Friday, August 24, 2007


The Danish writer Soren Kierkegaard said that he was born into a 'Christian' nation, and yet could not find a single follower of Christ! His comment was scandalous, and he knew it. By 'Christ', he didn't mean the theological systems about Jesus which had been devised by Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists or any other so called true Christian system. By Christ, he meant a person who sought the Truth, experienced it deeply and represented that experience without compromise. He could find no one with a tenacious commitment to know his own Truth no matter where it led. He said that a true follower of Christ will risk alienation from peers, family and church. He would go to his or her death for his Truth.

Kierkegaard would likely say the same today. Instead, as he did, we find the following types of pseudo-Christians. I speak as an expert, for I have been some of these and have seen them all.


1. Herd Christians –These are Christians who always run with the theological herd, like sheep or cattle. They never stop to think or question anything. They may have been raised in their religion, or converted at some point, but they follow their ministers and leaders like blind men. When they do claim to ‘study’, it is always with a mind already made up about what can and cannot be believed. They will often tell you they are seeking the Truth, but they are really seeking support for what they have been told is ‘The Truth.’ They are more like robots than human beings, resembling the white-clad military drones seen in Star Wars.

2. Addicted Christians – These Christians have been genuinely forgiven and changed by exposure to Jesus Christ. They are often ex addicts, or those whose lives were in shambles. They were truly delivered from death and demoralization and then exposed to a doctrinal system which they then adopted and made synonymous with the eternal God. These people would never leave their religious beliefs for fear that they might go back into their old condition, or out of fear that they might offend God. I call them noble cowards. Jesus was their quick fix; like a trained circus elephant, they never stray beyond their leash of indoctrination, and stand on the tiny stool they were told to stand on.

3. Power Christians – These are Christians who are simply interested in power. They find themselves able to wield influence and power by using the name of Jesus and Christian doctrine. They never take the time to ask, “Is it true?” These folks are largely unconscious, and mostly interested in being on religious boards, committees, and in other high profile positions. They are often pastors, priests, missionaries, seminary professors, chronic Sunday school teachers, repeat board members and the like.

4. Professional Clergy – Closely related to Power Christians are those who make their livings off of the Christian religion. These men and women have sunk their educational and vocational roots into the soil of a doctrinaire system. They have degrees and resumes based on a particular Christian ideology. As a former evangelical minister, I met many of these men. They have no other skills and have become accustomed to an office and a paycheck. When I left the church, I heard this question over and over from voices filled with genuine consternation, “What will you do?”

5. Cosmology Christians – These are Christians who need a structure or world view to make sense of life. They are frantic to give existence a solid structure and to make life meaningful. This mentality is what makes any ‘ism’ appealing. Their belief in the ‘inspired Bible’ is not based on solid evidence, but on a desperate need to have a way to explain life; where humans came from, why there is suffering, how to live a moral life, how to be forgiven and what will happen at death and at the end of the world.

6. Combatant Christians – These people are fundamentally angry at their core. They love strife and conflict, even if they say they want peace. The energy that motivates them is rage, hatred and anger. They adhere to the Christian religion because it often uses warfare symbolism. They require an opponent, they need someone or something to fight. An ex-board member for Jerry Falwell told of meetings in Lynchburg where the committee determined who would be the ‘enemy of the month’ to raise money from the faithful. These Christians legitimate their rage by channeling it into religious forms, ‘warriors for Jesus’ they call it.

7. Sex Obsessed Christians – Sexual energy may be the strongest energy in the human psyche. Spontaneous sexual fantasies, thoughts and urges can creep into the minds of the most ordinary men and women. Most, out of shame and embarrassment, would never admit it; so their solution is to declare war on it and fight it mightily. Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert and Ted Haggert are just symptoms of a huge group of Christians who are obsessed with their own sexual fantasies. They try to deal with them, not by being honest, but by blaming TV, music, movies and culture in general.


My point is not to say these motives are wrong or useless; in fact, people find great comfort and assistance by these pseudo versions of Christianity. My point is to say that these people are not representing Jesus, nor are they correctly espousing an absolute and eternal system devised by God. They are, as most of us are, seeking to get by on this planet. Most of them will never care much about seeking some ultimate cosmic 'Truth,' or the plight of anyone other than themselves and their closest family and friends. Few will ever seriously seek the Truth. Few if any will ever actually research Islam, Buddhism or any 'competing' belief system to seriously understand it. Most of them will go to the grave believing that their self-centered, unexamined, inherited declaration of universal certainty is the only way. I'm sure it is in vain that I ask of them that they stop implicating Jesus in their narrow, self-centered claims, and please stop shoving their fear and insecurity on others.

Kierkegaard said that he had a single mission in life, 'to wake people up.' His sole purpose in writing was to assist people in realizing that they were living by their pastor's, priest's, university professor's, local politician's or parent's truth. What about me? What about you?

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