Conservative Christianity vs Christianity

The American flag is also called Old Glory. Is America a Christian nation?

I’ve been involved in online discussions about Christianity for many years now. Much of what’s written on GodWords is based on those discussions, and on the research I do to make sure I’m prepared for those discussions.

One such discussion has been about liberals vs conservatives, written from a decidedly conservative Christian point of view. Earlier I’d written that conservative Christians tend to worry too much about ‘liberal issues’ and not enough about actually loving people. I thought I’d post today’s response…

Most “Conservatives” I know mind their own business and don’t try to tell other people how to live. On the other hand we are not going to sit idly by and allow people to ram their ideologies down our throats without a fight. …I don’t preach to them about their sin nor judge them for it. Neither do 99% of Conservatives.

The Other Guy

While I can’t address this gentleman’s personal position, I can point to some facts about conservative Christians:

  • Only 16 percent of non-Christians aged 16 to 29 years old said they have a “good impression” of Christianity.
  • Only 3 percent of 16- to 29-year-olds who are not of the Christian faith express favorable views of evangelicals.
  • 91 percent of young non-Christians and 80 percent of young churchgoers say present-day Christianity is “anti-homosexual.”
  • 23 percent of young non-Christians said “Christianity is changed from what it used to be” and “Christianity in today’s society no longer looks like Jesus.” Young born-again Christians were just as likely to say the same (22 percent).

Now…you and I and the people we hang out with might not be self-righteously judgmental hypocrites. Obviously, though, many are – or they appear to be that way to non-Christians. If “most conservative Christians” were actually salt and light, the unbelieving public wouldn’t have such a negative view of them.

An anecdote: my friend sells real estate. She recently sold a house to a gay couple. After the sale, they asked whether she is a Christian. When she said yes, they said “We thought you might be a Christian, but you were so nice to us that we weren’t sure“.

While I’m sure that the average non-Christian’s view of conservative Christians may largely be inaccurate, I’m also sure of this: that doesn’t matter. We’re to live at peace with all men (if we can) and we’re supposed to live lives that cause people to ask about our faith and we’re supposed to be the kind of people that others look up to because we’re both salt and light. The opposite is obviously true, according to The Barna Group’s many polls over many years.

Why are we thought of in this way? Simple: because we spend more time worrying about the way other people live and whether the courthouse has the Ten Commandments on the wall and whether kids can have a Bible club in school and whether Heather has two mommies than we do about whether our love for God and for each other and for our neighbors shines through in all we do.

We worry about the gay agenda and about atheism in science education. We worry about whether a Mormon would make a good president and about whether Obama is really a sleeper-cell radical. We worry about sex and violence on television and about internet porn. We worry about the dissolution of the family unit and about the United Nations. We worry about whether George Bush or John McCain is actually a closet liberal. We worry about churches that don’t sing hymns and we worry about women pastors. We worry about the Pope and we worry about James Dobson.

We worry about all kinds of important things, but we apparently aren’t worried enough about how non-Christians – those who need what we have – think of us. If they despise us as much as the surveys say they do, it’s no wonder that the church is shrinking.

What upsets us is that we have been taking a beating from these folks for the last 40 years. They are trying to take our country apart from the inside and they are succeeding in many ways. They are doing to same to our churches now.

The Other Guy

Conservative Christians spend a lot of time ‘defending our way of life’ against those who would take it away. For some reason, we think that the Christian way of life includes making sure that gays can’t marry. We think that the Christian way of life includes making sure that movies don’t have swear words in them. We think that the Christian way of life includes making sure that our money always says “In God We Trust“.

Well, we’re wrong. Our way of life is the way of love. We should live the same kind of self-sacrificing love that Jesus taught by example. If we did that, we wouldn’t have to worry about our “way of life”. The early church didn’t have a culture to cling to…they were persecuted by their government for their faith and the church grew exponentially. Why do we cling to our culture instead of clinging to the One who can change the hearts and minds of our “enemies” from the inside out? Obviously, most conservative Christians are more concerned about the conservative part than about the Christian part.

I’m sorry to say, but in many cases it is “them against us” because that is what they have made it. Conservatives are not picking a fight. We are simply not going to act like “wusses” and tuck our tails and run from one.

The Other Guy

Maybe we’re fighting their fight rather than fighting God’s fight.