FAVS stock photo by Kate Grumke via ColumbiaFAVS.com

FAVS stock photo by Kate Grumke via ColumbiaFAVS.com

All Catholics worship Mary.

All Muslims are terrorists.

Christians are narrow-minded bigots.

Atheists are liars. A Fox anchor recently confused atheists with Satanists.

Or all I know about karma and Buddhism I learned on “My Name is Earl.”

All of these statements are popular misconceptions and misstatements of beliefs or ethical systems.

What misconceptions of your belief system bug you most? How do you set people straight?

 

Responses to this Viewpoint

2 Comments

  1. I’m a little bothered by the one about Christians being narrow minded bigots, and the related perception that all Christians believe people of other religions (including people like Ghandi) or people with no religion are going to hell. Ok, I know there are some Christians who believe that, but not all of us. In my experience, there is as much diversity among Christians as I imagine there is in most other religions. There is a new paradigm in Christianity that focuses on love and acceptance. I can have respect and even interest in the beliefs of others while continuing to be a Christian. As the song goes, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.” One of the things I like most about Wilmington FAVS is the open mindedness and acceptance of the topics covered.

    I try to enlighten people on Facebook by liking or sometimes sharing posts associated with other faiths. There’s a particularly interesting Facebook page called “Christians Tired of being Misrepresented.” I don’t like everything they do, but I like their overall direction. Listening to others with respect also helps.

  2. David Scott

    Misconceptions about My “Faith”

    One of my biggest problems with most religions (or the way many people practice them) is the time spent putting down other belief systems. It’s almost like some religious people feel compelled to denigrate others in an effort to make their own beliefs more legitimate. So often and ironically, this negative focus on others is categorically against the teachings of their own chosen religion. This is certainly the case with Christianity.
    After being an active Methodist for most of my life, I no longer hold membership in that denomination. Furthermore, even though I continue to ascribe to the teaching and philosophy of Jesus, I do not consider myself “Christian” by the accepted definition.
    I now consider myself a humanist. When a humanist reveals his philosophy to believers, they often react as if you had said you are communist, have AIDS or some other communicable disease, was gay, or God forbid, an atheist. They politely and usually discreetly put you in the “untouchable” religious category and urge their small children to give you a wide berth for fear of spiritual contamination.
    As in most cases of discrimination, this bigotry is a direct result of ignorance. Most people can’t even spell h-u-m-a-n-i-s-t, much less know what it means. Yet they feel perfectly comfortable criticizing and demonizing it.
    For the record, the American Humanist Association defines humanism as such:

    “HUMANISM is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion. Affirming the dignity of each human being, it supports liberty and opportunity consonant with social and planetary responsibility. Free of theism and other supernatural beliefs, humanism thus derives the goals of life from human need and interest rather than from theological abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny.”

    Personally, I cannot imagine a more eloquent description of a belief system that holds man accountable for his own actions while being sensitive to the needs of others and to the natural world. At the same time, it disallows man from delegating his responsibility to find solutions or to assuage his guilt by pointing to God. And finally, humanists treat life as the gift it is in the present instead of portraying it as a staging area for an imaginary afterlife.

    In summary, we would all be better off and certainly more productive and moral, if we would resolve to learn more about other belief systems before we chose to criticize them and their adherents.

    David Scott

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