Commonsense Christianity

Commonsense Christianity


Two Reasons Why the World Hates Christians

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Christianity” and “Love” are two words that we hope are associated together. Madonna and Toddler, original oil painting by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Christians have a bad reputation for being unkind, intolerant, harsh, judgmental, and self-righteous. Oh, and uneducated.

Now of course, anytime you speak about, or live, moral absolutes, you’ll get attacked by people who don’t want to be told — either by your words or example — that what they’re doing is wrong. Jesus Himself didn’t make a lot of friends on this planet.

From time and distance, however, most people, even those who don’t choose to believe who Christ is and what He says, concede that He was “a great teacher,” or a “morally upright man.” They don’t go on and on about His acrimonious unfeeling attitude toward the lives and feelings of others.

That’s reserved for us, His hands and feet, His voice and message, and Christ warned us that this would be so:

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15: 18-19)

If They Hated Christ, They’ll Hate You

The world is filled with many travelers, all sharing the same space. Harbor Faire, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, sold. More of Steve’s works are at Steve Henderson Fine Art.

So the upshot is, if you are truly living for Christ, the eventual outcome is that many people who do not know Him — the world — will hate you, simply because of who and what your Master, Christ, is. And yet you, and I, persevere because the message which the world hates so much — that God loves us, deeply and dearly, and wants to enfold us in His arms — is one that individual people within the world are crying to hear.

That’s Part A of Why the World Hates Us.

Part B is a bit more disturbing, because it — justifiably — makes us look bad.

But Sometimes, There’s Another Reason

Too many times, people strongly dislike Christians not because of the message of our Master, but because of the attitude we project when we seek to convey that message. We come across as

  • Harsh
  • Unfeeling
  • Self-Righteous
  • Unforgiving
  • Defensive
  • Intolerant (this word is vastly overused by media moguls and propaganda pushers who seek to make any difference of opinion, on any issue that they manipulate, a matter of “hate.” Just because malevolent forces misuse the word does not mean that we avoid the matter. To be tolerant does not mean to back off and give in to the louder voice; it means to be courteous of the dignity of others, and not railroad our opinions through).
  • Inflexible
  • Small minded

 

This list can go on indefinitely, the point being that, when we walk into a room and make the rest of the people in it feel like slug droppings because they could never approach our level of holiness, virtue, saintliness and piety, we have actually failed to get across the veritable essence of those attributes. People — real people — were drawn to Christ because of His love, understanding, patience, sensitivity, and kindness, and He managed to convey, and teach, truth without abandoning any of these.

Christ’s Example Is the Right One

With the weak He was gentle; with the arrogant He was firm; with the foolish He was patient; with the cunning He was wise. But He Himself was never proud, demanding, merciless, or disagreeable. Far too often, we are.

But we serve a loving and gracious God, and if we back off and pull away from our outward trappings of religiosity, He works with us to show what real compassion, kindness, wisdom, discernment, and mercy look like, as opposed to the substitutes we so easily fall into.

Religiosity versus relevance: what’s the difference? Join me at, “I’m a Christian, but I’m not Religious.”

Thank you for reading Commonsense Christianity. I post three times a week, and I welcome your comments and thoughts — as we dialogue with one another, we learn from one another. And while we will not agree on every point (we’re not robots, you know), we can still love and support one another. Articles similar to this post are

The Statement No Christian Should Make

Unchurched or Church-Free?

Should Christians Think?

 

 



  • Alex Barranco

    Any Christian that speaks with hate,condescension,and lies isn’t a true Christian. I’m a Christian but I don’t hate anyone or feel as if I’m better than anyone. The previous replies have been civil and respectful. Why do you feel the need to throw hate and accusations at them?

  • Freddy

    im not sure what your point is

  • Dobbs

    Because humans know everything in the Universe! (Note the sarcasm)

  • Dobbs

    If you boil it all down, Christians are hated for being human. Oh sure it’s a crime against humanity to have flaws! (Note the sarcasm)

  • UNKOWN ERROR

    You are Christian if you maintain a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • UNKOWN ERROR

    ahahhaahahahhaaha

  • UNKOWN ERROR

    WHY ARE YOU HERE NATHAN?

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Sticking close to the Bible and God’s word is sound and wise. Personally, I’d be highly discerning about Christian media — big names, big money — there gets to be a conflict of interest there. People — they’re what it’s all about. As long as we walk into the room recognizing that, as people, we tend to eat one another, we can cope. “Teach me to love, God,” we pray, and upon Him, and Him only, we rely for the love we need back. When we get it from another human, it’s a bonus. It’s there, but in unexpected places and from unexpected sources. Your mum and you have a good point there!

  • Anon

    Thank you.
    I know no Christian is perfect. I think it’s better if I stick more closely to the Bible and Christian media than other people. They make me feel disappointed. My mum and I used to say “the ones that say they are a Christian are worse than those who aren’t!”.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Anon — your words are sadly apt and true. I don’t know if it helps at all, but that you, a Christian, find yourself belittled and outcast in the presence of conventional conformity speaks volumes about your walk with Christ.

    Your last paragraph is profound: “This is not the life of a Christian Jesus talked about.” People recognize this — they see that what they’re hearing isn’t what Jesus was saying, and they’re (we’re) outraged because we WANT that love and acceptance and peace and understanding and compassion.

    You’re on the right road — and it’s a narrow one. Keep fighting the good fight, and recognize that you are not the problem, but very much necessary to the solution.

    Thank you for reading the article and taking time to write such a measured, thoughtful response. Your experience is too common — and unfortunately many people who do not know Christ “encounter” Him through the condescension and rigidity that you describe. We ourselves are grateful to God that, in the painful process of being called out of a system to a relationship, we didn’t lose, abandon, or reject our belief in God because of the substitute that is so intrinsically taught to the pews.

  • Anon

    I don’t hate Christians and I’m a Christian myself. But I’ve found so many Christian people are rude or have such an attitude it’s like they are ‘better’ than you. I’ve been bullied by ‘Christians’ online. I’ve also been excluded and bullied by them in real life.

    They nitpick every little part of you to find something to find fault in. They have this attitude where if you aren’t as ‘holy’ and ‘perfect’ as them you are the ‘outcast’ amongst them. Say one thing they don’t agree with, then they come down on you with scripture and scold you like a little child and make you feel pathetic and worthless.

    Going to churches in the past has been a disaster in the past. They gossip, they stare, they start rumours…! They aren’t welcoming or kind at all.

    I’m not saying I haven’t had any positive experiences with Christians. I’ve had a few of them only online.

    This is not the life of a Christian Jesus talked about. Where is the kindness and understanding? All I see online is fights, scolding others, people acting righteous about other Christians!

  • Pieter

    A year ago a friends of mine lost her parents and a murder, suicide!
    They were in the 60’s! The wife was leaving her husband and they were already separated.
    The husband was a Pastor all his life. He was so possessed with his wife and
    believed God do not want them to divorced, he ended her life by shooting her in
    the back like a cowered and then took his own life! I started doing research on Christian murder/suicides.
    I was shocked to find out how many times this is happening. Are the church
    motivating men to kill their wives when they do not want to be with them
    anymore? It’s better to die than to divorce? I can just feel the Christian
    love!! I know about a woman now that wants to leave her husband, she fears for
    her life! Her husband has turned her family, children, friend and everyone she
    knows against her. Her husband refers to himself as a BIG Christian! Can
    someone tell me what a BIG Christian is? His wife reached out to his pastor
    last week and said she is worried because they had a situation where she needed
    to get police involved. The pastor replied thank you for letting me know and
    good luck! I can just feel the Christian LOVE!

    I studied for a pastor myself and after going into ministry I
    realized the deception going on. People are so brainwashed by the church that
    they can’t even see real life anymore. That’s why they kill each other when a
    spouse wants to divorce! I’m not promoting divorce but there is times in life
    where this is the only option. Forcing it and living a lie is not the truth, it
    is a lie so why do Christianity promote lies. I have become a Jesus follower
    and found out there is a big difference between being a follower and joining a Christian
    religion.

  • leastyebejudged

    Thanks for proving my point precisely.

    I’d also add that you are liars.

    It is perfectly reasonable for people to hate Christians.

  • Qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm

    No one asked you to believe…it’s your choice, just take a deep breath and calm down.

  • Qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm

    I don’t get it, Nick didn’t even say anything offensive…

  • freddy ingle

    “With all information we receive, we do so based upon our trust”. Quite frankly, the bible is the least verifiable source out of all those you mentioned. Ill believe a politician any day over a holy man. And that’s saying a lot.

  • freddy ingle

    Why do we hate Christians? Because you Christians are the smuggest,most ignorant assholes that are constantly shoving your bibles and beliefs into everyone’s faces. And are bigots who constantly cause people pain like the gay community. And do things like force creationism in schools, when it has no factual merit and is an absolute bullshit belief. Never have i had ANY other person from another religion except for Christianity try to force their religious beliefs on me. Thats why we hate you guys.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    That depends upon how much one trusts the people who write the textbooks and tell the stories — about George Washington, about anybody. We take an incredible amount of information on faith — the newscaster says it; we believe it. The politician promises it; we believe it. The medical study announces it; we believe it. Or we don’t. With all information we receive, we do so based upon our trust, or distrust, of the source.

  • Len Pritchard

    With due respect, one doesn’t need much faith to believe George Washington existed or to have a reasonable idea of what he was like.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Quite true, Len, if I depended only upon my wish that there were a loving, compassionate God as the only reason for believing in Him, that would be wishful thinking. However, I came to my knowledge of, and acceptance of, God based upon much reading, thought, research, and seeking, and the evidence I found was enough to convince me.

    It took faith, as well, but so does believing anything. It takes faith to believe that George Washington existed, and even more to believe that he is the type of person we are told that he is. We either have faith that the people writing their accounts were telling the truth, they weren’t, or there was everything in between.

    So it is with following God. When we are seeking something, we keep looking until we find it, and there will always be people who disagree with what we’ve found — because it’s different from what they’ve found — and sometimes they demand that we “prove” our findings to them. You can’t prove, or disprove God. At some point, you make the decision that yes, He exists, or no, He doesn’t, and you live your life accordingly.

  • Len Pritchard

    Your reason…Quote: “if there is no God, no loving, compassionate perfect God, then there is no hope. What humans have done to the world around them is horrible, and if this is the best we can be, the best we can do, then we are in a bad state indeed.”

    This is not a valid reason – it’s wish fulfilment isn’t it? Anyone could say ‘I don’t like the idea of a universe without a greater power who is very kind – therefore there must be such a being’ and believe in any kind of god they choose. It wouldn’t make the object of their belief true.

    Besides which, the biblical view of god is certainly very varied. Sometimes compassionate, sometimes judgemental, sometimes reasonable, sometimes fiercely angry – sometimes even repentant! all seems to fit the mood of the writer.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Hi, Len — I feel for you. I know many people who have been hurt by establishment Christianity. Most walk away from it, some from the whole thing altogether. Others look at it and say, “What I was taught wasn’t true, but that doesn’t necessarily make the Bible false,” and they continue to look to see if there is truth there. We are all on different paths.

    I and my own family walked away from establishment Christianity, because we saw that so much of what was taught in the churches, like the one you mention, wasn’t true. Or it was narrow, and confined, cold, distant, shallow, and uncaring. But we weren’t ready to give up on God. My reason may not seem very logical or intellectual to you, but it’s this: if there is no God, no loving, compassionate perfect God, then there is no hope. What humans have done to the world around them is horrible, and if this is the best we can be, the best we can do, then we are in a bad state indeed.

    Your questions are good ones, and they are not ones that I can answer in a blog, or a comment box — but they have answers. If you truly want them, then seek those answers. That is what great thinkers have done through the ages, because they haven’t been satisfied with the unanswered questions. Seeking truth is an individual endeavor that we all embark upon, and those that give up remain angry and frustrated, because as intelligent beings, we want and demand answers.

  • Len Pritchard

    Don’t they just!! Well said. When I left the church I was a ‘backslider’ who couldn’t cope with the moral demands of the faith – off to live a life of sin etc. The real reason is that I simply found it all untenable nonsense and fortunately had the strength of mind to be true to myself. That’s something that churches generally find uncomfortable – far easier to say you want to live in sin!!

  • Len Pritchard

    Hi Carolyn – I’ve read some self serving nonsense and your piece above is up there with the best. Let me tell you why I hate christianity. From the age of 8 I was force-fed pentecostal / fundamentalist christian belief. This is an age too young to have proper reason or judgement about such matters and hence one accepts it rather like accepting the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus. The starting point for christians is “it is written” in what is apparently the “word of God” but no evidence of this is ever given – you are just told, time and time again “it is written”. I spent nearly 12 years in a large pentecostal church in London and went to Theological College but as time went on had to face the fact that none of it actually rang true. Hard to walk away but the questions just wouldn’t go away either – here’s a few:

    Why should the bible be seen as the word of god?
    Why does god never answer prayers?
    Why is everything about god such a mystery and so unclear?
    Why does god do nothing about evil when he is omniscient, omnipresent and all loving?
    Why should anyone be expected to believe stories that have so little evidence?
    Why would a loving god condemn the majority of his creation to eternal torture?

    Plenty more but that will suffice off the top of my head. The choice for me was “be true to yourself” or “carry on making excuses” for this bizarre and weak superstition that is rife with division precisely because it has no clarity of message to start with.

    Generally if you force a ‘world view’ on young children, they will stick with it and even those who doubt will find it hard to shake off – whatever the world view is. My experience of Christianity is entirely negative: there is no power of god available for us, prayers don’t get answered, the sick are not healed. In short it is all nonsense. I am so happy to be free of all the superstition – because that is what it is. If people have a felling that there is a god – fair enough but please don’t force unsubstantiated dogma on children. There is no common-sense christianity here i’m afraid – just the same old regurgitated rhetoric. Sadly you won’t ever change your mind because you are not free to ask the questions.

  • leastyebejudged

    Oh yeah, and the other reason people don’t like “Christians” – you’re fake and condescending.

  • Tim

    I don’t remember saying that anyone is full of shit or insulting anyone but i guess being civil is an option nowadays. I’m not going to keep this going because your bias is as clear as daylight.

    I’ll pray for you friend

  • leastyebejudged

    You just proved his point. Some Christians (like you) are loathed because you constantly force your opinions on everybody else as “the truth”, and any time someone disagrees with you or challenges your bullshit, you say they are full of hate.

    They are not full of hate; it’s just that you are full of shit.

  • leastyebejudged

    Disdain and pity is not hate.

    Crawl down off that cross, we need the wood.

  • Tim

    Before spewing out hate and lies please educate yourself on the historicity of Christ (Flavius Josephus being nice name to bring up in this case), the teachings of the Bible, and the actual reasons why those violent acts you speak of happened (mostly political and economical reasons). It’s easy to accuse and slander, it’s a lot harder to understand. And also this day and age we live in isn’t as illuminated and great as it is made out to be (not that it was any better 2000 years ago).

    I’m not saying believe or die (I’m not even saying you should believe), I’m just saying you should think twice before mocking something people died for and that some people hold dear, it comes off as disrespectful and you won’t help your cause by disrespecting something.

    Regards

  • Jake Mono

    Christians always spin it as if non-Christians are living in sin and just want to be able to get away with it. No, it’s just you ridiculous morals that you got out of a book that have nothing to do with reality that we don’t want forced on us and our political system.

  • Nate

    Christianity did not invent, nor does it own morality. Yours is a belief based on hate and violence. It’s medieval and barbaric teaching have done more harm than good. You do realize that there’s no real evidence that the man “Jesus” your bible speaks of even existed in the first place. And saying that the Bible is proof does not count. It’s sad that in this day adults still hold tight to such fairy tales as streets of gold and immortality. Silly christians myths are for kids.

  • Carolyn Henderson

    Thank you, Parks. All Christians, at one time, were non-Christians, and it helps to remember what it felt like when we did not know Christ, and whose words helped us to see Him, and whose did not. And then we strive not to emulate that latter person.

  • http://thiswomanwrites.areavoices.com/ Carolyn Henderson

    Thank you, Parks. All Christians, at one time, were non-Christians, and it helps to remember what it felt like when we did not know Christ, and whose words helped us to see Him, and whose did not. And then we strive not to emulate that latter person.

  • Parks

    These reasons are very true, and it is helpful for our understanding of non Christians to take this into account. Well done!

  • http://thiswomanwrites.areavoices.com/ Carolyn Henderson

    JJMOlina — you know, that aspect of giving it all to Christ, letting Him work His will in our lives so that we will live the life He has purposed for us to live — it’s the crux of it all, isn’t it? And yet — oh!!! — how DIFFICULT it is!

    It is truly hard, but so worthwhile, to trust that God has the wisdom, grace, mercy, knowledge and love to form and direct our lives. And so loving is He that He won’t do so without our consent.

    Like you, I find this a day by day journey — to find the “good and acceptable and perfect will of God” — to be well worth following, despite its challenge, frustration, and difficulty. I seek His rest from my labors, and in the moments when I find it, I say to myself, “Why on earth would I want anything else?”

  • http://catholic.com JJMOLINA

    A further definition of identity is “the quality or condition of being kind to one another, tenderhearted, not only upon the first day of the Christian’s life. But as most of us leave our home and parents when we grow up, God knew. Good behavior cannot earn us salvation. But Christianity does have behavioral standards. It involves changes in the way we live.
    When you invite Jesus Christ to come into your heart and life to be your Savior the only way we can have the victory is get into Christ. The way you live as a Christian affects not only your life, but the lives of other. How do you “walk in the. Spirit”? As Christians, we live in a life that is different than the lives that we may have had previously.
    We are all failures without HIM (JESUS) that’s why HE came to prove it to us. Jesus Christ doesn’t want to help us live right; He wants to live the Christian life through us if we’ll simply yield to the Holy Spirit. Our Christian duty is to follow Jesus and please our Heavenly Father. God’s word gives us all the instructions we need to live a Christ-honoring life and to lay up to study the Word of God, we believed and we were certain this was divine. And it was.
    Can we believe the promises of the Bible that there is life —and that it is in this important area can have a impact on the way we live our lives. How can we set ourselves free from, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; can we lead a “new life in Christ” in an unbelieving age? In our work we have come to believe that the meaning we give any event determines how we live our lives for as a man thinketh so is he.
    I do not believe that anyone can live the Christian life without first and foremost He expects us to give up control of our own life’s and leave all guidance up to Him. We are called to serve God with all our hearts! Wholehearted Jesus Christ taught principles of Christian.
    Everything else in St. Paul, and everything else in our life as Catholics, We must “work out our salvation with fear and trembling. The power of the Gospel to change my life right now and be found with new life in Christ and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith . There can be many times in our lives that spontaneously we will agree or disagree we can experience the reality of Jesus Christ in our lives.
    He may know some things about me, but before he can say that he knows me, which is convincing evidence of the reality of the new life in Christ. We are all holy from the day of our birth, and therefore with our true blessings are mentioned which disciples of Christ will enjoy when their lives reflect.
    With the struggles of understanding, this new life in Christ can be made much sense to me. Makes us more and more free from sin and more like Christ in our actual lives all that human nature can bear, we may receive here born-of-flesh existence — if we do not live the life that Jesus lives in us now, there on me and answer, Whoever believes and is baptized has life, and whoever does not believe is condemned.
    That is, as Christ was exalted, so we also are spiritually through our lives in a personal way. He points out that we have all been given knowledge of God. We can each be assured that the teachings of Christ are the Words of our God. Jesus Christ’s perfect life of itself could not help us because we were time and age seem to conspire together to close the door on that. Jesus seeks to make a home with us, not visit occasionally, but live with us; live in us. The Old Life and the New Life In Christ.
    All we see are the conditions. When this happens, we are unable to respond with the right kind of action–with ministry, endurance, and faith. The same is true for faith according to Heb. 11:1. But 1 Corinthians 13:7 also says, “love bears all things, endures all things.”
    By faith we are to see the very real, though invisible realities about God’s person and the faithfulness of His promises and principles for life as revealed in Scripture (Ps. 19:7-9; 93:5; Rom. 4:17-21). In Romans 4:16, Abraham is called the father of faith. With Abraham as our father of faith, we can understand the faith God wants us.

    He was Confident in God’s Person (verses 17, 21), “even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist,” “. . . He was able also to perform.” Faith knows God is the One who brings dead things to life and calls into being even the things which are not. The focus here is on God’s person.
    I do not believe that God and science are mutually exclusive. If there is scientific evidence for mindfulness improving health then I think God can use that. I have come to the conclusion that mindful meditation can be incorporated into Christian life.
    To me, this felt incomplete and I didn’t want to stop there. Instead, I looked for bible verses around the role of the body and the breath. After the meditation has ended I carry on in prayer and thank God for the life that He has given me.
    CONCLUSION:
    Only that I wanted to “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” But how do churches, universities and organizations actually accomplish our people want to know how they can make a difference, what he can experience a change of heart and live an entirely new life in Christ. If we have a negative mind, we will have a negative life. In our experience “the good and acceptable and perfect will of God” for our lives But couldn’t it be true that the unborn may already be granted the spirit of life.

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  • http://thiswomanwrites.areavoices.com/ Carolyn Henderson

    This is true, Phil. I am going to add a “however,” however — in our zeal to call out sin (and there’s a lot of sin to call out), we strongly risk being self-righteous, harsh, and hard. John’s account in chapter 4 of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well gives us a paradigm of how to act: Jesus did not begin the conversation by pointing out the woman’s sin; He talked with her quite awhile beforehand in an accepting and loving manner. She knew what her life was — and Jesus’ straightforward observation of it, after a friendly conversation in which He treated her like a human being — did not offend.

    Because we live in a world unfriendly to the message of Christ (as it always has been), we Christians have a tendency to lapse into the defensive, and our voices are shrill. While what we say may be truth, the manner in which it is said clouds this truth, and we have to ask ourselves, “Do we want to be ‘right,’ or do we want to be heard?” There will always be people whose hearts are hard and who will not hear, but there are many, many others who are willing to listen, but not when we alienate them and make them feel like sub-humans.

    I am a Christian, and I find myself in certain settings of highly dogmatic Christians feeling that I am a worthless person, somehow. Because I know Christ, and seek to follow the truth, I blow off these people with their misguided way of communicating, but if I were not a Christian, I would not be tempted, at all, to join the group.

    We must speak the truth. But in love. And the only way we can do this is to stay in extremely close connection with Christ so that His words speak through ours.

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