Why are Christians so mean?

Christians can be remarkably mean-spirited, notes the Rev. Kimberly Hyatt of Jacksonville, Fl., blogging at patheos.com:

Why are Christians so mean? I recently posted a variation of this on Facebook. It was a sincere question but also a subtle apology for the way so many fellow Christians have been acting over Chick-fil-A’s stance on same-sex marriage and closer to my home, a vote by our city council on an anti-discrimination measure. Of course, Christians are going to hold different opinions on hot-button issues, but the spirit in which we on either side choose to express those opinions matters and, in some respects, may matter more than the position itself.

Curious, I decided to see if I was the first to pose the question. Sadly, there was nothing original about it. Within one quarter of a second, a Google search of “Why are Christians so mean” returned 5,190 results.

To put these numbers in context, I ran the same query for other faiths. As we would expect in the post 9-11 environment, “Why are Muslims so mean” yielded 8,320 results. More telling, however, are the following comparisons:

There were seven results for “Why are Jews so mean?” and four results for “Why are Hindus so mean?” “Why are Buddhists so mean” yielded one result with no results at all when I asked, “Why are Sikhs so mean?”

It wasn’t always this way. Certainly not in the early Church, when Tertullian remarked, “Look, how they love one another” or when Aristides wrote, “They walk in all humility and kindness.” When is the last time you heard anyone say anything even close to that about Christians? Ever?

Hyatt goes on to say that “the very fact so many see Christians this way should stop us in our tracks. Considering that the early Christian movement was known as ‘the Way,’ behaving in a way that others interpret as ‘mean’ is no way to commend the faith that is in us, it’s not the way Jesus lived, and it’s certainly not the way anyone should be able to know we are Christians.”

Read Hyatt’s full post here. Why is it that Christians exhibit such meanness in our modern culture? And why is that the least charitable Christians among us seem to define the faith?

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