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Commonsense Christianity

Commonsense Christianity

Two Reasons Why the World Hates Christians

“Christianity” and “Love” are two words that we hope are associated together. Madonna and Toddler, original oil painting by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Christians have a bad reputation for being unkind, intolerant, harsh, judgmental, and self-righteous. Oh, and uneducated.

Now of course, anytime you speak about, or live, moral absolutes, you’ll get attacked by people who don’t want to be told — either by your words or example — that what they’re doing is wrong. Jesus Himself didn’t make a lot of friends on this planet.

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From time and distance, however, most people, even those who don’t choose to believe who Christ is and what He says, concede that He was “a great teacher,” or a “morally upright man.” They don’t go on and on about His acrimonious unfeeling attitude toward the lives and feelings of others.

That’s reserved for us, His hands and feet, His voice and message, and Christ warned us that this would be so:

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15: 18-19)

If They Hated Christ, They’ll Hate You

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The world is filled with many travelers, all sharing the same space. Harbor Faire, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, sold. More of Steve’s works are at Steve Henderson Fine Art.

So the upshot is, if you are truly living for Christ, the eventual outcome is that many people who do not know Him — the world — will hate you, simply because of who and what your Master, Christ, is. And yet you, and I, persevere because the message which the world hates so much — that God loves us, deeply and dearly, and wants to enfold us in His arms — is one that individual people within the world are crying to hear.

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That’s Part A of Why the World Hates Us.

Part B is a bit more disturbing, because it — justifiably — makes us look bad.

But Sometimes, There’s Another Reason

Too many times, people strongly dislike Christians not because of the message of our Master, but because of the attitude we project when we seek to convey that message. We come across as

  • Harsh
  • Unfeeling
  • Self-Righteous
  • Unforgiving
  • Defensive
  • Intolerant (this word is vastly overused by media moguls and propaganda pushers who seek to make any difference of opinion, on any issue that they manipulate, a matter of “hate.” Just because malevolent forces misuse the word does not mean that we avoid the matter. To be tolerant does not mean to back off and give in to the louder voice; it means to be courteous of the dignity of others, and not railroad our opinions through).
  • Inflexible
  • Small minded

 

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This list can go on indefinitely, the point being that, when we walk into a room and make the rest of the people in it feel like slug droppings because they could never approach our level of holiness, virtue, saintliness and piety, we have actually failed to get across the veritable essence of those attributes. People — real people — were drawn to Christ because of His love, understanding, patience, sensitivity, and kindness, and He managed to convey, and teach, truth without abandoning any of these.

Christ’s Example Is the Right One

With the weak He was gentle; with the arrogant He was firm; with the foolish He was patient; with the cunning He was wise. But He Himself was never proud, demanding, merciless, or disagreeable. Far too often, we are.

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But we serve a loving and gracious God, and if we back off and pull away from our outward trappings of religiosity, He works with us to show what real compassion, kindness, wisdom, discernment, and mercy look like, as opposed to the substitutes we so easily fall into.

Religiosity versus relevance: what’s the difference? Join me at, “I’m a Christian, but I’m not Religious.”

Thank you for reading Commonsense Christianity. I post three times a week, and I welcome your comments and thoughts — as we dialogue with one another, we learn from one another. And while we will not agree on every point (we’re not robots, you know), we can still love and support one another. Articles similar to this post are

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  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Hurt people lash out, as you observe. That is one of the reasons why the world hate Christians, as I mention in the article above, and it is something for us to keep in mind as we interact within the world.

    And also as you observe, people hate for another reason, the same reason they hated Christ — He was so good, so loving, so merciful, so kind — one would have to ask, “Who would object to this?”

    Well, there are many people, throughout history and into today, who want money more than love, power, more than grace, and they don’t want anything stopping them from getting it. Christ’s message that we are to treat all of our brothers and sisters of humanity as equals, with the same compassion and mercy that we want for ourselves, does not sit well with these people.

  • MsJJ

    After reading many of the comments written on this blog,
    it is obvious that hurt people strive to hurt other people. There is a comfort
    in hateful people. They gain self satisfaction in hate. The world hates
    Christians because the masses hated Christ. Why was Christ hated? Because His life and teachings causes us to examine ourselves. His life on this earth and his example causes our sins to be exposed, not necessarily to the world but within ourselves. Out of the heart flows the issue of life. The world can
    ostracize Christianity until the end of eternity, it has been done for ancient
    of ages. But it will not change the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord and He died
    on the cross for all manner of sin. I am a believer in the Christ who died for
    my sins. Our flesh is powerful. It wants what it wants. Our tongue is even more
    powerful, though it is the smallest member of our body, it is the most
    destructive. There is an enormity of hatred, accusations, and all manner of
    ignorance displayed on this blog, so Lord I ask you to forgive our selfishness,
    forgive our hatred, forgive our arrogance and ignorance and help us to live in
    harmony, free from judging, and reconcile us with your love. In Jesus name I
    pray. Amen p.s. My facts is this, I challenge you to call on the name of Jesus
    and ask Him with a sincere heart to reveal to you who He is, and you will find
    that Jesus Christ is the true living Son of God.

    Love and Blessings to all
    of YOU!

  • leastyebejudged

    Fuck off already.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    A bit inexcusable, my friend, from the perspective of intelligent, civilized behavior, and not particularly conducive to getting your point across — if, that is, your point is that Christianity has nothing to offer the world as far as compassion, kindness, and respect toward our fellow man.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Thank you, Ellen, for your kind words. I have read your gracious response to some quite vitriolic comments in this stream, and I applaud you, my sister, in your merciful and wise replies.

    Thank you for reading my book — my goal is, as you observe, to ask us to all look at things from a different perspective from the one we naturally fall into, or are taught to rely upon. When we find false teaching in the establishment Christian sector, we think, on one side, “Well, I’m sure they didn’t mean this,” and that is true. On another side, however, we have to ask, “Where is this false teaching coming from, and what is its result in the church of God’s people?”

    It is naive for Christians to think that the false prophets Jesus, Paul, and Peter warned about in various Scriptures would all be outside the church. Indeed, the best place for them to be is where they can wield heavy influence IN the church — on TV, on the radio, writing books, teaching at seminaries, influencing and shaping the next generation of pastors who will pass what they have learned on to the flock in their sanctuary.

    Wise Christians ask questions, and they look for the answers based upon the truths they know about God — from His word, and from the world He created.

  • leastyebejudged

    And you’re a stupid cunt. Die already.

  • Ellen

    Nothing you said bothers me. You are obviously mentally ill and had I known that I would not have responded.

  • leastyebejudged

    The post you’re responding to is months old, so the defensiveness is coming from childish liars like yourself who hide behind their religion like cowards.

    What I’ve stated bothers you so much that you can’t address it; you simply feel compelled to talk shit about someone you know nothing about. Congratulations, you’re a stupid cunt !

  • Ellen

    The first thing you have to do is learn to listen. Otherwise, you are as bad or worse than those you condemn.

  • Ellen

    Love your writing! Always thought provoking and inspiring. You always ask us to examine things from another angle. I downloaded your book as well. Enjoying it very much!

  • Ellen

    Lestyoubejudged: Why are you here? Your defensiveness and attacks loudly reveal you own inner pain and hurt. What happened to you?

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Fear, love, awe, hope, hate, dread, rest, peace — these are things we do not experience with our senses, but our souls. Let us let it be, my friend, and we will each walk our path. I’m thinking that, on the right things, we probably agree more than we disagree — that it is better to love than to hate, that vulnerable people need to be protected, that we choose to do good as opposed to harm. And — I wholeheartedly agree with you that a spirit of religious law runs counter to all these things, and that it demands compliance as opposed to compassion.

  • Len Pritchard

    Sounds somewhat circular to me. I believe in family members because I see them, have conversations, etc – with my physical senses. Like you, I don’t chuck them because of some difficulty. With religion it is totally different. You do not experience god with your 5 senses, you believe in god because of revelation. If the revelation is flawed then that is a reason, not to chuck ‘god’, but to not accept it in the first place

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    There are difficult verses, Len — as there are difficult passages of anything. People’s political beliefs, regardless of which side, are notorious for being forgiven, because of people’s belief in the rightness of their political party.

    It is with this same attitude that I look at difficult verses. I accept the rightness of God (in a way that I would never accept the rightness of any political party), and when I do not understand something, I don’t chuck God, in the same way I wouldn’t chuck a beloved family member because they did something I didn’t understand. I would give them the benefit of the doubt because their character has been so good, for so long, that I can trust them, and trust that there is a reason for their actions.

    It is very easy to pull verses out of the Old Testament and say, “What about this? And what about this?” but much more difficult to make a commitment to read it and grasp an understanding of God. I am not ready to chuck God in exchange for the halcyon philosophies propounded as alternatives. They have their problems, too, and unlike God, do not offer the much, much better promises of unconditional love, very real power to get things done, and concern for the innocent and downtrodden.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Joe, my friend — God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. He will teach us to be the same. We would not come to Him, freely, if His invitation were one of chastisement and disapproval; neither will any human be encouraged to look for a God like this.

  • Len Pritchard

    So Carolyn – you have this rather lovely view of Christianity. What do you do with the verses of scripture that aren’t so lovely?

  • Len Pritchard

    well Jesus did say he came not to bring peace but a sword! Sure succeeded there.

  • Len Pritchard

    Who’s comparing Jesus with George Washington? The point is that Carolyn says you need faith to believe in G Washington just as you do to believe in Jesus Christ. My reply is that you don’t really need faith to believe in George Washington because there is so much evidence from many sources, pro him, against him and neutral. To NOT believe in the history around him would require a very negative mind-set indeed. The evidence for and about Jesus however is almost entirely from those who are pro-him and is by no means comprehensive or convincing due to it not being written for a long time. Really quite likely that 40 years of ‘chinese whispers’ became the gospels

  • Len Pritchard

    Joe you are truly deluded. I don’t believe in Christ your Lord and I don’t have a hidden agenda to live a sick sinful life. I live a good life. I’m kind to animals, bring up my children to be reasonable, fair and tolerant. I don’t fight, steal or cause suffering. Why is it so hard for you to understand that people have sound rational reasons for not believing?

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Wise, wise words, J.R. and ones that I wish more people who acknowledge a belief in God would take seriously — yes, indeed, human ethics should never exceed that of God, and when we find ourselves making excuses for Him, or wondering why what seems good and right and honorable and just (truly so, not just fooling ourselves and using the words) to us does not align with what He seems to be, then we are worshiping a god that we have made, and not the real one.

    The good things we discuss — whether one finds it through religion or no, then why not celebrate that it is being found?

  • J.R. Kiefer

    Point is that human ethics should not exceed those of “god,” and when they do, it is a sure indication that man has created god in his image, because that image changes as civilization evolves and changes. Anyway, I believe all the good things you discuss can be had without religion, and that neither the Christian god or its religion is the cause of peace, love, etc.

  • Joe

    Yeah please don’t compare George the slave owner Washington to Jesus Christ the true one that frees all who are in bondage!

  • Joe

    People that don’t believe in Christ our lord are people that have a hidden agenda, and hide behind that agenda so that they can continue to indulge in their sick sinful lives. We all have to answer one day sooner or later.
    God is the Alpha and Omega and he sees all…. So give up your sinful ways and come to Christ the only way to the Father.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    “They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire — something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind,” God says in Jeremiah 7:31. Obviously, child sacrifice was not something pleasing to God.

    I know where you’re coming from — the whole Abraham/Isaac thing which, I admit, is puzzling. However, when one follows and believes a God of all love and compassion (which is extended to all His children on earth, not limited to a few people who speak the “proper” words; I wholeheartedly concur with you on that), then one says, “There is a reason for this; I just don’t understand it yet.” We do this all the time with human beings whom we love and we know love us — we give them the benefit of the doubt because we know their nature trumps our interpretation of their actions.

    When one does not acknowledge a God of justice and truth, then everything can be interpreted against Him. As you say, case dismissed. Not interested.

    That is our prerogative as thinking human beings, and ultimately, what bothers many people who are seeking truth is when it doesn’t align with what is good, and right, and just. So, for many people, God does not align. But it is undeniable — and you can’t get past it — that human beings, on the whole, do not exhibit goodness, rightness, and justice. Were this so, there would be no hunger, because there is plenty of money, held by a few, to meet the needs of all. There should be peace, but there isn’t; there should be universal kindness, but there isn’t.

    So, whether or not we agree theologically really isn’t the issue. What is the issue is that, if people seek a world of justice, peace, love, and mercy, then they will live their lives with those virtues predominating in how they believe and act. As I mentioned to another reader, Go, and love unconditionally in the way that seems best to you. I am doing it in the way that seems best to me. If we are both seeking to love unconditionally, then there should be no serious issues between us.

  • J.R. Kiefer

    A god that requires a human sacrifice is not my kind of god. Period. Eloquent apologetics do not change that.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Oh, my friend — hate and bitterness are a very real sign of being hurt, and many people have been hurt because they want what Christianity promises — unconditional love, mercy for our many faults, grace to walk us through it — but they find that what is promised is not matched up by what they are later taught.

    “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those you curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27). This is brutally difficult to do, and is not something we can accomplish without being steeped in the love and mercy of our Father. Sometimes, people hate with good reason — Christians as a group have an unfortunately well-earned reputation for being harsh, judgmental, and calloused. Christians also have a well-earned reputation for being kind, merciful, thoughtful, and filled with love. Not, frequently, the same group of people, and depending upon a person’s experience with a particular type of Christian, so will their attitude toward the entire group be.

    So we don’t worry about the group, as it is, because God does not see us as a group, but individuals within the same body. Each one of us, then, walks forward with our Father each day, to do what He would have us to do. We falter, we mess up, but we get up because His hand is stretched out to us. The beauty of our messing up, and His drawing us up despite our faults, is that we get a strong visual of how we are to live toward others.

    There is no guarantee, when we give love in exchange for hate, that the person hating will turn around and seek God. But it’s a pretty sure bet that, when we exchange hate for hate, and call ourselves children of God, that the people watching us will be confused, and not particularly impressed with the notion of our God.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Like you, J.R., I look at the manner in which I treat my children — I love them, unconditionally, and do not withhold my love when they do, well, stupid things, as we all do. But then, I grieve when they do stupid things (and stupid things are just that — running out into the street without looking; spending money on foolish purchases; watching horror movies that make them afraid of the dark when they weren’t before — these are not activities for which I lash out against them and seek to punish them, they are activities, that in themselves, result in very potential harm. And because I love them so very, very much, I don’t want them hurt. Good grief, I don’t care if they watch horror movies, but I do shake my head when they say, “There may be a zombie in my room.” If they smoke, it’s not an issue of eternal fire, but my heart grieves when I hear a hacking cough, and know what that can realistically lead to. I don’t condemn them for their choices — I just want them to make the best choices that they can, so that they are not hurt. When they were younger, that involved a lot of hands-on activity on my and my husband’s part; with adults, it involves more listening, prayer, and biting back unsolicited advice. God is so much better at this attitude than I am.)

    The issue with Christianity is that it is interpreted in so many ways, and many conventional church-y interpretations follow a God who is always displeased, always impatient, and won’t let anyone into the house unless they say the right words. But God, as a Father far more perfect than any of us could be, wants a relationship with sons and daughters the way we want a relationship with ours — one of respect, trust, love, and companionship. That’s worth looking for. On my own journey, it meant physically leaving a church situation, and, more importantly, conscientiously seeking God through Scripture and looking at the world around me, and trying to filter out and get rid of the message of condemnation that, too frequently, is substituted for the good news of Christianity.

    For a long time, I asked myself, what is that good news? I am seeing that it is this: that God is the perfect Father, that I am His daughter, and we are meant to have the close, trusting relationship of love that the perfect parent/child relationship is meant to be. That’s not exclusionary, and it’s something I find well worth looking for.

  • Dee Anderson

    What a bunch of hateful comments from people who say they hate Christians! Honestly, these rants are just beyond me. People will hate Christians no matter what we do. If we did everything right we are “goody-goody” and when we mess up we are “evil”. Makes me sick to my stomach to hear the complaining and whining. I’ve been hurt by people, too. Am I to hate people in general? For people..period….can be hateful…including you, atheist hypocrite!

  • J.R. Kiefer

    I tolerate your beliefs. I do not, however, respect those same beliefs. An exclusionary system of belief, where one’s soul is held at knife-point, is not worthy of respect. I don’t treat my children in this manner and neither should your God.

  • misdirection

    Christianity, Islam, and other religion ARE FILLED WITH HATE AND VIOLENCE! They need to GO peramently.

  • Clay Steel

    Any belief is based on faith. This includes atheism. I will choose life in Christ. The choice is yours. God bless you Nate, and Lestyeabejudged! Pray in the Holy Spirit, and you will find the truth…….If you dare! :)
    If you hate me, I will turn my cheek, and love you in return as my heavenly father requires of us………..

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Sonia — quite sadly, your experience isn’t unusual, and people in, out, around, and away from “the church” are hurt by people in the name of Christ. It is one of the driving reasons behind why I write — I want people to see that there is a distinct difference between what Jesus says, and what people say He says.

    My encouragement is to keep looking for and celebrating the right thing — unconditional love, and when you don’t find it even when you’re told it’s there, then don’t give up and don’t give in. Love is worth pursuing, seeking, desiring, and giving to others. It’s far better to reject, and walk away from, the substitute, and keep insisting upon the real thing.

  • Stephen Alarcon

    This post was for Christians only. And if you think you are superior to us than just read over your comment. You have just completely bullied an entire community of people for no reason other then out of hate. They teach so much about anti-bullying but in trying to enforce it, we actually find ourselves bullying (we don’t realize it)

  • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/sultryinnocence Sonia

    I’ve had the worst experiences of my life come from Christians. When it comes to their goodness it is all talk. Satanists have been more helpful and I don’t mean the atheist variety. Mind blown? It’s depressing imo. My entire family is Christian and I’m the nlack sheep. http://www.youcaring.com/emergency-fundraiser/car-for-single-mother/311580

  • http://thiswomanwrites.areavoices.com/ Carolyn Henderson

    I agree with you in your assessment of religion, and how it doesn’t meet human needs. It never has — no religion does, which includes the cool sounding ones with candles and pillows and what sort. Quite unfortunately, humans being what we are, we have perverted the message of Christianity and turned it into just another religion, one that is primarily known for a series of rules, most of which consist of the word, “No.”

    Not that there’s anything wrong with the world “No,” which needs to be employed a bit more often as we see people hurting people: “No, you don’t hit a child.” “No, you don’t take money that doesn’t belong to you.” “No, you don’t ignore a person who is crying out for help, and you’re the only one in the room.” These elements of loving our neighbor as ourselves are the tenets of Christianity, the teachings that Jesus kept emphasizing and pointing out to the religious leaders of their importance. But the religious leaders preferred to follow their rules, and did not want to hear the “spirit of the law,” so to speak.

    Your irritation with the rules shows that you’re on the right path. The rest of the way, if one is interested in taking it, is to mull over the concept of a Creator who made us, and who loves us, and who very much wants to connect with us and show us that love. That’s what Christianity is all about. And because it’s an individual relationship, not a community religion, each person can do this on their own. From personal experience, I can tell you that when one takes seriously the words of Christ and asks Him to make them real in one’s life, you’ll wind up outside the church doors, on the sidewalk, because you don’t fit into religious teaching.

    Not a bad place to be.

  • HiMyNameIs

    Why I hate religion as a whole:
    Too many religous people feel the need to shove it down your face. And if you don’t listen you’ll go to hell or whatever bad place that religion offers. They have to many say in what happens. Like America. Whether you like it or not religion is everywhere. Everything down to pledge has religion in it. ”In god we trust” And if you don’t trust god? Too bad you have to just follow along. Can’t marry a dude if you’re a dude because well 50% some idiots think it’s just gross and wierd and 50% it’s a big religion NO-NO. Oh yea. And if you grow up in a religous family theirs no way coming out unless you want to be shunned or forced to go to church and drink holy water. And what I hate most of all. Religous people only follow what benefits them. Like Christianity. Woman can be treated like crap. And slavery is allowed. Even encouraged! But everyone skips over those verses and followes what’s fine for them like homosexuality is wrong. Just because a 3000 old book says God says its perverted. Or tatoos are wrong. Go to church, own pastor has tatoo. No divorce. Church girl:”Well god just wasn’t helping the relationship. But I prayed about it!” But no. No no. And their attitudes! Condecending. ”Don’t worry I’ll pray for you!” What total crap is that! Total hypocrisy and evil is what it is.

  • Guest

    Even if god is real or whatever their is only VERSIONS of the bible that -guess what- PEOPLE made. Like King James VERSION. King James made it for his people. Probably made sure a whole hell lot was changed for his own pleasure. So we don’t even know if we are following the right thing. Technically.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    That is as it always is, my friend, and in any site there are people out there ready to jump in and slash and burn.

    My son regularly reads through various atheist sites, just to see what they’re saying, and he commented, “I wouldn’t dream of commenting just to tell them I disagree with them; after all, it’s a site for atheists, a forum for them to communicate. Just to jump in and blast them for what they believe is incredibly rude and uncivilized.”

  • Dragon:D

    Its funny how people who oppose Christians are in this “Christian” Forum :D
    Amen to you brother and sisters.
    Keep on praying :D

  • Samantha Luisa

    Yup, we sure do hate christians.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Go, my friend, and love unconditionally in the manner that you see best.

  • Allen

    That’s a nice little response but you totally failed to answer anything. I don’t care about fluffy language that deflects away from what is actually being said and done. The politicization and the degrading of gay people is specifically done because of the Bible/God itself. Paul even says that all gays regardless of who they are should burn because they are sick abomination with crazed minds. People are acting in accordance to the hateful things the Bible says about gay and the punishment and torture it wants to carry out on them. I could careless about your convoluted response that did absolute nothing to address that. You specifically wrote this response to take the blame off the terrible nature of your religion but you earn yourself no favors by doing such a thing.The issues goes beyond gay people though. Christianity is religion just like others that is based on an us vs them ideology. It’s also a passive aggressive threat. If one doesn’t belong to the Christian group or worship the Christian God that person deserved to be punished. That’s not unconditional love but unadulterated hatred for someone who is unlike yourself . You can twist and do everything in your power to pretend that your religion isn’t a passive aggressive threat. Whether you worded as” my father is reaching out to you with his love and you refuse he will damn u” or” do as exactly as God says or he will damn you” makes no different because it’s the same statement. The results are the same the only difference is one is dressed up in a none threatening way for PR purposes but regardless if i don’t worship your form of religion/God i should be damned. Make up all the fluffy talk you want but those are still the results. That’s not unconditional love but an ego trip for worship. That’s like a gunman ordering someone to do what he tells them and if not he will kill them. The whole idea of hell puts a huge hole in your idea of God’s unconditional love. It’s a joke and fraud but by the looks of your response that went totally off subject i doubt you care that much. You just want to make your religion look good so continue on in your PR campaign.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Bingo, Allen — you have done a masterful job of encapsulating the false teaching of what Christianity is, and I agree with you — if this is what it is, I’m not following it. George MacDonald, a writer of the late 19th century who was kicked out of his pastoral obligations because his notions of God’s love were so at variance with “correct church doctrine,” wrote a brilliant series of essays entitled, Unpublished Sermons 1, 2, 3 in which he explores the truth of God’s love, and just what it means.

    At no point does Jesus say, “Say the right words in the right fashion, and do it exactly this way, or burn in hell.” His message was, and continues to be, “My Father created you, loves you, and is reaching out to you.”

    We all have our blind spots. I would venture to say that yours involves the issues of gay-ness, and the politicization of this issue is going a major way toward blocking you in finding God, or wanting to. The crucial question we all ask ourselves is this: Is there a universal, complete, personal, and embracing love, and if there is, am I interested in finding it?

    I mean, if there is, it’s worth looking for, and quite frankly, one doesn’t have to spend much time within any human organization — political, educational, corporate, and most definitely religious — to determine that what we see there does not embrace love and acceptance.

    So we keep looking, and eventually, we get to the point of realizing that humans are simply incapable of giving that type of love. We can be loving, that is true, but when push comes to shove, we pretty much take care of ourselves, and that attitude is not one of universal, unconditional love.

    The apostle Paul tells us that we can see God in the world around us — and that’s a good place to look: the care and nurturing that a good parent gives to a helpless baby; the way a small mother cat will risk her life against a predator to protect her young — many examples of love involve a stronger person protecting a weaker one, often represented through the relationship of a parent with a child. When you think about it, children are discounted in our society as nobodies, and they are very much taken advantage of.

    Even a person who is angry at God can look at a child being used and abused and say, “That’s wrong, and I’m doing something about it.” There’s that sense of universal and non-self seeking love — and I really doubt that it generates within ourselves.

    I guess I would say, don’t worry about God. He can take care of Himself. If your anger stems from a sense of injustice against weak helpless people, being attacked and hurt by those who are stronger, then turn that anger to good and be a force of love yourself.

  • Pingback: An Open Letter to Christians | honeynotvinegar

  • Allen

    This is not true. Christianity is built on the idea of hating someone who is not Christian like yourself to the point of believing nonchristians should be thrown in fire and tortured for not being a Christian and worshiping a Christian God. The “love” you talk about only happens afters you accept everyone who isn’t following your religion should be punished and burned and the “love” is converting the non Christians to Christianity to worship a God/Jesus that ask for their death if they don’t accept. It’s not really “love” but more like putting a gun to someone head and telling them do as you say and if not you will kill them. Christianity is a passive aggressive threat!! The Christian love is not really love at all .There is no such thing as love for your enemy. If you truly loved them you wouldn’t have labeled them “the enemy” Take for example Christian “love” for gay people . Christians “love” gay people so much. They think they are swell .they just think gays are sick perverts who should be burned and tortured and believe it was morally correct for them to be slaughter at certain point in time for being gay and having gay thoughts but Christians stress they love gays………… So no dear it isn’t just the attitudes of Christians.Its the Bible itself that cultivates these attitudes. I understand that you are unable to think for yourself or question the Bible because you were taught not to but at some point it gets comical watching folks like yourself just blaming people while ignoring the hatred that is ingrained in the bible…

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    “LeastYeBeJudged” — it’s an interesting online name.

    I am not sure to what belief system you ascribe, but it seems to involve a strong sense of self-justified hate toward a stereotyped group. We are called, as Christians, to love — even our enemies — and gosh, it’s difficult! And we fail a lot. But we ascribe to a belief system that requires of us not to hate.

    I’ll stick to Christianity — true Christianity that involves a one on one relationships with God, not the man-made doctrinal establishment that too many mistake for the truth — because Christ is perfect, and He calls all of His disciples to emulate Him. I can’t think of a better goal to shoot for than that.

  • leastyebejudged

    Like I said before, it is perfectly reasonable to hate you dishonest, patronizing, arrogant, deluded, immoral, and condescending “Christians”.

    Everything out of your mouths just exudes dishonesty and hypocrisy. You can’t even be honest about what you loath.

    So yes, I hate that, and I do not apologize for that pure, uncomplicated, and honest feeling of disgust for you and all that you represent.

  • maf

    It is not perfectly reasonable to hate anyone. If you truly feel that way, sir, what morals do you believe, exactly, that you possess that would trump that of a Christian? Notice I said A christian. Whereas you referred to each one of us as a lumped together and indistinguishable mass. Yes, individuals who identify as Christians have done awful things. But I challenge you to tell me a group of people who have never done anything that could be called immoral. Shall I lump you together with non-Christian terrorists? Please be careful with your stereotyping.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    You make valid points, Li — much of what is propounded as the “Christian message” isn’t Christian at all, and if the end result is the impression of an impatient, irritated, judgmental God, then the message isn’t speaking Christianity. Unfortunately, the false message is so well-funded and propounded, that people take it for the truth.

    God is a loving Father, one whose love is unconditional, inerrant, and strong — and such a love is worth looking for and pursuing. For many years, as a Christian, I didn’t see it, because I was in the religious system, one which propounds a God who cares too much about the rules people say that he has set up, and not at all about his created, and precious, children.

    Rejecting the false god is a good thing indeed, because as long as we’re following him, we can’t find the real one.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    They do, actually, Li, and all four are successful, articulate adults who read, converse, think, analyze, and question like adults. When they are told, “You need to do this because the experts say so,” they generally reply, “Who are these experts? How can they all agree so universally? oh, and who benefits, financially, by thousands of people obeying their directives?”

    Would that more people would ask questions like this. But then again, this isn’t taught in public schools.

  • Li Shenshung

    Great job choosing to socially and educationally hamstring your children with homeschooling. I’m sure they’ll absolutely appreciate that when they reach adulthood and enter the real world.

  • Li Shenshung

    No, Christians are hated for demeaning humanity.
    You represent the weakest, cheapest, most ignorant and despicable urges of us all.
    And if you were truly inspired to follow the example of a divine being, you wouldn’t complain about people judging your “humanity” (a quality which most Christians are surprisingly lacking)

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Andy — those tax dollars in the public school — none of us feel that they are being used right! As a homeschooler, it irritated me to no end that so much money is being spent on sports, and so little on books, period.

    Religion, as a general concept, is an interesting thing — it is very much a part of all history, going back to the days of Sumer and ancient Mesopotamia, and before, when religion factored in everyone’s daily lives. So it has factored ever since, but in our society today (“secular”), we seem to think that there is no place for it, and entire cultures and historical periods are studied without any addressing of religion at all. This gives us a distorted, skewed view of society, which is, actually, what we have.

    Like you, I don’t want to see Christian studies brought into public schools, simply because such a hash would be made of it that no one would learn anything about it at all. In the same way, I don’t want to see “spirituality” creeping in through alternative, mystical thought; nor do I appreciate the total lack of dialogue concerning the Theory of Evolution, which, by its very nature (theory) should freely admit to its gaps, questions, and faults. And yet, it is taught with a religious fervor far stronger than much of what is propounded in Sunday School classes.

    On one side, a group believes that right-wing religious fanatics are controlling the schools and public arenas; another side is convinced its whacked out liberal lefties. Ultimately, what we are graduating from our school systems are people who have not been taught logic, the value of asking questions, or the ability to analyze something, anything, and come up with a creative, original thought. That is a poor use of tax dollars.

  • Andy

    This really misses the point, my dislike for christians has nothing to do with Christ, but rather with them trying to inject their religious dogma into our laws and public schools. This is not a christian nation, nor has it ever been. Please use my tax dollars for secular purposes, and please stop trying to bring intelligent design/Christian education into public schools; it has no place there, that is what private schools and Sunday school is for.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Ana — We have known a number of people who have been born into or taught by the Christian tradition who have walked away, often with much bitterness, to something else. Our son pointed out to us once, “All the time I was a little kid in church, I was told, the Bible is true. The Bible is true, but no one ever took time to tell me why, or give me reasons for this statement. I took it upon myself to study the facts behind the Bible to come to my conclusions, but many people who don’t, grow up and go out in the world, and the first person who comes up with a good argument as to why the Bible isn’t true, they listen to, because they don’t have any good reason to argue otherwise.”

    There are many reasons why people walk away, and when the result is anger and bitterness toward what they left, there’s little one can do. Frankly, there IS a lot to be angry about, when what one is walking away from is false teaching and a false distortion of Christianity. People who have been hurt by this so associate Christ, and his message, with the false way he has been presented to them, that they are unable, and unwilling, to look into the truth. They are ripe and ready for alternative views which propound an answer of sorts (Evolution’s “answer” is a singularly depressing one, leading to the natural conclusion that, since it’s all up to chance, I may as well grab what I can while I’m down here and do the best for myself as possible — survival of the fittest, and all) and they are remarkably forgiving of any issues or problems inherent in their new way of looking at things.

    As Christians, our “work” is to believe in the one God has sent, as Jesus says in John 6:29, and this is wrapped up around loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind and loving our neighbor as ourselves. It is not to convince, cajole, push, prod, or argue others into the Kingdom of Heaven, but rather to live as citizens of that place, speaking humbly, wisely, and well as we are given opportunity, and praying for those God has put into our lives.

    I pray for the relationship between you and your brother, that you will follow Christ’s leading on the path you are on, and that you will internalize, deep in your soul, the love and mercy of Christ. What more can we do?

  • http://batman-news.com SpringRiver

    Hi!
    I have been struggling with this topic for a while now…particularly since my own brother became an evolutionist and no longer respected our religion. I wondered why he seemed to hate what I loved even though he himself had seemed to love God so deeply not long ago. I must thank you for the verse for it helped me a lot. Those things you stated that Christians tend to be are also helpful as they made me aware of how we tend to look and what I need to try to avoid when I speak about my faith.
    Thank you.
    Ana

  • Hate it or Love it

    While im reading this article for what I’ve read looking at the reasons why people don’t like us christian because were unforgiving, merciless, hypocrites, self righteous, and and it can go on forever probably, but the ones who are unforgiving but for the ones who read your word, The unforgiving are still in darkness themselves because God hasn’t forgave them yet, but the strong powerful word of God warns the kids, teenagers, adults, out there know that the World will hate them because of Christ, all in Mathew, and there’s people out there(majority of the world)are in darkness that hate the light because there still in darkness and some aren’t consciously aware of that, Some of us plant seeds in hearts but the enemy comes and takes away that seed which is the devil and the devil uses people, and the devil has blinded the eyes of the innocents, I was hates on, had even gotten spit on before and all of it was because the powerful light that shined through me but I pray, forgive, I fell but God get me back up, its a spiritual warfare…For whoever trying to accept your purpose stay in the Word of God because if you don’t, temptation will overpower you, Enemy is Alive and he’ll do the best he could to corrupt you, Bad company corrupt good morals, Even if you don’t try to convert them, if they know the light that is in you there still gonna hate you, so stay in your word and find you true comfort in Christ, and keep growing in your word because it’ll make you wise.

  • Alex Barranco

    Any Christian that speaks with hate,condescension,and lies isn’t a true Christian. I’m a Christian but I don’t hate anyone or feel as if I’m better than anyone. The previous replies have been civil and respectful. Why do you feel the need to throw hate and accusations at them?

  • Freddy

    im not sure what your point is

  • Dobbs

    Because humans know everything in the Universe! (Note the sarcasm)

  • Dobbs

    If you boil it all down, Christians are hated for being human. Oh sure it’s a crime against humanity to have flaws! (Note the sarcasm)

  • UNKOWN ERROR

    You are Christian if you maintain a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • UNKOWN ERROR

    ahahhaahahahhaaha

  • UNKOWN ERROR

    WHY ARE YOU HERE NATHAN?

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Sticking close to the Bible and God’s word is sound and wise. Personally, I’d be highly discerning about Christian media — big names, big money — there gets to be a conflict of interest there. People — they’re what it’s all about. As long as we walk into the room recognizing that, as people, we tend to eat one another, we can cope. “Teach me to love, God,” we pray, and upon Him, and Him only, we rely for the love we need back. When we get it from another human, it’s a bonus. It’s there, but in unexpected places and from unexpected sources. Your mum and you have a good point there!

  • Anon

    Thank you.
    I know no Christian is perfect. I think it’s better if I stick more closely to the Bible and Christian media than other people. They make me feel disappointed. My mum and I used to say “the ones that say they are a Christian are worse than those who aren’t!”.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Anon — your words are sadly apt and true. I don’t know if it helps at all, but that you, a Christian, find yourself belittled and outcast in the presence of conventional conformity speaks volumes about your walk with Christ.

    Your last paragraph is profound: “This is not the life of a Christian Jesus talked about.” People recognize this — they see that what they’re hearing isn’t what Jesus was saying, and they’re (we’re) outraged because we WANT that love and acceptance and peace and understanding and compassion.

    You’re on the right road — and it’s a narrow one. Keep fighting the good fight, and recognize that you are not the problem, but very much necessary to the solution.

    Thank you for reading the article and taking time to write such a measured, thoughtful response. Your experience is too common — and unfortunately many people who do not know Christ “encounter” Him through the condescension and rigidity that you describe. We ourselves are grateful to God that, in the painful process of being called out of a system to a relationship, we didn’t lose, abandon, or reject our belief in God because of the substitute that is so intrinsically taught to the pews.

  • Anon

    I don’t hate Christians and I’m a Christian myself. But I’ve found so many Christian people are rude or have such an attitude it’s like they are ‘better’ than you. I’ve been bullied by ‘Christians’ online. I’ve also been excluded and bullied by them in real life.

    They nitpick every little part of you to find something to find fault in. They have this attitude where if you aren’t as ‘holy’ and ‘perfect’ as them you are the ‘outcast’ amongst them. Say one thing they don’t agree with, then they come down on you with scripture and scold you like a little child and make you feel pathetic and worthless.

    Going to churches in the past has been a disaster in the past. They gossip, they stare, they start rumours…! They aren’t welcoming or kind at all.

    I’m not saying I haven’t had any positive experiences with Christians. I’ve had a few of them only online.

    This is not the life of a Christian Jesus talked about. Where is the kindness and understanding? All I see online is fights, scolding others, people acting righteous about other Christians!

  • Pieter

    A year ago a friends of mine lost her parents and a murder, suicide!
    They were in the 60’s! The wife was leaving her husband and they were already separated.
    The husband was a Pastor all his life. He was so possessed with his wife and
    believed God do not want them to divorced, he ended her life by shooting her in
    the back like a cowered and then took his own life! I started doing research on Christian murder/suicides.
    I was shocked to find out how many times this is happening. Are the church
    motivating men to kill their wives when they do not want to be with them
    anymore? It’s better to die than to divorce? I can just feel the Christian
    love!! I know about a woman now that wants to leave her husband, she fears for
    her life! Her husband has turned her family, children, friend and everyone she
    knows against her. Her husband refers to himself as a BIG Christian! Can
    someone tell me what a BIG Christian is? His wife reached out to his pastor
    last week and said she is worried because they had a situation where she needed
    to get police involved. The pastor replied thank you for letting me know and
    good luck! I can just feel the Christian LOVE!

    I studied for a pastor myself and after going into ministry I
    realized the deception going on. People are so brainwashed by the church that
    they can’t even see real life anymore. That’s why they kill each other when a
    spouse wants to divorce! I’m not promoting divorce but there is times in life
    where this is the only option. Forcing it and living a lie is not the truth, it
    is a lie so why do Christianity promote lies. I have become a Jesus follower
    and found out there is a big difference between being a follower and joining a Christian
    religion.

  • leastyebejudged

    Thanks for proving my point precisely.

    I’d also add that you are liars.

    It is perfectly reasonable for people to hate Christians.

  • Qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm

    No one asked you to believe…it’s your choice, just take a deep breath and calm down.

  • Qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm

    I don’t get it, Nick didn’t even say anything offensive…

  • freddy ingle

    “With all information we receive, we do so based upon our trust”. Quite frankly, the bible is the least verifiable source out of all those you mentioned. Ill believe a politician any day over a holy man. And that’s saying a lot.

  • freddy ingle

    Why do we hate Christians? Because you Christians are the smuggest,most ignorant assholes that are constantly shoving your bibles and beliefs into everyone’s faces. And are bigots who constantly cause people pain like the gay community. And do things like force creationism in schools, when it has no factual merit and is an absolute bullshit belief. Never have i had ANY other person from another religion except for Christianity try to force their religious beliefs on me. Thats why we hate you guys.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    That depends upon how much one trusts the people who write the textbooks and tell the stories — about George Washington, about anybody. We take an incredible amount of information on faith — the newscaster says it; we believe it. The politician promises it; we believe it. The medical study announces it; we believe it. Or we don’t. With all information we receive, we do so based upon our trust, or distrust, of the source.

  • Len Pritchard

    With due respect, one doesn’t need much faith to believe George Washington existed or to have a reasonable idea of what he was like.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Quite true, Len, if I depended only upon my wish that there were a loving, compassionate God as the only reason for believing in Him, that would be wishful thinking. However, I came to my knowledge of, and acceptance of, God based upon much reading, thought, research, and seeking, and the evidence I found was enough to convince me.

    It took faith, as well, but so does believing anything. It takes faith to believe that George Washington existed, and even more to believe that he is the type of person we are told that he is. We either have faith that the people writing their accounts were telling the truth, they weren’t, or there was everything in between.

    So it is with following God. When we are seeking something, we keep looking until we find it, and there will always be people who disagree with what we’ve found — because it’s different from what they’ve found — and sometimes they demand that we “prove” our findings to them. You can’t prove, or disprove God. At some point, you make the decision that yes, He exists, or no, He doesn’t, and you live your life accordingly.

  • Len Pritchard

    Your reason…Quote: “if there is no God, no loving, compassionate perfect God, then there is no hope. What humans have done to the world around them is horrible, and if this is the best we can be, the best we can do, then we are in a bad state indeed.”

    This is not a valid reason – it’s wish fulfilment isn’t it? Anyone could say ‘I don’t like the idea of a universe without a greater power who is very kind – therefore there must be such a being’ and believe in any kind of god they choose. It wouldn’t make the object of their belief true.

    Besides which, the biblical view of god is certainly very varied. Sometimes compassionate, sometimes judgemental, sometimes reasonable, sometimes fiercely angry – sometimes even repentant! all seems to fit the mood of the writer.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Hi, Len — I feel for you. I know many people who have been hurt by establishment Christianity. Most walk away from it, some from the whole thing altogether. Others look at it and say, “What I was taught wasn’t true, but that doesn’t necessarily make the Bible false,” and they continue to look to see if there is truth there. We are all on different paths.

    I and my own family walked away from establishment Christianity, because we saw that so much of what was taught in the churches, like the one you mention, wasn’t true. Or it was narrow, and confined, cold, distant, shallow, and uncaring. But we weren’t ready to give up on God. My reason may not seem very logical or intellectual to you, but it’s this: if there is no God, no loving, compassionate perfect God, then there is no hope. What humans have done to the world around them is horrible, and if this is the best we can be, the best we can do, then we are in a bad state indeed.

    Your questions are good ones, and they are not ones that I can answer in a blog, or a comment box — but they have answers. If you truly want them, then seek those answers. That is what great thinkers have done through the ages, because they haven’t been satisfied with the unanswered questions. Seeking truth is an individual endeavor that we all embark upon, and those that give up remain angry and frustrated, because as intelligent beings, we want and demand answers.

  • Len Pritchard

    Don’t they just!! Well said. When I left the church I was a ‘backslider’ who couldn’t cope with the moral demands of the faith – off to live a life of sin etc. The real reason is that I simply found it all untenable nonsense and fortunately had the strength of mind to be true to myself. That’s something that churches generally find uncomfortable – far easier to say you want to live in sin!!

  • Len Pritchard

    Hi Carolyn – I’ve read some self serving nonsense and your piece above is up there with the best. Let me tell you why I hate christianity. From the age of 8 I was force-fed pentecostal / fundamentalist christian belief. This is an age too young to have proper reason or judgement about such matters and hence one accepts it rather like accepting the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus. The starting point for christians is “it is written” in what is apparently the “word of God” but no evidence of this is ever given – you are just told, time and time again “it is written”. I spent nearly 12 years in a large pentecostal church in London and went to Theological College but as time went on had to face the fact that none of it actually rang true. Hard to walk away but the questions just wouldn’t go away either – here’s a few:

    Why should the bible be seen as the word of god?
    Why does god never answer prayers?
    Why is everything about god such a mystery and so unclear?
    Why does god do nothing about evil when he is omniscient, omnipresent and all loving?
    Why should anyone be expected to believe stories that have so little evidence?
    Why would a loving god condemn the majority of his creation to eternal torture?

    Plenty more but that will suffice off the top of my head. The choice for me was “be true to yourself” or “carry on making excuses” for this bizarre and weak superstition that is rife with division precisely because it has no clarity of message to start with.

    Generally if you force a ‘world view’ on young children, they will stick with it and even those who doubt will find it hard to shake off – whatever the world view is. My experience of Christianity is entirely negative: there is no power of god available for us, prayers don’t get answered, the sick are not healed. In short it is all nonsense. I am so happy to be free of all the superstition – because that is what it is. If people have a felling that there is a god – fair enough but please don’t force unsubstantiated dogma on children. There is no common-sense christianity here i’m afraid – just the same old regurgitated rhetoric. Sadly you won’t ever change your mind because you are not free to ask the questions.

  • leastyebejudged

    Oh yeah, and the other reason people don’t like “Christians” – you’re fake and condescending.

  • Tim

    I don’t remember saying that anyone is full of shit or insulting anyone but i guess being civil is an option nowadays. I’m not going to keep this going because your bias is as clear as daylight.

    I’ll pray for you friend

  • leastyebejudged

    You just proved his point. Some Christians (like you) are loathed because you constantly force your opinions on everybody else as “the truth”, and any time someone disagrees with you or challenges your bullshit, you say they are full of hate.

    They are not full of hate; it’s just that you are full of shit.

  • leastyebejudged

    Disdain and pity is not hate.

    Crawl down off that cross, we need the wood.

  • Tim

    Before spewing out hate and lies please educate yourself on the historicity of Christ (Flavius Josephus being nice name to bring up in this case), the teachings of the Bible, and the actual reasons why those violent acts you speak of happened (mostly political and economical reasons). It’s easy to accuse and slander, it’s a lot harder to understand. And also this day and age we live in isn’t as illuminated and great as it is made out to be (not that it was any better 2000 years ago).

    I’m not saying believe or die (I’m not even saying you should believe), I’m just saying you should think twice before mocking something people died for and that some people hold dear, it comes off as disrespectful and you won’t help your cause by disrespecting something.

    Regards

  • Jake Mono

    Christians always spin it as if non-Christians are living in sin and just want to be able to get away with it. No, it’s just you ridiculous morals that you got out of a book that have nothing to do with reality that we don’t want forced on us and our political system.

  • Nate

    Christianity did not invent, nor does it own morality. Yours is a belief based on hate and violence. It’s medieval and barbaric teaching have done more harm than good. You do realize that there’s no real evidence that the man “Jesus” your bible speaks of even existed in the first place. And saying that the Bible is proof does not count. It’s sad that in this day adults still hold tight to such fairy tales as streets of gold and immortality. Silly christians myths are for kids.

  • Carolyn Henderson

    Thank you, Parks. All Christians, at one time, were non-Christians, and it helps to remember what it felt like when we did not know Christ, and whose words helped us to see Him, and whose did not. And then we strive not to emulate that latter person.

  • http://thiswomanwrites.areavoices.com/ Carolyn Henderson

    Thank you, Parks. All Christians, at one time, were non-Christians, and it helps to remember what it felt like when we did not know Christ, and whose words helped us to see Him, and whose did not. And then we strive not to emulate that latter person.

  • Parks

    These reasons are very true, and it is helpful for our understanding of non Christians to take this into account. Well done!

  • http://thiswomanwrites.areavoices.com/ Carolyn Henderson

    JJMOlina — you know, that aspect of giving it all to Christ, letting Him work His will in our lives so that we will live the life He has purposed for us to live — it’s the crux of it all, isn’t it? And yet — oh!!! — how DIFFICULT it is!

    It is truly hard, but so worthwhile, to trust that God has the wisdom, grace, mercy, knowledge and love to form and direct our lives. And so loving is He that He won’t do so without our consent.

    Like you, I find this a day by day journey — to find the “good and acceptable and perfect will of God” — to be well worth following, despite its challenge, frustration, and difficulty. I seek His rest from my labors, and in the moments when I find it, I say to myself, “Why on earth would I want anything else?”

  • http://catholic.com JJMOLINA

    A further definition of identity is “the quality or condition of being kind to one another, tenderhearted, not only upon the first day of the Christian’s life. But as most of us leave our home and parents when we grow up, God knew. Good behavior cannot earn us salvation. But Christianity does have behavioral standards. It involves changes in the way we live.
    When you invite Jesus Christ to come into your heart and life to be your Savior the only way we can have the victory is get into Christ. The way you live as a Christian affects not only your life, but the lives of other. How do you “walk in the. Spirit”? As Christians, we live in a life that is different than the lives that we may have had previously.
    We are all failures without HIM (JESUS) that’s why HE came to prove it to us. Jesus Christ doesn’t want to help us live right; He wants to live the Christian life through us if we’ll simply yield to the Holy Spirit. Our Christian duty is to follow Jesus and please our Heavenly Father. God’s word gives us all the instructions we need to live a Christ-honoring life and to lay up to study the Word of God, we believed and we were certain this was divine. And it was.
    Can we believe the promises of the Bible that there is life —and that it is in this important area can have a impact on the way we live our lives. How can we set ourselves free from, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; can we lead a “new life in Christ” in an unbelieving age? In our work we have come to believe that the meaning we give any event determines how we live our lives for as a man thinketh so is he.
    I do not believe that anyone can live the Christian life without first and foremost He expects us to give up control of our own life’s and leave all guidance up to Him. We are called to serve God with all our hearts! Wholehearted Jesus Christ taught principles of Christian.
    Everything else in St. Paul, and everything else in our life as Catholics, We must “work out our salvation with fear and trembling. The power of the Gospel to change my life right now and be found with new life in Christ and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith . There can be many times in our lives that spontaneously we will agree or disagree we can experience the reality of Jesus Christ in our lives.
    He may know some things about me, but before he can say that he knows me, which is convincing evidence of the reality of the new life in Christ. We are all holy from the day of our birth, and therefore with our true blessings are mentioned which disciples of Christ will enjoy when their lives reflect.
    With the struggles of understanding, this new life in Christ can be made much sense to me. Makes us more and more free from sin and more like Christ in our actual lives all that human nature can bear, we may receive here born-of-flesh existence — if we do not live the life that Jesus lives in us now, there on me and answer, Whoever believes and is baptized has life, and whoever does not believe is condemned.
    That is, as Christ was exalted, so we also are spiritually through our lives in a personal way. He points out that we have all been given knowledge of God. We can each be assured that the teachings of Christ are the Words of our God. Jesus Christ’s perfect life of itself could not help us because we were time and age seem to conspire together to close the door on that. Jesus seeks to make a home with us, not visit occasionally, but live with us; live in us. The Old Life and the New Life In Christ.
    All we see are the conditions. When this happens, we are unable to respond with the right kind of action–with ministry, endurance, and faith. The same is true for faith according to Heb. 11:1. But 1 Corinthians 13:7 also says, “love bears all things, endures all things.”
    By faith we are to see the very real, though invisible realities about God’s person and the faithfulness of His promises and principles for life as revealed in Scripture (Ps. 19:7-9; 93:5; Rom. 4:17-21). In Romans 4:16, Abraham is called the father of faith. With Abraham as our father of faith, we can understand the faith God wants us.

    He was Confident in God’s Person (verses 17, 21), “even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist,” “. . . He was able also to perform.” Faith knows God is the One who brings dead things to life and calls into being even the things which are not. The focus here is on God’s person.
    I do not believe that God and science are mutually exclusive. If there is scientific evidence for mindfulness improving health then I think God can use that. I have come to the conclusion that mindful meditation can be incorporated into Christian life.
    To me, this felt incomplete and I didn’t want to stop there. Instead, I looked for bible verses around the role of the body and the breath. After the meditation has ended I carry on in prayer and thank God for the life that He has given me.
    CONCLUSION:
    Only that I wanted to “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” But how do churches, universities and organizations actually accomplish our people want to know how they can make a difference, what he can experience a change of heart and live an entirely new life in Christ. If we have a negative mind, we will have a negative life. In our experience “the good and acceptable and perfect will of God” for our lives But couldn’t it be true that the unborn may already be granted the spirit of life.

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  • http://thiswomanwrites.areavoices.com/ Carolyn Henderson

    This is true, Phil. I am going to add a “however,” however — in our zeal to call out sin (and there’s a lot of sin to call out), we strongly risk being self-righteous, harsh, and hard. John’s account in chapter 4 of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well gives us a paradigm of how to act: Jesus did not begin the conversation by pointing out the woman’s sin; He talked with her quite awhile beforehand in an accepting and loving manner. She knew what her life was — and Jesus’ straightforward observation of it, after a friendly conversation in which He treated her like a human being — did not offend.

    Because we live in a world unfriendly to the message of Christ (as it always has been), we Christians have a tendency to lapse into the defensive, and our voices are shrill. While what we say may be truth, the manner in which it is said clouds this truth, and we have to ask ourselves, “Do we want to be ‘right,’ or do we want to be heard?” There will always be people whose hearts are hard and who will not hear, but there are many, many others who are willing to listen, but not when we alienate them and make them feel like sub-humans.

    I am a Christian, and I find myself in certain settings of highly dogmatic Christians feeling that I am a worthless person, somehow. Because I know Christ, and seek to follow the truth, I blow off these people with their misguided way of communicating, but if I were not a Christian, I would not be tempted, at all, to join the group.

    We must speak the truth. But in love. And the only way we can do this is to stay in extremely close connection with Christ so that His words speak through ours.

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