I suspect that I am not alone among atheists in occasionally being guilty of stereotyping Christians. It is easy to portray them as close-minded ignoramuses who are quick to condemn others for the same actions they routinely take. And while this may be briefly satisfying, applying this description to most Christians is neither intellectually honest nor beneficial to our cause.
Let me give you a particular example of a more subtle stereotype. This stereotype has to do with the idea that Christians seek to convert others to their particular brand of superstition. However, we then take this notion another step so that we end up with an image of Christians as being preoccupied with spreading their "good news," so much so that they are constantly scanning their environment for potential converts and are eternally ready to prosetlyze . Another unfair stereotype, right?
With this in mind, you can imagine my horror in discovering that there appears to be a large kernel of truth in this particular stereotype. In accidentally clicking on the wrong link through Technorati, I ended up on a blog which allowed me to journey into the mind of a typical Christian. This does not appear to be a preachy pro-Christian blog at all. Rather, this appears to be a fairly ordinary person who just happens to share the same beliefs that around 85% of Americans report. Now, I invite you to take this journey for yourselves and enter the mind of a Christian. Read this post carefully, reflect on it a bit, and then return here.
This guy has a very difficult time grasping that there are persons in the world who do not share his beliefs. After considering and then dismissing the possibility of violently crashing into the evil atheist, our Christian decides prayer is a better solution. He attributes all the good things in his life to an imaginary sky daddy. He appears to feel sorry for the evil atheist and longs to bring him around to glorious superstition.
Obviously, it would be a mistake to assume that this particular Christian is representative of most Christians. But it would also be a mistake to automatically assume that most Christians do not view their world this way. Rather, investigate to find the truth. Look at the Christians you know and ask questions of those would be willing to respond. I suspect that this sort of thought process is more common than we realize and may explain much of what we encounter.
Tagged as: atheism, stereotype