rebelling against low expectations

How do we change the media’s perception of Christians?


JEFF WRITES: In recent years, I’ve been thinking a lot about the culture and how the media portrays Christians. In most cases I’ve seen, Christians are portrayed as either hypocrites or “insane Jesus freaks”. I love media and want to enter into that industry as a career, but I have no idea how to change the way Christians are put in a bad light. I want to bring back into TV the loyal and funny Christians. I know I won’t be able to do it without help from God and other teens. What can I do as an individual? What can teens do as a whole?

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  • It really saddens me how some “Christians” act online and in person, making the world think of us as freaks and bigots. I think it was Ghandi who said, “I would be a Christian if it were not for the Christians.” Ouch….
    While we may never get the world to realize that just because someone claims to be a Christian (but is clearly not acting like one), it doesn’t mean that all Christians are like said person.
    In the end, God’s the one who changes hearts. It’s our job to ” walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” We’re to love others, despite the stereotypical image they might have of us, and let God do the work on their hearts.

    • Excellent thoughts, Kyle. I have to say, there are a lot of Christians who do not act like Christians, and they are honestly the ones that usually speak the most, thus setting the Christian stereotype.
      What can we do to change it? Excellent question, Jeff; one that ties in very well with the whole “Do Hard Things” mentality. I think the best thing you can do by yourself is to either 1. start getting others to do it with you! or 2. be that funny loyal Christian that you want to say. People often say “dream big”, but those dreams are only dreams until you *act* big.
      What can teens do as a whole? A whole lot, that’s for sure! I just started up a second blog (, and it’s my place where I critique the nation’s actions (to summarize it) and compare it to the laws of God and the Constitution. I’m not sure if you’re in the US or not, but I’m sure that you could start your own blog and compare your nation’s – or the world’s! – actions to God’s laws and/or the laws of your country. Sounds like a very hard ambition – let us know if we could help at all! Good luck!

    • In all honesty, why would a non-believer (someone who has no proper
      explanation of morality) be upset about “Christians” being hypocrites?
      (Not to say I condone them for being a hypocrite, because I don’t.) This is even more true of atheist… if we just came from soup (that came from nothing), why would it matter if “Christians” (or anyone else for that matter) be moral?

      like their world view has some inconsistencies. However, “Christians”
      making wrong choices, is still consistent with what the Bible says about
      there being none good except for God, and is also consistent with the
      rest of the Biblical world view.

      In short, I am pointing out the inconsistencies of an unbeliever’s world view vs. a truly Biblical world view. Additionally, I absolutely do not condone Christians (or anyone for that matter) being a hypocrite.

    • I heard somewhere that only a small percentage of “Christians” are CHRISTIANS in reality.
      I’ve met a lot of say-but-not-do Christians who use the title because they grew up in it or because it is expected of them, or maybe because they get praise for saying that they believe. Unfortunately, this doesn`t necessarily mean that that`s what they really think.
      (and, yes, ouch! Gandhi said this because he was intrigued by Jesus and decided to visit a church, only to be turned away by the ushers for not being high-caste or white. But God doesn`t pick just the kings and princes to come to Christianity. After all, Jesus was born in a cave as the “son” of a carpenter and a teenage girl. They weren’t a king and a queen, or even a duke and duchess. They were just simple, poor people that God picked out for part of His plan. Churches should not be biased like that.)

  • Unfortunately my friend, you will never be able to change the media’s perception on Christians. Today, the world has turned so far to liberal ideology that change is darn near impossible for them.

    But this isn’t just the case for the media. You will never change Hollywood’s perception on Christians by becoming a godly director or actor, and you will never change the public’s opinion on politicians by becoming a godly politician.

    However, there is hope for your goal. You can’t change everyone’s mind, but you can change a few, and that’s what matters. If you feel called into media, jump in with all you’ve got. Let your COWORKERS see the Light in you. They will see that you don’t go drinking and partying with them. They will see that you love your family more than your work. This will make them curious which will cause them to think which will cause them to ask meaningful questions. They will see for themselves what Christians are like: loyal, loving, honest, trustworthy, and fun to be around. They’ll make their own perception, and depending on how you act, that will determine whether it’s positive or negative. You are an Ambassador for Christ.

    So I guess, maybe you can change the media’s perception on Christians…one person at a time! 🙂

    Hope this helps!

  • People make this sound like an impossible goal, but it is not absolutely impossible.

    But, where do we start?

    We start at the core… and the core is the people running the media. The people that control the media are the ones that must be influenced in order the change the media perspective.

    Is there another option?

    Yes, there is… become part of the Christian media. Like Answers in Genesis, Ray Comfort, Ravi Zacharias, the Kinderics Brothers, and more.

    Is there a simpler way?

    Yep… just make a difference where God put you. Right where you are… This is perhaps the best choice, and could lead to bigger things, like the things I mentioned above. 😉

    “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your
    God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my
    righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

  • I think one thing we need to do as Christians is live in a way that honors and glorifies God. The truth is, in recent years, self-professed “Christians” have not lived in a way that would draw people to God and this has definitely hurt the media’s perception of what a true Christian is. We have to show the world that a true Christian is different. I think one of the best ways we can show that we’re not the “stereotypical ‘Christian'” is when we do make a mistake or sin, admit it! Don’t be afraid to say that you’ve made a mistake in your life. Nobody likes “perfect people” anyways, so why even try to act perfect? Those who are true Christians need to be down to earth, humble, honest, likable people, whether or not we’re media personalities. Some of the most arrogant people I’ve met, seen, or read material from have been “Christians”. Some of the most nicest people I’ve met, seen, or read about have been non-Christians. I believe that the only way America is going to change for the better is through the work of God, however, God usually works through people – His people. I think the best way to change the media’s perception of Christians is to depend on God to do the Work and for hundreds, maybe thousands, of Christians (in and outside of the Media) to live in such a way that people would be drawn to them. After all the media is led by a bunch of people. If we show those people what a true Christian looks like, maybe it’ll change their perception of Christians. But, like others have already said, it’s up to God. The Bible says that the Heart of the King is in the hand of the Lord, and He turneth it whither soever He will (my paraphrase). If God can change the heart of a King, He can surely change the heart of a Nation.

  • Christians in this generation are called by God to go out unto the world and share the gospel. With many in society blocking out the idea of Christianity and all forms of religion with an absolute, our actions will be the most effective way to bring glory to God in this changing culture. It is almost near impossible to reach out to everyone in this universe, as Christians often think our sole purpose is, but we are called to love your neighbor as yourself, thus reaching out to them with our actions. They will be able to see a genuine difference in our actions and the way we lead our life versus common culture.

  • Good question, Jeff! We do not ultimately control other people’s perceptions of us, but we can go a long way to change them by living as we ought. Fortunately, Scripture provides a lot of guidance here! I think these two passages from Romans sum up the way we should live pretty well:

    14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Rom 12:14-18)

    8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Rom 13:8-10)

    I think it is fair to say that the most prevalent (negative) stereotypes of Christians directly contradict the paradigms Paul sets forth in these passages. We should be people who let our love for the Lord spill over into fervent love for our fellow image-bearers, who weep for the world even as we weep for our own brokenness, who forgive one another as God has forgiven us, and who are so transformed by the grace poured out on us that we can even bless our enemies. Of course we don’t do this perfectly, of course we fail, but the important part is to keep fighting! And at the end of the day, what other people (or the media, specifically) think of us just doesn’t matter: it is all a loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus.

    In short: Love God and love your neighbor. Walk in the light and encourage those around you to do the same, but the task of transforming hearts is the Lord’s.

    • Wow, Gratia! Pure words of wisdom right there! I too honestly pray to God that He molds me and makes me usable by Him. I’m also working on loving others…sometimes it seems to be SO MANY! But I know God has got my back today! I honestly WANT to be better and mo~re open to receiving others so I pray that for today. I also pray He would continue revealing His truth to you and that your actions would shine forth with His Light. God bless. Anyway LOVE YOU!

  • 1. Live what you believe both in the newsroom and the rest of your life. Remember that actions speak louder than words. That is what we as a whole can do. Because people are fallen, those who are truly following God will always be considered a little odd(or very odd), but letting our light shine before men will cause them to see our Father in Heaven.

    2. You specifically: That depends on what kind of media you want to go into. Journalist? News anchor? If you’re a journalist, cast a positive light on devout Christians. Perhaps see if there are opportunities to do stories on ministries or on people who are following Christ. If you’re looking more into news anchor/investigave reporter for the news room sort of thing, which is what I think you’re leaning towards based on your question, it’s a little trickier. Live your faith. Ask people about theirs. Again, if stories come your way to cast a positive light on the body of Christ, make the most of them. And pray, because the only way this will be truly successful is with prayer.

    One other thing… Do you know about WORLD magazine? If you’re a writing media person, they’re definitely something you might want to look into. Think TIME magazine from a conservative Christian perspective.

  • Jeff, two main things came to mind when I read your question. This issue bothers me as well; many people have misconceptions about us, and the media has been a major vehicle in circulating these ideas.

    First of all, if you end up working in the media realm someday, you can certainly use your influence there to try and give a more fair and accurate view of Christians, not only by what you say but how you live. If you show people the love of Christ, they will see there’s something different about you, and maybe they’ll think twice before judging the Church as a whole.

    Secondly, remember that the world will always be in opposition to us. There will always be people who lie and spread rumors about us. Especially in the media world, the devil has a pretty strong hold on a lot of people, and he works through them to try and ruin our reputation and turn people off from believing in Jesus.

    So you can definitely do your part and make a difference, but realize we’ve been promised that there will always be persecution from the world as long as we are here.

  • Tragically, I don’t know if it’s even possible to change the way media views Christians (at least on a massive scale). This is mostly because God tells us that the world will hate us, we cannot be a friend of the world and a friend of God. Sorry if I sound gloomy and hopeless, I promise I’m usually much more optimistic!

  • Jeff, all I can think of is live like Christ. Be the example it says in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

  • Jeff that is such a problem in this day and age and your question is totally valid, but the bible does say in John 15: 18 – 19, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” So as Christians we need to expect persecution, but we also need to remember that this world isn’t our home and just continue to live like Christ with the mindset of we are residents of heaven not of this earth.

rebelling against low expectations

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