Selling Nice Cars to Flawed People

I am a compulsive reader. At breakfast I’ll read the backs of cereal boxes. I can’t not read a sign I pass, or even the warnings on the back of a car’s visor about le sac gonflable. That’s why I read the tag on the back of the new car:

SMITHSON’S MOTORS

NICE CARS FOR GOOD PEOPLE

In between was a fish symbol, just to make sure you got their message: hey, we’re Christians, and we want to sell to Christians because they’re good people.

Let’s slide past using religion as a tool to sell, much less sell cars, a profession that consistently is ranked at the bottom in terms of honesty. It’s the “…for good people” part that makes me grind my teeth so hard that I have to wipe enamel dust from my lips.

People aren’t simply good or bad, as if they pick an alignment off of a D&D table and never deviate from it. People are good or bad in the context of what’s going on, both in the world around them and inside their heads. Moreover, a person who’s a Christian is still a person. It’s not as if all of their flaws vanish, never to reappear. Even the ones who are trying their hardest to embody the best ideals of Christianity are going to slip up.

The idea that Christians are automatically good is poisonous. It flies in the face of everything we know about people, and is a yardstick that no one will measure up to, not always. It leaves no room for people to be human. It is an ideal that brooks no deviation, and grinds people flat. If you’re not a Christian, you’ll look at us Christians and say, huh, they say they’re good, but look at all the times when they aren’t. It doesn’t help that Christians have the bad habit of taking the already-flawed logical proposition and incorrectly reversing it, deciding that non-Christians can’t be good.

You want to sell nice cars to good people? Fine. Just don’t tie it to Christianity in an attempt to move more product.

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