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Christian Stereotyping

Updated on January 24, 2015

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Religious Christians in Spain

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Some Examples of the Differences Between Christian Sects

Time and time again, anyone who has participated in a group forum, has come across other people who like to lump a said group, into a single classification. Like classifying all Christians into one vast category. Christians can be so vastly different from one another, just as different as their DNA. Maybe non-Christians do not realize that there are many points of interest, which divide Christians. As with all people from around the world there are huge differences that classify people apart from another. In some Christian churches, race is reason enough to have a different type of Christian church. Take the United Methodist Church for an example.

Currently under the Methodist ideology and philosophy there are three opposing churches of thought:

  • There are the Southern Methodists who hold a more radical Christian ideology that almost reflects a Southern Baptist or an Assembly of God church members' reverence.
  • Then there are the United Methodists who follow a liberal yet very traditional path of Christian practices that mimics its foundational roots, which are found in their early origins as English, Anglo-Saxons parish members.
  • Lastly, there is the African-American Southern Methodist Church, which was established by black men for black families, women, and children to worship as a unit, and also to provide a safe place away from their Southern Methodist, white, oppressors.

WIKIPEDIA'S List of Christian Denominations,

Between denominations, theologians, and comparative religionists there are considerable disagreements about which groups can be properly called Christian, disagreements arising primarily from doctrinal differences between groups.

As there are reported to be approximately 41,000 Christian denominations...

Early Christian Painting

A Christian-Jew  who was chastise for being sympathetic to Christ followers.
A Christian-Jew who was chastise for being sympathetic to Christ followers. | Source

Take Away the Phrases..., and Stop All Prejudice Thinking

I often read terms like "all you"- referring to Christians - being used in religious forums and chat rooms, across the Internet bandwidth. I read other groups of people such as Atheist, Agnostics, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., chastise Christians for not understanding their non-beliefs or lifestyles, in a toying manner. I also see the phrase "you Christians" being used when an accusation is made against a Christian debator participating in a forum discussion. I certainly see a lot of the same "all you Christians" phrasing, when a Christian begins preaching about their beliefs in Jesus to those, who do not believe. And, I get it. I do! I totally understand that non-believers find that uninitiated preachy-response disrepectful. Therefore, quick witted non-believers use the phrase as a quick defensive, backlash, attack to the preaching Christian's dialogue. It is really at that point of the forum thread, when other debators start voicing their damning implications that ALL Christians are "all" ignorant, "all" hate mongers, and of course "all" religious zealots. Most of time debators do not take into accountant that Christians are also vastly divided. It is just as irresponsible for non Christians to classify Christians under one umbrella. There needs to be many umbrellas.

Another important point in need of addressing is—

It is NEVER the intention of most Christians to have a "born again" status tagged on their backs. Many Christians never lose their faith, therefore they do not need to be labeled. It is quite silly really for all Christians to be lumped together as hate mongers, religious zealots and so on.

There is a need for change...

Getting Back To What We Learned in Grade School About Respect

Freedom and Liberties are not qualifications for rude behaviors.
Freedom and Liberties are not qualifications for rude behaviors. | Source

Stop and Think Before You Write In A Religious Forum

1. "You People", "All You", "These Peoples" "You Christians" and phrases bearing those same connotations, should stop and not be use. One Christian comment does NOT represent all Christian believers viewpoint. I would like to take this opportunity to ask ALL religious forum participants to consider that for once!

2. With that said, I think stereotyping Christians into a "you people" stereotype is incredibly lackadaisical.

If honest answers in a forum setting are what non-Christian forum participants seek from Christians; the please start seeking those answers fairly, and stop putting Christians (like myself) in a defensive mindset, from the very get go. Classifying Christians into one group is also sloppy thinking. So stop.

A Call to Fairness's

Stop and think before you write a sentence in a religious forum, in an attacking manner, which lumps believers in Christ in one group. There is a level of respect that is missing from religious forums everywhere. I am beseeching everyone to consider that people are unique, and that there are needs for all participants, to begin a conversation with a fair level of decorum.

Stereotyping and Prejudices

Do you find that you are stereotypical of large groups of like minded people, e.g. Christians?

See results


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  • mbasa profile image

    Zimkhitha 4 years ago from South Africa

    Thanks for bringing this up. I'd have to read through torturing forums who are busy describing Christians in ways that I do not even recognize or identify with. It is wrong to make assumptions about any particular group especially if assumptions are based on a personal experience with a small group who actually happen to form a tiny minority of a whole. I try by all means not to make assumptions about people based on how they differ from me.

    As a South African who was born during the Apartheid era, one who would think I'd be justified to assume that all white people are cruel and hate blacks. I make a point to read a person for who they are instead of their religion, race, sexual orientation etc.

    That to me is the religion of love!

  • profile image

    Sooner28 6 years ago

    I have always thought Paulinity would be a better term for what most people call Christianity in America :P.

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 6 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    I wouldn't go that far. Those people have the Pauline Doctrine so far up their butts, I don't think that will ever happen.

  • profile image

    Sooner28 6 years ago

    Oh I hope you enjoyed yourself at the lake house!

    I honestly don't know much about the Gnostics, so I cannot give any intelligent comments on the matter.

    I'm glad you have a 21st century of salvation though. I think a lot of Churches are moving in that direction, due to the fact that people are fed up with fire and brimstone. 30 years from now, even the Southern Baptists probably won't be mentioning hell at all in their sermons.

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 6 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Thank you. I've been down at my lake house all weekend. Sorry that I am just getting back. You know- my beliefs reflect that of the Gnostics. Which is a completely different look on the Divinity and Jesus Christ. It is the oldest form of Christianity. So starting my own church would be counter-productive. But thanks...

    I don't believe you are going to hell. One you are way too conscientious of your own actions. Two- why would you? Because you don't believe Jesus Christ is the son of God? Really? My God does not punish people. He is not merciless. He is kind, loving, compassionate and very understanding. People have miscued his words to their advantage or rather for their control. It's sad. It is disgraceful and for all those who believe that anybody will be sent to a fire of brimstone for not believing Jesus is the son of God- is not a true follower of Jesus Christ! Bottomline. The thief on the cross didn't believe, but yet where is he? Jesus Christ said, You will be with me in Paradise!" How awesome is that? I mean, amen to that!!

    Good luck with your adventures, and I will see you in paradise! I am so glad we have crossed paths.

  • profile image

    Sooner28 6 years ago

    Salvation by grace is a perfect example of what I meant by hateful Christians. If I don't accept Jesus as my savior, then I go to hell, and there is no amount of good works I can possibly do to make up for it. I guess the flames are heating up for the day that I die.

    I'm glad you don't believe that. You should start your own church Intimat. Even though I don't believe, I would still drop in once in a while!

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 6 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Right on!

  • no body profile image

    Robert E Smith 6 years ago from Rochester, New York

    You certainly have been busy recently. You've been writing up a storm! You have been reading my hubs for a long time. I look at things in terms of doctrine and in particular the doctrine of saved by grace. The funny thing about history is that throughout history different religious name tags have held to that doctrine and then let it go. The first to do that was the Catholic Church. Monks used to teach their attendees how receive Christ as Savior and then the batton was passed to the Lutherans and then to the Methodists. Each labeled group was the leader for a time for salvation. Today things have changed. Salvation does not rest under a name tag. Some Baptist churches teach it as do some Lutherans, Methodists, and Fellowship churches. You can't really tell until you read a particular church's doctrinal statement what they believe. In my opinion that is what each person should do. Investigate the belief and decide whether or not to attend. I cannot recommend any individual group that does not teach salvation by grace through faith. All the feel good churches are just social groups for the community as far as I'm concerned.

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 6 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Wonderfully put. I agree with your sentiment completely. I love the pink Buffalo analogy!

  • adagio4639 profile image

    adagio4639 6 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont problem. Atheism is not a religion. If we insisted that everything we don't believe in is a religion, we'd be carrying a lot of baggage with us. I don't believe there are pink buffaloes on Venus, but that doesn't mean I now have a religion known as the Non-belief in Pink Buffaloes on Venus. There are plenty of things that people don't believe in, but that doesn't mean that they're now religions of non-belief. Its absurd. I think it's safe to assume that most atheists rely on reason as a guide. Those things that require them to suspend skepticism are usually rejected.

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 6 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Sooner28, can I get an AMEN brother!?! lol. I'm teasing. But right on. I know, it's mind boggling to say the least. The creation story, if ever taught in a school, needs to be taught as a myth or in a folklore class. A religion class. It does not belong in a science classroom. In Columbia, MO rock hard science is taught in the classroom. If they did teach the Creation story as fact..., oh man! ACLU here I would come. Thanks so much for your thought provoking comments. Loved them.

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 6 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Hi! Yeah, totally get where you are coming from. My son calls it logic. I was making a small reference to things I've noticed and heard, like here in the HubPages Forum not too long ago, there was a heated argument about the "religion" of Atheism and Bill Mahr is bitching about how people want to call Atheism a religion. I was being courteous too. I try very hard not to assume that Sooner felt that way... So I was just saying. I am delighted to hear that it hasn't been difficult for you, when encountering the few people that want to classify Atheism as a religious belief. I think you might be in a minority. Most people I have encountered, have had some difficulty explaining their lack of beliefs, logic or in your case reason. Thanks so much for your delightful and thought provoking commentary.

  • adagio4639 profile image

    adagio4639 6 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

    "So bear with me here, but if I am not mistaken..., I imagine you find it difficult to explain to people that you do not believe in any being, any existence and any thing remotely based of theories." You are mistaken. It's not difficult at all to explain to anybody why you don't believe in something. There is no empirical evidence to support the existence of a supernatural being. That's reason enough. Plus...nobody is ever required to prove a negative. To prove that something doesn't exist. The burden of proof is on the person or persons that insist that something DOES exist. What you need to realize is that theories such as evolution are not beliefs without scientific support. They are accepted because of their empirical evidence. The theories are always open to falsification. If the theory can be falsified, then it would be tossed into the dumpster in favor of whatever replaced it. That's the basic difference here. Religions aren't open to new information that would falsifiy them. All scientific theories are. Religions assume that a belief is true, and then attempt to look for things to support the existing belief. That's an inductive reasoning process, and inductive reasoning NEVER proves a theory. To find if something is true it must contain the possibility of being false.It must be falsifiable. All theories must be subjected to severe criticism to see if they stand up. You never prove a theory is true. But you can prove that it's false. Religions can't be tested because they involve metaphysical subjects that fall outside the realm of scientific scrutiny. So...people accept them as true through faith. Not any empirical evidence. So they don't contain the possibility of being proven true OR false. The atheist has no problem in explaining why he doesn't believe something. The simple answer for him is he sees no reason to. He uses reason as his guide. It's what keeps him rational. He doesn't have to commit to irrationality to explain something that has no basis other than itself, which amounts to circular reasoning and a commitment to irrationality.

  • profile image

    Sooner28 6 years ago

    I really appreciate your thoughtful response. It helped clarify your position. If more Christians were like you, I don't think there would be as much of a backlash from the atheist community. This doesn't mean I think Christianity is true, but it does mean that I see you as a loving, thoughtful human being who doesn't go around telling her fellow humans that they are going to hell for believing in the wrong religion.

    I'm also not an atheist, but I'm as close to one as a person can be without being one! So I just usually say I am for the sake of argument. It depends on what day you ask me though :P.

    I've also watched a little about ancient astronaut theory. I do find it interesting. If there are other intelligent forms of life, who is to say they have not interacted with us? It's plausible that early man would see them as gods, the same way some primitive tribes have greeted Americans as such. I find these ideas interesting to think about. I also would venture to say you would not push for this to be taught in science classrooms, but that is a difference between you and others.

    I'm glad you attempt to follow Jesus. I don't know how many times I have seen people who claim to act nothing like him whatsoever, in their personal actions, or their lifestyle choices (such as driving a hummer). Christians should be at the forefront, right along with atheists, and Buddhists, and Jews, and Muslims, and Mormons fighting to protect clean air and water and the rights of all. Once we all come together, then maybe the world will change.

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 6 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    They eat me up and spit me out for supper. Open ears my friend, and a basic, honest yearning to gain knowledge is lacking in our religious forum. I have approach those forums but, until a person is willing to step out of stupidity, put their thinking caps on and earnestly learn what their fellow mankind has to offer them... I'm outta there. Thanks so much for reading my hub!

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 6 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Can you say Amen!


    I am firm in my convictions that there must always be a separation of Church and State, except for some reason W. was allowed to enact into law a Fed.Grant system which now gives free money to "Faith-based" organizations. Are you kidding me? Where was the Supreme Court during those years... It's criminal!

    I wholeheartedly see your points of view. The injustices of the Middle East..., I shudder to think of how our generation is to be judged by history. It will not be favorable. People want to believe in the worse of people. It gives that person the justification to be a less than idealistic companion of humanity. An excuse if you will to be a butthead. If I could be anymore frank about it. Nobody, I mean nobody has the right to impose on a persons right to choose, to live free, and make money for their families based off a religious ideology! It's flat wrong.

  • Disappearinghead profile image

    Disappearinghead 6 years ago from Wales, UK

    Wow IE, your response to sooner was more profound than your hub. I loved what you wrote. Why don't we see you in forumland? You are such an antidote to the fundamentalist and the mocking atheist.

  • adagio4639 profile image

    adagio4639 6 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

    This is a good article. I was raised a Christian, but left the church at a very young age. I found it all very confusing. The various denominations all had such different views on what defines Christianity, that I reasoned they were probably all wrong when it came to practicing what they were preaching.

    Stereotyping is clearly in place regarding Christian identity. I'm aware of it. When a person identifies himself to me as a "Christian", I confess that I almost automatically see Rick Santorum, or Michelle Bachmann pop into my mind, along with Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertsons, Rev. Haggard, and so many others that preach a very narrow minded, oppressive, fundamentalist, and yes...racist orthodoxy that I'm immediately repelled. Orthodoxy is the enemy of knowledge, and I avoid these people and tune out their message every time they open their mouth. They give Christianity a bad name in my view. We tend to stereotype these extremist views, as we do with radical muslims, or radical zionist Jews. When someone announces they are a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew, the worst image leaps forward, rather than the best.

    So often muslims have been criticized for not denouncing the radical and extreme elements of their faith. But the same standard should apply to Christians as well.

    Personally, I reject all religions. I don't see a rational justification for any of them. They're all beliefs. They're all metaphysical and can't be subjected to any empirical review for their claim to truth. They're ideas and that's really all they are. They object to criticism, but as ideas they are absolutely opening themselves to questions which they don't engage, and in fact become defensive and insist that they are beyond criticism and those that pose questions or criticism are accused of persecution.

    When it comes down to it...I couldn't care less what a person believes, but I'm deeply offended by the notion that some belief system should be legislated into our system of governance. All of them should recognize that simply believing something, doesn't make it true, and truth should always be the goal. Which is more important to you? Truth, or some belief that can't demonstrate it?

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 6 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    To understand the love and power of Christ is to know, that there is no way in "hell" that he would ever send someone to a fiery pit, to roast for all eternity. The very idea of that angers me... Why? Christ was a lover of mankind. He walked upon the demonic and sick. He broke bread with the deceivers and those who live to be deceived. He wept for mankind on the cross that day..., so why then would he forsake the ones he loves because they have never heard of Christianity or don't believe him to be the son of God. It made no difference to Christ, that day on the cross when the Romans crucified him whether or not those people believed him to be God's son. He says in a prayer, "Forgive them father for they know not what they do..." In a passage found in Luke it talks about this very moment in time. Here is a small excerpt, "One of the criminals hanging there was hurling abuse at Jesus, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" 40 But the thief answered him by rebuking him and said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And, we who are indeed suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." 42 And so the thief turned to Jesus saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!" 43 And Jesus said unto him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."

    Now does like sound like someone who condemns a man for not believing in him? No. The men in my life are good men. They are pious people. Christ seeks those of us, like myself to pray as he did for humanities soul. Some Christians need to follow Christ, be Christ-like and judgments be placed by someone or something else. I agree that Atheist and Agnostics are cruelly treated. I agree completely. The root of all aggression or any kind is fear. Fear is the driving force that makes many Christians forsake their own teachers ideology, and do and say the things they do. I do not fear what is unknown to me. I do not fear the wrath of any man's word. Life is what it is, let's be glad and rejoice in the differences that embrace us! I love my God. I am comforted by the concept of a mystical being watching over me. I believe with all my might, backed by educational knowledge that a man, named Jesus lived and Nazareth and walked this earth. Was he the son of God? I don't know. I cannot say with certainty. I think so but, that's my opinion. If you want to know for yourself, then you must go out and seek him and find that knowledge that convinces you that he did exist. That's what I tell the men in my life. I have a library. I have documents and copy of historical records from the time period. For me it is enough to say he lived.

    Another thing I do believe that some Christians are baffled by, is the basic understanding that an Atheist does not belong to any one group or sect. You are an Atheist right? So bear with me here, but if I am not mistaken..., I imagine you find it difficult to explain to people that you do not believe in any being, any existence and any thing remotely based of theories. I have even heard a few poor souls who will then say, well that is a belief in itself. Um..., no. It is not. But, I find that when met with that level of ignorance there is nothing I can do or say to change that mentality. It's time them for me, to go out and converse with someone who at the very least, is at the same mutual intellect as I am. It's all we can do. Some people, bless their hearts like being stupid.

    On your questions of evolution..., you may think me crazy however, I believe that we were more likely created with the aid of Ancient Alien DNA advanced technology than we were to have came from one man named Adam, in a Garden of Eden. With that said, as for the Hebrew race whose to say that that race of people, didn't come from a man name Adam and a woman named Eve- who; just so happened to have lived 11000 years ago in what is now modern day Iraq. The land of Mesopotamian. Can you say for certainty that this is not where the Jewish race was first born? In the land of Sumeria? No, you can. Since the human genome project they have determine that human DNA is a result of 1 woman's egg in central Africa, a 180,000+ years ago. The scientific evidence is all right there. Now was this African woman Eve. No. The bible clearly gives the region of the Garden of Eden. It is nowhere near central Africa. I think many Christians fail to study scientific facts. They just assert the words written in the bible as fact. Well Sooner28, you'd be surprised or maybe not, on how many Christians don't realize that the words of the bible where first written down by men called scribes. They honestly believe that a mystical pen fell out of the air, and wrote the bible. Ironically, those people also believe that the bible didn't exist until a King in England named James commissioned it to be written. Which is sooooooo far base, that when that comes up I run and hide for cover. There is no battling stupidity. Stupid is as stupid does..., what more can I say?

    Thanks for your great questions to me. I am so glad that someone finally gets it. I am Christian. I believe in the love and brotherhood of Jesus Christ. I chose to live among my fellow mankind in a Christ-like reflection. But that is the only thing that separates me from you in all honesty. You chose to live a life in a logical mainframe, if you will allow me to paraphrase. It just doesn't work for me, any more than Christianity works for you. And on Global Warming- this is a crisis on a magnitude that I don't think some people can understand regardless of their religious beliefs. What drives me crazy however, is the right wing Christian coalition to abuse and destroy, their divine father's gift to us- our mother earth. Ironic when you look at it like that. How many Christian families do you see driving Ford Expeditions or gas guzzling machines? Here they come to church or a funeral in cloths made by slave-child labor, sporting fancy cosmetics all over their face in which a creature of God's gave his life for... And those pinheads who protest a military man's funeral in the name of Christ, or bomb an abortion clinic... and the list goes on and on. Some of the most evil people in this world, can be found sitting in a church pew. I won't darken the doorsteps of church. Evil, real evil breeds in those false houses of God, like rabbits in the Springtime. Again..., Forest Gump's mother said it, "Stupid is as stupid does." I will leave it at that.

  • profile image

    Sooner28 6 years ago

    You are completely correct that there are many personal differences within Christianity, and also within Christian theology; however, in order for words to have meaning, being a Christian must have SOME definition that will overlap with people who call themselves such. I enjoy Robin Meyer's style of Christianity personally. I don't see it as dangerous to humankind.

    I will follow your advice and not lump you in with many of the Christian faithful. I will just ask your opinion on a few issues. Do you believe unbelievers are going to hell? What is your position on homosexuality? And, do you believe that evolution is the best explanation for the variety of life one earth, and that climate change is occurring? I have no idea how you will answer, but I can say I am engaging your individual opinions before lumping you in with anyone.

    Stereotypes can be really damaging, especially if you are part of a group that is stereotyped and you don't share the characteristics of the said group! Many people lump atheists into a group of immoral, self-interested parasites (sounds more like capitalists to me); however, atheists have not actually given any evidence for this, whereas many of the main defenders of Christianity in the media do affirm the typical Christian stereotype. If more moderate Christians are out there IN LARGE NUMBERS, they should be more vocal with the media.


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