Why are some Christians highly antagonistic towards those whose religious/ethical/ spiritual
beliefs and/or philosophies are divergently and/or diametrically different from theirs?
I can only speak for myself here. I live next to someone like that. I wish I could move! I'd leave immediately! For years she has been consistently trying to make an enemy out of me. I have no idea why. She constantly berates me in public, at gatherings, wherever we run in to each other in the world such as the grocery store or at a school.
Quite frankly, we both went to the same church for a while so I was always confused as to what made her think she was better than me or what gave her the right to publicly ostracize me for things like wearing red lipstick.
I couldn't take it any more and left the church we both attended. Between her and the self-righteous hypocritical church people in charge, it was enough to make me thankful that I have the ability to keep an open mind and appreciate others for who they are, not what they can do. It's all about the appearance to some. I have learned so much from friends who are not Christians, including my friend Beth who saved my life. I was in a marriage that was downright abusive and didn't see it. She saw it and told me straight to my face! If it hadn't been for her wisdom, I don't know if I'd be here today to share this with you. So that's why I'm thankful for everyone's opinions other than my own.
What I speak to is a matter of the people within this little segregation here in town who are threatened by outside opinions. They are wrapped up in their own little world. They pretend to be better than everyone, sticking their nose up at at everyone else, all while failing to remember one thing. The basics of Christianity is believing one is a sinner. For if they do not believe they are a sinner, then Jesus had no reason to go to the cross.
Live and let live. That's my philosophy, coming from someone who has been antagonized for the past 20 years by someone who obsessed herself with my life.
There could be many factors in play.
Emotional immaturity seems to factor in to a lot of it - childish antics and wanting attention and to play the victim etc. I remember the whole "even negative attention is still attention" mantra.
I think, although some won't admit it, the idea of someone being non-religious and yet still happy and at peace in their life is scary. If you don't need faith in a particular religion to have that, then perhaps that calls into question the value of that faith for that person?
Perhaps its fear based, in some way maybe they do doubt their own beliefs/faith and it puts them in a frightening place which is understandable. Instead of investigating that within, they lash out at others and blame them as the cause. I went through this. I was raised in a highly religious background I didn't believe in and it causes a LOT of internal turmoil when you start to question. You feel guilt that you have the audacity to question God etc.
Some of it may be jealousy in some instances. I know a lot tend to demonize science and those of intelligence as relying solely on their smarts - as though that were a bad thing. Perhaps they feel they are less intelligent than their "adversaries" to some degree.
In the end though, in its most simplistic form, animosity and hatred boil down to one thing and one thing only - FEAR. fear of what you don't understand, fear of what you don't know, fear of what you can't control, fear of things that are unlike you etc.
You are SPOT ON regarding your analysis. If the religious person was not so insecure, why would HE/SHE care about another's religious belief. Fear too ,maybe the religious person is UNSURE about his/her beliefs, seeing another's beliefs as a THREAT.
For the Bible following Christian, neither insecurity nor fear are the reasons for evangelism. Many Bible verses clearly teach the duty of the believer to spread the gospel. But I can see why those unfamiliar with the Bible could think thus.
Not talking about those that evangelize Caleb, I was talking about those who seek out atheists/agnostics and are then mean or condescending under the guise of asking meaningful questions.
The simple answer here is a lack of maturity. Not all Christians are like this, but apparently, you've been encountering the ones who are still on colostrum, don't read or study the word for themselves, and rely solely on some other person, ie: a preacher/pastor, to tell them what the bible actually says. Which means, they can be misled very easily.
Scripture tells us to study to show ourselves approved. The purpose of self study is to transform the mindset, and move a person out of carnality and into spirituality. Then they will walk with grace, and love people instead of hating or despising them.
I do want to stress that scripture charges us with the responsibility of going out and telling the world about Christ, but that does not sound like what you are saying. It's one thing to share your beliefs or philosophy. Its another thing entirely to despise or hate someone because of what they believe.
You may not agree, but there is no reason or cause to be disrespectful of anyone. If you disagree with a person, simply agree to disagree, and if necessary for the sake of your peace, distance yourself from them, but you can still be cordial and respectful.
And yes, those who don't follow this practise end up giving Jesus a bad name, and are just as much of an embarrassment to those of us that do follow it. I hope that answers your question. Be blessed.
FEAR. When human beings are not convinced of their position on any front, anything that comes against their stated position creates dissonance. Dissonance registers as a conflict within the mind where one's sensibility of being "worthy" or rather "right" becomes threatened, People whose values and opinions are not internalized to the point where they hold them because they have been integrated into the very fabric of the person's being become vulnerable to being persuaded by a charmer or anyone with a seemingly reasonable argument. Christians are far from being the only ones that become antagonistic in the face of others whose opinions differ. All we have to do is to look at the political arena unfolding before our eyes: Where do we see the greatest judgment? Whose values and opinions are being denigrated? I might propose that this question be rephrased: Why are some people highly antagonistic towards those whose religious/ethical/ spiritual beliefs and/or philosophies are divergently and/or diametrically different from theirs? The mere fact that this question was articulated in this way signals an antagonistic idealogical root .
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