Chapter 03: Introduction to the Current Christian Stereotype – Excerpt 3


Chapter 03: Introduction to the Current Christian Stereotype



I’ve started writing a book about Changing the Face of Christianity. I’ll post excerpts here as I go in order to get your feedback before the book is published.



In a previous book excerpt I listed some words that my last Christian audience shouted out in response to the word “Christian”. Here are some of the other words that have come up when polling people of all faiths and nationalities about the Christian stereotype:


  • Fake
  • Clueless
  • Sincere
  • Insincere
  • Prideful
  • Humble
  • Generous
  • Deceitful
  • Gossips
  • Helpful
  • Spiritual
  • Backwards
  • Grace-filled 

Other words have come up in my research and some words come up more frequently than others. There is a very consistent trend, and that trend is the basis for this book. 

Not surprisingly, the recurring stereotypical images that we have discerned are corroborated by others. 

The Barna Group is a very well respected research organization focusing on faith-based and religious studies. A few years ago they conducted a study of people’s perceptions of Christianity. This research led to the publishing of a book titled “unChristian” by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. 

The research found that non-Christians believe Christians are in fact not very Christian

The research found that non-Christians believe Christians are in fact not very Christian; thus the book title unChristian was perfect. The words used to describe Christian attitudes and behaviors included:

  • Intolerant
  • Judgmental
  • Hypocritical
  • Anti-Homosexual (homophobic)
  • Too Political
  • Superficial 

The case for the current negative Christian stereotype is pretty solid. But a list of words isn’t enough to capture the real story. Allow me to paint a clearer picture of the problem by sharing some additional evidence. 

There is an online dictionary called This is NOT your grandmother’s dictionary. It’s not like your Oxford English Dictionary or your Webster’s Dictionary. is a “crowd sourced” dictionary. 

That means that people like you and me can visit this site, look up definitions, and contribute your own definitions. The “crowd” then votes particular definitions up or votes particular definitions down. The best definitions rise to the top of the list. 

And so, I visited and looked up the definition of Christianity. The results were sobering and very depressing. Brace yourself. Here are two of the highest rated definitions of “Christianity”:

  • “A religion that would have made sense had it not been for the nature and character of its followers.”
  • “A religion; practitioners trying to exhibit Christ-like characteristics. Sadly, many of them do not exhibit Christ-like characteristics, but rather the opposite. They sin knowingly and then criticize the rest of the world for not being Christian.” 

When I read these definitions, I visualize a knife getting shoved into my belly and starting to turn. These words HURT. My heart weeps that we Christians have tarnished the image of our faith by behaving in such un-Christian ways.

Please share any comments or constructive feedback below. Thanks. It’s VERY APPRECIATED!

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  1. Rhonda Walker says

    Hi Brad, I too have seen many “worldly Christians.” I have watched many Christians programs that have a watered down gospel and have made grace out to be; you can sin and “don’t worry, God understands.” There is a lot of heresy going around. We are to mirror Christ in all of our behavior, especially at home with our families. Our children see it more than anyone. They know when we gossip, lie, cheat, and so on. In doing so we send the message, “Do as I say and not as I do.” We forget that we are to reverence God and live a life of holiness. The idea that God is our good pal brings Him down to our level rather than us elevating our standards. God is so far above us. Like Paul said, “I am the chief of all sinners.” We all are! Thankfully, God sees us through the shed blood of Jesus. Christian, the lost are watching you, and yes we need to act more Christ like in everything we do, say, what we read, and look at on our computers. In Rev. 3:16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. This ought to be very sobering to any Christian. God doesn’t wink at sin. Get your one foot out of the world and live the way the Master wants you to live, be salt and light. Jesus is coming back for a Bride without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.

  2. says

    The problem is we tend to make lists. We all have a list of things that we are not proud of, many items on my list are secret things, God has said, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” There are no secrets. I can point my finger at anyone and pass judgment. I know how bad you are; (because I know how bad I am. Rom. 3:23), and point my finger at things on my list, where you don’t measure up. Realize that when I point a finger at you, at least 3 are pointed at me. The bottom line here is that we need to look at the Savior not the sin. He told us to Love God and Love others. Jesus took your sin to the cross and said, “I will remember your sin no more, forever.” Americans spend an abundant amount of time watching television or other media for entertainment. Consider spending time in the word and meditation, if you want to know the difference between looking at the sin or looking at the Savior. As the tithe is 10% of your money, consider what a two and a half hour tithe on time would produce. Sin is a bad habit that can only be replaced by a good habit. Look at the savior not the sin.

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