Saturday, March 2, 2013

Do Christians Deserve Respect?

I invited fellow blogger Gary Zacharias, who has an apologetic ministry, to share an insightful—and convicting—blog that reveals we Christians may have some work to do in order to earn the respect of non-Christians. It also reveals what non-Christians respect about Christians. Gary got fifteen responses to the following Googled question: “Has anyone met a Christian he/she actually respected?” 

In this blog, I’ve selected the more negative responses—those shortcoming we Christians need to be aware of when we dialogue with unbelievers. In my next blog, Gary will share the positive points that encourage respect for non-Christians. In Gary’s own words:

I came across a powerful insight the other day:

The best argument for Christianity is Christians: their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians -- when they are somber and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug and complacent, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths.

I then googled "Has anyone met a Christian he/she actually respected?" The answers were fascinating. I've gathered several for you to read and think about
Here goes:

“I respect all Christians. It's their religion that I do not care for. 99% of the people I know are Christian. Since I have become an atheist, there is one characteristic in them that I have found to be sorely lacking: respect for me in return, even though we disagree. Christians have responded with statements/questions such as, "You're going to feel really bad if something happens to Vin [my son]", "What if you're wrong? You know you'll go to hell, right?" "Really? I actually thought you were a pretty decent person [yeah, I got mad over that one].", and, my least favorite, "Don't tell anybody....they'll think you're crazy!”

“I think what I dislike about the stereotypical American Christian is the lack of humility, the lack of tolerance (despite what Jesus commands in the bible), the arrogance, and the lack of intellectual pursuit of truth.”

“. . . Here are some traits that would cause me not to respect a Christian: I've met Christians who are overbearing, don't want to listen, or decide I'm stupid or silly right off the bat because I don't believe their 'truth'. Then there's the ever so popular condescending approach. And the fire-and-brimstone, 'burn in hell you rat bastard atheist scum' version.” [I’ll put this person positive suggestions in my next blog—Dan]

“The first thing I hate about most Christians is their lack of broad mindedness, They have confined themselves to the belief that the christian way is the only way. Yes I have met Christians that are my good friends and family, and it's their humble nature and open mindedness and ability to understand deeper things that I respect and cherish them for.”

“I usually make friends with the rocker christain type, and they are not one of those christains who freak out about everything.. example.. they are not aloud to watch harry potter or read it cuz of the so called "witch craft" .. honestly, thats just tooo far.”

“I have met Christians I respect, I have met Jews I respect, I have met Muslims I respect. etc. I am not ignorant to the point of judging someone for their beliefs, its the attitude they exhibit that is the final criteria I use.”

“I just don't like christians that feel the need to proselytize, or the ones that act "holier than thou" , or the phonies that say what great christians they are and then fool around on their spouse, etc. (hypocrites) Otherwise, most christians are okay people.

Gary Zacharias is a college English professor, married with two sons and two grandchildren, and is currently co-teaching a class on apologetics at Emmanuel Faith Community Church in Escondido, California. Check out Gary’s blog at He has other great insights to share. 

Next week we’ll see what these non-Christians say we’re doing right, and Gary’s comments—Dan .

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