FIXED: idiotic “it was 11 days before Christmas, at 9:38″

The original viral image comes attached with a truly awful poem:

twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38

when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.

their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.

they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.

they were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.

they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.

“where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.

“this is heaven.” declared a small boy. “we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”

original Jesus in a classroom reading Twas the night before Christmaswhen what to their wondering eyes did appear,

but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.

He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.

then He opened His arms and He called them by name.

and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring

those children all flew into the arms of their King

and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,

one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.

and as if He could read all the questions she had

He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”

then He looked down on earth, the world far below

He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe

then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,

“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”

“may this country be delivered from the hands of fools”

“I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”

then He and the children stood up without a sound.

“come now my children, let me show you around.”

excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.

all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.

and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,

“in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

You’ve probably seen that. Nasty stuff.

My image is intended to be a reply. Personally, I tend to avoid a strike-first attitude with religious belief. Not much can hold me back from responding when attacked, though.

Jesus: "To be fair, not every child  who died in the massacre was from a Christian Family. Dad sent a few to hell." Teacher- "JESUS, WTF!" - Religion in Connecticut percentages broken down, source PEW 2008

click to embiggen

Source for statistics.

I’m no Cuttlefish, but here’s a FIXED version, for you to include with your post. Or, you could just share my post.

twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38

when 20 beautiful kids met a man filled with hate.

their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.

their parents now cling to all the memories they share.

then people used the tragedy to their own selfish ends,

making their points about guns, atheists, and sins.

pundits and pulpits steered the talk in many a’house.

their fans shocked us all with just a click o’ the mouse.

Some Christians don’t realize that they’re in the wrong,

I wish they would stop to think hard, and think long.

Despite what they think, it wasn’t about Jesus.

Capitalizing on it like this should be beneath us.

Let the parents grieve and leave them alone,

Let the nation grieve, don’t make this your own,

it’s not a soapbox for your next long-winded rant,

filled with the grammar you’d expect from a plant.

Stop saying these poor children are now with your god,

You’re applying your views and your logic is flawed.

Surely you realize that for some of the dead,

Their families had different thoughts in their head.

It’s highly offensive when you keep carrying on,

About people who can’t speak up after they’re gone.

Think about what it says in your good book,

Dust it off, take it out, have a good look.

It proclaims that for kids who didn’t know Jesus,

They’re burning right now, in hell, beneath us.

You’re mulling that over, quite a terrible thought.

All of us were heartbroken when those kids were shot.

We all want to help, and we all want an answer,

It’s arrogant to think you are alone with that pressure.

When you say that your god belongs in the schools,

It appears that you think some parents are fools.

Some of those parents might be saying goodbye,

To one of those beautiful kids that just died.

Before you bring up god, reflect and research,

Why does your god allow shootings in church?

It could be less, and it could be more,

but chances are about one in four,

that people in Newtown aren’t even christian.

call off your hunt, and end your mission.

Update: Some people prefer to post both versions of the poem, along with the old image (or simply as a text-only status update). Whatever your take, please do respond to this nasty poem as it pops up.

Update 2: Some Christians are claiming that ‘their bible’ doesn’t say non-Christian kids would go to hell. As a former Christian who was quite the bible-thumper as a child, I disagree. And so does the Catholic church. And so did Martin Luther, who inspired basically all modern protestant denominations.

John 3:5 (This is even worse, because you need more than just baptism)

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Job 14:1-4 (original sin… no such thing as ‘innocent’ baby)

“Man that is born of a woman

is of few days, and full of trouble.

2 He comes forth like a flower, and withers;

he flees like a shadow, and continues not.

3 And dost thou open thy eyes upon such a one

and bring him[a] into judgment with thee?

4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?

There is not one.

Mark 16:16

16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

1 Corinthians 7:14(if at least one parent was a Christian, child is safe)

For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy.

Acts 16:30-33(one person in the household must be Christian)

30 and brought them out and said, “Men, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their wounds, and he was baptized at once, with all his family.

That’s why the Spanish Inquisition went to such great lengths to kidnap Jewish babies, etc. There are many many more biblical passages that are commonly used by Christians to explain that only through Jesus Christ can one reach heaven (be it baptism for babies, or consecrated belief by proxy, or through professed faith.)

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About Justin Griffith
  • MatthewLaboratory

    If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns

  • Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish

    Why don’t Christians apply this same logic to the abortions they scream so loudly about wanting stopped? According to this they should be praising each women who has a termination for sending another soul up to Jesus.

  • Tsu Dho Nimh

    Have you noticed that Jesus has three arms?

    1 – on the shoulder of the boy in the blue shirt

    2 – on his knee

    3 – on the upper arm of arm #2

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/ Justin Griffith

    @1 Matthew

    Too bad we can’t outlaw outlaws. That would be double jeopardy.

  • Jean

    If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns

    But the ones doing these mass murders are law abiding citizens up to the moment of their unspeakable actions. So your logic fails.

    Try to go beyond the gun culture rhetoric. Look at the rest of the world (and not using the gun proponents statistics but some unbiased ones).

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/ Justin Griffith

    Jesus has three arms. What a mindfuck! I was looking at that picture for hours today while editing / typing. Did not see it.

  • Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish

    I, for one, welcome our new three-armed Messiah.

  • ImaginesABeach

    The two boys who were buried today, Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto, were both Jewish.

  • Dynasty

    I guess this proves that Shiva is secretly Jesus (or vice-versa).

    Other than that, I remember seeing this the other day and thinking the same way, except I used a twisted joke to get me point across. “And little Mohammad raised his hand and proclaimed ‘But I am Muslim and believe in Allah.’. Jesus thus smote little Mohammad down to hell.”

  • clynct

    He does not have three arms.. the one that you think is resting on his other arm is really the little girl’s arm, sitting beside him.

  • Greenmamma

    The hand on his arm, I believe is supposed to belong to the child at his side. Not a 3rd arm.

    And I’d be more impressed with your “Fix” if you had been attempting to comfort those people you feel strongly are not going to find comfort in the first poem. It is still ok to comfort people of any belief, isn’t it? And in reading your harsh critique, of which you are completely entitled, I wonder why it offends you if the author believes his God will embrace all 20 children perhaps regardless of their faith. He is entitled to believe that, even if he may be wrong somehow in the end. 1 thing your note here does do (perhaps 1 redeeming quality worth it all) is help me think before passing the original poem on en mass. Thank you for opening up a perhaps before unbeknownst to me perspective.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/ Justin Griffith

      1 thing your note here does do (perhaps 1 redeeming quality worth it all) is help me think before passing the original poem on en mass. Thank you for opening up a perhaps before unbeknownst to me perspective.

      This made me very happy. Thank you very much for this.

      To answer your question, the author of the original clearly does not believe that god will embrace all 20 children regardless of their faith. That’s why he’s so obsessed with getting Christ back into the school (the point of these memes). If author’s god didn’t care about other’s faiths, author’s point of view defeats Christianity’s concepts of salvation through Christ the messiah, baptism for those before age of reason (varies by denomination), original sin etc.

  • TM

    The Bible does not say what happens to children before the age of reason, and many Christians believe that all children are accepted by God until they are old enough to reject Jesus. The theology is that yes, there is original sin, but Jesus’ sacrifice paid for all sin, and until you reject that truth, you are covered by his sacrifice. Since most of us will reach the age of reason, it makes sense that we would still care to teach our nation and our children about God (which does not mean that we all believe that our faith be taught in schools or that our government be run by the church, but that there be the freedom to acknowledge God rather than ban Him from our schools and government). Also, as a side note on baptism, Catholicism is the only denomination that believes that baptism is an act of salvation… all Protestant denominations, whether they baptize infants or only professing believers, view it as a demonstration of faith, not an act of salvation, so they do not believe that you have to be baptized to be saved, nor that you are saved just because you’ve been baptized. All this is to say that although you are right that this poem may not offer any comfort to people of different faiths, it is possible that the author believes what was stated in the poem (that all the children are now in heaven). And if he/she does believe that, then this poem is a beautiful and gracious thing to write, and it does provide comfort to the millions who also believe it.

    As for ending our mission, that would be the most unloving thing that any true Christian could do. If I believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven, it would be selfishness and a lack of care for others to not tell them that, and to be content to let them go on with a belief I think is wrong. That doesn’t mean I have to slam my views down their throat. There are many misguided people out there who do things like that, but the Bible tells us that the best way to show people is by our love. That is what Jesus did with his life. Unfortunately, we Christians fail at that too much of the time, and many say words of condemnation rather than love. But I hope you will meet some Christians along your way who are able to show you God’s love.

  • Shannon Jones

    As a Christian, I understand that not everyone on earth believes the way that I do, but the way the first poem is written helps us Christians, find meaning in the tragedy. Whether you believe the words of the poem or not, it offers comfort to those that do believe and maybe a sense of hope or peace for those who may not believe. I am not the writer of the beautiful poem, but if I were, I would share the words of comfort with as many people as I could, what’s wrong with offering comfort through words? I’m sure that many people that aren’t Christian can see the gesture that was offered in the poem.

    I pesonally believe that if God, in all senses of the word, ie God, Allah, Buddah, The Great Spirit, or if atheist nobody, belongs schools, and I believe that prayer should be allowed and encouraged. If the child or their family doesn’t believe in prayer, they could simply opt out. As for your post, The Bible, the good book, doesn’t say that the children who were not Christian are going to burn in Hell, it says that all men will be judged by their own understanding. If a child is raised atheist, it means that they can still go to Heaven because they have been taught nothing of the Word. I don’t know where you were taught, but I was taught that those who do not know, will not be judged like someone who does know. It’s not like the LAW where you are judged for a crime whether you knew it was a crime or not. God, at least the one that I was raised to know, is gracious, forgiving and would never send an innocent child to Hell. So, I understand that you are entitled to your opinion, but please be aware that this tragedy, has become a national one, and people are going to respond in a way that they believe will help those who have suffered the tragedy personally.

    Shannon

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/ Justin Griffith

      @Shannon Jones

      As for your post, The Bible, the good book, doesn’t say that the children who were not Christian are going to burn in Hell, it says that all men will be judged by their own understanding. If a child is raised atheist, it means that they can still go to Heaven because they have been taught nothing of the Word. I don’t know where you were taught, but I was taught that those who do not know, will not be judged like someone who does know.

      Where in the bible did you get that from? I listed specifically the standard Christian theological concepts that Catholics and Protestants commonly use to justify the belief that only BAPTIZED babies go to heaven.

      John 3:5 (This is even worse, because you need more than just baptism)
      Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

      Job 14:1-4 (original sin… no such thing as ‘innocent’ baby)
      “Man that is born of a woman
      is of few days, and full of trouble.
      2 He comes forth like a flower, and withers;
      he flees like a shadow, and continues not.
      3 And dost thou open thy eyes upon such a one
      and bring him[a] into judgment with thee?
      4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?
      There is not one.

      Mark 16:16
      16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

      1 Corinthians 7:14(if at least one parent was a Christian, child is safe)
      For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy.

      Acts 16:30-33(one person in the household must be Christian)
      30 and brought them out and said, “Men, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their wounds, and he was baptized at once, with all his family.

      That’s why the Spanish Inquisition went to such great lengths to kidnap Jewish babies, etc.

  • grumpyoldfart

    That poem is designed to protect the Christian ego.

    `

    Many would have instantly recognised that their god was unable or unwilling to save the children and they would have been wondering if maybe they had wasted the whole of their life believing in a nonexistent god.

    `

    Then along comes the poet who tells them that even the worst massacres are good things sent by god – and the Christians grasp at that straw without a second thought. Anything is better than admitting that they were mistaken about god.

    `

    Interestingly, halfway though the poem, the very same Jesus who has failed in his duty of care to the victims, is now reassuring the children that he will “take care of mom and dad.”

  • TR

    Mary Had a Little Lamb – Modern Day Version

    (author unknown)

    Mary had a little lamb,

    His fleece was as white as snow.

    And everywhere that Mary went,

    The Lamb was sure to go.

    He followed her to school each day,

    ‘Twasn’t even in the rule.

    He made the children laugh and play,

    To have a Lamb at school.

    And then the rules all changed one day,

    Illegal it became;

    To bring the Lamb of God to school,

    Or even speak His Name.

    Every day got worse and worse,

    And days turned into years.

    Instead of hearing children laugh,

    We heard gunshots and tears.

    What must we do to stop the crime,

    That’s in our schools today?

    Let’s let the Lamb come back to school,

    And teach our kids to pray!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/ Justin Griffith

      @TR

      Dammit, man. Is that really going around? That’s awful, untrue, and a terrible message. Even if kids were taught to pray away the violence… it wouldn’t fucking help! Church shootings, etc.

  • M

    It’s interesting to watch how angrily some of you react to the mention of God, particularly in Judeo-Christian form, when those writing such a poem are seeking to offer comfort and hope, not agitate you. If you don’t believe in God, then what is the issue? You have the right to believe differently. Others have the right to believe in God and do so their own way. One thing is certain. Physical death is coming to us all. Make your choice but give me the right to make mine. I am not angry about your belief. It does not threaten me in the least. I have peace.

  • Pam

  • leedawson

    M, it’s because Christians are trying to use a tragedy to forward their agenda of getting their prayer and their religion into schools and into everyone’s personal business (and as a side effect, push out actual science and history). Surely you can see how disgusting that is.

  • XG

    TM,

    What a totally selfish, misguided sole you are. And how clueless you are thinking your actions are helping your mission when in fact it is actually hurting it.

    “If I believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven, it would be selfishness and a lack of care for others to not tell them that, and to be content to let them go on with a belief I think is wrong.”

    Ever try to tell a fat person to loose weight? They don’t want to hear it. How about telling a gay person to go straight? Same thing. Or telling a meat eater that they should become vegetarian (or vice versa). Those are just like what you are suggestion is the ‘right’ thing to do. Sure you could ask those people if they are interested in hearing your opinion, but when they say no then you should respect that and be done with it. And when you do not you perpetuate the disgust that people have for evangelists like yourself that show no respect for other people’s point of view.

    ps. Riding the subway home last week I had to endure some lunatic standing my entire hour ride holding a giant sign that was in everyone’s way with some writing on it and ranting that “You need to read this. It is a message from the lord. You need to read this.’ All I could think is “You need to be more considerate of what other people want before you consider what you want, and you probably need to take your medication too.”

  • Matty Bumpo

    I wonder, can you see Hell from Heaven? When Jesus gave the kids a tour of the place, did He take them to a lookout point from which they could see the billions of souls suffering indescribable, eternal agony? I imagine not. Let’s hope He kept them blissfully unaware of the Hell below, just as He had magically wiped clean their memories of their own brutal murders.

    But what of the others? What about all the adult believers who have died knowing that their faith in Jesus would save them from eternal torment? Can they see Hell from Heaven? (I have a vague recollection of some Bible verses somewhere describing such a vision.) Surely their “joy that surpasses all understanding” stems in part from knowing that thanks to Jesus they’ve dodged the mother of all bullets. Right? So then they must at least be aware of the billions of souls–some of whom they knew and loved in their lives on Earth–wailing in excruciating pain.

    So, the question is…What kind of eternal Paradise is that?

  • hexidecima

    Good, someone else ripped this sad piece of shit apart. Thank you! I made a small attempt but I’m definitely not a poet.

  • hexidecima

    I am also wondering, those who would excuse such garbage, why you think you need a lie? For that’s what the first poem is. You are too ignorant and self-absorbed to realize that your religion damns any child that dares not to have been born in the “right” way. Oh darn, the poem makes you feel better, Shannon. Well, Chrsitians, it makes others feel worse. Per your religion, a child that is not “saved” is damned to an eternity of torture.

    Shannon, you’ve made up your own religion and it sure has little to do with Christianity. You’ve decided that “your” god wouldn’t be so mean but then you have to chuck your bible to keep that little lie to yourself alive. All of the sudden, you’ve given a reason why no one should accept the nonsense of your bible because you don’t even do so yourself. Why care if there was a dead man raised from the dead if you can pick and choose what parts you like and don’t like? Why think you’re right at all?

    Your god can’t even prevent children from being abused in its supposed “houses of worship” where there is prayer all of the time, so why think it could do anything in a school?

  • Nicole

    Thanks Justin Griffith, bold work.

    I hadn’t seen the original poem posted yet, but I’m sure it’s coming. I have been seeing lots of the ‘ol “if God were in our schools, this wouldn’t have happened” b.s. and have had enough of that already. Not surprised that people use this terrible violence to further their agendas.

  • http://becomingjulie.blogspot.co.uk/ BecomingJulie

    @ MatthewLaboratory, #1: I’d rather only outlaws (a minority) had guns than every idiot had guns.

  • Joe

    You should understand the Bible and its teachings before you spout out this nonsense. Children are not condemned to Hell.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/ Justin Griffith

      @Joe

      Children are not condemned to Hell.

      What age are they condemned to hell? (Some of the victims were not children, by the way.)

      What do you say about these verses:

      John 3:5 (This is even worse, because you need more than just baptism)
      Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

      The following are also listed above in the article…

      Job 14:1-4 (original sin… no such thing as ‘innocent’ baby)
      Mark 16:16 (must be believers AND baptized)
      1 Corinthians 7:14(if at least one parent was a Christian, child is safe)
      Acts 16:30-33(one person in the household must be Christian)

  • Child of God

    Atheists spend so much time & energy bullying Christains. Haven’t you grown up yet? Get with the times…bully Muslim extremists, the Taliban….make fun of their beliefs….if you are so strong and bold. You are just bitter wimps that love inflicting pain on good Christains. ..because you think that we will not fight back…What do you use to try to keep yourselves emotionally balanced? Anxiety drugs, other psychiatriatic pharmeseuticals, alcohol? Only insane people would emotionally bully a targeted group continuously, Your fixation and bullying are sure signs of Asperger’s syndrome or Schizophrenia. Normal people move on if they do not like a group of people’s beliefs.

    • Matty Bumpo

      Child, in some sense you’re right. As an avowed atheist, I have to remind myself that, exactly like everyone else still walking the planet, I don’t absolutely KNOW whether gods exist or not. (But I absolutely believe they don’t). On the other hand, atheists’ tendency to at times come across as bullies is in response to being surrounded in this country by the devoutly religious, who insist that they absolutely KNOW of not just their god’s existence, but also his mind and his opinion on just about anything.

      From there, they take “as gospel” an unthinkable amount of irrational nonsense, while ignoring similar nonsense that they find to be inconvenient. . Religious faith, by definition, means you accept certain things as being true despite all evidence to the contrary. Talk about not “getting with the times”–many Christians believe a few guys who wrote some books 2000 years ago already had all the answers! People who like to think and ask questions (Have you ever really thought, for example, about the concept of Heaven coexisting with Hell?), people who try to live their lives guided by Reason rather than Faith find this to be very, very frustrating.

      And so we sometimes lash out. Why do we care so much? It’s not out of bitterness, or wimpiness, or mental illness*. It is out of this frustration, and it is because–as leedawson said above–the faithful insist their nonsense should rule everybody else’s lives as well as their own.

      *Perhaps there will come a day when Americans are not so ignorant of the nature of mental illnesses and disorders that they invoke them when attempting to insult others.

  • Child of God

    Thank you, Matty Bumpo, for a descent response. We – as Christians – are also struggling in today’s society. It seems that more and more groups are taking swings at us and limiting our right to worship our Lord and Savior – whom brings us peace and understanding – in troubling times. Our religion guides and soothes our souls and our lives. Though I have close relatives that have spent their careers in Africa spreading the word of Jesus to primitive communities and healing sick bodies through modern medicine, I (personally) used to try not to ‘step on’ people’s beliefs, but for a group to take a beautiful and comforting poem and a picture of our Lord and brutally slaughter it out of pure meanness….is extreme harassment. I innocently wandered into this site. Oh, I’m not going to mention the Holy Prophet’s name of another major world religion, but those worshipers have issued death threats and started wars because of this kind of treatment of their beloved prophet. The Country was founded on the principles of Religious freedom and all 56 signers of the U.S. Constitution were Christian. You probable are in a minority. If you don’t join the majority – you’ll probable always be in the minority – In any situation . If you don’t believe, why care that we do? Can’t we worship peacefully without harassment? Can’t we call Christmas trees by their names and sing Christmas carols in public? Yes, our beliefs are 2000 years old (and older) – and they still work for us. It is not just that we decided to believe – these beliefs are ingrained in our souls (if that will help you to understand). I have spent most of my career working in Mental Health. Live your life and don’t fixate on what others are doing spiritually. Hopefully with respectful dialogue – atheists and Christians will eventually be able to live in harmony.

  • TM

    I, too, have a hard time understanding why some atheists are so bent on harrassing Christians, but I can only assume that it is the fault of us Christians, who have harrassed and insulted some atheists to the point that they feel the need to do the same. I don’t think the majority of Christians are that way, and I hope not to be one of them.

    As for XG, who said I was selfish, misguided & clueless, I probably am all of those things. I’m a human sinner just like the rest of us. But you make some pretty wild assumptions about my evangelism. I actually don’t share my faith with a lot of people. I don’t stand on a corner and shout at people, and I don’t pester those around me who aren’t Christians. I do try to love them the way I think God wants me to, and if they are interested and our relationship is such that it’s appropriate, then I do share my faith with them and tell them about MY experience with God. I don’t tell them what they should do. That’s something each person must decide for him/herself. But I still think that if I don’t tell someone I love what I believe, then I have done them a disservice… it’s like thinking I have the cure for cancer and not sharing it with my friend who has cancer. Perhaps I’m wrong in the end, but if I’m not and I didn’t tell people because I was afraid of offending them or being rejected, then that was selfish on my part. I’m sorry that you have encountered Christians who have not been sensitive in their evangelism.

    Finally, for those that are insisting that you must be baptized to be saved, note what Jesus said to the thief on the cross, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) I don’t see anywhere that the thief had time to get down from his cross and be baptized. It was his faith in Jesus that saved him, not being baptized. Jesus was baptized, Jesus lived the perfect life, Jesus was raised from the dead, and it’s faith in Jesus that saves, not your ability to do any of those things that he did. The verse quoted from Mark 16:16 says, “he who does not believe will be condemned” not “he who has not been baptized will be condemned.” Also, there is no infant baptism recorded in the Bible. The only baptisms done in the Bible were of people who had already stated their faith in Christ. That’s why many reformed churches (Baptists for example) do not baptize infants. I realize that the Catholic church has a different position on this (and on many things related to salvation, in fact.)

    Jesus also said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matthew 18:3) To me, this is in strong support of the notion that God sees children differently than he sees adults. No, they are not without sin, but I don’t think God holds them accountable for things they are not yet able to discern. That age is probably different for every child… children mature & develop at different rates, so there is probably not a single age that every child is able to truly decide for themselves what they believe spiritually (not just what their parents have told them), but I doubt 6/7 year olds are there. In the end, I don’t know what happens to babies and children. The Bible does not clearly state it, so in response to Matty Bumpo pointing out that Christians claim to KNOW everything, we certainly don’t. But it’s equally true that you don’t KNOW that all these children are not in heaven either, and given what I know from the Bible about the nature of God and what the words say, I believe that they are, in fact, in heaven today.

    Here’s to a future where Christians and atheists can respectfully dialogue and agree to disagree!

  • Matty Bumpo

    Child, I didn’t bother to respond to you further because although you open kindly enough, just like your earlier post, the rambling that follows is far closer to childish than childlike.

    TM, I do appreciate your tone of thoughtfulness and humility, and I respect your attitudes about your religion in that you sound like you are very much the way I was as a born-again Christian in my early adulthood. I don’t find it at all hard to love and respect my friends, family, or strangers who also happen to be faithful–or even fundamentalists–without respecting their beliefs. In that spirit, I feel compelled to point out a couple things.

    For one, just because we both admit we don’t absolutely know what happens after death, doesn’t mean we each have a 50% chance of being right. The rational thing to do is look at the preponderance of plausible evidence, and then decide if one or the other is (far) more likely.

    More to my point, you misrepresent what I said about Christians, and then go on to state that you know something about the nature of God. (And elsewhere you say it therefore “makes sense” to teach our children and nation about [this] god and his nature). Your claim to have personal insight to the mind of god is exactly the problem I was pointing out. The faithful of all stripes refuse to look at this notion closely and see how ludicrous it is. I understand that I can’t induce you to deconstruct the issue and really, honestly , courageously think about the source of your beliefs, because to base your beliefs on factual evidence is not Faith, it’s Reason–and that would be heresy. So you’ve chosen to be a person of Faith, very likely on the mistaken belief that religious faith is more comforting than reason ever could be. And whatever the truth may be, comfort is what is most important here, right?

    However frustrated I may be with that, I well understand how nice and comforting your choice may be for you. Our Constitution guarantees your right to make that choice, and that no matter how many people choose Faith over Reason, our government will not favor any choice of faith over the countless others. It’s this Separation of Church and State that is under attack and in need of vigilant defense in this country, not any Christians’ right to worship or call the pagan symbol originally used to celebrate the winter solstice a “Christmas Tree”, just as I do.

    I’m forever letting myself get sucked into these discussions because I keep forgetting that, although atheists already do live in harmony with the faithful, we really have absolutely nothing to say to each other on this subject. There’s literally “just no reasoning with you guys”, and that’s a non-starter.

    You’re welcome to have the last word. Let mine be a heartfelt “Merry Christmas”.

  • sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    ‘Mary had a little lamb’ inspired dozens of English children’s parodiies. Two I remember are:

    Mary had a little lamb.

    The midwife had a fit.

    and

    Mary had a little bear,

    To which she was so kind,

    That everywhere that Mary went

    You could see her bear running along beside her.

    8-year-olds don’t have a sophisticated sense of humour.

  • Alana

    You are stereotyping all Christians as arrogant and claim to know their beliefs. It seems to me that you are the arrogant one here, as many of the things you claim Christians believe are directly opposite of my Christian beliefs, because you have interpreted scriptures differently than I. I am very offended by this and I think it is extremely uncalled for. Someone was just trying to comfort people who were worried about the children who died by sharing their beliefs. You don’t need to ridicule them because you disagree with their religion, which apparently you know little about.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/ Justin Griffith

      No. I didn’t interpret “the kids are now with Jesus” lines from the poem incorrectly. 2 of the children’s services were held at a synagogue.

      How about this, you tell me what denomination or biblical translation or other subject matter expert disagrees with the scripture I quoted. Those are the precise verses (out of 20 or 30 similar) that Catholics and most Protestants ALWAYS use to justify baptizing and/or ‘born again’ theology. Iin the minority of evangelical denominations that reject baptism as necessary for children prior to the ‘age of reason’, a parent must still be ‘saved’.

      If unbaptized, non-christian children, from non-christian families are killed, nearly all of organized Christianity posits that they don’t go to heaven. In disorganized “Church of Alana” Christianity, I suppose the pastor teaches something else.

  • TM

    I know this thread has fallen by the wayside long ago, but I’ve meant to leave another comment for several weeks, so in case anyone comes back to read this, here goes.

    I want to respond to Matty Bumpo’s comment that “The rational thing to do is look at the preponderance of plausible evidence, and then decide if one or the other is (far) more likely.” I absolutely agree that is the rational thing to do. I think the implication there, and in saying that people “choose Faith over Reason,” was that you have to choose either faith or reason, and that to be a Christian you have to throw your brain out the window, and if that is the implication, I have to take issue with it. I may never convince you, and that’s fine, but I absolutely don’t believe that to be true. After all, the Bible says in 1 Peter 3:15–16, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the REASON for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience” and in Mark 12:30, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your MIND and with all your strength.”

    I have looked at a preponderance of evidence, and I’ve concluded that I think God is real, and that Jesus is real and that what the Bible says actually happened. If you’d like to do some reading on some of the scientific evidence for God, try reading “Beyond the Cosmos: What Recent Discoveries in Astrophysics Reveal About the Glory and Love of God” by Hugh Ross , or a number of other books by the group of scientists at Reasons to Believe (www.reasons.org) . If you’re more into the philosophical than the scientific, you might try “The Reason for God” by Tim Keller or “More than a Carpenter” by Josh McDowell . Some of these authors were actually atheist scientists or scholars who became believers because of, not in spite of, their research.

    The bottom line is, if there really is a god, there is absolutely no reason that you should have to turn off your brain and throw reason out the window. If there really is a god, then reason and science will point to him. On the side of reason, there will always be things that do not make sense to US or that WE cannot figure out, but that does not mean that they don’t make sense. My pet probably does not have the capacity to understand why I do many of the things I do throughout the day, but that does not mean that the things I’m doing don’t make sense… my pet just doesn’t have the mental capacity or perspective to understand it all. And so it will always be in relation to humans and God, but there are also plenty of rational reasons that we CAN understand that point to God and the Bible being true. And with regard to science, it will never tell us everything. We are constantly learning and theories change as we learn more. Until we’ve discovered absolutely everything there is to discover (which will never happen), believing in science is just as much an act of faith as believing in a god. I still think the majority of evidence is going to point to God in the end.

    I realize this may do nothing to convince you, and that’s fine. But you can be a Christian without being an idiot. For any Christians out there who have not truly thought about why they believe what they believe, I encourage you to think about it and read some of the books I suggested. Thinking about it will only make your awe of our Creator all the greater and your faith all the stronger and more real. I wish everyone the best on their own path of discovery and belief.


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