Criticisms of the modern Christian church
Living in a society where Christianity is recognized as the most widely accepted religion in the world definitely has an effect on humans everywhere– especially in the United States of America today. In many communities, you can’t drive downtown without seeing several church buildings: First Presbyterian Church of Whatevertown, St. Whoever’s Catholic Church… you can easily fill in the blanks with familiar names. Historically speaking, the Christian church has been a powerful force in different arenas of life: for example, politics, education, and social standards. Even today, with changing standards and morals in the American public, it is undeniable that the church, its followers, and its voice are well-known to the average citizen.
Mill writes in chapter 2 of On Liberty about the freedom of “Thought and Discussion,” a core value that the founding fathers of the United States held dear. Mill insists that all opinions are to be held in esteem, regardless of their perceived correctness. To silence the opinion of someone who disagrees with you would be robbing the human race of posterity; furthermore, you rob yourself of the chance to test the strength of your own ideals. In light of Mill’s argument, I must say that I completely agree with him, and I believe that for the most part, the modern Christian church could do well to take this lesson to heart.
As a Christian myself, I cannot deny that I have firm beliefs and faith in Biblical doctrines. Having been raised in a Protestant family, I grew up reading Bible stories and singing “Jesus loves me, this I know…”
However, even as a staunch member of the Christian church, I cannot help but to disapprove of many churches’ stances on today’s political and social issues. Rather than lovingly welcome disagreements with the hopes of honest discussion and perhaps eventual conversion, the church often takes an aggressive, censorship-friendly stance.
Even more shockingly, as further explained in this link, the modern Christian church seems to shy away from an outright statement of its beliefs, choosing instead to stomp out any spark of controversy, fearing that they may erupt into flames. Rather than issue a rebuttal to this student’s article, the Catholic school decides to simply take away his right to express his opinion. The most frustrating part for me is that this tactic is not even in line with what the Bible calls Christians to do! In the new Testament, the great Christian leader Paul writes:
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
–2 Timothy 4:2
So I ask members and leaders of the church: Why the silence? Why are we so afraid of speaking our minds and sharing our beliefs in an open way? Are we so scared of being proven wrong that we will not even risk accepting challenges? If we are so sure in what we believe in, why not welcome others to prove us wrong? This attitude must change if the church wants to change its long-held reputation of being an ignorant and closed-minded organization. I advise all religious leaders, in fact, to follow Mill’s example and welcome discussion and the sharing of ideas and opinions. Only through doing so can we achieve a better understanding of others’ beliefs… and maybe we will even find out who was really right all along.