The World’s Perception of Christians

Below is an interesting excerpt about people’s perceptions towards Christians in general. Comments are welcome to verify the accuracy on some of these perceptions.

In 2007, David Kinnaman published his groundbreaking book, UnChristian: What A New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity. This book is the result of three years of extensive interviews with young adults today.

Through his research, Kinnaman discovered the negative perceptions the unchurched (he called them “outsiders”) had toward Christianity, which altered their willingness to commit their lives to Jesus.

Kinnaman’s research explores the six perceptions these outsiders have of Christians:

(1) Hypocritical: Outsiders consider us hypocritical—saying one thing and doing another—and they are skeptical of our morally superior attitudes. Christians present the church as a place only for the virtuous and morally pure people.

(2) Too focused on getting converts: Outsiders wonder if we genuinely care about them. They feel like targets rather than people. They question our motives when we try to help them “get saved,” despite the fact that many of them have already “tried” Jesus and experienced church before.

(3) Anti-homosexual: Outsiders say that Christians are bigoted and show disdain for gays and lesbians. They say that Christians are fixed on curing homosexuals and on leveraging political solutions against them.

(4) Sheltered: Christians are thought of as old-fashioned, boring, and out of touch with reality. Outsiders say we do not respond to reality in appropriately complex ways, preferring simplistic solutions and answers. We are not willing to deal with the grit and grime of people’s lives.

(5) Too political: Another common perception of Christians is that we are overly motivated by a political agenda, and that we promote and represent politically conservative interests and issues. Conservative Christians are often thought of as right-wingers.

(6) Judgmental: Outsiders think of Christians as quick to judge others. They say we are not honest about our attitudes and perspectives about other people. They doubt that we really love people as we say we do.

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