Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy: “We support biblical families.”

Today’s Chick-fil-A Biblical Family Rule of the Day: Parents, spouses, children, siblings (Luke 14:25-26).

Now large crowds were travelling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.”


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  • Ouri Maler

    Generally speaking, atheist though I may be, I do like a lot of what Jesus says.
    And there’s passages like this, which make me go “Jesus Christ, dude. Chill.”

  • MaryKaye

    Yeah.  This one and “if you lust after someone you’ve already committed adultery with them in your heart.”  My impression is that that’s done more harm than good, right down through the centuries.  One of its bad consequences is “Woman, *you* need to do something different so that *I* won’t lust after you”–which is reprehensible, but since it’s well-nigh impossible to control vagrant feelings of this kind, also rather understandable.

  • FullMetalMarmotte

    Just delurking to thank for the great times I habe reading your post. Also thanks to most of the commenters!

  • FullMetalMarmotte

    Pleade change post by *blog*

  • Foreigner

    The worst thing is, he gives no reason why you should hate these people.  He gives reasons as to why one should give up material things to follow him. He gives reasons why you should leave your family to follow him. But not a whit more does he say about why you ought to hate them.

  • Jurgan

    Is it possible “hate” is being translated as much stronger than it should have been?

  • Diverlca

    One of its bad consequences is “Woman, *you* need to do something different so that *I* won’t lust after you”

    Actually, what’s unfortunate about our interpretations of the “lusting” comment is that we’ve forgotten what Jesus was really talking about.  The prevailing sentiment at the time was just as you said: “It’s those harloty women causing us to lust and sin.” But Jesus in the passage you’re referencing is basically saying, “Gentlemen, step up and take some responsibility.”  It’s rather sad that some of Jesus’ more provocative statements are really quite radical and liberative, but centuries of bad theology have twisted them into the exact opposite.

  • christopher_y

    Jurgan, I looked up the Greek and the word used, “misein” was generally translated “hate” when I was studying it years ago. It’s more than possible that the sense of the word changed between the classical period and the 1st century or that it carried different connotations in colloquial Palestinian usage than in literary Athenian, but I have to say that if I came across it in a text I’d think “hate”.

  • I always read it as “If you don’t hate the status quo, you can’t be my disciple.”  Not as a hate your family and life, but hate the roles and society that are enforced upon you. 

  • Diverlca

    I think its important to give the proper cultural context to this comment.  We’re talking about a very strict family clan structure, sworn blood enemies, generations of conflict, etc. etc.  Actually, quite similar to things that still exist in some areas of the world.  So I think Jesus here is insinuating that, in order to be a radical disciple (loving enemies and all that), one must also be willing to stand in opposition to the prevailing social order–that is, the family clan structure itself.  A no less unsettling statement, but perhaps one that makes a bit more sense.

  • I’ve heard that another meaning of “hate” is “separation”, that is, to remove yourself from something or someone. One thing Jesus is saying is how willing someone is not to let family and friends pressure you out of doing the right thing, and sometimes that even means having to leave them behind. Anyone who’s joined a social movement that their family hates, as with all the debate over gay rights, civil rights, etc, will understand what that means.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Do you have any evidence for that view, similar but not necessarily equivalent to the etymological interrelation between words for owing people money and words for having done people wrong? I like the view you present, I just can’t accept it without better support.

  • ReverendRef

     This one and “if you lust after someone you’ve already committed adultery with them in your heart.” . . . One of its bad consequences is “Woman, *you* need to do something different so that *I* won’t lust after you”

    I was just looking at this yesterday.  I’d agree that an unfortunate consequence is that the **woman** needs to do something different to keep men from lusting.  I think the issue here is the difference between **lust** and that immediate **wow, she’s hot** thought that flashes through your mind.

    Lust takes that immediate, passing thought much further.  Lust is spending time obsessing over the object of your infatuation.  Lust is creating fantasies about that person.  Lust is devising mental plans on how to obtain that person for yourself.

    I really don’t think Jesus was talking about those passing thoughts that we all have at one time or another.  I think Jesus was talking about the intentional, obsessive, single-minded focus that results from allowing those passing thoughts to become your only thought.  This is also summed up in the Tenth Commandment:  Thou shall not covet.

  • reynard61

    “Lust takes that immediate, passing thought much further. Lust is spending time obsessing over the object of your infatuation. Lust is creating fantasies about that person. Lust is devising mental plans on how to obtain that person for yourself.”

    You mean like Judge Frollo lusts after Esmerelda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame?

  • Regardless of what Jesus was talking about, I would certainly agree that the kind of obsession you describe is at best a distraction and more commonly an actively unhealthy choice for everyone involved. Regardless, if you’re right that what was originally meant as a negative judgment of that kind of obsession has been twisted over the centuries into a negative judgment of lust, that’s truly unfortunate.

  • MikeJ

    Well, obviously it’s not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products. 

  • ReverendRef

     Yeah . . . I think that sums it up.

  • It’s been a while, but I think I’d heard the “separation” heard when reading about the River Styx, the “river of hatred”, that was the boundary between the lands of the living and that of the dead. In one way that would fit what Jesus was saying, a person needed to be willing to leave his family and loved ones if necessary, in order to follow God. And let’s face it, there are some families where that’s easy to do, some members you would not mind ever seeing again.

  • MikeJ

    Isn’t cutting off contact with non-believers the textbook definition of “cult”? 

  • It can go either way, I fear. 
    “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!” is another way of putting things, and I’ve never been good at defining that one either.

  • Garageman_mike

    I understand the ‘hate’ comment of Jesus as meaning loyalty to Him. If your family tries to separate you from a relationship with Christ, I think He is calling you to separate yourself from your family. A text, no doubt, often picked up on by the various sects and cults around the world.

    I guess it has a practical application in parts of the world where there is one predominant religion. Someone chooses to become a Christian and is then disowned by their family and friends for that decision. Jesus is encouraging people in this situation to hold firm.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, but for most of us, our experience of its application is someone being raised Christian, converting to something else or otherwise admitting to not being Christian, and being booted from the family on the grounds that accepting the nonChristian family member would itself be nonChristian.

  • vsm

    This might be one of those passages that make a lot more sense if you assume the world is going to end in a few decades.

  • Interesting news article I just found:

    This past week Chick-fil-A shared with me the 2011 IRS Form 990, filed in November for the WinShape Foundation, along with 2012 financials. The IRS has not released the 990 to the public yet, but the financials affirm Chick-fil-A’s values a year prior to the controversy this past July. The nearly $6 million in outside grant funding focuses on youth, education, marriage enrichment and local communities. The funding reflects Chick-fil-A’s promised commitment not to engage in “political or social debates,” and the most divisive anti-LGBT groups are no longer listed.

  • AnonymousSam
  • Yeah, I’m not letting them off the hook yet – I noticed that “the most divisive anti-LGBT groups are no longer listed.” which implies some not so divisive (can there even be a less-divisive anti-rights group?) ones still are.

  •  I think it’s far more likely that all it means is “We haven’t carefully vetted the list to make sure we got rid of the ones whose anti-LGBT positions aren’t blatant.”

  • Always thought this was incomprehensible.  Hate your family?  What for?  It has to have  been exaggerated quite a bit by some translator down the line.  It would make some sense to me interpreted as ‘take time away from family and friends regularly to meditate alone and refresh yourself.’  That would be constructive and sensible.  Going to extremes with religious dogma can take you down some pretty ridiculous paths. Take the middle path of balance and common sense.  Extremes will do you no good.