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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. Mickey

    Without Christianity there would be more Jews left in this world!!!

    Jesus and his followers brought no peace to his planet - they caused more murders and more anguish – including in their own churches! Catholics don't like Protestants, and other sects don't think other Christian believers are right – so they fight amongst themselves - then spew their anger out on Jews who refused to convert!!

    Without Jews believing what G-d supposedly said, there were be no laws or ethics or guide on how to live life with civility and decency.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  2. ahaak

    I had to blog my response. Too much to say. But here's the gist:

    (1) Thanks Carl for being gusty.
    (2) What is Carl proposing that the apostle Paul didn't live out?
    A. Lifestyle evangelism – get involved in the community and dialogue as you are able (Acts 18:1-4).
    B. Talk about Jesus with governing leaders (Acts 24-26).
    C. Love Jesus and let others inquire when they see your beliefs in action (Acts 16:25-34).

    http://ypinabby.blogspot.com/2011/07/cnn-why-we-should-stop-evangelizing.html

    July 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  3. terry

    The apostle Paul wrote Timothy at 2 Timothy:4:1,2 " I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is destined to judge the living and the dead, and by his manifestation and his Kingdon, preach the word, be at it urgently in favorable season, in troublesome season, reprove, reprimand, exhort, with all long-suffering and (art of) teaching.. He sums it up at vs.5 by saying. "you, though, keep your senses in all things, suffer evil, do (the) work of an evangelizer, fully accomplish your ministry.
    We all know how this was received among some people of the nations, but as a results of this "evangelizing" or "preaching" the good news of God's Kingdom was spread throughout the world. This was Jesus Christ' command for all true Christians.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  4. dentate

    "why don’t we simply invite people to follow Jesus "...

    what, on Twitter?

    July 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Kat6850

      Very funny, nice work.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  5. Ike

    The problem with this is that Christians are called to evengalize, some by becoming evangelist and some by just talking to others. Actually Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the light. No one can come to the Father, but through me." If you are not talking to others about Jesus to convert them to Jesus, then you do not have thier best interest at heart. Are there militant Christans, even in America? Yes, but they ae isolated groups. The militant Muslim groups are not isolated groups, but mainstream in many countries. And the problem is that while Muslims do believe that Jesus was just another prophet, He is not the True Prophet and if you don't follow the True Prophet, then you are dog and an infidel. Jesus came declaring himself as not just a prophet, but the Son of God, which is heresy to the Muslims and worthy of death according to the Koran. I challenge Carl Medearis to walk with a cross or a Bible down main street in Somalia, Iran, Syria, etc. He would not come out alive. You can walk down mainstreet in just about any conservative town in America and you will not have this problem. The Bible never says that God or Jesus hates people, but hates the sinful actions of people, on this people are judged. People were called to the unity of "the faith", which was the doctrine of Christ and the Apostes, but not the unity of "any faith." To the Jews Jesus was a heretic and to the Romans he was disruptive of the Jews, He made many people angry, but Jesus never swayed from delivering his message of truth and hope. Paul was beaten constatnly for his troubles of evangalism. Carl Medearis is a person without conviction and might as well call himself a agnostic.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  6. James Reavis

    Evangelism refers to the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs. The problem is these beliefs are from a man made religion, not from Christianity. If we want to win ppl to Christ, we have to love like Jesus, unconditionally, regardless of ethnic background, color, or financial status. The parable of the good samaritan is a perfect example.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  7. Biggieron

    You know Carl I want you to notice something...out of all the people who agree with what you are saying here over 90% of them are Atheist or Agnostic. Do you honestly think if you spoke of Jesus Christ the way he spoke of himself, the Son of God and the only way to eternal life, that they would all still agree with you?

    It's a lot easier to just say Jesus was a swell guy. Funny I don't remember Christ telling us or any of his disciples to spread the news that he is a "swell guy" in the bible.

    I understand that it's peoples choice to believe whether the bible is truth, or just a stupid old tome that morons follow. God gave individuals free will so i have no right to take that ability for choice away. But what you are doing is delivering a false message supported by no scripture. You're not even giving people a chance to chose, because the Christ you present never existed. And it's Certainly not the Christ who called himself the Son of God and the way the truth and the light in the bible.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Bruce

      "I understand that it's peoples choice to believe whether the bible is truth, or just a stupid old tome that morons follow."

      Really? You think that this is a choice? You really think that anybody can just choose one or the other by flicking some internal switch?

      July 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • waves

      Please demonstrate that your god exists with actual evidence. To leave some out before you even start: the bible is not evidence, the bible is evidence that people told stories and wrote them down; Love is not evidence of a divine being, there are perfectly natural reasons for such an abstract idea to exists, as well as all the other abstracts such as good/evil, etc. And anything we do not know an answer yet, as to where the matter that formed the universe, is also not evidence of a god, but really just means that we don't know.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Frank

      @ Waves

      First of all, to dismiss the Bible as a historical text in my opinion is a difficult argument to make. The book was a recording of generations for thousands of year's of history. But ok, I will take your bait and just look to the natural world.

      If everything is simply chance and a product of natural selection, why is it that you care to debate whether there is or is not a God? If it truly did not matter, what difference would it make?

      I will just say that everytime I look at the natural world it doesn't scream natural selection, it honestly declares a creativity and beauty that defies logic.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  8. Bruce

    To the Christians who can't understand why atheists like myself cannot believe the Jesus stories without some form of proof and mark my disbelief as a form of rejection of the Christ, I ask you this: what if Jesus acted that way to Thomas?

    The fact is that nothing prepared the Apostles for Jesus' resurrection, even the fact that Jesus told them that he would die and rise on the third day (sure, he put it in parable-like language and spoke of a "temple," but there wasn't a single one of them who was unsurprised by his return). Stop pretending that atheists today must leap higher bars of incredulity than were required by Jesus' own Apostles in order to "come to the Father... by me" from John 14:6. It's just silly, and wrong, and you are actually being a discouragement and an impediment to conversion rather than salt and light.

    (And you are probably in deep deep denial about your own personal problems with incredulity, at the end of the day...)

    July 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  9. Alexishere

    The writer says: "I speak of Jesus everywhere I go and with everyone I meet." How utterly boring. And yet he says he's "no longer obsessed with converting people to Christianity." Sheesh, man, isn't there anything else in the world that flags your interest other than YOUR OWN RELIGION? Just a social tip, most people don't want to talk about religion because it's boooooring. It's also private, so keep it to yourself. And one more thing, that pic shows you smiling happily with a TERRORIST. That's not to be applauded, it's to be pitied.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  10. Frank

    Interesting article, first of all I don't necessarily agree with the premise that evangelism=crazy religious fanatics. While it is true that many evangelists are way out there the idea of evangelizing is to bring the "good news," I.E. the story of Jesus. So to say that we should stop "evangelizing" is a bit overstated in my opinion.

    I will say I do appreciate the softer approach for talking about Jesus. There is no easier way to turn someone off to the only hope I have then to tell someone that there is only one way to think and see the world.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  11. Evangel

    Evangel-the good tidings of the redemption of the world through Jesus Christ; the gospel.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  12. Chuck

    Some of the most refreshing words I've ever read coming from an evangelical, although I remain wary of most organized religions, especially those that actively proselytize.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • J

      Such as? and why wary? that's pure paranoya lol

      July 25, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  13. Lou

    The problem, my dear Mr. Evangelist, is that Jesus does not provide the world with anything it wants or needs. In fact Christianity as a whole is harmful to humanity. So why would somebody "love, trust: or follow Jesus" unless they are forced, tricked, usurped, brainwashed, scared, or made dependent upon Jesus?

    July 25, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Frank

      How is Jesus harmful to society?

      July 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Kat6850

      Hello Lou,
      In one of the accounts of Christ's life Jesus says "you shall know the truth and the truth will make you free." It seems that an attempt to bring freedom to humans is a fairly good goal. Even something we need.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  14. tdmac

    "Evangelical Christians" strike a similar chord of fear for me as "Radical Muslims". Closed, single-minded and uniformed. Jesus the Uniter!

    July 25, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Jesus wasn't the uniter. Actually, if you look at it, He was there create seperation. Those who followed Him and those who didn't. He split the Jews up – the Pharisees and the believers. He broke apart pre-established guidelines and behaviors and raised the bar. Jesus shook things up...so much so, they killed Him for it.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  15. Denise

    Evangenlize all you want. I'll continue to tune you out but will call you to task when you don't walk the walk and belittle, dismiss, and insult those that don't agree with you. It is exactly that type of behavior that makes evangelicals hypocritical.
    What's that oldie but goodie saying evangelicals quote that apply to them too..."there are none so blind as those who will not see".. Yeah, that one.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Nympha

      Your comment itself is hypocritical in nature. You can't take it but can dish it out? A Christian can't speak to you but you can speak to them?

      July 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  16. shankar

    Problem with both Christians and Muslims is that they are bent on "saving" convert people. Both are morons!!

    July 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Kat6850

      If you believe that there is a real after life that involves true justice then the only kind thing you can do is try to get people to see that. It is the same as stopping a blind person from stepping into oncoming traffic

      July 25, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  17. Linda

    I grew up in a church that evangalized, but it wasn't to join that specific denomination it was to believe in Jesus. I am sorry so many people get caught in the fact they have to be part of a specific religion to go to heaven.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  18. Kat6850

    Evangeilism does not = forced conversion. Evangelism is about life styles that make Christ attractive on the one hand. On the other hand it is about telling people the truth about their state (i.e. the woman at the well). We are simply robbing ourselves of the language to express our faith by the PC lengths to which we go to be inoffensive. According to the NT the Gospel will be an offense to people. Although that is no reason to act offensively.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  19. mort

    Wow, religion really HAS been screwing things up for thousands of years. Just think of how great the world would be today without religion.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Kat6850

      Sure, without Christianity we would still have slavery in the West. Without Christianity we would still be in a Scientific Dark Age. Without Christianity women would still be chattel. Without Christianity our present Western laws would closely resemble Sharia. Without Christianity our governments would all look a good deal like Russia and China (??? millions dead in purges and prison camps).

      July 25, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Derek

      I I think south park made a good enough point about that... people would still be divided on issues and quibble over stupid crap even if there were no religion. There would still be gangs and outlaws and murderers and thieves.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • tanana

      You got it backwards – that's why the world is the way it is today because they forsake the gospel. Heavens forbid I should speak anything about Jesus, or they will turn on me. It wasn't like that decades ago.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Laughing

      @Kat

      First, I think he said a world without RELIGION, not just christianity and secondly...all that stuff you just named, christianity is what CAUSED those things, it was liberal, radical people that pulled us out of those dark times and FOUGHT the church. Thank jeebus we had people willing to stand up against the church and fight for women's rights, further science (even when it went against church doctrine)

      Also, you think a secular world HAS to be communist? are you willfully ignorant or are you really just that stupid?

      July 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Dam

      Kat6850 – U r a classic example how stupid & ignorant religous people are. Slavery was considered okay by the evangelical people until 100 years ago. Most scientists were persecuted by the church. For example Galileo was jailed bcoz he proved that the earth is round and it is not the centre of the universe as the bible stated. The bible is a some mumbo jumbo written by some ignorant people to brainwash morons like u. No wonder u have no knowledge of history of Gailileo & his persecution by the church. The fact that the earth was round and it is not the centre of universe was known to Indians/Chineese 400 years before Christ was even born but the people who wrote bible were retards just like u. Even today Christainity preaches that earth is only 4000 yrs old and all that nonsense about Adam/Eve when Darwins theory of evolution has clearly proven all that to be garbage.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Robbo

      KAT6850 is correct. It is not about religion, religion is just a word that equates to what someone believes in; what belief system guides and directs their lives. Atheism is a belief system. Communism: Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung led regimes that sought to remove God from every aspect of society. What were we left with in those regimes? A great moral void that produced mass murder, genocidal complicity, and a homicidal totalitarianism on a massive scale unprededented in the sheer numbers of people affected; by far more than all "religious" motivated murders in all of human history. This is true, you can look up the numbers yourself. Atheism is a lie from the Father of lies and has killed more people and caused more horror in the world than any other belief system. With the very intellect and mouth God has given you atheists, you deny your own creator. How intelligent is it to believe that you are a product of chemical chance. Do you really believe that from nothing came everything? That non-life produces life? That randomness produces fine tuning? That non-conciousness produces consciousness? Non-reason produces reason? That is what you have to believe if you are consider yourself an atheist. It takes more faith, blind faith at that, to believe in such adult fairy tales. God is obvious, he is necessary, he is, was, and always shall be. We may be better off without "Religion" but we are not better off without God. History has proved that over and over again. "Wake up oh sleeper and Christ will shine on you"

      July 25, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Kat6850

      Most scientists were persecuted by the church. For example Galileo was jailed bcoz he proved that the earth is round and it is not the centre of the universe as the bible stated.

      Actually, most early early scientific discoveries were made by men who were Christians.(don't have time for a lot of details). Galileo actually debunked the geocentric theory (earth as center of the universe). Few people of any stripe believed the earth was flat. The Bible nowhere states the the earth is the center of the universe, that was a idea that the church adopted from the Greeks. Unfortunately they did put poor Galileo under house arrest for a few months, which was a pretty dumb thing to do.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Laughing

      @Kat
      They more than just put him under house arrest for some months, it was for the rest of Gallelio's life. And yes, a lot of scientists were christians......because being an atheist meant death in those days. We all have our roles to play and for scientist to practice, they had to be christians. You can see, most science debunks christianity and god, which is why the science community is comprised of mostly atheists.

      @Robbo
      Well you're whole point is idiotic and moot within your first couple of lines, "Atheism is a belief system" .... no, no it is not. It is a lack of belief in a god or gods. That's it. There's no system there, there are no other things that you have to do or believe in in order to be an atheist. Then you equate atheism to communism as if athesim caused communism..... no, that is false. Communism was bigger than just "no religion" it's very complex and the biggest reason WHY there is no religion is because all authority needed to go to the politburo, or central governing agency in a communist country. To say that because there was lack of belief in communist countries was the cause of mass death is just deluding yourself into think that religion is less evil than atheism. Then you go off on some rant about non-somethings producing a something. Question, where did god come from? Nothing? what did he create the world out of? Nothing? Oh yeah, I forgot, god is god so don't question any further. He's really powerful so he can do it. Sorry, I don't buy it. That seems probably the most unbelievable thing out of all the theories proposed thus far. You also have the gall to tell people what they believe in and then use the words "adult fairy tale" seriously? What sounds more outlandish:
      1. So there's this guy and whenever he speaks, things magically appear. He got bored and so he made the universe and a planet in that universe. Then he made people and gave them free will so they'd kiss his as.s willingly and then put them in paradise with a tree that if you ate from it you'd get smart, but man wasn't allowed to be smart, because god would rather us kiss is as.s willingly. Man ate it anyways and so now god punishes us forever more because we're smart. He also for some reason loves us, fuc.ked a woman so he could turn into a baby, get born and then 33 years later get crucified because he loves us so much the only way to forgive humanity was make them crucify him.....

      or 2. Throug DIRECT OBSERVATION we've seen galaxies form and die, stars supernova and from those supernova form new stars and planets to orbit around them. We theorize that it all started from an infestismal point of energy so intense it blew. This comes from seeing the earliest galaxies in existance seconds after this bang, we see planets and galaxies affected by such a big explosion that they are all moving away from a singular point. We've detected literally, water trillions the size of all the water on earth, in a single quasar, and have figured out how planets form. We've come to understand so far through DIRECT OBERSVATION that there are fossils that point to the likelihood that we evolved from primates and that the animals around us have all evolved as well.

      Now tell me, which one sounds more practical?

      July 25, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Kat6850

      dear laughing,
      "...all that stuff you just named, christianity is what CAUSED those things, it was liberal, radical people that pulled us out of those dark times "

      I did mention Sharia Law which is not a Christian concept. I think if you read history carefully you will see that there are more shades of gray than your rather black and white approach indicates. Now I am a protestant and I think the Catholics did get a little carried away with their approach to conversion. Not that Protestants have always been shining examples of Christ's love. But the predation of both Catholics and Protestants is simply dwarfed by the overwhelming numbers of dead people created by Marxian "liberal, radical" philosophy (and most other governmental forms).

      Historically, there are very few governmental forms who do not protect their own prerogatives over those of the people who they rule. I would chalk this up to man's fallen state, which only Christ can fix.

      One example of what I am talking about when I maintain that Christianity (not religion) is a positive factor is William Wilberforce who devoted much of his life to abolishing slavery in the British Empire and finally accomplished that task. There are men like George Muller who provided thousands of orphans with a homes in 19th century Britain. I could give you many such examples, but this is probably not the forum for lengthy discussions.
      In short, we often think in broad generalities about things we know little about. This is understandable given the detestable state of modern historical methods. I hope you will try to approach the subject with a more open mind and listen to voices that are usually drowned out by popular sentiment.
      Kat

      July 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Charles

      laughing,

      Lay off the pot buddy!
      DIRECT OBSERVATION? There is still the tiny question of, "WHERE DID THAT POINT COME FROM?" The big bang DOES NOT say anywhere, anyhow that God did not create the universe. PERIOD. Please don't spread that lie.

      DIRECT OBSERVATION? There is no link between humans and any (YES I SAID ANY) primate. Evolution fails to address to keys issues. 1) Amino acids wills not form without a living cell to form in so the first amino acid formed in an already living cell. Where did that living cell come from?
      2) Where is the direct link between humans and primates? SOME scientist say we are only missing one link BUT that is not scientific fact. It is theory only since scientist cannot find that link. Also if we evolved from primates, why haven't we seen this same evolution in modern history?

      Which is more plausible, God created humans or a monkey scratched his butt and turned into a human?

      July 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Laughing

      @Kat

      Well that was certainly a breath of fresh air after your horrendously stupid posts from earlier. When I say christianity, I don't every single christian that has ever lived, ever in the history of the world. To ignore all the beneficial things that christians have done for people would require me to live under a rock for my entire life. However, christian doctrine, and the vatican and different christians leaders have incited such violence and hate, it's hard to ignore the horrific stuff that christians have done as well. Basically, whenever I think about christianity (and religion in general) it comes down to this. Good people will do good things regardless of what religion tells them to do. Bad people will do bad things no matter what religion they twist to justify their actions. Where religion starts becoming murky and a problem is the neutral people who may have no problem one way or another but are forced to hate specific people because their doctrine tells them to (gay people, abortionists, people doing stem cell research).

      Marxist philosophy might have an incredibly bloody history, but no more so than christianity. Marxism in actualality is a beautiful concept: Everyone united as humans, share everything and try to never hate their neighbor because they are a fellow commrad.....Sounds like christianity right? Well marxism and the offshoot communism doesn't work in real life and neither does practicing perfect christianity, yet people place one purely in the evil category and the other in the always good category.

      I've been doing my homework for a while now and pride myself in never letting someone make up my mind for me and letting myself come to my own conclusions....care to join me? The water is just fine.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Laughing

      @ Charles

      Typical, ignore the "where did god come from" part and focus on, "where did a point of energy come from?". I can easily and humbly admit that I have no idea. There's a theory that the universe is forever expanding and then at one point stops and contracts back into a tiny point until it becomes so small and concentrated that it bursts forth again. I also never said god didn't create the universe, and yet if you believe the bible to be factual, then the way creation is described in the judeo-christian bible is false. I don't have belief that any sort of being was the one to create the universe, but I do have very very strong doubts that it's the christian god that you think can do no wrong.

      It's too bad that you can't do any research, so let me help you. You want evidence we come from primates? Let's look at old fossils, genetics, vestigal organs, ect...., seems like we have A LOT in common huh?

      As for amino acids forming from nothing... when did I say that exactly? That's one theory I can agree that might be false. Then again you might want to read a book called "A History of Nearly Everything" in which a scientist did actually create a synthetic amino acid by attempting to recreate the "primodial ooze" that we are thought to have come from. Crazy when you do a little reading instead of being spponfed answers from a pastor huh?

      "Also if we evolved from primates, why haven't we seen this same evolution in modern history?Which is more plausible, God created humans or a monkey scratched his butt and turned into a human?"

      Your last comments are breathtakingly stupid. Seriously, I'm still picking my jaw up from the ground. What evolution in modern history are you asking about exactly? Do you believe that in the next couple of years we should start seeing mutations in man and other animals around the globe so that in only a couple of years we won't be recognizable human anymore? You can't be that dumb (I hope) but I urge to actually read about the theories you're arguing against before making nonsensical statements.

      lastly, a monkey scratching his butt and becomes human? I'm sorry, are you so enlightened that you don't scratch your as.s anymore? Look around buddy, humans are just overgrown apes with bigger brains and less hair. You wanna know how primates become man? Look at the skull and the capacity for thought. Out race's adaptive quality was to get smart enough to outthink our predators and prey so we could become king of the food chain, but at the end of the day we still scratch our as.ses, poop, and have other ape-like tendencies. It's either that, or as you put it we're just mud. I'll take coming from a living, breathing and thinking creature from some mud that god decided should worship him.

      July 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Charles

      @ laughing,

      A lot in common and proof we come from are vastly different things. Genetics show that humans and primates ARE NOT THE SAME! That is all genetics can show. Anything beyond that (i.e. we evolved from primates) is speculation and therefore very much not to be considered the answer to where humans came from. If you want to believe you came from a monkey then be my guest. Sadly that is not a fact that can be proven.

      The scientist last name was Miller and he created amino acids by placing a charge through water (crazy what happens when you're talking to an educated person). The failure in his experiment was that the amino acids he created were both left and right handed. These do not pair correctly to form protiens. Maybe you should do a little more reading on the subject. Your lack of knowledge is astounding considering you have an opinion about everything.

      My question on evolution is valid. Is there any evidence of any creature showing macro level evolution since the beginning of recorded history? You run from this question because you know that if evolution is the way humans evolved, then it should still be occuring today. All I ask for is proof, not conjecture.

      Overgrown apes? Talk about a stretch. Where is your proof? Don't give me generalized statements "humans are just overgrown apes with bigger brains and less hair." Show me a link.

      No, I never said we were mud. That would be evolution's theory on man. Even if you believe in evolution (as I suspect you do), then please answer one question: where did the "primordial ooze" come from? You still come back to one answer: GOD.

      July 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Kat6850

      Laughing,
      "Marxist philosophy might have an incredibly bloody history, but no more so than christianity. Marxism in actualality is a beautiful concept: Everyone united as humans, share everything and try to never hate their neighbor because they are a fellow commrad.....Sounds like christianity right? Well marxism and the offshoot communism doesn't work in real life and neither does practicing perfect christianity, yet people place one purely in the evil category and the other in the always good category."

      On points, to be terribly macabre, Marxism is way ahead of Christianity. Russian estimates as high as 30-40 million dead and Chinese estimates even higher. (Obviously, these numbers are difficult to verify.) Christianity, hasn't any where near that number. Now I will maintain also that Christians (or those that claim to be) can be pretty stupid and vicious. A good example is the "Inquisition" of Catholic fame. If you go back and look carefully, you find that there were not more than a few hundred people who were imprisoned and fewer who were executed. Most people think of the Inquisitors running around killing everyone who happened to be accused with body counts in the millions.

      On Marx, if you read the book of Acts in the New Testament, you will find where some people think he got the thought. It is certainly a good idea, but it didn't work for long for the Christians in the early church and it will work badly for non-christians. As has been amply demonstrated by Communist history. That is because people who are inherently bad will be bad unless they have something done to them to make them desire the good. That is not to say that there are many non-christian people who are honestly better human beings than many professing and real Christians. Christ said that he came to those who need a doctor, not to those who don't think they are sick. So it's no wonder the church is full of people who have issues. Those are the ones who He came to help.
      Your discussion has been bracing, I with we could go on, but alas I have to go. Maybe some other time.
      Kat6850

      July 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Laughing

      @Charles

      Always refreshing to trade barbs with a person who seems to know what he's talking about, though it makes me sad to see that you have somehow still deluded yourself into believing in god.

      You are correct, it's speculation that we came from apes because we haven't found "the missing link" that apparently makes evolution fall into complete shambles. Also, I don't believe I came from a monkey, I think we evolved from Apes, which is different and an important disctinction.

      As for Millers experiement
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller-Urey_experiment
      Amazing what a google search can do huh?
      Sure, it's experiements and conjecture with hypothesis but hey, at least they're still trying unlike the intellectually lazy who have sinced stopped because the apparent answer is "god did it"
      What exactly should I be looking for in this micro evolution today? Mutations? sure they happen all the time, mutations are what take us on to different forms once the genes become dominant, you want to see evolution in progress, just see all the weird mutations that have been going on just in the past 5 years. Some call it evolution, mutation, or what have you, just keep in mind, evolution does not always mean we're evolving into something "better" because better is a relative term. We're evolving as quickly as humanly possible to fit new stresses on an environment. If you're looking for people to start being born with extra digits so we're able to type faster on computers, then you're going to be waiting for quite a long time before that becomes a dominant trait my friend.

      I know you never said we were mud, the bible did. god took mud and made man so we could worship him. Sounds kind of fishy..... don't ya think? Then again an educated person like you can never be wrong so that makes perfect sense, I think after this I'll go outside and start making clay people, maybe I believe hard enough I can make my very own clay people to worship me!

      Where did the promordial ooze come from? Easy, the sun, everything in in our solar system is just a remenant of the sun. Anymore brainbusters?

      July 25, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Laughing

      @ Kat

      More's the pity. I'll answer, just because I have a tendency to try and get the last word, but I understand you won't be able to answer. You can't really look at christianity's evil effects on history in only short instances, nor can you count the amount of people killed on a daily basis for being a heretic right as Rome became the Holy Roman Empire up till now. Communism in Russia had a relatively short lifespan and China is still going at it, though you could argue they've perverted communism so much with capitalism you can't really call them communists anymore.

      As for evil people becoming good because of christianity, eh.... that's shaky at best. Sure there are people who have reformed their ways because they sought absolution, but who's to say these people wouldn't have reformed without religion? Lets look at the prison population – how many of them are christians? An overwhelming number. Now how many became christians while in prison – probably a good amount because they seek forgiveness and instead of getting it from their victims and the families, these criminals can rest comfortably knowing that god forgives them even if these people don't. Personally I find that repulsive even if these criminals get out and actually do get their act togther. But hey, to each his own right?

      July 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • fred

      Laughing,
      You said: "You can see, most science debunks Christianity and god, which is why the science community is comprised of mostly atheists."
      I know a few that keep their Christianity hidden just to avoid the ridicule and distraction at work. You have no empirical data that God does not exist thus you cannot be a true scientist and maintain your positions

      July 25, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Laughing

      @fred

      So because I said most of the scientific community is atheist you decided to say that there are some people hiding their faith in the scientific community because they face ridicule? First, I never said every scientist is an atheist, so thanks for that useless anecdote. Secondly, I know you're a regular so why the heck do you still keep asking for proof of something that DOESN"T EXIST, remember all those posts about burden of proof? yeah, prove to me there is a god. I have yet to find any proof that would prove his existence thus I have come to the conclusion that there is mostly likely no god. Also, never claimed to be a scientist but I still maintain my position.

      July 25, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • Fin

      " Atheism is a belief system"

      Wrong, wrong and wrong again........ atheism is a LACK OF BELIEF, not a "belief system"

      August 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  20. o.k.

    "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers." Ephesians 4:11. I didn't cite this verse for the unbelievers (I know you don't care and don't want to hear it)–but rather for those who profess belief in Jesus, yet refuse his teachings. We can't simply give up on evangelizing because one of our brothers believes it is not working.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • George

      I agree... and very well said!

      July 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
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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.