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davorg (18)

davorg
  dave@dave.org.uk
http://dave.org.uk/
Yahoo! ID: daveorguk (Add User, Send Message)

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Journal of davorg (18)

Monday November 26, 2001
04:46 AM

Cultural Differences

[ #1368 ]

I was a little surprised by some of the reaction to my last journal. I admit that I came across sounding disparaging of christianity (I was aiming at "gently mocking", but it seems I overshot) but I was very surprised to see Purdy describe it as "shocking".

I've been trying to work out what was shocking about it and have decided that it must be another of those "cultural differences" caused by living on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

In the UK, my views on religion (and christianity in particular) are pretty mainstream. Even tho' we have a state religion over here church attendance have been dropping for fifty years. I'm hard-pressed to think of a single friend who is a practicing christian[1]. Atheism and agnosticism seem to be the most popular "religious beliefs" over here.

The result of this is that theists in the UK are used to people disparaging their beliefs. It's the theists who are usually seen as as slightly strange. A British christian wouldn't see anything shocking in my journal entry as they see and hear similar opinions all the time.

It seems to me that the same is not true in the US. Over there religion still has a very strong hold. And the christians that you find there are far more committed to their beliefs. They are far less likely to hear any dissenting viewpoints and, therefore, get far more shocked when they do.

I have no explaination of this difference and would be very interested in hearing any theories.

And in the meantime I'd like to point out that I certainly didn't intend to shock anyone with my views. I'll try to be more careful in the future.

[1] There are a few catholics, but the brainwashing that the catholics carry out on their children is so intense that even catholics who no longer believe in god still describe themselves as catholic.

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  • This did start out as a colony for puritans who liked to burn people as witches so....

    Also, the Christmas shopping season has nothing to do with religion and is a recent invention within the last 200 years. Much like the Christmas tree which only became popular after the Royals brought the tradition from Germany in the late 1800s.

    [1] There are a few catholics, but the brainwashing that the catholics carry out on their children is so intense that even catholics who no longer believe in god still describ

  • Also, since my father was a brit I can offer my observation on the difference in religion. He was CofE for years and years yet always came to mass with us though never went through the motions or communion. Religion was viewed by both my parents as a personal issue, not something publicly discussed as nearly every aspect of life in America generally tends to be.

    In the last few years of his life, dad finally converted to Catholicism and things got weird which I generally attribute to his knowing his time o

  • I don't think it was the opinion that was shocking. I think he found it shocking that you expressed it on use Perl.

    Although, I should add that such mocking of religion in the U.S. is much more often mean-spirited than it seems to be in the U.K., so that might indeed be a part of the equation.

    Eh, time to move on to some Perl. I haven't written any code since Wednesday ...
    • The Catholics in Ireland might disagree with you on that :)



      And, personally, it's nice to have a little variety in journals considering that it lends a 3rd dimension as there is only so much about Perl you can write.....and most of that's rather droll...

  • My shock really had more to do with the content than it being on use Perl;. I have quite a few non-Perl entries in my journal, so it shouldn't shock me that others have the same.

    Reading the other responses, I do believe it is a cultural difference that explains the shock. Religion is one of the taboo topics where I'm from - you don't bring it up unless someone else does (or unless you're really strongly commited to religion [Baptists are known for this]).

    I'm also shocked on the UK vs. USA statistics o

  • It seems to me that the same is not true in the US. Over there religion still has a very strong hold. And the christians that you find there are far more committed to their beliefs.

    Well, committed to their beliefs, yes. Committed to the teachings of Jesus Christ, no. I'm an atheist but I think Jesus was a pretty cool revolutionary. It's sad that all those people who claim to believe that he's the son of god seem to not care much about the message he was preaching (you know that peace and love shit,

    • It's sad that all those people who claim to believe that he's the son of god seem to not care much about the message he was preaching

      Similarly, it's sad that all those people who claim to be open-minded and liberal would so virulently attack beliefs they don't agree with.

      Oops, it looks like you said "all" where you meant to say "some."

      • Actually, mister touchy, I meant to say:

        It's sad that that there are all those people ...

        But unsurprisingly I didn't spend hours agonizing over the wording of my comment.

        And furthermore...

        What I said hardly qualifies as a virulent attack by any stretch of the imagination. But for the record, I think there a lot of hypocrites who claim to be Christian who never seem to ask themselves WWJD (What would Jesus do). These people are pretty evil, acting in the name of a person that they'd probably have p
        • 1. Sorry, but I cannot be blamed for taking you at your word.

          2. I did not say or imply that you were making a virulent attack, or that you claimed to be open-minded or liberal. I am sorry that you took it that way. It was not directed at you any more than your comment was directed at me.
  • Dave notes: "The result of this is that theists in the UK are used to people disparaging their beliefs."
    I don't think this is a US thing specific to religion; there's just less of a "culture of debate" in the US, where people who disagree with you are either crazy or wrong, and attempts at discussion on television are limited to non sequitur "talking points". So naturally people in the US perceive any show of disagreement (beyond innocuous questions like cheddar versus Monterey Jack) as an attack (with th
    • Oh, UK people can still be weirded out by the idea of idea argument/debate as sport.

      But we are more in tune with the idea of the wind up. Which is why it's generally harder to get a pudge type rise out of a UK christian if you start using phrases like 'lickle baby jesus' in a sarcastic manner.
      • Which is why it's generally harder to get a pudge type rise out of a UK christian

        Hm, I thought I was pretty well restrained ...
        • You were. You seem to be getting better at working out when you're being gently ribbed and when it's for blood.

          Either that or you've just taken to ignoring us.
  • Religion is a world view. An epistemology [m-w.com] if you're looking for a five dollar vocabulary word. Nothing more, nothing less.

    The human psyche needs a set of rules with which to organize what it experiences and make sense out of it. For some this comes in religion. God is mysterious, the concept goes. God does things that mere mortals cannot understand, and that is why, to steal a title from Rabbi Kushner, Bad things happen to good people. For many this is comfortable. There is a purpose, there is a direction,

    • OK, so apparently I hit submit instead of preview.

      The problem in all of this is that discussing religion with someone is many times challenging their worldview. If someone stands before you and tells you the sky is green, it's very easy to become defensive. This is especially prevalent in the US. American society simply isn't at a point where open religious dissension is socially acceptable. Especially here in the midwest. And especially not with the current president.

      Nothing written on a web board about