Perhaps this will seem like an extended complaint. So be it. In the past few weeks, I have heard more statements prefaced by the title’s phrase than I care to tally. Regardless of the topic at hand, it seems a Christian will eventually place a hand upon the heart, adopt a mask of yearning anguish, and say,

“As a Christian, I feel that…”

Most egregious of all is the frequency with which this phrase seems to fly from my English professor’s faithful lips. My British literature class is currently studying Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, a story deeply entrenched in Christian lore; naturally, much of the resulting analysis involves discussion of biblical stories. I have no problem with this; as the story draws largely upon the Bible, it would be impossible to fully dissect themes and symbolism without mentioning Christian dogma.

My problem, however, arises when objectivity leaves the classroom and scholastic discourse morphs into religious promotion. As we were talking about the frequent usage of Latin in the play, one student asked if that was the language used when people “spoke in tongues.” I had to restrain myself from immediately condemning religious hysteria; I know my words would have been misinterpreted and only brought condemnation down upon myself.

Suddenly, the classroom was an open forum for various students’ stories and experiences about “speaking in tongues.” Fortunately, no student spoke up with a personal account or I fear I may have let forth an offensive peal of laughter. However, several students were quite adamant that people did indeed speak in unknown languages while under the influence of the almighty divine and that there were even “special” people who could interpret what the hysterical babbler was saying.

Fine. So there were some religious crazies in the classroom, big deal; everyone is free to express their own opinion. But then the professor decided to make her inevitable, dramatic declaration. With pining eyes and a manicured hand clasped to her breast, she offered:

“As a Christian, I feel that while I have never experienced it, I will respect anything to do with the Holy Spirit. If God chooses to speak to people in that manner, then I will never speak out against it because I am afraid of speaking out against God. I figure that it is better to allow for the possibility, just in case.”

Just in case of what? Aside from this mangled version of Pascal’s wager, I had to exert some serious effort to withhold my laughter. If God is so infinitely powerful and wise, is speaking in tongues really the best way that he could devise to communicate with the human race? How much more inefficient could he have been, to babble incoherently through a hysterical devotee while another semi-hysterical person is required to translate? Really?

But the primary part that concerns me about the professor’s statement is its prefacing condition. “As a Christian…” What does that even mean? Is it a warning that the subsequent statement is probably not grounded in reality? Perhaps a more accurate preface would be, “As an adult who clings to unsubstantiated fantasy and imaginary friends…” However, I assume that this is not the intent. More likely, the phrase is meant to invoke the social etiquette which deems the direct criticism of a person’s religion to be improper. Any further questioning on my part would be considered antagonistic, offensive, and hurtful; by violating the immunity of respect assumed by religious mouthpieces, I would instantly be the cruel and ruthless atheist.

But how is this appropriate in any sort of real debate? How can anyone possibly carry on a meaningful discussion when one side adheres to emotional pleas and calls upon ludicrous cultural decorum to silence any opposition?

Wait, I just discovered my problem…I am attempting to have meaningful debates with religious people. Silly me. But in my defense, as a community college student in the middle of evangelical Texas I am not left with much of a choice.

Tags: Christianity, argument, debate, in, offensive, pathos, speaking, tongues

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This story just made my day. :) Even aside from "controversial" subjects, most of the bookstores are lacking what I consider to be basic academic supplies. I had to buying a copy of the newest MLA guide from my school's bookstore (at an additional $5) because no local bookstore carried the book nor even knew what I was talking about.

Oh yeah, but don't trip on the 71684352157364 different copies of the Bible on your way out. And watch out for the giant display of Joel Olsteen books.
I wonder if they'll carry Crumb's version of Genesis, or if that'll be against their family-friendly policy, too? If so, shouldn't all the other versions of the bible be restricted as well?
It would amuse me if they used it more often, rather than just to afford special privileges to the foolish comments they're about to spew, such as when ordering food or other services. Then they could exemplify their ideals constantly throughout their day.
Atheism and Religion are belief systems since both are unfalsifiable.

Before Darwin Atheism was the exception and not the rule. Atheism in academic circles has really only flourished in the last 200 years. it is more convenient to be a critical thinker which is not to say you cannot be both an Atheist and a critical thinker. This will allow you to address all suppositions without any bias and critically address statements based on the facts, evidence or supporting circumstantial evidence.

Clearly the statement that there is a God because I speak in tongues is easily falsified.

Or, there is a God because someone can interpret tongues is falsifiable as well.

The signs that are suppose to follow them that believe are healing the sick, raising the dead and casting out devils. But these signs do not proof anything they only fortify the faithful.

Nowadays there are no signs to fortify the faithful nor to confound a skeptic, as such the ancient text has been rendered a myth and relegated to throngs of mythological works. Which should be case until such signs or evident. Meanwhile everyone is entitled to believe what they want with absolution.
Michael, as I mentioned in the other thread, you are confusing strong atheism with atheism in general. Most atheists that I know are agnostic atheists. They do not claim to know if there is or is not a god, but in the absence of evidence that there is one, there is no reason to believe one exists.

The only requirement to be an atheist is a lack of belief in gods. That's it. Declaring that there are no gods is not required.
Just curious, but how does this tie in with people prefacing their statements with the phrase "as a Christian?"

I was not arguing Christian dogma with the teacher nor the students. My point was this:

How can anyone possibly carry on a meaningful discussion when one side adheres to emotional pleas and calls upon ludicrous cultural decorum to silence any opposition?

By attaching their religious beliefs to a statement, people invoke the politically correct standard of respecting others' religions. (I disagree with this standard, but that is for another rant.) This very act actually prevents any rational discourse that could attempt to falsify the statement.
I have found that when someone starts by saying "As a Christian," what they mean is "No matter how extreme the following statement is, if you show any disagreement I will consider it an act of religious discrimination."
Haha, I think that you hit the nail on the head, Apple. :) It's like they are setting the stage to be victimized.
"As a Christian" is similar to using the phrase "with all due respect"... anyone using "with all due respect" very VERY rarely follows it up with anything that remotely resembles a respectful statement.
Two summers ago, we had problems with our pool contractor's manager over-seeing his crew and providing the last minute fixes we demanded before we paid in full. Probably 95% of the work was complete; it was just some little finishing touches that we wanted addressed. After about three rounds of coming home from work early or over my lunch break and getting nowhere I demanded to see the owner.

Said owner of the contracting company came by the next evening and while polite and seemingly understanding to my needs, we began to disagree on certain details. Truth be told, I am known to get testy from time to time, but have mellowed considerably with age. But with the dollar amount of this project shaping my thoughts and how much was still owed, I did get a little irritated. With my voice increasing in decibels, I challenged his professional ethics and informed he was in violation of his own company mission statement. Something like “100% Customer Satisfaction”.

That’s when the Christian card was played. He began to try and pacify me with “As a Christian, I really try to do my best….” At that point my brain locked. I recall saying something like “I don’t give a damn about your religious belief. How does it address the fact that I as the customer am not satisfied with the work performed? I’m a skeptic about all things religious and I know the difference of what should be done here and what you are willing to provide. So if you don’t want to fix, how much are we going to knock off the final bill…”

I don’t know what I said that made him see the errors of his ways; the fact that I would not empathize with him from a Christian standpoint, by challenging him professionally, or talking money. Either way we finally were 100% satisfied.
Truth be told, I am known to get testy from time to time, but have mellowed considerably with age.

I notice this to be very true.

Your post brings up a great point that I was pondering for awhile. The businesses that advertise with the Christian fish symbol. For the longest time, despite not being a believer, I felt that these businesses would typically be more trustworthy.

I even took an old truck into an auto repair joint that had a huge sign out front that utilized that fish in one corner. They were very rude and dismissive of me and I started to rethink the whole fish thing. I actually went in thinking that they would be nice because of their advertised piousness.

Well, I have learned a lot since then and now I see that fish symbol as nothing more than a Trojan Horse looking to infiltrate your trust with cheap gimmicks.
Well, I have learned a lot since then and now I see that fish symbol as nothing more than a Trojan Horse looking to infiltrate your trust with cheap gimmicks.

Trojan Jesusfish, beware!

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