Yes, There Is Christian Persecution in America And Here’s What it Looks Like

Yes, There Is Christian Persecution in America And Here’s What it Looks Like March 6, 2015

BI’ve often written about the American persecution complex that tends to see anti-Christian persecution under every rock, and have long been a proponent that such claims of persecution are often simply a loss of privilege or the ability to persecute others. Each time I say something along these lines, I usually get a flood of comments and messages/e-mails telling me how wrong I am and that Christianity in America is under attack. One commenter even said recently that “Jesus” is the only name you’re not allowed to speak at work without getting fired.

Secretly I’ve had some misgivings about my position and these doubts have now given way to a change in position. So, this post is a capitulation to my critics and a public admission about how wrong I’ve been. Yes, Christians are bullied for their faith in America– and it happens on a daily basis. Yes, Christians can lose their jobs simply because they believe in the teachings of Jesus. Yes, some Christians in America are hated on account of their association with Jesus. Real persecution just happens to look differently than what is often claimed as persecution. Case in point:

A few weeks ago, MidAmerica Nazarene University chaplain and Vice President of Community Formation Dr. Randy Beckum spoke at the student chapel services. Dr. Beckum gave a short sermon during the chapel service that is being billed as “controversial” and something that really upset the student and faculty population at MidAmerica Nazarene (see/read full text here). What was so controversial and offensive you ask? Well, let’s take a look.

At first, Dr. Beckum starts off by saying,

“In my life, I have struggled with some things that Jesus said, (pretty plainly), that go against the grain of what is accepted as normal, or OK or even a sign of a being a good Christian in this part of the world.”

Seems like something I’ve heard a thousand times in my life– we’re repeatedly told that just because something is widely accepted as being okay or normal, such acceptance doesn’t mean it’s okay for a Christian. And, I totally agree.

Except, and here’s where Dr. Beckum got himself into some serious problems: he wasn’t speaking about listening to rock and roll or wearing skirts that weren’t knee high– he was talking about the golden calf of American Christianity. He went on to say,

“Anyone who has made a decision to follow Jesus realizes that the goal of a being a Christian is to become Christ-like.”

Sounds good so far, but starting to get edgy with this Jesus-likeness stuff. But here’s where he went completely off the rails:

“I am extremely troubled.  I have been for a long time and I have hesitated to address this subject publicly, but I cannot keep silent about it any longer… I don’t think it is an under-statement to say that our culture is addicted to violence, guns, war, revenge and retaliation. Unfortunately, so are a lot of Christians… So, what does Jesus have to say about it.  Again, if you are not a follower of Jesus you can relax.  This doesn’t concern you. But Christians have to do something with this.  I have to do something with the words of Jesus and his actions… We have to be very careful about equating patriotism with Christianity.   We never say God and…anything.  God is above all, everything else is underneath…We have put “our way of life”/freedom on the top rung.  If you mess with it I’ll blow your head off. For a Christian what is on the top rung? Love for all.”

 

Dr. Beckum ended his sermon by reminding the students that not only did Jesus teach radical enemy love, but that we should serve them, and forgive them as well.

In many Christian circles you can talk about the Bible all you want, a you can speak as much Christianese as possible, but as Dr. Beckum has now learned, you cannot talk about what Jesus taught regarding enemy loveThat is off-limits and heresy.

The sermon on enemy love sparked an outcry at the University, with some furious that he’d have the audacity to call into question the issue of Christians using violence against enemies. The MNU president was quickly forced to issue a statement distancing himself from the teachings of Jesus, saying:

“At MidAmerica Nazarene University we encourage the exchange of ideas and individuals are free to express their individual perspective and opinions, even when those opinions may not reflect the official policy or practices of our university, our core values or our affiliations.”

Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough– speaking out against bloodshed in American Christianity often requires bloodshed of some sort, and such was the case with Dr. Beckum. On February 3rd the President relieved him of his duties as Vice President of Community Formation, citing that Beckum had previously requested to be removed from that position, something his own daughter has publicly called a falsehood.

In my opinion it’s easy to see what happened here: a Christian leader saw our lust for violence and military conquests, and decided to speak out on it. Since quoting what Jesus said on enemy love is so offensive within American Christian culture, he had to pay a price- and lost his position.

And so here is where my critics have been right all along: there is anti-Christian persecution in America. The chief difference however, is that it’s not the secularists or atheists who are persecuting us- it’s “Christians” who are doing the persecuting.

The best way to understand the cultural scenario is to realize (as someone astutely mentioned on twitter recently) that there are two different types of Christianity. One is a movement of people who want to live and be like Jesus. The other (and far more common, far more powerful) is a civil and political religion that is simply named Christianity. The civil political religion named Christianity is addicted to both political power and violence, and thus finds the message of Jesus offensive. When they encounter the other kind of Christian- the kind that actually believes in following Jesus- they have an immediate need to persecute them in some for or another, as we see in the case of Dr. Beckum, who actually did lose his job because of speaking the name of Jesus.

So, yes, there is Christian persecution in America- and for saying there is not, I do apologize to my critics for such an error. People do get bullied for speaking about Jesus. People do lose their jobs for it. Dr. Beckum is one of them.

But as it turns out, it’s actually the critics attempting to defend the violence-loving political religion named Christianity who are persecuting the people of Jesus. 

Don’t believe me? Just try teaching “love your enemies”, and see which group of people will be the first to mock and bully you.


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  • M.A.N.

    I spoke the name “Jesus” at my old job…..in fact my coworkers (most of whom weren’t Christians) and I would have regular conversations about him and all kinds of matters relating to my faith. We all enjoyed the conversations, I was never harassed or fired for saying His name. In fact if anything my coworkers encouraged me to talk about Him!

    Now compare that to the reactions I get from fellow Christians when I try to take Jesus’s words seriously…. (no, he didn’t actually mean love your enemies! Liberal!)

  • Hannah

    All hail the Christian Right, aka, the American Taliban.

  • Hannah

    Although if you’re a Christian woman, or Christian LGBT person, then experiencing Christian persecution is just a matter of course…

  • Kyle McComb

    God bless you Benjamin Corey. For saying what needs to be said, when people need to hear it.

  • Rev. Andrew R Gentry

    Thus it has always been. Being a gay male and Christian I learned a long time ago those who would talk you like a dog both in the Biblical sense and in the street sense were your fellow “christians”! I was once told by a “street evangelist” that I was not even worthy of prayer for I was already condemned by Gawd. I have had churches both liberal and certainly Republican to make it clear that I was not welcome. For the liberals it was because I continued to believe in Jesus as the Incarnate Son of God who blessed me with my orientation and for conservative republicans for daring to say the Jesus loves me!

  • Joel Penner

    Hmm, I like that Dr. Beckum.

  • Patricia Trumble-Champ

    So very true, one of the reasons I consider myself a Christ follower but not a member of the ‘Religion’ of Christianity , Many ministries on the right side of the spectrum spend most of their money on attacking fellow Christians who lean more on the side of the Left and/or follow the path of Christ. They spend all their time of ministry not spreading the Gospel but on attacking their version of ‘Heretics’. just teach the truth in love.

  • Robbie Dee Ewens

    Amazing isn’t it, the very body that prides itself as being the “real” church is actually persecuting believers that are not welcome and are seen as rejects of the faith. We are back to when the masses say the scriptures mean thus and thus, then those opposed are removed. Just a thought, but which group do you think God sees as His real church, those acting in a self-protective and self-way, or those of us believers on the receiving end?

  • Hannah

    ..aaaand exhibit A on the Christian persecution experienced by LGBT Christians on a daily basis.

  • Hannah

    I will happily fight against your god. He sounds like a real bastard.

  • OH… so… in otherwords, there was persecution against Jews in first-century Palestine… it was other Jews that did it (John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, John, James… )

    Yep… sometimes I think the people we have to fear the most are the very ones that claim to follow the same faith tenets we do.

  • Well, I know plenty of gay males in the world, and my wife (a female) happens to be a Christian, so there’s that. #GrammarMatters

  • Hannah

    Not your jesus.

  • Eric Thorson

    I don’t believe that scripture teaches we are justified by our heterosexuality. You are preaching the devil’s sermon for him.

  • Hi Robbie –

    I think I understand where you’re coming from. I look at some stripes of American Christianity and I don’t recognize the Jesus they’re worshiping. It feels like a foreign religion to me.

    But I think we need to be really careful about making judgements about who’s the “real” church. I’ve been the outcast (as an openly gay Christian), and I understand what it feels like when someone makes claims that I’m barred from the communion table. That rejection is a spiritual gut-punch.

    So, speaking only for myself, I feel called to stay in communion with those who I have profound disagreement. Responding to moral certitude with a different moral certitude seems self-defeating and is contrary to the faith as I’ve come to understand it.

    My very best to you.
    David.

  • JohnVHedtke

    I believe I can agree with this. Well said.

    I might add that when people who worship Republican Jesus or whatever it is that seems to be the god du jour of American Christians start bleating about how they’re being “persecuted” for their beliefs, I usually think “You’re not being mocked and reviled for your Christian love; you’re being mocked and reviled for being a jerk!” There’s a big, big difference there. :)

  • JohnVHedtke

    Yes, that sounds like the jerky behavior that we’ve all come to know and… know. Good of you to prove the author’s point so succinctly.

    Don’t you have a date with an eye doctor for that beam coming up soon?

  • stan cardwell

    i seem to remember Jesus mentioned denying self, taking up cross and following. His message is offensive but he said, God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”

    But the persecution comes from modern day Pharisees dressed up in Christian garb.

  • pedro luis adames

    It makes sense, I Just wish that you could make The difference between real Christians And fake ones. I do believe that not everybody Who call themselves Christians are real Christians. I Also understand that jewish killed Jesus And Still many of them reject him.

  • I’ve worked with many people named Jesus. Heck, their names were even printed on their name tags. I’ve never seen a problem talking about Jesus in the workplace….

  • Hi Pedro –

    What lines would you draw to determine which were the real Christians? Aren’t we commanded to keep communion despite our serious disagreements (I’m thinking particularly about the controversy over eating meat from sacrifices, or the controversy over circumcision).

    In my view, God is bigger than our beliefs and can use whoever he pleases to his purpose. If I were to separate the “good” Christians from the “bad” ones using my personal worldview as the litmus test, I’d be engaging in the very behavior I find deplorable in some conservative circles.

    Just one man’s opinion.

  • pedro luis adames

    Hi ford1968 I totally agree with you, Please allow me to explain Who are The real Christians And Fake Cristians: real Christians love their enemies, Fake Christians dont.
    Real Christians show mercy, fake Christians don’t. Real Christians practice justice, fake Christians don’t.

  • Noah

    No such thing as an angry Christian. Or a divorced one, or a lustful one, or a greedy one, etc.

  • Kerry Thomas

    I was at SWBTS when the Southern Baptists started their purge against professors/students in the ’80s.
    I never saw so much Chrisian Persecution in my life.
    Christians hate other Christians at a huge rate in in this nation, but no one wants to see it.

  • Joey Kirby

    Though I
    partly agree on the message, Christians aren’t the only ones persecuting Christians.
    All it takes is a few scrolls down to see the attacks by non-Christians. That’s
    nothing compared to the tons of hate speech we get, not to mention the murders
    on Christians that the media rarely covers. But take a “Christian”
    who protests a funeral, or some other crime, and it’ll be covered nationwide.
    They don’t want to shine the light on the good Christians do, but will do a
    story on anything that throws Christianity under the bus.

  • M.A.N.

    That’s because the true Christians are too busy living like Christ to keep up with Facebook ;)

    So true.

  • You are judging motives when you probably don’t know Hannah (Matthew 7:1), and telling lies, since her existence as a woman or as gay is not harming or persecuting you (Colossians 3:9). Please acquaint yourself with love.

  • Gematizoieighthday

    Oh but wouldn’t it be *wonderful* if we Christians in the US could behave a bit more like recovering alcoholics? “Hi! My name is Joe and I’m addicted to political power!” “Welcome Joe”.

    I can’t imagine how wonderful it would be to go to a church where these simple guidelines were followed. As Dallas Willard has said – (I paraphrase) church really should look more like an AA meeting. (read this and substitute the word “Church” for AA) – yes, I know AA isn’t perfect – but the Church these days sure could learn something from this ragtag group.

    12 Traditions of (American Christians Anonymous) AA:

    Our common welfare should come first; personal (growth in Christ) recovery depends upon (Church) A.A. unity.

    For our (Church) group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

    The only requirement for (church) A.A. membership is a desire to (follow Christ) stop drinking.

    Each (Church) group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or (our Church) A.A. as a whole.

    Each (Church) group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the (one who needs Hope – Love – Truth – Christ!) alcoholic who still suffers.

    ***An (Church) A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the (Christian) A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose. (Imagine with me people!)

    Every (Church) A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

    (Our Church) Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

    (Our Church) A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

    ***(Our Church) Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the (Christian) A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

    ***Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films. (Imagine the witness!)

    Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

  • GBass

    you shouldn’t have to shine on light on the good things christians do, doing good things should be what all people of all backgrounds do. I find it ironic that you call it persecution. the bible discriminates and persecutes all the time, it’s just to you they’re called beliefs. I know you’ll take this as an attack, but it’s criticism. for example, if the bible isn’t against gay marriage, it could be argued that they’re persecuting gays, correct?

  • Rev. Andrew R Gentry

    Jesus is the Word not the BIBLE AND IN CASE YOU HAVE NOT HEARD IT WAS THE CHURCH THAT GAVE US THE BIBLE AS WE KNOW IT IN THE YEAR 325AD! NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND1

  • Amy Aletheia Cahill

    I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for having the courage to speak the truth.

  • TBP100

    Indeed. Christians have been saying other Christians aren’t really Christians ever since there have been Christians. And often slaughtering each other over theological differences.

  • paganheart

    Love this. :-)

  • Chris Fritz

    Of course Dr. Beckum shouldn’t have been silenced, you shouldn’t be silenced and I shouldn’t be silenced, but surely he wasn’t suggesting Christians shouldn’t be patriotic, was he? Matthew 22 says render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s. I find it interesting he did say Caesar first and God second. Does that mean he thinks God should be second? Of course not! It sounds oh so sanctimonious to say that God should be first over country (while people wallow in self-righteousness when they say that). Well, no kidding, he should be first! But the same military and “violence” culture many deplore is the same culture which defends their right to speak out. Am I wrong? We have to be careful not to fail in defending the same country that God himself has blessed us with and allowed us to be born in. We are here in this country for a reason. And I believe part of that reason is so we can be a blessing to others. A strong America can be a blessing of protection to Christians around the world, a weak America can be, well…I think you can see what we have now in this country. And look at how truly evil people have responded and have been emboldened because of a somewhat weakened America. Sitting back while our current president weakens us militarily because of his ideology, is just as wrong as putting our patriotism above our Lord. It squanders our gift of freedom.

  • Andy

    Name calling isn’t persecution. And the media is obviously more likely to cover anything Christian-related because 6 or 7 out of 10 Americans are Christian. They’re only likely to cover something about Islam if it is or could be construed as terrorist activity.

  • Andy

    I DON’T KNOW WHAT WE’RE YELLING ABOUT

  • Andy

    I know what all those words mean, but I have no idea what you’re trying to say.

  • Andy

    Where did God say that?

  • Gematizoieighthday

    Where to begin: I can’t speak for Ben, so I won’t. I think you need to read some history about the wars we have fought: most, if not all have had *zero* to do with defending “our right to speak out” – um, let’s just start with WWI, (I’d even – horrors! – include WW II), Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan…Lord forbid we add Ukraine to this list. Prove me wrong, OK? or explain to me like I’m 5 how killing people in Iraq protected my right to free speech.

    After that I want you to read about how “truly evil” people (may I assume you are referring to ISIL/ISIS/Taliban/Al Qaeda ?) came into being. Much of our US foreign policy actually funded and armed these groups…don’t believe me? research it – fairly easy to find credible sources that will support this view.

    Finally – and most importantly – who would Jesus kill? I don’t mean to be facetious – but really – who would He kill? The Germans in WWI/WWII? The Communists (in Korea and Vietnam?) The terrorists? What did Jesus tell us our attitude and behavior should be toward those who are our enemies? Kill them? Hmmm. I’ll help you with that research: Matthew 5:44 – 45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.…”

  • Phlegon

    Now, I’m the last person to object to a civil and political religion. Christianity may not be of this world, but it exists in this world and we as Christians have to take that into account. We should be good citizens, we should be political, and we should be patriots doing our duty for our community.
    But to go after a preacher for reminding us that there is something higher than this? That God trascends all human loyalties, all wordly strife and conflict? That God’s law of humility and forgivingness should be followed above and even against all secular laws?
    That is precisely the task of a preacher. We may, perhaps, shake our heads regretfully and say that it isn’t always possible for us imperfect creatures living in an imperfect world to follow the precepts of Jesus. We must not, for the love of Christ, contradict him. And to fire him or in any other way persecute him should be inconceivable to anyone bearing the name of a Christian.

    (As for the kind of persecution that Mr. Corey’s critics have in mind, it does exist in a limited context – though nowhere near the extent or character they like to imagine. Dr. Yancey, over at the evangelical blog of Patheos, has done some research on it.)

  • Ben Fullerton

    LOUD NOISES!!!

  • Joey Kirby

    You’re right, a light shouldn’t have to be shed on Christians for doing good. I think you may have misunderstood me and that’s my fault because I was trying to cover a whole lot in just a very short paragraph. My point being is, whenever they are
    talked about it is only in negativity. Christians are on a lot of scenes you don’t hear about. Well, you’ll hear about the scene, but no mention of the Christian’s help. And that’s ok because they don’t do it to get recognition. The point was that they will, like I said; throw them under the bus in a minute. The persecution I speak of goes way beyond what a lot of people know
    about or care to talk about. But…we are on a blog about Christian persecution afterall.
    And yes, they are beliefs. Just like it is an atheist’s belief to speak of their own freedom, even when they aren’t being attacked directly. I’m not
    taking up for all Christians, because what this blog describes is true. So if I don’t believe in gay marriage, people think I’m a close-minded animal for what I believe or don’t believe, without knowing I have no hate towards anyone. But then we’ll be on
    a completely different subject. There have been far too many conversations on how “Christians judge”, but rarely do we get into the topic of Christians being
    persecuted, and this is what it’s about. Besides the murders and heinous crimes against Christians in other countries, we too face persecution right here in America. It’s just not nearly as bad as other places.
    For example: “how about the man in Missouri, Alaa Alsaegh, who
    was ran off of the road, stabbed and had a Star of David carved in his back by muslims because he wrote a pro-Israel poem?
    And some day maybe you will have the opportunity to ask Stephen Ocean and Tite Sufra, two Evangelists in Florida, who were gunned down / murdered with a shotgun for evangelizing how they felt about it. Ask these men and /or their families if these
    experiences affected them financially, spiritually, physically or mentally and I think each one (if they could), and many, many others like them would tell you yes; there is Christian persecution in America”.
    And no, I don’t feel like I’m being attacked. I spoke freely and other’s opions are welcome too.

  • Joey Kirby

    Unfortunately that’s not true. A lot of Christian-based things aren’t covered unless it’s negative. And of course who doesn’t do wrong in some way, shape, or form? Though it is people of all sorts who commit crimes, they specifically make sure to
    mention that they are Christians. The name-calling was just a small example compared to what Christians face, however, that IS persecution. Do you know what persecution means?

  • Fernando Villegas

    Mat 22 is not an argument for patriotism, it is simply a command to be obedient to secular laws.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with being patriotic, necessarily, as long as one realizes that patriotism is not a Biblical virtue, and that there are times when our allegiance to Christ will require us to be unpatriotic. As Christians, our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth. And while I agree that those of us who were born in this country are here for a reason, we cannot forget that that reason is for the sake of God’s kingdom, not America’s.

    “A strong America can be a blessing of protection to Christians around
    the world, a weak America can be, well…I think you can see what we
    have now in this country.”

    The problem with that is that the Bible has a completely opposite understanding from secular culture about what it means to be “strong” and what it means to be “weak.” And the thrust of the Biblical narrative seems very convincing to me that military might is not what the Bible means by the term “strong.”

  • Ripkin

    Great article and very true and very sad. The love of American politics is power and violence. The same is true for the American Christian church.
    The American church will gladly follow Cesar to war but is very reluctant to follow Jesus with his command to love one’s enemies. Thanks for the article.

  • Herm

    MizKrys, I am absolutely sure you are defending God because that is how you have been taught to interpret the Bible. God is our Lord and God is our Servant! God is big enough to defend Themselves without our help. Little children do not defend their Families very effectively and should not try. You have an elder Brother anxious to be the Word of God specifically for you and your needs if you would listen to Him more than you trust your church family. Love your adorable enthusiasm but not your destructive childish behavior. You can stay or leave but I would suggest that you ask to empathize in the nature of Jesus’ love more than you condemn what you do not know. Love you! Peace!

  • GBass

    being killed in the streets over your religion is persecution. being arrested over your beliefs is persecution. Using your religion to tell people what to do is persecution. someone calling you a name is not persecution, it’s freedom of speech

  • Adrienne Kliger

    Please remember that much of what our past administrations have done, particularly in but not limited to, the middle east has been neither Christian nor good for America. The very sad fact that most Americans have no knowledge of the foreign policy history of their country is dangerous, if not convenient for maintaining a false sense of puzzlement over why we continue to live in strife with others. Since world war one the number of dishonest covert actions against other peoples has marched along in lockstep with the willful ignorance of the population. This in no way negates the many heroic and generous acts our government and military have performed. But to love your country, to be truly patriotic, you must look squarely at all of its acts and not turn away, nor make excuses. We are so large and so powerful, both militarily and economically, that it’s all the more important to honestly acknowledge our sins and put them right. We have the ability to cause vast amounts of damage to the world if we don’t. Read, read, read about what has been done in our name! Be proud of all the good but please acknowledge the wrongs and be vigilant against committing them again! First to not hurt others in other countries in order to gain for ourselves, and also in order to not bring hurt down upon ourselves from the retribution of those we’ve harmed. Not having informed ourselves is no excuse. Choosing to deny our history will make us feel better temporarily, but understanding our mistakes will keep us safe in the long run.

  • Alex Keith

    I don’t think it’s a condemnation of Jesus so much as the politicization of Christ and religion.

  • Timothy Weston

    If a Christian can take injunctions against forced sex and turn it into a ban on homosexuality, they can also find ways to get out of the simple command to love their enemies. What will it take to strip away the nationalism that has infiltrated American Christian thought? That is what keeps Christians justified in not loving their enemies.

  • Jesus was killed upon a Roman cross by a Roman governor by Roman authority.

  • Guy Norred

    I assure you that most LGBT would really prefer to not have that attention.

  • Oh yes, I crave the attention of a possible gay bashing every time I step foot outside.

  • Ripkin

    Very good Timothy! Agree with you 100%. With the American church Nationalism trumps Jesus.

  • Joey Kirby

    It’s a small example of how enourmous it can get. It really gets out of hand from what I’ve read from numerous posts. Harrassment on someone’s beliefs is also persecution. If people can not have a civilized conversation about their beliefs, or otherwise, without name-calling, then the subject might just be too big for them to begin with. If, for example, what I say offends people, though there isn’t any direct attack on any person/religion, then the freedom of speech needs to be re-evaluated by that person. Usually freedom of speech only gets mentioned when it’s in accordance to one’s beliefs. Name-calling isn’t freedom of speech, it can go a lot further than that. You can go to jail over calling someone a bitch. Discussing our beliefs is freedom of speech. Huge difference.

  • T. Daniel Wright

    Joey – just on one aspect of your post – I think you’re confusing, “don’t believe in gay marriage” with “seeking to deny people the right to marry”. It makes little difference to me if you “believe” in it, it does matter to me if you actively oppose/vote/impose that belief on me. Much of the negative publicity that Christians receive is due to the many years Christianity has been misused as a political tool/weapon against people who heretofore have been unable to fight back. Peace.

  • Joey Kirby

    A prime example of one who doesn’t know how to have good conversation without elementary insults. Oh no, I just don’t know what I’m going to do now. And a bully you say? We’re on a blog about Christian persecution and that’s exactly what I was talking about. Who’s bullying who? Give me a break. I wasn’t insulted by anyone’s comments, but you however should learn how to deal with other people’s opinions and move on.

  • Joey Kirby

    I can not oppose/vote/impose anything on you. I do not know you. I can have that belief without going out with pitchforks on a mission. Nor do I believe in anyone doing so. I only mentioned that because in saying I’m a Christian, someone mentioned gay marriage to me. I said “IF I don’t believe in gay marriage”. But my beliefs are my beliefs. I don’t inforce them on anyone and mentioning it here isn’t going to bring anything to this conversation or even what I was writing on this whole thing to begin with. If I want to speak to someone about Jesus and they are willing to listen, then great. If not, then I will not push it. However, this is still way off topic of my original post. Christians are being persecuted and that’s a fact. That’s not to say that other people are not persecuted. But that’s a different topic, correct? It’s just that you don’t hear much about Christian persecution and a lot of people don’t care. Thank you for your reply.

  • trinielf

    When the Gospels were written, Christianity was an underdog, minority sect, heavily persecuted by a seeming all powerful Roman Empire. That is NOT the case today.

    America is an offshoot of what has been over 1500 years of often brutal, inhumane, oppressive Christian imperial dominance in Europe and a Church/State in England. As a result, Christians had long become accustomed to being the overloads of others. Their views were given special treatment and not questioned. All one had to say was, “I am a Christian man!” and this carried a weight of automatic assumption of respectability and trustworthiness. They enjoyed automatic superiority and domain over other cultures which simply for being non-Christian were deemed inferior with nothing important, virtuous or ethical to teach society (which we are now realizing was a big mistake as many indigenous cultures had far more wisdom about MANY things we are only now realizing could have saved us a lot of grief, like treating the planet as if we are interconnected with it, the power of plants as medicine, accepting that gender anomalies are a natural manifestation and should not be ill-treated but given a welcome place within the tribe, that it takes a village to raise a child and in that way there is no need for things like orphanages, that it is idiotic to have one person with plenty while the others starve) and so Christians sought to presumptuously rob them of their culture to “save them” using some of the most inhumane means. While taking their land, enslaving them and raping their women. You see absolute Power CORRUPTS.

    That kind of supremacist position and dominionist ideology is very hard to break now that we have been FORCED to “live and let live” by secular values which deem ALL EQUAL regardless of religion and the ongoing revelations of science which now trumps the pre-scientific limited knowledge of iron-age Palestinians regarding the planet and human beings.

    Some of the first beneficiaries of this new-found Enlightenment and the secular mandate it spawned were Christian sects like the Baptists who were being persecuted by the mainline Anglican sects, during the colonial era. Their preachers used to be thrown in jail or put in stocks or charged a fine. Roman Catholics as well were having a hard time in a predominantly Protestant early America. Separation of Church and State gave them freedom. The First Amendment gave them freedom.

    Now sadly, they and other new Evangelical offshoots have forgotten this and are returning to a Dominionist point of view because they cannot sustain their numbers without Government favoring THEIR particular sect’s theological viewpoint and enforcing it on EVERYONE. They cannot survive without the traditional tyranny that gave them their hey day. They cannot survive in an age of free and open information and scientific inquiry. What does this say about their religion being about FREE WILL if they need to FORCE the will of others through actual coercive and censorship measures ?

  • Disclaimer: I am a faculty member at MNU but certainly am not speaking for anyone but myself here.

    I want to disagree with the statement that Dr. Beckum’s sermon “really upset the student and faculty population”. There was, in fact, only a small proportion of the student population that was upset with Dr. Beckum’s sermon. I have yet to hear of a single faculty member that was upset, quite the opposite.

  • AJ
  • queenknitter

    There are scores of stories like this.

  • Guy Norred

    I pray none of us ever forget that at one point or another, we have been acutely aware of a lack of privilege and use it this to be honest with ourselves and fair to others should we find the situation to change.

  • “we should be patriots doing our duty for our community”

    That depends on your definition of duty, I think. If you think it’s your duty to feed the poor and heal the sick in your community, then yes, I agree. If you think it is your duty to kill people in other countries because your government says they’re a threat to your lifestyle, I STRONGLY disagree. Thou shalt not kill doesn’t have an exception clause.

  • Irish856

    Joey… WOW… First, Alaa Alsegh is not a Christian… he is Muslim… No Christian was persecuted… Indeed More Jews and Muslims have hate crimes from Christians then the other way around.
    I am not sure where you live; but near me there are positive stories in the news daily dealing with all Religions. We sometimes miss them because they are so common. Articles like the protest group are so uncommon they stick out in our mind… Sad that a group like that gets to say they are Christian, since they have perverted what the Bible says.
    There is much more persecution between Christians then against us by non Christians… This story is a prime example of that.
    50 years ago this week… Christians in Selma Al. were murdered by others who called themselves Christians… Other Christians burned (and still do) crosses on the lawn of other Christians, due to the color of their skin. the list goes on.

  • The problem is this: You’re judging. Hard. You’re deciding who is doing it right and who is doing it wrong. Remember judge not lest ye be judged?

    Further, there’s the problem no one gets it right all the time. So are they Real Christians? Or are they sometimes Fake Christians? Or something else?

    If there is a large contingent of people who we think are just not doing it right, it would be a whole lot more effective to look within our churches to see what is allowing that to flourish and call it out when we see it. Just saying, “Oh, that’s not us. That’s something else” absolves us from our responsibility to do something about it.

  • How exactly is being gay persecuting anyone? Love is never a persecution. Ever. What you are doing is not love. What they are doing is. I am praying for you.

  • God loves everyone. Why are you being so intolerant?

  • ccaffrey

    I wish it were just nationalism…but it is also their doctrine clenched so tight that even abused children aren’t spared being suffocated by it. The following reporting has me so upset I can barely contain myself. I have already put a call into a national center for child traumatic stress to see if they can’t intervene. http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2015/03/05/3627571/faith-refugee-contraception/

  • Joey Kirby

    Sorry about the confusion, he was listed in part of the hate crimes that I mentioned above and I quoted all of that paragragh. Yes, hate crimes against Christians do exist. It’s very sad that it goes almost unrecognized. I never said that there aren’t so called Christians that commit crimes against other Christians or anyone else. Actually I said that there were. But I’m also speaking of crimes against Christians by non Christians which is almost invisible to the public eye. Christians are one of the most bullied, hated people there are. Just in this one comment I made I’ve gotten several comments speaking against me. And though that’s just a minor thing, and OK even, Christians are greatly attacked for our many beliefs, so much that we’re being shut down more and more. I’ve been personally verbally attackd by people, even family, for being a Christian, mostly because they knew of my past. And I had not pushed anything on them to provoke it. They simply did not like seeing my posts on Facebook, as lame as that may sound. So, they “let me have it”. I wasn’t always a Christian. And I don’t hate or love people any more or less. I just love God more than I did. But, as Christians, we tend to get “watched” for any mistakes because they are surely to be threw up in our face. However, it was my choice and I do not regret it. And I’m not going to belly ache about it. But I will stand up for myself, especially when things I say are taken out of context. It’s getting to the point where everyone BUT Christians will have freedom of speech. It’s happening more and more. It never seems OK to offend anyone, except for Chritians or God. My point was earlier that just because it’s not being flashed all over the media doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Sometimes you just have to dig for stories. It’s happening a lot more than you think. You only hear more of the Christian on Christian crimes or Christian on Muslim, or Christian on gays, than any real Christian persecution. That’s why I don’t watch a lot of news. They feed people what they want to and that’s that.

  • T. Daniel Wright

    Couple things – yeah, you can kind of impose some things on me. If you support the continual fight against marriage equality, that is an imposition on millions. That said, if you don’t vote/support that position through action, money or campaigns and simply don’t “believe in it” then you’re right – no imposition for your personal beliefs. :) Secondly – Maybe it’s because I’m from an evangelical background, but my Facebook feed is constantly filled with stories about Christians being silenced/intimidated/bullied, and/or underrepresented, so I think people “hear” about them a lot. Especially Christians – which is one of the points made in the blogpost. Most of the time, I think it’s simply Christians not being accustomed to their opinions being viewed by the public at large as unpopular. However, of course, real cases of persecution are indeed sad, troubling and sometimes horrible. But the prevailing theme of this article is ‘political Christianity’ which serves neither politics or Christ very well. IMO

  • Miguel Rullán

    Powerful.

  • Joey Kirby

    I agree. I touched base on that “kind” of persecution because it can all tie in together and some don’t recognize it. Although of course the most heinous crimes against Christians are not in this country and that would be another subject too. I love a good discussion though, but sometimes, or maybe all the time, conversations online isn’t the best route to take. So many things are taken out of context. We can’t hear the tone of each other’s voice for one thing. But I guess I’m quick to defend Christianity as a whole because, though not all are “good” or “real Christians” we are all looked at as one in the same. The churches I’ve been to would welcome anyone with open arms. We do tell about our flaws. Not just the past, but things of the present. I don’t know many, if any, Christians who would persecute another (personally). We know of love for Christ, each other, and our enemy. Though truly loving your enemy would take a lot of thought and practice. If someone came into my house and harmed my child they would be my enemy, and I would have a hard time loving them. May not ever. People of other beliefs though, are not my enemy.

  • nabil89

    so why did the university fire him??
    A Nazarene from Lebanon, the Middle East

  • Brandon Roberts

    Amen!

  • Phlegon

    It does have an exception clause, as a more accurate translation of the commandment would be ‘Thou shalt not murder’. That means, defensive killing is still on the table, and by extension, defensive war.

  • Christina Carruthers

    This unfortunately is true … peace and love to you all

  • Not according to Matthew 5. Jesus specifically forbids that, which removes all hint at exception clauses from the OT.

  • Well done, Benjamin.

  • Eruanion Nolaquen

    I often find myself being told, by Christians, that my way of behaving is very bad. Giving gifts to Angel Tree kids, is bad, because their parents don’t need the help; Adopting my daughter (she “adopted” me as her father figure) was bad because I am not married, so I am living in sin with an unmarried woman; Treating people, all people, the same way; being kind to children, which some people believe makes me a pedophile (I don’t even touch the kids, I just joke with them, and treat their conversations as serious matters). Yet, it is always Christians who believe the worst of me, or of others.

  • Antisocial Antisocialist

    Both the Jews and the Romans killed Jesus.

  • Reaganite Seventy-three

    Agreed that Dr. Beckum shouldn’t have lost his job due to his point of view, even though that point of view is open to criticism. The same for this blog post, which puzzles me in a number of ways.

    I wonder what you (Corey) are referring to when you write about “our lust for violence and military conquests.” Do you consider the North at war with the South over slavery this way? Fighting against Hitler and Tojo in defense of democracy? What “conquests” are you thinking of? Wars America has fought have been wars of defense or liberation, have they not?

    And what of the present strain of virulent anti-western Islamofascism? Do you advocate we lay down and surrender all the hard-won freedoms and liberties that the Judeo-Christian west has given the world? Should those Christians in the Middle East who have not been beheaded yet surrender to the same fate?

    When you write “The civil political religion named Christianity is addicted to both political power and violence, and thus finds the message of Jesus offensive” to whom are you referring? Could you possibly be referring to limited government, Christian conservatives like me? If so, maybe you haven’t figured out that it’s the left side of the political spectrum that lusts after ever more “political power” and control over more and more aspects of all our daily activities.

    Call me puzzled about your post and what, exactly, you’re talking about.

  • He had to type louder, mid-sentence, when the fire alarm went off.

  • First, a point of clarification (not a defense of either side). Dr. Beckum had two positions at the university for several years – VP of Community Formation and University Chaplain. He has been “relieved” of his VP position but is still the MNU Chaplain.

    Second, all I can really say with confidence is that it was not because MNU students and faculty were upset with his sermon. I’m not in a position to say why this has happened but I’m pretty sure that the particular reason given in this blog post is not correct; it wasn’t the students and faculty.

  • Ron McPherson

    Thanks a lot Ben. I just spewed my coffee everywhere : ))

  • Ron McPherson

    Or a prideful one, or a gossiping one, or a fat one : )

  • I doubt he was relieved because of students or faculty as well- it was most likely a push from the power holders, i.e, the folks who donate/control the money.

  • Ron McPherson

    My sins killed him.

  • Jimcima

    Really? “Wars America has fought have been wars of defense or liberation”?

    You seriously can’t think of any counter examples? Not a single one?

  • Reaganite Seventy-three

    I gave two to support my view. To which I could add many more. Do you recall WW I? Philippines? Cuba? Korea? Vietnam? More recently Afghanistan and Iraq? Etc., etc. The list is long.

    Please name one “counter example,” i.e., where the U.S. conquered to subjugate.

  • Herm

    Reaganite 73, just this, your call to war, is sufficient to illustrate “lust for violence and military conquests”. You are diluted in your vague references that clearly are to please the evolved logic of your family (Luke 14:26, 27) and not nearly the Spirit of God. You are defending your nation in Cheneyesque fashion as though God (of Whom you did not reference as your God here) were powerless. You may have read the Bible but you clearly have not found the peace and joy when listening to our Word in your heart and mind. You do not accept Christ Jesus as your Lord but clearly reminisce over the good old days trusting the lord of Iran Contra. Vietnam, Iraq and Panama were not even close to “wars of defense or liberation”.

    I would suggest you contemplate Matthew 16:25 more than your navy. It is clear to many why we are inclined to “call” you “puzzled about” this “post and what, exactly,” Mr. Corey is “talking about”.

    Father forgive her/him for (s)he does not know what (s)he does! Love you and hurt for your egotistical ignorance.

    Mankind as one species is in the image of God according to the record of the beginning. Check into altruism and you might then understand the power of the cross over the power of the sword! Thanks for an example of what Ben is speaking to!

  • Herm

    Iraq!

  • Charles Kiker

    One more! The Mexican War 1848, following which the US got all what is now the SW United States. And another, the Spanish American War in which the US got Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Phillipines. And in the late 1800s the US invaded Hawaii, overthrew the government there, and annexed it as an American territory. And how about all the Indian wars?

  • Of all the beliefs that I hold… of all the things that I believe being a Christian places an imperative on me to do… being a pacifist is by far the most controversial. I don’t just get idle threats of Hell for that one; I’ve gotten actual real death threats.

  • The United States was entirely built on conquest. After the 13 Colonies rejected the Royal Proclamation of 1763 (which established that there was no right of conquest, but rather, that further Westward expansion would have to be purchased by treaty with Native people), they launched a Revolutionary War that involved kicking out anybody who didn’t support it. Then they went to war with the Native American nations, and Canada, and Mexico. And then Spain and Hawaii. Now that it would be passe to engage in overt conquest and assimilation, America’s interest has been in violent expansion of its sphere of influence, as we all saw in Iraq. Even supposedly clear examples like WWII are more ambiguous than people accept. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was not a state: it was an occupied territory.

  • Ripkin

    Cory, if it is any consolation, the same is true for me. Being a pacifist and speaking out against the violence at the core of our History (past wars) and the current day violence we perpetrate in the middle east and the violence we as a nation and Christian church condone and support for Israel in its ruthless and bloody violence against the Palestinians of the west bank and Gaza strip.

  • Alder Lockwood

    You missed an important word in the your listing of “The civil political religion named Christianity is addicted to both political power and violence, and” ‘wealth’.

  • Robin Ludvig Isomaa

    It seems like Dr. Beckum stole his speech from a Bill Maher monologue…

  • Bruce Oldham

    I taught at MNU a few years back. Great sermon by Randy and ill-advised decision (at best) by the president. But the article misstated the situation at some points and left out key elements at others. I’m not sure if that was done to serve your purpose or you were not privy to better information.

  • Guy Norred

    You owe me the coffee I just spit out laughing. ;-)

  • Joey Kirby

    As a Christian, you cannot tell someone they do not accept Jesus as their Lord. That is not your place. I, too am wondering who exactly is being talked about here. Who’s to decide the line between a real Christian a fake one? Only God. Though I do believe there are those who believe what they want without going by what Jesus says, even those in power, attacking each other isn’t going to make things better. It actually makes things worse. Especially if you really thought that he wasn’t a Christian, as you should know. So who is being talked about? Someone who loves Christ and believes whole-heartedly that they should fight for our freedom? Someone who loves Christ and wants world peace? I know the obvious answer to that is the political Christians who just want power, but who’s to say the intentions of every American who wants war? Even a long-time Christian is still lacking all the answers; just imagine a new Christian, just having accepted Christ as their Lord, what all they still need to learn. It infuriates me to see a Christian bash another Christian, or anyone else, when they’re speaking in the name of Jesus. The blog is about two different kinds of Christians, those who want power/doesn’t really follow Jesus, and those who want to be Christ-like. If those are our only choices, tell me, which one are you? Being you have defended this blog to the point of insulting another person?

  • mnich13

    He was holding two positions at the school, and he only lost one. He’s still the chaplain. He wasn’t fired.

  • Kevin Thomas

    He was from the first position…right?

  • EdwardWJones

    The number one excuse christians use when they hear of something ‘they’ do not like is “that is not christian”. The fact is religion is a mental drug, the gateway to all drugs, it blocks intelligence. Religion should not be persecuted, it needs to go away forever. All wars then, and in our future were, and will be from religious nut heads.

  • Kevin Thomas

    As a Follower of Jesus– I agree!

  • Kevin Thomas

    Tell us more..

  • No. Read the Sermon on the Mount again. We are to love our enemies and to turn the other cheek. Now I’d probably break the rules to prevent my own death or that of my loved ones, but that is because I don’t have the courage to be a pacifist in all situations. But I can’t justify with scripture.

  • Herm

    Joey, you stated, “As a Christian, you cannot tell someone they do not accept Jesus as their Lord. That is not your place.”

    Who told you this to tell me? Surely not God. Refer to scripture references below. I love you Joey as well as Reaganite 73 for your sincerity and caring to be right. For that reason I wield the sword from my mouth and not from my sheath.

    Christian means “Christ like” and/or “little Christ”. When did Jesus set the example by going to war to defend or liberate? When did Jesus advocate a nation going to war against another nation? How did He lead to fight the war against evil?

    What I stated was very true as none of us can serve two masters. In your heart and mind are you in allegiance to the government of the USA, to the government of Christ Jesus or to both? You know the scripture and know by that you cannot be in allegiance to both, right? As one who understands this to be so and accepts in full allegiance Jesus as my Lord with full authority over Heaven and Earth, my Servant, my Brother, my Rabbi and my Mentor today I can, and will, tell who is or is not accepting Jesus as their Lord by their fruits. Would it be loving of me to remain silent while watching a spirit counter to Jesus’ authority usurp rule over one who is claiming membership as Jesus like?

    All that is necessary to remove all doubt as to what I am saying is to receive directly in your heart and mind the commands of Jesus. Then we can discuss each of our unique perspectives focused by the heart and mind of Jesus as one with ours bonded in love. The hard won freedom we have is no longer, for over two thousand years now, dependent on subservience to top down government. We are free to live eternally by following our Lord Jesus who first served us by winning that freedom on the cross. Any Christ like human being would be willing to do the same to win the same freedom for her/his enemy. Reaganite 73 is, by his/her fruits, not willing but rather chooses first to win and protect his/her freedom at the cost of his/her nation’s children as one army egotistically for the freedom of only her/his nation, over and over again. The Father altruistically chooses to win all mankind’s freedom at the cost of His children one at a time on the cross.

    “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:34-39

    “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-27

    “He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”” Revelation 19:13-16

    Thank you Joey for the daring to tell me what I could or could not tell another! Love you!

  • l3leach

    Christians don’t have control over their brutal governments any more than anyone else did now or before, though it was Christian culture that has tamed government to some degree for modern people. I haven’t seen our government giving much special favor to Christians, but it’s certainly using them like it does to everyone.

  • Noah

    It is if it’s because of beliefs. In any direction.

  • One of the Christians’ enemies says God lives within you as you. It would do them so much good to love that One.

  • Noah

    So, being bullied isn’t being persecuted? Right.

    Being called a name because of your beliefs – is persecution. Being treated differently because of your beliefs is persecution.

    Seriously, check out the definition.

    It’s not an important issue in the scheme of things, but it’s also how things often start.

  • яовэят ёскэят

    Matt. 13:3-8

  • яовэят ёскэят

    And you have not noticed yourself doing the same?

  • Herm

    “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Matthew 6:24

  • Right… cause Bill Maher preaches following Jesus and loving enemies…

  • trinielf

    The Church RULED Europe for quite a few centuries. NOTHING happened without their involvement. They do have FULL responsibility and accountability for everything they did in those societies.

    I do agree that Christians are being used by politicians whose REAL master is corporate wealth.

  • Irene David

    Christians who speak out for peace and do not wrap their Bible up in the American flag are routinely belittled. Articles like this are so disheartening….but not near as disheartening as the hateful comments that will be posted regarding the article. Christianity TODAY has a lot to answer for. We are so hateful with each other, is it any wonder that so much of the world wants nothing to do with us.

  • theprozacqueen

    That’s how it’s been for me too…I think a lot of how people react to talk about religion comes from how you approach it. Talking about it as something that is a good force in your life that you like to share with others is completely different from trying to convert everyone you meet by beating them over head. My managers have all known the difference.

    Being willing to listen as well as talk goes a long way too. I think that’s something a lot of the “I’m being persecuted!” Christians Ben’s talked about would do well to learn.

  • Yes & they know we are christians by our HATE!

  • Joey Kirby

    First let’s look at judging believers. As you probably know the verses can sometimes get twisted, especially when it comes to judging one another. People love to use Matthew 7 “judge not, least you be judged”. But John 7:24 says “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment”.

    Of course this is all for believers judging believers. None of us are righteous, but God, so we use His Word. (This is why I have to right to tell you). You say you are a believer and so am I . It’s for helping one another.

    However, you claimed that this man was not a Christian, even though he said he was. You were going by his questions of what kinds of Christians were being discussed. He called himself a conservative Christian. But you took it upon yourself to tell him he hadn’t accepted Christ Jesus as his Lord. Did he tell you he didn’t? I didn’t read anything that said he had not, not by his words or imply it in any way. What gave you that right to judge him so? If he were not a Christian, then you shouldn’t make that judgment anyway. Corinthians 5;12 “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges”.

    So, either he’s a Christian and shouldn’t be told he’s not, or he isn’t a Christian and shouldn’t be judged by you. You, as a Christian, I can talk to about that and that’s why I can tell you.

    It’s not like either one of us are being very Christ-like right now anyway, for God does not want us to quarrel. God bless

  • Shannon Looper

    Check out the facebook group The Christian Left. They are just like Dr Beckum.

  • religion as a drug? yes definately! rehabilitation & recovery are possible and preferable I think.

  • theprozacqueen

    Yep…Ben has called people out on this several times, and I humbly agree.

    (To Ben and others, if they’re reading)
    I wonder…I could have missed it, but where do you live? A lot of the things you’ve described in your posts about Evangelical culture are very common here in the Bible Belt parts of the country, save some bigger cities. I’ve heard the fussing about gay marriage and equating non supporting Bush (it was mostly him) with not really loving God so much it’s scary, but my friends from Up North or bigger places like Atlanta think this stuff is stupid and weird.

  • Richelle Koeppe

    Sadly, Christians are destroying the religion from the inside…they don’t have to worry about the secular world or Muslim extremists destroying it…

  • Al Cruise

    We are OK as long as we have separation of Church and State. Everyone reflect for a minute, if right wing Christian fundamentalism defined and executed crime and punishment in this country, what would our society look like.

  • i think there are consequenses to not loving enemies; a syndrome of a cycle of bondage to fear & violence that turns ppl into objects & objectifiers.

  • P J Evans

    Most of those are not wars of liberation. You need better sources of information.

  • One of my seminary professors regularly talked about “the Cult of the Goddess Columbia” (Columbia being the personification of America) and warned us that (a) the Cult would be present to some extent in our churches, no matter where in the USA we went, and (b) attempting to dismantle said Cult could be dangerous to your employment, because (c) the Cult has been amazingly thorough in disguising itself as Christianity.

  • Reaganite Seventy-three

    The original post and so many comments here reflect a view of America that seems from the Howard Zinn leftist take on history. That is, America is evil and the source of so many of the world’s problems. Our country is, of course, not perfect. Nor could anyone expect it to be. But it’s exceptional because of its founding based on individual liberty (although getting less so today), and it’s the world’s one indispensable nation (although becoming less so by the day).

    It’s sad that so many of you seem to scoff at the notion that America is that shining city on the hill. But it’s downright tragic that we elected–twice–a like-minded man of the far left. The world is starting to understand the price to be paid when America retreats, what with Iran soon to possess nuclear warheads to put on its ICBMs. Not to mention ISIS, Russia, etc. Peace comes when the good are strong. I don’t think many of you have learned that important lesson.

    I saw a truck today sporting a big bumper sticker that read: “Netanyahu, Hitler’s clone.” I wonder if some of you (Herm?) could possibly agree with that. Such epic ignorance, stupidity and malevolence make me fear for the future.

  • Gematizoieighthday

    I think that separation of Church and State – as currently (mis)understood – does not exist in the US. Case in point: the US ranks 5th in the world for executions – guess who our running mates are? China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq. The Fundamentalists in the US are just the other side of the Muslim (or in China’s case, Communist) Fundamentalist coin.

  • Reaganite Seventy-three

    Thanks for these comments, Joey.

  • Reaganite Seventy-three

    Oh, really? Which of the countries I named is governed by the U.S.?

    And I didn’t even mention the Cold War, where America’s strength and steadfastness resulted in liberation of the many millions who’d been caught behind the Iron Curtain.

  • Reaganite Seventy-three

    Please tell me how North America (and the world) would be better had the events you mentioned not happened.

    Ditto for your comment, Mr. Kiker.

  • Reaganite Seventy-three

    And (d) “Goddess Columbia” is so much more evil than, say, Mother Russia, the People’s Republic of N. Korea, the Ayatolahs’ Iran, or the Castros’ Cuba, to name just a few. Sarcasm intended. Obviously, you and your professor have swallowed Howard Zinn’s view of history. Please see my other comments, below.

  • Jon Ripley

    Why waste your time on imaginary constructs, such as gods?

  • Kevin Thomas

    And….?

  • Al Cruise

    Agreed, but we do have a level of freedom to discuss these issues that does not exist in the countries you mention. Punishment here for speaking out is most often loss of employment or discredit of character as in the case of Dr Beckum. Some of the countries you mention the punishment is death, imprisonment, torture and such. Yes there is a long way to go, and I feel there is progress, however it is slow. There is enough separation to keep hope alive, I feel.

  • Sapient

    Christianity in the U.S. has become synonymous with fear, intolerance, willful ignorance, disdain for education, knowledge and science, racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, child molestation and rape, sexual obsession, an extreme hatred of Islam and general hatred of every other religion, blind rage, terrorist attacks, and threats of violence and murder. That’s not a group any sane or rational person would ever want to associate with, nor does it even remotely resemble the teachings of Jesus. You reap what you sow and religious extremists are sowing their own rapid demise.

  • Joey Kirby

    You’re welcome

  • Luke T. Harrington

    Ooh! Burn! Take that, religion!

  • Luke T. Harrington

    I must have missed the part of Scripture that commands us to worship whatever empire is the least evil.

  • Thank you for informing me of your sarcasm; I would never have noticed it on my own, because it was so incredibly subtle and nuanced.

    You seem to be operating under the assumption that one should only ever criticize something if it is the worst ever. That’s the only way your comment could be interpreted as being even slightly relevant to what I said. You are suggesting that one cannot confront idolatry if there is worse idolatry anywhere in the world. It’s an interesting stance to take… and interesting is the only kind thing I can say about it.

  • Liberated those caught behind the iron curtain? I was there– just less than 36 hours ago, and the overwhelming theme we heard was, “gee, we sure do miss communism- we had no idea capitalism would leave us starving to death at the hands of the rich.”

    The wars we fight are not for liberation, they are for our own power, interests, and financial goals. And, it’s starting to backfire on us- we are to blame for ISIS coming to power and the growth of terrorism, both of which are direct results of our own violent endeavors.

  • I am currently in Virginia, before that North Carolina, and before that Arizona. From my experience, it seems more prevalent in the Bible Belt, though it was also certainly present in what I jokingly refer to as “the Godless West.” It’s just that in Arizona it had more of a counter-culture sort of flavor, as opposed to the primary culture feel in the Bible Belt.

  • Maybe it was from a lost chapter of Matthew or something.

  • Herm

    Joey, I know that you intend well and trying hard to be the warm and fuzzy Jesus like character my mother warmed me up with to Christianity. It is not warm and fuzzy on the cross. I’ve picked mine up and Paul lived to accept his in the form of a beheading. Paul knew this in his heart and mind when he wrote to the Corinthians. Read the full 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 in context: “For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge? God will judge those outside. “Drive out the wicked person from among you.” ”

    I am not staying silent. I am saying it is not Christ like to crusade around the world through wars fought for self defense or liberation, most especially in the name of Christ. If those claiming Christian membership, with silent Jews, had not fought for and/or supported the Nazi regime there would be a whole lot more Jews and more alive today as well as Hitler could not have sustained his most destructive (evil) egotistical power. That is where we win win in Jesus name by throwing down the sword to pick up the cross. It breaks the cycle of retribution and retaliation. Jesus saved us from that endless cycle of sacrificed mortality by His cross and His forgiveness. Jesus became Lord of all Heaven and Earth right after that until the end of eternity.

    What you are advocating is telling the world that they were right all along because the true Christian state of the USA invaded Iraq to force Christianity on the Muslims just like our fore-fathers did to the native Americans, just like so many popes did in the same arena as Iraq. Jesus denounced those in His church who were not following the lead and commands of His Father.

    Too many members of the Christian churches in America are simply and clearly not Christ like even when they claim to be. They are not children of God because they had the sacrament of baptism performed on them, sprinkled or immersed. Children of God, and there are many, are baptized full time by the Holy Spirit in their hearts and minds. We have a High Priest who can directly anoint anyone, any where and any place He pleases in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Your arguments are self protective church arguments allowing all who pay their entry fee to claim they are little Christs when they are the opposite; not in communion with the Advocate for God and Their children.

    If Jesus tells me clearly in my heart and mind that it is wicked to kill my enemy then I would be remiss to not drive out the wicked in His church who do kill with their sword by wielding the sword from my mouth, in His example. How do you explain all the woes expressing grief Jesus verbally directed at those within His church?

    Joey, the very scripture you drew upon says to judge those within and to drive out those who are wicked to the cause of Jesus. I had no intention of carrying this to this point but you left me no room.

    Can you at least understand how I am prepared to die that Reaganite 73, you, I, my fellow children of God, and all my enemies might live?

    Brothers and sisters argue and judge one another that the family might grow stronger from their shared truth in love and concern for one another. Little children of God have an eternity before they will know it all so there is yet a lot to discuss under the tutelage of our eldest Brother beginning today.

    Today we can be perfect, really, each of us can but not the wicked who mislead God’s otherwise little children by usurping our Lord’s capable authority.

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48

    Thanks Joey!

  • M2ping

    Actually Sapient…the opposite. Born again Christians are very few of these name calling names as you have shown. In 62 years I have never experienced a person who has the Holy Spirit and a relationship in Jesus ever worry about a relationship in religion. Now do they love the relationship in Christ? Oh yeah. Religion will not get anyone sealed in the Book of Life. I’ve seen Mormons, Muslims,Atheist and religious people get truly saved into a relationship in the Messiah that came 2000 years ago He who Sits on the right hand side of His Father, and is patient for even one like you to come and accept them. Please do!

  • Herm

    M2ping, actually to the world “Christianity in the U.S. has become synonymous with fear, intolerance, willful ignorance, disdain for education, knowledge and science, racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, child molestation and rape, sexual obsession, an extreme hatred of Islam and general hatred of every other religion, blind rage, terrorist attacks, and threats of violence and murder.” It is our empathy and compassion for the whole world, not just “Born again Christians”, that determine the fruits of Christianity in the USA. I have known very many born again Christians throughout the world who have enthusiastically crucified what they did not know. I am happy for you that you have not had to witness that behavior as a card carrying member of Christianity.

  • Shannon

    I followed that group enthusiastically for a while, but then felt that maybe the focus leaned more toward reacting to right wing issues than being proactive about Jesus. Just my opinion. I think it is more important than ever for progressive Christians to take the high road in our discussions.

  • do you have a god or gods in mind or imagination of your own? If you do what is he/she/it like?

  • yes! the “goddess” is the same entity in all countries I think she just goes by a different name.

  • M2ping

    Can’t agree with most of what you’ve said…..but that’s ok. Are you born again?

  • Herm

    Thanks for your reply. I am a 70 year old child of God born in the Spirit.

  • Reaganite Seventy-three

    Sorry, who said those of us who love our country and recognize its exceptional nature “worship” it? Can’t we just appreciate the good things about it even while we recognize its imperfections? That’s quite different than the ugly loathing that comes from so many of you, including Mr. Corey.

  • Reaganite Seventy-three

    Please explain to me how love of country is idolatry? Do you think it impossible to love God above all things and still love other things?

  • *sigh* I have to go through this every time. I’m not talking about “love of country.” I’m talking about loving a country so much that you actively ignore the commands of Jesus. Which, incidentally, is what Ben and Dr. Beckum were talking about, too. And if you can’t see how that’s idolatry, then there’s no way for me to show it to you.

  • Reaganite Seventy-three

    “We are to blame for ISIS…” A more contemptible statement does not appear on this page. I feel sorry for you that you could hold such views.

  • Herm

    “exceptional”? to what?

    Mankind in its entirety is in the image of God according to the chronicled beginning you imply you subscribe to. Jesus died that mankind might live, not the USA. The USA is a thing with equally as many imperfections as most other nations that the vast majority of the rest of the image of God is born into with no choice. To claim exceptionalism for a nation is idolizing that nation above others. We either serve our nation of mostly inherited citizenship or we serve our Lord Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds. Just can’t have it both ways.

  • Wow… do you mind if I borrow this?

  • Wait, so who did we defend/liberate in World War One? I seem to recall the Allied Powers being on the side of the assassins who killed Archduke Ferdinand (who, incidentally, was in favor of granting autonomy to oppressed ethnic groups within his empire and addressing their grievances, and who was in favor of delicate diplomacy rather than violent conflict), and on the side of the same Mother Russia that you elsewhere point to as an example of an evil country. Who were we defending? Who did we liberate?

  • I envy your gift of brevity, Benjamin. You have a talent for taking deep, problematic issues and summing them up succinctly. Thank you. You’ve helped me identify the real reason I cringe every time I read patriotic/Christian memes and Facebook slogan postings. These things always bring to mind the stridency of the Pharisees.

  • Joey Kirby

    Herm, first of all, belittling my character isn’t a great way to have a discussion with me. When I say belittling, I mean “warm, fuzzy Jesus like Character”, as if I’m oblivious to the hard core truths about the wrath of God. If you call loving one another warm and fuzzy then so be it. Secondly, I have read the full context of 5:12-13, and I was specifically speaking of judgment. We all judge, otherwise we wouldn’t know right from wrong. So we agree on that.

    Actually, I agree on a lot of what you say. Jesus wants us to be Christ-like. To be Christ-like we have to, first of all, love Him. We have to follow Him. There are so many things to discuss about loving God and what the Bible says that you and I would never get around to. This brings me to my point though. You said “Your arguments are self protective church arguments allowing all who pay their entry fee to claim they are little Christs when they are the opposite; not in communion with the Advocate for God and Their children”. You’re telling me that defending church members is basically a sin. If you were to sit in a church with thousands of members, would you walk around after the sermon to interview them on their views of the world? If you found members who were not as loyal to God as you thought they should be, would you have them expelled from the church? Churches are full of sinners. There are some who whole-heartedly want to serve God and bring more people to Christ and share their love for Him with others. There are those who go and don’t know exactly what they’re doing there, but they want to learn. There are those who’ve heard the Word, accepted Christ as Lord and savior, and waiting patiently to find out what’s next because their intentions are to serve the Lord to the best of their ability, but they may not yet be equipped. And then there are the ones in which you speak of; the ones in sheep’s clothing.

    You say be perfect as God is perfect. Perfectionism
    isn’t the same to God as it is to us. When Jesus died for us, we were then able to rest in Him. It is by Grace we are saved, not by our “perfect” works, or our works at all, although we were made for good works. That, of course, doesn’t mean we should use being saved by the Grace of God an excuse to live our daily lives the way we want to with no regard to what God wants for us. We all should try to be Christ-like, but being perfect means never having bad thoughts, never speaking out of anger (for no good reason), and never being envious, even for a moment, etc. Can you honestly say you’re perfect? Being Christ-like takes a lot of prayer, patience and discipline. You can accept Jesus into your life before striving for those things. Actually, the only way to do it is by first having Jesus has your Lord anyway. Once you do, He shows you the way. So just because someone doesn’t serve God in the same way you do (speaking strictly of Christianity and our Father) doesn’t mean they haven’t accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
    As far as war goes, I haven’t spilt my views on wars because I am unsure, so that is something I will not get into without further knowledge. I do not believe in speaking out about things blindly and I’m sure you can respect that. I do believe that there are those hungry for power, wealth, and war, but I also believe there are good Christian people who feel the need for war.

    Thanks Herm

  • Joanne Piper

    Interesting that you would see this as ugly loathing. It is not loathing at all. Your ugly loathing comment show a need to go after( percecute) someone who disagrees with you. This is exactly what the author was talking about. Combining religion and politics leads to absolutism and intolerance towards others viewpoints in both religion and it politics.

  • Jessey Eagan

    love it. I’m right there with ya.
    https://chutesandleaves.wordpress.com/

  • Pete Wright

    Not all of Christianity is this way, but there are enough radical/fanatical Christians that take the teachings of the Bible and church out of context in order to oppress others. It may not be EVERY Christian doing it, but it’s enough of them that it’s a serious problem and needs to be addressed. Other than that, you hit the nail on the head and put it more succinctly than I probably could.

  • Love of country is not idolatry. Worship of country is. Whenever the nation-state, its documents, its governments, etc. take stronger hold of your heart than Christ does, it has become an idol.

    Remember, in ancient Rome, Christians went to their DEATHS rather than give alms to Caesar.

  • I wouldn’t call the USA “exceptional”… You guys don’t even have universal health care yet, which is, like, one of the bare minimal requirements for even being considered civilized.

  • Matthew

    The fundamentalist-right wing Christian camp in America mocks the progressive-liberal Christian camp and vice versa. The nonsense really needs to stop. There must be a better third way.

  • That pretty much describes the plot of the video game Bioshock Infinite :D

  • That is a difficult question to answer because you’re basically asking me to rewrite history from 1763 to now. The world would probably be unrecognizable with a cascade of events that never would have happened, at least in a form we would have recognized.

    The French Revolution never would have happened, nor the forcing open of Japan’s borders. All of North America might have become a Canada-like confederation of British colonies, and/or there may have been a protracted land-war between Spain and Britain in the West. North America might even have splintered into a large number of smaller countries like Cascadia, and today we might be debating the virtues of a North American Union like the European Union.

    The history of Europe would have turned out differently without the influence of the United States. There may have been *A* French Revolution of some kind, but not one recognizable as the French Revolution we know. Without that there would have been no Napoleon, and consequently a complete alteration to European history in the 19th and 20th centuries. There would have been no WWI as we know it, and definitely no WWII. It’s plausible that the Soviet Union would never have existed. The British Empire would probably have been larger and even more powerful, but ultimately have collapsed as all empires do.

    The history of the Middle East would have been entirely different without American meddling: it is entirely probable that the phenomenon of Islamist Fundamentalism WOULD NOT EXIST without the United States, since it largely began as a reaction against American meddling.

    Again, it’s difficult to project what Earth would be like 300 years after the United States was never created. It would be radically different. Better? Maybe.

  • “But it’s exceptional because of its founding based on individual liberty (although getting less so today), and it’s the world’s one indispensable nation (although becoming less so by the day).”

    What you are speaking here are ideological “truths,” not truths in the conventional, factual sense.

    America was not founded on an ethic of individual liberty. Though certainly a product of Enlightenment thinking, what masquerades as personal liberty is really a foundation of partisan violence. In American ideological thinking, “personal liberty” is freedom from the influence of other people, which is necessarily violent in its execution. As I outlined to you before, America’s history is not one of liberty, but of unrelenting warfare and conquest. Every piece of American “freedom” was won by killing or oppressing somebody who was not American. Hell, your country is THE ONLY COUNTRY TO HAVE EVER INVADED MINE.

    Nor is America indispensable. At least, no more so than the British Empire was, and the Holy Roman Empire was, and the Roman Empire was, and the empire of Alexander the Great was before it. The one feature that all empires share above all else is that they fall. In another 100 or 200 years, students in the Greater African Democratic Union will be reading about how there used to be this country called the United States of America, and it will probably be one of the more boring units in grade 6. That is America’s destiny. A boring grade 6 textbook chapter.

    “It’s sad that so many of you seem to scoff at the notion that America is that shining city on the hill.”

    It’s bizarre that you would think it is. I can totally appreciate loving and appreciating your nation, just as anybody else would love and appreciate their own. It’s what you know, it’s the culture that shaped you. But this “shining city on a hill” thing is just weird. It’s placing some kind of divine, eschatological importance on a country that is only the 1st or “best” in 3 categories: GDP, military spending, and number of incarcerated citizens per 100,000… The USA is 12th on the Human Development Index, 27th on the Global Gender Gap Index, 14th in the Global Wellness Index, 72 in the Health Performance index, 39 on the Environmental Performance Index, tied with 9 other countries for 9th place in national IQ scores, 24th for Student Performance on the Reading, Scientific and Mathematical Literacy Scales, 96th on the Global Peace Index…

    America does have its own interesting virtues and history, but it’s not better or more exceptional or imbued with more supreme importance than any other given country. I like to visit the USA periodically (we’re going to Yellowstone this summer) but I would never want to live there. Gross.

    And that’s just relative to other countries. When we’re talking about relative to God… well, there is only one Shining Light, and it’s not in Washington.

  • He is correct. Islamic Fundamentalism largely began as a reactionary movement against American political influence in the Middle East. Think back to the Shah of Iran and the installation of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. The USA trained Osama bin Laden and the nascent Taliban when they was fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, not realizing that when they kicked out one empire they would very easily turn against another. The formation of ISIS was a direct consequence of the War on Iraq, which was (with the war on Afghanistan) an act of trying to tie up lose ends that only further destabilized the region and enraged people against the USA.

  • Robin Ludvig Isomaa

    I was referring to a monologue he did a few years ago, where he said that Christians who love revenge, violence and torture need to find a new name for themselves and how they aren’t followers of Christ, just fans.

  • Davis Pruett

    >>>Please name one “counter example,” i.e., where the U.S. conquered to subjugate.

    That would be a very long list. Here are a few:

    Iraq
    Syria
    Libya
    Vietnam
    Nicaragua
    The Philippines
    Cuba
    Panama
    The Annexation of Texas
    The Indian Wars
    The war on Yugoslavia (Kosovo)
    Currently, in Ukraine

    And none of those are including the US-sponsored invasions-by-mercenary of Central- and South American countries during the 1800s – El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia/Panama, etc.

    Nor does it include the destabilization efforts, coups, and purges-by-death-squad the US has used to overthrow democracies all around the world, which would be a much longer list:

    Argentina
    Afghanistan
    Syria
    Lebanon
    Peru
    Colombia
    Iran
    Paraguay
    Yugoslavia
    Ukraine (twice)
    Congo
    Angola
    Rwanda
    Sudan
    Cuba
    Chile
    etc.

  • Gematizoieighthday

    Not at all… :-) And if you find a church that is willing to make this a reality, please let me know.

  • Davis Pruett

    We are to blame for ISIS.

    ISIS was a splinter-group from ISIL. ISIL, in turn, was a splinter group from the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

    FSA was equipped, trained, and flown in to Turkey on C-130s by the United States military. They were trained in Jordan and Turkey, and most of the earliest waves of the FSA orginated as Salafist (i.e. – “Al Qaida”) fighters in Libya.

    The US media falsely claimed that the FSA was mostly comprised of Syrian nationals; the truth is that the Syrian nationals mostly filled logistical and supply roles (i.e – they were behind the lines, not doing the actual fighting). Once the fighting started to reach their neighborhoods, and the local Syrians saw what sort of tactics and repression the foreign “FSA” fighters were using, the local Syrians defected en masse back to the Syrian side of the conflict. This is why ISIS and ISIL are such brutal rulers over the territory they control: because, despite how they were originally portrayed by the US media and Dept of State, they are not welcomed by the local populations.

    As the war continued, the foreign jihadis – who now made up almost all of the so-called “Free Syrian Army,” and all of whom were trained and equipped by the US and its Turkish go-betweens – and paid and strategically deployed by the Saudis – very quickly morphed into first Jabhat al Nusra, which is openly affiliated with Al Qaida, and next into ISIL, which represented a second branch of Al Qaida. ISIL has since split from the Al Qaida old guard and now represents an offshoot of that organization.

    Before that happened, though – back when ISIL was still part of Al Qaida – the group started to fragment when the current leader of ISIS – Al Baghdadi – decided he wanted to push down into Iraq, thus splitting off from ISIL. This was against the wishes of the main Al Qaida leadership.

    Al Baghdadi discovered that he could access Sunni ex-military groups in Iraq, and so he took the Al Qaida forces he was in control of and moved into Iraq. After taking control of Mosul and Fallujah, Al Baghdadi declared himself a Caliph and formally broke off from Al Qaida.

    Now – NONE of this would have been possible without the US attempt at invading and conquering Iraq. The US destroyed Iraq, and then it destroyed Libya and Syria. The emergence of ISIS is only possible because of the wars the US has waged in that region – wars of conquest, subjugation, and oppression. They were not wars “for freedom.”

    All of the recent history i have just recited is accessible via well-respected western journalists and media outlets, who themselves have received their information either through reporters who were on-the-ground at the time, or who are highly placed in the US and NATO intelligence services, both civilian and military.

    So, yes, in every imaginable respect, the US is entirely responsible for the creation of ISIS.

    I’m sorry if this is hard for you to accept, but it is the truth – and your denial of it not only hurts yourself, but hurts our country, our allies, and hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of innocent people around the middle east.

  • Gematizoieighthday

    I think we can love our country – and the good things about it. Absolutely. I also don’t consider what Ben said to be “ugly loathing”. I appreciate the fact that my mother, a refugee from Hitler’s Germany, was able to come to the US. One of her more moving stories about America being exceptional is recounting how she cried the first time she saw all of the food in a grocery store. I don’t think those who are proponents of constant war in our nation “recognize its imperfections” – they are blind to its imperfections, and that’s why I have to take a deep breath and ask Jesus to *be* my grace every time I read a FB post that says “American Christians stand with Nentanyahu and Israel” – oy vey! Really? tell me how these Christians “recognize (our nation’s) imperfections”?

  • Gematizoieighthday

    And…progressive Christians are just as prone to falling short as fundamentalists – in fact, I’ve met some lovely fundies – and some noxious progressives. I try to see people’s hearts – I take peoples’ labels, usually, less seriously than even they do. I take their words a bit more seriously. I consider if their lives (and my own) demonstrate Christian maturity, i.e. the fruit of the Spirit – do they (I) have: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Against such things there is no law.

  • It’s a big “if,” but I will. And for the time being, I’ll be sharing it with pastor friends.

  • …my professor was a prophet. Just not in a way any of us expected. :-O

  • KSM

    I read the article and the sermon behind it.

    The author of the article sounds like yet another pacifistic anabaptist who is happy to judge those who disagree with his stance against Just War theory.

    The author grossly over-generalizes and not only subscribes to an untrue stereotype, but actively promotes it.

    For instance, in 40+ years I’ve never met a Christian who would say of our way of life ” If you mess with it I’ll blow your head off”. I am sure there are some out there, but I’ve never met one.

    Quoting Jesus’ commands about loving our enemy would be welcome in any church I have ever attended.

    The author not only paints with a broad brush, but he ignores real, actual persecution of Christians in America today. I wonder why he doesn’t write about the growing number of Christians who have been fined or lost their livelihoods because of their Faith, like this person:

    http://www.charismanews.com/…/44826-christian-cake…

    Or this one:

    http://www.foxnews.com/…/exclusive-florist-who-refuses…/

    Or the many others?

    The author cherry picks his facts and comes across as arrogant and self-righteous. I guess that goes with his “progressive” label.

  • Guilty as charged. I love your vision. I too often fall short of what you (and, not for nothing, scripture) describe.

  • Miriam Pia

    The way I grew up what the man wrote above is why there is Hippie-Jesus as a real cultural phenomenon from the whole 1960s putting flowers in the soldiers’ gun barrels to those Liberals banning capital punishment and even protesting wars. That is Jesus. A lot of other kinds of Christians are not comfortable with that. I come from that side of the fence “group hug Jesus”.

  • Tiff

    This is gold! May I borrow it too? Except I’m going to sub in Australian rather than American. It begins with an A so … ;)

  • Gematizoieighthday

    Absolutely – not mine to hold on to anyway… please let me know where it goes/what happens :-)

  • Gematizoieighthday

    :-) me too…

  • Gematizoieighthday

    Oy, I need to get off this blog post…having to serve cake and flowers is persecution? My, what a sweet life we have here in the US. Jesus says if someone asks for your cloak give him your shirt also! If I disagree with someone I *should* serve them – cake and flowers for free! Count it an honor to serve and love those who would (possibly) wish us harm! That is a blessing, my friend – not persecution. See here for some persecution highlights from around the world: http://www.persecution.com/

  • KSM

    Being fined and loosing your livelihood and even your home and life savings because you refuse to condone sin – that is persecution. It may not be North Korea or Saudi Arabia level, but it is persecution nevertheless.

    Don’t make light of the suffering of other Christians.

  • Gematizoieighthday

    Losing ones livelihood – consider with me for one moment: what do you think the community’s response would be if they found out that a Christian businessman – while making it known that he disagrees with the homosexual lifestyle nonetheless agreed to make a beautiful cake for this gay couples wedding *for free*??? We overcome evil with righteousness – not legislation, or legal battles my friend. At least that’s what Christians are supposed to do…and if you perceive homosexuality to be evil – the best way to “beat it” is with love – love – a bit more love – and maybe some cake and flowers thrown in the mix…

  • Deedee Keith

    I love my enemies and I pray for them all the time, but I will not let them take my life or my husband or children’s life without a fight. I LOVE MY GOD AND WILL DIE FOR HIM BUT IM GOING TO BE LIKE DAVID AND FIGHT THAT GOLIATH TO THE END..AND WE AS CHRISTIANS SHOULD STAND BY EACHOTHER AND FIGHT FOR OUR CHILDREN..

  • WeldonScott
  • WeldonScott

    Beckum committed thought-crime, the worst offense, according to Christianity. This is because Jesus actually made things worse than the OT horrors, by his view on “thought crimes.” Once you think that thinking bad thoughts is equivalent to the worst sin, there’s no end to horrors the Jesus religions introduces into a society that accepts it.

    […] The angry, vengeful God Yahweh of the Old Testament, they claim, was displaced by the kinder, gentler New Testament God in the form of Jesus, who two millennia ago introduced a new and improved moral code. Turning the other cheek, loving one’s enemies, forgiving sinners, and giving to the poor is a great leap forward from the capricious commands and copious capital punishment found in the Old Testament.

    That may be, but nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus revoke God’s death sentences or ludicrous laws. In fact, quite the opposite (Matthew 5:17-30 passim): “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” He doesn’t even try to edit the commandments or soften them up: “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.” In fact, if anything, Jesus’ morality is even more draconian than that of the Old Testament: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.”

    In other words, even thinking about killing someone is a capital offense. In fact, Jesus elevated thought crimes to an Orwellian level (Matthew 9:28-29): […]

    Bill Maher is right about religion: The Orwellian ridiculousness of Jesus, and the truth about moral progress
    salon.com/2015/01/18/bill_maher_is_right_about_religion_the_orwellian_ridiculousness_of_jesus_and_the_truth_about_moral_progress/

  • KSM

    It is not “love” to condone what is evil. It is not “love” to encourage self destructive behavior.

    Yes, talk to the person. Point them to Christ. Love them. But don’t do the equivalent of giving a struggling alcoholic a bottle of whiskey!

  • nabil89

    thank you for clarifying :)

  • Stephen Sponsler

    Good point, The Truth is Spirit, god’s and vain idols of your imagination is ignorance.

  • Stephen Sponsler

    That’s a bit extreme, there’ plenty of hate to go around, Christian or not. Jesus was not a pacifistic nor politically or religiously correct and God hates sin. He was Ultimately Real as Paul wrote stating that The Word not only divides soul and spirit, bone and marrow, but also families brothers and sister , and sons from mother and daughters from mother in laws etc….He is not on unawares nor was He disenchanted in whimsical wishful thinking that things such as this entire forum, not to mention what runs through the darkened blood streams of the world wide web (WWW) of deceit, was not already going to come to be. nevertheless, when the Son of Man returns, will he find The Faith on earth? Let God be True and every man a liar.

  • theprozacqueen

    …and the laptop screen I just ruined. :)

  • amati1684

    What’s wrong with Howard Zinn? Have you read “A People’s History of the United States”? His “view of history” is a strong, much needed dose of reality for those who got their education from the backs of cereal boxes.

  • theprozacqueen

    I wonder sometimes if the people the post is about know they’re doing wrong and point fingers at others to distract…sort of “doth protest too much”?

  • theprozacqueen

    It reminds me of something I read from an atheist…”If that’s how they [Christians] treat each other, imagine how they must treat everybody else. Why would I want to be part of a group who shoots its own wounded like that?” Similar can be said within other religions too, but the point is that the way we treat each other makes a difference in how others see us (and, by extension, God)…you could say the devil doesn’t need to do anything because we’re doing it for him.

  • theprozacqueen

    Re: news coverage
    In a sense, you could say that not making the news or whatever is a *good* thing. The media writes stories on the negative stuff because it stands out, it’s “different”…the church group working with Habitat for Humanity or organizing a local food drive isn’t “interesting” because it’s not unusual enough for the news to notice. Maybe as the “feel-good story” at the end, but that’s it. If we’re doing good deeds often enough that it becomes “not newsworthy”, that’s a good thing. If that makes sense.

    I know I’m reaching here, but I want to at least find *something* positive.

    I seriously doubt many people see the “funeral protesters” as
    representative of anything other than what “being a total a**” looks
    like.

  • Joey Kirby

    I’ve noticed a lot of people on this site feel exactly the same way as the author.

    Real persecution is going almost unrecognized or ignored. Yes, Christian persecution is a lot worse in other countries and we haven’t even come close to dealing with that (yet). But we’re definitley bullied; something else that people here are dismissing as persecution. To some, it’s only persecution if the Christian is the one committing the “evil” act. And in this particular blog, Christians are turning on Christians. One of things I cringe over is hearing/reading people say “mainstream Christians” as if the ones saying that are the most high Christians. And people here have the attitude that if you go to church, love your country, love the neighbor but hate the sin, then you are just a “warm and fuzzy character” (as I was called earlier), like we “regular Christians” have no real knowledge of the truth and they (the ones belittling our faith) have all the answers and we are blind.

    One thing that this blog was about- loving your enemy- is exactly the opposite of what the ones here, defending their “better righteousness than ours”, are doing. They talk about peace and how wars are America’s fault and how Christians are the “bad guys”, yet they, themselves, are Christians and throwing every Christian who loves America under the bus. They should not, as Christians, hate us and love their enemy. There are those, I’m sure, who are not true Christians who claim to be. But to stand up like your a judge in court sentencing every Christian that comes along is like trying to take the place of God. Yes, love your enemy, but hate the sin. People take the bible so out of context. I wonder if they think God doesn’t want us to get angry because of the bible verses that speak against it? Yet there are Bible verses that support it too. There’s always a broader picture than a few Bible verses.
    I’ve allso never been to a church that didn’t speak of loving your enemy. Nor have I met Christian who is gun happy looking for blood shed just to conquer.

  • Joey Kirby

    If a man was to torture a child and then kill the child, would you expect the parents of that child to bring him cake and flowers in jail? Though the idea sounds great that we could have that kind of forgiveness, it’s not peaches and cream like you try to make it sound. I’m not comparing gay couples to murders, I’m talking about sin in general. Maybe a better example would be this way: say the parents were Christians. They believed in peace, forgiveness, love, and had great faith in God, etc. After their child was murdered, they were sitting in court waiting and hoping for his death sentence. Would you tell them they are not Christians and should forgive him? And should they support him in being let off or with a light sentence and THEN bring him cake and flowers? Should they not be angry? For some reason everyone wants to keep using homosexuality as an example of loving your enemy. Who said they were enemies? I made such a drastic example, because I was talking about a real true enemy. Terrorists…are my enemy. God does, however, say that it is an abomination. And just like KSM said, “Yes, talk to the person. Point them to Christ. Love them. But don’t do the equivalent of giving a struggling alcoholic a bottle of whiskey!”. I’ll take up for a homosexual in a heart beat if I thought someone was persecuting them. But that doesn’t mean I support their lifestyle. But homosexuality is another topic don’t you think? God bless.

  • Good one, Benjamin. You can relate this to a sort of bipolar identity crisis that has been part of Christianity literally from the beginning… in fact, before the beginning. There is a terrific tension between religiosity that emphasizes following the Law (however that is conceived…originally the Torah) and that which emphasizes love, compassion, and empathy (which in the modern era is symbolized by the expression “What would Jesus do” and you are right that has actually become a red flag to conservatives, remarkably enough.)

    The community of the Dead Sea Scrolls (“Essenes” or not) illustrates an extreme development of law- or purity-orientation. They damned and excluded anybody who violated the purity laws (see the Community Rules scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls for a fanatically well developed version of this). The Dead Sea Scrolls community was full of righteous venom for their enemies: the Romans and the priests of the temple…and especially their competition, called variously the “scoffer” or “man of lies.” If you were not part of their faith community, they basically hated and damned you.

    Then comes Jesus and the re-emphasis on the TWO commandments. The total change of emphasis is shown by touching the leper and breaking bread with tax collectors and prostitutes (probably allegory but clear in its meaning). In this model of Christianity, the attitude of love is extended to outsiders, deviants, and other members of the Out group.

    The contrast could not get greater. These are radically different approaches, no matter the era.

  • Falken

    I will never be amazed at how people will glorify what is essentially murder on a grand scale, but say it’s their Christian “duty” to essentially persecute and mistreat a group of individuals who happen to love the same gender.

  • Joey Kirby

    I agree and thank you for your reply. I didn’t mean Christians should get recognized for those things, although I know that’s how it may have sounded. I’m more concerned for non-Christians only getting a perspective of Christians through the evil acts that are reported on the news about Christians (I’m sure there are those that have their owns views about us for other reasons too, but news coverage and what is said about us through social media plays a huge part in it). The big things I was talking about as far as the good Christians do are things like 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina. The Christians, the churches, were right there in a very big way. Though God tells us don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing. And the other thing the news doesn’t cover is how Christians are persecuted. They will make a big deal out of homosexuals, Muslims, and a lot of other people and show them as “hate crimes”, but never when it comes to Christians being bullied, killed, or anything else like that, here in America. If they do, it’s very rarely. The light needs to shine on Christians in a good way if it’s going to shine at all. It’s our example through love that inspires people to Christ. Tv has a whole lot of coverage and the only thing a light is being shined on are evil acts by people who aren’t really Christians. And that, to me, is evil in itself. However, I cannot change it, and I know being angry about it definitely doesn’t change it :)

  • you know him then?

  • A Christian couple wouldn’t be “hoping for the death penalty.” Christian means Christ follower, and Christ followers are by definition, non-violent enemy lovers who refuse to kill their enemies.

  • Selling cakes isn’t condoning sin. I’m so over this entire bogus argument. They’ll sell cakes to people who will get drunk at their weddings, cakes to people shagging before they get married, cakes to people who are unequally yoked… but no cakes for gay people. It’s not only dumb, it’s actually unbiblical and unloving. I rejoice that justice is prevailing and these businesses are closing down- just as I would businesses that were for “whites only”.

  • Yup. The Christian thing to do would be to bake them the most beautiful cake they’ve ever made.

  • The only Christian churches I am aware of that teach enemy love is the Anabaptist tradition. It’s not taught in Catholicism or Protestantism- both of those traditions believe that it is completely fine to kill and slaughter an enemy, which isn’t love at all and is in opposition to the teachings of Jesus (that being a nonviolent enemy lover is a requirement of becoming a child of God). So no, I don’t believe that every church you’ve ever attended has taught enemy love- unless you’re an Anabaptist also.

  • Joey Kirby

    Thanks for your reply, but that’s not true. Look at the broader picture of what God says other than verses like Matthew 5:39-44 which tells us to love our enemy and turn the other cheek as you know already. Clearly this sounds like we shouldn’t fight back, right? Wrong. It depends on the situation.

    So in teaching us that, does that mean He never wants us to be at war or kill for any reason? If it did, we wouldn’t only have to remove the military, but the police
    force as well. Are we not to restrain evil? Sometimes in doing so, it requires death. Look at Romans 13:3-4 where it tells us to fear authority when doing evil.

    “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for she is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, tan avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer”. Or 1Peter 2:13-14 13 “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good”.

    There are situations when God does not want us to roll over to evil. That is, authroity figures have the right to use force.

    God bless

  • So homosexuality is wrong, because the bible says it, but nonviolence shouldn’t be followed, even though Jesus said it… got it.

    Jesus taught total nonviolent enemy love- he lived it, exampled it, all the disciples believed it and exampled it with their deaths (less John) and the early church was unanimous on the issue for the first 300 years of Christianity. Matthew 5 is clear: “do not respond to evil with violence”.

    Christlike people never, ever support violence, because Christ himself was against it.

  • KSM

    If all the homosexual couple wants is a cake and some flowers, they can go to any grocery store and get those.

    The issue is not whether or not you agree with the baker or florist who does not want to use his or her artistic talents to support a homosexual wedding – the issue is whether or not they have the right to refuse service, period.

    You don’t have to understand or agree with their reasons. You just have to respect their rights.

    If freedom of religion, speech, association and property only apply when society agrees with you, then those freedoms are meaningless. Christians do not loose their rights when they open a business.

    Christians are being fined and loosing their livelihoods because they stand on what the scripture says about homosexual behavior. You may not agree with them, but you should support their religious freedoms.

    BTW – Where do you believe rights come from?

  • KSM

    You can hypothisize about outcomes all your want, but the fact remains that the individual has the right to choose what he wants to do.

    You don’t have to understand or agree with the reasons of the Christian baker of florist. You just have to respect their rights.

    If freedom of religion, speech, association and property only apply when society agrees with you, then those freedoms are meaningless. Christians do not loose their rights when they open a business.

  • KSM

    Your statement is not only a very broad generalization, it is also hateful and mean. “Your spiritual antecedents are the “Christians” who were “persecuted” because they couldn’t lynch.” indeed!

    How is that loving your brother, or even your enemy?

  • Jim Knowles-Tuell

    Benjamin, you need to get out more. Many traditions (United Methodist, in my history) teach love of enemy (maybe not as consistently nor as vociferously as the Anabaptists, but it is still there). It is exaggerations like this that cause folk to ignore the good points in what you have to say.

  • Kevin Thomas

    The baker does not have the right to discriminate… people love to quote render Caesar what is Caesar and Romans 13 to say violence is okay…but isn’t it hypocritical to not honor the Government when it comes to its laws pertaining to discrimination? Consistency…please…

  • KSM

    If I, as a Christian baker, were approached to make a special cake for a KKK event, I would refuse. I don’t want to be a part of making such an event special.

    You went to Gordon-Conwell. Surely you are aware of what the Bible says about homosexual behavior and God’s definition of marriage. But even if you disagree with what the Bible says, can you at least respect the religious views of others?

    And don’t you recognize the vast difference between someone’s skin color and someone’s voluntary sexual behavior?

  • Kevin Thomas

    I don’t think so….they may say it but more often than not they ascribe to the just war theory… or use Romans 13 as a rationalization for war. At the very least they will refrain from challenging violence for fear of offending someone in the congregation.

  • KSM

    “We must obey God rather than men” – Christians all over America are loosing their livelihoods because they refuse to use their artistic talents to make homosexual marriages look good.

    When a law is unjust, it is our duty to disobey. A law that requires me to support a religious ceremony that God disapproves of is unjust.

  • Kevin Thomas

    WHAT ARE WE YELLING ABOUT? LOUD NOISES……

  • Kevin Thomas

    Seriously though my God looks like a bloodied battered Jesus on the cross loving through self sacrifice.

  • Kevin Thomas

    I hope u do the same for 2nd marriages,, obese cake buyers, buyers that will get drunk at their reception, greedy buyers, buyers who can’t keep their kids under control, buyers who have lied……seems to me their isn’t going to be anyone to sell cakes to.

  • Andy

    No. No it’s not. Calling someone a name because they believe something differently from you isn’t persecution. It’s name calling. There is a huge difference.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Did Christ think enough of the terrorists to die for him? Can the murderer be redeemed? Government will do what it will but as a Jesus Follower I am compelled to follow Him in thought and deed.

  • You don’t have to understand or agree with the couple, you just have to respect their right to walk into a public business and be able to purchase a product like any other member of the public.

  • KSM

    Your facts are incorrect. Title II of the 1964 CRA does not mention sexual orientation.

    Of course homosexuals have rights – they are humans and citizens. But that does not obligate me to condone their religious ceremonies any more or less than anyone else’s.

    If you cannot choose who you want to do business with then there is not longer a free market, for both parties must be willing.

  • The law has already spoken- they don’t have a right to refuse service. The Bible says to obey the authorities, so refusing service is rebellion against the authorities God has established.

  • Andy

    Matthew’s author was anonymous, and it’s far from conclusive that it was divinely dictated or inspired.

  • KSM

    Does anyone have the right to force a business transaction upon another party, where the other party is not willing? Isn’t that a violation of our basic freedom of association? And if there is a religious objection, isn’t that a violation of religious rights?

    Where does this right you speak of come from? I don’t see it in our Constitution. In fact, where do any of our rights come from?

    Anyway, whether you agree with these Christians or not, the fact is that they are loosing their freedoms, livelihoods and even endangering their lives because of their faithfulness to Jesus. If that doesn’t constitute persecution, then what does?

  • Exactly. The hypocrisy and return to pre-civil rights argumentation is almost unbelievable.

  • Yup, went to Gordon-Conwell twice, and I’m quite aware about what the Bible teaches on man-boy rape and homosexual shrine prostitution- have spent a few years studying the Greek and historical context. I’m also well aware that marriage is never defined in scripture.

  • Beth Rogers

    I don’t have the right to put up a “Whites Only” sign in my place of business. When you have a public business, you follow by the rules that the government has put in place. Your basic freedom of association does not apply to a public business, it applies to your private associations.

  • Joey Kirby

    I think you meant “hate the sin and love the sinner”. And thank you for the half definition of what loves means because I wasn’t aware for a minute that is was an action.
    Also, if you’re going to reply to me, I do wish you’d read what I say in its entirety. I didn’t say I was a warm fuzzy person. Someone insulted my character by calling me a “warm fuzzy character”, just like you’re doing now.

    You’re putting me in a category with people who don’t show or give love. In fact, you sound angry though I haven’t given you reason to be other than I am stating I am a Christian. You’re telling me what I think and what my versions are. You’ve called me hateful for my unwillingness to help a starving child, though I don’t recall saying I wouldn’t. That’s the very example I’ve discussed in this blog about unrighteous judging. If I told you, you only love gay people and loved them only for attention, you would probably feel even angrier and like I had categorized you in a very shameful manner, right? It certainly wouldn’t be right on my part in doing so, as it isn’t for you doing that to me. You’re saying this because I’m a Christian and I said “hate the sin, but love the neighbor”. And it’s true. I even hate my own sins. At the same time I love myself. The people you speak of, the ones throwing their children out, are not people I can speak for. However, do you not think that there are non-Christians out there who also do not believe in homosexuality? And would throw their children out? I’m sure I can think of a few people. But for myself, I would not. At the same time I don’t know any Christians, personally, who would do that.

    When you talk about persecution, do you fully know what being persecuted means? Its harassment, it’s bullying, killing, and abuse. Yes, lots of people are persecuted for their race, sexual orientation, etc. That does not mean that
    Christians are NOT persecuted, but it seems you think Christians only feel persecuted because we can’t tell someone they’re wrong. Do you have any idea
    how many Christians are killed? Neither do I, there are too many. Do you think that when someone posts Bible scriptures on Facebook and others argue with them
    about their beliefs and tell them to keep quiet, that that isn’t a form of bullying? Or kids who are disciplined at school for talking about their beliefs
    when it’s perfectly OK to discuss other religions? I’m not even going to discuss homosexuality with you or my view on transgender children. You obviously have your view, and for some reason almost every person I’ve had a conversation with on here has brought up homosexuality up to me. I don’t have a pitchfork and I don’t have a sign or cross to throw in anyone’s yard, nor do I support
    it. And that’s as much as I’ll say about that with you.
    God bless

  • KSM

    Remember – everything the Nazis did to the Jews was also legal – the law had spoken there as well.

    Jim Crow was once the law of many a state – did that make it right? Were people wrong to violate Jim Crow?

    I have the right to not participate is a ceremony that God says is wrong. I have that right whether the civil law recognized it or not.

    As I am sure you know, there are lots of places in the Bible where people are commended by God for NOT obeying the authorities.

  • Corporations are not people, and yes, the entire civil rights movement is about forcing corporations to do business with people they don’t want to.

    And obviously no, I don’t agree with these Christians- I’m a Jesus follower, which is different. We come to weddings and bring the booze, because that’s what Jesus did.

  • Joey Kirby

    I’ve never been to any of those churches. However, people have a different view on enemy love than you do. Thanks for the reply :)

  • KSM

    So your willingness to recognize the religious rights of others to refuse to participate in homosexual weddings is …… ?

  • Irony: you’re complaining because people are trying to stop you from persecuting people. Just because people are trying to stop you from doing the persecuting doesn’t mean that you are being persecuted.

  • Joey Kirby

    Again, you seem to be on a mission. I’m glad you know more about my views on persecution than I do. Please refer to my last comment. Take care.

  • Jessica Orsini

    I’ve come to use the term “Paulian” for the second group, as they often adhere to the, er, less-than-loving words of Saul of Tarsus (aka Paul) while giving the message presented by Jesus of Nazareth a pass.

  • яовэят ёскэят

    I am not a Christian and not interested in debating whether the words of Jesus count as the word of God. I am simply answering a question as to what text was being referenced.

  • KSM

    Yes, just like refusing to give a shot of whiskey to a struggling alcoholic is persecuting that alcoholic.

    If you fine me and take away my livelihood because I insist on living as a Christian, that qualifies as persecution.

    If loving your neighbor is important (and it is!), then encouraging or helping him to do wrong is sinful. Shouldn’t a Christian strive to help his neighbor do right, and discourage him from doing wrong?

    I understand we disagree on this issue. But can you respect my position? Can you agree that I should not be fined or thrown in jail for obeying a reasonable and traditional reading of scripture?

  • Exactly- people believe that “enemy love” can equal “enemy killing”, when Jesus specifically forbade that in Matthew 5.

  • Deedee Keith

    That’s your walk and your opinion, so go argue with a muslim

  • I’ve not heard nonviolent enemy love come from those areas, but I rejoice if I am wrong. Most I know would affirm enemy love so long as it did not conflict with self-love, at which time self-love would trump, and violence (killing enemies) would prevail.

  • Jessica Orsini

    Deedee, are you in the Middle East and fighting for your survival against the so-called “Islamic State”? If so, I applaud you.

    But I suspect that’s not the case. No, from your various other posts, I suspect that you’re living a relatively safe live in the U.S., and that the “assaults” you face are that some kid of another religion might get his holy day off from school, or the gay couple down the block might hold hands somewhere within your eyesight. You’re not fighting for anything but bigotry.

  • Joey Kirby

    It’s a lot broader than one Bible verse. The Bible proves that over and over throughout scriptures. Also look at my other comment to you. There are scriptures that support fighting evil. A police officer sometimes has to take a life. If not, what good are they doing us? I couldn’t imagine not having any kind of order. God forbid someone break into my home and hold me and my daughter hostage without police and guns. I’d hate to think that a cop would have a clear shot at the criminal’s head while holding knife to my daughters throat and not take it because he didn’t think God wanted him to kill the enemy. But, my daughter’s life would be gone.

  • Seth Little

    It’s my understanding that Jesus, and certainly Paul, chose to forego certain legal rights (like the right to defend himself before Pilate) in order to demonstrate an altogether different, “heavenly” citizenship rather than a Roman one. The notion of God’s kingdom as a replacement for all the others seems pretty important to the New Testament. So an argument that assumes it’s the Christian’s right to claim their legal (…um…) rights sound kind of backwards to me. Jesus is Lord; Caesar and the U.S. Bill of Rights are not.

    Full disclosure: I’m a fan of legal rights and think they can have a beneficial place in the experience of the followers of Jesus, when Jesus is the Lord and not self.

  • I respect your right to have a different view of scripture, but no, I don’t respect the right for public businesses to discriminate. Corporations are not people with religious convictions. Corporations are not churches. When we have public businesses we play by an easy set of ground rules to keep it fair for everyone, and when we violate them, there are consequences.

  • I’m a theologian- I’m familiar with the scriptures, and familiar with the fact that Jesus overturned the violence from the OT in Matthew 5, and that there’s nothing in the NT that supports Christians killing their enemies. It’s simply not there. This is precisely the difference between following Jesus or a political religion- Jesus demands we refrain from killing our enemies. You don’t have to agree with it, but Jesus said it- multiple times, and Paul affirmed it.

  • Kevin Thomas

    I DON”T KNOW WHY WE ARE YELLING…. Brick (Anchorman) Just in case you didn’t get the joke–

  • Kevin Thomas

    Love the sinner and hate your own sin…

  • KSM

    So an African American baker should be forced to bake a cake for a KKK meeting? Even if there is a KKK owned bakery next door?

    Doesn’t Freedom of Conscience, speech, association and property outweigh this (claimed but not proven) “right to buy – even from an unwilling seller”?

    All of the rights I listed are explicit in the Constitution. The majority are in the First Amendment. Where is this “right to buy – even from an unwilling seller” listed?

  • Joey Kirby

    I didn’t mean to discredit you as a theologian. More like I was trying to affirm with you that the Bible is broad. I’m speaking of the New Testament too. Luke 3:14, John 18:36. Matthew 5 is a little different. Stealing, cursing you, etc; also evil. Though it’s not easy to love someone who steals from us, God wants us to. And that kind of love takes practice.
    Is it possible to love someone who has murdered a family member? Yes, I believe it is. Especially if they have asked forgiveness. But, protecting yourself, or family, even if it is with force, is in the other Bible verses.
    The good news is, whether we agree or not, we both love God. It’s your view on me (a non-pacifist) and my love for God, or “lack of” that has brought me to this discussion.
    God bless you and I pray you reach many people with the Word of God!

  • Kevin Thomas

    Help me understand what talking with a muslim has to do with my last comment. I sincerely want to know.. BTW does your walk include vengeance, eye for eye, retributive justice?

  • Joey Kirby

    Yes, I’m sure they are. Thank you for your reply

  • KSM

    Paul also said that the state bears the sword. It is clear throughout scripture that the role of the state is different than the roles of individual Christians.

    If it is the role of a policeman to use violence to rescue a hostage in immanent danger, are you saying that Christian should never be policeman? And we should leave that important job to the ungodly?

  • Kevin Thomas

    The Government will do what it will…but we as followers of Jesus shouldn’t salivate at the prospect of killing…Jesus showed us a different way..

  • KSM

    Here is my favorite statement for Christians regarding homosexuals: “If homosexuals are bullied, we need to protect them. If they’re unjustly discriminated against, we need to help them. If they’re treated with contempt, the person hurting them should be stopped. If a family member comes out as gay and then is belittled, harmed, or vilified, then the offending family needs to be corrected. If Christians ridicule people who identify as gay or lesbian, they need to admonished. If a church doesn’t welcome seekers of all stripes (including people who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual), then it needs to change.”

    You can love someone even while disagreeing with their actions.

    From: http://www.str.org/blog/bad-reasons-to-adopt-pro-gay-theology#.VPzQO7PF8ww

  • Joey Kirby

    Yes He did, yes they can, and I’m very happy to hear. I’d rather someone have a disagreement with me while following Christ than not. But as I’ve stated in another comment, there are scriptures supporting fighting evil, in the NT.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Jesus NEVER condoned, encouraged, or supported it.

  • Kevin Thomas

    I’d be stunned if a KKK member would go to an African American baker….but if he did and did his business in an appropriate manner YES the African American baker would be legally compelled to bake the cake. Most of my African American friends would understand this and would absolutely have no problem with this because to refrain to doing so would brand them hypocrites as they know what it’s like to be a victim of discrimination.

  • Kevin Thomas

    That’s a little harsh…. I am with you regarding your arguments, however you are no better than he/she when you say things like that.. You simply solidify in his/her opinions of those “lefty socialsist”. I understand your passion, but please think before insulting someone. Believe me…I have been there and have had to be told the same thing.

  • As a United Methodist myself, the best I can say is “we do, sort of… it’s complicated.” Part of what makes the Methodist Church difficult to talk about is that the clergy tend to have incredibly different views than the laity (which in itself seems pretty weird), and the official denominational stance on things is crafted by a conference that is equal parts lay and clergy. So, a whole lot of clergy are vocal about enemy love, but I don’t think there’s an official UMC stance, because a greater proportion of the laity who are committed enough to make their way into the conference disagree.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Perhaps–but you have to ask yourself the question..what does it say about you that you have to resort to hurtful comments? Your cause is righteous…don’t blur the message.

  • Joey Kirby

    Nice…

  • Ron McPherson

    “If all the homosexual couple wants is a cake and some flowers, they can go to any grocery store and get those.”

    But how do you know that, at least hypothetically speaking? What if all the grocery stores were like the bakery that refused service? Do all the grocery stores have the right to refuse service as well, as you believe the bakery does? If so, then what? See the problem here?

  • Otterwolf

    Here’s a thought. If God is really that vindictive, reveling in violence, wanting Christians to smite anyone who is different, it brings up a rather interesting question. If say, the Christian mythos is real, and that this version is true, than how is Satan worse? Actually give this some thought. Let’s see, ethnic cleansing with destruction of any and all that’s different, or being thrown in a lake of fire with some huge demon buttraping me. I see it as a toss-up. Besides, the truth is far more complicated. Whether there is a God or no god is less important to the real issue, which is this. If there is a god, it’s probably not going to be yours.

  • JenellYB

    Ben and Joey, your discussion raises a couple of points for me, that I often find myself thinking about when people debate this issue. I think you are both overly simplifying, even moving into a lot of false dichotomy, either/or, all or nothing, in matters of “enemies” and “violence.” So just some points to think about:
    1. What/who is an “enemy?” I think the friend or enemy, with us or against us, sets up a false dichotomy that leads to some really silly arguments from both sides. There are really a lot of degrees of relationship between any of us with any other, in between friend or enemy. MOST people are neither one to us, they are just people. The friend/enemy, with us or against us thinking results in casting others as enemy just because they are not just like us and think just like us, even if they do us nor mean us any harm.

    2. To use Jesus’s words about “turn the other cheek” which refers to a slap, and insult, into a basis for non-violent response to REAL violence, assault, killing, even in defense of self or others, is absurd. A slap on the cheek, an insult, injures nothing but our feelings, our pride. Defending self or others from real harm IS A LOVING THING TO DO! Even if it requires violence used against the offender to stop the act of injury, harm. There is a LOT of possible degrees of offense in between a slap, an insult, and offense involving real injury, real violence, and deadly force.

    3. Likewise, using Jesus turning over the tables and driving the profiteers out of the temple as his approval of violence involving deadly force and real harm and injury is just as absurd.

    As tempting as it may be to try to over simplify and take an all or nothing stance on violent response to enemy attacks, it just cannot be boiled down to a simple yes or no, for or against, right or wrong, in black and white.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Preach! MLK didn’t insult folks lol…..

  • Kevin Thomas

    I don’t believe God is vindictive, reveling in violence….

  • Joey Kirby

    Also, me not supporting their lifestyle doesn’t mean I wouldn’t open my business to them. As a children’s book writer, I’ll (hopefully) be selling my books all over. People will be buying from me whom I know nothing about. Online selling is the same as having a physical business. And it’s not because I don’t want to miss those sales. It’s because people are people. I’d not only open my business to them, I’d shake their hand just like anyone else.
    My beliefs of their lifestyle come from what God says about homosexuality. I may not attend their wedding, but I won’t push them aside either. If I had a baker’s shop, I’ll let people know I’m a Christian, if such a subject came up, or a Jesus-follower as some of you are calling it, and I can do that without pushing my beliefs down anyone’s throat.
    The problem is, a lot people are automatically on the defense around Christians and that’s when the assumptions and insults come in (not always) and that’s been proven. On the contrary, there are Christians who push others aside because maybe they believe that’s what God wants because some of what the scriptures say or whatever the case may be. Some Christians are disowning other Christians and throwing them under the bus without showing love, although enemy love is being preached here. A lot of judging Christian hearts going on around here. Meaning they’re saying we can’t be Christians if we don’t practice enemy love the way they do.
    I cannot speak for every person, only myself and people I know personally, but I love God, I love this country, and I love the world. And I also believe fighting against life-threatening evil. If you say I don’t follow Christ for believing that way then that’s on you. Like I’ve said before, I hate my own sins. I hate every sin just as God does. But I also love myself and others. But it doesn’t mean I encourage sin. I have to work on myself and my own sins, so therefore not even encouraging myself to sin, even when I do.
    I replied to my own comment because I see a discussion going on in this thread about it and wanted to make a statement to everyone if that makes sense and clear up my other comment.

  • Kevin Thomas

    I also don’t believe in eternal conscious torment.

  • Joey Kirby

    Thanks Jenell for the reply! There’s only one thing I want to point out real quick and it’s that I didn’t use Jesus turning over the tables as reasoning for violence.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Joey–first of all…what do you mean by life style? Do you mean paying bills? finding a babysitter? going to work? painting your walls? planting a garden? 2nd–we are talking at the most 6 verses… which for many do not even apply to same sex marriages as there were none then. You are my sister–words are important…and people come before ideology as it was for Jesus. Love is the law…

  • Kevin Thomas

    My thought is Jesus knew how to be righteously indignant….

  • Kevin Thomas

    True–but he also was respectful…he worked hard to let nothing taint his message.

  • Joey Kirby

    You’ve called me hateful, assumed I wouldn’t feed a starving child, you rebuked me, and have insulted me several times, and your attacks on my character keep coming. I’ve seen where you told someone they need to die and be buried and forgotten or something like that. Yet it’s ironic because you’re on a discussion board about enemy love and preaching to me about “real persecution”. Everything you’ve said about me comes from your own mind. If you follow God’s Word do you know where God talks about righteous and unrighteous judging? Right now you’re doing the very thing that you say you hate. And anyone who “likes” what you say should look around at your comments to me as well as others. Calm down and practice that enemy love you tell me I’m not doing. As a matter of fact, come back and talk to me when you grow up a little and get a little more knowledge of which you speak of. Child
    Child
    you have no idea what God has given me. I was being nice, but you’re comments are outrageous.

  • i wonder abt you.

  • chill out!

  • w/ respect why are you bringing in so much drama and chaos here? many here are praying that whatever it is that has taken hold of your sanity and turned you into a screaming meemee would loosen it’s grasp on your life! I’m glad you are here and I want you to know you have a friend.

  • yes. i have been wondering lately that if jesus had actually taken satan’s offer of the world in excange for his, jesus, bowing down and worshiping him would the church be even more evil than it is?

  • me too! i’m a jesus freek!

  • Andy

    I don’t really care if you are or not. That has no bearing on whether or not you are correct.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Au contraire…I believe his message was offensive to many and it got him killed.

  • why people on the internetdo a shouting? small letter, small voice, small baby bird. thank u

  • Eddie Flores

    They should not, as Christians, hate us and love their enemy. These are your words Joey. And I agree Christians should not hate ‘Christians’, i.e., the civil/political Christian, and love their enemy. They should however seek to ensure, via discourse and advocacy, that the ‘Christians’ who advocate for oppression, bigotry, paternalism, and war do not replace Jesus’ kindness with malice and anger.

    It’s interesting that you’ve brought up how the bible should be read in context, since there is, after-all, more to the bible than just quoting strings of bible verses. This is precisely what vexes with me with the ‘Christians’ who oppose the LGBT community. How can they call for the persecution of the homosexual community for wanting to be joined in civil, and religious marriage, and yet have no problems with the heterosexual individuals who are currently a part of a civil union? The hypocrisy and bigotry is astoundingly obvious, and yet its never discussed. To be clear, I’m not accusing you of this behavior but I figured I would make this point while we we’re speaking of reading the bible in context. As far as I’m concerned the hatred shown towards the LGBT community is precisely the type of violence and war the author in the article was referring to.

    To be fair, no one here is calling you blind. We are however saying you are wrong. The two aren’t the same. Not all interpretations of the bible are created equal, there does exist a better and worse approach to reading the text. You’ve accused the people on here of “talk[ing] about peace and how wars are America’s fault and how Christians are the “bad guys”, [and] yet they, [throw] every Christian who loves America under the bus. This simply isn’t true. There is nothing wrong with loving the United States, however there is something wrong when you use this ‘love’ to mask bigotry and discrimination. There seems to be this idea that being an American is about taking the call to arms to protect our country from those who would invade and take our freedom. And while this is certainly a romantic idea its simply not what is happening. Politics is not this is simple. It’s not black and white.

    The Israel controversy for example, which has many ‘Christians’ angry with progressives for not supporting our middle east ally is not as clear as the mainstream-media and the ‘Christians’ would have you believe. What if I were to tell you that Israel, the country that many ‘Christian’ Americans who ‘love’ our country believe we should protect is oppressing and murdering the civilians who live along the west bank via drone strikes? Is this Christ-like?

    See: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/11/gaza-life-death-under-israel-drones-20131125124214350423.html

    Should ‘Christians’ feel guilty for loving the United States? Absolutely not. Should they feel guilty for endorsing these policies? Absolutely.

  • Eddie Flores

    KSM you’re very quick to criticize the author, but you ultimately employ the very tactics you’re criticizing; however, your positions, unlike the authors, are less defensible and more problematic.

    You seem to have a disdain for pacifism, which, if you are a Christian, I find to be pretty concerning. Is being a pacifist not Christ-like?

    The “[i]f you mess with [Christianity] I’ll blow your head off” is not to be taken literal, and I can’t help but think that you already knew this. It’s a tongue-in-cheeck jab at the civil/political ‘Christians’ who confuse religious liberty with a pass to ideologically oppress minorities who do not share their views.

    What I find the most confusing about your post is that you seem to have a strong disdain for progressives. Why? What about progressive policies do you oppose? I tend to think that Jesus, were he alive today, would have been a very staunch progressive. Please enlighten me as to why you feel the need to places quotations around the term progressive.

  • Eddie Flores

    So what if a heterosexual non-married couple who had children asked you to bake a cake? You see the hypocrisy?

  • Eddie Flores

    You’re argument simply isn’t tenable. Ask yourself this KSM, why is it that ‘Christians’ are only concerned about exercising their religious liberties when the LGBT community is involved? What about ex-murderors? Gang members? Rapists? Not once have I ever heard of any of these individuals being discriminated against. Of course I am by no means equating the LGBT community with the groups I just mentioned. I’m only trying to point out the hypocrisy that exists within the ‘Christian’ community.

    To make a more salient example. Why don’t florists and bakers object when non-married heterosexual couples come to their establishment? Is it not a sin to have premarital sex? Isn’t all sin viewed the same before God?

    This is why I cannot respect your position.

  • Eddie Flores

    It’s not a religious ceremony. It’s a civil ceremony.

  • l3leach

    Yes the catholic church become a part of the brutal government that priest and parishioners could not control, hence the nature of government. Would like me to blame you for the all shit your government does, like you do to Christians?

  • Joey Kirby

    1.Lifestyle (Merriam-Webster):
    A particular way of living: the way a person lives or a group of people live.

    I am a straight, single mom who likes to write, do research, and follow God the best I can. That is part of my lifestyle. You asked me because you thought I was isolating people and putting them in a different category than being human? Or equal? I’m not sure, but I shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells.

    I never even came into this discussion to talk about homosexuals. It’s been brought up to me on many different occasions. Though I know I did chime in on this one thread about it. But when I talk about it, it’s because of questions I’ve been asked or certain statements that were made to me. Enemy love is the topic and yet I’ve made it clear that Homosexuals are not my enemy. Unless a man or woman hurts my child and they so happen to be gay, then they’re my enemy. However, I do love a good conversation, even with people with different views; so long as it stays clean and healthy. But it seems to me that no matter how much I pour out my love or beliefs, no one (or most) seems to want to show that same respect and everything I say gets flipped. And I find it so ironic on a blog about loving your enemy. Loving, being the key word. You calling me your sister is the first time anyone in disagreement with me on here has recognized me as Christian. No sorry, 2nd. Unless you don’t believe we are brothers and sisters in Christ? (That’s a real question, no sarcasm).
    The only reason I’m having these talks to begin with is because I’m trying to understand how “Christ-followers” are viewing God’s Word and how what I’ve read and what you’ve read are so completely different. It’s been made very clear to me by some that if I agree on war (though I haven’t actually talked about my views on that concretely) then I do not love God. Actually one person called me satanic for my beliefs. I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind and heart around that being it comes from Christians.
    Thanks again for the reply and also for talking without a “fight”. And I didn’t even get around to the second part of your comment, haha, but I cannot change your mind no more than you can change mine. Not that I’m not willing to learn more about God and His Word, but there are some things I stand firm in. Thanks again.

  • Eddie Flores

    You’re argument is incoherent. Notice the degree to which you need to stoop to justify the animosity the LGBT community endures simply for existing.

    “[S]ay the parents were Christians. They believed in peace, forgiveness, love, and had great faith in God, etc. After their child was murdered, they were sitting in court waiting and hoping for his death sentence. Would you tell them they are not Christians and should forgive him? And should they support him in being let off or with a light sentence and THEN bring him cake and flowers? Should they not be angry?

    What has the LGBT community done to deserve the oppression they are shown? “I’ll take up for a homosexual in a heart beat if I thought someone was persecuting them”; it’s ironic that you and KSM fail to realize that you are the oppressors. Oppression is much more than direct discrimination against an individual, and it’s positions like yours which help to propagate oppressive culture.

    I’ve never heard someone with positions like Joey’s or KSM’s successfully explain why the LGBT community is singled out amongst the vast group of sinners who exist. Why not people who have been divorced or heterosexual couples with multiple children? Aren’t these all the same?

    Speaking to your previous claims about progressive Christians attacking those who they perceive to be main-stream Christians, how is this any different than you not condoning the “lifestyle” of the LGBT community? Why can I not simply disagree with you bigoted lifestyle?

  • Mike Hofrichter

    Didn’t Jesus condemn his enemies to hell for the thought-crime of not believing his claims. This is love?

    Mark 16:15-16

  • Joey Kirby

    Hi Eddie

    1.You used my words trying to say that I meant them in a way that I did not. I don’t mean love “us” before anyone else, and it sounds like that’s what you’re implying I meant. I’m talking about Christians preaching on love yet belittling those you call “civil/political Christians”.

    2.When you say ‘Christians’ you are continuing to separate what you would call a “real Christian” from a “main-stream” Christian. That’s one thing that perplexes me so much. And I’m glad you aren’t accusing me because I do not act in any kind of violent way towards people. I’ve made that clear on many different comments. But still I’m here defending the right to have a belief without showing hatred.

    3.you say it’s not true when I said Christians are being thrown under the bus? You must not have seen every discussion I’ve had on here. Yes, people have said you cannot love this country and God too. I don’t speak with empty words to fill space and sound like I know what I’m talking about.

    Also, you say I use ‘love’ to cover bigotry and discrimination? That’s another assumption about me. So I’ve been called hateful and a bigot tonight. This is what I keep talking about; preaching on love, and what God says, yet y’all are judging me harshly. I originally came into this discussion to talk about Christian persecution and then enemy love, yet homosexuality has been thrown in my face repeatedly (maybe you didn’t see where it all started). Instead of being able to have good discussions, I’m constantly having to defend myself.

    I’m not going to get in on Israel tonight or God’s love for them. I mean, we should love them too, right?

  • Joey Kirby

    I’m speaking strictly of enemy love. The person I was responding to was talking about Homosexuals as an example of enemy love. I gave an example of a real enemy as homosexuals are not my enemy. I can’t speak for the other person in question, just myself. And the question you raised about the equality of the LGBT? And you compared it to divorce? You’re wanting me to continue to discuss homosexuality and throw bible verses at you so you can continue to call me a bigot. And you may tell me that I don’t have a good answer for you, but I simply am not getting into that discussion with you. You’ve already shown me that I cannot have a healthy conversation with you when you insulted me. And yes, you can disagree with me as many already have, and that’s OK, but calling me a bigot is not something I feel is going to lead to a good conversation.

  • Eddie Flores

    Joey I’m afraid it seems like you’ve miss construed my comment.

    1) I’m not trying to assert that you believe Christians should love Christians before anyone else. I am stating the Christians should hold other Christians accountable in a way they don’t hold non-Christians because non-Christians aren’t misconstruing God’s word.

    2) I do believe there is a difference between ‘Christians’ and Christians. ‘Christians’ are individuals who claim to follow God’s word and use this supposed faith as a vehicle to further their social and political ideology; e.g., I’d argue that Christians who choose to only voice their opposition to sin against the LGBT community are actually ‘Christians’ and bigots. Whether ‘Christians’ are mainstream Christians is something I’m not willing to offer an opinion on. Note that I’m still wondering how the selective animosity toward the LGBT community can be justified?

    3) Having disagreements occur on a message board meant for debate and dialogue is hardly equivalent to throwing someone under the bus. I’m not blindly disagreeing with you. I’m offering legitimate reasons for my position.

    4) I apologize if you took my comments using the word “you” to be directed exclusively at you. Perhaps it would have been better to have stated “there is nothing wrong with loving the United States, however there is something wrong when [individuals] use this ‘love’ to mask bigotry and discrimination. This is something I believe actually occurs and is a legitimate problem. I’ve read a lot of the comments on here and it seems as though some individuals believe that being able to openly discriminate agains other groups of people, so that they can show their love and devotion to God, is acceptable. This simply isn’t true and this is not love. The bible enumerates dozens upon dozens of sins. To selectively target those sins committed by a group of individuals who seem the most different to you, and not do the same for the dozens upon dozens of other groups of sinful actors is not love; this is text book bigotry.

    5) The Israel example was simply meant as a way of illustrating that religion should not be used a mechanism for politics. The link attached illustrates that Israel has killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of civilians under the guise of protecting themselves. Do you really think God would approve of this? I think we’d both agree the answer is no. And yet not even one ounce of the resentment leveled against the LGBT community is directed at the Israeli government for their drone strikes, or the United States for our endorsement of torture.

  • Eddie Flores

    I apologize if you’re offended, but the bigot comment is not an attempt to insult you nor was it directed towards you.

    I was merely trying to show you that not unlike how you disagree, and arguably dislike, the Christians who distinguish civil/political ‘Christians’ and Christians, the same could be said for how choose to disagree with the “lifestyle” being lived by the LGBT community.

    The last part I’m afraid wasn’t meant towards you, although it does seem to be directed towards you. For that I apologize.

    I was responding to previous claims made by KSM and in the heat of frustration simply overlooked making that distinction. I truly believe the views he holds are bigoted and will not apologize for what should have been directed towards him.

  • Joey Kirby

    I apologize if I misunderstood you. But going back to homosexuals, can I not believe that what I’ve read in the bible is true, though not mentioned often, and is a great sin without hating them? In order to fully discuss that we’d have to talk about habitual sin. Again, something I’m not discussing. I’m not perfect nor do I think I am. I know you didn’t say that I thought I was, I just wanted add that. I do feel like I’m being held accountable for attacking homosexuals. And I know my faith seems similar to those who hold power. Again, that is another subject; authority which the bible speaks of. And that leads to the discussion of enemy love or lack of and whether or not God wants us to roll over and let evil take over or change it with love or use force. And that has nothing to do with the LGBT.
    While I say this, it doesn’t mean I agree with everything the government does. In fact I’m pretty anti-government in a lot of ways. That might be confusing, but I’m trying to say that you can’t take part of my views and use them to see me as a whole. In order to do so, you’d have to talk to me quite a bit and know me personally, as with anyone. So much of what people say gets taken out of context, and I proved that myself when I misunderstood the first part of your message.
    I’m sorry for being so blazay in my comments. It’s late, I don’t have my glasses, and my eyes seem to be getting more blurry. God bless.

    I was going to say something else, but I can’t remember. I’ll get back to you on that.

  • Joey Kirby

    It’s OK. I try not to be overly sensitive, but if someone’s using insults as a way of winning an argument then there’s no point in continuing a conversation because it’ll just be one-sided. But you’ve cleared that up, I’m just explaining why I will cut off a conversation like that. I accept your apology and I hope you accept mine. I apologize for anything I’ve said that seemed or was out of the way.
    It’s understandable to get heated, I’ve done it many times in the past. Our passions sometimes leads to anger. Again, that’s a little blazay. I’m sleepy so I will say good night! Thanks for the talk.

  • WeldonScott

    That was really lame, but typical of half-witted apologists.

  • Eddie Flores

    It’s not that you can’t believe what you’ve read in the bible and not hate LGBT individuals, since I don’t think being religious and being a supporter of the LGBT community are mutually exclusive. Rather its that I fail to see why the habitual sins, assuming for the sake of argument that these are sins, committed by the LGBT Community are singled out in the manner that they are by individuals who adopt this position.

    What I mean to say is that there are other forms of habitual sin that don’t warrant the degree of opposition the LGBT community is met with. For those who use the refrain of hating the sin and loving the sinner, I wonder how an individual can draw this line. What exactly does this mean? For example if one of your longtime friends happened to come out as gay, which I imagine may be difficult for them, would you reassure them that they need not worry because you hate their actions but still love them? I’m not trying to be patronizing but I struggle to see how this can be done in a way that isn’t ultimately disingenuous and hurtful to the person whose sin is being hated.

    I’m not a particularly religious person myself. Partly, or perhaps mostly, because of issues like this. This is because I believe that changes in social and moral attitudes occur via micro-instances of conduct. What I mean by this is that I believe how individuals treat their friends effects not only their friendship, but the social and moral dynamic of the society over an extended period of time.

    Having more people adopt your position to hate the sin and love the sinner, which I apologize if I’ve misconstrued to be your position, as opposed to my position that homosexuality is not a sin at all will have real-world consequences. The reason for this is because your position, while it encompasses people such as yourself who don’t hate the LGBT community but attempt to localize their hate at the sin, may also lead to fostering pockets of individuals who will come to have a bigoted perception of the LGBT community. It is ultimately these bigoted views that, when normalized, have negative moral and social ramifications. And without proper training to interpret religious text, such a scenario is not difficult to imagine. While Believing that homosexuality is not a sin would in contrast avoid all of this.

    So I simply feel that if a position such as yours is going to be adopted, it must be done with great care and assurance that there are legitimate reasons why you feel this way because this will, to some degree, have very real and negative consequences over time. The trade off is not just of doctrinal importance and I believe the individual making this decision should attempt to recognize this so they may hold themselves accountable.

  • Eddie Flores

    Your apology is accepted as well. No need to worry.

  • you seem so bitter & angry. I’m hearing you. I’d like to know you. I’d like to be your friend. Ppl here are probably praying for you. Be well my friend.

  • John Clarke

    @benjaminlcorey:disqus As an Athiest…Sadly, I’m not surprised that Dr. Beckum found himself a victim of their ideology. I hope others of similar mind to you and Dr. Beckum take this as a call to action instead of another reason to run and hide. We need more reasonable Christians in the national dialog. This Fox News echo chamber we call the US isn’t healthy anymore.

  • Raymond Watchman

    What’s all the fuss about? Read God’s lips: “Thou shalt not kill.” Unambiguous commandment. End of story.

  • WeldonScott

    Even more stupid is the old cliché of “bitter & angry” amateur psychologizing. All it does is prove how half-witted you are. But then we knew that already, if St. Paul’s assessment of his followers is correct:

    1CO 1:26 Not many of you were wise by human standards…

    True.

  • I’ve done an exegesis of the term enemy that goes more in depth, here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/who-jesus-talked-about-when-he-talked-about-enemies/

    Also, the turn the other cheek passage isn’t the total sum of the argument on nonviolence, it’s the entire passage one must take into account, as well as others. More pointedly, when Jesus says “do not resist an evildoer” the term that often gets poorly translated into the English word “resist” is a military term for meeting violence with violence. So, this becomes better translated, “do not respond to evil with violence.”

  • Joris Heise

    My contention is that, like too Muslims and their Koran, Christians too often worship the Bible INSTEAD of our loving God. They make their religion a bunch of cited quotations, rather than personal, a behavior and contention about externals, control and dogmas to be followed–rather than “praying in ‘crypto'” and obeying the Spirit, attitude and approach of Jesus.

  • trinielf

    I do blame the INSTITUTION itself and the warped theology that led to its inhumane treatment of other people. Today, the only Christians I blame are those who still have not learned from history and still want to be part of a brutal government and have a political Dominionist agenda and/or those still propagating supremacist attitudes towards other cultures, races or pushing the same racism, sexism etc.

    Many are not like that however. They recognize their spiritual life is a personal thing and respect the freedom of others not to Christian or THEIR kind of Christian. Many have always and continue to honor the Greatest Commandment to Love your neighbor as yourself.

  • Joris Heise

    “Condemned” — no, this misunderstanding derives from the very misunderstanding you are condemning…in all kindness–Jesus’s condemnation–studied carefully–are much more NOT hell (He did not believe in hell as we understand it–Jews did NOT have an after-life). Scholars are getting past the shallow and religious outlooks that have grown like barnacles, and appreciating the human Jewish man. “Condemnation” means much more–to him (and to me): unhappiness, egotistic fears and depression derived from making bad choices, the failure to love and be loved, etc–which marks the inauthentic person. I am not “psychologizing” and inserting modern ideas here–but finding the real human, loving and “authentic” person who walked like his loving father, our creator-God among us humans. Condemnation for Jesus was what I choose to do (as in our daily life today and always).

  • яовэят ёскэят

    I provided the correct citation. I am not interested in arguing whether the “word of God” interpretation of that text is correct: I already told you that I myself do not believe that.

  • Patrick

    …so that pesky “THOU SHALT NOT KILL” commandment get in your
    way much?

  • Joris Heise

    Speaking as someone who is devout, I see that all religions, and even all sects of all religions, choose what to do and to believe. AND THAT AIN’T BAD. We have four Gospels (Mark–the hidden Jesus, Luke, the kindly Jesus, Matthew, the “Moses” Jesus, and John, the divine Jesus)–and we pick and choose what suits us. Nobody–and I mean nobody–can follow all four. We need to accept our differences, and not think because you are different from me, you are wrong and I am right. Luke and John are both right!

  • Timothy Weston

    About a decade ago, evangelical Christians hijacked the Air Force Academy: http://www.alternet.org/story/67385/the_evangelical_christian_takeover_of_the_military

  • Traditionalist teaching regarding gay relationships is, as evangelical ethicist and theologian David Gushee called it, the teaching of contempt for gay people. It says that gay relationships, and the people in them, are immoral and inferior. To “hate the sin of homosexuality” is to refute the virtue of life-long mutual self-sacrifice, care-taking, and fidelity that are the contours of a healthy marriage. Instead of acknowledging these virtues, traditionalists put gay relationships in the category of adultery – reducing human bonding down to “sexual sin”. It’s as dehumanizing as it is demeaning.

    The harm that has flowed (and continues to flow) from this teaching of contempt is demonstrable. The traditionalist belief is emotionally and spiritually abusive to the gay kid in the front pew. It’s toxic to that kid’s family and community. At this point, with all we know about sexuality, and with all of the evidence of the human suffering and destruction in traditionalist communities, the teaching is morally untenable.

    It’s well past time for the Church to abandon this harmful belief.

  • It’s impossible to love a gay person *well* while choosing to subscribe to a belief that says gay people are profoundly flawed, immoral, and inferior. To condemn the intimate relationships that gay people form as “immoral” is to reject the personhood of those who would form such relationships. And such rejection is a choice – as is all theology. Rejection and unconditional love are mutually exclusive.

  • Kevin Thomas

    I am sorry you have felt “beat up”. You are my sister and we have more in common than that which we disagree on. In the end… “I resolve to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified” – Paul. I am trusting you agree? Peace and grace to you!!

  • Kevin Thomas

    I don’t know if I agree with that…One doesn’t have to reject that which one disagrees with. BTW I am a progressive…. :) I struggle with uber, literalists. “fundies” but I can still love them and embrace them as brothers/sisters in the faith. The Holy Spirit can empower me if I get out of the way.

  • Christian bakers joyfully make cakes for bar mitzvahs as they are required to do by law. Certainly the Jewish rejection of Jesus as the Messiah doesn’t comport with their religious beliefs, yet I’ve not heard anyone complaining that they’re “forced to participate” in this Jewish rite of passage.

  • Is the baker who makes a cake for a bar mitzvah participating in the Jewish rite of passage or endorsing Jewish beliefs? Should the Christian baker be allowed to refuse Jewish customers (which is unlawful under anti-discrimination ordinances)?

  • While you reject their beliefs, you are not rejecting their person. It’s not the same thing. FWIW, my parents, even 11 years into my relationship (six years married) still have not arrived at an affirming theology. I see them on their journey, and they love me *the best they can* (as we do them), but their rejection is a painful barrier between us.

  • littlekat

    This is nothing new. I once, many years ago (35-40), attended the church of Christ, because I enjoyed the sermons. The minister there spoke of loving your neighbor, forgiving trespasses, being a good person and responsible member of society. He never disrespected other forms of Christianity. When the charismatic movement was just beginning, he seemed to be the voice of reason. He chose, one Sunday, to scold his congregation for being conceited, placing themselves above others, thinking they were better than others, including other Christians and for taking fellowship to the extreme, of doing business with only each other, of excluding secular people. He spoke of how he felt like he had somehow failed to give the right message. It was the last sermon he gave there and the last time I attended. He was replaced by a man who, I personally, knew as a liar, uncaring of others in his confident christian arrogance. It has long been the practice of groups to hear what they want to hear and brook no difiance on that score. Christians prove once again that they are no different than the rest of us.

  • Boo Hoo

    So, they shot the messenger. Unbelievable. Well, not unbelievable, just horribly sad. Thanks for the article on this.

  • Kevin Thomas

    For many–their beliefs are who they are… I hear you though… I’m sorry to hear about your parents.

  • Andy

    Actually, it is not unambiguous. A number of bible versions translate the word as “kill” (e.g. KJV) but a number of others translate it as “murder” (e.g. NIV). How is that an unambiguous commandment?

  • andyfletch42

    Books to be read about American Christians loving America more than they love Christ – http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/andyfletch42

  • wylekat

    And your money, your profits, social standing, status, and against any dirty creature (oh, like say that homeless, starving person) that gets in your way.

    We get it. No one takes your blessings, huh?

  • wylekat

    Actually, I kinda hope Jesus is looking for that cat o nine tails he made a while back…

  • Joey Kirby

    You too! :)

  • Joey Kirby

    I understand what you’re saying. And I know it’s difficult to understand my view as I have
    had my own questions. One of the reasons I didn’t want to talk about my views
    on homosexuality is because it is such a sensitive subject. And coming on here to
    preach to non-believers (not saying you are), in case there were to be some,
    about sin isn’t something I wanted to do for various reasons and is not
    something I go around doing. I merely
    wanted to discuss certain things with Christians relating to Christian
    persecution, loving the enemy, and the difference between what they call a real
    Christian and a power hungry Christian, as it seems that everyone who is not a
    pacifist is put into that category. However, since you asked for my view I
    trust that I can tell you without this turning into a heated argument, but not
    that you’ll have to agree with me.

    First I’ll start with whether or not homosexuality is a sin by itself. I’ll start with the OT. Sin is the same in the OT as it is in the NT as God does not change. Leviticus
    20:13- 13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have
    committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is
    upon them. The difference is, in the NT there is hope, not only for the homosexuals, but for all of us. This is stating that it’s unnatural- Romans 1:24-27. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the
    truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the
    Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

    26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men
    likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion
    for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in
    themselves the due penalty for their error.

    You could continue to read further down to Romans 1:31 where unnatural is mentioned again. Others
    to refer to are Lev 18:22(OT) and Jude 7 (NT) where unnatural is mentioned
    again.

    I’m quoting someone here. “Homosexual behavior is the result of ignoring God and trying to create our own truth. When we defy God’s clear instruction, we reap the “due
    penalty” of our disobedience (2 Thessalonians 1:8–9; Revelation 21:8)”. I bring
    this up because people do create their own truth. I’ve read where a pastor said
    that it’s not a sin and God encourages sex in any orientation. That’s so far
    from the truth it’s almost unreal.

    So, there it is in the Bible that it’s a sin. God hates it. It’s an abomination.

    However, that’s just looking at homosexuality by itself. Idolaters, murders, thieves, adultery
    etc. are also sins.

    Now, whether you believe in God or not is another subject. We’d then have to discuss the universe and its perfect order, and how we came to be, etc. If you believe in God, you have to believe in all He says. He doesn’t speak half the truth. I have a friend who told me she
    believes in God and she is saved, but she does not agree with Him on this matter. Therefore, she is calling Him a liar. You can’t be a child of God while believing He’s a liar.

    So that doesn’t answer the question about the LGBT being isolated from their rights
    since we all sin. The best answer I can give you is that it’s “unnatural” as God calls it. There are many laws in which people aren’t allowed to do. I’m not saying that loving the same gender is hurting anyone, but like I stated up above, it’s creating their own truth trying to make it legal.

    You mentioned divorce to me. There are exceptions to divorce. Adultery, to name one.
    “Whosoever shall put away his wife, EXCEPT it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away
    doth commit adultery” (Matthew 19:9) And as with any sin, God will forgive a divorcee once they repent.

    As far as multiple and partners, those are things not carried through by law. Marriage
    and divorce are done in a legal manner. Anyone, including LGBT, can have
    relationships outside of law. That doesn’t change their lack of rights, but
    refer back to my earlier comment.

    You asked meabout a longtime friend and what I’d do if they “came out”. The simple answerto that would be, continue to be their friend. But would I talk to them about
    it? Yes I would. Just like I would if it were any other sin. And I have, just
    like people have talked to me about my wrong doings. And I don’t mean yell and
    force my views, but simply say what needs to be said and let it go. God gives
    us a way out of every temptation 1Cor 10:13. God wants us to come to Him and
    once we do He will make us new, 2 Cor 5:17.

    As I’ve saidbefore, I hate my own sins. God hates sin and He wants us to hate sin too. So
    if I can hate sin and love the sinner. I’ve done things that I’ll never mention
    here because I am so ashamed. If you knew you’d probably call me a hypocrite.
    Because most people see Christians as hypocrites anyway since we all sin. When
    we judge, that’s when we are called the hypocrites. But without judgment, we
    would not know to do right from wrong. If someone was to offer you drugs, you
    make a quick decision in your mind that what that person is doing is wrong.
    Likewise with every situation in life we come across. God even commands us to
    judge one another Psalm 37:30. But so many want to refer to Matthew 7 which
    tells us not to judge without reading it in full. He goes on to explain how we
    are to judge others only after we judge ourselves. He also speaks of righteous
    judging and unrighteous judging. John 7:24 Do not judge by appearances, but
    judge with right judgment. If I am doing something that my friend thinks is
    wrong under God’s commandments, then she should talk to me about it because
    that’s how we encourage each other. The unloving thing to do would be to disown
    me as a friend while I never understood why.

    In an earlier discussion, someone compared me to those who would kick out their gay or transgender
    children. I wouldn’t do that nor did I
    say I would. I was called hateful. I’m assuming that so many have been on my case on the subject of homosexuality is because they see the ‘Christians’ that
    way. I’m not saying a Christian wouldn’t do that, I’m saying that a non-Christian would. Being non-‘Christian’ doesn’t automatically mean they agree with homosexual lifestyle. So if a child is kicked out of their home, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their parents were Christians.

    With that being said, I’m no here defending every Christian that comes along. God says to
    drive away the wicked one, and sometimes that means a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
    I believe there are many many people who claim to be Christians who are not.
    Some may not be aware of what it means to truly give your life to Christ, while
    other’s do but don’t. I know this first hand by things that have happened to me
    by “Christians” (personal). Luckily I grew up not viewing all Christians the same,
    otherwise there’s a chance I may not have ever believed in God or maybe thought
    He was bad like “His people”. That’s one main reason I’m trying to get people
    to understand that all Christians are not the same, even the ones who may share
    the same views as those you oppose.

    Society vs God: Society changes, God does not.

    I hope this helped. As in what my view is. And that I never talk about this much as I mentioned before. I’m sure I missed some
    points here and there. Thanks and I hope you have a great day.

  • Herm

    Thou shalt not kill. Exodus 20:13 (KJV)

    You shall not murder. Exodus 20:13 (NRSV)

    Hebrew Strong’s Number: 7523

    Hebrew Word: ‏רָצַח‎

    Transliteration: rāṣaḥ

    Phonetic Pronunciation:raw-tsakh’

    Root: a primitive root

    Cross Reference: TWOT – 2208

    Part of Speech: v

    Vine’s Words: Kill (To)

    English Words used in KJV:

    slayer 16

    murderer 14

    kill 5

    murder 3

    slain 3

    manslayer 2

    killing 1

    slayer + 1

    slayeth 1

    death 1

    [Total Count: 47]

    a primitive root; properly to dash in pieces, i.e. kill (a human being), especially to murder :- put to death, kill, (man-) slay (-er), murder (-er).

    Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.

  • That’s moving the goalposts quite a bit… first, you asked “when has the US ever fought in a war to subjugate?” Examples were provided, and now it’s “well, yeah, but go ahead and tell me how the world would be better if that hadn’t happened.”

  • Bill Burchard

    Brilliant post. As an atheist, while I don’t believe God exists, I wholly embrace Christ’s teachings. I’ve often told my civil/political Christianitist Facebook friends that I think the world would be a much better place if everyone followed Christ’s teachings of love and acceptance, especially for society’s outcasts. While they like the idea of everyone accepting Christ into their life, they don’t like the idea of embracing the outcasts: gays, the poor (a.k.a. The Lazy Loafers), non-Christians (especially Muslims), anyone who disagrees with Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s policies, etc.

  • Noah

    Yea, definitely came across as unnecessarily insulting.

    Plus, do you write off gay folks who say they chose to be gay?

  • Joey Kirby

    First of all, I didn’t come here to teach anything. It is others who keep bringing it up.

    If you mean abandon the belief as in abandon God, then no…it’s not. Because God does not change. If you think God was traditional and now he’s changed His mind, you are wrong.

    Please go to my last comment to Eddie Flores, because I’m through talking about this. That explains my views, though you’re probably not interested. But I’ll say again, I did not come into this discussion to preach homosexuality. If I’m asked questions or being accused of certain acts, then I will answer and respond and those responses are what you’re responding to…

  • “I wonder why he doesn’t write about the growing number of Christians who have been fined or lost their livelihoods because of their Faith, like this person…”

    It always baffles me to see comments like this. Ben has talked about cases like those. In fact, I do believe he’s talked about the two examples you provide specifically. The fact that you’re bringing them up as if Ben has never even seen them just makes it seem like you’ve never read anything that Ben wrote before now, yet you still feel qualified to make claims about what he’s “never” written about.

  • Yep, sad but believable. Prophets are seldom greeted with open arms.

  • Herm

    I love you Bill and even more so with your good taste in one particular Teacher. If you think what minutely little written about the Rabbi was great I highly suggest for you, from my experience, to look into your heart and mind for the Spirit who can share the entire Word, every moment of every day promised until just beyond the end of eternity! Thanks for your good words and works! Peace!

  • Herm

    It’s called the need for instant gratification. Too many of us want to be spoon fed exactly what we want to hear entirely in one article that is finally authoritative to our need. You know, those of us who are searching for the pearl of epiphanies that pays our way into Heaven to be able to sit the rest of time without end on our special cloud strumming our harp alone without the bother of ever having to learn anymore. Oh, the reward of eternal rest!!!

  • Unfortunately, as Andy and Herm point out, what seems unambiguous may in fact not be, based on the original language and/or differences in translation. And just speaking in general, there are some passages that are pretty clear in the original Hebrew/Greek which, in English translations, seem to clearly say something rather different! Thus, it’s usually helpful to look to the entire witness of Scripture rather than just one apparently unambiguous verse.

  • Methinks your caps lock might be broken. You may want to have someone look at it.

  • Herm

    Joey you wrote, “First of all, I didn’t come here to teach anything.”

    Just what are you doing here?

    I am teaching that the Holy Spirit is real and is the only Way to the Word of God. I am doing so because this is a command given to me by my Lord and I do truly love mankind, ignorant of a relationship with the Spirit of God in their heart and mind 24/7 or not.

    Joey, the first thing any altruistic teacher learns is that they always learn more than their students. Siblings teach each other by sharing observations and by the examples they set. It is okay to come to teach as long as you’re also prepared to learn.

    If we want the truth we must first realize it will take at least one eternity to learn it all. We grow from challenging struggle and we atrophy from too much warm and fuzzy! Love you!

  • Kevin Thomas

    Ouch

  • Andy

    If every verse of the bible were explained contextually, it would probably be larger than the Oxford English Dictionary. Which, for reference, contains about 59 million words (in over 300,000 dictionary entries) according to Wikipedia. Unfortunately, with the concise* translations we have, the explicit meaning of some verses can be lost if one does not take the trouble to grok them fully — which, in fairness, would be an incredibly tedious task for even the most patient person. However, it is important that somebody do this, especially when dealing with verses that have potentially controversial meanings, as interpreted by people that believe the bible is inerrant/infallible and should be taken literally.

    * Yes, I did just refer to the bible as “concise”.

  • Shiphrah99

    Supporting information, please. Not just anecdotal.

  • Andy

    For some reason, this reminds me of the Far Side comic captioned “God at his computer” where he’s watching a guy walk under a piano and he’s preparing to press the “Smite” button on the keyboard.

  • Herm

    Welden, from the outside you do display all the symptoms of bitter and angry. Psychology was my major and has been utilized for 50 years now, often professionally. You are not constructively well my friend, for you or those you belittle.

  • Shiphrah99

    The Hebrew word definitely means murder.
    ETA: If it meant “kill,” we’d have to be vegans.

  • WeldonScott

    Doubling down on amateur psychologizing? If you’re a psychologist, you know better than to go full Soviet to protect your belief system.

    wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_abuse_of_psychiatry_in_the_Soviet_Union

  • Andy

    If everyone followed Christ’s teachings, no one would care what others believe in or don’t. Is there something ironic about that?

  • Joey Kirby

    Herm, I keep having to explain every single word I write. I say this because of the various posts. Ford talked about traditional teachings in his comment to me, referring
    to homosexuals. I’m letting him know that homosexuality is not a topic I came here to discuss, but if I’m asked questions I will answer and also respond to
    negative comments. I came to discuss Christian persecution, enemy love or views on it, and Christians. Not homosexuality. I just want to say real quick that I’m
    not claiming to be a victim as I was accused of in an earlier post, I’m saying it happens. I don’t have to be here, I know. I actually like talking to people even when they disagree with me. I just don’t like my words being taken out of context. Not by you necessarily, just in general.

    I agree we should teach love and we all have much to learn. And I’m not and fuzzy; I’m loving. Or at least try tGod bless

  • you seem to be going out of your way, here on this blog, to hurt ppls feelings & put them down for their faith. I can understand that b/c I & others here also were abused in the same ways as you by ppl who are religious addicts. I assume, in the past, you have believed in a church and ppl who called themselves ‘christians’ who have abused you. You seem to have been studying the bible and maybe psychology as well. I want you to know that, though you may be stuck in your resentment now, you are loved & lovable. The quakers have a saying; they believe in “that of god” in everyone. That is the part in you and me that never dies & is going back to god no matter what. That is what I love abt you tho I shall probably never know you in the flesh.

  • Herm

    Welden, you are not dissenting you are irrationally denigrating others who know something you do not just as the USSR did to protect their belief system. Love you and do hope the primal scream you are releasing upon us is relieving your over wrought heart and mind somewhat to be able to understand.

  • Noah

    google: people who said they chose to be gay

  • WeldonScott

    If your favorite topic is me, then keep talking about me. You can’t defend the Bible or your belief system, so this is it for you.

  • Without Malice

    “The purpose of being a Christian is to be Christ-like.” OK now, all you good Christians out there, I want you to go to your front doors (or back door) open it, go outside and curse the first fruit tree you come to that’s not bearing fruit. And then if anyone challenges your interpretation of scripture call them a generation of vipers, and then tell everyone that doesn’t believe like you that they will cast into a lake of fire that burns forever and ever, and if you’re a Christian doctor don’t heal anyone who doesn’t have faith. How’s that for being like Christ?

  • Without Malice

    Maybe that’s because Paul had a better way with words than your God in the flesh.

  • Without Malice

    I dare you to read the gospels and tell me that Jesus was not also filled with righteous venom for his enemies.

  • Jessica Orsini

    Not my god, WM. I’m an Hellenic Polytheist rather than a follower of the Abrahamic god. Doesn’t mean I don’t keep an eye open at what’s happening in Christianity, however, given as it’s the dominant religion where I live.

  • Susan Weber

    You just have to look at the reaction on FOX to Pope Francis when he speaks about the poor to know the true teachings of Jesus are being persecuted.

  • paganheart

    Is it just me, or do too many Christians too frequently forget about the “Civil” part? News Flash: Churches (and Christianity) ***do not*** have exclusive rights to the word “Marriage.” An atheist couple married at the county courthouse by a justice of the peace is just as “Married,” in the eyes of the law and society, as the Christian couple who are married at a church by an ordained pastor, minister or priest.

    Do too many Christians just not understand this little fact? Or do they just conveniently choose to forget about it? I’m personally inclined to believe the latter (Christian privilege at work.) But then again, I do have a friend whose parents are still wondering when she and her husband are going to have a “real” wedding–in a church, of course–since their 10-minute courthouse ceremony (25 years ago, btw) apparently “Doesn’t count.”

  • Herm

    Oh, come on, in sibling love I just can’t help but feel you are one huge defender of warm and fuzzy :-) . One of the biggest lessons I learn every time I risk to reach out and discuss something near and dear to my heart and mind is how my words are perceived by an other than me. If I keep having to explain every single word I write then I have not conveyed their meaning to those I share with. I know this by the the fruits harvested from the seed planted. I consider it my obligation to learn to share the spirit of what I need to share beyond the barrier of the letters I am using. That’s the loving thing to do for those I seek to share my heart and mind with. Empathy and compassion help most when I become too defensive of what I am attempting to impart.

    You are doing great by risking that you might be misunderstood. That is honorable and loving when you choose to set yourself up to be vulnerable just to share specially with those you do not know.

    Sexuality and gender are very sensitive points on this blog as many from all shades of each tend to defend the loving home they found here for all who love and respect each other. You have walked into a few defensively placed land mines and I am sorry if you were hurt. Somethings, until we learn why, are best left without a response and are avoided.

    Continue to grow in teaching and learning without end as that is the true joy in relationships building on love! Thanks!

  • It’s hard to know unless you know which passages are most reliably attributable to Jesus. Most scholars think the most reliably authentic words from Jesus are the parables. Most of the other “words of Jesus” serve the clear motivations of the various gospel writers, each of whom had an underlying purpose and emphasis that was slightly different, depending on the issues they were addressing at that time in their communities. That’s why it is important to learn about that stuff.

    This is part of what you find out, when you read the last few decades of Biblical scholarship. Don’t take my word for it. People reason about these things carefully and must cite evidence, to be credible. With the gospels written well after Paul’s letters and decades after Jesus, it is hard to argue that any of them are actually quoting Jesus, although this was the focus of the Jesus Seminar in their formative years and they did a pretty good job of teasing out what could plausibly have come from the mouth of Jesus.

    The other common solution is to declare it all straight from God. Then it is all true by definition. However, then people like Bart Ehrman can accuse you of not really reading the Bible, as they point out all the contradictions. Ehrman is only devastating if you adopt the lazy “it’s all God’s word” approach.

  • what is “it”?

  • Herm

    Not even close but then you haven’t got into the Spirit, you’re forgiven for what you do not know yet! Love you!

  • Herm

    I double dare you to ask Him yourself!

  • Herm

    You got me, oh wise and learned one, I’m one of those little children. Can you see anything stirring from the outside looking in? Don’t just stand there and grumble, come on in the Spirit’s divine! Love you!!!

  • I spoke of traditionalist teaching because I wanted to depersonalize my comment. I wanted to make it about what you believe and the harm of that belief – not about your choice to perpetuate that harmful belief. So it was my intention to be respectful, not disrespectful. Thus is the limitation of the com box.

    I appreciate your willingness to engage with those of us who disagree with you. I believe we are mutually transformed – i.e., sanctified, – through relationship. So even if I have profound disagreement with you, these difficult exchanges are a pathway toward shalom. I believe we’re all called to engage in them, and I commend you for doing just that.

  • Herm

    No human being has a better Way with Spirit and Truth than God and Their children, Elder and little.

  • Herm

    Get behind me!

  • Andy

    I’ve seen some Catholics on Fox News that think they know more about Catholicism than Pope Francis does.

  • iI think weldonscott is aka tim hamner, aka izzy(sombody). he may have been banned b/f on this & other blogs. his behavior is trollish tho he may not yet have actually slipped into being a troll. Yet. I still have hope in my heart for his recovery & feel the holy spirit is teaching me patience, tolerance & how to love someone who can’t love me back.

  • Andy

    Triple dog dare him!

  • WeldonScott

    Oh great, a Church Lady.

  • Love your honesty mate :)

  • Bang on the mark, sir. Well said!

  • Joey Kirby

    Sorry, my computer messed up earlier and it cut out my words. But, ah, oh well, haha.

    Thank you, I appreciate your comment. I’m not hurt, not at all. I was speaking defensively,
    not out of being hurt, but from a standpoint that I felt my words were being
    misused against me.

    As you know, there is much to discuss about Jesus. Like you said, it would take a long time.
    For now I’ll just say I love your love for God and others. I have to keep this short at the moment, but thank you again. God bless and take care.

  • Joey Kirby

    Amen. Thank you, I agree

  • Kevin Thomas

    Different Jesus than I know– context is everything! Peace to you-

  • Kevin Thomas

    Again–not the Jesus I know… again…context matters. Peace to you!

  • Sue Bonner

    Bill, as a Christian I love what you have to say. I hate to admit it but if more Christians truly followed the teachings of Christ, more atheists might be willing to the explore the possibility that there is a God. Love and acceptance toward society’s outcasts is the main point of Christ’s teaching and to not do that is to not really follow Christ.

  • TheKurgan

    Absolutely true. Love thy neighbor as thyself is pretty self-explanatory. Jesus never said, “screw your neighbor over to bolster yourself.”

  • Guy Norred

    Type as you wish, but don’t get defensive if people use standard conventions to interpret your text.

  • Sydney Carten

    let’s not forget all those ‘christians’ who demonize the poor and think they should all starve to death and be denied medical treatment.

    how does this conform to the teachings of jesus?

  • Those words were directed to the Pharisees, the group of Jews who were concerned with appearances and laws and condemned those who couldn’t live up to all the rules they’d laid out for them. In many ways they were similar to the Evangelicals of today, concerned about the outward appearance and not about the spirit.

  • It’s something I see in other discussions, as well. E.g. discussions on feminism – for some vocal feminists, they find that almost every time they mention anything related to feminism, they are asked to once again prove the entire history of sexism, as if they had never done so before and indeed as if nobody had ever done so before. I don’t know KSM well enough to say if it’s true of them, but for those other conversations, it’s clearly a silencing tactic; if I make you retread the same ground every single time, you can’t say anything worthwhile, and if you refuse to play my game I’ll accuse you of having no answer.

  • Without Malice

    Thank you for your comment, Jessica. I always like to ask Christian why, if Jesus was God in the flesh, he could not reach the level of intellectual aptitude found in the writings of Paul. It’s quite obvious that the Christians really need Paul to explain what Jesus really meant and why he needed to be crucified and resurrected.

  • trinielf

    Christians in America enjoy unparalleled freedom. They are free to believe, worship, share their beliefs (where appropriate), have houses of worship, have private religious institutions as well as large religious corporations and media houses, raise money tax free, freely enter and serve in the political and public service spheres.

    What they are being challenged on is their assertion that they are superior to other human beings by Divine dispensation and have the right to dictate what rights and freedoms others enjoy by their religious beliefs and not by secular laws that gave so many their freedom as citizens. What they are being challenged on is accepting tax breaks, subsidies and public services paid for by the public in order to open for profit businesses and then not wanting to obey public accommodation laws. What they are being challenged on is ill-treating and using coercive measures to bully non-Christians into converting in the military. What they are being challenged on is trying to interject their religion into public schools as if it is on the same level with science.

    And on these measures, they are indeed being unreasonable and overstepping their bounds. And it is not even ALL Christians who are doing this. Many Christian sects have absolutely no problem with restricting their practice of their religion to their OWN person and family, home and house of worship. It is only CERTAIN sects of Christianity that want COMPLETE Dominion over everyone else.

  • Why are you typing in all caps?

  • Then move to a country where you’re allowed to discriminate against other citizens. This is the U.S. All citizens have an equal right to be served.

  • Do you turn away all the adulterers who come to you? All the fornicators? Do you have a checklist for people to fill out so that you can serve only the truly holy? Or is it just the sinners you find icky?

  • Godwin’s law is never far away in these conversations.

  • No, you don’t get to persecute others. How would you feel if Safeway turned you away because you were a Christian? In the U.S. you don’t get to discriminate against other citizens. Move to Russia if you want to do that.

  • I really hope you take the time to look into the origins of the scriptures regarding homosexuality. The original language is not cut and dried, but rather nebulous. English just doesn’t have the nuance to properly interpret it. There is a lot of scholarly work on what those scriptures refer to and I’d encourage you to open your heart to the Holy Spirit and explore the subject anew. Try John Shore’s book “Unfair.” Amazing stories from LGBT Christians.

  • “Jesus is Lord; Caesar and the U.S. Bill of Rights are not.” YES! This! :)

  • Herm

    I’m learning very quickly now to plant seeds and more and more patiently wait to see how they grow. I have learned to trust that the Spirit of Truth works in others as well, or often better, than in I. Different relationships established on actual empathetic and compassionate love for the other always grow to a win win for both. If we have an eternity of relationship we might as well struggle to get it right now. The most difficult for me right now is learning that the best silencing tactic is simply being quiet.

    The best stimulating tactic seems to be to boldly share the truth to the best of our ability as we know it to be and the recipient might understand. If KSM is doing so then in time we will all learn. If KSM is trying to silence by going over and over what”s gone before it is time for me to be ever so silent.

    Love you, as always, thanks!

  • Justin Z

    Herm, despite your best efforts you came across as condescending with your suggestion that Bill look into his heart. You’ve made the presumption that he hasn’t already done that. In my case, it was looking into my heart and challenging what I’d always taken for granted that caused me to conclude that Christianity is a myth. Everyone’s experience and conclusions will be different, rightly or wrongly.

  • trinielf

    It is often hard for someone who has been in a supremacist position (which is very satisfying to the ego) to give away that power. For them that is their “normal”- being instantly believed, trusted, given authority and getting to decide the value of other people’s lives and what is right and wrong.

    Now we have other means by doing these things and we have the Universal Rights of Man which say ALL are equal whether you believe you are God’s chosen ones or not, and ALL must be treated equally regardless of religious belief or lack of. This is new to many Christians and a source of deep loss of power and popularity as far as they are concerned.

    That feeling is misconstrued as persecution. Now as the article says, there is ACTUAL persecution of Christians where merely being a Christian is forbidden, no freedom of belief, worship, expression without loss of security or life. That is not the case in this part of the world where Christians still enjoy loads of freedom and lots of power politically and economically.

  • Without Malice

    I’d love ask him myself, but the guy’s been dead and buried for 2,000 years, and as they say, dead men tell no tales and they never explain themselves. But it is plain in the gospels that Jesus was at times not a very likable fella.

  • Without Malice

    I don’t know Jesus, and neither do you; and you don’t know anyone who did know him. Stop fooling yourself.

  • Without Malice

    Oh, I see; because his wrath was directed those who were zealous for the law (just as the first Jewish Christians were – according to the book of acts – that makes it OK. The gospels are, by and large, very anti-sematic works, and they portray the Pharisees (who were the precursors of modern Judaism) in a harsh light that had nothing to do with reality at the time but rather mirrored the conflict between Jews and Christians many decades later when Christians had been expelled from the synagogue.

  • Kevin Thomas

    That simply is not true my friend… Peace…

  • Without Malice

    Amen my friend. And that doesn’t even get into the bloodletting found in the Book of Revelation, which has to be one of the most hate-filled and outright deranged works ever set down on paper.

  • Without Malice

    David? You want to bring up David? A man that the bible says would kill every man, woman, and child in every village he raided with the Philistines (of course, if you’re an average Christian you don’t even know that David went on raids with his Philistine buddies). If you want a true picture of David picture this: a man drawing his knife across the throat of a child.

  • Without Malice

    That and the pesky love your enemies.

  • Without Malice

    If there is a God, he made you in the image of a single cell organism; evolution made you a man/woman.

  • Without Malice

    Yeah, until the day of judgment when all those who don’t believe (most of the people who have ever lived) get thrown into hell for ever and ever.

  • Without Malice

    Christians have always turned on other Christians; you’ve murdered each other by the millions.

  • This is an atheist-friendly place, and there are some really decent people here, especially Kevin. I think you might find that if you were less antagonistic you might have some mutually beneficial dialogue.

  • Without Malice

    Crazy is as crazy does. Why don’t you go out and curse a fruit tree like a good Christian?

  • Without Malice

    It’s well past time to abandon the church, it’s evil through and through.

  • Without Malice

    Or, as one good Christian minister said just the other day, “Don’t call them gay, call them faggots.”

  • Without Malice

    One Christian denomination’s theologian is another Christian denomination’s enemy of Christ.

  • Otterwolf

    Of course, the question comes to mind, “What is evil?” There is the horrible acts that most people would agree, such as rape, murder, oppression, terrorism, slavery. theft. But some folks who are very conservatively religious may see certain acts such as those they see as personal vice, sexual activities outside of “traditional” marriage, or religious and/or non-religious expression that they see as blasphemous, etc. as being as bad or worse than murder, rape, terrorism, etc.

  • Guest

    you’re telling me?

  • it doesn’t!

  • you don’t know jesus? why not?

  • like Weldon scott, you seem so bitter & angry. I’m hearing you. I’d like to know you. I’d like to be your friend. Ppl here are probably praying for you. Be well my friend.

  • like what?

  • Ron McPherson

    I don’t think “intellectual aptitude” is necessarily what we Christians really need, but rather forgiveness and love. We’re already educated beyond our obedience.

  • Herm

    I’ve got some really good news just for you. He is alive today and literally speaks with many of us. I mean this wholeheartedly, if you sincerely challenge Him to answer you, in any language or vernacular, He will. We’re talking as I share with you, right now, and He’s waiting for you to open your heart and mind to Him so He can answer all the questions you’re ready to hear. Love you and, really, He’s not as bad a guy as you make Him out to be. He’s extremely forgiving for little children like me. Ask!

  • KSM

    Whoever said that should be rebuked and held accountable. Please don’t tar everyone with the behavior of a fringe-type person. You do yourself and others a disservice when you do that.

  • Herm

    I’m sorry if I came off patronizing and arrogant. Would you give my apology to Bill if you know he feels I was speaking down to him, please? I really, really do respect and love his words and works.

    Truly in my heart and mind I know the Holy Spirit full time. This does not give me any sense of superiority over any of my fellows of mankind. I hurt that your search was concluded when I know Christ Jesus is living, available and He is not nearly a myth.

    Thank you very much for caring enough to speak your heart. Love you!

  • Anonymous

    That’s an interesting take on it, and one I haven’t heard before. So many Christians claim to follow it all, and you’re right, that just isn’t possible. Doesn’t apply to me (I’m a happy atheist,) and I’d be happier if more Christians followed the ” love thy neighbor ” Jesus.

  • Brenster21

    It was one of the best plans ever created by the legions of atheism, get the Christians to destroy themselves.

  • It’s called developing the “mind of Christ” or the image of Christ as Paul calls us to in Philippians 2:5 (“Have the same attitude of Christ…”); 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ”, Romans 8:29 being “conformed to the image of his Son”, or Peter in 1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps”, and of course, Jesus’ own words, Matthew 10:24, 25 “The student is not above his teacher nor the servant his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers and servants their masters”. This is a primary understanding of Christianity.

    Grabbing an incident where Jesus is illustrating the unfaithfulness of the leaders of Israel (the cursing of the fig tree which is tied to the cleansing of the temple) isn’t even close to what is being spoken of. And by the bye–when did Jesus ever say that one must have faith in order to be healed? (Jesus’ healing were also miraculous…not traditional). He complimented those who had faith–but if you noticed in Mark 3 it wasn’t the young paralytic who exercised faith, it was those who brought him. Those he raised from the dead, the Centurion’s servant and the daughter of Syro-phonecian woman would have had a hard time having faith, I would think. 8^)

    Need to read those texts a little more closely.

  • Patrick

    We should be ashamed of ourselves, we’re persecuting this obviously morally superior child of god…

  • Patrick

    that sums it up well

  • Patrick

    Don’t need to read those texts at all. Ever.

  • Without Malice

    Please spare me the ridiculous and condescending assertions. If Jesus really spoke to anyone there wouldn’t be over 30,000 different Christian denominations, each claiming that Jesus had spoken and said he agreed with their particular brand of Christianity.

  • Without Malice

    Because the man, if he existed at all, has been dead for 2,000 years.

  • Without Malice

    I’m afraid it is true, Kevin, and it’s blindingly obvious that’s it is true. The only Jesus anyone knows is the one they’ve created for themselves in their own minds.

  • never?

  • Without Malice

    Bitter and angry? I hold no ill will toward any man, but every one of the tenants of Christianity is illogical and ridiculous.

  • Kevin Thomas

    I hear you and respect where you are coming from…I wish you the best!

  • Patrick

    that is so snotty and condescending, with a sickening heap of “aren’t I a great guy?”

  • I don’t think that is why you don’t know him. if you realy want to know if he exists ask him to reveal himself to you. That is how it happened for me.

  • i think that you wish to be convinced that jesus exists, wants to be your friend, you want friends who love you & understand you b/c you are afraid of dying & you are lonely. Why do you keep posting here & reaching out to us? You can find fellowship more suited to your tastes and disposition on the many athiest blogs on patheos & elsewhere. I would be careful if I were you. Have you not heard the saying that if you lay down w/ dogs you get up w/ fleas?

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    He’s a bit of a pushover as well.

  • to you they are. so be it.

  • Karen Bradley Ehler

    Thank you for writing this. This is the TRUTH that the bully Christians don’t want to talk about.

  • Patrick

    Never.

  • Without Malice

    I don’t consider Christian to be dogs, just misguided and deluded; but I hold out hope that by some means I might bring you to the light of reason.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    Are you like Jesus’ god, then? That seems pretty impressive. Why would you make your sins (are they magic powers or summoned guardians?) do that? Was Jesus getting too upity for your taste?

  • Without Malice

    Your right, I must mortify my earthly flesh with a thousand lashes with a wet noodle.

  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t view one story, but I did read the one about the baker who was fined for refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple. That looked to me like a clear case of “simply a loss of privilege or the ability to persecute others.”

    To put it another way, are racists “persecuted” when the law tells them that their businesses cannot refuse service to someone of another race? Suppose their deeply-held beliefs are that others of (insert race here) are contemptible, not worthy of service?

    Suppose I own a small store. The law does not say that I have to sell kosher meat, so I don’t. But then a Jewish man walks in and wants to buy some of what I ALREADY SELL. Would I be right to refuse him? This is analogous to the story cited; the man already sold wedding cakes, there is no such thing as a gay wedding cake. Cake is cake.

  • what is your reason?

  • Without Malice

    Why would Jesus – God in the flesh – be indignant? righteously or not. As God he would have seen every little thing that would ever happen in his creation, and seeing it he did, of his own free will and will full knowledge of everything that would ever happen, create it to be just as it is and no other way.

  • Without Malice

    What was offensive about his teachings? The overwhelming majority of them were nothing but standard Jewish teachings of the time.

  • Herm

    I am not superior to you in any way. I have in no way implied such. I certainly don’t understand your arguments implying to me that I am deluded because you know better than I that I have no relationship with Christ because you say you are certain you have none. There are people here who I know Jesus speaks with because of their fruits. None of the children of God I know are of any one particular denomination, in fact most of us are called to reciprocally share in all receptive spiritual venues. Inside or outside of church membership does not determine a disciple of our Teacher. Our High Priest can anoint anyone open to the perfection of His commands who comes to Him as a little child. I can only testify this is so in my life. I can honestly empathize with you to understand why you do not believe me. I am not asking you to believe me. I am only asking you to challenge God to prove Themselves to you as a little child. Facts are that inmates I asked did challenge God and became free with a peace and joy they had never known on the outside still behind bars. I just know you can too.

  • Without Malice

    If I owned a bakery I’d refuse to make a cake for the KKK too. But I wouldn’t think of myself as persecuted if I had to pay a fine. I’d pay it gladly and tell the hateful bastards to go elsewhere.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    I watch CNN, which I gather is a rather respected news source, some nights, and they seem to devote a lot of their time to stories about Christians being targeted overseas and always with the hanging question of, “Why are we not doing more to stop these murders?” Fox news gives plenty of coverage too while oddly implying if not outright accusing that no one is paying attention to this.

  • I think you may be projecting something you don’t like abt yourself on to me. lets look at that. I would really like us to be friends. On some level we are friends. I always pray for my friends and wish them well.

  • Without Malice

    And then there’s the Catholics. Back when I was a church goer not a week went by that I didn’t hear how the Catholic church was the great whore of Babylon etc., etc.

  • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

    “…if more Christians truly followed the teachings of Christ, more atheists might be willing to the explore the possibility that there is a God.”

    I think you have made a category error. You have confused evidence or indeed the actual presence of a creator super being with the behavior of religious people. If atheists, all of us, were the best, kindest, most life-validating human-shaped experiences ever, would you stop believing in a god? If Hindus, all of them, really followed the teachings of the Vedas, would that really make you and everyone else “… be willing to the explore the possibility that there is a God.”?

  • Kevin Thomas

    He claimed to be God…That really offended those in religious power. “I and the Father are one…If you see the Father you see me.. He also healed on the Sabbath. He forgave sins and the leaders believed only God could. He hung out with sinners, and stood by the marginalized. He called himself a King. The Pharisees and Sadducees were both concerned that his would bring the Romans down on all of them. There is more…but I fear you really don’t want a conversation–you want an argument or worse yet you have an agenda that includes berating and belittling. I hope I’m wrong…Peace

  • Joey Kirby

    Recently they have been, refering to the 21 Christians in Egypt. There are some more stories that are covered regarding Christians being murdered overseas.
    But you won’t hear a lot about it in America. It’s only hate crime if a Christian does some hateful act towards someone else of a different belief or lifestyle. You have to dig for these stories, and usually you might hear just a small thing that drives you to do more research.

  • Kevin Thomas

    I’m not a Calvinist… I ascribe to open theism God only knows that which is to known that is he doesn’t have exhaustive knowledge of the future as much of it is open. Check Out Greg Boyd’s God of the Possible..he explains it really well. Oh yeah…since Jesus is God this would apply to Him as well. I guess another factor might be that Jesus was also living in a finite body and world…not sure if He would be omniscient in that state anyways.. Perhaps He only knew His mission and that which pertained to it? Those were good questions! Thanks!!

  • the new normal?

  • this just blows me away. not sure i follow you completely. you are very nuanced, more so than me. i think that, if i am tracking w/ this discussion, I have noticed that the meta message going on is that the other person already has made up their mindas to what the answer is and they are playing mind games. I do it too!

  • You are a liar. Lying is a sin. Shame on you.

  • As MisKrys sowed, so she has reaped.

  • There are no ‘true’ Christians and no ‘false’ Christians. There are just Christians. You recommend a JIHAD mindset.

  • We are not prohibited from judging. We must make judgements to live.
    We are reminded that the scales we use to judge another are the scales that will be used to judge us.

  • Jennifer Starr

    There is, you know. I know several gay Christians.

  • Mr. G.

    Maybe not under the rock where you live, but I assure you there are many LGBT Christians,

  • No thank you. I saw the remark as humorous. I see you as a pearl clutcher. And I would bet 5 bucks folks run when they see you coming.
    I will give you Buddha’s advice. “Think about other things.”

  • Steven Waling

    No need is right. But then there’s also no need to come onto a Christian site where people are likely to be aware of the context and background to your cut-n-pasted scripture (proof texting like ol’ fundie there, bub…)

  • Torthel Lockli McClodden

    In the Gospel of John, it is attributed to the words of Jesus that He (Jesus) spoke extensively on the COMFORTER/aka The Holy Ghost/Spirit of GOD that would give, teach, etc. the real personal revelation and understanding of all things JESUS! That being FACT; it is plain to determine who is guided by – not the words but – He whom the words refer to. “Search The Scriptures For In Them YE THINK Ye have eternal life; But They Are They Which Testify Of Me; And Ye WILL NOT Come TO ME, that Ye May Have Life” [Jesus] True Christ Aspiration is NOT in the words but that which comes DIRECTLY from God to the individual…and the words just define what is FIRST given inside. We have it twisted by NOT remembering that before ANY word was scribed, there was FIRST The Spirit Of God Inspiring!! Dig-It? Stay Up and In Jesus

  • Patrick

    What are you talking about? Please give me even ONE example of my “cut-n-pasted scripture”,.. and while you’re at it, try rewriting that last line as a cohesive sentence.

  • Steven Waling

    Well – let me see now – you take a story out of its context, without any reference to its place in said gospel, or its meaning, traditional or otherwise, and expect us not to see you using the exact same techniques as the most fundie of fundies.

  • Patrick

    You think incorrectly, but you managed to ramp up all the way to smarmy.

  • Patrick

    Just as I thought, can’t even give an example. Because there isn’t one. I took nothing from any gospel anywhere. Learn to comprehend what you read. If that is too difficult for you, try running your index finger along under each word, and saying the word out loud as you go. And keep a dictionary handy for the big words.

  • Steven Waling

    Wait – the story of the fig tree isn’t an example? You didn’t take a story about Jesus out of context and use it to prove how he must have been just nasty? Wow…

  • Patrick

    I never wrote one fucking word about any fucking fig tree. LEARN TO READ BEFORE YOU PRATTLE ON!

  • Steven Waling

    Sorry bout that, it were that other bloke Without Malice. You atheists all alike… (and that’s a joke by the way…)

  • Patrick

    Yes, “we atheists” are all alike – we are ALL correct about religion. (and that’s no joke, by the way…)

  • Guest

    I do apologize for my angry tone and profanity though, I’d like to work on expressing myself in a kinder fashion.

  • Steven Waling

    Glad you’re so certain of stuff. Most of the time I’ve no idea if there is a God or there isn’t. I kind of like to think there is something more to the world than just us; but heck that’s just a hope I have. I’m not particularly interested in heaven and I certainly don’t believe in hell, but y’know I just like that love thy neighbour stuff (and yes I did put a ‘u’ there, that’s how it’s supposed to be spelled). Personally I’m of the opinion that certainty is a pretty dangerous concept to have. Leads to all kinds of trouble. Fundamentalism for instance.

  • Guest

    I apologize for my angry tone and profanity though, I’d like to work on expressing myself in a kinder fashion.

  • Patrick

    So you’re certain that certainty is a dangerous concept. No irony there.

  • Steven Waling

    Irony is my middle name. I am British doncha know.

  • Excellent discussion. I would add that the supposed persecution is a subconscious need Christians have to feel validated in their faith. They seek out persecution and thus sometimes create controversy where there need not be any.

  • Steven Waling

    Ironically I was just stating an opinion.

  • David Casasola

    How true. I’m saddened every time I see a “Christian” on social media post a prayer or scripture, immediately followed by a post about committing violence against Muslims, or denying help to the poor and less fortunate. One minute it’s “Praise Jesus!” and the next it’s “Don’t try to take my guns away!”

  • Paul Julian Gould

    And her last comment sounded rather like “And I’m gonna do what I want, and you can’t stop me! Nyah, nyah, nyah!” I’ve heard much the same from 6th-graders at my lovely wife’s school… Great witness, there, Deedee.

  • R Vogel

    Well played, Ben, well played……let em chew on that one for a bit!

  • I think it takes willingness for me to know that the spirit goes before me in all my engagement w/ others who have barriers to belief in the spirit. I cannot remember when I came to believe but it probably was right around the time I had almost destroyed myself w/ alcohol.

  • In your word here I find much hope for my own understanding of the pressure to perform in sevice to ego & competion for control! I thank the lord for you & appreciate the suffering.

  • from some postings here i think you may also apply the pattern of creating controversy to the athiests. I, too, have this aggressive need to be visible when I am feeling like I am a hostage. I think everyone is trying to find some wiggle room so as to be free from the fear of one’s autonomy is slipping away.

  • Perhaps. However, I like the distinction the author makes between Christians who take the faith seriously and those to whom use it as a political platform. Unfortunately, there are many who fall into the first segment that have been influenced by those in the second.

  • I think I just now have come to understand that love & forgiveness are intellectual constructs for athiests bc, I guess, that is the highest “good” to someone who has never known love or forgiveness.

  • yes! & I think convos abt this are very important to be having now. also if i find encouragement by empathic ppl to speak , i can process my confusion.

  • Eduardo

    I was thinking he was going to attack the Christian love of money, despite Jesus’ statements against desire for richness. Jesus was, and still is, counter-cultural. The sad thing is that he is counter-cultural to many Christians today.

  • malice i think you are grinding away at something other than what you claim in words. it’s just a hunch but i think you may be in a real crisis. Please know I am your friend.

  • Nimblewill

    I was told the other day that if the people who spoke so highly “of” me really knew what I believed they wouldn’t even speak “to” me.

  • yes! that is an important distinction to make I think. thank you for making it. what is behind the deception is even more amazing & important to discern I think.

  • KSM

    Sorry Ford1968:

    I had a good friend who was an alcoholic. I loved him as a friend and even drove him to the hospital when he was almost dead. But I never did condone his drinking.

    Because I am a Christian I did not consider him any more flawed, immoral or inferior than myself. I am the worst sinner I know.

    You can deeply love someone and still disapprove of their actions, while not being all self righteous about it. It happens all the time.

    Love the sinner, who is created in God’s image and is just as deserving of God’s mercy as yourself – hate the sin that is destroying that person and barring his way to God.

    BTW – My friend, in critically bad health, gave his heart to Jesus and now, 5 years later, is a transformed person. He is on staff at a local church and gives counseling to others who want to be free from addictions. He is a walking example of what God can do!

  • smarmy?

  • KSM

    How does “No persecution” square with this: http://www.wnd.com/2015/03/ex-seals-chaplain-faces-ax-for-christian-beliefs/

    (This is the cue for “progressives” to reveal how open minded, loving and tolerant they are of people who hold beliefs they disagree with)

  • I hope you’re not trying to say that life-giving gay relationships are in any way comparable to substance abuse or addiction. If you are, you’d have to demonstrate how covenental partnership is detrimental to the well-being of those in such relationships.

  • Herm

    We just don’t seem to feel as secure with a King that will wash our feet and die first for us as we do with kings that demand we wash their feet and die for them. God gave us Saul when we demanded a top down hierarchy who then took us to war. Jesus died to break the endless cycle of retributive war. Constantine stepped in and took us back into war. Saul and David amassed wealth as kings we can understand and love to die for. Jesus shared the wealth that was originally from God to begin with that we can’t seem to be comfortable stewards of. The church of Rome amassed wealth as only the kings do that we can understand. Which culture is counter to life for the whole and which culture is counter to hording, profiting off of the poor, and coveting my neighbor’s? Kinda’ just brainstorming in muse. Thanks for the picture Eduardo! It stimulated some pictures of my own.

  • Herm

    You clearly do not understand that a chaplain in the military has to be able to perform last rites over every soldier no matter whether they are Jewish, Muslim, Christian or even agnostic when requested. If a chaplain cannot be tolerant of gays legally in the military then (s)he cannot serve. Open your mind to the fact that your merciful neighbor that you are enjoined to love as yourself maybe a black, Muslim, gay woman. That is going forward into the inherited kingdom and not backward to outright bigotry. Come on KSM and learn to be forwardly progressive for there is infinitely more to learn as children of God rather than regressing back to only the little your parents knew to judge by.

  • Herm

    I used to keep the Holy Spirit out of my heart and mind when I thought I was sinning, taught to me by my community of birth. I found when I hit bottom and finally allowed the Spirit in full time that the real sin was not sharing what I considered the worst of me with Him. I found that I wasn’t a bad as I thought and that in His counsel I could actually make progress to become more Christ like every day. My point is that God is always ready to speak with you and God knows you more than any other, more than even you know yourself. Love you!

  • Herm

    Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be
    my disciple.
    Luke 14:27 (NRSV)

  • Richard Hudson

    I don’t think Benjamin is claiming that Christians such as the Navy chaplain referenced below never loose their jobs on account of adhering to their faith. Still less is he saying that Christians elsewhere (especially but not only in the Middle East) are not persecuted in far more severe ways than anyone in America or Britain. But he is making a valid point. Try living out Jesus’ “Love for Enemies” commands. Will you get called heretical, or unpatriotic? Which is worse? (I should say that I’m a Brit, living in Britain, so my knowledge of American culture is limited to what I see in blogs and films. Please forgive me if I’ve got it all wrong. This is your Christian duty!)

  • Can someone explain to me why any religious university would want to distance itself from a “love your enemies” message? I understand that it’s sometimes uncomfortable to look in the mirror, but I fail to see how it’s controversial.

    The proper response isn’t political posturing or debate. It’s introspection, reflection, and sometimes, repentance. Isn’t that what following Christ is all about?

  • Well, Patrick, that’s your call–I didn’t suggest that you should read those texts. I was speaking to the person who was quoting the texts in question.

  • BrinKennedy

    If you’re all correct about religion (which would be difficult, since atheists don’t have a single creed or belief system regarding religions in general), then why are you on a religious blog? You don’t really think you’re going to convince us of the error of our ways?

  • BrinKennedy

    Using the caps lock is universally accepted as an indication of yelling, anger, or belligerence. Much like using italics or a bold text to indicate emphasis. That’s because we cannot hear your voice via text on a screen.

  • BrinKennedy

    Please stop. Anyone who has ready any of your comments knows your stance – you’re not going to win anyone over by make snide remarks.

  • i think that to love & forgive ememies or anybody is more than an intellectual exercize or a judicial decree. It takes a relationship w ppl who know how to love & forgive & be available emotionally & empathically. I think jesus actually had such a relationship w the father & could stand in the strength of the truth of it so as to extend kindness & friendship to everyone. No relationship w jesus meant, in my case, profound & utter disconnect from myself & others.

  • BrinKennedy

    I had to look it up, but wow… incredibly accurate.

  • Ignatz

    ” If you use the word ‘persecute’ this loosely”

    Using it to mean “getting fired for stating your beliefs” is using it loosely?

  • Ignatz

    You may have noticed that Jesus reserved the harshness for very religious people who used their religion to condemn the sins of OTHER people.

  • Patrick

    Sorry, but I am correct since by definition ALL atheists shun religion. Why are you questioning me? I have a stance, and it’s based on my knowledge of religions. You have a stance against atheists, what is that based on? How many are you friends with? Ever read atheist literature? Do you follow atheist blogs? No? So of the two of us, one is making an observation based on education, and one of us is berating the other for educating himself. -You don’t really think you’re going to convince me of the error of my ways?

  • BrinKennedy

    I am not questioning your beliefs and I am not berating you at all. I am merely asking why you are on a religious blog if you are going to assert that you and other atheists have it right. You say you read other blogs to educate yourself, but part of education is listening.

    No, I don’t have a stance against atheists (they’re free to believe what they want, much like anyone else). Yes, I am friends with atheists (I haven’t counted how many, because I don’t care what they believe), I am the daughter of a man who identifies as ‘atheist’ (as opposed to ‘an atheist’, since he sees mainstream atheists becoming more and more religious-like in their own beliefs), and yes, I read atheist blogs and literature.

    But when I speak with my friends, my father, or read atheist blogs, I listen. I ask sincere questions. I do not sit there and mock them or tell them I have it all figured out.

    You think you have us all figured out and that is what I see as the error on your part.

  • BrinKennedy

    Also, you said by definition all atheists shun religion – fair enough, but how is that being correct about religion?

  • As per the commander’s report: On multiple occasions he discriminated against students who were of different faiths and backgrounds,” And this is where you guys aren’t getting it: it’s not persecution when authorities stop you from doing the persecuting.

  • Patrick

    How could I possibly care what you think the “error on my part” is?

  • Jacob

    I’m saddened by your comments, Betty. What did Jesus say to the woman who had multiple husbands and the man she currently lived with was not her husband? He showed compassion and love and not abuse and hate. John 4:15-30. Please don’t get me wrong, I also am aware God said “I hate divorce.” Malachi 2:16. But we can hate the sin and still love the sinner, right? After all, who among us is not a sinner and yet loved by God Himself. Romans 3:23.

  • Dave

    I do agree with the general point of this article and, it is absolutely true, that some of the worst perpetrators of persecution are other Christians… However, while I wholly agree that we ought to love our enemies as Jesus taught, I do think it may be a little bit ignorant to presume that Jesus was totally against self-defense… or to presume that the physical act of defending one’s self is akin to repaying evil with evil. I do not believe that is true.

    Yes Jesus taught turning the other cheek (in terms of not repaying evil for evil and in terms of enduring insult – and context bears this out clearly), but there were occasions where Jesus clearly explains that there is a just occasion for returning “violence” for violence… Not all “violence” is regarded in Scripture as “evil”. In John 18:22, when Jesus was unjustly slapped in the face, He responded with a verbal rebuke… He furthermore told His offender of their error and that they held the responsibility of proving their position which was in clear opposition to what is right and just. Let me say this another way… Jesus replies that if He had done evil, then this slap would have been JUSTLY warranted… But He had NOT done evil, so the slap was unjust. Some folks may need to read that slower…. JESUS WAS ADVOCATING AN OCCASION WHERE VIOLENCE IN RESPONSE TO INJUSTICE IS CORRECT!

    Jesus knew His kingdom was not of this world and He chose not to respond to this unjust slap with physical violence, but He clearly and directly pointed out that there is a just reason to return violence against injustice! And even Jesus’ own verbal reaction shows that, though He did not use physical “violence” here, He did not passively turn-the-other-cheek but reacted strongly!

    Jesus also instructed His disciples, in Luke 22:36, that after the things that were about to transpire they were to BUY A SWORD and prepare for their future journey and the events that were to lie ahead. I suppose that a lot of Christians don’t realize that the Greek word “maxairan,” which is what Jesus told His disciple to buy, was a dagger used specifically for the purpose of defending one’s self against thieves, thugs and wild animals? Why on earth would Jesus tell His own to arm themselves for protection and self-defense if he was anti-sword and taught unconditional turn-the-other-cheek response? I truly am not trying to suggest that Jesus was a gung-ho, shoot-em up, smack the pain down on your enemies kind of guy. Certainly not! But I think these passages need to be thoroughly and honestly evaluated… Not just dismissed because they might be uncomfortable to a religiously-motivated non-violence perspective. If this was a modern time (with respect to Jesus’ instruction), it may have just as easily been a command to arm yourself with the protection of a firearm!

    In Jewish culture during New Testament times (and as identified by the Greek language that the New Testament Scriptures were written in), “turning the other cheek” does not mean silence, submission to evil authorities, or the destruction or putting away of defense weapons (though neither is it a command to have a war-waging mindset). We certainly must acknowledge the context of use. Turning the other cheek is a reference to a back-handed slap and means to not retaliate against insults. It’s not talking at all about forgoing self-defense or to avoid defending the weak in their time of need when a violent attacker strikes. On the contrary, Scripture charges God’s people of their responsibility to defend the weak and to do justice… especially to watch out for one’s own household and family!

    Psalms 82:3-4 – Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

    Remember that one of the most bold statements of Jesus was, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Defending a friend, even at the expense of your own life is considered the GREATEST display of love.

    The New Testament also COMMENDS the Old Testament heroes of the faith who also were commissioned and anointed by God to engage war at the command of God and who exercised justice and righteousness – yes, even with violence. The same God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament. He did not lose His pants once the page turned from Old Testament to New Testament.

    Let me say this plainly… I FULLY believe in grace, love, patience, kindness, long-suffering, turning-the-other-cheek, not repaying evil for evil, and all of this. My heart is to have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus and live and walk as He walked (and certainly Christ demonstrated the kind of love we don’t often see today – even among many of those who call themselves His followers. Many are swift to return insult for insult and even to shed blood. I also am grieved by the sharp, angry responses that many so-called Believers give when they encounter injustice, rather than calling people to pray, to ask God for His direction, and to trust that He is mighty to save, deliver, heal, restore and to deal with our enemies. I FULLY believe that our daily battle in this life is NOT with people, but with spiritual wickedness. Unless we are people of relationship with God, we will tend to react according to the flesh, rather than the Spirit. We will not walk in love, but we run swiftly to shed blood while claiming justice must be performed at our hands. I absolutely do not want to belittle the message of God’s peace, His great love, His longsuffering, and His ability to do amazing things even in the midst of amazing adversity… even when at the hands of our enemies. I know there are many of the faith (men and women that I would regard as heroes of the faith), that chose to not return violence for violence and I know that many times God has worked miracles through such circumstances. We MUST have ears tuned to HIS VOICE, rather than just to be reacting to our own emotions and the impulses of our old nature.

    That having been said, I still do not see some kind of timid, weak, silent passivism that some appear to regard as true Christianity. There are several occasions of Jesus speaking with soldiers in the Bible… NOT ONE of those occasions did He rebuke them for their service as soldiers or tell them to lay down their swords… In fact, on occasion He commended their faith and made positive examples of them.

    Does anyone recall the words of Nehemiah 4:7-18? Are we honestly able to recognize that God favors and even commands arming one’s self to defend those we love and keep peace and safety of one another. I sincerely am trying to address this subject with a full consideration for Scripture. I know full well that Jesus said to love your enemies and that He told His followers that, although they had heard it taught “an eye for an eye”, that now they must not resist an evil person. But what exactly does this mean? To some that sounds as though Jesus was essentially saying, “The old way was to make sure the punishment fits the crime and you are justified to make someone suffer who has made you suffer, but now you are not to retaliate against the ones who wrong you but let them thrash you.” I know the Cross is cited as an example; whereby Jesus allowed His accusers to wound, torture and kill Him while saying, “Father forgive them”. I completely understand why some people cannot fathom that Jesus approved of defending one’s self with “violence”, but I really believe that if we look at the Scriptures in their complete context (yes even the doctrine of Jesus as it is written), it is evident that God is not against self-defense and that there is a difference between repaying evil for evil and defending against evil attacks.

    The passage containing “eye for an eye” is expressly referring to the act of returning an evil act with an evil act. Clearly, I fully agree, we are told NEVER to do that!!!! In other words, if someone violently abuses you, you are not to return vengeance upon them by angrily abusing them back (vindictively purposing to make them suffer for the pain they have caused you or others).

    This, however, is very different from the act of merely defending yourself or weak and innocent people around you. That is NOT an “evil” act. That is a righteous act. If someone is beating you, it is possible to defend yourself without returning vengeance or hatred on them. It is possible to protect and defend a loved one without viciousness, revenge or evil will, but only to stop the attack. I really am not just trying find this excuse in the text. On the contrary, I believe it is spelled out there and I have to accept that it is present because there is plenty of indication in the Scriptures (both Old and New Testament) that God expects a just person to defend against the unjust. The even better news is that we are not left to our devices in how to accomplish this, but we have the benefit of the Holy Spirit within us to guide our actions.

    Remember the words of Jesus on the night He was captured in the Garden when He said:

    Matthew 26:55 – In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me.”

    Note how Jesus is pointing to the common act of defending one’s self against an offender – that such is RIGHT! Obviously, He was pointing to His innocence but He spoke matter-of-factly of the righteous reaction of people to defend and fight against someone who is criminal in behavior. His statement highlights the fact that He was not an unrighteous person, thus the contrast shown by His statement.

    And remember when Peter tried to cut the guy’s head off (and instead got his ear) and Jesus told Him to put away his sword… Notice first that Peter had a sword to begin with…. Then notice that Jesus told him to PUT IT AWAY, not destroy it or throw it away or that it was evil to have one and the government should ban assault weapons and Peter shouldn’t complain about it. LOL Perhaps there would be a time and place for the sword (Luke 22:36), but this was not the time.

    Jesus stated (John 18:36) that His kingdom was not an earthly kingdom which needed to be defended physically. BUT if it were an earthly kingdom He said that it would be perfectly just to defend it with physical force. Therefore, when we are speaking about being citizens of that glorious spiritual kingdom, it is not one defended with weapons of this earth… But, make no mistake, WE DO HAVE SPIRITUAL WEAPONS TO USE IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM!!!!!!! And, make no mistake, as humans in a physical world, we also have physical weapons to defend the lives of our family, friends and countrymen. That is good and just. That is NOT the same as repaying evil for evil.

    When Jesus spoke with Pilate (John 18:36), He made mention of the fact that HIS DISCIPLES WERE ARMED AND COULD HAVE FOUGHT TO DEFEND HIM!!!!! Jesus was not anti-armament!

    1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for (take care of, watch out for) his own, and especially his family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.

    I understand if some people have a personal distaste for guns. I respect their right to not use them (I’m not crazy about them myself). I also respect and honor the right of any person or group that has a conviction to never repay violence with any kind of violence, even if in “defense”. I would, however, argue that Scripture does seem to present a clear difference between “repaying evil with evil” as opposed to “an act of defense against an evil person.” I do not think they are the same thing. Again, I agree that too many so-called Christians end up being the worst of persecutors against their own kind… Sometimes I question whether they are “their own kind” or whether the fruit of their lives is demonstrating that they don’t know the Father or His love. I certainly would have understood this man’s conviction, even if I held some measure of disagreement with part of it, but I would not have treated him as they did.

    I also have been very inspired by some of the testimonies I have read of the Anabaptist people, even though I do not describe myself as being part of any denomination or anything more than a follower of Jesus, who desires to live as His disciple. I love the story of Michael Sattler and I’ve read of several of the Anabaptist martyrs and find their stories and their faith so inspiring and convicting. I also have grown weary of the modern-day institutional church system that comprises most of Christendom and I no longer endorse it or participate in it. But I love the Lord Jesus and I embrace all those who are born-again and part of His family, because that is my family also; the Body of Christ. Thank you for letting my share my perspective.

  • BrinKennedy

    As I thought, no further discussion. Just assumptions and then “I don’t care” when presented with real answers to your questions.

    That’s why I question your presence here.

  • JenellYB

    Even worse, cite something from the bible, or even that Jesus said or did, as reason and justification for that violence and degradation of others.

  • I don’t think so. I think we can only decide what is right and wrong for ourselves and only ourselves. What other people do is for them and God to deal with. It’s flat out none of our business whether others’ behaviour constitutes sin.

    So if people are doing Christianity in a way that we would never dream of doing it, it’s far better to talk about it, lovingly, and if they don’t see our way, step back and let them be. Denounce it as NOT OUR WAY, for sure. Work on making sure that we don’t foster that behaviour. Work on love. That’s really the only rule.

    But back to the original point here, no one is perfect. Everyone screws up the rules. Everyone sins. Everyone fails to love sometimes. So… Who is the real Christian? Who is the fake Christian? It cannot be judged lovingly. It just can’t.

  • JenellYB

    It seems to me that the use of religion/faith, and the pattern of creating controversy that facilitates assuming a position of supposed persecution are, and always have been, a manipulation or coping device applied in many different contexts, very often, in personal relationships and interactions. There is such a strong tendency toward inducing guilt and shame, playing the victim role as a manipulation tactic. I think what we are seeing in connection to politics and social issues is just an old standby tactic applied to the present culture.

  • JenellYB

    …having replaced knowledge of God with doctrines of men….

  • Kevin Thomas

    I think He asked them to buy a sword so He could fulfill prophecy…ie Peter and reattaching the ear. It goes against everything that Jesus is to condone, approve, or excuse violence.

  • No thank you.
    A man shows his character just in the way in which he deals with trifles–for then he is off his guard. This will often afford a good opportunity of observing the boundless egoism of man’s nature, and his total lack of consideration for others; and if these defects show themselves in small things, or merely in his general demeanor, you will find that they also underlie his action in matters of importance, although he may disguise the fact. . . . Do not trust him beyond your door. He who is not afraid to break the laws of his own private circle, will break those of the State when he can do so with impunity. – Schopenhauer

  • KSM

    Richard – Please be aware (if you are not already) that evangelicals are routinely and severely misrepresented in the media today. The wide spread adoption of the false stereotypes of Christians being heartless, cruel hypocrites is throughly on display by many of the commenters on this page.

  • Guest

    Betty – You are displaying great ignorance.

  • Patrick

    How could I possibly care why you question my presence here?

  • KSM

    Benjamin – I think we should be able to agree that we need to let all the facts come out on this incident. Right now it is a he said/he-said situation.

    But if it does turn out that the chaplain was merely following what the scripture and 20000 years of Church tradition teach regarding homosexual behavior, do you agree he is being persecuted unjustly?

  • KSM

    Herm – I feel confident that this chaplain would be happy to serve any soldier or sailor in his care.

    Is it possible to love someone and yet disapprove of their sexual behavior? Of course it is. Please don’t assume that I or this chaplain are intolerant of unloving toward homosexuals, muslims, black, whites or whoever.

    But when someone is doing something wrong and self-destructive, the loving thing to do is to tell them so, in a loving and respectful manner. Right?

  • BrinKennedy

    Have a great night, Patrick…

  • are you for real?
    are you putting me on?
    are you pulling my leg?

  • Mike Hofrichter

    If Jesus loved his enemies he would “save” them even if they didn’t believe his claims. But he explicitly says that he will not ‘save’ them if they commit the thought-crime of not believing certain claims.

  • idahogie

    Are you unable to see the difference between “fired for failing to show tolerance towards homosexuals” and “fired for being a Christian?” Seriously? No wonder you cite WND as a source. You’re very easily confused.

    If the chaplain cannot deal with all the fine men and women that serve our nation, then he should be fired. And he’s an evil idiot.

  • Sheila Rivera

    I have run into this very thing with a relative who is a recent seminary grad, he basically told me I was very misguided and deluded because I agree with your Dr. Beckum I don’t understand this new Christian need to force everyone to believe exactly the same way. We are not going to be judged as a group, we are not going to be judged on other people, we will only be judged on our own thoughts, feelings and actions. I think keeping my own row hoed is enough work for me, without trying to make everyone into a clone of me. I can disagree and even state that I disagree, but what I can’t do is tell someone else what to believe or how to behave.

  • Herm

    KSM, no you are not right on so many levels. When you are in the employ of a nation that has established by law that being gay is not wrong nor self-destructive it is not loving to tell someone from a position of authority that they being gay is wrong and self-destructive. That is intolerant, not compassionate, and clearly not empathetic which are all necessary attitudes to love one’s merciful neighbor as themselves. When someone is challenging another or threatening to hurt others in their indifference then it is loving to share the truth with that person. I must assume that Jesus rubbed shoulders with gays, knew their hearts and minds and not a word has been written of Him volunteering how wrong and self destructive they were. Your definitions of tolerance and love just don’t seem to be in that example. I love you and will not judge you for anything that you choose to do that is self destructive. I love your enemy also and will call you on what I perceive you choosing to say or do that will be destructive toward him or her.

    Does this make any sense to you?

  • thestupidisstrong

    Yup Jesus clearly taught to love, forgive, show mercy to, and not resist your enemies. He said his kingdom is not of this world otherwise his servants would fight I.e. his servants should not fight for the kingdoms of this world, he rebuked peter for acting in violence saying live by the sword die by the sword, he said his followers would be attacked and should consider themselves blessed when it happens.

    Despite all of that American Christians think self defense and military service are noble Christian acts lol. They are completely biblically illiterate.

  • thestupidisstrong

    Dave you are truly deluded and it is amusing watching you throw out your lord and saviors unequivocal teachings to construct a piss poor argument for Christians to use violence.

  • Ron McPherson

    But if they want nothing to do with him now, how is it love to force them to spend eternity with him?

  • Joris Heise

    Knowing something of scripture, I need to learn from you where He says what you say He says–and also why and how that interpretation applies. Yes, there is a sin against the Spirit and that is said to be unforgivable, but the ancient writers and most theologians infer that is in action, and not in thought or attitude as such. I am also always exploring what “save” means both to us and to Jesus, the Jew. I fear so often that today’s religious person misreads the Scripture–myself included–because we insert modern and religious-modern ideas into Scripture that Jesus would not have understood at all. [I have grown to know that “soul” means something to us Western-Greek-inheritors that was almost the opposite of what it means in the Semitic-based words of Jesus. To Him, a “soul” was your lifetime, and you “lose your soul” by dying–not a “spiritual death” but the end of your lifetime. Can you explain your comment–I am interested.

  • Ignatz

    Personally, I don’t know anyone who’s been fired for their beliefs. But shouldn’t that be called “persecution” and condemned whoever it happens to?

  • Nick G

    What an extraordinarily arrogant and insulting statement. Do you really believe atheists are incapable of love and forgiveness?

  • Noah

    Dude. I don’t write them off.

    Way to be hateful, which, oddly enough, is supposedly what you’re upset about.

  • Just_A_Thought_79

    This is a controversial topic, and I think it is exacerbated by people on both sides screaming, arguing, and name calling. Instead, maybe people should just focus on what Christ said, “to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” If someone is a soldier and feels like he is serving God in his called mission, then so be it. Is that not the first commandment, according to Christ, “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul?” If that soldier is called to that position by the Lord, then they are following that commandment to the hilt. Just because they are in a position that requires violence does not make it less Christian, it just makes it more difficult for us to understand.

    Likewise, that person is no greater than a baker who is serving the same called mission in his life. Or the pastor, missionary, worship leader, or writer.

    Unfortunately, people still like to rank themselves on a holiness scale, but the reality is there is only one level. Either you are walking in God’s called appointment for your life, or you are not. Everyone is called to something different, just because you don’t understand the purpose of someone’s calling doesn’t make it wrong.

  • Herm

    “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. “ Luke 14:26-27 (NRSV)

    Dave in your elaborate defense of defensive violence you said, “Remember that one of the most bold statements of Jesus was, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Defending a friend, even at the expense of your own life is considered the GREATEST display of love.”

    Given the scripture above, along with how Jesus demonstrated His love for the enemy who served to take His life, how would you interpret “that he lay down his life for his friends”?

    Luke 10:25-37 teaches us all that we must do to inherit eternal life. John 1:10-13 teaches how we become children, little brothers and sisters to Jesus, of God. John 1:32-34 teaches how and by whom we are baptized into the Family of the Father. Acts 4:31-35 tell us how we can know the fruits of the Spirit. John 16:12-15 tell us how we each can know all truth for certain today as we can bear it.

    I testify by my own life and in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit this is so! Love you!

  • Eponymous1

    Lame.

  • Herm

    … coming from someone limping in giving their name of authority anonymously to their feeling and thought. Thanks!

  • Herm

    “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9 (NRSV)

    Just_A_Thought_79, you child of God you! Thanks for making this effort at peace making!

    “John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward. “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. “For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”” Mark 9:38-50 (NRSV)

    I understand from the scripture above that there still must be a seasoning of fire to be at peace with one another.

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’” Matthew 7:21-23 (NRSV)

    I understand from the scripture above there are times, as even a little child of God, to declare to the evildoers in the name of Jesus to go away according to the will of our Father.

    “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:34-39 (NRSV)

    I know from Revelations that the sword is not from a sheath attached to a waist but is from a mouth attached to a heart and mind. I have more peace and joy than I knew could exist before being with the Holy Spirit full time counseling in my heart and mind. I will wield the sword against all who put stumbling blocks before anyone of the little ones ministering in the name of Jesus, the Father and/or the Holy Spirit who have not yet been baptized by Jesus with the Holy Spirit residing 24/7 in their hearts and minds.

    I disagree with your asking us to live and let live without a full relationship of sharing our perceptions, as honestly as we know them, with our siblings of mankind and our siblings of God. Any family, mortal or divine, is strengthened by sibling arguments share with the seasoning of love. It is condoned, secularly and spiritually, to wield the sword from the mouth in defense of our brethren and to be a disciple of Jesus we must carry the cross in defense of our enemy whom we can ask our Father to forgive them for they know not what they do.

    If this response to you came off as “holier than thou” I am sorry. I in no way feel or think myself superior to you or anyone else on Earth or in Heaven. I wish only to serve where I am called to fulfill the mission commanded us from our Lord to share the “Good News” with all nations worldwide. You have helped as a peacemaker whom I perceive could use just a bit more spice. Thank you! Love you!!!

  • Nathan Aldana

    It always seems to me like these sorts of people have a strange inability to consider the ideas of people that are not them of having any validity. Therefore its only persecution when you do it to them because you’re suppressing “The truth”

  • Nathan Aldana

    I saw one the other day where the sort of people I know on my facebook are usually all about nuking the middle east to fix it, suddenly idolizing Iran over its policy of shooting people who cross the border illegally.

  • Joey Kirby

    If I’m offended then you must be doing something right? If I offended you by calling
    you ignorant and uneducated in your teachings of Christ would you also say that
    I am doing something right? Or is it only when you dish out the insults? I
    don’t need you to like me. Nor do I care. I do care, however, when I hear of
    “Christians” preaching while perverting God’s Word.

    I’ll go
    ahead and clear a few things up even though I shouldn’t have to since you continue
    to accuse me of saying and doing things
    I didn’t say or do, and I’ve already told you that.

    You told me in another comment that I
    am an oppressor claiming to be the oppressed and that in doing so, I am satanic.
    And then you rebuked me. I did NOT tell you that I was oppressed. I said there
    is Christian persecution in America that goes unrecognized. Does that sound
    like I’m saying I, myself, am persecuted?? Though I’m finding it very strange
    that you continue to comment your very hateful words with no love or anything
    remotely close to love, on a blog about love. You may be talking of when I used
    an example of a couple of family members dismissing me because of my beliefs
    (in God). Well yeah…that is a form of persecution. I’m sure you’d agree if it
    was a gay person who got dismissed from their family for being gay. But…I do
    not claim being a victim, because I really don’t care much about that anymore.
    Claiming that there is Christian persecution doesn’t mean I’m ignoring the fact
    that others are persecuted.

    Speaking of love, do you honestly
    think just by defending the LGBT that it automatically makes you a loving
    person? Do you think that every single person who believes in gay and lesbian
    marriage makes them good? Because it sure sounds like you think you’re the
    loving one here while “defending” them, but continuing your hate speech. And
    there’s no reason to defend them against me anyway. On the other hand, you also
    seem to believe that everyone who sees homosexuality as a sin will bully or
    kill them. If someone kills another for their beliefs or lifestyle, then they
    do not share my beliefs nor do I believe they follow God. And someone who kills
    someone else for these reasons doesn’t mean they claim to be a Christian.

    You say my children will be so
    ashamed of me that I will be forgotten in my own lifetime? (I know you were quoting
    yourself to another person, but you were speaking of me too as you think I
    share the same beliefs as every other Christian who sees homosexuality as a
    sin, and you’ve made that very clear). My little girl is a sweet, wonderful
    child full of LOVE. She knows no such thing as shaming others and I don’t teach
    her to do so without cause. If she had a family member who was murderous and
    would not change, then she should shame them just as the KKK should be shamed
    and just as anyone who kills homosexuals should be shamed. I teach her to
    defend those who are being bullied because of all the teen suicides. I teach
    her to be kind and generous to everyone. Don’t talk about people in such a way
    whom you do not know. She will never shame me nor do I deserve to be shamed. It
    seems like that’s your practice…

    “Of course I don’t have anything nice
    to say about you, your claim of American Christian persecution is a ridiculous
    lie”. Oh really? I challenge you to do a little research on Christian
    persecution in America. And when I say research I don’t mean open one site up
    and leave it at that, although just one murder is enough to prove you wrong.
    And when you read the stories of the ones who were murdered for their beliefs
    and still claim that it’s a lie, then it is your choice to believe your lie
    blindly because you have read it and know the truth. It is people like you (put
    Christians in a category of hate), who act defensively without cause and do
    real harm because your own hate for our beliefs. I’m not saying you personally
    would do such a thing, but it is those who have so much hate and anger in them
    and claim we are all the same who commit the crimes. That is no better than one
    who claims to be a Christian full of hate and anger towards the LGBT’s and
    takes the life of an innocent person for their sexual orientation. Because I
    think we both agree that murdering is wrong, whether it be a homosexual or a
    Christian or a homosexual Christian, correct?

    “The deaths of GLBT people was a designed and intended
    effect of Christian-led political efforts. It has taken a concerted effort to
    dismantle that murder machine. And every single step of it has been called
    “persecution.” I won’t say that every person in power hasn’t taken
    advantage of their position to rule in an evil way, e.g. The way America was taken over. However, they do have rules set up for a reason.
    Some rules are against cruelty: murder, abuse, etc. And some are against things
    that are unnatural: male lying with male instead of a female. And that is
    Biblical, God’s Word. But for you to fully understand that, you’d have to refer
    to God’s Word in full, not in part. People here have been saying that
    homosexuality is not a sin even though God CLEARLY states that it is. But by me
    saying that, or God rather, doesn’t mean that my sins are better. It’s simply
    stating that homosexuality is in fact a sin too. You can argue that God is of
    love and LGBT love too, but God says their acts are unnatural. They were not
    how He intended it. People are wanting to use “real Greek” as an excuse to
    dismiss God’s words against homosexuality, as if the Bible was interpreted
    wrong and God did not say that. That’s nothing new, I’ve read it before. Though
    it seems like every time God’s Word doesn’t conform to someone’s beliefs, they
    want to change it. I wonder if they are using the same Greek scholars who wrote
    The New World Translation or scholars like them. They too want to pervert the
    Word of God to fit their beliefs and that’s been proven over and over. The NWT
    was changed over a hundred times in a hundred years. These same Greek scholars
    say Hell means something else and is not a real place. The religion of the JW’s
    started about a hundred years ago when a man, Charles Taze Russell, didn’t like
    the idea of Hell and set out to form his own “religion”. And since then, the
    “religion” grew, changed, and grew and changed some more. That’s a fact. I’ll
    stay with the book inspired by God that’s upheld every other book for over a
    thousand years. I’ll stand by God.

    I’ve read where someone on here claims that we “Christians” hold on to the Bible and
    just use scriptures instead of following God. What? I can’t fathom that. Without
    His Word, we do not know what He wants of us. All of this enemy love everyone
    keeps talking about from scriptures wouldn’t even be mentioned. They could talk
    about love but they couldn’t talk about what God said in the bible about love.
    Other than that, I can only assume that they think we should skip around in the
    Bible, read only about God’s love, close the bible and never open it again.
    Those are His teachings. That’s what He left for us to learn from and in it are
    His examples . You might take a lot of what I say as being harsh, but it’s not.
    I’m speaking with love for God, love for others, but also recognizing sin as
    God has instructed us to do. It doesn’t mean I hate or even dislike gays and
    lesbians in any way. I like them as I like anyone else. I love them like I love
    anyone else. I mentioned “like” because so many people are on here talking
    about “love” because it’s a “Christian’s duty”, and it’s true, it is, but I
    mean LIKE also, Christian duty or not. I don’t look at a gay man or woman and
    think “oooo they’re gay, God doesn’t like that. They’ll go to Hell for sure”.
    No, I genuinely like them as people. And if you want to know more on my views
    of homosexuality and the scriptures I’ve shared, you’ll have to find it on here
    as I do not know which post it was on. And please consider, and everyone else
    who might read this whom takes offense, that I didn’t come here on this blog to
    preach the sin of homosexuality. I never even thought about it for a minute
    when I came here. It was brought up to me on several different occasions because
    of my statements about Christian persecution and how I feel about the subject
    of enemy love- Meaning, I know God wants us to love one another as He loves us,
    and I know the scripture in Matthew 5, but I also believe in God’s wrath and He
    speaks of it many times. And in saying so, it kept going back to homosexuals.
    They are not my enemy, no matter your opinion of my beliefs or what other “Christians”
    do towards them. All of this is all because I was questioned and challenged so
    much. So yes, I will state my beliefs and you can take them how you want, but I
    am going by what God wants. God is the same as He was in the beginning as he
    will be forever. Just because society changes, doesn’t mean He will, because He
    won’t.

    Of course you don’t hate me? For a place to be so much about “love” I’ve never been
    so un-loved before. You contradict your own beliefs in so many ways throughout
    your whole argument. You called me anti-Christ but the contradictions
    throughout these teachings on this entire blog speaks against God’s Word. There
    are only parts in which are true pertaining to God’s love. And we should
    welcome everyone with open and loving arms. But to only take half of what He
    says and use it to conform in the TYPE of belief that everyone is going to
    Heaven, is dangerous teachings (if everyone thought they were going to Heaven,
    they wouldn’t come to Christ). Same as, if homosexuality is not seen or taught
    as a sin, then the people learning from you wouldn’t think they needed to ask
    for forgiveness and repent. Again, dangerous teachings. Everyone needs a chance
    to be forgiven and live Christ-like. Learn what REAL love means. Love means
    telling your friend the truth and not sugar-coating anything. Love means
    telling your neighbor about Christ. I certainly don’t want or need to be told
    I’m loved in the same breath that I am called a liar and an unbeliever while
    I’m sharing my love for Christ. That is NOT love. I’d hate to think that if you really thought I was anti-Christ you would really show that kind of attitude towards me. Fortunately I am I child of God and your “Christ-like nature” isn’t going to scare me off. However if an atheist were talking to you and they so happened to not agree with the homosexual lifestyle, or just didn’t like homosexuals, you’d push them aside instead of loving them and sharing with them the truth of God. What then would they do? Think this is what “Christians” are all about? The very thing being taught here is love and the purpose of that is to bring them to Christ because you care enough about them. But if you really thought I was against God, then you’ve shown me that what I just said is true, because you’ve shown me nothing but the opposite of love in every comment you’ve made to me. It’s one thing to share with someone your beliefs while not believing the other ones beliefs, and another to disregard someone as anything other than pure garbage for theirs.

    “Everything I’ve said about you has come from my mind. I can’t say the same about you and yours. I see no evidence of a mind or of Christ in you”. Is there evidence of Christ in you? I’m not seeing it. Although I’m not sure if in another conversation you misunderstood me or not. In our “discussion” you had compared me to someone who would kick out their gay or transgender child and also to someone who would not feed a starving child because of their lifestyle. You said some other things, but I’ll just leave it at that. I used an example of how you shouldn’t insult someone by claiming they would do such hateful act by saying this: “If I told you, you only love gay people and loved them only for attention, you would probably feel even angrier and like I had categorized you in a very shameful manner, right? It certainly wouldn’t be right on my part in doing so, as it isn’t for you doing that to me”. When I said that, I’m not sure if you thought I was actually saying that I believe that about you. I was using an example of someone who might think those things, but not me. I used that example because it is a lie. Just like saying those things about me was a lie. It’s a stereotyped comment. I did not and would not say that to you or anyone else. It was only a false example. I know you didn’t mention that again, but I’m not sure if that comment drove you into more anger. Now, if you want to still be angry at me anyway then that’s fine. But I wanted to make sure it’s not because of something that came out the wrong way.

    Again I say, I do not hate the LGBT. I would not kick out my child for any reason. I would not ignore a starving child. I would feed them and help them however I could. I will never support torture, bullying, or putting someone to death for their sexual orientation. Ever. I would open my business to them. If I were to turn them away I’d have to turn everyone away for their sins. When having a business it’s no one’s job to view people’s lifestyles when they walk through the door.

    Though I didn’t put any scriptures on here to support my words, I have in many different posts (while defending myself might I add) and they went disregarded. I’ve backed up my beliefs and God’s Word, but I have yet to see anyone here back up there’s fully, or prove to me what I say isn’t true. The only way to “prove” what I say isn’t true would be to tell me that the Bible was misinterpreted. I could go into a whole other segment about misinterpretations of the Bible, but I think this is long enough. You can do some research on that too and find the truth behind false teachings of these Greek words they use to conform to their beliefs.

    There is always much to be discussed and learned about God. And far too much for me to cover with you in this one post. But I wash my hands of it now. I’ve always liked having talks about God and the Bible, with different views, but I have never had to do this before. You think you’ve done something right? Go back to the first part of this message. All of this is heresy and it’s being taught more and more all over the world, because it is the teachings people want to hear because it “tickles their ears.” If you all shared different views and was open for discussion, that’d be fine, but the contradictions here amaze me, because of the un-love I’ve been shown (not by everyone). I’m really not even sure because when I’ve been told I was loved it felt more like a back-handed compliment instead of loving someone without agreeing. Like I said, I wash my hands of this blog, meaning I will not even read my emails. I’ll turn my notifications off. So whoever wants to take a “stab” at me again feel free todo so because I won’t know it anyway. You can enjoy each other’s pokes at me,have a ball. Or delete this message altogether, it make no difference to me. Idid enjoy some of the discussions with some you, whether we agreed ordisagreed, but take care.

  • “everyone must have some thot that’s gunna pull them thru somehow…”~JACKSON BROWNE

  • forgive me, nick, but i really do.

  • lame?

  • yep! noticed that.

  • further more the role codependence and addiction plays is a key factor in the drama and chaos created by the adrenalized reactivity of actors who really lack a core identiy.

  • is that bc you cannot understand them w/o the holy spirit?

  • dunno why this is news to me but lately have had the revelation that the kjb was printed in mideval times. what can be inferred by such info, so goes my thinking, is that the ethics of those far off time has not evolved much since then if the bible is interpreted literally by ppl who donot have the holy spirit.

  • Delta

    After a lot of years of reading the bible and studying it I have come to the conclusion that Jesus of Nazareth did NOT teach that violence, even in self defense, is permissible. Nor did he teach that while I may not use violence personally, collective violence (war in all its forms) is OK.

    I am disturbed and challenged by this teaching. So are a lot of Christians. The several churches have endorsed, blessed and engaged in violence for 2000 years. And they were wrong. And I am wrong if I engage in violence.

  • Matt Jacobs

    I am overwhelmed by the quality and thoroughness of your rebuttal.

  • Larry Mccoy

    i want to ask one question if your wife or children were about to be raped and killed you would stand by and allow it to happen.and please dont ridicule me i’am only asking. i know i would’nt even if it meant loosing my own life to save theirs.

  • Matt Jacobs

    Dave, I appreciate you taking the time to construct a thorough opinion. This is how Christians should discuss the challenges of scripture. Not by attempting to silence them, as many did with Dr. Beckum, nor by being insulting, as others on this page are, but with humility and acknowledging that answers are rarely easy.

  • Not a single Christian sect (religion) follows what Jesus taught, but many have a watered version as designed by Constantine via Paul who never met Jesus. All present-day Christian churches are based on the Trinity: Hate, Fear and Ignorance and None have anything to do with God.

  • Patrick

    Boy, are you ever quick with the witty retort! -It only took you two days to come up with that zinger!

  • Hi micro! Pretty sweeping statement! Rite here on this blog you may have a chance to find some genuine bonafieddy spirit filled in christers. Maybe thaz what drew you here?

  • just want to be careful w you patrick.

  • Eponymous1

    I was left speechless by the triteness of the rhetorical device employed by the author to yet again repeat his attack on certain Christians for their putatively utterly unfounded persecution complex.

  • Herm

    I may draw some ire from some fellows here I love and support who won’t expect this from me but I must, even with your liberal use of all and none, on the surface agree with you. All of us are children with the same expectation of administrating our own organizations in the name of our creator God to the perfection we would expect of children with the freedom to choose separate from a fully dictating parent. I do believe that Saul was baptized with the Holy Spirit and Jesus named him Paul. I have been baptized by Jesus into the Holy Spirit and if called to organize gentiles into a conversing and united group of students for Jesus I would have to fall back the the ingrained training from my past before the counsel of the Advocate. Paul, James and Peter had to move quickly and did a phenomenal job of organizing over a vast area people so much in the Spirit of Jesus they picked up their crosses by the thousands. The problem that I can glean from the New Testament compilation is that Jesus clearly said He and the Father were sending the Spirit of Truth which showed what the Spirit could do at the end of Acts 4 to organize according to God. The evolution of church organization has continued to devolve back to the hierarchy of king down rule in the example of King Saul and King David only installed by God to suit the demands of His people. Jesus saved us from that rule when we allow Him to be our Lord, High Priest and Rabbi. In my heart and mind this is where I find myself in agreement with you in regards to the organized corporate Christian church, Constantine (Caesar) and the Apostle Paul. We are all ignorant because we have yet at least an eternity’s worth of learning ahead before we know it all. All religions in this world run by mankind use that ignorance to intimidate with fear and hate. The Good News is that the Holy Spirit is real and available separate from and within the churches of mankind. Jesus can anoint any of His students He deems ready to minister and prophesy to those He knows are in need. In relationship with the united hearts and minds of God through the Holy spirit there truly is a peace and joy regardless of the cross we carry in the example of our Savior God. If this reads like one huge run on sentence it is because I had to just let it come out as quick as possible, please forgive my childish skills. Thank you for daring to express such an extreme contrast to the status quo! Love you!

  • Mike Hofrichter

    That is not the point. Not even close. Only an evil monster would condemn people to an eternity of separation from their friends and family for the non-crime of not believing certain claims.

  • Mike Hofrichter

    So, in your interpretation of scripture, nobody is given any penalty for not believing Jesus’s claims? Nobody is denied an eternity with their family for the non-crime of disbelieving?

  • Mike Hofrichter

    Yes and no question: Will Jesus punish anyone for what they believe? I don’t believe that Jesus or any other supernatural entities exist. Is Jesus evil enough to punish me for this?

  • Stevecorbin

    If you really read Jesus in the Bible, you would have to believe he was at heart a peace maker. He did not counsel vengeance, but rather forgiveness. He did preempt violence against a prostitute in contradiction to law and custom. When he was seized in the Garden he told his disciple to put down his sword. When he was crucified while being innocent he asked for the forgiveness of his murderers. Not many Christians or non-Christians could do these things. He understood this.

    But, he clearly guided his followers to care for and protect the vulnerable and innocent. That would include physical protection of someone who would be harmed by an evildoer. Why is it so hard to understand that both of these guidances can co-exist?

  • Joris Heise

    Your questions suggest that to me that our understanding of scripture is so radically different that we are not communicating at all. “Penalty” for not believing Jesus’s claims–is a very, very modern way of viewing scripture, and not one I understand at all–I think of it as modern non-sense–an unanswerable question. If you have an answer, then you ARE modern, and your belief will lead you wherever it does. The same way with your second question–you believe in a “religious ‘eternity'” which Jesus simply did not, I am sorry to say. “Eternity” as you understand it–and so many modern religions (including my own Catholic heritage)–that view would have puzzled Jesus the Jew. “Into your Hands I commend my Spirit” and “this day you will be with me in [astonIshingingly–not heaven!–but] PARADISE!!!–suggesting that as you die, you find peace, not in some (religious) “heaven” afterwards.” You think like an inheritor of the Greco-Roman religions, not the Jewish-Jesus one. I do not personally look for a reward or penaity when I die–into His Hands I commend MY spirit–ALL judgment is His. I believe in God, not my own virtue, belief or feelings.

  • Joris Heise

    An old man now, I asked this same question during the Vietnam War about this whole defense of right, defense of my sister, etc. and concluded that I would kill in self-defense. But the Vietnam War, like the Iraq one, was a gross mistake, and I realized that the human response of the government and of me was the same–defending virtue and the “American Way of life.” and I realized that violence is not the answer. If I must die and others must die in innocence–that is exactly what Jesus showed us to do. Exactly. Any killing kills Jesus, in my mind, again–and it is not up to us to say someone is guilty or worthy of death. I or my sister may die by violence or this insane multiplication of guns in our country, and maybe we can redeem someone from their guilty by dying….

  • Ron McPherson

    I believe those in Christ are offered eternal life with Him. Based on my understanding of the Scriptures, there is either the finality of death or the eternity of life (John 3:16). I’m a conditionalist – belief that the human soul is naturally mortal (dies) but that God offers immortality (eternal life) as a gift.

  • Delta

    Thanks Joris you said it better than I could have! What would I do, Larry? I would probably fall short of being a follower of Jesus. (I do that all the time, sadly.) But my personal failing does not change the teaching.

  • Joris Heise

    I thought I replied to this. The way you phrase your questions suggests to me that we have stopped communicating. Like Jesus, I tend toward what we THINK we believe is not what we actually believe–and in fact any penalty that we fear or reward that we anticipate–is entirely up to the Father of Jesus. I neither earn heaven by good deeds (which may be self-centered) nor fear hell (my sins may be virtues in God’s eyesl–AND I remain confident that Jesus’s understanding of Hell (pre Dante and pre-Milton) was nowhere near what you and I might think of it. Like all the other Jews of his days, he did not think of any kind of real “after-death” life in heaven or hell. What happens–is up to the Father. I share that view of His.

  • Matt Jacobs

    You’re still missing the part where you actually respond to anything in the original article. He gave an argument and examples; all you’ve provided is an attempt to sound intelligent while actually providing nothing substantive.

  • Joey Kirby

    If I’m
    offended then you must be doing something right? If I offended you by calling
    you ignorant and uneducated in your teachings of Christ would you also say that
    I am doing something right? Or is it only when you dish out the insults? I
    don’t need you to like me. Nor do I care. I do care, however, when I hear of
    “Christians” preaching while perverting God’s Word.

    I’ll go
    ahead and clear a few things up even though I shouldn’t have to since you continue
    to accuse me of saying and doing things
    I didn’t say or do, and I’ve already told you that.

    You told me in another comment that I
    am an oppressor claiming to be the oppressed and that in doing so, I am satanic.
    And then you rebuked me. I did NOT tell you that I was oppressed. I said there
    is Christian persecution in America that goes unrecognized. Does that sound
    like I’m saying I, myself, am persecuted?? Though I’m finding it very strange
    that you continue to comment your very hateful words with no love or anything
    remotely close to love, on a blog about love. You may be talking of when I used
    an example of a couple of family members dismissing me because of my beliefs
    (in God). Well yeah…that is a form of persecution. I’m sure you’d agree if it
    was a gay person who got dismissed from their family for being gay. But…I do
    not claim being a victim, because I really don’t care much about that anymore.
    Claiming that there is Christian persecution doesn’t mean I’m ignoring the fact
    that others are persecuted.

    Speaking of love, do you honestly
    think just by defending the LGBT that it automatically makes you a loving
    person? Do you think that every single person who believes in gay and lesbian
    marriage makes them good? Because it sure sounds like you think you’re the
    loving one here while “defending” them, but continuing your hate speech. And
    there’s no reason to defend them against me anyway. On the other hand, you also
    seem to believe that everyone who sees homosexuality as a sin will bully or
    kill them. If someone kills another for their beliefs or lifestyle, then they
    do not share my beliefs nor do I believe they follow God. And someone who kills
    someone else for these reasons doesn’t mean they claim to be a Christian.

    You say my children will be so
    ashamed of me that I will be forgotten in my own lifetime? (I know you were quoting
    yourself to another person, but you were speaking of me too as you think I
    share the same beliefs as every other Christian who sees homosexuality as a
    sin, and you’ve made that very clear). My little girl is a sweet, wonderful
    child full of LOVE. She knows no such thing as shaming others and I don’t teach
    her to do so without cause. If she had a family member who was murderous and
    would not change, then she should shame them just as the KKK should be shamed
    and just as anyone who kills homosexuals should be shamed. I teach her to
    defend those who are being bullied because of all the teen suicides. I teach
    her to be kind and generous to everyone. Don’t talk about people in such a way
    whom you do not know. She will never shame me nor do I deserve to be shamed. It
    seems like that’s your practice…

    “Of course I don’t have anything nice
    to say about you, your claim of American Christian persecution is a ridiculous
    lie”. Oh really? I challenge you to do a little research on Christian
    persecution in America. And when I say research I don’t mean open one site up
    and leave it at that, although just one murder is enough to prove you wrong.
    And when you read the stories of the ones who were murdered for their beliefs
    and still claim that it’s a lie, then it is your choice to believe your lie
    blindly because you have read it and know the truth. It is people like you (put
    Christians in a category of hate), who act defensively without cause and do
    real harm because your own hate for our beliefs. I’m not saying you personally
    would do such a thing, but it is those who have so much hate and anger in them
    and claim we are all the same who commit the crimes. That is no better than one
    who claims to be a Christian full of hate and anger towards the LGBT’s and
    takes the life of an innocent person for their sexual orientation. Because I
    think we both agree that murdering is wrong, whether it be a homosexual or a
    Christian or a homosexual Christian, correct?

    “The deaths of GLBT people was a designed and intended
    effect of Christian-led political efforts. It has taken a concerted effort to
    dismantle that murder machine. And every single step of it has been called
    “persecution.” I won’t say that every person in power hasn’t taken
    advantage of their position to rule in an evil way, e.g. The way America was taken over. However, they do have rules set up for a reason.
    Some rules are against cruelty: murder, abuse, etc. And some are against things
    that are unnatural: male lying with male instead of a female. And that is
    Biblical, God’s Word. But for you to fully understand that, you’d have to refer
    to God’s Word in full, not in part. People here have been saying that
    homosexuality is not a sin even though God CLEARLY states that it is. But by me
    saying that, or God rather, doesn’t mean that my sins are better. It’s simply
    stating that homosexuality is in fact a sin too. You can argue that God is of
    love and LGBT love too, but God says their acts are unnatural. They were not
    how He intended it. People are wanting to use “real Greek” as an excuse to
    dismiss God’s words against homosexuality, as if the Bible was interpreted
    wrong and God did not say that. That’s nothing new, I’ve read it before. Though
    it seems like every time God’s Word doesn’t conform to someone’s beliefs, they
    want to change it. I wonder if they are using the same Greek scholars who wrote
    The New World Translation or scholars like them. They too want to pervert the
    Word of God to fit their beliefs and that’s been proven over and over. The NWT
    was changed over a hundred times in a hundred years. These same Greek scholars
    say Hell means something else and is not a real place. The religion of the JW’s
    started about a hundred years ago when a man, Charles Taze Russell, didn’t like
    the idea of Hell and set out to form his own “religion”. And since then, the
    “religion” grew, changed, and grew and changed some more. That’s a fact. I’ll
    stay with the book inspired by God that’s upheld every other book for over a
    thousand years. I’ll stand by God.

    I’ve
    read where someone on here claims that we “Christians” hold on to the Bible and
    just use scriptures instead of following God. What? I can’t fathom that. Without
    His Word, we do not know what He wants of us. All of this enemy love everyone
    keeps talking about from scriptures wouldn’t even be mentioned. They could talk
    about love but they couldn’t talk about what God said in the bible about love.
    Other than that, I can only assume that they think we should skip around in the
    Bible, read only about God’s love, close the bible and never open it again.
    Those are His teachings. That’s what He left for us to learn from and in it are
    His examples . You might take a lot of what I say as being harsh, but it’s not.
    I’m speaking with love for God, love for others, but also recognizing sin as
    God has instructed us to do. It doesn’t mean I hate or even dislike gays and
    lesbians in any way. I like them as I like anyone else. I love them like I love
    anyone else. I mentioned “like” because so many people are on here talking
    about “love” because it’s a “Christian’s duty”, and it’s true, it is, but I
    mean LIKE also, Christian duty or not. I don’t look at a gay man or woman and
    think “oooo they’re gay, God doesn’t like that. They’ll go to Hell for sure”.
    No, I genuinely like them as people. And if you want to know more on my views
    of homosexuality and the scriptures I’ve shared, you’ll have to find it on here
    as I do not know which post it was on. And please consider, and everyone else
    who might read this whom takes offense, that I didn’t come here on this blog to
    preach the sin of homosexuality. I never even thought about it for a minute
    when I came here. It was brought up to me on several different occasions because
    of my statements about Christian persecution and how I feel about the subject
    of enemy love- Meaning, I know God wants us to love one another as He loves us,
    and I know the scripture in Matthew 5, but I also believe in God’s wrath and He
    speaks of it many times. And in saying so, it kept going back to homosexuals.
    They are not my enemy, no matter your opinion of my beliefs or what other “Christians”
    do towards them. All of this is all because I was questioned and challenged so
    much. So yes, I will state my beliefs and you can take them how you want, but I
    am going by what God wants. God is the same as He was in the beginning as he
    will be forever. Just because society changes, doesn’t mean He will, because He
    won’t.

    Of
    course you don’t hate me? For a place to be so much about “love” I’ve never been
    so un-loved before. You contradict your own beliefs in so many ways throughout
    your whole argument. You called me anti-Christ but the contradictions
    throughout these teachings on this entire blog speaks against God’s Word. There
    are only parts in which are true pertaining to God’s love. And we should
    welcome everyone with open and loving arms. But to only take half of what He
    says and use it to conform in the TYPE of belief that everyone is going to
    Heaven, is dangerous teachings (if everyone thought they were going to Heaven,
    they wouldn’t come to Christ). Same as, if homosexuality is not seen or taught
    as a sin, then the people learning from you wouldn’t think they needed to ask
    for forgiveness and repent. Again, dangerous teachings. Everyone needs a chance
    to be forgiven and live Christ-like. Learn what REAL love means. Love means
    telling your friend the truth and not sugar-coating anything. Love means
    telling your neighbor about Christ. I certainly don’t want or need to be told
    I’m loved in the same breath that I am called a liar and an unbeliever while
    I’m sharing my love for Christ. That is NOT love. I’d hate to think that if you
    really thought I was anti-Christ you would really show that kind of attitude
    towards me. Fortunately I am I child of God and your “Christ-like nature” isn’t
    going to scare me off. However if an atheist were talking to you and they so
    happened to not agree with the homosexual lifestyle, or just didn’t like
    homosexuals, you’d push them aside instead of loving them and sharing with them
    the truth of God. What then would they do? Think this is what “Christians” are
    all about? The very thing being taught here is love and the purpose of that is
    to bring them to Christ because you care enough about them. But if you really
    thought I was against God, then you’ve shown me that what I just said is true,
    because you’ve shown me nothing but the opposite of love in every comment
    you’ve made to me. It’s one thing to share with someone your beliefs while not
    believing the other ones beliefs, and another to disregard someone as anything
    other than pure garbage for theirs.

    “Everything
    I’ve said about you has come from my mind. I can’t say the same about you and
    yours. I see no evidence of a mind or of Christ in you”. Is there evidence of
    Christ in you? I’m not seeing it. Although I’m not sure if in another
    conversation you misunderstood me or not. In our “discussion” you had compared
    me to someone who would kick out their gay or transgender child and also to
    someone who would not feed a starving child because of their lifestyle. You
    said some other things, but I’ll just leave it at that. I used an example of
    how you shouldn’t insult someone by claiming they would do such hateful act by
    saying this: “If I told you, you only
    love gay people and loved them only for attention, you would probably feel even
    angrier and like I had categorized you in a very shameful manner, right? It
    certainly wouldn’t be right on my part in doing so, as it isn’t for you doing
    that to me”. When I said that, I’m not sure if you thought I was actually
    saying that I believe that about you. I was using an example of someone who
    might think those things, but not me. I used that example because it is a lie.
    Just like saying those things about me was a lie. It’s a stereotyped comment. I
    did not and would not say that to you or anyone else. It was only a false
    example. I know you didn’t mention that again, but I’m not sure if that comment
    drove you into more anger. Now, if you want to still be angry at me anyway then
    that’s fine. But I wanted to make sure it’s not because of something that came
    out the wrong way.

    Again
    I say, I do not hate the LGBT. I would not kick out my child for any reason. I
    would not ignore a starving child. I would feed them and help them however I
    could. I will never support torture, bullying, or putting someone to death for
    their sexual orientation. Ever. I would open my business to them. If I were to
    turn them away I’d have to turn everyone away for their sins. When having a
    business it’s no one’s job to view people’s lifestyles when they walk through
    the door.

    Though I
    didn’t put any scriptures on here to support my words, I have in many different
    posts (while defending myself might I add) and they went disregarded. I’ve
    backed up my beliefs and God’s Word, but I have yet to see anyone here back up
    there’s fully, or prove to me what I say isn’t true. The only way to “prove”
    what I say isn’t true would be to tell me that the Bible was misinterpreted. I
    could go into a whole other segment about misinterpretations of the Bible, but
    I think this is long enough. You can do some research on that too and find the
    false teachings of these Greek words they use to conform to their beliefs.

    You know
    nothing of my gifts because you are blind to the truth. You choose to ignore
    it. You have much MUCH to learn. You know nothing of what God has given me because
    you choose not to care about what is in other people’s hearts. But keep on
    preaching your “enemy love”.

    There
    is always much to be discussed and learned about God. And far too much for me
    to cover with you in this one post. But I wash my hands of it now. I’ve always
    liked having talks about God and the Bible, with different views, but I have
    never had to do this before. You think you’ve done something right? Go back to
    the first part of this message. All of this is heresy and it’s being taught
    more and more all over the world, because it is the teachings people want to
    hear because it “tickles their ears.” If you all shared different views and was
    open for discussion, that’d be fine, but the contradictions here amaze me,
    because of the un-love I’ve been shown (not by everyone). I’m really not even
    sure because when I’ve been told I was loved it felt more like a back-handed
    compliment instead of loving someone without agreeing. Like I said, I wash my
    hands of this blog, meaning I will not even read my emails. I’ll turn my
    notifications off. So whoever wants to take a “stab” at me again feel free to
    do so because I won’t know it anyway. You can enjoy each other’s pokes at me,
    have a ball. Or delete this message altogether, it makes no difference to me. I
    did enjoy some of the discussions with some you, whether we agreed or
    disagreed, but take care.

  • Herm

    Joey, I only read half of your effort to dazzle with words. You are wrong to insist that the Bible, especially the New Testament, is the word of God. There is only one Word of God and no more are needed. The Old “Testament” scriptures pointed to the Word of God, as chronicled in the New “Testament” book of John first chapter, and then His own people did not recognize Him.

    We were not commissioned to bring people to the Bible but were to the gospel of the Word as His students. We were commissioned only to teach the commands of our Lord as reflected in Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 7:12 and Matthew 5:43-48.

    The Gospel was shared, from which Christians by the thousands picked up their cross and died due to their convicted relationship with the High Priest, for five generations before the New Testament was compiled in its first draft. Meanwhile the relationship John testifies to was in full effect as per John 16:1-15 as it is today. I testify with equal validity that what was true for the beloved John is true and active in the heart and mind of Herm.

    If you would like to really help testify to the Gospel in your heart and mind today, exactly as you know Him, not the book segmented into two past inspired testimonial periods. Use the Bible as it was inspired to be to point to the Christ and His full authority in love over all of Heaven and Earth. Use the light emanating from your child of God status, as did Jesus, to draw those receptive of mankind into desiring to become little children of God. Show them the Way and He will take it from there.

    We cannot defend the Bible for it is of Man even when inspired by God. So many today will miss the reality of God in their lives who understand better the reality of infinity, eternity, no beginning and no end than those who are insisting they will find God in the Bible. The Earth is millions to billions of years old relative to our time keeping according to our sun. Mankind in the image of God is at least 14 million years old using the same standard.

    I first went into Folsom prison to teach the Bible as where the inmates would find God. I came out with the realization that the Gospel was what I should have first pointed to and the Holy Spirit actually could do His magic entirely without the Bible (and from then on without me).

    Peter and Paul taught of the Gospel only to become, 300 years later, referred to as the Gospel when their letters were compiled under the sponsorship of Constantine. The first Apostles of Jesus were human beings in counsel with and convicted by the Holy Spirit learning right along with those they were teaching. We all have the opportunity to learn for an eternity.

    We have many disciples, apostles and prophets today but still their people do not recognize them because their people are lost and restricted inside the covers of the Bible. We have built churches and institutions around holy books, saints, apostles and prophets instead of honoring in worship only God who can speak to any open heart and mind coming to Them as little children. The rock Jesus is building His church around is the Holy Spirit.

    You can misinterpret me as much as you write how you are misinterpreted and that is okay. All I can do is testify to what is true in my own life as did the authors and editors of the Bible. In direct full time relationship with the Spirit of Truth our God can dispel all confusion of interpretation by speaking and listening only with the recipient, the disciple, in exactly their vernacular and language unique to their heart and mind.

    I pray you find the joy and peace you seek for you and yours. Love you!

  • I was prepared to ignore this for much the same reasons that Benjamin gave for himself ignoring accusations of persecution. Christian persecution in America seemed to me to be largely about not being allowed to have privileges that other faith groups are denied. Since it was sent to me by someone I respected, I got past the title and found a story that I have lived.

    In late 2010, I gave a sermon based upon Jesus’ command to take up the cross and follow him, and of course, talked about the other things that we follow instead. The alarmingly violent rhetoric within the US based upon political party affiliation, and the dehumanization of “others” was weighing heavily on me. I feared that sooner or later assassinations and/or a rise in hate crimes would be in the news. (Not too much later Gabrielle Giffords was shot.) The idea that we follow our nationalistic (we are the new chosen people) as well as a political party that claims to be the sole party for Christians was part of the sermon. One of my statements was that Christians are called to follow Christ and the cross not a donkey or an elephant. I made that statement along with others such as, that it is possible for two people of good conscience to disagree and still be people and of good conscience. I suggested that our enemies may have reasons for hating us, even if their actions are still horrendous and contemptible; and that the cycle of violence could not be broken with violence; that the path of peace is dangerous and costly, but war is worse; that Jesus taught forgiveness not revenge. And, perhaps the most unforgivable, was a suggestion that we might be best served by listening to each other, even watching the news outlets that others watch rather than the ones that we agree with. I pointed out that Jesus met people where they were, even if they were Samaritans; and that loving our neighbors includes those who were Samaritans to us today, if for no other reason than that all humans are made in the image of God. This is part what taking up a cross and following Jesus means, and he did not give any exceptions.

    Following the sermon, a group of individuals in the church not only wanted me to be punished by my denomination for being unpatriotic, but were so fiery in their statements that people who agreed with me were afraid to be seen with me. One man reminded me of Nicodemus sneaking in to talk with Jesus under the cover of darkness because he was so afraid of what would happen if any of these folks knew that he did not agree with them. Apparently some of the suggestions about what to do with me included physical violence. I have since learned that this is typical.

    I suppose that putting our national flag into the sacred spaces in our churches, often higher even than the Lord’s Table and the cross are pretty good indications of what we truly worship. We are so much like the Israelites who thought all they needed was to have the ark, and God would be on a leash; or that they could remain faithful to God even when they became “like the nations.”

    I have never thought it appropriate, and would much prefer that, if a flag were present, it would be to the right of the congregation with the worshipers. Now, I wish it were removed entirely especially after a German exchange student walked into that sanctuary, saw where the American flag was, and gasped. This young man knew that the national church of Germany had stood behind Hitler as he rose to power, and he could understand why we would make that same mistake. Such are the fruits of the combination of church and state.

    I was reminded, too, of the first display as you enter the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. It is a series of film clips of national leaders around the world including America interspersed with some of Hitler’s speeches. It was alarming how the speeches of so many sounded like Hitler’s in dehumanizing anyone who did not agree with the national agenda as a preamble for taking violent action. The point being that it is a slippery slope that anyone – any country – can slide down if they are not vigilant. I know these museums are both to honor those lost, but also as a warning so that such will not happen again, and yet it happens; and we are too afraid to speak out. Even as we watch our Israeli and Palestinian brothers and sisters struggle and suffer for the same old reasons, we either jump on one side or the other; or we are too afraid to speak about a middle way.

    I guess John 3:16 should not say that God so loved the WORLD, but rather, for many Christians, it is should say something much more limited.

    Thanks for your courage, Benjamin.

  • Dave

    Wow… You must be a fun guy to chat with. ;) It’s just an opinion. I have an open and teachable heart on this subject. I just know that Christians tend to seclude into their little opinion groups and then call out everyone else as stupid except for them. Would you rather I don’t offer an honest opinion so that there would be no opportunity for a friendly brother in Christ to share their insights with me in love so that perhaps my “piss poor” argument could be adjusted? Rather than calling a person deluded and saying that it’s amusing watching someone throw out Jesus’ teachings, maybe take a moment to kindly elaborate and add a little seasoning of grace with your words. I hardly think it’s amusing (as you put it) to see someone trash the Lord’s teaching, and if you really feel I am doing that, why would you find that amusing? That seems a bit twisted doesn’t it? I can appreciate your zeal and conviction about your view and I’m also willing to examine an alternative viewpoint to my own; however, I’m quite willing to presume that you don’t possess all the answers with perfection on every topic you may have an opinion on either (unless you are making the claim that you are perfect). I would gladly entertain your thoughts, though I would prefer to see some Christian grace attached to them. I realize that some of these topics may stir some emotional responses… I am genuinely sorry if my sharing an opinion offended you. That was not my intent.

  • Herm

    I love you Rev!

  • Arbustin

    Actually, he might be permitted to refuse to bake the cake because membership in an organization generally is not a protected class for the purposes of anti-discrimination laws.

  • Dave

    I respect your view and you may be completely right. I am not saying that I understand this subject fully. I am also quite eager to research this more and I appreciate the insights others on this site have shared. If you don’t mind, please indulge me sharing a few more thoughts I have and offer a response if you have one. I’m sure you have run into some of these questions before.

    I am still compelled that there is a difference between repaying evil for evil as opposed to civil defense (which is a just act) against evil. If God does not ever condone violence as just recompense for wrongdoing, then wouldn’t that mean that the Cross of Jesus meant nothing? Follow my logic here for a moment and forgive me if I’m putting this a little clumsily. While Jesus was innocent and did not himself deserve the violence He received, the violence was still, in effect, just because Scripture teaches that He bore it for us (i.e. in our place)! If there is no such thing as just violence than how could the sacrifice of Christ had any effect? His death would not have paid for anything if that violence was not not just punishment for sin due to a sinner.

    Also, my thoughts are drawn to the action of Jesus when He cast the money-changers out of the Temple. As I recall, the Scripture says that He fashioned a whip and drove them out, turning over tables… This wasn’t even an act of self-defense but was a deliberately perpetrated act of violence against those in the Temple! So… was His “violence” just at this point? Just an honest question. I am not at all trying to be smug.

    Another honest question I have… What do you do with criminals like murderers and rapists? It takes an act of violence to subdue them and could be easily argued that it is an act of violence to lock them up in a cold cell. If we are to love our enemies, then is it really love to lock them up in a cell for the rest of their lives? Shouldn’t we just forgive them and let them all run free? Or is it just possible that a death sentence is just and can be actuated from a position of righteousness without anger, without evil? How about consideration for the others who have been murdered or abused by these wrong-doers? Is it love to let a rapist just continue to rape and do nothing to protect the victims? Is love to not stop a murderer from committing crimes? This is what I mean by there being a difference between “evil” violence and just violence… and, no, I am not suggesting some kind of blanket justification for violence.

    Do you really believe that God condones a no-violence policy where societal justice is concerned? Where is this taught in Scripture? I also really do not see any such mention of this from Jesus, but in fact (as I pointed out in my first statements) Jesus seems to affirm the righteousness of societal justice.

    I’m not sure I can adequately conclude that the simple fact that Jesus went to His death without a fight somehow meant He was a pacifist. I really have to go back to the point about the God of the Hebrew Bible. Would ANYONE suggest to me that the Old Testament reveals a “passive” God who believed there was never any just use of violence? Keep in mind this is the SAME GOD! Jesus identified Himself as being one with the Father and that He was with the Father from the beginning? If we attempt to distance ourselves from the God of the Old Testament, then aren’t we really saying, “that old God was angry and jealous and violent and killed people… but the new God, Jesus, is much better. He put a stop to that evil that the old God was doing.” I know that no one would directly put it like that, but that’s how it comes across when you consider this out.

    I am also reminded of when some soldiers came to John the baptist and asked what they should do…. John only told them this:

    Luke 3:14 – “What should we do?” asked some soldiers. John replied, “Don’t extort money or make false accusations. And be content with your pay.”

    So, apparently, it was okay for them to continue being soldiers? It was apparently okay for them to make accusations regarding wrong-doers, so long as they were not false accusations. Why didn’t John, who was preparing the way for the Lord, tell them to cease from all violence and get out of the military?

    The New Testament also tells us that a good father disciplines his child. It also tells us that no punishment is enjoyable at the moment of execution, but it works a just result. Discipline and punishment often involve forms of violence (whether it is a hand to the butt of a rebellious child or some other harsh confrontation of pain necessary to bring about that discipline). So, what exactly is “violence” in your definition? And I would appreciate a definition from Scripture in this regard also.

    It is obvious to me that God FREQUENTLY uses suffering to mold us and shape us (that is a theme throughout Scripture, all the way through the Cross and beyond). Why? If He is so against “violence” why would it be one of the most significant instruments of our discipline and growth? Are we not told, in a spiritual context, to MORTIFY (i.e. put to death) the deeds of the flesh? Are we not told that God has given us spiritual weapons that are mighty in power? YES!!! We could not possibly understand what that means if we had nothing physical to compare it with… Isn’t that a reasonable assumption? Please hear me, I know that with Christ, we are not to walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit and, with these comments and questions, I am NOT trying to replace the Spirit with the flesh. I am not suggesting we should take up arms at every turn and strike out in war at every turn. I too am compelled by the example Christ gave us and I absolutely loathe the behavior of so many so-called Christians who are so often shouting, “I hate those terrorists… we should string them all up and castrate them…” and similar such talk. That strikes me as repaying evil for evil, not as just violence as God considers justice. I still believe it is very possible to execute justice at times using violence that does not constitute any evil act at all. Some might think well, just let the government handle that stuff, because they are Godless anyway… but Scripture also doesn’t let us off so easily with such a conclusion either.

    Rom 13:1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.

    Rom 13:2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.

    Rom 13:3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you.

    Rom 13:4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.

    Rom 13:5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

    Rom 13:6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do.

    So, those who execute justice for wrongdoing are GOD’S SERVANTS!!!

    I rather think that God expects His people to live righteously and to also be a voice of righteousness in this world… That includes where issues of social justice are concerned. God expects righteous men to defend the weak and the oppressed and the abused. That doesn’t mean to cast off the attitude of Christ, or to become violent people or any such nonsense. I just really think it is naive to suggest that God is completely against violence in any form.

    Thanks for hearing me out.

  • Dom Saunders

    This is actually pretty good. I was prepared to just click out of it because as far as I’m concerned, being kept from forcing your religion onto and shoving it into the faces of others =/= Actual persecution, but your take on this is actually pretty spot on, I think, and I think many other atheists would agree with you.

    Conservative politicians love to talk about Christianity and do everything they can to infuse our laws with it, but they’re hardly Christian in practice, making them look like the worst hypocrites. The fact that they turned on one of their own people for sticking to the script that they supposedly revere so much, they feel the need to shove it down everyone’s throats, whether they like it or not, is at the same time unsurprising and unfortunate.

    Good on you for writing this.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Wow– Where to start… First of all I am no theologian… I have had the privilege of attending Woodland Hills for the past 4 years and every Sunday is like a graduate theology class. If you wish–check out http://www.whchurch.org. You can become a podrishiner (there are over 20,000 worldwide). Greg Boyd is one of the preeminent theologians on the planet and a goof ball too :) He is controversial at times…he is a genus and a very good teacher. Some of the other guys to look at are Bruxy Cavey (The Meeting House), and Brian Zahnd (Word of Life). Both of these pastors talk a lot this subject matter as well.

    For your first question Jesus (in my opinion) was perfect therefore He would be the one who could determine what justified violence is (He is God afterall). His sacrifice was to pay a ransom to the evil one to pave the way for us to get back in right relationship with God (they call this the Christus Victor atonement theory vs penal substitution). Christus Victor makes more sense to me. My opinion is that the ransom had to be paid and it was less about justifying violence but a necessary action for humans to have hope. Penal Substitution would be a better fit for the idea of justifiable violence as it’s about wrath and punishing rather than rescuing. Does that make sense? I am shooting from the hip here…

    2. Jesus turning over tables–I don’t read that as a violent act– It said he made a whip…but it doesn’t say he whipped any people. My thought is he used it to get the livestock out. I don’t think this example serves as a justification for just violence at all. He certainly doesn’t kill anyone…right?

    3. The idea of discipline…My picture of God is not one that the classic reformed folks hold to. I don’t think God disciplines us as we define it as humans…I think God allows natural consequences to come into fruition and we learn from them. Ie..If you touch a hot burner on a stove you get burned. The bottom line for me is that God loves us and through His voice sustains our very being. If we choose to reject Him, walk away and do horrible things He will take back His protection and therefore leave His grace so to speak and are prey to this evil, fallen world. Also we can fall prey to the Evil One as well.

    4. As far as the soldier thing… I dunno… great point and question. Perhaps God is accommodating the times? It’s like when Paul says all things are lawful–but not beneficial. Maybe John said “dude you are in the armed forces so make the best of it and be upright…” All I know is Jesus NEVER condoned, approved, or encouraged violence. He was about redemption, reconciliation, and restoration. He talked about loving one’s enemy, turning the other
    the other cheek, and ascribing unsurpassable worth to all through self sacrificial love . Whe I face these conundrums… I use a cruciform hermeneutic (the lens of the cross) and ask myself who is Jesus and what is my picture of God? For me it’s a bleeding, broken savior hanging on a cross in self sacrifice. If we are followers of Him it seems to me that we should act like Him. Lastly pacifism is anything BUT passive. It takes a lot of hard work to love the unlovable. There is much more on the interventive continuum between doing nothing and killing someone.

    5. Romans 13.

    Yep–there are many Christians that use this to justify violence. I always say the government will do what it will…but don’t put a Jesus stamp on it. Meaning–don’t mix the two Kingdoms. Again violence is not what Jesus was about in my opinion. Perhaps Romans 13 was about telling the zealots to not go up against the government because they would get their butts kicked lol. Also maybe Paul was saying it’s the governments job to do government stuff….but we are citizens of a different Kingdom. Let them do what they will–but we are about the business of furthering the Kingdom of God.

    Sorry for the short answer on this one–but I have to go. My email is kotenterprises@comcast.net if you would like to go further with this conversation. I will even give you my cell number if you email me. I like talking much better than writing anyways :). Check out Greg Boyd…he really gets the upside down Kingdom and truly addresses these issues. You may not agree with him…but he will make you think.

    Peace Brother Dave!!

    k

  • Ron McPherson

    Your words should be required reading for every professed Christ follower in America. Great post!

  • What if the Bible is not a perfect text downloaded directly by
    God, but rather a collection of divinely inspired but nonetheless very human very
    ancient very contaminated w/ texts compiled
    and first printed in midlevel times that reveal as much about humanity and God
    then and so if taken literally now can be used as propaganda to justify all
    kinds of unethical tribal behavior by religious addicts who mistakenly conflate
    their own self-interests w/ being filled w/ the holy spirit?

    What if god’s word would not return void; so is my word
    that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will
    accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10

  • rlw

    While I agree that Christians are to love, there is a divide in understanding. We would all agree that Jesus loves all men; however, He said that he hated the Nicolatians, and, he called out the evil Pharisees etc. The same God who says judge not lest you be judged also says judge righteous judgement. It is in the understanding. Our behavior to an enemy of the cross, Jesus and those who are Christians is to have innocence of wrong doing/treatment but wise as a serpent, knowing that they will not heed the gospel and seek only our destruction. This is a hard understanding piece that requires spiritual discernment and any Christian will know with whom to be silent and avoid or who to guide to salvation. Jesus called out evil and those in it. He knew if they were deluded (knowingly decided to do wrong) or deceived (misled to wrong). We cannot assume anyone we meet is just deceived. The content of this man’s message is important as to what he was stating and it is not all here to be read and understood.

  • klbuyers

    I agree that Paul was the first to shove the life, example, and teachings of Jesus aside, perhaps with help from early Christian power-mongers. All Jesus meant to Paul was the resurrection, not the 33 years he spent in life. Paul demeaned & ridiculed the Apostles Jesus himself chose, shared his teachings, his transfiguration, his miracles, his patience, & his example with. All we have is Paul’s own claims that he had any right to preach & lay down all his rules in Jesus’ name, & his message holds many ideas not found in any recorded words of Jesus.

  • klbuyers

    His strongest wrath was directed at the Pharisees, those who claimed to be the righteous leaders of God’s church in their day. The “hypocrites,” as Jesus called them. Religious hypocrites. He did not rant at the woman taken in adultery, nor at the rich man who couldn’t manage to give all he had to the poor, nor at the pagan Romans – His greatest expression of anger He aimed at the hypocrites within His own people. I find Corey’s article to be quite sincerely similar, though without the yelling & knocking over tables, as Jesus did.

  • Personal Opinion, of course, but I think Paul made it possible for what should have been teachings of love and compassion into what is now a religion of Hate, Fear and ignorance. When people kill people because they do NOT believe the world is flat, or kill people because they do NOT believe that the earth is the center of the universe, or kill indigenous people because they do NOT have souls; all in the name of Jesus… Note that every Hate quote from the ‘Bible’ now comes from Paul; from the advocacy of slavery to the hate of Homosexuals… Name one religion that actually preaches (and follows) the words of Jesus?

  • Jim Braman

    Thank you for the Springboards of love flying around electronic ecclesia of benevolent thought :) Susan, Joris, RevBev, Herm and others, you are such a refreshment of spirit to me!

    Just_A_though79 mentioned ranking people on “a holiness scale” …well put!

    Ranking people, I believe, is God’s job, not mine. Jesus treated Judas the same as the other disciples, even knowing what was going to happen. And even up to the very end, no one could figure out who would betray him. THAT may be the most brilliant ‘doctrine’ of “how to love your enemy” the world will ever see.

    My ‘job’ (And by this I mean, “what God has called me personally to do”), is to find the traces of God’s perfection found in every human being, and magnify them. I try to see only the good within them so that they can understand and act upon their own sonship/daughtership ….which naturally leads them back to the source, God. There is already a bountiful supply of judgement, and myriad voices stating, “You are not enough” or “You are too much.” Mine will be a voice of “You are a unique fingerprint; a needed facet in the diamond of God’s perfection which is reflected in everything that exists. You are able to participate in as much of His love as you are willing to receive.”

    Judgement exists. It surrounds us. But in the hands of God alone, can it be fully understood. Yet in the life of Jesus, I have a living sermon; his life is my sufficient doctrine. Over the last 15 years, I feel an increasing sensitivity to: “what would Jesus do”, and I think it is because His Spirit has been molding my conscience in order to speak and act more closely to the way Jesus would live the life I have been given. ….guess one day I’ll find out :)

    God bless us, everyone…

  • Jim Braman

    ….either that, or maybe she is testing us to see if we respond back in the same way she writes :)

  • Donald Sensing

    I don’t dispute a word here, except it is painfully and badly incomplete.

    Interesting point about the chaplain, though. Apparently he got sacked by a right-of-center institution because he denounced the “violence, guns, war, revenge and retaliation” that is the addiction of the most Leftist president in our history.

    Me personally, I’d have given him a promotion and a bonus check.

  • RonnyTX

    That Dr. Beckum,sure quoted some good scripture. :-) Going to put that below.

    “For a Christian what is on the top rung? Love for all.

    Christians are, as Paul writes, controlled by love, compelled by love for everyone.

    Listen to the word of the Lord

    Matthew 5:38-48

    38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

    43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    One person said to me, but they didn’t have terrorists trying to kill them. THEY DID. THE ROMANS WERE AN OPPRESSIVE SUPER-POWER RULING OVER THEM, THEY CRUCIFIED HUNDREDS IN PUBLIC PLACES AS EXAMPLES TO THOSE WHO FELL OUT OF LINE.

    Luke 9:51-56

    51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. (what kind of spirit is in you? The son of man has come to save lives, not destroy them.)” 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.

    Luke 22:47-51

    47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

    John 18:10-11

    10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant,cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

    1 Peter 3:9

    9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

    Romans 12:14-21

    14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[b] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    Which is exactly what Jesus did.

    Luke 23:34

    Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

    All New Testament passages: NIV

    This is what a Christ-like person does. If you don’t want to be Christ-like, no worries. If you do, yes, worries.

    We have to wrestle with these words.

    Don Quixote in the play, The Man from La Mancha

    “When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Too much sanity may be madness. To surrender dreams- -this may be madness; to seek treasure where there is only trash. And maddest of all- -to see life as it is and not as it should be.”

    Followers of Christ are to see the world as it should be. They are to seek first the Kingdom of God.

    Are we walking toward the Kingdom of God where weapons are beaten into plowshares, where no one goes hungry, everyone is valued and cared for? Or are we walking away from the Kingdom?

    I’d like to know what you think about the issue.”

  • doug

    I am a Nazarene pastor with Anabaptist leanings. I preach regularly in my church (in the middle of the Bible belt) about the evils of Americaism, the mandate of the gospel to non-violence, and the call of Jesus toward enemy love. I received my masters in theology from a Nazarene institution. While there, one of my professors (who is not in danger of losing his/her job) turned me on to the work of Dr. Gerard, whose passion is a theology of non-violence. We used the writing of Stanley Hauerwas (Anabaptists surely know about him) as textbooks. Our denomination allows itself to be used as a basis for conscientious objector status.
    I post this to suggest that the situation at Mid-America is probably much more nuanced than has been portrayed here. I can say FOR SURE that the picture you paint in not compatible with my experience in the Church of The Nazarene, my advanced education in its institutions, and my knowledge of the positions of its leaders. Just wanted to get this in the written record. Thanks.
    Doug Henkel

  • Guest

    That isn’t the point at all. It isn’t “wanting nothing to do with him”. It is simply not believing the claims made about him if he even existed at all. And if Jesus would separate me from my loved ones for simply being of the wrong religion, or of no religion then I Jesus is an evil monster.

  • Mike Hofrichter

    You bizarrely miss the point. It isn’t about “wanting nothing to do with him”. I, and billions of people throughout history simply don’t believe the supernatural claims made about religious figures. And if Jesus would separate me from my family for eternity for simply being skeptical, then Jesus is an evil monster.

  • Ron McPherson

    You would agree that it is death itself that brings about that separation, no?

  • Mike Hofrichter

    Of course. There is no evidence for an afterlife. It is impossible to prove or disprove. But if there is a possibility to be reunited with loved ones, then only a monster would torture a person with this separation for the non-crime of not believing supernatural claims.

  • Herm

    A few of us toward but far too many of us whom I love away. Love you! Thanks!

  • Herm

    If the line were drawn as it was 20 years ago this president would be definitively right of center. As the line has shifted far right you may be right relative to the center point today. An eternal life is often “painfully and badly incomplete” for there is comparatively infinite more yet to be learned. Patience my son, take it one word at a time from the Word. Love you!

  • Herm

    I once was a gung ho soldier for Christ fixing large system computer customers back in the good ole seventies. At 3:00 am one morning answering an emergency call to 1st National Bank of San Jose downtown; I had to step over and around several down and out drunks sleeping on the sidewalk and even in the gutter. My heart hurt and I just knew I had to do something to save these poor lost souls. I didn’t know what so I continued on to fix the problem while stewing on just what would Jesus do. I returned to the sidewalk an hour later with still some present and sleeping outside the bank. I felt totally impotent and walked unhelpful to any back to my car. I realized later that to love any of those drunks I had to rely on the Holy Spirit to show me how each uniquely could be ministered to. Some needed to be left alone for they egotistically had not fallen enough to know they needed outside help to walk again. Some only needed for me to sit down beside them and not say a word. Some needed to be picked up and carried to the nearest inn to heal. Some needed to wake to a buck tucked in their pocket to be able to subsist for just one more day. I learned that I have not the insight into each and every heart and mind in need. I learned to actually be constructively helpful, as a truly empathetic and compassionate first, second or third responder, I had to have the counsel of the Guide who did know each and every heart and mind in need. I learned and have put into practice since then that all the resources I need to apply for healing will have been given me before I knew they would be needed.

    Yes, “Love is patient and kind, even in the act of spitting” when inspired by the Author of love who has graced us all we need, not the least of which is this opportunity to live in Their image. Thanks! You are loved!

  • Mike Hofrichter

    Probably. There is no compelling evidence of an afterlife. But if there is one, then only an evil entity would keep loved-ones separated just because they held different beliefs about religious claims.

  • Ron McPherson

    “Of course. There is no evidence for an afterlife. It is impossible to prove or disprove. But if there is a possibility to be reunited with loved ones, then only a monster would torture a person with this separation for the non-crime of not believing supernatural claims.”

    Eternal life for me is a gift, and I fully understand that some loved ones may not share in it – which saddens me. But I don’t view that as torturous to either the one who has eternal life or to the one who doesn’t. I desire to be with Jesus, who is my Lord and Savior, above all things and so my desire is fulfilled in Him. For me, that is a gift. However, death is the fate of the one who does not have this eternal life, so obviously it is not torturous to that individual either. By the way, I lean towards the belief of what some would label as conditionalism (that death itself is the natural and final state of the soul).

    For one who does not believe in an afterlife, or for one who might remain agnostic about it, I’m not sure how this scenario that I’ve described is torturous. Death is death
    to those who do not believe in an afterlife, for one would have to come to grips with the fact that they are eternally separated from their loved ones at the point of death for either, and so this finality is what they already believe or are prepared to accept. If one already thinks, or even suspects, that they are eternally separated from their deceased loved ones by virtue of there being no afterlife, how is Jesus’ offer of eternal life (received in whatever
    respect that He offers) somehow torturous? If one doesn’t want eternal life because they feel it would be torturous, then I don’t think Jesus will drag anyone into heaven against their will.

    Peace

  • Mike Hofrichter

    I don’t believe any of the claims that were ever made about the supernatural. I have no way of telling which of them, if any are true. It is a sincere and honest position. So you think that I will be separated from my loved ones for eternity because I don’t believe the specific claims of your specific religion?

  • Herm

    Mike, I understand your concern but have a different understanding in my heart and mind. The good news (Gospel) is that the Holy Spirit is no longer contained within the Holy of Holies for the residing high priest only to counsel with, the curtain was torn top to bottom. Those who are condemned are because they are not adopted (baptized by the Holy Spirit) into the Family of God as a little child. They are not because of their outsider status condemned to hell and damnation but to an eternal sleep. To “inherit” eternal life, nondenominationally, for the constructive and loving good of all we must love our Lord God as little children of Theirs with all that is spiritually and uniquely in our control, heart, soul, strength and mind, as well as like that love our neighbor as our self (Luke 10:25-37). In the Spirit and as a sibling student of Rabbi Jesus we will do to all others as we would have all others do to us (Matthew 7:12).

    Would it be loving for all who lived to share side by side an entire eternal life when even just one values an egotistical social system based on intimidation, manipulation, subjugation, confusion, greed, hording, and coveting? Without the Spirit to counsel with and left to our own devices this is the system of survival all mankind devolves to adopt. Without the Spirit as a guide we are egotistically (self-love only) subject to familial and national retribution and retaliation without end. In the Spirit we are altruistically subject to even be willing to sacrifice our mortal life that the world might live, even our enemy.

    Love is not always warm and fuzzy because love is what binds hearts and minds together as one. If I go as far as loving my enemy I am bound to that heart and mind so much so in compassion and empathy as to hurt as deeply with my enemy for the threat my enemy perceives coming from me. If I love my sister and her heart and mind hurts for any reason so too does my heart and mind.

    In my heart, it would be so destructively unloving to not condemn those who cannot reciprocate love for all to an eternal death knowing nothing. I’m glad I am just a little child of God and won’t ever have to make those judgments.

    Love you and your query!

  • Ron McPherson

    “So you think that I will be separated from my loved ones for eternity because I don’t believe the specific claims of your specific religion?”

    What do you believe with respect to your own destiny?

  • Mike Hofrichter

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree. Separating loved ones is evil. Period.

    I would LOVE to live forever with my loved ones. And if a supernatural being has the power to do this for me, then that being is evil if it refuses to grant this desire simply because I was an honest and sincere skeptic about supernatural claims.

  • Ron McPherson

    I believe Christ is love, but yes, we can agree to disagree. Wishing you the best.
    Peace

  • Mike Hofrichter

    I don’t make any claims about any afterlife destiny. Probably just turn to dust. No way of knowing.

    Could you answer my question? Do you think there is an entity that will do harm to human relationships simply because one party in the relationship does not think the “right” things regarding supernatural claims?

  • Kevin Thomas

    I hope I am never in that position…Ithink there are many steps on the interventive continuum that don’t involve killing. I would lay my life down for my family protecting them short of killing.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Tells us where you land…

  • Mag Ster

    wow this was such a refreshing post thanks benjamin! I also have a Christian blog of my own can you please check it out: http://spiritual-disciplines.com thanks!

  • Polinksy

    I am confused, since you can’t absolutely know what each person might need, your solution is to do nothing? I am not being rude, I truly don’t understand your solution.

  • Ron McPherson

    “Do you think there is an entity that will do harm to human
    relationships simply because one party in the relationship does not think the “right” things regarding supernatural claims?”

    I thought I stated my beliefs in my other responses. I’m not being coy, but I’m concerned your question is intentionally structured so as to limit my ‘yes or no’ response to comport with your biased view of Christ’s teachings. I don’t think this is a stretch on my part because you’ve labeled him (hypothetically speaking because you don’t view him as ‘supernatural’) as an ‘evil monster.’ I’m not trying to be argumentative. Forgive me if it comes across that way. The problem here is that we are operating from two extreme points of view. Whereas
    you apparently see Jesus as being punitive in not granting eternal life to all, I see him as loving in granting eternal life to some. Your question to me would be like me framing a question back to you such as, “Do you think Jesus demonstrates love to those who believe his promise to grant eternal life, peace, and everlasting joy to those who take refuge in him?”

  • I think there is no one size fits all when I walk in the spirit. to minister in the here & now I need to see that each encounter is unique and divinely appointed just for me and the other person. Only when I have processed my life experiences esp my pain and suffering am I prepared to offer honest deep awareness & empathy out of my healing and recovery to encourage someone in my path who is suffering.

  • Rusty Curling

    Thanks, I have had similar experiences.

  • Mike Hofrichter

    Do I think Jesus demonstrates love to those who believe his promises? Yes, the character Jesus definitely does this. And he withholds this demonstration of love to those who don’t believe the stories that people tell about him. Hindus, Jews, atheists, etc don’t believe that the supernatural stories about Jesus are true. And according to you, Jesus will punish them for honestly having a different opinion about the supernatural realm.

  • Ron McPherson

    “And according to you, Jesus will punish them for honestly having a different opinion about the supernatural realm.”

    Nope, this is your assertion, not mine. I don’t believe Jesus is ‘punishing’ or ‘torturing’ people, as you claim, by not raising their souls from the dead. Plus, you’re relegating salvation to nothing more than an intellectual exercise, apparently presuming there is no supernatural element to it. Believing and clinging to Christ’s claims for me involves more than just a mental assent to a set of facts. At any rate, I thought you already stated that we can just agree to disagree. Can we not just do what you suggested?

    Peace

  • Mike Hofrichter

    I see. So, to you, separating loved ones from each other for eternity is not ‘punishing’ or ‘torturing’. We disagree vehemently and completely.

  • Herm

    Polinsky, I don’t mean to confuse you. Back in the seventies I had a part time relationship with God in my heart and mind. I intellectually maintained a relationship with God accepting the Spirit when I thought I was good and closed my heart and mind to God when I thought I was flirting with evil. When I allowed God in the Holy Spirit led me in directions where I could minister to others according to the need only God could know. When without that relationship there were many times I simply did not know what action on my part would be productive. Every time in the Spirit I knew what was most productive.

    In the nineties I lost everything I had mistakenly thought I “earned”. Broken, humbled and actually with nothing to lose I let God in full time. That adoption by the Holy Spirit marked when I began to grow as a naïve little child of God. Now we talk continually and I am led, not like a puppet but in counsel, to be as constructive for all as I can be. I do make childish mistakes but my Family has never abandoned support for me or those receptive around me.

    I am very much at peace that all I need is provided as I need it. I find more joy in this mortal life for the last twenty years than I did for the first fifty.

    I could try to use my life’s history to remove your confusion but I am sure you can only be convicted in your own life, heart and mind. I can only testify that what I say is true. Perhaps through my testimony you will dare to ask God what I’m talking about. To help you frame your questions I offer you some scripture below that might help. You might also apply these scriptures to what I commented first to you.

    Thank you for your loving honesty. Much better than being spit on and berated. Love you!

    “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

    When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. John 16:13-14

    We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:6-10

    In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:11-14

  • JCF

    Preach! Preeeeeeach!

    In what are called “The Solemn Collects” which, in my church (Episcopal), are prayed on Good Friday, we pray

    “For those who are enemies of the cross of Christ and persecutors of his disciples”

    but then we ALSO pray

    “For those who in the name of Christ have persecuted others”

    The latter are “the log in our own eyes” which we Christians need to, w/ God’s Help, REMOVE FIRST.

  • Herm

    Thank you Andy for that interpretive picture. I can assure you that doing full time in the counsel of our Lord does not lead to conceit and pride when accomplished as a little child of God. Adoption (baptism) by the High Priest through the Holy Spirit is to know how little we children of Man know and how exponentially much we are dependent upon the entire Family of God to provide for us. I am at peace as each “trouble” has been solved since I have fully trusted our Father in Heaven to keep me from evil. My only pain today comes from the empathy and compassion I feel and think from all I love. That woe gives value to each I am blessed to focus on.

    To be clear, I hope, I am a little child fully capable of childish clumsiness and mistakes but as long as I am in continual reciprocal prayer with my Lord God I am not a sinner. Sin as explained to me is a relational separation from the will of our creator God. My heart, soul, strength and mind is bonded in all love as in one heart and mind with God as their child.

    You appear to be scripturally studious and I’m pretty sure you can verify all I say.

    Thank you for your care and support! Love you!

  • Anonymous

    If all Christians thought like that, what a wonderful world they could make!

  • Ron McPherson

    Who is being tortured? The one who remains dead or the one granted eternal life?

  • Mike Hofrichter

    The one who remains dead has been robbed of life. And if you think my mother would not be tortured by my absence, then you are a disgusting piece of trash.

  • Ron McPherson

    I’ll move on. Peace

  • Mike Hofrichter

    Thanks for slandering my mother. You need to think before you speak.

  • Mike Hofrichter

    My mother is a Christian. She would be tortured by my absence. You are a disgusting and viscous to imply that she wouldn’t be tortured by my eternal absence.

    I actually think you are probably, generally a good person. But you just have an evil and sick view of the supernatural.

  • Ron McPherson

    The only one who has mentioned your mother is you friend.

  • Mike Hofrichter

    My bad. I thought you had said that I (an atheist) would be separated from Christians (including my mother), and that she would be fine with it. That this separation would not be torture to her.

  • Mike Hofrichter

    I don’t believe any supernatural claims. Yet Jesus will allow my mother (a Christian) to live with me for all eternity. If he will not, then he is a vile torturer of my mother.

  • Mike Hofrichter

    So you admit that a mother would be tortured by having her children ripped from her. She would despise Jesus for separating her from her Jewish/Hindu/agnostic
    son.

  • Herm

    Why might you think I remember the egotistical school yard bully from my first elementary school 64 years ago?

    You can believe and reap what you sow all you want. You can try to understand why you might be on the blog but you might not be where your attitude will find any support or conversions to your belief.

    Right now you are competing with people who understand the following scripture in both their hearts and minds. That you don’t is going to continue to confuse you and none of us wish to confuse anyone. Ron was trying to go as lovingly easy on you as possible. Your last response indicates the depth of your frustration as it was completely unfounded. Love you and your mother! Peace!

    “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26-27

  • Mike Hofrichter

    So. You seem like a reasonable person. Please answer the question that nobody seems to be able to answer. I am an atheist. Will my mother be tortured by having to live forever without me? And if you try to say that my mother will not be tortured by my absence, then you are trash. If you speak about my mother like that, then I will despise you.

  • Herm

    Mike, intimidation, manipulation and trying to trap people into giving you the answer you want to hear or you’re going to condemn the recipient to your ugliest and most offensive name calling you can think of doesn’t work here or any where human beings relate with one another socially. If you want to hear the truth as each of us uniquely knows scripturally and in our hearts and minds then ask and listen. No one is slandering you or your mother. it seems more like you want to be self-centeredly remembered and valued more than protecting your beloved mother from the grief of losing her relationship with you. I will not answer your egotistical question but I will share a scripture from the Old Testament. Maybe, this will give you some peace.

    The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no more reward, and even the memory of them is lost. Ecclesiastes 9:5

  • Herm

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’ Matthew 7:21-23

  • Mike Hofrichter

    Your word-salad doesn’t really help. It has been made clear that the Jesus character condones torture.

  • Herm

    Only to you Mike but it is your choice. Truly you aren’t going to influence anyone constructively with your hardness of heart. Go in peace!

  • Mike Hofrichter

    I’m sorry that you don’t understand morality. I fear that you will indeed influence people. If Jesus condemns my mother and father and friends and family, then I spit on Jesus.

  • KJB007

    The last dude who dared to preach such things got crucified.

  • jacqui

    thank you for your words. powerful. we need to walk the walk. treat each other with kindness, compassion and respect. let us not forget his sacrifice. let us love one another.

  • jacqui

    amen.

  • Andrew Dowling

    Flagged for being completely off-topic.

  • Herm

    Andy, the all-embracing comfort I feel and think spiritually and carnally, in continual counsel with the Holy Spirit, is certainly not without passion but is without turmoil.

    Your passion is clear but your “Catholicity” doesn’t seem to encompass all of God’s creation as good. I need to share with you that my entire life, the short 70 years that it may be, has been non-stop learning through all avenues made available to me by the grace of God and Man in God’s image. I am formally and experientially educated in three sciences; spiritual, social and physical. Now as a spry and active son of God/son of Man on Earth I am learned enough in the ways of God to know that’s the reward of eternal life; non-stop learning together with the Rabbi, Father and the whole of the kingdom who love the Lord God with all their hearts, souls, strengths and minds and likewise their neighbor as themselves. A time of immortal sharing without end.

    I agree wholeheartedly with: “When the nature of love is misunderstood, it is a difficult trap. It’s something we all deal with.” But then I know that when the nature of miracles is misunderstood, it is a difficult trap, also.

    Love is only by example the unbreakable solder that completes the circuit connecting hearts and minds together as one. There is diode love (unilateral/one way) which God has in abundance for all of Their creation. There is switched, resistive, capacitive and inductive love where the power of love is interrupted by disruptive components. There is reciprocal unadulterated love (bilateral/direct connection/both ways without resistance) which is what facilitates God being one in heart and mind in Heaven and on Earth. To know one of God is to know all of God. To know a loved and loving child of God is to know the Family.

    The carnal miracles of God are simply the laws of physics applied at the level of God’s knowledge. It is fun to be awed by the sleight of hand from a magician that appears to defy the laws of known science. Neither the magician nor God defy the law, just the opposite, they use their knowledge of the law to work for the result they intended.

    Though I am eternally thankful for the opportunities afforded me by God, I am not continually in a state of thanking God or obvious patronizing worship. I am in a relationship with God that is so much more all-embracing, satisfying and joyfully anticipating shared new without end. I share with others that I am in continual prayer with God as the only way to illustrate the full time reciprocal relationship, heart to heart and mind to mind, that we share without resistance which is never switched off by any of us. Because you asked, yes, especially for your children and you, and your extended exchange student family beginning today.

    The mechanics, as I know them today, appear slightly askew in how you are picturing our relationship to be fully, to the degree each of us is uniquely ready, functional in God and God in us. What appeared to be a dove landing on Jesus’ shoulder was the first time, as the only begotten Son of Man from God, that Jesus was directly in connection as one heart and mind with the Father. Jesus symbolically died to the authoritative influence of His carnal family through His baptism by water and rejoined the authority of the Family of God through the friction free conduit of the Holy Spirit.

    Do not waste a space in your heart to feel sorry for Benjamin Corey for he truly is in relationship with God as a very sincere and honest little child of God. By his fruits I know him to be so for certain. Mr. Corey is very learned from both finite schools of learning taught by Man and the infinite school of learning taught by our Rabbi exactly according to our readiness. Mr. Corey is not lost in learning theory but is, also, like you reaching out to learn while applying his lessons in support of others inside and outside the church under the authority of our High Priest.

    King David, a beloved of God, was an adulterer and a murderer while knowing the available influence of God. Lives dear to David were lost to his deviance. David was not Jesus. The lessons learned as shared through David are invaluable to us in God who are, also, not Jesus. The Psalms of David are hymns we each could write with equal validity and there are many of us, not I sorry to say, who do today. Jesus was immortal with no beginning and no end which we are not able to understand as little children from a perspective within our finite, carbon based mortal flesh. Jesus became mortal to know death as God had not ever known up close and personal. Jesus fulfilled His mission to be glorified with full, active and interrelating authority over all Heaven and on Earth. David was of Man to begin with and, as can all of us who do accept adoption through the Holy Spirit of God into our hearts and minds (on our shoulders like a dove), became of God as Their little child. That is the humility of David we can learn from and not some of his pretty horrendous errors in evil when Satan ruled.

    A divine life as you seem to portray as dependent upon prayer to miraculously provide all needs is against all laws of science as taught by Jesus. Life atrophies when left dormant at rest. Lessons learned are no good if not applied. It is only through tearing, not breaking, the muscles (physically, mentally and spiritually) that we become stronger and grow to live. Do not denigrate any passionate and constructive scientific pursuit in study whether in spiritual, social or physical as is taught by Man and/or by God. Learning and growing is all we have to share with one another. I want to continue learning, sharing and doing until I know everything, which I calculate at my present rate to occur just past the other end of eternity. I comparatively know nothing of what I know there is yet to know. I truly have a good solid sense of eternity and infinity but I do not know eternity and infinity. We get to that fullness of knowledge one baby step at a time led by the Guide.

    Andy I could keep sharing with you as I relate with the Spirit of Truth from here to eternity and still want to keep going. I will leave you today with the little I have shared to be continued when we meet again.

    You are blessed with a committed and inquiring heart and mind. You are blessed with responsibilities in your name who you love to aply what you are learning from your studies. You bless me by sharing you with me in love, thank you! I love you! Peace!

  • Herm

    That’s the price of admission to learn from that Dude!

  • Mike Hofrichter

    Ron’s disgusting ideas are very likely not an indication of his overall character. But his sense of morality has been warped by religion. I’ll state it again, because I cannot stress it too much. My mother (Christian) would be devastated for eternity if I (an atheist) were separated from her. To suggest otherwise is to insult my mother and me. And if the god punished her this way just because of my opinion on supernatural matters, she would then see that god as a monster.

    It just gets me riled up when I see people defend evil just because it is supposedly done by a god.

  • Kelli Crackel

    You do a great credit to your religious faith, sir. I have read your thoughtful and kind replies, throughout and they are wonderful. I am not Christian, but I believe all paths lead to God if they are paths of true spiritual exploration. I believe wholeheartedly that you have found your path to God. Bravo. Never be silent the world needs more Christians like you. We can all live in love even if we don’t all agree on everything. Namaste. You are a lovely person.

  • Herm

    You don’t ever have to feel sorry for what you believe Andy.

    Jesus is the Word.

    Mary was not an “ever” virgin as she had several children after Jesus of which James was one.

    Jesus has full authority, given by the Father, over Heaven and Earth today as our Lord God.

    Jesus teaches all His living disciples today as the Rabbi through the Spirit of Truth, the amicable Advocate for all in God.

    Jesus’ church is built on the rock, the Holy Spirit.

    I’ve read most and quote none of the dignitaries you draw attention to. I recognize the continuity of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the hearts and minds of all in Their image. The Psalms are always from the heart in harmony with the mind as conducted by the Spirit.

    That is what I truly know in my heart and mind today and I am by no means sorry, neither should you be.

    Love your journey!

  • Herm

    Oh, Kelli, you make me cry. I don’t deserve such kind words. I bow to you as truly a lovely person. Thank you! You have made room for the Spirit in your heart and mind. Love you!

  • Andy, w respect I honestly believe you believe all that but to be honest you seem a bit too fear based to me. Love you brother!

  • Ron McPherson

    Mike,

    I must assume that you are deep down just searching for
    answers, for why else would one who makes no bones about detesting the teaching of Christ as you may understand it, be actively participating on this Christian blog. However, if searching for answers is not your purpose in being here, then the only other reason I can think of why you’re here is that you like verbal confrontation. I hope that’s not the case because, I, for one, do not.

    Originally you said that we could just agree to disagree,
    which I thought was fine, but then you proceeded to call what you consider my ideas to be “evil,” “warped,” “sick,” and “disgusting;” called me both “vicious” and “a piece of trash” based on your conception of my beliefs; you repeatedly slandered the name of the God of your mother, but yet inexplicably accused me of being the one slandering her even though I spoke not a word about her (but have every reason to believe that she is a precious child of God based on your own testimony that she is a Christian). The fact that I thought we had earlier agreed to disagree, and yet you subsequently ramped up the
    discussion after that, tells me that there may be a spark of interest within you for eventually coming to an understanding and love for the Savior. I sure hope so, for why else would you continue your protestations unless you just enjoy confrontation.

    You’ve made it clear that the crux of your fury rests upon your detestation of Christ were He to judge someone based strictly on their belief system. And yet, this is the very thing you have done to me. I trust you can see the irony. While your wrath against me and my beliefs trouble me, they do not discourage me, for my Savior has already stated, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).

    I truly wish you the best. Sincerely I do friend and I honestly hope you can find peace.

  • Mike Hofrichter

    You implied that I would be separated from my loved ones for eternity for merely having an honestly different belief about the supernatural. And you implied that this was ‘love’. If this is then case, then my words like ‘sick’ were relatively kind and soft.

  • Ron McPherson

    You wrote: “You implied that I would be separated from my loved ones for eternity for merely having an honestly different belief about the supernatural.”

    Mike, I have no idea where you will spend eternity. This is between you and God.

    You wrote: “And you implied that this was ‘love.’”

    No, what I attempted to articulate was that Christ giving me eternal life was love. Once again, you are trying to exploit my recognition that eternal life is a gift in order to justify your purposeful intent to reflect Christ as somehow being cruel for granting this eternal life to some, but possibly not all. What I call ‘love’ with Christ graciously
    bestowing this eternal life to some, you call ‘hate’ if this eternal life is not granted to all. Until you fall in love with Jesus, none of this may ever make sense to you. Earnestly, humbly, and prayerfully seek the Spirit of
    Christ, and then you may come to see this distinction.

    You wrote: “If this is the case, then my words like ‘sick’ were relatively kind and soft.”

    I’ve actually seen nothing kind or soft in your responses. Not a criticism, just basing it on the words you have chosen to use thus far. They seem to reflect anger, bitterness, and frustration. And honestly, it really doesn’t have to be that way. The pursuit of Christ cannot merely be relegated to an intellectual exercise as you keep
    attempting to define it. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks
    finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).

    I would like to humbly leave you with the following words of Jesus in the hopes that it may cause you to pause and
    reflect on the heart of His true character.

    “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Matthew 23:37).

    Peace

  • Kelli Crackel

    Love you too. Though you may think I’m too kind, I’m not. You are an example of how true Christianity (and every other religion) is supposed to be and that’s a rare thing in our judgmental world. People like you and I must continue to speak out in love for all religions and all people. I get tired sometimes of struggling against hate, bigotry, intolerance, and all that goes with those things that so many religious leaders specifically spoke against throughout history. It’s nice to know there are others out there from all religions fighting just as hard, for the same goal. Namaste.

  • Herm

    There are plenty more from many spiritual walks who know God’s love. I choose to follow Christ as a little ignorant child student because He has proven himself to be a faithful Servant to my needs that I am incapable of providing for me or those I am responsible to in my name.

    Knowing what I know now if I had had a choice as to what my vocation would have been on this Earth it would have been best defined as a Christ like shaman healer. We don’t get those choices as we know nothing before we are born into the first environment (period, place and community) that begins to shape us and we work from. We all do get to choose whether to hold on to the first taught traditions or move on to new and different, traditional or not. I’ve been fortunate to have been around the world and exposed enough to different constructive social and spiritual resources to have much to work from to modify and incorporate to be a more constructive and productive member of mankind. I’m flattered that some of those differences in a disciple of Christ show positively.

    There is much that Jesus allows me the freedom to do that I find most corporate religions I have reciprocally associated with do not. Most groups try to fragment and disassociate themselves from mankind. Jesus, as one of God in the example of the book of Genesis chapter one in the Christian Bible, is fully inclusive to all of us as one inseparable human kind in the image of one creator God, at the very least a divine Family of the Father, the only begotten Son and a whole bunch of adorable little adopted children.

    Mankind is worth dying for or none of as finite members are worth living for that mankind can continue to eventually grow into a love for itself. Any within the body of Man distracted by suffering or need diminishes the positive potential of all of Man, together and individually. Jesus taught me that.

    Love focuses and bonds our feelings and thoughts together as one to share through compassion and empathy the joy and pain as ours. You listed a few symptoms that show no love and are only serving to destroy any viable worth of mankind to mankind and their creator because none who subscribe can by those attitudes associate an other’s pain or joy as mankind’s pain and joy. Jesus taught me that. Gandhi, Buddha, Confucius, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many, many more spiritual leaders knew that as can be gleaned from their fruits. Many know it today.

    I see no point in wasting this life with opportunity to choose by choosing to feed me alone when I know I will shortly die. It makes so much more sense to apply my choices to that which will increase the life of mankind that as a species has no reason to die if nurtured. We can nurture me all we want and it won’t give me but a few more years. We can nurture and propagate mankind and maybe give it an eternity, who among us mortals can know? The best part is while struggling to heal, support and grow mankind we can have some shared fun at the same time. Love can be painful but the rare moments of shared joy make the whole bond so worth holding on to and nurturing while anticipating the next moment of shared joy.

    Well Kelli, your fault, you flatter me with your attention and that sets in motion this never ending desire to share all of me with all of you in this moment. This is the appeal I find in the possibility for an eternal life of sharing with one another. I’m not into forever harp playing or even a forever conscious rest period. Let’s do to grow with and for each other all the while savoring each and every moment never wanting it to end. … and “they” call me verbose?!?!

    Namaste! Peace!

  • Mike Hofrichter

    You said that you don’t know where I will spend eternity. Ok, this is literally true. Nobody knows anything about an afterlife. But you, as a Christian, do think you have some idea as to the criteria for achieving this immortality. So I am going to ask you one last time. Please try to be honest. (I promise I won’t use scary words). Here’s the scenario:

    I don’t believe people’s supernatural claims. I am an atheist. My mother is a Christian. According to your understanding of Christianity, is it POSSIBLE that my mother will be separated from me for all eternity explicitly because I don’t believe any religious claims?

    There, I’ve tried to phrase the question so that you can answer it more concisely than you have. Please try to be as terse in your answer as you can. It really is a yes or no question. Fell free to elaborate after the yes or no.

  • Ron McPherson

    You have acknowledged on multiple occasions that your mother is a Christian. It’s perplexing that you feel the need to so zealously pursue an answer from me (who you don’t even know) instead of seeking your mother’s thoughts about it. Either you are seriously beginning to doubt your atheism, or you just want to argue. Since your mother worships the same God as I do, and thus enjoys the same relationship with the Spirit as I do, would it not be reasonable to pursue this answer from one you love and trust instead?

    Peace

  • Herm

    Mike, I just have to ask you this. Consider that there are four ways this could go with all that both of us knows for sure, relative to your mother and you.

    1.) your mother and you die never to be conscious again.

    2.) your mother dies to never be conscious again and you live consciously for ever more.

    3.) you die to never be conscious again and your mother lives to be conscious for ever more.

    4.) Both you and your mother live consciously forever more.

    If you had a choice would you pick #2 or #3?

    P.S.:
    As a Christian, who would love to live to share learning and growing with everybody with no bully around to intimidate, manipulate or subjugate anyone ever again, I want what Jesus directly tells me is available in eternal life. He, also, tells me He will judge whether or not I could possibly intimidate, manipulate or a subjugate anyone if graced eternal life. I care enough for everyone that I would prefer to die the second death and know nothing ever again if Jesus judges a bad seed that would ruin life forever for others. A bad seed because I can’t relate with them as myself in equal reciprocal empathetic and compassionate love. This, Jesus tells my heart and mind right now, is what will determine life without end or a final death for you and your mother no different than I. Death is not a punishment for it is no more than knowing nothing and not being able to screw things up for those who are all constructive for each other as themselves.

    I can’t tell you what to do, you’re free to choose, but I can tell you from my experience what you will reap by what you sow. I can’t help you nor will I judge you for that is solely between you and the God you choose today not to acknowledge. If God does not exist as you say you believe then this whole discussion is worth naught, a waste of time.

    This deeply hurts me because I know God in my heart and mind right now and I love you much more than enough to wish you did too. This divine relationship does not make me more special than you in anyway for the same is available in equal abundance to you if you choose to ask God directly with all the humility and naivety as a little child!

    Love you! Peace!

  • Mike Hofrichter

    I asked you a question. You refuse to answer. I guess that is just how you roll. I have already asked her. She does not think that Jesus would be so evil as to separate us for eternity. There are dozens of different flavors of Christianity which all have different takes on the meaning of the scriptures. In fact, by some measures there are thousands of distinct denominations. I am asking one of the billions of Christians a specific question. And I find it very telling that you refuse to answer. Do you have the integrity to answer?

    I’ll copy and paste it for you:
    _____I don’t believe people’s supernatural claims. I am an atheist. My
    mother is a Christian. According to your understanding of Christianity,
    is it POSSIBLE that my mother will be separated from me for all
    eternity explicitly because I don’t believe any religious claims?_______

  • Ron McPherson

    I explained my beliefs earlier. You’re just wanting to argue

  • Mike Hofrichter

    You tried to answer my question, but maybe I just didn’t understand your answer. Could you please give a more clear answer that even such as I can understand it?

    _____I don’t believe people’s supernatural claims. I am an atheist. My
    mother is a Christian. According to your understanding of Christianity,
    is it POSSIBLE that my mother will be separated from me for all
    eternity explicitly because I don’t believe any religious claims?_______

  • Ron McPherson

    “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” Matthew 13:15

  • Mike Hofrichter

    That is fascinating. Why can’t you answer my question?

  • Ron McPherson

    “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18

  • Mike Hofrichter

    I see that you can copy and paste bible verses. Why can’t you answer my question?

  • Mike Hofrichter

    By refusing to answer my question, you are not “living at peace with me”. I find it unpeaceful when people refuse to engage in conversation. Answer my question if you have even the tiniest bit of integrity.

  • Ron McPherson

    Mike,

    I’m trying to live at peace with you but you’re refusing. I explained my beliefs earlier. You’re being disingenuous here. You’re claiming to not understand my beliefs in spite of you suggesting, just a few short days ago, that “we can just agree to disagree.” If my beliefs are truly unclear to you,
    then precisely what were you agreeing to disagree about?

  • Mike Hofrichter

    I get it now. There is no way you are being honest. You are just having a laugh. Congratulations. You had me going. No legitimate and honest person would ever refuse to answer a question when it is asked the same way 3 times. I get it, you are just messing with me. Good job, sir.

    I understand now that you are not dealing honestly, but I will throw this out there one more time and see if you even have a tiny speck of honor. Answer this question:

    _____I don’t believe people’s supernatural claims. I am an atheist. My
    mother is a Christian. According to your understanding of Christianity,
    is it POSSIBLE that my mother will be separated from me for all
    eternity explicitly because I don’t believe any religious claims?_______

  • Ron McPherson

    I’m sorry you feel this way. Sincerely wishing you the best.

  • Mike Hofrichter

    Feel what way? I simply asked you a question. You bizarrely refused to answer it.

  • Mike Hofrichter

    Do you know any honest people? Perhaps you could ask them to answer my
    question.

  • Mike Hofrichter

    Just answer the question.

  • Herm

    It is possible that your mother and you will be separated for all eternity but we are not the judge. No matter what you cannot ride your mother’s shirttail into an eternal life that you would be disruptive for everyone else for all eternity, that would then be hell.

    It is your choice that you will ultimately be responsible to according to God’s judgment and not your mother’s or ours. If you know there is no God then why do you worry so and what is this discussion all about?

    By our knowledge which you do not believe the final decision rests with Christ Jesus. You are ultimately responsible for your attitude and that is what will be the final determining factor.

    None of us need to pass your litmus test, only God’s.

  • Brilliant commentary by Benjamin Corey! I’m sure Yeshua is pleased that he gets it! Kudos, PhD-to-be Benjamin!

  • Mike Hofrichter

    Finally a straight-ish answer.

    I love that you think I would be disruptive in heaven. If I found that such a place existed it would be a wonderful surprise.

    Also remember that beliefs are not a ‘choice’. One doesn’t ‘choose’ to believe something. One believes something when they have been convinced by the evidence. I don’t ‘choose’ to believe in gravity, for example. I have not been convinced that any gods exist and certainly not any particular god. Only a monstrously evil god would penalize me for this honest dis-belief.

  • gimpi1

    So, if someone believes that interracial marriage is sinful, and, yes, there are Christian churches that believe that (remember, Bob Jones University only repealed its rules against interracial dating a few years ago) should they be able to refuse service to an interracial couple?

    Civil rights laws are there to prevent just this kind of thing. In the past, many people in the American south believed segregation was a divine mandate. That is no legal defense for discrimination.

    The supreme court settled this. Religious belief does not give someone the right to discriminate in business. If a company does, they will have action taken against them. That’s our law. It’s quite just. Disobey it if you feel you must, but don’t claim persecution when you are called to task for your actions.

    You don’t have to approve of everyone you do business with. If you feel you do, I suggest another line of work.

  • gimpi1

    There is such a thing as civil marriage, you know. I had one. My husband and I aren’t religious, our families come from different religious traditions, so we had a civil marriage. No clergy involved.

    Would you refuse to bake a cake for a Moslem celebration? A Hindu one? My civil ceremony? Would it be any of your business that my husband and I married after years of living together? (And, yes, you would know, we had “marrying for our 20th anniversary” on our cake:-)

  • gimpi1

    A quick point, if God doesn’t change, our manner of understanding sure does. I know of few Christians who advocate killing Christians of other denominations anymore, yet, for most of Christianity’s tenure, that was standard operating practice. Many European wars, heresy trials, the Inquisitions, the Know-Nothings, the persecutions of Mormons and Quakers, some aspects of the KKK were all part of this. Now, thankfully, it’s (mostly) gone.

    My point is this; the people killing each other because they believed the other worshiped God wrongly believed they were doing God’s will. They believed it with all their hearts. Apparently, they were wrong. Christians are pretty united about this, now.

    Could you be wrong? Could the current conservative Christian view of gay people be wrong? (Please don’t cite chapter-and-verse. The people who advocated killing or persecuting other sects had plenty of Biblical backing) Just consider how we, as a society have changed our minds about things like anti-semitism, segregation, interracial marriage, mixed-religion marriages and many other things in the last 100 years.

    If nothing else, I think an understanding of the past should engender a bit of humility about any belief that marginalizes or discriminates against anyone. Don’t you?

  • gimpi1

    And other people will call you on typing in all caps, because that’s the internet equivalent of yelling.

    You’re free to yell. Others are free to call you on it.

  • Herm

    So you’re writing (with how many years to come to and prove this conclusion?) what defines God’s reasoning as monstrously evil; a God with no beginning and no end under Their belt?!?

    You must have been one hell of a child telling your parents how monstrously evil they were for penalizing you for your disbelief at two years of age.

    To be convinced you must challenge to test and that is all your mother and we are telling you to do directly at God. If you still prefer the advantages of your egotistical intimidating and manipulating attitude then so be it as well as will be the results you then are responsible to. In your vernacular, good luck! You are loved!

    I am convinced and, if you don’t believe me, so apparently is your mother.

  • Ron McPherson

    Mike,

    It escapes
    me how you claim I’m dishonest by not answering your continued question of:
    “According to your understanding of Christianity, is it POSSIBLE that my mother
    will be separated from me for all eternity explicitly because I don’t believe
    any religious claims?”

    Over the
    last several days, you’ve already spoken vehemently against my “understanding
    of Christianity,” so I thought it was pretty obvious that you already
    comprehended my position on it. But since you claim I’m being dishonest in not
    answering your latest question, I’ll give it one more shot.

    Yes, I
    believe it is “POSSIBLE” that you will be separated from your mother for
    eternity, but not necessarily because you “explicitly…don’t believe any
    religious claims.” You seem to want a yes or no answer, but your limited definition
    of the conditions themselves precludes me from answering in those terms. You’ve
    defined remaining in a dead state as being attributed to a “thought crime” in
    the event that loved ones are granted eternal life but you are not. I already
    responded to you that I don’t define salvation that way, and thus, cannot
    answer your inquiries in the terms of a yes or no answer. Nevertheless, I’ve also
    stated to you that, “I have no idea where you will spend eternity. This is
    between you and God.”

    I’ve
    resisted answering your latest question until now because, quite honestly, I
    believe you already know my position. Otherwise, you would not have previously labeled
    my ideas as “evil,” “warped,” “sick,” and “disgusting;” and called me both
    “vicious” and “a piece of trash” based on the ideas you’ve already formulated
    about my beliefs. I’ve been very clear in my responses to you over the last
    couple of days with respect to my understanding of life beyond the grave, in
    that separation from loved ones occurs at death, and not because one doesn’t
    “believe any religious claims” as you keep attempting to define it. For me,
    believing upon Christ is not limited to a set of “religious claims,” and I’ve
    stated this to you on several occasions. True belief upon Christ is a
    lifestyle, not merely a thought-process. It’s a way of life, not a religion. It’s
    desiring to place my heart, mind, soul, and strength into His care (not restricted
    to just my mind only). It’s being born into His family, indwelt by His Spirit,
    yielding to His commands – especially to love others. I’ve tried to do that
    here in calling for peace but that didn’t work either. I’ve done practically
    everything in my power to avoid confrontation. I was prepared to simply walk
    away from your latest question, but your jabs of dishonesty forces me to
    respond still again on the off chance that you are seriously searching for
    answers (and not merely looking for a fight).

    As you’ve
    continued to try and strangle an answer out of me that would conform only to
    your view of salvation as being an intellectual matter (i.e. believing
    “religious claims”), I clarified to you directly, on several occasions, that
    “The pursuit of Christ cannot merely be relegated to an intellectual exercise
    as you keep attempting to define it.” In my understanding of Scripture, if
    you’re separated from God (and thus your mother) for all eternity, the reason
    will be due to death itself. If you’re not granted eternal life, it will be due
    to your heart rejection of Christ.

    Just a few
    short days ago, I responded to you directly with this:

    “Based on
    my understanding of the Scriptures, there is either the finality of death or
    the eternity of life (John 3:16).”

    “Eternal
    life for me is a gift, and I fully understand that some loved ones may not
    share in it…”

    “…death is
    the fate of the one who does not have this eternal life.”

    How much
    clearer can my views on this be?

    Early in
    our conversation from several days ago you even responded: “We’ll just have to
    agree to disagree,” which was fine with me so I assumed you understood my
    position. However, even after this, you continued to press the matter. I tried
    to clarify our different foundational positions with this response to you: “What
    I call ‘love’ with Christ graciously bestowing this eternal life to some, you
    call ‘hate’ if this eternal life is not granted to all,” to which I even acknowledged
    at that time that this may not “make sense to you.”

    I’ve tried
    to answer your inquiries as thoroughly and completely as I can. I cannot make
    you see, hear, understand, or believe. When I stated I wish you the best – I
    meant it (and still do).

    Peace and
    best wishes.

  • Shawn Oberg

    This was a very good message by Dr. Beckum, and it’s very unfortunate
    that the college fired him. The school’s actions only served to
    strengthen his point. Our culture indeed has infiltrated the church far
    more than we care to realize or admit, myself included.
    Just for my
    own edification, I would like to ask Mr. Corey for his interpretation of
    Jesus’ instruction in Luke 22:36 that “…if you don’t have a sword,
    sell your cloak and buy one.” In verse 38, the disciples answered and
    said, “See, Lord, here are two swords”. To which Jesus replied, “It is
    enough.” This was the discussion Jesus was having with the disciples as
    they were about to walk to the Garden of Gethsemane so Jesus could pray.
    A short while later, when Judas and the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, a
    melee broke out and Peter used one of the swords to cut off the ear of
    Malchus, a servant of the high priest. Jesus rebuked him saying, “Put
    your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the
    sword”. (Matthew 26:52)
    Some questions I want to ask you:
    Was Jesus a hypocrite or just giving a confusing and conflicting message to His followers?
    How
    can Jesus, who claimed to be God, be considered a pacifist, while
    giving permission to own a sword, and while in the Old Testament,
    commanded the genocide of the Canaanites by the swords of the
    Israelites?
    How can Jesus be considered a pacifist when the book of
    Revelation depicts Him as slaying millions of people who choose to not
    serve Him?
    Do these Biblical passages nullify His title as “Prince of Peace”, when He is depicted as such a robust warrior?
    And
    can a Christian serve righteously in the U.S. Military, even as a
    combat soldier, or is serving in the U.S. military incompatible with Christianity?

  • Kelli Crackel

    Herm, I’ll gladly take the blame for making you write so much. I have enjoyed our conversation a great deal. Not just because it gives me hope that the good people really do outnumber the less than good people, but also because you took the time to learn about other faiths and cultures which, I’m sure, helped expand your understanding of our world. I thoroughly enjoy intelligent conversation.
    If it wouldn’t be an imposition, I would like to request a small favor. Would you mind, if you are able, to say a small prayer for me on Wed. 3/18 at about 9:00 am? I’m having surgery then and I would appreciate all the prayers I can get. I know prayer works. My mother repeatedly prayed I’d give her a granddaughter, even though I’d had a full tubal ligation after my second son was born (I have some disabilities that made it very dangerous to have children, to the point that my second son and I almost died). Well, seven years after my tubes had been tied, I was informed I was pregnant. It was rough, but we both made it through relatively unscathed. My daughter turned 8 last December. But now I must have certain things removed due to the damage that had been done by the three previous pregnancies. It’s a simple procedure with limited risk, but it is general anesthesia and I hate that stuff. I’ve had to have a lot of surgeries, but I’ll never get used to being put completely under. Anyway, thanks in advance if you can spare a prayer. I’ve so enjoyed meeting you. Keep fighting the good fight and know you have an ally in me. Also, see? You’re not the only one they call verbose. Namaste, my friend.

  • Carol Benson

    You are sadly correct. Bysh made huge mistakes, then Obama. US destabilized the entire Muddle East & rhem chuckens dine comw home to roost. CIA also gave al-Queda gazillions if taxpayers’ money.

  • Lots of good questions! I’ve answered a lot of them here on the blog if you look into the nonviolence archive, but here is a full exegesis on the passage regarding sword ownership: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/no-jesus-didnt-command-we-own-weapons/

  • Mike Hofrichter

    It is just so incredible to me. I tried to ask the question in many ways. I thought ‘surely they can’t actually think like this’. I was naive, I guess.

    You said I could be separated from my mom because of my “heart rejection of Christ”. Is not believing any claims humans have made about the supernatural, the same thing as a “heart rejection of Christ”?

  • Sergio

    Also a Christianity that rejects any and all scrutiny, questioning or discussion regarding its agenda. It will flex its collective muscle to silence any opposing view.

  • Herm

    Kelli, you really know my buttons so I know you knew you didn’t have to ask, just let me know. I feel so blessed and, yet once again, flattered that you would give me an opportunity to support you. You have in my heart and mind a continual prayer for your necessary surgery on Wednesday and I would like to know your time zone, please.

    Life with all its must make choices, responsibilities,risks, pains and joys is such a wonderful opportunity no matter how short (always too short as a mortals) or how long. You have been blessed, obviously more than the odds say you should have been able. I thank God continually for people like you, a very rare treasure, who can appreciate and savor life while challenging to make it even better for others today and to come.

    In this moment know that what you have chosen to challenge is what you know must do. The choice has been made so now the best you can do is leave this in the hands of God to lead the specialists while not losing one little bit of the wonder and value you have and share today for this opportunity to be an influential part of life itself.

    We will talk after but I do need to know your time zone now.

    You will never be left alone without a Comforter to hold you.

    Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to be a small part of your support team. I love you and am, also, asking for support and peace in your healing from this operation. amen

  • Ron McPherson

    “Is not believing any claims humans have made about the
    supernatural, the same thing as a “heart rejection of Christ”?”

    I have received Christ, not based on the human claims of
    others, but by humbling coming to him in faith with the Spirit bearing witness.
    Certainly our intellect is a factor, but I don’t believe – in and of itself – it
    either secures or forfeits the reception of eternal life, which is why I
    elected to use the word “heart” in the spiritual or biblical sense (i.e.
    representing the core of our soul, the seat of our desires, affections,
    emotions, will, etc.). From Jesus’ personal interactions, I don’t believe he
    condemned people for merely experiencing doubts of an intellectual nature (e.g.
    John the Baptist, the apostle Thomas, etc). In fact, I don’t know a single
    Christ follower who has NEVER doubted.

    Jesus’ judgment against the religious legalists of his day
    boiled down to what I would call a “heart rejection.” When reading the biblical texts, I never get
    the sense that the Pharisees were hopelessly incapable of believing Jesus’
    claims, even intellectually speaking. Instead, their unbelief stemmed from a
    resolute determination NOT to believe, regardless of any evidence put before
    them. I believe this was a purposeful rejection in their heart.

    Mark chapter nine records an incident that reflects a polar
    opposite attitude than that of the Pharisees. A father brings his son to Jesus
    for healing. Christ responds to the father: “All things are possible to him
    that believes.” The poor man says, “I do believe; help my
    unbelief” and Christ honors his request by healing his son. He didn’t
    slap the father around for not having enough faith; I think the point here is
    that the father had the will to believe. He was humble before God, which I
    believe to be the crux of the issue. And this is one reason why I don’t
    like to reduce salvation to only an intellectual exercise.

    In the next chapter (Mark chapter 10), Jesus says, “Truly
    I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not
    enter it at all.”

    John 1:12-13, “But as many as received Him,
    to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who
    believe in His name, who
    were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man,
    but of God.”

    Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask, and it will be given to
    you; seek,
    and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For
    everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it
    will be opened.”

    Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all you
    who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke
    upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will
    find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

  • Kevin Thomas

    I love how Greg Boyd puts it:

    At every turn, John transforms violent images into images of anti-violence. As a second example, consider the scene of the final (and bloodiest) battle in this book (Rev. 19:11-12). We find the Messiah “dressed in a robe, dipped in blood” (Rev. 19:13). This is a classic warrior image of a valiant warrior who comes riding home from battle soaked in the blood of all those he’s slain (e.g Isa 63:1-3). The interesting thing is that Jesus is soaked in blood as he rides into battle! What kind of warrior is soaked in blood before he fights? The kind of warrior who fights in a slain-lamb-way! John is revealing that the Lamb defeats foes not by shedding his enemies blood, but by shedding his own blood on behalf of his enemies.

    A third important symbol that John transforms in a non-violent direction is the sword. Driscoll was right to claim that the Jesus of Revelation carries a sword, but he was very mistaken in claiming he carried it in his hand. The sword that the slain Lamb carries as he rides into battle on a horse is one that comes out of his mouth (19:15, 21; cf. 1:16; 2:12,16;). Taken literally, the image is of course comical. (One would also wonder why Jesus and his army would fight a 21st [or later] century battle on horses instead of (say) military Hummers.) If we embrace the image in all of its symbolism, however, the meaning is profound. By placing the sword in the mouth of the slain Lamb, John is reversing its violent meaning. He is signifying that the Lamb warrior fights not by shedding blood, but simply by speaking the truth of God, thereby slaying the lies of the “deceiver” who had held these nations in bondage (19:20). This is why John states that the name of this warrior was “the Word of God” (19:13).

    – See more at: http://reknew.org/2013/10/gregs-response-to-driscolls-is-god-a-pacifist-part-ii/#sthash.D2ysuYfx.dpuf

  • mike

    I am involved in prison ministry and the men we minister to are among society’s worst of the worst. Many are serving life sentences for committing horrible and desperate crimes against families and friends. Yet as we share God’s word, talk about holiness and provide mentoring, I realize it is only God’s love that reaches them. As a human I am unable to love these men, but in the Holy Spirit, I am able to see them as God sees them, loved. Being a Christian is more than just escaping God’s wrath, reciting a sinners prayer, and baptism. Being a Christian is an active change to a holy life, reaching out to your enemies, and sharing God’s redemptive love. If God loves the most vile ISIL terrorist as much as He loves me, i have no right to use violence, I must approach him in a spirit of reconciliation, in the Holy Spirit and armed with God’s amazing love. .

  • $24533877

    Amen!

  • $24533877

    I only wish that everybody were as well versed about the word of God as you are. Kudos!

  • $24533877

    Yed, I recommend “Apostolic Fathers”. It includes personages like I & 2 Clement, St. Ignatius, Polycarp, and many more, also includes the “Didache”. As a Johnny-come-lately to Christianity that I am, it, together with the Holy Spirit is a significant encouragement throughout my regenrative process.

  • Herm

    Been thinking of you all day!

  • Kelli Crackel

    Thanks Herm. I came through surgery fine. I was home by 1:00 pm yesterday, but general anesthesia takes a lot out of you. I’m better now, but I still feel like I was hit by a truck. However, the doctor gave me really good pain meds, and God bless her for that. I just wanted to log on long enough to let you know I was doing OK and to thank you for the prayers and kind thoughts. I know they really helped and I truly appreciate it. Now, I’m going to get some more sleep, since I’m on bedrest until this evening, but I just wanted to let you know I’m OK ant thanks again.

  • Herm

    Good news, thank you! Sleep well and heal!

  • Ron McPherson

    Thanks for this. It brought this to mind, “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

  • JonEdHil

    Thank you for this message. I am a Christian who fell–by my own choice and my own sin–into some pretty horrible situations, resulting in and including a 15 year sentence in the Georgia Prison System. I have been out now for 3 years, have no job, no insurance, no means of support other than 2 of the most precious, beautiful, and fantastic parents one could ever hope to have! The result of my experience has been a real softening of my heart toward “the least of these”, which naturally (?) has resulted in a more “liberal” outlook than those with whom I come in regular contact, including “church” people. I am at worst ridiculed, at best ignored. I sincerely believe the Word that Jesus spoke, because it saved and healed me, but so many of my peers who claim to have had the same “experience” act as if they earned it, deserved it, and that those who aren’t experiencing the same prosperity and “success” as they are have somehow missed something. Excuse me, but if I have Jesus, what, exactly have I missed?
    The kind of persecution I have experienced is mild, I must admit; but to a lonely outcast, even apathy can be its own form of hell.

  • I just found this article…I was a student at MNU back in 2012 and I met Mr. Beckum and heard him speak several times. Always thought he was a good respectable man. I’m sad to hear about this.

  • Christian Carr

    Christian persecution does not just come from Christians. I am shocked and amazed that anyone could exist in this world and not realize that Christians are attacked from everywhere. The media is constantly bashing Christians and it is widely accepted. If you dare to say anything about a Muslim, however, then you will be attacked with no mercy. The United States is a very unique country. We are a people who rule ourselves. Unfortunately, too many people have forgotten this. If we, as Christians, do not stand up for ourselves then the other factions in this country will take over…and they are. Each person has a voice and if you don’t use it, then it will be drowned out by those who oppose Christianity. As Christians we are called to be meek, not weak. To stand up for what you believe is your right and your responsibility. This can be done in love, but it must be done. You can’t just vote and hope it all works out. You have to get involved and make sure that when you do vote for someone that you hold them accountable for what they are voting for in Congress and the Senate, in both the state and federal levels. Persecution is real. It is happening and it is getting worse. In this country we are the government and if good people do nothing, then evil takes over. It never has to be violent and it can be in love. But silence will be the death of our religious freedoms if we do not speak up.
    God Bless

  • Eric Fager

    Can you cite an example of the media constantly bashing Christians, and its wide acceptance?

  • KingCulex

    He still has not posted a source? Yep, Christian persecution in the USA is a myth.

  • Guest

    So, Ben, tell me what to do in this scenario: a man enters our sanctuary and starts gunning down church members (some are ready to meet God, some are not). I am at church and happen to be armed. What do I do?

  • Guest

    Your article is spot on Sir!! I commend you for the truthful words you speak.

  • Guest

    Whatever!! Most in prison got harsh sentences for petty crimes….the worst of the worst are the “devils in sheeps clothing” the very ones we elect, and praise for horrible deeds.

  • Jim

    I have experienced lots of persecution in my walk with the Lord, including being beaten up a couple of times, having a gun in my face, and also sorts of slanderous statements, as well as hundreds of “straw horse” arguments against Christianity in general (twisting words and then attacking Christianity based on those twisted words). Others have had similar experiences; Christian persecution occurs in the USA, and all over the world.
    However, part of the issue is the context. Except for the gospel itself, you should only preach to church bodies (open ears). And as for the gospel, it should be preached only to willing listeners, whether on a one-to-one basis, or before a crowd of invited persons, who willingly came to hear the message of love and forgiveness. After all, the truly “willing listener” of the gospel is one the Holy Spirit is drawing to hear the gospel, so that concurs with this principle.
    As for “loving your enemy”, that is a personal application, for one-to-one relationships. But since Jesus praised the Roman soldier for his faith (who sometimes had to use lethal force), serving in the military or the police is OK for Christians, and also keep in mind Rome was a vicious occupier. Also, Paul said the king “does not bear the sword in vain”, suggesting the government can execute you for capital crimes, which means tacit approval of some forms of violence, if not actually also working for the police or military.

  • Recon Alpha

    I highly doubt any of the “persecution” you faced, in cases where it could be construed as actual persecution, was because you were Christian.

    I mean, seriously? Someone put a gun in your face because you’re Christian? Yeah, I doubt it.

  • Jim

    Well, I was a witness to it, you were not.

  • tcinpdx

    Obviously, you invade invade his home country, killing hundreds of thousands; creating unimaginable instability and persecution of Christians there. Then you leave, but continue drone strikes that may or may not hit their target, wiping out both terrorists and innocent families. Fifteen years later, you wonder why things are even worse. Duh.

  • fred said

    Jesus once said, two people, one who owned much and one who owed little were forgiven their debt. Who do you suppose who appreciated it the most? The one who was forgiven the most. We are saved by His grace, we love Christ, because He loves us. Prosperity is never mentioned in the gospel as a measure of Christ love for you, or your love for Christ. If a person is in the front of the church, saying, i have not done all these sins as the person in the back of the church, this is called pride, and it is far from Grace.
    Just focus on living for Jesus, forgiving those who like us all, need forgiveness, and Christ love in you, will change those around you who are listening. Also, i think Jesus knows you are trying to do right thing, find a church where people love you, then you know they also love God.

  • Chris

    Yeah, I bet the ISIS never beheaded children, or massacred thousands of people for their faith! Much less put a gun in their face!

  • Rich Shockey

    In an effort to offer a constructive and positive response to this, we have started fundraising for a Peaceable Kingdom Endowment to give a scholarship to a ministerial student at MNU. We hope that it will show our support for both Chaplain Beckum and MNU, while also making a statement that there is room in our church for voices like his, one that asks us difficult questions about our allegiances.

    Please consider giving to the scholarship here: http://bit.ly/beckum-scholarship

  • RichJ

    If this is the type of “biblical reasoning” taught by Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, I’m glad that I did not apply. Perhaps he just does not understand the history of the founding of the USA. I’m glad I went to BIOLA instead. He certainly does not get a perfect score on my test of a mature and spiritual world view.

  • Rod

    Here in Europe, we only have experienced molesting gay and women going to abortion clinics, in the name of Jesus. Did christianity bring anything else to the world than the stake and the paedophilic priest ?

  • Dylan

    Well said.

    Satan seems to be likened to a street magician. Follow the ball. With an ever- increasing set of red solo cups making it easier to obscure us from the truth, we then believe the truth that was once inside patriotism is now in fact patriotism, or conservatism, or anger towards the infidels, etc.

    Each new system of thought or ideology becomes it’s own hinderance from the truth and in turn, a clever tool to separate us from it. If we always root ourselves in what Jesus said it is quite simple. Love thy neighbor as thyself, love God with all thy heart, mind and soul, help the poor, the sick, the hungry, spread the gospel.

  • Richard White

    I am reminded of the Southern Baptist Convention minister In Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico, who told my father, an ordained American Baptist Convention minister who had retired there, that my Dad and Mom would not be allowed to become members of his church unless they publicly confessed their sin” of having been American Baptist Convention.

    Instead, Dad refused, came out of retirement and started his own church.

    I suspect that the fact that my Dad started his ABC church was perceived as his persecuting that Southern Baptist minister and his followers – by that minister and his followers.

    I personally attend an Episcopalian church and sing in the choir – and am constantly being told by the Christian Right that means I am not a Christian. Friends who are Methodists or Disciples of Christ or Lutherans tell me that they hear the same thing from the Religious Right – none of us are really Christians.

  • PDY

    “there are two different types of Christianity. One is a movement of people who want to live and be like Jesus. The other (and far more common, far more powerful) is a civil and political religion that is simply named Christianity.”

    A very true statement, however I would point out that when you say you are a Christian the assumption is that you are the second type and there is a certain hatred (somewhat justifiably) of that type of Christian. Think of all the hatred thats been spewed against the Duggars recently… again, possibly justifiable, yet its used to paint the first type of Christianity with the same brush.

    When I tell somebody I’m a Christian, the first assumption is that I’m judgmental and anti-gay. Nobody asks how much money I donate to charity, how faithful I am to my family, or how often I go overseas on medical relief trips. Thats not what Christians are portrayed as.

  • Wade

    Well, then you need to get your own TV show.

  • PDY

    I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic. But no thanks, I enjoy having a private life, and I’m not that interesting.

  • Mostpowerfulmagicofall

    @Patheos:

    Evidence contrary to the claim that “It isn’t atheists or secularists that persecute Christians, but it’s Christians who persecute Christians”:

    http://www.aclufightsforchristians.com/

  • TheKnowerseeker

    I could only find two examples posted on that web page of the ACLU defending freedom of speech by Christians against homosexual behavior, and they occurred in 2006 and 2007 — before *Obama* came to office. The beginning of Obama’s presidency is also around when the Democrat party ceased its tolerant support for all persons’ rights equally and instead turned militantly anti-Christian and pro-homosexual; that is, they went from being liberal to being radical. (They also shifted further to the left in other ways; that caused me, a communitarian, to leave the party.) In light of that, it appears that the conservative accusation that the ACLU is only an enforcement arm of the Democrats is true, at least as of 2008.

  • TheKnowerseeker

    Real, Bible-based Christianity is *both* moderate (not liberal) on class/economy (because the Bible condemns greed — but also laziness) *and* conservative on family values (because the Bible condemns all other sins as well). Liberals get the family values part wrong, while conservatives choose to ignore economic injustice. (And they used to embrace racial inequality, which is also unbiblical; now only reactionaries and fascists do that.) Thus, real Christianity is politically communitarian, while libertarianism is the least Christian of all.

  • TheKnowerseeker

    Sorry, but your first story about your father’s experience is unrelated to the reason why you are told today that you’re not a truly born-again and saved Christian: The first was about the stone throwing of a legalistic and vain Southern Baptist against your father — all things which Jesus condemned; the second is about your current denomination’s and those others’ refusal to adhere to sola scriptura and Biblical literalism — things which I believe Christ supports according to Matthew 5:18. (Christ was “big” on the *written* Law of YHWH — each “smallest letter” and “least stroke of a pen”.)

  • Realnoid

    There has been outrageous agitprop from both political extremes taking different forms. No, this is not more David Brooks false equivalence. Neither is everything of the left to be seen as the “far far” left “Satanic.”

    Where does Christian and conservative persecution come from? Besides the fever swamps of the RNC? I notice a kind of water-boarding visual assault on the senses in NYC for the last several years. Too many prison chic tattoos, “on the down low” styles (with suspenders yet), mohawks, way too many mixed gendered, too many “road warriors” and homeless who look just out of rehab. Too many to be accounted for by displaced Middle Eastern refuges, the retired, students, the unemployed, slackers, Google IT or gay stereotypes.

    IMO, the above now gets translated into “Christian persecution”, Satan, devils everywhere in the air, hair and underwear. IOW, conservatives are offended and therefore…

    On the right wing populist front I see the same weirdness except the extremes are coming out of ppl’s mouths. The look is “conservative”, very spiffy all-American but with intentionally added exaggeration and paranoia to get easily aroused emotions going in the 2016 buildup.

    No one in their right mind believes that President Obama is foreign born or a Muslim bringing sharia law to America. But plenty of smart ppl will SAY they do. Plenty of smart people deny the origins of global warming and “evilution”. Dr. Ben Carson for one. The doctor did Fox News interviews in 2014 about Ebola contaminated terrorist urine in our water supply. Looking sick and sedated himself to add a little Christian theater to the mix. (Said to be his relaxed humble style)

    He’s not a Christian but back in the 1980’s Trump was TBTF before everyone else. A real “ground breaker.” Of course this wasn’t Trump himself, it was his casino R/ E holdings and Trump U (remember that?). IOW, the GOP basically saved him financially. He is not a lunatic birther he is a survivor who does what he’s told up to the point of solvency. After which he self-finances his campaign, exaggerates his wealth and pretends to betray his class talking about hedge fund carried interest. He also will not be our first Jewish President but his candidacy is a wink wink at the WWE crew and Sheldon Adelson’s deep casino pockets.

    Lying by populist conservatives and the Christian right goes beyond compulsive, beyond the usual in politics, beyond calling the Pope a socialist, beyond Franklin Graham “taking Obama’s word” that he’s a Christian, beyond Pat Buchanan (in The American Conservative), Giuliani, Ralph Peters (Fox News) praising Russia’s Putin in 2014 as a “real” Christian and for his “moral” “decisive” leadership over and above their own president. What does the Bush family and “Pootie-Poote” have in common besides oil? Bush looked into Putin’s eyes and saw….a guy who is said to attend church regularly vs a guy who hardly ever went, himself.

    Is the right prepping us for new geopolitical realities of deflating oil prices? That “Satanic” treaty with Iran needs to be torn up, right? Especially with the prospect of Iranian oil possibly coming on future markets. We know what the Pope says about the Iran treaty. What does the son of Rev. Billy say? What do “real” Christians say. The moderates who feed and encourage their real and fake lunatics. Am I betraying intransigence for differing opinions regarding the “big tent” that is Christian conservatism? Or is it that I’m against their feeling of entitlement to say just about anything.

    I say we are living in a time of extremes and it needs to wind itself down without hysterical nonsense about the recent 9/27 Blood Moon, the Pope, visiting Chinese leaders, Rev. Hagee’s 100 years of war and strife. Hagee has “refined” his endtimes forcast to align with the 3 blood moons and Israeli eschatology as a PR upgrade.

  • David Ish

    Xtian in Pgh Pa are ALL Like that.

  • truthm0ng3r

    This is sitting in judgement of fellow Christians as if this makes the writer appear “above the fray” and THAT is what is truly offensive to me. It’s leftward Christian academics patting themselves on the back for their self-perceived insightful brilliance. Despicable. Don’t flatter yourselves.

    Every Christian I know both conservative and liberal understands “enemy love” and they can see how it relates to defense of western culture as in our recent dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan, and can separate the two as Jesus told us to in rendering unto Cesar what is his.

    There is true persecution of Christians in America today. But no matter, belittle your fellow believers instead.

    Take your theological masturbation and go sit with the pharisees.

  • truthm0ng3r

    I’m a conservative Christian and I don’t “ignore economic justice” or embrace racial inequality. Those are gross characterizations of conservative Christians spewed by the left. Do some more study of the real conservative world.

  • truthm0ng3r

    Well said – I hope this indicates that the truth about Christianity may be emerging after all, instead of the clueless secular cartoon version

  • truthm0ng3r

    excellent

  • truthm0ng3r

    Nothing wrong with helping the rich and well-fed either. How about we help EVERYBODY. That sounds Christian to me.

  • truthm0ng3r
  • truthm0ng3r

    Very sad – this is supposed to be an intellectual discussion, not mockery and insults

  • truthm0ng3r

    You can’t possibly think of ANY? Or use Google?

    Watch popular entertainment for a week for constant Christian bashing and its wide acceptance.

  • Bones

    Except atheists are faithful to their families, go overseas on medical trips and donate to charity too.

  • Bones

    Christ was not ‘big on the written law’ at all.

    How about you people go study first century Judaism.

    In fact straight after Matthew writes that Jesus gives his ‘you have heard it said ‘ (ie the torah “”BUT I SAY TO YOU” (disses the torah)

    Matthew wanted to make the point that Jesus is the complete fulfillment of Judaism

    It’s Christian propaganda.

  • Bones

    “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,

    Why do the poor specifically get to hear the good news and what is that good news?

    Me thinks that the poor have a special place in the kingdom of God.

  • Bones

    Part of that is a reaction to people constantly being bashed over the head with the Bible and being told how evil everyone else is.

    Christianity had its chance as a ruling empire for over a milennium and it didn’t go well hence the Enlightenment.

  • Eric Fager

    Alas, a quick google search for “Christian persecution in America” leads mostly to examples of Christian’s not being able to enforce their beliefs on others, not of any kind of widespread or government sponsored activity persecuting them.

  • PDY

    Of course they do. Atheists aren’t bad people, they’re just wrong. =)

    But seriously, thats a part of my point. As much as most atheists aren’t militant Dawkins-esque individuals who want to make any belief in a being greater than ourselves illegal, most Christians aren’t judgmental, arrogant, right-wing extremists.

  • TheKnowerseeker

    Jesus overruled *some* of the Mosaic laws, but those few which He did are listed clearly in the NT of the Bible. He also explicitly reaffirmed marriage as being between one *man* and one *woman* in Matthew 19:4-6.

  • TheKnowerseeker

    Sorry, but this was accurately the conservative/reactionary world view for a long time and has only changed recently with the rise of the “alternative right”. I think that the flight of centrists and moderates like myself from the Demonrat Party to join the ranks of conservatives, plus the harassment by big businesses against conservatives/Christians in the name of LGBT, has helped to soften their stance on economic/class justice now.

  • Bones

    He was actually dissing out patriarchal divorce where the bloke was allowed to divorce but the wife wasn’t.

    He could screw around with women but she couldn’t divorce him.

    Which is in the torah.

  • TheKnowerseeker

    I see a pattern here where I’m referencing book, chapter, and verse, and you’re not; you’re just making unsubstantiated statements, and I’m not going to continue to argue with that. Furthermore, it’s getting to where I’m not even sure what we’re arguing about anymore because I don’t think you’re even staying on subject (Christ did or didn’t think The Law is important); I think you’re just trolling and pulling at straws. Lastly, I already proved before your first comment that Jesus thought that every word of The Law is important by using his own words with reference while your counter-examples aren’t comprehensive enough to debunk that reference.

  • Bones

    Which was quickly debunked by Christ Himself.

    The fact is that at the time were two schools of Judaism .

    One followed the Law to the letter. The other was more tolerant and believed in compassion over the Law.

    You work out which one Christ followed.

  • TheKnowerseeker

    You’re implying that Jesus was a *follower* of Judaism rather than the *master* of it. But Matthew 12 (particularly verses 6 and 8) refutes you.

  • Bones

    Jesus was a Jew and a rabbi.

    And unlike what you hear from the pulpit, first century Judaism had different attitudes to the Law.

    The words of the liberal Rabbi Hillel (died 10CE) who advocated compassion over the Torah are actually included as the words of Jesus Himself.

    “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”

    Also the story is told that someone said to Hillel, “Teach me the whole of the gospel while standing on one foot.” Accepting the challenge, Hillel stood on one foot and said, “Love the Lord with your whole heart, mind, and spirit, and your neighbor as yourself;all else is commentary.”

    Hillel advocated peace, compassion and mercy over the literal application of the Law which the conservative fundamentalist Shammaites advocated.

    This conflict continued within the Christian community even after Jesus had risen………even to today.

  • TheKnowerseeker

    Jesus was born into flesh as a Jew, yes, and during His life on Earth, He studied and taught scripture plus His own Gospel which completed it. There is no historical evidence that Jesus was acquainted with “Rabbi” Hillel; Hillel simply had God’s mind and will figured out better than most, but Jesus didn’t always agree with him and clarified God’s will exactly for everyone to understand since He is uniquely qualified to do so as the Word and Son aspect to the triune God.

  • Bones

    Jesus would have known Rabbi Hillel.

    Just look at the account of him as a child going to Jerusalem in Luke 2. He would most definitely have studied under Rabbi Hillel. To ignore it, is to assume Jesus lived under a rock for 30 years.

    He most definitely would have known who Rabbi Hillel was as demonstrated by the gospel writers using Rabbi Hillel’s actual words.

    The Pharisees in the gospels were opponents to Rabbi Hillel who even conspired with the zealots to kill members of the Hillel school to pass laws in the Sanhedrin totally cutting off gentiles. The same school of Pharisees who sent Jesus to his death and whom they saw as a threat. We know all this.

    Gamaliel, who defended the apostles in Acts 5, was Hillel’s grandson.

    They are facts which are beyond dispute.

    And the conflict embroiled the infant church itself as Christians influenced by both sides clashed.

    And still does….

  • TheKnowerseeker

    It is pointless to continue to argue with you. I am not a Bible historian, but what I do know is that there are more and better established sources that disagree with you than that agree, though I would like to bring closure to the issue for myself, personally, so I have submitted a question about any links between Jesus and “Rabbi” Hillel to my pastor, who has a PhD and loves scholarly questions about the Bible. So until or unless he responds to my question, I will be stepping off the train now, thank you.

  • Bones

    It is pointless because you are more wrapped in doctrine than truth. And you are threatened by anything which goes against your doctrine.

    I look forward to how your pastor tells you how to think.

  • TheKnowerseeker

    It is pointless because you are biased against Christianity, and so you’re grasping desperately for something to disprove or drastically alter it. That, and you’re a troll. It’s pointless to argue with flaming trolls.

  • Bones

    Has your pastor told you what to think yet?

    Your biased against facts and truth.

    Look up Hillel and Shammai.

    Then you’ll see the real background between the conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees.

    It’s historical fact.

    You need to change your moniker.

    You don’t know nor seek anything.

  • Ron McPherson

    Even the Bible itself never defines “a truly born-again and saved Christian” as one who “adhere(s) to sola scriptura and Biblical literalism.” The Lord Jesus in very explicit terms states in John 13:35 that the distinguishing mark of those who are truly his disciples is the love they have for one another. If adhering to “Biblical literalism” is the mode of salvation, then every single one of us remain condemned, for no one lives the Bible in literal fashion. Thankfully, it is the Spirit of God who regenerates us on the basis of faith in Christ, not our position on the Bible, that saves us. NT followers of Jesus didn’t even have the canon of Scripture as we know it today.

  • TheKnowerseeker

    Sir, just as the written Torah must be taken as the ultimate authority for the God-fearing Jew (who has yet to realize that Jesus is the Messiah) — and not the Talmud — which is half-filled with contradictory blasphemy, the New Testament of the Bible — as is — must be the ultimate authority for the Christian. Or do you rather wish to “interpret” it as the Pharisees did with the Torah, which — along with hypocrisy and deception — got them on Christ’s blacklist and paved their way to hell?

  • Ron McPherson

    Uh…ok. Guess it’s just easier for you to broad brush my comments as if they came from someone who does not hold a high regard for scripture rather than actually addressing my specific points. If the NT “of the Bible — as is — must be the ultimate authority of the Christian,” precisely what was the Christians ultimate authority during the first couple hundred years before the canon was assembled? Are you suggesting that the Bible should replace the Holy Spirit of God as a member of the divine Trinity? Otherwise, I fail to see your point.

    Peace

  • TheKnowerseeker

    Their authority was the teachings of Jesus they heard directly, plus the visions they had after Christ ascended, which didn’t contradict the teachings of Christ, and which they wrote down for us in their scrolls now compiled into the NT of the Bible.

  • Ron McPherson

    I have a high regard for the bible but there is no scriptural support whatsoever for the basis of salvation resting on one’s view of biblical literalism and Sola Scriptura.

  • TheKnowerseeker

    Salvation is indeed dependent upon belief in Sola Scriptura, and this is why: The Bible makes it clear that foolishness is sin, and it is foolish to trust anything valuable (including that most valuable thing: your standing with God) to the countless lies that pour from the mouths of fallen sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. Hence, it is an ongoing, unrepentant sin of folly to not adhere to Sola Scriptura, because the only thing that the Christian can reasonably trust *has* to be scripture alone. (To not even trust scripture is to become agnostic or change religions and no longer be a Christian.)

  • Ron McPherson

    “Salvation is indeed dependent upon belief in Sola Scriptura…”

    If so, then why would you assert something not supported by it?

  • TheKnowerseeker

    It is supported by Sola Scriptura: The conclusion was arrived at through deductive reasoning based on the scriptures alone (confirmed by my own life observations) and not any “tradition” or other theological teaching. I began with Proverbs 24:9 (folly as sin), and Psalm and Ephesians (original sin), and applied logic to those premises.

  • Ron McPherson

    I understand you arrived at this conclusion with your own logic, which is obvious. However, Jesus’own words from the Scriptures do not support your assertion. I’m not trying to be difficult, but you arrive at a conclusion that one cannot be saved unless they adhere to Sola Scriptura and biblical literalism. And yet one can only adopt such a position by actually NOT adhering to Sola Scriptura for the simple fact that it’s not scriptural. It’s oddly ironic. At any rate, peace.

  • TheKnowerseeker

    Sola Scriptura doesn’t mean that you cannot know anything but what the scriptures tell you directly, word for word, and nothing else; that would be stupidity, not Sola Scriptura. Deductive reasoning from The Word is natural and good, and designed into us by God to apply to all things learning: Our free will and thinking ability are blessings from The Lord that we combine with scripture to help know His will and wisdom, and with other things scholarly (science/mathematics, art, language, history….) to help understand His creation. See https://carm.org/dictionary-sola-scriptura

    However, wasn’t our original disagreement over the interpretation of scripture, literal versus figurative?

  • Ron McPherson

    You insinuated to another that they would not be truly Christian if their views were less than adherence to Sola Scriptura and biblical literalism. And yet can you not see the irony here? You admit to using your own logic to arrive at a conclusion which is not supported by the words of Jesus. Why insist that the basis of salvation includes more than what Christ himself asserted? This alone illustrates that you yourself do not strictly adhere to biblical literalism. If so, Christs words would be enough with respect to regeneration.

    This is precisely why people become entangled in the thorny knots of theology when insisting that eternal life requires more than just simple faith in Christ and in him alone. This is just one example of why there are 40,000 different denominations.

    It really is simple enough. Saved by Christ alone and then follow him. He narrowed the commandments down to where anyone should be able to understand (love God, love our neighbor). Everything else will fall into place if we can nail that one down.

    Peace

  • looked at my notices today & I see that you have upvoted me. here are a couple of quotes from Robert that were posted by him on that same blog.

    I’ve told my “evangelical” associates more than once that my perception of the evangelical consciousness is that it does not have a relationship with God; it’s relationship is with a “book…”
    That is the situation The Lord Jesus faced among the temple scribes.
    We’ve all become scribes….scholars….
    ROBERT 4/29/20

    We ignorantly assume scripture reveals God to us. I believe there was only one who knew God. And that one was killed by those who insisted that they knew God–through scripture.
    If I trust the record about Jesus I believe it shows that scripture is not the end-all be-all about God; and that to believe it is constitutes a great barrier to the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ embodied.
    I prefer to believe in a God who is beyond my comprehension; and to trust in that God who loves me so much He would die to prove it. And if I am loved so deeply it stands to reason my brother is also as deeply and fiercely loved. That being said…I should probably tread lightly…
    ROBERT
    I like this post of yours too! *~!!!]:D

    It really is simple enough. Saved by Christ alone and then follow him. He narrowed the commandments down to where anyone should be able to understand (love God, love our neighbor). Everything else will fall into place if we can nail that one down.
    Peace ~ron mcpherson 4/29/20

  • Ron McPherson

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  • TheKnowerseeker

    The ability to reason is the greatest and most important tool that God implanted into man; without the ability to reason, any man would die a physical death within three days, unable to figure out that there is a cause for his thirst, and that drinking something called “water” will keep him alive. Furthermore, it is only through reason that man can hope to understand the world he is born into. In the realm of spiritual/divine knowledge, however, man cannot reason his way to answers starting with just the six senses (including pain/discomfort); he must start with some foundation, whether a hypothesis unique to his thinking (like “spirituality”) or an established school of thought (like a religion).

    If one chooses the established religion of Christianity as one’s foundation to reason from spiritually, then the more recent the “Christian” teachings one chooses to believe, the greater the gamble towards misinformation one takes, particularly if that newer teaching contradicts the older / better established teachings. Misinformation quite likely results in failure to obtain Salvation, as Matthew 7:23 implies. Hence, the Christian’s best bet for correct understanding (and Salvation) is to only believe the oldest or best established teachings, which are those written in the scriptures of the New Testament.

    Also, since the overwhelming majority of writings are meant by the author(s) to be taken literally, and Jesus’ parables give us concrete examples of passages in the Bible that are set aside to be taken figuratively, then it is most reasonable to take the Bible as literal first and figurative second, again with Salvation possibly being on the line. That is my case for fundamentalism and Sola Scriptura.

  • Ron McPherson

    The things of God are revealed to us by the Spirit. We are not ‘educated’ into his kingdom, nor do we ‘reason’ our way into it. Instead, we are ‘born’ into it by a supernatural act of God.

    “but just as it is written, “T HINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, A ND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, A LL THAT G OD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE H IM.” For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”
    ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:9-14‬ ‭NASB‬‬

  • TheKnowerseeker

    But if you’re going to believe that, then you must arrive there by first *choosing to believe* that Yeshua Christ 1. existed, 2. was/is divine, 3. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians (although I think there’s evidence for this), 4. Paul was one of His Apostles, and finally 4. The Apostles aren’t lying. (i.e.: You must choose *Christianity* as the basis for your reasoning on spiritual/divine things.) After all of that is taken on blind faith, then you must *reason* that you should listen to Paul since he was one of Christ’s Apostles — hence he was supposedly taught by Yeshua like His other Apostles, through the Holy Spirit or however — 1 Corinthians is a part of Paul’s writings, and 1 Corinthians doesn’t contain any teachings that contradict the other writings of Paul or the other Apostles. As I said, before you — Ron McPherson — could even arrive at your belief in 1 Corinthians 2:9-14, you had to go through this mental process.

  • Ron McPherson

    “…before you…could even arrive at your belief in I Corinthians 2:9-14, you had to go through this mental process.”

    What I am suggesting is that regeneration is not merely an intellectual exercise (the early church began and grew without Sola Scriptura). That component is simply not the Sine Qua Non of saving faith (nor is biblical literalism). We absolutely cannot declare another to be unregenerate based on those factors. To do so is to render the supernatural power of God less than adequate, to insert an element into the gospel not declared by the Savior and to ignore the accounts of salvation (received by faith in Christ) recorded in the book of Acts (none of which even hints that one’s eternity rested upon a canon which would not be assembled until hundreds of years later). While you may have arrived at your conclusion through your own ‘logic,’ it cannot be arrived at through the biblical record itself and through careful exegesis.

  • if one has the spirit within one can recognize it in others IMHO. the spirit resonates within one. *~!!!]:D

  • Lisa Truitt

    Jesus talked about both taking up a sword for self defense and loving our enemies. Remember when he told those who didn’t have a weapon that they should get one? There is a time and place for both. God instituted both civil authority which carries a sword to punish evil doers and promote law and order and protect its citizens and the command for individuals to love their enemies. Obviously the command to love does not include allowing a murderer to walk up and stab you without defending youtlrself if you are able to.

    It takes a bit deeper understanding to get that both of these things are biblical. Governments, civil authority have God given mandate to defend and protect their citizens from the wicked, from attackers and individuals as much as they are able to have a mandate to love. However, if a wicked person tries to kill, rape or cause bodily harm Jesus did not prohibit using deadly force. This is why he said to get a sword if you don’t have one.

  • Ceunei

    What I don’t understand is, recently, I’ve run into a spat of women who are followers of Christ, but they hide their light under a bushel while slowly becoming more and more judgmental and relationally aggressive. I find out, quite by accident, they are Christians. Now, I’m used to mean women, I’ve always been an outsider and a target of such ladies, but I am a happy person with my own faith in the power of the universe that happens to coincide with other’s faith in a god. I do not bring up my faith, but neither do I judge. I am only looking for friends while those who hide their faith are looking for the usual religious victim: women. And they don’t mind doing this with other women.
    I’ve since withdrawn from such women, I’m too old for such games, but I’m disturbed so many Christian women judge me without letting me know why. They may be worried about me getting into heaven with them, but I see their awful karma here on Earth, and I cannot imagine how female followers of Christ (or Allah) treat each other and their daughters and grand daughters, too.
    Why are the Abrahamic religions putting out such horribly mean women? Believe me, I’ve turned the big old mirror on myself and rooted out my self-righteousness, but these women really take the cake. I can make excuses for women who do not follow any human created religion, but I cannot make excuses for women following the very Christ I followed as a child. The very kind of women I exited the religion of Christianity to avoid because I dared to be born to the body of a very pretty woman (although it started when I was four at the hand’s of the Preacher’s wife). What is up?

  • Dave

    Look at Benjamin Corey….feeding the alligators so that he’ll get eaten last.

    It is of course nonsense. I’ve been in countless evangelical churches in numerous states, heard hundreds of teachings…..no, literally thousands. This concept of loving your enemies is ubiquitous, and I’ve never heard or seen any christian criticize or persecute them for teaching it. Silly.

    Yet we’re supposed to stick our head in the sand and ignore those christians that are mistreated for their faith, and we’re supposed to lie and say it doesn’t happen when it is rampant.

    This article reminds me of

    Isaiah 5:20 – 20

    Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;

    Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;

    Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

  • Cliff Lindsay

    let me add , and split the gates of hell wide open

  • evodevo

    Well, everything I’ve seen in these comments has only confirmed the author’s thesis, in my estimation …..

  • Eric Fager

    You could have just said “No, I can’t cite any examples.”

  • Michael Goltry

    I feel like this misses, in a big way, the persecution that Christians actually DO face in America. You are right that most of this perceived persecution is actually a change in America’s culture and an acceptance of things Christians understand to be sinful or against God’s intended purposes. We can’t expect non-Christians to live by Christian standards, especially in a country founded on individual freedom.

    On the other hand, showing yourself to be a Christian in today’s society is a sure way to get yourself insulted and your voice silenced. Because if you are a Christian, you must be anti-science and a bigot. Your opinion doesn’t matter because you’re just a dumb, backwards Christian clinging to your imaginary friend because you are too weak to accept reality for how it is, so you need a crutch. This is the attitude that much of our society approaches Christianity with. The media only portrays Christians on television shows as either corrupt, secretly non-believers, extremely hypocritical, pedophiles, or idiotic to the extreme. Anything to make Christianity look like the fool’s choice.

    And Jesus definitely saw this kind of behavior as persecution. We see it in his blessings on the people (The Beattitudes, specifically Matthew 5:11).

    Again, you are completely right that we need to stop being so self-centered in our little pity parties as our culture rejects Christian values. If we keep this up, we will end up missing the extreme persecution of those around the globe who are daily losing their lives for Christ, as well as our opportunities to assist them. But I think it is at least a little unfair to say that Christians in America do not face persecution. We most certainly do. Being told day in and day out that “your religion is wrong and you are an idiot for believing it” can wear on you, yet this is exactly what our society does to Christians. And included in that society are the “Christians” in name only who blame real believers for being too dogmatic and uncompromising when it comes to the exclusive claims that Jesus is the only way or that certain behaviors are sinful. That is how our nation can have a majority “Christian” population yet still come under persecution.

  • afAtheist

    He really just doesn’t want ANY form of religion in the classroom or government; that’s where militant atheism begins. That’s far from wanting a belief in a being greater that ourselves to be illegal.

  • djh

    I believe that herein lies a fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity as it relates to pacifism; even in the beatitude that promises happiness to the peacemakers it is clear that Jesus is not referring to doormats, but to people who aggressively seek to make peace. Now, what does that look like? Are we not to defend the oppressed? Does that not at times require physical force? When Jesus was asked by soldiers in Luke 3, what they should do, He told them that they shouldn’t extort money, but to be content with their pay? These, being soldiers that were subjugating His very people. Clearly, this would have been a great time for him to condemn war. The NT is a work of modeling – both a relationship with God and with other people. However, it is not a corporate work like the OT. There is little that tells us how to build a society, only how to build ourselves individually. Certainly, God did not condemn war in the NT – He only promised there would be more of it. What He does do in the context of the Bible is build a case for both just anger and just war. I believe that God intends for us to store our treasures in heaven by feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and freeing the oppressed. I have served in the military and was ready to lay down my life to do so. In closing, I challenge you on this point in light of John 15:13 – Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Who loves his fellow man more; the man fighting to free those enslaved by a false theocracy that treats women and children like chattel, or the Christian man who partakes in organized demonstrations against that war? We are only free to practice pacifism, because someone died providing us the freedom to do so.

  • Valerie Ohle

    Did any of y’all sleep and pray on this, or did you jump straight from the last punctuation mark to the comment box? All of you formed an immediate opinion reading it, myself included, based on your existing opinion, belief and personal experience, myself included, and off you all went. On ALL sides.

    From MY personal experience, what he’s saying makes sense, but I’m basing that on things like the hypocrisy of Chick-fil-A who fought for the right to deny health benefits for their employees based on their personal beliefs (and without regard to the beliefs of said employees) crying “religious liberty” as their justification. A move that helped establish corporate personhood. Yet that same company allows their franchise holders to DENY their youth employees time off to attend church retreats and conferences. So apparently their brand of religious liberty and freedom from persecution only applies to the corporate personhood and not the individuals OF the corporation.

    Then there’s the far far right fundamentalist and bible literalists that routinely attack anyone who isn’t also a fundamentalist and bible literalist, but those are just MY experience flavoring MY first read.

    Which is why I plan to sleep and pray on this one. But, so far, I agree 110% with what he’s saying.

  • S.M. Stirling

    Boy, did Nietzsche nail that “love your enemies” stuff perfectly in “The Genealogy of Morals”. It’s the hate-filled spite of the weak, attempted psychological jujitsu.

  • Hamblerger

    Except…he gave an example of this actually happening.

  • Dave

    I disagree. If you actually followed the link, it’s abundantly clear that the outcry against the speaker had zero, zip, zilch, nada to do with ‘loving your enemies’ it was the critical reference to American Sniper. That’s what everyone was reacting to. It’s very chic, very hip, very progressive right now to hate America on most American Campuses. Progressives HATE that Movie because it’s a military movie that doesn’t act like the United States is responsible for every evil on the planet. Hollywood loves to mock christians, conservatives, and portray them negatively every chance they get, and they love to produce military movies that portray the US military, and in particular US military history negatively(as was as completely inaccurately). That it produced something like American Sniper is quite amazing/unusual. It’s a breath of fresh air for politically savvy christians and military personel…..’wow, hollywood portrayed us as something other than the scum of the earth…cool.’

  • Janet Cater

    As a woman I feel persecuted by people calling themselves Christians who have passed laws against a woman’s right to control her own body. Who support a party that wants to take away healthcare, fair pay, national parks, clean air and water, etc. from the American people. Jesus called us to love our neighbor but instead Trump tells us to be spies like Stalin or Mao. We are deporting parents and leaving children without a family. At this point in time, most of the government policy as chosen by the GOP is the promotion of evil for the benefit of the extremely rich.

  • I opened this, expecting to get really angry. Didn’t expect to read something I thought brought an important topic to light. Well played.

  • godlessveteran

    “I feel like this misses, in a big way, the persecution that Christians actually DO face in America.” And what would that “persecution” be? Being asked to mind your own business? Demanding that your beliefs be prohibited from interfering with our RIGHTS? I don’t care what you believe – worship tree stumps if you want. But when it impacts my healthcare, what merchandise I can manufacture or buy, when I can shop, what I can consume, what I can read, whom I can love or marry, dictates compulsory pregnancy, prayer, or worship, or impacts my right to act free from the influence of your beliefs in any way, then you darn well better expect serious pushback. That’s not persecution. That’s demonstrating to you where the line is which you will NOT be allowed to cross.

  • Michael Goltry

    So the dozens of businesses that have been shut down or sued because they would not provide services that violated their beliefs is not a form of persecution? Professors openly mocking the Christian faith and demanding that students write anti-Christian papers in order to pass the class is not persecution? Coaches being fired for leading completely voluntary prayers with athletes before a game isn’t persecution? Students being silenced and forced to study materials that are clearly anti-Christian in their content is not persecution? Frequent media portrayals of Jesus, the center of the Christian faith, being gay or ridiculed in some way is not persecution? Christians are insulted left and right, yet most of them just want to mind their own business and be left alone. But it has become not only acceptable but even encouraged by many in our current culture to be anti-Christian.

    Definition of persecution:
    1: to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict; specifically : to cause to suffer because of belief
    2 : to annoy with persistent or urgent approaches (such as attacks, pleas, or importunities) : pester

    When I voice an opinion on a political issue and it is discovered that I am a Christian, it isn’t persecution when I’m told that I’m probably a pedophile that rapes my own children and that I should just go kill myself because of my beliefs, even if the political view given could be shared by people of any/no faith at all?

    You and people like you are all about prohibiting Christians from interfering in the rights of others, but either don’t care or don’t even realize how you are simultaneously interfering in the rights of Christians. And you call us the hypocrites.

  • Emily Elizabeth Windsor-Cragg

    Christians are not to treat everybody ALIKE. See MAtthew 18: Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.. ;. . It’s one thing to express love for our brothers and sisters, and to face our enemies in silence without adding fuel to the fire of a conflict. However, claiming that we ought to favor and sanctify people who do harm is just plain unreasonable.

  • thelastusername

    Goodness where do I start?
    You have everything completely upside down. It is not your fault it is the fault of fake news and our education system.
    It is all very simple, if you are not willing to protect the most innocent in our society, i.e. unborn babies, everything about womens rights and all the issues in between is just emotional nonsense.

    No, republicans are not taking away your healthcare, your fair pay or your clean water. In fact the opposite is true and always has been true. But when it comes to abortion, God is very clear about that. Anyone who murders an unborn baby in the womb is to be put to death. Read the Old Testanment. In God’s eyes that unborn baby is as human as a full grown adult. Which is why his law is clear – life for life.

  • BluePedal .

    Still pretending to be an American citizen?

  • Brien

    The whole debate is moot as all theists should be persecuted anywhere and everywhere!!

    They claim something, and they cannot prove that claim!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0c58c96141b3a9e8a98b2e7233b0f96e6708ef312c8f0d65fe36ccd019682451.jpg

  • Brien

    Prove your god!!!

    (otherwise persecution is appropriate…)

  • Pat Gilliland

    Psalm 137:9

  • ProchDolor

    Excellent piece! There’s something I’ve pondering lately and I’d love to get your take on it:

    It’s basically this question: Why aren’t all Christians who identify themselves as being “pro life” necessarily pacifists?

    The basis for being pro-life (in the realm of abortion), as I’ve heard it explained many times, is the idea of the “sanctity of human life.” This would naturally seem to mean that every single human life is *sacred* solely because it is *human*, and created in the image of God. I often hear this concept referred to as a “moral absolute.” If a particular idea is a moral absolute, by definition it’s something that applies equally in all times and situations; there’s no such thing as a circumstance in which an absolute *doesn’t* apply. So, if every human life is literally sacred, not because of anything a person has done or not done, but merely because she/she is human, and if that value is an absolute, then it has to follow that there are no circumstances under which we can treat any human life as being less than sacred and worthy of preservation, right?

    Wouldn’t that mean, then, that the taking or devaluing of any human life, under any circumstances, for any reason, is wrong? That would include abortions, sure, but it would also necessarily apply to taking life in combat situations, to capital punishment, to any circumstance in which any human life is treated as being “less than.”

    And that, then, would mean that those who call themselves “pro life” and yet only or primarily apply that value to the unborn, but make allowances in the case of things like warfare, are, by their own definition, the real moral relativists.

  • ProchDolor

    “The media only portrays Christians on television shows as either corrupt, secretly non-believers, extremely hypocritical, pedophiles, or idiotic to the extreme.” This isn’t evidence of persecution. It’s evidence that way too many people who call themselves “Christians” need to repent of a whole lot of corruption, hypocrisy, abuse, and idiocy. Of course the rest of us come off looking like idiots, because we *are* if we’re failing to repent of the hypocrisy, ignorance, abuse, and idiocy within our own communities.

  • ProchDolor

    I’d be interested to see some substantiation for the various examples of “persecution” you offer here. Especially since the second example is a movie plot (and not a very good movie at that). These examples also seem awfully mild compared to what truly persecuted Christians are going through in places like North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia where the definition of persecution includes torture and slaughter, and not just “attacks, pleas, or importunities.”

  • ProchDolor

    Honestly I don’t see how your distinction changes anything. I don’t think anyone’s saying that no one ever says “love your enemies” in churches anymore. Beckum’s point was to question why, in churches were we *do* say that a lot, we seem to be oddly prone to celebrating nationalist violence (which the film, like it or hate it for that reason, does). He was censured and nearly fired for asking that question. If the real flashpoint, as you suggest, was a single comment about the film, that only makes the outcry, and the university’s responses, even more frivolous and cowardly (universities are places where we’re *supposed* to debate about stuff like that! That’s the whole point.).

  • ProchDolor

    Boy, for someone who doesn’t like the idea of judging and belittling other believers, you sure just did a fantastic job of judging and belittling a whole category of them. Kinda why Paul warns against judging others in Romans 2: when we do that we only wind up committing the very sins we thought to condemn.

  • ProchDolor

    Except, at least arguably, those things are *not* Paul, but rather part of a long tradition of misreading Paul’s words in order to prop up a kind of patriarchy that Paul nowhere endorses. The fact that Paul’s words have been hijacked to serve an evil ideology can’t be Paul’s fault.

  • ProchDolor

    Nonviolence is not the same thing as nonresistance. It doesn’t mean laying down in the face of evil. Just that there are other ways to resist.

  • CroneEver

    “27Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

    32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
    Luke 6:27-36

    You’re right, it’s unreasonable. But it’s what Jesus asks us to do.

  • truthm0ng3r

    Which would mean Christians can’t criticize others. Preposterous. This article is ignoring the complete picture of Christian persecution in favor of a leftwards only view which I find despicable.

  • ProchDolor

    You yourself condemned “sitting in judgment of fellow Christians” and “belittling your fellow believers” (in language that dripped with both judgment and scorn). I pointed that out, and, interestingly, your response involves a complete 180: Now you assert the right of Christians to “criticize others.” If your first post is true, you’ve committed the very thing you say you’re against. If your second post is true, then you have no quarrel with the writer in the first place, since he would have to have as much right to criticize other Christians as you do. This demonstrates a lack of integrity that I find despicable.

  • ProchDolor

    The most effective thing would be to invoke the training that you and others have (hopefully) had in how to safely get yourself and others out of harm’s way in an active shooter situation, being aware of all the exits, having developed the ability to react calmly and with speed, and to keep others calm while finding them the best routes to safety. You could also interpose yourself between the shooter and a target (what was that verse about laying down one’s life for a friend?). You *could* pull another firearm and start shooting back, but in a situation where you’ve got a shooter who’s moving around erratically among a whole bunch of terrified and panicking people, you’d be more likely to hit another parishoner than you would the shooter, and add even more confusion and terror to the scene, getting more people wounded and killed. It would take a very special kind of person, with extremely advanced and specialized training (not the same thing as military or police training) to handle a firearm in that kind of situation without merely making it worse.

  • ProchDolor

    Absolutely! You should try that sometime.

  • ProchDolor

    Of course everyone deserves help. The idea of “helping the poor” is nonsense without that assumption behind it. The whole idea is that *because* everyone deserves help, we need to pay special attention to those who aren’t getting any.

  • Bria Lapoint

    Persecution? give me a break. Ive seen more non christians get fired. Also, christians say that things they dont like are UnChristian, like being a non chrisgtian is a bad thing!

  • Bria Lapoint

    I wont tell you your religion is wrong (although to my mind it is), but it certainly doesnt fit everyone! I was harassed by a local christian telling me i should accept Jesus. I told her i was a christian, and it didnt work for me. She got really pushy and i got very irritated.

  • Bria Lapoint

    well said!

  • David Allen

    I’m perfect.