The Gospel is Not Clickbait

Exaggerating Chris Pratt's 'faith in God' comments doesn’t further the Gospel.

Last week, Facebook exploded with articles such as “What Chris Pratt Just Said About Christianity Has Him Blacklisted in Hollywood.”

When I first saw these, I was naturally curious. Wow. Chris Pratt, the star of a movie that made half a billion dollars in one weekend, has been blacklisted over what he said about Christianity? He must have just said something so extreme, so incredibly devout, that Hollywood would rather take a chance on another star than make billions.

So I clicked.

As it turns out, the quote was from an interview from longer than a year ago, in which Pratt described what he and his wife went through when their son was sick:

“It restored my faith in God, not that it needed to be restored, but it really redefined it,” the actor further said. “The baby was so beautiful to us, and I look back at the photos of him and it must have been jarring for other people to come in and see him, but to us he was so beautiful and perfect.” 

Cynical “Christian” clickbait sites are as bad as anything on the Internet. They troll the Internet and pop culture for things people are into, and then force a supposedly “Christian” perspective onto them just for clicks.

The Gospel is not a political party. The Gospel is not a Hollywood watchdog. The Gospel is not clickbait. 

The hero worship of Chris Pratt is just the most recent example. Everyone loves Chris Pratt. I’ve loved him as the lovable Andy Dwyer in Parks & Rec. Most people really caught onto his greatness in Guardians of the Galaxy, and now he’s the star of the monstrous hit Jurassic World.

People don’t just love him because he’s a good actor, they love him because he seems real. Or, at least, more real than anyone else in Hollywood. Everyone wants Pratt on their side.

And yes, Chris Pratt said that when his son was sick, he and his wife prayed a lot and drew closer to God. That’s great! I was happy to hear that. But then, a full year after he made those comments, these posts appeared on Facebook with titles claiming he had said something so scandalous, it might ruin his career.

In reality, all he said was that it restored his faith in God when his son was born premature and survived. He didn’t say the word “Christ,” declare a belief in Jesus, or discuss Christianity. And no one in Hollywood has said anything about blacklisting Pratt.

I do not want to take anything away from this amazing story of the healing of Pratt's child. And I desperately hope Pratt is a believer. Pratt is great, his wife is great. I’m sure his son is great. I’m not here to try to determine the salvation of someone I’ve never met.

But now we are left with the not-altogether-surprising fact that these supposedly Christian sites blatantly lied to us in order to get us to click on something. I don’t remember the apostle Paul tricking people into hearing his message. I don’t remember Peter walking up to the crowd at Pentecost and yelling “What Pilate just said about Jesus has Caesar ready to crucify him next!” in order to get people to listen.

If you take little statements out of context and then exploit them just so people listen to you, you are lying. Lying happens all the time on the Internet and in life. But the Scriptures command us not to lie. Exaggerating to get people click on a stupid BuzzFeed list isn’t necessarily damaging, but lying to attempt to convince people that a famous person is a Christian doesn’t further the Gospel. It furthers an “us against them” mentality where "Facebook Christians" can have more fodder to say “Yeah! Look at this guy you like, he’s on our side!”

Lying to attempt to convince people that a famous person is a Christian doesn’t further the Gospel. It furthers an “us against them” mentality.

You Might Also Like

Peter didn’t parade Paul around after his miracle conversion telling the non-believers how dumb they were. In fact, after Paul’s conversion, Paul was preaching so much that his opponents wanted to kill him, “So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him” (Acts 9:28-29). Note that it doesn’t say Paul and his supporters were “taunting” the Hellenists. They preached boldly in the name of Jesus.

Taunting, lying, exploiting and misrepresenting gets people to click, but doesn’t point people to the Gospel, it just points people to your website.

Taunting is not the Gospel. The Gospel is not a political party. The Gospel is not a Hollywood watchdog. The Gospel is not clickbait. 

This article was originally posted on scottbedgood.wordpress.com, and is used here with permission.

Top Comments

Josiah Shank

2

Josiah Shank commented…

Clickbait Christianity is a byproduct of a culture of Christians who read more blogs than Bibles. Why should I care if Pratt is a Christian. He gets my money to act. Why do Christians want celebrities to be the face of their beliefs? Jesus will never be cool even if Chris Pratt, Tim Tebow and whoever else like him. Make the Bible as hipster as you want but it is full of hard truths. That's why so few read it.

Greg T Carpenter

3

Greg T Carpenter commented…

Ironic that In the Most Popular article list under this article is: Denzel Washington to College Grads: ‘Put God First in Everything You Do’

18 Comments

John Backman

13

John Backman commented…

Maybe this is too obvious even to write, but I never fail to be amazed at how often the Bible condemns lying. If we judged the severity of sin purely based on mentions in the Scriptures (I know, we don't), lying and deceit would be in the top three, easily. So it's a valuable service to call out a lie for what it is. Good on you, Scott Bedgood.

ronda

9

ronda commented…

I noticed that qpolitical likes to take simple little articles and then put the "clickbait" headlines on them. I find the headlines deceptive (dishonest), because the articles never reflect the headlines. The Chris Pratt article never talks about Pratt being blacklisted in Hollywood nor ever quotes any Hollywood liberal who is upset with Chris. I have also found that the articles themselves are from other sources with qpolitical's headlines the only contribution qpolitical makes to the story.

While I do like to read about the faith stories of celebrities, just as I like to read about the faith stories of anyone, I do not believe that faithful celebrities are being overtly persecuted for things that they have said. If they are, I believe that the persecution would be more subtle and difficult to document and prove. Hollywood entertainment organizations are pretty savvy about liability and discrimination issues.

It is very important for believers to not participate in deception by sharing articles with deceptive headlines. It is also important for believers to think about why they get excited about articles that claim persecution of Christians falsely.

Thanks.

Randy Tercero

9

Randy Tercero commented…

Great great article...thank you for sharing Mr Bedgood, i just came across Relevant Mag on facebook and really like what I see. i will get a subscription here soon. God Bless my friend.

Nicholas Jabbour

1

Nicholas Jabbour commented…

I can see it now...

"10 commandants God expects you to follow: Number 6 will shock you!"

"Pharisees hate him! This carpenter found a way to save everyone using this one simple trick!"

ayeshaye

13

ayeshaye commented…

t's really awesome article. Thanks for sharing of your valuable ideas baju batik wanita

Please log in or register to comment

Log In