Mean People Suck
February 16, 2011
There are some bad people out there who call themselves Christians. These people lie, bully, cheat and steal. Looking at Christian history it is not hard to point to moments in history in which self professed Christians did butchery to their fellow man. This fact will lead many people to conclude that perhaps Christianity is the problem. This attitude can be especially pronounced if one has a few personal bad experiences coupled with some good experiences with non Christians. It is not difficult to understand why someone might have the attitude that we should get rid of this religion with all the hypocrites and the problem is solved.
The error with this approach, of course, is that assumes that the cause behind these acts of hatred is Christianity. But it is not fair to compare Christianity to a perfect utopia. There are some jerks who call themselves Christians. That is undeniable. Christian history has all sorts of warts and bruises. But if you look at the history of every society that ever existed (Atheist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Pagan, Hindu etc), you will also see some pretty nasty things. You cannot blame Christianity for the fact that people are not perfect. You have to blame people for the fact that people are not perfect.
Instead the question must be: ‘Does Christianity make people better than they would be without it?” That answer is undoubtedly yes. When I ministered to prison inmates, I saw the impact it made when hardened criminals converted. When I served the homeless, I saw the impact Christianity made people converted. Most of all I saw the impact that Christianity has made on my own life.
Are big jerks who become Christian still jerks? In many cases, yes. But hopefully, they are a little better. Maybe a little less mean. Maybe a little more merciful. Not perfect….but better.
Christianity makes individuals better and society is simply made of a bunch of individuals. So, did Christianity make the societies that converted better? In almost all known cases, yes. The Roman Empire used to kill almost half its baby girls. That stopped thanks to Christianity. The Roman Empire used to gather together in stadiums but instead of watching people kick a ball around they would watch lions eat people as they screamed in pain. That stopped largely due to Christianity.
If your background includes painful experiences with hurtful jerks who called themselves Christians, I am very sorry for that. I will not defend them or their actions. But it is not Christianity that made them jerks. I have met jerks who were irreligious, jerks who were Muslim, jerks who were neo-pagans. Jerkiness happens. “Mean people suck.” It is a sad fact of life.
But Christianity doesn’t tell people to be jerks. It tells people to be kind and gentle and good. The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.”
If the people you know were not loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self controlled then they did not suffer from too much Christian theology but not enough.
This is a repost of something I posted in the comments section of a previous post.