A Reminder of What ‘Religious Persecution’ Really Looks Like

Benjamin Corey would like to remind his fellow Christians of the difference between real and imagined persection:

If your co-workers leave the break room when they see you coming, no longer invite you to happy hour, and generally walk in the opposite direction when they see you coming due to the fact they are tired of you forcefully trying to convert them in every conversation… you are not experiencing anti-Christian persecution. Instead, you are simply being persecuted for being annoying. Don’t like it? Good news — the persecution for being annoying will stop as soon as you decide to no longer be annoying.

Hilarious and so on target. Benjamin’s takeaway message:

Being persecuted for our faith is different than being persecuted because we’re acting like jerks.

Read his whole piece. I’m sure your conservative Christian family members can’t wait to see it show up on their Facebook walls, either.

(Thanks to Sam for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Art_Vandelay

    and generally walk in the opposite direction when they see you coming due to the fact they are tired of you forcefully trying to convert them in every conversation…

    I’ve always found it weird when non-fundamentalist Christians condemn fundamentalists Christians for trying to save people. If you’re a Christian and you have any concept of heaven and hell, no matter how ambiguous…don’t you have a moral responsibility to save people?

    More importantly…where the hell are these people? I’d fucking love for somebody to try to convert me at happy hour. This shit never happens to me!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    there are parts of this country where you literally cannot avoid such an experience, if you’re are part of the community in any sort of active way for any length of time. i talk on the phone all day for my job, and i’ll tell you right now, the number of people who want to ask me if i have a personal relationship with jeebus, or to have a “blessed day” or anything like is really high. it’s scary and sad.

    happy hour? maybe not so much. but these days, so many xtians with a job or a phone or a pair of feet walking to the store feel the need to convert heathens, it’s not even funny.

    cameron is just another pathetic example. his only concern is staying in the media/money mix. “what narrative can i fake to make it seem like i’m relevant, brave and oppressed? and make you buy my video/give me money/pay attention to me?” that’s really all he cares about. i bet he’s never, ever written any sort of thoughtful post or done any charity work to save oppressed Christians in other countries where his media profile is nonexistent.

  • cary_w

    It’s refreshing to see this coming from someone who is very much still a Christian. I wish all Christians were this level headed and rational.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Well, maybe in Chicago but the xtians in the northeast apparently couldn’t care less about your soul.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    I haven’t yet determined what it is that Kirk Cameron thinks can’t be stopped. He was right to complain about his link being blocked, but he certainly misrepresented the situation. I’m sure the idea that his movie has been blocked / censored / whatever will increase his audience’s desire to see it.

  • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

    Benjamin Corey is not a true christian.

  • Nicole

    That’s because in the northeast we do our best to avoid eye contact and not talk to each other. Or is that just Boston?

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    I heard that he puts sugar on his porridge too.

  • ZenDruid

    One advantage to having my appearance is when some JW or missionary or baptist teenager accosts me for Jesus, all I have to do is say ‘no’.

    On the other hand, between yesterday and today, I was ban-hammered at strangenotions.com, the Cat-holic apologia blog….

  • indorri

    Given in his back story he talks about reading Rob Bell who, at the very least, is not your “fire and brimstone” Christian, and who doesn’t reject universalism, the “convert or burn” impetus isn’t there.

    Plus, even it were, he makes the point that getting into someone’s face about it achieves the exact opposite effect. Though given how spiteful a lot of the Christian right are, I expect they do it partially to get the, as he says, “persecution” reward and the satisfaction of basically saying “I told them, if they want to go to hell, that’s their fault! I warned them!” while taking anyone in an unfortunate enough situation to fall for their claptrap they can get.

  • observer

    In the day that the majority of people ain’t Christians, let alone religious, there’s going to be some head scratching at how a vast majority of people, who were quite powerful, had the most rights, and claimed America is a “Christian Nation”, were being persecuted.

    And of course, there’ll be megabytes upon megabytes of data (i.e. video, audio and typed) of these people complaining and won’t stfu about being silenced.

  • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

    Corey states “we’ve been programmed to label any negative experience related to our faith in the category of “persecution””

    This, very much this.

    Xians, I’m not persecuting you, I’m critiquing your bad ideas.

  • Art_Vandelay

    I don’t particularly care what type of watered down version of Christianity he accepts. To some extent, he adheres to the same book that tells people that those who don’t think as they do are bound for fire and brimstone. To condemn them for not relinquishing that aspect of heir faith and for actually trying to save people from that fate is hypocrital at the very least.

  • indorri

    I think I have a vastly different perspective than you do.

    The fundamentalists have bought, unfortunately probably due to upbringing, an immoral system of justice. Their attempts to “save” are predicated on a perverse incentive, and not charity.

    The liberal Christians have, despite being watered down, actually considered the effects of their actions on others. They tend to reject hell, at least, to the extent that they don’t adhere to morally degenerate views of it (i.e. eternal torture as punishment). Subsequent criticisms of fundamentalists’ attempts to convert are valid, as the conversion attempts are predicated on a lie and a degenerate moral system. This isn’t even covering the “obnoxious” factor which, even if you were to buy fundamentalists actually being well meaning, means their actions are having the opposite effect. In other words, the liberal Christians think the fundamentalists are ultimately damning (slash-causing people to reject Christianity) more people than saving.

    End result: even if I were to grant your premise, fundamentalists in these latter days cause more people to reject Christianity, so the liberal would have valid cause to criticise them for this, even if they believed they had a moral duty to convert people.

  • Nancy Shrew

    Same in the Northwest. It’s great.

  • http://CoffeeShopAtheist.com/blog Patrick

    Most of the ones that are come over to the other side.

    That whole pursuing truth and honesty thing really doesn’t work well with mythology.

  • EvolutionKills

    Nope, it’s the same in Pittsburgh too.

  • EvolutionKills

    But no true Christian would ever put sugar on his porridge.

  • Len

    Being persecuted wins you points.

  • cipher

    THANK you. I live in Boston also (under extreme protest), and I cannot explain to my New York friends that it’s unlike any other city in the country.

    People have pointed out to me the purported unity displayed by Bostonians after the bombing in April, and I have to explain to them that it takes something like that to get Bostonians to even pretend to give a shit about one another.

  • cipher

    They’ve been set up to believe that the more they’re persecuted, the greater their reward will be. God will give them an extra dessert in heaven, or something.

    Meanwhile, re: the photo on the right – is there any way we can make that duct tape permanent?

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    I notice it becoming commonplace in central North Carolina. Not to go on about the Good Old Days, but anecdotally, it seems like it’s a little bit worse.

    I’ve done experiments where I slow down, make eye contact and smile at people while I shop. It’s really amazing how many of them light up and smile back, and really cute how many of them also blush. Unfortunately, my own social issues make that impossible to do all the time. >.<

  • Sylvar

    No true Christian would eat porridge. He would eat oatmeal as god intended…Murica!

  • Art_Vandelay

    Subsequent criticisms of fundamentalists’ attempts to convert are valid, as the conversion attempts are predicated on a lie and a degenerate moral system.

    Absolutely, but if it’s not a lie to them, how can you condemn the ones that actually believe it? If you accept that people actually believe it and believe it’s just, in spite of what you may think of their critical thinking skills, isn’t it fair to say that they should in fact be freaking out when they see someone hanging over the precipice of hell?

    Benjamin Corey presumably believes that his immoral actions can be scapegoated via the brutal torture and execution of a 2000 year old Palestinian carpenter. That’s no less of an immoral lie so I don’t really see where he gets to take the high ground in the quest for intellectual honesty.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Really? I go to Pittsburgh once or twice a year and I’m always blown away by how friendly people are out there.

  • anthroscientist

    No, it is Ohio too

  • Willy Occam

    I love how easy it is for “liberal Christians” to modify the tenets of their religion. Many of my family members, who are technically still “Christian” but rarely go to church, have come up with their own new-age belief systems modeled on Christianity. The first thing to go is hell. “I don’t believe in that anymore,” says my mother. My response is, if you get to pick and choose the beliefs you like and discard the ones you don’t, why do you need to believe any of it at all? I guess religion can be a difficult habit to kick, after 70+ years of indoctrination.

  • Theatheist Inme

    There are 2 main ways the religious handle counter-arguments to their beliefs: 1. Make blasphemy illegal and 2. Shout persecution. Since blasphemy is not illegal in the US, they pretend they’re being persecuted. This allows them to avoid addressing the merits of the counter-argument and gives them the moral high ground (one who is being persecuted has done nothing wrong and therefore is merely defending themselves against unjustified attack). If anyone is interested in this topic, I highly recommend the book “The Myth of Persecution” by Candida Moss.

  • The Other Weirdo

    No True Christian™ would even keep breakfast foods in the house as Jesus commanded not to worry about tomorrow.

  • EvolutionKills

    Sorry for the confusion, I was agreeing with the “xtians in the northeast apparently couldn’t care less about your soul.” I took it to mean that I never got pestered to be saved while in Pittsburgh. There was the occasional group of 2-4 old people picketing on a random street corner with graphic anti-abortion signs, but that was about the extent of the Bible-thumping I experienced while going to college downtown.

  • JA

    No true Christian would even have a house, because he would have sold it and all of his possessions and given the money to the poor, as Jesus commanded.

  • The Other Weirdo

    No True Christian™ should even exist today because Jesus promised that everything he spoke of should have come to pass before the generation that heard him speak had come to an end.

  • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

    Or gold stars.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Uh, no. Cameron is a whiny little douche, and his link, though blocked, was, in fact, blocked for legitimate reasons.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Super glue?

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    “No,” to what? He wasn’t right to complain about Facebook blocking his link?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    The link was blocked due to it being a known attack/malware site.

    So, no — he wasn’t right.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    Yes, I know. And as I understand the situation, it was used for those purposes prior to its acquisition for promotion of the movie. At that point, it ceased being a harmful link, and no longer needed to be blocked.

    Did Kirk Cameron, or any of the people involved in the project, know the history of the link? Did they know it was on Facebook’s block list? I don’t know the answers to these questions. It’s conceivable that the link was acquired and put into use without any clue that it might be associated with spam.

    Yes, it was blocked for legitimate reasons. And it was later unblocked for legitimate reasons. A complaint to Facebook was the right reaction, whether it came from a “whiny little douche” or not.

  • amused

    or 72 virgins?

  • amused

    Hemant, you are one smart man! Sadly, you are in the minority.

  • EvolutionKills

    You guys (Sylvar, The Other Weirdo, JA) all made me smile and laugh, thank you!

  • EvolutionKills

    Care to elaborate?

  • Carpinions

    F*cking BRAH-VO for the one Christian that gets it. KC’s sympathy ploy would be stupid, wasteful, and self-serving if he were Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or even atheist.

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com/ Ben

    What’s funny, is I just read through the comments for the first time… and the only people bashing me (the author) are other Christians. Which brings me to the fact that the only time I’ve ever been persecuted for being a Christian… is by OTHER Christians who think I’m too liberal. Funny.