If Christ Was Real…He Wouldn’t Have Such Awful Followers

29 Jan

They couldn’t believe it was him. As the news story unfolded, the Pastor realised the latest paedophile pastor was a man they knew from Bible college.

“He seemed so strong in the faith!” they exclaimed to each other. They’d have never thought that this could be true.

With men like this around, it’s no wonder people question if Christ is real. Surely if he was real, he wouldn’t have such awful followers. Doesn’t this disprove Christianity?

1) Not all who claim to be Christ’s followers are

Jesus hates hypocrites He seems “meek and mild” in the gospels until the Pharisees arrive. They really receive the sharp end of his tongue.

This is the same throughout the Bible. In Amos, God says he hates the Israelites’ religious festivals and demands they stop until he sees “justice roll down like waters” (Amos 5:21-24).

God hates the paedophiles, the witch hunters and the terrorists just as much as you and I. They may claim to be Christians, but God rejects their sacrifice. Will we attribute their sin to a God who hates them?

2) All Christ’s Followers Still Sin

If Christianity claimed believers would be perfect then our faith would be easily disproved. But the fact is some of the worst cases of Christian’s sin are recorded in the Bible’s pages (i.e. David’s adultery).

The Bible testifies that the Holy Spirit must battle Christian’s sinful desires constantly. Christianity never makes the claim of perfection in its believers. So it is a straw man argument to say because Christians sin Christ can’t be real. Are you satisfied to criticise Christianity based on attacking a claim it doesn’t even make?

Indeed, God accepting sinners is one of the great truths of Christianity. If God only accepted the great and good, then you and I would be rejected (with everyone else). But now, everyone has a chance to come into the Kingdom.

The Bible does say Christians will start to display some fruits of the Spirit. Theywil be more loving, they will be more kind and (most of all) they will be more devoted to God. Christians will sin less, not be sinless.

3) All Christ’s followers Will Be Redeemed from Sin

Yet Christ doesn’t stop there. He doesn’t save evil men and keep them evil, or only slightly change them. If that was true he wouldn’t be worth knowing.

Once day Jesus will return. On that day, believers will be purified from wrongdoing for ever.

You might say “I want a religion that cleanses from all sin now!”.

Where will you find such a religion? How will it stop the fact your heart makes a beeline straight for sin? By making doing more good works? That’ll never work, we’d need an utter heart change to stop sinning.

Christianity teaches only through Jesus dying for sin will we ever be free from it. He is the only reason we can have a little freedom now and utter freedom later.

Why he has made us wait, I don’t know. But Jesus gives the hope that one day we will be saved.

Does your religion or irreligion have that hope? Is it something you are attracted to? Will your belief stop you from doing what is evil?

Over to You

Now I realise that in a desire for a good overview of the issues and brevity I will not have answered all the objections in as detailed manner as people would like. Please comment if you have any objections you would like me to try to answer, or if you are a Christian who would like to add something.

This Series:
If Christ Was Real… Answering four arguments that Christ cannot exist (Originally discussed at BridgingSchisms.org).

1. If Christ was real…he wouldn’t have such awful followers. (this post)
2. If Christ was real…he wouldn’t send people to hell
3. If Christ was real…he wouldn’t judge us according to an unjust law
4. If Christ was real…he wouldn’t call me “sinner”. (coming soon)

(Picture “God Hates You by NoHoDamon under the Creative Commons Licence)

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8 Responses to “If Christ Was Real…He Wouldn’t Have Such Awful Followers”

  1. augustine January 29, 2009 at 9:28 pm #

    Not to denigrate your post, but I’m not aware of many people who actually make any of these arguments. I certainly don’t (although I do rather like a version of the third with ‘Christ’ replaced with ‘God’).

  2. leftcoastlibrul January 30, 2009 at 1:51 am #

    I’ve often maintained that if Christ showed up today and started doing what he supposedly did back then, “good Christians” would file complaints to keep him away from their kids, cross the street to avoid him, and probably call him a Zionist terrorist.

  3. Tim Wilson January 30, 2009 at 6:17 am #

    Augustine thanks for stopping by. The reason I came up with these was because they came up in a discussion on another site.

    What are your arguments?

  4. Tim Wilson January 30, 2009 at 6:50 am #

    leftcoastlibrul,

    Probably true. Indeed the Pharisees represented the good Jews of the day. They kept the laws of the Bible and created a few of their own. Jesus hated them.

    There are many who call themselves Christian who are actually people who like the Christian moral system (or their warped view of it) and haven’t understood that the Gospel is about Christ saving failures not amazing people.

    It’s noteworthy that in the parable of the Prodigal Son, the elder brother (as religiously stuck up as he is) stays outside.

    However, Christ would call some to himself. I believe that if he came back there would be some who would follow him, not because they are anything special but because God is gracious and would open their eyes.

    What’s your view on Christ?

  5. leftcoastlibrul January 31, 2009 at 1:21 am #

    Hi, Tim. Thank you for the considerate reply.

    That’s actually a very interesting question. For reasons not especially germane to our current discussion (although I would be happy to discuss it with you via email or in a separate thread if you desire), my feeling is that the actual man known as Yeshua of Nazareth was made up of whole cloth by Paul on his flight from Israel to Damascus.

    That said…I do believe that many (though not all) of the moral precepts put forth by Paul as the teachings of Jesus Christ are practical, compassionate rules that we would all benefit by employing more often. Loving all as yourself is something we should have more of. Treating the least of men as you would treat Christ is a lesson that we could all stand to learn. Reserving judgment and offering understanding … all of these things should be encouraged. So while I have my doubts about the actual existence of the man…I think that his teachings as handed down by his disciple(s) are sound moral teachings.

  6. Tim Wilson February 1, 2009 at 1:45 pm #

    Sorry for the late reply leftcoast, I never pressed send lol!

    Interesting opinion on Jesus. If Jesus is a figurement of Paul’s imagination, then how do you explain texts like Josephus on the existance of Jesus?

    On Jesus rules, they are great! The world would be a better place if people followed them. But the message of the Bible is rarely ever “do this”. It is rather “Jesus has won this for you”. If Paul made up Jesus a symbol of a moralistic idea then it seems very odd that he emphasises Jesus so much.

    I’d love to continue this conversation, but if you’d prefer to do it by email than do it here, feel free to use the contact form.

  7. Eshu February 6, 2009 at 4:43 pm #

    Surely if he was real, he wouldn’t have such awful followers. Doesn’t this disprove Christianity?

    No, it most definitely does not.

    Even if someone is a child-abuser, it does not mean their beliefs are false. To say that it does is an example of an ad-hominem attack – attacking the person rather than the argument – not only anti-social, but logically unsound. I’m sure plenty of child-abusers believe that the capital of Spain is Madrid. Similarly, the fact that a minority of Muslims become suicide bombers does not disprove Islam.

    What the “awful followers” argument does show however, is that being a follower doesn’t make you a better person. Note that Christians don’t need to claim to be perfect(*) for the argument to be valid and not attacking a straw man. If Christians claim to be better because of their faith, then the “awful followers” argument is valid.

    Several Christians I’ve met have used the following argument:
    “I’ve seen Jesus make such a difference in my life and in the lives of those around me. I’m a much nicer, better person now, so I know He’s real.”

    And you say something similar:

    Theywil be more loving, they will be more kind and (most of all) they will be more devoted to God. Christians will sin less, not be sinless.

    * It’s pretty obvious that Christians aren’t claiming to be perfect and I don’t think any of my commenters said this. I’m sorry to say that many Christians seem to have some serious self-esteem issues.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. If Christ was real…he wouldn’t send people to hell « Christ-Centred Blogging - February 5, 2009

    […] 1. If Christ was real…he wouldn’t have such awful followers. 2. If Christ was real…he wouldn’t send people to hell. (this post) 3. If Christ was real…he wouldn’t let people deny him. (coming soon) 4. If Christ was real…he wouldn’t call me “sinner”. (coming soon) […]

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