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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. polycarp pio

    If the authors are suggesting we stop calling sin,sin then I disagree with them. I draw the line at refering to a certain individual.ie, so and so is a sodomite. I say all sodomites are repobates and when you try and defend your sodomite ways as acceptable to God and man, I say you are an abomination. PP

    April 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • momoya

      People who are bigoted against ho.mo.s3x.uals are abominations and will fry forever in a pit of monkey spit.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • ItSOnLyME

      Well jolly for you. But please stay out of my (and everyone else's) bedroom, okay? I don't subscribe to your way of thinking, nor do I expect you to subscribe to mine. But you keep your own counsel and I'll keep mine and we'll both be equally happy. The problems start when you think you can tell me how to behave according to your ancient fairy tale book.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I say all sodomites are repobates and when you try and defend your sodomite ways as acceptable to God and man, I say you are an abomination."

      LOL! Straight couples do it too. LOL! By the way adultery is by far more of an abomination and one of the ten commandments but you don't see Christians blocking their civil rights over that abomination! See the hypocrisy? 😉

      April 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • David

      If that is what you believe then please don't pretend to be a Christian.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      Westboro much?! ha.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • wolfloversk

      Fortunately then it's not what this article is suggesting, it's suggesting we follow Jesus's example and be civil about spreading the gospel and preach about sin. You can say someone is wrong without being discriminatory, or name calling. Remember Jesus died for each and everyone of us because we all have sinned, and because we all will sin- and that includes you, me, the gay rights activists, the athiests, the muslims, the christians, the children, the elderly... I could continue, but that may take a while, and I've made my point.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  2. Dave

    "Truths of scripture?" Thats like saying "truths of Mother Goose."

    April 26, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  3. John N. Seattle, WA

    I vividly remember some high school kids teasing me as a young child. When they teased me, I replied with "Sticks and stones..."...so they threw a ROCK and nailed me in the forehead! Guess how many times I used that line after that?

    April 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • David

      LOL You should never have told them about the "sticks and stones" thing; I doubt that they could have figured it out on their own.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  4. Sergex

    Just a few words: Freedom of speech!... I am a Christian, and I can't tell you how many times I have been called names myself, and put down by non-Christians. Un-provoked mind you. Just cause they found out I was Christian. I suggest we shift the focus of this articles to address not just the ignorant, borderline hateful Christians (whom I admit are a sad reality)... but also the other hateful side of society who passively sits high and mighty, finding a politically correct way to condemn the WHOLE of Christianity because of the few ignorant Christians. That is another way to hate my friends... it goes both ways.

    But back to my earlier point... Freedom of speech means UNETIDED... Me have to make room in society not for what we think is right in our "own" opinion, but also for what other want to express as correct. If we disagree... dismiss them as ignorant... As ignorant as they may be, they have the right to express their ignorant beliefs. Shutting them down IS Anti-American.

    April 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Ronin

      You have to understand though, it's very annoying to the rest of us that people actually believe that evolution is fake, the earth is only 6000 years old, people walked with dinosaurs, and a talking snaked outcrafted a few naked people.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Have and Apple

      And I have people look down on me because I am not a Christian. So I guess now we are both ignorant. I think is it great that you can profess you are right and everyone else is ignorant, but the have the right to feel right even thought they are ignorant.

      Odd. You have a belief. Good for you! You are wrong in my book. But it is my book not yours. So you quit crying that everyone is picking on the Christians and you Christians get out of my Government and we can all be happy

      April 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Michael

      I guess you've never heard of taking the high road, Sergex? It's kinda what your religion calls you to do, not point the finger at someone else and childishly proclaim that they started it. Also, bringing up freedom of speech is extremely silly here. The authors of this piece aren't in favor of any censorship other than people censoring THEMSELVES.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • sam

      I'd be curious to know what your definition of 'unprovoked' is.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  5. JT

    I have these sings all over my state that says "vote yes for marriage" and there are ads on TV concerning this vote and it closes in on a bible laying on a table as they say marriage is created by god, etc. What do Christians hate so much and refuse liberties to others?

    April 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Sergex

      How does saying vote yes for marriage amount to hate? How does expressing that marriage is created by God amount to hate?... Why can't it be seen as an opinion, or a belief that you don't share... Which is REALLY what it is. I am sick and tired of special interests hiding under the facade of hate. Let me say this clearly, "I belive Christ is the son of God, who came to earth to save those who believe in Him"... If you choose to believe this, awesome brother. If you don't believe this, it's your choice, I DON'T hate you and I will still be your best friend if you even wanted to... without forcing you to change your views... It's for God to change the heart of man, not for man. But the one thing that must be clear, I AM NOT HATING, AND I DONT HATE YOU because I believe in God. So let's all grow up and agree to disagree, people have the right to speak their mind, even the insensitive, dum ones; who exist on both side of this argument mind you.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • momoya

      Belief is not a choice, Sergex; it's a compulsion.. If belief was a choice nobody would believe in death.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "So let's all grow up and agree to disagree, people have the right to speak their mind, even the insensitive, dum ones; who exist on both side of this argument mind you."

      Ummm and gays deserve their civil rights too, especially since the experts around the world have proven that being gay is not a mental illness, it's not a choice and it can't be voluntarily changed. To deny them their civil rights is prejudice and hateful.

      Tax Benefits
      -–Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
      -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

      Estate Planning Benefits
      -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
      -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
      -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
      -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.

      Government Benefits
      -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
      -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
      -–Receiving public as-sistance benefits.
      -–Employment Benefits
      -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
      -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
      -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
      -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.

      Medical Benefits
      -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
      -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

      Death Benefits
      -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
      -–Making burial or other final arrangements.

      Family Benefits
      -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
      -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
      -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
      -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

      Housing Benefits
      -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
      -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

      Consumer Benefits
      -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
      -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
      -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
      -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
      -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
      -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
      -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
      -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
      -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
      -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @sergex

      Here's the thing, you admit that the whole marriage created by god thing is an opinion. I agree, but the hate comes when people try to deny civil liberties to others based on that opinion.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  6. Ashrakay

    Here's a gem from James Dobson who founded Focus on the Family. This was his response to 911:
    "Christians have made arguments on both sides of this question. I certainly believe that God is displeased with America for its pride and arrogance, for killing 40 million unborn babies, for the universality of profanity and for other forms of immorality. However, rather than trying to forge a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the terrorist attacks and America's abandonment of biblical principles, which I think is wrong, we need to accept the truth that this nation will suffer in many ways for departing from the principles of righteousness. "The wages of sin is death," as it says in Romans 6, both for individuals and for entire cultures. "

    April 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  7. n8263

    It is surprising to see the hateful comments from Christians on these religion articles. Many are extremely judgemental. Of all people Christians should be among the least judgemental, if they bothered to actually study what Jesus taught, but it seems they are in competition with the Muslims to see who can be the most judgemental.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • wren7

      If more Christians were like the authors of this article, instead of the ones who seem to get all the media attention with their hateful, judgmental speech (so unlike Christ, I might add), I might feel differently about organized religion. As it is, I became disillusioned with it long ago since so few Christians I met followed the teachings and practices of Christ.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • ItSOnLyME

      "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians – they are so unlike your Christ"

      – Gandhi

      April 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • RM13

      as a Christian, I would have to agree with you completely....

      April 26, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • wren7

      @ItSOnLyME - I agree with Gandhi 100% I love Christ but not many Christians I've met.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  8. Jason

    I must say, your article convicted me. Good on you. I am guilty.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  9. Matthew

    Good and true article.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  10. Jack

    This is the probably the first article I have ever read where the comments aren't downright ugly. It's so refreshing.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  11. Pingpaul

    For Christians, #punisher2000, the Bible extends from Genesis to Revelation. All of it is part of our heritage, not just the New Testament. The whole book is about the creation of mankind, its fall from grace, and God's pursuit of the human race to redeem it. Name-calling is counter productive because it causes people to go on the defensive rather than deal wiith the issues. We have observed how name-calling has paralyzed the US Congress when it has tried to act on substantive measures. Just because name-calling is a fact now does not mean that it always has to be that way. We know that because we went a long time without the rancor that infects the rhetoric of today.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Really watch...then give gays their civil rights!

      April 26, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Rob

      What civil rights are you lacking? The ones that the Government took over to stop interatial marriage in the 1800's most likely. Before that time marriage was done in a church and there was no blessing needed from the Government. Seems like going back to that and letting adults pick another adult as a benifets partner would take care of it, right? If you go to a church that supports Gay marriage, get married. The churches that don't support it don't have to, and we can all lived a more civilized life.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "What civil rights are you lacking? "

      Tax Benefits
      -–Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
      -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

      Estate Planning Benefits
      -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
      -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
      -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
      -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.

      Government Benefits
      -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
      -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
      -–Receiving public as-sistance benefits.
      -–Employment Benefits
      -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
      -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
      -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
      -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.

      Medical Benefits
      -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
      -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

      Death Benefits
      -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
      -–Making burial or other final arrangements.

      Family Benefits
      -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
      -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
      -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
      -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

      Housing Benefits
      -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
      -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

      Consumer Benefits
      -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
      -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
      -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
      -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
      -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
      -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
      -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
      -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
      -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
      -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "What civil rights are you lacking?"

      By the way I am not gay. LMAO!

      April 26, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Rob

      you don't like my solution? It would give you all of the benfits you listed. It would also allow you to get married in any state that has a church that supports gay marrige. The goverment would no longer need to approve or take any kind of position. Wouldn't that be Ok with you? If not, that is where the problem is.....

      April 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "It would give you all of the benfits you listed. "

      To play fair get rid of those exact benefits for straights too....then watch what happens! LMAO!

      April 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Me

      @Rob....Why should I have to get married in a church????????????????????????????? I understand you are trying but look at it from another point of view....you are still forcing your religion on us!!!!!!!!!!

      April 26, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  12. Ashrakay

    "Cruel, dismissive descriptions of those who do not share our faith" are not the only things driving people away from religion. More and more people are turning to reason and evidence for the fulfillment of their lives. As science progresses, it becomes harder and harder to swallow the stories of Noah's ark, talking snakes and a 6k year old planet. Personally, I'll take the fulfillment antibiotics, the internet and my iPad over god any day of the week.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Matthew

      Just curious, where do you get the idea that the Bible states the world is 6000 years old? The Bible never states the Earth's age or direct time. For example, Adam and Even could have been in the Garden of Eve for over 2,000,000 years.

      April 26, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • wolfloversk

      I've always failed to see the conflict between science and religion. As far as I'm concerned one is just as real as the other. Perhaps you could enlighten me 😉

      April 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "As science progresses, it becomes harder and harder to swallow the stories of Noah's ark, talking snakes and a 6k year old planet. '

      Since there are about 2 million different types of animals on this planet scattered all over the world, that Noah guy sure was one busy dude! LOL! Oh that's write when they came up with the concept of the bible they didn't know there wouldn't be a ship in the world that could carry all those animals and all that food! LOL!

      April 26, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Jason

      With all due respect and in good keeping with this article, the science of evolution is no more true today than it was 100 year ago. Scientists make up things to prove theroy. More and more of the bible is proven to be true every year by discovery. Specifically, they are now saying they may have found Noah's Ark in Turkey. I don't know if it is true, much needs to be investigated. If true, it is just 1 more in a long line of biblical facts to be proven by modern discovery. Do not make the mistake to think you are smarter than God. You will meet him soon enough.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Matthew, I didn't. I'm referring to the polls that show that 45% of Americans believe that the earth is less than 10k years old. The popular number being 6k. Religion rarely preaches directly from the bible. They'll have to start explaining the condoning of slavery, the misogyny and god ordering the murder of women and children.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Scientists make up things to prove theroy. More and more of the bible is proven to be true every year by discovery."

      They have already proven the bible isn't an historical document. LOL!

      April 26, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Jason, You talk about evolution like someone that hasn't read a book in 30 years.

      A) Natural selection is common. Humans do it with animals, fruits, flowers, and vegetables everyday. Why is it then so hard to imagine these things could happen without human intervention.

      B) Do some research on the studies done on bacteria where changing their environment caused them to generate new species. Bacterium are used because the life cycle is so quick you can see a sped up version of multi-generation succession.

      C) You seem to be dismissing all of the fossil, chemical, geological, etc., observations that have also supported the theory natural selection.

      D) Question for you, if the Ark is in Turkey, how did Noah get the kangaroos back to Australia, the penguins back to the Antarctic, the polar bears back to the arctic and all the other millions of species of animals, plants and bugs back to the habitat they are in currently? With today's technology and wide variety of ships, this would be an overwhelming task.

      Yes... I'll take the mountain of evidence to a 300 page storybook any day of the week.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • momoya

      I'm not smarter than god because god doesn't exist, but if the god of the bible existed I would be much smarter than him.. For example, I wouldn't make my creation both "good" and "corruptible.". That's stupid.. Silly god, making everything INCLUDING a mechanism to scr.ew up all of creation because of one mistake.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  13. David Crosby

    I live in Colorado Springs..Where Focus on the Family holds court..They are neither right nor a good neighbor..They practice autocratic and Feudal wage discrimination, they fail to register as a business or a lobbying group..therefore paying no tax..And they pitch a dead god...All to return us to a time when whites only was the rule....

    April 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  14. michael

    Focus on the Family is a certified hate group. Why does CNN and other media outlets strive to legitimize these hate mongers? What's next? Giving the KKK a platform to explain why shouting out the n-word is hateful even though everyone knows they hate black people?

    April 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • JP

      How are they a hate group, you marxist trash? So everyone who you don't agree with is now a 'hate group'? It's because of vermin like you that the 1st amendment was created. I bet you would have love soviet Russia.... 🙂

      April 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • sam

      Today's example of dumbest troll will be played by JP, who has no idea what Marxism even is. But he heard it on the radio once or on Fox and decided it must be an insult.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Me

      @sam....LMFAO! Best comment on here!!!

      April 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  15. TawandaK9

    Hear! Hear!

    April 26, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  16. Doobie Doobie Doo

    People seem to hols Christians to a higher standard. As if they are supposed to be super human or something.

    Why doesn't CNN do an article on muslims or jews? Because they are cowards.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Ronin

      The difference is most Jews don't believe all the stories of the bible. Jews are smart enough to realize the earth wasn't made in 6 days and that a talking snake was real. Yet millions and millions of Christians do. These same christians are running for president too.

      And cmon, no one is gonna make fun of muslims. The world doesn't need more people blowing up buildings.

      April 26, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Bruce

      Actually it's Christians who hold themselves to an exceedingly high standard - they compare themselves to, and try to live up to the example of, Jesus, whom they believe is the Son of God.

      That is, it is the Christians who believe that they are capable of, and worthy of (because Jesus made them worthy), this superdoopernatural ability to live up to a very high standard.

      April 26, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • David

      Christians claim to be followers of Christ; that is the basis of their religion. So they are setting for themselves the standard of at least attempting to follow the teachings of Christ. However a large number of them couldn't care less about Christ. These are the hypocrites that have turned so many people against so called Christians.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • wolfloversk

      @Doobie Doobie Doo, they're not cowards. They're human just like Christians, Athiests, and whomever else. And as far as God is concerned they are held to the same laws that we are.
      @Rohin, I'm a zoo major and I happen to take a particular interest in animal behavior and communication. Who says snakes can't talk? Sure they don't use any form of human speech, but that doesn't mean they can't communicate amongst each other or (take it from one who's begun to figure out the "language" of lagomorphs) with us. Humans are just typically very poor at inter species communication, at least from what I've seen, probably because we've forgotten the wild.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • momoya

      If Jesus can't keep his own followers from becoming hypocrites than who can?!?

      April 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • n8263

      Christians are not held to a higher standard, they hold themselves to an arbitrary standard. You could make a religion where it is unethical to wear brown shoes on Mondays, not eat rabbits on Fridays or mandate adulterers to be stoned to death.

      This is not a higher standard, it is an arbitrary one.

      Religious moral codes lack reason and thus lack objectivity. Reason and objectivity is necessary to establish a scale of morality and therefore determine what a "higher" standard is.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  17. LF

    Well Said! Many Christians need to be reminded of these things.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  18. Red

    Our confidence in ourselves is overwhelmingly misplaced...

    April 26, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  19. mhklein

    I am Jewish and I applaud this article. It is a wonderful thing when a person is part of a passionate movement yet stops to consider if everything done or said by that movement is ethically right. Liberals, too, (of which I am one) need to take stock of what we do and strive to articulate our positions morally at all times.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Matt

      Name call is wrong and does hurt when miss placed or when miss applied, but Jesus never held back form telling the truth. he called the first century Jewish religious leaders hypocritics, which they were. Paul denounced gays when he said that men who lie with men would not inherit God's Kingdom. Those words probably did hurt but they were the truth. What was the result of telling it like it was. Some of those first century individuals that took those words used took them to their heart and changed. In that way they took advantage of the provision of the ransom sacrifice that Jesus offered through his death. They exercised faith in Jesus. These along with everyone then, since then and now who do so and apply the Bible teachings in their lives, not just profess belief in Jesus, are the ones he died for, not everyone. Certainly Christians today should and must allpy the scriptures mentioned in the article, but they also have a responsibility to tell the truth and not water down the message and warning of consequences in the Bible for those who willing will not make changes to be come Christ like.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • JP

      6 million Jews DID NOT die during the 2nd world war, and Israel is an illegitimate state.

      There's no business like SHOAH-business, now is there shlomo? 🙂

      April 26, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • sam

      Dumbest troll part II: JP.

      April 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  20. Punisher2000

    While you say that Christians should not name call, you use as the first example in your post a piece from proverbs, which is not even a book in the New Testament. Are you saying that if one is not Christians he can name call? Are you implying that what is good for Christians is no good for someone form another faith? Finally are Christians not human? Because if they are, they will do as any other human and do name calling. Do consider yourself welcome to this small planet and its reality.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Red

      I think you missed the article, bro

      April 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • wolfloversk

      Proverbs is a part of the Christian Bible. The Christian Bible contains both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Secondly the author is not implying anything about people who aren't Christians, he wasn't talking to people who aren't Christians, he was referring to Christians. If you told your secondborn to do his homework, does that mean you are implying that your firstborn doesn't have to do their homework? It may have only been directed at the one, but it doesn't necessarily mean the opposite is true for the other. Finally yes Christians are human, and yes they are going to fail at times, and no they're not perfect, but they can TRY. And in trying they can make themselves BETTER. Life is a growing process by definition, but you can't grow to your full potential if you don't try. (Obviously I mean intellectually & spiritually more than physically in this context- but one could argue the same applies there as well 😉 )

      April 26, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.