“Why Do We Have So Many Deluded Christians?”

Weekend Musings

Reality versus Perception
Reality versus Perception

“But be doers of the word and not merely hearers
who delude themselves.”

(James 1:22)

It was a problem in the first century so our problem (in the American church) is not new. Two questions:

  • “Why do we have so many deluded Christians?”
  • “What can we do about it?” 

3 thoughts on ““Why Do We Have So Many Deluded Christians?”

  1. I’d argue because our idols feel easier, safer, more reliable, and as if they leave us with greater control, and the panoply of idols in contemporary culture is quite wide and varied. If one doesn’t appeal to us, there are thousands of others to choose from. Denial, and therefore delusion, is a fear response, and it’s easier to “solve” our fears than to admit that we are afraid and yet still move forward, which is what Christ often asks us to do.

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    1. The comfort of our idols only feel that way. It is all an illusion. Only Christ satisfies. Clearly, this is one of our problems. We cling to the idols we know rather than exchange them for the glory of Christ. But here’s the question: Why is the church so inept in shaking people from their idols?

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  2. I don’t think the comfort idols provide is illusory; it’s just temporary, misplaced, and incomplete. There is a real comfort in eating, shopping, sex, power plays, manipulation, and so on. It’s just that it only meets part of the real need we’re trying to satisfy, possibly only assuaging the feelings evoked by the need and leaving the need still untouched. It’s more than illusion, but that doesn’t make it any less problematic, possibly even moreso.

    But why does the church struggle to get people to release their grips on those idols? I think there are a number of reasons. For one, as I said before, the panoply of idols is quite large, and they tend to make showier, louder, more “sexy” claims to meet the need, and people’s felt need is strong enough to convince them to try the ones with the hyped promises. In addition, needs are sometimes only met by fully experiencing that need, which is unpleasant, and when idols promise a way of bypassing that, we fall for that trick because we want it to work that badly. The church can also at times water down the message of the responsibilities of being fully human (and thereby holy) out of fear of losing people. At times, the message the church speaks out can at times be solely intellectual, while transformation requires a more holistic approach, based particularly in a relational context. These are just a few things that contribute; there are surely more. I hit on this just a bit further in a post a while back: http://soulformation.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/transformation-and-church/

    At the same time, while the church errs in its methods, being made up of messed up people, a perfect message from the church still wouldn’t result in a perfect following. After all, Jesus made enemies, and many people failed to understand His message or didn’t follow terribly well. The blame lies on the church for what she does, but not for the results she may or may not get from it. But sure, we definitely have room to grow on helping people grow well!

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