How Many Christians Do You Know?

I don’t want to come off as bitter here, but I’m still thinking about the “most Christians” comment made by the young man I talked about a couple posts ago.  If you recall, that young man said most Christians are hypocritical, ugly, gossipy, clubby, etc.  Okay, he technically didn’t say “most Christians”.  He just said “Christians” period.  He did not exempt any Christians from that estimation.

Other people do some Christians from such estimations, though.  Other people do use that term “most” when talking about the negative aspects of the modern-day followers of Christ.  I’ve been hearing some version of the statement “Most Christians are [insert negative attribute here]” all my life, and thought I’m not a betting man I would wager you’ve heard it as well.

What I realized as I read that note about that young man, though, is that there is no way he or any other person can honestly come to that assessment.  None of the people who say, “Most Christians are X, Y, or Z” have the legitimate right to say that.  They do not have that right because they do not know most Christians.

As soon as I realized that, I thought of a line from the 1996 movie Dragonheart.  I don’t know if that is a good movie or not; I only saw it once and I can barely remember it.  But I do know I always liked this one line:

A similar question can be asked of those who use that “most Christians” phrase.  How many Christians do you know?  Do you know most?  Of course you don’t.  As Neil deGrasse Tyson said in the tweet I quoted in the last post, there are 2.5 billion Christians on the planet (and that’s just the present time; that doesn’t include the billions of Christians in ages past).  Do you know most of them?  Not even close.  You don’t know even a fraction of them.

To make an assertion about most Christians, then, when you don’t know most Christians is illegitimate.  It is not scientific; as I understand it, science is based on data which can be duplicated and independently studied, but as we’ve just established, there is no such data here (at the very least there is certainly not enough data).  It does not meet my experience; again, I’m not a betting man but I would wager that I know more Christians than you do, and I can say with confidence that most of them have far more positive qualities than negative ones.  It is prejudiced; if the term Christian were to be replaced with another term (that is, if someone was to generalize any one group based on on less-than-stellar example of that group), it would be regarded as racism or sexism or bigotry of some sort.  There are, then, a ton of problems with this oft-used phrase.

What people really mean when the say “most Christians are whatever” is “Some Christian hurt me.”  And I’m genuinely sorry you were hurt by one of my brothers or sisters.  But what that one person did is not a reflection of a whole.  Contrary to conventional wisdom, a few bad apples do not spoil the whole bushel, especially when the bushel has 2 billion+ apples in it.

 

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