Don’t panic, Christians. I’m not here to say that God doesn’t exist or your beliefs are stupid or anything. I’m a Christian myself. And as an insider, I see way too many Christians living out of beliefs that are anything but Godly. Some merely prevent them from experiencing all of God’s glory, some are just flat-out destructive. Here are the ones that stand out the most to me at this time.
10. HEALING IS EASY
Have you ever seen anybody in rehab of any sort? Every step is excruciating and withdrawals make you want to curl up and die. But they’re necessary for total healing. Why do we think our emotional/spiritual lives will be any better?
I think this comes from the foolish idea that Jesus is docile lamb who would never hurt anybody. But the truth is that he heals our wounds by opening them up again. God will take you back to that place of abandonment and allow you to feel that loss again. God will remind you of the time you were molested and let you relive that fear. God will alert you to your fears of inadequacy by making you inadequate.
Why? Because that’s how you heal. Healing doesn’t just cover up or ignore wounds; it gets deep inside and treats them. Too many Christians walk around with broken hearts or spirits because they expect a quick, painless fix. If you want real healing, you must be willing to take pain, a lot of it. But as one who has walked through sexual brokenness, worthlessness, and thoughts of suicide, I can tell you it’s very, VERY worth it.
9. BAD THINGS HAPPEN ONLY TO BAD PEOPLE
Sorry, but this one’s really funny to me. What scripture or basic logic are you using to believe this? Jesus said it rains on the just and unjust alike (Matt 5:45). Translation: bad things happen to ev-ray-bah-dee.
Sometimes, people are jerks. Sometimes, the Devil is out to get you. Sometimes, you get crapped on because you stood under a bird. And sometimes, it just rains. So maybe Hurricane Katrina was the result of strong winds, not gay sex. Maybe 9/11 wasn’t about punishment. Maybe this is just a world where bad stuff happens. And maybe we all need to pull up our pants and take it.
8. GOD IS PATRIOTIC
I love me some ‘Murica, too, and I believe that God really can and will bless us in many way. I do NOT believe that God is an American. There’s no biblical evidence whatsoever to say that God is entirely for our country or even entirely against it. The truth is that God doesn’t care about flags; he cares about people. It is good and perhaps even Godly to love and support your country, but do not for one second think that we have some special love from Christ–or that we ever did. God loves everybody. John 3:16, yo.
7. PROGRESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS
Another Americanism is that progress is good. In a way, God thinks the same; he’s all about growth and productivity. However, our technological generation has an absolute obsession with progress that says “Old is bad, new is good. Period.” This kind of thinking leads to fickle people, ageism, waste, Darwinism (survival of fittest), and turning a blind eye to any who can’t keep up. Not to mention what it would say about a book that’s thousands of years old.
The Bible says to walk circumspectly (Ephesians 5:15). That means to be looking in all directions: up, down, left, right, and backwards, not just forward. Have an eye for the present and enjoy it without demanding the next new thing, for God commends contentment (1 Tim 6:6). And the past can teach us many, many great lessons, and throughout the entire Bible, God tells us to learn from those who have gone before us. Don’t be so forward-minded that you forget everyone and everything around you. It is base foolishness to think that good things only exist in the future, which never ever comes.
6. HELL IS DEMONIC
Is Hell good or bad? Most of us would say bad, that it’s Satan’s lair of evil and he runs the place. But the Bible actually says otherwise. It says that God will judge between Heaven and Hell (Matt 10:28; 25:31-46) and that in the end, Satan will be thrown there as punishment (Rev 21:10). Therefore, Hell is righteous judgment, overseen by God, not Satan.
I bet that disturbed you a little bit. But evil must be punished, am I right? That’s what Hell was created for. It completely separates good from evil so that good may truly flourish and evil may truly suffer. Demons are no fonder of Hell than we are. I’m glad Hell exists to deal with evil, and I’m even more glad that Jesus is not only willing, but eager to keep humans out of it.
5. RULES/LAWS CHANGE PEOPLE
Do you know why I’m not freaking out that DOMA got repealed? Do you know why I’m not lobbying in Congress to make pornography illegal? Wasted effort. Laws and rules don’t change hearts, just behaviors, and that reluctantly. The 13th Amendment ended slavery, but racism still exists. Why? The law changed, but not the hearts of men.
People don’t change because someone forced them; they change because they want to. Jesus’s stories of change didn’t happen in courts, but face-to-face. He gave two adultresses the mercy they needed and they followed him (John 4: 1-38; 8: 1-11). He came to a tax gouger’s house and he not only gave his money to the poor, but promised to repay all those he’d cheated four times over (Luke 19: 1-10).
We don’t need more Christians in Congress; we need them in homes, in shelters, in hospitals, in prisons, and on the streets.
4. DEBATES/ARGUMENTS CHANGE PEOPLE
I’m not talking about wise and mature discussion; those can be used wonderfully for Christ. I’m referring to any situation when a Christian tries to argue his way into someone’s heart. Even if you’re right, it won’t work.
What do people do when told they’re wrong? They get defensive, and defensive people act on emotion, not logic. So even if you have foolproof reasoning that God exists and all their beliefs are rubbish, you’ll never win them over by trying to win an argument. Try listening with love. Love their soul and you’ll win the argument. Fight an argument and you’ll lose their soul and mar yours in the process.
3. SPIRITUAL WARFARE WAS FOR BACK THEN, NOT NOW
Why? Do demons no longer exist? Are we “enlightened” now and know that demons were never real? Jesus acted like they were very real, and spoke to them as creatures with voices and personalities. A lot of Christians have this funny idea that what you see is what you get. But if that’s true, why do you believe in God, whom you’ve never seen?
The wool is over our eyes. So much is happening that we can’t see. Supernatural evil is very real. No, it’s not the cause of every bad thing in the world (the world is broken, people suck…) but it’s very real. James 4:7 says we must resist the devil. Jesus sent out 70 disciples and they return saying they cast out demons in Jesus’s name (Luke 10:17). Ephesians 6: 10-18 speaks of Godly attributes as battle armor. Clearly, the battles aren’t over.
Spiritual warfare is very, very real, and too few Christians know it. The Devil is real, and he has declared war on all of us (Rev 12:17). Now, the good news is that Jesus has already beaten evil’s power, so in His name we can win every single time. But the final victory, the one that removes all evil from the world, has not happened yet, and until then, gear up.
2. ESCAPING SIN IS THE KEY TO LIFE
Remember the book/film The Two Towers? Theodin doesn’t want to fight the bad guys, so he takes his people and holes them up in the fortress called Helm’s Deep to wait them out. What happens? The bad guys come and break open the wall. You cannot win a fight by running away from it. You win it by…WINNING it.
It’s not Godly by any means to put up walls between us and the “sinners”. It’s not wise or healthy to lock ourselves and our kids inside sterile bubbles. You can’t possibly avoid all sin and temptation, and the longer you try, the weaker you’ll be against it. The only thing to do is overcome sin.
Fortunately, this has been done for us. Jesus’s death and resurrection broke sin’s power and restored us to the strength and authority we were always meant to have. We are more than conquerors in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:37). And Revelation 12:11 says that the saints overcame “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony and they did not love their lives to the death”. You want sin to go away? Skewer it with a spear.
1. GOD IS NICE
Once again, we have the docile God theology, that he sits on a cloud making a peace sign and never gets his hands dirty. You’d have to eliminate about 80% of the Bible to believe that.
Genesis: God wipes out all but 8 people with a flood. Exodus: God pimp-smacks Egypt with plagues, including death. Numbers: God purges his own people. Joshua: God takes a land by force. Judges, 1/2 Sam, 1 Kings, 1 Chron: God protects his land by force. 2 Kings, 2 Chron: God crushes his own people for chronic disobedience. Gospels: Jesus ruffles everybody’s feathers and says he’s come to bring a sword, not peace (Matt 10:34-39). Acts: God kills two for deceitful hearts and sends the Apostles to cause all kinds of trouble. Revelation: Jesus returns with a blood-soaked robe (Rev. 19:13). God is not “nice.”
But he’s good. Like Aslan in Narnia, he’s not safe by any means, but he is good. God is loving, kind, patience, and merciful, but he is also fierce, stern, and bloody (more musings on that here). God is good, but he’s not a hippie. And if we’re all very honest, I think we’d prefer a God who fights on our behalf, rather than one who chills in the meadow in oblivious zen.
What else is there? What lies did you believe? What lies have you seen that are killing the Church?