, and how important it is. Maybe you need to come to Missouri!

tinyfaery's avatar

Nothing that occurs on this totally voluntary Q&A site that people willing visit and post on.

@DominicX I’ve been with you here on fluther as you have traversed your path of belief and knowledge. I find it so fascinating and I feel a bit proud of you.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Religious oppression is the denial of a person or a group to practice their rituals. I don’t believe anyone on Fluther has ever told anybody to stop being a Christian.

What @Dr_Lawrence outlined was real oppression. It had a physical impact.

I do not believe anyone on Fluther is being physically threatened for their beliefs.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I think some of you would be quite amazed at what some of your fellows have posted. I don’t generally talk about religion online much in any forum, but frankly something snapped this week after months of attacks on other people’s beliefs consistantly. It’s not right, and it’s not nice, and it reeks of domination, which is not cool.

So many people accuse Christians and Republicans and Conservatives (all different btw) of forcing state religion on the US population, and yet those same people are just as intolerant of other people’s beliefs. Some use name-calling, some use demeaning words, some just attack, then lurk, then a religion question, then attack, it’s crazy actually, and a little scary.

Which is why I prayed for clarity last night, this morning this Q presented itself, and remained positive almost the entire time, one post may have been jokingly demeaning but we prevailed and maintained a positive forum.

Then there pops us 2–4 questions, so they could all laugh together, I don’t really know. So examine yourselves for your motivation, I have no idea why anyone would just be snarky when we had our very own positive happy Q.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@KNOWITALL You wrote, ”...this Q presented itself….” What question are you referring to? I’m answering this question which is about religious oppression. I am having a hard time understanding what your last post has to do with me.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake You were saying that no one had ever told anyone to stop being a Christian, and I was saying you’d be surprised at what people have said. Clear?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@KNOWITALL No, I’m not clear how your post with my moniker at the beginning relates all to me.

I would also like to know what 2–4 questions popped up so “they could all laugh together.” There was 1 question about the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but I think that’s been taken down or removed for editing. Where are the other questions?

KNOWITALL's avatar

Read it again I guess?! Or forget it, whatever.

You can scroll through Q’s as easily as I can in Social honey, there’s three on the top, including this one, and I think maybe one was taken down, not sure.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

I don’t think oppressed, I think silenced but not oppressed.

It gets to a point where you feel like your view or belief is trying to be changed. Not everyone is like this. It’s just not a great feeling of acceptance because geez many who do not hold the same views think we believe in fairy tales.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl Not silenced, not that ever – lol

I don’t even feel like they want to change our opinions or educate me on atheism or anything, I think it’s straight up bullying behavior and it’s unacceptable.

My friend says she is a white witch, she is not evil, she loves God and Jesus. We aren’t super close but I don’t question or demean her. We really can just coexist, which is what all our local witches have as bumper stickers on their cars…it’s weird, but we all get along here in the Bible Belt for the most part. I think I’m still trying to absorb things being said, wild.

Shippy's avatar

@KNOWITALL Interesting point.

Web definitions
Cyberbullying “involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior…
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyber-bully

Cyberbullying involves repeated behavior with intent to harm and repeated nature

or defamatory false accusations), ganging up on a victim by making the person the subject of ridicule in online forums. This can include flaming, humiliating and name calling.

Some cyberbullies may also send threatening and harassing emails, instant messages or texts to the victims. Others post rumors or gossip and instigate others to dislike and gang up on the target.

Interestingly PM’s are also considered Cyber Bullying if they are negative.

jerv's avatar

@KNOWITALL I call ‘em like I see ‘em. Nobody, Christian or otherwise, likes their beliefs belittled or demeaned, or being told they are wrong. What you omit is that most of the dog-piles happen to Christians who say that others are wrong.
I am curious how I was contradictory though. I mentioned that there was the occasional dogpile on Christians who were being dicks, but I thought I made it clear that it was their dick-ness and not their Christianity that incited such a response. Is it considered “oppression of Christianity” to be against ass-hattery in general?

tom_g's avatar

Oh my holy shit. This is getting ridiculous. Either Fluther is a place for us to freely discuss and debate ideas or not. If it is, then check your pride and ability to be offended at the door. It’s going to happen. Feel free to bring some courtesy and admit when you’re wrong.

For the Christians. If you live the US, you are the majority. Your will has been pushed on non-religious for a long time, and many of us are quite tired of it.
For the non-religious out there, keep in mind that some Christians are not used to this type of discussion because their belief/faith has been given a pass and has been insulated in every other area of their lives. Take this into mild consideration while talking to a Christian. But don’t sacrifice the discussion in order to pretend to be all soft and gentle. It’s boring, there is no place for that, and it’s patronizing. The Christians here are smart and articulate. There is no reason why they can’t be talked to like adults.

Debate ideas here. Let the debate go where it goes. And when we’re done, blow each other a kiss and promise it isn’t personal. Because it isn’t. We’re just people sharing and debating ideas.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Oh no, they got the inflammatory Christian God Q taken down, great job everybody, You can’t share and debate anything when only one side is allowed to communicate.

Now no one can possibly see all the beautiful experiences that were posted by over twenty members of your community.

@tom_g Tired of it or not, my rights and ideas are as important as yours or anyone else’s.

tom_g's avatar

@KNOWITALL: ”@tom_g Tired of it or not, my rights and ideas are as important as yours or anyone else’s”

Did you read my post?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@tom_g Man,I am so tired, I’m bouncing from nasty PM to sweet PM and my husband wants to play on the laptop, I’m not focused right now, sorry. My post is down about God and if that is the way this game is played here, I’m out. Later.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@KNOWITALL I’m quite seriously trying to find the other 2–4 questions in Social about the Christian god that were asked so “they could laugh all together.” I can’t find them.

Could you or anybody else point me to them? I’d like to read the threads and perhaps participate.

Shippy's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake They were taken down. For various reasons.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Shippy Thank you. I caught the one about the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but I didn’t see the others.

amujinx's avatar

I got through three quarters of everyone’s answers and then accidentally clicked something and lost it all. /cry

@Shippy I have seen the rudeness you speak of, and it is uncalled for. I feel it negatively reflects on any point they are trying to make as well.

@TheProfoundPorcupine I used oppression since it is the word I’ve seen used by multiple members. I think it is overly strong myself.

@JLeslie I think it’s more misunderstanding myself. I know there are places in the US that are not friendly to anything other than Christian religions (and usually only if they are Protestant Christians even then), and I feel sympathy for everyone who has to endure that.

@Pachyderm_In_The_Room I agree that that is “real” religious oppression, and that is why I asked this since obviously what I think is religious oppression doesn’t sync up with what others think is religious oppression.

@KNOWITALL Being insulted is unjustified for having a different belief, but I still don’t think that even comes close as qualifying as oppression. As for god being called a cartoon character, that could be a salient point about the atheist point of view that isn’t meant to be anywhere near as offensive as it could be taken. It is careless to use that analogy against someone’s very real belief though.

@tom_g I can completely see where you are coming from. When I was religious I was never asked about my beliefs, but when I now tell people I’m an atheist I usually get quite a few questions. Fluther does require more evidence than what one encounters in day to day life.

@DominicX I would give you an Exceptional Answer if I could.

@KNOWITALL I obviously missed a thread that started much of this. In situations that atheists are just asking questions of Christians, it is rare that the questions are meant as “taking a dump” on someone’s religion. I’m not at all accusing you of doing this, I’m just saying I’ve seen some members who did get indignant over a serious question that they thought was insulting their religion.

@jerv To play devil’s advocate, one could say participating in a dog-pile is acting like an asshat or dick as well.

@josie I’m inclined to agree.

@KNOWITALL It should be, “some people can’t be polite or mature”. It’s hardly an atheist only issue.

@Dr_Lawrence Your answer is how I would define religious oppression. I’m sorry that you, or anyone, has to deal with intolerance like that.

@Hawaii_Jake I don’t agree that oppression has to be a physical threat to be oppression, but I might be reading between lines that aren’t there with your phrasing. If so, I apologize.

@KNOWITALL I feel as though you think this question was meant as a sarcastic response to your question. I didn’t mean it like that at all. You are not the first person I have seen say that they felt religious oppression on this site, and my definition of religious oppression doesn’t match up with those who have claimed religious oppression on this site. Those who claim religious oppression seem to always point out the higher percentage of atheists so I assumed this was part of their definition, which is why that was part of my question.

@nofurbelowsbatgirl I sorry you think you are being silenced. I don’t think the people here has the goal of silencing anyone, but to seek an understanding of another viewpoint. I could see how you could feel like you are being silenced when you are vastly outnumbered though.

@Shippy Yes, cyberbullying is very possible. No matter how good a community you can make on the ‘net, you will always get cyberbullies. All you can do is report them and try to ignore them. But cyberbullying does not make an entire community oppressive, it is one person trying to be oppressive, and as long as it’s not someone in power, you can fight back.

@tom_g I agree that people shouldn’t take it personally. That isn’t being very realistic though. People have a hard time disconnecting from things that they should just let go when it comes to deeply held beliefs. They are deeply held for a reason.

@KNOWITALL Getting your question taken down was not my intention at all. I’m sorry it did; the posts looked like they were all very constructive to your question. I was only interested in finding out about why people are feeling religiously oppressed here and what they mean by it.

Thank you everyone for your answers. I didn’t mean for this to lead to any drama that seems to had at least a partial hand in, I was honestly curious as to the other viewpoint. Remember, we are a community; we don’t have to agree, but there is no reason to get nasty, oppressive or spiteful over a difference in beliefs.

Shippy's avatar

@amujinx Gosh I never said this entire community was oppressive? I don’t feel oppressed at all. As I said at the top. There are some great people here. But all types are what makes it interesting. That is why we can debate. If there were no debates how boring. But again, some remarks and follow on questions were beyond childish. I will just make a note to not even read their questions, nor posts. Maybe one day those people will post a question and wonder why no one bothers to answer it you know. Or treats them the same way. I always try to be helpful here. But tonight yeah, I got pissed off early on. I hope for my part aside from calling someone an idiot, which I stick to, I think I did OK. loll.

Manners and diplomacy is a human issue not a religion one. Plus also you cannot group all Christians as the same. That would be like grouping all atheists as the same right. Thanks for your clarifications though!

amujinx's avatar

@Shippy I didn’t mean to insinuate that you felt oppressed. I did remember that from your first post. It was meant as more of aside about relating cyberbullying and oppression, you post just happened to be about cyberbullying so it got tossed in there.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL You wrote Interestingly enough, my mom and most people I know, are all about the Jews and that they’ll build the Temple and all kinds of good things. My mom gets really excited about it and I hear people talking about the US and Israel all the time, and how important it is. Maybe you need to come to Missouri!

This goes with what I have said about the US present day. The Evangelicals seem somewhat obsessed with Israel, so in terms of acceptance we, the Jewish-American people, are in a good time in history for the most part.

You also wrote So many people accuse Christians and Republicans and Conservatives (all different btw) of forcing state religion on the US population, and yet those same people are just as intolerant of other people’s beliefs. Some use name-calling, some use demeaning words, some just attack, then lurk, then a religion question, then attack, it’s crazy actually, and a little scary.

As much as I agree with you about the name calling and demeaning words as being uncalled for, rude, and disrespectful; it is not the same as wanting to declare Christianity the national religion. I would guess the Christians who call the US a Christian Nation and maybe some of them, probably it is a small percentage, would be just fine with a Christian theocracy for the US. I don’t know many Jews or Atheists or Buddhists, or Muslims who want to turn the US into a country guided by the laws of their religion. That would be comparable. We need to think apples to apples or it is not a just comparison. Christians assuming atheists are all immoral, and atheists assuming Christians are all holy rollers full of fire and brimstone warnings, that might be comparable. Dealing with rude people and their prejudices vs actually trying to write law to follow what they believe to be God’s law are two different things.

Not allowing Christians to enter their churches, that would be oppression. That still happens in a way in America against other religions. In TN when they set fire to a Muslim mosque and rec center under construction a couple years ago, it is effectively a violent threat and not allowing them to worship in their place of worship. Christians are free in America to build churches, worship in them, put religious symbols on their private property, no one inhibits a Christians right to practice their religion, not even in cities and towns that have a very large non Christian population. I know some Christians want to put their religion everywhere, and say a group prayer before everything from sports to council meetings, and to them not allowing it is oppressive and feels like not allowing freedom of speech and religion, but the public arena is different than the private one in America. Thank Goodness.

jerv's avatar

@amujinx “To play devil’s advocate, one could say participating in a dog-pile is acting like an asshat or dick as well.”
Very true.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

There is one thing I do notice on here and that is that if you believe in God you must be of Christian religion and that is just simply not true.

fremen_warrior's avatar

The merits and demerits of believing this or that aside, nobody likes being attacked.

Having said that, I would like to add my 2 cents to the discussion, as an Atheist living in a country dominated by Christians (Polish Catholics to be exact). Although we have come a long way since the early nineties, it still happens that Atheists (or any non-Catholics actually) get insulted, looked over for promotion, ignored by politicians, and treated like a statistical error by the media.

The Church (as the Catholic Church is referred to in Poland) is often supported by taxpayer money, and “Religion” (or Catechism) is a mandatory class all throughout grade school / middle school / high school, unless otherwise specified by the parents. Despite it being illegal, it is rampant that these classes take place in the middle of the school day, so even if the child has the permission slip from their parents not to attend, it has to sit the entire hour at school waiting for the next class (I know, I’ve been there).

The Church holds sway over a large percentage of the population and tries to meddle with politics on a regular basis, enticing people against certain parties and politicians. It is one of the largest landowners in the country, despite paying almost no taxes – they actually recieve funding from our government – for instance to build new, lavishly decorated temples. In smaller towns a priest can often have more to say than the mayor, or chief of police. The list goes on.

Now, as I’ve mentioned above, over the past decade things have begun to change, and people of other denominations, or flat out Atheists have started to speak up against this preferential treatment of Catholics, and started demanding Poland be secularized (we are bound by a Concordat btw. signed in the 1990’s). Naturally the reaction from the Catholics, entrenched as they have become with their priviliges, was that they were being oppressed. That the non-believers wanted to destroy their church, that an outrageous organized attack was under way, aimed at the Polish Catholic Church.

I can’t help but laugh at this – though it is a bitter sort of laughter – the great Catholic Church that has withstood two thousand years of history, used torture, terror, “fire and sword” (as the Polish idiom goes) to spread its influence worldwide, the same entity that claims to have over 95% of our population as its followers…is being oppressed by “an amoral, thuggish minority”. Poor Catholics. Give me a f*cking break.

As an individual I understand people should have the right to believe whatever they want to believe, and I am also a firm believer in the rule that “Your freedom ends, where my freedom begins”. Tell a minority that you have been oppressing for the last couple of thousand years that they have no right to fight back, that they are oppressing you because they disagree with your worldview, that they best sh*t up because the status quo is there for a reason is just plain hypocritical. Either that or a really sneaky debating technique.

To me tolerance means “I don’t like you, but I won’t kill you over that… for now”, and in my opinion we need to move past this towards real respect. To do that though, both sides need to recognize the reality for what it is, and to me it is this: Christians have dominated the world for a very long time and have a hard time giving that up, learning to share that power with others. That is true both when it comes to politics as well as public space, public debate in general.

Atheists may seem slightly over the top to you, militant even, because (at least from my perspective) we often feel like we have to keep our guard up, protect our newly gained freedom from the oppression of organized religion, and help set others free, or at least give a voice to those of us, who cannot speak out openly against this, because they are afraid of being ostracised by friends, family, and society in general. If anyone has the right to claim they are being “oppressed” here, it would be those who Christians claim they are being oppressed by.

You cannot demand preferential treatment, and expect not to be criticised. It doesn’t work that way.

JLeslie's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl No. It’s just that most jellies are American, and the majority religion in America is Christianity, and the theists who are most vocal about God and involving religion in politics is the Christian right wing. Since Jews kind of have a rule not to prosthelitize, you won’t here many trying to persuade people into Judaism or talk about God and their religion as if everyone should be listening. There are very very few Muslims on fluther, I wish there were more to hear their viewpoints.

jerv's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl To add on to what @JLeslie said, most Americans (~75%) are some form of Christian, and ⅔ of Christian Americans (or ~50% of Americans) are some sort of Protestant or another.

Most of them are decent people, but they are not the ones hogging the media spotlight or using their political power to affect government. Most of the Christians you do hear yelling about Jesus are the ones who use the Bible to justify misogyny, homophobia, and other behaviors that no decent person would stand for.

Sadly, the quiet, pious, decent followers of Christ often catch a lot of flak due to guilt by association; people assume that all Christians who openly love Jesus are of the “God hates fags, women are property” type that get all of the media attention.

In that, there is a grain of truth to Christian oppression, but as I said before, it’s less about being Christian than about being an asshat.

@fremen_warrior I regret that I have but one GA to give for your answer. That is about how things are here, though to a lesser extent.

KNOWITALL's avatar

This morning, I am glad to see my Q about God is back up as are the lovely posts from many other members.

Most of you know through previous discussion, I am not the best Christian nor do I even attend church much because I have my own personal feelings about the different sects and requirements and frankly some of the people are horrible, but there is no way I can participate in open dialogue with all of you, if myself and others are continually bombarded with generalizations about Christians to the point that the conversation turns into Christians defending every sect of Christianity in the world.

My only purpose in this was to help create a more open and welcoming environment for all.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

But why do we have to talk “majorities” and so on. I’m not even from the states. As far as I’m concerned out here on fluther no matter what your religion or your time zones we are equal. Yes we have different opinions of faith and so on but we have opinions and we are all entitled to it.

The one thing that other countries may not understand if we want to talk majority is that America has freedom and while yes many things may seem unconventional to other countries it is why many people live there. What other country let’s a man flee from his home into America as an illegal immigrant and allows them to work for a government funded show while he tries to impose gun legislation.

And if you don’t know who I’m talking about maybe the name Piers Morgan rings a bell. In Canada that would never be allowed.

Paradox25's avatar

I don’t see how Christians are oppressed on here, though I’ll admit they’re outnumbered. Try being on a website where Christians are the majority, and then try posting a nonchristian viewpoint about theism and an afterlife: well I’ve been there and the experience wasn’t pleasant.

I’ll admit that some nontheists can be a overbearing on here and other sites where they’re the majority, but I don’t feel most are that bad on here. Actually as a nonreligious theist I actually enjoy debating and having my views challenged, but only when it’s not off topic from the original premise of the question asked.

jerv's avatar

@KNOWITALL I appreciate that, and I am sure that I am not the only one.

It might help matters a bit if the decent Christians were a little more critical of their radical brethren as it’s easy to mistake silence for complicity and agreement.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@jerv I am critical of other Christians I know well personally, but its one of those things where I am not supposed to judge any one for my own soul’s wellbeing. I can tell you that my uncle is a fine Christian man who, when my mom got cancer and needed help,chose to help his church family over his own sister. Needless to say I emailed him and told him exactly what I thought of his hypocrisy and broke off the relationship completely. I have tons of stories of bad Christian behavior actually.

People are confused about Muslims and Islam as well, are they radical are they peaceful, they look the same and claim the same religion. Communication is so important to build understanding.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

I find that some of the radical people of any religion tend to be those that really pick and choose their beliefs, but the problem is that if you have a religion with over 1 billion followers it only requires a small percentage to be crazy for it to still equate to a large number of people.

I studied religion along with my archaeology so I’ve spent time looking at extremists or radicals and I’ve met a few who like to cry wolf whenever they feel like it. I have met Muslims that will argue they are oppressed here in Scotland and then go away and get drunk and lose a fortune in the casinos. At the same time I have known a few Christians that do the same thing and one of the most dangerous people I’ve known was a so called Christian. I have even had a Hari Krishna screaming dogs abuse at me in Glasgow and wishing all kind of nasty things on me and even they tried to argue that they were oppressed.

I think what I’m saying is that in most cases people that claim religious oppression are actively looking for any excuse to make that claim and some will even manufacture situations where they can claim it because for some reason it makes them feel better. It is more about the person than the religion.

Shippy's avatar

@jerv I avoid most Christians, specially those ones with the big booming voice. Telling you at every chance they can about Christ. At the same time, they have no kindness in their heart. An example:A while back, we had a guy in our small block where I live, could not pay his levy fees. All the six so called none Christians agreed with me, that we contribute a certain amount to his levy until it is rectified. We all earned good salaries then.

The only two who said no where the two Christians in our block. Who by the way earned more than all of us. It sickens me. Because yes, they are representatives of Christ. (And one was VERY judgmental of people, so I judged HER).

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Shippy Sad but true. A lot seem to cling to the money and the bibles, but the minute it requires pesonal committment to the less fortunate, they’re way too busy. I call them poseur-Christians, sickening.

jerv's avatar

@KNOWITALL I call them “Republicans”.

mattbrowne's avatar

There are three factors that characterize religious oppression

1) Religious leaders give orders instead of recommendations
2) Religious leaders punish people who don’t follow their orders
3) Religious leaders punish people who want to leave their religion

KNOWITALL's avatar

@jerv Another day on that argument, but remember generalizing is often misleading.

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