Christians Don't Understand Other Religions Exist
God Help the Outcasts
There is an attitude that’s typical among Christians, especially the more outspoken and zealous of believers. Those who have this attitude tend to be blind to its existence.
“God Help the Outcasts” from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre-Dame is a good example of how this pervasive confusion is in media as well as everyday life. It’s a beautiful song, and has a wonderful sentiment, from a Christian perspective. The problem is, it’s deeply ignorant.
“It’s not ignorant!” You may argue. “It’s about someone who’s not Christian turning to God in a time of crisis.”
That is exactly the problem. This thinking is exactly what I’m talking about. It comes from such widespread deep ignorance, Christians don’t have any concept that something is amiss.
“Someone who isn’t religious,” is not an apt description of Esmeralda either. Let me get back to this in a bit.
“Why Do You Hate God?”
One of the symptoms of this ignorant point of view is asking an Atheist the question, “why do you hate God?”
This question is nonsense. It’s like asking a Christian, “why do you hate the Flying Spaghetti Monster?” By the very nature of not believing in something, you cannot hate it. You may hate the idea of it or the things people do in its name, but you cannot hate the thing itself. Christians take the hate some Atheists have for Christianity or it’s believers and mistake that for hatred of God. Atheists, however, don’t believe God exists any more than Christians believe in spaghetti monsters.
“Why Do Non-Believers Turn to God?”
There’s a misconception that when faced with crisis Atheists will turn to God for help. It’s not entirely false, after a fashion but it’s not as simple as Christians think. The notion comes mostly from those who were raised in a religious culture but never had strong faith.
It’s a perfectly natural part of humanity to seek help. In times of great need that can mean turning to a “higher power”. When someone who doesn’t have a lot of faith goes through trying times, we tend to turn to what we know of spirituality for help. In our US society, that tends to mean the Christian deity. So some people who don’t identify themselves as faithful, turn to God in troubled times.
This does not mean everyone who believes in some other faith turns to the Christian god for help. We turn to the faith we know. Christians often don’t seem able to grasp this concept.
Someone who truly believes something doesn’t exist, will not turn to it for help.
What Does “God Help the Outcasts” Have to Do With This?
The song is a great example of selflessness and compassion. It embodies many virtues Christianity poses are important. The problem is that it’s about someone who doesn’t believe in Christianity pleading to a non-existent being for help.
Esmeralda refers to herself as an “outcast” with clear implications throughout the movie that she’s not Christian. Yet, she turns to Christianity once she’s within the walls of the church.
While it may seem natural to Christians that she would turn to the icon in front of her for help, it makes no sense religiously. This is why it’s ignorant. Think about it. Would a Christian turn to Shiva for help? “I’m in trouble. Oh, look, there’s a statue of Shiva, better pray.” No. Christians don’t drop their faith because they’ve entered another religion’s church. Neither would a Hindi suddenly become Christian by entering a Christian church. You don’t suddenly decide the religion you believe in is false because you’re in the building of another religion. It’s a ridiculous notion.
To think this way is to disregard the religious beliefs of others (or lack faith in your own religion).
Why do we have movies and TV shows in which “non-Christians” suddenly turn to God? For the same reason Christians ask, “why do you hate God?” A complete lack of understanding. Sometimes it’s certainly willful ignorance. I suspect most of the time it’s a simpler, yet deeper issue. Christians cannot comprehend that other people don’t believe in their god.
This lack of understanding leads to the misconception that everyone believes in God. It also leaves a wide gap between Christians and respect for the beliefs of others. If you assume that on some level everyone believes in your god, you can’t help but disrespect other’s beliefs.
Odin would be ashamed. Of course, if you don’t believe in Odin, why should you care?
Thanks for Reading!
Do you have personal experience with this issue? Do you have something to add? Do you think I’m just full of it and don’t understand Christians? I’d love to read your comments below.
© 2019 kwade tweeling