Monday, April 23, 2007

Why the increasing animosity towards Christianity?

Is it possible that a dearth of Christ-like characteristics -- such as integrity, holiness, forgiveness, compassion -- among believers is turning off "the world" to Christianity? Surely not. recently asked its Internet readers: What is the primary cause of the increasing animosity toward Christianity?

Readers said:

Anti-Christian media (39.58%)
Liberal public education (30.61%)
Political correctness (13.59%)
Indifference to religion (11.63%)
Anti-Christian politicians (4.59%)

On the Mississippi talk-radio show that I host, I asked the audience if a sixth answer might be appropriate. How about "Christians"? Could believers themselves be the primary cause of the "increasing animosity"?

OneNewsNow's poll was unscientific by polling standards. So were the answers to the talk show inquiry. But that day on the airwaves, 100% agreed that the Church has caused negative perceptions by:

  • Lackadaisical response and/or silence in the face of national moral decline
  • Mirroring the world's values
  • Rank hypocrisy -- we talk a good talk, but our walk is well worth criticizing
  • Powerless living
  • Anemic involvement in addressing the nation's problems

Is there an antidote to the Church causing loathing among the wider populace?

The audience thought so -- integrity, for starters. Talk holiness, but live it even more. Forgive those who wrong you and wrong the culture. Reach out to the unlovable and the "untouchables" of our age with Christ-like compassion. Quit saying that prayer is the most important thing and act like it really is. Be humble.

Like most talk-radio conversations, it all came out a little choppy. But there is wisdom here.

I once participated in a televised, four-person panel discussing my community --
Jackson, Mississippi. The city council was in disarray as the president of the council and another councilman were headed off to jail. The council president, for his part, had made a behind-the-back deal with a strip club for the purposes of a re-zoning ordinance, was caught and found guilty of the crime, and was subsequently sent to a correctional facility.

The moderator, a local newscaster named Katina Rankin, looked at me during the give-and-take and, trying to get a rise out of me, asked, "Matt, whose fault is all of this?"

Mission accomplished. I suddenly became agitated. My face began to get red and I prepared to launch into a tirade about how we are a nation of laws and how the city council president had looked at that law, trampled on it, and tried to get some cash flow he had no right to have as a public official. If we were looking for culprits there was only one place to put the blame -- smack dab in the council president's lap as he sat in his well-deserved jail cell.

That is what I was going to say.

But I never got the words out. One of the panelists sitting next to me was a gentleman named John Perkins -- author, teacher, community developer, national evangelical leader, Christian statesman. As my index finger stiffened and my blood pressure rose, I prepared to answer Ms. Rankin when Dr. Perkins intervened before I got a word out.

"It's my fault," he answered Rankin.

All heads, quizzically, turned his way.

"I have lived in this community for decades as a Bible teacher," he said. "I should have been able to create an environment where what our council president did would have been unthinkable because of my efforts.

"You want someone to blame? I'll take the blame."

You could have heard a pin drop. Part of the silence was mine as I reflected on my own lack of involvement.

Whose fault? Our fault. And that is something we can change.



At 9:25 PM, Blogger E. I. Sanchez said...

Did you see Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera go at it a few weeks back?

A lot of people think they are Christians. I don't know if they are or not, but if they are, the anger they showed was anything but Christian.

Joe Stowell (Fmr. Moody Bible Institute President) reminds us that:
people are watching us. We always have to do our best to be like Christ because people based their Christianity on us - unfortunately.


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