All I said was that I’m skeptical that they are any more compassionate that nominal Christians.

Yes, that was what I was talking about.

Also, I never suggested it was the more compassionate people who leave those churches, nor are they likely to question their faith. I’m not sure how you take that from my comments.

Yes, I know. That was the suggestion I was putting forth, as an explanation for why I believe the non-religious as a whole are more compassionate than the nominal Christians.

I think of it like the modern American Republican party. I’ve seen countless headlines in the last two years with conservative journalists announcing they can no longer call themselves Republicans — under Donald Trump, they no longer recognize the party they used to defend. All the reasonable Republicans are jumping ship. There are only three types of Republicans left: (1) those who don’t pay close enough attention to realize just how depraved and moronic Trump truly is, (2) those who are aware of the depths of his ineptitude but consider endorsing such incompetence to be a small price to pay for “sticking it to the libs”; and (3) those who wholeheartedly embrace Trump’s depravity and view him as a role model.

But I say again, all the reasonable Republicans have jumped ship.

And the same thing is happening with religion.

According to Barna, 59% of millennials who were raised in a church environment have dropped out.

Millennials are recognizing that many Christians are Christian in name only. If their elders don’t practice what is preached, then why should they, the younger generation, pay any attention to them? Why should they bother to stick around?

While the people in your Dad’s church may be xenophobic jerks, God still loves them. Their faith may still be sincere. And they may be working on as much kindness as they can muster “around the edges”.

I’m not concerned with whether or not God loves them. I’m concerned with how they treat others — because they claim their faith grants them moral superiority, but their actions belie moral deficiency, from my perspective.

Perhaps they are generating as much kindness as they can muster, but my point is that it’s still less kindness than is generated by the non-religious.

There is no question that my father’s faith is sincere, and that he receives personal comfort from it. But if that faith is being used by his church as a wedge to spread xenophobia, as a means of elevating themselves above everyone else so that they can snidely look down at them—isn’t that bad for society? Doesn’t that make them less compassionate than the non-religious people who are not engaged in that behavior?

Finally, most groups behave the same way. There are some that are in and others that are out. You don’t find many lesbian groups who perhaps are also vegans (for example) who feel warm and fuzzy about Neo-Nazis and want to hang out with them. Nor would they feel compassion for them. That is simply group dynamics.

Wow, that’s a rather bold and surprising position to stake out. I’m afraid I’ll have to categorically reject it.

Liberals who shun Neo-Nazis are not displaying xenophobia in the way that conservatives are when they seek to oppress the rights of gay people. Absolutely not.

Being intolerant of intolerance is not in itself intolerance.

Somehow you and others seem to think that attending church automatically makes a person like Christ.

No, I think I’ve been very clear that I do not believe it does. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop expecting people not to be hypocritical. It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop calling out nominal Christians on their bullshit when they claim to live by Christ’s words and their actions suggest otherwise.

What I do believe is: that it’s not necessary to attend church, or to read the Bible, or to even believe in God, in order to be more like Christ.

Writer.

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