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The Crucifix is Offensive

I have often talked about how we choose what offends us and how we could just as easily choose not to be offended. However, some things have a reasonable expectation of being offensive. The Crucifix should have a reasonable expectation of being offensive and it offends me.

When I say that something has a reasonable expectation of being offensive, I am referring to something that a reasonable person could find offensive. For example, an individual may find a particular song offensive because it might remind him or her of an unpleasant experience. This is their choice but there is no reasonable expectation that such a song would be offensive. On the other hand, the Nazi swastika is a symbol which represents racial purity and a reminder of the brutal murder of over 6 million people. It is still a choice to be offended by such a symbol, but there is a reasonable expectation that most reasonable people would be offended by such a symbol.

The crucifix is a torture device. It represents cruel torture. To a Christian, it represents the cruel torture of Jesus and their belief that the torture of Jesus was a sacrifice for their immortal soul so that they will not be tortured for all eternity in Hell. This is of course the core of the Christian belief system.

It is understandable why someone who claims to be Christian will display a crucifix it is also understandable why someone who believes in racial purity would display the swastika. I am not equating the two belief systems but I am pointing out that to the represented of each system of belief these symbols are not offensive. It is to the non-represented that the symbol becomes offensive. In other words, whether a symbol has a reasonable expectation of being offensive is not up to the represented, but rather it is up to the unrepresented.

For example, the American flag is also a symbol which represents those who live in America and to most Americans it also represents liberty and justice for everyone. If one is not represented by the American flag, then they get to be the ones who decide whether or not it has a reasonable expectation of being offensive. During the Bush (Jr.) Presidency, some people in other countries were offended by the American flag and had good reason for being so. Today, fewer non-American are offended by the American flag. The reasonable expectation of offensiveness is less.

For a non-Christian, the crucifix represents a torture device. It also represents the core message of Christianity which is that all non-Christians will be tortured for all eternity by a loving deity. It is also a reminder of all the cruelty done and being done in the name of the Christian God. So while there is no reasonable expectation of offensiveness within the community of believers, Christians should realize that there is a reasonable expectation of offensiveness outside of their community.

If Christians want to be considerate to non-Christians, then they ought not to display their offensive symbol. To do other wise would be at best poor manners. It could also be interpreted as a hostile act of aggression.

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