There are many negative stereotypes about Christians. And, unfortunately many of those stereotypes prove to be true. Are there any Christians in your past or present that you admire and feel are misrepresented by the stereotypes? Thanks
Great question Jimmy and very original. We haven’t had that one here yet. Thanks.
There are many people who are christian that I admire. They range from my friends and family to politicians. What makes a person admirable to me isn’t what faith or political side they swing towards, it’s how they treat other people. I don’t care what a persons faith or lack of faith is as long as they lend a hand to someone who needs one. Christianity teaches that “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8 KJB) but few Christians actually practice this, which in turn creates the stereotype you’re referring to.
Jimmy Carter is a great example to me of a devout christian who practices charity. Instead of sitting on his ass after his presidency, he went out and built homes. He helped feed the hungry. He works toward improving the conditions of those that society has brushed aside. He also believes in the separation of church and state. If more Christians, hell, if more people of faith were like him, atheists wouldn’t have as much of a problem with them.
Question from Melisa:
I have a friend from high school who is a wonderful person married to a wonderful man and they are both committed to only adopting children, rather than having their own biological children. They also happen to be Christian.
They recently made a post asking for help in finding a toddler bed ASAP (they have been fostering a lot while they are in the adoption process), my husband and I happily arranged for the bed and some other small items to be delivered.
She was very gracious but many of her friends posted religious things in response, which irked me. Is there a polite way to say, “Hey, please keep your religious comments to yourself, we’re atheist (and aren’t missing a moral compass, btw!)”?
Should I just leave this alone? Or this an opportunity to enlighten?
Answer by SmartLX:
You didn’t say what kind of religious comments they’re making, but chances are they’re either saying God will reward you for what you’ve done or crediting God for your actions, or both.
I know it’s irritating, believe me, but before you speak up in protest consider that they’ve most likely assumed you’re Christian yourself. You did a good thing for a couple of Christians, and that’s supposed to be what good Christians do. (This basic assumption goes beyond anything in scripture; people in any group “look after their own”.) Therefore they think they’re responding to an act of Christian charity, and everything they say is meant to make you feel good. As misguided as their comments are, this is them being nice. Any contrary response at all is liable to make some of them feel as if you’ve bitten their heads off for no good reason. I hate that this happens, but it’s just how it will come across.
You’re right though, this is an opportunity to enlighten. The fact that an atheist is capable of the same charity as a Christian is unfortunately news to many Christians. Now that the deed’s done, all you need to say in order to get that across is that you and your husband are atheists, so you needn’t reject anything explicitly while doing so. Maybe just make the point while also taking their comments in the spirit in which they’re intended: for example, “We’re atheists so I wouldn’t comment on that, but thanks for the good wishes.”
Sadly, the mere existence of atheists is an insult to some Christians, because it says to them that someone out there thinks they’re wrong, and maybe stupid or crazy as well. If you do anything but completely hide your atheism, someone will probably take offence no matter how tactful you are. It’s bound to cost you something socially. It might however be worth it.