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Ah,  dealing with Christians. When they learn that someone around them is not Christian, it almost becomes professional victim time instantly. And all the while, being really harassing and disrespectful simply because they finally met someone who openly said in the same room as them, “I’m not Christian. At all.”

Y’see, I don’t cover up the fact that I’m Pagan. If the solstices come up, I say such since it is a holiday for me. If they bring up some obscure part of the Bible, I joke that I wouldn’t know because I’m not Christian and haven’t been one since Bush Jr. was in office, first term. I remember when I was in university, I bombed a pop quiz in my Middle English literature course because it was “Name five books in the Bible.” I think all I put down was three at most and my thinking went like this:

“Ok, Genesis is one. And…oh! Revelations because that’s the one Christian cite all the time. And Leviticus gotta be one because they somehow hate gay people but love football – which one has the commandments again? And Paul? Is that a book?”

I told the teacher my thought process because he lamented how easy the quiz should have been. I retorted, “Can’t you do five books in the Koran or something next? I would have probably done better. I’m not Christian, I don’t keep this info in my brain on hand.” I simply don’t twist myself into knots to learn strictly one holy text, especially if the followers seem know about it (or care) less than I do. If it were the Bhagavad Gita  or Torah, that would have been interesting. That and I was expecting a quiz on Middle English literature texts like Chaucer*. I’m already hyper surrounded by Christian belief and rhetoric, that is far more than enough for me.

My issue with Christian folk isn’t the fact they exist. It’s the fact a very sizable chunk of them think they and they alone should be the only ones who exist and anyone not them should be harassed otherwise. Because if that person states they are not Christian and have no qualms with it, it somehow is a existential threat to the Christian – despite the fact that American society is intensely Christo-friendly…to the point of literally bombing other nations for not being Christian (*koff*thefertilecresent*koff*) and normalizing the ostracization  of not being Christian. For example,  Mosques somehow are suspicious but churches aren’t – nor do they get surveyed by the FBI en masse simply based on faith despite a big amount of terrorists in America are usually Christian or Christian-leaning (and White. And Male. But that’s another column). Like Timothy McVeigh for one and then there’s pretty much everyone in the Tea Party, Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, the list goes on and on. Even Donald Trump ascribes to Christianity and the religion itself still doesn’t get a bad rap. No one else really gets afforded this luxury. A Pagan person does something not too smart, every Pagan gets hit with whatever they’re labeling that particular person. A Muslim person does something awry, the same thing happens. A Christian can be a serial gambler that eventually rents out a suite to shoot a bunch of people below with enough high-powered guns to fuel a militia annnnnnnnnd it’s just them that is hit with whatever bad rep they get – if they get any at all. (Mass shooters, unfortunately, get glorified. A lot.) This isn’t to say that Christianity should be seen as a terrorist religion (though I’m super sure Islam, and all its practitioners, would love to take a very extended break from that label everyone puts on them) but simply the fact that they have a lot of privilege for a faith that believes it is persecuted all of the time. And some of those times simply come from the fact they’re breathing the same air as someone who is not Christian, which is hardly oppression.

There is also the fact Christians tend to have a super strict “Either you’re Christian or you’re atheist – no middle, no other” binary thinking. Heck, most Christians who get the vapors about me being Pagan can’t even figure out the difference between an atheist and a polytheist. Despite being stupidly simple:

A- (“lack of”) Theist (“belief in deity”), so “atheist” = “lack of belief in deity”

Poly- (“many”) Theist (“belief in deity”), so “polytheist” = “belief in many deities”

An omake:

Mono (“one”) Theist (“belief in deity), so “monotheist” = “belief in one god”

There ya go. And all are valid because they simply are. To confuse me for an Atheist simply because they don’t want to acknowledge that, O Hark! a Pagan exists! in their midst is really insulting. Extremely insulting. That and getting moody that Christ is considered no different than any other deity – actually, Jesus Christ would be ranked as a demigod, (like Hercules) because only dad was a god, mom wasn’t – in the general Pagan ranks of marking divinity. And Christians have got to understand that”demigod” means “halfgod status”, not “demon god”. Dictionaries, moreso than Bibles in this instance, are important books, too. Just like being not a douche over religion is also important.

Being dismissive about the fact other people believe in something different is also disrespectful. Saying things like “When God finally reveals Himself to you and shows you the right way in your life -” I already have a deity, several of them. Because I’m Pagan. Which is already a religion. That predates Christianity by 50,000 years. If I was this level dismissive of the Christian god, they would act as if I personally killed Christ. Treating people from different religions as deluded, hoodwinked and stupid because they’re not Christian is super rude. Yes, the Bible said proselytize but I don’t think it said “harass, murder and start wars over this book.”

Yes, I was originally raised Christian (I’m Black and live in the South**, thus making Christianity most likely religion to be raised in) but it’s stuff like this, in addition to the rudimentary fact that upon taking a closer look to the religion, I learned I didn’t click with anything I read in the Bible or the various studies of it.  It took three years but it seemed Paganism was a way better fit for me. But what definitely wasn’t keeping me tethered to Christianity was the continual and prejudiced “our way or no way” manner of thinking that seriously pervades them. It’s like they think America is supposed to be an all-Christian nation (we’re not, sayeth the Constitution) and the planet is supposed to be an all-Christian planet (we’re not, sayeth the many billions of non-Christians). Being hateful, including to people who are simply different (such as being trans or queer) is not something I find endearing and if it seems to be a consistent trend in a faith, even down to the texts, I am not going to stick around.

For the Christians going “Not all Christians”, don’t tell me – tell other Christians so they know this behavior in very not cool. I couldn’t care less with the No True Scotsman rhetoric either because it still lowkey condones and covers for the problematic behaviors that the other Christians do that they refuse to correct. Which doesn’t fix the problem, it’s just asking everyone to play pretend that it isn’t there.

* Yes, he is French and hated the English. English literature professors still twist themselves into pretzels to include him. In the very same way they try to keep PoC/minority literature out, especially for that time period.

** Maryland is part of the South. Most northern Southern state but still the South. Part of why we are called the Old Line State (Mason-Dixon Line) and why we have a Robert E. Lee Park (which is probably about to be renamed soon, which I support) as well as a Ulysses S. Grant Park, confederate statues (some currently removed) as well as Union statues and other stuff that a quick stroll through a history book will tell you.