To give the benefit of the doubt to religious leaders, they don’t set out to offend their listeners (if they’re in their right minds), especially not to the point of driving them away from whatever religious faith they identify with. Yes, they’ll be offended from time to time, some more easily than others, but that should never be because of malice on the part of a leader.
The nature of the pure unadulterated truth (or whatever a leader happens to be teaching at any given time) is such that not everyone is going to take it well, and the ones that give religious instruction are just as human as the ones that sit under it. They have the same capability of doing something wrong in a given situation, intentionally or not. They’re not angels.
Seek out the good in others
It’s important to remember if you’re to seek out the good in others, and not get the idea that their mistakes prove them to be malicious or are an accurate representation of their overall character.
But the reasons why people renounce a particular faith ought to make perfect sense to anyone that looks at them from the perspective of valuing individual freedom.
Atheists across Nation
There’s been a rise in the percentage of people across the nation that call themselves atheists, whose background many times is from a mainstream Christian denomination. They may believe that they had a valid reason to turn from it, such as the well-known sex scandals in the Catholic church (but the reality is that you can find sex scandals in every segment of society, and media outlets being as biased as they are like to pick and choose which ones to emphasize) or the teachings they’ve heard on matters pertaining to one’s personal life.
On a political spectrum, they often identify themselves as liberal, and this flies in the face of what you’ll hear in traditionally-minded churches on the morality of, e.g., abortion or being a practicing homosexual. Maybe these churches deserve some credit for trying to see things God’s way on everything if they’re serious about having a solid foundation for their doctrine.
Why Some religious leaders are perhaps more welcoming to the not-so-religious?
But as you’ll see from material like this, some religious leaders are perhaps more welcoming to the not-so-religious and aren’t convinced that “liberal Christian” has to be a contradiction in terms (but as many will point out, the New Testament doesn’t even place a lot of emphasis on the word “Christian” and seems to largely prefer using another identity for those that follow Jesus, like “saints”), or that the Bible is too obvious to justify being open-minded on certain controversial subjects. Reaching a consensus on them even within the body of Christ or any other religious body, if there needs to be one, seems impossible.
So if religious leaders accept doctrinal differences as the result of each person trying to find the truth on an individual level, rather than as a sign of a wish to rebel against God or the authority that He puts in place, it doesn’t mean they can’t still teach the truth as they feel led to do it. They don’t need to make their teaching more palatable at the expense of the truth.
But the fact that they make mistakes, too, is one that just proves the point of James 3:1-12—that they’re held to a higher standard because of their position, and are wrongly and too easily expected to be better than everyone else or even perfect. This expectation only sets up their listeners to either be devastated by a mistake or pounce on the first opportunity to make an accusation against them based on it.