If the church has hurt you, or if Christians have hurt you, that is bad news indeed. And I am sorry that has happened. But Christ is in a different category altogether. His love for you is constant, His support of you is unending, and His fulsome commitment to you is unwavering.
It is quite common for those who reject Christianity to point to scandals, abuses and the like among Christians, or in the churches, or in Christian cultures or societies. They will point to such things and say they want nothing to do with Christianity.
These folks can be atheists or secularists who look at the faith from without, or they can be those from within — those who once claimed to be believers themselves, but who have now opted out, because of whatever thing, real or imagined, that has offended them, disturbed them, or turned them off about Christianity.
Several things can be said about all this. First, let me explain more fully what I mean by “real or imagined.” Yes, real abuses, real scandals, and real corruption can be found in churches and in individual believers. But sometimes a person may — for whatever reason — be bitter or angry or upset with the faith for rather dubious reasons.
Any number of reasons might be raised here. Perhaps a young person was attending a church, not so much out of devotion to God or concern for religion, but as a way of finding a partner to form a relationship with. Maybe he finds a nice gal there, but the relationship breaks down after a while. He gets hurt and upset, and ends up taking all this out on God or the church.
So that is the first thing that can be said about rejecting the faith: what are your reasons for doing so? Are they valid reasons? Or are you just bearing grudges or taking offence, when God or the faith itself has nothing really to do with it?
Weeds Among the Wheat; Wolves Among the Sheep
And yes, some real bad things can happen: a trusted church leader may have been found out to have been abusing or molesting children in his care. That is a much better reason to want to lash out at the church. But even here, we need to take some care in this.
It is always terrible when any adult abuses a person in his or her care. But should that mean then that the entire edifice must be rejected as well? We all know that abusive schoolteachers exist. Does that mean we should reject all schools and all forms of education as a result? Most people would not think so.
We all know that abusive policemen exist. So should we ditch the police entirely because of them? Should we tar and feather every police officer because of a few bad apples? Should we therefore argue that law enforcement is inherently evil in itself and must be eliminated? Most people would not think so.
We all know that abuse, scandals, corruption and criminal activities can take place anywhere — be it in a childcare centre, a hospital, a library, a grocery store, or a petrol station. Should we therefore reject all of these entirely and want nothing to do with them?
I think you get the message. Yes, whenever someone claiming to be a Christian does some decidedly unchristian or anti-Christian things, that is always a real problem. But throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not usually the wisest way to proceed here.