How well do Christians live by their faith?

Students share their views of Christian values in society

Kara Yoon, Business Manager

As secularism increases in the western world, Pew Research has reported that religious influence is shrinking in people’s daily lives. According to their research, the percentage of people identifying as atheist/agnostic increased by 9% since 2009. Bear Facts wondered: while religion and modern society coexist, do religious values stay present in the lives of practicing Christians?

Ever since I can remember, my Sunday plans have been predetermined for me. Growing up in a Christian household, I spent my life attending church and was surrounded by religion. Being born into a religion has a way of tunneling your vision. As a kid, I never questioned the belief system I was raised under, but as I got older and was exposed to more of the world, I began to view Christianity through a more critical lens. When I saw how people — both preachers and followers — misused a faith I had been told centered around love, I developed distrust and apprehension towards the praxis of religion.

The spectrum of people who identify as Christian is wide, I’ve seen that Christianity has the capacity to create communities and forces of good, but can also be weaponized by those who use it to disparage others. I personally believe that one of the most important parts of being Christian, or part of any organized religion, is to think critically about the impact that your faith has on others. As Christianity is the largest demographic of religious affiliation in Illinois and our school, the intent of this article is to be an exploration of students’ perspective on how different people or denominations may reflect so-called ‘Christian values’ in different ways. 


JULIE LEE, junior

Presbyterian Christian


Do you think Christians live by their values?

No, and I say this because even I myself find it hard, it’s natural that everyone’s sins. That’s a normal thing, it’s only right that people make mistakes in their lives. Even if people try to live out these values, it’s hard to follow them 24/7. Especially nowadays in society, I would say that people are influenced by others and their peers so I definitely think that not everybody strictly lives up to these types of ideals. 


Are there ‘right or wrong’ ways to be Christian?

It really depends on how you interpret the Bible, I feel like your beliefs don’t have to be fixed. I personally don’t know what’s right, but by ‘wrong’, I kind of think of using it to single others out. I’m split between two answers because there are some people who are “so-called Christians,” and I can’t judge them if they claim to be Christian or blame them for being really proud of their religion, but they could also use religion to judge others who believe in other religions. I think that people may use Christianity in the wrong way in inflicting harm on others. There’s no reason to judge others for not fitting societal standards because that’s not what God wants.


Does being Christian makes someone a better or worse person?

I’ve been taught I should try to be like God and Jesus, so I try to be selfless like them. I try to also be forgiving and not judgmental of others, because we’re all created the same and all created equally. Just because you’re not Christian doesn’t mean you’re not these things and you’re a bad person, you can still be selfless, you can still be forgiving, you can still be all these types of things even without Christianity, it’s just all these are traits that fall into Christianity.



Non-denominational Christian


Do you think that becoming Christian has affected your own values?

Before I started following Christianity, I think I wasn’t a nice person. Christianity has taught me to respect others again. It’s changed my life; genuinely, it has tremendously changed my life. I mean, I come from a Jewish home and my mom, she’s Jewish. She’s never even thought about going to church but we started going, and I think it really has made both of us better people. I was bat mitzvahed when I was 12 and went to Sunday school when I was younger, but never really felt a connection with God. I think a lot of people misconstrue religion for being religious. A big reason why I decided to follow in the Christian footsteps was because I never felt a connection so heavily until I came to church for the first time.


Have you ever noticed people utilizing your faith in ways that you feel like don’t reflect Christian values?

Absolutely. For a lot of Christians, it’s hard because it feels like there’s a ‘stuck’ way where you have to be perfect. If you have one flaw you automatically hear, ‘Oh, you’re not a Christian anymore.’ I think relationships with other people and your relationship with God are more important than the actual religion itself. At the end of the day, we all sin and that’s just something we have to deal with for the rest of our lives.


Do you notice that people who are not Christian have positive or negative experiences with Christianity?

I think there’s a stereotype where Christians push their religion onto people, and I think in some instances, yes, they do that, but I think they’re just really eager to share the gospel. I think people can have negative impacts by Jehovah’s Witnesses or by missionaries if they feel uncomfortable because they can be pretty pushy, or if they hear about stereotypical stuff in the Catholic Church. I think that it can build a negative response in their mind and ruin their idea of what Christianity is.





Do you think that Christians live by their values?

Most Christians I know are kind, but some in school have shown what they believe is against just who people are. I think some can be hypocritical, so when something benefits them, they don’t call it out, but if it’s not something that they live through, they call it out as sin.


Are there ways that you see Christians not embodying Christian values?

I think homophobia could get in the way of living by Christian values. […] I know people who’ve had Christians belittle them because of who they are and that experience has had a very strong negative impact on those people.


Does being Christian makes someone a better or worse person?

I’ve seen examples of it making someone a better person, but it’s not all of them. It’s more about the people who raised you. You can be raised to be a Christian, and be respectful and care for others, but it’s the people you live with that make you illustrate Christianity differently.



Roman-Catholic Christian


Does being Christian makes someone a better or worse person?

It depends on who taught you. If you’re taught love your neighbor, do nice things, it makes you a better person, but if you grow up with people saying like ‘oh, you should hate gay people,’ that’s obviously negative.


Have you had interactions with other Christians where your values weren’t reflected?

I haven’t met any of the crazy ones; but every group has extremists. I mean, [Christians are] a third of the population, you’re gonna have some bad people in there, being Christian isn’t what makes them bad. People pick and choose things to prove their own points that don’t even have to do with religion They put, ‘I believe in God’ at the end of a sentence to justify their views.


Are there ‘right or wrong’ ways to be Christian?

There’s a large amount of people that identify as Christian but don’t practice it in their everyday lives. I think you don’t have to follow all these rules as long as you’re being kind to people and loving your neighbor.