Studies keep showing that non-Christians mainly associate Christians with being intolerant, judgmental, and arrogant. Ironically, though not surprisingly, Christians rarely see how they are being intolerant, judgmental, or arrogant. Often they just assume they are being unfairly persecuted against.
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 for them to hear 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 thing in the world. The point of this post is to say: 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 so many other people 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.
For instance, if you tell a man to do something that is “obvious” and “common sense,” like “Go pour your coffee in the sink,” and he pours it in your fake flower pot instead, what will you think? Either that he is so, let’s put it gently, dim-witted that he didn’t even understand what the sink was, or more damning, he did it on purpose as a malicious deed. Either way, the guy who didn’t follow the “obvious” and “common sense” instruction isn’t looking good. He’s either evil or ignorant.
We do the same with the Christian story. Armed with the belief that Christianity is “obviously true” (or that evolution isn’t), when people just don’t buy it, we implicitly (and sometimes explicitly unfortunately) make them out to be evil or ignorant.
Now, what about this wouldn’t give people the impression that we are intolerant, judgmental, and arrogant.