It is a bit frustrating when people who don’t know me make assumptions about who I am based on faulty Christian stereotypes. Get to know me before you start assuming something. I imagine we all feel this way at times. This frustration is particularly troublesome when they find out I’m an ordained Christian minister.
Below is a list of just a few of the major ones I have come across:
1. I must be a boring person – Anyone who really knows me can attest to the fact this is not true. For some reason many unbelievers are under the assumption Christians are boring, stale, and incapable of laughter. Well, this is the picture that has been painted by many Christians and pastors, however, it is far from a blanket statement of truth. There are countless believers with great a sense of humor who are full of excitement and joy.
2. Swearing around me is forbidden – People, just be yourself. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to know there is at least respect enough for me to want to control their language, but don’t try and suddenly be on your best behavior just because you’re with me. For the most part your language is not going to offend me, I’ve heard it all before. I would much rather someone be themselves around me than to try to be someone they’re not.
3. I hate all homosexuals – This assumption is one that is understandable considering the way many “Christians” act in this regard. The truth is I love them as much as I love my brothers and sisters in Christ. To be honest, I’m a bit embarrassed, and unsure of why, so many Christians put this issue at the top of their enmity list yet remain passive regarding areas such as spousal abuse, human sex trade (children in particular), the poor and homeless, or even inappropriate heterosexual behavior. Do I agree with the practice of homosexual activity? Of course not. But I love them and treat them with respect.
4. I’m judgmental – Absolutely no one is perfect. We all have flaws and areas we need to improve on. Don’t try changing who you are just because you are around me. I’m not going to judge you. The Bible speaks clearly about judging when it is done in the wrong way, so I’m not in any hurry to suffer what may come my way simply because I may have judged hypocritically.
5. I must be a Republican and vote only Republican straight across the board – Let’s just leave this one and add no commentary.
6. I don’t drink alcohol or smoke cigars – While it may be true you’ll never see me intoxicated, nor will you see me chain smoking cigars, but to think of these things as taboo or forbidden just because I’m a Christian is an extreme, over-generalization. Some Christians will try to refute this fact, but wine was a common beverage in the time of Jesus and his disciples.
7. I’m blind to other views and only know Christianity – Clearly the vast majority of my time will be learning and practicing the Christian faith, but don’t think I’m unaware of other views or even world events and popular culture.
8. I’m ignorant, and refuse to accept what science has to offer – False. My views may certainly be different than yours on issues in this category, but the “Big Bang” theory, natural selection, macro and micro evolution are all things that intrigue me. I’m interested in many aspects of science and the more I learn does not hinder my faith in the least.
9. I, and others like me, are a bunch of hypocrites – Sadly, you probably believe this one because you’ve seen it in the Church and maybe have even been the object of it. As believers we should mean and do what we say, but we all make mistakes and fall short in this area (Christian or not). The truth is, much of what we preach, teach, and take a stand on is because we have felt personal conviction regarding the topic.
10. I’m pro-life – Okay, this one is absolutely true. I was just seeing if you were paying attention.
The point is, try not to make assumptions about us Christians based on the actions of a few or on the actions of those that are seen in the limelight. An entire religion, or any group of people, shouldn’t be stereotyped by the actions of just a few.
Image Credit: Grumpy by Thomas8047; CC 2.0
This was a guest post from Dr. Jeff Hagan.
Jeff is an ordained Christian minister with over 23 years of ministry experience. He has attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Luther Rice Seminary, Tyndale Seminary and a handful of other institutes as well. He has earned several degrees including the Doctor of Christian Education and the Doctor of Theology.