Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Christian Separatists

Over on DEDspace, there's an interesting post about a Christian who won't see a therapist who isn't a Christian too:

This particular woman hit me with [a question] I hadn't been asksed in a long time: Are you a Christian? I told her that I did not reveal personal things about myself, and she said, "but I have to know, since I won't see anyone who isn't a Christian." I told her I did not reveal personal things about myself. She told me, of course, that she could not see me, and we hung up.


I've been trying to decide since I first read this post what it is that bothers me so much about this particular Christian attitude, which I've encountered myself, btw. (Students here in NW Arkansas sometimes won't take my class because I'm not a Christian. I even got preached against in the local churches once -- Pentacostal students were warned against taking me, because I so vehemently was not a Christian. Heh.)

Partly it's that it's against the American ethos -- we're an inclusive society, so we're supposed to celebrate variety, not shun it. (I know, I'm dreaming here, but it is the American dream I'm dreaming, nonetheless.)

Partly it's that this Christian attitude is ignorance: they fear anything alien, when they should, in fact, be seeking out the alien. The alien is what can help them. Their ignorance is what has harmed them, kept them poor, kept them broken.

Mostly, though, I think it's what lies behind their refusal to deal with anyone not Christian: the xenophobia. Only, truly, xenophobia is too mild a word. They really do think anyone who isn't in their church is possessed by Satan: is controlled by demons: is evil.

They think this, and is it going to be very long before they begin to act on it?

Now that they think they have a mandate?

To quote Steve Earle, my hero, who just won a grammy, btw, for his excellent CD Revolution,
"People tell me that I'm paranoid / well, I admit I'm getting pretty nervous, boy..."


Ol Cranky said...

OK, I have to ask, what would those students who won't take your class (because you're not Christian) do if you taught a required course? Would they sue the school for infringement of their religious rights? How ridiculous not to see a doctor or take a class because you'd have to interact with a non-Christian.

Nathan said...

I just hope you all know that not all christians are like that. We have to recognize extrimism wherever it may be found. I am a christian and would readily take a class from a person of any religion. Christianity is not opposed to change or learning, it was christianity that inspired many of the fathers of modern science to begin their research. Although you may have had some bad experiences with a few extrimists you need to know that christianity isnt like that. Read the bible, you wont find Jesus hanging around the pharises, but the prostitutes and sinners. Any christian who puts on the air of self-rightousness needs to seriously consider what he belives. The christian belif is that all are sinners, equaly bad, from the baptist pastor to the serial killer. I encourage you to research christanity for your selves and decide what it is about instead of making you opinions about it because you ran into some people from the fringe.

Dreamer said...

I can understand the woman's desire to only see a Christian therapist. While dealing with depression in the last year, I considered seeing a therapist, but would only have gone to a Christian therapist. Why? Not because I don't want to interact with non-Christians, I do that every day. It is because faith is an intensely personal thing. Therapy, I would assume is also very personal. If the person treating you doesn't understand your spiritual beliefs it would be very difficult, in my opinion, for them to offer meaningful advise and treatment.

I know how my beliefs can look to an outsider. I've experienced this with my doctor. After my last child was born, the doctor wanted to discuss birth control. This is normal, many new moms want to make sure they do not become pregnant again right away. When I told him I did not plan to use birth control he was startled. It was obvious he did not expect me to say such a thing. So he advised me that getting pregnant at my advanced age (37) would come with higher risks. That was OK with me, because I trust God. At this point you could clearly see that the doctor thought I was nuts. Now let me just say that pregnancy at 37 is not that unusual for Christians or non-Christians alike. I'm sure I wouldn't have been "nuts" if I didn't add that "trust God" part. This conversation continued with questions like "What if your pre-born child was determined to have Down Syndrome?" (I would not abort, by the way).

In the end I could not tell if he was advising me from a stand point that I must be some crazy religious zealot that needed saving from my ridiculous beliefs or if he was presenting facts in a non-biased way.

I still see this same doctor, if you are wondering. I didn't leave because he was bewildered by my faith. I can consider his advise prayerfully and make the decisions that are best for me.

In the case of a therapist, however, the discussions go deeper. You are already in a vulnerable condition mentally, so trust is a huge factor in choosing a therapist. They analyze your reasoning and delve into deep seated emotions, many of which are intertwined with religious convictions. I could not trust someone to provide sound advice, especially when I was depressed and unable to make decisions on my own, if I did not know they had similar religious convictions.