home
RSS
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. Judy

    Islam is a Catholic heresy, everything good it got from Catholicism. Christianity was the fulfillment of the promises of Judaism to the whole world, a new covenant, not a rejection of Judaism. Which from the Jewish perspective you could either accept or not. Islam claims God apparently isn't omnipotent and couldn't choose the right people to spread his faith and had to have a do over because apparently he wasn't able to keep Judaism or Christianity from becoming corrupt and wrong for hundreds of years which is insulting to God since he is all knowing and the Almighty. The bible warns of false prophets who get messages from "angels" which is exactly what their "prophet" did.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:06 am |
  2. KIRK

    AND I WILL NEVER QUIT evangelizing END OF STORY EVEN IF I AM THE LAST CHRISTIAN ON EARTH I WILL STILL SAY JESUS WAS THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD ...THE WORDS OF GOD MAD FLESH WHO LIVED AMONG US TEACHING HOW TO LIVE AND HOW TO TREAT EACH OTHER.........i am not now nor will i ever be ashamned of the gospel of christ

    July 25, 2011 at 2:05 am |
    • KIRK

      correction the word of god made flesh

      July 25, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • Tikolo

      "GOD MAD FLESH" is very suitable to what christians do. They are mad. Like people suffering from rabies. Like zombies, they want to infect other people. PLEASE DONT COME TO AFRICA AND BRING SYPHILIS AND CHRISTIANITY TO MY LAND. DONT BRING YOUR MAD FLESH TO MY LAND. SPARE MY POOR PEOPLE.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:15 am |
    • Spiffy

      Too bad God isn't real.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:15 am |
    • KIRK

      well it also says cast not thy pearls before swine

      July 25, 2011 at 2:28 am |
    • Jeremy

      Spiffy you rock. As a 37 year old that got out from under the cloud of religion at 15, I just gotta say this...your on the right track. People are good, we're just misguided. They do the right thing to curry favor in heaven and not because it's the right thing to do. Good luck to ya.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:51 am |
    • Spiffy

      Thank you. I really appreciate your compliment.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:53 am |
    • Eric

      Since you accept the fact that you're misguided, then ask the Lord Jesus Christ to guide you.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • Spiffy

      Can I ask one of the million other gods that humanity has created instead?

      July 25, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • Eric

      Now we're getting to where the confusion is. Jesus Christ is not man-made ... He made man. The gods of this world, created through the whims of man to fit his own taste are nothing at all. Those gods are what you have to ignore, not the God who lovingly created you.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:18 am |
    • Spiffy

      Except Creationism is completely false. God did not create me. My parents created me.

      Can you prove that Jesus is right and all the other religions are wrong?

      July 25, 2011 at 3:20 am |
    • raybee

      God bless you, Kirk. You are one of the few who has taken a stand for the Lord on this forum. Carl has surprised me with his point of view, yet this article seems to have brought out the worst of the human race. Literally. So much filth and hatred for the one who loved them.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:23 am |
    • Spiffy

      I leave this here for Eric.

      I am going to bed. In the morning I will reply to you.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:25 am |
    • Eric

      The Biblical creation story is the only true story how we all began; the world, our parents and us. It's not false, it's the only truth.

      The proof that Jesus is right and all other beliefs are wrong is Jesus Himself. You see, He teaches love, he died for you and me, then He lives again as proof that His promises are true. Then He ascended to heaven to continually pray for us and prepare a place for us there in heaven.

      Jesus Christ did everything for us, other religions tells people to do everything for themselves. There are many-many more proofs if you will read the Bible wholeheartedly and with faith.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:29 am |
    • Spiffy

      You do realize that creationism has basically been completely debunked? The only people that still think it is true are rednecks and idiots.

      So using your same logic the truth that the flying spaghetti monster is the true religion is the flying spaghetti monster himself. Praise his great noodley greatness!

      I see you have never studied any other religion but your own. Your ignorance is showing. But who can blame you? You do think the bible is true.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  3. Carl Medearis

    Carl here. The author. Don't misunderstand – Jesus is AWESOME. He's worth following and investing your life in. He's worth any and every thing! But he did not come to start a religion. He was not even a Christian himself. He came to provide a way. A model. A life. To be our mentor. To live. Die. Resurrect and live in and through us by his Spirit.

    While it's true that many have called that thing I just described "Christianity" it is NOT true that the 2000 years of Christendom has represented Jesus to the world. When we try convert people to Christianity, it's a mess. We lift up Jesus – he does the converting. We all need to be changed!

    Does that help?
    carl

    July 25, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • Mark

      Jesus Christ started a disease. This disease has infected your brain. Please get some medicine. You are a sick man.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:03 am |
    • Eric

      Well, tell that to the Apostles, Carl. If you're right then they are wrong! You totally misinterpreted the Bible and misrepresented all Christians.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:05 am |
    • Jeremy

      The fable that is Jesus has some good morals but please look at the fact that if you where never told about Jesus or Christianity would you have it in your life? I am pretty sure that if I were God and I was to judge humans on their life on Earth, I would ingrain it into them at birth.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:15 am |
    • Eric

      Read all the comments Carl, you will notice majority of them hates Christ or know nothing about Christ. That's why we need to evangelize brother! Almost no one liked Jesus when He was evangelizing, there was mess around. But He still did it anyways, because that's His will not ours. Let us follow His command and rest assured He will take care of the mess. Nothing is too difficult with Him right? I pray for God to protect your faith, your heart and mind from the clouds of this world.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:18 am |
    • Quan

      If Jesus was a good man and if he was alive today, he would disown Christianity. He would completely agree with most of the negative comments posted here.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • Eric

      Speak for yourself, you know nothing in what Jesus is thinking right now.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:34 am |
    • Spiffy

      Do you know?

      July 25, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • Eric

      I do not know what specifically is He thinking right now, but I do know what He said ... and it's all written in the Bible for all of us to see.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:21 am |
    • Spiffy

      So you admit you have no idea what Jesus could be thinking right now but you know it is not what Quarn said.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:23 am |
    • Eric

      Yes I admit I have no idea what Jesus could be thinking right now but I know it is not what Quarn said. Why? Because that would contradict His own words which are written in the Bible. Simple as that.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:37 am |
    • Spiffy

      So even though you admit to not knowing what Jesus could possibly be thinking you know what he is thinking? People's opinion's change over time. Isn't it likely that if Jesus was human that his opinions would change too?

      Also I would have to agree with Quan. If the biblical Jesus was actually real he would be disgusted with what Christianity is. Anyone who has ever read the bible could see that.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  4. Judy

    Shut up Spiffy. You don't know crap about religion. And Evangelicals should become Catholic.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:57 am |
    • Spiffy

      Great argument. Now tell me this. Do you have any proof that there is a God? Any proof that there was a Jesus Christ?

      The answer is no.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:17 am |
    • Spiffy

      Also I have gone to Catholic church all my life every Sunday and holy day. Gone to Catholic school all my life. I have been an alter server for six years. I am 16. I have grown to know that there is no God because I have studied Catholicism in great detail.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:19 am |
    • Eric

      There is a thousand year old book that proves God and Jesus exist. That's enough proof for me. What is your proof of existence? Birth certificate, driving license, passport etc? Those proof of yours will vanish in just few hundred years. How can you prove to the future generations you existed? Nothing.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • Eric

      Apparently you studied the wrong source – read the Bible, everything about God and Christ is there.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:31 am |
    • Spiffy

      I have read and I have studied. I have learned how the bible was just a creation of man. How Paul completely changed Christianity for the worst. How the Romans just used Christianity to control their empire.

      There is also this really old book called "The Odyssey". Does that prove that the goddess Athena existed? If all it takes is an old book for you to believe something then your faith is poorly grounded.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • Eric

      Well, you read and studied the Bible ... but you came to nothing. Why? Because you have no faith at all. Instead of accepting the truth, you denied it. God did and is still doing everything to prove He exists in your life but you continually ignores Him.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:49 am |
    • Spiffy

      What has God done in your life that has proven his existence to you? I would like to know so I can look out for these signs that are apparently everywhere.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:52 am |
    • Eric

      Now that's our vast difference. You want to see to believe. While me, I believe and I will see.

      You're asking for a proof of something you don't believe in in the first place, what do you expect?

      So, believe and you will see. Have faith.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:59 am |
    • Spiffy

      So I should believe in something just because a book says so. I'm not really following your logic here. You make it sound like I should become some sort of zombie who should not think for himself.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:06 am |
    • Eric

      No, not a zombie but a real, live man as God intended you to be. See, faith is the substance of things hoped for, things which we as of now do not see, but with certainty we know is coming.

      One example of that kind of faith is Noah. Bear with me.

      God told Noah to build an ark. Noah can argue with God about that since they're in the middle of the desert and they haven't seen rain for many years! Not only that, the ark God wants is massive, what would He do with that? Also people around Noah was teasing him as being crazy because it was amazingly illogical!

      But Noah did what God commands anyways. For 120 years Noah and His family build the ark. No rain, no clear use whatsoever. But Noah finished the ark anyways. Then comes the unexpected flood.

      That's just one of the many-many samples about faith. God wants us to believe first ... then we will see.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:49 am |
    • Spiffy

      Out of all the examples you have you used Noah? Really? First off Noah did not live 120 years. That was simply impossible for a person at that time.

      Faith is stupid. Why not believe what is certain and what can be proven? There is absolutely no proof for God or Jesus. Why should I believe in him?

      What you are asking me to do is put faith in a thousand year old book which preaches concepts that we today consider barbaric. I'm not sure why anyone who has actually read the entire bible can actually believe it to be true.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  5. john

    Christianity is responsible for more deaths, r@pes, torture, misery and atrocities than any other idea or religion in the history of mankind. Wherever christianity went, misery and death followed. In that sense christianity is really like a dise@se. Sometimes I think Jesus Christ, who created this cancer, was satan's own device. This is the Devil's brilliant plan to spread evil in the world. Killing in the name of Love and Mercy – Freaking genius. Lets stop the spread of this cancer.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:55 am |
    • KIRK

      ummm no understand btw your a liar...many say they do it in the name of christ but as like you they have never read his words

      July 25, 2011 at 1:58 am |
    • cohen

      Well said. As long as Christians exist, war will exist. Jesus Christ has made sure that humans will never live in peace. So he must be Satan's own offspring.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • Eric

      Speaking of Christ as Satan's instrument is a blatant sin that has no forgiveness. But God is not yet finished with you, I pray someday you will see His light and be saved.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • Steve

      I completely agree. God save us from Christianity and Jesus Christ and his demons(christians)!

      July 25, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • Tikolo

      Well said! I am from Africa and I have seen first-hand how Christians turned brother against brother and converted a peaceful region into a war-torn wasteland. NEVER TRUST CHRITSIANS ESPECIALLY MISSIONARIES. They will come saying that they bring medicine and charity but they are the most dangerous animals. BEWARE. DONT LET MISSIONARIES ENTER YOUR LAND.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:12 am |
    • raybee

      John (this grand name of yours has been wasted on you), please enlighten the world where in the Bible do you read Jesus commanding his followers to commit murder? You are most certainly referring to the Popes who hijacked Christianity for a few centuries until the Reformation claimed it back. You owe your eductiaon to these "murderous" Protestants whose heart for humanity reflected that of Jesus whom you falsely accuse and slander, and established Yale, Princton, Harvard, Cambridge hospitals ... and the Red Cross. This I say in defense of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:14 am |
    • Tikolo

      RayBee or Rabies, John is right. I have seen it in my own hometown. Chirstian missionaries came and converted the poorest and most uneducated people and brain-washed them to turn against the others. Soon problems started and it blew up into a major war. Local people belonging to different religions that were existing peacefully with each other started fighting. The hospitals are nothing but conversion centers. The hospital lure the most vulnerable people who are then converted. DONT EVER TRUST CHRISTIANS. THEY ARE EVIL.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:19 am |
    • john

      ray bee, (1) Satan created Jesus Christ (2) He then made Jesus teach about Love, Mercy and Forgiveness (3) He then made Jesus teach about spreading his message of (2). That was enough. The bible says spread gospel. Thats enough to destroy the world. Satan knew that christians attempting to spread chirstianity will face resistance from people belonging to other religions. Satan knew what was going to happen. This was Satan's genius. He knew that war was inevitable once Christ asks his followers to spread his gospel. Genius!

      July 25, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • raybee

      Tikolo. you are a liar. Substantiate your claims with facts. You are using this forum as a platform to spread your venom ... it's your only way to cover up your own failurs in life.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:44 am |
    • Tikolo

      raybee, You are an ignorant ass. Go read any history book.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:51 am |
    • raybee

      Thanks, Tikolo. Now you want this ass to read history books when all was asked for you is to give proof of your claims concerning your hometown. I think you are reluctant because you LIE.

      And John, it seems to me that you are pretty much in too deep with whatever has taken hold of you that you should dare to make such statements about the Lord.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:02 am |
  6. KIRK

    Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost
    RECKON ILL IGNORE YOU AND LISTEN TO THE SON OF GOD THE WORD MADE FLESH DIED AND RISEN AGAIN
    I CONFESS WITH MY MOUTH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND BELIEVE IN MY HEART GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD... that is my response to this writer or amyone else for that matter

    July 25, 2011 at 1:54 am |
  7. Denise

    This guy will have a lot of explaining to do on Judgement Day, especially to the people he could have told about Christ's love and forgiveness.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • Spiffy

      Except there never will be a judgement day because there is no God.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • Sathyavrath

      The essence of Evangelism is fear mongering then....No God if he is Ompnipotent behaves like a petulant 8 year old. It is absurd that there is a god, who will punish/reward a person for eternity against 3 score and 10 years on this planet. Even some trees live for a few thousand years!!!

      July 25, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    • Eric

      Psalm 14:1 – The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:47 am |
    • Tika

      Imagine how many people you've turned off by telling them that your God will damn someone to a molten lava swimming eternity because they didn't learn about him. There's no grace in that.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:49 am |
    • larry

      What a stupid thing to say! Have you talked with Jesus recently? Did he tell you that this man will have a lot of explaining to do? Or are you just another blind,stupid Christian, thinking that you know the world should be, and how people should be? Maybe YOU will have some explaining to God, because of your ignorance and intolerance.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:55 am |
    • Eric

      Well, you guys know it now right? That's grace. You've been given a chance to repent and accept Jesus Christ. Those who after knowing the truth ignored the truth are going to hell. Now that you know, what are you going to do about it?

      July 25, 2011 at 1:57 am |
  8. Eric

    Carl Medearis is right, he should stop evangelizing because he will turn people away from Christ instead of drawing them near. He's just one step to apostasy.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • Spiffy

      Jesus never existed. Sorry.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Eric

      Yeah you must be really sorry.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • Spiffy

      I am sorry that people have actually wasted their lives on this stuff.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:42 am |
    • Eric

      This is the kind of stuff that will take us to heaven, so no lives are wasted.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • Spiffy

      What heaven? Where did heaven suddenly come from?

      How do you know that this stuff will bring you to ever lasting pleasure? Because a thousand year old book says so? I'll get you another book that says otherwise if that will help.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • Eric

      Yeah a thousands year old book called Bible tells us so. There is heaven, that's where God's throne is, that's where His angels are, that's where those who believes in Him will be. Before us there is Heaven, so yes it is real, it is waiting for us.

      July 25, 2011 at 4:03 am |
    • Spiffy

      Well I have this book called Harry Potter. It tells me that there are dragons, magic and wizards. Why should I believe the bible over this book? They are both books. One just has a lot better morals then the other (Harry Potter).

      July 25, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  9. Jeremy

    Please do not talk about Jesus at all. The historical evidence does not even show that he existed. And even if he did, he was the "son" of a god that is omnipotent, and supposedly all loving, but has still allowed the world to suffer through so much unneeded pain. As Robert G Ingersoll wrote. "It is far better for man to love his fellow-men than to love God. It is better to love wife and children than to love Christ. It is better to serve your neighbor than to serve your God – even if God exists. The reason is palpable. You can do nothing for God. You can do something for wife and children. You can add to the sunshine of a life. You can plant flowers in the pathway of another." We don't need religions to tell us what is the right thing to do.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • Eric

      Straight from Satan's mouth himself.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:43 am |
    • Jeremy

      Sorry Eric. Those may be the words of Satan but they're the right words. To do the right thing in life just to do the right thing is far better than to do the right thing just get favor in heaven for yourself.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:02 am |
    • JB

      Oh, we're gonna talk about Jesus. Watch!

      1. Marriage is from God. You can't have a wife or children to love without first recognizing God's design of marriage.
      2. You cannot know love without God or its true meaning without His living word (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 13:4).
      3. To love your neighbor as yourself, or better yet, to love your enemy is to serve God. To abide in the teachings of the gospel is to indeed serve God.
      4. Man can do nothing without God Almighty.
      5. Man cannot have a relationship with God without first confessing and loving His Son, Jesus Christ.

      There's a pattern there...kind of revolves around God, love and JESUS. Because without God's love, patience and mercy there would be no Jesus. Without Jesus' example of ultimate love and sacrifice there would be no reconciliation and therefore no possibility of a relationship with God. Living a "good life" serving yourself seems pretty nice though, hmm? Take it to the next level and live a righteous one for God. You're almost there! Just reinsert God back into the equation instead of always trying to remove Him. Easy.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • Jeremy

      What could god possible get from me? An omnipotent being can in no way allow me to have so much control over it's feelings.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Eric

      There's nothing right about Satan. Nothing.

      Also, are you listening to yourself? You doubt the existence of Jesus yet you believes in Satan? You want to kick Jesus out and be friend with the Devil?

      July 25, 2011 at 4:30 am |
  10. Beatrice

    Only criminals fear justice and regard the good citizens and police to be bad. And only bad kids hate studying.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • Spiffy

      Why do you choose to preach fear when there is so much more in the world? Why does God hate people for the way he created them? Why does Christianity choose to use hate and fear to spread its message?

      July 25, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • Eric

      Because you know nothing about Christ, you know nothing about the Bible ... you know nothing.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • Eric

      Also, Jesus never preach about fear and hatred. He even said 'love your enemies' and 'fear not for I am with you.' So your questions are answered huh?

      July 25, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • Spiffy

      Just because Jesus didn't say it doesn't mean it isn't in the bible.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:15 am |
    • Eric

      Well actually yes, if Jesus never said that it will not be in the Bible because He's the author of it.

      July 25, 2011 at 4:06 am |
    • Spiffy

      Except the bible as we know it was written 50-80 years after the supposed death of Jesus. How did a dead man go about writing a book?

      July 25, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  11. Ida

    God gave us a free will. We are free to choose to be athiest. Christian or whichever religion we choose to follow.I know that there is a God because when I pray he has always answered my prayers. Jesus has helped me live a good life. I Love God, and I will always try to follow his laws, I know that he is trying to help us even now when everything looks hopeless especially when there are those that are trying to turn us away from him. Keep the faith brothers and sisters.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • Spiffy

      The free will of Christianity is a complete sham. It is either believe in me or burn for all eternity.

      If you pray and hear voices maybe you should get checked out. Generally when people hear voices in our society we call them crazy. Why is that Christians get a free pass if they call the voice God?

      A study was done that showed that prayer has no influence on how events turn out. A group of people were asked to pray for certain cancer patients for a year with the people knowing they were getting prayed for. A group who was not being prayed for and knew they were not had the same mortality rate as their opposite group.

      So unless Jesus was in your life you would have lived immorally? If the only thing keeping you from obeying the law is Jesus then your morals are not very well placed.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:31 am |
  12. Dennizen

    The only way to relate to the infinite is one-on-one. Any person who tells you different is just placing themselves or some prophet or religion or book between you and what's actually there. What would it prove to the Almighty if you simply, unquestioningly, followed some holy recipe for salvation? Why would he/she care? What does it add to the universe? Buy into a religion and you're just handing off your spiritual responsiblilties to someone else. You can't experience someone else's enlightment! You can only work toward your own. Go out and look at the world–it's beautiful. Live in it, pay attention to what's going on. It's right there in front of you. If the divine dwells anywhere it's when we love, bake a loaf of bread, sing, plant a garden, or write a poem...when we rise above ourselves, and using our unique viewpoint in the universe, create what only we can create. It's up to you and no one else. go out and use what you were given. Let your works be your worship.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:23 am |
  13. Spiffy

    Evangelism is just another excuse for Christians to get in my face and tell me I am going to hell. I have gotten into too many arguments over evolution vs creationism to not have realized that these people will only believe what they want to believe. They want comfort and have decided that this comfort comes from a feeling of being better then their peers. Evangelicals only preach fear and hate. If this guy wants to change the word Evangelical go right ahead but the meaning still remains the same.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • C.O.

      You can be a Christian and believe in science too, including the theory of evolution that many (but not all) scientists hold. Theistic Evolution. And by the way, Christians should not be fear-mongering or hateful. I am sad that your experiences with Christians were like that. A loving Christian evangelizes because she/he cares about you and sincerely believes that Jesus is the Way to the Father, and wants you to experience that as well. They want your soul saved. Take it as a compliment, if anything :). Jesus wants to be your Lord...mankind can't be perfect in God's eyes on our own. Ever tried to be perfect? It doesn't work, right? Believe in Jesus and His righteousness will cover you. Admit that you are sinful and need Him. 🙂 Love, C.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:14 am |
    • Spiffy

      Theistic Evolution is a horrible argument.

      No God is not real. There is no great powerful being that just wants to love everyone of us. If he truly existed and was all powerful I would be amazed that he would even pay attention to us. We would be like ants to him.

      Christianity is egotistical at its core.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:41 am |
    • Eric

      Christianity teaches to esteem others higher than oneself. Jesus showed an ultimate sample of humility for Christians to follow, so Christianity is not egotistical.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:14 am |
    • Spiffy

      Christianity says you are so important that the most powerful force in the entire universe loves you. I cannot think of anything more egotistical.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:17 am |
    • Eric

      Hmmmm ... nothing's wrong with loving ourselves right? And nothing is wrong when somebody loves us so much that He gave His life for us. That's not the essence of ego, it's the essence of unconditional love.

      July 25, 2011 at 4:10 am |
    • Spiffy

      Who said anything about loving ourselves?

      You believe that the most powerful force in existence cares specifically for you. Tell me do you love and care for ants? Because that is what you are to the most powerful force in the universe.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  14. Beatrice

    Evangelism is the lifeline of Christianity. Christians must evangelize both by deeds and words. Either is indispensable.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:22 am |
  15. Henry

    I was born and raised in an intensely evangelizing American christian cult. "Love the sinners, hate the sin." is not a remotely tolerant, safe for the world, point of view. Otherwise normal, mentally sound people, who believe in Jesus, Krisna, Alla, Satan, Baal, or the Easter Bunny cannot be trusted to execute safe judgement in any context of life. Evangelical Christ-culters are a danger to the safety and general well-being of everyone. Same to all the other evangelizing crazies.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:13 am |
  16. LoremIpsum

    You can persuade about anyone to about anything with reason with two main exceptions; matters of faith and matters of taste. Evangelism is the notion that one must persuade someone to your point of view. In essence it is a myopic act of intolerance. Evangelism is not just about Jesus, it has many faces in this multicultural, pluralistic society. The same intolerant operating assumptions that drive someone to your door to ask personal questions about your beliefs drive others to acts of vandalism in the name of animals, or murder doctors. Intolerance is the connecting link.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:13 am |
  17. Uday

    So can CNN allow to also publish why the Christian message of the Gospel should be preached and the core belief of evangelism can also be published. Anyways CNN/carl site is being popular because of this controversy/useless interpretation, out of context scripture interpretation and is trying to bring up. While Carl is trying to send message of why evangelicals should stop and says we have to live this unitarian christian message and pretty much doing a good job of bringing division among Christians. My fellow Christians stop giving life to this misinterpretation of scriptures. Useless topic.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:12 am |
  18. Beatrice

    The world needs Christian evangelism whether they want it or not. Devils and evil humans always scheme to silence God's people but it won't come to pass.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • Spiffy

      Except there is no God.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • Henry

      Christian Evangelism, particularly American funded Christian Evangelism since the mid 19th Century, has done irrevocable harm to people everywhere. American Christians have sown seeds of violence which only their children and great grandchildren will fully comprehend.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:33 am |
    • TrueBlue42

      The world needs no evangelism, Christian or otherwise. Whether we want it or not is a matter of personal choice. Extreme Christians always scheme to silence Atheists, but it won't come to pass.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • Tika

      Wow..wonder how many you're going to win over with that thought process. And people wonder why missionaries are so hated. No one wants to be forced to do anything.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:52 am |
  19. Justin

    St. Francis of Assisi actually had a very similar viewpoint. One story of Francis and his followers tells of them walking through a town where they went to preach the Gospel. They walked all the way through town without saying anything. By the time they got to the other side of town and out of the city, his followers turned to Francis and asked: "I thought we were going to preach the Gospel? What happened?" Francis replied: "We preach the Gospel at all times, but use words only when necessary." Jesus will be manifested if we live our lives according to his Word. It doesn't take much, but I can say that people around you do get impacted if you are an active follower of Christ. I've experienced that, and it is awesome to have people feel comfort and inspiration from God through you, particularly when you aren't trying to do anything special at all.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • Spiffy

      So he was an idiot. How did anyone get the gospel preached to them if he didn't say anything?

      July 25, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • ace man

      Spiffy....do you really know what you're talking about?

      July 25, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • Spiffy

      So just by acting good you are preaching Jesus' word? The same could be said for many a religion. A lot of religions preach peace.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:44 am |
    • Eric

      What he meant was action speaks louder than words. The Book of James said faith without works is dead. So we must show our faith through our actions, we walk our talk. Because sadly there are lots of talkers around but never walks.

      July 25, 2011 at 4:15 am |
    • Eric

      For example, I'm saying I'm a Christian and yet I'm full of hatred, that's a sign that I'm not a real Christian. Sadly the word 'Christian' nowadays are just an overused label. So it's important to always read the Bible and check who's real and who's not.

      July 25, 2011 at 4:17 am |
    • Spiffy

      There are many interpretations of the bible. How do you know your interpretation is the correct one?

      Who are you to judge who is a Christian and who is not? Didn't Jesus say you shouldn't judge others lest you be judged? I don't think that judging is a very Christian thing to do. Thus you are not a Christian. Have you ever lied? Well according to your standards you are not a Christian.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  20. Scott

    I'm not sure I see the point of preaching christianity to muslims. Muslims already recognize Jesus as a prophet of Allah. They already "believe" in him and the vast majority of the non-radical ones would agree with his peaceful teachings. Jews, Christians and Muslims all worship the same God, the God of Abraham... Just in different ways, much like catholics and baptists worship the same God differently. Why all the fuss over the petty details?

    July 25, 2011 at 12:56 am |
    • Datboy

      The problem is the "different way" that Muslims practice their faith. Specifically the more extreme viewpoint that non-Muslims must either convert to Islam or die! That's not what I'd call just a "petty detail."

      July 25, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Spiffy

      All religion is at fault. Religion is the poison of human kind.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • Jacob

      Muslims and Christians believe in the same God? The Jesus of Islam is the same as Jesus of Christians? If you were to ask a Muslim "Who is Jesus to you?", you would get a very different answer then that of a Christian. If Jesus was just a prophet then He would no longer have the power to cleanse our sins and be the object of our Salvation. These two Jesus' paint a very different picture and yes it is very important on wich picture you believe in. Either your Jesus can save your soul or He can not. This goes for Christians, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims. You must understand there perception of "God", "Jesus", and "Salvation". Once you understand their views you will understand that they are very different from each other.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • Sathyavrath

      I am not sure I see the point of preaching to Hindus and Bhuddists either. Both these religions predate Christianity by a few thousand years and the teachings of Jesus are nothing but regurgitated Bhuddist ethics. The Sermon on the Mount was preached by Lao Tzu 600 years earlier, in language more precise and with much depth. So Christians should refer to these texts as well and stop trying to ship coal to NewCastle!!!

      July 25, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • Tika

      Datboy

      What does the Quran say about Christians and Jews?

      July 25, 2011 at 1:54 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75
Advertisement
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.