Some people are complaining that the Christian gospel offends them…
(This post was first published over three years ago, and I felt it deserved another airing…)
A very good friend of mine who isn’t a professing Christian expressed his observation to me the other day that Christianity has a “bad press”, and he suggested that this is not without good reason.
Of course, having been a Christian for over thirty years, I know very well that the Church is distrusted and maligned by a large section of our population. In fact there’s a culture war going on, and it’s heating up every day. We’re told that Christianity is “offensive” to people, particularly atheists. For this reason, even the mention of Jesus Christ or Christian principles is being banned from public and workplace s. Prayer has been illegal in US schools since the 1960’s. Attempts are being made to get all reference to Judeo-Christian faith removed from monuments, museums and history books, unless of course they are critical. Crosses are being removed from public places. Even Christmas trees are being excluded in many places, because they represent a Christian holiday. In a land which prides itself on being ”tolerant” the one thing which is now not tolerated is the Judeo-Christian message. What’s the cause of this anti-Christian sentiment which has been building in the West for some time?
Without doubt, there are some professing Christians who are living their lives in such a way as to give all of us a bad reputation. Among the most visible are some of the “televangelists”, whose aim in life is clearly to make huge amounts of money by any means, and to build an earthly empire at the expense of their gullible devotees. On a local level, we’ve all known or heard of those who claim to be Christians and who are among the most unpleasant members of our communities or who just don’t live out their faith.
If you read through the gospels, you will find that hypocrisy was the only thing that made Jesus Christ angry: it was the “religious” fakes who aroused his anger. However, when I hear people say something like, “All Christians are hypocrites”, I want to ask them how many of the 2.4 billion professing Christians worldwide they personally know. Making a sweeping comment like that is like hearing of a murderous doctor and then concluding that all doctors all over the world are murderers.
THE PROPAGANDA WAR AGAINST NICK FISHER
In this culture war, where some want to rid the world of any Christian influence or comment, we find many in the entertainment industry and in the news media using their platforms to stereotype and if possible vilify Christians (and Jews). The same applies in further education, and I have personally experienced college tutors spending large amounts of their valuable teaching time (and my valuable learning time) mocking and criticizing the Church, the Bible and believers. The Church, I was told, is and has always been corrupt, its members are all ignorant and gullible, and women have been denigrated over the last two thousand years because of the teachings of the Church. Fundamentalists, they said, want to nuke the world and stop anyone from having sex.
Since I am a “born again”, evangelical Christian, the world is told that I have no valid supporting evidence for what I believe, and that I am a self-seeking hypocrite. I am ignorant, bigoted and narrow minded. I am a white Westerner, and middle or upper class. I own a gun and two huge vehicles with which I pollute the planet. I hate animals and all of nature. I vote Republican or Conservative, and I dominate my wife and bully my kids. I have a large belly. I am against sex and love, and I want my country to invade others and exploit their populations.
Just for the record, the truth is that well, I suppose I might be ignorant, but at least I’m prepared to admit it. There’s no avoiding the fact that just as many who are convinced that there is no God have no higher an IQ than I do. The secular world makes the mistake of thinking that ignorant people are, by default, wrong about everything. In truth, it’s human pride which insists that only highly educated people have valid beliefs. Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit”, not “Blessed are the really clever, enlightened beautiful people who have it all together” (Matthew 5:3). You see, Christ came for the lowly, the poor, the ignorant, and the helpless, so if you want to consider yourself as one of the intellectual, enlightened beautiful achievers because you reject Christ, you may be robbing yourself of eternal life. A person can have little or no formal education, but more wisdom than Stephen Hawkins and Richard Dawkins put together, because “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”. Some intellectuals are believers. So the majority are not: is a majority always right?
On the subject of hypocrisy, yes, I’ll admit I’m a bit of a hypocrite sometimes. But again, I’m prepared to own up to that, and I’m working on it. Being a Christian doesn’t enable me to leap human nature in a single bound.
I do have a long list of reasons for believing what I believe. I have no time for blind faith, and there’s no need for that anyway, because Christianity is amply supported with many evidences, if you just take the trouble to look. I don’t mean that you should ask the likes of Richard Dawkins or some Hollywood director if the Bible is true. You might as well ask Margaret Thatcher to list the benefits of socialism.
Am I a bigot? I’ll freely admit that I‘m no better in any way than anyone else is, no matter where they come from, what they look like, what their background, nationality or ethnicity is, or even what they believe.
Yes I am narrow minded in one sense, because Jesus said “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). I think I’m broad minded on a lot of things. I love life and I love extremes and I have wildly varied tastes in music, art and literature. I’ve seen quite a bit of the world and I would love to see more of it. I love to experience different cultures. I just happen to believe that there is only one way to Life: one man’s ceiling is not another man’s floor. To get to the moon you have to travel on some kind of space craft, no matter how much you’d like to go on the back of a camel.
Yes, I’m a white westerner, but there are many millions of Christians around the world who are all different colors. Anyway, why should I feel guilty for being white and living in the West? It doesn’t automatically disqualify me from being right in what I believe. Christianity is not a “white, western” religion: Jesus and his disciples lived in the Middle East. They probably had middle brown or dark skin, and they sure didn’t speak English. They did spread the gospel to the western world, but it also went south and east.
I’m closer to being “working class” than any other. I have no money in the bank, and my shoes are old. My single vehicle is 15 years old.
Has the Church always subjugated the masses? Yes, there’s been a lot of that going on in past centuries, but which “church” was doing it? Was it the Church of true believers, who knew that Jesus said “love your enemies”, “love one another” and “My kingdom is not of this world”, or was it the scum of human nature: an organization masquerading as the church of Christ but run for the most part by people who wanted money and power, and not the will of Christ? Don’t forget that people were burned at the stake in Europe for the crime of reading a New Testament. So who did the burning? Was it someone who loved the words of Jesus, or some twisted, power-mad sadist, claiming to work for Christ? Why can’t you recognize real hypocrisy?
I don’t own a gun. I love nature and I hate killing anything but flies. If my car runs into a bird I feel terrible. I love the beautiful Creation that we are a part of.
I’ve never supported the Conservatives or the Republicans, except for the reasons that they are far more likely to be opposed to abortion (1.5 MILLION in the U.S. every year), and to other social blights on our world. Most Democrats love the “right” to abortion, and want taxpayers to promote it and pay for it around the world. They think that ripping babies up and throwing them in the garbage is a lot better than asking people to be careful in their sexual relations.
My wife is my equal in every way: in fact, she is my better half, and I haven’t two-timed her in all our years of marriage. I love my precious children, who give me respect and love because I have always given them respect and love, from the moment I learned of their conception. I would die for my family without hesitation. True Christianity treats women as equals, just as Jesus himself did, and it’s not my fault that women give birth and men don’t.
I think that sex is a wonderful blessing, so long as it’s within God’s design for our well-being, which is in a loving marriage between a man and a woman. I want to love everyone, but unfortunately can’t: many people can’t even bear to be smiled at, so the best I can do for them is to just let them be and pray for them.
I hate war, even though there may be times when it is necessary. I wish that our leaders would stop mounting fruitless invasions of other countries, sending many of our young people to their deaths, and spending our money to do it.
Why is that some “offenses” can be opposed, and some are “free speech”? I cringe every time I hear the name of my God in conjunction with the worst curse words in existence, but I don’t attempt to take that person to court…
It’s interesting to observe that we never learn on TV documentaries or news reports about the multitude of Christian organizations or individuals who are reaching out to their world with love and help of all kinds. Of course, this would spoil the effect of the anti-Christian propaganda. The plan is to only show the negative. Only alleged corruption is reported, so as to tar all Christian organizations with the same brush, and cement unbelievers in their prejudices. Here are a couple of sample links to Christian organizations which are making a difference in our world without being given any recognition by the secular media for their work. Remember that these charities are supported by generous voluntary contributions, mostly from Christians. As you aren’t a hypocrite, you can make a donation yourself right now:
On an individual level, Jesus Christ told his followers not to boast about their giving, but to do it in secret, so as to not receive the glory for themselves or be puffed up with pride (Matthew 6:1-4). He said that we shouldn’t even let our left hand know what our right hand is doing. So you’re not going to see real Christians going around blowing trumpets and announcing what they’ve given.
THE OFFENSE IS SPIRITUAL
Unfortunately, there are those all around us who are more than happy to believe anti-Christian propaganda, and to believe that all 2.4 billion Christians are hypocrites. Why are people so ready to believe the worst about Christians?
One unbeliever told me many years ago that “Christianity is just an excuse for morality”. Presumably he would have been quite happy to have someone hit him over the head, sexually assault his girlfriend, and take all his money, since this would be an expression of amorality and “freedom”. But I know what he meant: Christians don’t like sex, and he didn’t want anyone telling him who not to have sex with. I can remember as a young man thinking that being a Christian would ruin my life because I would have to give up everything I enjoyed. I was wrong, as I‘ve discovered. But for a lot of people that’s a real fear. They don’t want to give up their way of life, and they will fend off any attempt to change it. Christianity threatens, or rather promises, to do just that. Jesus put it this way,
“I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12). “This is the verdict (against those who reject Him): Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
Jesus was crucified, as you may know. It’s interesting that both atheists and vampires hate the cross (joke). They have one other thing in common: they’ll suck the life out of you.
Paul referred to the cross of Christ, and said that it is offensive to those who refuse to believe (Galatians 5:11). He said that it’s “foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Corinthians1:18-25).
The cross is offensive to people because it calls us to change, and to live in God’s ways instead of our own It is offensive because it points to one narrow way to eternal life instead of to plurality and universalism. It is offensive because it demands that we accept that God is in charge, and not us. He makes the rules, not us.
In executing Jesus the hypocritical religious leaders of his day thought they were not only getting rid of him physically, but spiritually also, because their own religious law stated that anyone killed in such a way had been cursed by God. They were right about him being cursed, because the Bible teaches that he was cursed by God in our place (Galatians3:13). He willingly payed the price of our sin. But that wasn’t the end of the story.
The world is still full of people wishing to curse him and his followers. Even now millions of Christians around the world are under oppression and persecution for their faith. It’s going to get to the point in the Last Days where one almighty attempt will be made to finally rid the earth of all traces of Judeo-Christian thought. Who’s side will you be on? The world is already taking sides and gearing up for the attack. The best part is that believing Christians already know what the outcome will be. The enemies of Christ will be destroyed by the brightness of his coming, and by a word from his mouth.