I came across an interesting article today where author John Shore had compiled a list of statements wherein non-Christians, in their own words and in a casual, straight-ahead, first-person style, say what they think of Christians in general and specifically how they feel about the dynamic wherein Christians try to convert them.
These statements reveal that those of us who call ourselves Christians may be sending the wrong message to unbelievers.
I would like to display a few of those statements here for your reflection.
“I am often distressed at the way some Christians take as a given that Christians and Christianity define goodness. Many of we non-Christians make a practice of doing good; we, too, have a well-developed ethical system, and are devoted to making the world a better place. Christians hardly have a monopoly on what’s right, or good, or just.”— C.R., Seattle
“Christians seem to have lost their focus on Jesus’ core message: ‘Love the Lord your god with all your heart and with all your soul, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.’”— R.M., Tacoma, WA
“I have no problem whatsoever with God or Jesus—only Christians. It’s been my experience that most Christians are belligerent, disdainful and pushy.” — D.B., Atlanta
“There are about a million things I’d like to say to Christians, but here’s the first few that come to mind: Please respect my right to be the person I’ve chosen to become. Worship, pray and praise your God all you want—but please leave me, and my laws, and my city, and my school alone. Stop trying to make me, or my children, worship your god. Why do we all have to be Christians? Respect my beliefs; I guarantee they’re every bit as strong as yours. Mostly, please respect my free will. Let me choose if I want to marry someone of my own sex. Let me choose if I want to have an abortion or not. Let me choose to go to hell if that’s where you believe I’m going. I can honestly say that I’d rather go to hell than live the hypocritical life I see so many Christians living.”— D.B., Seattle
“When did it become that being a Christian meant being an intolerant, hateful bigot? I grew up learning the positive message of Christ: Do well and treat others with respect, and your reward will be in heaven. Somehow, for a seemingly large group of Christians, that notion has gone lost: It has turned into the thunders and lights of the wrath of God, and into condemning everyone who disagrees with them to burning in the flames of hell. Somehow, present-day Christians forgot about turning the other cheek, abandoned the notion of treating others like they would like to be treated themselves; they’ve become bent on preaching, judging, and selfishly attempting to save the souls of others by condemning them. What happen to love? To tolerance? To respect?”—S.P., Nashville
Now, while it is not our goal as Christians to win any popularity contests with the world, some of these statements should serve as a wake up call to many of us.
After reading this article, I began to wonder what my non-Christian friends, family members and acquaintances think of me. What about you the reader? What would the non-Christians in your life say about your conduct as a Christian? Certainly something to think about.
You’re spot on, David; we are very definitely sending the wrong message to non-believers. The arrogance of so many Christians still shocks me, as they preach what they pretend is the Gospel, and when someone opposes it (often because they know it runs in stark contradiction of Christ’s teachings), the Christians begin to view their opposition as someone to be fought and defeated, rather than educated and saved.
There is no love in the message of Evangelical Christianity today. There is the perpetuation of self-love, the idea that we should all fool ourselves into believing in God so we can get to heaven and avoid hell, but there is no genuine love for the lost; there can be none, because in order to love one’s neighbor, one must first have discovered how to love God. The second greatest commandment stems from the first. Love God, and you will love people. Fight the one’s you claim you wish to save, and it’s safe to say you love neither them nor the One who created them.
I apologize in advance for the zeal but I love your post and believe God just fanned my flame with it, so thank you for not being afraid of stirring up the hearts and minds of those who believe. It’s not learning to follow man but learning to follow Christ. It’s not an hour a week with your mentor but a daily walk with your savior. It’s not reading a book with a group but includes reading the bible with the Spirit. It’s not easy but it is simple. It’s not going to church but it’s used to show our function within it. It’s not the American dream, it’s the Christian dream. It’s not free but Jesus paid your tuition. It’s not conformity to religion but essential to unity with Christ. It’s not common but it is commonly rejected. And you put the nail that holds every disciple to his cross “It Is Not an Option” but instead a privilege. And while it may not be a quick process you can become one overnight.