The Gallup organization just put out the results of its yearly survey on faith, and to no one's surprise, supposedly 80% of this country considers itself Christian. Just about every year the statistics are the same. 80% of the people call themselves Christian, 10% have no faith and 10% are some other religious faith besides Christian. Thus, 90% of those who claim to have a "faith" in this country are supposedly Christian if this survey is correct.
I have a few problems with this survey. If, indeed, this country is 80% Christian; why are there relentless attacks on the Christian ideals this country was founded upon? Why has prayer been taken out of schools and the Ten Commandments banished from the courtrooms? Why does the issue of "Christmas" come up every year? Why has the word "Christ" been effectively removed from the vocabulary of politicians, actors, lawyers and even many pastors? Why, if this country really is overwhelmingly "Christian", have these things been allowed to happen?
The first problem lies in the definition of a "Christian". Just because a person says "I am a Christian" does not make him one. I could say that I am a "horse", but that does not mean I really am one. If the Gallup organization was to be more specific and define "Christian" as one who has fulfilled the Romans 10:9 requirements of confession and belief; then the number of so-called "Christians" in this country would drop dramatically. My guess is that instead of 80% there would only be perhaps 40%.
Jesus said "By your fruit you will be known", and this is the ultimate way to determine who is a Christian. You cannot grow pears on a bean plant. People say a lot of things, but actions speak louder than words ever can. Those who exhibit the love, patience, peace, joy, self-control, goodness and gentleness of Christ in their lives are probably Christians. Those who live by the Ten Commandments may live righteously, but there is no guarantee they are a Christian.
I think it is a joke how this country claims to be Christian but both lives like the devil most of the time and condemns Christians for being intolerant and dogmatic the rest of the time. The "Christian Right" has been condemned, ridiculed and pushed into a corner of irrelevance. I am not sure what the title "Evangelical" really means politically, but it is not a title the vast majority of people in this country want to be tagged with. The only title worse than "Evangelical" is the dreaded "Fundamentalist" title placed on those who adamantly believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and is to be believed as such.
Now, if this country is really 80% Christian, why would people rather be beaten and forced to live on bread and water than be called an "Evangelical Fundamentalist". Take your own survey. Go out on the street and ask people the first thing that comes to their mind when you use the term "Evangelical Fundamentalist". Be prepared to hear things that are not nice. If you get more than 20% remotely positive responses I would be amazed. Few people have anything good to say about those "Bible thumping religious wackos" who preach about a God who hates sin and threatens sinners with hell.
If we grabbed 100 people from the local mall and in the presence of each other asked them if they were Christian, the results would depend entirely upon the responses of the first few people. If the first 5 people said they were Christian, then the sheep would follow the leader and there could very well be 80% or more in the crowd who claimed to be Christian. But, if the first 5 said they were atheists or devil worshippers; then the rest of the people would feel very uneasy being singled out as Christians. In this scenario, I would guess there would be fewer than 20% willing to subject themselves to the scorn of others by claiming to be Christian. The majority would say they have no faith, or "it's a personal matter."
My point in all this is very simply that what a person says to an interviewer in the privacy of their own home on the telephone is far different than what most would say in public to a real person with a bullhorn. The apostle Peter bears this out perfectly. As long as he was with Jesus he said over and over again that he would never deny him or forsake him. But once Jesus was apprehended and hauled before the religious leaders; when different people confronted Peter and accused him of being a follower of Jesus, he vehemently denied it three separate times. If your Christian faith makes your "squirm", then you need to "examine yourself" to make sure you are in the faith.
I do not believe a true Christian denies his faith when confronted by an unbeliever. A true Christian wears his faith as a badge of courage and honor. Anyone ashamed of being a Christian probably isn't one to begin with. "Closet Christians" are a dime a dozen. Look around your workplace and see how many fellow workers are ashamed of their faith. Anyone ashamed of being a Christian is ashamed of Christ. Anyone ashamed of Christ has some major problems according to the Word of God.
In Egypt, before God led his people out of the land of bondage to the freedom of the desert; God demanded a public display of their faith. Every door which had the blood of the sacrifice upon it was "passed over" by the destroyer. Every door which did not have the blood, was visited by the destroyer and the oldest son was slain. God demanded His people obey His Word and not be afraid to publically display their faith in that Word which had been given to them.
If the United States of America is really 80% Christian, then the United States of America is worthy of all the wrath of God mentioned in the Old Testament and the book of Revelation. Why? Because it is a country full of hypocritical people who claim to be one thing and live just the opposite. The things done and said in the name of "Christianity" are many times more horrible than those done by unbelievers. Christians need to quit being afraid of what others think of them and start being afraid of what God and Christ think of them.
This so-called holiday season has really gotten me in a foul mood. Not because of anything done by the world, for their unbelief is to be expected, but the apathetic and lukewarm attitude on the part of those who claim to be "Christian". I know a little about the Bible and I know what the Bible says to do with your heart, time, money and abilities. Nowhere does the Bible say that God "blessed" you with a good mind and body to make millions of dollars to spend on yourself and your family and never share a penny with someone in need.
Giving over-priced secular presents to unthankful people under the guise of "giving" is not what this season was supposed to be about. Back before television and its non-stop commercials promoting yet another gadget everyone just "has to have" was around, people enjoyed the Christmas holiday as a time for warm fellowship and the joy of being together. If you can even find the movie anymore, the old black and white version of "A Christmas Carol" is worth watching any time of the year. I love the movie because of the simplicity of the times. A big goose for dinner was the only present a family needed to have a wonderful holiday.
In the absolute height of hypocrisy; Americans have given Christmas over to the world and other faiths and have willingly removed Christ from the day set aside to honor his birth. One city government after another has "caved into" the demands of a handful of unbelievers to get rid of any trace of Christ in Christmas. University and other choirs have removed all references to Christ in their holiday programs. Schools have even done away with trees. All that is left of a once beautiful holiday is all that the world holds near and dear. Unbridled greed, lust and selfishness are honestly all Christmas is about anymore.
Closet Christians have no one to blame for the demise of their cherished holiday but themselves. Christians have allowed the Grinch to steal the real meaning of Christmas and replace it with this catch- all holiday celebrating every faith's tradition except of course Christianity, since that offends people. I honestly pity the poor Christians who still think Christmas is a Christian holiday simply because they go to church on Christmas Eve or they have a Nativity scene in the pile of decorations in the living room.
The so-called 80% Christians in this country can have what is left of Christmas. I don't want anything to do with this soon to be 100% secular holiday. I have decided to have "Christmas" in September next year. I will write on Christ's birth and give anything I want to give others at that time. This time next year I plan to be relaxed and unfazed by the lights, camera and action of what should be called "World Marketing Day" instead of "Christmas". I'd like to think various friends and family would miss me not celebrating Christmas next year, but I really don't think anyone would notice.
Good blog and excellent points.
Just because a person says "I am a Christian" does not make him one. I could say that I am a "horse", but that does not mean I really am one.
My first Pastor had a saying, "Setting in a garage won't make you a car any more then setting in a church pew will make you a Christian."