1. Kate Kate Australia says:

    I grew up in an extreme born again Christian faith from birth until my early teens, so i am very familiar with the "arguments" put forwards by our little friend Herr Glenda here. The funny thing about my background, and the fact that I have since rejected and distanced myself from it almost completely (in faithful circles this gives me the title of "backslider" lol) is that I have had a chance to be completely immersed in two very different subcultures within western society. I am someone who finds blind, dogmatic Christianity extremely distasteful and dangerous - and yet some of the extreme, dogmatic Christians I knew were women who changed my nappies and loved me like a daughter. Their way of showing their love was to help "raise me right" according to their view of the world. This is of course, just one persons opinion, but I feel like someone needs to say this at some point. Here goes...

    When you are a christian, the teachings and messages that you are brought up with can be very intense. Especially in born again circles. (I am from Australia by the way, but the church I attended was actually an import from the bible belt region of the US)You aren't really supposed to associate too much with regular western culture, whether that is buying 'pop music' or having non-Christian friends etc. Your whole world becomes the church (and it's not just Sundays either, you can actually be expected to attend anything up to 4/5 church events per week) Your peer group is small and 'cliquey' and it's pretty much the only one you have, as you are not really supposed to socialise outside it (except to "preach the word" of course) So everyone who's opinion matters to you is sort of locked into this intensely scrutinised competition to see who can be the better Christian. I read somewhere that all humans have a basic drive to make themselves feel important, and I guess in a 'born again' church you don't have many other avenues left to do this except by "excelling at Christianity". I know I'm waffling, but I'm trying to help paint the picture for people who struggle to understand the often very single minded approach that Christians can take...

    ...okay, and in the same way that individuals everywhere do, you absorb the messages about what is or isn't appropriate behaviour from the people around you. If you hear enough people that you trust saying something with enough conviction enough times, you will eventually believe it (just ask the Germans circa 1940 right?) And that's the key here...believe me, I know how it can seem when you catch one of these people in a rant. It's alienating and hurtful and and to be honest they can seem down right vile...But they are actually more scared of you than you are of them. They genuinely believe that you and your values pose a real threat to the world and that in some way (perhaps with satan whispering in your ear) you are trying to spread an evil and cause chaos and suffering to humanity. They stop seeing you as a person, you become more of a caricature figure, representing a larger issue. And here's where the Christians need to listen up...

    ...These people are NOT out to get you! They do not sit at home, trying to think up ways to undermine the righteous and plant seeds of evil in the minds of the innocent. You guys need to try, at least a little to understand, like a rational thinking grown up, why these people you have decided to despise things the way that they do. Liberal thinkers, intellects, or whatever you would like to call them most likely see you as the aggressor, or the perverting influence here. Christians say the things they do because essentially, they care about the state of the world, and think that the liberals free thinking, permissive ways stand to threaten it. And liberals fight against the simplicity and close-mindedness of the Christians because to them, this mind set is dangerous and threatens humanity and its moral compass. Both sides are trying to make the word a better place in their own way and both sides see the other as a real threat to what they are trying to do.

    From my own experience, being a liberal thinker comes from a place of vulnerability, of outrage at a sense of certain injustices we see as being committed by the "smug conservatives". The other side seems to have the upper hand, making unfair, arbitrary judgements on things about which they know and understand very little. Their approach is different to ours. We ask "why?" Why is something the way it is, why should I believe your version of this story? The conservative chooses to construct their values around faith. They start with the story they are told, they accept it at face value and then defend it rigorously...

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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