orbitaldiamonds: "bible" with cross, underneath, "the gospel according to st. bastard" ([ heathenry ] the gospel of st. bastard)
The Patriotic Earthling ([personal profile] orbitaldiamonds) wrote2010-03-24 09:00 am

I could use some help.

Is there a good way to say "no, the Christian penchant for cherry-picking and double-speak does not surprise me at all"--a way that a believer friend would not find offensive?

And this is an open-minded friend from a rather secular society (she's Australian and "agnostic at best"/"believer"), yet she found the above offensive. I don't know if it's social ineptitude or undiagnosed Asperger's or what, but I (a) don't understand why it's offensive and (b) can't think of a more delicate way to put it.

The reason I find it inoffensive is because both liberal and conservative Christians have certain parts of the Bible that they highlight and parts that they ignore. If you think that slavery is wrong, if you think that homosexuals don't deserve to die for being homosexual, if you don't see a woman as the property first of her father and then of her husband, you're on the right side of history--but if you also believe in the Gospels and that Jesus is the Son of God, born of a virgin, then you're cherry-picking the Bible.

Hell, even the Dominionists are cherry-picking because the books of the Bible themselves were cherry-picked from a larger selection of texts.

But to my original question...any ideas? My friend and I have already cooled off and made up from that particular discussion (not that it really got rude, though), but I've had this on my mind for the past few days.

Thanks in advance.

(cross-post: [info]atheism, [info]antitheism, [info]atheist, and my DW/LJ.)
crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (book your point)

[personal profile] crankyoldman 2010-03-24 05:35 pm (UTC)(link)
I think it's the language; it comes off rather disparaging and a bit "I told you so" on first reading. I wouldn't say it was wholly offensive, but it would be like saying to an athiest "well I'm not surprised by athiests being know-it-alls". Not offensive, but not nice (and in the athiest example, not true of everyone). I think I nicer way would be to leave out the kind of "not surprised" bit and just say straight out, "well, I've seen that Christianity tends towards selective readings". It's more direct, based on viewpoint, and less backhanded sounding. At least that would be my suggestion, I don't know the entire context.

I have a lot of atheist friends, but I'm something of a transcendentalist myself, so I can see both sides pretty easily. XD

crankyoldman: "Hermann, you don't have to salute, man." [Pacific Rim] (planet gay)

[personal profile] crankyoldman 2010-03-24 05:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, I'm not saying you don't look around both sides (and yes, I am extremely annoyed with fundie athiests as I am with fundie whatever religion, it's all about the middle way, folks!), I was just establishing that I won't flip my shit on any athiest that comes around, and that I wasn't one to give you a chance to see where I was coming from. XD

And I'm glad that helped!


(Anonymous) 2013-05-26 05:12 pm (UTC)(link)
I think the core ethical value shoewd in thel book Seedfolks, is responsibility. I think this because all the characters are trying to save a plant and or garden. So it's all responsibility because they need to tend the garden and take care of the plants. This is the core ethical value I think it shows.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)

[personal profile] melannen 2010-03-24 09:17 pm (UTC)(link)
As a believer who did find that, on first read, upsetting, it translates to me as "All Christians do things that you find unworthy of respect -> I am a Christian -> you do not respect me -> I am sad."

So I would restate it one of two ways: change the subject of the sentence to something that doesn't strongly imply "all Christians, including the ones I am talking to" - you wouldn't even have to change it to "some Christians", just even something like "Yeah, Christianity has a long history of" to make it less personally directed.

Or change the the part about "cherry-picking and doublespeak" - those are both pretty loaded terms (especially 'doublespeak'), and you could convey the same meaning (like suggested above) without using words that are going to imply a strong value judgement on your part and get immediate negative emotional reaction from people.

Unless you actually did want to convey that, in fact, all Christians /do/ do things you find despicable. In which case, a) I am sad that you find me despicable, and b) I disagree with your thesis*, and c) trying to make it non-offensive to Christians is probably not something you should be worrying about.

*There is a signficant difference, I believe, between the Christians who claim that every word of the Septuagint was recieved directly from God and literally true, and the Christians who understand the Bible as a historical document that has to be analyzed and interpreted in context but still contains valuable spiritual truths. Yes, we are all picking and choosing, but some of us use a lot less doublespeak-hypocrasy-and-outright-lies in the process.
finch: (Default)

[personal profile] finch 2010-03-25 01:13 am (UTC)(link)
Mostly seconding what was said above me.

It may also be hurtful because "this thing you're just figuring out? has always been true" is painful to hear even when it's 100% justified and understandable. She may be feeling like a naif for not seeing it before.