ISO bigot Christians

Someone discovered my blog today using the search terms “Questions to ask bigot Christians.”

I don’t think I’ve personally met a Christian bigot.  I am honored to commune with some of the most caring, intellectual, and self-sacrificing Christ-followers.  Many, perhaps a majority, of us have a parent, uncle, brother, sister, cousin, co-worker or dear friend who is gay and with whom we have a warm relationship.  My Christian friends have come out of diverse backgrounds and childhoods.  Many of us were not brought up in Christian homes.  Many have arrived at their beliefs during a skeptical adulthood as they searched for honest answers about the universe, humanity, suffering and life.  Several were reached through one or more Christians who were willing to sacrificially love them whether or not they chose Christ.  Like all of us, they wrestle with their wounds and failings.  Through community, prayer, and God’s truth are attaining healing, redemption, and abundant life.  And now they strive to live a life of integrity, generosity, and maturity.  I’m sure there are “bigot Christians” in the world.  But if I’ve met them, they have hidden their hostility well.

Christian bigots, however, are quite common in primetime, within the news, and in many media venues.  I wonder if the one surfing for questions to ask “a bigot Christian” is happy to have found a live one.

Also on this subject, “What is a bigot anyway?”

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9 thoughts on “ISO bigot Christians

  1. I wish I could say the same. I’ve met lots of them and seen many bigoted Christian blogs here on WordPress. Ahh well, there’s still hope; we can pray for these people and hope that they can begin to behave in a more Christ-like fashion.

  2. Warrioress, thanks for your comments!

    Clearly one of the thrusts of this blog is to point out that disagreement on the subject of homosexuality and/or gay marriage does not equal bigotry- as it is popularly portrayed. One can maintain a difference of opinion with the absence of hatred or malice. As communicated in the “Why do you hate gays” post, aggression and hatred toward gays (or any people group) runs counter to the gospel. Someone may call themself a Christian, but if they express hatred or intolerance (distinct from affirmation) for someone who is gay, they must seriously question whether or not Jesus is truly their Lord (the boss of them).

    I live in the most unchurched area of the country, I’m told. The fantastic part of that is… no one comes to church or calls themselves a Christian unless they are serious about discipleship. So I think there’s a possibility that my experience may be different from other parts of the country. For those who are not serious about loving all people WHILE maintaining orthodoxy, I am eager for “judgment to begin with the house of God” and for that to have a winnowing effect on the church at large.

    Keep up the blogging (and praying), sister!

  3. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a bigot is:
    “A person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.”

    It seems to me, that by that definition, all Christians are bigots. Even the ones don’t treat gays with intolerance, but especially those that do.

    • Very interesting thoughts, Keith. So that we are working from the same terms, I have defined them based on your source. Merriam-Webster definitions:

      Obstinate: perversely adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion.

      Intolerant: unable or unwilling to endure (cannot tolerate)

      Are you saying that all Christians are obstinate in their beliefs which, according to the definition above means that they do so without reason, are unwilling to engage in honest discussion, listen to arguments and critically think through their views?

      You seem to be saying that all Christians are intolerant (unable or unwilling to endure) other beliefs and people.

      Is that what you are saying?

  4. My point was that Christians are consistently obstinately devoted to their opinions and prejudices therefore meeting the basic definition of bigots. It also makes them a fractious group. Throughout the history of the religion, Christians have obstinately devoted themselves to their opinions as to how the Bible should be interpreted. As you know, each group feeling certain in the superiority of their thoughts created unhealed rifts in the Church resulting in doctrinal splits amongst the factions in the Church: Eastern Orthodoxy splitting from the Western Roman church; The schism between Protestants and Catholics; The schism that created Baptists; The schisms that created Anglicans, Mormons, Lutherans, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Presbyterians, and the Christians who recognize homosexuality as natural, and therefore from God, and those that view them as unrepentant sinners unworthy of acceptance.

    I am confident that on each side of these rifts existed folks who prayed for Gods guidance and sincerely felt they were following God’s will, but their obstinate devotion to their beliefs prevented a reconciliation. So, yes, I am saying Christians have a history of being intolerant, even to other Christians, and often times unable or unwilling to endure other people and their beliefs.

  5. Can those factions happen? Yes. (And if that is your criteria for interpretation of bigotry, then you’ll have to throw in all manner of Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and Socialists.) What is also happening in the Christian world is exemplified by the joint worship gathering (the first of many planned) that my husband helped to organize two weeks ago with four other pastors: Lutheran, Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist and a non-denominational church (14 churches were invited to participate. About 300 people attended.) Those 5 churches are also working together on the possibility of building a housing complex for homeless people in our shared neighborhood.

    But I would like to return to your original statement that “all Christians are bigots.” My question for you: is it possible for someone to maintain a conviction without being obstinate or intolerant towards those with whom they disagree? And if so, how would that be demonstrated?

  6. I agree that Muslims, Hindus, and Jews are also prone to bigotry. I don’t believe I have ever met a socialist making it hard for me to make a judgment for that case. In an effort to stay on the topic of Christian bigots I declined to point out other examples of bigotry.

    While it is nice that you can cite examples of Christians seeming to get along with Christians, that is a pretty low hurdle in the global scheme of things.

    As for your question, “Is it possible for someone to maintain a conviction without being obstinate or intolerant towards those with whom they disagree?” With that question I believe you have come to the crux of the problem. Because having “faith” in terms of religion means that a person has decided not subject their opinions to critical evaluation, they will always maintain their conviction in an obstinate way and therefore will meet the basic definition of bigot.

    The topic of your blog post was that you feel you have never met a Christian bigot. The reality is that you are surrounded by them, but are unable to recognize them, because you share their beliefs.

  7. Thank you for your additional comments, Keith. I really appreciate your willingness to dialogue.

    My point to the socialists was that many of the great socialist leaders considered their own brand of socialism superior to other dictators and would sometimes discontinue relations because of their differences.

    If “faith” means something that is completely disconnected from reality, and something which cannot be tested or evaluated, then you may have a case. Then anyone who has faith in anything is a bigot, right? And if that is your definition of faith, then atheists are bigots too. (Please prove empirically that God does not exist.)

    However, “faith” in the Christian sense is one that depends on history and experience. It is one that is pretty useless if it doesn’t align with the realities of the physical world and human nature. In the post “How can you base your beliefs on a book that has been edited and translated hundreds of times” I describe one situation where I had to grapple with the claims of a historical Jesus. I was ready to walk away if I didn’t find solid answers. There was great “critical evaluation” as you call it, which took place in my mind at the time. And there was more than just “I hope this is true” answers to be had. Real faith, in the Christian sense, is one that is constantly being tested in terms of its validity regarding the world in which we live.

    You say “they [Christians] will always maintain their conviction in an obstinate way and therefore will meet the basic definition of bigot.” My question for you: If someone were willing to engage in “reason and arguments and persuasion” during honest discussion about what they believe, would that no longer make them “obstinate”? Or is it only those with ever-changing beliefs, who never arrive at a conclusion, or who claim to have no opinions, who cannot be bigots?

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