No Apologizing

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Are Christians Sociopaths?


Are Christians, particularly Christians in America, sociopathic?

What started as an off the cuff remark I made during a recent sermon at my Church (Legacy Church, in Kansas City, MO) has begun to legitimately haunt me (you can hear the sermon here)…

Christian… Sociopath… These are two words that on the surface seem completely incompatible.  Acts 11:26 tells us that the term “Christian” was first used of disciples in the Antioch church.  This was initially used as an insult in that people were saying they were “little Christs”.  In other words, they were just like Jesus, who because of His great love for people, voluntarily died to pay for the sins of the world. On the other hand – the dictionary defines sociopath as “a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.” Another says that “Sociopaths are interested only in their personal needs and desires, without concern for the effects of their behavior on others.”

How can someone who is living a life that is reminiscent of a man whose critics admit was at least a good person and moral teacher exhibit behavior or attitudes that are patently selfish and apathetic to others? However, in spite of the apparent contradiction, I think if we are truly honest with ourselves, the answer is closer to “yes” than any of us who call ourselves a Christian would like to admit… And it tears me up inside… Let me allow this clip from Atheist Magician and Comedian Penn Jillette to begin to explain what I mean:

“How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” There is the rub… Way too many “Christians” fall in a daily routine and are comfortable to coast through life without a broken heart for their friends and family who, if what we believe is really true, are destined for an eternity without God… Well… to be honest that is the essence of selfishly living life “without concern for the effects of their behavior [or lack thereof] on others”, isn’t it???

We certainly shouldn’t be comfortable with it… But sadly I think that may just be the problem… our comfort.  Because we are relatively comfortable, especially in comparison to most of the rest of the world, we just get into auto pilot and unintentionally slip into apathy.  It’s not a conscious thing, but it occurs anyway… and it’s tragic.

Penn said “There comes a point where I tackle you… and this is more important than that.” Because people’s eternities are so important, our “social conscience” should remind us that we have a “moral responsibility” to love those around us enough to take the risk of offending them or losing a friendship to in a sense “tackle” them by sharing the truth about Jesus

Let’s pray to God for forgiveness for our sociopathic tendencies and begin to live a life that actually reflects our name-sake, Jesus… and refuse to scoot through life uncaring and unaffected by the many people we know who do not yet have a relationship with Him.

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6 responses to “Are Christians Sociopaths?

  1. Kim Pullen June 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Ouch. Convicting. I think a balance must be struck here, though (a wise man avoids all extremes, Ecclesiastes 7:18). Yes, we must be active rather than passive in sharing our faith (Philemon 6), but we’re also called to live quiet lives, respected by others (1 Thes 4:11). History has proven that religious zealotry has done more to turn off potential disciples of Jesus and than just about anything else. We need to share the truth (sow the seed generously, Matt 13), be like Jesus in everyway we can so we shine like stars in the universe (Phil 2:15-16), and trust that God will make all things grow in his time (1 Cor 3:5-6).

    • Kevin Barnes June 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      Kim,
      Thanks for reading and responding… It was an extreme title to get people to read… I’m normally not very extreme in the things I write (go back and check out some of my posts), but something needs to change in the church today… The truth is that statistics show that many evangelical Christians never lead one person to Christ… How can we even call ourselves a Christian if we ignore the Great Commission? The reality is that we have a very very miniscule problem with religious zealotry whereas evangelical apathy is pandemic in the American church today. Jesus said to be salt and light and to be His witnesses… most Christians refuse to get out of the salt shaker or put their lamp on a stand…

    • Jay Graham (@avganka_jay) June 23, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      Kim,
      I agree with your comments. I would also include 1st Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”

      What I’ve found in multitudes of people who profess Jesus as their Lord, is their unpreparedness to give an answer to EVERYONE who asks about their reason for the hope they have.

      They also become tongue tied due to societal pressure and political correctness but say they are willing to die for their faith. I find this incongruous when the later takes more faith to handle than the former..

      I agree with Penn Teller regarding our faith. If we truly believe and love others, why do we remain silent. I often ask people in Bible class what they would do if they KNEW Jesus was coming back that afternoon to end time and creation as we know it and take His people home.

      The answers are usually the same: “I’d go home and call everyone I know and beg them to put their faith in Jesus.” Then I pose the question: “Do you know for sure that He isn’t coming back this afternoon?”

      As a result of my experience and training in the Word, I have now become a JeDi Master based on the Scriptures found in Ephesians 6:10-20. Let me explain the JeDi part:
      JeDi is made up of the first two letters of JE-sus and DI-sciple. Then, using the examples in the Star Wars movies, I show how faith works, the power it has, the power from the Holy Spirit we receive which they call the “Force” that allows us to do supernatural works as we are told in Scripture that ALL disciples can do if they would only believe and not doubt.

      I’ll quit here as there is so much more that is lacking in the lives of those who call themselves “Christian”. God bless you and your ministry as a believer and your knowledge of His Word which is real and personal.

  2. Grande Falcone July 12, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    As St. Francis said, “Preach the Gospel when necessary; use words when necessary.” I heard a Christian comedian, Mark Lowry, put it another interesting way, saying, “Love the sinner, hate the sin? How about: Love the sinner, hate your own sin! I don’t have time to hate your sin. There are too many of you! Hating my sin is a full-time job. . . . How about you hate your sin, I’ll hate my sin, and let’s just love each other!”

    I think this captures the point. I recently found myself in a mild debate with a family member on whether homosexuals can make it to Heaven or are doomed to Hell. To me, the debate is kind of pointless; what say have we Christians in the matter? It’s between God and the sinner (i.e., each of us).

    My purpose, as a Christian, is simply to love. The greatest appeal to convert to Christ is the appeal of perfect love. Too many Christians call their hate love to maintain their airs of piety. Therefore, I think the more valuable debate comes not in calling a strayed soul to Christ but to call on our fellow Christians to be Christ to those strayed souls, by loving them.

    My $0.02. Good post and an interesting perspective.

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