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Christians in America, you aren’t persecuted…

September 27, 2009

.. so get over it.

I’m constantly annoyed when I hear Christians in America talk about persecuted for their beliefs. The Pastor who must not be named whines about it constantly as well as most of the evangelical Christian world, of which I’m apart. We hear of “evil” atheists degrading Christians or that we are not getting “equal” time.

Does that stuff happen here? Sure, it probably does. Everyone acts according their bias and sometimes, that means being prejudice against things we don’t believe or that might be strange to us. We all say and do dumb stuff towards people who are different than us.

But, do you we really want to call that persecution? First, if you are going to step into the ring with atheists, you gotta put your big boy/girl pants on. If you are going to stage something in public, you have to have a thick skin because you are guranteed to have critics. I was reading Blag Hag and the way Christians reacted to Jen’s words about their Porn and Popcorn event. I disagree with Jen’s position on this, but she has every right to air her critiques of the event. That’s how good, honest discussion happens. And, it’s hard to have a discussion with someone who complains about being persecuted.

Christians, when you hanging out with atheists, get used to the idea they won’t be won over by arguments they might have heard a million times before. And, if they dont accept your arguments, please don’t play the “you are persecuting me” card. They aren’t persecuting you. They just don’t believe you and think what you believe is absurd. I don’t agree with them, of course, but this hardly measures up to anything that measures real persecution. I know that we all love that word but it does us no favors in conversations with atheists as it just makes us look foolish.

Why does it make us look foolish? Because  atheists know what real persecution looks like. Ask a Chinese or Sudanese Christian about persecuted for their faith. Then, see if you can look them in the eye when you try to describe the “persecution” you face on a day to day basis.

Further, ask this question, why am I being challenged? Is it because of my faith? Or is it because I’m being a jackass?

The answer might suprise you.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrew permalink
    September 27, 2009 8:43 pm

    Slacktivist has commented on this phenomenon a number of times, for example in this post.

  2. September 28, 2009 1:07 am

    This is one of the most awesome things I’ve read for a while. Thank you for spelling it out so that those who may not have understood will hopefully now get it.

  3. thomas2026 permalink*
    September 28, 2009 9:06 am

    Bowing to you, Rebecca.

  4. Pablo permalink
    September 28, 2009 10:42 pm

    Good commentary. There are a few ways I like to describe it, but the best way to put it in this case is, “Not having your religious assertions accepted without question is NOT persecution or being treated meanly.”

    You can’t expect atheists to sit around, holding hands with you and singing kum-bay-yah. And not doing that is not persecution.

  5. Richard H., IL permalink
    September 28, 2009 10:43 pm

    Well said.

  6. Richard Eis permalink
    September 29, 2009 4:31 am

    Well said indeed.

    My favourite was when a christian complained basically that because the government was NOT letting them treat gay people as second class citizens…that was persecution.

    Can you imagine anything more pathetic than someone crying “you’re persecuting me for not letting me persecute others”.

    Oh, the huge manatee.

  7. David Workman permalink
    September 29, 2009 10:48 pm

    I see where you’re coming from on this one and I give you credit for tackling a topic that has been overblown in the Christian community. However, I beg to differ with your definition of persecution. While it’s true (for now) that Christians in America do not undergo the torture that believers in other countries currently do and have for centuries, not all persecution is physical. There is a big difference between willingly volunteering to discuss religion with atheists to open dialog and help understand both sides versus believers who are trying to spread the Gospel getting stopped by non-believers who simply don’t want the Gospel spread because they hate it (and often hate the messenger). One example would be a student who is picked on because he attends campus ministry events. The bully is not trying to understand the believer’s religion so they can be friends and come to some sort of understanding. He is persecuting the believer, plain and simple. He doesn’t want to get along; he wants to antagonize and inflict harm. While not every instance of confrontation between believers and non-believers is persecution, many times it is. And it’s a problem we must acknowledge before we effectively deal with it. To overlook it is to allow a problem to fester until it is out of control. My prayer is that your discussions with non-believers on campus will diminish the amount of genuine persecution believers have to encounter every day.

  8. Andrew permalink
    September 30, 2009 1:22 am

    @David Workman:

    What is your evidence that this actually happens?

    Believers in America aren’t just a majority, they’re an overwhelmingly dominant majority; less than 15% of Americans answer any of “none”, “atheist”, “agnostic”, “secular”, or “humanist.” to the question “what is your religion, if any?”. Of those, only a fraction are atheists; more than half claim deist or theist beliefs. You can find a detailed breakdown in the 2008 survey “American Nones”.

    Not only are believers an overwhelming majority, they’re also hostile to non-believers to an extent that’s not considered socially acceptable for any other minority group. You only have to look at American politics to see this: surveys consistently show that Americans would rather elect a woman president, a Muslim president, a gay president or a Mormon president than an atheist. Only one admitted non-theist (Pete Stark) has been elected to the US congress in recent times, and he was the incumbent of 36 years standing in a district in which his party holds a 3:1 majority.

  9. September 30, 2009 5:10 pm

    I am glad to hear a Christian saying this. I don’t persecute Christians, just their belief system but not any Christian personally. I simply do not agree with it and think it is nonsense. However, you are not helping anything if you are not being intellectually dishonest in your debate by trying to claim to be persecuted.

    Try being a homosexual or transsexual in America. Or worse, in Iran. At least our primary concern here in America is not being gay bashed or discriminated for work.

  10. DLC permalink
    October 14, 2009 11:26 am

    Yes good commentary I do believe when people personally attack the person nad not the “belief system” in an argument or conversation, it is persecution and we need to pay attention as this is the small beginning of bigger persecution that will escalate towards the last days
    When people “name call” and taunt and ridicule because they know you are a Chrisitian, that is persecution. We can’t ignore it just because some one else is being persecuted in another country far worse . We need to pay attention

  11. Mara permalink
    October 24, 2009 2:18 am

    I couldn’t help overhearing your discussion as I was just passing by, googling for some possible persecuted Christians in America. I find this topic interesting in that non-church people seem to think in some of the same boxes that the American church subculture does.

    I think the thesis statement is correct in its intent, but technically wrong. No one can truly understand what persecution is until they have experienced it, for whatever reason, and, no different from a battlefield soldier, they carry an unquenchable lonliness for the rest of their life. The first real persecution permanently and distinctly sets one apart, so that all those that follow are just for recreation.

    Persecution occurs everywhere, for various reasons, with varying degrees of both group intent and individual impact. I have known and associated with many churchgoers in the whole spectrum of American denominations, from mega churches to house churches, yet for the last twenty years I have not met one of these that has suffered the kind of persecution that Jesus Christ has. I’d wager that, as a sect, gays endure more hostility than fundamentalist Christians do.

    What is distinct about the persecution that Jesus Christ experienced is that it was not a matter of being in the wrong country or the wrong place in history (His status parallels American Christians actually) — for those that follow, persecution is guaranteed, it is severe, and it is indefinite. The Christian Bible states that “we must, through MANY tribulations, enter the kingdom of God.” MANY! Also, “Anyone who follows me…MUST suffer these things,” that is, being falsely accused, cast out (by your OWN people), destroyed. That is the primary distinction between a true “believer” and a churchgoer. No “believer” can remain accepted for very many years in a church, traditional workplace, or organization in the U.S. because there is a fundamental conflict of interest. Furthermore, the very nature of Biblical beliefs lead one to low socioeconomic status, contrary to the values of the entire world. Indeed, life threatening persecution and torture of Christians does exist in ALL countries, however, these people are only on the fringes or only temporarily found among those voices of the affluent who scream persecution and believe they have “rights.” There is a very distinct difference between a religious believer and a Biblical believer. A religious person is just another political voice vying for the world to run on his rules. A follower of Christ rejoices when he is treated like a dog, or a criminal, plundered, or slandered; even though it hurts beyond imagination, because he is an honored soldier. Please don’t confuse the two — the latter does still exist in America, and the pain is very real.

  12. thomas2026 permalink*
    October 24, 2009 8:19 am

    Mara,
    Thank you for stopping in.

    I think I’m a bit confused on what you are trying to say. Care to elaborate further?

  13. Autopsy Gremlin permalink
    April 22, 2010 12:48 am

    Brilliant! You’re absolutely right. Well put.

  14. taiorafan21 permalink
    May 13, 2012 6:44 pm

    Christians claiming to be persecuted in this country (mostly evangelical, conservative, fundamentalist Christians) are really complaining that they don’t have unchecked political and social influence in the US anymore. They don’t like that they can’t unilaterally abuse minorities without repercussions anymore. They’re angry that they’re actually being taken to task and called out as the bigoted, hypocritical, power-hungry and sometimes downright hateful bullies that they are. Again, I’m not speaking of all Christians, just the ultra-conservative, fundamentalist variety.

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