Friday, February 15, 2013

Why I hate "Christians"

Someone asked me recently why I hate Christians.

I replied that real "Christians" are rather rare and I don't know that many. I do, however, know a great many people who call themselves Christians, but who are anything but Christ-like. 

These folks are a dime a dozen. They wrap themselves in religion and use it as an excuse to hate, or judge, or condemn, or exclude. They glory in their chosen-ness, their blessedness, casting a sad eye on those of us who are unwashed and unsaved. They are morally superior and want their morality legislated onto those of us who are apparently incapable of genuine morality.

I don't want to paint with too broad a brush, though. The "Christians" I hate are the ones who are the most strident, the most vociferous, the ones leading the charge in the culture wars, the shiny-faced folks on TV with their hands out who fear-monger about abortion and homosexuality to gin up donations. The "Christians" I'm talking about are the last to turn the other cheek, the last to be meek, mild, humble, the last to leave judgement to God, where it belongs. 

On the one side are real, genuine Christians who are Christ-like, who understand what the Gospels were about, the ones who know that when they pray they should go to their room and shut the door and not stand on the street corner and proclaim their righteousness for the world to see. On the other hand, there are shiny charlatans with $3,000 suits who use Christianity as a weapon to suit their own agenda. Between these two poles are the mass of souls in between.

It is not those souls in between that I hate. It is not Christ-like people that I hate. It's the hypocrites, the users, the abusers, the vampires who suck on the body of Christ to sustain their own lives. Those are the "Christians" that I hate. 

And for good reason.

Jesus hated them too. 

If you read the Gospels attentively, you will notice that Jesus didn't get mad that often. But when he did, it was invariably with the Pharisees and the Sadducees, those self-righteous hair-splitters who were forever rabble-rousing and stirring up trouble, who thought of themselves as the apples of God's eyes, who rejoiced in their salvation even as they sneered down at sinners and the outcast who could never measure up. 

Jesus hated those bastards. Don't believe me? Read what he said about them. On one occasion he calls them children of their father, the Devil. 

I think it's important to understand who he was talking to. The Pharisees and Sadducees were prominent, scholarly Jews. They knew the law inside and out. They were the pillars of the community, the leading lights. They had the prime seats at table and in the temple. They were respected, prominent, important. They called the shots. They were the priests, pastors and popes of their day.

Imagine how it must have appeared to them for someone like Jesus to come along and publicly revile them, over and over, even going so far as to tell them that they were children of the Devil, their mouths like "white-washed sepulchers." It's no wonder these folks schemed to find a way to have Jesus silenced. And it's no wonder they eventually succeeded. 

Let us consider the matter further:
  • Unlike so many American Christians, Jesus had absolutely no interest in political power. Indeed, he was a huge disappointment to the Jews who were waiting for a political leader, a worldly "king," not a spiritual Messiah or Savior, but someone who could lead the charge against Rome and free Jerusalem from Roman occupation. When they gave him a coin with Ceasar's image on it and confronted him on the matter, he said, "Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's, and unto God what is God's."  He wanted nothing to do with political power. He did not tell his followers to agitate for political power or change. He made utterly no effort to overthrow an unjust occupation.  How does this square with the many Christians and Evangelicals who constantly agitate for legislation that is favorable to their religious beliefs? 
  • What is the response of a Christian to injury or harm? Jesus was plain: Turn the other cheek. Do good to those that hate you, that revile you, that do all manner of evil to you. Love your enemies. Bless them. Wish them well. So, when was the last time you saw a Christian turn the other cheek? When was the last time you saw Sarah Palin, or Michelle Bachmann, or Ann Coulter, or Mike Huckabee, or Pat Robertson, "do good" to those that hate them? You won't find much cheek-turning these days. You will find, though, a lot of heated rhetoric about how Christians have to stand their ground, step up, be counted, make their voices heard so that we're not steamrolled by the homosexuals or the abortionists or the atheists or the Muslims. Lock and load, to use Palin's terminology.
  • "Judge not, lest you be judged." How much plainer or simpler could it be? But the Christians I'm referring to are the first to judge, to condemn, to exclude, to vilify, to actively promote policies that hurt and harm and drive away souls they don't like. But notice something very curious: While they pick on the gays constantly (and, it seems, rather gleefully), they do not pick on adulterers. Or drunkards. Or murderers. Or child abusers. Or men who slap their wives around. Or fornicators. Or business people who cheat their employees out of a just wage. No. Their self-righteous ire is very carefully channeled into a safe outlet: Pick on the gays. Curious, isn't it? To their way of thinking, gays are destroying the family. Not fornicators or straight couples who live together. Not men having affairs. Not men cruising the Internet for porn. But gay people. While there is a website called, there is no site called, or Curious how judgement is carried out against a safe target ("the gays"), and not in a way that might hit too close to home. 
  • Furthermore, what is Christianity today if not one giant exercise in judging? Christians are constantly judging everyone and everything: Society, law, other religions, other religious believers, lifestyle choices. It's all but impossible to imagine Christianity without all the relentless judging that goes with it. Jesus never once said you had to go to church on Sunday. He did say, "Judge not, lest you be judged." How do we account for this? Christians are like the Jews who caught the woman in adultery and wanted to stone her to death. What was the response of Jesus? "Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone." Today's Christians would gladly stone the gays, and the women who have had abortions, and the Muslims, and all the other people they can't stand. They would do it without a second thought, and they would feel justified in doing so. 
  • "The first shall be last, and the last shall be first." In Christianity, the social order is inverted. Jesus invited the riffraff trash of society to his table, the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the lepers, the morally compromised. Time and again, he made it clear that the "first" shall be last in the Kingdom of Heaven. You would be hard pressed to find any evidence of this teaching among today's American Christians. Just the opposite, in fact. The Mike Huckabees of this world will always be seated at the head of the table. 
  • "See those Christians, how they love another!" To which I can only say: Ha ha ha! Where is the Christian who "loves" those around him? Who loves the stranger? The immigrant? The homosexual? The morally compromised? The other? The enemy? Where is the Christian who loves his Muslim neighbors? American Christianity has become almost synonymous with hate. If you ask Google the leading question of "Why are Christians so ..?" the answers that pop up (based on previous searches) are "Why are so Christians so mean?" and "Why are Christians so angy?" It does not ask "Why are Christians so loving?" When you think of Christians, you do not think of loving, gentle people. 
I admire Jesus a great deal. He was an extraordinary man. It's been more than 2,000 years and we're still talking about him, about what he did, about what it meant. No other person in the history of this world has had a greater impact. 

I admire Jesus. I love Jesus. I love what he stood for, what he taught, what he meant. 

But I would not be the first to say that his followers have messed it up, over and over, time and again, to such an extent that it's hard to believe they think of themselves as "Christ-like."

Christ was not a bully. Christ did not have a "my way or the highway" mentality. Christ did not come to condemn the world, but save it.

Part of my anger at "Christians" has to do with my love for Jesus, and my sadness at the way he has been treated by his followers, at the great many souls they have scandalized and driven away by their unChrist-like behaviors and beliefs. Surely it would be better for these people to have a millstone tied around their neck and for them to be thrown into the river than to have so scandalized so many people. Truly, he has cast his pearls before swine. 

Harsh words? I suspect that when these "Christians" stand before God for their judgement, they will hear much worse. They might be reminded that St. Paul told them that without love, they are just tinkling brass.

All of this is in contrast to a genuine Christian, a soul who has taken Christ as his savior, mentor, friend, spiritual guide.

What does Jesus tell this soul?

  • Turn the other cheek. 
  • Be patient, kind, loving, humble. 
  • Don't put yourself first. 
  • When you pray, go into your bedroom and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. 
  • Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. 
  • Don't be anxious for tomorrow. 
  • Become like a little child. 
  • Love your enemies. 
  • Do good to those that hate you and persecute you and do all manner of evil against you. 
  • If someone asks for your coat, give them your cloak too. If someone asks you to walk a mile with them, walk two. 
  • It is better to give than to receive.
These people are not much interested in the politics of the day. They don't wear their religion on their sleeve. They pray in private. They love. They forgive. They ask for forgiveness. They demonstrate, by their actions, that Christ means something to them. They give the glory to God, not to the man on the TV in the shiny suit. They do unto others as they would have done unto themselves. They do not lord it over others. They do not seek a special status. 

Where are these people? They may indeed be sitting in the pew next to you. A few of them may even be in the pulpit. But most of these people understand that it is God who judges, God who sees, not man. They are concerned with what God think of them, not man. They cast their cares and trust upon God and do not worry about the 'morrow. 

When you meet a person like that, you've met a Christian. They don't have to tell you. You just know. The rest are nothing but sound and fury, signifying nothing. 


  1. I love Jesus, too. And after spending 35 years in the church, I left it 3 years ago. I find church a very strange place where people hate and repeat lies, e.g, Obama is a Kenyan Muslim. . . . When I was 15 I decided that God did not have to have Jesus crucified for our sins; that any real God could forgive without someone being punished. I was proud to be our high school atheist. My daddy died two years later. He had been my protector and when he was gone, Southern Baptists descended on me. In my teenage grief and confusion, I got sucked into something I didn't believe. I was told that I would understand by and by. Unemployed with time to think, I got up one day three years ago and said to hell with it all. I have never been convinced of the Christian teachings about the crucifixion. And I quit trying! I wept after my last visit at church. And I heard the voice of Jesus tell me it was time to make new friends. I'm so glad I did!!!

    1. A lot of people are finding Jesus outside the church these days. Reminds me of that joke about how Jesus came upon a drunk standing outside a church complaining that they wouldn't let him in. Jesus told him not to worry, that they wouldn't let him in either.

  2. Can I get an "Amen!?!"

  3. Great job, Nick. My thoughts exactly. You might be interested in the SPAFER group that meets in Tupelo monthly. There is a website.