As I said in my last post, Christians don’t have the greatest reputation, and often for good reason. There are many reasons why someone who has interacted with Christians in the past might now hold a grudge against the Christian church as a whole. Although these reasons will be heavily influenced by individual experiences, here are some of the biggest complaints I’ve seen:
1. Sexism. There is a common misconception that the Bible claims women are meant to be subservient to men, and this belief is widely held within the church itself. Within Christian culture, women are expected to get married young, have babies, do all the housework, and quietly submit to their husbands. From the outside, Christians appear to be stuck in the 1950s. From the inside, women and girls are often left feeling trapped and conflicted, as they are taught that having goals and ambitions beyond being a wife and mother is selfish and ungodly, and they are constantly under attack for what they do, say, or wear.
2. Bigotry. In today’s world, there’s a big push in favor of LGBTQ+ rights, and the church outspokenly pushes right back, automatically condemning all gay people to hell. Christians tend to hate these people en masse, talking about how disgusting and unnatural their actions are. Christian parents are notorious for disowning their children who come out as gay or queer, Christian schools expel gay students, and churches openly reject anyone who steps within their doors who doesn’t identify as straight and cisgender.
3. “Holier-Than-Thou” Attitude. Many Christians act like they’re better than everyone else, judging anyone who fails to perfectly follow the set of rules they have laid out. Some of these rules are based on a skewed interpretation of the Bible, and others are entirely man-made and simply based on tradition. These Christians are generally seen as being uptight, pretentious, and judgmental. They like to put on a show to remind other people how righteous they are. They’re basically the modern-day version of Pharisees.
4. Hypocrisy. Although they may be stuck up and judgmental, Christians also have the tendency to say one thing and do another, or they might act one way in front of other people and a completely different way in private. Either way, their beliefs—or at least what they claim to be their beliefs—have very little impact on what they do in their own lives.
5. Trauma. This is a hard one. Sometimes people who claim to be Christians do awful things, and sometimes authority figures within the church take advantage of their position by preying on the same people they are called to love and serve. In many cases, the victims are shamed or silenced, and the perpetrators face zero consequences. Many victims are also told that in order to be a “good Christian,” they have to forgive their abuser and act like it never happened because that’s what Jesus would want them to do.
Doesn’t this make you want to join a church? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Based on this list, it makes total sense why so many people turn their backs on Christianity! However, it’s important to clarify that there’s a difference between what the modern church does and what the Bible actually teaches. The problem isn’t with the Bible; it’s with the way people fail to follow what it says.
Moving forward, I want to address each of these problems individually, taking a closer look at what the Bible has to say about each topic and clarifying the common misinterpretations of these verses.