Monday, August 07, 2006

Faith-destroying legalism

Whenever I do a google search for “Focus on the Family” I come across an interesting article called “Why Focus on the Family is of the Devil”. I’ve read it many times and have yet to find anything that I fundamentally disagree with. In spite of the inflammatory title, the author makes a rational and compelling case for why ministries like Focus on the Family often destroy rather than build up people’s Christian faith (which is exactly what the devil would want . . . if you believe in the devil, as I do). I know from personal experience that the author has really hit on something here. His insights do not just apply to Focus on the Family. I’ve known many, many other Christian ministries that have followed in the exact same faith-destroying pattern. Unfortunately the Christians that are most harmed by them are the honest and humble people, the ones who are most keenly aware of their sinfulness, or who struggle mightily with problems that cannot be resolved in this life. Perhaps that is why the author, who is straight, is particularly sympathetic toward gay and lesbian people, as you can see from other articles on his site.

Just one thing before you click on the link above. If you are someone who is easily offended by criticisms of anything Christian--from the Holy Scriptures to your favorite Christian talk show host to “Jesus Loves You” ball-point pens--then you probably shouldn’t read this article. In fact, I recommend that you don’t. Now if you go ahead and read it anyway and it makes you upset, I recommend that you deal with it in some other way than firing off hate mail to the guy who wrote it. When the author of this article first posted his piece, he was a Christian who was just trying to think outside the box. But thanks to all the hate mail and even death threats that he got from fellow Christians as a result, he has given up his faith. If you feel absolutely compelled to send hate mail to someone, send it to me. But leave that guy alone and don’t make things worse. ‘Kay?