There’s a new movie out entitled “The Ledge” which has received quit a bit of publicity over it’s appearance of being anti-Christian. The lead character is an atheist who finds himself at odds with an evangelical neighbor. Now, I haven’t seen the movie so I’m not going to jump into whether it’s good or bad. But watching the preview and reading responses online to it’s supposed anti-Christian message, it made me think about how defensive Christianity has become.
Recently we’ve seen secularism, humanism, and atheism stepping into the spotlight more and more to challenge the legitimacy of religion as a benefit to society. They challenge the tax exempt status of churches and businesses that generate billions of tax-free dollars. They challenge the political motives of groups whose lobbying seems more self-serving than enlightened. They even challenge the very foundation of religion by questioning the existence of a man whose entire live was spent in love, peace, and service. Yet the headline grabbing representatives of Jesus teachings are those who lie, cheat, steal, abuse, and spew hate.
You get defensive for one of two reasons: it’s not true or it’s true and you don’t want people to know about it. There are many Christian’s out there who are correctly portrayed by film as compulsive, violent, misguided, and severely hypocritical. The fact is that horror stories of people who survived abuse at the misguided hands of God-fearing people occur every day.
And each time a film like “The Ledge” comes out, individuals respond by saying it’s “anti-Christian” and shunning the message. But every film is anti-something and pro-something. You don’t see the Germans protesting everytime a WWII movie comes out because it’s Anti-German. It happened, you can’t hide it, but you move on and say “That is not who I am”.
Christian’s shouldn’t be defensive about how they are seen in the media because that image came from somewhere. The way Christians should respond is to say “that’s not what Christianity is about”. There are millions of Christians whose lives impact others for good. They serve a God out of love and reverence, not fear and self-loathing. Embrace the message that the media has of Christianity and change it if you don’t like it!
My challenge is, what are you going to do about it? Will you let the label that the non-religious place on you define who you are? There are more stories to be heard of the Christ inspired, life changing deeds of people who are changing lives through love and service than there are the scandalous stories. But those people like Christ aren’t doing it for publicity.