Pixabay.com
Pixabay.com

Everyone knows that one person in their church who praises God loudly on Sunday and then promptly forgets how to live a Christian life when they walk out the door. They talk about how people should be charitable and give to the poor, and then they throw out half of their meal when they eat out and refuse to lend a helping hand to those in need. They brag about how much they volunteer, but never contribute anything without making a scene. They are modern Pharisees, and half of the time they are the ones who sing the loudest “hallelujahs” on Sunday.

Hypocrites drive everyone crazy, regardless of what faith they practice, but there is something especially galling about encountering them in the house of God. In fact, hypocrisy apparently drives Pope Francis batty enough that he said it was better to be an atheist than to be a Christian who speaks the Word loudly with their mouth and then ignores it in their lifestyle.

“How often do we see the scandals of these people who go to church and are there every day, and then they lead a life in which they hate others or talk badly about other people?” Pope Francis said during his general audience in the Vatican on Wednesday, January 2, 2019. “Better not go to church: Live like an atheist.”

The sentiment that atheism is preferable to even half-hearted Christianity is surprising to hear from the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, the largest Christian denomination on the planet with an estimated 1.2 billion adherents. A closer examination of the Bible, however, shows that Pope Francis’ statement is not as out of left field as it may first appear. Story after story shows Christ forgiving gentiles and sinners but condemning the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and elders. Christ never advocated for the Pharisees to abandon Judaism, but He did make it clear that He felt they were not living up to the faith that they claimed to profess. What the hypocrites Pope Francis called out will do is unclear. Regardless of their response, however, Pope Francis once again endeared himself to the average Catholic by speaking out about an issue that the everyday person encounters all too often.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

A new video by The Lincoln Project, a newly formed Republican organization against Donald Trump, mocks Trump supporters for worshiping “The MAGA Church.” The ad intertwines clips of Trump talking about faith with videos of him speaking crudely. It also features Bible verses, such as Matthew 7:15 which states “Beware of false prophets, which come […]

Georgia Rep. Barry Loudermilk is generating a lot of buzz right now for comparing the impeachment process of President Donald Trump to the Trial of Jesus. Loudermilk whose district covers a large part of Atlanta’s northern suburbs, spoke at Trump’s impeachment hearing and made these controversial remarks: “When Jesus was falsely accused of Treason, Pontius […]

Less Americans are giving to charity and it may not be for the reason you’re thinking. Giving has dropped significantly between 2000 and 2016 according to a study released from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Vanguard Charitable. This decline points to 20 million fewer households donating to charity versus 2000. Money […]

By Kenneth Foard McCallion Impeachment has often been described as a political process. But the current impeachment inquiry unfolding in Congress is also, in a fundamental sense, a moral and ethical challenge for all Americans. Before we can take a position as to whether a sitting president should be impeached and removed from office, we […]