The Truth of Christianity Isn’t Measured by People’s Hatred of It By AMY K. HALL for The Stream
We have a tendency to think that when we make someone angry with our words or actions, we’ve done something wrong. That’s not an entirely bad tendency, of course — often, as fallen human beings, when we upset others, we have done something wrong and need to engage in some self-reflection and apologies. But this reflexive tendency becomes a problem when someone else’s anger towards our Christian words or actions causes us to conclude either that 1) we haven’t expressed ourselves well enough or, worse, 2) that Christianity itself is hateful, or ugly, or false.
Conclusions That Don’t Necessarily Follow
It’s vitally important to remember that those conclusions don’t necessarily follow. In terms of the first, no one has ever expressed himself as lovingly, truthfully, and wisely as Jesus, yet clearly many hated Him.
As for Christianity’s truthfulness, at the very least, people’s hatred isn’t evidence of its falsity. In fact, the opposite may be true, as a new theist (though not yet Christian) recently told me, to my surprise. He said the evidence for Christianity he found to be most compelling was its wisdom about how to live well, which results in people’s anger towards it:
In modern society, vice is championed as virtue and nearly everything elites want you to do is an inversion of what’s in the Bible. It also strikes me as odd that the Bible so accurately encapsulates the best way to lead a life. I think everyone knows this, and that’s why you see so much anger directed towards Christianity.
I’ve been mulling this idea over for the past few weeks and then came across an illustration of the same point by Tim Challies in “Christian, Do You Expect to Face Persecution?”
A few years ago one of my neighbors drank a bit too much and the next day he had a pretty bad hangover. He must have been lying in a darkened room with an icepack on his head while outside our kids and the neighbor kids were laughing and playing and enjoying some innocent childish fun. They were being good kids and having a good time. But suddenly the neighbor threw open his window and screamed “Make those kids be quiet!” His condition made their joy painful to him; it made their expressions of happiness intolerable. And something like that happens when we become Christians and begin to live out God’s true design for humanity before other people. Our holiness confronts their sinfulness. They see Christians living as God truly made us to live, living in the joy of the Lord — and it challenges them; it confronts them; it convicts them. And many respond with hatred, with persecution.