Christianity can be a troubling religion – for Believers and non-Believers, alike. Here are a few reason why:
-The Bible is a Really Vague Book. I don’t mean that disrespectfully, either; I think there’s no finer book you could read. But it’s real head-scratcher and it raises more questions than it answers. Don’t believe me? Just ask any child. Where did this “God” come from? Why did God try to kill Moses because of a foreskin issue? Who’s Melchizedeck? What’s the deal with the Behemoth? What did Jesus mean when He cursed a random fig tree? And why do things like lamps and plagues show up at the End Times? (Sure, lots of you are ready to tell me your answers to these questions, but they are all heavily disputed, which means that the answers are not clear.) If God left us the Bible, why did He make it so vague? (Don’t try to answer that one, either, please. It’s a mystery for Believers.)
-The Church is Plagued with Scandal. Of course, this sort of thing is exaggerated by the media (for every scandalous minister there are surely a thousand who are honest), but it is a serious problem. No one wants to trust the church if they think it’s a den of thieves, and it’s an unfortunate truth that corrupt individuals will often try to find favor with the church in order to obtain a position of power there.
-Christians Don’t Agree one a Lot of Really Important Issues. The most respected thinkers of Christianity disagree about some very critical issues. For example, who goes to Heaven? There are Calvanists and Armenians, people who are saved by the church’s intervention, and people who are sanctified by their own journey – all of these viewpoints are adhered to by some very important church leaders. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Bible’s heaviest issues are sometimes the most debated, and that’s a little concerning.
-The Church is Irrelevant to Society at Large. Pastor’s make good fools of themselves when they try to “impact culture” – it’s a lost cause. The modern world enjoys hating Christians too much for us to change their perception that way. And most of our church leaders are older people who, while they do fantastic work in the church, have been in seminaries and church offices for a very long time. Inside the church, there’s nothing relevant to external culture. That’s not a bad thing, in my opinion, but it magnifies the church’s disconnection with the rest of the world.
-Christians are Easy to Make Fun Of. I believe in God. I’ve never seen Him, and I can’t show Him to you. No matter how hard I try, I can’t prove to the skeptic that I’m not a delusional person. To the outsider, I’m no different than the crazy man on the street who “talks to God.” (For all I know, they are talking to God.) Naturally, it’s easy to make fun of someone like me, and there’s nothing I can do about that. Christianity isn’t for people who want to please everyone. Or anyone.
-The Most Well-Known Christians Misrepresent the Faith. When an earthquake rocked Haiti, the news didn’t report about the thousands of Christians who were sent by their churches to help the needy (and are still there doing that), because they were busy telling us about Pat Robertson and his unwise rant. And when Christians in the Middle-East were burned alive in their church, no one batted an eye; but it was worldwide news when a pastor in Florida threatened to set a Koran on fire. Christians are constantly being represented by the oddballs who make good news stories but only represent their own corrupted view of the faith.
-Things Don’t Always Work Out for the People God Loves. God loves all of us, but bad things still happen to good people. People tell you that “everything happens for a reason” and that “all things work for the good of those who believe,” but that didn’t stop Christians from being publicly tortured to death in ancient times. That didn’t bring prosperity to Believers in the Great Depression, and it didn’t keep black Christians from being violently persecuted in America. Despite the happy, fluffy rhetoric that some Christians dispense during hard times, our world is terrible, and our lives can be empty and difficult. Understanding how this is possible when our world is ruled by a loving God is the essential struggle of every Christian (whether they admit it, or not).
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)