Lots of people have been sharing some statistics from McCrindle Research’s report “Faith and Belief in Australia”. The infographic I have seen shared the most is this one:
People seemed to be reacting to the idea that a lot of what we have been doing as Christians to try to share our faith are the very things that seem to repel people. This obviously means we should change our tactics for attracting people to Jesus. I’ve seen a lot of people who seem to be suggesting that we all need to work harder at living good, Jesus-y lives. But I have a counter-offer I’d like to put forward.
First of all, living out a genuine faith is a nice idea in theory, but in reality it just sounds like way too much work. I’m all for attracting people to Jesus, but it’d be easier if I wasn’t the one who had to make Jesus attractive. That would involve loving my enemies, caring for the poor, staying humble. I don’t have time for that. I have a full-time job! Perhaps there are retirees we can delegate the living like Jesus to. Don’t forget that I am very good at presenting the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus and I’ve spent a lot of time practicing the arguments for the existence of God. (“Look at the stars? If God didn’t make them who did? Huh? Huh?”) Imagine having to get rid of all that hard work and all that study to simply live like Jesus? Who has time for that?
Me. I don’t have time for that.
The study also tells us that people are more attracted to religion and spirituality because of some personal trauma or life event. That seems like something we can work with. Instead of living out a genuine faith, what if we could just engineer a little extra trauma for them? I’m not advocating brutal violence or anything, just some good, healthy, low-level trauma. Christian movies can be pretty bad. What if we work harder to get Christian movies a wider release in cinemas and trick people into watching them? We could name them with very similar names to current movies. The Faith of the Furious, perhaps? God-ians of the Galaxy? People would buy the wrong tickets and find themselves in a wholesome drama about a pastor’s kid who must overcome bullying at school through prayer and resisting the urge to swear. Would that cause enough personal trauma to prompt people to turn to Christ?
Finally, 27% of respondents said they are repelled by hearing from public figures and celebrities who are examples of faith, but I think people don’t know what’s good for them. They’ve been blinded by the Tom Cruises of the world, but I bet if they really paid attention to that Bono quote about grace that every youth pastor quoted (right before they showed that Lifehouse video) in 2007 they would be well convinced that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Or remember that time Kanye released the song “Jesus Walks”? Have they even listened to the lyrics? Kanye is cool, Kanye name-checks Jesus, therefore Jesus is cool. It’s simple maths. Duh! And don’t people realise that Chris Pratt is a Christian? Star-Lord is a Christian. He’s a genuine, Bible-quoting, animal-hunting, patriotic, American Christian. Australians love that kind of thing. If people knew about Bono, Kanye, and Star-Lord, I bet those 27% of people would change their mind quicksmart.
Look, I want people to know about Jesus, and I will live out a life of genuine faith if I absolutely have to, but I just feel like we haven’t quite exhausted all our options yet.