23 August 2007

Atheists and Christians and making the Twain meet? Part One of however long it takes me to figure this out.

So, day before yesterday I read this over at Blondesense and was freaked right out. This occurred for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being the the serious hostility I perceived in the writing. I decided to ruminate/marinate on the subject before I posted a piteous and/or angry reply, and I am glad I did on account of what transpired in the comments, the upshot of which is this:
yes, we are bashing religion - we ALWAYS do. we are not dehumanizing religion. I don't even know what that means. Actually, if you think about it, religious beliefs are what cause most "believers" to be hateful of others and to dehumanize. AND, the catholics are the biggest bunch of racists I know.

What frustrates me and our gang here is that we could really use the majority of believers out there because most ARE good people. We need them to wake up to the fact that their leaders are using "faith" (religious beliefs) to get away with what ever they want to do. It's been working like a charm for a few thousand years now!


and

we get angry at "them, they, those..." and I especially get mad at the "good christians" who don't take a stand. THEY piss me off. Yes, I love most of them BUT THEY PISS ME OFF TO NO END. And there's nothing I can do about it.


Fair enough, I realised. Which, this discussion also led to a clarification on the use of the word "Christian." Bloggers on this particular blog coined a term a while back, "Christianistas" either in response to the use of the word "Islamists" in the media, or to differentiate from normal people who, unfortunately, seem to share a religion (though, in my opinion, not a faith) with these power-hungry crackheads. Which is a totally academic term.

I can completely understand where your average atheist, Atheist, agnostic, unaffiliated and unconcerned, or other nonmainstream religion practicer comes from on account of the Christianistas do the same damn thing to your average mainline Protestant. And also to your completely non-average, non-mainline, but still essentially Lutheran, Protestant. I am really quite sure that the Quad preachers will show up next week.

And Jersey Cynic, who was the author of the post in question and the above comment bits, raises an incredibly fair point: "good Christians" are being anything but "good" if we/they do not put the smackdown on this kind of BS. Of course, going about that could be vaguely frightening and inconvenient (and will probably annoy Amber if she is with me when it happens), but when people are preaching hate in public, it is necessary that the smackdown be put on it or it will just grow.

Martin Niemoller, who spent time in Sachsenhausen and Dachau, but fortunately survived, wrote this:
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
It is incumbent on those who call themselves Christians to speak out for those who are NOT Christians (and for those who are not their denomination), lest something similar happen. And no matter what anyone says, if we just let it go, it WILL happen, because that is how it happened in the first place.

What does this mean for relationships between nonbelievers and Christians? I think it is a critical time for us to prove that we are, in fact, able to love those who may or may not love us back, who do not agree with us. If we are to call ourselves Christians then we most certainly make an attempt at behaving like that guy who we believe is the Christ. Otherwise, we can have all the faith in the world (as to move mountains, as it were) and we will yet have NOTHING.

If that happens, all the dogma and platitudes and feeling secure in ourselves will be for naught, because if the God in whom I put my faith does, in fact, exist, then He is going to think that we are full of crap and is going to let us know about it. Looking at the way that Christianity has evolved since the time of Jesus of Nazareth, I can completely see why people choose to turn away from it, and I honestly think the only reason why I have not is because I would rather try to fix it than give up.

Probably more later.

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