She’s a Christian, Not a Stereotype

Holly McClellan is a high school senior and teen correspondent for the Contra Costa Times and she has written a really interesting article about being a Christian:

What first comes to mind when you think of Christians? They’re basically good people, but maybe a little confused, right?

That’s one of the kinder descriptions I’ve heard. The mental image is often unflattering, and public opinion rarely seems sympathetic. They’re killjoys, zealots, narrow-minded bigots. Whether presented as laughable stock characters or intolerant “fundies,” Christians today carry some unappealing stigmas.

Hm… She knows us well.

Far from using the column as a venue for proselytizing, though, Holly explains what her faith has brought to her:

As I mature in my faith, I have become increasingly aware of how society will perceive me and my religion. I know the stereotypes aren’t completely foundationless. There are killjoys, there are zealots, there are bigots — but Christianity does not demand these attitudes any more than it condones them. The actions of a few who claim the Christian faith have managed to alienate countless numbers of people, a fact that distresses me and has encouraged me to take action.

I ask others to remain open-minded, to see my faith for what it is and not just the manner in which it is lived out by flawed people like myself. I’m certainly not the perfect witness for my faith, but that does not diminish my desire to share it with all who will listen.

I wonder how many of you who read that article have a desire to debate her or point out the myriad problems with Christianity.

When I read her piece, none of those thoughts went through my head.

I would love it if people weren’t religious, but if they have to be, she sounds like the type of Christian I could get along with pretty well.

Is that a problem?

(Thanks to sc0tt for the link!)

  • liz

    sometimes when i read something about a christian like this…i wonder if they’ve ever read the shit spewing from the pages of their holy text. there is some pretty brutal and injust beliefs going on and i dont know why anyone would want to base their faith around a book that contradicts itself and preaches anything you disagree with.

    i prefer the “I believe in a God, but i’m not christian” kind of theists.

  • Casimir

    They’re killjoys, zealots, narrow-minded bigots.

    Blue laws, stem-cell research, gay marriage.

    That might have something to do with the stereotypes. It seems to me that negative stereotypes like the above all relate to how some Christians interact with others, more specifically how they interact politically. (I think more people who would describe Christians in those terms would list political issues than high school rules, like she did.)

    That would ironically suggest a good way to fight those stereotypes is to push more for separation of church and state.

  • alex

    Christianity does not demand these attitudes any more than it condones them.

    Christianity does not condone “these attitudes”? Really?

    Tell that to the millions of Christian homophobes who voted against same-sex marriage in Maine and California. Tell that to WBC and KKK. Tell that to people behind Creation museum and those on boards of education who want to teach Creationism in biology classes. Hell, tell that to the Pope.

    No, seriously, I do know that there are many sane and thinking Christians, and not nearly all Christians are fundamentalists (I do hang around a bunch of Christians all the time), and I commend Holly for her positive attitude and open mind, but, at the same time, I don’t think that this attitude to Christians and theists in general is completely undeserved. Those actions that others condemn don’t just grow on an empty place; Christianity itself does play a big part of them. Much like (pardon the cliché) terrorists who brought us 9/11 weren’t Muslims coincidentally: even if they don’t make all Muslims terrorists, their actions certainly do not help reputation of Islam.

    As for an open discussion, I am all for it. I don’t agree with the basic tenets of Christianity, but it’s not my place to say that everybody should abandon them. Who knows — I might be wrong after all. Let’s build something productive rather than dish crap on each other, which is a very common thing to do.

  • Gwenny

    I actually considered either writing a letter to the editor (I’m local) or contacting the columnist. I have to say the article irritated me immensely. I can’t quite put my finger on why, though, other than 35 years of being a Christian woman (Yes, I was a late comer to atheism) and knowing women who would write this sort of thing. The subtle “victim” mentality . . . “public opinion rarely seems sympathetic”. Come on, chiclet, 80% of Americans call themselves Christian. One would hardly think that the opinions of 20% would affect you that much. The majority of the news *I* read is pro-Christian and anti-everything else . . and don’t even try to say folks think less of Christians than atheists. And what sort of person goes around soliciting negative options? One who is in your face Christian.

    All things considered, I’m just going to stop reading that column. At least once a month it annoys me and it’s not the kids fault that adults are facilitating them being public idiots.

  • Kim

    She sounds like the kind of good person who, at some level, conflates religious faith with morality and is attached to a kind of “spiritual nourishment” that seems invaluable and integral to her belief system. It would be interesting to engage her in a dialogue on this. I’ve found that a committed investigation of the notion of religiosity as virtue pretty much unravels it entirely. However, when I was her age (I was raised Catholic), I possessed neither the intellectual depth nor emotional maturity to begin to grasp this.

    Oh, and I second Gwenny’s annoyance with Christians whinging about how persecuted they.

  • Corey

    Ms. McClellan’s flavor of Christianity is almost precisely like my wife’s. I have been an atheist for over 20 years, and matured from being a very aggressive and insulting one to something resembling a decent human one. Ten years ago when my wife and I met, we knew the #1 fundamental difference between us was faith. I had none, and she had plenty.

    But as we got to know each other, courted, talked about this big difference between us, we learned that the RESULTS of her faith and my more mature humanism were almost identical. We just found motivation to do good things or ‘the right thing’ from different places. We’ve been happily married for over eight years now, and we are raising a three-year-old son who will get to see both sides of this debate from us.

    So… yes… getting along with (and in my case marrying) a Christian whose faith is almost an unmitigated positive influence is good. If that’s all religion ever was, we’d have no real reason to argue against it. All that would be left to do is concentrate on educating children so they don’t need the short-cut that is faith to do good things. I am so comfortable at this point with my situation that I am relaxed about whether my son adopts my wife’s faith or my atheism. I have a preference, but if he’s as sweet and sensible as she is, I won’t mind, really.

    My hat’s off to Ms. McClellan’s for speaking up about a Christianity I can (and do) live with.

  • Parse

    I freely admit that when I think of Christians in general (that aren’t Paid Professional Christians), I think of “killjoys, zealots, narrow-minded bigots.” This is mainly because the majority of people who are actively vocal about their Christianity reinforce this stereotype. (I would go into detail about this, but it has already been masterfully handled by Casimir, Alex, and Gwenny in this post alone)

    That being said, I am referring to those who make Christianity important to them – and make sure that everybody else is aware of this fact. Nearly everybody I know are Christian, but I don’t think of them as it – a person is more than their race and class, their faith, or any other term that can apply to them. I freely admit that I am a computer geek, but I’m not ONLY a computer geek, and I don’t let my whole personality be wrapped up in being a computer geek. For this reason, I don’t view people as ‘Christians’ – with all the negative stereotypes that go along with it – unless they accept the label ‘Christian’ as the most important (or even the only) label that applies to them.

    I am encouraged by Ms. McClellan’s attempts to reclaim her faith from the bigots who currently represent it. I hope she’s successful. But protesting the stereotype isn’t the way to do it; that just provides cover for the bigots who share her faith.

  • Nikki

    A couple of good friends of mine are christian, and fundamentalist at that. We do not see eye-to-eye on the religion thing (FAR from it), but because we choose to live our lives in a way that reflects our core values, and those core values are very similar, we get along extremely well. On occasion they’ll say they’ll pray for me (when I’m having a really difficult time), and although we both laugh, I know that it is meant sincerely – they truly believe that prayer is a helpful thing, and they are truly offering help, even if I don’t believe in it. It is offered as a sincere gift, and I accept it graciously as such – even if it’s the wrong color, size, or I’m allergic to the material!

  • http://zackfordblogs.com ZackFord

    It’s sort of like saying, “Turn a blind eye and don’t hold me accountable.” It’s a fine line between apologizing and being an apologist, and unlike you, Hemant, I didn’t… fall for it? If that’s okay to say?

    When you build a life on lies, then how do you distinguish between them? She wants you to ignore the other Christians, but she still demands respect for being a Christian and for spreading Christianity. Sorry, but that’s still not taking responsibility.

  • http://thinkingforfree.blogspot.com/ Eamon Knight

    The public face of Christianity has gotten much uglier since my fundamentalist days (roughly the 1970s), and I don’t think it’s just a perception effect on my part. Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter hadn’t yet succeeded in making “liberal” a dirty word; what were marginal authoritarian groups are now mainstream.

    So sure: there’s all sorts of Christians, and just to confuse our sterotypes even further, the liberal/conservative polarity doesn’t always correlate with the nice-guy/asshole polarity. Ultimately, you stand for who you are, not some school of thought with which you are nominally affiliated.

  • http://atheistcamel.blogspot.com/ Dromedary Hump

    Holly was infected at an early age. That she doesn’t show symptoms of the most virulant strain of the God Virus is good, but she is still a host looking for ways to spread it to those who lack intellectual defenses.

    I’d not turn her away as a friend, afterall I have no problem being friends with people with Down Syndrome, or who carry the HIV virus.

  • Sackbut

    Hemant wrote:

    I wonder how many of you who read that article have a desire to debate her or point out the myriad problems with Christianity.

    Well, I’m one. I don’t wish to debate her if she really isn’t interested in debate, but she makes comments in her essay that are questionable.

    She laments the image of Christians, saying that the actions of a few have tarnished the image of all. Fair enough. However, the examples she gives from her school life — the dress code, the prohibition on dances — garner criticism not primarily from non-Christians, but from everybody outside her cloistered environment, most of whom are her fellow Christians.

    Her list of problems she wrestles with, presented as examples of critical thinking and questioning, are lacking: the supposed dichotomy of science and religion? I’d be more impressed if she wrestled with the existence of gods, or the facts behind the stories in the bible. I’d give her the benefit of the doubt; perhaps she does learn critical thinking to some reasonable degree at her school, even though her examples don’t demonstrate anything of the kind.

    These comments are not meant as criticisms of her. She does indeed sound like a thoughtful young woman. However, her writing does give the impression she has a very narrow view of who is “Christian” and what is a “Christian school”. I dare say that what comes to mind for most people in the US when they think of Christians is “me”.

    I think her last paragraph is quite interesting. She wants people to see her faith for “what it is”, not for “the manner in which it is lived”. Frankly, I’m mostly interested in “the manner in which it is lived”; “what it is” is her business, not mine.

  • Polly

    I’m with those who think this smacks of whining. Oh, the plight of the poor, oppressed culturally, economically, and politically dominant majority.

  • http://twitter.com/AitChapel Ait Chapel

    To me there generally tend to be two types of Christians. The first are those who may or may not believe in God and Jesus and some of the other supernatural tenets of their particular branch of Christianity,but have a certain level of respect for the people, culture, traditions, etc. and may find the religion to be a good source of morality or perhaps simply a good default because you have to be something. However, at the end of the day, these people ultimately pick and choose what aspects of their faith they believe in.

    The second type though, are those who take their faith seriously. To them their religion is not a culture or tradition or a default, but an undeniable truth.

    A lot of people, including many Atheists seem to not have a problem with the first of these two types of Christians. A lot of Atheist may even be this first type of Christian. But, when people, including the first type of Christian, encounter the second type, the Palins and Huckabees and members of Opus Dei or “the Family,” they grow uncomfortable.

    If you read the entire article written by that girl, it appears that she is the second type.

  • Thegoodman

    Like a few other comments, I am also disgusted with the victim mentality of the article. There are roughly 2.1 billion Christians on earth (1st place, Islam is 2nd with 1.5 billion). They primary shareholder in the global religious money market and I refuse to acknowledge them as victims.

    This is akin to Microsoft producing a column asking computer users to give them a break and dismiss all of the negative stereo types that surround Microsoft.

    Humans love being the victim. It is motivating to believe that you are against the world and they all are wrong about you. We all do it (even us atheists) but that doesn’t make it right.

    The fact is that there are no laws anywhere in the US that discriminate against any Christian because of their faith. I have never encountered a situation where Christians are discriminated against at all.

    The general negative ideas about Christians exist because they are true. The specific sects of Christianity that get stereotyped more harshly are also true, and rarely encompass all Christians.

  • 5ive

    ” But while this setting paints a predictable portrait, my circumstances do not make me a Christian. ”

    This was said just after saying how she was put into CHristian schools from the age of 2. If she actually thinks she had a real choice of her belief system, she is sorely disillusioned. She had no chance to examine anything if she was told god was true from birth. And I have NEVER met a child of religious parents who was told that god might be true. It is always, “God is true” Poor girl. That sort of upbringing really irritates me. It is mean and unfair to do that to a child. Not to mention totally unnecessary. My kids (ages 11 and 8) Have grown up without any such absolute truths (one way or the other) and still are very happy little campers.

  • Charlotte

    I didn’t automatically think, “Oh, what a terrible person.”

    It’s very naive. She’s young & really believes “God is love” & all that. She believes everything she was told while growing up and only knows the “nice” scriptures.

    Since becoming atheist, it’s hard not to notice how pro-Christian everything is. They all seem to go on about how persecuted they are, but they don’t see how it’s the other way around.

    Let her get out in the world & live a little. That should cure some of her naivete. Let her really read the Good Book. Let her learn science & really discuss religion with nonbelievers, not just witness for her faith. I doubt that will happen, but hey…

    She’s a high school senior. That’s how she was raised, she doesn’t know any better (yet).

  • 5ive

    haha! i didn’t realise that “8 )” would be a smiley. hehe… mY kids are 11 and 8. not 11 and 8)
    Danged smileys…

  • http://redheadedskeptic.com Laura

    I think she sounds annoyingly naive. I know many people like her and they are very nice people, but um, still Christian? ;) I do get along with Christians, but they tend to be the ones out of their bubbles who know that Christianity doesn’t give all the answers and/or that non Christians have valid criticisms (and not just with the people). I still don’t agree with them, of course, but I rarely find them annoying, either. Maybe it’s just her age. I was a lot like that in high school, too! :)

  • Matto the Hun

    Christianity does not demand these attitudes any more than it condones them.

    Alex is right. Christianity does demand these attitudes, most Christians like Holly or my Christian friends simply ignore those parts. However, Jesus does, for example, demand you leave you family to follow him. Many families have followed this in some manner but making outcasts of children or family member how follow a different faith, are homosexuals, or become atheists. We can be very thankful that those intolerant Christians do not follow their Bible further and stone their rejected family members to death.

    The actions of a few who claim the Christian faith have managed to alienate countless numbers of people

    [emphasis mine]

    Wrong. If it were the actions of a few, we would not have such a hard time getting marriage equality for homosexuals.

    I ask others to remain open-minded, to see my faith for what it is and not just the manner in which it is lived out by flawed people like myself

    I appreciate that she falls on the “nice” end of the spectrum. I also apprecite her frustration with being tarred with a brush made by her intolerant fellow Christians.

    Unfortunately, she is not understanding that this is a problem if she professes a faith that is based on a book with conflicting messages, as well as messages that are not so conflicting and at the same time not very nice or moral. This is what happens when your holy book is a big book of multiple choice.

    In the same way that she is hindered by a bad stereo type created by bigots and fundamentalists, they reap some of the rewards of her moderation and decency. In this way the liberal or moderate Christian provides cover for those black hearted villains.

    You can’t simply take the touchy feely, nicey-nice parts of Christianity and ignore the the immoral parts that come with it. Once you do that you can’t call your self a Christian anymore than a person can agree with the KKK except for the part where he wants to marry his black, gay lover.

    Call yourself something different, or drop the god belief altogether.

  • Matto the Hun

    Thegoodman said:

    Humans love being the victim. It is motivating to believe that you are against the world and they all are wrong about you. We all do it (even us atheists) but that doesn’t make it right.

    Yeah, but when you consider that we can’t have anything (like a billboard) that merely says we exist, or that there are states where it is written into their constitutions that say we cannot hold public office… we are victims, and we are right to point this out.

  • JulietEcho

    The actions of a few who claim the Christian faith have managed to alienate countless numbers of people, a fact that distresses me and has encouraged me to take action.

    She must have a pretty unique definition of “few” if she believes that.

    And count me among the ranks of those who are tired of hearing the victim mentality from those in the overwhelming majority. No one has the luxury of universal approval, and it just sounds naive and whiny to hear someone complaining about negative perceptions of Christianity when 80-90% of people in this country identify, to some extent, with Christianity.

  • HrothgirOD

    “…but that does not diminish my desire to share it with all who will listen. ”
    Then screw her, dry.
    I don’t care what brand of crazy she has, as long as she doesn’t tell me about it. As a deal, I’ll not discuss my piles if she doesn’t discuss god. she pulls Jesus, I can get photos…
    She’s just another Tupperware seller, with no discernible product.
    Muppet

  • 5ive

    “I ask others to remain open-minded, to see my faith for what it is and not just the manner in which it is lived out by flawed people like myself”

    One of the most valuable lessons I have learned was to go by what people do, not by what they say. It is precisely the manner in which it is lived that effects other people. Not necessarily the faith. It is great to have good intentions, but when the manner in which you live results in the stripping of civil rights, that is what I will judge you on.
    Not to say she is against same-sex marriage, but christians in one form or another (and yes, Mormons are christian) are the ones who put through Prop 8 here in CA.
    And the only one saying you’re flawed is your old book. Geez, invent a problem, then sell the answer to those you sold the problem to. Grrr…. maybe she is just young.

  • Greg

    Looks like most people don’t agree with you Hemant(!!)

    Personally, what irritates me isn’t so much the things people have brought up above, quite frankly, I’ve come to expect them.

    What does irritate me is the way she tries to seperate herself from the ‘stereotypes’ by saying that they aren’t real Christians.

    There are killjoys, there are zealots, there are bigots — but Christianity does not demand these attitudes any more than it condones them.

    The fact that most non-rapture hoping Christians seem to ignore is that these killjoys, zealots, and bigots defend their views with scripture. And they do it successfully, because that is what the Bible in fact says. It says things like ‘stone gay people to death’, for example. The homosexual bigots are the ones who have the Bible on their side, not the so-called moderates. If they can do that, then you can’t claim the Bible doesn’t condone or demand their behaviour.

    It stinks of the attitude that ‘only the ‘good’ Christians are true Christians’.

    I understand why people say it, it’s because they believe they are the only person in the world to have read the Bible correctly. (And whoever’s taught them it – at least until they start to disagree)

    I’ll add that it’s not that the article particularly annoys me per say, but rather that that attitude in general does. I actually feel more pity for her than anything, because she doesn’t seem to realise just what 5ive pointed out in their first post above me.

  • J Myers

    What first comes to mind when you think of Christians? …. The mental image is often unflattering, and public opinion rarely seems sympathetic.

    *blink*

    So… the 80+% of Americans who are Christians must live with the knowledge that they are viewed somewhat unfavorably by some fraction of the <20% who aren't? Why, that's… something I just can't bring myself to care about in the least.

    I ask others to remain open-minded…

    We’re plenty open-minded; you see, our open-minded consideration of affairs shows us that your faith is staggeringly absurd, whether or not its adherents exhibit any of the behaviors you list. Feel free to present any sort of evidence that might shift it from the category of “preposterous inanity” to “marginally plausible,” and we’ll gladly recalibrate our rhetoric. Until then, if you insist upon asking others to “see your faith for what it is,” you best ready yourself for the criticisms of those who do.

  • Richard Wade

    How hard does Holly work directly against the killjoys, the zealots and the narrow-minded bigots that she acknowledges are in her midst? Does she get in their faces with words as eloquent as in her letter? Does she stand up in church and denounce their practices with as much passion as she has used here to denounce the stereotyping of Christians by outsiders?

    Does she do something effective about the source of the stereotypes, or does she just ask everybody else to not believe them?

    Holly: Enough of your brothers and sisters in Christ actively and eagerly spread false stereotypes and practice their hate against atheists to make our lives always restricted, often difficult, and sometimes miserable. Write another letter to the same paper, just as articulately composed as this one, denouncing your fellow Christians’ treatment of us.

    Then you’ll have some credibility.

  • ATL-Apostate

    Absurd beliefs must always be challenged.

  • Jeff Ritter

    Even with all the good points made in other comments, the fact that the bible is full of inconsistencies and contradictions, the fact that a logical conclusion in the realm of gods and religions would lead anyone to at the very least Agnosticism if not Atheism. All that aside, I’d rather have someone take the good things of Jesus and none of the bible literally, than someone that takes it word for word literally and glazes over the parts they can not answer for, like the rules in the Old Testament. Give me a Christian that recognizes it can not be taken literally and I’d have a beer with them. (They can have water but you get the idea).

  • Christine

    I ask others to remain open-minded, to see my faith for what it is and not just the manner in which it is lived out by flawed people like myself.

    We do see the Christian faith for what it is (along with every other faith in the world): an archaic, irrational set of beliefs that have caused great suffering and loss in the world. They have also inspired great acts of charity and kindness, but at their core, they are fundamentally disconnected from reality. I suppose that if everyone who held these unrealistic beliefs just went around doing nice things, we wouldn’t really care about their motives… but lots of people don’t.

    And yes, again, actions > words. How that faith is lived out is the only way to judge what it means, and, well, judging by what I’ve seen, it’s not great.

  • dglas

    The point and purpose of a dogma or doctrine is to require its advocates and followers to hold very, very particular attitudes and views. It is only confusion among the ranks and reasonable doubt that is driving people away from the core dogma to a more relativistic understanding. It is not any indication of the flexibility of the dogma, it is a sign of people straying from the faith.

    The argument that the “moderate” religious are proof that the doctrines are A-okay, just abused by the radical few, is not sound. The dogma is the same, however true the followers of it are to it, and it is the dogma (and the inclination to dogma) that is the problem.

    The whole point of religious dogma is to turn you into a stereotype. it’s called orthodoxy. If you use the word, be prepared for the negative connotations – they are richly deserved.

  • Aj

    This is standard apologetics they teach indoctrinate in these ideological driven schools. It’s creepy, if there’s one thing you notice above everything else is that they don’t think for themselves, they say the same things, they believe the same things, they think the same way.

    We don’t have rules, we have standards! I wrestle with these supposed dichotomies! Our teachers support critical thinking so we become informed Christian members of society who understand what we believe, and why they believe it! Everyone has faith in something! A few who claim the Christian faith…

    Faith is belief without evidence, irrational belief. You don’t examine, doubt, or test your faith. You don’t reason your way out of beliefs you didn’t reason your way into. Not everyone bases their beliefs on faith.

    She doesn’t say what she believes, just that she’d like to share her faith, be a witness, “honor” God. This is sophisticated marketing. It would be interesting to find out how open-minded she is to hear another perspective.

  • Tim

    My question for Holly McClellan :

    Do you talk to sky pixies?

    Tim

  • Ron in Houston

    Absurd beliefs must always be challenged.

    OK I’m challenging you on that absurd belief.

    And so it goes….

  • John Yates

    Holly says,

    “I ask others to remain open-minded, to see my faith for what it is and not just the manner in which it is lived out by flawed people like myself.”

    Yes, Holly, I absolutely see your faith for what it is. A tragic insult to reason that was unfairly, yet forcibly foisted upon you as a child by well-meaning parents who have nevertheless unwittingly stunted your rational faculties. You are a victim of childhood indoctrination, brainwashed into believing as true the most vacuous, non evidence-based idiocy imaginable. I have just as much of a problem with moderate proclomations of faith as I do with the loony brigade- to me it all reads like the same anti-intellectual, unthinking nonsense.

  • http://agalandherblog.blogspot.com/ Andrea

    I had the same reaction as Gwenny. Holly seems predisposed to the popular Christian idea that society at large persecutes her for her faith, and she responds with faux humility. Whose opinion is she seeking? Because I think she will find, especially come election time, that people associate ‘Christian’ with someone who is automatically more trustworthy and a super duper Real American. Or does she not know that many people in this fine country think atheists are as good as child molesters?

    Holly has a lot of growing up to do.

  • Parse

    I’ve thought more about this, and reread the article, and I get the feeling that Ms. McClellan has been cocooned in her faith. She says in the article that she has been in Christian schools since age 2, attended the same church her whole life. Beyond anyone in her immediate neighborhood, I would be surprised if she has any friends of different faiths – or even of different denominations.

    To go to her school, by the way, parents have to endorse (among others) the Statement of Faith. If you take a look at it, it’s got some pretty foul contents – it demands young earth creationism, Satan as the “unholy god of this age”, that only the born-again are saved, “the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost,” “the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness under girded by a Christian lifestyle,” and that “In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose … and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography.” I wonder how much of that Ms. McClellan has heard taught in the classroom, from the pulpit, or at the dinner table.

    If she’s going around with echoes of these words in her head, it’s no surprise that others could see her as a killjoy, zealot, or intolerant bigot.

  • Korny

    Holly:

    You sure can talk the talk. Can you walk the walk? We don’t care about what your faith is “for what it is” – but we care intensely about the “manner in which it is lived out”. The manner is which it is lived out is a systematic abuse of anyone who is not like you.
    The people who call themselves Christians encourage and support this abuse. Either you are a Christian who ACTIVELY stands against these things, or you are condoing them with your silence.
    If you stay silent to avoid being condemmned, then you’re beyond pathetic. If you stay silent because want to encourage the abuse, then everything bad we think about Christians, and you, is true. Either way, your silence comdems you as a supporter of the abuse.

  • sc0tt

    I sent this link to Hemant because I thought it was interesting that the author is writing to an audience that she assumes already has a poor image of Christianity. Yes, it’s whining, but it’s far different from similar whining columns that assume the reader and author share a common persecution complex and then dismiss the nutbags as a triviality.

    She might make a good interview, but I think we’ve seen comparable ones already, and I could probably script her answers myself.

    Hey Richard Wade – did you remove your own comment from the newspaper site? Or did they think using Holly’s own words against her was disrespectful?

  • JulietEcho

    @Parse – thanks for the added info about the school’s mandatory statement of faith. The examples you gave are exactly what I consider bigoted – and even worse than “killjoy” material.

    The emphasis on evangelism seems to suggest a prime contender for what Holly’s motivations might be: changing the packaging and making Christianity seem more palatable to the 10-20% of the “unsaved” so that we might be converted. Thanks, but no thanks. If being tolerant, kind and charitable was all it took to get me to join a religion, I’d be a liberal Quaker or Methodist or Unitarian. Instead, this sort of garbage hints at a softer, gentler Christianity that thinly veils the same objectionable tenets that have led to the stereotypes Holly complains about!

  • Joel Wheeler

    Well, I actually did leave a comment on the ContraCosta Times site, as well as emailing it to the contact. I encourage you all to do the same.

    Dear Holly -

    You sound like a really sweet young woman, and I can certainly empathize with your desire to set yourself apart from the standard caricature of a contemporary evangelical Christian. And I think it’s great that you want to think for yourself.

    I would, however, challenge the notion that you are a Christian in spite of your context. Don’t you find it somewhat disingenuous to insist that it’s not the influence of your pastor-grandpa, or your Bible-teacher father, or your Christian high-school friends, or your Christian schooling, that have led you to the conclusions you’ve drawn? I do not wish to disparage any of these things, but I must point out that your story, while certainly your own, is all too familiar, and I would wager that you came to Christ by the age of 10 or 12 at the latest, perhaps with additional returns during your adolescence. Do you generally think of ten-year-olds as capable of rendering qualified judgments about the nature of the world, independently of their context? It has been demonstrated time and again that children consistently find the faith of their parents, and that faith is, in fact, familial and cultural. I would be far more impressed if you had emerged a Buddhist. We very rarely recognize our own biases – learning to do so is a big part of maturity – and no-one really thinks of herself as a stereotype. I strongly recommend that you attend a secular University. When you have spent an amount of time equal to your current age moving in a secular context, learning (from non-Christian sources) and absorbing the histories of other faiths and the tenets of rational humanism, and can still call yourself a Christian, then I will consider and respect your informed opinion.

    Consider for a moment the personal cost that you would incur, were you ever to find your way out of your family’s faith. (Precedent and history suggest that this will never happen, but still.) Most deconverted folks – of all faiths – experience pretty major tension with their families and faith-peers, and often lose them altogether. Most of these folks will tell you that what led them away from Christianity was the same thing that led them toward it: a hunger for the unvarnished Truth. If you sincerely felt that Truth was leading you in that direction, would you follow? Christ would have insisted – did insist – that you abandon, even despise, your own family if they refused to follow HIm. Does the principle apply in reverse? Ask your parents if they would still love, respect, and embrace you if you became a Mormon, or an atheist. Better yet – imagine that your entire family and peer group suddenly converted to Islam – would you stick with Jesus? Food for thought.

    I must also gently challenge one other declaration: “In reality, everyone has faith in something.” This is a common canard, often proffered by Christians. And it isn’t true. It’s an attempt to make all systems of inquiry and “ways of knowing” seem equally valid, when they really aren’t, and which you don’t really believe anyway. Empiricism and naturalism, for example, are two worldviews (closely related) that admit no faith, meaning that they reserve their certainties for things that can be observed and tested. Faith, by definition, asserts with certainty things that no-one can possibly ‘know’ without it. Additionally, that statement equivocates on the word ‘faith’, like saying “I have faith in mankind” or “I have faith in the scientific method.” But those things aren’t faith in the Christian sense, they are rational and empirical. I agree that “the freedom of belief” is precious and important, but simply declaring that religion and philosophy and “what I believe” are all the same thing does not make it so.

    You are clearly very earnest and sincere, qualities that I admire, and you’re probably not a killjoy or a bigot, qualities that I detest as much as you do. You also appear to wish to have your ideas taken seriously, another quality I admire. I hope that you can accept these thoughts and queries in the spirit in which they are offered: the spirit of Truth-seeking.

  • littlejohn

    She may be much less offensive than most Christians, but she still believes crazy, untrue stuff.
    She may claim not to embrace the more odious aspects of her religion, such as stoning gays to death and not eating shellfish (who doesn’t love lobster?), but those who ignore greater and greater parts of Christian dogma at some point stop being Christians.
    Perhaps she should rethink how she labels herself. Maybe she’s really a deist.

  • Flah

    @Jeff Ritter:

    Give me a Christian that recognizes it can not be taken literally and I’d have a beer with them. (They can have water but you get the idea).

    Yes, but can I have Scotch with that water? (And the water in ice cube form, please.)

  • http://ottodestruct.com Otto

    I don’t think of “basically good” when I think of “christian”.

    When I think of a “christian”, I think of a closed-minded person who basically wants to prevent everybody else from doing anything that they disagree with.

    I have never met any counter-examples to my assessment.

  • Jerry Priori

    My issue with essays, letters, and articles like Holly’s is that they always seem to be talking to the wrong audience. As a non-believer, I don’t care if your imaginary friend is nicer than the one someone else has. Buddy Jesus is no more compelling a figure to me than Asshole Jesus. And without any Jesus to cross examine, nobody is an authority over anyone else concerning what constitutes a “Christian.” If she’s bothered by a general perception of Christianity in the popular culture, she should be working with other Christians on that image. There’s very little use whining to atheists that all Christians aren’t bigots and killjoys. Go tell it to the Christians who are bigots and killjoys and see if you can get them to come around to your thinking.

  • http://atheonomics.blogspot.com Richard H

    This article feels like a giant no-True-Scotsman fallacy.

    Christianity is a giant social institution that includes many, many different viewpoints.

    Both, “Christianity does support individuality” and “Christianity does not support individuality” are incorrect. Some interpretations do, and some do not.

    But, yet again, we have someone who seems to be saying, “I am a member of a group with more than a billion members and as many sets of moral beliefs. You should judge the group’s views based on my personal, progressive interpretation.”

    If the article’s argument were more, “people should stop assuming that Christianity necessarily opposes individuality,” I’d have less of an issue. Though, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who actually holds the view, “It is impossible to interpret Christianity in a socially progressive way.”

  • Aj

    I agree with Parse and JulietEcho, and thank Parse for the research.

    Holly McClellan’s school seems pretty stereotypical, students and parents are required to believe certain dogma, including that which is bigoted. Does that sound like critical thinking and support of individuality? Her column is being used as a venue for proselytizing, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many falsehoods in there.

  • HankTheCowdog

    “…to share it with all who will listen.”

    I think she probably meant to write “to share it with all who have ears, whether they want to listen or not.”

  • http://www.twitter.com/shocktwist Brittany

    I find it odd that, somehow, the 25% of non-Christians in America have made the 75% of Christians in America look bad. As Eamon Knight pointed out, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter have tried to make “Liberal” a dirty word, and they haven’t succeeded, despite there being such high percentages of Conservatives in America.

    That leads me to believe that either Holly is full of crap, and/or Christians are just as guilty as labeling other Christians as “killjoys, zealots, [and] narrow-minded bigots.”

  • Jim H

    A couple of impressions:

    * Ms. McClellan sounds like she doesn’t want to be lumped in with Pat Robertson et al. Who would? His “true story” about a Haitian “pact with the devil” says enough. That’s almost as hard to understand as a ban on dancing. True, dance is a “vertical expression of a horizontal desire.” So? We are sexual beings, like it or not–I happen to like it.

    * As others have said here, Ms. McClellan seems to fallaciously conflate Christianity with morality. I would bet serious money that she has never read Psalm 137.

    * Like Corey at 10:50 am, I could bring up the kind of “Christianity” practiced by my wife. I use the scare quotes because she has some very un-Christian beliefs: most notably, universal salvation. She tells me that, from a very young age in the Southern Baptist church, she could not believe that someone who had never heard of Christianity should be condemned for that. And now, she believes that even a non-believer (i.e., me) will be with her in her afterlife. OK, it gives her comfort, and I can’t see that it hurts her. (She did escape from the babdists, at least…)

  • monkeymind

    Re: HrothgirOD, January 14th, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Are we OK with jocular references to rape here at Friendly Atheist?

  • J Myers

    As Eamon Knight pointed out, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter have tried to make “Liberal” a dirty word, and they haven’t succeeded…

    Sorry, Brittany–they have succeeded, which was, in fact, Eamon’s point; they hadn’t yet succeeded back in the 1970′s, as he plainly stated.

  • sc0tt

    This was in the TEEN section of the newspaper (but it has a link on the home page) and I think she thought her audience would be mostly teenagers who just aren’t very religious, don’t identify as Christians, and are potentially salvageable.

  • http://krissthesexyatheist.blogspot.com krissthesexyatheist

    There are good people and there are bad people, both believers and non believers. If she is saying that x-tians are only good, then she needs to open her eyes. If she is saying, “not all of us are jerks”, then we need to open our hearts.

  • http://www.blog.vestigels.com/ JJ

    Well, like a lot of people here I was a bit irked by the tone of the article and had a little trouble pinning down exactly why but reading the comments and in particular when above Parse says:

    But protesting the stereotype isn’t the way to do it; that just provides cover for the bigots who share her faith.

    I think that comment kind of tuned me in to why the articles bugs so many of us. If Christianity is suffering from an image problem because of the actions of the bigots etc then those are the people that this woman needs to take her fight to. Not complaining to outsiders that they shouldn’t few Christians negatively because there are decent ones. If she wants to fix the negative stereotypes then Christians like herself need to do it from inside the faith not out.

  • wackadoodle

    What I got from that article: All those bad people aren’t real Christians. True Christians are ones like me who don’t piss you off!

    Ignoring the fact that most of those ‘stereotypes’ are infact just following the bible, lets not pretend a 2000 year old book endorses full equality between genders and sexual orientations or any of modern science, how is she any different from them in just saying she’s right and everyone who disagrees is only ‘claiming’ to be a christian?

    PS: I’d like to point out like other people have that until the majority of states vote to legalize gay marriage can not possibly be argued that it’s a minority of Christians who are bigots.

  • http://www.twitter.com/shocktwist Brittany

    J Myers said:

    Sorry, Brittany–they have succeeded, which was, in fact, Eamon’s point; they hadn’t yet succeeded back in the 1970’s, as he plainly stated.

    Hmm. Yes, I misread his comment. Sorry about that. I suppose I disagree with his statement, then. I don’t see “Liberal” as being any more dirtier than “Conservative.”

    And I still think that the point of my comment still stands- Christians are just as guilty as labeling themselves.

    Thank you for pointing out the mistake, though. :)

  • Twin-Skies

    My interactions with my friends here have already convinced me of Holly’s assertion way back.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Beth

    @ monkeymind: I was just going to say the same thing; I am not ok with that comment. Thank you.

  • muggle

    Well, for what it’s worth, at first, I just read the paragraphs quoted. If that’s all you read, she comes off as being one of the type of Christians, I do have as friends, except perhaps that obnoxious little bit about sharing with all who will hear.

    (It may be bigoted of me but once a Christian tries to jam their religion down my throat as if I haven’t heard it all before, they’ve lost any possibility of my being anything other than wary of them. That’s not respect.)

    Live and let live and my empathy for the Fallwells and Limbaughs and Coulters of this world for making you look bad. For the record, I have told Christian friends this, mostly because they have expressed disgust at these people.

    However, after reading some of the comments, I did click on the link and read the whole damn thing, and if you do, you find that she’s not at all what she’s claiming in the paragraphs she uses as the bread of her sandwich. The meat in between is quite rotten.

    It’s more of the same old, same old. Stop challenging what I believe. Stop speaking truth to lies. Stop asking us to be respectful of nonbelief or even differing beliefs. She glows that having a banquet is just as much fun as a dance (as if she’d know, the poor girl obviously hasn’t ever danced) and it doesn’t stifle creativity to have her gowns for the banquet pre-approved by school staff. Uh, yes, it does. They don’t even trust you with a few normal rules like no sheer tops, for Christ’s sake. And, gasp, boy’s hair cannot be over a certain length. (This school is like 50 years behind the times. I’m wondering if the girls are even allowed to wear pants.)

    And, yes, the whining is annoying. Oh, you poor little majority that never, ever gets the votes to push your agenda on the rest of us. As others have said, talk to us about how you’re not bigoted when gays can marry and no one’s discussing abortion or if a woman can have it all any more. Just quietly choosing for themself.

    These seems more a ploy to get people to listen and those who don’t sit still for a tale of what Jesus means to her are just prejudging her for being Christian.

    Look I can’t imagine any of my Christian friends attempting to share what Jesus means to them. First of all, they know I have some idea because I have heard it all before. Unless you’re living under a rock, in America, you have. That’s what freedom of speech has wrought. They respect me too much to sermonize to me just as I respect them too much to tell them they shouldn’t believe in fairy tales.

    If she were truly as unbigoted, etc. as she’d like us to believe, she wouldn’t even be harping on this to the nonbelievers. I’d like to think she did intend to address this to fellow believers who are giving Christians a bad name but, if that were the case, she’d have certainly addressed them in a manner that indicated as much.

    It would read more like let’s show the world we’re not like that. Let’s lead by example and turn the other cheek. Let’s open our minds to those who don’t believe as we do. Let’s behave in a way that shows them we are not like Fallwell and Limbaugh and Coulter.

  • muggle

    monkeymind, you’re kidding me, right? You misconstrued that expression of speech as a rape threat? Really?

  • http://viewfromtwopoles.blogspot.com/ lonesparrow

    Christianity, at its core, is the conversion to a belief that you were born a sinner and need Jesus Christ in order to avoid being sent to hell by a just God.
    Here is another biblical concept: how can light have fellowship with darkness?
    Guess who is in the dark?
    Everything else is window-dressing.
    to soften this statement: I know many mean well and some truly live a life of “loving their neighbor as themselves.”

  • Jason Lee

    I sent this email to her. It’s probably a little strongly worded.

    I must state agreement with Holly’s description of Christians as good people, but a little confused. Most people are good, and most Christians really aren’t all that Christian; so the charges of good and confused seem to stick. About 2 of every 5 attend church on a regular basis. Less than 3 of every 5 believe in hell. One is tempted to ask in what sense they’re Christian in anything but name. But that’s understandable, they’re expected to believe that, and I quote Luke Muehlhauser, “an ancient Semitic sky god created the universe with his magical powers, let it evolve in violence and meaninglessness for billions of years, then intervened quite recently by sending a man-god to earth, who rose from the dead into a new body with superpowers and now talks to you and grants you wishes as your invisible friend” on the basis of no evidence and a few contradictory, anonymous, ancient texts. They’re expected to throw out everything they’ve learned about the world, from comparative religion, to history, to biology and physics. They’re expected to account for millions of dead African children as God’s necessary payment to let them be “saved”. For what? Being treated like the ignorant children they’ve become.

    As for the stigmas of bigots and zealots, what are we to do when Christian churches are key supporters in fighting against civil liberties, from gay marriage to free speech (see: Vatican City’s role in the UN blasphemy resolution). What are to do with almost two-thousand years of Christian tradition involving Jewish persecution? What are we to do when the largest denomination of Christianity calls gay lifestyles an abomination and doesn’t allow women to preach? I’m sorry Holly, Christianity has earned every stigma that it’s associated with.

    You even associate people’s appearances with standards of morality. On what basis? There is no good scriptural grounds for cutting a boy’s hair. You can call them standards all you like, but don’t you dare call it morality. There is nothing more ethical about having a certain length of hair.

    Christianity doesn’t require bigotry? Can you explain to me what isn’t bigoted about threatening everlasting torture in hell to those who don’t believe? Don’t act so meek and mild, the Christian doctrines are terribly arrogant and exclusionary; preaching them means you speak quite a boatload, even if you don’t mean it.

    People’s problem with Christians isn’t that a few of them behaved poorly, it’s that the Christian faith requires acting poorly. Acting like a bigot, a zealot, a homophobe, an antisemite are all things that Christianity, for over 1,500 years, has supported. Hitler’s Holocaust wasn’t perpetrated despite his Christian faith, but because of it. The Jewish people got the crime of killing a God hung on their heads.

    You’re free to believe what you want. But if you preach untruth, hatred, arrogance and bigotry, don’t you dare ask us to be open-minded or respectful. I will not stand quietly while you perpetuate such hate under the guise of “freedom of belief”. I will speak up against it, because I think open discourse leads to the rejection of inhumanity.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    When I think of a “christian”, I think of a closed-minded person who basically wants to prevent everybody else from doing anything that they disagree with.

    I have never met any counter-examples to my assessment.

    You haven’t met my parents…

  • AxeGrrl

    This is why I hate ‘groups’ in general.

    One person says “that other person isn’t a ‘true’ representative of the ______ I subscribe to, even though we label ourselves similarly.”

    There will always be a fight about who represents ‘true’ Christianity. Well, guess what, as long as there are Christians arguing over what ‘true’ Christianity is, no one person or group can make any claims on it…..so you’re reduced to being lumped with every tom, dick and harry who calls themselves ‘Christian’.

  • Thegoodman

    @Matto the Hun

    I agree that many groups are in fact victims. We all are victims at times, just like we all are motivated by our persecution.

    Christians are victims at times, but more often than not they are exaggerating their victim situation.

    I also agree that we atheists are persecuted in countless situations, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy talking about the injustice of it.

  • HrothgirOD

    @monkeymind, care troll is caring.

  • HrothgirOD

    He’ll be claiming that ‘Screw you ant the horse you rode in on’ promotes Bestiality…

  • monkeymind

    muggle, it was the graphic little addition of “dry” that got to me. That part doesn’t bother you? You just read it a a generic insult?

  • Gibbon

    Maybe it is because I’m not reading this article with preconceptions of what a Christian is, or what it means to be religious, but I have no problem with what Holly McClellan is saying in her article. The intent of her piece and the message she seems to be delivering is that it is unreasonable to group her within the fundamentalist stereotype for the reason that she shares with them the same source material for their obviously widely differing beliefs.

    Is this girl whining? Not from what I can tell. Ms. McClellan appears to be a reasonable person who has no desire to be painted with the same brush with which non-religious and atheist communities have painted the Christian fundamentalists.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    muggle, it was the graphic little addition of “dry” that got to me. That part doesn’t bother you? You just read it a a generic insult?

    Does it bother me? No. No more than saying “Oh, fuck me Freddy!” when something bad happens to you means that you actually want to have sex with Mr. Kruger.

  • monkeymind

    OK, it does bother me. I’m not concern trolling. It just seems qualitatively different than “Oh, screw him/her!” It seems Rush Limbaugh-y.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    No, you’re definitely concern trolling. The point about “and the horse you rode in on” being considered an attempt at bestiality is spot on.

  • monkeymind

    Beth, thanks for speaking up about the HrothgirOD’s comment.

    Gibbon said:

    The intent of her piece and the message she seems to be delivering is that it is unreasonable to group her within the fundamentalist stereotype for the reason that she shares with them the same source material for their obviously widely differing beliefs.

    Like others have pointed out, it’s easy to get the impression she might actually have different beliefs from the typical fundy, but if you read closer you realize its the same old, same old as muggle said. Creationism, homophobia, whatever, it doesn’t get better if you put a smiley face on it. Now if she said “I’m a christian, but in our church we accept evolution and gay marriage” now then I would say she had differing beliefs. And I don’t care if the Bible doesn’t “really” support it – how can anyone get a coherent message from the Bible about any of those issues?

  • monkeymind

    Mike the Infidel – i guess i don’t know what “concern trolling” means. i thought it meant pretending to be concerned about something that you weren’t really concerned about. Calling for someone to be screwed in a painful way just seems different and more objectionable than just saying “Fuck you!” I’m just registering that, I don’t really want to talk about it anymore or derail the discussion.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    Do you honestly think that “screw her” means anything other than “she can go to hell”? Are you ACTUALLY thinking it means that someone thinks she should be raped?

  • monkeymind

    It wasn’t just “screw her.” That wouldn’t have bothered me. It was “screw her, dry”. What does that convey to you? At least 2 others were bothered, so maybe there were others who didn’t speak up.

  • absent sway

    I don’t see her sensitivity to people’s negative perceptions of Christianity as whining so much as an indication that she’s being forced to confront other competing worldviews and finding it challenging, and attempting to rise to that challenge. Perhaps she doesn’t succeed but at least she’s engaging with the rest of the world in some capacity. It’s possible that she’s hyper-aware of negative perceptions of Christianity because she’s been spending quality time with people who don’t share her faith, rather than writing them off. Of course she’s going to defend what for her has been so far a positive experience with the appearance of truth, but maybe something is filtering through the bubble she has grown up in. She’s still young; how many of us can honestly say we’ve maintained the same outlook on life we held at seventeen or eighteen years old?

  • Greg

    Monkeymind – something struck me as I read the last couple of comments about the ‘screw her dry’ comment.

    I think we can all agree that screw her would be a sort of metaphor, or at least not literal. Why should increasing the strength of the vehemence of the metaphor instead make the meaning literal? If it does, then how can we know when the addition of a word changes it to a ‘literal’ meaning? Surely telling someone to go to hell is actually worse (if both are taken literally) than the ‘screw her dry’ comment, but I’m pretty sure none of us would mean it that way. Apart from anything else, that would be quite hard for atheists to do! :)

    Tbh, I think you’re being a little over sensitive.

  • monkeymind

    Hey Greg, thanks for the comment. If i had it to do over, I would call attention to it in a different way – but I’m glad I mentioned something because others may have been bothered and didn’t want to deal with the inevitable “you’re being oversensitive”

  • Greg

    Whoa – maybe I’m being oversensitive here, but did you think I was being sexist with that comment?

    It’s just I didn’t know you were female, so I’m not sure how it could have been! :p

    Plus, I don’t happen to think there’s anything wrong (per say) with being oversensitive. There happen to be subjects in which I am oversensitive about. Most people with an ounce of empathy are I think.

    Personally, I appreciate it when people tell me I’m being oversensitive – it helps stop me making a fool of myself in other people’s eyes.

    Not that I’m saying…

    ::continues to tie himself up in linguistic knots::

    Oh, screw it… (dry?)

    ;)

  • monkeymind

    No, Greg, I just meant I knew I’d get some flak and risk looking prudish. The journal article was about women’s responses but I think it goes for anytime you hear a remark that’s a little icky, maybe it’s borderline racist or homophobic or something else, and you wonder “should I say something?”

    Oh, screw it… (dry?)
    on the rocks, with an olive.

    I appreciate it when people tell me I’m being oversensitive

    Do you also appreciate it when people tell you something said might be offensive?

  • Aj

    Greg is right, it’s an idiom with an adverb. Modifying the verb doesn’t suddenly change it from a figurative meaning to a literal meaning. There’s no sexist content or context, and no mention of rape, it’s unacceptable to just make these allegations up. The problem is not being over sensitive, it’s not attempting to understand others, or purposely trying to misrepresent them.

    I’m sure we’re all glad that someone brought up how bothered they were about something someone didn’t write, for others that may also have been bothered by what wasn’t written. I’m sure by repeatedly doing this, we can encourage other people to speak up and confront others for what they haven’t said.

    Not that calling attention to this will stop this behaviour, some people just don’t care to understand others, and would rather misrepresent them.

  • Greg

    Do you also appreciate it when people tell you something said might be offensive?

    As long as they allow me to put forward my point of view, yes. After all, just because someone gets offended, doesn’t necessarily mean the statement is offensive. Of course, I can think of some cases where it can be intentional. For example, where I see people quote mining, I might make a cutting remark.

    Unfortunately, a great example of that is probably evolution and creationists. :-/

    Obviously, one of the big problems with the internet is that it’s all text. If you can hear the tone of voice of someone, the thing that started this would almost certainly never have been an issue.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s got into internet… err… misunderstandings… because their humour isn’t always obvious through text. Especially when it comes to people who partake in discussions about religion online.

    For example, the comment you replied to was meant humorously pretty much in its entirety. ;)

    (And don’t feel you have to tell me you knew that… lol)

    It would have been interesting to hear the writer of the above article speaking some of the sentences in it actually, for one thing it might help settle whether or not she really was whining.

  • muggle

    muggle, it was the graphic little addition of “dry” that got to me. That part doesn’t bother you? You just read it a a generic insult?

    No, it didn’t. Yes, I did.

    And I’m a woman and a fairly ardent feminist. I’ve got to say anyone over-reacting to this simple turn of a phrase crosses over that line from ardent feminist to feminazi.

    Tell me would you be ranting if you saw a man called a prick? The reason I ask is I don’t seem to get called out when I call a male that’s beyond asshole prick but I do when I call a female that’s beyond asshole cunt.

    To me the only difference between those two slangs is the gender of the utterly loathsome lout. Of course, I don’t equate being feminist with man-hating. I find men far too fascinating for that.

    Yet people freak out over cunt but not prick. Um, how’s sexism working in that case?

    Seems to be a double standard going on there. Well, us of the “fairer” sex really don’t need our “delicate” sensibilites that well protect. To quote Tina Turner, “We don’t need another hero.” Or a freaking knight in shining armour. We’re big girls. We can take care of ourselves.

  • Autumnal Harvest

    I’ve got to say anyone over-reacting to this simple turn of a phrase crosses over that line from ardent feminist to feminazi.

    I’ve got to say that when I hear someone use the word “feminazi” in a non-ironic fashion, I have trouble taking anything they say seriously.

    I am impressed that you’ve managed to write such a stirring rant against feminazis without ever actually mentioning the actual word that people objected to, or the reasons they found it objectionable.

  • monkeymind

    So, describing exactly how we’re going to screw someone doesn’t make it more literal. How stupid of me for thinking that modifying a verb could change the the meaning of an expression.
    Huh.
    Well, thanks for the schooling. Now I know it’s fine here at Friendly Atheist to express disagreement with someone by telling her exactly how you want to fuck her. Charming. I’ll be sorry to miss such witty repartee, but I think I must decline to participate further.

  • Aj

    monkeymind,

    So, describing exactly how we’re going to screw someone doesn’t make it more literal.

    So you’re still going by this fantasy? Literally interpreting a common idiom. Well fuck me gently with a chainsaw.

    How stupid of me for thinking that modifying a verb could change the the meaning of an expression.

    Of course an adverb changes the meaning of an expression. It doesn’t however, change the verb from figurative to literal. That is stupid.

    Now I know it’s fine here at Friendly Atheist to express disagreement with someone by telling her exactly how you want to fuck her.

    You’re going to continually misrepresent this person? Well done you. Not that it’s unexpected considering this is how you roll. Instead of rightfully issuing an apology for misinterpreting someone, but more importantly making up the stuff about rape and sexism.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    DIAF.

  • http://s2solutions.us/wordpress Seth Strong

    Fail. You have your opinion, Friendly but I would disagree.

    On one hand you are saying you could get along and I believe you could. I believe I could. On the other hand that she says that the “question of belief too important to ignore” is too much to bear. The question of belief is not a question at all. It’s a question of madness or sanity.

    I can see her point but I was raised in church. I’d rather not. She’s not my kind in a million years. I’d never respond to her profile on a dating site. I’d be concerned about adding her as a Facebook friend because that viewpoint she has. She’s just another cultist imitating ancient people when the modern people are making all the advances.

    I totally disagree with her and with Friendly’s opinion on this matter. And that’s cool. That’s what this comments section is for, right, for me to say that when it comes up.


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