January 4, 2011

Changing the Face of Christianity Inc.

By Francis Nye

Concerns about the face of Christianity have led a former atheist to form a non-profit to address the perceived hypocrisy of the church. The Texas-based non-profit Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. is a direct response to non-believers who believe all Christians are intolerant, judgmental, hypocritical and homophobic, explains its founder R. Brad White.
I know I am one of those who have been very derisive of Christianity.  Even to the point that I have myself been accused of hating Christianity.  This is not true of course.  I don’t hate Christianity. My incessant criticism stems from what Christianity has come to represent today. I feel it has come to represent doctrines and teachings that are designed to amass great wealth and power at the expense of society and to the detriment of mankind’s forward progress.  It smears the good works Jesus whose true intent was to better our relationship with God and our fellow human man.  Anything else is just window dressing for a very poorly articulated religion.
The actions of many Christian followers have caused a surge in non-believers, skeptics and agnostics; that now constantly label Christians in an unfavorable light. These labels are preventing others like me who where formally Christians from returning to the church.
White is quoted as saying, "Where if 75 percent of people were coming back in the past, 35 percent of people are coming back now".
With this, White created Changing the Face of Christianity, Inc. to be a resource to reform those spreading the negative stereotype and to educate younger Christians from following in their footsteps.  I was very impressed with his message that I found on his internet site: changingthefaceofchristianity.com
White's insights are not new however. Dan Kimball opines in the beginning of his book, They Like Jesus but Not the Church, that the emerging generation is spiritually open to talk about Jesus but are very disinterested in joining or being associated with church.
White has taken the argument a step further and states that church members and leaders have blatantly turned off followers by "hating the sin and the sinner." He said this is most evident with homosexuality. Church leaders have mixed the Bible with politics to condemn homosexuals for their lifestyles.
Though the sentiment may be based on the Bible, he noted, "The things we say and the way we say them turn them off."
According to a 2008 survey by LifeWay Research, 72 percent of un-churched Americans believe the church is full of hypocrites. An earlier LifeWay survey also revealed that 17 percent of those who formerly attended church left because they felt church members "seemed hypocritical" and "were judgmental of others.”
Changing the Face of Christianity is focused on launching an awareness and education campaign to help Christians reverse the negative stereotypes. The nonprofit is designed to “save the Christian religion from self-destruction, by helping Christians become more like Jesus Christ.”
I think it is a step in the right direction that someone in the inside is finally and publicly admitting that there is a problem.  I wish all of them the best of luck in their endeavors.  This is will be a steep uphill climb fraught with many conflicting points of view as the ones in power will not willingly have their message diverted.  Christianity has been tainted with bad dogma, out right deception and bad practices for many centuries.  It will be interesting to see if this non-profit is up to the task of washing away all the blood of innocents and ill will that has marred today’s Christians.  This is such a daunting task hopefully it will not prove a folly in the making.

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