Arguments Against Christianity

Part 2: Some depressing Christian statistics

By Robin Schumacher

When we look at Christian statistics – especially regarding the way the church is seen by the world – the results are enlightening.

There are those that argue that Christianity has an image problem where today's Postmodernist culture is concerned. Whether the perceived image problem is justified or not is a separate matter; if the negative impression of Christianity truly exists, it becomes very important especially in the Postmodernist era because, in Postmodernism, what people think, speak, and write becomes their reality.

David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group (a research organization focusing on Christian statistics, religious trends and information), asserts that the primary issue that Postmodernism has with Christianity is that it views the Christian faith as no longer representing what its founder had in mind. The primary complaint appears to be that it has lost the compassion and caring preached by Christ and instead it has turned into a juggernaut of fearmongering and restrictor of freedom.

In his book Unchristian, Kinnaman studied the Mosaic (born between 1984 and 2002) and Busters (born between 1965 and 1983) generations of the United States, which currently comprise approximately 77% of America's population. Kinnaman found that spirituality is something that ranks as important to his studied demographic, yet fewer than one out of ten states that faith is their top priority.

For a Christian, statistics like these should be alarming, but that's not the worst of it. Kinnaman also found that both Mosaics and Busters view life in a nonlinear and chaotic way, and are perfectly at home with apparent contradictions and ambiguity in religious life. This means they nonchalantly discard the tests of logical consistency and empirical adequacy when evaluating competing worldviews and embrace a pluralistic stance (where no one faith can be deemed ‘true').

With respect to Christianity, Kinnaman notes a growing tide of hostility and resentment – a statistic which is trending downward from a positive study that was done by his Barna group only one decade before. He discovered that of the non-believers surveyed that were aware of the term "evangelical" (as it relates to Christianity), nearly half had a bad impression, 47% had a neutral impression, and only 3% had a good impression.

Why such a dismal rating?

There were two things that Kinnaman's study uncovered, and neither had anything to do with the theological teachings or doctrinal standards of the Church. First, unbelieving postmodernists signaled negativity to what they termed the Christian "swagger" – how Christians go about things in the world, along with the bark and bite that unbelievers stated that they see in Christians' demeanor and actions.

Second, as previously stated, respondents said that the charity and compassion of Jesus' teaching in the Gospels have been dismissed by Christians in favor of combative actions against what they believe to be threats against their moral positions. In other words, Christians have become famous for what they oppose and stand against rather than for what they are in favor of and champion.

A few more troubling Christian statistics: With respect to what the current and upcoming generations specifically cite as the things they see Christianity being known for, an anti-homosexual stance ranks first (91%), followed by a judgmental attitude (87%). In a way, this isn't surprising as Christians – in keeping with Scripture – do indeed oppose homosexuality, with few others (outside of perhaps Islam) raising an objection to the lifestyle.

In regard to being judgmental, while "Church Lady' personas certainly do exist in Christendom and damage the faith's image, it should be noted that history has shown that the world and humanity's fallen nature will never take kindly to biblical pronouncements against the sin it cherishes and wants to practice. The one Scripture verse every unbeliever can quote is "Judge not lest ye be judged", but they fail to understand (1) that statement itself is a judgment; (2) Jesus commanded His followers to judge with a righteous judgment, but first make sure their own house is in order before they go about instructing others.

The third most cited characteristic of Christianity in Unchristian is the one that supports my position that Christians are the faith's biggest anti-apologetic. A full eighty-five percent (85%) of Kinnaman's surveyed group said that Christians are best known for a hypocritical lifestyle.

How depressing is that? Such a thing echoes Gandhi's famous statement, "I like your Christ, but I don't like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

Next: Part 3: Our spiritual transformation problems

Arguments Against Christianity The Series

Part 1: The best arguments and how to refute them
Part 2: Some depressing Christian statistics
Part 3: Our spiritual transformation problems
Part 4: The bad business ethics of christian ministry
Part 5: The marks of true christianity
Part 6: Unbelievers in the pews
Part 7: Being different is the best defense

Image Credit: Microsoft Clipart

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Published 11-22-12