Anti-Christian Sentiment

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Anti-Christian Sentiment

Postby bebop88 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:28 pm

Yo my peeps! Unfortunately I do not have the pleasure of living in the great country, USA. But my wife has tons of family in the states, and I constantly hear them complaining of an Anti-Christian sentiment growing in the country. I also notice her family making a case that America protects other religious groups like Muslims and Jews more than Christians.

I visit the States once a year (maybe for the past 4 years), and usually I’m with my wife’s very religious Christian family, so I don’t think I have a chance to notice this Anti-Christian sentiment they talk about. I don’t watch that much American news, but I have heard of the complaints in the media especially now with the whole Christmas/Happy Holidays debate.

So does America really have a growing anti-Christian sentiment? Or Is it that Atheism is becoming more common, so Christianity being the most influential religion in America will notice this growing secularism faster than other religions, thus viewing it as an anti-Christian phenomenon? Or is it something else :?:

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Re: Anti-Christian Sentiment

Postby yjoeyh » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:45 pm

bebop88 wrote: I constantly hear them complaining of an Anti-Christian sentiment growing in the country. I also notice her family making a case that America protects other religious groups like Muslims and Jews more than Christians...

So does America really have a growing anti-Christian sentiment? Or Is it that Atheism is becoming more common, so Christianity being the most influential religion in America will notice this growing secularism faster than other religions, thus viewing it as an anti-Christian phenomenon? Or is it something else ?

I think it has a lot more to do with exaggeration than anything else. There does seem to be a shift in American ideaologies which I, speaking as Christian, actually think it a good thing. Atheism is certainly more common than it was a few years ago, and that forces Christians to seriously re-examine their beliefs in light of other viewpoints, and is helping to correct some bad habits we've picked up in the past 100 years or so.
The "Anti-Christian sentiment" is only as strong as the radical Christianity it struggles against. So it also seems to be loosing steam along with the other (it's symbiotic.) I actually notice that American culture seems to be much more tolerant of Christians than it was just a few years ago.
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Re: Anti-Christian Sentiment

Postby gary_s » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:57 pm

The idea that there is significant anti-Christian sentiment here in the USA is completely hilarious. 80% of Americans self-identify as Christian. It happens that the few of us who aren't Christians are more vocal than in past generations, so Christians generally see any speech that isn't supportive to be hostile to them. It doesn't help that Fox News is a direct extension of the religious, conservative spectrum and routinely inflates anything they can construe as anti-religious. Corporations are trying to be more inclusive now since there is more religious diversity, and Fox routinely trumpets these efforts as anti-Christian. All you have to do to convince yourself that there is no such anti-Christian movement here is to ask anyone how many Christian churches are in their town and how many TV stations broadcast Christian sermons on Sunday morning. Those two statistics alone dwarf any and all activity that is anti-Christian. It also doesn't help that Christian leaders seem to have no sense of humor whatsoever. Look up the recent remarks by Pat Robertson over a rather dull SNL sketch about Tim Tebow. If you're not a US citizen then you might not be aware of Tebow's status and why they are controversial, but there are plenty of references on the web; I'm sure you can get the gist in less than 15 minutes. I have plenty of Christian friends and relatives and most of them didn't take issue with the sketch, except that it was, as usual, dull as dishwater. The only real affront here is that SNL is still on the air despite not having a funny joke in 20 years.
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Re: Anti-Christian Sentiment

Postby Keep The Reason » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:54 pm

Well, yjoeh and gary make the case well. It's a laughable accusation, generally made more known during Xmas where a dingbat right wing pundit named Bill O'Reilly on Faux news gets out his yearly "War Against Christmas" propaganda going, in order to boost ratings.

Frankly, in most parts of the country, there's a church every 50 or so yards, they pay no taxes, almost our every political issue is dredged through the "What Would Jesus Do?" filter (usually the answer is, "Invade, give more money to the wealthy, support all corporate decisiosns, and fuck the middle class and poor even harder", which is irony made palpable), every politician has to make sure to wave the god flag, and especially the Jesus flag, and any or every disagreement tossed towards Christiantiy is put down to a level of jackbooted thugism that would make Heinrich Himmler seem like an underachiever.

It's all lies, lies, lies.
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Re: Anti-Christian Sentiment

Postby bebop88 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:30 pm

Yeah I am an avid sports fan, so I know the whole Tim Tebow mania. I missed the SNL skit, and obviously Pat's comment. Actually, based on what I have seen on ESPN and sports media, I felt that Tebow was getting undeserved glorification because he was a devout Christian. I mean Tebow isn't that good of a QB, last in many passing stats.

What I find interesting is that here in Puerto Rico churches are also everywhere, but you don't see this type of behavior from Christians. Not too many people out in the streets fighting on religious social ideals. An interesting fact, in Puerto Rico you see a lot of abortions, which will strike you odd since majority of Christians are Roman Catholic, but it is hypothesized that the reason many abortions occur is that an abortion is only one sin to repent from, while using contraception will require a continual state of repenting. Gotta love some good old fashion theistic logic!

Thanks for the comments peeps, I'll tell my wife's folks to lay of Faux news.
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Re: Anti-Christian Sentiment

Postby Dr Mundo » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:32 pm

This is just one aspect, particularly within Christianity (mainly conservative Christianity) that I take issue with but really it could be applied to any religion or ideology that feels this way. In becoming a more inclusive country of other view points and embracing the diverse thought that we have now, or at least the diversity is becoming more pronounced due to lack of fear of repercussion i suppose, Christians see it as an attack on them. In a way, a very twisted and demented way, I can see where they are coming from. It is an attack on something, its not an attack on them or their religion but it is an attack on the divisiveness of their religion. I will not only defend that "attack" but I will defiantly participate in it. We have so many issues that divide the country already. Issues that I find to be of great importance to our society, both nationally and around the world. For us to be divided, and in such violent disagreement about what only amounts to nothing more than wishful thinking and mythology, is beyond absurd in my eyes. I do not blame the Christians in the pews though, they are doing what they think is right. So my problem is directly related to the actually theology of the Christian religion.

Like I said, in a way I can see where they are coming from. The thing is, how do we move on from here? What is the best course of action to take? I think we can do better without Religion. So you tell me, given what I just said. Do you think there are at least some people in the state who have this Anti-Christian sentiment that you are hearing about?
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Re: Anti-Christian Sentiment

Postby StillSearching » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:00 pm

I like Jon Stewart's response to this issue.
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Re: Anti-Christian Sentiment

Postby Dr Mundo » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:25 pm

StillSearching wrote:I like Jon Stewart's response to this issue.

As do I.
The question [Do you believe in God?] has a peculiar structure. If I say no, do I mean I'm convinced God doesn't exist, or do I mean I'm not convinced he does exist? Those are two very different questions. [Dr. Arroway]
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Re: Anti-Christian Sentiment

Postby mitchellmckain » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:53 pm

Well the idea that there is a significant anti-Christian sentiment in the United States seems pretty bizarre to me. But then the idea that there is an anti-atheist sentiment in the United States seemed pretty bizarre to me too. But then I had to admit that there very well could be areas in the United States where there is a great deal of social hostility towards atheists. So perhaps there are areas in the U.S. which are not that friendly to Christians either. I don't know where such a supposed area might be, but it's possible I guess.

On the other hand, the precise words in the OP were "growing anti-Christian sentiment", and I think the fact is that however small such a sentiment might be, there is an anti-Christian sentiment and it is growing. BUT I think perhaps the real question might be whether that growing anti-Christian sentiment is deserved. Furthermore there is the question of how it compares to the worldwide trends and whether can be seen as simply an extention of the trends that began in the renaissaunce. I think that there is no doubt that atheism is more popular than ever, giving more of a voice to atheist criticisms and to those with complaints against the Christian establishment.

But I think the incredulity by the atheists here is because of the simple fact that the establishment and the majority in the United States still is primarily Christian and not because there literally is no "growing anti-Christian sentiment". Thus cries against a "growing anti-Christian sentiment" sound like the cries and complaints of a dictator over the reduction from the absolute power he once had.
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Re: Anti-Christian Sentiment

Postby WorldlingWatcher » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:19 am

bebop88 wrote:So does America really have a growing anti-Christian sentiment?


I think no. There is an increasingly vocal minority who don't want religion pushed upon them (like the folks at FFRF), even in a passive manner.

As an aside, I do find it a little odd reading your posts from Puerto Rico which refer to America as though it were, you know, a different country. I knew a Puerto Rican family well a couple decades ago, and they were very proud to call themselves "Americans". Things must have changed quite a bit on the island since they left in the 60s.
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Re: Anti-Christian Sentiment

Postby Keep The Reason » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:20 am

mitchellmckain wrote:Well the idea that there is a significant anti-Christian sentiment in the United States seems pretty bizarre to me. But then the idea that there is an anti-atheist sentiment in the United States seemed pretty bizarre to me too. But then I had to admit that there very well could be areas in the United States where there is a great deal of social hostility towards atheists. So perhaps there are areas in the U.S. which are not that friendly to Christians either. I don't know where such a supposed area might be, but it's possible I guess.


Sure it's possible but the hostility wouldn't be coming from atheists-- far too few of them per capita. If you're going to assume hostility, it would be far more like to be coming from other theists, not atheists. .

On the other hand, the precise words in the OP were "growing anti-Christian sentiment", and I think the fact is that however small such a sentiment might be, there is an anti-Christian sentiment and it is growing
.

There is an anti theist sentiment and it's growing, albeit in a very small way. But it's not specifically directed at Christianity, but towards theistic models overall. We're called "atheists".j
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Re: Anti-Christian Sentiment

Postby Keep The Reason » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:23 am

WorldlingWatcher wrote:.As an aside, I do find it a little odd reading your posts from Puerto Rico which refer to America as though it were, you know, a different country. I knew a Puerto Rican family well a couple decades ago, and they were very proud to call themselves "Americans". Things must have changed quite a bit on the island since they left in the 60s.


They're a reluctant bride. They bring up statehood votes every few years and it generally gets defeated by a narrow margin. Maybe bebop is just a "no" voter.
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Re: Anti-Christian Sentiment

Postby WorldlingWatcher » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:42 am

Keep The Reason wrote:They're a reluctant bride. They bring up statehood votes every few years and it generally gets defeated by a narrow margin. Maybe bebop is just a "no" voter.


Not entirely reluctant. If I recall correctly, in the last plebiscite only a tiny percentage voted for full independence (<5%) and almost half voted for full statehood.

And there was nothing critical meant by the comment, just noting a shift in sentiment.
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Re: Anti-Christian Sentiment

Postby bebop88 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:00 am

bebop88 wrote:So does America really have a growing anti-Christian sentiment?


I think no. There is an increasingly vocal minority who don't want religion pushed upon them (like the folks at FFRF), even in a passive manner.

As an aside, I do find it a little odd reading your posts from Puerto Rico which refer to America as though it were, you know, a different country. I knew a Puerto Rican family well a couple decades ago, and they were very proud to call themselves "Americans". Things must have changed quite a bit on the island since they left in the 60s.



After reading my post, I realized I didn't differentiate the 50 states of America with its federal district. I have lived in Puerto Rico the past few years, and I have been visiting since I was a child, but I was born and raised in the US Virgin islands, another US territory. And yes I'm pretty sure a lot of places around the world have changed significantly since the 60's.

I currently don’t involve myself to much in to Puerto Rican politics, but yes there is an anti-American sentiment and a pro-American sentiment. The latter is more prominent. To be honest from what I have seen from those that have an anti-American sentiment, they are more concerned on preserving traditional Puerto Rican culture-- like the strong possibility that if Puerto Rico were to be granted statehood, the official language may change from Spanish to English.
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Re: Anti-Christian Sentiment

Postby gary_s » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:51 am

mitchellmckain wrote:But then the idea that there is an anti-atheist sentiment in the United States seemed pretty bizarre to me too. But then I had to admit that there very well could be areas in the United States where there is a great deal of social hostility towards atheists.


Yes, I can personally guarantee there is such hatred of atheists in the deep South for certain, going at least as far west as Texas. Northerneastern and western states are mostly ambivalent to supportive. I'm not sure about states in the middle of the US, but from my interactions with people, I'd say they are mostly tolerant. In the South you are far better off never admitting to being anything but a god-fearing Christian. Any water cooler chat can easily descend into a rant about "god-haters" (code for anyone who isn't a god-fearing Christian/Republican.) In fact, I've noticed that in almost any conversation with Southerners the word, church, god or Jesus will arise if the conversation goes longer than sixty seconds.

On the other hand, the precise words in the OP were "growing anti-Christian sentiment", and I think the fact is that however small such a sentiment might be, there is an anti-Christian sentiment and it is growing. BUT I think perhaps the real question might be whether that growing anti-Christian sentiment is deserved.


Well, the post title didn't refer to a "growing" trend, but he did in the body of his post. I missed that before. And I do agree because with the rise of religious diversity and the increasing confidence of the non-religious, Christianity is being called out on many of the privileged fronts it has enjoyed for so long. In some cases these are actual abuses, but in many cases these are simply privileges that Christians have come to feel entitled to because, well "it's a Christian country", as they will say. I'll offer an example. I read about a California town where for decades, different churches have been constructing religious Christmas decorations in public parks. They were properly applying for permits so there was nothing illegitimate. But this year, non-religious groups also applied and acquired most of the sites and constructed secular or even anti-religious slogans and messages. Needless to say, this has infuriated many in the community, but again, everything was done legally, so there was no impropriety. But it's just interesting that these churches see these public parks as something they are entitled to exploit to promote their religious message. This example is one that Fox News would proudly trumpet as a case of anti-Christianity when I don't really see it that way at all. I see it as secular groups trying to dampen an already overwhelming blanket of religious propaganda. I think when you consider the vastness of the religious footprint in America, it only seems reasonable that there are people who would desperately love to see a reduction of this, but have no interest in destroying the institutions of Christianity itself. The two objectives are vastly different, but according to Fox News they are one and the same.

But I think the incredulity by the atheists here is because of the simple fact that the establishment and the majority in the United States still is primarily Christian and not because there literally is no "growing anti-Christian sentiment". Thus cries against a "growing anti-Christian sentiment" sound like the cries and complaints of a dictator over the reduction from the absolute power he once had.


This is another case of designating one response for that of an entire class of people. I can't speak for all non-believers, but for myself I can say that this is not the case at all. I think you're arguing this issue backwards. It is the Christian establishment who has had and for the most part still holds a vast amount of power (if not absolute power), influence and control over our culture, legal and political systems. KTR has done a fine job of voicing many examples of this. So it is always the power holder, the dictator, as you said, who greatly rebukes his loss of absolute power. The protestor, atheists in this case, are rejoicing a relative increase in their influence, though that influence is measurably tiny, almost insignificant, and possibly only fleeting.

One thing is clear, the more Christianity is criticized, the more vociferous it becomes, and paradoxically, the more obnoxious it becomes, which probably only leads to more criticism. Just consider the Tebow example. I can remember watching NFL games when I was a young boy, back in the 70's. I don't remember a single player pose, pray and generally exploit their television presence for promotion of religion. Now, such obnoxious displays are not only common, but becoming practically mandatory. Even Ben Rothlesberger, before taking his butt-kicking from the 49ers, posed and prayed on the field, as if the whole thing were scripted. Does anyone else remember that only 2 years ago this same guy was arrested for sexually abusing a girl in a public restroom? Truly a man of god. So, my point is that such displays do absolutely nothing to portray the religion's true message, which I find mostly valid and useful to society. What it does portray is a bloated selfishness and a penchant for self-promotion. My guess is that if Jesus were alive today, the last thing he would want to see is big Ben posing and pointing to heaven on the 50 yard line. And the really sad thing about this is that I wouldn't object to a real religious message from players, teams or even the league. What if the NFL commissioner appeared at mid-field and announced that in the city of San Francisco there were X number of homeless people that wouldn't have a hot meal tonight and that he recommended that every fan forego one $10 beer or one $8 hotdog and take that money to a shelter after the game or some other selfless act of charity. But no, that's not going to happen. When millions of eyes are watching, it's all about repeatedly demonstrating to the public that yes, I'm still a pious Christian and I'm still pointing to God even though it does nothing to promote the actual commandments that God would have me follow. And this isn't just a public thing, it's also private. When my neighbors dress up in expensive suits and invite me to church, I politely decline. Why is it they never show up at my door asking for help with a community project to help someone in need? Yes, I know they do help, but they always seem far more exuberant in adding to their numbers than actually doing helpful things.

OK, I'm done ranting now...sorry. :oops: I suppose I'm an angry atheist.
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