Busting Myths About Christianity: Assessing Myths 9-10


Entering the homestretch of this series on myths believed about the American Church by those outside it, it's hard to avoid the cruel fact that several of these myths aren't myths. At one point, they may not have had one shred of truth to them at all, but something's happened to the Western Church—a very bad something. Sadly for us, those people who hold no pretenses to following Christ have noticed, yet we haven't. 

The myths: 

  1. Christians are more judgmental than non-Christians.
  2. Christians are stingier than non-Christians.
  3. Christians are more intolerant of other people than non-Christians.
  4. Christians are more short-sighted than non-Christians. 
  5. Christians don't know how to have fun. 
  6. Christians despise intellectuals more than non-Christians do.
  7. Christians prefer kitsch over important art.
  8. Christian subculture mimics the world rather than creating anything lasting.
  9. Companies run by Christians are as unethical as secular companies, and perhaps more so.
  10. Christianity causes more problems in the world than any other religion.

Today, we'll look at the final two.

9. Companies run by Christians are as unethical as secular companies, and perhaps more so

One of the most damning newspaper articles I've read in my life arrived in The Wall Street Journal shortly after the Enron and Worldcom scandals rocked the business world. In that article, the author took an in-depth look at the religious backgrounds of all the principal players in all the scandals. In nearly every case, those leaders were Evangelicals deeply involved in their churches as elders, teachers, deacons, and more.

I read that article about five times, attempting to find some way to reject what I was reading, but the truth shouted from the page.

My own personal odyssey dealing with Christian businesspeople is about as bad. When I look back on all the times I hired self-professed Christian professionals to help me resolve a problem, the number of times I got stiffed—and grossly, too, I might add—far, far, far outweighed the number of times the same happened with folks who made no pretenses to being Christians. Like 10:1.

So when I need an electrician to wire my house correctly so that the resulting "fix" doesn't burn it down, an ICHTHUS plastered on a Yellow Pages ad is my sign to hire someone else.

I hate saying that. As a Christian businessman myself, I would go sleepless for months if I knew I didn't turn in my best work. I'm a representative of Jesus Christ. My word and my work mean something deeper than putting food on the table. Doing outstanding work on every job I take is more than just the norm; it's my worship!

Why, then, do so many Christian businesspeople do such shoddy work—and under the guise of Christianity, too? Don't they know that's an anti-witness? Perseus slaying the MinotaurThat kind of carelessness may be the foot that stomps out the Holy Spirit, not only in the life of the businessperson, but in his or her client's life, as well.

Why does this happen? I think it may have something to do with a hyperinflated and mind-bogglingly poor notion of what grace entails. Some Christians must cover their atrocious work ethic with such a thick lacquer of "grace" that they convince themselves it will hide all the flaws. Or they're nothing more than cultural Christians, reflecting no true inner conversion, bereft of the Holy Spirit who would never let them rest for doing such poor work in the name of Christ. I have no other explanation.

At one time in history, Christians could be counted on to provide the best of every service and manufactured product available. I can't muster the historical proof to say that we're far worse now than then, but doesn't it seem like it? Sure, a real mythbuster would have the proof, but all I have is a lopsided series of encounters with Christian businesses that weighs heavily in favor of a negative assessment. That doesn't mean that millions of good Christians who would never lie, cheat, or steal from a client don't exist. But whatever the case, the scoundrels are making it tough on all of us.

So while Hebrew National Hot Dogs claims to answer to "a higher Authority," we Messiah-worshipers better do more than just answer.

Assessment: Plausible, and very likely Confirmed.


10. Christianity causes more problems in the world than any other religion

Let me make this simple: Bull.

If anything, the heritage of the Christian Church since its founding proves a history of God using believers to fashion every good we enjoy today. Anyone who believes that Christianity is more a problem than a solution long ago turned off the brain cells.

If no Church of Jesus Christ graced this planet, we would kiss goodbye…

…the majority of the world's greatest art, music, and literature.

…large portions of philosophy, science, and invention.

…nearly all charitable organizations that reach out to the least of these.

…virtually all hospitals and medical centers in the world.

…every concept of personal freedom in government.

…the hope of rescue of oppressed people everywhere.

In fact, I would guess that a world with no Church would be so hopelessly grim by now that a traveler through such an alternate Earth, if not already a Christian, would convert on the spot after returning to his Church-filled reality. And that's true of no other religion or thought system. 

For this reason, it's imperative that we Christians assess where we are today and ask if we're still making that kind of difference. If we're not on the forefront in every fruitful endeavor that Mankind enjoys, then we've failed to live as the Lord's fully redeemed people.

Our ancestors understood what Christ bought them by His blood, and they ran with that opportunity. They understood what it meant to live like wise Daniel did among the worldly, that it was more than just being pious. It meant learning! It meant expanding the horizons of what is known and what can be. Those wise men from the East called by God to visit the infant Jesus were the direct result of a godly man like Daniel who saw that serving God wasn't just a set of religious rituals separated from the whole of life.

Those Christians before us got it. Their devotion spawned countless benefits to us in every part of our lives. We can't drop the baton. To those who have been given much, much has been required.

Assessment: Couldn't be more Busted!


In the end, every single Christian in America should be a mythbuster. Too many of the myths held by unbelievers about Christianity today are shockingly closer to the truth than we care to admit. We can't continue to reinforce those myths.

If our passion for Christ is outweighed by our longing for entertainment, then we shouldn't call ourselves Christians. I'm afraid that in too many cases we're more concerned with our Tivo programming than reversing the mindset of unbelievers about the Church, and Jesus Christ, in particular. By living such worldly, meaningless lives, we only drive the lost away from their only hope.

Those Christians who gave their best to give us the science and arts we enjoy today took risks and God rewarded them. Many sinned boldly, yet loved God more boldly still. That kind of baldfaced living under grace seems foreign to us today. The modern American Church shies away from wrestling with angels. While some small-minded Christians point with pride to the fact they're not limping, it's also why so few of them go on to have their names listed among the heroes and patriarchs of the Faith. And it's why there's so little greatness in the American Church of the 21st century.

Christian, live in such a way that no myth hatched by the world applies to you.

Have a great weekend.

Entries in this series:

{Image: Perseus slaying the Minotaur

19 thoughts on “Busting Myths About Christianity: Assessing Myths 9-10

    • David,

      I almost never go see a movie in the theater. I’m not against movies, though. I consider them an artform that Christians should create and create well.

      That said, I know Christians who see almost every popular movie that comes out. I don’t get that at all. Or they watch hours and hours of TV, spend thousands of dollars on CDs. And just consume entertainment like it’s going to go away tomorrow.

      Nothing good comes of that.

      • A friend of mine and I spent most of New Years weekend talking about the concept of ‘play’ vs. ‘practice’ and ‘work’ in the Christian life (in a broader discussion about the evidences of growth in a new Christian). We decided that people in general today are focused on ‘play’ time to the exclusion of ‘work’. When one considers that every major civilization that has crashed and burned throughout time has undergone a similar movement-from work to play-as a part of its eventual collapse, one must ponder the permutations of the Christian culture undergoing the same transition. Dire enough?

    • Robert

      What’s at the root of this “longing for entertainment”? Is it nothing more than self-centered gratification?

      Which makes me wonder – is the term “Christian Entertainment” an oxymoron?

      Also, I’m the owner of a small retail business. I never expected when I first started out that this business would become such a battlefield between my flesh and the Spirit, mostly in the area of dealing with “difficult” people. Praise God that it has been a battlefield. The victories, although not nearly enough, are all His.

      The best business decision I can make is to continuously die to myself and live in the reality that my life is not my own.

  1. Stephen

    My brother can testify to #9.

    He has his own business, and a “Christian” client who refuses to pay for work rendered well over two years ago. He keeps finding excuses not to pay — first he had “cashflow issues”, then later he decided he was “dissatisfied with the work”. Don’t know what the latest reason is, but I know he still hasn’t paid.

    But the biggest irony of all this? This particular client actually has a published book about portraying Christian ethics in business. My brother has a signed copy — from when they were on better terms, obviously.

    As was said to the Pharisees, practice what you preach. Or publish, in this case.

  2. Pilgrim


    Your answer to #9, based largely on your personal experience and the stories of friends and acquaintances, suggests that your definition of Christian may be too broad. It is possible that these religious people mentioned are no more Christian than any other person who associates religious activity to faith. I know that Christians fail as a matter of course and are people redeemed by grace but it would seem obvious that anyone who truly encounters a loving, forgiving God must be changed by the experience into someone who not only admires Jesus but makes a devout effort to be like Him. If they do not then I conclude that they misunderstand the Christian faith.
    There is a wonderful scene in the movie The Princess Bride: Vizzini, played by Wallace Shawn, the man who kidnapped the princess, uses the word ‘inconceivable’ in every context whether appropriate or not. In this scene his bodyguard, played by Mandy Patinkin, finally confronts Vizzini and says, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” From what I can observe there seem to be many religious people who call themselves Christian. I don’t think it means what they think it means.

    • Pilgrim,

      I dunno.

      The sheer breadth of the problem tells me something is truly wrong here. I mentioned in the post that perhaps unconverted people are hiding behind a Christian fish symbol in order to get business, but I can’t believe that’s all of it. Some of these folks are leaders in their churches. If so, they’ve outwitted the real Christians pretty badly. Says something about our discernment, doesn’t it?

      • AlieraKieron

        Why is it that when confronted with the bad behavior of Christians, other Christians always respond “Oh, well, they’re not *really* Christians”? From the frequency of the response I begin to suspect that the world population of Christians is approximately 42.

  3. I worked in the Christian Music Industry for about 18 months and unfortunately saw very clearly that Christian business can be just as cut throat as secular. What really sucks though is that when Christians cut your throat they usually do it with a smile or behind your back to save face. Most secular people don’t really care, they just know it’s business and that’s the way it goes.

    In the Christian music areana a promoter will do a crappy job and then give the artist some BS line about how we all need to sacrifice for the gospel thus using the gospel as an excuse for a poor job done or laziness. This is not always the case, but we saw it more often than not.

    Just my two cents.

    • Zach,

      In many years in paid ministry, every Evangelical organization I worked for pulled these kinds of shenanigans. Ironically, those kinds of things were far less prevalent in organizations run by mainline churches—you know, the “liberals” Evangelicals like to decry.


      Pragmatism—the ends justifies the means—ruled in those Evangelical circles. It didn’t matter how badly the Gospel got muffed in the process, so long as the goal got reached. And even then, I never understood the goal.

      I worked in one ministry where I was asked to put together a survey of the staff, asking about their happiness with working there, what the ministry was doing right and wrong, and a host of other questions. I put the questions together and they were unanimously approved by the leadership team. I distributed the surveys, then collected them to turn in.

      A couple days later, I got called into the big boss’s office and he threatened to fire me. Why? Because the survey respondents were so negative in their answers. Because I put the survey together, I didn’t even fill out a survey, so my response was not even in there. How could I be blamed for the fact that staff was unhappy? Leadership had raved about the balance of the questions I had on the survey, but once they saw that most of the staff was unhappy working there, they took it out on me! Unbelieveable!

      That kind of stuff is just galling. I understand people are sinners and that no church or ministry is perfect. But sometimes I wonder if we even care who we’re representing through all this. Lying to one’s self, especially when a Christian does it, is a terrible thing.

  4. Hello, Dan.

    Well, as bad as things truely are, at least #10 got a “bonk”. I’m glad of that.

    I daresay I like very much the artwork you put up.

    I’m currently reading a fascinating biography entitled “Hogarth — A Life and a World” by Jenny Uglow. It’s about artist Wm. Hogarth and life in 18th Century Britain. It’s also packed with plenty of his art. I highly recommend the book.

    • Oengus,

      Yeah, with all these newfangled atheists speaking nonsense about some religion-less utopia they wish to setup, it’s amazing how moronic they look when you start thinking about the utterly hopeless world we would be living in now if Christ had not come.

      Just last month, Ben Stein wrote a pro-Christmas piece reminding Jews that most of the last century was a chronicle of Christians rescuing Jews from death, restoring their homeland, and so on. Stein gets it. Not enough others do, though.

      Whenever we get the anti-Christian rhetoric, the best counter is to ask who built most of the world’s hospital and still operate most of them even today? That shuts a lot of people up because they’re forced to realize that Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus, and whatever have very little track record of caring for the sick. But Christians have an enormous one. Ask how much human suffering we’d endure in a world without the kind of medical care Christians have provided. As if no one can understand that the Red Cross, not only wouldn’t have Cross in its name, but wouldn’t even exist.

      I will look up the Hogart book. As for me, I’m of the Art Nouveau/Pre-Raphaelite/Late-19th Century Royal Academy school of art. Plus, I also like Art Deco. So yes, I’m out of fashion on my art, too. 😉

  5. Dee

    Ouch. I wish you had not used an electrical contractor as your example since I am an electrical contractor who happens to be a Christian. We work very hard to maintain a stellar reputation for quality in work and in ethic. We do not have a fish in our phone book add, but the name of our business sounds Christian (The business is actually named for our oldest child and was not intended to sound “Christian” and the first initial gives us a great acronym and was planned that way.)

    Our negative experience has been with customers – who claim to be Christians – who think they don’t need to pay for the work done, for whatever reason. The proper Christian behavior works both ways. I should never have to appeal to the court system to intervene so that my customers are forced to pay for the work done as agreed: in a timely manner, according to code, etc. Unfortunately, I have had to do just that so that I can pay my employees.

    I realize this is a little different perspective from how your other readers have responded. I agree that “Christian” businesses should hold ourselved to a higher standard so that we can give a good witness for Christ. However, those we provide services for should also be aware of the witness they give in their business dealings.

    Greetings to you and your family, Dan. I have been out of the loop for a few weeks and I am glad to see you have been keeping busy.

    • Dee,

      The electrician example popped into my head because I knew a guy who was always frying himself! He never burned a house down, but he burned his own body down a couple times. 😉

      Never meant to single anyone else out. Mere coincidence. Sorry! 🙁

      I’ve been fortunate in that my Christian clients have paid on time without hassling from me. Other clients have required a few more reminders, but even then, I’ve always been paid.

      I had to replace the battery in my wife’s car, so I went to the local car shop. The owner had about forty work orders on his desk. I said, “Looks like you’re slammed.” He answered, “It’s a busy day. But if you’re referring to these [work orders], half of them are people who haven’t paid.”

      That’s pretty sad.

      Yeah, I was wondering where you vanished to.

  6. Pingback: Christians Are Hypocrites at The Blog Of Dysfunction

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *