How to answer tough questions

Your Religion is Greedy, Power Hungry, and Self Serving

Conversation Stopper

Many people view the institutional church as self-serving. It wants to increase its money and power for self-preservation. People have also been burned by the institutional church. Clergy have abused children. Televangelists have gotten rich on on donations. Therefore, many view Christianity as a self-serving religion that does little to help the poor.

Assumptions

  • Christians and churches are self-serving organizations no different from any other organization: Out for profit or power or self-preservation.

Talking Points

  • You and Jesus agree. You both care about the marginalized. You have more in common than you think.
  • There are over 500 verses in the Bible that speak about caring for the poor. It is something God cares about a lot.
  • In the USA, most reform movements have been started and led by Christians. The abolitionist movement, the building of hospitals, orphanages, universities, civil rights etc.
  • God gets angry in the Bible when his people worship other gods, and when his people oppress the marginalized. (OT Prophets).
  • If you and Jesus agree on care for the poor, and Christians you know do not, then you and Jesus also agree that there are hypocrites in the church.
  • Speak about your passions for justice for the marginalized. “my friends and I …”
  • It will be important to honor the person showing interest in helping the marginalized. Do this by speaking of your own interest and asking questions about what they care about. Affirm what you are able to affirm, emphasize your common ground.
  • Highlight an organization that matches up with what is personally relevant to those with whom you are talking. Know about Christian organizations who are doing relief and development work (World Vision, clean water projects), justice work (IJM, Not For Sale) and health care (historic foundations of hospitals, Mercy Ships, medical clinics). Speak of the Salvation Army, or homeless mission in your city, or refugee ministries or various urban ministries in your city which were started and operated by Christians. Talk about orphan care and adoption, talk about Prison Fellowship. Habitat for Humanity, Alcoholics Anonymous, food pantries, crisis-pregnancy centers, adoption, orphan care, etc. etc. etc.
  • If you really care about the poor, you should really think about becoming a Christian. The problems of the marginalized have holistic solutions. Spiritual solutions bring about dramatic transformation.
  • We believe that caring for physical needs is best done alongside caring for spiritual needs. Jesus spoke to both of these.
  • The local Christian ministry to the poor and/or addicted in Stockton, CA has a much better recidivism rate than the secular agencies. The director says this is because they treat the whole person, and that clients want to know they are forgiven by God and can start a new life with God's power.
  • Can you understand from our worldview why we care for the whole person?
  • Know Scripture to speak about. Tell a story about Jesus caring for the marginalized (touching a leper, healing the sick or disabled, etc.)
  • Invite to a GIG on Jesus caring for the poor/marginalized.

Additional Resources

What are some qualities about Jesus that you personally find inspiring when looking to care for the oppressed or marginalized?

Share your thoughts in a comment.

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