One of my pet peeves is how easily Christians buy into the hostile secular cultural caricature of conservative Christians. What do I mean by that? The culture via its many powerful and ubiquitous means of communications communicates that Christians are generally unsavory characters. Then, being persuaded by the caricature not only do non-Christians believe it, but most Christians do too. So, in a book I recently read, Culture Apologetics, I found a perfect example of this lamentable trait among Christians. The book is great, but this is disappointing. I will quote the author to make my point.

The church is seen by many as an intolerant and judgmental community.

For Christianity to be desirable, we must narrow the gaps between how things are and how things ought to be.

According to Barna Research Group, the most common complain of those outside the faith . . . is that “Christians no longer represent what Jesus had in mind, that Christianity in our society is not what it was meant to be.” Christians today are known primarily by what they stand against instead of what they sand for. For the majority of people aged sixteen to twenty-nine, Christians are anti-homosexual, judgmental, hypocritical, too political, old-fashioned, insensitive, boring, unaccepting of other faiths, and confusing.

It is no secret that Christianity has a public relations problem.

Uh, I wonder why. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because the hostile secular culture hates Christians and Christianity and everything it stands for? Maybe, just maybe, Christians and Christianity are portrayed a certain way in entertainment and the media, and elsewhere, that makes Christians look bad? So it surprises anyone that young people, especially, buy the negative caricature and stereotype, and then think that’s exactly what Christians are like? Common, people! Wake up. I’ve been around Christians for over 42 years, and I’ve met very few Christians that live down to the hostile secular stereotype people like Barna portray as somehow true to reality. They are not!

Most Christians, in fact, are exactly the opposite of the stereotype and caricature. Christians are not perfect, and nothing about Christianity implies they should be. The church is full of saved sinners, so nobody should be surprised when Christians don’t act perfectly. That’s why the cross and repentance are at the heart of the Christian faith. We are forgiven sinners, nothing more, nothing less. What the critics will not admit is that all people are fundamentally hypocrites. No human being on earth lives up to their own standards, let alone a standard of perfection. Christians need to stop playing into the hands of the hostile secular culture as if that assessment is true, rather than a caricature of those who hate Christianity and it’s followers.

We must always remember this: the secular culture is our enemy. Its messaging must be continually questioned. We must interrogate all secular cultural messaging, all of it, as if we are a prosecuting attorney and the guilt of the witness is obvious. We will be relentless and accusatory in our questioning, assuming lies are its native language. For the secular culture that is most definitely true. The irony is that the secular culture is also our faith’s best friend because secularism is so pathetically weak. Secular culture offers nothing but false promises that end in futile mortality. What promises hope, purpose, and meaning all end in the silence of the grave. The end. Christianity, on the other hand, offers ultimate hope and fulfillment because of our Savior who died and came back from the dead so that we might live with him forever. That eternal life is the only thing that gives this life true hope, purpose, and meaning.

P.S. One of the great cultural caricature of “bad Christian” movies ever made is the 1976 “classic” Carrie. I remember seeing it when I was a teenager not understanding that I was being programmed to see Christians as horribly obsessed human beings. FYI, they are not.

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