Ten Cliches Christians Should Never Use

We Christians have a remarkable talent for sticking our feet in our mouths. When searching the words most commonly associated with “Christian,” the list ain’t pretty. I think part of this can be attributed to a handful of phrases that, if stricken from our vocabulary, might make us a little more tolerable. Yes, these things may mean something to you, but trust me, non-Christians don’t share your love for these tried-and-true cliches.

So in no particular order, here are ten phrases Christians should lose with a quickness:

  1. “Everything happens for a reason.” I’ve heard this said more times than I care to. I’m not sure where it came from either, but it’s definitely not in the Bible. The closest thing I can come up with is “To everything, there is a season,” but that’s not exactly the same. The fact is that faith, by definition, is not reasonable. If it could be empirically verified with facts or by using the scientific method, it wouldn’t be faith. It would be a theory. Also, consider how such a pithy phrase sounds to someone who was raped. Do you really mean to tell them there’s a reason that happened? Better to be quiet, listen and if appropriate, mourn alongside them. But don’t dismiss grief or tragedy with such a meaningless phrase.
  2. “If you died today, do you know where you’d spend the rest of eternity?” No, I don’t, and neither do you. So stop asking such a presumptuous question as this that implies you have some insider knowledge that the rest of us don’t. And seriously, if your faith is entirely founded upon the notion of eternal fire insurance, you’re not sharing testimony; you’re peddling propaganda.
  3. “He/she is in a better place.” This may or may not be true. Again, we have no real way of knowing. We may believe it, but to speak with such authority about something we don’t actually know is arrogant. Plus, focusing on the passing of a loved one minimizes the grief of the people they left behind.
  4. “Can I share a little bit about my faith with you?” Too often, Christians presume we have something everyone else needs, without even knowing them first. Ask someone about their story, but maybe not the second you meet them. Christian evangelism often is the equivalent of a randy young teenager trying to get in good with his new girlfriend. When your personal agenda is more important than the humanity of the person you’re talking to, most people can sense the opportunism from a mile a way.
  5. “You should come to church with me on Sunday.” It’s not that we should never invite people to church, but too much of the time, it’s the first thing we do when we encounter someone new. My wife, Amy, and I started a new church eight years ago, founded on the principle of “earning the right to invite.” Invest in people first. Listen to their stories. Learn their passions, their longings, and share the same about yourself. Then, after you’ve actually invested in each other, try suggesting something not related to church to help you connect on a spiritual level. If the person really gets to know you and wants to know more about why you live your life the way you do, they’ll make a point to find out. Then again, if you come off as just another opinionated, opportunistic Christian, why should they honor your predatory approach with a visit to the church that taught you how to act that way in the first place?
  6. “Have you asked Jesus into your heart?” As many times as I’ve heard this, I still don’t really know what it means. why my heart? Why not my liver or kidneys? This also makes Christianity sound like a purely emotional experience, rather than a lifelong practice that can never entirely be realized. But yeah, asking someone if they’re engaged in a lifelong discipline to orient their lives toward Christlike compassion, love and mercy doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it.
  7. “Do you accept Jesus as your personal lord and savior?” Again, this is not in the Bible. Anywhere. And for me, it goes against the whole Christlike notion of the suffering servant. People tried to elevate Jesus to the status of Lord, but he rejected it. So why do we keep trying? Plus, the whole idea of a lord is so antiquated, it has no real relevance to our lives today. Be more mindful of your words, and really mean what you say.
  8. “This could be the end of days.” This is one of my favorites. We Christians love to look for signs of the end of the world; we practically have an apocalyptic fetish. It’s like we can’t wait until everything comes to a smoldering halt so we can stand tall with that “I told you so” look on our faces, while the nonbelievers beg for mercy. Yeah, that sounds like an awesome religion you’ve got going there. Sign me up!
  9. “Jesus died for your sins.” I know, this is an all-time Christian favorite. But even if you buy into the concept of substitutionary atonement (the idea that God set Jesus up as a sacrifice to make good for all the bad stuff we’ve done), this is a abysmal way to introduce your faith to someone. I didn’t ask Jesus to die for me, and if I’m not a Christian, I really have no concept of how that could possibly be a good thing. he whole idea of being washed clean by an innocent man’s blood is enough to give any person nightmares, let alone lead them into a deeper conversation about what Christianity is about.
  10. “Will all our visitors please stand?” If someone finally is brave enough to walk through the doors of your church, the last thing they want is to be singled out. They probably don’t know the songs you’re singing or the prayers or responsive readings you’re reading. Depending on the translation of the Bible you use, the scripture may not make much sense, and they probably have no idea where the bathroom is. So why add to the discomfort by making them stand so everyone can stare at them? Also, calling someone a visitor already implies they are simply passing through, that they’re not a part of things. Instead of “visitor” or “guest,” try something less loaded like “newcomer.” Better yet, walk up to them, introduce yourself and learn their name.

For more, click the link below:
TEN MORE CLICHES CHRISTIANS SHOULD AVOID

For part three in this series, click here: Nine (Final) Christian Cliches to Avoid

Read Part Four here: Ten Antidotes to Christian Cliches

About Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt is the creator and editor of BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE and BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. He co-created and co-edits the “WTF: Where’s the Faith?” young adult series with Chalice Press, and he has a memoir on faith, family and parenting being published in early 2012 called PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.

  • http://thatsajennstory.com/ Jennwith2ns

    I’m on . . . a similar page to you with these, but I’ve gotta say that
    although I think “everything happens for a reason” and “he/she is in a
    better place,” while they come from some sort of Christianised Greek
    philosophy or such, are almost always said to me by people who AREN’T
    Christian–or who would, on a dating website profile for example,
    classify themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” Just saying. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/christiandpiatt Christian Piatt

      We’ll go with the idea that NO ONE should say those then :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=750657252 Judy Dunlea Stewart

    I agree with Jenn.  when my husband died 6 yrs ago, it was always the non Christians who said this to me.  I think it made them feel better as they did not have a clue as to what to say to me. 

    • http://twitter.com/KsImaginarium Karen Zimmerman

       When my 5yo grandson died last year..it was only the christians who said “He is in a better place and everything happens for a reason”. So full of shit.

      • http://nobleexperiments.blogspot.com/ NobleExperiments

        I stood next to a man at the funeral of his only son (12 years old who accidentally shot himself), and I thought he was going to lose his mind and punch someone at about the third rendition of “I’m sure God has a plan for this”.  

        I don’t know why people think this is supposed to be comforting.

    • Tim

      Well, everyone who said this when my mother died was a Christian. And I heard it a lot. “better place”, “called her home”, “with the angels”, “for a reason”–it is all the same blather by people who don’t know what to say and who are trying to be nice but dodging the biggest problem in Christianity–the problem of evil.

      • Blanche

        My dad’s statement about my mother’s horrible death from ovarian cancer was that she’d “gone to glory.” He got all misty eyed when he said that – I thought it was obscene.

  • Joe

    Sad to see another apostate working to undermine the simple truth of the gospel:  “Believe and be saved”, “No one comes to the Father except through me” – Christ

    • Derek

      I don’t think he is disagreeing with the theology as much as the way Christians present it to non-Christians.  Such statements, even if you believe them to be true, can come off as being pretty heavy-handed.  

    • Baby_Raptor

      Yup. He’s an apostate for daring to suggest that maybe trite lines aren’t the best way to convert people. 

      Try reading the article again with your “Must insult everyone to seem righteous” complex firmly in the closet. 

  • Gene2415

    Phrase #1 sums up the truths about the author.  He does not have a firm understanding about God or classical Christianity.  If he did there would be no room for the statement about Faith by definition is irrational.  He is accepting what the atheists have told him to think.  As a matter of fact the words that all things happen for a reason means that God made a plan and he is working it out in front of us.  These words are the most comforting words someone could hear if they have a proper understanding of God to begin with.  If you don’t believe this you are left with a god that is not all powerful and all knowing.  Have fun trying to make sense of your world with that god that is not worthy of your worship.  

    • Michael Mock

      So you’d suggest, instead, that He is all-powerful and all-knowing and therefore directly responsible for all the awful things that happen in the world? How is that comforting, exactly?

      • http://paulman.wordpress.com/ Paulman

        I wouldn’t describe it exactly as that, but I do believe that God at least allows all the evil in this universe to be perpetrated (and no more than what He allows). There’s a bit of a technical term that He “ordains” it – I think a decent definition of that is that He includes the evil moral choices of persons into His plan, for His purposes (even though those moral “agents”/persons are genuinely making those choices as an act of their will).

        Now, God allowing that gives NO comfort at all, unless you have some confidence or reason to believe that this God who allows this sort of evil (or even suffering) to exist and be carried out by people: 1) Knows what He’s doing and may have a good enough reason to let it happen that makes it MORE than worth it in the end; and/or 2) Is not an indifferent God, or a callous/unfeeling God, but is actually a good and kind God that cares deeply for you.

        There could be a lot to said about whether there’s enough reason to believe in #1 and/or #2, but I’ll just point out that Jesus could have spared Himself an unfathomable amount of suffering and avoided bearing the punishment of our sin if God simply chose to never allow any sin or evil in the world at all. So it would seem that God believes allowing sin is worth it, AND it would seem that God cares deeply for us, so I’m going to trust that He knows what He’s doing (even when I don’t) and that He will take good care of me (which He is able to guarantee because He has authority and is “in control” of all things).
        Sorry if this wasn’t written in the clearest fashion – I’m literally having trouble staying awake while forming my thoughts at this moment :P

        • UncleBenny

           “Now, God allowing that gives NO comfort at all, unless you have some
          confidence or reason to believe that this God who allows this sort of
          evil (or even suffering) to exist and be carried out by people: 1) Knows
          what He’s doing and may have a good enough reason to let it happen that
          makes it MORE than worth it in the end; and/or 2) Is not an indifferent
          God, or a callous/unfeeling God, but is actually a good and kind God
          that cares deeply for you.”

          Or perhaps there is no God, no SuperDaddy in the sky. Things simply are as they are. Good things happen, bad things happen, ambiguous things happen, and they happen to everyone, sometimes for no apparent reason. We are by turns happy, sad, hurt, confused. We deal with it and get on with life. Or not, in some cases. If it makes you feel better to believe that this is all part of some cosmic plan put together and carried out by some unseen eternal loving supernatural being, by all means go right ahead. Just don’t expect me to accept something that I find to be totally irrational just because you say so.

        • Blanche

          Paulman:

          I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all thesethings. – Isaiah 45:7

          Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? – Amos 3:6

          We all realize that Christians, in their obsessive quest to create a “god” that could be presented as “good”, created a “god o’ evil” to blame all the bad stuff on. But they should have been smart enough to jettison the Jewish scriptures that clarify that it ain’t so.

        • Blanche

          Paulman, in the book of Job, Job is tormented by God’s prosecuting attorney, WITH GOD’S EXPLICIT PERMISSION (because otherwise, it could do *nothing* to Job), and it is clarified that Job did *nothing wrong* to deserve all that trouble. And we’re supposed to think it’s a feel-good ending, because Job gets MORE children and PRETTIER daughters! What of Job’s children who were murdered by God, just so God could win a bet with its butler? And the whole idea that having PRETTIER daughters will make up for the children who were murdered is unthinkably callous.

    • Cynthia Beard

      Those words (“Everything happens for a reason”) are generally *not* comforting to parents who have lost a child or whose child is dealing with a devastating illness such as cancer. It leaves them feeling as if they have done something wrong and that God doesn’t care about the suffering of children, especially when they look around and see their friends’ children living healthy, mostly trouble-free lives. Your comment makes it sound like God is a puppet master and that we are somehow there for His entertainment rather than as beloved children whom he deeply cares for. Even among those who are incredibly devoted Christians, watching a child suffer really calls that cliché into question. I pray for your sake that you never go through that experience, but please don’t insult those who are coping with the death of a child by claiming that they don’t “have a proper understanding of God” simply because they don’t share your puppet master worldview. 

  • BobbyJoe

    This was obviously written by an atheist or someone who knows little or nothing about Christianity.  It amazes me how there are so many so called “experts” giving Christians advice when they themselves know little or nothing about the subject.   This post is insultingly ignorant.

    • Jdryan

       I’m always amazed at the fact that us atheists seem to know more about Christianity than a lot of Christians.

    • Kodie

      You’re insultingly ignorant. Do you know how these clichés sound to other people? Are you a kind person or an inconsiderate person? Are you trying to drive people away with your anti-social remarks or be a friend to them? Saying “everything happens for a reason” or “god has a plan for you” – without the ability to demonstrate it – is just saying a bunch of thoughtless, and heartless, stuff no one in pain ever needs to hear. Anyone who says that is just satisfied for having said it, and if you want to defend your intention of comforting someone, you ought to know that it doesn’t come across as comforting. That’s why you shouldn’t say it, not because you don’t believe it.

      Also, plenty of atheists know tons about Christianity. I think the author of this article was trying to give tips on how to be a tactful Christian, because obviously, too many of you lean on saying stupid things at the wrong time, and you may not be aware of how it comes across. If the effect you’re after is comfort, I think you’d want to know how that’s perceived. Part of being a gentle, kind, sociable person. Socially, I’ve seen Christians pretty much get a pass on anything they say, no one would bring this up to you at the time, so I think the author of this article is taking you and the rest of them aside at a neutral time to give you big hint. If you want to continue to say assy things, just remember how righteous you like to feel to express yourself in someone else’s time of need or disease just the way you want to and not give a care for them or how they feel.

      • Lila

        About

        “If the effect you’re after is comfort”,

        maybe the effect BobbyJoe is after is not comfort but geek pride (“don’t care what anyone else thinks!!!”)?  

  • http://www.christianfaith-builders.com/ Natashawallace117

    If we the Christians were comepletly and totally focused on how to model the type of love that was modeled to us from Jesus Christ, we would be speading the gospel the way that it was designed to be spread. No need for guilting people into believing it or anything else. Guiding someone to the Truth is as simple as guiding them to the Word of God. No more no less. Focus on sharing His amazing love through the way you live your life, and be ready to confess with your mouth why you live the way you do. Find more on Gods Love and insturuction at http://www.christianfaith-builders.com

    • Blanche

      Ntashawallace117, it is my experience that Christians are the most hateful, the most racist, the most exclusivist, the most judgmental, and the most offensive group I’ve ever met. And, FYI, I was raised Christian, within a Christian family, coming from a long line of missionaries. You don’t get to choose your family. The Christians I have met throughout my life have demonstrated almost without exception that they are only interested in converting me, and that will never happen. So when they realize it’s a lost cause, I never hear from them again. They abruptly yank away the pretense of the friendship they feigned in an attempt to trick me into converting once they realize I’m not going to join their church or acceptjesusasmypersonalsavior. Disgusting, awful, uncaring, manipulative, deceitful, selfish, conscienceless, perfidious, predatory Christians who regard people as targets and tallies, not as human beings. THESE Christians are the ones destined for any “hell” that might exist (which of course doesn’t).

  • Halleath

    Christian Piatt not only mis-understands the Bible, he shows very little knowledge of Jesus Christ’s own Words. Too bad we have so many blind people (Like Christian Piatt) who try to lead the blind! If the blind lead the blind they will both fall in to the ditch of liberal unbelief, even if it is disguised in spiritual language. Christian Piatt, please read your Bible and stop making foolish politically correct nonsense!

    • Ram7268

      Just as much as you “believers” can so openly lash out at someone else’s different opinion, we feel the same way about your evangelism. Just as much as you so easily pin his opinions on ignorance, we pin yours on insanity. Please TRY to understand that not everyone believes in fictitious tales about magic and talking snakes.. Some of us think logically. 

    • Kodie

      Yeah, it’s “politically correct” to be socially aware and kind, gentle, and comforting. It’s not really Christianity unless you scare people and insult their intelligence! (In case you are as unable to detect sarcasm as you are unable to read other social cues, that was sarcasm).

    • Baby_Raptor

      Sorry. The second you equated “liberal” with “bad,” you lost all credibility. 

      Stop demonizing everyone who happens to disagree with you. Your god told you to love, not to polarize. 

  • Theophile

     #1  Romans  8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that  love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose…. All things working together for a reason(good)=Everything happens for a reason. 
     Really Christian, Um.. have you like, read the Bible through on you’re own? I mean #3 #5 & #10 are legitimate problems, but #2, #4, #6, #7, #8, #9, are lame cliche but have Biblical roots, kinda like #1….Jesus used some odd analogies too: “I Am that bread come down from heaven”..&..”My flesh is bread indeed, and my blood drink”….Was He advocating cannibalism? of course not.

    • Andrew Patton

      That wasn’t an analogy. He was adamantly insisting that the Eucharist, which He would soon institute, was nothing short of His Flesh and Blood. He was going to give them His very self as food and drink in order to grant them eternal life, and He told them beforehand so that when He did it they would believe.

      • Blanche

        Right, Andrew Patton. Isn’t it grotesque, primitive, and disgusting?

    • Blanche

      “Was He advocating cannibalism? of course not.”

      What? Can you READ John 6??

      “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.”

      Cliff’s Notes version: Jesus: EAT ME!!

      What’s truly astonishing about this is that Jesus seems surprised that his orthodox Jewish followers have a problem with this cannibalism!

      “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?”

      How could it NOT offend them??? The consumption of blood is absolutely prohibited for Jews!! Everybody knows this! Except Jesus O_O

      In the Gospel of John, Jesus isn’t Jewish any more. He speaks to Jews about “YOUR Law”, not “OUR Law,” for example. Yet another example of how the Gospels blatantly and significantly contradict each other.

  • Dh Apologist

    The person who wrote has no business writings anything. This is weak, lukewarm, watered down, compromised Christianity that put pleasing people before pleasing the Lord. Thank God He forgives us of our weaknesses. Obviously we shouldn’t say ignorant things that make us seem not genuine. That’s y its so important to read the whole Bible & not parts of it & not twisting canonical truths.

    • How about Paul?

       Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.  To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.1st Corinthians 9:19-23

      • Blanche

        Christians routinely take Paul over Jesus. Especially when what is attributed to Paul is more convenient than what is attributed to Jesus. Shouldn’t there be some truth in advertising? Shouldn’t these people call themselves Paulists instead?

    • Baby_Raptor

      “Why” is a whole three letters long. If you’re too lazy to type that out, nobody is going to take you seriously.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003741933445 David Kayhoe Strausbaugh

    Wow! Is this attack the blogger day or something? I agree that #1 and #3 are often said by non-Christians but I also totally get what Christian is saying here.  Most of these statements are driven by guilt or are manipulative or are completely disingenuous.  Jesus did use provocative, odd, and challenging language at time but his purpose was not to make people feel guilty or excluded.  I have been asked the “Do you know where you will spend eternity?” question and even when I answered yes been pressed further b/c Mr. SuperChristian who was dragging a giant cross around the neighborhood and “evangelizing” was not convinced that I had “truly” accepted “Jesus into my heart as my personal lord and savior.” It was a very frustrating experience trying to prove my faith to another Christian.  After he asked me if I “really” knew what would happen when I died, I just walked away exasperated b/c I didn’t have a Christian ID card or a Jesus stamp on my heart to show him or anything.

    I think Christian’s point is that these cliches are often based on inherent assumptions about whomever they are spoken to and/or questionable theology.

  • Eric

    I’m certainly in favor of reducing the amount of Christianese that thoughtlessly falls from the lips of believers, but I am not in favor of glib definitions to aid in the reduction. Claiming that substitutionary atonement is “the idea that God set Jesus up as a sacrifice to make good for all the bad stuff we’ve done” shows a shallow understanding–if not a complete misunderstanding–of the concept. If Piatt wants to actually “make Christians more tolerable,” he might begin by getting a clearer knowledge of what Christianity is rather than revealing his own talent for sticking feet in mouths.

  • PeRhe

    The author shows poor theology on the following points:
    1 – “Everything happens for a reason” -  Act 17:23 The God who made the world and everything in it…gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him.
    2 – “If you died today, do you know where you’d spend the rest of eternity?” – Eph 1:13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.
    3 – “He/she is in a better place” – Luke 16:19-3
    6 – “Have you asked Jesus into your heart?” – Who has not said “I love you with all my heart?” Modern use of “heart” makes the meaning of this question, “Do you love Jesus?” obvious
    7 – “Do you accept Jesus as your personal lord and savior?” – Jesus did not refuse being their Lord and Saviour, He refused to be made their earthly king. Jesus repeatedly accepted worship from His followers, something no servant of God would do, indicating that He saw Himself as God. See also Php 2:5.
    9 – “Jesus died for your sins” – Doesn’t matter what you want or what you asked for, the reality of the matter is that without something being done for your sin you remain dead in them. John 3 speaks very eloquently and bluntly about this and throughout the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) the promise is consistently made of a Deliverer who would do for us what we could not do for ourselves: Deal with our sin and reconcile us to our Creator.

    However, I am in complete agreement on the following:
    4 – “Can I share a little bit about my fiath with you?” – Our faith should be speaking for itself .When it is presented verbally it should be done with love for the other person and Jesus.
    5 – “You should come to church with me on Sunday” – Salvation is through faith in Jesus, not attendance at church. Church helps but if we cannot introduce someone to Jesus ourselves it is a cop out to make our church to our work for us. Instead, ask the person if you and a competent friend can talk to them about Jesus.
    8 – “This could be the end of days” – Fear is an ineffective motivator. For anything.
    10 – “Will all our visitors please stand?” – Abolutely! No way should we be putting further pressure on people already in a new environment. Love the last statement the author makes.

    • perpetualhope

      Jesus repeatedly accepted worship from His followers, something no servant of God would do, indicating that He saw Himself as God.Jesus did not write the four Gospels, they are biographical so we cannot really say that what Jesus said was actually what Jesus meant/said and it is accepted that the Early Christians were writing about their convictions as to who Jesus is and was as they understood him. 

      • PeRhe

        We can be certain that Jesus said and did what the Bible records He said and did or we cannot be certain that the subject of any other biography said and did what they are recorded as saying and doing.

        A biography is an interpretation by the biographer of the life of the biographee. In order for the biography to have any significance for the reader the biographer must be trustworthy and provide, as much as is in their power, an accurate account of the biographee by creating an account of the biographee that conveys what they want to convey about the person without contradicting the life of the person.

        At some point we must be willing to trust what others have written, or we can trust nothing written by anyone but ourselves.

        • perpetualhope

          That is how they write biographies now not how they wrote them in those days. I do not think that Jesus would have said all the things in the Bible in fact the Jesus Seminar have only attributed two things to Jesus.

          For instance we cannot tell if Jesus actually quoted Psalm 22 on the cross or that was something the Gospel writer(s) inserted because the writer may not have been there as they probably were second generation based on the dates of the documents.

          For all intensive purposes the Gospels do what we can only hope is what they were meant to do and that is invite us to participate in God’s story. 

          • PeRhe

            If it comes down to choosing whether to believe the gospels or the Jesus Seminar I’m going to believe the gospels. At least the writers saw Jesus, heard what He said and believed it; can’t say the same for the seminar.

          • J.D. Ryan

             Actually, PeRhe, none of the authors of the gospels saw Jesus or heard what he said. That’s actually one of the first things they teach you as a theology student. They weren’t written by the apostles (who, in all likelihood, were illiterate, given their social status), and they were written decades after the events supposedly happened.

          • http://twitter.com/KsImaginarium Karen Zimmerman

             Someone with brains!! Thank you!

          • PeRhe

            Being a theology student myself, I must disagree with your comment that “none of the authors of the gospels saw Jesus or heard what he said” being “one of the first things they teach you as a theology student.” That they were eyewitnesses was never questioned in any theology school where I studied or any church I attended. Any thought that they were not eyewitnesses would have been recognized for what it was and discarded.

          • Mary

            What was included in the Bible had more to do with what was politically expedient for the early church than what was true. There were many, many gospels that didn’t make the final cut. And can you explain how illiterate fishermen were able to write the gospels?

          • Rich Rhodes

            Why do you think the writers of the Gospels were illiterate? Matthew was a tax collector, clearly not illiterate. Luke was an educated man, a doctor even (although med school then was a different deal — still you had to know Hippocrates). Jesus, the carpenter was handed the book of Isaiah to read, without hesitation. All these folks were serious Jews, no doubt bar mitzvahed, which entails reading, and not only reading but reading a foreign language (Hebrew, not just Aramaic. And the charge of the Sanhedron against Peter wasn’t that he was illiterate, but only that he was untrained in their schools.

          • UncleBenny

             What makes you think Matthew and Luke wrote the Gospels attributed to them? Almost all modern scholars believe these are merely attributions made during the early history of the church, with no foundation at all. The earliest, Mark, was written a full generation after Jesus’ death (assuming we even have that approximate date right), and the others quite a bit later.

          • PeRhe

            Even if such a gap existed (which most Bible scholars don’t believe) even greater gaps have not hindered our ability to understand Plato or Socrates or disbelieve that they existed.

          • r2d2

            Actually there are quite a few scholars who believe Socrates never existed. 

          • Blanche

            PeRhe, it doesn’t matter if Plato or Socrates existed. We have the writings attributed to them, and it is the content of those writings that matter, not who wrote them. It’s really no big deal to propose that what is attributed to Plato was written by some unknown, or that Socrates was just a literary character. No one really gets upset over that.

            However, without a human “jesus” at some point in history, Christianity completely collapses – yes, the whole notion of “salvation” and “atonement” from a human sacrifice becomes utterly nonsensical if “Jesus” was just a made-up character to present the Gospels’ unknown authors’ theological agenda.

            THAT is why Christians fight so hard against the idea that “Jesus” was only a literary character – without a real-live “jesus” to die for their sins, then their faith is, indeed, in vain (as explained in 1 Corinthians 15:14). But there’s no evidence any of it ever happened, and there’s no evidence that this supposedly most important personage in all of human existence ever really existed at all.

          • Blanche

            UncleBenny, if you’re still around, biblical scholar Hermann Detering makes a masterful case that the Synoptic Apocalypse better fits the time and circumstances of the Bar Kochba Revolt in 132-135 CE than anything in the 1st Century. Look up “The Synoptic Apocalypse and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels” – it’s a fascinating read. The reason so many Christians claim that Mark, the earliest of the Gospels, dates to 70 CE is because that’s the earliest the rest of us will let them get away with. See, modern scholars regard a “prophecy” that is too precise in its details as a “postdiction” – something written after the events in question but as if it had been written before. Also, “apocalyptic literature” was a specific genre that was popular from about the 2nd or 3rd Century BCE on into medieval times. There’s a decent article on Wikipedia about this genre – I’ll quote briefly:

            “The prophet stood in direct relations with his people; his prophecy was first spoken and afterwards written. The apocalyptic writer could obtain no hearing from his contemporaries, who held that, though God spoke in the past, “there was no more any prophet.” This pessimism limited and defined the form in which religious enthusiasm should manifest itself, and prescribed as a condition of successful effort the adoption of pseudonymous authorship. The apocalyptic writer, therefore, professedly addressed his book to future generations. Generally directions as to the hiding and sealing of the book were given in the text in order to explain its publication so long after the date of its professed period. There was a sense in which such books were not wholly pseudonymous. Their writers were students of ancient prophecy and apocalyptical tradition, and though they might recast and reinterpret them, they could not regard them as their own inventions.”

            Writing as if you were someone famous was actually a skill taught in the schools of the first few centuries; that’s why there are so many psuedo-(insert famous apostle name here) texts. Paul was originally credited with having written more than half the books of the New Testament (interesting, considering he never met any living, human “jesus”), but now only 7 books are considered of “genuine” Pauline authorship, and this number is likely to shrink.

          • Blanche Quizno

            Rich Rhodes, why should we accept that any of these figures actually existed? None of them left a footprint on any historical sources, outside of the sales materials for the religion that seeks to profit off them, of course.

          • Tim

            Er, when did John live again? What was he eyewitness to?

          • Blanche Quizno

            If you were really a theology student at seminary, you would have learned pretty darn quick that none of the gospels was written by the names attached to them. Mark, the earliest, was written by a non-eye-witness, and then Matthew and Luke used Mark in developing their own material. Why would they use text from a non-eye-witness? Furthermore, these texts have been sliced and diced and added to and deleted from by Christian editors for hundreds of years, to make them conform to developing church doctrines. The earliest extant copies (they’re ALL copies, no originals exist) are markedly different from modern Bibles. You make the most ignorant and uneducated assumptions – all faith-based, with no basis in any sort of historical criticism, history, linguistics, or advanced study of any kind. Clearly, you are no scholar.

          • Peter Rhebergen

            I hate to disappoint you, Blanche, but the seminary that I attended actually encouraged us to believe that not only were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John eyewitnesses to Jesus but that they were also the authors of the gospels that bear their names. But regardless of whether or not they were eyewitnesses or authors, the truth of the Gospel message is no more disturbed by who saw or wrote of Jesus than the truth of any other ancient occurrence is disturbed by its being told to us by people separated from it by many years. Using your argument, all that we know of Socrates must be cast into doubt since it did not come directly from him and in some cases came to us through individuals lifetimes removed from him. I can as easily doubt his eyewitnesses as you can doubt Jesus’ eyewitnesses; perhaps even more so.
            As to my being a scholar (or not), I have to agree with you that I am not a scholar; I haven’t darkened the door of a school in decades. But I am a student and I have been studying arguments for and against my faith for all of my life. Despite my occasional desire to just chuck it all away, I continually unable to escape the conclusion that the Gospel of Christ is true. Perhaps you will disagree with me but all I can say is that everything that I have experienced in my life confirms the truth of the Bible. You will have to have a far better argument than what you have presented here and elsewhere to convince me otherwise.
            Regards!

          • Blanche

            Peter Rhebergen, you should ask for a refund. You received an extremely substandard seminary education. Your antiquated understanding shows how out of date your views and probably your education are; you should be embarrassed. Go ahead, believe whatever you like, but remember – you should not expect your opinions to convince others. Be content with them for yourself, but you shouldn’t expect anyone else to be content with your opinions on the basis of your reports about your experience. Everybody should require their own – that’s the sensible approach. I don’t care how much you enjoy chocolate ice cream; if I have never tasted it for myself, I can’t say whether I like it or not. But enjoy it all you want! Go nuts!!

          • UncleBenny

             Actually, we have no idea what words Jesus might or might not have used. Setting aside the valid questions about whether the Gospel writers were really eyewitnesses, and the different slants of each Gospel based on the target audience, there is a slight language problem. We are reading in English translation (or whatever our native language happens to be) something that was written in Greek, while Jesus almost certainly would have spoken Aramaic.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HXASWW3LESTVYV27FPKCBQCJME KenF

           The gospels report different versions of the same occurrences, with differing writers offering differing versions of the words of Jesus. They can not ALL be correct.

          • PeRhe

            As perpetualhope has said elsewhere, biographies were not written in Jesus’ day as they are today. Today, we expect biographies to be a fact filled chronological presentation of a person’s life; though even today, in the case of men such as Churchill or Hitler, heroic or evil characteristics tend to be emphasized over others. In Jesus day, a biographer could do this to the extreme, rearranging events to serve a theme. The events recorded were understood to have occurred but maybe not necessarily in the stated order, so that the author could emphasize a specific charactersitic of the person’s life. Events that one biographer would overlook could be central for another. The John goes so far as to state that his purpose in writing was so that we, reading of Christ, could believe in Him and be saved.

          • Baby_Raptor

            If a writer is writing with a personal agenda, then it’s not a very good idea to take what they say at face value. 

            You admit yourself that the writers could rearrange things and emphasize characteristics…What makes you believe that they wouldn’t stretch the truth or just make things up?

          • Blanche

            PeRhe, let’s take just a single example – the Gospel of Matthew crucifixion tale. The unknown author of Matthew tells us that “graves opened up” and the dead “arose and went into town.” Surely this event, if it ever happened, would have been written down in at least one of the texts that are still extant from that time and place! That would have been the story of the century! Imagine – a man who died rises from his grave and comes home, to find his wife (widow) in the arms of a new husband! This is tabloid fodder at its best.

            But interestingly enough, no one ever heard of this. Even the other Christian scriptures show no knowledge of it! Doesn’t that strike you as bizarre?

            And if the goal of a text is to convince you of something, that makes it advertising, propaganda, even. Not biography.

            Look, we all know you like believing in your imaginary Jesus. Your faith is based entirely on emotionalism – on how you feeeeel. No Christian ever became a Christian because s/he conducted some intensive research into 1st and 2nd Century culture and texts and determined that this “Jesus” person clearly existed. He made no impression on anyone during the 1st Century. The only texts that mention him are Christian scriptures, written by and for Christians. That’s like saying that the Pillsbury Doughboy is a real entity because Pillsbury has put out all these images and TV ads and print ads that show the Doughboy’s personality, comments, and activities. There is no Jesus. Jesus does not exist in any way that anything that is real exists. Jesus is a figment of your imagination, a symbol for your hopes and dreams, perhaps embodying in your mind your own best qualities idealized, and who has been presented to you as a token that can enable you to feel less fearful about the unknown. That’s all fine. But don’t expect the rest of us to think this ridiculous scenario is “real” in any objective sense. It should be good enough for you that it’s “real” to you.

        • Blanche

          “We can be certain that Jesus said and did what the Bible records ”

          No, we cannot. Unless you simply mean in the sense that “We can read Grimms’ Fairy Tales” and be certain that Little Red Riding Hood said and did what Grimms records.

          The Gospels are not biographical. They don’t even include the most basic biographical information – a description of their subject! The Gospels are theological documents, written by people who were not eye-witnesses and who either used others’ writing (Matthew and Luke are copied from Mark) or the Jewish scriptures to define what “Jesus” (which means “savior” – how convenient) supposedly said and did. In fact, some of the oldest extant copies of the Gospels (no originals remain, only copies copied who knows how many times, all different from each other) refer to this character as “the jesus”. The Gospels were edited, deleted from, and added to over time; the so-called “Great Commission” was a later addition by editor(s) unknown.

          We have no idea who wrote the Gospels; the names were assigned in the late 2nd Century by Irenaeus, if memory serves, and even that information comes from the unreliable Catholic Church mythology/hagiography. The Gospels contradict each other on basic details and events. The Gospels get simple facts of Jewish culture and even basic geography wrong. And, finally, the Gospels are polemics, written to make a theological point and refute theological opponents. It’s like taking one political party’s ads during an election season and saying “This is an accurate summary of the issues and positions.”

          There is trust, and then there is gullibility and credulousness. Some people don’t understand the difference.

          • PeRhe

            Blanche – This will be the last of your replies that I respond to today, too much to do to get ready for Christmas and we have an ice-storm coming this way so I’ve got to get moving. You mentioned elsewhere that my education had been wasted and I should ask for a refund. Cute :) From your argument above, it looks to me that you are more defending your position than weakening mine. Do you think that I have studied the Bible from only a Christian point of view? Do you think that I would casually accept one teaching over another in a matter of such high importance? I have always been a Christian, that is true. But I have not always been confident of what I believe and have often tried to debunk it (as you seem to have been able to do); and I don’t mean the casual, let’s-take-a-quick-look-at-the-other-side kind of debunking either. I have done this often, because the answer to the question determines how I live today and what I can hope for tomorrow and I want to be sure that I am living and hoping for the right things. So yes, I have been able to dispense with the trappings of my faith to the point where I could see that (for example) scientific humanism was a rational alternative. But the more I looked at it the more it fell apart intellectually. The same for alternate religions. I have tried to see truth in each one, in each competitor to Christianity and in every case I return to Christianity. Not because it is comfortable (although it is comforting) and not because of the hoped for reward (though that is AWESOME!) but because it is the only teaching that makes sense.

          • PeRhe

            I hit “Reply” by accident, oops.
            To finish – My mind may not have been as “open” in these evaluations as you would have wished it to be, it was, however, open enough that I could hold these competitive faiths as though it were my own. And let them go as soon as I realized that I could not live in this world and be consistent to that faith. I am not a Christian blindly, I never have been, I never will be. I have drunk the competitor’s juice and it left a horrid taste in my mouth. Everything I have learned teaches me that Christianity is the only faith that makes sense.
            I wish you and yours the very best of this Christmas season.

    • Oronomommy

      You are missing the whole point of the article…IT’S about a relationship FIRST! IF you are married(I will assume for my argument) did you just bash your spouse over the head and then she(again assuming you are male) became your personal property…or was there some wooooing….some courting…some communication. To many times  people do…JUST what the Cliches say…THEN we Christians are wondering “WHY didn’t they accept Christ”? THEN ole calvin’s head gets in the way…and we say GEE God just doesn’t want them…YOU know Jesus became personnel with His own. He never went out running after someone  He did was He set out to do.

    • Natalie

       Matthew 6:5-85 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

    • BigCountry602

      If Jesus really existed he was a fucking paranoid schizophrenic. Save your superstitious fairy tales of an invisible magic man for the other sheeple who believe that shit. 

      • PeRhe

        If you’re trying to convince me that I’m wrong to believe in God then you’ll need a better argument; one that refutes my life experience. Anger and swearing aren’t going to do it.

        • Runningbeard

          Just out of curiosity, what life experiences have convinced you that that God exists, and, that those experiences cannot be reasonably and rationally explained without divine intervention?

          • PeRhe

            OK, here goes: The occasions where I should have died but didn’t. The countless blessings I continue to enjoy. The many times I have experienced God empowering me to do things I could not (and would not) have done on my own. The foundational joy I have inside of me; knowing that I have nothing to fear. The astounding, incredible beauty of the world around us.
             
            FYI – I am not a “blind-leap-of-faith” Christian but am continually evaluating Christianity against any belief system I can get my hands on (even Humanism and Evolution) to see where Christianity fails. There have never been sufficient grounds for rejecting God; Christianity is the only faith I have found that explains the world we live in.

          • Orljustin

            “The occasions where I should have died but didn’t.” – Please.  You could die every day.  Every minute.  Your heart could stop from too many chips.  You could get hit by a bus.  Don’t consider that you didn’t die during some big event evidence that a mysterious robed guy has his eye on you, out of everything in the entire universe.

            “The countless blessings I continue to enjoy.” – Nothing wrong with having a good life.

            “The many times I have experienced God empowering me to do things I could not (and would not) have done on my own.” – Try giving yourself some credit.  If you go to the grave believing yourself weak except for some divine intervention, then you’ll lose out on a lifetime of confidence and self inspiration.

            “I have nothing to fear.” – See above bit about getting hit by a bus.  Unless this one is based on your belief that you’re set for eternity in the afterlife.  Which is something you have no clue about until you die.

            “The astounding, incredible beauty of the world around us.” – The world could have developed an infinite number of other ways, and whatever would be living on it would likely find it astounding and beautiful.  For example, wouldn’t floating mountains and glow in the dark flora be astounding and incredible?

            Science explains the world we live in, not a belief system based on two people taking dietary advice from a snake.

          • PeRhe

            Nothing mysterious (or robed) about God, He really has saved my life. I give myself plenty of credit but also know the limits of what I am able to do – when I surpass those limits I thank God. I am “set for eternity in the afterlife.” Part of my joy in this life is my anticipation of the next. As for the different ways the world could have developed, it has been made the way it is for a reason and, from my perspective, accomplishes that reason rather well. Science can explain parts of the world we live in but it can only go so far; it is unable to explain many things,  such as love, fear or even your antagonism toward my faith.

          • Jay

            I’m curious about what you think of people who have experienced similar things to you – live good lives, have gone through near-death experiences, etc. – but attribute them to different gods. Or don’t believe in a god at all. Why does this stuff happen to them too?

          • PeRhe

            Acts 17:23 The God who made the world and everything in it…gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him.

          • Orljustin

             “He really has saved my life.” – How did he save your life?  Did he pick you up from in front of an out of control bus?  How can you definitely attribute this to “him”?

            ” I give myself plenty of credit but also
            know the limits of what I am able to do – when I surpass those limits I
            thank God.”

            So, you know your limits, but then go ahead and do things outside them anyways?  What does that have to do with a deity?

          • PeRhe

            Are you really wanting to know or just throwing punches? I’ve experienced what I say I have and that’s all I can say about it. I can’t change what happend and every time I try to change my mind about it, I keep coming back to God. If you take issue with my faith I suggest you stop attacking it; I’ve been far harder on it than you will ever be and have not seen cause to change.

          • Orljustin

             Ok, so you throw out these miraculous things, but don’t actually want to back them up with what happened.  Got it.

          • PeRhe

            If you doubt me when I say that that they happened there’s not much incentive to provide further detail. In your own style: Doubts my word. Got it.

          • Orljustin

             Sure, that’s the easy way out.  “Ooooh, god helped me!  But I’m not telling you the details. ” You’ll convert a lot that way.

          • PeRhe

            Responding to your last comment on my taking the “easy way out.” If you want to encourage greater depth of intercourse perhaps your first response to claims such as mine should not be one of ridicule. If you immediately belittle my initial statements, why should I conclude that you will believe subsequent claims? You want discussion? Then have the courtesy to respect my beliefs even if you do not share them.

          • Kodie

             If it’s any consolation, I can predict I would not believe any of your subsequent claims. People are not trying to ridicule you so much as what passes for evidence in your mind.

          • PeRhe

            I woudn’t be likely to agree with your evidence either; but I would at least respect that you thought was worth believing.

          • Kodie

            I didn’t make any absurd claims though. 

          • PeRhe

            Kodie – Neither did I.

          • Kodie

            You can’t use the claim “God saved my life” to win an argument without providing what you call evidence when challenged to explain how you know that.

          • PeRhe

            Kodie – Re your comment on winning an argument. I was not trying to win an argument with that comment but respond to an earlier request for information. Hence the generalities.

          • Kodie

             

            If you’re trying to convince me that I’m wrong to believe in God then
            you’ll need a better argument; one that refutes my life experience.

            So it’s a good thing we have no idea what your life experience is. Very convenient for winning an argument is not supporting your absurd claim:

            I am “set for eternity in the afterlife.”

            I can’t prove that isn’t true because I didn’t make the claim. You made the claim, you have to support it with evidence or admit you don’t have any. Do you understand why someone can’t refute your absurd claim without knowing how you support it?

            As it is, that’s only one of the many ridiculous things (in this thread) that you’ve asserted without evidence. If you don’t like being challenged, then don’t make absurd claims you have no intention of supporting with whatever you consider “evidence”.

          • PeRhe

            OK Kodie, here are some of my “evidences” (which, by the way, you’ve already promised not to believe): 1 – Set for eternity – Jesus said whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. 2 – Saving my life – Of course, there’s the obvious one of salvation. But also: a) A rather serious car accident in which I was not even bruised.  b) A time when a falling 30′ ladder almost brained me as I walked across a lawn but was stopped just ahead of it. c) Construction accidents that didn’t even cut the skin. 3 – Evidence for God (as if the world were not enough): a) Friends and relatives who, as dying, saw Jesus coming for them. b) My own personal peace (and lack of a desire for revenge) in spite of some of the bad that has been done to me.

            Now, I would like to see your honest evaluation of these rather than simply discarding them because I refer to the Bible and mention other things that current wisdom says are unreasonable. Don’t simply write me off; but know that I have considererd my life and come to the only rational conclusion. Disagree with me if you wish, that won’t bother me much, but don’t just disregard what I say because you don’t believe it yourself.

          • Slade

            Kodie – I’ll have a run at your “evidence”.
            “Set for eternity” – do you (or other xians) understand that you cannot appeal to the bible to support your point?  You were asked for reasonable/rational evidence.  Pointing to the magic book is a circular argument.    It’s amazing how often xians blithely do this as if quoting a bible verse is the end of it.  Non-believers don’t accept the existence of deities, and it should go without saying that we don’t accept that the magic book is the inerrant word of god.
            “Saving my life” – have you thought your way through the other side of your examples here?  What about the busload of schoolkids who all die when their bus careens off of a mountainside?  Was god too busy?  Or was this all part of some grand plan?  (See cliches above).  Theodicy is probably the toughest problem for believers to try to rationalize.  I have yet to hear a good argument.
            “light at the end of the tunnel” argument – so a dying brain, likely suffering from hypoxia, consistently describe a tunnel-vision deathbed experience and that’s enough for you?  Really?  Wouldn’t it be more impressive if someone had a vision of god/jeebus as something other than a light-skinned hippie?

            I know I’m not going to convince you otherwise.  I’m just trying to show you why the reasons you give don’t hold any water for someone who demands objective evidence.  That seems to be a hurdle that an omnipresent deity can’t jump over.  But then again, that is the very definition of faith.  I don’t consider that a virtue – you do.

          • Kodie

             Slade – you are taking a run at PeRhe’s “evidence”, or are you taking your own shot at it in lieu of my late response?

          • Kodie

             I posted my response to this in a new post because of the narrow width here. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christianpiatt/2012/07/ten-cliches-christians-should-never-use/#comment-585627733

          • Baby_Raptor

            I can check off everything on that list, and I’m an Atheist. So what proof are you offering again?

          • Blanche Quizno

            PeRhe, what of all the Hindu, Buddhist, and atheist people who should have died but didn’t? What of THEIR countless blessings? What of their ability to push their own boundaries and accomplish what they might have feared they could not?

            I’m sorry, but you sound completely deluded. Don’t you realize that your rationale can be used by *ANYONE*, with faith or without?

            Tell us this – why is it that your “god” stopped intervening in the world in tangible, observable ways as soon as we developed recording devices? Take a look at Elijah and the priests of Baal (1 Kings 18:22-40), the silly tale of an impossible midday darkness and zombies leaving their graves to go hang out in town (Matthew 27:51-53), and Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). The old-timey Catholic saints could apparently routinely raise dead folks back to life – why was this “gift of the spirit” so arbitrarily and summarily withdrawn once we developed video cameras and medical technology?

            Why can YOU not do MORE “miracles” than Jesus did, per John 14:12? Move a mountain for us, Christian, as Jesus said you could if you had any faith at all (Matthew 21:21-22)! Or are you willing to cop to having *NO* faith? Remember that preacher in Africa who attempted the walk-on-water thing – and drowned because he apparently didn’t have enough “faith” (Matthew 14:31)? I’ll bet YOU won’t even TRY!! O YE OF LITTLE FAITH!

            Christianity fails. BIG TIME. 1) There is no statement of basic human rights to be found *anywhere* in the Bible. 2) As we see from Jesus’s parables, Jesus believed that only the powerful/owners/bosses got to have any rights, and they could do whatever they wanted to the hapless suckers stuck working for them. 3) The Bible and Jesus present monarchy as the ideal governmental system, but there remains only maybe ONE functional monarchy in the world, and it’s Muslim (Saudi Arabia).

            We’ve outgrown monarchies, and we’re outgrowing Christianity. For every 1,000 churches that start up, 4,000 close their doors forever. For society, that’s a very positive development – Christianity has been a poisonous blight upon human development, and one need only look at history to see it clearly.

            “The astounding, incredible beauty of the world around us.”

            Yet another Christian who clearly knows *nothing* of biology. Do yourself a favor and look up “parasites.” The nightmarish reality of parasites and all their monstrous variety belies any tales of a “god of love.” Wasps that paralyze a spider with their sting, then lay an egg on the poor arachnid that hatches, only to eat it from the inside out before pupating and leaving the empty husk behind. Same with caterpillars, only their parasitic wasps lay DOZENS of eggs, whose wormy hatchlings eat THEM from the inside out, steering well clear of the vital organs to keep the poor host alive as long as possible. Look up elephantiasis. River blindness. The copepods that attach directly to shark eyes, blinding them. The other copepods that eat a fish’s tongue and then live there in its mouth. Look up cholera. The Black Death aka bubonic plague. Polio.

            Why do you suppose God didn’t include instructions in the Bible for people to boil their drinking water? That would have saved “the faithful” so much illness and untimely death. It’s because God wasn’t aware that sewage-tainted water caused illness and death, amirite?

            Why is it that the Bible demonstrates that God didn’t know anything more than what the Bible’s writers already knew, primitive as they were?

            Wait – was this your ‘witness”?? Oh, gosh, I’m sorry – I didn’t realize this was your best effort at convincing others to try your religion! Why do you think your “god” would keep on staff the most abysmally incompetent salespeople the world has ever seen?

          • Peter Rhebergen

            Blanche, while I can appreciate that you respect neither God nor my belief in Him, my comments that you are responding to were my own response to Runningbeard’s request for some of my experiences that have served to confirm for me that God is real and my faith in Him is justified. I am not saying anything about those who say they have experienced the same (though I have much to say in that regard); I am merely saying that what I have experienced convinces me that God lives. Your hatred toward Christianity notwithstanding, I am surprised that you can so easily discard what I have lived, to the point of saying that I am among the “most abysmally incompetent salespeople the world has ever seen.”
            All you know of me is that I am a Christian. You do not know if I have had additional schooling beyond Bible college; what I have as a career or hobby; if I am a family man; or whether or not I like coffee. Yet you have no problem thinking of me as “abysmally incompetent.” If you’re intention was to convince me of my error, you could use a better argument than insults; insults just make me intractable.
            Have a wonderful evening!

  • http://revericatcheson.blogspot.com/ Eric Atcheson

    Regarding #7…my beef isn’t so much with the “Lord and Savior” part but with the “personal” part.  We’re already an individualistic culture, and Christianity from the beginning was (and should be) about koinonia–community.  Having a “personal” savior de-emphasizes that essential ingredient of community.

    Many of these, though, are definitely cringe-inducing.  Especially #10.  Oh, #10…

    As an aside, the trolls in this thread are mildly amusing.

    • Blanche

      Eric Atcheson, I realize you might be long gone, but for anyone else who’s reading, the original gods were tribal gods, typically attached to a specific locale. When empires such as the Persian and Roman uprooted tribes and relocated them, those tribes lost their attachment to the tribal gods of their ancestral lands. Now that they were mixed in with other tribes, the empire presented an overarching Father God, a replacement God that emphasized personal/individual salvation rather than tribal identity.

      And here we are O_O

      The concept of “personal salvation” seems to bring out the worst in people. It makes them arrogant, overbearing, obstreperous, disdainful, contemptuous, and vain. It is no wonder that the Buddha in his wisdom rejected the idea of a creator god as absolutely pernicious in its effect on human conduct.

  • http://twitter.com/micahjmurray Micah J. Murray

    Thanks for a great conversation starter, Christian! I ended up writing a whole blog post in response this morning:

    http://wp.me/p2k1XC-1q

    • http://twitter.com/KsImaginarium Karen Zimmerman

       I read your post. All you did was quote Scripture..nice but no cigar.

  • Perpetualhope

    A lot of these clichés as far as I am concerned seem to expose how disconnected Christians are. Christianity is not about going to heaven when you die it is about accepting God’s invitation to see what he is doing to renew all things and participate in that. Eternity has already been initiated so let us live like it then shall we?

    #2 The Bible does not necessarily say that Christians are going to heaven when they die or at least that is how I think we often interpret eternity. I think that also stems from this kind of escapism that we emphasise over the other possibilities for instance that God is coming to make his home with us here on Earth  which was initiated by (Jesus and the good news-the kingdom is near- I disagree that the kingdom is some kind of thing in the future I think it is here and now as well albeit not in its fullness) if Rev 21 -22 is anything to go by. 

    #5 The Great Commission says Go out into all the world or more accurately as you are going out into all the world… which seems to mean that no matter where we are or what we are doing we are always or should be living a Christian life and witnessing by how we live and not how we believe. Churchianity is not the Gospel!

    #9 There are about 17 different interpretations of why Jesus died. The early Christians understood the cross in a number of ways as well the main one was Christus Victor, the other was as a ransom, etc. It is interesting that one of the reasons that Jesus died was to remove the curse of the law, but we have made a whole new law, for instance doctrine, these clichés are not doctrine; and what are we expecting? Jesus to come back and die again to save us from these new laws that we have hindered ourselves and others with?  No theory of interpreting the Cross is ever actually going to be sufficient because we prophesy is part.

    A preacher asked an Amish bishop, “Are you saved?” and the Amish bishop replied, “You will need to ask my family and my enemies that one.”  Our salvation is related to others as it says in the Disciples Prayer, “Forgive my sins as I forgive the sins of those who sin against me.”

    How do we understand being saved? When the Bible talks about being saved it usually refers to being rescued. Is it believing, I think it depends on how you define believing-I think we need to re-define believing as living what what we believe?  Does God care how we believe, will he lift up the top of our heads to see if we believed in the ‘right’ way, the way that fundamentalists, evangelicals, liberals and tele-evangelists dictate we should (that is giving assent to denominational and traditional statements of faith and legalistically coercing our ‘Christian’ values on society and not following them ourselves?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=756100733 Faith Bowie

    Maybe it’s because I’m not Christian, but I have to whole-heartedly agree to all of this – has *all* happened to me, *way* too often, would like it to *stop* now. Not a way to convince me of anything. Well written, well done, absolutely love it!

    And to those who are being pissy about it – try looking at it from an outsiders perspective before you start lashing out. Obviously you don’t know what you’re talking about, or maybe the author struck a nerve and you don’t like what you’re hearing?

    • Oronomommy

      I am a Christian and understand this completely. WE do do this all the time… WHEN we are suppose to be HANDS AND FEET  which means service…I have been “trying” to understand the Hebrew/Greek…and found out the word for love in Hebrew means to GIVE of Self! >service< Simple and beautiful.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bonch-Nifkin/12333070 Bonch Nifkin

         ^ I have no idea what the point of that was supposed to be. Mad props for trying.

        • rednail64

          I clearly understand what the poster is saying. That we are called as Christians to serve others (as His hands and feet)

          • Runningbeard

            The imagined “hands and feet” view of how Christians should conduct their lives has its appeal, and as an atheist, I recognize this is one of the great draws of Christianity. It seems so few though are capable of being his “hands and feet.”

          • Zaire Adams

            Christianity is for making them capable. The whole point is we have been wrong in our approach and we have to allow someone who knows more to teach us the right way. When rightly considered, this is the whole purpose of the Church to help guide in a more tangible way. Will the Church screw up and behaving wrongly, yes; but, that does not mean that their teaching is erroneous. It can only mean that people are erroneous and everyone is in the process of changing that.

          • Blanche

            Well, zai, it isn’t working. And hasn’t been in any meaningful sense – if you count the hagiographies of made-up “saints” and “wonder-workers”, you’re a ninny. “By their fruits shall ye know them,” right? Well, Christians are a sour, ugly, poisonous crop. Lesson learned.

      • Peri

        Oronomommy, you hit the nail on the head perfectly. Thank you.

    • Aquariuscomfort

      I do not push my religion on others, and do not necessarily try to make them think I know everything for only God knows that. I can only learn as much as I can as the next human being, and practicing love along the way.

      Saying that I also respect others religions or lack there of, but also ask them to respect mine.I do however do not understand why you would condemn those that do not like this blog, but say nothing of those that go over board and attacking ALL religious people with very villager language.

      • Joni Zander

        I’m so curious as to what “villager language” could be.  Google doesn’t seem to know either…  do tell!

        • MikeC

          Lol… I think the word “vulgar” got spell-checked…

      • Blanche

        “I do not push my religion on others, and do not necessarily try to make them think I know everything for only God knows that. I can only learn as much as I can as the next human being, and practicing love along the way.”

        That’s good, Aquariuscomfort.

        “Saying that I also respect others religions or lack there of, but also ask them to respect mine.I do however do not understand why you would condemn those that do not like this blog, but say nothing of those that go over board and attacking ALL religious people with very villager language.”

        The problem with demanding respect as you describe is that this can very easily result in the “echo chamber” effect. Who knows what you might construe as “disrespect”? If a challenge to your beliefs causes serious discomfort, perhaps that is a sign that your beliefs are such that they can’t tolerate the slightest question or investigation. That’s not healthy. If you can only tolerate being around those who agree with you, you run the risk of serious self delusion, the way the Republican party did with regard to abortion rights. Noting that a majority of Americans identify as “pro-life,” the Republicans thought they had it in the bag by adopting a “no abortion under any circumstances” plank. Big mistake – most of those who identify as “pro-life” want abortion to remain legal and available in some circumstances (typically rape, incest, when the woman’s life is in danger), which actually makes them pro-choice, as they defend the woman’s right to choose in some instances. So the Republican party alienated broad swaths of women and they lost the election. Their anti-immigration stance alienated the US’s largest minority group, Latinos, as well. Two fatal missteps that resulted from only interacting with people who agreed with them.

        If you surround yourself with “yes men”, how likely are you to recognize when you’re in error? The blind leading the blind…

  • Melody

    Coming out of lurking to say I agree with you 100%. I am so jaded with evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity, having grown up with the types that seem to be trolling here today. I think you forgot “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” personally. I bet the fundatrolls here would have a ball with that, quoting scripture we’ve already heard a million times. Okay, done ranting. Man, that felt good.

    • Deloz6

      Fundatrolls, haha. I like that.

  • PCrocker

    I don’t know whether to be amused or saddened. A main thread I see in many of Christian’s blog-posts is “Get to know your neighbor” (which I’d argue is the basis and prerequisite of the command to love your neighbor). And yet, I see so many Biblicists commenting here that Christian “obviously …” when it seems that they don’t know him.
    I admit that I don’t know him as well as I’d like, having only crossed paths a few times in seminary, and yet I hear his call to stop speaking in cliches and start speaking in conversations. If you’re going to explain to someone why you believe one teacher is more worthwhile than any other or why the Bible is more special than Huckleberry Finn, you have to have developed a level of trust that comes from listening and being seriously interested in what makes that other person who they are.
    (And for those who want to argue about #1, there is a difference between something being true and it being helpful. Granted, I personally think that the reason some things happen is that someone else was exercising their freedom to be a jerk.)

  • Adamlouw aka perpetualhope

    #4  I am reminded of Francis of Assissi’s adage, “Preach the Gospel unto all creatures and if necessary use words.” 

    I think one of the biggest hinderances in this area would be ‘hit and run’ evangelism which usually consists of sharing our faith verbally or handing out some annoying tract. Unfortunately, I am guilty of this in the past myself wrote a tract with the simplistic title of, “Eternal Life Insurance.”

    One of the main concerns that this exposes is that Christians try to sell to people which does not work in the long term. This is one of the characteristics of bipolar spirituality which means that yes we look beyond our selves for salvation, hence the bi in contrast with the monopolar spirituality which normally consists of me and my self discovery or conquest, etc, but this is not the whole picture there is such a thing as the other, other people that we interact with and so we have tripolar spirituality.

    This touches on #5 but mission is attractional in other words we try to attract people to say church or some other church orientated event, whereas mission should following in the incarnation of Jesus be incarnational in other words going out into all the world, but I elaborated on that in one of my last posts. 

    #8 Scientifically, people are interested in the end times whether it is projecting how the universe will end to the unfortunte misunderstandings/interpretations of end times in Scripture.

    This is one is the most dangerous as far as consequences in the real world goes, a lot of popular understanding of the end times (eschatology) began 150 years ago and was propagated by a man named John Nelson Darby who wove this intricate little mosaic of scripture verses to ‘prove’ his ideas and therefore completely divorcing them from their textual context, which refers to the rapture etc, and has lead to the very popular Left Behind series; now until 1948 when Israel became a nation state these dispensationists assumed that prophecy finally came true and thus from that day on the dangerous idea of eschatological Christian Zionism came to the forefront and this has a real effect on the middle east peace process because these Zionists want Israel to rebuild its temple only so that it can be destroyed which will be the sign that Jesus can come again and rescue them (rapture) from this planet possibly before the tribulations. This is an abuse of Scripture and should not be taught nor encouraged.

    So this one annoys me to no end!

  • kano38

    Interesting that so much that is said here is vehement and cutting, stances that I think Jesus would have been saddened by. This is a conversation, a dialogue, not the final word, something which none of us know the exact verbiage of. I think this blog is simply (by the way, how Jesus lived) another good place to start, without name calling or questioning someone’s faith. As to the content, being the father of a 12 and a half year old son with severe autism, I absolutely and completely agree with #1 (and most of the others) and might add a corollary statement that Christians, myself included, use on occasion, “The Lord never gives someone more than they can handle.” Really!?! If you’ve not lived in someone else’s shoes, take time before you throw this cliche out there, it hurts and wears on someone who battles everyday to get through each day, trying to treat others kindly and courteously, while still maintaining their sanity because of all that is required to handle various situations. My wife and I love Christ, yet are worn down, tired, sorrowful, angry and sometimes feel as if we’ve been “left behind” because we’ve never heard our son speak a word, we’ve watched him self-mutilate himself, attack us (not intentionally but because he is going through puberty currently and does not know how to communicate the things he is feeling), attack others and do a 1000 other things that we have very little to no understanding of (nor do autism “experts”). Let’s think about the things we say and model ore by our actions than our words. So, to Christian, thank you for the dialogue starter and for an idea that should be discussed by Christians (as a way to strengthen our faith) and maybe even non-Christians (as a way to better understand our faith and maybe even become interested in what we believe in). To those of you who have been vitriolic, I’m sorry you feel that way, remember though, we are, none of us perfect (the whole casting the first stone idea), and so, let’s talk about it and as one comment cited, in so doing, create community … a community of believers, seekers, people trying to do this thing God gave us called life! Thanks Christian, thanks for something to think about and talk about!

  • Rallenreeves

    Very interesting. Although I’ve a somewhat different take  on numerous of the selected “ten chiches Christians should never use”, what intrigues me most is a general pervasive preoccupation in individual Christian faith I continually encounter *and* in faith communities with metaphysical questions & affirmations like “Jesus died for your sins” etc. For perhaps odd-ball person me, being a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth, is to be more focused on the existential present, rather some notion of eternal life, to be more focused on “fullness” of life and quality of relationships/life (from persoanl relationships & wider relationships all the way to our global community), rather on the *quantity* (i.e. everlasting eternal) of life that might follow our blood & flesh time on Mother earth. Many wisdom sayings are attributed to Jesus, but none in my view excell that attributed to the prophet Micah: “He/She/God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to *do* justice, and to *love* kindness, and to *walk humbly* with your God.” And on a somewhat related but granted also different issue, Christian communities that seek to offer a *fully welcoming communion table”, with no pre-existing “belief” affirmations to share in the communion experience, but welcoming to all seekers including such as Sara Miles (“Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion” and “Jesus Freak”) who “came to Christianity knocked upside down by a mid-life conversion centered around eating a literal chunk of bread. I hadn’t decided to profess an article of doctrine (of *belief prior to sharing in the Eucharist*/my insert), but been discovered by a force blowing uncontrollably through the world” — fully welcoming communities, would do well & be wise in my view, to not print in their worship bulletin statements like “All who *believe* in Jesus Christ (what ever that *cliche* means) are invited to eat of the bread and drink of the cup…..”

    • Blanche

      Gosh, Rallenreeves, perhaps you’re more Jewish than Christian (hence the appeal of Micah, which has *nothing* to do with any “jesus”) or Buddhist, since the present moment holds such infinite depth for you :)

  • tlynn

    I also find ” God never gives you anything so big that you can’t handle it.”  terrifying. Tell that to a suicidal person.  I’m not – I’m just saying it’s cruel and can be misconstrued. 

    • Natalie

       I agree. 

    • Daniel Ault

      That one actually IS in the Bible.

      1 Cor. 10:13: ”
      There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

      • Andy B.

        This one is about temptation, which isn’t what people mean in my experience when they say that. They mean some challenge that faces them or pain to overcome.

        • Runningbeard

          Perhaps the phrase originates there, but has come to be expanded beyond the original meaning (temptation). Temptation is atleast something within ones reach in terms of control (to a point).

          This version:

          ” God never gives you anything so big that you can’t handle it.” 

          Enough heinous examples come to mind that make this indeed one of the worst cliches.

          • Schmitztj

            Yes, I heard that directed at my dad all the time when my mother died at 47.

          • Tina

            I have heard similar phrases, and they make me want to scream.  The verse that is used to “prooftext” that belief IS I Cor. 10:13, and, IMO, THAT verse specifically means “temptation to sin”, not “circumstances of life”.

          • Andrew Patton

            Bad circumstances of life ARE temptations to sin for most people. They are a temptation to doubt God’s love, providence and justice. To tempt Job, Satan killed his children, ruined his business and wrecked his health, leaving him with only his life and a wife who was so distraught that she was tempting him to curse God and die. Job hadn’t done anything to deserve these calamities, but though he was tempted, he remained faithful to God. You can’t control circumstances, but you can control your reaction to them, and trust that God will give you the strength to weather the storm, or else that He will receive your soul to Himself before things get too bad.

          • smrnda

            I’d argue that Job would have been in the right to tell god to piss off. If I had a child who I abandoned to misfortune, they’d be entitled to tell me off and I would no longer deserve their love or respect.

            On circumstances – being pissed at circumstances and the people who permit them to happen is totally justified. All progress comes from people being unwilling to put up with being pissed and shat on rather than being resigned to them.

          • Blanche Quizno

            It’s interesting that you bring up the story of Job, which is, actually, all about complete injustice and sadism. In that story, the satan (who is functioning as God’s prosecuting attorney) cannot take ANY action against Job unless given permission by God. So what happens to Job is CONDONED BY GOD! In fact, when Job’s friends say that he must have sinned to deserve this, Job clarifies that he hasn’t – and God backs him up! This was the equivalent of a $1 bet between God and his butler.

            Sure sucks to be Job’s kids, doesn’t it? Even after Job passed his cruel little “test”, they were still dead. But we read that Job got NEW children and PRETTIER DAUGHTERS, so that means he didn’t miss his first children at all, the ones God allowed to be slaughtered just so God could win a bet with his servant – isn’t that EDIFYING???

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

      The problem lies in the fact that the suicidal person has a seriously distorted view of reality and requires intervention. What should be heard as, “This too shall pass,” is instead heard a dismissal of the existence of the problem.

      • The_L1985

        Or worse: as an insistence that they are the problem. I constantly interpreted “This too shall pass” as “When YOU do, so get it over with and do the world a favor.”

        I am so glad not to be in that mental state anymore. It is utterly terrifying and without hope.

        • Lee

          The ones who say or imply that depression is a sin are the worst. You don’t choose to feel that way and taking meds is not a sin either. There is a difference between unhappiness and clinical depression.
          Instead if platitudes or condemnation hugs and listening work a lot better.

          • Blanche

            So, not feeling Christian love, Lee? Or does it appear that Christian love is more of the hateful variety, you know, that sort of love where it’s abundantly clear that they don’t have the slightest affection for you? Yeah, THAT kind of love. Nice!

            One of my most useful insights about depression while I was a Buddhist was that its subconscious message is “I can’t.” If “I can’t,” then why try? Nothing will help. It’s useless. Depression is truly a deep, dark hole, and sometimes it takes some medical intervention to help. Yet a lot of people have very little patience for mental illness. “You’d feel better if you just exercised.” “Pull yourself together!” “God helps those who help themselves, so what are you waiting for?” Such contempt and disdain, not to mention the ethics of attacking someone in no position to defend himself/herself. I wish there were more compassion in our nation (the US) and more understanding of mental illness. For example, poverty makes everything worse, and a very high proportion of poor people are depressed or worse. Yet they can’t afford medical care for their condition! We need to guarantee a minimum standard of living for all our citizens – that would be the right first step. But now I’m rambling…

            I do wish you all the best, Lee, and hope that you find something that’s effective for you.

          • Lee

            Actually I am doing better than I used to be. My main problem now is that I have become disabled, which makes it more difficult to be bright and cheery. The meds aren’t quite as effective when you have to deal with other crap. I was functioning quite well when I was working.

            Yeah unfortunately the most religious people I know are the least empathetic. Although they have never said it to my face, it has certainly been implied that depression is a sin, especially when they have opposed my taking medication. Also the reaction of anger and blame when I have tried confiding in them.

            I just got into an argument with someone on another blog because apparently everything is a sin to him. including mental illness. Nevermind that King David was among the most famous of depressed poets. The man claimed that David never gave up faith in God. But that is not quite true in my mind because although David did write poems of faith he also at other points wished he had never been born.That is suicidal ideation, or at least a precurser to it.

            And then what about this gem, which Jesus himself quoted:

            “My God, my God, why haste thou forsaken me?”

            I struggle to keep my temper with people like that and I told him point blank that if he wants to drive a person to suicide then tell him that in addition to the horrific suffering he is going through tell him that he is sinning as well. What a lot of people do not know is that guilt is a hallmark symptom of clinical depression and that a lot of people kill themselves because they feel like they are a burden and a disappointment to others. What is even worse is when you feel you have disappointed God. Suicide can be a very brutal form of self-punishment.

            What is wrong with so much of Christianity is that somehow people think that somehow it is failing God if we succumb to very human emotions. It doesn’t help when every positive thinking guru says the same thing. In fact the pressure of the secular media to be perfect is often just as bad as the Christians are.

            I know a little about Buddhism and one appealing thing is that it does not deny suffering. However it still is difficult to cultivate the dispassionate point of view that they advocate. However I have found some of the meditation techniques helpful, although I am not very skilled in them.

            My feeling is that I will take what is helpful from spiritual and secular sources and leave the rest. Religion has been a trap for me because I just end up feeling like I am not “doing it right” whatever that even means. Actually I do that with a lot of things, but the idea was planted in my strict Christian upbringing.

            Hope you have a happy holiday!

    • Blanche Quizno

      “I also find ” God never gives you anything so big that you can’t handle it.” terrifying. Tell that to a suicidal person. I’m not – I’m just saying it’s cruel and can be misconstrued. ”

      Cruel, yes, tlynn, but you’re missing the point. That little empty platitude absolves the Christian saying it of *any* responsibility to do anything tangible for that person, so yay, right?

  • katz

    How about “God said it, I believe it, that settles it?”  That one always bemuses me because the “I believe it” clause feels so superfluous.

    Or how about “The author clearly doesn’t understand the Bible and has no business writing anything?”

    • http://www.facebook.com/christiandpiatt Christian Piatt

      This one is going in post #2. The first one; not the second :-)

  • Btld Biz

    This author demonstrates total lack of biblical knowledge and I would understand him better if he said he doesn’t believe in any of the stuff that he has enumerated rather than say how wrong they. It just shows how shallow you are my friend…If I met you today, my first question would be..”Do you want to receive Christ in your heart”…

    • Mary

      Shallow is assuming that he DOESN’T have Christ in his heart!

    • Kodie

       You may be obsessed with yourself.

  • Chasjeanw

    Christian, you need to quit stirring the pot with these provocative articles, or someone will throw a Bible at you!  Oh, wait, nevermind,  they already have.

  • Mary

    Here is the problem I see with so much of Christianity: It is so outward-focused on “saving” others that its’ members forget to look at THEMSELVES first. Religion is about controlling others, spirituality is about looking within and changing YOUR BEHAVIOR. Only then do you have the authenticity to share with others.

    If I were interested in YOUR church the first thing I would look at is HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE. I am tired of dealing with people who try to convert me and yet apparently don’t know the first thing about COMPASSION. I have dealt with mental illness for most of my life and yet these “loving” Christians judge me instead of giving me hope and encouragement.

    I would take you more seriously if you actually MEANT what you say. When you ask me WHAT I BELIEVE you really DON’T WANT TO KNOW. Rather than treating me with RESPECT you just want to tear me down. Don’t be surprised when I don’t TAKE YOUR BAIT.

    Thank you Christian for giving sensetivity lessons.

    • Daniel Ault

      Don’t generalize. There are plenty of Christians out there who do look at themselves, who are compassionate, and don’t judge others, etc. In fact, most of the ones I’ve met are. Don’t focus on the ones who are pushy, insensitive, and quick to condemn anybody who doesn’t believe the same as them. That’s not who most of us are.

      • Orljustin

         Actually, it is who most of them (you) are.  That’s the basis of the whole thing.  Pushing your belief system onto others.  Why do you think the pastor prays loudly during a service?  “Dear lord, please help us to find the way, to listen to your word, etc…”  ie, “Hey people, you better do what I am loudly hinting at, as if I’m talking to god, or you’re gonna be in trouble.”

      • http://www.bipolarlessons.com/ Mary

        Yes Daniel, you are right. Not all Christians are like that. Actually, in my experience, the less religious they are, the nicer and more tolerant they are. I often find that the ones who don’t go to church regularly are more spiritual than the ones who do. I am not knocking church, per see, but the basic premise of Christianity is that Christians are right and everyone else is wrong. I have received a lot of abuse by evangelical fundamentalist Christians.

        My Dad, who is a lifelong Christian, does not go to church but he lives the message of love in Christianity far more than the super-religious do. He has been there for me when my other super-religious, oh-so-right relatives looked down on me and refused to help me.

         

        • http://www.bipolarlessons.com/ Mary

          Oh yeah. They think he is going to hell…Go figure.

      • Blanche

        So, Daniel Ault, we’re supposed to IGNORE all the rude, inconsiderate, disdainful, contemptuous, judgmental, and arrogant Christians we have personally had the unpleasant misfortune of encountering, in favor of some imagined sweet-as-light, perhaps mythological, “Christians” who are kind and generous and warm and open-minded and loving and accepting, even when we’ve never met any Christians like this? The nicest Christians I have ever met (2) did not belong to any church. In fact, they both were determined to avoid church, because churches tend to be full of judgmental, mean, gossipy, hateful hypocrites, in their opinion.

        The fact that we’ve met so many who are “pushy, insensitive, and quick to condemn” does not give us reason to believe there are nicer Christians out there. The truth hurts. People hate Christians because Christians are typically horrible human beings.

    • Blanche

      “When you ask me WHAT I BELIEVE you really DON’T WANT TO KNOW.”

      Wait – Christians have actually asked you what you believe?? REALLY?? From my own experience, Christians only want to tell me what THEY believe. They have *no interest whatsoever* in anything I might believe – the fact that I am not a member of their church is all the evidence they need that I am in need of “saving” and that they need to “witness” to me. It’s disgusting and rude.

  • http://maxwellmooney.wordpress.com/ Maxwell Mooney

    You forgot “love the sinner but hate the sin.” One of the most destructive Christian clichés I know. 

    • Mommydragon1

      I agree and the worst part about that cliche is…it’s not biblical! It came from a poem.

      • jim dorey

        wasn’t it gandhi that, if not first to say it, made it famous? either way, old testament is clear, god hates the sinner too, or, is that glossed over these days?

        • Andrew Patton

          No, God loves sinners so much that He sent His only Son to die for them while they were still sinners (and by they, I mean we). However, sin poisons everything it touches. Those who commit sin and refuse to repent grow worse and worse in their depravity until they provoke God to the point that He destroys them to protect the rest of humanity from the corruption they are spreading.

          • jim dorey

            so, in essence, you’re saying that indeed, modern christians gloss over that bit.

          • Bob T

            Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!

          • Blanche Quizno

            The problem with that rationale, Andrew Patton, is that God doesn’t punish “sin” in “hell”, does “he”? If he loves people, why would he *EVER* send them to “hell”? Why not just send the “sin” – if it is possible to separate out the “sin” from the “sinner,” that is…

            And what of 2 Thess. 2:11-12 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned…

            It’s just the same as how Pharaoh, in Exodus, had no opportunity to cooperate with Moses – God saw to that. Made it *impossible* for him to be convinced by Moses.

            You worship a madman and a sadist.

    • Azsalsman

       I don’t get it. Why is it not Biblical? God loves YOU but he can’t stand your SIN. Isn’t THAT Biblical?

      • Zaire Adams

        It isn’t biblical, and therein lies the problem with sola scriptura. Anyway, the statement is also common sense. You SHOULD love the sinner and hate the sin. This is what we do with good friends or family members, no? It is easier when they have that proximity. You know your neighbor intimately and you are more inclined to give chances and really try to help them. People have the most trouble with neighbors they have no closeness to. Keeping in mind that, whatever they’ve done wrong, the person is someone’s father or son is a good way to go about that. You give them their humanity.

        That said, is not a LOVE for any particular sin a bad thing? Love the sinner because you are both persons with free-will, individual genetic tendencies etc. but you cannot say (as is implied here) that hating the sin is a shallow thing. You should hate sin. It should vex your very spirit when you see something sinful going on. When you here about that child who was molested or the woman who was raped…you do need to hate the act, as they are evil. It’s people being indifferent or loving theirs and others sins that helps the whole cycle keep going.

        The sin must be reviled, the person must be understood and given his/her humanity.

        • http://www.bipolarlessons.com/ Mary

          I agree with you, except that there are so many people that use that phrase as a weapon to justify their own prejudices (for instance with gays). Using it that way is a back-handed insult.

          With the right motives it is a good principle.

        • Maxwell Mooney

          Much like Mary said, I have no problem with the base level “truth” of the statement, but the problem is that it is often used as a way to shame others. I’m glad Mary mentioned that it’s particularly harmful for the LGBT community, as their sexuality is such an intrinsic part of them that to say you “hate” that part of them automatically means that you hate them. Furthermore, I’ve spoken to a number of people who were harmed by people who prefaced a huge guilt trip and shaming rant with such ai statement. As people of grace, our first response should always be love. We often resort to “hating the sin” first, thus eliminating any possibility of ever effectively communicating love. Jesus always entered into relationships with people before he called out their sin- that should be our response as well, but “love the sin hate the sinner” eliminates any chance of entering a genuine relationship because they already feel rejected.

          • joejohnson043

            What about the money changers in the temple? He didn’t exactly give them a hug did he? He called us to repentance. Yes he has mercy on us, but that is not for us to pretend the sin is okay, it isn’t. It’s a glaring hole in our soul that must be fixed or we are not able to abide anywhere in eternity except the lake of fire.
            I know its the hot new thing to follow the neo-christianity approach by embracing secular psychiatric concepts of communication, but some of them are truly bs. It’s like sharing the gospel using the tactics of a marketing team. Sure, since many have been brought up molded by propagandists, you might drag a few in, but not because you convinced them, only because they were programmed to respond to the similar stimuli, they are still sleeping under those conditions. Preach the gospel clear and right. Wake them up, don’t conform to this world’s system of coercive propaganda programming and double speak.
            You shouldn’t need a relationship with Thomas Jefferson to understand the Declaration of Independence, nor should you need to intimately know your History professor before you can learn history in his/her class. The truth is sufficient on its own, and those who seek it will find it.

        • Blanche Quizno

          “It should vex your very spirit when you see something sinful going on.”

          REALLY? How do you reconcile that with Matthew 7 – DO NOT JUDGE OTHERS – and Matthew 5 – LOVE THY ENEMIES? It is not your job to “hate” *anything*, not even “sin”. It is your job to *AVOID* sinning *YOURSELF*. NOT to judge other people. Not to make specious and sophistic blatherings about “others’ humanity” blah blah blah. Or have you no use for the jesus’s so-called “teachings,” like most Christians, who want nothing more than that good ol’ get-out-of-hell-and-into-heaven-free card the jesus supposedly provided by dying for you? The fact that you would accept such a devil’s bargain demonstrates that you are utterly without honor and integrity. What sort of lowlife would let someone else take the rap for him?? The whole concept of “sin” is primitive and outdated, and that concept in and of itself causes huge problems within families and society at large. It’s certainly a good thing that Christianity is in decline – it’s a blight upon humanity.

      • The_L1985

        Because it is often used as an excuse to do cruel things to the sinner, and call it “tough love.” There’s also the part where people forget that they are just as guilty of wrongdoing as anybody else (Romans 1:28, I think is the appropriate reference here? It’s been 20 years since the old Sword Drills). It looks from the outside like hate. Love shouldn’t look like hate, or else something has gone very, very wrong.

        For a better example of why this doesn’t really hold water, read Johnathan Edwards’ famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (really, you don’t even need to read the whole thing; any one paragraph will do) and ask yourself if that sort of loathing is in any way how you would describe love. I’ve heard that same sort of language used to describe certain behaviors as being worse than anything else imaginable–but we still LOVE those people, yessiree! It’s only the SIN we hate!

        The hate bleeds over. It’s unavoidable. And then you find yourself hating the very people you were called to love.

        • Amalia Kortright

          Maybe people should hate their own sins first before they try to deal with the sins of others.

        • http://www.facebook.com/james.mills.58910049 James Mills

          Whatever you do–you should pay attention to the God–who made and still runs this universe. You will not fake HIM OUT—He wrote the Bible for you–to reveal himself. Better be checking that out!!!

          • The_L1985

            Er, did you miss the parts where I cited the Bible? Because empty threats of “get right with Jesus, or else!!” coupled with a refusal to listen, tend to make me not want to have anything to do with Christians at all.

          • Bob T

            Evolution, baby…

          • Blanche Quizno

            James Mills, there are *plenty* of examples in the Bible of God/Jesus/Holy Spirit appearing and/or performing “miracles” to demonstrate their existence. So I’ll just wait for that, if it’s all the same to you. Why should I listen to a douche like YOU instead of waiting for God to speak to me Itself like to Paul on the road to Damascus? Why should I settle for a sales pitch from the worst sales force any company could possibly imagine? Why isn’t your god punishing you for being so incompetent?

        • Blanche Quizno

          Excellent insights, The_L1985. What Christians don’t realize is that when they trot out their “hate the sin, love the sinner” platitudes, the rest of us can see quite clearly that defining an entire, complex person solely on the basis of what it is about that person that you hate means that you hate that person. Defining someone in terms of what you consider “sin” means you have no love whatsoever for that person – it’s like loving poop.

          Say, do these Christians enjoy eating bacon, pork chops, and that Easter ham? Cuz Judaism says eating pork is absolutely forbidden. Why don’t Christians care? Because they aren’t Jews? Hindus are forbidden by their religion from eating beef. But Christians don’t care about that, either, do they? So why do they think WE need to care what THEY think? Why should Christians think that everyone else needs to be vitally concerned with what they say their religion requires, when Christians so blatantly ignore and disparage other religions’ requirements?

        • Lee

          Very well put. I can also tell you that just reading what the Bible says caused me harm. Page after page of it saying how evil I was was more compelling than the parts that said God loved me. How can God love and hate at the same time? The “love the sinner” does not hold water when God was constantly killing people in the OT over it! Not to mention the strict death-penalty laws where you could murder your disobedient child for talking back to you or kill your nieghbor for working on the Sabbath..

          I know this is extreme but I have dealt with depression and when I was a teenager I was obsessed with the Bible and literally became suicidal because I thought God hated me. Part of that had to do with the way my mother treated me, but it seemed to me that God felt the same way.

          When I was older I had to leave the church to get my head together. I found God in my heart, not in a book. And I now believe that we are created in image of God and that we are basically good. I now have a spiritual connection that I never had before.

          How many Christians out there say that they “love the sinners” and yet say the most VILE things about them? That is NOT love. In fact to be honest what I often see is SCAPEGOATING. The message is “I love you, you evil piece of crap!” Huh??? Actually it starts with “you evil piece of crap” and then the “I love you” is a cover to make them feel justified in what they just spewed forth. Usually they do not bother saying that unless they are called on it.

          That is what I am seeing alot of with “fungelicals” in the public sphere. Liberals, gays, non-theists or people from other religions are constantly slandered and then when they are called on it, then they say “Oh I don’t HATE them. Heaven’s no. But I have the RIGHT to my opinion (which they actually insist is fact) and God is on MY SIDE!!!”

          Ever hear of EGO (Edging God Out)?

          I wonder how gay people feel when told that they are literally destroying not just this country but the world and civilization itself, but no “We don’t hate you!”

          Of course not all Christians are like that but God as depicted in the Bible suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder so it encourages this kind of behavior.

      • http://www.facebook.com/james.mills.58910049 James Mills

        Have you read the Bible cover-to-cover??–try it

        • Blanche

          Yes, James Mills. More than once. That’s one of the reasons I’m an atheist now :)

        • Blanche

          Why do Christians automatically assume that the only reason non-Christians are not Christians is because they haven’t read the Bible? I’ll bet good money I know the Bible better than James Mills O_O Studies consistently show that atheists and agnostics are better informed as to the Bible’s contents than Christians.

          Or was James Mills hoping to send me on a time consuming fool’s errand just to shut me up?? “Read these 25 books first and THEN we’ll talk!”

      • Eli

        Actually, no it is not. That is a lie. God hates the wicked, not just their sin. Look it up, many Bible verses speak of it.

        • eli hugh

          There is a difference between a truly wicked person and a sinner struggling with his/her sin. Only God can discern between the two, because of this you should love and help both. It is not for you to know which will be impacted more by your kindness. Love them all let God do the judging.

          • Blanche

            eli hugh, does “God” “punish” “sin” or “sinners” in “hell”? That should clarify any uncertainty.

      • Blanche Quizno

        Azsalsman, “hate the sin love the sinner” is completely non-Biblical. There is not a single verse in the entire Bible that says anything even close. What Christians are ordered – ORDERED! – to do is to love their neighbors AND their enemies! To give to anyone who asks. To not judge others (Matthew 7, thou hypocrite). To not pray in public (Matthew 6). To not accumulate wealth, but, rather, to sell all possessions and give the proceeds *DIRECTLY* to the poor, because “God will provide” (Matthew 5). So who do you worship, love, and follow? Is it true that you have no use for Jesus apart from his atoning death because that gives you a get-into-heaven-free card without you having to do ANYTHING?? Your religion is disgusting.

    • AV

      As Christians we are called first to love, sin seems to be the opposite.
      Are you saying it is destructive to say this to an unbeliever or are you saying the phrase is wrong?

      • jim dorey

        that it’s not of christian origin would be a good start.

      • Blanche

        Jesus supposedly said that it is not YOUR job to judge anyone else (Matthew 7:1-5). So no. You shouldn’t be saying that to anyone, as it betrays your judgmental fixation. It is destructive to be making such judgments about others, and then presuming to lecture THEM on their many faults, thou hypocrite! (Just quoting your Jesus there)

    • GodFear

      It means you can forgive a sinner while not liking or condoning the sin. Example, my brother stole my car a few times. Each time i completely forgave him in love while i hated the sin but loved my brother. Now my brother has his life together and starting to stand on his own two feet. But if i would have kicked him like a dog for doing something wrong to me, i would of never been able to help him. Jesus does the same things with believers. He never hates us, but hates the sin and wants to teach us how to live lives without getting lost in the world. Just like sheep, sheep are not responsible for themselves, but the Shepard takes care of them and goes after them when they are lost. Have this mind of Christ in you.

  • jerry lynch

    I see this article as simply an appeal to be genuine with others, to meet them on a human level first and take the time to know them as if they actually matter.

    For me, a true love of my neighbor would demand that I forego the Rapture to help at the most desperate time of history. It would demand begging God each day to “stay his hand” on Final Judgment. Love first and the Gospel will follow in its footsteps.

    Making an effort to discover the spirit of what a person is saying is primary in communication. No matter how strongly we may disagree with what is being said, that person is yourself: treat them that way. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    We do not convert to Christianity with a Statement of Belief to espouse; we revert to a ‘little child’ of God with a spirit of action to give. The ‘little child’ comes from trust, not certainty, and that small detail makes a big difference in faith.

    If love of neighbor is like unto loving God, than it is in those relationships not only where we can get to know God better but also what reflects the quality of our relationship with God. The two are intertwined and cannot be separated.

  • Cfinley79

    Surely you shall burn in the fires of hell for this…lol. Nice post. What we should or shouldn’t do though can be presumptious as well though. I think it points to the real beliefs of those that may use these cliches in there everyday interactions. I do think these words and cliches can be redeemed to have meaning to many though. So I wouldn’t say we shouldn’t say them. There is a lot we say that isnt in the bible and i dont think the bible is the authority on our words, but the spirit is:)

  • davidbohn

    I believe the point is that if we are living the life we wish to portray we won’t have to say anything… we will be asked.

    • Progressivesocialworker

      or maybe you (the collective “you”) won’t be asked – but if you’re happy living that life – just enjoy it.  I personally find religions generally to be so obviously socially constructed and used to advance whoever happened to be in power that I don’t really understand how “faith” can reasonably emerge from it – but if it works for you, then enjoy the peace it offers you. 

  • http://northierthanthou.com/ northierthanthou

    …lists of 10.

  • AuraLady

    I have trouble with 2 and 3.  In a dream I experienced what is described in the Tibetan book of the dead – exactly!  We don’t have a clue what happens next to us.

  • http://theotruth.wordpress.com/ Stan McCune

    I’m really grateful for this post. The cliches in it that he has attacked are all poor in either their theological soundness or appropriateness and I’m glad Mr. Piatt chose to expose them. I wrote a response to this blog where I offer my suggestions for what we should replace the cliches with: 
    http://theotruth.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/theologically-sound-alternatives-to-piatts-ten-cliches-christians-should-never-use/

  • Alphazulu99

    And then Jesus said, “Praise me, adore me, love me. But please, for the love of the Buddha, stop with all of the blood sacrifice bullshit. It makes us all look like a bunch of pathetic lunatics. Just look at Kirk Cameron and Tim Tebow. Goddamn! but I hate those fuckers!!!”–Jesus H. Christ, up in the sky

    • Loveoneanother

      I’ll pray for you. So much anger and hurt.

      • Sundoga

         So many assumptions. How you take a joke and turn it into “anger and hurt” is quite beyond me.

      • Runningbeard

        “I’ll pray for you..” which cliche was that?

      • Suziecheeseman

         Sweetie.  It is called humour. 

      • SuzieR

        Sweetie, sweetie, sweetie.  It’s called humour. 

      • yipingpijou

        I’ll say it again, Loveoneanother – you have no basis for assuming Alpha has any amount of hurt. Sure, there’s anger at this specific situation, but Alpha may be all sweetness and light in every other way. You just don’t know. Please quit presuming that when people express frustration on a specific topic, that you know something about their entire inner emotional state.

    • Aquariuscomfort

      Why are you so angry? From what you said I really do not understand why you are so angry and why at Kirk and Tim? Whatever they practice, I could care less, for my faith is about me not them. Same with you. Your anger is more about you than them. There is something that you have not felt with that is making you lash out at people that did nothing to you.

      • Slade

        That’s like saying “why are you so angry with unicorns?”

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Ross/566122633 Thomas Ross

       LOL Alpha! IDK about Kirk Cameron for sure but when it comes to Tebow I KNOW how J.C. feels about ostentatious praying.

  • jerry lynch

    I see this article as simply an appeal to be genuine with others, to meet them on a human level first and take the time to know them as if they actually matter.
    For me, a true love of my neighbor would demand that I forego the Rapture to help at the most desperate time of history. It would demand begging God each day to “stay his hand” on Final Judgment. Love first and the Gospel will follow in its footsteps.
    Making an effort to discover the spirit of what a person is saying is primary in communication. No matter how strongly we may disagree with what is being said, that person is yourself: treat them that way. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
    We do not convert to Christianity with a Statement of Belief to espouse; we revert to a ‘little child’ of God with a spirit of action to give. The ‘little child’ comes from trust, not certainty, and that small detail makes a big difference in faith.
    If love of neighbor is like unto loving God, than it is in those relationships not only where we can get to know God better but also what reflects the quality of our relationship with God. The two are intertwined and cannot be separated.

    • Blanche

      Jerry Lynch, you have a kind attitude. If you’re anywhere around, I would like to ask why your true love for your neighbor would not lead you to challenge God’s savage, cruel ways and revolt against this abominable tyrant. The fact that you would be “begging God each day to ‘stay his hand’” shows that you are far more mature, loving, magnanimous, and, yes, evolved, than this repellent idea of “God”.

      So how can you stoop to worshiping such a primitive, depraved idea? You’re having to lower yourself in an attempt to elevate “God”, when it is clear that “God” is a monstrous, ignoble, immoral construct. You are better than “God” and I, for one, am glad of that.

  • robert germanovich

    I agree with most but as an atheist in a family full of christian dogma and a family that has gone through bereavement quite recently, I don’t care when they say “in a better place”. I know it is silly but if the false idea that our grandparents are in heaven eases my mother’s pain, then I don’t need to deprive her of it. She isn’t teaching science or even working in a science field anywhere. I don’t need to prosyletize for atheism. I know it’s fact. I’m ok with that.

    • Blanche

      Notorious_bob, you are free to allow another person to think whatever s/he wants to think. You’re not a Christian, after all!

      • Notorious_bob

        yeah, if i were a christian(or other abrahamic religion, i would have to force my beliefs down the throats of all people.

  • Generator1971

    So, the religitards here somehow think that quoting scripture is a valid response to anything. Nearly 200,000 years of modern human evolution and people still believe in an invisible sky wizard & all the magical bullshit from a book that they don’t even take the time to read, let alone understand.

    This goes beyond 10 cliches… pretty much everything that Christians do & say is always attributed to a figment of their imagination and the arrogance of certainty with their childish beliefs in something that doesn’t have a single shred of evidence to validate it.

    • Colonel Homer

      I find your ideas interesting and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    • Loveoneanother

      Obviously, you have a lot of anger and pain in your life. That saddens me. I will pray for you.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=574401415 Denis Freeland

         See my post above regarding “I will pray for you” .

      • yipingpijou

        You know nothing of Generator’s life, Loveoneanother. Outside of his/her expression on this specific topic, the rest of his/her life may be filled with joy – there’s nothing ‘obvious’ about the amount of pain or anger. And frankly, responses like yours are part of the reason many atheists are beginning to be more outspoken. We’re tired of your sort claiming to have special insight into our emotional situation, denying the possibility that we simply feel no reason to believe in anything supernatural, and not understanding that we didn’t turn away from god because something bad happened to us.

        • Blanche

          yipingpijou is right – but it’s far more mean-spirited than yipingpijou’s analysis betrays. See, it’s not that these judgmental Christians think they have this great, deep, divinely-inspired insight into the hidden workings of nonbelievers’ psyches. No, it’s more a “poisoning of the well” tactic – to suggest that the nonbelievers are consumed with negative emotion and, thus, everyone can safely ignore them as they would ignore a homeless person ranting at thin air. It’s similar to the question, “So have you stopped beating your wife?” It’s a baseless but libelous accusation designed to effect the audience emotionally and turn them against the other person. If we nonbelievers are “angry,” then there must be a reason we feel that way, right? And that’s OBVIOUSLY because some Christian “hurt” us – it couldn’t possibly be that we thought long and hard about Christianity’s doctrines and tenets and rationally arrived at the conclusion that it was a big manipulative lie. That is the one bit of information they do not want the audience to ever see, so they try to distract with attacks and accusations.

    • Aquariuscomfort

      It would seem your anger and hatred say something more about yourself than the people you are angry at. Why do you have a need to discriminate and call people names that have done nothing to you. I am sorry fro you pain, but only you can do something about it.

    • Shreen

      Do you feel better about yourself when you make fun of others’ sincerely held beliefs? I’m sorry some Christians have upset you and that you think they are ridiculous. I’m sure many of your statements are based on experience and truth. But is it really helpful to call these people “religitards,” refer to their god/God as “an invisible sky wizard,” and label their beliefs “magical bullshit?”

      These unfortunate statements are why many of my Christian friends think anyone who is nonChristian is evil and vindictive. Perhaps atheists/those of religious/spiritual beliefs other than Christianity could take a lesson from this post and try to be as inoffensive as possible. :)

      • Blanche

        Shreen, I’m sure you’re correct about your Christian friends’ reactions. Have you ever thought about what atheists feel like being the last minority in the population that it is considered perfectly valid to discriminate against? Have you ever thought about how nonChristians feel after your Christian friends tell them they’re going to hell, or they’re immoral (because they aren’t Christians), or that they are obviously unpatriotic scoundrels who don’t deserve citizenship? What of Christians perhaps taking the lead in trying to be as inoffensive as possible? Plenty of room for improvement there, and there’s a jesussy reason Christians should try! There is FAR more abuse directed toward nonbelievers BY CHRISTIANS than the other way around. FAR more. What of “love thy neighbor and thy enemy” and forgiveness and mercy and all the rest of that jesus stuff you Christians seem to have no use for?

        Oh, and while we minorities are bending over backwards to try to avoid offending the privileged – and extremely sensitive and thin-skinned – majority Christians, perhaps those pampered, spoiled Christians can think for a moment why it is that Jesus told them it was their responsibility to provide for the poor and the homeless, yet it took tax-funded government programs to make a dent in poverty, homelessness, and malnutrition. Christians should be ashamed of themselves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-De-Fleuriot/611844223 Mike De Fleuriot

    Most things that Christian say can be answered with the following question.

    How do you know that?

    • Daniel Ault

      It’s called faith. Like he said in the article, ”
      If it could be empirically verified with facts or by using the scientific method, it wouldn’t be faith. It would be a theory.”  You don’t have to understand it or have it yourself, but you also don’t have to criticize those who have it.

      • Runningbeard

        Hmmm. Why can’t faith be criticized? Why is it off limits? Just asking..

        • JJ7212

          It’s not off limits.  Faith is the problem!  It deserves to be analyzed, questioned, and criticized because there is no reason to have faith other than another human behind said so.  No evidence, no legitimate or responsible reason for it.  If someone (meaning all religious people) don’t understand their own ‘faith’, then they have no say in our public schools or government.   They can sit down and shut up.  They’re BS is getting old and tiresome to the rest of us…

          • Blanche

            “there is no reason to have faith other than another human >>behind<<< said so. "

            Best. Typo. EVAR!!

      • Piet

         

        It’s called faith

        So ‘knowing’ is now the same as having ‘faith’?

        • Blanche Quizno

          Not according to the Bible:

          Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

          The rest of us call that “wishful thinking” :)

  • DicePlayGod

    Oh please. It isn’t the phrases that are objectionable. It’s the belief system.

    • http://twitter.com/KsImaginarium Karen Zimmerman

       YES!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Ross/566122633 Thomas Ross

       No, the belief system is fine. If you don’t believe me, then seek out the literature coming out of the Christian Left. If you ask any Christian, “what were Jesus two additional commandments to the O.T. 10?”, and they will all of them be able to tell you some paraphrase of 1) Love God, and 2) Love others. But the Christian Right majority stumbles over commandment #2 worse than any of the other 11, while the Christian Left exemplifies it. Where the Right goes wrong, is when they hear “love others”, and say, “BUT…!” and then quote other bible passages (usually Paul’s though there’s a quote in Mark that gets heavy usage too…but never a Jesus quote, imagine that!) that discuss loving correction, and not breaking bread with unrepentant sinners, etc., etc. They do not believe that true love can come without a wagging finger, that they are always a pair, the heart and the finger. They are wrong. As J.C. himself said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35) In other words, all Christians (who are each disciples of Christ) must love each other such that it is how the world knows of their Christianity. This puts the definition of “love” upon the world, not the Christians, and the rest of the world does not see a wagging finger as love.

      • Kathy Martin

         Saying “no” can be the most loving act of all….a truth that so often escapes the “Christian left”. 

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Ross/566122633 Thomas Ross

           As I said in my comment, that’s YOUR definition of love, NOT the world’s. Would you like to refute my interpretation of John 13:34-35? Feel free! It will be interesting to see if you can do it using only Jesus quotes.

          • http://www.christianvagabond.com/ Christian Vagabond

            Isn’t the whole point that we hold to God’s definition of love, not the world’s? Your challenge is juvenile, Thomas.

          • Kodie

             Then don’t expect anyone else to hold you in high regard. You can’t have it both ways. I can’t understand a god that would put anyone on this earth, as you would believe in, and wants anyone to use his definition of love, knowing that it comes off like a bludgeon to the world. If you are proud to be abrasive and off-putting because that makes you pious or something, or perhaps I’ve misunderstood, then I would like to see you justify that a so-called “loving” god would even bother to exist. To cause bitterness between people, to have awkward miscommunications, bad manners, a little obsessive thought patterns? Is that the best of the best coming through?

             

          • http://www.christianvagabond.com/ Christian Vagabond

            I’m not sure why how people feel about God matters. He either exists or He doesn’t, and appealing to the value of a Loving God is irrelevant to the question of His existence. that’s like saying that because Republicans are abrasive and off-putting, and their existence cannot be justified, then Republicans must not exist.

          • Kodie

            Unlike god, I can prove Republicans exist, and so can you. So that’s a poor analogy.

            For whatever reason people find this god comforting to know and believe in, there is no end to the justifications for things supposedly attributed to him. That he has a “plan” is insulting, not comforting. Someone in this thread even said that’s the most comforting thing you can say, and anyone who doesn’t understand that doesn’t fully understand or know god, putting the fault of the mis-step on the one who hears it and not the one who says it. That’s a pure example of adding insult to injury. What’s amazing to me is putting god above others, you (or someone else, I’m not sure) turn your back on them to please him. To be right is more important than to be compassionate. The situation dictates it.

            I don’t know too many atheists who want to tear god away from someone so bad that they will inform their friend at their time of greatest need that, guess what, god’s not coming to fix this. You find it comforting to believe god has a plan, in your time of grief, I will not attempt to disabuse you of that comforting thought.  Nothing would come between me and making sure you’re getting whatever you need, because it would be about you. I saw a slogan somewhere, “I represent god, [expletive].” It’s about not being a hypocrite. Wouldn’t the greatest worship be to attend to those in need instead of referring to your manual to justify your senseless and hurtful faux pas?

            I guess the matter of ‘existence’ I worded poorly, but if the god you understand is like a separate “person” (let’s say), with his own definition of love not shared by most humans, can you explain why such a being would create humans to deny other humans love as they understand it? Because being right about something is the purpose of living, the demonstration of a peculiar notion of what love is is more important than being loving, and you may wonder why Piatt wrote the list? As some critics here have written, it may have poor theology. That’s not the point. Christians who say these things are, how shall I put this, the guy with strong B-O and nobody tells him. Basically, you are defending the right to stink. CP’s doing all you Christians a solid, taking you aside like this, and the response is to say the bible says we’re supposed to rub our armpits with onions and sour milk and then go for a 5-mile run before attending a funeral. It’s IN the bi-i-i-i-bllllle.

          • Zaire Adams

            Christianity is not about comfort, it’s an adventure and true adventures, the truest stories are unpredictable and sometimes uncomfortable. 

            Think about current students heading into college that have been ruined by the whole “self-esteem” boosting done without their achieving anything because it makes people feel bad/uncomfortable.
            Think about how those students often become unteachable because they have no idea how to fail and have failed to build self-esteem on what it should be based on: achievements and striving. You SHOULD feel good after doing work, and that feeling should motivate more good word. 

            Lastly, can we please take the time to note that we are ALL humans. We all mess up. Christianity does not make someone perfect immediately. You have to work with God, with your neighbors, those close to you, and the Church to head towards that sort of perfection. People express love poorly in a number of ways and that hardly has anything to do with how God made things. We CHOSE and we CHOOSE certain things that help make us into who we are. If we note a fault, we can choose to fix it or not. If someone is aware of a mental disability and does not seek out help, they’ve chosen the path to further deterioration. 

            As you have said, you shouldn’t be proud for being abrasive and unfriendly, but those who are should not be condemned because they, like you and I, have their own things to work out and change. Any one of these “crazies” can end up becoming more loving if they choose it.

            Lastly, love is not just for feeling good, love is action. Sometimes love means breathing into the mouth of a plague infested man to help him. Sometimes it means telling your child “no.” Other times it means, allowing people their issues and still accepting them. It does not mean you cannot hate what they do nor does it mean you cannot share your disapproval. In fact, being dishonest about that is NOT loving. If we indeed have free will then the possibility of us doing the wrong thing has to be there and, if I am in the wrong, I would rather know it than fail to see myself as I am.

          • Kodie

            I’m pretty sure I was referring to some Christians’ defense in this thread over the cliches they were suggested not to use, particularly #1, which is my least favorite. Not just Christians say it – anyone who thinks this world has an unknown purpose to an unknown conscious force is prone to believe it when it helps them.

            But when you’re told how that comes off in practice, and you call the author an atheist or with bad theology or not a “true” Christian, you are making a conscious choice to discomfort people to serve your personal goals, i.e. for god and yourself. It’s not about you, it’s about them. (When I say ‘you’, I mean the general “you” not specifically you; I don’t know you). It becomes an earthly focus of political correctness and censorship, of all things, and religious freedom:

            Religious freedom to be as abrasive and selfish and inhumane as you want? What kind of god do you worship that would be his purpose? Or how he picks who gets in heaven?

            Clue: You don’t have to say everything that you think god wants you to say the first second you think of it. It’s a knee-jerk response, it’s not genuine. You intend to comfort or “love” (bizarrely), but you have bad manners and terrible timing.

            I don’t believe in god, which may have been obvious, I just think you all are a bunch of humans, as you say, but I don’t see the struggling to ‘get it’. I see in this thread people who are sure they already ‘got it’ and don’t care how other people feel or the impression others get of Christians by their social behavior which appears selfish instead of generous. You want to “win souls,” like a sales quota. It’s a little disgusting.           

          • Zaire Adams

            I would contend that knee-jerk responses can be just as well thought out and genuine as parsed out thoughts. I just tend to go more in the quieter parsing out realm when I speak. It is hard to judge tone over le interwebs when you do not know the other individual.
            I agreed that purposely doing such things is wrongheaded. I was merely advocating mercy, kindness, and understanding even for such people. Even Judas or Hitler have a chance to be saved (btw, I only bring up Judas because I watched Dracula 2000 recently. Love wes craven).
            It truly is NOT about you, which is one reason I think the Protestant tendency to over emphasize the individualistic aspects of faith can lead us astray. The “God and me” attitude is fertile ground for you to become a self-righteous prig or otherwise. I think remembering that you are all human, all fall short, and can be wrong is valuable. It is good to seek counsel from those who know better than you. If someone chastises you, give it some thought. Look at yourself. If they are wrong, then they are wrong.
            Have you read any Sartre? If so, maybe you agree that we are ultimately free. If you do agree with that, then we DO have that freedom (the one where we can be abrasive/selfish etc). From a Christian standpoint, the whole thing only makes sense if we CAN make free choices. It is not love if you don’t have to make the choice to love. I mean here that it is HARDLY admirable for someone to love something they cannot help but love. It is far more difficult to love that unruly gent who won’t shut up in the library while you are studying than your best friend.
            Christians worship a God that gave us a choice. The natural result was the possibility and, it appears, eventuality that we would start to fall short of the mark (i.e. sin). This was, to him, a price worth paying for the sake of us possibly becoming saints and something greater than our original form.
            I, in no way, ever said that you have to say everything you think God wants you to say. I just said we should still love and try to help/understand those who do. Some people are impulsive or don’t realize that certain courses of action would be preferable. I say love them anyway and help if you can. Again, people express love improperly all the time, we can be corrupted or do foolish things in the name of love. The Christian’s task is really to try and reverse this habit and learn the proper ways of loving. You can disagree with the assertions the Church makes in that regard, but that fact remains.
            Lastly, I want to say two things: 1. winning souls is not about a quota, though it has been twisted into that sort of thinking before. The winning souls is supposed to be an act of love. Just like it is an act of love to let your friend know that he is mistreating his girlfriend or what have you. People doing it wrong does not make the whole endeavor a “quota” situation. They are not counting the number of blacks, such as myself, and saying we have enough of those. Ultimately, the Christian is not the judge, so thinking along those lines is rather silly. 2. There ARE people struggling to get it and there ARE people who aren’t. However, that is something we can never truly know unless we know that person well and have had conversations with them regarding this. Even then, they could be lying, a fact you probably won’t know until years later, when nothing has changed. Not everyone who calls Christ Lord will make it to heaven. Their hearts are examined. Those who think they “got it” already put themselves in spiritual danger (though the opposite extreme of thinking you’re not doing ANYTHING right is just as dangerous). It means that they are likely not to listen or try to change, as they are “just fine.” They essentially stop on a certain point in the road and sit there. However, they can still change. The best state of mind, in my view, is to know you still have work to do but to be thankful for the strides you have made. I think it is humble thinking and something I am working on myself. We all have things to work on. I had to learn how to express my unpleasant feelings, because a person of my temperament is likely to NEVER say anything about their emotional state of being, however strongly they feel. I had to learn not to just dump on people when I can’t hold it in anymore, I had to learn to be more understanding when people don’t get what I am feeling etc.
            Sorry I took so long responding, I’m not good at the interwebs.

          • Blanche

            If, zai, as you claim, “we all mess up,” what if YOU have “messed up” in your belief and are actually flat-out, dead WRONG about this “God” nonsense? What if YOU are embracing complete RUBBISH? Or is it only OTHER PEOPLE who “all mess up” because they don’t believe just like YOU? Because they aren’t trying hard enough to be just like YOU??

          • Zai

            I am not quite sure as to why you are so focused on me (this is zai, but i’m having trouble logging in), nor am I sure I understand what you are exactly trying to get across here.
            To answer this barrage of questions:
            1. I very well could have things wrong, but I also am not worried about being right. I have seen that I don’t know enough to be right on everything and have trusted an authority higher than myself. Could I have trusted the wrong authority? Possibly, but that has little to do with anything. If it turns out to be the wrong authority, I hope that I figure it out and I hope that everyone does the same.
            2. I do not know why you assume I’m a self-righteous prig. I see nothing that I said that was so objectionable, but then, I do not understand what I am being fussed at about.
            3. Actually, there is no 3…

          • Blanche

            Sure, Christian Vagabone, either God exists or It doesn’t. But there’s no evidence to show It exists, so it’s safe to assume It doesn’t, just like unicorns and fairies and Easter Bunnies don’t exist. Want me to change my mind? Show me the evidence! But you can’t – there is none! So first off, we can’t even establish that your Imaginary Friend exists – and you want us to allow YOU to tell us what its attributes and preferences are, when you can’t even prove it exists? Such hubris! Such presumption! No, sir! No!

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

            With due respect, we’re not doing our job if the world doesn’t hate us. There are very few people who reject the Gospel peacefully; most either embrace it, accept it but fail to live up to it, or attack it.

          • Blanche

            So, Andrew Patton, everyone who is “hated” by the world is doin it rite? REALLY?? Because I can go out and be an utter ponce and cause people to hate me. Does that mean I’m in possession of transcendental truths? Think about that.

            Most Americans hate Muslims. Does that mean that Muslims are doin it rite? That Westboro Baptist Church is the only Christian sect doin it rite, because most people hate THEM? Do you pause for even a nanosecond to think about what you’re saying here, or do you just blather it unthinkingly like a parrot?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Ross/566122633 Thomas Ross

            You call my challenge juvenile because you can’t do it. And…you want to refute the very words of J.C. himself about a love that the world can recognize, by saying we are to hold to God’s definition of love?? J.C. is God, so that makes no sense at all, Christian Vagabond.

          • Blanche Quizno

            Whatever, ithinktoomuch. If your “God” exists, it’s the worst deadbeat dad that ever existed. Think about it – I’m your dad, but I’m going to leave before you’re born. I will have no further contact with you – no letters, no gifts, no phone calls, and of course no visits! I’ll leave behind a book that’s vague, self-contradictory, and objectively false in too many places, and if you can’t somehow discern what I want you to understand from that, I’m going to torture you for all eternity because you didn’t try hard enough to have a relationship with me.

            Doesn’t look quite so transcendent when we put it in human terms, now does it?

        • Blanche

          “Saying “no” can be the most loving act of all….a truth that so often escapes the “Christian left”. ”

          “Are you ready to acceptjesusasyourpersonalsavior?”

          “No.”

          Pwned.

      • cleanvoice

        Christian Left? Christian Right?  Holy Smokes, there’s your problem, slice and dice it all up into tiny little bits and you’ve not much faith left.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Ross/566122633 Thomas Ross

           That’s how I feel about the Christian Right…not much faith left, just a whole bunch of hate. And I’m not the only one, either. Over the past thirty years, the percentage of Christian youth who retained their faith upon leaving home has dropped from 60% to 40%. And more young people are atheists than ever before, from 1 in 6, to 1 in 3 today. It’s very sad.

          • Sharp

            But Thomas, they are leaving the “Left” churches in droves, too, because those churches are allergic to the supernatural and to revealed truth. They can get just as much spiritual impact from joining a charity. Part of the problem comes from compartmentalization. As you point out, the Right loves to hammer away at the first commandment with lip service to the second. But the Left simply does the exact opposite. James restates those two commandments in his declaration that “Pure and undefiled religion is this: To help orphans and widows in their troubles and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” Christians must do both. We must be holy toward others and holy toward God. Both “sides” want to favor one commandment over the other. One side is a bunch of self-righteous, controlling prigs and the other is a bunch of anything-goes charities that are indistinguishable from the Rotary Club. The church must esteem all people as precious and care for their minds, bodies, and spirits. But that can only be done fully and truthfully by unapologetically pointing to Jesus Christ as the way. There is no either/or.

          • Blanche

            Sharp, they’re leaving ALL churches in droves. The supernatural is ignorant superstition – nothing more. Modern people realize this. So if that’s what you’re counting on to sell your private club – I mean “church” – that’s a really lame marketing strategy. Christianity is silly and primitive – that’s why it’s unpopular. It doesn’t help that Christians tend to be control-freaky judgmental idiots, either. Statistically, Christian attitudes are the most hateful and brutal toward the poor. Christians are the most conservative, a pernicious strategy in a country whose history includes the most fundamental human rights abuses – slavery. No, sticking with “the old ways” is losertalk – and that’s all we hear from Christians. Intolerant religion is worse than useless, and even the jesus could not envision any government system other than a monarchy. No statement of fundamental human rights anywhere in the Bible, you’ll notice. We’ve outgrown the Abrahamic religions – they cause nothing but trouble now.

          • Blanche

            “Sad”?? Hardly! It’s cause for rejoicing. People are outgrowing childish superstition and growing up. And there’s no turning back – you can’t return to belief in Santa Claus once you’ve outgrown it, can you? Christianity is done for.

      • Lana22252

        cant take the abuse of the christian right   its one big ego trip to me designed to justify abuse   they use christianity like a sociopath would   blame blame blame  i think its demonic

        • Blanche

          “i think its demonic”

          Guess what, Lana 22252? “Demons” don’t exist. You’re really, REALLY stupid and superstitious if you think they do.

      • Zaire Adams

        Everyone trips over those two commandments and remember that Christ came to fulfill the law, not destroy it. The ten commandments can indeed be put into those two maxims 1. Love God. 2. Love Neighbor (the other). If you love your neighbor, you won’t attempt to steal someone’s wife or girlfriend; If you love you neighbor, you won’t covet and steal from them.

        The scripture in John is simply another way of saying that. The commandment is “new” but not really. Remember, John was written a bit later and is more theologically robust than the synoptics. It also has a more literary style at times. Even then, the “new” commandment must necessarily contain all other commandments and moral laws, as these are signs of love. 

        Finally, the breaking of the bread comment in Paul is likely referring to the Eucharist as it was understood by the early Church, up until the Reformation. It was/is truly Christ’s blood and body. The breaking of bread is often used to describe that sacramental meal. If a sinner is unrepentant, then they break the bread unworthily, thereby doing themselves (first and foremost) and their neighbors harm (through scandal or leading others into the belief that their behave does NOT matter when it clearly does).

        If it is as I have laid out, and it would appear to be as such, then not breaking bread (i.e. sharing Christ’s body and blood) with someone who will not or has not repented is LOVING them. It is really rather silly that we think chastisement or punishment indicates any lack of love on the party that is doing it. Sometimes, the chastisement is wrongheaded and done improperly, but let us allow ourselves to have faults (though we should never be satisfied with said faults and sins. Christianity is ultimately about completely changing).

        So, I would say that–right or left–wing does not really matter and that the answers likely lie somewhere in the middle. Polarizing is rarely profitable. The left does wrong in their own way: being too indulgent in people’s sins. the right does wrong because they are too stringent on condemning people for their sins. That isn’t even their job. 

        • Starrise

           “It is really rather silly that we think chastisement or punishment indicates any lack of love on the party that is doing it.”

          This is the excuse the Inquisition gave for torturing people and then burning them alive.  What’s YOUR excuse?

          On the main topic, the cliches:  I find “your personal savior” to be a really, really offensive phrase. When someone uses it to me I always want to say, “Sure, Jesus can get in line with my personal manicurist and my personal shopper.”

          • Zaire Adams

            Torturing is cruel and wrong, punishment need not be cruel. It is punishment to put a child in time out or telling one of your students that they need to sit down and shut up when they are disrupting the whole class.
            Additionally, erring in one direction does not mean going to the other extreme is the answer. I think Aristotle is right when he says virtue is often found in the mean.
            I don’t think that phrase is offensive, but I do think it over emphasizes individuality at the expense of the union of Christ’s body. This is related to the erroneous Calvinist idea that anyone can pick up the Bible and get everything correct about it without looking at other thoughts etc. The Holy Spirit is supposed to speak to you. But, judging from all the Protestant churches (many of which I attended in my youth), the Holy Spirit is confused.
            Sorry it took a while to respond, I had no idea how to find these things…interweb fail.

          • Andrew Patton

            Think of the Eucharist as a medicine that has a warning label saying, “Do not use with alcohol,” and think of the unrepentant sinner as a drunk person. The warning label is there for a reason- someone who mixes that medicine with alcohol could suffer a bad reaction or even die from doing so. No matter how badly the drunk person needs that medicine, he needs to sober up before it’s safe to give it to him, and the most loving thing to do is to keep it away from him until he sobers up.

    • Phil

      As a follower of Christ I make many misstakes, but tell me I have no freedom to believe what ive found to be true. It might be fun to vent your anger at someone you dissagree with but we as you deserve to be treated with respect so do i

  • RichardSpeaks

    This all borders on blasphemy and heresy. Thanks. We need it. Time for the ‘Faithful’ to step off the arrogant bandwagon and do as Jesus suggested: Do unto the least and you will be doing it unto me. As St. Francis of Assisi purportedly said, “It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless your walking is your preaching.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bonch-Nifkin/12333070 Bonch Nifkin

    Although I see this person trying very hard to smooth out the tension and misunderstandings between Christians and Atheists (maybe even Agnostics), it doesn’t change the fact that religion still exists. The truth is we don’t need it anymore. We have a sophisticated method of finding answers to difficult questions, and we now understand the world much better than we did thousands, even hundreds, of years ago. So, why we still have a faith system is beyond me. Logic kind of defeated faith thanks to modern science.
    Clinging to past traditions and fallacies does no one any good and is an extreme insult to humankind for all of our intellectual advancements and technology.

    • Mtodd22

      I hear you man. The institutions created by man have started to become detrimental to the progress. My only reservation is that I can’t accept the fact that there would be nothing after this life. I enjoy surviving and living. I would like to think that I would contain an eternal consciousness. I can’t prove it and to tell you the truth, there’s the chance I’m wrong. I also can’t accept the fact that certain aspects of life we all thirst for is not real, such as love, justice, mercy, trust, etc. These are very real to me. But again, these things like justice might not even exist. Nonetheless, Jesus gives a great example to live as a fellow human in a world full of gray areas. He operated on the margins of life and I can trust that. If I happen to be wrong about everything, well at least I helped some folks on the way. I have no answers only a hope that theres more. And if theres not, I guess it won’t matter in a 100 years, at least for me.

      • Slade

        Sort of a lukewarm Pascal’s Wager argument you have there (which could also be added to the list BTW).  Justice, mercy, love, trust – these are concepts that exist in your mind, just like god(s).

      • Blanche

        “My only reservation is that I can’t accept the fact that there would be nothing after this life.”

        Your ability to accept reality (or not) does not change reality.

        “Nonetheless, Jesus gives a great example to live as a fellow human in a world full of gray areas.”

        Not so much. This is what people who have only heard the Christian mythology say. Here’s what the Gospels say:

        “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26

        “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” – Luke 19:27

        Just a couple of examples. Jesus had no concept of basic human rights, could only conceive of monarchy as a governmental system, and had no problem whatsoever with the institution of slavery. If you read the New Testament, you’ll see this. The “Jesus” in the Gospels is VERY different from what Christians will tell you “Jesus” is.

      • Blanche

        “The institutions created by man have started to become detrimental to the progress.”

        STARTED TO?? Judaism, and, by extension, Christianity and Islam, are the product of civilization – what does Cain do after being driven off for murdering his brother Abel? Builds a city! So the earliest narrative we have belongs to a rather late stage of civilization – and civilization is a very recent development in human history.

        The earliest religions, the religions of the hunter/gatherer groups, are egalitarian – there are still enough of these groups around that we can study their cultures. Their gods are basically their peers – they can be negotiated with, even punished if they don’t produce the results expected of them. It is only after civilization provided the means for a few to accumulate power and wealth that we see monarchies form, where it is a person’s pedigree that determines his status in society. The Abrahamic religions are all based on monarchies – cultures develop religions that reflect those cultures. So it wasn’t until monarchies developed that something like Christianity could develop.

        And now that it’s Christmastime, think of the scenario where everybody is expected to fawn and gush over the ruler’s baby – instead of focusing on their OWN babies. It’s obscene! We fought a war 300+ years ago to free ourselves from the tyranny of a monarchy, yet Christianity cannot envision anything but. Look at most of the supposed Jesus’s parables – most involve an all-powerful boss/ruler/king/owner who does whatever he likes to the hapless employees/serfs/slaves under his power – to the point of whipping them, mutilating them, even killing them! Jesus had no understanding of basic human rights, and the concepts of democracy and republic were way beyond the ability of his primitive and simple mind to grasp.

        Why do people think we can gain wisdom for going forward by looking backward? We are facing realities that even the Founding Fathers were never able to imagine, to say nothing of filthy, primitive desert dwellers who didn’t know enough to keep their sewage out of their drinking water! Why should we imagine those simpletons were in possession of some sort of transcendental truths, when in fact they didn’t even understand that microscopic organisms cause illness or that one could protect one’s health by boiling one’s drinking water??

      • Blanche

        “He operated on the margins of life and I can trust that. ”

        How can you “trust that” when so much of the Gospels can be proven to be nonhistorical? When “Jesus” was unknown to history and only introduced in theological discourses written by and for Christians? That’s like looking at advertising materials and saying that they couldn’t possibly be portraying anything but the truth – if you use that product, you WILL become more attractive, more wealthy, more popular, and you will enjoy more sexytime!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/CSULAguy Eduardo Ramirez

    Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. 1 Peter2:17 For those call themselves Christians and calling their brothers fundtrolls or whatever name. We are called to honor every one, that doesn’t mean we have to agree with them or their lifestyles. 

    • Blanche

      How are “their lifestyles” any of YOUR business?

      “Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler;”

      “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.”

      “For let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil-doer, or as a meddler in other men’s matters:” – 1 Peter 4:15 (various translations)

      Ah, but that’s all post-Jesus we-have-no-idea-who-actually-wrote-this. What did the Jesus you supposedly worship and love more than anything else full stop have to say about whether or not you “agree with them or their lifestyles”?

      “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” – Matthew 18:21-22

      “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:1-5

      Thou hypocrite, discarding and disdaining the supposed teachings of your supposed man-god in favor of something that sounds more appealing. Who is it you follow again, thou hypocrite?

      Oh, and a few similar messages from GOD HIMSELF:

      “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” – Leviticus 19:18

      IF you ever get to “heaven”, and it’s anything like Christians like to say it is, you’re going to have some ‘splainin’ to do. But that’s a really big “if”…

      • EDDIE RAMIREZ

        I didn’t ,in my comment, say that I was either meddling or judging. Rather I was reminding those who call themselves christians to honor everyone but that doesn’t mean approval, same thing with love, you can love someone and not agree with their choices or lifestyle. In America, it seems Anglos want double meaning in every word love means this and that,love means that I care for regardless of what I feel you’ve come short of. loving unconditional does not mean we check our brains at the door. Judgement occurs when we have called out people and choose to exact a punishment.

      • EDDIE RAMIREZ

        Wow talking about missing my point, it clear states that we should honor peoples worth, but not accept their claims as to whom they think they are. We should strive to show them how God wants them to live not how they think they should. We don’t do this by pointing out their lifestyles rather it comes up when their lifestyle contradicts Christian living.

  • Juli

    Like like like like like!

  • guest

    All  religion  is about  is control.  control  of your thoughts,  actions,  and your  money. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/aleisha.tobin Aleisha Tobin

     As an atheist reading this article, I found it quite well written and well thought out. I, myself have heard a variation of every one of these phrases on countless occasions.

    • BigCountry602

      Me too. Drives me nuckin futs. I think that “You can’t be a moral person wothout god.” should be included.

      • http://www.facebook.com/aleisha.tobin Aleisha Tobin

         Ah, that one should be right up near the top. Nothing says more about the asker’s own moral values other than ‘Well, I would’ve killed you by now, but I don’t think god would approve of that…”

    • Mark R

      As a Christian reading this article, Aleisha, I agree. Christianity and the church has developed a country club with its own language.

  • Piet Puk

    Great list, sadly recognizable.
    I think the worst cliche is missing; ”I will pray for you”. To me this simply means: “I will never ever take the courage and time to take you seriously and really listen to what you have to say.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1578612548 Nathan Valentine

       Thanks for adding that about Prayer: To me, they use it like a get out of jail free/ I dont actually have to take any action now card. “I’ll pray for you” = “I’m not actually going to pitch in or give of myself to help you.” (obviously I dont apply this to a response to being sick…but you get the picture.

      • The_L1985

        It also depends. Sometimes a person has a terminal condition, and is already receiving every treatment known to current medical science. At that point, survival is down to pure luck, and prayer is just about the only appropriate response left (at least, for a religious person).

        • Blanche Quizno

          Prayer: How to do *nothing* and still say you’re helping.

    • Mark R

      While it may not entirely true, someone told me recently that say “I will pray for you” is the equivalent of flipping the middle finger.  Fairly accurate.

      If in person or on the phone, I like to pray with them at that moment.

      • Scheeseman

         I cannot bear when a family member says they would like to pray for me and then immediately starts praying … over the phone or in person.  It makes my blood boil.  It is disrespectful, arrogant and rude, especially when they know my feelings about this. 

        • Tina

          A friend of mine, when someone asks her to pray for them, does so right there and then because she believes that if it’s important enough for the person to ask, it’s important for her to do it instead of just saying, “I’ll do it.” 

          However, Scheeseman, if your family knows your feelings about prayer and they do so in front of you anyway, then I can understand why it would make your blood boil.  If it were me, and I didn’t know the person, I’d ask, “Is it OK if I pray for you right now?”  and then respect the answer, whether yes or no.

          • Blanche Quizno

            A retired preacher (not sure what denomination, but quite fundamentalist and dour) told me just a coupla months ago about how, when he was still pastoring, this woman, deathly ill with multiple sclerosis (or something) called and asked if the church would pray for her.

            He scheduled the prayer to start at 10 PM, BECAUSE HE DIDN’T WANT TO MISS THE TV SHOW HE LIKED AT 9 PM! He then said that the hospital reported that, right at 10 PM, she started getting better and by morning, she was completely cured.

            I told him I didn’t believe it, and besides, what is called “spontaneous remission” happens in all sorts of illnesses, to all sorts of people. If there were a Christian prayer connection, it would show up statistically – we’d see studies showing that Christians live longer, heal more quickly and more spontaneously, etc. etc. etc.

            But we don’t.

            In any case, why should I take HIS account as *ahem* “gospel”? He ended up by saying, “Well, at least I know where *I*’m going when I die.” No, ya don’t, dickweed.

      • The_L1985

        It also depends on what else, if anything, they are doing, and the circumstances in which they’re saying it.

        “I just found out that I have cancer in the splagnoglots.* I’ll be undergoing chemo for X months, but they’re not sure how long I have to live.”

        “Oh, how awful! I’ll be praying for you.” –GOOD use of “I’ll pray for you.”

        “You should accept Jesus as your personal lord and savior.”

        “I’m sorry, but as an atheist, I just don’t accept the existence of any gods as true.”

        “You need to get right with God! I’ll be praying for you!!” –Prayer-as-middle-finger; BAD use of “I’ll pray for you.”

        * Totally not a made-up body part.

        • Blanche

          Upon reading this post, I felt an unexpected tingling in my splagnoglots. True story.

    • Mack R

       A famous comedian/entertainer/icon in our country just died from either pneumonia or pulmonary disease. He was hospitalized for days before, and people were like “A prayer can move mountains for him” and such. Well, sadly that didn’t save him. And now people are going “Let us pray for his soul” bla bla bla usual Christian stuff said when someone dies. And I’m going WTF?

      • Blanche

        Yeah, these stupid Mormons sent around an email to our homeschooling list (which included non-Christians – go figure) asking us all to “pray and fast” for some bigoted unpleasant Big Mormon Cheese I didn’t care about’s illness. He was some old fart with some predictable disease. So how is my NOT eating a cheeseburger supposed to help him? Hmmm…??

    • The_L1985

      Depends. Are they also doing something else? Is there anything physical to be done?

  • Mary

    I can tell you that when I am going through a hard time the words I need to hear are not platitudes. What I need is a hug and the question “What can I do to help?” The most religious people in my family have never done that. I would take their religion a lot more seriously if I actually saw them behaving Christ-like.

    “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

    I hope that some of the critical Christians on here would stop debating dogma and instead listen to what people actually need from you. We don’t need to be “saved”, we need to be CHERISHED.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000529565379 David Spencer

    Love it!  I’ve never actually said any of these things to anyone (Episcopalians are much too discreet about their Christianity), but it’s good to know how to respond if you are on the receiving end of one of these comments!

  • Phillips Sarah89

    When my son died, I heard all the platitudes.  One of the most painful was some variation of the “this was God’s plan” phrase.  I remember my husband exploding in anger saying, “what the hell kind of plan is that?”  What kind of plan would wrench a happy, healthy sixteen year old boy from his loving parents? I always got the feeling that God was cheering us on when we reacted angrily to those words and sentiments that were not His own.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-Janes-Howe/1591152967 Mary Janes Howe

      I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child, especially one so young, so I won’t say I know how you feel, because how could I?  I’ve never gone through that.  I do remember when my favorite uncle committed suicide at the age of 37.  I heard the God’s plan thing too. I was 17 at the time and I remember it really being one of those things that pushed me away from religion.  Why would God plan for my uncle to kill himself?  

      • MzVenus

        People need to realize that things DO just happen for no good reason. For the simple fact that this is NO LONGER PARADISE. We are in an imperfect world & imperfect things happen. Whether fair or unfair, good or bad, understandable or just plain BIZARRE…it’s just something we have no control over. I lost one of my older brothers (from Sickle Cell Disease) when I was 9, and my younger brother (victim of car vs pedestrian) when I was 21. Ironically, they were BOTH 16 at the age of their deaths. Do you know how many people tried to make that a “sign from God”? It was INFURIATING! It was like they were sitting there saying that God was just trying to come up with ways to torture us or something. THAT’S NOT the kind of God I serve!!! Did I develop a remarkable kind of strength that most people my age didn’t have? YES! Because I was open to God’s love & comfort. If I had listened to THOSE people, I probably would have hated God and turned into a total wreck! Sometimes people just need to SHUT UP & just hold/hug a person.

        • jozie

          There is much ignorance in the world…Why God get’s the bad rap I’ll
          never understand. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden,
          the very first thing God did was have compassion on them in their shame
          and nakedness, He drew first blood and sewed garments out of skin…Not
          yell or condemn them first for sinning against a Holy God…God is Love, God is Just and Fair, God is Truth and Grace…Run to Him b/c He cares for you and He understands … How? b/c Jesus suffered in every-way imaginable and unimaginable, something we can never really grasp nor experience a depth of suffering in quite the same way so cling to that when you don’t understand why something bad happens. You are Loved and Valued by a Holy and Righteous God <3

    • Cynthia Beard

      So sorry for your loss, and your sentiments are so true. 

    • Caroline

      I’m so sorry you lost your baby at such an age. It’s awful and there isn’t much anyone can say to make it better, but so much they could say to make it worse. Enter the platitudes about plans to do just that. If that’s a plan then I don’t want to know who made it.

      I see it as an excuse to bring the attention back to the faith rather than the person you’re mourning. I’ve been to funerals where more was said about Jesus than the person being buried and it enraged me. It made me angry when I knew at least one of the people being buried and ignored in favour of Jesus actually didn’t give a crap about god or the Bible. I wanted to hear about their lives and accomplishments and whose lives they touched, not some scriptures about people who may or may not have existed a couple of millenia ago.
      When we were all around my grandmother’s bed as she died, some priest squeezed my arms and said she was in a better place and I just wanted to punch him. I don’t normally just want to punch people but that priest’s empty statements about something that means nothing to me felt emotionally hollow and patronising and wrong. He didn’t seem to have any interest in her or the people grieving, just about mentioning some stupid belief in a place the good people go when they die.  I don’t buy that crap at all and it helps noone. It would have been more helpful if he had just been there and silently comforted people.
       

      • Phillips Sarah89

        I made a list of all the “unhelpful” things that were said to us after our son died and it was long.  I realized after awhile that the people who were saying them were frightened and trying to make sense of it all.  The folks who were most helpful were those who I think were most Christ-like in thier response. They were silent, they listened, they hugged.  They caught me when I passed out from sorrow at the cemetery as my beautiful son was lowered into the ground. They fed me.  They still remember. They helped keep the embers of my faith alive simply by being themselves.

        • Johnny Sharp

          I have lost a child as well. I did not grow angry at people who suggested it might be part of a plan, that there might be some reason for it. We must remember that – to some people – this idea IS a huge comfort. For them, it means their loss was a not a random, senseless tragedy but will ultimately bring about good in some way. For them, it would be a heartless, callous thing to take that belief away from them. So we must be careful that we don’t crush the thing that they are hanging onto for comfort. To some, it may make God look like a ruthless sadist inflicting arbitrary pain on us. To others, it makes them feel that He is in control and will make everything work out for good in the end.

          We must remember that on at least one occasion, Jesus said a middle-aged man was born blind so that God could be glorified when Jesus healed him. Jesus said there was a God-ordained reason for the man’s disability and his lifetime of begging in the streets. He said it wasn’t because the man sinned or because his parents sinned. But it also wasn’t because God sinned in purposely allowing him be born that way. That may be hard to digest. But reality sometimes is.

          • yipingpijou

            It’ s not just hard to digest, Johnny. A god who causes suffering so that he can be glorified is unworthy of worship. Period.

          • anonymousGuest

            yipingpijou has a point here and I disagree with the premise that God caused him to be born blind so that he could be healed.  Translations from Greek sometimes add words to clarify the meaning and occasionally unintentionally change it’s meaning.  For an explanation of this verse see: http://grace.allpurposeguru.com/2012/03/the-man-born-blind-discuss-or-heal/  
             There is a difference between what God causes and allows.  God didn’t cause Hitler to kill millions of people nor did He cause you to write your response.  The classic free will arguments could be made here.  
            However, what I do find most interesting is how (I assume?) a non believing person expresses just as much outrage at perceived injustice as a believer does.  Why is this?  Where does this standard of justice shared by humanity come from?

          • yipingpijou

            You’re right – I am a non-theist.  And my standard of justice comes from the same source as a theist’s – each other.

            Morality is worked out in community over time. I’ve had this discussion more times than I care to count, so I’ll hit some very brief highlight responses to what are likely to be your questions or claims.

            A. Yes, this means ethics are situational, not constant – that goes for religious and non-religious folk alike. For a terrific example of situational ethics, read the bible. Killing is wrong, except when it’s not. (And no, the ten commandments bit does not distinguish murder from justifiable homicide. It says no killing. Period. Reconcile that with the killing commanded by god and you’ve got a case of situational ethics.)

            B. No, christian morals are not superior to non-christian morals. In general, a modern American christian has more in common morality-wise with a modern American atheist than they do with a middle-ages christian. We both probably believe slavery is wrong, are against burning people at the stake, accept as natural the right of women to own property or vote, etc. This is part of what I meant when I said we work out our morality together in community. It’s an oversimplification, but things are generally moral or not if they contribute to the success of the society. We are social animals. Relationships are a core element of humanity.

            C. Atheists are demonstrably at least as moral as religious folk. (http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2012/04/30/religionandgenerosity/, http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-do-americans-still-dislike-atheists/2011/02/18/AFqgnwGF_story.html, etc.)

            D. Among the non-religious folk I know, as a rule, we understand that all we know for sure is that we have this one life. No do-overs. No second chances. We want to do it right for the sake of each other, our children, etc. No need for higher powers or threats or rewards later on.

            E. The rainbow doesn’t lose its beauty just because we understand how light refracts through the water drops. (That was for the part where someone inevitably drops in some non-sequiter circular argument about knowing god is real because they believe in god or something like that).

          • Tucked in the Bass

            yiping, Actually the original language does specify “murder,” not “killing.” It’s a poor translation that uses “killing.” The original Hebrew specifically uses “ratsach,” which indicates a malicious (as opposed to dispassionate or defensive) killing.

            Modern translations tend to translate the commandment as something akin to “Thou shalt not do no murder.”

          • yipingpijou

            Actually, ‘ratsach’ does not specifically mean murder. Throughout the old testament, the context in which this word is used makes it clear that it referes to all kinds of mortal wounds, both intentional and accidental. (http://www.crivoice.org/terms/t-kill.html)

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

            But it is never used to mean justifiable homicide or capital punishment. It is only used for murder and manslaughter, both of which were crimes: murder carried the death penalty, and manslaughter carried the penalty of exile to a city of refuge for the rest of the life of the current high priest, under pain of death for violating the exile or tarrying to the city of refuge. In both cases, the sentence was non-negotiable: the murderer would be put to death and be given no chance to bargain for his life, nor could the one guilty of manslaughter strike any deal for early release from his exile.

          • Blanche

            Well, the problem there, Tucked in the Bass, is that we as a group can define “murder” or, for that matter, “lawful killing” in any way we choose. The Church defined “lawful killing” as torturing people to death and burning them at the stake for having beliefs that deviated to whatever miniscule degree from what the Church had decided was “orthodoxy” at that point in time – and this savagery persisted for hundred of years! With the Church’s blessing! So that bit about “Thou shalt do no murder” is worse than useless – any “god” worthy of the name would have foreseen the Inquisition and caused something a bit more meaningful and straightforward to have been written as a commandment.

          • Lee

            Yes..and the penalty for breaking ANY of the commandments was…murder.

            People like to ignore or justify all the bloodshed in the OT and claim that the Church(es) made mistakes in interpretation., particularly the Catholics. The problem being that you can’t harmonize the OT and NT without causing problems and the “stick your head in the sand” approach of Christians by saying that the OT doesn’t matter doesn’t work. Christinaity would have been better off if they had dumped the OT altogether, plus Revelation.

            Revelation pretty much negates the peaceful message of Jesus since he enacts bloody revenge on everyone. This of course was a way of trying to explain the fact that the “Messiah” did not overthrow the Roman Empire as was expected. It was postponed until his return. The fact that it was refering to the Roman Empire is clear when both Jesus and Paul said that he would return within his followers lifetime.

            At least the gnostics had a better solution to the God hates/loves everyone by saying that the God of the OT was an inferior God, not the true one. But since they were free-spirited and believed God was accessable to everyone they did not stand a chance of surviving as an institution. Religion is based on controlling others, particularly politically.

            Religious abuses happen when people refuse to learn from the past. Supposedly in the New World everyone wanted and had relgious freedom, except for the Puritans killing the Quakers and enacting amongst themselves the same OT death penalties for anything and everything. Other factions imprisoned those who belonged to a different denomination or religion. It was really Thomas Jefferson who helped turn things around to make sure that people were treated fairly no matter what their belief system was.

            I am not an atheist but I am not a religionist either. My sister complained to me recently that it was irrational for atheists to be so bitter and angry about religion. But I do understand because no matter how you slice it, parts of the bible are horrifically immoral and yet God approves of it. While it may be true that people can belong to very good churches that would never dream of hurting others. the fact is that the theology is fundamentally flawed and so the “dark side” can slip out easily. Until they can deal with that element then Christianity can be dangerous.

            Much of Christianity is not love-based, but fear-based. Fear of going to hell or being punished on earth for tolerating those “evil” secularists. A religion that teaches you to not trust the world around you is destructive and devisive and at its worst, leads to killing and wars.

            This is really a case of people fighting their own shadows, projecting onto others what they can’t accept in themselves. We created a God in our image.The only redemption is to deal with ourselves first.

          • Blanche

            Thomas Jefferson expected everyone to become Unitarians, but that movement didn’t end up growing as he would have liked to see. I was just reading an interesting book excerpt – Tocqueville’s Civil Religion by Kessler – I think you’ll like the, what, 10 pages or so that are available for preview reading. He mentions Jefferson’s views.

            One of the biggest problems with claiming the OT as a chassis for Christianity, IMHO, is the claim that all its covenants have been invalidated for the new, human-sacrificey, pseudocannibalistic godman religion. Problem is, God supposedly describes these covenants as “eternal, everlasting, permanent, never-ending, forever.” If you’ve got a God that breaks Its promises, you’ve got a God that can’t be trusted, and you’ve got a dilly of a theological pickle.

            Also, Christianity, being intolerant, needs the damned in order to have the saved. Many churches have backed off from this, but it’s still there, lurking in the shadows. What good is a reward if everyone gets it??

            As to your point about the gnostics and “they did not stand a chance of surviving as an institution”, I think we’re seeing a popular resurgence. The Millennial generation, the largest EVER, is the least likely to be found joining/attending churches, yet they consider themselves very spiritual and often Christian. For them, the religion is what they feel it to be, not what someone has dictated that it is. I think this is a return to earlier hunter-gatherer norms (OUR norms) – since we’ve introduced personal protections via secular law, the church can no longer brutalize the populace into submission, which was the goal. Notice that the Bible starts off with Cain, once banished, going off to found a city! This is a belief system absolutely rooted in civilization, which is very new on the human developmental scale. Increased urbanization has made ever more choices available, so the church can’t hold shunning and ostracization over people’s heads like a club any more. Don’t like this church? Go to THAT one! Or join a nonreligious book club! Or whatever! Now that people are free to choose from many social options, they are NOT opting for the church. This is an extremely important and entirely unprecedented development in modern times. I think the nearest equivalent would be the Cathars, whose “heresy” of direct connection to God (no priests required) was threatening enough to the Church to send a crusade to wipe them out (“Kill them all – God will know his own”) and the more recent Quakers. Good changes all – the Millennials are also far more concerned with social justice and the welfare of the poor than churchgoers. If I don’t hear from you again, I’ll go ahead and wish you happy holidays!

          • Lee

            Thank you for your input. I did not know that about Thomas Jefferson. I had heard that he attended Unitarian churches from time to time though. I admire him in many ways, except for the fact that he owned slaves…sigh. All our heroes are flawed but he did write the Virginia Act of Religious Freedom. I’ll have to read your reference you gave me.

            Yes I know very well about the Old Covenant/New Covenant (I am a former fundie). After having backed off from it I can see how illogical it is. I have posed this dilema to many Christians and have yet to get a good answer. The fact is that God in the Bible DID CHANGE, if you take it literally. But of course it was man’s perceptions of God that changed. I believe that God stubbornly resists our attempts to put him in a box. But progressing to a kinder view of God I think is progress, but they forgot to get rid of the mean one first.

            I have confused more than one person when I tell them that they must believe in situational eithics. “What are you talking about?” “Well murder is wrong don’t you think? “Of course” “So it would be a horrible sin to murder your child?” “Of course!” “But God says to murder disobedient children.” Most of them don’t even know it is there or else they just say God’s ways are mysterious and we should not question. *FACEPALM*

            I have noticed that many Christians are perfectly happy to leave much of the OT in the dust…except of course when it serves their own purposes. Then they dust it off and claim it still applies.

            A good observation about how the saved need the damned to define themselves and determine who is worthy. And God needs Satan to define himself (metaphorically). I do not know whether you are familiar with Carl Jung and archetypal psychology but basically the battle of good vs. evil is often manefested in spontaneos religious and cultural symbols. Maybe you have heard of Joseph Cambell. He wrote several books on Greek mythology and what the stories represented.

            Yes I think it is a good move that many people have a more ecletic religious point of view than before. Most people believe in God in some fashion and many atheists believe in good ideals that are separated from dogma. Many ideals, such as helping the poor or being kinder to your fellow man, are shared by both the religious and non-religious alike.

            Perhaps all the cultural wars are simply the birth pangs of a new kind of inclusive belief system, where people are judged not on believing the correct dogma, but rather on how they treat their fellow man.

            Happy Holidays to you too! ;)

          • Blanche

            Lee, I like the way you think, and I like the way you express yourself. I, too, am a former fundie; raised intensively Evanglical Christian from birth. But I got better :)

            The religious tend to bristle at the suggestion that there cannot be any absolute morality. Granted, I can think of perhaps ONE example (it’s gross, so I won’t share) that is *ALWAYS* wrong, but almost everything else is situation dependent. Depending on the context, we may regard it as good or evil, but even that type of judgment is wrongheaded.

            People, especially the intolerant religious it seems, want everything to be an “on/off switch.” Good/evil. Heterosexual/homosexual. Etc. etc. In reality, it’s all shades of gray, a situation which requires far more thought and discernment than simple dualistic thinking. But if more people appreciated the shades of gray, I think we’d have a lot more understanding and compassion, which we’re sorely lacking in, unfortunately. Instead, we’ve got that insane and disgusting “Hate the sin, love the sinner”, which really means “Define the entire complex individual solely in terms of what you hate about him and call it ‘love’.”

            I’ve been doing some research on the Millennial generation (from ca. 1980- ca. 2004 or so), and I find this largest yet of all generations to be immensely hopeful. One, they avoid churches like the plague. Two, they are more progressive, liberal, and inclusive, and less racist and homophobic, than older generations. Social justice is a hotbutton issue for them. Because of them, I have high hopes for the future.

            Have you heard of the “emerging church” movement? Good intro article at “Five Streams of the Emerging Church” by Scot McKnight. Excerpt:

            “Emerging churches are communities that practice the way of Jesus within postmodern cultures. This definition encompasses nine practices. Emerging churches (1) identify with the life of Jesus, (2) transform the secular realm, and (3) live highly communal lives. Because of these three activities, they (4) welcome the stranger, (5) serve with generosity, (6) participate as producers, (7) create as created beings, (8) lead as a body, and (9) take part in spiritual activities.”

            Occupy Spirituality?? It’s orthopraxy over orthodoxy, a positive development if I ever saw one. “Faith not works” is one of the most pernicious doctrines ever taught by any religion.

            Say, since you brought up the whole murder-children issue, have you read Richard Dawkins’ short article about why he will never debate William Lane Craig, who stalks and begs and attempts to coerce Dawkins into such a public spectacle? It’s called “Why I refuse to debate with William Lane Craig” and it emphasizes the child-murder issue, of which William Lane Craig is a vocal proponent/apologist. It’s an excellent and insightful argument – I recommend.

            As far as “culture wars” go, it appears that the “freedom of religion” clause in US culture has facilitated the splintering of the church into so many and such small sects that most die out. The megachurches gobble up the rest, resulting in a big social club with little real spirituality. It’s church designed to have a mall’s appeal (but without the variety of a mall) – can a mall-like church really compete with the mall it emulates in the end? Every generation for the last 300 or 400 years, especially the last 200, has been markedly different from the one before. The church started declining significantly as urbanization kicked into high gear in the late 1940s – urban environments offer so many different options for socializing that the city dwellers don’t need church. By contrast, the town church tends to be the social hub in small town/rural/farming areas, which keeps people involved. That’s the beauty of being the only game in town. Those days are gone, though. There is no going back, only going forward.

            If I don’t see any more from you in this year’s waning days, I’ll wish you a happy new year and hope to see you next year!

          • Lee

            You have certainly given me a lot of ideas to look into. Unfortunately I seem to be coming down with a sinus infection so I will reply at a later date. Take care.

          • Blanche

            I hope you can get plenty of rest – that’s especially critical with a sinus infection. Pleasant dreams!

          • http://www.movieguide.org FilmDoctor

            There is no battle between the OT versus the NT. They teach the same things. God always has called people to turn away from sin and come back to Him and His moral laws. Also, Jung writes in THE UNDISCOVERED SELF that evil will always find a way to manifest itself, including through science and government. The Nazis and the Soviets were very scientific fellows. Jung says beware of neglecting the individual psyche. Campbell distorts the facts to suit his own theology and politics in many, though not all, of his books.

          • http://www.movieguide.org FilmDoctor

            The atheists and the leftists have effectively oppressed religion in the public square, except when it agrees with their politics (ala Barack Obama’s official persecution of Christian conservatives through the IRS).

          • http://www.movieguide.org FilmDoctor

            You’re deliberately interpreting things in the worst possible light. By the way, witchcraft tries to manipulate people against their will and can even be used for malicious purposes, as in a voodoo doll. So, it’s not exactly the harmless thing you are trying to make it. A few Christians spoke out against some of the more egregious persecutions of so-called witches. That’s how it was ended in Spain, under the efforts of a Spanish inquisitor named Alonso Salazar y Frias, http://catholicexchange.com/who-burned-the-witches

          • anonymousGuest

            I agree w/the previous poster and outside of a few details I don’t disagree with your points.  You said ‘Christian morals are not superior to non-Christian morals’ and in fact that’s my prior point.  Oddly enough, we all seem to carry the same morals with a very few outliers.  I would disagree that they have changed significantly over time, however. I.e the morality expressed by Shakespeare is not foreign to today’s audiences.  I also disagree with the premise that our justice comes from each other.  I would argue that this sense is  born within us, not a result of social conditioning.  This is easily demonstrable, however, the argument could then be made that this ‘internal morality’ comes from evolution.  Still, that explanation doesn’t hold up to scrutiny when our morality often conflicts with what may be best for the group.  Not to mention the numerous cases where our morality conflicts with acts which would otherwise be evolutionarily beneficial.  IMO C.S. Lewis discusses this quite well in Mere Christianity.
            Regarding your point D, I’ve heard it before and would submit that this sentiment is shared by everyone human, certainly not just atheists.  I have yet to see anyone capable of living their lives being ‘good’ with their primary motivation being they will be rewarded after death. I don’t believe it’s possible.  Mother Teresa, for example, had a geniune desire to help others and I would sincerely disagree that her motives were anything other than altruistic.  Jesus disputed with the Pharisees for the very reason that they kept moral rules but their heart was in the wrong place.  I also believe that far more often that not, you will find a belief in God causes one to strive to do better and work harder in life, not lax off and be content (ie. this life doesn’t matter because I believe there’s another one).

          • yipingpijou

            Whether we still have many morals in common with Shakespeare or not, the fact remains that a modern American christian has more moral commonality with a modern American atheist than with a christian of previous eras. Our social setting has a greater impact on our view of what is or isn’t moral than does our religion.

            You claim instances where morality conflicts with evolutionary benefit. I’m going to assume you’re referring to certain altruistic behaviors? These are, in fact, evolutionarily beneficial because, even though I may put myself at risk, the community benefits from these actions – and with a stronger, more stable community, I (or my children, at least) benefit. Reciprocal altruism and other types of morality – which CS Lewis thought were specifically  human – show up in chimpanzees, dolphins, etc.

            As for my point D – I wasn’t clear enough. While I did refer to reward/punishment (heaven/hell), my intent in bringing up the idea of do-overs and second chances was more about the idea of Jesus dying for your sins – that you can do something wrong and be immediately absolved if you so choose. I have heard some christians express that they would have no reason to be good if they didn’t think god was watching them. (I happen to think they would probably be good anyway, but I have to take them at their word.) Perhaps some people attribute their morality and work ethic to belief in god. But it remains true that non-believers are at least as moral, as hardworking as believers (refer to links on my previous point C), so there can be no demonstration of your claim of causality.

            Oh – and Mother Teresa’s primary goal was to convert the poor, not help them out of poverty. (That’s based on reading her descriptions of her work, not my interpretation.)

          • anonymousGuest

            Mother Teresa helped the poor, no? Was their religion or conversion a qualification for getting help? No. Did she desire for them to become Christian? of course.  I don’t think that cheapens her efforts, but that’s simply my opinion.  

            You seem to keep wanting to argue atheists can be just as moral as ‘believers’, when in fact that’s been my very point.  Perhaps I’m not clear, my point is that all people (yes, including historic times) have generally held the same morals.  That said, I do believe you will find far more often people are motivated to do good out of religious virtue than out of humanistic ones. 

            You argue altruism can be attributed to evolution.  That sounds perfectly reasonable. However, at any given moment we will even have conflicting instincts.  One for self preservation, let’s say, and another to risk ourselves and say save someone from a fire.  Both of these instincts may be evolved, but we must choose which to follow.   When faced with these instincts, we often find ourselves being compelled to strengthen the weaker, to override the fear of death let’s say.  We consider that to be ‘right’, even if we (and an overwhelming number of others) didn’t follow that course of action.  Of course, I suppose that too could be due to evolution pushing us to some utopian moralistic vision, but why would that be?  

            Regardless, there is certainly no way to prove or disprove God.  I’m a student of Software Engineering, not a philosopher, so allow me to get real for a minute.  One can argue back and forth forever, at some point you must choose.  What’s the motivation for making my decision is an important question to ask.

            With regards to some arguments you’ve heard Christians make, let’s agree you won’t judge all Christians if I won’t judge all atheists by plebian comments both sides often make. All the best to you. That’s real altruism, not an attempt to seem morally superiour, honest :)

          • yipingpijou

            It’s not clear that Mother Teresa did help the poor.  http://mukto-mona.net/Articles/mother_teresa/sanal_ed.htm
            I have continued to make the case that non-religious are at least as moral as religious folk because you keep claiming that religion provides increased motivation for moral behavior.
            Evolution doesn’t push toward a utopian vision. The process of evolution doesn’t have intent. It retains, to greater or lesser degrees, what works, to greater or lesser degrees. It results in increased complexity over time – it’s not a straight line dot-to-dot process. But people and social groups who behave in ways that tend to benefit the survival of the group are more likely to survive and pass on their genes, their social structure, etc. If you read the links I provided earlier, you might see where your claim falls short that religiosity increases motivation for moral behavior.
            Let me go back to your first statement – you asked where our shared standard of justice comes from. Your view would be that our morality is ‘written on our hearts’ (by god). You have allowed that morality worked out through evolution might be objectively indistinguishable from god-given morality. I believe the evidence is stronger in favor of the evolutionaryview. You have repeated your view that morality has been fairly fixed, constant over time. Certainly, there are some morals that have generally endured. But it remains true that the society into which a person is born influences their ideas of right and wrong. Things that are more or less universal are things that are also exhibited in the higher primates, as well as other ‘smart’ animal species. But there is variation in moral codes – over time and across cultures. Where does that variation come from if our morality is written on our hearts?

          • anonymousGuest

            To be clear, I did look at your websites.  It appeared to me you just picked the first sites you found out of google.  You sited one study and two opinion pieces (one from an openly humanistic website). Note if I were making your argument I could easily give much more compelling evidence than that.  If that is primary influence behind your opinion, then you are simply not interested in hearing the other side.  You misstated C.S. Lewis’s view of altruism, for example, so I used his opinion in my last post.
            Having morals and the motivation for good behaviour are seperate things.  I can name offhand a half dozen faith-based charities that care for children in the 3rd world.  Likewise many non-religiously affiliated charities.  I can not name a single exclusively atheistic charity.  I’m sure there are some, but you will have to use google to find them.  Given the number of its adherents, that is unforunate.  If you are so willing, I would encourage you to join/start one.  Winning people over is done by showing your actions, not by endlessly debating.

          • yipingpijou

            Let’s see – one link was to University of California article referencing three studies published by a science journal. The other link was to an opinion piece, which linked to five separate articles and studies on various issues of atheism. I think the articles and the information those articles link to are a decent starting point to show that it’s not just my feeling that atheists are moral, but that there is some objective evidence to back up my claim. I referred to the links again, because of your claim that belief in god makes religious people moral, and gives them a good work ethic. If you don’t think these links are a good enough starting place, or provide weak evidence, or bad evidence, go ahead and look it up yourself, show me the research that shows atheists are less moral. There will be plenty of claims and anecdotes suggesting the superiority of religious morality, but thin evidence. Oh – and I have heard the other side – I was on the other side for decades.

            As for atheist charities – I think I need to back up a step and make clear just what atheism is. It is not a group with adherents. It is not an organized belief system with a unified set of ideas. Atheism (a-theism) simply means ‘without god.’ Outside of responding to supernatural claims of religious people, there would be no need for the word atheist. Any non-theistic person undertaking any non-religious activity could be claimed to be an atheist activity. But that’s almost nonsensical. It’s simply an activity – there’s no need to put the atheist tag on it when it’s not something done in the context of someone else’s religious claims. Any non-religious charity is, in that sense, atheist. Look at the mission statements, goals and projects of an organization. Does it mention god? If not, then it’s atheist. It doesn’t have to promote a non-theistic ideology. It doesn’t even have to call itself atheist, be founded by atheists, or exclude people who are religiously motivated from participating. If an organization is not theistic, then it is a-theistic. Period. So, let’s see – Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International, Oxfam, CARE, Goodwill, Plan International, International Rescue Committee, Hellen Keller International … those are just a few I can think of off the top of my head.

          • Blanche

            yipingpijou, are you expecting rational and fair behavior from Christians? I’m afraid you’re barking up the wrong asparagus here. Granted, your posts are a year old; perhaps you’ve accepted the obvious in the meantime.

          • http://www.movieguide.org FilmDoctor

            So what? I wasn’t always a Christian or a believer in the Bible. The atheists I encounter are mean, angry, hateful, and slanderous. A Christian reverend and his Cghristian friend led the civil rights movement in the 50s and 60s, but, since the atheists removed God, Jesus and the Bible from the government schools, it’s been downhill since then. . . I don’t need a biased study. I have history.

          • Melinda

            well said anonymous guest. Yipingpijou ‘please’ – realise that even ‘you’ are not right.

          • Blanche Quizno

            Mother Teresa baptized dying Hindus without their consent. Mother Teresa deliberately withheld pain medication from patients in agony. Mother Teresa blathered at length about how “beautiful” were the “sufferings of the poor” and she made sure to do everything she could to make the world a more “beautiful” place according to her sick beliefs. Mother Teresa collected *BILLIONS* of dollars for the suffering poor of Calcutta and spent it on building convents instead. When Mother Teresa needed medical attention, she got as far away from her order’s “hospitals” as fast as she could and went to REAL hospitals. She used donations to jet set around the world, meeting with world leaders and the Pope and celebrities. I think I would not use Mother Teresa as an example of *ANYTHING* respectworthy.

          • http://www.movieguide.org FilmDoctor

            According to what source(s)????

          • http://www.movieguide.org FilmDoctor

            Without God, atheists created the mass murders of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot. Excuse me for believing biblical morality is indeed and in fact far superior to anything atheists have ever created ethically.

          • Blanche

            “I.e the morality expressed by Shakespeare is not foreign to today’s audiences.”

            I, for one, am *appalled* by the way Shakespeare portrays spousal abuse as the means to a virtuous and beneficial end in “The Taming of the Shrew.” Don’t kid yourself about the morality of the Shakespearean worldview. There are many examples of immorality, unethical behavior, and outright ridiculous rubbish therein.

            But aside from that, carry on!

          • http://www.movieguide.org FilmDoctor

            Apparently, you don’t know how to read Shakespeare. Your analysis of SHREW is superficial at best and deliberately ignorant at worst. Of course, Shakespeare was still a man with a fallible, sinful nature.

          • Ouattara

            What are you saying?WHEN YOU CONFIRM THAT WE BORN WITH SOMETHING WITHIN US, WHERE ARE YOU PUTTING THE GRACE OF OUR LORD?

          • Brandon

            *Sidenote* The Hebrew word used in the 10 commandments is translated to “Murder” and not the generically used “Kill”

          • Blanche

            “Where does this standard of justice shared by humanity come from?”

            Because some of us are apparently advanced enough to empathize with our fellow human beings and realize that what we wouldn’t want happening to us, we don’t want happening to others. No gods required.

          • Bob T

            Sorry, but that’s a bunch of crap. Any “God” who would screw with people like that is a sadistic sob. Make a man suffer so “He” could look good? What a crock!

          • Rachel

            nah, sorry, but reread that passage again.

            Jesus is debating people who believe that bad things happen because of sin. (Calvinism).

            He says, “Neither sinned. BUT (starting a new thought), that you can see the power of God, I will heal him.”
            It’s not saying that God made him blind so that He could heal him, it’s saying, ALTHOUGH you were wrong and nobody sinned, I’m going to heal him now to prove God’s power to you and that Jesus is God.

            Calvinists keep twisting scriptures to make it sound like Jesus had him born blind just to heal him. Not so. Don’t blaspheme God.

          • Blanche

            Nice try, Rachel, but take a look at Matthew 9:2, where the supposed “Jesus” supposedly cures a man of the palsy by forgiving his “sins.” In Matthew 9:22, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” So why do Christians *EVER* get sick if all they need is “faith” to be restored to perfect health? In Matthew 9:27-30, we find blind men whose sight is restored because they supposedly believed that the supposed “Jesus” could heal them. Does this work in real life? Of course not! The Gospels are not history; they are made-up religious documents written by and for Christians to promote a certain theologically-driven backstory for the “Jesus” character that wasn’t invented until centuries later. Paul, for example, knew of no human “Jesus”. His “Christ” was a supernatural being whose activities played out on a supernatural stage. Open your eyes.

          • Blanche Quizno

            Johnny Sharp, look at what you’re saying. You’re telling the bereaved that THEY need to be considerate of those insensitive boobs who can’t conceive that not everyone finds the same things comforting. Wow. Nice load of extra effort to put on the poor saps who’ve just lost a loved one and are barely holding their lives together. NOW they’ve got to be oh-so-sensitive and thoughtful toward the selfish and self-centered. Nice!

            Also, that little platitude about the middle-aged man born blind is horrifying. So God gave him a life of sh it just so the jesus could make a spotlight moment for himself out of that man’s suffering?? Your theology doesn’t make any sense – at least you acknowledge that. For those of us who don’t believe as you do, it’s not just nonsensical – it’s deeply disturbing, horrible, and repellent. Wonder why Christianity is in decline? Take a good look at your post and perhaps you’ll start to get a clue. Or not.

      • Ronald

        Everyone will be brought back to life by Jesus Christ.

        • Ouattara

          how?

          • The_L1985

            Didn’t you hear about Jesus’s awesome zombie army?

          • Ouattara

            Not yet. What is it. Tell me about it please.

          • Blanche

            Well, it all starts when the jesus comes blazing down from outer space on a flaming cloud surfboard. Then, the Troo Believers will get a magical naked skyride courtesy of the magic jesus! They’ll be shaking their genitalia at everyone else, who will have no choice but to look – how great is THAT?? And then all the dead people will claw their way up from their graves and lurch into town to eat everybody’s brains. Just like in Matthew 27:53-54.

            What, you never heard that happened?? You’re in good company – neither did anyone else (O_O)

          • http://www.movieguide.org FilmDoctor

            Ridicule is the last refuge of a misanthropic scrooge.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

        Excuse me, but a Christian funeral is supposed to be about the hope we have in Jesus and His Resurrection, not eulogizing the deceased. Save that for outside of church, either at the wake or the reception. The problem here isn’t the clergy; the problem here is YOU. Get over yourself and things will make sense.

        • The_L1985

          No. The purpose of any funeral, Christian or otherwise, is to help comfort the grieving. A Christian funeral adds the element of “your lost loved one is happy in heaven,” but all funerals are, and have always been, about those who mourn.

          • Andrew Patton

            No, it is not. A Catholic funeral is a Mass offered for the benefit of the deceased. The focus of the Mass is Jesus, and never the congregation. The purpose of this Mass is to pray for the deceased, not to comfort the living except in the hope of the Resurrection.

          • The_L1985

            So…how do prayers for the dead NOT comfort the living? I remember that when I was still Christian, praying for my dead grandfather gave me comfort.

          • Andrew Patton

            I didn’t say that they didn’t. However, that is not the purpose of the funeral Mass; it is merely a beneficial side effect. Similarly, the purpose of sex is to unite the spouses and potentially conceive a child; the fact that it is intensely pleasurable is a beneficial side-effect.

          • The_L1985

            I do not see how BOTH couldn’t be equallly-important purposes. A thing can have more than one purpose; this isn’t like a true-or-false test where you only get to pick one answer.

          • Andrew Patton

            The problem is poor catechesis. We have now proliferating such things as “life celebrations” that are incompatible with Catholic theology. Reminding people that the purpose of the funeral Mass is to grant repose to the deceased if he or she is in Purgatory (those in Heaven do not need prayers or Masses, and those in Hell are beyond help) combats these un-Catholic notions that people are spreading.

          • The_L1985

            How is a dual purpose to a funeral in any way incompatible with the idea of a funeral ALSO granting repose to the deceased? How can there not be two, equally-important purposes to a thing? Does my use of my mouth to speak somehow “contradict” the purpose of a mouth as the organ that allows us to eat? Is speaking “incompatible” with eating now?

            How is it “un-Catholic” to comfort those who mourn? Is “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” no longer a part of the Beatitudes? Because I heard that the Church changed a lot of things after I left, but I can’t imagine that suddenly being excised. Ditto the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which I’m pretty sure include “Mourn the dead.”

            I was VERY well-catechized. I went to CCD/PSR every single week from K-12. There is a big difference between “I heard and understood the explanation, but it didn’t seem logical” and “I didn’t understand or hear the explanation.” Whenever I say the former, people seem to insist that I am saying the latter, and it’s really starting to get under my skin.

          • Blanche

            I realize your situation is different, but I think you can sympathize with the position of atheists in America, where so many Christians assume we can only be atheists because we’ve never heard the “Good News” that “Jesus Christ” died to save us from “God.” When most of us were raised Christian, and even if we weren’t, how could we *possibly* be ignorant of the basics of Christian theology, living as we do in a culture where Christianity is the dominant religion??

          • The_L1985

            As a Wiccan ex-Catholic, I am actually in the same situation WRT “you need to hear the Gospel!!”

            The difference is, I’m also told to stop consorting with demons.

          • Blanche

            BWAHAHAHAHAHA!! But don’t think you’ve cornered the market on demonic possession! Oh no! Please, allow me to share what a Christian on a different forum said to me:

            “Your master has you wrapped around his little finger so you can do his bidding for him and you still refuse to see how he is right now manipulating you. Do something about it this, while you’re still living and get off the road that you are now traveling. There is still much hope available for you in Jesus.”

            BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

            I also got that tired and ludicrous “Pascal’s Wager” thrown at me:

            “Right after we draw our last breath on this earth, we’ll both find out who’s right and who’s wrong. Me, well I have nothing to lose. My Christian walk has already brought much provision, protection, healing and guidance into my life. On the other hand, you have everything to lose by the wrong choices you’ve consciously made in your life. We both can’t be right, right?”

            But of course Mr/Ms Christian *IS* right, right? After all, s/he feeeeeeeeeels that s/he is right and that makes it so. Right? No evidence required! Thinking it is so makes it so! Shame that doesn’t work in real life…

          • Blanche

            Ah, but there’s where you’re wrong, The_L1985. Intolerant religions are all about right and wrong – either you agree with them, or you’re wrong! No shades of gray allowed! And no mixing of religions, either – it’s one or nothing. Did you realize that “heresy” comes from the Greek word meaning “choice”? That is what is not allowed in intolerant religions such as Christianity. Submit, obey, abase yourself – those are your only choices as a “slave to Christ.” There’s a good reason they used those terms – it was written by primitive people with a primitive mindset who couldn’t possibly envision fundamental human rights or democracy. That’s why the Bible is all about monarchies and how divinely wonderful they are.

          • Blanche

            I’m sure it did, the_L1985. You sound quite *human*. After my devout Christian mother died, a friend of hers, who was apparently grieving quite hard, asked my devout Christian father if he thought she could pray to my dead mother. My father was outraged! WHY would my mother want to waste a single moment on this selfish woman’s grief, when my mother was face to face with her Lord and Savior?? He apparently thought it both right and proper that my mother would have *no* care, no interest, even, left in anyone else at this point – she was apparently supposed to be consumed with *utter* selfishness and self-interest. The Christian ideal, I suppose.

          • Blanche

            Oh barf. Resurrection shmesurrection. Never happened. Never will. Christians are appallingly deluded – is a lobotomy required, or does Christianity damage the brain?

        • Blanche

          In MY experience, the purpose of a Christian funeral is to convert the non-church-member mourners with tales of how great it is to be a Christian and how the non-Christians are missing out by not signing up right now. Oh, and how much smarter and better off the Christians obviously are. Barf.

      • Jay F

        In this day and age most funerals are designed for the survivors. People may or may not admit this but it’s not to honor the dead.
        I’m not religious, I want to go out like they do in New Orleans where there are horns and drums etc. But my family wouldn’t understand that and will probably do the same religious BS ceremony.

        I think more people should celebrate the life of someone that passed rather than mourn and focus on a magical place in the clouds.

    • dcole15

      First off I would like to say I’m sorry for your loss and all the grief you went through. I have no idea what that would be like and I can’t even imagine the pain you felt and still feel. But i have one problem with your post. Do you really think that God cheered you on in your anger? James 1:20 “for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” I’m sure God agrees that those sentiments were not His, but i doubt that He was happy about how you reacted. I’m not trying to anger you or start a debate but I was just wondering.

      • Marklaws

        To dcole15: Are you serious. Read what you wrote. All you’ve done is add to the penetrating list being discussed. Ever heard “Text out of context becomes pretext”? You say you “were just wondering”. Rubbish. Your words were and are condemnatory. You have taken one verse from scripture and placed it in the middle of someone’s HUMAN grieving. Your sorriness for this person’s tragedy is clearly overwhelmed by the inescapable judgement conveyed in the rest of your words. No?

      • http://www.bipolarlessons.com/ Mary

        Ok. Did you really LISTEN to what she said? Or are you so caught up in YOUR ANGER that you didn’t register it? She was expressing GRATITUDE for those who were kind and caring to her. It is perfectly ok to be angry when someone is insensitive to your pain. IT IS CALLED HAVING BOUNDRIES!

        Instead of being critical why don’t you listen and learn from her. This is a typical response from many Christians which is to moralize rather than listen.

        • Ouattara

          You shouldn’t you also think like that. How can God sees his children suffering and just sits and being laughing at them? Are you sure that can be?

          • Lee

            Quattara,
            You really need to work on your English comprehension. There is nothing in that post about God laughing at his children. “Cheering” someone on means encouraging them in their behavior.

      • Ouattara

        Stop wondering. The Bible told us to cry with those who are crying and to laugh when they are laughing what do you say about that verse IN YOUR BIBLE?

      • Blanche Quizno

        Nice, dcole15. Way to sock it to the suffering and drive home that concept of Christian love and compassion. Way to go!! Don’t you think that, if God really exists, He wouldn’t need the likes of YOU to fight His battles for Him? And who are YOU to speak for GOD?? But congrats on the judgment – that’s what Jesus said all good Christians should be constantly doing, judging others (Matthew 7). Oh, wait…

    • Alnegro

      I’m so sorry for the loss of your son.  I agree with you:  those are not words nor sentiments from God.  When my father (a Catholic) died, almost everyone in my [Baptist] church told me words “of encouragement” like: “Don’t feel bad; you did your best to witness to your father and it’s not your fault he didn’t accept Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour…but YOU are going to heaven.”  My grief stopped for two seconds only because I was so stupefied at the craziness and thoughtlessness of
      those “Christians.”  

      • http://www.bipolarlessons.com/ Mary

        Yes it is pretty arrogant for people to assume who is going to heaven and who is not.

        • The_L1985

          Especially in the context of Matthew 7:1-2.

          It’s sad how many people have to be reminded that having “good judgement” means being able to determine what YOU should do, rather than judging others for what they have done.

          • Ouattara

            You are right. that is why the Bible told us to make differences between spirits. We shall be able to see things as Jesus shows.

          • The_L1985

            “For now, we see through a glass, darkly, but in the age to come we shall see more clearly.”
            –Someone who didn’t believe that anyone short of God would attain perfect discernment in this life. Martyred in 59 CE or thereabouts…Saul of Tarsus, I believe was his birth name? ;)

      • The_L1985

        A Catholic Christian…..didn’t accept Jesus.

        That is some major history and theology FAIL right there.

        • Ouattara

          Jesus did not come for those who are righteous but to those who look everyday for perfection and doing their best to leave from their sinful nature. just pray and pray again for them

          • Jay F

            Sinful nature, I thought we were created in his image?

            Let me guess, we’re paying for Adams and Eves sins? I thought that’s what Jesus died for? Also doesn’t it say a child shall not pay for the parents sins?

            Also why did Jesus create Ebola, AIDS, down syndrome, west nile etc? He has a pretty morbid sense of humor.

          • TCMinistries

            Adam and Eve were created in Their (Father Son and Holy Spirit) image “Perfect.” when Eve and Adam sinned it did not go unpunished. God did punish Adam and eve but in the process it did punish all of us as well. A child a shall not pay for a parents sin…hmmm I’ve heard that before but I also know that if your parents have sinned against God it will somehow be passed on to you. Either it be by you starting the same activity or you get caught in the crosshairs of your parents mistakes. and yes there is such thing as a generational curse but that’s a sermon in itself. Ok well think of this aids ebola west nile and many diseases are derived from animals aids from primates (people having sex with primates) west nile (fairly recent discovered disease started with bat feces i believe then rats and other rodents the mosquitoes) and then down syndrome (thats a man made disease let your brain think about that one) over all God did not just make these diseases to torture us. That is not what he meant to do. it’s the corruption of man that brought these diseases into the human race. so blame people not God!

          • Jay F

            Did you really just suggest that down syndrome is man made? Please don’t twist documented facts to support your contradictory religion. Also west nile comes from mosquitos feeding on infected birds. Ebola comes from eating bush meat (wild game). Nobody is having sex with birds okay, or fruit bats.
            These are natural diseases. You want to claim that God created everything and then say oh not this or not that. The parents sin and a child deserves to be born with half a heart? Awesome theory. If that’s the ‘mercy’ of your God I seriously want no part of it.

            Deuteronomy 24:16, “Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.”
            again in Ex20:5 “Children are punished for the sins of the parents”
            and also said in Ezek 18:20 “Children are not punished for the sins of the parents”

            Also for a loving character as such, you should probably read this and tell me again how it’s so deserving?

            More Murder Rape and Pillage (Deuteronomy 20:10-14)

            As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.

            What kind of God approves of murder, rape, and slavery?

    • kat_xk8

      im still single at 38 i also cant have kids – i have been told to my face that neither are Gods will for my life and that he has other plans for me – what they failed to tell me , of course, what those plans are

      i was told God called me to be single to serve him instead – thats not in tht bible and using the apostles opinion in i cor 7 is rather erroneous

      god said its not good for man to be alone but thats what many want me to think – that ive been called to be alone .

      when will christians shut up about Gods will for someone else life – potraying as if they know what it is – not they seem to tell whats it not now what it is – and that cold comfort empty cliche that God has a plan – um my life sure seems to be the opposite and that he doesnt have a plan and i feel so let down

      • Blanche Quizno

        Hi, kat_xk8. I’m so sorry that your life has turned out so differently from how you expected. It sounds like you feel sad and disappointed – that’s totally understandable. I hope you will consider fostering kids and/or adopting. You sound like you have a big heart and a lot of love to share. There are *MILLIONS* of older children who would be so grateful to have a forever family. When people think of adopting, they often don’t realize that there are 17-yr-olds out there who are desperate to belong to a family. Think of a lifetime of 4th of Julys and Thanksgivings and Christmases, not to mention birthdays, without a family. The longing and need for a family do not end on a child’s 18th birthday. Many children would eagerly accept a single parent than none at all. I hope you will look into this – it could really turn out to be something terrific.

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    • ceilingwalker

      I realize this is an old thread that I am replying to but I couldnt resist. I tragically lost my mother. She was a Christian. It took over 4 hours for everyone that came to say good-bye, to walk past her casket. She more people to Christ than anyone else I know. It embarrassed me, when I was younger. For 4 hours I heard of people whose lives were changed with just one short conversation with her.
      I know people mean well but you are correct. I heard for 4 hours crazy things like “this was Gods will for her”, ” she looks so good and peaceful”, “she died at a good time (because it was Easter), some of the crazy things people say like that, makes people angry with God, and it is counterproductive, if I may use that word. Sometimes just saying “if you need someone to talk to”, or simply ” I am so sorry for your loss”, would suffice. Maybe thats the only experience they have had with death, so they didnt know what else to say. I feel bad that you lost your son, I know how bad it hurts to lose someone close.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Ross/566122633 Thomas Ross

    I got another one for ya, “love the sinner, hate the sin”. It’s not biblical, in fact it is a Gandhi quote (which almost no one knows), and is almost exclusively used by Christians on LGBT’s and their issues. It’s almost never used on other sinners or their sins, such as alcoholism, or wife-beating, or infidelity, or…

    • Alonso

      It is biblical, and it is used for every sin. True Christians, in contrast with the author of this article, obbey God even when they don’t like what He says.

      • Sarah

        Wrong. It was said by Gandhi. It is not biblical. http://www.ehpchurch.org/folder/060505.html

        • Alonso

          Is not with the exact words but it is in the Bible:
          http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2097:10&version=NIV 

          • Pinkiowagirl

            That seems reaching a bit to me.  

          • BiasedbyLogic

            For reference, the linked verse above is: ”Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.”

            The translation of that verse is:
            ”If you love God, then you should hate evil, because he will protect those who are faithful to him and sheild them from Satan’s influences.”

            Note that there is absolutely no mention that you (as a faithful follower of God’s commands and holy word) are required to love the person who received deliverance from evil. In fact, this verse tells us that sinners are only worthy of God’s love (again, not ours) and guidance if they are faithful believers. So if a non-believer sins, then this verse has nothing whatsoever to say about them.

            This would all be fine if Christians just used the ”love the sinner” quote when speaking about or to fellow believers who stumble with a minor sin or two. In that case, it would be a message of comfort, as in: ”Yes, your sins were wrong, but I love you anyway and don’t fear because you are strong of faith and God won’t let Satan claim you.”

            However, this is not the reality of course. This Ghandi quote is used by Christians largely when speaking about the LGBT community. The intended message is clear: ”I believe that as a person who has your own free will, you make your own choices in life, except that I also believe that Satan causes you to make those bad choices, so since I can’t very well blame you for the acts of Satan, then I am free to love you, and just hate what Satan makes you do. I’ll just think of it as you not really having a choice in the matter… Oh wait, but then again it was your choice, God didn’t create you as gay… oh now I’m confused, was it your choice or wasn’t it?… -sigh- Well, just know that even though you seem like a great guy and all, God won’t be stepping in on your behalf any time soon.”

            And you wonder why these statements offend us?

            Anyway, yes *this verse* commands Christians to hate evil (sin), but it does NOT say explicitly that you must love the unrepentant sinner despite their sins. Ghandi said that, not God.

            If anything, this verse is typical for God – use scare tactics to require faith for protection instead of offering protection out of love regardless of belief or even knowledge of his existence.

            Feel free to offer up a rebuttal if you wish, but the fact remains: almost all Christians who use this phase, do so thinking they are quoting direct scripture.

          • Blanche

            Finally, “God” makes no differentiation between “the sin” and “the sinner”. Don’t believe me? Then tell me – does “God” “punish” “sin” in “hell”, or does “God” “punish” “SINNERS” in “hell”?

      • Slade

        Ah, the No True Scotsman fallacy rears its head at last.
        If all the xians who said “those others aren’t really xians” disappeared, there wouldn’t be any xians left.

      • Blanche

        It is *NOT* biblical. If it were, you would have been able to provide us chapter and verse. But you couldn’t.

        The fact is that the Christian scriptures make no differentiation between “sins”. Taking a pen home from the office (“stealing”) is just as bad as being a serial child abductor/rapist/torturer/murderer or whatever you can think of that’s worse. Having been born human is so horrible that that, in and of itself, is enough to damn every single person who ever existed. And that’s “divine justice”? More like “divine insanity and sadism”! It’s the cruel 5-year-old boy sitting at the windowsill, pulling the wings off the hapless flies trapped there, only multiplied to the nth power.

        So if you’re going to “hate the sin and love the sinner” (which, in my experience, is typically tossed out there at homosexuals, who, everyone knows, are defined solely on the basis of their sexual orientation and have no other personal characteristics) then you should be so consumed with self-hatred and self-loathing, for the myriad, infinitessimal “sins” you yourself commit EVERY SINGLE DAY that you should realize that, by pointing your contemptuous fingers at others and their supposed failings, you’re committing yet another “sin”, thou hypocrite. (Matthew 7:1-5)

  • Steve

    Christian – you express such transparent uncertainty about the afterlife.  Something like “there may or may not be gods, but if we’re honest, we don’t know” is the de facto stance of atheism, is it not?

    If that is your general disposition toward religious claims, then I suppose I’m just curious to know whether you think of yourself as an atheist or not.  Either way, what do you take as the definition of a Christian, then?  Certainly not “someone who has reached the conclusion that the basic tenets of Christianity are true,” which I had previously thought was safely encompassing.

    (With your web presence it seems likely you’ve answered this.  If so, please link me.)

  • Steve Martin

    Speaking as an atheist who regularly debates with Christians I would congratulate the author on this superb list. I have encountered almost all of them in one form or another and they are at best ineffectual and at worst counter-productive.

    If those whom I debate were to read and take heed from this list I likely would not be as anti-theist as I have subsequently become from being told, for instance, that I am satanic due to my lack of belief or that I will one day bow my knee before God and answer for my sins.

    • http://twitter.com/69wyocowboy Amonymous

      what sins? should be asked b/c sin does NOT exist

      • Ouattara

        Did you believe in what the Bible says? Because I could not accept what you have just said. Just wait and see.

        • Blanche Quizno

          oooOOO, Ouattara – more threats! NonChristians respond *so well* to the thinly veiled threats – or haven’t you noticed??

    • Ylpo8

       There will come a day, friend, when the thoughtless cliches of supposed (or real) Christians will be a very inadequate excuse for your remaining an “anti-theist”. Like it, or believe/accept it as true or not, there is a God, and to that God “every knee will bow” one day.

      I can very much understand your being offended at being told that (you will “bow”) in any fashion by anyone–even by God, who does still speak. Oh yes, I understand. God understands even more.

      If that sounds cliche, it’s not meant so; so try to get over it

      • Speachguru

        this is exactly the kind of thought process and comment that makes Christians look ridiculous.  Instead of going through why this is, simply take a second and recall how Jesus interacted with people.  Was there ever a time when He said anything along the lines of, like it or not I am your God so you might as well believe?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/C-Alan-Nault/1361479088 C Alan Nault

        Which god? So many to choose from…..

      • The_L1985

        Well, I’m certainly not going to bow to a human, so I’m not bowing to you in any case. I bow only to the Gods. You are not a god. So get over yourself, and stop acting all uppity. If your God is better than my Gods, then we’ll all find out in the end anyway. If he isn’t, then at least the good things I do in this world still aren’t being wasted–poor people are still being fed when you give to charity. I give in a different Name, but I still give.

      • Blanche Quizno

        Sorry, Ylpo8, if your god ever existed, it died. That’s simply the only conclusion we can reach, given its *absolute LACK* of evidence.

        Oh, and if you feel “God” speaking to you within your own mind, be aware that hearing voices is a prominent sign of mental illness. Rather than letting a church convince you that you’re “special”, go see a psychiatrist post haste.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=574401415 Denis Freeland

    Fantastic list – congratulations. Can I add a few more that I encounter on a daily basis ? These especially should NEVER be used with anyone who has been near a science class.

    11) “If you want proof, look around you”. My response is, “with 4,000 gods, and 40,000 religions, explain to me how this shows that YOURS is the right one” ?

    12) “Of course the bible is true, the evidence is there in the book”.  Circular reasoning is demonstrably illogical, and easily so. Imagine any book with just two statements, one that says the book is true, the second can be ANY false statement. The second (by definition) destroys the claim of the first.

    13) “Have Faith”. This means “believe without reason”. I could just as easily say that “Black = White, I  have faith”. The latter is clearly false, but the epistemological basis is the same. If it isnt acceptable for the latter, it isn’t acceptable at all.

    • Blanche

      “”Have Faith (in god or whatever)”. This means “believe without reason”. I could just as easily say that “Black = White, I have faith”. The latter is clearly false, but the epistemological basis is the same. If it isnt acceptable for the latter, it isn’t acceptable for the former – or at all.”

      Ahem: “That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity with the Church herself, if she shall have defined anything to be black which to our eyes appears to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black. For we must undoubtedly believe, that the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of the Orthodox Church His Spouse, by which Spirit we are governed and directed to Salvation, is the same.” – Ignatius Loyola

      Cliff’s Notes version: If the church says that what we see as white is actually black, we must start calling it white, because obedience to authority is more important than fact or truth.

      • Blanche

        “”I will pray for you”. Given that the other person doesnt believe in prayer, and has probably read one of the many many studies on this, if you really believe in it, just do it. Why do you have to tell the other person ? In internet terms it is just flaming / trolling.”

        Some studies have found that the people being prayed for DO WORSE than those let alone. So perhaps Mr/Ms “I will pray for you” is actually wishing you harm O_O

      • Blanche

        “Cliff’s Notes version: If the church says that what we see as white is actually black, we must start calling it white, because obedience to authority is more important than fact or truth.”

        Ugh. What I actually meant is that if the church says that white must now be called black, we have to start calling white black because obedience to authority is more important than fact or truth.

        Of course, the fact that Christians are now calling white black because the church says so won’t go unnoticed by the nonChristians around you – just sayin’…

    • Blanche

      “But you cant prove that I am wrong”.

      “That is not my job. YOUR job is to convince me that you’re right, and you’re failing miserably!”

    • Blanche

      “You think that we came from dirt” ?

      uh…that’s what it says in Genesis O_O

  • Serious Atheist

    What I don’t understand is, the author is clearly a reasonable person who seems to see through the insane mythology of christianity. So — why the hell are they still a christian??

  • Eduardo Corona

    One which I do not find on this list, and which annoys me especially is when, in the middle of a heated debate or discussion, a Christian will utter something of the general form: [Some book of the Bible]: And God/Jesus/Prophet Y hath said X” and then believe this is some form of argument with any kind of weight or authority. This means squat to a non-Christian. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/lance.carbuncle.1 Lance Carbuncle

    Not gonna touch some of the comments here… just dropped by to commend the author. Nice job, well-written. Thank you for posting it. My wife & I scream together whenever we hear #1; It’s not just annoying, it is utterly stupid & meaningless syntactically. The rest are quite accurate and I must say it is extremely perceptive of you to recognize how they are usually/often taken by ‘outsiders’. Anyway, again, thank you for doing it & sorry for some of my brother & sister atheists’ uhm, “fervor”. Peace.

  • Chaote

    As an atheist living in the Bible belt, I have heard all of these hundreds of times, to the point where they now generate an immediate knee-jerk response. I have nothing against the religion in and of itself, but the followers of it who blindly repeat these insensitive and often insulting phrases are doing as much damage to the opinions people have of Christians as the obnoxious atheist groups demanding crosses be taken out of cemeteries are doing to everyone’s opinions of us. 

    • Blanche

      “the obnoxious atheist groups demanding crosses be taken out of cemeteries ”

      I have never run across a single example of this. What atheist groups are demanding is that crosses erected by Christians without permit or permission on public land be removed as the eyesore trash they are.

      If you think that’s “obnoxious”, I can tell you’re a Christian :)

  • Whaley Eric

    A couple more, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”… That’s not true, the closest I can come up with is, “Ther hath no temptation taken you, but what is common to man, but God is faithful who will not suffer you to be TEMPTED above that ye are able, but will with the temptation, also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to BARE it”
    It’s about temptation, not life’s struggles. God allows us to experience more than we can handle all the time. Could moses handle the Pharoh? Could Moses handle the Red Sea? Could Noah handle the flood? Could Jesus handle the cross? Could David handle Goliath? Could the boy with two fishes and five loaves handle the crowd of five thousand? Could Lazarus handle his sickness?
    And the other one is, and this one’s bad, “God only helps those that help themselves”. Hold on a second while I punch the wall. This is TOTALLY untrue. What about the man outside the gate “Beautiful” that was cripple and wanted to make it into the fountain? He was freakin cripple. What about Lazarus? What about the little boy that died in his Father’s house? What about the Hebrew slaves in Egypt? What about me?
    It jut makes me sad, and scared to tell people that I’m a Christian because of the stygma that other so called Christians have given us. We are called to LOVE…. Not judge.
    And if the main purpose of this walk is Christ likeness, we are supposed to hang out with people that don’t fit the “religious” mold.
    Ok, I’m done… I’m just a frustrated Christ Follower.

  • Brett Orban

    As a believer in a ‘supreme force’ (call it what you will) but not in religion, I have to congratulate the author on such insight. I especially agree that none of us know where we are going when we leave this mortal coil, believers or none believers.

    None of you, who subscribe to any particular religion or belief know – that is why it is called ‘faith’. 
    On a further note: May I add an eleventh cliche to the list; one I call the Christian ‘Get out of jail free’ card. The one Christians often play when faced with a statement of truth that they cannot argue with: ‘Ah, but God works in mysterious ways’.Please note: All none believers will take that cliche to mean “Ah, you have me there, your argument is valid I can’t disagree with you”.

  • Caroline

    I must say that as an atheist, I find the points in the article really good. It’s nice to see someone pointing it out :]
    I was raised Catholic and questioned it all so much as a kid that by the time of my confirmation, I didn’t believe any of it.  And throughout my life, I’ve heard and experienced some really awful stuff from self-righteous, arrogant Christians who think they know better.
    Obviously it’s a different set of Christians in this thread as most of your responses have been pretty placid and nice. In every day life, however, the majority of christians a non-christian will enounter are at best irritating, and at worst vile people. They really do themselves no favours as it’s hard not to hate people like that. I have a lot of issues with organised religion and really don’t get faith at all. I put my faith down to the same reason I had faith in Santa as a child. I was told he existed by adults. That’s not faith, that is a taught fairytale.
    However, obviously some people feel comfortable in a faith and will live in the safety net of that. It makes me sad that they don’t see how incredible our existence really is without a ‘creator’ and don’t see their own personal strengths in life but just see all their accomplishments as divine intervention. It is is their prerogative to believe that, though.
    What I wish is that theists would have that same respect and not constantly try to convert athiests, or pity them for some supposed eternal damnation, or insult them for not sharing a belief that has absolutely no evidence or justification in this modern era.
    And the militant, angry athiests many of you christians come across are people like myself who have taken so much abuse, and have probably been raised with a faith and realised that it makes no sense. It’s hard not to hate the people who push such disgusting beliefs on you, and it’s really hard not to hate them for trying to get in the way of your rights as an adult. It’s hurtful and controlling and completely unnecessary.
    I will not step in the way of a Christian’s right to live how he wants to live, marry who he wants to marry, etc. It’s his life. Why, then, do Christians think it’s okay to get in the way of the rest of the world’s right to live life how they want to? Your faith is yours, not ours. If we want to marry, adopt, eat, wear whatever we want, we should be allowed to as it’s our lives. Two men being married has no bearing whatsoever on your heterosexual marriage unless they’re sharing your bed. Your misplaced disgust or anger is your problem not theirs.
    The points in this article are good, but only touch the tip of the iceberg of what Christians do that cause so much backlash and hate from athiest/anti-theist circles.

    Sorry it’s long, but everyone’s got their opinion here, so I’m dropping mine in.   :]

    • Blanche

      “And throughout my life, I’ve heard and experienced some really awful stuff from self-righteous, arrogant Christians who think they know better. ”

      What’s *hilarious* is when these same offensive Christians declare that, unless the world hates them, they aren’t real Christians. Really? Guess what? In the US, FAR more people hate Muslims than Christians! Does this mean Muslims are the real Christians? What of Westboro Baptist Church, the morons who hold offensive signs at military funerals declaring that the deceased are going to hell etc.? Everybody hates them! Does that mean THEY are the REAL Christians??

      Why does it appear so often that Christians’ brains don’t work so good?

    • Blanche

      I’m glad you took the time to make a long post, Caroline – good points all. Too many Christians seem to feel it’s their job to force the rest of us to live by their rules. The latest is Christian employers who feel it’s their right to limit their employees’ benefits to what the employers themselves approve of. No concept of workers’ rights. This, BTW, is consistent with Jesus’s narrow-minded and primitive mindset – read the Parable of the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-15). In this disgusting tale, Jesus describes the workers’ wages as the employer’s “generosity” and accords all the rights to the owner – none to the workers (typical of Jesus). How it is possible that our country fought a war to rid ourselves of the tyranny of monarchy when the ubiquitous business model in the US remains a monarchy is beyond me. It makes no sense! Yet Christianity is all about monarchy as well – why do we keep it around when it is detrimental and destructive to human relationships and societal welfare?

      We’ve outgrown primitive Christianity, and the sooner everyone outgrows it, the better off we’ll be. I outgrew the God and Jesus I’d been raised in around the same time I outgrew Santa Claus – I wonder what’s wrong with those who didn’t make that same connection.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SEJ4EGP37XVVBE72YS2MPQWT6E Sean

    I just wanted to chime in as yet another atheist (and former christian) who totally loves this post.  Believers who act like this are a HUGE part of what originally drove a wedge between me and the church, and while I’m a nonbeliever now simply because I don’t believe, I left the church a couple of years before I came to that point of view because I so hated being associated with other christians who acted this way.

    Good job to the author on highlighting these problems! This article is really, really good. :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Neil-Andrus/100000856562459 Neil Andrus

    Here’s the thing.  Let’s assume there is a God, and that he/she/it has something important to communicate to humans concerning some salvation system.  If so, God has done a terrible job filling humans in on the secret.  Forget about appeals to the Bible as the source of Truth, or any other claimed religious text for that matter.  There are innumerable religions, religious organizations, sects, denominations, belief systems etc. virtually all of which profess to dispense God’s own Truth.  How to choose among them?  Is the Truth to be found in Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Shinto or Christianity?   Or is it somewhere else entirely?  Even limiting the inquiry to Christianity, there are literally thousands of Christian denominations, sects and cults, and all of them, to one degree or another, disagree with all the others about the meaning and interpretation of the Bible.   They can’t all be right.  Go to ten churches and you’ll get ten different answers to the most basic doctrinal questions, which, we are told, are essential to “salvation.”

    It is no answer to assert that there are “many paths to the top of the mountain.”  You still have to be on one of the “right” paths.  Same question:  which ones are the Truth?  Taken to its logical conclusion, this notion reduces to the proposition that as long as you’re sincere in your beliefs, and try to conform to whatever set of social taboos, cultural mores and biological imperatives that constitutes whatever you consider to be moral and good, then you’ll be “saved.”  In that case, it matters not at all whether you hold any particular beliefs about Jesus.  You only need be consistent in belief and action.

    Nor can one discern Truth by spiritual means.  “Listen to your heart” sounds great until one adds the caveat:  “If your heart isn’t telling you to agree with my religious beliefs, then the ‘message’ isn’t from God – it’s from somewhere else.”  Nope.  Feelings of spirituality cannot be a certain means of knowing the Truth, because feelings are a simply the product of brain structures, and patterns of neurons firing, mediated by neurotransmitters.  Even if some feelings are God talking to you, there simply is no way to distinguish between the alleged presence of the Divine and excess dopamine.

    Bottom line, God (again, assuming such a being exists) doesn’t care what you believe in or what you do, or he/she/it would have provided some reasonably reliable mechanism for distinguishing Truth from error.  There isn’t one.  Accordingly, people who who insist that they have discerned the Truth, indeed, to the point of needing to foist it on others, are incredibly arrogant.  And, (caution: irony ahead), as the Bible teaches us, pride goeth before the fall.

    • Blanche Quizno

      ” In that case, it matters not at all whether you hold any particular beliefs about Jesus. You only need be consistent in belief and action.” Neil, at the end of Matthew 25, Jesus supposedly gives a list of what it takes to get into “heaven”, and those who fail to do those things to straight to “hell”. And “belief” is not mentioned :)

  • Tina

    I have a list of Christian cliches that I abhor, and number one on the list is “God is in control”.  I think it’s because right before the last Presidential election, I said that I was really worried, and I was greeted with a chorus of, “God is in control.”  My mental reaction was, “Of COURSE you can say, ‘God is in control’!  YOUR candidate is about to win!” 

    I do believe that “God is in control”, but too often, I think we use it as a spiritual cop-out.  What we’re really saying is, “I’m uncomfortable with your comments/questions and I don’t know how to handle them.  But since I’m a Christian, I know I’m supposed to say something spiritual-sounding.  So I’ll just tell you that God is in control.  That’ll get you off my back and me off the hook!”

  • http://twitter.com/tuppington Lewis

    If only you were altogether silent and that would be your wisdom.

    • Piet

       If all religious people would be altogether silent about their religion, the world would be a better place.

  • Oinia

    Mr. Piatt, is there anything about Christianity and the Bible you DO agree with?

    You’ve denied most of the essentials of Christianity in your short list:
    - Jesus is Lord.
    - He died as a substitutionary atonement for the sins of the world.
    - The Bible is God’s inerrant, inspired, authoritative word.
    - God is sovereign (‘everything happens for a reason’ vs. your view that evil is random and chaotic).
    - Jesus died to save us from hell and to bring us to heaven.
    - Heaven and hell are real places of eternal reward and punishment.

    You’re putting cultural relevance above the Bible, dude.  Nothing new about your generic religious cowardice…Luke 7:24 “Anyone who is not offended because of Me is blessed.”

    • http://www.bipolarlessons.com/ Mary

      Oinia,

      About your assertion that the Bible is the “inerrant Word of God.” I hear this all the time as a weapon against people with different beliefs. Is it right to use God as a weapon?

      In order to believe this you have to be able to do a great deal of mental gymnastics. Even the Bible doesn’t make the claim of being inerrant. God did not dictate the Bible, which was written over thousand of years, directly to a scribe writing it down. The Bible clearly says it was “inspired” by God, not written by God.

      If the Bible were inerrant you would expect to see a consistant theology from start to finish. Instead you see a theology that evolves over time. Most Christians ignore or minimize the Old Testament, because it they believe that it doesn’t apply anymore.

      Here is the problem with that approach. The God from the O.T. is VERY DIFFERENT  from the God of the N.T.  The God of the O.T. condones and even COMMANDS  his followers to slaughter, rape, and enslave non-Hebrew people. The Ten Commandments don’t apply to their treatment of other cultures because they were not “chosen” by God as his preferred people.

      This attitude is the same as the extremist Muslim philosophy. Since Christians are considered “evil” and not chosen by God that means that it is ok to kill them.

      But even though God “loves” his people they are expected to abide by harsh laws that make no sense. Depending on the circumstances a rape victim could be stoned or forced to marry her rapist. Again these are laws that many Muslim countries abide by today.

      The God of the O.T. also condones human sacrifice. A “man of God” sacrificed his virgin daughter after God’s help in winning a battle. Unlike the story of Abraham and Isaac, God did not step in to stop it or condemn the action.  In fact the girl is portrayed as being willing to sacrifice herself to God to fulfill “His will.”

      Still think the Bible is inerrant?

      After saying all this I AM NOT CONDEMNING THE WHOLE BIBLE. There are many good teachings as well. however it is impossible for me to accept everything in it.

      For someone who is SEEKING THE TRUTH about the Bible there are only a few options to choose from:

      1. God is evil.
      2. There are two Gods, one evil and one good.
      3. There is no God.
      4. Fallible men wrote much of the Bible and used God as an excuse to justify their evil acts.
      5. The writers of the Bible had an incomplete understanding of God.

      A case can be made for all of these options but I choose to believe #4 and #5.

      I am not an athiest but I agree with their methodology. IF YOU DON’T QUESTION YOUR BELIEFS THEN THEY AREN’T YOURS TO BEGIN WITH.  Are you going to go with the CONSCIENCE THAT GOD GAVE YOU or are you going to commit idolatry by worshiping the Bible instead of God?

      I don’t say this to all Christians because I want to respect their beliefs. But if you are offended remember IT WAS YOU that started this conversation. If someone wants to force their beliefs on me then I have a perfect right to debate with them.

      • http://www.bipolarlessons.com/ Mary

        One note about the N.T.  Jesus told his followers that HE WOULD RETURN WITHIN THEIR LIFETIME. The writings of Paul say the same thing. Since the SECOND COMING DID NOT HAPPEN, that can only mean that the N.T. is not inerrant either.

        The LOVE THAT JESUS SHOWED is the important part of his teaching. Not the dogma.

        • Blanche

          You’re right about the failed second coming, Mary. But actually, if you read the Gospels, you see that Jesus was pretty much a dick. He apparently liked to see people squirm (see Matthew 8:21-22 for an example) and, while he insisted that “Honor thy father and mother” was essential (Matthew 19:19 for an example), he was contemptuous and rude to his own mother (see Matthew 12:47-50).

          I’m sure you know some REAL people who are far better role models.

        • Blanche

          Oh, one more thing, along the lines of Jesus liking to make people squirm – there’s that *LOVELY* incident where the desperate foreign woman sought his help for her disabled daughter, and Jesus *IGNORED* her. It was only when his friends complained about the noise she was making that he deigned to speak to her, and then he referred to her and her disabled daughter as “dogs”, then as now one of the worst insults in that culture. It was only after she groveled and said, “You’re right – we’re dogs” that he condescended to tell her to go on home because her daughter was healed. By the time she arrived home and found her daughter as disabled as ever, Jesus knew he and his buddies would be long gone. Nice guy, that Jesus. See Matthew 15:22-28.

      • Blanche

        Great post, Mary. One thing, though:

        “The God of the O.T. also condones human sacrifice. A “man of God” sacrificed his virgin daughter after God’s help in winning a battle. Unlike the story of Abraham and Isaac, God did not step in to stop it or condemn the action. In fact the girl is portrayed as being willing to sacrifice herself to God to fulfill “His will.””

        There are apparently two different narratives interwoven in the Abraham/Isaac story (Genesis 22). For example, there are two different words for “God” used, and the one, from the earlier version, praises Abraham for going through with it, for not holding his son back.

        “for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” … “By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:”

        Abraham had TWO sons, remember – Ishmael was his first son!

        Both go up, but Abraham comes down alone – and Abraham goes to a new town to live. So much for Sarah! Isaac is *gone*.

        “So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.”

        Abraham then takes a new wife (Keturah – Genesis 25) – no connection with the earlier narrative. We never hear of Sarah again.

        There are repeated references to child sacrifice and human sacrifice by the Israelites throughout the Old Testament. Of course, each time it is mentioned, it is condemned with horror – and then it is mentioned again. And again. And again. For example, Jericho could not be rebuilt until there was a foundation sacrifice (some poor sap entombed in the walls):

        1 Kings 16:34 “In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho; he laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his first-born, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.”

        So Hiel of Bethel sacrificed his eldest son within the foundation, and sacrificed his youngest son within the gate structure. Barbarous people, those Israelites. And we’re supposed to look to THEM for wisdom????

  • Rinnosuke

    As an atheist let me just say THANK YOU! Always refreshing when people examine their own beliefs and make them their own, rather then just accepting things on blind faith.

  • Kodie

    In response to PeRhe (the column was getting to narrow for this subthread):

    Now, I would like to see your honest evaluation of these rather than
    simply discarding them because I refer to the Bible and mention other
    things that current wisdom says are unreasonable.

    1- prove Jesus exists and has the power to do that. If your proof is the bible, prove the bible is a reliable source. You can’t use the bible to prove itself a reliable source any more than I can use “This sentence proves there’s no god,” as a reliable source.
    2- a)not everyone dies in every serious car accident. If you had died, then god doesn’t exist? How can you imply something like that in a thread where multiple people have met with profound grief at the death of a loved one. Why didn’t god save the lives of others in serious accidents. Prove you are special and not just lucky.
    2- b)statistically probable. You were closer to the ladder than someone else who also didn’t get hit by the ladder.
    2- c)has anything ever cut your skin? You have to be more specific, but just because you think something should have injured you and didn’t, does not mean that “god did it”.
    3- (no, the world is just a planet). a)you’re not privy to what they saw and there are explanations of what happens when the brain starts to shut down. Not the least of which is an illusion called pareidolia (an example of which is when someone thinks they see Jesus on a grilled cheese sandwich or a dog’s anus) – I doubt they saw a fully formed detailed Jesus so much as a shade of darkness or light moving toward them that sort of seemed like a person and they assumed that person was Jesus coming for them because that’s what they were told and believed would happen. If their rapidly declining brain activity filled in the details with wishes, if that’s my explanation, refute it. You didn’t see a recognizable Jesus for yourself or bother them to describe exactly what they saw or how they knew it was Jesus, so your report is unreliable.
    3-b)Well good for you, some people are forgiving. Maybe you learned how to be that way from reading the bible (which is a book written by men, containing certain amounts of borrowed wisdom from even more ancient people), or maybe that’s just your personality of your upbringing. Lots of people who believe in god aren’t so even-tempered or forgiving, and lots of people who don’t believe in god are. It’s up to you to draw a cause-and-effect here. Other than your report of being so easy-going, you have said some insensitive things. I know you had a problem with someone being jerky to you in jerky language, but you are jerky in calm, pleasant language (as are many of the Christians who defended the usage of every item on Piatt’s list), see 2a.

    See ya.

    • Slade

      Well done on the rebuttal Kodie.   I mistakenly attributed PeRhe’s post to you above – sorry about.  Like me, you’ve probably been having these internet debates long enough to realize that you’ll never get one these god-botherers to publicly admit “hey, I hadn’t thought of that…”, but we can only hope that they walk away from the logic drubbing they take on here and reconsider some of their “arguments”.

    • PeRhe

      If I have seemed insensitive it was unintentional and I apologize for it. Unless you find my faith insensitive; for that I see no need to apologize.

      Niether will I apologize for the using the Bible to support my faith, nor will I stop. If a belief system is sound it can stand scrutiny but the supports for that belief system cannot be discarded until it has failed that scrutiny. That you do not believe the Bible is the word of God is no reason for me not to believe that it is and to use it as such.

      You have asked for evidence of my faith. Which I have given. At which you have thrown rebuttals (some rather intriuging which I will be examining) that fail on the point of acknowledging that I believe what I am saying. I really believe it. With every investigation I believe it more. From my point of view, you did not credit the sincerity of my beliefs but merely tore them down and threw them out. This does not win arguments or facilitate exploring whether either one of us might be right.

      Just one example: That no one was closer to the ladder than me does not change that had I kept walking I would have been killed. I had niether reason nor desire to stop where I did. But I stopped and by stopping was not killed. The proximity of anyone else does not change the impact of what almost happened to me as an individual. That God chooses not to do this for everyone is not a reason to say He didn’t do it for me but instead a reason to ask “Why? Why him and not that other guy? Or alternatively: The fact that I’m not a millionaire doesn mean that no one is one. I do not expect that God will save my life every time it is in danger but He did save it that time, of that I have no doubt.

      You are correct when you say “it is up to [me] to draw a cause-and-effect here.” Based on what I have seen and experienced in my life, the effect, I can only conclude that there is God (the cause). You may not believe this but I have truly (and without bias) explored other causes to see if they offered a valid alternative to Christianity. I have not yet found one that does.

      I am sorry that you don’t like my logic, but that alone will not change my mind unless you have a more compelling explantion than (paraphrasing) “God didn’t do a miracle for you because He didn’t do one for someone else” or “God didn’t show Himself to that person that died because you weren’t in the room to witness it.” It doesn’t bother me that you think I’m wrong (after all, I think you’re wrong too) but I would appreciate it if your thinking that I’m wrong didn’t cause you to automatically discredit everything I say; I’m not doing that to you.

      I will be leaving this thread now. If you or anyone else is willing to enter into a discussion where either one of us could be proven wrong you know how to find me.

      I hope, truly, that you enjoy your summer.

      • Kodie

         I didn’t think you would change your mind. I said I wouldn’t and you in turn said you wouldn’t, but you did provide what you believe is evidence. I don’t credit your sincerity because personal emotions, even strong feelings are not accountable as evidence. Your insensitivity that I referred to was remarking that god spared your life. Some people live and some people die. If you believe in god, then where is the responsibility for those who do not live? It is excused away with some of the remarks on this list, with no proof. Either way you go, you have a “god” answer that does not differ at all from statistical probability. A lot of respondents have lost someone and remarked how much it hurts to hear this weak and meaningless witnessing to them, least of all someone who uses their own life being saved as evidence that god exists. God exists for you, I understand that is very powerful and you have been convinced, but don’t mistake that as proof that god exists. That’s all I got. Good talk.

      • Blanche

        So, PeRhe, you survived or avoided an accident and that “proves” to you that “God exists.” Would you say that, if someone doesn’t survive an accident, that person’s friends and family should take the victim’s death as proof that God doesn’t exist? Just wondering…

        • PeRhe

          No, I would not consider that to be a failure of their faith nor a proof that God does not exist. I’m wouldn’t say such events “prove” my faith as much as I would say they “confirm” my faith. The proof of my faith comes from other sources which I will not list again here. I have no doubt you already know what they are and have a counter explanation for each, which I will find as futile as you find my faith. I have heard these arguments many times over, and have made them myself many times in the past, but I don’t any more. I have met God and I know He is real.
          I wish you all the best this Christmas season.

  • Guest

    Just a thought on Point #9.  If Jesus didn’t die for our sins, then what was it all for?  According to John in 1 John 3,  he wrote that we knew God loved us because he laid his life down for us.    If the phrase “Jesus died for our sins” is too cliche, then what did John mean with “He laid his life down for us”?  Then what did the writer of Hebrews mean when he wrote that Jesus became our high priest to offer up the sacrifice for the people because he did this once when he offered up himself ? In the OT, one comes to understand that the high priest is the one who would enter behind the curtain of the temple to offer the sacrifices for sins the people once a year.  Yes, the sacrifice that appears to be a “substitutionary atonement”, which apparently the writer explaining these cliches might have hard time believing?  Sure most unbelievers might want to hear the cliche, even Jonah thought like this!  Didn’t God tell Jonah to go to Nineveh and tell the people to repent or they will perish?  Jonah at first refused to go because he figured the people were too evil to even listen.  Talk about cliche – “Repent or perish”.  Still he went, said it, and to his surprise, the people listened and chose the first option!  Sometimes, some things have to be said, whether the listener likes it or not, if it bears repeating from the Word.

    • http://www.bipolarlessons.com/ Mary

      You seem to miss the point. EVERYONE HAS ALREADY HEARD THE PREACHING AD INFINITUM. We have books, TV, the internet, and  a million churches. If somebody is interested then they can check it out for themselves!

      You also cannot make a valid point when you are talking about a man who supposedly lived in the belly of a whale for three days. It is obviously symbolic, not literal.  

  • SouthernGent

    After reading the article and so many comments with the same theme, I wonder where in the world did all these well-intentioned Christians go to church and/or get their education? I grew up in the South, and attended or was a member of three of the biggest denominations. While I heard stuff like that here and there, it certainly was not taught in any church I attended. My theory is that religion is something that some, maybe a lot, of people hang onto as tightly as they do their favorite football team or NASCAR driver. These folks want to PASS IT ON, take in newbies who are, of course, not as “educated” or “on their way to Heaven” as they are. They have a need to feel superior, to feel “in”, all the while evangelizing Jesus Christ and His church. That dichotomy was probably one reason I never felt compelled to go on mission trips or evangelize. Who am I to act superior to others or to pretend to know who/what they are inside? I prefer to witness by example. Consequently, I have not brought many sheep into the fold, perhaps none. But I don’t believe that I have turned anyone away from the church, either, and that’s half the battle, especially these days.

    I enjoyed the article. It resonated with me and will probably cause some of my friends to shake their heads and wonder “what happened to him?”

  • Henry Stephens

    I agree with 8 of these. 
    “Everything happens for a reason and He/She is in a better place” are not (as the author points out) related to Christianity….and a

  • Bravoandi

    When my 16-year old son died from a brain tumor, the best consolation I received was from my secretary.  Instead of flowers, she gave me a pint of brandy and said, “Hang in there.”

    I can not believe that when my friends died alongside me in combat a god in its wisdom and mercy was “calling them home.”  Had they been in a college calssroom at the time of their death, would the god still have called them home?  I doubt it.

  • Jonah Comstock

    I mostly like your list(s). But your tone is SO ARROGANT. You accuse other Christians of arrogance while giving them long bulleted lists of how they should, and shouldn’t practice their faith. Talk about pointing out the splinter in your neighbor’s eye!

    • http://www.bipolarlessons.com/ Mary

      I didn’t see anything in his post about telling Christians how to practice their faith. WHAT HE SAID WAS TO STOP TELLING OTHERS TO BELIEVE THE WAY YOU DO.

      It is about RESPECT.

      I am involved with a mental health social center where recently we had a discussion about starting a spiritual support group. As long as we shared about how spirituality helps us in our recovery everything went fine. In fact most people were on the same page. It doesn’t matter what religion you are, the principles are all the same. But then somebody brought up the idea of having speakers come to talk about specific faiths, including non-Christian ones. All hell broke loose as one guy loudly proclaimed that Christianity was the only “true faith”. Other people were interested in hearing about other faiths but THIS “GOOD CHRISTIAN” RUINED IT FOR EVERYBODY! 

      I get sick of hearing about how Christians are being “denied their rights”. It is the opposite! CHRISTIANS FEEL THAT NO ONE ELSE SHOULD HAVE RIGHTS!

      This is the problem with a religion that insists that anybody who doesn’t agree is “evil” and “inferior”.

      There are even some extremists who are declaring that our government is Christian so therefore anybody who isn’t a Christian should leave the country!

      There is so much crap going on with the religious right at this time which shows how unloving some “loving” Christians are. They seem to feel that IT IS OK TO LIE FOR GOD by spreading viscious rumors about gays and anyone who doesn’t believe the way that they do.

      And then they loudly proclaim that the government wants to make it illegal for them to practice their religion. ANOTHER LIE! How about the case of a “good Christian who was jailed and fined for having a Bible study in his home. These “upright” Christian reporters forgot to tell their readers that the guy built illegal and unsafe additions to his home, made it into a church with no parking lot and expected his neighbors to put up with the traffic and noise of 40 people coming several times a week!

      There is a simple solution: RENT A DAMNED BUILDING!

      So I don’t have any sympathy for the “persecuted” Christians.

  • Enoch77

    Are you an Athiest or a Christian because you sound exactly like an Athiest, look even the Athiest below agrees with you.

    • Blanche

      I see you’re getting your judgment on, Enoch77. That makes you a GOOD Christian, right? Oh, dear – almost forgot about Matthew 7:1-5. Ever read it? You might consider it. Because you sound like you’re engaging in exactly what Jesus said you WEREN’T supposed to do, thou hypocrite!

  • Enoch77

    they made a video about your 10 cliches if you havnt seen it
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWoq5xzpKso&feature=g-all-u

  • http://blog.travishinkle.com/ Travis Hinkle

    While I agree that we have some cliché phrases, I don’t agree with everything in this post.

    “Too often, Christians presume we have something everyone else needs, without even knowing them first.”

    • Okay, we should get to know people and be able to relate the gospel in a way that connects with them, but if you are a “Christian” then the very core of your belief should be wrapped around the fact that EVERYONE needs Jesus to take their place in God’s eyes. Without the other cliché (the blood of Jesus covering us) we are unsuitable in God’s eyes.

    • Blanche

      Has it never occurred to you that your religion is repellent and disgusting?

  • Tony

     I believe that the Bible is clear that whoever ‘believes in the name of the Lord will be saved’. Saved to a heavenly afterlife, if you will.

    Saved *from what*, now that’s not clear. The few Bible passages on Hell are unclear and the required qualifications for access to that place are also unclear – except of course, for the Revelation passages about those who are fornicators, liars etc.

    (But Revelation is probably the most dodgy book in the Bible, firstly in terms of its difficulty of interpretation and hence its common misinterpretation (and use to jsutify all kinds of weird stuff) and secondly because they only included it in the canon of Scripture mainly because they were afraid of leaving out some important truth.)

    The Church has, over the centuries, taught that you go to either Heaven or Hell; I suspect mainly for reasons of control, but also because they have assumed that for us to be saved TO somewhere (i.e. Heaven) we must also be saved FROM somewhere (i.e. Hell). This does not necessarily follow; as I have said earlier, the Bible is completely unclear as to what happens to those who do not ‘believe’.

    Certainly the various Churches still interpret the meanings of these passages in their own way – which is why a) there are denominations and b) why it is utter fallacy to claim that any one denomination has the TRUTH.

    And I don’t believe that God would make things so difficult. It doesn’t need ot be complicated. It’s not about obeying Rules, it’s not about agreeing with a particular doctrine or theology. The Bible is, I think, deliberately vague on so many things in order to allow for a whole spectrum of beliefs which can still be valid, or at least, none more or less valid than another. Christian’s blog is completely correct on the point of interpretation of Scripture for this reason.

    Personally I find it very refreshing to see a Christian who has a mind of his own and can think things through well. I have subscribed to your blog, Christian, on RSS and I look forward to reading more of your wisdom. I have never felt really comfortable in any Church because my views so nearly mirror much of what is in here – and Churches are afraid if intelligent people who can think clearly for themselves – but perhaps such discomfort is not a bad thing if it leads to one’s escape from the Organisation…..

    • http://www.bipolarlessons.com/ Mary

      You make some good points. Many Christians feel that you have to give up your brain to belong. That totally suffucated me. I feel that my real spiritual growth started when I left the church. I feel much closer to God on my own.

      About Revelation: It sounds like some madman’s hallucination. It almost didn’t make it into the Bible. Scholars don’t think it was written by John because the writing style is completely different from his other writing. People make careers out of trying to interpret something that is so chaotic that no one could possibly understand it. But that doesn’t stop them from scaring the bejesus out of everybody! Every year there is a new Anti-Christ! There is a book called The History of the End of the World (I forget the author) which documents the fact that in every age since it was written people have thought it was the end of the world. This despite the fact that Jesus said that he would return within his diciples lifetimes. Paul said that also. Funny how people ignore that!

      • http://www.bipolarlessons.com/ Mary

        One more thing. You mention all the different interpretations and how the Bible is not as clear as people make it out to be. That is because for most people before they even crack it open to read it for themselves the church has already interpreted it for them! When people read it they are reading it through the lens of what they have already been taught. I have been coming back to reading the Bible and I realize with fresh eyes that in fact the Bible is definitely not a co-herant whole and that there is a change of philosophy over time. The writers of the New Testament in fact do a pretty poor job of trying to reconcile the O.T. with their new faith. A lot of the “prophecies” that are supposed to lead up to Jesus are misquoted, taken out of context, or completely made up. The part that supposedly foretells the virgin birth is taken out of context from the rest of the story. It had to do with a situation that was going on then, not several hundred years in the future! And the word translated as “virgin” actually meant “young woman”. The Bible uses a completely different word to mean sexual purity.

        So when people say “the Bible says” it has to be taken with a grain of salt.

        • http://www.bipolarlessons.com/ Mary

          Sorry I am sleepy and I forgot my last point. When people ask if you believe in the Bible it is a fair question to ask “What part?” The Bible does not say the same thing from start to finish.

  • Tony

    I believe that the Bible is clear that whoever ‘believes in the name of the Lord will be saved’. Saved to a heavenly afterlife, if you will.

    Saved *from what*, now that’s not clear. The few Bible passages on Hell are unclear and the required qualifications for access to that place are also unclear – except of course, for the Revelation passages about those who are fornicators, liars etc.

    (But Revelation is probably the most dodgy book in the Bible, firstly in terms of its difficulty of interpretation and hence its common misinterpretation (and use to jsutify all kinds of weird stuff) and secondly because they only included it in the canon of Scripture mainly because they were afraid of leaving out some important truth.)

    The Church has, over the centuries, taught that you go to either Heaven or Hell; I suspect mainly for reasons of control, but also because they have assumed that for us to be saved TO somewhere (i.e. Heaven) we must also be saved FROM somewhere (i.e. Hell). This does not necessarily follow; as I have said earlier, the Bible is completely unclear as to what happens to those who do not ‘believe’.

    Certainly the various Churches still interpret the meanings of these passages in their own way – which is why a) there are denominations and b) why it is utter fallacy to claim that any one denomination has the TRUTH.

    And I don’t believe that God would make things so difficult. It doesn’t need ot be complicated. It’s not about obeying Rules, it’s not about agreeing with a particular doctrine or theology. The Bible is, I think, deliberately vague on so many things in order to allow for a whole spectrum of beliefs which can still be valid, or at least, none more or less valid than another. Christian’s blog is completely correct on the point of interpretation of Scripture for this reason.

    Personally I find it very refreshing to see a Christian who has a mind of his own and can think things through well. I have subscribed to your blog, Christian, on RSS and I look forward to reading more of your wisdom. I have never felt really comfortable in any Church because my views so nearly mirror much of what is in here – and Churches are afraid if intelligent people who can think clearly for themselves – but perhaps such discomfort is not a bad thing if it leads to one’s escape from the Organisation…..

    • Blanche

      Saved from God, apparently.

  • Tony

    Sorry, double-posted. If there’s a moderator, please remove the duplicate posting! Thanks :)

  • Jerrod

    Wow, this is the most ridiculous article I have ever read. Asking Jesus into your heart is well stated. Especially since scripture says: “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:8-10 Christian’s obviously know where they are going when they die. John 4:1-4 says it plain as day. That we will be going with Christ to where He is going, and he says WE KNOW THE WAY. Have you asked Jesus into your heart? Are we really going to poke at something like that? Your heart is your source of life, it’s referring to making Christ your source of life. Don’t be stupid as to criticize the way someone words a true salvation. When did Jesus ever reject the title of “Lord”? Are you demonically possessed? 1 Corinthians 12:3 “… and no one can say “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit”. 1 Timothy 1:12 “I thank Christ Jesus our LORD, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to His SERVICE”. How is that not clear? Other verses giving Christ the title of Lord: Romans 8:39, Acts 7:59, Colossians 3:17, Acts 11:17, Acts 16:31 Acts 20:21, Romans 5:1. Don’t say, “Jesus died for your sins”, because they won’t want to get into a deeper conversation? I can’t believe what I’m hearing. There is no deeper conversation than that! That’s the very foundation and life of Christianity. You cannot become a Christian without believing Jesus died for your sins. That is the very essence of Christianity. 1 Corinthians 15: 1-3 “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you FIRST OF ALL that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,”. Paul said it is by this that we are saved, unless we believe in vain…. It can’t get much more clear than that. I guess the biggest evidence that ruins your claim, is that it’s those very words that brought me out of an atheist life style to Christianity. Your claims are from a false and dark thought process.

    • Blanche

      Jerrod: Oh barf.

  • http://twitter.com/BrianRoden Brian Roden

    “The fact is that faith, by definition, is not reasonable.” I beg to differ. You are defining superstition, not faith (I know many would say they are the same thing).  Compared to the natural materialist worldview when carried to its logical conclusion, theistic faith is surpassingly reasonable.

    • Blanche

      No, actually, Brian Roden, theistic faith is the rankest superstition. The “natural materialist worldview”, which if I understand correctly is that you are referring to the perspective that everything has a naturalistic explanation (no references to the supernatural allowed), is what has resulted in modern medicine – instead of superstitious praying, pouring oil on sick people, and helplessly watching them die – and all the technological advances that have made our lives so much better and longer, including the computer you’re reading/posting from. Religion gave us *NOTHING* but slavery. What did the church do when the Black Death was decimating Europe? NOTHING! Centuries later, when cholera was similarly decimating Europe, thinking people figured out that it was a microbe that infected via sewage-contaminated water – and stopped the pandemic in its tracks. Christianity was utterly, completely *helpless* in the face of illness – all Christianity could do was say, “Oh, God’s punishing you for your sin.” Bullcrap. Illness is typically caused by microbes, not “sin.” In fact, “sin” causes no illness – there is no such thing as “punishment from God” – the virtuous suffer just as much, if not more, than the wicked (who tend to be more wealthy and thus can afford better nutrition and medical care). Theistic faith is not only unreasonable, it is stupid. It is ignorant. It is foolish, and it is destructive. Theistic faith is a plague upon humankind – it causes mental illness. It’s a good thing all the theistic religions are in decline.

  • http://www.markandkathrynjohnson.blogspot.com/ A Nerd and A Free Spirit

    I sure hope you’re following this up with the ten things people should say! (-:

    ~Kathryn

  • TheSquirrel

    Someone once told me ‘everything happens for a reason’ after I got fired. Jerk.

  • Ronald

    The truth of the matter is only a minister with God’s holy spirit is qualified the make this decision or to even comment.
    Carnal man does not have the knowledge to make these statements or even to comment. This is the most obsurb waste of time. The Bible has the true answers.

    • Tony

       Do you mean by this, then, that nobody other than such a ‘minister’ has the ability or right to think for themselves? And how would you define a ‘minister’? (also shouldn’t ‘Holy Spirit’ be capitalised….)

      Finally, what does ‘osburb’ mean?

  • Just me

    Number 10 is the best.  One of the reasons I no longer go to church is I do not want to be singled out for any reason.  I don’t want to introduce myself to anyone, I don’t want to shake hands, and I don’t want to discuss my personal business.  I want to listen to what the preacher has to say and then leave.

    • Blanche

      The worst is when the preacher tells everyone to hug someone they don’t know. Gross.

      Forced groping is disgusting.

  • Daldeff

    Sad. You are so right on with this article and the fundie sycophants come out of the woodwork, proclaiming that the LAWD insists the whole unexpurgated truth be pronounced and that will draw all men to JAY-SUS! WHEW! Praise the LAWD that HE hardens the hearts of those who reject HIM! AMEN!

    Do any of you grumbling about Christian’s article even think, for one second, how ridiculous these platitudes sound to unbelievers? Equally, how ridiculous the notion that their disapproval somehow equals approval of the Almighty? I am so glad that after 35 years of trying to be like you, I finally listened to the logic providence provided me instead of ignoring it as “tinkling cymbals.” I’m finally happy to be rid of all that; well, you’ll certainly equate happiness with ungodliness, right? HINT: Don’t even go there about happiness vs. joy…just another damn fundie slogan.

  • http://trulyfulfilled.com/ Brant

    “Everything happens for a reason.”  You nailed that one! :)  And I have relatives who will NEVER go to church because they’re afraid of being told to stand up and be “welcomed.” That is the dumbest practice ever. 

    • Maravilloso

      I agree that is way overused, BUT, is that so harmful that you relatives would never go to church because of that? They won’t go, period. That’s just an excuse.

      • Blanche

        With the church in decline and existing congregations graying and dying, I would think that people’s reasons for not going to church would be of significant interest, not just dismissed as obviously lies and/or character flaws. Why can’t you accept someone’s explanation, especially someone you’ve never met? How do YOU know they’re lying? What makes YOU so smart about everything?

  • MarylandBill

    I agree that in general these platitudes should not be used in arguments or in comforting those who are mourning.  

    That being said, I take exception with the notion that faith is not reasonable.  Yes, faith is not not provable by empirical or scientific methods, but they are simply approaches that use reason, they do not contain all of reason.  For example, there are many mathematical theorems that can be tested empirically, but have been arrived at by reason.  

    Certainly St. Thomas Aquinas and others believed that belief in God could be arrived at through an understanding of Natural Law and the use of human reason.  Now, where reason fails  us is taking the leap to the next level; to specifics that set Christianity apart from simple theism.

  • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

    I’ve always found it to be very embarrassing to refer to one’s god as “Lord.” As if a title meant anything to an omnipotent, omniscient presence. It’s even worse when fundies write it as ‘LORD’. Like their capslock has been epoxied.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

    “Will all our visitors please stand,” makes a lot more sense in a Catholic church, where it is far more likely that someone attending that church for the first time is a traveler from out of town or new to the area but already a Catholic than a non-Catholic deciding to examine Catholicism.

  • Annonym

    To be honest i disagree with most of the stuff you wrote! I dont know, everyone has their opinion but that does not stop anyone from adding abit of knowledge to that opinion, and from all i have read, 3over 10 is right, but the 7 left, i think you should get to studying the bible deeper and more deeper. If you cant find the answer ask the holy spirit to guide you.

  • HMM

    “God doesnt give you any more than you can handle.” Thats my least favorite. I cant help but respond, “Then explain mental institutions.”

  • RichardQz

    You dismantle the founding thoughts of Christianity. Jesus said he was
    the Son. His documented references in Roman Histroy make him ever more real to
    the scrutiny. Ther are around 80 billion people belonging to the Holy Sea, and
    it really sounds like your a piece of drfitwood trying to make some clever
    points about cliches. I find you less then insulting, more stupid… I think.

    • Blanche

      The Christian “Jesus” is unknown to Roman history. In fact, you only find references to this “Jesus” in theological texts written by and for Christians. Christian propaganda, in other words. The Christian “Jesus” never existed. Christians are sadly deluded and manipulated/exploited by clergy.

  • Dana

    This guy denies the saving power of the blood of Jesus, he is a false teacher and a devil and should be ignored.

    • The_L1985

      That is not what he said. He said don’t use this idea as a way to introduce Christianity to non-Christians. Which is going to make people want to learn more about Jesus? Be honest.

      a) “When I’m going through rough patches, I rely on my faith in God to give me strength.”

      b) Any references to blood, gore, and death.

      We already live in a violent society as it is. People hear enough about blood, gore, and death. You should not use that as the first thing you say to introduce Christianity to people. I can say from experience that it does not work. If you continue to use such reference in your “missionary” work, then you must ask yourself the rather uncomfortable question: “Am I truly attempting to win souls for Jesus, or am I attempting to feed a persecution complex so that I can feel holier without having to be holier?” Remember, Christianity is not supposed to be easy, but that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to artificially increase the difficulty level.

  • Beachgirl

    So basically the author is saying that Christians should say nothing.at.all.

    • The_L1985

      I can think of hundreds of wonderful things that Christians can say that aren’t on the list. For example, on Tuesday I heard an awful lot of “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy Holidays!” and it made this non-Christian very happy indeed to hear such things, and to return the well-wishes. :)

      One can also always listen, and let one’s actions do the talking. I’ve found that a good deed can say more than thousands of words ever could.

      Brightest blessings this Yuletide, and may your Christmas season be merry!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jaracai.williams Yadda Yadda Yadda

    The author here simply doesn’t understand what it means to be a loving Christian and a true follower of Jesus. Just another apologetic fraud that God facepalms at.

  • http://maimitreviews.wordpress.com/ Muanthang Tungnung

    After going through what came to my mind is: Now, how will we preach the gospel?

    • The_L1985

      Through your actions? It worked rather well for my grandmother.

  • Braille

    So many misconceptions… anyways if atheist believe there is no god then why fight against it and just simply say there is none?

  • mml

    She’s in a better place is probably the most obnoxious phrase ever. My grandmother died thinking full well she was going to Heaven, but given the choice, I think she’d’ve wanted to stay here on Earth a bit longer.

    • Blanche

      For all Christians’ blathering endlessly about “heaven” and how eager they are to go there and how certain they are that they’re going there, they sure hold on to this life with every ounce of energy they can channel into their bony, grasping fingers…

  • Marilyn Hanson

    This article is full of non-biblical, distorted doctrine. For example, you MUST receive Christ as your LORD and Savior to receive eternal life. And Hell is real. Your eternal future is too important to just base it off of some ism or feeling. A smart atheist, Muslim, etc. would consider both sides of the argument. I have made my choice to join Jesus in Heaven b/c He is the ONLY way. Won’t you come too? Everyone is invited no matter what a person has done. If Hitler would’ve repented of his sins and believed in Jesus, he would be in heaven as well.

    • Henry_Stevens

      Marilyn, Your 2nd, 3rd and 4th sentences above are statements that cause many interested faith seekers to stop listening (or reading in this case). Substitute “Mohammed” for “Christ”, add an Arabic accent and …well, not good. To young people and those new to the peace and healing that faith brings, there they are looking for kindness, understanding and a good listener. Any reference (comparing a faith seeker in this case) to Hitler pretty much loses 100% of readers.

    • Henry_Stevens

      Marilyn, Absolute and alarming statements, all-caps (shouting) often cause interested faith seekers to stop listening (or reading in
      this case). Young people and those new to the peace and
      healing that faith brings are looking for kindness,
      understanding and a good listeners, and yes forgiveness. Reference (comparing a faith seeker in this case) to Hitler pretty much lose 100% of readers.

  • Daily Sinner

    A christian is noticed by the fruits they produce.

    • Blanche

      Yep. Sour and rotten.

  • Len

    Are you a Christian or what are you? One thing for sure, you are anti-Christ! You don’t believe Yeshua was the messiah.. If you call your self a Christian as stated above, you must believe Jesus is the Christian or what does Christian mean to you? You are not a Christian or you would know that Jesus did die for the sins of the world. Read the bible again, perhaps you missed some things there. But if you wish to be an atheist, be a good one, but do not tell people you are a Christian. Please. Bless you!

    • Blanche

      Len:

      “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” – Jesus (Matthew 7:1-5)

      Can you explain to us all how it is you call yourself a “Christian” when you obviously hold the supposed teachings attributed to the supposed “Jesus” in such contempt? When I’m sure you’ll jump at the chance to tell us all how much you love “Jesus”?

  • GodFear

    Romans 10:9
    If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

    Do they actually read their bibles before making ignorant posts here? Or is it bash Jesus day and deny he was God day and I just wasn’t told about it?

    • GodFear

      Hint: One is with the body, the other deals with the soul. Since the soul is what controls the body, we think it believe it in our soul and confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord.

      • Blanche

        There’s no such thing as “soul.” Just more made-up ignorant mumbo jumbo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.mills.58910049 James Mills

    You know I just finished the book of Mark last night–and this is what it says..”and they went out and preached everywhere..”
    Wow what a difference –from the comments in this blog. I’m going with the Bible –not you!!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone is scared they won’t be popular–as people fall into hell every day(like its no big deal). Wake-up!!! Satan doesn’t not want you to testify. He loves silent Christians. And who is your coach again…..??

    • Blanche

      There’s no such thing as “hell”.

      There’s no such thing as “Satan”.

      And there’s no such thing as “silent Christians.”

    • Blanche

      James Mills, you DO realize that the oldest copies of Mark in existence *end* at Mark 16:8, right? All that blahblah about going and preaching yadda yadda was added MUCH later, centuries later, by editors unknown and was not part of the original story, which ended with the women not passing along the message because they were afraid and the disciples all scattered. Complete, abject failure, in other words.

      And I can’t help notice that, while you cited part of those later additions, you carefully avoided mentioning THESE:

      Mark 16:17-18 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

      What a steaming pile of poo THAT is, right? Such nonsense! Nobody could *possibly* believe any of THAT is true! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Isn’t it embarrassing for you?

      • Lee

        I have noticed that the newer translations of the bible include that information, probably in part because they want to discourage people from drinking poison and handling snakes. But of course the purists insist on the KJV.

        When people claim that the gospels all agree with each other one thing they ignore are the stories of the resurrection, while they may agree in theme the details vary widely. Which is actually true about many accounts in the gospels. And try comparing the after resurrection accounts of the appearances of Jesus with Acts and you run into problems there as well. That is proof enough that these books were not written by eyewitnesses and that the bible is not infallible. I often wonder why the Catholic church decided to include books that contradicted each other. However actually the whole bible is full of contradictions anyway.

        But yeah it is obvious from the end of Mark that someone added details in order to harmonize it better with the rest of the gospels.

  • Jake

    I know I’m going to heaven because God promised me. (Romans 10:16)

  • Branden

    Hello Mr. Piatt, you say even if we buy into the concept that “Jesus died for your sins,” as if it is something that is aloof from Christianity. As well you say Jesus rejected the status of Lord and while this is true, he only did it in part to hide his identity from certain individuals before his time was to come. I’m guessing you’re a preacher because you said you and your wife started a new church, but are you sure your looking at the entirety of the message in all four gospels? Only in the beginning of the first three Gospels does Jesus rebuke the demons that call him out and know who he is, but he later elevates himself claiming something greater than the wisdom of Solomon is here, and that he has longed to come to his people like a mother hen but they were not willing (Matthew). He could have only longed if he was with God before his birth, as he explicitly claims throughout the Gospel of John where he even says, “I and the Father are on,” and “Before Abraham was, I am.” Then the whole meaning of Jesus’ name is that he would “save his people from their sins,” (Matthew). The angel says this. Maybe the trinity concept is not acceptable for you, but based on the Gospels, Jesus is God yet not the Father yet was always with the Father. The Father has given his Son the power. Hope this makes sense.

  • talicia

    I want to be baptized but I’m scared to go to church. I’m very shy and I’ve never gone to church before.

    • Andrew Patton

      Be not afraid. No one will judge your past. Rather, they will rejoice in your conversion and baptism. During RCIA, you will be taught with your fellow catechumens all that you need to know. Peace be with you.

    • Blanche

      Why do you want to be baptized, talicia? What will that event, which lasts all of perhaps 3 minutes, do for you? Will it change your life? If so, how? I can tell you that I was baptized and now I’m an atheist :)

      • talicia

        I thought this was a Christian blog, not an atheist blog. I’m not an atheist I don’t want to be one.

  • mitch

    if you read the bible cover to cover it goes into more stories and less details
    and even you true Christians will inside agree some of these stories are like
    seing big foot, lachness monster, mermaids
    the bible is blatant which makes it seem extremist
    and the repetiveness makes it seem like brainwash
    I think it needs a changeu can keep you’re stories because even didn’t happen still has a meaning behind it, slighten the repetition and go into better detail
    then pretty sure more people will have a better knowledge, the questions themselves will be answered other then from more people who don’t know including “true Christians” themselves
    if you sat them down with a chalk board and tally points “devil will win”
    Christians will have less tallys because the bible isn’t a dictionary, thesaurus w/e
    point not proof in the stories and not enough detail which leaves the blatant believe in the story and not the meaning behind the story aswell
    have asked many people researched what im saying is what I believe and find a lot of similars

    • The_L1985

      Ok, try again, but this time use actual sentences so we can understand what you’re saying.

  • Feeling Blessed :)

    There are some great insights in this. Still, I’m so glad I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! It really clears up a lot of these questions and personal opinions. God reveals to us the details of all questions that cannot be cleared up by using only the Bible through modern prophets! And even though I don’t know any of you personally, I admire your faith in Christ as Christians and your desire to help others and seek out the truth through scriptures. And I know that the truth and the fullness of the gospel will have all of the answers to your personal questions because I have felt its influence in my life and seen it in the lives of others. http://www.mormon.org in case you’re interested!

    • Blanche

      I’ve known quite a few Mormons, Feeling Blessed. And I have found them ALL, 100%, to be clannish, cliquish, disdainful of “outsiders”, and completely unfriendly. They’re quite disgusting. Why don’t you tell us all about the magic underwear and how family members who are not Mormons don’t get to attend Mormon weddings – they have to wait *OUTSIDE* like dogs until it’s all over? Why don’t you tell us about how the Mormon church funded California’s Proposition 8, to *remove* the right to marry from homosexuals, and then tried to cover up all the money it poured into that campaign? Why don’t you explain to us all why the Mormon church keeps ever person born into Mormonism or who converts at some point on their membership rolls as active members until they’re calculated to be 110 or 120 years old? Even when everyone knows they’ve left Mormonism and joined a different religion? Explain how THAT’s honest. That’s the only way the Mormons are able to keep their numbers up – such a deceitful organization. I’m glad the Mormon church is hemorrhaging members, particularly young people, and young men especially. Good luck to all those left behind Mormon young women, trying to find some Mormon male – ANY Mormon male! – so they can have their secret, magic-underwear wedding.

    • Blanche

      There are some great stories on http://www.exmormon.org in case you’re interested!

  • Brandy

    Oh my goodness… I came here in the midst of one of the darkest times of my life (so far, who knows what the future holds…), hoping I might find comfort and encouragement, and instead I find incessant bickering and no understanding or tolerance except for the few, BUT… I’m still leaving here feeling overwhelmingly sadder, more depressed and quite frankly still just as suicidal as when I stumbled upon this article, guess I just came to the wrong place. (I googled ‘why am I a Christian and still so sad.’ don’t know why this was the first link… I clicked; I’ll try again) It just isn’t my day…

  • Ty

    you do have some good points but also some lame points to be honest

  • notimpressed

    I strongly disagree with #7, as it is explicitly in the Bible that Jesus is definitely Lord: 1 Cor 12:3 says this “Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” And as for the saviour part, that’s throughout the whole new testament.

    • notimpressed

      Another thing to add is, if you think the word “lord” is too outdated and has no real relevance to our lives, why don’t you just discredit the whole Bible, as it was set some 2000 years back?

      • Blanche

        Sounds good to me! For one thing, the Bible is pro-monarchy through and through. But we’ve outgrown monarchies, and we fought a Revolutionary War to free ourselves from the tyranny of monarchy! So why should we keep an outmoded, obsolete, stale old monarchy-based religion around? It causes nothing but trouble.

  • kat_xk8

    i laughed out loud at #10 because i have heard it lol in the church i attended in elementary school the same church also didn’t allow anyone not a member to not partake in the ” lords supper” which is absurd – it wasn’t if you werent’ a christian it was if you weren’t a member of the church smh not only that that church wasted no time in baptizing you – if you went up front and got saved they baptized you the same service smh – yes it was a baptist church

  • Sophie

    Much of what you say is incorrect. Spend more time in the Word before writing an article on what is and isn’t biblical. One ex: Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has a plan. Therefore, everything DOES happen for a reason – His reasons – which are higher than our’s and can only be trusted, sometimes, because they can’t be understood.

    • Blanche

      If it’s all God’s “plan”, then how can God ever be surprised? He is in

      So God WANTED Adam and Eve, those toddler-intellect child-adults, to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, perhaps just so that he could go ahead and punish them as he wanted to? That would explain why he would leave something like that within reach of two small-children-equivalents who didn’t understand the difference between good and evil. That’s just being a big fat bully.

      Why did God not know that the Israelites would make that Golden Calf while Moses was up on the mountain? And if he DID know – but did nothing to stop them – then he was a complete jerk to kill them for doing what he knew they were going to do in the first place.

      Perhaps God just makes BAD plans!

      ‘Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel; “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.”’ – 1 Samuel 15:10-11

      God was supposed to know that was going to happen – it was in his plan, wasn’t it? So why the whining?

      “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” – Genesis 6:5-6

      OOPSEY!! Looks like THAT plan didn’t work out so well for God, now did it?

      The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous sings I have performed among them?” – Numbers 14:11

      God, whining again. Why is God such a pussy?

      Perhaps YOU need to “spend more time in the Word” – ya think??

  • Bob T

    Please, please, please add “God never gives you more than you can handle” to this list. Because a) it’s not in the bible b) If your God is up there doling out crap, he can leave me out of his plans and c) Yes, sometimes a person does go through more than they can handle. It does happen and trite sayings DO NOT HELP.

  • David_LloydJones

    I have a set speech for evangelizers who knock at my door.

    “Hi there. Would you like a glass of water? Do you need to use the bathroom?”

    The latter is particularly nice for Seventh Day Adventists, who often take their poor suffering children around with them.

    -dlj.

    • Blanche

      David_LloydJones, you brought up something that has always seriously annoyed me. Most adults have, to some degree, chosen what religion or church they want for themselves. But then they force their children to do it as if the children had likewise chosen it, which they hadn’t! When we moved to Kansas, my parents (probably mostly my mother) chose a Southern Baptist church for our family to attend. Every Sunday, it was Sunday school and then church, followed by Training union (evening Sunday school) and more church. Wednesday nights were bible study and choir practice, and she made us (never my father) help her clean the church one Saturday morning a month. Plus, we kids were dragged to every “revival meeting” within a 2-hr drive, even on school nights. It was totally obnoxious. The only way we could get out of it was to either be sick or pretend convincingly that we were (which I often did). I wonder if I would have outgrown the whole God/Jesus thing as early as I did (right after outgrowing Santa Claus) if the whole church experience had not been such an offense and indignity. Christian parents – consider yourselves warned.

  • SillySally

    you forgot “I’m praying for you.”

  • Mario Rodgers

    This is great. I’m an atheist but this is great.

  • Maravilloso

    How many of you (including the author) actually go to church or even care one bit about Christians?

    • Blanche

      Not me. However, Christians try to change the laws of the country I live in, attempting to remove basic human rights from various groups and attempting to impose their nonsense on everyone’s children, attacking public school education so that everyone’s children will grow up stupid enough to be accessible targets for conversion. If Christians would mind their own business and keep their beliefs to themselves, you wouldn’t find so much hostility toward Christians. Imagine if Muslims were trying to get their religion taught in the public schools instead of science – that’s what Christians try to do. The fact that Christians are so overwhelmingly rude, inconsiderate, obstructive, and destructive needs to be addressed – Christians, as the majority religion in the US, have gotten a free pass for far too long. Christians held up the Civil Rights movement; Christians are far more likely to be racist, homophobic, misogynist, intolerant, conservative, and hateful. Sure, you as a Christian would rather we turn a blind eye to your religion’s destructiveness, but that would be self-destructive for the rest of us. If there were a deadly disease spreading around you, would you ignore it or try to stop it?

  • debsaid

    “No, I don’t, and neither do you.”

    If you don’t know, then what kind of faith do you have? Eternal life is a certainty… for those Christians who believe in the Bible at least (and in Jesus’ own words). Also, (#7) Jesus being Lord and Savior, I don’t know what you’re reading, but it is all over the New Testament… ” (Rm 10:9-13, Rm 3:23-24, for example)
    :/
    Loving others is a result of living by the Spirit, but when a Christian’s priority becomes *pleasing* people, rather than God (sometimes they can go together, sometimes they can’t), then there is a problem.

    “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.” (Rm 8:28)

    • Blanche

      Believing is not the same as knowing. Belief and knowledge are completely different – belief has no facts to support it. Belief is hoping without any evidence either way. Knowledge is based on facts and experience. There is no “knowing” in Christianity or any other religion – to insist otherwise is to demonstrate irrationality, butcher the language, and reveal toxic delusion.

  • Kim

    Are you serious? WE DO HAVE SOMETHING THAT EVERYONE ELSE NEEDS… JESUS! if not for substitutionary atonement… 1 John 2:2 is pretty explicit on that. And um wut? JESUS IS LORD. He tried to “downplay” it as an example for us, that we would take on a servant’s heart, but that doesn’t mean that He wasn’t (John 13:12-15!!). “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” Romans 10:9. Also, although I totally agree that this should not be said when a tragedy happens, you need to realize that everything does happen for a reason. If God didn’t have everything under control then how could he make all of the prophecies about Jesus come to pass? How could you take comfort in that regardless of the circumstances he knows “the path that [you] take” and has assured maturity because of the hardship (Job 23:8-10)? Job 42:2 tells us that no plan of his can be thwarted, which would demand his sovereignty over all things seeing as he would need to control all the aspects so that nothing could go wrong and “thwart” it. We need to be sensitive and loving of course, but why deny Scriptural truth? BTW you know where you’ll end up if you die today. If my brother died today, he would be in Hell because he is not saved. It’s not something easy to swallow but it’s the truth. I pray for him because I don’t want him going there obviously but if he were to die I know where he’d be. So don’t even try and deny that one because you’re scared of hurting someone’s feelings..*she said lovingly*. I totally agree with 6, the emotional bit. Number 9, you’re just making it sound a lot worse than it is. “You are a sinner, Jesus died for your sins, now you can have a relationship with the one true God.” How is that scary at all?

    I don’t mean to sound unkind (seriously I don’t, Ephesians 4:32), but some of the things you said are just not biblical at all. hope this was of benefit to you or anyone else who reads this.

    “Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” Is 26:4

    • Blanche

      You like your beliefs, Kim. We get it. But just as the rest of the world is not obligated to agree that YOUR favorite flavor of ice cream is indeed objectively the most tasty, what appeals to YOU will not appeal to everyone else. Heck, it may not appeal to ANYONE else! So you really need to get over yourself and your little superiority complex: “I’m right and everybody else needs to acknowledge that because I’m just that brilliant!” You have a silly, childish, repellent belief system where you uplift and exalt yourself by declaring that most everyone else is beneath you and deserves to be punished for the “sin” of not wanting to be just like you. Get over yourself already. See, this is one of the destructive characteristics of Christianity – it promotes arrogance, hubris, preening ego, self-importance, pompous conceit, and a big fat sense of “know it all”, not attractive characteristics at all. You’re not impressing anyone.

  • GeorgeinTexas

    It’s Faith, not Science.

  • Christine

    Hi Christian,
    thanks for the article :)
    I’m starting a blog and researching methods to introduce a perspective of Christianity that is easily understandable by young and old, but not typical. It’s good to see some down-to-earth logic that points out what most of the world either ‘truly can’t understand what we mean when we ask it’ or pass it off as a daily Bible-bashing. I agreed with a lot of what you said, and it also inspired better ways of putting things. I’m still waiting on God but I’ll be reading more of your articles. :)
    Kind regards
    Christine

  • Esther

    Some of these are well thought out, some rather sarcastic and not really based on scripture. Jesus is Lord, for instance. People on earth tried to make him their local “king”, but the scripture has overwhelming references that call him “Lord”. Many churches ask their visitors to stand so that they’re easily identifiable as a group for exactly that simple premise- meeting later, welcoming in a more pleasant environment (often there’s coffee, tea, sandwiches and nice people who want to give a handshake, get a name and say hi). This IS the end of days. That’s why Jesus spent more than a few words preparing his disciples to read the “signs of the times”. Wars and rumours of wars, the love of many going cold, children rude to parents, families split apart- we do not need Oprah to sensitize the world to these things when the church exists. Let us perform our function well.

    Lastly Jesus did die for sin. The Father did not “set Him up” for anything- “No man takes my life from me, i lay it down.” “And taking up His cross, He went forth”. Christ met his end knowingly and with more dignity than people who’ve committed terrible crimes ever have, so please lets not minimize it when we witness simply because it may be a premise an unsaved person isn’t (yet) familiar with. Paul says when we witness we should keep it simple, fresh… and factual. The rest of what you shared is very pithy, true and helpful. Thank you for this :)

    • Blanche

      Jesus died to save us from God. Got it.

  • Terry

    2 Corinthians 4:18

    As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that
    are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things
    that are unseen are eternal.

    • Blanche

      The one whose mind is not drawn into any lust,
      whose mind is neither strained by any aversion,
      whose mind is both beyond good and evil, for
      such awakened one there is no fear. – Dhammapada

      What others do, did, or left undone is irrelevant!
      Do not search after their faults, but rather look
      carefully upon own flaws and for what you yourself
      do, did or left undone. – Dhammapada

  • FLAVIO

    JUST ONE QUESTION, IF YOU DONT KNOW WHERE YOU WILL SPEND ETERNITY, THEN WHY JESUS ASSURED US OF IT, HE IS GOING TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR US, WE DONT KNOW ABOUT WHERE OTHERS ARE GOING AFTER THEY DIE, JUST SIMPLY BECAUSE WE DONT KNOW THEIR MOTIVES AND THEIR HEART, BUT WE KNOW OURSELVES, OUR OWN SINS, AND SHORTCOMINGS, BUT YET THE SPIRIT OF GOD DOES ASSURED US THAT WE ARE OF HIM, HAVING CONFIDENCE IN THIS IS NOT A CLICHE, I AM PRETTY SURE THAT ONE DAY YOU WILL SAY THAT THE BIBLE IS JUST A MERE BOOK AND NO LONGER INSPIRED. AND ITS ALSO FUNNY HOW MANY PEOPLE START USING HEBREW LANGUAGE, JUST TO EXCUSE THEMSELVES, OR THE EXCUSE TO NOT BELIEVE IN THE WORD OF GOD AS IT IS.

    • Blanche

      Flavio, YOU don’t “know” anything. You imagine. You fantasize. You want it to be true. But it’s not. You have no facts. No one you know has been there and returned to tell you about it. You are deluded, brainwashed, and not thinking rationally. Perhaps you should seek professional help, and by “professional”, I mean medical. I don’t think all this religion is healthy for you. And criminy, take off the Capslock!

  • Kaeley

    I really wanted to like this list or to find it helpful. I appreciate the heart behind it, which understands the unbeliever’s inability to grasp many of these statements, but really? 1.) Everything DOES happen for a reason. Nothing surprises God, and He uses ALL things to work together for his purposes. Also, Psalm 136:16 confirms this in my understanding. 2.) If I died today, I DO know where I’d spend eternity. That’s kind of the whole beauty of the assurance of salvation. Pretty sure Jesus didn’t hang mangling from a cross so that we could be unsure or loosely optimistic that we MIGHT get an entrance pass. 3.) “Can I share a lttle bit of my faith with you?” Agreed, he question is awkward and embarrasing when the person asking it hasn’t done the work of establishing relationship with the recipient, but if they HAVE done it, is it then a reasonable question? And if not, how exactly do you propose we share the Gospel? The list goes on. I find this a bit perplexing. Yes, it’s good to value the heart and response of unbelievers above our personal agenda, but it’s counterproductive and flat-out wrong to meander aimlessly, never daring to share your faith, or worse yet, claiming to be a Christian with no assurance of salvation! If we don’t fear eternal damnation for the people we love more than we fear their reception of us, then we’re more than missing the boat; we’re tanking it.

    • Blanche

      In a word, Kaeley: BARF!

  • BTF
  • no name

    Can someone give me examples of 7? Where Jesus rejected the status of Lord? Thanks!

    • Blanche

      Sure – start with Matthew 19:16-17 – And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God

      I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. – John 20:17

      First of all, you need to realize that you’re dependent upon translations that may not be reliable. There are words in the Bible that only occur once, twice, three times, or four times. No one knows exactly what these words mean, because they don’t occur often enough to compare to other usages. Ever tried to look at recipes from a few hundred years ago? They’re unintelligible. Ever try to read Chaucer without notes? Ditto.

      Also, keep in mind that the oldest copies (no original texts exist) are written in koine Greek, which has no capital letters. This has led to abundant Christian confusion, as in Psalm 110:1 where “The Lord said to my lord”.

      Sometimes, “Lord” is substituted for “YHWH.” “Lord” is the word used to refer to the ruler. The government system in place when the biblical texts were written was monarchy, so everything is written in terms that reflect a monarchy. Yet another reason Christianity is obsolete and destructive – we’ve outgrown monarchies, and Christianity seeks to drag us back to a more primitive, more inequitable, less humanistic stage of human development. “Lord” doesn’t have special meaning, and it didn’t at the time these texts were being written/translated. It’s just a word for how the serfs and commoners are to refer to their noble overlords. It’s really not anything honorable; it’s really a word to identify the 1% that the 99% are ordered, under pain of death, to respect and use appropriately.

  • Blanche

    9. “Jesus died for your sins.” I know, this is an all-time Christian favorite. But even if you buy into the concept of substitutionary atonement (the idea that God set Jesus up as a sacrifice to make good for all the bad stuff we’ve done), this is a abysmal way to introduce your faith to someone. I didn’t ask Jesus to die for me, and if I’m not a Christian, I really have no concept of how that could possibly be a good thing. he whole idea of being washed clean by an innocent man’s blood is enough to give any person nightmares, let alone lead them into a deeper conversation about what Christianity is about.

    It’s worse even than you’re allowing, Chris. What do we think of someone who is guilty of a crime who gets off by paying someone to take his place? Scumbag, right? Well, it’s the same if someone accepts a volunteer to take his place. There is honor, maturity, nobility, and self-respect in manning up and taking responsibility for ourselves and what we have done. THAT is respect-worthy. Getting some sap to take the rap for you – isn’t. There is nothing admirable or even respect-worthy about someone who allows someone else to take the fall for him. That person is lower than scum. THAT is the devil’s bargain the supposed “jesus sacrifice” puts people in, and those that are willing to “play ball” are the most despicable, repellent examples of humanity.

    But then Christians say, “Well, because of ORIGINAL SIN, this is the ONLY way. Oh, and the Bible says so O_O” Let’s look at this for a moment. Yes, Christianity is based on the “original sin” of the toddler-stage-of-development Adam and Eve, who didn’t even know the difference between good and evil, who ate a fruit that had been left, entrapment-style, right where they could get it. Along with a “serpent” to manipulate and trick these simpletons into doing it. THIS is the best an omniscient “God” can do? Give me a break!!

    So the story goes that, because these poor saps were tricked into something they didn’t even understand, all the rest of us are damned just for having been born human. REALLY?? And the only way out of this insanely unjust system is for someone who’s MUCH MUCH better than the rest of us, INFINITELY better than the rest of us, in fact (as if that’s supposed to super-impress us), to commit suicide on our behalf. THAT is the only kind of terms this supposedly “wonderful” “God” can apparently understand.

    NO THANK YOU!! No! No, sir! Just NO! It’s laughable, ridiculous, asinine! If there is a “God” that thought this klugey mess up, “It” deserves no worship. It deserves our contempt.

    And I don’t care that it supposedly happened so long in the past and that it was all for MY benefit anyhow (even though I never asked for it) just because something that most likely didn’t even exist in real life anyhow supposedly loved ME so much, so obviously, it shouldn’t hurt me to accept this ‘gift’, since it’s a done deal anyhow.

    Right?

    WHAT??? NO!!! To accept this disgusting offer would remove all my humanity. It would turn me into the lowest, most despicable, most repellent low-life humankind has ever begat. To accept this would mean that I have no self-respect, no morality, no ethics, no dignity, and no self-worth. If I were even TEMPTED to accept this awful deal, it would simply demonstrate that I have no inner compass, and that I’m simply out for gain – the biggest benefit to ME. I’m out to get whatever I can for myself, and I don’t care what it costs anyone else. I am an amoral, predatory sociopath.

    THAT is what Christianity offers me. And I say “No thanks.” I’d rather die than become that sort of contemptible wretch. And if there is some sort of magical (though undetectable) supernatural (which we all know means “doesn’t exist”) superbeing that likes to see people squirm (as Jesus apparently did) and wants to see people abase themselves, I’ve really got to wonder why I should believe “it” would reward people who behaved so shamefully and who sold out the nobility of their human birthright just because they thought they were saving their own skins.

  • Sabrine Azraq

    This is epic. Thank you.

  • John Davison

    Oh my goodness, you almost make me want to convert back to Christianity.

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  • http://thebibleandthenews.com gaboora

    I get the not using platitudes thing, but if you do not believe in substitutionary atonement, you will not be saved, period. And there is a hell, period. And doctrine matters, period.

  • Jeff

    “The fact is that faith, by definition, is not reasonable.” This is absurd and you’re playing right in to the hands of our evangelical/fundamentalist Atheist friends who like to pretend that faith is unreasonable, irrational, etc…, ad nauseam. Faith means trust, trust that is earned via knowledge gained, knowledge gained via evidence.

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  • Jamie Backin

    Wow…. you know, through time, a lot of people who hated these phrases converted and started using them themselves. No particular vocabulary (or lack thereof) or argument/logic can change the heart. You could clean up your vocabulary and STILL not get a ton of people to “look into it.” Just share your testimony as you would like, without dictating to the person what to think of it. AND listen to their views. I promise you, the easiest way to open someone up to listening to your views as a Christian is to first show genuine interest in theirs…

    One time I talked with a Satanist, and 1) there’s a lot of bull misconceptions about it, and 2) she said I was the only Christian that was that kind to her.

    My husband is spiritual but not orthodox. He said I was the only Christian in which he didn’t feel judged for his views, because I LISTENED… and ultimately ended up with the love of my life. And you want to know who our mutual friend was, the way we met? An atheist, that I friended willingly, even though he’s quite dogmatic in his views. Yeah, the best thing you can do, is listen before you witness.

  • james bensel

    if there is a god* i feel that he is looking down at us, and has given up on us
    *(in agnostic not atheist)

  • victoria

    These aren’t cliches. They are phrases we Christians all use – and for a reason. There’s nothing wrong with them.

  • ceilingwalker

    I wasnt going to say anything but I have a question for the author. What if that one time you met someone, would be the only time they would hear about Christ? Sounds like a big “what if” but people die every day, young and old. As I read your article it seems (I could be wrong) that you have some animosity with Christianity. Doesnt Jesus Himself tell us to go and preach the gospel? I dont agree with scare tactics nor shoving the Bible down someones throat. To me that suggests the person preaching the word hasnt faith enough that God can speak to the hearts of someone. Personally, I believe the Holy Spirit leads us to those in need, so there is no need for anything but a few words. Thats just my $.02.

  • Namaste005

    Great post. Just one thing, though. The United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland still has lords (I think), so I wouldn’t say that the title doesn’t have any relevance today.

  • Elaine

    Whoever wrote this should really seek God for wisdom,I mean sure things could be said differently sometimes; however its with all well meaning intentions! Have you ever notice people never question whether or not satan has an agenda? Especially a self profess Christian with the terminology such as ( antiquated term such as LORD OF YOUR LIFE) IT SIMPLY mean the head of your life and yes that is in the bible. He is my savior because while we were yet sinners Christ died for us and that makes him MY savior because I have accepted his precious selfless but necessary gift. The gift is necessary because of what we as mankind did to disobey God and listen to satan by means of adam and eve. Read your bible for yourself! Jesus was that innocent lamb that was slain in our place for a worthy sacrifice because it goes all the way back to the old testament where animals had to be sacrificed with no blemishes. So jesus was that lamb with no blemishes in the new testament, in other words no sin. The devil wants is to believe it makes no sense so then it wont be considered faith. The bible reads if you confess with your mouth and BELIEVE in your heart that jesus died on the cross for your sins and on the third day rose from the dead you shall be saved. The devil will trick you out of salvation right there if you dont believe then you wont be saved. The so called cliche that everything happens for a reason, thats in the bible too. Everything does happens for a reason because the bible states that what the DEVIL meant for evil God turned it into good, it also says ALL things work together for the good of them that LOVE God and are called according to his purpose. Bad things does happen for a reason. The enemy has a plan to destroy us mentally,spiritually, etc…; however the very thing that was allowed can either destroy us or make us better people by encouraging someone else along their journey. See when you are truly a Christian you have the love of christ living in you and youre not selfish with either your pain or your blessings you become a blessing to someone else. Look at john walsh from America’s most wanted, God took what the enemy meant for evil and mended it for not only his good but others as well. He finally found his son’s killer and found other people’s killers as well. God has a plan but we have to remember so does the enemy so when are we going to start questioning the enemy instead of questioning the goodness of God? If i had more time ill help you with the rest of your cliches but whatever you do please start wearing the title of an atheist instead of a Christian because a Christian is a believer no matter how hard life gets we believe and give thanks in all things! It can be quite misleading and you will have to answer to God one day so please be prayful and careful.


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