Love your enemies

…And pray for those who persecute you. That’s a pretty fundamental part of the message of Christianity, according to some Judean guy 2,000 years ago. It seems that some Christians have missed that part , judging by the charming behaviour revealed by Monicks here. Hatred, intimidation, bullying and a significant dose of sexism, at least in the case of the #fuckthatho hashtag. And over what? The removal of a banner which Jessica Ahlquist claimed (and the courts agreed) was unconstitutional.

So some people who are part of an ostensibly Christian campaign are behaving in an offensive bullying way that all decent Christians would condemn (I realise I’m flirting with No True Scotsman here, but I dare any Christian to say this behaviour’s acceptable). I can see a lot of parallels with the infamous Reddit sexism story. As in that case, there’s a very disturbing display of group behaviour by people who are identifying themselves with a particular theological position, but I don’t think either case tells us much about those positions, except that we all have to put up with our share of jerks and arseholes, atheists included.

I’m sure everyone (or at least everyone whose opinion I care about) can agree that in both of these cases, a lot of people have been guilty of disgusting behaviour, and the result is that two young women have been very badly treated through no fault of their own. I expect none of us feel like we have any connection with people who behave like this, and we’d all like to see and end to such abuse. So rather than engaging in tit-for-tat bickering based on the religion (or lack of it) of the abusers, wouldn’t it be great if all of us – believers, atheists, agnostics – could unite in condemning jerkishness like this without making it into an argument about why people who believe X are nasty/bigoted/just plain wrong?

Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

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About Recovering Agnostic

I'm Christian by upbringing, agnostic by belief, cynical by temperament, broadly scientific in approach, and looking for answers. My main interest at the moment is in turning my current disengaged shrug into at least a working hypothesis.

2 responses to “Love your enemies”

  1. unkleE says :

    I like the dream!

    As a follower of that Judean guy, I too am upset at the way some other apparent followers behave. I have suggested to a number on the web that their behaviour towards those who think differently was not what the Judean wants (WWJD= What Would the Judean Do?), but generally they weren’t impressed, and argued that people who were wrong needed to be jolted out of their error. I once asked if that tactic had ever been successful, but I can’t remember what they said.

    Human beings are tribal, whether it is about football teams, music, or religion. Sometimes the tribalism is more important to some people than the belief itself. And when you add in the fact that in the US that tribe is about the biggest there is, and it’s no wonder some members behave badly – triumphalistic, nasty, arrogant or whatever.

    The Reddit case was indeed nasty, but we don’t know if they were all atheists do we? Like you say, there are jerks everywhere, unfortunately, and I suppose I have been a jerk on occasions.

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