Nothing created is the center

While I’m on a posting and linking spree, I wanted to link to another really good post about the tendency of Evangelical Christians to think we’re/they’re* at the center of the universe:

Proestants and Evangelicals have a curious tendency to make everything about them. This mentality is less prominent in the Catholic, Orthodox, and old Proestant (Lutherans, Anglicans, etc.) communities, but it is unfortunately on the rise in those areas as well. People with this mentality are almost exclusively on the extreme right-wing of the thought spectrum. To them, anyone to the left of Torquemada is not a genuine Christian but an atheistic imposter whose sole mission in life is to spread paganism, secularism, and moral relativism (often with no understanding of what those words mean). Everything in the world is judged according to whether it is for or against Christianity, their Christian denomination, or their idea of what their Christian denomination should be. If anything is not explicitly for Christians, it is automatically assumed to be opposed to Christians.

It took me a long time to realize that, no, it’s not about me, and no, I’m not persecuted. I think the thing that did it was knowing people who actually did experience real religious persecution of the “My landlord saw my altar and kicked me out” variety rather than the “Someone said something mean about my beliefs” variety.

*I’m not sure which of those pronouns to use because I don’t necessarily identify myself as evangelical anymore. Usually I refer to myself as a vaguely liberal Christian of no particular denomination, and I’m not a fan of on the focus on trying to convert everyone around you that is central to evangelism (in that, you know, that’s what the word means). But since that’s the flavor of Christianity I was part of for a very long time, I still kind of identify with it.

Oh, and also, my title comes from this quote from A Wind in the Door. “When we seek our own pleasure as the ultimate good we place ourselves as the center of the universe. A fara or a man or a star has his place in the universe, but nothing created is the center.”

2 thoughts on “Nothing created is the center

  1. JoannaDW says:

    Hey, thanks for the link.:)

    This also isn’t just an issue of Christians being paranoid about non-Christians. Christians (and lots of other groups of people, for that matter) do this to each other. For example, in the Balkans, all the countries have their own national Orthodox Churches and a lot of them won’t accept people from other Orthodox rites at Communion. If you are Croatian and attend a Serbian Orthodox Church, you might be denied Communion. On the surface, it looks like a case of big bad infidels going against The Truth, but in reality, it could be something totally different. More than likely, as wrong as it is, that Serbian priest didn’t deny you because you didn’t belong to his Church. He denied you because you were Croatian, period, and he doesn’t like Croatians.

    Even as a Catholic, I get other Catholics telling me that, because I don’t fit a very specific profile of what a Catholic should be, I am hyper-liberal tool of evil atheists who doesn’t know basic facts (like the old “Church-state separation isn’t mentioned in TEH CONSTITUTION!” canard that got old a million years ago.)

    Another thing I HATE is when people misappropriate others’ tragedies for their own agendas. For example, a lot of people blamed incidents like Columbine on a lack of prayer in school (and the famous, but fictitious, Cassie Bernall story did not help any). It’s exploitative and it’s usually NOT an accurate representation of the problem.

    Sorry this is so long-winded. I just wanted to make the point that a lot of people have this mentality. Every criticism or disagreement becomes something personal, a hideous indictment of your character or you as a person or oppression of whatever group you belong to. And that’s just not true.

    • KellyK says:

      No need to apologize for the long comment. There’s a lot of good stuff in there. I didn’t know that abut the Serbian and Croatian churches, but that makes sense.

      My sister-in-law, who’s a very devout Catholic, and a goth with pink hair, gets that a lot too, that she’s doing Christianity “wrong” because she has pink hair and wears a lot of black and decorates her house with a bats and skeletons motif.

      I really hate the misappropriation of tragedies too, and the idea that prayer in schools would’ve made Columbine not happen is pretty naive.

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