In your experience, are conservative Christians more likely to be judgmental (in the bad sense ) than the population at large?

Yes
19% (4 votes)
Probably
33% (7 votes)
Probably not
0% (0 votes)
No
38% (8 votes)
Other
10% (2 votes)
Total votes: 21
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There are 17 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

Polls repeatedly show that evangelicals and fundamentalists are considered judgmental, passing judgment on everything and overly critical.

What is your observation?

In my experience, I know of congregations where the protocol is to be negative and critical, competitive, folks are into put-downs, and suspiciously assume the worst.  I know of other congregations (or Christians from within these competitive churches) who are joyful and not opinionated about everything under the sun.

 

I think much of it is personality, but I have to confess that I have seen more of this negative, critical behavior  (as opposed to conviction about Biblical things) in the evangelical/fundamentalist world than in the world at large.  But then again, in the world, you avoid people like this; in the church, we cannot do so.  Perhaps it is our acceptance of such mentality as a mere personality trait that helps nurture and propagate it?

 

How do you see it? Do you think that put-downs (even in humor) and offering negative opinions are acceptable behaviors, etc.?  Comments ENCOURAGED.

 

"The Midrash Detective"

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

I would vote "NO" - not because we just don't, but because I don't think we are any worse than they are.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Ron Bean's picture

It's likely that one would be labeled judgmental and overly critical when one's initial reaction to anything new or different is usually negative, critical, and/or suspicious.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Ed Vasicek's picture

Oops…Aaron, an auto-fill must have added “we just don’t”; the choice should be “no.”  Pure and simple.  As the Brits would say, “Please be a good chap and fix it, won’t you?”

 

To the rest of you: sorry for the confused.

 

“I am confused, therefore I am”  Ed Vasicek

Moderator: Fixed

"The Midrash Detective"

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

I chose "probably," because we Christians are expected to "judge righteous judgments" and be discerning. Exercise of that in *any* way in our current culture, where pretty much anything goes, is considered to be judgment of the bad kind. And where people are supposed to judge, there will be poor application of that judgment. Compared to those today who say that there should be no judgment (even though they don't understand the logical impossibility of that stance) and do their best to accept everything, we certainly judge more, at least admittedly, than they do.

Now, does that mean we *actually* are guilty of more bad judgment than the population at large. I doubt it. Again, though, any critical judgment of anything, even if it's good, will be seen as being judgmental, and most non-Christians I meet today seem to be trying hard not to "judge," even if that's impossible.

Dave Barnhart

Easton's picture

"...I have seen more of this negative, critical behavior...in the evangelical/fundamentalist world than in the world at large."

So, that would be a "yes" for you, then, Mr. Vasicek?

In my experience, having worked in both full-time Christian ministries and with companies/firms that are not, Christian ministries are far and away more critical, judgmental and negative than anything I've experienced in the secular world.  I have seen employees/families treated with utter disregard, all under the guise of Christianity - something I have not personally experienced in the larger secular world.

Given a choice between working for/with a conservative/fundamentalist Christian or a pagan, based on my experience, I would choose the pagan every time.

That's a "yes" from me.

 

 

 

Ed Vasicek's picture

Easton wrote:

In my experience, having worked in both full-time Christian ministries and with companies/firms that are not, Christian ministries are far and away more critical, judgmental and negative than anything I've experienced in the secular world.  I have seen employees/families treated with utter disregard, all under the guise of Christianity - something I have not personally experienced in the larger secular world.

 

I answered "probably."  It is hard to quantify our experiences statistically.  But grace is often found in unlikely persons yet sometimes absent from those who talk about it most (indeed, I look in the mirror and sometimes see a violator of grace myself).

 

Like you, I would rather work with fair and gracious lost people than uptight and cold Christians.  However, the reverse happens as well.  We expect lost people to be judgmental and negative (which they often are), so are not surprised.  We expect Christians to be understanding and kind, and we are surprised when they are not.

 

That's why this poll has to be about our impressions.

"The Midrash Detective"

Jim's picture

Easton wrote:
Given a choice between working for/with a conservative/fundamentalist Christian or a pagan, based on my experience, I would choose the pagan every time.

Christian businesses (could the the large church with a staff of 10+) generally do not have good HR policies.

Where I work, employees are treated with dignity and respect. Even being laid off (which I have thankfully avoided) is handled respectfully.

Anecdotally I know of dozens of employees who have been unceremoniously dumped by Christian organizations. I personally know a Pastor who developed a throat condition that made preaching difficult. He was fired.

Politics in Christian organizations can be Machiavellian. At least in a secular company one normally knows where he stands!

 

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Jim wrote:
I personally know a Pastor who developed a throat condition that made preaching difficult. He was fired.

That's an interesting situation. What do you think the church should have done given the situation?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Jim's picture

Perhaps you are too young to know of this but years ago Lee Roberson (Highland Park Baptist, Chattanooga) had a throat condition that prevented his preaching for (as I recall) a year or more.  The church used other staff and visiting preachers while his throat healed. (This was back in the 1972-73 time frame)

I can't find much about this online but did find one reference here

 

http://books.google.com/books?id=l9ZhhGg0hfsC&pg=PA238&lpg=PA238&dq=lee+...

 

 

 

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Jim,

There's a couple of things in the Roberson anecdote that would impact an analysis of the original story. Size of the church and availability of both substitute speakers as well as alternative work for the afflicted to do while unable to preach and also duration of the ailment are significant considerations. None of this information was provided in your initial anecdote, which is why I asked the question.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Jim's picture

Without naming the church

  • GARBC
  • New Jersey
  • In the mid 1980's
  • Church size was over 500

My connection:

  • I was pastoring a small church nearby
  • I looked up to and respected the man and looked to him for counsel

He had a throat condition that made him sound like he had a little hiccup

 

--------- Interestingly ------------

Several years ago I had a raspy voice. I'm on the telephone all day (internal calls). One team member accused me of using my angry voice. She was several job grades above me. After I got off the phone I went to my manager's office and told him that she would be calling him. While I was in his office, indeed she did call him to complain about my angry voice.

Shortly afterwards I visited a throat doctor. I had inflamed vocal chords. It took some time to recover.

 

Easton's picture

 "We expect lost people to be judgmental and negative...  We expect Christians to be understanding and kind, and we are surprised when they are not."

When I was young and naive, yes, this is exactly what I expected (the above quote).  But your poll, Mr. Vasicek, was based on our experience - and my experience has taught me quite the opposite.  I'm no longer surprised when conservative Christians are not "understanding and kind", now I expect it.

Kind of sad, really.  Shouldn't be this way.

John Brown's picture

I would say typically fundamentalists /evangelicals are more critical than others. If I only had a dollar....for every Christian I have heard condemn the person and not the sin. But I have also noticed that atheists have become not only critical but hostile towards people of faith so it happens on both ends of the spectrum and less in the middle I think.

Ed Vasicek's picture

John Brown wrote:

I would say typically fundamentalists /evangelicals are more critical than others. If I only had a dollar....for every Christian I have heard condemn the person and not the sin. But I have also noticed that atheists have become not only critical but hostile towards people of faith so it happens on both ends of the spectrum and less in the middle I think.

 

Yes, just like activists on both the right and left are hard to reason with (and you want to encourage them to take tranquilizers), so some advocates of any or all religions (or anti-religion) can become intense and lopsided.

 

I look over my life, and I think at one time I did not properly weigh the commands to love both God and neighbors.  Jesus REFUSED to separate them.  Yet we so often try to do so ("I'm not singing this song this morning for you, but for the Lord alone").  Ultimately, it is this separation of the 2 great commandments (and our limited understanding of what it means to love God and thus be fair and love others and thus be considerate) that may be the culprit.  Or the "mission" or "goal" becomes the driving force, and love becomes irrelevant.

"The Midrash Detective"

pvawter's picture

In my experience, there are plenty of critical attitudes both inside and outside fundamentalism. While believers often fail to act with grace and love, unbelievers are routinely critical and judgmental, even while they proclaim their pluralistic values and non-judgmental attitude.
Sadly, though I know many godly, loving saints who are gracious in judgment (yes, even in fundamental churches), they are often ignored by the church's critics who many times are hyper-judgmental of those within fundamentalism who are hyper-judgmental themselves.

TimNT's picture

A "true Christian" will likely be conscious of and obedient to the commands and spirit of the Word of God and thus certainly not more judgmental than the non Christian ("in the bad sense").