I have heard some Christians claim that they have a monopoly on love, that non-believers can’t love the way they can or even love at all. It’s interesting that they say this, because I see such unloving attitudes from many of these same Christians. And I’m not even talking about the Christians who rant and bash people in online comment threads or disown their children for being atheists or gay- I’m talking about the supposedly loving, everyday fundamentalist Christians (and people of other fundamentalist religious beliefs). I hear them say “I love you no matter what”, but their attitudes and actions don’t line up. You can say you love me all you want, but your actions and attitudes will speak far louder than your words ever will. Words are cheap, anyone can say they love me unconditionally. It’s much harder to actually do it.
HEAR ME PLEASE: Stereotyping is judgmental. When you say “we don’t judge others” but then stereotype them, you are being judgmental. All your talk of love will fall on deaf ears because your actions and words don’t line up.
Love does not stereotype others. If you say that “all people in this group are this way”, then you are stereotyping. Why is this unloving? Because you are telling the person that you are satisfied with applying a stereotype to them instead of taking the time to actually get to know them and see what THEY are like as an individual.
If you claim to love people unconditionally and yet apply stereotypes to them, are you actually loving them? True love doesn’t assume. Love says “I take you as you ARE, not as I ASSUME you to be or WISH you to be.”
Here are some examples of stereotypes I have heard many times or that I’ve actually been told to my face:
- Bisexuals don’t exist or are confused, they’re either straight or gay.
- People who aren’t straight are more likely to be pedophiles, be promiscuous, sexually assault others, they have made a conscious choice to be sinners/deviant, etc.
- Atheists have no morals and are incapable of love.
- Atheists just want to sin or secretly still believe in god.
- Atheists and other non-Christians are the cause of all the problems in the U.S./World/etc.
- Women who don’t want to have a baby must hate children and/or men, are selfish, too focused on their careers, will regret it later, etc.
- Women who have had abortions are selfish sluts who couldn’t keep their legs closed, should have used birth control, etc.
- Single mothers were irresponsible and are a leech on society if they need social assistance.
- People on welfare are all greedy and taking advantage of the system, don’t want to work, have no work ethic, etc.
- Feminists hate men and are all lesbians and/or workaholic career women who look down on stay-at-home-moms, and hate anything remotely feminine.
- People who don’t share your faith in (insert religious beliefs here) are ignorant, deceived by the devil, stubborn, rebellious, etc.
- Liberals/Conservatives are all (insert derogatory comment about intelligence here).
What hurtful assumptions have you heard or have been applied to you? Comment below!
These stereotypes have one thing in common: They are assumptions, not facts, and they are very hurtful. When you make assumptions about an entire group of people, you miss out on the opportunity to get to know them as they actually are. And you’re telling them that you don’t care to know who THEY are, you’re happy with your potentially erroneous assumptions and judgments.
I am certainly not perfect in this, I’ve been guilty of stereotyping people before. But it’s something I’m conscious of, and I work very hard to eradicate stereotypes from my life. I try to see people as individuals, not just as groups. That’s why I always try to specify “some Christians” instead of just “Christians” in general, because I know what I’m saying doesn’t apply to all Christians.