The study also showed that people typically overestimate the size of whatever group they happen to be in. Those affiliated with the Catholic Church think on average 39% of Americans are Catholic when actually only 24% are, while those who have no religious affiliation believe that those like them constitute 35% of the population. As we have seen that number is actually 12%, meaning those in the group think it is almost three times the size it actually is.
Christians in our society occasionally have a tendency to fall prey to both of those factors. We travel in Christian circles and so it seems like there surely must be a lot of Christians. In addition we find comfort in numbers. Oddly, Jesus challenged us to see life and our place in this world quite differently. In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Similarly in Matthew 22:14 at the end of the parable about a king inviting people to a wedding feast he said, “Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Jesus tells us that those who follow him will be in the minority. They will be the few, not the many. We are called to have a faith that is strong, not dependent on the opinions of others, for in a world so influenced by “the prince of the power of the air” opinions are inevitably going to be shaped in opposition to God’s thoughts. We must be prepared to be a small minority. Unfortunately throughout human history being a small minority nearly always means being subject to persecution, ridicule and ostracism. Are we ready to stand firm in the faith, even when most of the world around us disagrees with us, even opposes us? It helps me to remember that Jesus showed the way. He was far from being in the majority. In the end he had to stand alone for the truth against violent and vociferous opposition. Should I be surprised if those who follow him also must stand against the tide in this world? It doesn’t matter what other people think. The only thing that matters is the truth, and Jesus said, “I am the truth.”