The Human Condition: Top 5 Misconceptions People Have About Christianity

Human Condition
noun
~the positive and negative aspects of existence as a human being

Joseph Goebbels was Hitler’s minister of propaganda during the reign of the Third Reich after Hitler gained control of the National Socialist German Workers (Nazi) Party. He firmly believed in National Socialism as a replacement of Christianity when he wrote in his diary, All we lack is a religious genius capable of uprooting outmoded religious practices and putting new ones in Their Place. We lack traditions and ritual. One day soon National Socialism will be the religion of all Germans. (October, 16 1928).

Goebbels knew the power of  controlling what people believed and what they thought. It’s how he was able to convince an entire nation that the Jews were a threat to their existence. Well over seven million Jews were murdered and  the estimated number of deaths sustained worldwide during World War II was over 72 million.

The following quotes from Goebbels come with great debate:

1376560-goeb1“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

“It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise.”

“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”

Although there are those who believe that Goebbels did not make these statements, the idea behind them holds true and the tactics are still used today. Repeat something often enough and people will believe it. In present day some members of the press are the masters of the technique which is effective for anyone who is not willing to seek the truth for themselves. Some use social media to meet the same end. A “comment” grounded in sinking sand is repeated and “liked” enough until it is accepted as truth. A truth buried is the numbing of conscience.

Here are some of the misconceptions that some have been successful at propagating. There are plenty more, but these are the ones that I have mostly come across lately.

Christians want a theocracy.

I was at a writing workshop for kids when I heard a high school teacher make this statement. It was the first time I had heard it. Not only did it frighten me that someone who teaches our kids who made such a statement but it was so far-fetched, I didn’t know what to say. I was in shock. The fact of the matter is that Christians do not want a theocracy. Why?

We already have one. It’s in our hearts.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. This means to turn over the things in our minds that replace all that is good. Self-control, patience, goodness, faithfulness, etc. The theocracy that Christians want is one of the mind and heart so that we can truly learn to love each other to the point of death as Jesus did. Remember that when Jesus was offered up to Pontius Pilate for punishment he was asked if he was a king to which Jesus responded,  “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Pragmatically speaking, it simply flies against the first amendment.

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I would submit that if Christians wanted a theocracy, it would have already happened in a nation that supposedly espouses freedom of religion.

Christians demean women.

Queen Esther freed her people at the risk of death.

Queen Esther freed her people at the risk of death.

One of the most misused quotes that is used to spread this pile of propaganda is in Ephesians 5:22 where it says,”Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” but what is conveniently left out can be found three verses later (in context) where it says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  What does that mean? Read it again. It means love her to the point of of death. Love her even if it means being crucified, humiliated, spat upon, have your beard ripped off and whipped with hooked leather straps. It means husbands sacrifice first and she will respond to that and love in return.

It means think of her as better than you…..first.

There are plenty of examples of strong women in the Bible such as Esther pictured above.

If you’re a Christian, you can’t espouse science.

3070678656_8372737783Neil DeGrasse Tyson once tweeted out, The good thing about science is that it is true whether or not you believe it.” I have a major problem with that statement. To me, science is simply an explanation of the relationships that matter, energy and life have with each other. How things grow, affect each other, develop and what they are made of is explained by science. Take the law of causality as implied above. The Causality Principle states that cause must always preceed effect. Cause and effect. It’s a simple fact and not something that I must believe to be true. A car runs on gas is a simple fact.

I would submit that it’s arrogant to believe that science is something to be believed or not. You’re wanting to replace a belief system with something else like Goebbels did or even imply that the existence of God cannot be proven when there are at least 122 interdependent constants that must exist in order for life to exist. It’s not just about the size of the Earth relative to the Sun. For example, Jupiter’s position, size and orbit puts it in a unique position to catch space debris that would normally fall to Earth. No Jupiter, no Earth.

Science is simply a detailed list of interactions and facts. One of my favorite authors, Astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross said, ” to interpret the Bible literally is not enough, one must also interpret it with internal as well as external consistency.”

Isn’t that the scientific method?

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Christians are intolerant.

Perhaps the best example of how off this is comes from John 4 where is says,  “There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”. The Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” At that time, the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. That is to say, Jesus broke rank with what was believed at the time to show this person who he really was.  This happens to a much graver degree when Jesus stops the Pharisees from stoning a woman for committing adultery.

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But what does it mean to be intolerant?

Some would say it is Christians not accepting behaviors that they believe (or have a conviction) are wrong and not accept what society tells them is right. So if society says that it’s suddenly OK to murder then a Christian should readily accept that. Why then, believe anything? Why not simply accept what is socially acceptable and trendy and run with that? Anarchy in any form has always proven itself to be destructive by nature. Moral (or spiritual anarchy would have even graver consequences.

As we’ve always taught our daughter, people are to be loved and accepted as they are but that doesn’t mean that you have to approve of everything they do that goes against your conscience. It doesn’t mean you judge them. It’s not OK to be OK with your best friend cheating on a test. It simply means that you “speak the truth in love” and then let it go as best you can.  On the flip side, if you really believe in tolerance then Christians should not be asked to toss aside their convictions and beliefs so that someone else will not be offended.  We don’t get to be the conscience for others. That goes both ways and includes those who see Christians as intolerant. Remember how Jesus responded when the disciples asked him about which commandment was better in Matthew 22:37 where he replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Everything else hinges on that.

Then yourself if you’re living up to that. Like you, I fail every day.

If Christians are hypocrites, God is not real.

cross-silhouette1This one seems to an issue of the heart that is expressed indirectly by some who despise Christianity. The problem with that is  you’re missing the entire point of what it means to be a Christian.

Probably the most quoted scripture found in the Bible is also the most appropriate one here.  John 3:16. “For God so love the world that he sent his only begotten son, so that whosoever believes in him shall have everlasting life.”

Two of the four most important words in that scripture are “the world”. That means everybody. That includes the worst possible person you can imagine. And one of the best examples of these is with Saul of Tarsus before he became a Christian. Do you want to know what he did to Christians before he became one? Bad stuff. Way worse than the clown complaining about Starbucks cups. Saul oversaw the stoning of Christians. He led the raiding of Christian homes going house to house yanking families out of their homes and burning them down to the ground.That all changed when he was confronted with who he was and having to face it, changed his ways.

“About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, `Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’ ” `Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “`I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me. ” `What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked. ” `Get up,’ the Lord said, `and go into Damascus. That was when Saul became Paul and was responsible for writing most of the New Testament.

If that had happened today, he would have been seen as the biggest hypocrite of them all.

God is not the dad who left me when I was seven. God is not the mother who beat and cursed me when I was ten. God is not the one who caused me to be homeless when I was 17. If I had believed some of the things my parents taught me about God, I’d be lost. But I’m not. I am whole and I have a wife and daughter who love me. All because He held me in His arms and saw me through. All of this because of the other two important words in that scripture.

…whosoever believes.

If I were to add one more misconception it would be this. Christians condone violence because of all there is documented in the Old Testament. The reason why God gave Moses the ten commandments was not just to give them a list of things not to do. No, we should not murder, steal, etc. But there’s a deeper reason.

It was to show us that we couldn’t follow them all. To show us that we would fail. The Old Testament is replete with violence to show us what we are capable of when left to our own devices. It’s there to show us how badly we need a savior.

…whosoever believes.

So why are these so easily propagated?

I believe it’s fear. We fear finding out that we were wrong about something. We fear that we won’t be accepted on the other side of an admission of our way of thinking. We hold on to hate to justify the anger that we feel towards someone that has wronged us or wrong that we have witnessed. I’ve been wronged before, even by other Christians. My parents were Christians. But if someone were to walk up to me and tell me that my wife robbed a bank, I wouldn’t believe it for a second. Why?

I know better.

Through the years I’ve gotten to know her for myself. There will always be charlatans but I’ve chosen not to be derailed but them. And what I’ve seen people do should have no bearing on what I’ve learned about God through my own relationship with Him and through reading the Bible for myself.

Chat soon!

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Leonardo Ramirez is an author of Children’s Steampunk, Speculative Science Fiction and a graphic novel. He is also a husband, father and a 3rd degree Black Belt in American Karate. You can visit his website, Science Fiction for the Human Condition at Leonardoverse.com.  His books are available for purchase on Amazon.

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