As an atheist who reads a good amount of godless blogs and heathenish news stories in addition to talking to other atheists about a wide range of topics, I hear a lot of crazy bad stuff about religious people and their actions. I’m not an anti-theist personally and I genuinely enjoy and appreciate the cultural influences religion has had and continues to contribute to society, but man, some of the bad things that religion inspires and produces can be horrifying. I do find some value in religion and I think religious people usually, when they are acting as religious people, act because of genuine beliefs they hold sacred. And I think that’s cool.
You know, when they’re not killing people or trying to stop people from marrying their partners and stuff.
But the fact is, Christian indiscretions will always be juicy news because a lot of Christians present themselves with an air of moral superiority and it’s downright delicious when that position is challenged and proven false. In fact, think that Christianity would make a lot more sense if its adherents were less hypocritical and more…I don’t know…Jesus-y?
I’m talking nice Jesus, not the badass Jesus some people chose to focus on.
Well, R. Brad White in Texas agrees with me and what’s more – he’s doing his best to encourage his fellow believers to take an inward look before they judge others:
“Christians, despite their good intentions, give Christianity a bad name due to rampant Christian hypocrisy, Christian intolerance, Christian judgmentalism, and Christian homophobia”, says R. Brad White, former Atheist and now devoted Christian, and Founder of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc.
R. Brad White says, “The Bible tells us that non-believers will always hate us, but not for the reasons they hate us now. Who could hate someone for truly loving his or her neighbors as themselves? The fact is we don’t do a very good job at loving our neighbor. That’s something we need to be transparent about, confess where we are failing to live up to the name of Jesus Christ, and then work toward maturity and Christ-like transformation.”
A non-profit organization called Changing the Face of Christianity is working to reverse this pervasive image problem by helping Christians become more like Jesus Christ. “We are trying to help Christians actually change for the better. This begins by acknowledging we have a problem through heartfelt confession. We’ve launched ‘My Confession’; a campaign mobilizing Christians to make public confessions on post-it type notes and on our MyConfession.org website.” says R. Brad White.
R. Brad White continues, “The My Confession campaign is simple. We want people to share their confessions on our MyConfession.org website. We pray for these people that God will transform and heal them and their relationships. We are also encouraging people to write a brief confession on a small note, and place that note in a public area, such as a public restroom mirror, a gas station, a bank ATM machine, a drive through window, a Red Box type video rental unit, inside an elevator, at the water cooler, etc. Such public confessions encourage others to do the same. It gives others the strength to admit their own faults, and helps them lay down false pride in favor of humility. To make it easier for people, we’ve prepared a downloadable page of confession notes on our website for people to use. Simply download the PDF, print it, cut it into 6 notes, write your brief confession, and then share it in a public place. People have enjoyed taking a photo of their posted note, and then sharing their longer confession on our site and uploading the picture for others to see. The feedback we’ve received has been great. People are telling us after they shared what they are doing with their friends, that their friends are responding with affirmations like, ‘That’s so cool! That takes guts! How can I do it?'”
R. Brad White says, for example, “My Confession is I’ve allowed my religious convictions to make me numb to the human rights of gays and lesbians. I haven’t consciously fought AGAINST gay marriage, but I’ve allowed outspoken Christian political activists to limit the human rights of LGBTs (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) and let them speak FOR me through my silence. The Gay community deserves love, not discrimination. And for my part in that, I’m incredibly sorry.” So Brad’s note said “My confession is I’ve been a homophobic Christian. The gay community deserves love, not discrimination.”
I feel like it’s worth expressing again: Yay!
This whole idea makes me happy. The fact is, though the number of believers may be on the decline, Christianity isn’t going anywhere. I have no illusions about that, or about the importance it has had and no doubt will continue to have in the story of humanity. That’s why this kind of thinking in the Christian community is exciting to me. I guess I just appreciate a Christan group that is trying to inspire religious people to take an introspective inventory of their own actions and beliefs before they even consider lashing outward. I think that’s something everyone ought to do, and hopefully this kind of ministry (if you can even call it that) will catch on and not get “No True Scotsman”-ed out of existence.