Thursday, December 6, 2007

Persecution and discrimination: a challenge

I often read about Christians who complain that they are discriminated against.

Many (possibly even the majority of) atheists in English speaking countries are ex-Christians and so have experienced things from both sides. If you think Christians are hard done by when you haven't experienced things from both sides, you have no basis for comparison and should shut up until you have the faintest clue what you're talking about.

Try this little experiment, oh poor persecuted Christian. For one week, see a little of what it's like to be an atheist:

- Pray to God and explain (though God already knows, right, so you can actually skip this part) that in order to try to understand your neighbors who don't have the benefit of belief in God (remember "love thy neighbor"? Where does that phrase come from again?), you won't be praying for a week, but after the week is up you'll pray extra to make up for it. Then stop for a week.

- Tell your boss you're an atheist.
(it's okay, after a week, you can correct the impression -- but nothing bad will happen in the meantime, since it's Christians that are the ones that are discriminated against, right?)

- Go to your kids' school(s) and tell their teachers you're an atheist
(you don't even have to tell them your kids are atheists - it's your experiment, not theirs). Mention your newly godless status to any parents you talk to while you're in or near the school.

- Tell the people at your local church you're an atheist. Remember, it's only Christians that face discrimination, so nothing bad will happen. Next week you can let them know it was just an experiment; Christians are known for their tolerance and cheek turning, so they will calmly wait for you to come to your senses.

- For one full day wear a shirt carrying an obvious atheist message, and drive a car with an atheist bumper sticker on it.

- Try to notice every time something you read or someone you speak to mentions atheism or God. Notice what is said, and try to imagine briefly what it would sound like if you actually didn't believe. (God, obviously, will still know you do.)

These are only a few things. You won't experience what it actually is like to live every day in the hostile environment many atheists experience, but it might give you the beginning of some insight. It's not like God won't know you're still a faithful Christian.

My prediction: not one Christian not already in a strongly secular/liberal environment will be able to do even these few things.

I'll be pleasantly surprised if even one bible-belter is brave enough to try. If you do it in Texas county, Oklahoma, you get double points!


Anonymous said...

As if the 85% of the population in America and 65% of the population of Australia are being discriminated against!

I came across an excellent pie chart recently which showed the actual percentages of the different religions in America. It showed Christianity at about 85% with a little speech bubble coming from it saying "we're being discriminated against". I wish I could find it again, it would fit perfectly on this blog.

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