How is it fair to judge one group by the actions of a few, but not others?

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  1. ChristinS profile image40
    ChristinSposted 9 years ago

    How is it fair to judge one group by the actions of a few, but not others?

    For example, there have been Christian people here who paint all atheists the same. they point to the few who put up hateful billboards and say that is an example of how atheists are.  We aren't and I find those signs hateful and ignorant myself.

    if I were to (wrongly) say that all Christians are spiteful bullies because of what the Westboro Baptist Church does; they would be rightfully offended. Why can we not judge individuals by their character instead?

    Is it really that threatening for us (on either side) to respect each other as equals? Humans with different understanding?

  2. Aime F profile image71
    Aime Fposted 9 years ago

    Completely agree. Painting everyone in an entire group with the same brush is extremely dangerous. I have known so many different types of Christians and so many different types of atheists. People are still individuals even when they share the same beliefs as others.

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Exactly my point - I have diverse friends and I love that.  The world would be boring were we all the same.  It's never been part of my mindset to judge a whole group based on a few. I just don't understand that way of thinking.

    2. profile image0
      JThomp42posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Great answer Aime!

  3. chiawana profile image59
    chiawanaposted 9 years ago

    I'm not an atheist but I share many of their sentiments, particularly when it comes to the ignorant ravings of Christians who seem to think this country is run by the bible and not the constitution.  If Christians continue to try to force their so-called morality into laws, schools, and government, they can fully expect to continue to be "persecuted" by those of us who understand that freedom of religion doesn't mean being free to choose whether to be a Baptist, Nazarene, Lutheran, or other Christian denomination. When we non-Christians are exhorted to "just get along," it means we are just supposed to shut up and let Christians run the show. Yeah, atheists are angry. And I don't blame them.

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      all good points. I am a firm believer in separation of church and state for precisely those reasons. Many Christians I know however also believe in the same separations thankfully, but yes it's a dangerous slippery slope for sure.

    2. twayneking profile image86
      twaynekingposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Most Christians don't want laws to make you go to church or to donate to churches or even to treat other people nicely. The atheist contingent is just as intent to impose its own opinion into law as Christians. Don't believe it? School textbooks?

    3. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      There has been a push for creation myths in science texts. That's not where religion belongs as it is a private matter. Separation of church/state is what atheists push for and I agree. Worship all you want in church/home or use private schools.

  4. Kylyssa profile image91
    Kylyssaposted 9 years ago

    Average Christians are nothing like the angry and eager-to-hate Christians you'll find online or off. The nasty ones are a minority, albeit a sometimes frightening one.

    I'm currently friends with a pastor. I used to have a dear old friend who was a reverend but, sadly, he passed away some years back. I also work with about a dozen religious organizers including pastors, ministers, church elders, and a priest in online partnerships providing them free information and free text for their use and their churches' use to assist their charity work. I live with and love people who are Christians. They are all very nice people and they all know I'm not religious. We get along quite well.

    The Christians who are immediately on the defensive then on the attack are a small but intensely angry and vocal minority. They've been trained by their sects to assume we are all evil, angry, spiteful, and cruel and nothing we do or say has any impact whatsoever on what they believe about us. They are very few in number but very angry and rude. They seem to have a need to feel superior and also to say nasty things to and about atheists. I assume that's why they post inflammatory questions directed at atheists and then attack any atheist who answers.

    You'll also notice that any Christian who dares suggest they are out of line calling atheists names or who suggests atheists are not horrible people will also be attacked. So average Christians probably have no more love for the places the angry and eager-to-hate Christians hang out than we do.

    I think that, until recent years, most average Christians were completely unaware of Christian misbehavior aside from the abuse inside the Catholic church that made the news. I'm pleased by the reactions of religious people, including religious leaders, when they become aware of the misbehavior hiding behind the name of their religion. In the last year, many have been actively fighting the religious beliefs that have such a huge impact on youth homelessness in America. It's a huge step forward.

    I admit I've encountered enough angry and eager-to-hate Christians both online and off that when the first thing any person puts forward about themselves is that they are Christians, I reserve a level of trust until I'm sure they aren't wolves in sheep's clothing. A few hundred threats of death or violence from Christians will do that to a person.

    The problem you see isn't as big as it may look it is but it does need countering on occasion.

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I agree. Some of the best people I know are very devout and I don't begrudge them that, but I wish more would speak out. I would call out a militant atheist if I knew one because I find it horribly disrespectful.

    2. profile image0
      JThomp42posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Christin....... please look at the answers and comments of atheists on my question "Why do you care what a Christian believes? Why not just accept it and leave them alone?" I think you will find your militant atheists there.

    3. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      J I'm talking about atheists who put up billboards and the like - totally unacceptable to mock Christmas etc. I don't find disagreement "militant". Those who want to force religious to not be or humiliate yes, debate no.

    4. profile image0
      JThomp42posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Okay Christin....... That is what I thought. So, who cares how militant, condescending, hateful, radical, and just so extremists your fellow atheists can be on here.

    5. profile image0
      JThomp42posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Okay Christin. *rose colored glasses*

    6. Kylyssa profile image91
      Kylyssaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Those hateful atheist billboards are just as bad as the hateful Christian billboards.

  5. twayneking profile image86
    twaynekingposted 9 years ago

    One tends to notice when one's own "group" gets insulted and not so much when those insult us get the same treatment. Perhaps we excuse it on the grounds that the offending group deserves a little payback.

    As you say, Christin, it's not fair, but then nothing really is. I prefer, "It's not right." But then you'd have to believe there is a moral absolute right and wrong and if you don't, you're left with moral relativism and therefore you must believe that nothing really is right and wrong. If there is no moral right and wrong, then you really have no right to complain if someone insults you, whichever offended group you belong to. It's survival of the fittest in the marketplace of ideas if right and wrong is just about who is strongest or has the most effective argument.

    Let's face it, Christin, it's a bit hard not to believe there is some sort of standard of right and wrong. Atheists invoke right and wrong constantly. You, yourself used both words in your question above.

    We CAN judge individuals by the content of their character, but in order to do so, we must have some sort of moral standard by which to reach those judgments. A moral standard doesn't have to acknowledge the existence of God or an absolute ten commandment style law. Unfortunately, one which relies upon the agreement of a group of people, is not in any way permanent. It changes on the whims of the group which adopts the standard.  If others have different standards (which is, of course, their right), then it is going to be impossible to claim anyone is doing anything right and wrong. You'll only be able to judge them with relation to your own standard. But if you are allowed to create your own moral standard, then you have no right to get indignant if others develop their own moral standard different from their own.

    If, for instance one group chooses to believe it is alright to lie to unbelievers in order to accomplish its goals of world conquest, then if you, believing otherwise, really have no complaint that the first group is wrong to lie to you. Morality in a world without a moral standard built into it, simply doesn't exist in any sort of absolute way.

    Much as I might dislike Westboro Baptist's behavior, I would not be able to criticize them or say that their behavior is reprehensible unless I believed there was an absolute standard. It would be nice if we could judge individuals individually, but you see, it's quite impossible to do if everyone is a moral standard of 1.

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Religion is not required for a sense of morality or a standard of conduct. Human psychology and development will tell you a lot more about why we have evolving standards and innate sense of right and wrong. I don't see fit to marginalize any group

  6. fpherj48 profile image61
    fpherj48posted 9 years ago

    Hello Everyone....I would like to suggest here what I have mentioned on several Q&A, as well as Forums sites in the past.
      It is quite helpful, in fact important when making a comment, to "address" the person to whom you are directing your comment.  (e.g.  if you are responding to me, please begin with "fpherj48"  or "Paula," (which after 4 years now, most hubbers know is my name.)
    Please realize that if you do not take the time and consideration to do this, ANYONE who has made a comment prior to yours, may think you are directing your comment to them, when it's quite possible you were not. ......but were replying to another hubber.  Without a name, how would anyone know?
    I have seen this oversight cause some serious issues as well as anger and argument.  Hopefully, you understand what I am saying.   When you neglect to address the person you are intending to reply to, someone you AGREE with, may read your comment as a DISAGREEMENT with them and visa/versa.   Does this not make sense to you  & can you see what unnecessary problems may arise?
    I merely wanted to make this point. 
    My concern is humanity......people, as well as other living things.  This is what I SEE.  I do not, have never, nor will I ever extend energy, effort nor emotion to concern myself with your color, ethnicity, sex, education level, career, financial status, and certainly NOT your religious nor political affiliation. I DO however condemn those who KILL IN THE NAME OF GOD.           Wishing all a good evening.   Paula

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Paula, you and I think alike on much. I agree it is important to address who you are commenting to and to not edit comments when you have made them and confuse the conversation.  Also, why concern oneself with "isms" and get to know individuals.

    2. fpherj48 profile image61
      fpherj48posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I don't have an answer concerns with "isms".nor a lot of other very personal, private matters. I know that I do not and usually find a polite way to AVOID those topics.When people PUSH an issue, they WILL see my other side & it's not a pretty one

    3. fpherj48 profile image61
      fpherj48posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I don't have an answer concerns with "isms".nor a lot of other very personal, private matters. I know that I do not and usually find a polite way to AVOID those topics.When people PUSH an issue, they WILL see my other side & it's not a pretty one

  7. lone77star profile image71
    lone77starposted 9 years ago

    Beautiful, ChristinS.

    Naturally, it's not fair to judge anyone by the actions of others.

    The real problem is Ego versus Love. Ego is separation; Love is a coming together. Ego is right for self's sake; Love never keeps score. Ego is arrogant; Love is confident with humility. Ego gives sympathy to smother; Love gives compassion to empower. Ego is First; Love doesn't mind being Last.

    Jesus condemned the Pharisees who were the most law abiding people in Judea. But they were obeying the laws for all the wrong reasons -- puffery.

    Many Christians have forgotten the first commandment -- Love. They are following the master of this world -- Ego -- instead of Christ.

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I hear what you're saying and it seems our society is pushed to be mired in fear which leads to separation and shielding oneself rather than embracing others.

    2. MizBejabbers profile image87
      MizBejabbersposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      So beautifully said Lone77star.

  8. Ericdierker profile image44
    Ericdierkerposted 9 years ago

    I do not think the "common man" does make gross judgments of groups of people. Yes I know they may speak of such things but I think most people accept any individual as a person and reflect on their grouping from that perspective. So I think it may be not so harmful to make sweeping generalities and stereotyping based on fringe elements.
    As for the "not so common man" that we see here on forums and the like I think most of the judgment of a group done based on fringe elements is for baiting purposes and that the writer does not really believe them themselves. I pass not judgment on the "baiters" as I think we all engage in it to a certain extent.
    Notice here that we can attack and make vicious comments about a group in general. But a personal attack is not allowed. So what are you going to see? We have built in a system where attacks using gross generalities is permissible and yet just dealing with an individual is not. Here we have it as a rule that you can judge a group by an individual but not that individual by the group.
    So no it is not fair to do this. But it is the mechanism that is left to us here in the heavily moderated/censored "forums". I can say that all Buddhists are left leaning passive aggressive twerps. But I cannot say that ChristinS is a left leaning passive aggressive twerp. (of course she is none of that but I use it as an example of what is permissible)
    So I suggest you ask this question directly pointed at "moderators".

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, your question is true for HP and good points smile but I was speaking more about the world in general. I guess I live in an area that sees a lot of generalizations (not just religious related) and I wonder why people feel a need to do that.

  9. MizBejabbers profile image87
    MizBejabbersposted 9 years ago

    Christin (and to the HP group), I think that each group should police itself. If you are an atheist who wants to live and let live, so to speak, maybe you are the one to speak out when militant atheists put up hateful billboards. The Same goes for Christians. Good Christians should speak out against rebel Christians like the Westboro Baptist Church. Good Muslims should speak out against the radical Muslims who want to harm them and nonbelievers, and they are doing so. I watched a news report on the Muslims who are fighting the Assad regime. My sympathies lie with the freedom fighters, but I believe that if they had done something to keep the radicals from becoming so powerful, they wouldn't be fighting this fight now.  I also feel this way about homophobes. Good Christians and atheists should speak out against the homophobes to preserve the civil rights of the LGBT community. We should all fight discrimination and evil, no matter what label it wears.

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Absolutely! I completely agree and it seems the "do nothing" is as problematic as the troublemakers themselves in many ways.

    2. Kylyssa profile image91
      Kylyssaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      It's sad some atheists decided to hurt the atheist tolerance billboard campaign that started with signs just saying atheists can be good people. They seem to be trying to counter the hateful Christian billboards with more hate which is useless.

  10. M. T. Dremer profile image86
    M. T. Dremerposted 9 years ago

    Atheism is in serious need of re-branding. I'm not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the line it became the same thing as anti-theism. Large atheistic groups and certain overzealous individuals, took it upon themselves to poke the metaphorical bear of Christianity in the U.S. The backlash was so broad and swift that all atheists are getting taken down with them.

    Atheism went from being a word describing one belief to a unified movement of mustachioed villains just trying to hurt the innocent. If it was a ship, one drunk guy on the back flipped off a naval vessel and now we're all sinking. I honestly think this is why Humanism was created; as a pseudo-religion for more peaceful atheists that doesn't fall under the Christian scythe of cleansing.

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I completely agree, what else can I say.  I wish I knew how we go about re-branding the image though, because this vilified image has become quite commonplace.

    2. Kylyssa profile image91
      Kylyssaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Whenever they decided to counter hateful Christian behavior with hateful atheist behavior they totally screwed up the tolerance campaign atheists had started. The first billboards just said things like atheists can be good people.

    3. M. T. Dremer profile image86
      M. T. Dremerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I tell myself to 'lead by example' i.e. be a good person and an atheist, and it will make my point for me. But turns out it just makes me easier to ignore.

  11. profile image53
    pattdposted 9 years ago


    I am a 68 y/o lesbian and have struggled with all of this for many many years. As a younger adult i internalized the messages of "legalistic" (believe in the Bible as GOD's word and therefore the only way to live) Christians. I can still get hurt by comments people make but i try to remind myself that they are the VERY vocal minority! There are many Christians who believe God loves everyone (and churches that accept this) and do not just seems they are not vocal. I try to judge people by their character or, better yet, not judge them at all. I know i have done things in my life that i am NOT proud of and probably would be judged harshly by others. I know, tho', that that's not the whole of me and i have a lot of wonderful qualities. I'm sure you do too.

    What i believe is that many rigid people come from backgrounds which make them more comfortable with strict rules, etc., that can't be modified. I try to accept them for who they are (yes, it's hard) but have compassion; i also do not let myself get caught up in their beliefs and i work hard to know that what they think/believe is not THE TRUTH, whatever that is. We "non-rigid" people are not wrong or bad, just less vocal and more complex (in a good way) becuz we understand that the world and all of its people are also complex. I deal with anxiety and sometimes wish i could be so sure of everything i believe (LOL) but i don't really believe that is what is true of people in general or me!


    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I can see how some might take comfort in more rigid rules. I have a hard time as a free spirit type wrapping my head around that after being raised in the church, but I can see it to some degree. I think being unsure is great - it means openness smile

  12. Jackie Lynnley profile image85
    Jackie Lynnleyposted 9 years ago

    I agree with you. I can no more understand Atheists as they can Christian I don't imagine but a real Christian who goes by the word of the bible is no threat to anyone and certainly makes for a better society. So I find it really hard to see why anyone would be threatened by that. It is not like we are saying we will kill you if you don't believe the way we do as some religions do. God gives us a choice and we respect that same choice for others.

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Good people in general make for a good society.

  13. profile image0
    TheBizWhizposted 9 years ago

    It is not fair to judge one group by the actions of few. An unfair prejudgment is usually due to a lack of exposure/education to people different than ones self.

    Also, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. The bad thing is that the fringe extremists unfortunately are the ones that make the news because they speak the loudest and with how fast info spreads on the internet, those fringe extremists usually are made to look like the norm. Plus, most people get their world view only from what they see on the internet, so this only compounds the problem.

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      All very good points; I agree. Isn't it ironic how the internet connects everyone, could be an amazing educational tool, but seems to isolate and divide people instead? interesting.

    2. profile image0
      TheBizWhizposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Yes. I did a research paper on the internet and 1 problem is that it can cause people 2 lose empathy. Not only because the lack of ability to express emotions in typed words, but also because the internet has replaced face to face time w/ real people

    3. profile image0
      jfischerstoneposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I certainly agree with this comment.


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