Segregationist Christianity

Now Christians can network without having to put up with those bothersome non-believers.

Several months ago, Charisma magazine carried a story about a new social networking site–an exclusively Christian social networking site. “Sanctuary,” as the site is called, is for people “that believe Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior” and is a place “[w]here believers with common interests can develop friendships, arrange study groups and a lot more.” As if that isn’t a good enough description, Charisma’s brief story on the new site stated:

Much like Facebook, SanctuaryNet.net lets you create a profile with detailed information about yourself, including your church denomination, hobbies, occupation, and favorite Bible verses. You can also search for Christians with similar interests and send friend requests, develop groups based on common interests, and send event invitations.

As if many Christians don’t seek to isolate themselves from the world as it is, now there’s a place where they can do all the stuff they’d do on Facebook but without all those Godless, lecherous, beastly non-believers. Heaven forbid Christian believers should actually interact with people not of their creed on the Internet; there’s no telling what would happen.

One of the most disgusting things to me about conservative Christianity is the extreme to which the term “family-friendly” has been taken. It’s come to encompass a meaning far more extensive than simply “things safe for children;” in effect, it’s come to mean “free of non-Christian involvement or influence.” “Family friendly” has come to represent an intellectually sterilized discourse, an irrational hostility to innovation, and a self-imposed segregation by many believers from meaningful outside contact.

While people mayn’t have heard of SanctuaryNet.net, I’d be willing to bet most have heard of ChristianMingle.com. I struggle against choking on my own bile every time one of their commercials comes on television–it just begs the question, “Why do some Christians go to such lengths to portray the whole of us as creepy commune builders?”

I’m no theologian, but I have a feeling it wasn’t Christ’s intent for us to do everything we could to isolate ourselves from the world. This insular Christianity does nothing to advance Christ’s Kindgom on Earth; if anything, it furthers the picture of the Christian faith as an exclusive club reserved only for the people who have it all together or who know the lingo.

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4 thoughts on “Segregationist Christianity

  1. Do comercials for SeniorsMeet.com or BlackPeopleMeet.com cause this same reaction? The purpose of these sites is not to exclude, but to help people locate others with which the have something in common. If you have an interest in learning more about Christianity, I’m sure you could join something like this and ask questions. However, if you are not interested in learning more, why does it bother you so much that other people do?

    • The comparison you’ve drawn isn’t an accurate one; race, gender, and age group aren’t in the same category as belief system, particularly one which is founded on the principle that more people ought to become believers in that system. Christians have a mandate from Christ himself to be salt and light in the world, a role they can’t fill when they keep themselves bottled up in church buildings or, as my article points out, in Christian-exclusive forums and networks on the Web.

    • SeniorsMeet, not really. (Well actually, on second thought, maybe – the generation gap is still there and doesn’t really produce any harmony or foster an environment of warm understanding.) And BlackPeopleMeet, definitely yes. Too bad there are some out there who still feel excluded solely because of their skin color — it’s actually such a shallow and socially-backward thing, really.

      I feel like you can learn more about “Christianity” by joining one of these networking sites. But, contrary to what you might be expecting, the things you’re going to learn probably won’t be too pleasant…

      People’s motives for talking to other people “of their kind” is just way off-base these days (and probably always was). Underneath it all, they’re excluding others without even realizing it — although it’s blatantly obvious to the rest of us. Not too mention that the ambiguous label of “Christian” doesn’t help much either…

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