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Do you ever get fed up of other people's views on your religion?

(91 Posts)
GoldandOrangeAnnunziata Sun 23-Sep-12 22:27:11

I'm a Catholic.

I know the Catholic church has covered up some truly awful things. I know their attitude towards gay marriage isn't great.

But I get so bloody fed up of people assuming we are all like that. It's so upsetting. The Church does wonderful work too. It seems like every thread on here about Catholicism just gets bogged down in this vile hatred.


acorntree Mon 24-Sep-12 09:30:56

... when I come across people with that blanket hatred I pray for them at Mass grin

ValiumQueen Mon 24-Sep-12 09:37:38

I hate it when having any faith is likened to believing in ghosts or aliens, and people say I have no intelligence and must be needy. They just do not know what I do. My faith has been tested, and not in the nicest way, and I simply cannot ignore what I know to be true. Largely these opinions are only voiced on MN as I tend to keep my beliefs to myself in RL.

amirah85 Mon 24-Sep-12 09:38:49

Same here,I get really fed up,especially people talking about my religion like they know all about it but really they don't know much at all

seeker Mon 24-Sep-12 09:46:51

I try very hard not to get fed up when people make judgements and assumptions about me because I am an atheist. Urging people because what they rather than who they are is usually a mistake.

But I do think the issue many people have with Catholicism is that there have been awful things done and covered up and they have been covered up by the current, appointed by the Holy Spirit Head of the Church, who is still treated with reverence. People do find that a little hard to take.

AMumInScotland Mon 24-Sep-12 09:58:43

I get a bit fed up of people switching from "I think a belief in x is stupid" to "I think you are stupid for believing it". I don't expect everyone to share my beliefs, or even think they "deserve respect", but it's very lazy to just dismiss me as a stupid person because I believe in God. Actually I am reasonably intelligent and belief is a complex thing, which deserves a bit more thought than "you must be stupid", or "you must be emotionally needy" or "I suppose it's a comfort if you're fragile and unable to cope without it", none of which begin to explain belief in most cases.

Oh and I get fed up with people telling me off for choosing which bits of the bible to take literally and saying I can't possibly be a Christian if I don't follow every word of it. They usually then point out in the next breath how impossible (and stupid) it is to take all of it literally, so I think the only option they consider acceptable is to throw the whole thing out. The fact that most Christians through most of history have taken a less-than-totally-literal approach to it is not apparently a good enough excuse for me to do the same.

ethelb Mon 24-Sep-12 10:03:30

I think I get most sick of people telling me what I believe. I am catholic and people expect a caricature, when I am not that caricature people tend to get quite angry and claim I am a hypocrite.
Like they want me to be a homophobic, sexist, fire and brimstone spewing bastard hmm

ethelb Mon 24-Sep-12 10:05:02

"Oh and I get fed up with people telling me off for choosing which bits of the bible to take literally and saying I can't possibly be a Christian if I don't follow every word of it. They usually then point out in the next breath how impossible (and stupid) it is to take all of it literally, so I think the only option they consider acceptable is to throw the whole thing out. The fact that most Christians through most of history have taken a less-than-totally-literal approach to it is not apparently a good enough excuse for me to do the same."


Amuminscotland said it better. It's like they want you to be more ridiculous and more bigoted than you are? Why is that?

AMumInScotland Mon 24-Sep-12 10:13:49

I think it's just the usual "straw man" argument - they define "religious people" as being stupid and bigotted, so it's fine to hate/denigrate them. If you try to show that you are not actually stupid or bigotted you get in the way of their nice easy argument and make them think about it a lot harder. People like their nice easy prejudiuces and get cross if you won't fit neatly into a box they can label and ignore.

AMumInScotland Mon 24-Sep-12 10:18:35

I do get seeker's point about atheism too though. Religious people can just as easily fall into a trap of assuimg they have the monopoly on things like morality because they see it as "god-given", so how can anyone without a religious faith have any concept of good and evil? Which is daft because, even if it is god-given, it is something we all have as self-aware creatures (apart from a very small number of truly "psycopathic" people who seem to be missing the concept) and it doesn't need a belief in god or adherence to any religion to know what is right and wrong. Ditto concepts like altruism and charity and empathy.

sleepyhead Mon 24-Sep-12 10:20:58

Yep, there are some people who delight in showing you that you're Doing Religion Wrong, ergo you can't really believe/you are a hypocrite.

There was a thread recently about god bothering where Christians were told that they were Doing It Wrong if they weren't getting in people's faces all the time to spread the good news.

whyme2 Mon 24-Sep-12 10:36:36

Well said AMum

seeker Mon 24-Sep-12 11:03:05

To be fair, you can't, surely, say "I believe x because it is in the Bible" without putting forward any further arguments, then get cross when somebody says "well, y is in the Bible too, why don't you believe that?"

worldgonecrazy Mon 24-Sep-12 11:12:59

I think the Christians have it quite easy.

Try belonging to one of the paths under the pagan umbrella. It's either

- that's not a real religion is it?
- aren't you all smelly unemployed hippies?
- are you one of those satanists/animal abusers?
- what's all that about dancing around naked?
- you don't look like a pagan
- can you turn people into frogs (yes seriously I have been asked that!)

AMumInScotland Mon 24-Sep-12 11:45:13

seeker the thing is I don't believe things "because they are in the Bible" any more than I believe things "because they are in the newspaper" - there is a connection between the words and the reality, but it's not 100% because of bias, errors, lack of understanding, etc. In the case of the Bible, I think it's an account of what people have believed over time, what they thought about God, and how they reacted to that. So it's a useful guide and starting point, but when what it says contradicts things that are known (eg 6 day creation vs evolution) I don't feel I have to believe a story that people told themselves round the campfire instead of what science can more reliably describe.

I'm more influenced by the fact that the people in the bible believed and trusted in God than in the exact details of what they thought they should do because of it.

worldgonecrazy I hadn't thought of that. People's assumption that they understand Christianity is irritating, but their assumptions about paganism must be a lot more weird and wacky. Did someone genuinely think you might be able to turn them into a frog?

technodad Mon 24-Sep-12 12:26:44

The problem is, when people like Eric Pickles make comments along the lines of "we must stop those aggressive secularists from destroying our culture, without religion the nation would be without a moral compass" (note, this is a paraphrase, not a direct quote), it will always result in undermining the moderate religious person's position (resulting in the lack of morality of the minority within the religious group being used as a weapon to attack the whole religious community).

As Seeker says. It goes both ways, and what we really need is more common understanding and tolerance from everyone.

I know I have banged on about this before on MN, but I strongly feel that getting all of our children to group together in their religions at school (i.e. faith schools), rather than mixing in a religious neutral environment, is only going to make things get worse and worse in the future.

AMumInScotland Mon 24-Sep-12 12:37:58

Agreed, if children knew that "Roman Catholics" or "atheists" or "Muslims" or whatever were just words which included many of their schoolfriends, then there would be far less feeling of "us and them" about religion. I'd do away with all state faith schools if I had my way, and not have any religious observance in schools either, just plenty of education about religion. Then people who wanted their child to grow up within a faith could take them to church/mosque/naked-dancing-round-the-trees (grin sorry worldgonecrazy) outside of school time.

EionMcLove Mon 24-Sep-12 12:45:31

What AMumInScotland said.

I hate the assumption that I must be stupid or brainwashed or emotionally immature or bigoted or a combination of all four.

People who know that I am bisexual have called me homophobic because I'm Catholic. They think I'm really gay and only shag a man because I'm too sexually repressed and confused and Catholicly guilty to only go out with women. Liking sex with men is only acceptable for atheist bisexuals apparently. And I'm the prejudiced one hmm.

And I hate the way that Christian is confused with 'nice guy'. I don't have to be a doormat because I have a faith. And also when you disagree with some element of doctrine and you get told that you aren't Catholic then, or when you get told what you believe and when you disagree with them they tell you that you are wrong and they know what you believe better than you know yourself. People are very quick to ignore the follow your conscience element of Catholicism and say you must believe what the pope says, even if you don't. How can you be compelled to believe what you don't believe? Even the catechism says you can't.

On the flip side I don't like it when people talk about 'Christian values' with the implication being if you're not Christian you don't have a value system.

seeker Mon 24-Sep-12 13:02:53

Well, to be fair, I do think it's a bit difficult to be gay or bisexual and a Catholic and not celibate without doing some pretty impressive double thinking........!

ethelb Mon 24-Sep-12 13:04:45

But eoin manages it. So why do you have a problem?

sleepyhead Mon 24-Sep-12 13:18:58

Seeker, I think you just get a bit bogged down in the "rules" of various faiths.

For some of us (not all, lots of religious people love the certainty of rules) it's about the spirit not the letter, maybe we're not even certain all the time what we actually believe - but that's actually ok with us.

weegiemum Mon 24-Sep-12 13:19:52

I mainly get annoyed with people who share the same label as me (1) thinking that they understand every facet of my belief or (2) saying I "cant possibly" be a Christian because I don't believeeactly what they do. This is mainly as I spent several years in the more evangelical side of the church. I went to bible college which was evangelical and came out much, much more on the liberal side of the church. A significant minority of my evangelical friends and acquaintances keep a wider berth from me than they once did .....

AMumInScotland Mon 24-Sep-12 13:29:59

seeker - for most Christians there's a distinction between what we believe Jesus actually taught and wanted from us, and what the hierarchy of our current church denomination says we ought to do. If the two are too far apart then we usually either leave the church completely, or try moving to a different denomination. But varying amounts of discrepancy between what we believe and what our denomination officially teaches are the norm. So plenty of people who have been brought up as RC will cheerfully decide that their church's teachings on contraception, or other aspects of sexuality, are out of touch with reality and can be quietly ignored, while remaining happy enough with their church overall not to consider leaving it because of just that one issue. I don't think there are many people who are 100% in agreement with the official line their church takes on every issue, even amongst the clergy.

ethelb Mon 24-Sep-12 13:31:03

@sleepy there was a thread on here a while ago where some "religionists" for want of a better term queried this obsession with "the rules" and the zero interest in the role that conscience plays in religion, by some atheists/secular individuals.

They were roundly told "you are doing it wrong".

Machadaynu Mon 24-Sep-12 13:37:09

I get very annoyed when people take time out of their day and mine to tell me that my views with regard to religion are wrong. I get more annoyed if, as it common, they do so because of an assumption that the sole reason I do not share their beliefs is that I have never thought about it before.

Generally it is religious people who do this, stopping me in the street to tell me all about their beliefs. Atheists have never done this to me.

I am most annoyed be people who come to my house - univited - to tell me about their beliefs, and then do not return for the follow-up discussion we agreed to after they had been unable to answer my questions.

Catholicism - as has been pointed out - has a slight issue in that the head of the church is thought to have covered up lots of abuse and yet is still God's representative, apparently. As I understand it, to be a Catholic you have to agree with the Pope. If you don't do that, you're not Catholic, you just believe some of the same things as Catholics.

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