Engaging Culture

The “Too Easily Offended” Culture

I sometimes get frustrated with how easily people get offended today – particularly when it comes to religious topics.  I’ve been in a couple of situations lately when the issue of Christianity came up and one person in the group nearly became apoplectic.  They became so offended we had to change the subject.

The thought occurred to me that over my career, I’ve filmed in more than 40 countries, and seen many religious rites and services of all kinds.  I’ve seen voodoo and Santeria ceremonies in the Caribbean and South America, animism in Africa, and strange, hybrid Catholic-folk religion services near the headwaters of the Amazon.  But in all those experiences, I can’t ever remember once being “offended.”

What is it about our culture when we’ve become so easily offended?  I have to admit that I don’t see it when a Buddhist shares his faith.  And we live in a time when it’s political incorrect to have any issues with Islam (in some European countries it’s illegal to criticize Islam.)  So why is Christianity such a lightening rod?  And why is it when you bring up the subject people get so bent out of shape?

It’s an important question because the issue is a major obstacle to the continuing dialogue between people of differing faiths…

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9 Comments

  1. Unfortunately even amongst Christians within the Church world there are many who have fallen to offense (and are deeply offended as witnessed by many even on this blog) especially from leadership to members (and vice versa) of the church for one reason or the other. There are many many Christians who are just as offended as there are offended non-Christians about matters regarding the Church but I think some of it has been attributed to the abuse of power which the Church has exhibited in regards to our leadership structure both in the Church and outside of it – especially the last ten years. We have to certain extent missed what makes us Christians in the first place – our relationship, friendship and life in Christ Jesus and somehow traded it for power (unfortunately political for all the wrong reasons) and worldly authority – and I somehow I don’t think that is what the Lord primarily wanted us to do while here on earth. As soon as we begin to lord it over ourselves in the Body of Christ it has very adverse effects amongst Christians and then to the rest of the world. But I’m speaking mainly in regards to issues of offense within the Church world – that of those outside of the Body of Christ is a whole different matter which I will look into.

  2. I've found that if the name of Jesus is mentioned in a group, you can hear a pin drop. The name of Jesus has a power that makes people feel uncomfortable. Even the demons fear that name.

  3. Now for the second part of this conversation which is, why are people so easily offended in regards to Christianity. As I mentioned earlier one of the reasons is; abuse of power and authority from the Church (and every form/facet/denomination has missed it here) within its congregation and then how this has been portrayed to the rest of the world. But another side is, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is by nature offensive to people period, (APW3 has brilliantly analysed this – I’m just putting my take on it:-)) especially those who are profiting from the things of this world’s system. Those who are in positions of wealth, status, power, who are able to live the way they want to without accountability (self is king) it is those kinds of people who are easiliy offended by the Gospel. Why should they submit to the idea that there is only one way to heaven? When of course they can buy anything, do anything and have anything they want, when they want it and how they want it. This is true for most people in the West. One thing the Lord has told me when I meet such people who hate the idea & absolute truth (yes it is an absolute truth as Jesus clearly stated it and minced no words about it) of Jesus being the only Way to God the Father in Heaven, is I ask them; how is their relationship life with either their spouse or partner or other family members? 9 times of 10 they say it is bad or they are just enduring one another. Then I ask them to do just one thing and the relationship will begin to work (I did not say it will perfect everything – I said begin). Give up self, listen to your partner/spouse and do what she says – daily. At this point they leave. But those who did it – they are shocked at how self-centred and dominant they have been they cannot believe it until they heard it from their spouse – one even said that things his parents had told him to change, and he refused, only to find the very same things his wife complaining about. People are so selfish that they are completely blinded to it let alone even ready to hear from others. In a culture that is self-indulgent, has never known what it means to suffer for something outside of itself – yes the Gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive and the higher up you are in life the harder it is to accept it. No wonder the Gospel of Jesus Christ is always responded to best by the oppressed and the downtrodden of life (even though it is for all) because it is the only faith that lifts the poor and produces value in broken people – like no other religion or belief system can or ever will. It is the only one that seeks to restore broken relationships. Finally, I heard that offended people are unresolved relationship people so when such people show up ask them to resolve the broken relationship/s in their life and the offense/s will cease to exist.

  4. The Taliban who killed the Christian aid worker in Afghanistan is an example of people who could not take it that the people this Christian woman cared for were people they had rejected, abandoned and now a Christian shows up and cares for these same rejected people all in the Name of Jesus Christ. That was too much for them. And yet if you check it out at the root of it is envy and bitterness of them seeing someone else do what they should have done but never did. She was killed violently while caring for the most forgotten people in the world; the poor and the disabled. I thank God that this made global headlines in the news media showing that there are Christians who still love God more than their very own lives to the point that they are willing lay it down for others out of His love. It is same thing happening in India amongst the outcastes and the Christians who are caring for them [the outcastes] and giving them back their dignity and value as human beings in this world – and the violent backlash this has produced from the Hindus who are mad that the very people they have rejected and isolated for centuries based on false religious beliefs are now being embraced by Christians, empowered, educated and being trained with valuable life skills that will make productive people – that is too much for the Hindus to comprehend and according to them it must stop even if this means people will be killed in the process to achieve this! At the root offense are broken relationships.

  5. I don’t see any reason to be offended by Christianity even though I am not a Christian. I believe that it all boils down to the fact that some individuals are too sensitive these days and why I do not know.

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