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Christianity suffers from negative stereotypes


What words come to mind when you think of Jesus Christ?

Now, what comes to mind when you think of Christians?

It is very likely the descriptions you just imagined are almost polar opposites. Loving, wise, forgiving, savior 8212; all of these and other praising terms may have popped into your head as you thought of Jesus.

I venture to guess pondering Christians, however, sparked thoughts of beautiful words like crazy, overbearing, hypocritical or even white, conservative and southern. Indeed, the common perception of Christians today discourages many people from ever considering going to church.

There are a number of reasons as to why this stereotypical view of Christians is so prevalent in society today. Popular media, for example, reinforces it relentlessly in the form of Ned Flanders on “The Simpsons” or the many “Family Guy” gags that either make fun of Christians or Jesus himself.

Let it be known: I enjoy both of these shows and am saddened by the truth in some of their religious satire, but they prevent TV viewers from opening their minds to the possible existence of people that are not stock characters. What a shocking notion.

Another cause of the narrow-mindedness many people approach Christianity with is, well, their narrow-mindedness. Some individuals are so convinced of the prevailing Christian image that they exert no effort to examine what the faith is actually about. Truly, the public too often takes what they see on the news &- which is aired because it is out of the ordinary &- and makes quick generalizations about members of certain groups.

Finally, Christians don’t help themselves very much. Many that call themselves Christians merely attend church on Christmas and Easter &- the “Chreasters” &- and lead the rest of their lives in a very secular manner. Others do the exact opposite, going to church every single Sunday and exemplifying the perfect “Christian,” but only doing so to feel good about themselves and judge sinners.

Approaches to evangelism are also poor. No one, not even devout believers, likes answering his or her door only to be confronted with a superficial smile and an “Are you saved?” I was disgusted this summer when I went to a Christian convention and some of the event facilitators encouraged attendees to do things like give strangers a bottle of water and exclaim, “Jesus loves you.” I blame no one who thinks Christians are loonies.

University students and faculty, citizens of Fort Worth: if the rest of this article went through your eyes and out of the back of your head, please absorb what follows. God-loving, compassionate, accepting Christians do in fact exist and in much greater numbers than you may imagine. They are your colleagues, your classmates and your neighbors. If you feel your life is missing something, as if you have a greater purpose than to have a nice house with a white picket fence or like the things of this world can never truly satisfy you, seek those people out and seek God.

Students, there are hoards of fantastic churches, Bible studies and college groups very close to campus. I am already smitten with Christ Chapel nearby and the first IGNITE worship service held Aug. 30 in the BLUU Ballroom was very powerful and extremely well-led. I implore you all to let go of your preconceived ideas about Christians and look hard for genuine believers and disciples. I am confident that doing so can affect your life in wonderful, awesome ways.

John Adams is a freshman psychology major from Houston.

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