Kirk Cameron: When I Tell Gay People They’re Going to Hell, That’s Just Me Loving Them

Guess who spoke at a convocation at Jerry Falwell‘s Liberty University? Kirk Cameron… someone the Christian Post claims is a “Hollywood actor” though he hasn’t done any mainstream non-evangelical Christian acting in years.

Cameron did, however, do an interview with Piers Morgan back on March 2nd and he thinks we’re all still talking about it. He told the Liberty students about the nasty barrage of questions he had to answer — many of them about his opposition to gay rights — adding that he was proud of his answers:

The truth is always love speech, it’s not hate speech. The truth communicated with compassion, with a desire to see people in a right relationship with God, helped and healed and whole, is the most genuine form of love speech you can give anyone.”

Cameron’s version of “love speech” means telling gay people that they’re destined to go to hell. And then taking away whatever rights they deserve. Ditto with women who want to get abortions.

But, hey, if telling the truth amounts to love, then let me be perfectly honest: Kirk Cameron is an asshole. (Sorry, was that too loving?)

That wasn’t the only ridiculous thing Cameron said in his address:

I also learned a lesson from that [interview]. And that is that blasphemy laws are still alive and well in America. And I seem to have blasphemed the god of political correctness and they tried to drag me out into the public square and crucify me.

Blasphemy laws?! So, because people made fun of Kirk Cameron for stating his out-of-touch-with-reality and hateful views, he equates that with being persecuted for blasphemy?

Kirk, we know Alexander Aan.

Alexander Aan is a friend of ours.

Kirk, you’re no Alexander Aan.

No one’s throwing Cameron in jail for his views. No one is threatening Cameron for his views. Hell, Cameron’s giving interviews because of the Christian movie he’s starring in.

He didn’t suffer one iota because of the CNN interview. The only thing that happened was that more people found out how much of a scumbag he’s become since his Growing Pains days.

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.

  • Anon

    Does that mean when I punch you in the face, that’s me loving you back Mr. Cameron?

    Because I will.

  • Sindigo

    Screw this asshat for his bigotry, screw him for managing to maintain a media presence, screw him for spewing out of touch, out of date, hateful bile but more than all that screw him a thousand times for making me take Piers Morgan’s side even a little.

  • George Wiman

    Persecuted? Crucified? Hey Kirk, the world’s smallest violin has long since been worn down to an even smaller pile of sawdust for you.

  • DougI

    I feel sorry for his kids.  Imagine how he looks at people with such loathing and hatred and calls it love.  Imagine what he’d do if our secular society didn’t restrain his behavior.

  • Random Lurker Delurking

     If the stories I have seen online are true, he was a bit of a scum bag during his Growing Pains days as well.

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  • Rev. Ouabache

    It’s worth noting that Mr. Cameron was complaining about blasphemy laws right before he promoted his new movie about how awesome the Puritans were. You know, the people  who actually tortured and killed people for blasphemy.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Hearing the christianists cry about how “persecuted” they are makes me sick. And it makes my blood boil. 

    It may make me a bad person, but I sincerely hope that one day they ARE even a tenth as persecuted as they cry they are now. They deserve it. 

  • Don Gwinn

    That wasn’t very friendly!
    Honest, though.

  • Ewan

    “if telling the truth amounts to love”

    Um; are you really trying to argue against the principle of telling people the truth, even if they don’t want to hear it? Because a lot of people don’t like to hear the truth about atheists too.

    The problem here isn’t the Kirk Cameron wants to tell the truth, it’s that what he thinks is true isn’t.

  • David Benjamin Patton

    No thanks, Kirky boy I neither need nor want your ‘love’.

  • jose

    “God, I tell you these are good people, I’ve been with them, I know them, they don’t deserve an eternity of suffering, couldn’t you reconsider?”

    ^ nothing like that ever crosses their minds, does it? They’re happy being spokesmen for their celestial caudillo. “Our way or the highway” is their message. Bigots.

  • Tainda

    I wonder what Boner would have thought of this?

    And if you get that reference, you’re old like me.

    Kirk Cameron is a sad excuse for a human being.  You can preach love, love, love all you want but there is only hate in you.

  • 3lemenope

    Upon  a cross of speaking fees and book sales.

  • compl3x

    Another Xtian screaming persecution in the U.S. Or, ya know, Wednesday.

  • LesterBallard

    Nah, if he had been crucified I would have been poking at him with my lance. And laughing.

  • The Other Weirdo

     “Friendly” doesn’t always mean friendly. Even your “Friendly Neightbourhood Spiderman” would whoop your ass if you got out of line.

  • The Other Weirdo

     No, they don’t. First, it doesn’t reflect well on society to persecute anybody. Second, persecution hardens people. Germany was persecuted after WWI and look what happened less than 20 years later. Christians themselves were persecuted by the Romans and if they hadn’t been, the whole thing might have burnt itself out in a few generations. Third, in the future, their children aren’t responsible for what their parents did and the future people doing the persecution wouldn’t understand why anyway. Haven’t we had enough of that with Jews and Christians over the last 2,000 years?

  • Big MrE

    Just to be fair, there seems to be a gaping inconsistency running amok on Friendly Atheist today.  Kirk Cameron is labeled an asshole for thinking that gays are going to hell.  And we all agree that he’s an asshole.  Then there is discussion of Julia Sweeney and “why do atheists seem like assholes?”  Which is answered because we’re making unpopular statements, but we aren’t really assholes.
    So which is it?  KC is making loudly making an unpopular claim and we fairly label him an asshole.  Sweeney says that atheists can make unpopular claims but shouldn’t fairly label us as assholes.
    Now don’t misunderstand me- I completely disagree with Kirk Cameron’s opinion and support gay rights.  Personally, I’m well beyond non-religious and into anti-religion.  And I think that his bigoted opinions are fading away fast, but not fast enough.

  • sunburned

     So which is it?

    Neither.  Because apples != oranges just like a whole class of people != Kirk Cameron.

  • Artor

    Actually, the persecution by the Romans was generally more Xtian whining. When they were thrown to the lions, it was because they were common criminals, vandals, tax-dodgers, etc. The Romans couldn’t care less what silly religion they were, as long as they were good citizens. Often they weren’t. Hasn’t changed a bit in 2000 years. Still whining, still bad citizens.

  • Pedro Lemos

    Well, there´s a difference between being labeled an asshole and actually being an asshole. Your actions determine if you´re an asshole or not.
    What´s being condemned by Julia Sweeney is the predisposition of people seeing atheists as assholes just for their lack of religious, without considering their actions. Another thing is act like you´re doing gay people a favor by showing them they´re sinners, condemning them to eternal suffering and taking away theirs rights, just to, afterwards, give interviews to make people believe you´re right in doing this and being persecuted for doing the right thing.
    So, Kirk is not being labeled an asshole. He is acting like one. Any atheist can also act like an asshole anytime, independently of his religious views.

  • smrnda

     Could you post some sources for this? I am not a Christian but always was taught that it was that unlike other religions, the Christian religion demanded that Christians not worship Roman gods whereas most other religions at the time were polytheistic and didn’t demand that exclusivity.

  • smrnda

    Christians are not being persecuted in the US. If you state an opinion, nobody is obliged to *not* criticize or make fun of you, free speech goes both ways. Plus, look at how much funding anti-gay bigots can get from like minded bigots and how many media appearances they make, that sure doesn’t make it seem like they’re being silenced to me.

    They are only finding that fewer and fewer people want to hear their bullshit, but this is no infringement of freedom any more than if people quit wanting to watch bad B horror films would be infringing on the rights of Ed Wood.

  • The Other Weirdo

     I’m not convinced that we should excoriate him for being out of touch and out of date. That smacks of moral relativism, something Christians routinely accuse us of.  We can call him hateful, because that’s what he is. There is no need to add that other stuff.

  • Gus Snarp

    I think it has to do with the fact that we’re not advocating depriving a large slice of the population of their fundamental rights.

  • Sindigo

    If you mean his stance on GLBT issues then yes, I agree it does. However, clinging to creationism with the access to scientific explanations for the origins of the  life on earth etc that we have now is most definitely both out of touch and date. Perhaps I should have been more clear.

  • Holytape

    Well, since Captian Kirk of the USS Dumbass says we tried to crucify him, and since lying will cause one to go to hell, the only way to save Kirk’s immortal soul is to try and crucify him.   I mean it might be torture, but it will be done with love. 

  • Blacksheep

    First of all: I’m not a fan of Kirk.

    However, many Christians, myself included, don’t “cling” to creationism at the expense of science, we accept and are highly educated on science as the way things work, etc. We still believe that a creator is behind it all, and for us scientific understanding takes nothing away from our faith in God.

  • Blacksheep

    That’s a completely new spin on it for me – I need to look into that. makes sense that some criminals were mixed in, and the Romans were practical governers, but my understanding is that for a long period, people were used in death sports / lions, etc. for simply being Christian (and most likely poor, as well).

  • Baal

    I think he’s failed at reading comprehension.  1984 isn’t a how-to.  Hate is not love.  Black is not white.  Up is not down…

  • Sindigo


  • Smartyartblast

    I feel sorry for his kids now, but more than likely they will grow up to reject his cognitive-dissonance-ridden worldview. 

  • Smartyartblast

    This is what religion does: it says hate is love, which makes both terms meaningless. 

  • Earl G.

    Obviously we don’t call Kirk an asshole because his anti-gay sentiments are unpopular.  
    A.  We call him an asshole because his sentiments are assholish. 
    B.  Also, his sentiments are in fact quite popular.

  • amycas

     I’ve heard various reportings on it. One I’ve read recently was that the whole “death sport” thing was not as common as most people think because it really wasn’t that much fun to watch an un-armed guy run around and get eaten by a lion or executed by somebody who was armed. The sports everybody liked to see were the gladiators, and even then it wasn’t always a fight to the death.

    Also, the games started as funeral rites for the rich, and just kind of exploded from there. Each family wanted their funeral rites to be bigger than the next guys’, and eventually it just turned into games because the authorities said the individual funeral rites were getting out of hand. Within a couple centuries, everybody forgot how it started and they were having games about 3-4 times a year.

    In any case, I have read consistently that the Romans would leave the Christians alone if only they would stop pestering people about converting. There were a lot of little gnostic cults that the Romans didn’t care about; they went after the Christians because they were trying to shirk their tax duties and they were trying to convert people. I’m not saying it’s ok for them to persecute Christians just for trying to convert people, that’s still wrong. But the Christians weren’t hunted down for sport like some people claim.

  • The Other Weirdo

     It’s a heavy cross to bear, but I’m sure he’s up to the job. :)

  • amycas

     I don’t think it’s loving for them to worship a god who would send me or anyone to hell to suffer eternally. They may think it’s loving to warn me about it, but then they turn around and worship this god. That’s not loving, that’s condoning their god’s bad behavior. Even if I believed it were true, I would not worship their god.

  • amycas

     Because Kirk Cameron is condemning and campaigning against the rights of an entire group of people based on his religious views, and we’re just pointing out that people might be wrong about those religious views. One of these things is not like the other…

  • amycas

     Exactly. This is what I don’t get. Why would somebody worship a god that would send anybody to hell to be tortured forever? If it were true, and I knew it were true, I would do everything in my power to tell people about it, but I would not then worship it.

  • Blacksheep

    In parts of Africa and other Muslim countries, Christians are being severely persecuted as we speak.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

     No one’s throwing Cameron in jail for his views.

    That is correct. Now only if there was a law against being a washed-up, has-been, evangelical, ex-child star actor who can not act to save his life. Seriously, his acting is almost criminally bad. 

  • Blacksheep

    (and I don’t think you wish it was this particular type of persecution, which includes taking childeren as slaves, etc).

    “Afghanistan (2), Saudi Arabia (3), Somalia (4), Iran (5) and the Maldives (6) form a bloc where indigenous Christians have almost no freedom to openly worship. For the first time Pakistan (10) entered the top 10, after a tumultuous year during which the nation’s highest-ranking Christian politician, Cabinet Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, was assassinated for his attempts to change the blasphemy law.The rest of the top 10 is composed of Uzbekistan (7), Yemen (8) and Iraq (9). Laos was the lone country to drop from the top 10 list, falling to No. 12 from No. 10.While persecution has worsened due to persecution by Muslim extremists , without question North Korea once again deserves its No. 1 ranking. Defiantly Communist, North Korea built a bizarre quasi-religion around the founder of the country, Kim Il-Sung. Anyone with “another god” is automatically persecuted. The estimated 200,000 to 400,000 Christians in this country must remain deeply underground. An estimated 50,000 to 70,000 Christians are held in ghastly prison camps.”By some standards, Christians (not in the west, obviously) are the most persecuted religious group in the world today.

  • TalkingSnake

    Why oh why did I watch even the first 30 seconds of that?  It feels like my eyes and ears took a shit on my brain.

  • Blacksheep

    This is what I found:

    According to the historian Tacitus, Christians during Nero’s time (at least) were mainly torn apart by dogs, crucified, or burned alive — no mention of lions. The Romans did throw people to lions on occasion, and Tertullian, writing later, remarks that the Romans were always ready to exclaim “Away with the Christians to the lion!” 
    While record keeping at the time wasn’t the best, and many early Christian texts have their implausible moments, here’s what we can say with reasonable certainty:
    1. During the early Christian era, the Romans executed some prisoners using animals, sentencing them ad bestias, “to the beasts.” The beasts in question included dogs, bears, boars, and lions.
    2. Christians were executed by the boatload during that time, often in cruel and unusual ways, with animals regularly playing a role. 

    …and there’s much more, looks like violent Christian persecution was pretty massive and widespread, and went on for 100′s of years. I found nothing about tax dodgers, etc, but I did discover that one could be charged simply with “Christianity.”

  • Artor

    If I recall, the “persecution” meme came about during Nero’s reign. He was widely believed by Xtians at the time to be the Antichrist. (Sound familiar?) He was particularly fond of the bloodsports, so he’d use any petty criminals he could get his hands on. If there weren’t enough thieves or murderers handy, he’d happily see vandals, tax-dodgers and seditionists fed to the hungry critters. If they happened to be those noisy Xtian cultists, he didn’t mind, but he hardly singled them out for persecution. It wasn’t a good time for anyone to be Roman then.

  • The Other Weirdo

     To them, any contrary position feels like persecution. Trouble is, they haven’t learnt to separate “feels like” from “it is so”.

  • Blacksheep

    I’m sure you are partly correct. But it definitely seems (from my quick, lame research) that Christians were definitely singled out because they were Christians. 

  • Artor

    Thanks for digging that up. I was just going off my vague recollection of something I’d read. I don’t know if I could find my source if I tried.

  • Stev84

    The Christians must have done something to piss the authorities off. The Roman Empire was relatively tolerant as far as religion was concerned. They frequently incorporated the gods of conquered peoples into their own pantheon as a way to integrate those cultures into the empire. Or invented new official religions like the worship of Sol Invictus.

    And around the same time as Christianity became popular another new religion sprung up and spread wide pretty fast: Mithraism. Yet nothing was done against it. It was very popular in the military for example.

  • Dangerous Talk

    Wow, I wonder if Kirk would trade places with Alber Saber? 

  • John

     I don’t think anyone would make the claim that *all* Christians cling to creationism at the expense of science, but you can’t deny that many do.  Kirk Cameron is one of them.

  • Miss_Beara

    Those meanies aren’t agreeing with my anti gay views. I feel just like Jesus on the cross! Woe is me, I am being crucified. 

  • Chad Phriday

    Because he is afraid of the dark. I was a Christian during Growing Pains and I was so proud of him for finding faith. However, now that I am truly free to see religion as the sickening destructive cult system that it truly is, I feel nothing but pity for him. Not even as a Christian was I able to refute science with those backwards ass arguments creationists use, nor did I try. My faith slipped away like butter when I learned about evolution and how nothing survives the death of the brain. I no longer cried myself to sleep because God sat idly by as loved ones died despite all of my prayers. I actually stand stupefied at my relatives who believe without question. 

  • sunburned

     Remind us again…Is it just Christians being persecuted in those countries…or are there other religious/non-religious groups involved?

  • jose

    Dunno if this still happens, but a few decades ago, people would pay the church to have more masses and prayers for them after dying, in order to try to sway God’s judgment and ease up their way to heaven. They would ask virgin mary and the saints to intercede in the dead guy’s favor, so God would let him out of purgatory sooner or even send him to purgatory instead of hell.

    This from people who think an all-knowing God created an objective, absolute morality.

  • Michael Harrison

    Since _Growing Pains_? There was a behind-the-scenes retrospective that mentioned how he found Jesus and grew distant from his fellow cast members. It amuses me how much his case sounds like the warning signs of drug addiction.

  • nakedanthropologist

    I went to Rome a few years ago, and was lucky enough to book a private tour of the colliseum (which is amazing).  My tour guide was a history grad student at the local university and said that the whole throwing christians to lions thing was a Christian myth that originated in the dark ages.  The colliseum wasn’t built until 80AD, and by then Rome was officially Christian.  Like Artor said, those who were thrown to the lions or made into gladiators were criminals or prisoners of war; it didn’t matter if they were Christian.

  • Silo Mowbray

    What makes the Christian God the “true” one, then? Why not Ra? Or Zeus? Or Odin? The Abrahamic god was not the first deity on the block by a long stretch, and yet you and other Christians behave as if there’s no possibility other than him being the right one.

    Also, I have a very hard time with the idea that believing in something despite the complete absence of empirical evidence and testable hypotheses is considered a virtue, which theists do. And you believe it to the point of letting that belief system GOVERN YOUR LIFE.

  • Gus Snarp

    But persecution is a core part of their theology. Jesus was persecuted, and they want to be like Jesus. Early Christians in Rome were persecuted. Their pastors tell them that if they’re good Christians, they’ll be persecuted for it. So they have to invent it if it doesn’t exist. If they’re not being persecuted, then they’re not Christian enough and they might be “Left Behind” (see what I did there?)

  • matt

     Ok so how does that make Christianity the correct one?

  • Blacksheep

    I can only speak for myself, but I am deeply moved by the Gospel as presented in the Bible. It has had a huge impact on my life, and I have seen it impact others in quite powerful and positive ways.

    Why is it the ‘true” one? My most honest response would have to be that it’s the true one for me. In short, every major religion says that you have to prove yourself worthy of God in one way or another. (In eastern traditions you may get many chances to do so). I don’t feel that a loving God would condemn His creation based on good deeds, (Judge perhaps, but not condemn) so I find that the idea of salvation through faith (even a little faith) aligns with what feels true to me. It makes sense to me. And for me, all of the crazy OT passages and judgements in the Bible are tempered by the idea that we are not saved through works, but through faith. And the verses that say otherwise are out-weighed in number and overall context by the ones  that do.

    Do I believe there’s no possibility that I’m wrong? Of course not. Faith is mixed with doubt, but faith wins out in me, time after time,- and I don’t need to beat it down if it’s alive and well in me. 

    I don’t think it governs my life any more than the things anyone does to make them feel healthy, at peace, and productive. But Christianity makes outlandish claims about the nature of the universe, salvation, etc. so it definitely has an impact on most facets of life.

  • Compuholic

    Not that I’m an expert but 80AD seems to me extremely early for Rome adopting Christianity as official Religion. I always thought that was done much later by Constantine.

  • Blacksheep

    You won’t find any of that in the Bible.

  • Blacksheep

    If only work did not get in the way of having good conversations!

  • Blacksheep

    The above list is specifically about Christians. Do you mean overall which groups are being persecuted? Not sure, I did not research that. These days Christians are very persecuted in Muslim Countries and in Communist / totalitarian regimes, like NK and still in China. (less and less I think).

  • Blacksheep

    It was. There is recorded persecution of christians before Constantine, who took over in around 300 AD.

  • Blacksheep

    The lion part maybe, but,

    ” According to the historian Tacitus, Christians during Nero’s time (at least) were mainly torn apart by dogs, crucified, or burned alive — no mention of lions. The Romans did throw people to lions on occasion, and Tertullian, writing later, remarks that the Romans were always ready to exclaim “Away with the Christians to the lion!” While record keeping at the time wasn’t the best, and many early Christian texts have their implausible moments, here’s what we can say with reasonable certainty:1. During the early Christian era, the Romans executed some prisoners using animals, sentencing them ad bestias, “to the beasts.” The beasts in question included dogs, bears, boars, and lions.2. Christians were executed by the boatload during that time, often in cruel and unusual ways, with animals regularly playing a role.” 
    …and there’s much more, looks like violent Christian persecution was pretty massive and widespread, and went on for 100′s of years.

  • Blacksheep

    learning about evolution made your faith slip away? It did not have that effect on me at all. To me, the idea of life suddenly springing up from nothing, progressively getting more and more complex, (Second law of thermoodynamics be damned!), and resulting in humanity, art, insight, love, etc. is SO profound and amazing that if anything it increased my faith. Obviously it’s a different perspective. I agree- nothing physical (that we know of) survives the death of the brain. Faith is not physical, so that fact has no bearing on faith.

  • Fargofan

    “Crucify”? Really? I wouldn’t expect a Christian to toss that word around casually. No, people disagreeing with and even mocking you does not equal agonizing physical torture and death.

  • Deven Kale

     The second law of thermodynamics only applies to closed systems, and even then it’s talking about the entire system as a whole. Some things can become more ordered without violating that law, as long as other things become less ordered to an equal or greater degree.

    The Earth is not a closed system. We have a constant influx of energy from the Sun and other celestial sources, which means that things becoming more ordered throughout the system while fewer things become less ordered is not only plausible, but likely. In fact, more than likely because it has actually happened.

    You’ve been following this blog long enough that I know this has already been explained to you.  You should understand this by now, unless you’re being willfully ignorant.

  • Deven Kale

     I’d like to know the actual source to verify it’s credibility, rather than just a cut’n’paste of it. You know how it goes.

  • Deven Kale

     You do realize that Baby_Raptor wasn’t talking about Christians in those countries, and neither was Cameron, right? American Christians such as Cameron (not all Christians, but those like him) act as if the persecution they suffer is somehow equal in scale to that which is happening there. This is what Baby_Raptor is talking about. Not the true persecution suffered in other countries, which I hope we can all agree is abhorrent.

  • Deven Kale

     Sola scriptura is a relatively new phenomenon, starting only about 500 years ago. Before then, the Bible was almost always used as only a single source of many, not the only source.

  • jose

     I wish I would. A god who is willing to listen to reason? I’ll take it any day over the heartless god of the bible.

  • Drakk

    “progressively getting more and more complex, (Second law of thermoodynamics be damned!)”

    It is clear to me that you understand little of thermodynamics or evolution.

    “nothing physical (that we know of) survives the death of the brain. Faith is not physical, so that fact has no bearing on faith.”

    Faith is a brain state, nothing more.

  • julie

    So it’s okay that God is a bloodthirsty asshole in the Bible because as long as you believe in him, you’ll be saved?
    Why exactly do you think you’re worshiping a good god?

  • Drakk

     Okay. Now where’s the evidence?

  • julie

    ” they went after the Christians because they were trying to shirk their tax duties and they were trying to convert people.”

    Wow, some things never change.

  • Compuholic

    I’m aware that one says that there was persecution. But I guess that depends on the definition of “persecution”. 

    It’s hard to for me to imagine that the Romans were systematically rounding up Christians just for the heck of it.

    The Romans were an advanced society and had an extremely amazing law system for their time. Many elements of it can be found in todays law system around the world.

    I could imagine that Christians were not a respected group of the population and therefore more likely to be treated harshly if they had done anything wrong.

  • IHaveForgivenJesus

    Christians love moral relativism, they are always telling us how that Old Testament morality doesn’t apply any more, Jesus brought the new moral code. 

  • sunburned

    I mean in those areas outlined Christians are persecuted just like every other religious/non-religious minority. 

  • Blacksheep

    You must not have read my post, Drakk. I explained a little bit of why I believe. I have lots of first hand experiential evidence for a Christian path as opposed to a humanist path, and I choose the Christian path. You have looked at the world and chosen yours, because presumably for you it’s better.

  • Blacksheep

    I didn’t say I understood it all julie, I said that I am deeply moved by the Gospel as presented in the Bible. The Christian faith has wrinkles in it that I’m not sure I’ll ever iron out, but like anything else that you spend time in, things get clearer and make sense over time. 

  • Blacksheep

    Not really, Christ taught that the law still applies, but through him we are free of the law, saved by grace. There’s that old, (admittedly quite sappy) sunday school story about the girl who is in court for a traffic violation. The judge tells her she’s guilty, and has to pay a fine. Then the judge, who happens to be her father, pays the fine for her. No moral relativism, but definitely a new construct.

  • Blacksheep

    Correct. And if you look at the other sources, many are clearly works of the state / catholic church. Since Christians believe that the Bible is the word of God, it’s safer to stick to that. (If you believe it’s true).

  • amycas

     I personally could not and would not put my faith in a god that would allow anyone to be tortured for eternity. Maybe if the choices were: total obliteration of the self (which is what I believe now), or heaven–that wouldn’t be such a terrible god.

  • amycas

     I would find that to be a highly unethical situation for the judge to preside of his own daughter’s case. I don’t think substitutional atonement is morally right.
    Let’s put it this way: a woman runs a red light, hits another car, and a child in the other car dies. The woman is then found guilty of manslaughter. But, at her sentencing the judge says “you’re sentenced to 20 years in prison, but don’t worry, if you say you love me, my son will do those 20 years for you!” Of course, they later find out the son is actually the judge and is allowed out of prison after only three days. Sure, the woman would probably take the deal, but where does that leave justice? What about the victim? How would that system provide justice or retribution or determent from crime?

    According to this construct, I could have complete sincere faith* in god and jesus, but still be a murderer and make it to heaven. While the buddhist guy down the street is a decent person, doesn’t do anything to cause substantial harm to anybody, and he would be condemned to hell. Faith without works falls flat on its face. How do you know that you’re being faithful enough without the “works” part of the equation? There are undoubtedly sins that Christians are not supposed to commit, but if they do they can just ask for forgiveness and have faith. How is this not just a blank check to do whatever you want? Don’t say “only god can see what’s in a person’s heart,” because then nobody would know for sure if they were saved and they would live in a constant state of existential fear for their eternal soul, and that doesn’t sound healthy.

    *could you define what it means to have faith in god and Jesus? Is it merely a sincere belief that it’s true? Do you have to love God and Jesus as well? Do you have to show that love in some way? It seems your view of “saved by grace through faith” is dependent on some sort of works.

  • amycas

     Well said. :-)

  • amycas

     It’s always important to mention that the few sources we have on Nero were commissioned by future rulers who hated him. He was certainly not a very stable individual, but most of the worst things he’s accused of have no basis in history and come from manuscripts that were written centuries after his reign. The contemporary sources didn’t have high regard for him, but they also don’t paint him as an evil monster.

  • amycas

     Pretty sure that atheists are also persecuted in those countries. This is what happens when one religion takes over the government–religious persecution. Even in the colonies, there was persecution against Christians by other Christians.

  • Geena PsyStudent

    How would anyone on Earth know who is going to Hell, anyway? Assuming Hell even exists. 

    My family is Catholic. We were taught not to assume people would be condemned just because their lifestyle/choices were not in line with what we thought “God wanted from us.”  I think things go downhill when we start judging. Personally I believe God loves us all, regardless …   

  • Blacksheep

    I struggle with the exact same thing. (many christians believe in total obliteration of self).

  • Blacksheep

    Not the best story, granted, but I could see exactly that happening if I were a judge in that situation. You’re right – if it were manslaughter, the penalty is much heavier, and the example breaks down.

    But yes, I believe you could be a murderer and make it to heaven. Even for a murderer, it would not be fair to suffer forever. We’re all (most of us) doing our best in the world, and people have a tough go of it sometimes. However, if you had faith in Christ it would lead to you wanting to follow his example, which would include not murdering anyone. So works can be evidence of faith. In that way, I agree with you – faith without works is dead.In terms of being ‘faithful enough” it’s not a sliding scale. Salvation offers a “change of status” with God. It’s not a blank check, because I sincerely believe that true faith doesn’t lead to purposely doing evil to test God.I also believe that it’s only total love and forgiveness that even makes someone want to do good. If love is conditional on works, the works will not follow. With unconditional love, good works happen naturally. (It’s that way with human nature, I think).Defining faith… I’ll try. To me it’s a deep knowing that the Gospel is true because of the way it resonates with me – and makes me feel, time and time again, year in and year out. It starts with a sincere belief that there is a God, and feeling a truth and connection to the God spoken about in the Bible. It’s absolutely mixed with doubts. It’s also mixed with hard questions about why the Bible says what it does sometimes. But I come back to Christ, who in particular did not like judgemental people. I think the love naturally shows when I spend more time getting outside of myself and closer to God through prayer and reading and helping people, and I see that I’m not as happy when I focus on myself and little things I have to complain about. (In other words,  Christ’s teachings, when applied, work for me).No, I don’t think salvation is dependant on works – I think it’s a gift that’s responded to with good works. I guess faith could be considered works. That’s a tricky one! 

    In the end, for me it’s looking at my life, my experiences, people I have known, what works, what doesn’t, what brings me peace. I have doubts, but life is short, and i see no reason to beat down authentic feeling that I have that Jesus and his Gospel are true.

  • Blacksheep

    I feel that if there is no God, and we have truly arisen by random chance, (Billions of them in a row), then the God that humans have made up in the Bible seems incredibly unjust sometimes. I agree.

    But if God is real, and is truly the being who created the universe and everything in it, that puts a profoundly different spin on things. Then I have to question if it’s just our understanding that’s off, or if we simply don’t see the big picture. Maybe the true nature of the universe is incredibly harsh, and we’re barely experiencing it? After all, mixed in with pain and suffering there’s so much beauty and comfort in the world – love, art, sunsets, friendship, food, sex, on and on… that one could focus on that and feel blessed. 

  • kaydenpat

    Wonder why Kirk doesn’t understand that free speech is for everyone.  He can make asinine comments about gay rights and those who disagree with him can ridicule him for his comments.  He shouldn’t whine about being criticized.  Take it like an adult and stop acting like a martyr. 

  • Vitaly Klitschko

    The new atheists in thrall to indolent liberal secularism routinely ignore the concept of Nietzschean struggle.

    If one wants to achieve, say, athletic success, one must struggle against the inertia of the body. If one wants to improve one’s chess playing one must struggle with one’s mind. So much is obvious. But the new atheists completely fail to grasp that this struggle can and should occur in every sphere of life. And that includes sexuality.

    The advantage of Christianity is the concept of sin. This concept sets up friction between “Yes” and “No”. Such friction allows a man to overcome himself. Because the man first needs a reason to overcome himself! Faith in God provides a man with the emotional force by which to enact change in himself. This provides the man with Will to Power. He CAN, for example, overcome the sexual urges of his body and remain chaste; for instance, chaste until marriage. And here we see another advantage of Christianity – the concept of suffering. Whereas the liberal secular state worships happiness at any price, the Christian embraces suffering. This gives the Christian moral power. Allowing him, for example, to lay down his life for another.

    It in order to BE a Christian in a true sense, it is not necessary to believe in a supernatural God. It is, however, necessary to believe in the possibility of the Übermensch. The Übermensch transcends himself and thus transcends his humanity. However, the Übermensch can only come to being through struggle. This explains why homosexuality is frowned upon in patriarchal societies – it violates the iron laws of nature. Homosexuality defines narcissism (of course!). But human evolution is based upon DIFFERENCE. The difference between a man and woman. The differences between the superfluous man and the Übermensch who epitomises what is strongest and best in Nature. This is why Christ is the bridge to the Übermensch. Because Christ overcame himself for a transcendent aim. Christ was his own master. This is why Christ is God for the people; he is that to which the people aspire.

  • Deven Kale

    A rather delicious serving of Word Salad there Vitaly. It even has a bit of German in it, a rare treat!