Does Christianity promote hate?
In a word: no. Not in any way, shape or form.
The problem we have is that the Christian movement has many followers all around the world, and the one thing that every Christian has in common is that we are all people. One of the central tenets of Christianity is that we are all sinners, so by our own very definition, not one of the more than 2.2 billion Christians alive today is perfect. Therefore, Christianity can be portrayed in many different ways depending on what belief system the person professing to be a follower of Jesus holds.
A Brief History of Christianity
As you read the New Testament, you will read that Christianity’s first famous convert was a man we know today as Paul. He wrote most of the New Testament and was a brilliant man who adapted Christianity to fit not only his own Jewish culture, but also adapted diverse Gentile cultures.
He held a few central doctrines of what it meant to be a Christian: profession of Jesus as the Son of God and that our salvation comes through the grace and mercy of God which was given to us through Jesus. From there, Paul’s great desire is that people’s faith in God would manifest itself in the lives of believers through acts of justice, mercy, and generosity.
Paul’s missionary activity made Christianity adapt to any culture it came into contact with, so that by 300 years after Jesus’ death, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. The missionary passion of those first few hundred years of Christianity changed the course of our world. There were creeds that were taught and Holy Scriptures that were read that have continued the growth of the Christian movement to this very day and will continue to grow into the future.
The Power of Christianity
What made Christianity so powerful was its ability to adapt to the culture around it and transform the lives of the people it touched. But the power of Christianity has been recognized by evil people down through the ages.
One of the justifications of slavery prior to the Civil War was that the Africans who were being abducted were being baptized Christians. This is clearly an abuse of the faith. Karl Marx wrote that “Religion is the opium of the people” meaning it was an illusion that prevented people from rising up to claim their own worth and used to justify all kinds of unspeakable atrocities.
There is no doubt that much blood has been spilled in the name of the Prince of Peace down through the years, even into our modern times. Christianity is seen as the oppressor or the source of the brutality that evil people want to do to each other.
When people bond the Christian movement with evil notions like hate of any variety, this denies one of the most important features of what Christianity accomplishes: transformation. What we believe about the generosity, mercy and grace of God is intended to change us. To make us strive for justice and equality and acceptance, which is exactly what Jesus teaches us in Matthew 5 in the Sermon on the Mount.
You will never find anyone who is more in favor of the principle of the separation of Church and State than me. Christianity is not designed to change systems; Christianity is designed to change people. From there, the people then go and change systems.
We don’t need government control to transform individuals. We just need to live our lives with grace, mercy and healthy doses of forgiveness because God has done exactly that for us. The Church is far more powerful when we are banding together to relieve the suffering of victims than we are when we are pushing elected officials to do our bidding.
Living out Christian principles of grace and mercy is the responsibility of every believer. We could do far more to change our world if we took that responsibility more seriously than we could ever do dictating laws and practices from the top down.