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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: Christianity • My Take

soundoff (10,298 Responses)
  1. Dorothy

    It is amazing that people actually believe they somehow "know the mind of God." Supposedly the two greatest commandments are love God above all else and love your neighbor as yourself. I wonder it another way of saying that is "don't hate" and "don't be so arrogant as to believe you actually know the mind of God – because that isn't loving."

    February 10, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  2. Boobala

    It's okay John Dickenson. After reading some of these comments, I'm embarrassed to be an Atheist.

    February 10, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • allenwoll

      .
      Hmmmmmmm - You, too, indulge in faith !

      February 10, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

      Maybe the decades of belittlement and hate that we've suffered from "Christians" is showing.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • mkimetime

      Well said. Me too.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • A Christian

      I will be praying for you. :-D
      The author is correct. Christ taught us to love our enemy and to pray for him, not to hate him.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  3. Reality

    Only for then new members of this blog-

    Being nice and at the same time truthful:

    The Apostles' / Agnostics’ Creed 2013 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (References used are available upon request.)
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    ===============================================================================

    February 10, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • GRS62

      Requesting references.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Reality

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
      o
      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
      10.The Gnostic Jesus
      (Part One in a Two-Part Series on Ancient and Modern Gnosticism)
      by Douglas Groothuis: equip.org/free/DG040-1.htm
      11. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
      Presented on March 18, 1994
      ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
      12. The Jesus Database- newer site:
      wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database
      13. Jesus Database with the example of Supper and Eucharist:
      faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb016.html
      14. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
      mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      15. The Journal of Higher Criticism with links to articles on the Historical Jesus:
      mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm

      February 10, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Reality

      Continued from above:

      16. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
      17. Diseases in the Bible:
      etd.unisa.ac.za/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-08022006-125807/unrestricted/02dissertation.pdf
      18. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
      theologians, ethics, etc.
      religion-online.org/
      19. The Jesus Seminarians and their search for NT authenticity:
      mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      20. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/

      February 10, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Reality

      Continued from above:

      21. Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc.
      ntgateway.com/
      22. The Search for the Historic Jesus by the Jesus Seminarians:
      members.aol.com/DrSwiney/seminar.html
      23. Jesus Decoded by Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco (Da Vinci Code review)jesusdecoded.com/introduction.php
      24. JD Crossan's scriptural references for his book the Historical Jesus separated into time periods: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf
      25. JD Crossan's conclusions about the authencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the conclusions of other NT exegetes in the last 200 years:
      faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan2.rtf
      26. Common Sayings from Thomas's Gospel and the Q Gospel: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan3.rtf
      27. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
      28. Luke and Josephus- was there a connection?
      infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
      29. NT and beyond time line:
      pbs.org/empires/peterandpaul/history/timeline/
      30. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
      harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
      31. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
      32. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
      33. The books of the following : Professors Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
      34. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
      35. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

      February 10, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
  4. badlobbyist

    Somethnig I've always found interesting is the concept of Christians being persecuted in modern America. Depending on which poll you look at Christians make up about 85% of the population.
    So the other 15% is being that effective at persecuting modern Christians?

    February 10, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • snowboarder

      christians have essentially been subjugating other religions and themselves in america since its inception. now that other religions are suddenly finding their voice and christianity is removed from its unearned pedestal and relegated to the status as all other religions, the christians are claiming persecution.

      comical.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • metsfan5729

      You make a good point, however of those 85%, how many are practicing Christians? Maybe 10%. So what you have is 90% of unbelievers or non-practicing Christians giving the 10% grief.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  5. SixDegrees

    "There are plenty of good reasons for fighting,' I said, 'but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God Almighty Himself hates with you, too. Where's evil? It's that large part of every man that wants to hate without limit, that wants to hate with God on its side. It's that part of every man that finds all kinds of ugliness so attractive.”

    Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
    Mother Night

    February 10, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • snowboarder

      With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Lost my religion

      @snowboarder – thank you dude – well said

      February 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
  6. Geoff

    I couldn't agree more with what the author says here. Christianity has become an embarrassment in this country. I read an article the other day about how there are Christian politicians in AZ that want to pass a law that atheists can't graduate high school. This mentality and the mentality of oppressing those who don't follow god are counter to the teachings of Christ and I'm beginning to think of "American Christianity" as a counter Christian cult. Most atheists don't hate Christians. They hate the idea of using an idealistic mythology to hurt or control others.

    February 10, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  7. OhioPatti

    Thank you for acknowledging the misrepresentation in observable words and behaviors of too many who call themselves Christians. I, personally, believe, that there would be many more true disciples of Christ, if people would lead by example. Instead of memorizing Scripture verses and quoting them left and right, they fail to apply them as they seem to ignore critical/ analytical /synthesizing thinking skills. These higher thinking skills are gifts from God, and set us apart from other animals in the animal kingdom. Being evangelistic with our faith would be infinitely more powerful, if we spoke less and became vessels of God's redemption for others. The message of the New Testament is love and forgiveness. Jesus talked little as he evangelized. Let us do the same, unless the Holy Spirit moves us to, in order help others see they are INcluded in the love and forgiveness, rather than EXcluded from it.

    February 10, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Answer

      Oh? What about the stuff in the OLD testament?

      Oh yah – just pick a new book. Good going.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • OhioPatti

      I am not picking only one book. I focused on the message of the New Testament, which fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. Faith is a gift, and it is an individual's choice how they respond to the gift of faith.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • christian

      The Old Testament exists to give history and context to the culture of Israel. The New Testament repeatedly states that one is free from many of the laws in that Testament – if it wasn't there, we wouldn't really understand the actions of the Pharisees. It also contains some generic advice in books like Proverbs...Christians do NOT just "drop" the Old Testament and pick up a new one.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • OTOH

      OhioPatti,

      There would probably be more followers of "Christ" and "God" if the other-worldly myths, legends and superst'itions were true. The "Holy Spirit" is doing a terrible job of presenting verified evidence that they are real. It's been over 2,000 years now, and still 2/3rds of the world does not believe it, despite heavy propaganda.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • OhioBob

      OhioPatti, given the horrid, murderous demands that Christian god is presented as making in the bible, in both OT and NT, it is a darn good thing that people don't follow it more exactly. Just a few examples of many:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      February 10, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Wendy

      So, christian, your "god" got it wrong first time around and had to fix his mistakes. Uh huh. Some perfect creature ya made there...

      February 10, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • catfishgrazis14

      Arizona Republicans Propose Bill That Would Not Allow Atheists To Graduate High School. A recent news headline. just one example of tolerance and love brought forht in the name of christianity.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • sybaris

      If you need religion to be a good person then you have larger issues

      February 10, 2013 at 11:28 am |
  8. apeon

    The godless should be glad that American Christians aren't serious about their beliefs....otherwise, how would Obama get enough people to join his military, travel to foreign countries, and kill and subdue the people to promote American hedonism?

    February 10, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  9. southernwonder

    well, xtianity is hate filled. if you don't believe in the bogeyman in sky, the book heaps hate on you.

    February 10, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  10. Loathstheright

    Anyone who believes in an obviously made up story by ancient sheep herders about an all powerful, invisible god should be embarrassed.

    February 10, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • FreeFromTheism

      watch out, someone might label you a 'hater'

      February 10, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • allenwoll

      . . . Andiron . .

      February 10, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  11. Consequence

    Christians who practice Christianity do not have a bad reputation. Of course, there are always going to be those screwballs who think they have the knowledge to put an end to a two thousand year old epic of man's purpose on earth and there are going to be Christians in name who do not conduct themselves like Christians. This has always been so. But, there are countless stories of faith, hope, charity and acts of goodness which come from the selfless hearts of those who really do understand the point and purpose of Gospel living.

    February 10, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      This has a bit of the No True Scotsman about it. If you accept people like Fred Phelps as your brothers and sisters, perhaps you can convince them to muzzle it. Then your Christianity might be useful.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Christian7

      I agree.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  12. geospatiallibrarian

    I want to commend the author for a thoughtful article. While I'm not a believer, I have a lot of respect for such Christians. If I had known more such Christians – well-adjusted, non-hateful people people who truly lived Jesus' message of love – I might have stuck with Christianity.

    February 10, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • MIchael Joseph

      the above article inspired my blog post this morning. Dear America. Check out KeepAmericaFromHell.blogpot.com. MJ.

      February 10, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not a chance.

      February 10, 2013 at 10:59 am |
  13. nowthatsrigh

    My take – if everyone, people of faith, agnostics, atheists, people of different races and ethnic groups, and all people, were kinder and thought of others once in a while, instead of just themselves, we would not be having this conversation. We could spend our time, not wallowing in anger and conflict, but curing disease, working together and increasing our potential. I am not suggesting we all join hands and sing 'Kumbaya' but it could happen if we work towards it, I try to and am certainly not successful all the time, but I do make the effort...................

    February 10, 2013 at 10:54 am |
  14. billinsandiego

    Didn't any of the commentors read the article they are commenting on? It was simply about hypocrisy, not any particular belief. The writer did not claim any special exemption because of his belief but was merely pointing out the conflict between what is practised and what is professed. This hypocrisy does not even have to be "religious" – it can be simply philosophical. For instance,one can say "I like the thoughts expressed by this person (Jesus of Nazareth – and I wish to live a life according to his humanitarian principles, yet I do not believe in his divinity. I just want to, (as the writer stated) be nice."

    February 10, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Science

      It would be nice......... but
      Maybe they should not have created the wedge !!!
      The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Insti-tute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Insti-tute manifesto known as the Wedge Docu-ment,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to defeat materialism, naturalism, evolution, and "reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic
      convictions.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

      Peace

      February 10, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • geospatiallibrarian

      You don't have to believe in his divinity to believe that his way of living should be emulated. Not everything is "all or nothing" – you don't have to accept it all or reject it all. It's not true that all Christians are saintly and all non-believers are evil. Non-believers can and do live decent, moral lives without buying the whole divinity thing.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  15. Dr. Phil

    Many Christians do have a spiritual connection, as misguided as they are. Unfortunately, Christianity is the biggest single factor behind the demise of America, compared to the other Developed Countries of the World.

    February 10, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Christian7

      Many Christians are not misguided. The nuts get all the press coverage. If Christians suddenly disappeared, evil would move in and surprise you.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:17 am |
  16. Tony Montana

    This site is where atheists spew their hate. Science is simply HOW made the universe. This shouldn't take much comprehension.

    February 10, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Surthurfurd

      Sadly lots of "atheists" posting are just as dogmatic as the groups they claim to be opposing. I tend to call myself a agnostic... prefer the scientific notion that i roughly accept things based on their degree of probability.

      February 10, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

      Tony, do you feel better after spewing your vengeful spat of hate?

      February 10, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Answer

      Oh yah – a pastor wrote the article and admonishes his own kind (christians) and you're saying what?

      February 10, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      This is a site where we can try to make a difference in the lives of people like you, Tony. We care about you and want you come into the light of reason. Come into the light, Tony. Come into the light.

      February 10, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Ryan

      When you say silly things like that I laugh.

      February 10, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • snowboarder

      the christian god is just another of the innumerable gods invented by men over the course of human history.

      February 10, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Christian7

      I agree. Almost every Sunday at CNN there is an article trashing Christians.

      February 10, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Tony, why do people like you continue to post your beliefs as if they were based on facts?

      There is no evidence that any supreme being created the universe. None. You are welcome to believe otherwise, but stop pretending you "know" any such thing. And for the love of Pete, stop attempting to insist that your beliefs be taught in public schools–they don't belong there.

      February 10, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Christian7

      "Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged", Your statement is what I have been writing about in most of my posts. That statement is not hateful. It is a comment about hate. Opposition is not hate.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • FreeFromTheism

      @Christian7, is this article one of those?

      February 10, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • geospatiallibrarian

      Does science explain how Jesus was born of a Virgin? Or rose from the dead? Those things do require a good amount of comprehension. I can believe that some type of god made the universe through the big bang, but that doesn't extend to a virgin birth or somehow knowing that we're supposed to hate gays.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  17. Lisa

    I have come to believe there are individuals who term themselves "Christian" but they are merely "Salvationists".

    They care only about their own salvation, ignore the true teachings offered by Christianity, and feel the judging and persecuting others is their ticket to heaven. Salvationism is the lazy man's religion and it's time true Christians call them on it more.

    February 10, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Surthurfurd

      that makes sense

      February 10, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

      Watch out for the trap door at the Pearly Gates – ye gun hugging Bible thumpers.

      February 10, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • FreeFromTheism

      Well, especially if it helps you save the face of the religion...
      But, it's ok, cults within Christianity always oppose each other and each one thinks they know better.
      What I think is funny is how the author thinks that the bible is "clear", especially when he puts up quotes. If it had been a non-Christian, it would be considered 'out of context'
      Give me a break

      February 10, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • geospatiallibrarian

      Thanks for saying that so clearly. While a non-believer, I do have respect for those who truly practice what they preach. But I don't understand how "salvationists" are any less selfish or any more good than anyone else, if they're only good to avoid punishment.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • UncleBenny

      THANK YOU! I have long believed that the biggest problem with Christianity is the emphasis on personal salvation,often to the exclusion of all else.Hallelujah! I've been saved! You can (and should) be saved, too! Then we can all be saved together! Thank you, Jesus for saving ME! It's all about ME, ME, ME. Totally self-centered.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  18. ReligiousGuy

    This is the same thing I have been saying too.......there are Christians who are spweing hate in name of religion and expect Jesus to forgive them for that and so continue to spew hatered. I have never understood whats the difference between that and those who islamists who spew hatred against non-islamists......well maybe some Islamists are wiling to convert the hate speech into actionable items.

    February 10, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  19. Terry Campbell

    I do agree with many of Mr. Dickerson's arguments about how much hate it out there in the religious world. However, quoting scripture to prove his point is meaningless because one can make any point by quoting different scripture. Yes, we could all use a kinder and gentler flavor of Christianity, but the scriptures are full of acts of violence, vindictiveness, and hatred. If you think otherwise go check out the Westboro Baptist Church web site where they quote lots of scripture to come up with a very logical, well-thought out argument about why God hates gays. While I find what they say absolutely horrible, I am also impressed with how they have presented their case. I'm sorry, but the Bible isn't all "love thy neighbor" stuff....there's a lot of evil in there too. You can rationalize the bad stuff all you want, but it is there for anybody to read.

    February 10, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • VanHagar

      Terry...it is there for anyone to read...but putting it in context, studying it enough to truly understand it...that's where too many people draw the line. There is violence in the Bible (it is, afterall, as much a history book as anything else), but you'd be hard pressed to convince a true follower of Christ that violence is licensed.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

      " a true follower"

      and there again starts the conflict; there again starts the difference between a WELS and ELCA type Lutheran where one is condemning a thing the other one claims is error-free.

      Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth. –Thomas Jefferson

      February 10, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  20. Jeremy

    Fantastically stated, thanks.

    February 10, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Science

      February 10, 2013 at 10:54 am | Report abuse | Reply

      billinsandiego

      Didn't any of the commentors read the article they are commenting on? It was simply about hypocrisy, not any particular belief. The writer did not claim any special exemption because of his belief but was merely pointing out the conflict between what is practised and what is professed. This hypocrisy does not even have to be "religious" – it can be simply philosophical. For instance,one can say "I like the thoughts expressed by this person (Jesus of Nazareth – and I wish to live a life according to his humanitarian principles, yet I do not believe in his divinity. I just want to, (as the writer stated) be nice."

      February 10, 2013 at 10:53 am | Report abuse | Reply

      Science

      It would be nice......... but
      Maybe they should not have created the wedge !!!
      The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Insti-tute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Insti-tute manifesto known as the Wedge Docu-ment,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to defeat materialism, naturalism, evolution, and "reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic
      convictions.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

      Peace

      February 10, 2013 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |

      geospatiallibrarian

      You don't have to believe in his divinity to believe that his way of living should be emulated. Not everything is "all or nothing" – you don't have to accept it all or reject it all. It's not true that all Christians are saintly and all non-believers are evil. Non-believers can and do live decent, moral lives without buying the whole divinity thing.

      February 10, 2013 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |

      March 22, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • NASA: Mars could have supported life

      history......................Star dust we are.

      April 1, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Science

      True history........................................

      Origin of Life: Natural Cause no god(s) required.

      Hypothesis Traces First Protocells Back to Emergence of Cell Membrane Bioenergetics

      December 20, 2012 — A coherent pathway – which starts from no more than rocks, water and carbon dioxide and leads to the emergence of the strange bio-energetic properties of living cells – has been traced for the ...

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/fossils_ruins/origin_of_life/

      Peace

      April 1, 2013 at 8:53 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.