What Non-Christians Want Christians To Hear

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By way of researching my book I’m OK – You’re Not: The Message We’re Sending Nonbelievers and Why We Should Stop, I posted a notice on Craigslist sites all over the country asking non-Christians to send me any short, personal statement they would like Christians to read.

“Specifically,” I wrote, “I’d like to hear how you feel about being on the receiving end of the efforts of Christian evangelicals to convert you. I want to be very clear that this is not a Christian-bashing book; it’s coming from a place that only means well for everyone. Thanks.”

Within three days I had in my inbox over 300 emails from non-Christians across the country. Reading them was one of the more depressing experiences of my life. I had expected their cumulative sentiment to be one of mostly anger. But if you boiled down to a single feeling what was most often expressed in the nonbelievers’ statements, it would be Why do Christians hate us so much?

Below is a pretty random sample of the statements non-Christians sent me (each of which I used in the book). If you’re a Christian, they make for a mighty saddening read. Or they certainly should, anyway.

“The main thing that baffles and angers me about Christians is how they can understand so little about human nature that when, in their fervor to convert another person, they tell that person (as they inevitably do, in one way or another), ‘You’re bad, and wrong, and evil,’ they actually expect that person to agree with them. It pretty much guarantees that virtually the only people Christians can ever realistically hope to convert are those with tragically low self-esteem.”– E.S., Denver

“I feel that Christians have got it all wrong; it seems to me that they’ve created the very thing Jesus was against: Separatism.”– T. O., Denver

“I am often distressed at the way some Christians take as a given that Christians and Christianity define goodness. Many of we non-Christians make a practice of doing good; we, too, have a well-developed ethical system, and are devoted to making the world a better place. Christians hardly have a monopoly on what’s right, or good, or just.”– C.R., Seattle

“Christians seem to have lost their focus on Jesus’ core message: ‘Love the Lord your god with all your heart and with all your soul, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.'”– R.M., Tacoma

“I have no problem whatsoever with God or Jesus – only Christians. It’s been my experience that most Christians are belligerent, disdainful and pushy.” — D.B., Atlanta

“Whenever I’m approached by an evangelist – by a Christian missionary – I know I’m up against someone so obsessed and narrowly focused that it will do me absolutely no good to try and explain or share my own value system. I never want to be rude to them, of course, but never have any idea how to respond to their attempts to convert me; in short order, I inevitably find myself simply feeling embarrassed–first for them, and then for us both. I’m always grateful when such encounters conclude.”– K.C., Fresno

“I don’t know whether or not most of the Christians I come across think they’re acting and being like Jesus was – but if they do, they need to go back to their Bibles, and take a closer look at Jesus.” — L.B., Phoenix

“I grew up Jewish in a Southern Baptist town, where I was constantly being told that I killed Christ, ate Christian babies, and was going to hell. So I learned early that many Christians have – or sure seem to have – no love in their hearts at all. It also seems so odd to me that Christians think that if I don’t accept their message my ears and heart are closed, because it seems to me like they have excessively closed ears and hearts to anyone else’s spiritual message and experience. They seem to have no sense of the many ways in which God reaches out to everyone. As far as I’ve ever known, Christians are narrow in their sense of God, fairly fascistic in their thinking, and extremely egotistical in thinking God only approves of them.”– B.P., Houston

“I wish Christians would resist their aggressive impulses to morph others into Christians. Didn’t Jesus preach that we should all love one another?”– M.G., Shoreline, WA

“I’m frequently approached by Christians of many denominations who ask whether I’ve accepted Christ as my savior. When I have the patience, I politely tell them that I’m Jewish. This only makes them more aggressive; they then treat me like some poor lost waif in need of their particular brand of salvation. They almost act like salespeople working on commission: If they can save my soul, then they’re one rung closer to heaven. It’s demeaning. I always remain polite, but encounters like these only show disrespect and sometimes outright intolerance for my beliefs and my culture. In Judaism, we do not seek to convert people. That is because we accept that there are many paths to God, and believe that no one religion can lay sole claim to the truth or to God’s favor. Each person is free to find his or her own way. To Christians I would say: Practice your religion as you wish. There is no need to try and influence others. If your religion is a true one, people will come to it on their own.”– M.S., Honolulu

“When did it become that being a Christian meant being an intolerant, hateful bigot? I grew up learning the positive message of Christ: Do well and treat others with respect, and your reward will be in heaven. Somehow, for a seemingly large group of Christians, that notion has gone lost: It has turned into the thunders and lights of the wrath of God, and into condemning everyone who disagrees with them to burning in the flames of hell. Somehow, present-day Christians forgot about turning the other cheek, abandoned the notion of treating others like they would like to be treated themselves; they’ve become bent on preaching, judging, and selfishly attempting to save the souls of others by condemning them. What happen to love? To tolerance? To respect?” — S.P., Nashville

“There are about a million things I’d like to say to Christians, but here’s the first few that come to mind: Please respect my right to be the person I’ve chosen to become. Worship, pray and praise your God all you want–but please leave me, and my laws, and my city, and my school alone. Stop trying to make me, or my children, worship your god. Why do we all have to be Christians? Respect my beliefs; I guarantee they’re every bit as strong as yours. Mostly, please respect my free will. Let me choose if I want to marry someone of my own sex. Let me choose if I want to have an abortion or not. Let me choose to go to hell if that’s where you believe I’m going. I can honestly say that I’d rather go to hell than live the hypocritical life I see so many Christians living.”– D.B., Seattle

“I had a friend who was, as they say, reborn. During my breaks from college she invited me to her church, and I did go a couple of times. In a matter of a month, at least ten people at her church told me that I was going to hell. The ironic thing is that I do believe in God; I’ve just never found a church where I felt at ease. However, in their eyes, I was nothing but a sinner who needed to be saved. I stopped going to that church (which in the past four years has grown from a small to a mega-church), but in time, through my friend, have seen some of these people again. None of them ever fails to treat me exactly as they did four years ago. All I can say is this: Constantly telling someone they’re going to hell is not a good way to convert them.”– A.S., Chicago

“I am a former ‘born again’ Christian. It’s been my personal experience that Christians treat the poor poorly–much like the Pharisees did in the parable of the old woman with the two coins. I found the church to be political to a fault, and its individual members all too happy to judge and look down on others. As a Christian, my own fervor to witness was beyond healthy. My friends would come to me to vent and express emotions, and all I would do is preach to them. I was of no real comfort to them. I never tried to see anything from their perspective.”– J.S.W, Philadelphia

“Once Christians know I’m gay, the conversion talk usually stops. Instead, I become this sympathetic character who apparently isn’t worthy of the gift of Christ. From my childhood in a Baptist church, I recall the ‘loathe the sin, love the sinner’ talk, but as an adult I can’t say I’ve often found Christians practicing that attitude. Deep down, I’m always relieved to avoid disturbing “conversion” conversations with Christians; discussing one’s most intimate thoughts and personal beliefs isn’t something I enjoy doing with random strangers. But at the same time, I feel as though Christians make a value judgment about my soul on the spot, simply because I am gay. I don’t pretend to know the worth of a soul, nor the coming gifts to those who convert the masses, but I would guess converting the sinful homosexuals would merit a few brownie points. But I get the feeling that most Christians don’t think we’re worth the hassle.”– R.M., Houston

“Religion always seemed too personal for me to take advice about it from people I don’t know.”– D.P., Denver

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The lies Christian fundamentalism taught me

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  • Daniel English

    I think some forms of Christianity do tend to prey upon those with low self-esteem. One of the most irksome Pentecostal ministers I know when he was a teen was a drug addict. He went from drugs to Jesus which for me would be another method of dependence. I think the biggest slap in the face for me is that many fundamentalist want you to feel bad about yourself all the while they stand their smiling saying their venomous path is the best path. I don’t count preying on the emotionally or intellectually vulnerable as some high moral ground. In fact evangelism in itself has probably been one of the most destructive forces on the planet. Namely because it is not about leading by example and leaving people to essentially choose if they wish to follow or not. No it is about pushing one’s views on someone no matter if they are emotionally or intellectually secure. For me personally I have little love for evangelicals because often enough they are ignorant about most things regarding the human experience. Their ignorance is often betrayed in their gross negligence towards science and philosophy which ultimately manifests itself in a violent tone of rhetoric or violent behavior in general. Newsflash evangelicals most people want to do their own thing and be left the hell alone. Not badgered to death or have their rights trampled!

    • sheila0405

      Daniel, it’s even worse than that. When I was a fundie, we believed that if a person was in a weakened state, that was God’s way of putting that person into the right frame of mind to receive Christ. In other words, when bad things happened, it was actually good for the person, because if that person hit rock bottom, we could be there with our sales pitch and lead that wayward soul to Jesus. Rejoicing in another’s pain? How far away from Jesus is that?

      • RJohnson64

        Precisely so, and that is how many “relationship evangelists” suggested that Christians approach people. Years ago I took some training at our church based on Greg Koukl’s work with relationship evangelism. That was exactly how we were taught to view calamities that befell others. It was the Holy Spirit preparing their heart to hear the “redeeming Word of God”.

  • aspromised

    Far too many are intrusive, demanding and close-minded. Their behaviour is absolutely cultish and inexcusable. By the time I was 8 or 9 I knew that I did not believe in any of it. The entire Bible/Heaven/Hell thing seems to me like utter nonsense. (Neither God or Jesus actually PENNED anything!) and it is akin to Santa Claus.
    If people choose to ignore the lack of facts and believe in such things they are perfectly welcome to do it on their own time, in the appropriate places (church and home). That is what the Constitution allows. Religion is absolutely personal and should not interfere with government because government is for ALL people, those of any faith or no faith.

    • MJC

      The Bible speaks a great deal about fools in Proverbs. Your attack on Christianity falls into that category.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Aspromised is right. One’s faith in the divine is a purely personal matter, a thing between them and the divine in a method that works best for them, or not at all. They aren’t attacking Christianity, they having an opinion which has many clearly valid points; Religion is a personal matter, we live in places that allow for religious freedom, or freedom from religion all together. Jesus didn’t pen the bible, other people did. Hell and heaven, while interesting, are intangible concepts that are, if they exist, nothing like the imaginations of anyone, and there are some crazy imaginations out there.

      • RJohnson64

        Yet Jesus reserved his harshest words for the Pharisees, those who believed they knew the Law and Prophets perfectly. Likewise he had harsh words in Revelation for the church at Ephesus, which lost its first love.

        It seems that Jesus was more concerned about those who believed they knew it all well enough to dictate to others how to live. I mean, I can only imagine how dirty a “whitewashed sepulchre” is inside, no matter how well it presents itself on the outside.

      • Snooterpoot

        MJC, you just perfectly illustrated aspromised points. Playing the victim game seems to be one of the latest games fundamentalist Christians play, and it’s ridiculous. You are not being persecuted, oppressed or victimized when someone believes differently.

        And, as a matter of fact, some fundamentalist Christians are loathsome bigots and use the Bible to justify their bigotry. This is not an attack on Christianity; it is merely pointing out the hypocrisy of a group of self-identified Christians who absolutely fail to follow the commandment of Christ to love one another.

        You are free to believe anything you want. You are not free, however, to use the power and resources of the government to force other people to conform to the requirements of your chosen dogma regardless of their own deep beliefs.

      • Em

        I would like evidence for that poster being a fool (disagreeing with you is not enough to warrant abusive language) and also evidence that this was an “attack” on Christianity.

  • Tim Wilcox

    I largely find these views to be valid and I empathize with how many of these people feel, but I would also feel pre-judged by many the same people if I made the claim that I was a Christian. I have a personal tendency to want to shy away from the “Christian” label for myself for this reason. I don’t want to be lumped in with the narrow minded bigots, but at the same time I follow Christ because to me Jesus represented a perfect pattern for how humans should live their live. I think Christ knew and understood the consequences of challenging religious authority and he was not concerned with it because dying was a demonstration of his full commitment to ensuring that his message was received. His resurrection is much more important to me because it showed that his death was only a transition to a greater glory. He was willing to sacrifice his earthy identity as Jesus of Nazareth so that he could fully embrace his identity as Jesus the Christ! In the same fashion, I believe EVERY human (regardless of their religion) should see this was a pattern to learn that putting aside their selfish desires would also reap a greater glory and bring them closer to God and to all of humanity. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” I wish more people believed like this. This is not the teaching I find much in mainline Christianity, but it’s found at the heart of all True Religion. It angers and saddens me that some “Christians” use their religion as a means to justify belittling others and setting themselves apart from their brothers and sisters, but there are some who honestly evangelize out of genuine love for others. It is equally appalling that these people would be judged as “narrow-minded” or “bigotted”. No matter what religion you follow or don’t follow, people are basically the same no matter where you go. They latch onto whatever pleases them to justify their own selfish agenda. Few people honestly want to know how the other person feels from the opposing viewpoint, especially in a modern political setting when it is more important to appear that you aren’t a “flip-flopper” on issues and beliefs so that you can cater to the cheerleaders from the club that you think you belong to. I hope when this book comes out an equal voice will be given to the Christians who do show love, compassion and grace towards others of all faiths and backgrounds because they feel that’s how Christ would have lived and would want to model their lives in a similar fashion. These Christians do not fault any other person for their sins because they find themselves equally guilty of their own infractions. They are much too concerned with their own inner struggle for peace and righteousness to worry about the tiny imperfections in their brother.

    • SG12

      Brian McLaren’s book “Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?” Helped me a great deal with this. And C. S. Lewis helped, as well as Karen Armstrong’s book, “A History of God”. Perichoresis. I hope you continue peacefully on your journey my friend.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        I want to read McLaren’s book. Its been recommended before.

    • Aliza Worthington

      “I hope when this book comes out an equal voice will be given to the Christians who do show love, compassion and grace towards others of all faiths and backgrounds because they feel that’s how Christ would have lived and would want to model their lives in a similar fashion.”

      I think John Shore’s basic purpose here is to give voice to the Christians who show love, compassion and respect for all faiths. These voices need to be louder in order to counteract the damage done by the Christians so many of us have encountered along the way. I echo SG12’s sentiment in hoping you find peace.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        What she said ^^^^^^

      • RJohnson64

        “I hope when this book comes out an equal voice will be given to the Christians who do show love, compassion and grace towards others of all faiths and backgrounds because they feel that’s how Christ would have lived and would want to model their lives in a similar fashion.”

        There are many, many books that cover such matters. One can go to any Christian book store and find literally hundreds of titles that extol the virtue of true martyrs of the faith, people who live out the commands of Christ in love and humility. You can also find hundreds of books that laud those missionaries who go to far-off lands and give their lives in the name of the Lord, seeking to share the Gospel and help others.

        But there are precious few books there written by Christians who call for Christians to take an honest and humble look at how they portray Jesus to the rest of the world. It is hard to look in the mirror and be honest about these matters, and I respect John Shore for making a sincere effort to do this.

        It is hard, even painful to take this kind of look at one’s own community of faith. Since 9/11 we have seen Muslims in our nation struggle with the same difficult task, looking at not only what their faith teaches but also how they, as Muslims, are seen by non-Muslims around them. It’s been 12 years and they have only scratched the surface, and some have given up. But there are many who have stayed with it, and the Muslim faith will be better for their efforts.

        Are Christians up to the challenge? I think so, and I think we are seeing it happen in the more liberal communities in that faith. The United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church, and many other mainline denominations have begun the same difficult soul-searching. Many changes have come about because of that process, and it is likely many other changes lie before them.

  • Lothat

    Hi, my main problem is that too many evangelicals are persuaded to possess the absolute truth, while not realizing that their belief in Biblical inerrancy entails atrocious things, like the slaughtering of babies in God’s name, the stoning of adulterers and so on and so forth.

    I find also this idea of original sin, that we are held responsible for bad things which we couldn’t have avoided anyway, utterly revolting and irrational.

    On the other hand, it is a fact that we see very few life-changing experiences within mainstream churches.

    I believe this is the case because they’ve thrown out the baby with the bathwater and stopped believing in supernatural things altogether.

    In my new blog, I’ll define in a upcoming post what I means by progressive Christianity and how we should try to keep the reality of God while being enlightened.

    By the way, what’s your take on that?

    If your book is available as a mp3, I think I’ll buy it :=)

    Kind regards.

    Lothar’s son – Lothars Sohn

    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/

  • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

    Many Christians behave this way because they are relentlessly bullied, from the pulpit, that if they don’t ‘witness’ they are cowardly, ashamed of Jesus, don’t care about Jesus’ great sacrifice, value the opinion of men over the opinion of God, ect, ect. I am a follower of Jesus, but do not attend the institutional church anymore. I stayed in it for so long because I love Jesus – but finally I couldn’t take the pulpit bullying anymore. I’m not making excuses for the bad behavior described above, but I am trying to put it in some context. Alot of those people were guilted/harassed/bullied into that behavior, and they do feel ashamed. I’ve found I can be a Christian more authentically if I avoid organized church. It’s sad, but true.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Another thing that is incomprehensible to that type of Christianity, a total lack of desire to “witness” to a single person.

  • http://theaspirationalagnostic.wordpress.com/ Eva

    Just ‘don’t be a dick’. That works for most situations.

  • Amy L.

    I’m a Christian and a pastor and I wonder all the same things that those who responded to your question do.

  • Cindy Antonuk

    I would love to invite each of the writers above to my church. I hate that they have had the experiences they’ve had in the name of Christianity. The Christianity they describe is reprehensible and foreign to the Christianity that I understand and that I preach. Please don’t paint us all with the same broad brush.

    • Lausten North

      Do you have any idea how many times I’ve heard that and then found that church to be no different?

      • Cindy Antonuk

        Perhaps you haven’t been to a true social justice church where 2 out of the 3 ministers are gay. A church that started an assisted living facility in the early 1960’s and over 100 units of affordable housing in the 1980’s. Just because you haven’t found one doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

        • Lausten North

          Have you seen any of the recent news articles about the man who officiated over the first gay wedding in MN, in 1971? That was my pastor. Walker United Methodist. They don’t get much better than that. It doesn’t matter how many of them there are, they are still a minority with little power. What matters is, it took good people with a strong sense of morality to get those churches to accept gays in the first place. Just like slavery, reasoning came first, enlightened thinking came first, then the churches changed.

          I used to think liberal churches needed to regain the moral high ground from the fundamentalists. Then I realized churches never had that in the first place. The “good” churches have to cherry pick the scripture for what agrees with the morality their congregation brought with them. Just look at the common lectionary; 1 Kings 19. And see how it covers the “still soft voice” of God and skips over the part where God tells Elijah to anoint some Kings and put people to death by the sword.

        • Lausten North

          Roger Lynn, my pastor at Walker United Methodist church in Minneapolis performed the first gay union ceremony in MN in 1971. Look up, there are several recent articles. That church accepted a lot of people, pagans, wiccans, etc. Which helped me realize that they all can’t be right and it’s unlikely any one was more right than the others.

        • Lausten North

          I have been to several. I was a member of one for a while. They aren’t special.

    • Sue Greer-Pitt

      Why can’t Christians get it through their heads that I do not want to be “invited” to anyone’s church for any reason, I’m perfectly happy with my own faith and belief system, I made a deliberate choice a long time ago to ditch the Christianity I was brought up with and converted to Judaism, and I wish that Christians would get that they don’t have anything to offer me that I haven’t already duly considered.

      • Cindy Antonuk

        Well, I’m a Christian and since you’ve explained yourself to me, I ‘get it.’ A lot of Christians would. Despite what you may think, we aren’t all the same. Some of us are truly tolerant. As a human, I would have to be pretty arrogant to assume that the only path to God goes through Jesus. Just because that’s the path I choose doesn’t mean it’s the path for everyone. I honestly don’t care how folks get to God as long as they get there. I’m truly glad that you have a faith and belief system that works for you.

    • RJohnson64

      Cindy, while I do not live in your community I would very much enjoy attending your congregation some Sunday. I would also extend to you an invitation to visit my congregation, a Unitarian-Universalist fellowship, some Sunday morning. We have a variety of faiths represented in our congregation, and as such our Sunday services cover many, many subjects. I’m certain you would enjoy both the service and the discussion afterwards.

  • Mick

    The bible (KJV) describes unbelievers as, fools, corrupt, abominable, and incapable of doing good. (Psalm 14:1)

    Jesus gave no concessions when he said, “He that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16)

    And he got even more personal when he suggested that unbelievers should have a millstone tied around their neck and they should be drowned in the ocean (Matthew 18:6)

    If the proselytizers don’t know about these cruel details then they shouldn’t be trying to convert people into their religion. And if they do know about the cruel details then they should not be surprised when a nice little atheist like me tells them to go away and take a long hard look at themselves.

    • MJC

      Perhaps you should reread the content of those scriptures and take them to heart for yourself instead of using them as a weapon.

      • Mick

        Please explain

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          I can’t speak for MJC, but I understand your point Mick. People will take verses like that and gladly use them as an excuse to condemn people who do not believe like them, even members of other sub-sects of Christianity.

          That the same book that holds those statements also tells us that if we judge (condemn) others, don’t be surprised if the same is done to us. Its a good rule actually, something we, of all religious persuasions, tend to forget.

          • Mick

            Jesus condemns unbelievers to hellfire and damnation (or a watery grave) and then warns anyone within earshot:

            “Whoever is not with me is against me.” (Matthew 12:30)

            Not many Christians will be brave enough to ignore that veiled threat so I expect they will continue with their condemnation of the unbelievers.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Well that’s one way to take a passage, and twist it into a philosophy that fits for you.

            Fixating on condemning people who believe different than I is, to me, a waste of time and displays a lack of love.

          • Em

            “That’s one way to take a passage”? That is the only way to take that passage! One more reason I reject the Christian vision of Jesus and embrace the historical, non-deity, Gandhi-like Jesus.

    • Em

      The Psalms describe people who don’t believe in JUDAISM as those things. Not people who don’t believe in Christianity, which did not exist when the Psalms were written.

      • ogunsiron

        I love those anti-christians who blame the massacres of canaanites and the other atrocious passages in the Old Testament on christians but would never ever dare to blame those passages on members of another religion for which the old testatement is more important than to christianity.

        • Snooterpoot

          Did you even bother to read the blog? If you’ll read it with an open heart and an open mind maybe you will see how ridiculous your comment really is.

          • ogunsiron

            Mick, above, sounds like the type who blames christians for the old testament. I was adressing people like him/her/it.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Im with snotterpoot. Did you read the blog? because your comment not only makes no sense, but is not remotely related to the topic.

    • Lisa M. Alter

      Since I, as a Jew, do not believe either that the Jesus spoken of is a savior or even existed, I do not really care about the translation of a book purporting to have things he said in it. This is because I DON’T BELIEVE IN THEIR RELIGION. Therefore, I do not believe the things their religion says are true.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      You do realize that Jesus wasn’t a Christian.

  • William Pattison

    I simply wish those that want to convert me would attempt to do so through their actions, versus their words. Here in Asheville, we even have the delightful experience of listening to the “Hell and Brimstone” speeches through megaphones.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      I live just down the mountain from you in the upstate of SC. I’ve been in Christianity all my life. I have yet to understand how trying to scare people into following God is how people think its supposed to work. I’ve asked a few people in this part of the world, “What if you take hell out of the equation?” I got looked at as if I had suddenly sprouted an extra head.

      • Mike Stidham

        That’s a question I’m wanting to incorporate into sharing my faith. How would evangelism be different if one did not dwell on those who opt out of the message going to hell? What are the positive aspects of Christianity that need to be articulated, instead of the negatives that get used as fear tactics?

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          One of my favorite quotes in a growing list of favorites is “preach the gospel daily, if needed, use words.”

          1. what is the gospel? For me it is God loves me, and you and you and you and you…That’s it, not a single “but” in the mix,

          2. How do I preach that amazing message? by using the guideline of being utterly grateful that God loves me and you and you and you and you…and showing, as best I can (knowing that I often suck massively at it) that overwhelming outpouring of love with everyone I come into contact with, and those whom I may never know.

          3. Words are certainly NOT necessary

          That to me is the positive aspect of Christianity, the message and method of a certain former Jewish carpenter, who demonstrated that Gospel and the reality of that gospel during his brief tenure on this globe of blue and green

          • Lis

            Brilliant! But you usually are!

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Awww thanks!

          • Mike Stidham

            I have a T-shirt with that St. Francis quote that I like to wear.

      • Starfish

        In my case, it didn’t work. It flat out didn’t work. It actually scared me out of the church, to be honest. I grew up in a congregation that flirted with fundamentalism, and what pushed me over the edge as a very young adult was two things- 1. The point at which people were teaching their children to tell strangers that they were going to burn in hell for wearing their skirts too short-nothing like teaching fear tactics early and 2. My very being was an abomination. I had the audacity to find myself in the middle of questioning things about myself that suddenly put me on a straight path to hell. I couldn’t rectify it with the love that the church supposedly believed in. I couldn’t wrap my head around a deity that on one hand made me in His image and on the other how deeply flawed I must be to have my basic being a sin. So I left the church and found other religious paths that were much more fulfilling for me as an individual. Would I have made that choice had I found the more liberal congregations at an earlier age? I don’t know, because there actually are a lot things I still respect about the Christian faith. But I know that a good number of the people I know who left the church and now practice my faith have similar stories.

  • LisaLynn1961

    I honestly can’t understand why anyone would want to be a part of the whole born-again Christian thing. My father was an RCA minister. We were never taught to try to convert people. We lived in NYC. Most of the kids I knew were Catholic or Jewish, with a handful of others. It never would have occurred to me and my siblings that they were any different from us. We were taught that God is love. Apparently that doesn’t fill pews or offering plates, so our tiny church was always in the red and my father left the ministry rather than conform to this “new” twisted Christianity. I raised my kids with all religions, but thanks to the obnoxious and hateful behavior of the “Christians” they knew growing up here in FL, they are atheists now. In fact, all of my father’s grandchildren are atheists. My sister and I never call ourselves Christians – the label doesn’t fit. The whole thing is very sad. When I showed my mother that the RCA website now condemns homosexuality, she cried. Churches are businesses. They found a more profitable angle.

    • David Webb

      Sad, but true.

  • Opinionated Catholic

    From the one of the comments the author cites ?

    “I grew up Jewish in a Southern Baptist town, where I was constantly
    being told that I killed Christ, ate Christian babies, and was going to
    hell. So I learned early that many Christians have – or sure seem to
    have – no love in their hearts at all. ”

    Really? Before I became a Catholic I never heard an anti Jewish Sermon , or heard anyone talk about folks eating Jewish babies. Further I never heard any of my Southern Baptist family every utter such things. In fact from my Grandmothers generation that were actually around when something called Rural Southern Jewry was common they had great fondness for Jewish people. I think I was 20 before I heard my first anti Jewish rant and he was a rather intoxicated Episcopalian with other issues .

    I use this as a example of what sort of bothers me about those comments and the overall tone.

    This makes me think of what Ira Glass said recently that how Christians were portrayed seemed unfair since it did not reflect many of those that were around him .

    Now do Christians at times Judge. You bet and its a problem. On the other hand when I read from the person in Atlanta:

    “I have no problem whatsoever with God or Jesus – only Christians. It’s
    been my experience that most Christians are belligerent, disdainful and
    pushy.”

    Really? Most ?

    It does seems perhaps we have a problem. A negative experience is being portrayed upon a whole people. That is sort of one aspect of Judging that gets us into problems.

    I am not saying that Christians must be on guard against Christians but I am uncomfortable taking the above assertions as the Gospel against a whole group of people.

    • Aliza Worthington

      “Really? Before I became a Catholic I never head an anti Jewish Sermon , or heard anyone talk about folks eating Jewish babies. Further I never heard any of my Southern Baptist family every utter such things. ”

      I appreciate that you weren’t surrounded by such filth in your family, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the commenter to which you responded did experience that very attitude.

      I also spent a couple of years in my childhood in the South. We are Jewish. My mother recalls wearing a bandana as a schmata (head covering) while she was cleaning the house. A neighbor stopped by, and when my mother answered the door, the neighbor said the following:

      “I know why you’re wearing that on your head.”

      My mom: “Really? Why am I wearing it?”

      Neighbor: “To hide the scars.”

      My mom: “What scars?”

      Neighbor: “The scars where the horns were removed.”

      Bravo on not being a Catholic/Christian like our neighbor was, but sure as anything, they existed.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        the cheek of some people. That someone would say such a horrible thing to your mother.

      • Leslie Marbach

        What a horrible thing for someone to say! How did your mother respond?

      • Aliza Worthington

        I did ask my mother about that (since I was 2 or 3 when it happened) and she corrected me on the details. While we did live in Florida for a couple of years, that is not where this exchange occurred. It was before that when we lived in Brooklyn, NY. Apparently it happened like this:

        My parents were at an Amway convention in North Carolina. They were basically known as the “Jews from Brooklyn” as they were clearly the only ones. They knew this and were fine with it.

        My mother was wearing a scarf as a headband when a woman she didn’t know at the convention (who as I indicated above) knew who she was approached her and the conversation occurred as I relayed it above.

        My mother said she just about passed out from shock. Needed a forklift to raise her jaw from the floor. She was so flustered she doesn’t remember what she said, but she does remember removing the scarf to show her that she was, indeed, horn- and scar-free.

        The very interesting thing about this exchange is that, according to my mother, this woman SO CLEARLY meant no harm. In NO WAY was mean or out to make her feel uncomfortable. She was stating it as casually and kindly as she would say, “I know why you’re wearing that sweater – it’s cold out,” or “I know why you’re wearing those shoes – they match your purse.”

        Another interesting thing about the whole thing is that before the trip, when she saw the travel agent to book the reservation at this hotel, the agent kept trying to convince her to stay elsewhere. “Are you sure you want to stay there?” “Why don’t you try this other place, instead?” My mother kept saying, “No, that hotel because that’s where the convention is.” Finally she asked him why he was so hesitant to book her there, and that’s when he told her, “Well, they don’t like Jews there.”

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      I think it may depend on your circle of people whether or not such things were heard about Jewish people. I’ve heard loads of it.

      Some of the ugliest, most bigoted, deceitful, hateful people I’ve ever known personally have been Christians and adamant ones. While it is true that hardly speaks for all, sometimes it only takes one to turn you off the lot. Its sorta like eating a banana for the first time, never having seen one before, not knowing the proper way to eat the fruit, you start noshing on the peel. You’d likely never eat another.

      • opinionatedcatholic

        I totally agree with that. A few people can turn you off. However I am not sure how to correct that. We are always going to have a view bigoted hateful people as well as those that might not realize they come off that way and are a work in progress

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          The only answer I have that may offer a solution is found in a poem credited to Mother Theresa,

          “love them anyway”

          • Lausten North

            It’s called “The Paradoxical Commandments” written by Kent Keith. He speaks to the Mother Teresa connection at his website. Cool story.

        • RJohnson64

          When Muslim terrorists attacked us on 9/11, many Christians (and non-Christians) looked to leaders in that faith tradition to call out against those who attacked us. I still read many Christian columnists (Rod Dreher, Ross Douthat, Mark Shea) who say that the Islamic leaders are not doing enough to denounce those who kill in the name of their religion. This in spite of the fact that hundreds have gone on record very publicly against such violence.

          http://kurzman.unc.edu/islamic-statements-against-terrorism/

          While what is going on here is FAR, FAR from being terrorism, it is certainly casting your faith and the faith of many Christians in a bad light. You ask what you might do to correct that. Have you considered asking your priest to speak about it on Sunday, or perhaps speaking to your Bishop? Perhaps you could have your protestant friends speak to their pastors about this, and maybe have a coordinated call from your community pulpits for more “Christ-like” behavior from Christians in your community.

          Yes, I know that you probably do not know many, if any folks who do this. Most Muslims in the US do not know terrorists or those who preach violence. Yet we expect them to speak against it when it happens.

          Should Christians do any less? After all, this should be a fairly easy problem to address if Christians gently admonish each other in the Lord.

          • Snooterpoot

            You’ve struck a chord here, RJ. As I see it, the problem is not that Christianity is a faith based on vitriol, the problem is that the roar of hatred drowns out the voices of the humble, loving Christians.

            I think a lot of the hatred we see now is attributable to one person: Jerry Falwell. He made judging others fashionable, and he encouraged people who shared his point of view to shout it from the street corners. He’s the person who started the despicable “gay lifestyle” lie. He’s the person who created a political group called the “Moral Majority,” which was neither moral nor a majority.

            I think it’s likely that a lot of the self-identified Christians who criticize Muslims for not refuting terrorism loudly enough are the same ones who are turning people against Christianity by acting out their hatred.

            Nothing soothes the ego quite so much as ignorance.

          • RJohnson64

            “I think it’s likely that a lot of the self-identified Christians who criticize Muslims for not refuting terrorism loudly enough are the same ones who are turning people against Christianity by acting out their hatred.”

            And yet, are not all Christians “self-identified”? In my own instance back when I was in college I made a conscious decision to “accept Jesus as my savior” and “follow him in Baptism”. Thus was I not self-identifying as a Christian, just as I now self-identify as a Unitarian-Universalist?

            I mean religion is not like gender, skin color, height or eye color. Religion is ultimately a choice we all make, one that we can and often do change at times in our lives.

            So I fail to understand what you mean by “self-identified” in the context in which you use it?

          • Snooterpoot

            No, RJ, not all Christians are self-identified as such. Many of us have chosen not to identify as Christian simply because of the negativity, intolerance and piousness now associated with the word.

            I, and many others, identify as followers of Christ.

            In my opinion many of the self-identified Christians talk the talk, but when it comes to walking the walk – caring for the sick, the elderly, the children, those who are in prison, strangers – I think many of them fall very short of reflecting the life of Christ or the commandments he gave to us.

            And it seems to me that many self-identified Christians would probably identify Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, if given today, as liberal, socialist propaganda.

      • Em

        I think part of the issue is not the loud hateful people, but the dearth of loud loving ones. I have experienced direct discrimination from Christians. A few “good” Christians might be privately supportive, but the majority seem to think that the belligerent ones are too aggressive yet technically correct.

        I have interacted with Christians who were tolerant and accepting in a public way and it was a breath of fresh air simply because it is so rare.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      For what it’s worth, I didn’t simply publish the letters unvetted. It took me months to do it, but I made sure to contact and dialogue with the author of each and every one of the letters. I wanted to be sure they weren’t at all fanciful, or coming from any other place but sober, mature experience; I didn’t want anything that was essentially primarily sensational, or even exaggerated. So I did the work to make sure that I was dealing only with credible people relating their real and credible personal experiences. So in that sense I absolutely stand by every one of the letters, both here and in the book itself. (There were/are 50 such letters in all: I present five different ones at the conclusion of each of the 10 chapters of “I’m OK,” under the heading “Ouch.”)

      • opinionatedcatholic

        Thank you for responding. Again it might show again what the actions of the few can have on the many.

        I still don’t think that most Christians ( that at least try to practice their faith are for the most partunforgiving judgmental orges. Their life experiences and their own failing no doubt play a role in that.

        I guess my problem is this seems all too familar. Someone has a negative experience with someone of a certain race a couple of times and then a whole race is indicted. This dynamic works in many ways and with groups. I have seen some Christians do the same as to non belivers also.

        In reality the area where unbiblical judging often happens is a much more personal level and in my experience with friends and family where relationships become ruined and much hurt comes about.

        All that being said I am not saying that Christians need to be reminded again and again about Judging.

        However It just seems once we get out from behind our computers , our tvs, and starting talking and loving our neighbor they are a tad more complicated than a sterotype. I think that goes for Christians and yes even many forms of Christianity that could be labeled ” fundamentalist ”

        Finally I would urge folks to be a little humble. Churches like family are messy and in the end there should be fraternal loving correction and perhaps a little less ” judging “

    • Elizabeth

      The point isn’t that ALL Christians are this way–it’s just that, for these people, this has been their experience with Christians. Let’s face it: The Christians who ARE pushy, belligerent, intolerant, etc are usually the most outspoken, the loudest, the most publicized. Sure, many of us are good people who actually do love our neighbors and accept those of other beliefs, but even as a Catholic I’ve gotten crap from other Christians because I’m “the wrong kind” of Christian and I “worship saints.”

      Take a chill pill. These people were just responding honestly to a question, based on their personal experiences. As is said in just about every advertisement for anything, ever: Results may vary.

    • Theresa Otto

      I grew up as a Baptist. Every year in elementary school, the 5th graders were visited by evangelicals handing out little red New Testaments. My friend, Alice, was Jewish and refused her copy, saying it was against her religion. The man bent over her as she sat at her desk behind me, telling her she should read it herself (you don’t need to tell your parents) and then contact his church and they could discuss it. Alice was shunned and made fun of, called a Christ-killer. The students were cruel and I was a coward. I didn’t eat lunch with her as I usually did. No one did. I also didn’t sleep well that night. I kept seeing her stricken face and I tried to make it up to her the next day. I’m agnostic now, but I still have that Bible. I didn’t like what I learned then but it set me on my path to rejecting religion.

      • RJohnson64

        I have to wonder how many other students had the same problem as Alice, or the same life-outcome as you have experienced. I was once a Gideon, a member of the group that gives out those little Testaments at school (though in most cases no longer in the classrooms, thanks to numerous court orders). It was quite likely a Gideon who gave you that Testament, and who gave Alice such terrible counsel.

        I can only imagine the hue and cry that would rise if other faiths stepped forward to claim the privileges that Christians, such as those Gideon members, take for granted.

        • Em

          Every American Jew has had this experience repeatedly. It is so normal for us that we roll our eyes at it.

    • RJohnson64

      “Really? Before I became a Catholic I never heard an anti Jewish Sermon , or heard anyone talk about folks eating Jewish babies.”

      The concept of Jews eating babies comes from “blood libel”, a rather nasty lie perpetrated about Jews primarily in Europe, and mostly in the medieval period.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_libel

  • JenellYB

    Sadly ironic….so much of what “non-Christians” in such opportunities to express what they would say to Christians is EXACTLY the same thing that I, and many other Christians, would say to many other Christians, as well. I was raised in an evangelical family and community–Baptist– and perhaps also sadly ironic is that the very same things that for the most part, the very same things that troubled me from very early childhood, to the point of being irreconcilable, and resulting in my leaving the church for many years, proved to be exactly the same things that led to my having finally walked away for good, over a decade ago now, from any involvement in a church or organized Christianity, after having made a sincere and determined effort to return, resolve those issues, so as to find a place within the church, in my 40’s. All those things that had troubled me, all those inconsistencies and outright lies and deceptions and manipulations and what seemed to me most un-godly attitudes and behaviors that had been so evident to me even as a little child, far from resolving, ended up being sustained and validated through my by then mature, adult abilities to observe, analyze, and reason, as simply entirely as unacceptable to me as they ever when I was a child.
    I, as others here might express it, have also become a christian (and despite that auto-correct always trying to ‘correct’ that by capitalizing the ‘c’ I persist by always correcting the auto-correct!) that just cannot with any good feeling call myself a Christian any longer. What an irony, often a painful and bitter irony, that I cannot bring myself to bear upon myself the designation “Christian” for the reason that to me, there was too much that is “UN-Christian.”
    But honestly, the greatest part of those problems and issues have their root in people simply expressing and acting out what are their own very dysfunctional boorish, childish, and anti-social emotional and behavioral problems, and dressing them up in a cloak of religious sounding garbage with no sound biblical or theological grounding at all. And at some level within, whether they are acknowledging it even to themselves or not, they KNOW that is what they are doing. It is a way to offend and hurt and belittle and bully others, under a pretense of ‘rightness.’

    • Snooterpoot

      Many of us have stopped self-identifying as Christian. We do not want to be associated in any way whatsoever with the self-righteous hypocrites who have corrupted the very word.

      I identify as a follower of Christ. My daily quest is to emulate his love, kindness and sacrifice.

      I think it’s easy to “talk the talk,” like so many Pharisee-like Christians do today. Walking the walk is much more difficult, but also much more rewarding.

  • Aliza Worthington

    Oh, how I wish I had seen your Craigslist ad. I have a few tales to tell.

  • Rick the Dick

    I would ask if they’ve sold everything they own and given it to the poor, which is what Jesus requested of each and every one of them. Lead by example, not words.

    • David Webb

      I would answer, “Yes, I have.” There aren’t many folks who understand that someone would lose their lives so others can have a little bit. But then again, I read my Bible and actually try to follow Jesus. I may be the first to admit that I suck at it, but that’s how this is supposed to work. Jesus don’t want us to “be perfect” and then come to him. If that wad the case, then he died for nothing. I can’t tell you if you’re going to hell or not. That’s between you and God.

      • GuitarRebel1

        I agreed with your statement David, up until the part about not being able to tell him if he’s going to hell or not. That seemed to come from out of left field.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Yeah but what if hell is not what Jesus is about? What if it doesn’t exist or it is not the horror people have made it to be? What if hell is just death, the cessation of life and god is more concerned with us as living beings, right now, today?

        • Lars

          What is Jesus about if not, ultimately, salvation from hell? There is much more to Him than that, but hell seems to crop up pretty often in His teachings. I look for evidence that God is as concerned with our daily life as He is with our eternal life but am unable to find any not also attributable to something other than God (such as good or bad luck, timing, and preparation).

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Jesus mentions the grave, or death about 11 times, and then there is the curious fable about Lazurus. He talks about practical things much more often. Money was a common theme, how to treat one another was also a common one (forgiveness, generosity, compassion, joy, friendship etc.). The kingdom of God or heaven always seems to read in a present tense in his parables, as if God’s house was right here, right now, if only we’d stop to look.

            On the cross, it is recorded that one of the disciples look after Mary once he was gone. He was concerned with her life at that moment.

            I am of the mind that God is very concerned about this life for us. God was here for that brief tenure on earth to show us how to love.

          • Snooterpoot

            You are aware, aren’t you, that the books of the New Testament were not written until a few hundred years after the death of Christ?

            Do you know about the Council of Nicea, which was assembled by the Emperor Constantine to construct a biblical canon that supported his own theology? Did you know that ancient texts that did not support his political and theological ideals were summarily dismissed regardless of their origin and authenticity?

            The Bible is a product of human beings who, like all human beings, were fallible and who had an agenda.

            I think Jesus is about love, kindness, compassion and sacrifice. I think hell is an invention of human beings who use it to control others.

            I simply cannot worship any god who would create human beings only to then condemn them to eternal suffering. If that’s the god others need, fine. I just don’t want anyone telling me their god is the only god and my god is false.

            Therein, Lars, lies the root of the problem with Christian identity now. The loudest among you are typically the most hateful, bigoted, judgmental and haughty. I don’t see a god whose love is unconditional and whose mercy is infinite when the message is that God is vengeful and will only spare people eternal torment unless they believe exactly the same dogma that they are espousing.

            I am not inferring or implying that all Christians are alike. It’s just that the loudest among you leave the impression that hatred and rejection is the foundation of your dogma.

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            “the books of the New Testament were not written until a few hundred years after the death of Christ?”

            That’s not at all true. Most of the books of the NT are usually dated prior to 100 AD. 1 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians and Galatians were written in the mid to late 50’s. Mark around 70 AD, John around 90, etc. Assuming Jesus died in approximately 33 AD, it is likely that virtually none of the books of the NT were written later than even 100 years after his death.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Uhm. Jesus asked one person to sell everything and give it to the poor. The dude was probably not known for his generosity, or compassion, which is why the request was given. It isn’t a requirement for faith

      • GuitarRebel1

        Ahh, the word ‘probably’. In other words, it’s not what He said, it’s who He said it to? The rich man simply asked what he lacked and Jesus answered.

        In today’s day and time, do you think He would be referring to CEO’s and millionaires, or to those of us who have a closet full of clothes, nice house and car and food in the cabinets? I’d venture to say that if you’re reading this on your home computer, you’ve pretty much passed the litmus test for rich vs poor.

        The real reason this verse is ignored or interpreted differently is that it is a very inconvenient Bible passage for believers to comprehend.

        “Oh, that was then, this is now” is my favorite excuse, but whatever floats your boat to make you feel better about ignoring a request from Jesus.

        This is not a personal attack, and of course it’s not a ‘requirement for faith’, It is simply a request from the Savior.

        You may choose to ignore it or change what He said into what He ‘probably’ meant, but the statement is pretty clear, even for non-believers.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          So you are saying that only the destitute are qualified? Only the people who literally have nothing? Considering Jesus was friends with poor and wealthy suggested we share our possessions with anyone who asks, even, considering the times, demands them, I find the just give it all away to be faithful odd, and very impractical. I don’t think he was asking that rich dude to become destitute but to consider others as more valued than possessions

          • GuitarRebel1

            I’m sorry, I must have missed the verses where any of his disciples didn’t leave their wealth and possessions behind when they took up their Cross and followed Him.
            Yes, it is a VERY inconvenient Bible passage to comprehend.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Matthew was still a tax collector fishing remained an occupation for others. Joseph of arimathia only gave up a tomb. Later Paul kept making tents others made dye or were farmers or maintained estates or were soldiers or owned hostels or busineses or stood in government, like the times before and during Jesus. In fact many revered people in scripture were quite well off, possession wise..

          • GuitarRebel1

            I agree with you 100%, thus the conundrum. It is a flaw that even most believers can’t reconcile without much consternation and personal opinion.
            I realize that it’s easy to take a single Bible verse out of context, but unless something has totally changed in the original translation, the meaning of Jesus remarks to the rich man are either true, false, misquoted or misunderstood.
            Take your pick.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            We don’t even know for sure Jesus even had that conversation. As the gospels were written long after the Ascension, by people who were most likely not even there when the supposed event happened. We csn glean insight into the story, but im not going to give it as much weight as you seem to

          • 65snake

            Well, that goes for the entire book, which brings us right back to the request of non -christians for christians to stop behaving as their faith is the same as facts. LOL

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Exactly 65snake. I’ve read the bible. Its a very insightful book. I can see where God has had an impact in the stories there, and where the authors tried to convey their thoughts, feelings and experiences about God. There is a lot of great applicable things we can find useful, promote thought, as well as lessons that have us realize “well that’s not how to be a parent/leader/romantic partner/friend/neighbor”. Everyone has individual takeaways from the Bible, I think that is fine, and I think that is the beauty of this collection of insightful writings, the myriad of things we can learn from it, good and bad.

          • 65snake

            Actually, like so many others, reading the bible was a huge step away from xtianity for me. I think it’s an atrocious book, nearly entirely devoid of morality. I see no impact of any god, but it has certainly proven to be a great way to control the masses.

            I suppose it does have some value in being held up as guide of what not to do, but unfortunately many xtians take it as what they need to impose on everyone. This, when they can’t even agree among themselves.

            That said, I don’t care at all if someone wants to believe it’s related to god, and live their life by it. Just please, stop trying to make everyone else live by your interpretation of it! (that’s the collective “you”, not you personally, allegro63)

          • RJohnson64

            Yes…the historical context of a passage is quite important. I wish that many Christians would apply similar discernment to other passages that are taken out of context.

      • midnight

        MICAH 6;8

        I have said what is good for you to do. Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. That holds for Jews, Christians, Muslims and any other person who identifies him or herself as religious.

        St. Bernard of Clairvaux wrote: If a man call himself religious and does not bridle his tongue, his religion is in vain. I wish more aggressive evangelizers kept that in mind.

      • LyndaLBD

        But then there are the tv evangelicals..(yeah, Tammy Fay) and many other minister’s wives I’ve seen laden with diamonds and fancy clothes. Great big hairdos and expensive shoes. Cars that make a poor man cry because a hand will NOT be forthcoming with spare change…but rather, run by as fast as possible to splash that poor person on the corner. I’ve seen it, it has happened. And it is sad!

      • RJohnson64

        In Acts 4, however, the newly formed church did exactly that. They each sold what they had, gathered it together, and took care of everyone’s needs from that communal resource. Yes, it was rather socialist of them, but that was how they interpreted the teachings that were presented to them.

        You are correct that Jesus never commanded believers to do this. But I find it compelling that the first instance of believers gathering after Pentecost has them behaving this way. Should this not be an example for “real” Christians today?

      • Em

        When Christians don’t want to do something, then they interpret it as unique to the situation. When they want to do something, or force others to do it, they interpret it as a commandment even if there is conflicting evidence in the context.

  • squibby

    Firstly, bravo for using your project to increase understanding instead of bashing. I know it can be tempting! Secondly, all I have to say on the matter, is that when someone tells me that they’re a Christian I have to fight the urge to [sincerely] say I’m sorry. I honestly feel the need to apologize to those good people who have the misfortune to share a title with such hypocrites. That, my friends, is how you know a change is in order.

  • Doreen A Mannion

    I would comment, but I am too busy trying to listen……

  • disqus_0VoZoNQlDu

    To the people who are thinking, “Well, of course you think that way about Christians because you haven’t been to MY church. Everyone in my congregation is just as sweet as pie!” Of course they’re sweet. To YOU. You’re one of them. Introduce them to an atheist and watch how fast their attitude changes, and the kind of excuses they make to justify it.

    John, I’m sad to say I’ve read “I’m OK you’re not” and even you can’t restrain yourself from sniping at “Normies”. “On one side of our national cultural divide are the non-believing Normies, dancing and smoking and engaging in all kinds of behaviors we Christians wouldn’t be caught dead even thinking about…”

    You Christians need to let go of this notion that you are morally superior. Period. That is Job One. Until you can bring yourself to do that, this discussion will go nowhere.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      You cannot be seriously suggesting that in the book I present those words as representative of my own thoughts. You can’t be that desperate to make your point. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and simply assume that you read the book—or certainly the part of it containing the words from it you just quoted–so quickly that you simply failed to understand what you were reading.

      • disqus_0VoZoNQlDu

        Oh, I’m sure you meant it as a joke. The problem is, your target audience really does believe those things about non-Christians, and you make no attempt to dispel those notions. It’s as if you wrote a book ostensibly against misogyny and peppered it with stuff like, “hey, did you hear the one about the blonde who tried to dry her poodle in the microwave? HA HA HA” Do you think this is how you’re going to cajole Christians into treating other people with respect?

        It infuriates me that we live in a so-called “Christian” country that denies healthcare to the sick and food to the hungry. Christianity in this country has nothing to do with Jesus or anything he ever taught. Christians worship two things: money, and themselves.

        If any of this offends you, Christians, I suggest you take a good hard look at yourselves and your cohorts, and instead of getting defensive, how about proving me wrong? Do you have any idea how badly I wish you would crack open the new testament and actually take it seriously?

        (I tried to register with disqus last night and I have no idea why it gave me this username. My name is Cassie, and I suggest you poll your congregation for their opinions on atheists if you really think they’re such kind, loving people.)

        • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

          So … yeah. Again, if you’d write, “… and you make no attempt to dispel those notions,” then … I have no idea what book you read.

  • twinkie1cat

    This is the kind of thing that makes me so mad. Fundamentalists, masking themselves as evangelicals and misrepresenting the message of Jesus. Real Christians share the love of Christ through both their words and their deeds. There is a guy in my church who is a small businessman. He is not a pretentious person and sometimes hires people to work for him who have a hard time keeping a job. Yesterday we went to lunch after church. He was already paying for my meal as he occasionally does because he knows I am poor and can rarely afford to go out. He did something special, however. There was a homeless man who said he had recently gotten out of the hospital and was staying in a shelter sitting outside of the Buffet spare changing people. He was scrawny and almost toothless and wearing an oversized shirt. It was hard to say how old he was My friend invited this ragged man into the buffet restaurant to eat with us. He sat with us, talked at the table, sat next to my friend, and filled his plate 4 times before we left. Then my friend invited him to church for next week, explained where it was and told him that we would be having potluck so there would be free food. We gave him the time for the service. My friend never preached at him, never pounded the Bible. Never asked about his sins. He just fed the man. That is what real Christians do. Their life is their witness. Those other ones, they are just playing at Christianity. They misrepresent Jesus and hinder the Holy Spirit. Oh, by the way, my friend is gay. Been with his partner over 20 years.

    • Lausten North

      What you described is a good person. There are people like that from every civilized nation, culture and religion. If there is a version of Christianity that is not only correct, but also different than all those common sets of values, then you should be able to describe it in terms other than “Holy Spirit” or of a story of people doing good things. And if the “Holy Spirit” moves across cultures, then denominations shouldn’t matter, God and Allah should just be names of clubs like Rotary or Kiwanis and people could join and leave them as they wanted to without talk of apostasy or of learning a set of new rituals.

    • JP

      So, essentially, what you’re saying is that your friend offered this gentleman food on the condition that he would attend church, regardless of whether he had any interest in the message.

      I’m sorry, but that isn’t charity. That’s the same sales pitch they use for times shares.

      Perhaps if your friend had bought the gentleman lunch, maybe more than once, and sat and listened to him tell *his* life story, his hopes and dreams and sorrows, and made a connection that way, without ever mentioning religion, I might be impressed. But I see non-Christians do that all the time, without drawing attention to themselves or expecting anyone to admire them for it, so I fail to see why this Christian should be praised for what amounts to nothing more than salesmanship.

      • Snooterpoot

        An invitation to church is not placing a condition on the act of kindness and charity described in the comment. And you cannot know what the homeless man did, or did not, talk about when sharing a meal with strangers.

        You just passed the same kind of judgment on this anecdote as fundamentalist Christians pass on others.

    • Sven2547

      Right, OF COURSE they’re not true Scotsmen real Christians. Not like you.

    • CrimsonMistress

      It didn’t sound forced..he just invited him to church, he didn’t say you must go or you’ll burn….

  • Guest

    You need to know that not everyone that says they are Christians are Christians. A lot of the negative stuff that has been coming about from the so called Christians, aren’t really Christians, they’re organized Religion who claim to be Christians but Organized Religion hate people who are different in the name of Religion, which is a sin. Hate is a sin!!!

    • Joel

      I guarantee you that every person who claims to be Christian thinks he or she is following Christianity as it is meant to be followed, and that the others who follow a different form of Christianity are wrong or misguided. There are some 30,000 denominations of Christianity, and every single one of them thinks they are the true Christianity. So when someone tells me he or she is a Christian, I take that person at his or her word.

      • JenellYB

        Lol, thank you for reminding me of the 30,000 denominations of Christianity! I actually have a massive reference book stuck somewhere up in my attic that lists in boring detail the 30,000 different denominations and forms of Christianity in the world! Or at least, as they existed and someone counted them a few decades ago when it was published!

  • Jennifer Michelle Gellar

    You need to know that not everyone that says they are Christians are not Christians. A lot of the negative stuff that has been coming about from the so called Christians, aren’t really Christians, they’re organized Religion who claim to be Christians but Organized Religion hate people who are different in the name of Religion, which is a sin. Hate is a sin!!!

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      If someone says they are Christian, I take it as a true statement. Christianity is a big, diverse religion with a wide spectrum of beliefs, philosophies, cultures and lifestyles contained with in

      . That the religion also contains people who are hardly the most moral and ethical beings on the planet, and who’s versions of good ethics and morals vary, I’d say there is going be different approaches, loads of problems and a heaping pile of imperfection.

    • JenellYB

      Christianity is a religion. A religion, as any other, created by humans. If someone has met the qualifying criteria the religion they embrace and practice and claim to “be” of has established for membership, then they ARE a member of that religion, and have the legitimate right to call themselves one.

    • Sophia

      This is one of the favorite pastimes of evangelical Christians – deciding who is really a Christian, and who isn’t. Did you know there are around 40,000 different sects of Christianity around the world? One Jesus, and 40,000 religious institutions of interpretation. People who so differ in their understandings of what it means to be a Christian, that they have decided that they can no longer worship together. So-called Christians are calling themselves Christians. Are you saying they’re not? They probably think you’re not a Christian too.

  • Luke Gwaltney

    I love how the reaction to this is not self reflection, but dismissal of pushy christians as being unchristian.

    this is EXACTLY why these responses happened.

  • Kathy Isaac Hamm

    Maybe we as Christians have to go back to the very basic fact that we all, Christians and non-Christians, have no goodness in us at all, in and of ourselves. I know it’s not a popular concept, but if you’ve lived long enough and been honest enough with yourself, you know what kind of stuff happens in your heart, and honey, some of that stuff is pretty sad. Speaking personally now.

    ‘For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.”

    Both Christians and non-Christians can carry out ACTS of goodness, but the big question for ALL of us is what the motivation behind those acts of goodness is; purely unselfish, NOTHING-TO-GAIN love for someone or something else? rarely. More often, the desire to gain something for ourselves (the love of our family, friends, co-workers; a good reputation; a feeling of satisfaction with ourselves; respect; etc.) or wanting to avoid unpleasantness (speeding ticket, divorce, a screwed up kid or stressful workplace) is the motivation, if we are REALLY honest with ourselves.
    A much rarer motive is that of pure love for someone else, with no real benefit to ourselves. I challenge ALL of us to take just one day and examine your motives behind your “goodness”. Like myself, you may find that most of that “goodness” is inexorably intertwined with self-interest.

    So NOW when we approach those who don’t know Christ, we come to them on a level playing ground KNOWING that any REAL goodness in us (goodness without self-interest) is because of Christ living in us, helping us to love the Lord our God “with all our heart and mind and soul” and “love others as ourselves”.

    The greatest commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and others as yourself.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      No goodness in us at all? Then how we understand the concept, recognize appreciate, practice receive goodness if we don’t already possess it?

      I have never understood a theology that states that only being a Christ follower makes one good.

    • midnight

      That is totally insulting. People have the freedom to choose the good. Original sin is a dangerous view and should be shelved as soon as possible. We are judged good by God on the basis of acts of caring and not on the basis of the death of an innocent man 2,000 years ago. My acts are my own choice.

      • Em

        The problem, for Christians, is that Jesus is irrelevant if original sin does not exist. He did not fulfill the Jewish Messianic prophesies of saving Judaism from persecution and bringing a millennium of peace.

        • midnight

          Matthew 25:31 makes Jesus relevant with or without original sin. Jesus is saying that people have the capacity (nay, the responsibility) to do good. He wasn’t addressing Christians at that point – there were none — but speaking out of a Jewish sensibility. Making him messiah and savior later on obscures the awesome power of his message. It is, IMHO, kicking him upstairs to keep from the awful burden of what he required.

          One of my professors asked whether the cross was consolation or burden and I voted for burden. I see Jesus as showing how far love can and must go — that all of us, no matter what religion, cannot withhold anything or we are incapable of really loving.

          • Em

            So Jesus is relevant only if you believe in the New Testament?

    • Joel

      Do you see? – right there is one of the things that is most offputting about Christianity, this ridiculous notion that we are born depraved and that only by accepting some invisible being in the sky for which there is no evidence whatsoever can we overcome our horrible, putrid nature.

    • JenellYB

      Kathy, to begin with your very first sentence. When, where, how and why has it been established that what you posit is a “very basic FACT?”

    • Vasagi1

      And this is the foundation of Christianity’s monopoly on ethics: The idea that we are born evil, sinful creatures of shame, and that the only way to be washed clean is through Christ. That without the teachings of The Church, we as humans revert to our baseline level, which is darkness and sin.

      I thoroughly reject that idea. Nothing is more innocent and pure than a brand new baby. Clean slate – the most pure innocence that we can know is our first cry straight out of the womb. We are not born with evil, hatred, racism, discrimination, lust for power, or desire for genocide in our hearts or in our minds. Those are things that are TAUGHT to us by the world and the simple minded who refuse to look outside their box.

      I challenge you. Look at a brand new baby. Instead of seeing it for the wretched sinful creature that Christianity’s concept of Original Sin demands, look at it just ONE TIME as the pure clean slate that he or she truly is. At the potential for goodness that exists in a life as yet unrealized. Innocence and life have led me to question The Church. I hope the same things lead you to do the same.

    • Mary Lynne Schuster

      Yep.
      1. This “basic fact” of Christianity that we are inherently evil and have no good in us at all is much less loving than the “basic fact” of humanism: the value and agency of all human beings.
      2. After I lost/shed faith, I realized that this had been the biggest cost of faith. Feeling guilty and wrong for normal, human emotions. So you are saying that good acts don’t really count unless accompanied by no self interest, just “pure love”, whatever that is? I say there is no such thing. We are human, evolved to act in our self interest, which has also evolved to consider the well-being of others. As an example, when I stopped my car in a rainstorm and ran into the road to get an elderly lady I didn’t know who was wandering down the middle of the road with her walker and got her home, you could say I had ulterior motives. I see myself as a caring person, and it would have damaged my view of myself to just drive by.

    • M.S.

      I think one of the *many* things you are missing here is that you are still being condescending. You still feel like you need to “help” those who don’t believe. You are better. They are worse. Changing the motive doesn’t make up for the fact that you believe it is your duty to change who they are and what they believe. Do you understand how that is very off-putting?
      Yeah… I won’t even get into the claim “we have no goodness in us”. I see a lot of people have already taken issue with that very weird statement. Yikes. What a scary thought. I’m glad that in my faith (Catholicism) that is not something that is taught or believed. I’d have a hard time swallowing that my newborn baby was a sinful, dirty person. Scary to think people believe that.

    • mindy

      How very sad for you that you believe “we have no goodness in us.” Did it ever occur to you that it is exactly goodness that keeps you from doing some of those bad things you think about but don’t act upon? Of course we humans have self-preservation and positive social interactions as motivation. That’s normal. But the ability to think, “I’d like to tell her to shut her fat mouth, put on some deodorant and get out of my face!” and then NOT say those things to the really annoying, opinionated (and not in a good way) blabbermouth in the slow-moving DMV line who you’ll probably never see again, might just be because you’re a good person and know that would be mean. You can think to yourself that perhaps all her negativity is a product of difficulties and misfortune she is suffering and make it about her instead of you – because you’re a good person. You have good dwelling in you, because you’re human. You may not access it every minute of every day, but it’s there.

    • Sophia

      “I challenge ALL of us to take just one day and examine your motives behind your “goodness”.” And likewise, I challenge you to examine if there’s not some goodness in you behind what appears selfish or “sinful” as you call it. Perhaps you felt left out, or unappreciated. Perhaps you’re not “evil” at all, but just seeking to be loved. I find that understanding people allows me to look at them in love and draw closer to them in shared sympathy. Seeing them (and myself) as sinful and evil, ensures that both they and I will live up to that standard.

    • Em

      If Christ is the only source of real goodness, then you are saying that Christians all have real goodness and non-Christians all lack it. Welcome to being the Pharisee in the Good Samaritan story.

  • midnight

    I once horrified a Christian missionary by asking him an impertinent question when he approached me, someone he’d never met before, whether I accepted Jesus as my lord and master. He backed off, ashen-faced. I would expect he was more careful when contemplating spiritual rape next time.

    • DannyJane

      What did you ask him, Midnight. I’d like to have it in my repertoire for the next time I’m verbally assaulted by someone who thinks HIS religion gives him the right to impose on mine.

    • JenellYB

      Yes, me too! What as it you asked him?

  • Lars

    There is a classic Catch-22 going on here – how do you fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission without making people understand, lovingly or otherwise, they are hopelessly lost and destined for eternal torment (by a God who loves them, naturally)? Jesus was unequivocal about being ‘the only way’ as well as the consequences for anyone believing differently.

    Growing up an evangelical that spent many weekends witnessing on street corners and passing out tracts door-to-door, I never considered NOT believing this was an option until many, many years later. There are many ways to refocus or ‘spin’ the message, but unless I’m just not getting it, the essential message of Christianity distills to: Believe or else. And the else part is never good.

    • Craig Peters

      The disconnect, I believe, occurs in that you believe eternal torment as a *fact* and not an element of faith. Facts are facts; someone may choose to disbelieve that the Earth is round, but that doesn’t keep it from being a fact. Faith can never be proven as fact; that’s why it’s faith. Someone who regards their own faith as fact can never get to a place that acknowledges that someone else’s faith (which may or may *not* call for eternal torment) is equally as valid as their own.

      • Lars

        I’m with you, Craig, but faith, of all kinds – in God, in love – insists that you believe and live as if certain elements of that faith ARE facts! And while the fact of the earth being round was true long before we believed it, and, unless you were a sailor, had little chance of directly impacting you, believing in God affects your every action and interaction on some level. The nature of Christian faith, and monotheism in general, is such that if you don’t believe it as fact, then maybe you don’t really believe it all and you won’t be as motivated by it do all kinds of awesome and/or crazy things. This has been my experience anyway.

        • Craig Peters

          Good point, Lars. But that insistence — that you believe and live as if certain elements of that faith *are* facts — is something you can only do for yourself. You can’t — and, I would submit, shouldn’t — make that decision or insist that’s the case for anyone else. The message that evangelicals deliver is, essentially: “This is fact and you’re doomed to Hell for all eternity if you don’t believe!” The message that ought to be delivered, imho, is: “This is a faith that you ought to consider and if, upon thoughtful consideration, you don’t feel it’s right for you, well, then, we just need to agree to disagree.” However, too often hardcore fundamentalism takes over, and the result is something like: “If you don’t believe in my faith, I will hound you until the End of Days until you do, because it’s my job to save your soul.” It doesn’t take too much online research to find families that have (sadly) been ripped to shreds as a result of such intolerance for others who choose a different faith.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      OK, here is what I glean from your post.

      1. I am going to try to get you to see things my way whether you disagree with my tone, my methods or my purpose or not.

      2 I have given myself permission to be a complete ass about “preaching the gospel” the gospel of which is “believe this way of else”

      3 I look at each person as future charcoal burning merrily in a fantastical realm if they believe other than I.

      4. God loves people so much, yet this deity has no qualms in discarding them, and then saying its the person’s own fault.

      And people wonder why such a message hasn’t filled church less to the rafters. It is why I don’t “witness” reject hell and the so called “great commission

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        I dont mean that you personally give of those vibes. It is how many perceive that message. I’ve known a few street preachers tract hander letters, heck, living here they are not rare. All perfectly normal people, some I’m likely related to.

        I just disagree with the message and the methods so often used in evangelical circles

        • Lars

          No problem, allegro, because that’s actually pretty close! But that also illustrates what I mean by ‘spin’. I suspect there are more than a few churches and their congregants that feel that way. One could say Jesus was being, well, less than loving on any number of occasions. Matthew 24 comes to mind. The only real exception I have is that many churches ARE being filled to the rafters as evidenced by the proliferation of megachurches and their quasi-celebrity pastors. My parent’s church just added a fourth satellite campus – live music, closed-circuit preaching – and boasts a membership of 33,000. They published a voting guide in the last election and are staunch defenders of DOMA and Prop 8. Dr. Robert Jeffress just built a massive, 10,000+ member church in downtown Dallas catering to the brimstone crowd. These kinds of churches are the Walmarts of Christianity, squeezing out the mom-and-pop chapels who simply can’t compete with the glitz. Not everyone cares for that kind of experience, or the theologies within, and perhaps that accounts for some of losses evangelicalism is in the midst of.

    • Indiri

      The part I never understood was how Jesus/God said that you had to believe in Him or go to hell forever. He loves you with an unending love but He will torture you because those are the rules that *He created* and since He is omnipotent He could change those rules but He won’t. I’m going to torture you for eternity because I love you? Seriously? I don’t know, it always made it sound like a battered-spouse scenario.

      • Lars

        Indiri, it certainly calls into question how “free” free will really is! The irony is that I might be tempted if this were a rewards-based and/or deeds-based belief only (though as motivations go, are those really any more admirable than simply trying to avoid hell?). That a Last Rites-receiving mafioso gets in, but neither Gandhi nor my philanthropic atheist neighbor will, seems like a serious design flaw.

        • CrimsonMistress

          Exactly..imagine Gandhi/your neighbor in Hell while Jimmy the weasel makes it due to Last Rites..

    • Sophia

      The Great Commission (Go out and make disciples of all nations) was one SMALL PART of the new testament. A much greater part is that we love one another. I think much of the error in witnessing is on the constant over-emphasis.

      As for Jesus being “the only way”, I suggest that you compare the gospel of John with the other three. John was very interested in proving that Jesus was the only way to heaven. There are many other ways to heaven offered from Jesus though – like, become like a child, give away everything that you have to the poor and follow me, and go to the father. People ignore these in favor of the verses which say Jesus is the only way. There are many contradictions. So I leave the decision about who gets to go to heaven up to God. The Bible says it is his decision anyway.

      • Lars

        Sophia, I agree! Unfortunately, the totality of Christianity isn’t based on percentages or emphases. Unless John 14:6 (Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”) is excised or redacted, it needs to be part of the equation. Just as much as Luke 12:5 (“Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell”). My main beef is that, when I die, I just want to be dead (which is my expectation) and I have a hard time understanding why my evangelical friends and family won’t give me that! I understand that there are interpretations that might get me to heaven anyway, or grant me my annihilation, but they are out of the mainstream and my family’s not buying it. Plus those pesky contradictions don’t exactly inspire confidence that the truth is not only out there, but it’s discoverable.

        • Sophia

          I read the New Testament years later after I no longer considered myself an evangelical christian, and I was amazed by how much of the Bible christians leave out, knowingly or otherwise. I think most of what we focus on as christians is simply cultural (what’s popular at the time). For instance, not many christian churches today emphasize speaking in tongues or snake handling, but it is clearly a part of the early church. We cut that out. Why not the verses about Jesus being the only way? :)

          I think when we’re around other people who believe the same things that we do, we are buoyed by their beliefs and become convinced that a thought (about the unknowable future) is somehow true. It’s absurd. Not one person – NOT ONE – has died and come back to tell of the other side. So in the end, it’s all a fantasy game, a wish list. They can act like they know, but they do not. I am happy enough to find out when I get there. A billion people have gone before me (as “Thanatopsis” says) through that gate. I think I’ll be ok.

          http://www.bartleby.com/102/16.html

          • Rexreg

            “Why not [cut out] the verses about Jesus being the only way?”
            Cutting out those verses cuts from underneath many Christians a large portion of what they believe…I don’t see this happening. Their belief makes Christianity an exclusive club. It allows its members to feel good about themselves & to look down on others, ie. takes advantage of poor self-esteem & desire to belong to something exclusive.

          • Sophia

            Yes, I agree! And I don’t see it happening either. :( And yet, Jesus is so much more than the “only way to heaven”. It is his example of love that is most compelling, not his “son of Godness” or resurrection imho. I also think that most of the ugliness of being attacked by evangelical christians goes away when you simply drop this part of it.

    • Em

      Um, I don’t feel hopelessly lost and any God who would condemn me to eternal torment for being as He made me is not worth believing in. I have a wonderful life; I am very happy; I am married and have children and a great career. I volunteer, I try to be as loving and helpful to others as I can be.

      When you come in and tell me that my life is broken, it is not really believable. I am happy with the way God made me and He is happy with it as well. Your stories of eternal torment sound like threats and blackmail to me. Which was the point of this article, no?

      • Lars

        Em, we’re buds on this matter! I have said the exact same thing in this post as well as others! Call it a threat, blackmail, maybe even Stockholm syndrome, but the punishment aspect trumps the reward for me because it’s so incredibly extreme – what can possibly justify “forever”, whether that forever is pure heaven or pure hell??

    • Sophia

      “How do you fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission without making people understand, lovingly or otherwise, they are hopelessly lost and destined for eternal torment?” My simple response to this is, it’s difficult. And if that is the CENTRAL message of what it means to be a christian for some people (as evidenced by those who call themselves “evangelicals”) then those christians will continue to torment non-christians with the “good news”.

      Recently though, I have seen ways to interpret the gospel without believing the gospel of eternal damnation. Check out Rob Bell’s book, “Love Wins” https://www.robbell.com/lovewins/ I think he has an interesting take on it.

      • Lars

        “Love Wins” caused so much pre-release furor in evangelical circles that I HAD to buy it for that reason alone (and thought he made a good case, too)! Another book along these lines that I enjoyed was “If Grace Is True” by the Quakers Philip Gulley and James Mulholland.

        I love what theologians like Bell and Enns are doing, dragging Evangelicalism kicking and screaming into the 21st century and I find the back and forth between the inerrantists and the contextualists as entertaining as it is educational. Just not, so far, convincing enough to abandon my agnosticism. It still seems to me that Salvation (from hell) is THE central message in Christianity, and the only means by which we can have a relationship with God in our fallen state. If you reject that premise, there’s not a lot left to embrace that you can’t get elsewhere, including plain old common sense (such as treating others the way you want to be treated, don’t murder, don’t steal, etc.).

  • Joel

    As a gay atheist who was raised in the Jewish faith, I am a triply tempting target for well-meaning Christians who are hell-bent, if you’ll pardon the expression, on saving my soul. They press the Bible on me, and say “you really ought to read this,” as if I’d never seen the book before. I’ve read the Bible, cover to cover, and it is one of the most appalling, mean-spirited books I’ve ever read. Do these people honestly think I have never thought about these issues. I’ve taken college courses on the subject, and considered all aspects of religion, and Christianity, thoroughly. Christians can’t seem to comprehend that reasonable people can possibly examine all the facts and the various arguments and come to a different conclusion. In fact, a great many of the Christians I’ve encountered seem to have never examined their own faith in any depth at all, because their arguments are so often totally feeble.

    • Craig Peters

      the ratio of “I talk about it” to “I’ve read it” vis a vis the Bible may be more lopsided than for any other book in human history

    • Snooterpoot

      I think a faith that cannot withstand scrutiny and reflection is a faith that is not worth having.

      • Joel

        No faith is worth having. Faith is just the excuse that people give when they cannot justify their beliefs with reason, logic, and evidence.

        • Snooterpoot

          Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinions, Joel, however, I find your opinion stated here to be equally as obnoxious as the evangelical Christians’ proselytizing.

          I don’t see a need for anyone to “justify their beliefs” to anyone else, your apparent demand notwithstanding. As long as others do not try to coerce you into complying with their beliefs I don’t see how you are effected one way or another.

          • Joel

            I didn’t ask you to justify your faith. I “demanded” nothing at all. You can have any opinion you want. But I am equally entitled to mine. And you are the one who brought faith into the discussion.

          • Snooterpoot

            Defensive much?

            This discussion is about faith. Your answer to my comment was rude and obnoxious. It seems to me that you could find a way to state your opinion without insulting the person to whom you are replying. And I did find your comment about faith requiring justification as at least an inferred demand.

            Moreover, faith is not just about religion. Do you vote in elections? If so, isn’t the vote you cast based on faith that the candidate you select will fulfill campaign promises and conduct him/herself in office accordingly?

          • Joel

            I’m sorry that you found my answer to be rude, but it was not intended to be so. I was merely stating my opinion on what even you admit is a disccussion about faith. If you find it rude to hear opinions that are contrary to yours, that is your problem, not mine.

          • Joel

            Furthermore, this whole attack of yours on my opinion is precisely why nonreligious people get so sick and tired of religious people’s behavior, which is the whole point of this thread. Whenever a theist’s views are challenged, they immediately go into attack mode, rather than discussing the merits of the challenge.

          • Snooterpoot

            Really? Seems to me you are the one who started the “attack mode,” Joel.

            You posted a comment that I thought was rude and demeaning, and now you’re playing the victim, just like some Christians these days claim to be victims when someone dares to challenge their methods, behaviors, dogma, etc.

            Your challenge had no merit. Your comment was obnoxious and rude. I’m sorry if you’re not adult enough to accept criticism when you so richly deserve it.

            Now, slam away. I’m done with you.

          • Snooterpoot

            You hardly just stated an opinion that is contrary to mine. I am glad to read/hear and respond to respectful, civil discourse. Apparently you choose to be obnoxious. That, Joel, is your problem, not mine.

          • Joel

            I continue to fail to see how stating an opinion is obnoxious. You are just throwing hissy fits because I don’t agree with you. Get over it.

  • http://www.socialnerdia.com/ Esteban Contreras

    Christianity is in trouble when it is Cultural, not Spiritual; Opinionated, not Actionable; Superficial, not Meaningful; Condemning, not Life-giving. It’s sad that instead of doing as Jesus would, we often do the opposite and raise our Christian flags thinking we are doing the right thing.

  • sheila0405

    I’m a Catholic, but I was raised a fundamentalist. I converted to Catholicism and instantly experienced ire and rejection from certain fundies because they believe the Catholic church is a man made cult, and its members are on their way to hell. Having been on the receiving end of this, I can really empathize with all of these comments. I am sad and embarrassed that I was once a “soul winner”. In one church I attended, people stood up to “give testimony” about how many souls they had won. Catholicism states that God is at work in every religion, and that the ultimate destiny of souls in other religions are entrusted to God’s mercy and love. We never say anyone is bound for hell, or is in hell, because we know that God loves each person without any strings attached, and that He honors all who seek Him with a sincere heart. I wish more Christians would pay attention to their own souls, and simply demonstrate the love of God in Christ. As one of your respondents observed: if Christianity is the “right” religion, and is attractive to others, then those others will convert. You can’t browbeat a person over the head and expect him to see Jesus.

    • Sophia

      I also grew up fundamentalist in a Baptist mega-church. I too was taught that Catholics were going to hell because they worshiped mary and prayed to the saints. I can’t tell you how many times I heard stories about people being saved that grew up Catholic. I would sometimes interject, Catholics are Christians too, you know. To which I would receive an explanation of how they weren’t really Christians… this is the obsession with the evangelical fundamentalist church. who is really a Christian and who isn’t.

  • Louisa Dyer

    i love what jesus taught and teach it to all my clients, usually in a non religious way, because most of them are so turned off by the negative messages they’ve gotten from so-called Christians. I avoid Christians whenever possible because so many of them are narrow minded, judgmental and sanctimonious. Loud mouthed, hateful or simply self-righteous Christians are the reason so many have turned away from Christianity.

  • LyndaLBD

    I read all the views listed above…and unfortunately they are true and more. I answered the door two weeks ago, to find a man and his son waiting….and I asked the man if he could read…yes, he could read….and if so, he needed to read my sign which says: “No Soliciting, No Solicitamos, Solicitamos Prohibidos. No School Reps, No Church Reps, No Political Reps, No Sales. Solicitamos Prohibidos.” My husband works at home and he has a right to privacy and the ability to work without being disturbed. The man’s statement was…”Oh we aren’t soliciting”.

    Yes, they are, they are trying to sell me their brand of faith and saying my brand of faith isn’t good enough. I have a Cross of ST Bridget on my door. Some months back, I got a couple women at the door, who also told me after seeing my Cross of St Bridget, that I was going to hell. HELLO? My Cross on the door isn’t good enough, I’m still going to hell. So now…I just call them Christianistas. I’m fed up with them and I used to be a Christian. I’m glad I didn’t act like this.

  • RavynG

    I would like to tell my christian friends that I was right there where they are and it did not work for me. I had faith, I did it all the way they claim is right, I was the most sincere christian possible and I was rejected by their deity and their community. So where else am I supposed to go? I am still the same person who is a sincere, kind, loving, giving human, but minus the religion to limit me.

  • Kurt Hennig

    After 30 traumatic and devastating years in the Jehovah’s Witness cult where I experienced and witnessed crime and abuse that left me repeatedly homeless and destitute and as a disabled person myself which made me a prime victim of abuse in that organization? I have learned never to go to any organization or person no matter what they tell you or what they claim to offer or how they may package it!
    Also, never be afraid to go to the authorities or speak up! Even if they don’t do anything? You are being counted and helping them take an assessment of the big picture…they have to know when enough people speak up they will do something!
    The FBI and the Australian Government and others are doing something now:
    http://www.JWsurvey.org
    http://www.JWleaks.org
    http://www.JWfacts.com

  • Michael ransom

    It kills me that most Christians can’t conceive that there are other religions, and that some folks don’t believe in only one God.

  • Shana

    Does your book talk at all about the various things that the religious right has attempted to legislate (abortion restrictions, DOMA, creationism in science classes)? As someone who grew up in an extremely liberal and diverse area (and is grateful for it), hearing about these things on the news was my first real exposure to Christianity; I just didn’t know many Christians growing up, and the ones I did know often didn’t talk about it much. I think these attempts, in addition to the personal stories others have shared, have done a huge amount of damage to Christianity’s reputation in recent years, especially for people like me who didn’t have much exposure to Christianity growing up.

  • Luna Emrys

    I’ve found that it’s simply not worth the brain damage to engage with Christians attempting to convert me, so I just extricate myself from the
    conversation as quickly as possible with no explanation given, because
    ultimately, I’m resigned to the fact that they have no real interest in learning or
    even attempting to understand anything about my beliefs, and they have
    no intention, when it’s all said and done, of being tolerant of my
    spirituality or my chosen path; nor do I have any interest in indulging their reckless conversion compulsion. No matter what you say to them or how
    you try to reason with them, you’ll still be a lowly, pathetic sinner whose
    soul is damned for all-time and remains in need of saving. That’s the
    problem with monotheistic dogma: one way, one god, one answer – there is
    no breathing room for anyone/anything else, and nothing you say in the
    language of tolerance or do in the way of good will will ever convince
    them otherwise, so I’ve found it’s useless to even try. Basically, I
    avoid rabid Christians like the plague. I wish them no ill will and do not
    begrudge them their spiritual path, but I absolutely refuse to accept
    the ill will and disregard they undoubtedly aim at me and I refuse to have my
    spiritual path mocked and belittled by those blinded by willful
    ignorance and repulsive arrogance.

    • sueb262

      Luna, thank you for distinguishing between (as you so eloquently phrased them) “rabid Christians” and, by implication, “normal-person-type” Christians. There is a difference, as you seem to have noticed.

  • AVA

    I think there’s an inherent bias here. Those who are over-zealous about ANY belief, whether it’s religious or dietary or political, are going to be the ones out pushing their ideas on people. They don’t necessarily represent the majority of people who quietly practice those beliefs. Likewise, those with the best and worst experiences about ANYTHING, whether it’s Christians or restaurants or books, are the most likely to share their feedback — people with “meh” ratings of anything are less likely to share those ratings. So this is a snapshot of the extreme reactions to extreme Christians. I wholeheartedly agree it’s a perception that Christians need to address, but I think it’s more an issue of awareness than an issue of overcoming actual pervasive hatred among the full Christian community.

    • Mary Lynne Schuster

      Ava – I have two questions about this:
      1. The stories in these comments and the article say over and over how it is everyone in the Boy Scout troop, or everyone in the office, or everyone in the church, who is intolerant and hateful. There are not stories of how a few people were hateful and others stepped forward and said it was wrong. I agree it is not the full Christian community – It would be surprising among the Unitarians or UCC or Lutherans. But among the evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, how can we not think it is the majority who believe this way?
      2. If it is, as you say, only a minority, what good does that do if the rest of you stay silent? When we are are treated like this and not one Christian in the group steps forward and says “This is not how Jesus would act,” so what if it’s only perception, if the majority of more moderate and tolerant Christians let the extremists define Christianity?

  • DannyJane

    As the only Jewish/Pagan in a government job, I was surrounded by Christians of all types. From the first day they came after me. I found tracts on my desk, I was told to take my Halloween decorations down, my own beliefs were denied, decried and denounced. It went on for years even after I asked management to tell them to stop. When they finally realized I was convert-proof they turned around and began shunning me. Suddenly I was no longer welcome on holiday planning committees or other office events. Suddenly nobody bothered to find out if I’d been informed of changes in office policies. Groups went to lunch and I was never invited. Weeks would go by without a single person speaking to me.
    I ignored all of it and remained friendly to everyone. I did as many good deeds as I could. It took a good fifteen years, before the shunning began to wear off and I was again treated as a human being.
    I wish this had been an isolated incident, but it is only a representative story of my lifelong experience with evangelicals. It leaves me asking, for a bunch of people claiming to follow a Jewish man who preached peace, love and tolerance–why are they so full of self righteousness and hate?

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      That you had to endure that is so sad DannyJane, and wrong on so many levels. I am glad that people eventually started treating you better, but fifteen years is too damned long.

    • sueb262

      They were probably something more like “Rushians” than “Christians”.

    • GraceAlexander

      My son’s Boy Scout Troop had a lovely panic month when they realized I had a lesbian partner AND my son refused to complete the “God” portion of his badge-work, telling them that at age 10 he didn’t feel competent to choose a religion yet or even to verify that a god existed (Yep, I’m an atheist, but I’ve tried to let my children find their own path!)

      They all gave me the hairy eyeball and whenever I offered to help with anything jumped in fast with a “We’ve got it covered!” I was basically shunted to the fringe, and my son was watched carefully as he interacted with the other boys.

      The night after the rain gutter regatta and feast, everyone hightailed it out of there leaving one of the den leaders to do ALL the washing up alone. I walked into the kitchen and situated myself at the sink next to him, and we did every dish and wiped down every table and packed all the remaining food away. At first he wasn’t talking to me, but I asked him about his job hunt, and his family, and soon we were chatting companionably.

      When we were walking out of the building, he turned to me and said “You know, I find it telling that YOU are the ONLY person who stayed to help me tonight. I really appreciate it, and it’s opened my eyes to a few things. Thank you.”

      We ended up leaving the Troop later that year, because sadly he seemed to be the only one to realize that being a bisexual atheist didn’t mean I had no morals. I will always remember that night, though, because he was willing to stop and re-evaluate his preconceptions.

      • DannyJane

        I hear you, Grace. I retired from my government job a year ago after 20 years of federal service in that office and 26 years overall. After 15 years of being shunned and ignored and five years of being barely tolerated, only in my last few months there did a tiny handful of my co-workers tell me (VERY privately) they thought I was a better Christian than most of the Christians they knew.
        Somewhat gratifying but did not make up for all the past hurt.

    • Esther S.

      I don’t know if that’s helpful at all, but as a represantative of the Christian community I would like to sincerely appologize to you for having been treated thus by Christians. For me personally there is hardly any people group in the world that I love AS MUCH as I love Jewish people. Even though I have deviating beliefs (you know, Jesus and all 😉 ) I still highly respect and value Jewish culture and faith. Again, I’m very sorry that you had to meet those kind of Christians and I hope you’ll meet some others who’ll love you instead :)

      • DannyJane

        Esther, I know they’re out there, it’s just that they are so badly outnumbered–or at least outshouted–by the other ones. It’s especially prevalent in the South, but I’ve encountered it in the North as well. Can someone tell me why so many of you guys think it’s okay to get into a stranger’s face and start asking them personal questions–and then berating them if the answers aren’t up to spec?
        If I sound angry it’s because the story goes far beyond my experience on the job. I’ve had 60 years of haranguing, intruding, coercing, condemning, shunning, insulting, pushing, shoving, hitting, kicking, and the occasional death threat to make me that way.

      • Em

        Esther, I know there are good Christians. Most of them are lovely people and I am actually married to one. But your religion is being represented by the maybe 1/3 who actively harass others. Having a decent sized minority treat others this way ensures that most non-Christians have suffered trauma at the hands of Christians. And it is the most religious Christians who behave so poorly, which makes the rest of us seriously question your theology.

    • Guest

      iio

    • Sophia

      This is the same experience that I have had in my family. I find myself using Jesus terms around them because I want/crave to be accepted and loved by them. But I will not/cannot change what I believe about God, any more than they can. I don’t know why this is so hard to understand. And I don’t know why it matters so much – the thoughts in your mind about God. It’s like they want to control your mind…

  • BrotherRog

    Thank you for sharing those needed mirrors for us to gaze into John!

    A big part of why many are leaving the Church is because they aren’t aware of progressive Christianity or progressive Christian congregations. Granted, this isn’t the only reason – but it’s tragic that so many folks aren’t aware that there is a form of the faith that many of them would actually like a lot.

    Whether or not there is a literal heaven, we are Christians not for the sake of
    some future reward/glory, but rather for the sake of living faithfully to Jesus and his Way here and now — for the sake of experiencing and partaking in salvation/wholeness and the Kingdom of God here and now. Faith isn’t fire insurance to avoid going to “hell.” We seek to follow the religion *of* Jesus not the religion *about* him.

    Progressive Christians believe that Jesus *is* “the way, the truth, and the life,” and we believe that all who follow Jesus’ teaching, Way, and example, by whatever name, and even if they’ve never even hard of Jesus, are fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and his Way.

    That said, we’re rather enamored by the uniqueness of the Jesus story and we
    invite others to join us in sharing that specific journey — even if we feel no dire need to convert them. Peace.

    It is this non-exclusive approach to our faith that many young adults find
    compelling. So we’re evangelistic even as we’re not. ; )

    Ultimately, let’s just be as faithful as we can and not worry about “the Church dying.” We have no fear of death for we follow a savior who gave it all up for the sake of others. Indeed, if we do anything to “attract” people out of desperation on our part, it’ll be fruitless. It’s like dating someone who is insecure and anxious — not attractive. Let’s just boldly be who were are — and maybe even more so — yes, more so.

    Roger Wolsey, author, “Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity”

    • ravnsdaughter

      When you say that you’re seeking to follow the religion “of” Jesus, do you mean the same religion he practiced? Because he was a Jew.

      This reminds me of my sister trying to tell me a few years ago that as a member of the Nazarene church, she was practicing the exact same religion Jesus did, because he was Jesus of Nazareth. No amount of discussion could convince her otherwise, before my mother banned religion talk at the dinner table.

      • AtalantaBethulia

        Re: “When you say that you’re seeking to follow the religion “of” Jesus, do you mean the same religion he practiced?”

        Perhaps Roger will provide his perspective on this.

        I hazard a guess that he is distinguishing between Christianity as a faith about Jesus – which tends to be creedal and based on “proper” orthodoxy – vs. practicing the teachings of Jesus or following the way of Jesus – which tends to be less creedal and far more interested in orthopraxy: living out in our daily lives what Jesus taught.

      • BrotherRog

        Exactly what AtlantaBethulia said. : )

    • JD

      Do you believe folks can live the ‘way’ without having to believe in Jesus?

      • BrotherRog

        Yes, I tried to convey that. However, it’s easier to live this way if one believes in God and in what God was doing through Jesus — and especially if one is involved in a local congregation which affords us with opportunities to be reminded of the Way, to practice the Way (forgiving, unconditional loving, compassion, leading in bold but gentle way, mutual accountability, reconciliation, restorative justice, etc), and to put our faith in action in organized tangible ways in the community.

  • Guest

    If Jesus was really gentle to everyone and preached a message that offends no one, then why was he killed? In the Gospel of John, the Word of God was made flesh and the world was made by him, but did not receive him as their own. Jesus was killed by his own people — the Jews because he preaches a message that no one wants to hear.

    The world often accuses Christians for being judgmental and non-tolerant. Hello? It is the world that’s being judgmental of Christians, after all, they are being persecuted in some countries. How’s that for tolerance? What is the real meaning of a Christian? It is to follow Jesus’ teachings even if that means offending some people.

    All too often, the world wants Christians to preach the world’s version of Jesus, not the real Jesus of the Bible. This is plainly wrong. There are just some principles that no born-again Christian should ever to bend and please the world for their sake.

    • RJohnson64

      “The world often accuses Christians for being judgmental and non-tolerant. Hello? It is the world that’s being judgmental of Christians, after all, they are being persecuted in some countries. How’s that for tolerance? What is the real meaning of a Christian? It is to follow Jesus’ teachings even if that means offending some people.”

      It is a tragedy that Christians are suffering persecution in other nations, and the church here in the US is right to be concerned about such matters, and to bring them to the attention of the rest of our people in hopes that some positive change can come about.

      However, I think it is a tad disingenuous to compare being told to “stop acting like an ass” to being chased from your village by dogs and armed individuals, or being tossed into prison for your beliefs. But, your mileage may vary.

      • Warriorscrown

        “Truth should never travel faster than love” -Erwin McManus

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Christianity in the US hasn’t a clue about persecution. We are insulated thanks to the foundation of our governmental system. People of other faiths come here because they now they do not risk death or imprisonment because they are of the “wrong” sect. We do not realize or appreciate our good fortune as the majority religion here.

        Christians can get as pissy a they want about other people’s religions here. But allowing the same freedoms to those folks that we get is NOT persecuting Christians. Something some in our faith fail to see.

        • corvus1970

          Well said.

    • Genie Christie Long

      Yeah, we Jews are so very sympathetic to the persecution of the Christians.

    • sueb262

      Jesus’ death was a political execution, arranged by the Jewish leaders with the acquiescence (at least of the Roman “colonial” system) . He called himself names that belonged to Caesar (Prince of Peace, Saviour of the world, that kind of thing), which mildly pissed off the Romans, and his growing popularity threatened the Temple system. He had a big mouth and didn’t show proper respect, and it was only too easy to simply have him bumped off: there was a lot of that going around in those days.

    • DannyJane

      Dear Guest: Apparently you haven’t been reading your history for the past 1800 years. Christians aren’t the ones being persecuted. Christians are the ones DOING the persecuting. Haven’t you heard of the Inquisition? The Holocaust? Kiddo, you sure as hell wouldn’t want to be the Muslim living across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church! The Puritians fled the persecution of their fellow Christians in the Church of England and then turned around and attacked their own once they got to Massachusetts. I have no idea what you think the ‘world’s version of Jesus’ is, but I guarantee you that if he returned tomorrow they’s kill him all over again and then blame it on the Jews.
      As for the ‘born-agains’ of the Christian world–don’t get me started. I have both physical and emotional scars from their brand of kindness, tolerance, understanding and gentle teaching.

    • melanienlee

      Jesus was often an advocate for the poor and marginalized, for the “tax gatherers and prostitutes”. He called the Pharisees hypocrites who burdened people with heavy tasks and “didn’t lift a finger” to help them, and who “devoured widows’ houses”. In other words, Jesus often pointed out how the rich exploited the poor and how the “in” people demonized the “out” people. These sound like good reasons why the rich and powerful of his day–especially the “Religious Right” of his day,the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law–would want him dead.

  • Genie Christie Long

    “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” ~~Mahatma Ghandi

  • Eric Anger

    Anyone who gets in my face and starts judging me is heading for a bad day. I don’t hate all Christians, but the hypocrisy of the louder ones has closed that door for me forever. Nice work, holier-than-thou. Go choke on a biscuit.

  • http://www.hackcraft.net/ Jon Hanna

    The ones that annoy me the most aren’t those like the descriptions above, but those who who respond to such with “well, that’s not all Christians”.
    Why do they keep telling non-Christians this? Most of us have at some point met at least one person we know is Christian and who isn’t a dick. Many of us have such people among our closest friends, family, lovers, and sometimes even life-partners.
    While there are certainly non-Christians with bigoted ideas about Christians, it isn’t non-Christians who think all Christians are dicks like this describes, it’s the Christians who are dicks who think all Christians are dicks; they’re who need to be told that not all Christians are, not us.
    (The same goes for “not all men/white people/straight people/cis people/monosexual people/higher-class-than-you people/higher-class-background-than-you people/able-bodied people/linguistic-majority people” and so on).

  • Janet Burns

    I am a former evangelical who left the Church a few years ago. I’ve seen members who refused to speak to one another because of disagreements over pre-trib and mid-trib. I’ve seen the large screen on stage filled with unflattering images of political candidates the pastoral staff disagreed with. I’ve been shunned because I mentioned in small group that I admired Ted Kennedy. I’ve received missionary letters stating that ALL Muslims are terrorists. I’ve gotten emails from a church leader bordering on obscene comments about the President and his wife. No one from the church has ever asked me why I’ve left. The blind leading the blind.

    • Em

      You will know a tree by the fruit that it bears.

  • M.S.

    Very thought-provoking post. Thank you for sharing. Hopefully this gets some believers to think about how they may come across to non-believers.

  • RangerJoe

    I was a non-Christian once, like these in this article.
    What converted me?
    I took a long and honest look at myself. Some say “we do good”, we love” etc…..
    that isn’t the Christian message.
    The message is that every man and woman descended from Adam and Eve are born with a corrupt nature. Yes even the “Christian” is corrupt by nature.
    Sure you may do “good things”, but “doing good” isn’t the message.

    To understand the message we must understand why God gave the Law to Moses.
    Paul called the Law our “Schoolmaster” (Gal 3:24).
    What did paul mean?
    Paul was saying the Law has a purpose and that purpose is to teach us something.
    What is it teaching us?
    Though we may do “good things”, we have a corrupt nature and are not capable of keeping the law perfectly.
    How many laws must a person break to be a criminal?
    Just one
    If you have told one lie you are guilty of breaking God’s law and are a criminal.
    You may think that is harsh but how many lies have you told? are you a habitual criminal like me (a liar)?
    That is one law, there are nine more laws.
    have you ever taken something that wasn’t your? had sex out of marriage? etc……
    The point is man (all men/women) are not capable of keeping the law perfectly.
    Why?
    because we have a corrupt nature and as paul says we are by nature children of wrath we are God’s enemies.
    The law is “TEACHING” us we are wicked by nature and we need a savior to save us from our condition. This includes Christians; we Christians have a wicked and fallen nature and we still do sinful things. Paul wrote about this in Romans 7.
    Now that we know that the Law is teaching man about our wicked, fallen nature and is pointing to our need of a Savior;
    what does that mean?
    God, The Word, was born into flesh. He lived perfectly as a man and never sinned. He did NOT do this to show that man can “live a better life”. He did this because he was the only one capable of being perfect and he made himself the perfect sacrifice. Christ then took the wrath of the father on himself. He who knew no sin became sin. He took the punishment we deserve for our wickedness.

    By trusting in his work alone, by faith; that he was perfect, and he actually took the punishment we deserve. He will place his coat of righteousness on us. When we stand in God’s court, He will claim us as his. He will declare he took the punishment for us; the punishment we deserve.
    This is the Christian message.
    Not that we are good people; but that we are wicked people with a good Savior.
    That we need to be saved from our wicked nature just as much as the next guy.

    Therefore It only makes sense that some “like our Christ but do not like our Christians”
    We Christians still have a fallen nature.
    i declare to the person that says these things
    do not look at me to be the example look at my Christ.
    I have a fallen nature (the same as you) and I am need of being covered with His righteousness just as much as you are need of it.

    • Agni Ashwin

      Where did Jesus speak of all humans having a “corrupt nature”?

      • Peter Kirkpatrick

        Try these for starters:
        Matthew 19:17 (No one is good except God)
        Matthew 15:18-19 (Out of the heart come evils such as murder, adultery, slander…)

        Though even if one holds that view of human nature, it shouldn’t be an excuse for illustrating it by abusing non-Christians.

        • Agni Ashwin

          Oh, OK. I thought you were saying that Jesus was a Calvinist. Carry on.

        • RangerJoe

          –and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
          (Eph 2:3)
          — the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Gen 6:5)
          –The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:(Jer 17:9)
          — If ye then, being evil,….(Mat 7:11)

          Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psa 51:5)

          Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

          if man does not born with a wicked nature why must we be Born again of Spirit?

          what is the believer repenting (turning) from?
          Our sin nature.

          Paul explains that he has a Spirit (born again) but he does sinful things because his flesh has a sin nature that it was born with; And after being born of Spirit. That sin still remains in the flesh. The sinful flesh (its nature) is at war with the spirit.

          Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

          Rom 7:17-20 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

          Rom_8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

          • Snooterpoot

            RangerJoe, do you think that people who disagree with you have not read, or are ignorant of, the scriptures?

            I think it does absolutely no good to quote scripture as proof of an opinion. All scripture is subject to interpretation. It is my opinion that comments such as yours, whether intentional or not, present your interpretation as correct and everyone else’s interpretations as wrong. Since there are more than 30,000 various Christian denominations in the world, and most of them seem to think only their interpretation of the scriptures is valid, how can anyone with any certainty say, or infer, “my interpretation is correct, and everyone else’s is wrong.”

            I think it’s likely that the term “born again” is allegorical. I also think Paul was pretty arrogant claiming to be the representative of a man whom he never met; yet some Christians point to his writings as if they were the words of Christ himself, and usually as a defense of their chosen dogma.

            The entire point of Mr. Shore’s column here is to show Christians how they and their message is received or viewed by non-Christians, not to start slinging scripture at people to prove how correct you are and how wrong they are. And I think you missed his point entirely.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            RE: “what is the believer repenting (turning) from?
            Our sin nature.”

            Our “sin nature” is the natural state of human selfishness. Scripture supports that selfishness is at the heart of sin. I think this is where mainstream psychology and religion could and should get along swimmingly. Too often we end up getting lost in semantics. Having a “sin nature” is analogous to humankind tending to be “innately selfish.” We learn to transcend selfishness (not sin/turn from sin) by becoming more compassionate (following the way of Jesus/being Christ-like). Being Christ-like we overcome sin. And so much of mainstream psychology and ethics says the same thing: ego blocks compassion, but compassion transcends selfishness. We can be transformed by compassion – by living it and by experiencing it.

            Jesus was Divine compassion incarnate. To know this compassion in our lives – to deeply know this is to be transformed by the power of unconditional love – to compel us to live as he did, to love as he did, to forgive 7×70, to turn the other cheek, to give a cloak and a coat, to walk the extra mile, to love extravagantly as the Sewer carelessly sews his seeds wherever they may fall.

          • Em

            Then why are Christians seemingly as likely or even less likely to behave in a Christ-like manner? If Christians displayed that unconditional love, compassion, and forgiveness that you speak of, I would be inclined to believe there was a supernatural force at play. But instead, they are just as bad or worse than everyone else. I don’t know any Jews trying to get their religion forced on public school children, I don’t know of any pagans trying to get their laws engraved on court houses. The average Christian’s lack of respect and regard for others suggests that this Divine Compassion is not as transforming or as real as you all seem to think it is.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Christianity is a diverse group. It’s not monolithic. The theologies, ideologies and practices about what it means to “be” a Christian are hugely different, which is the reason so many here have gone out of the way to draw a distinction between progressive and conservative Christianity. The turn-or-burn kind is not terribly compassionate, thus the point of the OP.

          • Em

            But if a relationship with Christ made people so compassionate and wonderful, was the basis for goodness as many Christians suggest, then most or all Christians would display those positive attributes.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            If people aren’t taught a compassionate God, it’s no different than pouring water into a pitcher and expecting it to taste like lemonade. Different understanding of God = different Christian. Hate in = greater chance of hate out. Guilt and shame in = greater chance of guilt and shame out. Love in = greater chance of love out.

          • Em

            “if man does not born with a wicked nature why must we be Born again of Spirit?”

            See, and that is where you lose most people. As a Jew, I believe that people are born good and choose wrong things. You can decide not to choose those things. The idea that God made me wicked and worthy of damnation, that He would not accept my mistakes and forgive me when I am penitent, is antithetical to Judaism. So the need to be born again is where you lose me. God made me just fine the first time.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      We’re all human, no doubt.

      Now that we as human Christians have been made aware that some human Christians treat people badly and act like jerks…isn’t it beholden upon those Christians to repent (turn from that sinful behavior) and stop doing that?

      And, FWIW, not all Christians ascribe to original sin. See: Celtic Christianity. The doctrine of worthlessness is a familiar one. It’s also toxic. This blog addressed it a few weeks ago:

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unfundamentalistchristians/2013/07/the-brain-washing-fear-inducing-world-of-the-fundamentalism-i-knew/

    • Sophia

      I was once a Christian as described by these comments. Now I am probably not, depending on which christian you ask. The reason I am probably not, is because I no longer believe that guilt and shame will make me a better person. I do not believe that I am “sinful and in need of saving”. I think I am fine, beautiful even, just the way God made me. And that freedom, leaves me a kinder, more peaceful, more honest type of person.

      So, when a Christian comes to me with the idea that “we all have a fallen nature”, they have already lost me, because I do not subscribe to that tenet. I have a loving nature (same as you) and I am in need of being accepted by you, not judged. God already accepts me the way I am.

    • JD

      Your message is exactly one of the reasons I will never be a Christian; that you are a piece of crap of a human and worthy only of damnation. That your only hope to survive the afterlife is to believe in a certain deity or you’re toast. That if you believe in any other deity or belief or none at all you are doomed.

      I find that view of oneself to be very unhealthy.

    • Bear

      Matthew 7:15-23; but of course, read the whole chapter.

      If you want to spend you life telling yourself, and the people you love, that they’re fallen, and inherently corrupt and in need of saving – enjoy that, I guess.

      Honestly, why would anyone think saying “we’re a bunch of wicked, corrupt people, come join us” is a good sales pitch?

      Also, this seems like an interpretation of JC cosmology that isn’t internally consistent with what he was purported to have said / been.

      If Jesus already absolved all of humanities sin 2K+ years ago, then haven’t we all been born with clean slates for ages? (That’s a sincere question, anyone have any ontological or theological insight into this?)

      • RangerJoe

        Jesus did not absolve everyone’s sin.

        Jesus bore the wrath of sin on himself. His Propitiation was perfect and acceptable. His Propitiation is sufficient enough to cover all sin.

        The propitiation is ONLY applicable to those that actually believe and trust in what he has done.

        Those continuing to trust in their own abilities, which are tainted with sin, will perish in their sin.

        Why did God give man the law?
        The law was NOT given as a list of rules so we can gain eternity.
        The purpose of the Law:
        Is to teach us like a “Schoolmaster” (Gal 3:24-25)
        teach us what?

        it is by learning that we are not capable of keeping the law; that we will fail in trying to keep the law; That we will learn we are need of a Savior to save us from our sinful condition.
        By understanding that we cannot keep the law; The law gives us knowledge of our sinful condition(Rom 3:20)
        pointing to a need of someone that can keep the law and save us.
        The purpose of the law is to point to our need of the one person that is capable of being Holy.

        Jesus was perfect and never sinned. He was the perfect sacrifice, The spotless lamb.
        He who knew no sin became sin.
        You would learn much if you studied the doctrine of “double imputation.”
        In other words. Man’s sin was imputed onto Christ.
        He never sinned but bore our sin on himself.
        in exchange those that are sinners and not righteous have righteousness imputed onto them.
        When we stand before God we(believers) are covered with the righteousness of Christ even though we are not righteous.

        Double imputation: Jesus took our sin and gives us his righteousness by imputation.

        Those do not trust in this exchange are left standing before God under their own merit.

        Have you ever told a lie even when there was no need to tell a lie?
        why?
        You have a sin nature; you cannot keep the law perfectly you will fail. because you are not a good person but you are in need of the one good person that can keep the law to save you.

        • Snooterpoot

          If you had begun this with “in my opinion” your comment would have some credibility. Since you didn’t, I think you are not part of the solution; you are part of the problem.

          I think pontificating like this is exactly why people do not turn to Christianity. Furthermore, not all Christian denominations agree with your interpretation of the Scriptures.

          I strongly disagree with your premise that every human being has a “sin nature.” In fact, I think that belief is bovine scat.

        • Bear

          Gal 3:3-14 seems to say that it’s not the law, but faith that’s important. And that everybody of faith (including presumably those from nations other than Abrahams) is blessed through him.

          Gal 5:4 seems to make it clear again that satisfying the law is no longer necessary, and that faith is the bottom line factor. Gal 3:28 emphasizes that the blessing is one extended irrespective of group or identity.

          • RangerJoe

            What are you attempting to debate about?
            What you posted has backed up what I said.

            There is a clear distention between those that trust in Christ work alone BY FAITH in what he has done they are no longer under the law.
            And there are those that are attempting to work their way into heaven by the law and by works.
            Those that are attempting to earn their way to God will perish.

            Mat 7:22-23 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

            2Th_2:10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

            1Co_1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

          • RangerJoe

            Yes the Law is not necessary for those that trust, by faith, in Christ work alone for salvation.
            You are cherry picking verse to fit your own ideas.

            Those that are no longer under the law (believers) is always presented in contrast to those that are perishing (false believers, and unbelievers).

            It is you, not I, that is presenting only half of the text.

            I agree with those verse you presented. Those verse are speaking of the true believers in contrast to the unbelievers and false believers.

            For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman.

            But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are TWO covenants………..(Gal 4:23-24)

            2Th_2:10 and with all wicked deception for THOSE WHO ARE PERISHING, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

  • Gerald C

    It’s the evangelical, missionary, crusade-style Christianity that’s so harmful. If you look back at the violent and bloody history of the spread of Christianity it’s the rabid need to convert heathen non-believers that is the source of most of the worst aspects of the religion. From the Crusades to the Spanish Inquisition to kidnapping Native American children and placing them in missionary schools. What really amuses me is when so many Christians bemoan that same behavior in others, whether real or imagined, i.e. “gays are converting our children!” Worship as you see fit, it isn’t your responsibility to make sure I do the same.

    • Sophia

      I was just with my cousin this past week, and she was talking about how the muslims were invading our country and secretly trying to recruit and convert followers. She said this right after she mentioned all the missionaries from her church that were going into Africa and the Middle East to do the good work of the Lord… the irony seemed lost on her.

  • Ryan Hite

    That is the exact issue with universalizing religions. They survive on converts which they are losing rapidly.

    • Steve

      Christianity and Islam are the fastest growing religions out there right now, and they’re universalizing. And Christianity grows a lot by conversion, more than any other religion. So that’s not really factual.

      • Ryan Hite

        Not as much as it used to, at least in western countries. There is more growth from birth nowadays.

        • Steve

          I’m talking about the whole global picture, not the handful of richest countries in the world.

  • Jenn

    I think that if we focus on the relationship aspect, instead of trying to scare people into faith we would be a lot better off. Talk about what a different being a Christian has made in your life. The whole point is to be in a relationship with Christ, not simply to escape hell. i think we as Christians forget that far too often.

    • JD

      You cannot have Christ without the hell. And that’s the problem with Christianity: that if you do not believe you are damned.

      If that is how any Christian lives they’ve missed the entire point of Jesus message: To love others as you are loved.

      One can love without being Christian. But to a Christian that is impossible. Thus the non-Christian must be wrong and simply incapable of loving properly.

  • Mon

    Christians are the primary reason I turned to atheism.

    • brandymae1

      Same here!!

  • LogicGuru

    As a Christian I believe we should attack the Evangelicals. Evangelicalism is worthless, detestable garbage–it gives Christianity a bad name.

    • Snooterpoot

      I totally disagree. If we attack others because we disagree with them we place ourselves on the same level of hypocrisy as theirs.

      The best antidote to hatred is love. That’s what Christ taught us to do.

      • mindy

        I would agree that love is the better choice and that “attack” might be too strong a word, but I would sure like to see Christians who are NOT anti-intellectual, patriarchal fundamentalists speak up more often and more loudly when those christians take to the public square as if they speak for all.

        • Cat Marcuri

          I agree with Mindy. My husband and I for YEARS now have said, “We know most Christians aren’t like this, but WHERE ARE THEY? Why don’t we hear them speaking up and putting the lie to the hate and nastiness all over the TV these days?”

          • Stephen Lee

            I wish I knew also…maybe just maybe…now this is my belif but….mabe the christians that are not like that are simply afraid to become the next target.?

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      That statement reminds me of the quote “I’ve seen the enemy, and it is us.”

  • Steve

    One thing: this would have been more insightful if you had, in addition to asking about Christians in general, also asked about how they viewed different facets of Christianity. You know, Catholic v Protestant, High Church v Low Church, Evangelical v Mainline, Conservative v Progressive. It would give a more specific idea of what people think about certain types of Christianity and what kinds that they encounter the most.

    • corvus1970

      Not everyone is going to know what branch of the christian tree they were approached by.

      • Steve

        That is absolutely true. It would not be a thorough or perfect system, but what information is could get would be very interesting.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      That of course is a nearly impossible question, because it is so ambiguous. Its like asking people if they like ice cream. There are thousands of flavors of ice cream, So asking someone which is the “right” or best flavor is simply going to be based on the taste and experience of the person asked.

      • Steve

        I didn’t say it would be perfect, it just could give snapshots of a more detailed picture. I think it would be worth asking, at least.

    • Sophia

      It’s funny, but I assumed he was talking about evangelical protestant christians, because they are the ones that seem to intent on proselytizing. I find that Catholics sort of have a live and let live philosophy.

    • Bear

      As a non-christian (and I think others might agree) I would have mostly no idea what that meant.

      I think for most non-christians these are the only groupings:

      Leaves Me Alone vs. Wants to Make the Bible Law
      Try to Act Like Jesus vs. Thinks Welfare is Wrong
      Only Talks About Religion With Willing Participants vs. Tries to Convert Me
      Judges Me By My Character vs. Judges Me By My Church Afffiliation

      Which can really be summed up in one dichotomy:

      Loving Christians vs. Jerks Who Call Themselves Christians

  • Esther S.

    As a Christian this is very disheartening and sobering to read. It saddens me beyond words that instead of being good to people, loving, accepting and caring for people like we should; we would treat them like garbage. It baffles me that some think that you can “sell” anything to anyone by being rude to them (does that even work?)
    I also want to extend a heartfelt and sincere apology to anyone who has been treated in an inferior, hateful and shameful manner by any Christian. God is not at all like that, he is the kindest most gentle and caring one that you could imagine. Christians are not perfect- we’re human like the rest. But we’re also called to live by a certain standart and principle, and that is love.

    • corvus1970

      If more Christians thought as you do, we wouldn’t be reading these sad stories.

    • Stephen Lee

      I am so tired of hearing “christians” say they are not perfect and useing it as n excuse to act moraly reprehincable…. case in point I a gay and Christian my partner is a minister, when i was younger my very “christian” and upright family put e in a camp where I was torchured through electro shock and sexual abuse as a means to change me. later when shareing in church my testimony a lesbian UCC minister told me she was sorry for my pain but I need to forgive those who wronged and to remember we are not perfect…that makes me angry for God. and Jesus they have no right to misrepresent my savior so.

  • Noah Smith

    It be nice if Christians cut out the intellectual dishonesty. Also known as “Apologetics”

    • Agni Ashwin

      So you want Christians to apologize for being apologetic?

      • Noah Smith

        Good one ; )

    • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

      I realize there’s some sarcasm here (hence the scare quotes), but apologetics isn’t necessarily intellectually dishonest. There’s nothing wrong with being able to provide reasons for why you believe as you do.

      1 Peter 3.15 is usually cited as providing the biblical grounds for apologetic undertakings: “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.”

      It’s important to take note of two things in this verse: 1. we’re only to give an answer when asked and 2. we’re to do so with gentleness and respect. If only more Christians heeded those crucial caveats.

      • Noah Smith

        Kalam cosmological argument’s premise “Whatever begins to exist…” is obviously false; the argument from desire is a position not an argument, the Trilemma is almost offensive, Fine tuning begs the question, etc,. The problem is that I have a hard time believing these are the reasons why somebody becomes a Christian. They are post conversion rationalization. They are not answers but sale techniques.

        • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

          I wasn’t addressing the relative strengths and weaknesses of any specific argument for Christianity. That you find many of the common arguments less-than-persuasive is fine. Of course these aren’t reasons why most people became Christian — those reasons are usually quite mundane: my family was Christian, a friend invited me to church, I went to Christian summer camp, etc. What’s far more interesting and more relevant is why someone continues to believe as they do: why are they still a Christian?

          We all seek to explain/support/rationalize our belief systems — apologetics isn’t a solely Christian undertaking. Dawkins and Hitchens and Harris offer apologetic arguments for their respective views of the world that exhibit many of the same merits and flaws as their Christian counterparts.

          You’re right that there’s a certain brand of apologetics that is little more than slick salesmanship. But I don’t think that approach is necessarily inherent to any apologetic engagement. Apologetics can (and should) be thoughtful, honest and respectful. Where Christians (or anyone else) fall short of this ideal, we should call them out on it. But we should all continue to robustly engage with the intellectual reasons for our beliefs.

          • Lars

            “What’s far more interesting and more relevant is why someone continues to believe as they do: why are they still a Christian?”

            Exactly. While I suspect Noah and I come from similar places, this is the question that requires deeper analysis than it probably gets. Do people remain Christians because they absolutely *know* Christianity is the Truth, hope it’s the Truth (for all kinds of reasons), or it because it easily scratches a spiritual/religious itch? Knowing I was going to escape hell, would see deceased loved ones again (the Christian ones, anyway), and that God was “in control” no matter how disappointing my life might be were the primary reasons I hung on as long as I did.

            Those are good reasons, too, but not necessarily true, or even likely in my opinion. I suppose the thing I needed to come to grips with were the implications of my beliefs, on myself as well as everyone else. After all, if it’s True, it’s True for everyone, and what does that mean precisely. It wasn’t just Christianity that failed this litmus test, but supernatural beliefs in general came up short. Physical truth appears to hold up throughout the universe (the speed of light, gravity) but spiritual truth is subjective, endlessly diverse, usually inherited, and largely geographical. All reasons that make discussing why we believe what we do so fascinating.

          • Noah Smith

            Thanks for taking time to reply. Do you find apologetic arguments persuasive?

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            I think some Christian apologetic arguments are stronger than others…but I tend to find them intellectually interesting rather than straight-out persuasive. In the end, how we evaluate arguments often has as much to do with what preconceptions and biases we bring to the table rather than the argument itself.

  • Jerry Callender

    I have a cousin who believes that, for the first time in History we have a foreign-born President, and has instilled that thought in her children and grandchildren, and said to me at her mom’s 90th birthday, “You know you’ll never see your mother again unless you repent”.
    This christian family is so loving that, when my favored cousin died, I received a call when they were on their way to the cemetery. Inasmuch as I was working in the yard, and they lived 45 or so miles away, I was not able to pay respects to a cousin I truly enjoyed.
    I began making quilts for children with cancer, to honor Mama, who loved children and was herself taken by lymphoma. One boy, diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma when he was seven, is now twelve and the kindest most caring individual anyone would want to know. He is in Boy Scouts and was volunteering at the church his Scout Troop meets in for vacation BS, and one on the “ladies” of the church told him “if you don’t give your life to god/christ/jebus, you will burn because you have a dark heart”.
    Recruiting children into any religious organization is nothing but brainwashing and should be illegal. Anyone caught attempting to indoctrinate a child should be imprisoned.

    • Sophia

      I too have a family that makes me feel like an outcast for my beliefs. And the strange thing is, that I’ve never said that I’m not a Christian. I just have “extraneous beliefs” that make me in their eyes, not saved. Like, I do yoga. and meditate. and I believe it’s possible to learn truth outside of the Bible. And that the verses in the Bible can be twisted to support whatever you want to believe (like slavery). And I believe that giving people birth control will reduce the number of abortions better than outlawing it. They yell at me and tell me I’m going to hell and walk out on Christmas dinner and start fights with me over “truth”. It’s exhausting. I love them, but I have to limit my time with them. I’ve had to confront both my dad and my brother for their aggressive tactics towards me, and yet, I’m the lost sheep…. the one in need of salvation.
      In my heart, I know that they “do this to me” because they love me… and that leads me to believe that evangelical Christians act in the same awful way towards non-christians for the same reason. I understand, but I still tire of it.

      • AtalantaBethulia

        My dearest friend asked me this about what you have described and my own fundamentalist upbringing; she said. “Does it help to know that they (Fundamentalists) aren’t doing it (making your life miserable, harming you, spiritually abusing you) on purpose?”

        My up until recently answer was: “Not yet,” but it’s getting easier. It reminds me quite a lot of “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

        That doesn’t mean, however, that we have to subject ourselves to it. While we have the choice how we react to it, we also have the choice not to have to be exposed to it.

        • Sophia

          It’s only been recently that I’ve had the *courage* to confront the people in my family who speak to me this way. I have found it helpful to write them letters and explain to them what my experience is like when I’m around them. I’ve told my dad that it’s like a “punch in the stomach when he tells me I’m going to hell”. That it “separates us and makes me not want to be around him”. That “God tells us over and over again not to judge people, but to love them”. Because he loves me, he really heard what I had to say and came back to me in tears, thanking me for loving him enough to explain this to him. It was a very profound moment… I had to be able to see his actions towards me as loving (even though they felt hateful) in order to write a letter that he would “hear”.

  • John

    Golden rule: use it.

    • B-Lar

      Do unto others 20% more than your would do to yourself, to correct for subjective error.

  • Connie Howell

    I am tired of Christians telling me that their “church” is under attack from the Government and just about everyone….if that was true then God would not have been added to our money nor the line “one nation under god” have been added to the Pledge of Alligence (sp). As a Pagan and a Wiccan I feel under attack by the different branches of Christianity. I just wish they would leave me alone.

    • Cat Marcuri

      I feel your stress and frustration. Many Christians do not judge you. Sadly, they appear to be in the minority. My family is a mix of pagans, Wiccans, atheists, Protestants and Catholics. It’s very…odd…but very interesting at holidays! Be strong, not all is dark, there are those out there who understand and support you.

      • Geo

        Cat, that is pretty awesome that you have such a wide cross-section of beliefs in one family (and I’m sure holidays are pretty entertaining) but even though you might not judge Connie, it’s apparent that Connie feels under attack by many Christians, as did the non-Christians felt about being on the receiving end of Christians’ efforts in this article.

    • Sophia

      Yes, there seems to be a broad misunderstanding of what “under attack” means when it comes to religious freedom in this country. Christians are free to worship as they please and not be thrown in jail for it, so by any definition, they experience full religious freedom in America. What christians seem to want when they say this, is for EVERYONE ELSE to be required to live by the same standards they do. Supporting ideas like mandatory prayer in schools, and a display of the 10 commandments in public government buildings, and trying to pass anti-gay marriage laws, is ironically an effort to subvert someone else’s freedoms in the name of their own religion. And when they can’t make it happen, they feel they are being “persecuted”.

      I say, if you want to pray in school, then do so. If you want to put up a yard sign of the 10 commandments in your front yard, go for it (one of my neighbors has one). And if you think it’s wrong to be gay, then DON’T BE GAY. But it is not your right or responsibility to coerce every person in this country to live by your religious standards by trying to pass laws to make them.

  • Tb

    As a Christian this saddens my heart. First, because when I became a Christian at age 30, I was very zealous. It grieves my heart to think I offended people along the way, not drawing them to Christ but further pushing them away from Him. Secondly, this saddens me because some Christians have reduced Christianity into a list of “do’s and don’ts”, but where is the Gospel? When we make it about performance, we quickly judge Christians and non-Christians alike. The truth is none of us are good enough to preform to the standard of a Holy God. That is why Christ came and why he died…for us, for you and for me.

    As I have grown in my Faith and in my walk with Jesus; I have come to realize that as Christians:
    We are to speak truth in “love”
    “When asked” of our Hope to share with “gentleness and respect”
    “Love”our neighbor as ourself
    It is, God who draws people to Himself, not us. I am merely a broken person in need of a Savior, One who uses me to serve and love others, and “when asked” share my Hope.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      I personally loath the “truth in love” thing
      Why? Because at least one is always absent

      • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

        John Stott on speaking the truth in love: “‘Speaking the truth in love’ is not the best rendering of his expression, for the Greek verb makes no reference to our speech. Literally it means, ‘truthing in love’, and includes the notions of ‘maintaining’, ‘living’ and ‘doing’ the truth.”

        We’re supposed to live out our lives in light of the truth, not run around telling others how we thing they’re falling short!

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Many folks below and above have suggested that looking into the Golden Rule would be helpful for Christians who behave in this fashion. Actually, I think the Golden Rule is part of the problem.

    “Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you” for many Christians means that they know they’re saved and right with their deity, and they’d therefore like others to have that same opportunity…and thus, they preach and proselytize and try to convert others because they assume what they want is what everyone else wants.

    The Silver Rule–don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you–is actually far more widespread in other world religions, despite Christians sometimes saying that the Golden Rule is in every religion. The reason that it is better to have the Silver Rule version is that it then presumes that one doesn’t know if what one thinks is good or right for oneself necessarily applies to others as well; but, you can be pretty sure that most people don’t like being beaten up, called names, stolen from, or killed, etc., and thus one shouldn’t do those things.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Both require the dethroning of ego and putting another in its place. This is especially difficult for people who 1) Aren’t aware of what ego is 2) Are results driven: The end justifies the means.

      This is where the psychology of faith plays such an important role. You’re right. These folks don’t understand that unconditional love can’t have an agenda. Any agenda that involves trying to change or convert someone is driven by ego (selfishness) and not by love.

      Unfortunately what they fail to realize is that love *is* the way. Love is both the means and the end, and if they truly followed Jesus’ command to love one another they might be surprised by the results.

      • Cat Marcuri

        The most convincing missionary I have ever met was a man who didn’t preach to people at all. Instead, he went out of his way to be kind, to be generous, to be a good listener. He helped the woman with five kids and no partner down the street provide for her kids by being there to babysit when she desperately needed some time off, and by stopping by now and then with “extra” groceries that somehow wound up in his kitchen by mistake. He listened to the woman across the street whose husband was in the hospital for a protracted stay and just letting her vent when she needed someone to hear her. He never yelled at the kids next door, who were constantly losing balls and such in his back yard and came in constantly to retrieve them. He was a GOOD man, and he never, EVER tried to make people listen to his beliefs. All three of those households wound up going to his church, because he exemplified what was GOOD about his faith. I thought he was the finest Christian I have ever known.

        • Sophia

          What a beautiful story, and excellent example of what it means to be a witness. It is better to let your life be the witness, rather than your words.

        • JD

          I’ve known people exactly like this. Except they were not Christian. And therein lies the rub; the belief that only Christians can be good people and others are only doing good works but are still going to hell.

          The arrogance and ignorance is maddening.

    • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

      Any rule, whether it’s gold, silver or bronze, can be bent and twisted and tarnished to the point where one may be following the letter of the rule but entirely missing its spirit.

    • Hilary

      Like what Hillel said? What is hateful to yourself, do not do to others, everything else is commentary, go and study. But what would he know, he was just a first century Jewish leader.

  • Kent Andersen

    All of these statements could just as well be used about how democrates experience republicans, prolife experience proabortion, luke warm environmentalists experience greenpeace etc… We are here talking about how people experience idealists, and idealists with high moralic goals.

    If the same question was given to tell : What would you like to tell an politician, or any cind of activists standing on the street with flyer… like humanistic atheist trying to convert christians. You would most probably get excact the same answers. You are very agressive, salesman cind of trying to proselyte me and telling me that I have the wrong oppinion, therefore you are not a nice person.

    These statements quoted here tells me acutally more about the opponents tendency to put everyone into one box and giving people with wrong belief a negative stigma. This is just as true about atheists, democrates and so on, as it is about christians.

    Jugdmentalism and negative attitude towards people with wrong political and religious convinctioin is just simply a typical human tendency, and not something specific christian.

    Here in these quotes we see excactly the same cind of moralism shown from the critics as what they claim christians to have.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Except that Christians, as followers of Christ, who are to incarnate the Beatitudes and the Greatest Commandment, who by their example are supposed to be a living testimony to the One they claim to follow, are supposed to be different.

      Of course, Christians are human like everyone else and are subject to the same failings of human character like everyone else.

      Sharing the testimonies of people who have been hurt by this behavior is a mirror, not a club. It is no more moralizing nor judgmental, than an abused wife telling her spouse how it feels to be hit by him and asking him to stop.

      When people inside the faith hold up mirrors to other people inside the faith, it is in an effort to encourage self-reflcetion, an invaluable exercise in human growth and development. For, surely, if the way one shares their faith and treats others actually drives others from the faith and makes these others have not only a negative impression of you as an individual, but of the faith as a whole…you’re probably not doing it in the way that Jesus taught.

      • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

        “Are supposed to be different”, I recently de-converted and one of the reasons for de-converting was this concept. Christians simply didn’t look different. Sure I thought of myself as different while I was a Christian, but everyone I met looked the same as me. Some people who were non-believers were even kinder and were more moral (by Christian standards) than me. The idea of Christians being set apart/holy/special just simply didn’t appear to be true.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          By different, I surely didn’t mean by how they look – nor that they are special or holy – but that they behave differently because of a transformative experience or understanding, that they convey the beatitudes in their character and in their treatment of other people. It has nothing to do with status or what the outside looks like and everything to do with how one is at their essence.

          • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

            Isn’t that the same thing? If its all on the inside, your statement of “but they behave differently” is contradictory, and that is entirely my point. To the outside observer, Christians do no “behave differently” from other people. The only differences appear to be based on local culture and other influences like parenting, but nothing inherent in “being transformed” makes any difference between people. In my example I encountered atheists who acted more kind and more loving than Christians, who in no way claimed to have any transformative experience. On the other hand, countless Christians I encountered behaved in the worst ways towards their fellow humans, in spite of the fact that they consistently claimed they experienced God’s transformative power.
            I would state that one could claim different motivations / influences for the same resulting good behavior, just as someone could claim that the same motivations and influences led to different behaviors. My point is that there is nothing significantly different between Christian and non-Christian motivations in terms of life/wholeness/behavioral impact. Its just ‘another’ motivation in the long list of possible motivations for behavior. Its not the only issue that I encountered as a Christian, but it is definitely one solid mark against the claim that simply accepting Jesus into your life is by definition transformative.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “but it is definitely one solid mark against the claim that simply accepting Jesus into your life is by definition transformative.”

            I happen to agree with you.

            Saying a prayer, affirming a creed, believing something is true and sticking a silver fish symbol on your car isn’t what changes people from selfish to compassionate.

            Having something happen in your life that prompted a moment inside your head that broke open an entirely new understanding about the way life works – that love and forgiveness and kindness work better than hate and anger and selfishness – by way of an epiphany; this is transformative.

            Living that epiphany – this is a faith practice.

          • Bear

            Yes, but oh so no.

            Living and practice. That’s where you nailed it.

            A person doesn’t have to have an epiphany, or a spiritual belief system, practice or organization at all. A person only needs to act with compassion, love and forgiveness (etc.).

            That’s it. That’s the whole it.

            And I think that’s why so many non-christians are so hurt by and resistant to participating in christian communities – because we’re judged not by our good or bad fruit (our actions, and the results of those actions), but on the source to which we attribute that goodness.

      • Maria

        Actually, if Christians aren’t offending nor having people hate on them for speaking what Jesus said, they’re probably doing it wrong. When the biblical Jesus says that he’s the only way to the Creator (John 14:6), that if we don’t repent we’re going to hell (Luke 13:3), and if we don’t believe in the Son we stand judged already (John 3:18), what impression does that leave on you? Is it positive? That’s just straight up Jesus talking. People were offended by that to the point of wanting his death (sounds like holding a negative opinion of the person and faith in general). People walked away in sadness upon hearing his teachings at times (Mark 10:17-22), and in that particular instance, the individual was theistic to begin with, and believed in the God of Abraham to boot. How much less someone totally outside the faith?

        Truth is, what Jesus had to say wasn’t very appealing to many. Hence, “whoever has ears let him hear” and “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given.” I think the mistake Christians make is expecting the whole planet to genuinely convert. Most people who convert to Christianity aren’t honest about it, IMO; they’re just ascribing a label to themselves without actually following (or being aware of) the teachings of the man it’s named after; hiding the offensive sayings is like denying Jesus himself, but many also forget the other side of the coin: to speak the truth in love with gentleness.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          re: “Actually, if Christians aren’t offending nor having people hate on them for speaking what Jesus said, they’re probably doing it wrong.”

          Some Christians have surely taken that bull by the horns, haven’t they? It’s as if it were a competition to see just how well they can do.

          The people Jesus offended were the religious leaders of his day who conspired against him for daring to challenge the status quo and calling them things like white washed tombs full of dead men’s bones, a den of vipers and for making converts into twice the sons of hell that they were. He wasn’t too popular with the religious leaders of his day for saying they wore fancy clothes, were overtly pious, marginalized the poor and the outcast, and liked to sit at the head of the table. Nor did he make any friends when he shamed them publicly in the woman caught in adultery scenario. Nor did they like it when he said that it wasn’t what we put into our bodies that defile us, but what comes out.

          He stuck it to them like nobody’s business.

          It wasn’t the good news that he preached that got him killed. It was challenging the religious authority.

          You know what people found offensive about Jesus’ message? That it was for everyone. That God’s love isn’t reserved for an elite group or a privileged few. God loves everyone.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          The impression it leaves me is a fixation in a couple of passages to justify judgement and condemnation of people whose beliefs are different. This is one of the reasons people don’t like us, because they’ve been written off and discarded by us. We’ve failed at the art of love, we’ve failed at even trying to see others as God long has, as beauty and potential and value.

        • Sophia

          Maria, This idea that Christians will be hated for their faith, often leaves a “free pass” for their behavior. Take for example, my brother, the doctor. He has had several complaints to his boss from his patients, because he is witnessing to them during visits. When he told my dad this, my dad was so proud of him, because he was “following the word of God”. So my brother will continue to do this because he believes he is being “hated for his beliefs”. In my opinion, he has failed to look at these people as human beings, and instead sees them as potentials converts. It’s so dehumanizing.

          You quote a verse about being hated for our faith, but there are also many verses about being called to love others. Not judge, just love. You can be a witness to the love of God without ever mentioning Christ’s crucifixion. You are a “witness” by how you treat people. In kindness. With patience. With Gentleness. Use eye contact. and smile at them. People may not remember what you say to them, and they may not ever remember what you do for them. But they will never forget how you make them feel. That is what I take from this article.

        • Geo

          Maria, re: “if Christians aren’t offending nor having people hate on them for speaking what Jesus said, they’re probably doing it wrong.”

          To speak plainly, being offensive means just that – offensive. One can strive to be influential through many ways that aren’t offensive. If someone doesn’t have the same beliefs, then quoting from a document that they don’t ascribe to becomes a moot resource to cite. It would be an equivalent to someone trying to convert you with quotes from the Four Noble Truths, Torah, or the Quran implying that you’re a “bad egg” in their book.

        • Bear

          Please read Matthew 7.

          Seems like you’re under the impression that bad fruit falls from good trees, and that good fruit is poisoned if it doesn’t come from a christian tree – which clearly contradicts the worlds of Jesus (if you believe that NT contains his actual words).

          How is any of what you’re espousing compatible with Jesus’ actual practices or admonitions?

      • Kent Andersen

        well, what I read in this testimonies is one part of the story. I know several people that talks that way about christians, but they tend to talk in the same way about most people that they dissagree on.

        Quoting, taken out of the context, is not saying much to me.

        Of course lots of christians are doing stupid stuff, no reason to defend that. But this generalisation of christians as hypocrites, judgmental salesmen evangelists, with no heart, very bad in contacting other people etc… is not fitting as a general description.

        those people that tend to say those cind of things to me, usualy says at the end: but you are not like that, you listen, you care, you are rational… I talk about all the others. I then ask them, do you personally know these christians? NO, I don’t is normaly the answer.

        I often also find out that people with this cind of hurted feeling towards christians, tend to have hurted feeling about alot of other groups to, especially familymembers.

        As long as these quotes are taken totaly out of the context, it is actually not giving any vital information.

        The typical christian aren’t evangelistic and offensive. The typical christian is rather the opposite, very much silent and secret about their faith, and fully occupied with their daily rutine of working, paying bills, eating, cleaning and then press in some time to serve in the church and also to visit family. Even though most are silent about their faith, they do care about this world. They give millions to different non-profit organisations like feeding hungry, building hospitals etc. Christians tend to do more humanitarian effforts, counseling, helping people in need. The typical christian tend to be more occupied with moral, drinking less alcohol, being more honest…. There is a reason why christians do get bether insurence conditions, it is not consider an high risk group.

        So, when what these examples of words about christians paint up them as terrible, with a very negative attitude, I think they present themself as very onesided and biased. They could have had bad luck with the christians they found, or they just happen to be very critical and interpret most people around them with negative filter. In any case, it is definently not difficult to find christians with high moral, a very lovely charisma, with honest serving attitide, and a very christ like life. Seems like they are focused on the one rotten egg, and miss all the healthy one.

        • Snooterpoot

          This almost made my brain explode!

          Kent, the article is about how non-Christians perceive Christians. It’s not about bias or generalization. And, I must say, the impressions stated are not limited to non-Christians. There are many believers who no longer identify as Christian simply because of the hurtful, judgmental and pious comments that, while not representing the whole of Christianity, certainly are the loudest.

          I’m not speaking from ignorance. I was raised in a Southern Baptist church. I have seen, first-hand, the ugliness of a denomination that considers itself to be more righteous than others. It was true when I was a child and it is true today.

          Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Southern Baptists’ theology and how it’s used to persecute people who are homosexual. See how it’s used in an attempt to use the power and resources of government to force everyone, without regard to differing beliefs, to conform to the requirements of that denomination. Consider the fact that on Sunday mornings Southern Baptist churches are probably the most racially segregated entities in the USA.

          My anger and disgust is borne of experience. I am a follower of Christ. There is no way I will identify myself as a Christian now. Christianity has been co-opted by people who would probably shun Christ as a liberal, socialist parasite if they were to meet him now.

          People with these hurt feelings are justified in their anger and in their revulsion. It’s not up to you to tell anyone else what we have seen, how we have been mistreated, or how we are wrong about our perceptions. Why? Because people have arrived at their conclusions because of individual mistreatment and oppression, not because we generalize about the motives unforgiving hearts of Christians who live, and preach, more about hate than about a compassionate, loving God.

          • Cat Marcuri

            VERY well said, Snooterpoot! You have verbalized exacty what I’ve been trying to explain to people for a LONG time!

        • Sophia

          “The typical christian aren’t evangelistic and offensive. The typical christian is rather the opposite, very much silent and secret about their faith.” This is blatantly incorrect. Either you are one of these Christians and therefore are not aware of how you come across, or you are part of a very progressive, perhaps Quaker Church, which trusts individuals to interact directly with God. When I meet a Christian who is not interested in converting my soul, it is noticeable. I notice it. Most look at my with pity, or determination. Or they take my name to the prayer group.

        • mindy

          Kent, I agree that not all Christians are like that. Most, probably, are not. But they too often allow the bigoted, small-minded, zealot control-freaks speak for the entire faith – and when one’s only experience with Christianity is what makes news headlines and those who try to convert you, well, what else are you going to think?

        • Kent Andersen

          Woow, lots of emotions here…

          I see no reason to doubt youre experience, there is alot of weard people out there. Alot of christians that don’t know how to behave. But, several of you are using big letters with no sign of seeing christians as a very mixed group.

          One said that you are just putting up a mirror. Trying to show how christians really are. I am not finding this mirror very succesfull. Mainly becouse the attitude shown here, is very much a mirror of the very same attitude that you are critisicing christians to have. Onesided, agressive, biased, pushy, filled with anger and judgmental.

          Nobody like to be pushed into changing their mind. I have family members, collegues etc that want to sell their political agenda, wich make comments about (in their eyes) unhealthy food in a very judgmental way, wich are looking down on me becouse I don’t buy their socialistic ideas… very much fitting into the picture you are giving about christians here. This is not a specific christian behavour, it is human. But, we live in an open society, and to be confronted with peoples oppinion, strongly pushed on to me, is just a part of living in a modern society.

          It is not mainstream christians that decide whats comming in the headline of the secular news. It is clowns that ends up there, no mather what subject. Weard “burn the quran day preachers” is it that enters the headline. Not those christians that work silently to change diffficult neigbourhoods. Secular media consists of two parts…. what sells advertisement, and from several of them: this clown can put christians in a bad light.

          • Geo

            Kent, the basic premise of this article is exploring how non-Christians interpret the messages/actions of Christians trying to convert them, which I’m afraid you totally missed. Sure, people, in general, can be pushy but I have yet to hear of any politician, salesperson, or activist push their agenda where their underlying belief is to love thy neighbor (not judge your neighbor or convert your neighbor).

          • Sophia

            I hear what you are saying Kent. That those who are selling things, like political beliefs, are no different than evangelical christians trying to sell their beliefs. I can see where there are similarities, in that many engrossed in the bitter political divide fail to listen to or hear or be interested in a political opinion other than their own. What is not allowed at my parents’ dinner table anymore is talk of religion or politics for that reason!

            But they’re also different. When your brother walked out on Christmas dinner because I wouldn’t engage with him anymore about evolution vs creationism, when my father yelled at me that I’m going to hell and have rejected God and he’s through with me, when my friends talk about me behind my back and bring up my name at prayer group… it has a different feeling than just “disagreeing over politics”. The arrogance is staggering. The rejection is on a different level. Most can agree to disagree about politics and just not talk about it, but when your friends and family believe you’re going to hell, all conversations take on a very personal, pushy, holier than thou, never-ending attempt to change the way you think. And these are good people, who are generous and kind and helpful (when they are not telling me that I’m going to hell). They are not the “tv clowns” that you mention above. So forgive me, but my experience of having to face down the judgment of fundamentalist, evangelical Christians for 20 years does not even come close to the political disagreements I’ve had with people. And your defending it as human behavior, does not change my experience with this “specific christian behavior”.

    • mindy

      Nope, nope, nope. Not true. What non-Christians are saying, in general in John’s book, is not that “you Christians have a different opinion than me therefore I don’t like you.” What they are saying is, “The way you treat people (myself included) offends me, and I don’t understand how you can justify it by blaming your bad behavior on your version of God.”

      I don’t see a correlation with any of the other philosophical differences you list – until religion enters the picture. I can disagree with political conservatives about specific issues – until they use religion to back up a position, because that is the concrete barrier to constructive debate. “God says it, I believe it, so you might as well shut up!”

      I can debate fiscal conservatives, or climate-change deniers, or lovers of voyeuristic reality TV shows, or those who deny racism still exists – any of those positions are opposite of mine – but I can have a robust conversation about it using facts and anecdotes and so forth. I might, when all is said and done, decide I don’t wish to carry on a friendship or acquaintance with this person – but I might not. I might decide that even though we disagree, this person had some valid points and listened to my valid points and we could probably learn from each other.

      But with a Christian who defends bad behavior – small-mindedness, anti-science, bigotry – by saying they are simply “obeying God,” and then insisting that if I don’t obey that same God I will burn for eternity – well, no thanks. That is completely different than telling me trickle-down economics really works.

    • Bastet

      To some extent yes but not exactly.

      I have never had a random atheist stop me in the street and try to convert me.

      I have never had a random right winger (over here called National, not Republican) stop me in the street and try and convert me.

      When an environmental group stops me and I tell them I dont have time, they may try a 2nd attempt to get me to stop. “It’ll only take a minute”. They may well annoy me, but they have not tried to convert me.

      In active, chosen debate I have found that any person of any belief can get a little too over zealous.

  • Maria

    Since Christians are only the conduit of what their God is saying, shouldn’t the question be, “Why does God hate us so much?”.

    To which the answer in that case is simply “sin” and I don’t think Christians excluded themselves from that (“we’re all sinners”); they’re not saying they’re better. Because of that sin, if we don’t want to be under wrath, we can either be fixed of that sin or choose to stay in it and perish, like Jesus said (Luke 13:1-5)—that applies to all humans, Christians included.

    Actually, some verses I don’t see mainstream Christians reiterating or paying much attention to are the following: Luke 6:46-48; Matthew 7:21; Matthew 25:31-46; John 15:1-8; Galatians 5:19-24. Lots of people who identify under the “Christian” label will apparently perish as well for staying in sin, failing to bear spiritual fruit, nor heeding the commands to care for the well-being/needs of the forgotten in society.

    So again, it’s not, “Why do Christians hate us so much?”; a better question to ask is, “What’s wrong with the human race that it’s own creator threatens to destroy it?”. That’s what they’re going for.

    • just somebody

      This is exactly such a perfect example of what the writers above were complaining about that it is difficult to imagine that Maria’s comment is not a fake comment with the goal of being a humorous example of this blog’s main point.

      First, the very first statement listed decried that Christians tell non-Christians: “You’re bad, and wrong, and evil.” Maria, of course, will counter by claiming, “Oh no, no, no! I’m saying “We’re all bad, and wrong, and evil.”

      Second, Maria provides a perfect example of the other main complaint, Christian superiority, to wit: even though we’re all in that evil boat, that “Christians are the only conduit of what their God is saying.”

      Third, Maria concludes that she actually knows what non-Christians are really saying, despite what they are really saying. She is confident that non-Christians are really saying that they know everything Christianity says is true and “a better question to ask” is the Christian’s idea of the better question.

      Fourth, Maria claims that the real question is not “Why do Christians hate us so much?” while saying pretty much everything in the above list of “Why do Christians hate us so much?” Amazingly well done!

      • Maria

        I’m saying I know what Christians are trying to say, lol.

        • Snooterpoot

          The point is, Maria, that what some Christians are saying is hateful, spiteful and pious.

        • just somebody

          Maria, Maria, Maria. Let me try again with small words and short sentences.

          The main point of this post was to tell Christians how non-Christians hear what Christians say.

          Your first comment was ‘But that is not what Christians say. This is what Christians say.’

          My first comment was ‘We know that, Maria. That is not the point. The point is what non-Christians hear. That is, Maria, you missed the whole point of this article. Plus the way in which you missed the whole point of this article is a perfect example of the whole point of this article.’

          Your second comment says again, ‘But that is not what Christians say.’

          This, my second comment, repeats, ‘Maria, you missed the whole point of this article. And I do not know if you are just not trying very hard or if you are just not able. But this blog is trying very hard to talk to you about exactly what you just did here, twice. Please read again, more times. Then, instead of doing the same bad thing again, If you still don’t get the point, please ask questions so we can help you get it. We want you to get the point.’

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      No the question is rightly placed. People dont equate a believer of a faith with that believer’s deity but instead with with the person. It is in ones actions and words that others see how another looks at people.a non Christian doesn’t necessarily care about a Christian world views or they, as anyone, cares how they are treated and see others treated. If Christians are treated others poorly, its not God’s fault, its not the fault of the one getting sucky treatment, its the fault of the one doing all the words and actions

    • Sophia

      So basically, your response to the question “Why do Christians hate us so much?” is to deny non-Christians experience of interacting with you, and to just keep going with your monologue?

      I don’t believe that “Christians are only the conduit of what their God is saying”. My goodness, what arrogance. You speak for yourself, and no one else. When I talk to you, I see and hear you, not God. “My God” does not hate me, does not look at me as sinful, as does not see me as an unworthy worm in need of salvation. If you want to believe those things about yourself, you’re free to do so. But stop telling me that I must also believe such awful things about myself. I left this version of Christianity because I got so tired of the guilt and shame. I live a more joyful, kind and peaceful existence when I believe kind things about God and people.

    • Em

      See, I believe in a Creator but not one who wants to destroy us. And I do not believe that Christians speak for Him or Her. So your message of “I speak for God and I know that He hates you” will not convert anyone with reasonable self-esteem or any grasp of reality. I am pretty sure that God made me exactly how He likes me, and thus that Jesus is the answer to a problem I don’t have.

      tl;dr you sound delusional and prideful, a terrible mix. I doubt you are sincerely both, so maybe you should consider how your message sounds to others.

  • Coneigh Victoria Seadial

    Wow, this is really making me think. Yes, God says that we must be disciples of Christ, and spread the good news, and that we are blessed for being persecuted falsely on Jesus’ account, but He also says in James 1:19-24 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger: for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore, put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness of the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.”

    Be DOERS of the word. Meaning LOVE and not judge, because God is the ultimate judge. Its time that we stop being everyone’s savior, we already have one of those. No one is perfect, we were all born into sin, that is why Jesus left His throne!

    You can point fingers, and say “they are sinful so that makes them evil people and they are going to hell, I am better than you because I have Jesus.” But when you do that, you are sinning just as much as the next person by judging them.

    Sometimes we need to just step back, ask Jesus to live THROUGH us, and SHOW not TELL others how to be a disciple of Christ. Telling them that they are awful, evil people is not going to show people the true Love and mercy of our Father, its only going to push people away.

    Just remember, we all have a past, a present, and a future. Everyone is at different points and places in their life, so lets pour the love and mercy out on them, just as God did on us. All we can do is pray for them, love them and support them and be kind, and let God handle the rest. He knows best.

  • Kaje

    I’m an Atheist and proud – I would HATE to be a Christian, because all of those I have encountered are the pushiest and most obnoxious people I have ever had the misfortune of meeting. They seem completely and utterly blinkered – and I will NEVER understand why someone believes in something when there is ZERO proof – ZILCH, NADA, NOTHING, NIL – to back them up.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      I suspect everyone has a belief that others feel is utterly irrational and silly, yet it make sense to the person holding that belief. It is those seemingly ridiculous notions that help us try to understand life and people and society and why things are. Yeah people as a rule are “blinkered” but if we weren’t, I think wed be pretty boring.

    • summoner2100

      The question of whether or not God exists, is not as important as whether the faith in God exists. It gives people comfort to hold onto faith. Who are we to deny anyone? If they have faith, then it should be respected. I don’t exactly believe, or have faith, in ‘God” but I’m not about to deny someone something that helps them..

      Some people take it too far with their beliefs, but that happens on both sides of the argument.

  • ItstheEnd

    This makes me want to cry. These attitudes and behaviors are…well.. anti-christ. They are everything that Christ was not, everything Christ taught against. Christians are lost in the wilderness, and I don’t think they even realize it.

  • carl

    Leave the fairy tales behind and focus on treating people with respect. Any form of faith is simply unnecessary at best, harmful at worst. Instead, just try hard to do good and help others when you can.

  • Hilary

    One thing I want to say to all the ‘nice’ Christians – don’t be nice to me to try and convert me. Don’t invite me to your loving, non-judgemental, GLBT friendly, real-true-loving-spirit-filled church just to show me how wonderful you guys are, thinking that if only I saw ‘real’ Christians, the nice ones like you instead of the mean ones like those fundamentalists and Evangelicals, I’ll see the light and convert.

    I’m not a non-Christian because I hate Christianity from only seeing the mean ones, I’m Jewish because I love being Jewish. If you can’t understand other people loving their beliefs, religions, whatever just as much as you love yours, then don’t bother. And if you think Christianity has something much to offer to Jews specifically, google “Christian anti-semitism” for a while first.

    And another thing – don’t try to tell me that “Jesus teached the most important thing was love – all of the laws and prophets hang on that” like it is something nobody else does. You know who else taught that everything had to be understood in the light of compassion? Hillel. “What is hateful to yourself, do not do to others. The rest of the Law is commentary, go and study.” And of course Akiva taught that the most important commandment of them all was “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He also was tortured to death by the Romans in 135 CE. And both of those men were . . . Pharisees. Some of the most famous Pharisees in Jewish history.

    Now if you want to be nice to me because you respect people for who they are, not as a gotcha tactic to fix them, then we can work together.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      A great many progressive Christians love that quote by Hillel. Many others learned it by studying the works of Karen Armstrong. We respect you for who you are. We aren’t trying to convert you. That secret subversive tactic of being nice to you in order to change you isn’t nice nor loving and isn’t a part of who we are.

      • Sophia

        Who is the “we” that you speak for? People are telling their stories of what it is like to be around Christians who try to convert them.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Hi, Sophia. I was responding specifically to Hilary’s message in which she is incredulous of even Progressive Christians and says, “Now if you want to be nice to me because you respect people for who they are, not as a gotcha tactic to fix them, then we can work together.”

          So. I was referring to Progressive Christians by “we.”

          • Sophia

            Ok thanks. :)

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Reading Armstrong showed me that the concept behind the quote is ancient indeed and has cropped up in several religious and philosophical thought throughout the ages. I keep wondering if this was so important that it was “discovered” in different times and cultures throughout human history.

  • Rita

    There’s an old song that says “if you don’t love your neighbor than you don’t love God”, it has stuck with me for yrs.

    • ithinktoomuch

      So true, Rita! Loving God is the Christian’s highest commandment, but many seem to have forgotten HOW to do that. It’s right here:

      Matthew 25:34-36: ““Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’”

      You love God by feeding the hungry, offering shelter to the stranger, clothing the naked, tending the sick, and visiting the incarcerated. Nowhere in this passage is there mention that you must speak a sermon before you feed the hungry. Or give to the Salvation Army while denying those same impoverished people the SA helps at the ballot box. Or means-test before you offer shelter. Or only care about the prisoners who have accepted Jesus.

      Romans further defines this love:

      Romans 13:8-10: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

      In other words, “love” which drives people away from the church, “love” which destroys self-esteem, “love” which drives both gay (25% increase) and straight (8% increase) teens to suicide are not good fruits and therefore is not love.

  • Sophia

    I’ve read most of the comments here and the conclusion that I’ve come to, is that as long as Christians see their faith in Jesus as the one and only way to heaven, then they will continue to proselytize with fervor to the unsaved masses. With that understanding of salvation, it is the only kind thing to do. They are not assaulting you then with their message of hell; they are throwing you a life-saving tow line which you are sadly rejecting.

    I don’t see any way around that fact, other than interpreting the message of the gospel another way.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, NJ got a lot of attention when he said this:

      “Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children; before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.”

      Surely technique counts for something. People learn to see God through our deeds – not our creeds. Show. Don’t tell.

      • Sophia

        I am 45, and spent 22 years in an evangelical environment (family, church, college). I rejected all of it, and then moved back towards God in my own way over the next 20 years. These days I find helpful thoughts from parts of Buddhism, Hinduism, Mysticism and Christianity. I believe what makes sense to me but mostly, I simply believe in showing love. So in the end, a kind and loving and generous Christian will not persuade me to embrace and commit myself to their religious doctrine, any more than a kind and loving and generous Hindu/Muslim/Jew/Buddhist would convince me to commit to their religious doctrine. I’m just not in it for the membership badge anymore.

        By the way, I love that quote from Cory Booker. He certainly does live his faith in a quiet and humble way. Thanks for sharing that!

        • http://msannomalley.com/ Kathy Kramer

          I’ve experienced the same as you have. Grew up in religion (although not evangelical), but drifted away. I have my own relationship with God, but I’ve found that some of the teachings of Buddhism has helped deepen that relationship. I believe that words are meaningless without the actions behind them. Buddhism takes the mid path. You have to act, not just speak. It’s more powerful, kind, and meaningful to show love and respect through your own actions towards others than to tell someone they’re wrong because they don’t believe the same as you do.

    • Jonny Keene

      Jesus never convicted people for not following him, jesus never looked down on people or thought of people as inferior or unworthy. Jesus preached truth and love. Both together in balance. It hurts to see christians getting so obsessed with converting people. Converting someone should not even be a part of the picture. I hate that word, it’s so demeaning. If I approach someone with the focus of conversion, I’ve already turned them into an object, just another goal to achieve. People are amazing complex beings that cannot be judged at a glance or treated like another tick on the list. So many christians have got such a distorted focus on what is important, as a christian myself it often brings a tear to my eye to see so much hate from people that should have so much love.

      • Lausten North

        Then what did he mean by “separating the wheat from the chaff”? That is not an isolated example.

        • Em

          You admit that you cannot live respectfully with others. I would say that makes you the chaff.

        • Gray

          Perhaps a more relevant question to you would be whether you realize the Bible was edited, Jesus didn’t speak in English (or Greek for that matter), and that much of what you take him to have literally said or interpreted from what he said might be somewhat or entirely altered by those who decided what was canon and what wasn’t. For xample, if Jesus actually said “3.1If those who lead you say to you: See, the kingdom is in heaven,then the birds of the heaven will go before you;3.2if they say to you: It is in the sea, then the fish will go before you.3.3But the kingdom is within you, and it is outside of you.-3.4When you know yourselves, then you will be known,and you will know that you are the sons of the living Father.3.5But if you do not know yourselves,then you are in poverty, and you are poverty.

          … well then, almost everything you take to be tenets of your faith, mainstream Christianity, must also be called into question… If the above quote is closer to what Jesus historically said (and meant), your intense focus on proselytizing and converting non-believers loses much of its steam, since Jesus said we all have the spark of divinity within us, not at all that we had to ask for his forgiveness or receive salvation through him. Thoughts?

          • Lausten North

            You can find support for a wide variety of theologies in the Bible. Jonny said “never” which is obviously wrong, which leaves us with the task of sorting out the hellfire from the compassionate. Given that no one has done that definitively, how can anyone claim to be bringing anyone THE message of Jesus? I get the sense you agree the answer is, they can’t, that each of us need to find that ourselves, although we don’t have to take the journey alone.

          • Gray

            While I agree that each of us need to find the answers within, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s not possible to get to what Jesus actually taught (whether we can get to the original words in the original language is another matter)… One simply need use a little common sense and ask him or herself simple questions like “If God was all-powerful, all-mighty, and all-loving, would he create us all imperfect and flawed so we’d have to be saved by his ‘only’ son? Or is it more likely the gnostics were closer to his original words when they claim inner knowledge of our own divine nature leads to salvation, NOT a blood sacrifice as mainstream Christians believe?” I have never had any doubt in my own conclusions, since I knew from a young age that “God is good” and there are no exceptions to that rule; I’ve simply known from a young age that any religion which teaches me shame or that I am anything less than divine is flawed and attempting to wrest my own God-given power from me by convincing me I NEED the church or church officials to speak to God on my behalf, send my prayers along to a higher source, etc. Funny how New Age philosophies teach the divinity and oneness within us all, yet when Jesus said the same things in a gnostic context, we interpret them as “secret teachings” and somehow hard to grasp. Really?! Seems very commonsense to me…

          • Lausten North

            That’s nice Gray, but as you point out, it disagrees with many churches. You point out the logical problems with God’s omni powers, but ignore any possible problems with your New Age (or equivalent) philosophy. But it’s all of topic of my question and the entire post so that’s it for now.

      • Bastet

        Hi Jonny. I respect Christians right to be Christian.

        For me, it stems a little deeper than conversion.

        As a non-Christian, it doesn’t matter to me what Jesus said or did, what the bible says or used to say. I don’t believe in it.

        So, I don’t ask Christians to be like Jesus. I ask them to respect religious freedom for all out of human decency.

        Ps. I commend what you said and respect your opinion. It is ultimately the same as my own though through a different avenue.

    • Em

      This makes me sad because it suggests that Christians can never live peacefully with others. Sophia, many religions, including fundamentalist Islam, also believe that they have the only valid path and are doing others a favor by aggressively proselytizing. How would you feel if you were the subject of this behavior that you seem eager to bestow on other people? If everywhere you went, people were eager to tell you that your beloved beliefs are invalid? I imagine it would get annoying. Perhaps you would be less likely to consider joining a religion that treats you so poorly?

      I would like to live in a country where the government favors no religion (as outlined in the founding documents of the US) and where we all can live with respect and love for each other. Do you really think that Christians are incapable of this behavior? I don’t.

      • Sophia

        Hi Em. I’m not really sure what you think I was saying, but it seems that it has been misunderstood. I was speaking for Christians who proselytize – not my own point of view. I was saying that the logical conclusion of believing that Christ is the only way to heaven, is that christians will continue to preach the gospel in order to save them from hell (in those christians’ opinion). And that in their opinion, they are doing this in kindness. I know this, because I was raised in an evangelical, fundamentalist family. I am no longer one.

        “How would you feel if you were the subject of this behavior that you seem eager to bestow on other people?” I have been the subject of this behavior – many, many times by my family, who has told me on many occasions that I’m going to hell. I don’t like it. I’m not sure how my comment came across in favor of it?

        • Em

          I am sorry, Sophia. I mistook your explanation as espousing those views and then felt very sheepish when reading your later, very thoughtful comments.

          • Sophia

            It’s ok. I can tell from your comment that you have probably been hurt by “overly aggressive Christians” too. :) Thanks for writing back. Peace.

  • Ed Green

    When our kids were growing up I tried to instill within them the truth that how you say something is just as important as what you say.

    Jesus had some pretty convicting things to say, some of them what we might consider judgmental. But he was a master at combining grace and truth. With him it wasn’t either/or. We, on the other hand, often (usually?) err on one side or the other. As I read the gospels, I hear him speak with joy about the kingdom and the life he was inviting others to be a part of, and probably with tears in his eyes to those who felt they were farthest from it. He invited them to follow him and to trust him, and he would give them “rest.” The only times that Jesus appeared to “lack” compassion was when he was addressing the overtly religious—people who should have known better. To them he aimed his most vociferous criticism. He raked them over the coals.

    I believe it is incredibly helpful to listen to how those “on the outside” view those of us on the “inside.” As followers of Jesus we have much to apologize for. We have often blown it in how we have treated and spoken with others. We have become more known for the attitudes and actions reflected above and in the comments below, than for the love and revolutionary action of the one we claim to follow. For myself, I need to become known just as much for the grace I offer others as for the truth that I have to share.

  • CeeAitchEe

    “”It’s been my experience that most Christians are belligerent, disdainful and pushy.””

    Unfortunately, I know a whole lot of athiests you could say this about, too. People who automatically rise up with sarcasm and nastyness at the mere mention of “god”. The ones who will be rude to someone just because they said “Thank God” in response to a happening. The ones who’ll treat you like a lesser human being once they know you have any sort of belief system.

    It is a really broad brush, but if you paint someone with it, you should make sure you havn’t splashed paint over yourself, first.

    • YoRpFiSh

      Quick, use a false dichotomy to sound intelligent, whilst trying to level the field! That’ll solve everything!
      /s

      The attitudes of people who do not give credence to any sort of myth or fairy tale isn’t, and never was, the focus of this man’s book. The FACT that Christians behave in ways contradictory to their stated doctrine is.

      I’d be curious to see a study done on the cognitive dissonance. How does one twist the meaning of the the doctrine to suit whatever hatful impulse has the floor that day? I imagine it goes:

      Christians: “we hate all people who are gay… but we can’t hate people, so we hate ‘the gay’. We are horrible to people who have ‘the gay’ so that they will feel ashamed and ask god (only our god!) to remove ‘the gay’ so they don’t go hell. This is why we remind them constantly about hell and how terrible it will be. Surely that love!”

      Like that?

    • Sophia

      The point of this person’s comments – that his interaction with Christians leaves him with the impression that they are belligerent, disdainful and pushy – is not that Christians are the only people on the planet with these characteristics. The point, is that this is this person’s experience with Christians. Instead of defending and deflecting the comment, just feel with him for a minute what it must be like to be on the receiving end of that interaction.
      Pointing out that others act this way too, doesn’t make it any less true of (some) Christians.

    • Em

      It is more relevant with Christians because they claim to be full of the love of Christ. If Christ’s love is so transformative, how can it be that your only defense is to claim that other religions are just as bad?

      And by the way, I have never in life had an atheist mistreat me because I am Jewish. Compare that to about 1/3 of the Christians I know. I know it is anecdotal, but most non-Christians I know seem to have similar stats.

    • Bastet

      I have beliefs but do not subscribe to religion. I will admit to having been rude to a Christian trying to convert me. I will also admit Im not proud of that. The times it has happened is when the Christian concerned has not shown any respect for my right to believe differently to them. When I have said, “I have no interest in Christianity”, they have continued without acknowledgement. When I have said, “I do not wish to discuss this with you”, they have continued anyway. Yes, I wish I could say that Id always remained politeand taken the high road but honestly it is very hard to always respond with loving empathy and politeness to someone who is showing nothing but disrespect and disdain and return. I am, indeed, an imperfect soul subject to feelings of frustration.

  • LJ

    I am surprised that there was not one mention of a “Christian” who left a server a poor tip and then tried to convert him with a pamphlet. To me, that is one of the most offensive ways I’ve seen. It was around the first time I got that when I quit trying to convince my non-Christian friends that Christians weren’t jerks.

  • Dude

    1. Technology, science and (higher level) education are contradict christianity (lets call it C) because C has an explanation and an opinion about every single thing. The moment science shows/proposes something different, thats when they both contradict one another.

    2. In the past 2-3 thousand years, religion (including C) has been in almost 99% of the population, be it christianity/buddism/islam/judaism and even the african tribesmen believe in a certain higher being- all to explain the things they cannot explain.

    3. In recent years however, religion has been in decline, because of science and education. Look up irreligion in the states, UK, pretty much every developed european country, even many developing/developed countries in asia are dumping their centuries old religion(s) because they now know more than to believe in blind faith (and stuff like great floods and huge arks).

    4. Religion will diminish and maybe even die out, but perhaps some more sensible ones like buddism will survive, because buddism is about achieving spiritual wholesomeness, and following buddha’s ways(buddha was a human). Intsead by following the man in the sky. (or in space?!)

    5. How is religion going to die out? Well, scientists aren’t going to preach to you how false your religion is, thats for sure. What is going to happen is your children will grow up learning science and end up understanding more than you do, and hence grow apprehensive of blind faith and religious theories backed up by old sayings, and their kids will be smarter and even less likely to pick up any religion. So in short, religion will be lost through the generations.

    6. So where do we get our values??? Basically, just the golden rule, or the ethic of reciprocity.

    • disqus_cIUGxtm0eH

      It breaks my heart to read this. You have so many misunderstandings about Christianity. Furthermore, science and higher education do not contradict Christianity. I am a PhD student in mathematics and also a Christian. I may be in the minority, but I am certainly not alone. It is my genuine hope that you will do more research into Christianity before ever again making such claims as you do in this post. I am disappointed that you put such value in education but do not see fit to educate yourself about the religious beliefs of those who are different from you.

      • armadillo

        Firstly let me apologise to Dude on behalf of the poster of this reply.

        Ok if I must put my credentials to have disgus… take note I have an MSc in Physics and am also a Christian.

        disqus_cIUGxtm0eH the tone of your reply just proves dudes point number 5.
        Personally I resonate with Dude’s point 4 about finding spiritual wholesomeness, and think we have a lot to learn from Buddhism – which is has some profoundly enlightened practices.

        I know of a christian pastor who was originally converted to Christianity through his Buddhist meditation guide who though that this this man would benefit from using the gospels as a source of meditation. Clearly this guide was correct, it suited this man well.

        It is nothing but a tragedy that many Christians would reject the concept of celebrating this stage in this mans spiritual journey because the “Buddhist” plays a hero’s role in it. [By the way anyone who still thinks this would do well to revisit Jesus’ story of the good samaritan, and study the hero is in that story – hint he also was not a christian].

        • disqus_cIUGxtm0eH

          Please do not apologize on my behalf. It is neither your right nor your responsibility. I am a big girl and I can speak for myself. That said, *I* do apologize if my tone was interpreted as inflammatory to the OP. It was not intended to be.

          The only reason I mentioned my status as a student was to make the point that religion and science/higher education are not contradictory. armadillo, it would seem you agree with this based on your own education and beliefs.

          I replied to the OP because I am frankly tired of hearing the same argument over and over again: “your big fairy in the sky is a bully and your whole belief system is utter nonsense.” It is disrespectful and shows lack of knowledge of what Christianity is all about. In fact, the OP makes quite a few claims of correlation and causality that are not supported. The OP also seems to contradict the “right speech” part of the eightfold-path of Buddhism, which is to speak in a truthful and non-hurtful way.

          Please note that this is the last comment I’ll make on this thread.

          • Snooterpoot

            If it shows a lack of knowledge of what Christianity is all about it’s likely because so many evangelicals come across as hateful, smug and self-righteous.

            I’m not saying that describes every Christian, but the Christians it does describe seem to be the loudest.

  • Rexreg

    I ramble a little…I blame lack of caffeine….
    I was raised non-denominational Christian. During my formative years, I decided I did not care for organized religion, but continued reading religious and philosophical works from all sections of the world’s cultures. Oddly, however, while familiar with the stories, I some how managed to not read the New Testament. Last Summer, I decided I needed to remedy this and read the NT…I pulled out my old King James.

    I walked away from my reading feeling many, if not most, Christians live their life & shape their beliefs around not the 4 Gospels & the teachings of Jesus, but more around The Epistles & Revelation. Public prayer & preaching? Great, my Christian friends tell me, more should do these things. When I ask about Matthew 6:6 & its command to pray behind closed doors & in private, I am given blank looks. When I cite chapter & verse, I am told I do not know what I am talking about. Last I checked, the words in Matthew are supposedly those of Jesus…do the words of the Epistles now trump the words of Jesus? This confuses me.

    A friend of mine, who is born-again, has repeatedly tried getting me to attend his church…”I think you’d like us…we’re not against that much.” Really? Is this supposed to be a strong selling point? When I brought up my concerns with the Epistles & how those writings are treated, my friend’s response is, “The Epistles? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Again…really? My experience tells me many non-Christians know the New Testament as a whole better than True Believers.

    I could go on about Once Saved, Always Saved (“That is what I love about Christianity,” I am told, “It is a religion for f***-ups like me. I can do what ever I want & I am forgiven because I am Saved.” Really?) but need to cut my rant somewhere.

    Thanx for reading my ramblings & have a great weekend.

    • AVA

      Great observation! I often feel there’s a contradiction between that passage about praying in private and some of the evangelical practices, but I’ve never been able to describe it this well.

  • gentle

    As a non christian living in a christian house, I’d like to tell christians to ask people they’re living with if they want to come to worship rather than assuming. I’d like to tell christians that their obsession of being more like god is destroying who they are individually, and it hurts those around them to watch. I’d like to tell christians that indoctrinating children is wrong and causes belief for all the wrong reasons. I’d LIKE to tell christians all this, but I know well enough that the bible teaches you to do all these things. So great job christians. You’re really hitting it out of the park.

  • Joel

    Christians, or at least the more conservative variety, seem to think that they can say the most appalling things about me, without even knowing who I am, so long as they append that they are doing it out of love or concern for my immortal soul (which, of course, I don’t believe exists). If I were to tell someone that they deserved eternal torture simply because I don’t believe the Bhagavad Gita, or Gilgamesh, or any other thousands-year-old book, I would be roundly condemned, and rightly so. Why then do Christians think they can insult me by saying I deserve such infinite punishment for a finite crime, which I don’t even believe is a crime?

  • Joel

    because *they* don’t believe …

  • Samantha Jackson

    If you were to notice, the decline of Christianity and behavior of the general Christian is turning out exactly as a certain German philosopher predicted.

    People turn to god to input value and meaning into their lives. With such perceived “power” they feel it then allows them to judge others.

    At the end of the day, they are just power hungry individuals who seek the authority to judge people without repercussions and do so using God’s name. No different from power hungry dictators/politicians/businessmen who use different avenues to pass judgement.

  • Bastet

    Why do Christians automatically assume that if Im not Christian I must be atheist? When I tell them I have my own beliefs thank-you, why do they assume they have the right to demand I explain what these beliefs are? Why do Christians automatically assume that because I am not Christian I have no morals, ethics, or standards? Or worse that Im in need of being taught these things? Why do Christians automatically assume they have the moral high ground? Why do Christians automatically assume they are better citizens, contributing more and doing more good for society than I am? Why do Christians automatically assume that they give more to charity, volunteer more of their time and behave better than I do?

    I am a non-christian. I have morals. I have ethics. I have a social conscience. I have beliefs that I hold dear to me. I am vegetaroan because I love animals and am an animal rights activist. O volunteer for womens refuge because I love people and believe everyone has the right to a safe, non-violent life. I am human rights activist. I am an environmentalist. I have volunteered my time for many causes since I was 14 years old. I am now 40 and not a single year has gone by without volunteering. I give both my time and expertise to the ‘Look good, feel better’ program for women with cancer.

    But I’m not Christian. Im obviously going to hell!

    • http://msannomalley.com/ Kathy Kramer

      Believe it or not, I’m a Christian and I hear the same things from other Christians because I am spiritual, but not religious. I’m told there is “no such thing”, “I’m wrong” and that I’m “not a real Christian”. Christians also do this to other Christians, too. I believe it is because they are insecure in their own beliefs and people like you and people like me scare them because we think for ourselves and don’t need to go to one of those mega-churches where we’re told what we’re supposed to think.

  • Robin Weisbrod

    Do you know what is funny? Atheists and Jewish people are not the only ones the “Good Christians” look down upon. I am a cradle Episcopalian, I try to treat others as I would be treated, but because I have not been “Born Again”, I am treated as though something is lacking in my life. Funny, isn’t it?

    • Elizabeth 44

      Especially now we are ordaining lbgt priests and bishops. We are simply beyond the pale as far as some are concerned. You were born again…its called Baptism.

  • http://msannomalley.com/ Kathy Kramer

    I know that you are asking for stories from non-Christians; however, this happens to other Christians, too. I identify as a Christian, although I am more spiritual, but not religious. I have been told by other Christians that I’m not a “real” Christian unless I belong to a church or that there is no such thing as “spirituality”. Whether or not I belong to a church is none of their business. My relationship with God is personal, as it should be. I live in South Dakota, and I have felt the closest to God when I’ve driven out West River where there is all that open land and very little in the way of civilization. I look at that and I can’t help but think that “God made this and nobody else.” However, the narrow-mindedness that some of these people exhibit is one of the reasons why I don’t belong to a church. I want a relationship with God. I don’t want to associated with those who call themselves Christians, but are so hung up on Leviticus while completely ignoring the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes.

    Sadly, I’ve come to the conclusion that when people feel they must tell you that your beliefs are wrong and that you must believe as they do, they are insecure in their own beliefs.

    • Snooterpoot

      I don’t think they are insecure, Kathy. I think they’re just arrogantly assuming they are right and everyone else is wrong. It’s their smug self-righteousness, along with their attempts to codify their chosen theology into civil law, that is so off-putting to me.

      • Elizabeth 44

        I disagree. I think the underlying reason it is so important that we believe as they do, is that they need the reassurance that they are right. The really don’t have the spirituality that Kathy talks about.

  • Guest

    Anti-theists: Even if your story of salvation and existence of God is true me and you are infinitely more moral than God because we do not sent people to hell for the sole reason of not pledging allegiance.

    Militant New Atheists: Evidence, evidence, evidence. No evidence screw off. How can anybody believe such stupid, evil and silly stories in 2013?

    Humanists: Humans have a capability we identify as reason. Lets use it to the fullest to determine our destiny and achieve happiness 😀

    Moderately Activist Atheists: Evidence, evidence, evidence. But I’ll be glad to chat with you over a cup of coffee.

    Atheists who are scared of being rude: Go on, its interesting :) *puts on a smile*

    Agnostic Atheists: I don’t know and you don’t know either

    Secular Atheists: Do everything God wants you to just don’t mess with my life!

  • SGHeathen

    Anti-theists: Even if your story of salvation and existence of God is true me and you are infinitely more moral than God because we do not sent people to hell for the sole reason of not pledging allegiance.

    Militant New Atheists: Evidence, evidence, evidence. No evidence screw off. How can anybody believe such stupid, evil and silly stories in 2013?

    Humanists: Humans have a capability we identify as reason. Lets use it to the fullest to determine our destiny and achieve happiness 😀

    Moderately Activist Atheists: Evidence, evidence, evidence. But I’ll be glad to chat with you over a cup of coffee.

    Atheists who are scared of being rude: Go on, its interesting :) *puts on a smile*

    Agnostic Atheists: I don’t know and you don’t know either

    Gnostic Atheists: Problem of Evil, Argument from Non-belief, Paradox of Omniscience, Paradox of Omnipotence….

    Secular Atheists: Do everything God wants you to just don’t mess with my life!

  • The Cool Cookie

    I differentiate between true Christians, those embody Christ’s messages and live the word in their own lives, and “christians” who are bossy, intolerant and prideful in their own superiority and the power they wish to force upon others. The lower case is intended with “christians” because unlike those who LIVE the word, these people are anything but Christlike. To them I would say, where in your bible does it say that you have the right to be so dismissive and cruel to others? Why must you tear people down in order to save them? Did it ever cross your mind that “you” and your tactics are what these people need saved from?

    • Sophia

      My family members, who are evangelical christians, spend a lot of time differentiating between who is really a christian, and who isn’t. I find the process somewhat arbitrary. After all, some look good on the outside, but they’re “posers”, with “evil” thoughts or deeds behind closed doors. And some look “sinful” to the world, but they’re honest, with themselves and others. And some are truly “good souls” no doubt, who live the love and truth they profess, in most areas. Everyone’s working on something no doubt. So my point is, that the very process of deciding who is, and who is not really a christian, seems to be unchrist-like to me. It’s not your job. And the very essence of engaging in this process, is hurtful.

      My evangelical family members have announced and discussed the following groups as “unsaved” and thus going to hell: all those who claim to be non-christians (buddhists, hindus, muslims, jews, atheists, agnostics, wiccans, etc), groups who claim to be christians, but have the “wrong doctrine” such as (catholics, methodists, westboro baptist members…) and christians who have sinned in a “big way” (had an affair, got pregnant, quit going to church). These people aren’t really christians. I fall into the non-christian category to my family because I tend to vote for democrats :) and I think that gay people deserve basic human rights. The very essence of the argument that some are christians and some aren’t, is destructive and misleads the one who engages in the process away from their real work, which is to allow christ to change their life.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        I don’t care who is a Christian and who isn’t. I categorize myself as one, but that’s because its the one that fits me best, in regards to some of my religious beliefs. But, I am an oddity amongst my family, my co-workers, and even most of the people I attend worship services with.

        But you know, that’s ok. We don’t have to conform to the ideals of a religion, or of people, even those that feel they should worry about the state of our souls. We can be ourselves, people of faith on a purely individual level, believing that we are loved by God, and that God loves all of us, and to try to live with integrity.

      • The Cool Cookie

        But Sophia, these people like your family members aren’t living as Christ lived. “Judge not, lest ye be judged” means something. When one hides behind the “Christian” and acts in a very unchristian manner, they need to be called on it. None of us are perfect, but using religion is wrong and it never brought a victory to mortal man that is lasting and rightous.

        • Em

          Just the act of proselytizing is judgment. You are judging my beliefs as less than your own.

        • Snooterpoot

          I think you missed the gist of Sophia’s comment, which is that it isn’t up to human beings to decide who is a “real” Christian.

          • The Cool Cookie

            Yeah, I got her point. And I disagree with it. Her family isn’t practicing Christianity. They are using it as a protective cloak for behaving in a most unchristian manner. And yes, I get to judge her people, because they are judging others. Do I lay awake in bed at night worrying her people and their life choice? No. I’m not preoccupied with their behaviors. Only my own. I am far from perfect and I know that. My charge is to make myself a better person each day. I fall back, and I move forward. I am just expressing my opinion, she is just expressing hers. And we disagree. Can you understand that Snooterpoot?

          • Snooterpoot

            Yes, I understand. I disagree. I think it isn’t up to humans to decide who is or is not a Christian. I think making that judgment about her family is no different than her family’s passing judgment on others. Her family isn’t practicing Christianity as you see it; you aren’t practicing Christianity as they see it. Both judgments are, IMO, equally off the mark.

            We have the option to live our faith authentically. God will sort it all out. God knows what lies in our hearts.

  • Chair

    As a Buddhist I have too many times been solicited by overly active Christians who tell me that because I don’t believe in their God or Christ and his sacrifices I am not going to go to heaven. I find it painful that in order to explain my point of view to them and extricate myself from the conversation I often need to resort to apologizing for my beliefs and claim that I’ll think them over. I’m perfectly okay with you believing in your views, but I have my own reasons for believing in my religion. I have friends who are afraid of voicing out their insecurities about being Christian simply because their parents, social circle or church wouldn’t approve.

    And I do admit to a lot of “vices”. I drink. I gamble. I wouldn’t deny any of those. My religion tells me that I should not be doing this, but it also tells me that I should, through my own questioning and reasoning, realize that I should not be doing this. This is something I feel Christians should be doing, questioning and reasoning why they believe in their faith. Not questioning their faith, since they aren’t supposed to, but why they choose to accept it.

    I do however believe that there are Christians who are truly good and kind, and who would like to emulate Christ in the manner that he lived. There needs to be more of these sort of Christians. There needs to be a community in which your religion isn’t going to be judged and you aren’t going to receive a different sort of treatment just because you’re of one religion and not another.

  • Qing Guang

    Frankly, in my experience (as a Presbyterian), I often see non-Christians behave in a more Christlike manner than many Christians I know. My personal thought is that any belief that leads one to do good is valid, so I’ve long been opposed to evangelism as we know it. My feeling is that the best thing to do, as a Christian, is just to behave as we’re taught in the Bible and be open about our religion (without shoving it down people’s throats). If somebody wants to know about my beliefs, I’ll explain them, and that’s great if they’re interested in learning more, but if not, that’s their business – and who knows? Maybe I have something to learn from them.

  • vagabondette

    Ugh, evangelists. When I was in a hostel in Mexico I was somewhat surprised to see a group of 20 Americans in their 20s-30s checking in. Curious, I asked what their deal was. One woman said they were here for a conference. One man stepped very close to me and said “we’re evangelists”. Those two words, and the way they were delivered, put me on my guard.

    Over the next week, I spoke to many in the group and they were all kind and friendly and there was no mention of religion. On several occasions when there were groups of them in the common area, they’d start reading scripture aloud. I would generally leave the area when that happened.

    On the final day I was sitting in the common room with 4 members of the group including the leader and the proud evangelist I met on day one. Finally, I was
    asked the question I had avoided – and been dreading – all week: “what religion are you?” I responded, as I always do, that I don’t believe in organized religion. The group leader, who had asked the question, responded that he found that interesting and asked if I wouldn’t mind explaining why.

    For the next 45 minutes we calmly and rationally discussed the religions of the world. Unlike most evangelists I have met, he had spent 5 years traveling the world studying religions in their home regions. He was educated, articulate and accepting of other people’s beliefs even though he had ultimately chosen to follow Christianity for his own. I never felt any kind of “you must convert or burn in hell” pressure and it was, without a doubt, the best conversation on religion I’ve had with an evangelist and maybe with anyone.

    During our conversation, the guy from the first day had been sitting and listening. During a lull in the conversation, he passed me a business card and said “you need to read this”. On the card were 5 statements. At the bottom of the card it said that unless I agreed with all 5 statements I was doomed to spend eternity in hell. He then told me that I needed to adjust my thinking.

    I took the card, tore it into pieces and threw it in the trash. When he asked me why I did that, I told him it would give him one less chance to spew his hateful poison at some innocent person. I then turned to the group leader and told him “He (pointing at guy from day 1) is the reason people don’t like you guys. He is the reason I don’t follow a religion and he is the reason I spent most of the week avoiding your group. He is giving you a bad name and he just obliterated any good opinion I had of your group. You should strongly reconsider letting people like him represent you.” I then turned and walked away.

    I didn’t see any of them again before they left but it’s unfortunate how the bad experience far outshadows the good experiences I had with people in the group. That is what I think is the problem with Christianity today. While many, if not most, of them are good people doing good things in a respectful way, it’s the verbally incontinent loonies that people remember and which leaves a sour tasted in our collective non-christian mouths.

  • chrislb

    They see converts as notches on their belts – I hate that! Love that Rob Bell endorses this author too!

  • JD

    In my experience there are 2 things about (some) Christians that is an instant turn off:

    The first is the belief that non-Christians cannot possibly be moral. That we cannot be genuinely kind or just. That we must be mentally off for choosing NOT to be Christian. That we are damned, devil deceived and/or possessed,. That we cannot be trusted. That we are ignorant, angry, rebellious and enemies of god and therefor enemies to all Christians. That non-Christians are second hand humans and citizens. That non-Christians are lacking in everything good, just and wholesome.

    The second thing is: Christians cannot hear you.

    Once you are deemed a non-Christian that there is nothing you can do or say that will convince them that there is nothing wrong with you. They have no interest in your beliefs or thoughts for how in the world can a non-Christian know of any truth? They simply shut you down. You cannot be trusted in anything you may say or do. You are dangerous, a threat to the Christian’s very soul. After all, when you are the devil’s mouthpiece there is no way you could have anything of value to share with a Christian.

    I find it all incredibly arrogant, callous, ignorant and just plain unkind.

    In my experience as a non-Christian it’s best to stay out of their cross-hairs. That it’s best to stay hidden for the most part out in public. Dont let it slip you are not a Christian. When can lose your job, have your child harassed or your home and property vandalized all because you are not a Christian, it’s best to stay hidden.

    • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

      The obvious fact remains, is that we shouldn’t have to stay hidden, we should be free to be us.

      • Em

        Everyone should be free to be themselves, without constant proselytization and fear.

  • jtheory

    Thank you John, as a Christian this is so important for me to read. I wanna do a blog series soon called “What We Talk About When We Talk About NonChristians” and this is very helpful towards that.

    Thank you.

    And to any nonchristians reading this, I’m sorry.

  • Phil Groh

    I am a Christian, and I do not share the views with the Christians described in this post. I am more of a Universalist in the Christian Tradition. On occasion I cross paths with “Christians” who believe that since my Christian belief is not the same as theirs that I am immoral, wrong, and going to hell. I tell them that I believe that all of the world’s faiths, including the atheists and agnostics, are part of a symphony orchestra, each with a part to play, and all led by a divine conductor. After saying that, they end the conversation themselves.

    • fionax

      That is the best and for me, truest analogy I have read. Thanks for that!

    • Elizabeth 44

      I like that! I often use the analogy of the three blind man and the elephant to encourage others to listen to everyone’s understanding of the “elephant”. We all have a piece and a part to play.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      I like that orchestra analogy, and I totally agree. It is one similar to one I imagined years ago, as I began my journey to a more introspective, mystical version of personal belief. That any faith has the corner on God, only limits them to a corner.

      And Elizabeth44, the elephant fable is one of my favorites.

  • GirlBetrayed

    I am really saddened, reading through these comments. I see people sharing their experiences, only to have Christians still trying to argue them out of them. This drives me absolutely up the wall because it’s still so arrogant for Christians to continue to make a case for the faith, dress it up to look nice, even when people explicitly tell them they don’t care. Or, that they were Christians once. Or, that they have a different set of beliefs. It still makes the Christian in the interaction the final arbiter of moral truth.

    There’s still a lot of the no-true scotsman fallacy. There are no “fake” Christians. The “good” and “bad” alike, anyone who claims the title of Christian ARE really Christians. Nobody in the real world gets an easy pass for bad behavior.

    When people try to foist their ideas on someone else, it is a form of violence. Even if done in the name of ‘love’. Full stop. It’s spiritual abuse, a violation, in essence that communicates to the “other” that their dignity (the right to their personal opinions, feelings, beliefs–or lack thereof, and experience) matters less than your own. It puts real flesh and blood human beings behind an untestable idea.

    As a Christ follower, many of the critiques in the article speak to me as well. The only reason I haven’t left my tradition is because I, personally, have had too many positive experiences with Jesus.

    Honestly, though, I am quickly losing patience with my own “tribe” and feel terribly alienated from it. I’ve been bullied in the name of Jesus. When I came out as bisexual, I was threatened with Hell. I’ve not been listened to, disregarded by other Christians. My doubts were vilified. When I stopped believing in Hell as eternal, my fellow Christians questioned the sincerity of my faith. I’m a wheelchair user and I cannot tell you how many times people have tried to pray for miraculous healing without gaining meaningful consent first. And then, when I couldn’t get up and walk, blamed me for unbelief or living in sin. Conversely, my mental health struggles (as opposed to the physical ones) have been invalidated and minimized by other Christians. We really do shoot our own wounded. And…while I realize “we’re not all that way” my experience, like many others here, renders this sentiment irrelevant. Who cares when so many ARE that way???? When personal experience testifies to a different reality.

    I think this has been weighing on my chest for way too long. And, invariably, someone will call me “bitter” but…ugh.

    • Elizabeth 44

      I am sorry. Stories like yours just break my heart, because, as you know, this isn’t what Jesus taught. I am a healing minister and it appalls me that people do that to you in public places. People came to Jesus and asked for healing; Jesus didn’t force himself on them. You have been mistreated in many ways; I hope you will find a Christian community who will love and cherish you, just as you are. They are out there.

      • GirlBetrayed

        Thanks, Elizabeth. I haven’t yet completely given up hope. :-)

      • Banjo

        Jesus did not heal them. Their faith made them whole.

    • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

      Exactly, when so many “ARE” it becomes frustrating when people use the few good eggs, to basically justify the fact that the bad ones exist, and that we shouldn’t complain about the bad ones. I thank you deeply for your understanding.

      • GirlBetrayed

        Pointing to the good ones is just a red herring usually, imho. A way to redirect the conversation in a more manageable (for the Christian) direction.

        And, YesDavis, you’re very welcome.

    • Shinjitsu

      That’s like saying there’s no difference between Monopoly money and genuine legal tender. But we both know you’d go ballistic if you started receiving your government benefits in Monopoly instead of real money.

      You can’t, therefore, conflate Christianity with Antichristendom.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Monopoly money, when playing the game Monopoly is valid tender to use when buying, selling and renting in the economy of the game, Real money would be of no value, and please, who walks around with $500 dollar bills? Just because something applies in one scenario and doesn’t another, mean that one is less valuable than another.

        And most certainly Christianity can be connected to anti-christendom. The faith has a long, dark and often bloody history. Christians, and I agree with Beverly, if one says you is a Christian, then you is a Christian, will lie, steal, stab you in the back verbally, belittle, ostracize, condemn, restrict rights, abuse, beat, murder..just like non-Christians. The difference lies, in that often those nasty activities are done in the name of their faith, as if its an excuse to act so despicably.

        People who have been on the recieving end of such behavior aren’t making stuff up just to make Christianity look bad. They are honestly in pain, wondering why people who talk so much about how Jesus loves, can demonstrate the opposite. People may mean well, when they say or do hurtful things, they may honestly believe that its the right thing to do, because they’ve never stopped to consider the validity of the motivations.

        Part of why UC exists is for Beverly, and myself, and all the others who have been hurt by religion, but still find hope in our faith in God, and just need to know they are not alone, that they are loved by people, all of whom are loved by God, and that they have a beautiful purpose and value, by their mere presence among us.

        • Shinjitsu

          Simple. It’s because they’re not Christians but Antichrists –

          “They [who lie, steal, stab you in the back verbally, belittle, abuse, beat or murder may] publicly declare they know God, but they disown him by their works, because they are detestable and disobedient and not approved for good work of any sort.” – Titus 1:16 (Bracket mine.)

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            No, they are human, they know God, as well as any of us can possibly know God. They just act horrendously, as any human is capable of doing. One’s religion, doesn’t make one turn into this perfect paragon of virture, it just makes them an adherent to a religion.

          • Shinjitsu

            How is any of that germane? I’m sure there are many rapists, murderers and pedophiles who claim to know God. Does that mean they actually do? Do you honestly believe all claims inhere veridicality?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            As some of these people who have raped, murdered and abused children are pastors, I would say the answer as yes. The Bible has murderers, David, Samson, Moses, rapists, people from the tribe of Benjiman who gang raped and murdered a priest’s daughter, with his consent, and who later killed a city and forced 400 women into marriage. It also has cheaters, Samson, David and Abraham. Commiters of insest, Abraham and Lot (although in their defence it apparently was culturally acceptable)
            Most of these are the heroes of the bible, the people we look up to as people who were close to God, yet they were also quite capable of being utterly heartless.
            Wanna try again?

          • Shinjitsu

            And what happened to all those who committed sins and were unrepentant?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Name one person, living or dead, who has committed sins and has yet to repent of them.
            And even more important, does it really matter?

          • Shinjitsu

            You lost me again. How does this answer my query?

          • Shinjitsu

            To whom are you referring to specifically?

          • Shinjitsu

            More importantly, on what objective moral basis do you dare judge and condemn the actions of any other? Who made you God Almighty?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Who said I was condemning anyone? People can be shits, you, me, everyone. In fact, everyone can be. The same people can be people of great integrity, wonderful parents, devoted friends, major contributors to society. But like everyone, we screw up, sometimes royally.

            Which is why we condemn ourselves if we condemn others, because we evelate ourselves too loftily when we do.

          • Shinjitsu

            Seriously? You just finished contemning a number of biblical heroes! Do you not remember?

          • Snooterpoot

            Ah, the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. You don’t get to say who is Christian. If someone says, “I am a Christian” it is not for you to refute that. And one verse of scripture, that isn’t even attributed to Christ himself, does not support your assertion.

            In my opinion, the fact that some Christians act in harmful ways, and that they justify their actions as being consistent with and required by their religion, is the only relevant factor in this discussion..

  • Jennifer Martin

    (“There are about a million things I’d like to say to Christians, but here’s the first few that come to mind: Please respect my right to be the person I’ve chosen to become. “)

    And I’ll go you one better: I don’t even say “Please.” I tell these street preachers, “You WILL respect me. Or you’re not getting one penny of my money.”

  • Stacymay

    I’m a Christian, but I’ve experienced the bad end of evangelism lots of times. So many things people say are nothing but disturbing and hateful while they think so long as their intention is good (saving souls), it will work and God smiles upon them for doing it. I’m not going to pretend I know what’s in their hearts, but people who preach nothing but fear and rejection are not making much of a positive impact. If we really want to show God to people, the best we can do is show them love.

  • josh.b

    The gospel should be shared in love. Look at the stances in this conversation. Christians believe that Christ is the only way to have life (here and eternal) and so they share that truth out of love and compassion (or they should) .

    The non-christians posters seem angry, hurt, and have had negative experiences with Christians. They call Christians intolerant and hateful, and firmly believe that Christians should act in a different way.
    This too is an absolute and intolerant stance, to demand respect, inaction, passivity, and tolerance from the other side.

    To me, both non-Christians and Christians are intolerant.
    I think tolerance has become the new LOVE word. But I think it is far from loving. The word itself and the history of it’s real use tells all. Tolerance is about how much you can stand a person before conflict arises.
    Love is seeing your neighbor truthfully as he or she is and choosing to connect anyway, transcending sexual orientation, opinions, politics, gender, etc.

    I’m all for peaceful communities, and secular society is wondeful for that, but just how loving is this tolerant attitude that we have towards one another?

    • Bastet

      You appear to have entirely missed the point. People aren’t angry that people are Christian. We’re tired of being accused of being in league with devil, talked to like we’re immoral, yelled at for holding different beliefs, preached at, spoken down to, having the bible quoted at us and being ignired when we say, “Im not Christian. I have my own dearly held beliefs just as you do. Please stop trying to convert me?’ The very fact that you think my not wanting to be cinverted while respecting your right to your religion is intollerance, while you refuse to acknowledge my basic right to my own beliefs just sticks another nail in the coffin. Your right to religious freedom does not include stripping me of my right to religious freedom.

    • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

      And you would be write to note that we seem “angry” because we very well could be, but I’m with Bastet, the point is not that we don’t love Christians, many of us do, deeply. Its partly for that reason that we feel so hurt, when those we love and care about treat us without love. I’m with you Christians should show love. But they also shouldn’t use that expression of love as a condition for which we are supposed to reciprocate by accepting “faith” as the be all end all or believe that without that faith, our own expression of love is invalid. We have solid reasons for our non-belief. If we weren’t challenged by every Christian on a war path to convert the world, we would never have to be defensive, we’d all just “get along”.
      Also, we note that “some” or “most” Christians are hateful or intolerant etc. but that depends entirely on our local and personal interactions. If all Christians that I knew treated me with hatred, or intolerance, etc. I would be justified in making the claim that “most” Christians were that way. My own personal experience wasn’t that, only a couple insist on sending me books, and debates, and videos and arguments to convince me to return to the faith, while the rest have treated me with the utmost love and respect. But does either of those cases change the fact that I don’t believe in God? no. sry.

    • Joel

      Are you listening to what you are saying? Being intolerant of someone who is being intolerant of you is itself intolerant? What complete and utter tosh! If someone comes to my door or gets in my face, I have every right to call that person out on it and tell him/her what utter rubbish he/she is spouting. Don’t you dare tell me that is being intolerant. This nonsense is what every non-Christian here is objecting to. You apparently haven’t heard one word we’ve said.

  • dagobarbz

    I tell the doorknocker preachers I’m a Scientologist. I’m not, but they don’t know how to handle it and usually just wander away.

  • http://www.themonthebard.org/ Themon the Bard

    As usual, I’m the odd duck here. We don’t get many religious solicitors, and I don’t really mind them, though I rarely have time for them. The few conversations I’ve had have been amusing, if not delightful.

    One older man came around on a hot summer afternoon. I didn’t have a lot of time for him, so I explained that I had my own spiritual path, and wished him well. I noticed he was sweating heavily in the heat, and asked if he’d like a glass of water. He looked at me oddly. “You know,” he said, “I’ve been doing this for twenty years, and that’s the first time anyone has offered me anything.”

    Another time, two women came around passing out Watchtower literature. One woman was clearly the “trainee,” who did very little talking. I smiled, and told them I had my own spiritual path. The leader wanted to know what I meant by that. So I shrugged — she’d asked — and told her I was a Pagan. She was fascinated, and peppered me with questions. The other woman worried me, though: she kept backing away, and I was concerned she was going to step off the porch and hurt herself. I understood that she was afraid of that word, Pagan, and also the basis of her fear, which had everything to do with her church’s theology, and nothing to do with me. I found her reaction saddening.

    I’ve found that kindness (usually) begets kindness. I also understand what they are doing, and I feel a little sorry for them. “Witnessing” to strangers is just one of their religious shibboleths: it’s a duty, and frankly not a very pleasant or rewarding one. They’re selling snow to Eskimos, and they get a lot of doors slammed in their faces. I try to make their duty a little less unpleasant for them, and they usually respond with gratitude.

    I’ve yet to be told to my face that I’m going to Hell. Most people going door to door realize that’s poor salesmanship. If it happened, I suspect I’d get the name of their church, call the number on the spot and insist on talking to their pastor, and give him an earful right in front of the poor schmuck at my door. We have a few of the nutcase pastors in town who would be like talking to a wall, but most of them understand that they live in a relationship with the community. It’s poor form to go door to door ticking off your neighbors. I suspect I’d get an apology from the pastor, and inspire a new adult education class in their church on “How to Witness Door to Door.”

    • Bastet

      Do you live in a small to medium size community? Just wondering because my own experience is radically different and Im a city dweller.

      • http://www.themonthebard.org/ Themon the Bard

        < 150,000 — also a college town. It makes a difference, for sure.

        OTOH, I've got friends in the Pagan community here who have all kinds of trouble with neighbors. I'm not in anyone's face about being a Pagan Druid, but if it comes up, I'm very matter of fact about it. The main reaction I get is intense curiosity.

        This is not to say I've never had a bad experience with an Evangelical or Fundamentalist Christian. My sister and I are no longer on speaking terms, and the proximate cause was her religious bigotry, mixed with some rather obnoxious racism. But that's family, and family issues are almost never about the proximate causes.

        Bastet? Egyptian devotee? :-)

        • Bastet

          No. Not a devoteeof any religion.I call myself an esoteri occultist. Which really just meabs spiritualseeker and explorer:)

  • Phoenix Rising

    It’s been my experience as Wiccan, that I tend to inspire fear when proselytizers come to the door – LOL! Rather like – “OMG!! She can CURSE me!!” I deal with those who don’t retreat by questioning them on some of the inconsistencies of the Bible, which I generally know better than they do. With no answers, they also retreat, and I wish them good studying before their next foray. I feel everyone is ‘called to the religion (or non-religion) which is ‘right’ for them, and answer questions only when specifically asked.

    • phil1942

      “Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, An it harm none do what ye will.”

  • Elizabeth 44

    The article does break my heart: so much spiritual abuse; so many people mistreated; so little Christian love, real love, not fake love. Then I read many, many of the comments and something struck me. Many of these people have never really noticed the “real” Christians. Jesus did not come badgering people. People came to him. He did not insist that everyone do what he did, or else. He painted a picture of a loving God, more loving than any human father could be. Jesus didn’t celebrate the religious leadership of the day, he celebrated the little people, the poor widow, the sick, the friendless. If you want to see real Christians, look who is staffing the food banks, look who is busy at the homeless shelters, look who is fighting for human/animal rights, look for those who truly love and accept. There is where the ‘real” Christians are to be found. Funny thing, many of them don’t call themselves Christians. Jesus wasn’t a Christian; he was a Jew.

    • YesDavisIsMyFirstName

      How do you define “real Christian?” If its all about a set of loving people than many atheists would be considered Christians by that criteria rendering the term Christian meaningless and without exclusive definition or ties to its religious or Theological implications. If its based on the idea that you follow the teachings of Jesus, then the same still applies. however if you believe that being a Christian means believing that Jesus is God or at best, the Son of God and also believe that he died and rose which somehow is connected to sin. If that’s your definition, which by the way is what MOST Christians who claim the title believe, then your point about ‘real’ Christians falls on my deaf ears. If you conflate the two, and state that a “real” Christian is one who, believes in the dying and rising Jesus, as well as applying a particular set of Jesus’s teachings, whilst ignoring various other admonitions by Paul and others, and chooses to love people without judgment, (including implying that a person not following your criteria to a T will go to hell or at minimum be “apart from God for eternity”) then I would say, more power too those Christians, but you still don’t have anything particular that I want that is in the faith, that I can’t develop apart from the faith, e.g. a solid morality, compassion, love, purpose, hope, etc.
      The fact remains that your potentially narrow definition of being a “real” Christian is entirely dependent on your “personal” definition. And using that same logic, many would claim that YOU aren’t a “real” Christian.
      I will call out that my specific beef is only with the term “real” Christian, as an atheist, If I were to meet one of your kind, loving, versions of a Christian, I would welcome them, as long as they didn’t try to convince me that somehow my way of looking at the world is without love, hope, kindness etc. or threaten separation from their “compassionate” God. I will apologize if my own tone comes across condescending or hurtful. My de-conversion was quite recent, and though I am quite comfortable and firm in my own beliefs, the process socially of revealing my beliefs was far less comfortable, so I’m still kinda prickly on words like “real” Christian, as it has been implied, that I “never really was one”. Peace!

    • Rebecca Butler

      Do you have statistics of believer to non-believer ratios of who is staffing the food banks, busy at the homeless shelters, and fighting for human/animal rights? Because I am a non-believer and I do these things, as well as MANY of my non-believing friends. So here again, christianity does not have the monopoly on all things good, right, and fair.

      • Rebecca Butler

        Yes, there are loving christians out there who do actually care for people and are concerned with making the world a better place. But you can find these qualities in believers and non-believers alike. To think that only christians can have this kind of love and compassion is quite naive. There are loving christians, and there are pushy ones. There are loving atheists, and there are pushy ones. It’s almost as though it’s what is in a person’s own heart that makes them loving or pushy, rather than what they believe…

      • Elizabeth 44

        I’m sorry I don’t have that statistic. Another statistic I would like to see for food banks is recipients vs. general population.

        I’m sorry if I implied that only Christians do these things, of course not! I would wager not even half of the workers are Christian. I only meant to say that these are the kind of places you will find “real” Christians, as opposed to the hate mongers that seem to be loudly everywhere.

        • Em

          And how many of the churches are doing their charity with public funds? Like Good News Rescue Missions, where the director lives in a mansion and (about half of them secular) volunteers provide the care, the community and taxes provide the money? You don’t get charity points when you are making a fortune while someone else does the work.

    • MaryJane Rissberger

      using the words “christian” and “love” in the same sentence is wrong. There is no true love in today’s “christianity”

  • thed.d

    that’s why I’m leaving the christian way 😀

  • MaryJane Rissberger

    I just want christians to leave me alone, stop telling me about Jesus, and the Bible and that christianity is the only right way, and that they want this country to be christian….The country has been judeo-christian -ish from its inception, and look at the mess they’ve made with their nastiness and hate – give me a good old secular/pagan country and leave it at that – ethics and morality are far better than christianity, and no, they are NOT the same.

    • Rebecca Butler

      Yes. And I loathe when christians begin the ‘America was founded to be a christian nation’ speech. No, America was founded so that we would all have the right to choose to believe as we wish. Yes, some of the founders belonged to various denominations of christianity. But they firmly believed in not telling people what to believe. They firmly believed in NOT instituting a national religion.

  • jrogerw

    John, I appreciate your research. It confirms what I had in mind when I wrote this over 5 years ago: http://jrogerw.xanga.com/629403288/listening–the-key-to-evangelism/.

    • Kristie R. Swift

      This article was fabulous!

  • Rebecca Butler

    jrogerw, though your article does address the pushiness aspect, I think it misses the point entirely, that many of us non-christians do not NEED to be told or explained anything at all about christianity. Many of us already know the doctrine and creed very well; some of us are even former believers. There’s nothing ‘lacking’ in our lives… there’s no ‘hole that needs filled’. We don’t ‘long for something more…’ like so many christians think we must. Many of us have wrestled with different beliefs and ideologies ourselves, so to assume we are ignorant of what christianity means and is all about, is somewhat offensive.

  • Rebecca Butler

    Truly, there aren’t many people out there today who have never heard the message of christianity. I suppose there are some cultures that may be cut off or that may legally suppress any non-State-sanctioned religions, but you certainly won’t find them anywhere in America.

  • http://www.hiskingdomprophecy.com/ Angus MacKillop

    Until Christians recognize it is all about RELATIONSHIP and not hollow religious ritual, it will take a time to change the Church. By then, it may be tad late for most.

    • Sophia

      Yes, it’s always about relationship. I can spot it a mile away when someone only wants to know what I think so that they can tell me I’m wrong (and why) and then change it. It so obviously has nothing to do with me, and I can feel that energy from the person. If you truly want to know who I am, then come in openness and curiosity and I will share with you.

  • Amy Hoag

    The worst part is when you are a Christian and being told that you aren’t the right kind of Christian or don’t know your bible based on what you believe about your faith. It makes me sad because I am constantly in bible studies and know the Bible pretty well. I respect that fact that they want to worship Christ in their own way which is more fundamental but that respect doesn’t go both ways. Being an open-minded Christian in an area where there are far more fundamental denominations can be hard at times…

    • hkameya

      Let me post a reply I gave to someone else:
      My experience in Bible studies at churches might be compared to studying an elephant with a magnifying glass. We read a few verses at a time and never get to view the entire animal. One Amazon.com reviewer said of Bishop John Shelby Spong’s 2011 book: Reclaiming the Bible for a Non Religious World” was that ‘this is the book I’ve been waiting 65 years for!’, and I agree. I think Bishop Spong has been promoting a more credible and defensible faith through his 24 or so books. In his preface he states that those who proclaim the Bible as “God’s Words” must not have read it!!!

  • JTwales

    these responses I guess are ‘solicited’ and ‘selected’ the author of christians and the lgbt question knew what he was looking to produce methinks. There are ‘unlovely’ christians too, but I can honestly say that the churches and christians I know are overwhelmingly kind, hard working, caring and doing thier best to represent Jesus. I object to the demonising of good people for an lgbt agenda. In my city christians run street pastors, food bank, street church for the homeless etc, counselling services and debt advice all for free.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      JT: First, I don’t have an “lgbt agenda”; I’m not gay. (I DO, though, have an “agenda” around bringing anti-gay Christians to realize the toxically destructive effects of their absolutely unbiblical view of homosexuality.) Secondly, I wrote “I’m OK-You’re Not” years before I’d given the Christian/LGBT issue a moment’s thought. Thirdly, no one–and least of all me–ever suggested that there are not in the world untold numbers of kind, hard-working, caring Christians. Of course there are.

      • Kristie R. Swift

        Thanks, John! This really impacted me in a positive way, and is very relevant to a situation I am struggling terribly with right now. I honestly think it could be life-changing, and I mean that!

    • Snooterpoot

      JT, you just stepped on a big pile of scat and gave yourself away as not being one of the “overwhelmingly kind, hard working, caring and doing their best to represent Jesus.” How? You said you object to the “demonising of good people for an lgbt agenda.”

      Maybe I misinterpreted what you meant, but I doubt it.

      Do you know what the “lgbt agenda” is? I’ll tell you.

      We do not want to be disrespected and oppressed because of whom and how we love.

      We want to be afforded the same level of respect, dignity and acceptance as everyone else.

      We want to be recognized as citizens who are entitled to equal treatment and protection of the laws, just the same as every other citizen.

      We want our dearly held beliefs, whether Christian, atheist, Pagan, Wiccan, or any other, to be respected – just like you want your dearly held beliefs to be respected.

      Basically, we want people like you to butt out of our lives, drop your sanctimonious piety, and deal with your own flaws.

      That’s it. That’s our agenda.

      Now I challenge you to tell us exactly what part of that gives you a problem, and why.

  • Sina Lewis

    I’m a Christian and I can identify with the above. Even among my “brothers and sisters in Christ” I have been judged and treated alot worse than those who do not label themselves Christian. It was a hard pill to swallow but I would rather align with those in love than hate. Now I call myself “spiritual but not religious”. Still believe in Jesus and what He stood for but find Christians who do not follow him as he was presented in the Bible. I am not perfect so not claiming that I do either, but I try not to judge others like I did as a tract waving evangelical.

    • Andrew

      You are not perfect until you are in Christ, which is the point of Christianity. You look at God and say, “I can never be righteous and perfect like He wants me to be,” because you think YOU have to do something to get there.

      That is a lie. Take Jesus in your heart, then you are perfect and righteous as He called you to be. With Him in you, sin is beaten.

      • Snooterpoot

        There you go again, Andrew, elevating yourself to an equal status with God.

        You do not get to decide who is a Christian! You just don’t!

        You are possibly one of the most arrogant people I’ve ever had the displeasure of running across. You are the reason I, and millions of other people, no longer identify as Christian. We identify as followers of Christ. Believe whatever you wish, Andrew, but stop your bovine scat, pious, self-righteous sermonizing.

  • Cassandra J. Henry

    I tried to go to a Church in my town over the past 2 years. I am not Christian. I am a single mother and a member of the financially oppressed class. This Church had a “Solo Sisters” group starting up and seemed very promising. After less than a year, their interest in this group faded and we were all left to our own devices — those who could not manage transportation to the Church were repeatedly ignored; those who sent in specific requests for assistance from the Church received no responses (like when I asked for a couple people to help me move, since I was new to town and knew no one — I didn’t even get a reply to my email, and no one showed up to help); and finally when one of our numbers asked “So what gives?” the Church explicitly told us they are “focusing on the next/younger generation”….. so, I guess single mothers who are in poverty situations just aren’t as promising as Christians, when compared to the youth who are able to afford a college education and the Church offers a shuttle bus straight from campus for them ……… Every Sunday they asked us to fill out a “contact card” so they could keep track of numbers — but when I stopped attending Church, I never heard a peep from them, not even once, to say “hey, are you okay? We miss you!” … Thanks, Church. You really made me want to change my heart and follow Christ.

    • Kristie R. Swift

      I’m so sorry, Cassandra, that this happened to you. I believe this is fairly typical in today’s church as a whole. Been to many churches like that. It hurts and makes you angry, and makes you feel like God doesn’t care if His “people” don’t. Believe me, your experience grieved and angered God tremendously! Please remember this. If you want a representation of what God is like, the worst place to look to could very well be the church, and the very worst people to look at are His self-proclaimed followers. If you really want to get to know Him, the best and only way to do it is to get a Bible and read It. There you will find all the answers and you will find God Himself. Everything in It is true. You don’t have to worry about whether what you read is right or wrong, because It is the Word of the One, True, Living God, period! He will never fail you, if you turn to Him. Talk to Him; give Him a chance. Mankind is so flawed. Don’t look to them. You know, if you look to the very center verse of the whole Bible, you know what it says? “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people.” Psalm 118:8 (New Living Translation). It is the very center verse of the Bible for a reason. It’s not a coincidence. I learned more from reading this article about acceptance, and tolerance and love then I have ever learned in the church or from Christians, and I have been a Christian since the day I can remember. I don’t like being labeled as one, though, because it has taken on such a negative connotation. I prefer to be called a believer, cause that’s what I am, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and I struggle every single day to fully put my trust in Him and not let my circumstances bring me down. So very difficult! Incidentally, I have never been able to find a church I feel good about for one reason or another, and I am 46 years old. Still looking… Please, Cassandra, don’t give up on God yet! Not because of the pure ignorance and flat out meanness of people!

      • Scott

        Not true at all and obviously you have not read all of the Bible – it is full of contradictions, absurdities, cruelty, womanizing, bad science, and yes some good philosophy. See http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com

        • hkameya

          I agree with your comment. My experience in Bible studies at churches might be compared to studying an elephant with a magnifying glass. We read a few verses at a time and never get to view the entire animal. One Amazon.com reviewer said of Bishop John Shelby Spong’s 2011 book: Reclaiming the Bible for a Non Religious World” was that ‘this is the book I’ve been waiting 65 years for!’, and I agree. I think Bishop Spong has been promoting a more credible and defensible faith through his 24 or so books. In his preface he states that those who proclaim the Bible as “God’s Words” must not have read it!!!

          • Snooterpoot

            Another thought provoking book by Bishop Spong is “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture.”

            Bishop Spong has been a tremendous help to many people as they have navigated the often confusing and contradictory scriptures.

          • hkameya

            If I were King, I would force all fundamentalists and evangelicals to read both of Spong’s books!

        • Kristie R. Swift

          Thanks, Scott, for the link. I have actually read all of the Bible through, one time, but if I had read It 100 times I still wouldn’t be an expert. There’s an awful lot in there to try to wrap your head around! I just have faith and firmly believe in something that you apparently don’t have faith in or believe in, and that’s ok. I just feel bad when people like Cassandra, and countless others, are treated like crap by self-proclaimed followers of God. People tend to think that if God’s followers are jerks, He must be too. I believe in my heart that that is not true. I truly believe God is good, all the time! I’d just like to agree to disagree with you and other folks without getting into a war of nasty words, know what I mean? Have a good one, Scott, and I will check out the link! God bless ya! You know I just had to go there! :)

          • Scott

            Believing that God is good is one thing but telling someone that “everything” in the man-made Bible is true is something else. Why can’t we believe in God or have faith that there may be a good God yet admit that the Bible is just a human collection of stories that have been translated, transcribed, copied so many time that it is full of additions, mistakes, complete fabrications, myths, and other information that is simply man-made and not the word of a God, inspired or otherwise? Why must we believe a book to be perfect especially one that is obviously full of all the things that I mentioned above in the other comment and that you can see for yourself at the link I listed and at many other sites as well. If the Bible were the word of God then that God must be a poor editor! I appreciate your attempt to help but I don’t agree that the Bible is all truth!

          • Kristie R. Swift

            Your link and your opinion are just that; opinion! Have you EVER stood on God’s promises found in His Word? Have you ever desperately put your trust in Him 100% because you had no where else to turn, only to find that He and His Word are true? Of course not! Can you say you have tried God and His Word for all they are worth and He failed you miserably? No, because it doesn’t happen! I have never once in my life been disappointed in or let down by God, nor have I ever found any reason to regret any of my thousands of decisions to stand on His Word, that which you call “a human collection of stories that have been translated, transcribed, copied so many time that it is full of additions, mistakes, complete fabrications, myths, and other information that is simply man-made and not the word of a God, inspired or otherwise?” Not only has God, nor His Word, NEVER failed me, but I have never encountered anyone who could say that they trusted in Him or His Word and were let down. I would never have said the things I said to a hurting person based on something I didn’t believe in 100% as fact. All the things you said are based on your refusal to actually put God and His Word to the test, cause I think maybe you know if you did, you’d be proven wrong. I just hope you didn’t totally discourage Cassandra with your solely opinion based negativity! Cassandra, if you are following, please don’t become a doubter until you have tried God and His Word and been failed. Then you can tell me all day, everyday that it’s all bogus!

          • AtalantaBethulia

            That you have had a positive experience of God through scripture is wonderful, Guest. Everyone’s experience though is subjective. Your understanding of scripture and life experience is not representative of everyone’s experience of scripture and life experience – nor of their experience of those claiming to represent God.

            Eg: 1 Corinthians 10:13

            No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

            While these are wise words and words of encouragement and there is truth in them, they are not objectively true for all people for all time everywhere in every situation.

            Cassandra shared the truth of her reality: She felt failed by God’s people. That’s what this post is about. Not scripture, Christians. And how Christians need to become more aware of how their behavior toward others affects people’s understanding and experiences of God, church, Christians and Christianity.

            It’s a call to check ourselves and where there are failures – change our behavior.

          • Snooterpoot

            Guest:

            This is a “pot, meet kettle” situation if ever I saw one.

            It is **your opinion** that the Bible is the literal word of God. It’s great if you believe that simply reading it has helped you, but you should not assume that people who believe differently are wrong. The fact is that everyone who reads the Bible interprets it in their own way. In my opinion their own way often slants their interpretation toward reaffirming their own biases.

            I suggest you stop your pontificating and actually *listen* to others instead of automatically assuming that anyone who disagrees with you is ignorant of the scriptures. I completed a 3-year course of Bible study that was sponsored by a Christian seminary, and I disagree with your opinion about the Bible.

            Shame on you for your response to Cassandra. It’s obvious that she is hurting because of the experience she had with a Christian church and all you did was tell her she didn’t try hard enough.

            It’s people like you for whom this blog entry was written.

          • Scott

            The contradictions found in the Bible are not my opiniion but are
            examples of where the Bible says things that are contradictory! Absurdities in the Bible are not
            my opinion. Womanizing in the Bible is not my opinion. Condoning slavery in the
            Bible is not my opinion. Injustice in the Bible is not my opinion. People can
            believe in “God” without believing in a man-made collection of
            ancient religious literature. Many wars and other horrible behaviors are directly
            traceable to dogmatic fanatic fundamentalists that insist that a collection
            of religious literature is the “truth”. It is clearly not
            all “truth” – many religions can’t all be true. I wish people could simply admit that we don’t know what God
            is and could just trust that moral behavior and kindness will serve humanity best.
            Why worry so much about trying to make religious literature have this magical power?
            As far as Guests comment about “God” never letting anybody down then
            how do we explain the atrocities that have occurred to children, and to other
            innocent people throughout history. I had someone tell me that
            horrible crimes and human torture are Gods way of showing us that bad things
            can happen as a lesson so we can learn to be good. How disgusting and selfish
            a thing to believe! How about believing in real truth – the truth that we
            simply dont know and that compassionate hope and that moral behavior and
            kindness are good ways to behave – for the sake of life and all humanity – not
            just because one wants to get into “Heaven”; which I think is the “main” reason people choose to be Christian, or any other religion.

  • Guest

    Let’s all remember who Jesus chose to hang out with while He walked the earth, and who He had a big problem with. To me, that speaks volumes!

  • Kristie R. Swift

    It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people. Psalm 118:8

    • hkameya

      I believe the intent of the passage might be that humans are fallible.
      Creating a cynical passage with the same cadence, I might say “It is better to take shelter behind the Bible, and attack people with its words!”

  • Hierophant2

    What is most “saddening” in this whole thing is that you have to interpret non-believers’ statements as “anger.” This is a common stereotype used to marginalize people who are standing up for their rights (such as black people and feminists, but also non-believers). In doing so, YOU reveal your own attitude towards non-believers, while you seem to like to pretend that you’re sympathetic.

  • Snooterpoot

    The most difficult thing for me to hear, based on many of these comments, is that many Christians apparently do not want to hear and do not care about what non-Christians want to say. They also have no interest in hearing and do not care about what other Christians, who do not share their fundamentalist/evangelistic theology, have to say.

    It seems to me that many fundamentalist/evangelical Christians care more about pointing out (their interpretation of) other peoples’ sins than they care about anything else. I’m not saying all fundamentalist/evangelical Christians do this, but the loud, angry voices of the ones who do drown out the humble and loving Christians.

    I don’t see how it’s possible to bring anyone nearer to God or to Christ with a message of condemnation. I find that very sad.

  • shaverfujimo

    I think we all have forgotten who and why this country even exist…..this country was founded by Christians….built by Christians….and a Christian nation we should return to and remain that way…..you can always exercise one of our freedoms if you don’t like Christians….the freedom to leave.

    • Snooterpoot

      That is revisionist history and absolutely untrue. I thought God frowns on telling lies.

      And how dare you tell people who don’t agree with you or your religion they can leave the country! I’d call you the south end of a northbound mule but that would insult the mule.

    • Michael Charles Brasher

      Great example of what the vast majority of Christians know about their religion: nothing. It is truly amazing how people can say such things so obviously contradictory to the teachings of christianity while claiming to be a proponent of it. Guess what? Jesus would not have told the sinners to get out. In fact, Jesus actively sought out such people (Matthew 9:9-13) in order to try to help them. Modern Christianity, on the other hand, is hateful of so many people – atheists, homosexuals, muslims, etc. Modern Christians are more united in their disdain for minorities than in their following the teachings of a man who taught compassion and forgiveness. One need look no further than the talking points of hatred espoused by the GOP. While they declare themselves followers of this man who taught compassion – they spew hatred at everyone who is unlike them. There could be no greater irony. Your entire life is a huge joke.

    • Sophia

      What a ridiculous and utterly untrue comment. This country is not a theocracy and it is not a “christian nation”. At the risk of abusing the word irony, I would like to point out that the founding fathers felt so strongly about religious freedom that they included it in the first amendment. This country was lived in by Native Americans long before Columbus came to town. Many of the trips across the Atlantic were paid for by investors looking for gold (see John Smith, Virginia Trading Company), not religious freedom. And some of the most famous signers of the declaration of independence were deists, not christians (Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson). The history is all there for the reading if you’re interested. And just FYI, your snarky comments (be a christian or leave my country) are the very reason for this entire post.

      • Jordan

        What you said is right. I think what people (mostly Christians) don’t know is that the early patriots and founding leaders were motivated by ideology much more than they were motivated by religion. The Church was actually split on the move to separate from England. Some Churches sited scripture to justify allegiance to the King, while other Churches were places that housed patriots and gave sermons supporting revolution. All to say, based on history, as you have pointed out, this country was never ever founded upon Christianity or religious doctrine at all. The Church may have had a part, but it was more in support of revolutionary ideology rather than shaping it.

    • David Cowan

      1) Um..that’s actually, not factually accurate. and 2) What you’re suggesting would go against the constitution. Separation of church and state. Besides that, with thousands of Christian denominations in existence, which denomination’s specific dogma would we follow? Anyway, that’s my two cents. Sophia pretty much covered everything.

  • Zoe Senesh

    In case you are interested, check out my new book of fiction that contains Jewish, Christian, and Muslim characters. The core of the stories is a moral one:

    http://www.amazon.com/King-Solomons-Troubles-Zoe-Senesh/dp/1475986386/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377207502&sr=8-1&keywords=zoe+senesh

  • CrimsonMistress

    I believe the universe is too orderly to be random chance..i found this site while looking around learning about Christians….I visited christianforums.com and asked about secular music being all evil and got conflicting answers..some say only listening to Christian music. others say only certain Christian music whiles others say secular music is ok in certain cases…talk about confusing… I;m happy that there are Christians that care about the common people or the “unwashed’ as it were..

  • Andrew

    :((((((((

    I wish I could be with these people….

    Loathe the sin, love the sinner.

    Jesus loved first, that’s why He brought people to God, because God is love. Love is powerful in a fearful, scared world. Personal and humanitarian love has to come first, it opens the heart, and it just makes everyone feel good – not everyone separates sin from their view of self, as Christians do.

    I’m sympathetic, admittedly.

    • Snooterpoot

      “… not everyone separates sin from their view of self, as Christians do.”

      Andrew, that should say as some Christians do. Take sexual orientation as an example. Many Christians, primarily fundamentalist/evangelical Christians, say that homosexuality is a sin. Since homosexuality is an innate characteristic, just as heterosexuality is an innate characteristic, it is not something one does; it is a part of who one is.

      So, if someone says they hate the sin but love the sinner, and they believe homosexuality is a sin, then they hate homosexuals. There is simply no way to escape this truth.

      I’m sorry, Andrew, but I think “hate the sin, love the sinner” is a canard. I think it’s a handy way to hate, or at the very least disapprove of people. I think it’s hatred disguised behind a mask of love.

      • Andrew

        You are wrong, and you are speaking an innate lie.

        Homosexuality is NOT natural, it is of demonic principalities, and it can and should be fought and cast down at every turn.

        The reason that homosexuality is such a strong factor in the Kingdom of the World is because, by it’s very nature is a form of evil EMASCULATION. God made man, and He made man to be like Himself, not something else.

        And let me tell you this – if I was not Godly, I would not care about homosexuals – I would ignore them and do what sin I would. But in having new knowledge, I cannot ignore it. Sin is not justified, and neither are your twisted ‘truths’.

        And the idea that I want to conveniently hate someone is absurd. I love people, and I love love. That is the truth, that is why I want to save people. Begone with your untrue tongue.

        • Snooterpoot

          So, you are God now, and it’s up to you to determine what is sin? I’d be careful about that if I were you.

          Read your Bible and interpret it any way you want. You’ll just be like millions of other people who read the Bible and interpret it the way they want.

          The way I read it, there are no more than six “clobber verses” that homo-haters claim to prove God’s wrath toward us. Seems like there would be more if it was such a big deal.

          There are more than 300 verses in the Bible that address helping the poor, taking care of the outcasts of society and that address social justice. Are you calling out the people who ignore these verses, or is your ire reserved for people whom you do not know and who have done you no harm?

          Here’s the deal, Andrew. At the time when I meet my creator and account for my time on this planet I will be able to acknowledge that I lived my life authentically, as I was created to be. And I will be able to acknowledge that I tried mightily to comply with the scripture that instructs me to love others, help the poor and the outcasts of society and that I fought for social justice.

          My guess is you’ll have to answer for elevating your status to one that is equal to God. Good luck with that.

          • Andrew

            No, I choose a God and He shows me how to be like Him, which is the opposite of sin. I regret to inform you that I DO know what sin is and what it isn’t.

            And we don’t hate you.
            I care about individual people, that’s what separates me from an animal.

            And anyone who is greedy and does not give of themselves is living in sin. We are called to understand our fellow human being, and I do so when possible. Jesus knew that we were to spend time among the sick, not the healed.

            And the fact is, as Christians, we work through the love of God, and the fear of death. Because both are equally relevant while on this Earth.

          • Snooterpoot

            I call bovine scat. There is no love in your comments. There is only judgment and hatred.

            I’m not saying all Christians are like you (thank God!), but there is a sufficient number to have given Christianity a bad name. You don’t draw people near to God with your haughty, pious rhetoric. You chase people away, because most people don’t want anything to do with a merciless God who would willfully create human beings with the sadistic eventuality of eternal torment.

            I do not fear death. I don’t believe in God because I fear death. I believe in God because I believe in unconditional love.

          • Andrew

            You do not have Christ in you. You think you have to follow Him and understand His teachings.
            That’s wrong. You are called to bring Him into your heart, and DISCARD the religion that SEPARATES you from Him!! Once you feel His righteousness and perfection in you, you are then separate from your sin, and you will no longer feel guilty for it.

            That’s the problem here – you think an indictment of your sin is an indictment of you. But you can be free – of all self-guilt and imperfection. Your spirit will be in heaven, and saved.

            You can’t come to God through religion. And He is not merciless, that is hurtful to Him. He wants you so bad, so much more than you know snooter :)

          • Snooterpoot

            I want no part of the God you represent. Keep on, Andrew. Keep on chasing people away from God. See where that gets you after you die.

          • Andrew

            It’s not my fault you’re running away from Him.
            You are your own person. I’m just bringing the message.

            Your self-hatred is separating you from God, and I feel for you. Love yourself, and then you can find Him.

            And have no doubt, you are loved beyond what you can possibly comprehend, whether or not you believe that. I know, I’ve experienced His love, and I just want everyone else to feel it too. Your sin is not justified, but as a person you are wanted beyond comprehension. Find your way out, I beg you, for your sake.

          • Snooterpoot

            I try to refrain from ad hominem attacks when I am engaged in debate, but I’m going to allow myself the indulgence just this one time.

            You, Andrew, are a pompous jerk. You think you get to define me simply because you know ONE thing about me. Well, jackass, you don’t. You don’t get to define anyone. You don’t get to define anyone else’s relationship with God. You don’t get to decide who is worthy of God’s love.

            If anyone runs away from God it is because of people like you, Andrew. People like you make me sick.

            This blog entry was written for you, and for people like you. You need to get over your self-righteousness and try, probably for the first time in your life, to listen to others.

            Reply if you like. I’m through with you. I think your heart is unreachable.

          • Andrew

            EVERYONE is worthy of God’s love!! That is the truth!
            I’m not saying you are unworthy – I would be betraying my God. And I tell you now, it is not self-rightouesness, because I have denied self in the service of God. Once you stop serving yourself, then you will know what I mean. I love you, and we want you in here.
            http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Basics/his_righteousness.htm

          • Andrew

            Condemning God will get you nowhere.

            I speak through Him.
            Or, in your version, He speaks through me.

            You can’t escape, no matter what you do.

          • Em

            Condemning one internet jerk and condemning God are not the same thing. It is best that you learn to separate your opinions from the will of God, because clearly they are not the same thing.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Andrew, humility will serve you well. Know when to step off. And that point is now.

            Disagreeing with you is not the same thing as disagreeing with God. That we have to point this out is troubling.

          • bluhhhhhhh

            Andrew, I think its pretty comical that your tone keeps changing from insulted to compassionate. As if you’re catching yourself and realizing you sound a lot less amicable.
            That and your spiritual talk about ‘love’ and ‘grace’ combined with you making rude assumptions about Snooter’s character makes you look hypocritical. In other words, you sound like a drug addict rambling nonsense

          • AtalantaBethulia

            As my Muslim friends point out, only Allah is perfect. And as Jesus said, “Why do you call me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.” Mark 10:18.

          • Joel

            Please spare us all your hypocritical and condescending “love” and “caring.” We don’t need it or want it.

          • Joel

            Your hateful comment was deleted, but I’m going to reply anyway. I do not hate God; how can I hate something I don’t believe exists? And, yes I know exactly what I am doing. What I am NOT doing is believing in something for which there is not a shred of evidence. Provide one and I’ll be happy to believe.

          • Andrew

            Most people think they cannot be perfect and righteous as God has called them to do…
            But He did make it to where we can be that…His son assured us of that – we are not to follow his ‘teachings’, we are supposed to take Him in us like a new robe

            That is the perfect righteousness He wants us all to have – it is wonderful grace!

          • Chelsea Brown

            Its not grace. Its occult hypnosis.

        • Snooterpoot

          And, BTW, Andrew. Your initial comment shows no sympathy at all, and, frankly we don’t need it. There is nothing sinful or wrong about the way we were created. In fact, there are more than 500 species on this planet who have been observed engaging in same-sex intimacy. There is only one specie on this planet who pitches a fit and calls us unnatural and demonic.

          Guess which one is a chosen behavior?

  • hannah

    I find it sad that so many people view Christians as narrow-minded and judgemental. Sure, there are many that are, but that’s true with many other religions and people. There are so many of us out there that don’t fall into these bad stereotypes that people seem to have about Christians. I have been born into a Christian household, fallen out of it, and have come back to it. My father is a pastor. I believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven but I also respect that people could have as much passion and faith in their own gods or beliefs. Believing in Jesus doesn’t make me better than anyone else who might or might not believe. Christianity is not about being the ‘chosen’ people or being a less of a sinner than anyone else. It’s about my personal faith and relationship with God. I do believe that homosexuality is a sin (I hope I don’t get attacked for this statement. Keep reading), but I don’t believe that being homosexual is a greater sin than any other sins. I am not ashamed to say that I sin everyday. And I firmly believe that just because I am a christian, it doesn’t mean that my sins are smaller. I have homosexual friends, I have muslim friends, I have buddhist friends. I don’t try to ‘convert’ them to Jesus every chance I have. I hold the utmost respect for all people because just as my faith in Jesus is precious to me, their faith in their religions are just as precious to them. I’ll talk about Jesus’s love but I won’t do so by denouncing other people’s opinions and beliefs.
    God does not love me or favor me more than anyone else in this world. I am not better than anyone else nor am I less of a sinner than anyone else. Jesus did not die on the cross for the sins of just those who believe, He died on the cross for the sins of everyone in this world, christian or not. I believe that we are all children of God, and regardless of whether you believe that or not, He still loves you just as much as He loves me.

    • Bastet

      This is just more bible bashing. And yes, you do deserve to be called out on homophobia. It’s a terrible way to view your so-called friends.If you want to believe in god, jesus, the bible and a cheklist of sins, that is your right but do NOT preach the ‘jesus died for your sins’ speach at us all. Your just another christian who refuses to listen. We’ve heard it all already, too many times by too many people and we’re not interested. This article isn’t asking you to preach your beliefs. Its asking you to shut-up and listen for a change.

      • hannah

        Yes, I am a homophobe. Yes, I secretly think that all my ‘friends’ are going to go to hell. Yes, I am preaching to you because I think that you need to be saved and obviously I am SO much better than you. and yes, I refuse to listen to anything you are saying because I’m obviously just another narrow-minded christian. So, I’ll shut up and listen to what you are saying….So…what is it you were trying to say?
        You’ve heard it all…from who? from christians? Because, again, obviously ALL christians are exactly the same. I do listen. I won’t assume that you’re in the anti-Christian bandwagon (even though you soooo obviously are) before we have a conversation. I listen to the individual, not the assumptions of who I think they are. Before you ask me to listen, maybe you should start listening first.

        • Bastet

          I hate being preached at. I don’t hate people having beliefs that differ from my own. You couldn’t make a comment here without preaching religious dogma. Notice how I can. Guess what, I have spiritual beliefs as well. Notice how Im not forcing them down your throat, in fact you don’t even know what they are. That’s the message of this entire article. Re-read it if you can’t understand basic respect for people to not have to listen to your beliefs. And NO, I don’t need to listen to someone elses religion. Respect your right to believe as you do? -absolutely. Respectyour right to blather on about it? – NO, I dont have to do that.

          • hannah

            If you hate it, then say so, and I won’t talk about it. I usually don’t talk spiritual with people who don’t want to hear it. As I’ve said before as well, I have many friends who don’t share the same beliefs as I do, and believe it or not, we do talk about nonreligious things most of the time but…
            I didn’t realize that I couldn’t talk about religious things in a post about religion. My bad.
            I didn’t realize that by just saying where my beliefs stood, that I was preaching it and forcing it down your throat.
            If you think I’m forcing my beliefs down your throat, just ignore the post. I won’t argue with someone who obviously has no respect for the individual person and their own beliefs.

          • Bastet

            I would point out the post isn’t about religion but rather about non-christians not wantingto hear anymore christisnity.

            I didn’t ignore the post because the very nature of ‘he died for our sins’ & here are group of sinners was exactly what this post was telling Christians to stop telling those of us who are not Christian. Its actuallyshocking how many Christians on here have just reinforced the reason this book needs to be written.

    • Snooterpoot

      Hannah, why do you think homosexuality, in and of itself, is a sin? Do you believe that God created all human beings in his image? Did you know homosexuality is not something one chooses, but is a part of who one is? It is how we were created. It is an innate part of our completeness as a human, just as heterosexuality is part of your completeness as a human.

      It is hurtful, and, I believe, contrary to scripture, to point at people like me and say that who I am and whom and how I love is sinful. Because, Hannah, sexual orientation is all about with whom one falls in love.

      My wife and I have been together for 13 years; in fact today is our anniversary. We were legally married 3 years ago; yesterday was that anniversary. We are faithful to one another. We are committed to our marriage. We are respectful of one another. The vows we took at our wedding ceremony are precious to us, and we live them every day.

      How can anyone say that who we are and how we love is sinful?

      It’s not God’s love that I doubt. It’s the love of some of his followers that I doubt. It’s not love if one says, “I love you, but…” That “but” renders every word preceding it as irrelevant.

      I don’t mean to attack you or your beliefs. I am simply trying to help you see another perspective, another facet of God’s redemptive and unconditional love.

      Peace to you.

      • hannah

        Hi Snooterpoot. It was never my intention to hurt or point fingers at anyone. I do apologize if I did. I understand your perspective and I do not hate you or look down on you for your beliefs and your love. You have a right to love who you want and live your life how you want, just as I have that same right.

        To tell you the truth, years ago, I voted against prop 8. I am genuinely happy when couples can legally marry each other. Because, I believe that just as I have a right to choose and be with the person that I love, you and everyone else have that same right to be with the person that they love. My love for a man is just as honest and precious as your love for your wife.

        You’re right, God’s love is never doubtful. We, as humans, are flawed and are not perfect. That’s what I find so beautiful. Because, even in our imperfectness, God has an unconditional love for us. I know and accept that I live in sin. Being heterosexual doesn’t mean that I am better than you or that God loves me more. I believe that those people who say that homosexuals (or anyone else) will go to hell should take a step back and look at their own lives. Because no one…no one has the right to judge and criticize how someone else lives their life.
        I do have to disagree about the, “I love you, but…” statement. Saying that ‘but’ does not render every preceding word irrelevant. Loving someone doesn’t mean that you have to have the same exact beliefs as them. My best friend of 20 years is Buddhist. I still love her despite the very different and opposing views on spiritualism and God that we have. Just because I disagree, does not mean that I love someone less than I love someone who agrees with me.
        Again, I do apologize if it seemed like I was pointing fingers. Maybe I went about it the wrong way, but I just wanted to say something because I am Christian. You know, if we knew each other personally, maybe I would have disliked you, maybe I would have even hated you. Maybe we wouldn’t have gotten along because of personality differences or other things. But, I would have never hated or disliked you because of your sexual orientation or your beliefs.
        I do hope that you can see from my perspective.

        • Snooterpoot

          Thank you for your reply. My comment was in response to this:

          “I do believe that homosexuality is a sin (I hope I don’t get attacked for this statement. Keep reading)…”

          And, about my statement that “I love you, but…” rendering every word preceding it as irrelevant, I stand by that. Love is love. Conditional love, in my opinion, is not love.

          “I love you, but…” says to someone that fully loving them requires some change on their part. It could be, “I love you, but if you’d leave the Episcopal Church and attend my Baptist Church I could love you more fully.”

          Or, “I love you, but if you’d divorce your spouse I could love you more fully.”

          Or, “I love you, but if you’d stop driving Fords instead of Chevys I’d love you more fully.”

          Each statement of love is actually a demand for change. I don’t think that’s love. I think that’s a quest for control.

          I like most people I meet. I’m really pretty easy-going, though a little shy. I do rub some people the wrong way, especially when I challenge their opinion that part of who I am is sinful.

          Again, I did not intend to attack you or your beliefs. I just wanted to try and help you see another perspective.

          • hannah

            I believe it is a sin because that is what it says in the Bible. I’m not an expert in the Bible, I’ve only read it once all the way through and I won’t even try to pretend that I understood everything that was in there. Maybe I am wrong, maybe I didn’t fully understand the context. But, it is my understanding of the Bible. I’m not pointing fingers and saying that all homosexuals will ‘burn in hell’. Hell, if that were the case, I would be going down there as well. As I’ve said before I live in sin every day and I don’t believe that one sin is greater than another.
            I think we have to agree to disagree on the conditional love. I think we have very different views on the word conditional. There are times when I wish the people I love would change. For example, my relationship with my mother. I love my mother to death, but she has a really bad habit of unintentionally putting people down. Sometimes it really hurts. My love for her is love even though I wish she would change that aspect of herself. Even if she didn’t, I wouldn’t love her any less; and if she did change, I wouldn’t love her anymore than how much I already love her.
            If your friend, spouse, or family member was going down a destructive path…let’s say, for example…hard core drugs. Would you keep letting them go down that path? Honestly, I would. because I can’t force anyone from doing something that they don’t want to and I can’t force someone to have the same value system as me. What I would do, is let them know what I think about the situation and regardless of what they choose to do, I would still be there as a friend and love them regardless.
            Like I said, I won’t sit back quietly if my beliefs are questioned, but I won’t think of you any less or love you any less if they are different from my own.
            And I didn’t mean that I dislike you or would dislike you if we knew each other personally. Was just trying to say that if we knew each other personally, whether we liked or disliked each other, the way you live your life wouldn’t have been a factor in the relationship. I’m actually pretty laid-back and a little shy as well.
            And again, I do understand and respect your perpective, trust me, I do.

          • Snooterpoot

            Does the Bible explicitly say that homosexuality is a sin, or is that someone’s interpretation of the Bible?

            Hannah, the thing is that everyone who reads the Bible interprets it as they read it. I think most peoples’ interpretations support their own preconceived ideas and biases; it’s simply human nature to do that.

            Have you ever considered the idea that the Bible was written by fallible human beings and is not the literal, inerrant word of God? Have you ever considered the customs, traditions, societal norms and level of knowledge that existed during the times in which the books of the Bible were written, and the influence all of those factors had on the writers?

            I don’t see the Bible as a menu of “do this, don’t do that.” I also don’t see it as useful when people profess to follow Christ and then use their interpretation of the Bible to bash people who do not meet their approval. And, Hannah, let’s be clear. People will justify themselves by saying “I didn’t say it; God said it.” I find that very convenient, because if these people believe “God said it,” then why do they summarily ignore the things that “God said” that either do not fit their situation or are inconvenient for them?

            For example, we have many, many people in our society who are poor, homeless, hungry, yet the most vocal Christians reject providing any assistance to these people as “enabling” them. There are more than 300 verses of scripture that address helping the poor, the elderly, the sick and the outcasts of society. Those verses are not nebulous, yet they are ignored by many Christians today who’d rather focus their interest on condemnation of homosexuals.

            We hear shouts of “entitlements” when we talk about Social Security and Medicare, as if those were not earned benefits, and as if entitlements are always a bad thing. Yet these same people have an attitude of entitlement themselves.

            They are entitled to their station in life because of, well, something, and they are entitled to keep all of what they have “earned,” whether by work, or inheritance, or simple good fortune. But, didn’t Jesus tell a wealthy man to sell all he had and give the proceeds to the poor, then come follow him? How does the sense of entitlement comport to Jesus’ instruction there? Isn’t using the resources we provide to our government to help the poor consistent with Jesus’ instruction? If it is, why do we have Christians pitching a fit about providing health insurance to people who previously could not afford it?

            I think too many Christians fall into a rigid pattern out of fear or, frankly, a sense of superiority when they use the Bible as a weapon against others while refusing to comply with it themselves.

            Questioning the things we have been taught as absolute truth is scary, but I think a faith that cannot, or will not, withstand scrutiny is a faith that is not worth having.

          • Em

            Wearing mixed fibers is listed as a sin in the Bible.

      • Joel

        Congratulations and wishes for many more.

        • Snooterpoot

          Thank you. We are facing a scary situation now, as I have been diagnosed with malignant melanoma. I’m having surgery on Monday, then we’ll know if any additional treatment is necessary.

          • Joel

            I’m so sorry to hear that. My best wishes for a successful surgery and then a quick recovery. (The normal platitude, of course, would be “I’ll be praying for you,” but, well, you know how I feel about that.)

          • Em

            So sorry for your health problems. I am happy that in the midst of this, you have a supportive spouse and will be taken care of. :)

            Everyone deserves that, which is the point of marriage equality.

    • mcfilmmakers

      Believing that homosexuality is a sin is belief that there are different kinds of love. This is contrary to scripture. Also, believing that something is a sin simply because the Bible says so (which it very much does NOT) is also contrary to scripture. Blind faith, even in the Bible, is a sin. It leads to worshiping false gods and prophets. The Bible encourages questioning of one’s faith in order to learn the Truth. Christianity as it is today, is NOT the Christianity is was 100 years ago, let alone 2000 years ago. Question your beliefs:
      – The Bible DOES NOT list homosexuality as a sin.
      – The Bible DOES NOT differentiate between “types” of love.
      – The Bible WAS NOT written by God, it is hearsay.
      – The Bible IS NOT infallible. It even says so.
      – The Bible IS NOT historical truth. The Old Testament is a collection of modified parables taken from other ancient myths.
      – The Bible is a MORAL guide, not a law book.

    • Allen

      Funny you claim that you are Christian and believe that you are the only who should go to heaven and everyone else should go to hell and be tortured for eternity but yet don’t believe u are better than anyone. You also believe that gay people are sick perverts who should burn in hell for being gay and having gay thoughts unless they apologize to your unchanged God who also happens to be Jesus who said that gays should be put to death in the past but now just wants to throw them in hell and then claim u have gay friends and love them. You wanna claim you hate no one but from your beliefs you hate a lot of people but that is typical of Christians and Christian beliefs………

      • mcfilmmakers

        You make assumptions Allen. You have no idea what Hannah believes. You only know what you assume Hannah is told to believe. Understand the difference.

        • Allen

          no not at all…She said “Jesus is the only way to heaven” meaning everyone else should/will burn. I don’t believe in either heaven or hell but she is saying she is better than everyone else. She then says being gay is a sin meaning the stuff i said in my previous comment meaning she has a lot of hate for gay people. I didn’t make any assumption she is the one who is saying this stuff not me…..

  • Pat68

    And actually, some of us Christians feel the same way as the people quoted above.

  • Ray Hooker

    I think that every one believes in sin, even if they don’t like the name. When that guy Castro kept those women sex slaves for years, almost everyone believes that is evil and should be stopped. We also believe that murder, hate, anger, abuse are bad. When someone says they don’t believe in sin, they are quibbling with either the word not the substance or what is considered bad or what should be the consequence. The good news of Jesus is that God became a person and died to bring healing and reconciliation for all of these things.

    • Bastet

      The word ‘sin’ is in a religious context. The word ‘crime’ is in a legal context. The words ‘reprehensible’ and ‘wrong’ are in a moral and ethical context. People have the right to speak in the context of their own beliefs. So, no. Not everyone believes in sin because not everyone believes in religion or god though they may share particular morals and ethics with people who do.

      • Ray Hooker

        I don’t make the distinction between religious truth and ethical truth. I understand people react to the term “sin” and try to place it in a special category. Sin was originally a legal term in ancient Israel. The idea was never a special type of “religious evil”. The foundation of a belief in sin is that it is truly wrong or evil. My point is that people generally misunderstand what the term sin means. It is primarily about doing concretely wrong things, not just because it is not obeying God though that is part but also because it is actual not good. Like you said, you may share some of the ethics and so while you may not like the term “sin”, you would agree with Christians that certain behavior is wrong. So my point is not to fight over the term but to point out that it is about evil, human sickness and not just failing to follow some religious practices. Does that make sense?

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Re: “Sin was originally a legal term in ancient Israel. The idea was never a special type of “religious evil”. The foundation of a belief in sin is that it is truly wrong or evil. My point is that people generally misunderstand what the term sin means. It is primarily about doing concretely wrong things,…”

          Except in the modern Christian context we have this notion of original sin – a state of being – rather than an action as a legal term.

          I agree with Bastet, sin IS a religious term. Saying sin in ancient Israel was a legal term is still in the religious context of Judaism, not simply as part of a secular legal system within the tribe of Israel.

          • Ray Hooker

            Every society until recently had religious elements to their legal, judicial and ethical frameworks. So many terms have a religious nuance. I do agree that “sin” has a particular special use today. I do agree that in the modern Christian context, sin has taken on this purely theoretical state of being that actually leads to a long discussion. I am referring to the original intent. It was about concrete actions that were wrong. Even the belief in original sin is talking about a moral corruption that leads to real actions that are bad…. One particularly interesting point is that Jesus said if you think it you have done it. The point is that thoughts lead to actions… also cognitive therapy points out that wrong thoughts can trigger all sorts of chemical and emotional reactions. So again, I think if you strip away the term, people actually believe in what sin is intended to convey.. actual evil and brokenness. The idea is that believing in Jesus is more than forgiveness and can lead to real changes… not perfection but often freedom from anger, drug addictions.

          • Bastet

            Your arguing semantics to create an illusion of full agreement with Christianity. Morals and ethics are not automatically universal. For eg. “Thou shalt not kill” except in the case of war, extreme self-defence, the death sentence, farm animals for food, hunting for sport, pest extermination, capitalism that causes one third of the world to starve to death, multi-national corporations whose activities poison populations… etc

            Actually, in reality, the seemingly most obvious ‘sin’ is not universally agreed upon. If what constitutesmurder cannot even be agreed upon, then exactly what fundamental ‘sins’, shared morals and ethics do exist?

            The truth is people don’t believe the same things and never will. Nor do we need to. A very basic part of maturing and being an adult is understanding that each persons beliefs, no matter how different from ones own, are precious to that person. They are not yours to reframe, reword, recontextualize or in any way alter or undermine.

          • Ray Hooker

            Bastet, I am not trying to create an illusion. You appear to focus on making the issues fuzzy and highlight the differences. I don’t agree that most don’t agree on the issue of murder. You kill someone I care about and the reaction of most is.. well you get the idea. You mistreat someone I care about, and the normal and understandable reaction and that “you will pay”. BTW I am no fan of capitalism without ethical boundaries and probably agree with your concerns more than you might know.

            On the last point, you basically defined maturity as someone who agrees with you. I try to respect other people’s right to adopt beliefs. That does not mean that I think they are right, true in any respect just because they believe them. Maturity does mean that we will try to second guess our perspectives and try to learn. It also does not mean that I will respect other people’s belief just because they feel them passionately. I still need to decide what I believe about them.

          • Bastet

            You do not have to respect another persons beliefs, only their right to have them. I did not define maturity as agreeing with me. I defined it as recognizing others rights to have and define their own beliefs.

          • Ray Hooker

            Perhaps not totally true. You basically believe that we do not have the right to reword, contextualize or reframe someone else’s beliefs. To do so is “immature” I would conclude based on your last paragraph. I believe that all need to do that to understand someone else. I recognize their right in a human sense for others to make their own decisions within boundaries. In this life, on earth, there are limits to what we can do and how we can act. I also believe that we will all one day give an account to God.

          • Bastet

            No. You need to really listen to understandsomeone else, and ask them questions. Imposing your beliefs, reframing, rewording and recontextualising anothers beliefs to suit yourself is not even getting close to the open mindedness required to really understandand respect others.

          • Ray Hooker

            ” You need to really listen to understand someone else, and ask them questions.” – Very true. The concern about imposing beliefs is too general a statement though. Context is important. All beliefs are not equally valid, but a learner first begins by trying to learn and understand. Interacting on the net is not a great place to really get to know someone. We are often tossing out broad conceptual ideas where it is hard to be personal and respectful. Hope you have a great day.

  • barryguy777

    It was a 3-way conversation in a college cafeteria. My Christian friend Greg, my nonChristian friend Bob, and me. The topic was God, Jesus, etc.. Bob asserted that Jesus would certainly accept all kinds of people with all kinds of beliefs. Greg shocked me with his response: “Bob, Jesus was the most narrow-minded individual who ever walked the face of the earth.” Though stunned, I found myself agreeing with him as Greg explained that Jesus was God-incarnate and had absolutely no confusion about truth and error or right and wrong. He Himself defined both truth and righteousness and claimed Himself to be the one and only way to God. Wow, I guess Jesus was pretty narrow-minded after all. But if you really ARE the divine Son of God, it’s only appropriate.

    When nonChristians accuse us of being narrow-minded, let’s make sure it’s in keeping with the same narrow-mindedness that Jesus Himself would endorse — not a combative narrow-mindedness aimed at defeating all opposition, but a calm assurance and redemptive concern for others rooted in the Words of Christ Himself, who claimed to be the only way to God and repeatedly gave convincing proofs again and again that His claims were true.

    • barryguy777

      2Timothy 2:24-26 seems appropriate here. “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”

      • AtalantaBethulia

        Proverbs 21:2
        “All deeds are right in the sight of the doer,
        but the Lord weighs the heart.”

        We are too often blinded by ego that we are the ones who uniquely hold correct belief, wisdom, and knowledge.

        Matthew 21:28-32 The Parable of the Two Sons

        28 “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.

        Belief is an interesting and often misunderstood word in scripture. Post-enlightenment literalism in our Western culture causes us to think it means: to assert or state as true, having literally happened, to hold an opinion. Whereas, the original word translated into English means something much more closely akin to: to follow, to trust. Inherent to the concept is action, not intellectual agreement of correctness, nor affirmation of a creed, but an integrated compelled action. This is what I think Jesus is referencing in his parable, and where I think Bob had it right.

      • Sean Lee Walthour

        Patiently enduring the EVIL CREATED BY YAHWEH (ISAIAH 45:7)

    • AtalantaBethulia

      On the matter of Jesus being narrow-minded:

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unfundamentalistchristians/2013/09/of-cakes-and-christians/

      It is the nature of humans to be loyal to their in-group, exclusionary, selfish, and distrustful of others. In a word, we lean toward tribalism. Jesus was not that. Jesus was the opposite of that. Grace is the opposite of that. Having the mind of Christ is the opposite of tribalism and human nature.

      It would be worthwhile to reference how the way of Jesus is narrow as compared to the wide way of human nature – the narrow way of forgiveness, meekness, gentleness, temperance, patience, compassion, being a peacemaker. This way is narrow, and few there be who find it.

      • Allen

        Yep Jesus was the opposite. he wanted you to love him, worship him, and do everything he says and if u didn’t you will be thrown in hell. Yep That’s the very opposite of tribalism …..

  • Michelle

    I am a Christian, and as I read the comments below on this blog post, I became greatly saddened. It speaks of everything but the true nature of God. As a Christian, I want to apologize to all who have been accused, condemned, preached at in an offensive way or simply treated wrongly by any Christian. All I have to say is, Jesus loves you all so amazingly much. Those are my beliefs. Period. Whoever you are, the decisions you have taken, the life you have chosen to live, who you have decided to follow, who you have decided to love will not change the fact that Jesus loves you. Not one bit. That we are ALL equally sinners and none of that even matters. None of it will ever change the fact that God loves you with a crazy love. It’s the only important thing, it’s the only thing we need to know. I hope you all someday get to know deeper the love of God, just as I hope for myself :) God is love. That’s all there is to it. If God says sin is not a problem to Him (which means, can’t stop His love or His pursue for us), than why do we make it one? God is love. That’s all there is to it. Blessings to all!

    • Allen

      Yep God loves everyone and if you happen to not believe in a God or don’t worship it it loves you so much that it will throw you in hell. How loving

      • AtalantaBethulia

        You seem to only be familiar with a certain kind of Christian. Not all Christians interpret scripture that way.

        http://johnshore.com/2013/09/30/todays-lesson-in-bad-christianity/

        • Sean Lee Walthour

          How about dealing with YAHWEH’S evil deeds themselves n stop distracting by blaming us HUMANS. See how far the excuse go for YAHWEH THE DECEIVER (Ezekiel14:9)

    • Sean Lee Walthour

      How about backin up those beliiefs of yours by SCRIPTURE. I know ur book, and if u know it too, u know in the back of ya mind, ur beliefs of God’s nature is OPPOSITE OF HIM n u should be ashamed for running around lying to yourself and others in the name of religion. YAHWEH said he is a slave trader, a child murderer and a deceiver, ill take HIS WORDS n leave YOURS on this page. Thats goes for any other “christian ” on herr too… READ YOUR BOOK!!!!!!!!!

  • Allen

    Im not really sure why asking non Christians about how they feel about this kinda thing matters in the first place. It’s not going to change your core beliefs. The fact is your beliefs themselves are to blame . Christian beliefs say that anyone who isn’t Christian or actively repenting to the Christian God should burn. Your beliefs themselves are to blame. You go around talking about love this love that but in reality you guys hate and think anyone who is unlike yourself should burn because they aren’t following your God/Jesus like the Bible says. I also find it funny that a gay advocate like Dan Savage would endorse a Christian. Christian beliefs say that gay people are sick perverted abominations who should burn in hell for having gay thoughts and being gay unless they apologize to an unchanged God who also happens to be Jesus who said that gay people should be put to death in the past but now just wants to throw them in hell. So for a gay person who is a Christian the Bible tells them to hate themselves and for a gay atheist they Bible basically says get ready to burn.

    • mcfilmmakers

      Wow, just wow. The ignorance of your comment is astounding. The Bible says none of that. As an agnostic, I can’t believe I find myself defending the Bible here. Just wow.

      • Allen

        This is your opportunity to tell me what it says. I already know what it says and that is exactly what it says but im gonna let you tell me.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Allen, your opinion of Christianity is why Unfundamentalist Christians – and many other liberal and mainstream Christian denominations – exist: to make the point that the Religious Right have so badly hijacked, not only the faith, but the microphone, that the general population thinks that ALL Christians are like them, that Conservative Evangelicals and Fundamentalists represent the whole of Christianity. The truth is: They don’t. They don’t even necessarily well-represent Orthodox Christianity. They are an incarnation unto themselves.

          And we are here to prove that they do not represent the faith in total. Christianity is a wide spectrum of doctrines and beliefs and people. The Religious Right in America are only one version of it. Mainstream and Liberal Christians exist and we are reclaiming the microphone.

          You have outlined some of the stereotypes that we in mainstream Christianity have to work to undo from the harm done by conservatives. Here we are doing that. I invite you to take some time to explore the other posts on this blog as well as the Unfundamentalist Christians’ facebook page.

          You might also check out NALT Christians – Not All Like That – founded by the same man who also founded Unfundamentalist Christians, John Shore, along with Dan Savage, and Truth Wins Out. It is one of a number of organizations that calls for the full equality of LGBT people in the Church and in society.

          http://notalllikethat.org/

          • Allen

            I just read all of that page on the bible and the fact still remains that there really isn’t a big difference between liberal Christians and conservatives. The only difference is conservative Christians are loud and want to control everyone and liberals sticks to the themselves. Conservatives focus on the hellfire parts and liberals focus on the love parts. The fact is regardless of what u focus on you all still have the same core beliefs. You all believe in sin etc meaning you believe and make value judgements on people before you know them and not only that you believe that if someone isn’t a Christian or aren’t worshiping the Christian God then they will go to hell…. Listen I’m a gay atheist. I have no ideology that says i have to hate anyone because a book told me to. You on the other hand are asked to hate yourself and others and pretend that u love them. Not only that your are told to make value judgements about people and pretend you aren’t. Yea your Bible says don’t judge while telling you to make judgements. For instance, Christians claim they don’t hate gay people and that they love them and don’t judge them yet at the same believe that being gay is a sin meaning that gays are sick perverted people who should burn in hell for being gay and having gay thoughts unless they apologize to an unchanged God who also happens to be your Jesus who said that gays should be put to death in the past but now just wants them to suffer in eternity. You made a judgement call on all gay people when u believe they are inherently wrong and then condemn them to hell if they don’t do as your religion ask. It’s not merely disagreeing as most Christians says no they think something should/will happen if they don’t abide by Christianity. That’s totally outside the realm of mere disagreement. The site backed that up. it didn’t deny that the Bible didn’t say this stuff it just said don’t focus on it too much. Regardless of if it is focused on or not doesn’t take away the fact that the Bible says this crazy thing that both liberals and Conservatives believe. The fact that liberals keep their hate to themselves doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Both Conservative and liberal Christians have the same core beliefs and sweet talking me into believing that you don’t hate anyone or judge anyone while holding beliefs that do isn’t getting anywhere with me. Don’t get me started on how you guys feel about atheist. You can talk all day about how don’t judge anyone and how u love everyone but if u believe in what the bible says about sin and Jesus etc then you aren’t being honest. Love thy neighbor but if that neighbor happens to be of another religion or not one at all they deserve to burn. You can dress that statement up to sound all pretty but at the end of the day it is still ugly….. regardless of liberal or conservatives the fact is the problems lie in the beliefs themselves. You can’t honestly believe that i think Christians love me when they judge and believe that i should burn if i’m not doing what they are doing. ….if i had a religion that said that all Christians were sick and God executed them in the past and would continue to destroyed them if they didn’t do exactly what my God said..would u think i loved u? probably not…

          • mcfilmmakers

            Allen, you continue to ignore what AtalantaBethulia said. Like I told you, the Bible says NONE of what you claim it says. As a gay Atheist, YOU are making assumptions about Christians. I am agnostic, I do not subscribe to Christianity but I also will not stand for ignorance. Christians do not judge you, REPUBLICANS do. Understand the difference and the US will be better off for it.

          • Allen

            and once again you are talking without actually addressing what I’m saying. I went to the website he provided and it said the same stuff that i said only it said it shouldn’t be focused on like republicans are doing. The fact is the Christians beliefs themselves are at fault. Liberals as well as Republicans all believe in sin and they all agree when the bible says something is wrong they agree with the Bible. Liberal Christians and Conservative Christians alike have acknowledge that the Bible speaks against gays. Now those groups have a slight different way they approach the issues of sin but they both agree with what the bible about those things. What I’m saying the beliefs themselves are at fault. You can’t believe the stuff in the Bible and honestly think u are a loving person. Yet all Christians believe that they are loving. The idea of hell and sin puts a crack in the idea of love…… Next time u address me please actually have something of substance to add or actually address the points I’m making. If not don’t bother…..

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Allen, if everything you said about Christians and Christianity were true, I wouldn’t be a Christian. You seem intent on painting all Christians with the broadest, most uncharitable brush possible in a manner that, if leveled against non-Christians in a similar way, you would surely label as unfair.

          • Allen

            No i don’t paint all Christians the same but if you are among the ones that believe in the stuff that I’ve said(Which many do because its the foundation of the Christian belief) then i would look at you differently but don’t expect me to let you pass on your hatred because you use words like “love” and “forgiveness” and that you don’t judge when your beliefs says something totally different… You believe in hell and you believe someone will go there and you believe in what the Bible says. I’m among that group that you believe should/will go to hell. Now,the fact is i don’t believe in your hell or heaven but what really makes me angry is Christians making laws(predominately Republican Christians) against people they don’t like because of what the Bible says. It also makes me mad that the liberal Christians pretend that conservative Christians have painted them the wrong way while u guys still believe all the same crap from the Bible they do .That’s why i laugh when people say”why aren’t the Liberal Christians speaking up” well maybe because they believe the same thing conservatives do but they keep it to themselves. Now, its a nice thing that you don’t want to push your religion on everyone but u guys still have the same core Christian beliefs as republicans do….. Unless you want to tell me differently right now?

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            I think you have a legitimate point about Christians who preach love but act hatefully…but most of your other points have been rebutted time and time again on this blog. Instead of telling me what I believe and continually stereotyping all Christians as holding exactly the same doctrinal beliefs, why don’t you listen to what we’re actually saying, and more importantly how many of us are acting?

          • Allen

            I am listening but you expect me to ignore the bad parts and forget about them. You want to glaze over the bad crap u guys believe and focus on feeding the hungry type stuff. Focusing on doing nice thing for the poor and that kinda of thing is the way to go but it doesn’t clear up the underlying hate that’s still there. I’m calling u out on that. Its like a big elephant in the room. I have to deal with the hatred that your religion says about me ,i have to deal with laws being put in place that liberal and conservatives put in place against me. i could careless if you guys are just realizing that gays should have rights etc the fact is you are still holding on to your hateful beliefs and expect to give u a pass. I’m not

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            I haven’t asked you to ignore or forget anything. I understand that Christians have done a great deal of horrible, hateful things. I can’t ask you to ignore or forget such things…they are real and they can’t just be swept under the rug. But from my perspective, much, if not all of that hate and oppression and abuse wasn’t the direct result of Christianity. Rather, Christianity was merely a means to exert power and control. My guess is that you don’t buy into that understanding of things…and why should you? All I’m asking is that if you’re going to label me as hateful and harmful, you take the time to find out what I actually believe…treat me as a person, don’t just reduce me to the worst stereotypes of my religious faith.

          • Allen

            I treat everyone nice even tho im hated Biblically by Christians. I have no book to tell me who to hate or like. if you believe being gay is a sin or that anyone who isn’t Christian should/will burn then you are a hateful person. There is no way around that. Its like people want their cake and eat it too. Christians want to treat their neighbors nice while believing horrible things about them. The fact is you should pat yourself on the back. You are in the club. You get all the benefits to do about anything in this western world u want. You will always been seen as a better person than I. Regardless of what i do. I have to struggle in the world because of Christian beliefs and the Bible. You have it all man. U can almost get away with murder by using Jesus name with everything. i will always seen as the gay perverted who wants to rape children or kill old people or worship the devil( something i think is as stupid as a God) and i have the Christian religion to thank for that.

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            I don’t hate you (Biblically or otherwise). I don’t think being gay is a sin. I don’t think anyone who isn’t Christian should or will burn in hell. I’m not at all unique among Christians. Have your read our About page?

            I want my cake and I want you to have cake and I want everyone to have cake. Or brownies or ice cream or chocolate chip cookies or tofu broccoli salad or whatever you damn well please!

          • Allen

            I’m a vegetarian lol .I should have read that from the beginning. I’ve only met one other person like u in life. I’m not sure why tho you are sticking with Christianity tho. Beside from still begin illogical you are still making arrogant claim of superiority even tho u don’t think of hell as a real place but the grave? And Christians get a special prize..but the fact is I’m glad you aren’t low down and dirty like the majority of Christians i encounter. I could never honestly be your friend because i don’t really trust Christian given the way you guys try to cover up and “reinterpret stuff” and in your case you still have some areas that bothers me but the fact is you are a better person for not being hateful as the other Christians. I would rather have more Christians like you than what is out there right now.IF you get your Christian brothers/sisters to making laws against me and mind their business we can leave each other alone and live our lives….

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            I don’t think I’m superior to you. I don’t know you other than our brief interaction here. And I’m not asking you to be my friend. You’re right that friendship takes trust and trust has to be earned. It sounds like Christians have given you more than enough reason to be extraordinarily dubious of friendly overtures.

            You say “i want to be love so i love others even tho that favor isn’t returned.” I can’t think of any better philosophy to live by!

          • Allen

            i’m not sure if you are saying what you are saying for image purposes or not but i will say im not upset or angry as i was at the beginning of this convo……

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            I’m not going for image points here, just perhaps a bit of understanding. Thanks for hanging around for some discussion. I truly do hope that you find peace and acceptance and understanding and love in your life.

          • Allen

            Me too i want everyone to be happy without hurting anyone. That can be hard in principle but that’s what i want!!

          • Allen

            Ok so i been thinking for a bit and i want to apologize for being so angry at you at the beginning. I know u understand where that was coming from but i want to apologize to you. have a nice day :)

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            No worries, apology not needed, but I appreciate it. Take care!

          • Allen

            i want to clear something up…..I would never be your friend because i don’t trust Christians from how they treated me my whole life. The fact is I’ve never treated Christian differently unless they did something to me that effected me physically. That has changed here recently since i been done so wrong .i never once just loved people because Jesus told me too i do it because that what i expect in return. i want to be love so i love others even tho that favor isn’t returned. That sounds like a simple exchange that both parties would be for but when religion or politics get in the way it always goes sour. When i hear words like Jesus and love i want to throw up

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            Hey Allen, u ever notice YAHWEH supposed to KNOW THE FUTURE (Omniscient), but yet, he has to let Abraham nearly kill his own son BEFORE he can be certain IF he would do it or not? Lol, what kind of God knows the future but still doesnt know the future?????

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            Unless you deny the bible itself, JESUS says he was sent ONLY TO THE JEWS. so if HE said it, n HE IS WHO christianity is about, how is that NOT, EXACTLY THE SAME DOCTRINE for ALL CHRISTIANS. U mean there ARE christians who dont believe the ONLY WAY to the FATHER, IS thru the SON?
            WHY, THAT IS VERY VERRRRRY UNBIBLICAL LMAOOOO

          • Allen

            Btw to answer you last bit of your comment. There isn’t an ideology that i have to refer to see if i hate or like someone/something. Non Christians(Unless they are of another religious belief like or ideology) aren’t all the same. Its like all black/white people don’t believe the same thing or all tall people don’t believe the same things because they haven’t attached themselves to an ideology. You have and its the Christianity/Bible..

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            I don’t have to refer to the Bible or Christian doctrine to see if I hate or like someone or something. Why would I have to do that?

          • Allen

            So i assume Christianity isn’t your moral guide telling you wants good and bad then? i think for myself. i judge people for how they treat me. You judge people by what the Bible says by what is sinful or not.

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Christianity isn’t my “moral guide.” If I’m in a sticky ethical situation, I don’t have to flip through my Bible trying to find the “correct” answer. And please don’t tell me how I do or don’t judge people and on what basis I do or don’t do so. I try NOT to judge people…even by how they treat me.

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            Thats great, so if i were to STEAL from u and deceive u, u wouldnt call me a thief or a liar? Cool, how UNchristlike, i think he JUDGED the pharisees,etc. Quite often smh, yup again, ur definitely a Christian

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Why would you want to steal from me and deceive me?

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            Hmmm, u love a strawman dont u ? Either u honestly cannot comprehend me or u pretend not to. My question was to test ur statement of NOT JUDGING. nothing in my statement implies i WANT TO rob nor lie to u. It was simply a matter of YOU calling a spade A SPADE OR NOT, which IS judging.

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Putting a preliminary label on someone based on their actions isn’t judging….arriving at a conclusion after carefully gathering and weighing the relevant information is judging. Rarely, if ever, in life do we have sufficient information about someone to render judgement on their actions…which is why it’s generally not a good idea to try. That said, we can’t help but to evaluate others. If you steal from me, I’m not going to trust you and I’m going to start locking things up if I see you coming. But I’d also like to know WHY you stole … was it because you’re hungry? Out of a job? Or just because you’re angry and have had a bad day? People are complex and as soon as we start labeling them based on a limited set of actions, we’ve done a disservice to them and to ourselves.

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            Again u deal with everything BUT my actual points. Smh. Listen, read VERY CLOSE this time. I didnt speak on PREJUDICE, i said JUDGING, refuting YOUR WORDS pretending they are mine is deceptive my friend. HOW ABOUT, deal with my argument? Look, if somebody DOES steal from or lie to u, although its fine to be protective and/or wanna find out why, its still the FACT that you then have SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE, so whats ur excuse then? A liar is not a liar and a thief is not a thief, even when u KNOW THEY ARE. my statement stands, ur the typical christian. In the words of Jesus, SHALAMA ALAKHOM

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            I don’t think that just because someone steals something or tells a lie that that makes them a thief or a liar. As I said before, I don’t think we should go about reducing people to solely their actions. Maybe I’m slow or tired, but I’m just not getting your argument.

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            Igonna call it, u are way too intellectually dishonest for me. You lie to yourself so of course u lie to me. For example, although there IS MORE to me than BEING an MC, im STILL an MC. Feel free to substitute the word MC for LIAR. A Person who flies is a PILOT, a person who cooks is a CHEF, one who kills is a MURDERER but one who steals is NOT A THIEF?
            #i-LoveYourLogic.. P.S. its also RUDE to ignore a blessing, regardless of what we talk about. AS A CHRISTIAN, when i say SHALAMA ALAKHOM, arent u supposed to give me that back? Hmmmmm

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Forgive if I didn’t take your blessing at face value. And unto you peace. In light of that sentiment, where should we go from here? Is there common ground to be reached, or is there an impassible divide between us?

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            So, u mean u dont JUDGE, but you do PRE-judge, or ASSUME, if that word makes u feel better. To be clear, since u dont know me, why would u jump to that conclusion of my actions? (Concerning me wishing u peace), please explain that. Otherwise, i care not of a person’s faith, i care how they treat others in spite of, or due to, said faith. Religion is what divides, im here in this life to do the opposite. EVEN IF, i have to make some uncomfortable in the process (smile), at least now maybe if not you, a christian of two will go back and read their holy book honestly. From here, air is clear. We can build anytime u like. Im sure WE BOTH can agree IM Not the bible’s author, so when u SEE for yourself, remember, THATS what u worship, known or unknown. In other words, Christ is a SHEPPARD, be like HIM, not the SHEEP my friend

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Jump to what conclusion?

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            HOW did you arrive to the assumption my blessing to u, wasnt genuine ? Thats called jumping to a conclusion. Being that u dont know me n all lol

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Ah right. Again, my apologies. From my perspective the conversation was getting a bit…heated. That is, you’ve said I’m being deceptive, setting up strawmen, etc. It just seemed a bit incongruous to be called deceptive and intellectually dishonest while also being wished peace. Also, all your caps come off as a bit LOUD. I’m guessing you’re not actually YELLING at me, but sometimes it reads that way 😉

            I think you’re right to worry not about someone’s professed faith, but instead about their actions. And I agree that we should be seeking unity rather than division. So we have that much in common?

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            Nah fam, im not heated nor am i yellin. Its just highlighting to me. Far as being deceptive, i was being honest. A liar is one who lies, as a thief is one who steals, my point is its nothing wrong with calling it as it is. Doesnt mean u believe the thief should burn in hell. Its intellectually dishonest on YOUR part to avoid stating that obvious sentiment as if it is a valid positiom to hold. If i kill to protect my wife, righteous as that is, im still. Killer. You would be hardpressed to prove otherwise and be truthful. We ARE supposed to judge, just not the way the majority of Christians think, for the same book that says men laying with men is an abomination, says the same about pork, but we dont see laws n hate groups picketing the pig farms. As ALLEN said, your belief system IS the SOURCE of the problem, altho i have an inkling ur PERSONAL beliefs differ from actual doctrine, but i could be wrong. U might actually eat poison ivy (just a lil Genesis humor)

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            I’m dubious of the notion that Christianity itself is the problem. From my viewpoint, people are the problem…I’m not aware of any philosophy/religion/way-of-life that can get around the problem of people. We seem very good at screwing just about everything up.

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            So if GOD HIMSELF (ur idea not mine, keep that in mind), gave u Christianity as a religion and even GOD’s RELIGION , CANT solve the human problem, WHY BE RELIGIOUS?
            Ur argument just commited suicide. Smh

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            I don’t think God GAVE us Christianity, rather, I think that, generally speaking, the set of beliefs that we group together as Christianity seem to me to be true. I think that certain Christian beliefs (though not necessarily unique to Christianity) can go a long way towards helping human problems (loving your neighbor, caring for the poor and oppressed, etc.), but I’m extremely dubious of any belief system that claims it can solve all human problems — in the end, I think only God can do that.

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            So lemme make sure i understand u correctly.. GENESIS 1:2 says ALL SEED BEARING PLANTS ARE EDIBLE. This includes POISON IVY,OAK,ETC. (U saying this advice from Yahweh is TRUE?) ADAM, NOAH, METHUSELAH all lived to be 900 plus years old? You believe thats TRUE? ADAM was born aporoximately 6,000 years ago, You believe thats TRUE. noah’s ark was only 450 ft long n two of every creature FIT in it? U believe thats TRUE? I cant even take ur argument serious from here at this point. Sorry, just being honest. If u ever wanna chat about something else, u can email me : maxxsteel7@gmail.com.. Shalom Alechum

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            Hmmmm, ur a piece of work. I see u and i raise u one. According to the book in question, YAHWEH, made ONLY TWO PEOPLE to populate the entire human family. Now, in order for that to happen, INCEST would be the only possibility. WHO fault is THIS? Adam n Eve or YAHWEH ?.. He also created adam and eve WITHOUT knowledge of right and wrong, they didnt learn til AFTER eating the forbidden fruit, WHO FAULT is THIS? humans or Yahweh? He sent moses to convince pharoah to free his people, whild simultaneously HARDENING pharoah’s heart to ensure he would reject moses’ ple, WHO FAULT is it for pharoah’s death then? Man or God?

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            I don’t need you to see me or raise me. I’m not trying to win.
            You can take all the chips and walk away if you want.

            We clearly have a VERY different perspective on the Bible and a VERY different understanding of God. I don’t accept the premises of most of your questions, so there’s no way I can even try to answer them. My guess is that you’ll think I’m being slippery and trying to avoid your questions…but I’m simply being honest. For example, I don’t think there were literally two original humans solely responsible for populating the Earth.

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            So u again say YOU BELIEVE the book is TRUE but u reject what it says? What kind of logic are u using? GENESIS 3:20 clarly states ADAM named her EVE, “BECAUSE” SHE is the MOTHER OF ALL LIVING… I will penalize you everytime u make a claim AGAINST UR BOOK. i know it like the back of my hand, raised by a minister, i had to (smile). Now since i proved THE BOOK DOES CLAIM, TWO PEOPLE ALONE populated the earth, what say you? I mean seriously, who did Adam n eve children have sex with? Plz dont reiterate your error like GENESIS 3:20 DOESNT CLAIM WHAT IT CLAIMS….

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Apparently I’m not playing by your rules, so your penalty card is going to fill up pretty quickly. I don’t believe Genesis is a scientific/historical account of the beginning of humanity (or the beginning of the universe & earth). So it is not “true” in that sense. But I don’t think that was ever the sense in which it was intended to be understood. To try and read it that way is to bring modern biases and preconceptions into an ancient text. I do believe it is a literary, mythological, legendary and poetic account that is very much true in the sense appropriate to each of those genres.

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            So the book is TRUE but its NOT TRUE is what u are saying?
            More apologetic mumbo jumbo, its not about MY RULES, its about being honest. You cant say the stories are true but they probably didnt really happen like that. If u accept the book as the word of god, how can u deny WHAT HE SAYS? I can learn a great deal of the same morals,etc. From watching all sorts of movies,etc. The matrix has a great lesson for humanity, doesnt mean it is REAL lol. At best, its the words of men who did their best to explain their history and their connection to that god. YESHUA was a great man, probably one of the greatest to ever life… doesnt mean he really had chosen people, came back from the dead or walked on water. We can build on concepts all day. Its BEEN clear our concepts of the creator is different. Stating the obvious is deflection of my point. If God does (a) in a scenario, that is a PREMISE, if he ends up later doing (b) in the same scenario, thats a CONCLUSION. YAHWEH clearly came down to the tower of babel and CONFUSED MANKIND (CREATING DIVISION in the process) because he feared united, its nothing impossible for US…. ” even if He was justified in not wanting us climbing to him, he couldve just said… “hey u stupid insistent humans, dont u know u will burn til death trying to leave the earth’s atmosphere?” Well if Yahweh knew about that part of nature, anyway lmaooooo… btw, ur argument of modern vs ancient kills me.. God is supposed to be ETERNAL in which so must his principles,knowledge,etc. U remind me of when i be schoolin the muslims about Muhammad, when it comes to h. Child wife AISHA, they say “well, that was in those times!”… as if ALLAH didnt know what was gonna happen lol.. abdullah studied his bible well.. too bad u havent. Anyways, Shalom

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Here’s a good Bible quote for you: “What is truth?”

            I’m saying TRUTH can be expressed in a variety of ways, and it doesn’t always need to be concrete and literal. If I write a love poem to my wife and say “your lips are roses, your eyes effervescent lakes of blue, your laughter a breath of fresh air” should I expect her to get mad at me for lying? Or should we perhaps concede that my words do express the truth of my love for her (albeit awkwardly)?

            Ancient literature, and the Bible in particular, is a complex mix of genres and authors with varying intents and styles and idiosyncrasies. Most of it is thousands of years removed from our present lives, coming from a different part of the world, with a different culture and a different language. As I said before, it’s simply NOT a dry science or history book, rather, it’s a rich tapestry of collected writings that I believe relate an extremely important story — THE important story, if you will. But I can see that we will likely never find common ground when it comes to the Bible. It seems that our starting points are simply too far apart … it’s almost as if we’re talking about two completely different books.

            Shalom to you as well…have a good night, I’m heading to bed!

          • Allen

            I been reading this exchange back and forth between u and Sean. I have to say i agree with a lot of his points and some of yours. I’m not here to double team or anything like that. I take u at your word that you are being genuine in what u say. That is a token of trust i don’t normally extend to religious people in present day given how i been double crossed so many times by the Christian community in the past. I understand this particular blog post is “What Non-Christians Want Christians To Hear” which seems like the perfect place for non Christians to voice their grievances of the negative attitudes and action of Christians to Christians but i want to make it clear that it was never my intention to spend a lot of time arguing/debating back and forth. It just something that happen because i’m fed up with negative treatment that i have received for a number of things on the behave of the good Christians folks. I’m a little puzzled by some of your responses. Some don’t really make any sense to me and i think i touched on it slightly when we went back and forth. You say you are a Christian yet ignore a lot of what the Bible says how is this so? You say that what is written in Bible has a deeper meaning and that there are different genres of writing( which i’ll will agree with u on that) but what puzzles me is God to u is real. God is something that really exist. How is that Adam and Eve isn’t literately true but a God is? Why is Christianity/God automatically accepted an seen as true at face value? and why exactly do u need Christianity in the first place? If the point is love people and treat them kindly why do u have to follow Christianity a religion that so polarizing and complex ( in your eyes) that people interpret so wrongly which ends up destroying people lives because they don’t fit in the cookie cutter of religion? Why is it so hard for people just to love and treat others kindly? Why does it have be under the umbrella of religion?… I honestly believe you are probably a very nice person. but to me it just seems that you aren’t just looking to be nice to your neighbor or feed the hungry.You want something more that only Christianity can offer. The only thing that Christianity claims that it offers is eternal life. I mean that is the main item it claims it has and one of the main reasons people become Christian because nothing is stopping anyone for being a good person… if it is the eternal life thing then that is admitting that only Christians can get this thing and others will not which also means that there must be something special Christians posses that others do not. Now we are back to the sin and hell game and we are back to Christians thinking they are better all around people because they believe they have everlasting life and others do not… So it just doesn’t make sense with all the baggage wrapped up in Christianity to be a Christian just to help the needy and i just doesn’t make sense to become a christian to love gays and atheist and non Christian because Christians have hated those groups for centuries. It seem like u are looking for more that only Christianity can offer . a everlasting product perhaps because nothing is stopping anyone on this planet from being a good person . No religious or political affiliation is required for that.

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Allen, thanks for sticking around and for your thoughtful response. I’m a bit hesitant to even try and share what I believe and why I believe it because such conversations can quickly sound like I think you have to believe the same things I do — and that’s not the case. Just because Christianity seems true to me doesn’t mean that I expect you to ignore your own experiences and understandings. We all have our own paths to follow and have to make our way as best we can. That said, I’ll offer a few brief responses to some of the issues you raised.

            I don’t ever intentionally ignore what the Bible says. I take the Bible extraordinarily seriously. But the Bible is a complex collection of writings and for me at least part of its continued attraction is that complexity. There are many layers that often defy easy interpretation. But I think that complexity offers rich resources for better understanding myself, the world and God. That I view some parts of the Bible as non-literal (as many Christians do) for me isn’t a liability, but rather an honest assessment of the facts.

            I don’t think one needs Christianity to be good, and I’m not a Christian out of some sort of utilitarian desire. I’m a Christian because I think the core claims of Christianity are true, and, in a very real way, I don’t have a choice about that. You might as well say, “why do you believe the sun is shining? Is it just because you need light? There are all sorts of other ways of producing light, you don’t need the sun at all, so why continue believing it’s there?” For me, right now, Christianity is like the sun: it’s there illuminating the world and I can’t simply shut my eyes to it and claim it’s not true. But of course things are very different for many other people…and as I said before, I’m ok with that.

            I’m not a Christian because of a promised eternal life. I honestly don’t know what happens when we die and I don’t view Christianity as some sort of Get Out of Jail Free card that will let me escape from the trials of the earth into eternal bliss in heaven. I do find hope in the Christian belief in the eventual renewal of ALL things: of a new heaven and earth, of things set to right, of all encompassing peace and justice and love. But I don’t think those are things merely to wait for, they are things to work for here and now.

            I realize Christianity has a lot of baggage. That’s what the whole point of the original “What Non-Christians Want Christians To Hear” post was about. But most (if not all) of that baggage are things I vehemently reject and often view as decidedly unChristian. As a Christian I have to deal with it and respond to it and hopefully try and undo some of the damage, but I don’t feel the need to reject the faith that I still believe is true.

          • Allen

            I don’t want to debate back and forth with u on this but the sunlight/faith example and basically your whole post seem more like an emotional appeal to believing in your faith than actually a logical one. Anyone can feel anything they want and personally believe the things they feel are true but doesn’t mean that they are ultimately true. I don’t want to get in that tho. that is you personal belief and if its not harming anyone i really don’t care if u believe it or not. i would like to point out that the line “I do find hope in the Christian belief in the eventual renewal of ALL things:a new heaven and earth, of things set to right, of all encompassing peace and justice and love” really puts up red flags for me in terms of past things u have said to me.You keep glazing over these idea of sin,heaven, hell ect but believe in that. “Set things right”? that means that something is wrong . Now we can both agree that there are many problems on this planet but the Bible and I disagree half of the time of what those problems are. The bible says this/that stuff is wrong and those people will be punished .Typically gays & atheist are among that group that the Bible is against. Lol i keep bringing those groups up because i’m apart of those…Yet u keep saying they aren’t and that everyone is gonna be ok and that love is all around and flowers will bloom chocolate candy while also saying things like “things will be set right”. What are the things that’s gonna be set right? Sounds like the sin and hell stuff again.That’s is the problem I’m having with u.

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            What we believe comes from a mix of emotion and reason and experience and intuition and perception. Comprehensive worldviews can’t really be summed up in terms of simple logical conclusions. But you’re right that just because someone believes something to be true doesn’t necessarily make it true. But that also doesn’t make holding a belief irrational and unreasonable.

            You agree that there’s plenty wrong in the world right now: that’s there’s pain and suffering and death and destruction and disease and hate and war and the list goes on and on. As a Christian, I believe that ultimately these things will be set right, that they will no longer burden us. That is heaven: not an ethereal spiritual existence on a cloud strumming a harp, but an earth — and an entire universe — that functions in perfect harmony.

            You’re worried about sin and hell and punishment…as if I might try and slip all that in at the last minute: “Hey, there’s an amazing party going on over here…everyone’s invited! Oh wait, you don’t have a ticket? Never mind, you’re going to have to go sit in the dark and cold.” That’s definitely NOT my viewpoint. I want/hope/believe that everyone who wants to will get in to the (metaphorical) party.

          • Allen

            no its more like… Dude we cooked this amazing spaghetti . and supposedly we have the most rarest sauce on the planet but you can’t have any because u don’t belong to our spaghetti club and not only will u not get any because u aren’t in our club all the spaghetti u make on your own and eat is sick disgusting shit because ours is the best . We believe because u aren’t in our club a pack of wolves should come and tear u to pieces as well as u should have to listen to Britney Spears sing live without autotune until u die but before that happens we are going to make sure your life is miserable everyday of your life because you aren’t in our club and don’t worship our spaghetti by making laws against u. This will make it hard for u to live in this society . So u shall suffer and be laughed at until those wolves eat you alive or Mrs Spears live singing kills u muahahahahaah………. lol that’s more like how Christians treat me at the moment. i don’t mind u having your own spaghetti club or sauce but why would u want wolves to eat me or Britney to kill me ? just dont make sense

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Allen, I can’t deny the abhorrent practice of many Christians.

            All I can say in response is that you’re welcome to my house for spaghetti anytime. But if you don’t want to stop by (I’m guessing it’s a pretty long drive) I understand, and I’m more than fine with you cooking your meals and me cooking mine. I don’t want anyone to be eaten by wolves or subjected to Britney Spears (unless they’re Britney Spears fans!) and I don’t think anyone should be persecuted for their religious beliefs (or lack thereof), either in this life or in any potential afterlife.

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            imma destroy your argument here piece by piece. maybe then u wil SEE how erratic your thinking is…now, the first mistake you made is: if GOD and MAN have DIFFERENT thinking processes, using YOURSELF as a example for HIS actions is hilariously silly. With that said, your next flaw, GOD is said to be ETERNAL, HIS morality CANNOT CHANGE, whats good should always be good, same goes for evil. As i said ur just like the muslims who downplay Muhammad’s pedophilia because the PEOPLE did that at the time, as if ALLAH didnt know what muhammad would do. Same goes for any argument you put forth in that manner. if INCEST is wrong, its AWLAYS been wrong, regardless of the time, place and the WHO practices it. Furthermore, ur expression about your wife, also is DIFFERENT. NOBODY is claiming said poem to your wife to be the WORD OF GOD. im a MC by trade, i can teach you how to produce a proper metaphor. there is no symbolism,etc. to GENESIS 1;29, the PEOPLE back then clearly didnt discover poison ivy yet, so nobody noticed the flaw, just as all other flaws. Cognitive dissonance is something u might wanna get checked out for. there is no such thing as something being TRUE and a LIE at the same time. Figurative is just that, LITERAL is just that. To say ADAM n EVE didnt LITERALLy do as genesis claims, in turn, means Jesus LITERALLY died for something that didnt really happen. If you say the book aint true, leave it at that and we good. i aint buyin the “well its not literally true but it is true in a sense”, you can use that to claim ANYTHING is true then lol… have a great day bro. #YourMove

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            Here u go again beind dishonest. The PREMISES and CONCLUSIONS are BIBLICAL not MINE.. STOP making excuses. And answer the question. If ME AND YOU both agree ALL SEED BEARING PLANTS are NOT EDIBLE (premise) then the (conclusion) MUST be that GENESIS 1:29 IS NOT TRUE.. . Do u disagree concerning this said passage???? #DontDeflectOrLie

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            Because thats what ur bible is supposed to be for. Wait, did u say in a manner of speaking u believe the bible IS the word of God, but u dont need His guidance.. yup, ur a Christian lol

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Why do you think that’s what’s the Bible is for?

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            How about, since u deny thats what its for, YOU tell ME what its for…. #ImWaiting

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            Are you this rude in real life, or is this just an online persona?

            Regardless, the Bible is many things: literature, poetry, history, etc. Generally speaking though, the Bible is not a moral rulebook, nor do most Christians view it as such. Yes, it contains moral precepts, but the idea that Christians need the Bible in order to discern right from wrong is as silly as the idea that atheists are necessarily evil, vile people.

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            How am i rude? I ask a question, u dodge my question, twist my question then ask me something so silly. Furthermore, whether or not most christians believe something is irrelevant. ALL christians believe the bible is the word of god, doesnt change the fact the belief is still untrue. Plz dont speak to me like im some outsder to ur faith, i was raised in it, i know deceit when i see it,etc. Your apologetics dont change the fact that MOST christians would disagree with u, after all, its UNfundamental for a reason isnt it ?

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            I’m honestly not trying to dodge or twist your questions…but you have to realize that saying things like “YOU tell ME what its for…. #ImWaiting” is not the friendliest of responses.

            As to the rest of your comment…I’m not sure of your point. I understand that you think that Christians are wrong about most (all?) aspects of their faith and that if we really followed the teachings of the Bible (as you understand them) Christianity would be revealed as the hateful, dangerous faith that it truly is. Is that it? I don’t want to put words in your mouth, so please correct me if that’s not accurate.

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            If i am consistently telling you my point, how do uou not know what it is? Oh yea, because u dodge it lol. Answering a question is answering a question since im so ignorant and slow, as u christians always say when evidence is in your face, tell me what does Yahweh mean when he says he will sell people in slavery, personally? (Joel 3:8), whats the TRUE interpretation of Yahweh trying to KILL MOSES? what am i not getting right about Yahweh DECIVING his own prophets? Correct my understanding of why Yahweh had to flee and leave the tribe of judah after his enemies broughtbout their iron chariots? Help me see how the bible is history when genesis claims the EARTH was creTed BEFORE the SUN? PLZZZZZ GIVE ME THE CORRECT INTERPRETATION so i can understand why Yahweh puts his soul into peopld then command their deaths later, especially BABIES. .. I guess everybody that clearly reads the bible is wrong except for christians and their magic powers of interpretation.. have fun mentally masturbating fam, i can see an honest discussion isnt in you… Shalama Alakhom

          • Erique Simpson

            http://www.icr.org/article/3620/

            Hopefully this article addresses or illuminates your creation concerns.

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            Christians dont believe in dealing wit facts or what u actually say, they just twist ur words n respond to them wit their usual pre-memorized excuses. They dont have the capacity to deal wit ur ACTUAL POINTS smh

          • mcfilmmakers

            I am directly address your points while you continue to ignore mine. The point is: THE BIBLE DOES NOT SPEAK AGAINST GAYS.

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            “If a man goes to bed with a
            man as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they
            must be PUT TO DEATH” btw, WHY did YAHWEH , DESTROY sadam n gomorah? Hmmmmmmmmm

          • mcfilmmakers

            You are committing a cardinal sin. The God of the Old Testament is NOT the God of the New Testament. The Old Testament is to be used as a parable (not literal) while the New Testament is to be a literal account of Jesus. The Old Testament is in fact a collection of adapted myths and legends from other civilizations past (Gilgamesh, Ra, etc). Yahweh did not destroy soddom and gomorah because of homosexuality. NOWHERE in the Bible does it say this. In fact, soddom and gomorah were destroyed because of their selfishness. The verse you so foolishly quote, applis under the law of Moses. Last I checked, were are way over 2,000 years past that. The law of Moses DOES NOT apply to Christians AT ALL. Even if it did, it has no precedence over ACTUAL LAW, making it null and void. At best, it speaks only to the though that it may be a distasteful act but DOES NOT call it a sin.

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            i laughed to death n back to life when he said “CHRISTIANS DO NOT JUDGE YOU”… from a humanist to an atheist, u alright wit me 😉

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            The bible says EXACTLY what it claims. Maybe ur bigotry is subliminal but its THERE.. case in point, if Jesus IS the ONLY way, u cannot as a christian believe there are saved Non christians, and. If jesus is NOT the ONLY way, then u are teaching a lie CONCIOUSLY. SO, according to your THEOLOGY, HITLER is in HEAVEN and EINSTEIN is in HELL…
            (U can guess which club i rather party in lol)

          • mcfilmmakers

            We’ll talk when you pay attention to what I said. Jesus is the only way has nothing to do with the topic at hand. Jesus NEVER preached against gay rights.

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            Actually, YOU are the one NOT paying attention. First, this should be clear to rational people, IF the biblical God is bigoted,oppressive,etc. WHAT ARE HIS FOLLOWERS TO BE? YAHWEH sold slaves, NOT MAN. (OF COURSE MEN DID SELL SLAVES, but im referring to YAHWEH DOING IT, specifically in JOEL 3;8…..then IF jesus AGREES with his father YAHWEH then WHAT SHOULD WE expect CHRISTIANS to BE LIKE? it has EVERYTHING to do with the issue, u just dont want to deal with it n thats fine. Doesnt mean WE cant tell its what you are doing. is THIS not from YAHWEH? “If a man goes to bed with a man as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they must be PUT TO DEATH”… now are u saying GOD and JESUS aren’t ONE after all?????
            ( im personally for rights of all people, i dont care who they sleep with, f.y.i.)

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            All of that rah rah n lip service for what?
            Just because YOU dont teach a certain thing, dosnt mean the God u worship doesnt command u to. Do u READ ur bible, or or the members of ur group yet ANOTHER sect out there prosyletizing the faith WITHOUT THE BOOK?
            When u witness to people, do u tell them that YAHWEH is a DECEIVER? (ezekiel 14:9), do u let them know ur God PERSONALLY SOLD SLAVES (Joel 3:8), or do u skip over those commands/passages,etc. When recruiting. A wise man said once, “yes, Christians DID help end the atlantic slave trade, but, they had to REBEL against YAHWEH to do so.
            I notice a trend with christians (i used to be one til i started actually studying it, and my mother’s an ordained minister), when u get challenged, u change the subject, u SEE something not right and u respond with everything BUT a response for the SCRIPTURES, plz stop claiming the devil created EVIL, when YAHWEH says HE DID IT (Isaiah 45:7). It makes you all look dishonest to run around preaching OPPOSITE to YOUR DEITY… in short, if u must use a BOOK as Ur truth, (1) KNOW WHAT IT SAYS, especially from God’s mouth and (2) be prepared to acknowledge what that god says, if u gone make apologetics for it.. p.s. POISON IVY is NOT EDIBLE, i dont care what YAHWEH TELLS U (Genesis 1:29)

      • Sean Lee Walthour

        Then its clear YOU dont READ UR BIBLE. talk about ignorance.
        YAHWEH even TRIED to kill his own prophet MOSES, he had 42 CHLDREN slaughtered by grizzly bears for simply teasing a man (2 Kings 2:23-24), He is DECEIVER (Ezekiel 14:9), HE failed to help the tribe of Judah because His enemies had IRON CHARIOTS ((JUDGES 1:19) , HE FLOODED THE ENTIRE EARTH TO KILL PEOPLE that HE KNEW IN ADVANCE (Omniscience) would do WHAT they did. Im afraid the person just above u was exactly corrected about YAHWEH and his LYING ASS.. I challenge u tho, since u say u have faith in him, i dare u to eat a bowl of Poison ivy since YAHWEH HIMSELF says that ALL SEED BEARING PLANTS ARE EDIBLE (Genesis 1:29)
        Thats the problem wit Christians now, believeing and preaching something they know nothing about…
        When u can bring me EVIDENCE that any man has ever lived 900 + human years, ill will believe u lol…. in the words of Jesus, SHALAMA ALAKHOM

        • Snooterpoot

          I generally refrain from criticizing comments because of grammar, spelling or composition, but, dude, you accuse others of ignorance while you are butchering the English language. Is it because you are ignorant, or are you just too lazy to be bothered?

          Your comments here have been all ranting and no listening. Unfortunately, you are missing out on getting to know kind and loving people because your mind is closed and your heart is cold.

          I really feel sorry for people like you.

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            I was having fun but, since you would rather proper english (though it is NOT a language btw), i shall write in a more collegiate way. Is that the best YOU can do? AD HOMINEM attacks? Why not attack my POINTS? oh wait, u cannot so u opt to deflect and attack ME, as if i was saying something ALLEN wasnt already saying. Please show me where i LIED. please disprove my statements concerning the BIBLE or YAHWEH. All you guys have is a big fat “No Yahweh doesnt say or do that!.. I present verses confirmin that both Yahweh and the christian doctrine is anything but “loving”. Personally i hate no one, my heart isn’t cold . YOU just happen to be one more BIGOT who talks trash, does everything but PROVE THEIR CASE. End of the day, i TEACH muslims, christians,etc. How to get along. The first step is to quit DENYING what is in your teachings. I can respect a Christian who says, “they DISAGREE with the bible on something, ” rather than bold face lie and act as if IM THE ONE WHO WROTE, “i will SELL your sons and daughters to the people of Judah who will sell them to the people of Arabia. I, The LORD do all these things”

            Sorry, ALLEN is right, as YAHWEH SAYS, HE is a DECEIVER (Ezkiel 14:9)..

            P.s. i would post the verses but, (1) you are a christian, u should already know what he says, and (2)you will just ignore HIS words and continue to believe its not there..

            Wit dat said, to sheol wit da english language, my argument dont rest on da gramma, it stands on facts n evidence, something u fake followers of Christ, run from, even when its in YOUR BIBLE. I guess Poison ivy is EDIBLE after all, since your god said so lmaoooo… oh btw, how come when Christians are greeted or departed with Shalama Alakhom, you guys never return the blessing? Those ARE the words of Jesus right?

          • Snooterpoot

            You were having fun? SHOUTING at people, calling them ignorant, being rude, refusing to listen with an open heart, declaring ad hominem attacks where there were none?

            My niece has a two-year-old son. Your tantrums here remind me of his tantrums, when he SHOUTS, cries, rolls around on the floor, refuses to listen to his parents and accuses them of being mean.

            Dude, I won’t try to debate anything with you. You seem to be convinced that you are right and anyone who disagrees with you to any extent whatsoever is wrong.

            One last thing. If English is not a language, what, pray tell, is it?

            You accusing others of being ignorant seems hypocritical to me, dude.

          • Sean Lee Walthour

            WHY is it EVERY single christian i challenge, declines? U claim im only convinced im right, rather than actually right? Prove it; PROVE TO ME, that Genesis 1;29 is NOT a FALSE STATEMENT ( ill wait lol)

            i CLEARLY wrote what i meant by having fun, i.e. my so called butchering of the english “language”.. Do some research, you might find out its actually bits and pieces of other languages, rather than one itself. Next, when i BOLD TYPE im NOT HOLLOERING, im only HIGHLIGHTING. mighty PREJUDICE of you to assume othwerwise. Also, attacking MY SPELLING rather than MY POINTS, IS an Ad hominem attack. ur so foolish its funny. With that said, deal with MY ARGUMENT n quit making distractions. i know ur a christian so u cant help it, but, u can at least try. did i LIE about YAHWEH selling slaves? Did i LIE about YAWHEH being a DECEIVER? All that hot air and u did everything but consider what i wrote. talk about not listening lol…my heart is not cold, nor is my mind closed. YOU believe men named ADAM,NOAH,etc died at the age 900 years old? and you accuse me of being close minded.. WITCHS are not REAL either, somehow Yahweh commands they be burned at the stake tho…lmaooooooo. ill bet every penny in your bank account, i know the bible better than you, obviously since YOU say one thing and YOUR GOD, YAHWEH says the opposite. please miss me with the nonsense. the more u write/talk the more you show ur ignorance and stubborn devotion to falsehood. i mean really, GENESIS 1;29 says that POISON IVY IS EDIBLE, only a moron can read that FROM YAHWEH HIMSELF and still thinks the book is TRUE lol…Sorry, im beyond convinced, i know for FACT u are wrong. I thank God everyday i got out of your awful religion. Shalama alakhom to ya……

          • Snooterpoot

            What part of “I’m not going to debate with you” did you fail to understand? You do not know what I believe, because I have not told you.

            Not only are you immature, pitching your little fit here, you are presumptuous as well.

            I hope you find peace somewhere, dude. You have a lot of anger and bitterness that needs to be resolved.

  • disqus_M5mfZOUmls

    I have come to Christ as an adult and never knew about Christ as a kid. My church has been so open to me that they let me develop into my own person and finally know who I am. Because of this I love my family even more. Some are gay and I have no problem because I should not be judging but it hurts to hear them say they don’t talk to me because I’m christian and will judge them. Only they could hear me out and actually know how I feel about them. I do love and would not push christianity against them. It’s all in God’s timing and I would not do anything to hurt them. I just wish they could understand that now that I am Christian I love them even more but unfortunately because of who I am I’m outcasted by them and that hurts me. Only if they could not automatically judge me for who I am and know that I love them still and even more so now. It’s my place for me judge.

    The most important command we as Christians should always follow is Love. Love no matter what and Love with all your heart. WIth Love everything else follows into place like understanding, respect, peace and so on. Without Love there will always be divisions among people and this is not what he wants. As for my family who outcasts me, I will always be there when they need me even if they judge who I am.

    • Allen

      see that is the thing that bothers me. YOu claim u are a Christian yet ignore what the Bible says about gays. I have to ask u the question if Christianity was totally in support of gays and had nothing against them then how can Christianity be used against them in the first place? There must be something in this book that says something about them. Well what is it? What does the Bible say? With a book that preaches love as you say im sure there isn’t anything in it that preaches against gays right? If that is the case how have people for centuries discriminated and shamed gays for religious reasons and no one said a word until gays started defending themselves? Something isn’t making sense. What does the Bible say? Let me tell u if gays hadn’t stood up for themselves religious people would have still stuck with their interpretation but all of a sudden after gays start fighting back apparently you guys missed something? The 2004 election was decided on because Americans showed their hatred for gay people. What influenced this hate? Maybe a book that says gays are an abomination. The denial of gay marriage in many states and the discrimination aboard in countries across the world seems to be rooted in religion. Why is that? Maybe something in this book called the Bible that look down on gays as people who are punishable to hell because they aren’t the standard of holiness? Honestly you can hide all this under the disguse of “love” but it comes a point u have to be honest about what is going on…..

      • Miss_Rayne

        I think I can answer your question. Jesus said that he came to fulfill and not abolish the Law – the Law being the Old Testament written by Moses. It is within these laws that we find specific acts that God had commanded in order to separate his people from the pagans of the time. The Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, and the Egyptians were openly in acceptance for homosexuality.

        When Jesus came, he said that these acts were fulfilled and they needed to be carried on no more. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, Jesus never said specifically which of the
        hundreds of laws were fulfilled. Since that time, Christians have
        nitpicked about what laws to keep and what to abandon. They stopped sending out menstruating women away from their homes, sacrificing their best animals, and ceased killing disobedient children, but they decided to keep looking down upon homosexual activity as well as not shopping on
        the Sabbath day. Christianity has many different variations, with the rigid and most well-known being fundamentalists (Southern Baptists, Catholicism, Presbyterians of America, etc) and the more culturally updated liberalism types (liberal Quakers, Presbyterians of the USA, Episcopalian, etc.)

        To assume that all Christians believe that the bible is infallible is
        simply not true. They have great divided factions over the fact that many Christians are hell bent on keeping rules rather than living the way Jesus tried to teach.

        Then, why again, why listen to me? I’m only a Christian gnostic aka a heretic that is utterly shunned by the majority of Christians in the area.

        • Allen

          Im sorry u have been shunned :/ but I would have to ask a simple question. If you believe Jesus is God or you worship God.. Why follow an entity that touts itself as moral and righteous when this God had commanded laws that said sending out menstruating women away from their homes, sacrificing their
          best animals, and killing disobedient children as well as putting gays to death was a good thing? Remember “God” is suppose to be the most moral thing going but yet people have to figure out if they should keep these rules of destruction or go the way Jesus (also God) who said be kind and sin no more meaning someone will be tortured in hell or ( for a growing number of Christians here lately) go to the grave while the other Christians shall get everlasting life. it just seems like a really weird way to look at the world. it’s kinda like this lady recently told me she loved me yet believed i should burn and be tortured. it’s sorta crazy talk really. How does one who claims to be moral say something like that and also how does one worship a God while believing that God was justified for doing all the murderous things in the past. How does one square that away in their heads? Saying ” that was the context” doesn’t really change anything. That’s why i never close off the idea of “slavery” happening again. Everyone says the context of slavery in the Bible is fine and was not the same as slavery in America which isn’t true .Apologetics have done a great job twisting as well as skimming over the parts that warrant slavery for life of people and not just indentured servitude. The fact is if you can find a context for own slaves and slaves have to obey their masters and believe that’s moral because God said it was a condition of life..who is to say that condition of life won’t return? I still ask the simple question of why does it take a religion or God to come up solution to problems or deal with life? It just doesn’t make sense.I see so many people trying to decide whether to treat people terribly because of what the Bible says or actually be nice to them. Normally the people would have no problems with each other but because of a religious text people have struggle to do the right thing

  • http://www.ritualwell.net/ Samantha

    My town had a fair this weekend and I am a pagan. (A pagan is someone who is not a christian, catholic, muslim or jewish) and this guy sees my pentacle and zeros right in on me. He was trying to tell me what my pentacle REALLY (????) means and that I don’t have a personal relationship with the true god, and animals don’t have souls. If you breathe, think and die, you have a soul. I have Christian friends who have little to no problem with me being anon-christian. It’s just the jerks at the fair who can’t stand it.

  • Guest

    Thank you for writing this article; you actually live the morals you preach, well done my friend! I respect you as a Christian and am now inclined to read your work. I have felt this way for quite a long time. What I find hard to fathom is how a Christian could preach that the Bible is the word of God, yet the majority have very little interest in reading it. I wouldn’t claim something was written by God unless I actually read most of it, if not all of it. Reading Romans here, 1 Corinthians there, gospel here and there, doesn’t show me that Christians believe God actually wrote the Bible, the canon contains over a thousand pages, so reading 200-300 pages worth is not enough to make someone look like a decent Christian. I know for a fact most Christians would rather spend 3 hours facebooking at Starbucks than read the Old Testament for a few hours, but if God wrote it, shouldn’t they want to devour the crap out all the books equally? As a non Christian, I study the Bible and it’s history extensively and I take it seriously. I’m usually surprised how little Christians know about Jesus and especially the stories of the Old Testament. Over two million Israelis migrated through the wilderness of Sinai led by Moses over the span of 40 years, yet archaeologist couldn’t find a scrap of evidence for it, so they abandoned their search after years and years of digging. They couldn’t find pots, pans, tent equipment, bowls, bags, fabric, utensils, wood carvings, stone carving, incense, etc. For 2 million people to dwell in a wilderness for FORTY years and leave absolutely nothing behind is preposterous, am I suppose to believe these people were so incredibly perfect and clean as to not leave ANYTHING behind even when some had leprosy and other diseases, and had to build temples with exact instructions and objects needed (down the very length)? Trust me, if they found evidence for civilization in the wilderness of Sinai, I’d be thrilled too. Another problem I have with the Bible is the gospel of Mark claims Jesus died on the Passover, and is so specific that he gives you a time (Mark 15:25) third hour (which is 9 am). John’s account is just as specific, but he disagrees. He says in John 19:14, Jesus dies on the Preparation of the Passover (the day before the Passover) at the sixth hour (noon). 9 am and noon are totally different hours and the Preparation of the Passover and the Passover (also known as The Preparation of the Sabbath) are two totally different days. There are more, but I rest my case for now.

  • SimplyMsFabulous

    Thank you for writing this article, you actually live what you preach, so well done my friend. I think some Christians have the preconceived notion that people are constantly persecuting them or trying to disprove Christianity. What if people are just inquiring because they have discovered some aspects of Christianity that they don’t agree with or do not feel good about accepting? If salvation were a true concept, those who present the gospel poorly or with anger should be just as responsible as those who don’t accept. In reality, if you are willing to jeopardize someone’s salvation just to be “right,” then what makes you any better than the person not accepting your message? When Christians hold signs talking about “sins” and “hell,” it makes the majority of the people not want know their God. Isn’t that the opposite of their mission? I recall Jesus being the kind of person to hang out and dine with nonbelievers, and they were amazed by his kindness and love. If Jesus’ followers don’t act or talk like Jesus, then what’s the point, I’m seriously confused. I have to exempt some Christians from this generalization because there are few out there who live like Jesus, love the Bible and are actually patient and zealous. I just wish the majority were like this.

  • Pangur Ban the Cat

    Many years ago, I was at a bar in Columbus, Ohio that I and other members
    of my band had gone to, to try to get a gig playing at the bar.

    I was outside smoking a cigarette, when this young guy came up and
    asked me if I had accepted Jesus into my life. I asked him (and I am not gay) “Like Jesus, do you love me?” He said yes. I then asked him to prove it and give me a kiss like Jesus had done to others. He stopped for a moment, thought about it, and then did a 180 and walked away without saying another word.

    They don’t seem to want anyone’s love, or to really give anyone love,
    they just want the discussions, and arguments. Then they will use them to make themselves feel better by claiming they have accepted this myth and that you haven’t and that because of that they have some sort of moral high ground advantage.

    I stood there chuckling as I finished my cigarette.

  • John Defalque

    I’m communist-that doesn’t mean I don’t have a conscience. If you added up all the seconds in my life where I thought I believed in god, they would be a fraction of a minute. Religion has been one of the emptiest experiences of my entire life. Just pray to god and you won’t be a poor slave. For a lot of humanity, the only way out of poverty will be death. “I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours but…”

    • Jill

      Hi John, I’m sorry that religion has been so empty for you, some of it has been for me as well. I just love that you quoted Martin Gore lyrics!

      • John Defalque

        Either god is all powerful and answers every reasonable prayer or god is just a myth.That song is funny and does make me laugh.

        • Jill

          …or god is somewhere in between? I’m cool with whatever, or at least I’m cool with not having to be only in one camp or the other. Funny how that song makes me cry. :(

          • John Defalque

            I know the bible was written in a time when they told tall tales like Homer and they still do today-Ghost to Ghost AM, but that does make it too miraculous to believe.The Koran only has Burach-the mythical winged creature who took Mohammed away.I was born stupid (autistic) so perhaps I am most angry with crapitalism than christianity or society.Nonetheless, if the church wants folks to tithe, they should offer vocational training in return, that way if aderents prosper, they in turn could tithe more.My cynicism is too strong to accept any religion.

          • Jill

            Born stupid… I think there’s a waiting list on that front. But seriously it’s not stupid to process information in a different way. What is deemed ‘smart’ is massively overrated.

            I like the concept of church as facilitators of higher learning. You’ve hit on something here… I like the idea of putting your money where your mouth is. Support people to better support themselves, and see where it leads.

            …such as, Utah’s homelessness solution: http://www.nationofchange.org/utah-ending-homelessness-giving-people-homes-1390056183?utm_content=buffer53f8f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

          • John Defalque

            Ghost to Ghost Am is like a pantheon of religions and metaphysical beliefs.I wonder why people just have to believe that there are cities on the moon and mars, or UFOs, bigfoot, remote viewing, tin hat conspiracies, Ogopogo, Nessie, chupacabras, psychics, oiuji boards, etc.I’m quite comfortable in rejecting it all as crap.

          • Jill

            Eh, there’s plenty of mystical, magical, unexplained, fantastical stuff for everyone’s amusement. If it amuses you to reject it all outright, then by all means! I reserve the right to remain an enthusiastically open-minded skeptic.

          • John Defalque

            I do think that Ghost to Ghost AM is a distraction from the real issues affecting the working stiff like where’s my next meal coming from, the struggle to pay bills and the biggest fear that is always at the back of my mind-homelessness.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Most of us stress over bills, rent, life. I do hope for all people and for you, that there is stability, as I know what its like to truly fret over a roof over my head. Its not pleasant.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Being autistic is NOT being born stupid. You are just hardwired differently when it comes to sensory input/output.

          • John Defalque

            OK, but I would say my life is 10X more frustrating than the normal born.I am retarded in math.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Oh, honey. If there were no such thing as calculators, I couldn’t add 9 plus 2 without having to use fingers and a toe and I use math every single day (thank the math gods Sine and Cosine for calulators!). I don’t doubt that you have unique challenges, but you are most certainly normal born, and I don’t see anything in your comments that would qualify you as lacking intellegence.

          • John Defalque

            So I have a “beautiful mind” like John Nash, well I have to be thankful that I don’t have any visual or auditory halucinations.If math is essential for all of us, then they should put chips in our heads and people like me shouldn’t have been forced to go past grade 4.I’m all for open learning.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            The briliant John Nash suffered from schizophrenia., yet still managed to win a Nobel prize.
            I’m all for open learning, and to never cease exploring, asking, peeking under, prodding. (spoken by someone who has NEVER memorized her times tables)

          • John Defalque

            Well this French Cdn. did listen to your president last night, and while he is better than his predecessor, he’s not the hope and change this commie is yearning for.He is good at speechifying, but we need nothing less than a comprehensive New Deal.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            He’s a president, and has limited powers thanks to how our government is set up. There are steps in the right direction, and much ground to cover yet. Hopefully with his successor can things continue onward.

          • Jill

            I’m just glad this is a forum for all of us who think and speak what is beyond the accepted norm so, while none of us can convince you that you’re not stupid, we can hold up a mirror so you can see you are more than any label.

  • Guest

    hello?

  • Krystal Duggan

    I am a Christian, and I get very tired of being judged by Christians and non-Christians. I accepted Christ, my sins are forgiven, no matter what they are, past, present, and future. Now for those of you who have experienced spiritual abuse, I apologize for the so-called Christians who have spiritually abused you, it is very rampant and has been since Jesus walked among us. Those are the Pharisees, and hypocrites, not real Christians. The spirit of condemnation does not come from God. Do not let that keep you from believing in God if you want to. You have free will, the same as me. Christians are not supposed to force God down anyone’s throat. That is not the way God even wants us to approach them. It is not any Christian’s place to convert anyone. We are to spread the Gospel about God’s love for us, not condemnation, and if someone doesn’t listen, then move on. That is why God gave us free will in the first place. I totally understand why non-Christians do not like Christians, and for Christians to hate anyone, makes me want to puke.

    • Krystal Duggan

      I am not responsible for anyone’s actions, only those of my own. However, I do feel ashamed that real Christians have been misrepresented, and so many people have been scarred by those actions.

      • adam

        How can you be responsible for your own actions if they have already been forgiven?

        • Krystal Duggan

          Being responsible for your actions is not the same as being forgiven or unforgiven. It means you can not control anyone else other than yourself.

          • adam

            Not following you.

            Being responsible means you cannot control anyone else other than yourself? Doesn’t make any sense to me.

            I thought once you were forgiven, you gain access to heaven, therefore the responsibility for your action falls to Jesus and his ‘death’ as you are no longer held accountable?

          • Krystal Duggan

            What do you not understand? Being responsible for your own actions, means you are responsible for your own actions. You can not account for other people’s actions.

          • adam

            I thought once you were forgiven, you gain access to heaven, therefore the responsibility for your action falls to Jesus and his ‘death’ as you are no longer held accountable?

    • worrow

      You say your sins are forgiven no matter what they are ? But arent some sins unforgivable such as blaspheming the Holy Spirit ? Yet many on this site are doing just that by denying God. But isnt it natural to at least question the existence of God in the light of overwhelming evidence to the contrary ? Do you not think that making it an unforgivable sin wil serve to do two things 1) force the feeble minded to never question church authority and 2) cast into despair those that cannot help express a clear paradox because they have an intelligent and inqusitive mind.
      To truly have faith you must need evidence and good reason. To date the Christian church has provided neither. There is however good reason to believe in science and human advancement.Little by little we have painstakingly won the right to question the old order of things. But dont allow me to deter you as you are young and sincere and i am like many intellectual non Christians being deliberatly provocotive ! My instinct tells me that Death is final but at the point of death we may see an instant which is etched on our minds / spirit and this is in essence eternity. I find accounts of near death experiences fascinating. So i think we are both right and both wrong ! But keep seeking for truth and stand your ground against militant atheists as they are insufferable !! X

      • adam
        • worrow

          Thanks for those quality links ! I have a suspician that science may already have the answer but releasing it to the world could well provoke a panic ! The big question is wether we are nothing more than neural pathways and electricity and this creates the illusion of ‘ self ‘ ? Is Death the final throw of the mains switch !? Nobody has ever come back for sure to tell us right ? Perhaps what we call God is simply the awesome power of nature . I really do sympathise with those that struggle to maintain their faith especially when they have suffered the loss of a child, i really do. Who wouldnt want to meet up with your loved ones again and who wouldnt wish for an eternal paradise where there is no sickness and pain ? It can seem so unfair to people that this world seems to be made for the greedy , the selfish and the downright wicked that many see that justice demands that they answer for their behaviour in the next life . What people like me are trying to do is change mindsets so that these things dont happen and everyone gets their fair share. However i am convinced that if ever a secular heaven on Earth appeared possible , the Catholic church would do everything in its power to prevent it. What is the point in living ? Religion has caused so much misery and suffering in the world.

          • adam

            http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/this-must-be-heaven

            Of course, science has had the answers for years.

            But it is tough overcoming a political party as powerful as religion.

            I do find it interesting that Jesus seemed to move away from the authority of the political party of his time ( in a very Buddhist fashion touting love -acceptance of life in Buddhism), only for it to be corrupted into another political party more powerful and ruthless in their quest for power. The Church

            Martin Luther seemed to move away from the authority of the political power of his time ( this time by removing the ‘interpretation’ by The Church by having bibles that were in the local language). Of course there were now about 1200 years of interpretation embedded in the writings and culture, and Martin Luther became the inspiration for the modern Protestant End Times fear factory and was the basis for Kristallnaucht with even more power and ruthlessness.

            And nowadays, this has evolved into the marketing invention of having a ‘personal relationship’ with the deity, it gives a free pass for the individual to create the deity in their own image who reflects their on hatreds, bias, and prejudices because there is a mention in the series of stories, so it not their emotions but the emotions of their ‘god’.

            And what this ‘personal relationship’ marketing does is justify everyone else who creates ‘god’ in their own image.

            Tell me how someone can claim to ‘know’ Jesus and invade a foreign country and kill innocent people? Or even just support the action?

            IMHO, Christians don’t need to be reborn, they just need to grow up. Put aside silly childish superstitions and wishful thinking and behave responsibly to each other.

  • worrow

    Christians behave the way they do because they are followers of Christ. It doesnt suprise me they are intolerant and intense and unreasonable and scary because Jesus was too. ” Love me or burn forever ” is the message. Its more about thinly veiled threats than love. The only rights Jesus gives you is the right to be judged and sent to Hell. You are told to turn the other cheek because resistence is seen as agression which is a sin. This is immoral. Is it not more reasonsble to assert yourself and warn the person that you will call the police if he does it again ? Or what about a defensive and instructive display of martial arts coupled with compassion ? Is it not natural for a healthy man to become aroused at the sight of an attractive woman ? Is this adultary ? NO !! Also it may be ok for a man to cut his balls off for the kingdom of heaven or men” born eunarchs” ( homosexuals) but is it acceptable for other men to cut off another mans balls without his consent ? ( how would you feel if you had been deprived of the greatest and most beautiful urge ) ?
    Yet Jesus thinks this run of the mill!. Why curse out of season fig trees or laugh at gentile women asking in all earnest to cure their sick daughter ?
    Why hang around walking distance from the tomb of your best friend and make out you didnt know he was dying ? And why did Lazaras unbind himself outside the tomb when jewish custom of bindind and heavy spicing weighing pounds eould have prevented him from walking ?
    Why do cheap party tricks at weddings ?
    Why leave telling of the whole story to unconected men decades later ? We would all like Jesus to be the hero and champion of the underdog but this is a manmade fantasy. If you read the scriptures properly you will see a self possessed lunatic that presents impossible demands with horrific consequences if you even fail to think up to them. So i dont blame Christians for being insufferable : they are doing as their leader demands! It is wishy washy Humanists and lukwarm ” Christians” that try to correct them with the notion that Jesus is meek and mild or an ok guy or maybe a bit like John Lennnon !! F %@#k Off !! Burning forever for disagreeing with a madman is disgusting beyond words. When we die we go the way of all mammals WE CEASE TO EXIST ! Worrying about what will happen to us only serves to crush our potential and prevent us from truly living life to our fullest.

    • adam

      Let’s be honest, most ‘christians’ are followers of Paul, even when it contradicts the very words ‘quoted’ from Jesus.

      Most are ‘believers’ for the sake of ‘belief’.

      Living the life that Jesus led is just too difficult and impractical to generate sufficient followers for a ‘religion’ to have any political power.

      • worrow

        Agreed . But its really much worse than that Adam because most bods that go to church are really worshipping the priest and his take on things. Paulian Christianity has a lot to answer for but people still want to subcontract responsibility for their lives to an authority figure. The problem lies in vicarious redemption ; or to put it more bluntly “Scapgoating “. That someone else can take responsibility for your sins. If pushed i might take the place of a child in a Nazi death camp or i might serve your prison sentence for you as human compassion doesnt require a deity. But please dont ask me to absolve youre sins that is your responsibility. What a cop out ! And what is worse , we tortured and murdered an innocent 33yr old jewish builder to take away our sins……? Only indoctrination can make you swallow that crap…

        • adam

          Agreed. But it is actually much worse than that because a great deal of them are really worshipping tales and stories TOLD about the bible INSTEAD of what is actually in the bible.

          Who creates evil?

          Most would say Satan….

          What does the book say?

          Isaiah 45:7
          King James Version (KJV)
          7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

          And of course, who lied to Adam in the story of Adam and Eve about the magic fruit. (hint: it wasn’t the talking snake)

          • worrow

            True, very true. I will say this though , at least the fundamentalist bible bashers are staying true to their faith. I cannot see how the Bible can be interperted any other way. Putting the parables and metaphores aside for one moment there are vital occassions when Jesus speaks plainly or literally. And im afraid that in order to follow him truly you must constantly self censor your thoughts and almost quake with fear on daily basis at the thought of going to Hell. If you have been burned as a child as i was there are no words to describe the pain. To create a place where this will continue in perpetuity for even minor indescretions is simply too callous for words. If there truly is a Hell it wouldnt need to be anything like as cruel to persude people this is why Hell is implausible . Notice how Jesus never has a sense of humour or instructs us what to do with our lives . He is unsettling and full of warnings . You are NEVER good enough. Notice how sad many devout lifelong Catholics are : they can never quite seem to do enough….

          • Shawn Tyler Hobbs

            u are right that is what the verse says it even tells u this in Genesis 1-5, God created Satan just like he created everything else, how ever God temps no one only by Satan are u temped James 1:13 , Adam and eve were trick and temped by the serpent in the garden. but i am glad u use the bible

          • adam

            Sorry, but god LIED to Adam and told him:

            17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

            The serpent told the TRUTH

            3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

            7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
            Then god punishes Adam and Eve and EVERYONE and EVERYTHING else for Adam’s innocence in NOT KNOWING the difference between good and evil BEFORE eating the fruit.
            god is the deceiver here…..

          • Pangur Ban the Cat

            So true Adam, I saw through that one as well. Here, you don’t know right from wrong or good and evil. Now don’t eat that. Then a while after they realize they are naked. OK So what’s wrong with being naked? It implies that being naked is evil. What’s wrong with that? Then, they are punished for not knowing right from wrong/good and evil and the punishment is exacted on every future child in perpetuity? What’s wrong with that? Everything. It’s a game, it’s a ruse.

          • adam

            It is important as a propaganda tool.

            IF you can make people believe that the god in this story is all loving, you can make them believe ANYTHING.

            Absolutely ANYTHING…..

            A worldwide flood that kills everyone and everything except a drunkard named Noah and his family and all the animals except those within walking distance of the ‘ark’ is done by a loving god.

            Killing Jobs family over a bet with Satan, same all loving god.

            Promises to torture those who cannot find a god that hides from view FOREVER for MINOR offenses in a very very very short span of a human life, is all loving.

            Absolutely ANYTHING…..

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      So tell us how you really feel.

      • worrow

        Cold, damp and miserable ! I occupy a point on this spinning ball of rock we call Earth called England or to be precise : Liverpool. There is a huge cathedral here dubbed ” Paddys Wigwam ” and ( i kid you not ) they constructed a huge outdoor alter especially for Jebaz when he comes back ! He aint commin back honey is he ..!.?

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Id love to visit your nation one day. So much history and culture that dates back thousands of years. Its winter here in the american south east, with a bit of snow and a lot of chilly, intersesting culture and history, but not near as ancient.

          • worrow

            Why not ? Isnt modern technology amazing ? All you have to do is jump on a plane and your here ! Had you done this 2000yrs ago though you would have been burned at the stake for witchcraft !! Just to tie in with my maiden blog isnt it funny how the Catholic Church keeps changing the face ofJesus to blend with the times ?. Surely an omnipotent, omnicsient and omnepresent God would remain the same ?
            Further , if it was ok to burn witches in biblical times then it should be ok now too ….? The word of God cannot change. There is a lot of violence and cruelty in the Bible and i cannot square this with a loving God.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Plane trips are few and far between on a low level civil servant’s budget..One day, I hope.
            As for perceptions of the divine. Despite the insistence that we are made in the image of God, in practicality it tends to be the other way around. Humanity cannot quite grasp the divine being just out of our reach of understanding, so we work with what we know and use a lot of “maybe god it like this… We’ve always done it, and its unlikely to change any time soon.

  • Pangur Ban the Cat

    Here’s what I found about this topic on Wikipedia about something called the
    Atheists Wager.

    The Atheist’s Wager is an atheistic response to Pascal’s Wager regarding the existence of God. The wager was formulated in 1990 by Michael Martin, in his book Atheism: A Philisophical Justification, and has received some traction in religious and atheist literature since.

    Atheists Wager

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheist%27s_Wager

    You should live your life and try to make the world a better place for your being in it, whether or not you believe in god. If there is no god, you have lost nothing and will be remembered fondly by those you left behind. If there is a benevolent god, it will judge you on your merits and not just on whether or not you believed in it.

    The premise for the wager is often expressed in terms of an alleged quote from Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius:

    Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them.

    If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

    The Wager states that if you were to analyze your options in regard to how to live your life, you would come out with the following possibilities.

    You may live a good life and believe in a god, and a benevolent god exists, in which case you go to heaven: your gain is infinite.

    You may live a good life without believing in a god, and a benevolent god exists, in which case you go to heaven: your gain is infinite.

    You may live a good life and believe in a god, but no benevolent god exists, in which case you leave a positive legacy to the world; your gain is finite.

    You may live a good life without believing in a god, and no benevolent god exists, in which case you leave a positive legacy to the world; your gain is finite.

    You may live an evil life and believe in a god, and a benevolent god exists, in which case you go to hell: your loss is infinite.

    You may live an evil life without believing in a god, and a benevolent god exists, in which case you go to hell: your loss is infinite.

    You may live an evil life and believe in a god, but no benevolent god exists, in which case you leave a negative legacy to the world; your loss is finite.

    You may live an evil life without believing in a god, and no benevolent god exists, in which case you leave a negative legacy to the world; your loss is finite.

  • Pangur Ban the Cat

    Let’s have a look at some of the rules and regulations your
    bible claims are not only necessary, but required. How many of you true
    believers are following these rules?

    Forbidden by the Bible: 1:59
    AM

    1. Burning any yeast or honey in
    offerings to God (2:11)

    2. Failing to include salt in offerings to God (2:13)

    3. Eating fat (3:17)

    4. Eating blood (3:17)

    5. Failing to testify against any wrongdoing you’ve witnessed (5:1)

    6. Failing to testify against any wrongdoing you’ve been told about (5:1)

    7. Touching an unclean animal (5:2)

    8. Carelessly making an oath (5:4)

    9. Deceiving a neighbour about something trusted to them (6:2)

    10. Finding lost property and lying about it (6:3)

    11. Bringing unauthorised fire before God (10:1)

    12. Letting your hair become unkempt (10:6)

    13. Tearing your clothes (10:6)

    14. Drinking alcohol in holy places (bit of a problem for Catholics, this ‘un)
    (10:9)

    15. Eating an animal which doesn’t both chew cud and has a divided hoof (cf:
    camel, rabbit, pig) (11:4-7)

    16. Touching the carcass of any of the above (problems here for rugby) (11:8)

    17. Eating – or touching the carcass of – any seafood without fins or scales
    (11:10-12)

    18. Eating – or touching the carcass of – eagle, the vulture, the black
    vulture, the red kite, any kind of black kite, any kind of raven, the horned
    owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, the little owl, the cormorant,
    the great owl, the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, the stork, any kind
    of heron, the hoopoe and the bat. (11:13-19)

    19. Eating – or touching the carcass of – flying insects with four legs, unless
    those legs are jointed (11:20-22)

    20. Eating any animal which walks on all four and has paws (good news for cats)
    (11:27)

    21. Eating – or touching the carcass of – the weasel, the rat, any kind of
    great lizard, the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the
    chameleon (11:29)

    22. Eating – or touching th e carcass of – any creature which crawls on many
    legs, or its belly (11:41-42)

    23. Going to church within 33 days after giving birth to a boy (12:4)

    24. Going to church within 66 days after giving birth to a girl (12:5)

    25. Having sex with your mother (18:7)

    26. Having sex with your father’s wife (18:8)

    27. Having sex with your sister (18:9)

    28. Having sex with your granddaughter (18:10)

    29. Having sex with your half-sister (18:11)

    30. Having sex with your biological aunt (18:12-13)

    31. Having sex with your uncle’s wife (18:14)

    32. Having sex with your daughter-in-law (18:15)

    33. Having sex with your sister-in-law (18:16)

    34. Having sex with a woman and also having sex with her daughter or
    granddaughter (bad news for Alan Clark) (18:17)

    35. Marrying your wife’s sister while your wife still lives (18:18)

    36. Having sex with a woman during her period (18:19)

    37. Having sex with your neighbour’s wife (18:20)

    38. Giving your children to be sacrificed to Molek (18:21)

    39. Having sex with a man “as one does with a woman” (18:22)

    40. Having sex with an animal (18:23)

    41. Making idols or “metal gods” (19:4)

    42. Reaping to the very edges of a field (19:9)

    43. Picking up grapes that have fallen in your vineyard (19:10)

    44. Stealing (19:11)

    45. Lying (19:11)

    46. Swearing falsely on God’s name (19:12)

    47. Defrauding your neighbour (19:13)

    48. Holding back the wages of an employee overnight (not well observed these
    days) (19:13)

    49. Cursing the deaf or abusing the blind (19:14)

    50. Perverting justice, showing partiality to either the poor or the rich
    (19:15)

    51. Spreading slander (19:16)

    52. Doing anything to endanger a neighbour’s life (19:16)

    53. Seeking revenge or bearing a grudge (19:18)

    54. Mixing fabrics in clothing (19:19)

    55. Cross-breeding animals (19:19)

    56. Planting different seeds in the same field (19:19)

    57. Sleeping with another man’s slave (19:20)

    58. Eating fruit from a tree within four years of planting it (19:23)

    59. Practising divination or seeking omens (tut, tut astrology) (19:26)

    60. Trimming your beard (19:27)

    61. Cutting your hair at the sides (19:27)

    62. Getting tattoos (19:28)

    63. Making your daughter prostitute herself (19:29)

    64. Turning to mediums or spiritualists (19:31)

    65. Not standing in the presence of the elderly (19:32)

    66. Mistreating foreigners – “the foreigner residing among you must be
    treated as your native-born” (19:33-34)

    67. Using dishonest weights and scales (19:35-36)

    68. Cursing your father or mother (punishable by death) (20:9)

    69. Marrying a prostitute, divorcee or widow if you are a priest (21:7, 13)

    70. Entering a place where there’s a dead body as a priest (21:11)

    71. Slaughtering a cow/sheep and its young on the same day (22:28)

    72. Working on the Sabbath (23:3)

    73. Blasphemy (punishable by stoning to death) (24:14)

    74. Inflicting an injury; killing someone else’s animal; killing a person must
    be punished in kind (24:17-22)

    75. Selling land permanently (25:23)

    76. Selling an Israelite as a slave (foreigners are fine) (25:42}

    • Shawn Tyler Hobbs

      all these are in the old testament which is the covenant with God until Jesus came, Then Jesus and his teachings became the new covenant ending the old but however Jesus did teach the old laws that still would remain, like not drinking blood, u no longer need sacrifice offering because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice.5,6 are also in Jesus’s teaching.

      • Pangur Ban the Cat

        Shawn you are entitled to your belief in this. However it is all a waste of your time. All Jesus wanted to do was ti kick out the Romans, destroy what the Priestly Class of Jews had turned their religion into, and restore the Israelites to power as a political agency in the Middle East. Paul created fictions about this man that now stand as your talking points and explanations.

        • Shawn Tyler Hobbs

          so are u i see we wont have too much common ground so, i wont go back and forth anyway ur opinion is just as important. as mine. have a great day

  • Pangur Ban the Cat

    BTW, those rules or commandments are from Leviticus.

    As we all know, for most believers religion, to be fully embraced as a way of life, must be based—at least in principle and in part—on evidence. But the absence of that evidence has given rise to the discipline of theology, which is based on the insupportable premise of rationality without reason.

    Religion is a pseudoscience: it makes existence claims—statements about
    reality—but, when those are challenged, reverts to exactly the same tactics as
    do advocates of Bigfoot, alien abduction, and homeopathy. The “evidence” reverts to revelation and scripture, and religionists make sure that it’s not capable of being falsified.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Religion is more a philosophy than a science.

      • Pangur Ban the Cat

        And this therefore absolves it from proving its claims? A philosophy is a set of beliefs then. A set of beliefs based on the absence of proof whether or not it is science, is a very dubious thing. If it were simply a philosophy, there wouldn’t be all the attendant worship, rituals, and prayers. No, it is not a philosophy. And you can see this in may of the claims made here by those who believe.

        There are those who believe because they wish to believe because they want to fit in to a segment of society and by believing, or pretending to, they are accepted by the dominant subgroup.

        There are those who believe because they are indoctrinated from birth to believe and surrounded by societal norms urging them to believe as required by by the dominant subgroup..

        If it were simply a philosophy it would not require all of the attendant claims of supernatural beings, miraculous works, and claims of personal relationships with something only in one’s head. .

        I can believe, or accept Aristotelian Logic, which is a philosphy, but the moment I begin claiming a personal relationship in my head with Aristotle, or Alexander of Aphrodisias, it becomes entirely different thing than “just” a philosophy.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          I see nothing in any of your statements that make religion a science. Religion has many of the elements of philosophy. Both adhere more to mindset, tenets or beliefs, both tend to deal with intangibles, and those big big questions with no hard and fast answers, and both suggest ways to live life as harmoniously as possible.

          religion as science is, of course how you choose to see it, I’ve never seen how it can apply to any religion, but if that’s how you see it, knock yourself out.

          • Pangur Ban the Cat

            allegro63 I labored to write a response and I posted it, but it appears that an editor of patheos has decided to remove it. I said nothing derogatory or disrespectful but there you have it.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I’ve had posts disappear or show up hours later. The joy of using Disqus.

  • Pangur Ban the Cat

    Paul Convinced people that Jesus had been a god.

    CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS is a work of investigative history.
    It documents and describes Christianity’s creation-event, which occurred in the
    year 49 or 50, in Antioch (present-day Antakya, Turkey), 20 years after Jesus
    had been crucified in Jerusalem for sedition against Roman rule.

    At this event, Paul broke away from the Jewish sect that
    Jesus had begun, and he took with him the majority of this new Jewish sect’s
    members; he convinced these people that Jesus had been a god, and that the way to win eternal salvation in heaven is to worship him as such. On this precise
    occasion,

    Paul explicitly introduced, for the first time anywhere, the
    duality of the previously unitary Jewish God, a duality consisting of the
    Father and the Son; and he implicitly introduced also the third element of the
    Trinity, the Holy Ghost.

    This book also explains and documents the tortuous 14-year-long conflict Paul
    had had with this sect’s leader, Jesus’s brother James, a conflict which caused
    Paul, in about the year 50, to perpetrate his coup d’état against James, and to
    start his own new religion: Christianity.

    Then, this historical probe documents that the four
    canonical Gospel accounts of the words and actions of “Jesus” were written
    decades after Jesus, by followers of Paul, not by followers of Jesus; and that
    these writings placed into the mouth of “Jesus” the agenda of Paul. Paul thus
    became, via his followers, Jesus’s ventriloquist.

    A work such as this can be documented and produced only now, after the
    development (during the past 70 years) of modern legal/forensic methodology.
    Previously, the only available methods, which scholars have used, simply
    assumed the honesty-of-intent of all classical documents, especially of
    canonical religious ones, such as Paul’s epistles, and the Four Gospels.

    Only now is it finally possible to penetrate deeper than
    that, to reach the writer’s intent, and not merely his assertions, and to
    identify when this intent is to deceive instead of to inform. Whereas scholars
    have been able to discuss only the truth or falsity of particular canonical
    statements, it is now possible to discuss also the honesty or deceptiveness of
    individual statements.

    This opens up an unprecedented new research tool for
    historians, and CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS is the first work to use these new
    methods to reconstruct, on this legal/forensic basis, not just how crimes took
    place, but how and why major historical events (criminal or not), such as the
    event that started Christianity, actually occurred.

    The author explains: “What I am doing in this work is to
    reconstruct from the New Testament the crucial events that produced it, without
    assuming whether what the NT says in any given passage is necessarily true or
    even honest. Instead of treating the NT as a work that ‘reports history,’ the
    NT is treated as a work whose history is itself being investigated and
    reported.

    Its origin goes back to this coup d’état that Paul
    perpetrated in Antioch in the year 49 or 50 against Jesus’s brother James in
    Jerusalem, whom Jesus in Jerusalem had appointed in the year 30 as his
    successor to lead the Jewish sect that Jesus had started.

    The Gospel accounts of ‘Jesus’ reflected Paul’s coup d’état
    – not actually Jesus, who would be appalled at the Christian concept of
    ‘Christ.’ That concept was radically different from the Jewish concept of the
    messiah, and Paul knew this when he created it.”

  • Pangur Ban the Cat

    All Jesus, whose real name was Joshua (it became Jesus when
    Aramaic was translated into Greek/Latin), wanted to do was to call upon the god
    of Israel to ask that this god restore Israel and its tribes to its original
    and rightful place as a military, theological, and political force in Judea
    throwing off the yoke of Rome. Further he wanted to rid the Jews of their high
    Priests and the business they were in of milking the Jewish people for food and
    money in payment for ritual sacrifices and celebratory rites. He was basically
    attempting to put an end to the capitalism the Priestly class engaged in and
    the fact that they had sold themselves out to Roman appointed governors.

    Jesus was seen by Roman authorities as a seditious zealot
    calling for the overthrow of the way things were. There were some 30 plus other
    messiahs, also purported to be claiming miracles and many of them were also
    captured and crucified which was the Roman punishment for people trying to
    overthrow the status quo. Some 300 plus individuals were also crucified for
    similar activity. The Roman term for political activists pushing for their
    overthrow were referred to as bandits. It did not mean someone guilty of
    robbery. So the claim that those also crucified the same day were thief’s are inaccurate.

    I also recommend reading Resa Azlan’s book Zealot.

  • Rita

    I have been a Christian for a very long time and have never told people they are going to hell. In my opinion too many are uneducated in the scriptures and are following a teacher who is also uneducated and passing along incorrect, oversimplified and misapplied teachings from the bible. It makes me sad and angry at the same time. There are many Christians who are trying to inform the Christian community regarding proper “hermeneutics” which unfortunately turns many Christians off. They just are not interested and it grieves me tremendously. I give this one piece of advice to anyone who is confronted with such a person. See them as misguided children and don’t take their misguided exuberance, to put it kindly, to heart. There are other situations where people can be offensive too and a mature person learns to let it slide off, considering the source as they say. Hope this helps. :)

    • spw

      Rita,
      There are many that have come in unawares to Gods people. There are false shepherds “Pastors” and sheep “Christians” all around. This is why people don’t want God, they see more of falseness than they do Truth. As a believer in Christ this is getting worse and worse. Jesus came to set the captive free not to put a measure of fear and judgment on His people. The enemy is doing a very good job of deceiving eye’s that don’t see the Truth of God and His Word. All we can do is to be set apart and come out of falsehood that makes a mockery of Christ and His wonderful plan for His people.

      • Rita

        I agree with you about coming out of falsehood and strongly believe God is calling out His own right now in this time. I am not a dispensationalist (Armaggedon) but I can see so many people for once truly seeking the truth – studying the bible in a different way. The dispensational/futurist pov was established in 1800’s and in my opinion was completely wrong. But now committed Christians everywhere are learning a better way to read their bibles (hermeneutics). It is exciting to me. I would like to post a website for Berean Bible Church which has an excellent teacher. He teaches to think, think, and study and put aside your traditions and preconcieved ideas of what any particular scripture means – to you – and read it with the eyes of the audience hearing it in Those days. It makes a huge difference to our understanding. Check out this website. You may be surprised by joy :)

        http://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/home.php

        • spw

          Rita,
          Thank you for your reply. I truly believe that God is waking people up from their slumber. We have got to have Spiritual eyes to see Truth. How be it that our Father would be worshipped any other way. God is Spirit and He will be worshipped based on the Spiritual Truth of His word. My prayer for the body of Christ is that we would have spiritual eyes and ears to see and hear what God intended for us. Without this gift we will be deceived and will go the way of man and not the way of God. I believe the only way we can study our bibles is by the leading of Gods Spirit. When we take our eyes off Jesus and the leading of His spirit we can go into dangerous territory and believe every wind of doctrine being taught. Lord, open our eyes that we may see you clearly through your word, Amen!

          • Rita

            Hi spw,
            I would like to share a website with you. When you get a chance to read it, I would love to hear what you think. Have you ever heard of Preterism? It is the belief that all prophecy has been fulfilled. Look forward to hearing back.

            http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/preterist-questions.html

          • spw

            Thank you,
            I will look it up. Blessings!

      • Rita

        spw, I would like to invite you to join my google+ page for Christians who have a preterist point of view of prophecy. I left another post asking you to read something on the web regarding that. I think you can get there from here:
        https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/114641758565697262285

        I cannot invite you from the google+ page because I would need an email address. Are you on google?

        • spw

          Rita,
          Yes I am on google. I’ll check out your site. How can I give you my email as I would not want to post it on this site because as you can see I do have some that don’t like what I share. My email would have to stay private, thanks

          • Rita

            Understood. I didn’t want you to post it just that I would need it. Let me know if you cannot connect with the google+ page. Look forward to meeting you there. :)

          • spw

            Thanks Rita, Ill look forward to it.

  • Rita

    I need to make one more observation. So much of what I read here and elsewhere regarding the hate that comes from Christians is what you are getting from television. Christianity has been portrayed exactly as you are describing it here, and that for the past 30+ years. I know, I watch it and it sickens me. I am not saying anyone here has not had a bad personal experience.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Not exactly. I have personally experienced hatred from Christians, have heard it directly from the mouths of professed Christians and preached from the pulpits where I sat in a pew.

      I personally have been called some really hateful things by professed Christians, because I dared to ask questions about someone’s beliefs or offered a different view. I have been literally ostracized by members of my former church, gossiped about and have, as a result felt utterly alone.

      On the flip side, I have seen amazing capacity for compassion, generosity and love from professed Christians, Have been the direct recipient of words and deeds of comfort and companionship. I have seen people use their belief in a God who’s love cannot be contained, measured or described, and try as best they can to offer solace, peace, and hope to those who’ve about given up.

      It is the later examples that have kept me from giving up on Christianity all together. It is the former, that I hope either learns how to do better, or fades into obscurity.

      • Rita

        Yes, I know Christians who have experienced that who have left their church. Leaving a church doesn’t mean anything. The church is a building and leaving it, especially because of bad teaching from the pulpit or behavior from the congregation is the best thing to do. People from all walks of life can be difficult, it is just a given. When dealing with large groups either locally or country wide, it seems the majority or the masses as a whole have questionable world views. You have to zero in on the individual to get real. People, en masse, behave in strange ways, in any situation. Find people who love to learn, in the bible they are called Bereans, and connect with them. A movement called Preterism is becoming more popular and they have a totally different world view than the 100+ year old dispensational view of the world. I believe we are on the right path to sanity. Here are two websites that may interest you: http://www.preteristcentral.com/index.html
        http://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/studyIndex.php

        Lastly, we cannot base our beliefs on the behaviors of people, for better or worse.

        • Em

          In many cases, we can and should base our beliefs on the actions of others. If the people who believe a certain way are horrible because of their belief, well I don’t have any interest in sharing those beliefs. I prefer to contemplate ideology that inspires kindness and mutual respect.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Which is why I’m on my third denomination and only agree with part of their theology…but agree with much more than the last two.

          • Rita

            Your beliefs must be based on truth. God’s word, correctly understood, is truth. Yes there is disagreement among intelligent people committed to proper hermeneutics, but educated Christians always agree on the fundamentals which are salvation by grace, Jesus/Yeshua as Savior, God as Father, Holy Spirit, etc. But essentially to be a Christian, we must acknowledge the sacrificial act of Christ on the Cross. Yeshua was always kind except towards the ones who should have known better but tried to destroy the faith of the vulnerable. He is protective about His ‘little ones’. This is putting simply what takes a lifetime of pursuit, getting to know our God. Possibly you meant to say your response to the belief of others is to walk away? That does not determine what you believe but you choose not to walk in accord with such ‘ignorance’.

          • spw

            Em,
            God’s true people will treat you with respect and love. If they don’t they never where of God. God’s true people will not treat people with hate. God is Love, and His own will show love, grace, mercy and justice. Any person that claims to be of God and all they can do is to be finger pointers and trying to remove a speck from someone’s eye, they are no more than modern day Pharisees that have a form of religion but the truth of God is not in them. People cannot change the heart’s of others, only God their Creator can. So anyone that pushes their beliefs on you are really not what they claim to be. God will draw people to himself, not people. I ask you to go in peace and love and don’t judge Christianity based on those that are a false people claiming to be of God.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            spw,
            People are human, even Christians, and are quite capable of hatred, injustice, false accusations and overblowing other people’s problems. People who are motivated in some way by the tenets of their faith will push their beliefs on you, because they believe that it is what God wants. To say that people who do such things are not true to their faith is a bald face lie. They are merely human, and make just bone headed mistakes as anyone.

          • spw

            allegro63,
            Yes Christians are human but that gives us no right to treat people badly. We don’t have that right and if we act in this manner we are in sin. I want to say it again, True People of God will not have hatred, and the sins you mentioned and if they do, they are not of God. God gives His people the power to overcome these attitudes. When we choose Christ we no longer belong to ourselves we are His possession. This again will give you insight if people claim to belong to God they will treat people based on the fruits of the Spirit not the fruits of darkness. You don’t know Gods judgments by calling me a liar based on what I have said, what I have said is scriptural based on the Spirit of Gods word. Yes Gods people will have a bad day from time to time but they will not live in such sin as hatred or liars, this can and will never be. You have been quite fooled if you think so. What would set a man apart to do good to all people according to Gods word? God in the Spirit will never mix with the flesh of man, people that hate and lie are of the flesh and the world and they are not of God!!

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            So then David, Abraham, Moses, Peter…none of those people were of God by your standards?

            I do not for one moment believe that someone who is a Christian, or the adherent of any faith, suddenly lose the capability to act like utter shits. I have yet to see the evidence of such a thing. Instead I have seen that people who tend to be tender hearted, are going to be that way, regardless of their faith stance. People who are going to be controlling, will be that way, regardless of their faith stance. People who are generous, stingy, patient, quick tempered, etc are going to be that way no matter what. All faith does is help to channel those attributes.

            True people can change, learning to be more compassionate, or kind, or gentle hearted, but more often than not, it takes a lot more than an assumption that God is going to change them. It takes a concerted, and long term, dedicated effort for them to change…themselves.
            And for the record, I’m not afraid of that so called God’s judgement thing. You know why? I don’t think the divine acts that way….people however, are very prone to evoke cursings in the name of the divine….I wonder if that was what was meant when that third commandement discussed using God’s name in vain?

          • spw

            None of the ones you mentioned had the indwelling Holy Spirit that believers have today. This is the thing. You keep talking about what you believe and what you think. It’s what Gods word says that matters. God does not change yesterday, today or tomorrow and His judgments are the same. When people give their life to Christ they become a new creation, all their old ways pass away and their new life begins with Christ. One cannot claim God and not be changed, it will never be. I for one can tell you that with certainty, from my own conversion. There is a supernatural power, God’s Power, that takes over and changes you from the matter of the heart and ones sin nature. Like I said before, a child of God may have a bad day from time to time, but there won’t be many, and they will always make their wrongs right with great humility. God will not be mocked and He will separate His own from worldly behavior. How will God be made known if one walks around unrepentant and unregenerate? Gods power will be obvious in His people. This is where there will be many that will say Lord, Lord did we not prophecy and do good works in your name and He will then tell them He never knew them because they were workers of wrong doing and evil, because they went their own way. What I am saying is on the pages of Gods word. We can also tell by judging their spirit man to see who they are of. We are told by God to judge all things pertaining to Him and His word to see if people are truly of Him or not so we will not be deceived by the enemy and his tactics.
            We are to study Gods word to allow it to penetrate our soul and to never allow our oil “Holy Spirit” to be quenched and stifled. If you claim that people can confess Christ but they live in sin, then you have been deceived yourself and also those that claim Him. Please study the fruits of the Spirit. “Galatians 5v26-23, says: I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature wants. The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is opposite of what the Holy Spirit wants. The Holy Spirit gives us desires that are opposite of what our sinful nature wants. These two forces are constantly at battle with each other, and your choices are never free from conflict. But when you are lead of the Holy Spirit you are no longer subject to Gods judgments. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your life will produce evil results, such as sexual immorality, impure thoughts, lustful pleasures, idolatry, demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfish ambitions, divisions, the feeling everything is wrong except for what is in your own thoughts and group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again as I have said before, that anyone living in that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us, love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Here there is no conflict of judgment. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their passions and desires and sinful nature to the cross and have crucified them there. If we are living by the Holy Spirit let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or irritate to one another, or jealous of one another”. What I have just written is God speaking through Paul to write a letter to new converts in Galatia as a warning to them. Gods word will stand on it’s own. What I have said before about the actions of people who claim to be followers of Christ, will tell us if people are true to their faith and what they claim or they won’t be.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Judging and condemning a personal hobby of yours? And geez. did you have to type a single paragraphed sermon?

      • spw

        allegro63,
        The term you used, professed Christians, is the thing. There are many of what God calls wolves in sheep’s clothing. Meaning there will be false Christians everywhere trying to disprove God and the bible by the way they treat people in general. They act like Christians by going with the flow of Christians, but in reality they don’t know the God of the bible.Christians will have a humility and love for man kind that is unexplainable. God did not tell his people to judge unbelievers for one, He told us to judge our own according to His word in order to weed out those that are mixed in fellowship so as we would not be deceived by their false hood. Those that don’t believe in Him are of the world with it’s views and God says not to judge the world because the world will judge it’s own. By what I have just said there are many false people that claim to be of God all over the world and they have given Gods true people a bad name. True believers will have spiritual eye’s and ear’s to see and hear truth from God and His word “bible”. True Christians will love all people whether they know God or not. People will not understand and believe God unless God allows them to do so. He knows the one whose heart wants Him and whose hearts don’t want Him. He will not force anyone to be one of His unless one is willing to give up their worldly views and look to Him for answers. God knows everyone whether they believe in Him or not, for He did create man kind and all that has ever been. Most people look at God and His word with literal concrete eyes. God is a spirit and He is to be worshipped and understood, “in His complexity” based on Spirit and Truth. The world and unbelievers will never ever see what God desires for man kind unless they see that they truly need their Creator to show them and to help them understand.

  • Wimote

    The day I started receiving death threats from strangers was the day I became a Christian. You are not receiving any of the garbage you get from Christians because it is inherently Christian, you get it because it is inherently human. It is evidence that we need a saviour. And while those who put their faith in Christ will not be condemned for their sins they also will not be made perfect until Christ returns. Many of us are actually striving to be better, but many are not. Many simply rest on a prayer they said at youth camp as a teenager. They may be saved but they will be saved as one passing through fire.
    If you take no other advice from a stranger, take this. Read a Bible and pray to ask the God of that Bible to reveal himself. If that doesn’t work I have no further advice. But I am not being closed minded when I say that no one will see the Father without faith in Christ. I am being trusting. That is what he told us himself. And if that isn’t true then I have no good reason to follow his advice not to judge nor to treat others as I would want to be treated.

  • DasManiac

    One thing I’d like to add is Christians assuming they are right and everyone else is wrong. I’ve even met Christians who claim they don ‘t think like that yet their actions indicate they do. There are 4,200 documented religions on this planet. Christianity is no more right than any of them. For all you know, Zeus could be real and when you die he may not be too happy that you’ve worshipped another God. Or maybe Ganesh , Shiva, and the Hindu gods are real. Or maybe none of them are . So Christians don’t push your beliefs on everyone because us non Christians are quite tired of it.

  • S. Lawson

    In ancient Israel, when the people ignored God, he sent non-Israelites to admonish them. We need to read these comments as God admonishing the Church. The problem is, only the part of the Church that already agrees with these sentiments will give them any authority or even credibility. The Bible worshippers will just say, “those people view the wisdom of God as foolishness.”

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      You echo something I have thought myself many times. Christians should be thanking us non-Christians for sharing our criticisms, not trying to shut us up or try to lessen us or make us feel bad for speaking out. We’re the ones saying the emperor is naked. I see Christian culture as a bit yes-man at times–there’s a strong herd-instinct, lock-step tendency in the religion’s mainstream. Though I don’t think of us as divinely sent, I do think that our criticisms should be taken more seriously than they usually are 😉

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Learning about non-Christian faiths, talking to non-Christians has a tremendous help to me, still a Christian. It has helped me as my faith has evolved turning more to a mystical consideration of how I deal with the divine, considering that what I believe is just a tiny piece of all that there is about the divine, feeling that is all any of us have. I can appreciate the teachings of the ancients from different cultures, and from modern outlooks. I can see compatibility, and that offers comfort, and confirmation that the love of God is far more expansive than I’ll ever know.

        • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

          I always like seeing your posts. I think that living in a bubble is a very bad idea; it leads to insular thinking and prevents new ideas and feedback from happening when they really need to happen. I’m not in this thing to deconvert Christians; I think the very idea is kind of controlling, arrogant, and presumptuous. I just want them to be better neighbors to me.

    • Rita

      I see God challenging His people to get off their laurels and grow up. The community is being stirred, I see it all around me and love it. The challengers may be non-christian but ultimately are from God. That is one way to describe God ‘working’, a form of miracle in my opinion.

      • adam

        Yes, yes for literally THOUSANDS of years, ‘god’ has been challenging ‘His” people to grow up, after punishing everyone for what Adam and Eve, who attempted to do exactly that – grow up,
        to stop being innocent, unthinking child-like authority driven slaves.

        Is this the BEST you can declare from an omnimax being?

        Really?

        • Rita

          Rom 9:20 NASB – On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?
          “Known unto God are all His works, from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18).

          • adam

            Sorry, I didn’t realize you were god.
            You should have made that clearer in the name you picked.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Grow up? how?

        • adam

          To put away the childish wishful thinking and superstitions and face the world as adults.

        • Rita

          No longer children, tossed to and fro, by every wind of doctrine. Study to show yourselves approved unto God, a workman, not need to be ashamed.

          2Ti 2:15 NASB – Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

          2Ti 2:16 NASB – But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,

          Eph 4:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine

  • Shawn Tyler Hobbs

    I am a Christian and would like to try and answer some of these post. a lot of these post have very good points. first off, God sent his Son into the world not to condemn but to save. and Jesus spent a lot of his time with the worst sinners and the poor. (we are all sinners). didn’t really have any luck with religious leaders, witch I would say Christians are becoming religious. ( wolf in sheep’s clothing) Jesus offered his salvation, He didn’t force anyone to convert, Jesus acted in a way that made people believe he was the Son of God. miracles, kindness, speeches, etc.

    KK for the gay person and the Jew, I would ask have u accepted Jesus, if u said no I would then ask if u want to talk about Jesus, then if u said no again, I would then get off that topic and then go hang out or play sports or something we both like and would not bring that topic back up unless U asked. I am no more important then U are, but maybe my kindness and action would show that there is something about Christ and that I follow the bible to the best of my abilities. The problem today, is Christians are living in the world and not of it and then they try to tell u what to do, and if u say no they cant back their words with their life style so the become more aggressive with words. I end with this God so love the world that He sent his only Son to die on the cross so that who ever believe in Him will not perish but have ever lasting life. Hope everyone has a great day and was glad to hear Ur side of the story. anyway hope this was a good read for everyone, and im sorry most of us are not acting like Christ would.

  • Rita

    Why are we here?

    The ancients mostly believed in deities.

    Modern man has come to believe in a science without outside influence.

    I am hopeful that in time we will all come full circle to the truth.

    Lets be patient with each other and respect the ideas that come from our common humanity.

    We all have enquiring minds.

    Maybe we are in a sort of New Enlightenment period!

    God is not afraid of questions. Afterall, He made you in His image – intelligent beings.

    It is exciting to be challenged. I love a well played competition.

    Remember, with so much information there is the expectation of disagreement among such a vast population.

    • adam

      If we were made in his image why are we not invisible and impossible to prove?

      Why are we here?
      Why is a reason needed other than we are here?

  • Rita

    Some quotations from Arthur W. Pink’s “The Divine Inspiration of the Bible”

    The Bible is an inexhaustible mine of wealth: it is the El Dorado of heavenly treasure. It has veins of ore which never “give out” and pockets of gold which no pick can empty; yet, like earthly treasures, the gems of God must be diligently sought if they are to be found. Potatoes lie near the surface of the ground, but diamonds require much laborious digging, so also the precious things of the Word are only revealed to the prayerful, patient and diligent student.

    The history of the Jews as recorded by the Jews in the Old Testament is honest in a way that other histories are not. Not only have the Jewish historians recounted the military defeats of their people, but they have also faithfully recorded their many moral backslidings and spiritual declinations. Nowhere do we find the bravery of the Israelites extolled and never once are their victories regarded as the outcome of their courage or military genius; on the contrary, success is attributed to the presence of Jehovah the God of Israel.

    In the repeated mention which we have in the Old Testament of Israel’s sins, we discover, in light as clear as day, the absolute honesty and candor of those who recorded Israel’s history. No attempt whatever is made to conceal their folly, their unbelief, and their wickedness; instead, the corrupt condition of their hearts is made fully manifest, and this, by writers who belonged to, and were born of the same nation. In the whole realm of literature there is no parallel.

    New Testament – The Honesty of the Writers

    The Apostles suffered and were tortured for the good news they brought to their fellow Jews and to the Gentiles. Why would they allow such a thing if they were liars?

    Had the historical parts of the bible been a forgery, or the production of uninspired men, their contents would have been very different to what they are.

    Surely it is apparent to every impartial mind that the New Testament is no mere human invention; and surely it is evident from the honesty of its writers in so faithfully portraying the enmity of the carnal mind against God, that their productions can only be accounted for on the ground that they spake and wrote “not of themselves,” but “as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Peter 1:21).

    • Snooterpoot

      It is apparent to my impartial mind that the entire Bible was written by fallible men who wrote what they knew and called it the word of God. That is my belief. I do not demand that others abandon their own beliefs and adopt mine. I only demand that my beliefs be afforded the same level of respect that those who disagree demand of theirs.

      It seems to me that a lot of argument could be avoided if one’s statements began with “I believe” rather than an insistence that they, and they alone, know the truth.

      My truth is not yours, and it doesn’t have to be. I try to live up to the kindness and compassion shown by Jesus in the new testament, and I can get pretty darned indignant when I am told that my interpretation of Christ’s ministry is so off the mark that I am doomed to eternal torment.

      It is the arrogance of Bible-worshipping Christians that accounts for the negative image you find yourselves saddled with, not a poor portrayal of Christians in television and movies as someone has said in this discussion, and for as long as you continue with your insistence that you are right and everyone else is wrong the rejection of your message will endure.

      • Rita

        You argue strongly yourself. Why is it that you are NOT being arrogant? Have I seemed to “insist” on anything here? Have I gotten angry? I don’t think so. If someone shares their opinion, of course they believe it to be true. What do you expect? No one “in my opinion” on the other side of the table is being arrogant or getting angry. Unless I missed a post.

        • Rita

          Or maybe you were not referring to anyone here?

        • Snooterpoot

          I have consistently said that I do not think people should, or urge others to adopt my beliefs. I have also consistently said that my path is right for me, but maybe it’s not right for others. I have repeatedly been told my beliefs, and my path, are wrong and that I’m doomed to eternal separation from God if I do not convert to their chosen theology. That, Rita, is where I find the arrogance.

          Do you seriously think that fundamentalist Christians have not made comments on this blog that relegate those who disagree to eternal torment? It’s rampant, Rita. Proclaiming to have the only truth about God is rampant. The reluctance, if not outright refusal, to respect the beliefs of others has been repeatedly shown here.

          It is one thing to say, “I believe,” or “in my opinion.” It is another thing altogether to proclaim exclusive knowledge of the truth. That, Rita, is where I see the arrogance of some Christians. When asked to cease sermonizing, or proselytizing, they don’t. I have even directly asked some people here to not pray for me, insofar as I don’t want to be associated with the God they describe, yet people still use “I’ll pray for you” as their trump card.

          I argue forcefully for myself because it’s the only way I know how to keep people from trampling my own beliefs, and sometimes even that doesn’t work.

          I have stopped reading the comments from several people here unless they have replied directly to something I have written. It’s not worth the frustration, and I get weary of reading the same sermon, just with rearranged words, over and over and over.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      That is the opinion of that particular author. Not all Christians, or even readers of the Bible see things that way, or agree with the statements this individual espouses.

      • Rita

        I agree. This is one Christians thoughtful reasoning and he put it better than I could. I agree that the writers were unusual in that they did not seek to improve on their own reputations for their histories. Also the ‘suffering for their faith’ in the NT by the Apostles lends credibility in my opinion also.

        • adam

          It is but one Christian’s PROPAGANDA.
          You SHOULD understand the difference between thoughtful reasoning and propaganda.

  • Rita

    Ok worrow. I have to go anyway. Sorry about your finger. :)

  • Rita

    Pig, fed up, zealots, extremists, persecution complexes, incapable
    of critical thought, threats!
    Are you sure you are not one of THOSE Christians?

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      ??????

      • Rita

        Those are some of the words used by posters. You know who you are!

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Oh. I’ve long stopped worrying about silly name calling, or phrases people may use in describing how a conversation may be going, and I’ve been called much worse names then any of those by internet user names. I have found its best to take the tact just to walk away…that is if I don’t feel like engaging in a bit of fun and deploy the silly and sarcastic method of diversion, and temper alleviation …keeping one’s sense of humor intact and fully charged is highly recommended in such setting as these.

  • Rita

    I am making an effort to see the point of view from the evolutionists “evidence”. Is there anyone here who can explain “why” one skull of a Pakicetus with nostrils in front (50million yrs), compared to and Aetiocetus with nostrils in the middle (25 million years), is proof that whales evolved from them because their nostrils are in back of skull??? (Evolution at Berkeley)

    One animal plus one animal equals one animal? Why could it NOT be three separate and distinct animals? How is that proof of anything? Can you intelligent people explain that in your own words? Seriously!

  • Rita

    Similar DNA? Maybe God used the same DNA to create all life. All matter has carbon as its base element. So that means we have something in common with trees too. Yes, we have carbon in common. All life comes from something according to both religion and science. I say God you say natural selection. But you don’t have a beginning cause, religion says God is the cause.

    • adam

      And so what caused god?

      • Andy

        Come on. You’re better than this.

        • adam

          How so?
          If every thing needs a CAUSE, god needs a cause.
          If everything doesn’t need a cause, neither does the universe.

          • Andy

            What if God is the universe?!?

          • adam

            Then it CERTAINLY is not the god of the bible.

          • Andy

            The parameters necessary to reduce something as complex as the beginning of time — assuming it has a beginning — to a simple logical expression seems pretty flimsy. Also, even if you assume the universe doesn’t need a cause, that doesn’t entail that no gods exist. Now, I’ll grant you, you could even say that if gods aren’t necessary you shouldn’t believe in them, but that’s an opinion.

          • adam

            The parameters necessary to reduce something as complex as the beginning of time — assuming it has a beginning — to a simple logical expression seems pretty flimsy.

            Although it is much better than an illogical one such as unknowable gods.

            God is a much more complicated LESS of an answer than I don’t know:
            What is god?
            Where is god?
            Where did god come from.
            Where did god’s intelligence come from (ours has obviously evolved over time)
            Why does he need the military capability of humans to kill others to carry out his plan?
            Why is ‘gods word’ so confusing, and capable of supporting both sides of war, sports, politics, etc.
            Why does god create evil (Isaiah 45 7).
            If god is omnipotent why did it take HIM 6 days to create the universe (Vishnu’s eyelids blink open and the Universe is brought into being.)

            The questions are endless, and the result is the same – I DON’T KNOW.

            All it does is shroud one mystery with a mystery with a political bent.

            Of course it doesn’t entail that no gods exist, but as we study and learn more, gods have gone from making rain, lightning and thunder, from having to search for Adam hiding behind a tree to hiding as a philosophical IDEA, or as a construct of a metaphysical perspective on quantum mechanics.
            At the current rate of shrinkage even the concept of god isn’t necessary IMHO.

          • Andy

            I get where you’re coming from, but a lot of these are either non-sequiturs or trivial; hardly essential for a theistic worldview, especially if one regards the Old Testament as symbolic.

            Look, I have nothing against you, regardless of whatever you believe. You seem to be well-informed on the topic. Honestly, we probably don’t disagree on a whole lot…personally, I understand why a lot of people aren’t theists and I even agree with some of their arguments…so, I’m not going to spend time answering a lot of rhetorical questions that, for the ones we actually differ on, neither of us is likely to compromise.

          • adam

            These are not non-sequiturs or trivial to NON-Believers.
            They are the logical response based on the bible.

            If one considers the bible symbolic, then god in our culture is non-sequiturs or trivial.

            The bible is both the OT and the NT and commonly believed to be the ‘word of a god’.

            Christianity would have been much better off if they had actually created it out of Jesus as a middle east Buddha instead of trying to shoe horn him unsuccessfully as the Jewish Messiah. And made a clear distinction between Jesus and the War God Jehovah.

            THIS, IMHO IS the downfall of Christianity and the biggest cause of all the splintering.

            the whole concept of god is a political construct in search of power.

      • DumpsMcGee

        Adam, you live with your mom, you get high and read Dawkins. You are nothing.

        • adam

          Infantile defenseless ad hominem noted.

          • Andy

            That’s not even really ad hominem. That’s your basic name calling. Ad hominem is usually less immature.

        • Andy

          Yeah, well, you play ball like a girl!

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVscCNZsYSY&t=1m18s

        • Snooterpoot

          You seem to have only ad hominem attacks. I’d be leery of saying someone is nothing when you obviously have nothing to offer yourself.

  • Rita

    To prove my intellectual honesty, here is an argument for your side. Vegetation propagates and reproduces itself through sexual propagation. If man intervenes he can change the outcome and actually make it a new ‘sterile’ plant (GMO). But wait, there is an element of cause here, the man, so this is not a good example. Sorry, I thought I had something here. And speaking of ‘sexual’ when did the reproduction of life start with coitus? Did the cells merge as a form of sexual activity? Did they reproduce? That sounds reasonable. But did they reproduce themselves or something else?
    Maybe these are not reasonable questions. I’m sure you all will have a well thought out argument why it isn’t.

    • adam
    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      in the plant and in the animal world procreation is not merely sexual in nature. and as in the case of plants, it often takes a third party to make the elements of making seeds that may eventually make a new plant, so if you want to make a sexual reference, Its kinda sorta like a threesome,but more like a delivery service., if the seeds don’t get eaten, end up somewhere not conducive to germination etc then no no plant, and even then , many don’t make it far. In fungi, the making new mushrooms or mold is different as they tend to have both aspects of the making a new spore in one organism..

      In the animal world, earthworms, and maybe some other simple life forms can procreate by being cut in two…no coitus, or sexual organs need apply.

      In nature, how life reproduces itself is quite varied.

  • DumpsMcGee

    Can’t we adopt nihilism already? Christianity is a nice and viable attempt at hiding the lie, despite Paul distorting it masterfully, but its still quite apparent through it all. There is no hope, there is no light at the end of the tunnel and its human necessity to hide that. Jew/Mammon/liberalism will die, as well as Muhammad/Nazi/tribalist religion, but Christianity has one last chance to save humanity or forever be doomed to a mere vision of what could be. At the end of the day, there is no hope. We need to collectively self destruct in an orderly fashion and let G/g-od go somewhere else.

  • Eduardo Esteban Estes

    The fact of the matter is we are all bad wrong and evil. Christians are no different from non Christians other than one thing. Accepting Christ.

    • Rita

      Excellent point Eduardo. I know that some like to provoke. How can they change my mind when they cannot defend their faith, just bloviate?

    • adam

      Yes, START out teaching children that they are shit and evil and infected with a terminal disease called sin, that can only be cured by their own deaths.

      Like THAT will build a better society.

      1love noun ˈləv
      : a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person

      Definition of DEFILE
      : to make unclean or impure: as
      a : to corrupt the purity or perfection of : debase

      • Eduardo Esteban Estes

        Maybe you can love yourself out of death.

        • adam

          Based on what evidence?
          More likely you can delude yourself into believing that.

        • Guest

          So that is how it works. you guys just delete posts. Big freedom of speech guys I see.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Posts get deleted when the comments are over inflammatory, and cross a line of civility.

          • Snooterpoot

            You apparently do not know what freedom of speech is about. The constitutional right to freedom of speech prevents the government from suppressing speech, and even that isn’t unlimited.

            This blog has rules that were crafted to serve as a guideline for commenters so that the owner’s standards are adhered to. If you think them to be unreasonable perhaps the best thing for you is to refrain from posting comments here.

  • Rita

    the subject of plants may have been misapplied. I guess my ultimate point was that you can see in the plant world that intelligent people can mess around with the genes and produce hybrid plants. also, nature itself can change something in the gene structure of a plant so it adapts to its environment. can you see where i am going with this? What is it you NEVER see happening? change in species. A tomato has many varieties but is still a tomato. i am not so concerned with plant life though, but with humans.

  • Eduardo Esteban Estes

    Rita have a go with them now. Maybe they will be a lot less condescending to you now. I am over and out. It has been fun.
    Warrow and others I have nothing personal against any of you. One bit of advice. Never get emotionally involved in a debate. It will beat you every time.
    Peace!

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    For clarification, and to bring things back in line, the topic of the article here is “What non-Christians want Christians to hear” It is NOT Christians trying to ensure that non-Christans know just how off they are in matters of faith. It is not Christians trying to use the space to convert Non-Christians, or to disregard and a faith stance as valid that is not held by oneself.

    the article was for us Christians, to shut up for a moment, and listen to what others have to say, about our faith, about how we appear, about whether or not our approaches do more harm than good. Being willing to take criticism, to learn from what others have to say about us, and to make some positive changes is a good thing. If we don’t, it is to our discredit.

    • adam

      Many many people of ‘faith’ that I have encountered when trying to critically analyze WHAT they believe and WHY they believe seem to get angry, those that I know personally get hurt first then angry.

      My analysis of these situations led me to believe that it is fear that they are expressing.

      I have summed up my reasoning for this in the post just above yours..

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unfundamentalistchristians/2013/07/what-non-christians-want-christians-to-hear/#comment-1240710416

      Will you please give me your take on this and my perception.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Fear is a strong motivator. On that I agree. It shouldn’t be. What we believe on many fronts alters as we go through life, so why not what we believe in the matters of the divine as well? I can believe in God, and feel no threat from someone who does not. I feel no compuslion to sway someone’s belief system so that they climb aboard my religious construct. But then I think that the divine doesn’t need me or anyone to tell them how to approach divinity, or which version is correct.
        And I admit that this is how I see it. It may be wrong, it may be right, but right now i can’t see it any other way.

        • adam

          I have strong convictions on what I believe based on science, but I have no fear in that being questioned or critically attacked. And that is just me and science.

          If I believed that I had ‘God on my side’ (or at least that I was on God’s side) and understood what God wanted of me, I would think, in my current state, that NOTHING could upset me or make me afraid.

          • dhawley

            Yes, works for me.

    • Eduardo Esteban Estes

      I want to ask you a question. Is there any way for a Christian to witness to people here without it being wrong?

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        This isn’t a forum for “witnessing” or proselytizing. This is a place to discuss the topics at hand, share our thoughts on them, in a civil and respectful manner. We give a lot of leeway for how we interact as we do allow for authentic expression, even if it is a bit crude. We moderators also reserve the right to remove any comment we feel is inappropiate.

        Ironically, you’ve picked the one article to “witness” that is discussing why such a practice is such a problem for non-christians, and to be honest, many Christians. People don’t want to be preached at. People don’t care about how righteous someone is, or how well they know the Bible. People do’t like being patronized to, compared to a former dictator, or told their beliefs don’t matter. THAT is what the article is discussing. To come here for the purpose of “witnessing” blatently ignores the topic of the article.

        • Eduardo Esteban Estes

          I didn’t mean here on the forum. I meant to people like the ones on the forum. I should have been clearer.

          • Snooterpoot

            Hint – don’t do it like you’ve done it in these comments. Since your initial post you have been rude, arrogant, condescending, antagonistic and argumentative. You have refused to listen to other points of view or different paths for following Christ. Your witness doesn’t make people want to worship your god. In fact, it makes people want to run as far away from your god as possible.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Witnessing, from a religious perspective, is merely sharing one’s beliefs. That’s it. Where it becomes a problem is when the witnesser insists that their beliefs are not only believed, but accepted as valid, and that not doing so opens up the door for repeated insistence of accepting the validity of the witnesser’s claim. Add a disdain for other views to the formula, and its no wonder why religous witnessing can be so problematic.

          • adam

            That’s why I say do it.
            .
            It reminds me of the scams coming out of places like Nigeria.
            They make the most outrageous claims to weed out all but the most gullible, so they don’t have to waste time trying to fool people who have even a little critical thinking ability.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I have to ask, why would anyone want to do so?

  • Tim

    We need to change our understanding of what witness is, for one thing. We are supposed to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in us, WHEN ASKED, not to beat people over the head with a used-car salesman pitch. Witnesses give answers when interviewed. We can also be a witness by how we live our life , and by that I don’t mean puritanical legalism (but by, gasp….”Loving one another as I have loved you”). If we are being true representatives of Christ, people will come to us.

    At any rate, reading through these comments from non-Christians, I thought of the famous quote from Ghandi: “…I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians; they are so unlike your Christ.”

  • http://EdiblePlanet.org/ Scott Root

    One doesn’t have to be a ‘christian’ to follow Christ. The word ‘christian’ has little meaning other than as an extension of the word ‘christ’. Christ said “ye shall know them by their works” and that is how we can know who the True believers really are. It doesn’t matter a lick whether we use words like muslim, buddhist, hinduist, christian, etc… to describe ourselves as it’s our actions that ultimately tell the tale. When we use labels to describe ourselves it tends to cause separation so why use them.

    When we say we believe in Christ but don’t put forth effort to follow the examples he provided we are hypocrites. To believe in Christ it to believe in his works for as Christ said “he that believeth on me, the works I do shall he do also”. We don’t convert others by telling them the story of Christ but by edifying the works of Christ through our own everyday actions.

  • Mario Strada

    Let me add my thoughts and experience to this post.
    Many Christians have tried to convert me over the years. Some, I could tell, came from a position of sincere love, others from a confrontational standpoint, but almost all were absolutely inept and ignorant of even the basic apologetic. In many cases I knew the Bible far better than they did.

    But I am a pretty tough nut to crack. I became an atheist while studying catechism for my First Communion, when the priest locked me in a room alone to pray and ask God for forgiveness. I don’t remember why he singled me out for that punishment (although I can probably guess I was being less than cooperative) but I came out of that room convinced God didn’t exist or if he existed he wasn’t the same god those people were trying to sell me and certainly he would be so alien as to be irrelevant to our lives. I simply could not believe the God of the Bible with his puny jealousies, petty revenge and silly mind games. That God looked to me a lot like some cosmic boogie man invented by men.

    I was 10 at the time.

    As I said, I have been a tough nut to crack for most of those that have tried to convert me over the years, but my daughter, who is now 24, was a very easy prey throughout her life.

    I was adamant that I would not “preach” atheism to my baby. I always wanted to give her the tools to make up her mind, but I don’t think I ever even told her I was an atheist. She had to figure it out on her own.

    There has been a procession (no pun intended, or maybe a little bit) of friends and relatives that over the years have tried to recruit my daughter into their sect, religion or cult. She was invited to Church many times, she went to “spiritual retreats” (indoctrination camps) and religious summer camps and every time the only thing I ever told her was something along these lines: “People are going to tell you a lot of things, a lot of stories. Some may even tell you you are going to hell if you don’t do as they do. Remember that they don’t know anymore than you do about god and religion. Filter everything through your own mind, you should always ask questions, even about what I tell you.”

    At several times in her life I was afraid that I would find myself in need to intervene and help her clarify certain things she learned at these functions or with her friends or her friends’ parents.

    When she was a little girl I really did not cherish the thought of having to tell her that, in my opinion, what some parent/priest/friend/preacher told her was bullshit.
    I dreaded it because I did not want to influence her in that way, but also I could not let strangers take the place of my own moral teachings.
    I knew that while I was limiting myself to teaching her to be good, honest, tolerant, kind and so forth, others were certainly telling her all those things along with “worship Jesus”. Or that she would not be able to be all that without a God in her life.

    However, as it happened I never has to “deprogram” her or use my influence as a father. Why?
    Quite simply because all these people did such a piss poor job of trying to influence my daughter with their religion that she instinctively did not trust them. Some berated her as a way to recruit her (I suppose?). Nobody gave her a view of life with their religion that was actually better than the view of life she already had.
    Several Catholic Priests berated her for not being baptized. They did not call me or asked where I was, but actually berated her in front of their congregation for going to Church (with her aunt) without being baptized.
    What a great move.
    But the various fundies she got in contact with were no smarter. Turns out that menacing someone with hell that never grew up with the concept makes them giggle. “He thought I should have been all afraid instead I couldn’t stop laughing and giggling” she reported after a weekend at a Church retreat.

    The sad thing is that because of that she lost some friendship as she was banned by the parents as a “bad influence” (and if you knew my baby, she is to this day the sweetest, most innocent creature you’ll ever meet, and I love her to pieces). That was unfair because if anything, everyone knew that some of these religious girls were the ones into drugs, having sex with their boyfriends and so forth. But they always went to mass on Sunday, so it was OK, I guess.

    The bottom line is this: Christians assume everyone else is also a Christian or see reality with Christian eyes. Some of us are not. For some of us the Bible is just a book of fables, with some good moral teachings in it, but also a lot of really nasty stuff.

    Also many of us are not “Thirsty, or hungry, or needing to “see the light”. We certainly don’t live in darkness and some of us know the Christian stories as well or better than many Christians. We certainly are not ignorant of the “Good news”.

    But if your goal is to recruit more people for your specific church, you are really going about it all wrong.
    Show me what a great guy you are. Show me how well you treat your kids when they misbehave instead of spanking the living shit out of them (and then have the balls to preach to me about your superior morals).

    Show me how much good you do. How you not just “tolerate” gays and lesbians but just simply naturally treat them the way you treat every one else.

    I guess I am thankful that these religious recruiters have been such idiots for the past 20 or so years. In some cases their idiocy was appalling. It made me mad simply because I cannot tolerate very well anyone that’s so bad at their chosen profession.

    My only advice to you is this: if you really want to recruit people in your church, life the idealized life of your Jesus. Don’t just give it lip service but try to follow the example. Frankly, I don’t think there was a real Messiah that said and did all of those things, but even if the character is fictional, some of the teachings (not all by any means) are good. Follow those and live by them. Respect others as you would like to be respected.

    I would join a Church tomorrow if I could. Since I was born in Rome (and baptized in St. Peter) I grew up attending beautiful churches and I am still fond of the architectural and artistic side of them.
    The only problem is that especially on Sundays, they are full of Christians.
    If churches were full of people that really enjoyed coming together and grow, if they were places where people became better people, I’d love to attend. Maybe not every Sunday, but some of the times.

    Sadly, I personally know one single devout Christian that I really love and appreciate. My stepmother in law. Strangely, she is the only one that has never asked me to convert. When she comes to visit she always asks if we would not mind going to church as a family. Those are the only times I go. Because I love and respect her.
    Sadly, the last time we went there was a really nasty Italian priest that did a particularly bad and hateful sermon. For Christmas no less. He was bitter so few showed up.

    That’s how you lose believers. Guilt the people present for the absence of the people that very likely you drove away with your attitude.

    How is that working out for you?

  • Blazeiken

    At my school all of my friends are christian and they all are constantly pushing me asking “do you believe in god?” them knowing that I am atheist. And the fact the Christians are so racist and intolerant of other religions or beliefs and then there is the whole gay argument they sat “are you gay” and I say “no but its not a bad thing if I was” I honestly think I need a new group of friends.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      A new group of friends, or more friends. Its a good idea to get to know people from all sorts of backgrounds, so we can better understand one another, and appreciate not only our differences, but our similarities.
      As for your Christian friends, my advice, would be to answer. “My beliefs about God are personal, and no one’s business but mine.” They won’t of course like it, because they have been taught to do this. However, if you are persistent, and respectful, they should leave you be after awhile.

  • Leah

    What I don’t understand about Christians is this: why do I need to believe Jesus is the savior to believe in god? Why is believing in god not enough for them? As a teenager, I believed there was no god–I had some pretty traumatic events happen, and thought how could god possibly let this happen? It’s been twenty years since then, and I have found my way to god, but I remain baffled by the assertion that one must believe in Jesus as the savior for their relationship with god to be valid. I do not need a middle man. I have a direct, personal relationship with god and I do not need people praying that I will, eventually, come to know god as they do.

    I recently went to church with my boyfriend and I could not help but reflect on the absurdity of the sermon. One hour of this man (on a jumbo tron no less) talking to his people like they were idiots. Having them take notes on common sense ideas. I could not believe that the people he was speaking to had not come to these conclusions about life on their own, and he assumed as much, or else he would have not spoken as he did. Futhermore, he kept talking about saving all the non believers who were there. I have never felt the presence of god in a church. The atmosphere has always seemed fake. (Don’t get me started on the soulless music) I have been moved to tears, however, at a Jewish temple. I felt the presence of god through the words of the cantor. I honestly felt tha she was praising god in a way I have never felt in a church.

    I have always grappled with missionary work, too. Why can’t Christians go somewhere and do good work helping people without trying to sell their beliefs? How rude and disrespectful to assume that these people, with their own cultures and spiritual beliefs, do not have a connection to god. It might not be their god, but I’m sure they have beliefs all the same. I would have a lot more respect for them if they did all their acts of kindness without an alterior motive.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      You raise questions a lot of us have had. Of course not everyone will agree with me, but I am of the mind that we find God, where we are, in terms that resonate with us. It can be quite unique and highly individual. It may not depend on religious dogma, ideals or practices. It is more organic, and similar to how individuals throughout history have found solace in the divine without the trappings of religion.

      People who do missionary/conversion work, mean well. They honestly believe it is their purpose to convert people to their faith thinking it is the only right approach to God, based on a couple of scripture passages. That they dismiss the faith of others is unfortunate, but when you’ve been taught that someone else worships a false god, and you must save them from the fate that kind of worship entails, one can see where they are coming from.

      We can feed the hungry, give medicine to the sick, house the homeless, give shelter to the refugee without making the status of someone else’s faith a factor. We can do it just because we see that others need help, and we are moved by compassion to help.

      • freedomfighterXO

        “People who do missionary/conversion work, mean well. They honestly believe it is their purpose to convert people to their faith…and you must save them from the fate that kind of worship entails, one can see where they are coming from.”

        I had a stalker in uni. He believed his purpose was to harass and scare me day and night. One could possible see where he was coming from; I, however, being the singular concern of his purpose; who was depressed due to his “imagined purpose”, only wanted to kill him.

        It is one thing to have a purpose in life but this purpose MUST NOT INTERFERE IN THE LIFE OF ANY OTHER HUMAN BEING.

        People out to convert others are equivalent to my stalker in my opinion. May the hell to which Christians imagine non-believers are to be sent, become real for the sole purpose of swallowing up Christians for the rest of eternity. If that means I have to go there with them (because someone will inevitably argue that “I should do unto others as I want done unto…blah”) then for the sake of justice, I will sacrifice my soul to have these Christians punished. Especially, Orthodox, Bible-bashing, hypocrite Christians, who are not better than the Fundamentalist Muslims persecuting them.

    • dhawley

      It’s not really about belief, assenting to some proposition, it’s about establishing a relationship with God through Jesus. Humans were made for a purpose, and that purpose can only be achieved through a spiritual union with Jesus. It is not our belief that makes us okay, but the relationship, which lets God rework us to be fit for our purpose/destiny.

      What is the purpose of our lives that only Jesus can make possible? It is a quality of life that makes us fit to be God’s regents on the earth, forever, with no chance of ever being unkind, or abusive, or thoughtless, or self-centered. Fit to be a companion to God – the metaphor used in the Bible is the Bride of Christ.

      Why Jesus? Because he is the member of the Godhead who also became human, and was our champion living the kind of life that God had in mind for us, who atoned for the injustices of all time, like the horrors of the 20th century, so that justice would have been done, and made it possible for us to be remade with *new spiritual DNA* so our original purpose for our lives is achievable and. He promises he will present us without fault or blemish to God when he comes again. It: our union with him that brings us the benefits of what he did – including resurrecting from the dead into eternal life..

      There is no alternative. Just being a better-than-average moral person is nowhere near enough. When God reboots the world to remove the consequences and all traces of sin, only those who have been made fit to live forever in the new creation in a loving relationship with God will be permitted to live there. And that offer is open to everyone, everywhere, whether good bad or ugly. God knows how to make us good and beautiful, and we will have no room to boast.

      I hope that makes the picture a little clearer.

      • Leah

        http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48892792.html?sa=1&mobile=yes

        My phone has kicked me off of this website three times now. I will respond in more detail later; in the meantime, visit this site and you will have a greater understanding of why I question Jesus.

        • dhawley

          I hope my response to original post gave the answer from a christian perspective of “why”. Your second post disputes the christian claims of “what”. Did I get the “why?” answered for you?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Playing devil’s advocate here. Your response is from a Christian perspective, but of which school of thought in the varied university that is Christianity? Not all Christians adhere to the beliefs that you mention n your post. Yes it works, and works beautifully for many Christians, but obviously not for all. God doesn’t seem to mind our diversity. It is quite possible to not believe in the trinity, hell, heaven, the incarnation, the virgin birth, “the bride of Christ”, the infallibility of scriptures or it being directly inspired by God and still be Christian. it is that diverse a faith.

            Leah’s questions are ones I asked myself more than once over the years of my evolution as a Christian. I was born into a fundamentalist cult, I now am closer to a Quaker in mindset. It took me asking those questions, listening to a variety of answers and figuring out which answer was palatable.

          • dhawley

            Hey, I’m a variety of Protestant, any 3 of us have 4 opinions. Joking aside, you could say the same for Buddhists, Muslims, and apparently even RC despite them having a pope. So I don’t sense the force of your argument from plurality of belief within christianity.

            I think what I say above is true to the scriptures and sketches the big picture. Call it basic christianity. The pastor of our church would agree with me, though he may bring out and emphasize other aspects, e.g. grace versus law (religious observance).

            But the only one who can do what is necessary in us is Jesus, by virtue of what he is, who he is, what he has done, and the authority given him by God the Father. The diagnosis is clear and compelling, whether or not you believe in the cure. There are good reasons to believe in both.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Love the joke. I will have to try to remember it.

            I think where some Christians have disagreement is in the diagnosis, or if there is an illness to begin with, (nice analogy BTW) To me, It is much more complex and diverse, and much tougher to pin down to simple concepts because of the complex diversity. But I still think God understands that we just can’t quite pin things down. Faith is so individual, what we believe about God and what we should do as a result.

            Of course that is the question laden mystic in me speaking.

          • dhawley

            Of course we don’t know everything, about anything. But we do know something.
            Both geeky and romantic by disposition, I love C.S.Lewis’ concept of “true myth”. I’ve run into people who celebrate the warrior ethos of the Germanic mythology without believing that the myths themselves correspond to objective reality. In that sense, they are similar to the liberal strain of christianity from which the fundamentalists separated. The capitulation of the liberal churches has not served them well. Meanwhile around the world, believers – predominantly christian – die from religious persecution. What is worth dying for? Spirituality? Will it stand against the jihadists?,Or even the expanding agenda of the state?

            As for individual faith, even atheists are coming up with substitute churches. Western individualism is running its course, in turn eroding community, extended family, the nuclear family, and finally the integrity and dignity of the individual human. Spirituality is the ghost of things that once were important.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Persecution because of religion is a terrible thing, especially when the groups doing the persecuting have tenets teaching against it. Those that espouse such actions, do not represent the faiths as a whole, but sadly it is a trend at the moment for extremism to be in a position of increased power. I hope for the day, when fear and loathing and the unquenchable quest for power ceases to be a factor in any religion.

            Individualism is not a bad thing on its own, any more than a more grouped social structure found in the east. They are just different ways of constructing culture. The nuclear family, by the way is a myth, an ideal portrayed in the media. When in actuality, there have always plenty of single parent households, lots of families with three to four generations living under one roof, blended families, couples cohabiting without the benefit of marriage, plus the so called traditional family. All that has happened, is that western society has become more honest about how family groups are constructed.

          • dhawley

            I remember the era before fault-free divorce. And the country in which I live – Japan – has experienced in the last two decades the same disruptive shifts as the West. I also grant that not all classes of society have had the benefits of what were normative patterns of family life since the church got involved. But I hold there are norms, independent of anomalies or even statistics.

            I disagree with you on individualism, as I disagree with your implication that the teachings of all religions are basically benign – which is to say they are all essentially irrelevant non-sense and can be left to the individual imagination.

            But these differences over what is subjective have been discussed to death, haven’t they.
            The fog descends, and the muffled voices of the watchmen slowly fade away. Sleep, O Sleeper, no one is calling.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            No fault divorce…doesn’t exist in my state here in the US. It would have been nice, as it took over a year to finally be free of my abusive ass of an ex. Marriages fail. Forcing people to stay in misery helps no one.

            As for the rest, I am an optimistic realist. I do not see how society is any better or worse than previous ones. All have had their good and bad attributes, and that will continue

  • Sue Fuqua

    It is common that there is the known and the unknown. If you want to know about Martin Luther King Jr. read a book about him. If you want to know about Jesus read or listen to the Bible on CDs. Your inside spirit will let you know if it testifies with the Holy Spirit. Some do, some don’t. Some are waiting for the kingdom, some are in the kingdom. It all depends if you are done with striving on your own.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      I think if we want to know about Jesus, we observe the people who claim to follow him.

      • Sue Fuqua

        Did the Pharisees claim to follow Jesus? They were religious leaders. I am not saying that all religious leaders are like the pharisees, but you will know how to discern by having your senses trained and reading the Word. To observe the Apostle Paul and the Disciples John and Peter will give you an intimate view of Jesus.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          No. The Pharisees did not claim to follow Jesus. They were observant Jews, not Christians which took a several decades after the resurrection to even begin develop. A book isn’t going to give a full picture on someone

          You aren’t going to get intimate insight on anyone from the words off a page. It doesn’t work that way. Which is why we learn about people from people. We learn about Jesus, from how people follow his teachings, and display characteristics they feel worthwhile emulating. Actions, not words are the more powerful. It has worked for thousands of years.

          • Sue Fuqua

            Take the transfiguration for example. (There are many examples, if you should request another.) Jesus had his inner circle of friends; Peter and John. They got to see Jesus talking with Elijah and Moses about the series of events that were going to take place to Him. Peter did not understand the situation and wanted to “capture” them by making tents for them. Peter was beside himself. John was so excited to be a part of Jesus life, he considered himself as the disciple that Jesus loved the most. Jesus took them to a place where he shared his friends in the supernatural. Wow! I call that pretty intimate. There are very few people that I share my most intimate dealings with Christ, because it is peculiar to the natural man. So, your right…Peter and John followed His teachings. The Bible validates all that is real in a Christian’s life. Peter reacted, and John relished. Peter’s personality led to his writing to let others know of the struggles and discipline of the journey. John, who was very secure wrote of the very, very special visions that God shared with him.

          • Snooterpoot

            Sue, that is simply what you believe. Others, including other Christians, believe differently.

            It just seems impossible for some of you to stop, listen and respect others. Your preaching isn’t reaching anyone. Your preaching is chasing people away.

          • Sue Fuqua

            My passion is my passion. You are right, it is hard to relinquish a passion. In fact, we usually “feed” our passion. If your passion is cars, you would attract a group of people who like cars. I like some of the older models all polished up and some of the new cars because I like new technology. I like working in my “fit” areas, because they are fulfilling. I am sure that you are working in your “fit” area as well. I subscribe to all the teachings of the Bible and some people do not. Still it is important to be kind. Some people may never believe in the Scriptures and I can’t change that. As for me, I am not ashamed to believe in the Gospel because it is my salvation. I don’t worry about my fervency or zeal, the Holy Spirit works His work in me.

          • Snooterpoot

            Are you seriously comparing preaching and proselytizing to liking cars? Are you familiar with a logical fallacy called false analogy? Your comparison of your passion for your faith and other people’s passions for other things is illogical, because passion is the only thing they have in common.

            It’s like saying, “Employees are like nails. Just as nails must be hit in the head in order to make them work, so must employees.” I found this excellent example on a web site called onegoodmove.org.

            The entire point of this blog entry is that some Christians fail to listen to or respect the beliefs of others. To say that the “Holy Spirit works His work in me” is to deny personal responsibility when others ask you to stop preaching or to respect their own deeply held beliefs. It’s pretty clear to me that you aren’t listening.

          • Sue Fuqua

            No problem…. the not listening thing is basically that I can repeat what you are saying, but I won’t be able to agree to some of the things you say. All people have a passion for something. There are passion enhancers and passion killers. The employee nail thing is an analogy. I work in a great place and I am 100% passionate about what I do. Although sometimes I can get disappointed, I realize that there are far more ways to be in the grove of gratefulness. I am not sure why I read this article and why I have responded to it. My goal in life is to not be offensive, so if I have offended you, it wasn’t my intention. Have a great day and stay positive.

  • Rman Eightythree

    Christians these days seem to be the exact opposite of what the bible tells them. Growing up, I was a Christian so I learned a lot about the bible. One of the things that is repeated often is to love everyone. All Christians do to me is say that I’m going to hell. Then they try to convert me, even when I tell them to stop and just go away. I don’t mean to be rude, but I’d like my personal space back. Why can’t Christians just respect the fact that I don’t believe in god and leave me alone. Better yet, why can’t we just be friends who don’t talk about how I am a “disease.” If you were really trying to be nice to me, don’t try and “save” me, just respect me. If you want me to be Christian, don’t give me the idea that Christians are rude and immature.

    Another thing I want to bring up is the fact that Christians look for the worst parts of everything. If they find one thing they disagree with, they immediately disregard anything good about it. They persecute people who use it, calling them sinful. They say that the people who created it are going to hell. Not everyone is or is going to be Christian, get over it.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      There are Christians, who completely agree with you. One’s belief is personal, and we should respect that we will look at a lot of things differently. We also tend to agree that loving one another is putting on on a mindset that we want to be loved, accepeted, respected, cared for, and we should want exactly the same for everyone else.
      That is part of why this place exists. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  • redneondot

    Are you willing to listen to a comment from a CHRISTIAN woman also, or is this
    for non-christians only? After all, seeing that you’re not intolerant like you believe all
    christians are, I’m sure you’ll want to hear from someone on the “other side” of the
    issue. First of all, I don’t doubt that there are christians who are judgemental, or
    even not so nice. I think of the Westboro group that does NOT in any way represent
    the majority of christians. I think their behavior is ridiculous and does not contain one
    ounce of Gods love. But I think you have missed the whole point.
    A christian who truly understands what it means to be forgiven and understands
    the Word of God, knows that we are not in any way better than anyone else. We are
    simply FORGIVEN. I love people that are not christians just as I love christians.
    It is because no one on the earth is perfect or sinless, that a real christian can love
    and accept everyone. But just because we accept a person, does not mean we must
    accept everything that person does. Look at it this way; if your child had cancer,
    you would love the child completely, yet you would HATE the cancer. Why? BECAUSE you love the child and know what the disease could do to him if left
    untreated. If someone is telling you that you are in danger of hellfire, then unfortunately, if you don’t know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour then you are in danger. If I saw someone headed into a fiery furnace unawares, I would tell
    them so; not because I hate the person, but because I may see something they
    have not seen yet. I personally don’t ever tell people they are in that kind of danger eternally unless I see that they have turned a deaf ear to the message
    of God’s loving redemption plan through His Son Jesus Christ. All roads DO NOT
    lead to heaven. The devil would love people to believe that because he wants
    to destroy all that God loves. John 3:3 says “Unless a man is BORN AGAIN he
    will NOT see the Kingdom of heaven”. To be born again takes one simple
    prayer of repentance: Acknowledge Jesus is the Son of God, and died for your
    sins and ask Him to be your Lord and Saviour, and He promised He would never
    turn away anyone who prays that prayer. He did not make us robots. You have
    a right to reject Him if you want to. You don’t have to be perfect to come to Him
    just as you are. Quit hating on christians just because you may have had a bad
    experience. We are not your enemy. Sometimes we are more concerned about
    your soul than you are. A true christian does not hate anyone. We are just
    grateful that we are saved by our loving Saviour and know we are no more
    deserving of this grace than anyone else.

    • BarbaraR

      You didn’t actually read the article, did you?

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Sigh.
      Honey. I am a christian, and a woman. I wouldn’t dare say any of that to a non-christian. I wouldn’t even say that to acknowledged christians. Preaching at people does no good, expecting them to conform to a religious ideal does no good, living in fear of the state of someone else’s soul does no good. Thinking because they don’t see the divine as you do, means they’ve rejected God, certainly does no good nor does throwing the fear based eternal torment card, which is utterly unprovable.

      Accepting them as they are, seeing their benefit as they are right now, seeing the beauty they posses, being compasionate, understanding, kind, letting God take care of their souls, as she is so much better at it than any of us…that does a hell of a lot of good. All we are to do is love on another, and that is a full time task.

    • Snooterpoot

      I think most people are not “hating on” Christians when they rebuff your proselytizing. I think that people are saying “respect my beliefs, too,” which, all too often, doesn’t happen.

      It is greatly offensive to compare beliefs other than your own particular “brand” of Christianity to cancer.

      You have found a path that is meaningful to you. Others have found paths that are meaningful to them. You seem to want to pass judgment on those other paths. The thing is, redneondot, that not all Christian denominations agree with your theology, nor with your means of sharing the faith.

      I grew up in fundamentalist, evangelical Christianity. I know all of the scripture and all of the platitudes that y’all use in efforts to convert others to your way of thinking. And do you know what resulted from my growing up in that culture? I rejected organized religion altogether. I suppose I am not the only person who has rejected organized religion because of haughty proselytizing, too.

      Quoting scripture means nothing to people who do not believe the Bible to be the word of God. I do not mean to be disrespectful here, but to those people you might as well be quoting Aesop’s fables.

      The purpose of this blog entry was to get some Christians to stop and listen to others. Many of you have left comments here that clearly indicate you have not done that.

      Again, I don’t see rejecting your message or your means of delivering it as “hating on” Christians. I do see it as pushing away people who do not have any respect for other beliefs. My “soul” is just fine, thank you very much, and my relationship with God does not require any human intervention, so I’ll ask you, before you offer, to refrain from praying to your god for my salvation. I’ve studied your god. I want no part of him.

      • Brandon Roberts

        o.k 1. i don’t hate non-christians 2. you know non-christians have skeletons in their closets too i won’t bring them up cause that would be mean 3. all the people i know that are christians are good

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Humans are human, regardless of how they worship, or if they worship or even who or what they worship. Just as there are wonderful examples of Christians, there are also lousy ones. The same is true of Non-christians.

          • Brandon Roberts

            yeah i know that’s the point i was making

        • Snooterpoot

          I have to say, Brandon, that you must travel in very tight circles because I know plenty of Christians who are not “good.”

          • Brandon Roberts

            well o.k and to be fair it’s my parents brother and their church freinds

    • Valerie .Anderson

      Showing people by your actions how joyful you are in your beliefs might be a better way to interest people in what you have to say. Comparing the lives of people you don’t even know to cancer, of all horrible things, is neither loving nor forgiving. It’s not up to you to judge others.

    • usvietnamvet

      I don’t think anyone thinks ALL Christians are intolerant. Every belief system has bigots and extremists. Scientology has them, Islam has them, Christianity has them, Judaism has them, atheists have them, etc.

      I don’t need YOUR RELIGION or want it. I have my own.

      It’s not YOUR JOB to save me. It’s your job to make sure YOUR life is in order.

      To think your religion is the only one that can save a soul is not only arrogant it’s wrong. I don’t believe that a God that created such diversity would have only one path to salvation.

      I talk to God all the time and although I am not a Christian, my soul is fine.

      What we need is more tolerance. And maybe less people trying to convert others.

      Perhaps if people weren’t so judgmental tolerance might again emerge. If your religion suits you I’m happy for you, but no one has the right to say someone elses religion is wrong or to try and convert them.

      My religion believes there are many roads to where we are supposed to be and as long as you get there, there is no wrong road. Even those who don’t believe in God will reach the point they are supposed to reach. My religion stresses that our journey here is one in which we are supposed to learn certain lessons so we can move on. And eventually each of will learn what happens when we leave this plane of existence. So please, stop trying to convert me and take care of your own garden.

  • MeganInTheRealWorld

    Thank you for sharing these comments. It breaks my heart that so many have been hurt by individuals claiming the name of Christ. I hope someday Christians will begin to understand what it means to live as Christ did.

  • Bryce Mathis

    I am very glad I fell across this article. My first thought is to think, yes, a lot of my fellow friends and family are this way. Thankfully, I remind myself, I act this way sometimes, or at the very least the way I act comes across this way.

    I hope many Christians read your article and can be honest enough with themselves to remember Christ above all else called us to love God and love others.

    We need to remember not to just have a theological discussion (or argument) with non-Christians, but show them what we truly believe by our actions. Mainly, putting others’ interests first.

    • usvietnamvet

      The problem is that most believe they can only “evangelize” by speaking. It never occurs to them that actions speak louder then words.

  • Brian

    I think the one thing that clearly stands out is that both sides, if that’s what we can even call one another, truly don’t know one another, or maybe respect one another, is a better way to say it. Surely all non-Christians are not a bunch of disrespectful, narcissistic, ignorant, evil-doers. And surely, all Christians are not a bunch of holier-than-thou, arrogant and bigoted, elitists. But sure enough, both sides have met plenty of people who look that way thus the un-ending supply of comments here. For the non-Christians, evangelization is part of the Church’s great mission to all believers, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” So this is why you see it happening so much. For Christians, we may be better served paying heed to these sage words of advice, “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words.”

    • usvietnamvet

      I’m sorry but your right to evangelize stops at my nose. I’m usually very polite to those who feel they must save me and once I say no, you should turn away. Maybe your religion means you should convert others by deed not by words. And just because a religion says you should do something doesn’t mean it’s so. What if my religion said that I should kill all who do not follow my religion. Would it be OK for me to kill you? Of course not. I’m sorry but the fact your religion says you must try and convert everyone doesn’t mean you have the right to do that. And if you use the Bible as a reason for doing things then you must follow ALL the teachings in the Bible. You can’t pick and choose which ones you follow and which ones you don’t. Many Christians no longer follow texts in the Bible such as keeping slaves, killing your children for disrespect their parents, etc. As society evolves certain texts are no longer followed. Perhaps the one about evangelizing should be one of them.

      • Brian

        I believe my post largely agreed with you-alway speak the Gospel and use words when necessary.

  • PPLRWRD

    The problem is people are scared, cruel, and selfish. Christians voice their opinions and they are bigots. Atheists voice their opinion and they are bigots. The truth is everyone wants everyone else to agree with them and as soon as one group gets power over the other you will see persecution and discrimination. Unfortunately people are too stupid to realize that and fix it. They all think they are the exception to the rule.

    • usvietnamvet

      We must stop using the term ALL. Not all Christians are bigots. Many are very tolerant and support the rights of others to practice their faith. You find bigots in EVERY religion. And you find people who want power, money, prestige, etc who skyjack the religion for their own selfish reasons. A vast majority of Christians are tolerant of others. It’s only a minority who aren’t.

      I don’t want to convert anyone to my religion. Religion is like shoes, it has to fit the person wearing it. I don’t talk to others about my belief because my religion doesn’t require me to convert anyone. It says that I must live a certain way with tolerance towards others who believe differently.

  • PPLRWRD

    Oh, and John Shore. Why not do an article about the persecution of Christians in atheist states. You seem to like to talk about all the bad things Christians do but how about sharing the love.

    • Snooterpoot

      What atheist states?

      The topic here is, in essence, listening. Some Christians do a good job of that; many do not.

      It seems like you want to divert attention away from the topic at hand by pulling out the “Christians as victims” card. In the USA it is nothing less than ridiculous for Christians to claim they are persecuted. I don’t think you’ll listen because you do not think other perspectives deserve an audience.

      • PPLRWRD

        Albania, China, North Korea, Cuba, and the former Soviet Union to name a few. As for the rest of your comment read my text below. But yes, Christians are victims. So are atheists. So is anyone who has the misfortune of being surrounded by a majority of differing beliefs.

        • usvietnamvet

          Yet in times past ALL have gotten along. It’s only when extremists are introduced into the equation that violence happens. It never occurs to the extremest that hijacking a religion to perpetrate violence bring shame upon the religion and the God the religion worships.

      • PPLRWRD

        Oh, and you are obviously to narrow visioned and short sighted to realize this is a global community, Christians are persecuted all over the world, and things are clearly headed that way in this nation. You strike me as just another person that has to wait for the train wreck before they do something.

        • Snooterpoot

          So, you think that refusing to comply with some Christian theology is the first step toward the persecution of Christians in America? How foolish, especially when one considers the topic under discussion.

          Demanding respect for other people’s dearly held beliefs is not persecuting anyone. Demanding to be treated equally is not persecuting anyone. Calling out intolerance is not persecuting anyone.

          Some evangelical and fundamentalist Christians are playing the victim game because people are standing up to them. Calling people who disagree with you narrow-minded is one of the most hypocritical things I have ever seen.

          Just listen to people, okay? Seriously. Just listen.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Yes, Christians are persecuted all over the world, and so are Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, members of one segment of a religious group by another. The thing is, it is often less about religion than we’d assume, but more about control…control over government, territory, resources.

          A recent study that stated that 100,000 Christian martyrs a year was proven to be mistaken, because 90,000 deaths from the civil war in DR Congo were included. As this is a christian against Christian conflict, those tragic deaths would not count as martyrs for religious reasons. That leaves 10,000 a year, about 27 a day average. Still a lot.

          Yet 21,000 children die a day, mostly from disease and malnutrition. 1.6 million die annually because of an act of violence perpetrated against them. Putting things into perspective, I think we have bigger fish to fry here, like working to end world hunger and poverty, and to come up with viable solutions to curb war, and individual violence trends.

          • usvietnamvet

            Many experts believe that if we’re able to get rid of poverty it would go a long way to stopping most violence by extremists.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I happen to agree, and studies seem to bear that out. Look at nations that do not have huge disparities in income, and note their violence rates. Those with small ranges between incomes tend to be less violent or plagued by religious extremism and those with large ranges tend to be more violent with extremism in play.

        • Danny

          I understand how attractive it can be to be a martyr. In a twisted way it almost feels good to be persecuted, because it puts you so clearly on the “right side” and the rest of the world on the “wrong side”. It makes you feel like you’re better than everybody else. But that’s an incredibly self-seeking way to think, and it’s nothing like true Christianity.

          We’re commanded to “consider others as better than ourselves.” Jesus himself “did not come to be served, but to serve,” and told us to “love our enemies and be kind to the ungrateful and evil.” If all you can ever focus on is how terribly Christians are being persecuted, your eyes are completely turned inward toward yourself. Start looking outward, to the real people with real problems, who may sometimes hurt you out of their own deep hurt. Focus on them. Give freely to people and don’t expect repayment. Try to rescue others from sin, just as God rescued you from yours. Stop dwelling on how right you are, and how wrong they are. Love them instead.

        • queenofmeanie

          Haven’t you considered that christians put themselves in that position?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            That is true. People will go to a far off land to build a church that can double as a school and have no idea that they are not in a place with a hospital nearby, or with safety standards in place that we take for granted in developed countries. Those that go to countries in conflict are at greater risk. It doesn’t make them martyrs, when they meet an accident; it simply means they were trying to help, bring medicine, or housing education. and tragedy struck

        • usvietnamvet

          Our nation is one that allows all to practice their religion. I haven’t seen one Christian here who has been denied their right to practice their religion or who has died to practice it here.

          Yes, there are religious fights happening in other places where people used to live together with tolerance toward each other. I know I’ve lived all over the world and saw Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and other living in harmony. But it’s not happening here, in spite of things SOME EXTREME Christians have done to others.

          The hijacking of religions by those who are extremists and a lack of tolerance is what’s happening. There are extremists in just about every religion. Part of the problem is this need to convert everyone. Perhaps if ALL of us practice tolerance toward others things will get better. Perhaps if everyone started minding their own lives instead of trying to change others all this hate and violence would stop.

          NONE of us KNOWS what happens after we die.

          I’ve died twice (was brought back both times) and I can’t even tell you for sure what happens after death, only that I do not fear it.

          I’m not a Christian or an Atheist but I can tell you that nothing horrible was waiting for me. Each time I experienced peace and a feeling of no more pain. I’ve talked with people all over the world and have always gotten the same answer from those who have died and have been brought back.

          So rather then fighting or trying to convert others, we need to be tending our own gardens.

          • MariaM832648

            Sir, I have family who died in the direct service of the lord. Everyone is bored. They have nothing to do other then sit online and fight with each other anymore. I have had atheist try to convert me every time I mentioned God by calling me names and telling me lies.

          • usvietnamvet

            Where, when??????? How did “family die in the direct service of the lord”? I have family and friends that have given their lives to protect the idea of religious tolerance in this country. I have no problem with ANYONE practicing their religion as long as it doesn’t infringe on MY RIGHTS.

          • MariaM832648

            My grandmother died going to a sermon and my grandfather died building a Church. You perhaps are a rare bird, but I tell you, MOST atheist attack us.

          • usvietnamvet

            How is that dying in the direct service of God? Those are natural occurrences. If we use your yardstick then everyone dies in service to their God, no matter how they die.

            Usually dying in service to God means being killed to protect the church or religion.

            You have not had contract with a majority of atheists so there is no way most can attack you.

            Since there is only self identification online there is no way to be sure these people are atheists. Also many people confuse atheists with non religious, 2 totally different things.

            Are their attacks disagreements with what you believe or do they threaten you?

          • Snooterpoot

            Oh, please. That is no more dying in direct service to the Lord than dying going to the grocery store or building a barn. You need to get off the victim train, Maria. I don’t think anyone but you is buying a ticket.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Going to a sermon? people die on their way to or from church every day. People die from construction accidents as well. Its tragic but of course. But these are accidents.

            I happen to know a fair amount of Atheists, I have yet to have one verbally or physically attack me.

          • Snooterpoot

            I call bull scat. Calling you names is not trying to keep you from practicing whatever religion you want. And I suspect those “lies” you are hearing are simply opinions that are different from yours.

            You’re one of the Christians who should read this blog with an open mind instead of making your “poor little persecuted Christian” comments here.

    • usvietnamvet

      He’s written many articles. Have you read them all?

  • TattooedLittleMiss

    I identify so thoroughly with D.B. in Seattle. That is exactly my experience and feelings about Christians and Christianity.

  • usvietnamvet

    I don’t understand this need to convert others and to push your religion on people that already have a religion. And it was bad enough when it was just individuals, now it’s people in government pushing their religious beliefs on the rest of us and passing laws based on those beliefs. If your religion is against birth control and/or abortion then don’t use them.

    I don’t remember Christians being this aggressive until the 70’s. Then suddenly people you didn’t know were asking you if you had a personal relationship with Jesus.

    I also noticed that a lot of Christians seem to forget the Bible’s views on money, kindness, tolerance and mercy. They also seem to forget that our nation was founded on religious tolerance and separation of church and state. Our government is supposed to be a secular government.

    Many of the television “churches” that claim exemptions from taxes shouldn’t be allowed to claim those exemptions because they do not meet the guidelines of the IRS. But the IRS is often afraid to be seen as persecuting churches by investigating them or prosecuting them. Yet all other tax exempt organizations have to file paperwork about how they make and spend their funds. There is no such transparency by churches. I believe that’s wrong. Why shouldn’t churches have to abide by the same rules as other not for profits?

    I view this push by “Christians” as infringing on my rights. My right to practice MY religion and my right to control my body. Although I would never personally have an abortion I will die to protect that right for others. I’m sick of legislation that pushes one groups religious beliefs on the rest of us. Just what gives Christians the right to infringe on my rights? Our founders purposely didn’t create a state religion. Our Government is supposed to be a secular government that neither condemns nor supports the establishment of any religion, contrary to what others may believe. Ours is not a Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc nation. It’s a nation that tolerates ALL religions.

    When cadets at a military academy paid for by our tax’s are being persecuted by Christians and pushed to change their religion then things have gone too far.

    Wouldn’t it be far better to “preach” by example? My religion doesn’t require me to convert anyone. What it says is that I must live my life morally and not infringe on others beliefs as there are many roads to God.

    If Christianity is right for you great, but I’ve chosen my religion and my choice is every bit as valid as yours. Maybe you wouldn’t feel so persecuted if you weren’t pushing your religion on others. Every American deserves to live their lives as they wish as long as they do not infringe on the rights of other citizens. I believe that Christians should be allowed to believe as they wish but their religious freedoms stop at my nose.

    • Snooterpoot

      Thank you for your service, usvietnamvet. Too many of you came home and never received the thanks you deserved.

      I totally agree with your comment.

      • usvietnamvet

        Although I thank you, I didn’t do anything more than others who also served. The young men and women who have served since 911 are some of the most courageous people I’ve ever met. I meet lots of these young people when I go to the VAMC hospital and in spite of their injuries most are cheerful and downplay what they have sacrificed for our nation.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Yeah, there was a sea change of ugliness in segments of Christianity in the 70’s. I blame the so called Moral Majority and their socio-political aspiratons

      • charles

        The moral majority wasn’t formed until 1979. However, a great revival took place at Asbury College near Louisville, KY in 1970 and spread throughout most of the country. That probably had more to do with these pesky Christians who were so determined to save us from Hell. I was in the service in Biloxi MS when it’s influence found it’s way there and I will be forever grateful for it. By the way, when we attempt to influence you for Christ we are practicing our “religion.”

        • James Walker

          it comes down to, essentially, whether the Great Commission was given to the Apostles specifically or to all Christians generally. if, as many of us here believe, it was only given to the Apostles, the practice of “soul winning” is a tremendous over-reach on the part of churches today. we see that it definitely obscures the practice of the Great Commandments and of discipleship in churches across the US when the entire focus is on getting more “butts in the seats” instead of teaching Christians how to imitate the Christ.

        • Snooterpoot

          I am getting so damned tired of people who want to save me from hell because of assumptions they make about me and my spiritual life.

          If you want to “influence [you] for Christ” maybe you should think about actually living as Christ did – taking care of the poor, the sick, the elderly, ministering to the outcasts of society, and shunning the pompous religionists who tried to trick him by citing archaic rules.

          The influence you have for Christ is a negative one. Read this blog again, then see if you can stop preaching and start listening respectfully to what others are trying to tell you.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Agreed. When one’s religion displays disrespect for where someone is in life, disregards another’s religious views as valid or important to that person, and deems someone unworthy for not adhering to their views on religion, it becomes unappealing, unwelcoming and unkind. That is likely why more and more are rejecting that kind of religion.

          • usvietnamvet

            Great points. I have no objections to people who actually listen to another side but sadly we in this country have gotten into the habit of not listening to anything that challenges our beliefs be they religious, political or personal. And places that select news just for you are making this trend worse.

  • MariaM832648

    I am a Christian and every time I say that I am anymore I get someone telling me I am stupid for my beliefs. I don’t see how just telling people I am christian is any different then someone saying they are gay, black, fat or Jew, but I have been warned by atheist that my home will get burned down and have been giving some scare tactic. Atheist try and convert Christians more then Christians try to convert Atheist. We only teach the bible, we don’t convert, but Atheist terrorize and label us as Bigots and make us keep our beliefs quiet. It is wrong because they not only label us as lies, they label ALL of us with lies. I am smart enough to know there are intelligent people of all beliefs and background, and I don’t call anyones beliefs fairy like. So please, understand that Christians have become the REAL intolerated minority in all this. Just in the united states in the past few years, tons of Churches got burned to the ground. I guess that is fair for believing in something and teaching things to people.

    • usvietnamvet

      You’re lumping all Atheists into the same group. Most Atheists could care less what you worship and I know atheists who have had the same type of threats made to them by “good Christians”.; If an atheist has made threats against you it’s all on him/her not ALL ATHEISTS. That’s like saying all Christians are homophobic. It’s silly to judge all people by one. If a black told you that would you say all blacks are bad? You make generalizations and prejudicial statements without proof. Who is this “atheist” who threatened you? If he/she did threaten you he/she should be reported to the police.

      • MariaM832648

        Its all atheist who do it in private chats. Not one atheist have proven to me they are not intolerant of my beliefs and me because I believe in them.

        • usvietnamvet

          First you don’t know for sure these people are atheists. You only know what they tell you. If that’s happened to you maybe you need to stop going to those chat rooms.

          Did it ever occur to you that they poke at you because they’re amused by your jumping?

          I am not Christian and I could care less what other people worship as long as their practicing their religion doesn’t infringe on my rights. When I make statements you’ll notice I try and never say all.

        • Snooterpoot

          Here’s a hint. Don’t chat with them. Problem solved.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Ah..I get it. this isn’t face to face encounters. Its internet forums and chat rooms, where people hide behind made up personas, and some pick on each other. I’ve monitored them before, and the last one I participated in, I left because of the ugliness of some of the Christian zealots. The athiests poked at them just a bit to get a rile out of them, then sat back and watched the zealots go on hateful tangents.

          I stay away from such places.

    • Snooterpoot

      Oh, please. Christians are far from a minority in the USA. That alone makes your comment less than credible.

      Secondly, I know several atheists (I am married to one), and not one of them has ever tried to “convert” others.

      Third, if someone is threatening to burn down your house (and I am very suspicious about the truthfulness of this) then you need to call the police.

      To the extent that Christians are accused of being bigots, well, it’s because the label is deserved. Take a look at who is behind the effort to deny people who are homosexual the same rights that they enjoy. Who is behind the effort to deny women the right to make our own reproductive choices? What voices are the loudest when complaining about “illegals” who have come to the USA simply looking for a better life for themselves and their families? And, Maria, who is slamming poor people, saying they are lazy and deserve to be poor?

      I don’t think all Christians are bigots. I don’t think all Christians are intolerant. I don’t think all Christians refuse to listen to others, even other Christians, when we try to tell you we believe differently and we expect to have our beliefs respected. But I do think there are enough Christians who are bigots, who are intolerant, and who do refuse to listen that the labels are deserved.

      Finally, I’d like to see a link to at least one unbiased source that supports your claim that “tons of Churches got burned to the ground.” Again, I doubt the truthfulness of that claim.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Yeah, sure churches burn to the ground every day. The causes are the terrorist, persecution acts, of lightening strikes, and faulty wiring. They also face the perscution led act of being flooded, being closed because either the congregation all died out or grew too large for the building, and the building has been repurposed into an art gallery.
      Its just terrible what churches in the the US have to undergo

  • Sarah Arnold-Caldwell Cpc

    I am a Christian. I am ashamed of sharing that label of a religious belief with so many who Imo are completely clueless about what it actually means. I can validate every one of the emailed messages above. I was deeply intwined in those beliefs & teaching for most of my life. Then I had several years of crises & tragedies in my life. It was that timeframe taught me about pure love. It became clear to me how wrong most Christians, including myself, have been. I left the church; not my faith, although it did waiver.
    I have to apologize for my own ignorance & hurtful actions of my past. I am sorry. I disagree with most of the teachings in the churches today.
    My belief & hopefully my actions, are that of unconditional love modeled after Jesus. As M.S. Honolulu stated. If it is that good there is no need to push, recruit, convert or morph anyone. When we display & exude love we will be followed back to the source. Bottom line.
    I think homosexuals should have the right to marry. Prison inmates have more rights than LGB community. When in actuality a lot of heterosexuals are doing unBiblical things in the bedroom. Sodomy is unbiblical but many heterosexuals practice it. Fair is fair. Just is just. God is a just God. I believe the end result should be left up to God. We are not to judge as a means to condemn. We are commanded to love. My abusive ex husband has more to be afraid of than someone’s choice of who to fall in love with. No place in the Bible have I read that Jesus told people to give Him money so they would be blessed or have their needs met. Yet this is preached daily in the church. Nor have I ever read that Jesus required being lavished with luxuries & manipulate people by covertly manipulating people into getting those things for Him. And Grace is the gift He gave us, obedient or not.
    I have to say I am not surprised at any of the comments. We have a long way to go to exude the love of Christ.

    • nrnowlin

      Jesus’ love and acceptance was not unconditional. When Jesus defied the stoning of the adulteress and said to her, “Where are your accusers? Go your way and sin no more.” If she turned back to adultery, would Jesus approve of her? No! Jesus told his disciples to take up their cross and follow him, and to forsake their sins. That was the condition for his offer of salvation. If you choose to follow Jesus, you can’t have it both ways. There is good and there is evil, and Jesus said that you can’t serve God and the devil’s evil at the same time. The sincere Christian cannot serve two masters. People who call themselves Christian and try to serve Jesus and sin, are not pleasing in the eyes of God. Do you think that Jesus would have given his blessing to two Jewish homosexuals who wanted to get married in the 1st Century? If you do, you want to re-write the Holy Bible in the name of sin. Today the Gospel of Jesus Christ is no different than it was in the 1st Century. Jesus won’t stop loving you, but when you reject the offering of his salvation and continue to serve sin, his Spirit will not continue with you.

      • Snooterpoot

        Apparently you are one of the Christians to whom this blog attempted to speak.

        If you preface your comments with, “I think,” or “I believe,” we can have a respectful dialogue, and we might begin to understand each other more clearly.

        It’s obvious to me that you haven’t yet mastered speaking about God with kindness and humility.

        You seem to believe that the evil in the world is what is happening in the bedrooms of consenting adults.

        I believe the evil in the world consists of refusing to take care of the sick, the elderly, the poor and those who are imprisoned. I believe the evil in the world is to actively participate in a movement that denies recognition of human and civil rights for people who are GLBT.

        I believe there is a lot of evil perpetrated in this world by people who use their religions and their holy books as shields that try to justify the hatred, misogyny, racism and religious bigotry they need to feel good about.

        The Jesus whom I read about did offer unconditional love. He also rejected as hypocrites the people who tried to trick him using archaic law. Those people were the Pharisees, and Jesus didn’t have the time nor the inclination to fall for their pitiful attempts to make him look wrong.

        If the Jesus you have found provides you with comfort and meaning, good for you. Your truth and my truth are not alike, and they don’t have to be.

        The biggest problem I have with your comment is that you are preaching and not listening. You are exactly the person to whom this blog was written. Maybe you should think about the things that are written here.

        • nrnowlin

          I am sure that the Jewish scribes and pharisees would have relished Jesus not speaking with authority, and saying, instead of “thus saith the Lord,” this is just my opinion.” Well, to quote the Lord, he said, “For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” When I quote the Lord Jesus, I am saying what the God of the universe said, so it is not my opinion, but literal fact, whether you believe it or not. Jesus also said, and I will quote, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” If you call yourself a Christian, aren’t you saying that you are only doing what Jesus told you to do? Think about it.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Gonna take a moment to blow your mind.

            We have no proof that the words Jesus is quoted as saying was actually said by the man. It’s pretty well accepted these days that the authors of the gospels were not people who actually knew Jesus personally. The dates of their authorship has on average 40 year spans, and many scholars now lean towards later dates. As we have zero original documents from any Biblical author…that’s right no single originally penned work exists, only copies remain, many of with have variations in text. All we have is guess work, of actual authorship, of location where written, and of course when.

            Direct of God, God’s word? Maybe its just me, but I think if God wanted such a thing, h/she would have done something a less fragile. Its’ still a remarkable work, rich, inspirational, educational, but the Bible being divine, or divinely constructed seems, to me, to be too human for it to be possible.

          • nrnowlin

            I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but, Ms. Allegro, you’re proceeding much faster than you’re comprehending. You seem a bit young, by your picture, so I would guess that you’re either re-writing the Bible yourself, or the blind-faith disciple of the the master Christian heretic. I know that you can’t produce one reliable and authoritative theologian who can document in Koine Greek or the Aramaic that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did not personally witness the Savior. Why would you even go there? The life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the best attested events in history due to how the Gospels complement each other. You must be playing the devil’s advocate.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Im young enough to have grown kids and grown kids. so thanks very much for the compliment. The photo is just a few years old.

            I am a fan of history, and religious history holds a fascination for me. I’ve read how history records our getting early non-Latin translations and the political upheavel that caused, I’ve read how the translation process was a very human endeavor and how one translation copy doesn’t exactly match another. I’ve read how history demonstrates how the cultural norms of one religious tradition often leeches into newer traditions, as they adopt them, then claim them as original. I’ve read where Mark was the model for two of the other gospels with later authors using the Mark account to build off of for their own. I can see how the gospels can complement each other and how they also disagree with one another in the plot lines of the stories. I can easily see that the gospel writers, with the outside possibility of Matthew…if he had lived long enough, which is doubtful, were not eyewitnesses to anything Jesus did. The apostle Paul make no direct mention the gospel writers in his letters, because the writings started later, possibly towards the end of Paul’s life, certainly afterwards.

            i’ve read a great deal about how the Bible came to be, from a wide variety of sources. I’ve read the book itself many times, and have read many different viewpoints on its topics and themes. I’ve read the arguments that the story of Jesus is the best attested event recorded in history…a great argument, if it were true.

            As for “rewriting the bible myself” which I have no interest in doing, preferring other personal literary pursuits, or “blind faith disciple of the master christian heretic” whatever the fuck that is…your guesses are quite wrong. I simply have adopted the practice of being a critical thinker, not being satisfied with an answer just because someone says its that way, of looking behind the secret curtain to view the humble guy cowering behind, of wanting more than the easy.

            I read the Bible for the stories of humanity it offers, and it gets pretty honest about the state of humanity, the beautiful, the courageous, the ugly and the selfish…often talking about the same person. I see mystical qualities there, as people try and are not quite successful in grasping the concept of God, yet their attempts are so poignant. I read people trying to make sense of the world, of trying to make it work by enacting codes of conduct and morals, and of people just trying to please the divine. Its fantastic, gorgeous, maddening. Its not divine.

          • Snooterpoot

            You know, nrnowlin, when all you have in your answer is to sling ad hominem attacks at people, then everyone with half a lick of sense knows your opinions are not to be taken seriously.

          • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

            “You must be playing the devil’s advocate.” I wasn’t aware that anyone was was putting forth a candidate for sainthood.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            “I know that you can’t produce one reliable and authoritative theologian who can document in Koine Greek or the Aramaic that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did not personally witness the Savior.”

            Actually I can. Bart Erhram, Marcus Borg, Karen Armstrong. And that’s just the short list. Any of their excellent work I highly recommend. Borg did an iteresting book where he puts the books of the NT in chronological order, and gives historical feedback on each one. Erhram, wrote a great book about how the Bible has been translated. Its written for the non-scholar, and well researched. I own both books. Armstrong…She’s a historian, a damned good one when it comes to religous history. I’ve read three of hers, because I LOVE history.

          • James Walker

            of course, you know he’s just going to state that none of those count as “reliable” or “authoritative” because in his mind the only “reliable”, “authoritative” theologians are the ones whose theses agree with his pre-conceived notions of the “correct” interpretation…

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Oh I know, but I maybe others will see these three examples and their curiosity is piqued as mine was, when I kept encountering their names.

          • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

            The reference to Aramaic is interesting most biblical scholars believe that the Gospels where originally written in Koine Greek by people other than the attributed authors. The claim that there is an original Aramaic source is doubtful. I love Karen Armstrong she is my go to person for religious history. I just bought a way cool annotated bible from the Oxford University Press. I guess that makes me sound like a bit of a nerd.

          • usvietnamvet

            You’d love Ethiopia which has some of the oldest Coptic Christian sites in the world. I was there in the 60’s.

          • Lamont Cranston

            “The life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the best attested events in history due to how the Gospels complement each other.”
            Thanks! I needed a good laugh this morning!

          • Snooterpoot

            Wow! So, your interpretation of someone else’s interpretation of what fallible human beings wrote is correct and everyone else’s is wrong?

            I think trying to live the deeds of Christ is more reflective of his ministry than quoting scripture you can use to belittle others.

            After 3 years of a seminary-based study I concluded that the Bible is an anthology of parables, poetry, allegory, folklore and superstition. Fallible men wrote what they knew and called it the word of God. I don’t believe it is the literal and inerrant word of God. If you want to believe that, and it gives you comfort, good for you.

            Obviously, I strongly disagree with you, and I think that any further attempt at conversation with you will be quite a waste of time and effort.

            For those who do not believe the Bible to be the literal word of God you might as well be quoting Aesop’s Fables.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            So wanna double like this.

        • larrylloyd

          {Tired hateful, bigotry rhetoric deleted}…that’s two

        • Mickey Sticks

          There again, though, you get into the realm of perspective. THE Truth is separate from your truth or my truth. Rather than conversing with “I think” or “I believe,” perhaps it would be better for us to use “God’s word says…” Our thoughts and beliefs are subject to change. God’s truth is not.

          • Snooterpoot

            With respect, Mickey, we still need the preface of “I believe,” or “I think,” because not all of us, even other followers of Christ, believe the Bible is the word of God.

            The thing is that many people seem to think that God’s truth is found only in the Bible. I, and many others, do not, because to think that means that we should absolutely ignore all that we have learned in the thousands of years since the books were written.

            I have written this previously, but it’s difficult to search through thousands of messages, so here’s my perspective.

            I completed a 3-year course of Biblical study for lay people that was seminary-based. After my course of study I reached the conclusion that the Bible is an anthology consisting of poetry, parable, allegory and folklore that was written by fallible men who wrote what they knew and called it the word of God.

            I do not believe that anyone has to read the Bible in order for God to speak to them, although if reading it gives them peace I am certainly not going to tell anyone that their belief is wrong and mine is right. The activities of many Biblical literalists, though, are to use scripture as a means to belittle others and to justify it by saying, “I didn’t say it. God said it.”

            How smug. How arrogant. And I can think of few better ways to chase people away from a relationship with God, however they may see him or her.

            Admittedly my perspective is colored by the fact that I am a lesbian who is married to another woman. I am quite weary of the hatred and abuse hurled at me and other people who are GLBT and having that hatred and abuse excused by their selective use of verses of scripture.

            I am certain my truth is the right one for me. I am also certain that my relationship with God needs no human intervention whatsoever.

            I am hopeful that, if you wish, we can continue in respectful dialog.

          • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

            Snooter, what do you make of 2 Timothy 3:16-17?

          • James Walker

            ask yourself what the writer meant by “all scripture” (in the Greek, πᾶσα γραφὴ). since the epistle pre-dates most of the New Testament, don’t you find it unlikely the author was referring to the entire Bible as we know it today? also, what is meant by “God-breathed” (in the Greek, θεόπνευστος)? is there any support in the Bible for the idea that it means “from God’s mouth to the prophet’s pen”?

          • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

            James, the very same Greek word for scripture (γραφή) was used in many places after the writing of 2 Timothy, not the least of which was the last book written, 2 Peter 1:20-21, “20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

            The Greek for all (πᾶσα) is also used in 2 Peter ” but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,”

            Those are only two of many cross-references of those exact words.

          • James Walker

            I find that translation of 2 Peter 1:20-21 problematic. I’m not a Greek scholar by any means, but I’m not convinced the traditional translation which refers ἰδίας to the person of the reader or the person of the prophet is correct. I think it could well refer back to the noun προφητεία which would make it say that the prophecies of Scripture do not interpret themselves and the follow on in verse 21 then means we don’t explain prophecy by our own volition but as we are moved by the Holy Spirit to speak these words as from God.

            anyway, none of that really addressed my question which was whether 2 Timothy 3:16 means all the writings we have come to know as the Bible (I think it doesn’t) and whether “God-breathed” means the same thing many fundamentalist theologians make it mean which is the direct, verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible writings (which, again, I don’t think it does).

            As one Bible scholar I follow has said before, the very idea of verbal plenary inspiration makes the Holy Spirit into a liar by default because many of the writings in the New Testament canon begin with the writer naming themselves (or, at least, naming who they want the audience to believe was the writer). If the Pauline epistles were dictated by God, shouldn’t they be signed “God, as heard by Paul” or something similar?

          • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

            To be fair, I’m not Greek scholar either. Let me ask this, if the Bible was not “God-Breathed” (using your definition), then how do we explain the fulfillment of the prophetic Word of the OT in the NT?

            I like what Wayne Grudem has to say, “In cases where the ordinary human personality and writing style of the author were prominently involved, as seems the case with the major part of Scripture, all that we are able to say is that God’s providential oversight and direction of the life of each author was such that their personalities, their backgrounds and training, their abilities to evaluate events in the world around them, their access to historical data, their judgment with regard to the accuracy of information, and their individual circumstances when they wrote, were all exactly what God wanted them to be, so that when they actually came to the point of putting pen to paper, the words were fully their own words but also fully the words that God wanted them to write, words that God would also claim as his own.”

          • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

            Macarthur as well, “od formed the personality of the writer. God made [him] into the man He wanted him to be. God controlled his heredity and his environment. When the writer reached the point that God intended, God directed and controlled the free choice of the man so that he wrote down the very words of God. God literally selected the words of each author’s own life, out of his personality, his vocabulary, and his emotions. The words were man’s words, but that man’s life had been so framed by God that they were God’s words as well.”

          • James Walker

            ha! it’s sort of John Calvin meets The Butterfly Effect. it’s interesting but I’m not sure it stands up to thorough inspection.

          • James Walker

            how do we explain the fulfillment of the prophetic Word of the OT in the NT

            that presumes an understanding of prophecy that I’m not sure was shared by people in biblical times. for instance, the writer of the Matthew gospel makes several references to passages from Isaiah and other prophets. but when we examine those passages in context they don’t have anything to do with predicting the future Messiah. instead, if we read closely we can see perhaps the Matthew writer was trying to evoke a correspondence where the Jewish/Christian readers would place themselves in the shoes of the Israelites to whom Isaiah addressed his prophecy. a “we are like those people” feeling. a reaction of “Mary was a young woman just like the one Isaiah described.”

          • Snooterpoot

            Landon, I am a follower of Christ, not a follower of Timothy, or Paul, or of any other figures in the New Testament, so the text is really meaningless to me.

          • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

            That’s a bit of a strawman as I never said you “followed’ the NT writers. That said, how can you be a follower of Christ and not believe what the NT writers had to say considering the Gospel is in the NT?

          • Snooterpoot

            That’s an easy question for me to answer, Landon. I am a follower of Christ. I do not, however, believe that the Bible is the inspired, literal word of God. There are many other Christians and Christian denominations who believe as I do.

            I really didn’t intend to introduce a straw man argument. You asked me what I make of a verse of scripture and I answered you as honestly as I could.

            It’s an interesting topic to me because I have found that many evangelical Christians cite scripture attributed to Paul as if it was words that were spoken by Christ. When I try to turn the discussion around to what Christ is reported to have actually said my effort is usually met with disdain. It’s difficult to carry on a respectful discussion with people like that.

          • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

            Understood, and I agree that many so-called Christians do not live as such and are likely not regenerated. That said, I’m still curious how a person or denomination that does not believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God can follow Christ. What documents do you use to learn about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? (honest question, lack of voice inflection lends itself to misinterpretation of intent.)

          • Snooterpoot

            Landon, it’s pretty simple. I can believe that Christ was born and lived a life reflecting kindness, compassion and unconditional love. I do not have to believe in the Garden of Eden and that only two people were created, one coming from the rib of another. I do not have to believe that God created Adam from dust. I do not have to believe that God created the universe in six days, and that the earth is only 6,000 years old. I don’t have to believe in creation “science.”

            I do not have to believe that God murdered everyone on the planet by drowning them. I do not have to believe that a human being was swallowed by a whale and then spit out alive and well.

            I do not have to believe that Levitical law applies to everyone. I do not have to believe that there were human beings who lived for hundreds of years.

            I do not have to believe that God killed babies. I do not have to believe that any of the Bible is the inspired word of God in order to follow Christ.

            Too many people who believe in scriptural inerrancy use it to belittle and batter people of whom they disapprove.

            Again, I believe the Bible to be an anthology of allegory, poetry, parables, fables and superstitions that were written by fallible men who wrote what they knew and called it the word of God.

            What if I told you that God has spoken to me and told me to ignore those ancient tomes? How can you dispute my own sacred experience?

            You seem to agree with Vincent that there is only one path to Jesus and to God. I simply disagree.

          • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

            Snooter, thanks for the civil and interesting chat. I agree there are those who use scripture to belittle and batter those with whom they disagree. That said, I understand your position of not feeling as though you need to believe in Biblical inerrancy. However, I’m still unclear on how you choose which parts to believe and which to ignore.

            “I can believe that Christ was born and lived a life reflecting kindness, compassion and unconditional love.”

            Again, where do you get this information? If it’s from the Bible, how did you determine that it’s legit and the rest is errant?

            Thanks again for the chat, I’m learning and enjoying it very much.

            P.S. You are correct, I agree with Vincent that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ.

          • Snooterpoot

            Honestly, Landon, after a scholarly study of the Bible I just cannot believe that the majority of the canon is directly inspired by God. I don’t even believe the Gospels are directly inspired by God. I do believe in the story of Jesus because it is well corroborated. I don’t believe everything the Gospel writers composed; there are inconsistencies in the story.

            My scholarly study also taught me about history and how the Biblical canon as we know it came about, and that it was as much political as it was theological.

            I think that we have learned much during the thousands of years since the books of the Bible were written. I think as we continue to grow in knowledge we must apply what we have learned in order for our faith and spirituality to grow.

            I hope that answers your question. I have difficulty putting it into words.

          • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

            Ah, I see. I think I’m following you now.

            With that in mind, do you believe in Jesus as our Savior, the son of God? Or do you hold more to the view that he was just a man/prophet of sorts?

            (again, I have no agenda here, just honestly asking questions.)

          • Snooterpoot

            I don’t see Jesus as a savior. My view is, as you say, that he is a man/prophet of sorts.

            See, I don’t believe in the concept of sin, and I don’t believe there is a hell. I do believe there is good and evil in the world and that we must combat evil where we see it.

            I think my own view of and experience with God is different from yours. As I have told others, I am glad for you that you have found a spiritual path that is meaningful to you and that gives you peace, and I’d never ask you to change that. I only ask that other points of view be respected even if one fervently disagrees with it.

            I have fallen short of my own quest to engage in respectful and thoughtful dialogue in these comments at times. There have been ad hominem attacks and downright nasty comments and I’ve had knee jerk reactions to those. I have to step back sometimes and get my emotions under control. Sometimes it isn’t easy.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        So in otherwords, unless one subscribes to your version of what God says to do, and behaves with your interpretations of religious text, then God has no use for you.
        Sounds like a deity, with minor power and influence, or rather one of human making.

    • notmike64

      apology accepted

  • nrnowlin

    Most sincere Christians want to do what Jesus said for them to do, regardless of the consequences. Most insincere Christians want to call themselves Christian without adopting the attitudes and outward expressions that Jesus said was necessary for getting into heaven. Unfortunately, most insincere Christians want to get as much out of their mortal existences as they can before they die, regardless of whether Jesus has approved of their goals and aspirations, and the behaviors they display to achieve them. Then they die thinking that, in the final judgment, Jesus is going to accept them into heaven. These people want to read the New Testament as they want it to read, and believe that they can actually pick and choose what they want to be Jesus’ commandments.

    I believe that Jesus spent a lot of time with the sinners and publicans, trying to help them understand the error of their ways. But when they refused to accept what Jesus said, the Lord didn’t give them a hug and kiss and say, “That’s okay, you’ll get to heaven anyway.” I don’t believe he chose to associate with those people who rejected what he said. In the same manner, sincere Christians should love the sinners enough to reach out to them, and reprove them and admonish them to do what is right. But they shouldn’t associate with them if they choose to continue sinning. The Apostle Paul said, “Evil communications corrupt good manners.” He also said never to associate with presumed Christians who have ceased to follow Christ, and have gone back to sinning. This is not a “final judgment,” which the Lord Jesus told us not to do; but, rather, wise day-to-day judgments that sincere Christians must make in order to do what the lord wants them to do. Do you really believe that the Lord Jesus palled-around with homosexuals and other sexual deviates? I believe he loved them enough to admonish them in a kind way to forsake their sins and to repent and follow him; but he never said, “That’s okay, keep on sinning and you’ll go to heaven anyway.”

    The Lord Jesus has said through his chosen Apostles that the way to heaven is straight and narrow, and that few of his children would find it, but that the path to destruction is very broad and that most of the human race will choose that path. But Jesus also said that the way, or his Gospel is so plain that a fool, though a wayfaring man would be able to understand it and find it. It is, indeed, hard to internalize the attitude that Jesus wants his children to have in order to practice his law of love, and i believe that the outward expressions, or behaviors, reflecting such an attitude must precede fully believing it. In other words, try it and see how it works, and your faith in Jesus’ Gospel will inevitably increase. That’s why sincere Christians need to continually associate with sincere Christians, and to remain separate from the world of sin.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Seperation theory is unhealthy and unproductive. When one thinks that they are on the path to righteousness and most arent, its prideful and selfish. When one uses scripture to point fingers at others, its onloving and conceited.

      if Jesus walked the earth today…which many believe he does, through another manifestation of the divine, the Holy Spirit, he would have hung around with those deemed socially deviant, or inferior, or unrighteous…in first century Palestine, it was the poor, the begger, the leper the prostitute and the tax collector. Today it would be the homeless, the mentally ill, the illegal immigrant, the gay person. He didn’t tell his friends to stop being lepers, or hookers or tax collectors, I can’t imagine that to a gay person.

      • larrylloyd

        Jesus ministered to Jews, and with rare exception, withheld His miracles and blessings from Gentiles, and He really didn’t have much use for them.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          We can’t know that. There is nothing that says that Jesus only interacted with Jews. First century Palestine was a multi-cultural society. We have no record of the cultural or religious identities of the majority of the people he encountered, just a few.

          The idea that Jesus only ministered to Jews is really silly. Take the feeding of the five thousand. Can you imagine Jesus announcing. “Ok, all you non Jews, I need you to gather to the right. Non-Jews only. Everyone there? Good, town is about fifteen miles away, you should get there by morning, just in time for breakfast. Tada! Ok all you Jews. Let’s eat.”

          Or asking the woman who was healed by touching his robe. “Woman, did you just touch me?”
          “Yes Lord.” she anwers
          “Are you a Jew?”
          “No, my parents are from Thrace, I’m married to a soldier.”
          “GENTILE. I UNHEAL YOU” Jesus commands.

      • Mickey Sticks

        He didn’t tell them to stop; he healed them. Remember?

    • Mickey Sticks

      I believe what you said in the last sentence is very true; although I have found it very difficult to find ‘sincere Christians’. They are indeed few and far between, especially in churches.

    • notmike64

      why does being gay sexual deviant? How do you know what Jesus do? When you write speak the words you write. That is the biggest mistake of Christians speaking from their head not their heart. God didn’t call theologians he called people to love. And btw the world of sin is a beautiful diverse earth that God created. I do believe you will be surprised when you die …

  • larrylloyd

    John Shore is straight, or bi-curious?

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      If you read just under the article, it tells you just a bit about John.

      • larrylloyd

        {comment deleted for disrespect and poor use of crassness}

        • Snooterpoot

          Good.

          • larrylloyd

            {and that’s three}

          • Snooterpoot

            Good. I was going to tell him he’s the equivalent of the north end of a south-bound mule, but deleting his comment is just as effective.

  • Mickey Sticks

    “If your religion is a true one, people will come to it on their own.” M.S. in Honolulu, you have hit the nail right on the head. As a servant of God and a person who strives to live the way Christ did – in service to God and his fellow man – I am re-investigating the whole Christian mindset and looking for the Truth of which Jesus spoke. So many so-called “Christians” have ruined the “Christianity” that was made popular by Jesus and perverted it into something that no longer even remotely resembles what Jesus spoke of in the Bible.

    • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

      Mickey, what do you make of Romans 10:14-15?

      • James Walker

        read the rest of the chapter, Landon. (actually, start with the end of chapter 9). the passage you’ve called out in 10:14-15 is not meant to be read in isolation.

        • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

          I agree that no verses are to be read in isolation. That said, how does the context of Romans 10 and last part of 9 negate the fact that we’re called to be “messengers” and spread the Gospel? (To be clear, I did just go back and read both chapters.)

          • James Walker

            what Paul is talking about in this entire passage is why he has chosen to be the Apostle to the Gentiles. he says that the Jews don’t need him to preach to them. chapter 10:14-15 are a rhetorical setup for him to explain that the Jews have already been afforded the opportunity to receive the gospel.

          • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

            Chapter 10 is the message of salvation to all. I would submit that the purpose of chapter 10 is Paul explaining that none is able to keep the law, thus righteousness is not obtained by it as all men violate the law. I also agree with your point in the sense that Paul makes clear the Jews have heard the message but he goes on to say they have chosen to disobey the Gospel message.

            I think we went down a rabbit trail slightly. My initial post was simply to rebut the quote, “If your religion is a true one, people will come to it on their own.” I think Paul makes it clear in this chapter that one needs to hear the Gospel (Jew and Gentile alike) in order to have the opportunity at faith necessary for righteousness. But, I agree, by this time the Jews had already heard and disobeyed.

          • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

            I should also add that I’m not above changing my position, just enjoying some good conversation with someone I presume to be a practicing Christian such as myself in order to gain a better understanding of God’s Word.

      • Mickey Sticks

        After spending 7 years completing the OT and NT, I have recently been focusing solely on the words of Jesus. The Epistle to the Romans was written by Paul to persuade them to spread the gospel. Nowadays, we have the gospel everywhere – case in point, this blog – and people are more apt to be swayed by a person living the way Christ did than by what they see as “empty rhetoric” by a religious nut job.

        Few things can be more persuasive than a valid testimony from a respected person, and few things can be more harmful to the message of Christ than a zealot trying to shove it down people’s throats. I, when I give my testimony, encourage people to read the gospels (even the apocrypha and gnostic gospels for a less censored experience), and Acts to get a clear picture of what Christ taught.

        I have also just finished reading “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis, and I highly recommend it to people who are interested in learning more about Christ. The Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible is also a good volume for comparison against KJV, NASB and other translations.

        In short, I stand by my support of the statement “If your religion is a true one, people will come to it on their own” because, when I came to Christ, it was after years of trying to escape hounding by people who were trying so hard to convert me. I came to Him as a result of getting to know a co-worker who was soft-spoken, gentle, not easily angered by irrational arguments of ‘devils advocates’, generous – you know, all those things Jesus told us to be. I asked why he was like that and he told me he tries to live as God intended, as Jesus spoke of in the Gospels.

        To make a short story long, I hope that answers your question. Romans has good advice, but my search for Truth is creeping a little bit closer to the source with each passing day.

        • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

          Great response. I completely agree that some people need to be treated with more care. And I too feel as though “Christian zealots trying to shove it down people’s throats” is not an effective witness. I would also argue that no one comes to Christ on their own. The scripture makes it clear that we love Him because He first loved us.

          Again, I don’t feel like shaming and berating are an effective witness, but I also don’t think that means we use that as a pass to not share the Gospel with people in a loving, respectful way as I know many who’ve come to Christ that way as well.

  • Vincent

    I agree that sometimes Christians behave unChrist like, but I still don’t believe that means we must simply say: all beliefs are true, just be a good person. The testimony of the Gospel also calls for repentance. Idololatry is still a sin in God’s eyes, and Jesus called Himself the Way, and no other. I believe we must always preach the Gospel, but keep treating others with love, listening to them and don’t judge them, because we are also sinners.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Hey Vincent. a great many people have found wisdom in the aphorism: Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary – use words. “Being a Christian” often goes a lot farther in pointing people to God than does telling them about Christianity.

      • Vincent

        I agree, we preach the Gospel through our actions and our words. I just believe we cannot forget both. There are times when we need to speak, and others when our actions will be light.

        • Snooterpoot

          Vincent, with respect, attitudes like yours drive me bat crap crazy. You are a mortal, fallible human being. And when you preach, you preach the Gospel as you interpret it.

          I absolutely hate being preached at. It is at the same time annoying and insulting. If you come to my door you will be turned away without ever knowing what I believe or how I practice my beliefs, because that is a private matter between me and my god.

          There are many, many Christian denominations whose theology does not require preaching at others. They open their doors and welcome seekers as well as followers, and many attract the seekers by their works in their communities.

          I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church. I left that church about 40 years ago, and one of the reasons why I left was that I was expected to go tell other people that they were bad people (sinners) and would go to hell if they didn’t do what the Bible says they should do.

          • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

            Snooter, what do you make of Matthew 28:16-20?

          • James Walker

            the Great Commission was given to the eleven. it’s a question worth asking whether Jesus intended it to be specifically for them and them alone or for all Christians who came after them.

          • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

            James, I agree. But, I would say it is dangerous to selectively omit verses that were given only to the disciples. If we applied that principle consistently, we would lose many of the teachings of Jesus recorded in the Gospels.

            In the gospel of John chapter 17, Jesus says this: Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world… I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

            It is clear that Jesus is sending not just the eleven disciples into the world but also those who believe in him through their presentation of the Good News.

            As Vincent said, we’re all low-down dirty sinners, myself included. So, I think tact must be employed when sharing the Gospel to ensure the person knows we realize God sees us every bit as much of a sinner as them. We’re not better than anyone, we’re just saved. And that’s what we want for them. If they choose to decline receiving the message, then that’s their prerogative. It’s not our job to convert people, but I believe scripture tells us it is our job to share the Gospel through words and actions.

          • James Walker

            but I think the modern Evangelical movement has over-emphasized the evangelism part of Christianity to the detriment of the discipleship part. we’re supposed to be letting the Holy Spirit work in our lives to make us better vessels for God’s Grace so that those around us can see the light within us shining forth. does that really require us to consciously “evangelize” to our neighbors and associates? I’m not sure it does. I think instead that as we get better at living the way Christ would have us live, opportunities to share the gospel message will arise naturally.

          • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

            James, I don’t disagree with you at all. In fact, that’s a great point to ponder. I’m going to have to do some research during my personal time to reconcile that or adopt a similar position to yours. Thank you for that.

            I think a big part of any evangelism is tact. What good is it if your style of evangelism turns people away from God (or mine)? Very interesting thought.

            Thanks for the insightful (and civil) discussion. I’m still growing every day in my faith so I enjoy being shown another perspective.

          • usvietnamvet

            The problem isn’t just tact. When a person says they’re not interested, the speaker shouldn’t continue.

            Just because Christianity works for you doesn’t mean it works for everyone I have my own belief system that works for me yet I’ve had people who continue to try and convert me which has forced me to not see them anymore. This is especially true of new born agains.

          • Vincent

            This is the thing, as much as I respect other people’s beliefs, there is just one truth. Even if Christianity doesn’t “work” for everyone, the truth is that the day will come that every knee shall bow to Jesus and profess Him as Lord and God of all Creation.

            I have friends that are agnostics and atheists. I have discussed this with them, but it’s obvious that many of them simply are not interested. I therefore don’t insist. I hope and pray that they will one day see the Light of God, and that they also see Jesus through my actions and attitudes.

            But that doesn’t change that there can only be one truth, not many. Believeing Jesus is the only way to the Father doesn’t mean I have to be thumping unbelievers into believers. But it doesn’t mean their belief systems are the truth. But you can still be respectful and loving, even when you disagree, in fact, been respectful and loving is how they will see the Light of Jesus in us.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Then you don’t respect other’s beliefs. You believe that all others are false, and want everyone to believe like you do.

            Why is it so important, why not respect the beauty in diversity that religious thought and practice has to offer? Why make someone else’s religion a priority in your life at all? Why is it a problem if someone is Wiccan, or agnostic, or Bahai, or Jewish or any other of the beautiful faiths that are out there?

          • Snooterpoot

            Preface your comments with, “I believe,” or “I think” and we can have a respectful discussion. Otherwise I have to dismiss your comments as spiritually immature and unnecessarily adversarial.

          • Snooterpoot

            Landon, tact is part of the problem, but, as I see it, only a small part.

            There are many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians who use the scriptures as a weapon against people of whom they disapprove, specifically, people who are GLBT. Those people “evangelize” by using cherry picked verses of scripture to condemn people like me as abominations to God, and they attack us simply for being the people whom God created us to be. With every accusation they make, with every hateful word they speak, with every act they take to make sure we are not treated as beloved children of God they chase people away from God, not toward him.

            And, who can blame the people who turn away? Why would anyone want to worship a god that would create human beings in his own image and them submit them to eternal torment? Isn’t that merciless? Isn’t that sadistic? Is that anywhere close to the example of love, kindness and compassion that Jesus lived?

            We see this every day, and as more people come to realize that people who are GLBT are more alike everyone else than we are different, and as their support for recognizing our inherent human and civil rights grows, the louder and more strident the messages of the haters become.

            I think hatred spewed in the name of Jesus or in the name of God is unforgivable. I also think it is quite hypocritical, as these people conveniently ignore scripture that addresses their own behavior while choosing to condemn us.

            I honestly have to say that I have given up on organized religion, as I have come to believe that it is ultimately about control. I see people following man-made rules and calling them inspired by God. I see people who refuse to acknowledge everything we have learned subsequent to the times the books of the Bible were written, and dismiss it as the devil’s work.

            I love liturgical worship, but the uproar in the Anglican fellowship about the Episcopal Church’s ordination of an openly gay man as a Bishop soured my relationship with the church. The hatred and vitriol that occurred was absolutely crushing to me on both a personal and a spiritual level. I attend mass occasionally simply because I do love the liturgy, but it is not with the same love and devotion I used to feel.

            I am a believer; I am a follower of Christ. But I have no use for the interventions of men who try to control the lives of others and try to justify that as God’s will.

            I do not mean to be disrespectful, but I do think that some evangelical Christians need to stop and realize how they are viewed through the lenses of people who believe differently. Not all of us believe the Bible is the literal and inerrant word of God, and I don’t think believing that is a requirement to be a follower of Christ.

            Eventually I think this is about respect, and it should go both ways. If someone knocks on my door to evangelize I will politely turn them away. If they insist on staying to deliver their sermons, I am less polite. If they return and knock on my door again, they will be met with hostility, and my guess is they’ll simply write off their having been turned away not as a result of being disrespectful to me, but as the work of the devil.

            Frankly, I am weary of the incivility on both sides of the theist/atheist interactions.

          • Vincent

            I’m gay by the way, and I agree thta the church hasn’t done a great job treating LGBT’s. But I digress, organized religion is not about control. The Church as a body exists because Jesus made it. Congregating and sharing our lives with one another is part of our Christian living, and we should never give up on it.

            In fact I believe LGBT Christians are the perfect bridge builders between the Church and LGBT’s. We are in both sides and can share the Gospel with gay people and share the issues we face with the Church. Many hearts and minds are changing.

            I think that there is a great problem with how we present the Gospel. Many Christians want to make people repent of their sins and then convert. When is the other way around! People must first convert, and then let God do the change of heart. Preaching the Gospel shoulnd’t be about telling people to stop sinning, they’re unbelivers! It’s about telling them that God loved the world and gave His only Son to save them.

            We can’t change hearts, only God can. But first they must convert and believe, and the only way they will believe is if we present them the Gospel of salvation first.

          • Snooterpoot

            You believe that organized religion is not about control. I do not. I think it is controlling to tell people they cannot consume alcohol. I think it is controlling to tell women to shut the hell up in church. I think it is controlling to tell women to submit to their husbands. There’s much more, but I think I’ve made my point.

            My perspective is different, Vincent, and you don’t get to tell me my perspective is wrong and yours is correct.

          • Snooterpoot

            Landon, here is one of the tenets of theology with which I disagree. I don’t believe in original sin, or that all human beings are “low-down dirty sinners.” To believe that negates all of the goodness I’ve seen in people. It’s one of the things that drove me away from the Southern Baptist church.

          • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

            So, then you are Pelagian?

          • Snooterpoot

            I think that is a fair description of my beliefs, Landon. Pelagius departed from St. Augustine’s doctrine of original sin, and he believed in the inherent goodness of people. I agree with that.

            I think that believing babies are born sinful is really offensive, and that’s a logical offshoot of the concept of original sin.

            I know some atheists and agnostics who are among the most ethical, kind people on the planet. I’ve met some Christians who have left me with the impression that hell, if it existed, would be spending an eternity with them.

          • Snooterpoot

            What I make of that scripture was that Jesus was speaking to his disciples at that time. My opinion is that he would be embarrassed by some of his followers now.

          • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

            I don’t disagree, there are many professing Christians that simply do not live according to the Bible.

            As to whom Jesus was speaking, I’ll defer to my conversation with James below.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Live according to the Bible? You mean like loving their neighbor, providing for the poor, the homeless, the sick, the refugee, by considering physical wealth and possessions as tools, not to be stored and hoarded while trying to obtain more, but by using it to live, and to help others live as well…by being introspective of our own failings, and our own relationship with God, striving to learn and understand that which is impossible…the divine mystery that is God, while trying to follow the beautiful command of loving one another as we wish to be loved?

          • http://entreatingfavor.com/ Landon

            Absolutely.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I agree. I understand people mean well, and are merely following what they have been taught. I just wish people would consider and respect that others see things differently

          • Vincent

            I understand your position, but there is a difference between trying to have a conversation and just simply speak, speak, speak without listening. Christ preached, the apostles peached. The entire ministry of Paul was about preaching the Gospel and he lived and died for it. This is something I don’t understand, if that is what Jesus and the apostles did, why is it bad for us to do so? Not all street preachers and those who go preaching door by door are nasty people. Many are loving and don’t care to judge, but simply to bring the good new: God loves us and He died for us.

            Many people I know have converted this way. Not inmediately, most of the time, but the seed was planted and it grew and flourished and good fruit came from it. How will they believe if they don’t listen? How will they know if they never hear about it?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Have you even read the article at the top of the page? Do you not understand that continuing to push a religious view with the desire of converting them to your religion is exactly what we have too much of already? Do you not know that it throws up walls, as people know that a “no thanks” is going to be judged as someone who is sinful and who rejects God, going to hell, and all that negative crap, that makes Christianity seem less and less appealing?

            One thing we do not need more of is preaching and proselytizing.

          • Vincent

            Not everyone knows the truth of the Gospel, even in America. (I’m from Latin America by the way). Many people need to hear it. Preaching the Gospel is not the problem. Thumping people is. I have talked to others about the Gospel. Some of them receive it. Others prefer not to, and I respectfully walk away, just like Jesus taught us to do. But to not preach the Gospel at all is just as harmful.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Not everyone knows the gospel? In Latin America, with the majority of the population having been raised Catholic, with its rich tradition of teaching from the gospels? Or in the North Americas, where in most towns there is at least one church, in every hamlet or village, and in some areas, a church at least every three miles, or like in my area.seven churches in a two mile radius? Where Christian themed movies, television shows, billboards, iconography, magazines, books, websites are everywhere? Where politicians make a point of using Christianity…or rather their views of the faith as a electability asset?

            Don’t you think we’ve heard enough of this be saved or burn trope? Don’t you think its about damned time we stop trying to “save the lost” and just start loving and accepting one another as they are right now?

          • Vincent

            I never said we shouldn’t love and accept one another. But let me explain it to you better. I was raised Catholic, and my family was Catholic. They knew who God was and all, and we went to Mass once in a while. The problem is, most of my family knew God as a concept, not as a person. They knew Jesus is God and died, but didn’t really understand it. They lived their lives without having a relationship with Him at all.

            This is what happens to a lot of people. They know god exists, but haven’t really met Him. The same happened when Jesus came to earth. The Jews knew the law, but their hearts were not in a relationship with Him. When my father converted, his testimony is what made my family to convert. My mother hated that he went to Church all Sundays, and she closed her ears to the Gospel. My father kept quiet, and simply continue to grow spiritually.

            But then, my mother saw his change, and that softened her heart. She finally came to Church, willingly, and accepted Christ in her heart. She always knew God existed, but it wasn’t until she accepted Him, is that she finally held a relationship with Him.

            Many people today know that Jesus is God, and most people when refering to God, they refer to the Father. But they don’t have a relationship with Him. they see Him as a distant figure. They know Jesus died in the Cross, but they don’t fully understand the importance of this. They only live caring for their own lives and have never actually payed attention to God.

            They believe intelectually, but not spiritually. That’s why preaching the Gospel is important, because most people don’t really attend their Churches or read their Bibles, and don’t truly understand what the Gospel is about. that’s why preaching the Gospel is still necessary.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            So you assume to know people’s understanding and relationship with God based on you and your family’s way of doing religion and likely the teaching of your preacher? Sorry dude but that is the height of arrogance and completely wrong. You cannot know, its not your business to know how others view God. Its between that person and God who is not confined to a book or a religion or anyone’s opinion of who or what god is.

          • Vincent

            Then what I am supposed to do with the Bible? Throw out the window? Jesus ministry was based entirely on preaching to others His view. And the Apostles? That lived and died preaching the Gospel and spreading it to the entire Roman Empire? I just don’t understand that logic. It defies everything the Scripture teaches us.

            I also find it unfair, that you label my views as hateful, but atheists and people of other religions speak their mind out to, and they contradict my beliefs, but apparently is okay for them?

            To be honest it really bothers me that, despite I am willing to shut up if they ask me too, despite the fact that I would never support others religious beliefs to be suppressed, you treat me as if I were some sort of arrogant and cruel person. It’s unfair. It really is. Because I go to conservative evangelicals and they thump me because I’m gay. And I come to “progressive” Christians and they thump me because I believe Jesus is God.

            What? It’s so ridiculous that I don’t know if to cry or laugh at the irony of all of this.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I am not calling you hateful at all. You are just over zealous any your quest to convert others to your faith. Its not uncommon for evangelicals. I’m surrounded by them and here l views daily. I’m christian but not evangelical. I don’t believe in hell or original sin or that the bible is the word of God, yet for me to share that means backlash… from others in my faith. So I let them believe what is important to them and believe what I do and see the beauty of the myriad views of our many faiths.

            As for the Bible read it. Take time to ponder over what the authors may have brrm thinking when penning the words. Learn about the history of this amazing book. Bart ehram has an excellent one I have on my kindle. Be at peace with the beautiful child you are. Don’t worry about other people’s faith, its theirs, previous to them. Just live your life grow your own faith and delight in the beauty god has placed all around you.

          • Vincent

            Okay it’s obvious we disagree. But this is the thing: sharing your beliefs is not hateful. The problem is when you share them in the wrong way. I don’t need to thump others heads to preach them the Gospel. However, if they don’t want to listen, I walk away respectfully. What is wrong with doing that? Others do the same and have approached me in the past. I decide to listen most of the time. As long as they are respectful, I can be tolerant of what they believe, even if we disagree.

          • Snooterpoot

            I don’t think anyone is telling you that you have to throw the Bible out the window, Vincent. What we are saying, and what you refuse to hear, is that not everyone interprets the Bible the way you do, and it’s arrogant to assume you are correct and everyone else is wrong.

            I don’t think you are hateful. I just think you are over zealous and that you need to really listen to others instead of preaching at them.

          • Snooterpoot

            Sigh. Vincent, you are convinced your interpretation of the Bible is correct and everyone else’s is wrong. I have a description I use for this attitude – the arrogance of certainty.

            It is really difficult to carry on a respectful dialog with people who simply refuse to consider that the paths to Jesus or to God are not the same as yours. I know you are fervent in your beliefs, and that they work for you. That’s good, and I’m happy for you that you’ve found peace within this framework.

            My path is different from yours, and it is not appropriate for you to tell me my beliefs are wrong. In fact, it is annoying and off putting, and that’s the very premise of the article that John posted here.

            You say you listen, but you don’t. I think your only responsibility is to perfect your own path.

          • Vincent

            I don’t have certainty of everything I believe, to be honest. But I can’t live in doubt either. Many other religions believe I’m wrong, you yourself believe I’m wrong! Yet, that’s not the problem. We can learn to respectfully disagree