How do people "live out" their Christianity in countries where religion is unpopular?


#1

I am living in Australia and although I am not really religious (just Catholic baptised) at the same time I do really see that religion (particularly Christian) is pretty unpopular in Australia and people don’t usually talk much about religion in every day life such as workplace,or at the shops etc…

So for people who are “very Christian” in countries that are now quite “liberal” (pro gay marriage etc) and often look down on religious as bigots etc how do you live it out in your everyday life without talking about it?

Is thee a way that people can show people “Christian” without necessarily talking Christianity?

I hope that makes sense!


#2

You mean like the US? I exhibit a nascent joy in suffering, for which I have received excoriating condemnation from angry atheists online. In über progressive Seattle, I wear Catholic T-Shirts. Finger poke in the eye, you might say. Time is short.

The USA is mission territory for the Church.


#3

Good question, I’m trying to figure that out myself. I’m American, now living in the UK. Being religious and expressing faith was a lot easier in the U.S. than it is over here. Everyone I work with, including my boss, isn’t only non-religious, but actually very hostile and have very condescending feelings about Christianity. Mocking it is totally fair game and I listen to it almost daily, but for some reason, any other religion is totally off limits and suddenly people decide to care and don’t want to be offensive. Go figure. I suppose it is what it is, but it’s something I’m trying to navigate through, myself. I’ve ramped up my prayer life a lot more over time. Occasionally I will bring up the fact that I’m Catholic but generally they don’t engage in any conversation about it.


#4

I know exactly what you mean about Seattle. I grew up on the eastside in Washington state but often came over to the Seattle area when visiting family or taking part in any occasional church activities. That area is a dumpster fire.


#5

" … for some reason …"
The reason is not altogether unconnected wih explosives, I think.


#6

I think one important thing is to find other Christian friends - not to shut out the world, but to offer a place where you can really be yourself.

The concept of charisms can also be helpful. Many of my old friends regard my conversion as a sign of insanity. They think religious people are stupid, especially Christians. I keep up to date on news, I read broadly, and if I have a disagreement with someone over a political issue I can usually explain my position without referencing Christianity (other than the inherent dignity of the human person, which is an assumption still agreed upon by lots of non-believers.) I also still wear my scapular, medals etc. openly and reference going to church, prayer, etc. I don’t do that purposefully, I’m just not interested in hiding that part of my life. If someone asks me about my faith (which happens sometimes), I am willing to share more explicitly. You can look at me and tell I’m Catholic, but I don’t look like a crazy person.

I also do almost all of this in real life. Social media is a great place to lose your cool and waste time.


#7

One can practice one’s faith by doing devotional things, donating to the poor, and above all being kind to people such as not gossiping, being patient with others, trying to see the good in others etc. without having to be talking about religion all the time, or talking about religion at all.

It’s easy to yak about religion…it’s hard to be an actual good person to your family, co-workers, neighbors and those who get on your nerves.


#8

@Rozellelily , you ask how do people “live out” their Christianity in countries where religion is unpopular?

I would say first and foremost by living the life which Jesus taught us to live in our ordinary , everyday living .

You may be surprised how much people notice the way you live in your speech , in your family , in how you work and in how you play .


#9

I would say prayer is the most important thing and finding and socialising with like minded people.

I lived in a Muslim country and found making the sign of the cross before eating helped me to constantly refer back to my Christian identity. I think it is all part of being plugged into living a Christian identity.

When I returned to Australia I continued to make the sign of the cross when eating both in the corporate I.T. world and later at public school.

Because I was also a science graduate it made an impression with people who quietly and gently wanted to know more. Others who were militantly atheist, especially in public school didn’t like it, but no one ever attacked me for it, at least directly.


#10

The reason is most atheist in a European country express their atheism in opposition to the religion of their parents or grandparents which is Christianity. They have no problem with other religions because those religions do not touch their secular sensitivity.
The reason why the entire atheist movement is primarily against Christianity is that it appeared as a structured movement in Europe where the main religion used to be Christianity. So the first militant atheists were former Christians and some former members of Judaism so their discourse has been from the start attacking all biblical ideas and traditions they consider superstitions.
I used to have a militant atheist colleague and her discourse was 100% against the superstitions of her grandparents which is Christianity and from the online discussions with atheist Jews she had accumulated a list of rules she found absurd from Judaism. She had no problem against Muslims’ rights in Europe because that religion never bothered her personally, it has never been the root she had to cut to become an atheist.


#11

I match the opposition. If people around me wear symbols of other religions - or atheism - I wear mine. If they don’t, I dont. I thus am neither pushy nor pushed.

I do not engage in debate. Such people wish to attack, not be converted. I live out my principles and engage people who have genuine, non-threatening interest in my faith.


#12

Living in The Netherlands, Christianity is near extinct. If I were to talk about my faith openly I would either be ignored, labeled or ridiculed.

Praying and meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary has helped me to set aside my pride and embrace humility when dealing with open hostility. In the past, I would become very defensive and let mental arguments fester in my head. Now I feel joy if I’m able to embrace the onslaught, knowing what Christ had to go through during the Passion.

In this secular society, people will help others if it costs them nothing. But I would like to think that I go out of my way to help others. Every human being suffers, I see it as an opportunity to express my faith and be charitable even if they don’t know that I’m Christian.


#13

The context is understood. I just don’t think people should claim to wave around the banner of respect, diversity, and religious tolerance unless it’s truly applied to everybody. It isn’t.


#14

If you hide your religion, do you really think that your society will ever change?

If someone is rude about your beliefs, there is nothing wrong with politely pointing out their intolerance.

As a Christian, you have a responsibility to live a good and moral life. You may be the only copy of the Bible that your countrymen ever read.


#16

I think the greatest witness is joy because it is easiest to pick out in a crowd.

But, take the Roman martyrs as examples. They lived their faith without fear ministering to those in need, helping the poor, saving discarded children, sacrificing themselves for others, going to their deaths with praise on their lips, and etc. By living their faith, they slowly changed the hearts of Romans and ultimately the entire society.


#17

We have it easy. I went to a talk by a North Korean defector, who set up a church in a North Korean labour camp. That puts things in perspective for us in the West.

In answer to your question, be different. Don’t swear. Ask about their weekend, then say what you did on Sunday. If people explain their beliefs, explain yours or ask questions about theirs (don’t argue- that benefits no-one). If someone is going through a tough time, say you’ll pray for them (and actually do pray for them!).


#18

Maybe go back to basics, read Acts of the Apostles and find out what the baby Church did.

They gathered for worship, and they cared for the sick and the poor.
They shared everything they had (which BTW was a lay movement, not enjoined by the Apostles).
The Apostles and disciples preached publicly. I’m not sure how it worked with the lay people, (they didn’t have jobs and work places like we understand them, it was a different economy).

But what story stands out for me is St Stephen imitating Jesus in saying “Father forgive them” when he was martyred.

Our job is to imitate Jesus, foremost.


#19

LOL I wear my crucifix every time I go to Seattle…usually a Catholic t-shirt as well :+1:


#20

Between us, we will have progressive undergarments bunching up all over!


#21

I’ve gotten compliments on my crucifix up at Harborview.


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