Christianity a religion among many

all religions cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

“ALL RELIGIONS” (drawing by nakedpastor David Hayward)

Isn’t religion a strange thing? And doesn’t it do strange things to us?

Aaron Alexis goes on a shooting rampage and one of the burning questions is, “Why would a Buddhist do such a thing?”

If he was a Muslim many would conclude that he did it because of his religion.

If he was a Christian others would wonder what went wrong with his Christian background that would lead him to this.

Religion has created great people as well as monsters. There have been great people and monsters not created by religion as well. We use religion when it is convenient and neglect it when it isn’t. It is a commodity.

Christianity is my heritage. It is in my DNA. It is sewn into my genes. It is my roots. I do not despise or reject my roots. And even though it has also become my preference, I see it for what it is.

I dug deeply enough that I have found my roots completely entangled with the roots of other religions. In fact, I share my roots with all as they do with mine. They nourish each other.

*** Hey! Why not think about joining our online community The Lasting Supper? It’s a very dynamic, growing and supportive group, which I love.

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • klhayes

    I think the problem is that we assume that someone’s religion will protect them from a) being an imperfect human being or b) diseases like mental illness. I don’t know much about his history b/c I have not read a lot and I know most mentally ill are not violent. But it is important to look at other factors that contribute to a person’s behavior.

    America is one of the most religious industrialized countries yet we are a very violent nation and have one of the highest teen pregnancy and STD infection rates among industrialized nations. Porn is a booming business here and yet we like to talk about being “One nation under God.” There has to be some crossover.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Yes, Christianity doesn’t really play well with others since it is built into the theology (at least parts of it like John) that only Christians get to go to heaven. It all depends on which bible passages you choose to pay special attention to. The choice is yours. Be a member of the whole of humanity or be apart believing that only your special sub-group knows TRUTH and will have favor with God.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    I’m with KLHayes on this one. There are just far too many Christians (including myself, in the past) who blamed religion for the heinous actions of a few. There are still atheists like myself who want to decry religion for its very much condoning violence – and you know what? With all of God having been said to order the murder of nations, who drowned an Egyptian army and sent an angel of death to kill children, and so on, it’s easy to say that most every religion’s gods encourage “action” based on their deities being all too human.

    However, those who try to truly practice their faith and creed do their best to make the world better rather than the headline news for being worse. Yet we blame religion for the violence – EXCEPT WHEN IT’S OUR OWN, then we say “mental illness.”

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

    I partially agree with that.
    I have just written a post explaining that Christian should view the Bible as mere religious books like those outside the Canon:
    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/on-the-inspiration-of-the-bible-and-other-books-von-der-interpretation-der-bibel-und-anderen-buchern/

    That said I also believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the revelation of God, that God showed us His face through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

    But basically I am convinced that everyone who sincerely desire to inherit eternal live will live eternally with God and that He is never going to reject anyone because he sincerely believed that Christianity is false.

    Lovely greetings from continental Europe.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    Great cartoon.

    Christianity is my heritage and I embraced it as an adult,

    but it is obviously not in my DNA.

    You made a profession of it for so many years, and have found a theory (Z) that allows you to stay in the fold and use Christian metaphors to relate to the world and others in very healthy ways.

    Many of us can do that without using those tools.

    As I have dug deeper, like you, I find connections with everyone — whether they use religions or they are religion free.

    Recently I have had a fiery conservative Christian on my site telling us religious-free folks that we are all servants of Satan. She is also telling us how mistaken all you other believers are. So this cartoon spoke perfectly to her blindness.

    Nicely done.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Hm! Interesting Sabio. Thanks.

  • Brian Sullivan

    What about those who believe but are insincere?

  • Andy

    If the Navy Yard shooter was a Christian, they’d dismiss him as a “Fundamentalist” — just like they did the Norway shooter.

  • Andy

    Post-frontier civilizations deal with their share of violence and uncleanliness. Even the Ancient Hebrews dealt with this.

  • Andy

    Is that, then, belief?

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

    That’s a good question.

    Or what about people who build up ugly idol gods they worship?

    What about Fred Phelps, the scary pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church who says that God hates people he predetermined to be homosexuals?

    I doubt he sincerely desires to live eternally with a morally perfect God.

    His actions show us he is longing after the devil.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com

  • Tom Estes

    I can assure you that my religion has nothing to do with whatever you call yourself.

  • Brian Sullivan

    Probably not. But if one uses sincerity as a modifier, as in sincerely desire/believe, and if then insincere belief is not belief, what does sincere belief mean? What makes a belief sincere enough for God to not reject someone?

  • Brian Sullivan

    If the measure of belief that God responds to is sincerity, how much is enough? Or, to use the example of Fred Phelps: you say he’s not sincere, he would probably say he is. Yet to you he is longing after the devil, not God. So it seems that sincerity is not enough after all. It has to be the right kind of sincere belief in the right object. I presume God has the final say?

  • Gary

    Wow – Seriously?

  • Cecilia Davidson

    I can assure you that your religion isn’t exempt from being called out for trying to make itself different. It’s the same as every other religion.

    Here’s the funny thing I just noticed of you, “sir,” but you seem to be going to quite a few progressive Christian pages with the goal of attacking those who seek to better understand Christianity in a modern world.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Or a terrorist or mentally not all there. Christians will explain away how religion can’t POSSIBLY be a part of why someone acted so violently

  • Tom Paine

    Sorry, don’t buy into this that all the symbols are basically the same thing.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    No, I never said the symbols are the same. Or their roots. But they are entangled and nourish each other in a common soil.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Resurrection is a common thing in many religions and myths.
    So is the need to save mankind from an angry god.
    Read Carl Jung’s “Man and His Symbols”

  • DoctorDJ

    “Christianity is my heritage. It is in my DNA. It is sewn into my genes. It is my roots.”

    What? You were born an atheist. You became a Christian because your parents were Christian. If born to parents on the other side of the world you might have been Hindu. Or Muslim. Or Buddhist. Your religion was culturally forced upon you as a child because you didn’t know any better.

    Since American culture is primarily Christian, and Americans consider themselves exceptional, then the American view of Christianity is that it is exceptional.
    We are a silly people, aren’t we?

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    I’m Canadian. Yes we are silly.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    we could have a field day of a discussion on symbolism and motifs

  • Livin

    Hebrews 10:16
    “Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
    16 This is the covenant I will make with them
    after those days, says the Lord:
    I will put My laws on their hearts
    and write them on their minds”
    Someone can know Christ without mentally knowing they are actually Christian.
    A Buddhist,Muslim or Atheist could be a Christian and not know it.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    And a Buddhist could say you have the Buddha nature without you knowing it.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    And a secular humanist could say that you could be a good person for good secular reasons without necessarily self-identifying with secular humanism.

  • Livin

    We will find out who is correct after death :)

  • Livin

    Now where I stand….
    Buddhism: I was a Buddhist when I had my first child but realized that I did not agree with the Buddha that human life was suffering and that it was better not to be born.
    Judaism,Sikhism,Shintoism,Hinduism: Tied to culture too closely will exist in only small pockets(exception Hinduism due to birthrate)
    Wicca: No deep teachings or philosophy and unorganized
    Islam: To much like the Old Testament Judaism too warlike
    Atheism= If correct life has no meaning and life turns into “no holds barred”.
    Christianity: Peaceful teachings,help out others even enemies, eventual ridding of sexual desire from human race= best chance at Heaven.

  • Gary

    We will find out (if there is a God) that NONE were “correct”.

  • wanderer

    What does sexual desire have to do with heaven?

  • Livin

    Sexual desire(Will to reproduction) causes humans to get agressive over status and resources.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    OMG!

  • Livin

    Jesus and Paul said it is better not to reproduce if possible and have relations in a limited manner if you could not handle that.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    So God said “go forth and multiply” and Jesus and Paul said “don’t”? Okay. Got it!

  • wanderer

    Oh my, that’s quite a theory

  • Livin

    In the future when we expand into space “go forth and multiply” will be accomplished via genetic engineering in a lab. Multiply must be seprated from desire inorder for agression to be muted.

    “As correlations go, the link between testosterone and violent crime is arguably as compelling as the link between testosterone and mating aggression for robins and other animals. Indeed, one can argue that most violent crimes occur because of reproductive competition (e.g., male-male assaults and homicides, domestic violence).-http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/200907/sex-violence-and-hormones”

  • Gary

    Bullshit. Sex is good and healthy. Just because some abuse does not mean that sex itself is somehow evil.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    You should watch the movie (or read the book) A Clockwork Orange. It explores the issues around whether it is better to circumscribe or limit our humanity for sake of a more peaceful society or whether violence and aggression is a price we have to pay to be fully human.
    For example, would you take a pill (or support legislation to put it in our water supply) that does away with sexual desire and then have all reproduction occur by “test tubes” or cloning?
    I think most of us want to retain what it is to be human but also have institutions and precautions in place to help protect us.

  • Livin

    Healthwise it has some positive affects but societal wise it is detrimental which is why in the new revelation of the NT it is to be worked away from as a society.

  • Gary

    This is a badly distorted perception of what Jesus is recorded to have said. I do not believe your views pertaining to sex are in the least bit biblical. (If biblical is YOUR standard)

  • Livin

    “For example, would you take a pill (or support legislation to put it in our water supply) that does away with sexual desire and then have all reproduction occur by “test tubes” or cloning?”
    Yes :)

  • Gary

    Wow – What a twisted view of the gospel. Whatever your issues with sex are dude…they are yours…NOT God’s.

  • Gary

    What a bizarre twist this thread has taken. LOL

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Yes, that is what trolls do – hijack a thread and steer it into a different direction for their own amusement.

  • Livin

    Matthew 19:11-12
    Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
    11 But He told them, “Not everyone can accept this saying, but only those it has been given to. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb, there are eunuchs who were made by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way because of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”

    1 Corinthians 7:8-9
    Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
    8 I say to the unmarried and to widows: It is good for them if they remain as I am. 9 But if they do not have self-control, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with desire.

  • Livin

    I never read it but I will download it to my Kindle tonight :)

  • Gary

    Proof texting will never convince anyone that your understanding of the intent of these verses is the correct one. Plus it is lazy.

    I think Jeff P is right…this is what trolls do.

  • JosephBrown660

    I am an unabashed fundamentalist but even I disagree with your position on sexuality.

  • JosephBrown660

    Doesn’t that stance make the death and resurrection of Christ meaningless?

  • Livin

    If marriage is for procreation then polygamy(Old testament) makes the most sense. But the NT is about moving to a higher level of relationship with God. So divorce is no longer allowed if you do leave your spouse you should stay celibate for life. This is something that has been ignored by the materialistic Christian society.

  • Gary

    No one is “born an atheist”. Atheism is a chosen view.

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

    I don’t see why.

    If you just consider the texts of the NT as other historical texts, there are things you can dismissed as being unlikely, things which are likely true and many things you cannot know.

    But from what we can know about the person of Christ, his ministry, his death and the curious conviction of his followers he rose from the dead shortly after his death, you are confronted with the question: how should we make sense of this all?

    If you are asking that as an atheist, your answer should be Hallucinations + Tomb Confusion

    If you are asking that as an agnostic, your answer should be “I don’t know”

    BUt if you are asking that as a theist, you should at least think that Jesus plaid a very special role in God’s plans.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com

  • Gary

    Why? If one accepts the atonement…why would it be meaningless if they believe the atonement was for all?

  • Gary

    These statements are incorrect. False presumptions from beginning to end.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Another related book is Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
    That explores a “utopian” peaceful society where free sex is the rule.

    Watch out for those utopias!

    What is heaven but yet another utopia (and for eternity).

  • Livin

    I just finished Starship Troopers the theme of which to me was utopias are impossible go with what works.

  • Livin

    Actually I might try A Brave New World first. Seems more pertinent my theology.

  • Sophia Sadek

    One cannot be born an atheist. Atheism requires a level of rational thought that babies have yet to develop.

  • Sophia Sadek

    I was under the impression that the text claimed that only those who follow Jesus would get into heaven. Christians are the last people in the world to follow Jesus. It is a path too difficult to pursue.

  • Sophia Sadek

    Your remark about the roots of Christianity being entangled with the roots of other religions reminded me of a conversation I had with a Franciscan nun. I recounted a story of a Franciscan monk sojourning in China in the 14th century who disagreed with a Buddhist monk on the nature of monkeys from the woods that the Buddhist fed. I commented that the Buddhist seemed like more of a Franciscan than the Franciscan. The nun replied to the effect that the deeper you dig the more all become one.

  • Sven2547

    How can someone believe in something that they have never heard of?

  • Sven2547

    This wasn’t a cartoon about symbols. Yes there are symbols in the cartoon, but the symbols aren’t the subject.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Brave New World was written back in 1931 but it is a true today as it was then.

  • Gary

    Yes exactly my point.

  • Gary

    Many interpret “the text” that way. This does not mean this is what Jesus actually meant however.

  • Sven2547

    Let me re-word that so you can understand: how can an infant believe in gods if they’ve never heard of gods?
    They cannot, therefore they are born atheists.
    QED

  • Sophia Sadek

    What Jesus actually meant is not something any of us can know.

  • Gary

    Let me re-word that so you can understand: How can an infant believe there are no gods if they’ve never heard of gods? They cannot, therefore they are born neither.

    It is a cute twist on the definition atheists like to use to present such a view. But the primary definition of atheism is not the absence of knowledge of a god but rather the belief that there is no god. Like it or not…atheism requires a rational thought process evaluating the two alternatives.

    We are born ignorant of the concept of god…not atheist. Or are you suggesting that atheism and ignorance are one in the same. ;-)

  • Gary

    I would mostly agree with this statement. I do believe there are some teachings attributed to Jesus that are very plain..such as His stance on love…but in large part there is much room for debate as to the meaning of most of His teaching.

  • Sven2547

    But the primary definition of atheism is not the absence of knowledge of a god but rather the belief that there is no god.

    Close but not quite.

    Atheism is an absence of belief in gods, not “a belief that there are no gods”.

    Or are you suggesting that atheism and ignorance are one in the same. ;-)

    Only if atheism was solely composed of people who have never heard of gods. Naturally, this is not the case.

  • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

    This is officially my happy thought for the day.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    sweet!

  • Gary

    atheist;

    a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.
    Dictionary.com

    a : a disbelief in the existence of deity
    b : the doctrine that there is no deity
    Merriam Webster

    One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.
    The Free Dictionary

    someone who believes that God does not exist
    Cambridge Dictionary Online

    a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods:he is a committed atheist
    Oxford Dictionaries

    Clearly the most common definition is one of a conscious choice or thought process. Even in the less used or secondary definitions that refer to atheism as an absence of belief…it is quite disingenuous to attempt to include ignorance of the concept of god into the intent of the definition. Most definitions are quite clear that atheism is a conclusion…resulting in a lack of belief.

  • Sven2547

    Even in the less used or secondary definitions that refer to atheism as an absence of belief…it is quite disingenuous to attempt to include ignorance of the concept of god into the intent of the definition.

    What’s disingenuous about that? Before you heard of lhurgoyfs, did you believe in lhurgoyfs? No! You lacked belief in lhurgoyfs!

  • http://wateringgoodseeds.tumblr.com/ Shira Coffee

    Um… probably not.

  • http://wateringgoodseeds.tumblr.com/ Shira Coffee

    Sadly, Buddhist practice does not automatically cure serious mental illness. The sense I have is that Aaron Alexis really wanted to help people, but was frequently overcome with episodes of rage, sleeplessness and paranoia. So sad!

  • Gary

    So all those definitions I just quoted mean nothing to you?

    Nice try.

  • Sven2547

    If I wanted to know what a Christian believes or doesn’t believe, I’d ask a Christian, not a dictionary. In stark contrast, you have chosen disregard the atheist you are talking to, and substitute your own definition, selectively seeking quotations to support your uninformed position.

    I’m not going to sit here while a non-atheist makes claims of what atheists do or do not believe, any more than you would sit idly by while I recited Leviticus obscura as examples of Christian beliefs.

    Good day sir.

  • Gary

    Cute.

    I get that it is important to you to attempt to present atheism as the natural state of man and theism as only the product of indoctrination…but it simply won’t fly. Like it or not (get pissed or not) I will continue to challenge the belief that we are born atheist. You are making a declaration about ME (as you did David) so you can spare me the whole line of telling YOU what an atheist believes. I challenge your declaration that I was born atheist. And your arrogant indignation means nothing other than to demonstrate a lack of maturity.

    And you can “sit” wherever the hell you like.

  • Sven2547

    So you were born believing in god(s)?

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Irrelevant, you two. Even as an agnostic, I cannot use such a line in a serious debate. No one is born atheist or theist – they are born ignorant. Viewpoints are learned.

    But that is beside the point – the whole argument to be made here is that Christianity and its messengers both try to differentiate themselves from the rest when, in truth, they really are no different. Symbolism is shared, beliefs and messages are in common, even though the books are under different human authors. It’s a wonderful mess, but the person saying “get back with the rest” realizes that there are many who try to make Christianity unique when, again, it is not.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    It’s not that the symbols are the point, but the fact that the many religions, Christianity included, share these symbols and are interconnected. They have common points, meshing spots, themes borrowed and lent out.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Trust me, it damns theologies in general.

  • Gary

    Irrelevant to you obviously. But very relevant to the discussion we were having. Glad you see it my way though.

    LOL

  • Gary

    Not a valid question at all…and a point I have already made abundantly clear. I was born neither theist nor atheist since I could not comprehend the choice.

  • SouthronAmerican

    No, actually, no one is born an atheist either. Psychological studies of young children have shown that the closest thing we have to an “intrinsic” set of religious beliefs is a sort of animism where we anthropomorphize everything. (ie: Seeing the sun, moon, plants, etc as living, thinking things.) Anything past that requires either being taught it by someone else or reasoning it out for ourselves.

  • Sven2547

    Oh it’s perfectly valid. Neither you nor anyone else believed in god(s) when they were born. There is a word for people who don’t believe in gods. Hmm, what was it…?

  • Cecilia Davidson

    :P

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Who cares? We’d be dead and unable to know.

  • Gary

    Ignorant.

    (Kidding…but you asked for it)

    Ignorance of higher concepts such as gods is what I was born with. Atheism is a choice.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Would it help to say, rather than we are born atheists, that we are born unbelievers?

  • Gary

    BTW – If I were to attempt to label myself (which I hate to do) it would be as an agnostic who strongly leans towards theism in general and embraces elements of Christianity (The Christ) though rejects much of the modern institution of Christianity.

  • Gary

    I thought you were agnostic?

  • JosephBrown660

    So you believe in atonement for all? If that is the case Christ lied when He spoke of hell. I believe and this is supported by the Bible that one must by faith accept Jesus as their personal savior, repent of their sins and rely on His atoning work to save them. If one refuses to humble themselves, repent and acknowledge Him as Lord, there is no hope for eternity.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    But the Buddha said we should empty ourselves and discover the unity of all things. The Sutras say so!

  • JosephBrown660

    The entire premise of Christianity is markedly different from all religions. In most religions one must strive to be good and it is by one’s efforts that they are redeemed. Christianity relies on faith of the God that in love sent His Son yo suffer he’ll for those who believe. Works do not play a role in redemption only faith.

  • Gary

    You clearly have never even investigated the case for universal atonement for all. (The belief of the early church BTW) And as for Jesus lying…you are putting your limited understanding of “hell” into his words and intent. I could proof text other quotes where I could just as easily say He was lying if anyone goes to hell.

  • ggacre99

    And Brave New World Revisited, 1958.

  • JosephBrown660

    I have and it does not comport with Scripture. Christ died for all. Not all will receive and believe. Christ refers to hell many times throughout his ministry and in His revelation to Saint John. I do not anticipate seeing Joseph Stalin or Adolph Hitler in heaven.

  • JosephBrown660

    Buddhism will not save you. Only Christ can do that. “No ,an comes to the Father but by Me.” You, too are making Christ a liar.

  • Gary

    We completely disagree. I believe it is the only view which IS honest with scripture. (As did the church for the first 400 years)

  • Gary

    And I believe your views are reflective of a great corruption to the gospel which began generations after the death of Jesus and did not fully take hold until the 5th century. I firmly believe it is this man made perversion which has gutted the very heart and soul of the “Good News”.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    rip. That is me ripping the Gospel of John out of my bible. I don’t think it belongs there. I think John is a false prophet and all that follow and quote the hell-related passages of John are following a false prophet. I think John made up much what he said whole cloth.
    Burning in hell for all eternity for a difference in opinion or belief? I don’t think so.
    Sorry Joseph. If there is a heaven, you might see some faces you didn’t expect to see there.

  • DoctorDJ

    Amen.

  • DoctorDJ

    My condolences.

  • Sven2547

    You realize almost any religion could throw together a paragraph about how theirs is special, right?

  • Sven2547

    Valid question. I wonder if there’s even a difference?

  • Cecilia Davidson

    It’s amazing how little you realize that Christianity has so much in common with other religions, even the polytheistic ones.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Quite a big one, I would think. There’s doubt and non-belief, then there’s affirmation of one’s beliefs (or lack of certain beliefs).

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Yes, but you’re talking to an ex-Catholic who likes to mouth off at people being idiots :P

  • Cecilia Davidson

    The fearless man is his own salvation.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Same. I like Jesus and his teachings – I just can’t immediately accept the supernatural aspects, be they true.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    If Christ died for all, then what’s your problem? Why the need to bring up Hitler and Stalin, both of whom were absolutely vile people, if we’re talking about SYMBOLISM AND RELIGION?

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Well, neither does being an assbutt, but that’s not what this discussion is about.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    It can also be taken as an argument based on learned evidence or absence of. “Oh, there’s not really proof of a god going on here. That could mean there’s no god.” Either way, it is a learned viewpoint such as a religious viewpoint is learned.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Kinda explains a few things …

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Move closer to the Center and all things show a common Source.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    If anything, Joseph, after looking at your comments and Livin’s, it would appear that you two are making Christ a liar, as he was welcoming all and you two are most certainly acting like God can’t possibly welcome everyone.

  • Gary

    Of course there is a difference.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    When people define a term (in this case atheism) in different ways, there will unavoidably be disagreements in how the term should be used. It seems it all boils down to which definition of atheism should be used.
    1. someone who does not carry a “God belief” around with them
    2. someone who has thought about it and consciously chosen not to carry a “God belief” around with them.
    3. Someone who bangs their fist on the table and yells “THERE IS NO GOD!” with spittle coming out of their mouth. ;)

    For political (big tent) reasons, I prefer #1 although I can see the reasoning that different terms should be used to distinguish #1 and #2. I fully agree that #3 is just used for political reasons by those that want to keep the atheism tent as small as possible.

  • Mark

    If I take your meaning correctly, you are saying the “I am the way…” thing meant to follow Jesus, rather than believe a certain way? If so, I much prefer that interpretation, although I haven’t been such a good follower.

  • Mark

    I’m going to have to side with Gary on this one. Looks pretty straightforward that atheism is a belief, not the absence of a belief. So I agree that babies, not born with beliefs, can be neither atheists nor theists. They can, however, be born Canadian, eh?

  • Mark

    You say potato…

  • Sven2547

    It’s just such a baffling position to me.
    Is ‘bald’ a hair color?
    Is ‘abstinence’ a sex position?
    Is not-collecting-stamps a hobby?
    Is not-believing-in-leprechauns a belief?

    There is theism, and there is the absence thereof. That-which-is-not-theism is a-theism.

  • Mark

    It’s not baffling at all, if you use the standard dictionary definition. The only baffling thing is that you expect the rest of us to accept your nonstandard definition.

  • Sophia Sadek

    That is exactly what I mean. There is a big difference between following Jesus and worshiping him.

  • Tom Estes

    I say this with all sincerity. You are lost and on your way to Hell.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Tom, I say this to you with all sincerity: pththth.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    I’m going to say this to a troll with all sincerity -

    BAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAAHAHAAAAHAAAAA.
    You hypocrite! You wash the outside of your cup and say IT IS CLEAN but you do not bother to wash out the dust and bird shit from within!

  • Gary

    Tom I say this with all sincerity. You are a completely blind guide who knows NOTHING of the heart of the gospel or the Christ you profess to follow. Your warnings of hell have no impact on those of us who have broken free of such manipulation and control. They are baseless and empty.

  • JosephBrown660

    Cecelia, you have absolutely NO idea who or what Christ is. You in your own admission are an agnostic who does not believe in His works as set forth in the Bible. Nice try. Keep on staying irrelevant.

  • JosephBrown660

    Please name one where faith and not works are not the key ingredient to eternal life. Also name one where their God sent His Son to bear the burden of their iniquities on the believers’ behalf. Also name one where the main leader rose from the dead. Last I checked all the leaders are dead and will remain so. Yeah lots of similarities there alright.

  • JosephBrown660

    And your point is?

  • JosephBrown660

    Actually Satan does try to trick believers into believing their counterfeit religions are like Christianity in his sick effort to fool people. He has done a remarkable job at confusing people since the dawn of time.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    How do we know that you (and the scripture authors you quote) were not the ones deceived by Satan? The problem is that once one speculates about a spiritual world, there is no way to verify one claim over another one.

  • Sven2547

    Again: almost any religion could claim that [insert evil here] is responsible for people picking other religions.

    This is the kind of lack-of-introspection you see among children and zealots. You seem incapable of looking at yourself from someone else’s standpoint.

    I was there once. I used to be a Christian.

  • Mark

    My point is pretty much the same as Sven2547, that any non-inclusive religion can claim that it’s adherents are being tempted to believe a false religion.

    When it comes down to it, we don’t so much choose our religious beliefs as much as we choose to accept or reject the cultural religion. You accept Christianity because it’s all around you, and you’ve accepted the message that the bible is the word of God and “none come to the father except thru (Jesus).” Had you been raised Iranian, you would most likely accept all or parts of Islam, and think Christianity was wrong. Same if you were raised a Jew. Everybody seems to think they are by-God right, and everybody else is wrong. And look at what a great job we are doing of loving and caring for each other.

  • Sven2547

    Each religion has unique attributes. Listing off unique attributes about Christianity isn’t an argument that Christianity is somehow superior or special.

    The Buddhist might say: “Please name one faith where the primary goals are the elimination of ignorance and desire, seeking only enlightenment.”

    The Sikh might say: “Please name one faith where the faithful are required to arm themselves for the sole purpose of defending the defenseless.”

    The Hindu might say: “Please name one faith that preaches absolute freedom of belief and worship, where the concepts of heresy, blasphemy, and apostasy are completely nonexistent.”

    Are you getting the picture?

  • Mark

    What if eternal life is about energy going back into the collective consciousness, and not a set of wings and a mansion on a golden street, and singing hymns for eternity (I guess you don’t need the mansion if you’re always outside singing hymns, but…)? What if you spend all your life thinking your “father” loves you more than the people of the ‘false religions’, and praying to this God of Love who you also believe is going to punish most of His children eternally for not believing right? What if the men who wrote the New Testament scriptures made up the stuff about the physical resurrection? You have only blind faith to support your belief that it happened. No eyewitnesses ever wrote anything down.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Oh for the love of – You assume faith is THE primary need to get into heaven. Please take that BS out from this discussion.

  • Tom Paine

    The common soil is of course humanity, which I do not disagree. And I know the drawing is supposed to highlight humility which is of course good. But if you are a Christian, Jesus did not come and say, “Listen to me – and everyone else you come across. We are all equals and they mean the same thing as I do.” I certainly don’t think Jesus gave up himself to a brutal execution because he believed he was upholding a common philosophy with other religious leaders. There is also an aspect to all of this of standing in a train station and saying, “I can’t get aboard any line because they are all equal.” They might all be trains but they do not necessarily lead to the same place. And no, I don’t mean by that that people of other religions are going to hell. I simply mean that following the teachings of all the religious leaders do not end up being the same thing do not lead to the same implications for life on the planet in the years to come. (P.S. On here, I am surprised I didn’t get more thumbs down than I did. It is not popular at all to claim any uniqueness to the Christian faith in much of our culture. It’s all Baskin Robbins 31 flavors, everyone choose what is right for them (and of course you can choose no ice cream at all if that floats your boat too).

  • Tom Paine

    Sigh. Read long ago Cecilia. What is lost is the idea that the symbols are ever more than symbols. Common longing, common desires, even common fears is what makes us all human. But sometimes symbols point to things that really happened and Christianity points to something that is more than just one of many ancient belief systems.

  • Tom Paine

    Sven, the subject is equalizing belief systems as I saw it. Do you see something else? I know my position isn’t a popular one and you probably think you are arguing with some fundamentalist (which you aren’t). But approaching faith, as much as we might want to, is not like approaching science. It isn’t about hypothesizing between different variables. It is more akin to standing in a train station, paralyzed by indecision over which train to get on.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    You entirely missed my point. Listen to the Norton Lectures by Leonard Bernstein and you can hear the birth of a word and a series of words. The same goes with symbols. Tracks mean an animal is nearby. Certain tracks can explain what animal. The first symbols.

    We aren’t talking about Christianity’s history, especially Jesus’, having really happened, but common characteristics. Please get on the real topic and stop trying to skirt.

  • Tom Paine

    Cecilia, I am talking about the real topic and that is what those symbols stand for whereas you seem to feel you are strengthening your points by pointing to other references. Yes, there are many philosophers, world religion professors, and experts in ancient history who will attest to Christianity’s parallels, predates, and contrasts with other faiths. But at some level if this doesn’t tie in with a reality for someone then they are missing the point of it all. It is akin to a restaurant critic who has forgotten to enjoy the food.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    The real topic is the similarities between the religions, and yet you prove the point of the comic in that you try to force uniqueness on Christianity and insist that it is true.

    You would do well to listen to a Catholic who has had nearly 20 years of religious education, 10 of which were with teachers from two religious orders, both of which were conservative, when it comes to the similarities and common traits of all religions.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Creating a new comment stack –
    @Tom Paine and @Tom Estes, you both incredibly miss the point. This cartoon is not at all asking if Christianity is the true religion or not. This cartoon only states that the purposes, symbols, beliefs, and ideas are part of a very complex web – or, better yet, a tree. Many branches with a common trunk (the need to understand our world) and common, tangled roots (the questions).

    The fruits might be ever so slightly different from fruit to fruit, but they’re all of the same tree.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    You’re trying to force a point that isn’t there. You are skirting.

  • Tom Paine

    The uniqueness is the very reason I challenged the comic in the first place and comes from experience both in the academy and in just a few far away places. But it’s not about you and me. It is about relationships in the end and the way truth defines us and the way we interact with the Divine and one another. And I have found, even from my friends of other faiths (of which I have a few), that people appreciate others who genuinely believe their traditions are more than an amalgamation of pieces of other faiths discarded down the highway of human history.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    There is no uniqueness. You think there is, but there really isn’t.

  • Tom Paine

    You are trying to define the terms of interpreting the comic which I do not accept.

  • Tom Paine

    Well Cecilia, we have gone full circle now. Let the thread stand as it is and people can read it out and think what they may. All the best, Tom

  • Cecilia Davidson

    You’re doing the very same by forcing an incorrect interpretation onto another person’s work.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Says he who accuses someone of trying to speak the truth.
    All the reality, Cecilia.

  • Tom Paine

    Sven, all religions not only could but should (at least theoretically, if they were involved in the thread). The issue at hand is that they, in the end, are distinctive and not all basically the same thing as much as we might want it to be so (and some on here really really want it to be so). lol But unlike Joe below I am not advocating that Satan is behind different belief systems. Human beings are all the same. None more special than the other. And yet, the origin of their beliefs do come from different places and from more than the recesses of our own collective psychology.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X