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July 31st, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Do you speak Christian?

Editor's note: Kirby Ferguson is a New York-based writer, filmmaker and speaker who created the web video series Everything is a Remix. His videos, like the one above, can be found on Vimeo, an online community where artists share their films.

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - Can you speak Christian?

Have you told anyone “I’m born again?” Have you “walked the aisle” to “pray the prayer?”

Did you ever “name and claim” something and, after getting it, announce, “I’m highly blessed and favored?”

Many Americans are bilingual. They speak a secular language of sports talk, celebrity gossip and current events. But mention religion and some become armchair preachers who pepper their conversations with popular Christian words and trendy theological phrases.

If this is you, some Christian pastors and scholars have some bad news: You may not know what you’re talking about. They say that many contemporary Christians have become pious parrots. They constantly repeat Christian phrases that they don’t understand or distort.

Marcus Borg, an Episcopal theologian, calls this practice “speaking Christian.” He says he heard so many people misusing terms such as “born again” and “salvation” that he wrote a book about the practice.

People who speak Christian aren’t just mangling religious terminology, he says. They’re also inventing counterfeit Christian terms such as “the rapture” as if they were a part of essential church teaching.

The rapture, a phrase used to describe the sudden transport of true Christians to heaven while the rest of humanity is left behind to suffer, actually contradicts historic Christian teaching, Borg says.

“The rapture is a recent invention. Nobody had thought of what is now known as the rapture until about 1850,” says Borg, canon theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon.

How politicians speak Christian

Speaking Christian isn’t confined to religion. It’s infiltrated politics.

Political candidates have to learn how to speak Christian to win elections, says Bill Leonard, a professor of church history at Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity in North Carolina.

One of our greatest presidents learned this early in his career. Abraham Lincoln was running for Congress when his opponent accused him of not being a Christian. Lincoln often referred to the Bible in his speeches, but he never joined a church or said he was born again like his congressional opponent, Leonard says.

"Lincoln was less specific about his own experience and, while he used biblical language, it was less distinctively Christian or conversionistic than many of the evangelical preachers thought it should be,” Leonard says.

Lincoln won that congressional election, but the accusation stuck with him until his death, Leonard says.

One recent president, though, knew how to speak Christian fluently.

During his 2003 State of the Union address, George W. Bush baffled some listeners when he declared that there was “wonder-working power” in the goodness of American people.

Evangelical ears, though, perked up at that phrase. It was an evangelical favorite, drawn from a popular 19th century revival hymn about the wonder-working power of Christ called “In the Precious Blood of the Lamb.”

Leonard says Bush was sending a coded message to evangelical voters: I’m one of you.

“The code says that one: I’m inside the community. And two: These are the linguistic ways that I show I believe what is required of me,” Leonard says.

Have you ‘named it and claimed it'?

Ordinary Christians do what Bush did all the time, Leonard says. They use coded Christian terms like verbal passports - flashing them gains you admittance to certain Christian communities.

Say you’ve met someone who is Pentecostal or charismatic, a group whose members believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as healing and speaking in tongues. If you want to signal to that person that you share their belief, you start talking about “receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost” or getting the “second blessings,” Leonard says.

Translation: Getting a baptism by water or sprinkling isn’t enough for some Pentecostals and charismatics. A person needs a baptism “in the spirit” to validate their Christian credentials.

Or say you’ve been invited to a megachurch that proclaims the prosperity theology (God will bless the faithful with wealth and health). You may hear what sounds like a new language.

Prosperity Christians don’t say “I want that new Mercedes.” They say they are going to “believe for a new Mercedes.” They don’t say “I want a promotion.” They say I “name and claim” a promotion.

The rationale behind both phrases is that what one speaks aloud in faith will come to pass. The prosperity dialect has become so popular that Leonard has added his own wrinkle.

“I call it ‘name it, claim it, grab it and have it,’ ’’ he says with a chuckle.

Some forms of speaking Christian, though, can become obsolete through lack of use.

Few contemporary pastors use the language of damnation - “turn or burn,” converting “the pagans” or warning people they’re going to hit “hell wide open” - because it’s considered too polarizing, Leonard says. The language of “walking the aisle” is also fading, Leonard says.

Appalachian and Southern Christians often told stories about staggering into church and walking forward during the altar call to say the “sinner’s prayer” during revival services that would often last for several weeks.

“People ‘testified’ to holding on to the pew until their knuckles turned white, fighting salvation all the way,” Leonard says. “You were in the back of the church, and you fought being saved.”

Contemporary churchgoers, though, no longer have time to take that walk, Leonard says. They consider their lives too busy for long revival services and extended altar calls. Many churches are either jettisoning or streamlining the altar call, Leonard says.

“You got soccer, you got PTA, you got family responsibilities - the culture just won’t sustain it as it once did,” Leonard says.

Even some of the most basic religious words are in jeopardy because of overuse.

Calling yourself a Christian, for example, is no longer cool among evangelicals on college campuses, says Robert Crosby, a theology professor at Southeastern University in Florida.

“Fewer believers are referring to themselves these days as ‘Christian,’ ” Crosby says. “More are using terms such as ‘Christ follower.’ This is due to the fact that the more generic term, Christian, has come to be used within religious and even political ways to refer to a voting bloc.”

What’s at stake

Speaking Christian correctly may seem like it’s just a fuss over semantics, but it’s ultimately about something bigger: defining Christianity, says Borg, author of “Speaking Christian.”

Christians use common words and phrases in hymns, prayers and sermons “to connect their religion to their life in the world,” Borg says.

“Speaking Christian is an umbrella term for not only knowing the words, but understanding them,” Borg says. “It’s knowing the basic vocabulary, knowing the basic stories.”

When Christians forget what their words mean, they forget what their faith means, Borg says.

Consider the word “salvation.” Most Christians use the words "salvation" or "saved" to talk about being rescued from sin or going to heaven, Borg says.

Yet salvation in the Bible is seldom confined to an afterlife. Those characters in the Bible who invoked the word salvation used it to describe the passage from injustice to justice, like the Israelites’ liberation from Egyptian bondage, Borg says.

“The Bible knows that powerful and wealthy elites commonly structure the world in their own self-interest. Pharaoh and Herod and Caesar are still with us. From them we need to be saved,” Borg writes.

And when Christians forget what their faith means, they get duped by trendy terms such as the rapture that have little to do with historical Christianity, he says.

The rapture has become an accepted part of the Christian vocabulary with the publication of the megaselling “Left Behind” novels and a heavily publicized prediction earlier this year by a Christian radio broadcaster that the rapture would occur in May.

But the notion that Christians will abandon the Earth to meet Jesus in the clouds while others are left behind to suffer is not traditional Christian teaching, Borg says.

He says it was first proclaimed by John Nelson Darby, a 19th century British evangelist, who thought of it after reading a New Testament passage in the first book of Thessalonians that described true believers being “caught up in the clouds together” with Jesus.

Christianity’s focus has long been about ushering in God’s kingdom “on Earth, not just in heaven,” Borg says.

“Christianity’s goal is not to escape from this world. It loves this world and seeks to change it for the better,” he writes.

For now, though, Borg and others are also focusing on changing how Christians talk about their faith.

If you don’t want to speak Christian, they say, pay attention to how Christianity’s founder spoke. Jesus spoke in a way that drew people in, says Leonard, the Wake Forest professor.

“He used stories, parables and metaphors,” Leonard says. “He communicated in images that both the religious folks and nonreligious folks of his day understand.”

When Christians develop their own private language for one another, they forget how Jesus made faith accessible to ordinary people, he says.

“Speaking Christian can become a way of suggesting a kind of spiritual status that others don’t have,” he says. “It communicates a kind of spiritual elitism that holds the spiritually ‘unwashed’ at arm’s length."

By that time, they’ve reached the final stage of speaking Christian - they've become spiritual snobs.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Episcopal • Faith • Fundamentalism • Politics • Uncategorized

soundoff (3,878 Responses)
  1. yojimbo

    oh yeah David that seems fair! but to tell you the truth I'm not worried, any more than I am worried that I will be punished by Shiva,Thor Wotan Zeus,Isis, or Gitchemanito the mighty

    July 31, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  2. yogaenthusiast

    religion is truly the root of all evil. So many over the centuries have died because of i. The less religion the better.

    July 31, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  3. shughy

    The fact that Christianity is held up with much ridicule in this article is not new or surprising. It is to be expected from those who do not know God, Christians or the Bible; you will note that not one reference is quoted directly from the Bible itself. These are the times to expect this kind of language and discourse about God, these are the endtimes and the Enemy is working overtime. Credence must be given to the writer in one area though in that Christendom has failed in some ways to properly "speak" or represent Christ from their pulpits and daily walk; some spew out false doctrine and self-serving "religiosity" that one cannot be surprised that the Enemy (Satan) is now using those same words and actions to accuse them through writers such as we see here. It is of utmost importance that you know the truth however, not so that you the reader can be "controlled" but that you may know Christ the Savior before you ultimately meet Him as Christ the Judge. I love you enough to tell you this so listen up! Christ, the Author of Salvation himself said "I go to prepare a place for you... in my Father's house are many mansions".John 14:1-3. Revelations talks about the end of this world as we know it and the establishment of a new heaven and a new earth. Christ did not come to save mankind from Rome or Pilate or Herod. He came because God loved mankind, but because we are ALL born sinners and can't approach a holy, pure God in our sinful state, Jesus had to come to die so that His innocent blood might act as a shield to cover us and make us acceptable to God again Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, John 3:16. The Jews understood as the writer's sources did and did not want to rock the boat with Rome so they jockeyed to have Him killed only Christ allowed Himself to be crucified because that was His plan from the beginning. Christianity DOES NOT LOVE THIS WORLD. We are exhorted by Paul in Romans 12:2 that we should stand apart by the renewing of our minds, you call it being a religious snob Paul calls it taking on the character of God and Peter 2:9 calls it recognizing that Christians are a royal priesthood, a chosen spiritual race. Satan is described as the Prince of this world John 12:31, so to say Christians love this world is to say that Christians love Satan...or is that what you meant to say? All in all the writer and others who decide to distort the Bible with their "philosophy" are like those decribed in 1Corinthians 1:18-25 and Romans 1:18-21 and this time when you actually read the Bible, my hope is that you will allow the Holy Spirit to speak the truth to you instead of you letting the Enemy of your soul use you for his own destructive purposes. Be not fooled, this is a spiritual matter and the writer is being used by the Enemy to make his case before his inevitable end comes. Now you know the truth, so as Revelations 3:22 says "let him who has ears let him hear".

    July 31, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Team Apologetics

      What is it with you people and your aversion to paragraphs? It's like another religion with you. If you use paragraphs god will roast you in hell!

      July 31, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Andrew

      First, your block of text is annoying. What is it with the very devout and horrid punctuation skills? The English language contains this device, it's quite useful for separating out ideas in a visually pleasing manner. They are called 'paragraphs'. If you want people to read your writing, it is generally good practice to write in a manner that is visually easier to read.

      Second, everything you've said here is a declaration of faith, rather than a substantial argument. It would be tantamount to me quoting the Vedas, and then condemning you for your lack of belief in Lord Shiva, or Lord Vishnu. An argument based entirely on the bible will sway only the very feeble minded, as anyone with an ounce of intellect would understand that your argument is circular.

      "Read the Vedas, my hope is you will be awestruck by the grace that is Brahma, god of creation!"

      Your argument is weak.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Shalisa

      Professor Borg is not making fun of anything. He is a careful scholar and Christian apologist. Get your facts straight. And learn how a paragraph works.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • Da King

      You got em good shughy. You gave them scripture, thank you and the complained about your writing structure. That is very cool. Blessings to you shughy. Someday their soles will see.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • i_wonder

      Team,

      The "Holy Spirit" is a very poor communicator. I guess he's getting better at it though - he used to write without even any spaces between the words. :)

      July 31, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • Da Queen

      Da King, reading is not something you have mastered. You obviously misses this part:

      Second, everything you've said here is a declaration of faith, rather than a substantial argument. It would be tantamount to me quoting the Vedas, and then condemning you for your lack of belief in Lord Shiva, or Lord Vishnu. An argument based entirely on the bible will sway only the very feeble minded, as anyone with an ounce of intellect would understand that your argument is circular.

      "Read the Vedas, my hope is you will be awestruck by the grace that is Brahma, god of creation!"

      Your argument is weak.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • shughy

      @Team, Shalisa and Andrew. I sincerely apologize for my weak grammatical skills that it has caused you to react in such a lively way.

      You are correct when you say that my argument is based on faith in the Bible. The entire premise of Chistianity is based on faith without which it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:1. My purpose however for writing this missive was not really to convert you or even convince you that God is real or that the Bible is the Word of God or anything like that. Such arguments are fruitless and counter-productive. You have to give an account to God when you meet Him, so I said all this so that you now are without excuse.

      Forgive me if i offended you Shalisa but Professor Borg with all his credentials and knowledge is wrong if in fact what was written were his words.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Michael

      Paranoia is another defining factor in Fundamentalist Christianity.

      August 1, 2011 at 1:45 am |
  4. yojimbo

    To Brian GC
    awesome! the best argument yet!i.e. If you don't have an answer i can accept .....THEN GOD DID IT !!!!!YAY!

    July 31, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  5. David James

    Team Apologitic. You know what they say about alcoholic, they don't think they are alcoholic. If you believe you don't need God, salvation is irrelevant for you. So your question about salvation indeed is justified. And yes, unless you believe in Jesus, He will put in fire for eternity. He have short period of time to reconcile with him (maximum will be remainder of your life on earth). You will remember these words and all the teaching made about Jesus with regret in due time unless you confess your sin and believe in Jesus the Christ.

    July 31, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • Team Apologetics

      Oh look, here come the childish threats. You deserve zero respect from adults. You are a fool.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • Wow. Never thought of that

      So you, a christian, think that Christianity is like alcoholism. Well, they are indeed both destructive addictions that lead their users to create intricate systems of delusion, rationalization and denial, and both are unable to cope with reality without a crutch.

      Okay, I agree

      July 31, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
  6. LinCA

    True story.

    God to her husband: Hey honey, remember that universe that I started a while ago? I think I saw something cute in there.
    Husband: What, babe?
    God: You know how all that matter, that was generated after the bang, has started to clump and form all these cool features, like stars and galaxies, and even clusters of galaxies?
    Husband: Yes.
    God: Well, in one of those of galaxies, there's one tiny little star that has a few planets circling around it.
    Husband: How is that cute? There are hundreds of billions of galaxies in that universe, each with billions of stars and planets.
    God: But on one of the planets circling this star, life occurred.
    Husband: That is cute. But how is that different from life on any of the other planets? And how did you find it? Were you looking for something?
    God: Nah, I wasn't. I kinda discarded that whole universe already because it doesn't seem to have enough mass. I stumbled upon it, because of an incessant buzzing in my ear.
    Husband: Buzzing?
    God: Yeah, one of the species of life has developed some primitive form of speech and they have started calling on me to intervene on their behalf.
    Husband: Huh?
    God: Yeah, they call it praying. They want me to do their dirty work. They want me to smite their enemies, help their sports teams win and do something to their food. All kinds of weird stuff.
    Husband: All of them at the same time?
    God: Yup, but not in unison, hence the buzzing. And what's kinda weird, they all seem to have a different view of who I am or what I do.
    Husband: How's that work?
    God: Over the few years since they've figured out how to write, they've been attributing all kinds of things and events that they've around them, to me. All these primitive writings are so confusing to them that nobody seems to understand what the authors meant. Now they've clustered into small groups that argue and war with each other over who's more right. It's kinda funny to see.
    Husband: They praying to any of our neighbors, too?
    God: A few. Allah seems to get quite a few. Zeus, Ra, Thor and a whole bunch of others don't seem to be in demand much anymore.
    Husband: And Bob?
    God: Bob? Oh you mean Bob the Magical Blue Sock. Nope, he seems to be called on mostly as an example of why none of us exist, just like Pink Unicorns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
    Husband: So, what are you going to do about all those prayers?
    God: The same what I've been doing all along. Ignore them.
    Husband: So, you're not going to set them straight about who you are?
    God: Nah, eventually they may figure out that I don't really give a crap. If they don't kill each other and that whole planet first.
    Husband: That would be a shame.
    God: Don't worry. Planets are a dime-a-dozen.
    Husband: Oh, OK. Dinner is ready. Come eat.
    God: Thanks, hon. By the way, how was your day?
    Husband: Fine. I didn't have a whole lot to do so I started on cleaning out the garage.
    God: Oh, that is good. I may need some more space there. If that universe keeps growing, I'll have to take it off the book shelf and put it somewhere else.

    July 31, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
  7. Renee

    The writer of this article is seeking to sound like an elitist. He clearly knows very little about the LIVING Word of God. Jesus is the only way to heaven and that is biblical, the believers will be called up at the "rapture" also in the word of God. All who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouth the Name of Jesus shall be "saved". God does not intend for His children to only be saved but to live for Him. To put Him first and allow Him to work in and through them. I have been baptized in the Holy Spirit, I walked the aisle, I am born again, I will rise up to be with Christ at the rapture, I name and claim many things over my life and my childrens, (I have never name and claimed a mercedes, or useless materialstic worldly things), I have prayed the sinners prayer and am a Christian, a Christ follower, a faithful believer in Jesus Christ, I am Spirit Filled, I am forgiven, redeemed, a new creation. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. I don't blame God for bad things that happen in my life. I allow Him to work in me so that blessings can come out of all situations and that He would receive the glory. I have been healed by God, I have seen others be healed and had him heal my children. I have the gift of prophecy. I tell people that psychics get their information from satan and demonic forces, and prophets get their information from God, not to be used for personal gain but always for a specific purpose. I know God is real and their is ONLY one God, One Jesus and One Holy Spirit and I embrace and receive all three as one. I love others whether they believe what I believe or not. I have taken families off the street into my home, unwed single mothers, people from other countries, and children whose parents can't care for them I have never and would never not love or help someone because they are different from me but they would know that the love I give them is Godly love that He has put in my heart and given me a great deal of compassion for all people, His word is for ALL people. And although I don't agree with many religious beliefs and lifestyle choices that others have, I still love them as Christ loves them. Christians are not bad, we don't have our own language and if we do that language is to be love, and hope and peace. The author of this article brought some personal issues into this article and the book by picking on the group he claims to be a part of. That is cause for concern just as someone who speaks out on something to much may very well struggle with that same issue and be drawn to criticize because of guilt. Christians speak of things that they read in the word of God and have names and sayings that are just a part of how we talk, it is not exclusive. Every culture, a town, a club, an athletic group, police, farmers, musicians,prisoners all have a way of communicating because of the environmental factors of their daily lives. Christians are no different and are definetly not wrong for speaking the way they do as long as it is covered in love. Sometimes we have to be honest about our beliefs and the word of God even when it may offend someone. We are called to speak the truth without fear but there are ways to speak it in love. And even in love it may alienate someone but if we are speaking the truth of God's word and do it in a loving way we can not be held accountable for it offending someone. Just as many liberal theologies don't care to offend us or others by their choices. Why are Christian's the only ones held accountable for offending and so condemned when we are offended. Such a double standard. Read the word of God from front to back and pray and ask the Lord to open your heart to it and show Himself to you through His word and during your time in His word. He will not fail you if you are truly open to seeing Him.

    July 31, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Team Apologetics

      Are paragraphs against your religion?

      July 31, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • Fred1

      "(I have never name and claimed a mercedes, or useless materialstic worldly things)," You have nver done so becuause deap down you know it wouldn't work. You don't dare put your god to a real test because you know he would fail

      August 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  8. Team Apologetics

    Bible god's morality?

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSS-88ShJfo&w=640&h=390]

    July 31, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Colin

      Ok, you have outdone yourself. That was great. Who are these people and where do I get the videos?

      July 31, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Colin

      http://www.youtube.com/user/QualiaSoup

      August 1, 2011 at 1:14 am |
  9. Colin

    I believe in Leprechauns.

    I believe that the Leprechaun King created the entire Universe about 6,000 years ago. I know there is a substantial amount of evidence suggesting that the Universe is significantly older than this, but I think a lot of that evidence comes from bad science, or from a worldwide conspiracy of scientists who want to deny Leprechauns. I know this because it is written in the Leprechaun Chronicles, a book cobbled together from various authors, most unknown, by our church during the Dark Ages.

    The Leprechaun King lives in Leprechaun Heaven, where he where he busies himself answering prayers, running the Universe and recording the lives of humans for their final judgment before him. He is surrounded by an entire society of magical beings – his son Merlin, the Holy Leprechaun Spirit, the good fairy Mary, thousands of Leprechaun saints, fairies, pixies and the souls of many millions of dead people.

    Each Leprechaun saint and pixie has a special task. For example, Saint Christopher is the patron-pixie of travelers and it is his job to intercede with the Leprechaun king on behalf of travelers to keep them safe. Most countries and professions similarly have a special Leprechaun who pays them special attention – even lawyers. There are strict rules governing the roles, responsibilities of the various Leprechauns, elves, pixies and other heavenly beings.

    I believe that the Leprechaun King loves me and hears my prayers. He intervenes in my life periodically by saving me from various ills. All I have to do is think to myself and he reads my mind and answers my prayers. He loves me and when I die, provided I have lived a good life, I will go to Leprechaun Heaven, where I will live happily ever after with all other humans who have ever led good lives.

    I know there is not a lot of evidence to support my beliefs, but that is just the point. The Leprechaun King wants us to have “faith,” so he never reveals himself. To make an unambiguous appearance and settle once and for all the question of his existence would deprive us of free will and, even though he is all-knowing, he would not know who his true believers were.

    In fact, I believe that the Leprechaun King is “beyond understanding”. He is “outside the Universe” and any time I am faced with something about my Leprechaun belief that makes no sense, I don’t dare question it, I just close my mind and tell myself that my mind is too small to understand the greatness of the Leprechaun King. These answers are satisfying answer to me.

    Some people are called “atheists,” and they are skeptical of my belief in the Leprechaun King. They point out many inherent contradictions and unsupported assumptions that underwrite my belief in Leprechauns. But, they can’t prove he doesn’t exist, so he must exist. And so what! Even if I am wrong, and go my whole life believing in Leprechauns and it turns out I am wrong, I have lost nothing. However, if they are wrong, the Leprechaun King will send them to hell to burn forever in the presence of the Evil Ground Troll.

    Am I convincing you to believe in Leprechauns yet?

    July 31, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
  10. MirandasRight

    First of all, atheism is not a religion. Theism is the belief in a deity, atheism is without the belief in a deity, not the belief that there is no god. There is a significant difference between the two.

    Second, this article has absolutely nothing to do with atheism. It's about the way that elitism and ignorance within Christianity are serving to undermine the actual purpose and teachings of the religion itself. The obnoxious and ignorant responses posted here seem to illustrate the author's point rather well.

    July 31, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • dJm

      Jesus was elite when he said he was the Way the Truth and the Life... Jesus is the only way

      July 31, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • MirandasRight

      Jesus (as a man, not the son of god) knew that his teachings were best received and most needed by the less fortunate. That seems far from elite.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
  11. Robrob

    This is the reason so many complained when the Norway shooter was (rightly) described as "Christian." A certain segment of the population has taken this word – describing a broad spectrum of religion different than say, Buddhism, Judaism, Hindu, or Islam – and turned it into crypto-speak for their own sub-sect brand of snake handling.

    July 31, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Aaron

      "Rightly" described as a Christian, huh? Well, lets compare and contrast, shall we? Don't worry, this will be quick. Jesus Christ: "Hey, don't kill people"....Crazy Norwegian murderer: "Hey, I killed people". Yeah, Christians (people that follow Christ and His teachings) don't kill people. The word "Christian" is overused and abused in order to further an anti-Christian agenda.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  12. liz48

    This article is so full of garbage...I don't want to pick my brains to dignify it with a response beyond this post...

    The writer has no clue about the Bible, that the words baptism in the Spirit refer to a particular spiritual experience referred to by the prophets of Israel, and is a oneness of man's spirit with that of God.

    New age gurus will say that religion is 98% experience and 2% knowledge and they never question those leanings. If it comes to the Lord Jesus; the satanic world is roused both among those who are CINOs (christians in name only) and the liberal anti-Christ bunch...

    July 31, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • Team Apologetics

      This is a fine example of Poe's Law in action.

      LOL

      July 31, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • Maya

      2%? Try zero.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  13. Brian

    Another feel good article about religion – in among the commercials for dog food, male enhancement drugs and car insurance. Religion is a growth industry in this country.

    July 31, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  14. Da King

    The problem with the producer of this video is that he is not a believer in the Gospel of Jesus so he can not know how to explain the topic he brings.

    July 31, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • daryx

      That's because nobody can explain the gospel of Jesus or the Bible because it DOESN'T MAKE SENSE lol

      July 31, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • Team Apologetics

      Oh you are wrong. I think he explains it very accurately.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Robrob

      So only a believer in conspiracy theories or UFO's or Bigfoot can write rationally about the subject?

      July 31, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Da King

      daryx, I understand it. It's power (of God thru Christ) works in my life. The bible says the man with out the spirit can understand the things of the spirit because they are spiritually discerned. First the spirit of God must be in you. I know you do not understand. If you want the love of God in your life find an nondenominational christian church that you like (you will find one you like) and go and listen and feel the spirit of God. I dare you to go 3 Sundays in a row. It is not voodoo. I is God. I dare you.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • David Reed

      That's because believing in a mythical omnipotent supreme being is stupid. More and more of us are figuring that out.

      Long live the Flying Spaghetti Monster!!!

      July 31, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
  15. Mickey Haist Jr

    A lot of preaching consists of sort of giving the symbolic words, the doctrinal utterances, but not conveying what they really mean. Some basic statement like, "Accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and savior and you will be saved from your sins" is meaningless in any real sense unless the preacher says something about what he means by Jesus Christ. What is there about Jesus that makes Him capable of saving? Unless he says something about what sin means, not just in doctrinal ways, but in terms of his own experience of sin. What does it mean to be saved - saved from what? What does it feel like? What does it look like? What does it sound like? In other words, if just the utterances are given, just like the letters in an equation, you might just as well do something else.
    -Frederick Buechner

    July 31, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Team Apologetics

      What does it mean to be saved – saved from what?

      Why god saves us from his own holy wrath!

      Stop and think about it. This guy sounds an awful lot like a pyromaniac who sets a warehouse on fire then reports it so that he can be the hero.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  16. Michael

    Oh you mean when they claim to speak in tongues? Which we know to be just incoherent babble? No, sorry I don't understand that bs.

    July 31, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
  17. sassypants

    Hey scoffers, have you ever noticed that He takes care of the people who have a relationship with Him?

    July 31, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • Team Apologetics

      sassypants said: Hey scoffers, have you ever noticed that He takes care of the people who have a relationship with Him?

      You're the Queen of Denial.

      July 31, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • LinCA

      @sassypants

      You said "Hey scoffers, have you ever noticed that He takes care of the people who have a relationship with Him?"

      Must not have been too many "true" believers in Joplin then. If that's how he takes care of people that he has relationships with, I'll pass. Thank you very much.

      July 31, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • daryx

      Um, no. Apparently Jesus was a Jew. Hello, Halocaust? Where were you on that one, Jehova?

      July 31, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • BurbleBurble

      Have you ever read Job?

      July 31, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • Charge Nurse Betty

      And that 6 year old who said his prayers last night, I saw pushing his IV in the hall, with the chemo running, he must have made a little mistake there.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • Fred1

      Yes, I have. Like those 3 christians that went over the falls in Yousemity last month. He ceratinly showed off his impotentce there

      August 7, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
  18. Edwin Garro

    Believing there is a God is easy.
    Believing in the evangelical American church has become very difficult.
    Loved the term "christian snob".
    One great term these people use in my country is "non believers" to refer to anyone who does not believe in his little list of non biblical inventions.
    Great article, Thanks a lot!!!!

    July 31, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  19. dJm

    The part of salvation forgot to talk about freedom from sin... interesting no one wants to talk about sin and it's punishment!

    July 31, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • curt

      Anyone that holds a grudge against God because of what a Human wrote in a book, is an idiot.

      July 31, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • dJm

      why should man hold a grudge to God when He offers a life of joy... I have never meet a person who lives with joy other than a redeemed follower of Christ!

      July 31, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • Michael

      You wanna talk about sin? How about indiscriminately destroying the whole earths population with a supposed flood? Or about the part in leviticus where god's chosen people follow guidelines to slave ownership, or the other part of Leviticus that talks about the procedure of killing non believers and adulterers? Yeah sorry your god isn't Just, he is a maniac, the good part is, is that he doesn't really exist, sorry magic isn't real buddy.

      July 31, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • dJm

      If God = Holy then he is just for destroying anything that is not Holy, the question is what is sin? Sin is not a substance that is created but a result of an action. God desires mankind to be Holy and to most of all have a loving relationship with Him. The flood is a perfect example of a just God destroying evil. God loves mankind and offers salvation from sin and spiritual death to all who call upon Him.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Team Apologetics

      djm, you are insane:

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSS-88ShJfo&w=640&h=390]

      July 31, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Da King

      Jesus died for our sins. So you can love him back. That works great.

      July 31, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • dJm

      good thought provoking video but most of the scriptures were out of context, whoever created the video has not studied the old testament...

      July 31, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Fred1

      What punnishment for sin? If your a christian you get to sin as much as you want and still go to heaven because you believe. If your not a christian you can live a exemplery life of good works, compation and still burn in hell. WHERE IS THIS PRICE OF SIN? It has no effect

      August 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  20. curt

    Faith in God is different then Faith in the world and religions.
    What's with the crucifix people where anyway?
    If your mother was murdered with a hammer would u wear a hammer around your neck to symbolize her?

    July 31, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • curt

      For instance I have no faith in most humans.. Especially the Illuminati, Federal Reserve, Corporate America, ETC.... God exists its just humans have chosen to praise the devil on planet earth for the most part.... So hey if you don't believe in God. At least you can be with Satan....

      July 31, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • daryx

      lol I hear that. People say "I wear the cross to show my faith in Jesus". OK, let's play tea party and pretend Jesus is real and coming back. Do you think he wants to see another $(%*#* cross? lol

      July 31, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • Wanderer

      @Curt
      It sounds like you believe that God and Satan are co-existing. If it is true then is there any difference between the two?

      July 31, 2011 at 11:00 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.