The following struck me this morning, and I am sure it is not original but thought I would throw it out there anyway.
One of the biggest arguments that seems to be used against Christianity, or more specifically how it manifests itself in the lives of Christians, is that it can't be true because we Christians are hypocrites. This argument is raised whenever a public church figure is caught in some sort of scandal (typically sexual). It is also a charge often (rightly) leveled at some Christian or other in a personal circle of acquaintances. In both cases the argument comes down to "So-and-so says such-and-such is a sin, and then goes and does that very thing. See? Christianity is hogwash, because they're all hypocrites." The problem of course being that that argument is a non sequiter. Just because a Christian conducts himself or herself in a "shameful" manner doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with Christianity. And most Christians will be the first to admit there is something wrong with them (it's called original sin, or what a friend of mine and I refer to as our "monkey nature"). As the old joke goes, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you", well, "Just because you're a hypocrite doesn't mean what you believe isn't true."
I see hypocrisy as a fundamental human trait, something we all just do without thinking - like eating, breathing and liking TV that isn't good for us. We are all hypocrites. If someone says, "I can't believe in Christianity because all Christians are hypocrites", I feel it is fair game to say, "I can't believe in atheism because all atheists are hypocrites". For that matter, I can't believe in Islam, Buddhism, Rastafarianism, Wicca or Cthulhu for the same reason. Nor can I become a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Communist, Socialist or an anarcho-syndicalist. I don't want to listen to scientists, doctors, lawyers, psychologists, weather forecasters, antique dealers, auto mechanics or trash collectors. Hypocrites! They're all hypocrites!
We are all hypocrites. If that's your main reasoning against Christianity, you'd better find another arrow for your quiver, because that one's likely to fly around and hit you in the back.
And for all that I like Martin Luther's "Sin boldly", this isn't giving Christians a pass, either. We must all try and live as Christ-followers. However, we also know that we can only do so through grace, not our own efforts, and even so we are going to slip and fall - sometimes over and over again. Instead, the lesson I think Christians should take from these experiences is always "Judge not". Because the worst hypocrisy we are convicted of in the wide world is for judging others for something we then do ourselves. It is that hypocrisy that brings the most disgrace upon our message.
I also like the following passage from Neal Stephenson's "The Diamond Age":
"No one ever said that it was easy to hew to a strict code of conduct. Really, the difficulties involved - the missteps we make along the way - are what make it interesting. The internal, and eternal, struggle, between our base impulses and the rigorous demands of our own moral system is quintessentially human. It is how we conduct ourselves in that struggle that determines how we may in time be judged by a higher power."Of course, we do not conduct our struggle alone. God's Spirit is here to help us, and Christ forgives us when we come to Him with our failings. But the struggle, which is "internal, and eternal", can also be "interesting", a challenge. Not to make it into a contest that we can "win" - we can't, except that Christ already won it for us. But we can use it in our personal relationship with God as a way not to cower before Him trembling with some sin caused by a quirk in our nature, but instead, to ask Him, "Lord, this part of me is interesting - can you help me to understand it? Can you help me to figure out how to turn it around? Can you help me to make the impulses buried within it turn toward Your love and Your will?" And as your loving Father and friend, I think if you ask Him that, He just might answer.