One of the interesting things about Christianity is how quickly and easily individual Christians disassociate themselves from others who also call themselves Christians. It’s finger-pointing time!
Bring up the Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas that besieges funerals of USA service men and women who have died on the field of battle and Christians in my area always respond: “But they are not REAL Christians.”
The Westboro Baptist Church is the church whose members parade at the funerals with sick vicious signs proclaiming that deaths of valiant service men and women are a result of the supposed USA national acceptance of homosexuality.
Bring up the recent kidnapping, binding on a bed for a week in a crucifix design, and exorcism of a young woman in France and Christians tell you that those conducting such a ritual exorcism are “not REAL Christians.”
Bring up the story from March 2009 of the nine-year-old girl being excommunicated by the Catholic Church when she had an abortion for the twins that she carried as a result of being raped by her mother’s boyfriend and from which she would not – could not - survive.
She, her mother and the doctors conducting the medically necessary abortion were all excommunicated. Nothing was said about the boyfriend. Bring up this injustice and Christians will tell you that those involved with causing the excommunication are “not REAL Christians.”
Bring up the few men, often in the Philippines, who on or about Easter each year are literally crucified – nails through hands and feet and hung for a time on a wood cross – and Christians state that these are “not REAL Christians.”
Mention the faith-healing sects of some of our western states (mostly) that have relied on oils, annointings, constant prayer, prayer chains, laying on of hands and other such nonsense to heal children of the faith who of course subsequently die. But those are “not REAL Christians”, according to many others parading regularly to mainstream churches.
Reference the mothers who have killed their children as a result of God talking to them (just like God talking to Abraham, I would hasten to add) and they of course are “not REAL Christians” according to most other walking-around Christians.
And of course, just as with the capital letters in all of the above, these pronouncements as to who is real and who is not are made with an audible inflection – a raised or emphatic voice to emphasize the surety of their pronouncement. They are making sure, they reason, that THEIR Christianity is real, all this other stuff is false.
And who are making all these determinations of what and who is real and what or who is not? Why that would be Christians, of course! Of course, which Christian group you side with determines to which other person or group you are pointing your finger.
I would side with those Christians who state that the likes of those listed above are “not REAL Christians.” Of course, I would also side with those – mostly skeptics, atheists or agnostics – who would state that the so-called “REAL Christians” are “not REAL Christians” either. They talk the talk, but do not walk the walk.
I like Gandhi’s answer when asked by a British reporter about his thoughts on Christians and Christianity. “I like your Christ,” he answered. “I do not like your Christians.”