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The Terrible Truth About Christians

Christians really have the unique ability to drive people nuts. Most other folks of faith are pretty good about keeping to themselves and staying out of other people’s business. But the same can’t be said of us Holy Rolling, Bible Thumpers.

The reality is there truly is a diamond hidden amongst all of that bothersome coal, and if you can somehow get past our many shortcomings, you’ll discover our hearts are in the right place.

So before you give up on us completely, here are a few helpful things you should know about Christians.

Yes…Most Of Us Are Fake
If you see a guy wearing a Coca Cola shirt, don’t assume he works for the company. Anybody can wear a shirt, few are the real thing. The same holds true for us. So many people will claim to be a Christian, but very few are really “followers of Christ.” What’s the big difference? Well…one is someone who is merely using the title for convenience and to be part of the club, while the other is really committed to changing their life in a major way.

 …And Heavily Flawed
If it wasn’t hard enough to have to identify real “followers of Christ,” here is some more bad news. Even the “Christ followers” are a messed up bunch as a whole. Just know that if we were perfect, we wouldn’t need the fixing that Jesus Christ offers us in the first place. When we give our lives to Christ we are forgiven, but it takes all of a lifetime to become more like Christ. We’ll need your patience.   

 …And Confused
Anyone who tells you they understand each and every facet of the Bible and their Christian faith is a heretic and when you hear this you should start boiling the water. The truth is that the Truth is very complicated.  After hundreds of years of research and study to rely upon, even the greatest Biblical scholars still disagree over some of the finer details of the faith. Yet, what is clear is that when you begin to study the Bible, the major truths become quickly apparent and the more you learn, the more you want to share it with others.

…And Pushy
Probably one of the biggest complaints about “followers of Christ” is that we are so pushy. I mean, why can’t we just keep our beliefs to ourselves? Well here is the answer. We imagine ourselves as if we’re on a river leading to a beautiful lake that we’ll be able to enjoy for all eternity. We want all of the people we love to be there with us. Across the way, we see friends and family going down a separate river that we believe with all our hearts is headed for a terrible waterfall that will spell their doom. We understand that we must look like complete loons as we’re waving frantically and shouting from the distance for you to get out of the boat before it’s too late. But you should be flattered that we’re willing to sacrifice whatever fragments of our dignity we have left for your benefit. More concerning to you should be those “Christians” who would calmly wave from abroad and whisper, “Enjoy your trip, my friend”

 Who Can You Trust?
So with all of that compelling evidence as to why we should be ignored altogether here is a suggestion for your consideration. When it comes to really learning about who Jesus Christ is, try to seek out those Christians who are humble, encouraging to others, quick to forgive and slow to anger. Yes. I know we’re talking about needles in the haystack. But when you do find these unique individuals who have a peace and quiet confidence to them, try to figure out what makes them unique and special. The answer to that question could very well radically change your life.

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35 Responses to The Terrible Truth About Christians

  1. Janice Green says:

    Excellent post. Thanks for sharing this. I plan to share this link on my Facebook page.

  2. Jason says:

    Top notch post. Well done.

  3. Lovely! :) Well said. The image of the two rivers with different destinations is just perfect. :)

  4. John Weir says:

    Michael you are so right, and yet there are more ways Christians drive people crazy. In our world there is a strong anti-Christian force, and just the word drives some people nuts. Also many won’t go to church because Christians have driven them away, because they think we should have our selves together. I hope people can get the message that we follow Christ, not each other. That would help.

  5. sheila harrington-Smith says:

    Mike: Thanks for reminding us that Christians are allowed to mess up and not be bible scholars and Jesus Christ still loves us.

  6. craig says:

    I appreciate the author and he makes some great points. I totally get that no christians is perfect, none of us are. I do believe that even the pushy christians mean well.

    The problem is not with Christians or Christianity, but with the rise of the fundamentalist movement within it. The fundamentalists basically believe that they have a monopoly on truth and god’s forgiveness. Christian fundamentalism portrays God in a way where he either can’t or won’t forgive those who don’t happen to accept the right dogma. Whether thats a simple as “jesus is lord” or as intricate as calvinistic predestination, the result is the same.

    Nearly every religion–Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam etc. have fundamentalist elements within them where they believe those outside to be evil, doomed or lost. They also all have more inclusive and open alternatives within each faith, some more so than others. I respectfully suggest Christians choose the latter. This doesn’t require some total abandonment to relativism or acceptance that “all religions are the same.” If you believe Jesus was the only incarnation of god or muhammed was the true prophet and the other religions are mistaken, fair enough. But perhaps God may have a plan for those that don’t happen to “get it” that doesn’t involve eternal damnation. Christian fundamentalists often believe this already concerning children under “the age of reason”, even though the bible never explicitly says children who don’t believe will still be saved. Couldn’t the same be true for atheists or hindus?

    The author says that the “major truths quickly become apparent.” Nothing could be farther from…ahem…the truth. Go to one part of the bible and it says we’re saved by works. Go to another, and its by faith alone. Baptists, Pentecostals, Greek Orthodox, Catholics and Lutherans all have different concepts of what is required to be a christian or to be saved. Historically christians have been battling each other over the basics for centuries and much of what is considered “orthodox christianity” exists as it does only because theologians such as Augustine or Luther centuries ago happen to interpret the bible that way–and others followed suit.

    I’ve heard the river metaphor before and I believe its flawed. Why? Because a river is just a force of nature. Its amoral and impersonal. With God, who is supposed to be a perfect moral being, its personal. When you say “You have to accept jesus as your lord and savior” to someone, you’re not warning them about an impersonal force will cause them harm the way a buddhist might talk about karma. You’re basically telling them that God believes them to be so worthless and evil the way they are now, if they happen to die without believing, he’s going to send them somewhere to be tortured.

    Why does Christianity drive some people nuts? Sadly because the loudest Christians in America are the fundamentalists, and the more narrow, condemning and exclusive they are, the louder they get. People get irritated because fundamentalism is so obviously judgmental and so obviously wrong, except to those that are indoctrinated.

  7. Craig,
    This is such a beautifully written, well reasoned response. However; you did break the code of Blogging. As point of courtesy you should never outscribe the Blogger!

    Rather than respond to each of your remarks, I’m going to use them as topics for future postings. You bring up so many excellent points and several deserve much more than a hastily penned pithy response.

    In summary, and to stay on the topic of the Blog, I would say I agree with much of what you share about how many Christians can come across as arrogant, unwilling to listen to others and overly judgmental.

    Paul teaches us in the New Testament that we are to “share the truth with love.” He further comments that if we share the truth without love, we come across as a “clanging cymbol” and are ineffective in sharing the Gospel.

    I think it’s unfortunate that there are so many clanging cymbols among us and that we are probably more suited to forming a marching band than being part of a movement of faith.

    Thanks so much for contributing in such a large way to the discussion and I look forward to learning more about your own beliefs.

  8. craig says:

    Hi Michael,

    I won’t post a long response and I appreciate your kind remarks. Your site does not seem to be of the “clanging cymbal” variety, thought I smell a bit of fundamentalism here and there. :)

    My argument is not merely that Fundamentalist Christians are delivering the message arrogantly, its the message itself thats flawed. No matter how gently and with humility its delivered, Its of little comfort to a non-believer to hear “You’re destined for hell if you don’t change to my religion, because we’re all SO BAD. But don’t worry, I was destined for hell before I got saved too!”

    I look forward to further dialog with you.

  9. Awesome post, thank you for posting. Definitely something to think about (for Christians and non-Christians alike).

  10. Michael:
    You did an excellent job of covering a lot of ground in a brief and insightful way.
    There is much that can be learned from this short post.
    I’ve shared it with my followers on Twitter. It is my prayer that I’ll not be a clanging cymbal and will truly represent the One Who gave His all for me.

  11. This is a critically important post. What would happen, if the world would look at CHRIST, more than at CHRISTIANS?

    Of course, to many, Christians are the only Christ they may ever see . . . unless they look for His revelation.

    For God promises to be found by those who will earnestly seek Him. (See Jeremiah 29.)

  12. Frank says:

    Such intelligent responses, from some obviously very intelligent people. Why then can’t these same people break the spell, because they were indoctrinated from child hood. Spoon fed the BS all their young lives and now they are like zombies.
    Wake up and look around you. There is no god. If there is, he is an underachiever for sure.
    There are no gods, no devils, no angels, just our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds. Frank

  13. John says:

    Robert Graves went back to the original Greek and Hebrew sources of the Bible and wrote “The Nazarene Gospel Restored”. Why do Christians ignore this work?

  14. What a wonderful, insightful post. If we would all only show Jesus instead of pounding out the beat on our cymbals.

  15. eric dytzel says:

    WOW… what a great article. I am definitely going to share this link…..

  16. This was a great blog after the one that I posted yesterday. I am so glad that I follow you on twitter! http://shellypicarella.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/evaluating-the-christian-elements-in-literature/

  17. rainbow says:

    While I enjoy your post and agree with most of what you say, you overlook what really turns people off about many Christians. It’s not that Christians look like harmless fools when what we’re really doing is trying to save people from their doom. It’s that many people who call themselves Christians look like really hateful people. They don’t spread a message of love. They spread a message of hatred that is genuinely harmful. You know and I know that not all Christians are like that, but they are sadly the ones who get he most attention and they are the ones who come to mind when one sees the word “Christian.” I’d like to see you address that, maybe in a future post.

  18. J says:

    I replaced the word “Christian” with the word “Atheist” and this article still doesn’t get any better….

  19. Wish I had written this for my blog.

  20. Steve Wolfgang says:

    Well written. Makes Christians sound almost as bad as boosters at some Mid-Major University Athletic Association –many of whom never darkened the door of the university they claim to support, have minimal understanding of the finer points of the sports in which they claim such “expertise,” use events as an excuse to get drunk and otherwise misbehave, give only the minimal amount necessary for membership, and frequently commit the Great Mortal Sin of Hypocrisy. Come to think of it, that might not be far wrong……

  21. Powerful and well-written post!

  22. Al Walker says:

    Throughout history those who feel most comfortable in their beliefs are the most arrogant. Like those who prosecuted the Spanish Inqusition had no doubts they were correct did they?
    Not saying the spanish were right, I was only saying if you have doubts about your beliefs you are most likely to give credibility to those who say you are nuts to think Jesus was the son of God. Like those who say anyone who believes in Christianity is nuts.
    I give no help to those who say I am nuts as a christian, why do you?
    Al Walker , Phila Pa.

  23. RevBT says:

    Thanks for this. I just linked it on my facebook and will save your blog.

  24. Rhonda a true heretic says:

    “The truth is that the Truth is very complicated. ”

    The truth is simple, it is “one” without opposite. How can “one” be complicated? Surely, it is reasonable to understand that only deception is complicated, for it has split the mind into what does and does not know the truth. How could a double-minded man be anything but complicated? unstable? confused? contradictory? hypocritical? foolish? It is pitted against itself and adrift on a stormy sea of uncertainty.

    “Most other folks of faith are pretty good about keeping to themselves and staying out of other people’s business.”

    I would have to disagree here also. The second one opens their mouth, what follows is most definitely what they believe. I haven’t met a human yet who doesn’t like to open their mouth and spew something they have faith in … weather, traffic, work, money, relationships, politics, poverty, crime, war, sickness, going to the gym, sex, pizza, the price of gas, etc. ad infinitum. It’s quite obvious people have faith in what they speak or they simply wouldn’t speak it.

    It is okay that people shove this propaganda into every conversation. This is what people know and what they know has become familiar, giving a sense of security even if they are not happy with their environment. If you start speaking about something they don’t know; as in the truth, naturally it would strike a chord, just because it is unfamiliar territory. What is unfamiliar is fearful and nobody wants to be in fear.

    Yet, is it not fear that is the driving force behind all that is justified as necessary for survival? Why do we do what we do? It is inferred in all doing the need to gain something perceived as lacking and we must get this thing or we will suffer. It is quite obvious that fear of not having X justifies all motive for getting X and without a motive we would have no need to do what we do.

    We simply wouldn’t do what we do if we didn’t believe we needed to do what we do. I don’t think there would be anyone in their “right mind” who could argue against this without contradicting themselves. Yet, is it that difficult to “see” that all we do to justify what we do, becomes the need to do what we do, to justify what we do as a need? And now in needing to do what we do, we suffer the consequences of this doing, and these consequences become the topic of all we need to communicate? And what need is there to communicate all these confabulations except to further exacerbate the drama of what we call life?

    But is this life? Most people would agree, “how wonderful it is to be alive”, but spend most of their time complaining about all the things that they do to maintain this wonderful life. Isn’t this a contradiction? Something here is missing the mark. Understanding has gone astray. Can you not now “see” where the actual complication rests? Call me a heretic if you must, but it is absolutely not the truth that is the problem here. Anyways, what is here is neither there and we shall all find our way back to the truth eventually – for what other than the truth exists?

    But until then: “All is vanity and a chase after the wind!”
    Thank you for sharing your post.
    Shalom … clang :-)

  25. There are a lot of Christians out there that preach the word of God but don’t live it. It is refreshing to see you Michael being honest about your faith. Your are living through Jesus while others are living through the Bible.

    The God I was taught as a youngster teared my up inside. I thought I was walking on eggshells with God and Jesus. I remember pleading to God for answers most nights in high school receiving no responses at all. So I said forget about it, I’m outta here if your not going to speak to me (I had questions that I needed answers to).

    So I went on a spiritual journey after high school to find God and what a wonderful journey it was. Seeing God from many perspectives. It was a 15 year journey (I will not ramble on about here) but finally ending up as a Zen practitioner. A few years back it accrued to me, 15 years ago God did answer my pray, God allowed me to go out and find God myself instead of somebody telling me who God was. God spoke to my heart, it was not as if I were picking and choosing what to let in. No, it was opening my heart and allowing God in.

    I was born into a Christian community, my circle of influence was Christian and nothing more. When Christianity the only thing I knew was not working God open the door to other possibilities.

    I now walk with Jesus everyday….

    This is my gatha on “The Terrible Truth About Christians”

    To hell they are
    Heaven is for us
    In the end
    East meets west
    The beginning is found
    A tree is still green
    In heaven or hell

  26. Great post, Michael. Glad I stumbled upon it. We are a mess aren’t we!

  27. Darby Kern says:

    It’ s interesting that there seems to be such a response toward fundamentalist Christians in the comment section, and in the negative regard. I’m proudly a fundamentalist and the comments I’m reading about myself don’t ring true.

    A fundamentalist is someone who sticks to the fundamentals of their faith; in the Christian realm it’s those who follow what the Bible teaches. Some denominations will fight over who is MORE fundamental but some will gladly run from that title. I don’t get it. Call me narrow if you want but if you’re not following the fundamentals of Christianity you’re probably not a Christian.

    Christians are very often confused and flawed because we have not been made perfect yet. That won’t happen until we are face to face with Christ. Until then we’re whiners, sinners and imperfect. The reason we come off obnoxious and confused is that in 2000 years we’ve had too much naturalist thought invade our society and color our perceptions. It keeps us from seeing miracles, or God working on a day to day basis. It’s why so many of us are afraid to step out, or why so many seem to have a grudge when they do step out. You know what: it’s a lot easier for me to engage someone in conversation about the merits of the LOST finale than it is a discussion on salvation according to Jesus Christ.

    I guess my long-winded point is that people need to stop looking at Christians and look at Christ. The problem is Christians (like me) could be doing a better job reflecting Christ.

  28. Amelia Rojas says:

    Excellent post as usual! I can always relate to every single one…

  29. Gustav vonChristiaan says:

    You as writer, social observer, has many commendations on your present blog: one more from this one would be superfluous, not that you write w/commendations as your objective. Yours is a different kind of “crusade.” I am writing from the perspective and experience of a family of martyrs in the so-called 3rd word: one so different even alien from some, even many perhaps, of your readers: My Father, preacher. Missionary, Theologian, died a martyr’s death because of his unrelenting, uncompromising, unapologetic belief and service to Jesus the Christ. One of my uncles also died a martyr’s death AND I WAS IN COMMUNIST PRISON FOR MY CHRISTIAN BELIEF. We then did not have the luxury of “social commentaries” on Christians who drive people nuts.
    The caveat is that a few writers are narcissistic unlike the spirit of John the Baptist:
    Let Him increase, let me decrease (John 3:30). In my Twitter brief Bio I acknowledge first that “Christ is Lord. Then my life’s “vision” of Phil 3:8.
    While your observations approach near flawlessness, I make some mental notes for myself:
    1/The audience of your blog is not immediately clear or identifiable.
    2/The very first sentence commits the logic fallacy of unqualified generalisation, aka
    hasty generalisation, though the 2nd sentence you qualify some folks from other faith.
    3/Saw a button, with letters, on the jacket of a friend. When I asked what they stood for he explained: P-lease B-e P-atient W-ith M-e, G-od I-s N-ot T-hrough W-ith
    M-e Y-et. And so we are, this side of Eternity.
    4/We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth as our Lord told us.
    5/Those Christians (nominal?) who drive people nuts need your prayers and mine.
    6/The word “God” and “Religion” are not offensive. Mention the name of JESUS CHRIST” and many turn cold.
    7.We all are to heed Christ’s censor against the Church at Ephesus in the Book of Revelation: Many have abandoned the love they had at first. Perhaps worse, whatever their fault is that you write about, at least they seemed to have avoided Christ’s warning against the church at Laodicia.
    ***I pray you read this in the spirit it is written, not Tangere ulcus (reason why I do not have many FF as you do, though I do Un-follow).
    8. I was teaching Mathematical Logic at the University when Christ confronted me with
    His Question in Matt 16. I had a dramatic, Pauline type of Damascus Conversion.
    Te Deum, to His Glory.

  30. Carol Mickelsen says:

    Christianity is a religion that was invented in order to control the masses and take away the power of the people. It is completely fake, and has very a nefarious purpose. I suggest some research. You may run into some sites that are hateful and vehement, but for good reason. I was raised in the Church and bought into the lie for much of my life. Now I know the truth. Don’t be afraid to find out for yourself. You may have to sort through a lot of hype and hogwash, but the Truth WILL set you free from the bondage of religion. The Truth can stand on its own and does not need to be protected or interpreted by “experts.” It is available to all who seek it.

  31. Jeff Curnow says:

    Awesome post! I have been trying to express the same thoughts for years. I’ve always bed amazed that some Christians, who know they are saved only by grace, and must rely on the Holy Spirit’s power to live each day as a Christ follower, expect those who do not know those gifts to live as if they did. It’s easy to condemn, hard work to lead by Love.

  32. Sorry, but I’m not into blanket condemnations of Christians. Even though that’s a popular sport today, I don’t see this kind of thing in the Bible. It also doesn’t jibe with your idea that we should encourage one another.

    Personally, I don’t know enough to say that “very few” who claim to be Christians are truly Christian. God will be the Judge, and perhaps He will be more merciful than you or I would be.

    Also, we should commend Christians who want to lead unbelievers to the faith, not treat this as a point of criticism.

    I would second Craig’s point that Fundamentalism is the main driver behind Christian judgmentalism. I think it is more helpful to identify specific problems than to lay blame on virtually all Christians. In response to Darby (above), the problem with Christian Fundamentalism is the dogmatism and intolerance, not the unwavering belief in things like the virgin birth.

    Finally, the conclusion is depressingly postmodern. There’s nothing here about sound doctrine, just a recommendation to follow Christians who appear to be the most humble, gracious, and encouraging. I think Joel Osteen fits these criteria pretty well.

    I like to read blog posts where it seems the last thing the Christian blogger read was the Bible, not an atheist blog.

  33. For some reason – probably out of habit – the first time I read this I had in mind that I was reading a Christian blog for Christians. I thought it was for new believers or was a “shock and awe” article (too common these days) presuming to tell all Christians the truth about ourselves.

    Even though I would like to rewrite my last post in some places, the criticism stands. I feel that you might benefit by talking to more Christians about their testimony, including Christians whom you might consider to be carnal. You will probably be surprised at how many Christians have experienced a very real intervention of God in their lives, along with a transformed life. I wish all our lives could have been completely transformed when we first received Christ. However, the Bible itself tells us that we can’t necessarily expect to quickly and easily take possession of our “Promised Land.” I believe in honoring the Holy Spirit for the work He has done in each of us.

    If we instead point to only a few people who we believe to be shining examples of the Christian faith, first, some of them will also let us down. Second, every unbeliever knows that if we search high and low, we can find the same kind of people outside the Church.

  34. Born in the MEA says:

    Christianity is a big lie. I can’t believe in something which is untrue. I am not that stupid.

  35. Sam Ronicker says:

    Well put, I can see some of the responses’ critique(s) as being valid, yes, it was a generalization, yes, I’m fairly sure that was intentional.

    As much as I don’t want to respond to just other respondents’ messages I feel it’s worthwhile to point out that “fundamentalism” is NOT what you think it is. The term has been warped and taken out of context and twisted into a negative term. Take this example, someone comes along and convinces almost your whole church congregation that Jesus didn’t die on the cross. This progressive and liberal form of Christianity takes root in your congregation. It against the fundamental Truth contained in the Bible and completely against everything God’s Word teaches. Is it bad to fight against that corruption and shine the light of truth on that false teaching? Obviously not. There are so many other examples, but the point is fundamentalism is not bad at all. Who’s committing the fallacy of unqualified generalization now?

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