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 Why the bad name? 
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I may be opening woods here, but I have to ask this question and I feel (hopefully I am correct) that this is a safe environment in which to do it.

Why is it, in religious discussion, that Chrsitianity is very often the bad guy? Why is it that so many times, the conversation comes down to "those Chrsitians..." followed by whatever it is that tends to follow it? In my experiences, being a Christian and having many non- Christian friends and an Athiest sister, I feel that the only religious discussions that seem to come up (in my experiences, not to say that this is all that ever happens) are those initiated by others on the fact that Christians are just so close-minded and Bible beating and telling everyone they are going to hell. Many of my friends are Christians, as well, and I don't know one of them that has ever initiated a conversation by telling someone they are going to hell. That is absolutely ridiculous and doesn't follow the loving and respectful model that we should follow.

Can someone please share an experience they have had with someone who calls himself/herself a Christian that has been negative or condescending? I just want to know what it is that gets people so fired up!

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~~Kari Tatum~~


Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:30 pm
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I've wondered a lot about that too, Kari... and it offends me when people I meet will build up this wall once they find out I am a Christian. Thankfully, I've not met too many people that have done that, but it has happened.

Personally, it upsets me when I see people standing on street corners at busy intersections with sandwich boards that have John 3:16 printed on them and a megaphone in hand yelling at all the people driving by that they're going to hell if they don't believe in God.

I feel like that portrayed hatred is what gives Christians a bad name. So many groups of people, whether it be religious or cultural, are offended when people stereotype them because of one person from their group or a few people. Why is it that Christians get no slack? I feel like we're stereotyped when, like Kari said, I don't know one of my friends that has ever struck up a conversation with someone by telling them they're going to hell.

It is hard for me to believe that people are truly Christians when they continue to have such a hatred toward others and an unforgiving heart. We're commanded as Christians to love our neighbor as ourself and to forgive our brother/sister so that the Father will forgive us. [Matthew 6:14-15]

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Dani Martin


Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:55 pm
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While, this is in no way an excuse for others to speak negatively against Christians (I myself am a Christian), reading Kari's post and her final question sparked a memory. Just after Hurricane Katrina, one of my best friends at the time shared with me (and many others) that she felt like those who died deserved it, and she felt that it was punishment from God for their sins. To me this was appalling, because we should be rallying to help these individuals, not faulting them. To me it wasn't a very Christian thing to say, and I think sometimes one bad experience like that is all it takes for SOME people to think negatively about a group of people.

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Amanda Klinger


Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:07 pm
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Amanda, I think you are exactly right. Christians are still people, and they still make mistakes, but they still carry the name of Christ wherever they go and whatever they do, so it definitely gives Christians potential to get a bad name.

In my teachers, schools and learners class a few semesters back, we talked and talked about promoting diversity and multiculturalism in our classroom. My teacher stressed how we should celebrate everyone's background in everything we do as teachers. One guy in my class made the comment how that is great for everyone to celebrate who they are, unless you are a white Christian male. Then you are looked at as an elitist or a racist, etc. What do ya'll think about that? Is there a limit to who we should be tolerant of?


Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:32 am
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I have found my self pondering this question many times as well. It’s very easy to get defensive when people portray Christianity as a narrow minded, harsh religion, when it actually the opposite. People who feel this way are often (but not always) the people who have been hurt by a Christian in the past. To these people the one Christian who offended them or hurt them is representative of the whole religion. When I fist met one of my best friends freshman year at ASU, she almost could not believe I was a Christian because every Christian she had met had judged her for her lifestyle. I remember having a discussion with her about the fact that I do not agree with her choices and could not go and participate in them with her, but I also was not going to talk bad about her for them or pass judgment on her. I feel that the best way to share your beliefs as a Christian is to show people love not judgment and let them see the differences for themselves.

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Kerry Crosby Smith


Sun Sep 14, 2008 2:17 pm
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This is probably going to take us all somewhere we don't want to be...but here goes:

In the part of the world we live in, Christianity is the dominant religion. Being the dominant religion, it is more susceptible to scrutiny from others. Does my reasoning make sense? There are more Christians in this country (and more specifically, this region); therefore there is a greater likelihood for negative experiences.

I would also like to point out that, just like not all Muslim's are terrorists obsessed with destroying the US, not all Christians are hypocritical extremists. It’s just a few outspoken ones who make the rest look bad. In my opinion, people like Jim Baker, Pat Robertson, Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas (http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/10/31/funeral.protest/), etc. all give Christians a bad name.

With all that said, religious persecution in this country flies in all directions. The pagans think that the Christians are wrong. The Christians think the Muslims are wrong...I could continue for pages. The tendency of some people (mostly Christians) to tell others that they are wrong and will be punished for it happens a lot in this area. I have never been approached by one of my pagan friends and had them tell me that I'm wrong about my religion and spirituality. I've never had this happen with my Jewish or Muslim friends either. I have, however, been approached by many Christians, who assume that I am a heathen, and told that I needed to get "saved".

I hope that some clarity will come from my rambling. My point is this: Religious persecution has been happening a long time. No matter what religion or spirituality we claim, most of us can find examples of shortcomings in each of them. The important thing is to realize that your faith is not the only one that's under fire.

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Nikki Tester


Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:51 am
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Good point Nikki. I agree with you that Christianity is definitely not the only religion under fire it is just the one who gets the most scrutiny, because it happens to be one of our country's dominant religions. I also think that Chrisitanity is scrutinized more because we are one of the few religions that activlely shares our faith or as others call it, "recruit memebers." Ultimately no matter the reason or explanantions, I think that we as a free country that promotes religious freedom and tolerance definatley have some things to work on in that area in regards to all religions.

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Kerry Crosby Smith


Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:25 am
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Here is something else for you to consider...

Just after Hurricane Katrina hit my mom and I drove by a church that had this message posted on its sign out front:

America,

9/11
Hurricane Katrina

Can you hear me now?

- God

Thoughts??

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Erin Painter


Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:08 am
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I definately agree with Nikki. All religions are under fire because religion is a sticky stituation. It may seem like Christianity is under the most critisim because you are a Christian and you pay more attention to what is being said about your religion when you might blow off negative blows towards other religions. All people, including myself, are hypocrites. I am a Christian and no that there are many times that I do not represent my faith well, put a bad name on Christianity, and dont live a life that is glorifying to God. So, we can not take anything personally or offensively because you must focus on your own heart. Let these negative blows keep you accountable in your walk.

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Hannah Johnson


Tue Sep 16, 2008 5:04 pm
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I have attended church since birth. I was raised in a Baptist church for the largest portion of my life, and I’m still a follower of Christ and the Christian faith. However, recently in my life I have come to greatly dislike most “Christiansâ€

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Jerry Nicole Whitener (Nicole)


Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:32 pm
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In response to Erin's (and partly Amanda's) post... God is God and I am not, so I'm not going to say that Katrina and 9/11 are examples of God's judgment on America because I cannot make that call and it seems very insensitive to those involved, but I will say that God has a purpose for everything. Even when we don't understand what that purpose is and can't see any reason for what has happened, we have to believe that. I do think that God allows devastating things to happen in our lives to bring us back to Him or to strengthen the relationship that we already have with Him. Hopefully, we should be close enough to God that we don't need such an event to wake us up. This life is temporary, and our relationship with God is really the most important thing. Of course if you are not a Christian, you probably don't agree with me, and I hope I didn't step on any toes. That is just my interpretation, so please take it in the most loving way possible.


Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:42 pm
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I am by no means attacking anyone or doing anything of that nature. I just found this thread to be interesting and I would like to make a comment on something that was mentioned earlier.

First, I want to say that I do agree that all religions/non-religions do suffer forms of persecution. However, when just looking at ASU's campus alone, I wonder if Christianity is one of the religions/non-religions that receive harsher judgement and persecution for a couple of reasons. For time purposes, I only want to present one reason/evidence for that right now.

ASU is spending a whole 1-2 years to focus on Darwin and his evolution theory. We aren't just having a couple of speakers. This "celebration" is engulfing our campus. The art and music departments are having contests for "Darwin/evolution-inspired" art and music. We have 10-12 speakers coming to speak on the topic. There is a whole film festival focusing on this topic.

If our campus is so "open-minded" and so "free thinking", how come we aren't having any speakers come to speak on Creationism? How come we don't have any departments awarding students for Creation inspired work? How come we aren't have a film festival focusing on Creationism? How can my university expect me to be "open-minded" to anything other than Creationism and Christianity, when the university itself isn't being open to anything other than Darwinism and evolution?

Just to clarify, I'm not heated or angry, I'm just throwing the thought/idea out there. Any thoughts/comments anyone?

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April Wilkinson


Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:41 pm
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I agree, April. I think that some people (emphasis on some, not all) like to throw around the term "openminded" when they are talking about something that has to do with them, but they do not want to be "openminded" when it comes to what the other person believes. I do not believe that the majority of America are of the Christian faith. What I do believe is that if you aren't part of any other religion but think that there is "something out there" you are counted as a Christian. I also see that many people I know, when asked what religion they would put themselves in, say "I guess I'm a Christian." If someone has to "guess" that they are a Christian, I can't be so sure that they truly understand what it means (but of course, only God can judge their heart.)

I know how passionate people can become about something so important, but I am thankful that no one has been condescending or spiteful! Nevertheless, I do think this is an important issue and I am glad that we have been able to talk about this.

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~~Kari Tatum~~


Sat Sep 20, 2008 8:54 pm
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Kari,

I looked up some information and even though this information is a little out of date (it was taken in 2001) I think it conveys my point. http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/ ... 8s0074.pdf
Also, I think that the definition of thinking that there is "something out there" but not being sure is considered agnosticism.

I sort of agree with you on openmindedness. But at the same time, it would be almost impossible to present all sides to an arguement, no matter what it is.

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Nikki Tester


Sun Sep 21, 2008 7:32 pm
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Erin Painter wrote:
Here is something else for you to consider...

Just after Hurricane Katrina hit my mom and I drove by a church that had this message posted on its sign out front:

America,

9/11
Hurricane Katrina

Can you hear me now?

- God

Thoughts??



I think it's probably signs like that and stuff that give Christianity and Christians a bad name from some people. I am a Christian, and proud to be one, but a lot of people will not know how to read a sign like that. Many will look at it in a non-Christian context, not understanding what I assume they were trying to say, and move themselves further away from Christianity as a whole.

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Ryan Earnhardt


Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:24 pm
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