Jesus Isn’t As Peaceful As You Think

This image has been floating around the interwebs lately:

 

 

While, I really want to appreciate the sentiment — Jesus is a really nice guy — I’m plagued by the OTHER things Jesus is quoted as saying in the very same book from which his peaceful, loving statements come.

A few examples:

Matthew 10:34 — “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

John 15:6 — “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”

Luke 12:47 – “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows.”

Mark 14:3-7 — “3While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. 4Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, ‘Why this waste of perfume? 5It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.’ And they rebuked her harshly. 6‘Leave her alone,’ said Jesus. ‘Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.7The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.’”

BUT wait a minute…

Luke 12:33 — “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.”

Even plants and animals aren’t safe from the “lamb of God”:

Matthew 8:32 — “He said to them, ‘Go!’ So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water.”

Mark 11:13-14 — “Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard him say it.”

Theists often accuse non-believers of “cherry-picking.” I’ve even been told, “It’s easy for you to see the Bible as evil when you don’t read the whole thing.” But, in my experience, atheists/agnostics tend to know more about religion. The Pew Research Survey of Religious Knowledge confirms that nonbelievers hold the top spot in this regard.

I have read and continue to read the good and the bad in the Bible. I cannot and will not follow anyone, grandiose claims of supernatural abilities or not, who advocates inequality, violence, and vile behavior even if he says he loves me. This is the cycle of an abusive relationship.

Regarding the funny image above, it’s a nice sentiment, but still a false one. Par for the course for a picture of Jesus.

About Shannon Burgdorf

A polymath (Greek πολυμαθής, polymathēs, "having learned much")[1] is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas.

I fancy myself this type of person - possibly one day I will live up to it.

So many interests so little time....

Actor, Writer, Mother, Wife, Atheist, Home Educator, Secular Humanist

  • Anonymous

    Regarding the Pew Research Survey: 
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-science-of-disestimation

    There seem to be some pretty serious flaws with both the method and analysis.

    • Coyotenose

       If you check the comments, you’ll see that that the criticisms of said poll have themselves been strongly criticized. I’m a layman and I could see two or three flaws in the SA article’s arguments without even referring back to the poll for comparison.

  • http://www.youtube.com/LookItsMolly LookItsMolly

    Given that Jesus has been dead for close to two thousand years,  I would argue that currently he really *is* as peaceful as I think.

    • http://www.facebook.com/maik.both Maik Both

      Firstly – I am not yet convinced there really was ‘a’ Jesus, or that there was a ‘real’ person that existed as described in the Bible.

      More importantly, though, a person’s existence could also be measured in terms of the ongoing effect they have on the world, even when they are dead. I mean – some Christians spout the ‘Jesus Lives’ line, so why not also take the opposing position that Jesus’ ideas still need to be debated and any hypocrisy identified? There is much that could be seen as evidence of Jesus not being a good person at all; or, at least, definitely not a role model.

      I realise that you were (most likely) posting in jest, but for a ‘dead guy’ Jesus still sure causes a lot of trouble. The number of times I’ve been told he will rise again …. argh…. :^)

      • Coyotenose

         The case that there was no Jesus at all is pretty well supported, but I don’t consider it particularly useful. Probably there was a rabbi at the time who was mythologized by a death cult, but nothing about Christianity becomes more or less likely according to whether he existed, making it an academic issue at most.

        • Pseudonym

          The case that there was no Jesus at all is pretty well supported [...]

          No it isn’t. Ask any secular historian of the Ancient Near East. Actually, read Bart Ehrman’s new book.

          • chicago dyke, evolved outlaw

             your link leads to a FA post about Carl Sagan. try again.

            • Pseudonym

              Sorry about that. Here’s the intended link.

              At least I didn’t accidentally paste a link that’s embarrassing!

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                Although, that might have been more entertaining for the rest of us.

                • Pseudonym

                   I do agree with you on the bottom line.

                  Having said that, “Nailed” is an “interesting alternate POV” on the topic of history only in the same sense that Intelligent Design is an “interesting alternative POV” on the topic of biology. Which is to say, it’s interesting that anyone seriously buys it, but it doesn’t contribute anything useful to the underlying academic study.

  • Supermoves3000

    Regarding the drowned pigs verse: it’s part of a story where Jesus drives demons out of men who are possessed, and the demons take possession of the pigs, and Jesus drowns the pigs.  So… he wasn’t killing the pigs for laughs, he was killing the pigs to smite demons.

    It makes perfect sense…  if you believe in demons and demonic possession…

    • Marguerite

      Yes, but if he was really an aspect of an omnipotent, omniscient God, then he should have understood about epilepsy or mental disorders or whatever it was that he was “driving out,” and should have known that “demons” had absolutely nothing to do with it. Which tends to suggest he WAS killing the pigs for laughs, or at least because it made for a big dramatic show.

      Or, of course, it might also reasonably suggest that Jesus was just an ordinary man who didn’t know anything more than anyone else in his time *shrugs*.

      • Anonymous

        With the prohibition  against eating anything with cloven hooves in the Old Testament, coupled with this killing of the pigs in the New Testament, the only logical conclusion is that God hates bacon.

    • Pseudonym

       Moreover, “legion” was a not-so-subtle reference to the Roman occupation, and pigs were considered unclean animals. This stuff is all very well known.

      People who quote mine the stuff above and try to paint it as “Jesus wasn’t as peaceful as you think” aren’t guilty of cherrypicking, they’re guilty of ignorance. And it’s the type of ignorance which is just as bad as those who don’t know the passages and stories are there.

      In my experience, the typical ex-Christian knows a little more about the Bible and the history of Christianity than the typical Christian. But if Dunning and Kruger taught us nothing else, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

      Compared to the average mainstream theologian or secular historian of the Ancient Near East (whether professional or amateur), they still don’t know to make any academic sense on the topic.

      I’m not saying they should know such things, though it is a fascinating time in history. I’m merely saying that watching the blind debate the blind is amusing for a while, but gets old really quickly.

      • Coyotenose

         In general, we know perfectly well that the Bible is loaded with metaphors and codes. We know the Fig Tree thing was essentially a parable. We know Jesus didn’t mean he was carrying an actual sword, but rather that his words would cause strife. It’s American Christians who treat it as literal. If they think Jesus was real and did real miracles, then they think he literally drove demons into pigs to cure a man of a “possession” which is easily explainable by modern medicine. We get to call them on that.

        And when they cherry-pick and claim that some parts are literal and some are metaphor, always according to what has and has not been thoroughly shown as false to the general public, we get to call them on that also.

        • Pseudonym

          If you talk to real academics, such as legitimate historians of the Ancient Near East, you’ll get the claim that some parts are literal (in the sense that they probably more-or-less accurately describe real events) and some are metaphor (in the sense that they probably don’t, but still contain intentional metaphor) based on the historical, linguistic and cultural evidence.

          You can call them out on that if you like, but it’d probably be worth knowing the facts first.

          • Coyotenose

             We aren’t talking about actual historians, which ought to be obvious from the context. I feel you’re getting very close to playing semantics games.

            • Pseudonym

              I was brought up in the liberal church, which always emphasise scholarship and research, and especially encouraged you to read the best academic work on the Bible, both from religious and secular academics. I tend to get annoyed when Christians are accused of “cherry-picking” as if it were on a whim. It’s the same way that biologists feel when cdesign proponentsists accuse them of merely “starting from an assumption of naturalism”.

              Some do indeed cherry-pick on a whim, or for PR reasons, cognitive dissonance reasons or gut feelings. Some do not.

      • http://www.decrepitoldfool.com/ george.w

        A great percentage of Protestant and many Catholic commentaries take this story literally, Pseudonym. Of course you like the metaphorical interpretation as do some commentators. A choice you are welcome to make but it is by no means universal.

        • Pseudonym

           If by “metaphorical interpretation” you mean I think it didn’t actually happen, then I agree. Mythology is symbolic by its very nature.

          • george.w

            Certainly the fact that a majority of American Protestants believe it is a literal (and true) story says more about them than about the story itself. It would be quite accurate, but not as catchy, to say “The mythic North American Protestant Jesus isn’t as peaceful as His followers make him out to be”.

            • Pseudonym

              Well that’s certainly true (although I’d stick “conservative” in there to make sure you don’t accidently include, say, mainline Methodists or Presbyterians).

              The Jesus that you refer to is, after all, in favour of war and capital punishment. Considering that he is an archetypal executed innocent person, that’s more than a little ironic.

    • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

      As I see it, the harm in this episode lies is in the fact that he killed a bunch of pigs … which, one would assume, had been someone’s property. It’s not recorded that he compensated the swine-owner for the destruction of his livestock. 

      Of course, any traditional Jew at the time would probably have seen nothing wrong with Jesus offing a bunch of pigs. Even if it represented a large financial loss to someone. They’re profane, see, and no one should have owned them in the first place. 

      I wonder if the Christian who wrote Matthew would have liked it if someone had slaughtered his flock of chickens (for instance). Somehow I doubt the evangelist would have approved of it. Yet he saw nothing wrong with the destruction of pigs. 

      Yep, even the earliest Christians were a wonderful brood, chock-full of compassion for their fellow man and woman.

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

      Good, but you’re still making the mistake of taking the stories at face value.
      Jesus should have used his magic to get rid of the demons entirely. Omnipotent god-man can drive demons from people, but can’t save pigs? There are some hidden rules here that aren’t explained; you’re supposed to assume some philosophical meaning behind the nature of life or consequences, when really there’s just a broken god-man behind it all. I consider it cheap/lazy drama writing.
      The idea that Jesus can save humans while lesser animals only die reinforces support for murder of dehumanized people. It is a tool to draw lines around what life to care or not care about.

      • Pseudonym

        You don’t really understand how mythology works, do you?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

    I cannot and will not follow anyone, grandiose claims of supernatural abilities or not, who advocates inequality, violence, and vile behavior even if he says he loves me. This is the cycle of an abusive relationship.

    QFT! (Bolding mine.)

    (EDIT: Fixed mah tags.)

  • http://twitter.com/TachibanaEri Patience Virtue

    Y’all do realize that knowledge of something can actually make a person a better cherry-picker than not? Frequently the best cherry-pickers are the very educated but intellectually dishonest or biased. I’m not saying there aren’t serious problems with the bible–because there definitely are–but I don’t think that was a good rebuttal to the cherry-picking charge. And, no, I am not a christian or believer of any kind.

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

       Good point. There isn’t much of a method to establish “but I’m not cherry-picking…”

  • Luke12_33

    “Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out”

    Jesus says I need a new purse. Welp, guess that means I need to go shopping…

  • http://twitter.com/KevinSagui Kevin Sagui

    See, I have absolutely no problem with that picture.  Let’s be honest, the bible is too contradictory for anybody to fully follow everything in it – the various Christian denominations simply choose which part of it they want to emphasize.  If trotting around Jesus-as-kittens-and-peaches-and-cream is what gets Christians to treat LGBT, women and non-Christians as human beings, then I’m all for it without a second of guilt.  Intellectual honesty just doesn’t seem as important as people’s lives.

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

      I agree. Better to deny the premise that a Jesus said [all,any] of those things in the first place.

  • Knickerbockertenor

    I think you left out the two most important quotes.  First, Luke 19:27 :But those my enemies, who would not that I should reign over them, bring here, and slay them before me.  And then, Matthew 5:17-19:  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
     18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
     19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    So yeah, Jesus will kill you if you beleive in other Gods, and he thinks the Old Testament is right on, so let’s kill all the gay people.

    • Silentbob

      Sorry, but your first verse is dishonest quote-mining.

      Luke 19:27 is not Jesus’ words. He is quoting a character in a story – “A certain nobleman [whose] citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.” (Luke 19:12-14)

      There is surely enough to criticize in the Bible without resorting to blatant misrepresentation.

  • Joshua

    Enlightenment without judgement seems beyond the capacity of most of mankind.  Somewhat disappointing really.

  • http://cory.albrecht.name/ Cory Albrecht

    How does the Second Greatest Commandment alter what you get out of the words attributed to Jesus? Matthew 22 or 23 – I’m too lazy to check right now. But basically : Treat others as you want to be treatred; on this all the Law hangs.

    Your interpretation above is as much cherry-picking as any Christian’s.

    • Coyotenose

       The Golden Rule and the Bible only work when taken together if everyone actually wants to be stoned to death if they become gay or gather sticks on the Sabbath.

      • http://cory.albrecht.name/ Cory Albrecht

        Are you deliberately trying to be obtuse? The Golden Rule isn’t for the victim about to be stoned, it’s for the person who is going to do the stoning. That compassion of the GR puts Jesus’ support of the Torah laws in a completely different light, one in which the author of this blog post was seemingly unaware. As I said, she’s cherry-picking to suit her prejudices just as much as the Christians she is railing against.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Thanks, that one has been driving me nuts.  And the George Takei clean version as well.  

  • Ndonnan

    I find it endlessly amusing to see athiest quoting and expousing scripture.Giving yourselves the lable,”free thinkers”,only deludes yourselves.Trying to manipulate God to justify yourown agenda or lifestyle.As it says in Isaiah 58.8,for My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are My ways your ways,for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways,and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. And no He dosent have to explain and justify everything to mankind.It would be like explaining quantum phisics to a 3 year old

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Trying to manipulate God to justify your own agenda or lifestyle.

      Curious, do you find it more, or less, or about the same level of amusement when theists do the same thing?
      And still trying to recall when I’ve ever used God to justify anything.  Seems sort of counter-intuitive to me, seeing as how I don’t think it exists.

      • Ndonnan

        About the same,its part of human nature,we all do it in all our relationships

    • NickDB

       . And no He dosent have to explain and justify everything to mankind.

      If he exists, then yes he bloody well does, he supposedly gave us free will and intelligence, and I intend to use both of those if I ever meet him and demand an explanation. I refuse to blindly follow ANYTHING, just because it’s supposed to be all powerful.

      It would be like explaining quantum phisics to a 3 year old

      Which isn’t that difficult to do, it’s actually easier than explaining it to an adult with preconceived ideas, and an ego.

      • Ndonnan

        No,you will be in the spiritual realm and wont be to cocky about anything, and yes you could explain  physics to a child,but why would you waste your time

        • NickDB

          Because sharing knowledge is never a waste of time, if a child is curious and asks questions I answer them to the best of my abalities.

          And your spiritual realm sounds boring, if no is cocky, and we all change to docile followers who never question and our curiosity and thirst for knowledge, and need for justice (I feel if god does exist he has a lot to answer for) is taken away, then I’m glad I don’t believe in it.

        • TiltedHorizon

          “and yes you could explain  physics to a child,but why would you waste your time”

          How would it be a waste? If more people spend time instilling a scientific curiosity in children we could potentially increase scientific understanding rather significantly. But….  if you are happy buying all your products from China, then by all means, don’t waste your time.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RF7XOM5EJAEGSH2YDZ7TORP44I Amii Lockhart

          Considering all the cummulative pain endured by humanity because of different interpretations of god/s’ ways, I don’t see how it could be a waste of time.  I think you’re back pedaling now.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          I caught myself about to make an ageist comment, but it was out of place, especially considering that I’m pretty sure Rwlawoffice agrees with you.

          I would hope however that you would see the value in sharing knowledge.  And more important than ‘what’ we know is ‘how’ we know.

          • Rwlawoffice

             For the record, I do agree with sharing knowledge and explaining physics to a child. But in order for it to have any benefit and not be a waste of time, you would do it in a manner in which you think the child would understand. 

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Ah, I was being confusing.  I meant that you and Ndonnan agree (I think, although he may be more sure) as to what happens to atheists after we die.

              • Rwlawoffice

                On that I am sure we agree.

    • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

      Re: “And no He dosent have to explain and justify everything to mankind.It would be like explaining quantum phisics to a 3 year old”

      That comparison is invalid. Someone who wants to explain quantum mechanics to a 3-year-old has to deal with the limitations of teaching it to a 3-year-old, which are innumerable, and are out of his/her control. Your god, on the other hand, supposedly created all of us. And he could have created us any way he wanted to. This means he could have manufactured us to have the capacity to understand him. As a supposedly-omnipotent being, he does not have to put up with the same kinds of limitations that an adult teaching quantum mechanics to a 3-year-old has to put up with.

      Another way of putting it is, if your god is too big, too powerful, too remote, and too subtle for human beings to understand, it can only be because he does not want human beings to understand him. Since he’s supposedly omnipotent, and capable of having manufactured humanity to be able to understand anything he wishes humanity to understand, the responsibility for this failure is entirely his own and cannot be blamed on anyone or anything else.

      … Unless, of course, one posits that some external influence somehow forced him to create humanity in a deficient way. One could certainly argue that; but if one did, then one would necessarily be arguing against his omnipotence. And most believers wouldn’t do that.

      • Rwlawoffice

         He did give us the capacity to understand him.  You can’t say you don’t  understand him. You can read the Bible.  You have that ability.  If there are portions of the Bible that you don’t understand or want more clarification on there are people who can explain it.  So you can’t say that you don’t have the capacity you just chose to reject him .

        • Piet Puk

           The sad part is that there are so many bibles, interpetrations, translations that it is virtualy impossible to understand the correct meaning of the bible.
          It is almost as if the bible is just a collection of iron-age myths that has been taken to seriously for to long by to many people.
          The crarification is very simple: don’t take any religion seriously. Use logic and reason, it will get you to the moon and back.

        • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

          I guess it wasn’t entirely clear, but I was responding to one of your co-believers who claimed that we do not understand god and that he does not have to explain himself to us. 

          Apparently there’s a difference of opinion on that, among theists. That’s a matter you will have to thresh out among yourselves. I’m not part of that battle. All I did was to respond to one statement. If you have a problem with that statement, you’ll have to take it up with your fellow theist who made it. 

          As for whether or not I personally can understand him, that remains to be seen. First there’s the matter of which god, exactly, it is that I supposedly have the capacity to understand. As you can see from the above, you theists have not — even after thousands of years — come to any agreement amongst yourselves on the matter. 

          Once you decide which god it is that I’m supposed to be able to understand, and can produce objective, verifiable evidence of his existence, then we can discuss what it is about him that I should understand, and why I’m ignorant of it at the moment. 

          • Rwlawoffice

            I did not mean to imply that I assumed you had not read the Bible.  In fact my assumption would be just the opposite which you have confirmed.  Most people on this site have read at least part of the Bible if not all of it.  And after reading it they reject its teachings as you have done.  I don’t mean any ill will by that, that is your right and your free will to do so.  If you took that as an offense then my apologies.  

            • chicago dyke, evolved outlaw

               i congratulate you on knowing, unlike many of your fellow believers, how and when to apologize and bow to superior knowledge. that alone makes you better than most people like you, who cannot.

              • Rwlawoffice

                I did apologize but I don’t see where I bowed to superior knowledge.  If I did, then i apologize. :)

        • Coyotenose

           Yes, we chose to reject the Biblical God, much as we chose to reject leprechauns and monsters under the bed. That argument of yours has been refuted longer than I’ve been alive.

          If you’re claiming that the Bible allows us to understand this God, then you are claiming that he is in fact a childish, mercurial, murderous tyrant who condones and sometimes ENCOURAGES incest, slavery, infanticide, child rape and genocide and who isn’t competent enough to use omnipotence and omniscience combined to so much as explain his actions, because that is the being described in that text.

          • Rwlawoffice

            You didn’t refute my argument, you confirmed it.  You understand what you want to about God and you chose to reject him.  That is far different then not understanding.  You are ignoring the parts of the Bible that don’t fit with how you want to think of God and that don’t fit with your justification to reject him. That is your right of course.

            • Anonymous-Sam

              Out of curiosity, how aren’t you doing the same? I don’t understand how anyone not blissfully ignorant of the Bible can utterly ignore the existence of the Old Testament, in which the writers had no interest in conveying the message that God was a peaceful, loving deity. Their understanding of God was of a vengeful, angry creature responsible for all that went wrong in the world.

              Ever stop to think about the true meaning and origin of the prayer, “Lord, lead me not to temptation”? The idea dates back to Genesis 22′s inception in which the older translations used the phrase “God tempted Abraham”, as in tempted him to kill his son. Later, because this contradicted Matthew, the text was revised to read “God tested Abraham, but the idea of God as the one who makes evil happen was very real back then.

              The four major sources of the Old Testament (the Elohist, Jahwist, Priestly and Deteronomist) each had their own ideas about the stories of the Bible and it’s pretty obvious that some of them contradicted and were hamhandedly mashed together to form a narrative (which is why you get repetition, such as Abram and Isaac both sharing a wife-sister slavery story with the exact same ruler, as well as there being two separate world creation stories and two separate ten commandments stories). One thing they all had in common was the belief that God was to be feared because his chief method of communicating his existence was murdering people.

              Of the two major faiths which still place the greatest stock in the Torah, I think Islam says the most about God. Try reading the Qur’an sometime — “Allah is the greatly merciful; may He not smite me. Allah is the exceptionally merciful; may He not destroy me. Allah is the peacemaker; may He not bring me to ruin.” Judaism doesn’t seem to have the Killer God motif quite as strongly, but then again, they were already dismissing the wisdom of killing anyone who disagreed with them by the first century. It took the New Testament to forge the idea of God as a loving deity, making the messages of peace and love somewhat unique to Christianity’s piece of the Abrahamic trilogy.

              And I’m sorry, but I can’t accept it as easily anymore. If God exists, then He isn’t merciful or loving. It goes beyond free will. When someone I knew was dying in agony, my prayers did absolutely nothing to help them. In order of their last throes (spread out over a period of months), I prayed for God to heal them, I prayed for God to inspire the doctors to find a solution, I prayed for God to take the pain away, and then I prayed for God to let them die quickly. It proved one thing to me: the wishing well has a better prayer-to-recipience ratio than God, no matter how unselfish the prayer.

              So if there is a God, my vote would have to be for the Old Testament deity, who (if he existed) would have been having a ball laughing in mockery at my efforts to ease suffering in this world. Either that or I didn’t burn enough animal sacrifices to gain his favor.

              • Rwlawoffice

                A apologize for the delay in responding.  I am sorry for the tragic event you experienced with the death of your loved one.  Nothing  I can say will take that pain away.  But I encourage you to try and not look at this as the act of a vengeful God.  It is clear you understand the Bible and the whole Bible, both new and Old Testament is the picture of God. In both you will find evidence that He is a God of love you loves us as his children.  Look in the pslams for example. Here is a link that explains that God is unchanging. 

                http://oldtestamentlove.com/

                I would also encourage  you to read some of the writings of Max Lucado.  He is one of the best writers I have read regarding the grace of God.

                Regardless of if you think it will do any good, i will pray for you. 

                • Anonymous-Sam

                  But I don’t see it as vengeance from God for anything I or my family or anyone I know did — since unlike people thousands of years ago, we have a relatively solid understanding of what causes premature death. I know what causes organ failure (in this case, at least) and how it could have been prevented, and how it wasn’t. Far from taking home the interpretation that God is evil and malicious, I simply had to accept that God isn’t real. I said if God exists, then he must be evil. This is a fact. It is an inescapable fact. I’m sorry that it flies in the face of everything you believe, but one cannot look at this world and reasonably draw any other conclusion. We live in a world of filth and poverty and crime and torture, and much of it is inflicted on others by the very people who claim to uphold Christian values.

                  God wouldn’t let that happen. The God in the Bible doesn’t hesitate to tell people when they’re doing wrong. He kills people who are doing wrong on many occasions. He also kills people who are doing right on many occasions, such as when an angry mob chases Jacob and his family, who just finished slaughtering all the males of a village, raping the women, and enslaving their children — God defends Jacob. God’s bigger concern is Jacob’s brother, who married into another tribe. God hates that.

                  So God can’t be real. God wouldn’t hesitate to annihilate all life on Earth if it meant upholding his ideals. Ask any good southern-US Christian man and he’ll assure you that God does indeed strike down directly, killing those fags who want to bugger other men, that he sends tornadoes to wipe out entire cities and hurricanes to inflict coastal ruin and drown thousands of infants all because, in his infinite capacity for love, he really, really hates when people break the rules. If this is true, then God must also be killing the hypocrites, the US Army soldiers who shoot Afghanistan civilians for sport, the Westboro Church members who plague funerals, and certainly he wouldn’t have let BTK enjoy himself for so long.

                  Except this doesn’t happen. God doesn’t intervene at all. Random accidents of nature, predictable and well-understood woes of human health, and economic ruin are the only justice we ever see, despite a clear pattern of the exact opposite being depicted in the Bible. God isn’t leading us to salvation. He’s not even remotely concerned. He doesn’t exist to be concerned.

                  I understand that this is anathema to your faith, that my perspective is akin to being an antichrist. Given that the priesthood also once preached that God wanted his people to brutally murder anyone who ever suggested a different faith than the Torah, I’d have to say that disagreeing with me on an Internet blog being the worst you’d do is a blessing in disguise. I’m fine with that. “De-converting” people isn’t my priority, only doing my best to ensure that people respect and cherish each other during the time we have. The institutionalized hatred of women, homosexuals and people of different faiths is my enemy, and it exists in Christianity. Believe in God all you want (I do believe in something I consider similar), but acknowledge that the Bible has its share of filth and any religion based upon it will share in that horrible flaw.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Amen.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  Suffice it to say that we have a very different view of Christianity. 

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              you chose to reject him

              eh, not quite.  I don’t believe he exists.  It’s not rejection.  And it’s not a choice either.  In my late teens I really tried hard.  I wanted to believe in God.  Like most of us, I had a number of friends and relatives who were Christian, and I felt like there was something I was missing.  Something I just wasn’t getting.  You know the advice, you just have to have faith.  You just have to open your heart and ask Him in.  I did. I prayed.  I read a number of apologetic books, including C.S. Lewis.  I read the Bible (which honestly made it all harder).  I figured if I just forced myself to believe it would come.  It. Just.  Didn’t.  Happen.

              From your armchair you can say I didn’t try hard enough.  Or a part of me was still rejecting.  Or whatever you like.  But I honestly had the desire to have Faith.  The best I can explain it would be choosing to see five lights when you only see four.  You can pretend that one’s invisible.  And other people can tell you they see it.  But unless I see that light, I would be lying to say I see five.  I take your word for it that you see five, but you’ll just have to take my word for it that I’m not rejecting light #5- I just don’t see it.

              • Rwlawoffice

                Fair enough and thank you for sharing your experience.  All I can say is keep looking and keep an open mind and heart.  You may be surprised one day that He comes to you in a way that you can see.  

    • TiltedHorizon

       “Trying to manipulate God to justify your own agenda or lifestyle”

      The wonderful thing about your comment is it cuts both ways. A fact that you obviously did not consider as you “quote and espouse” scripture (Isaiah i.e. 58.8) to justify your “agenda”.  

      Hello pot, meet kettle.

    • The Other Weirdo

       Funny. When I quote from the bible, I don’t do it to espouse scripture or to “manipulate god” or to “justify my own agenda or lifestyle”.  I do it to counteract Christian claims that the OT is no longer relevant or that Jesus was a man of peace or anything else that comes up in conversation.

      And you’re wrong. He does have to justify to us, assuming he exists. We didn’t ask to be here, and the penalty for a differing opinion or even simple misunderstanding is too severe, too cruel, too snarlingly evil to leave it to chance or translation of long-dead languages.

      As for me, I take the viewpoint that it’s all made up nonsense and live my life of unforgivable sin. You know, not worshiping him. Of course I don’t rape or kill or torture or pillage or burn.

      • Coyotenose

         “Of course I don’t rape or kill or torture or pillage or burn.”

        You don’t? Then you go against the OT, and are going to Hell, Hell, Hell! *singsongs*

        … should I have danced a jig also?

    • Rwlawoffice

       I agree.  I particularly like the comments explaining what God should have done or what he should have said.

      • Brian Scott

        So, a priori acceptance of the validity a purported being (assuming it exists) is somehow a higher virtue than critical examination according to human moral systems.

        “His ways” may not be our ways, but neither are the ways of ants or jellyfish. If those that exist in this world wish to impose “his ways” or argue at all that “his ways” should supersede be our ways, they better be speaking to us in terms of our ways.

        • Rwlawoffice

           When you look at the complaints about the way God “should” have done it you will find that most of these complaints are not based upon “our” ways but are instead the personal wants and wishes of the person expressing how it should have been done.   

          • Coyotenose

             Or, if you want to be correct and honest about it: You’ll find that most of those “our ways” are based upon empathy, reason and logic, all things missing from the Bible more often than not.

            Oh, and they’re also based upon 2000 years of development in our science, culture, philosophy and ethics, all things which this omniscient god was oddly as unaware of as were the people telling stories about him back then…

    • Brian Scott

      WTF are you even on about?

      “Trying to manipulate God”Newsflash: we don’t believe in God. We aren’t “trying to manipulate” anything. We’re quoting out of the same 2000-year old mythological book you’re fond of endlessly quoting.

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

      “like explaining quantum phisics to a 3 year old”

      or logic to a sheep

  • Carla

    So we bitch when they’re mean, then we bitch when they try to convince each other to be nice? If the picture said, “Oh yeah, them… go kills all those f8ck3rs!” then we’d have a right to complain…. If this gets one Christian to lighten up on persecuting gays, women, etc, then wasn’t it worth it? And really, if we complain when they try to play nice, they’re probably just going to get meaner.

    You know what, I’ll say it like I mean it. Chill the f*ck out! I mean, what kind of @sshole complains when people within a group try to get each other to stop persecuting outsiders? Are we really so self-righteous that we can’t even let them use their scriptures to be NICE to other people? Yes, there are bad things in the Bible, and if this picture had anything to do with Jesus telling people to take up the sword against the gays, we should be out in force. But posts like this are EXACTLY why people hate atheists, and why I’m more and more ashamed to be associated with the group. When someone is trying to do good, you don’t complain about because it’s not the way you’d do it! That doesn’t sound the kind of “reasonable” atheists like to be proud of; it’s sound petty and bitchy. I can’t believe Hemant let something this ridiculous be posted on such a usually reasonable blog. 

    • Xeon2000

      Most atheist appreciate the sentiment of the message, but disagree with the misrepresentation of the source.

      Here’s an extreme example: Put Hitler on a poster with him saying something nice, like “Go be kind to your fellow man.” Most people would agree with the message but would be disgusted at the idea of putting Hitler up as a speaker of morality.

      Does that make sense?

      • Carla

        No. That doesn’t make one bit of sense. The fact that *you* don’t like the (figurative) speaker has no bearing on the truth or impact of the message on its intended group. It’s as patently ridiculous as Christians dismissing evolution because they don’t like science (it’s done bad things to people! it’s been wrong!). Bad people say good things, and good people say bad things. People are reacting with a gut response to put down Christianity in all of its forms rather than stoping thinking long enough to realize that this message from this speaker could get a lot of good done in the Christian community. And that aside, you’re not going to get them to stop persecuting us or gays or anyone, nor are you going to get them to take a hard look at the reality of their religion, by mocking and belittling a good message from someone who was, overall, a pretty decent guy. If you want to reach someone, do it on their level. If you want to preach at someone, do it on yours. 
        If it took posting pictures of Hitler saying, “Be nice, kids” to get Nazi’s to stop hurting other people, then would have been for it. I get that a lot of the people here seem to have a general disdain for Christianity, and it’s true that Jesus wasn’t perfect, be he was far from bad (as the Bible tells it). He cared for the poor and healed the sick. And my personal opinion about the guy (or his existence/divinity) aside, Christians believe in him as the be-all, end-all of morality. If someone can remind them that Jesus said to take care of other people, *regardless of what else he said,* then I will remain 110% for it. 

        • Thackerie

          We don’t even know whether a person upon whom the Jesus character in the bible was based actually existed, so there’s no way to know what this maybe/maybe not person said. We only have words attributed to him by anonymous writers writing decades after he supposedly lived.

          But, I agree, some noble thoughts were attributed to Jesus. Too bad they didn’t let it go at that and instead added in a lot of really nasty stuff.

        • Xeon2000

          I disagree. I think these hypothetical examples are simultaneously portraying two messages. There is the overt message that everyone can see. There is a second message that is more covert, and perhaps unintentional. The second message says “this person represents the message being portrayed.”

          I think you need to be able to analyze both messages separately. The first message is good, but the second message is a lie and revisionist propoganda.

        • Ndonnan

          Well said Carla,a real friendly athiest,with integrity to boot :)

  • T-Rex

    I’d say Jesus was probably nicer than Sauron but not quite as nice as Saruman…atleast as far as fictional characters go.

    • Coyotenose

       Well, Saruman did almost rid us of the Shire, so he’s Aces I reckon.

  • Xeon2000

    I had a friend post that last week. I dug up a few quotes in response. Here is one:

    Matthew 15:22-26

    22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
     23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

     24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

     25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

     26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

    • Ndonnan

      Keep reading xeon,finish the passage.

    • Anonymous-Sam

      Now this is cherry-picking. The rest of it:

      27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”

       28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.

      • amyc

         It was so nice of Jesus to help the “dogs,” wasn’t it? That’s like a klan member helping out a black guy, but insulting him while he does it. It doesn’t impress me one bit. A good person can help people without first referring to them as dogs. Or did you completely miss that part?

        • Anonymous-Sam

          I don’t necessarily interpret it that way, but neither do I accept leaving the quote unfinished and leaving it as “Jesus refused to heal a woman.” I think the writers intended him to heal her all along, and her argument was intended as a test, to which she responds with a clever play on words. 2000 years later, it doesn’t look clever, but I’d have to at least give them props for one thing: Jesus healing a woman who dared to touch him, from this misogynistic religion? I’m surprised no one excised it from the book, considering how much else changed over the years.

  • http://twitter.com/Brimshack northierthanthou.com

    These are the passages that give rise to Republican Jesus. I don’t think I really encountered him until well into adulthood.  Always been a softie for the peace-love-dove version of Jesus. But Republican Jesus don’t play that shit. He’ll kick your ass!

  • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

    When a body is filled with contradictions, any proposed inference requires cherry-picking. It’s true for the hippie-Jesus fans, and it’s true for all the other Jesuses.

    • amyc

      I was going to post similar sentiments. I found when reading the Bible (as a Christian at the time) that it was virtually impossible to describe Jesus’ character as a person because there are so many contradictory statements. No matter which side I fell on, somebody would say I was cherry-picking. If you want to build a coherent and consistent view of Jesus or God from the Bible, you have to cherry-pick.

  • http://thestir.squarespace.com/ Servaas

    Well done for posting these verses. Many Christians still don’t know they’re actually in the Bible and walk around thinking to love always means to be nice or that to love someone means to do whatever they want. Jesus came to show that love isn’t being noce to people but acting in other’s best interest. Thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Sweet/1280927267 James Sweet

    My wife and I both cited the fig tree story in rebuttal to that image.  heh…  Yeah, the fig tree is pretty much Jeebus at his most petty.  “Figs aren’t in season?!?!?  Well then you can fucking DIE you stupid fig tree!”

  • Anonymous

    What most xians don’t realize is that Jesus was the person who originated the concept of Hell, if the gospels are to be believed. In the old testament, God could smite you, give you pox etc. and generally be a real asshole, but once you were dead, he had no further power to harm you. Gentle Jesus meek&mild is the one who introduces the concept of eternal infinite agony after you die.

  • gurudwara

    What amuses me most about this picture is that while he is *saying* to be nice to people, when someone asks him to clarify his answer he is demeaning and hostile. How Christians think that this proves how great and kind Jesus was is beyond me.  Who can blame the audience for being confused about his message?

  • Basilicon

    heres a grievous wound called understanding in the darkest of sentences.

    a wound to be healed from what is divided.a sword that seperates the flock
    the tongue is a sword as truth.dividing the lies from truth.

    the words stir up anger.a soft answer turneth away wrath.

    this isnt judgement……i dont love gays.heck i dont love your purple hair either.

    the bible says if you hate my brother you are a liar! that means his followers.hindering to christian faith for that reason in gay marriage and the vow of what always has been man and woman.this is why they want gay marriage in the church?or atleast in my opinion to be supported by love thy brother.

    we are forgetting what the bible says
    If a man also lies with a man, as he lies with a woman, both of them have
    committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall
    be upon them.

    lie of the enemy no man will be casted in a lake of fire for hating gay marriage.because of hating your quote “brother”by powers and principalities.

    (if the first passage is read closely)

    i respect what governs us.but i know the lie of the devil as well.

    so soften society up then! make them accept it.


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