On Christian failure

John Lennox faces up to the harm Christians have done to others.



John Lennox faces up to the harm Christians have done to others.


Christians are all human beings. And as human beings we’re weak and we can fail, and we can sin, and we can in that sense compromise the Christian testimony. And this is a tragedy. But after all, the message, the central message – they shall call his name Jesus because he shall save his people from their sins – it’s meant to be a rescue operation. The problem is that some people when they’re rescued fall back to a certain extent, and mess up not only their own lives but the lives of other people. And that has a very damaging effect.

I meet many young people and they’re put off Christianity. Why? Because they’ve had a very negative experience of this. Indeed, recently I came across a statistic from North America that a survey was done – it wasn’t a large survey – of people who led humanist and atheistic groups in American, North American colleges and universities. Every single one of them had become an atheist because of something that was done to them in the name of religion.

And as a Christian I’m ashamed of it, but we’ve got to face it. And the only answer to it is getting back to what Christ taught and obeying him. There’s no shortcut. And we’re ploughing against a huge mass of evidence of child abuse in the name of God, upwards – or downwards – and it’s a complete mess. Of course there needs to be put against that that atheism hasn’t exactly got a wonderful track record for elevating human dignity and so on. But that’s another topic.