Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Loving Christian

Recently, I’ve had some interactions with a fairly respectful Christian on Twitter. Let’s call him “X”. While X and I disagree on most things, we keep it respectful and even playful at times. I don’t consider him a friend, really, because our interactions have not moved beyond religious discussions and his interactions sometimes make me feel he is dishonest. Think William Lane Craig – super nice outwardly, kinda slimy underneath. Or Sye Ten Bruggencate – seething anger simmering just below the surface.

X has taken to saying “I love you” from time to time. He’s not in love with me, obviously (I hope? Kidding). X will just say it in the middle of a thread on some discussion on religious points. It’s not like a “love ya, have a good night” type of thing that I’d say to friends. At first glance it seems that he is actually embodying the type of love Jesus advocated by saying “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Love your enemies”. I mean, I’ve never had a Muslim say they love me.

I'm pretty sure I got proposed to by one, though. Yikes.
I’m pretty sure I got proposed to by one, though. Yikes.

I think it’s a sort of conversion tactic. Like if they say “I love you” enough we’ll think Jesus is showing his love through them. Not a bad route to take.

But think about that for a second. It’s actually condescending, especially in the middle of a discussion in which you disagree: “I love you anyway even though you are an evil atheist.” Similar to “I’ll pray for you.” What am I supposed to say to that? “I love you too?” I don’t “love” everyone. I have compassion for every human. I wish good things for everyone. I don’t harbor ill will for others. But I think saying you love everyone cheapens it a bit, don’t you? However, if I express this to X, I am almost certain he would say it’s because, as an atheist, it’s impossible for me to have that sort of love. I think he would want me to dislike him using that phrase, so he could say it’s because I can feel Jesus calling to me and I’m rejecting him or some other nonsense.

LET HIM LOVE YOU.
LET HIM LOVE YOU.

I don’t think they really love everyone. In fact, I think it’s self-righteous on top of being condescending. “Look at me; I can say ‘I love you’ to this baby-eating Satan worshipper!” It’s a way to act holier-than-thou and gloat when the atheist doesn’t respond in kind.

Sometimes, I even think it’s a diversion tactic – “I don’t have any answer to your argument, so I’m going to say I love you so I can seem morally superior”. So I just ignore it and continue on with the discussion 🙂

Update: I actually wrote this blog post sometime last year, when I was still getting involved in a lot of debates on Twitter. As stated above, X and I were very friendly and cordial. One day out of the blue, he announced that my “conscience was seared” and blocked me. I had to research this as I’d never heard of it before.

From gotquestions.org (a Christian apologetics site):

The Bible speaks of a seared conscience in 1 Timothy 4:2. The conscience is the God-given moral consciousness within each of us (Romans 2:15). If the conscience is “seared”—literally “cauterized”—then it has been rendered insensitive. Such a conscience does not work properly; it’s as if “spiritual scar tissue” has dulled the sense of right and wrong. Just as the hide of an animal scarred with a branding iron becomes numb to further pain, so the heart of an individual with a seared conscience is desensitized to moral pangs.

Wow. So after all the discussions we had, he really thought that I was so morally decrepit that my conscience was “seared”? How do I reconcile this with the Christian love he so often professed? I can only make it fit into the second category – that he felt he was somehow superior by “loving” this nasty Satan’s minion.

What do you think? Is Christian love sincere? How would you respond? Let me know in the comments!

Another update here: Mystery of the Loving Christian – SOLVED!

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28 thoughts on “Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Loving Christian

  1. You’ve done a perfectly good job of analyzing his nonsense. Feel lucky that he is no longer taking your time. Or give me his name and city and I will go slap the smugness out of this jerk. What frigging arrogance he emits. But it is so typical….that old bumper sticker arrogance: “Not perfect, but saved.” This is why I don’t usually try to discuss anything with a Christian. It’s just a matter of time until he/she exhibits the kind of reaction that says, “I don’t have the intellect to discuss this rationally so I will resort to my clichés.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After 50+ years residing in a variety of Christian communities, my honest opinion is “Sometimes.” Sometimes, Christian love is sincere. I’ve experienced it from time to time.

    But it’s guaranteed that when it *is* sincere, it will be shown through actions rather than rote phrases in debates with strangers. I can’t remember anyone I ever considered a genuine Christian who thought it important to drill the point home verbally. You saw it in their everyday actions and how they treated people. Even the people they disagreed with.

    And no, that kind of love for humanity is not limited to Christians. In fact, many Christians probably find it harder to effect than non-Christians operating without the Biblical filter.

    But I can’t imagine that responding to this person will do a damned bit of good–other than maybe just “I’m sorry you see me that way.” Anyone willing to accuse you of ‘having a seared conscience’ is too far gone for thoughtful discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I would agree with “sometimes”. Like, sometimes even when they “threaten” hell, they actually are worried about our souls, especially if it’s coming from a loved one.

      As for X, he up and blocked me out of the blue anyway, so no way to respond. Oh well.

      Like

      1. Do you remember when we were immature? No, I mean way back there, like, you know, in college, or ever earlier, and we wanted somebody to care about us but we sensed that it wasn’t going to happen and so we just knew they were going to BREAK UP with us and just crush our little hearts? And so we broke up with them first? Ha, we’ll show them. Don’t need you, buster. Take that. So, there you have it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My view of Christian love is that it’s a device to render “other” beliefs (whether theist or not) to the realm of children who require guidance to “true” belief. Without Christ’s “love” (died for sinners) all reason is beneath this sacrifice. Love doesn’t require reason, therefore love is offered to help lead others to belief. A seared conscience—I assume—would mean (to “X”) that you are beyond Christ’s love, and therefore doomed to perdition. My view: It’s all a load of hypocrisy & self-doubt based on fear of the unknown (Is there truly Life After Death?).

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  4. Very interesting post. Of course it was an insincere ‘I love you’. For one thing, guys don’t usually say that phrase. Even to someone they love. You probably did the right thing in not rising to the bait, and just ignoring it.
    When ‘X’ finshed by disparaging your conscience, he showed how far off the deep end he has fallen. No doubt he did not give any specifics to justify such a remark. He may have turned insulting as a sop to his ego.
    All the Best,
    Brian

    Liked by 1 person

  5. People are, by nature, altruistic. Helping others is an evolutionary trait which helps humans, as a species, to survive. Christians are taught that they are naturally selfish and evil and hateful without Christ in them. So when they feel some inherent goodness or altruistic impulse within themselves they attribute it to Christ’s love. Any act of kindness they perform is something they are absolutely compelled to label as sharing Christ’s love, To do otherwise would be denying the foundational mythology of their faith.

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  6. These phrases are just another two massively overused statements that are either being used out of naivete (the guy has a social conscience and mistakes this humanitarianism for love) or out of spite (the guy says it because he knows it will annoy you, which he wants because then he hopes he can say you’re being unreasonable by rejecting his Christian agape.) It’s almost always an intentional attempt at pudding you off, which is why both phrases always feature in every game of ‘Passive Aggressive Religiobots Bingo’! Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s the 2nd one! I think he wants to make me uncomfortable and not say it back, thereby reinforcing his belief that he’s morally superior. Win/win for him.

      Thanks for reading as always 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  7. After exchanging a series of angry emails, I was forced to endure a family vacation with my brother in law. He never spoke a word to me until the last day when we were all leaving. That’s when he walked up to me, extended a hand, and simply said, “I love you.”

    It’s been 4 years, and he hasn’t spoken to me since.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. I don’t really know what to think of that. I would hope that he was being sincere, but as we know from the post, there’s lots of types of Christian “love”.

      What did you think he meant by it?

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      1. I think he thought it was the Christian thing to do. He has a history of being angry with everyone in his life, not just me. I hardly knew him when we all received letters years ago about how we had let him down. For my part, he listed times when I had used sarcasm and it offended him. I did not give him the kind of apology he required, and our relationship has been rocky ever since. The weird thing is that we hardly know each other, and yet at times he has seemed obsessed with what I think about him. He also wants to be a good Christian. I cannot imagine what he would do if he found out I was an atheist! I do not hold a grudge, but I will also never reach out to him. I am a little afraid of him.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sounds like a very awkward situation… It does sound like he thought it was his duty. Maybe he wanted to forgive you/be forgiven. It doesn’t sound too malicious but such a weird situation is difficult to judge! I wonder why he’s so obsessed with his image. I have noticed similar behavior from Christians though, that their image as a Christian was more important than people.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s a defense mechanism as well, I think. It’s Christian obligation to prosthelytize. They must go out into that big, dark world and save as many lost souls as they can.

    This is inherently dangerous, of course, because he that hunts atheists has to take care that he does not become an atheist himself, and sound, reasoned thinking is a pretty massive abyss that never stops staring back as you look down into it. Now, a guy like Sye Ten has nothing to fear, because he enters every debate with all receptors shut down. He has a circular argument going and NOTHING gets in. He isn’t really debating, he’s just running on automatic.

    But X, if he was confident/naive enough to believe that the power of the gospel alone was solid protection, entering into honest, freewheeling debate with you could, and likely would, cause problems for him every time. Hence , ‘I Love You’ becomes a brave knight’s shield. You make a point that runs the risk of reaching him, he raises the shield. “I love you.” (Ah, that’s better. Thanks, Jesus, I’m still safe because no matter what, an Atheist sure can’t say that to an adversary, as they’re not guided by a force that makes it mandatory).

    Eventually, though, shields dent in. They rust, they chip and crack and run the risk of shattering, leaving our stalwart hero defenseless. Self-preservation kicks in alongside the deepest fear of acknowledging that deepest of theist horrors, doubt. And using one of a hundred outs, he writes you off as a lost cause and runs away. Convinced that, as his gospel tells him, the problem was with you and not the Good Word, all his arguments, his armaments and his shield are completely restored and he’s free to use them on the next combatant. But just to ensure his safety, he blocks you. If he never sees your name, he doesn’t run the risk of thinking dangerous thoughts until he feels he’s properly armed to perhaps try unblocking you. More than likely, it’s the day he decides circular logic and autopilot are a theists best weapons.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I try to get my steaks flavors seared in too when I can. All it takes is a quick toss on the grill after you take the filet from the oven.

    Sounds to me like this guy suddenly run out of love. It’s not hard to do when you have finite quantity of it or when you are lying to make yourself feel more grandiose than you really are.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Nancy, I just read your blog here and the timing is pretty good. I was recently part of the largest back and forth debates (if that’s what you want to call it) where I simply commented on a 6 hour old conversation between an atheist and a Christian. The Christian responded immediately and I began to chat with him with my usual line of questioning. He too was saying he loved me, called me bro, and used lol a lot. Now I’m pretty cordial and don’t like when it gets hostile but it didn’t take long for the usual group of atheists to start chiming in. I don’t like dog piling on anyone as I tend to get dog piled on often when I question evolution, so I backed off. I was in my garage working on my car and kept hearing my phone notifying me of new notifications. By the time I got back to my computer I saw 99+ notifications waiting. I was amazed at how this one Christian gentleman was holding up under the biggest dog pile I’ve seen yet on twitter. He was telling everyone he loved them even though every meme and canned tweet was thrown at him.

    The next morning I got up and there was another 99+ notifications waiting for me and the conversation was still going! Much to my amazement he was still going at it, holding his position and saying he’s praying for everyone and he and Jesus loves them regardless of how insulting the tweets had become. I shortly went into the office and had to put my phone on vibrate because it just kept going. Finally it settled down but I haven’t looked to see what the outcome was but I suspect he just fell asleep finally.

    I’m agnostic and not convinced life evolved from mere elements but I completely reject the notion that anyone can know a god put us here, let alone why, how, or what’s expected of us. My line of questioning is always centered around the authenticity of the bible and why it’s believable. But I must say arguing with atheists about evolution is much more aggravating than arguing the bible with Christians. I don’t think I’ve ever had a Christian block me but I’ve had my fair share of atheists block me. Most of which accuse me of trolling and question my motives.

    I did kind of befriend a Christian like you did there but he didn’t use the word love but of course he did say he’d pray for me. I think he wanted to pull me aside and convince me to break out of the atheist neighborhood and move into his. I simply wanted to know what allows him to believe the bible is the word of god and we argued about this for a few days with an occasional atheist jumping in with their 2 cents. I guess he sensed his effort was futile gracefully went his own way just unfollowed me. Guess he didn’t like seeing my other tweets in his timeline.

    Sorry again for being so wordy. I tend to talk with my fingers and can’t shut up. But bottom line is when I’m told I’m loved by the Christian I’m talking to I take it with a grain of salt and I know it’s just their shtick as required by their belief. I still don’t get how Christians can be so devoted to the bible but then I guess it pales in comparison to Muslims.

    Kind Regards,
    Erik

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally know what you mean about dog piling and I admit I’ve been guilty of this myself. I have moved on from so many Internet debates but to be honest I came to Twitter looking for a fight. You have to understand that “deconversion” was a long, slow, extremely painful process for many of us atheists. You basically come to think that you’ve been lied to your whole life, you realize how much harm religion has done and how it’s stunted your emotional and intellectual growth, and you think, “I need to tell the world the truth!!” I can’t blame people for being hurt and angry and wanting to lash out. I’ve been there myself. I have moved past that stage and I suspect many of them will as well.

      Thanks for reading, Erik!

      Like

  11. I love your mind. < This is a more honest thing to say. I may have said it to you before even, as I get warm and fuzzy when I connect with bloggers or debaters. When a Christian says they love you it doesnt mean much more than "Despite your contrary nature to my beliefs, I still don't hate you. That's Jesus in me. " However it doesn't approach that love that you marry for or that love you have for your kids, or even friends. That takes bonding and time… and effort. Just like they misuse the word KNOW, when they 'know' God is real… the "love" they spew is a misuse to sound bigger and more right or more pious. Like a pufferfish inflating to scare off enemies… its all a show.

    Its worth noting that their love for god is a one sided deal with an imagined reciprocation via confimation bias… like a stalker thinks a celebrity loves them because they received a glance once.

    Good job Nancy. I love your mind!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Art! I love your mind too, and I’m totally going to steal that! I agree that they mean “I love you despite your beliefs” and they think it’s Jesus when really, it’s just a healthy level of human empathy, lol. I worry about people who utterly despise others simply for disagreeing. But then, they’re often taught that we’re evil, immoral, hell-bound subhumans, so they think they’re doing something extraordinary.

      Thanks for reading!

      Like

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