The corrupt leaders of ancient Rome wagged the finger of blame at Christians, making them convenient scapegoats for society’s ills, ranging from run-away taxation to crop-failure. Because Christians have a built-in mechanism to admit their imperfections, they didn’t defend themselves very well. This, in turn, made them food for lions.
I witnessed yesterday yet another popular Christian author piling-on the church as the “main cause of atheism.” His quote made the rounds on Facebook. If we Christians weren’t so dang un-Christian, the popular author implied, the atheists of the world would quickly bow the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Not so fast.
In this paragraph, I officially own that Christians all too often aren’t very Christian. I start with myself. There is plenty to criticize in me and in Christianity at large. Let’s stipulate that, and by doing so, pre-answer any comments below that suggest I’m white-washing Christian badness. We Christians frequently don’t represent our Savior well. Admitted.
Even so, if we could wave a magic Bible verse and fix the church… even if every Christian on earth could match the heroic levels of self-giving love, courageous sacrifice, uncompromising faith, and world-changing dedication of the early church… for most unbelievers, it wouldn’t make any difference at all.
That is because the number one reason people refuse to believe in God IS BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE THEIR OWN GODS.
God has competition. It’s called EGO.
In other words, they are atheists because it suits their lifestyle and moral preferences. They don’t have a boss to answer to, existentially speaking, other than their own selves. This makes them, by definition, their own gods. Who wants a divine Enforcer breathing down their necks anyway?
There are indeed some good-hearted atheists who have arrived at their religious convictions through logical, carefully considered, thoughtful argumentation. I have a good friend whom I love dearly that I would put in that camp.
But let’s be honest: most people push away God because he is inconvenient. And they blame the Christians because we’re convenient, and well, we don’t fight back much. In fact, we circle up the firing squad and shoot each other… “Yes, Christians are indeed horrible, and -phobic in a dozen ways, and we’re ruining the world.”
I lovingly urge you to jump off the Christian-bashing bandwagon. God loves his church, imperfections and all. We are the bride of Christ, and you can’t hate what Christ loves and love Christ at the same time. Every time you join the chorus of church-bashers, you rip at the fabric of a young Christian’s faith. You plant the seeds for wholesale dismissal of the Church, and ultimately of Christianity, in the hearts of teenagers and young adults who lack the critical faculties to evaluate your critique.
I’ve been guilty myself. I’m sure you can find sermons in which I criticize the church, and even blame the church, for not being Christian enough. I repent of any spirit of criticism against the church. I’m sorry. When I find it necessary to preach against particular failings, I will do my utmost to uphold the church itself as the apple of God’s eye, in spite of her shortcomings.
Please join me in this.
Speak well of the church, of her ideals and her accomplishments, even if you must raise a prophetic voice against her evils. Speak well of the church, of her people and faithful few, even if you must poke fun at her foibles. Don’t get sucked into the cliche machine of social media. Don’t join the chorus of those who despise blood-bought people of God.
And don’t get fooled by the smoke screen that Christians are the “main cause” of atheism.
Why do people push God away? Because they don’t want moral restraints. Because they refuse to submit to a higher wisdom. Because they judge their ways as higher than God’s ways. Because they elevate their own wisdom above his. Because their hearts are deceitful. Because a refrain plays through their depraved mentality, singing: WE WILL NOT HAVE THIS BEING TO RULE OVER US.
That’s the main reason why.
Why do people push God away?
- Because they did not like to retain God in their knowledge… Romans 1:28
- Because professing themselves wise, they became fools… Romans 1:21
- Because they suppress the truth… Romans 1:18
- So they are without excuse… Romans 1:20
No. Not even the excuse of imperfect Christians.
Have you heard Christians bashing Christians? What reasons have you heard people give for pushing away God?
As always, sharing is appreciated.