Of Course Hell is ‘Bigotry’ to People Like Bernie Sanders

Of Course Hell is ‘Bigotry’ to People Like Bernie Sanders June 12, 2017

It would seem Bernie Sanders has missed the 2,000(ish) year old boat, as he is now just discovering that the person of Christ and the claims of Scripture are central to the Christian faith. All of the political hogwash seemed devised to draw out the main fear of Bernie Sanders: Trump. Now, ultimately, I don’t really care about Trump. He doesn’t concern me. The powers-that-be don’t concern me. I legitimately believe that one ought not to have any fear of mankind whatsoever, so I won’t be touching on the doomsday prophecies many liberals seem to be espousing these days. I won’t really be touching on the doomsday prophecies many conservatives wish to espouse also, seeing that the original premise of a “fear of man” still rings true.

The obvious caveat being that, of course, legitimate concerns over freedom of religion and freedom of speech are not unwarranted. The second obvious caveat being that, of course, legitimate concerns over the actions of a nation’s president are not unwarranted. However, in the grand scheme of things, it seems many on both sides are simply short-sighted. This nation is an experiment; the church is not and it shall remain until Christ returns. Everything in between the events of today and that glorious future is simply the unfolding of the grand meta-narrative of God’s redemptive action in the history of mankind. Bernie Sanders may represent a large demographic, but in the grand scheme of things, this ought not give us all that great of concern.

The Western Christian, in particular, seems so fragile when it comes to waves rocking the boat. Again, I’m not saying one ought not have concerns over legitimate, dubious efforts to stifle freedom of religion and freedom of speech – what I am saying is that these concerns ought not drive us to fear in any sense. Yet secondly, these concerns ought not remove our focus from the plain, biblical notion that the historic church has often not enjoyed prosperity – and we may very well return to what is normal for the broader church, which is fierce persecution. The very real thing the Western church must start to come to terms with is that their beliefs are not popular among the broader culture and these ideas will likely have harsher consequences in the future.

We’ve already seen this in the works for some time now, as cake bakers, wedding photographers, florists, and inns have all demonstrated that holding to the biblical consensus on gay marriage will land one in court. Progressive “Christians” have long abandoned ship, linking arms with the broader culture and presenting themselves as damaged by the industrial-church machine because they espoused views that are contradictory with the Scriptures. Yet the reality the Scriptures paint over and again is that the church ought not tolerate false teaching in any respect. When we look to unorthodox, theological views that bear the eternal consequences outlined in the Bible, the church does well to decry these beliefs.

Simultaneously, we must come to grips with the Scripture’s teaching on the matter of unbelievers hating those who follow Christ’s teaching. It is no small wonder that Bernie Sanders and Democrats alike lambasted Russell Vaught, yet it is also of no small importance. Christians, take note: if your beliefs match that of the Scriptures on nearly every regard, you will not escape the condemnation of popular culture. You will not escape the hateful screed simply because Christ Himself did not escape His accusers. What you will find is the increasing presence of infringement upon your national rights and an increasing intolerance against your views.

The sentiment of Paul is true: surely, those who have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, hatred, envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice, will exude these qualities when their cup is tipped. Those described as gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, and boastful, will undoubtedly continue to reject God’s righteous decree and approve of deeds worthy of death. Those of a hardened and unrepentant heart will continue to build up wrath against themselves for the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. Unless God is pleased to intervene, they will continue to reject the gospel because they hate the God of the true gospel. If they hate the God of the gospel, they will hate those connected to the true gospel.

What we’ve enjoyed in our brief history in this modern era is respite and tolerance, yet it should be clear to nearly every Bible-believing Christ that tolerance toward Christian ideals is running out – and the consequences are being reaped. The intolerance of the tolerant left is simply no longer being suppressed – and that’s ok. That’s a place where the church flourishes and comes to be refined. That is a place where Christians can look to an ever-present hope that is only found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What Bernie Sanders revealed is that his socialistic beliefs carry over into how he views not only the function of government, but religion, and ideologies in general. As far as logical, next steps, it would seem perfectly reasonable for a progressively minded culture to conclude the idea of exclusivity is itself, bigotry. What Canada has revealed is that holding to gender norms can potentially get your kids taken away from you. What Illinois revealed is similar, in that if you don’t adopt the social convention of gender fluidity, you are not fit to be a social worker or foster parent.

What the courts have generally revealed is that if you don’t accept the notion that homosexuality is proper, good, and normal – and that homosexual marriage is an affront to God, that cannot be reflected in a proprietary business. No one is talking about refusal of service altogether, but service in an event, like a homosexual wedding, which would directly violate one’s religious beliefs. No one is talking about refusing to treat all peoples without respect and dignity deserving of those bearing the Imago Dei.

Corporations supporting progressive and leftist agendas are rampant across America, and truthfully, the globe, but those of a different opinion bear the crucible. When Coopers Beer was seen in an advertisement published by The Bible Society of Australia that had the audacity to suggest people could have a reasoned, calm conversation about the issue of homosexual marriage, all hell broke loose. Don’t be surprised to find that these same ideals will likely soon land the average worker-bee in a similar predicament. I am not suggesting passivity or silence – on the contrary, I am suggesting unabashed boldness in being faithful to the truths of Scripture.

Things may change. I don’t believe we are at the point wherein tolerance of Biblical Christianity is extinguished, but we may swiftly find ourselves at the end of that rope. I am certainly no prophet, nor a pessimistic doomsayer, but opinions like that of Bernie Sanders are replete. However, I believe Christians have a particular reason to be optimistic in God’s work in and through any given society and culture – yet I also believe biblically faithful Christians also have a particular reason to prepare themselves for suffering at the hands of men. Whatever that looks like, it ought not give us reason to fear those consequences.

Rather, it should give us reason for sober reflection and prompt us asking what level of compromise we might entertain in order to avoid suffering for the sake of the gospel. If the proverbial rubber meets the road and we are forced to take a stance that will put our job, welfare, family, and liberty at risk – will we endure? I don’t believe we can faithfully answer that question if we aren’t seeking faithfulness in the moment now. If ridicule and slander on social media are too great a consequence for maintaining a biblical ethic, we might do well in seriously examining whom we fear.


“Peace if possible, truth at all costs.” – Martin Luther

Image used under the Fair Use Doctrine

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  • Oh, please, “hell” isn’t even a Biblically sound doctrine, it’s a fabrication conflating totally different concepts from multiple cultures:
    Sheol, the Hebrew grave
    Hades, the Greek god of the underworld
    Gehenna, the Valley of Hinnom, a term used only by Jesus and only in dialogue with the Pharisees (also found in James because that’s a commentary on the Sermon on the Mount)
    Tartarus, the mythical abyss where the Greek Titans were imprisoned
    A lake of fire in John’s apocalyptic vision (into which Hades is cast, showing that Hades isn’t even considered a place)

    • Gilsongraybert

      You read this and comment with that? Separate topic altogether, though I doubt anything that takes exception to a liberally-bent theological position would get much further.

      • Yes, anytime Christians mention hell it should be rejected loudly as the imaginary, fear-based false doctrine that it is.

        • Gilsongraybert

          Right. Well, good luck with that one Matthew.

          • Frankly, I don’t see it any differently than when Muslims debate about the Houris, the 72-ish mythical female companions said to greet martyrs in the afterlife. The reality is that Qur’anic passage was probably originally referring to “white raisins”, so that should be the beginning and end of any discussion on the matter, just like the origins of the concept of hell.

          • Gilsongraybert

            As mentioned above, eternal, conscious torment is not an issue foreign to the whole of the biblical canon and it is also not a fuzzy issue within the Scriptures. If you reject the authority of the Scriptures, it is perfectly consistent to reject just about anything else you wish, but that doesn’t remove the notion that from them, the concept is clearly taught and not alien to the text, or the historic roots of the faith itself.

          • Evan

            You’re quite wrong. There isn’t a single mention of eternal, conscious torment anywhere in the Old Testament.

          • Paperboy_73

            If you take away the implicit assumption that God is good by definition, it’s interesting trying to explain the doctrine of Hell without it sounding like the product of a cackling Marvel villain.

          • Gilsongraybert

            Except it isn’t an implicit assumption, it is an explicit statement made over and again throughout the Scriptures.

          • Paperboy_73

            Oh, sure. The Bible is pretty consistent on that. But that’s not really my point.

            If you didn’t include that piece of information, and described the doctrine of Hell to someone with no background in religion, then they would be very unlikely to reach that conclusion on their own. It sounds more like something Dr Doom would cook up, before being stopped by the Fantastic Four.

          • Gilsongraybert

            Perhaps for Westerners that is quite often the case, but I can promise you that for many other cultures, it is not an issue whatsoever to reconcile a holy God with a loving/good God.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            Let us all act however toward one another, praise ourselves as perfectly good, and have everyone believe us as Jesus God of the Bible has modeled as acceptable behavior.

          • Gilsongraybert

            Well, less than a one-minute search shows that to be false: Daniel 12:2, for example.

  • RustbeltRick

    The premise of the article is that Bernie’s statement is just par for the course for those mean old progressives. But that premise is undercut when you see how many on the Left, including Patheos’ resident friendly atheist, clearly indicated Bernie stepped over the line.

    • Gilsongraybert

      There was no indictment against all people who lean left (or even hard-left) – the statement here is merely demonstrating that biblical beliefs, especially on matters of sexuality or something like the exclusivity of Christ, are rampantly opposed. Yet in either case, Sanders merely spoke toward what nearly all progressives have said for years at this point: your religion is fine, so long as it doesn’t affect me in any way personally. Couple that with a popular topic like damnation and voilà.

      Now, before the red herring is brought about, we all know only a minority is talking about implementing a theocracy. The point, however, is not that at all – it is the absurd notion that one’s personal beliefs don’t manifest in the political arena. It is impossible for people to separate these ideals (hence, why we have platforms in the first place that cater to certain demographics of people with similar ideological beliefs).

      • RustbeltRick

        Yeah, this seems like one of those conversations where two people talk past each other. As I said earlier, Sanders’ statement (and I’m speaking as a huge Bernie fan/voter/supporter here) was outrageous, and he was rightfully called out on it. Besides the offensiveness of the words themselves, his statement also gives bloggers and pundits the opportunity to pile on and generalize about the left/progressives/Democrats/socialists. Your essay is just one example. Imagine if I lumped all “the Right” together, such that Mike Pence, Franklin Graham, Alex Jones, Grover Norquist, Paul Ryan, Clint Eastwood, and Wayne Lapierre were all presented as one and the same. That would be gross simplification, and would erase the various strands of thought and goals that exist on the Right. But that’s what you’ve done with the Left, and further, you’ve used a widely-criticized statement to do so. His statement was an unfortunate one. It’s not representative of everyone on the Left, by any stretch.

        • Gilsongraybert

          I do apologize – I was not intending to paint too broad a brush and I felt I made that clear by indicating my main focus was in the many who are like Sanders, not in others who are still reasonable and stand for religious freedom.

          Would you find that it is an over-reach of the law for the courts in the examples above with private businesses, or especially in cases like Canada and Illinois who are actively working against people who find it not only dangerous, but irresponsible for children to transition to the opposite sex?

          • Mike Ward

            Christians need to quit apologizing when they’ve done nothing wrong just to try to satisfy people who will never be satisfied and will always hate us.

          • Gilsongraybert

            I understand the sentiment, but to be fair – I do wish to fairly represent people. That is the only thing I am apologizing for, if indeed I was guilty of painting too broad a brush.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            Since they cannot explain how transitioning is dangerous to people more in the know about such things like trans people and doctors who have worked with these people for years to develop extensive treatment protocols for their condition, what worth is their fear-mongering to we fellow cisgender people?

            Also, your comment about the Christian bakers, florists, and photographers is mistaken. Their ss couple customers are offering pay for the same services that the vendors do not consider violations of their freedom of religion. If the ss couples had the same beliefs as the vendors, they would not be some of the many people offering pay for the services. To not have means for legal recourse against the vendors is to give legal enforcement of religious beliefs the ss couples do not have, violating their first amendment rights. If taking wedding photos, baking wedding cakes, and making floral arrangements for weddings are violations of the vendors’ first amendment rights, then different sex couples have been violating the vendors’ religious freedom for years. The vendors’ only problem with providing these services as they regularly do is the same problem some police officers have with not letting people drive cars unmolested as the drivers regularly do while the drivers are black.

          • Gilsongraybert

            There are a host of sources that would disagree with your assumptions about the “benefits” of gender reassignment – and many of them from non-conservatives. Secondly, it seems you have a profound misunderstanding of constitutional law, but let’s tease out your example. If someone decided they didn’t want to cater my hetero wedding because they believed in the exclusivity of homosexual unions, my first inclination would not be to sue them.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            That would be your choice, but you do have cause to. You would be denied a service for offering to pay for it “while black” not because of any misdeeds that would get ANY individual denial of service.

            “There are a host of sources that would disagree with your assumptions about the “benefits” of gender reassignment”

            People have 100% of primary sources that disagree with gender binary propaganda. Doctors and psychologists have treatment protocol that has been refined by working with patients for decades now. That’s how long the detractors criticisms have been invalid. That’s how long they haven’t been able to make trans people disappear.

          • Gilsongraybert

            Legality does not make morality, but at the same time, it seems another misunderstanding of what has actually taken place in these instances.

            I don’t know what primary sources you are reading, but surely, if you sense biological constructs are fluid and the only peer-reviewed material you have read agrees with you, I sense a specific slant here. But I digress, because nature plainly reveals what it reveals. This isn’t a difficult concept to grasp – and it is a plain denial of science to suggest men can transform into women, and vice-versa, without serious repercussions, as well incredibly invasive procedures, that all take an exceptional large toll on one’s mental health.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            Nature includes trans people and other conditions we invented medicine to help people with. Brenda Reimer was a cisgender person who lived in an un-transitioned transperson’s shoes. Perhaps a just God would have that all happen to us so the situation of trans people becomes very real to people like you.

          • Nonsensical

            As I said before, we are not ghosts plopped into machines.

            “Gender” was an idea created by schiester john money as a get rich quick hoax in adademia.

            The communists then decided to adopt the idea as a way to convince mentally ill children like you to help destroy mankind in the name of “revolution.”

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            Note that you are the conspiracy nut. I have lived with you people. Someone ought to feed you your own paranoid garbage.

          • Nonsensical

            What precisely does that have to do with what I said?

            Lived with who? You are clearly the mentally ill child of protestant heretics, you were never Christian.

      • rtgmath

        That minority is pretty highly connected, very vocal, and politically successful. It isn’t the majority that makes the future, but targeted minority movements such as Dominionism.

        • OnlineForSocratizing

          Your comment could be corroborated by the research of Bob Altemeyer. For instance, the last paragraph on this webpage is relevant to what you stated. https://theauthoritarians.org/donald-trump-and-authoritarian-followers/#more-21

        • Gilsongraybert

          Hence the specific indication of “people like Sanders.” I see the writing on the wall; I’m merely throwing a spotlight on it so as to say to those who care, “prepare to go back to what’s normal for the historic church.”

  • Tianzhu

    This notion that Christians’ belief in hell results in contempt for non-Christians is not something this old geezer thought up by himself, this is something he picked up from some of his young flunkies, the little snowflakes who have the Thought Police mentality and are certain that “bigots” (defined as “people we don’t like”) are out to get them. When you get down to it, liberalism is really just politicized paranoia. Someone who doesn’t think like them must be a horrible person, and if that person believes in hell, he must be planning to treat unbelievers badly – and never mind that his actions have never shown him to be a bigot.

    This episode did open my eyes to Sanders’ appeal to the young: he’s like the left-wing clergy in the 1960s, the middle-aged guys with the paunch and turtlenecks who were so insecurity about aging that they mouthed all the youth cliches of the time so as to be accepted by the young.

    Face it, Sanders is a disgrace, and truly pathetic. A man his age should not even give a moment’s thought to what a bunch of addle-brained college kids are saying.

    • rtgmath

      Actually, he picked up the notion by watching so-called Christians interact with others. Christians have for centuries acted like the rest of the world is only worth burning. Grief! Listened to Pat Robertson lately? Or any fundamentalist preachers?

      • Paperboy_73

        It’s telling that “of the world” is one of the harshest pejoratives a Christian can throw.

    • OnlineForSocratizing

      If you would, could explain what your formal education is in critical thinking, and describe the main emotion, and your professional and or personal self-interests that motivated you to post your comment here?

      • Tianzhu

        I will gladly give your post all the attention that it deserves.

        • OnlineForSocratizing

          Hello – Based on your comments, would it be fair to say that you are coming across as self-rightous? If this is a fair description, who treated you like this? And how did it feel?

  • Hobbes

    Bernie is Jewish, Hell is not a Jewish concept, the idea was introduced in the New Testament as a punishment for not believing in Christ. I’m not surprised he finds this idea foreign. I agree, it is silly.

    • Gilsongraybert

      Eternal torment is not an issue relegated to the NT, and the idea is not foreign to Judaism either. While it would appropriate to say many different Jewish sects hold to differing understandings of what it is, it is surely found within the whole canon. The idea really isn’t all that unclear within the Scriptures.

      • rtgmath

        Eternal hell fire and punishment is unknown in the Old Testament, untaught in the Law or any revelation. It was imported into Judaism from Babylon and Greece.

        • Good_Samaritan

          Yes, the idea of a great apocalyptic burning is a direct import from Zoroastrianism.

        • Gilsongraybert

          Look up the term “Day of the Lord” and tell me that has no eschatological connotation…

          • rtgmath

            It doesn’t. It never connects God’s judgement of the nations with eternal hellfire. The judgements described are temporal and physical retribution. The Day of the Lord is near to all the heathen. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your reward will return on your own head. (Obadiah)

            And even if there is the hope of an eternal kingdom, there still is no mention of a lake burning with fire and brimstone for unrepentant sinners.

          • Gilsongraybert

            They bear apocalyptic and eschatological language in nearly every case. Beyond this, the syntax and grammar even line up. You have to implant some realy funky hermeneutics to come to your conclusion here.

            It would seem we approach these things on completely different presuppositions, as you give the impression that the OT and NT are not on equal footing and revealing the same story, despite the many resources that conclude quite differently.

  • rtgmath

    “What you will find is the increasing presence of infringement upon your national rights and an increasing intolerance against your views.”
    As if you and the rest of Christianity haven’t infringed on the rights of others or been intolerant to their views?

    Oh. Right. You are Entitled since everyone else is going to hell and you aren’t.

    Which is the point Bernie was making. You aren’t interested in guaranteeing the civil, political, and economic rights of every person. Only yourselves. Because, in the end, your faith has made you bigots. And you think that is right.

    You don’t respect the rights of others to believe what they do, since you believe that sends them to hell. You resent being told that others deserve respect and the right to make decisions. Because you are destined to rule the world, and with an iron rod at that!

    And you resent being resented for that attitude?

    The operative word here is Hypocrisy. You feel persecuted because you are told you can’t persecute others.

    Gilbert, get over yourself. Understand why people are concerned. Do unto others what you would have them do to you. Love your neighbor as you do yourself. And stop being a political jerk. Maybe you can learn something.

    God is bigger than your theology, more loving than your understanding, and able to save beyond your rules. Deal with it.

    • Gilsongraybert

      In what ways have I personally infringed on another’s rights? Secondly, tolerance is the idea that even though I disagree with you, I treat you with common decency despite your ideas. That doesn’t mean disagreement goes out the window, it simply means we act as adults about it. Ultimately, you are conflating categories, as if abiding in the *Biblical* belief that Christ is supreme and any faith outside of Him condemns one is tantamount to discrimination. God defines the rules, so to speak, not me. I’m simply drawing it out of the text that is resoundingly clear and speaking to actual Christians in basically saying, “Yeah. Biblical beliefs are unpopular. Here’s the evidence. Now, press on.” But, that’s me being a political bully? How insightful.

      • Giauz Ragnarock

        “treat you with common decency despite your ideas.”

        Instead, Christian vendors have discriminated against ss couples and not done the decent thing of giving services paid for. Legal action protects people from being discriminated against based on having an arbitrary quality like religion, skin color, their sex, etc.

        • Gilsongraybert

          Except none of the examples above refused service to anyone altogether on the basis of their sexuality (on the contrary, they regularly served homosexuals). They turned down service to a specific event – not the individual themselves.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            The providers have shown that they have no objection to the specific event. They make gay wedding cakes, gay wedding floral arrangements, and gay wedding photos all the time for different sex couples. I also hear white drivers drive the blackest.

          • Gilsongraybert

            This is literally a nonsensical argument.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            Gay or straight or black or white- they are being treated differently while acting the same because of posessing arbitrary qualities like skin color or genitalia or religion- doesn’t really matter- some other people just want to treat people with one of those badly and complain when their victims actually can punch up!

  • ahermit

    Sander’s comments aside I wonder if it ever occurs to Christians that their insistence that they expect to go to heaven while the rest of us deserve to suffer eternal torment might be taken as a matter of concern when they are in a position to have authority over others.

    It’s especially troubling when they use that belief to deny people who have different beliefs equal treatment, whether it be as an agent of the state or in the marketplace.

    • OnlineForSocratizing

      I wonder if the author of the opinion piece above would be so kind as to read the following information and comment on it?


      • ahermit

        Thanks for that, excellent stuff there. To be fair the author’s critics (myself included) should take the advice there and read the corresponding page for “intellectuals” as well…

      • Gilsongraybert

        I earnestly don’t know what is so hard about the dictum: if it doesn’t target me, I can move on. There is a specific referent to people like Sanders, meaning those who view the teachings of Christianity as bigotry. Several, concrete examples are provided throughout the post of secularism pushing back quite fervently – and social liberals have also published several op eds recently basically saying the same thing I have here.

        With regard to the position of the Bible’s statements on unbelievers and, well, everything else, I won’t walk that back. What I find humorous in the link you provided though is that:

        1.) you take it at face value, even though it is guilty of similar generalizations against conservative Christians.

        2.) it is written from the viewpoint of a “Progressive Christian,” so it will undoubtedly approach the Scriptures from an altogether different presupposition than I (and I would argue the text itself).

        3.) Instead of actually dealing with the substance of the claim, you post a sneering article. Interesting.

        4.) I’m not really concerned if self-professed intellectuals take me seriously. There are a host of incredibly brilliant, biblically faithful men and women who are not taken seriously. This is not a surprise to us. This is not a concern of mine. My concern is what the Scriptures say. I dealt with these concerns as an atheist and found that objectively, out of everything else, I must deal with substance of the claims of Scripture, which has no issues calling the unbelieving one a fool.

        • OnlineForSocratizing

          I am awaiting approval on your end to allow for a comment-reply I submitted today to be publicly posted. From my end I can read that it has been detected as Spam for some reason, and therefore is not publicly being made available to freely read here.

          This comment-reply of mine begins with a paragraph that reads like the following below.

          Here is the beginning paragraph of what I posted, for easier reference and identification:

          If I may fairly contribute my own viewpoints, here goes.

          A. The following statement is an assumption. How so? Did you ask yourself, or me, is the information in the article I shared above true and accurate to me? Did I take anything at face value? Did you think to ask me why I shared that article? “1.) you take it at face value, even though it is guilty of similar generalizations against conservative Christians.” ” … . This post of mine continues with more fair and probing questions.

  • Satanic_Panic

    and an increasing intolerance against your views.

    That is the way it should be. Your views are irrational, illogical and stupid. It will be better for everyone when your fairy stories are consigned to the dustbin of history.

    • Jack Lee

      Thankfully, that will never happen #2,000yearsoldandgrowing

      • Good_Lt

        Hinduism is older. Therefore, it’s more true than your religion. QED


        • Let us not forget the various Aboriginal Australian religions and philosophies.


        • Also let us not forget how christianity kept those 2000 years: genocide and conquest.

  • Gilsongraybert

    a.) Yes, the statement was an assumption. It is safe to make an assumption you do agree, at least in part, with the contents of said article. How can this conclusion be reached? You bring clarity as an issue in point F, which is precisely what the thrust of this other article legitimizes. Doubts and questions are valid; presuming said doubts and questions disqualify the clarity of the Scriptures is a problem, and in this case, it is the root problem. However, even if you didn’t say a word and just posted the link, it isn’t all that unsafe to presume on the matter that you largely agree with it. Given that you have the article ready I’d also assume you’ve shared it in previous conversations, it marginally relates to really any conversation regarding conservative Christianity, and gives the clear indication of playing coy with the seemingly innocuous question you asked along with it, coincidentally under ahermit’s point.

    b.) The big example is in their assessment of the Scriptures, in that they cast aspersions on the accuracy of them and give a personal anecdote by saying they willfully cherry pick them. My exception with this is that is not the goal of biblical study – and while people (myself included) may do that intentionally or unintentionally, again, that does not cast aspersions on the text. The objective thing here is not everyone’s interpretation, but the text, and because of this, there is one, intended meaning of the Scriptures.

    c.) The claim is quite succinctly wrapped up in the title. The examples given all demonstrate the point that if a biblical sexuality is seen as bigotry, surely, something so much more offensive as the pronouncement of the Scriptures on the exclusivity of Christ and everlasting condemnation for those who reject Him, will be bigotry as well.

    d.) The article is sneering, not you. I merely said you posted a sneering article.

    e.) No attempt at self-flattery; I said there are many others who are quite brilliant and treated with contempt. I am specifically thinking of men and women of a far greater intelligence than my own in this case. I am not lumping myself in them in categories of intelligence, but rather, the plain assessment of the unpopularity of believing the Scriptures (i.e. – the “us” was meant to refer to Christians in general). I could have made that switch more clear grammatically, so I do apologize for not phrasing that a bit better.

    f.) The Scriptures aren’t really all that unclear. Unfortunately, there are a host of people who would like to muddy the waters on a lot of things, but the reality is that inasmuch as one can legitimately spend their entire life learning new and deeper truths from the Bible, even the simplest person can pick up the book and grasp the thrust of its content. Secondly, the book of Proverbs alone is resoundingly clear on what qualities and characteristics are indicative of a fool. While there are many other portions of Scripture that also make this clear, these pithy statements are quite apt at elucidation.

    • OnlineForSocratizing

      The purpose of my sharing the above article is to provide some valid reasons for why many reasonable people will justifiably question your thinking and the conclusions you made in your opinion piece.

      If you need assistance, or would like to have assistance with clearly understanding precisely where the article points this out, please feel free to ask me about this to help insure we clearly understand each other.

      Just so you can know this, I am compassionately and kindly taking into consideration why your article, and now your replies to me are examples of unquestioned conclusions; incomplete thoughts; avoidance; vagueness; confusion; and unfair thinking, at least for someone who generally appreciates and values intellectual traits like clarity, honesty, logic, humility, and fair-minded thinking. If you unsure of what I am referring to exactly, please feel free ask me to clarify myself.

      I can appreciate your enthusiasm and well-meaning intentions, and I can feel compassion about your current quality of critical thinking as well. This is because I am taking into consideration how generations of Americans have missed out on a crucially important non-indoctrinating education. My opinion is that this unfortunate lack of a strong critical thinking American education shows in our present day American culture.

      Thus, this is my reason for being here – to help point this out, and to encourage people as yourself and perhaps some readers here to take a step back and think about your own thinking, and learn about why and how it needs improvements, and why strong critical thinking seems unimportant.

      There are some reasons why in our culture critical thinking seems unimportant for many, perhaps including yourself. For who do you know has received a comprehensive and understandable K-12 education on the subject critical thinking in America? Did you? And who do you know were raised by critical thinking parents, or a family, or a community of critical thinkers? Were you?

      In ending this post of mine, I ask most sincerely and respectfully, do you know even what critical thinking is?

      • Gilsongraybert

        I am well aware of why some would outright dismiss much of what I write on here – I can track opposing argumentation quite easily and routinely interact with things contrary to my own worldview. I am also well aware of what critical thinking is, but thank you for being willing to lend your expertise.

        There are a host of things that could be written in response, but it seems a willingness to choose and believe in what is considered an archaic text demonstrates a lack of critical thinking. I very nearly found what you wrote to be overtly presumptuous and condescending, but I earnestly believe you think you’re doing a service in what you wrote.

        I mean that as respectfully as I can, but if I might make a suggestion to you it would be this: not everyone on the internet is hostile, narrow-minded, or lacks critical thinking skills. Some people have weighted the evidence extremely carefully and for some time, and continue to refine that process; they consciously reject an opposing stance because it doesn’t square with the evidence. That’s going to make it hard for anyone who seeks to be the internet gatekeeper of the Socratic method.

        • OnlineForSocratizing

          This is a repost.

          Thank you for considering my best of intentions. The article I presented is also meant to at least begin somewhat of a discussion to help explore different viewpoints.

          In the following article I presented later on in this thread, on “why religious believers do not take intellectuals seriously”, I can also point out some over-generalizations. But at least we can be in agreement of when there are generalizations, and move on from there, to go into more in-depth thinking.

          Thank you for the suggestions as well, but I firmly and fairly continue to question your ability to think deeply and clearly enough to determine for the accuracy of your own thinking, and much less the thinking of others.


          For instance, where did I state that I seek to be an internet gatekeeper of the Socratic method, and that I believe ‘everyone on the internet is hostile, narrow-minded, or lacks critical thinking skills’? I do not hold these ideas as true for myself. Where did you come up with these ideas?

          Unfortunately, these are even more examples of confusing, superficial, misleading and false statements, and that can rightfully cause you to lose even more credibility with readers. But please. This type of thinking is generally common among the majority of Americans, and one reason I am a strong proponent of in-depth teaching of critical thinking in K-12.


          As for your reply about your knowledge of critical thinking, I carefully read your response.

          In a nutshell: Simply weighing evidence is not enough.

          There are many approaches to learning and teaching critical thinking, and one of the more comprehensive, moral and non-indocrinating approaches is the Paul/Elder Approach to Critical Thinking, and with the group called “The Foundation for Critical Thinking”.

          • Gilsongraybert

            I don’t feel the need to make defenses of things that are literally red herrings to the actual discussion at hand, which you failed to grasp. I don’t write unclearly, nor do I make unreasoned arguments – so if you failed to grasp what I am speaking to here, perhaps you’re simply not privey to what I am speaking to (spoiler alert: it is a scriptural commentary on the notion that believers, generally speaking, are not welcome in an age that is perishing and bound in folly).

            The problem in everything you have said thus far is simply that you are bent on bringing out your hobby horse (which is evidently clear in looking at nearly every interaction of yours on other blogs through your profile). You also just coincidentally revealed that for the readers as well.

            I made mention that plenty of people weigh the evidence; if you presume that is an exhaustive response to your points, that is your presumption again. I don’t feel the need to meet your litmus test or respond to every single point you make. Why? I don’t have to.

            At the end of the day, I’m not concerned for your particular thoughts on whether or not I am engaged in critical thinking – or if you personally feel the approach is wrong-headed.

            I’m primarily concerned with Scripture. Always. I don’t care if you find that to be indoctrination or perhaps, even unintelligible. I will not apologize for or weaken my stance on the authority of the Scriptures. Ever. I will always read other things through the lens of Scripture. Again, I’m not concerned over the fact that you may find that to be a lack of critical thinking.

            It also seems sarcasm is lost on you, as the last line in the former post was a play on your moniker.

            Take care now.

          • OnlineForSocratizing

            So, if your priority is to abide by and follow the Scriptures, where in the Scriptures does it clearly state that “Of Course Hell is ‘Bigotry’ to People Like Bernie Sanders”?

  • Major Major

    I guess I would be more worried at going to hell if I was convinced that it actually existed outside of your holy book. Also, are you christians not concerned about going to some other religions’ version of hell? It seems to me special pleading that your version of hell is totes real, while the others are make believe.

    • Gilsongraybert

      Not at this point. I took quite some time to study various religions prior to coming to faith. In the end, the question essentially boils down to which of these truth claims is the actual truth. They cannot be simultaneously true, or necessarily true at all – but what is true, is true no matter what. So no special pleading whatsoever. Instead, if the claim is true that Christ really is the only means to heaven and judgment is sure for those who will not believe, the onus is on that person.

      • Satanic_Panic

        the question essentially boils down to which of these truth claims is the actual truth.

        None of them.

        • Gilsongraybert

          ARRRGGHHH, you’ve got me! I’m now an atheist 😉

          I hope the winky face conveys the appropriate amount of sarcasm

          • Satanic_Panic

            Of course, you can’t ever provide any actual evidence for your claims, can you?

          • Gilsongraybert

            There is ample evidence in the world we live in. It is literally all around you – the issue is not evidence, but stubbornness.

          • Satanic_Panic

            No there isn’t. Show me some.

          • Gilsongraybert

            Says the man breathing.

          • Satanic_Panic

            The Theory of Evolution disagrees with you. No god needed. Nice try. Perhaps you’ll get it next time – but I doubt it (idiot).

  • In my experience, and that of my sister and most formerly religious people, being able to believe in hell without developing some kind of serious anxiety disorder or depression, belies a callous and psychopathic disregard for human life in general, including one’s own.

    • Gilsongraybert

      You really believe people who can believe in the notion of eternal punishment without developing anxiety or depression shows a callous and psychopathic disregard for human life in general? That seems like a completely irreconcilable thing to think, with how many people actually do believe in hell without those symptoms, who have for years upon years, built hospitals, orphanages, homeless shelters, and the like.

      • Generally people engage in construction work because they are getting paid, not because they love that job.

        But of such people you mentioned, I would like to ask them exactly how many hours of sleep they loose at night with the belief that their fellow person is screaming in excruciating agony, crying and wailing in horrific pain in the inescapable firey pits of the abyss?

        Actually I would like to ask you for your thoughts on that question, if you happen to be one of the people you so mentioned…

        If you happen to disagree with the picture of hell so described, I would make the point that such descriptions are meant to convey the severity of eternal conscious torment, that ECT is just as bad as the fire and brimstone.

        • Gilsongraybert

          I don’t lose any sleep over it. We all deserve hell; there’s nothing special about me. In the end, I rest in the fact that God is sovereign and saves those whom He wills, and in all things, he shows His surpassing goodness as well as His supreme holiness in judgment. This is why the call to repent and believe the gospel is so urgent.

          • Sagrav

            Well, your point of view is not psychotic, but it is definitely callous.

          • Gilsongraybert

            Not intentionally. I think if we are all honest, we are quite callous to a lot of events that transpire – and I don’t believe that is necessarily cold-hearted. I think it is human nature. How much sleep do you lose over people dying of rectal cancer?

            The point being, you can and should be empathetic and sympathetic toward people in any tragedy, but the reality is that we don’t think on those things like the one going through it. How often do you see well-wishes and positive vibes (whatever that means) sent over Facebook, only for that well-wisher to eat a full meal and get a good night’s sleep that very same day?

            If I am thinking of the reality of hell, it does sadden me – especially knowing how many of my friends and family would more than likely be headed there. It saddens me in general, knowing how many people in all of history would be headed there. But do I think about that when I go to sleep? Some days, and it usually spurs me on to pray for particular people and in general, that God would be pleased to save some. Does it fill me with anxiety and depression? No. But then again, I draw comfort in the reality that salvation of souls is not dependent on me. If that were the case, I don’t think I’d be able to sleep even a little bit.

          • “…We all deserve hell…”
            As I said: a callous disregard for all human life, including one’s own.

          • Gilsongraybert

            I suppose one might see it that way. The reverse, unfortunately, is a callous disregard for God’s holiness.

          • If you’re going to be making christianity a one or the other situation, I’d rather not be the guy who worships a god that hates us so fucking much that he thinks eternal hell is what we all deserve.

            What a horrific god to put you faith in.
            Fortunately christianity is not either-or. Why not be a universalist instead?

          • Gilsongraybert

            I’m not making Christianity either or – the Bible makes these claims. And I wouldn’t be a universalist because that isn’t Christianity. Simply because one might paste feathers on a pig, that doesn’t make it a duck.

          • I suppose all of those patheos progressive christians are just godless heathens, then, hmm?
            If your ‘christianity’ requires psychotic horror stories to be believed I think it might actually be the guy downstairs that you worship, not the one in heaven.

          • Gilsongraybert

            I don’t understand how it is a bewildering concept to believe in the God depicted in the Scriptures if you call yourself a Christian. The Bible’s assessment is that if you reject the God of the Scriptures, you aren’t a Christian. It has nothing to do with my opinion on the matter; it has everything to do with what the text says.

          • Do you believe that the earth is a flat disk orbited by the sun too? because that’s what the bible also teaches.

            But also the bible says these:

            (English Standard Version, Peter 3:9)
            The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

            (English Standard Version, Corinthians 15:22)
            For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

            (New International Version, Romans 11:32)
            For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

            -Tell me again why universalists aren’t christian.

          • Gilsongraybert

            No, the Bible does not teach a flat earth. That is a red herring anyways.

            Secondly, universalism is antithetical to Scripture’s teaching – one can’t take the word “all” in these passages without seeing their surrounding context speak of judgment, remaining in unbelief, not being heirs to the promise of the resurrection, or promises conditional to faith in Christ. The surrounding context in every case speaks directly to those who are in Christ – not every single person in the whole of existence. We can’t proof-text unless it fits the context.

            Beyond these three examples ripped out of context, there are a host of Scriptures you will not deal with because you know they don’t support universalism. But that’s where we go back to the flat-earther red herring you brought out, which just reveals you reject the Scripture’s teaching on hell due to a conflated understanding of figures of speech, or more likely, you have difficulty reconciling the notion of hell with a loving God. The Scriptures don’t have that issue though, and we do best to not presume we have a higher sense of love or morality than God.

            I mean, what do you do with the book of Revelation?

          • “No, the Bible does not teach a flat earth. That is a red herring anyways.”
            Actually wrong:

            Have you happened to have read:
            Howard Dorgan (1997). In the Hands of a Happy God: The “No Hellers” of Central Appalachia. ?

          • Gilsongraybert

            Lol, actually no, the Bible does not teach a flat earth. There is such a thing as literary structure and metaphorical language, and these things tie together when you read the Scriptures so you don’t fall into hyper-literalism. If you want to continue along in that vein, go try it on someone else.

            And no, I haven’t read it – but I’m asking what you specifically do with the book of Revelation, where judgment is poured out upon the unbeliever. I’ve read plenty of other things from Universalists and Annihilationists, and the like. In the case of both, it is heretical teaching and opposed to the Bible’s teaching. But that is besides the point – I’m asking what you do with these passages. One either has to perform hermeneutical gymnastics to avoid them, or simply reject them altogether. Based on how it seems you view the Scriptures, I would be tempted to bet on the second option.

          • Precisely. You criticise me for being too literal with the bible referring to a flat earth, so I ask you to do the same with regard to the book of revelations: Don’t be literal with it.

            It was obviously written by someone who was high on something- but we don’t actually know who the hell wrote that book or even if it refers to future events (see historicist and preterist interpretations of revelations).

            Also I would request that you refrain from referring to other interpretations as ‘heretical’. The content of your bible was assembled, for the most part, by people you would call heretics, simply because they do not have the same interpretation that you do.

          • Gilsongraybert

            No, I accused you of disregarding hermeneutics. Literal interpretation is fine if it fits the context. And no, I also use the term heretical appropriately. People can disagree on issues all day long on anything but primary doctrines, but when you step into primary doctrines and make them out to be whatever you want them to be, it has eternal ramifications. It is not a light pronouncement given simply because someone disagrees – it concerns beliefs that will land you in hell. But there we are, back to square one.

          • What makes a doctrine ‘primary’?

          • Gilsongraybert
          • Why does their definition of primary doctrine hinge on the threat of eternal damnation and saving one’s own soul from that fate- but not on serving god?

            Is a belief in the eternal damnation of other people necessary for one’s own servitude to god?

          • Gilsongraybert

            If you won’t accept the Scripture’s teaching on the matter, why do you continue to ask questions about the Scripture’s teaching on the matter? It seems like a really silly exercise in futility, especially when you sense serving God can be done apart from taking Him at His Word.

          • I just wanted to point out that as far as your concerned, your own spiritual self-preservation takes top priority with regard to that which you serve.

            Fundamentally, your prime concern is only about pascal’s wager, not god.

          • Gilsongraybert

            Not at all. If you sense that the Christian life revolves around fear, you’re fundamentally mistaken. Perfect love casts out fear.

          • Perfect love is telling your non-christian neighbors that they’ll burn in hell, apparently.

          • Gilsongraybert

            Genuine love does actually tell people there are consequences to their actions, yeah. I’ve told my children that if they run in the street, they can get hit by a car. If I didn’t tell them, I believe you’d have a far stronger case to say I am unloving, as withholding vital information is just as wicked as lying.

          • You’d probably also consider it genuinely loving if a particularly devout muslim informed your children that they are going to hell.

          • Gilsongraybert

            If they genuinely believed that to be the case, yeah, actually I would. Go look up why Penn Gillet isn’t bothered by Christians proselytizing to him, even though he is an atheist.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            The Bible can’t contradict itself, so this can’t be a contradiction! Amirite?

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            If God exists we can throw out our redundant Bibles, right?

          • Gilsongraybert

            Obvious troll is obvious.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            If God exists, what would he not be able to do if we shredded all the Bibles (books and electronic text files)? What use would anyone have for written language if they were immortal and omnipresent?

          • Gilsongraybert

            Again, obvious troll is obvious. You’re approaching your “gotchas” without much substance. Stop assuming God’s needs to do anything you sense He does and approach things on the basis of His sovereign choice, for starters.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            The person talking is you not God. What does God say about our discussion?

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            How can we say people like Hitler and Stalin were bad for the suffering they caused if Jesus is described as causing worse suffering?

          • Gilsongraybert

            You’re question begging. Ultimately, the assumption is that God does not have the sovereign right to judge His creation, which is wrong.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            Right! If Hitler, Stalin, and many other dictators were Jesus, nothing they did to people was wrong! I’m glad we agree on the blatant authoritarian grounding of Christianity.

          • Gilsongraybert

            Yeahhhh, no. It seems you’ve missed some things in your studies. Put down Dawkins and Hitchens for a bit…

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            I’ve only read a little out of one of Dawkins’ books. I have mostly watched Hitchens on Youtube of the two. You are not really engaging with propositions like ‘instead of Hitler commanding the Holocaust, what if it was Jesus creator of the universe’. You don’t want to say that would be just, but you do say Jesus can just do whatever and “good” still be a vacuous word that describes him.

          • Gilsongraybert

            I’m not engaging with them because it is a contrived opinion you’ve developed that assumes you have the higher moral ground than God and instead of developing difficult questions and seeking genuine answers, you use things like this for rhetorical power.

            It sounds good on the surface, but it isn’t a real point that is being made because it is simply designed to be a Koboyashi Maru scenario and you know it. In the end, you’ve set yourself up as the arbiter for morality and truth, therefore, the question begging, straw-manning, and red-herrings raised are nothing more than a ruse to dupe people into a continued argument that has the sole purpose of getting them to concede.

            This has been shown not only by your willful ignorance of Scripture’s actual teachings, your continued implant of points that haven’t been made, and venturing off into wild hypothetical situations, again, based on your misconceptions (albeit, borrowed misconceptions) of these things.

            I don’t have that much time to waste for someone who literally uses all the common tropes because they have no honest intentions to actually dialogue.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            “assumes you have the higher moral ground than God”

            I am not an authoritarian. I have no idea of any God’s morals. I have descriptions of actions in a book that sound like people with morals similar to mine to be atrocities. You would have me believe they are being loving and just.

            “Koboyashi Maru scenario and you know it”

            Just jogged my memory with a Google, and I assure you this problem is easy to solve if one has morals rather than authoritarianism (in which a follower has arbitrary or non-existent morals- obedience to the whims of an authority is all that matters). What lines of yours could Jesus cross, or would you draw them in front of his path constantly?

            “Scripture’s actual teachings”

            What do I need Scripture for if God exists? It’s like you are just repeating some Christian phrase and not adressing the questions that raises- at which point you refer me back to a book as if Jesus doesn’t exist/is dead, is an invalid, or is a nonverbal cryptid.

          • Gilsongraybert

            My point was not that any of these questions are difficult – trust me, they aren’t. I just won’t waste my time answering someone who doesn’t actually have a desire to learn anything. That is the Koboyashi Maru scenario – what you are doing, not your questions.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            “someone who doesn’t actually have a desire to learn anything”

            I am learning that you haven’t thought this whole morality and God thing through so well as you think you have or you would not have answered like a rightwing politician.

          • Gilsongraybert

            Riiiiiiight. Or perhaps I just know when to not waste my time with a troll.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            I am responding to you answering dishonestly. Not answering at all is fine.

          • Gilsongraybert

            “Answering dishonestly” – why? Because I won’t play your stupid game? You’ve literally offered nonsensical retorts, red-herrings, straw-men, and I’m sure some other logical fallacies to boot. You’ve done it since you started. That is plainly why I called you out on it and didn’t answer the questions regarding a theodicy. You already don’t care to hear an answer – all you care to hear is a concession. I’ve dealt with far smarter unbelievers than you – and they’ve genuinely asked good questions for the point of discussion rather than simply trying to get the other person to concede. It isn’t hard to separate the two…

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            When you have made comments to the effect that an authority is all good and should be obeyed no matter what they order, it is honest to concede the point. When you base your morality on who a person is (or rather what praises they give themselves) rather than their actions, it is honest to concede that if the person ordering the actions had been the one you like, then there really is nothing morally wrong with this in your opinion. It is dishonest to do as you have and reitterate how much you think this person would be the best, so quit questioning if they can do wrong! Also, I must be a bad person for bringing these questions up- that makes me feel like you are trying to con people.

            Continue to hide your nuanced answers. In the light they are not so insightful as you have been lead to think.

          • Gilsongraybert

            There was no mention made that genuine questions don’t deserve genuine answers – merely that given your comments, you aren’t seeking to ask genuine questions. I’m out at this point; I don’t wish to waste any more time. In the future, if you desire to learn something rather than push an agenda, I’d be happy to talk.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            “In the future, if you desire to learn something rather than push an agenda, I’d be happy to talk.”

            I feel the same about you pushing an agenda, but I don’t think I have anything to teach you. What I see as problems of your agenda are largely due to keeping thoughts in separate “compartments” to keep you listening to the dogma. Fare thee well.

          • Nonsensical

            A dogma is just a true thought, something concrete.

            You have many dogmas (all of which are incorrect due to your insanity), but they are so pathetic you cannot even admit to yourself you have them.

            This is because even admitting a single dogma disproves your entire diseased philosophy, the rejection of dogmas is ironically a dogma in and of itself.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            How would one falsify a dogma to find it not-dogma if indeed it is not-dogma?

          • Nonsensical

            By using ones own head.

            Water is wet is a dogma. 2+2=4 is a dogma.

          • Nonsensical

            Speaking of lack of insight, that is an impressive word salad. I cannot detect even a single coherent thought in it.

            Good are things as God made them to be.

            You obey God because God is the source and creator of all. You need God as you are His creation. To separate yourself from Him is called hell, which is nonexistence.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            Why does God keep contradicting everything you say? I actually asked God and got my info from the horses as- I mean- mouth! You just talk instead of God as if he cant’t speak with both of us himself 😉

          • Nonsensical

            Going by your mental illness, it is clear your are oppressed by demons.

          • Nonsensical

            This is ironic considering you are so belligerently against thought you hate reading and writing in general.

            Chesterton said that there are people who are so against religious education that they reject all education. You provide a perfect example.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            How did you know Chesterton said that? Are you telling me he is alive and in the room with you?!!?

          • Nonsensical

            So you have gone so crazy you now deny even knowledge or history exists? This is impressive.

          • Nonsensical

            God has loved all into existence, so yes He is loving. From Love naturally flows Justice.

            You are an atrocity, this is without dispute, even you agree. You were not born that way, but you consciously made yourself that way out of misuse of your free will.

            It is immense Justice for God to respect your free will (God who created both you and free will) and allow you to damn yourself. It is your choice, just don’t be angry if we Christians tell you the truth that damning yourself is the stupidest thing you could ever do.

            Christ is God, not a just a man. God is the creator and source of all. God based all things upon Himself because there is nothing outside of God.

            Christ is without sin because Christ is God and sin is division from God.

            Your idiotic strawman of treating God like an actor in a play just as you are is an immense showing of mental illness on your part. God is not your competitor you simpleton.

            Scripture is the Word of God. Mankind is fallen and immensely disordered (you specifically are in a state of mortal sin). God has chased after us after we fell to help us on the way home.

            You honestly seem to think that the Church exists to point to the mere existence of some random diety and nothing else. No, it is clear what God is by basic sense, what the Church does is show mankind what we were created to be.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            I can play the talk as if God doesn’t exist game, too. God has nothing to do with your church. God had some painful phalic discharge and there Clamidia was! God has no idea why people keep mispronouncing it as “church” much less sitting down in it.

          • Nonsensical

            The Church was created by God Himself at Pentacost. The apostles were the first bishops and they ordained the disciples as the first priests.

            Your mental illness is particularly vulgar.

          • Nonsensical

            Good is anything as God created it to be. God based all on Himself because there is nothing outside of Him.

            The mass murder and destruction of mankind is clearly disordered and caused by sin, which is division from God.

            evil is just decay caused by sin. The source of that decay is the devil, who you openly serve with your stupidity.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            I’m glad you acknowledge that you don’t need God, either. We can just talk for God like he doesn’t exist to be able to do it himself! God said the Bible is bull, and that he kills the devil every Tuesday as a parlor trick for the kiddies!

          • Nonsensical

            We are contingent upon God, without God we become nothing.

            That is what hell is, eternal suffering and nonexistence caused by total separation from God.

            You don’t understand that your mental illness is causing you to destroy yourself.

          • Sophotroph

            “eternal suffering and nonexistence”

            I’m sorry, which of those was intended to be the lie?

            You can’t suffer if you don’t exist. So either you’re lying and being sloppy about it, or you’re the kind of person who can’t put even the minimum amount of thought into checking his own ideas.

          • Nonsensical

            Existence means you are connected to God. hell is complete separation from God.

            The eternal suffering of hell is from three sources: shame over knowing you have wronged God, the hellfire, and the demons stuck in their with you torturing you because they hate you. Those are in the order of severity with each one being exponentially worse than the last.

            It appears you have no fundamental idea what existence or suffering is. Least of all what eternity is.

          • I suppose the idea of Sophotroph here being tortured by demons gets you hard enough to masturbate…

          • Nonsensical

            Is this your alt account?

            It also appears you are insecure about the topic. No matter, you are blocked for that vile post.

          • Well, no, Sophotroph happened to upvote many of my comments, and I wanted to see what they were up to.

            However, it appears the topic of masturbation is a sensitive issue for you. Why is that?

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            Holiness is what exactly?

          • Gilsongraybert

            Simply put, it is “otherness” or “uniqueness.” God is distinctly different, in a good manner, from humans in every conceivable way, for even attributes of His we share are debased by sin.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            This description does not fit the very human sounding God of the Bible.

    • Denny

      Don’t assume everyone else is like you.

      • Please enlighten me on your views about eternal conscious torment. How many hours of sleep do you loose, believing that a huge fraction of your fellow human beings will continue indefinitely to experience excruciating agony?

        • Denny


          • Truly you are a model of empathy.

          • Denny

            Really? So the only people who are full of empathy are people who are depressed or anxious? Christians should be writhing in agony because of God’s justice? Quite the contrary, I would not want a God who did not punish sin. If Hitler and Stalin are not in hell, I think God is very bad.

            A man who pretends to be a woman is not exactly in a position to judge others. You have some serious issues of your own.

          • You think little non-christian children deserve to go to hell, including all the little jewish children that hitler gassed: to the same hellfire they go.
            My issues are laughably tame compared to yours- you see, at least I’m not a sociopath.

          • Denny

            So a “sociopath” is anyone who doesn’t share your obsessions?

            Fella, you need strong medications and years of therapy.

          • A sociopath is a creep with a callous disregard for other people. Something you demonstrate quite well based on your comment toward me on Rebecca Bratten Weiss’s blog.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            “If Hitler and Stalin are not in hell, I think God is very bad.”

            Wait, why? Neither of them are claimed to have almost destroyed all life on Earth. Your problem with them is not their deeds but that they are not Jesus.

            “A man who pretends to be a woman is not exactly in a position to judge others.”

            She is a transgender person. Brenda Reimer was a cisgender person who found out what it was like to be in the wrong gender’s body. Would you have denied her transition because her “Great Physician” can’t make errors, either?

          • Denny

            If you wish to play along with some psychotic’s delusion that he is the opposite sex, go right ahead. Trying to force others to play along is pure fascism. Denial of reality has historically been the definition for “insanity.”

            There is discrimination here, people like you attempting to discriminate against people who possess common sense.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            Fascism because your common sense is blatantly contradicted by a few million of our children! Perhaps you would like to volunteer for transition and stay that way for life just to show that you can live in the body of a different sex without it taking a toll on your physical and mental health? That was already done to Brenda Reimer into her teens without her knowledge. She gladly transitioned to match his brain.

          • Denny

            I can spot a comment that was posted by a druggie.

            Get some help, girl.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            Lying for Jesus.

          • Nonsensical

            People are not ghosts plopped into machines.

            A man claiming that he is a woman is a mentally ill fool looking for attention. They need truth not hateful urging them to destroy themselves with falsehood.

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            There is no ghost in the machine. There is a brain you could confuse the hell out of if you transitioned to see what being an untransitioned transperson is like, though.

          • Nonsensical

            You are a mentally ill child who does not understand basic biology.

            You are sick and desperate for attention. The worst that could be done to you is to encourage your self-destruction.

          • Sophotroph

            It really hurts you that your ideas will be dead before your grandchildren ever hear of them, doesn’t it? To know that the people you hate and deride as fools will just be seen as normal, and the world will just go on as if your god’s anger were nothing more than a reflection of your own inability to stop the world from changing over time, as it always has and always will.

          • Nonsensical

            A strange mythology you have here. Though I suppose you are a sophist.

            It would do you well to remember the four last things: death, judgement, Heaven, hell

            The truth is not dependant on your opinion of it, so you are still wrong no matter your many delusions about being “accepted.”

          • Sophotroph

            The truth matches my opinion of it, and I’ll get to see it in my lifetime. Keep on gnashing and wailing, though.

            Did you know you’re not even the first person to have so much nothing that he had to make that joke about my name to feel better about himself?

            I mean, I expected no better of you, but still.

          • Nonsensical

            So you are a gnostic. You believe you can change reality by your opinion.

            You are a sophist. Your message shows no understanding of what I just said an just repeats your faulty thesis. That is sophistry.

          • Sophotroph

            Thank you for entirely failing to understand my point, which proves mine perfectly.

          • Nonsensical

            More sophistry.

          • Sophotroph

            More confirmation.

          • Nonsensical

            Still no argument. Blocked.

          • Sophotroph

            Another troll defeated!

  • Satanic_Panic

    Christians, take note: if your beliefs match that of the Scriptures on nearly every regard, you will not escape the condemnation of popular culture.

    Nor should you. The Scriptures are full of horrible nonsense, people of character and rationality SHOULD reject them. People who cling to silly ideas put forth by iron age shepherds SHOULD be condemned for being idiots (at the very least) and immoral jerks.

  • Joe Monte

    Some would say the dictionary’s defenition of a Christian is merely a “follower of Christ” but I’d bet you’d have a problem with that. Lotsa people claim to be Christians like Catholics, JWs and Mormons yet you ask us to simutaneously doubt them and trust you! Well, I don’t think there is such a thing as a Christian. Live forever? Speak in tongues? Salt of the Earth? Light of the World? Full of the Holy Spirit? I don’t believe any of those things about you because you can generate no proof – even if all that stuff in the Bible is true.

    Let me put it this way: calling oneself a Christian lands on my ears similar to calling oneself a member of Starfleet or a student at Hogwarts.

    • Giauz Ragnarock

      “Let me put it this way: calling oneself a Christian lands on my ears similar to calling oneself a member of Starfleet…”

      Christians point to the Bible and literal tons of apologetics texts as “evidence” for their God and the supernatural. I paraphrase Captain Kirk: What does God need with a book?

    • Gilsongraybert

      The definition isn’t inherently problematic; what becomes problematic is what people mean when they use that term. If they use it to support an ideology contrary to what the Scriptures espouse, then I would simply say they aren’t doing too much “Christ following.” I’m not really advocating my own personal brand of Christianity here, but advocating for the historic faith attested to in the Scriptures.

      The thing you have to deal with is not me or any other person, but the Scripture’s testimony of God. If you feel you’ve done that to the greatest extent humanly possible, then I’ll take you at your word. I’d hope you would consider afresh, given your views, but that’s on you in the end. What’s wonderful about that whole thing is that truth is not subject to whether or not someone believes it is true. It also is not dependent on meeting one’s individually imposed litmus test.

      There’s a passages that speaks to this and can do it far greater justice than I:

      Wisdom shouts in the street, she lifts her voice in the square; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing and fools hate knowledge?

      Turn to my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; and you neglected all my counsel and did not want my reproof; I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.

      Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but they will not find me, because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD. They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof. So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own devices. For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. But he who listens to me shall live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil (Proverbs 1: 20-33).

      It isn’t an enjoyable passage for any other reason than it demonstrates not only that lotsa people like to mock, as if they are so wise – yet wisdom personified mocks back the fool and the sluggard alike. Also, “I don’t think there is such a thing as a Christian,” is a pretty funny statement in my opinion. Whether or not you believe Christianity to be a valid religion does nothing to revoke a title. Interestingly, that was originally given as a pejorative remark to disparage Christians. I’d think in your case, that’d be right up your alley. I mean, you could bring it back, you know.

      • Which version of Scripture do you adhere to? NIV? King James?

        • Gilsongraybert

          I prefer the NASB, but if I’m doing exegetical work I go to the Greek. The KJV will always hold a place in my heart though because I’m a sucker for early modern English.

      • Joe Monte

        I have a Scripture for you: Acts 19:15

        One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?”

        Yeah. Who are you? Before you attempt to try casting demons out of me just who do you think that you are? I know that passage in Proverbs. There’s nothing in the Bible you could show me that I haven’t see already so save your keystrokes. This person, Jesus, you talk about so much do you really think that there is such talismanic power in simply evoking his name that I will go scurrying back to my pit?

        In the Middle Ages your Brothers and Sisters in Christ considered the question: “Well, what are we going to do in Heaven? Forever?” Some genius came up with the idea that for entertainment the Sheep were to watch the Goats roast in torment and all of Christianity got on board with that and they haven’t given it up, it seems. Why else would you add that passage that with the “I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you”? Do you, along with God, look forward to mocking people? It appears so!
        So, you see, Christianity’s veracity has everything to do with the credentials of it’s followers and as far as I’m concerned you are all wanting.

        • Gilsongraybert

          Oh boy, you’re surely a bit paranoid to think I’m trying to cast demons out of you or use Christ as a talisman. That is not how any of this works…

          The original passage is wisdom personified (wisdom literature has a habit of flipping conventions on their heads; in this case, wisdom, which was mocked does the mocking in the end because wisdom is triumphant and stands immovable in judgment). Try not to take it hyper-literally; much of the language in wisdom literature is given to bring out a principle for instruction. In this case, heed “lady wisdom” and repent.

          I doubt very much so people in heaven will be looking down on those being tormented; heaven isn’t about humans. Neither is hell, for that matter.

          • Joe Monte

            My original point is that we cannot know if you are a “Christian”, meaning that you are going to Heaven while the rest of us are not. If it cannot be established that you are going to Heaven then what makes you think you can get anyone else there? ***

            In the state of Pennsylvania I am a Registered Nurse. I am required to go through training, take a Board exam and maintain a license. If I am derelict in my duties or competencies then I can loose my license effectively making me not-a-nurse. Sometimes all nurses experience a difficult patient who wants a new nurse or may even want to leave the hospital altogether. That is their right to refuse treatment and they may or may not get better on their own. Now, if I refuse to recognize that you are a Christian thereby consigning you to Hell is that my right?

            ***(Please don’t go for the low-hanging fruit by saying, Well, it’s not me that gets anyone to heaven!)

          • Gilsongraybert

            You can know, you just won’t accept the means. This isn’t subjective criteria we are talking about. The whole point is that I am not approaching this as if I’m selecting the criteria for who goes to heaven and who does not. The only thing I’ve done is simply say that the Scriptures have revealed God does this, and I believe the Scriptures to be true.

          • Joe Monte

            You gotta know that the last sentence is a prime example of circular reasoning. Which leads me to admit that the truest thing you have said so far is that I won’t accept the means because that also will entail some circular reasoning I assume.
            Your Bible requires me to take you seriously under penalty of eternal death. If that is true then God has given Christians a remarkable platform for abuse potential. If you are some sort of gatekeeper who I have to appease in order to attain salvation then people like you can (and have!) coerce me to do things – even if they go against the very Scriptures that forbid them. Here’s something you can count on me, Grayson: I’m sure you’re a nice guy and all that but I have three beautiful children as well. If God ever appeared to me in a dream like He did for Joshua or Jacob or Noah and commanded me to annihilate you and your whole family you can take to the bank that I’d tell him to go eff himself.

          • Gilsongraybert

            Joe, I can’t correct all of your misconceptions about what the Bible teaches and I fear to try and do so over the web often proves fruitless. At some point we just shake hands and part ways, perhaps this is that time. Thank you for the cordial discussion, I wish you and your family well, sir!

  • pc

    Yes, well…I understand your point of view because I held it all growing up. Then as I got older I found myself in a spiritually manipulative church. From that experience, I’ve since learned that much of my “church” experiences and trainings were steeped in the ways of the scribes, Pharisees, and teachers of the law. I’ve come to realize that the “church” you refer to in your article is a continuation of the same religious organization that conspired to kill Jesus, they just say the word “gospel” now and change the message slightly.

    I know my words sound may sound confrontational. I hope you can see past them to honestly evaluate what you’ve been taught about Jesus and maybe think about how he was accused for partying with “sinner,” and breaking the Sabbath, and rebuking the religious elite who spiritually exploit their followers.

    • Gilsongraybert

      I was saved when I turned 21, wasn’t raised in a Christian household in any sense of the word, and continue to examine what I am taught because Christianity is an intelligible faith that can stand scrutiny without any issue.

      And no worries – I don’t take your comment negatively at all. I honestly appreciate your comment here, even though I would disagree with your sentiments. The fundamental doctrines of the church bound in the gospel have remained the same since the gospel was given, and it is shown all the way back in the beginning of Genesis. While Moses would not have articulated it as Paul, nonetheless, we see he, the patriarchs, the prophets, the kings, and Israel anticipated the coming of Christ and deliverance through the gospel (good news).

      • pc

        And yet, when the Christ did actually appear, many of those waiting for the Christ conspired to kill him. Remember what Jesus said about the religious leaders: “You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ sins. You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape the sentence of hell?”

        Imagine how offensive Jesus was to those who thought of themselves as God’s spokesmen and thought they were carrying out the will of God with a sincere heart. For me, it was emotionally traumatizing to come to the realization that I was in-league with the scribes and Pharisees in that my heart was more concerned about coercing others to conform the my hypocritical standards of morals and righteousness than loving people where they’re at. I had a slightly hidden, deep-set disgust for those that didn’t conform to the “church’s” standards of appearance, behavior and doctrine. I had thought I was loving be I wasn’t. I was patronizing and demeaning to others, sometimes consciously, more often unconsciously. I’m still in the life-long process of recovering. When I read Jesus’ words now and see the things he did, I can better understand how great his love was and how many within the Christian religious organizations of today would despise him and what he represents.

        Thank you for sharing your views and listening to mine. I do believe that being a disciple of Christ is a process and we’re full of blind spots, inconsistencies, injustices and tend to have tiny hearts. That means we have room to grow and can appreciate when people say things that challenge our beliefs and thoughts.

        • Gilsongraybert

          Sure, while there were many who conspired to kill him – the concept of Christ as Savior eluded them because they didn’t actually concern themselves for God whatsoever (and this was evidently shown in their hypocrisy and their hatred of others). Yet the noteworthy thing is that genuine converts still did not denounce right behavior and doctrine – rather, they emphasized right devotion in those things, as did Christ.

          They don’t have to be mutually exclusive, nor lead to a hatred of others that don’t conform. On the contrary, it should lead to a greater love of others because they walk in blindness! But love doesn’t mean we don’t challenge, provoke, or probe; it means that in spite of whatever arises, we choose to display the love of Christ in that we not only serve those who would not conform to Christianity, but preach Christ crucified – which is the only hope any of us have.

          I would naturally agree that we all have our blindspots and inconsistencies, but I don’t believe that revokes the need to examine ourselves in light of Scripture’s teachings in order to see where we need to be refined, morally, doctrinally, and especially our capability to love God and love others. I don’t expect non-Christians to clean up their behavior around me, or to even want to act like me. I can’t expect that. But none of that removes the necessity for speaking boldly of the truths of the faith, and this means the full council of God’s Word, even the parts people naturally don’t like.

          • pc

            I do know devout Christians, who are very loving in word and deed. And their theology, doctrine and relationship with God informs the way that they live and the kindness and compassion that they show to people. With them the law is in their hearts and they worship in spirit and truth.

            I have issues with religious organizations, their group think, and hierarchical structure that favors wealthy white males, and how power and money within the religion corrupts doctrine, the Bible, Jesus, and love. From my perspective I don’t see how being in that environment could result in “right behavior and doctrine.” I got out of organized religion (some call it church) because I could no longer, in good conscience, participate in the organization without feeling like I was treasonous to Jesus. At some point I felt like I had to decide: loyalty to Jesus and my fellow humans and treason to organized religion (church) or loyalty to organized religion and treason to Jesus and my fellow humans. I’m sure not all people reach the same conclusion and some people believe they can participate in organized religion without being complicit to spiritual manipulation and the demeaning of others. But I reached the point where I felt like I was forced to make that decision. Perhaps in the future that will change, I don’t know. For now, I’m praying “God give me faith” and building relationships with other people how have also found themselves disenfranchised from standard church.

          • Gilsongraybert

            Well, PC, I’ll be praying for you. I understand where you are coming from, but I would just ask you come back to the Scriptures in all of these things, even in being part of the body of Christ. I sincerely don’t think anyone was meant to be a “lone ranger” in the Christian walk, but also, more importantly, I believe that God maintains His bride.

            The narrative that all churches are about white supremacy, manipulation, etc., just doesn’t fit the bill when you see many that are genuinely loving, meeting the qualifications of the church as defined by Scripture, holding to the gospel, etc. Good churches are still out there. They are fewer and far in between a lot of the time, but they do exist. If they are truly shaped by the gospel, the Scriptures, and the presence of the Spirit – they will reflect that, even as they deal with indwelling sin.

          • pc

            How would you define the “body of Christ” and how would you define the “church?” Is it an institutionalized religious organization with set boundaries such as Sunday lectures by the religious elite with doctrine handed down from each successive generation of religious scribes and teachers?

            I see the church as people with varying backgrounds, social status, means, ethnicities, education, political, and religious backgrounds that seek with their whole heart to follow Jesus, love God, and love their neighbors. There is some benefit to joining a contemporary religious organization (church) but I don’t Jesus compels his followers to participate in that way. Separating yourself from the religious institution isn’t so terrible because the church isn’t the institution and all that the institution entails with it’s requirements and unspoken rules and hierarchies. Those invested in that institution see people outside the institution as a threat or “lone rangers” as you explained. It’s true that there are dangers outside the protective covering of group think and indoctrination but I would propose that the dangers from within are equally dangerous to one’s faith.

  • Unhiddenness

    These are the ravings of a cretin and a fanatic. Instead of a “Masters of Divinity degree”, why don’t you make yourself useful and get a real job?

    • Gilsongraybert

      Thank you for the insightful contribution!

  • Jerry Lynch

    “If the proverbial rubber meets the road and we are forced to take a
    stance that will put our job, welfare, family, and liberty at risk –
    will we endure?”
    Just curious as to the statement above. If as a man you are the head of the household, is it your decision alone to take that stance that will put your family at risk? What if members of your family hold different views and are against whatever your stance might be? Are you somehow compelled to take the stance no matter what may happen and how your family believes?

    • Gilsongraybert

      Each person is culpable in their own regard for what they believe. Belief in Christ cannot be forced and to assume force on such a thing not only goes against what Scripture teaches, but would be unduly cruel. I have no reservations of my wife’s faith, my children are quite young and will have to navigate that path as we all do. Thankfully, the results aren’t up to me (hence the no forcing thing).

      As the head of the household, yes, I am responsible for not only the direction of the “ship” but protecting the cargo as well. None of that entails a fear of man.

      This about sums up my feelings on the matter:

      “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.'”

      Daniel 3:16-18 (in principle)

      “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

      Matthew 10:28 (in direct command)

      Plus any sense of retribution I could concoct pales in comparison to God’s inexhaustible wrath upon such an individual if they refuse repentance. Vengeance, more importantly, is not mine to take. In the end, I trust the Lord in all of these things, especially in the fact that no man has the power to do anything outside of His permissive will. If faithfulness to the Scriptures means repercussions, however severe they may be, so be it.

      Yet the extravagant thing is that the “weapons” of Christianity are bound in those things deemed foolish to this world: the weak, meek, gentle, loving, serving, peace-making, poor, etc., all stemming from the gospel of Jesus Christ outward to even those who would slaughter them.

      We simply will not bow the knee. As for me and my household, we shall serve the Lord.