First Presbyterian Church
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I once was (pretty) blind, but now I see (better). Part 3

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 View Comments Comments (0)

          I’ve been reading several books recently (imagine that! – I’m a book-aholic) that explore how Christianity is viewed by young adults in the sixteen to twenty-nine years of age range.  It isn’t a pretty picture.  Careful surveys by The Barna Group have produced reliable but disturbing results.  The Barna Group has a good reputation for doing dependable research and surveys in the field of religion.  Their findings aren’t just based on a few interviews with questions slanted to produce certain results.  They found that young adults in the United States perceive Christians as hypocritical, too focused on getting converts, anti-homosexual, out of touch with reality, too political, and judgmental.  People who consider themselves to be outsiders hold these opinions in high percentages, but churchgoers in this age span also have these perceptions of Christians in smaller but still significant percentages. 

            At first I was shocked.  Then I remembered that I had some of those same feelings when I was in that age range.  I still feel that way about some of the fringe groups in Christianity.  I also supposed that perhaps much of all this could be attributed to exposure to fanatical televangelists or news reports on the latest weird or atrocious behavior of Christian leaders as reported on the TV news programs.  But as it turns out, the vast majority reported that their negative view of Christianity came not from the media, but from their firsthand experiences with Christians.  I then remembered times when I had experiences with Christians who were judgmental, pushy, and self-righteous.  For all of you who have had experiences that have given you reason to feel that Christianity is all of the negative things listed above, I offer my apologies.  The Jesus I find in scripture hung out with those who were oppressed, the suffering, and the misbehaving.  He seemed angriest and judgmental with self-righteous and pompous religious leaders who were disconnected from those who were showered with grace and love by Jesus.

 

What’s been your experience?

 

Mike Lamm   


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