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My take: A word to Christians - Be nice
February 9th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

My take: A word to Christians - Be nice

Editor's note: John S. Dickerson is author of the book “The Great Evangelical Recession: 6 Factors that Will Crash the American Church ... and How to Prepare” and senior pastor of Cornerstone in Prescott, Arizona. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter @JohnSDickerson

By John S. Dickerson, Special to CNN

Last week a high-profile American writer and news personality asked me a painful question: “Hey pastor, can a Christian tweet hate?”

It was not a hypothetical question. He was asking because some of his 1.3 million Twitter followers claim to be “Christian,” and some of the meanest, most perverse hate-tweets he receives come from these self-proclaimed Christians.

We’ve all seen folks, Christian and otherwise, lose their cool in a Facebook face-off or in the comment section under a controversial news story. But as I scrolled through the “Christian” hate tweets to this news personality, I was baffled and ashamed by these so-called followers of Christ. One user describes himself not merely as Christian but as “sharing God’s message of Grace with everyone I encounter.” The messenger of Grace recently tweeted that he doesn’t merely hate this news personality, he despises and loathes him.

These are the moments when it’s embarrassing to be a Christian. I’m not embarrassed to believe the extravagant claims of Christianity: that Christ was born to a virgin, died for our sins, physically rose from the grave and is returning to rule the world. But I am embarrassed to be associated with some of the people who claim his name.

I have written in the past about the bad reputation that Christians have in America. Some argue that it comes from misrepresentation by the media. Others argue that “all who live godly will suffer persecution,” and that’s why we Christians have a poor reputation. Maybe there’s some truth to those claims, but we Christians have to acknowledge another reason why we are perceived as hateful: because many of our number are.

More and more, I see hateful Christians chalking up their disrepute to “persecution.” God tells us otherwise. In 1 Peter 4 we’re told, “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed. …” And that’s the truth; sometimes we are insulted for proclaiming the good news of salvation in Christ. But listen to what follows: “If you suffer, however, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.”

The Apostle Peter is more or less saying: If you suffer for sharing the good news of Christ, great, you’re blessed. But if you suffer just because you’re being a criminal or acting like an idiot, then don’t blame it on Christ.

Some 2,000 years ago, Peter knew so-called Christians would be criminals and “meddlers.” He knew some would claim, “Wow, I’m really suffering for Jesus,” when they are really just suffering for being jerks.

The word “meddler” means busybody: someone who inserts himself into matters that are not his own. Might this include some people involved in the Twitter, Facebook and “comments” showdowns of our day?

So yes, “all who live godly will suffer persecution.” But let’s not be jerks, get persecuted and then blame it on Christ. American Christianity, with its past position of cultural superiority, gave birth to some self-righteous and condescending so-called Christians. These folks may be culturally Christian, but they know little of Christ and his actual message of humility and repentance. I am convinced that, if Jesus Christ were here walking among us, he would have nothing to do with those who claim his name and consistently spew hate.

Theologians and academics will argue about that last sentence. Isn’t Jesus “a friend of sinners?” Yes. Doesn’t Jesus’ grace wash away the sins of those who trust in him? Yes. Wouldn’t that include the sin of "hate tweet"? Yes.

In seminaries and churches, we tend to engage in obscure questions about theology. For example, “Is it possible for someone to truly trust Christ and spend their entire life tweeting hate?”

Maybe so. But Jesus didn’t engage in such esoteric abstractions. He taught simple truth with clarity, authority and practicality. On controversial issues—“Are hate tweeters true Christians?”—I find myself drawn to the simple words of Scripture. Theologians will argue and debate, but God’s word is simple and clear.

“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.” (1 John 2:9,11)

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” (James 3:9,10)

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20)

Jesus put it this way in Matthew 12:34-36: “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”

If we will give account for every careless word spoken, might we also give account for every careless comment typed or tweeted?

Christians aren’t the only ones hurling hateful blows on the Web. But we are the only ones who claim to follow the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. So let’s be nice.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John S. Dickerson.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (10,298 Responses)
  1. edweird69

    I don't hate Christians, I just hate their religion. Wait...sounds somewhat like their rant...we don't hate the sinners, just the sin. Amazing how they can sugar-coat hate with just a nice sounding slogan.

    February 10, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Leif

      Hatred is not a sound basis for anything.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • Damocles

      Meh, I don't hate believers and I don't hate their beliefs. I just think a whole bunch of them are goofy as hell.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • bibleverse1

      Is it not possible to hate the actions a person takes? You cannot hate the action of a murderer? He cant hate the actions of a thief?

      February 10, 2013 at 9:09 am |
  2. Sabrina Walker

    And to my fellow non-believers posting here: unlike Christians, we have no central call to love and forgive. And yet, to do both is to be human. I encourage you to stop posting things like "Zombie Jesus" and "Sky daddy." There's no need to mock what you don't believe. Simply don't believe it. Live your life and live it well. Help others, help animals, help our planet. Do your best and consider your life well-spent.

    February 10, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • edweird69

      I agree with you. But, I fight fire with fire. If you give them the slightest notion that you're weak, they'll prey on it!

      February 10, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

      OMG – a sanctimonious atheist. LOL

      February 10, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • LivinginVA

      And if all people, whatever their religion or lack thereof, were to do what you suggest, the world would be a far better place.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • JJ

      Christians here in the US work tirelessly to create a Theocracy that we should all bow down to and to deminish reason and science. When you are living under thsi jack-booted Christian "paradise" then you will wished you had spoken up against their insanity.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • john vance

      Agree, disparagement does nothing to further discussion and enlightenment. You can always learn something new.

      February 10, 2013 at 10:37 am |
  3. llatpoh

    I am trying to imagine CNN publishing an article like this that, instead of being aimed at Christianity, is aimed at I s l a m
    So very hard to imagine because it has never, and will never happen. s h a r i a h compliant CNN would never publish such an article because it might offend... apparently there is ZERO concern about offending Christians, rather CNN has taken that to the level of sport... CNN, it must be hard having to find/create an article everyday that attacks Christianity...
    I used to admire CNN, but sadly you lost your journalistic integrity so long ago...

    February 10, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • I Am God.

      Blah blah and more blah. Obviously you only troll certain comment sections because CNN has posted multiple times about the hatred of other religions. Also to remind you there is a difference between the Muslim community and terrorism. Maybe you should look up the definition.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • shawn

      try the search feature..I see articles all the time on here that question Islam and it's message...often written by Islamics. There was a good one last week...although I cannot find it right now. You have a very selective agenda.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • Ron

      So the truth does hurt!

      How funny saying a article by a CHRISTIAN PASTOR is attacking Chriistians, it msut be real uncomfrotable looking in that mirror

      February 10, 2013 at 9:22 am |
  4. Laurie

    ok, I understand what you are saying. Spewing hatred is never Christian. On the other hand, there are Christians who believe the only commandment is "Thou shall be nice." Sometimes love requires speaking truth (albeit without hate) and that is more difficult than being nice. It is easier to say nothing to keep peace and not offend anyone, but that just allows sin abide and spread without checks.. We are called also to fraternal correction of our brothers and sisters. That is another form of love. Often that correction (pointing out of sin) brings accusations of hatred and entirely misunderstood. Ask John the Baptist how that works.

    February 10, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

      No, you're being sanctimonious again and committing the sin of blasphemy by presuming to be God yourself.
      -
      Now go ask forgiveness and flog yourself.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Andrew

      In other words.... im a self-righteous, "better than thou" type who has no problem pointing out your many sins and flaws... because I dont have any, or because Im hiding behind Jesus. Either way Im not a total hypocrite and senseless person.... promise.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • Rozeller

      Correction within the church, one Christ-follower to another. We are not required to confront. We are not required to judge others. We can be fruit inspectors, but we cannot be judge.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • Doodlebug

      Actually, sprewing hatred is Christian to some respects because it is a few Christians doing it.. but know that it is also part of other religious person's lives – many whom worship under different names and by different methods.

      This.. is because sprewing hatred is.. human......

      The light can only be appreciated when there is also darkness among us.

      When a person sprews hatred, note – they only do so .. to an audience. Simply refuse to be an audience for their words.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:15 am |
  5. OldWhiteMan

    Newsflash...everyone gets persecuted in life. Christians are held to a higher standard by their own profession of faith in Jesus' words - 'turn the other cheek'. It is the hypocrisy of Christians that drove me out of church for good. Petty bickering over nuances of scripture and pastors screwing around with wives of congregation members and on and on. The congregation is devoid of the love of the Holy Spirit. It is bankrupt.

    February 10, 2013 at 9:02 am |
  6. Pete654

    If you truly believe your religion is the only true religion sponsored by god and all others are sham, any one who disagrees with you must be anti-god. Naturally you will look down on them with disdain or you might even shoot them in the face.

    February 10, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • Laurie

      actually your acrimony sounds more like a festering of possibility for this

      February 10, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • centeredpiece

      And yet you are the only person talking about looking down one's nose and/or shooting those who disagree with you. I can hold my beliefs and allow others to hold theirs. Not every Christian believes it is his/her duty to slap the "woojie" of belief on others. But then creating a straw man debate and answering yourself should get tiresome after a while, but it never seems to.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • Ricardo Duarte

      That was the main reason why I left Mormon church after 2 years. I saw so many lies inside the church that I couldn't handle it anymore. One thing that make me complitly fall down was to find out that illigals immigrant coudn't grew up inside the church. I never thought that an immigration paper has something to do with salvation or grew up spiritual. The are following illigals, they want them in the church, but you will be seat in the back. Same thing happened with people that were not married. You couldn't grew up spiritual if you were not married.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:22 am |
  7. Andrew

    Happy shall he be who taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. Psalms 137:9

    And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and daughters which the Lord thy God hath given thee, in the siege and in the straitness. Deut. 28:53

    Some Christians say the Bible isn't meant to be taken literally and that it is not a history or science book and instead focuses on spiritual wisdom. I don't really think beating my children to death with stones or eating them when I get famished is a good or wise thing to do, actually... The fact that anyone would read this filth in the loving, doting way one reads the Bible makes me want to puke. What a disgusting person you must be on the inside, to actually think it's ok to kill or eat your kids or any of the other innumerable absurd and horrific things this book supports. Whats even worse is that people who get indoctrinated in this from an early age and never question it because they're afraid of an old dirty jew who lives in the clouds and will roast them like a peanut if he gets his sensitive feelings hurt.

    Not only are you irrational, but you are immoral as well because your lack of reason causes you to commit acts that are wrong and disgusting. Like the Pentecostal family who stopped giving their son his diabetes medication because "the Lord had healed him!" and then he of course DIED two weeks later. They had his body for another two weeks without burying him because they thought Jesus was going to bring him back, like LAZARUS!

    It's not the fact that you are human and say mean things sometimes or get in a twitter feud. It's because you believe in sick disgusting things and then claim to do so from a position of self-righteousness. Please stop.

    February 10, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

      There are verses that condone slavery, wife beating, polygamy, incest, etc, etc. The Bible is quite a dirty little book if you read it literally.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • OldWhiteMan

      I have Jewish friends that state that some of the "Old Testament" isn't literal...I have to take them at their word. However, I don't see how Abraham, the father of Judaism and Christianity can put his son Ishmael and his concubine mother in the desert to die with God's OK. I don't understand how an all powerful god allows Jeptha to burn his daughter as a sacrifice to that god. I don't see how the kick-ass god of the Old Testament all of a sudden becomes warm and fuzzy in the New Testament. If god created ordered, why does he live in chaos...

      February 10, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • centeredpiece

      You are right. But only about one thing. Most Christians do not believe the Bible is a set of literal directions from God (that would be a common Islamic belief about the Koran, but not a common Christian belief about the Bible). The passages must be looked at in an historical and cultural context. The Bible is inspired by God but written down by humans living in a particular culture and time. So, no, Christians don't believe in bashing in the heads of babies or in eating their young (last time I check, Jews don't believe this either BTW). We DO believe in a loving God who created all human beings and teaches us to love everyone, including our enemies.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Prophesy, Gods warning to man

      The verses listed on this post are the ones listed in scripture. But, the reader can not just read or write one verse and run with it without reading the previous and latter verses. The bible states Gods Love to man, mans fall and the remedy (redemption).
      The verse in Duet 28:53 and the whole chapter is about Israels rejection of Gods Laws and the future end result. The book speaks of Israels captivity of the Babylonians. God in chapter 28 is telling Israel what they are going to do during their captivity. Babylon in the old and new testament is the picture of mans turning to Idolatry when He is rejected. Israel turned to cannibalism as God stated before it even happened. 2Ki. 6;28-29 Jer. 19;9 Lam. 2;20; 4;10
      Just like in other scriptures God warns you and me of the End result, and it will happened as he says.
      The verse in Psalms is what is happening in Babylon in realtime to the Israelites. Just as God said it, actually occured. Babylon was finally destroyed and Israel returned to God, again...

      February 10, 2013 at 10:37 am |
  8. Muhammed

    When is CNN going to run a story headlined "Muslims, be nice"?

    Never.

    Wanna know why? Because Muslims vote for Obama.

    February 10, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • I Am God.

      Maybe there should be an article about uneducated trolls like Muhammed.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

      How nice! Here comes another healthy dose of Christian Hate and intolerance towards other religions.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You are a doofus.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • mpouxesas

      ...and muslims voting for obama is not the worse part...what's scary is that people like you ...vote...

      February 10, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Damocles

      @Tom

      Mornin!

      February 10, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey there, Damo. How you doin'?

      February 10, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Buzz

      How typically christian.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • Damocles

      I'm doing not too shabby.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • August Knight

      I have many Moslem friends and they are all are good people. Why do you have so much hate to Moslems. Do you know them personally? Have they hurt you in anyways? If not, then you are not better than those Moslem extremests who hate those who are not Moslems.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:20 am |
  9. notyoutoo

    I love the apologists and defenders of the faith on here that criticize the author by using the "well they're more hateful than we are" or "they were hateful first".....lol....that was exactly his point, as Christians we are not suppose to respond to hate with hate....but with love.

    February 10, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • centeredpiece

      Have only seen a few of these remarks. Most comments defending Christianity have been more of the "we try to be better, but we're human" type. But then we see only what we want to see, don't we?

      February 10, 2013 at 9:21 am |
  10. Doodlebug

    I'm never embarassed by their behavior, but I do ... feel sorry for them. The are so caught up in wanting to be part of something bigger than themselves... wanting to be a BIG part of it.. that they forget to be humble and realize the person in pressed in the back, in the shadows.. is no less than the person moved into the center > the spot light where all are focusing their attentions.

    We are all.. important in our own ways.. and some want so very much to be ...more.. but it really is not something they can decide.. because it is moreso something that happens TO you.. not something you force.

    I feel sorry for them – because it is much akin to a person following along, hearing the sermons – but the way is too rocky and they decide to take a smoother, alternative path... one where they can still hear the word of God... distant.. but still there.. murmered but they can still make out some words... and when it becomes all but a whisper, they.. improvise.

    We need to have patience with them, and gentle take their hand, lead them back to the road with us – and if necessary, let them lean on us, when the road does seem to be bumpy and we see them wanting to pull away again.

    February 10, 2013 at 8:59 am |
  11. Watchfuliiiii

    The Worship thing facinates me. Why do we worship? What superior being would be so vain as to want to be worshiped. humbleness is one of the best charecters traits in any great person I have ever known. The doctor who did open heart surgery on my father in law is an amazing person. If you continue to compliment and thank him he becomes uncomfortable. My dog worships me. Everytime I come home its like he never thought I was coming back. What does that tell you? do you thank your mother everyday for giving birth to you. Kids are something people have because they want too. they do it for themselves. If we are gods children and I suppose its possible that a superior being had some role in life on this earth. He or She did it for their own selfish reasons. Not a bad thing, same reason we all have kids. Worship makes no sense.

    February 10, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • PevanB

      As I read your comment I wonder what type of church you attend that you do not know why we worship. It is for us not Him that we worship. For me it is a time to LISTEN and understand the words and reflect on just how awesome He really is and what He has done for me.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • Doodlebug

      Think about the lives we are born into... we are here to learn, to do, to become. When we listen to our father's words of wisdom, we grow stronger and become who we were meant to be... Learning about temptation, about all of the other sins or how sometimes, things are not all about.. us.

      We should, as a child, appreciate all that is provided for us, and this is not so much about worship as it is respect. We think we know – everything, but in reality we know so very little. We think we are all grown up in the spirit, yet we still have so very far to go – so much to learn about ourselves and each other.

      Most times people are too busy looking at themselves and how things in this world affects THEM only... but it is when they are able to let go of selfishness, and look towards helping or assisting others – or merely understanding how things are for them – that they are able to grow.

      We like to toss around a phrase > "It's Not Fair" and even in this, we are selfish. WHY should things only be fair for us? There is a world out there – and all in it, want fairness, they want fate to favor them, they want luck to be kind.

      Only when we realize this is not so – the word FAIR is a myth because there is no such thing. Fair to one, is unfair to another. We must know we can do everything right, and still... receive no reward. This is because – it is about things outside of our spirit. When we can understand we must do things for the right reasons, and not worry about fair or unfair – then .. then we will grow as our father intends.

      People are so wrapped up in the physical side of themselves, the living.. and they forget about the spirit – the being... This is what our living is about.. for us to grow.. there.. and all else is moot.

      Do we lift our hands to help or lift our hands to war? Do we lift our voices to celebrate our lives, or our accomplishments? Do we enjoy the company of all – or only select few that can enhance our possessions and status?

      These decisions are free will.. and our father, as any other father – wants us to grow to be who we are meant to be. I wonder how many of us .. do...

      February 10, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • Jt_flyer

      I have to completely agree. Why would a supreme being need worship? It makes no sense. It's smells of humanity's ancient interpretation of GOD to me. Worship the sun or it will continue to rain. If there is a God, and I hope there is, that God would want us to spread goodness and kindness to one one another and be judged by those actions.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Wilmer

      I used to believe as you until I became president of my congregation (I didn't seek the job but I kinda got stuck). Here is what I learned. Worship is a ritual. To many people, ritual is a comfort, something that allows them to cope with their daily problems and it gives them a certain amount of peace. It is also something that brings people together as a community and for the lonely that is often their connection with others. Worship takes on many faces and not so much the "worship" of a diety. So my mind got changed. I now think that worship is very much an individual thing but also a community thing. If it makes a person feel better, then it is good.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • Watchfuliiiii

      Your answers are based on you believing in some all powerful God. I do not. Just because the earth might have been seed by some advanced being and therefor superior doesn't mean they are all knowing and waiting for us when we die. Wea re born to learn? really? how can you avoid learning from birth? You guys are just goofy. Introduce religion at 21 and see how many members your "church" would have. This is a brainwashing you all endured from the day you were born. I don't think you can live any other way now. Try not to hurt anyone.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • El Flaco

      Scholars say that the religious impulse was installed in humanity by mindless, goal-less evolution. It helped tribal groups to cooperate and it made tribal members more obedient to tribal leaders.

      If you feel a need for the religious experience, just pick a religion you like. It doesn't really matter which one. And have fun. As for me, I'd rather play on my computer on Sunday mornings, like all of you.

      February 10, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  12. catholicboyrichard

    Reblogged this on catholicboyrichard and commented:
    RICHARD'S THOUGHTS HERE–I could not agree more. Why would Sacred Scripture ever tell us to "speak the truth in love" if that was not what God "meant" by it? We are to do both, and in a delicate balance which, ironically, may make both Christians and non-Christians uncomfortable at times. I was one time told I was "too fair." It is far from true by the way. But I consider that one of the kindest compliments I have ever received. I think Jesus really was–and is–"too fair" by many of the standards of His Followers. And it took Him to the Cross. May we follow as well.

    February 10, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • starhopper

      catholicboyrichard – It is my belief that if Jesus were to come back today in the US, he'd be killed just as readily as he was 2000 yrs ago – and by the very people who invoke his name. Most so-called "Christians" in the US are not in any way, shape or form followers of Christ.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:14 am |
      • catholicboyrichard

        I do not know about "most" but certainly many...of course the challenge then is to ask, as the Apostles did at the Last Supper when He predicted His betrayal, " Is it I, Lord?" Thank you for your thoughts, starhopper!

        February 10, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  13. starhopper

    Thanks Mr Dickerson. I was a Christian for the first 40 years of my life. When things started to change in the US, and it actually embarrassed me to be associated with those who called themselves "Christian", I left the fold. Someone told me recently that there are two two types of Christians in the US – "fans" and "followers". "Fans" are the vast majority of so-called Christians, the "Followers" are few and far in between. In my opinion, most "Christians" in the US would do well to heed Matthew 7: 21-23: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    February 10, 2013 at 8:57 am |
  14. McBob79

    Get over it pastor. There are always going to be a small percentage of people that fall into this category in all walks of live. If your services reflect more reminders that people should be nice then great... but that's advice for everyone. BTW pastor, you of all people should know that all are sinners and need to ask for forgiveness and thrive to improve every day. Not sure what the article is all about really.

    February 10, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Sabrina Walker

      No, this man is on the right track. Too many American evangelicals stand ready to spew hate and not love. Too many have their fingers poised to deliver poisonous words to those who believe differently. You profess that you are called upon to show love and forgiveness, and so, dear sir ... please do so. That is all this pastor is asking.

      February 10, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • saggyroy

      The "Christians" need to clean up their own act before judging others.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • danny

      I think the article is for Christians to stop pointing the finger and go look in the mirror....that is it, which I feel is very valuable. Paul , Peter, and Jesus suggested we examine ourselves daily and just because we know we fall short of the Grace of God like those we accuse, we need to evaluate ourselves constantly too to overcome those shortcomings. It is one thing to know but what are you doing about them. If I know, as a Christian, that which I do is wrong but keep doing it rampantly, is that truly being a follower of Jesus Christ?

      February 10, 2013 at 9:12 am |
  15. sam kohen

    I am proud to tell everyone that I am a pagan.

    WE GIVE THANKS TO YOU ALLMIGHTY ZEUS, JUPITER AND ESPECIALLY VENUS!

    February 10, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • achepotle

      And how do people react to you proudly telling them your are just as stupid and irrational as a Christian?

      February 10, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • MesaMax

      And yet another stupid comment.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:05 am |
  16. David S

    @JustSaying2U: "Not "seeing" is not proof of non-existence. Afterall, you've never seen your brain, as you do your arm, but I take it you have one."

    Thanks for the comment. Actually I could see my brain if I used an MRI or CT scan. But, my brain does not ask for my faith either. If god existed, we would have lots of evidence. The absence of evidence is evidence of absence at this point. But what is interesting to me about that quote from John is that the author's of John knew the same thing 2000 years ago.

    February 10, 2013 at 8:56 am |
  17. m

    i am not a christian. happen to be a secular non-observant jew, with major agnostic/atheist leanings. i am really confused about something that i've observed as a christian thought. all of this christianity for the purpose of getting into heaven etc. more concern with the afterlife. than with the current life. judaism is about this life. when remembering someone who has passed, a common jewish statement is "of blessed memory", indicative of remembering the person here on earth. i hear christians speak of people "going home" or "being with jesus", etc. much of the focus seems to be on the afterlife. why?

    February 10, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • centeredpiece

      That is a bias I've heard many times. In fact, Christians are supposed to be concerned with THIS life and not only because of the afterlife. Jesus (who was Jewish after all!) taught us to be kind, compassionate, and caring to all, even our enemies. He modeled this in his own life and told us to "follow him." Yes I believe there is an existence after this one (and BTW so do some Jews) but my goal in this life is to live as Jesus did because that is a life that has meaning. What happens to me after this is in God's hands.

      February 10, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • cstahnke

      There is that tendency in American Christianity to focus on personal salvation. In fact many evangelicals believe that once you are saved you are always saved and you can basically do as you please as long as you accept their sets of beliefs. This comes from basic Protestant theology of justification by faith not works. There is also a tendency in this country to focus on the Old Testament warrior God so that outsiders and those that violate Old Testament morality should be scorned and hated. All that despite then Biblical quotes cited above! ,

      February 10, 2013 at 9:14 am |
  18. Ron

    I doubt I will ever be able to convince an atheist that they are incorrect by my words. I expect the only way they could see the value in what I believe is through my actions. Unfortunately, I am human. For every thing that I do that Christ would approve of, I am sure that I do many more that propagates the hypocrisy that hateful Christians embody. I wish I did a better job, but I have the same problems they had back in Jesus' time. I tend to do the things that I don't want to do and not do the things that I should. People and the problems of human nature do not change. We are all broken. I expect if I could quell my "inner jerk" on a consistent basis, I would be a better reason for people to be attracted to Christianity.

    February 10, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • David S

      Thanks Ron. I'm an atheist but I'm willing to listen. I know neither of us are perfect and that we do things we later regret. I can't go along with all of Jesus's teachings, but Jesus was right that love and forgiveness are wonderful things. I'll try to quell my inner jerk too and forgive you for yours.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • danny

      Ron,
      I could not have said it better myself. I believe in Jesus grace and message and have a hard enough time controlling my own shortcomings than hating on others. I have said it time and time again why should people who DO NOT believe in God believe? He has given no reasons, proof or otherwise to convince certain people that he exist. Only through those of us like yourself can WE carry that message. We can't do it by hating.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Kait

      You're operating under a serious misconception here. Atheists aren't going to be persuaded to your religion by how good a person you are, they're only interested in whether or not what you say is true. Your behavior says nothing about the truth of your beliefs.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • Kait

      Also, unless you admit that it's possible that YOU are incorrect, you're arguing in bad faith. I hope that's not the case, because there's no reason to listen to someone who does that.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • danny

      I would agree it is not about doing good that is not MY message. That is not my message even to my fellow followers of Christ; I wish it was that easy. It is only through my faith (FAITH) that I move through this spiritual journey. That point of view alone tells you I can not give you or anybody the proof they seek/need, sorry. I share where I am and as Jesus says, if you want this living water then I can share it with you, if not.....

      February 10, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Ron

      Kait, Sure, there is a possibility I am wrong. I try not to believe things simply because I am supposed to. I try not to shy away from asking hard questions (which are warranted when asked to believe the claims of Christianity on face value). That said, I used to have a serious problem with the existence of God and Christianity in general. I believe now because of personal experience and study. I am compelled by what I believe to be facts, not wishful thinking. Lets face it. If I am wrong and I lived the way Jesus taught, then maybe the world will be a better place when I am gone. I will also have lived a fulfilled life with many blessings. The best I can do is try.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  19. a dose of reality

    Is that the zombie Jesus you're praying to? The one who came to Earth as his own son, in order to die (but not really) and then go back into the sky to join himself (this is the ultimate sacrifice????) so that people, if they telepathically say that zombie Jesus is their master, will be cleansed of the sin that was placed on them thousands of years ago when a lady made from a rib was convinced by a talking snake to eat an apple, and if they do that (even if they are the most horrible, evil people in the world) get to live forever in paradise, while people who don't accept zombie Jesus will burn forever? Is that the Jesus you pray to?

    February 10, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • centeredpiece

      Dose – you seem confused about who Jesus is. Have you ever read the NT?

      February 10, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • Kait

      centeredpiece, I guess you don't like the founding myth of Christianity without the believers' gloss?

      February 10, 2013 at 9:08 am |
  20. Lost

    I believe in God, but all of these religions have nothing to do with God...just people's perceptions based on fears.

    February 10, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • David S

      Dear Lost,
      I wonder how you know about the god you believe in, if not from religion? I think you are right that the idea of god is a matter of perception. The idea of god that I hold in my head (and that I do NOT believe in) is certainly different from the idea of god that you hold in your head (that you DO believe in). But both of us have developed our idea of god from the descriptions and teachings from religion. If you don't believe in the god of religion, is it really god you believe in - or something else? Its okay not to believe in god - I don't and I happy with it.

      February 10, 2013 at 9:27 am |
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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.