Addendum to Guns II

hands  Yesterday I had a (non-virtual) onversation with a Christian friend of mine, regarding my blog post Guns II. This friend falls into what I believe to be an under-represented portion of my readership, Christians who are openminded enough to hear, respect, and genuinely evaluate the opinions of nonbelievers. I wonder if the polarized and occasionally belligerent comments sometimes dissuade this segment from adding very valuable contributions. My friend made a point that was eye-opening to me, and I believe it deserves a place in the conversation.

In what I hope to be a truthful representation of her opinion, she informed me that not only nonbelievers, but many Christians are also offended when the word “prayer” is thrown around after a tragedy. She acknowledged that we would not agree on whether prayer was a form of action.  But regardless of that, to throw around the word prayer as an empty and automatic form of condolences was no less disturbing to some Christians than it was to some atheists. When I reenacted my repulsion by the “prayer chain letters” on Facebook, her words were, “That was the same exact reaction I had.”

Admittedly, it hadn’t occurred to me that “flippant Christianese” might be as bothersome to Christians as it was to me. I mistakingly assumed that all Christians would applaud an increased use of words and phrases that acknowledged the existence of God, regardless of whether the context was truthful or appropriate. It bothered me that Trump would use the word prayer instead of one that invoked action. That bothered her as well. But additionally, it bothered her that Trump would use the word prayer when he was probably not really praying. To me, prayer had no meaning. To her, it had special meaning. We were equally offended for different reasons, by the superficial use of the word.

I always appreciate input that stretches my understanding. I think it’s important for each of us to take a breath and listen to others, whether their worldview matches ours, opposes it, or crosses it somewhere in the middle. Life is a journey, and we’re all on it together. And that, my friends, is probably the cheesiest sentence you will ever get out of me.

But it’s true.

 

 

 

27 thoughts on “Addendum to Guns II

  1. Dani … I think Christians like the one you describe are misjudged. Too often they are lumped into the “fundamentalist” crowd by default. And that’s not fair.

    On the other end of spectrum, although I was knee-deep in the Pentecostal movement, I try not to carry the same screaming (pun intended) perspective into my conversations as a non-believer. IOW, when discussing the failings of Christianity, I try not be be insulting and/or hard-nosed. What’s the old saying? You catch more (fill in the blank) with honey than with vinegar. Besides, as your post illustrates, not EVERY Christian is stubborn, close-minded, and argumentative. Many are actually open to serious conversation about their faith.

    I’m glad you wrote this post.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Danica,

    I have to agree with you and Nan, as well as your Christian friend. I have MANY Christian friends in my circles, including many family members. The biggest difference between the radical ones, the more hyper-outspoken ones like tRump(?) is that THEY realize completely that their individual “faith” is their’s and it’s personal… NOT for everyone in the world to experience! They are Moderates and are very courteous in how and when they openly discuss their “faith.” Ironically too is that they have a most deep appreciation for the solid concept of the Separation of Church and State. IOW, that Constitutional concept has equal value outside of government and the public into private homes and property for VERY GOOD REASONS!!! 😉

    A well-deserving post Danica! Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Grrrrrrrr!!! See what happens when I get into a hurry? Correction, that should have read:

      IOW, that Constitutional concept has equal value inside of government and the public as it does into private…

      My apologies for my morning brain-farts. :/

      Like

  3. I am going to be the lone dissenter – so far.

    There is a large dollop of hypocrisy when I read this sort of reaction from so-called reasonable Christians.
    It’s much like Francis Collins having no time for Ken Ham.
    The both believe in nonsensical garbage, consider themselves unworthy and ”sinners” that require saving.

    One must always be mindful when paying any sort of Kudos that the same person firmly believes in the veracity of a narrative construct that rose from the dead, and in whom belief in and worship of is the ONLY way to save one’s soul (sic) and get to Heaven, failing which they are doomed to an eternity in Hell in whichever form they adhere to.
    And tacitly or blatantly their mission, as commanded by the narrative construct Jesus of Nazareth, is to convert as many as they can before judgment day.
    This I not only find offensive I also consider when perpetrated on kids, to be tantamount to child-abuse.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ark … not all believers are as hard-nosed as you think. Perhaps these are the only ones you’ve had contact with … I don’t know.

      Let me put it this way … as a total bible-believing, blood-washed, heaven-destined Christian, I was taught that those who didn’t practice this strict doctrinal approach were being ruled by Satan. They had not truly “given their lives” for Christ. They were “wishy-washy” Christians.

      So no … not every believer brainwashes their children into “the faith” because they themselves are not that indoctrinated. Case in point … not every atheist is as adamant as you are. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All atheists have one thing in common. We do not believe in gods.

        All Christians do …. And that is where the rub lies because of its influence and the privilege it demands.

        There is still an element of hypocrisy involved.
        Maybe the reason why you don’t see ”normal” Christians(sic) protesting outside Ken Ham’s Ark Adventure, or whatever it’s called, and why the ”normal” Christians in this neck of the woods don’t berate Wally for believing that dinosaurs ran around with humans – simply because their beliefs are just as stupid.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ark “its influence and the privilege it demands” is exactly what (I hope) I am speaking against, with every blog post I write. I believe this is the enemy, more so than religion itself. 🙂 Good point.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Nan and Ark, I see your comments and I raise you one comment (heehee). I think listening to the viewpoints of another person, if and when relevant, is paramount to sharing this world with our human family. This includes, sometimes, opinions that fully oppose our own. Even if it serves to better understand why others are motivated to action by those opinions, it helps us move towards our personal and social goals and ideals. If we are firm in our beliefs, listening to those of others should only edify them further. If we are undecided, it is even more important to listen. As an adult, I don’t feel threatened by listening to Christian opinions. So I primarily agree with Nan’s response. However, I have to agree with Ark that indoctrination is, in my mind, a form of child abuse, especially concerning the threat of “punishment.” Having spoken with Nan about this, I know we are all on the same page about that. 🙂

        Liked by 4 people

    2. I can definitely appreciate and often dare not hamper Ark’s POV and convictions about Christology and its proponents. Remember the incredible 1990 film Dances With Wolves that won 7 Academy Awards? Remember Wind In His Hair and his extremely forthright personality? And Ark, I want you to take this the RIGHT way as I’m assessing this dialogue thread here, ok? 😉 This is the scene I’m referring to and what John Dunbar says about Kicking Bird’s affect and Wind In His Hair’s affect…

      The fierce one, as I call him, seems a very tough fellow. I hope I never have to fight him.” Hahahaha! That, Ark, is how I see you when it comes to the circus of Christology and its defendants. But I tell you what… I damn sure want Ark on MY side in a dark alley watching my back!!! 😉

      That said Ark, everything in life, especially human beings, is not always so cut-n-dry, all-in or all-out, you are either with me or against me, and babies in bath water or NOT in bath water. People are at different points on their path through life going different speeds (or not at all!) and seeing and not seeing all the scenery that others see… or not see. You must allow for some leeway, margin for human error. This world, this life as we perceive it is MESSY!!! Everything in it is never tidy and perfect… or the exact opposite either! LOL 🤣 There are degrees of things all throughout, and even sub-atomic degrees!

      But I too absolutely agree about child-indoctrination about a Boogy-thingy of Darkness and Evil is absolutely a form of child-abuse proportional to how much and how horrific the parents and the “community” engrains it into their psyche. That is undeniable. I know because my daughter has been brainwashed by my ex-wife and her Looney Tune friends. 🙄😢

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I listened to an interesting podcast from Skeptic website with Bart Erhman, who is a religious historian at Duke University and Michael Shermer, who is an astrophysicist or cosmologist, I believe. Both were religious in their youth and by one studying science and the other religious history, they both became atheists or perhaps agnostics. I was particularly impressed with Erhman. His main belief is that if people are going to be Christian, they should most definitely study it historically, so they can believe, if they wish, in something they know they history of. This is Erhman’s profession and he has written some books, which deal with the history and with verifiable corroborations of past history. He said he was not out to de convert people, but to urge them to study the history and not what the Bible says. Studying the history, he felt would change their beliefs and see how incorrect so many things they believed were and ultimately make them see the light. I found the podcast excellent even though it was over an hour. I listened in pieces.

    This meant something to me because the arguing back and forth and the craziness with some of these far right nut cases is a useless exercise. Some people want to believe and some people want to know…simple really. I’m glad I’m in the wanting to know group, as we all are here.

    If anyone is interested, here is the link.

    https://www.skeptic.com/past-lectures/forbidden-religion-christianity-swept-world/?utm_source=eSkeptic&utm_campaign=c7d9e7af48-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8c0a740eb4-c7d9e7af48-73259545&mc_cid=c7d9e7af48&mc_eid=9513ac8947

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mary!!!! Wonderful comment and addition!!!! I love Erhman’s body of work as well and his approach to Biblidolatry. The very REAL history of the origins of the early Church within the grand and entire context around Jerusalem, in Judea, Samaria, Syria, all within the HEAVY harsh arm and rule of the Roman Empire… paints a very different picture than the canonical New Testament! Even more so when you superimpose TRUE Jewish Messianism.

      Thank you for this link! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. YES! Study the history! This is a primary reason why Christians in the blogosphere get so upset with atheists and/or non-believers — they know more about the bible and its history than the Christians do.

      This is essentially the “plot” of my book — what I learned from research and reading about Christian beliefs and doctrines. Danica’s book does the same thing but in a different way.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Another good insight. 🙂 Just like not all atheists can be clumped in one mindset, Christianity is incredibly diverse – and you’re right, many hold a special place for prayer and so are just as offended when it is co-opted for political purposes or by fakers looking to build a false reputation.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As a recently deconverted Christian, I can say that I think there are probably quite a few Christians like the one you spoke of when it comes to their feelings on prayer and the Christian “talk instead of act” mentality. I know I was…to a point. I was more rational and aware that prayers aren’t the cure to “all that ails ya”. I knew all to well that prayers are not always answered. Of course I now know that none ever were. I was also, unfortunately, quick to judge. I was a closet judge though. I kept most of my negative thoughts to myself, which is worse. At least if I had told someone what I really thought of them they would know the real me. Instead, I was kind to their face and talked about them behind their back. That was the type of Christian I was and the type that the church really endorsed. It was the norm. Be nice to them and try to really be “understanding.” But then talk about how bad these people are and pray for their souls behind closed doors. I am not saying any of that was okay…because it wasn’t. It’s part of my Christian upbringing and unfortunately, part of who I was. I always thought I was better than other Christians and certainly better than the sinners of the world. I was wrong on both counts. But that’s all behind me so I now try to share my journey so others don’t make my mistakes. I can only change who I am, not who I was.

    Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ben, both for the compliment and for your transparency. I was not raised as a Christian, but I did spend many years of my adult life fully commited to the Christian religion. So I completely relate to the thoughts you’ve posted here. There are many beliefs/assumptions/attitudes about life that I experienced during that time, which I wish I could erase. However, like you, I think it is important to share this journey with others. Thanks for reading and commenting. I look forward to hearing more from you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I thought I had a lot to share when I was a Christian but I have found I have much more to talk about since leaving it behind. I know I can be more helpful to people now by sharing my story. When I was in a religion, I was part of the problem and didn’t even know it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s funny you say that, because I noticed the same thing. When I was “supposed” to be fired up and telling the world about my beliefs, I didn’t feel it. Now that I’ve left Christianity, I feel compelled to share what I call, “The Really Good News,” haha. All of the things I was told I would feel as a Christian, inner peace, boldness, compelled to help otheres, excited to share my story, etc., are the things I felt most when I left Christianity. I think you’re doing a good thing by sharing your story with others. It’s surprising how many people feel trapped in the confines of religion, and truly just desire to escape it and embrace life. Thanks again for your comments!

        Liked by 1 person

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