Survey Reveals how Christians Are Preceived…

“…and they’ll know we are Christians by our….”

How did that 70’s song go?

Well, according to a new book released by the Barna Group, titled, UnChristian: What a new generation really thinks about Christianity… and why it matters, most of those outside of Christianity would expect Christians to finish that song with…

And they’ll know we are Christians by our:

  • anti-homosexual mindset (91%)
  • judgmental attitudes (87%)
  • hypocrisy (85%)
  • old-fashioned lifestyle (78%)
  • over-emphasis on politics (75%)
  • cluelessness (out of touch with reality) (72%)
  • insensitivity to others (70%)
  • boring (personality?) (68%)
  • failure to accept other faiths (64%)
  • tendency to be confusing (61%)

Thinking about this, I’ve two observations:

  1. They are right. Christians often display those characteristics as primary. We’d like to think it’s because of the media’s portrayal of us, but it’s not just that. To those of us who are Christians, this should be a wake-up call to live the chorus sung in the 70’s: And they’ll know we are Christians by our love. By our Love! Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love. After all, it was Jesus who said: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
  2. Even if Christians were not guilty of these things, those who resist God’s pull on their life would still find reasons to reject Christians and Christ. I say this because about 15 years ago, the reasons for abandoning the Church were different: There is no value in attending (74%); Churches have too many problems (61%);I do not have the time (48%); I am simply not interested (42%); Churches ask for money too frequently (40%); Church services are usually boring (36%); Christian churches hold no relevance for the way I live (34%); I do not believe in God, or I am unsure that God exists (12%). While the reasons for rejecting Christ have changed, the outcome is the same: People allow the behavior of others to distract them from the truth concerning God. If this list of “perceptions” concerning “damaged” Christians in general is an EXCUSE for not coming to terms with the claims of Jesus, then too much power has been given to those whose lives are “damaged”. A wise person would set aside the “perceptions” and read what is said about and by Jesus in the primary sources (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and go from there.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. ~Jesus

2 thoughts on “Survey Reveals how Christians Are Preceived…

  1. Some replies:

    1. Ledford asked a good question to Cannon on his blog about something else that applies here (and just about everywhere else). How does the context affect the answers? I.E. how do the people of Curwensville think about the Christians in Curwensville? I don’t think you can really learn much thinking about these things nationally.

    2. A lot of complaining that unbelievers do about the church is like complaining about the fact that there are sick people in the hospital. Like, duh, as they say. So what if the church is full of judgmental and uptight people? How else are they going to become peaceable, loving and gracious? Spending 2 minutes on any secular/liberal Internet forum will show you that there’s no hope for uptight Pharisees there. Of course, things do go bad and the gunk gets into the leadership, but that’s the way sin is.

    3. I take this stuff with a grain of salt because of how much it is influenced by the news media/entertainment industry. Who are, not to put too fine a point on it, liars. How many people who answered this actually knew a number of devoted Christians, and how many just answered based on the caricatures they’ve seen on TV? It’s as if you asked my opinion about someone, knowing that I listened to vicious gossip about said person for hours a day. They ought to throw out the answers to these surveys of anyone who watches TV more than a half hour a week.

  2. Matt: I like your answer, especially point three. People who don’t actually know something are more than willing to spread the story just because it sounds good, whether it’s about a person or a group.

    I remember in college one of my classmates declaring that the Bible was full of contradictions. She didn’t actually know that for a fact, but it sounded good, so why not repeat it?

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