[personal profile] wingedbeast
A couple times in this series I have accused you, the general community of conservative Christians who most find it your mission to change my mind, of hating non-believers. To an extent, that does match up to the behavioral evidence. You might claim to hold no antipathy, but a willingness and eagerness to engage in measures of cruelty in order to push someone into a desired response, particularly one born of frustration suggest hatred.

There is another interpretation. The opposite of love, so the old saying goes, is not hatred, but indifference.

I could refer back to the oft-repeated assumptions and stereotypes, regardless of how often they don't reflect reality. But, I'll refer to a different conversation, one on the topic of homosexuality.

I was talking to a Christian who had, repeatedly, said that homosexuality is a choice. No evidence was brought forth to support this claim, only a repetition along with the claim to love, not hate, those who were, as said Christian put it, were struggling with homosexuality.

My response was to point out the many stories of people who were gay and had gone through efforts, sometimes even the tortures masked as "conversion therapy", but could not, despite all their efforts, change their sexual preference from the same sex to the opposite sex. I did go into some detail about being ejected from home at early ages, facing discrimination and assault, etc. I asked her if she understood my skepticism, in light of those stories, of homosexuality being a choice.

Her response had little to nothing to do with what I asked and everything to do with what she would tell the people to whom I referred, namely that they were being fooled.

If the opposite of love is indifference, love should be closely associated with interest, with being interested. And, for a lot of you, I find you remarkably uninterested in nearly everything outside of what reinforces your worldview.

When I engage in conversation with a Christian who, regardless of the content of anything I say, responds with "thank you for your emotional opinions". It's trolling, cruelty born of... well, it could be born of hatred, a desire to be cruel to someone you don't like. Or, it could be born of just not caring about a person enough to refrain from cruelty, when you can use said cruelty to believe you won an argument.

This applies to the whole of the culture wars, in general. In specific, the tip here is to take an interest. Don't search for "ins" that you can use to sell your faith. Don't look for a vulnerability that you might use to wedge your faith in there.

Actually take an interest, learn about the people you're talking to for its own sake. Remember, you're not trying to sell your faith for just a moment. You don't want them to just say what it takes to get you to leave and/or shut up. You need to take a long path and that means actually seeking to understand, actually being interested.

If you really want to reach people, you need to care about people more than you care about reaching them.
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