Be Careful when you see the name “Christian”

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Not the title you would expect from a Christian blog.  Truth is, I don’t know many of you, and few of you know me.  However, after several months of a writing and a reading relationship we have come to find that we share similar values or goals.  Interestingly, I suspect many of you were initially attracted to this blog because it carried the name Christian.  It was about a year ago that I first heard about blogs.  My first blog to read was Free Money Finance (FMF).  I’ll tell you why I started reading FMF.  It was because the author was on the Crown Money Life radio show.  I trusted Crown, so I automatically trusted FMF.  My level of trust increased when I found out that he posts on Bible and money every Sunday.  After following the links on the Free Money Finance, I discovered both ChristianPF and Bible Money Matters.  I was specifically looking for some financially stimulating material from a “Biblical Perspective”.  So I went to sites with the words “Christian” and “Bible”.                              Photo by ema

The tendency of the Christian is to trust the term “Christian”

Apparently something happens when we see the words ‘Christian’ or ‘Bible’.  We automatically develop a bond.  Put negatively, we let our guard down because of our assumptions about the content.  Now, let me be clear that I do not believe sites that use the word Christian or Bible are bad (as I am now one such site). Instead, I want to point out that when we think that we have found ‘one of our own’ we are more susceptible to being scammed.  Several months ago I read something (cannot recall the source) where a Christian was sharing how he or she was taken advantage of by a “Christian” company.  The individual admitted that they did not do due diligence in researching the company because of the fact that they had ‘Christian’ in their name.

Unfortunately, marketers have recognized that Christians prefer to interact with Christian organizations.  As a result, I believe some companies add the name Christian or Bible to their product simply for marketing purposes.  They are taking advantage of the instantaneous trust relationship.

There is an online tool called SEO Tools (I will apologize that the page advertises a book with a less than Christian title).  The function of the tool is to allow an individual to find frequently searched internet terms.  An individual can enter a word and then the page produces strands of words associated with the key word that people most frequently search.  Doing some unrelated work, I typed the word “debt”.  I was surprised to see the 11th on the list was “Christian debt consolidation”.  While not the most scientific research in history, it reveals that when Christian people have debt issues they specifically look for “Christian” services.  The more vulnerable we are or more intimidated by a process, the more likely we are to veer towards a Christian organization.

Am I suggesting that Christians avoid “Christian” financial or advisory services? Absolutely not.  I am simply encouraging you to remain equally as critical of any organization that you use for financial services.

Five Suggestions for Interactions with Christian Organizations

  1. Recognize your vulnerability and likelihood to trust blindly.
  2. Trust an organization for their value, character, and content – not because of a label.
  3. Ask direct questions. If they are insulted, they probably have something to hide.  What makes this company Christian?  Do they have a track record that proves the claim?
  4. Verify and validate. It is completely appropriate for you to check up on some of the company’s references.
  5. Don’t do anything with your money that you don’t understand, no matter how trustworthy or reputable the source.

By the way, yes, you can (and should) apply all those principles to Money Help For Christians.  Let me know if I pass the test.

Have you ever had any bad experiences with a “Christian” organization?  Do you feel yourself naturally drawn to “Christian” companies?  Any other suggestions?

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