Monday, January 30, 2012

Sarah Says: stop making mean religious statements

By: Sarah Smith

I am a Christian. I have never been ashamed of this and I won’t deny it. But I will never, ever disrespect or judge anyone else on their difference or lack of religion. We haven’t walked the same path, we haven’t lived the same life; we’re different. There are people who don’t share my beliefs, both religious and non-religious folk, who have a few choice phrases that make me sad. For example:

“God hates (insert group name here)”. This is where Christians get their reputation for being bigots, haters, and generally ignorant people. Well, here’s the thing; if I’ve been listening correctly at church for 18 years, God loves everybody. Hate is not part of the being of God. The first and greatest commandment God gave his people is “love thy neighbor”. Not “love thy neighbor unless he’s black” or “love thy neighbor unless he’s gay.” No, it’s love thy neighbor, no fine print. The Christian church, using God’s name has done a really bad job of this over the years (e.g. the Crusades, the Inquisition, every other war you learned about in history class last year) but there’s no way it should still be so badly interpreted in this modern day and age. As much as this frustrates me about my own religion, there are phrases used by non-Christian or non-religious groups that get under my skin just as much. Kind of like:

“God is not great.” Okay, so this is the title of a book written by the recently deceased Christopher Hitchens, who was an adamant Atheist and a brilliant man. His book doesn’t bother me as it is intelligent and well researched and it’s more about the problems with religion than the problem with a god. What I can’t stand is when non-religious people use this as ammo against Christians in arguments. “Your God’s not real”, “he doesn’t really have magical powers”, whatever. I’m not going to tell you that you’re wrong or that there’s no is to prove or disprove the existence of a supreme being. I’m going to tell you that you shouldn’t say this because it’s one of the most insulting things you can say to a Christian. It’s so ingrained in their psyche, so much a part of them that it’s be like me telling you “I hate you mom. She’s a terrible person, a horrible mother, and really ugly.” Unless you have problems with your mom that would probably bother you. So stop saying its equivalent to Christians.

“Muslims hate America”. This is probably the silliest and most uninformed statement any individual can make. For one thing, there are over 2 million Muslims in the United States. I have a feeling that they wouldn’t live here voluntarily if they hated this country any more than your average, red-blooded American. For another, Islam as a religion is pacifistic. Pacifism is one of the key teachings of Islam. The few violent attacks you hear about are extremist groups who aren’t accepted by the Islamic nation as a whole. It’d be like saying all Christians are KKK members or like the people from Westboro Baptist “Church”. One group of crazies ruins the world’s image of the entire religion.

“My ideas/beliefs/theories are better than yours”. Well no, they’re not. They’re different, but there’s no way of saying which ideology is “better”. As of yet I’ve never been dead and I’ve never met anyone who’s been dead before so I can’t tell you what happens to you after you kick it. Sure, you’ll hear stories about light and angels, but there’s no way of proving whether or not these are real or hallucinations. You can’t prove it, I can’t prove it, and live is frankly a lot easier if we just get along. Everybody love everybody, regardless of belief system.

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