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The subject of faith is a very controversial and polarizing one. When asked about it, the public is typically split into two large factions – the faithful and the atheists. Agnostics and others remain in the middle, but they are relatively few in number. No one would deny that the influence of the church is not as potent as it used to be for many centuries. One of the reasons for its diminishing hold over the peoples’ hearts and minds is corruption. Everyone knows about the scandals within the Catholic Church regarding pedophilia, power abuse, and greed (Kaufmann 1). Christian communities are often viewed by non-Christians as citadels of arrogance, self-righteousness, and prejudice. Some representatives of the faith dismiss this, saying that all men and women are born sinners. While it is true that nobody is perfect, the true reason for corruption within the church is the crisis of faith (Steinfels 7). The purpose of this paper is to list some of the prevalent acts of corruption committed by the church and its followers and to understand the reasons behind them.
Differences between Ancient and Modern Christians
Christianity was not always a huge religion with over 2 billion followers (“Global Christianity” par. 1). It started as a small sect that believed in the ideals taught by Jesus Christ, and later, by his followers. The first adepts of Christianity were not like the modern Christians. Of course, the culture, traditions, and level of education and technology were different back then. These first Christians were unfaltering in their newfound conviction. So much, they dared to challenge the official religion of Rome and often paid the highest price for it. The early history of Christianity is full of martyrs, who died horrible deaths but refused to abandon their faith. They followed Jesus’s teachings to the letter. They never stepped away from the morals preached by the Bible. Most early Christians were, for lack of a better term, incorruptible. Lastly, all of them adopted the new faith by choice.
Let us move on to modern Christians. They are much more educated compared to the Christians of the past. Modern science has already explained most of the natural, physical, biological, and chemical processes happening on Earth that used to be attributed to God’s miracles. Most Christians were taught the Bible ever since birth. They were brought into a church from an early age, to attend the Sunday school and do other activities. Christianity today is mainstream. In Christian countries, like the USA, you are expected to be a faithful Christian and visit a church often. While some adopt the values they are being taught, others do not. Many children do not enjoy going to churches on Sundays to listen to a man in a robe reading a boring book to them. Many families attend the church because they are supposed to, not because this is what they want. The faith of an average Christian nowadays is much weaker than it used to be.
Public Opinion about Churchgoers
According to popular polls, Christian communities are often associated with ignorance, pride, and arrogance. They are quick to be prejudiced against those who do not share their point of view. In addition, they can be aggressive towards opponents and strangers, throwing curses at them and saying that they should all “burn in Hell” (Malec 1). Of course, there is nothing unusual about such behavior – many people act like this in general. However, there is a reason why such behavior from a Christian attracts a lot more attention – Christians claim to be the followers of a benevolent deity that preaches peace, love, and mutual understanding. Wrath and Pride are among the Seven Deadly Sins that Christians should always avoid. The fact that these traits are so often found in the followers of Christ could mean only one thing – that their faith is weak, if at all present.
Reasons for Corruption
This brings us to the core reason for corruption within the Christian ranks. The reason why so many of them drift away from the tenets of their faith is, ironically, the lack of it (Steinfels 54). It is true that all humans are sinners and have inherent flaws – it is in their nature. Even the most adamant Christian can commit a sin from time to time. However, in order for corruption to become a defining trend of religion, mistakes have to be made often and repeatedly. A true follower of Christ’s teachings would not use his or her position within the church to steal, molest children, or ostracize others based on their faith. Those who do could not be considered true Christians.
They may go to church, wear a crucifix around their neck, and say prayers during sermons, but they do not truly believe in the moral teachings propagated by the Bible. This process is inevitable for any mainstream religion that trades quality for quantity (Steinfels 77). Their ranks swell with Christians in name only, who do not truly accept the moral code offered by the Bible. When these pseudo-Christians commit controversial acts that besmirch the religion’s reputation, it is forced to take the blame. Perhaps it should. A religion that is followed by obligation and not by choice is bound to be corrupted.
“Global Christianity – A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population.” PewResearchCenter. 2011, Web.
Malec, Jason. “Why Are Christians So Judgmental?” exploreGod, Web.
Kaufmann, Sarah. “By The Numbers: The Catholic Church’s Sex Abuse Scandals.” Vocativ, 2015, Web.
Steinfels, Peter. A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America. Simon & Schuster, 2013.