In my time with people of different faiths and ideologies, one of the most common reasons I hear for a lack of belief in (or relationship with) God is, “I don’t believe in God (or care about God) because of the way Christians live.“
I used to find this a compelling argument.
If you really consider what they are saying, they are saying that if a Christian lives contrary to the teachings of Christ on a regular basis, then they are admitting with their lifestyle that it isn’t the best way to live. So why would I be compelled to follow that same Christ that they aren’t really following?
After all, Christians are to be the salt and the light of the world. If the way they are living is ‘salt’ and ‘light’, bring me a pepper shaker and turn out the lights.
On the surface, it makes sense.
But then, something dangerous happened. I began to think.
I spend a lot of time within the world of motor sports; as do many of my friends. We all have a common affinity; automobile racing.
We have all been compelled to be a part of the sport for one reason or another. We have seen the camaraderie and community that happens within the sport. We have seen the dedication and teamwork it takes to compete. We have been captivated by the sights, sounds and smells of the race track. We have been drawn into the competition.
Racing offers us something.
It offers belonging. It offers community. It offers friendship. It offers sport and competition. It offers us identity.
Now imagine if upon our first encounter with motor sports we encountered ‘that guy’ throwing a wrench at someone in a fit of rage? Or we were scammed by some sleazy business dealer? Or we lost our first race to some cheater?
What if at that point, we said, “that’s it. I’m out.” What if we said, “I don’t like racing because of the bad people that can be found at the racetrack.“
What would we be missing then?
We would be missing some of the most amazing people we’ve ever met. People who are willing to give you the shirt off of their back if you need it. We would be missing on some of the funnest camaraderie that can be found in all of sports. We would be missing on some of the most exciting moments we share together at racetracks.
Why? Because we let one bad person give us the wrong impression, and we chose to stay away from racing because of that person. That one person who didn’t represent the sport as we love it to begin with.
So when we say, “I don’t believe in God because of the Christians,” we are in essence throwing away all of the beautiful things that a relationship with God has to offer, simply because of someone who isn’t a good representation of Christianity to begin with.