I can certainly grasp why there are many people who have been turned off of Christianity specifically and religion in general because of the vociferous actions, religious abuse and bullying of many self-proclaimed Christians, who may or may not be TRUE BELIEVERS. I once saw a bumper sticker that summed up the dilemma perfectly, “Jesus, save me from your followers.”
I identify myself as a Christian, but prefer to find alternate ways of explaining my faith. I cringe and want to disassociate from those who claim the name while displaying bigoted and intolerant views toward people who don’t believe in the same doctrine or have the same understanding of what it means to be Christian as they. It is not my job to point out the defects, faults, and limitations of others, according to my understanding of God. I have plenty of my own issues I’m still working through and discovering. Before I can attempt to remove the speck from another, I have planks of my own to deal with.
That being said, I make it a general practice to avoid arguing with someone who actively disagrees and/or despises my faith. I have enough stress and drama in my life and, since I am continuing to work and grow in my own faith and understanding of God, it isn’t a constructive use of my time or energy. It also tends to be counterproductive in reflecting God’s love in the world. Unfortunately, occasionally, I will get sucked into it. Today was one of those days.
A distant relative of my father’s (who I’ve never actually met and didn’t know existed until 2010) and I are “friends” on facebook. Since most of his posts are in a language I have very limited experience in, I tend to let them float on by in the news stream. Today, though, he posted a picture with the statement at the top of this page, “Too stupid to understand science? TRY RELIGION!”
BOOM! . . . I went there. Here’s what followed:
- ME: I think that there are people of reason and logic who also hold a personal faith and belief system many would consider religious. Therefore, just as it is unconscionable for those who ascribe to a specific belief system to denigrate and discount those who don’t share in those beliefs, the same is true for people who believe differently from me to insinuate and judge my intellectual capacity because I hold to a personal faith
- Him: interesting, so… do u belive in evolution or creation? choose one 😉
- ME: I don’t believe they are mutually exclusive. Original creation has evolved, devolved, and transitioned over the years. My personal belief is that after we all end our time on this earth, everyone will discover how true, false, right and wrong our beliefs have been and that no one individual, group, organization, church, religion, or belief system is infallible or big enough to encompass Truth.
- Him: I can give u the true right now if u want so u can stop wasting ur time, money and life in church o any other building and start livin’ ur life without fear now not when u end ur time in earth, here we go: there is not cosmic jewish zombie who can make u live forever if u symbollicaly eat his flesh and drink his blood and telephatically tell him that u accept him as ur master so he can remove the evil force from ur soul that is present in you cuz a rib woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree, u r welkome 😉
- ME: Well, if that was what I believed in and what I was doing, I might gratefully accept your edification and illumination on the fallacy of those beliefs. I appreciate your concern and caring efforts to offer me your understanding of truth.
That was it. He “liked” my comments and that’s all there was to it.
I think it bothers me that there are many educated, rational, and generally tolerant people who turn into irrational, intolerant bigots themselves when confronted with the question of religion, faith, and spirituality. They are offended, angry, and disgusted by the so-called faithful who spread messages of hate and intolerance, yet they have no qualms about spreading such messages themselves in response.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to waste a lot of energy and time going down this particular rabbit hole, it was just something for me to think on for a little while. On a side note: The snarky part of me really wanted to point out the lack of intelligence suggested by the complete disregard of spelling, punctuation or grammar and to suggest that if one is going to insult the intellectual capabilities of a group of people, then one should avoid doing so in such an illiterate manner.