Why does this blogger say, 'I don't tell people that I'm a Christian'?
In the once deeply religious Britain, it was atheists and the irreligious who feared the judgement of God-fearing believers. Now, in a post-religious nation, is it the religious who fear the judgement of the secular?
A Christian blogger writing for the Metro has suggested just that, saying she now refrains from mentioning her faith to others.
'If I say "I'm a Christian", assumptions are made about what I think, what I believe in and what I might say,' writes Frances Coleman-Williams.
'These assumptions are often based on the views and actions of a few (fundamentalist) individuals and groups, or previous negative encounters with people who call themselves Christians...This judgement based on my beliefs is why I don't tell people that I'm a Christian.'
Coleman-Williams said that she is not interested in preaching her faith to others or alienating them, but that others get defensive when she mentions her faith. She likes to share with people, but, she wrote: 'I'm not given the chance because people think Christians are narrow-minded and obsessed with the Bible. I've seen people jump to defensive-mode when there's no need.
'I've had people assume I'm judgmental because I'm a Christian.'
She shared a story of a colleague who was upset by her wearing a cross to work.
'I don't usually wear a cross necklace to work (it's discouraged in my line of work) but one day, I did and someone challenged me – it made her uncomfortable. In her past, she'd been judged and refused a job due to outdated Christian ideas about homosexuality.
'We discussed whether she thought I was that type of person and she agreed she trusted me – she knew I was open minded and non-judgmental.
'I said I could take my necklace off. But ultimately, that wouldn't matter – I was the same person whether I wore it or not.'
Coleman-Williams said sometimes her mentioning her faith had a positive effect: 'On some occasions, people finding out I'm a Christian has meant they opened up to me about all sorts of things they wouldn't have done otherwise.'
She wrote: 'Most of the Christians I know are like me – we've all got scars and we're battling through life, we're not going to judge another human being for any war wounds they have.'
Many people, she says, assume Christians are all 'anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-swearing'. She wrote: 'I know I'm not alone in struggling to share something that is deeply fundamental to my being. I would love everyone to experience the extraordinary relationship I have with Jesus but I'm not someone to force my views onto anyone.'
She concluded: 'All I'm asking is for people to ditch judgments in favor of being more open minded, compassionate and accepting.'