Tuesday, May 05, 2009

On the other foot

In America, we frequently hear that this country "is a Christian Nation". While I disagree in some senses, this is in many ways very true; The majority of the nation is composed of Christians, and despite laws against it, Christian morality works its ways into our politics, schools, and just about everything else. Those of us that aren't Christians, or are but are the wrong kind of Christians constantly have an uphill battle to make sure that our rights aren't trodden upon. It would be wonderful for atheists as a minority, if we got the theocrats out of power and had a secular government.

So wouldn't it be strange for Christians to be the persecuted minority praying for a secular government?

Turns out, it's happening in India. The plight there seems worse than minorities have in the US, but it's a good reminder of what happens to minorities under sectarian governments. So while Christians have it good here, they should keep in mind just what it would be like if that shoe was on the other foot.

Sadly, experience has told me that those that most desperately need to keep this perspective are completely blind to it.

5 comments:

Ike said...

Jon, as a Christian, let me give you a different perspective.

I grew up in a predominantly Mormon area of Idaho. I am not LDS, but I knew several people who made assumptions that I was. I am sensitive to the very thing you talk about.

Second, my name is Isaac. I once had a sociology professor give a lecture on the dangers of stereotyping, and asked me in front of 200 people what sorts of prejudices Jews encounter. (Well, first of all, there are the people who assume that if you have a big nose and you're named Isaac, you're Jewish...)

I say that to make a point.

It is no more intellectually honest for you to tag all "Christians" with the same label as it would be for us to tag non-believers with a "heretic" label.

Some choose not to believe because of personal pain, or hypocrisy brought by bad emissaries.

Some choose not to believe because they've not been exposed. (and I am not one of those who fault them.)

Some choose not to believe until they have better proof. And some are outright certain there is nothing greater than that accomplished by humans on Earth.

That's a wide range.

As to your rant about morals, laws, and social norms, you miss one key element; for a Christian, behavior alone will not save you.

A real Christian will tell you that you're only saved when you accept grace.

A real Christian doesn't try to meddle in politics and use biblical standards for law, because it doesn't do one thing to save people.

Other religions might carry a belief that it is important to make everyone else to conform to their chosen behavior. One who does that in the name of Christ is incorrect.

Other than that, I am totally with you. I know what it's like to be in a minority, and it isn't fun. I live out my days wanting to NOT subject others to being forced to live the way I choose. Now, if I can convince them to do it through their own free will, that's a different matter...

James said...

"A real Christian." Please see the No True Scotsman fallacy.

Jon Voisey said...

Notice also that I make an explicit not to the "moderate" Christians when I say, "or are but are the wrong kind of Christians".

Ike said...

James, I see your point...

...but one who believes you can be saved by your own behavior and merits alone is not a Christian.

They may claim to be, but if they espouse a route to heaven that involves their own works only, they are not Christians. Ipso Facto.

This isn't some "All clowns wear makeup" point of popular usage, it really is inherent in the definition.

My use of that phrasing is meant as a gentle rebuke to those who believe moral meddling will somehow make them better Christians, or will influence the behavior of non-Christians in a manner that will result in celestial lenience.

Does not fit the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, as it is more analogous to the statement that "No true snake is an invertebrate."

Ike said...

James, I see your point...

...but one who believes you can be saved by your own behavior and merits alone is not a Christian.

They may claim to be, but if they espouse a route to heaven that involves their own works only, they are not Christians. Ipso Facto.

This isn't some "All clowns wear makeup" point of popular usage, it really is inherent in the definition.

My use of that phrasing is meant as a gentle rebuke to those who believe moral meddling will somehow make them better Christians, or will influence the behavior of non-Christians in a manner that will result in celestial lenience.

Does not fit the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, as it is more analogous to the statement that "No true snake is an invertebrate."