Dr. George Yancey recently did a presentation at the Reasonable Faith group at UT Dallas.
Here’s the lecture: (40 minutes)
About the speaker:
Dr. George Yancey is a Professor of Sociology at the University of North Texas. He is the author of Christian works such as One Body, One Spirit: Principles of Successful Multiracial Churches (InterVarsity Press), Beyond Racial Gridlock: Embracing Mutual Responsibility (InterVarsity Press), co-author of United by Faith: The Multiracial Congregation as an Answer to the Problem of Race (Oxford University Press) and co-author of Transcending Racial Barriers (Oxford University Press). He has also authored several research articles on the topics of interracial marriage and multiracial churches. Along those lines he is also the author of Multiracial Families (Routledge) which explores the current literature on different aspects of interracial families and Neither Jew Nor Gentile (Oxford University Press) which explores racial issues on Protestant college campuses.
His BS and MS are in economics. His PhD is in sociology.
Summary of the lecture:
- Is discrimination against Christians real?
- Which groups draw the most animosity?
- What are the characteristics of those who most oppose conservative Christians?
- What do cultural progressives think about conservative Christians?
- Is the animosity against conservative Christians reasonable, or is it hatred / fear?
- What kinds of stereotypes dominate animosity towards Christians?
- Does animosity towards Christians affect hiring decisions in academia?
- Why is the problem of Christianophobia not being addressed?
His latest book is So Many Christians, So Few Lions.
I was thinking about this lecture, and I was thinking, what would I do if I ran into one of these people who were really angry with me and wanted to feed me to lions, gas me, or murder me in other nasty ways. And I guess my only answer would be to speak to them and have them defend their beliefs without allowing them to pigeonhole me with a label. Maybe just focus on one particular issue like media bias or the origin of the universe, and try to focus on evidence rather than state my conclusion. Come to think of it, if you can name people on both sides and give evidence for both sides, that seems to work really well.
The more secular and left-wing the opponent, the more you have to stick with discussing ONLY evidence, and never say your view. So, you can say “how do you work this cosmic microwave background radiation in with your worldview?” but you can’t say, “I’m a conservative evangelical Christian, and you should come to church with me”. The secular progressives seem to be very concerned that Christians vote blindly for political leaders that restrict their freedoms, so again, don’t talk about policies, talk about the reasons on both sides for those policies. For example, do this “what is the morally significant difference between an unborn human and a born human that confers a right to life?” rather than “I’m pro-life and you should be pro-life too, or I’ll put you in jail”.
I have had conversations with people on the secular left who could not name a single reason for any of my beliefs. For example, gun ownership – they had no idea that people own guns for self-defense. Or capital punishment – they had no idea that there is a deterrent effect on other people contemplating violence crimes. They simply cannot express the view of their opponents or the reasons why their opponents hold those views. Maybe that’s partly their fault for being lazy and insular, but it might also be our fault, too, for not knowing the reasons. I know that when I explain the reasons to them (on both sides) and say that this is the evidence that needs to be debated, then they do often calm down. I think that their perception that we are irrational and faith-based scares them.
I think it’s a good idea to become aware of what the research says about secular progressive attitudes towards Christians so that we know how to act around them to avoid setting them off. When you are dealing with people who have this extreme hatred of you, you probably want to chip away at them rather than just be who you are right up front. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of tolerance here, which is so strange coming from the crowd that talks the most about tolerance. We are the only ones who they think it’s ok to fire, fine, imprison, etc.