Not Really Christian

Now, I know he reads the bible, and I know he goes to church
He denounces sinful nature from his high and mighty perch
He says gays and their supporters will be going straight to hell
But he isn’t really Christian—I can tell.

He’s a stern and forceful father, with a father’s iron hand
He controls his wife and children; they all bend to his command
He’s abusive, to be honest; it’s behavior I despise
So it isn’t really Christian, in my eyes

He’s consistent with the scriptures, or at least that’s what he claims
And his loving congregation all support him in his aims
Though he says he follows Jesus, he and I, we disagree
So he isn’t really Christian, not to me

There are lots of true believers, but what really makes me mad
Is, they credit Christianity for things I think are bad
It’s a beautiful religion, but their actions really stink
So it isn’t really Christian, don’t you think?

I have always been a Christian, and I’ve tried to do what’s right
And I know that what is good and true is Christian in God’s sight
What is evil, though, is Man’s alone, eternally his shame
Cos it really can’t be Christians are to blame
What is evil, though, is Man’s alone, eternally his shame
You could never really sin in Jesus’ name.

This verse could have been inspired by any number of comments, but was in fact inspired by a comment (at this story) that doesn’t really deserve to be snarked at. I did, though (there, not in this post), and I’m a bit sorry I did. The commenter did not mean to excuse Christianity for the evils it does–near as I can tell, he or she is absolutely in the right, and used the phrase “they’re not [Christians] in my book” as a way of decrying the actions of some bigoted Christians. So, T. G., whoever you are, I did not mean to accuse you of letting Christianity off the hook.

The phrase, though, does serve as teflon for Christianity. Good behavior is seen as Christian, and Christians (even clergy) behaving badly are “not Christians in my book”.

Christianity is a puddingstone of diverse sects that sometimes seem to share as many similar beliefs as dictionary atheists do. Do Christians support same sex marriage? Several churches near here certainly do. Others do not. Do Christians speak in tongues? In high school, I had Christian friends who did; now, in a different decade and different area of the country, my Christian students are astonished that such a concept exists. Do Christians handle venomous snakes to show their faith? Where my parents lived, several churches did (and people died on a regular basis… of lack of faith, apparently); I think I’m safe in calling this a minority practice. Knowing only that someone is “a Christian” actually tells you very little about the particulars of their faith.

You may fight against discrimination and bigotry because you are inspired by your Christian beliefs, but that does not stop others from engaging in discrimination and bigotry because they believe the bible, and their Christian faith, demands it. And they are every bit as much entitled to use the label “Christian”.


  1. Linda Grilli Calhoun says

    That phrase – “not really a Christian” – is what I refer to as their all-purpose cop-out.

    Take a moment to deconstruct the all-purpose cop-out. One possibility is that it’s true, and those people are “not really Christians.” If that is the case, then my response to that is, if your philosophy of life doesn’t serve you any better than that, what’s the point? (Of course, the real point there is that, since they’re “forgiven”, they can actually do whatever they f-ing please.)

    The other possibility is that they really ARE Christians, and that Christianity produces those behaviors that are abhorrent. Of course, they will deny that. But, they are quick to point out that if atheists behave badly, of course, the reason for the bad behavior is their ATHEISM. Ask yourself (and them), at that point, why others’ philosophies form the basis of their behaviors, but that Christianity doesn’t direct Christians’ behavior. What is the difference? To me, that position says that they don’t think there is a relationship between the philosophy and the outcome. If that’s true, again, what’s the point of Christianity? L

  2. left0ver1under says

    A christian is someone who believes there was a “jesus” and claims to follow “him”. It doesn’t matter whether one christian dislikes or detests the actions of another christian, it doesn’t stop the revolting person from being one. Every catholic priest who molests children is a christian; the vast majority of KKK members and white supremacists are christians; Jim Jones was a christian; Denis Rader (the BTK serial killer) was the top layman in his christian church; Jeffrey Dahmer was a fundamentalist christian.

    Just because one dislikes a fact or facts doesn’t mean it’s okay to lie about it. Every atheist I know, have known and have met dislikes Stalin, but I’ve never heard a single atheist deny that Stalin was one. And that includes those who know Stalin attended a Georgian orthodox christian seminary as a student.

    The hypocritical attitude of the religious can be summed up this way:

    When a christian/muslim/jew/hindu/whatever commits a crime, a christian/muslim/jew/hindu/whatever will say, “He’s not one of us!”

    When an atheist commits a crime, a christian/muslim/jew/hindu/whatever will say, “All of you do that!”

  3. says

    You know, I wonder about people, Christians, that cite the Old Testament as excuses for behavior. I mean, look at W.L. Craig and his defense of genocide. That is the Old Testament, and Jesus, or the myth of the New Testament, never condones anything – that I know of – like the killing of people just because they aren’t Christian. He doesn’t seem to worried about Hell, though, but that is something they face after they die.

    On another note, Cuttlefish, you so consistently impress me with your poignancy that you deserve as much acknowledgement as Tom Tomorrow. Like, you are good; consistently so. Gary Trudeau also should welcome your company.

  4. Shplane, Spess Alium says

    As very few people in this country are willing to murder their children for being disobedient, I must conclude that very few people in this country are actually Christians.

  5. Psycho Gecko says

    I’ve seen it used enough that they may as well rename it the “No Real Christian” fallacy as opposed to calling it “No True Scotsman.”

  6. Psychopomp Gecko says

    Sorry for the shortened version of the name being used instead. I do try to use this longer form on here. One of the few concessions I make to good taste. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go stick my hand down the front of my pants and drink beer after a hard day as a shoe salesman recounting how I once scored four touchdowns in a single game.

  7. Psychopomp Gecko says

    So anyway, they really ought to call it the No Real Christian fallacy now instead of No True Scotsman, as much as we hear it from Christians.

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