Today, my family and I went to church for the first time in several months. Normally, we enjoy going, but within the past year, the Army has moved us from North Carolina to Texas, so there came the task of looking for a new church. That, and quite frankly, at times, we didn’t really “look” that hard. We simply didn’t make it a priority.
I would like to think I am a good person, but that is just my opinion. Even though I feel I am very open-minded and have no problem addressing and taking responsibility for my flaws and shortcomings, I feel it still may be very possible that I am biased toward myself and could very well need improvements in some areas that I do not easily see myself. Even when I speak about this to my wife, she may say, “Oh, no, you’re fine…” in whatever area, or “That’s okay. Nothing wrong with that…” but I have a hard time believing that I can’t be better.
That being said…here is why don’t have a problem with people who do not believe in God.
That’s right, my fellow Christians. Why I DON’T have a problem with this. Many of you may not agree, but here’s the deal.
Not to put down those who are, but I am not one of those “super” religious (for lack of a better term) people. I don’t answer every question I’m asked with scripture from the Bible or something to the sort. In fact, I very seldom mention this publicly, obviously aside from this blog post.
The reason for that is not fear or embarrassment. It’s just that I’m a person who feels that I need to SHOW rather than TELL. At this point in my life, I’ve learned that talk is cheap. Period.
Again, not to put anyone down, but I have to be honest. Obviously, none of us are saints. However, I know of many of my fellow Christians who are frankly a bit of an embarrassment in their behavior. I’m not talking a mistake here and there, but a constant and blatant disregard for how we as Christians are supposed to behave, with of course, what I call the “Get Out of Sin Free Card” that is church on Sunday or announcing that he or she is a Christian every few minutes.
You may wonder, how do I know that the behavior is blatant? For starters, I’m not stupid. Second, an intelligent person can easily tell the difference. I love many of my friends, but I know so many who spend just about every waking moment putting someone else down for, in my opinion, very silly reasons. There is practically always something wrong with someone else. Insults left and right. I’m not certain how that even attempts to line up with Christian values. These are NOT things that are out of our control; in fact, I feel we can very much avoid or control these behaviors. There doesn’t seem to be a desire to have patience with those who are not like us.
Speaking of which, the holiday season is a few months away. For the past several years, it has been the same thing and I don’t figure this year will be any different. What I’m referring to is the use of “Merry Christmas.”
This is one I find extremely disheartening. Not the use of the term, but the fact that so many people who call themselves Christians are defensive about those who MAY not be okay with it.
For one thing, Christian is NOT the only religion out there. Not sure why I feel I’m among only a few who understand this, or who has tolerance for it.
Two, many people say “Happy Holidays,” which is STILL well wishes, but many of my fellow Christians get up in arms about the fact that it isn’t “Merry Christmas.” I’ve even heard many say, “Well I’m saying ‘Merry Christmas’ anyway and if you don’t like it, oh well!”
Excuse me, but…”If you don’t like it, oh well”? Now I don’t know the Bible inside and out, but that sounds a little, I don’t know…WRONG.
If your intent is to send someone well wishes, why does it even come into play as to what your response would be “if they didn’t like it”? Are you expecting or even hoping for confrontation?
As a Christian, why would you do this? Whatever happened to TOLERANCE OF OTHERS?
Not to mention, I’ve heard many people say that if a person said “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas,” that they would keep saying “Merry Christmas” over and over again, just to make sure that person heard them. Even if the person said nothing, there is still the feeling that “Merry Christmas” is forced upon them.
But as for those who don’t like “Happy Holidays,” let’s say you told someone “Good night,” to which he or she responded with, “Have a great evening.” Would you repeat “GOOD NIGHT! GOOD NIGHT! GOOD NIGHT!” over and over again just because that person did not respond the same way as you did? Probably not.
And yes…this IS the same thing.
No one is saying YOU can’t say “Merry Christmas.” That’s not the issue. It’s your lack of tolerance for others who may not say it exactly in the same way as you. If well-wishes are the intent, how are we angry all of sudden when you were not blatantly disrespected in any way?
Many people, when taking a holiday vacation, often leave before Christmas and return after New Year’s Day. Common sense would dictate that that’s a very good reason many choose to say “Happy Holidays.”
No, this isn’t some absurd crusade to rid the universe of Christianity. It’s just that people say that to cover all the holidays that occur in December, to include Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and so on. Many of us don’t sit down and ask every person we encounter as to what they actually celebrate, so “Happy Holidays” is a great way to ensure that they’re all covered. I really don’t see the problem.
If I walked into a room with 100 people, is it a problem that I address them as “Ladies and Gentlemen”? How practical would it be that I address every single person by name every single time I wanted to address the crowd as a whole? If that isn’t a problem, I don’t understand why “Happy Holidays” is. The person is not leaving out your religion. They’re just including it with the others.
Also, not everyone celebrates Christmas. That’s another thing. So again, we really have to learn to exhibit this tolerance that we’ve been taught to display. Forcing “Merry Christmas” to someone who does not celebrate Christmas is pointless and just makes you seem petty. It means absolutely nothing to the person you’re doing this with.
Let’s say a Latino/Latina walked up to someone and said “Buenos dias.” If the other person doesn’t speak Spanish, this means next to nothing to them. Would it make sense for the Latino/Latina to say (in their language) “Well, I’m going to keep saying it and if they don’t like it, oh well”? They can say it as many times as they want. It will mean just as little the hundredth time as it did the first time, and there is no disrespect intended. Even if the person is like me in that they know what this means. I could respond with “Good morning” or repeat what they’ve said. Is it really that horrible of a thing that something different is said? The well wishes are coming right back to the Latino/Latina. Why nitpick about how it was said? To say “Good morning” in no way means I want them wiped off the face of the earth. And I don’t say that to exaggerate, because this is what some of my fellow Christians think; that people are trying to rid the country of Christianity.
Don’t even get me started on those who say that everything wrong in the country is because “God is being taken out of schools.” I haven’t a clue as to where they aren’t allowed to say “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, not to mention the fact that “Under God” wasn’t even always IN the Pledge to begin with, but that’s a blog post for another day.
To get back to my title and purpose of writing this, my reason to not be bothered that people don’t believe in God is simply the fact that I am not supposed to have a problem with it. My tolerance for others is not limited to ONLY those who believe in God. I am supposed to do my best to love and care for ALL people, not thumb my nose at those who don’t believe, nor to look down upon them because of this.
I would like to consider myself a pretty tolerant person and I understand that the same reason(s) I believe in God may be the reason(s) others don’t, and that’s okay.
We are all different. I will never require you to accept all that is different about me than you, but then have a problem with what makes you different than I am. The differences are what make us human and I understand that no matter how much “preaching” I do, it will not change your mind.
Along with that, we are at different times in our lives. You MAY decide later on that you want to believe, or you could have been a believer in God at one point, but changed your mind. Again…all that is okay.
Lastly, many may have an issue with this, but I also don’t blame people for NOT being believers of Christianity, especially when they see how we as Christians sometimes behave, largely along the lines of what I’ve stated above. The reason is because of the fact that if all or even most that I am supposed to stand for as a Christian is not demonstrated to some degree in my daily behavior, why would you as a non-believer be convinced to start believing in it yourself? That would be like if a mother did everything wrong with and to their children, but then tried to give another mother advice. Yes, the advice itself may be sufficient, but as I said above, TALK IS CHEAP. As much as we can say this and that, people often notice our behavior more so than what we say. So if hypocrisy is all a person sees from you, then no matter their intentions or how good-natured they may be, they will likely not be very comfortable becoming a Christian and again, I would not blame them one bit.
After all, the last thing I would want is for a person to become a Christian because I “told” them to be one. If they are not comfortable, nor do they fully understand, then they will not be the best Christian they can be. And with all due respect, there’s enough of that going around already.