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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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The Statement No Christian Should Make

Unchurched or Church-Free?

Should Christians Think?

 

 

  • Lucky Lambdin

    Candy why don’t you choose to stick your face right here while god watches!

  • Lucky Lambdin

    Candy, did you notice Carolyn Henderson’s opening sentence in this story – “Christians have a bad reputation for being unkind, intolerant, harsh, judgmental, and self-righteous. Oh, and uneducated.” Well, you certainly are a prime example of what she’s talking about. Why don’t you “renounce” being such an angry, vindictive, arrogant snatch, get the psychiatric help you need, & enjoy life for a change instead of just trying to ruin it for everyone else. You’re messed up really bad.
    What happens now that I’ve been “rebuked” & “renounced” in the name of Jesus Christ? Am I supposed to tremble in fear of turning into a pillar of salt or of being cast into the lake of fire? Tell me, please, I’m just dying to know what your plans for me are. *hee hee* I’m actually laughing out loud now. You poor pathetic b*tch.

  • Candy Cantu

    I renounce you in the name of Jesus Christ!!!!!!

  • Lucky Lambdin

    Hey Candy, why not just let the rest of us reap what we sow & mind your own f*cking business you preachy snatch! You yourself say no one can fathom what god has done from beginning to end – that would include YOU so just shut the f*ck up about how much you know about god. You are so disgusting. Go ahead & rebuke me in the name of Jesus again, who gives a sh*t. Certainly not me.

  • Lucky Lambdin

    Candy…get back on your medications, please. & quit all that ridiculous “rebuking” & telling me what you think God says. You are so f*cking pathetic it makes me laugh – but also sick at heart to know there are people so deluded out there as you.

  • Lucky Lambdin

    Let me tell you something you psychotic b*tch, I’d much rather “Perish” than to keep company with the likes of you. Toot your horn about your victory & salvation all you like, look down your nose at the rest of the world, nobody gives a good god-damn about you or your sick religion.

  • Lucky Lambdin

    How can I go on living now that I know I’ve been rebuked by a girl named “Candy” in the name of Jesus Christ? *hee-hee* You psychotic freak…

  • Candy Cantu

    Really, Because I don’t follow a Mans Word I follow God Almighty my creator. And God says Iam Strong and you are weak, God says he will Curse my enemies, and bless my friends, God says I am able, his prized possesion, his chosen, and his beloved. With that said Let me Save my precious and valuable time and Save A Soul. Than waste it on a Mocker.

  • Candy Cantu

    Satan has a Hate for Christians….I’m going to go cry…Not!!! I rebuke you Satan Jesus Has already defeated you on the Cross, Now he will judge your Minions as Well!!! Repent or Perish!!

  • Candy Cantu

    I rebuke you in the name of Jesus Christ! The way the truth the life. The Creator of Heaven and Hell, of Day and Night, Of Hot and Cold, of Blessings and Curses!!! The Same yesterday and today!!

  • Joshua Nolan

    okay no, we’re not jealous of your asinine delusion of grandeur promised to you after you die by an executed psychopath and public menace two thousand years ago. Do you believe in Santa Claus? How about ghosts? No? well both are Christian belief so either you do or you don’t. You can’t pick and choose. We aren’t jealous, we’re all trying to live in peace while you’re playing pretend with all your little friends and then you decide you want to drag us into your sick and twisted game, and we refuse. We’re in this place called “reality”. and in this “reality” we are only guaranteed one of these things called “lives” the one I am currently burning up precious time responding to this verbal shitpile you call an article. We’re not jealous, you can keep your heaven. We’ll be JUST FINE in hell without you. But you know what else you can have? Nessie, bigfoot, and nicki minaj’s ass. Because none of them are real. this is like the world telling you “when pigs fly” and you don’t understand it’s a sarcastic comment and then you start throwing pigs off of balconies onto people below trying to get them to magically fly, but then you christians just aren’t smart enough to know when to stop. SO here you all are two thousand years later. Two thousand years of throwing pigs off of balconies killing millions below you in the process and making yourselves look like damn fools. But has one pig flown? no. Has there ever been a sign that a pig may possibly just miracle its ass into the air? no. I mean not even counting how un-aerodynamic pigs are, there is no force ANYWHERE that will get that fucking pig to fly, but you all aren’t smart enough to see it. You’re so engrossed in that pie in the sky dollar sign in your eyes vision that you can’t see anything but your imagination of what it will be like to have it all, and you simply have to wait for a pig to fly for it to happen. And if anyone tries to stop you from hurting the people below, you cry foul like a spoiled brat in high school who gets decked in his fucking nose after trying to pick a fight with someone three times his size with a nasty temper. So what’s it gonna be? you guys gonna grow up out of this imaginary friend ordeal? or are you still going to live on like fools?

  • Joshua Nolan

    this is the properly revised edit of his reply “Democracy is forced down MY throat so YOU piss off. I have to support large corporate bailouts with YOUR money even though I was a kid that was privileged from the get-go and my kids are now too. Just one example.”

  • Joshua Nolan

    if you were all like that then let it go. We do what WE want, and you go away and do YOUR thing elsewhere. At least in the US it actually is majority rule. That’s quite possibly the most accurate description of democracy. You are allowed to dissent, but your dissent is not the law of the land. Just look at how the christians acted in the south after gay marriage was legalized. “ignore the law! god trumps all!” okay. THOSE particular christians need to be exiled from this country. Because they don’t understand that they’re very horribly wrong and when the majority has ruled, they claim to trump freedom.

  • Joshua Nolan

    there IS no eternity. That’s your problem. Saving all your money for a rainy day that will never happen.

  • Scot Fourowls

    @ maf – Aversion, an assessment of dangerousness, might be considered a feeling of hate for the offensive or unacceptable in some quarters, depending on a person’s values. A psychologically well-integrated mind in a person would note the feeling of aversion as useful information — as in, for ex., does this group of people fit for me to affiliate with or not — but not act out with violent hatred in any circumstances. The problem is really internal and societal conflict from the psychological and emotional splitting into (I) idealized (unrealizable) religious or quasi-religious selfless “good self” and (II) morally disdained (still necessary) carnally self-centered “bad self” mental structures. The splitting is taught to children (get ’em early and often) by longstanding cultures worldwide and now outmoded in our high tech world that ratchets up the survival risks of the splitting.

    The splitting dilemma is fueled particularly by religious fantasy as if we’re not simply primates with big brains. We can mature and find ourselves capable of integrating selflessness with self-centeredness situationally, as meets our own needs and those of our community. But without the internal integration, the split as fueled by religious fundamentalism tends to generate outlier extremes of behavior (terrorism, for example) instead of healthy progress for our species. Christianity is not alone in teaching the split in the mind that can erupt (from the inner conflict) into extreme violence, sadism, sexual predation, as well as pious hypocrisy, codependency, and dominance-submission agendas pretending to be god’s word but actually only being authoritarian control of the masses. These aren’t sound bite thoughts. The polarization on the internet, people engaging in ugly conflicts over opinions, simply reflects the prevalence of the mental splitting.

    Check out Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad’s work on healing our species from authoritarianism for a more comprehensive explanation. Sometimes knowledge is power!

  • Scot Fourowls

    @ Freddy – Muslims will try to force beliefs on you if they’re fundamentalist. Where I lived in the west there was an Islamic evangelizer from the local mosque complete with literature who stopped people on the street into my residence more intrusively than a Jehovah’s Witness merely knocking at the door.

  • Scot Fourowls

    We don’t hate Christians, most of us who find the faith dangerously unhinged, but instead we wish Christians could become whole enough to face and integrate their shadow side, psychologically, and realize the promises of the bible have never and will never materialize based on history and experience. Look at the Roman Empire and how the new testament books were added by a ruthless controlling Empire to the old, with no authenticated entire manuscripts extant, followed by the “inerrancy” biblical doctrine arising not until the 19th century in America to suppress the women’s movement.
    I’ve recently returned from the west coast to dixie (where there were childhood southern baptist roots and I was “saved”). The fear, shaming, loathing and hypocrisy (and authoritarian behaviors of emotional abuse) I encounter among church people in nominally non-religious 12-step programs here only provide more proof that Jesus isn’t real as a savior and isn’t operating as new testament Paulinism promises but indeed cannot deliver to change anybody to “the new man” (KJV).

    In the west as a decades-long 12-stepper I had patience and tolerance for bible-thumpers because they were too much a minority group to do much harm. Here, I have a new experience-based opinion that bible-idolizers and the minds of church-goers brainwashed by fundamentalist churches and their book are a force for great evil in this world
    — as emotionally evil in their own way of invisible casualties as the
    murderous physical evil practiced by fundamentalist koran-brandishers.

    The parallels are striking for anybody who reads both books. The call for change,
    immense, or our species may fast be facing inordinate widespread suffering if
    not extinction.

    Heavy stuff, so go and watch some youtube of Amy Schumer or Lewis Black. Their humor shows a silver lining transformation of what a post-holocaust secularization — because the torah’s g_d didn’t protect — accomplished to secularize the majority of a Jewish people once trapped by authoritarian religion. The same widely distributed secularization can hopefully happen for the majority of those today who are Christians and Muslims, without holocaust level suffering or worse.

    Love as a numinous energy, an intangible force for good, a boon to us all — exists with or without a belief in Jesus. Anybody can wrap himself or herself up in that Love and a mental construct of the loving arms. It has nothing to do with the bible, the churches or the empires of the world.

  • Lucky Lambdin

    WTF? WTF? WTF? WTF? WTF? WTF? WTF? WTF? WTF? WTF? Candy, your senseless drivel is worthless & meaningless. Shove it up your c*nt.

  • Lucky Lambdin

    No Candy, you stupid b*tch, it’s the Christians who have the hate issues for the rest of the world. They hate everyone who doesn’t believe in the same things they do. May God shine his light upon you, you stupid f*cking c*nt. Wake up & smell the coffee & stop living in your sick world of make-believe.

  • Candy Cantu

    We don’t Force, but We Carry our faith. And yes Always Spread Repentance, Love is bold, Nothing Wrong with telling a friend our time on earth is short, and our days numbered, and our happiness here means nothing if we weren’t grounded on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ for eternity. Unless We Start preparing for eternity now. Hell is eternal and you die however you were here on earth. You reap what you sow. God is Alive in many Christians today he didn’t die on the Cross for nothing, he did it to Save your Soul.Many Who have been born again Have the Holy Spirit of God. Which many hate because God is Righteous, and the World has an Anti Christ Spirit, this Spirit hates Correction. They love to please their flesh and hate God. Ecclesiastes 3:11 ►
    He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

  • Lucky Lambdin

    Yeah Candy, well, like I said, you go to heaven, I’ll go to hell, at least I won’t have to deal with the likes of self-righteous cunts like you. Good night.

  • Candy Cantu

    Hell or Heaven you Choose!! We all have eternity in our hearts what you do here on earth you will reap in eternity! Yes God is there Watching us All!

  • Candy Cantu

    A true Sealed Christian, I’m not talking about LukeWarmers Who with their mouth Say they Love God, but their Actions and heart are far from him. To The Real Body of Christ Who is filled With the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, yes We will suffer persecution. As God Transforms us, once we are born again through Gods Spirit Which is Jesus the Word in Flesh. We become the Word in flesh, We will always profess our faith follow Moral Laws and Always Spread Repentance, We Are dead to Sin but Alive in Christ! No worries though very soon We will be Raptured With Jesus, as the World will get left to endure the Same persecution they made us (Gods Children Suffer.) God bless!

  • Candy Cantu

    Wow, You clearly have Some Hate issues for Christianity! May God shine his light upon you and give you a new heart, and peace of mind!

  • Lucky Lambdin

    Yup! Micah, yer right on that. Seems like owning all the rights to heaven would be enough fer ’em, huh. They truly are pathetic. If there is indeed a christian heaven, I sure hope I don’t wind up goin there. Imagine!

  • Micah Patrick

    Haven’t you heard anything? This whole country is for Christians only. Like public prayer, the right display religious symbols on government buildings and marriage!!! It’s all for them because having heaven all to themselves isn’t enough.

  • ryadreal

    I hâte Christiane becouse they hâte us????

  • Lucky Lambdin

    MILES B the title of this discussion is “Two Reasons Why the World Hates Christians.” I put my opinions in here. If you don’t like reading my comments on the topic of discussions, then stay off the internet. P.S. What, exactly, does an “internet troll” look like?

  • Miles B

    https://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/1960/6423/original.jpg

    Does this guy not look like an internet troll?? Get out of here with your negative comments.

  • Miles B

    Freddy, you probably feel like Christians push the bible down your throat bc 70% of Americans refer to themselves as some form of Christianinity. Most people that get the bible pushed down their throat ussually have an issue. Whats your issue your divorced, no one cares for you, you’re too negative, been to jail? Somethings always off with internet trolls.

  • Dujuan

    Its your Life. You Do what you warnt With it.

  • Freddy

    And there you go being condescending as fuck, typical Christian

  • Dujuan

    No One should try to Force anything on you. Thats a Personal decsion an individual has to make. A Christians Life style should be attracting Not just mere words. An about homosexuality, if thats what a Person chooses to practice, so shall it be. Christians are Not judges only GOD is. We are to love dispite how a individual chooses to live there lives.

  • avery

    you tell em , I am laughing so hard right now !

  • Jessica Evans

    I just don’t understand the hate… I’m a Christian, needed my heart repaired. My beliefs have nothing to do with hating, being snobby, pushing beliefs on you. I’m sorry that others have left a bad example of saltiness with you. The God I serve is loving and gives new mercies daily. He allows us to choose him daily…it’s really simple. I’m not rich but I’m wealthy, I’m not perfect and never will be. I do prey for unsaved souls to seek gods face. I’m not an extremist, I’m conservative but I have friends and family who are not and that’s ok. Be the best you can be just makes life better for everyone.

  • sue

    lol

  • sue

    Your just as bad as the christians you say you hate. not all christians are bad or believe gay marriage is bad. not all christian shove beliefs into peoples faces or are intolerant. but also i do *sorta* agree with you in that christian schools/churches preach love above all but when it comes to practicing this many fall short.

  • sue

    “This post was for Christians only” wtf????

  • Suzan Oloshove-moell Rasey

    i got nothing …. but know i know hate.

  • Cody Dyer (Future Dark Knight)

    I’m feeling sick from watching the negative backlash that this post is having, i go to church and i love god, I’ve been and studied other religions before i was a Christian “atheist, Buddhist, spiritualist, and Wicca” to name a few but what i found was the only reason people like those religions was because they could pick and choose their moral standing. i don’t like how people say Christians are bigots and that word is used so often it has lost its meaning, the definition of a bigot is “someone whom is intolerant of another persons lifestyle or opinion” so when people say they hate Christians and homophobes” your being just as bigoted as the Christians you make out to be bigoted. when gays cry out for reform we say no and they cry out for separation of church and state but when Christians call out for reform we are ignored, why? well pawns of the media like most other simply claim “its not politically correct to side with Christians. just remember to those that would demonize us “you may hate christians, but christians dont hate you”

  • Lucky Lambdin

    What a fine comeback, Rad! Guess you really told me! Tsk-tsk, though – such language for a christian. What would jesus say? Speaking of @-holes, why don’t you see if you can squeeze yours any tighter? You’re still leaking sh*t all over the place.

  • radicalrepublican

    I’d rather be the douchebag that i am than the @sshole that you are.

  • Lucky Lambdin

    “Radical Republican” ‘s dream (otherwise known as “The American Dream”): A church-sponsored state, a state-sponsored church, & all the n*ggers swimming back to Africa with a Jew tucked under one arm & a f*ggot tucked under the other. Praise jesus.

  • Lucky Lambdin

    “Radical Republican” ‘s dream (otherwise known as “The American Dream”): All the niggers swimming back to Africa with a Jew tucked under one arm & a faggot under the other.

  • Lucky Lambdin

    Ah, yes, Rad, you mean like The Crusades, The Inquisition, The Salem Witch Trials, the biblically-supported extermination of Native Americans & slavery of African Americans, as well as the support of Nazi extermination of European Jews & gays by default. Absolutely “self-governing”…totally! The only reason christians have ever been persecuted is not for their intrinsic faith (it’s really all fine & good), it’s because they’re such completely insufferable douchebags!

  • Lucky Lambdin

    Oh, cry me a river, you poor little darling…having to pay school tax just like the rest of the world! Someone special like YOU whose children attend catholic schools (*hee-hee*) shouldn’t have to do that! You’re obviously one of those imbeciles who believe that this great country of ours was founded on “christian principles” & expects the rest of us to follow suit. Jesus himself said, “Render unto Caesar (etc.),” remember? So why don’t you just STFU & do as Jesus said? It’s also ironic that a “christian” would use a phrase like “piss off…” ha! Being so high & mighty as to be upset at having to pay school tax, you shouldn’t stoop so low! Meanwhile your precious churches get away without having to pay taxes like the rest of the world! Man, I’ve seen & heard it all now!

  • radicalrepublican

    Secularism is forced down MY throat so YOU piss off.
    I have to support public schools with my money even though my kids go to Catholic schools. Just one example.

  • Lucky Lambdin

    Aiyana, you have some major issues going on & make an extremely poor example of a “christian.” Perhaps some therapy is in order.

  • Lucky Lambdin

    Hey Rad, you are sooooo wrong…Christianity is indeed forced down our throats all the time by our ignorant one-track-mind politicians, & I, for one, am SICK of it! Piss off!

  • Lucky Lambdin

    Stephen, this post was for everyone who’s interested, you arrogant bastard. & just because some man points out what’s wrong with Christians as a whole doesn’t make him a bully & a hater. You make me sick to my stomach.

  • radicalrepublican

    Not likely. There were brief periods in history in certain locales where that was tried but never in a systematic fashion; and it was uniformly, eventually condemned by all, including Christians. The Christian creed is self-correcting when individual rights are concerned; not so true of other ideologies. Besides, Christians were/are never persecuted for THEIR beliefs?!?!?!? Get real. I’d rather take my chances being an atheist in a Christian country than a Christian in a Moslem country.

  • Freddy

    only because our government wont allow it. im sure if it was left up to the church they would require everyone to be christian.

  • radicalrepublican

    No one ever tried to force Christianity on you. If you want to see force look at Islam.

  • http://www.blacksnake.com icetech

    Jacob, don’t mind him calling you a bully, its the last resort of someone that doesn’t have a proper retort. Bully is the new “OMG how can you do such mean things to people!” Keyword.. making having a rational discussion with someone that throws it out there near impossible.

  • http://www.blacksnake.com icetech

    “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

    So… no Ego issues there… in the thousands of years that mankind was scurried around on this ball of mud, he would really think he was the first to be hated? just wow…

    P.S. didn’t come to dump on anyone or argue.. Although the bible made me an atheist i can respect other peoples beliefs :)

  • jayne190

    Then why do I read that God is full of mercy as well? There are many instances in the New AND Old Testament when God was merciful towards us, even when we didn’t deserve it. God loves and protects each one of us, whether we are aware of it or not.

  • Len Pritchard

    I did say ‘Christians generally’ not ‘all Christians’

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

    One must watch making sweeping generalizations, my friend. Not all Christians claim the Bible to be completely inerrant. Nor do I, as a Christian, impose its beliefs on you. However, whether the Harvard professor is a “failed analogy” or not, depending upon where he finds himself in the public sphere, his beliefs, and those who believe like him, can shape the outcome for the lives of the rest of us.

    As you say, we all get “out there” in the public square with our beliefs, and I am glad to see that this is good, in your mind. We must be free, as a people who say we belong to a free democracy, to speak and not be hindered, simply because we do believe in a book, or we do not. Some of us, based upon what we believe about God, will speak out against the Harvard professor-type in the public sphere, who seeks to affect public policy (and thereby law) and change things for the rest of us.

    This is what people say is so dreadful about Christians speaking up in the public sphere: “They’ll impose their beliefs on the rest of us.”

    How naive we are to not recognize that whoever is in power, and whoever is able, has the ability — and uses it — to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. Perhaps it wouldn’t be such a bad thing for someone to be around, who believes in the value and dignity of human life — to speak up, whether that person is a Bible reader, or not.

    It is pointless to argue — and your last paragraph encapsulates it well: it is good that people who see things differently put their views out there as well. That’s what you’re doing; that’s what I’m doing. We see differently on some things, not differently on the other, and that’s not going to change — nor should it — anytime soon!

  • Len Pritchard

    Comparing the Bible to a professor’s argument is a failed analogy from the outset. Christians generally make a very unique claim about the Bible – it is the infallible, inerrant Word of God. If this is so then it must be perfect, unambiguous and free from all contradiction. You can’t pick and choose bits of the Bible that you like and ignore those you don’t because to do so undermines it’s authority. Unless of course you are open about doing so – in which case fine but just don’t take the traditional Christian stance that the Bible has ultimate authority. This is quite different to articles, essays, theories, histories etc written by humans and claiming no divine authority. Such writings may be brilliant and highly authoritative but no-one claims they are infallible.

    You are quite within your rights to believe in a good god – but please don’t claim the the Bible in its entirety supports you in this view. Bits of it do and bits of it don’t. As I have said many times, I respect someone who simply ‘has a feeling’ that there is a good creator or a ‘sense of the divine’ – and all that goes with it. However, when they try to prove this from the bible I’m afraid I cannot agree and will argue against it.

    And the reason it matters to me what you believe is that you put what you believe ‘out there’ in a public space – which is good. But it is also good that people who see things differently put their view out there as well.

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

    When I was a college student, and prior to seriously looking into and making a decision to follow Christianity, I made it a point to troll through the Bible looking for difficult verses, and then I produced them to believing Christians with a sort of, “Hah! What do you think of THAT?” attitude. I had absolutely no interest in what they thought, because my purpose was to attack, to bring down, to destroy.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that there are difficult passages — very difficult passages, and they are remarkably easy to find and toss in front of people. If it is done with the sincere desire to know why these passages say what they do, and how they interact with other passages — ones of love and compassion and caring — then this is a good thing, because the person doing so is seeking truth, and is not obstreperously out to confront.

    We all cherry pick, Len, with anything — evolution, scientific pronouncements, legalese, the U.S. Constitution, nutritional guidelines — but if we tossed everything out because we encountered a difficulty, we wouldn’t believe in anything. Coming to an understanding of any discipline takes time, effort, and determination, and none of us will reach the end of life with an incontrovertible understanding of anything, actually. But in living that life, we determine what, or whom, we will follow: will we look for God? and if so, where?

    And if we don’t look for God, on what basis will we decide the moral code by which we will live? If it is on men’s words, then which men? And why those particular people?

    Like it or not, we all have a belief system — including those who proudly announce that they don’t — and the belief system of all of us is vulnerable to attack, manipulation, and direction by others. My point as a writer, and a Christian, is to encourage — especially Christians, since that is to whom I am directing most of my articles — to think through what they believe, and not accept, blindly, what they are told by religious leaders on TV and in the pulpit.

    I imagine that you and I could probably agree on our frustration with people who come up with simplistic answers to complex questions — be those questions religious, political, or societal — and our encouragement to people to seriously think through what they are told.

    How we do that — thinking through what we are told — is highly individual, and those of us who get frustrated with people who readily believe everything they’re told sometime have to curb our impatience, and extend a bit of grace of kindness to the individuality of others, allowing them to work through the issues of their lives at the pace they are able to. After all, it is what we want ourselves as we work through our own issues.

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

    Len — the other day, I read an article about a Harvard professor who made a strong argument for infanticide of special needs children, saying that this is an inevitable and logical outgrowth of Obamacare. We simply cannot afford to keep everyone alive, was his argument.

    I know a number of people, with special needs children, who vehemently disagree with this interpretation — an interpretation which, according to this erudite man, is in line with the many thousands of pages of the Obamacare bill that few people, including the legislators who passed it, have read.

    So, does this mean that we toss the whole thing out, because we can’t agree on the interpretation? I’m sure that there is plenty of “cherry picking” in any bill — we know that there is, because we are only told part of what the bills say, and find the rest out, to our surprise, at a later date. And yet we are told, “It will all work out. It all makes sense,” and many, many people believe this.

    You say that you find my position odd, Len, but streets run both ways: what I find odd about your position is why it matters to you what I believe at all. I do believe in a good God, and quite frankly, I do find many passages of the Bible challenging, but it’s not enough to toss the whole thing out and put all my hope in any form of political legislation or corporate promises and say, “Those people — they’re good. They’ll hold the world gently in their hands.”

  • 1776

    The stupidity of this post was so tremendous i am going to call the people who agree of hating any type of Christian a Nazi

  • Len Pritchard

    Allen – what you say is classic cult leader behaviour. Cult leaders are typically controlling sociopaths who understand that giving their followers a mix of loving compassion for weaknesses on the one hand with threats for not following on the other is a fantastic recipe for control.

    So we have Jesus – “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” John 14:23 (very nice if you join the club)

    “But those mine enemies, who would not that I should reign over them, bring them hither and slay them before me” Luke 19:27 (not so nice if you don’t)

  • Len Pritchard

    “The issue with Christianity is that it is interpreted in so many ways,”

    Quite right. But why? I would suggest that if ‘Gods word’ was more clear cut, concise, straightforward, less confused, contradictory and ambiguous – then there would be far less room for personal interpretation.

    What I find odd about your position Carolyn is why you need Christianity at all. You take from scripture what appeals to you and quietly sideline the bits that don’t. Why not simply have your beliefs about a lovely god and say openly that they are based on what you ‘feel’ rather than confuse it with scripture that often contradicts you?

  • Len Pritchard

    What’s that story in 2 Kings chapter 2 (off the top of my head) where a bunch of young lads call the prophet Elisha ‘Baldy’. God sent some bears to attack the boys – complete bloodbath – slaughtering 42 of them. Only spirited young lads. Imagine the mother’s pain. Seems to me God was pretty quick to anger in this instance. Cherry picking scripture again Carolyn?

  • Len Pritchard

    what post was for Christians only?? Didn’t know a public forum was a private club.

  • Jacob Heckman

    Very Good Point Kathleen!

  • Jacob Heckman

    WRONG

    People don’t hate Christ’s teachings as you so eloquently put it, they hate the Church’s Teachings that have replaced his, Things only became a sin when those who were in power wanted it to be so. Think about it… They saw things they did not understand or wanted to be emulated among their flock so the easiest way to deal with it is to make it a sin in your religion!

    Sad fact is that we don’t even have any guarantee that the bible is *THE* bible that god intended for us. A lot of Conspiracy and Church dealings can change details like that, i wonder why the Catholic church won’t allow anyone to know what is in their secret vaults, Maybe the unaltered originals?

    The bible may at one point contained the true wisdom but once man got a hold of it it was lost forever, this is not the true book of god! It’s a book of lies and evil covered up with pretty pictures and children’s Television shows. Real modern day Christianity is brutal and sinister!

    I think Carolyn needs to put down her Dora the Explorer Goggles and take a closer look, this religion is like a cancer, A cancer god walked away from a long time ago and he isn’t coming back!

    He may love you but he does not walk Beside or behind you, if you follow this hateful book chances are he has woken up an hour early to put distance between himself and you!

  • Jacob Heckman

    Kind of makes you feel like your getting a High Pressure sales pitch from a cult member, Huh?

  • Jacob Heckman

    There’s a big difference between being a bully and calling the truth out where you see it!

    I may see myself as a *basic* Christian (No church or religious affiliation, you don’t want anything to do with church or other Christians because it becomes embarrassing to be associated amongst them) but even i can see the immense hatred coming from Christianity. It’s funny how that hate has been classified as a religious belief but yet when the feeling is returned it’s called Persecution!

    I think Religion in general should be legally limited to within households and we need to remove the tax exempt clause specifically dealing with churches and other religious organizations!

    Deleting this comment will only serve to prove i am right!

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

    Rest, my friend. All these things — to grow in faith, to love, to eschew hate, to bear good fruit — these are not things that we can activate and cause to happen. It is Christ who lives in us who leads, who teaches, who comforts, who loves. Often, the hardest thing to do, is to NOT do — to rest, to wait, to ask for the strength and wisdom to trust.

  • todd

    I seek God, I confess my sins, I am trying with Gods help, through my faith in Jesus and with the power of the Holy Spirit to remove sins in my life. Jesus doesn’t save us in our sins as much as from our sins. We must constantly grow in faith. We must bear fru its of the spirit. Showing gentleness, kindness, love, etc… when we are under adversity and stress is a mark of a true growing christian. All who hate, friend or enemy is a liar, and God is not working in their life. Love is the key. Anything and everything that leads to hate must be removed from ur life.

  • elisabeth

    Have you read the Bible?

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

    I share your concern about Christian rhetoric with GOP politics and agree with you that it is chilling. No belief system — be it Christian, pseudo-Christian (which encapsulates a lot of what we’re seeing these days), any other religion, or atheism — should dominate political thought, and a free people only remains that way when we can freely discuss, argue, agree, and disagree.

    Christians (and I loose this term really loosely, because much of what we kick against tends to be that GOP religious right thing) DO cherry pick, but in doing so, they are no less than human. Everyone cherry picks. They may not do so from a holy book, but they do it from something — the Constitution, a particular writer, the findings of science (the way we look at Science with a capital S reminds me of religious dogma; scientists, like other human beings in any group, agree and disagree about everything, but pop culture newspaper media tends to paint the whole thing in broad brushstrokes). One way or another, we have a tendency to land upon what we agree with and promote that, while staying very quiet about what we don’t agree with.

    If the evolution of people that you mention leads to a greater level of kindness, understanding, love, acceptance, and care for the weak, defenseless, and hurting, then that is a good thing, but frankly, I don’t see that happening in an increasingly corporate world where a very few people reap from the hard work and toil of the many. It is for this reason that I write about the corporate nature of modern Christianity — this is not what Jesus taught. It is a twisting of His words, resulting in a religion that looks very little different from the surrounding business and political world around it. Like you, I would be very glad to see this diminish in power and influence.

  • Feeley Vee

    Christians cherry pick which hatreds they want to enforce from their bible and devote themselves like a truncheon to hammering it into people’s heads night and day. The hypocrisy is staggering. And the rhetoric and merge with GOP politics is chilling and generally makes no sense. Face it, Christ was a commie. He had pretty much nothing to do with what is known as Christianity. This is why the religion is going down, and it’s a really good things. People evolve and progress–though it’s slow–is a real thing. The world will eventually be weaned off Christianity and learn how to be decent because they want to be decent.

  • Allen

    In the Bible it says that gays should be killed in the OT. Whether you follow the OT or not answer this much for me do you believe in that context it was ok to kill gays? if so you believe in some context that gays should be killed if God commands it. Do you believe God will come back one day? Do you believe God can do anything he wants? So tell me as a person who believes that there is some moral context for killing gays because God said it was if God came back and said kill gays again would you kindly follow? I guess you would since in the NT that you follow right now you believe that gay thoughts and gay relationships deserve hell fire .So it wouldn’t be out of your character to believe if God order gays killed again you would go along with it right? Mrs im not homophobic i just think there is some context gays should die and in another burn…

  • Len Pritchard

    It sure is Kathleen – there’s a lot of la la la ing going on in this thread ha ha. When I was a born again god-squadder we fired off bible verses like machine guns at the infidel. Concepts like ‘reason’ ‘consideration’ ‘open minded’ and ‘respecting the view of others’ never came into it

  • Len Pritchard

    Read what Joe said Aiyana! He makes it quite clear that people like me don’t believe in Jesus because we have a hidden agenda to live sick and sinful lives. Joe is making a wholesale judgement about all non believers – millions of people he doesn’t even know!!! His attitude is built on prejudice.

  • Aiyana B. Ela

    I think the author is Christian LOL haha

  • Aiyana B. Ela

    Explain those rational reasons please? I don’t think you have any evidence to support your claim on Joe being deluded that isn’t particularly rational is it?
    You have totally disproved & discredited Carolyn’s assumptions of condescending christians with your tone of condescension and commonly held disbelief in the existence of logical christians also bringing up your own kids to the best of your ability is expected of parents anyway but just because you teach a kid to this and that doesn’t mean they will act accordingly after all teenage rebellion is no secret!!

  • Aiyana B. Ela

    Utter bullshit!! as a millenial christian growing up in the 90s on artists like Madonna, George Micheal, Savage Garden- Darren Hayes, Placebo-Bryan Molko, Cher and personal favourite actresses like Angelina Jolie, Famke Janssen, Julianne Moore all have played gay characters on screen there is no possible way that you can ever accuse me of hating on gays.
    So why don’t you take your false accusations of we Christians and shove them up your ARSE!! BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO FACTS TO BACK UP YOUR CLAIMS.

  • Aiyana B. Ela

    So that means that he thinks that all christians share the following personality traits:
    Harsh
    Unfeeling
    Self-Righteous
    Unforgiving
    Defensive
    Intolerant
    Inflexible
    Small minded

    Based on no evidence this is totally biased and provoking anti-christianity when everyone has the right to choose to be a christian if they want to without fear of harassment or constant false accusations or discrimination just for identifying with Christianity.
    I have met many non christians who had those characteristics because I am an eye witness what I have to say is based on fact because it actually happened unlike her broad generalisation of all christians showing a total lack of empathy or understanding of individual differences regarding christians in particular have a great time trying to keep employment you christian hating bigoted tosser!! I WONDER WHO ELSE SHE IS WILLING TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST NEXT.

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

    Oh, gracious.

    My friend, I do not want to argue with you, and writing back and forth on complex topics, about which we see so divergently, is reaching a point of futility, not to mention that, because we do not know one another personally, comments can be taken and misinterpreted, thereby causing further misunderstanding.

    As I said earlier, you have good questions, but I am not the person to answer them. I have given you what I have, and I am always willing to continue discussing, but it is not my intention, nor desire, to convince you about what I believe, or defend it.

    As far as the questions in the last paragraph, I freely admit that I don’t understand them enough to supply an answer!

  • Kathleen

    Wow, I was taken aback by your reply which suggested that I was somehow putting you down because I couldn’t spend as much time online as you. Like, where the heck did that come from? And then it hit me. The name of this blog is “Why the World Hates Christians”. Of course, you have a persecution complex to start with! So I will let that comment go.

    You say god gets blamed because he doesn’t fix things. That’s partially correct. He doesn’t do anything that is measurable or observable. Oh sure, he gets credit for saving someone from getting on a doomed plane or for saving the one house from the tornado. The exact same things happen by chance to non-religious people.

    You bring up the Exodus but archeologists and historians have never found evidence of it. There is no evidence outside of the bible for any miracles mentioned in it happening.

    I don’t judge people who believe because as I’ve said before my best friends and mother are all religious. And everyone has a right to proclaim their views on topics like gay marriage, etc. What I have a problem with is when the bible is held up as the reason for those beliefs, as if everyone should follow it. The only way you can use the bible as any moral compass is if you pick and choose carefully what you want to use. If you use it to say being gay is wrong then why aren’t you out stoning people who wear polyester and cotton together (yes, that’s in the bible!)? There are so many ridiculous examples.

    You say I shouldn’t be satisfied saying “I have been told” – but then you never reply. Here is what I said and I look forward to hearing why I shouldn’t be satisfied with dismissing it:

    And I have been told that god can’t reveal himself because then humans wouldn’t have free will. What a load of bull! He revealed himself to the people of Moses’ time. Satan knew he existed and still rejected him. Why was Jesus allowed to be certain that god existed yet not us? Jesus violated the free will of Thomas and gave him evidence. So obviously free will can exist with evidence of god.

  • Paula Ann McCabe

    I don’t know who Jesus was and nobody else does. I can hear the torrent of churchspeak coming now about “personal relationship” and other brainwashing rhetoric. There is the Bible, written around a century or more after his death, a collaborative work largely of plagiarists and hand picked by people with political motives, laced with contradictions and so convoluted that it spawned 100’s of denominations. Meanwhile, churchgoers have it beaten into them that it is the “word of God” because the Bible says the Bible is word of God. Kind of circular logic? So, what I do believe in is freedom. You do not have the elevated position of being hated by me or most so, don’t be delusional in order to apply scripture to your life. People don’t attack you because you are not of this world. They attack you when you try to make them follow your rules or when you try to take away their rights. You draw a very glorious drama of being persecuted and hated but what you really don’t like is just being ignored.

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

    Hi, Kathleen — I am glad that you are committed enough to this conversation to reply when you can, after work or before — I know what I feel like when I get home, and “drained” tends to be an accurate description!

    Rather than answer the various points in your third paragraph, I’m going to stop at the first, just because it’s what struck me:

    I have no idea what you do for a living, where you work, how much you make, or how “hard” you work. In the same way, you have no idea what I do for a living, where I work, how much I make, or how “hard” I work. The implications of your working fulltime, however, are that you do not have time to “spend many hours online,” with the unspoken, but quite strong, impression given that those who do not work fulltime, have time to spend all their time online.

    It’s a judgment.

    Now in accordance to my belief system, which is based upon seeking to know God the Father, I am counseled to not judge, or I will find myself being judged with the same standards I use (which, in all honesty, tend to be shallow, from the hip, and not, on the first try, particularly kind; it is through my study of Scripture and desire to know, follow, and be like God that I change those ways of doing things and stop myself, much earlier, in the process of judging: “That homeless person is probably a drunk and my dollar will go for booze,” changes to, “You don’t know his story. You do know that it’s 0 degrees out and you’re heading to a warm home and he’s standing at the corner holding up a sign. What are you going to do?”)

    That’s the standard under which I live. Given by what I read about “tolerance” in the newspapers, it is apparently the standard by which the non-Christian society lives — we should not be judging one another. Christians are constantly told that they judge others (and they do) by a vociferous segment of society that also judges others, in just different ways. It’s a human thing: we judge, and it’s not the best way of doing things.

    And therein is how we can have people who believe in God, and those who don’t who live on the same planet — but the only way we will be civilized about it is if BOTH sides agree to not judge the others for their belief system. I do not judge you for not believing in God; you, then, are not to judge me for believing in Him, but this only works if we both agree that judging other people, especially because we operate upon incomplete knowledge about the lives of everyone else on this planet, is not the best, or kindest, or wisest way of doing things.

    You ask many good questions, ones which I cannot answer to your satisfaction, because the only one who can find the answers is you — and you’ll do this by what continuing to do what you’re doing — asking questions of different people, listening to the answers, and reserving judgment for a moment as you think: “Okay. I don’t agree with what he/she says about God, because I don’t believe in God. But I do agree with what they say about being kind to other human beings. That’s a strong belief with me, and it’s a strong belief with them as well. So we have a common belief on something that could possibly be a universal truth. I want to explore that more.”

    You are right — there are no true miracles happening right now. But, according to the Bible, there were true miracles happening 2,000 years ago, and they were happening at the hands of Jesus. Now, if a person doesn’t believe or accept the Bible, then this means nothing, but if one is truly interested in whether or not miracles do or did happen, it’s worth looking at the various sources that write about it and see if it’s true. This could be the Bible, any other Holy Book, or today’s newspaper, and it is wisest to approach any source with a healthy skepticism, but a skepticism that is open to following paths as they open up. Ultimately, what we’re looking for is truth, and it’s no good getting stuck with a substitute, so asking lots of questions and looking for answers is definitely the way to go about it.

    The thing about demanding miracles of God to prove that He exists is that they are never enough. Let’s say that Jesus really did exist, and He did do the miracles: well, apparently it wasn’t enough, 2,000 years later, because we still want it to happen. Miracles alone are not enough because we tend to explain them away until they’re not miraculous enough anymore. (The Israelites, whose recorded history includes an absolutely, stunningly miraculous account of God’s rescuing them from Egyptian slavery and parting a large body of water for them to walk through, pretty much turned on God immediately afterwards and said, “There’s no water out here. Who are you anyway? Did you bring us out here to die?” If the parting of the Red Sea really happened the way that Exodus records it, then it wasn’t enough of a miracle to sustain belief in God’s goodness for very long at all. They needed miracle after miracle, sign after sign, and it was never enough. When Jesus walked the earth, He told them the same thing.)

    When you think about it, every human life is a miracle. Human beings cannot create life – we can only tamper with it, for good or evil, but we cannot create the spark of life that results, eventually, in a baby. But because we see babies being born everyday, we do not see them for what they are: millions and millions (billions?) of cells, are precisely placed together to make a human being. Yes, there are birth defects, for various reasons, and one of the elephants in the room is that many birth defects come from “environmental” (read, man-made) causes. The many Vietnamese who still deal, today, with the effects of Agent Orange would be less accurate in saying that the problems result from God’s hand, as opposed to man’s.

    And yet God is blamed for it, because He doesn’t fix things. Quite frankly, fixing things would involve demanding an account from the people who created Agent Orange, and dumped it upon the Vietnamese people and our military personnel out there. We are taught that every action has an equal and strong reaction, and before we attack God, we might want to ask if He is the one who caused the problem in the first place.

    This is a long answer! But if I leave you with nothing else, let it be this: on your journey of asking questions and seeking answers, never be satisfied with, “I’ve been told that,” which is mentioned in your comment above. Go to the source, wherever it is, and review it yourself. Take my words with a grain of salt — not rejecting them wholeheartedly nor accepting them 100 percent, but grab onto anything that resonates and just think with it. It is what I do with your words — “I find it strange that I live in a world in which there is not god and you live in one where you believe there is. How can that be?” It is a profound and thought-provoking question, and it is one upon which I will ponder throughout the days ahead.

  • Kathleen

    Ha! Yes, it’s so hard to find time to reply because I work fulltime. I’m looking forward to when I retire and can spend many hours online!

    To answer you:

    97% can agree because it’s based on facts. That is why there is so much disagreement with religion – it is based on beliefs with no evidence.

    I find it strange that I live in a world in which there is no god and you live in one where you believe there is. How can that be? How can we both come to opposite conclusions? I would say it’s because I look at the world and see absolutely no evidence of anything beyond person belief. There are no true miracles happening. Amputees are not suddenly regrowing lost limbs. Tsunamis are not stopped in their tracks. People have their diseases go into remission at the same exact rates no matter what their religion or lack thereof. Chilean miners are rescued by human digging, not by miraculous intervention. What kind of god is that? Certainly not one deserving of worship. If that god cared about all humans it would reveal itself so there would be no question of its existence. And then if people chose to reject him, I could see him being peeved enough to do something about it. But to allow all the various religions to try to figure out what he is and how he is and why he is – that’s ridiculous. And I have been told that god can’t reveal himself because then humans wouldn’t have free will. What a load of bull! He revealed himself to the people of Moses’ time. Satan knew he existed and still rejected him. Why was Jesus allowed to be certain that god existed yet not us? Jesus violated the free will of Thomas and gave him evidence. So obviously free will can exist with evidence of god.

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

    Kathleen — we need to find a good porch, a pitcher of iced tea, and some cheese and crackers, and get together and TALK! I think we could have a lively discussion in which we agree about some things, disagree about others, and find that, despite that, we like each other. There is a something about you that is most doggedly, yet fairly, determined, and your search for truth is as strong as mine.

    Let me say this about science, that has been steeping about in my mind for some time: We call it that: Science, as if it were one large, monolithic belief without any variance or difference within it at all. This is like saying “Christianity” and encompassing the whole thing in evangelicalism, or Calvinism, or Pentecostalism, or Catholicism, or any other ism. Within these various sects of Christianity, when the belief in doctrine becomes stronger than the quest for truth, then all questioning, debate, and analysis is discouraged, and anyone doing so is labeled apostate, difficult, or stupid. In effect, dissent is forbidden.

    As a Christian, I write to counteract this belief, which finds itself both in and out of the Christian circle, and encourage people to think and question, and stop believing everything we are told. I would venture to say that you yourself may have a view about “Christianity” that may encompass beliefs from a particular ism, and when one looks at a Christian, one thinks: “Harsh, intolerant, and the women wear skirts below their knees.” This is along the lines of thinking about atheists, “Godless, arrogant, and they let their bra straps show.” It’s only human nature to lump things into categories and generalize, and it’s something we all have to watch and seek to grow out of.

    We need to give this same freedom to science, which isn’t and shouldn’t be an ism, but is simply a description of a discipline, much as art, language, or mathematics are disciplines. And we need a LOT of debate and discussion, some of which will be fringe-y, as it is within any discipline, but some of which will counteract the heavyhanded approach of imposing one way of looking at things, one accepted result, one determination that this is how we should all live because this is what Science (as if it were a person) determined.

    We also need to look at how science, like religion, is misused in a monetary manner. Religious sells, and people some people make big money on it. So, also, do some people make big money by mis-using scientific data, and to deny that this is so is, well, attributing an almost-godlike goodness to Science and allowing it (again, what is IT?) to reign in our lives, unopposed.

    Scientists are individual people, and individual people, on any matter, differ. Anytime I hear that “97 percent of the scientific community” agree on something I get suspicious because, realistically, you can’t get 97 percent of ANY community to agree. It should send chills down our spine.

  • Kathleen

    Oh Carolyn, you didn’t go there, did you? You are suggesting we shouldn’t give science any weight because its findings can change? That because results are continually studied and tested to find the absolute truth (unlike religion, which tries to stay locked in its thousands of year old thinking) that there is no merit to it?

    Do you believe your god affects the world or just leaves us alone with our “free will”?

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

    Nor what is said in the latest scientific study, which quite sadly, may be overturned 20 years from now by new study (much as a very dear person I know has found out about milk, and calcium, and osteoporosis. “Oh, that information is outdated,” the doctor doing the surgery blithely told me. “She should have eaten more greens.”)

    Just because God is not in the conversation does not make the sentences in it carry any more weight than they would be quoted from the Koran or the Bible. I guess what we’re looking for is truth, and discussing about where it can be found.

  • Kathleen

    I think most religions’ stated goal is to make people better people – isn’t that the draw? And who isn’t for that? However, I think the world would be a much better place if every religion kept their “rules” to themselves. SInce no religion can be put above others because it is the proven “true” one, then none should have their texts used to make rules for others. No more weight should be given to what it says in the Koran as to what it says in the Bible or the Book of Mormon or Dianetics, etc.

  • Ronald Mo

    how about FUCK YOU
    lol

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

    I don’t need the fear of hell to be good, either — whacking people with a stick may work for awhile to get them to “behave,” but lasting change doesn’t result from this. I sigh with sadness and exasperation that, for many Christians, the “good news” is nothing more than, “If you believe, you won’t go to hell. Say the right words!” Good God, I wouldn’t believe this either (and I don’t actually).

    I understand what you’re saying in your last question, and I’m not sure how to phrase it to, basically, not answer it in that form. Let me put it this way: I know myself, not completely, but to enough of a degree to recognize that I’m not a good, gracious, perfect being who responds with kindness and grace, all the time. I’m human. I get cold, cranky, tired, selfish, and in my worst times, I look out for myself first, even if it is at the expense of another.

    Some days, I’m really cool — I answer dumb questions with patience, I don’t swear at the driver ahead of me, I wait in line and smile at the person who held it up for the last 20 minutes because they don’t have enough on their debit card but won’t accept this. At times like this, it’s easy to say, “I’m such a good person. I’m so kind. I would never hurt anyone.”

    But I would only be fooling myself. I’m not talking original sin here, lamenting my evil nature — I’m simply being honest. I know myself well enough to know that I am not inherently, intrinsically, completely and totally GOOD. I mess up. But I want to be good — not because I am afraid of God and fear that if I’m not He’ll blast me (although I understand this misconception; this is Evangelical Christianity at its worst, and it is one of the reasons I write, to counteract this misinterpretation of God) — I want to be warm, loving, kind, patient, and able to endure the things that life throws at me, with grace. Furthermore, I want the strength and wisdom to be good and kind for others, and because I know that this is not in me, I look to God to bring me to be the person He created me to be.

    I can look back at myself from 10 years ago and know that I have changed, and that this change has been through adversity. My natural state of being is to be angry and bitter, and yet, the result of the adversity has not been an exponential increase in anger and bitterness. And for this I thank God, because I know that His hand has much to do with this. The experiences of the last 10 years have brought me to be a different person — I simply know this because I live in my skin, and I’m glad to be someone I was not 10 years ago.

    It’s all very metaphysical sounding, and it’s very easy to say that I have changed because I wanted to change, and one can most certainly believe that. There is a very real danger, in accepting that one’s goodness and good actions stem solely from oneself, to feel a bit self-satisfied and smug, as in, “I’m so kind. I’m so good. I get this from within myself.” That’s the danger from finding it from within, as it appears that you are saying. The opposite danger is from the castigating “Christian” camp: “I’m bad. I’m yucky. There’s nothing good about me at all.”

    I’m talking about something in between: being honest with ourselves and who we are, and being able to say, “Dang. I was insensitive there. It just pops out. I really want to be a better person, one that people are drawn to because there’s so much love emanating from me.”

    It sounds like we have the same goals — to be a “safe” person that others can be drawn to — and if we seek to reach them by different paths, is that such a bad thing?

  • Kathleen

    You are right, atheists don’t need the fear of hell or the promise of heaven to be good. We just are. Not sure what you mean by “weak people should die because that’s the way evolution works”. That’s not the opposite of humanity being good to each other. I know there are people who care about others and people who don’t. Some need their nice or nasty impulses to be controlled by a religion and some don’t.

    Are you saying you would find it impossible to be good without a god to answer to?

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

    I agree — there is a slippery slope that we slide down upon when we impose any belief system upon another, and I will respectfully continue to disagree with you upon whether or not, not believing in God (it’s easier to say than to write, too many nots!) is a belief system.

    Christianity should never be imposed upon anybody, nor should Sharia law, nor should Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other ism including atheism. In any conversation, I, and many Christians, will simply be unable to speak from a standpoint that does not include our belief in God: our conviction that we help the weak, nurture children, and protect the defenseless stems from our belief that a loving God made all of the people in this world, and He wants us to love and protect each other. Such is a foundation of Christianity, and our belief in God precludes, and indeed forbids, that we seek our own good first; we are not to make it our goal in life to hurt, to damage, to step on other people’s faces.

    That a Christian does not live this way does not deny Christianity — it’s simply evidence that the person calling himself a Christian is not listening to the words of the God he says that he follows. But the Christian has a standard to follow, and he is clearly told that the opposite — living for oneself — is not an option.

    For an atheist, this conviction to help others must generate from within his belief system — that humanity should be good toward one another — and there is nothing, other than the individual person’s decision, that encourages him to think this way. If he wants to believe the opposite — that weak people should die because that’s the way evolution works, say — then there is no higher (as in God-based) standard by which he lives. Only what he creates for himself.

  • Kathleen

    I enjoyed reading this. However, no matter what you might think, not believing there is a god is not a belief system. When you say “I don’t believe in the tooth fairy” do you really think that is a belief system? No, it is an obvious fact based on evidence.

    Of course everyone has a right to speak their mind. But who is to say which religion of which god should hold sway when there is no evidence that any of them are real?

    Here in Canada there was an attempt in one city to get Sharia law to be allowed to be used for Muslim families, superceding Canadian law. Thankfully that was not allowed but you can see the slippery slope you start down when you start to recognize religious rules.

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

    An excellent question, Kathleen, and like all excellent question, one with no easy answer! As a Christian, I do not like the raucous, harsh, demanding voice that calls itself Christianity, and most of us refer to as the religious right. Their way of going about things is insensitive and off-putting, and, as a Christian, I wish that they would think more deeply before they speak.

    I could also say the same thing about the homosexual community, as an example of a group that many people place in opposition to the one described above — they, also, adopt a harsh, insensitive tone that is off putting, and one feels — just as one feels with the “Christian” Republican right — that one cannot dialogue or speak, because any agreement is met with resistance and attack. Both sides operate on the defensive, and attack when they feel threatened.

    These are polar extremes, and while people on various sides wish that they would just shut up and allow other voices to speak, this is not the way of a free society. Freedom of speech does mean just that — that people are free to express their opinions, in both informal and formal situations, and yes, within the political sphere as well. There is a tendency to urge religious people, of any persuasion, to just check their faith in at the door, but taking out a huge chunk of a person’s belief system is an unrealistic way of looking at things.

    People who don’t believe in God may object to God being brought into the conversation, but not believing in God, like it or not, is a belief system, and in a society where we could hopefully move toward more than just tolerating one another, one side saying, “This is off the table,” does just that: it creates one side (those who don’t believe in God) and another (those who do). From there, we can progress to one side who does believe in mothers and fathers being important in a child’s life, and another side that does not. Or one side who believes in the importance of organic food, and one side who does not. Whenever we toss out any belief system, we are taking away a piece of a human being — it’s along the lines of what happens in courtrooms when the lawyers and judges say, “Just answer yes or no.”

    Christians, and non-Christians, belong in the society in which they live, and their voice is worthy of being heard. And their voice will make a contribution based upon the belief system that they have.

    That being said, as a Christian, I think we have a tendency to believe too strongly in the power of politics, and that the answer is in getting a Christian person elected, and that Christian person then acting in accordance with “Christian policy.” This is nothing short of a recipe for disaster, as the politician, anytime he or she makes a move at variance with what a particular voting block deems is officially Christian, risks displeasure. Christian politicians do exist, just as do Christian teachers and homemakers and stockbrokers and on and on, and our central focus, regardless of what we do, is upon Christ — His love, compassion, mercy, and grace — and how we are to show this to the world.

    I think we’re taking a short cut in wanting to force issues upon people — in much the same way that many non-Christian voting blocks are imposing their agenda, through politics, upon greater society. Speaking up is always messy, because no one, especially someone in power, wants to be contradicted, but it is necessary if we are to preserve the basic dignity and freedom that all human beings should have: the right to live in our homes, safely; food to eat and decent shelter; and the right to not be forced to do things that are morally repugnant to us.

    When it comes to this, the voice of the Christian is very necessary, as is the voice of any person who speaks up for the helpless, defends the weak, and looks out for the downtrodden.

  • Kathleen

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. That is the part about Christianity that I like – that it makes some people better humans. And I don’t have a problem with that at all! But what are your thoughts on keeping Christianity out of the public sphere?

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

    It is a rough world, Philip, and each individual can decide how they want to approach that. Christian or not, a person can decide to join the fray, or back off and say, “I choose love.” This latter is definitely not the easy choice, but it sure looks like a better one. Those of us who choose it as Christians do so on the basis that we do believe Jesus lived, that He came to show us just what love personified looks like, and He will give us the strength to do it.

    If we’re wrong, then we’re wrong, but we have contributed good to a world that otherwise promotes the selfishness and unkindness you mention.

  • Philip Quincy Jefferson

    Whether the man existed or not, facts are facts… People couldn’t care
    if you have love, understanding, patience, sensitivity, and kindness towards them. This is a dog eat dog world, mostly everyone is out for themselves; selfish. For this, envy arrives when someone is more successful than them in any way; then comes the rat race for life. People couldn’t care if your a Christian or not; it’s human nature. Some have to larger masses than others. God be with them… “if they faint not”.

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

    That’s an interesting argument.

    Individual faith is something that is just that — individual — and each person must have the freedom to think, meditate, study, research, and decide on their own. Being pushed into a belief that God does not exist is just as wrong as being pushed into a belief that He does. Ultimately, since 7 billion humans will never agree, perhaps it is best to look at the fruit of our beliefs, and as individuals, change the only person we are able to change when we see that the fruit is bad: ourselves.

    Are we angry? Do we hate? Do we envy, speak badly of others, step over faces to get what we want, cause children to cry? These are all things that, I hope, people of all belief persuasions would find wrong, and if you, in your atheism, can reach out your hand in love, compassion, mercy, and understanding to others (including people who believe in a way abhorrent to you), then you are on a good path, and should rejoice, actually, when another person — who believes in Jesus — embraces the same good things.

  • Kathleen

    I guess this is like sticking your fingers in your ears and going “la, la, la, I can’t hear you” when you are faced with an uncomfortable truth.

  • Tim Pavkov

    Romans 3:21-26

  • Kathleen

    Apparently you don’t know the meaning of the word “contemporary”. It means “living at the same time”. As in eyewitness. Of which there are none. You obviously didn’t read the website I pointed you to as all of your references are discussed, beginning with Josephus (who wasn’t even born when Jesus supposedly lived), which is agreed by most historians is a forgery. I had a real laugh with the conclusion of the article, which states that “no one will die for what they know is a lie”. How is that proof? That would mean Islam is true because people are willing to die for it. That Branch Davidians were correct in their beliefs. That every suicidal cult is true.

  • Tim Pavkov
  • Kathleen

    There is not a single contemporary historical mention of Jesus outside of the bible, which is obviously biased. None. For really interesting background information, you can go to the website http://www.jesusneverexisted.com. There you will find that there were a number of historical Jesuses written about but none were Jesus of Nazareth. Why do we know about how they lived their lives and yet there is nothing about the biblical version? You would have thought with all the miracles he supposedly performed, all the people who supposedly saw him rise from the dead (along with the earthquakes and zombies that accompanied that) all the people he angered and uplifted, that someone other than the unknown fans who wrote the gospels would have mentioned him.

  • Kathleen

    Ha! Of course I meant to say “I just believe in one less god”. That’s what happens when you post late at night! Anyway Carolyn, my mother and my best friends are all very believing Christians and we all get along great because we have mutual respect for each other as people. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think what they believe is crazy, because I do. But I love them anyway! I have no problem at all with Christians as long as they don’t try to use their mythology to force people to conform to their beliefs – like opposing gay marriage. We need to maintain a separation of church and state. For instance, would you like sharia to be the law of the land? I doubt it. And that’s the same reason I don’t want Christian influence in the public sphere.

  • Tim Pavkov

    How could you say for sure that there is no evidence for Jesus when, even without the Bible, there have been other works written from people around that time such as senatorTacitus and Plinny the youngers letter that mention Jesus in an existing way. Idk just saying Jesus never existed without saying so much why is kinda silly.

  • Allen

    You are lumped together because you all follow the Bible. The Bible says kill gays in one context and burn them in another. Because all Christians believe the bible to be true that means all Christians hate gays because no kind person can honestly love someone while thinking in one context they should burn and another they should be killed.

  • Allen

    First of all i heard everything that was said but lets say i was telling all the Christians on here that they were stupid and lacked the ability to think. Lets say i was saying that they were the biggest idiots on the planets. Which is worse… The atheist that calls Christians all kinds of horrible names but doesn’t have an ideology saying they should be killed in one context or burned in another.. or the Christians who are totally nice but believes all atheist and gays should be burned in fire forever in one context and killed in another?

  • Allen

    ??? Whats funny to me is you using the word “insult”. How is that i’m “insulting” you for calling out exactly what your religion says? This is not something i’m making up out of the air against you this is something specifically in the book that you strongly believe is true. The last time i checked it’s “insulting” and down right hateful to believe all that are unlike yourself should be burned . Its “insulting” to believe that in one context that its totally correct for gays to be murder and another context for them to be burned. That is the definition of “insulting” and “hateful” . Apparently you are ashamed of your own religious text which you should be that’s why you are deflecting your anger but i’m not the one who said those things. That’s what the Bible/God says and im not the one who believes those things as true you do. As an atheist i don’t automatically believe hateful stuff about others …you do. Christians will continue to hate and i could careless about “fence sitters” but what gets under my skin is Christians playing the humble and no hateful card when hate is built into the religion. So don’t get mad at me for calling out your own religion/God. . You are the one who support the hatefulness not me. The words from the God you worship about killing people and burning people is free for anyone to view including yourself. If you are mad at me for repeating that then you need to get mad at your god as well and yourself. i’m not the one killing or burning people for being gay or not believing and i’m not the onebelieving that those things are moral in any context…………. Also I guess our definition of hatred is different. When i call out your religion and repeat back the the exact same things you claim to believe that is hateful but believing people should be killed and burned is not hateful?

  • LL

    I hear ya! Me too I grew up in the church but you know what God is perfect people aren’t. If you focus closely on the people in the church and not on god you will def. find plenty of excuses why Christianity is a bunch of hooey! I choose to look at God not the people! If I did I might not be a Christian!

  • LL

    I totally agree with you and you know I think this is a good point to bring up: there are Christians and then there are religious people! They are not the same and are often confused for one another.

  • LL

    Well, this is one Christian who isn’t going to ram-rod you into believing! You can go in peace my friend! I believe in live and let live! You don’t have to believe but if you want respect you have to give it as well!

  • LL

    So true Stephen!

  • Guest

    It doesn’t really matter what anyone on here says, does it? I’ll answer for you: No it doesn’t! You just want to insult others beliefs, justify your hatred, and spread your agenda to convince those you feel are “on the fence.” That’s fine no skin off my nose but just be wary of calling out others for things you fail to do as well!

  • LL

    It doesn’t really matter what anyone on here says, does it? I’ll answer for you: No it doesn’t! You just want to insult others beliefs, justify your hatred, and spread your agenda to convince those you feel are “on the fence.” That’s fine no skin off my nose!

  • Tim

    and also why the heck was my comment deleted when i was only defending that fact that I didn’t insult anyone? Was it because I said the S word just repeat the word that was thrown at me?

  • Tim

    I don’t want to start another flame war on this thread too so I’m just going to say this quick: none of you here know my life or how respectful or disrespectful I am. I as a matter of fact admire Islamic culture and its contributions to the world we live in. The only “muslims” worth mocking would be ISIS and their litter of “fighters”. I don’t agree with the teachings of Islam, yet I don’t mock it either.
    God bless

  • Kathleen

    Let me start by saying I am not a hurt person. I was in catechism class at 5 years old and I remember thinking at that time “this is bs”. And I was an atheist from then on. You really have to think why you believe what you do. Do you believe in the miracles of the bible? Probably. So why don’t you believe that Mohammad flew up to heaven on a horse as it says in the Koran? Why don’t you believe that Mithra rose up from the dead? Why don’t you believe that Jesus visited the midwest of the US as it says in the Book of Mormom? Why don’t you believe in Zeus or Bacchus or Xenu? You are an atheist like I am. You just believe in one less god.

  • Kathleen

    They were non Christians before they were indoctrinated. Sadly, that is the way you get more Christians.

  • Kathleen

    Do you think twice before mocking Islam? People died for that. According to you it’s just as disrespectful o mock it. And yet I mock Christianity and Islam equally. So should you.

  • 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 😀
    Amen to you brother and sisters.
    Keep on praying 😀

  • 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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