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Nameless Heathen » Blog Archive » PR problem.

PR problem.


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I’ve just ordered the book “unChristian” after reading about the recent survey by the Barna group. Basically, the survey shows that people “outside” Christianity have a very negative perception of Christianity and that the distribution of outsiders with negative views is skewed towards the young. A book excerpt on the Barma Web site suggests that these “outsiders” (which include non-Christian believers, atheists, agnostics, and those with no religious affiliation) make up almost 67 million Americans, with 34 million aged 18-41. The message is clear. Negative perceptions of Christianity are widespread, particularly among the young.

“Currently, however, just 16% of non-Christians in their late teens and twenties said they have a “good impression” of Christianity.

One of the groups hit hardest by the criticism is evangelicals. Such believers have always been viewed with skepticism in the broader culture. However, those negative views are crystallizing and intensifying among young non-Christians. The new study shows that only 3% of 16 - to 29-year-old non-Christians express favorable views of evangelicals.

While Christianity has typically generated an uneven reputation, the research shows that many of the most common critiques are becoming more concentrated. The study explored twenty specific images related to Christianity, including ten favorable and ten unfavorable perceptions. Among young non-Christians, nine out of the top 12 perceptions were negative. Common negative perceptions include that present-day Christianity is judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), old-fashioned (78%), and too involved in politics (75%) - representing large proportions of young outsiders who attach these negative labels to Christians.”

Of course the evangelicals, who’ve built their empire on hate, intolerance and fear mongering use non-Christian’s natural reaction to feed their paranoia, not to learn the value of humility, kindness and love.

91% of the nation’s evangelicals believe that “Americans are becoming more hostile and negative toward Christianity.” Among senior pastors, half contend that “ministry is more difficult than ever before because people are increasingly hostile and negative toward Christianity.”

Even in crisis, there’s no room for introspection or self doubt, except, thankfully, among the young.

Among young Christians, many of the negative images generated significant traction. Half of young churchgoers said they perceive Christianity to be judgmental, hypocritical, and too political. One-third said it was old-fashioned and out of touch with reality.

Interestingly, the study discovered a new image that has steadily grown in prominence over the last decade. Today, the most common perception is that present-day Christianity is “anti-homosexual.” Overall, 91% of young non-Christians and 80% of young churchgoers say this phrase describes Christianity. As the research probed this perception, non-Christians and Christians explained that beyond their recognition that Christians oppose homosexuality, they believe that Christians show excessive contempt and unloving attitudes towards gays and lesbians. One of the most frequent criticisms of young Christians was that they believe the church has made homosexuality a “bigger sin” than anything else. Moreover, they claim that the church has not helped them apply the biblical teaching on homosexuality to their friendships with gays and lesbians

My experience has been that there are two types of Christians. The militant, ruthless, in your face sort who hate anything not in their mold, and the kind loving kind who’s lives and morals are examples that you want to emulate. Pat Robertson threatening the citizens of Dover, PA versus Jimmy Carter building houses, helping the poor and teaching Sunday school. The militant sort despise the loving sort as much as they despise atheists and other infidels. Militants snap to decide right and wrong and view the world in black and white with no shades of gray. They are willing to tolerate any injustice from those they view as right, and commit any injustice against those they view as wrong. The personal attacks, and malignant accusations protesting Jimmy Carter’s book on Palestinian treatment are a typical example, as are the public comments of any web site attracting their attention. The militant sort want to be in charge and to force others to accept their morality, and they have had disproportionate power for far too long. This public perception is the natural result. Expect them to launch a massive marketing campaign rather than change as a reaction to this study.

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