Is Badder Better?

Last week I was reading various reviews of Mark Driscoll’s new book.  (I’m not going to provide a link because that might lead to someone actually buying and/or reading it)  In the  review at Friendly Atheist, I ran across this:

Like any good Christian book, this one starts with a redemption story. (No self-respecting Christian will attempt to sell you Jesus without telling you how sorry a person they were before Him.) With that in mind, the worse your “before” is, the better, since it will demonstrate such a stunning contrast to your current, “Godly” lifestyle.

I appreciate the perspective – apparently of an atheist; a friendly one at that, I’m going to take issue with the claim.  To be honest, I see the writer’s point; we Christians do tend to tell our stories this way.

Ought we (Christians) try to “sell” Jesus by crafting our own stories in terms of how bad we were before Jesus saved us?  If so, are we more saved the worst we were before Jesus?  Does badder before mean better after?

It strikes me that we don’t have much back-story on any of the disciples except Paul.  I mean, you don’t really know much about a person just from knowing their profession is fisherman or tax colelctor, do you?  And Paul’s back-story was that he was a really good person – as he writes this about himself in Philippians 3( CEB):

 5 I was circumcised on the eighth day.
    I am from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin.
    I am a Hebrew of the Hebrews.
    With respect to observing the Law, I’m a Pharisee.
6 With respect to devotion to the faith, I harassed the church.
    With respect to righteousness under the Law, I’m blameless.

If badder really was better, shouldn’t Paul have been a worse person?

Perhaps the challenge the Friendly Atheist offers us is not whether or not we have our own redemption story; surely we do.  The issue is whether or not we are trying to “sell” Jesus to others.

2 thoughts on “Is Badder Better?

  1. Well, we also know that Paul held the coats of those who stoned Stephen. I think this puts him in that bad light. I remember for years (I grew up in the Baptist church), that the greatest “evangelists” were those who had some terrible story of how they’d been down this dark road of endless sin and some even devil worship. And while that resonated with people who lived that type of lifestyle, it made some of the rest of us feel like we had to play up our pre-Christ selves. That was kind of hard for me as a church-raised kid of 10 years old when I first professed my faith. So yeah, I don’t think that being “badder” is necessarily a better story. I think culture has changed and we are no longer drawn to the sensationalism of these fantastic, yet true, stories. But rather, our culture is drawn more to authenticity that we are to drama. Great post.

  2. I thought Driscoll’s newest book was about marriage, so I am a bit confused by the entire post. Also, is there a problem withe people buying and reading Driscoll?

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