Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Common Misconceptions about Christians (inspired by my brother Keith Lowell Jensen)

Last week my brother posted an article about misconceptions some Christians have about atheists.  I would like to post a quick little diatribe on misconceptions I think atheists have about Christians.

1.  If you don't believe the same thing the radical fundamentalist new earthers believe then you aren't a real Christian.  This one really pisses me off.  You know what?  These people didn't exist for 1,850 years of Christian church life.  So how could being a real Christian mean you believed what they do?  The truth is that Christianity from its very inception has been a very varied, and anarchic movement.  Even in the very birth of the religion, the supposed non-negotiables, were disagreed upon.  Even the very nature of who or what Christ was was in dispute.  So just because I don't believe what Pat "I got a diamond mine" Robertson says, doesn't mean I am not a Christian, it just means I am not a Christian of his ilk.

2.  If you don't believe what fundamentalists believe you are a buffet Christian just picking and choosing what you like.  This is along the same lines, however... and it is also not true.  Though not for the reasons you might expect.  ALL CHRISTIANS ARE BUFFET CHRISTIANS!!! You cannot read through the scriptures without in some way choosing to interpret some scriptures in light of others.  For instance the fundamentalists take Jesus literally when talking about what you do under the covers, but not when Jesus talks about what to do with your wallet.  You must make peace with a method of reconciling two seemingly opposing truths, my method is using Jesus actual life as the interpretive device.

3.  All Christians are conservative republicans.  Truth is, many are, many aren't, many don't fit into boxes of democrat republican, conservative liberal, and some are even radical anarchists like myself, and are so because of what we believe the bible and our faith teach us.

4.  All Christians are hypocrites... well that is true, but I am trying to become less so

Thanks heaps to my brother for guest posting while I was away getting in touch with my inner hippie



KLJ said...

Dear cherry picking, Republican, fundy, hypocrite,
Be careful about touching your inner hippy. You could get an infection.

Luke Harms said...

Great post, as always. I loved this quote - "my method is using Jesus actual life as the interpretive device."

This is the interpretation I choose as well, but you'd be AMAZED (actually, come to think of it, you probably wouldn’t be) at how many "Christians" are absolutely appalled by this particular hermeneutic.

I was writing about pacifism the other day and was assaulted by hermeneutical acrobatics and Pauline primacy (think Romans 13) from all sides. Then, when countering with Christ’s simple commands of loving your neighbor, praying for your enemies, and turning the other cheek, I’m shouted down with calls for “context!!”

::Sigh:: It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

john jensen said...

yeah, context

I get you brother, this seems so simple to me. Jesus actually meant love your enemies by not punching them in the face or bombing their children. See how he treated his enemies that killed him? Father forgive them. But he had to die so he could spill lots of blood and pay for our sin cause God needs blood to be sated.




Final Anonymous said...

Here's one:

"5. A belief in God / Jesus can't possibly be the result of intelligent critical thinking and analysis of scientific facts, with or without accompanying analysis of personal experience, social sciences, or the spiritual realm, because if it were a person would automatically reject a belief in God / Jesus.

Therefore, while possibly sometimes good people, Christians are needy / stupid / misguided / easily influenced / or blind, that's why they create an imaginary friend named God to hold on to."

I actually think any belief system is largely a function of choice, influenced by each individual's personal journey through life (and if God really is sovereign, he knows this). So I'm less concerned with what people call it -- humanism, pacifism, following Christ -- and more interested in the fruits of their beliefs.

If God is real he can call people to love in many different ways. The important thing is not who (or what) gets credit for the call, but that we answer it.

So I don't attribute atheism to a character flaw, and I get darned aggravated when my (albeit off-center) Christianity is attributed to one (or many!).

sabrutat said...

You're my kind of Christian, mate.