Sunday, October 17, 2010

Answer to PrinterFillingStation, A "Christian" Website

Principles of the PrinterFillingStation :

I'm listening to "Speaking of Faith", now called "Being", on public radio. They are talking about civility. This letter is my civil response to your web site.

I have found that refilling my ink cartridges is the only way I can keep my printers in ink. My previous provider went out of business. So I encounter your website and at first it looks to be exactly the kind of service I need.

Except wait, these people are using their Christianity as part of their marketing. Not? As a non-Christian, I never ask what the religion of a web site owner is, and I accept people for who they are, if they don't push their views into my face. But that is what you are doing when you announce your religious views. So I won't be buying from you. So your announcement of religiosity doesn't serve to evangelize me, or many others who feel as I do. It appeals to those who already believe, and achieves nothing more than to solidify the boundaries between "Christian" and "Non-Christian", and perhaps attract customer's who favor "Christian" businesses.

My admiration for Christian beliefs goes to those Christians who quietly go about doing what they see as God's work. To push God's words while ignoring God's injunction to treat all with respect and gentleness looks most like blatant, and hypocritical,  self-promotion. Your conspicuous display of religiosity, corresponds to the apparent desire of the evangelical and fundamentalist communities to "take over America", which I greatly fear. You, as evangelicals, by conspicuously displaying your religious views, invoke that ambition, and arouse in me existential fear. (Because the tyranny that devolves from evangelism when evangelicals get power (to judge from the bigotry directly at Muslims) is an existential threat to American democracy and freedom, and to my own atheism.)

Go on doing what you do. I will disappear over the horizon, and appreciate all the more that I live in and prosper in a diverse community where many religions, and non-religions, coexist with respect and humility.

Of course if it is your intent to alienate non-Christians, you have succeeded, for which you deserve applause. In translation from my sentiments to your language, may God gentle your hearts enough to see and accept the differences between us. I am otherwise afraid of you.

I write this as a gesture of humanity, to inform you of how your website reads to some people outside of your circle of awareness. I hope it has helped.

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