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My Take: Why evangelicals should stop evangelizing
Carl Medearis with Sheikh Nabil Qawouk Hezbollah’s number two leader.
July 24th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Take: Why evangelicals should stop evangelizing

Editor's Note: Carl Medearis is an international expert in Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations and is author of the book Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism.

By Carl Medearis, Special to CNN

Let’s do an exercise. I want you to fill in the blank on what you think you know about me based on what I’m about to tell you.

Here goes: Twenty years ago, I became a missionary. My wife and I left our home in Colorado Springs, Colorado to move to Beirut, Lebanon. Our job description was to plant churches and evangelize to Muslims.

Based on what I just said, Carl Medearis is a ______________ .

Depending on your background, the blank may look something like this:

Carl Medearis is a... hero of the Christian faith, a saintly super-man willing to sacrifice the comforts of home in order to share the love of Jesus Christ with those who have never heard the gospel.

Or this:

Carl Medearis is a... right-wing extremist who destroys cultures, tears apart families and paves the way for neo-colonialist crusaders to invade, occupy and plunder the resources of local populations.

Quite a range, isn’t it?

For one group of people, the words “evangelist” and “missionary” bring to mind pious heroes performing good deeds that are unattainable for the average Christian. For another group, those same words represent just about everything that’s wrong with the world.

I understand the confusion.

Based on my experiences of living and traveling around the world, I know that religion is often an identity marker that determines people’s access to jobs, resources, civil liberties and political power.

When I lived in Lebanon I saw firsthand how destructive an obsession with religious identity could be. Because of the sectarian nature of Lebanese politics, modern Lebanese history is rife with coups, invasions, civil wars and government shutdowns.

When I tell my Christian friends in America that some of the fiercest militias were (and are) Christian, most are shocked. It doesn’t fit the us-versus-them mentality that evangelism fosters, in which we are always the innocent victims and they are always the aggressors.

This us-versus-them thinking is odd, given that Jesus was constantly breaking down walls between Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, men and women, sinners and saints. That’s why we have the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Jews in Jesus’ day thought of the Samaritans as the violent heretics, much the same way that Christians think of Muslims today. The idea that a Samaritan could be good was scandalous to first century Jews.

Jesus was the master of challenging religious prejudice and breaking down sectarian walls. Why do so many Christians want to rebuild those walls?

Even the Apostle Paul insisted that it’s faith in Jesus that matters, not converting to a new religion or a new socio-religious identity.

What if evangelicals today, instead of focusing on “evangelizing” and “converting” people, were to begin to think of Jesus not as starting a new religion, but as the central figure of a movement that transcends religious distinctions and identities?

Jesus the uniter of humanity, not Jesus the divider. How might that change the way we look at others?

This is more than just a semantic difference.

When I used to think of myself as a missionary, I was obsessed with converting Muslims (or anybody for that matter) to what I thought of as “Christianity.” I had a set of doctrinal litmus tests that the potential convert had to pass before I would consider them “in” or one of “us.”

Funny thing is, Jesus never said, “Go into the world and convert people to Christianity.” What he said was, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

Encouraging anyone and everyone to become an apprentice of Jesus, without manipulation, is a more open, dynamic and relational way of helping people who want to become more like Jesus — regardless of their religious identity.

Just because I believe that evangelicals should stop evangelizing doesn’t mean that they should to stop speaking of Jesus.

I speak of Jesus everywhere I go and with everyone I meet.

As founder and president of a company called International Initiatives, my work is aimed at building relationships among Christian leaders in the West and among Muslim leaders in the Middle East.

It may come as a surprise to many Christians that Muslims are generally open to studying the life of Jesus as a model for leadership because they revere him as a prophet.

But now that I’m no longer obsessed with converting people to Christianity, I’ve found that talking about Jesus is much easier and far more compelling.

I believe that doctrine is important, but it’s not more important than following Jesus.

Jesus met people where they were. Instead of trying to figure out who’s “in” and who’s “out,” why don’t we simply invite people to follow Jesus — and let Jesus run his kingdom?

Inviting people to love, trust, and follow Jesus is something the world can live with. And since evangelicals like to say that it’s not about religion, but rather a personal relationship with Jesus, perhaps we should practice what we preach.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Carl Medearis.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Interfaith issues • Opinion

soundoff (3,792 Responses)
  1. Matthias

    The life and teachings of Jesus are radical, relevant and realistic until today. It breaks my heart, when somebody is called a "Christian fundamentalist" and kills dozens of people in Norway. I like Carls advice and will stop calling myself a Christian. Trying rather to follow Jesus...

    July 24, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • Paul

      Christian means "follower of Christ" so then does that stop? Can't have it both ways

      July 24, 2011 at 8:00 am |
    • JP

      Actually Paul, Christian does not mean "follower of Christ." And do you know how many times the word Christian shows up in the Bible? Only three- two of the times its used as a term of slander. Jesus did not call himself a Christian. No early follower of Jesus called themselves a Christian. So why do you call yourself a Christian?
      I'm a follower of Jesus, used to call myself a Christian- then I realized what that word means to the rest of the World- and now realize Jesus never asked me of that.

      August 16, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  2. Paul Wegner

    Jesus is more than a "model for leadership" or a "great prophet." He is God incarnate. The story of his life, death and resurrection is the heart of the gospel and the message of Christian missionaries throughout history. True conversion is recognizing and responding to Jesus – it's all the stuff we add to this simple truth that gets us in trouble.

    July 24, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • Jesus

      Nah, I was just a Bronze Age magician who got a bit too full of myself and caught the wrath of the Roman authorities. It was Saul (aka Paul) and later Peter that turned my name and the prior Mithra, Horus and Krishna tales into a viable religion. Constantine did a great job in promulgating my myth too. I often wonder if Elvis lived in 10 AD, if there wouldn't be a religion today celebrating his being some sort of diety.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Scott DeJong

      Nicely put Paul...any chance you're the same Paul Wegner from MBI????

      July 24, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Larry

      I have no problem, for the most part, with Jesus and his teachings. His followers, however, tend toward condescension and outright obnoxiousness. As my other always says, people seem to do their darndest to make "god" as small and petty as a human.If there is a god, it/he/she is certainly nothing like you imagine.

      July 24, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • WiserThanEwe (not a sheep)

      LOL – good job Jesus. Smartest think I've ever heard you say.

      July 24, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • BMW57

      Excuse me but aren't you confusing faith with fact? If you accept this fantasy that is fine but do not state as fact something that is only your belief.

      September 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • utalix

      Spirituality is not a belief. Spirituality is an action. Religion is a belief. Spiritual action is the hand of god wearing us like a glove to bring his hand down to the surface of the earth where it can do some good. Religeous belief is the force that keeps us in the cathedrals and temples working hard for our own personal salvation, so we don't have time for the souls Jesus died to save. "Let e'm go to hell. I don't care. I'm working for my own salvation"

      October 25, 2011 at 12:54 am |
  3. JustPlainJoe

    Leave people alone. Simple concept understood by most people. Predatory monotheisms can't seem to understand this concept. The enlightenment led to the experiment we call America: Our "pursuit of happiness" includes the right to be left alone. If it is good enough for us domestically, why not internationally?

    July 24, 2011 at 7:46 am |
    • WiserThanEwe (not a sheep)

      If only it worked domestically. I'm afraid to open my front door for fear of getting verbally mugged by some door-to-door god salesman.

      July 24, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Gavin Boothroyd

      They know some people would say "leave us alone" but their religion teaches them that evangelizing is for their good!

      July 25, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  4. Joe

    Evangelicals should NOT STOP spreading the Gospel. However they need to return to the basic premise that they were commanded to spread the Good News about salvation and STOP the practice of attempting to convert people through fear mongering, hateful and separatist messages and condemning those that do not agree with their beliefs. It is not within their purview to judge anyone as they are considered sinners still and they themselves are subject to be judged by God himself. spread the Good News yes but Let God do the rest of changing hearts and minds. He is pretty darn good at that and doesn't need us to tried to do it for him. Fact is when we do we start wars, turn people away because they hear hate coming out of their mouths and completely distort the entire premise of the salvation that the Lord has placed on the table for the taking if you blieve.

    July 24, 2011 at 7:46 am |
    • JD

      Should we as Christians tell people the consequences that people will suffer if they reject Jesus? Would this make the hearer to angry if we do and is that wrong to make someone mad? Because if you tell people that hell is in there future if they don't become born again, they most likely will get angry. What do you think?

      July 24, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • Littlebear

      Joe: Agreed 1000%. Christianity is not at issue but rather human failings. Each person interprets their prophet's view based on their own worldview.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • Larry

      You actually believe that nonsense about burning in hell? Good grief, you are deluded. And from my observations regarding your type of christian, it isn't so much that we don't believe in Jesus, it's that we don't believe what YOU believe. Why would god make people burn in hell just because they don't believe the stories written over a period of centuries in a series of books by various authors, with numerous errors and inconsistencies? C'mon. Grow up.

      July 24, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Bratty

      Christians cant win either way, if we dont tell you the truth that hell is hot, & for eternity, than when you stand before a Holy and Righteous God, the only God that rose from the dead on the third day and is still alive, I might add!!! They would be complaining that nobody told them the truth, they didnt know! Also there is more proof that Jesus walked the earth, adn that what the bible says is true than there is that the earth Is BILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF YEARS OLD, and thast we came from Goo or apes! Peopl want to believe what they want, so they can do what they want, and they want to try and convince averyone else as well!!! EVERYONE HAS AN AGENDA, NOT JUST CHRISTIANS!

      July 25, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • max

      Larry – I cant say it better. The current Christian concept of hell has little to do with the bible or god and more to do with adaptation of message of the centuries. The use of hell as a tool for converting people is not supported in my version of the bible or the method by which christ mandated bringing people to him.

      Christianity has become childish and judgmental. It spawns ahted rather than love and the contemporary christian message does more harm than good.

      July 30, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  5. wrf3

    "Jesus the uniter of humanity, not Jesus the divider."

    This is not the Jesus of the Bible, but a Jesus constructed based upon one's own feelings. For Jesus said, "Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” [Luke 12:51-53].

    July 24, 2011 at 7:46 am |
    • Sam

      Thank you. I was waiting for someone to cite this scripture. This article is 100% wishful thinking – not truth.

      July 24, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Bob

      Yes, but you know, I can make the Bible say whatever I want to too you know. Take for instance this passage, also taken completely out of context and used to win my argument:
      "So you know me, and you know my origins? The truth is, I have not come of myself. I was sent by One who as the right to send, and him you do not know. I know him because it is from him I come: he sent me." Luke 7:28, 29

      July 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Katie

      Jesus the divider? Maybe. But he's also supposed to be the prince of peace.

      "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).

      So the point is you can find whatever verse to support whatever your argument. By the way, I don't care one way or the other but I know enough of the bible to know Jesus did not only divide, he united people as well. That is supposed to be the job of Christ, isn't it? To bring sinners and God back together because sin separated them. Sounds like a prince of peace to me.

      July 24, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Larry

      If you really want to take the bible literally, in Exodus, it says "six days shall thou labor and do all they work..." How many of you work a five-day work week? It doesn't say anything about five days. Get to work!! A silly example, but once you start taking the Bible, or the Koran, or the Lord of the Rings, or whatever, literally, you end up picking and choosing what you want to take literally and what you don't.
      The Jehovah's Witnesses and the blood thing is a good example. They tell you they take the bible literally, but nowhere in the bible does it say anything about blood transfusions. Don't drink it, yes. Don't transfuse it, nope. It's all in how you read it.

      July 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  6. JB

    Evangelicals should just stop. Period. We'd all be better off.

    July 24, 2011 at 7:45 am |
    • ImHereToHelp

      They can't stop, don't you see? It's like a disease, an addiction. First they need to admit that they have a problem. Maybe they can work up to apologizing for the harm they've caused and finally total abstinence.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • Jesus

      It's a mental disorder.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Nookster

      Religous zealots need to stop indoctrinating children from birth with this nonsense. Wait until they are in highschool and offer religion as an optional class. Remaining christians would be surprised how fast their numbers dwindled.

      July 24, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • njebel

      If God's so fake then why are you guys worrying? I don't see anyone hurrying to diss Santa Claus..

      July 24, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  7. Dave

    Instead of trying to convert someone who already has a belief in their own God, why not try teaching those who WANT to know Christ, but have limited access to those services? I believe Carl has figured it out. You can invite them to follow, but you have no right to condemn someone for making their own decision. After all, didn't God give them that choice?

    July 24, 2011 at 7:41 am |
    • Alex in Bremerton, WA

      Especially in the case for Muslims where "their own god" as you put it is the SAME god of Abraham as the Christians and Jews worship. I know your book says you are the one true religion, but so does theirs!

      July 24, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • WiserThanEwe (not a sheep)

      Alex: The muslim god is not my god. My god is worshiped only at the southern baptist church on 23rd and blake streets in Burmingham, Alabama. All other gods are false gods and their followers wiil burn. As will all non-believers. Heaven will just be populated by my pastor, his wife, and me. (And Jesus, provided of course, that he was a southern baptist.) Praise God (my god, that is).

      July 24, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
  8. Chiniquy

    I agree 100% with Carl Medearis. If more Christians, Muslims and Jews had the understanding that he does, we would see true peace among these 3 major faiths.

    The true message of all religions is to bring humans back to behaving like human beings.

    Not converting each other to ritualistic behaviour.

    July 24, 2011 at 7:37 am |
    • B Cobb

      I think the point was that people should behave like Jesus, NOT like human beings, everyone of whom is deeply flawed as some posters have pointed out.

      July 24, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • JD

      You are completely wrong and dangerous because if people who read this follow these lies, they will go to Hell. Jesus is the only way to heaven, you can't get there any other way. "He is the way the truth and the light and if you want to get back to the father you have to come through the son". God is using christians to try to save the muslims souls from burning in a lake of fire before after they die. IT"S CALLED LOVE!!

      July 24, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • retto

      3 major faiths? If that is based on number of followers I would think Buddhism or Hunduism would be up there at that level if not higher.

      July 24, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • Larry

      The "lake of fire" doesn't exist. Good grief, could you possibly be more simple minded? It's all a fairy tale used by governments and religions to control you. Get a grip!

      July 24, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  9. dp in nj

    I meant jehovah's witness.

    July 24, 2011 at 7:35 am |
    • Jesus

      Jehovah's Witnesses? Wasn't that Charlie Taze Russell's scam from the 1870s? He was a convicted felon who figured out how to run a very profitable religion business. What a guy!

      July 24, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • When in asia

      Jehovah's Witnesses don't preach just to Muslims...they preach to everyone.

      July 24, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Mike

      Yes, and Jesus was also a convicted felon in the eyes of most at the time. What people like to say about other people doesn't mean a whole lot. Get your information from an accurate source and not from "what you've heard."

      July 25, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Steve

      Mike, I am wondering according to you who that "accurate source" would be? Would it be the Watchtower Society? Ah yes, talk about a propaganda based publishing empire who attack other christians viciously and keep their own followers in the dark regarding their own errors and sins. How bout all those failed end of the world predictions? 1914, 1915, 1918, 1925, 1975 and the generation of 1914 who would see the end come...not! Whenever there is failure they thereafer claim to have a "new light". Why should anyone beleive the new light will not fail as the old light always did. They also were against Organ Transplants and Vaccines for a few decades last century as well. Delusion indeed.

      July 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  10. dp in nj

    I filled in the blank with jehovah witnesses.

    July 24, 2011 at 7:34 am |
  11. LEB

    "Just because I believe that evangelicals should stop evangelizing doesn’t mean that they should to stop speaking of Jesus.

    I speak of Jesus everywhere I go and with everyone I meet."

    Uh, that IS evangelizing, and it's the exact sort of thing that you SHOULD NOT DO out of respect for other people. If the conversation happens to open up to matters of faith, and other people seem interested, then by all means share what you believe. But don't just foist your religion on people, and you really DON'T need to bring up Jesus in every conversation. Aside from being tiresome, it will make some people uncomfortable, or even feel offended. And that can include some Christians, by the way.

    I'm an atheist and I certainly don't "evangelize" my atheism. If the matter comes up, I'll mention that I'm an atheist. If someone seems curious about my views, I'll share them. But I'm sure as heck not going to shoot off my mouth about how all religions are wrong and yadda yadda. Even if I don't respect someone's views, I still respect them as a person... at least, until they give me reason not to. And bringing up Jesus in EVERY conversation when it has not been invited is a pretty darn good reason.

    July 24, 2011 at 7:32 am |
    • JD

      Jesus came to save not to condemn. Your right, Jesus did not force anyone to follow him, he just spoke truths and applied them and left, and some believed and followed him and some rejected what he said as blasphemies against God and they ended up killing him. His sheep will hear his voice and those that don't aren't his sheep, because the Father did not give them to him. So maybe sir the reason why you have rejected Jesus is because your not one of his lost sheep he is gathering to himself and will never be, so let me apologize on behalf of all the Christians that have annoyed you through out your lifetime by trying to talk to you about Jesus, because if he did not choose you and your not his, of course your going to be offended when you hear someone speak about Jesus. But here is the devastating news for you, you can't go to heaven, hell is in your future and if I knew I was not chosen by God, i would be on my knees begging him for Mercy everyday of my life trying to convince him to change his mind, because my friend, your future is disaster, devastation, regret, pain, because when you die you will burn in the lake of fire called hell forever. When you die and meet God face to face you will not be an atheist any longer. The moment you take your last breath on earth you will become a believer, and by than it's to late and you will be cast into the lake of fire. Your have to become born again on this earth if you want to qualify for heaven. Your name has to be written in the lambs book of life to be let into heaven. Sir I would not want to be like an atheist if someone paid me 10 million dollars. Repent, and believe that Jesus died for the sins you deserved to die for. Jesus died for your sins, my sins the sins of the entire world so we could make into heaven, and all you have to do is admit your guilty, confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead.

      July 24, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • Happyasiam

      This is exactly the problem. Sharing your religious views with someone you don't actually share religious observance with IS an evangelical act, and expecting people to respond better when it isn't fire and brimstone is just naive. I find it insulting and rude. Gentle evangelism is still evangelism. Enjoy your beliefs and leave me out of it. And to those who equate warnings about hell with warnings about any other so-called danger, you assume that your beliefs are truths, and that there is such a thing as hell, so it's not the same thing as warning someone not to step in front of a speeding car: The car is real for everyone, hell is not.

      July 24, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • superunknown

      JD,

      why are you telling LEB that if he does not hear, he is not chosen? that is CRAP and you KNOW it!!! did you forget that HE does not wish that ANY would perish?? the point is ALWAYS who you have given your WILL to, the choices you make, not 'are you chosen?'. we are ALL chosen, all children of the Creator, all with the same decisions to make. Yeshua built relationships with people and 'only did what he saw the Father doing'. and he did not say, 'go build church buildings for me and kill people that don't agree with you, or at least berate them for their unbelief'. if you are talking to someone that has no 'faith', has never even read the Word, nor wants to, the first thing you have to do is get YOURSELF in right relationship with the Creator, PRAY for the individual/group, THEN ask what/if you should do or say anything to them. And you have to do this EVERY time because each person has a different perspective and issues, etc....if you walk around with a creed on your chest, throwing copies of the Word at people, you might scare a few people into a pew, but will be, sadly, ineffectual. get on your knees yourself, my brother, and burn that pedestal your 'religion' has built for you.

      July 24, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Kitty

      LEB....Who cares if people get "offended" or "uncomfortable" if someone mentions Jesus or God to them? The truth is not always comfortable to hear. Often it gives people something to think about. If I met you and you confessed that you're an atheist, that wouldn't make me uncomfortable at all. In fact, I personally know some atheists. The only thing that makes me "uncomfortable" is the fact that they won't be going to heaven when they leave this world. We only have to answer to God! Not other human beings. When you die, you can explain to Him why you believe he doesn't exist!

      July 24, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  12. bob

    Politically Correct Christianity is lukewarm.... yes we should love the lost but not give them a Jesus that is not the only Savior..... unfortunately it sounds like you have lost your faith... and now have no Salvation to offer anyoe

    July 24, 2011 at 7:32 am |
    • endub

      I agree with Bob. If what the Bible says about Jesus is true, then simply saying "He was a good person; I'll try to be a good person, too." totally misses the point of the good news of the Gospel. The good news is that, as messed up as we are, through Jesus we have a way to be reconciled to a God that hates sin...

      July 24, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • Paul

      AMEN...So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
      Revelation 3:15-17

      July 24, 2011 at 7:58 am |
  13. Scott

    I can relate to these words Carl. I've all but stopped going to church because it has become too religious for me. Following Jesus and wanting to tell other about him is true evangelizing, not coverting people into church goers so that they can built their temples and fill coffers with money that people need to survive with.

    July 24, 2011 at 7:31 am |
    • ben

      Good point except people give their money away willingly, It is like any other organization they need money to run it, otherwise how would they build churches, donate money to charities. They are for money cause they need it, do not use that as an excuse to hide from the truth.

      July 24, 2011 at 7:43 am |
    • Paul

      Hebrews 10:25 tell us "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."

      http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+10%3A25&version=KJV

      July 24, 2011 at 7:56 am |
  14. BD70

    What Jesus pushers fail to realize is respect for others beliefs. Even in this country when someone starts pushing Jesus or their religion it turns me right off. You don't know me...you just assume I don't practice the words of Jesus. The fact of the matter is....I don't need religion to follow what the words of wisdom Jesus preached meant. I don't even like to bucket myself as a christian. Its all BS. Actions always speak louder than words. And believe me when I say...I have watched Jesus pushers stomp on others more than once (theoretically speaking)....forgetting the idea behind the words. If someone asks fine....don't seek them out to preach what your interpretation of the words might be. SHOW them in how you live and accept others.

    July 24, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • benjavascript:void(0);

      As far as what you wrote I could not agree more, as a practicing catholic you see that people who try and push Jesus and religion onto other people so hard it drives them away is not the right way to approach things. And I can assure you that they are not right in their own beliefs if they are trying to force it onto other people. People whom truly care about other people and the comfort of their soul. These people do not judge and try and force these amazing things onto you, they will simply pray for you like I will and trust in God that he will force himself upon you. Prayer is the correct way to prove my point. If you cut up an apple into 4 pieces someone will grip about getting the biggest piece. If you teach the same four people a prayer none can take it for theirs they can all share it and use it whenever they want. Please do not let you views of Jesus and religion be tarnished by these extreme bible pushers. Believe there is good people out there praying for everyone quietly inside there own minds carrying out their daily lives and they are doing this through pure love. God Bless take care and I hope I shed some light on the truth. And I will be praying for you I promise

      July 24, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Happyasiam

      Benjavascrip, you entirely miss the point.

      July 24, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • benjavascript:void(0);

      What that actions speak louder than words? Yes I understand where he is TRYING to come from. But actions and words go hand in had with each other. Words can alter and change and individuals life as well as actions can also. That would be the point of Jesus Christ doing specific actions that awed people as well as spoke words with such beauty and wisdom to help the people understand. One person migt not be able to keep pace with the others actions, but through the right words (not just in the bible) but words in general can specifically effect each individual differently and can relate to every aspect of your life...To people whom believe (The Bible) through Jesus's actions came his words then became the bible which inspires and effects billions to want to do actions as Jesus would.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:30 am |
  15. mb2010a

    “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” Gandhi

    July 24, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • Chiniquy

      Very nice quote from Mahatma Ghandi. He also made a similar remark about the Prophet Muhammed.

      Ghandi had a true love for all human beings.

      July 24, 2011 at 7:46 am |
    • Frank

      Yes, especially for young white men.

      July 24, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • ssaraf

      "I'm a fan of God, but it's his fan club that I'm not really fond of" -Unknown

      July 25, 2011 at 3:27 am |
  16. Hutch

    This comment is directed toward the article.... Ok, One should preach the gospel of Jesus and not a religion, but can a individual follow Jesus and Mohamed? Jesus called all people to follow him only. He taught that one can not service two masters. If the writer of this article believes that Jesus' teaching should transcend religion does that not include also Islam? And if someone is a follower of Jesus is he or she not a Christian? And did not Jesus call is disciples to teach all nations. I don't agree with the author's premise that evangelizing is bad. He seems to be reacting more to the political situation.

    July 24, 2011 at 7:25 am |
    • John Gocke

      Amen. The Great Commission from Jesus Himslef compels us to share our faith to all the world. To obey him is to evangelize.

      July 24, 2011 at 7:40 am |
    • Patrick

      II chose to follow SpongeBob. Don't hate me because I'm right.

      July 24, 2011 at 7:56 am |
    • Joni

      Hutch, I'm not sure if you are aware but Prophet Mohamed is not considered a" Master" in Islam, he is considered a Prophet. Those that follow Islam only believe in one God, the only "Master."

      July 24, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  17. Steven

    Those who followed Christ began to be called Christians. Now, you're saying to encourage people to follow Christ but don't try to make them Christians? You say to encourage them to love Christ, but Jesus said: "If you love me, you will follow my commands." Yet, you neglect to call them to repentance from the idolatry of Islam? You say they must trust Him, but your worldview seems to be that Jesus is an amorphous being that can be followed in many different ways. I would submit that we come to God in one way–the way that He has dictated as God. That way is through Jesus, and we come to Him through repentance and faith.

    July 24, 2011 at 7:25 am |
    • CTYank

      No wiggle-room with you, lad. You take your orders from a subset of books written by men millennia ago, some with agendas, and translated by who knows. I'd suggest you relax, and admit that you and your programmer have nowhere near the whole story. Then do as you see fit, and allow others the same right.
      Widen your focus, and hold your conclusions- don't jump to them. Admit that you can't really prove anything- isn't that what "faith" is all about?

      July 24, 2011 at 7:38 am |
  18. Rush L

    Yes, they should stop.

    July 24, 2011 at 7:22 am |
    • Eric C.

      Simple yet to the point. Well done.

      July 24, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • Mike

      No, they should not stop.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  19. Greg Shepard

    Jesus was much more than a prophet. He was the son of God. If he was not, then he was the greatest liar of all time. There is no place for manipulation in Christianity. "Come and see" is an invitation to all (John 1:46). Study, learn and choose for yourself, through the power of the Holy Spirit, who Jesus is. Evangelism should promote this process.

    July 24, 2011 at 7:20 am |
    • ImHereToHelp

      You totally glossed over the idea that he could be the greatest liar of all time. Or rather, his followers are the greatest liars. If you look at the historical records of Christianity, you'll see that Jesus's divinity was decided by church leaders centuries after his death. The central holidays of christmas and easter are results of political compromise in when the church absorbed (conquered) pagan religions. He may have been a nice guy, a reformer etc., but he is no more divine than you or I.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • CHUCK

      I'mheretohelp, The reason it was glossed over is that Christ was NOT a liar and is exactly who He says he is–the Son of God. Just because you choose to not believe, doesn't make it so. I could choose to believe the Earth is flat, but....it's not, so I would be wrong, and so are you. You can follow a lie by rejecting Christ if you choose, but that doesn't make you right. Ridiculing Christians, and telling us we are foolish, etc, just shows how you are every bit as intolerant and caring as you claim we are.

      July 24, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • Penelope Pumpkins

      CHUCK you can choose to believe in your jesus, but that would make you an idiot.

      July 24, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
  20. John

    Deities are nothing more than genetic hold-overs from our tribal roots. Red vs Blue. Packers vs Rams, Crips vs Bloods, etc. Given that there is no evidence to date to support the presupposition that God – any God exists, this and all that goes with it is mere flatulence in the wind.

    July 24, 2011 at 7:20 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.