What makes so many traditional and fundamentalist Christians so highly condemning and condescending
of atheist and agnostic people?
I understand why you may feel that about fundamentalist Christians, as I've had my share of it. But oftentimes it's because they really believe in their faith, and they have an entire narrative of the world in the Bible. But personally, I also find that atheists and agnostics are very condemning and condescending of people of faith. And this is also because of their strong belief in facts as opposed to faith. I guess it goes both ways.
Let me ask you the same question gm. What makes atheists so highly condemning and condescending toward Christians? Ask a question on here about God, Jesus, or anything about Christianity and the atheists swarm.
JThomp, I think the same can be said if a question is asked about atheists, paganism, new age, etc. To prove my point, you jumped in here without an answer to the original question, but a condemning, condescending, finger-pointing reflection.
JT, while I agree with what you're saying, I think it needs to be much broader: "EVERYBODY" gets fussy, condescending, condemning, and sometimes downright mean (you're never mean) when the topic of religion/non-religion comes up. Even you and me.
With some, they like an excuse to feel victimized. They have plenty of churches, no one tells them they can't believe whatever they want, but for some (not most) but for a handful, it is never enough. They want to invade every aspect of society as though it was their sole right to determine the paths of others. When people push back they claim they are being "victimized" by agnostics and atheists. Frankly, most reasonable moderate religious people do not condemn, but respect agnostics and atheists. It might also be surprising to know that most of us who are atheist, not all, but most, are quite alright leaving the religious alone, if they return the same courtesy.
I think extremism is due to fear-based thought processes coupled with emotional immaturity that believes everything is "black or white". They do not see the complexities of things and believe that their path is the only right one. Their need to feel "special" in the eyes of God is what makes them feel the need to demonize or convert those who do not think like them. It also makes them prone to blaming anyone who isn't like them for the ills of society. They don't accept accountability and push everything they deem unacceptable off onto other groups of people. Anything bad is because of "those people" etc.
I think a lot of it is a form of self-comfort. It's difficult to face ourselves and the sheer amount of things we cannot begin to understand about life with honesty and much easier to wrap oneself in a cloak of perceived "righteousness" and protection from some outside source that loves them because they are chosen etc. Belief that you are on the right side of God and that there is a paradise or heaven etc. is a comfort for those who believe in that.
I don't care what anyone believes, but keep it to yourself unless asked - I don't understand why that is so difficult. I feel no need to "deconvert" the religious. I am quite certain I am right in my beliefs too - but I don't need to be right at other people's expense. We are all here to follow our own paths in our own ways. Mutual respect is the goal of most people, but there will always be those loud, vocal few on both ends of the spectrum that have to fight each other and can't just live and let live.
"What makes so many traditional and fundamentalist Christians so highly condemning and condescending?"
I trust you are just trying to be provocative by asking that question GM because if one were really to believe that "so many" "traditional and fundamentalist Christians" are highly condemning and condescending I'd have to say that question reveals more about the asker than any answer it sought.
To paint any one religious group with a broad brush, as your question implies, is in itself highly condemning and condescending, especially when no one who asks such a question would likely have known enough traditional and fundamentalist Christians to justify having the opinion that "so many" are .... There are a myriad of groups that consider themselves traditional and fundamentalist Christians, many of which are actually cults. I for one have known many truely traditional and fundamentalist Christians and have found much more than "so many" to be the opposite of the way your question describes them, but still I have not known enough to say there aren't any who are condescending. Those two terms are also very subjective - two people could simply disagree on the truth and one may take it as being condemning or condescending when really the other is just sticking to their guns.
So the answer to your question is most likely that when you say "so many" you are simply describing a fact of humanity - you could ask the question why are there so many people who are so highly condemning and condescending? ...period.
All the answers are excellent and thought provoking. Keep up the responses.
Christin S, your answer applies to all groups who have something to gain from popularity with the majority. Religious extremists, gay rights activists, feminists, etc., can all be described with your answer.
I disagree. Gay rights activists and feminists have nothing to do with this question, they are separate issues.
"With some, they like an excuse to feel victimized." Your very first line summarizes the condition of the modern feminist.
I'm not going to be baited into an argument on feminism on an unrelated question. I suggest some study of the history of women's rights and what women have endured to have them though.
If it means anything to you I would have kept it civil! I may have my grievances with contemporary feminist movements, but we are all human. Naturally, I am an ardent believer of civil discourse.
If I may note, Mr. Travis Kaoulla is commenting on the ANSWER that Christin S. gave. Christin S. is responding by referring to the QUESTION. This is why there is confusion in the conversation.
Fundamentalists have hardly suffered persecution of the type seen with gays and women. It's like comparing apples and peanuts.
i dont really know. i think you can ask this of almost any group. everybody believes they are right in their convictions, whatever they may be, or why else would the believe them? then there are people in every group who do seem to take things to the extreme. i also think people are a little to sensitive these days as well. if you say you believe something is wrong and give reasons for it, people accuse you of being judgmental and condemning them. That might not always be the case. when you may simply be stating a belief or maybe even trying the warn the person of a dangerous or harmful path, which also seems to be frowned upon these days.
While I'm a firm atheist, I have to agree with some of the theist comments on here. When one is condemning or condescending, it is the fault of the individual, not their system of beliefs. This is something I constantly try to remind myself when I get frustrated with someone on the other end of the spectrum. The sentence should never go "That guy is a jerk because he's Christian" or "That guy is a jerk because he's an atheist". Rather, the sentence should always read "That guy is a jerk." At which point we should just walk away.
Perhaps an argument could be made that certain religions attract certain kinds of people, but I think it just comes back to extremists being the loudest. A group of five people screaming is going to be louder than a crowd saying nothing. And that's the explanation. The majority of Christians and atheists in this country mostly remain silent, leaving the obsessed to dominate the debate. While it's sad and misrepresents all of us, it will probably never change. I'm not saying that to be cynical, I'm saying it because the moderates out there don't want to deal with the stress of arguing. The secret to life is finding peace, love and forgiveness, and none of that can be located in a screaming match.
I am a believer of God myself. I am a New Ager. I was not addressing all religious people. There are religionists who are very liberal, open-minded & accepting of other beliefs. I was only addressing the more dogmatically minded religionists.
Fair enough. Though my answer would probably remain the same. Those who are condemning and condescending are just jerks not worth our time.
MT, beautifully put. Jesus told his followers to walk away if someone does not accept the message. The problem is ego. His mission was to get rid of ego; but some follow ego instead of Christ. Love is the answer. A good name for ego is "jerk."
Very well said, M. T. Dremer! I love your anti-prejudice message of ending the sentence before placing a labeling the individual, "That guy is a jerk." Period. That philosophy can be applied to sooo many cases in addition to just religion. Cheers!
Do away with the Ego? Ego is a person's sense of self-esteem and is needed We are to love others as we love ourselves It is the Id the primary animal impulses we are to subdue not the ego
I have been a Christian most of my life, saved at age 7.
There are a lot of people that I know in my own personal life that call themselves Christians but are unforgiving, unloving, antagonistic, chastising, and judgmental. They feel self-righteous. Throughout the Bible the message is clear. Here is one verse. 1 John 3:11...For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
I believe God is gracious. Yet we rarely see people applying grace to others in the same way they receive it...freely.
So what I believe is that we are all people. We all have the capacity to do good and bad. But most importantly, if we say we are Christians, it's a personal responsibility we have to show each other love. It's the greatest gift we've ever received.
CraftytotheCore, I totally agree with you, too: like ChristinS., you are both logically and factually correct. I, too, primarily meet un-Christian-like Christians, though I have been honored to know several true ones who DO always love others.
The same reason that so many scientists are so highly condemning and condescending. Or government officials. Or Wall Street psychopaths (gimme another bail out, or else!).
It all comes back to ego. Ego is the heart of selfishness and separateness. Ego may lusts, but never love. Ego may blame self, but will never take responsibility. Ego may even be suicidal, but never humble.
Ego craves being right (first). If you're a Christian, then you've likely heard Jesus talk about those who are "first." They will end up being last. Those who are last (humble), will end up being first. Ego is spiritual blindness. Seeing without human eyes is easy without ego. Thinking without the human brain is also easy, when ego is obliterated.
Every evil in the world originates with ego. Imagine that. Get rid of ego and we have peace on Earth. We have a veritable heaven. And that's what Christ's mission was all about -- subduing ego. Fundamentalists who thump their own ego by being condemning and condescending are betraying their creed. They are following ego rather than Christ. Pity.
But it's just as sad to see scientists -- grown men and women who should know better -- acting like spoiled brats, ridiculing other scientists because they dug in places that the indignant know won't produce results. Such happened with the "Clovis first" dogma. Careers were threatened if they dug below the Clovis horizon. Similar insanities happened with cold fusion, arsenic-loving microbes found by NASA scientists, Amazon warriors found in the burial kurgans of Southern Russia, and even in Plato's lost island Atlantis.
Ego is not restricted to one religious group. It seeps into every aspect of civilization. The best thing we can do is to shine a light on it so others can see it for what it is, and to walk away from the source if it remains unresponsive. And, even better, recognize your own ego when it rears its ugly head. Awareness is crucial. Cordially highlighting the obvious can help. But we need to be careful that we don't fall into the same trap.
Love is the real answer. And humility is the antidote to ego.
Wow! Powerful answer, lone77star! I am humbled at your logic; enlightened, too. I'll re-read this answer many times. I come from the science end of the spectrum, but have room for the spiritual, too. Totally agree with your last line: prophetic!
As if it is only the Christians who are condemning and condescending. It is a human problem, right? It just seems like Christians are an easy target for categorizing purposes.
I think this holds true for any religion, not just Christianity. The reason is because these people believe what they do because they are taught that doing so is the right thing to do to be a good person, rather than because of any personal benefit they get from it. That means they think that anyone who doesn't believe the same as them is not doing the right thing and is therefore not being a good person.
You're right! In church and Sunday school that's what I was taught--further, it was my Christian DUTY to straighten out such "bad" people by enlightening them to Christianity. I never believed or did that, though--it's disrespectful to others!
Brainwashing. That about sums it up. Most are taught to believe that they are separate from the 'world,' better than the "world," and that it is their duty and responsibility to evangelize said world. It's more of a psychological mind control than anything, in my opinion. I say that because I was one of those people. never again.
That's what they tried to teach me as a kid, too. I never bought it, thank goodness for everyone! I think it's rude, egotistical, and immoral to think others should believe as you do OR ELSE. ... "never again"--you broke the cycle! Smart--thank you!
However you coat their pills, they are difficult to swallow. Most people can accept some extremism for awhile but it seems to embolden the extremist view when more moderate people accept them because they are Christian, even though the similarities between the two are not even close. My take is that there are some pretty extremist folks in most if not all religions.
Do we give these people license by being quiet or do we give them license by broadcasting their views, no matter how extreme? These religions spring from the heart of small town Southern and Midwestern values that elevate the Bible to primary oracle for how to run the country, how to live, and how to get into Heaven.
Of course for many this raises the paradoxical question: Can we really be a constitutional country that believes in the separation of church and state and apply Biblical admonitions to the complexities of modern life? Are we a secular or a religious state?
Fundamentalists raise their banner to God, and like the proverbial politician who wraps himself in a flag, the prospect of saying no to either of the above choices may get the one who says no into deep trouble. Most Christians today I think want their religion in a more modulated form without the hollering and sermons of hellfire and damnation. The expectation for most Christians is that most people are good. The expectation for others is we are all bad.
I would venture to think that they view an Atheist or an Agnostic as being a person whom doesn't have to go through the sacrifices that they do. The words in my heart say that any highly condescending or condemning person will relinquish anger and disdain when they fear. Maybe fearing for the life of the person who doesn't believe....or.....they fear that the sacrifices they go through every day, and their beliefs, are in jeopardy. But bottom lining it...It's pride.
Take what I say with a grain of salt. I know nothing.
Pride. We see through the glass darkly, and many cannot see the central message of Christ: Love God. Love your neighbor. All of the Law are summed up in these.
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