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How evangelicals won a war and lost a generation
Are church teachings on homosexuality driving millennials away from faith?
March 31st, 2014
02:18 PM ET

How evangelicals won a war and lost a generation

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN

(CNN) - On March 24, World Vision announced that the U.S. branch of the popular humanitarian organization would no longer discriminate against employees in same-sex marriages.

It was a decision that surprised many but one that made sense, given the organization’s ecumenical nature.

But on March 26, World Vision President Richard Stearns reversed the decision, stating, “our board acknowledged that the policy change we made was a mistake.”

Supporters helped the aid group “see that with more clarity,” Stearns added, “and we’re asking you to forgive us for that mistake.”

So what happened within those 48 hours to cause such a sudden reversal?

The Evangelical Machine kicked into gear.

Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the decision pointed to “disaster,” and the Assemblies of God denomination encouraged its members to pull their financial support from the organization.

Evangelicals took to Twitter and Facebook to threaten to stop sending money to their sponsored children unless World Vision reversed course.

Within a day of the initial announcement, more than 2,000 children sponsored by World Vision lost their financial support. And with more and more individuals, churches and organizations threatening to do the same, the charity stood to lose millions of dollars in aid that would otherwise reach the poor, sick, hungry and displaced people World Vision serves.

So World Vision reversed course.

Stearns told The New York Times that some people, satisfied with the reversal, have called World Vision headquarters to ask, “Can I have my child back?” as though needy children are expendable bargaining chips in the culture war against gay and lesbian people.

Many of us who grew up evangelical watched with horror as these events unfolded.

As a longtime supporter of World Vision, I encouraged readers of my blog to pick up some of the dropped sponsorships after the initial decision. I then felt betrayed when World Vision backtracked, though I urged my readers not to play the same game but to keep supporting their sponsored children, who are of course at no fault in any of this.

But most of all, the situation put into stark, unsettling relief just how misaligned evangelical priorities have become.

When Christians declare that they would rather withhold aid from people who need it than serve alongside gays and lesbians helping to provide that aid, something is wrong.

There is a disproportionate focus on homosexuality that consistently dehumanizes, stigmatizes and marginalizes gay and lesbian people and, at least in this case, prioritizes the culture war against them over and against the important work of caring for the poor.

Evangelicals insist that they are simply fighting to preserve “biblical marriage,” but if this were actually about “biblical marriage,” then we would also be discussing the charity’s policy around divorce.

But we’re not.

Furthermore, Scripture itself teaches that when we clothe and feed those in need, we clothe and feed Christ himself, and when we withhold care from those in need, we withhold it from Christ himself (Matthew 25:31-46).

Why are the few passages about homosexuality accepted uncritically, without regard to context or culture, but the many about poverty so easily discarded?

As I grieved with my (mostly 20- and 30-something) readers over this ugly and embarrassing situation, I heard a similar refrain over and over again: “I don’t think I’m an evangelical anymore. I want to follow Jesus, but I can’t be a part of this.”

I feel the same way.

Whether it’s over the denial of evolutionary science, continued opposition to gender equality in the church, an unhealthy alliance between religion and politics or the obsession with opposing gay marriage, evangelicalism is losing a generation to the culture wars.

A recent survey from Public Religion Research Institute revealed that nearly one-third of millennials who left their childhood faith did so because of “negative teachings” or “negative treatment” of gay and lesbian people.

Christians can disagree about what the Bible says (or doesn’t say) about same-sex marriage. This is not an issue of orthodoxy. But when we begin using child sponsorships as bargaining tools in our debates, we’ve lost the way of Jesus.

So my question for those evangelicals is this: Is it worth it?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage really worth leaving thousands of needy children without financial support?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth losing more young people to cynicism regarding the church?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth perpetuating the idea that evangelical Christians are at war with LGBT people?

And is a “victory” against gay marriage worth drowning out that quiet but persistent internal voice that asks, "what if we get this wrong?"

I, for one, am tired of arguing. I’m tired of trying to defend evangelicalism when its leaders behave indefensibly.

I’m going AWOL on evangelicalism's culture wars so I can get back to following Jesus among its many refugees: LGBT people, women called to ministry, artists, science-lovers, misfits, sinners, doubters, thinkers and “the least of these.”

I’m ready to stop waging war and start washing feet.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Rachel Held Evans.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Culture wars • Discrimination • Ethics • evangelicals • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Opinion • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (2,141 Responses)
  1. Vic

    Way overboard!

    https://www.yahoo.com/tech/dating-site-okcupid-boycott-firefox-for-ceos-anti-gay-81365799061.html

    Credits to:
    [
    cindiendicott

    Although this doesn't involve children, it could show that the intolerance is not all one-sided. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/dating-site-protests-anti-gay-marriage-contributor/2014/03/31/c180de36-b93c-11e3-80de-2ff8801f27af_story.html

    March 31, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Reply
    ]

    April 1, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
    • Akira

      Shrug.
      About as stupid as letting children starve to make a point about being anti gay, right?

      April 1, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
      • Vic

        Yep.

        April 1, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
    • joey3467

      it is never intolerance to call out intolerance Vic. In this case okcupid looks like the bigots.

      April 1, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
      • Vic

        Yep.

        April 1, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
      • joey3467

        Apparently I got this all backwards.

        April 1, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
    • hotairace

      I use to think online dating sites weren't of much value, but I've changed my mind. Way to go OkCupid!

      April 1, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
    • Vic

      Politics are blind a good deal.

      Many matters can be resolved at nobody's expense. The new Mozilla’s FireFox CEO, Brendan Eich, invented JavaScript that runs on every computer machine, should that be cast away now?!

      April 1, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
      • hotairace

        Yes! OPS5 is the One True Programming Language.

        April 1, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
      • Vic

        Well, that and a multitude of high-level programming languages, e.g. C, C++, C♯, etc. It all depends on the application. I believe Fortran is the oldest.

        April 1, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • G to the T

          I'm so old I remember taking "apple basic" in junior high and PASCAL in high school. Heck – I'm so old I remember there being Junior Highs, not these new "middle schools" (how is that better?)

          April 2, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • hotairace

          I'm so old I remember when there was no Apple or Microsoft!

          April 2, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
  2. Dyslexic doG

    Last century, L Ron Hubbard wrote a book, as foolish as it is, making all sorts of outrageous and outlandish claims, backed up by zero evidence, and he has millions of followers.

    200 years ago, Joseph Smith wrote a book, as foolish as it is, making all sorts of outrageous and outlandish claims, backed up by zero evidence, and he has tens of millions of followers.

    A few thousand years ago, unnamed desert dwelling goat herders wrote a book, making all sorts of outrageous and outlandish claims, backed up by zero evidence, and they have hundreds of millions of followers.

    Do you see that the only thing that makes your christian religion more popular than any other of these obvious scams is the amount of time it has had for your deluded cult members to breed and indoctrinate their children.

    So have a good think about how preposterous scientology and mormonism sound to you, and know that christianity is just the same thing with a bigger head start.

    April 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
    • guidedans

      Cerdonians (no longer extant)
      Colorbasians (no longer extant)
      Simonians (no longer extant)
      Bogomils (no longer extant)
      Cathars (no longer extant)
      Manichaeism (no longer extant)
      Bagnolians (no longer extant)
      Ebionites
      Elkasites
      Nazarenes
      Sabbateans
      Frankists
      Essenes
      Pharisees (ancestor of Rabbinic Judaism)
      Sadducees (possible ancestor of Karaite Judaism)
      Zealots
      Sicarii
      Ebionites (no longer extant)
      Marcionism (no longer extant)
      Sethians
      Basilidians
      Valentinians
      Bardesanite
      Azraqi
      Haruriyya
      Sufri

      And countless other religions are no longer practiced. Just because something has been around a long time does not mean it will flourish. Truth endures the test of time. Falsehoods fade away.

      April 1, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
      • hotairace

        And christianity is fading, largely thanks to the younger generations who have figured out what a scam religion is. Enjoy your end times, delusional believers!

        April 1, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
      • joey3467

        Eventually Christianity will be replaced just as all the other ones were, whether it will be replaced by another religion or no religion is the only real question.

        April 1, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
      • kudlak

        Hinduism and Buddhism are still flourishing. By your logic they must be more true than the younger Christianity?

        April 1, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
  3. Bootyfunk

    christianity is losing people for a few reasons...
    one is that modern ethics are far more humane than biblical morals.
    the bible says g.ays are to be put to death, women are to be submissive to men, approves of slavery (even giving rules for how to sell your own daughter into slavery), etc.
    a 2k year old book written by people that thought the earth was flat is probably not the best guide for good living.

    April 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      "one is that modern ethics are far more humane than biblical morals."
      -------–
      If morality is relative, then there can be no ethics. If there is no standard for morality, then no one can be condemned for doing anything, for all he is doing is "dancing to his DNA."

      April 1, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
      • joey3467

        Then is genocide always wrong, or is it o.k. if the Christian god orders it?

        April 1, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          God lawfully has the right to execute judgment upon anyone. The Bible says that all people have sinned against God and are under his righteous judgment. Therefore, their execution is not an arbitrary killing nor is it murder. Murder is the unlawful taking of life. Killing is the lawful taking of life. When God authorizes the nation of Israel to wipe out a people, it is a lawful execution due to their rebellion and sin against God. Such an extermination can be seen to be merciful by delivering the young into the hands of the Lord and possibly saving their souls by not giving them time to become "utterly sinful". Additionally, further generations that would have arisen from the perverse culture, are likewise prevented from coming into existence and spreading their sin. Finally, one of the reasons that the Lord is so strong in the Old Testament and orders the killing of people is to ensure that the future messianic line would remain intact. The enemy, Satan, began his attempt to destroy God's people in the Garden of Eden, by also trying to corrupt the world (which led to Noah's Flood), by trying to destroy Israel with attacking armies, and by encouraging Israel to fall into idolatry by exposure to other cultures as well as intermarrying women from those cultures. The result of both the idolatry and the interbreeding would have been the failure of the prophecies that foretold of the coming Messiah which specified which family line the Messiah would come through. The Messiah, Jesus, would be the one who would die for the sins of the world and without that death there would be no atonement. Without the atonement, all people would be lost. So, God was ensuring the arrival of the Messiah via the destruction of the ungodly.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          your mind is warped by christianity...

          "God lawfully has the right to execute judgment upon anyone."

          no, he does not have a 'lawful' right to murder children as he did in his great flood. your god-monster drowned babies. read that again: BABIES. only a monster can fill a child's lungs with water and call it divine justice.

          you are in a cult. cults are bad for you. they teach you to turn your brain off and just obey. try thinking for yourself - you won't regret it.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • joey3467

          What you have just done is destroy your entire argument. For morality to be objective then genocide is always wrong or always right. The fact that you make up a bunch of reasons why it is o.k. in some instances only proves that you actually believe that morality is relative.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          ah, the workings of a cult addled mind ...

          April 1, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "God lawfully has the right to execute judgment upon anyone."

          So the religious invent "God" then give their invention rights? You must first prove God exists to then instill said God with a license to kill.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo,

          God's "morality" includes support for slavery, discrimination against women, discrimination against gays, discrimination against the handicapped, beating children with rods for discipline, beating elderly female slaves with no punishment, etc. There's NOTHING there to be proud of.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • Akira

          @joey,
          It's only murder when anyone other than God does it. It's not really killing, murder, manslaughter, or anything else when God does it; it's justice for the entire situation He set up from the beginning.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • joey3467

          Apparently not only is genocide moral in some instances according to Theo, but so is murder. And you want us to adopt your morals? I think I'll pass.

          April 1, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • sam stone

          corn pone, you sure a snivelling sycophant. you are also a fine example of why evangelicals should be publicly mocked

          April 1, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
        • sam stone

          So much for corn pone's "objective morality", eh?

          April 1, 2014 at 8:53 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        morality is relative.
        and when we compare modern ethics to biblical morals,
        the bible is found lacking.
        yep, the stories were written 2k+ years ago,
        the bible's "morals" are outdated according to modern sensibilities.
        and that's the point.

        April 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          error fix 'morality is subjective"

          April 1, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        "If morality is relative, then there can be no ethics"

        Nonsense. Morality and ethics are a societal consensus. Empirially they exist, absent organized religion. It is not individualized, which is the false choice you presume with "dancing one's DNA".

        Morality is fluid and relative. It changes with society and gradually over time.

        April 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        Morality is relative. It's relative to "us" and that means things that hurt "us" are deemed immoral. There can in fact be ethics in regards to "us".

        Laws based on anything else should be discarded and most have been and more will be. Blasphemy laws, bans on selling alcohol on Sunday or in certain counties, blue laws, bans against gay marriage or interacial marriage, laws allowing slavery in the past, all have been or will be done away with soon. The mental darkness of ignorance cannot withstand the light shining on it from technology and science, it will wither away like black mold exposed to sunlight which will burn away any and all putrid moisture from religion that has allowed the immoral molds to grow.

        April 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Fact: Morality is not absolute it is relative.

        Evidence: Slavery was considered ethical in the bible. Contemporary Christians consider slavery to be wrong.

        How much of the rest of Leviticus has been similarly discarded: Ostracizing menustrating women, consuming shellfish, animal sacrifice, mixed fibers ... the list goes on and on.

        Morality is relative, not absolute. "Objective morality" does not exist.

        April 1, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • joey3467

          Theo proves with his own post that objective morality doesn't exist, but rest assured, he will be back tomorrow to make the same argument again even tough he must know by now that he is wrong.

          April 1, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        First, that is a false dicotomy,

        Second, Christian morals and ethics are not in any way objective. Even if I were to agree with your premise that objective morality exists and requires a god I would have to reject the Christian god because it is demonstrably immoral.

        April 1, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      information is killing off religion. Young folk have access to facts and information via the web and do not solely rely on the bubble of their priest and parents for information as in days of old. The indoctrination is not taking hold like it used to. Religion's days are numbered!

      April 1, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        agreed.
        the internet and fact-checking are killing religion.
        people don't have to just believe what they're told anymore.

        April 1, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
  4. Dyslexic doG

    For a being that can supposedly create the universe, it's pretty pathetic how he needs people's constant worship and adoration. "oh love me, love me, tell me how wonderful and how great and how powerful I am! Now tell me again! Oh, and again!"

    April 1, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
    • doobzz

      "Or I'll torture you forever. But don't forget, I'm a loving father. And I need money!"

      April 1, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      Have your children ever loved you for who you are or thanked you for anything you've ever done for them? So it is with the children of God.

      April 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        except God is an abusive father that tortures his children when they "misbehave".

        April 1, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        My daughter thanks me all the time, but even if she didn't I would decide to drown her in the tub.

        April 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          er, "wouldn't"

          April 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          glad you corrected that!

          April 1, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        no good parent would ever mandate that their children spend hours per day praising them and worshipping them and bowing before them and making sacrifices for them ...

        April 1, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
  5. Noé

    R. Held Evans is a great biblical woman, she is fittingly described so eloquently in Proverbs 9:13-18

    April 1, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      Ouch!

      April 1, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • doobzz

      The bible has lots of stuff about how to denigrate and subjugate women. What's your point? That the book tells you to believe the book or else you're a fool?

      April 1, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        it would be a pretty basic strategy for the snake oil salesmen who wrote the bible to try and cover themselves by putting in lines like "do not believe he who says this book is false for they are servants of the devil" and "he who questions god is wrong sayeth the lord" and "any man who doubts the word of god as written in this book is a fool and will be punished in the afterlife" and so on, and so on, and so on ...

        it's so obvious and transparent!

        April 1, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
      • Theo Phileo

        Did you know that the Bible says that husbands are to submit to their wives, AND wives are to submit to their husbands in the same letter? Why do you take issue over the one, but ignore the other?

        April 1, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          If the bible is the single consistant divine thoughts of the creator then there would be no contradictory instructions... the book would be perfect in every way and not be a point of contention between 42,000 factions who all have a different interpretation of what it's telling them to do.

          April 1, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
        • doobzz

          Does the bible give instructions on how much a man should be compensated if his virgin son is raped? Or that his son must now marry his rapist and can never divorce him/her?

          Quit lying about the bible being some guide for women's equality.

          April 1, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
    • Akira

      Such a pity that you feel the need to tear down a woman instead if merely saying "I disagree."

      April 1, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
  6. new-man

    MadeFromDirt: I agree with your comment @ April 1, 2014 at 4:01 am

    What's revealing to me, is that an organization (World Vision) that believes in God does not have enough faith to actually BELIEVE Father. To believe that He will provide all their needs ACCORDING to His riches in glory. I hope someone directs them to the life of George Muller, so they know this is possible, this can be done, because this is how one lives the kingdom of God.

    W.V. backtracked because their faith is totally misplace – This opportunity to move forward without the support of many who tout the doctrines of man-as the gospel of the kingdom, would have provided them a great witness to the nations that provisions and prosperity do not come from man, but from Father.

    14 Thus says the Lord: The labor and wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Ethiopia and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to you and they shall be yours; they shall follow you; in chains [of subjection to you] they shall come over, and they shall fall down before you; they shall make supplication to you, saying, Surely God is with you, and there is no other, no God besides Him.

    [And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.]

    April 1, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      ahhhh, the workings of a cult addled mind ...

      April 1, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
      • new-man

        24 Only in the Lord shall one say, I have righteousness (salvation and victory) and strength [to achieve]. To Him shall all come who were incensed against Him, and they shall be ashamed.

        Blessings friend; how's the left arm?

        April 1, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          "Hearing voices no one else can hear isn’t a good sign, even in the wizarding world."
          -Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

          April 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      "W.V. backtracked because their faith is totally misplaced"

      So says one of the 42,000 denominations. What say you other 41,999?

      "His faith is totally misplaced!"

      "No your faith is totally misplaced!"

      "No your faith is!"

      "No your faith is!"...

      April 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
  7. revrickm

    I would like to point out that the generation that evangelicals lost is not just the younger one. It is also those of us who are in our 50s and 60s. I was brought up as a Southern Baptist. Now that I'm in my 60s I have grown so weary of the evangelical churches I have left them behind. Now, as an nondenominational minister, I also see many older adults leaving the "standard" denominations in favor of a more loving and less judgmental flock. Religion is waning, but living a more spiritual life is still possible without the trappings of "church", and Bible th.umping believers.

    April 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      "I also see many older adults leaving the "standard" denominations in favor of a more loving and less judgmental flock. Religion is waning, but living a more spiritual life is still possible without the trappings of "church", and Bible th.umping believers."
      ------------
      As a minister, since you mock what you refer to as "Bible thumpers," do you believe in the inerrancy of Scripture? The perspecuity of Scripture? Does your soteriology require repentance? If so, do you preach against sin? Do you follow the model of Jesus and call out sinners in their sin and command them to repentance?

      April 1, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
      • ausphor

        Theo
        Just because you need repentance and salvation doesn't mean others do.

        April 1, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          If that is the case, then name the man who has not broken one of God's laws. (Exodus 20:1-17)

          April 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
        • igaftr

          I'll name one theo. IGAFTR. Since I do not recognize any gods, and I know that men made up your book, as far as I can see, I have broken none of "gods laws". I have occasionally broken some of the things MEN claim to be gods laws, but they might just be Satan's laws too. You just do not know.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • joey3467

          Until you can prove to me that your god even exists I would argue that nobody has ever broken any of god's laws.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "I'll name one theo. IGAFTR. Since I do not recognize any gods, and I know that men made up your book, as far as I can see, I have broken none of "gods laws". I have occasionally broken some of the things MEN claim to be gods laws, but they might just be Satan's laws too. You just do not know."
          -------------
          John Bunyan once said that "sin is the dare of God's justice." It is any violation of the moral character or law of God. Whether you choose to recognize God's authority over your life or not is irrelevant. God's judgment stands.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          Me too, me too. Listen why don't you tell us what vile disgusting things you have done, confession is good for the psyche. You can leave out lying on this blog we already know that.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Until you can prove to me that your god even exists I would argue that nobody has ever broken any of god's laws."
          ---------
          False. Your statement assumes that the existence of God is solely dependant upon your ability to be convinced of His existence. Furthermore, you invalidade all forms of proof outside of empiricism, even though empiricism itself must be filtered through the subjectivity of reason.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • joey3467

          I didn't presuppose anything, I read the bible and decided it was clearly absurd and not the work of anything more than the writings of some guys who lived a long time ago. In fact if I presupposed anything in the beginning it was that the god the Bible describes is real because that is what my parents and teachers taught me, however, it appears that they lied to me.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
        • joey3467

          I will also add that people like you, Theo, only help to convince me that I am right.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
        • ausphor

          joey...
          Careful there, Theo is just dying to get on his first cause, casual chain rant and try to bore all of us heathens to death. C'mon Theo share your ugly sinful past with us, you god has you covered and we won't tell anyone other than those that visit this blog. What happened, don't be embara$$ed.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          ausphor,
          You demand empiricle proof before you can be convinced of anything, throwing out all subjective proofs as worthless. And yet, as I have stated before, even empiricism must be filtered through the subjectivity of reason. So while demanding the one, you attempt to throw out the other, although you cannot do this in reality, and BOTH share validity in determining truth.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          You took a couple of psychology classes, got them all twisted up with your biblical beliefs and are now the source of all truth. Sorry you just utterly and completely wrong.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • igaftr

          theo
          I have not broken any of gods laws. You wanted the name of someone. There it is.

          For you to say I have, you would first have to show that gods exist, and then show that YOUR god exists, and then show the connection between that god and that man made book. Until then, those words in your book are the words of men.
          For all you know they are the words of satan.

          Can you PROVE that I have violated any of gods laws? ( remember you also have to prove the laws are actually gods laws)

          One of those laws, if actually inspired by your god is the first one, where, if true, god acknowledges that there are other gods...isn't that true?

          April 1, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • ausphor

          Did I mean philosophy, probably.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          You took a couple of psychology classes
          ------------
          Actually, no, I took one introductory course a LOOOOOONG time ago, but I don't remember a thing from it. Are you saying that empiricism alone determines truth? Because if you are, then that's just wrong.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          It has been pointed out to you time and time again that you are not the only one that knows the truth. Truth is in eye and mind of the beholder. The believers in Vishnu, Allah, your myth and countless other gods know that they have the truth.

          April 1, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        Theo. You are exactly what this story is talking about. You lose.

        April 1, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
        • Akira

          Mmmm hmmm.

          April 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
      • Akira

        Do you think your interpretation of the Bible is the true, only, and correct one, Theo? I would think such absolutes close a lot of learning doors.

        April 1, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          If I can be shown through a clear reading of the word of God that I am wrong in anything I say then I would change my belief on that matter on the spot. So it should be with any student of the Bible.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          Did you bother to watch the Jimmy Swaggart video below? Do you weep like a little girl when you are begging for forgiveness for your disgusting wretched sins?

          April 1, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          but Theo, you suffer more cognitive dissonance than just about anyone I have ever come across. So your comment is not really correct.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • Akira

          Yes. You think your interpretation is the only and true one, and everyone else's is wrong.

          Okay.

          April 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
      • revrickm

        @ Theo – I can probably answer all of your questions by answering your first one: Do I believe in the inerrancy of scripture? Absolutely not.

        First, let me say that while I believe that scripture is divinely inspired, it is not inerrant. Why? Because the Bible was written by humans, and interpreted by humans, all of whom were subject to the ideological, social, cultural and religious influences of the time periods in which they lived. In fact, many if not most Bible scholars will tell you that we actually have no idea who the Gospel writers were, and that most of the books of the Bible that are attributed to the apostle Paul, were in fact not written by Paul, but someone claiming to be Paul. This fact is taught by most theological seminaries but is dismissed as an inconvenience, and is rarely if ever mentioned, much less taught, in your Sunday School class, or by your minister in the pulpit.

        This doesn't mean I dismiss the Bible as rubbish and useless. It is still a valuable book in terms of extracting certain universal truths regarding the love and compassion that Jesus Christ taught. Christ was the Son of God, just as all of us are sons and daughters of our Universal Creator – whomever or whatever you believe that Universal Creator to be.

        Additionally, I could care less what an atheist believes or does not believe, and I suspect God is not offended by non-believers. The jealous, vengeful God of the Bible never existed in the first place, but was imbued as such by the simple, naïve writers of the time. God never changes, but as humans our perspective of God changes as our understanding of Him becomes more capable of comprehending the divine spark that exists in each one of us.

        April 2, 2014 at 11:10 am |
  8. seanchandler

    "I, for one, am tired of arguing. I’m tired of trying to defend evangelicalism when its leaders behave indefensibly."

    Do you perceive that you spend a lot of time defending evangelicalism? Because the majority of your blogs seem to be throwing evangelicals as a whole or individuals under the bus. Perhaps it's deserved, but I perceive you as a consistent critic of evangelicals not a defender.

    April 1, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
    • SeaVik

      I believe she said she was raised Evangelical. So even if she no longer believes that herself, she is in the unfortunate position of either having to defend it or admit that her parents were terrible people.

      April 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
      • seanchandler

        She claims to be a Christian, but not of the type she grew up in. And as a blogger/writer she's known for writing rallying pieces for those who are also frustrated with evangelicals. Thus the words seem disingenuous or misleading to me.

        April 1, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
        • SeaVik

          I'm sure she's had to defend herself and her parents her entire life for being crazy evangelicals, even if she has changed her position.

          April 1, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
  9. The Beat Man

    Reblogged this on Life in Anglo-America and commented:
    christianists and islamists same old story

    April 1, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
  10. doobzz

    Happy National Atheist Day. A long, happy, healthy life to you all.

    April 1, 2014 at 11:57 am |
    • Akira

      Is it? I'd much rather have it National Atheist Day than "Try and pull pranks on Mom all day" Day.

      April 1, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
      • doobzz

        It is. I think it's supposed to be a slam on atheists, since it's also April Fool Day. I just thought I'd turn it around and make it a day to wish everyone a good earthly existence.

        April 1, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • Akira

          Bet it becomes more popular than the naysayers would like.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • doobzz

          Now both of my replies to you are "under moderation". LOL.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I always found it interesting that "April Fools" fell so close to Easter...kind of describing the type of people you would run into a lot during the month...

          For atheists today and every day is "No Longer Fooled Day"...

          April 1, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • doobzz

          Exactly. Who's really the fool?

          April 1, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      doobzz,

      you've been hanging around here too long where bigotted believers post things like "April 1 is atheists day" deliberately conflating atheists with fools.

      The "National Day of Reason" is the first Thursday in May which this year falls on May 1.

      Some years it also falls on Star Wars Day: As in: "May the Fourth be with you!"

      April 1, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
      • doobzz

        I know about the National Day of Reason.

        National Atheist Day popped up today on my Checkiday app, so I thought I'd have a bit of fun with it and turn it around. I didn't expect to get tut-tutted at, most folks here have a sense of humor.

        April 1, 2014 at 9:17 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        You're taking me too seriously. My comment was lightly meant and not a "tut-tut" in any way.

        I have seen way too many posts here (by people similar in their narrow-mindedness to Salero) conflating April Fools and Atheists. If anything my comment is directed at them and not you.

        April 1, 2014 at 9:26 pm |
      • doobzz

        Well, alrighty then.

        April 1, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
  11. Austin McNair

    Reblogged this on A Leap of Faith and commented:
    Rachel Held Evans is the voice of an emerging set of Christians who are learning to reprioritze their values around building the Kingdom of God. This article is a snapshot of what this posture looks like.

    April 1, 2014 at 11:18 am |
    • igaftr

      So they are changing the way they view their myths in the face of changing perception, and information showing the bible is wrong. That will continue to change. The christianity being practiced today, would have gotten you killed by christians 400 years ago.

      April 1, 2014 at 11:41 am |
      • Austin McNair

        That's actually not true. Christians only started trying to take the Bible to be 100% literal in the early 19th century as a response to rationalism. It was a poor decision.

        Thinkers like Rachel Held Evans and myself are actually trying to direct the church back to it's former posture where the priority falls on following the principles from Scripture more than trying to defend them as literal truths.

        That is good news! Living into the way of Jesus is actually pretty good for the world.

        April 1, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          so the bible is a self help guide rather than the word of your god?

          April 1, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • Austin McNair

          The bible is not the word of God. Jesus is the word of God (John 1).

          I believe scripture is inspired by God. It is authoritative in matters of spiritual living, theology, and giving a narrative to God's people. The Holy Spirit uses it to minister and speak to his people. It is not a science textbook.

          So I wouldn't call it a self-help book. If you open it and try to read it that way it won't work.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
        • igaftr

          Living in humanity is far better, since it drops the religious dogma.
          Religion is completely man made. As is the bible, and the stories of your Christ character.
          You can be a better person without the religious ties that bind you.
          Accepting the principles of humanity that men wrote into your bible is one thing, but you have to disregard much of the bible, since the bible teaches you immorality.

          As far as I know, letting another stand and take YOUR punishemnt is immoral, yet your Christianity is based on that immorality.
          from my experience, those who are not religious are far more moral, and far less judgemental tahn any of the religious people I know.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • igaftr

          "I believe scripture is inspired by God. It is authoritative in matters of spiritual living, theology, and giving a narrative to God's people. The Holy Spirit uses it to minister and speak to his people. It is not a science textbook."

          Ahhh, belief...so you admit that the bible could have been inspired by satan and you are doing his will, since you really have no idea. Considering the violent destructive history of belief in the bible, it seems far more likely Satan inspired it than any gods. God would not have gotten so much wrong.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • hotairace

          Austin, I believe what you believe in is a steaming pile of bull dodo. Without evidence, we are equally right or wrong. Why aren't you wrong?

          April 1, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
        • Austin McNair

          Are you asking about my comments on faith or history?

          April 1, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
        • Alias

          Not true.
          Remember Galiloe? He got into trouble for trying to make the church believe the round earth orbited around the sun.
          For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge was put on the graves of people who – well, you know.
          These are just 2 examples of punishment that awaited people for not living the bible as the local government interpreted it – literally.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • SeaVik

          I thought everyone had already heard that in fact, the bird is the word.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
  12. Alias

    In my opinion, Rachel Held Evans has written her first article worth reading. I'm not her biggest fan, but this time she clearly articulated the problem young people have with the christian religion.
    I'm not sure they actually won a culture war. They did manage to use their influence to oppress other opinions and beliefs in this country. They have managed to make it socially unacceptable to not uphold the morals they profess, even if they don't live by them. However, the information age has opened our minds to different ways of thinking despite the best attempts of the evangelicals to censor all contradicting beliefs and views.
    When I was growing up, men of the cloth were treated like they were morally superior and their intentions were beyond question. This has clearly changed. Unless the church starts following the morals they preach and choose leaders more in line with the pope, and do it very quickly, they are doomed. The children of people with questions and doubts will not be flocking to a hypocritical and morally suspect religion.

    April 1, 2014 at 10:59 am |
    • hotairace

      The kids of today have figured things out: the quiet spoken dude clutching The Babble might want to bugger you and the "fire and brimstone" guy is just nuts. So they stay away from both and the cult clubhouses they come from.

      April 1, 2014 at 11:03 am |
    • ausphor

      Alias
      Many of the young people in my acquaintance that were brought up as Christian are not so much interested in the church. They are into Earth Day, Youth Rallies and concerts. If you were to tell them that they are wretched sinners that need repentance and saving they would laugh at you. The old bible thumpers are losing their hold on the young, thank .....

      April 1, 2014 at 11:13 am |
  13. favoredofgod2013

    Logic dictates that if one could reason with religious people, there'd be no religious people.

    April 1, 2014 at 10:39 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      House.

      April 1, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
  14. solemnmonk

    Excellent article, Rachel. I stand behind your every word.

    April 1, 2014 at 10:19 am |
  15. Ron Henzel

    Rachel Held Evans wrote:

    'When Christians declare that they would rather withhold aid from people who need it than serve alongside gays and lesbians helping to provide that aid, something is wrong.'

    You mean Christians actually declared that? In so many words? Really?

    April 1, 2014 at 9:30 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      You can't be taken seriously when you don't care about humanity and only care about appeasing the imaginary hateful vindictive god of the bible.

      April 1, 2014 at 9:43 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      yes, they declared that by their actions. And actions speak louder than words.

      April 1, 2014 at 10:05 am |
      • seanchandler

        More like they declared they want to give their charitable givings to a company which shares their values. Their money is no longer helping one person, but there's no reason to assume they didn't give the money to a different organization.

        More importantly, SOME Christians pulled their support. CHRISTIANS as a category didn't announce or declare anything as a group by word or actions. Individuals and some subset organizations acted.

        April 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
    • kev2672

      Yeah...it is called an appeal to emotion and a building a straw man argument to attack as if that is the intent of Christians. You would think someone (Rachael Evans) who's essays get posted on cnn would recognize logical fallacy. Of course without fallacy these people have no way to build an argument.

      April 1, 2014 at 10:17 am |
      • Doris

        appeal to emotion
        [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05GAeQ45YxU&w=640&h=360]

        April 1, 2014 at 10:39 am |
        • kev2672

          What does Jimmy Swaggart have to do with anything?

          April 1, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        what do you mean?

        Christians did declare that they would rather withhold aid from people who need it than serve alongside gays and lesbians helping to provide that aid.

        April 1, 2014 at 10:41 am |
      • rbeebe0519

        How can it be a straw man when the actual facts of what happened are focused on. Maybe you could argue the intention of those behind the action was not was indicated, but certainly the consequence of the action is factual. And whether the consequnce was intentional or unintentional, one has to take responsibility for their actions. Sure there is emotion involved, but to say that the comment is based purely on emotion is specious at best and a fallacious oversimplification at worst..

        April 1, 2014 at 10:48 am |
        • kev2672

          It is a strawman built by the author to simply attack Christians. She is trying to shame us into violating conscience. It is not the position of Christians to punish children or the needy. I could easily say that it is the intent of the opposing side, because they know it would be objected to by Christians and they would pull their support. Most Christians are non consequentialist nor utilitarians. Doing evil to do good would be incorrect.

          April 1, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
      • rbeebe0519

        Good thing you're an expert on the strawman argument because you can never be accused of using one yourself.... whew, what a load off that must be. cuz you're reply is totally based in fact and not emotion focused opinion or blaming the other side.

        April 2, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
    • rbeebe0519

      yes, Ron, I would say they have. If corporations ae people my friend and money is speech, then they have spoken loud and clear....sad

      April 1, 2014 at 10:43 am |
  16. Dyslexic doG

    Hey everybody! There is a magic man in the sky that watches your every move and monitors your every thought and he loves you but he will punish you if you break any of his rules and if you praise him enough you will go to a magical land in the sky after you die and live happily ever after ...

    APRIL FOOL!!!!!

    April 1, 2014 at 9:15 am |
    • Alias

      You mean it's not a man in the sky?
      Are you suggesting that god is a woman???
      If she is as catty and narcissistic as some of the women she created, that would explain the attitude of the bible toward women.

      April 1, 2014 at 11:06 am |
    • Austin McNair

      I think you greatly misunderstand Christian theology. But cheers anyways!

      April 1, 2014 at 11:14 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        What's to understand? The fact that christian theology is based on stories by man with nothing to back it?? Zero evidence to support a god, zero evidence to support so much of it.

        April 1, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • Austin McNair

          Eh... I think ZERO evidence is a little extreme. Anyways, the stories that man taught are actually pretty good, regardless if you're a Christian or not. I'll admit to anyone that I could be wrong about faith, but I hope I'm not. I really hope that the Kingdom that Jesus describes is coming.

          http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5

          April 1, 2014 at 11:34 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Posting a site that backs the fairy tale isn't very convincing and is circular...try again! There is zero evidence outside of your bible (aka Gullibles Travels) to support your god or the flood or virgin birth or the resurrection. Instead of hoping for a dead creature to come back, do something useful to help save our species instead of relying on fallacies to get you by.

          April 1, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • igaftr

          Zero evidence of gods is 100% accurate. Since there are many other possible explainations, no one can show anything to be exclusive to any of the thousands of gods men have worshipped.

          April 1, 2014 at 11:38 am |
        • doobzz

          "Anyways, the stories that man taught are actually pretty good, regardless if you're a Christian or not."

          My favorite is the one where god and the devil make a bet, and then torture a man by killing his children, killing his livestock, ruining his business and giving him boils. It turns out okay though, his old wife has ten more children to make up for the dead ones. Well, not so okay for her, but for Job it turned out great.

          April 1, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • Austin McNair

          So is it possible to take the story of Job as a myth and still be a Christian? Are there still principles we can learn about God, man, and the state of the universe if we do not take the story literally?

          Probably.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
        • igaftr

          not probably. That would presuppose that any gods exist, and that is far from probably.

          April 1, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
  17. neillh28

    Reblogged this on adventurous love.

    April 1, 2014 at 7:58 am |
  18. Vic

    ♰ ♰ ♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰ ♰ ♰

    Whatever the differences between Christians are, they have no bearing on the belief/faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, let alone the Existence of God.

    We are all as different in our understandings as our fingerprints but we all breathe the same. Some say there are more than 40,000 Christian denominations but that's the official number, in reality there are as many Christian denominations as there are Christians, every Christian is a denomination by him/herself; however, we are all One in Christ Jesus.

    April 1, 2014 at 7:33 am |
    • G to the T

      Are there no heretics in your vision of Christianity Vic?

      April 1, 2014 at 7:55 am |
    • midwest rail

      Yes, Vic, we get it that there is agreement on the "majors". It is not the majors that are used as a platform for hatred and discrimination, though.

      April 1, 2014 at 7:57 am |
      • G to the T

        I would go even further and say there's still disagreements on some of the "Majors" as well (i.e. Mormons, Jehova witness, etc.)

        April 2, 2014 at 10:57 am |
    • ausphor

      Vic
      For what it is worth Helmut hates you.

      April 1, 2014 at 8:16 am |
      • Akira

        Helmut hates everyone.

        April 1, 2014 at 11:33 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Just amazing the extent of their abilities of some to maintain and their delusions and lie to themselves.

      April 1, 2014 at 8:50 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Ahhh religion. You can make it anything you want it to be. It's a license to imagine up your magical happy world and then tell others that it's what god wants.

      what a giggle!

      April 1, 2014 at 9:13 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      What's that speil about "objective morality" again?

      April 1, 2014 at 9:22 am |
    • SeaVik

      You just explained why all Christians are atheistic towards all other Christians' version of god.

      April 1, 2014 at 9:29 am |
    • hotairace

      ♰ ♰ ♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord is 100% Pure Bullshit and That's No Joke! ♰ ♰ ♰

      April 1, 2014 at 10:05 am |
    • kudlak

      Vic
      So, if every Christian is a denomination onto himself, then isn't that indicative of Christianity being just a personal, subjective belief and not anything even approaching an objective, standard truth that exists outside of human experience?

      April 1, 2014 at 10:07 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      All of them?
      Jehovah's Witnesses, 7th Day Adventists, Rastafarians, Christadelphians, Christian Scientists, Mormons – even if they're non-trinitarian, they're "one in Christ"?

      April 1, 2014 at 10:08 am |
  19. davidgranvilleyoung

    As a former Evangelical now atheist, I must congratulate you on the honesty of your article.

    April 1, 2014 at 6:43 am |
  20. MadeFromDirt

    Ms. Evans thank you for this article, solid and true, but maybe you skirt around a deeper truth. Poor doctrine does more than divert the unsaved away from the Gospel, it also endangers the bad doctrine's adherents. Even though most of the world will always resist the Gospel, teachers of diversion are no better than teachers of deception.

    No warning can be too strong at the "evangelicals" who see fit to use charity as bargaining leverage to force policy (just the latest example of misguided efforts by these groups to control secular society). Those who use such tactics for such purposes need to honestly examine themselves and determine if their actions are motivated by a desire to elevate themselves by comparing and scoring sins, or to follow Christ. This legalism by these "evangelicals" stems from a belief that they must prove themselves before God, instead of responding to God's gift with full acceptance and gratetude. When they stand before the Judgment Throne, will they say "Jesus, it caused me pain to hurt the children at that charity, but I endured it to protect your law", or "Jesus, thank you for living a sinless life and model of what love is". Will they say "I followed your rules better than those people", or "You saved me out of the world to serve you, but I fall far short of your commands and glory". Will they say "I deserve a reward because I did good deeds in your name", or "Righteousness and salvation come from you alone". These tests of faith are common in Jesus' teachings, such as the parable of the Pharisee and Publican. Self-righteousness is a sign of pride and weak faith, as it rises from a belief that Christ's life and work on the cross were not enough. Also common in His teachings are warnings against following people projecting an outward appearance of righteousness as a mask, rather than people striving to serve Christ in humility. Christ welcomes only the latter.

    And going deeper, if these militant "evangelicals" probe their hearts honestly, I suspect some will find that their opposition to sames-ex marriage is an attempt to ignore their own deep-rooted desires and to overcompensate for past acts, rather than confessing those sins and laying them before Christ and being secure in His forgiveness. And why do they presume to know what all sames-ex spouses are doing in their bedrooms? Are these "evangelicals" unable to not think of certain acts? Many marriages are s-exless, for many reasons; why not presume that instead?

    April 1, 2014 at 4:01 am |
    • Reality

      And now returning to the 21st century:

      The Apostles' 2014 (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.)

      April 1, 2014 at 6:33 am |
      • perc3ptive

        I would appreciate a list of references. You have peaked my curiosity.

        April 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • Reality

          o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

          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

           4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated 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/bis-sar24.htm
          6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
          7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
          8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
          9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
          (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
          by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
          10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
          Presented on March 18, 1994
          ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
          11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
          wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database
          12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
          faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/jdb016.html
          13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
          mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
          13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
          14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
          15. D-iseases in the Bible:
          http://books.google.com/books/about/The_d-iseases_of_the_Bible.html?id=C1YZAAAAYAAJ

          16. Religion on- Line (6000 a-rt-ic-les on the hi-story of religion, churches, theologies,
          theologians, eth-ics, etc. religion-online.o–rg/
          17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT n-tgate-way.com/
          18 Writing the New Testament- e-xi-sting copies, o–r–al tradition etc.
          n-tgat-eway.com/
          19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
          http://wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.p-hp?t-itle=Crossan_Inventory
          20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
          21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
          in-fidels.o-rg/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
          22. NT and beyond time line:
          pbs.o-rg/empires/pe-terandpaul/history/timeline/
          23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
          harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
          24. 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.
          25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
          27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
          28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
          29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

          April 1, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
        • perc3ptive

          Thanks. I appreciate your thorough response and look forward to working my way through the material referenced.
          By chance, have your listened to or read anything by Professor Bart D. Ehrman?

          April 1, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
        • Reality

          The list of early Christian writings also has a good review of each doc-ument.

          April 1, 2014 at 5:43 pm |
        • Reality

          Ehrman's "new" book is simply are rewrite of the studies of Professors Crossan, Reed, Meier, Ludemann, Borg et. al. and the conclusions of the Jesus Seminarians and their publications.

          Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth [Hardcover]
          Bart D. Ehrman (Author)

          "Large numbers of atheists, humanists, and conspiracy theorists are raising one of the most pressing questions in the history of religion: "Did Jesus exist at all?" Was he invented out of whole cloth for nefarious purposes by those seeking to control the masses? Or was Jesus such a shadowy figure—far removed from any credible historical evidence—that he bears no meaningful resemblance to the person described in the Bible?

          In Did Jesus Exist? historian and Bible expert Bart Ehrman confronts these questions, vigorously defends the historicity of Jesus, and provides a compelling portrait of the man from Nazareth. The Jesus you discover here may not be the Jesus you had hoped to meet—but he did exist, whether we like it or not."

          April 2, 2014 at 12:11 am |
        • Reality

          Oops, make that "simply a rewrite".

          April 2, 2014 at 12:13 am |
      • Reality

        Oops, make that the Apostles' Creed.

        April 1, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
      • MadeFromDirt

        Reality, if what you say were true, then all of us are still alienated from our Holy Creator, with no hope of reconciliation, no escape from His righteous judgment, and our spirits are doomed to eternal separation from all that is good.

        April 1, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
        • Reality

          Since there is no creator, your concerns are not valid. And by the way who created your "creator"?

          April 2, 2014 at 12:02 am |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Reality, your logic is internally contradictory, and foolish. On one hand, you say there is no creator, meaning you believe the universe is self-existing. Then your question about who created our Creator means that you believe nothing can be self-existing. You can't have it both ways. Is the universe self-existing or not?

          April 2, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      "if these militant "evangelicals" probe their hearts honestly, I suspect some will find that their opposition to sames-ex marriage is an attempt to ignore their own deep-rooted desires and to overcompensate for past acts"
      ----------------
      Or they could be carrying out the mandate to root out sin wherever it may be found.

      2 Timothy 4:2 – preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
      1 Timothy 4:13 – Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.

      “Brethren, we must preach the coming of the Lord, and preach it somewhat more than we have done; because it is the driving power of the gospel. Too many have kept back these truths, and thus the bone has been taken out of the arm of the gospel. Its point has been broken; its edge has been blunted. The doctrine of judgment to come is the power by which men are to be aroused. There is another life; the Lord will come a second time; judgment will arrive; the wrath of God will be revealed. Where this is not preached, I am bold to say the gospel is not preached. It is absolutely necessary to the preaching of the gospel of Christ that men be warned as to what will happen if they continue in their sins. Ho, ho, sir surgeon, you are too delicate to tell the man that he is ill! You hope to heal the sick without their knowing it. You therefore flatter them; and what happens? They laugh at you; they dance upon their own graves. At last they die! Your delicacy is cruelty; your flatteries are poisons; you are a murderer. Shall we keep men in a fool’s paradise? Shall we lull them into soft slumbers from which they will awake in hell? Are we to become helpers of their damnation by our smooth speeches? In the name of God we will not. It becomes every true minister of Christ to cry aloud and spare not, for God hath set a day in which he will “judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” As surely as Paul’s gospel was true the judgment will come. Wherefore flee to Jesus this day, O sinners. O ye saints, come hide yourselves again beneath the crimson canopy of the atoning sacrifice, that you may be now ready to welcome your descending Lord and escort him to his judgment-seat. O my hearers, may God bless you, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.”

      ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon (From A Sermon (No. 1849) Delivered on Lord’s Day Morning, July 12th, 1885)

      April 1, 2014 at 7:42 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Wow, posting an obvious outdated quote and a an extremely outdated book that has been shown to be full of fallacies-what century is it again Theo?
        What is the next thing on your list to pick on after your ilk has lost this battle? When does reality set in and you finally realize your side has lost? Outside of using your bible, what other reason could you possibly have for being a bigot?

        April 1, 2014 at 8:07 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          If a desire for righteousness means that I am bigoted to you, then you have no idea how bigoted I am.

          April 1, 2014 at 8:10 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          What is righteous about speaking out and using your belief to deny equal rights to people who have not CHOSEN to be the way they are-people who were born this way? Being proud of being a bigot is not impressive.
          You failed to answer the other questions...so please tell us what it is you so dislike about these people without using your bible. I'm guessing you have nothing here because in all honesty they really are doing nothing wrong and for you to think they are is not the least bit loving, it only portrays hatred on your behalf. If there is a god (hahahaha), and hell is real (hahahaha) then it is people like you that will be there.

          April 1, 2014 at 8:44 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          2 Timothy 3:12-17 – Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

          April 1, 2014 at 8:14 am |
        • igaftr

          "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching"

          Or, it was inspired by Satan, and you are working for him.

          Or ( and this is the most likely) Men made up the whole thing.

          April 1, 2014 at 8:22 am |
        • SeaVik

          Only a religious person could consider blatant discrimination to be "righteous". Your idea of righteousness is highly immoral.

          April 1, 2014 at 9:56 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          SeaVik: So true and only a religious person could say they don't care about being on the wrong side of history (see Ron Henzel's reply to my question to Theo at the bottom of the page). It's truly a sad moment when they claim to care about humanity but yet fail to show it due to their book.

          April 1, 2014 at 10:02 am |
        • Doris

          Theo: "righteousness ", blah blah blah

          Of course Timothy letters are from Paul and you know what we DON'T KNOW about Paul, right?

          What most Biblical scholars agree on is that Peter was not the author of Peter 2, where Peter allegedly gave his stamp of approval of Paul's works as scripture.

          April 1, 2014 at 10:04 am |
        • Alias

          @Theo
          If your attempt at righteousness leads to bigotry, you don't know what the word 'righteous' means.

          April 1, 2014 at 11:13 am |
      • kudlak

        Theo Phileo
        "Or they could be carrying out the mandate to root out sin wherever it may be found."

        Yet, as the article says, they seem to be focusing pretty much all of their efforts on this one thing. They'd have a whole lot more credibility if they banned no-fault divorcees, and other people that Jesus actually identified as "sinners", from their organizations as well.

        As it is, they've picked the one thing that they know the majority of them will never even be tempted to do, knowing that these people will naturally find it as difficult to understand attraction to one's own gender as a right-handed person can imagine writing with their left, or a white person can imagine what it's like to be black. They're counting on a lack of empathy and, it seems, they've found it within evangelism.

        April 1, 2014 at 10:28 am |
      • rbeebe0519

        nice cherry picking there Theo....

        April 1, 2014 at 10:53 am |
      • Akira

        I think I'll listen to Jesus'sdirect words about gay people over others, if it's all the same to you.

        April 1, 2014 at 11:40 am |
      • MadeFromDirt

        Theo Phileo, these militant "evangelicals" could be carrying out the mandate, but their priorities, methods, and fruits suggest otherwise, which is why I proposed their need to self-examine the root of their motivations. In cases of moral dilemmas, our choices say much about the state of our faith.
        Anyway brother, keep fighting the good fight; there are more readers here than the self-defining swine who trample our pearls.

        April 1, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      A Christian who is not evangelical is a disobedient Christian.

      Mark 16:15 – "...Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."
      Matthew 28:19 – "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit..."
      Luke 24:47 – "and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem."

      April 1, 2014 at 7:52 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        "Cognite intrare" said the Inquisitor.
        "Come have a seat on the Judas Cradle and repent."

        April 1, 2014 at 8:01 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Those who weild the Bible in a flippant manner are not displaying a fault of the Bible, but of themselves. Not unlike a man who foolishly weilds a gun for some wicked purpose.

          April 1, 2014 at 8:04 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Sometimes humour is the best way to deal with horror – and St. Augustine's doctrine of "cognite intrare" has spawned countless atrocities through the ages.
          "In Luke 14:23 it is written: 'Compel people to come in!' By threats of the wrath of God, the Father draws souls to the Son."
          And with those words, he gave Crusaders, Conquistadores, Inquisitors and all manner of terrorists the holy rationalization they need to forcibly convert pagans, heretics and other assorted heathens.
          Groups like the Manmasi National Christian Army continue the tradition by forcing Hindus to convert at gunpoint.

          April 1, 2014 at 8:20 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          ""In Luke 14:23 it is written: 'Compel people to come in!' By threats of the wrath of God, the Father draws souls to the Son."
          --------------
          No, Luke 14 is a parable of evangelism (among other things) and the word here translated as "compell" carries the idea of begging, not forcing. Read it in its context of verses 16-24 and you'll see that.

          When a man uses the Bible unwisely, it is not the fault of the Bible, but of the man.

          April 1, 2014 at 8:29 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Theo
          You're kind of missing the point here –
          Your interpretation of that passage is not the same as Saint Augustine – the one who initially fleshed it our as a terror tactic to deal with the heretical Donatists. Though he stopped short of advocating torture or death, those who followed his doctrines in the centuries after had no such compunctions.
          I would guess that Saint Augustine of Hippo has had a greater impact on Christian thought than you or your favourite theologians.

          April 1, 2014 at 8:42 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          And you'll note the quotation marks – those are the words of the much venerated Saint himself, not mine.

          April 1, 2014 at 8:44 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          By threats of the wrath of God...the whole silly book is all about believe or else, even your JC clearly states believe in me or you are sh!t out of luck. The book of nasty.

          April 1, 2014 at 8:46 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "And you'll note the quotation marks – those are the words of the much venerated Saint himself, not mine."
          -----------–
          Yes, I am well aquainted with Augustine – and his faults. We view only the Bible itself as divinely inspired, not its adhearants. There were many errors of men in antiquity, as there are today, which is why it is imperative to have a proper hermaneutical approach that disallows interpretation for one's own motives. And when you read anyone's writings, always square what they say against scripture, "if it is not in accordance to the word, it is because they have no dawn." (no understanding) Some of the puritans went into this on a regular basis: Edwards, Flavel, Owen. (And yes, even square what these men say against Holy writ.)

          April 1, 2014 at 8:58 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "By threats of the wrath of God...the whole book is all about believe or else, even your JC clearly states believe in me or you are out of luck."
          -------------–
          So I suppose you are against warning labels too then huh? "Do not ingest this substance or death could occur."
          That's what Jesus was saying "unless you repent (of your sins) you will all likewise perish..."

          April 1, 2014 at 9:00 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          You are hilarious, you equate threats to warning labels. Christianity and the Stockholm Syndrome have so much in common.

          April 1, 2014 at 9:13 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Theo
          If Christianity were a commodity with a warning label, it would read:
          "Failure to consume this product will result in eternal, agonizing, demonically administered torture."

          April 1, 2014 at 9:19 am |
        • kudlak

          Actually, wouldn't the label start out with the warning that becoming a Christian infects a person with the belief that they will suffer unless they accept the convenient cure that Christianity offers?

          In a way, it's like Big Tobacco getting into the Quit Smoking product line, and then advertising on their cigarettes that getting hooked on their product contractually obligates the smoker to use only their products in their inevitable quest to quit.

          April 1, 2014 at 10:16 am |
        • joey3467

          If someone interprets the bible to say that they should torture nonbelievers then I would blame that on god. How is it that the all powerful creator of the universe couldn't add a few verses that said something along the lines of don't torture other people in my name or you will go to hell? Was god not smart enough to figure that one out on his own?

          April 1, 2014 at 10:21 am |
        • ausphor

          kudlak
          Don't forget that you are a wretched disp!cable sinner but not to worry WE can fix that right up if you just join the club. You may have to grovel a bit and pay the preacher, a small price for eternal bliss. Can't figure out how anyone can buy that sales pitch.

          April 1, 2014 at 10:24 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Theo: Are you not the least bit bothered by the fact that you're on the wrong side of history here? Do you not care about how your belief has such a negative impact on society? You pretend to care about all but yet by calling LGBT sinners and basing it off of an out dated book you show hate and ignorance. There is a valid reason people are walking away from christianity and it has nothing to do with your gods imaginary enemy satan being in control, it has to do with the fact that people like you fail to portray it as good and loving. I'm not certain how anyone could be proud to be a bigot but you seem to take pride in it...sad!

        April 1, 2014 at 9:17 am |
        • Ron Henzel

          Better to be on the wrong side of history than on the wrong side of God's word.

          April 1, 2014 at 9:28 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          So you say but then you'd need to provide evidence that your god exists and given that outside of the bible there is none, it is safe to say there is no need to worry!

          April 1, 2014 at 9:30 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Just to add to this Ron: Your statement alone shows that you don't care about humanity, it shows ignorance and lack of education; it shows bigotry and hate...would your imaginary friend god approve? If you're only living this life to get to an afterlife that can't be shown with verifiable evidence to exist, why bother living it at all? See, some of us are not as gullible or weak minded that we need imaginary, unfounded, vicious gods to guide us. Many of us have read your book of fairy tales and see your god for the vindictive, murder supporting; rape supporting; child abuse supporting; oppression supporting thing it is..not worthy of worship or respect. You need to grow up and live in the 21st century and stop wasting the only life you'll ever get on the imaginary or feel free to take your leave. Your side is losing this battle and the more you fools spew the hatred, the more people walk away. Stop the hate and bigotry and show some true compassion.

          April 1, 2014 at 9:41 am |
        • hotairace

          I have complete faith that the compassion of the young people of today and the next few generations will lead to the demise of religion. I don't think older persons and religious leaders understand how younger people, whether gay or not, view the LGBT equality issue specifically, and equality in general. There is a sea change taking place and most, especially Babble Humpers, are blind to it. What's ironic is that the principles of the change could be described as those of the alleged but never proven jesus, without all the religious bullsh!t and trappings, of course. All that's needed for the change to really take hold is for a lot of dinosaurs to die. Enjoy your final days delusional believers.

          April 1, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Hotair: As always, well said.

          April 1, 2014 at 10:29 am |
        • hotairace

          Thanks. Often, all it takes for people like Theo to learn how wrong they are is to discover that someone close to them, perhaps a son or daughter, is gay. Unfortunately, given the apparent depths of his god delusion, he is far more likely to push a gay person towards suicide than to give them a hug. But he will feel good for having spewed his evil message with passion for his lord.

          April 1, 2014 at 10:43 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          hotair: True and disheartening to think they see this as love.

          April 1, 2014 at 11:13 am |
      • Akira

        Do you think your interpretation of the Bible is the absolute correct and only one, Theo? Because you post in absolute statements:
        "A Christian who is not evangelical is a disobedient Christian."
        "Those who weild the Bible in a flippant manner are not displaying a fault of the Bible, but of themselves."

        April 1, 2014 at 11:55 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.