When I was younger, my older brother worked at a big chain bookstore for a while. He was only about 20 at the time, and being quiet, friendly, and a hard worker made a good impression on his co-workers. I remember once hearing him tell about the first time he mentioned to a co-worker that he was a Christian.
“Really?” The co-worker seemed taken aback. “But you’re so nice.”
Just like this person was under the impression that Christianity inherently produced grumpy followers, many (Christians and non-Christians alike) fall prey to misconceptions about the faith. At Relevant Magazine, Stephen Mattson touches on this topic by explaining 7 Misconceptions about Christianity.
Some misconceptions are often made from the outside, such as: Christianity is anti-science, it’s always fun and happy, or that it solves all your problems. Not so, argues Stephen.
“Christianity is often stereotyped as being anti-science, anti-academic and anti-intellectual. The reality is that many Christians embrace science and the exciting discoveries that it includes.
Additionally, many believers aren’t opposed to doctrines that heavily involve scientific data and research: evolution, global warming, healthcare research and environmentalism.
To be a Christian is to embrace knowledge, critical thinking, innovation, new ideas and the truths they reveal.”
He also cautions,
“Christianity isn’t a magic cure for sickness, broken relationships, abuse and injustice. It’s not meant to be a quick-fix solution to everything that’s wrong in your life or the lives of others.
Unfortunately, many interpret Christianity as a form of escapism, a way to avoid the harsh realities of life. Christ’s message isn’t about avoiding difficulties or preventing them from happening, but confronting them.
Following Jesus means embracing the hardships of humanity and struggling, empathizing, supporting and helping those who are sick, weak, poor, diseased, abandoned and forsaken. In many ways being a Christian causes more problems than it solves—but the hope and promises of Jesus strengthen us for the journey.”
Other myths he dispels could be more likely to be believed by those inside the Christian umbrella, particularly those new to the faith. Some such myths are that Christianity is inherently political, every Christian believes the same thing, Christianity always leads to prosperity, or that Christian communities are morally superior to others.
Andrea Newitt on Crosswalk.com reminds us that, throughout the nuances and differing beliefs many Christians have, it is not our theology or strength that gets us through tough times. It is merely having the faith of a mustard seed, as Christ taught.
“That teeny tiny mustard seed faith, simply believing God in the present moment, where ‘time touches eternity,’ gave me strength and courage for the dreaded journey ahead. It grew into certainty that the Lord would somehow bring good out of this trial, that he would comfort and carry me through my affliction, through any pain and discomfort.”
Also on Crosswalk, blogger Michael Craven sums up the Christian initiative (“What Does the Christian Do?”) thusly:
“We enter the world each day as ambassadors of Christ and his kingdom—sensitized to the effects of sin—loving others by seeking their welfare through the proper ordering of things and relationships. We look for and respond to opportunities to bring relief to those who are suffering. We seek the good of others and when possible, we create systems and institutions that serve the common good and promote human flourishing. We work for remedy in the daily situations and when necessary, the reformation or abolition of whole systems that oppress. We disciple people in the Truth, showing them the way that leads to a life that thrives through having a right relationship to God, to self, to others, and the rest of creation.”
What do you think? Have you ever known anyone who hated Christianity because of misconceptions? What do you do to shine the true light of Christ in your life? For further reading on this topic, check out 25 Myths About Christianity and 25 Truths About Christianity!
Debbie Holloway is the Family Life Editor for Crosswalk.com
Publication date: May 21, 2014