Gandhi the spiritual and peaceful resistance leader for India at the end of British colonization of that country, was famous for many things but I want to borrow from him what he had to say about becoming a Christian.
He is reported to have said that he had read the Bible and would have liked to become a Christian as a result from what he found there, but having also been exposed to Christian's behavior he decided against it.
Who could blame him? I mean seriously... just to take a look at our collective behavior is enough to turn anyone off.
In looking at my own behavior HONESTLY, I am surprised that I have friends at all!
I am arrogant, opinionated, and "everyone is entitled to my opinion", or so the caption read on the coffee cup one of my daughters bought me for my birthday a few years back.
And when we bunch Christians together we tend to bolster one another, making our self righteousness balloon into something extremely grotesque.
Anyone being exposed to this who is not a believer and not desperate for God's ability to save them from a life devoted to self destruction, would rightly run the other direction to escape.
And following that line of reasoning, should we be greatly surprised by their anger? This anger could and does translate often to a stumbling block and an excuse for them to never approach a belief in God.
That isn't to say the persecutions that are leveled at Christians are our fault, but it isn't to say that we don't "own" some responsibility for their revulsion as well.
Sure we love our brethren, we should. The Bible encourages us to prefer the brethren.
But if you were to survey "the brethren" I think you would be greatly surprised to find out that a lot of "us" prefer non-believers to believers.
Could it be that non-believers are easier to be around, more restful?
Think about it... if this were true, why would this be? I believe the answer is simple, Jesus came to heal those that are sick. These would be those who are really messed up for a lot of reasons.
This basically translates into some really messed up lifestyles, thinking patterns, attitudes, etc. all manner of various dysfunctional syndromes, being miraculously changed both immediately and through long term processes.
Meanwhile, they have been thrust into the conformist meatgrinder of church that expects them to understand that, now their behaviors are forgiven (which they are), and now fixed and appropriate (which usually, they are not).
And within the confines of this assembly line of cookie cutter approaches we have the blind leading the blind, in the sense that the newbies are able to look at the old-timers for the examples of how to act.
Please do not misunderstand what I am saying!
None of this has got a thing to do with whether or not the errant old-timers are saved or whether the newbie is saved.
But it can have a lot to do with whether or not the angry atheist will be saved, unless the Lord can miraculously get him past how he or she sees us behaving.
Gandhi... could not get past the problematic behavior of those who followed Christ.
The number one complaint from the atheistic ranks is that we (Christians) are extremely hippocritical.
Please be honest, do not try to defend this, or any other fruit of the flesh to them.
Yes we are hippocritical, we all are, all humans are.
One thing we have in our favor is Jesus. Tap into His honesty, His humble nature and His wisdom and represent His truth.