At the request of frstkor13 I’ve attempted to take some of the ideas that I had in the "Christian Game Reviews" thread and repost them in a more appropriate thread. I’m leaving all of my comments about that particular site and expanding on a few of the other ideas. Be warned, this is something I’m fairly passionate about, thus it is quite long. Read at your own risk.
First of all, I’ll restate the fact that I don’t particularly care for discussing religious topics on message boards. While I haven’t shied away from political discussions as they can be discussed at a purely intellectual level, religious discussions often bring a lot of emotional baggage with them. Because of this, I’m not really that comfortable with this topic, but I feel like it’s one that I could benefit from. One of the reasons that I enjoy this board is I know that I can get an intellectual response that differs from my immediate circle of friends. I enjoy challenging the ideas that I have and listening to the ideas that others have. Hopefully, we can have a good discussion on this topic and everyone will have an opportunity to express their views. While I won’t delude myself by believing that this thread will be able to stay at a rational level in which people discuss the ideas being expressed and don’t take responses personally, I would ask that at least for a while we all do our best to respect other’s opinions and get in some solid debate (not arguing).
All of that being said, here is my statement:
1. I consider myself to be a Christian. I have been raised in a Christian family all of my life. My Grandparents are Christians; my Great-Grandparents were Christians. Christianity is something that my entire family believes strongly. This is not to say that it has always been this way. My parents were not Christians until after they were in college. One set of my grandparents did not become Christians until after I was a pre-teen. However, it is an environment that I personally have grown up in and I recognize this strongly influences my personal beliefs.
2. Right now, I am disgusted with an alarmingly large amount of “conservative Christians” that I have met that are hypocritical and use religion as an intellectual crutch. I particularly do not like the fact that these Christians seem to look down on anyone who does not live the same lifestyle that they have chosen for themselves. These same people usually try to force their religion on other people as well. This is often because they have a genuine desire to help people, but personally, when I read the Bible, it seems to me that Christianity is something that is more of a personal decision between an individual and God, not something that you make other people adopt.
3. I don't like the belief that something is automatically wrong just because it has things in it that Christians say are wrong. Applying this same logic, people should not read the Bible itself as there is a lot of stuff in it that is considered to be wrong by these same Christians. Personally, as long as the consequences of the actions that have been taken are clearly demonstrated, I see no reason to avoid topics that are not accepted by the Church.
4. Growing up in the conservative Christian movement has brought me into contact with a lot of homeschoolers. Many homeschoolers are often conservative Christians because homeschooling allows them to be separatists. They are simply acting out their belief their world views are superior to the beliefs of others, and that exposure to any belief other than their own is dangerous. It is only logical for them to avoid contact with those who are not like them. To me this is unhealthy and stupid. This is not to say that I think homeschooling is a bad thing, in fact, in some instances I think it can be better for a child, it just means I disagree with the principle of separating children from those who do not have the same beliefs that the children are “supposed” to have. Basically, these kids are never allowed to make decisions for themselves. Instead, they are taught that only one way is right and that they are better than those who believe differently than they do. What is ironic is that of all of the homeschoolers that I know, the ones who had the most interaction with non-homeschoolers end up staying the most conservative. The majority of homeschoolers that I know who grew up in an ultra-conservative environment went wild once out of that oppressive environment. What is also sad is that these kids didn’t have the experience to know that certain actions had consequences. As a result, I know several homeschoolers who are now in legal trouble because of drug usage, financial and emotional trouble because they got their girlfriends pregnant and now have to support them while still trying to go to school (or even worse, drop out so they can get married and never get the education they need), or have physical problems because of wreaks that they could have avoided by not drinking and driving. On the flipside, I know some great homeschoolers who were socialized as children and had already made their own choices as to how they would live their life while still at home. Most of these homeschoolers are doing very well and are proof that homeschooling can be an effective form of education. I just don’t like homeschooling used as an excuse for Christians to demonstrate their feelings of superiority.
5. One of the things my parents taught me was to always respect the beliefs of others, and to try and learn from them. Rather than judging people for being different, I’ve always tried to respect the fact that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and that the world would be a boring place if we were all the same. As a result, some of my closest friends aren’t Christians and I have come to love experiencing different cultures and beliefs. While I’d love for people to become Christians and have a similar world view as myself, I don’t see this desire as being different than a desire to see them enjoy the same music that I like or enjoy the same movies that I watch. I have found personal satisfaction from my beliefs and would like to share that with others, but this doesn’t mean that I think that I am a better person because I have those beliefs. All of my friends are intelligent people. They all know what I believe and I know what they believe. We discuss this frequently. If they felt Christianity was best for them, they would choose that religion for themselves. As it is, they know they can always talk to me about my religion and I can talk to them about their religious beliefs (or the lack thereof). I try to be accepting of my friends and they do the same for me. They don’t ask me to do things I feel are wrong, and I don’t judge them for doing those same things. We frequently compare our relationship to a group of friends that has a vegetarian in it. The group can all go out to the same restaurant and order food, but one person won’t eat meat. The group may tease the one guy a little, but in general, they will be accepting of his tastes. My friends and I try to act the same way toward each other about our personal beliefs.
6. In short, I think generalization of any social group is bad. Every group is made up of individual people. Some of these people are people I can get along with; some are people I can’t stand. As a rule, I've found it much more rewarding to accept people on an individual basis rather than judge them as a group. I think this applies to Christians and Non-Christians alike. If we can learn to tolerate differences in opinion and learn from the lessons of others, I think we will enjoy life a whole lot more.