Not All Christians?

Posted on April 1, 2021


I saw an interesting post on social media the other day: a Christian woman I know said that she “wanted to live her life so that ‘Christian’ isn’t a swear-word.”

That got me thinking…

I reject the core ideas of the religion, and I do find them to be dangerous because they’re dehumanizing and because they undermine our faith in ourselves as individuals and as a human community, but I see the label as a red flag, as caution tape, as a sign that I am in the presence of something potentially harmful–not a swear.

“Christian,” although it requires an oath of allegiance, is not a swear-word; it is a warning label, like those on a bottle of medicine: “Take with a grain of salt,” “Avoid operating governments while taking,” “Do not share this with others for whom it is not prescribed,” “Side-effects include rape culture, white supremacy, genocide, and ecocide.”

BUT, you say, “I’m not that kind of Christian!”

How do I know?

Are you NOT the type of Christian who would demand that a classroom poster, a photo of a human hand with splotches of colored chalk on it, be removed for “promoting the gay agenda?” Are you NOT the type of Christian who rages, “You’re harassing me!” when you see a poster of a human brain that is used to show how mindfulness practices affect brain function and learning? Perhaps you’re NOT the type of Christian who will argue that rather than be a teacher, helping young adults sharpen their linguistic skills and attain their goals, I should stay home, where women belong? Or maybe you’re NOT the type of Christian who argues that LGBTQ high school students should be denied the right to form a Gay-Straight Alliance, participate in the Homecoming Parade, or be included in the Yearbook, like students in the Bible Club and Christian Athlete club. You’re probably NOT the type of Christian who demands that public school teachers teach or don’t teach certain concepts, because you reject them for religious reasons. NOT the type of Christian who tears posters for Gay-Straight Alliance meetings off the school walls. NOT the type of Christian who draws swastikas on the classroom doorway. NOT the type of Christian who harasses non-Christians by calling them “Satan worshiper” and/or “demon-possessed.” NOT the type of Christian who violates student civil rights by promoting your religion in public school classrooms and locker rooms. NOT the type of Christian who tries to prevent the teaching of science (physics, chemistry, biology). NOT the type of Christian that tries to raise money for churches through a public high school. NOT the type of Christian who tries to deny bathroom rights to transgender students. NOT the type of Christian who would harass patients at women’s health clinics. NOT the type of Christian who would deny women the human right to body autonomy. NOT the type of Christian that would refuse to follow public health protocols during a global pandemic, NOT the type of Christian who would hurt anybody…

Maybe YOU are NOT that kind of Christian, but the thing is, I don’t know how to tell if you’re the U.S.-Capitol-storming-murdering-mob-with-a-well-stocked-arsenal Christian soldier, or another kind. When I see Christian symbols and messages, I feel uncomfortable. I see images of heavily-armed men demanding an end to American democracy. I see images of crowds of Christians harassing women going to health care clinics. I see images of violence against women, police brutality, child abuse, and hate crimes–by Christians, and often, motivated by religious justification. The KKK and the Proud Boys are Christian groups.

When I see that businesses, especially doctors, dentists, and other SCIENCE-based businesses post Christian symbols and messages for customers and clients to see, I wonder, “Am I to understand this as a message to Christians, that they receive better treatment or lower prices? Or is this a message for non-Christians, who will receive worse treatment or higher prices? Is it a welcome or a warning? Both?”

I am not sure, but I am sure that I don’t want to spend my hard-earned dollars with businesses that will give that money to candidates who promote Christian Nationalism, misogyny, white supremacy, rape culture, patriarchy–or anything other than full human rights and civil rights, justice and equality–for all–and that’s NOT what Christianity offers. By definition, “God’s chosen ones” can’t be all of humanity; the idea of identifying as a common human being from earth is at odds with Christian exceptionalism.

Perhaps YOU are a Christian who honors and respects all of humanity, all Earth beings. If that’s so, universal love is an expression of our common humanity. It is not an expression of Christianity, with its claims of eternal life for the “chosen ones” and eternal hellfire for the rest of us.

While I reject the religious ideas, I deeply love and respect many wonderful people who call themselves Christians AND who prioritize humanity over ideology, who use religious ideas in a humanist and pro-social way. There are Christians who embrace the “social gospel” of serving humanity. When I was a believer, I was one of them. However, it is HUMAN to feel empathy for and care for our fellow beings on earth; we share DNA. We share everything in common with all other earth beings. We’re one earth family. I’m happy to work with the Christian members of the family who recognize our common bond of life, but I don’t assume that wearing a religious label is a positive sign. We’ll know the plant by the fruit it bears.

NOT ALL CHRISTIANS live in such a way as to make the label a swear-word, but many who are currently loud and proud in the media do, and for that reason, “Christian” will continue to raise a red flag in my mind, and I will watch carefully to see what type of Christian you be.

For more on this subject, check out Stephen Woodford’s video, “The Christ Whisperer,” on his channel, Rationality Rules. Stephen explores the “not all Christians” argument in a very engaging way, with jaw-dropping clips of POTUS 45’s Christian advisors and followers. I highly recommend it; it’s what inspired me to write today’s post.

If I were a Christian, I, like my friend, would be concerned about the reputation the religion has in the nation and around the world. The religious right has laid claim to the label, and it has come to be associated with many dehumanizing and violent ideas and actions that are seen in the media by Americans every day. I left the religion when I became disillusioned by its white supremacy and misogyny; I left because I believe in humanity; I believe in love.

If you are a Christian or know Christians, it’s a good time to be asking everyone who wears the label, “What type of Christian are you?”

You might NOT be the type who does harm, but the people around you might not feel safe unless they know. For many, especially those who have been victims of harm at the hand of Christians, mentioning the religion puts us on edge, raises a red flag.

lisa eddy is a writer and editor for-hire, researcher, educator-for-hire, youth advocate,  musician, and gardener.

On Twitter: @lisa_eddy

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