My Take: Why evangelicals should stop evangelizing
Carl Medearis with Sheikh Nabil Qawouk Hezbollah’s number two leader.
July 24th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Take: Why evangelicals should stop evangelizing

Editor's Note: Carl Medearis is an international expert in Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations and is author of the book Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism.

By Carl Medearis, Special to CNN

Let’s do an exercise. I want you to fill in the blank on what you think you know about me based on what I’m about to tell you.

Here goes: Twenty years ago, I became a missionary. My wife and I left our home in Colorado Springs, Colorado to move to Beirut, Lebanon. Our job description was to plant churches and evangelize to Muslims.

Based on what I just said, Carl Medearis is a ______________ .

Depending on your background, the blank may look something like this:

Carl Medearis is a... hero of the Christian faith, a saintly super-man willing to sacrifice the comforts of home in order to share the love of Jesus Christ with those who have never heard the gospel.

Or this:

Carl Medearis is a... right-wing extremist who destroys cultures, tears apart families and paves the way for neo-colonialist crusaders to invade, occupy and plunder the resources of local populations.

Quite a range, isn’t it?

For one group of people, the words “evangelist” and “missionary” bring to mind pious heroes performing good deeds that are unattainable for the average Christian. For another group, those same words represent just about everything that’s wrong with the world.

I understand the confusion.

Based on my experiences of living and traveling around the world, I know that religion is often an identity marker that determines people’s access to jobs, resources, civil liberties and political power.

When I lived in Lebanon I saw firsthand how destructive an obsession with religious identity could be. Because of the sectarian nature of Lebanese politics, modern Lebanese history is rife with coups, invasions, civil wars and government shutdowns.

When I tell my Christian friends in America that some of the fiercest militias were (and are) Christian, most are shocked. It doesn’t fit the us-versus-them mentality that evangelism fosters, in which we are always the innocent victims and they are always the aggressors.

This us-versus-them thinking is odd, given that Jesus was constantly breaking down walls between Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, men and women, sinners and saints. That’s why we have the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Jews in Jesus’ day thought of the Samaritans as the violent heretics, much the same way that Christians think of Muslims today. The idea that a Samaritan could be good was scandalous to first century Jews.

Jesus was the master of challenging religious prejudice and breaking down sectarian walls. Why do so many Christians want to rebuild those walls?

Even the Apostle Paul insisted that it’s faith in Jesus that matters, not converting to a new religion or a new socio-religious identity.

What if evangelicals today, instead of focusing on “evangelizing” and “converting” people, were to begin to think of Jesus not as starting a new religion, but as the central figure of a movement that transcends religious distinctions and identities?

Jesus the uniter of humanity, not Jesus the divider. How might that change the way we look at others?

This is more than just a semantic difference.

When I used to think of myself as a missionary, I was obsessed with converting Muslims (or anybody for that matter) to what I thought of as “Christianity.” I had a set of doctrinal litmus tests that the potential convert had to pass before I would consider them “in” or one of “us.”

Funny thing is, Jesus never said, “Go into the world and convert people to Christianity.” What he said was, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

Encouraging anyone and everyone to become an apprentice of Jesus, without manipulation, is a more open, dynamic and relational way of helping people who want to become more like Jesus — regardless of their religious identity.

Just because I believe that evangelicals should stop evangelizing doesn’t mean that they should to stop speaking of Jesus.

I speak of Jesus everywhere I go and with everyone I meet.

As founder and president of a company called International Initiatives, my work is aimed at building relationships among Christian leaders in the West and among Muslim leaders in the Middle East.

It may come as a surprise to many Christians that Muslims are generally open to studying the life of Jesus as a model for leadership because they revere him as a prophet.

But now that I’m no longer obsessed with converting people to Christianity, I’ve found that talking about Jesus is much easier and far more compelling.

I believe that doctrine is important, but it’s not more important than following Jesus.

Jesus met people where they were. Instead of trying to figure out who’s “in” and who’s “out,” why don’t we simply invite people to follow Jesus — and let Jesus run his kingdom?

Inviting people to love, trust, and follow Jesus is something the world can live with. And since evangelicals like to say that it’s not about religion, but rather a personal relationship with Jesus, perhaps we should practice what we preach.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Carl Medearis.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Interfaith issues • Opinion

soundoff (3,792 Responses)
  1. Beatrice

    Christians and they alone preserved the life of 7 billion humans on earth this century alone. Life savers = Christians who evangelize

    July 25, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Melanie

      You are ignorant and poor.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Laughing

      @Adelina/FairGarden/Zelda ect.... ect....

      How does it feel to hate so much ALL THE TIME? Seriously, does it get exhausting?

      July 25, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • masonjar

      why can't Christians just help people out? that will surely get you into your Heaven or whatever. Why all the strings attached.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Nathaniel Gardner


      being good doesn't get you into heaven. There is nothing that any of us can do to earn our way into heaven. Jesus already bought and paid for our salvation. All we have to do is believe in Him and accept it. There are no strings attached to salvation, but afterwards, we ought to try our best to live lives that are pleasing to God. And it SHOULD include helping each other out. That's what I try to do, not to get rewards, but because I genuinely love people.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  2. Christianity- It's not all bad.

    I believe that it is crucial for Christians to be culturally sensitive and educated. I am a Christian and have a Muslim foreign exchange student living with me for 6 months now. My intentions are not to convert him but to learn about his beliefs and respectfully share my own.
    The church I attend focuses many of their missionary efforts by providing clean water systems and finding leaders in the community to run sustainable business that can carry on without missionaries being there to run the whole show. God calls leaders of all nations (not just the USA). Social justice is as connected to faith as anything and I am happy to be in a non-denominational church that lives that out.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  3. Sam

    John, there are several million Catholics, Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Baptists, and Mormons who think you're full of crap.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  4. Vivienne

    The one who is referred to as Jesus Christ was NOT a Christian. Christianity developed hundreds of years after his body died. People, do your own research. "Jesus" (this was not what he was called during the time he walked the Earth; "Jesus" is a name the Greeks gave him) did not refer to himself as being affiliated with ANY religion. Do your own research people, please.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Laughing

      You do realize that he was actually a Jewish Rabbi......so he most certainly was affiliated with religion, he just wasn't a christ follower because he was "the christ". Please do your own research before asking others to do theres.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  5. Larry - Columbia, SC

    I wonder what he thinks Muslims ought to do? Stop killing people, and plotting to kill people would be high on my list.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • chipdex

      Hi Larry. I'm pretty sure that if they started following Jesus they would stop killing people. Jesus never killed anyone but rather laid his life down for the world.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  6. OldSchool

    Yea, thats good. I like your statement and its right to the point and easily understood. But people need to understand, including Muslims; that Christ does not ask us to kill others in his name. That is unaccceptable.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Colin

      That is unacceptable, but suffering a fate a billion times worse – burning in hell for all eternity – due to nothing more than being skeptical and not believing in god, is a perfectly ok? It never ceases to amaze me how willingly blind Christians (and other theists) are to glaring contradictions and impossibilities in their respective faiths.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  7. betty

    I really liked your article. I am getting tired of seeing God used in politics these days. You can make God say anything. That's why it is easier to believe in a dead master,because he will never create any doubt in you.It is easy to believe in Jesus, because now Jesus is just a fiction of your own mind.You can project anything on him, and he has to be like that. When he was alive it was not so. If Jesus were here today the Christians would hang him again. Nothing has changed! If so many people talk with God the world would not be in the shape it's in today. We would have World Peace and prosperity for all.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  8. Twitterfollower

    Jesus was and is much more than teacher and / or leader. He is Savior – the only way to be redeemed from our sins and reconciled to God. Your point is well-taken, but I'm uncomfortable with a failure to communicate Jesus as the only way to God and salvation. So it's not what you say that bothers me, it is what you don't say. Jesus IS the way, the truth and the life; NO ONE gets to the Father except through Him.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Michael

      So you're saying someone who grows up in the jungles of the Amazon and is never exposed to Christianity is doomed to hell. Or someone who is raised Muslin and is taught their entire life that their religion is right is doomed to hell also unless they renounce everything they've ever been taught. Doesn't sound too fair to me.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • chipdex

      Twiiterfollower – Why does Carl need to say that (way/truth/life) in this article? The article has to do with one particular topic and does not represent his entire statement of faith. And besides, is it not enough to point people to Jesus? If people begin to study Jesus won't they read his own words concerning way/truth/life? Jesus can speak for himself and people will have to wrestle with his words for themselves.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  9. Colin

    As an atheist, it really is quite amusing to sit back and watch theists squabble over who has the "right god" and whether it wants women to be veiled and for us all to pray to Mecca five times a day or whether it wants us to keep Sunday's holy and wear little crosses.

    I don't mean to sound condescending, but it really is like being an adult and watching children in the yard fight over wose daddy could beat up whose.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Chris

      Its not longer amusing bro...its gotten to the point where these people are doing serious damage. As if ruining the money and pledge wasn't enough, they have laws that don't allow atheists to hold elected positions, ect, ect. Its not funny anymore, its harmful to the human race.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Laughing

      For real. It's sort of like "yeah! My god can beat your god up!" "No! my god is omnipotent so he'll beat your god up any day of the week!"

      One day, soon I hope, a bunch of people here will finally take a step outside their own religion, study others and realize that regardless of which religion they study it will make them question their own and like pull a small thread on a sweater they'll suddenly find their entire religion unraveled.

      For any believers out there, I urge you to start studying the creation stories of your own religion as well as others. Look at the similarities (there are quite a few) as well as the difference and then look at it from a historical point of view. You'll find that usually the creation story gives you the best insight into a religions reasoning for how powerful god (or the gods) or and why humans are here in the first place.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Gotta Getthere

      You pretty much define condescending there.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Lol

      You don't sound condescending. You sound like the generic CNN commenter who thinks, just because he's an atheist, he's smarter than everyone else. You're not anything special.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Colin

      Lol and Gottagethere – maybe, but if someone tells you they believed in pixies and fairies, would you not be justified in considering their beliefs a little bit childish and silly?

      July 25, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Gotta Getthere

      Pixies live in my garden.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Laughing

      @Gotta Getthere

      Oh yeah? well the pixies in my garden said that the ones in yours are false. In fact, the king pixie said that any pixie outside my garden is no true pixie and should be murdered. I'll be over at your house in a couple of hours with my pixie-cide. Hope you're cool with that.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  10. Nathaniel Gardner

    There are some things I agree with in this article and some things I don't. Unfortunately, Jesus did say He came to divide–not to unite. The goal of Jesus is NOT to unite this world in peace and harmony until after the judgment–it can NEVER be obtained prior. Secular humanism has perverted the Gospel and the goal of a missionary beyond recognition of the model left for us by Jesus, Paul, and the other apostles. Love is extraordinarily important, and without it, what we do for Jesus is empty. Yet, do not forget that Jesus said that we will be HATED for His name's sake. If you judge your effectiveness by how much everyone likes you or how well they receive you, then you will whittle Christianity down to nothing more than a passing shadow of the Kingdom which Jesus originally intended. Christianity is supposed to shake things up! Why do you think the apostles were accused of turning the world upside down?

    July 25, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Josh


      July 25, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • godless and happier than you

      Jesus and the apostles were extremists, much like today's extremists. Far worse, consider they were in bronze aged Palestine without the aid of 21st century science.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Geoff

      Well put. And I would add Jesus, when He preached what is known as the, "Sermon on the Mount", He declared, "blessed are the peacemakers...", He did not say, "peacekeepers." Keeping "peace" requires maintaining the current standard. Making peace, is a far different approach. True Christianity, Mr. Medearis, is offensive because it requires that we do things God's way, and not our own. Therein lies the true conflict.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • RIgel54

      Wow. Jesus the divider. Jesus the inspirer of hatred. Jesus the destroyer of families. Where to I sign up?

      July 25, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • chipdex

      Who were the people who hated Jesus and persecuted his disciples? They were the religious right of the day, not the sinners whom he ate and drank with. Carl is eating and drinking with members of Hezbollah, following the footsteps of our Lord, and the religious people are the ones giving him a hard time for it.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Nathaniel Gardner


      I am not persecuting him. There are some things I agree with and some things I don't. Also, you and I BOTH know that 100% of the persecution did not come from the religious right. A lot of it did, but not all of it. Also, I am not condemning him by any means. Our lives should so express the ideas of Christ, that we would hardly have to say anything for them to notice that we are different. However, Jesus said "in this world, you will have tribulation..." And what you are telling me is this: those men and women who sold their lives to Jesus and died in India, South America, Europe, the Middle East, etc, etc, etc at the hands of natives actually died because they were witnessing wrong? They died because they did not do what Jesus did? The correctness or Christ-likeness of the Gospel can in no way be measured by its effective spread among the people, but by the changes in the lives of those it does indeed affect.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • chipdex

      I hear you Nathaniel. I don't Carl is afraid to risk himself for the sake of the Name. In fact he has traveled to many a dangerous place in service of the Name. But the Name is Jesus and not "christianity". He is saying that Jesus and his Kingdom should be proclaimed and pointed to, and he is certainly not ashamed of Jesus and his words. But he has realized through his own missionary efforts and journey, that trying to defend the word "christianity" and trying to convert people to whatever cultural form of christianity one has, is not what Jesus has called us to do. Jesus is the way, truth, and the life, christianity isn't. Jesus has power, religion doesn't. Does that make sense? I would suggest you pick up a copy of his book "Speaking of Jesus" for more info on what he is and isn't saying. Even if you don't end up agreeing with him at least you'll have a better understanding of what is kind of an important conversation in this current age we are in. Love in Jesus...

      July 25, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Nathaniel Gardner


      The issue I have is the belief that one can maintain his culture and still walk 100% with Christ. The truth is, becoming a Christian does indeed mean a change in culture. I am a southerner and have lived in East Texas for most of my life. There is hardly anything offensive about that culture; however, I know from experience that there are certain things that God wants from me that the culture I live in says "no" to. And so I stick out from time to time. It's hardly a leap from southern culture to Christianity, but MANY cultures are completely opposite of it and those men and women would have to become counter-cultural in order to maintain a proper relationship with the Lord Jesus. Like I said before, I don't totally disagree with him, but I don't agree with him either. The Gospel I know is offensive to the world and hated by most. It is scandalous and absolute foolishness to the world. Anything to try to soften its blow is a hindrance. That's how I feel about it. I don't condemn him, but I just don't agree with him. That may very well be because of where I live. I am not a foreign missionary, so God doesn't tell me how to witness to them. But I know where I am now and know how I should act here. Therefore, I don't like blanket statements that tell Christians that we are just generally doing it wrong. Maybe God makes me feel the way I do because it is what is necessary for where I am. And maybe God makes Medearis feel the way he does because it is necessary for him. But I will listen to what God says to me and act accordingly and if I am wrong, He is more than capable of disciplining me. He's never been afraid to whoop my butt before. lol.

      July 26, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  11. Geoff

    I would ask you, Mr. Medearis, what are you afraid of? Giving offense? If so, you're not the biblical scholar you think you are.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Gavin Boothroyd

      If he's a universalist, it would make sense..

      July 25, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • chipdex

      I can't speak for what Carl may or may not be afraid of but I don't sense fear as being the issue here. I see it as more of a changed understanding about the true nature of the Gospel. Is the Gospel this thing we now have called "christianity" or is the Gospel Jesus and His Kingdom? If its the latter and not the former, than Carl is right on. And if the Gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom happens to be less offensive than the "gospel" of "christianity" well, so be it. The Gospel after all, is "Good News" so if the gospel we're preaching seems bad to most people, than perhaps we've mixed it up along the way. Just a thought...

      July 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  12. EternalBliss10R

    Right on!... "Jesus the uniter of humanity, not Jesus the divider. "... All "prophets" were just that.. Uniters!.. not dividers.. man suffers from division of himself for he is divided from his Source... and thus perpetuates division in the manifest world... here all things are divided... for this is the projection of an ignorant mind... For in fact.. Truth is such that All things are United..for all is Him.. thus.. those that know Truth.. are always Uniting! For it is the only way to both individual and communal Peace!

    July 25, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Chris

      "Truth is such that All things are United..for all is Him.. thus.. those that know Truth."
      Do you know how crazy this makes you sound? OR do you people not care how insane your beliefs are?

      July 25, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Christiano

      First of all there is nothing further from the truth than this article. Christian or Evangelicals are not trying to convert anyone or to force religion on anyone. We are however preachers of the good "Word". Don't use your lack of knowledge about what we are sent to do as a reason for you to join the non-believers in the fact that "Jesus" is the one and only saviour. How can you even consider yourself a Christian and these extremists are targeting your brothers. Learn more about evangelism and then talk about it

      July 25, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  13. chipdex

    Well said Carl. I am a big fan of yours and I think what you are promoting is a healthy and peacemaking approach. The only pushback that comes to mind for me, is that Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy, part of a larger plot-line preceding his birth and that has continued since his ascension. Clearly that has to be discussed at some point. Nonetheless, I think your advice amounts to a sort of reset button that, while over-simplified, is still probably a great move at this point in human history in order to open people up to Jesus afresh, removing the HUGE cultural/social/political/religious barriers that block many from simply encountering him and his message for themselves. If people are able to encounter Jesus in this fresh way – sure, they may still have a lot of questions about the larger plot lines (old testament and christian history) but at least they can catch a glimpse of Jesus first because honestly I don't think anyone would bother sifting through the larger plot lines for answers unless they have the motivation of having actually encountered Jesus first, and been so very intrigued by him as I was when I first read about him in Matthew/Mark/Luke & John.

    For those who believe themselves to be christians and are pushing back against Carl here: Seriously? He is saying we should point people to Jesus first and foremost and trust the Holy Spirit more to do the convicting/convincing/captivating of human hearts. That we should let Jesus speak louder and our particular theologies and values speak softer so that Jesus can be heard more clearly thru the noise and the clutter. Do you really have a problem with this?

    July 25, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • Debbie

      Well said. Thank you for sharing.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  14. Debbie

    I believe we are called to love everyone as Jesus did. I also believe that the best way to share our Christian faith is to develop relationships and demonstrate what our faith in Jesus does for us. In other words, walk the talk. If people truly see the gifts we receive through our walk with Christ and His light shining through us, they might want to learn more. The Lord gave man free will, and we cannot force, nor should we try, our beliefs on anyone. However, through the gift of the Holy Spirit and prayer, marvelous transformations can occur. We need to be vessels for Christ and trust in the Power of the Holy Spirit to work through us. He is in control, not us. Blessings to all of you as you walk life's journey.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • rich

      Does this comment come with a fire sale for Swaziland in Florida?

      "I contend tbat we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss
      all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • godless and happier than you

      sounds like Richard Dawkins, good quote.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Debbie

      "I contend tbat we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss
      all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

      Rich, I can assure you that I believe in God. I find it interesting that anyone could look at the world around us, the beauty of nature, the human body or the birth of a child and not believe there is a god. However, everyone is free to choose to believe what they want. Simply put, the worst thing that will happen to me believing in Jesus is that I will try and live a life that is loving toward others, that I will have hope and a peace which I did not previously have and that I will have a God to lean on during the trials which life brings. If my belief is correct, I will spend eternity in heaven with the God of creation who loves and adores me (and you, too). If the Bible is true, those who do not believe will not be spending enternity in heaven. May you find Peace.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Laughing

      Oh Debbie,

      Being willfully ignorant and saying the worst that can happen is you leading a life of love towards others does not mean you are right in any capacity. You see, that's a contradicting statement by saying you believe in god (the christian god I'm assuming) and then saying you love everyone else. That's only true if loving everyone else does not include gay people, abortion doctors, heretics, and so on. By all means, keep your beliefs and enjoy speaking to the air, someone is bound to hear you, but keep those beliefs to yourself.


      July 25, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Debbie

      Oh Rich, I can assure you that I am not ignorant. You are correct when you say I believe in Christ. I also believe that I am called to love EVERYONE, whether I agree with their lifestyle or beliefs. While you are certainly free to express your opinions and beliefs, rest be assured that I will continue to express mine. You know, it sounds like to you have been exposed to some Christians who are very judgemental of others. Just as every organization, religious groups, non-religious group, etc., has its hipocrites, it is not fair to say everyone is like them in the group. There are many of us Christ followers who are full of joy and love and want to pass that on to everyone, as it was a Gift we have received from our Lord and Savior. While you and I may never agree on this issue, it does not make me hate you or think you are ignorant. However, I will probably be praying for you and your journey. Have a good week!

      Being willfully ignorant and saying the worst that can happen is you leading a life of love towards others does not mean you are right in any capacity. You see, that's a contradicting statement by saying you believe in god (the christian god I'm assuming) and then saying you love everyone else. That's only true if loving everyone else does not include gay people, abortion doctors, heretics, and so on. By all means, keep your beliefs and enjoy speaking to the air, someone is bound to hear you, but keep those beliefs to yourself.


      July 25, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Laughing


      I'll as.sume that was to me? First of all I hate, HATE, when people say they'll pray for me, it's incredibly condescending and rude. I would advise in the future that even with the best intentions, when you tell someone you're going to pray for them, it's only more insulting. Secondly, sure, express your faith in a church, among your friends, but MUST you express it in a political forum? Also, you speak of passing on joy and love, but why do you need to use religion as a conduit to do that? If you're so ecstatic about all that, then use that instead of the diluted version you use with christianity.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  15. Colin

    Swapping out believing in God for Allah or visa-versa is a pretty meaningless endeavor. Either way, you are still subscribing to the supernatural nonsense of organized religion. Whether you believe you will be immortal and survive your own physical death to live happily ever after in heaven because you pray to Mecca five times a day or because you wear a cross around your neck and go to church once a week, you are just as surely wasting your time.

    It’s all a kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder with slightly different manifestations.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • BeReal

      I love it when atheists try to "evangelize" their beliefs... Very hypocritical

      July 25, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  16. mikey

    it will*

    July 25, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  17. POD

    Check out the look on the Sheikh's face......."Man I own this goofy loser.....I can't believe my luck.......what a useful idiot this dummy is.....look at that goofy smile.....I can't wait till one my guys blows this dork up....the man is clueless"

    July 25, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Gavin Boothroyd

      Is that a troll?

      July 25, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Gavin Boothroyd

      Oh! He's Hezbollah.
      I don't know if Hezbollah did much suicide bombing like Hamas did.
      What I find interesting is the lack of consensus on whether Hezbollah is terrorist. The US, Israel, and some European countries consider all or parts of Hezbollah to be terrorist, while many Mid-Eastern countries do not.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  18. mikey

    Whether or not you agree with Christianity, Jesus will be preached to all nations. Followers of Christ won't listen or obey your opinion if our direction is from a more qualified, more logical, and more powerful perspective. God is real, God did send His one and only Son into the world to show the Way, to reveal sin to the world and to save us from hell forever. One day it'll will be evident, one day all will see.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • TheyNotHim

      Please provide one shred of proof that god exists or even a citation from a primary source (no, this does not include the bible) that even Jesus actually existed.

      I know you can't, but don't worry, I forgive you.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • Sean

      Are you from Norway?

      July 25, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • RJL80

      @ TheyNotHim
      The fact that you exist allows the possibility that God exists as well. Just because you have not seen something yet does not mean it is not real. Don't be so closed minded.......

      July 25, 2011 at 10:17 am |

      You are living in a delusion. I don't care. I only care that you don't spread that delusion to others.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Alyssa

      @ RJL80, you can use the same logic to say that the fact that I exist means that it's not impossible that unicorns and fairies exist. Which is to say that it's a ridiculous assertion. There's equal amounts of evidence for those creatures as there is for your god.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  19. Beatrice

    Christians, especially the true ones(Evangelicals), will NEVER stop evangelizing. That's what Jesus did and commanded His followers to do. Christian evangelism changed the world and the history for good forever. It's really liberals like CNN that wishes Christians to be silent. But CNN, we appreciate your open forum. Stay fair and balanced.

    July 25, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Mike

      Hey Beatrice: Next time, try reading the whole article rather than just the headline. Oh, and please point out where in the Bible Jesus "commanded" people to convert others to Christianity? Ah, that's right, you haven't read *that* either.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • David

      Beatrice, remember, there are many ways to share Jesus's message. One can preach. One can harangue etc. But, of course, what about evangelizing by example?

      July 25, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • Carrie

      Jesus said he came for the Jews. So technically, only Jews can be Christians. Isn't the oldest continuous religion Judism?

      July 25, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • Sean

      I love however group, sect or denomination believes only they are the ‘true’ ________.(fill in the blank)

      July 25, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Sam

      Beatrice, why don't you just come out and say what you really mean? Conservatives are the only true Christians and liberals are the spawns of Satan who try to thwart your attempts to convert people of other religions. Is that about right?

      July 25, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Gavin Boothroyd

      Beatrice: True Christians evangelize?

      I'm not here to judge on what "true" Christianity is – But in this case, I am well aware that telling Christians to "stop evangelizing" (or for that matter telling Muslims to stop envangelizing) will not work, at least with some of the sects/divisions

      July 25, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Profbam

      Beatrice: who are "true christians?" Most evangelicals that I know are political conservatives who cherry pick passages from the Bible in order to justify their hatred of other peoples (i.e. Cal Thomas is an excellent example of a faux christian). The attempt to force your TRUTH on people just generates hate against you (i.e. the Iranian people hate the governing mullahs, but lack power to do anything about the religious tyranny). Religion is often tightly wound with culture, and as evangelicals have tried to convert peoples, they have had to make a wholesale assault on foreign cultures. The result is usually a negative one.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Sam

      But how did he evangelize? I'm a Jew so that's up to you to tell me. But as a Jew, I can tell you there exist few people who are more us-vs-them on the planet! Life's no fun if you're not arguing with someone. Just listen to my parents work out how to serve dinner guests. You'd think they'd have killed each other by now. So I wouldn't be surprised if Jesus was indeed a total blowhard about it.

      But that doesn't mean you have to be. If you lead by example, if you try to make real the teachings of Christ through gradual revelation and the sharing of ideas and efforts, then you can heal the world and offer salvation without alienating people. But wait, I forgot, you evangelicals avoid having any faith in your own works, preferring instead to express your faith only in abstract words and prayer. You offer an elite spiritual country club to those who will accept a vision that has no bearing on their lives at all. It's no wonder your converts in third world countries are fanatical and violent; just look at the independent Evangelical or Pentecostal (I know I know they're dfferent) in Africa. They routinely kill or isolate children accused of witchcraft. Only someone frantically looking for more "us vs them" divides would have a need to do that.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  20. Freethinksman

    It doesn't sound like the author has stopped evangelizing at all. Rather, it seems as if he's taken a new tack with the same goal in mind. Once upon a time, you could convert societies buy giving them things. Now that doesn't work. "Death to infidels" seems to be the only surefire way rid the world of people who think differently. Of course we could all abandon this religious nonsense and work to actually improve the world instead. I don't hold a lot of hope for the latter when the former seems to be working so well.

    July 25, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • chasar5

      Religion is nonsense. Jesus is life.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:05 am |
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About this blog

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