Christians Confess

Building on an idea first popularized in Donald Miller‘s book Blue Like Jazz, a new website has been put up called “Christians Confess”.

When most people hear the word “Christian”, they think of a lot of other words — likely all of them negative. Words like “hypocrite”, “judgmental”, “self-righteous”, and — well, you get the idea. For many people, meeting individuals who identify themselves as Christian is also likely to stir up past memories of hurt and pain.

This site was started in order for Christians to acknowledge that we have got it terribly wrong at times, and to apologize for this. We understand that many will feel that words aren’t enough. We agree! Though we also admit we don’t know what else to do practically about this. If you have any ideas please contact us and let us know how we can show, not only in word, but also in deed, that we’re sorry.

The cool thing about this site is that it’s pretty much user generated. There’s no attempt to control the message, anyone can post any kind of apology they want (though they are specifically asking for Christians to apologize to non-Christians). Here’s a few:

I’m sorry for all the times we’ve shoved God in your face and loved you with an agenda- trying to keep you from the burning pits of hell. I’m sorry we don’t live more unique and genuine lives centered around loving one another. I’m sorry we get over righteous on you and fail to see life as it is. I’m sorry I told you I was a christian but I never minded gossiping about my sister or brother. I’m sorry I judged you.

–Krisann

 

I’m sorry i overlooked you as a potential friend just because our beliefs were different.

–Cindy

 

I’m sorry for ignoring you in preference to the “God stuff” that I was doing.

–Heather

 

Here’s the thing … it’s pretty clear that Jesus came to bring hope, healing and freedom and we, the church, his followers have sucked all the fun out of that. We’ve taken the hope out of hope and continued wounding the wounded and piled chains on slaves. I am so sorry.

–Sonja

 

I am sorry we have not been a more frequent, more firm and more graceful voice in environmental, political, and human rights arenas.

–Anonymous

 

I am sorry that so often the church has twisted Jesus’ message to exlude rather than include people.

–Sally

 

I am sorry for acting like I know-it-all and have the corner on truth while making fun of people who have actually devoted their lives to studying things like the Bible, or science, or history.

–Julie

The site also has a section for non-Christians to tell their stories of how they’ve been hurt by Christians or to give feedback about the site. Here are a few:

Wow. I came to this website with apprehension. Is this a trick? Am I going to be insulted, threatened with damnation, made fun of? Told I have to believe, or else!? I started getting teary eyed around the fourth apology and was crying by the end. Your apologies are brave, and I forgive you. I apologize for all the times I feared you when you revealed yourself to be a Christian. I apologize for all the times I rejected your thoughts and opinions just because you are a Christian. I apologize for all the times my beliefs in universal unity wavered. I apologize for all the times my patience gave out. I think we have a lot more to offer one another and a lot more to gain from coming together then we have by staying separated and pulling apart. Hopefully one day we will all come together under the umbrella of love.

–Jennifer

 

I am not Christian. I am sorry that I rolled my eyes when I saw the name of this site. I am sorry that I judged every Christian on the planet to be the same.

–Anonymous

 

I am a “recovering” Catholic living in a mid-sized city in the Bible Belt. I’m also a published writer, and I make no bones about my atheism in my writing. My children are both beautiful, smart, funny, kind-hearted kids, but they have very few friends. My husband heard recently from the rumor-mill at work that some of the ladies on our block have said that they don’t let their kids play with mine because we don’t go to church. I don’t mind so much that we don’t get invitations to the neighborhood get-togethers. We’d rather stay home, anyway; we enjoy each others’ company. But it upsets me greatly that my children are having a lonely childhood because my neighbors are intolerant of religious difference. It hardly seems Christ-like to punish them for our beliefs.

–Wendy

 

I read through the apologies on this site and unexpectedly started crying my eyes out. I was raised in the church and left a long time ago. There are too many stories to even begin to share here. It amazes me that something that is supposedly all about love and grace can cause so very much wrenching pain and damage. …can’t even begin to say…

–Anonymous

 

I have to say that I came here with doubts. But I can leave saying that this is a wonderful website. I used to be Christian, but have since left because of what I felt was intolerance, hatred, and the unwillingness to listen to others who were different in any way. I still feel that there are many Christians out there who are like this, but more and more everyday I meet many who aren’t. I feel like they are also getting the crappy end of the stick because the intolerant Christians are shutting them out.

But this is an apology website. I do apologize for hating Christians when I was younger. I can’t hate an entire group for the failings of a few. I do apologize for laughing at Christians. It was just as bad as some laughing at me.

I think with age comes maturity and I realize now that I can’t hate people at all. I can dislike, that’s something you can’t help, but I can no longer hate people. I wish that people of any religion could understand that. It’s ok to disagree, but hatred just pulls everyone down.

–Lex

So what do you think? Is a site like this helpful? Worthwhile? If you’re a Christian, are there any apologies you’d like to add? If you’re a non-Christian, do you have any stories or comments you’d want to contribute?

  • Richard Wade

    It’s a refreshing new angle on Christian apologetics. ;)

    I apologize. I couldn’t resist.

  • Adrian

    Several people were apologizing for the actions of other Christians which strikes me as false-humility and a failure of responsibility. It also strikes me as a way to create the appearance of change without the burden of actually doing anything. Perhaps I’ve heard too many of these professions without seeing any change but I’m much more interested in hearing what people have done rather than what they say. You say you’re sorry that the church excludes people: that’s a nice sentiment, what have you done to correct that?

    Maybe this is a way of taking the first step to helping people understand the feelings of different groups. Communication with an outgroup is always a good thing and this sounds like it’s helping.

  • http://www.xanga.com/godlessliberal Krisko

    I’d like to apologize for all the times I told myself I was better and smarter for being a non-believer. With hindsight, I see that my actions were as prejudicial as the actions of my girlfriend’s Christian family that don’t want me to become one of them.

  • http://www.religiouscomics.net Jeff

    The real change for the better for Christianity would be for the religion to categorically drop the notion of being saved from eternal damnation and torturing. Dropping that plank of the Christian theology would eliminate many of the negative attributes. If they just concentrated on the Golden Rule, service to others, and living the good life, the world would be a better place. Saying they are sorry for actually believing in Christian theology is not going to solve the problems going forward for other Christians.

  • Richard Wade

    Adrian is right on target. Too often an apology is a cheap substitute for fixing the problem. Talk is cheap. I require myself to make amends rather than merely repenting. An amend is to repair what I broke, return what I took, heal what I injured. If a Christian apologizes for something that other Christians have done, or their religion in general has done, what, if anything will be their personal amend? Will they work hard to get other Christians to stop those offenses, or petition their church to take a strong and active stand against perpetuating the offensive practice? If their apology is about themselves but still is vague and general like “I’m sorry I have been a self-righteous jerk,” what will be their specific personal amend? Will they seek out the particular victims of their unkindness to make actual amends? Will they successfully avoid repeating similar behaviors in the future?

    An apology is vibrating air. An amend is tangible action. You are what you do, not what you say.

  • http://myangrylittleblog.blogspot.com Phillip

    Funny thing, they had a confession booth on campus. I told them I felt like I’d been kicked out of my church for being gay, and two of them visibly recoiled. Yeah, kids, real effective work you’re doing.

  • http://ondfly123.livejournal.com Betsy

    I think it’s a start. Even when the mind begins working more openly, it takes awhile for action to match thoughts and words. I don’t think we realize how often actions – like recoiling from gay people – are simply ingrained in Christians. Even when their mind begins taking them in new and open directions, it is often difficult to physically become accustomed to acting in new ways.

  • http://myangrylittleblog.blogspot.com Phillip

    And yet the recoiling like I’m a leper, that hits me hard enough that I don’t give a damn for their message. It’s not a charitable thing for me to do, but don’t go confessing your sins unless you’re prepared to repent for them as well.

  • http://www.de-conversion.com HeIsSailing

    Philip:
    Funny thing, they had a confession booth on campus.

    Yeah, I read about Miller’s confession booth in his dreadful Blue Like Jazz. I do not need anybody apologizing to me for atrocities that occured centuries ago. None the less, has Miller now influenced similar confessionals in college campuses?

    Speaking for apostate Christians, this is not what we are looking for. I cannot see what good this does except make the Christian penitent feel a little relieved of the sins their religion has inflicted. Perhaps this is their way of distancing themselves from their own unsavory history. I don’t see what good it does for the non-Christian.

  • Skylar

    Apologizing is a bunch of feel-good-hippie-crap. Haha, perhaps that comes out a bit harsher than I really intend.

    But really, people apologize ALL the time and never change their ways. The others had a really good point about apologizing for other people. “I’m sorry all these people suck, but really, I GET it.” Apologizing is to make the apologizer feel better, not the person who’s been harmed. Actually changing your actions is what builds (or rebuilds) trust for the person who has been harmed.

    Perhaps I should qualify this post with the fact that I used to work in a shelter for victims of domestic abuse, the End-All-Be-All of the “Oh, honey, I’m so sorry, it’ll never happen again.” A couple of people change, but 95% don’t.

  • The Thinking Theist

    Well, I can’t speak for the rest of Christianity but I can speak on my behalf. I apologize for judging any non-christians or any one else who didn’t believe the same as myself. But, I can say, personally, that two of my closest fraternity brothers are gay and one is an atheist and I love them without regard. I refuse to threaten people with hell-fire (I was tortured enough with that bullshit as a child and early teen in a baptist church) or use any other “scare” tactic (The whole evangelism class trick (Do you know where you are going when you die?) is the one you may be familar with)) to tell any one what I believe. I appreciate and dig diversity that is founded by nature and well-thought out life decisions, like many of the visitors on this site seem to be.

    So, keep it up guys (and girls :D ), let’s continue to make this Earth a peaceful and tolerant place for everyone.

  • bob

    I do not accept their empty apologies. They are deluded, even if they are “nice” about it. I won’t further their delusions by accepting apologies that refuse to face reality. And ZERO christians face reality.

  • No name

    “I am sorry that so often the church has twisted Jesus’ message to exlude rather than include people.”

    Matthew 10:32-33: “So every one who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

    Matthew 12:30: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”

    Yeah, real lovey-dovey. It seems more like liberal christians have changed his image rather than the crazy fundies.

  • The Thinking Theist

    To Bob,

    I do not accept their empty apologies. They are deluded, even if they are “nice” about it. I won’t further their delusions by accepting apologies that refuse to face reality. And ZERO christians face reality.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    I see people like this on campus all the time. They say they’re real sorry, and would we like a free hug? While the intentions are good, there is still a lack of understanding here.

    First, they do not realize how the sacrament of confession looks to outsiders. In apologetics, confession is used in conjunction with hell. Confession is the only way that a sinner can be clear with God. Oh, and everyone is a sinner. Why should a personal relationship with God be both a sufficient and necessary antidote to sin? Confession is not enough.

    Ideally, there would be a change of mind, or change of actions. But it looks like most of them simply can’t do that, because they’re not apologizing for themselves. They’re apologizing on behalf of all those other mean Christians who are tainting their reputation. Well… great. It’s great that they’re spreading the message that not every Christian is a rightwing fundamentalist. Great for other people, but I already knew that. Their apologies do nothing for me. Fundies will continue to be fundies, and the rest of Christianity will continue to apologize for it. So, when will they apologize for the groupthink required to apologize on other people’s behalf?

    And really, I don’t think they show full understanding of the kind of criticisms that are leveled against religion. Oh, sure, there are the evils promoted by its adherents: corruption, prejudice, discrimination, self-righteousness. But if that were all, I’d still be Catholic, because I’ve never experienced any of those first-hand. Personally, I think that religious adherents are the best part of religion. I like people, you see. The worst parts of religion are the parts that have to do with Jesus, God, and faith. Since these are upheld nearly universally as virtues, I don’t expect any apologies any time soon.

  • http://journals.aol.ca/plittle/AuroraWalkingVacation/ paul

    Many of those “apologies” are simply veiled attempts at further preaching.

    I’m sorry for all the times we’ve shoved God in your face and loved you with an agenda- trying to keep you from the burning pits of hell.

    Pathetic, really.

  • vegatee

    I am sorry for acting like I know-it-all and have the corner on truth while making fun of people who have actually devoted their lives to studying things like the Bible, or science, or history.

    I wonder how many of the apologies were written by non-believers as a way of pointing out the unpleasant manner in which so many believers behave toward non-believers. I know I was tempted.

  • stogoe

    Meh. I left Christianity because it was incorrect, not because its followers were rude, hateful, greedy bastards. Don’t get me wrong, there were rude, hateful, greedy bastards who accelerated my departure, but apologizing for all the terror and pain you’ve caused is not going to make Christianity true, no matter how hard you try.

  • Varda

    I don’t buy it…they’re just too good at lying, to themselves and everyone else, for me to take this seriously at all. It constantly amazes me how most Christians just done get it at all.

  • Josha

    I do not accept their empty apologies. They are deluded, even if they are “nice” about it. I won’t further their delusions by accepting apologies that refuse to face reality. And ZERO christians face reality.

    Are you talking about Christians? or Muslims? Jews? Do you realize how many people your blanket statement includes? (I’m assuming you think this about all religious people). We all live in a little delusion, let’s not get intolerant about it. I understand the importance of living a rational life but I don’t think having some irrational beliefs means someone never faces reality. We are all prone to weakness, the least you can do is understand it. I suggest you make a friend who is a Christian and you will probably adjust the way you see them.

  • http://www.bernerbits.com Derek

    In my Christian days I would have thought something like this was very good. Like them, it was my opinion that Christians Behaving Badly was the #1 reason most non-Christians weren’t Christians and that it was up to us to heal the wounds we’ve caused in order to save more souls. Or as DC Talk once put it: “The single greatest cause of Atheism in the world today is Christans.”

    I’ve also known Christians with this angle: Evangelism by Compassion. Apologetics by Apology. Please forgive us for being so rude, we just want to be your friend (and hope you’ll convert by being around us a lot, or at least give us more opportunities to share our faith with you as you grow more comfortable being around us). While they aren’t normally heavy on the preachiness, if you give them as much as an inch it’s my experience that most will still run with it.

    If this is truly a site to reach out and heal wounds and has no ulterior Evangelism motive, then I say good for them. Trouble is, saving people from eternal hellfire is the Prime Directive of Evangelical Christianity, and it’s hard to see how anything they produce isn’t somehow related to this end.

  • Spacesocks

    A lot of these apologies do seem sincere, and I appreciate that the Christians who are making them are willing to look critically at their own behavior. However, the site itself seems to be based on a common evangelistic trope: if unbelievers are repelled by Christianity, it must be because they met the wrong Christians, and not because there are actual evidential, philosophical, or moral problems with Christianity itself. This is misguided, especially from the perspective of self-identified atheists; it seems like most of us reject religion because we think it’s nonsense, not because we dislike religious people.

    I can’t help but suspect that “Christians Confess” is another form of evangelism for what I see as the (doctrinally) worst form of Christianity. Sure, it looks nice on the surface, but do they still think you’re going to hell, and that God is right to send you there? (Maybe my atheist apology should be for reading ulterior motives into everything labeled “Christian.”)

    Accepting non-Christians and “sinners” as fellow human beings is a good first step toward making the Christian religion less repellent to outsiders, but as long as the religion still teaches that such people are going to burn in hell for eternity unless they change their beliefs and ways, it will not be receiving a thumbs-up from me. On the other hand, the nicer forms of Christianity (the hell-free versions) annoy me when they claim that more conservative versions of the religion are “twisting” the “true” teachings of Jesus (when the conservatives are actually just failing to discard the bad teachings).

    That said, I think the people involved with this website are doing a good thing, and that they are promoting greater tolerance and understanding between Christians and non-Christians. Some of the things they apologize for are things that some atheists ought to apologize for as well (judging people based on stereotypes of their group, assuming that believing the “wrong” things makes someone a “bad” person, etc.)

  • http://agersomnia.blogspot.com Agersomnia

    Well… accepting they do hurt people, is a start. But rather than just sit there and feel better for the confession, solutions to ease the damage done, or at least do something so that others don’t get harmed, hurt, or excluded the same way in the future.

    That is, if you really want to do something and what you did can’t be undone, help others understand the full effect of their actions on others, and keep others from harming more people.

  • Larry Huffman

    So…a sight for christians to apologize for being christian?

    These christians who are apologizing…they are apologizing for following their religion. The problem with christianity is not the people…it is that the doctrine in their holy book causes them to act like this.

    They shove god in our face because they are directed to. They are not twisting Jesus’ message…Jesus’ message IS twisted. What they are apologizing for is christianity.

    If you look at the bible and all of the crap that christians have to all but ignore just to be able to live a civil existence, it is easy to see this is not something they should apologize for on a detailed level…they should just say, “Sorry for being such a christian” and leave it at that.

    …of course, leave it to christians to think that just saying these things makes it better. Mere words…If they were truly sorry and repentant, they would quit following the bible, since it is responsible for the actions they are apologizing for.

    This also makes me wonder if something like this existed 300 years ago, would we have read “Sorry for burning those 17 people last week, I swore they were witches…that is what their neighbor told me they were.”

  • The Thinking Theist

    Well, I don’t believe in threatening people with hell-fire when even the teachings of Jesus are obscure on it (To my knowledge, his reference to hell was “Gehana,” which was the local flaming trash dump in his town). Not to mention all of the crazy evangelists that threatened me with hell-fire through out my childhood and into my early teens that has tortured my thought-life until recently.

    That being said, I wish to coexist peacefully with all fellow humans, regardless of our beliefs. :)

  • Darryl

    Christians should not be surprised when atheists distrust their motives. Too often have I understood that activities apparently unrelated to evangelism are regarded like that false and empty courtesy of business wisdom: “Being friendly is just good business.” No, being friendly is a human virtue; making it a tool of customer persuasion is devious.

  • Larry Huffman

    The motive of the christian church is to grow membership. Period. That is what the whole thing is about.

    Individually, the members may fall in line with something like this, as if it is sincere…but make no mistake, the motives and agenda are the same that caused the actions that they are apologizing for in the first place.

    “See…we are really sorry. See how nice we are? Now…Join us, or forever burn in hell”.

    Which leads me to the final point about this: Think hard on this, chrisitans, and answer honestly (without all of the stumbling apologetics that just make things worse for you)…regardless of what you are sorry for individually…if i remain as I am, totally unbelieving of jesus’ message…will I burn in hell forever? Of course you have to answer yes, as that is the doctrine (despite you christians who somehow want to apologize this basic tenet of your faith out of existence). And so now you must apologize again for telling us we are all going to hell. Question 2…Will I go to hell if I do not believe in god or jesus? I will? Apologize again!

    It seems to me that these christians would wake up and realize that the stupidity of such a sight is that it causes them to apologize for their god, since much of their awful behavior is directly advocated by their utterly silly god, who’s laws all came from a far more primitive and uncivilized time. (and appear amazingly man made for the times as well)

  • Karen

    While I’m sure many of the apologizers are eminently sincere, this is the kind of thing that makes me cringe.

    Christians are constantly being told that they are not good enough, they’ve fallen short, they cannot live up to Jesus’ example, they must be grateful for god’s mercy – which is not due to their own righteousness mind you! – they are sinners, bad, filthy, and they need to confess, repent, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

    Now they also need to apologize to non-Christians for stuff they haven’t even done themselves, or small things they’ve done BECAUSE A PASTOR TOLD THEM TO (witnessing, for instance)?

    Yuck. As HIS said, this isn’t remotely what non-theists are looking for. It only serves as yet another stripe the Christian has to flail herself with, or feel guilty for not doing. So glad this isn’t something I have to do anymore.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

    So for all those here who assume that the underlying purpose of this site is evangelistic, may I apply the atheist criteria and ask what is your evidence? I see nothing in the stated purpose of this site that even hints that that is their motive. (Bearing in mind that individual confessions don’t count as evidence since this is an open-source site where anyone can post any kind of confession they want regardless of whether it is consonant with the intent of the site creators.)

    Further, I don’t see any evidence to suggest one way or the other that this is a site run by evangelical Christians, thus assumptions about what kind of theology they may or may not be holding to seem equallly unfounded.

    Also, those that have criticized them for merely apologizing but not doing more to change, was this acknowledgment and invitation for suggestions not sufficient to convince you that the creators of the site also wish to offer more than mere words? And if not, why not (without accusing them of outright lying if you please)?

    We understand that many will feel that words aren’t enough. We agree! Though we also admit we don’t know what else to do practically about this. If you have any ideas please contact us and let us know how we can show, not only in word, but also in deed, that we’re sorry.

  • http://www.bernerbits.com/ Derek

    Well Mike, the reason I reacted the way I did was based on my gut feeling of “discouragingly similar to past experience” or “been there, done that”. But you’re right, I have no idea the theological affiliation of the site owners and at face value the site does not appear evangelism-based in nature. It could be that too much of my experience with Christianity has been centered around the primarily evangelism-focused factions.

    You’ll notice though that I did at least provisionally give the benefit of a doubt.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

    You’ll notice though that I did at least provisionally give the benefit of a doubt.

    Yes, you did, though you were one of the few who did.

    I know this also doesn’t count as evidence as to the intent or theology of the site’s creators, but at least in regards to the site’s “supporters” (i.e. people who have linked to it from their blogs) I recognize the names of several personal friends and acquaintances of mine who are decidedly “emergent” (i.e. not exactly conservative evangelical) in their theology and approach to faith.

  • http://http//blog.crispen.org/ Titus Pullover

    I think it’s better than a good start. It’s a visible admission that there are human values that outweigh religious precepts.

  • http://journals.aol.ca/plittle/AuroraWalkingVacation/ Paul

    The stated purpose of the site, and the intentions of the site’s creators are irrelevant. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” The fact remains that the very first “confession” quoted above is typical of the way atheists are approached by Christians.

    “I’m sorry you’ve been offended, but I’m only being obnoxious and rude for your own benefit, because you clearly need my help.”

    You, Pastor Mike Clawson, are guilty of making very similar statements on this very blog.

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

    You, Pastor Mike Clawson, are guilty of making very similar statements on this very blog.

    If that is so, then I apologize. ;)

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @Josha
    I think that comment was clearly meant to refer to Christians, as in “Zero Christians face reality.”

    But atheism is a broad-minded community, and we’re prepared to accept that all religion is equally silly. So yes, the Jews, Muslims, Hindus et al are equally deluded. And generally that’s okay.

    “We all live in a little delusion, let’s not get intolerant about it.”

    Um … Well no, some of us have struggled free of the great delusion. Have you heard the good news about Nothing?

    Nothing controls your day to day life. Nothing is waiting for you after you die, and Nothing will prevent you from sinning if you want to sin.

    As for intolerance, religion has a clear and vibrant history of intolerance spanning centuries. Millenia, even. At the extremes, it’s people killing one another not because they are not free to believe as they will, not because they are or are not tolerated, but because the other people serve the bad, incorrect, negatively-regarded gods.

    At its means, it’s people working to twist education and law to favour their own superstition, and that should not be tolerated at all.

    If Christians want to apologize, I suggest they take their Commandments off of courthouses, turn about and start working to include homosexuals in their Defence of Marriage amendments, and start fighting for full and frank sex ed in schools.

    As it is, this looks like feel-good wankery.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com miller

    Also, those that have criticized them for merely apologizing but not doing more to change, was this acknowledgment and invitation for suggestions not sufficient to convince you that the creators of the site also wish to offer more than mere words?

    The problem isn’t so much that they aren’t doing anything to change (how would I even know that they’re doing nothing to change?). The problem is that some of them can’t change anything, because they’re apologizing on other people’s behalf. There is something bittersweet about an apology that says, “Sorry about all those other people; most of us are better than that.”

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

    The problem is that some of them can’t change anything, because they’re apologizing on other people’s behalf. There is something bittersweet about an apology that says, “Sorry about all those other people; most of us are better than that.”

    Is there no place for communal responsibility? Is it inappropriate for white Americans to apologize for slavery? For Germans to apologize for the Holocaust? For the Pope to apologize on behalf of Catholics for the Crusades? Just because you’re not personally responsible for some of these crimes, isn’t there a place for saying, “I’m sorry that my people, the group I identify with, has hurt and oppressed you in the past. I’m sorry for the ways I’ve been complicit with this or have benefited from the fruits of this injustice”?

    Besides which, I’m not sure why folks are assuming that the apologies on that site are not self-referential. Just because folks now realize those attitudes are wrong doesn’t mean they didn’t used to practice them (my own list of things I regret about how I’ve acted as a Christian in the past is pretty long). As I read through the apologies, most seem pretty personal. I didn’t get the sense that most of them were intending to apologize for someone else.

  • ash

    Mike,

    Is there no place for communal responsibility? Is it inappropriate for white Americans to apologize for slavery? For Germans to apologize for the Holocaust? For the Pope to apologize on behalf of Catholics for the Crusades?

    i think these apologies were appropiate because they are for past behaviour that has already been discontinued; for a Christian to apologise for women and homosexuals being treated as less than equal by Christianity when these practises are still rampant in some quarters is absolutely hollow – akin to a KKK member apologising for being racist yet still hanging on to their membership card. or it could be viewed as as innappropiate as a woman apologising for her male ancestors misogyny. I appreciate the sentiment expressed by individuals on their own behalf, but TBH your approach of ‘i disagreed with my former churches brand of Christianity so i left that behind’ speaks far more to me than mere words ever will.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    Is there no place for communal responsibility? Is it inappropriate for white Americans to apologize for slavery? For Germans to apologize for the Holocaust? For the Pope to apologize on behalf of Catholics for the Crusades?

    Not inappropriate. Just bittersweet, like I said. It evokes complex emotions.

  • Spurs Fan

    Good points all around.

    However, I’m going to be a bit more pragmatic here. Are some of the motivations of these Christians murky? Maybe. Do some still hold beliefs or do things that make their apolgies obsolete? Sure. Are some apologizing so that they can come off as “nice” Christians? Probably.

    However, this is a good first step. It takes a lot to admit that you (or your “people”) did something wrong or unjust. And it goes a long way towards coexisting with us skeptical heathens.

    I liked this idea when I first read it in Donald Miller’s book and I still like it now. We could all use some self-examination and this is a good first step. We atheists could probably have our own confessional!

    I apologize for all of us that take secret delight in making fun of the behavior of religious people for acting in ways that seem strange to us, espcially when what they do has no effect on us. (For the strange actions of believers that do have an effect on me as an atheist, I do NOT apologize).

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

    If Christians want to apologize, I suggest they take their Commandments off of courthouses, turn about and start working to include homosexuals in their Defence of Marriage amendments, and start fighting for full and frank sex ed in schools.

    Just thought I should point out that many are in fact doing these things.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X