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Do you feel Christians are mistreated in modern society, in relation to non-Christians?
No, Christians have privileges that non-believers don't enjoy
75%
 75%  [ 3 ]
No, Christians are treated like everybody else
25%
 25%  [ 1 ]
Yes, but only for specific beliefs and in isolated instances
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Yes, there is a social backlash against Christians
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Yes, there is institutional discrimination against Christians
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 4

Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:09 am
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Perception of Christian's rights in the modern world

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I would like to know more about how Christians feel that other people, especially non-Christians, think of them and treat them. So it's a double question: do you think there is a differential treatment, double standard, discrimination, etc; and what do you make of it (origin, fairness, etc)?

You can relate it to anything that is salient to you, such as laws, institution, academia, media, politics, popular culture, etc.

(This question is more about Christianity and the social reality of atheism, and not about other religions' relative status with regards to Christianity, such as Islam. But if you think it's relevant, you can bring it up)

Thank you!

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:22 am
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As a former Christian, I believe I can see both sides of this question. Being raised in the 70's - 80's, there was little or no perception of oppression against Christians (at least here in the US), as there is today, so I never felt any sort of discrimination. However, being surrounded by so many other Christians brings its own kind of expectations and I consider those privileges. I do remember hearing stories about atheists as a young person and they were always dark, sad and dangerous. So imagine my surprise years later as an adult when I discovered that almost none of them were accurate.

As an atheist I can tell you that I have never imposed any sort of discrimination on any Christian or any other sort of theist myself, nor have I ever witnessed it. I'm not saying it doesn't happen but I am saying that it is not universal.

I'm curious what you mean by the "social reality of atheism". Can you explain what that means?

Thanks

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:25 pm
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Re: Perception of Christian's rights in the modern world

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Thanks for your reply, Cinderella Man!

Cinderella Man wrote:
I'm curious what you mean by the "social reality of atheism". Can you explain what that means?


When I say Christianity I think it is more easily understood that I mean social realities (institutions, people, doctrines, etc) rather than just individual lifestyles or outlooks But for atheism I'm not so sure, because both the labels and the movements are diffuse and overlap with other relevant topics (agnostic, atheist, non-theist, apatheist, secularist, anti-clericalist, etc), and people disagree significantly ('militant atheists are extremists', 'only strong atheists have actually gotten over religious indoctrination', 'marxists are not a social repercussion of atheism', 'they are', ...).

So for instance someone may feel discriminated politically by a group that is non-Christian, even if it doesn't identify/associate explicitly as "atheist", and interpret this discrimination as related to Christianity. I'd like for people to include those things and not just, "I think Richard Dawkins et al. want to take away my right to decide on my children's education".

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:28 pm
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I'm no longer a Christian, but having been a Christian I can answer this from the Christian perspective. At least from the perspective of the Christian denomination I was raised in.

There are certain things that I feel would be an attack on the rights of Christians. For example if it was made into law that Christian churches had to perform same-sex marriages. From my perspective this would be demanding that Christian Churches do things that they believe is against the wishes of their God.

However, where I see a problem is when the government simply makes it legal for gays to marry and the Christians start screaming that this is an attack on their religious lifestyle. It's not. There's nothing in the law that says that Christians ever have to have same sex marriages. And there shouldn't be anything in the law that says that a Christian church has to marry gays. I can only see a problem with the latter, but not with the former.

Similarly the same thing applies to the abortion issue. Just because the law says that having an abortion is legal doesn't mean that Christians need to have abortions. It simply means if they decide that's the best option in their situation they can legally do it. In fact, there are some Christians who would choose abortion in some situations and defend that it's the right thing to do in that situation. But in general, making it legal to have an abortion is not an attack on Christians.

When I see these types of things being held up as an attack on Christians I don't see where they have any merit. Neither gay marriage, nor abortion rights are an attack on Christianity.

I chose these two issues since they are often held up as an evasion of Christian values. But they aren't. It's not necessary to demand that all of society abide by what Christians think their God might be upset by. And when laws are made that allow people to do thing that some Christians might disapprove of that's not an attack on Christianity.

By the way, just as an additional point, there are many "Gay Christians" who do not see being gay as being against the values of Jesus. There are even Gay Christian Churches and Gay Christian pastors. So people who embrace Christianity aren't even in agreement on what Christianity should stands for. They attack each other.

~~~~~

I guess I should chime in on the wedding cake business. It's my position that if any person is offering their services to the public for commerce, then they need to offer their service to everyone without discrimination. So my position is that if a Christian cake maker doesn't want to sell his or her cakes to people he or she might not approve of, then don't go into that business. Period. That's my position. I have no sympathy for anyone who thinks they should be able to run a discriminatory business in the public arena. It's not on the Christian what other people do with the cakes they make. So it would not be immoral for a Christian to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. This doesn't mean that the Christian is condoning the wedding. All it means is that they are selling a cake for MONEY! What buyer does with the cake is none of their business. That's how I feel about that.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:40 pm
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[Replying to post 4 by Divine Insight]

Thanks for participating Divine Insight!

I agree. I think there was controversy in Denmark because of what you mentioned, "equality" laws that tried to force the clergy to act against their beliefs. I think a simple solution is having ceremonial marriages different from legal marriages, so a church can not do their ceremony, but gay people can still enjoy the benefits of same-sex marriage.

However, not all people think this way, some of them Christians. Your attitude is libertarian, but some people think that the whole of society should have some moral norms turned into law for the greater good (ie for their own health, spiritual health, or not to lead the example of a 'bad lifestyle' that could influence other people). So they could argue that gay marriage shouldn't exist at all because it's harmful for everyone in the society, and that gay people already have equal rights because they can access traditional marriage equally (ie a man can marry a woman and vice versa).

Presumably this is how you and I think of certain behaviors, for instance selling meth to children; we don't just think we shouldn't do it, but that nobody in our entire society should. What would you tell them?

Abortion presents a similar case. If you think having an abortion is a morally reprehensible homicide, you can argue that it should be forbidden for the bulk of society, whether that's the Christian community or not, for justice. There are pro-life people that aren't even believers or subscribe to any religion.

Lastly, on the cake topic, that's a reasonable position. Would you say that an LGBT+ couple also has to respect all beliefs, and attend Westboro Baptist members? Can they choose not to? What about a Jewish person and a white supremacist (for instance if they see the sentence "blood and soil" in a tattoo, but otherwise the client behaves politely)? Or can they invite them to leave for things other than their behavior in those cases?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:05 pm
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Metadian wrote:

However, not all people think this way, some of them Christians. Your attitude is libertarian, but some people think that the whole of society should have some moral norms turned into law for the greater good (ie for their own health, spiritual health, or not to lead the example of a 'bad lifestyle' that could influence other people). So they could argue that gay marriage shouldn't exist at all because it's harmful for everyone in the society, and that gay people already have equal rights because they can access traditional marriage equally (ie a man can marry a woman and vice versa).


But this argument fails because this is nothing more than a religious group trying to force their views of morality onto everyone else. Let's face it, the Christians would be the first to scream bloody murder if the Muslims were trying to force Islamic Sharia Law onto them. So this argument clearly fails.

Metadian wrote:

Presumably this is how you and I think of certain behaviors, for instance selling meth to children; we don't just think we shouldn't do it, but that nobody in our entire society should. What would you tell them?


It is true that we have secular laws based on secular arguments of what is required for the safety of the citizens of the state. Obviously not everyone agrees on what those laws should be. For example some people feel that marijuana should be legal because it's not a serious health or safety threat. Others argue against that. In fact, some people feel that alcohol should be illegal. We certainly have abundant proof that alcohol does indeed present a health and safety risk yet that are at least as many bars, nightclubs, and alcohol distributors are there are churches in our society.

Metadian wrote:

Abortion presents a similar case. If you think having an abortion is a morally reprehensible homicide, you can argue that it should be forbidden for the bulk of society, whether that's the Christian community or not, for justice. There are pro-life people that aren't even believers or subscribe to any religion.


Exactly. And that then becomes a secular argument. However there are also many other secular arguments that can be made on the opposite position. Especially when it comes to early abortions where strong scientific arguments can be made that no "human person" could possibly exist in that early state.

I mean, after all, if we want to get crazy about it we could argue that it should be illegal to kill any sperm or egg because it could potentially create a human. We can always take things to the extreme. If a spouse want to have sex, and their mate says no, does that constitute the homicide of the child that may have been born from that union had it occurred?

I purposefully chose not to procreate any humans. Should I then be consider a premeditated murderer of all the children I could have had? I killed them even before they were born by choosing not to create them.


Metadian wrote:

Lastly, on the cake topic, that's a reasonable position. Would you say that an LGBT+ couple also has to respect all beliefs, and attend Westboro Baptist members? Can they choose not to? What about a Jewish person and a white supremacist (for instance if they see the sentence "blood and soil" in a tattoo, but otherwise the client behaves politely)? Or can they invite them to leave for things other than their behavior in those cases?


Respecting beliefs does not require joining the groups that hold those beliefs. A person who sells a cake to someone is done with the deal after the transaction. I can't even see how a Christian could object to catering live to a gay wedding. Caterers aren't participating in the wedding ceremony, and they have absolutely nothing at all to do with the actual marriage. As far as I can see, it's just religious bigotry being held out to the extreme.

Also, I would say that it's wrong to reject someone because of a tattoo. For one thing they may not even support what the tattoo stands for. And even if they do, that's still no reason to reject them. Only behavior itself would warrant an appropriate response.

Obviously even in a secular society there are going to be problems. And there are going to be people in grave disagreement with each other. But that's really beside the question. The real question is where should the laws stand on these issues.

If the government is secular, then the laws should be decided from a secular worldview.

If the government is a theocracy then the laws should be dictated by their theology. But recognize also that a theocracy can never be a "free" democracy, because laws wouldn't be open to input from the citizens. The dictator of the theology would decide what the law should be.

In fact, theocracy is always accompanied with a monarchy where a single "King" or "Dictator" decides which laws conform to the theology.

Theocracy is not compatible with a free democracy. This is why its utterly absurd to claim that the USA is a "Christian Nation". If that were true it would a theocracy, not a democracy.

Democracy is the anti-thesis of Christianity when it comes to governmental philosophy. Christianity demands a theocracy.

This is what Roy Moore would have liked to have created. A theocracy where Roy Moore becomes the spokesperson for the ultimate "King" (i.e. God).

The problem is that the only way to have a truly Christian theocracy would be to have Jesus be the King. The problem is that no one has seen hide nor hair of Jesus for over 2000 years. So he's not currently available for that position. Very Happy

And do Christians really want someone like Roy Moore (or a similar theist) to take Jesus' place?

I don't think so.

So a true Christian theocracy isn't even possible. Unless someone can figure out how to contact Jesus. Without a living breathing Jesus Christianity is dead.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:59 am
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Divine Insight wrote:
Let's face it, the Christians would be the first to scream bloody murder if the Muslims were trying to force Islamic Sharia Law onto them. So this argument clearly fails.

I agree, though some Christian communities are not expansionist and/or combative about Islam in the sense Yihadism is (that it must expand across the whole globe). That is, they'd be okay with Muslim communities existing and applying their law in their territories, but complain that they want to impose those views on a territory whose culture is different. I guess the key point here is that the inhabitants of Christian-majority territories challenge their view of our culture; some of us do not think that it is the Christian values that represent us all and create our best society.

And the legitimacy of that culture on that territory is also a point of contention itself, because some groups can consider themselves ideologically invaded/colonized, whether that's more or less reasonable (eg some neo-Pagan groups would like for Nordic countries to go back to Norse religion, and though there's a historical continuity, they are a tiny minority of people).

Divine Insight wrote:
It is true that we have secular laws based on secular arguments of what is required for the safety of the citizens of the state.

Is labeling a policy "secular" a warrant that it is rational and/or good, "religious" that it is bad? There are lots of doctrinal political movements that use words such as "science", "human nature", etc, but their beliefs are very different and often incompatible with both being "rational" truths. As I see it, the religion/political-ideology distinction isn't always that clear-cut, and also a lot of fundamental disagreements about what constitutes a good social order isn't about empirical facts, but about value judgments.

Let me give you examples: Nazism and communist countries were either non-religious, or only accidentally religious ideologies. I'm aware some people link Nazi anti-semitism to Christianity, but I think the exacerbated nationalism itself is the moving force, and that left on its own inertia Christianity would only have been a tool, soon replaced by a cult to the state/personality similar to the North Korean regime. I'm Spanish, and we had a brand of fascism of our own called "National-Catholicism". While it was a dictatorship and a sad part of our history, I dare say that it was both more religious-driven than German Nazism, and less destructive on an international level. It's also different in the sense that nothing like the Holocaust happened, instead, the people who fought against the fascists were far-left revolutionaries of their own and developed a "Red Terror" in which the clergy was savagely repressed back.

Divine Insight wrote:
Exactly. And that then becomes a secular argument. However there are also many other secular arguments that can be made on the opposite position. Especially when it comes to early abortions where strong scientific arguments can be made that no "human person" could possibly exist in that early state. [...] Should I then be consider a premeditated murderer of all the children I could have had? I killed them even before they were born by choosing not to create them.

But why is it more valid to say when someone is/isn't worthy of legal personhood because it isn't a religious doctrine, ie is 'secular'? Isn't this in the end a philosophical question, like mercy-killings/euthanasia in medicine, depending on moral values and arbitrary criteria? Right to life (justice, non-maleficence) vs right to decide (autonomy of patient and doctor) is an ethical problem solved differently in different scenarios.

Obviously if someone says "I believe it is a person because it can talk!" you can disprove that they can talk, but if they say, "I believe any full individual [a full genome] in development should be protected over the right of a woman to decide over her own body, because the individual's right to life is more important, even inside the womb" - you simply have different cut-points and priorities. Someone could instead argue that infanticide should be legal, and similar arguments/rhetoric could be made to that of 3rd trimester abortion.

Of course even if someone believes it is wrong, it doesn't mean they would necessarily push to illegalize or punish it (eg you can believe suicide is wrong but not criminalize it).

Divine Insight wrote:
Only behavior itself would warrant an appropriate response.

Yes, I agree, and your position is consistent.

Divine Insight wrote:
Democracy is the anti-thesis of Christianity when it comes to governmental philosophy. Christianity demands a theocracy.

A lot of modern Christians, especially in Europe, subscribe to center-right political parties that label themselves "Demochristians" and "Christian Democrats". These are often economically liberal but still defend social rights to some extent as well as the cultural predominance of (some) Christian values. In practice, they do not seem antithetic to democracy, because while the % of believers and the power of the Church in Europe has waned, these centrist movements have been on the rise. Eg Merkel's CDU, which heads into its 4th term iirc. It is only the Syrian refugee crisis that has been a setback (at the expense of right-wing groups), but for reasons unrelated to religion as far as I can tell.


Divine Insight wrote:
So a true Christian theocracy isn't even possible. Unless someone can figure out how to contact Jesus. Without a living breathing Jesus Christianity is dead.

Well, a delegate like the Pope has worked for the Vatican so far Wink!

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:16 pm
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Re: Perception of Christian's rights in the modern world

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I was brought up in a Christian home here in New Zealand. My life revolved around my faith in Jesus. I made no secret of the fact I was a Christian. I got a little friendly teasing some times, but throughout my Christian life received no persecution at all. I was mainly accepted and respected by non-Christians.

The funny thing is at Sunday school I was taught that atheists were evil people who hated God and liked to persecute Christians. I fully believed that and was scared of meeting atheists, afraid of what they might be like. As a small child growing up I didn't think anyone I knew were atheists, because nobody was a horrible as the atheists I heard about in Sunday school. Even the bullies at school I didn't think were atheists and even they weren't as bad as the atheists I heard about at Sunday School. None of them ever said anything bad about God and none of them ever bullied me because I was a Christian. In fact some of the bullies were believers.

So for several years of my life I figured there were very few atheists around and that they were most likely living in other countries like Russia. How shocked I was to come across my first atheist at the age of about ten years old. He was such a nice guy, but just didn't believe in God. He was the first person I came across who declared he was atheist.

From what I can see in New Zealand, Christians do not get persecuted. Most Christians I know just seem to fit in wherever they go and people accept them for who they are. Yet non-belief has been increasing radically in NZ since 1991

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:05 pm
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Re: Perception of Christian's rights in the modern world

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[Replying to post 8 by OnceConvinced]

By and large this is completely typical of atheists around the United States; we have no more malice toward Christian people than we do people with green eyes. I was also brought up Christian and was told the horror stories about atheists. After many years of self-reeducation, I came to understand that this is one of the legion of indoctrination techniques used by all religions, and perhaps it is the most important. The point is to cultivate fear of those not like you into the hearts and minds of young Christians. If you are afraid of a group of people, you will be less likely to associate with them and thus become influenced by them. Disregard the facts, ignore the fact that this is a form of dishonesty, just concentrate on driving a belief into your children that they will internalize as much as they do the idea that 2 + 2 = 4.

But this sort of thing highlights the concept of Christian privilege. Christians often portray themselves as en elite group, a special group entitled to special benefits because of their faith and devotion, blessed beyond imagination because of this faith. Yet they also portray themselves as persecuted and deprived. The two simply cannot be simultaneously true. You cannot be both the champion of the world and the loser at the same time. So I am quick to dismiss this argument that Christians are special when they commit the same sort of crimes against humanity that every other kind of person does, and their morals are no more special than any other religion or humanists for that matter. Christian privilege just amounts to Christians giving other Christians special favors because they are in the same "in group", and the other name this is known by is "bigotry". If a Christian baker was truly following the concepts he so proudly proclaims, he would be happy to provide a service to a gay couple and do everything in his power to make their lives happier because as a Christian, its not even his right to punish this gay couple even if his Christianity actually forbids it. That is the right of god alone. The duty of a Christian is to spread love and not to try and set people straight. Demonstrate to people that there is something special about Christianity because every other religion on earth punishes people for petty crimes and misdemeanors. Show people love and compassion in an uncommon way and be there to help them even when they call you the worst names you've ever heard in your life. That's my interpretation of the Gospels and I try to do that even though I don't believe there's anything supernatural or divine about it. It just makes the world a better place.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:28 pm
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Re: Perception of Christian's rights in the modern world

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[Replying to post 9 by Cinderella Man]

Quote:
The two simply cannot be simultaneously true. You cannot be both the champion of the world and the loser at the same time.

Well, think about it. If your victimhood is the virtue, being the loser means you're the spiritual champion so to speak. Christianity in fact started this way, by being a group which had a divine revelation and being persecuted by Romans. Martyrdom, humility and self-denying at times reach the levels that make its harsher critics call it a "life-denying, death cult". It promises another life for its admittedly unflattering outlook on this one.

We're not in shortage of victim moralities/belief systems, and even politics, in the modern world. Especially where identities are involved.

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