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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. me

    Thank God I saw the light and converted to Buddhism!

    February 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • me too

      And perhaps one day you will abandon even that for the real world.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  2. 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 posted on p. 21 of this thread.)

    February 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Bill the Cat

      So, 2000 years later, you know history better than those who lived at the same time? Wow, arrogant much?

      February 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Yeah, let's believe the crazy claims about virgin births and talking donkeys because the people who wrote them apparently lived at the same time. Gullible, much?

      February 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
  3. HeavenSent

    Statistics prove that the more devout someone is, the higher IQ they have. Read the Bible. It is 100 percent accurate in every facet. My toilet hasn't worked in six months but I just bought trash bags. Reap the sword of the Lord Jesus when He returns.

    Amen.

    February 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • edweird69

      The FBI returned my couch, but the stains have been removed.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Athy

      Actually, studies show just the opposite. Religious people tend to have lower IQs than atheists and agnostics.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Akira

      LOL. LOL. LOL.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Miguelito Quixote Loveless

      Oh for non-existant heaven's sake, people! Can't you tell a Poe when you see one?

      February 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • anonymous

      "Statistics prove that the more devout someone is, the higher IQ they have" – this claim is most blatantly false, and even if it isn't it means nothing. And unfortunately the bible is not 100% accurate, stories such as Jonah and the Whale and Noahs ark are quite clearly impossible.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Akira

      He's extra good at parody, that's for sure.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • anonymous

      Yeah, probably just another troll.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • DoctorDan118

      Now you're just making stuff up, but then again, you already clearly believe in made up stuff. I have a PhD and two masters degrees, and work in a department with about a hundred other PhDs and MDs, and not a single one of us believes in the magical sugar plum fairy. Google "religious belief and education", and you'll see the TRUTH. The more educated you are, the less likely you are to believe in fairy tales and mythology. This is a fact is indisputable regardless of what garbage you make up. Look at the statistics on education state by state....every year the states are ranked in terms of their test scores, average education of their citizens, the amount of money spent per student....and where are the LOWEST educated states located???? Right in the heart of the bible belt!!! The most ignorant, inbred region of the country has the highest religious beliefs. FACT. Your statement about devout belief and IQ is made up and you know it.

      February 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Akira

      Yeah, and I'm an international spy who can out maneuver James Bond and Jason Bourne, Doc.
      Of course, what I wrote is fiction, as I suspect your education is.
      Doc, when you have to start making up your education to try and make your point, you have failed.
      Oh, and HS is a poe who is laughing hysterically at your "education". He's having fun.
      You bit. Who's the real fool?

      February 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  4. Correctlycenter

    It looks like something from a creepy Tim Burton movie...

    February 10, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  5. lol??

    Adan knew he was created from dust. The evilutionists claim slime. Wha????????

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

      "goddidit!" now stop thinking!

      February 10, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • whodatperson3

      Well, booty.... who did do it? Show some missing links my friend because you need a plethora of them.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • edweird69

      Christians feel insulted when someone claims we came from monkeys, but have no problem at all feeling they came from spit and mud.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Miguelito Quixote Loveless

      I just love Christians like whodatperson3. They demand you have every last bit of evidence to be credible when they don't have any evidence at all.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      what exactly is the missing link? please define what you are asking for. and you obviously haven't kept up on anthropology. there have been something like 20 species of human found. you're way of not dealing with evidence is to ignore it. DNA markers clearly show our trek out of africa. there are plenty of intermittent specimens. and considering how little time we've been looking for fossil evidence, we've actually done a pretty great job. we've pieced together much of the story already. details are being added every day. go to this site and be amazed: http://www.ScienceDaily.com

      February 10, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • ME II

      @whodatperson3,

      No one</b 'did it'. While the origin of life is yet unknown, the development of life on this planet was done by natural processes.
      If by "missing links" you mean transitional fossils, there are many, for example, Tiktaalik, Ambulocetus, Archeoptyrx, Austrulopithicus. (sorry for spelling.)

      February 10, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • whodatperson3

      "They demand you have every last bit of evidence to be credible when they don't have any evidence at all."

      Yet, isn't that what YOU'RE DOING Mig?

      February 10, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • whodatperson3

      20 species of the same specie I take it right?

      February 10, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • whodatperson3

      Natural selection? Why can roaches survive, but humans can't? Why is it that humans are actually DEVOLVING and not evolving UP? Why are there more diseases. Why does it take more technology to keep humans alive rather than less?
      Are you devolving into ooze?

      February 10, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      20 separate species of human. but you seem to want transition fossils. those exist too. do some basic research and be amazed....

      February 10, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Science

      Origin of Life:
      Hypothesis Traces First Protocells Back to Emergence of Cell Membrane Bioenergetics

      Dec. 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 first time in a major hypothesis paper in Cell this week.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121220143530.htm

      February 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • whodatperson3

      Why is it that if we're getting "BETTER" that we have more physical ailments and more people are taking mental 'health' pills? Why are we more depressed rather than less? Why are more people FATTER rather than skinnier? Why is it that there's more chaos in the world and not less? Why are the financial markets worse rather than better if you're smarter than you used to?

      Why isn't technology making your life BETTER rather than less? You'd think based on 'evolution' that things would all be better, when clearly they're not. Shouldn't all these things be better and not worse?

      Sorry guys. With all the supposedly great leaps, we're leaping backwards quickly.

      February 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      your proof we are devolving?
      your proof there are more diseases now than ever? (there are also more people now than ever, btw)
      you seem to be forgetting that humans live 3x longer than we used to thanks to science. in 1900, life expectancy was something like 30 years old. and you think that's a bad thing? haha. more people have been saved with p.enicillin than all the people that died in WWI and WWII combined. yay science!
      c.ockroaches survive partly because they are much smaller. similar to our rodent-like ancestors surviving the impact that wiped out the much larger dinosaurs.

      February 10, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • ME II

      @whodatperson3,

      "Natural selection? Why can roaches survive, but humans can't?"
      I don't understand what you are asking. Humans do survive, at least currently.

      "Why is it that humans are actually DEVOLVING and not evolving UP?"
      Humans are neither devolving nor "evolving up". Evolution is not a directional process; those that survive and reproduce better, pass on their traits, that's it. No up or down.

      "Why are there more diseases."
      The causes of disease, like viruses and bacteria, evolve too.

      "Why does it take more technology to keep humans alive rather than less?"
      I don't know what this has to do with evolution.

      "Are you devolving into ooze?"
      No. What's your point? Also, individuals don't evolve; species or populations do.

      February 10, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      there were only 250 cases of polio world-wide last year thanks to vaccinations by bill and melinda gates charity. they predict total eradication within 6 years. why are you so glum? people live longer than ever before. we can do away with infection, something that has killed countless millions, with a simple pill. give credit where it's due. what about the fact that we're communicating right now over vast distances, from anywhere on earth? pretty amazing, no? and you can get on a plane and see china or england and be back by the weekend, something that would have taken you months if not years before. pretty amazing, no? stop being a negative nancy. things are getting better - not worse. civil rights...? a hundred years ago, women and minorities couldn't vote. you don't think that's progress? lol.

      February 10, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Science

      Making heart valves for transplant from pigs valves and stem cells go figure evolving

      February 10, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      whodad
      You do not understand what evolution is. Why do you think because something that is evolving is always going to be "better"? Evolution is a mechanism for change. Sometimes the changes are "better" sometimes not, but since what const!tutes "better" is changing, so things evolve. Better is a relative term.

      February 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "DEVOLVING and not evolving UP?"

      Kids, this is why it's very important to stay up during high school biology class.

      February 10, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • whodatperson3

      booty... you're devolving because it takes TECHNOLOGY to keep you alive later. Take the technology away and see what you come up with. The SIMPLE fact is that people are kept alive longer BECAUSE they're hooked up to machines. They're given pills, chemo or whatever other 'help' you want to talk about. Most people I know and YOU as well, if you're over 40 have been kept alive by artifical means. My father was kept alive for 20 years based on technology. My mother as well. Kids with cancer how are they kept alive? By technology.

      That adds up to DEVOLVING not evolving UPwards.

      February 10, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • whodatperson3

      ME....
      if humans (species) are evolving, yet we're (human species) are worse off, then you can't be evolving upward, but devolving.

      February 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • ME II

      @whodatperson3,
      "if humans (species) are evolving, yet we're (human species) are worse off, then you can't be evolving upward, but devolving."
      First, who says we're worse off?
      Second, evolution is just change not necessarily improvement. Granted those better adapted to their environment and therefore more reproductive will survive better than their compet.itors.
      Third, humans, while still evolving in the 'decent with modification' sense, are less impacted by many factors involved in natural selection, such as resource acquisition, disease, predation, etc.

      February 10, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • whodatperson3

      ME...
      Humans are devolving because if you take technology away and what happens to humans? They die at pretty much the same time. Around the 70th year of existance give or take.

      Science shows that if you don't have technology to keep humans alive they die at pretty much the same time that we always have.

      February 10, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • ME II

      @whodatperson3,
      So we aren't "worse off" we just aren't any better off without technology, right?

      First, again, evolution is not necessarily improvement, just change.
      Second, there hasn't been enough time for large scale changes to take place.
      Third, there actually are some changes taking place that do help humans, or some humans, survive better even without technology, but there are not very noticeable.

      Two examples, might be lactose tolerance(http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/10/science/10cnd-evolve.html?_r=0), which allows the consumption of milk, another source of calories and protein, into adulthood, and the lack of wisdom teeth in some people(http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/evolution/no-wisdom-teeth2.htm), which reduces tooth and gum disease which was actually a major killer of humans before dentistry.

      February 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  6. lionlylamb

    SMALL COPPER PIPE SLOWS MAGNET FALLING THRU THE PIPE 02/08/13

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E97CYWlALEs&w=640&h=390]

    February 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
  7. Somervillechangeling

    Pastor Dickenson is basically right that many Christians are hateful towards non-Christians, but in prior centuries, they were hateful towards each other over denominational differences that now seem minor. My observation of other religions is that even the Eastern religions marketed as spiritual and peaceful in the West have just as many issues with hate and disagreement in their own countries between sects, towards women and towards children, and we all know the face of the new atheism that is just as angry as the old Christianity they decry.

    C.S. Lewis once had a very unlikable woman Christian woman pointed out to him as an example by a non-Christian. He wrote in reply that she would have exhibited a far worse personality without Christ than she did with Him. We should gently point out the sins of our brothers and sisters, especially those that do harm to the Gospel, but we should recognize that all the New Testament verses that warn against meddling, hatred and other sins on the part of Christians are not there because Christianity is a failure, they are there because Christian anthropology truly understands human nature.

    For 18 years I studied Torah and attended shul. I still prefer synagogue to church but I no longer go as someone who would have been Jewish enough for Hitler to have murdered (or to make aliya to Israel), but who had to convert to make a Conservative minyan. I don't go because I proclaim Christ and while Jewish Buddhists are accepted in shul, and Jewish atheists go for cultural reasons; Jewish Christians are not welcome. We are treated like those who convert to paganism, as idolators.

    I learned quite a bit of truth from Judaism, that we have an evil impulse that has to be suppressed and a good impulse that has to be cultivated, but one thing I did not learn is why all of it seems so natural. I once believed that everyone who is born has a share in the World to Come. Now I know that nothing we do can give us that share, that our selective and public goodness is never enough and is often hiding great sins that are more akin to willful transgression than to simply missing the mark.

    We live in a fallen world and fallen people, both Christian and non-Christian, will exhibit that fallen nature. That is why we need Christ's once for all atonement. Jesus is the Savior of the world, but especially of those who believe. Belief is not enough by itself, the fruits of a Christian life must be there, but even the holiest among us who live in the world but are not of it has a bad day where their sin nature gets the better of them. We are to judge without ignoring the planks in our own eyes and we are to judge acts, not persons.

    February 10, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Reality

      from Professor JD Crossan's book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

      "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

      "Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."

      "In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."

      February 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Notevangelical

      Somerville, actually he is specifically calling out those who proclaim their faith to start living it. That, to use his specific example, speaking (writing) in anger and hatred in response to someone they disagree with is NOT a "christian" response. And, many of the "Christian" responses to his article today fall in the same category. Like it or not, he's right. There are a lot of outwardly Godly, Christian, Church-going folks who don't express the fruits of salvation in their lives. They are mean, cruel, hateful, angry, and overall unpleasant folks to everyone who isn't just like them in every way.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
  8. lionlylamb

    Rights? Stifling one's rights? To me a personal right seems based upon socialized approvals. For without socialisms of bluntness regulatory contrivances there would be no boiled down individualistic rights to ponder upon. The protectionism of rather mundane singularities from parochial schooling efforts has mediocre wavelengths and unwavering bandwidths upon many varying radicalized socialisms. To say you are for something of wordage essence; requires one a need of acquiring rudimentary mental based averages, thusly, the admonition of verbalization to be and become a requirement of solicitousness in honed forthrightness becoming endeared to one's psychic phonon.

    February 10, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • edweird69

      Did you swallow a dictionary, and are now regurgitating its contents?

      February 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  9. HeavenSent

    The atheists on this web site are stepping over His seeds that get blown by the wind to find their way to fertile grounds.
    Typical of swines trampling. My camel-toe applied for long-term-disability. It's obsessive compulsion to grab at any straw to give a reason not to learn or understand.

    Amen.

    February 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      instead of wasting time on your knees, use your hands to actually help your brothers and sisters across the world. Humanism offers a much more ethical philosophy than any religion, including christianity. we don't need to believe in an invisible sky-fairy to be good people. you're better than that. have some faith in humanity.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Akira

      Oh, I've missed you! ;)

      February 10, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • DoctorDan118

      When will ignorant christians understand that the harsh words coming from atheists stem not only from the hypocrisy of christians as outlined in this article (ie, preaching about jesus but engaging in hate), but ALSO their unbridled arrogance in thinking that they KNOW what god/jesus intended, and chastising all those that don't believe in their magical sugar plum fairy in the sky? I would bet any amount of money that you don't have a college education. Those that do rarely believe in such mythology.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • whodatperson3

      Booty... Christians are the leaders in all ways across the board. Govt. gives from Christians and others, who pay taxes. Christians then give to their churhces out of what remains after they have govt. takes from them. Then, hopefully, they give even more to such things such as: Soup kitchens, 1/2 way houses, Salvation Army, Orphanges here and abroad, Adoption Agencies here and abroad, HIV/AIDS here and abroad, Alcohol and Drug Abuse ministries, here and abroad, Pregnancy Centers here and abroad.

      Who was first to Hurricane Katrina? Christian ministries
      Who are still there on the ground ? Christian ministries
      Who was the first to help at Super Storm Sandy? Christian Ministries
      Who still there helping? Christian ministries

      Please.... while we're not perfect, please don't say what you did.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • dale

      bootyfunk,

      you just pointed out the greatest commandment of the Bible, and that's love. Christians are called to love, and if they are only spreading hate, they are sinning. at the very best, you just showed us Christians our faults in spreading hate, and the hate-spreading needs to stop, I agree.

      you're point is that we are being hypocrites? or that God doesn't exist because we are hypocrites?

      February 10, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • DoctorDan118

      whodat....wake up. While there are SOME good christians out there, they are the MINORITY. How many dozens, if not hundreds of stories have we seen about christian ministers and priests diddling a child, or abusing children in some other ways? The entire point if this article is about how hateful christians can be, and was written by a christian fed up with the hypocrisy, ignorance, and hatefulness of his own kind. And guess what? Atheists, agnostics, muslims, hindus, buddhists, and all other religious and nonreligious people pay taxes that help the poor. These people volunteer at food drives, and nurture the sick. Do you think it is only christians that do this? If so, you are even more ignorant than "heaven sent". I'm an agnostic who has done alot community service, working in soup kitchens and such...and unlike you, I do it out of the goodness of my heart, and not because I think some magical sugar plum fairy is watching. You want to talk about what christians are FIRST to do? They are first to murder and pillage thousands of people....ever hear of the crusades, or the spanish inquisition, or the salem witch hunts, or the slaughtering of the native american culture? ALL OF THESE were done in your imaginary saviour's name...they were ALL done by christians, who have historically (and FACTUALLY) been the most brutal, hateful, murderous people in all of human history. FACT.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Booty... Christians are the leaders in all ways across the board. Govt. gives from Christians and others, who pay taxes. Christians then give to their churhces out of what remains after they have govt. takes from them. Then, hopefully, they give even more to such things such as: Soup kitchens, 1/2 way houses, Salvation Army, Orphanges here and abroad, Adoption Agencies here and abroad, HIV/AIDS here and abroad, Alcohol and Drug Abuse ministries, here and abroad, Pregnancy Centers here and abroad.
      *** churches don't pay taxes at all. so money they take in and don't use for charity - which is the majority of it - is tax free. they don't pay taxes on toilet paper - but single moms do. they don't even pay taxes on their internet/cable hookup - but single parents do. and atheists pay taxes too, no? also, the biggest donators to charity in history are two non-believers. atheists give to charity all the time - they just don't call their charity the "atheist cancer society". we don't need to wear it on our sleeves. and you bring up HIV? the pope and other christian leaders telling people in 3rd world countries not to wear condoms because it's a sin has CAUSED the spread of HIV. they tell people not to have s.ex, which is unrealistic. and they tell them not to wear condoms - which is very realistic. religion promotes the spread of disease by promoting archaic practices that go against reason and logic. also, the church fights against s.ex education in schools - and then wonders why there's such high teen pregnancies among small christian towns. lol - stop giving yourself so much credit. that bowl of soup usually comes with a sermon about saving your soul. how about you just help without trying to convert?

      Who was first to Hurricane Katrina? Christian ministries
      *** who stayed quiet on universal health care, something jesus would have wanted? the christian ministries

      Who are still there on the ground ? Christian ministries
      non-believer bill gates' work is about to eradicate polio from the face of the earth. last year, only 250 cases world-wide because of his charity organization.

      Who was the first to help at Super Storm Sandy? Christian Ministries
      who told you christian ministries were the first to help...? you don't think any other faiths or non-believers were out there? arrogance.

      Who still there helping? Christian ministries
      read above. arrogance.

      Please.... while we're not perfect, please don't say what you did.
      *** atheists help without preaching h.omophobia. religion is fail.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • dale

      assuming all of your statements are true, this doesn't prove the Christian God doesn't exist. You just proved that the people that call themselves 'Christians' are doing bad things. what's you point? and how do you know they are Christian? They may believe in Jesus, and that he rose. They may believe in all of the reasons that defines someone as Christian, but if they are not living it, I would be hesitant to claim that they are actually 'Christians'

      February 10, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you can't prove a negative. how is it possible to prove god does NOT exist? just as you can't prove my left nut is NOT god either?

      February 10, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • dale

      so you admit that God may exist? Jesus' life alone is proof. yet alone the extremely complexity of all matter, the universe around us. That is proof enough. The best logical explanation scientist have is 'big bang,' give me a break. what a huge reach. then there is the biased research only looking for proof for the big bang, how about against it?

      how did the big bang happen? ok, so they gave their best guess. but what made all of the molecules, and the heat, and all of the factors possible for the big bang to even occur? and what made them? we get NOWHERE WITH THIS LOGIC!!

      it all starts with a beginning, a Creator, the Creator.... God! The Christian God.

      this is so fully loaded, and you know it.

      do you hate the Christian God? What's your beef?

      February 10, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • whodatperson3

      DocDan... I know waay too many Christians to say there a small minority. Just too many man.

      I will reiterate that HUMANS are hypocrites in general whether you're an athiest or a Christian. What I've found though by and large, is the vast majority of Christians I know, KNOW they are.

      February 10, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • dale

      so if you know they are knowingly sinning without true repentance and making forward progress, do you speculate according to the Christian Bible that they might be surprised on judgement day?

      February 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
  10. whodatperson3

    It always comes down to what Mr. Dickerson means by hateful. As par for the course these days, people like to say it, but not give ANY examples. If you want to give the Westboro 'baptist's' as an example, I'll agree with you. I would even question their salvation, but w/o examples... it's hard to quantify.

    February 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      the KKK is a christian organization, too. and you can hear plenty of sermons talking about g.ays burning in hell. where else is such prejudice and bigotry sold whole-sale to the public? when the preacher talks about g.ays being evil sinners, that is a hate speech. where else does that happen?

      February 10, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • whodatperson3

      Booty... the KKK is no Christian organization.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • dale

      bootyfunk,

      Christians also preach that lying, slandering, adultery, fornication, stealing, not obeying parents and so much more are sins. does that mean we hate everyone??

      February 10, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Fallacies Galore!

      The KKK is not a true Scotsman organization either

      February 10, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Michael

      The author gave an example in the article. Either you didn't read it at all, or you're just seeing what you want to see and nothing else.

      February 10, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      You may not say the kkk is Christian but they would claim they were.

      February 10, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • dale

      if i claimed i was born from a male unicorn, would you believe it?

      February 10, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • whodatperson3

      cedar
      Chalres Manson claimed he was Jesus Christ.

      Many people have claimed to be many things.

      February 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • whodatperson3

      Michael... you're right. Thanks for pointing it out to me. A Christian should never use loathe in that context. I have no problem using it in some contexts though.

      February 10, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
  11. Mohammad A Dar

    Yo Haven Sent – can you answer this riddle?

    People said, Jesus transfigured in to another person in front of his disciples, or became some one else, or he changed his form to their amazement.

    Time of last supper, before his so called arrest, he smiled on Judah, and Judah smiled in kind,
    Jesus, kissed him, and Judah kissed him in kind.
    Judah transfigured in to Jesus and Jesus transfigure in to Judah.
    Judah was arr rested as Jesus and Jesus escaped as Judah,
    WHO WAS ON THE CROSS, JESUS OR JUDAH?

    February 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @Mohammad A Dar

      What's your point small god savior? I expect foolish thinking from an atheist. I need to move the kittens in my oven to the tub now. Jesus’ wisdom is roaring it's ugly head throughout the world.

      Amen.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      lol !! I didn't think you people even dare to answer, you people are mentally handicapped.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      sure, a muslim insults you and you insult atheists...

      February 10, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Athy

      HeavenSent

      Its, not it's. Can't you ever get that right? Do you even know the difference?

      February 10, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • ME II

      @Mohammad A Dar,
      Just out of curiousity, where is it said that "Jesus tranfigured into Judah" at the time of the last supper?

      February 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Correctlycenter

      Are we re-writing God's holy word with lies from Satan?

      February 10, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  12. lol??

    Plenty of ministers need day jobs. Somebody, start hirin'!

    February 10, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      they need REAL jobs. right now they're just professional bullsh.itters!

      February 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  13. HeavenSent

    The big bang and evolution are lies against Jesus’ truth to cause doubt, creating confusion. Satan's lies are built on a quick sand foundation. The hair clogging my kitchen sink did not come from my head. What part of Jesus' truth is clarity and satan's lies are confusion do you not comprehend?

    Amen.

    February 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • PLEASE DON"T FEED THE TROLLS!

      .

      February 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Athy

      I'm definitely not confused. Big bang and evolution are true and god is non-existant. No confusion there.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Akira

      So where did the hair clogging your sink come from?

      February 10, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • DoctorDan118

      The irony of your existence is that you are too ignorant to realize you are ignorant. All of us here with college educations laugh at people like you who don't even realize they are in a CULT. Don't you know the magical purple unicorn and the flying spaghetti monster created the universe just nine weeks ago, and every memory you have in your head was just planted there as a test of your faith in the flying spaghetti monster? Sounds ridiculous doesn't it? ....oh wait, sounds JUST LIKE that same garbage that you are spewing!!! Again, I say, go get an education, and try to boost your IQ into the triple digits, PLEASE.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
  14. Correctlycenter

    Jesus said: "I AM the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6...

    February 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • JWT

      So what ?

      February 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Foreseen

      Thank you for telling the truth.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Odd that one would have to correct someone who calls themselves correctlycenter but...
      Correction....Men said Jesus said... No one knows what Jesus actually may have said, and although it is presumed that jesus actually existed, no one knows for certain.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      I do not believe that a loving God would have sent Mother Teresa to Hell if she had done all her good works in the name of Buddha instead of Christ, while simultaneously allowing into Heaven a mass murderer who converted on the way to the gas chamber. You, of course, are welcome to believe otherwise, but do not presume to speak for all Christians when you articulate your beliefs.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Observer

      Correctlycenter,

      How totally HEARTLESS of God to send billions of people to hell because they never heard of him.

      Pathetic.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yes, jesus was an arrogant cult leader that thought everyone should kiss his @ss...

      February 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I think it's stupid to believe in a god who would allow any such place as hell to exist.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • One one

      He also said you must love him more than your own family.

      Mathew 10: “34 "Don't think that I came to send peace on the earth. I didn't come to send peace, but a sword.
      35 For I came to set a man at odds against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
      36 A man's foes will be those of his own household.
      37 He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me isn't worthy of me.
      38 He who doesn't take his cross and follow after me, isn't worthy of me.”

      February 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      agree, Moby. hell is a disgusting and sadistic concept. an all loving god creates a place where people who didn't kiss his @ss are sent to be tortured forever. since they can never die, they can be tortured in unimaginable ways. but it's really just god's love at work.... twisted.

      also, jesus kills 2.3 of the people on the planet at the end days when he opens his father's 7 seals: murder, famine, war, plague, etc. jesus kills babies in the end times. where's the love?

      February 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Athy

      Jeebus didn't say that. The bible says that. Either way it's bullshit.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  15. Free Nuts

    So that is what TBT looks like. go figure.

    February 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  16. HeavenSent

    Christians are on these articles to ensure Jesus Christ's truth is posted. You atheists are blinded by satan's lies. I keep the flea and tick shampoo in my shower. It is time for you to start your walk with Jesus.

    Amen.

    February 10, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Observer

      HeavenSent,

      Well done. What better example could we find about the hypocrite Christians he was talking about.

      It's really good that you read the story. Maybe someday you'll think about what it said.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Matt

      awwwww how cute...The passive aggressiveness of Christians.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Athy

      HeavenSent, it is good of you to keep your fleas and ticks clean.

      February 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Doobs

      It is time for you to start your walk with Jesus.

      It is time for you to start your walk to the pharmacy for your meds.

      February 10, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • End Religion

      Apple Bush is back and bored!

      February 10, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
  17. Mohammad A Dar

    word Jesus is redundant.

    February 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • chuckmartel

      hey mohammad, why don;t you just leave?

      February 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  18. Tim Jordan

    Jesus, smejesus. Next time I see Joel Osteen conning the elderly out of their money, another Catholic priest fondling a youngster, and an abortion provider getting shot I'll consider the, ahem, "wise words" of Reverend John S. Dickerson, pffft.

    February 10, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
  19. Ron

    Nobody is born with an "internal compass". It is something that we learn. I choose to base my compass on Jesus and his teachings.
    Ghandi had it right when he said that Christians don't very often live out the ideals they espouse. That was the point of the article in the first place. All he said is that we are the face of our belief system to those we meet. We , as Christians have been doing a pretty miserable job of being examples of what we preach over the years.
    I dont think Al Queda speaks for all Muslims, but it became the "face" of the Muslim religion for many Americans on 9/11. This isn't simply a Christian, atheist, Muslims things. This is human nature.

    February 10, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  20. Notevangelical

    All he's saying to the other Christians in the USA is that they need to put their faith into action, and listen to the words that come out of their own mouths. The scripture that talks about removing the log from your own eye so you can see clearly to remove the speck from someone else's eye comes to mind. The writer is holding up a mirror, and those who take offense to what he's saying are the ones who don't like what the mirror shows.

    February 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.