Why People Hate Christians

I feel that I’m an authority on the topic of people hating Christians. After all, I was a pastor’s kid, went to a Christian school, played in church bands my entire life… I’ve seen my fair share of Christians, both real and fake.

What I’ve discovered over the years is that there are really three types of Christians. The most common is the “Membership Christian.” These are people who go to church because of the social connection. They might somewhat believe Jesus lived and they probably believe you should be a “good person,” but mostly they’re there for the free donuts and the friends. If the pastor preaches something that hits them a little too close, they might just leave for greener pastures, or they might just tune him out. Actually living a faith-filled Christian life is not something that interests Membership Christians.

The second type of Christians are the “Functional Christians.” These are people who do believe in God, in Jesus, the resurrection, etc. At the same time, they understand that the “world” as Christians like to call it does not relate to weirdos. A Functional Christian believes that the way they should witness is by living THEIR OWN LIFE in a Christian way. After all, the Bible says that “by their fruit you shall know them.” In other words, if someone’s a Christian, they shouldn’t have to tell people, it should be obvious. Functional Christians have many unsaved friends, who are drawn to the Functional Christian because they like what they see…

The third type of Christians are the ones that get all the press, because frankly, they’re the most annoying. These are the Standards Christians. Standards Christians are extremely focused on rules, regulations, and standards. They take the verse “avoid every appearance of evil” to mean that they shouldn’t do anything that could ever be construed by ANYONE to be bad. They don’t watch R rated movies (which they arbitrarily picked even though PG-13 movies often have tons of crap in them), the men keep their hair short, they don’t listen to “secular” music, and they certainly don’t drink or dance.

The problem with Standards Christians is twofold. First, they NEVER think that they themselves are judgmental. Ever. In all my years, I’ve never met a Standards Christian that would ever acknowledge being one. Second, they look down their nose at anyone who does not follow their rules, regulations, and standards.

Of course, Jesus himself never looked down his nose at anyone. He didn’t judge people who were sinners, he forgave them (something which only he can do). Jesus understood that you can’t draw an unbeliever in by treating them like a second-class citizen. That’s why he spent his time with the sick, the prostitutes, and the tax collectors (the real dirtbags of his time).

Standards Christians are on a quest. They want everyone to follow their phoney-baloney-made-up rules. They try to impose them on everyone they meet, even if they’re doing it by quietly passing judgment on people. You see, quietly passing judgment is their way of guilt-tripping people into becoming a believer.

Have you ever heard the term “you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar?” Well, Standards Christians are vinegar.

Unfortunately if you were to break it down into percentages, you’d probably get something like 60% Membership Christians, 10% Functional Christians, and 30% Standards Christians. That means for someone on the outside looking in, 60% of the Christians look like hypocrites and 30% look like judgmental morons. That can’t be attractive to a non-Christian.

And it isn’t attractive. It’s evident from the national reaction to Christians. The media mocks Christians. Non-believers always claim hypocrisy and judgmentalism – and rightly so.

As Christians, we have a responsibility to refrain from judgmental behavior, from hypocrisy, and from phoney standards. This means not looking down our noses at people who are non-believers or who are doing something against our beliefs. It really is God’s job to judge people’s souls. We can know right from wrong without judging… those are two different things. We also have to refrain from hypocrisy. That doesn’t mean we have to be perfect, it means that we can’t say one thing and do another. If we have a problem with alcohol, then for Incredipete’s sake, we can’t go around telling people drinking is wrong!

And finally, we can’t try to impose phoney standards. I often heard the term “higher standards” when I was growing up. “We Christians need to have a higher standard.” What exactly does that mean? A higher standard than Christ? People who use that term are deluding themselves. Being Christ-like isn’t a set of rules. To say that it is misses the entire point of what Jesus tried to teach us by his example.

What would Jesus do? He’d start by not sinning (which he was good at), follow that with some teaching to anyone who WANTS to hear about Christianity, and finish it off with some good old fashioned wine and dancing.

To the non-Christians reading this, I’d ask you not to lump all Christians together. We’re not all the same, just as all non-Christians aren’t the same. There are churches out there that teach love, forgiveness, and kindness.

  15 comments for “Why People Hate Christians

  1. Bruce
    June 4, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Well said. I’ve always said that more “christians” have kept people away from Christ than have added to the church by their walk.

    As a side note, I think you using “for Incredipete’s sake” is mildly amusing… 🙂

  2. June 4, 2009 at 9:38 am

    I may have been generous when I said 10% of the Christians were the functional type… It’s no wonder people think we’re all loons.

    I thought about saying “for my sake” but that just didn’t flow.

  3. Dave
    June 4, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Incredipete,
    Good call on the classifications – though I’d estimate the membership class a little higher.

    The temptation to create our own rules apart from God is age-old. The Jews had the word of God, but then the Rabbis added the Tanakh, with thousands of pages of extra rules based loosely on the Bible. God said to rest on the Sabbath – the Tanakh spends 50 pages discussing whether it’s ok to eat an egg laid on the Sabbath, because that would be profiting from the labor of the hen on Sabbath.

    I think in a culture of Christianity dominated by Membership Christians, the temptation to create that higher standard is unfortunately strong(though still wrong). The fact is, Christians aren’t – and can’t – MAKE a difference, because for the most part, they are NOT different.

    The issue is balance – having regard for God’s ACTUAL commands, letting him transform our heart, and not just superficial appearances, without creating a standard that you apply to others. That would be like enforcing a personal diet on other people, even if you’re the only one who is overweight, or at least the only one who cares about getting fit. Instead, if we need to diet, we should do it quietly, and eventually, maybe someone will ask – how did you make that change? And then our answer can then have a lot more to do with heart change than in made up rules.

    Good thoughts as always.

  4. June 4, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Lemme ask you this. Because I’ve asked this of “Christians” before and been told I was hell-bound.

    I’m Catholic. I believe in Jesus and the resurrection and all that jazz.

    Am I a Christian?

    Now…the fact that I refuse to set foot inside a Catholic Church after some of the things I saw in the late 90’s is irrelevant to this conversation.

    Is someone who is a practicing Catholic Christian? I’ve been told we are not. How the hell is that possible or have the Standards just gone and screwed it up for everyone?

    Down here in the South, there may not be more than 10% as you estimate but they sure make a hell of a lot of noise and sicken me. I’ve written about this a lot. Someone puts a fish and the tag “Your brother in Christ” on his business card and then steals from his neighbors. A VERY Christian minister neighbor comes to my house and cusses me out because he doesn’t think our community should have a pool. My father is told by a 12-year old that he’s going to hell because he’s Catholic.

    They may be only 10% but they make a lot of noise, and as I have mentioned, turn off a lot of the vast middle who has no need or use for extremists.

  5. June 4, 2009 at 9:55 am

    As a non-believer, I can tell you that I don’t hate christians (DUH), but I can’t get with anyone who uses their religion as an excuse for their bigotry and to preach intolerance – and there are a lot of people doing that in the name of christianity. Which is unfortunate for people who represent what christianity is supposed to be about, and who are living that way every day.

    What I’m really afraid of is the people who can’t tell the difference, and assume that any group of people is exactly the same as the vocal, extreme sects of that group – whether it’s christians, muslims, feminists, animal activists, etc.

  6. June 4, 2009 at 10:02 am

    So the Standards Christians are the ones who invented all the denominations? “Oh, I don’t like going to Church on Sundays and I don’t believe in Reincarnation or having flowers in church at Easter. So I’m going to invent my OWN religious denomination and dictate to people how they should worship!”

  7. June 4, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Rob, you got my numbers wrong. 10% are the ones who AREN’T dipsticks of one sort or the other. At least 30% are judgmental wackjobs and the other 60% are just there for the donuts.

    You are a Christian if you believe that Jesus was the son of God who died for your sins. Faith is what makes you a Christian, not a label.

    Andria – most people group everyone with the most vocal member of the group. That’s just the way it works. It’s easier than evaluating people one at a time.

  8. June 4, 2009 at 10:43 am

    I hate “Christians” because when I got pregnant they all judged me, and now that I’m with a woman, not only do they judge me, they block me from being able to legally marry her in my own state. What difference does it make to them if I get to have her on my insurance and claim married status on my taxes? Idiots!

    Not you, Incredipetee…. just the stupid Christians.

    PS – Facebook is retarded.

  9. June 4, 2009 at 10:54 am

    nogoodadddy,

    No one can conclusively say another is going to Hell. NO ONE has that ability or that right. Only the Big Guy (God) and/or JC can do that. Of course, according to the Bible, if you haven’t accepted JC as your Lord and Savior, you pretty much have a one-way ticket to ‘down there.’ This is a technicality, albeit a large one, but no human retains the right or ability to send someone to Hell.

    People can *say* someone will go there but there’s no guarantee that will happen. : )

  10. June 4, 2009 at 11:59 am

    McMicheal: I agree. Only the great dount in the sky (or whatever you happen to believe in) decides where you go or don’t go.

    That doesn’t stop the 30% (Sorry Pedro…I did mis-read that stat) from acting like asshats and, as Andria said, using any religion to spread hate, exclusion and bigotry.

    Me? I’m an asshole, but not a bad person. I’ll open my home to any friend in need and never turn a friend away. Sounds pretty Christian-like to me. Yet, the Bible-Thmupers down South here have already condemned me to hell.

    Funny story: Our daughter recently decided she wants to go to church because she heard they had squirt guns. JewelrySlut had to explain to her that our church isn’t really like that. I chimed in to let her know that our church is about making you feel bad about yourself. conversation ended right there… Bad parenting? Maybe. Funny? Hells yea

  11. June 4, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    The Catholic persuasion definitely infuses more than their fair share of guilt. That’s why I go to a church literally called “Mercy Church.” That’s more my style.

  12. June 4, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Ms. Right … I am especially sorry for your experience with some whacko-(so called) Christians!

    Check Out my youtube sermon “God loves Gays” or my blog (timmygibson.com) with a blog entry of same title.

    Incredipete, Good stuff bro! So, if I may ask, which type are you? lol! I think I float from one to the other at times, unfortunately! But I hope I am not the wing nut idiot kind! God help me!

    On the whole issue of “Hell” and who is going there… for anyone human to presume they have any idea are ignorant! That is WAY above our pay grade!

    We as Christians should just do our best to do good, live right and love all people equally.

    Pastor Timmy

  13. June 4, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I try to be a functional Christian, but at times I probably slip into the membership category. I consciously avoid going over to “standards” Christian…

  14. June 4, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Ms. Right, I remember those “Christians” that judged you (and me) when you were pregnant. I think I speak for all “real” Christians when I say “poo on them…. they were all hypocritical bozos anyhow.”

  15. June 4, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Thanks Timmy and Incredipetee for the comments. I’m probably not as cynical about Christianity as my comment indicates or as I once was. It just sucked that at the time in my life I needed the most support, Christians were the ones making my life worse instead of helping to make it better.

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