I was watching a documentary about the “Church of Scientology” where one comment on the show describes it perfectly-

They only tell you, once you have spent thousands of dollars and years of your life getting deeper into the church, that you are “inhabited by aliens”! If they told you that at the start, how many would have still joined?”

Whenever I hear non-Christians talking  about Christians I have heard things like:-

All Religious people are “brainwashed

As one man once said to his mum “If you knew what was in here before, you would be glad it was washed!” Brain-washing is defined as “indoctrination that forces people to abandon their beliefs in favour of another set of beliefs by conditioning through various forms of pressure or torture”  Ok, in the past the crusaders and other medieval people may have used torture, but in the 21st Century no-one is being forced to walk through the doors of churches (in fact churches are almost begging them to come in!) Those teenagers who are forced, end up resenting church!  God does not force you to follow him or accept the impact of his son’s crucifixion!  It is when we individually acknowledge our own faults, and what Jesus did for us that we follow the Christian faith (But even when we hear a talk, we need to test it and discard if it is untrue!)

There are more sinners inside church, than outside it!” 

No, there are the same number, we are all sinners! However, because we know the “law“, we as Christians should avoid what God says is not good for us! Compare it to a tourist in a foreign country, where there is a particular law that all must obey and unless someone, who knows what the law is, tells them, the tourist may break it! The problem with laws is that someone will eventually break it!  But, through the death of Christ, ALL of our law-breaking of God’s commandments etc, has been forgiven, forgotten, removed as far as the East is from the West! Unfortunately as we know the law, instead of lovingly guiding people away from the grey line before they step over into sin, we condemn, we criticise and “Christians” apparently feel the right to call someone a “B******”. God is love, we should be promoting “love and peace” not “hatred and condemnation”!

Christians are wimpy, weak willed individuals who need an emotional crutch!

Firstly, if you have ever seen the guys from tough talk you would realise that real Christians are not all wimpy, those guys are weightlifters who led very “colourful” lives before “finding God“, these guys lift incredible amounts of weight with ease as they testify to God’s transforming power and the impact of Christ’s sacrifice in their lives!

Secondly, following the Christian faith does not mean we are weak willed, unfortunately due to a certain amount of British “stiff upper lip” and the fact that Christians are not persecuted as badly in the western world, we are too willing to be compromising with the gospel message, and we do not stand up enough when we hear blasphemy or things that are detrimental to society, we are so afraid of offending and not being politically correct that we fail to be effective  as “salt and light” in the world.

Christians are bigoted!

Yes, some people who call themselves Chrisitians are bigots and judgemental!  But so are some non-christians! Unfortunately, it is part of the human condition, children who go to school with children from other backgrounds/races/cultures are not inherently bigoted, they are very accepting!  My kids come home often and talk about their friends who have names that without doubt are not “English“, I even walked to school with my son one day and he said “your skin is dark like my friend Ahmed.” Initially I was surprised and thought “has he noticed that himself or has someone pointed it out“? My parents had a couple of people, over from South Africa who my children had never met, my children were not old enough to be at school and hadn’t had much “contact” yet with anyone from Africa.  My son walked up to the man and pulled on his trouser leg, asking to be picked up!

It is only lack of knowledge, due to inexperience and/or unwillingness to get to know people of other backgrounds, that makes us bigoted.  When I was younger, we had another man come over from Africa to stay at my parents for a week or two, he was the rudest, most offensive man my parents had ever met!  It would have been easy for us to have thought that all African people were like that, but fortunately we had met a large number of lovely, caring Africans that we didn’t come to that conclusion at all!

Jesus wasn’t bigoted, in fact he was the total opposite!  He spoke to everyone, treated everyone as human beings who need love, respect and the knowledge that someone cares about them!

Christians are “hypocrites

Unfortunately, we all can be hypocritical!  We say or act one way on a Sunday or at a mid week service/meeting but our actions the rest of the week, can be the polar opposite!!  I have been in churches long enough and had a fair amount of experience of people not acting how they say they will or do!  There was a memorable moment when I spoke to someone who was adamant they were so passionate to be “godly 24/7” that they did not watch football! A few weeks later,  I was around their house when there was an advert for an England match and they were virtually running around the room screaming “COME ON ENGLAND!”

There is a great need for us to “authentic” online and “offline“, there are a lot of incidences in life, where you cannot but cringe at so called “Christians” as they react to things in life, if I wasn’t a Christian I would certainly be wary of following people into a belief that doesn’t hold that much effect on their lives!

Sometimes when I look at other “religions” I wonder if I can learn anything from them, like should I be more outgoing about “sharing the gospel” like Jehovah’s Witnesses or  be determined to learn my bible from cover to cover like some Jews and Muslims?  But then you realise that as Christians, even though our words don’t always line up with our actions, neither do some Jews/Muslims, one minute they are criticising how others live and the next they are in a bar getting drunk in strip clubs or eating a bacon sandwich!

Being a Christian isn’t about being a “goody-two shoes” or “pious” but  it is about living life as close to Jesus’ teaching  as we can!