Christianity Needs Promotion, Like Soft Drinks

In 1977, the Dr Pepper soft drink was promoted with the slogan, “Be a Pepper.”

The marketing campaign behind that slogan had television commercials with hip, cheerful, attractive people dancing through life with the lines,

I’m a Pepper, he’s a Pepper,
She’s a Pepper, we’re a Pepper,
Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too?
Be a Pepper. Drink Dr Pepper.


A few years later, the Saturday Night Live sketch comedy TV show did a skit* with Laraine Newman playing a teenage girl named Jennifer, sitting on the floor in the family room with the telephone. She calls up strangers from the phone book and encourages them to drink Dr Pepper and asks, “Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too?” She gets the polite brush-off that you’d expect from such a marketing call.

After listening to a few of these calls, her parents tell her that she’s changed ever since she became a Pepper. She’s always at Pepper meetings or calling strangers on the phone or going door to door to encourage people to drink Dr Pepper. She doesn’t see her old friends anymore.

After the father says that it would be different if she got paid, she says, “A Pepper would never accept money for this!”

It’s like she’s in a religious cult. What could be crazier? We have consumers of a commercial product spending their own time and resources increasing the sales of that product, with the only compensation being accolades from fellow believers or perhaps just the knowledge that important work had to be done, and they pitched in to help.


We’re more familiar with earnest evangelists within Christianity, but that doesn’t make them any more sensible. They’re told to get out and increase Christianity’s market share, and many do it without pay. Does this make any more sense than Jennifer’s project?

Would you be motivated if the paid staff of Dr Pepper encouraged you to spread the word? Why be any more motivated if the paid staff of the Catholic church or Baptist church or Lutheran church made the same request?

The Great Commission

The typical response is that Christians are obliged to spread the word, but average Christians shouldn’t flatter themselves that Jesus gave them the Great Commission. The gospel of Matthew ends with the eleven disciples at an offsite with Jesus. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:18), but this was clearly addressed to those eleven disciples.

To Christians who think that evangelism is important, remember that it was important to Jennifer, too. Is your project any better supported by logic?

Satan deceives us into voluntarily laying aside
our best weapons of logic and evidence,
thereby ensuring unawares modernism’s triumph over us.
— William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith

* The skit is from s5e16 on 4/12/80. The video is here (skip to 49:00), but Hulu Plus is required.

Photo credit: Rally House

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  • RichardSRussell

    Heck, I promote all sorts of things that’ll never result in any personal financial reward to me — the metric system, planned parenthood, atheism, ughless spelling, the Green Bay Packers, gay rights, FileMaker Pro database software, round dancing, science fiction, and so on. Basically any subjects that people view as hobbies are ripe for saying, “Hey, I like this, maybe you would, too.” IMO, it never hurts to ask.

    • smrnda

      I could make a case that a lot of these things, if they become popular enough, would result in an improvement in your quality of life. I don’t get paid to criticize organized religion, but the more people are openly critical of it the less likely I am to live in a theocracy.

    • Good examples, but I think that Christianity is more than a hobby.

      • Kodie

        I don’t think all of his examples were hobbies. The metric system is not a hobby. I think the metric system is at least one of several on his list that one can feel, I guess, “religious” about, strongly that it’s the right way to measure everything, and try to win converts. I, for one, will never be able to understand Celsius, since I think Fahrenheit makes more sense. 0 degrees is cold, 100 degrees is hot, and the temperatures are kind of like a percentage or grade. That seems more metric to me. Sure, freezing and boiling temperatures are odd and unmetric, but I don’t care about those numbers when I’m getting dressed. I feel pretty religious about that, actually! Fahrenheit! I don’t care what you do with the rest of the rulers and beakers and scales.

        • RichardSRussell

          “30 is hot; 20 is nice. 10, put a coat on; 0 is ice.”
          —Mark Henschel, “The Celsius Poem”

        • Kodie

          No nuance at all.

        • RichardSRussell

          It’s true that Celsius degrees, at 9/5 the size of Fahrenheit degrees, do not provide as much granularity in measurement. Often, however, that granularity is unjustified.

          For example, you may have heard that “normal” human body temperature is 98.6°F. That “.6” is a ridiculous and unjustified degree of precision for a quantity that ordinarily falls into a range of 97° to 100°, depending on the person, time of day, and where the temp is taken (skin, armpit, under tongue, rectal, etc.). So why is it quoted out to that 1st decimal place?

          It’s because all the original work on human body temperature was done in Germany, using the metric system. And the researchers recognized that the Celsius temp ranged from 36° to 38°, so they figured that 37° was a nice midpoint that didn’t overstate the precision — and they were right! It wasn’t until some American with a shaky sense of biometrics and mathematical precision decided to translate that nice, round 37° into Fahrenheit and just blindly applied the formula F = 32 + (9/5 C), but didn’t know when to quit, that we ended up with the too granular 98.6.

        • Kodie

          But I like that song!

        • RichardSRussell

          As I tell all my Trekker friends who complain about the new direction in which J. J. Abrams is taking the franchise, none of the old stuff is being killed off. You can still go back and watch TOS any time you want.

          For example, ever hear the phrase “penny wise and pound foolish”? You probably know right away what it means, too, right? Does it bother you at all that we haven’t used pounds as a denomination of currency in the USA since 1776?

          No, phrases like “a miss is as good as a mile” will still be evocative (and used) decades after everybody’s using kilometres for actual measurements. The old ACHU (accidental collection of heterogeneous units) will be relegated to the language of poetry, which is what they’re best suited for, anyway. That, and vinyl.

        • Kodie

          It’s a good thing I’ll be dead in a few decades at most.

        • One curious useful trait of some of the old units is that they were based on powers of 2: 2 cups in a pint, 2 pints in a quart, 2 quarts in a pottle, 2 pottles in a gallon. That whole peck/bushel thing was powers of 2 also. (Of course, that the names were arbitrary is inexcusable.)

          You’re probably familiar with the shifting definition of gigabyte. For a hard disk, it’s a billion bytes. But for RAM (which comes as some power of 2), a “gigabyte” is 2^30 bytes, which is 7% more than a billion bytes.

          Solution: new prefixes kibi-, mebi-, and gibi- when talking about powers of 2, instead of the old kilo-, mega-, and giga-.

        • RichardSRussell

          It’s a power of 2 for the hard disk, too. In fact, all computer size measurements make use of the near-coincidence that 2^10 (1024) ≈ 10^3 (1000). That initial 2.4% fudge balloons up to 4.9% when you go to megabytes (2^20 ≈ 10^6), and to 7.4% for gigabytes (2^30 ≈ 10^9) as that 2.4% gets compounded.

          We should start getting used to the 11.0% fudge at the terabyte (2^40 ≈ 10^12) level, since that’s the standard size for external hard disks these days. (And yes, that “.0” is justified at the end of “11.0%”, because it represents 10.995116% rounded to the same 1st-decimal-place precision as the lower percentages.)

          As to arbitrary names, there’s a reason why I now call what we’re using in the US the ACHU (accidental collection of heterogeneous units). They all started out as convenient local units in some part of the world, and the conversion factors (to say nothing of the size of the units themselves) didn’t become standardized until after inter-village and inter-tribal trading started to become significant. If Hiram said “I got me 43 quarts of strawberries here to trade” and Bur-tath replied “Don’t be talkin’ yer Canaanite gobbledy-gook ‘quarts’ at me, ya dummy. What’s that it good, honest Midianite pints?”, they soon discovered that it was easiest if you had a nice, round conversion factor like 2. Thereafter, it worked the same way evolution always works, with the simplest, easiest ratios having the survival advantage. But it wasn’t like the metric system, which was specifically and overtly designed to take advantage of 10 being the basis of our number system. Like Topsy, the old-fashioned units “just growed”.

          And if you think the ratios for volume made sense as powers of 2, try to explain tots, gills, and ounces. For an even more spectacular array of arbitrary ratios, wander over to the length dimension, where you have 3 barleycorns to the inch, 12 inches to the foot, 3 feet to the yard, 22 yards to the chain, 10 chains to the furlong, and 8 furlongs to the statute mile. And that doesn’t even get into the things grafted on from still other “systems” (I use the term loosely), like the nail, hand, fathom, rod, and nautical mile.

          In short, please don’t call it the “English system”, because it was never a system in the first place (just a series of coincidences with some post-hoc rationalizations imposed on them), plus which the English themselves have come to their senses and gone metric, like the 95% of the world that isn’t populated by the most egocentric, arrogant, oblivious people on the planet.

          And I guess I’m now done demonstrating how you don’t have to be religious to be evangelical.

        • Now, don’t be messin’ with barleycorns, mister. That one’s actually useful.

          And as for metric units, keep in mind that the U.S. isn’t alone in not using metric primarily. There’s also Liberia and Burma.

        • smrnda

          I sometimes say ‘if you give a centimeter they take a kilometer.’ It kind of increases the severity, but I just like saying it 🙂

        • It’s like seeing some very precise English-unit measurement (“These snakes are known to grow up to 19.7 feet long”) instead of the rounded metric units they were probably converting from (“6 meters long”).

        • RichardSRussell

          It gets more egregious as the precision moves leftward. The worst example I ever saw was in the thrilling “Riverworld” series of science-fiction novels from Philip Jose Farmer. It was set on a planet with one giant, meandering river flowing from north pole to south, snaking back and forth to pass by itself over and over again, so as to cover the entire surface of the planet. But, to keep its denizens from traveling to a different spot overland, instead of up or down the river itself, the various bends were separated by huge mountains, “30,000 feet (or 9,144 metres) high”, one character estimated. I like to think that the parenthetical part was added by some misguided editor instead of by Phil himself, who was quite a good writer and should have immediately apprehended how tone-deaf such a locution would be, to say nothing of its laffable math.

    • “Ughless spelling?”

      • RichardSRussell

        As explained here.

        • Greg G.

          I laugh at some of the spellings of words I have been taught. When I have been caught with creative spellings, I was called naughty for not spelling as I aught.

        • RichardSRussell

          If T-H-O-U-G-H is tho,
          And E-N-O-U-G-H is enuf,
          Is S-N-O-U-G-H snow?
          Or is it snuff?

        • Kodie

          It’s snoo.

        • RichardSRussell

          “Hey, is that a booger?”
          “No, it’snot.”

        • Greg G.

          When you kiss your honey
          And her nose is kind of runny
          And you think it’s kind of funny
          But it’snot.

        • Kodie

          See also: you can’t spell slaughter without laughter.

        • RichardSRussell

          And “stressed” backwards is “desserts”.

          Yes, I appreciate fun with words as much as the next guy. But remember that entertainment is only their secondary purpose; their primary job is communication.

        • Kodie

          The future is stern.

        • So why is that a big deal exactly? How do we spell laughter and slaughter without the “ugh”? Later? Slater? The first is already a word, the second is a last name.

        • RichardSRussell

          If you follow the link I provided, you’ll see my suggested spellings for the 50 root words in English that have inherited the unpronounced “ugh” from German.

        • Jason Wexler

          Simplified spelling is just that use the sounds we already have attached to letters. Lafter and Slowter. I go quite a bit further than apparently Richard does because I am concerned about more than just “ugh”. In my simplified spelling no sounds are assigned to more than one letter, allowing us to re-appropriate the several letters to replace digraphs formed to make sounds they shouldn’t. I also replace weird vowel rules with diacritical marks to account for what by my count is 17 vowel sounds in English. I eliminate all unnecessary silent letters and useless letter combinations that usually replace perfectly serviceable letters ph for f for example. I would also get rid of heteronym spellings we don’t need three to’s (tu) or two there’s (xér)

          And in case your wondering under my system slowter is not slow ter, because in my system the w in the current word slow is replaced by the o with a macron we use to indicate long vowels ō. Making o-w say ow (as in ouie) like we normally would.

        • Kodie

          Simplifid speling is just that uz the soundz we alredy hav atacht to leters. ‘Lafter’ and ‘Slowter’. I go kwite a bit further than aparently Richard duz becowz I am konsernd abowt mor than just “ugh”. In my simplifid speling no soundz ar asind to mor than wun leter, alowing us to re-apropriat the sevral leters to replas digrafs formd to mak soundz they shudent. I also replas weerd vowel ruls with diacritical marks to akount for wut by my count is 17 vowel soundz in English. I eliminat al un-nesesary silent leters and usless leter combinashuns that usualy replas perfectly servisable leters ph for f for exampl. I wud also get rid of heteronim spelings we dont need 3 to’s (tu) or 2 [sic] there’s (xer)*.

          And in cas ur wondering under my sistem slowter is not slow ter, becowz in my sistem the w in the curent werd slow is replast with a macron we uz to indicat long vowel o. Making o-w say ow (as in WTF is that word ‘ouie’) lik we normly wud.

          *There are 3 – there, their, and they’re.- Ed.


        • Jason Wexler

          Impressive, except shouldn’t account be akownt not akount?

          “They’re” is a contracted compound word and one which I personally enunciate as if it were still two words I would spell it xā’r.

          For refrens sāk Ī ūz c tu māk xe “ch” sownd, q tu māk xe “sh” sownd and x tu māk xe “th” sownd sins Ī figyer pēpul wúd raxer kēp xe familyer leter “x” insted ov rēintrōdewsēng xe árkāik leter “þ”. Álxō Ī prēfer the leter “þ”.

          Admittedly what I just did up there is difficult right now because of the diacritical marks over the vowels I had to do copy and paste which took a long time. Also I am tone deaf so playing with vowels gets tricky for me and I am not sure if there are 12 (the standard long and short plus the alternative short “a” (ah) and the double o) vowel sounds or as many as 31 (what I counted when I was teaching phonics to a 5 year old last year) again I can’t hear the difference in a lot of cases. As I said in the original message I can hear 17 for sure.

          Edit: I just noticed that you made “because ” as “becowz” I would do it much siimpler “bēcuz”, and you didn’t correct “say” which should be “sā”.

        • Kodie

          Account is akount based on the ow you said sounds like awe, not rhyme with cow. Daughter is not the same sound as doubter. I pretty much guessed. At least Russell says it’s for ease of communication. Your system is kind of ugly. It might work, give it 300 years. I don’t think the “texting” language that a lot of people use as shorthand will survive into its own because I think that will be obsolete and everyone will go back to spelling the right way, or writing and typing will also go and nobody will ever spell another word. I think words that sound the same but are spelled differently are essential to clear communication. We do need 3 there’s and 3 to’s, among others. We might not need slaughter to have a gh in it. I am not the etymology nerd here, I’m not trying to invent the next Esperanto movement like you are, or Vulcanese or whatever. Maybe what’s wrong with English is the language should die and we should pick up another whole language that is already easier.

          I appreciate you copying and pasting all the diacriticals. I just tried to do one accent e like I used to, like I memorized, but the code wouldn’t work. New laptop. I don’t know and I don’t want to take the time to look into why it wouldn’t make the letter I wanted. I don’t think diacriticals, like, a lot of them in one word, to reflect the pronunciation, is the way. For one thing, is the spelling wrong, while the pronunciation is established never to be changed? You pronounce “they’re” like a different word than “there” but language is talked. Talked. Sounds like where you’re from. The spelling is the same all over. The reason southerners say “ink pen” is so people know they’re not talking about a “straight pin”. ‘Pen’ and ‘pin’ sound the same so instead of forming the short e of ‘pen’ they distinguish it from ‘pin’ by adding a word. That’s how language works. Not in the spelling at all, but how it sounds when you talk. If everyone made up the spellings, like you do, to how they pronounce the words, there would be no continuity. The way Richard Russell has it worked, it’s just simplifying a few overly complicated things without disturbing usage too much. You want to overhaul usage. I think you have a fascinating hobby, but you’re not headed in the same direction as humans. It doesn’t make it easier, it just complicates sounds with different marks. The silent letter g is a mark. What do diacritical marks do that letters already don’t?

        • Jason Wexler

          Apparently tone deaf people shouldn’t play at simplified spelling, since I can’t hear a difference in the pronunciation of aw and ow as per your example.

          I am going to try and keep this brief by responding to your essay in bullet point format:

          – Yours is the best argument against simplified spelling I’ve seen. Although your points me be more specific to my attempt then the proposal in general.

          – I’d never actually tried using the diacritical marks before that little exercise, the idea sounded good in my head it looks and feels terrible in practice, I concede on that point.

          – Both you and Bob reference back to how actual language works, which ironically is where the simplified spelling moving gets its start. As a rejection of the unnecessarily rigid spelling, writing and grammatical rules that are currently hampering English language, and by many estimations making literacy more difficult. Several European languages such as Italian and Polish did simplified spelling in the latter part of the 20th century and saw literacy rates sky rocket as a result.

          – I continue to hold that we don’t need three there’s and three to’s, in spoken language we distinguish them via context, the same can occur in written language as well. Homophones do not need to exist and they cause more trouble than they solve.

        • I imagine we can agree that English is a crazy language. But perhaps its omnivorous appetite for new words is its greatest strength.

        • smrnda

          A problem with this spelling is that we don’t all pronounce words the same way, and this could cause some nasty conflicts. I mean, how do we spell the word ‘apple?’ I end up saying it closer to ‘oppel’ so do I spell it differently when I write it using the new system?

        • I also like the letters eth and thorn for voiced/unvoiced th(though I was surprised that I couldn’t find eth in the Windows list of characters; isn’t that still used in Icelandic?). Your point that new characters might freak people out is a good one, though.

        • Jason Wexler

          “eth” is available in the Times New Roman syllabary on my Open Office program run on a Linux machine, I assumed it was available in all TMS Roman fonts. “eth” and “thorn” aren’t new characters, just unfamiliar.

        • I was able find the characters eth (ð) and thorn (þ) in Wikipedia and paste them in.

          Weird–they gotta be available within Windows easier than that.

        • Interesting. But if we went to your system tomorrow, wouldn’t difficulties gradually creep back in?

          I think about the old way linguists created alphabets for oral-only languages like Inuktitut and the new way, which is to simply use the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). IPA can represent any language right from day 1. That makes it quick, but it also makes it rigid. Either the language morphs how things are pronounced and the actual spelling becomes anachronistic again, or the language is forbidden to change.

  • Norm Donnan

    Heres th difference’s,there’s no product to buy,it’s given away freely.It’s done out of love,or concern for others because you get what is at stake here and you have some understanding of the price that was paid for it and by whom,and who wouldn’t be humbled with devotion when you realize what God actually did,how could you not tell others? What does amuse me is that so many people are so passionate about telling others about what other people shouldn’t believe.Almost like a religion here,hi Reverend Bob ,heck Friendly Atheist even has a pastor with Ask Richard the counselor to help people through their emotional problems.LOL

    • Which is why Peppers are comparable. They also do it out of love. It’s a great product, can I get an amen?

      • Norm Donnan

        Never tasted it Bob but amen(which means let it be so,i think)so it might be appropriate.

        • arkenaten

          Amen? Go check down Egypt way, Norm.

        • Kodie

          It’s really good.

          Dr Pepper was introduced to the Australian
          market in 1997 with a short-lived TV advertising campaign and
          low-priced 280-ml cans sold through supermarkets. Dr Pepper was
          subsequently sold in 1.25-litre plastic bottles alongside other major
          brands until 2003. Cadbury Schweppes stated the product did not gain
          acceptance by Australians, whose detractors complained that the drink
          tasted like “cough syrup”[citation needed] (a tag also given to sarsaparilla). A report on the soft drink industry by IBIS accused Cadbury Schweppes of failing in their marketing
          of the brand, given its global appeal. It is probable that the major
          problem with the marketing campaign was in advertising it as “American”.
          The use of the Statue of Liberty
          moving to Australia and passing cans of Dr Pepper on to two Australian
          males made its imported (i.e. “non-Australian”) status clear.

          After withdrawing from the Australian market, Dr Pepper arrived
          without fanfare in New Zealand. Cans imported from the US are available
          in some specialty stores in New Zealand and Australia.

        • wombat

          And New Zealanders think it tastes like cough syrup too, or at least the one’s I’ve completely unscientifically polled. Plus it’s friggin expensive and hard to find. I think we keep it around for homesick Americans.

        • Kodie

          What I think needs to happen is the US needs to import cough syrup from New Zealand. Because Dr. Pepper doesn’t taste like our cough syrup. Moxie (a New England specialty soda that neither tastes like other colas, even though it is one, nor Dr. Pepper) kind of does. Moxie tastes like cough syrup birch beer. Do you have birch beer?

        • wombat

          I’ve never even heard of birch beer. Is it alcoholic?

        • Nope. It’s a sweet, tasty regional soft drink. In the sarsaparilla category, I think?

          Where I grew up, a popular boyhood pastime was brewing sassafras tea from the roots of that plant–a homemade equivalent. Though that probably doesn’t help if you don’t know what birch beer is.

        • wombat

          I don’t think we have sassafras here, or at least I’ve never come across it. I have tried sarsparilla though. I wasn’t a fan. I wish we had an American food place around – we have a Korean mart, a Filipino mart, and a UK place, but American stuff is not common.

        • Kodie

          Sarsaparilla, that’s what I couldn’t remember. It does seem to be regional and not common in the Northeast US, but not unheard of. I’m sure it’s stocked in every supermarket I go, but not served at most restaurants or granted shelf space at convenience stores, probably because of the energy drinks.

        • Kodie

          No. It’s like root beer but it tastes different. It has a little bit of a wintergreen taste to me, compared to root beer, but it is more like root beer than anything minty. It’s also clear. I haven’t had it a lot. Most corner stores don’t stock it, but most grocery stores have at least one brand of it. It doesn’t take up a lot of space, so I keep forgetting it exists. Do you have root beer? If you don’t have root beer, I have no idea what the heck you drink down there. I am a huge fan of soda in general, I try them all, every flavor but cranberry – I hate cranberry. I can tell you the difference between Pepsi and Coke is that Pepsi tastes like my childhood, when the household was limited to one 2-liter bottle per week, gone within 12 hours, but I don’t have a preference. The closest to cough syrup would have to be pomegranate dry. I like the orange dry, it tastes more like orange juice (but then not really) than typical orange soda, and it’s yellow and actually contains 6% juice, but the pomegranate was not that good. Won’t buy again.

        • wombat

          We, uh, don’t do root beer either. No idea what that tastes like. Our usual soda selection is Coke, Diet Coke, Raspberry, Orange, Sprite, and either L&P (very Kiwi, it’s kind of lemony but not really) or Lift (soda with 5% lemon juice). We have a whole range of other ones, but those are the ones available at takeaway places and fast food joints.

        • No root beer? That ranks right up there with distance as a reason to not make the trip from Seattle, I’m afraid. 🙁

        • wombat

          But we have excellent wine, and amazing beef and lamb! (actually, the best we make is exported, better to go find some NZ imports, and then you can have the best of us in the comfort of your own home)

      • Kodie

        I was thinking of the Coca-Cola commercials were about love, because they wanted to buy the world a Coke and live in perfect harmony. Dr. Pepper is a livelier cult.

        Just like religion, appealing to one’s uniqueness simultaneously with the desire to be in the ‘in’ tribe. If you’re not a Pepper, you’re not ‘in’.

        Their new commercial is creepy too.

        • A 30-something woman reveals her “I’m a cougar” shirt under her business attire? Am I missing something or is that not cool?

        • Kodie

          It just means people like to think of themselves as individuals, they put on their personal identities in the morning and visualize themselves as much more unique than they are. For me, it’s highlighted by the ad, but I think they thought they were going the other way. It’s sort of a revival of the old commercial where the Pied Pepper is gathering new Peppers on his walk through stopped traffic (and even the drivers don’t mind all the pedestrians and are singing along). I don’t recall this being an ongoing theme of their advertising. They’ve gone through some other attempts:

          It is true that Dr. Pepper is a unique type of soda, but then so is Cel-Ray. It doesn’t fit a root beer/orange-grape-pineapple/lemon-lime category. Likewise, Fresca is unique. So is Mountain Dew, although classic is pretty lemony. But they are trying to pull people in on their own uniqueness by appealing to the consumers’ unique ideal self, the person they think they are, by making them one big mob who drinks Dr. Pepper in order to celebrate how unique they all are.

          I also think this draws a very close parallel with Jesus – Jesus loves everyone but you have to love him first. Same with Dr. Pepper – you can’t be a Pepper if you don’t love it, but in real life, nobody thinks you’re crazy or fringe or outside of the best thing ever if you don’t like it. That would be coffee.

        • RichardSRussell

          Always remember that you’re unique, just like everyone else.

    • Kodie

      and you have some understanding of the price that was paid for it and by
      whom,and who wouldn’t be humbled with devotion when you realize what
      God actually did,how could you not tell others?

      Because you believe something really phony and yes, we’ve heard of Jesus, and no, we’re not impressed because it’s not true, and if it was, it’s really sick. Not to mention absurd. You play like you are so much smarter than everyone else, that’s hilarious. You’re far from even the smartest Christian I’ve ever seen on these forums. You don’t care, you’re clumsy, often off-topic, inarticulate, and if any of the progressive Christian visitors accuse Bob of only aiming at low-hanging fruit, you are the poster boy. You like your own comments because nobody else does, and you’re often unintentionally so ironic that it would be funny if you were a cartoon, but you’re an actual person.

      Let me put it to you thus: you are just a pawn. All religious believers are pawns. You are gathered into a “special” club to believe whatever they’re selling and go out on the pretense that it’s out of love and concern for your fellow human, but just like the soda pop, it’s about money. If you can bring a friend to church, they are likely to fall for the scheme too and go out like an Amway salesman to try to draw others in. There is no salvation, there is only spending your life in pursuit of an awesome afterlife. Of which there isn’t. That’s it. That’s all. You’re a fool. You’re a bigger fool if you think you’re the smart one here and we’re the ones not taking god up on his “offer”. There are only people, swarms and swarms of people, talking about him and collecting people to give tithes to keep the church in business, selling absolutely nothing. At least with the Dr. Pepper, you get a soda.

      • It’s God’s own pyramid scheme, with Jesus at the top.


      • Norm Donnan

        Thanks Kodie, I always wanted to be a poster boy ,thats totally cool. Ive voted you up for your encouragement.XX

        • Kodie
        • Whoa, now. That kissing Hank’s ass thing is totally for real.

        • Norm Donnan

          You wrote this didnt you Kodes,l can tell because it is so long winded,and there is no one who will advertize on the site,theres a clue.And yes it does have a good point albeit a misguided one.

        • Kodie

          You’re not smart enough to navigate his website. I can see that I should have sent you to an easier site.

    • Christians are very concerned with telling other people what to not believe as well (i.e. anything but Christianity, whatever their particular version of it may be). It’s hardly surprising that ideologies of any stripe would desire to stop the propagation of their rivals.

    • Jason

      No, you don’t have to pay for Jesus, but the cost is very high. You have to give up your right to critically analyze the world without basing your opinions on the Bible or the church.

      • Norm Donnan

        Not true Jason,feel free to analyze all you like.

        • arkenaten

          I always get nervous when Christians use such terms as ”analyze all you like”.
          Many in the Catholic Church have been known to do this though they just drop the Y,Z & E.

        • Norm Donnan

          I love this Arkie,lm betting your a monty python fan aswell. Carnt wait to use it myself,if you dont mind.LOL

        • arkenaten

          By all means…
          and please come visit. As the star you will receive a warm welcome from my readers…I guarantee! 🙂

        • Jason

          Seems like you would have made a counter argument. Are you saying it is possible to be a Christian and not be expected to view life and life’s hardest questions through the lens of the bible/church?

        • Norm Donnan

          Seriously Jason you can view life anyway you like but personally if l want to know the best way to live life lm going to listen to the One who created life because from my experience of raising children daddy does know best and understands the big picture whereas the kids think “why not why carnt i”,but you know the dangers and cost involved that they just dont get.We are the same.

        • Kodie

          It might just blow your little mind but the rules of “god” were determined by human beings. Maybe you like to believe you are a child and have to follow obediently, but the rest of us question authority – in god’s case, there is none, only people like you. Frankly, I wouldn’t follow you on principle. Plus, from what you’ve said before, your children don’t listen to you and think you don’t know shit either, and just because you’re their father doesn’t mean they’re wrong about that.

        • Good thinking. But how do you know that the One that you think created life actually is? You’ve yet to provide a scrap of evidence that your belief is worth believing or that your supernatural belief is any more grounded in reality than some other guy’s supernatural belief.

        • Norm Donnan

          I did reply to you quite extensively but for some reason it failed to show.Has there been any other issues with the blog?

        • It’s always best to either copy into the clipboard (if you’re writing directly into a browser) before you post or write your response in another editor (I use Outlook). That way, if Disqus or Patheos or the little hamster inside the PC aren’t working right, you can try again.

        • Norm Donnan

          Thanks Bob,lm not computer savvy at all so l dont really know what all that means so as Abraham Lincoln told the American Indians,”we must en devour to persoviour.”

        • Jason

          Norm , I’m not sure why you and Kodie are getting so personal but one reason I participate in this forum is because we can actually work through issues in a precise and logical manner. You said faith doesn’t cost anything, and I gave a reason why I think it does. Then you shifted gears and didn’t respond to my point. If you really believe what you believe, why not take the time to think through it point by point? Feel free to respond to my original objection to your claim.

        • Norm Donnan

          I did reply to you Jason but it hasnt shown for some reason

    • RichardSRussell

      “… when you realize what God actually did …”

      I get it. This is a special Christian version of “actually”, like the special Christian version of “know”, isn’t it?

  • Marcion

    If christianity were true, why would evangelism even be necessary? God could just beam the knowledge of christianity directly into everyone’s heads, or at very least talk to them like he talked to Paul or the prophets. Hell, instead of running off to heaven and never being seen again, the risen Jesus could just travel the world proclaiming the truth of his resurrection and performing miracles to prove it. It’s not like he has anything better to do.

    Why would an all powerful god need flawed, ignorant humans to communicate his message, especially when that message is the most important thing a human being could possibly know?

    • Kodie

      They’re so bad at it too.

      • arkenaten

        LOL! Isn’t THAT the truth.

  • Y. A. Warren

    Slogans and advertising are for manipulation; teaching by example is for motivation. Many years ago, a friend advised me and my sister that the best way we could sway people’s opinions was to show good example of being sisters. This holds true for “promoting” any value system.
    My son has a saying when asked why he and his family do things a certain way, “That’s how we roll.” I think true followers of Jesus “roll” with responsible compassion, and only reveal why they “roll” that way when asked.

  • smrnda

    I get concerned when minors are asked to promote religion, since it seems like it’s running afoul of child labor laws to me, and kids aren’t always in a position to say no. I doubt even lots of 18 year olds really are totally free to say no, as at that age there’s a good chance you’re not fully independent yet.

    • The whole childhood indoctrination thing is tricky. Typically parents’ rights trumps the silliness of the nonsense that they’re forcing on their kids. If you get into physical or emotional abuse, that’s a different story, but just crazy reality seems to be protected.

      • smrnda

        I was thinking more churches that send minors door to door (less common these days, but still irresponsible) or force them to go out and promote their religion. It’s like a 14 year old can get sent to a mall to ‘ask people questions’ about Jesus, but a 14 year old can’t get sent to ask survey questions for a commercial purpose.

        The difference is that the firm is paying the kid, but making the kid promote religion for free (even if it’s nearly the same sort of work) would somehow be okay.

        So my concern wasn’t so much the indoctrination but the use of kids as PR people, just since if the kids were doing PR for anything but religion, it’d not be okay.

        Kids do do fundraisers, and I’m not necessarily sure I’d count the girl scouts selling cookies as exploitation, but it just seems wrong in some cases.

        • Did you see the movie “Jesus Camp”? They end with the kids (somewhere 8-12 years old, as I recall) trying out their new skills on strangers on the sidewalk.

        • wombat

          I was raised in a similar culture to the ‘Jesus Camp’ kids, and we were sent out to proselytise from an early age, because we were less likely to be turned away/brushed off than adults. I remember thinking at the time that if our message was so powerful and special, why were they worried about being brushed off? God would open people’s hearts, and if he did not, then they were beyond hope.

          Now, I look back with horror. Using vulnerable kids in that way was exploitation. It was just using any tool possible, especially tiny, cute, innocent ones, to preach to people that didn’t really want to hear.

        • smrnda

          People aren’t going to tell kids to piss off is for sure, but they have to realize that a bunch of kids aren’t going to provide the adults with great reasons to convert.

          I’m sure other kids realized the same as you, but that’s kind of the thing I’ve learned. When someone with a great idea wants to send *someone else* to promote it, it’s usually because they know it isn’t such a hot idea after all.

          Well, unless you’re dealing with say, a tech person who has no grasp of marketing or promotion, which does happen.

        • wombat

          What blows my mind is that some of the kids that did these outreach programmes with me have now grown up and lead the programmes, because they believe in the effectiveness of the ministry so much. They don’t realise that we never really won any hearts for Jesus, we just annoyed people.

          The method of sending someone else to promote ideas isn’t uncommon – most marketing people reach for the busty blonde when they need to sell something. It can be really effective – people are more likely talk to a pretty girl than to Jim from product design, even though Jim knows the product far better. But when you’re using children as your direct marketing tool, you just look desperate.

      • Rick

        Surely you realize that from a Christian perspective, that is exactly what happens in public schools. Kids are force-fed an atheist non-god worldview with no balancing perspective. Do Christian parents have the same right to their concerns that you seem to allow your side?

        • Either that Christian perspective is nuts, or I’m quite out of touch with what’s going on in public schools.

          Are you telling me that kids are explicitly told that there is no god? If so, I stand with you in being outraged.

          If, as I think is likelier, you’re saying that a secular, nonreligious viewpoint will introduce ideas that will step on the toes of various religious traditions (African-Americans are people too, evolution actually does make sense, the earth is 4.6 billion years old, and so on), then I see the problem. But in that case, I wonder what your solution is.

        • Kodie

          The state does not promote your fantasy. It kind of just sticks to reality, that seems to make for the best education. If you’re not for it, maybe you’re wrong. Maybe it’s not because you’re so right and the government “proselytizes” an anti-god agenda, but, in leaving out god, reality assumes its place, and what you want to teach your children is not real or true. I don’t know, maybe?

        • smrnda

          I’m not sure where you went to school. I went to public schools in Chicago, and I don’t remember the non-existence of god being taught at all in school. We had a class where we learned about world religions where we were expected to know a bit about the history and beliefs of each of them. No critical examination was given.

          I’m not exactly sure what counts as teaching an ‘atheistic worldview’ but I am sure that at no point in time during my education was I ever told by any teacher that gods did not exist.

          Now, from my exposure to Christians, I know that many of them (not all) just don’t believe in neutrality. If they ask me how my day was and I say ‘great day. Had a beer and watched a movie’ it’s as bad as me saying ‘I spent the whole day worshiping the devil’ because *not* saying that my day was great because of Jesus *is the same* but this relies on a very strange notion of neutrality that would not be understood by the rest of us.

        • When I was in first grade (1963?), our teacher read from the Bible every day. I’m pretty sure that was illegal by then, but old habits die hard, I guess.

  • wtfwjtd

    I remember those Dr Pepper ads! Very successful, message-wise, but relatively short-lived. Why? I have to wonder if maybe the “Beverly Hillbillies Effect” wasn’t partially to blame.
    I recall reading a story about this old show. It was the number-one rated show, viewership-wise, on TV, when it was cancelled. Why in the world would a network cancel a highly-rated show? Simple; the demographic that was watching wasn’t buying any of the advertiser’s pitched products,and these advertisers weren’t making any money pitching their wares on the show. Simple economics: No advertisers, no show.
    Maybe Christianity, like Dr Pepper, suffers the same problem sometimes. Even though surveys tell us that an overwhelming majority, something like 68 percent of Americans claim to be a Christian, the actual number seems far lower. Everyone, it seems, is a Pepper/Christian, but not so many folks are actually buying into the product. Even members of the group providing free outreach can’t save the campaign, so it’s on to the next one.

  • Maxximiliann

    Consider the following. Christ, in speaking of his disciples, declared, “You will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Earlier he promised, “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

    Was this worldwide preaching work to be accomplished by just 11 individuals? “Regarding events on the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., the Bible says: “They all [men and women] became filled with holy spirit and started to speak with different tongues, just as the spirit was granting them to make utterance.” Evangelizers came to include men and women, young and old, slave and freeman. (Acts 1:14; 2:1, 4, 17, 18; Joel 2:28, 29; Galatians 3:28) When persecution forced many Christians to flee from Jerusalem, “those who had been scattered went through the land declaring the good news of the word.” (Acts 8:4) All “those who had been scattered,” not just a few appointed ones, evangelized.”

    With respect to the preaching work of Paul and Barnabas (neither of whom were present when Christ uttered the words recorded at Matthew 28:19,20) we find at Acts 14:21,23, “And after declaring the good news to that city [Derbe] and making quite a few disciples, they returned to Lys′tra and to I·co′ni·um and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples,+ encouraging them to remain in the faith and [saying]: “We must enter into the kingdom of God through many tribulations.” Moreover, they appointed older men for them in each congregation and, offering prayer with fastings, they committed them to Jehovah in whom they had become believers.”

    These new disciples also did their share in preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God just as Christ had commanded. In fact, “believers in the Lord kept on being added, multitudes both of men and of women.” -Acts 4:14

    As you can see, then, the claim that Matthew 28:19,20 applied exclusively to Christ’s 11 apostles is not supported by the historical facts.

    • Does Matthew make it clear that the Great Commission applies to all Christians? Or must you go to other books in the NT?

      • Maxximiliann

        I dont’ follow. How is your question germane to the historical facts of the spread of Christianity in the First Century CE?