Our Take: Name-calling is ‘rhetorical pornography’
Protesters from both sides of the immigration issue fill a sidewalk in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Wednesday.
April 26th, 2012
12:12 PM ET

Our Take: Name-calling is ‘rhetorical pornography’

Editor’s note: Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family, Dr. Russell Moore is dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

By Jim Daly, Russell D. Moore and Samuel Rodriguez, Special to CNN

(CNN) – We've all heard it, since we were schoolkids knocking about on the playground: "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me." A saying with good intent, to be sure, designed to steel young minds, and hearts, against the inevitable bruises that come with sharing childhood and adolescence with other children and adolescents.

But did any of us ever believe it was true? Even today – now that we're older, hopefully wiser, having experienced the heartaches of everyday life more fully than we may have as kids – is it a statement we can stand behind?

We don't think so.

Just about every day, a quick scan of the news headlines or a couple of keystrokes for a Google search serve up stories proving this old adage false. The evidence can come from picket signs, talk-show sound bites or something as short and simple as a 140-character tweet.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Clashes in Arizona over immigration policy. Public arguments over homosexuality in California. Christians and atheists lobbing verbal firebombs at each other in Washington, D.C. Sometimes, those at the center of the name-calling are famous. Most of the time, they aren’t. Well-known or not, their actions prove a singular truth: Names do hurt – and not just those on the receiving end of them.

To borrow the point of another, more accurate old aphorism: What we say about others reveals more about ourselves than the people we're talking about. This is especially true for Christians, who encounter any number of verses in the Bible that point to how "sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness," as the English Standard Version translation of Proverbs 16:21 puts it.

Jesus, as tended to be his way, was a bit more direct: "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken," he said in Matthew 12:36, adding: "For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

So, no, it is not news to any of us that we live in an electrocharged public square.

But it should be convicting to all Christians when we find ourselves contributing to this maelstrom. Derogatory terms for other human beings – regardless of how widely their views differ from ours or, more importantly, from the truths of Scripture – should never pass our lips. To call it rhetorical pornography, for the debasement it engenders, is not an overstatement.

To get into the terms specifically here would be to attach to them a dignity they don't deserve. But we know them when we hear them: Epithets and cutting adjectives directed at gays and lesbians that go far beyond reasoned articulation of our biblical views about God's design for human sexuality.

Cruel, dismissive descriptions of those who do not share our faith – whether they be of a different religion or none at all – serving to drive people further from the heart of Christ, the exact opposite of our calling as his modern-day disciples.

And, perhaps most distressingly, ethnic slurs against noncitizens in our country, people who, in many cases, are families just like our own, seeking the best quality of life they can achieve. How do those hurtful words address the deeper and quite nuanced issues of legality and border integrity?

What each of these instances has in common is that the words are being used to deny the innate humanity and dignity owed every individual. The Jesus we follow did not just die for those who believe in him; his father created each one of us in his own image.

That means that as Christ breathed his last on the cross, there was as much love in his heart for the homosexual activist, the Mexican national who is not a citizen and the atheist as there was for us.

It is out of the "overflow of the heart," Jesus says in Matthew 12, that "the mouth speaks." That means it is far more than a failure of "tone" when we marginalize or malign those with whom we disagree. The solution is not just "nicer" words, but a transformed perspective, one that sees all human beings, including “opponents,” through the eyes of our proponent, Jesus.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (1,241 Responses)
  1. Steve

    It is always nice to be able to pick and choose how you follow Jesus. If you call people names or hurt someone, you can always ask for forgiveness ... and then go about your business. Then do it again and still be Christian. Jesus would kick half of the Christians to hell.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • WhoCares

      re·li·gion noun \ri-'li-j?n\
      A mass human psychosis that usually results in participants believing in incredibly silly crap and acting like total retards....

      April 27, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • JesseClark


      You're so much better than the rest of us! I wish I were you!

      April 27, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  2. Alter boy


    April 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • I Don't Get It

      What were you altered from? To?

      (hint: it's "altar")

      April 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Altered Altar would be a cool name for a Goth Band!

      April 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  3. Bootyfunk

    perhaps jesus needs a lesson on name-calling. jesus didn’t like foreigners. A Canaanite woman wants Jesus to heal her sick daughter. Jesus tells his disciples he only heals Jews. He calls the woman a dog and won’t heal her daughter until she agrees that she’s a dog.

    Mathew 15:21-28
    21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
    22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
    23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
    24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
    25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
    26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
    27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
    28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Eric

      If he despised her in anyway, I doubt he would have granted her requested. And also say, "Woman, you have great faith!" Think of it as a way of testing her heart.

      April 26, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • reymundo

      you missed the entire point. you see only what your biased beliefs of scripture lead you to believe. First of all you have to take this into context. Right before this, jesus had just finished denouncing the jewish leaders for putting "their self serving traditions." The same type of traditions that blined the people from the truth and incited xenophobia against other people even if they worshiped the same god. Think about, most of the followers were people that the jewish's leaders hated and despised. This woman who had faith in Jesus was one of those types of people.
      When Jesus made his first reply to her he was technically correct. Due to the convent God had with Abraham the Jews were in line to receive blessings first, but that did not mean that all the faithful non-jews would NOT receive a blessing. Jesus was testing her faith. This woman still after hearing a fact still had faith and asked Jesus again for help.
      So now Jesus plays on the Jews' prejudiced views of people of other nationalities. Now I don't know what version of the bible you are quoting, but in the majority of english translations when Jesus refers to "little dogs" or puppies. This changes the entire context of the conversation. While non of us were there to hear this, the reference to "little dogs" or puppies shows the depth of compassion Jesus had for non jews and outcasts that Jewish leaders had little or no concern about. There are so many more events written down in scripture to prove that Jesus reached out to people of all nations and creeds and while you try prove otherwise your argument falls on itself.
      This event is more than what you make it sound to be (dry and without felling).
      You should take an ernest and open minded study of the scriptures.

      April 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • edwardo

      @Eric – "Testing her heart" ?? Why would an all knowing god, need to test something? If he knows everything, would he need to test anything?? Makes no sense dude!

      April 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  4. Judge Moody

    I find the defendant(atheists) guilty of all charges of tactless, mindless insults and name calling.

    Sentencing hearing will be this evening.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • momoya

      The punishment must fit the crime, so the only appropriate response is to call atheists a bunch of names.. The bible and the koran already do it, and I look forward to the names you will list as atheist adjectives.. Who knows, I might get a little teary-eyed.

      April 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Pass thru

      Your honor which part of an atheist conversation do you find worthy of holding in contempt?

      I would dismiss their ranting as uncouth, inarticulate and unintelligent. In your sentencing please provide adequate consideration to the level of iq or lack thereof you are dealing with here.

      April 26, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I resent the implication that my name calling and insults to christards are mindless. I put some cursory thought and intent behind my insults, thank you very much.

      April 26, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • momoya

      Besides, your honor, there's no need to call names when you can just insinuate them instead.

      April 26, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      @Pass Thru – Your slip is showing

      April 26, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      just make it illegal to use your brain. then atheists all over will go to jail. you theists will be safe though. baaaahhh...

      April 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Your honor, the witness "Pass Thru's" testimony is suspect since two thirds of it is false. Uncouth=Truth, Inarticulate=Lie, Unintelligent=Lie. Move to have the witness's testimony struck from the record.

      April 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I would have you know that each insult I hurl is original.

      You Nerf Herder!

      April 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm |

      GET IN ME

      April 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      I move that the judge be removed as the judge clearly cannot be trusted to rule without bias.

      April 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Stupid squirrels.

      April 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Bippy, the Lesser Squirrel-God of Name-Calling

      Oh, and by the way, Zombie Rule #2, Double Tap, does not work on zombie squirrels. It's actually a quadruple tap while you execute a perfect grand jeté followed immediately by a double Hamill Camel, but first you must sing the national anthem of Vanuatu in Dutch to the tune of Stairway To Heaven while dressed in Bjork's Goose Dress from the 2001 Oscars, or it won't work.

      I really should not have told you that either. Now you will be practicing.

      April 26, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Well that doesn't seem so hard Bip. Beware the mole my stinky little friend.

      April 26, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • sam stone

      The Christians, on the other hand, appear to be unable to defend themselves due to mental defect

      April 26, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • ModernSociety

      Judge Joke: typical 'christian' it's all about punishment and sentencing.
      Oh mercyful dog... oh sorry, that was a slip of the tongue brought on by my traditional western upbringing...

      April 27, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  5. Russ

    seems to me Jesus had no trouble name-calling (Mt.23, for instance) – but the main group he had such epithets for were the religious conservatives... people like me...

    April 26, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  6. WASP

    nah names never hurt me..........but it sure hurt them when i punched them in the face. lmao

    April 26, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  7. The Central Scrutinizer

    Sorry to resort to name calling, but we have been down this road before. the issue with the squirrels runs deeper than just the foul stench. They are like soccer moms driving around talking on their cell phones paying no attention to anything and never using their turn signals. Every morning I back out of my driveway and squish two or three of them because they are too busy listening to J-pop on the their mini I-pods and dancing and they can't hear my SUV backing up. Stupid Squirrels.

    April 26, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Jeanine

      Just be glad they don't have miniature light sabers. Then you'd have to use your massively weak powers to defend yourself.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Bippy, the Lesser Squirrel-God of Name-Calling

      So, Dark One, we meet again! Your petty and malodorous humanism will fall before the superior

      You may think you have squished us, but no! Oh no! The Great And Hidden Secret That Is More Great And More Hidden That Other Great And Hidden Secrets will be revealed! Squirrels cannot die! We become zombies! We arise from the dead, and we don't need three days that is actually two days, like some other incompetent zombies whose name I don't need to putrify my mouth by mentioning!


      Ooops! I wasn't supposed to reveal the Great And Hidden Secret. That's why they call it a secret. I keep on forgetting. Nevermind. Just forget I said anything.

      So where was I? Oh yeah. Today Winnemucca, tomorrow Fresno ! ! ! Then a few days off for some frolicking and gratuitous human annoying before we start again, maybe in Duluth. Fun town, Duluth. Very under-rated. Lot's of low roofs to rain our divine retribution down upon your heads with pointy acorns.

      So remember the zombie squirrels feasting thing, uh, and then forget it, because you aren't supposed to know. I hate it when I do that.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • WASP

      @bippy: roflmfao thanks i needed a laugh. XD

      April 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Pesky squirrels... always chewing on everyone's nuts ...

      April 26, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • momoya

      The squirrels are just decoys; gophers are the real power players..

      April 26, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • sam

      I knew it was J-Pop. I KNEW it. This explains so much.

      April 26, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I don't know .. the moles in my backyard are like freakin ninjas. I bet they give them squirrels the 'what fer'...

      April 26, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      I knew I could draw you out of hiding Bip. You have tortured my dog long enough by running hither and thither upon my fence just inches from his slobbering vice grip of canine retribution. I will keep squishing you! And should your "zombies" come forth to throw acorns, I fear them not. I now have protective head gear! Stupid squirrels!

      April 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  8. Jonathan

    It is only when people give notice and attention to those that resort to name-calling that the words have the power to harm. I still find the age old saying 'Words will never hurt me' quite true.

    I have no need to defend myself against namecalling because my actions speak far louder and clearer.

    April 26, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      You are soooooo awsome. Want to get together later and talk about self-importance? mmmmm.....

      April 26, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Hazel

      Good for you Jonathan. Now if you could just make sure your actions were as worthy as you seem to think they are, there would be little that anyone else could reasonably ask of you.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Jonathan

      You appear to be mistaking confidence in one's self and the knowledge that one has done nothing to deserve name-calling for self-importance. Either that, or this is a veiled attempt at name-calling. I prefer to assume the prior.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      You're cool, Jonathan. It's Hazel and CS who need to go back in for some neural recalibration, judging from these last posts of theirs.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • O.S. Bird

      Well said, Jonathan. Pay no attention to the less than intelligent replies you're getting. It's sad that there are so many people who get a charge out of baiting people. What empty and dreary lives they must lead. I have no sympathy for them, but it's sad just the same.

      April 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • ModernSociety

      @OhBirdy.... now if that's not a pompous self indulgent rigtheous statement , then I have never heard one...
      Thank you, you just confirmed a few things...

      April 27, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  9. Brandon Brown

    Russell Moore is truly an awesome and humble leader of the faith. If more Christians were like him, and more specifically like Jesus, the dead souls in the world might just be attracted to it. Gentleness goes a long way with people.

    And on the doctrine of hell, hell is separation from God. That is it. Nothing more, nothing less. Don't confuse hell with fire and brimestone. Those elements may very well be there, but the ultimate suffering is separation from God. God doesn't want you to be separated from him. Just surrender.

    April 26, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      I surrender to no God! Evil messenger of slavery be gone!!

      April 26, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Catholic Priest

      "God doesn't want you to be separated from him. Just surrender."

      Hey, I've used that line quite a few times on my alter boys...

      April 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Huebert

      Aren't atheist already separated from god, and thus, by your definition, in hell? If that is true hell is a pretty awesome place. After I realized that I didn't believe, and everything in the universe is random and ungoverned my life became much freer. There is no plan I can do with my life whatever I will, the universe is my oyster. It's yours too if you want it to be.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • momoya

      No, Hubert, there IS NO god and we're doing the best we can on our own.. There can't be "separation from" something that does not exist.

      April 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Huebert


      I know that. I was trying to speak Brandon Brown in his own language but he seems to be MIA.

      April 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • MrHanson

      Atheists live in a pretty empty universe. Just think, you or the people you love really don't exist. Our mind doesn't really exist. Just a collection of atoms put together by accident. Nothing more. Everthing must be explained by pure mindless, meeningless processes. Why they gamble with their eternity by ignoring their own sense of consciencness and morality, and by having faith that all the wonderfull complexities we see in biology such as our own eyes,earts and brains happened by chance, is beyond me. Obviously they have been ignoring all of the recent discoveries in molecular biology. I never gave God much thought and have contemplated these so called 'realities' and it was pure hell. I can't image believing that for all eternity. That what atheism and hell is. Just plain spiritual death.

      April 26, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Wes Scott

      It never ceases to amaze me how some authors like the ones who wrote this piece can advocate something so reasonable, only to have their message totally destroyed by the very people who claim to believe the message the authors delivered. There is a word of it, and the word is hypocrisy.

      Nearly 40 years ago I made a sincerely and heartfelt covenant with God. I will not bother Him and He will not bother me. It has served us both rather well for just about 4 decades. Praise God and pass the mescaline!

      April 27, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • Anonymous010

      While it'd certainly be nice if more people stopped the name calling, you might be surprised at the reasons why people lack faith. In my particular case, I don't believe because I see no reason to. I've neither seen nor heard anything to suggest that there is any supreme being guiding anything in this world, nor have I seen or heard anything to suggest that a soul exists. So, it wouldn't matter to me one bit how nice Christians were, as far as I'm concerned, their beliefs would remain unfounded.

      @MrHanson – your characterization of atheists is way off mark and is extremely presumptive. You assume that morality and religion are tied, when there is ample evidence in history to prove that they are not. So an atheist, while devoid of faith, can be just as moral as any believer. You also assume that atheists and agnostics have faith in biological processes, and we do not. We have plenty of evidence suggesting that this is how things work, so it's not a matter of belief or faith to accept these things; it's a matter of understanding. I would suggest that you get to know some more atheists/agnostics and shed your obvious bias before you continue to talk about these things.

      April 27, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Wes Scott

      MrHanson, you stated, "Atheists live in a pretty empty universe. Just think, you or the people you love really don't exist. Our mind doesn't really exist. Just a collection of atoms put together by accident. Nothing more. Everthing must be explained by pure mindless, meeningless processes. Why they gamble with their eternity by ignoring their own sense of consciencness and morality, and by having faith that all the wonderfull complexities we see in biology such as our own eyes,earts and brains happened by chance, is beyond me."

      If you had any knowledge of science, then you would know why what you said is so inane. Yes, we are just robots constructed of atoms, which are constructed of neutrons, electrons and protons, even quarks, but it is the magnetic and chemical composition of a particular group of atoms that makes each of us unique, even though all living things on the planet have more than 99% the exact same DNA. It is that fraction of less than 1% that makes all the difference.

      Obviously, some of us have higher developed brains than others, and we have the ability to look beyond fairy tales and understand some of the universe in which we exist. Even we atheists have friends, family, lovers and enjoy life – probably more so than most christians. We are not burdened by the guilt trip of religion, and that makes life so much more fun! But, we are not here to convert you away from your beliefs.

      In the immortal words of Grateful Dead lyracist/poet/philosopher Robert Hunter,

      "There is a road, no simple highway,
      Between the dawn and the dark of night,
      And if you go no one may follow,
      That path is for your steps alone.

      Ripple in still water,
      When there is no pebble tossed,
      Nor wind to blow.

      You who choose to lead must follow
      But if you fall you fall alone,
      If you should stand then who's to guide you?
      If I knew the way I would take you home."

      April 27, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • ModernSociety

      @ MrHanson. your comment struck me as soooo funny that I copied it into a Word file that I keep for the most hillarious statements in online reader comments.
      Unfortunately, the 'meeninglessness' [sic] that you claim befalls atheists and other burning miseries must have befallen you first.
      Thanks to Bill Gates and MS Word you comment was immediately marked with multiple typos and grammatical errors.
      Such an ungrateful world, isn't it? But you basically made a potent point.... against yourself. Sorry.

      April 27, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  10. J.W

    I have never called people names.

    April 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      You just did.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  11. Irony


    I think the editors are having a good laugh on us, putting out an article on name-calling, then watching us once again degenerate into aggressive name-calling. Well, all I can say to that is that the editors are nothing but a feculent hodge-podge of yeasty codpieces and incompetent wipers of other people's noses! I fart in their general direction!

    April 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Anf their father smells of elderberries.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Shut your festering gob, you filthy piece of distended rec/tum!
      Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Roger the Shrubber: Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      I hear elderberries actually have a sweet odor. But it would depend on the variety. Was that a North American or European elderberry?

      April 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • sam

      Come and see the violence inherent in the system!

      April 26, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • pastrychefvt

      I can't stop laughing!!! I'm in my cubicle at work, and I should be working, but I can't stop laughing. Stop it, for the sake of my job, please stop it! 🙂

      April 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Father Bob

      I didn't know that Lucifer's evil twin was Roger the Shrubber. It makes you think, doesn't it?

      April 26, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  12. Reality

    True to character, at the end of the commentary, the authors thu-mp a passage from the NT i.e. Matt 12: 34 "You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."

    But did the historical Jesus actually utter those words? After a thorough study of the NT and associated doc-ments by many contemporary NT scholars, the conclusion is he did not. See for example, http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?ti-tle=041_Trees_and_Hearts

    And there is this:

    JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

    Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

    Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

    So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

    April 26, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Dam your foul logic, intelligence and common sense. This is about FAITH! Reality has nothing to do with it and you no that just as well as I do. Now give till it hurts and say Amen.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Tex Gritter

      Evidently, those around Jesus, including not only Himself, His followers, but also His enemies at that time, also thought that He healed, raised from the dead, and performed the miraculous. The saw enough of His works that they feared for their positions over the stagnated version of Judeism.

      April 26, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • j.j. santa monica

      exactly. i mean, shouldn't a religion at least make SOME kind of sense? a religion shouldn't strain one's credulity to the breaking point on every single tenent of said religion.

      April 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  13. GodPot

    "The solution is not just "nicer" words, but a transformed perspective, one that sees all human beings, including “opponents,” through the eyes of our proponent, Jesus."

    It's sad that some mistakenly believe that the only way to be good to others is by belief in Christ. To only be nice because you think Christ was nice enough to love all humans regardless of their religion is like saying the only reason you don't r a p e children is because it's against the law.

    April 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Signed, Catholic Priests.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  14. Reality

    Focus on the family? Of course but don't complicate said families with the supersti-tions of religions.

    To wit:

    Reiterating the obvious:

    Recognizing the supersti-tions, flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Paganism, and Christianity by the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" will quickly converge these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples or synagogues.

    April 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Wes Scott

      Buddhism is NOT a religion – it is a philosophy. It has no godhead. It is about self-realization and introspection – eliminate thinking evil and you will eliminate saying or doing evil. It is all about each individual and their own relationship to the "god consciousness" or one universal consciousness. The others you mentioned are religions, and all are false. They also share almost identical fables, miracles and other basic tenets, Christianity and Islam being the two new kids on the block.

      April 27, 2012 at 1:11 am |
  15. johnfrichardson

    While it may be naive to proclaim that "names will never hurt me", it remains the case that it is extremely dysfunctional to be quick to take grave offense and to encourage others to do likewise. And there is way too much hypocrisy in the "name game", with people who are quickest to yell bloody murder over some words being used casually using words meant to defame and demean other, different people, Jesse Jackson's "H-town" slur being just one of bazoodles of examples.

    April 26, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  16. AnitaF

    In the absence of intellectual reason the only thing left is name calling or false accusations. Laziness has replaced valid arguments with personal attacks and false accusations. Some take it a step further by accusing others of the same hyperbole.

    April 26, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Not necessarily. Intellectual arguments are only as effective as the level of commitment that BOTH sides of a debate have to rules of logic and evidence. Other rhetorical devices exist for the simple reason that they CAN be effective.

      April 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • William Demuth


      Your assumption is flawed in that the desired result is not peace.

      The battle must be drawn between opposing forces, till only one prevails.

      Luckily, non believers have fought the battle against many a dead and forgotten God, yet no God ever concieved of has managed to vanquish us.

      When you want to kill God, I STRONGLY suggest you go all in, because like Kings, you probably only get one shot.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  17. Chad

    But it should be convicting to all Christians when we find ourselves contributing to this maelstrom. Derogatory terms for other human beings

    very, very, true.

    April 26, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • momoya

      I guess I just don't see how calling names is a big deal compared to telling somebody that they're destined for an eternity of fiery suffering produced and maintained by the guy that's going to give them eternal joy..

      April 26, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Really now

      Chad, you call people names all the time. What are you suddenly so haughty about?

      April 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      I don't see anything wrong with saying that someone is destined for hell if you honestly believe. I see all sorts of things gravely wrong with worshipping any god who would send ANYONE to such a place. (And let us all be spared the usual bs about people sending themselves there. According to Christian doctrine, it was god's choice for such a ghastly, brutal fate to be even a hypothetical possibility, which clearly makes god the ultimate demonic ent-ity.)

      April 26, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Chad

      @Really now "Chad, you call people names all the time. What are you suddenly so haughty about?"

      =>no I dont, example please?

      April 26, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Actually, I have to back Chad up here. He's the first one to start whimpering about the level of politeness of a debate, as he hopes that by making the debate about politeness, that will distract people from the fact that he is a flaming imbecile. No, it doesn't work. But give the guy credit for trying! It's his only hope!

      April 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • momoya

      @ All

      I have insulted Chad many a time because he deserved it, but he does not reply in kind.. I must give credit where it is due.. I cannot remember and name calling or insults from Chad.. I'd rather see him insulting if it meant he were using sound reasoning as well, but maybe that's just me.

      Great job on not insulting when others insult you, Chad.. Sincerely.

      April 26, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • momoya

      "any" name calling, not "and" name calling

      April 26, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Chad

      @momoya "Great job on not insulting when others insult you, Chad.. Sincerely."

      actually, that made my day! and I mean that sincerely. thank you

      April 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • momoya

      You're welcome and you deserve special credit for your efforts.. Now, can you start using better logic AND slinging a few insults? 🙂 😉

      April 26, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • J.W

      Insults are never logical. The logical thing to do is all love each other.

      April 26, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • momoya


      Insults can be helpful.. Everything in context.

      April 26, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  18. Which God?

    Jesus and immigration? What does a fictional character have do with ILLEGALS? You aren't owed anything if you come here illegally. But to quote this ficticious person, whom bible folks love to quote,BTW, didn't he say something like 'when in Rome follow Roman law,' etc? Follow our laws. Go back, apply to come in.

    April 26, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Tex Gritter

      An imaginary Jesus might have said "When in Rome" The REAL one said nosuch thing....

      April 26, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Wes Scott

      Actually, Jesus is alleged to have said, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and unto God that which is God's."

      If you really want to know what is closer to the ultimate truth than anything being taught by a church, the read three books – "Holy Blood, Holy Grail", "Messianic Legacy", and "The Dead Sea Scrolls Deceptions". Also, you might try "Bloodline of the Holy Grail: The Hidden Lineage of Jesus Revealed".

      But, these books are not for the "Doubting Thomases" of the world – you have to read them with an open mind and recognize that the authors are among the world's foremost Biblical scholars.

      April 27, 2012 at 1:27 am |
  19. William Demuth

    Your imaginary savior did not die his imaginary death in my name or the name of anyone else.

    Christ is a fabrication, a Frankenstein God, cobbled together from the corpses of the previous Gods we have already refuted.

    He is the Ungodly creation of evil men, designed to seperate fools from their money, men from their rationality and little boys from their virginity.

    It is long past time we put this fairy tale to the sword like all the othe hob gobblins of our past.

    April 26, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • TCS

      I am reminded of a life lesson that would do well for all, even you.
      When you speak, speak softly and with sweetness, because we all will eventually have to eat our words and it goes down a lot better than harsh, hard and bitter words.
      God Bless.

      April 26, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • momoya

      Disagree on one point only.. God evolved with the input of evil, not so evil, neutral, some good, and good men.. Spirituality attempts to answer the question "why?". Perhaps not the leaders, but most of the laity were/are sincere in their efforts towards godliness.

      April 26, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      William, it saddens me to know you haven't a clue in how spiritually dead you are.

      P.S. watch out for those brick walls in life.

      April 26, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      @TCS William can w/o question be an insufferable jerk at times, but the contempt he exudes for religion and its apologists can be refreshing and quite entertaining at times, especially when directed at self-impressed blowhards who peddle a "sweetness" they will never know as one of their "life lessons".

      April 26, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • momoya

      I wish there had been more "jerks" like William for all of America's history.. If there were more like him, closet atheists in the bible belt would be able to "come out."

      April 26, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Yes, there's a very useful role for the firebrand radical to play in any overall political movement, and William plays that role well.

      April 26, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Well said William!!

      HS, you forgot your Amen.....is that really you??

      Hey, who could go for some flap jacks right about now? Maybe we will see Christ's likeness and rejoice!

      April 26, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • J.W

      William is the Rick Santorum of atheists.

      April 26, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • William Demuth

      On behalf of myself and the Academy, I accept your gracious tributes!

      As a finale, I hope to throw prayer troll to the lions, so we can see in real time how useless prayer is!

      April 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • William Demuth


      I have found speaking truth to power is the best course for all men.

      We do not need more "gentle speech", we need more results.

      April 26, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • momoya

      Here I am disagreeing, again.. Rick Santorum is stupid; William is not.. I'm not sure in what way the two compare?

      April 26, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      The Central Scrutinizer, since you non-believers couldn't figure it out, I wasn't quoting scriptures in my last post. When I do, I will use amen as the closing.

      April 26, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • momoya


      April 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for the offering plate

      As a finale, I hope to throw prayer troll to the lions, so we can see in real time how useless prayer is!

      Here here...

      April 26, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  20. Tim

    Reblogged this on HD Nazarene and commented:
    True followers "give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." 1 Peter 3:15
    This is just awesome... May we live it!

    April 26, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Catholic Priest

      "give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect"

      "Hey Billy, I just want to to know that I'm doing this because I love you as a man of God, God has given you into my hands for a reason and that reason is that we are both being tested, you for being so gullible as to trust a stanger just because I wear a robe and everyone listens to me on Sunday, and me because I'm not allowed the have a wife and need some close physical contact any way I can get it, and I just want you to know, I respect you so I'll be gentle..."

      April 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
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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.