*in which literally everyone hates me*

Ugh.

Y'all need to not.

"But who, Ellie!?!?" you ask. "Who needs to not what!?!?"

Pushy Christians: You need to stop being pushy.

Christian shamers: You need to stop shaming Christians.

We'll start with the pushy Christian bit first.

Consider this a 2-part saga that because I like things to be neat and condensed will all be in one post.

PART 1: QUIT TRYING TO SHOVE CHRISTIANITY DOWN OTHER PEOPLES' THROATS

Yes, I know not all Christians are pushy - this is not directed to the non-pushy ones. But y'all who think you may be or have ever been told you are - listen up. After reading, you may find out this doesn't apply to you. But if it happens to, this is something you probably need to hear. So listen.

Look, I get if you want to share the Good News and talk about your faith. That's great! That's awesome! Good for you! But keep in mind there's a difference between sharing and forcing.

There's also a difference between being excited about your faith and being rude about it.

Sharing is great. It's when you do things like try to connect with like-minded people, ask others if there's anything they want you to pray for, and tell others about the faith! That's all awesome. Sharing with people - believers and unbelievers alike - your personal journey with God, a revelation you just had, a Bible verse you love, or a sermon that really hit home is great! It can really benefit and enrich the Christian community on here, and maybe even those who don't identify as Christian. 

HOW

E

VER.

There is a difference between saying "I went to Church today, and it was awesome!" and "If you don't go to Church, you're going to Hell. You have to go to Church. God hates people who don't go to Church."

There is a difference between saying "Here are some awesome modest outfits I found!" and "You need to dress modestly, or else you're inviting rape - and you'd deserve it."

There is also a difference, although you may not realize it, between saying "If you're in a tight spot right now, I suggest you pray. It will help you grow closer in relationship with God, and He will always help you out of your troubles." and "If you're struggling with sin and temptation right now, you have to pray. You're not going to get better unless you pray. God will only help you if you pray."

There's a difference between living a Christian life yourself and forcing others to live a Christian life too.

Share the faith - don't force it. Spread the Good News for others to hear, but don't try to forcibly convert them. If you're preaching to someone and they're clearly uncomfortable/not into it, don't try to make them be. Just accept your differences and move on. There's a difference between setting a Christian example yourself and forcing others to. You can suggest they do, but if they're uncomfortable with it, passionate about another faith, or just aren't into Christianity at this point in their lives, don't try to force them to be. After all, St. Francis of Assisi did say, "Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words."

On that point, there's also a difference between being excited and passionate about the faith and being rude about it. "Do you know what would look great on you? This super-cute maxi skirt!" or "Here are some really adorable modest outfits I found recently. You should definitely give them a try - boots are really in right now!" is different than "If you're wearing a tank top, you're a sinner. You're wearing short shorts? Um, you're going to go to hell."

"BUT ELLIE!" you say. "THESE PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW THEIR ACTIONS ARE WRONG!!! THEY NEED PRAYER!!! THEY NEED CONVERSION!!!"

Well, guess what? Shoving Christianity down other people's throats is not going to do anything. All it will do is alienate them from either a) God, b) you, or c) (the most likely option) both.

So, what have we learned?

A. When trying to spread the Word, share, don't force. If someone is uncomfortable with what you're saying, don't try to shove it down their throats. An invitation to attend prayer group is different than dragging them there against their will. 

B. When trying to spread the Word, be kind and polite. If someone questions you, defend the faith, don't attack them. That's why it's called "Defense of the Faith" and not "World War III with the Opposing Party." When suggesting things someone could do to get more into the faith, make sure they're polite suggestions you don't try to force them into, rather than rude commands. Something like, "Hey, my church has a prayer group that meets every Sunday afternoon at 2:00! If you want to come, I highly recommend it. It's loads of fun." and then politely backing off if they express their disinterest is different then "Uhhhhhh......you don't pray? Well, maybe try attending my prayer group?" If you're nice and polite about it, they'll be much more likely to follow through with your suggestion.

SO, now that we've got that clear -

PART 2: BEING CHRISTIAN IS NOT A SIN

Contrary to what some of you may believe.

Yes, you. You over there - the liberal. I know not all of you do this, but those that do - you listen right now.

Christian shaming is not okay.

"But Ellie!" you say. "Those people are rude! They're trying to oppress the gays! They're trying to take away my right to choose! They deserve it!"

That doesn't justify you being a complete dick about their religion.

Look, I get if someone attacked or said rude things about gay people, women who use birth control, or similar. You definitely have a right to defend your position then - but you still don't have the right to attack their religion - the Christian faith, the actual religious bit of it, the I-believe-in-one-God-the-Father-Almighty bit, and how they choose to show it.

You may not realize this, but - gasp!!! - although there are indeed some Christians trying to shove their Christianity down other peoples' throats, there are plenty who never intend to do any such thing.

Making blanket statements and assumptions about all Christians is downright rude and disgusting. Shaming a Christian for believing in a God or dressing the way they might is also so. I get if you think their faith is weird, doesn't make sense, or whatever. I get if you disagree with the traditional social justice position. You can defend your position all you want - but you shouldn't attack their religion - especially when you don't even know their positions on those social issues or the specific way they view their religion (Not only are there giant differences between Catholics and Protestants, there are also giant differences between Roman Catholics and Eastern Catholics, Roman Catholics brought up one way and Roman Catholics brought up another, etc.). Mounting blanket attacks on all Christians everywhere is equally not okay. Disagreeing with them on the existence and opinions of a God doesn't justify you making fun of or judging them just because they

A. Dress what they consider to be modestly (everyone has their own definitions) or wear a cross around their neck.

B. Post about their faith online (especially if they're doing it in a sharing sort of way - see examples above.)

C. Are open about being Christian.

You can disagree with someone's opinions all you want, but you can't attack them personally for their religion. You cannot shame them just for their religion. Religion is a very, very personal thing to most people, something that usually only someone who has been through it can understand. As someone who has, I can tell you that to have someone make fun of the most important, personal thing in your life feels like your guts are being ripped out. Like if there's something that helped you out of depression or get through an ultra tough period of your life, and then the mainstream Internet makes fun of you for liking that thing and automatically shoves you in the stereotype for someone who likes that thing whenever you mention you like it. That's what it feels like.

All this culture we have on the Internet about Christians being "too wimpy or weird to watch or do or wear the stuff we like" needs to quit. Right. Now.

The Christians who, like me, are much more moderate in their belief get extremely offended whenever you automatically shove us in the "conservative stereotype" box.

The Christians who are more conservative and traditional in their belief feel - well, how would you feel if people shunned you every time you revealed you were passionate about writing, or music, or photography? - whenever they mention they're Christian and you automatically turn your back on them, think of them as "less than" or people just out to make everyone else miserable. Because, heads up - they're just like you. They're just like me. They're just people trying to do what they think is right. 

You know what? Some of my closest friends are conservative Christians. And that doesn't make them any less funny, or smart, or geeky, or talented, or fun to be around.

And on a related note - Say there's someone, a Christian blogger, for example. They may post things like "Hey guys, look at this awesome Bible verse I just found!" or "My Sunday School group met today, and it was really fun!" on their own blogs. And maybe you posted something on your own blog about your position on LGBTQ+ or pro-choice issues - not a post where you merely mentioned it, but where you specifically stated your opinion and asked your followers to comment theirs. And they comment (because didn't you say they could?), "Personally, I believe God meant marriage to be just between a man and a woman - but that's just my personal opinion.". You have absolutely no call to attack them back with "That's just downright rude and disrespectful," or "If you're not going to respect the love of all people, you can get the hell off my blog." Because, let me ask you - exactly what part of "personally" and "but that's just my personal opinion" and them not attacking anyone in their comment - you or gay people - is "rude" or "disrespectful"? Just because your opinion is the one the mainstream media currently considers to be "right" doesn't mean you have the right to shame people who disagree with you in a polite way. If you want to disagree with them, "I personally disagree with your opinion because [well thought-out and respectfully-worded reason here], but thank you for expressing your views in a polite and mature way," is perfectly fine. There's no need to go Crusades on every single person you've ever heard express a conservative social justice opinion, especially when they state it in a polite way that's respectful of your opinion.

So - in conclusion.

A. Pushy Christians - When trying to spread the Good News, share it, don't force it. Be polite and respectful in your sharing - not rude or snappish.

B. Christian Shamers - Don't do it. Don't make fun of someone because of the things that are the very foundation of their being, things that may be the only reason they are alive today. There is a difference between disagreeing respectfully with someone's social justice opinion and making fun of their religion. And don't automatically assume that all Christians are evil, either, and treat them like trash just because of their opinion.

And I know, I know. The liberals and conservatives are probably equally pissed at me right now. I just want to say that you can comment your views on either of these two topics, just do it respectfully, or your comment will be deleted. Perhaps read over your comment before publishing it to make sure it doesn't include any offensive material, and that it's stating your opinion, not attacking someone else's. I do not need nor want nor will allow world war three between the liberals and conservatives to break out in the comments section of my blog.

Okay. *climbs back on royal steed* I think I'm done. Plant a tree, hug a dwarf, and remember that you are all very beautiful pickles.

Namarië,
Ellie

29 comments:

  1. Ellieeeeeee, you put this so wonderfully! Wow! You made sure to acknowledge both sides of the argument, and, whether or not I fit into either group, I still must thank you for that. You're fantastic. :)

    Totally agree, though. With all due respect to the people and their faith, I can't stand pushy Christians. Not just Christians, but any pushy faith group or person. You read that tag I did - I'm Christian, but I don't go to church. I don't pray regularly. To the devout, I'm a terrible Christian. But my family stopped going to church over a decade ago because we were always being bombarded with threats of "God's wrath," burning lakes of fire, and literally hours of nonstop preaching about how we "can still be saved! Turn to God now, and be spared eternal damnation."

    ..It's like, thanks, but I personally don't believe that. I don't believe that God is going to condemn my soul to eternal hell because I didn't attend church service. That's not the kind of god I'd want to "worship." I believe in a much friendlier guy in the sky lol. But that's just me and my thoughts. Respect mine, I'll respect yours.

    Also the people who come to my door telling me to find Jesus or I'm going to hell. Thanks. I'll be sure to remember that as I'm tossing out your pamphlet that boldly states on the cover, "Hell is waiting!"

    ..lol but on the other side, the religious have as much of a right to practice, to display their beliefs as the non-religious do theirs. I'm personally for gay rights; I'm glad that people are opening up to it. But some of the LGBTQ community is taking it too far - they don't just want equal rights, they essentially want superior rights. That's not how equality works. (Just an example. This applies to any group!)

    /endrant

    Sorry, wall of text again. :D

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    1. Thank you!
      I think what a lot of devout people from ANY religion don't realize is that worship is a really personal thing. An individual's relationship with God is something they tend to tailor to what works best for them - for some people, Bible Study is great, and for some it just doesn't resonate. For some, quiet prayer through meditation is the preferred method, but others like to pray through song or in large groups. Just because someone is worshipping a different way than you are/interprets Scripture slightly differently doesn't mean God hates them.
      Dude I totally agree with you on the friendlier guy in the sky thing.
      I agree! It's like some feminists want women to be superior to men.....like, that's not how feminism works, and it's also lending a really bad name to the campaign.
      Nah, it's fine! Thank you for being so respectful and thoughtful about your opinions.

      - Ellie

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  2. Topics like these should be more openly discussed. Like I said, there's a call-out culture emerging on the internet and it can be used for good and bad. Calling out people for being Christian, and then calling out those people for putting heat on Christians, for example. Anyway, to be honest, it's not an easy task to change people's mindsets. Pushy Christians will remain pushy Christians, Christian haters will remain Christian haters and probably both parties would join together to be Islamophobic. It's a bit of an endless cycle but the fact that you decided to put a stop to it in YOUR life and in the lives of people around you is just one step to changing the world. You know how it goes- change yourself first and then you can change the world :)

    But what I really hate about things like this is that people would be so nice usually but when they find out you're Christian or Muslim or whatever, the attitude changes so fast? Like you're not even sure who that person is anymore because you're certainly still the same person, just with an added label. It's common courtesy to be polite and respectful to everyone but as soon as religion comes in the equation, people have a negative reaction. I for one, try to keep myself open-minded and I think blogging has really contributed to that. I get to read about Christianity from blogs like yours and that just helps me understand a little more about the world and the people in it. :)

    Have a nice day.

    the-emo-wolverine-writes.blogspot.com

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    1. I agree! On any controversial issue, everyone, no matter what their opinion, should be educated as to both sides of the argument. That way, they can make their own decision and understand what the other side is thinking, even if they don't agree with it.
      "Pushy Christians will remain pushy Christians, Christian haters will remain Christian haters and probably both parties would join together to be Islamophobic." YOU JUST DESCRIBED AMERICA IN ONE SENTENCE.
      I know! It's like having a religion automatically makes you a party pooper/anti-intellectual/backwards or something. It's the worst.
      You too!

      - Ellie

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  3. I'm having flashbacks to last year ugh. Someone asked me my opinion on religion/being gay and after I told them my thoughts, they promptly sent me an incredibly long email about how I was sinning, my religion was crap and was not going to save me, and that I really needed to "think" about my beliefs when I had in no way asked for her opinion on what I believed in. I don't get why some people think that's the best way to encourage others to convert/believe in something else. Because all it did was tick me off and make me feel like crap. Like, why is your religion and beliefs so superior to mine?
    I love how you addressed both sides of things here, as I feel like part B is something that's totally ignored by a big part of the comm. I think it's great that there are people who are so passionate about religion to devote their blogs to it/talk about it often, and even though I may not personally get it or want to be extremely religious/converted, I appreciate their enthusiasm and love for what they do.
    I guess I just don't see why we can't all be nice to each other. Everybody is going to have different beliefs and ideas--that's kind of how the real world works--and we should all just be respectful and kind and //happy//
    xx a

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    1. I remember that! Yes, it's things just like that I was talking about here. They asked your opinion on something, you respectfully (as far as I can tell) told them what it was, and then instead of saying something like "Okay, thanks" or even "I disagree, and here's why [insert polite and thoughtful reason that acknowledges the other side of the argument despite disagreeing with it]" they did what they did. I understand their zeal, but there were definitely much better ways to go about it.
      THANK YOU. Here we are, the liberals, and the media and society are going are way. And in all that excitement I think we usually forget there's another side of the story, and the people who disagree with us are still human beings. Tumblr also has a giant problem with this, in my experience.
      *puts last paragraph up on poster and tapes it around my neighborhood*

      - Ellie

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    2. *our way
      omg what is wrong with me.

      - Ellie

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  4. I appreciated this post because it is an great reminder. I think you conveyed your message very well! Thank you for sharing your opinions in such a good way.
    I totally agree with you that Christians should not be pushy in sharing their faith. That never accomplishes anything but both parties getting annoyed at each other,and that is NOT being a good witness in any way! It makes me so sad to hear about people who have left churches because they are being literally threatened into "salvation". NO! That is just not how it works. Yes, we should share with others what we believe,including about hell because it IS very real, but not declare that "if you wear tank tops you're not a Christian". Nowhere in the Bible does it say that, and the point is about modesty, not if you show your shoulders!
    Anyway, that's my rambling about it, and thank you again for sharing this in such a respectful way.

    //Emily

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
      Definitely! I think we should inform people about what the faith is, and if they decide to try it/experience an increase in zeal, it should be up to them how they personally, taking into account their own background and circumstances, live out their faith and interpret the Bible.

      - Ellie

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  5. this so soooooooo true. honestly. thanks for saying it. (and your title is awesome. lol. every time i post a controversial church post I feel that way. haha.) but very valid point. everyone just needs to chill the frick out man.
    *high fives*
    keep being awesome!

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    1. Thanks! *high fives back*

      - Ellie

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  6. first of all, i don't think i've ever been a "christian shamer", but if i have, please let me know. the vast majority of my friends are very liberal, mostly athiest, and just want someone else to tell me if i've ever been rude or !add mass assumptions.

    second of all, i applaud you for addressing both sides of the argument and had an equal amount of content on both. i hate when people make assumptions about others because of their religion/beliefs, and it always gets to me when they do so. i don't see it as much irl, especially compared to the internet, but it frustrates me all the same. i mean, i'm an atheist living in a family of pretty hardcore christians--i'm constantly ridiculed by my grandmother in particular simply because she feels that not believing in a god, or rather her god, means i'm a satanist and am going to hell. on the flip side, i've heard numerous of my peers and even some friends toss some serious bullshit towards christians, making assumptions about how they all "hate gays" and are force feeding us their religion.

    i've learned to just keep my mouth shut when it comes to religious beliefs, and have found it works quite well.

    thanks again for writing this, it's a reminder the world needs during times like these.

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    1. As far as I know you haven't been, but I'll let you know if it accidentally happens in the future.
      Thank you! I hate when people make opinion posts and don't address the other side. Even if it's not as much in detail as I did - even if it's just a single paragraph - it's essential to having a high-quality, persuasive argument.
      Thank you again! :)

      - Ellie

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  7. This is an amazing post Ellie! This is an awesome reminder. I am cristion and think sharing the religion is a good ting. But then when you force it you are doing bad instead of good.

    Nabila // Hot Town Cool Girl

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    1. Thank you! I agree exactly.

      - Ellie

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  8. Hehe, this was great. XD And I agree! I honestly get so turned off Christian blogs/bloggers sometimes because of the "let's shove this down your throat" thing. But I also have the NICEST Christian blogging friends of ever. <3 I think it's definitely about respectfully stating opinions and not being rude or judgemental. I mean, has anyone ever had their opinion changed during an internet fight anyway? NOPE. I think polite and respectful disagreement IS fine! But people get super emotional when it comes to discussing religion or political thingies...too fast. :( Which makes it hard to disagree calmly, right? Erp.

    Anyway. I think you were brave for posting this and stating opinions! And I think we should all be definitely considerate of each other and calm in disagreements/discussions. The world would be soooo a better place if EVERYONE did this.

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    1. Thanks!
      I totally agree - people need to calm down and have coherent and mature discussions. I actually think all parties would benefit that way, because even if they didn't change their position they would still understand how other people think.
      Thank you again!

      - Ellie

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  9. BLESS THIS POST SO MUCH
    it was great of you to post this, and most of what i wanted to say has been covered by yiu and commenters, so i'll just leave this comment at this.

    jenni // in my own little world

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    1. THANK YOU I AM GLAD YOU LIKED.

      - Ellie

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  10. OOOOOOOOH THIS IS SO GOOD. I think we all need a reminder once in a while about stuff like this; it's so easy to get carried away! I think I may have been guilty of being pushy about my Faith more than a few times, and I feel terrible about it. It's so easy to get overly-passionate and then instead of sharing, you slip into forcing without even realizing it. Ughhhhh.

    Thank you for posting this! :)

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    1. Thanks!
      Yes, it can be quite easy. But kudos to you for admitting to doing it! Most people I know wouldn't be nearly that mature.

      - Ellie

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  11. Nice! And I gotta agree: it'd be really nice if we could actually have conversations where people disagree on religion or politics or whatever, and no one has to get yelled at or cursed out or leave feeling hurt and insulted. We're not all going to agree, but understanding is super important and that's only gonna happen if we all listen respectfully to each other. :)


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbosityreviews.com

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    1. Thank you! I agree, calm and intelligent conversations are very important.

      - Ellie

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  12. Agh, I agree SO much. And I LOVE this post. I think it's great how you talked equally about both topics.

    I am a Christian myself. I do try to share the Gospel in any way I can, but I definitely do not try to throw it down peoples' throats. I feel like that if a non-Christian is having trouble with their life, then it would be helpful for a Christian to try and email them an uplifting letter telling them about the Truth. But being so incredibly pushy, where you're practically telling them everything they do is a sin is NOT the way to go about it.
    It's mostly about trying to be polite, and gently (for lack of better word) stating your opinion. I do try to respect the decisions of my non-Christian friends, though sometimes I may not like it. And even if I disagree with them, it might just be better to deal with it.
    Although, I must say that some things some Christians believe are a bit too much. You don't HAVE to go to church EVERY week. Sure, the sermons help you understand God's Word better, but your attendance is not what makes you a Christian.
    That being said, it's not really that great to not go to church at all. Fellowshipping with other believers and reading the Bible in depth with pastors helps you grow in your faith. (But if it's like an example where you don't even live by a church or there are no good ones nesrby than that's totally understandable.)
    And there are other Christians who believe that all girls MUST wear ankle-length skirts and short sleeved shirts ALWAYS. I'm not saying that being TOALLY immodest is a good thing, I'm just saying that wearing shorts or a tank top is not like you're sinning.

    Anyways, that's just my opinion on the matter. :) Amazing post, and thank you for sharing your thoughts. :)
    ~ Suzy

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    1. Thank you!
      I think an email would be totally fine, but if they weren't interested and you were still concerned, suggesting more secular ways for them to feel better could still work! And who knows, it may lead them to the faith in the end. I agree - being pushy about it is NOT acceptable, especially when the person is going through tough times already.
      Ahhh I wish all the people I knew were as mature as you are about letting non-Christians do their thing.
      I think that on the modesty issue everyone has the right to decide what they themselves wear/feel comfortable wearing, but they DON'T have the right to apply that personal decision to everyone else.
      Thank you!

      - Ellie

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  13. Great Post! People need to read this!

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  14. I think I'm crying this is very beautiful

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