Author Topic: Religious Bullies  (Read 1492 times)

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Offline Jennifer

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Religious Bullies
« on: January 11, 2005, 12:24:18 PM »
I've written about religious bullying recently and I'd like to go into more detail.  The purpose of religious bullying, just like the intent of all bullying, is to tear a  person down instead of to build them up.  Criticism doesn't have to be bullying. 

What is so terrible about religious bullying is that the bully always claims to do it out of "love" and "for your own good."  But in reality it has nothing to do with love. 

There are two main kinds of religious bullying: 1) you're a bad person and 2) you're a heretic. 

1) "You're a bad person" bullying consists of constant criticism.  Everything the victim does is bad and wrong.  The assertion of the bully is that the victim disagrees because he/she is a bad person.  Manifestations of this kind of bullying include the following:
- you need to go to confession and discuss x, y or z
- you are....<fill in the blank insult>
- (and my personal favorite) you have no charity

What makes these pronouncements "from on high" bullying is that the bully is suggesting that they are a better person than the victim.  We should never presume to judge someone's heart. 

2) "You're a heretic" bullying is supposedly done out of a desire to "correct" one's brothers.  However, it's never out of love despite what the bully thinks.  This kind of bullying is essentially nitpicking.  Painting (or even baiting) someone into a corner so you can dismiss their position as heresy and then dismiss them "from on high."  This kind of bullying often involves the use of some text as a weapon.  Like "that is de fides" <whomp!>.  There is no attempt to try to understand the other point of view. 


Offline Anastasios

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Re: Religious Bullies
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2005, 12:58:34 PM »
Jennifer, in scenario #2, are you saying that it is wrong to label someone a heretic as a method of dismissing them, or are you saying that it is never right to correct error?

Anastasios
« Last Edit: January 11, 2005, 12:59:01 PM by Anastasios »
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Offline Jennifer

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Re: Religious Bullies
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2005, 01:04:24 PM »
Jennifer, in scenario #2, are you saying that it is wrong to label someone a heretic as a method of dismissing them, or are you saying that it is never right to correct error?

Anastasios

It all comes down to the reason why you are "correcting" the person.  If done out of love and respect then it's not bullying.  However, my contention is that the "corrector" usually doesn't act out of love.   Also it is bullying if done out of 'arrogance,' i.e. a belief that you can "save" them by yelling at them. 

Offline Anastasios

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Re: Religious Bullies
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2005, 01:09:02 PM »
Jennifer,

I can accept what you are saying.  Oftentimes relgious discussion can become a contest.

Anastasios
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Offline Jennifer

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Re: Religious Bullies
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2005, 12:50:19 PM »
I'm going to revisit this topic.  Another form of religious 'bullyism' is a kind of misguided evangelism.  As I wrote the purpose of bullying is to tear down the victim so the bully can feel better.  A lot of people think they are 'evangelizing' when in reality they are being bullies. 

Fundamentally, for most of these people, it's about finding 'vindication' in their faith.  If they can convince others to join (or "save" them) then they feel better about their choice. 

You can tell a bully "evangelist" by the fact that he/she becomes angry when the victim doesn't agree, e.g. "I've told you the truth and you didn't immediately agree so there must be something wrong with you." 

Offline Matthew777

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Re: Religious Bullies
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2005, 04:20:19 PM »


2) "You're a heretic" bullying is supposedly done out of a desire to "correct" one's brothers.


What did Jesus have to say about this sort of nit-picking?

Matthew 23
23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
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Offline Ebor

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Re: Religious Bullies
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2005, 04:38:21 PM »
I'm going to revisit this topic. Another form of religious 'bullyism' is a kind of misguided evangelism. As I wrote the purpose of bullying is to tear down the victim so the bully can feel better. A lot of people think they are 'evangelizing' when in reality they are being bullies.

Fundamentally, for most of these people, it's about finding 'vindication' in their faith. If they can convince others to join (or "save" them) then they feel better about their choice.

You can tell a bully "evangelist" by the fact that he/she becomes angry when the victim doesn't agree, e.g. "I've told you the truth and you didn't immediately agree so there must be something wrong with you."

Seen that...more times then I can recall. Deep Sigh. There's a feeling of "The more people who agree with me, the more it is proved that *I* am right." It's numbers, not real people, istm. And a streak of Pride, maybe.

Frankly, being looked on as one more notch in someone's belt doesn't make me want to join up.

I regret that I have seen such attitudes with both RC and EO. :(  But it happens in religion and politics and social things and music or other person likes or dislikes.... Very Human.

Ebor
« Last Edit: January 13, 2005, 04:40:16 PM by Ebor »
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