Many atheists, agnostics, and other non-Christians would agree that Christians are brainwashed. I would have to agree. Sort of. Let me explain. I completely believe that some—maybe even many—Christians who profess a belief and a love for Christ are brainwashed. That is, they are told to believe that Jesus is Lord and to live according to the Word of God because it’s the best way to live. They’re told to do those things. Whether it’s from their parents, church, or community, they are simply told to do so. So they do. Don’t get me wrong; I completely believe all these things they are told to believe are true, but many people are not told why they are true. They just blindly follow what they think they should be doing and to disregard anything else that is contrary to it. Brainwashed.
But when people start to really dig deeply into biblical history and the words and life of Christ, they will start to see why these things are true. When they start to see and understand that the chances that the prophesies in the Old Testament being fulfilled hundreds and hundreds of years later in the New Testament are astronomical, things start to change. When they begin to experience Christ and not just experience church, things start to change. When they are filled with the Holy Spirit and are moved with compassion for the things that they once cared nothing about, things start to change. And this is just a chip off the tip of the iceberg. There is much more depth and richness and beauty in the character of God.
Experiencing Christ is much, much more than experiencing church. Experiencing and being in relationship with Christ is knowing that we have a Father—a perfect Father—who will love and accept us just as we are. Experiencing and being in relationship with Christ is knowing that when we fail to uphold the standards that Scripture lays out, that we are truly forgiven when we repent and turn from sin. Being in relationship with Jesus is knowing that you will always have Someone to talk to and that He will always listen. Being in relationship with Christ is loving Him so much that you want nothing more than to glorify His name and who He is in everything that you do. It’s trusting Him with your life and knowing that He has your best interests in mind. Even if the process is painful and uncomfortable.
Prayer becomes more than just picking and choosing out of an arsenal of Christian phrases to fit any given situation. Prayer becomes a conversation. It is no longer the time that you hope you say the right words. It is no longer a time to impress others with your big Christianese lingo. Talking with the Father becomes no different than talking with a best friend. No different.
Brainwashed Christians. Yeah, they’re out there. But to be in real relationship with the Father is something that I cannot deny to be possible and true. I’ve learned to distinguish between Christ and Christians. Christians are still people. People are flawed. People may not always be the best example of what it means to live a holy, gracious, righteous, compassionate life. Some may be good examples—some even very good examples—but no person is a perfect example. We must only look to Christ for the perfect example of that.
Now, the question that may or may not be on your mind: Will these “brainwashed Christians” go to heaven? Honestly, I have no idea. I am not the final Judge of that. That is for God and God alone to determine. All I can do is pray for them to enter into real relationship with Jesus and for me to live a life that is acceptable and pleasing to the Father. A life that honors Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for me.