[personal profile] wingedbeast
Last week's tip referenced someone who approached, nigh out of the blue, and asked me "have you found Jesus Christ as your savior?" Others have reported similar experiences with the message being the same, but the wording varies. "Have you been washed in the blood of The Lamb!?" "Have you been saved?" "Do you recognize Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior?" "Have you been saved from the fires of damnation!?"

Each of these questions asks the exact same thing. "Are you a Christian?" But, they each communicate something else as well.

There are various explanations, of varying levels of generosity, that I can give of why you use this kind of grandiose language. Among Christians of your type, you reference different elements in order to specify important elements of being a Christian of your type. Among Christians of your type, you experience a frequent escalation of language, finding it important to use the language in order to maintain your bonafides as a member of your particular group. Your group stresses, either openly or sub-textually, methods of keeping you different and alienated from the rest of humanity.

All of those explanations, and more, can be simultaneously accurate.

Among your group, this communicates such messages as "behold the fervency of my believe," or "behold how my faith inspires me," and just "behold how I'm keeping up with this linguistic escalation to fit in".

Among people who aren't in your group, various non-Christians and even Christians who don't share those traditions of language choice, this says something very different. "Behold, I'm not going to be able to have this conversation."

Like other impressions certain choices leave, this may not be accurate but it still is the impression.

One important thing to remember is that, when talking to nonbelievers, you are, in fact, talking to nonbelievers. The poetry doesn't move us with a faith we share with you, because we don't share that faith with you. It only tells us that you're not making the effort to interact with someone who doesn't share your faith.

"Have you found Jesus Christ as your savior?" How is a non-Christian to answer that question? The question is set up so as to ignore the thought of the belief behind it being in error. And, that indicates that the person asking isn't ready to interact with someone who, despite their claims to the contrary, really doesn't share their faith.

In this particular case, an appropriate substitution would be "are you a Christian?". It asks the same question while coming closer to presenting yourself as an equal with your own beliefs. It won't completely eliminate signals mentioned, because there are many others who don't make these efforts, but it will mean something.

Otherwise, I advise keeping your language to this level. You can add in the poetry and the grandiosity when dealing with others who share your faith. But, with those who don't, pull it back. You want to signal that you and an actual, respectful conversation with you is approachable.

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wingedbeast

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