Once an atheist, R. Brad White is trying to save Christianity from self-destruction. His non-profit, Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. aims to reverse the Christian intolerance, hypocrisy, homophobia, judgmentalism, and other negative Christian stereotypes, by helping Christians to be more like Jesus Christ.
Christians Are Leaving the Church.
White notes the growing exodus from the Christian faith:
In the American Religious Identification Survey of more than 54 thousand respondents released in 2009, the number of people claiming no religious preference ("The Nones") almost doubled from 1990 (8.2%) to 2008 (15%).
In the book unchristian, written by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons based on research from thousands of interviews by the respected Barna Research Group, Kinnaman concludes "The vast majority of outsiders [to the Christian faith]…are actually dechurched individuals." This gives support to notion that people are leaving the faith, not simply refusing to join as new Christians.
In the book American Grace, researchers Robert Putnam and David Campbell found that "young Americans are dropping out of religion at an alarming rate of five to six times the historic rate (30 to 40 percent have no religion today, versus 5 to 10 percent a generation ago)."
How Christianity Offends Non-Theists and Other 'Outsiders.'
To determine how Christians can be more Christlike, Changing the Face of Christianity interviewed atheists and others who are turned off by contemporary Christianity and received responses such as:
- "I would never consider being a Christian, but I might consider not being so critical if more Christians were open and genuine and willing to actually talk about their beliefs."
- "If one was a faithful Christian in their personal life but was able to respect the freedoms of others, what objection could truly be lodged against them? No one cares what you believe, only how your beliefs affect the personal lives of others."
- "I enjoy cross dressing, it makes me feel good about my appearance. It is my right. However the value of that right is severally damaged when I am constantly under attack by members of various religious groups. Are you personally familiar with what it feels like to have people follow you around shouting rude things, throwing empty coffee cups at you, or cornering you with the intention of goading you into a fight?"
- "My grandmother always tried to make me feel bad that my mom didn't take my brothers and me to church. She would tell me that my mom was a bad person. My mom was raised constantly being told that she was a bad person. I've seen the emotional scars it left on my mother."
"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." ~~ Mahatma Gandhi
Working to Reverse Negative Stereotypes.
Changing the Face of Christianity has launched a bold awareness and education campaign aimed at existing Christians. Its strategy is to expose the perceptions of non-Christians to those within the Christian faith and encourage and assist them to take personal action to reverse the negative stereotypes.
White says, "We could easily be confused or misunderstood as being anti-Christian because of how forcefully we discuss these tough issues. However, we also have a positive strategy. We also enjoy highlighting Christians doing good. When engaging with non-believers, we listen instead of preach. We are gracious instead of antagonistic. We are accepting and reasonable instead of intolerant and hysterical. We want to show non-believers that there are positive, like-minded Christians out there that really care about them instead of simply trying to convert them."
He continues, "When we started, we knew we would encounter some opposition within the church and some confusion about our purpose. However, we've been overwhelmed and encouraged by the positive response. I continue to meet people who say 'you are dead on, keep it up,' and we keep discovering other complimentary ministries that are attacking the problem from different perspectives. I have incredible faith and hope for Christianity even as we enter a very dark time within our church."
Changing the Face of Christianity Inc has also released a "Christian Face Quiz". Answer 10 questions and the quiz will return a score, telling you how Christian you are.
About Brad White, an Atheist Turned Christian.
For most of his life, Brad was an unshakable Atheist. His promotional materials say: "After a miraculous sign from God in 2005, he shed his blind disbelief and became a believer. He later became a Christian after thorough deliberation and study. Ever since that moment, he has been actively engaged in using his life to Glorify God and to build up God’s kingdom. Brad felt called to start 'Changing the Face of Christianity' in 2010."