Seven Common Comments Non-Christians Make about Christians

One of my greatest joys in research is talking to and listening to those who clearly identify themselves as non-Christians. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not celebrating their absence of faith in Christ. My joy comes from listening to those who don’t believe as I do, so that I might be better equipped to witness to them.

Over the past several years, my research teams and I have interviewed thousands of unchurched non-Christians. Among the more interesting insights I gleaned were those where the interviewees shared with me their perspectives of Christians.

In this article, I group the seven most common types of comments in order of frequency. I then follow that representative statement with a direct quote from a non-Christian. Read these comments and see if you learn some of the lessons I learned.

  1. Christians are against more things than they are for. “It just seems to me that Christians are mad at the world and mad at each other. They are so negative that they seem unhappy. I have no desire to be like them and stay upset all the time.”
  2. I would like to develop a friendship with a Christian. “I’m really interested in what they believe and how they carry out their beliefs. I wish I could find a Christian that would be willing to spend some time with me.”
  3. I would like to learn about the Bible from a Christian. “The Bible really fascinates me, but I don’t want to go to a stuffy and legalistic church to learn about it. I would be nice if a Christian invited me to study the Bible in his home or at a place like Starbucks.”
  4. I don’t see much difference in the way Christians live compared to others. “I really can’t tell what a Christian believes because he doesn’t seem much different than other people I know. The only exception would be Mormons. They really seem to take their beliefs seriously.”
  5. I wish I could learn to be a better husband, wife, dad, mom, etc., from a Christian. “My wife is threatening to divorce me, and I think she means it this time. My neighbor is a Christian, and he seems to have it together. I am swallowing my pride and asking him to help me.”
  6. Some Christians try to act like they have no problems. “Harriett works in my department. She is one of those Christians who seem to have a mask on. I would respect her more if she didn’t put on such an act. I know better.”
  7. I wish a Christian would take me to his or her church. “I really would like to visit a church, but I’m not particularly comfortable going by myself. What is weird is that I am 32-years old, and I’ve never had a Christian invite me to church in my entire life.”

Do you see the pattern? Non-Christians want to interact with Christians. They want to see Christians’ actions match their beliefs. They want Christians to be real.

In one study we conducted, we found that only five percent of non-Christians are antagonistic toward Christians. It’s time to stop believing the lies we have been told. Jesus said it clearly: “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (Luke10:2, HCSB).

Satan is the author of excuses. There is no reason to wait to reach those who don’t know Jesus Christ. We must go now. The harvest is waiting. And the Lord of the harvest has prepared the way.

Pastor to Pastor is the Saturday blog series at Pastors and staff, if we can help in any way, contact Steve Drake, our director of pastoral relations, at [email protected]. We also welcome contacts from laypersons in churches asking questions about pastors, churches, or the pastor search process. 

Posted on September 15, 2012

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • This is really encouraging to me…I’m a ‘missionary’ in Spain and have spent the past 3 years of my life trying to engage in ‘real life’ with people outside of the church here. My experience is in agreement with your research. What I’ve noticed about my friend in the US and other Christians here in Spain is that most of us busy ourselves with so much ‘church stuff’ that we have little left to give to people with these questions or curiosities. If you’re a Christian who doesn’t feel like this stuff is true, then I would encourage you to really make an effort to ’embed’ yourself into a community of people (soccer team, community garden, running club, photography club, etc) who don’t go to church. It will only be a matter of time before Thom’s finding ring true to you.
    I’m realizing that I’m sounding a bit preachy and I don’t mean to…it’s mostly that I’ve found Jesus among my friend outside of the Church and I’m excited to reveal Him for who He is!

    • Daniel Malloy says on

      Spain is less than 3% Evangleical or Born Again Christian meaning 97% of them are on the way to hell. I am a missionary to Mexico and it is the same, they are in bondage to catholocism, secularism. and of course SIN The Christians are ineffective and resist any change, but will take your money.

      I am currently in Baja Norte, I am going back to the states to recharge my bank account, see family and brothers, but will be will be in Chiapis, San Cristobal, MX in the fall. In the Spring or Fall of 2015 I am going to Spain, and want to meet serious Christians that want to see souls saved and churches planted.
      If this is you please respond

      In Christ

      • Blanche Quizno says on

        Genocide for Jesus – that’s certainly something to be proud of, Dan.

        Tell us, why are you going places where people are poor, malnourished, and undereducated, when “back in the states”, your family, brothers, and church are all *SURROUNDED* by former Christians (that’s “apostates” or “antichrists” to you) and non-believers of many stripes, including atheists? Why spend all that money to go *THERE*, when your church is failing right here at home?

        Christianity in the US is in steep decline; for every 1,000 churches that start up, 4,000 close their doors forever. Churches are being foreclosed upon in record numbers because congregations are shrinking and donating less. Why are you going *there* when Christianity needs so much help right here at home?

        Are you demonstrating your conviction that only the poor, malnourished, and undereducated can be hornswoggled into jesus-belief? Are you admitting that you can’t sell any jesus in a developed democracy with a substandard public education system? Because that’s what it looks like, Dan 🙂

    • Blanche Quizno says on

      “If you’re a Christian who doesn’t feel like this stuff is true, then I would encourage you to really make an effort to ‘embed’ yourself into a community of people (soccer team, community garden, running club, photography club, etc) who don’t go to church. It will only be a matter of time before Thom’s finding ring true to you.”

      So, Justin, how would you feel if Muslims were to infiltrate your church, pretending to be interested in Jesus and Christianity, when their goal was really to convince you to convert to Islam? What if they were to embed themselves in your congregation, building friendships and relationships, all because they were certain that, once you (pl) let your defenses down, you would reveal just how eager and thirsty you were to hear the noble teachings of the Qur’an?

      How would you feel about Catholics coming to your (non-Catholic) church and cozying up to your congregation (and you, of course!), all friendly-like, and building relationships with you all just so that they could start dropping little nuggets about Catholicism into your conversations, in hopes of getting you all to realize that your flavor of Christianity was wrong so that you would come rushing back to the arms of Holy Mother Church?

      If neither of those scenarios sounds respectable to you, or if you would find such a deliberate plot, well, less than savory, so to speak, then perhaps you shouldn’t be recommending identical underhandedness in your dealings with others. If YOU would not appreciate being regarded as a target by some salesperson, don’t do it to others. Just sayin’…

      • jonathon says on

        @Blache . Both Daniel and Justin are talking about making friends with the community, and being there with them, through thick and thin. They are talking about earning the right to witness.

        BTW, your data about church closures, and new church plants ignores that group of congregations that is untrackable, and untracked, yet is projected to constitute more than 70% of the churches by 2025. (I understand why Thom usually omits any mention of this phenomena. For starters, he does not like results that are “fuzzy” and considered “not reliable” by the people doing the measuring. The problem is that even if one throws out that data, the mainstream research provides indicators that the fuzzy results are not out of the ballpark.)

    • Blanche Quizno says on

      Hi, Justin. You note that only “3%” in Spain are Evangelicals. But 97% are Catholic. What does it say about Christianity that you’re all out there targeting fellow Christians for “conversion” to what YOU happen to like best?

  • I’m not expecting to read these kinds of comments. From my observation, I’m expecting more of a hard comments such as Christians as ignorant, idealist, closed minded, living in fairy tales, haters, likes to condemn, etc. If non-Christians think like these, it would be easy for soul winners to witness them and invite them to our church. We would see less rejections and more visitor attendance in our church. But sadly, it is not how I experience.
    And saying is different from doing. They may say that they’re interested but the moment you invite them to church and organize a bible study, they would make excuses. These people in the survey seems to already have interest in Christianity.
    Anyway, I also believe that some of non-Christians think this way (the 10 listed common comments. I’m just surprised that these are the ‘common’ comments. I really wish they were. But I believe in the numbers 4 and 5. We should really be a role model to them.

  • Theodore A. Jones says on

    Regarding “to those who don’t believe as I do”.
    “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13
    Those who don’t believe as you do is not the problem. Your problem is that you don’t believe what that man wrote. A law was added to the law AFTER Jesus’ crucifixion. Sure they can get into your church by believing as you do, but you cannot get into His church by believing as you do.

  • Thom Rainer says on

    Shar –
    What an incredible testimony! It’s amazing how we can see God work when we open our hearts and our eyes.
    Thank you for taking time to share these words on this blog.

  • Thom Rainer says on

    Good word Jim. Thanks.

  • Thanks for the loving rebuke. It wasn’t all that long ago that I was on the non-Christian side of the fence and thought many of these same things about Christians. Unfortunately I’ve been guilty recently of behaving in ways that affirmed these beliefs about Christians instead of proving them wrong. I asked the Lord for forgiveness and prayed for boldness and opportunities to minister to unsaved people.
    I kid you not, I had two different unsaved people (a new neighbor and an old acquaintance) show up my door that week. I was able to invite my friend to church and build a relationship with my neighbor. I’ve also decided to stop making excuses for lack of opportunity but to create opportunity by intentionally seeking non-believing people to share Christ’s love and invite to church, faithfully trusting the Holy Spirit will guide me and give me words to speak.
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  • Thom,
    Your first item spoke the most to me. I don’t have a poll or a study to rely on, but it seems to me that most non-Christians think our faith is about nothing more than being opposed to certain things, whether it is gay marriage, abortion, or some other social issue. Christians do not have to be silent on social issues, but unless our testimony also includes positive acts of love, I think much of the world will look at Christianity as a “soup nazi” faith: “No soup for you!”

  • Steve Drake says on

    What a great testimony! Thanks for sharing. I think you are a prime example of what Dr. Rainer is hoping to communicate this morning. One of our dilemmas is that we often have very few relationships with non-Christians. Perhaps since non-Christians frequently exhibit values or use language that Christians seek to avoid, we mistakenly avoid the lost person in the effort to avoid the lifestyle.
    Recently I sat in a board meeting of a Christ-centered charity in Nashville. During our discussion one board member said, “Well I don’t think I know even one lost person.” Immediately another board member said, “Amen, that’s just wonderful.” I know her praise meant, “All the people you have met are believers.” I wanted to say, “No no, that’s a bad thing.”
    Since the majority of people in our community are not believers, let’s pray for God to help us identify them, demonstrate a genuine care for them and foster a relationship that hopefully will lead to salvation.

  • Alex Currin says on

    I always seem to find myself incorrectly inclined to believe that people aren’t receptive to the gospel at all, and that I would be annoying them if I tried to share the gospel with them or invite them to church. My church really pushed those statements Jesus made about the world hating us because it hated Him. While this is true in some cases, it’s obviously not in all cases according to this study.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the Bible isn’t always right. I’m just saying that people are more receptive to the gospel than I had expected. Basically, I guess we all need to stop acting like all of the world hates us.

    • Blanche Quizno says on

      “I always seem to find myself incorrectly inclined to believe that people aren’t receptive to the gospel at all, and that I would be annoying them if I tried to share the gospel with them or invite them to church.”

      No, you’re right. Keep your religious beliefs to yourself. If I have any interest in what you believe, I’ll ask you. And if I don’t ask you, then go right ahead and assume that your “witnessing” will be unwelcome. I’m sure that you like whatever you believe very much, and I’m very happy that you like it. However, just as your favorite flavor of ice cream is not necessarily going to be mine, I wish you would assume that I’m just as content with my own beliefs (or lack thereof) as you are with yours. Why not ask me first what *I* believe? Why not show an interest in what’s interesting to me instead of expecting me to always be interested in what YOU’re interested in? Christians are so selfish and self-centered! Tell me – when was the last time an atheist rang your doorbell to tell you about his worldview? The reason the world hates Christians is because they behave badly, they’re rude, boorish, arrogant, conceited, full of themselves, ignorant, and judgmental. Go ahead – accuse me of being judgmental now. Doesn’t matter – I don’t claim to follow a belief system that has actual rules AGAINST being judgmental, so it’s *fine* for me to be!

      • Thom, what areas of the united State are more resistant to the Gospel?

        By what I have read, New York and all of New England have become secular and resistant to the gospel. I found in all of my Christian life that most non Christian and ( and some Christians) people are in two categories, (1) nice and friendly and (2) the nasty & hateful, who would argue with you for any reason.

        Yes, the U.S. have become more secular and we see what is happening to our beautiful country. I find that people are beginning to realized that something is missing not only in their personal lives but in the country. We who know Jesus know what it is, we all need Jesus, without Him there is nothing but emptiness.

        Look at countries that have tried to kill the gospel and it’s messengers? They have not succeeded and in some of the most hostile anti-Christian countries, Christianity is alive and well.

        I say, let pray for all of the people that need Jesus, pray for God sent encounters, do not waste your time with the hateful time takers. To many people want to know about Jesus, let’s focus on that group. When you run into a hateful person, be polite and greet them good day.

        Do not waste your time with them, all they want is to dump their hate and poison on you, , a few minutes with them is like a day spent in a nuclear dump .

        Only God and the Holy Spirit can change people like that. Before you go to bed, pray for them and their families, usually their hatefulness have consequences on their children and their families.

        I have non-Christian friends, (the friendly, respectful group). I respect them and they respect me. Our friendship is limited because we do not shared in what is the focus and center of my being, Jesus Christ. I pray for them with love and urgency.

      • A True Skeptic says on

        So you’re claiming Scandinavia is ‘in decline’, or is already a ‘hellhole’?

        When most studies show it’s about the happiest, safest, free-est part of the world?

        Hmmm, and they have no use for you or your religion…. gee, I wonder?

  • John F. Montgomery says on

    I too thought people around me were not receptive to either Christianity or to church. I then invited a few people to go to church with me. I had to offer to take them with me to church; they weren’t interested in going by themselves. I have now invited eight people over the past five months: seven said yes and went with me to church; four are now regularly attending church; and one has professed Christ as his Savior. God is good!

    • Blanche Quizno says on

      Yippee! What a wonderful story! Why do you suppose Christianity is in decline nationwide? Why is it that, for every 1000 church starts, 4000 churches close their doors forever? Look up “christianideas Statistics And Reasons For Church Decline” and read all about it. It’s a *hemorrhage* of membership, and not simply a matter of inviting a person to church. People are leaving Christianity to the tune of 2.7 MILLION church members a year. And no, simpleminded platitudes like “Have you invited a friend to church today?” aren’t going to change that. Your religion is in trouble. And it looks like “Game Over.”

      • Why are you so sarcastic and condescending?? You’re not being treated that way here. Sarcasm is the symptom for something else, usually fear and/or low self-esteem.

  • Thom Rainer says on

    Steve –
    Every demographic area is different, and it sounds like you live in an area that is more resistant to the gospel and invitations to church. Our study, however, was a national study. We found that nearly four out of ten (38%) of the unchurched non-Christians were either highly receptive or receptive to the gospel. We found a similar pattern of receptivity for attitudes toward attending church. I pray God will lead you to those people, even if they are few in number, who need a church and, above all, to hear the gospel.

    • Blanche Quizno says on

      Wow – a national study, even! Why do you suppose every national study shows Christianity in precipitous decline, then, with church members leaving in droves?

  • I’d love to run into some of those non-Christians that want to go to my church.
    I live for those opportunities. But have found them to be very rare.

    • John Duval says on

      Do you wait for them to ask you??

      • Blanche Quizno says on

        That would be polite, yes. I remember a rather outspoken Evangelical Christian young woman I worked with – I’d just moved to town, and we went to a movie together. Each week she invited me to her church, and I didn’t want to offend her by saying “No thanks.” As it was, I had Buddhist activities one Sunday and I was mentoring a young girl two other Sundays, but that theoretically left a Sunday open. We only worked together for 3 months, and it never worked out. I went to a different job.

        She showed up there one night, and jumped right to the church invite. No “Hey, how’ve you been? Haven’t seen you in a while!” Nope – just “Do you want to come to church with me this weekend?” Since I was on to her game, I decided to play. I said, “Sure, I’ll go to church with you, because I’m interested in seeing what you’re interested in. That’s what friends do, after all. And I’m sure you’ll want to come with me to a Buddhist meeting to see what I’m interested in, right?”

        “Oh no!” she replied. “I just love the lord so much!”
        “Well,” I said, “then there’s no point in me going to your church because I’m not interested in either becoming a Christian or joining your church.” I never saw her again.

        That’s how far Christian friendship extends – I’ve seen it over and over and over. Christians look at everyone else as if they’ve got targets painted on their foreheads. Nobody likes being hunted down or treated like someone else’s project. We don’t need to drop all our beliefs just to accept yours, and we don’t need to become more like you just to be acceptable people, worthy of being regarded as people instead of targets. Love does not seek to create clones of itself. Selfishness does.

      • Aidan O'Neill says on

        I would’ve gone to the Buddhist service with you. It’s a shame she was so close minded.

      • Blanche Quizno says on

        I appreciate that, Aidan. Perhaps you and I would have ended up friends. If you could have viewed me as a person and not just a target for conversion, of course. If you’re young, though, chances are good that we hypothetically would have stood a chance at friendship – the Millenials are steering well clear of the churches because they don’t like the us-vs-them mentality so prevalent there (among myriad other reasons). Why should a person feel s/he can only be friends with someone who shares the specific belief system that suits him? Should I only consider friendship with people who share my favorite flavor of ice cream (and all others be damned)?

      • Aiden – the odds are then you are not a Christian if you are “open” to false gods. The Lord tells us to be separate from the world and directs us not to take part in false worship. I get why she cut off contact if she had been witnessing and there was no evidence of interest. It isn’t that anyone is a project – I know how bad life is without the Lord as I was there once. I also know some are so won over by false gods that they are not open to the true and living God – it’s not any different than what I feel for the Lord. As far as being friends – Proverbs tells a Christian that Iron Sharpens iron – so if you are not a Christian – how are you going to affect a Christian? Odds are not in a godly manner and as such they need to befriend those that believe the same way. Let’s also be honest – you aren’t looking for the Christian to have a godly impact on you either. I respect your free will and am not going to convert under pressure (or the sword) but I cannot fellowship.

      • That is not the correct thing to do. People who call themselves Christian have no business worshiping false gods or idols, even if it is just one time. By standing firm in that, you set an example of being fulfilled by Jesus. Then again, the person pressuring you to go to church with them every time they see you is not really trying to be your friend. Maybe they are part of a cult like the JW’s, WMSCG, or Mormans who are pressured into recruiting others. (check out sites for people who have left these cults and labeled them as such)
        There are plenty of neutral things to have in common with people and that should be established first. For example, maybe you enjoy photography, painting, skiing, or some other hobby that they do as well. This is a great foundation to start a friendship on. That doesn’t mean you have to compromise your morals, rather it gives you opportunities to just be an example by not using certain language, gossiping, getting drunk/high or anything else you wouldn’t do in front of God.
        I hope this helps anyone who reads it.
        God Bless.

      • Putting conditions on her invitation proves that you were not sincere in the Christian experience. You said you had “Buddhist activities” which sounds like you were not a serious Buddhist. What would it have hurt to attend church with her and after the experience then asking her to reciprocate the invitation with one to your Buddhist temple?

        Sounds like you were just testing her and never really serious about attending with her. Christians are not actually closed minded but we have made up our minds by the preponderance of the facts. Whether Jesus is the Son of God is the most important subject you should at least study and then make up your mind. If you still do not believe then you have lost nothing but if you understand the ministry of Jesus and real Christianity then you would have opened up a new world for yourself.

        One mistake non-believers make is to judge the message of Christ by the actions of Christian. It is not about the believers and their actions that make Jesus the Son of God it is the message of Christ alone for a personal relationship. I agree that so many Christians do not act like follows of His teachings but don’t blame Jesus, blame the immaturity or zealousness of a bad practicing Christian. We are still sinners and make lots of mistakes but the message of Christ is a beautiful thing and we are always growing closer to being Christ-like and it a journey we will not reach in our lifetime.

        God Bless you all who do not believe and I pray that He will guide if you are to be called to Him.

      • Scott, I understand how it might not seem fair to only come to church on condition, especially a condition that seems to be directly contrary to one’s belief system. However, in any set of beliefs, and especially with Buddhism, there is a lot to be learned about living well, and as long as you go into it with a healthy skepticism, it shouldn’t shake any faith that was well-founded. What I’m trying to say is that a good Christian should be able to go to a Buddhist meeting and come out a better Christian for it, for having learned other perspectives, learned how these perspectives can help her better serve God, and proven to herself why she was correct to put her faith in Christianity, rather than any other prospective set of beliefs.

        In this scenario, the girl’s problem is that she was effectively asking someone to be open-minded while not being open-minded herself. Of course, the way she saw it probably didn’t necessarily involve that. She wasn’t asking anyone to be especially open-minded. She was just asking them to be Christian. But asking a non-Christian to be Christian, or at least to leave themselves open to God, requires an open-mindedness that asking a Christian to be a Christian doesn’t require, and if she is unable to reciprocate, and unable to realize that doing so has the potential to fortify her faith in God and Christianity, then it is unfair for her to ask someone else to be so open-minded.

      • Blanche Quizno says on

        I am the person who wrote about the rude and overbearing coworker who kept inviting me to her church. For the record, she *knew* I was Buddhist. I had not expressed the slightest interest in her church. And, because I knew she was Christian, I had not invited her to Buddhist activities with me, because I knew she was of a different religion – I was setting a good example for her. But Jesuslovers are so inconsiderate, so self-centered, and so boorish that she kept badgering me.

        She had a pretty terrible life – only about 30, she’d already survived an aggressive bout of cancer and had a surgical scar all the way up her back, and her brother had been killed by the police who then falsified evidence against him and the family was embroiled in fighting that. She was single, and apparently working in a restaurant for a career. Not someone I’d want to emulate in any way, but I could see why she was a Christian – her life totally sucked! It’s people like that who are the prime marketing demographic for Christianity. Since I wasn’t suffering as she was, her pushing gained no results. I had never expressed the slightest openness to church or Christianity, and I made sure she knew I was quite contented with my Buddhist religion. She was simply obnoxious, discourteous, insensitive, disrespectful, and uncaring – she could see no farther than what SHE wanted.

        “Putting conditions on her invitation proves that you were not sincere in the Christian experience. ”

        Oh brother, THAT’s rich. I did not and DO not want anything to do with “the Christian experience” and I was completely honest about that with her. You’re just as intolerant and unpleasant as she was.

      • Blanche Quizno says on

        “You said you had “Buddhist activities” which sounds like you were not a serious Buddhist. ”

        Of course, knowing absolutely *NOTHING* about the Buddhist organization I belonged to doesn’t stop you from pronouncing judgment! Typical Christian. You all just *love* your ignorance, don’tcha?

      • The Lord strongly warns us christians not to be deceived. There are many false teachings and we have to be vigilant not to embrace them. So the question is how will you know. We must be led and guided by The Holy Spirit so that he guides us into all truth and righteousness. Amen.

      • I would have gone. Religions may have different names but I believe that most are loving the same higher power. No matter, I am intrigued by beliefs different than my own and would love checking out a Buddhist temple

      • Why do you feel the need to attack? Just because the commentator said, “I’d love to run into some of those non-Christians that want to go to my church,” it doesn’t mean he has never asked an unbeliever to go to church. There is a difference between asking an unbeliever to go to church and running into one who wants to go.

        Instead of being critical of others, be more positive. Words aren’t always what they appear to be. Get to know people before judging their character.

      • As scary as it sounds u have to invite them or they will forever hold their peace.

      • Just Another Frustrated Observer says on

        Quite enjoyably, as a matter of fact.


      • I’m going to say this as gently as I can: You’ve been had. Your fear comes through very clearly in this plaintive little message, and there’s no need for it. You’ve simply been tricked, and so have your peers in the religion, by one of the oldest tricks in the book: an artificially-inflated sense urgency.

        The people who make a living based on their sales of their product are telling you that you must inconvenience people and alienate them in order to make sales. The sales don’t enrich you. You’re just another customer who’s bought into a pitch. The sales pitch you make will only potentially enrich the salesperson–who, again, stands to gain a great deal from your effort. It doesn’t matter to the salesperson if the person making a pitch on his behalf ends up driving people away. He’s knows that the one person in a thousand who heeds the sales pitch is going to be someone just like you, just another customer who got conned into pitching the product for free. All the rest of the people who are alienated and pushed away are simply collateral damage; he knows we weren’t gonna buy the product anyway, and if we think even less of the product as a result of this behavior, it’s a small loss to him.

        To you, though, it’s big. People think you’re boorish; they can’t trust you; they can never be sure if you’re being friends because you like them or if you’re just waiting to pitch your product (and almost always, that’s exactly what is going on, which your prospect finds out once you finally get the point that you will never make a sale there, and then you vanish forever from that person’s life). And you’re in agony because you know they don’t want to be pitched at, but you’ve bought into the urgency the salesperson has claimed exists. The penalties for pitching the product are dire and real. The penalties for NOT pitching the product are purely imaginary; the salesperson will never be able to prove in any credible way that anything will happen if you don’t join him in selling his product. But Christians are without a doubt some of the most terrified people in our culture, and they are very easily manipulated by imaginary threats.

        I’m guessing the salespeople never tell their marks that the so-called Great Commission doesn’t exist in a single one of the earliest fragments of the Gospels that we’ve ever found. It’s not hard to imagine why early Christians implanted it into their holy book though; we know now that the religion wasn’t growing very quickly at all, and the Great Commission clearly sparked a sales-pitching frenzy! I see Christians using it even today to justify all manner of wickedness and hypocrisy in their attempts to make sales. And meanwhile, their reputation only gets worse.

        What would Christianity look like if Christians refused to allow fear and threats to rule them? What would it look like if Christians actually understood what love really is, rather than the warped and misshapen version of it their salespeople teach them to practice? I think about it sometimes.

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