Why Don’t Christians Go After Hindus? March 7, 2008

Why Don’t Christians Go After Hindus?

Christians often ask atheists why they single out Christianity when discussing faith. My answer is that it’s the most prevalent religion in America. If I lived in another country, my answer might be different.

A poster on (the best of) Craigslist asks why Christians “ignore all other brands of non-Christians“:

Rather, it is the non-belief of atheists that bothers them. These people have faith so thoroughly engrained in their lives that to see somebody without a trace threatens them. They simply cannot conceive of somebody not believing in a deity of some sort. The idea is completely foreign to them, and therefore menacing. It forces them to evaluate their own beliefs. They become defensive and attack because the things they hold intrinsically and unquestionably sacred are being challenged by the mere philosophical position of another.

The rest of the posting lays out some statistics and the author’s reasoning as to why atheists are singled out (as well as why he’s posting in the first place):

These rabid believers clash with atheists knowing perfectly well that they are helpless to alter the ideological perceptions of their perceived foe. Why then, do they choose to partake of this exchange of bad blood? Because they’re angry and they’re frightened. They’re angry because we have the nerve to indirectly challenge their insecurely-held beliefs with our continued existence. They’re frightened because they fear that they’re losing their foothold on the theocratic monopolization of America (school prayer, Christian-oriented legislature, etc.)… an officially secular country, mind you.

I don’t write slanderous, inaccurate or inflammatory material about adherents of any religion. But I do defend my positions, because I hold them dear. I find it completely abhorrent that those who attack mine do so under the protective woolen guise of love and fellowship. It allows them to appear to hold the upper hand while hitting below the belt. The atheist in America is already a misunderstood and hated underdog, and people tend to ignore the callous disregard they are often shown by these “gentle lambs of God.” Were it not for atheists being their current preferred cannon fodder, I’m certain these unyielding fanatics would be baring their claws and coming for you other non-Christians and moderates next.

Intelligent Design proponents like to debate evolutionary biologists… not because the ID people have any credible evidence of their claims, but they simply enjoy saying that scientists take them seriously. (Which they obviously don’t, for good reason.)

I hate saying this, but we should take a tip from the fundies.

Maybe Christians focus on us because, secretly, they know we make the most sense…

That must be it.

Also on the best of Craigslist? An atheist trying to get a date.

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  • Adrian

    I wonder why the date posting made it onto the Best Of list. It’s obviously Richard Stallman who is famous in the free software movement, but it’s not much of a parody. Is it straight up or a joke that fell flat? I don’t get it.

  • I saw a skit about Christians trying to convert Hindus. The Christians went on for quite some time as the Hindus listened attentively, and then at the end, they picked up the crucifix and cheerfully said something like “Sure, we’ll put Him in the pile.” It kept going – it was much better in person – but you get the idea.

    Also on the best of Craigslist? An atheist trying to get a date.

    That could actually be the real Stallman. We know how he feels about sharing intellectual property with the world. Maybe he extends that to personal information that should really, for everyone’s sake, be private.

  • TL

    In other words, they fear someone is trying to take their blue blanket away. Having no blanket is far scarier than the idea of a red blanket, a green blanket, a yellow blanket…

  • That reminds me of something I heard a Catholic priest say once in a church. I was already an atheist at the time, but back in the early 90’s I worked at a group home for higher functioning retarded adults. Ironically, it almost always fell on me to be the one who would take the Catholic ones to church.

    Anyway, I remember this one particular mass the priest was talking about people of other faiths such as Hindus, Buddhists and others, and then he said “At least that’s something.” What he was getting at was that any kind of religious belief was better than no religious belief at all. Being that I was in hostile territory, I had to suppress my groans, but I did shake my head and roll my eyes.

  • Wow. Your opening statement is verbatim out of one of my posts. In trying to discuss the issue of relgion vs. morality in an online social network, I had someone question why I singled out Christianity in my discussion, and actually claimed to be “sick of” being prejudiced against for being Christian. I replied with the fact that Christianity is simply the most prevalent religion in the culture (U.S) in which I live! If you go to my site, A Slimy Can of Worms is the post I am mentioning.

    You and I are exactly on the same page!

    Love your blog.

  • Arlen

    I’m not angry and I’m not scared. I’m just interested.

  • I’m not angry and I’m not scared. I’m just interested.


  • I LOVE ‘best of craigslist’!! (but I hate that I only get them in bunches of 50 because their RSS feed doesn’t update very often…)

  • I work on a blog covering Southeast Asia, and in the course of my work I found this interesting story about the failed conversion of the Hindu Balinese.

    “During the past century all efforts to Christianize the Balinese have failed, and the story of Nicodemus, the first Balinese convert, is already well known. Nicodemus was the servant and pupil of the first missionary who came to Bali. He allowed himself to be baptized after some years in his service of the missionary, but time went by and no other converts could be made, so the missionary began to put pressure upon Nicodemus to baptize others.

    “The poor boy, already mentally tortured because his community has expelled him, declaring him morally dead, unable to stand the situation any longer, killed his master, renounced his faith, and delivered himself to be executed according to Balinese law. The scandal aroused in Holland brought about a regulation discouraging missionary activities in Bali.”

  • Maria

    I’ve seen lots of christians try to convert lost of hindus

  • BZ

    To be fair, I do think you find more atheists criticizing christianity than you find hindus criticizing christianity. I also think that explanation that was posted has a lot more speculation than evidence.

  • Somehow I doubt that the posting that is allegedly from Richard M. Stallman is real. I’m talking about that second link if anyone cares.

  • Ada

    Since when are atheists singled out? Christians have missions in just about every country where a majority isn’t Christian. Christian college students wander through dorms and apartments looking for “foreign-looking” names on the doors and doorbells so they know which doors to knock on. When I see an old woman handing out leaflets or tiny books containing Psalms and Proverbs, I’ve never once been asked if I’m an atheist before she shoves her material in my face.

  • ash

    Arlen said

    I’m not angry and I’m not scared. I’m just interested.

    Mike C. said


    i haven’t seen either of you “ask atheists why they single out Christianity when discussing faith.”, which appears to be a reaction from some christians when they feel threatened about their beliefs, so i’m not surprised.

    Ada said

    Since when are atheists singled out?

    well, since you can’t tell who we are by names, skin colour, nationality etc., only when we self-identify, or aren’t seen to display ‘acceptable’ religious behaviour. i’d say it’s mainly atheists as some nameless faceless group who are singled out tho, as pamphlet pushers presume you’ll either be grateful for their material, or you need conversion whether you’re atheist, a different religion, or even the same religion believing/practising differently.

  • Allison

    I don’t know that atheists are that much more singled out other than that they perceive we have a gap that needs filling. Around here, Christians have been known to go into mosques during services and try to convert the people who were worshipping at the time. Yikes! I’ve seen Christians try to convert a rabbi in his synagogue during a school “world religions” tour. Christians have missions to areas where the predominant population is another religion all the time.

    I think that atheists hold a special place in the hearts of Christians because many of them feel that we have a void that needs to be filled with religion, so they tend not to give up on us quite so easily, but I definitely still see them trying to convert other religious folks.

  • Also on the best of Craigslist? An atheist trying to get a date.

    I think the RMS ad is legit. If you go to his website you’ll find the exact same thing posted. Whether somebody just cut and pasted it on Craigslist is a possibility, but it doesn’t misrepresent him in any way.


  • Adrian

    I was contemplating the issue of why it seems like Christians react more to atheists than other theists. Was this real, or was it some confirmation bias?

    The only data we’ve got seems to strongly confirm that this is real, namely the US polls show that people are far, far, far more likely to vote for Muslims or Hindus, blacks or even overt homosexuals than atheists. We’re the least electable group that has been polled, which says to me that Christians really do feel some level of kinship with theists of other religions than the do with atheists.

    What do you think?

  • Think of it in terms of the story about the emperor who had no clothes on. We claim that the emperor has no clothes on. The Hindus claim that he has different clothes on. Which is more threatening to other believers?

  • The original question was “why Christians ignore all other brands of non-Christians“. That of course, as Ada pointed out, is obviously false. You could argue perhaps that atheists are “more” targeted, but even that would be hard to establish. At any rate, Christians clearly are not “ignoring” other groups. There are whole ministries dedicated to converting Jews, Hindus, “cults”, Buddhists, etc. Perhaps there are a few that are dedicated specifically to converting atheists, though I can’t think of any off hand that have that as their exclusive focus.

    But as for why all the angry rhetoric against atheists? I think mostly because there is this perception among many Christians that atheism, or at least “secularism”, is actually more prevalent and dominant in American society than it actually is. You have to understand that for as much as you atheists (probably rightly) feel like a persecuted minority in this country, the reality is that many conservative Christians feel exactly the same way. They feel beseiged by a secular media (and especially all those “immoral liberals” in Hollywood) and the largely secular academy – this feeling that while the average American might be very religious, the elites are not. (For instance, most conservative Christians have a hard time even believing that all Democrats are not merely faking it when they claim to also be Christians.) It’s because of this feeling that they have lost their exclusive dominance over the power centers of society (which I personally think is a wonderful thing of course) that conservative Christians tend to scape goat atheists.

    And frankly, when the new anti-theists get out there and start spouting off their spiteful rhetoric against all people of faith, it really only serves to reinforce conservative Christians’ paranoia that the atheists are out to get them.

  • Mike summarized very accurately the attitude of the Baptist church I sometimes attend with my wife. They preach that modern Christians, like the early Christians of the 1st century, are an endangered minority fighting against an evil secular majority and Christians must band together and protect their children from atheists and all other pagan influences. Mike, though, is like a breath of fresh air…

  • I think the RMS ad is legit. If you go to his website you’ll find the exact same thing posted. Whether somebody just cut and pasted it on Craigslist is a possibility, but it doesn’t misrepresent him in any way.



    I just can’t picture him on a date.

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