An Open Letter to the Atheist Hacker of Christian Mega-site

imgresDear Finnish atheist who hacked

Hi, there. I’m one of the writers for, the largest Christian website in the world.

Is it cold where you live? It looks like it is, since the picture you put of yourself all over Crosswalk shows you wearing a thick skull-cap and a sweatshirt. Of course (as you put on the page), you’re from Finland, so you’re definitely used to cold. So in that picture you must have been really cold.

Unless you were just trying to look menacing. So it’s not like you’re “Where’s my mittens?” cold, but … gansta cold. Ice Cube cold. That makes total sense.

Either way, Finland definitely seems like one of the most fascinating places in the world. I’ve always wanted to go there.

So apparently you possess some serious computer skills. Way to go! I personally can barely tell a computer from a microwave oven, so I admire anyone who … doesn’t try to make popcorn with their computer. But would you mind, please, not using your awesome computer skills to destroy other people’s websites? I know that, as you told us, you’re an atheist who thinks that Christianity and Christians are stupid—and I know you have plenty of good reasons to think that. But look! Even I myself have written a fair number of pretty pro-atheist postings, such as, A Letter Evangelicals Can Use to Apologize to Christians. And prominently  featured that posting, and several others of mine like it. That’s nice of them, right? That’s really tolerant of them, I thought. They’re good like that. They’re open to honest, thoughtful conversation.

I don’t know all the people who run Crosswalk, but I know their boss, the director of the site. He’s an exceptionally good man. Funny as all get out. (“As all get out,” by the way, is an American idiom meaning “to the max.” I have no idea where it came from. I don’t know where “to the max” came from, either. As I believe you know, American English is so complicated even people born and raised in America have no idea what’s going on with it.)

Anyway, Mr. Hacker Man, please believe that not all Christians are the shallow, angry, intrusive, judgemental, sanctimonious, homophobic misogynists that I know it can seem, from the outside, like we all are.

We’re not. I promise. I don’t actually know anyone like that, though I’ve no doubt they exist. But generally, if you would, please, try to bear in mind that all the good, sane, normal, thoughtful, decent, tolerant, kind Christians are in church. All the crazy one are on TV.

Some Christians are morons, some are nice, some are smart, others … try to make popcorn on their microwave. Just like any other group of people. Just like people from Finland.

"The whole thing about wives submitting to husbands opens the door for these kind of ..."

Why Pastors Struggle With Confronting Domestic ..."
"I have a stupid question for you:If you are asking someone else what to say ..."

What should I tell my child ..."

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • susie

    Our is still hacked today, Monday 12/31.

  • 4asia

    John, it my be a wrong perception from my point of view but it seems like you are bending over backwards apologizing for the actions of some Christians who may be nominal at best instead of defending the faith. This person hacked a site. That is a form of vandalism and a criminal act. To say that somehow some Christians are to blame for that is something I don't understand. To make a blanket statement that any Christian who is on TV is crazy is a tad extreme don't you think? Enjoy your writing brother but you seem to have an issue with confronting sin for what it is. You can't follow the Lord and be in good standing with all people of the world.

    "10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth. Christ has to conquer a peace by overcoming the evil that is in the way of peace. Hence, to preach the gospel of purity and peace always arouses the opposition of the evil doer. Evil has to be put down before peace can prevail. Hence, while the great end that Christ proposes is peace, the immediate result of his coming, and of the preaching of the gospel, was opposition and bloodshed."

  • Matthew 5:44: "But I tell you, love your enemies–"

    (Good point, though, about the TV comment. I'll change that! Thanks!)

  • 4asia

    It may not be the most gentle approach but it is true isn’t it? The Bible does say anyone who does not believe in God is a fool doesn’t it? We may not have to be offensive when witnessing but the Gospel is surely offensive.

  • 4asia

    The issue is not what I'm saying it is what the Bible says. I don't

    have a dog in this race.

  • Catherine Howell

    Amen!! A true Christian loves and does not judge! We do our best to follow Christ's example. We fail because we are human…but we do not try to fail. We understand that we are no better than the unsaved. We used to be unsaved. Then the glorious light of Jesus flooded our sin infested, dark, lonely souls! Praise Him! I wrote this and it comes from my heart! May this upset atheist read this and realize that there is a Saviour that loves him!!

    The Testimony Of Christ's Love

    Christ is hope and Christ is peace

    In Him is where I was released

    Released from the sin that tied me down

    Set free form the sins that kept me bound

    Christ is faithful, in Him I found love

    My trust is in Him, I will not be moved

    I cannot undo my scandalous past

    But, in Christ my Saviour, I am free at last

    If you but knew my Saviour's Grace

    If you could but look in His Forgiving Face

    You would see that His compassion is real

    He longs to forgive, He longs to heal

    There is nothing more that I can add

    To the beautiful forgiveness that I have

    When Christ the Saviour died, He saw our sins

    He saw the desperation and evil that lurked within

    He saw that we dwelled in a hopeless state

    And without His Sacrifice we'd suffer a horrible fate

    Then He gave Himself, though we did not deserve

    He came to love, and forgive, to heal, and to serve

    He taught the spirit of the law, and not just the letter

    Some would not understand, and thought they knew better

    Not one of us is any better than the other

    Not father , or sister, or mother, or brother

    Or the woman caught in adultery, or the prodigal son

    He longs to save us all, no matter what we've done

    He loves the lonely wanderer trying to fill an empty heart

    And the hurtful prostitute who tries so hard to play the part

    Even a running, using, adulterous man

    Saving even these was part of His Plan

    He knows our hearts and still, He lets us live

    Just turn to Him, He longingly wants to forgive

    He ceased my wanderings by His sacrificial death

    And I will tell of His Mercy until my last breath!


  • Lori Dende

    I really din't care for your response. This man is an instrument of Satan, not a joke to be taken lightly. These are the last days and we should be viligant for Christ. You speak of Christians like we are a disease, with the exceptional few who you think are funny "to the max". Use, and choose, your words carefully in the future, our witness should be a beacon to others, not a pacifier on the tongue of the wicked.

  • Ahhhh…there's that heart-warming Christian love … .

  • Good job John. I'm sure there are many people who feel like this post is too forgiving, but like I said in my last comment, if Christ can endure the beating that he received, the idignity, and the insubordination, then I believe the Christian community can endure and forgive someone for putting up some pictures. I understand that they were offensive, but Christ said to love your enemies as you love yourself.

  • samwrites2


    I'm not sure if I should look for my "Turn or Burn" t-shirt or beer stein.

    This ties directly into what I wrote about my one of my closest agnostic friends I'm hoping will accept Christ. Christians like me have boxed him about the ears for decades with the Gospel. Now I'm offering him an "olive branch" and share when God's Holy Spirit leads me in love and in the spirit of truth.

    For this vandal, he sees Christians as the enemy. We see the vandal as the enemy. Jesus said love your enemies. Jesus didn't say love their behavior. Pretty simple to me.

    We as Christians are called to co-opt this guy's hateful action and attack it with Jesus' Peace and Love – sort of how I approach my children from time to time when they misbehave.

    Dude, what you are doing is wrong. If you get caught you will be punished but just because we love you and don't want you to get in any worse trouble or hurt people we love.

    And to us fire-and-brimstone types (I'm included as a recovering one), there's definitely a fire in hell but there is honey in Heaven. And I've heard you catch more bees with honey. You can't talk about damnation without speaking of redemption (well, okay, maybe some can).


  • Re: #9 –

    Lori, I understand that you believe that those who oppose the gospel should be taken seriously, and I agree with you. However, that hacker is very much a joke. The day that a hacked website presents a serious threat to the gospel or to believers is the day that I renounce my faith.

    And I don't think that John spoke of the majority of believers as a problem; I think he was trying to make the point that the majority of believers are not like those seen on TV.

  • Samhain

    We all tend to forget that we're all forgiven, regardless of who we are, by God. If one does not forgive then how does one expect to be forgiven? God cares for us all, just and unjust. I believe it is a safe bet that it would be best to follow that example. I believe the rewards would be great. After all if one "Loves thy enemy" and that enemy just so happens to follow that example, would there be any hate between them; would there be an enemy? No, one would have gained a friend and that's a wonderful reward to have in life.

    We all come across those who will transgress and offend us. Perhaps a little more understanding, some kindness, and more forgiveness would go a lot further than vengeance. If anything, forgiveness is not as bad on the blood pressure as anger and hate…thus you live longer…

    Anyway, good letter John. One other thing that he hacker needs to realize is that his skills can be put to good use rather than causing trouble. There are hundreds of companies willing to pay someone a good salary for IT Security personnel. I believe a good paying salary beats no salary and a few years in some prison. Perhaps the hacker will realize that and prosper rather than suffer…

  • Miss Bethany

    This is not the first time that "windyblue" has left an embarrassing comment on this blog: i.e. "Well Atheists, can be where ever they want to be and believe what ever they want, here on earth, but Wait until they die, what a big surprise they will have coming to them. See, God face to face, and know that he is real and Alive, and than they get to Go to hell right were they belong." How does one read the gospel and come to such a vengeful conclusion?

    Generally, when it comes to mercy, Christians want oodles of it, but when it comes to their "enemies," forget about it. Hate is not my first reaction to this hacking incident; pity is.

  • I love your sense of humour and tolerance padre!

  • Ahh, memories. I remember the first time I hacked into a friend's computer account. She was a very pretty New England Patriot fan (I know, so sad), and I was a very handsome Dallas Cowboys fan. So the hack contained a screen that trashed the Patriots (not that hard to do really) and made slightly exaggerated claims about the greatness of the Cowboys. Of course, Lisa could not regain control over her account until she agreed with this obvious truth.

    Hacking is how engineers flirt. Odd yes, but even more odd: sometimes it actually works.

  • When I first started reading your open letter I thought "Uh-Oh, could this be trouble?". I apologize for not having confidence in you John. Yes what the fellow did was wrong but yes how you responded was so right. Although not excusable (but entirely forgivable) there are reasons behind this fellow's actions and I doubt if it is because he has been exposed to too much of the Gospel.

    Plus I like how you put the One Minute Manager to work here. A little praise for his obvious talents and then a good natured and well intentioned rebuke. As Christians should be impervious to offense. As Peter said:

    "Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that's your job, to bless. You'll be a blessing and also get a blessing. "

    Happy New Year, everyone! (You too, Finnish Fellow)

  • tam

    John – great letter.

    Lori – scary! Do you realize that your rhetoric is what tends to turn people off and make them run in the opposite direction.

    Sam- ack! Hacking by governemnet is bad, very bad… hacking for fun is much better! BTW – Gibbs made the Redskins "god's Team" simply due to his owning of NASCAR teams (NASCAR is God's Sport) 😉

    Ric – I like you!

  • Well, all I can tell you is that I find offensive the idea that the Gospel is offensive. (I know what you’re saying, though. And I know the validity of what you’re saying, plus the validity of what I’M saying, makes for a not-so-merry-go-round that never, ever stops

  • The Bible says a LOT of things. Paramount among them, though, to me, is Christ telling me to love my enemies.

  • Trisha

    John I kept waiting for sarcasm from you (having only read a few of your blogs) and I was so delighted with your sincerity and kindness that I had to write to tell you Bravo! And thank you.

    Lord knows most of us have plenty of blindspots (to us) which just drive people crazy and are not fully redeamed by His Love. The worse sin to me is the way Christians judge not just outsiders but also each other.Have you ever noticed that frequently with which we can be far more deadly to each other than the world is to non-believers? If someone's behavior doesn't look like what someone else decides it should we are basically "dead to them" by their judgements, instead of loved by them. "Christians kill their wounded". Most frequently our judgement is about our attribution of what the person meant and is our judgement of someone else's heart. The problem with judging is that we don't EVER have the whole picture. Only God does. Maybe that's the reason He commanded us not to judge but to forgive so that we can be forgiven(The Lord's Prayer).

    My brother, also a Christian, who I adore but have not lived near in 35yrs, decided never to speak to me again based on his choosing to believe the very worse about his sister (instead of the best) when our mom, misguided by her own need for attention, made one comment to him about me that was a flat out lie. I love my mom and forgave her and forgave him but it breaks my heart that one comment and his attributions of my character and my heart would seperate me from one of the 4 people who I love most in the world, the person that I have loved longer in my life than anyone else alive. I yearn for restoration but have no idea if that will ever be possible or how to get there. Any suggestions anyone?

  • George Blood

    I guess I can't resist being a nitpicker. I take issue with your statement that "all the good, sane, normal, thoughtful, decent, tolerant, kind Christians are in church." Maybe most are.

    Also, though I agree that "not all Christians are the shallow, angry, intrusive, judgmental, sanctimonious, homophobic misogynists", I think you have led a very sheltered life since you say "I don’t actually know anyone like that". Sad to say, I have met some and even count some as "friends". I'm not proud of all of my earthly relatives nor am I proud of the actions and words of all of my Christian family. I've just got to look out for the big piece of refusein my eye before I take on the specks in those of some of my undiplomatic Christian friends.

    May the Peace of Christ be with you and keep up your good work.


  • You are so right, Christian, (#20) in quoting Peter!

    Actually, Jesus instructed His followers to do three things for their enemies:

    1. Love them

    2. Pray for them.

    3. Bless them.

    To Mr. Hacker I say 'thank you' for opening the door for a christian to personally bless you! And I do that now. I bless you, friend, with love in your heart and peace in your mind. I bless you with having an encounter with the Light of the world. You will never hate again, once you have met him. His love for you is strong and determined. Just as it was for a Ruler called Saul, who like you, hated the christians and the Jesus Christ they served. One day, this man Saul was accosted by Jesus, as he, [Saul] was riding his donkey. The Light of Jesus presence blinded Saul for three days. Saul was very much bewildered and asked: "Who are you?" Jesus said: "I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting." Jesus then asked him a question: " Saul, why do you persecute me? You might as well give up on kicking against the pricks. " (in other words, you may as well give up on harrassing my followers.)

    Mr. Hacker, if you do have access to a Bible you will find the story in the 8th and 9th chapters of the book of Acts. Saul's name was changed to Paul who then became the Apostle Paul, planting the first churches in Jerusalem and round about. Your behaviour, Mr Hacker, does bear a resembance to the man Saul. But God intervened then and He can intervene again.. So prepare yourself, friend. You cannot outsmart God, no matter your bold proclamations that He doesn't exist or whatever.

    Oh, yes! One more thing, Mr. Hacker…what you intended for evil God is even now turning into good. It's impossible to outsmart Him.

    And John, once again you have shown your wisdom. You are a rare breed of Christian . . . the church needs your voice!

  • Kris: John I know this is a little off topic but this is the first day I’ve ever been to your blog and I must say you do a wonderful job! It’s very positive and I think that Christ would be pleased.

  • Sabina

    All of us are from God whether we like or agree with that thought. God will reconcile his people onto him and those who wish not to accept him are losing out. Its not our responsibility as Christians to judge or point out sin-thats in God's hand. As Christians we are to spread the Good News and be Christ like examples of the faith-condemnation is useless.

  • samwrites2

    Mr. Booth,

    I salute your sentiment but disagree with your methods. Hacking is abhorrent on every level except government espionage or violation of our so-called civil rights, i.e. right to privacy, in order to protect our physical safety.

    Besides, since Joe Gibbs took over the Redskins everyone knows the Cowboys have fallen from grace. The Redskins have now apparently been dubbed “God’s Team” (just ask my daughter, 6) even though I still back the Cowboys. This has me pondering whether I’m an atheist when it comes to football and am doomed to football hell.

    So Ric, note that you friend backs an unbeaten team and repent of your evil hacker ways.

    Looking for a Cowboys – Patriots Super Bowl matchup, Happy Hack-free New Year,


  • Amen.

  • Wow! I’ve been out all day. Fantastic discussion, as always.

    Thank you, Greta. You’re extremely kind.

    George: Trust me, I haven’t led a sheltered life (as my longer-time readers know). I wish I had. I just meant there is no one who is, exclusively, all those negative things.

    Trisha: Yeah, NO ONE will screw a Christian like another Christian. That’s the plain fact. Terrible. And yeah, I have a suggestion for how to get along with long-estranged family members. Tell them everything they want to hear, exactly as they want to hear it. You take them on THEIR terms, or don’t take them at all. You have to give it up COMPLETELY, without reservations, or agenda, or even hope. Hand them all the control. Give them what they want. You do it in the name of love. Assume they’ll never change, that whatever reconciliation will have to be done will have to be entirely your doing. Then move forward. Give up on the ideal, take what you can get. Decide how much it’s really worth to you. If you’re willing to pay the price, start writing checks, and never question signing them.

    Christian: Thanks! I appreciate your words very much. Is that what that whole “One Minute Manager” thing is? Man, those books are popular. That DOES seem like good Management Technique!!

  • Ric, your comment brought back memories re flirting engineers. Just as well some of us engineers are girls who are very capable of unhacking their computers (and vow never again to walk away for a second without 'locking' them)!

  • Sam, thanks for the salute and I'm pretty sure all hacking is bad. I think it is covered under stealing, coveting, and/or lusting.

    And Scuff, I phished Lisa's password back in the spring of '79, freshman year… so locking would not have helped. We didn't call it phishing back then we just called it tricking or stealing.

    Moral of the story: If you've been hacked, take heart, someone thinks you're pretty!

  • Catherine Howell

    It is so much easier to point an accusing finger than to love the way that Jesus Christ loved, and to absolutely forgive the way He did. This is something that we cannot do on our own…at all. I surely can't. Every time I want to get even or every time that I really want someone else to pay for their actions the Lord somehow brings to my mind everything that He has and does forgive me for. What a sobering thought! It puts the judgement right out of me!


  • This was an amazing post and the comments were equally as amazing. This is my first time on your blog and I will continue reading regularly. I have entered into some wonderful, eye opening blog conversations with some atheists recently. I find that most of them are open to agree to disagree with me. I continue the dialog with them because I want to be an example of Christ's love in their lives. I hope that showing them what my faith in Him has done for me will allow me to plant a seed of the Good News in their hearts.

    I also appreciate the fact that the non-believer challenges my faith because it does for me what the wind does for an oak tree: it makes my faith that much stronger!

  • callith

    An Atheist's response:

    Hi everyone. I found this blog, and this blog posting through the website.

    First off, hats of to John, who wrote such a very beautiful (even to an atheist's ears!) letter. No grammatical errors, no spelling errors, beautiful. Merci.

    Secondly, I need to apologise profusely on behalf of most rational atheists out there.The hacker guy is atypical of the vast majority of atheists. Yes, we make fun of Christians, yes, we sneer at Christians in private (some even sneer publicly), but none of us (I would like to think) would go as far and do something as silly as this guy.

    I would like to think he is very young. Let's imagine him to be 16, bored in front of his pc, no girlfriend, no friends. Fat, too. And he's got pimples.

    I'm a militant atheist, but this is outright childish.

    So, forgive (if you can) this oke, and forget this incident. There are many, many, many good atheists (I don't think I'm good – I'm decidely evil…lol) out there, and they (myself included) would never do something like that.

    Have a great evening, and I hope this comment would be allowed!

  • Robert W. Orians

    Excellent blog Bro. John ! I was not surprised to see the page the self-proclaimed witch and atheist put up on my Crosswalk though . One thing that puzzles me , why do thay hate someone they proclaim doesn’t exist , so much ? If God is not real , how can they hate Him so much ? I don’t believe that the Easter bunny ever existed ! I can’t find in my being any hatred for the critter either . If I did , would that not justify his credibility somewhat ? And to the hacker , when I couldn’t find my normal morning devotionals , I just took that time to pray for you that you will see the beauty in the Crucified Lamb of God hanging on that tree for you and for me ! I , who am the most miserable of all God’s creatures . I hated Him and He died for me , while I was yet a sinner ! Look at His Beauty ! That wonderful cross ! That precious blood shed for us ! I pray you will be changed like I was . Just say that name one time and you will never be the same . Come on ! Just one time say JESUS !

  • Missy

    I think it is a good message to send to others that we are not out "to get them". If the Amish folks who's children were shot could forgive the killer, who are we to not forgive the hacker? Heck, if Jesus is willing to forgive us, who are we to hold a grudge?

  • MLE

    Thank you for your gracious and kind post to this young man. BTW, I have been praying for him. Religion can brew over a lot of emotions. I am a Christian – and sometimes I get so bubbled over with annoyance at certain cultural aspects that are derivatives from westernized Christianity – I feel like shouting to the rooftops at Christians!

    God bless you and have a happy new year.

  • Pati

    Seems like the enemy knows where to go and found it. Cudo's Crosswalk. You ARE doing the Lord's work. Apparently it is offending some. As for all the negative comments, well, let's just say that Jesus came not to condemn the world. If anything is from God it will encourage and lift up (according to His Word). Thanks for all you do.

  • Dave

    Reference #7

    The Bible says a LOT of things. Paramount among them, though, to me, is Christ telling me to love my enemies.

    "Paramount" is Christ's command to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. I think this would include spreading, sharing, living the GOSPEL. Surprisingly, your letter neglected to say anything about the cross, and why Christians are able to love & forgive enemies.

  • Tim

    John, Finland is a truly fascinating place. I live here, although I’m American. I teach English to guys who could have easily been the one who hacked Crosswalk. Finland is full of techonerds. It is the most connected country in the world, the home of Nokia.

    I listened to one of them this week, in a conversation on technical and current issues, discuss how fundamentalism has caused much of the world’s woes. I missed the actual hack, though, and the picture. Perhaps I would have recognized the guy!

  • Mike

    Perhaps something better for you, that may enable you to communicate to a lending ear of atheists… I named this, “A Prayer to Myself”

    A Prayer to Myself

    There is no God. I am my own God. I am God. And no one or anything can make my soul feel different. I have tried over and over again to make my own soul think otherwise, and subject myself to what people think God is. And although I know there really is a God, God cannot and will not control my fate. God has no earthly command over me. I will accept God on my own terms, and I will take my own life and choose rather or not to make God my enemy or my friend. For most people, God is something taught and conjured up in their own minds, limited to only what they can only understand – a comfort for themselves in times of despair. I prefer to accept that in times of despair, God is not around for me. I believe it is me, and only me that must bleed. And although I believe that God does exist, and although I believe I am my own God, I know there are children dying of starvation every day on the same planet that I swallow the fate of my actions and reactions…God has the power to take my life from me, but as long as I awake in the morning, God cannot and will not control my life. I will.

    I will control my brain and my body. I will force myself to think before I act. I will remind myself that the pleasures of life are not cheap and free, and that the pleasures of life must be earned. I will push the limitations of what I think is the potential of myself. And if I do not bleed from myself pushing the limitations of my mortality then I might as well be dead, or never born.

    Soon after I die, I hope I will have the opportunity to thank God for the life that was granted to me. But I think no one will ever have the opportunity to meet God. Because I think God cannot be understood and is a blade of grass or a moth, or just behind the rolling clouds above you, with deep blue skies with the darkness of space and grandeur behind what we cannot see or understand… and inside the granules of dirt under your feet…

  • But … I mean … “There is not God” seems to pretty directly oppose “After I die I will thank God for my life.” But … so. Then. Well. Okay.