I’m Sorry. Ask Me Why.

I’m speaking near the University of Memphis for a secular student group next month.

A student from that school I’ve been in contact with sent me information about what he’s been seeing on campus recently.

There are flyers, posters, and writings-on-chalkboards that say something to the effect of “We’re sorry. Ask us why…”

There’s no reference to who “us” is. There’s just a link to a website: http://imsorryaskwhy.com/.

And if you go to the website (and make your way past two pointless videos), it says:

Why are we sorry? Good question. Obviously the videos have nothing to do with it. But they’re funny. At least we think so. Well honestly, we’d like to tell you in person.

Don’t worry, we don’t want your credit card or for you to signup for anything. We’d just like to explain in person why we’re so sorry as a webpage just won’t do justice.

Either you can flag someone down who you see wearing a bright green T-Shirt that says “I’M SORRY” or you can give us a little contact info for us to contact you and tell you why. Either way, just make sure you find out why!

This is the way that the Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) affiliate at this school is trying to get new recruits. Or create new Christians.

The student group (called Cru.) says this about the project:

We?ll have people all over campus wearing annoyingly-bright green T-Shirts saying ?I?m Sorry, Ask Why.? What are we sorry about? Well, basically we will be apologizing for not reflecting Christ in our own lives and if the person asking has ever been burned by Christianity. If you’ve signed up for the prayer chain, please be sure you pray for the outreach during your allotted time!

(Boldface is mine… and the bad html is directly reprinted from their site.)

If I were at the University of Memphis seeing this, I’d probably be annoyed. But CCC absolutely has a right to do it. As an atheist, there are proper ways to respond to the campaign, and to CCC’s credit, it certainly does provide a starting point for discussions. It’s good marketing in that sense.

My problem is the stealth in which they’re trying to communicate their message.

It’s as if talking about Christianity itself isn’t good enough to get anyone to come to a CCC meeting (or become a Christian). You have to trick people into doing it.

Christian groups have run similar campaigns at other schools. For example, in the “I Agree With” campaign, one week, they’d blitz the school with posters/signs/chalkings that say “Do you agree with Bob?” (or someone else’s name). A week later, group members would wear shirts that say, “I agree with Bob” (or whomever) and Bob would simultaneously publish an article in the school paper stating why he’s a Christian.

Here’s one instruction booklet for the campaign (PDF). One interesting excerpt:

It is the Outreach Coordinator’s responsibility to research the different Christian groups on campus, and who fully believe in the statement of faith… If a group is questionable, or on the verge of being cultish, you need to know specifically why you wouldn’t include them [in the campaign]. For example, you don’t want the International Church of Christ, LDS, Jehovah Witnesses…

And if you read the document, you’ll see there’s a lot more where that came from.

Anyway, the implication to me is that if Bob just published this article on his own, no one would care. The buildup is supposed to provide a backdrop so non-Christians can see that many people agree with (and find important) what Bob is saying.

However, for many outsiders watching all this, the buildup of these events just seem to make them want to distance themselves from Christian groups even more.

Are other people disturbed by this? Did you experience this during college? How do you react?


[tags]atheist, atheism, University of Memphis, We’re sorry, ask us why, Campus Crusade for Christ, CCC, Christian, Christianity, Cru, Christ, I Agree With, International Church of Christ, LDS, Jehovah Witnesses[/tags]

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    If a business did something like this, most people would probably just say it’s clever marketing.

    On the other hand, I’ve never been one to think that faith is something that ought to be marketed. Thanks for giving some insight into how this kind of thing really comes across to the intended audience. It’s good to know when attempts like this actually fail to reach the people they want to reach, or when the medium ends up skewing the message.

    However, I would push you on one point Hemant: why assume that this message of “We’re sorry” is a “trick”? Maybe that really is the message they want to get out. And if more Christians want to communicate a message of regret and reconciliation over not living up to Christ’s own standards of love and acceptance, and this campaign is just a clever means of making sure people get to hear that apology, what’s so bad or tricksy about that? Why complain about Christians saying “We’ve acted like jerks and we’re sorry.” Wouldn’t you want to encourage that kind of thing, not criticize it?

  • txatheist

    Mike C,
    I was with you up to the marketing point. Why is there a subliminal message and need to make someone curious? Do you think that atheists need to be told you are trying to live a better life and the way to do that is to become a xian? Or if we look into xianity and become xian that it will make us better people that’s true? Mike, please, sincerely please, tell me you don’t think I’d be any different if I was a xian.

  • http://www.friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    Mike– I don’t mind that Christians want to “apologize” in this case. If they mean it, that’s wonderful. But the fact that you might have to see a flyer, go to the website, and attend a CCC meeting to hear the apology is different from just having a conversation where the Christians tell you what’s on their mind. The latter would have more of an impact, I would think.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    I’m sorry TX, I’m afraid I don’t quite follow you. I’m not sure how to answer you because I don’t quite know what you’re asking. Could you clarify your question?

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    I agree Hemant. Like I said, I’m not a big fan of marketing techniques to promote one’s faith. As you said, conversation is much more effective. However, the big difficulty is how to get people to sit down and have that conversation in the first place. Do you know many non-Christian students that would jump at a clear and open invitation to just sit down and converse with Christians about their faith? Most, I think, would be leery of such an invitation and could probably think of a million other things they’d rather do. Hence the cheezy gimmicks to get people interested in coming and joining in discussion. It’s not something I’d want to participate in, but I understand why they feel the need to use such gimmicks.

  • http://www.masala-skeptic.com Maria

    This sounds like south park ‘punch and pie provided’ :)

  • MTran

    Ya know, this is somewhat similar to the type of marketing that MLMs have used. I didn’t like guerilla marketing when I first encountered it and I don’t like it now. The organizations that use it do so because they know that just about no-one would voluntarily attend their programs if they made their intentions clear.

    It’s a pretty sad situation if you feel you’ve got to deceive your target audience before they will even look at your product.

    Just to be clear, it’s just the false marketing of the group meeting I don’t like. The T-shirts and letters to the editor, that’s just a common publicity stunt. It doesn’t deceive people into going to what they may think is a typical campus social awareness or charitable event.

    Anyhow, my 2 cents. And it probably ain’t worth even that.

  • Karen

    Ya know, this is somewhat similar to the type of marketing that MLMs have used. I didn’t like guerilla marketing when I first encountered it and I don’t like it now. The organizations that use it do so because they know that just about no-one would voluntarily attend their programs if they made their intentions clear.

    It’s a pretty sad situation if you feel you’ve got to deceive your target audience before they will even look at your product.

    Your analogy reminds me of the time we had some new neighbors move in. We went over to greet them with a casserole or something and the guy was really friendly and asked my husband to have dinner with him sometime. Wow! My husband was really excited about this prospect of making a good friend who’d live right next door.

    They go out for dinner a couple of weeks later. Turns out the guy put on a high pressure pitch about a “business opportunity” over their meal, but wouldn’t explain exactly what he was talking about. Finally, over dessert, he let the cat out of the bag: He was selling Amway!

    The coup de grace? You guessed it. Neighbor guy reached into his wallet, didn’t have enough money to cover the tab (despite it being his invitation) and my husband had to pick up the check! Arghh….

  • http://www.conversationattheedge.com/ Helen

    I don’t like the methodology of CCC. If they’re going to apologize, just apologize. Don’t make people jump through hoops to hear your apology. That does make it seem like some sort of trick/gimmick – I’m with Hemant on that.

  • http://groundedinreality.blogspot.com Bruce

    It’s as if talking about Christianity itself isn’t good enough to get anyone to come to a CCC meeting (or become a Christian). You have to trick people into doing it.

    I think that about pretty much sums it up.

    I think the CCC is going to be apologizing alright. Apologizing to a bunch of people who are going to be sorely disappointed when they find out what the “We’re Sorry” campaign is really all about.

  • txatheist

    Mike C,
    Would you mind if I set up a website that said you may be a grand prize winner of a local auto dealer contest and have a 1 in 5 chance at a new car? First, you have to sit through my sermon on atheism and then I’ll guarantee you won’t win a car. I don’t see why you would want to sit down and discuss xianity with someone. I guess I don’t see the need to want to do that. If we don’t talk about christianity more it may just go to the wayside like in Canada or Sweden.

  • Jon L

    Being a student at the Unversity of Memphis and involved in CCC myself, I’d have to say that the signs have been everywhere and people have been asking questions about the campaign. Our heart behind the campaign is not a CCC event. We have invited numerous ministries at the U of M to help out. Many individuals have put forth effort to help out as well. We only use the signs as something to start a conversation. We are going to be wearing shirts this coming week to give the people someone to ask the question. We ARE truly sorry. We are horrified by the things “Christians” have done and currently do in the name of Christ. We are also sorry for how we are not who we should be as Christians. We judge and do many other things against everyone. I personally have been hurt more by Christians than non-Christians. This is why we are sorry. And we truly are. There is no big event. No speaker to hear. Nothing to do. Just to ask the question in a one on one conversation and get the answer. That is all. No pressure to do anything or come to a meeting. We just want to show love to people.

  • Karen

    We are also sorry for how we are not who we should be as Christians. We judge and do many other things against everyone. I personally have been hurt more by Christians than non-Christians.

    Thanks for your honesty, Jon, but as a former Christian it hurts me to see how many believers beat themselves up continuously just for being human.

    Why do you think it is that Christians particularly need to apologize? Haven’t we all done things that we regret, and don’t we all apologize (or not) as our conscience moves us? Why a mass apology just from Christians? It seems rather self-condemning and not terribly productive, to me. (Unless it’s primarily an evangelistic gimmick.)

    Besides, I thought god was supposed to provide a divine counselor, the holy spirit, to Christians that would live in their hearts and impart the “fruits of the spirit” (love, joy, peace, patience, etc).

    Ever think that maybe the holy spirit’s not living up to his promises, and that’s why Christians are just as flawed as everyone else? And please don’t tell me that it’s the believers’ fault. I’m sure you are all as sincere and diligent as possible in your faith.

  • Mriana

    Oh good grief! *rolling eyes* Not much of a website to say the least and it does seem self-defeating and self-demeaning to go around wearing a shirt that says, “I’m sorry.” And if the videos, which btw I didn’t even finish the first one because it seemed lamed, have nothing to do with the “movement”, then why bother with them? I don’t get it, I don’t want to get it, and personally I don’t want anything to do with CCC. I don’t even want to know what dogma they want to push on people next. *rolling eyes*

    I’m glad I’ve not seen the shirts on the university campus around here and hopefully we don’t. Not that there is anything anyone can do about it, unless the uni. pres. gets enough complains from faculty, staff, and students, which probably won’t happen unless they become pests about it.

  • Logos

    Well, you know what is born every minute!

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Karen (et al.),

    Both from your most recent comment and those of others here, I’m starting to get the feeling that Christians can’t win for losing. At blogs like this and other similar ones, we’re constantly being given a bad rap for being intolerant, ignorant, arrogant, rude, culturally imperialistic, etc. And yet, when some Christians decide to apologize for all that, you guys give us a hard time about that too. Seriously, what are we supposed to do? Maybe now we should apologize for apologizing?

    This is just getting to be a little ridiculous.

  • Logos

    Well, they say that they are sorry, and I would like to say to them “You sure are”

  • Brett Keller

    I agree with Mike. If secularists (or whatever we call ourselves) are sincerely upset by things that have been done in the name of Christianity, we should welcome a sincere apology. Things I might question would be “Why aren’t you doing this on your own instead of needing a group/organization to motivate you to do it?” and “Didn’t ya’ll just start doing this because Donald Miller wrote about in Blue Like Jazz?”

    I think apologizing for crap is alright, and if done sincerely, should be met with appreciation and reconciliation, not hostility. But, you can expect to get questions about things that Christians are currently involved in that many secularists might think deserve an apology as well. Those would include support of conservative politicians, the free ticket of support that Bush has seemed to inevitably receive from many Christians for his war, the movement to keep real science (including evolution) from being taught in schools, and the fact that Christians are about the only group standing between gay people and equal rights.

    In other words, I think you’ll find an apology for past misdeeds will fall short for many who disapprove of current actions. But, for their part, secularists should appreciate that most Christians today do feel pretty lousy about the Crusades and the Inquisition, and share the responsibility for those about as much as Joe Atheist does for Stalinism (i.e., the Crusades were about as “Christian” as Stalin’s communism was “atheistic”). Just a thought.

  • http://www.umcru.com/ James Cornett

    When I posted a two line brief overview of what our outreach was on our homepage, I didn’t know people outside our own group would find their way to it and automatically assume certain things about it. I guess I should have just taken the time to post everything about our event. One facebook group I found entitled “I’m Sorry you can sell that Bullshit to someone else ask me why.” found our site and said the following about “I’m Sorry”:

    “If you see these signs around campus rip them down and throw them in a recycling bin because they’re a waste of paper (just like the bible). This stupid christian group started this Jesus campaign and wants everyone to really want to know why they are sorry well I’m busting them out so you don’t have to talk to a creepy christian evangelist.

    Well, I’m Sorry we didn’t explain things better.

    As a follower of Christ, we are truly sorry for not representing Christ in our own lives as we are supposed to. I, personally, grew up being a goody-goody who didn’t drink, smoke, chew or date girls that do and found myself being extremely legalistic, judgmental, and hypocritical, all the while claiming to be ‘Christian’ because my parents were. I looked down on others who weren’t Christians or who ‘sinned’ – and for that, I’m truly sorry.

    Ironically, the truth of the Gospel is that all people have sinned (or disobeyed God) and fall short of the glory of God. Everyone. Even the Pope… We believe God is so perfect, Holy, and Just that He cannot be in the midst of disobedience. But God is loving enough that He has offered to not only pardon us, but give us eternal life. Therefore, it is ironic that so many Christians are so hypocritical and judgmental of other people, because it’s only by grace that we were forgiven in the first place! – and for that, we are truly sorry.

    We’re also sorry for not taking care of the poor and needy. In the book of James the Bible says: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – yet we as a whole do not.

    Christians are many times labeled as being right-winged conservative Republicans who are backed by big oil companies that don’t believe in global warming, etc. – which is many times actually true. We’re sorry that politics have become so closely knit with religion, how the conservative right has used religion as a means to be elected, and as a whole how Christians have not been the ones coming out in force to protect God’s creation – the environment. Many Christians mockingly call such people ‘tree-huggers.’

    We’re sorry for slavery, racism, and how the church has come out against people struggling with homosexuality. I heard of a preacher who told his congregation that if you were a sinner, an alcoholic, etc., that you were welcome in their church and that Jesus could save you, but that if you were homosexual that you were going to burn in hell. You don’t know how bad this angers me when I hear this trash. Like I said earlier, the Bible teaches that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and it is ONLY by GRACE that we are saved through faith. Therefore, being that someone struggles with homosexuality is no different than struggling with an addiction with porn, lying, having sex before marriage – even if it’s straight, or even being prideful. It’s all sin, and it’s ALL washed away when we believe on Christ.

    We’re sorry for wars and atrocities that have occurred under the flag of Christianity, such as the Crusades and even Hitler’s ‘ethnic cleansing.’

    As Christians, we’re even sorry that there has been division among us as denominations and for miscommunication of the Bible by taking verses out of their original context.

    What I find hard to believe is that someone would criticize us for doing this, for simply apologizing. Jesus Christ is the best thing that has ever happened in my life. I don’t want what some other moron or myself included have done in taking the name of Christ and making a total mockery of it to be why someone turns their back on Christianity and Jesus Christ himself. Yes, we are truly sorry, because we want you to know how great God is and we don’t want a past experience to be what prevents you from knowing Him personally. Now if you want to label that as some evil marketing scheme, then go right ahead. I guess what we’re advertising then are joy and ultimate satisfaction through Christ, instead of a Big Mac and fries.

  • Mriana

    Well, maybe a complete and total change in tactics, Mike, or read retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong’s book, “Why Christianity Must Change or Die”? I don’t know. There are number of things that one could do to open a conversation.

    I sat down during lunch with a fellow student who is Catholic and several years younger than I am (I’m a non-traditional student). We had a wonderful discussion on how Christianity evolved from Paganism or rather incorporated Paganism as it grew through the years and all the atrosities that Christians have done through the years to others. I was amazed at his knowledge of Christianity and where some of it’s practices originated, as well as it’s violent history. He is a very brilliant young man and I think he will go far in life without pounding people over the head with his beliefs, esp since he knows a lot as to where they came from and all.

    Bishop Spong, although I don’t agree with him on a lot of things, is very humanistic in how he deals with people and believes there are a lot of things that need to be thrown out of Christianity- such as the Virgin Birth and Crucifixion. You’d have to read his books to understand the last- that is if you can tolerate his ideas and not accuse him of heresy like so many other Christians have. He is more of a Christian Humanist in his views, much like Anthony Freeman, another Episcopal priest, influenced by the Sea of Faith and wrote “God In Us: A Case for Christian Humanism”. Checking into the Sea of Faith and their views might not hurt either.

    Now mind you, I’m a Spiritual Humanist, so to read these two people’s books was no big deal for me, but like I said, I do not agree with them on some things. I do agree with Spong’s scientific views and how he relates to people though. As a matter of fact, both Spong and Freeman have been asked to speak to various Humanist groups, so that of course peaked my curiousity.

    Those are just some ideas, but mind you, neither of the people I mentioned or the SOF are traditional Christians nor are they Evangelical Fundamentalists. Even SOF call themselves Christian Humanists, so you will get a very different view than what you are use to hearing and reading, but it might give you some different ideas on how to approach people.

    What’s the difference between Christian Humanism and Spiritual Humanism? Well, Christian Humanists follow Jesus’s teachings in the Bible with a different view than most Christians. Spiritual Humanists do not. The spiritual part is more secular with no religious or supernatural connections. The spiritual is more like peak experiences or transendence that Sam Harris mentions sometimes in his writings, along with reason, compassion, giving people dignity, and all the other things that go with Humanism.

    The thing is, I’ve noticed that most Christians are not open-minded enough to accept Christian Humanism for some reason and have labeled people who follow such beliefs as heretics. Why I don’t know because they are still Christians, but I think if you can be open-minded enough to read their books and explore SOF, it might give you some ideas as to how to relate to people better as a Christian. If Spong, Freemen, and others can be invited to speak with Humanists, they must be doing something right in how they relate to others, even as Christians.

  • Mriana

    For Mike and James, if they are curious SOF website is: http://www.sofn.org.uk/ They have a link on the “First Time Vistor” to SOF and Humanism that you may want to read too.

  • Karen

    Both from your most recent comment and those of others here, I’m starting to get the feeling that Christians can’t win for losing. At blogs like this and other similar ones, we’re constantly being given a bad rap for being intolerant, ignorant, arrogant, rude, culturally imperialistic, etc. And yet, when some Christians decide to apologize for all that, you guys give us a hard time about that too.

    Mike, I certainly prefer humble Christians to arrogant ones who run around yelling “You’re all going to burn!”

    I just feel badly that a bunch of sincere, earnest college kids feel they have to apologize for stuff they never did. That kind of guilt is tough on the self-esteem.

  • http://www.umcru.com/ James Cornett

    First and foremost, we are apologizing for our own sin and how it has hurt others. There is no guilt on my end as I know that God himself has forgiven me of my disobedience – but that’s not to say others here havn’t forgiven us – so that’s why we’re apologizing.

  • Logos

    James, like I said you sound pretty Sorry!

  • MTran

    Mike C. and James,

    (Whew, there are so many responses here, I hope I haven’t misattributed the authors)

    I can certainly sympathize with the feeling of frustration expressed by those trying to do & say the right thing… then getting unexpected criticisms from, oh, people like me.

    I appreciate that some of the Christian students involved have come here to try to explain some things that might have been given a hostile reception so let me, a long time atheist say to you: Thank You for Trying!

    I don’t know if my comments will help at all, but here goes.

    I have lived at more than 20 addresses (that I can recall, I surely have missed a few from my childhood). What I have learned by living in so many places is that it is extremely easy to be misunderstood, very easy to be maligned, and very easy to be taken by surprise at the attitudes of the “locals”, wherever you may find them. You can either let this frustrate and irritate you or you can just try to deal with misunderstandings to the best of your abilities and find as much humor as you can in the situation.

    Saying “I’m sorry,” can be very healing. Or it can be meaningless. In many communities, the phrase is a simple, though sincerely meant, courtesy. Among others it can rankle if not expressed in an “appropriate” context.

    I’m just guessing here, but it seems that many of the atheists who post here have had some unpleasant experiences with the way their own church or denomination treated them or they find the church doctrine with which they are most familiar to be a source of great harm.

    I never had negative experiences with the people, churches, or moral teachings of any of the churches I attended while young. So, unlike many others, I actually have liked and worked with believers most of my life with few negative incidents related to religion. I simply do not accept the notion that there is a supernatural dimension or supernatural entities, such as god. I’m also a staunch supporter of the separation of church and state and am appalled at efforts to teach creationism in public school science classes.

    So, if it’s any solace to the Christians who have been unsettled by the responses on this board or others, I gladly accept your apologies.

    Also, I suggest you just take a step back and realize that no matter what your intentions are, some people will take strong exception when you least expect it. I think it’s just part of the human social experience.

  • txatheist

    Karen (et al.),

    Both from your most recent comment and those of others here, I’m starting to get the feeling that Christians can’t win for losing. At blogs like this and other similar ones, we’re constantly being given a bad rap for being intolerant, ignorant, arrogant, rude, culturally imperialistic, etc. And yet, when some Christians decide to apologize for all that, you guys give us a hard time about that too. Seriously, what are we supposed to do? Maybe now we should apologize for apologizing?

    This is just getting to be a little ridiculous.

    Mike C,
    You are nowhere near the same type of Christian as Dan on “Life Today tickets”. But to a small degree yes. Intolerant in soliciting xianity. There is no need for someone to become a xian. Ignorant, nope. Arrogant, in the same mindset that you are trying to figure out a way to just talk to someone about xianity. People don’t need xianity. Rude, nope, quite the opposite. Culturally imperialistic, more so in Texas.
    You are apologizing but you are then going back to it. I’m not going to apologize for Dawkins and say that my group embraces xian compassion and dialogue. You deliver the message differently but it’s still the same idea, God, Jesus and the bible.
    Let me put it this way. If CCC had a sign that said we are sorry and handed out the dvd, thegodmovie.com, would that be ok?

  • Mriana

    You know, I’m not sure what it is people see in the Bible with all it’s contradictions, violence, and inaccuracies. Yes, it is fallible for it was written by man, not God, after generations of being passed down by word of mouth.

    Science has shown that the Earth was not made in 6 days or even 6,000 years. The world is not at the center of the universe nor is it flat. Historically speaking there was a flood, but it was not worldwide, historians know a lot about Xerxes I, but there is no record of him having a Jewish queen named Esther or that he was married to Vashti, Belshazzar was not the son of Nebuchadnezzar and was never king, Darius the Mede didn’t capture Babylon, but rather Cyrus of Persia and that’s not mentioning the N.T. The contradictions are numerous also, but that is just a few of the errors in the Bible and how can it be the word of God when it was written by man, who is fallible, and we don’t know who exactly wrote it? Humans make no sense with their logic and reason sometimes.

  • Karen

    I wish that the CCC members, instead of putting all this time and energy into debasing themselves and apologizing to perfect strangers they’ve never hurt directly, would examine Christianity more critically. Does this religious philosophy really live up to its promises?

    If Jesus Christ is actually the head of the church, ministers are “called” by god, and members have divine guidance from the holy spirit, why in the world would they be doing things for which they have to apologize?

    Here’s an analogy: Doctors give one group of cancer patients a new medication and promise they will improve faster than a control group given a placebo. Then they find that the medicated group doesn’t improve any better than the placebo group. Doctors are going to be suspicious that this medication doesn’t work, and either do tougher tests or toss it out.

    I don’t think they would blame the medicated individuals for somehow not “being open to receive the cure correctly.” Yet that’s what Christian do – blame themselves – when their religion doesn’t fulfill its promises. Sad, and totally unnecessary.

  • Siamang

    I wanted to second what MTran said. Thanks for saying that so eloquently.

  • http://christiansconfess.com John Smulo

    In the last week I’ve put up a website called Christians Confess. The purpose of the site is also for individual Christians to say sorry for things they feel they’ve done wrong.

    There’s also a section for people who aren’t Christians to post their stories. This could be whatever they want–stories of struggling with Christians, stories of forgiveness, what they think of the site, etc.

    My intention is genuinely to provide a space where Christians can say sorry for the many things we get it wrong with. I’ve tried to be as straightforward about this as possible–something the above group didn’t do.

    I’d appreciate any feedback on the site, and how it could be more productive. It’s at http://christiansconfess.com. Thanks.

  • HappyNat

    James, et al. I’m not blasting your campaign because ti is Christian or may mislead people. It doesn’t really even upset me. What upsets me is that you feel the need to apologize to everyone for something you may or may not have done. Humans mess up, it is a fact of life. Learn from it and move on. It strikes me that you are apologizing for being human. I guess this type of thought comes from the idea that we are all born sinners.

    If I were on campus, I’d make shirts that said, “I’m not sorry. Ask me why not.”

  • http://groundedinreality.blogspot.com Bruce

    You know, I’m reading from these CCCers about how they are apologizing for not living up to Christ’s or God’s standards. So do Christ’s/God’s standards include accepting homosexuals for who they are and treating them as equals? From what I know of the CCC, my guess is the answer is no. So why should we who accept homosexuality for what it is, praise you for apologizing for not living up to standards which we find revolting?

    Your assuming that your Christ/God is the perfect standard. They are definitely not. Apologize to yourselves if you have set some standard you can’t live up to. But don’t expect any sympathy from those of us who are already able to transcend your warped morality without having to resort to some supernatural being.

    And if I am wrong about the CCC and you do now accept homosexuality as a normal part of society and will be voting against any “Sanctity of Marriage” measures and supporting gay marriage in the future, then I apologize and you can forget everything I said about you above.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Mriana,

    Thank you for the recommendations and explanations of your own beliefs. I don’t know if you are familiar with the history of humanism, but the first humanists were actually Christians, and I personally see no contradiction between the two philosophies. I’m already fairly well read in the areas that you recommend, but I appreciate the suggestions nonetheless.

    However, I should clarify something for you. If you are assuming that I am an evangelical Christian or even very sympathetic to most of the doctrines or methodology of groups like Campus Crusade, I’m afraid you are mistaken. Though I am currently defending the spirit of CCC’s apology (though not the methods), that has more to do with wanting to be fair to all sides and truly seeking to understand a group with whom I have many disagreements, rather than immediately vilifying them for their efforts. Whether Christian or atheist, I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt until they give me reason to do otherwise. Personally I am neither a conservative Christian, nor an atheist, and yet you will often find me defending both groups, as well as arguing with both depending on the situation.

    But thanks again for your kind words and the spirit in which you offer them. Again, I appreciate you sharing your views.

    -Mike

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Yes TX, you’re right, I do see value in talking about my Christian views with others, just as most people of whatever worldview feel that it would be a good thing if others agreed with them, and seek to convince whoever is interested. Don’t you think it would be a good thing if more people embraced the “logic” and “reason” that you atheists claim to live by? And you must see some value in dialogue and trying to convince others of your views, or else you wouldn’t spend so much time constantly debating this stuff online.

    But you misunderstand me if you think my goal in such discussion is to get more people to agree with my “beliefs”. I don’t necessarily want to convince everyone of my particular set of metaphysical beliefs. My goal is not to convert you (or anyone else) to my “religion” (unless you mean the James 1:27 definition of religion). That sort of misses the point, IMO.

    However, I absolutely do want to convince people to follow the Way of Christ – the way of peace, compassion, reconciliation, wholeness, non-violence, self-sacrifice, joy, generosity, etc. While I don’t see much value in trying to get people to agree with my metaphysical beliefs, I’ll make no apologies for encouraging others to live according to this Way of Christ. I am absolutely convinced that this Way (whether one recognizes it as being of Christ or not) is truly the only hope for overcoming injustice, violence, alienation, and hopelessness in this world.

    But that’s just my opinion…

    Peace,

    -Mike

  • Mriana

    You’re welcome, Mike, and yes, I do know the origins of Humanism. I’ve been studying for quite a while and I’m glad to hear you have an idea of what it is about too. In fact, I was a disgruntled Episcopalian a few years ago, who just wasn’t into it anymore, and Bishop Spong suggested I read his books. I ended up becoming a Humanist, and then I ran into Anthony Freeman’s book. That’s how I learned about the SOF, too. Very long story how I made that leap even after reading their books to Humanism, but I did and really as you said, their ideas/beliefs really are too much of a stretch apart from each other. I just was never interested in the Bible and just can’t see using it as any guideline. Now I’m a member of Hope Humanists Ministry- a Spiritual Humanist group which can be found on the net. Funny how those things work out in the end, huh?

    Anyway, again you’re very welcome.

  • Mriana

    That’s aren’t too much of a stretch. I can’t type. :(

  • txatheist

    Mike,
    If more people embraced logic and reason I’d be glad.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    BTW, TX. I should probably also admit that I do like a good philosophical/religious debate as much as anyone, and of course you and I and the others have often gotten into it at times at the OTM message boards. While I enjoy the discussion and do of course try to “win” my points, please don’t misunderstand my intentions. In those instances I’m just enjoying the lively debate, not necessarily trying to convert you guys.

    But I think you probably already knew that. :)

  • Mriana

    Oh I do love a good philosophical/religious debate. where is this OTM message board? I might drop in and if I like what I see, I might join. That is, if you want new people. :( I don’t really want to just invite myself.

  • Siamang

    Oh please do come by!

    http://off-the-map.org/ebayatheist/

    Here’s the blog it stems from:

    http://off-the-map.org/atheist/

  • Kokomo Jr

    Mike C, you lie so much it’s a wonder your nose does not grow!

  • Karen

    Mike C, you lie so much it’s a wonder your nose does not grow!

    Whoa … where’d that unnecessary nastiness come from? I disagree with Mike C on plenty of issues, but I can say after interacting with him for many months that he’s not a liar. (He may be deluded, but he’s not a liar.)

  • Karen

    Whoops, my last comment was supposed to end with a winky!

    ;-)

  • Siamang

    Liar.

  • Siamang

    ;-)

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Thanks Karen. ;)

    Don’t worry about Kokomo. He’s in the habit of taking unwarranted pot shots at me no matter what I say here. Best just ignore him.

  • Mriana

    Thanks for the links, Siamang. I will drop in, but not tonight because it’s late here- after 1 am and I have to be up early. :( Past my bedtime already.

  • Jen

    Bruce said,

    February 26, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    You know, I’m reading from these CCCers about how they are apologizing for not living up to Christ’s or God’s standards. So do Christ’s/God’s standards include accepting homosexuals for who they are and treating them as equals? From what I know of the CCC, my guess is the answer is no. So why should we who accept homosexuality for what it is, praise you for apologizing for not living up to standards which we find revolting?

    I am in Campus Crusade for Christ and i personally accept homosexuals, i have friends that are homosexuals actually and they’re great friends. I do not condem them or treat them any different than anyone else. As a Christain i’m saposed to strive to live my life like Christ did and in doing so it would be wrong of me to judege others for the way that they live they’re lives. I’m sorry for anytime that i have done so tho. The whole point in i’m sorry is to appoligize for all the hypocrisy with in Christianity and to stand up and say i apoligize for doing anything that does not fit what a Christain is truly saposed to be and a big part of being a Christian is sharing the love that God has shown me to others.
    It is a personal thing, I personally apologize to you guys and it’s not to get anyone’s approval or to be praise by any means. it’s just to let ppl know that i’m done living a life of hypocrisy. I want to truly live my life for the God that i believe created me and sent his son to die for all of my wrong doings and has forgiven me and loves me. This includes loving people unconditionally and showing compassion to others aside from the things that i may not agree with in their lives.

  • txatheist

    Thanks Jen and I hope you keep an open mind.

  • UMBrandon

    First, I want to say that personally, I don’t really agree with the CCC’s method in this “Ask Me Why” thing. I’m a freshman at U of M and a Christian, and I don’t mind talking to someone about my faith. However, talking to them about it when they’re expecting me to talk about a number of any other things makes me uneasy. I think that a conversation like that would have a much better impact if it happened in everyday conversation. It seems to me that a mass apology would come off as insincere, and that at least part of this campaign is evangelistic, regardless of what people say of its pretenses.

    However, I am pleased that the program has sparked debate. At least it has people thinking and talking to each other more, and it puts Christians in a situation where they may be forced to face why they believe in Christ.

    About the topic overall, I’m not a typical Christian. I don’t go to church every Sunday, and I don’t believe every word of the Bible. Why would a God as expansive as the Bible claims limit himself to 66 short books? However, despite my at-times extreme disappointment with Christians as a whole and public interpretation of Christianity, I can’t find fault in the core message of a spiritual system that bases itself on love. As far as I can tell, the basic message of Christianity isn’t to convert as many people as possible or to prove your religious muscle in debates, but to make the world a better place for OTHER people, not yourself, as best you can. I believe in the deity of Jesus, not because my parents (agnostics), friends (Christians who don’t always practice what they preach/homosexuals/drug users/average people), or anyone else tells me about it, but because I believe in love.

    Whether there ever was an actual Jesus Christ I can never know for sure, but I’m willing to put faith into his message. I don’t do so lightheartedly; this is a very thought-out decision that I’ve made. And I’m not sorry for Christians in a sense that I feel guilty for their actions; I’m sorry for humanity in that we show so little love to each other. I wish that more Christians would think and be open-minded to other beliefs, and I wish that non-Christians would do the same, but there are people who put their faith in something and cling to it no matter what other evidence or discussion is placed in front of them. Can’t we all just get along?

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Well said Brandon. I totally agree.

    BTW, is your UofM Michigan or Minnesota? Just curious (being a Wolverine fan myself). :)

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Oops, sorry, I guess you probably meant Memphis… I should have gone back and re-read the original post. :)

    (Up here in the Midwest there are only two UofM’s.)