Outsiders admit their emotional and intellectual barriers go up around Christians and they reject Jesus and Christians because they feel Christians are rejecting them.
I don't meet a lot of people who have never heard the word of Jesus Christ. I do however meet a lot of people who were once Christian but have now left or even worse reject the faith altogether.
Generation X and Y have thrown a whole new dynamic into our faith. These generations are by nature more skeptical. They are targeted, marketed to and branded more than any other generations in the history of mankind. Everyone is trying to sell them something. They are also more savvy, technologically advanced and have millions of pieces of information for research or propaganda.
These two generations are also very diverse in values, family, education, careers and leisure. They favor uniqueness over "normal" and put relationships and the need to belong very high on their needs. They also want to be accepted and they want to feel comfortable. Perfection is not reality to them and they constantly search for new experiences and sources of motivation. They want to participate in the process rather than just follow and a vast majority of this population attended a church during high school but then left the church.
In 1996, 85% of this population including all non-believers saw Christianities role in society as favorable.
That was 1996.
38% have a bad perception of present day Christians.
30% said Christianity has a negative image with which they would not want to be associated.
Most of this population throws it criticism at the "born again" and "evangelical" Christians and see them as fanatics or political activists. Not because of any theological perspective but because of the arrogance we project to outsiders.
Many outsiders claim to have received "verbal aggression" from Christians. Many outsiders think Christian means ultra-conservative, anti-gay, anti-choice, angry, violent, il-logical and inflexible. They also believe Christians cannot debate or logically explain their faith and Christians want to convert everyone or reject them for not converting.
One theme that kept coming up in these studies was the theme that Christians are presently known more for what they stand against and not what they stand for. And almost all of these issues are political.
Christians today are known for having and Us Versus Them mentality.
As G.W. so un-eloquently put it. "You're either with us or against us."
Outsiders feel Christians reject them for how they look or what they believe.
The three most dominate beliefs held by outsiders about Christians are:
Christians Are Anti-Homosexual - 91%
Christians Are Judgemental - 87%
Christians Are Hypocritical - 85%
Also mentioned by a majority of outsiders was: Old Fashioned, Too Involved in Politics, Out Of Touch With Younger Generations, Insensitive to Others and Not Accepting of Other Faiths.
This is what our new generations think about Christianity.
They do however believe that spirituality plays an important role in their life and also feel that the morals and values of Christianity are good. They simply believe that the modern day Christian church is not an accurate reflection of these morals and values.
This generation was raised in Christianity but now believes that Christianity is not in pure form and not a reflection of the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.