Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sometimes Christians do bad things. Deal with it.

This post isn't directed to the people who object to the harm that certain Christians cause to other people and to the world in general.  This is directed to the people who don't accept that Christianity is composed of a number of different large groups of HUMAN BEINGS, and, like any other group of human beings, is going to be composed of many different types of people. Some will be good, some will be bad, some will be neither, and most will be varying degrees of both, leaning one way or the other, but nonetheless both capable of great goodness and great evil.  That's part of being human. And this post is especially directed to people who claim that anyone who does something wrong isn't really a Christian.

Newsflash: sometimes Christians do bad things.

Sometimes Christians persecute members of other faiths.  Sometimes Christians kill in the name of their God.  Sometimes Christians enact pieces of legislation that will make it next to impossible for women to access medical treatment (and no, I'm not just talking about abortion; states in which funding for Planned Parenthood has been cut or eliminated have also made it difficult, if not impossible, for low-income women to access affordable health care at all; Planned Parenthood was never just about abortion).  Sometimes Christians lie, steal, cheat.  Sometimes Christians rape.  Sometimes Christians murder.

And whether or not you like it, they're still Christians.

It doesn't matter that you don't believe that they can be real Christians.  As long as they believe in Jesus-as-aspect-of-God, and as long as the collection of writings we know as the Bible is their holy book, they're Christians.  Their ideals and models for behaviour aren't the same as yours, and their priorities are different as well, but that doesn't mean that you get to say whether or not they're part of the religion they've chosen.  Regardless of whether you approve of what they do, and certainly regardless of whether Jesus himself would have approved of their actions, they are Christians.

They're not just horrible people using Jesus' name as an excuse to do terrible things.  They are Christians.  And denying that they're Christians isn't doing anybody any favours.  True, along with the damage that they do to the people they hurt, they also give the rest of us a bad name.  But you then make that name even worse every time you assert that people can't have morality without Christianity, and that all Christians are good people.

Christianity doesn't have the stranglehold on morality that you think it has.  It doesn't necessarily make you a good person; it doesn't automatically fill people with love and light.  Christianity is a system of belief.  It doesn't remove the impulse to harm other people, and under the right (or wrong) circumstances, it can even fuel that impulse.  That doesn't make them not-Christian.  It makes them dangerous, because they believe that they can do no moral wrong, because their anger, their hate, and their harmful actions are backed up by their God.  Saying "Oh, but they're not real Christians" is neither true nor helpful.

Sometimes Christians do bad things.  Don't deny it.

Deal with it.

(By which, of course, I mean "do something about it.")

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