All the talk about how Americans hate Muslims or somesuch lead me to do some critical thinking.
In reality, it appears our culture and society has bent over backwards to accommodate the Muslim faith. We have been extraordinary tolerant of them and their faith, and have welcomed them with open arms. The same goes for the other religions of the world. One doesn’t have to look very hard to see how. For instance, when a devout muslim attacks and kills in the name of Allah, we say, “Oh, he is just a minority of a minority in his group! Muslims are generally good people!”
In contrast, living as a Christin in American society seems to be the only sin left that offends our society. Whenever there is a mass-shooting in America, the media tends to blame White Christian Males. Regardless, all the violence in the world seems to be blamed on Christians rather than on the real source of violence. For instance, the muslim terrorists who attack and kill us and their own people are really upset about the Crusades from several hundred years ago, and so it’s really our fault that they are going on a violent killing rampage.
What is it that has compelled people in history and in modern times to hate Christianity?
First, some definitions are in order. When I say Christian, I mean those who follow Jesus Christ. By follow, I mean embrace the basics of what he taught, which can be summed up as the following points.
- God created us in His image and gave us commandments.
- We have broken those commandments, all of us, except Jesus Christ. This makes us all sinners and unworthy of God’s love.
- Despite this, God still loves us, and so He gave us Jesus Christ, so that we can return to God and become like Him.
- Jesus Christ asks us to have faith (trust) in Himself, to repent of our sins (turn away from sin), forgive each other and love God and love each other.
- Jesus Christ promises us peace in this life and to be joint-heirs with Him to inherit all that God has.
What about this message offends people? Let’s break it apart.
The idea that we were created in God’s image is an astounding one. Evolution teaches us that we are mere pondscum. Christianity teaches us that we are children of God, born and destined to be like Him. It doesn’t matter who we are — even the lowest among us are destined for the greatest things. This teaching is criticized and condemned, it seems, since once you give people the idea that they are better than who they really are, they start acting like it. The nobles of Europe wanted the peasants to no less imagine that they were as good as the lords than the rich and powerful oftentimes wish the commoners had the same thoughts. To those who want to control and dominate, this idea is very dangerous, because it means any person could be the person who replaces you.
As an example, let’s pretend we lived in Roman times. The emperor of Rome felt safe knowing that there were only a few people in the world who could ever claim his crown. He could make sure these people were supporting him, and slaughter the rest, and be done with it. What kind of chaos would occur if the people believed that anyone could be emperor? How could the emperor hope to bribe and placate the entire world’s population? Why, he would have to behave in such a way as to please everyone, namely, living a virtuous life.
The second part of this equation is the fact that as our Creator and Father, God has a right, nay, a duty, to explain how things work and how we ought to behave. This puts a damper on all the millions of people who think they know better than God and want to tell us how to live our lives. And make no doubt about it — people who try to supplant the God-given commandments with their own are fighting against God himself, and setting up some sort of vain idol worship. Just like Paul destroyed the idol manufacturing business in certain cities in Greece, Christianity destroys entire industries where people try to make themselves as gods or make their own gods for people to worship. Christianity is simply bad for business in the god-making business.
Moving on to the next idea, we consider what sin is. Sin is anything we do that is not congruent with the infinite commandments of God. When we disobey his commandments, we show great disrespect to Him. We also behave in such a way that brings some sort of evil into the world. If you consider the commandments as a Christian does, a sort of good-living guidebook, any violation of those commandments means you are not living your life as safe and as well as you could.
The idea that we are all sinners is offensive to some. I think it is because they do not imagine that there are any commandments that cover their behavior, or they imagine they are doing something else besides break those commandments, or perhaps they do not think it is wrong to do so. It is interesting to see the very people who say there is no sin in themselves wag their fingers at the sin they see all around them. Failing to admit to sin in yourself is simply deceiving yourself. You are lying to yourself in one way or another, and eventually, those lies will catch up to you. In short, failing to recognize sin all around and in us is failing to see the world as it really is. I know for a fact that people really hate the cognitive dissonance that comes from seeing the world as it really is. Physicists have fought with themselves, and continue to fight, to uncover what it is that is wrong in their thinking by trying to pay very close attention to what the universe has to say about things. It is hard, and it makes people angry to be told that they are wrong and full of error. But at the same time, it is necessary.
Once you’ve recognized sin, what is to be done about it? One possibility is to punish sin wherever it is found. In order to punish sin, you need to find it, and then you need to punish it. Those who advocate a universal punishment of sin also advocate a strong, tyrannical government who can peek into our private lives, make their own judgments, and then render punishments. If you think this is the ideal form of life, I invite you to move to Saudi Arabia or other places where governments have such a power. Now imagine that you are never, ever, ever going to find a group of people who have the exact same ideas about what God’s commandments are, and you see the problem.
I should pause to point out how our American / European system differs. We don’t go around looking for sin and error. We don’t punish the vast majority of sins. Instead, we’ve listed some very, very egregious sins that we feel we must act upon (such as murder, rape, theft, fraud, etc…), then we wait until someone breaks these commandments in a very public way. When they have done so, then and only then we send out our investigators and our judges and our executioners. As an example, although we have a law on the books that says you can’t murder, technically, you can murder, provided you don’t leave any trace of it so that no one knows about it. We’re never going to find you. So really, our law says, “You can’t murder in such a way that anyone else finds out about it.” That’s the difference.
Now, we could institute a system where there was no privacy, and then we would find all sorts of crimes and we could prosecute and punish them, but honestly, who wants to live like that? It’s better to wait until something happens in the public, and then execute on it. Besides, this is the mentality a Christian would have.
Which gets me to the point. In every other system imaginable, some one or some group of people need to be invested with some authority to either rewrite God’s laws or to find and punish violations of it. In the Christian systems, individuals are commanded to forgive one another and to encourage each other to repent and embrace Christ. This sort of thinking leads people to move away from authority and embrace a more open and friendly society without masters to boss people around. Obviously, this is the sort of thing that people who want to be masters and boss people around find disagreeable, and so naturally they want to encourage Christians to stop all this forgiving-and-loving business and get back to finding bad guys and beating them up.
The idea that God loves us no matter what we have done and has provided a way out and forward is something I also think people find aggravating. What good is a group of people who are nice to each other all the time and sincerely want to help others out? IF I were someone of ill intent, and I wanted to do bad things for my own reasons, that would be the sort of thinking I would wish to discourage. I would tell people to stop worshiping a God of infinite and unwavering love and instead embrace a god who hates and wants you to hurt and kill others. This is how I would get an excited mob to do things I want to get done.
On the other hand, I could also preach a god who has no commandments, and holds no one accountable for their actions. This sort of god would be a good god to use to convince people to do evil and selfish things. After all, a god with no commandments is no god at all.
It’s the sort of preaching that Christians make, that there is a God who has commandments and will punish us, but at the same time he loves us and wants us to embrace Him, that makes it really difficult to take advantage of people.
Which brings me to the topic of obedience to Christian principles of faith, repentance, forgiveness, loving God and each other, etc… Again, people who live like this are difficult to take advantage of. People who learn to love God also love his commandments. People who love each other won’t hurt each other. People who forgive don’t get angry and don’t form mobs. People who repent have no shame and can’t be blackmailed. People who only put their trust in Christ can’t be convinced to put their trust in other people. All of these things lead to the equalization of mankind, lead to the abolition of tyrannical forms of government, and the empowerment of the common man. If that were sincerely the desire of people who hate Christianity, then they wouldn’t hate Christianity.
The final component of Christianity, the component that probably drives people completely bonkers is the promise of everything the universe has. That is, anything you want or desire can be satisfied with Christianity. Perhaps you may not obtain everything in this life, but certainly you can obtain peace and happiness, soundness of mind in these mortal years, with the promise of eternal and infinite power and authority in future years. This sort of philosophy removes a powerful mechanism by which people try to gain control over each other. Let me explain.
Suppose you go to work one day and your boss says, “I’d like to give you a million dollars. All you have to do is lie on this form.” What he is trying to do is he is trying to get you abuse your position and power in some selfish interest. In any religion that doesn’t promise infinite rewards and peace of mind in this life, you would be tempted to agree. That is, you would be corruptible. A devout follower of Jesus Christ, however, would see this as what it is, and say, “You can fire me, but I will not behave dishonestly. See, my rewards lie in heaven, and I have peace of mind in this life, and there is nothing I am willing to trade those things for.”
Accordingly, if people become incorruptible, then what use do corrupt people have with it? What would happen if every FBI, CIA, IRS, and ATF agent were Christian and valued honesty and integrity above all else? What would happen if every commanding officer and enlisted man in our military was the same? A corrupt president could issue a command to do evil, but where would anyone obey such a command? This is the most frightful thing for those in power, and the reason why they hate Christianity above all else.
Those who rail against Christianity either fight something it is not (a strawman) or are corrupt themselves. We need not fear them. We can confidently stand up to them. Early Christians were fed to lions in the arena, and all they had to do was denounce Christ to be “saved”. We can do no less.
Stand up for Christianity, be bold, and don’t let the world get you down. Our hope lies in another.