I Don’t Remember Jesus Saying This…

Since popular pastor Mark Driscoll asked his followers to share stories about “the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you’ve ever personally witnessed,” other Christians have taken note of something many atheists have known for quite some time: Christianity doesn’t make you a better, kinder, or more empathetic person. If anything, the Christianity we’re used to is hypocritical, intolerant, and the source of so much pain for so many people.

It’s important to note that Driscoll didn’t say anything out of the ordinary here — not for him and not on behalf of many other “followers of Jesus.” Gay people are used to this type of bullying from prominent Christians.

The upside to all this is that some Christians are speaking out against Driscoll. Like Rachel Held Evan, who calls him a bully (in Christianese):

Mark Driscoll is wrong.

Godly men stick up for people, not make fun of them.

Godly men honor women, not belittle them.

Godly men love their gay and lesbian neighbors, not ridicule them.

Godly men celebrate femininity, not trash it.

If this Facebook status were Pastor Mark Driscoll’s first offense, it might not warrant a strong response. But Mark has developed a pattern of immaturity and unkindness that has remained largely unchecked by his church. In evangelical circles, he’s like the kid from high school who makes crude jokes at every opportunity, uses the words “gay” and “queer” to describe the things he most detests, encourages his friends to subject the unpopular kids to ridicule, and belittles the guys who aren’t “macho” or “manly” enough to be in his club.

Anthony Bradley at (Christian) World magazine called Rachel’s response “libel”:

There is nothing loving about calling a pastor a “bully“ — that is, “a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.” That is a serious charge. In her post, Evans describes why she believes Driscoll to be a bully, implying that he, his teachings, and the elders at his church are not functioning in ways consistent with Scripture. While it is more than reasonable to understand why someone would take issue with Driscoll’s post, Evans’ way of responding cannot and should not be encouraged. What was even more disturbing was the way in which many other believers jumped on the slander bandwagon to feed on the carnage once it went viral.

Yeah… how *dare* a woman call out a pastor for not being properly Christian? She should know better and remain submissive and silent. (I’m curious what Bradley would have preferred she said…)

In any case, Rachel wasn’t the only person calling Driscoll out.

Tyler L. Clark expressed it beautifully, too:

The Church has been terrible to gays and lesbians. You have surely spent enough time talking with gay people in your community to know that the image of Christians tends to be a hateful one. In the same way that you want church culture to be more welcoming to blue-collar dudes, it also needs to be more welcoming to the gay and lesbian community. Your language… doesn’t help this. I am NOT calling you a misogynist or a [homophobe]. I’m simply suggesting that you reconsider how your words and actions are perceived.

Your language is not only hurtful to gay men. It is hurtful to many straight men. As a man who has always been intimidated by more traditionally masculine men, your words tell me that I am not welcome in your church or among your friends.

It’s easy to pigeonhole all Christians into the anti-gay, anti-women umbrella, but there are some good ones out there and they’re as sick of this shit as we are.

Driscoll has since responded to the outcry with a non-apology apology:

I then put a flippant comment on Facebook, and a raging debate on gender and related issues ensued. As a man under authority, my executive elders sat me down and said I need to do better by hitting real issues with real content in a real context. And, they’re right. Praise God I have elders who keep me accountable and that I am under authority.

Coincidentally (or not), someone wrote to “Dear Abby” about a similar problem:

Dear Abby:
We have a problem — our pastor. He uses the pulpit to criticize, put people down and offers no compassion. A person can only take so much.

The problem is, if you say anything to him, you can bet the next sermon will be about what you discussed. How can I talk to him without making him angry?

The response:

Your pastor’s behavior gives new meaning to the term “bully pulpit.” Rather than approach him yourself, you and others who feel as you do should take your complaint to the governing board of your church. And if that doesn’t fix the problem, you should seriously consider finding another “flock” to join because it appears your shepherd has lost his way.


About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • cipher

    As I said in the other thread about him, there are Christians who dislike Driscoll for begin too “worldly” or “liberal”. However big a bastard you may think a fundie is – there’s always a bigger one.

    That entire subculture is a miasma. Trying to sift through its various threads to hear the few voices (whispering, never crying out loudly), “We aren’t all the same!” is a massive waste of time. They’re unsalvageable – and now, thanks to thirty years of conservative evangelical voting patterns, so are the rest of us.

  • cipher

    As I said in the other thread about him, there are Christians who dislike Driscoll for begin too “worldly” or “liberal”. However big a bastard you may think a fundie is – there’s always a bigger one.

    That entire subculture is a miasma. Trying to sift through its various threads to hear the few voices (whispering, never crying out loudly), “We aren’t all the same!” is a massive waste of time. They’re unsalvageable – and now, thanks to thirty years of conservative evangelical voting patterns, so are the rest of us.

  • cipher

    As I said in the other thread about him, there are Christians who dislike Driscoll for begin too “worldly” or “liberal”. However big a bastard you may think a fundie is – there’s always a bigger one.

    That entire subculture is a miasma. Trying to sift through its various threads to hear the few voices (whispering, never crying out loudly), “We aren’t all the same!” is a massive waste of time. They’re unsalvageable – and now, thanks to thirty years of conservative evangelical voting patterns, so are the rest of us.

  • cipher

    As I said in the other thread about him, there are Christians who dislike Driscoll for begin too “worldly” or “liberal”. However big a bastard you may think a fundie is – there’s always a bigger one.

    That entire subculture is a miasma. Trying to sift through its various threads to hear the few voices (whispering, never crying out loudly), “We aren’t all the same!” is a massive waste of time. They’re unsalvageable – and now, thanks to thirty years of conservative evangelical voting patterns, so are the rest of us.

  • cipher

    As I said in the other thread about him, there are Christians who dislike Driscoll for begin too “worldly” or “liberal”. However big a bastard you may think a fundie is – there’s always a bigger one.

    That entire subculture is a miasma. Trying to sift through its various threads to hear the few voices (whispering, never crying out loudly), “We aren’t all the same!” is a massive waste of time. They’re unsalvageable – and now, thanks to thirty years of conservative evangelical voting patterns, so are the rest of us.

  • cipher

    As I said in the other thread about him, there are Christians who dislike Driscoll for begin too “worldly” or “liberal”. However big a bastard you may think a fundie is – there’s always a bigger one.

    That entire subculture is a miasma. Trying to sift through its various threads to hear the few voices (whispering, never crying out loudly), “We aren’t all the same!” is a massive waste of time. They’re unsalvageable – and now, thanks to thirty years of conservative evangelical voting patterns, so are the rest of us.

  • cipher

    As I said in the other thread about him, there are Christians who dislike Driscoll for begin too “worldly” or “liberal”. However big a bastard you may think a fundie is – there’s always a bigger one.

    That entire subculture is a miasma. Trying to sift through its various threads to hear the few voices (whispering, never crying out loudly), “We aren’t all the same!” is a massive waste of time. They’re unsalvageable – and now, thanks to thirty years of conservative evangelical voting patterns, so are the rest of us.

  • cipher

    As I said in the other thread about him, there are Christians who dislike Driscoll for begin too “worldly” or “liberal”. However big a bastard you may think a fundie is – there’s always a bigger one.

    That entire subculture is a miasma. Trying to sift through its various threads to hear the few voices (whispering, never crying out loudly), “We aren’t all the same!” is a massive waste of time. They’re unsalvageable – and now, thanks to thirty years of conservative evangelical voting patterns, so are the rest of us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amy-Caswell/100000705227820 Amy Caswell

    I guess this means that even if the liberal Christians want to be nicer and call out the hypocritical, hateful Christians that they will be told to shut up. Nice to know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amy-Caswell/100000705227820 Amy Caswell

    I guess this means that even if the liberal Christians want to be nicer and call out the hypocritical, hateful Christians that they will be told to shut up. Nice to know.

    • Rieux

      As noted in the responses to jdm8 above, it’s not so clear that the “hateful Christians” are actually “hypocritical.” Following a violent and ugly ideology might be an ugly and unethical thing to do, but it’s not clearly hypocrisy.

      It’s at least as possible that liberal Christians have taken a very ugly and inhumane belief system and twisted it for their own (albeit commendable, at least in the short term) ends.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amy-Caswell/100000705227820 Amy Caswell

        No, they’re hypocritical because they preach against gays, but they don’t also preach against eating shellfish.

        I think the liberal Christians are being hypocritical too, but in a different way that doesn’t hurt others.

        Also, there’s only one post above mine (sorted by oldest), I think you have the comments sorted a different way, so I haven’t read the responses to jdm8.

        • Rieux

          No, they’re hypocritical because they preach against gays, but they don’t also preach against eating shellfish.

          Really? There is a fairly clear explanation in the New Testament for that. So if it’s hypocritical, at least the hypocrisy is almost 2000 years old.

          What you’re referencing is actually a Bible contradiction (or God changing his mind, if you like). Taking the homophobic restrictions, but not the dietary ones, in the Old Testament seriously merely requires Christians to take one side—Paul’s side—of that contradiction. That doesn’t seem like hypocrisy to me; it’s just bigoted inhumanity. (Which Paul had plenty of.)

          I’d also say that liberal Christianity, like liberal religion more generally, does in fact “hurt others” by licensing religious faith, religious authority, and religious privilege in the first place. Anyone who responds to “GOD HATES FAGS” with “NO GOD DOESN’T” has conceded the two points on which GHF is actually vulnerable: (1) the notion that anyone has a good reason to believe that “God” exists in the first place and (2) the notion that it actually matters what that “God” thinks about any question. Instead, liberal religion amounts to conceding all of the issues that fundies need to win and simply pretending that the invisible supernatural whatsit happens to be humane. That’s an argument that the fundies can and do win (not least because the Bible and Qur’an depict a deity that’s a disgusting reprobate, and liberals turning a blind eye to that literary reality doesn’t make it go away).

          And c’mon: there are barely over 50 comments on this thread. You really can’t find jdm8‘s submissions?

    • Alfred Hussein Neuman

      I know what you mean.  Why can’t more Christians be like Muslims?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amy-Caswell/100000705227820 Amy Caswell

    I guess this means that even if the liberal Christians want to be nicer and call out the hypocritical, hateful Christians that they will be told to shut up. Nice to know.

  • http://twitter.com/Sullivan_Smith Kevin Sullivan

    When I read “there are some good ones out there”, it made me chuckle and think of that old racist thing where a racist will say something mean about, say, black people and then someone black gets offended and the racist says “Oh, I don’t mean YOU, Gary. You’re one of the good ones.”

    I’m not comparing the two comments, obviously, just saying that’s what it made me think over, albeit totally unrelated.

    OK, I’m going to go back to my Diet Coke now…

  • http://twitter.com/Sullivan_Smith Kevin Sullivan

    When I read “there are some good ones out there”, it made me chuckle and think of that old racist thing where a racist will say something mean about, say, black people and then someone black gets offended and the racist says “Oh, I don’t mean YOU, Gary. You’re one of the good ones.”

    I’m not comparing the two comments, obviously, just saying that’s what it made me think over, albeit totally unrelated.

    OK, I’m going to go back to my Diet Coke now…

  • http://twitter.com/Sullivan_Smith Kevin Sullivan

    When I read “there are some good ones out there”, it made me chuckle and think of that old racist thing where a racist will say something mean about, say, black people and then someone black gets offended and the racist says “Oh, I don’t mean YOU, Gary. You’re one of the good ones.”

    I’m not comparing the two comments, obviously, just saying that’s what it made me think over, albeit totally unrelated.

    OK, I’m going to go back to my Diet Coke now…

  • http://twitter.com/Sullivan_Smith Kevin Sullivan

    When I read “there are some good ones out there”, it made me chuckle and think of that old racist thing where a racist will say something mean about, say, black people and then someone black gets offended and the racist says “Oh, I don’t mean YOU, Gary. You’re one of the good ones.”

    I’m not comparing the two comments, obviously, just saying that’s what it made me think over, albeit totally unrelated.

    OK, I’m going to go back to my Diet Coke now…

  • http://twitter.com/ErinKohlenberg Erin Kohlenberg

    It’s so embarrassing that Mark Driscoll is from my hometown of Seattle, has his mega- multi-branch church in Seattle, and that I know people who go.  I’m apologizing on behalf of Seattle.

    • Anonymous

      I feel you. I have John Hagee in my town. :/

      • pureone

        Must fix. “Feel for”. “Feel you” has a completely different meaning. John Hagee- Actually I kinda like him in a weird way- He’s the Boss Hogg of evangelism.

        • http://www.facebook.com/tina.marie.555 Tina Marie

          I feel for you too! Osteen here in Houston.

          • http://happycat.pip.verisignlabs.com/ Chris aka Happy Cat

            We have Joyce Meyer here in St. Louis (a suburb actually, but close enough).

          • http://happycat.pip.verisignlabs.com/ Chris aka Happy Cat

            We have Joyce Meyer here in St. Louis (a suburb actually, but close enough).

            • Blasphemous_Kansan

              Phelps 90 minutes away here….  : /

              • Joan Kelly

                Pat Robertson down the block.  : (

  • http://twitter.com/ErinKohlenberg Erin Kohlenberg

    It’s so embarrassing that Mark Driscoll is from my hometown of Seattle, has his mega- multi-branch church in Seattle, and that I know people who go.  I’m apologizing on behalf of Seattle.

  • http://twitter.com/ErinKohlenberg Erin Kohlenberg

    It’s so embarrassing that Mark Driscoll is from my hometown of Seattle, has his mega- multi-branch church in Seattle, and that I know people who go.  I’m apologizing on behalf of Seattle.

  • holeydood3

    Disqus is gone?

  • rich samuels

    If it has it’s taken out a lot of comments.

  • Trace

    “ridicule those who disagree with you”

    Umh, talking about pulpits…haven’t we just seen a little bit too much of that around our online communities lately to make too much of a fuss about it? Some of our own don’t like much dissent either.

    I will humbly ST*U now.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Trace, true.  But at least our own will always admit that their positions on issues are their own and not the opinion of some inerrant omniscient omnipotent being that must be obeyed or suffer eternal punishment.  The problem is that religion tends to amplify certainty (and therefore arrogance) that one’s position is the correct one.  It is always “God and I have this position while little pitiful you have that position”.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Trace, true.  But at least our own will always admit that their positions on issues are their own and not the opinion of some inerrant omniscient omnipotent being that must be obeyed or suffer eternal punishment.  The problem is that religion tends to amplify certainty (and therefore arrogance) that one’s position is the correct one.  It is always “God and I have this position while little pitiful you have that position”.

      • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

        Exactly, most atheists have no problem with homosexuality because we have no doctrine about it. All we have are studies of homosexual relationships, the welfare of children to homosexual parents, etc. If there was something wrong with it, we’d know about it. All Christians have against homosexuality is…”Because God said so.”

        They may try to make excuses, like gay males having a high rate of HIV infections, but they assume that gays invented HIV and that it wasn’t brought about by some monkey/human blood transfer along the Mediterranean. But that’s what happens when David Barton is your historian. And facts are God’s kryptonite.

      • Trace

        Agreed.

      • http://prodigalnomore.wordpress.com/ Benjamin Baxter

        Certainty is of the substance of faith, but arrogance is, in the Aristotelian sense, an accident to faith.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Trace, true.  But at least our own will always admit that their positions on issues are their own and not the opinion of some inerrant omniscient omnipotent being that must be obeyed or suffer eternal punishment.  The problem is that religion tends to amplify certainty (and therefore arrogance) that one’s position is the correct one.  It is always “God and I have this position while little pitiful you have that position”.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Trace, true.  But at least our own will always admit that their positions on issues are their own and not the opinion of some inerrant omniscient omnipotent being that must be obeyed or suffer eternal punishment.  The problem is that religion tends to amplify certainty (and therefore arrogance) that one’s position is the correct one.  It is always “God and I have this position while little pitiful you have that position”.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Trace, true.  But at least our own will always admit that their positions on issues are their own and not the opinion of some inerrant omniscient omnipotent being that must be obeyed or suffer eternal punishment.  The problem is that religion tends to amplify certainty (and therefore arrogance) that one’s position is the correct one.  It is always “God and I have this position while little pitiful you have that position”.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Trace, true.  But at least our own will always admit that their positions on issues are their own and not the opinion of some inerrant omniscient omnipotent being that must be obeyed or suffer eternal punishment.  The problem is that religion tends to amplify certainty (and therefore arrogance) that one’s position is the correct one.  It is always “God and I have this position while little pitiful you have that position”.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Trace, true.  But at least our own will always admit that their positions on issues are their own and not the opinion of some inerrant omniscient omnipotent being that must be obeyed or suffer eternal punishment.  The problem is that religion tends to amplify certainty (and therefore arrogance) that one’s position is the correct one.  It is always “God and I have this position while little pitiful you have that position”.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Trace, true.  But at least our own will always admit that their positions on issues are their own and not the opinion of some inerrant omniscient omnipotent being that must be obeyed or suffer eternal punishment.  The problem is that religion tends to amplify certainty (and therefore arrogance) that one’s position is the correct one.  It is always “God and I have this position while little pitiful you have that position”.

    • Greg

      Whilst I am sick and tired of the latest – ahem – drama on the net, I don’t think there’s been a problem with people calling others out for their shouting from their pulpits whilst it’s been going on. That is one of the things Hemant is advocating, I think. Also, can’t help but agree re: the dissent thing. There are certain big names I’ve been rather disappointed by during all this.Anyway, I don’t think ridicule is something that should automatically be discarded. There is a certain type of prejudice that cannot be reasoned with, but ridicule is a wonderful way of showing how repulsive their views are. (Eg: WBC – ridiculing the Phelps can be effective)

    • Greg

      Whilst I am sick and tired of the latest – ahem – drama on the net, I don’t think there’s been a problem with people calling others out for their shouting from their pulpits whilst it’s been going on. That is one of the things Hemant is advocating, I think. Also, can’t help but agree re: the dissent thing. There are certain big names I’ve been rather disappointed by during all this.Anyway, I don’t think ridicule is something that should automatically be discarded. There is a certain type of prejudice that cannot be reasoned with, but ridicule is a wonderful way of showing how repulsive their views are. (Eg: WBC – ridiculing the Phelps can be effective)

      • Trace

    • Greg

      Whilst I am sick and tired of the latest – ahem – drama on the net, I don’t think there’s been a problem with people calling others out for their shouting from their pulpits whilst it’s been going on. That is one of the things Hemant is advocating, I think. Also, can’t help but agree re: the dissent thing. There are certain big names I’ve been rather disappointed by during all this.Anyway, I don’t think ridicule is something that should automatically be discarded. There is a certain type of prejudice that cannot be reasoned with, but ridicule is a wonderful way of showing how repulsive their views are. (Eg: WBC – ridiculing the Phelps can be effective)

    • Greg

      Whilst I am sick and tired of the latest – ahem – drama on the net, I don’t think there’s been a problem with people calling others out for their shouting from their pulpits whilst it’s been going on. That is one of the things Hemant is advocating, I think. Also, can’t help but agree re: the dissent thing. There are certain big names I’ve been rather disappointed by during all this.Anyway, I don’t think ridicule is something that should automatically be discarded. There is a certain type of prejudice that cannot be reasoned with, but ridicule is a wonderful way of showing how repulsive their views are. (Eg: WBC – ridiculing the Phelps can be effective)

    • Greg

      Whilst I am sick and tired of the latest – ahem – drama on the net, I don’t think there’s been a problem with people calling others out for their shouting from their pulpits whilst it’s been going on. That is one of the things Hemant is advocating, I think. Also, can’t help but agree re: the dissent thing. There are certain big names I’ve been rather disappointed by during all this.Anyway, I don’t think ridicule is something that should automatically be discarded. There is a certain type of prejudice that cannot be reasoned with, but ridicule is a wonderful way of showing how repulsive their views are. (Eg: WBC – ridiculing the Phelps can be effective)

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SU3L6O6MNAPXLBIGJGEX5NW5UQ jqb

      “haven’t we just seen a little bit too much of that around our online
      communities lately to make too much of a fuss about it?” — No. Look up “tu quoque fallacy”.

      “Some of our own
      don’t like much dissent either.” — Hypocritical much? Dinging people for making “too much of a fuss” is an attempt to stifle dissent.

      • Trace

        Fine, be that way :)

      • http://prodigalnomore.wordpress.com/ Benjamin Baxter

        So long as you make a fuss about it in yourselves too and do not absolve yourself of the hatred, then defining the initial statement as a tu quoque fallacy applies. 

  • Trace

    “ridicule those who disagree with you”

    Umh, talking about pulpits…haven’t we just seen a little bit too much of that around our online communities lately to make too much of a fuss about it? Some of our own don’t like much dissent either.

    I will humbly ST*U now.

  • Trace

    “ridicule those who disagree with you”

    Umh, talking about pulpits…haven’t we just seen a little bit too much of that around our online communities lately to make too much of a fuss about it? Some of our own don’t like much dissent either.

    I will humbly ST*U now.

  • Anonymous

    There seems to be an epidemic of Christians responding to anyone who takes a differing opinion with charges of slander (curiously, even when the alleged defamatory remarks are in writing). I’ve even seen some of it in my wanderings here on Patheos.

    As long as Mr. Bradley’s got his dictionary out, maybe he should look up slander as well. He might discover why it can’t possibly apply to Ms. Held Evan’s statement.

    • Rieux

      Well, see, I imagine his literacy level is such that he needs to read Evan’s statement out loud to himself in order to understand it. Voila: slander.

      Though, er, that means he himself is the declarant. But that means he saves on attorney’s fees.

  • Anonymous

    There seems to be an epidemic of Christians responding to anyone who takes a differing opinion with charges of slander (curiously, even when the alleged defamatory remarks are in writing). I’ve even seen some of it in my wanderings here on Patheos.

    As long as Mr. Bradley’s got his dictionary out, maybe he should look up slander as well. He might discover why it can’t possibly apply to Ms. Held Evan’s statement.

  • Anonymous

    There seems to be an epidemic of Christians responding to anyone who takes a differing opinion with charges of slander (curiously, even when the alleged defamatory remarks are in writing). I’ve even seen some of it in my wanderings here on Patheos.

    As long as Mr. Bradley’s got his dictionary out, maybe he should look up slander as well. He might discover why it can’t possibly apply to Ms. Held Evan’s statement.

  • Anonymous

    There seems to be an epidemic of Christians responding to anyone who takes a differing opinion with charges of slander (curiously, even when the alleged defamatory remarks are in writing). I’ve even seen some of it in my wanderings here on Patheos.

    As long as Mr. Bradley’s got his dictionary out, maybe he should look up slander as well. He might discover why it can’t possibly apply to Ms. Held Evan’s statement.

  • Anonymous

    There seems to be an epidemic of Christians responding to anyone who takes a differing opinion with charges of slander (curiously, even when the alleged defamatory remarks are in writing). I’ve even seen some of it in my wanderings here on Patheos.

    As long as Mr. Bradley’s got his dictionary out, maybe he should look up slander as well. He might discover why it can’t possibly apply to Ms. Held Evan’s statement.

  • Anonymous

    There seems to be an epidemic of Christians responding to anyone who takes a differing opinion with charges of slander (curiously, even when the alleged defamatory remarks are in writing). I’ve even seen some of it in my wanderings here on Patheos.

    As long as Mr. Bradley’s got his dictionary out, maybe he should look up slander as well. He might discover why it can’t possibly apply to Ms. Held Evan’s statement.

  • Anonymous

    There seems to be an epidemic of Christians responding to anyone who takes a differing opinion with charges of slander (curiously, even when the alleged defamatory remarks are in writing). I’ve even seen some of it in my wanderings here on Patheos.

    As long as Mr. Bradley’s got his dictionary out, maybe he should look up slander as well. He might discover why it can’t possibly apply to Ms. Held Evan’s statement.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there’s anything loving about what Mark Driscoll does, so calling him out as a bully isn’t a libelous statement.  In fact, I think he’s probably a false teacher according to the bible he claims to believe in, there’s nothing in Jesus’ statements that says it’s OK for leaders to mock people, nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence.  While Jesus had a peaceful ministry, Driscoll often promotes martial arts as a legitimate outlet for “manliness”, even going to the point of saying God made men for fighting.  To that, I have to ask, where in the bible was Jesus setting up his octagon rings?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there’s anything loving about what Mark Driscoll does, so calling him out as a bully isn’t a libelous statement.  In fact, I think he’s probably a false teacher according to the bible he claims to believe in, there’s nothing in Jesus’ statements that says it’s OK for leaders to mock people, nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence.  While Jesus had a peaceful ministry, Driscoll often promotes martial arts as a legitimate outlet for “manliness”, even going to the point of saying God made men for fighting.  To that, I have to ask, where in the bible was Jesus setting up his octagon rings?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there’s anything loving about what Mark Driscoll does, so calling him out as a bully isn’t a libelous statement.  In fact, I think he’s probably a false teacher according to the bible he claims to believe in, there’s nothing in Jesus’ statements that says it’s OK for leaders to mock people, nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence.  While Jesus had a peaceful ministry, Driscoll often promotes martial arts as a legitimate outlet for “manliness”, even going to the point of saying God made men for fighting.  To that, I have to ask, where in the bible was Jesus setting up his octagon rings?

    • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

      I’m pretty sure that intimidation with endless fire and torment was part of Jesus’ ministry. Although, that might have been the back-up plan if their targets weren’t thrilled with the idea of heaven. It sure seemed to be talke about quite a lot, though. “Gather the withered branches and toss them in the fire” and all that. Plus…

      “I come not to bring peace, but a sword.” – Violent Jesus.

      Jesus destroyed a fig tree for not bearing fruit. (Figurative, but violence against women or nonbelievers?)

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SU3L6O6MNAPXLBIGJGEX5NW5UQ jqb

      “nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence” — um, eternal hellfire is an NT concept.

      • Anonymous

        OK, but that’s a little different than beating people up though.

        • http://disienai.tumblr.com/ Semipermeable

          Which is the far worse punishment, burning and being tortured for eternity or getting slugged? Personally, I’d take the physical slugging, at least it ends. If you take them literally, the two aren’t even in the same realm of suffering. It’s a bit like comparing getting hit with a door to being dismembered again and again for eternity.

          But, of course many of us don’t believe in hell of heaven, and I’ve been told that the bible doesn’t really go into the hell thing much, that the church and those in power created it as a means of control. (Feel fee to correct me on that)

          • Anonymous

            The verses I’ve found where hell was threatened by Jesus was against those that were grossly unjust.  I think it’s mostly Paul and those claiming to be Paul that upped the ante.

            • Rieux

              The verses I’ve found where hell was threatened by Jesus was against those that were grossly unjust.

              Wow. That’s all you “found”? It appears you haven’t spent much effort looking:

              [W]hosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. - Jesus, in Matthew 5:22[I]f thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. - Jesus, in Matthew 5:29-30Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. - Jesus, in Matthew 8:10-12[F]ear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. - Jesus, in Matthew 10:28[T]hou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. - Jesus, in Matthew 11:23-24The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. - Jesus, in Matthew 13:41-42[T]he kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. - Jesus, in Matthew 13:47-50Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. - Jesus, in Matthew 18:7-9Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. - Jesus, in Matthew 23:14-15Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! … Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? - Jesus, in Matthew 23:29, 33Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. - Jesus, in Matthew 25:40-46Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. - Jesus, in Mark 3:28-29if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. - Jesus, in Mark 9:43-49Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation. - Jesus, in Mark 12:38-40O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. - Jesus, in Luke 3:7-9[I]nto whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. - Jesus, in Luke 10:10-15Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. - Jesus, in Luke 12:4-5[I]t came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. - Jesus, in Luke 16:22-31Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation. - Jesus, in Luke 20:46-47[T]he hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. - Jesus, in John 5:28-29

              So despite your attempts to brush off all of the overwhelming inhumanity of the Gospels’ Jesus and his repeated shrieking about Hell, there is nothing in there to indicate that all of the above crazed threats were directed only “against those that were grossly unjust.” This makes your claim dishonest.Then, you are entirely failing to consider the ugliness of your position. Jesus, above, is threatening eternal torture on huge numbers of people who have (at worst) committed finite crimes. Your excuse pretends that it is morally acceptable to respond to “those who [a]re grossly unjust” by eternally torturing them. That is a disgusting, horrifically immoral stance. If Christian faith has led you to turn a blind eye to such a horror, that faith has horrendously deformed your conscience—and that presents a rather strong reason to be opposed to any such faith.Regardless of desperate and unthinking excuses, eternally torturing people is an unspeakably evil thing to do. Threatening such torture is of course less bad; indeed, if such threats are merely a symptom of mental illness, and the person making the threats is not actually in a position to torture anyone, then the threats are far more sad than evil.But in light of the fact that Jesus’ most common message in the Gospels (though apparently you haven’t “found” it; how odd) is that his enemies should and would be brutalized and tortured, it’s awfully hard to understand how anyone considers that character to be someone we should emulate or admire. The guy repeatedly preaches shockingly ugly violence. It isn’t actually true that he directs his threats solely at “those that were grossly unjust”—and even if he did, the threats would still be disgusting. So what exactly are we nonbelievers supposed to find worthwhile, or even defensible, here?

              • Rieux

                Oh, for goodness’ sake. WTF is Disqus doing to my paragraph breaks in the Bible-verses blockquote? I did post them as ordinary paragraphs, same as the text outside the blockquote. (No preview available, either.) My kingdom for a useable comment system.

                See if this looks any better: 

                [W]hosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. – Jesus, in Matthew 5:22[I]f thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. – Jesus, in Matthew 5:29-30Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. – Jesus, in Matthew 8:10-12[F]ear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. – Jesus, in Matthew 10:28[T]hou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. – Jesus, in Matthew 11:23-24The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. – Jesus, in Matthew 13:41-42[T]he kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. – Jesus, in Matthew 13:47-50Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. – Jesus, in Matthew 18:7-9Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. – Jesus, in Matthew 23:14-15Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! … Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? – Jesus, in Matthew 23:29, 33Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. – Jesus, in Matthew 25:40-46Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. – Jesus, in Mark 3:28-29if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. – Jesus, in Mark 9:43-49Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation. – Jesus, in Mark 12:38-40O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. – Jesus, in Luke 3:7-9[I]nto whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. – Jesus, in Luke 10:10-15Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. – Jesus, in Luke 12:4-5[I]t came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. – Jesus, in Luke 16:22-31Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation. – Jesus, in Luke 20:46-47[T]he hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. – Jesus, in John 5:28-29

              • Rieux

                Actually, Disqus killed all of my paragraph breaks. Here’s what the closing text was supposed to look like:So despite your attempts to brush off all of the overwhelming inhumanity of the Gospels’ Jesus and his repeated shrieking about Hell, there is nothing in there to indicate that all of the above crazed threats were directed only “against those that were grossly unjust.” This makes your claim dishonest.Then, you are entirely failing to consider the ugliness of your position. Jesus, above, is threatening eternal torture on huge numbers of people who have (at worst) committed finite crimes. Your excuse pretends that it is morally acceptable to respond to “those who [a]re grossly unjust” by eternally torturing them. That is a disgusting, horrifically immoral stance. If Christian faith has led you to turn a blind eye to such a horror, that faith has horrendously deformed your conscience—and that presents a rather strong reason to be opposed to any such faith.Regardless of desperate and unthinking excuses, eternally torturing people is an unspeakably evil thing to do. Threatening such torture is of course less bad; indeed, if such threats are merely a symptom of mental illness, and the person making the threats is not actually in a position to torture anyone, then the threats are far more sad than evil.But in light of the fact that Jesus’ most common message in the Gospels (though apparently you haven’t “found” it; how odd) is that his enemies should and would be brutalized and tortured, it’s awfully hard to understand how anyone considers that character to be someone we should emulate or admire. The guy repeatedly preaches shockingly ugly violence. It isn’t actually true that he directs his threats solely at “those that were grossly unjust”—and even if he did, the threats would still be disgusting. So what exactly are we nonbelievers supposed to find worthwhile, or even defensible, here?

          • Anonymous

            The verses I’ve found where hell was threatened by Jesus was against those that were grossly unjust.  I think it’s mostly Paul and those claiming to be Paul that upped the ante.

        • Rieux

          jdm8:

          OK, but that’s a little different than beating people up though, physical violence vs. spiritual violence.

          Excuse me? Which part of “furnace of fire” (Matthew 13:42, and there are a HUGE number more where that came from) is anything but “physical violence”? In the Gospels, Jesus shrieks that his enemies will be agonizingly tortured—eternally—more frequently than he delivers any other message, including anything about love or peace. And torture happens to be a physical thing.
          Again and again in the Gospels, Jesus threatens brutal torture on anyone who defies him. To the extent that’s a legitimate threat, I’d say it’s vastly worse than “beating people up,” and there’s no basis to brush it off as “spiritual” rather than “physical violence.” It’s horrible and wrong, and how any Christian (or non-Christian fan of the Gospels’ Jesus) can overlook how ugly it is escapes me.

          How many times has Jesus punched a disciple in the face for talking back?

          “Punched in the face”? WTF? jqb cited hellfire, not knuckle sandwiches (which are—hello?—not nearly as frightening). And Jesus in fact does condone both owning and beating slaves (Luke 12:47). He refuses to provide health care to the daughter of a poor and desperate woman because the woman and daughter are Greeks, and Greeks are “dogs” (Mark 7:24-30); what parent wouldn’t prefer being “punched in the face” to watching her child in agony (and getting sneered at by a racist asshole when she asks for his help)? And he promises that, at the Second Coming, he will order all of his loyal followers to brutally rob and slaughter anyone who questions his rule (Luke 19:12-27). How can you pretend that being “punched in the face” is less violent, or offensive, than that?

          As with so many haughty conventional-wisdom takes on Jesus and Christianity, the nakedpastor cartoon in the original post misses (and indeed papers over) the serious problem: the Gospels’ Jesus is a much bigger “bully,” and indeed sociopath, than Mark Driscoll is. If people just paid more attention to what the Gospels actually say, I don’t think we’d see too many pretending that following the example of the main character of those books would improve Driscoll’s (or just about anyone’s) behavior.

          Now here is a curious thing. It is believed by everybody that while [God] was in heaven he was stern, hard, resentful, jealous, and cruel; but that when he came down to earth and assumed the name Jesus Christ, he became the opposite of what he was before: that is to say, he became sweet, and gentle, merciful, forgiving, and all harshness disappeared from his nature and a deep and yearning love for his poor human children took its place. Whereas it was as Jesus Christ that he devised hell and proclaimed it!

          Which is to say, that as the meek and gentle Savior he was a thousand billion times crueler than ever he was in the Old Testament — oh, incomparably more atrocious than ever he was when he was at the very worst in those old days!

          Meek and gentle? By and by we will examine this popular sarcasm by the light of the hell which he invented.

          - Mark Twain

          • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

            @f905196f5f54988e3448d7fd99359a72:disqus
            I agree with both you and Mark Twian 100%.  At best, Jesus is like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.  In mortal life Jesus is all lovey-dovey but in the afterlife he will see to it that you are tortured for eternity if you don’t pledge yourself to him.

            P.S.  I’m a big fan of Twain’s Letters from the Earth.

            • Cassie

              While it probably won’t make any difference to most of you, I just want to point out that there are Christian denominations which do not hold that hell is for eternity. 

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell_in_Christian_beliefs#Seventh-day_Adventism

              Look under Protestantism (B) Conditional immortality and annihilationism.

              • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

                I grant you that a divine scheme without eternal torture for finite crimes is better than a divine scheme with eternal torture.  But IMO, there is still a lot of man-made-up details in the divine schemes believed by these other denominations (like Seventh-day Adventists).

                • Joan Kelly

                  Exactly.  I offer:  The Original Teachings of Jesus:  Recovered, Translated and Explained by, Michael Buckner, M. Div., Ph. D.
                  ISBN  1-4259-1889-1, 174 pages, $9.00, I think, from Amazon.

                  To me, God is simply – love.  It’s just sitting in the peace of my backyard and feeling the sun on my face.  It’s good, ya know?

                • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

                  Joan, if you don’t believe in hell, that’s wonderful. I think it makes you more moral than the average Christian and far more moral than the deity described in the Bible.

                  However, Christians who reject the notion of hell and preach universal salvation are a tiny minority of Christians. If more members of your religion thought like you (and jettisoned hell, sin, homophobia and sexism), then the world would be a better place.

                  But it still doesn’t make what you believe true. You may get a good feeling from believing that “‘God is simply – love,” but atheists have no reason to believe that your god exists in the first place. From our perspective, a nice fantasy is still just a fantasy.

                • Joan Kelly

                  Hi Anna,

                  I really don’t see my beliefs as a “religion” – more a system by which I connect with MY soul.  I have no interest in converting anyone else – that’s not my job this time.

                  I joined this discussion to present MY view only.  If you like it – fine, if not – equally as fine.

                  The important thing is that what I believe is MY truth.  Just as what you believe is YOURS.  Nothing else makes sense and often causes – what? – wars?  Also, it is called “Friendly Atheist”; I kinda have a hunch fundies need to hear from you guys more often.  (Grin).

                  I see “God” as the author of my being and JC as my brother.  Took me a long to get there, much of it spent “in my closet”  (Smile), but I’m very glad I’m here. 

                  Truthfully, Anna, the many Atheists in my group do believe in love.

                  We all, I think, need to be careful of “grouping”.  All Christians aren’t fundamentalists no more than all Atheists want to kill preachers.  Sometimes I think we need to just take a step back and pay attention to what we’re thinking ‘cuz that stuff gets away with us very easily.  Rieux comes to mind – his rants remind me of Pastor Jones yelling and pointing the finger at Norview Baptist Church when I was a kid.  No thank you.

                  An-ny way – I hope you have exactly the kind of day you want.  Thanks.

                • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

                  Joan, I’m not dissuading you from joining the discussion. On the contrary, thoughtful Christians are always welcome.

                  I’m all about building bridges, but there’s really no need for you to defend Christianity. We already know that not all Christians are harsh fundamentalists or over-the-top evangelicals. Most of us are atheists who live in Western culture, and, as such, most of us have Christian friends and family members.

                  However, most of us find Christian theology repugnant, and that is what is being criticized here. There are many lovely, wonderful Christians, but the vast majority of them believe ugly things, and those things are worthy of criticism. Eternal torture (which most Christians say they believe in) is a ghastly notion and one that deserves to be roundly condemned.

                  If you’re up for the challenge, great! We can always use more liberal and progressive Christians, but you’re preaching to the choir here. Liberal Christians are more likely to be our allies than our enemies. A more productive task would be standing up to the conservative and orthodox theology followed by most of the Christian population in the United States. They’re the ones who need convincing.

                • Joan Kelly

                  Exactly.  I offer:  The Original Teachings of Jesus:  Recovered, Translated and Explained by, Michael Buckner, M. Div., Ph. D.
                  ISBN  1-4259-1889-1, 174 pages, $9.00, I think, from Amazon.

                  To me, God is simply – love.  It’s just sitting in the peace of my backyard and feeling the sun on my face.  It’s good, ya know?

              • Rieux

                That’s nice.

                Unfortunately, Jesus makes it entirely clear in the Gospels that Hell is for eternity. So a Christian denomination arbitrarily deciding to ignore the direct testimony of Scripture because they don’t like it doesn’t really mean much—especially to the far larger proportion of Christians who instead read (that portion of) the Bible honestly.

                A defense of Christianity that requires the defender to take a red editor’s pen to the words of Jesus (based on nothing but his own personal predilections) seems to me severely dubious.

                Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.- Jesus, in Mark 3:28-29Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.- Jesus, in Matthew 25:40-46

                • Joan Kelly

                  And just how many times have the “words” of the Bible been interpreted by whom?  James put a slew of monks to work doing his translation with footnotes to list probable errors.

                  The book is filled with metaphors from the time – which I sure don’t have a clue how to make sensible for today.

                  Personally, I can’t accept a word for word take.  The Nag Hammadi comes close to filling my heart.  The Gospel of Thomas much more so.

                  But, to each his/her own, huh?  Peace all.

                • Rieux

                  And just how many times have the “words” of the Bible been interpreted by whom?

                  What does that have to do with anything? Are you seriously pretending that all of the horrific things Jesus says in the Gospels are the result of mistranslation? How could you possibly know this?

                  As I pointed out, and you have simply dismissed without actually addressing, Jesus makes it entirely clear in the Gospels that Hell is eternal. Your excuses in response amount to little more than closing your eyes, sticking your fingers in your ears, and chanting “I CAN’T HEAR YOU I CAN’T HEAR YOU” whenever presented with something you find unpleasant.

                  The book is filled with metaphors from the time – which I sure don’t have a clue how to make sensible for today.

                  If you actually believed that, the honest approach would be for you to reject the entire book, rather than cherry-picking passages you like and then pretending that thoughtless excuses such as “I can’t accept a word for word take” dispose of the extremely clear (and reprehensible) meanings of hundreds of other passages. The evils in the Bible are no less the product of any “word for word take” than is any positive message anyone finds in it.

                  Your self-pitying whining about “MY truth” is nothing more than overwhelming religious privilege. On this point (among, we can be confident, several others) “YOUR truth,” just like a Creationist’s truth or a geocentrist’s truth, is contrary to fact. And your attempt to pathologize critical inquiry—no, it is not challenges to “MY truth”s that “cause wars”—is outrageous. I also haven’t “grouped” you with anyone; your denial of the indisputable content of the Gospels makes you dishonest, but it doesn’t make you part of a “group” (except, I suppose, the group of Christians whose Bible exegesis consists largely of lying to themselves).

                  Your position, in short, is dishonest and cowardly. Adults face the world (including the religious texts that exist in that world) as it actually is, not as they fervently wish it were and are capable of childishly pretending it is.

                  Complain all you want about what a big meanie you think I am. Many of us merely find the stubborn refusal you demonstrate to face reality—complete with personal attacks you direct at anyone who attempts to show you that reality—to be notably ignoble and destructive.

                  It is not unethical to show you that “YOUR truth” is not true.

                • Joan Kelly

                  I give.  You win.  Enjoy it.

                • Rieux

                  I give.

                  No, you don’t. You’re just too craven to face either the factual or the ethical reality of what you’re doing here.

                • Rieux

                  And just how many times have the “words” of the Bible been interpreted by whom?

                  What does that have to do with anything? Are you seriously pretending that all of the horrific things Jesus says in the Gospels are the result of mistranslation? How could you possibly know this?

                  As I pointed out, and you have simply dismissed without actually addressing, Jesus makes it entirely clear in the Gospels that Hell is eternal. Your excuses in response amount to little more than closing your eyes, sticking your fingers in your ears, and chanting “I CAN’T HEAR YOU I CAN’T HEAR YOU” whenever presented with something you find unpleasant.

                  The book is filled with metaphors from the time – which I sure don’t have a clue how to make sensible for today.

                  If you actually believed that, the honest approach would be for you to reject the entire book, rather than cherry-picking passages you like and then pretending that thoughtless excuses such as “I can’t accept a word for word take” dispose of the extremely clear (and reprehensible) meanings of hundreds of other passages. The evils in the Bible are no less the product of any “word for word take” than is any positive message anyone finds in it.

                  Your self-pitying whining about “MY truth” is nothing more than overwhelming religious privilege. On this point (among, we can be confident, several others) “YOUR truth,” just like a Creationist’s truth or a geocentrist’s truth, is contrary to fact. And your attempt to pathologize critical inquiry—no, it is not challenges to “MY truth”s that “cause wars”—is outrageous. I also haven’t “grouped” you with anyone; your denial of the indisputable content of the Gospels makes you dishonest, but it doesn’t make you part of a “group” (except, I suppose, the group of Christians whose Bible exegesis consists largely of lying to themselves).

                  Your position, in short, is dishonest and cowardly. Adults face the world (including the religious texts that exist in that world) as it actually is, not as they fervently wish it were and are capable of childishly pretending it is.

                  Complain all you want about what a big meanie you think I am. Many of us merely find the stubborn refusal you demonstrate to face reality—complete with personal attacks you direct at anyone who attempts to show you that reality—to be notably ignoble and destructive.

                  It is not unethical to show you that “YOUR truth” is not true.

                • Joan Kelly

                  And just how many times have the “words” of the Bible been interpreted by whom?  James put a slew of monks to work doing his translation with footnotes to list probable errors.

                  The book is filled with metaphors from the time – which I sure don’t have a clue how to make sensible for today.

                  Personally, I can’t accept a word for word take.  The Nag Hammadi comes close to filling my heart.  The Gospel of Thomas much more so.

                  But, to each his/her own, huh?  Peace all.

          • Joan Kelly

            Wow – you do go on.  Thanks. 

            I’d just like to say that I believe the original translation for the word “hell” is: to be uncomfortable;  not at peace.  If looked at that way, there’s a whole new slant on JC’s words.

            Source:  George Lamsa, New Testament Lights.

            • Rieux

              Wow – you do go on.

              Cute. It just so happens that the absurd claims I was responding to are bedeviled by a very large amount of contrary evidence. Folks who spend their time responding to equally nonsensical positions, such as creationism, flat-earthism, and moon-landing hoax claims, frequently “do go on” as well.I’m sorry (well, no, I’m not) that it bothers you that your preconceptions about the Gospels are disproved so decisively and repeatedly by such a large amount of scripture.

              I’d just like to say that I believe the original translation for the word “hell” is: to be uncomfortable;  not at peace.

              This is incoherent. The Bible was not initially written in English, so it does not contain “the word ‘hell’” to “translate” at all. Instead, as a precocious fourth-grader could tell you, Bible texts use Hebrew and Greek words that are translated in various English-language Bibles as “hell.”Regardless, your point, such as it is, is a silly red herring. The issue is not what the definition of the word “hell” is; that’s just you trying to dishonestly change the subject.Apparently you didn’t actually read the Gospel passages I quoted. Those passages don’t just use the word “hell” as if it’s self-defining; some of them don’t even use the word at all. Instead, they explain and describe the nature of the fate Jesus is threatening on everyone who disagrees with him.In the Gospel passages I quoted (and you obviously ignored) above, Jesus speaks of “hell fire“; “outer darkness”; “weeping and gnashing of teeth”; “destroy[ing] both soul and body”; Hell being less “tolerable” than the destruction visited on Sodom; “a furnace of fire”; “wailing and gnashing of teeth” (he’s quite a dental sadist, what with all that gnashing); “everlasting fire”; “everlasting punishment”; “eternal damnation”; “fire that shall never be quenched”; “their worm dieth not”; “every one shall be salted with fire”; and “torments” in “flame.”Jesus also specifically declares that it would be better to cut off an eye or an ear than have one’s “whole body … cast into hell.” (By the same token, why should we, as Jesus warns, “Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell,” if hell isn’t such a big deal?) All of the above statements make their meaning perfectly clear; they define by context, far better than any dictionary could, what the Gospels’ Jesus means by “hell.”Presented with all of this textual evidence, you passive-aggressively sneer that I “do go on,” and then you pretend that equivocation on how the word “hell” is defined somehow solves the problem. How absurd.Your notions about the Gospels are simply and demonstrably dishonest. Oddly enough, atheists frequently don’t take kindly to religious apologists who dissemble so willfully about the contents of their religions.

              • Joan Kelly

                I’m truly not as dumb and ignorant as you seem to see me, Rieux.

                • Rieux

                  No, it’s quite clear that you’re neither dumb nor ignorant. Just dishonest, craven, and privileged.

                  Ignorant would be less troublesome, frankly.

      • Joan Kelly

        More important was:  “…..turn the other cheek”.

    • http://www.nowhere-fast.net Tom

      Disclaimer: I’ve spent all day doing a squad competition followed by drinking beer, so I’m… yes.

      Does he really think that men are made for fighting?  Interesting, I checked up on him and didn’t notice that he did my job.This is off topic, I know, but it pisses me off to no end when Christian groups use so much military rhetoric, imagery and structure even though so many of them have not or are unwilling to actually fight in a circumstance when real people are shooting real bullets at the real you.  It’s much easier to talk about men being made by god to fight when you’re not actually on the front ******* line.  It’s also so much simpler to call your self a “soldier for Jesus” when all the “soldiering” you do is belittling people who disagree with you, many of whom actually choose to fight. 

      Then there’s the warhawks who have no intention of picking up an M4 for themselves but are more then willing to ask us to.  Don’t get me started on those jackholes.

    • Rieux

      jdm8:

      nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence.  While Jesus had a peaceful ministry….

      For the reasons explained in the other comments (including mine) on this thread responding to you, the above are absurd misstatements. In the Gospels, Jesus attempts to “intimidate people with the threat of violence” over and over again. The “ministry” described in those books isn’t “peaceful” at all, and one can only come to that conclusion by performing some severe cherry-picking.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there’s anything loving about what Mark Driscoll does, so calling him out as a bully isn’t a libelous statement.  In fact, I think he’s probably a false teacher according to the bible he claims to believe in, there’s nothing in Jesus’ statements that says it’s OK for leaders to mock people, nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence.  While Jesus had a peaceful ministry, Driscoll often promotes martial arts as a legitimate outlet for “manliness”, even going to the point of saying God made men for fighting.  To that, I have to ask, where in the bible was Jesus setting up his octagon rings?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there’s anything loving about what Mark Driscoll does, so calling him out as a bully isn’t a libelous statement.  In fact, I think he’s probably a false teacher according to the bible he claims to believe in, there’s nothing in Jesus’ statements that says it’s OK for leaders to mock people, nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence.  While Jesus had a peaceful ministry, Driscoll often promotes martial arts as a legitimate outlet for “manliness”, even going to the point of saying God made men for fighting.  To that, I have to ask, where in the bible was Jesus setting up his octagon rings?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there’s anything loving about what Mark Driscoll does, so calling him out as a bully isn’t a libelous statement.  In fact, I think he’s probably a false teacher according to the bible he claims to believe in, there’s nothing in Jesus’ statements that says it’s OK for leaders to mock people, nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence.  While Jesus had a peaceful ministry, Driscoll often promotes martial arts as a legitimate outlet for “manliness”, even going to the point of saying God made men for fighting.  To that, I have to ask, where in the bible was Jesus setting up his octagon rings?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there’s anything loving about what Mark Driscoll does, so calling him out as a bully isn’t a libelous statement.  In fact, I think he’s probably a false teacher according to the bible he claims to believe in, there’s nothing in Jesus’ statements that says it’s OK for leaders to mock people, nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence.  While Jesus had a peaceful ministry, Driscoll often promotes martial arts as a legitimate outlet for “manliness”, even going to the point of saying God made men for fighting.  To that, I have to ask, where in the bible was Jesus setting up his octagon rings?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there’s anything loving about what Mark Driscoll does, so calling him out as a bully isn’t a libelous statement.  In fact, I think he’s probably a false teacher according to the bible he claims to believe in, there’s nothing in Jesus’ statements that says it’s OK for leaders to mock people, nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence.  While Jesus had a peaceful ministry, Driscoll often promotes martial arts as a legitimate outlet for “manliness”, even going to the point of saying God made men for fighting.  To that, I have to ask, where in the bible was Jesus setting up his octagon rings?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there’s anything loving about what Mark Driscoll does, so calling him out as a bully isn’t a libelous statement.  In fact, I think he’s probably a false teacher according to the bible he claims to believe in, there’s nothing in Jesus’ statements that says it’s OK for leaders to mock people, nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence.  While Jesus had a peaceful ministry, Driscoll often promotes martial arts as a legitimate outlet for “manliness”, even going to the point of saying God made men for fighting.  To that, I have to ask, where in the bible was Jesus setting up his octagon rings?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there’s anything loving about what Mark Driscoll does, so calling him out as a bully isn’t a libelous statement.  In fact, I think he’s probably a false teacher according to the bible he claims to believe in, there’s nothing in Jesus’ statements that says it’s OK for leaders to mock people, nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence.  While Jesus had a peaceful ministry, Driscoll often promotes martial arts as a legitimate outlet for “manliness”, even going to the point of saying God made men for fighting.  To that, I have to ask, where in the bible was Jesus setting up his octagon rings?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there’s anything loving about what Mark Driscoll does, so calling him out as a bully isn’t a libelous statement.  In fact, I think he’s probably a false teacher according to the bible he claims to believe in, there’s nothing in Jesus’ statements that says it’s OK for leaders to mock people, nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence.  While Jesus had a peaceful ministry, Driscoll often promotes martial arts as a legitimate outlet for “manliness”, even going to the point of saying God made men for fighting.  To that, I have to ask, where in the bible was Jesus setting up his octagon rings?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there’s anything loving about what Mark Driscoll does, so calling him out as a bully isn’t a libelous statement.  In fact, I think he’s probably a false teacher according to the bible he claims to believe in, there’s nothing in Jesus’ statements that says it’s OK for leaders to mock people, nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence.  While Jesus had a peaceful ministry, Driscoll often promotes martial arts as a legitimate outlet for “manliness”, even going to the point of saying God made men for fighting.  To that, I have to ask, where in the bible was Jesus setting up his octagon rings?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there’s anything loving about what Mark Driscoll does, so calling him out as a bully isn’t a libelous statement.  In fact, I think he’s probably a false teacher according to the bible he claims to believe in, there’s nothing in Jesus’ statements that says it’s OK for leaders to mock people, nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence.  While Jesus had a peaceful ministry, Driscoll often promotes martial arts as a legitimate outlet for “manliness”, even going to the point of saying God made men for fighting.  To that, I have to ask, where in the bible was Jesus setting up his octagon rings?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there’s anything loving about what Mark Driscoll does, so calling him out as a bully isn’t a libelous statement.  In fact, I think he’s probably a false teacher according to the bible he claims to believe in, there’s nothing in Jesus’ statements that says it’s OK for leaders to mock people, nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence.  While Jesus had a peaceful ministry, Driscoll often promotes martial arts as a legitimate outlet for “manliness”, even going to the point of saying God made men for fighting.  To that, I have to ask, where in the bible was Jesus setting up his octagon rings?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there’s anything loving about what Mark Driscoll does, so calling him out as a bully isn’t a libelous statement.  In fact, I think he’s probably a false teacher according to the bible he claims to believe in, there’s nothing in Jesus’ statements that says it’s OK for leaders to mock people, nothing in Jesus’ ministry that says it’s OK to intimidate people with the threat of violence.  While Jesus had a peaceful ministry, Driscoll often promotes martial arts as a legitimate outlet for “manliness”, even going to the point of saying God made men for fighting.  To that, I have to ask, where in the bible was Jesus setting up his octagon rings?

  • Anonymous

    I love how the last answer to all this is not to actually start thinking, but rather to keep being a sheep but find some other shepherd. If you’re starting to realize that the guy you’re letting do the thinking for you is sending you the wrong way, you ought to realize that thinking for yourself might actually be the better choice. There is no need to continue being a sheep, no need to find another “flock.”

    (PS: I mostly like this new site, but could something be done about the sheer amount of dull grey? lol)

    ((Formerly Nakor on the old site.))

  • Anonymous

    I love how the last answer to all this is not to actually start thinking, but rather to keep being a sheep but find some other shepherd. If you’re starting to realize that the guy you’re letting do the thinking for you is sending you the wrong way, you ought to realize that thinking for yourself might actually be the better choice. There is no need to continue being a sheep, no need to find another “flock.”

    (PS: I mostly like this new site, but could something be done about the sheer amount of dull grey? lol)

    ((Formerly Nakor on the old site.))

  • Anonymous

    I love how the last answer to all this is not to actually start thinking, but rather to keep being a sheep but find some other shepherd. If you’re starting to realize that the guy you’re letting do the thinking for you is sending you the wrong way, you ought to realize that thinking for yourself might actually be the better choice. There is no need to continue being a sheep, no need to find another “flock.”

    (PS: I mostly like this new site, but could something be done about the sheer amount of dull grey? lol)

    ((Formerly Nakor on the old site.))

  • Anonymous

    I love how the last answer to all this is not to actually start thinking, but rather to keep being a sheep but find some other shepherd. If you’re starting to realize that the guy you’re letting do the thinking for you is sending you the wrong way, you ought to realize that thinking for yourself might actually be the better choice. There is no need to continue being a sheep, no need to find another “flock.”

    (PS: I mostly like this new site, but could something be done about the sheer amount of dull grey? lol)

    ((Formerly Nakor on the old site.))

  • Anonymous

    I love how the last answer to all this is not to actually start thinking, but rather to keep being a sheep but find some other shepherd. If you’re starting to realize that the guy you’re letting do the thinking for you is sending you the wrong way, you ought to realize that thinking for yourself might actually be the better choice. There is no need to continue being a sheep, no need to find another “flock.”

    (PS: I mostly like this new site, but could something be done about the sheer amount of dull grey? lol)

    ((Formerly Nakor on the old site.))

  • Anonymous

    I love how the last answer to all this is not to actually start thinking, but rather to keep being a sheep but find some other shepherd. If you’re starting to realize that the guy you’re letting do the thinking for you is sending you the wrong way, you ought to realize that thinking for yourself might actually be the better choice. There is no need to continue being a sheep, no need to find another “flock.”

    (PS: I mostly like this new site, but could something be done about the sheer amount of dull grey? lol)

    ((Formerly Nakor on the old site.))

  • Anonymous

    I love how the last answer to all this is not to actually start thinking, but rather to keep being a sheep but find some other shepherd. If you’re starting to realize that the guy you’re letting do the thinking for you is sending you the wrong way, you ought to realize that thinking for yourself might actually be the better choice. There is no need to continue being a sheep, no need to find another “flock.”

    (PS: I mostly like this new site, but could something be done about the sheer amount of dull grey? lol)

    ((Formerly Nakor on the old site.))

  • Anonymous

    I love how the last answer to all this is not to actually start thinking, but rather to keep being a sheep but find some other shepherd. If you’re starting to realize that the guy you’re letting do the thinking for you is sending you the wrong way, you ought to realize that thinking for yourself might actually be the better choice. There is no need to continue being a sheep, no need to find another “flock.”

    (PS: I mostly like this new site, but could something be done about the sheer amount of dull grey? lol)

    ((Formerly Nakor on the old site.))

  • Anonymous

    I love how the last answer to all this is not to actually start thinking, but rather to keep being a sheep but find some other shepherd. If you’re starting to realize that the guy you’re letting do the thinking for you is sending you the wrong way, you ought to realize that thinking for yourself might actually be the better choice. There is no need to continue being a sheep, no need to find another “flock.”

    (PS: I mostly like this new site, but could something be done about the sheer amount of dull grey? lol)

    ((Formerly Nakor on the old site.))

  • Anonymous

    I love how the last answer to all this is not to actually start thinking, but rather to keep being a sheep but find some other shepherd. If you’re starting to realize that the guy you’re letting do the thinking for you is sending you the wrong way, you ought to realize that thinking for yourself might actually be the better choice. There is no need to continue being a sheep, no need to find another “flock.”

    (PS: I mostly like this new site, but could something be done about the sheer amount of dull grey? lol)

    ((Formerly Nakor on the old site.))

  • Saltyestelle

    It sounds like Driscoll is quite accurately described as a bully. Cheers to Evan and Tyler for calling him out! My ears are tuned for more voices like these…

  • Saltyestelle

    something is wonky with the comment thread; there seem to be two different pages. help!

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    thanks for using my cartoon Hemant!

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    It looks like someone is working on the website and has temporarily turned off the Discus comments so only the “generic” comments show up. One they turn back on the discus comments, they will all probably “magically” appear again.

  • http://twitter.com/meyekael Meyekael

    A real Christian behaves this way. No. A real Christian behaves that way. If Christianity provides the unambiguous moral compass that Christians claim, why are they always disagreeing about the direction it’s pointing in?

    • http://twitter.com/Friday13 Michael Barr

      I’m with you, but I know of a possible answer:  “The Bible also teaches that evil loves to masquerade as the good.”  Of course, a good reply to this is then:  “If that’s true, how do you know that the Bible is good?  It, too, could be evil disguised as good.”

      • Anonymous

        Duh, because it says so in the bible.
        :P

    • http://twitter.com/Friday13 Michael Barr

      I’m with you, but I know of a possible answer:  “The Bible also teaches that evil loves to masquerade as the good.”  Of course, a good reply to this is then:  “If that’s true, how do you know that the Bible is good?  It, too, could be evil disguised as good.”

  • JulietEcho

    As someone with family members who look up to Mark Driscoll, I usually try to avoid reading his – to put it kindly – hurtful, mistaken, and sometimes flagrantly cruel messages.  It depresses me more than reading the vitriol from others of his ilk, because I know that people I care about are nodding their heads enthusiastically to his tune.

    I feel so bad for all of the GLBT teens (and adults) out there who are involved in his ministry or have parents who take their cues from his teachings.  He’s part of the unofficial “It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better” movement.

  • JulietEcho

    As someone with family members who look up to Mark Driscoll, I usually try to avoid reading his – to put it kindly – hurtful, mistaken, and sometimes flagrantly cruel messages.  It depresses me more than reading the vitriol from others of his ilk, because I know that people I care about are nodding their heads enthusiastically to his tune.

    I feel so bad for all of the GLBT teens (and adults) out there who are involved in his ministry or have parents who take their cues from his teachings.  He’s part of the unofficial “It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better” movement.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SU3L6O6MNAPXLBIGJGEX5NW5UQ jqb

    Reading the comments in those blogs will teach you a lot about the pathology of Christians — all Christians, specially the “moderate” ones.  It is a truly bizarre mental framework.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Ani Sharmin

    Anthony Bradley’s article is basically advocating ignoring the bigger problem of discrimination and focusing on the fact that one person called another person a bully. It reminds me of when someone says/does something discriminatory, then a second person calls them a bigot, and the first person (or his/her supporters) tries to change the topic so that the focus is not on their discriminatory words and/or actions but on the word bigot.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. This Driscoll guy has achieved a whole new level of a$$-hattery . Kudos to those in the Christian community who have called him out on it. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/chuck.oconnor1 Chuck O’Connor

    Driscoll’s theology helped me to see Christianity as the iron age philosophy in service of a war god that it is.  It has been a tough 2 years of converting to atheism but, I no longer applaud authoritarianism as a moral good.  Calvinistic ethics are self-hating so, it is no surprise that Calvinists lack compassion.  When you take ancient legend as privileged truth it will lead to cognitive brokenness.  

    • http://prodigalnomore.wordpress.com/ Benjamin Baxter

      Christianity is more than Calvinism, which foes indeed make it easy to believe that to live a life of Christ is very much like iron age service to Mars. 

  • Charles Black

    I find it funny & sad to see Christians argue what Jesus really taught when there was in all probability no historical Jesus in the 1st place.

  • Charles Black

    I find it funny & sad to see Christians argue what Jesus really taught when there was in all probability no historical Jesus in the 1st place.

  • Patrik W

    “Praise God I have elders who keep me accountable and that I am under authority.”
    Yes, praise God someone can cover for him when he’s doing a shitty job. It’s the same as with moral issues that Christians claim exclusive rights to. If they require a divine authority to be moral, it’s no longer about morals, only sucking up to this divine being. If he needs an authority to perform his job, it’s no longer a well performed job, but sucking up to his superiors.

  • Anonymous

    I left this comment on Rachel Held Evans site. (I hope that html still works in comments) 

    When I think of Christians I think of people like Mark Driscoll.  I think of people who are unwilling to change to fit the world.  Society is largely accepting of equality for people regardless of sexuality or gender.  We don’t much care who you love or which bathroom you use.  There is a dissenting voice though and that comes from Christianity, from people like Mark Driscoll.  These people represent Christianity for outsiders like me and to be perfectly frank they make it look like a pretty horrible thing.  Not only would I not want to join but I wouldn’t be interested in finding out more about it. 
     
    It is good to see other Christians pointing out that he doesn’t actually represent you all and reminding us that there are as many kinds of Christianity as there are Christians.  Well done.

  • Fester60613

    I was an evangelical Baptist until I was 20 – but I was always suspicious of the adults surrounding me who were so very certain that they were always right and everyone else (non-evangelicals / non-Baptists / non-Christians) were absolutely very wrong and would burn in hell.

    The last 38 years have not disabused me of my belief that most structured evangelical churches are far more interested in being right than in being Christian – although the two are not mutually exclusive.

    I have great respect for Ms. Held Evan’s ability to call Driscoll out as the self righteous bully he abviously is.

    However: Watching this continuing verbal struggle and striving to understand the emotions and beliefs that fuel and underlie it, I am, once again, delighted to observe the evangelical church continue to tear itself apart. In doing so, the church continues to reveal itself as a collection of people who would rather argue about who is “more right” rather than doing the work of Christ – you know, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, stuff like that.

    And as the church tears itself apart, it loses its credibility, its moral authority and its ability to sustain or grow its membership. People outside the church want answers and comfort and a sense of purpose – they avoid places that instead raise more questions and aggravation and an environment of disunity. People inside the church become dissatisfied and troubled, doubtful and disengaged.

    I wish all good things for Ms. Held Evan – and the opposite for Bully Driscoll. And please, do, continue arguing: it serves to create agnosticism and, eventually, swells the number of the faithless and unbelievers.

    Good job! Good job!

  • Gus Snarp

    What….I don’t….That’s just… I can’t even…… Umm, so he’s the preacher for macho men? I think this is just a marketing ploy of some kind, but… I …..Oh man.

  • Anonymous

    I see Rachel gets a lot of flak from other christians for her more liberal views.  What irony that she is accused of libel for using the ‘bully’ word for calling out bullying

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VCDYONLUIRNWIZFXIEGHDXC6DY Joseph Curtis

    If anything, the Christianity we’re used to is hypocritical, intolerant, and the source of so much pain for so many people

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amy-Caswell/100000705227820 Amy Caswell

      Doctors Without Borders is secular. Thomas Jefferson started the University of Virginia intending it to be a secular school (and he got a lot of flack for it too), and you seem to forget that we have hundreds of secular universities in America (and all over the world). No, Christianity did not invent charity. There are a lot of Christians who have started charities, and there are a lot of churches that run charities, but there are people from other religions, and no religion, who also start/run charities. Also, just because this Christian person/organization does something good over there, it doesn’t cancel out the pain that Christianity caused over here.

      Women did not start gaining any sort of political rights (in the West) until the 19th Century. In fact in ancient Greece and Rome, women had more rights than the women who lived under Christianity’s rule during the middle ages.

      • http://prodigalnomore.wordpress.com/ Benjamin Baxter

        Women had two options: Be a temple prostitute or be breeding material, and they didn’t get to choose. With Christianity, however, you have whole orders of consecrated virgins.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VCDYONLUIRNWIZFXIEGHDXC6DY Joseph Curtis

        Doctors Without Borders is secular

        I know.  My point wasnt that secular charities don’t exist, its that they got the very idea from Christian organizations that led the way.

        Thomas Jefferson started the University of Virginia intending it to be a secular school

        Instead of unflinchingly repeating <Atheism 101 talking points, please educate yourself on the matters you are spouting off about.

        I would state that courses on religion were a part of the curriculum at the University of Virginia from its founding.  You wouldn’t mind pointing out how I am wrong in that particular statement, would you?

        If Thomas Jefferson intended to University of Virginia to be a purely secular institution, then why was the Reverend Samuel Knox his very first choice as a faculty member?

        just because this Christian person/organization does something good over there, it doesn’t cancel out the pain that Christianity caused over here

        People do wrong things in the name of religion, that is true.  They also do bad things in the name of patriotism but that doesnt necessarily make patriotism a bad thing.

        My point is that on net balance, Christianity has been a force for good MUCH more than it has for fools doing bad things.

        Women did not start gaining any sort of political rights (in the West) until the 19th Century. In fact in ancient Greece and Rome, women had more rights than the women who lived under Christianity’s rule during the middle ages

        Breathtakingly stupid.  It never ceases to amaze me that there are people out there that uncritically lap this nonsense up.

        “In what countries have women lacked freedom?” … “Where Christianity is not present, especially in the Middle East. Were it not for Christianity, Gloria Steinem would still be walking about in a veil”.. “Christ was never quoted as saying anything demeaning or derogatory to women. Women in Greek days could hardly leave their homes. When her husband had guests over, she was not even allowed to sit in the same room. Their status was extremely low among the Romans, where the father of the family had the power of life and death, even over his wife. “In [the Gospel of] John, Chapter Four, Jesus was asked what he was doing talking to a woman in public, as you only talked with prostitutes in public. When he taught Mary and Martha in Luke 10, that was a behavior you did not do with women. “Christianity also nullified polygamy, as Jesus made it clear a man has one wife. If a Greek man was walking about outside with a woman, that was his mistress, not his wife. Christianity also made it clear widows were to be taken care of.”
        Professor Alvin Schmidt, Illinois College. (Sociology) Link

        Women had two options: Be a temple prostitute or be breeding material, and they didn’t get to choose. With Christianity, however, you have whole orders of consecrated virgins

        Thanks for bringing this up.  From the above link…

        “Pagan religion tended to fuel and encourage the devaluation of women even more. Of course, Greek and Roman mythology had its goddesses (such as Diana and Aphrodite). But don’t imagine for a moment that goddess-worship in any way raised the status of women in society. The opposite was true. Most temples devoted to goddesses were served by sacred prostitutes–priestesses who sold themselves for money, supposing they were performing a religious sacrament. Both the mythology and the practice of pagan religion have usually been overtly demeaning to women”.

        • Rieux

          Is this the same Christianity that continually opens hospitals in the worst hell holes on the face of the earth, practically invented charity and founded virtually every single university of higher learning in colonial America?[And then:]People do wrong things in the name of religion, that is true.

          Oh, I see. When Christians do anything upstanding, that’s Christianity doing good things. But when Christianity does something bad, that’s merely “people doing wrong things in the name of religion.”Nice impenetrable tautology you’ve got going there: Christianity is good because if something’s not good it’s not Christianity. And you’ve got the gall to call someone else “breathtakingly stupid”?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VCDYONLUIRNWIZFXIEGHDXC6DY Joseph Curtis

            When Christians do anything upstanding, that’s Christianity doing good things. But when Christianity does something bad, that’s merely “people doing wrong things in the name of religion.”Nice impenetrable tautology you’ve got going there: Christianity is good because if something’s not good it’s not Christianit

            Actually Rieux, I stated that, “People do wrong things in the name of religion, that is true.  They also do bad things in the name of patriotism but that doesnt necessarily make patriotism a bad thing.”

            One could substitute the word “religion” with  “Christianity” and I would still stand by that point. 

            I did not state that “Christianity is good because if something’s not good it’s not Christianit[y]“.

            However, if, for example, somebody who claims to be a Christian steals from another person and the foundational document for Christianity (The Bible) commands it’s adherents NOT to steal, then are they following the instructions that are laid out  for them since its beginning?  

            • Rieux

              I did not state that “Christianity is good because if something’s not good it’s not Christianit[y]“.

              Actually, you did. You didn’t use precisely those words (because that claim is too stupid to make outright, even for you), but that is precisely your argument.

              You credit Christianity for every commendable act of its adherents while simultaneously absolving Christianity for every detestable act of those adherents. It is logically impossible for you ever to concede that Christianity is at fault, and as such your position is an impenetrable tautology.

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VCDYONLUIRNWIZFXIEGHDXC6DY Joseph Curtis

                Actually,  I said, “My point is that on net balance, Christianity has been a force for good MUCH more than it has for fools doing bad things”.  You wouldnt be willing to show me where I am incorrect in that statement, would you?

                • Rieux

                  As I just explained (and more than once), you have demonstrated that you are utterly incapable of conceding that Christianity is responsible for anything bad, ever. So it’s hardly surprising that you think it’s swell “on net balance”; your entire analysis is a dishonest crock designed to reach a predetermined conclusion.

                  Why should anyone care about your tautological nonsense?

    • http://profiles.google.com/jp42simm James Simmons

      Yo Joseph Curtis,

      Remember the story of Paul of Tarsus?   Well it seems that because of Paul’s influence his home town of Tarsus mass converted to Christianity.   Before everyone had been what we might call pagans (which really means people from the country).   Under that system everything was OK and women had equal rights with men in society.   Under Christianity, however, women lost those rights and found that now they were subjugated.   There were other issues too.   

      Well that’s a historical account.   Maybe it’s wrong but I doubt it or why would historians go through to bother to write about it?

      Now regarding Christian charity.   So often there are strings attached with the goal of “bringing souls to Christ”.   Is this OK?   Sure if no one minds it.   But when there are conditions we must not call it unconditional love.

  • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

    Hemant, why did you assume that effeminate = gay?

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      Regardless of actual orientation, in our culture, effeminacy is associated with homosexuality. Ultimately, though, it does not matter whether the person is gay or straight. The type of nastiness espoused by Mark Driscoll is hurtful to anyone targeted for such abuse. Do you think mocking people for their gender presentation is acceptable?

  • Karl Johanson

    Jesus did endorse the “old laws” which include killing male homosexuals and forcing rape victims to marry their rapists (he even specifically goes on about the one about killing your children if they act “disrespectful”). The Bible has sexist nonsense that women should never instruct men. The Bible tells Christians to not hang out with non-believers. Jesus tells slaves to do whatever their masters tell them to, even if their master is harsh. The Jesus files of the Bible introduce the idea that not believing in him means you deserve to be burned in flaming sulfur for the second half of eternity. I don’t see the point in coating Jesus with aspartame. The Bible depicts him very very clearly, as an evil dude.

    • Joan Kelly

      I ‘ve gone to Unity Church because that isn’t the way they view JC’s words.   It’s all about total acceptance and tolerance.

      Members are Straight, African American, Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic and any/all sexual orientation.  It was pure spring water to this recovering Southern Baptist, let me tell you.

      • Rieux

        I ‘ve gone to Unity Church because that isn’t the way they view JC’s words.   It’s all about total acceptance and tolerance.

        Then they are, as has been demonstrated here, “view”ing those “words” dishonestly. In the Gospels, Jesus repeatedly shows himself to be fervently opposed to “total acceptance and tolerance,” and it takes severe levels of willful blindness to pretend otherwise.

        Neither Karl nor I nor (I hazard to guess) a large proportion of atheists have any more interest in a community founded on the integrity-free misrepresentation of the Gospels you describe than we have in an interpretation founded on racism and homophobia. The Southern Baptist Convention may be anti-gay and white-supremacist at heart, but at least they, unlike the church you describe, read the Bible honestly. (On these particular points, that is. Very few modern Christians of any denomination are crazed enough to take everything in the Bible to heart… thank goodness.)

        Unity-flavored lies—especially because they serve to lend overwhelming societal privilege to an ugly and hateful myth—are little better than Southern Baptist-flavored overt bigotry.

        • Joan Kelly

          Rieux,

          You have your view and I have mine.  It’s good that it’s that way, isn’t it.

          Enjoy your evening.

        • Joan Kelly

          Rieux,

          You have your view and I have mine.  It’s good that it’s that way, isn’t it.

          Enjoy your evening.

          • Rieux

            You have your view and I have mine.  It’s good that it’s that way, isn’t it.

            I’d prefer that dishonesty and religious privilege were less common and condoned, but the above is just another way to excuse them.

            Some “view”s are wrong, implacably opposed to that reality though you appear to be. Some of them are notably destructive, too.

            You have a right to freedom of conscience. You don’t have a right not to be told that you’re wrong.

        • Andrew Finden

          Were you formerly a fundamentalist Christian? I ask because you seem to share the same (broken – imo) hermeneutic that many fundamentalists have.

          • Rieux

            Were you formerly a fundamentalist Christian?

            No. By the same token, when did you stop beating your wife?

            I ask because you seem to share the same (broken – imo) hermeneutic that many fundamentalists have.

            And you show every indication of accepting liberal-Christian nonsense that allows you-plural to believe in, worship, and promote brutal horrors by convincing yourself, through towering structures of illogic and obscurantism, that they’re neither brutal nor horrible.

      • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

        Joan, I also went to a Unity church for a while.  I’ve
        also attended a Southern Baptist for a while.  I share your
        experience.  I agree that the “post modern” Unity version of
        Christianity is much better than the Southern Baptist version “you are
        either saved or will burn in hell for eternity”.  There are lots of
        versions and degrees of Christianity.  Many here, though, are criticizing
        what they feel is the fundamental premise of Christianity that people are
        “fallen” and must be “saved” through faith in Jesus before
        they can grace God’s company in heaven.  But as you say, not all
        Christians buy into this fundamental premise.     They kind-of
        have a “live and let live” attitude.     I’m all for Christianity
        being “watered down” like this.  If everybody was like that,
        then Christianity wouldn’t hurt anyone.  Cherry
        pick the good parts of the bible and toss the rest in the trash can.

        • Joan Kelly

          Thanks, Jeff.   I appreciate your post.  My views work for me and that’s really what’s important, right?   I’m not out to sway anyone or proselytize.  Tolerance – may there be tolerance for all. 

          • Rieux

            My views work for me and that’s really what’s important, right?

            No, actually, it’s not. Plenty of “views” that “work for” plenty of people are horrifically damaging to humanity. Pointing out the falsity and destructiveness of those “views” is not ethically blameworthy, no matter how hard you attempt to assert immunity from any such critique:

            Tolerance – may there be tolerance for all.

            And there’s the nub of your dishonest privilege bait-and-switch; you mawkishly appeal to “tolerance” of “all” when what you are actually demanding is freedom from having your ideas challenged.
            Only the religiously privileged pretend that attacks to their ideas are identical to attacks to themselves. Atheist criticism of religion violates no legitimate principle of tolerance, because ideas are not people. There is no moral obligation to “tolerate” bad ideas—false, illogical, destructive ones.As long as you continue to pretend that there is something blameworthy about subjecting beliefs to critical inquiry, you and your defensive paeans to “MY truth” are direct attacks on the free marketplace of ideas. Anyone committed to free thought—including the freedom to conclude, and argue, that others are wrong—must necessarily oppose you.

  • Fester60613

    Rieux’s exchange with Cassie about the duration of hell underscores my point: “The church continues to reveal itself as a collection of people who would rather argue about who is “more right” rather than doing the work of Christ – you know, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, stuff like that.”And here we are -sitting at our computers, uselessly arguing theology while people starve and others are homeless.
    Excellent examples of hypocrisy.

    • Rieux

      Not sure whom you’re accusing of hypocrisy (do you think I’m a member of “the church”?), but I’m afraid that the notion that “the work of Christ” is actually anything about “feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, stuff like that” can only be maintained in ignorance or willful blindness of what the Gospels actually say. The Jesus in those books is considerably more interested in shrieking about his enemies burning in Hell than he is in actual efforts toward helping people. According to the Gospels, “the work of Christ” involves letting people know that dissent from Jesus’ decrees will earn them eternal torture far, far more than it involves actually helping those people’s earthly condition in any way. The guy himself demonstrates how disinterested he actually is in (his fellow) human beings:

      And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as [Jesus] sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.- Mark 14:3-7 (boldface added)And from thence [Jesus] arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.- Mark 7:24-30 (emphasis added)

      So there we have two things that are more important than feeding the hungry or healing the sick: (1) lavishing luxuries on fortunate people (such as Jesus himself, the arrogant jerk who points out that “me ye have not always”) and (2) spitting disgusting racism (Greeks are “dogs” who don’t deserve charity) on desperately poor ethnic minorities.The Gospels make it clear that Jesus is a horrible reprobate. Why in the world should anyone think it’s morally upstanding to do “the work” he exemplifies?

      • Fester60613

        Bravo! I’m delighted to be schooled (finally!) about the actual Jesus: rich, arrogant and bigoted! : )
        It would seem his followers are generally closer to the real gospel than I had imagined! I’m truly happy to learn this. Thank you very much.
        Your viewpoint is one of the most practical examples of post-modernist deconstruction I’ve come across. May I please quote you? This is truly wonderful stuff!

        • Rieux

          Your viewpoint is one of the most practical examples of post-modernist deconstruction I’ve come across.

          That’s ridiculous. The entire case I have made on this thread has depended upon referencing the Gospels as evidence of what they themselves say, specifically regarding the portrayal of their main character. Postmodernism is directly opposed to any such “privileging” of any “viewpoint,” regardless of appeals to evidence—appeals that postmodernists by definition disdain.

          If your comment is the sarcastic sneer it appears to be, then you are as mistaken about the Gospels as you are about postmodernism. Your preconceptions about any of the above are not in fact truth, and it is not “postmodernist” to correct your mistakes.

          I’m delighted to be schooled (finally!) about the actual Jesus: rich, arrogant and bigoted! : )

          I didn’t say he is rich. The doctrine he preaches in Mark 14:7 just happens to be very congenial to the desires of rich and apathetic people. “Ye have the poor with you always, … but me ye have not always” is, and always has been, a beautiful way for selfish people to justify their greed.

          Now: “arrogant and bigoted,” yes. Brutal and feverishly bloody-minded, too. That’s the Jesus of the Gospels, regardless of what any cherry-picking fan would have you believe.

          Finally, I haven’t said anything about the “actual,” as in the historical, Jesus at all—because it’s entirely possible that the character is entirely fictional, and even if he isn’t, we have no way to know which aspects of the mythical Gospel character are accurate and which aren’t.

          I’m talking about the only Jesus that matters, the only one that any human being has any access to: the literary character in four books called the Gospels. He’s simply not a terribly admirable person.

          • Joan Kelly

            Rieux, your intransigence here is  strikingly familiar to some evangelical preachers I’ve heard.  You seem to work as hard to make JC despicable as they do Gays. 

            • Rieux

              And your dishonesty reminds me of Creationists the world over. But let us dispense with such mindless ad hominem nonsense.

              Your upthread gestures at postmodernist silliness aside, reality actually exists. This planet is, in fact, billions of years old—regardless of what various Creationists might tell you. Global temperatures are, in fact, rising at an alarming and destructive rate—regardless of what various corporate entities might tell you. And the Jesus character in the Gospels does, in fact, say what he says, including numerous heinously inhumane things—regardless of what various apologists for Christianity might tell you. Postmodernist obfuscation about “MY truth” is a handy way to obscure any of these realities (just ask climate-change deniers), but regardless of its value in moving public opinion, such dissembling does not change the facts at issue.

              And so your empty “you’re just like an evangelical preacher” slime is just yet more obfuscation, more attempts to distract attention from the facts you can’t bring yourself to face. In this case, it’s also heavily loaded with religious privilege, in which challenges to religious doctrine are declared to be per se unethical—the very mechanism by which atheists are kept a disempowered minority.

              Well, too bad. No one has any obligation to care whether you happen to find the defense of demonstrable reality “intransigent.” In point of fact, you and “YOUR” poor unfortunate “truth” are not true. Again, no matter how hard you pretend otherwise, there is nothing unethical about showing you that you are mistaken.

              • Joan Kelly

                 I apologize for upsetting you so much.  Hope you feel better.

                • Rieux

                  Goodness—you’re just oozing with dishonesty and insincerity, aren’t you?

                • Andrew Finden

                  Cynically making assumptions and judging motives (apparently about a 72 yr old lady), aren’t you? Even if you’re right, doesn’t mean you ought to be nasty.

                • Rieux

                  Oddly enough, “72 yr old ladies” are not fragile china dolls, and this one clearly has no problem flinging passive-aggressive snot around. I suspect she can take it as well as dish it out, despite your demeaning condescension to her.

                  And there’s nothing “cynical” or “assumption”-ish about recognizing the dishonesty and insincerity of Kelly’s tactics, up to and including her “apology” above.

                • Andrew Finden

                  It’s cynical to assume her apology was insincere and passive-aggressive. And besides, you’re obviously OK with active-aggression, aren’t you?

                • Rieux

                  It’s cynical to assume her apology was insincere and passive-aggressive.

                  No, it’s just honest. That you insist on playing dumb does not obligate anyone else to do so.

                • Andrew Finden

                  @joankelly:disqus I don’t agree with your views, but sadly, @reiux:disqus  has wrapped his argument in beligerance and sophistry.. he’s obviously grinding his axe for some reason!

                • Joan Kelly

                  Hi Andrew,

                  Thank you so much.  I stumbled on the site from a policitical lead and enjoyed the responses.  I have many Atheist friends and we never get to blows
                  over beliefs.  In fact, we mostly enjoy the differences.  Some see Jesus, from the Gnostic slant, appealing and believable as do I.

                  I don’t presume to know what’s up with Rieux but it’s very clear I hit a nerve.  That can be a good thing if he’s willing to look at the cause of his reactions.  I am done with him.  Live and let live.

                  I truly appreciate you taking the time to respond. 

                  Peace.
                  Joan

                • Rieux

                  it’s very clear I hit a nerve.

                  Indeed you did. Your comments are a potent blend of willful blindness, dishonesty, and smugly self-righteous privilege. Such ugly behavior does indeed “hit a nerve” with me.

                  That can be a good thing if he’s willing to look at the cause of his reactions.

                  I have indeed “looked at” the nature of your behavior here, and I have explained the problems with it repeatedly. Your blindness to your own privilege is unfortunate.

                  Your continued absurd pretense regarding “live and let live”—pretending that criticism of your ideas is contrary to such an idea—is a further demonstration of your privilege. Alas, I’m afraid there may not be anything in the world that could lead you to give an honest “look at” that problem. Such is the nature of privilege.

              • Andrew Finden

                Putting aside the hypocrisy of your talk about ad hominem, and your assumption that your interpretation and exegesis = fact and berating anyone who might disagree (not that I agree with @joankelly:disqus  ‘s Unity views btw – but it’s a bit rich to suggest her interpretation is coming from ‘privilege’, and that ‘apologists’ are simply wrong, while simultaneously implying that your interpretation is beyond dispute – rather, let’s recognise that anyone who claims to know the meaning of a text is interpreting, while also recognising that there are better and worse interpretations, depending on how well they reflect the intended meaning of the author – we can talk about that, but simply declaring everyone else wrong a priori, or calling them dishonest is not the way) – I’m interested in this comment:

                 the Jesus character in the Gospels does, in fact, say what he says

                Is this a case of ‘for the sake of the argument’ or do you actually agree that the gospels we have now are reliably accurate in terms of what was originally written by the gospel writers? (i.e. do you reject e.g. Ehrman’s view?)

                • Rieux

                  Putting aside the hypocrisy of your talk about ad hominem….

                  Fail. Kelly used ad hominem slime as an excuse and/or replacement for argument. I used (as it happens justified) insults as an accompaniment for argument. The former is the ad hominem fallacy; the latter is not. Not a terribly auspicious start for you.

                  your assumption that your interpretation and exegesis = fact

                  No, the text “= fact,” because that’s what happens to be at issue. Kelly’s willful blindness to the very words the text uses, like the analogous denial of just about every liberal Christian apologist, cuts off the entire process before anyone even gets to “interpretation and exegesis.” It’s just wholesale denial that the Gospels say what they say. Wite-Out is not “interpretation.”

                  berating anyone who might disagree….

                  No, I’m berating someone who is absurdly denying demonstrable reality. Such denial happens to be morally blameworthy.

                  it’s a bit rich to suggest her interpretation is coming from ‘privilege’….

                  Is it, now?

                  Do tell, then: regale us all with your profuse understanding of religious privilege is and how it works.

                  Regardless of your ignorance of the entire subject, Kelly enjoys overwhelming religious privilege, and her entire approach on this thread has been an attempt to use and enforce it. That fact is “a bit rich” only to someone who knows nothing about the subject.

                  there are better and worse interpretations, depending on how well they reflect the intended meaning of the author….

                  You fail again. “The intended meaning of the author” need have nothing to do with the issues raised by the passages that are in question on this thread, not least because said authors are all long dead and unidentifiable.

                  The “intended meaning” of the character in question, however, is not the slightest bit obscure, despite Kelly’s (and, one gets the hint, your) laughable denial of same.

                  simply declaring everyone else wrong a priori,

                  “Wrong a priori”? Another pratfall.

                  or calling them dishonest….

                  Sorry, but the shoe fits, whether Kelly wants to wear it or not, and regardless of whether you scorn all talk of shoes.

                  the Jesus character in the Gospels does, in fact, say what he says

                  Is this a case of ‘for the sake of the argument’

                  WTF is that supposed to mean? Do you dispute that “the Jesus character in the Gospels does, in fact, say what he says”? How absurd are you trying to be?

                  or do you actually agree that the gospels we have now are reliably accurate in terms of what was originally written by the gospel writers? (i.e. do you reject e.g. Ehrman’s view?)

                  What in the world are you talking about?  I have not said a word (before this comment) about “what was originally written by the gospel writers.” All such “writers” are long dead, unidentifiable, and thus irrelevant.

                  “What was originally written” makes little to no difference to anything. The Gospels are a story. A largely-if-not-entirely-fictional (not to mention fractured, absurd, and internally inconsistent) story. Jesus—the only Jesus that matters, because it’s the only one that is at all accessible to anyone and quite possibly the only one that’s ever existed—is a character in that story. The way Jesus is described in, as you put it, “the gospels we have now” is the only matter with any relevance, because it’s the only account with any meaningful sociological impact. Ehrman or the Jesus Seminar or anyone else writing their own cherry-picked version of “the real Jesus” have nothing to do with anything, mainly (1) because only a minuscule proportion of Christians have any idea that such revisionists exist but also (2) because the matter at issue is myth (a myth billions of people have direct access to), not history.

                  What matters is the texts sitting on a billion bookshelves, not the irrelevant source material for those texts. Harry Potter defeats Voldemort, even if Bart Ehrman or some other windmill-tilter can find a Rowling rough draft (or online fanfic) in which Harry loses.

                  Jesus is a character in the Gospels who says the things I quoted upthread. (He also says and does a significant number of other things that are comparably disgusting.) Denying that reality is absurd regardless of the technique used.

                • Andrew Finden

                  If nothing else, I do admire your rhetorical flair!
                  But, unfortunately, someone who thinks insults are justified or have any place in rational conversation is not someone I see much point bothering to continue dialogue with.For all the posturing of superior reading comprehension that you make, it is incredibly ironic that you ignore what I wrote and proceed to make unwarranted and false assumptions about me (just because I criticise you doesn’t mean I agree with your opponent). Should we use your logic of assuming that someone who is wrong or mistaken is being dishonest? Are you dishonest because you’re mistaken about what you wrote about me?


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