The Vampire Syndrome

Do you remember those old vampire movies?  The vampire would attack his victim, a chain with a cross would come into view and the vampire would flee in fear.  The sign of the cross created great pain for any vampire who was in its presence.

Strangely, something like that has happened in western society.  Somehow in the last few generations, religion has become something that needs to be hidden from view.  It is not just an aggressive pushing of religious views that has become offensive, it is actually any public display of religion.  Religious symbols have to be hidden and religious language has to be censored.  The reason given is to prevent people from being offended.  After all, as a society we have grown and we are now more sensitive toward people’s needs.

Really?  I would believe that if society was just as sensitive about other areas of life.  But the truth is that every other area of life has become more public.  People are invited to be as public as they want about their sexuality, politics, culture, economic views and so on.  It is only religion that needs to be hidden from view.  Look at entertainment.  Movies and music have pushed the boundaries of sexuality, becoming far more explicit in every way.  Any time a Christian complains, cries of censorship and freedom of speech become very loud.  If a person requested the same freedom for their religious ideas, they are seen as a bigot and as potentially dangerous.   Has anyone ever wondered why?

I have a few ideas.  I think that there are people who sincerely believe that religion is dangerous, much more dangerous than any other area of culture, and they believe that religion has to be suppressed for everyone’s safety.  In a similar way, there are those who thought religion could have been educated away.  There were those who predicted that religion would disappear with the advances in science and spread of education.  Since that has not happened, they have tried to legislate it away or at least limit its public face.

Where did people ever get the idea that they have the right to freedom from exposure to religious ideas?  I am not saying this as a Christian who wants non-Christians confronted with my beliefs.  I say this as a person who is not and has never been offended by other religious ideas.  When I encounter Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist symbols and traditions, I am not offended.  In fact I find it very interesting and see it as an educational opportunity.

My plea to western society is to lose the vampire syndrome.  You are not a vampire and you are not going to be hurt by seeing a cross (or any other religious symbol).  Lose the sensitivity to being offended.  Accept that there are people different from you and deal with it. Learn from other belief systems, don’t be afraid of them.  Stop being so easily offended.

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3 thoughts on “The Vampire Syndrome”

  1. Maybe people aren’t offended but just annoyed. Maybe they’re annoyed because they think you’re not just innocently mentioning your religion but actually pushing your religion on them, or making your religion into a privileged clique that excludes others.

    You talk as if Christianity is some beleaguered minority view, but really it’s the big bully with a long history of privilege and intolerance. Have some perspective. No wonder people don’t trust Christians!

    You can freely display your religious preference as soon as you get used to the idea that Christianity is no better than any other religion.

    1. First of all, even if you find Christianity annoying, there is no right not to be annoyed. Welcome to life. I sometimes find atheists annoying and yet that is part of living in a free society. As for Christianity, I did not argue that it was a beleaguered minority view. I was arguing for freedom of religion in general, that is for all religions. I am also arguing that religion in general should have the same freedom of expression as all other areas of life. No special privileges for Christianity.

      By the way, with your logic of allowing limitations of expression of the privileged majority, why not limit the expression of heterosexuality?

  2. It is sad that people seem to be so “offended” by anything “Christian”. I believe it shows an insecurity about their own beliefs or non-belief. If I wanted to be offended, I could be offended by something every time I walk out my door. On an every day basis it seems like Christianity is being attacked, while every other belief system is encouraged. I am very confident in my beliefs, and I know the “why” of my belief, and am not afraid to talk with others about my beliefs; therefore, no need to be so offended. Christianity speaks to our weaknesses as human beings. As human beings, our pride doesn’t want to hear about our weaknesses, so our society would prefer to silence Christianity. What often is said to be a dislike of Christians trying to push their ideas on others, usually is just the fear of assessing their own true nature. Let’s face it, every one wants to share their beliefs with others, whether it be Buddhist, Hindu, New Age Spiritualism, Atheism, etc. It’s Christianity that believes everyone has that right. When a society steers away from a Christian-value based thought process that’s when freedoms and rights start to disappear.

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