Studies keep showing that non-Christians mainly associate Christians with being intolerant, judgmental, and arrogant. Ironically, though not surprisingly, Christians rarely, if ever, see how they are being intolerant, judgmental, or arrogant.
But that’s because we don’t often think about the implications of what we are saying. We aren’t intolerant, judgmental, or arrogant on purpose (for the most part, of course, there are some spectacular exceptions), we are generally just unaware of the implications of our words, phrases, systems, and approaches.
For instance, we talked before about the cliche “Love the Sinner but Hate the Sin” and how the message being heard is you love part of me, but not all of me. Your love for me is not unconditional but compartmentalized.” That’s not what we meant but, as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We can do a lot of damage with a lot of good intentions and a lot of naivete.
There are many more examples that I could mention.
But this post is about the trend to make Christianity more attractive to people by making it sound like it’s the most reasonable story out there. The point of this post is to say that by telling people that believing a man named Jesus was raised from the dead and that the Bible is written by God “makes a lot of sense if you think about it” or that it’s even “common sense” means that if someone doesn’t believe it they must necessarily either be ignorant or evil.
That is to say, when we make the truth of the Christian story obvious, largely to make ourselves feel better about believing it, we must explain then, if it’s so obvious, why others don’t believe.
And if someone doesn’t believe something that is obvious and common sense, after a while, we Christians have no choice but to say that they are either ignorant, in the sense that they aren’t even capable of grasping the most common sense truths, or they are evil, in the sense that they know its truth but the “hardness of their hearts” keep them from accepting it as their own. If Christianity is obviously true, I am not sure of other options we have.
And armed with the belief that Christianity is “obviously true” and therefore people who don’t accept it are either ignorant or evil, we take to the streets to tell people about Jesus (or about why evolution is wrong).
Now, what about this package wouldn’t give people the impression that we are intolerant, judgmental, and arrogant.