The face of Christianity

 I read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald last week (link) called "Believers are nicer".  Briefly, the article was based on research undertaken by Robert Putnam, professor of public policy at Harvard University, in which he found that  "religious people make better citizens and neighbours" . . . "On every measurable scale, religious Americans are more generous, more altruistic and more involved in civic life than their secular counterparts."  According to the article: Putnam and his team interviewed 3000 people twice over two years, asking a range of questions about people's religious lives as well as their civic involvement, social relationships, political beliefs, economic situation and demographic profile.

I am not writing about whether religious people are nicer or not, that isn't the purpose of this blog story.  My comments centre around the 403 comments people have left in regards to this news article.  A certain type of person leaves comments - those who don't really care either way probably don't write comments - only those with stronger views.  Therefore the 403 comments are not a cross-section of society.  But what struck me most was the hate and anger felt towards religious people - many comments were personally aimed at the Christian faith.  I have noticed a trend whenever newspapers writes articles on Christianity/religion that the comments are generally very similar. 

Have groups such as the Australian Christian Lobby (often seen as the public face of Christianity) left such a bad example that the general population now see all Christians in the same light.  Have Australian's witnessed the rise of the American Tea Party and seen this as another example of Christians trying to take control of power. Many of those who commented did not like having Christianity "thrusted down their throats" or seeing the Christian lobby trying to highjack politics to determine what should or should not be allowed in society (eg gay marriages) and they see groups such as the Australian Christian Lobby doing just that - often referred to as "hard-headed, stubborn, ignorance, backward, intolerant".

However it should not come as a surprise that we are seeing an increase in the dislike (or hatred, perhaps that is too strong a word) of Christians as it is written in John 15:18-19 If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you".  Personally I think the behaviour of each individual Christian is so important as the way we behave is seen as an example of the behavior of all Christians.  It only takes a handful of power-hunger Christians or those heavily focused on making money to leave non-Christians thinking we are all the same. These comments certainly give that impression.

A bit of a heavy topic to start the week -  but would love to hear your views. However "marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you." (1John 3:13) - the Lord has given us plenty of warning that the world will hate us and this is evident in these comments.

And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 
Matthew 10:22 (NKJV)



  1. Big topic, Jo! :)
    There's two or three things I was thinking on this topic...
    Firstly, I think it's people's guilt that makes them not like to be "preached" to - like when they say they hate Christianity/the Bible being "thrust" on them or "forced down their throat". The Bible makes it clear that we are to go into all the world and preach the gospel, and just because people hate Christ and His Word, shouldn't make us stop preaching!

    Secondly, one of the biggest problems with Christianity today is the falseness of it. There is no consistency (often because of the diversity of groups and people who claim to be Christians) and there is far too much of the world visible in so-called "Christian" circles. Unbelievers KNOW Christians are supposed to be different, and I think it really ruins everything and shames the Lord when there is no difference between a "Christian" and a person of the world...

    And of course another big problem is seen in people like the man who publicised the rapture earlier this year - people like that invite the scorn of unbelievers. Extremists always make things worse for those who walk in truth.

  2. Jo, I think as the divide between the world & the believers grows wider the hate will grow proportionally. It matters not whether Christians are consistant, ignorant, intolerant ~ or whatever they wish to say of us; the reality is that Christ sticks in their craws & offends them because they are forced to deal with some things they'd rather not. As the world hates Christ, so it hates the believer. We got warned to count the cost.

  3. I'm with the others, we have been warned to expect emnity. It is, however, each Christians duty to give a witness for the great God we serve. Then as a group they will "see how they love one another". As the body of Christ we sadly lack in our testimony before the world and in encouraging one another to live Godly lives. Some of us, I think, may be justifiably despised?

  4. Hi there Jo, love the way you have handled a tricky topic and what you say it is true!
    We are 'to be ready to always give an answer to those that ask us of the hope that lies within', and to 'go ye into all the world and preach the good news(gospel)', and yet we need also to be 'wise as serpents and harmless as doves' and 'not to cast pearls before swine'.
    So may the God of all wisdom show us when to speak and what to say and when to be silent and pray. I have learned this is the hardest bit. As to what others think of Christians (or the Jewish nation for that matter!) it is not new that they hate the followers of the Christ, for as you say they hated Him.
    Darkness hates the Light and yet praise Him he loves all in spite of this hate,
    love in Him,
    Shaz in Oz.x

  5. I came here last night, followed the SMH link and spent quite a bit of time then had to get off the computer lol!
    yes, I agree with all your commenters...we need to be bold, use wisdom, walk in love and be living epistles to those around us. Persecution and ridicule is part of the normal christian life so long as we are doing those things I mentioned:)


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