Christians who participate in reality TV programs give Christianity a bad name. There are two types of reality TV Christians. First is the Christian who by getting on TV turns into a televangelist. Their goal is to convert everyone on the show and preach the gospel to the world while eating horned tomato worms. They carry their Bible with them everywhere, seemingly pray every 15 minutes, and are so naive about how the world works they quickly get eliminated. The second are the Christians who believe their faith gives them a higher calling to win. They believe that being there is God’s leading. They politic, manipulate, connive, and generally play the game as deceitfully as any other person but are okay with their hypocrisy because “It’s God’s Will”.
Now I understand that TV producers cast extreme personalities. Otherwise we wouldn’t watch. Infighting, plotting, backstabbing, and those people you really hate to see win just make for good television. But the people who go on television claiming to be Christian really do more harm to Christianity than good.
I don’t think I’ll ever hear someone say “I became a Christian because I was so inspired by the way in Coach played Survivor. He had so much joy, peace, and integrity in everything he did”. It seems like it’s more of a stereotype that must be present to make good television than it is a witness anymore. We need a successful businessman, an older female, a nerd, a girl with a great body, a black person, and an annoying Christian.
When 60-76% of the US population claims to be Christian, there’s no fooling anyone when a “Christian” gets on television and behaves poorly (American Religious Identification Survey 2008″). All it does is make the rest of us respond by saying “That’s not what being a Christian is really like”. Whether it’s Coach and Brandon on Survivor or Dog the Bounty Hunter, Christians on television wind up creating more doubters and skeptics than converts. They make me want to disassociate myself with Christianity. With sex scandals, end of the world predictions, and fundamental extremism Christianity doesn’t need individuals on television offering prayers of thanksgiving after they have successfully defeated their opponent.
If Jesus played on a reality TV program, he’d quickly get voted out. He would be a humble servant to all, living peacefully. He would point out where individuals are harming others and call others to speak truthfully with each other. He’d be despised much the same way he was while he was on earth. For not living his life for popularity, but for the good of others.