A great many myths are perpetrated regarding Christianity that I sometimes run into. I’d like to counter some of the more common ones.
The source for most of these myths is three-fold. First, by simply calling himself “Christian” a great many men seem to assert authority on subjects which have no relationship what being a Christian actually means (as defined by our church fathers in the New Testament). Second, those who are not Christians spread a certain amount of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) in an attempt to discredit us or simply because they don’t understand us. Third, the more subtle myths are actually held true by some believers when they have no basis in the Bible (or even other lesser authorities such as the councils and other historical writings).
These are in no particular order and I am just picking them out as I go. I may or may not add more posts to this as a series in the future.
Myth #1: Christians Hate People
This is sometimes a myth stated against all religious people. The premise I have heard stated is that because we believe in some sort of specialized, organized religion we spread hate against those that disagree with us. In reality, however, it is Christian principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution (and other documents that have since been derived from it) that protect the freedom to express beliefs other than Christianity. Christianity fully supports each individual’s right to believe anything she wants to believe.
There certainly are haters who name themselves “Christian.” There have been horrible and hateful atrocities perpetrated under the name “Christian.” That does not mean that these perversions of the truth represent the truth. A man could sit on a committee to find ways to work against domestic violence and yet still go home and beat his wife and children. That doesn’t mean that the committee itself is a bad idea.
Myth #2: Christians Must Never Judge
This myth is a little confusing because the term “judge” can be applied in two ways. It is true, that Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1) Or in Romans 2:1 Paul says, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” The point here being that condemning others on the basis of whatever you don’t like about them is not good. This is not what Jesus called us to do.
However, the flip side is that we are supposed to judge ourselves and know right from wrong. “But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.” (1 Corinthians 11:31) In a sense, we are required to judge the actions of ourselves and even others to make sure we do not follow after the sins of others. If we never judged, we’d believe in nothing. The hard part for every Christian is to not turn that judgment of action into a negative opinion of the actor. We are all sinners, every single one of us. We’re all equal in this way.
This returns us to Myth #1 about hate. If we hate others, we have judged them in an inappropriate way. If we’ve judged someone’s actions as being something not to follow, but still love the person, we have done right. This is something difficult for anyone to do since it is very human to distrust, suspect, and even hate someone just for being different. This kind of judgment we must make as Christians seeks to identify those differences. It is necessary. It is good. It is difficult for Christians to do the right thing in the process, which is why Jesus and Paul labor to point out how such judgments really condemn ourselves.
That’s it for tonight. Cheers.