Sometimes Christians look foolish. And it’s not because of our belief in the virgin birth or the bodily resurrection; sometimes it’s because of our belief in things like Proctor & Gamble’s ties to the Satanic Church. It’s because we send money to television quacks who promise us that if we will just sow a seed in their ministry, sickness will not be allowed in our homes. When ABC’s Prime Time Live did an exposé on Robert Tilton, they found prayer request letters in the trash dumpsters. When confronted with this information, Tilton responded, “I laid on top of those prayer requests so that the chemicals actually got into my bloodstream, and…I had two small strokes in my brain.”
I’m in no position to judge anyone’s salvation here. And God knows I’ve done some silly and downright foolish things. But, come on! The chemicals got into his bloodstream, and he had two small strokes while lying on top of prayer request cards? And so we should send him money? Really?
These things contribute to an overall negative image for Christians. They present obstacles and barriers for people who might otherwise actually want to investigate the claims of Christianity. Many people wonder, If I become a Christian, does that mean I have to become like them?
The impression a lot of people have is that in order to become a Christian you have to park your brain at the door. Anyone want to guess why that’s the impression they have? They didn’t make it up on their own.
We dishonor God when we fail to love him with our minds. When we forward Internet hoaxes, when we give the waitress a gospel tract instead of a tip, when we call for a boycott of the Teletubbies – we’re not helping the cause of Christ. We’re giving people a reason to think that Christians are dumb. And we dishonor our Christian friends when we see them advocating this kind of nonsense and don’t call them on it.
If we’re going to present a picture of Christianity that is winsome and attractive, we’ve got to stop being foolish. We’ve got to use our brains, do our homework and live lives of intellectual integrity. So let’s settle this issue once and for all. Let’s just resolve to stop doing things without thinking. If you are among those who forward superstitious email versions of urban legends, please stop. No more “Madelyn Murray O’Hair is trying to shut down TBN” email forwards. For crying out loud, the email never even spells her name correctly, and the poor woman’s been dead for years! Stop sending that email. Proctor & Gamble does not have ties to the satanic church, Janet Reno does not think you’re a member of a cult and no one wants to steal your kidneys.