Do you think Christians look down on non-Christians?

I am an agnostic who lives in the Bible belt. In my experience, it seems that many (or even most, but not all) Christians think that they and their fellow Christians are better than heathens like me. By better, I mean of better character or are better people, nicer, kinder, morally superior. I was discussing this with a friend, and she disagreed. Of course, it immediately occurred to me to ask all of you. :slight_smile:

BTW, I think I “pass” as a Christian (most people assume I am) and this vibe is strongest for me when someone assumes I am a Christian, so it is “just us folks” talking. Sort of like how racist people will talk when they think that they are among friends.

Seriously?? What a question! Of COURSE they look down on non-Christians. Not a one of them is any better in any way. If they find themselves ‘sinning’, that’s no big deal because their Big Invisible Friend in the Sky is going to forgive anything. The non-Christians who are headed to the hot place are unfortunates who just don’t see the light; they aren’t part of the Cult and are to be pitied, and looked down on.

I consider myself an agnostic now, but I was a pretty hard core evangelical Christian when I was younger and more naive. I can’t speak for all Christians, but that was pretty much how I felt. I think this kind of attitude is not uncommon amongst the evangelicals.

So much for Christ’s teaching about not judging people, eh? :rolleyes:

Moving thread from IMHO to Great Debates.

Well, of course you know how I feel. I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings. It occurs to me that diplomacy isn’t my strong suit.


No, you just disagreed, so I wanted other opinions. Didn’t hurt my feelings, just wanted more input.

I started this because an IRL friend (not StG) said I look down on her for being Christian but she doesn’t look down on me for not being a Christian. Not sure I buy that, because of the sense I have gotten from other Christians.

Tribalism, the us-vs.-them mentality, knows no religious bounds. Just look at the Dope.

Yes, many Christians look down on non-Christians.

Agreed 100 percent.

I’m ashamed to say that when I was Christian I did indeed look down upon non-Christians. The whole “do this or you’ll go to Hell” thing was drilled into me so much that it was hard to fathom someone doing good for its own sake. I did look down upon people of other religions less than the nonreligious because at least they had some sort of external tit-for-tat morality system.

I even looked down upon Protestants because I saw them as “cafeteria Christians” who just picked what they wanted to believe and made up other stuff and you can’t just make up stuff and believe it dammit! This reasoning btw lead me to reject religion completely.

As someone who was a moderate Christian (I never really bought into all of it), and who has taken a good bit of college courses in Christianity, I can say that most Christians pity, rather than disdain, non Christians. That is the explanation for the evangelism that Christianity is known for. The thought process is:

“I have accepted Jesus as my lord and savior. I know where I’m going when I die, and I know the joy that having him in my life gives me while I’m alive. There are so many lost souls out there who don’t know my joy, and who won’t go to heaven, unless they accept Jesus too. I need to go out there and tell them about this great knowledge I have.”

Christians see non-Christians as poor beggars who haven’t been let in on the Truth.

Just my experience in small-town, Bible-belt America. YMMV.

Of course; feeling superior without having to actually earn it is a big attraction of being Christian. At least it’s less obnoxious than the old idea that a major attraction of heaven is getting to watch the sinners scream forever in agony.

This is still just a more subtle form of superiority.

A lot of them will play the game of saying “Christians aren’t better, we’re just saved,” which is, of course, disingenuous in the extreme.

Others will play a game of being more tolerant than thou, which is still just more of the same.

To be fair, it’s not just Christians, though. Humans are just wired to create in-groups and out-groups. There are Jews who view goyim as inferiors, Muslims who see Islam as the last word, and atheists who see all religious people as morons.

It’s not just religion, but also nationalism (Americans are the champions of chauvinistic nationalism), regionalism, political partisanship and any number of other things. Humans basically can’t help drawing those circles, though most of us probably make an effort to be self-aware about it.

You claim that this is an old idea. I’m pretty old myself (a senior citizen) and I’ve been around many different kinds of Christians all of my life. I attended a religious university for two years of religious training and I’ve been a member of three different denominations over the years. But I have never run across any group or any individual who stated such a belief. It would be the antithesis of the Second Great Commandment, the Beatitudes, and the Fruits of the Spirit.

Please explain where you learned that such a sociopathic ideal was once considered a “major attraction of heaven.”

In response to the OP: I think that some Christians feel superior, some feel pity and compassion, some feel indifferent. I think there are many different ways that Christians can feel – just as there are many different ways that people outside the faith feel about Christians. Your friend is an individual. Does she seem to value you as you are? Does she seem to enjoy your company? Then there is no reason to disbelieve her.

One of my heroes is a friend who finally got up the nerve to tell me that she is an atheist. She is the most generous person I know. I sent her a Christmas card that had a merchant that was selling “Cheeses of Nazareth.” She relaxed around me after that.

Yes, I agree. It’s the Rudyard Kipling “White Man’s Burden” type of superiority.

Some do, some don’t. Some non-Christians feel superior, some don’t. Plenty of people–I think all, really-- find themselves feeling superior about totally unimportant things. It’s human nature to look at differences and then feel superior about them.

Good golly, half the postings on this board are people feeling superior for one reason or another.

Yep. Unfortunately, a substantial percentage of just about every group, it seems, look down on outsiders. On this board, the atheists do the Superior Dance as least as often as anybody else.

I know. Those people are pathetic.

I don’t know if it was a ‘major attraction’, but this idea was advanced no less of a figure than Jonathan Edwards. Here is Edwards:

Sociopathic, indeed; and yet Edwards is one of the most prominent American historical theologians (and the author of other such timeless classics as “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”)

BTW, I snaffled this quote from Jonathan Bennett’s excellent article “The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn,” where I remember first reading of it.

Not all Christians, the ones that you know, act christian and don’t judge people.

The ones that insist on forcing their Christian morals into our laws, those people certainly look down on not Christians. It is pretty insulting for them to think others can not act morally without christian influence.