October 18, 2017

Guess what this atheist heard in church?

woman1.jpg“Before I restart the “Evangelical Anxieties series, here are words from an atheist who visited some 30 churches.

Clearly, most churches have aligned themselves against non-religious people. By adopting this stance, Christians have turned off the people I would think they want to connect with. The combative stance I’ve observed is an approach that causes people to become apathetic—and even antagonistic—toward religion as a whole. Many evangelical pastors seem to perceive just about everything to be a threat against Christianity. Evolution is a threat. Gay marriage is a threat. A swear word uttered accidentally on television is a threat. Democrats are a threat. I don’t see how any of these things pose a threat against Christianity. If someone disagrees with you about politics or social issues or the matter of origins, isn’t that just democracy and free speech in action? Why do Christians feel so threatened?

You need to spread the message of Christianity—the message being what Christianity stands for—loving each other, helping the people around you. Those are things everyone can get on board with.

I can hear the blah blah blah now, so if you plan to comment on how dumb it is to expect an atheist to get the Gospel, save it. This guy heard exactly what evangelicals are selling these days: the Culture War. Be afraid, fear for your culture, save your kids, take control of the country, stop Hillary, etc. Manipulation. Fear mongering. Not the Gospel, unless you’ve already traded in the Gospel for something else.

Comments

  1. Sadielouwho says:

    Michael,
    The answer you highlighted in your original post was the one that stood out to me in the article, too. Also,
    “HM: You should ask: Are atheists really bad? Why do we think other religions are wrong? And not just “I’m right, so they’re inherently wrong,” but what really do they believe? Why do so many people believe these other things? Why do only certain people believe in Christianity? How do we know what’s divine? How do we know every single thing the Bible says is true?”

    These questions that he asked are the ones I run into the most with my atheist friends and I think they are worthy for discussion.
    I think that atheists are exposed more to people’s pet doctrines and political views more than they are exposed to the truth of God’s word and the simplicity of the gospel.
    I think I straighten out at least one falsehood about Christianity every day in my daily discussions with atheists. It’s amazing what some of them bring to the table as fact.
    One atheist asked me yesterday, “But don’t you Christians think that once you’re ‘born again’, you never sin again?”
    This question led us into a discussion about grace. It was awesome.
    Thanks for your post on this Michael, I’ll link up to it.

  2. I would love to go back and have some stupid arrogant conversations I’ve had with “seekers” in the past. What a fool I have been when I would just regurgitate the drivel I had heard in church from some of the “better Christians”.

    Coming down from a ladder that tall is a work in progress but it’s a journey I’m glad I have started. I had a gay couple tell me once “Saint is cool; he’s ok with our relationship”. I’m glad they didn’t see me as a threat. I had to inform them that I wasn’t OK with their relationship but I intend to echo God’s grace on me, onto them.

    I’ll never again assume that I know what somebody’s relationship with God is or how God looks at them or what plans he has for them. Heck I don’t even know what my wife is planning most of the time.

    There are things that I’ll never agree with but, I’ll never again look down on it as if I’m some stone statue of perfection.

  3. Histrion (Jay H) says:

    Sadielouwho writes: I think I straighten out at least one falsehood about Christianity every day in my daily discussions with atheists. It’s amazing what some of them bring to the table as fact. One atheist asked me yesterday, “But don’t you Christians think that once you’re ‘born again’, you never sin again?”

    Except the atheist is right. Some Christians do believe that, and preach it in public, on the radio.

    Did the atheist ask you the follow-up question? The one that goes, “If ‘born again = never sin again’ isn’t true Christian belief, why isn’t most of Christianity speaking out against those ‘few’ Christians who preach it?”

  4. Sadielouwho says:

    Jay H–
    Hello! I have had atheists ask that question before. Not in that particular context but I have had them ask me why some of the more outspoken Christians are able to say the things they do without open condemnation.
    I usually tell them that Christians fighting among themselves is not a very good witness and that many people do recieve rubuke and correction on a private, personal level–maybe from their peers.
    Sometimes, people that preach false doctrines are in some kind of cult or home church and they don’t have an authority but themselves and those people are hard to discipline because they don’t answer to “anyone but God”. Have you been involved with those types?
    They don’t recieve correction very well if at all.
    Don’t you think that when Christians fight over pet doctrines, it turns people off? It turns me off and I’m a Christian! *laughing* I can’t imagine what it looks like to the unbelieveing world.

  5. What is most sad about this not that it is true (although that is sad as well), but it is that when we fret and moan about how everything is a threat to Christianity, whether using the word threat or simply conducting ourselves in a way that communicates that concept, we are saying that God isn’t big enough to manage through such things. It is a clear expression of lack of faith in what we claim to believe. We are simply to love and when we do it shows faith in a very big God to take care of all the problems. It is God-glorifying to love and obey; it is an expression of doubt in God and making ourselves gods to worry and fret over things.

  6. >>This guy heard exactly what evangelicals are selling these days: the Culture War.

  7. Word. This is great stuff. God is a republican and sends all liberals to hell. Haha! Bill O’reiley is hilarious.

  8. Sherwood MacRae says:

    I have heard most of what I see written – and it all comes off with the same impact of a dead leaf falling to the ground after its season.