Love the Christian, hate Christianity

In this thread several posters pondered the reasons for my alleged “anti-Christian stance.” I fully admit I am no fan of Christianity, not the least reason of which is a continuing anti-gay stance (among lots of other issues), not necessarily by individual Christians, or even individual Christian demoninational churches, but rather of the religion as a whole (i.e., the Vatican, the Baptist Convention, Mormons, etc.) As a Unitarian Universalist, however, I recognize Christianity’s value and worth as a valid belief system, as I would Buddhism or Taoism or Judaism, and so on.

To coin a phrase, some of my best friends are Christian. Certainly I am continually surrounded by Christians in the workplace, social functions, etc., and do not get preached at, berated or bashed - they’re, on the whole, quite nice folks. Even my parents, though certainly not devout by any means, are Methodist, and they’re cool as anything.

So, if Christianity, as a religion, preaches, “love the sinner, hate the sin,” is it valid for me to have the opinion, “love the Christian, hate Christianity?” Does this make me a bigot or a hypocrite? If so, how? Does speaking my peace about the problems I see with Christianity make me discriminatory, or a good debater taking a contrary viewpoint? Obviously I loathe homophobia and fight it wherever I see it, including where I see it inherent in Christian doctrines. If I’ve never asked any Christian to give up their homophobic views and/or their religion, but rather tried to educate them otherwise, shouldn’t Christians have the same right to let me have my prejudice against their religion, even if they also try to educate me otherwise? Or is it ok for them to be anti-gay, but not ok for me to be anti-Christianity? (“Them” being, again, no one individual.)

Certainly y’all can feel free to broaden this to a more societal level, as I’m in no mood to open another “let’s bash Esprix” thread. :frowning:


I’ve always said I have nothing against Christians—as long as they don’t PRACTICE Christianity.

I see nothing wrong with opposing a belief system that condemns you for your sexual identity.

I also see nothing wrong with a belief system condemning a practice as immoral, though I might think that a particular condemnation is wrong (as I do in this case).

I think it is important to realize, though, that not all branches of Christianity share a conservative condemnation of homosexuality. I assume that you understand this and use “hate Christianity” only as a convenient shorthand.

There is no reason on earth why you should not be opposed to whatever religious standpoints you do not like. Religions shouldn’t be trashed as important personal beliefs or cultural heritage, but absent that portion of their nature they are philosophical standpoints that bear intellectual critique as much as any other philosophy does.

I’m opposed to the philosophy of Christianity as currently practiced (as generally opposed to as taught by Christ) less for the specific homophobia or whatnot and more for the dualist, anti-humanist stance. But that’s a matter of philosophical inquiry and discussion.

Spirited brought up an interesting point.

Is the reason that you are anti-Christian is because the condemnation of the homosexual “act” in their teachings?

I’ve seen a few occasions of knee-jerk anti-Christian “prejudice”, but far more often I see some whiner acting like a victim because people don’t react well to their self-righteousness. None of the Christians I’ve known or talked to (I was raised Methodist) have ever complained of being discriminated against, because they aren’t. Of course, none of these are closed-minded zealots like the fundies I’ve run across on the Internet…

So, to actually answer the OP, I agree with Spiritus Mundi. There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with a belief system which is fundamentally incompatible with who you are, and whose members are sometimes taught to hate you. It’s not discrimination, it’s simply a contrary belief system. You’re just discussing something, not beating people up. In addition, I think people who complain about perceived anti-Christianism when someone argues with them are actually just big whiny babies.

It is entirely possible to support the concept of workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively, and still feel that labor unions are bloated, corrupt, etc. The fact that the practice is flawed does not make the concept unworthy.

The fact that the teachings of Jesus have been coopted and corrupted over the last 2000 years makes them no less worthy of study than the teachings of any other great philosopher.

The stakes are raised with “Christians” who subvert the message of Jesus into “I’m better than you are” or worse “I’m not only better than you are, but you’re going to burn in hell for all eternity because of it.” However, the same extremism and intolerance can be found in the followers of Karl Marx, the Declaration of the Rights of Man, various amendments to the United States Consitution and just about anything else that people can believe in.

Espirix, you and I have crossed philosophical swords before, and I think we’ve come to an agreement that if each of us does our best to live a good life and try to be a better person than we were yesterday, the other won’t criticize – which I think is a pretty good overall philosophy.

However, I would urge you not to condemn an entire value system because a few of its “followers” attempt to twist it to fit their own prejudices.

Hi Esprix.

Everyone has a right to have any opinion they want, so you’re cool.

I would say, though, that in the spirit of fighting ignorance, you have an obligation to understand the religious faiths and world-views you condemn and not necessarily always be looking for the worst in them. Conversely, I would expect that you would want those who disagree with homosexual practices to do so from a position of knowledge, not ignorance. I understand that gay people have to deal with a lot of ignorance. I was listening to a born-again Protestant radio show the other day (don’t ask). Anyway, they had an “expert” come in and say HIV did not cause AIDS, that it was in fact amyl nitrate abuse among homosexuals that caused deadly immunosuppression that somehow became communicable. That’s more than stupid, ignorant, and irresponsible–it looked to me like an open opportunity to gay-bash. I can’t imagine the pain a gay person must feel when confronted by a filthy lie like that. Now, you’d see both me and those morons as “Christian,” but I would say you’re tarring with far too broad a brush. Isn’t saying “Christians are like this” similar to saying “All gays are like Rich from Survivor”?

I’m a Catholic. I believe a lot of acts are wrong. However, my church also teaches that discrimination is wrong. I think it’s key that if you’re going to point out your belief that the church is homophobic, you should also understand its theological reasons for doing so and also note the church’s stand against discrimination. I can think of no religion (with the possible exception of the idiots behind the whole “God Hates Fags” abomination) that exists solely to bash gay people out of sheer malice.

So, you’re a good debater if you’re willing to at least see that the other side might have a reason for their beliefs. You’re discriminatory, however, if you use a stereotype to paint all 1+ billion people who acknowledge Christ.

Well, Esprix, my problem with this, to the extent I really have any, is right here:

So you are imputing to the religion “as a whole” beliefs that you know are not held by every denomination, much less every individual Christian. I frankly don’t see how you can do that. It’s like me saying, “sure, I know gay men who don’t queen it up, whole groups of them in fact, but gay men as a whole are a bunch of flamers.”

I have no problem with “love the Christian, hate fundamentalist Christianity,” or “love the Christian, hate unthinking Christianity,” or whatever. But “hate Christianity” seems to me to be far too broad.

I’m a moderate Christian, and I frankly think you would have very little reason to hate my religion. If you do in fact recognize that the beliefs and tenets you justifiably object to are not held by all Christians, then you would do us all a favor by refusing to talk about Christianity as if you didn’t know that. And I am not talking about a tiny minority of Christians; there are tens of thousands of Christians who oppose homophobia in any form, and you do them all a disservice when you speak of the homophobia of all Christians.

But your hope is that they will give up their homophobic views, correct? Or else why try to educate them? You really have no right to “allow” a Christian to be homophopic, any more than I have the right to “allow” you to be anti-Christian; our beliefs are our own. All we can do is try to educate each other in order to try to change those beliefs. But this makes it sound like you cling to your prejudice that all Christians are homophobic even though you have been educated and really know this isn’t so. Frankly, I can’t understand why anyone – but especially you – would want to perpetuate a stereotype you personally know is wrong.

Hmmm… 'Sprix, I’ve always been opposed to “hate the sin, love the sinner” because they don’t (generally speaking – we both know exceptions, on line and I’d guess in real life too).

As I’ve dealt with in inordinately many posts (such that Satan early on accused me (before we became friends) of being a “one-trick pony” about religion! :rolleyes: ), the judgmental, legalistic, homophobic attitude practiced by far too many Christians is not what Christian theology teaches. As explained elsewhere and beautifully by Falcon.

I will say your efforts have done some good – as is evidenced by Wildest Bill’s post – a year ago neither of you would have bothered listening to each other. I’ll let you deal with Bill’s question, but just reflect to him that it’s a lot more than the act being judged – just as what he does in bed with his wife is not all of what his marriage is about – and the fact that when he’s at work, in church, etc., he remains a married man, even if he isn’t interacting with his wife in some way at the moment. And Esprix remains a gay person at work, in church, and so on. And (at least as he understands it) most Christians would more or less condemn him for “being an unrepentant homosexual.” Does that help, Bill?

Eve, if there were more practicing Christians in the world and fewer Trinitarian Pharisee-wannabes doing their thing, you’d find the world a lot nicer place.

That horse looks pretty comatose, so I won’t beat it any further, but I think you get my drift.

And with all due respect to Eve, whom I greatly admire, I wonder what people would have thought if I had posted:

“I’ve always said I have nothing against Jews—as long as they don’t PRACTICE Judaism.”

::: gives Jodi a high five :::

I don’t think it has anything to do with stereotypes. I haven’t been going into this blind. I was raised Christian. My whole family is Christian - my grandfather was a minister and my father is a church elder. In one of the most liberal denominations in Canada, no less. Various interested parties and I have discussed, argued, studied pre- and post-Christian history and philosophy, not to mention read the Bible cover to cover. My disagreement with Christianity has about as solid a footing in study and consideration as you are likely to come across in a casual observer such as myself. And I have many of the same problems with a denomination as liberal as the United Church of Canada as I do with one as conservative as the Southern Baptists or orthodox Roman Catholicism.

Would anyone like to hear these arguments that are the product of so much study and discussion, or would you all like to go on considering them (in absentia, as it were) bigotry and overgeneralization?

I thought Eve’s post was sarcastic. Perhaps y’all could point out the Judaism analogy next time someone says “being a homosexual is fine, as long as you don’t do any homosexual acts.”

I would, out of curiosity, matt. However, I’d probably be likely to agree with you on a lot of things.

And Poly…“explained elsewhere and beautifully by Falcon?” I’m blushing. :slight_smile:

I’d like to hear 'em, Matt.

You obviously had your reasons for rejecting Christianity, although I’m not sure how much that has to do with Esprix’s OP.

My point, FWIW, is that if you’re going to say “The Catholic Church (hates gay people, promotes discrimination, etc.),” those of use who claim to be here to fight ignorance have a right to say “Have a cite for that?”. Indeed, Catholicism makes it really easy to look up the tenets of the faith and various church teachings. This is probably harder for less centralized churches, but I don’t see where people who have a problem with Christianity are exempt from justifying their beliefs with at least some facts.

Esprix, where do gay Christians fit into your viewpoint? I think that a lot of Christians that I know both gay and straight would be offended at the suggestion that homophobia was an inherent part of Christianity, however carefully said claim was worded.

My understanding as a Christian is that certain people are homophobic, and that the build their own understanding of Christianity around their prejudice.

Am I the only one who wonders if Esprix and Eve are the same person? They always have post #2 in each other’s threads. They always parrot each other’s opinions and attitudes. But which one is the sock puppet?

The only flaw in my theory is the 6000+ combined posts. That’s an awful lot of time posting. And that’s a lot of venom for one person to spew. Maybe I’m wrong.

My first reaction, Esprix, is that in claiming to hate christianity but hate the christian, you’re simply lowering yourself to their level of disingenuousness: every christian who uses that construction does so merely to pretend that their hatred of the person’s selfhood somehow stops short of the person him/herself: every christian who makes this claim is lying, usually to themselves as well.

As long as we accept this insincere qualification of their ultimately unchristian hatred, we will continue to be refused full acknowledgment of our personhood.