home
RSS
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. Tonelok

    This article, given the opening statements, seems like a giant troll to see how hateful most anonymous christians(and everyone for that matter) can be on the internet. In that regards, this article was a great success.

    You will never get people to observe the Golden Rule so long as they can namelessly say whatever they want without reprisals. Oddly enough, it's called the "Lucifer Affect".

    February 10, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Tom

      It's always "I'm better than you" with these stupid Christians....

      February 10, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  2. Wisdom4U2

    Err'body gettin all serious....it ain't that serious. Be nice y'all. Dag.

    February 10, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  3. widow

    too bad every major religion preaches the same thing.. So does there prophets and Jesus was a prophet in the Koran as well. Every major religion preaches peace love and to be a good person.. nothing more. nothing less. It is pretty simple. If you need a religion to accomplish happiness and being a good person then that is great for you. If you use religion as an entry to paradise or heaven you are what God based on major religions would look down upon. All the little rules of communion and church are rules created by man. Not God.. and if you were a God and free from being selfish as that would be an important attribute then why would you want people to worship you? That is a human response not one a GOD would want. If you need the support system then fine.. But if you do not and go about your life helping others and being a good person with selfless acts you are fine as well. As if god is soo merciful I am sure he would understand that volunteering or helping your family or friends on Saturday or Sunday is more important than going to church or a synagogue or a temple or whatever. Too much is placed on religion. Every religion preaches the same morals and values. Every person regardless of religion is subject to the same human emotions. Some prepare you better than others but all basically to the same degree. In the end it is the parents job to prepare one mentally for the future as our schooling does not do this. There is no psychology in 1st grade and hardly in any high schools. Basically that leaves parenting and religion. Sadly religion today is used largely to scare people into doing the right thing. As a society we need to help people understand how to deal with there emotions better. Not use fear to control them.

    February 10, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • lolwut

      Every major religion is not based on the same philosophy and system of morality, and anyone who thinks that evidently does not know very much about the major religions. That's the kind of statement people seem to love making so they can sound wise and cosmopolitan without actually taking the trouble to learn anything.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  4. Jade

    I've often seen things to make me feel that while people proclaim to believe in God, they instead do not know who or what He is, and only believe in their religion. And because of this belief, they say and do horrible things in the guise of being "for God". The funny thing is, God knows all, sees all, and also knows your motives and feelings behind everything. So people who throw around the name "God" might want to think twice before they say and do some of the things they do, and remember that their religion includes God.

    February 10, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  5. Fuzzyone

    I am a Christian, but am becoming less religious. Seems like a lot of Christians, especially fundamentalists, are very angry. I don't know why. Why are so many Christians so judgmental why Jesus was so not?

    February 10, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Tom

      Thats right... The only good Christian is an EX Christian. The Christian doctrine as it stands can be resumed as: "I'm better than you"

      February 10, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • isolate

      Jesus not judgmental? How often does he dump on the Pharisees for their superficial practice of Judaism while ignoring its spiritual meaning? And what about the story of the money-changers? Much of what Jesus is alleged to have said involves judgment: the words judge or judgment appear 50 times in the Gospels alone (KJV).

      February 10, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
  6. allenwoll

    Organized Religion and extremist Conservatism have much in common - Mental aberration ! ! - And growth facilitated by dangerous propaganda !

    Personal Religion is just a genetically encoded message put there by the Creator of all humanity who may or may not still be functional !

    February 10, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
  7. Christian7

    Alexander Polyakov (Soviet mathematician): "We know that nature is described by the best of all possible mathematics because God created it."

    Paul Davies (British astrophysicist): "There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all....It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe....The impression of design is overwhelming."

    February 10, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • isolate

      I think it was Richard Feynman who pointed out the flaw in Davies' statement by saying if the universe was any different we wouldn't be here to observe it. This universe may simply be the one out of an infinite number where matter and energy composed themselves the way they did, allowing life to evolve the way it did, ditto consciousness. The universe was not created for us, but it had conditions that allowed us to evolve. Had it been otherwise, sentient humans would have put in an appearance long before, instead of waiting until a mere 50,000 years ago, an eyeblink in the history of the cosmos.

      Davies' comment reminds me of the line in Voltaire's Candide, where Dr Pangloss emotes, " "the nose has been formed to bear spectacles, thus we have spectacles."

      February 10, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Christian7

      isolate, It was not otherwise. We are here to observe it. We were caused into existence. We did not always exist.

      February 10, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      christian7, you should investigate the "god of the gaps" fallacy. It seems that's all you have.

      February 10, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  8. Robert

    Why are there hundreds of Chrsitain sects? Can't they agree? Thus shows just how wrong most of them must be.

    February 10, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • John Brown

      Or maybe it shows how wrong all of them can be.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  9. AlanG

    A Christian who hates is a hypocrite, and a fake Christian.

    February 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  10. Christian7

    "God existed before there were human beings on Earth... He holds the entire world, believers and non-believers, in His omnipotent hand for eternity" - Max Planck (founder of quantum mechanics).

    "I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily."– Issac Newton

    February 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Many of the greatest scientists in history were Christian and even monks. It's sad that today Christianity in the US fights science.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      You have taken opinion quotes from people who's work had nothing to do with opinion.
      Is there some point to posting someone elses opinion?

      If you are trying to do it to attempt to lend credibility to the theory of god, then that is dishonest.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Christian7

      Bostontola, I know many Christians. Not one is against science at all.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • End Religion

      There does seem to be an exceedingly rare event in evolution where a religious person is also intelligent. Just chalk it up to variation within a species. Also, any human can be right and wrong in the same lifetime.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Christian7

      Richard Cranium, I have no idea why you think it is dishonest to post famous quotes.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      Yes, that's true....'Many of the Great', including me, believe that the Bible is the Inspired Word of God; And also, that Christ Jesus is God's Word made flesh. Praise the Lord, and thank you Jesus!

      February 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Christian7

      End Religion, Why is it that the most scientifically advanced countries over that last 500 years have been majority Christian?

      February 10, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      C7
      I said that if you are trying to use these opinion quotes to lend credibility to your theory of god, then that is dishonest.

      Problem with reading comprehension?

      February 10, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • frank

      Xtian7: "Bostontola, I know many Christians. Not one is against science at all."

      Yeah, but what kind of science. You know it's twisted when even Pat Robertson comes out against it. lol

      February 10, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      C7
      You said "End Religion, Why is it that the most scientifically advanced countries over that last 500 years have been majority Christian?"

      That implies that they were scientifically advanced BECAUSE they were christian, which is not true.

      Just imagine how much farther we would be scientifically without religion, which has held back scientific advancement countless times.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Christian7

      Richard Cranium, Your statement is not logical. Christians have contributed the most of any group to science. Saying that science is limited by religion is not a logical conclusion. Atheist have not contributed as much to science as Christians. That would be the indicator that science is limited by religion.

      February 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      C7
      Religion has long been against knowledge gained by science

      Vatican Observitory...Though not a real scientific reasearch facility, they have proclaimed many, many times what is acceptable from science and what is not. They try to control knowledge.
      Just ask Galileo about the chueches standpoint was during his time.
      Leonardo DaVinci....would have been killed or imprisoned for doing his research on human anaotomy, even though we still use many of his illustrations today.Had the church realized what he was doing, he would have been killed or imprisoned
      I'll not bore you with many, many others just the more recent ban on stem cell research By George Bush on "moral" grounds based on his religion.

      Scientists may believe whatever they choose, but it is the religious organizations, or those with strong religious beliefs in positions of power that have held back many countless advancements. Religions like people to believe they have the answers. The more answers we find, the more things we find false in the bible. Science actually tries to find the answers.

      February 10, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      christian7, it's not dishonest to quote opinions...it's just irrelevant. Religious opinions by scientists are no more valid than science opinions by preachers. Both are speaking outside their areas of expertise.

      February 10, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • End Religion

      c7, please cite empirical evidence for the assertion "the most scientifically advanced countries over that last 500 years have been majority Christian."

      The problem with religion is that it isn't satisfied with stasis. It wants to eventually change the entire world. We've let you have your pleasant fantasies and now religion is interfering with law. We will not suffer a theocracy. Because you won't stop yourselves, we must. I don't have any illusion that religion will end, but it must be kept to a minimum or the delusion of it begins affecting the growth of all mankind.

      Religion fights tooth and nail AGAINST religion, at every turn. Is it any surprise that during the time in our history when people were put to death for atheism that they may pretend in public to believe? Also, mankind is just beginning to shake off the delusion of "gods". True disbelief in any god is relatively new to mankind simply because our ignorance was so vast. Now our ignorance is an ever-shrinking island upon which your god sits.

      There may be a creator, no one knows for sure. But once that creator is given any attribute (which would be unknowable) it is immediately false. There would be no God of Israel who only blesses people in one religion, just as there was no Poseidon who ruled the Seas. The notion is absurd and childish, and only exists to fill gaps in our ignorance.

      You want credibility for religion or at least less conflict? Stop praying to God or Allah or Zeus and pray to a Pantheistic god who has no rules that we can know, and no attributes we can know. He would have no Koran or Bible because we CANNOT know his rules or attributes until we have a consensus scientifically observable (empirical) evidence. Assertions this god lives in some other dimension but still only likes Christians is just plain silly.

      February 10, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  11. Bostontola

    I am glad that the Christians on this blog are not representative of the Christians I know. The one I know aren't interested in converting anyone, they are open to science and learning.

    February 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Chad

      What makes you think that "science and learning" are at odds with Christianity?

      February 10, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Read the comments, people vehemently deny evolution. That's like denying gravity.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      Huh? Then they aren't Christian. LOL "We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight". Duhh

      February 10, 2013 at 1:27 pm |

    • Watching you struggle with it is informative.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • midwest rail

      He didn't say Christianity. He said Christians.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      Why go looking for a fight?
      @Bostonola, made it pretty clear that it was particular Christians that have a problem with science not Christianity in general.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Chad, read my comment, I said the Christians on this blog. I said the ones I know are interested in science and learning.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Karen

      Then the ones you know, are not really Christians because Christians are commanded by Jesus to tell others about Him. A person is not a true Christian if she or he cannot share Christ with others.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Never takes long for the "not a true Christian" nonsense to start.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Karen, I don't understand your point, are you saying science and learning are fundamentally in conflict with Christianity? I disagree with that.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      @KAREN ~~~ Right on! You've got that right.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • ME II

      @Karen,
      Thanks for the judgement on who is and is not Christian.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Mrs. Pepperpot

      What makes you think that “science and learning” are at odds with Christianity?

      => "I am glad that the Christians on this blog..."
      He is talking about the Christians he has read on this blog, forming an opinion based on what he has read by comments by those purporting to be Christian.
      He said nothing about Christianity in general.
      Do try and keep up, Chad.
      This was a disingenuous assertion on your part, but we're used to that.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad svcks at deduction. How did he even get to that question?

      February 10, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Deist for POS

      Chad
      What makes you think that "science and learning" are at odds with christianity?
      The history of christianity.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Chad

      You do realize that there are Christians that believe the earth is ~6,000 years old, and their are other Christians that believe the earth is billions of years old.
      There are Christians that believe that the first members of each species just materialized out of thin air and started eating grass, and there are Christians that believe that the God of Israel created man from the dust of the earth and that process took millions of years..

      You do know that, right?

      February 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • lol??

      Have you seen the 5 laws of evolution? The taxpayers ought to be embarras*sed.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      What's your fvcking point, Chad? That you don't have the slightest clue how to make a logical statement?

      February 10, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "Why go looking for a fight?"

      =>just correcting the nonsense belief that "you can't be a Christian and believe in science"
      atheists really try and exploit that nonsense, just pointing that it's a lie..

      February 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • midwest rail

      One problem, though – he didn't say that, Chad.

      February 10, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Deist for POS

      Chad
      And the reasons for the different christian beliefs is that some want to stick with what the babble book lierally states and others go to the 2000 years of christian apologetics that make that same babble book jive with every new discovery. funny how that works.

      February 10, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
  12. Wisdom4U2

    Look, John S. Dickerson is just stating 'his' take on the way 'Christians' should behave...'NICE'. So stop getting your panties all in a bunch and just be nice....whatever that means. :-/

    February 10, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  13. GianCarlo

    And the Christian community wonder why more and more people are becoming atheist or non believers? Gee look in the mirror Christians. When you start acting like idiots and spewing hate, do you really believe that won't turn people off? I'd rather be friends with an atheist then a Christian. When you start throwing around your weight in politics, you are no longer a Christian Organization, you become a tool of the GOP or the DNC. You are turning off a whole generation of young people. Tebow is a joke, when you pray to God so that Teabow can win, you become a joke. God is some tool to be used as a joke. If teabow thinks he is impressing God by doing his Teabowing, he has something else coming. If he wants to impress God, how about feeding the poor, the homeless.

    February 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Karen

      The reason that many are turning away is not because of other Christians. They are turning away because these are the final days before Jesus returns and one of the big signs is a falling away. Read Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • bill

      GianCarlo, I'm a Christian who no longer attends church because I believe churches have just become another way to join a clique.I think the biggest threat to Christianity are the far right Christian maniacs who spew hate and judgement like water hoses!But don't forget there is a giant group of Christians that stay quiet and live their lives decently while living their faith. And please don't fool yourself for one minute into thinking Christians have a corner on bad behavior, it's a human trait and crosses all faiths and beliefs. You can tell from the tone of your posting that you're not just some sweet flower and butterfly being incapable of anger. So I wouldn't be too arrogant in my judgement of Christianity. The noisy ones get the attention.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
  14. Carol Hammond

    If churches had to pay taxes ...we would have a surplus to kill more countries with .

    February 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  15. John P. Tarver

    Be kind to the spiritually impoverished, for they are truely poor.

    February 10, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • sam stone

      Spoken like a truly pompous a$$, which is pretty much par for the course with you, Johnnie

      February 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • lordnimrond

      I'm spiritually rich! .... I'm just not Christian....

      How does that work for you?

      February 10, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  16. Christian7

    Real Christians go to heaven.
    Non-Christians go to hell.

    You have a choice.

    February 10, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry "Christian7", but "Heaven" and "Hell" are elements of mythology, therefore your assertions are unfounded.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      So, if Mother Teresa had done all the exact same things, but in the name of Buddha instead of Christ, she'd be in Hell now?

      February 10, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Christian7

      You said, "Real Christians go to heaven.
      Non-Christians go to hell.
      "
      Your god is no more likely to exist than the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny. Both heaven or hell are about as likely to exist.

      You said, "You have a choice."
      Yup. You can choose to remain blissfully ignorant, or you can open your eyes, ears and mind and shed the delusion of your silly and infantile beliefs.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Christian7

      hal 9001, How much are you willing to bet that you are right? Are you willing to bet your eternity on your guess? There is not a single drop of water in hell. Remember that next time you are drinking water. That may be the last time you ever see water. You could die today.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Christian7

      You said, "How much are you willing to bet that you are right? Are you willing to bet your eternity on your guess?"
      You may want to look up Pascal's Wager.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Yep. I AM betting my eternity on the rationale that god is not the childish, lying, silly cvnt-terrorist described in the bible.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Christian7

      LivinginVA, No one works there way into heaven. Your sins are forgiven if you accept Jesus Christ no matter what you have done. You can not sin so great that it is beyond God's ability to forgive. The catch is that you must do it when you are alive.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • frank

      "No one works there way into heaven."

      I would have considered replying, but I see we are dealing with the uneducated.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      Christian7: So, someone who has been a serial murderer and repents on his way to the gas chamber gets to go to heaven while a Buddhist version of Mother Teresa goes to hell, eh? Glad that's version of Christianity I subscribe to.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • sam stone

      Christian7: Fvck you and your empty proxy threats.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      erp, that should have been "NOT the version of Christianity".....

      February 10, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Arguing with christian7 is like arguing with a rock...both show equal capacity for critical thinking.

      February 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • El Flaco

      And of course, if you've ever eaten pork in your life, you will go to hell.

      February 10, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Going In Circles

      I will take hell.
      They throw a better party.

      February 10, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  17. Ungodly Discipline

    God has you in his book. He has a plan for each of us. He knows when you will be born and when you will die.

    He is therefore responsible for all death, murder and destruction for all of history including every abortion ever performed, every rape, every murder, every miscarriage, every atrocity.

    He is perfect. He is omniscient. He is omnipotent. So how could this not be so? It is God’s will.

    God has you in his book. He has a plan for each of us. He knows when you will be born and when you will die.

    He is therefore responsible for all death, murder and destruction for all of history including every abortion ever performed, every rape, every murder, every miscarriage, every atrocity.

    He is perfect. He is omniscient. He is omnipotent. So how could this not be so? It is God’s will.

    God's plan" is the way that Christians traditionally explain things like miscarriages, amputations, cancer, hurricanes and car accidents.

    For example, if a Christian dies a painful and tragic death because of cancer, she dies as part of God's plan. Her death has a purpose. God called her home for a reason. Even if something bad happens to a Christian, it is actually good because it is part of God's plan.

    You can see how pervasive "God's plan" is by looking in Christian inspirational literature. For example;

    Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" [Psalm 139:16]

    There is also this:

    Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you.

    Under this view of the universe, God plans everything.
    Take a moment and think about this, "He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death." Let's examine one simple implication of this statement. What this means is that God has pre-planned every abortion that has taken place on our planet.

    If the concept of "God's plan" is true, you can first of all see that God wants us to be aborting children. Every single abortion is planned by God, so God must be doing it for a reason. Second, you can see that both the mother who requests the abortion and the doctor who performs it are blameless. Since it is God who planned the abortion of the child (God chose the "exact time" of the death, the mother and doctor are simply puppets who are fulfilling God's plan, are they not? What about all the Christians who are fighting against abortion? If abortion is part of God's plan, why are they fighting it? God is the all-powerful ruler of the universe, and his plan is for more than a million children a year to die in the United States through abortion.

    If God's plan is true, then each one of those abortions was meticulously planned by God.

    If God does not intend for us to perform abortions, is it then wrong that God has a plan? If God has a plan, is he not the direct cause of every abortion? Simply think it through, and you will begin to see the problems in this proposition.

    Think about Adolph Hitler. He was evil incarnate, and Hitler is well known for the atrocious things he did. What I would like you to do right now is to consider this statement: "Hitler is part of God's Plan." Think about this:

    He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" [Psalm 139:16]

    God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything he creates. Every plant and every animal was planned by God, and every person was designed with a purpose in mind.

    If God has a divine plan for each of us, then he had a divine plan for Hitler too. It is when you stop to think about it deeply that the contradictions hit you.

    Now let's imagine that you say a prayer in this sort of universe. What difference does it make? God has his plan, and that plan is running down its track like a freight train. If God has a plan, then everyone who died in the Holocaust died for a reason. They had to die, and each death had meaning. Therefore, Holocaust victims could pray all day, and they would still die. The idea of a "plan" makes the idea of a "prayer-answering relationship with God" a contradiction, doesn't it? Yet Christians seem to attach themselves to both ideas, despite the irresolvable problem the two ideas create.

    Think about what God's plan means for you personally. If the plan happens to say that you will get hit by a bus tomorrow, or that terrorists will blow you up, or that you will be shot in the head four times, then that's what will happen. It would be the same with any disease. If you contract cancer this afternoon and die three months later, that is God's plan for you. Praying to cure the cancer is a waste. God plans for you to die, so you will die. He has pre-programmed the exact time of your death. There is nothing you can do to change the plan - no amount of prayer will help - because your death will have meaning and your death will cause side-effects that are also part of the plan.

    Who will you marry? You actually have no choice in the matter. God has pre-planned your wedding in minute detail. "God knew that those two individuals [your parents] possessed exactly the right genetic makeup to create the custom 'you' that he had in mind. They had the DNA God wanted to make you." Therefore, your spouse was pre-chosen by God for you so that you would create the children who are a part of his plan. You also have no choice in the number of children you will have - God has pre-planned their births.

    In addition, this sort of universe means that Hitler is blameless. Hitler was not "evil," because Hitler had no free will at all. Hitler was simply an actor forced to play his role in God's plan. God planned for millions of people to die in the Holocaust - he planned their deaths in exact detail. Hitler had to kill those people. Hitler was God's puppet in making that those millions of deaths happen right on schedule.

    In the same way then, every murderer is blameless. Since God has planned each of our deaths in exact detail, murderers are actually essential to God's plan. Why do we punish them? We should be rewarding them for doing their God-planned duty. What if you get raped tomorrow and get pregnant? God did that because he planned the exact time of that child's birth and death. God actually pre-planned your rape, and the rapist was God's puppet. Rather than hating the rapist, we should celebrate God's plan.

    Do you believe that murderers and rapists should be rewarded? Do you believe that Hitler was sent by God to kill millions of people in the Holocaust? Do you believe that God is the direct cause of every abortion on this planet? Do you believe that you have no choice in your spouse or the number of children you have? Probably not. But that is what you are saying when you state that Hitler or cancer or anything else is part of "God's plan."

    If you think about it as an intelligent person, you will realize that the statement "It is part of God's plan" is one of those meaningless palliatives. When you sit down and think it through using your common sense, the statement makes no sense.

    By definition, a kingdom is immoral. That is one of the most ironic inconsistencies with mono-theistic belief systems. They abhor dictators, but then turn right around and worship one.

    February 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  18. B.

    Intelligent morality and not Mythology will have to evolve as the solution for most on this planet if the human race is to evolve and survive in the long run. Continued Mythology has historically done nothing but create more Hate and War than any other endeavor.

    February 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  19. Wisdom4U2

    "...But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”" ~~~ Okay, I guess 'women' can keep talking smack. :-)

    February 10, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  20. Has anything improved with Christianity since 200+ years ago?

    (see post by "truth be told" below, and then read this)
    =================================================

    Thomas Jefferson, POTUS #3:

    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.

    John Adams, POTUS #2:

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

    James Madison, POTUS #4, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights:

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    February 10, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Razor

      Didn't Thomas Jefferson own a lot of slaves? Not sure he is exactly the epitome of morality, even by his own standards... It's like quoting him on finances – he went bankrupt by the end of his life.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Has anything improved with Christianity since 200+ years ago?

      As with most POTUS's they were far from perfect, but Madison and Jefferson sure did know how to build a wall of separation of church and state.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Razor

      Perhaps, though one might want to look at themselves first and try to live up to their own standards. I'm pretty sure quite a few slaves were tortured, maimed, killed or lived in misery. Many slaveholders released their slaves during the Revolutionary War – Jefferson did not. It's easy to proclaim and criticize the failings of others. A bit harder to take a cold, hard look at ones own failings. If one cannot at least make a good faith effort to live up to their own standards, why should we cite them as paragons of virtue? This goes for those we agree with as well as those we don't, perhaps more so; it certainly should go for each of us before we are too harsh on others.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Razor

      One other note – much of the impetus for abolishing slavery came from Christians who felt it could not be reconciled with their faith. Many of those who opposed the Nazis and helped shelter potential victims did so out of faith (Pastor Niemoller and Bishop Von Galen are two of the more famous examples). We shouldn't lump all individuals and denominations together and present it as the whole. The Epsicopal, Methodist, ELCA churchs have very different views than say charismatic evangelicals or Southern Baptists for instance.

      February 10, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.