Perhaps one of the more vitriolic responses to viral videos has come in recent days with the release of BuzzFeed’s “I’m Christian But…” video. Here’s the video, if you’re curious:
I watched it for the first time this morning and surprise of surprises, I liked it.
Based on the Internet, I think I’m the one of the fews Christians who feel this way. I saw several blog posts and articles criticizing the video for a number of things. Let me post a couple excerpts from negative responses to the video.
Not a single mention of Jesus, the author and finisher of the Christian faith. In fact, you could easily switch out all references to “Christian” with any other religion or belief system and it would have the same amount of meaning. Consumer choices of Christians are interesting, I guess, and, hey, I like wine and Beyonce, too, but Christianity isn’t about our consumer choices.
Heaven forfend! We have a reason for the hope that is in us, and we should aim to make a defense of that reason even above our political inclinations.
After you watch the video, it’s obvious that this is a propaganda piece for a version of Christianity that is Christian in name only–a progressivist vision of the faith that has more to do with maintaining street-cred with Christianity’s cultured despisers than with the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). It is what the apostle Paul called a “form of godliness” while “denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). It is gutless–literally, a hollowing out of everything essential to the faith.
Far from being Christocentric, this display is Christo-absent. Not one of these “Christians” even mentions Jesus. Their definition of the faith displays no connection even implicitly to the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Even disinterested observers can tell that this is more than a glaring oversight. It is an attempt to label love for worldliness as love for Christ. It undermines any credible claim that these testimonials can be in any sense authentically Christian.
Can I just say these people are overreacting WAY too much? A few bullet points to explain why.
- When editing a video, you don’t always put everything you shoot into the final video. There’s a good chance that these people mentioned the name of Jesus in their comments, but they weren’t included either because they didn’t fit the video or indeed BuzzFeed was trying to push some agenda. I’m not discounting that idea. But trust me, someone who’s done a lot of videos myself: you don’t always include everything.
- BuzzFeed probably wasn’t coming at this from a “Christian angle,” so of course they’re not going to include Jesus. What do you expect?
- How dare we question these people’s faith based on at most 30 seconds of them talking to us through a video where we don’t get to ask the questions. No one wants to be judged by that. No one. You certainly don’t. I don’t. They aren’t saying these things are what their faith is based on. They’re simply saying things that are true about them and that they’re Christians.
So now let me give you three reasons why I loved the video.
Christians were honest about how they don’t have all the answers.
I love the guy who said, “I’m Christian, but I don’t have all the answers.”
One of the things Christians seems to always have to prove is that they always have the answers. Yes, we are called to make a defense for the hope we have in us (1 Peter 3:15), but God is also a mystery and no one can fully understand Him. That’s why I loved what the guy said. You don’t see that in so many Christians. All you do is see Christians try to be perfect and give all the answers.
We can be a people who are honest and say, “Yeah, I don’t know what the heck I’m doing half the time, and I don’t understand the Bible sometimes.” It’s OK to not understand things!
Christians were being honest about Christians.
Probably my favorite quote in the video was this: “A lot of people think Christianity ruins people, but to me I think it’s people that are ruining Christianity, you never really see the good that happens, you only see the hypocrites, and the people who put themselves on a higher pedestal.” I say a hearty AMEN! to that.
So often we don’t talk about how hypocritical we are. Instead, we try to explain it away. The Crusades? Religious fanatics that were probably not Christians in the first place. The guy burning the Koran? Wack-job, needs some help.
Now that I think about it, I don’t fully agree with the quote. Let me amend it: People are ruining other people’s perspective of Christianity. By our over-judgmental attitudes and lack of honesty about our own shortcomings, we’re not being Christians. I’d wager that the people in the BuzzFeed video are Christians just as much as the people saying they’re not Christians.
Christians hit on the most important thing: love.
My second favorite quote: “I don’t think that Christians should judge people for who they are or what they do, I think everybody is in different part of life on their own path to wherever they’re trying to go. we’re all people and love is the most important thing.”
If we’re to believe 1 Corinthians 13, this is correct. Verses 1-3:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
If we get all of our theology right, but miss out on love, we don’t get anything. We don’t gain anything. If Paul is to believed, we are nothing. These kids get that! They understand that love is the most important thing, that it is the mark of what a Christian is supposed to be. If the response to this video is anything, we see that Christians are not loving. But these guys in the video GET IT.
I loved the honesty, I loved the realness, I loved that these kids were willing to be themselves and proclaim the name of Christ while doing it. Yes, when they said, “I’m a Christian,” they proclaimed the name of Jesus. And honestly, I think Jesus would support about 85 percent of what these kids said and not support about 95 percent of what’s been said in response.
I could be wrong, and I’m OK with that.
I definitely don’t agree with everything in the video, but I still love it.
I’m Christian, but I’m not a hater of the video. I liked it a lot. I’d love to sit down and talk with the kids interviewed and hear more. Call me progressive all you like, but I think this is the right kind of progressive.