June 21st, 2012
09:40 AM ET

Harsh anti-gay preaching alarms gay rights supporters and Christian conservatives alike

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - The little boy with a buzz cut shows no sign of nervousness as he sings in front of the church congregation.

Dressed in a pressed white shirt and blue sweater vest, he holds the microphone and sings that the Bible is right, then lets loose the line that brings whoops from the congregation: "Ain't no homo gonna make it to heaven."

Next to him, an adult beams as worshippers rise to their feet and cheer.

The scene was captured on video and anonymously posted online, receiving hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube since the end of May. It appears to show a service at the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle in Greensburg, Indiana.

The church quickly posted on its website that its pastor and members "do not condone, teach, or practice hate of any person for any reason."

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

But the chubby boy with the buzz cut isn't the only one going viral with harshly worded anti-gay pronouncements in church.

In recent weeks, Pastor Charles Worley in North Carolina preached that lesbians and gay men should be fenced in and left to die out, while Pastor Curtis Knapp in Kansas said the government should kill homosexuals.

"They won't, but they should," Knapp said, according to a recording of his sermon posted online. Worley’s sermon was captured on video and also went viral.

The incidents drew outrage and condemnation from gay rights supporters.

But they also left many Christians uncomfortable - even those who call themselves conservative.

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One leading expert on American Protestantism has a simple explanation for why some pastors preach against homosexuality while others go further, encouraging violence against gay people.

"There is a significant percentage who think it's a sin," Ed Stetzer said of homosexuality. "And there are a small minority who are stupid."

Stetzer is president of LifeWay Research, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Worley and Knapp both belong to Independent Baptist churches and are not part of the Southern Baptist Convention, which is the second largest Christian denomination in the United States.

Many conservative Christians would agree with pastors such as Worley and Knapp that homosexual behavior is fundamentally wrong, Stetzer said.

But that doesn't mean they support them or their sermons, he added.

"If you asked, they would say that's really unhelpful and stupid," he said.

But the Rev. Robin Lunn said these preachers are much worse than that. She calls such pastors "genocidal."

Opinion: Why some Christians focus on gays

"If someone is talking about rounding up me and all my kind in a pen, what is the difference between that and what is happening in Syria and Sudan and what happened in Germany and Poland during World War II?" asked Lunn, executive director of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists.

"We are talking about people who believe somehow that the Second Coming is connected to a Final Solution," said Lunn, a lesbian, using the Nazi term for the mass murder of Jews in the Holocaust.

"I think these men expressed something that many Baptist preachers think," Lunn said. "We need to stand up and denounce this powerfully."

Her group campaigns for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion across all Baptist churches. It has its origins in the American Baptist Churches movement but is not connected to any one Baptist group or denomination, she said.

"It seems to me that this is an opportunity to show some solidarity around the belief that all people are children of God regardless of what you think about someone's 'lifestyle,' " she said.

Opinion: The Christian case for gay marriage

One of the most respected voices in conservative Christianity agrees with Lunn, up to a point.

"The Gospel does not condemn homosexuals, it condemns homosexuality," said R. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. "The Bible makes clear that homosexuality is a sin, in the context of making clear that every person is a sinner."

What preachers such as Worley and Knapp are doing wrong, he said, is that they are "not merely rendering a moral judgment on homosexuality but extending it to the condemnation of people. They are speaking with a certain venom and hatred."

He called their sermons "reprehensible."

And, he said, "they are doing grave harm to the cause of conservative Christianity by speaking messages of hate that obscure the message of the church."

"What you're seeing here is a very dangerous fringe that does not represent conservative Christianity in America," he said.

About one-third of Protestant pastors talk to their congregations about homosexuality several times a year, while another third do so "rarely," data from LifeWay Research suggests.

The rest do so anywhere from never to several times a month, according to a 2008 telephone survey of 1,002 Protestant pastors across the country and a wide range of denominations.

Half of the pastors who preached about homosexuality several times a year identified themselves as "very conservative," while a quarter of those who did said they were liberal or very liberal.

LifeWay’s Stetzer argued that it was important to remember that many Americans - not just Christian pastors - think homosexuality is wrong.

A Gallup Poll last month found that 54% of Americans saw homosexuality as "morally acceptable," while 42% said it was "morally wrong."

"This is not a small minority," Stetzer said. "Are all of those people going to be tarred by the comments of a few pastors?"

The sermons of Worley, Knapp and those like them do not have a great influence, Stetzer said, calling them "isolated."

"I've never heard of or seen a violent confrontation" that resulted from Christian preaching, he said.

But Ross Murray, director of religion, faith and values at the gay rights group Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, said it's not that simple.

"When pastors preach they want people to listen to their words and pay attention to them," he said. "It's an exhortation to believe and think and act in accordance with the Gospel."

And he said he's not worried only about people who might act on violent preaching they hear in church. He said he's also concerned about young churchgoers grappling with being gay or lesbian themselves.

"You get brought to church; you have told nobody about this and you hear your pastor preaching or this child singing. What this tells you is that the church is not a safe place, not a place where you are going to experience love and grace," he said.

Pastors such as Worley and Knapp "give Christianity a bad name," he said.

And more than that, they are dangerous, he said. There were a record number of murders of members of sexual minorities in the United States last year, he said, citing a study out this month by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.

He conceded that no link has been proven between preaching and attacks on homosexuals, but he argued that preaching matters.

"To say that people shouldn't take you seriously when you say something violent is disingenuous. Our words have consequences," Murray said. "Our words have real meaning."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Christianity • Homosexuality

soundoff (1,795 Responses)
  1. Proclamation

    As Christian clergy we proclaim the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.

    In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:

    -to affirm that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;

    –to embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;

    –to declare that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;

    –to celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;

    Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.

    July 5, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  2. Michael

    This one goes out to all you fundamentalist Christians out there. Selah! I may be too narrow addressing this to just the fundamentalists. Many traditional Christians also fit the bill. Really, it’s anyone who believes that homosexuality is a sin, and that somehow God, infinite and eternal creator and sustainer of the very Universe, is ‘against’ a tiny human behavior that harms no one. So, in other words, uneducated and ridiculous people everywhere.

    Officially, the majority of Christian churches say that homosexual behavior is a sin, thus proving that the theologians behind those churches don’t understand their own Bible. There are a whole bunch of goofball laws written down in the Old Testament that everyone ignores. Why is being bigoted toward homosexuals the one people latch onto?

    The various Christian brands go through the Old Testament, picking and choosing the parts they consider cool. No one accepts the whole thing. No one. I mean, when was the last time a cheating spouse was actually put to death in keeping with the commandments of the Bible?

    Using the Old Testament to determine if something is a sin is simply a matter of human and not godly opinion. It’s meaningless and certainly not ‘the word of God’. His teachings aren’t some basket of fruit for you to pick over. You either have to accept the old law in its entirety and start killing lots and lots of people or reject it in its entirety. Hand-picking the stuff you like is bogus, especially when you only pick the stuff that seems to legitimize your meanness to other people.

    So the Old Testament is out.

    Before we all start playing REM’s “Losing My Religion,” consider this denying someone the right to marry is not Christian, and certainly not American.

    The people who are opposed to gay marriage, and by extension, gayness itself have no excuse. They are bigots and bigots alone. They can’t use their special book to justify their hate, even according to the special book itself. They have no one to thank but themselves. They take the Lord’s name in vain and feel righteous about it

    Yes, they take the Lord’s name in vain. Most people believe incorrectly that this commandment is about cussing, but it’s not. It’s about using God for yourself, for your own vain (personal) ends. They hold the Bible in the air and use it like a bitch to bolster their own prejudices and bigotry and hate and that is vanity, all is vanity.

    The teachings of Christ are plain enough: love and forgiveness, tolerance and healing, acceptance and rebellion. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing more needed. Add what you will to it, it still won’t be from the Christ. It will come from your own (black?) heart.

    Jesus Christ is the origin of the word ‘Christian’. Perhaps we should pray about that a bit more.

    Today’s Christians tend to be followers, accepting of the notion that religion is just a box built by someone else into which they must stuff their spirit. They are naive and willingly line up like lemmings wherever told. They have a casual ignorance that tells them the Beast will come in the obvious guise of science or secularism or liberality. They cannot conceive of the Father of Lies actually lying to them.

    Sinclair Lewis said that when fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying the cross. When the Beast comes to the world, you can bet your sweet ass he will be thumping the Bible and preaching a hate disguised as love.

    July 5, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  3. Shawn

    Let me start this off with a quote from a famous lesbian, Lynn Lavner:

    "There are 6 admonishments in the Bible concerning homosexual activity, and our enemies are always throwing them up to us – usually in a vicious way and very much out of context.

    What they don't want us to remember is that there are 362 admonishments in the Bible concerning heterosexual activity. I don't mean to imply by this that God doesn't love straight people, only that they seem to require a great deal more supervision."

    I am going to attempt to keep this short and simple, so here we go.

    Some claim that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 clearly say that homosexual sex is an abomination. In fact, it merits death. Isn't it obvious that God hates homosexuality?

    Yes, depending on which translation you are using, Leviticus does say, "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female, it's an abomination." However, a few points must be made about this statement:

    a) It appears in Leviticus, which was given to preserve the distinctive characteristics of the religion and culture of Israel. However, as stated in Galatians 3:22-55, Christians are no longer bound by these Jewish laws. Even if you, for some reason, argue that these "laws" are still important, then you surely follow all of them, right?

    It is interesting that people who use Leviticus against the gay community forget the part that talks about religious sacrifices, making women sleep in tents outside during their period, the dietary restrictions placed on them and how to cleanse a leper, all of which appear in Leviticus.

    The laws of Leviticus are completely obsolete for today's Christian; however, even if you do claim to live by the laws of Leviticus, it is not fair to pick and choose which laws you are going to live by, or condemn a people by, if you are not going to follow the others. You should not need any more convincing evidence than this; but if you do, be my guest.

    b) The word that was in the original work, "to'ebah," which was translated into Greek as "bdglygma" actually means "ritual impurity" rather than abomination (or enormous sin). These passages in Leviticus can be translated to not mean homosexual sex generally, but only limiting homosexual sex in Pagan temples.

    c) This passage does not denounce homosexual behavior as a whole, but just the specific act of anal sex. This was meant for the prevention of disease. It was ruled unclean because it was physically unclean; however, hygiene has made wonderful advances since that time.

    d) These passages in Leviticus can be interpreted in many ways. I have seen it interpreted by scholars and priests to mean: "don't have sex with another man in your wife's bed;" "don't have sex with another man in the temple;" and "don't have sex with another man and pretend he is a woman," just to name a few.

    I have never seen an interpretation in any Bible, or from any scholar, that specifically says to never have sex with a man.

    Some claim the Bible simply does not support gay marriage. Chapter two of Genesis defines marriage as a holy union between a man and a woman. And later, in Matthew 19:4-5, Jesus himself reiterates the traits of a traditional marriage. How can you argue that anything other than celibacy is honorable for gay and lesbian people?

    Yes, marriage is a holy union. However, in these passages, while Jesus reiterates (but does not require) the traditional marriage, he also provides an exception for eunuchs (castrated men – or otherwise impotent men, in today's terms), and allowed them to be married, saying that this law is given to those to whom it applies.

    Because these eunuchs were born sexless, God made an exception for them because it was natural. The same applies to the Gay community today. Science has proven homosexuality is completely natural, so it seems God would allow for homosexual marriages.

    In Matthew 19: 4-5, Jesus encourages a traditional path, but does not discourage alternatives, except in the case of divorce.

    Jesus did stress purity of marriage, but not in regard to the sexes of the people within it. It can be seen that the reason that churches are against homosexual marriage is not because it is explicitly said by God, but because of a lack of instruction to specifically allow it.

    In the time that the Bible was written it would have been impossible to foresee the future to be able to specifically allow or forbid homosexual marriage.

    Some claim, in Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he lists homosexuals amongst the many sinners who will not inherit the kingdom of God. Doesn't that make God's position on this vice very clear?

    If we look at the other types of people listed in this passage, we can understand what it is actually talking about. Law breakers, thieves, adulterers and drunks are specifically mentioned. The word "homosexual" was not found until the 1890s, so it would have been impossible for it to be in the original version.

    What actually appears in the original is Paul condemning those who are "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind." In this context, the original Greek word, "malakos," is translated into effeminate, or soft, which, more than likely, refers to someone who lacks discipline or moral control.

    In this passage, when Paul condemns "abusers of themselves with mankind," he is speaking of male prostitutes.

    Then there are the people who claim that, even though science has proven that people don't choose their sexual orientation, the fact remains that homosexuality is unnatural. Romans 1:26-27 tells us that humans have a sinful nature, and therefore commit sins against God. Certain people are predisposed to be alcoholics and pedophiles, but that doesn't make their actions any less immoral. God tells us to "tear out your eye" if it makes you stumble. Why can't you just accept homosexuality as the part of your nature you must deny?

    Because the Bible has gone through so many translations, and through the hands of many people (some being non-believers), it is not surprising that the meaning has become a little fuzzy in parts.

    Homosexuality is normal. The phrase "para physin" appears in the original text for this verse. This term is often translated to mean "unnatural;" however, more accurate translation would be unconventional.

    Proof for this can be found in 1 Corinthians 11:14 where Paul uses this phrase to refer to men with long hair (unconventional, not unnatural) and in Romans 11:24 where Paul uses this phrase to refer to the positive action God made to bring together the Jews and Gentiles.

    All in all, homosexuality is obviously not a sin, unless you take passages from the Bible and add your own words or you just try really hard to interpret it that way. Let's just remember Galatians 5:14, where Paul stated, "the whole Law is fulfilled in one Statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

    July 5, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • maggie

      I wish your response could be read and understood by everyone!

      July 7, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  4. JP

    Is homosexuality a sin?

    Self-indulgence is a sin. But the relationship of two people of the same sex may or may not be self-indulgent.

    Abusing the neighbor is a sin. But the exploration of relationships among homosexuals as they search for partners, evaluate their existing formative relationships, and relate to each other may or may not be abusive.

    Disobeying what God commands in the Bible is a sin. But, we have biblically-derived criteria for assessing and applying specific commands by reading them against larger themes.
    Turning your back on God is a sin. Homosexuals are often among those who have turned their back on the church, and may be sinning because they also rejected the God they found in church. The church needs to be in mission to homosexuals with the message of Jesus and who God really is.

    Yielding to your passions, even celebrating them is a sin. Homosexuals do include those who have done this. But it is not an inherent aspect of being gay.

    Since we see people who have dedicated themselves to God, and for whom their gay sexual life is integrated into that decision and we see that their sexuality does not draw them away from church we must conclude that being and living gay is not a behavior in and of itself that produces pain to the neighbor and leads one away from God.

    By the criteria the scripture sets for us for what is godly life, and by the reasoning scripture asks us to employ, homosexuality cannot be described as against God’s law.

    If this seems like a rather quiet sort of justification for homosexuality, then perhaps it is because the grand clichés of this debate have been shouted at us for too long. But look at the Bible: it's demands and vision cut across all categories, not staying on the surface but penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, rejecting all forms of self-justification, all forms of attack on the "other" and all forms of escape from God's assessment of our behavior. How on earth could we have ever thought that a series of flat rules was all God wanted to tell us on morality?

    July 5, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  5. jknbt

    and for the last word to this blog: the hardened, repro-bate, unre-pentant sin and lifestyle of sin defended by the hom-ose-xuals here is why God is judg-g America. Examples: floods in the east, fires in the west, drought in the middle, economic confusion, tornados, heat waves, and the list goes on and on. Be zealous, therefore, and rep-ent! Jesus is coming back soon! Get Ready!

    July 4, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Delusional nonsense. Pretending to know the mind of God is the height of arrogance. Men have predicting " the end " for ages, and they've all been wrong. So are you.

      July 4, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • open cinnamon shoe

      "Pretending to know the mind of God is the height of arrogance"

      God told us what was on his mind already. We refer to it as "The Bible". He actually has a lot to say regarding many many topics.

      July 5, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • midwest rail

      cinnamon – did you even finish reading the post ? This ni-twi-t is assuring us of " the end ", much like hundreds before him have. They have ALL been wrong, and so is this one.

      July 6, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  6. jknbt

    is this blog open?

    July 4, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  7. SoldierOfConscience

    Hate the sin, love the sinner. Even though they insist on calling us 'bigots' for this.

    June 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Dan of Memphis TN

      You are a bigot. The club you choose to be in is not the club I choose to be in. Keep your self-righteous club rules to your self. I am not a part of your pedophile religious club. I don't choose to kill anyone cuz they got a haircut or work on Sunday. You are a bigot when you have words that call for death in the club rules that you can read from your reading material (the bible). Anyone can have a club with rules that hate ppl or call for ppl to be killed, just like the KKK and the Black Panthers.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  8. HTL

    Mike defeatists hate anyone who has more, is smarter, better looking, more capable than they are. This is the biggest issue and the reason I vote Republican even though I can't stand them either.

    June 29, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  9. Roman

    To the Atheists and/or Agnostics: I am an actual Christian who doesn't hate gay people and actually believes that gay marriage really isn't a big deal. If people want to be together, let them be together. Not all of us are hateful "bigots" or evil child molesters or whatever other generalizations have be shoved on us. To the "Christians": What I do have a problem with is any preacher, evangalist or person who considers themselves Christian coming out and hating gays, Muslims or any other group of people. I was always taught that the Bible says, Judge not, lest ye be jugded, meaning don't judge people because when you do that God has swung said judgmental pendulum back towards you. I was also taught he who is without sin cast the first stone. If it were me or any other Christian in that situation, we'd never be able to throw a stone because we have ALL done bad and/or immoral things. I've been arrested, I've lied, stole, cheated and many other thing that are undesirable so I can NEVER condemn anyone for doing something wrong, especially if I can't actually prove it's wrong or not. If you've ever read this Bible you always quote, you'd know that the basis of Christianity is love and you cant help someone by hating them. You people are NOT real Christians. I love everybody: Gay, Straight, Transgender, black, white, red, green, purple and yellow, just like the Jesus you claim to believe in.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • katie Murphy

      we'l bvelieve you when your church comes out for gay marraige under CIVIL Law. Until then you should leave your church and join eg the american baptists or someother progressive baptist group.

      And you should actively trash the haters.. Many of whom are baptists. Formal ceremonies on TV where you kick them out of the church and condemn them would go a long ways re your credibility.

      Until then I can only say = IMHO – words are cheap. Yes I know there are many good xtain churches, but the SBC is perhaps the worst of the worst re treating gay people equally under the law.

      We cant fix this problem – but you can.

      You could also offer some sort of religious quasi marriage ceremony for gay people/ It wouldnt be civil marraige if they cant get a marriage license but again it would do a lot for your church's reputation.

      June 29, 2012 at 5:07 am |
  10. Jesus would have voted Democrat

    Nice to see the Nuns talking about how the Republicans will make life harder for the poor and the needy. Christians who are so obsessed with gay rights and contraception say they "know Jesus" but they don't. They have lost track of Jesus' true teachings: help the poor and downtrodden. Republicans are all about making companies and millionaires richer and the poor can suffer. Jesus was against that with every ounce of his being. The Republicans and FOX News have hijacked religion and the flag. Any real christians out there should be railing against that but no, you truly are a flock ... of sheep. Republican christians, be ashamed!

    June 27, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • oldtimer

      you need to take off the rose colored glasses and read the scripture with an open mind. or maybe your mind was too open.

      June 27, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • katie Murphy

      REpublicans or Repugnicans

      the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. its the Robber barron days once again. the second great republican depression.

      June 29, 2012 at 5:10 am |
    • dyslexic dog

      @oldtimer – impressive, you used 24 words without actually saying anything

      June 29, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • HTL

      Apparently you read a different bible than I did........

      June 29, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Dan of Memphis TN

      oldtimer...Not everyone participates or joined your christian club. I don't believe in your club. I don't like your club that wants to kill someone for getting a haircut or working on Sunday. This is more like a gang or cult. Keep your club/gang rules to your self. I believe in actually helping my fellow humans out than telling them to read from some old person back 2,000 yrs ago that died an early age and had an education from 2,000 yrs ago thinking the world was flat and the earth was the universe. I would like to see you fit in the whale like Jonah did and come out after 3 days alive. Yeah, like that'll happen in a fairy tale world.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  11. Mike Wilson

    The new testiment... not the old where the Grace has replaced the law (forgiveness)... says that a man laying with a man is an abomination... and we should act accordingly.

    What is an abomination? It is something that should be held apart.

    Let them do their thing but let them be aware of Romans 14 where their beliefs do not cause stumbling blocks for others.

    Love them. Include them in the body of Christ for we are all sinners and we would all lie about how much sin we have done if put before God and asked to explain ourselves... but if they are not too closely related to you... hold them away from you and moreso from those impressionable members of your family.

    If they are closely related, love and share as you would with family regularly but make sure they have read Romans 14 and know not to exhibit behavior which would become stumbling blocks to those you are responsible for teaching the Word to... your family.

    If they can not do their best to follow these simple rules and are acting outside their personal behavior to flaunt their differences then they are setting up stumbling blocks and must be held apart further. Sometimes to the degree that they must start their own church where stumbling blocks work the other way.

    In any case we are told the two great commandments are to love God with all our might and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Then the Lord expanded them to include loving strangers and even our enemies.

    Remember the last step in our Christian endeavor to acheive all we can be in Christ is Brotherly Kindness... so if we love our enemies we will show nothing but brotherly kindness to others who try their best to come to the Lord regardless of their weaknesses... and don't judge others weaknesses (unless they injure others) – again Romans 14 – for who are we to judge the servant of their own master... even if we have the same master.

    June 26, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Alissa

      As a Christian I am baffled by the message and comments of other Christians. I know what I believe and why I believe it. I have no idea why anyone feels the need to tell someone else what to do or how to live...and don't give me that we are commanded to by Christ. NO!!!! We are commanded to love one another and preach the gospel. I love everyone and tell them that they can be forgiven for their sins, which we all have, if they choose to believe in Christ. END OF STORY!!!! It is every individual's choice to believe what they want....God sanctioned that and I am not about to go against God. AND there is no proving a belief. I believe in Christ, but there is absolutely no proof, scientific or otherwise, that he existed or was who he said he was. I don't believe because it makes sense, because the Bible tells me to or because there is some proof I heard from a pastor about something found somewhere in the world. I simply believe because I have faith. I can't give my faith to anyone and I can't make them have faith...I mean, that is just a contradiction. Christians!!!!! STOP FIGHTING WITH EVERYONE!!!! STOP ARGUING WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS!!!! YOU ARE BEING AN AGENT OF THE DEVIL!!!! I love gay people just like I love divorced people, just like I love liars, cheaters, thieves, murderers, etc. I forgive because Christ forgave me. People don't have to admit their sins to me since my forgiveness of them is for myself, to keep me from sinning against them, from hating or judging them, it isn't for them to be restored since I can't do that, I'm not Christ. And I keep forgiving them even though they keep sinning because Christ keeps forgiving me even though I keep sinning...that's right, Christians sin because they aren't perfect, that's why we need Christ. Follow your convictions and stop demanding that others have the same convictions as you. It is enough for me to stay on the narrow path, I can't look over into to someone else's walk to correct them without running myself into the ditch! Focus on your own life and let God work in the lives of others...don't worry, He's got this...He doesn't need your help...He's been doing this long before you got here! Christians need to get out GOD'S way and let HIM work in the lives of others, as HE sees fit. Stop playing GOD!!!!

      June 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • open cinnamon shoe

      "Dont give me that we were commanded by Christ. NO"

      You would do well to revisit the New Testament. Either that or stop pretending to have the special inside deal on Christianity. No one does. Its all in print for all of us to read and accept or reject. I get that your unhappy with your fellow Christians. I get unhappy when people pick and choose what they feel applies from the Bible and pretend the rest isnt really there. Either accept it all or reject it all. Christianity isnt a buffet. Picking and choosing what you "like" is you declaring you have a better grip on the situation than does God and thats pretty anit-Christian.

      July 5, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  12. Mike

    Once again the ugly head of religion has shown itself.

    Hell is used by many as a good reason in and of itself to practice religion. Hell, in theory, is so bad that the mere possibility of its existence – no matter how small – warrants prayer to God. This implies that religion is a self-serving decision, not an exercise in humility or praise. In other words, greed. Yes folks, one of the seven deadly sins. Furthermore, since God can apparently read minds, He will easily see through your futile attempt at deceiving Him and send you to Hell. Therefore, by this argument, prayer is useless; you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

    hristian dogma has convinced too many people into believing that mitzvahs (good works) have no meaning without their Jesus fealty pledge. Many people perform good works simply for the sake of doing them, not in hopes of some reward like salvation; selfless people are good for goodness sake and nothing else.

    Rational arguments don't usually work on religious people, otherwise there would be no religious people

    Religion is a symptom of irrational belief and groundless hope.

    And, religion is for those who would have others tell them how they should act, think, feel, and believe, That is counterfeit spirituality. True spirituality is figuring those things out for yourself.

    As long as there are those who would have others tell them how they should act, think, feel, and believe, there will be religions – and, those exploiting them for their own agendas.

    God believers fail to realize that, regardless of whether "God" (whatever that is) exists, or not, "it" will ALWAYS be a construct in their imagination that they created for themselves. And, "God" doesn't have to be anything like that. So, it's just an imaginary friend.

    June 25, 2012 at 3:18 am |
    • Nii

      I don't know about you but if i am as afraid of hell as you are then why do you persist as an atheist. As a Christian i am far more afraid of the prison system in my country n others that I prefer a spiritual lifestyle. If that is self-serving well I'm serving myself all the way! I love u as myself

      June 26, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  13. EndTheHate

    Please don't try to forbid marriage amongst those our Lord God created gay...

    1 Timothy 4:1-5
    Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart
    from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings
    of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are
    seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God
    created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know
    the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be
    rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the
    word of God and prayer.

    June 25, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Nii

      Stop killing Mosquitoes God created them!

      June 26, 2012 at 2:11 am |
  14. Kindness

    I Follow Christ . I never wanted proof. I just had faith.

    HE WHO follows Me, walks not in darkness,” says the Lord (John 8:12). By these words
    of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and
    free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus
    The teaching of Christ is more excellent than all the advice of the saints, and he who
    has His spirit will find in it a hidden manna. Now, there are many who hear the Gospel often
    but care little for it because they have not the spirit of Christ. Yet whoever wishes to understand
    fully the words of Christ must try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ.

    What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you
    displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous
    life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it.
    For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the
    philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity,
    except to love God and serve Him alone.

    This is the greatest wisdom—to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the
    world. It is vanity, therefore, to seek and trust in riches that perish. It is vanity also to court
    honor and to be puffed up with pride. It is vanity to follow the lusts of the body and to desire
    things for which severe punishment later must come. It is vanity to wish for long life and
    to care little about a well-spent life. It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and
    not to make provision for things to come. It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not
    to look ahead where eternal joy abides.
    Often recall the proverb: “The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with
    hearing.”1 Try, moreover, to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring
    yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences
    and lose the grace of God.

    See for yourself. You never know how soon is too late.

    June 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Mike

      And, religion is for those who would have others tell them how they should act, think, feel, and believe, That is counterfeit spirituality.

      June 25, 2012 at 3:19 am |
    • sam stone

      I agree with Mike. Top down faith is toxic

      June 25, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  15. moses

    interesting discussion!

    June 24, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  16. moses

    what a discussion!

    June 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  17. jknbt

    Amy– Christians standing up for Bible truth in this liberal forum are not practicing ha te if their comments are made in a respectful non-emotional way. This is all just fair discussion of relevant issues of national concern. When someone disagrees with you, it does not mean that they ha te you. You are not that delicate. When ga-y liberal hom ose xual agenda people are confronted with Bible morality and scripture, they always scream "You are being ha teful! Why do you practice ha te!" This is just a spin to put the Bible crowd on the defensive. You sound like you are more intelligent than that. See, I am being complementary and not hateful. So be fair. My hat's off to you!

    June 24, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I find if amusing that you talk of civility then use the phrase "ga-y liberal hom ose xual agenda people".

      Were you aware that there is more evidence to indicate that hom.os.exuality is innate than there is proof of any god? Those of us who support human equality oppose discrimination based on personal religious belief. Those of us who respect the Const.itution of the United States oppose discrimination based on personal religious belief. If equality is an agenda, then targeted bigotry is certainly also an agenda.

      June 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • EndTheHate

      So let's look at the g @y "agenda" for a moment: (1) They want to defend their country by risking their life and serving in the military......disgraceful. (2) They want to live in monogamous, committed, life-long relationships by becoming married......si nful. (3) They want to be allowed to adopt and raise children (unwanted by their heterose xual parents) in a loving household.....how selfish. (4) They want to be productive members of society by being assured that they will not be discriminated against in their jobs because of whom they love.....quite unreasonable..........Geez.....it sounds like the GOP should adopt them as their poster children!

      June 25, 2012 at 1:53 am |
  18. jknbt

    Hey Flabasco–how about posting a list of the inconsistencies you are having a problem with? You don't because you don't know any....you are just regurgitating an objection you heard somewhere that rejects a literal reading of the bible. Sounds like you picked that one up in the 8th grade. Why don't you at least try to study the scripture before you start refuting it? The "inconsitencies" the liberals reject to all have explainations. Most of the "inconsistencies" the liberals stress over have to do with spelling differences from one ancient text copy to another... so let's see your scholarship, man... what "inconsistencies" are you upset about?

    June 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Jeff

      This isn't my list but here you go anyway:

      GE 1:3-5 On the first day, God created light, then separated light and darkness.
      GE 1:14-19 The sun (which separates night and day) wasn't created until the fourth day.

      GE 1:11-12, 26-27 Trees were created before man was created.
      GE 2:4-9 Man was created before trees were created.

      GE 1:20-21, 26-27 Birds were created before man was created.
      GE 2:7, 19 Man was created before birds were created.

      GE 1:24-27 Animals were created before man was created.
      GE 2:7, 19 Man was created before animals were created.

      GE 1:26-27 Man and woman were created at the same time.
      GE 2:7, 21-22 Man was created first, woman sometime later.

      GE 1:28 God encourages reproduction.
      LE 12:1-8 God requires purification rites following childbirth which, in effect, makes childbirth a sin. (Note: The period for purification following the birth of a daughter is twice that for a son.)

      GE 1:31 God was pleased with his creation.
      GE 6:5-6 God was not pleased with his creation.
      (Note: That God should be displeased is inconsistent with the concept of omniscience.)

      GE 2:4, 4:26, 12:8, 22:14-16, 26:25 God was already known as "the Lord" (Jahveh or Jehovah) much earlier than the time of Moses.
      EX 6:2-3 God was first known as "the Lord" (Jahveh or Jehovah) at the time of the Egyptian Bondage, during the life of Moses.

      GE 2:17 Adam was to die the very day that he ate the forbidden fruit.
      GE 5:5 Adam lived 930 years.

      GE 2:15-17, 3:4-6 It is wrong to want to be able to tell good from evil.
      HE 5:13-14 It is immature to be unable to tell good from evil.

      GE 4:4-5 God prefers Abel's offering and has no regard for Cain's.
      2CH 19:7, AC 10:34, RO 2:11 God shows no partiality. He treats all alike.

      I understand the "can't take things literally" argument, but on the other hand, your type have historically (and frankly continue to use) used the Bible for all kinds of injustices that now embarrass the church. Won't be long before your family members look back at you and shake their heads in shame...

      June 26, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  19. jknbt

    hmm...it seems the people that run this blog removed my comments to Erik, Matthew, and Janet. You liberals believe in tolerance and a diversity of opinions (or so you say), but only as long as people are tolerating your opinions and opening up to the diversity of your humanistic beliefs. Sorry Erik, Matthew, and Janet for your sake since I had something meaningful to say to you. It seems that anyone these days that disagrees with the humanistic gay agenda will be accused of the worst sort of hate crimes and abuse. My replies did not have any hate or abuse in them, only relevant discussion. The political correctness censors have struck again!

    June 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  20. Amy

    Do the Religious People get off on hatting their fellow man?

    June 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Amy

      Meant hating not hatting

      June 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • what is wrong

      with hats? Do you hate all hats ? are ball caps not acceptable?

      June 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Mike

      Religious people hate anyone who disagrees with their religious beliefs

      June 25, 2012 at 3:35 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.