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JLeslie's avatar

Will Christians see advice against shaking hands as an attack on Christianity?

Asked by JLeslie (64656points) December 27th, 2020
26 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

Please no attacks on Christians on this Q. This is an inquiry only, not a judgment.

It appears to me some Christian sects have taken to feeling Christianity in America is under attack, and some leaders both Christian and political, are marketing that their religion and beliefs are under attack.

Common practice during a service or mass the parishioners are instructed to shake hands with the people near them.

Is there a chance that some Christians might see advice to stop shaking hands in church as an assault on their religion? What if there is advice forever more to get rid of the stranger handshake in the United States? Could that be twisted into anti-Christian rhetoric? Anti-American?

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KNOWITALL's avatar

It’s neither anti-American or anti-Christian to me. It’s always been optional anyway.

The religious persecution complex is more about being singled out. Like when bars were open but church members were ticketed, while in their vehicles for outdoor services.

zenvelo's avatar

Catholics, as a matter of form, join hands at the beginning of the Communion Rite to say the Lord’s Prayer. At the conclusion of the Lords’ Prayer, Catholics shake hands or hug each other ate the Kiss of Peace.

However, going back to earlier flu epidemics over the last twenty years, the priests instruct us at the beginning to not join hands and instead of hand shakes, to slightly bow towards one another.

Some sects are more prone to declaring anything as an assault on their religion. It is a matter of figuring everyone must be as intolerant as they are.

chyna's avatar


jca2's avatar

I don’t think so.

I also think it’s a mistake to lump “Christians” into one group. Christians are like any other large group in that there are many different sets of beliefs, and some, like myself, may never go to church except for weddings and an occasional holiday.

elbanditoroso's avatar

One can only hope. Some day ‘Christians’ in the US may experience real persecution instead of the ersatz, made-up stuff that is complained about today.

It’s not only Christians that shake hands after a religious service – I have seen that happen post-shabbat in various synagogues, Sort of a fellowship thing.

Having said that, however, people choose to be offended for whatever reason, and when you throw religion into the fix, it is worse.

But more to the point, even if there is advice to not shake hands, (a) who is going to follow it, and (b) who would or even could enforce it?

JLeslie's avatar

I never meant all Christians. As I said “some might maybe” I tried to use words that imply it might be just a select few.

I’m thinking more of groups like QAnon or social media trolls trying to make it an issue and some Christians might buy into it.

The Catholics I wasn’t worried about it in terms of the Pope/Vatican, but sometimes some Catholics are sucked in by these groups that target Christian. I see it with covid, most of my Catholic friends are right on board with wearing a mask and distancing, but some of them are very paranoid about BLM, because they believe it’s a Marxist group trying to take over America.

@elbanditoroso I wasn’t aware of the Jewish thing, but it doesn’t surprise me. Moreover, I think the ultra orthodox are basically the same as the more extreme Christian sects in terms of paranoia and susceptibility to messaging.

Caravanfan's avatar

Only the Trump cultists.

kritiper's avatar

There was a time not so long ago where there was no shaking of hands in a Catholic mass. People will get used to going without.

Demosthenes's avatar

My mom is Catholic and said that hand-shaking was phased out of our church after the Swine Flu epidemic in 2009. Some people still do it, but it’s been less ever since. She did not consider it an assault on religion. The decision came from within the Church, though.

kritiper's avatar

@zenvelo I have never heard of, or seen, Catholics doing what you describe. The shaking of hands, and saying “Peace be with you” is all I have seen, and that part is relatively new, as I said prior to this. (I have not been to a church service in many years so have no knowledge of any other new or deleted aspects of the mass.)

janbb's avatar

During the last flu season, we were instructed not to shake hands during the greeting part of the service. It was no big deal. I’m sure grave caution will be taken when we get back to in-person services.

zenvelo's avatar

@kritiper We’ve been holding hands at the Our Father since the 1980s.

”....and that part is relatively new,” That’s been done since the early 1970s. Relatively new compared to the age of the Church, but definitely fifty years.

JLeslie's avatar

During H1N1 in 2009 churches readily complied with advising people to not shake hands. There were even changes regarding communion where warranted, and people were told to stay home if they felt under the weather. I remember being annoyed that it actually needs to be said/written that people should stay home if they don’t feel well, but I am glad it was reinforced.

The last year seems different to me than 2009. The amount of destruction that has been done with the recent brainwashing and conspiracy theories is disturbing to me. I am hoping that dies down over time. Hopefully, it is not very widespread and just feels that way, because I have quite a bit of it around me, and it was very dominant on facebook for a while until facebook banned some of it.

snowberry's avatar

I’m a Christian. I stopped shaking hands when Covid started. In my church we stopped shaking hands when the virus started.

SEKA's avatar

My church hasn’t stopped having services. As a matter of fact, they’ve added an additional service to each week.Not only do they shake hands way too often, they insist on holding hands while praying. I stopped going to church last March. The members of the church are offended; but I keep assuring them that I don’t “need” to be inside a church in order to worship God, and that we’ve never been closer. God understands why I stopped going. Our pastor has tested positive 5 times since March, we lost a married couple to covid last week who died within 2 hours of each other 2 days before Christmas. They refused to scale back Thanksgiving and left their only child the burden of preparing 2 funerals for Christmas and their grandchildren trying to understand their unbearable pain.

Back in March, I heard a lot about the government denying us our rights. Then the pastor explained that he had no intention of closing down and would be willing to go to jail before he’d close the doors. Back around Easter he had the services outside. One Sunday a cop showed up and everybody was prepared to fight. He came up to declare that he had just been saved and asked to join our church. That shut everybody down real fast

JLeslie's avatar

@SEKA They are still holding hands? Or, it stopped back in March?

SEKA's avatar

As far as I know, they are all still holding hands. I stopped going in March because I didn’t want to be that close to anyone. After I stopped going, several members began showing up at my front door and I eventually had to ask them to stop coming. If they feel they “need” to be in church that bad, I think it is where they should be. I just don’t feel it is the right place for me or my family right now. I’ve been self isolating since March and I feel that going to church is counter productive to my hibernating at home. There have been clusters of covid running rampant throughout the church this past year. I don’t find it very intelligent to stay home all week only to go in to hug and hold hands with people who brag about having had it. Once I’ve had my vaccine, I’ll feel safer and will eventually start going back.

chyna's avatar

My church has been online since March with no plans to have services inside until this is over.

janbb's avatar

@chyna Mine too.

SEKA's avatar

Mine streams to Faebook, but I don’t have a FB account. I’m still unsure why some feel it is so important to make a big deal about going into the building. As I said, if it’s that important to them, I think they should do it, but I don’t feel that it’s the right thing for me or my family

kritiper's avatar

@zenvelo Your’s must be an exception. I have never seen anything like that, or heard of anything like that in all the years I went to church, and afterwards, from my mother who went to church every Sunday.

filmfann's avatar

I am a Christian. I don’t have any problem with advice.

JLeslie's avatar

I really didn’t think any Christian jellies would have a problem with it except for one, and not even sure that one. I just thought Christian jellies might be more in touch with whether some Christians might have a problem with it.

I assume you all were not just answer for covid, but also if it becomes a common practice not to shake hands in American society.

Thanks everyone for your answers.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Forget about Christians.

It used to be that any business agreement or partnership was sealed with a signature and a handshake. What will customs be when handshakes are irrelevant?

janbb's avatar

My personal feeling is that once Covid is a thing of the past, hand shaking will resume again. I have no opinion about it in terms of religion.

JLeslie's avatar

@elbanditoroso I guess that is a man thing. I think of handshakes in terms of meeting and greeting people. Interesting angle you bring up there.

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