Looking through Christian scriptures, one would assume that Christians would be a very forgiving and understanding group of individuals. Jesus tells his followers to love their neighbors as themselves, as well as that his followers should not judge others; that instead of looking at the speck in another’s eye, that they should deal with the plank in their own. These basic ideas, which are easy to understand, should stand at the forefront of Christianity. Yet, for many Christians, we see something very different.
Recently I listened to a conversation among a group of Christians. Usually the distinction of being a Christian does not enter into my description of other; however, in this case, it was clear that they were basing their conversation on the aspect of being Christian. The conversation was instigated by one of the ladies children not being able to find some birthday gifts that he was given the day before. Understandably, the parent, as well as child were upset, as were the other members of the conversation.
However, the ordeal was grossly mishandled. The talk moved to accusing a particular child of having stolen these gifts, and then belittling this child, their sibling, as well as mother. Where was the evidence that this particular child stole the gifts? There was none. It is true that this child had been suspected of possibly stealing a different item, yet that item was found later on (possibly replaced). In this case though, there was no hard evidence that the child did anything wrong, yet he was belittled as a thief, and it was implied that he would be punished by God, as well as probably end up in prison.
All of this was said in front of the child who was missing his gifts. It was said in order to comfort the child. Which really is a sad state. Why should a child be comforted by the idea of another eventually suffering? Or being controlled by Satan? If those are Christian values, I do not blame those who see Christianity as a petty and horrible religion.
Yet, these accusations did not stop at just the child, but also with their mother and sibling. Both were belittled in front of this child who was missing his gifts. This child who has already repeated some of this information to his friends, and will most likely will be used to attack the child who is accused of stealing. This family had recently suffered from some hardships, and the last thing they really need is to be judged and belittle by their so called friends. They hardly need the accusations that the child is a thief, or the mother being a bad parent. When this family needs love, there is no reason to throw hate and judgement at them.
All of this was framed by a Christian context. That God would punish these people for an act that there was no evidence. That Satan had been controlling their actions, and that the child would end up in jail. There is no reason for such intolerant, and obvious judgement, from people who are less than perfect. Yet, instead of following the words of Jesus, to love your neighbor, and not give out judgement, they did the exact opposite; all the while relying on the idea of God and Christianity supporting their actions.
So why do I relate this story? Because it is a perfect example of the evil that is committed in the name of religion. Yet, this has nothing to do with religion, or a specific form of belief. It has to do with people simply being intolerant of others. It has to do with people wanting to belittle others, in order to justify their negative behaviors, and make them feel more superior to others.
This is not unique among Christian families though. This is something we see within all of humanity. And never is it good, or justified. We all have our own problems; planks in our eyes. Why should we then focus on others, especially when it is nothing more than gossip and baseless assumptions? And if one does feel such a need, there is no reason to bring God into it, and tell a child that others will suffer for all eternity for petty reasons. Nor is there ever a reason to belittle others to a child in this manner. Intolerance in this manner will only breed more intolerance.