Movie Review: “God’s Not Dead 3”

Movie Review: “God’s Not Dead 3” March 30, 2018

What better way to launch April Fool’s Day weekend than another episode of our favorite soap opera, God’s Not Dead? (For the previous two films, see my reviews of GND1 and GND2.) This is another film from the Christian studio Pure Flix.

We see a story continuity in #3 of this franchise, just as we saw in #2. This time, it’s Pastor Dave’s chance in the spotlight, and Josh (the hero from GND1) is his youth pastor. Like me, you’ve probably been holding your breath since the thrilling ending of GND2 two years ago where Pastor Dave was hauled off in handcuffs for disobeying a court order to disclose his sermons.

TL;DR

The previous films each had a student rejected by anti-Christian parents, a ridiculous plot, and a list of legal cases at the end where someone was mean to a Christian. These films were persecution porn, allowing Christians to wallow in how mean everyone is to them and how tough it is being a Christian in America these days, but that’s okay because Jesus promised us persecution, and he’ll be standing alongside us during our tribulation (invisibly and not actually doing anything, but there nonetheless), and blah, blah, blah.

But the franchise has grown up. They’ve fired Chicken Little as the screenwriter, and the transparently unrealistic plot is gone. It’s still an overtly Christian film about people working through doubts and struggles, and God (in his own inept and nonexistent way) guiding each person to a stronger faith, but that’s a big improvement.

This is a gamble, and we’ll have to see if box office receipts show that Christians like a realistic story rather than fantasy.

Plot

Let me give the background to Pastor Dave in handcuffs. This situation was inspired by a real case in Houston. Conservative groups had filed suit against a new city ordinance supporting the rights of trans people. The city, as a small part of the discovery process for its defense, subpoenaed five local pastors. The mayor later retracted the request, not because it was inappropriate or illegal, but because the conservative groups played the victim and were changing the conversation to an attack on their religious freedoms.

Back to the film: Dave is now out of legal trouble, and the only point of that tiny episode was to identify him and his church as controversial. That puts him in a delicate position with the university, on whose land his church sits.

Pastor Jude (from Ghana), seen in the previous two films, becomes Dave’s assistant pastor. The two of them are leaving the church one night and hear breaking glass. They see someone run away. Jude goes in to investigate, not realizing that the brick broke a gas valve. He turns on the light and triggers an explosion. Dave drags him out, only to have him die in front of the church while the church burns.

Only later does Dave understands Jude’s last words, spoken in his native language. It’s the line that encapsulates Jude’s faith, “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.” Striving for this simple faith will be Dave’s journey.

The primary subplot involves Keaton. We see her earlier that day, and she’s struggling with her faith. She’s talking, but God isn’t responding. Her boyfriend Adam has happily moved beyond Christianity, and the faith thing has become a problem in their relationship. She wants some distance from Adam to figure things out, and we see her going to the youth group in Dave’s church.

To Adam, the church is breaking up his relationship, and we discover that he was the brick thrower.

The university board sees Dave as a lightning rod, and that’s not good for enrollment. It’s a public university, and they own the land the church is on, so they use eminent domain to seize the church property. Tom is the university president and a friend of Dave’s, and he needs to get Dave to agree. The university will pay for the land and insurance will pay for the building, so hopefully Dave will accept the proposal.

But Dave won’t go away quietly. He drives from the university in Arkansas to Chicago to visit his brother Pearce, a social justice lawyer. Though they’ve been estranged, Pearce drops everything and returns with Dave to help save the church. It turns out that their father had been the pastor of St. James church before Dave, and Christianity has caused friction in the family for years.

So, we have Pearce the atheist helping Dave keep his church. This would’ve been a great chance to emphasize Pearce fighting for what’s right regardless of his religious beliefs, how separation of church and state helps everyone, how the ACLU fights predominantly for Christians’ rights, and so on, but I guess that isn’t what a Christian audience wants to hear.

Adam realizes that his vandalism caused not only the destruction of the church but Jude’s death, and he’s consumed with guilt. He confesses to Keaton and asks if God could forgive him. (Omigooness! Do you think Adam’s stony heart is turning toward God?? That would make Jude’s death totally worth it!)

Dave discovers a demolition crew at the church one Sunday morning. (Their primary tool is a bulldozer, probably not what you’d use to destroy a three-story brick building, but whatever.) Dave stalls them with an impromptu church service while Pearce quickly gets an injunction. Whew! They have three more weeks.

Since the beginning of the film, Dave has been delivering groceries to a soup kitchen run by Meg. They gradually become an item, and she takes on the Jude role. Dave becomes increasingly frustrated with the difficulties God (apparently) is throwing in his path, which contrasts with Meg’s simple, strong faith.

To change the public conversation in his favor, Dave gets himself interviewed on local TV and asks people to appeal to the university to change their decision. This works, but it becomes personal when Tom the president gets a brick through his window.

Dave gets an anonymous text saying that it was Adam who threw the brick through the church window. Though we all know that Adam’s act was simply vandalism, and he had no intention of destroying the church or killing Jude, Dave assaults Adam in public. Adam walks away in handcuffs, but Dave has blown his PR advantage, and the university knows it.

Angry Dave lashes out at Pearce, driving him away. Dave is pretty unsympathetic at this point. He returns to that one rock we can all get support from, Jesus as told in the gospels. [Pass the barf bag.]

Keaton is also stressed, feeling Jesus absent from her life. She tells Josh (the youth pastor) about her failing faith, and Josh replies with the film’s only apologetic-ish argument. He says that John the Baptist had been around Jesus, and yet his faith was tested. When in prison, John asked his disciples to visit Jesus to see if he was the One.

Whoops—that was a bad story to use. John baptized Jesus, and he heard God himself say that Jesus was his son. If John had reasonable doubts with that evidence, how can any Christian today, so far removed from the supposed events, believe any Christian claim? But a Christian film can always have faith in modern Christians’ ignorance of what the Bible actually says, I suppose.

Dave walks through the burned-out church and God finally speaks clearly to him: be a light in the darkness (which is the film’s subtitle). He visits Adam in jail, and Adam says that he sent the anonymous text. They hug it out after Dave gives him Jude’s Bible.

Things culminate in a nasty public confrontation at the church, with sign-carrying students separated into groups shouting for and against the church. Pastor Dave and president Tom are both there, and Dave speaks to the crowd. He says that the church isn’t worth the friction that the debate has created in the community. He drops his lawsuit and says that Tom has promised that the new student union to be built on the site will have a place for the youth group to meet (which is hardly a concession, since the youth group would be just one of dozens of student groups that would be entitled to meet there).

This public protest is bizarrely set at night, but the logic is clear when Meg hands out candles, and everyone becomes a light in the darkness.

Keaton is waiting for Adam when he’s released from jail. (Dave had been pushing for leniency, but that wouldn’t have been his call to make. Involuntary manslaughter is usually a felony with a prison sentence of 5–10 years. Ah, well—Hollywood.)

The film wraps up with Dave breaking ground on the new St. Jude’s church. Pearce phones congratulations to Dave, and we see on his desk his old Bible, which has a handwritten note from his parents. And Keaton feels that she hears Jesus again, so she (what else?) texts “God’s not dead” to her friends. To hit us over the head with the point, at the end of the film one of the Newsboys (the Christian group featured in each film) encouraged everyone to share that message on social media.

I stayed through the credits, looking without success for the entry “God (played by himself).” That surprised me, since he played such a large role in the film.

But then I remembered that he made absolutely no appearance in the film, just like in real life.

If there is no God, why do meteorites
always land in the center of craters?
Checkmate, athiests!
— commenter Greg G.

.

Image via Pure Flix

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Ctharrot

    I can think of lots of good movies in which religion plays a prominent role. The Mission, Les Miserables, The Name of the Rose, Gandhi, Amazing Grace, etc. (Not to mention any number of horror and fantasy titles.)

    But when a religious, doctrinal message is the point of a movie, such that it becomes a work of proselytization or propaganda, you can pretty much count on it being a turkey. And I’d probably say the same thing regarding atheism. Disbelief as a plot point, vocal disbelievers as characters? Not a problem. A movie in which the bad guys are all religious stereotypes who get their comeuppance while the atheist heroes ride off in their electric AI car to a godless utopia? Pass.

    • A movie in which the bad guys are all religious stereotypes who get their comeuppance while the atheist heroes ride off in their electric AI car to a godless utopia?

      In Bob’s Heaven, we’ll watch this movie every Saturday night. And the popcorn is free!

      • Ctharrot

        Knock yerself out. By my reckoning, an insufferably preachy movie is still an insufferably preachy movie, even if it’s preaching atheism. 🙂

        But now you’ve got me thinking about good movies that aren’t exactly atheist or anti-theist, but solidly critical of religion. Life of Brian is probably the Platonic ideal. Brilliant, funny, humane, and somehow sympathetic yet merciless.

        • Life of Brian is probably the Platonic ideal.

          Humor can be a pretty effective way to Trojan Horse a message. Unfortunately, that’s not in my skill set.

          Though (off topic), have you listened to the Scathing Atheists and God-Awful Movies podcasts? Those guys are pretty funny.

        • Ctharrot

          I have not, and your recommendation couldn’t be more timely. We’re painting the kitchen this weekend, and once my wife and younger son realize how much time and tedium are involved, I’ll have plenty of solitude for podcast consumption.

          Thanks!

        • epicurus

          We need the guys from “Mystery Science Theater 3000” to work their sarcastic magic on the “God’s not Dead” movies!! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2790074e123cfafbe3d1f22b355592d9a969a59c13f03309d7f66df050634044.jpg

        • If I were king, that would happen.

        • Greg G.

          Go hang out by a lake until a moistened bint lobs a scimitar at you.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vJxrf1r0ak

        • Actually, Trace Bealieu and Frank Conniff made an appearance at an atheist convention in 2015 to riff on the first God’s Not Dead. I wish I could have been there to see it.

        • epicurus

          Oh yeah for sure, that would have been great!

        • RichardSRussell

          … an insufferably preachy movie is still an insufferably preachy movie

          Ah, so you saw the Atlas Shrugged trilogy, too, did you? Just like the GND franchise, it too was funded by some TBs who were more interested in preaching their gospel (in their case Objectivism) than in making a decent, watchable movie. Pretty much anything from Dinesh D’Souza is in the same vein, except from him the underlying holy text is conservative politics, in which the role of Satan is played by Barack Obama.

        • To be fair, there is no way of making a watchable movie out of Rand’s stilted dialogue, which is funny because she started her writing career in Hollywood!

      • Bravo Sierra

        Re: “heroes ride off in their electric AI car to a godless utopia”
        Didn’t Uber have a recent lesson in what a self-driving-car “utopia” looks like when a pedestrian, Elaine Herzberg, was killed in Phoenix? Call me a Luddite if you will, but I’m not ready to be driven around at high speed by a complex (but still dumb) algorithm.

        (Edit: And then there was this, that I just saw on the news: “Tesla confirms Autopilot was activated during fatal crash under investigation after reviewing data logs.”
        https://electrek.co/2018/03/30/tesla-autopilot-fatal-crash-data/ )

        • Lurker111
        • Greg G.

          In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 4,092 pedestrians were killed in crashes with motor vehicles and 59,000 were injured.

          http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/faq_details.cfm?id=31

          The chart shows that was the second lowest number of pedestrians killed in a year from 1990 to 2011.

        • Bravo Sierra

          That sounds like a legit problem.
          I propose: a fish on a bicycle. If you don’t think my solution will work (perhaps because it won’t enrich enough Silicon Valley multi-billionaires), you must like it when pedestrians die. Or maybe you’re just anti-fish, or anti-bicycle. (/snark)

    • TheNuszAbides

      The Mission

      a true exemplar. my faith had peaked before that one came out, and it has been the most powerful study in hypocrisy and ‘redemption’ i keep re-visiting as i cast off various superstitious baggage.

    • DogGone

      I like The Meaning of Life.

  • watcher_b

    The previous two movies felt antagonistic (disclaimer, I only saw the first one and read about the second). It is weird how not antagonistic this one feels and how that makes it feel more “liberal” (in the theological sense).

    • Yes, journalistic integrity forced me to acknowledge that it’s a step up from Christian persecution porn to Christian feel-good God-wuvs-me movie. I must admit that that’s an improvement.

      If Pure Flix cares for my opinion, I suggest a “Christian” movie with no happy “you’ve bet on the right horse, Christians!” ending. Make it realistic. Make it ambiguous. Provoke a conversation.

      If we can have romance novels and novels that explore real relationships, warts and all, perhaps the same could be true for Christian movies.

      • Bravo Sierra

        Re: “Provoke a conversation”
        That would require their audience to think. They don’t actually want that.

      • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

        They don’t want a conversation. They only want to preach at us.

        • In GND1, the Muslim girl wears a veil when she’s dropped off at school by her father, but she takes it off when she’s on campus. You see, she’s learned the truth of Christianity. When her father finds her Bible, he throws her out of the house, and we see both father and daughter sobbing. We know that this heartache is caused by their crazy religion.

          But why explore the downside of religion through Islam? In America, there are far more such stories where some flavor of Christianity is the problem.

          … and then we’re back to the problem you raise.

  • Greg G.

    I was misquoted. It was “Checkmate, athiests!” The misspelling is intentional to give it a more “authentic” feel.

  • Raging Bee

    If there were never any aliens in our past, then why are all the Roman gods named after planets? Checkmate, Daniken-haters!

    • Greg G.

      We don’t hate Daniken. We are just adanikenists.

      • al kimeea

        Alien theorists say, “Yes”

    • DogGone

      Bee, just checking, you are kidding, right?

      • Raging Bee

        Of course I am. That’s something I stole from a very old parody of Von Daniken.

        • DogGone

          🙂

  • Morgan Lefaye

    *hands our good reviewer a case of their favorite adult beverage to help them forget a shitty, shitty movie*

  • Ficino

    Another movie where the black supporting actor is killed off?

    • Ah, yes, but it was for a good cause.

    • FanofNeri

      And in Christian movie tradition, the black teen is and an atheist and therefore evil. As contrasted to Pastor Roland, who seems to be there to tell Pastor Dave to man up. I have to admit, I was surprised Pureflix risked alienating a large part of the intended audience with Pastor Roland telling Dave, who just said he doesn’t know what he’s going through, “I’m a black pastor in the Deep South. I’ve had so many bricks thrown through my window I could build you a church.”

      • Interesting point about the black student. I’d missed that. But we see him come to the Lord at the end, so it’s all good.

        • Kodie

          Are you watching Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert tonight?

          Although I’ve listened to the soundtrack a lot (way back in high school when I was in drama club), I have never seen an entire production of Jesus Christ Superstar, so I am looking forward to it. NBC keeps putting up these live theatrical productions, but I haven’t watched any of them before, so this will be my first.

        • I’m a big fan of the movie and the soundtrack but haven’t seen any live productions. I think I’d keep comparing it to the movie and disliking any places where it was different.

        • Kodie

          I’m pretty sure the soundtrack I’m familiar with is the movie, which I’ve somehow never gotten to see. I think Tim Minchin was involved with a production in the past few years, playing Judas. I am watching because Alice Cooper is playing Herod. I like his radio program “Nights with Alice Cooper,” I think he is a pretty hardcore Christian from coming out of addiction, but he is kind of fun as a DJ. Anyway, I thought to ask you as soon as I opened this thread, but in case you were watching tonight, in this particular subthread, spoiler, the black guy dies (John Legend plays Jesus).

        • Agni Ashwin

          The Black guy dies? Old news.
          The Black guy resurrects? Let’s see how Trump reacts to that.

        • King Herod in the movie was my favorite bit.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2eExcTkKTc

        • Kodie

          Can’t really unsee any of that. I always love those musical soft-shoe interludes though.

        • Kodie

          So I was looking into things, and found this compilation for YouTHeatre America, in which many of the original movie cast reunited, plus Ben Vereen from the Broadway cast, plus Jack Black as Herod. It’s not a smooth looking video, but kind of cool.

          I didn’t actually get to watch most of tonight’s show. Some of the Sunday night programming I like is not so cool as NBC with watching online the next day, so I missed about a whole hour. Don’t spoil it for me!!!!!

          Edit – oh yeah the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4ZtI5alobQ

        • Don’t spoil it for me!!!!!

          Does Jesus die or not? I won’t say any more … except that there’s a twist you won’t believe at the end!

        • Kodie

          As I’ve mentioned before, I worked on a community production of Godspell a long while ago, so the last week of rehearsals, the crew gets to watch the show. Well, it ends in a typical way, but this one girl got kind of caught by surprise and was crying. It is kind of emotional in context, and kind of like, one of your new good friends acting all desperate and stuff up there on the bookshelf and crying and wailing and such, but…. I don’t know, you know how it ends and you’ve been immersed in the production for a month or so, singing the songs, it’s silly to cry just then, so we did tease her a little.

        • Kodie

          Hi, sorry to drop this here, but I can’t seem to get to comments to this thread from email comments anymore. I get a page that says:

          Content Encoding Error

          The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because it uses an invalid or unsupported form of compression.

          Please contact the website owners to inform them of this problem.

          I had one earlier that I was trying to like a comment and decided it was not very important, and now checking emails to see if I can get any to load without that message. I didn’t get it from any other thread comments from my email.

        • I just clicked the “Reply to Kodie” button in the Disqus email and got here no problem (that was 4pm Seattle time, Sat.).

          Maybe a temporary problem?

        • Kodie

          Well, obviously other people were able to post after me, but not many, and I was able to post after myself via another method, so I don’t know. It just says I’m supposed to contact my blog administrator, and it’s an isolated post that is having the problem. For me, and maybe only me. In the past, I’ve had similar issues but not the same message. Sometimes a page is filed wrong on the back end and can’t be reached from the disqus link via email. I DON’T KNOW!

          (via disqus profile notifications).

        • Have you tried reposting your comment? Maybe it’s intermittent that way.

          Let me know if it’s still a problem. If so, and it’s lasted this long, I’ll pass it along to Patheos.

        • Kodie

          Well, clicking on this comment to respond from my email worked.

          The other comments I tried to respond to before seem to work now. Sorry if I alarmed you over nothing.

        • No problem. This technology ain’t perfect.

        • It’s on Hulu now, so you can catch it there. I’ll watch it eventually. I know too many people who will want my opinion on the singing.

        • FanofNeri

          Good point on his conversion at the end; because he sees how “real” Reverend Dave was, and “the kids are all about authenticity” seemed to be a theme. I admit I paid attention to him due to the first two films seemingly demonizing anyone wasn’t a white Christian. The first having the Muslim dad from another country who reminded his daughter how no one in America worshiped God the way they did, and then beat her and threw her out of their home for becoming a Christian. The second with Martin’s father, who slapped him and disowned him for becoming a Christian.

      • DogGone

        You guys actually watch this trash? Really? Life is too short, unless you go with others and laugh, then, okay, I can see it.

        • FanofNeri

          I at least went with a friend. He’d listened to God Awful Movies podcasts of the first two and then was like, “That wasn’t as bad as I expected…” even though he’d mocked it throughout. It was like, “that’s because this was the least crazy of the trilogy.”

  • I saw the first two movies, and thought two was bad. I admit, I texted “God’s Not Dead” after the first one. (My church was so extreme and controlling that I thought the movie could be used to argue for allowing me to attend a secular college; I left that church a year ago.)

    I listened to the review for movie one on the podcast “Reasonable Doubts”, and they gave the atheists nicknames. The blogger was called “The Gotcha Reporter”, and she was in 2. Is she in this one? At the end of the first movie, the ex-Muslim talked to Josh and some people noticed there might be attraction, and I was hoping that in two therw would be a romance there. Did they do that here?

    • The woman reporter who got cancer and then a miraculous remission? No, she wasn’t in this one. Also, no mention of Duck Dynasty or any weak apologist (J. Warner Wallace, Lee Strobel). Or even any apologetics. The ex-Muslim woman is also gone. Yes, her and Josh would’ve been an interesting connection, and you wouldn’t even have the “unequally yoked” problem. They did have a mixed-race student couple as friends of Adam and Keaton.

      The only romance (platonic) was Pastor Dave and Meg. A lot of Dave’s story was (apparently) exploring old high school relationships when (I’m guessing) Dave, Pearce, Meg, and Tom knew each other as teenagers. Why Dave was so slow to pursue Meg wasn’t explained.

      In other words, this movie was a reboot, and I must admit that it’s better for it. Maybe that’s what box-office success does.

      • FanofNeri

        We also didn’t have Martin, who was there when Reverend Dave got arrested and was disowned by his dad.

    • Dom Saunders

      I’m sorry you feel that way. I’m proud of who I am. You might be one of the most despicable, hate filled people I’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing wirh on the internet. No small accomplishment. You’re blocked and reported.

      • Nice try: you have the same name and avatar of someone who I have interacted with on other blogs, and this is out of character with that poster.

        Flagging for impersonation.

    • BlueJew

      So you were a Christian? How come you got the Jew-parentheses, then? Just wondering.

      • It was from a time when people put the parentheses around their names in solidarity with Jews.

        • BlueJew

          Gotcha. Thanks, buddy!

  • God’s not dead, but he’s very, very good at playing possum. He’s doing a flawless imitation of something that isn’t there. He looks exactly like the nonexistent, sounds exactly like the nonexistent, feels, smells, and tastes precisely like the nonexistent. This is because, I’ve been told, God really likes people to believe in him without any help. That’s essential to him, for some reason. Faith, for reasons still mysterious to me despite my asking many Christians, is supposed to be a “virtue,” and so the harder that God makes it for people to believe in him, the more virtuous the believers are, and they can feel good about themselves for that. (or something like that.)

    • Kodie

      A very good point. The title implies atheists declare god dead, as though he lived. Not existing is not the same as dead.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Yes, as we discussed on another page, god has a real problem with informed consent. Uninformed submission is more his styke, and withholding evidence for his existence seems to a big part of that schtick.

    • DogGone

      How can something that never lived be “dead”? Even religious people don’t claim their deity was alive–well, I guess Jesus was supposed to be a god. If he lived, he’s definitely dead. It’s part of their crucificxion porn.

  • John Pieret

    It’s a public university, and they own the land the church is on, so they use eminent domain to seize the church property.

    Whut?

    If the university owns the land, it already owns all the “improvements” to the land, such as buildings, no matter who made those improvements. The most that the church could have is some sort of long-term lease, which usually terminates when any improvements become “uninhabitable,” say due to fire or explosion. There could be some legal wrangling over the lease and whether it was still in effect but “eminent domain” (which is when the government takes private land for some “public use”) would have no part in it. The government (public university) would be taking the land from itself (the public university) in any eminent domain proceeding.

    Law remains one of the great mysteries to Christians …

    • Ctharrot

      Oh, you’d have loved God’s not Dead 2. The depiction of Establishment Clause litigation is infantile persecution porn. Not least among the many problems is the moutsche-twirlingly evil ACLU attorney’s strategy to prove, once and for all, that “God is dead.” In a jury trial. In a U.S. court. Absurdity upon absurdity.

      It’s like the writers’ research consisted solely of watching a few courtroom scenes from The Simpsons and clips of Todd Starnes pimping his various outrages.

      • John Pieret

        I vaguely remember reading synopses of GND2 back then but it’s all kind of hazy due to all the forehead trauma …

      • Robert Templeton

        Do you remember Kitzmiller v. Dover or The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes (Scopes Trial)? These are the depictions in reality. Farcical nonetheless.

      • DogGone

        You WATCHED it? The whole thing? Really?

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Law is ‘cargo cult’ to these fundies.

      Like science.

      • Christine GradyMiller

        Positively absurd, science goes hand in hand with the Bible. I work in science and MOST of the Christians I know are experts in the area of science. Your hatred goes hand in hand with your arrogance. Science is the best friend of the Bible believer and as a FORMER ATHEIST, when I made a REAL examination of the evidence for Jesus Christ, I had a choice to make, I bowed the knee to the God of the Universe, in REPENTANCE and FAITH, for the forgiveness of Sin! Keep on mocking, time is NOT on your side, death is certain. Put down your pride because it WILL lead to your destruction and your haughty spirit will make you fall. This is shameful, that in this age of vast scientific evidence of the unfathomable complexities of the human body and the human genome that one can even question that there in an infinitely intelligent Creator. Even better, He humbled Himself unto death, to defeat death for the criminals and pay the penalty for THEIR debt of sin. Don’t wait, stop fighting the One has paid your fine. But it is your choice, remember someone is trying to warn you to flee the wrath to come.

        • You work in science? Hard to believe. If you’re evidence based in your daily work, I wonder that you give us zero evidence for your unbelievable supernatural claims. Have we just not said “pretty please” yet?

          And as an aside, imagine things 100 years from now. You’ll be laughing with Jesus in heaven, eating canapes and playing shuffleboard. Will it not bother you to think of the atheists you’ve encountered burning continually in hell? Won’t that make life in heaven at least a little unpleasant for you?

        • Kodie

          That’s why she sounds so urgent now and nonsensical. You’re supposed to rush to get in the boat NOW and not ask questions.

        • DogGone

          Nah–she’ll be with all those other boring nasty people wishing she knew where all the cool kids went (winks)

        • epeeist

          I work in science

          No scientist says “I work in science”, they say “I am a physicist”, or “I work on drug trials for cancer” or something similar. So why don’t you tell us what your “work in science” actually is.

        • Christine GradyMiller

          Your disrespect is troubling but not unexpected. I am not obligated to reveal anything about my person to people on the internet. But I was trained in physical therapy and naturopathy. I am not here to debate because it is fruitless. I am trying to show that many Christians care very much for the eternal souls of their neighbors. I don’t desire to be harassed and bombarded with your vitriol. I stumbled onto this site and I guess it was not an accident but I direct you to the Scriptures. I am not here to fight but to warn. I was in your place and I don’t have all the answers but I do believe God’s Word and Jesus Christ are the ONLY hope for mankind but every individual must see their own personal responsibility before an infinitely Holy God. NO other “religion” has condescended to mankind, ALL others require one to work their way to Heaven, which is impossible. Please Read Romans 1. We as Christians do believe we do good works after salvation but not as any means to gain it, the book of James helps with that understanding. Anyhow, I will leave you now and yes I will pray. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9)

        • epeeist

          Your disrespect is troubling but not unexpected.

          Respect has to be earned.

          But I was trained in physical therapy and naturopathy.

          So you actually work in pseudo-science, not science.

          I am not here to debate because it is fruitless.

          No, you are here to preach. I see your type quite often here in the UK, you are the one standing on a corner bible in hand haranguing people as they pass. You are the person who people cross over the road to avoid.

        • DogGone

          “You are the person who people cross over the road to avoid.” A tshirt!

        • Michael Neville

          Quoting the Bible at atheists is as effective as a Muslim quoting the Quran at you. A little thought would show you why this is.

        • DogGone

          thinking Christian=oxymoron

        • Greg G.

          Naturopathy is pseudoscience. It is alternative medicine.

          Q: Do you know what they call alternative medicine that has been shown to be effective?
          A: Medicine.

        • Christine GradyMiller

          Of course, so is physical therapy, right? It would not matter if I have studied science for 20 years, which I have, you folks would find a way to mock and impugn. This is just who you are, it’s fine, hope you are enjoying yourself.

        • Paul B. Lot

          It would not matter if I have studied science for 20 years, which I have, you folks would find a way to mock and impugn [those who utter as much claptrap as do I.

          Bless your heart, you must not realize how much of a compliment it is to those like us, who don’t rely on/respect authority for authority’s sake, to be accused of not respecting authority for authority’s sake.

        • Greg G.

          Is your training in physical therapy or alternative physical therapy? I wasn’t going to bring it up but you are pushing the issue. You claimed you worked in science but when asked about the field, you included an alternative medicine which is an indication that you do not distinguish pseudoscience from science. I made a joke about cargo cult science before I saw that reply, but that reply vindicated my joke.

        • Christine GradyMiller

          Sir, I guess you rudeness doesn’t bother you, so here, I will give you more ammunition to mock. I sought out medical help from naturopathy and it helped me tremendously where the corrupt doctors I saw just kept me coming to treat symptoms and no real help but lots of money expended.. Naturopathy became my hobby to treat my own autoimmune disorders with great results so I took classes on what I had already been studying for my own benefit.

        • Paul B. Lot

          The placebo effect is a helluva drug.

          It works, though, so: good for you!

        • Do you reject any naturopathic remedy? Homeopathy, for example?

        • Christine GradyMiller

          No, homeopathy has been very helpful. Ayurvedic medicine has been very helpful also.

        • Hmm. Interesting. And that whole lack-of-evidence thing isn’t a show stopper for you? I guess if evidence isn’t important for your religious outlook, why make it important for your health care, right?

        • Michael Neville

          You’re into homopathy? Now we know that you’re not only not scientific, you’re anti-scientific.

        • Greg G.

          Sir, I guess you rudeness doesn’t bother you, so here,

          The first post from you that I saw said, “Your hatred goes hand in hand with your arrogance.” Now you want to be a tone troll.

        • Christine GradyMiller

          It just seems arrogant to claim there is no God when one would have to have ALL knowledge to make that claim. But I apologize if my tone was offensive, this is a difficult way to approach such an important topic.

        • Paul B. Lot

          It just seems arrogant to claim there is no God when one would have to have ALL knowledge to make that claim

          Oh, well…there’s your problem right there: you’re just confused.

          No one, here, is stating “I know for sure and/or could prove that absolutely no [supernatural beings] exist.”

          We’re just stating that you haven’t given us any interesting/compelling/coherent reason(s) to believe that your pet deity exists.

        • Greg G.

          The claim of atheism is that there is insufficient evidence for any gods. It is arrogant to say one god exists but no other god does since the claim is not based on evidence.

        • Michael Neville

          I don’t claim that there are no gods, I say that I do not believe gods exist because of the lack of evidence for them. If you have reasonable evidence for gods (remember there’s more gods than the one you like) then I’ll reconsider my belief. So, do you have any evidence or are you going to continue to say nothing in particular and say it badly?

        • Paul B. Lot

          I’ll take “And say it badly” for 600, Alex.

        • Kodie

          Greg G. is the least rude person here, at least in my opinion. You’re so much more rude now than he has ever been, ever.

        • DogGone

          She’s simply demostrating that she’s a Christian (winks)

        • epeeist

          I sought out medical help from naturopathy and it helped me tremendously where the corrupt doctors I saw just kept me coming to treat symptoms and no real help but lots of money expended.

          So tell us, what is your considered opinion on vaccinations…

        • Kodie

          Science follows the scientific method. Share your research if you have done so properly, and not just a fanatic for confirmation bias.

        • NO other “religion” has condescended to mankind, ALL others require one to work their way to Heaven, which is impossible.

          Right. You have no idea whether you’re going to make it into heaven or not. You can do your best, but because of the popular “God is inscrutable” defense, you have no option if God revokes your ticket to heaven.

          It’s worse for non-Christians, of course, because we can’t “just believe” stuff that is unbelievable. To see the problem, believe in leprechauns.

          A works-based religion makes more sense (it still makes very little sense, because why would a god make hoops for you to jump through?) so that you have some idea of what is expected to get into heaven. With Christianity, you can never know.

        • I’ve written this response to the popular “I was an atheist, just like you” argument. I think you’ll find it provocative.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/10/i-used-to-be-an-atheist-just-like-you-2/

        • Kodie

          Hi Bob, I am sorry to interrupt your regular thread. I am getting the error message again. I wrote on discuss disqus (which is technically for admins, I think) but I don’t know how to get any relief. I click on reply to button on my emails and get (after about 2 minutes of hanging):

          Content Encoding Error

          The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because it uses an invalid or unsupported form of compression.

          Please contact the website owners to inform them of this problem.

          It does seem to go away if I wait long enough, but it’s ruining things for me here. I can’t respond and I have to wait, and I can’t read and open comments, and then the whole reason I am here just gets fucked up.

          Is there anything you can do or ask patheos about? Is anyone else having this issue? I went to disqus to find out about error messages, and it’s as not helpful as anything they’ve ever not had anything helpful to say. I know they have this site for mods and admins to ask specifics about how things should work or how they do things, but for users, a goddamned fucking dismissive list and no way to ask for help unless you hijack the admin blog. I will probably get an answer back that these people are volunteers and shut me down, or nothing. It’s become so fucking annoying, and I don’t know what to do.

          https://help.disqus.com/troubleshooting/troubleshooting-common-error-messages

        • Thanks for letting me know. I’ll try to get it passed along to the IT wizards.

        • Kodie

          It’s apparently just this thread. I looked upthread and it was about 2 weeks ago that it was happening before. I felt like it was every thread yesterday during a period of time, but it was probably just because it was a popular topic suddenly, and had filled up more than one email. But it was working some times yesterday too.

        • OK, thanks for the clues. I’ll let them know.

        • Greg G.

          Perhaps she is in the cargo cult field of science.

        • DogGone

          file clerk?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Put down your pride because it WILL lead to your destruction and your haughty spirit will make you fall.

          Lol, what? You silly wanker, no one cares about “the wrath” you have a raging boner for.

          (After 4 hours, you’re supposed to call a doctor FYI)

        • Michael Neville

          Somehow I doubt that someone named Christine suffers from priapism.

        • DogGone

          well, this is the internets–anything is possible

        • Greg G.

          (After 4 hours, you’re supposed to call a doctor FYI)

          I saw a cartoon somewhere that had a guy who went to the doctors because he had an erection for four hours. The doctors were high-fiving one another.

        • Michael Neville

          Why do so many fundamentalists claim to be former atheists? Do they think we’ll go “hey, this Bible thumper used to be like me but then she drank the koolade and became all Jesusy so maybe I should drink the koolade too.” As soon as I read that a fundamentalist claims to be a former atheist I stop paying attention to their preaching. When the first thing they write is almost certainly a lie then why should I believe the rest of their spiel?

          I notice that while this “FORMER ATHEIST” (the caps make it even more likely she’s lying) claim to have “made a REAL examination of the evidence for Jesus Christ” she somehow fails to present any of this evidence. A real “FORMER ATHEIST” would realize that emotional appeals and preaching are not going to move atheists toward Jesus, only reasonable evidence will. That makes it 99.999 recurring percent that Ms GradyMiller is lying through her teeth when she pretends to have been a “FORMER ATHEIST”.

        • Christine GradyMiller

          I think that Simon Greenleaf, C.S. Lewis, Lee Strobel, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Ray Comfort and a host of others have written EXTENSIVELY on the “reasonable evidence” that exists. Only an honest seeker will look into these things. So keep up the hubris and antagonism, it is your choice. And I love the wonderful insults that you folks feel so free to dole out, it speaks volumes. Good day sir, your beef is with God, not me, but I do understand. 🙂

        • Michael Neville

          In other words you don’t have any evidence. Why am I not surprised?

          I don’t have any “beef” with a figment of your imagination. If you had actually been an atheist you would understand that atheists don’t hate gods (remember there’s more gods than your favorite deity). This is the sort of thing that screams at me that you were never an atheist because you don’t understand what atheism is about. There’s more to atheism than not going to church for a month or two.

          I make one suggestion. Cut back on your arrogance and condescension. You’ll find people will treat you better here. And if you think I’ve been insulting then you’re either very naive or quite thin skinned.

        • Paul B. Lot

          ….did you just refer to….Ray Comfort….?

          Sweet 8 pound 3 ounce baby jesus. Dear, you must be touched.

        • So you can’t make an argument yourself? I’m familiar with most Christian apologetic arguments and have found none persuasive. What have we missed?

        • Christine GradyMiller

          Bob, sir, I could say nothing that these learned and honest gentlemen have not said. And besides this is really giving me a headache. I care about people and having gone through the gamut of false religions I do try to give testimony of the accuracy and validity of the Bible but I WILL NOT argue, if someone is not an honest seeker, there will never be enough proof. Please Read Romans 1, the evidence is all around you and Jesus Christ and the empty tomb are historically attested to in a profound manner. Have you ever read Lee Strobels, The Case for Christ? Or Josh McDowell, Evidence that demands a Verdict?

        • Paul B. Lot

          ….but I WILL NOT argue, if someone is not an honest seeker, there will never be enough proof….

          Then you will only ever convince lazy and/or stupid people that you are correct.

          Which, frankly, makes sense: birds of a feather.

        • Christine GradyMiller

          Is it my job to banter back and forth with people who want to argue. I have presented truth and evidence, I have told you of many men who were also former atheists and agnostics ( which is really the more honest term) who have great books and helps to seek even more evidence. In the end, I must pray that God will grant you folks repentance, that too is the gift of God, for one’s eyes to be opened is a phenomenal gift. Most of my friends who are Christians are very educated, yet very humble people. But God does not seek after those who are wise in their OWN eyes, I also know some folks who never even graduated high school who are just profoundly wise from their time spent in studying the Word of God. There is nothing one can do but try to lead the horse to water, no one can do more. Our God does want your heart but he won’t force you, He did everything He could to atone for sin, the ball is in your court. Maranatha! Also, I know that God keeps His promises, His nature is that He cannot lie.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Is it my job to banter back and forth with people who want to argue.

          Does “banter with” mean “get repeatedly owned by” where you come from?

          I have presented truth and evidence

          False. You have made unsupported assertions.

          I have told you of many men who were also former atheists and agnostics ( which is really the more honest term) who have great books and helps to seek even more evidence.

          Did I miss that?

          Also, I know that God keeps His promises, His nature is that He cannot lie.

          The nature of your “god”, as far as I can tell, is limited entirely by the confines of your skull. You made it up, it seems very likely.

        • DogGone

          Well said. “She” (or whatever) comes to a forum clearly labeled “nonreligious” (formerly “atheist”) and complains/whines when people here don’t agree with her? So typically “Christian.” I blocked her.

        • I have presented truth and evidence

          No, you have said that you have none to give.

          men who were also former atheists and agnostics ( which is really the more honest term)

          I’m an atheist (I have no god belief) and I’m an agnostic (I don’t know).

          I must pray that God will grant you folks repentance

          Why would that matter? God knows the right course of action, but he’s going to change it because of your prayer? That’s hard to understand.

          There is nothing one can do but try to lead the horse to water, no one can do more.

          Can I encourage you to try Scientology? Or Shintoism? Or Hinduism? So far, you’ve ignored my suggestions. It’s almost like you’re unreasonably biased to the religion you happen to be comfortably resting in at the moment. That doesn’t sound very open minded.

          He did everything He could to atone for sin, the ball is in your court.

          We’ve been over this. We didn’t opt in to get Adam’s sin, and we don’t opt in to get Jesus’s grace. Read Rom. 5:19.

          See you in heaven.

          I know that God keeps His promises

          Yeah? Show me.

        • MR

          I have presented truth and evidence

          Hi, Christine. May I ask, what evidence convinced you personally?

        • Christine GradyMiller

          Thank you for that thoughtful question. Yes sir, I looked at all the ontological,cosmological, teleological and historical evidence, which the historical evidence was really annoying because I could not seem to rid myself of it; it seemed to haunt me. The teleological argument really began the journey because I knew that all this could not have happened by accident, the design was mind-numbing. But overwhelmingly for me, was the historical evidence and that empty tomb. In fact, apart from Christ’s bodily resurrection, we have no Savior, no salvation, and no hope of eternal life. As the apostle Paul said, our faith would be “useless” and the life-giving power of the gospel would be altogether eliminated. Sorry, didn’t mean to preach there. You know honestly, it really is the love of God, God’s love shown in His Son and my need for forgiveness that overwhelmed me. God truly does love us, in Christ, this is the overwhelming fact. We love Him because He first loved us.( I John 4:19) But for me, the historical evidence of the resurrection was too much to ignore. I’ll stop now because I don’t want to start preaching but reading the New Testament is a great way to get real context instead of listening to others who haven’t really examined it. Maranatha 🙂

        • MR

          And yet we can have no way of knowing whether something written 2,000 years ago is true or not. You have no way to validate that what is written actually happened, or that it isn’t partially or completely made up, misremembered, misunderstood, etc. There’s nothing in the text that, had it been found for the first time today, would cause anyone to believe it was a true account. Even the empty tomb stories are contradictory. Besides, no one takes any other ancient text to be an absolute truth, why this one? Such evidence is no evidence at all. When I read your statement, I don’t see evidence, I see a desire to believe, an emotional desire to believe, but I don’t see evidence and if you were being honest I think you know that.

          The teleological argument really began the journey because I knew that all this could not have happened by accident, the design was mind-numbing.

          That’s easily explained by confirmation bias. I personally don’t see design. People a lot smarter than me who have studied the universe don’t see design. Your comment is a standard apologetic argument preachers use to convince people that everything is “design,” when in fact there is no evidence for it.

          In fact, apart from Christ’s bodily resurrection, we have no Savior, no salvation, and no hope of eternal life.

          Is that why you believe? Hope? A selfish desire to live forever?

          You know honestly, it really is the love of God, God’s love shown in His Son and my need for forgiveness that overwhelmed me.

          In other words, not evidence. It wasn’t evidence that convinced you.

          But for me, the historical evidence of the resurrection was too much to ignore.

          Then you must be incredibly gullible to believe something you have no way of verifying!

          ‘ll stop now because I don’t want to start preaching but reading the New Testament is a great way to get real context instead of listening to others who haven’t really examined it.

          Yes, the preaching makes you come across as simply having emotional reasons for believing. It makes you sound gullible and not at all convincing.

          Oh, I’ve really examined the NT, both as a Christian and as an atheist. I even plan on reading the entire Bible again this year. In fact, reading the Bible is what finally destroyed my faith. I strongly recommend a thorough reading for anyone who is struggling with their faith. It’s the cherry picking that keeps us believing, but I believe a thorough reading without bias exposes the cracks in the Bible. All it takes is an understanding that “it could be wrong,” and you begin to see just where it is wrong.

          Many different types of believers come here. I’m guessing you’re evangelical from your Maranatha comment? Did you grow up in that or come from a different denomination or faith or…? How do you determine your brand of Christianity is correct versus the others?

        • Kodie

          You keep talking about your imaginary friend like he’s real.

        • I could say nothing that these learned and honest gentlemen have not said.

          OK. Thanks for not wasting our time then. Strobel and Comfort are the bottom of the barrel when it comes to provocative apologetics. Lewis isn’t much better. I haven’t read the other two except as excerpts.

          And besides this is really giving me a headache.

          It should. You have no evidence. I would be an idiot to become a Christian in any way based on your comments. Sorry for being so blunt, but that’s what happens when you back the wrong horse. Your position is simply wrong, and you have absolutely nothing in your arsenal that you are even able to put forward to argue otherwise.

          if someone is not an honest seeker

          Are you an honest seeker? I don’t see you adopting Islam, so I wonder if you’re not. Nor Scientology nor Shintoism.

          No, I think you’re closed minded. You’ve adopted the religion of your culture, which isn’t a particularly bold move.

          Please Read Romans 1

          I’m an atheist, and you think the magic in the New Testament will convince me somehow? It doesn’t work like that.

        • Kodie

          You can’t argue for Jesus because you always fail, because the arguments are shit. You are reduced to shouting at people like a lunatic. Why would a smart god need a dummy like you to communicate with people?

        • Kodie

          You are just screaming stuff at us. Do you really think some idiot on the internet screaming authors is how god really needs people to communicate his message, if he is good, smart, and most importantly, real?

          2nd, do you think none of us are familiar with those authors and their fallacious arguments? You are the fool here, pretending you will not argue, but attempting to argue via the argument of authority, i.e. read these authors!!!!!! I can’t put their words into my own, so I am not smart enough to distinguish their arguments from crap!!!!!!!!!

          That’s what you sound like to an atheist.

        • Christine GradyMiller

          And it doesn’t matter what I sound like to you, you folks are disingenuous in all your hubris. I am not desirous of interacting with people who fight the evidence. I don’t have the stomach for this anymore. You are some of the nastiest people, most of my interactions with “atheists” have been this way. ” I’m not smart enough.” You want to goad someone so you can release more of your venom. AGAIN, I direct you to Romans 1, it speaks of YOU! The evidence is all around you, I directed you to those books because they are the ones that helped me out of darkness and the atheist delusion. Hate on, dude. Hate on!

        • Paul B. Lot

          1) Yes, you’re right: I absolutely can be, and sometimes am, a mean/nasty/hurtful person.

          2)

          You are some of the nastiest people, most of my interactions with “atheists” have been this way. ” I’m not smart enough.”

          A serious question: what if we’re right?

          What if you are, actually, really stupid?

          Would you know it? What does it feel like [to be stupid]? Do stupid people know they are stupid?

          Science is beginning to show us that most people don’t realize it. :-/

          So what if it’s not that [we’re being mean to you], when we tell you that you’re dumb….what if [we’re being honest]?!

        • Kodie

          No, she’s a fucking asshole. I’d talk to any fucking asshole that way, and not care about their opinion of me afterwards. Christine the sanctimonious self-absorbed, indecent, illiterate, and arrogant asshole can eat shit. Christine, are you Jenna Black?

        • DogGone

          It’s true. It would be different if we went to one of the many religious fora here and talked that way to the people on those threads. She came here on purpose to assault us. What did she expect?

        • DogGone

          LOL!! Actually, the smartest people doubt their intelligence because they know how much they don’t know, and that’s also why they become scientists, not religious fanatics.

        • Kodie

          Christians are nasty with your fucking hubris. You think your imaginary friend is judging me while you’re the one here and where is god? Why would a smart, powerful god send dummies like you marching all over the place like idiotic pawns of your cult? Meanwhile, you don’t have evidence, you have arrogance. If you don’t want to stay here and listen to the truth, get the fuck out. We all always all our lives all over the world have to put up with Christians thinking they have rights to speak but not the courtesy to listen, well fuck off bitch. You’re the most hateful piece of shit, go pray it out with your imaginary friend so that you may learn how to demonstrate grace, you have none, you are behaving just like a hostile nasty asshole, spewing your fiction at us like it’s actually something. You must be sooooooo secure in your beliefs that you have to spend your time coming after atheists and trying to provoke us so that you can pretend you know we’re so nasty. We’re nasty to YOU because you’re YOU, not because you’re a Christian, not because we’re atheists, but your fucking asshole attitude demanding that we pay attention to your horseshit beliefs, and when we don’t, you don’t have evidence, you have threats. Imaginary threats that your imaginary friend is going to do something fictional to us someday, I’m so scared by you and what you say, sure!!!!! Loser.

        • Are you eager to follow the evidence? Then show us. Give us evidence and argument and show us that you are open to atheist evidence and are following the evidence without agenda.

        • Kodie

          Our problem is not that god exists, it’s that Christians who ORDER OTHERS TO FOLLOW THEIR LUNATIC SUPERSTITION keep shouting at us for no fucking reason.

          Think about how you come across. We’ve all heard A LOT about Jesus, a lot about the authors of the terrible arguments you list, and a lot about what’s going to happen when we die, from people who are just gullible and plenty of people with more literate and articulate arguments than you have. Why do you think shouting and screaming at us is the way god would choose to communicate with nonbelievers?

        • Kodie

          You’re lecturing about hubris?????? You love the insults people “dole out” to you???? You’re the worst kind of Christian, you think you know everything and are a terrible listener. You should be ashamed at what an inconsiderate piece of shit you are to other people in protection of your imaginary friend.

        • DogGone

          typical Christian, from my experience–keep it up, Christine, you, by example, are spreading the truth we who have escaped the clutches of your cult already know.

        • Kodie

          As I recently tried to explain, I think when someone says they were an atheist, it doesn’t necessarily mean they were lying either. They weren’t an atheist like you or me. Christine sounds like they just found Jesus, and what would you call yourself before that happened, in that context? Especially if you’re being lied to your own face and you beg to be told what an awful piece of shit you used to be but Jesus loves you anyway, and you believe them?

          None of these shits knows what atheism even is. I will say that. Their concept is whatever loneliness and deep meaninglessness and perhaps self-harm they did and what self-pity they felt, and then some Christian asshole came along to light up their life with pseudo-meaning and… well to be turned on to Jesus would feel much different, and how would someone who had heard about Jesus all their life but felt… forsaken… then suddenly feel that power of suggestion reek through their core, what would you say you used to be if that happened to you, especially given the cult you’re in defining what atheism is?

          Of all the things, I don’t know if I can blame these fools for trying that “former atheist” crock with us, especially if that’s one of the stupid new things they’ve been led to believe?

  • Benny S.

    Moral of the story: don’t let a building (especially a ‘house of worship’) become the source of idolatry.

    • RichardSRussell

      I often wonder why we atheists don’t spend more time mocking the hideous concept of worship. How totally demeaning and self-flagellating! Not to mention an utter waste of time.

      • Greg G.

        I think Michael and Luke Breuer were getting into that recently somewhere in this forum.

      • sandy

        Agree. Believe but worship? I think about this quite a bit when trying to deal with the christian mind set. How they can worship a god that won’t show itself or prove it’s existence and yet threaten you with eternal torture for not believing. But more importantly, how can you worship a god that does nothing about the disease, famine, catastrophes and evil in the world when this god could easily make the world a better place. Worshipping this pos makes no sense. I guess worshipping is all part of the indoctrination and propaganda regardless of how foolish it looks.

        • Kodie

          They are abuse victims. I don’t see a ton of worship in my daily life, I mean, can you look around where you are and suppose the majority of people are Christian? I don’t see any root of their beings, moral or otherwise, in their daily existence. It has to be a special occasion or as a response to criticism, I mean persecution, sorry, that they suddenly are filled with the spirit. Otherwise, they are rude, selfish, pretty much secular animals of the human species, behaving however they think the situation requires at the time. Most of the time, they behave as though no one above is watching how shitty they are, but in other situations, they have to make up for how shitty they are, even if they can’t admit how shitty they are. They have to beg god to look the other way and they make promises they don’t keep.

          Come on, if god is watching all the time, and everywhere, you would think Christians would develop a noticeable tendency toward paranoia instead of acting to the limits of what their culture will permit. They don’t remember they are Christians until you remind them, fucking hell, even coming out of the parking lot of church. Entitled, endangering, inconsiderate fucks can’t have their sermon settle in for ten fucking minutes before they forget how to be “better” than everyone else.

        • sandy

          Hey Kodie, I live in Alberta, Canada and no I do not see christianity on display with a majority as you state. However, when asked, I find perhaps slightly more than half of the people,I encounter, respond that they are believers. Once you find believers you see there is a full world of them that hang out together, up here. What I do deal with in my daily life is my friend and financial advisor who teaches Sunday school and his wife is a pastor in their church. Also, one of my best friend’s daughter just recently married a deeply religious man who is also a pastor in his church. These people generally are good people and do not behave as you state above. The lady pastor is in fact messed up because she thinks Jesus is listening to all her thoughts and it is no wonder she doesn’t sleep well at night. The other dude has a masters in physics and is being dishonest with himself to appease his family IMO. These people are in church two to three times a week. Anyways, I have tried to engage in open and honest discussions about the problems of christianity or any religion but get shut down to the point our friendships have deteriorated. Their form of cognitive dissonance is not to talk about it and that’s where we are at if we want to remain friends. My money guy does do a good job.

          I do agree with you about the smugness, holier than thou and the arrogance of being “right” that I find in these religious friends. Now you’ve got me going. I generally find that if I meet someone and they are religious we probably are not going to see eye to eye.

        • Kodie

          People don’t talk about their religion much here, but it’s statistically true that most of them are Christians or other theist. I also live in Boston, MA, probably the liberal capital of the US… on the other hand, it’s pretty blue collar deep Catholic in spots… so even if you’d think they’d accept atheists more, it is kind of dicey to admit such and still keep a job or have anyone who thinks you’re a good person. Atheist posters get vandalized on public transportation, for example. There is such an indoctrination and a general bias, I think, of people who “say there is no god” or who “are intolerant of religion” or the rumor that atheists never shut up and think they’re all better and smarter than everyone else (similar to the bias against vegans – I’ve never heard a vegan in the wild actually be obnoxious, doesn’t mean that doesn’t happen either, but I think it’s a generalization gone crazy).

          I don’t think most people are what you’d say “good”. They generally meet the minimum of decency, and in an emergency, I’d say a lot of people can rise to the occasion of “goodness” or “charity”. There are people who learn something needs to be done in this world and find their niche in a good deed cause, career or volunteer. But I think most people would rather be oblivious, can’t make a lot of time for others, can be actively hurtful to people in non-violent, below-the-radar ways, you know, bust their balls or antagonize or compete in a spiteful way. When called to sign up for something charitable, people will do it for show, they will make excuses to get out of it, or wonder what is the least they can do without looking like a total monster (which turns out to be thoughts and prayers). I would say that about most people, whether they have a religion or not, and no matter how deeply devout they are if they do think someone is watching them all the time who decides their eternal fate.

          The bible says “patience is a virtue”. The bible says do not show off. Even the bible says “works? That’s not going to give you any favor, so slack off and just be the total piece of selfish human crap you are and just believe in Jesus”. Ok, not an exact quote, but still. What the fuck is church for if not to remind people why they are awful and give them an assignment each week to improve their presence? If we could see an actual benefit of people acting better because their religion constantly reminds them to, it wouldn’t make it true, but doing what the book says would have a positive effect on the culture. People look for loopholes that give them grace for being a normal asshole human. I don’t say filthy unforgivable retch, and then there are those who pick biblical verses to specifically be assholes for Jesus, like throwing their kids out of the house for being gay, or refusing service to people at their business, like, having deeply religious beliefs because “god” IS watching, and they can’t spoil their image as someone who stands up for the bible in only those specific situations. Those people’s personal salvation relies on how disruptive they can be to social progress, and soldiers, like parents, like god, sometimes have to lay down the tough truth and not worry about being liked.

          I just don’t feel like most Christians care if god likes them. Because they are the kind of people I described, they put in the least amount of effort to get the best outcome, and will still judge atheists to want to do whatever we want, to be immoral heathens, to be ungrateful, to be meaningless, to say we’ll be sorry the day we meet god that we didn’t believe these shitty, shitty humans he left in charge of communicating with us.

        • DogGone

          I know a person who was totally obnoxious, controlling and mean when he was a vegan. He has since started eating meat and is nicer, but that’s mostly because he’s older and has had some humbling experiences. Most food police I know are very controlling and manipulative. It has nothing to do with what people eat or don’t eat (or their official religion, for that matter) some people are kinder than others. None of us walking around is perfect. We are animals, and each of us, first, must survive. We do the best we can, and forgive the rest.

        • Kodie

          I am not saying some people don’t try to shame other people for what they eat, per se, but I think it’s blown out of proportion by people who eat meat. I get that if you have a vegan friend who wants to eat somewhere instead of someplace without a lot of options for them, would it kill someone to not eat meat and eat something made of vegetables for one meal with their friend instead of think they are a pain in the ass and make fun of them?

        • DogGone

          Hey, if I go out to dinner with a friend, and that friend is a real friend, I will not expect to have any input on what they choose to order and I expect the same respect from them. Most restaurants offer both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Luckily, you and I, while enjoying discussions here, are not destined to dine together.

        • Kodie

          But vegan restaurants are not just serving mashed potatoes as their vegetarian option. Think if there were a meat option at every vegan restaurant and it was baloney sandwich.

        • DogGone

          As I said, it has been a pleasure to meet you here, and we agree on many things, but we are not destined to dine together, (winks)

        • Kodie

          I’m not sad about that, and I’m not even a vegetarian, for fuck’s sake. You’re trying to be polite, but basically fuck vegetarians if they expect you to eat at a vegan restaurant so they can actually enjoy their meal instead of eat side dishes and accommodate people who mock them.

        • DogGone

          Hey, they are welcome to eat at vegetarian restaurants! Shrugs. I don’t like vegetarian restaurants. I have eaten at them and they are not for me. I am friends with vegetarians. I just don’t go out to eat with them. Taking a hike is good with BYO lunch. (Actually, I don’t go out to eat that much anymore with anyone. It’s too expensive.)

        • Greg G.

          I have been to some good vegetarian restaurants in the US and I have been to some excellent vegetarian restaurants in Saigon. I would give up meat if I could eat there. My favorite is Hmmm. I’m not sure if I spelled it with enough m’s.

        • DogGone

          I do like some Chinese and Indian restaurants which are primarily vegetarian, but that would not satisfy vegans because their real purpose is to convert you to their point of view (which is almost a religion, which is why I sidestep it as politely as possible, but firmly)

        • I actually do see some people who are very religious and spend a lot of their free time volunteering to help the poor and disadvantaged. They do exist, but they are the exception not the rule. I maintain that the same people would still be doing that without religion (based on knowing nonreligious people who do similar kinds of volunteering). But it’s not true that none of them do. But you are right to expect far more of that based on the words attributed to Jesus in the Bible. Instead what you are likely to see these days is theology based more on Ayn Rand than Jesus Christ.

        • DogGone

          Yep–have you hever noticed that the most selfish, rude drivers on the road have schools of fishies on their bumpers?

        • Kodie

          One that stood out for me particularly was I went down a side street on the side of a Catholic Church with a school attached, and a car came out of the parking lot without looking or slowing down – with kids in the car. I couldn’t see this car because there is street parking there and it’s a narrow street, so I don’t know if he could see me and butted in front, or carelessly endangered his children AND me by just driving out without looking. This car had zero margin and I had to brake hard to avoid hitting him. He just went the fuck on his merry way. I honked, I put the brights on as I followed him most of the way I had to go to work that evening. Of course he slowed down, he tried to lose me by slowing down at a light so I would have to stop as he got away. Cowards, fucking selfish fucking cowards. At some point, he cut in front of another bunch of cars like the entitled asshole he was, but you know what I hate the most is when someone does something terrible and you so much as honk your horn, they spite you for it, and they wave like they’re friendly and you’re the asshole. He had kids in the car and acted like being a douche is what we do. “I don’t know why that lady is so mad at me, I am perfect!”

        • Greg G.

          It’s a good thing God wasn’t your co-pilot in charge of braking.

        • DogGone

          “Worshipping god” is supporting a heirarchy of human religious leaders with buildings and offices and university career training programs. Of course they want people to continue and to recruit.

      • sandy

        Just to add to that. God calls himself jealous. He is a jealous god and says so in the first commandment. He goes on to say he is a jealous god many times through out the old testament. Jealousy is a trait to be loathed. It is all about insecurity and fear and certainly not to be worshipped. It horribly smells of being a man made. Read your bible and how do not see that this god cannot be real and certainly not a thing of worship. Checkmate.

        • Michael Neville

          There’s the further point that the god described in the Bible, particularly the OT, is a sadistic, narcissistic bully. That makes it look like worshiping him is an attempt to keep him from smiting his followers.

        • sandy

          Yes that’s probably going on in the follower’s minds. It could also be like how some people like to hang out and be friends with rich people hoping that they get thrown a few dollars or goodies. Basically, ass kissing.

        • al kimeea

          Ask Hank, he likes his kissed

        • TheNuszAbides

          projecting what they want/expect in a tyrant, and/or rationalizing temporal authoritarianism to hobble dissent.

        • DogGone

          The model for many “Christian” males.

      • Presumably there’s some psychological comfort in declaring oneself scum and curling into a ball with the hope of being nestled to the bosom of some loving Super Father. Or maybe it’s the idea of having the Super Father clean up all your problems here on earth for you. Comforting ideas, perhaps, but you’d think they’d need to be true.

        I’d like the Super Father to take care of my taxes (including paying the final bill). I wonder why I don’t get any comfort from that thought.

        • Kodie

          I’ve never been a Christian so I don’t know, but to hear my fellow atheists who are ex-Christians explain how damaging the religious beliefs were to them… I just don’t see it that much in the wild. If there is a salvation, these people act awfully confident about it here. And so, they’ll threaten us to humble ourselves before the lord before it’s too late, but I don’t see any humility in the wild*. I don’t see the kind of paranoia of being constantly watched, judged, and recorded for the filthy fucking human beings they are. I don’t see actual kindness, I see people looking to check off their good deed for the day so they can relax and act like they naturally would.

          *I worked on a community production of Godspell a long time ago, and it’s my understanding that it goes over the sermon on the mount. So, one thing stood out to me when I got to watch the rehearsal, where Jesus explains to the apostles that when you meet someone who is in need, you’re supposed to help them because they are Jesus. I don’t remember the exact words. I mean, thinking about it now seems real cult-like, to try to impress your followers that you wouldn’t want to pass by someone needy, because that is secretly Jesus and the only motivation you could possibly have to feed and clothe a needy person was because he is secretly your cult leader who demands you stop and serve him food and clothing. I mean, you couldn’t just be a decent person who cares about other people.

        • Chuck Johnson

          In ancient times, the concept of just being a decent person who cares about other people was a novelty.
          Nowadays, such a philosophy comes naturally to many people.

        • Kodie

          No, I don’t see it. People need a very strong trigger, like a sudden tragedy. They don’t walk around with the guilt of Jesus’s blood any more than I do. They wiggle out of situations that might inconvenience them, and still think they’re a pretty good person.

          I don’t think “not killing or assaulting people” is a very high bar to pass.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          LMFAO! HA HA HA …HE HE HE HE.. wait? you weren’t serious were you?

        • Chuck Johnson

          You’ve been hanging out with the wrong crowd !

        • I hadn’t heard that spin on charity. Creepy.

        • Kodie

          http://biblehub.com/matthew/25-45.htm

          “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

          The whole sheep and goats thing starts at matt 25-31.

          http://biblehub.com/niv/matthew/25.htm

      • Chuck Johnson

        Worship is a holdover from ancient times.
        That’s why it looks so ridiculous in the twenty-first century.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        I don’t know if it counts as “mocking”, but I regularly find myself saying that nothing is worthy of worship, least of all something that demands it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i concur. there are a few principles that i suppose i ‘enshrine’ in my own way, to the extent that theological spin could rephrase them as things i ‘hold sacred’. but they certainly don’t entail any groveling in any direction. the primary example that usually springs to mind is the responsibility of transmitting information to children.

        • DogGone

          e-ducare–to lead out. I see education as leading children toward independence of thought. First, by developing independence of movement, then a growing mastery of communication at al levels, and finally a flexible understanding of one’s talents and their place in society.

      • DogGone

        It’s about human beings (administrative types–priests, ministers, etc.) exploiting other human beings (congregants, parishoners, suckers–winks). What do con men call it? Exploiting marks?

    • TS (unami)

      Huh? Is that what you got out of the synopsis?

  • Otto

    If you need 3 movies proclaiming “God’s not Dead” I get the distinct feeling you are rather insecure about the whole thing.

    • Greg G.

      Kind of like protesting too much.

    • Raging Bee

      ‘E’s pinin’ for the fjords! Or the Crusades…

  • Pofarmer

    God’s not deader?

    • If he’s not dead, then perhaps he’s undead. I’m picturing a zombie with a long flowing beard.

    • Len

      This is number three, so I guess it should be “God’s Not Deaderer”

      • eric

        Not to be confused with the Sam Raimi spinoff, “God’s not Deadite.”

    • Cozmo the Magician

      Just ‘mostly dead’

      • Pofarmer

        Pinin’ for the fjords.

        • TheNuszAbides

          you stunned God just as ‘e was wakin’ up!

        • Kitirena Koneko

          He’s an ex-Deity? O.O

        • BlueJew

          Leadin’ the Choir Invisible.

      • TheNuszAbides

        today i had trouble deciding between True Love and a nice MLT.

      • Kitirena Koneko

        Does that mean that we CAN’T go through his pockets looking for loose change? Now how am I supposed to pay for my nice new Holocaust Cloak?

        • Cozmo the Magician

          I’ll grab his keys, you grab is wallet (;

    • Raging Bee

      God’s Still Not Quite Dead Yet?

      God’s Getting Better?

    • Omnicrom

      God’s not dead with a vengeance.

  • Agni Ashwin

    If God’s not dead, then that implies that God is alive.
    If God is alive, then that implies that God is an organism.
    If God is an organism, then that implies God has evolved.

    Thus, “God’s Not Dead” has a secret Mormon agenda.

  • Warren

    The film wraps up with Dave breaking ground on the new St. Jude’s church.

    Isn’t he supposed to be Protestant?

    • My guess (just a guess) is that they can plausibly name it after the guy who died this way, so it needs to be a Catholic name. (The first church that was burned was St. Joseph.)

      You might imagine that the church was initially Catholic long, long ago when the place was a Christian university … but if things have changed, why not use this as an opportunity to give it a good ol’ Protestant name? And by naming it St. Jude, are they saying that Jude is up in heaven, able to intercede for people who pray to him? That’d be very Catholic.

      Trying to make sense of a Christian movie is a fool’s errant, methinks.

    • roundguy

      Episcopalians? Lutherans? Don’t they use St. names sometimes?

      • That might be the explanation. Still, I would’ve thought that the movie producer would see evangelicals as its target audience.

        • Maybe they thought they could get some traction outside the Bible belt. Based on box office numbers they seem to have failed.

        • TS (unami)

          Episcopalians avoid these type of movies!

  • Damien Priestly

    Well, a lousy movie, but at least GND is not annoying us with endless pop-up advertising on the Patheos site…that award goes to “Paul, Apostle of Christ”…another box-office bottom dweller. You would think the ads would stop a few weeks after release, at least to cut your losses !!

    • Raging Bee

      Hey, be fair – how else would you have even heard of “Paul, Apostle of Christ?”

  • Cozmo the Magician

    “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.” I’m just SURE the peeps who made GnD3 were not at ALL influenced by this…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdV4BCO1w7Y

  • BanzaiBoB

    If you want to watch an actually good, thoughtful movie on the subject of religion, I highly recommend “PK”. It’s a Hindi movie, but well worth getting hold of.

  • Martha Anne Underwood

    I may be Christian, but the God is Not Dead movies are pure trash. I will never watch any of them. They have nothing to do with being a Christian. By the way, we Christians are NOT persecuted except maybe by the religious right, but not by anyone else.

  • Nick G

    Pastor Jude (from Ghana), seen in the previous two films, becomes Dave’s assistant pastor. The two of them are leaving the church one night and hear breaking glass. They see someone run away. Jude goes in to investigate, not realizing that the brick broke a gas valve. He turns on the light and triggers an explosion. Dave drags him out, only to have him die in front of the church while the church burns.

    So, hero’s black sidekick dies nobly early on to get the plot moving. No, no, not a “benevolent racism” cliché at all!

    • Spike Lee calls a whole set of secondary black characters the “magic negro”. They only exist to give advice to the main character but otherwise have no lives or interests of their own. There are variations on this involving Asian characters, gay characters, etc.

      • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

        GAAAAH! Commenting etiquette calls for a time-suck warning whenever a TV Tropes link is posted! If I hadn’t hovered my cursor over that link, I could have disappeared until next week!

        • Kodie

          I was gone for a month once. Last couple times I checked out the tropes, it wasn’t as gripping as I remember.

      • Kodie

        Hi!

    • And the white main character shouldn’t actually spend time in jail for killing him…

      • yeah, that was a pretty enormous oversight (or pretty enormous gimme). Even if the brick thrower had come to Jesus, he should’ve been in prison for a few years.

  • marcus816

    Goddamit! You gave away the whole fucking movie! A little spoiler alert would have been nice.
    I’m not even going to bother to go see it now! Thanks a bunch!

    • Dang! I avoided another theater ticket to being credited to the worthy project that is GND.

      I’ll have to live with that for the rest of my life.

  • kaydenpat

    This one didn’t do all that well at the box office. Perhaps it will be the last GND. Sad! /s

    • GND3 had a $4M opening week. I don’t know what the rule of thumb for extrapolating from that to the entire run, but I wouldn’t think it would be all that much. GND2 made $20M domestic, and GND1 made $60M domestic.

      I think your fears are on target. What’s the lesson? Perhaps that shrill hysteria is necessary to make a Christian movie. Realism apparently doesn’t sell.

      https://www.the-numbers.com/movie/Gods-Not-Dead-A-Light-in-Darkness#tab=box-office

      • Kodie

        I don’t know what “straight-to-video” means anymore. Does the Hallmark channel want this shit? Where does it end up on the tv/digital channels?

        • GND2 got an extra 30% sales from DVDs, and GND1 got an extra 50%, so I think that studios would prefer to do the theater release and then have a big launch of the DVD, if possible. However, this latest one looks pretty disappointing.

          Normally, I’d be cackling and twisting my mustache in an evil manner, but this one was their (small) attempt at reality, so I’d like the studio to get some positive feedback from that.

        • Kodie

          Well, 1, I was just thinking do things even get printed on dvds anymore, and 2, if all these digital outlets put out their original movies and shows and they’re legitimate, where do terrible movies go when they’re too terrible to distribute through the places where people end up watching their movies and shows.

          3rd. I was thinking of straight-to-video tycoons Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. One would think after their toddlerhood fame on Full House, it wouldn’t have led to anything good, and I’m not entirely sure it has, but, having not done anything interesting in their entire lives, too busy to do Fuller House reboot, still considered intriguing. They filled what I think would be a tiny niche for wholesome Disney channel G-rated audiences and perverts with a “how-long-until-they’re-18” countdown, and managed to become somewhat elite instead of desperately aging child stars who can’t bounce back like say, Jason Bateman or Sarah Jessica Parker. I don’t know lately, they are just there.

          https://www.buzzfeed.com/emilyorley/definitive-ranking-of-all-the-olsen-twins-movies?utm_term=.tuDjM4Yra#.nuVwbzq0Y

        • Tundrafig

          I think it’s the video equivalent of Regnery Press books showing up on the NYT bestseller list with little daggers next to them (as in bulk purchase by this or that right-wing group for “free gift” distribution to conference attendees).

          BTW, isn’t “free gift” kind of redundant? One of my least favorite marketing phrases . . . .

        • DogGone

          it’s like “fiction novel”

      • kaydenpat

        Perhaps people got tired of the GND movies regardless of how good the plot of the latest reiteration was. How many times are the GND producers going to milk that cow?

        With the exception of the “Fast and Furious” movies, I can’t think of many movie franchises which get better with indefinite sequels.

  • Kanawah

    Sense god was never alive, how can it be dead?
    All religion is mythology.

    The bible (buy bull) is total camel crap.

  • Paul

    They portrayed an atheist in a slightly sympathetic light? Well that’s not what the target audience wants to see! No wonder it didn’t do very well.

  • John Hansen

    What is the point of these movies? Because if the point is to evangelize the outside world, then they are failing epically. No one but already devout christians ever watches these movies. So if christians are just looking for confirmation bias, then I guess these movies will do that. As someone who was raised in a christian home and now have disavowed the church and the faith, producers have GOT to stop casting unbelievers in a bad light and essentially taking a big dump on atheists. If these movies are supposed to be conversation starters, its a little hard to start a conversation with your opposition by bashing and insulting them.

    • I’d love to see them move into conversation-starting mode. Maybe instead of ending every movie with a blatant, “Hey, kids! Why not text ‘God’s Not Dead’ to your friends to get more butts in seats??” they could set up discussion groups.

      Because Christians are all about seeking the truth, right?

      • John Hansen

        Well thats the issue, what “truth” are they seeking? But again, I dont understand the point of these movies. As a secular person, I reluctantly watched the first one and I was rather angry with the whole plot and how they basically mocked and ridiculed unbelievers. These producers clearly have NOT spoken to many atheists, because they did a terrible job of representing them.

        • DogGone

          You are so sweet (really). These people have a very narrow definition of “truth.” According to them, they have it and we don’t.

    • Kodie

      I think the point is to preach to the choir, but I imagine there’s also a niche audience who doesn’t allow themselves or their children to watch regular movies. It’s like the movie version of Christian metal – something for the teens otherwise deprived of the kind of music their peers are listening to.

  • I was mostly impressed with how both atheist characters had legitimate grievances with the church. The previous films wouldn’t have gone there.

  • Kanawah

    When the younger crowd is the primary theater audience, and they are wising up the the religious BS, it is not surprising.
    I hope they do not come back.

  • TS (unami)

    I haven’t watched any of them (and I’m still a Christian *ducks*) because they seem to be SO cheesy!
    Over the last few years, I’ve started doubting and questioning *everything* about my faith, so I guess that I’m not their “target audience”.

    • If you don’t frequently put your hand to your brow, close your eyes, and sigh, “Oh, it’s so hard being a Christian in America these days!” then yeah, these movies don’t target you.

      Far better to spend your time reading atheist blogs!

      • TS (unami)

        I’ve come to respect the honesty of the atheists that I know. And any Christians that aren’t afraid of admitting that they don’t have all the answers. It’s still a journey for me.

        • Greg G.

          I went from an on-fire Christian to a smoldering-Christian-trying-to-rekindle-faith to an indifferent deist until I one day I realized I didn’t believe that anymore.

        • TS (unami)

          I’m smoldering and trying to find fire…

        • Greg G.

          I went back to the church where I was saved to try to get it back. The sermon was on cussing why people take the Lord’s name in vain. It turned out that (this is how it sounded): There is POWER… in the NAME… of the LOOOORRRRDDDD!

          My first thought was “Bullshit… Oh, there’s that same power in that word, too.” Thus ended my quest to rekindle my faith.

          I had lots of friends so I had no problem with developing a new social life.

        • TS (unami)

          I’m not from that kind of church, so I can’t quite relate. My faith tradition has been very, very “Old School” — Russian Orthodox. I’ve since left that parish and am now Episcopalian.

        • Many sects’ Machiavellian strategy is to make sure you don’t have any friends outside of the church.

        • Austin

          So true, from “feminist” teacher Mark Driscoll, inventor of the penis home theology for women, to John Piper and his grace-filled “kick em out if they don’t worship me” theology! Evangelical has rightly become a bad word in the minds of all thinking people these days, and should be a red flag to all considering visiting their “churches.” As a pastor I have come to realize how many more atheists live Christ-like than parishioners do, and recognizing these people and churches for what they are, cults. Anyone who isn’t willing to accept scientific proof, love people without a litmus test, and be willing to say “I could be wrong” is concerning. Thanks for the great review as well, I can’t wait to watch the movie considering they are always great for laughs!

        • Greg G.

          I see the Baptists have been renaming their churches without the B-word.

        • Austin

          It’s all about rebranding. Instead of moving away from their toxic and virulent theology they can just adopt a hip new name like Elevate, The Summit, or even Baptist lite. Same great hate without all the baggage!

        • Greg G.

          The problem can’t be their theology. It must be the name.

        • Pofarmer

          Around here they’re splitting Church’s. The new one in town is named “Genesis Church” but if you dig around a little you’ll see that their pastor is a member of the SBC. They split a long standing Baptist Church in town. I don’t really know the whole story why, but I can guess.

        • TS (unami)

          They’re probably trying to be “relevant” and appeal to Millennials, maybe?

        • Pofarmer

          They’re actually going the hard core creationist route.

        • TS (unami)

          Which is a huge turn-off for anyone born 30 years ago or less.

        • Pofarmer

          I just feel sorry for the kids that have gotten sucked into it.

        • With so many flavors of Christianity supportable from a single Bible, you’d think that many Christians would think that that foundation can’t support any of them.

        • Austin

          It’s the Christians who actually believe Jesus meant what he said about loving our neighbor as ourself who find a common footing. 32 flavors and then some!

        • TS (unami)

          So that’s why I’ve been seeing all these Hipster-Wannabe churches popping up around us. Weird.

        • Christine GradyMiller

          Those “churches”, Elevate, Summit are part of the NAR and WOF movement, you know the watered down nonsense that wants to emulate the world and still have all of its stuff, the more stuff the better, these aren’t churches not in the true Biblical sense. And when someone preaches on sin then they’re haters, right? Preposterous, so sorry that you are completely proving what God has said. People hate being told that they are in sin. Sin is a cancer, there is no cure, the only hope is repentance and turning in faith to Jesus Christ for forgiveness of Sin. This “rebranding” you speak of is called apostasy, we are nearing the end of the age and Christianity is falling into great apostasy. And sir it would seem that you are leading the parade. John Piper is still a good teacher, so sorry you don’t want anyone to be authoritative on Truth. Repent sir, all I can say to you is Repent!!!

        • Austin

          Piper is a good teacher? The man who knowingly aided in the C.J. Mahoney sexual abuse, and pedophile protection cover-up? How is that loving your neighbor as yourself? I guess it is if your neighbor has gained a lot of power and money, and you have their back. All you can say to me is repent? I do, every day? Will you repent for blind allegiance to doctrine over victims? To power over decency? All I can say to you Madam is seek Christ over your false theological idols, and renounce your little popes who are as Machiavellian as the Borgias ever we’re! Blessings sister

        • Michael Neville

          I go with the Esmeralda Weatherwax definition of sin: “Sin, young man is when you treat people like things. Including yourself.” –Terry Pratchett Carpe Jugulum

          Nonexistent gods have nothing to do with sin. Sin is what people do to themselves and each other. The only repentance for sin is to attempt forgiveness from the person sinned against.

        • It’s good to hear from a thoughtful Christian. We don’t get too many of those around here.

          Browse a bit and let us know what you think of the posts here.

        • Austin

          Thanks, and way ahead of you! I love your blog, and appreciate your honesty…something sorely lacking the church today!

        • TS (unami)

          I agree, Austin — good to see you here too! 🙂

        • Austin

          Thank You! Hitchens has always been one of my intellectual heroes, and I also love Frank Schaeffer. His honest regret regarding his work with the right wing zealots is really refreshing and worth checking out if you’re interested!

        • TS (unami)

          I first read Frank Schaeffer when I was still Orthodox, since his conversion to Orthodoxy from Evangelical was something I didn’t encounter all too often. And his father was a big deal in Evangelical circles too, wasn’t he?

          Anyway, yes, I really respect his honesty. Is he still Orthodox?

        • Austin

          Frank and his father Francis were instrumental in bringing abortion to the forefront of the evangelical political platform, and Frank has spent much if the rest of his life trying to undo the damage. He is what I like to call “open” in his faith, and always seeking the truth. His blog is definitely worth a look!

          http://www.frankschaeffer.com/index.html

        • TS (unami)

          Thanks! I’ll check it out.

        • Do you want to let us know about your blog?

        • TS (unami)

          I don’t have a blog.

        • OK. Then I was confused by Austin’s comment.

        • DogGone

          Austin, you may have found your people. You might want to dust off your psychology degree and take up therapy.

        • Austin

          That’s one of the most important aspects of being a pastor.

        • DogGone

          I know. Most of us here have been heavy-duty Christians at one point or another. I’m serious re you.

        • Austin

          Thank you!

        • Christine GradyMiller

          You say you are a “pastor”, you will be held greatly accountable. AND the reason so many “christians” don’t live Christ-like lives is 1) many are not truly Christians and 2) we are still all in the sinful flesh and will NEVER be perfect. Maybe you need to realize that pastors like yourself, who refuse to preach the whole counsel of God are responsible for the weak, watered down version of Christianity that we have. God said, be not many teachers for yours is the greater condemnation. This is serious stuff sir, maybe you need to step down for your own sake!

        • Austin

          Glad you got the deciding who is and isn’t a Christian down, and maybe if more of us were willing to be open to the lives of others in a real way, not just going to hell, there would be more. I implore you to pay attention to the real threats like all the sexual predator “pastors” in the church like C.J. Mahaney, the misogynist like Driscoll, and the pimps like Robert Jeffress. Maybe focus on what Jesus said were the two greatest commandments, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. Second, love your neighbor as your self. Full stop. I’m cool where I am, and I’m confident standing before Her having embraced the LGBTQ community, atheists, and even neo cals! Blessings

        • DogGone

          That’s a typical cult (and domestic abuser) strategy.

        • If you want to get angry, you can look at infractions on the separation of church and state (which helps the Christian just as much as it does the member of any religious minority).

          Better: educate yourself so that you know the holes in the Christian arguments you might’ve accepted without critique before.

        • TS (unami)

          I’m doing a lot of that now. One of the first things I did when I began to question things was to seek out opposing views, things I’d not been exposed to. I wanted to hear *all* sides of things.

          So I got into Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Matt Dillahunty and Christopher Hitchens (my personal fav) to hear their take on faith. I’ve been digging inside Christianity too, for those outside the mainstream who are more open to other ways of seeing things. Guys like Rob Bell, Richard Rohr and Thomas Keating.

          It was Thomas Merton and Alan Watts that then led me to examine Zen Buddhism closely. There is much about Zen that I find intriguing and consistent with the simple message of compassion found in Christ’s teachings (as opposed to the OT and Paul, at time).

          So, I’m still a Christian, but a little all over-the-map trying to sort out what I believe, what I’m rejecting and what new things I’m taking on. A journey, to be sure. Thank you for the encouragement 🙂

        • One other possible resource is Julia Sweeney’s “Letting Go of God.” She went from happy Catholic to atheist in many steps.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiU5ht5W_lk

        • TS (unami)

          Thanks. I’m actually listening to Bart Ehrman right now on YouTube, so I’ll bookmark her for later.

        • TS (unami)

          Wow. Amazing. She is amazing!
          I just watched the whole thing. Lots to think about.

        • Excellent. I’m glad it was helpful. Her journey was very different from mine, and she’s got a great way of conveying stories.

        • Julia Sweeney said that, at the end of her journey from faith, God was like a tired old man sitting on his suitcase by the front door. In short, it was time, and he eventually let himself out.

  • (And) Then This Happened.

    Intelligence is next to godlessness.

  • Johann Hollar

    At least in this film, the University wins. So to all you fundamentalist a-holes who hate book-learning and higher education I say https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/47d801bab214a9fc842ac45d4f209526858782124f1e5c8e83e9b45765f0751f.jpg look at the picture below.

  • Christine GradyMiller

    This is the first time I have read anything on your site and as a FORMER atheist, your vitriol is so over the top. Give it up, deal with the fact that we have enough science to show us that there is NO WAY on God’s green earth ( pun intended) that there is not an intelligent Creator. Your hatred is so obvious, if He doesn’t exist, then just keep quiet and stop mocking. But you can’t stop mocking because deep down EVERYONE knows they have a date with destiny, a date with death. Time is very short and death is certain. Stop mocking and start looking at the truth of the historicity of Jesus Christ just as I did, it is truly the only intelligent choice. We are without excuse, all of creation SCREAMS with the evidence of God, stop your foolish hatred and pride before time runs out!

    • your vitriol is so over the top

      And this was one of my gentler posts. Oh dear, I guess I won’t be getting a Christmas card from you.

      I’ll update my list.

      we have enough science to show us that there is NO WAY on God’s green earth ( pun intended) that there is not an intelligent Creator.

      And yet science has an explanation for the universe and for why living things are the way they are. I think I’ll go with the evidence. But thanks.

      Your hatred is so obvious, if He doesn’t exist, then just keep quiet and stop mocking.

      You seriously can’t think of why an atheist would want to explore these issues?

      But you can’t stop mocking because deep down EVERYONE knows they have a date with destiny, a date with death.

      Pascal’s Wager? I love it! A pathetic, feeble argument that falls over in a breeze.

      Christine, what if we’re both wrong and Islam is the correct answer? Or Buddhism. Or Shintoism. There are a lot more choices than (your flavor of) Christianity and atheism.

      Stop mocking and start looking at the truth of the historicity of Jesus Christ just as I did

      Why your religion? Why not Scientology? Why not Pastafarianism?

      • Christine GradyMiller

        THE EVIDENCE! The historicity of Jesus Christ is undeniable. Why Christianity? Because in TRUE Biblical Christianity, God of the Universe took on flesh and paid the penalty for sin that NO human could ever pay. Jesus Christ is God in human flesh and He paid the penalty for the criminals, US! Please understand, the debt of sin is inconceivable to our minds because as a fish who lives in water, that is all we know. Sin is the cancer that has brought death and destruction to this world and until each individual sees their own personal sin and need, they will never bow the knee to the Saviour. You love Christopher Hitchens so much, well look at the wonderful miracle that took place when his brother Peter said, NO brother, you are wrong. I am a sinner and my Lord and Saviour is waiting for me to see my own sin and turn to Him and Peter Hitchens heart melted, whereas his brother remained a hardened hater of the one who made him, his pride led him to destruction. I say this not to debate, debate never works, only the Grace and love of God can melt the stony heart. But don’t be led astray by these watered down teachings that God is only love. God hates sin and His wrath was poured out on His Son who bore the Sin of the world because Sin must be atoned for and YES that is how much God does love the world. Why would anyone reject such love? The only reason one rejects Christ is because they love their sin and their pride says “not your will, but mine be done.” And so it will be, so it will be. Good evening sir. 🙂

        • Kodie

          You sound like another lunatic at the bus stop. What evidence do you have? Debate never works because you are terrible at it. You sound distressed that atheists even say anything. With loudmouth idiots like you spouting off your gourd, what are the rest of us supposed to do?

          Think this over. You want to have the freedom to say crazy things and call names and threaten people, with zero evidence, and total alarm, and we’re supposed to just let you spin out. Go for it. If you are secure in your beliefs, it shouldn’t bother you what other people are talking about.

        • Debate never works because you are terrible at it.

          !

        • BlackMamba44
        • Christine GradyMiller

          Are you truly that blind, sir?? You cannot see the effects of sin and sin itself all around you? Oh, right, I forgot these are all diseases from people who are all just mentally sick. Every form of evil is called a disease. Oh heck, forget that, they are just lifestyle choices. It is terrifying that anyone could be so willingly blind. The heart of mankind is desperately evil, not that people cannot do some good things, after all. But the heart of a human being is sinful, how can any honest human being be in such denial?? I guess that is how people keep going, they quash what is left of their conscience that in most cases has been seared. We are at the brink of utter destruction as a civilization, just as all the “great” civilizations before us, in complete moral implosion and you cannot see this? Truly heartbreaking!

        • BlackMamba44

          ETA: Bwahahahahahahaha!! That was one hilarious rant!

          Jesus Face Palm:
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/640fc3ffa099fafa7e420e29943e2764dd537faf3249439b5dfdb0c78d8fe657.jpg

        • Am I missing something or has Christine said that genetic diseases are human caused? Or that they’re a consequence of sin?

          Yeah, sign me up for that.

        • BlackMamba44

          Genetic diseases are due to mankind’s heart being “desperately evil”?

          So that’s what she was saying. Thank you. I’ve been trying to decipher her rant and couldn’t quite get it other than “we’re all sinful and evil and the world will be destroyed soon”.

          To go through life with that miserable attitude is just…sad.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          sin is a victimless crime

        • BlackMamba44
        • THE EVIDENCE! The historicity of Jesus Christ is undeniable.

          You have a low threshold of evidence. Not a good thing.

          in TRUE Biblical Christianity, God of the Universe took on flesh and paid the penalty for sin that NO human could ever pay.

          The “sin” was invented by the same place that offers you the forgiveness. Drop the idea of Jesus as redemption, and sin goes with it.

          He paid the penalty for the criminals, US!

          You have a low impression of your god when you imagine him being so incompetent that he made us inherently broken. I wonder if he’ll punish you for that.

          Sin is the cancer that has brought death and destruction to this world

          Every now and then, humans do something good—feed the hungry, cure disease, eliminate smallpox. God never does anything like that, almost as if he’s not even there. Can you permit yourself to consider that possibility?

          until each individual sees their own personal sin and need, they will never bow the knee to the Saviour.

          Do you bow the knee to Allah? Why is that? And if Islam is imaginary, why not Christianity?

          You love Christopher Hitchens so much

          Do I?

          I say this not to debate, debate never works, only the Grace and love of God can melt the stony heart.

          So I’m going to burn in hell forever because God won’t help me see that he even exists? Seriously, you’re not painting a flattering picture of this guy. Kind of a jerk, no?

          God hates sin and His wrath was poured out on His Son who bore the Sin of the world

          “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).

          Looks like I’m already saved. Thanks, Jesus.

          Why would anyone reject such love?

          Because it’s pretend.

          I notice, by the way, that you’ve ignored the points I made in my previous comment. What does it say that you have no answers for them?

          Here’s a recent post that touches on some of the things you’ve said:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/04/the-bible-story-reboots-have-you-noticed/

        • Kodie

          Hi Christine, you sound like you need medicine.

        • Clay Cosmic

          The delusion is strong in this one.

        • Greg G.

          I say this not to debate, debate never works,

          Debate can work but it is best with verifiable facts and valid logic. Have you ever tried that?

          BTW, upvoting yourself is like patting yourself on the back and looks narcissistic.

      • Pofarmer

        Another former atheist. What are the chances?

        • If they stopped to think for a moment to realize that most of us are former Christians, perhaps that would give her pause.

          (But now that I think of it, most Christians don’t bother pausing. Why do so when you know you’re right? My bad.)

        • Austin

          See my comments below as to who she holds up as “good pastors!” I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how evil the Sovereign Grace, Desiring God, Acts 29, and 9 Mark groups are, but I believe Madam would disagree. If you care at all about defending Jesus Christine, start by owning the evil done in His name. Especially all the evil being aimed straight at sexual assault victims still today!

        • Christine GradyMiller

          Austin, sir, I don’t agree with loveless authoritarianism, or every pastor being a little pope. There must be a hierarchy of authority and elders who lead in love. But love demands that we speak the truth about sin and the Bible, everywhere in the epistles talks about exhortation, rebuke and admonishing one another for our own growth in Christikeness. It seems that you folks think Christians are supposed to be perfect but I do agree there is much room for self examination and I would never condone any sexual exploits where discipline should not be meted out, a la the Roman Catholic church. The Bible says VERY clearly: 2 Peter 3 : This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.

          3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

          5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7 But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

          8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

          10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

          11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!

        • Michael Neville

          There must be a hierarchy of authority and elders who lead in love.

          Why? Who decides on who is in the hierarchy? What is the authority to chose X as the Grand Poohbah and Y as the Assistant Grand Poohbah? Many people in religious hierarchies are self-selected. Once someone is in a position of power they usually select people with similar religious, sociological and political outlooks as their assistants and successors.

          Recently Thomas Munson, the President of the Mormon Church, died and was replaced by Russell Nelson, who had been “President of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles” before his elevation to Maximum Leader of the Mormons. Munson made Nelson the President of the Quorum. Also before he became Supreme Mormon, Munson had been President of the Quorum and his predecessor had gone through the same steps. That’s generally how religious authorities become authorities.

        • Christine GradyMiller

          Mormonism is a cult and their book is not verifiable by archaeology or history. The Bible prescribes the hierarchical order, so just deal with that fact. You people are not honest seekers, so best of luck to you. I just don’t have enough faith to be an atheist anymore and for that I am so grateful to God. Keep mocking. The evidence is there and you people just want someone to beat up on. It’s okay it will all be over soon and then you face eternity!! YES, you do have an eternal soul and isn’t that the big gamble?!!

        • Greg G.

          Many fields of science show that the Earth is billions of years old, not 6000 years old. Geology shows that there was no world-wide flood in the last few billion years. Egyptian archaeology shows that there were never large numbers of Israeli’s in Egypt. There have been many searches of the Sinai for evidence of the Exodus, which should be plentiful if a large number of people were there for forty years, but none has been found. Israeli archaeology has shown that ancient Canaan show that the culture was similar in many sites except that some had pig bones and some did not.

          There is some evidence of David but none that he was a major king.

          So the evidence does not support much of the Old Testament and the history that agrees with it comes from where they were exiled for seventy years, so it is apparent that it was invented and constructed from Babylonian history.

          You should go outside of your house before you cast stones at the Mormon glass house.

        • Michael Neville

          I picked the LDS church not because I have any respect for Mormons but because they’re a handy example of self-perpetuating authority. I am very dubious about your claim that “(t)here must be a hierarchy of authority and elders who lead in love” because we hear that sort of thing from church leaders and their sycophants like you all the time. Color me completely unimpressed by your claims for religious authority.

          I just don’t have enough faith to be an atheist

          Exactly how much faith is required to be an atheist? Be specific, starting with how much faith is required to say: “Due to the lack of evidence for gods, I do not believe they exist.”

          The evidence is there

          You keep saying this but you keep neglecting to give us any of this evidence. So get off your dead ass and start showing us the evidence you claim exists.

          It’s okay it will all be over soon and then you face eternity!! YES, you do have an eternal soul and isn’t that the big gamble?!!

          Pascal’s Wager is an incredibly weak argument. What if you’ve picked the wrong god? Odin will be pretty pissed at you when you show up at the gates of Valhalla.

        • Greg G.

          I am very dubious about your claim that “(t)here must be a hierarchy of authority and elders who lead in love”

          Of course they do. Every week, there is an article in the paper about the arrest of a youth pastor for that sort of thing.

        • MR

          Christine, how would you respond to Steve Smith, a Mormon?

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          at least we have solid evidence that Joseph Smith actually existed. And you want to argue that the book of Mormon is not historically accurate and should there for be discounted, better chuck out the bible as well as most of the important stories in that have no historical support.

        • Austin

          So then you would outright reject all of the early church believers in the theory of “apokatastasis”, like Bardasian, Clement, Origin, St. Anthony, Methodius, Didymus, St. Pamphilus Martyr, Cassian, St. Jerome, and even St. Augustine in his earlier years? You believe in ECT for all, a doctrine founded by the Holy Roman Church and it’s creeds, doctrines, and councils? By the way, which council do you think was the most important in regards to men deciding which books were canon? Hippo, Trent, Nicea, Chalcedon, etc., or did you like many believe we have just always had this neat little perfect package free of human tampering for power, money, and fear?

          Assuming you are an evangelical were you aware the the very core of your doctrine is owed almost exclusively to the Roman Catholic and Latin Church? I’m sure you knew all this, and have satisfactorily answered all those questions during your time as an atheist? Or were you just an angry person who came to faith without wrestling with the genocide, slavery, harems, and multiple wives found in the scriptures? What basis do you give for banning the gospel of Judas, or the gospel of Mary Magdalene (church fathers can’t have a woman teacher)?

          How do you justify the fact that ECT was not a part of church doctrine until introduced by St. Augustine in his later days, who did not even speak Greek, and cited Plato as “the most pure and bright in all philosophy.” Mind you this was 5 Centuries after Christ! My desire in all of this is to discern if you have even studied that which you curse others with? Do you really believe that all the Church Fathers and Mothers, who lived closer to the time of Christ and spoke his language, knew less about him and this faith than John Piper?! I suspect this will be met with more condemnation, but it was worth a try…maybe. Blessings Madam.

        • Christine GradyMiller

          I was debating on whether to answer because you assume that Christians have not studied these things. I most certainly have. I have a Biblical studies degree, which was primarily for my own edification. I have studied the early church fathers. I do speak Greek because I happen to be Greek and have used this knowledge in my studies. The first “canon” was the Muratorian Canon, which was compiled in AD 170. The Muratorian Canon included all of the New Testament books except Hebrews, James, and 3 John. In AD 363, the Council of Laodicea stated that only the Old Testament (along with one book of the Apocrypha) and 26 books of the New Testament (everything but Revelation) were canonical and to be read in the churches. The Council of Hippo (AD 393) and the Council of Carthage (AD 397) also affirmed the same 27 books as authoritative.

          The councils followed something similar to the following principles to determine whether a New Testament book was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit: 1) Was the author an apostle or have a close connection with an apostle? 2) Is the book being accepted by the body of Christ at large? 3) Did the book contain consistency of doctrine and orthodox teaching? 4) Did the book bear evidence of high moral and spiritual values that would reflect a work of the Holy Spirit? Again, it is crucial to remember that the church did not determine the canon. No early church council decided on the canon. It was God, and God alone, who determined which books belonged in the Bible. It was simply a matter of God’s imparting to His followers what He had already decided. The human process of collecting the books of the Bible was flawed, but God, in His sovereignty, and despite our ignorance and stubbornness, brought the early church to the recognition of the books He had inspired. Also, the Nicene creed is golden.

        • Austin

          I’m glad that you have studied, and have a deep understanding of the canonization. I think the truest words you spoke were, “The human process of collecting the books of the Bible was flawed..” I am intentionally stopping there because we are flawed, and unwilling to allow for interpretations that don’t fit the mold of “ours.” We tell people to read, study, and meditate on God’s word, then call them heretics for coming to a different conclusion than our own. We give no credence to culture, context, proximal location of others religious groups, and our own modern culture that is nothing like that of the early church. I am certainly not the first to hold the sincere views that I do, nor are you. The difference is that I am willing to say I could be wrong, so I will therefore go with grace and Christ’s teaching of loving my neighbor as myself…even you Christine! Blessings

        • Paul B. Lot

          I have a Biblical studies degree

          Wait…what?

          I thought you “worked in science”?

          CGM I work in science

          …and were trained in “physical therapy and naturopathy”?

          Now you’re also a bible studies scholar? And a homeopath?

          My my, don’t we wear a lot of hats.

        • Christine GradyMiller

          WOW, I have done a lot in my life and I am a mature woman. Did I really need to mention that? Of course, another reason to be unkind. I wear more hats than you can imagine and I have done a myriad of different things in this life. I study all the time, just for fun. I was raised in the Greek Orthodox church, I rebelled massively, I turned to drugs, alcohol and New Age religions, before chucking all that and becoming atheist/agnostic. I came to a real study of the Scriptures through some caring acquaintances. The mocking attitude you have is disheartening to say the least!

        • Paul B. Lot

          I wear more hats than you can imagine

          I don’t know, princess, I can imagine quite a lot.

          I study all the time, just for fun.

          Sure, sure. So do, I imagine, most people here. But there’s a difference between [being a layman/enthusiast] and [having professional/institutional credentials].

        • Greg G.

          I don’t know, princess, I can imagine quite a lot.

          I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

        • Kodie
        • Greg G.

          Bingo!

        • Questioning54

          “The human process of collecting the books of the Bible was flawed, but God, in His sovereignty, and despite our ignorance and stubbornness, brought the early church to the recognition of the books He had inspired.”
          And who no doubt inspired you to believe that last sentence which contradicts the first. How do you know the recognised books were the right ones? And please don’t give me the answer that you know because the bible says so (Timothy) because something cannot stand on its own testimony. It’s testimony about itself could be false.

        • MR

          I doubt those arguments would hold water with you if we were talking about the Koran. It tells us nothing about the veracity of the texts, it just tells us that a lot of people who already believe set up criteria to match their belief. Apply those “principles” to any other religion and you get one big shrug from every other religion and non-believer. Why do you believe?

        • Questioning54

          “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance”
          God is not patient if you think of all the people who have died without ever having heard of Jesus or a bible on which to base their “repentance”. These verses were clearly describing an event that was supposed to happen in the hearers’ lifetimes. Even Jesus said that people alive when he was preaching would see his second coming. When it didn’t happen? Well God is just changing his mind and being patient after all. Just move the goalposts.

          “11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!”
          You see God is being patient but his people (those living in holy conduct and godliness) should not be patient; notice “looking for” and “hastening”.

          “earth was formed out of water and by water”? That is not what Christians generally teach. Really!  

          “It seems that you folks think Christians are supposed to be perfect”
          Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” And it doesn’t say strive to be as perfect as you can!
          1 John 3:6 – “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”
          Notice it doesn’t say continues to sin a lot or continues more than a little bit or either!

          “but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” This is actually written to Christians!

        • Christine GradyMiller

          I’l address Matthew 5:48 first: Christ sets an unattainable standard. This sums up what the law itself demanded ( James 2:10). Though this standard is impossible to meet, God could not lower it without compromising his own perfection. He who is perfect could not set an imperfect standard of righteousness. The marvelous truth of the Gospel is that Christ has met this standard perfectly on our behalf ( see 2 Corinthians 5:21) I’ll address the other verses in separate post, to avoid too much verbiage.

        • Questioning54

          So Jesus didn’t really mean what he said? He meant something else that one of his followers had to explain for him? The father isn’t perfect because of what Jesus did, yet we are to be perfect as his heavenly Father is perfect? The simile doesn’t work if people being perfect only happens because of what Jesus did.

          You take the James verse right out of context. It is talking about things like showing favouritism. It further says, “12Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful…”. The same chapter says faith without works is dead! It is written to Christians.
          The Corinthian verse is not talking about how people who are Christians should live. It is talking about how to get saved, not how the saved should live. It doesn’t discount that people who have received righteousness from God should then live perfect lives, as Jesus directly said.

        • Greg G.

          I think James 2:8-11 is addressing Galatians 5:14 where Paul said that loving your neighbor fulfills the whole law. Paul didn’t think a person had to follow the law because of Jesus so there was no need to for circumcision. In Galatians 5:12, he said he wished the circumcisers would go the whole way and castrate themselves. Paul said loving your neighbor was a good start but you still had to follow all of the law because breaking one point, breaks the whole law. James seems to think that if you don’t follow the whole law, you will be murdering and committing adultery.

          Paul responded to James in Romans 13:8-10 by pointing out that if you love your neighbor, you will not murder him, nor commit adultery, nor steal, nor covet.

        • Questioning54

          So the writers of the books of the Bible don’t agree? Maybe James was accidentally included in the inspired choices?

        • Greg G.

          Martin Luther said James was “an epistle of straw.” Galatians 3:6-9 says Abraham’s faith justifying him. James 2:20-23 says Abraham was justified by works when he offered Isaac on the altar. Romans 4:1-5 still argues that it was faith. Luther pointed out that Paul won that because Genesis 15:6 is the one each of the passages cites for Abraham being justified and it comes before Abraham was even circumcised, which was before Isaac’s birth.

          But Christians become contortionists trying to convince themselves that Galatians and James are in complete agreement.

        • Questioning54

          Not really too interested in what Martin Luther says. He advocated merciless abuse of Jews. But then I guess he didn’t gave to be perfect (or even honourable).

        • Greg G.

          Luther was a shit, but I think he was right about the Epistle of James and some practices of the Church.

        • Questioning54

          You didn’t “address” the Matthew verse or anything else.

        • Austin

          Exactly. Perhaps they have forgotten the phrase so often used in the Psalms, Selah… most likely a musical and spiritual pause. Worth taking long pauses now and again and hearing the voice of the broken.

        • epeeist

          Another former atheist

          Not a chance that this one was ever an atheist. Just another liar for Jesus.

        • Kodie

          My money’s on former addict.

    • BlackMamba44
    • BlackMamba44
    • MadScientist1023

      If you want to pretend your magic sky daddy exists, that’s one thing. But don’t pretend you understand science or that it says something it doesn’t. There is NO scientific evidence for any kind of god, let alone the Christian one. Whatever it is you think science shows, I assure you, it doesn’t.

    • Michael Neville

      We don’t hate your god. It would be silly to hate a figment of someone else’s imagination.

  • If there is a God, I have little doubt that He would be more pleased by an atheist who is true to himself and to those around him, than by a “believer” who is not.

    • Some Christians get excited about how cool Christianity is for not demanding works but faith instead. This ignores the rather large problem that you can’t just believe stuff you don’t believe in, and with works, at least you’ve got a shot at successfully ticking off the items on your checklist.

      To the Christian who brags that belief is easy, I challenge them to believe in leprechauns.

  • How many times can Christine GradyMiller say she is not going to participate to only write half a dozen more posts? You have not given any FACTS about your evidence of A god. Zero. Belief is not fact, propaganda is not fact, lies are not fact no matter how many times they are repeated. They never become fact. I don’t know one scientist who believes in the bible. That publication is a collection of “stories” written by a collection of people about a fictitious character. Some of them are nice stories. Primarily derived from ancient philosophies and religions. Unfortunately, the Christians I encounter don’t follow them. The abominations that are perpetrated in the name of religion/god are mind-boggling. It is all control. Christianity is the largest cult in existence.

    • Michael Neville

      There are genuine scientists who are Christians. Robert Bakker, the paleontologist who wrote Dinosaur Heresies, is a Pentacostal minister. Francis Collins, who ran the Human Genome Project and is presently head of the National Institutes of Health, is an evangelical (but not a YEC). Rod Davies, who was President of the Royal Astronomical Society and director of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, is a Christian. Ken Miller, a biology professor who testified for the plaintiffs at the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial, is a Catholic. However these people keep separate their religious beliefs and their scientific endeavors.

  • Brianna LaPoint

    Bruce Jenner is the first out and out trans. also a christian, also a homophobe. Anyways, the more people keep milking the movies the worse they will become.