Why do people turn away from Christianity because...

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jc6chan
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17 Jun 2010, 11:07 am

...of bad experiences in the church? According to this article (I know, its kinda old), young Americans are shunning Christianity because of bad experiences in the church. However, there is a difference between what the church does and what the Bible says. So I don't understand why people simply reject Christianity because of the mistakes of the church. Or maybe this article is only telling part of the reasons?

http://www.vcstar.com/news/2007/nov/03/ ... ous-shift/



Awesomelyglorious
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17 Jun 2010, 11:34 am

First answer: read your Bible. The New Testament makes clear statements about the moral character expected of Christians, and that they are people to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and as such, if Christians aren't that, then there is no reason to believe in the Holy Spirit and even good reason not to. In fact, the New Testament makes it clear that the love of Christians is supposed to be evidence to the world of Christ, so yeah... if the expected evidence is there, then there is no reason to bother.

Second answer: most people don't take religion *that* seriously. It isn't a matter of truth so much as personal comfort and community, and many people basically admit that. So, leaving and distrusting it for those reasons is just as valid as accepting it for those reasons.

Third answer: the distinction between the theology of the Bible and the actions of the church is a difficult one to make. Texts have to be interpreted, and if the people who you would think to be better interpreters are interpreting it in a negative manner, it makes sense to take their word on how things work. Especially given that the Bible is a difficult text due to its length, the alterations in its perspective over time, and the fact that it is translated and from a different culture entirely, so taking the Church's word about their book is quite relevant.

Fourth answer: not all Christianity is even that contingent upon the Bible. Catholics and Orthodox actually take as central the nature of their church as the guarantee of truth, and as such, if the church is questioned, then the faith is questioned. Protestants tend to have a weaker ecclesiology so this perspective didn't come to your mind, but it is still a valid perspective. And frankly, people aren't going to explore every denomination, just as most people don't take every idea so seriously. If one denomination that was perceived to be a more reasonable one is rejected, then a lot of other associated ideas will end up being rejected for similar reasons just because of the perceived similarity that those reasons seem to deal sufficiently with the relevant problem.



jc6chan
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17 Jun 2010, 11:58 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
First answer: read your Bible. The New Testament makes clear statements about the moral character expected of Christians, and that they are people to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and as such, if Christians aren't that, then there is no reason to believe in the Holy Spirit and even good reason not to. In fact, the New Testament makes it clear that the love of Christians is supposed to be evidence to the world of Christ, so yeah... if the expected evidence is there, then there is no reason to bother.


But there are Christians who are loving and have good moral character. In some countries where Christians are badly persecuted (torture and killings) they continue to spread the Gospel and they are able to show love to others. I don't have all the answers as to why many "Christians" don't have evidence of the Holy Spirit working in them. Firstly, not all "Christians" understand the basics of the faith, and many are focused on worldly things as opposed to focusing on the spiritual aspects.



ruveyn
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17 Jun 2010, 12:14 pm

The assumption of Original Sin and Inherent Evil does makes for a user unfriendly religion.

ruveyn



jc6chan
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17 Jun 2010, 12:52 pm

ruveyn wrote:
The assumption of Original Sin and Inherent Evil does makes for a user unfriendly religion.

ruveyn

Even non-Christians admit that they sin.



Fuzzy
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17 Jun 2010, 2:01 pm

jc6chan wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
The assumption of Original Sin and Inherent Evil does makes for a user unfriendly religion.

ruveyn

Even non-Christians admit that they sin.


No we dont. Sin is a wholly Christian concept. While I can act immoral at times, it is not sin, a thing inherently connected to the Christian afterlife. If my immorality has consequences, it will be paid during my life, and at no time after. I wont exist to pay the wages of "sin".


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Fuzzy
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17 Jun 2010, 2:06 pm

What is a bad experience in the church? I know of many boring experiences there, but most youth are not abused (physically) by the pastor or congregation.

They leave because it is patently silly, socially inconvenient, and their life plans are wholly at odds with doctrine. They want to go fishing!


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ruveyn
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17 Jun 2010, 2:14 pm

jc6chan wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
The assumption of Original Sin and Inherent Evil does makes for a user unfriendly religion.

ruveyn

Even non-Christians admit that they sin.


With Christianity, sinfulness is inherent in being human regardless of acts taken. The sin is Adam's, not individual people.

ruveyn



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17 Jun 2010, 2:34 pm

jc6chan wrote:
But there are Christians who are loving and have good moral character. In some countries where Christians are badly persecuted (torture and killings) they continue to spread the Gospel and they are able to show love to others.

Well, for that matter, Gandhi is a figure who is non-Christian and still considered to have good moral character. Abstract examples are kind of common no matter what, and frankly a lot of people are going to pick something more concrete, and that more concrete thing is their own experiences.

Even further, "spreading the Gospel" is not on the top of most people's list of what is a loving act. It is not taken as a reflection of love, but of the doctrine, whereas love is usually considered to involve treating people well, acting good in one's actions, etc.

Quote:
I don't have all the answers as to why many "Christians" don't have evidence of the Holy Spirit working in them. Firstly, not all "Christians" understand the basics of the faith, and many are focused on worldly things as opposed to focusing on the spiritual aspects.

Well, ok, but part of our problem is how deep the problem goes. I would bet that people are including church officials in their assessment, and if you are an official in a church, while we cannot know how much you know, it should be able to be something we can taken as granted, that you know what you are talking about.

As for some being worldly, well, that's just a matter of how empty Christianity is if these people can literally pass off as Christian. If there were a group of special people, then we should clearly be able to identify these "true" and "real" Christians, but frankly, most Christians/so-called Christians/whatever really seem to just be an expression of a culture and even a rather perverse culture. There is no reason why anybody will feel like they need to spend so much extra-time to figure out a group that condemns itself. (which is part of my other points)



Awesomelyglorious
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17 Jun 2010, 2:36 pm

jc6chan wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
The assumption of Original Sin and Inherent Evil does makes for a user unfriendly religion.

ruveyn

Even non-Christians admit that they sin.

The assumption that lying to your teacher about that one homework project merits an eternity of burning forever still is not user-friendly, particularly if one holds to the doctrine of Total Depravity, which a good number of Christians do.



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17 Jun 2010, 2:39 pm

Fuzzy wrote:
What is a bad experience in the church? I know of many boring experiences there, but most youth are not abused (physically) by the pastor or congregation.

They leave because it is patently silly, socially inconvenient, and their life plans are wholly at odds with doctrine. They want to go fishing!

Fuzzy, just because you aren't raped doesn't mean that you don't have a bad experience. Yes, there can be boredom, but even if you read the article, you will see that many people experience church as being judged and as being around a bunch of up-tight individuals.

If you had a bad experience at Starbucks, would that mean you are raped? Well, maybe your wallet would be, but really, what it means is that the barista is a jerk, the business does not match advertised expectations, and frankly, you wouldn't want to go there or recommend it. I doubt it is "they want to go fishing" but rather, like I said, people in the church are just not people that anybody would want to be around.



jc6chan
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17 Jun 2010, 3:48 pm

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Even further, "spreading the Gospel" is not on the top of most people's list of what is a loving act. It is not taken as a reflection of love, but of the doctrine, whereas love is usually considered to involve treating people well, acting good in one's actions, etc.

Well, if you truly believe the Gospel as TRUTH, then telling others the Gospel is considered love. Of course, I understand that if people don't believe in the Gospel as truth, they would find spreading the Gospel a "waste of time".

Awesomelyglorious wrote:


As for some being worldly, well, that's just a matter of how empty Christianity is if these people can literally pass off as Christian. If there were a group of special people, then we should clearly be able to identify these "true" and "real" Christians, but frankly, most Christians/so-called Christians/whatever really seem to just be an expression of a culture and even a rather perverse culture. There is no reason why anybody will feel like they need to spend so much extra-time to figure out a group that condemns itself. (which is part of my other points)

So you kind of just agreed with me on this one am I right? A lot of "Christians" call themselves Christians but they aren't truly following the teachings of Jesus.



jc6chan
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17 Jun 2010, 3:51 pm

ruveyn wrote:
jc6chan wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
The assumption of Original Sin and Inherent Evil does makes for a user unfriendly religion.

ruveyn

Even non-Christians admit that they sin.


With Christianity, sinfulness is inherent in being human regardless of acts taken. The sin is Adam's, not individual people.

ruveyn

But individual people DO sin. It just happens.



Awesomelyglorious
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17 Jun 2010, 4:02 pm

jc6chan wrote:
Well, if you truly believe the Gospel as TRUTH, then telling others the Gospel is considered love. Of course, I understand that if people don't believe in the Gospel as truth, they would find spreading the Gospel a "waste of time".

If you truly believe that Star Trek is the greatest series ever, then telling others about it could be your way of expressing love. The rest of the world won't see it that way though, and for a very simple reason: they understand love within the context of a relationship. Loving somebody isn't in their eyes, trying to promote your specific belief, but rather it is centered around caring about them, seeking their interests, and respecting them as individuals. Spreading the Gospel has no necessary relationship to any of that though, and many people who spread it, don't seem as concerned about building that relationship, respecting these people, promoting their interests, or anything like that. So, instead of "love" it seems like marketing.

Now, perhaps you might still dispute that, but it is still remarkably relevant.

Quote:
So you kind of just agreed with me on this one am I right? A lot of "Christians" call themselves Christians but they aren't truly following the teachings of Jesus.

I am not disputing you on this, but I don't think there are very solid lines here. As it stands, where are you going to say that the "true Christians" are, and where are you going to say that the "conservative pricks" are? I don't think the lines exist to an extent that is meaningful.



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17 Jun 2010, 4:07 pm

jc6chan wrote:
Awesomelyglorious wrote:


As for some being worldly, well, that's just a matter of how empty Christianity is if these people can literally pass off as Christian. If there were a group of special people, then we should clearly be able to identify these "true" and "real" Christians, but frankly, most Christians/so-called Christians/whatever really seem to just be an expression of a culture and even a rather perverse culture. There is no reason why anybody will feel like they need to spend so much extra-time to figure out a group that condemns itself. (which is part of my other points)

So you kind of just agreed with me on this one am I right? A lot of "Christians" call themselves Christians but they aren't truly following the teachings of Jesus.


Hes agreeing with you that far, but I think what hes saying is that the average person cant tell if they are playing poker with honest players(representing true Christians) or cheaters(those that only play lip service to the creed). It is not in ones best interest to associate with dishonest types. So they stay away.


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17 Jun 2010, 4:14 pm

Fuzzy wrote:
jc6chan wrote:
Awesomelyglorious wrote:


As for some being worldly, well, that's just a matter of how empty Christianity is if these people can literally pass off as Christian. If there were a group of special people, then we should clearly be able to identify these "true" and "real" Christians, but frankly, most Christians/so-called Christians/whatever really seem to just be an expression of a culture and even a rather perverse culture. There is no reason why anybody will feel like they need to spend so much extra-time to figure out a group that condemns itself. (which is part of my other points)

So you kind of just agreed with me on this one am I right? A lot of "Christians" call themselves Christians but they aren't truly following the teachings of Jesus.


Hes agreeing with you that far, but I think what hes saying is that the average person cant tell if they are playing poker with honest players(representing true Christians) or cheaters(those that only play lip service to the creed). It is not in ones best interest to associate with dishonest types. So they stay away.


between AG's first response and this last one, i'd say that's the most complete answer i've ever seen a WP PPR thread get since i started lurking them.


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