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Who are the "real" Christians?

In doing the work that we do, building relationships, allies, and coalitions is vital and important. Some of our best allies have been more liberal Christians who believe that inclusivity, intersectionality and diversity are good ways to advance our community and make it a better place for everyone to live. I am always delighted to get to work with people who may disagree with me about the big philosophical questions, but who can agree on treating people with dignity and compassion.

That being said, one of the things that I have started to find increasingly frustrating is the tendency of liberal Christians to distance themselves and their version of Christianity from Evangelicals. Saying things like, "I'm sorry they treated you that way. They are not real Christians. Real Christians wouldn't act like that". This type of attitude dismisses the pain of the people who have been wronged. By saying that the cruel Christians aren't really Christians, they are ignoring the institutionalized issues that create these types of bigoted individuals. It's laying the blame on the individual without recognizing that the institution of Christianity has some toxic elements that produce people with these bigoted views. In reality Christianity has systemic issues with oppression that many Christians have a hard time accepting.

Now, I admit I am not an expert on the bible. My point of view is simply that of an ordinary atheist, who interacts with ordinary Christians. I don't debate philosophers or Christian scholars. I can't recite every bible verse from memory and hurl them in a debate like weapons to discredit the other side. I don't know every fact about how modern Christianity evolved or how it's holy texts formed. I am aware of many of the basics, but I am by no means an expert. However, the fact of the matter is that for the majority of the history of Christianity, Christians have been conservative. That fact is as plain as day.

I wont try to outline every atrocity committed by the Christian faith, but here are just a few off the top of my head to illustrate my point. The first and the second crusades. The Inquisition. The Bosnian Genocide. The 30 years war. Killing, imprisoning, and torturing blasphemous scientists and discoverers. Defending and championing the American slave trade. The indoctrination and cultural cleansing of Native and African cultures. The oppression and cultural genocide of pagans and other early European cultures. The Witch Trials. Opposing women's suffrage. Opposing LGBTQ+ rights. Conversion camps. Rampant child sexual assault. Some of these atrocities are ongoing to this day. For most of it's history, Christianity has been anything but loving and kind. Christianity has a history of violence, war, and genocide. This history, and it's influence on modern Christianity should not be taken for granted.