An unsaved person's perspective of Christians
(James Smith, "The Book You Will Like!" 1859)
I do not believe that you Christians believe your own creed — for if you were persuaded that things really are as your Bibles teach, and that we poor lost people were really going to such a dreadful place as you say Hell is — then you would act more humanely toward us.
If you saw our houses on fire — you would run and help us to put the fire out; or if you saw us in danger of death — you would try to do something to save us. But you pretend to believe that we are going to Hell, and that Hell burns with fire and brimstone forever, and that once there we can never get out — and yet you talk to us about all sorts of things — but never say one word to us about saving our souls from this terrible doom!
So I have reasoned thus: either you Christians don't believe what you say — or else you must be the most hardened and unfeeling wretches in the universe! Now, as I don't believe that you are such cruel, hardened, and unfeeling people as this supposes — then I must conclude that, with all your talk — you Christians don't really believe what your Bibles teach!
For if you really believe what you say about sin, and Hell, and our danger — then you would act differently; and if you have a spark of kindness in your hearts — you would try to save us from such a dreadful doom. And, on the other hand, if you do not believe what you profess — then you Christians cannot be honest; and to say the least, there must be a great deal of hypocrisy among you.
Now, I honestly tell you that these are the things which have stumbled me more than anything, and until I can see you Christians act differently — I will not be persuaded to believe what your sort of folks say.