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When Christians become a 'hated minority'
Evangelical Christians say they are the new victims of intolerance - they're persecuted for condemning homosexuality.
May 5th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

When Christians become a 'hated minority'

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - When Peter Sprigg speaks publicly about his opposition to homosexuality, something odd often happens.

During his speeches, people raise their hands to challenge his assertions that the Bible condemns homosexuality, but no Christians speak out to defend him.

“But after it is over, they will come over to talk to me and whisper in my ear, ‘I agree with everything you said,’" says Sprigg, a spokesman for The Family Research Council, a powerful, conservative Christian lobbying group.

We’ve heard of the “down-low” gay person who keeps his or her sexual identity secret for fear of public scorn. But Sprigg and other evangelicals say changing attitudes toward homosexuality have created a new victim: closeted Christians who believe the Bible condemns homosexuality but will not say so publicly for fear of being labeled a hateful bigot.

As proof, Sprigg points to the backlash that ESPN commentator Chris Broussard sparked recently. Broussard was called a bigot and a purveyor of hate speech when he said an NBA player who had come out as gay was living in “open rebellion to God.” Broussard said the player, Jason Collins, was “living in unrepentant sin” because the Bible condemns homosexuality.

“In the current culture, it takes more courage for someone like Chris Broussard to speak out than for someone like Jason Collins to come out,” says Sprigg, a former pastor. “The media will hail someone who comes out of the closet as gay, but someone who simply expresses their personal religious views about homosexual conduct is attacked.”

When is disagreement hate?

Bryan Litfin, a theology professor at Moody Bible Institute in Illinois, says Christians should be able to publicly say that God designed sex to take place within a marriage between a man and a woman.

“That isn’t so outrageous,” Litfin says. “Nobody is expressing hate toward homosexuals by saying that. Since when is disagreement the same as hate?”

But quoting the Bible doesn't inoculate anyone from becoming a bigot or hater, some scholars say. There's a point at which a Christian's opposition to homosexuality can become bigotry, and even hate speech, they say.

Crossing such a line has happened many times in history.

A literal reading of the Bible was used to justify all sorts of hatred: slavery, the subjugation of women and anti-Semitism, scholars and pastors say.

“Truly damaging speech cannot be excused just because it expresses genuine religious belief,” says Mark D. Jordan, author of “Recruiting Young Love: How Christians Talk about Homosexuality.”

“Some religious beliefs, sincerely held, are detestable. They cannot be spoken without disrupting social peace,” says Jordan, a professor at the John Danforth Center on Religion & Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.

The point where religious speech becomes hate speech is difficult to define, though, scholars and activists say.

The Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama is a nonprofit civil rights group that combats and monitors hate groups. Three years ago, it designated the Family Research Council, the group that Sprigg represents, as a hate group - a characterization the group stridently rejects.

Mark Potok,  a center spokesman, says there’s no shared definition of what constitutes hate speech.

“There is no legal meaning. It’s just a phrase,” Potok says. “Hate speech is in the ear of the beholder.”

'One of the most hated minorities?'

Intolerance may be difficult to define, but some evangelicals say they have become victims of intolerance because of their reverence for the Bible.

The conservative media culture is filled with stories about evangelicals being labeled as “extremists” for their belief that homosexuality is a sin.

Their sense of persecution goes beyond their stance on homosexuality. There are stories circulating of evangelical students being suspended for opposing homosexuality, a teacher fired for giving a Bible to a curious student, and the rise of anti-Christian bigotry.

A blogger at The American Dream asked in one essay:

“Are evangelical Christians rapidly becoming one of the most hated minorities in America?”

The reluctance of evangelicals to speak out against homosexuality is often cited as proof they are being forced into the closet.

Joe Carter, editor for The Gospel Coalition, an online evangelical magazine, wrote a blog post entitled “Debatable: Is the Christian Church a ‘Hate Group’?" He warned that young people will abandon “orthodox” Christian churches that teach that homosexuality is a sin for fear of being called haters.

“Faux civility, embarrassment, prudishness and a fear of expressing an unpopular opinion has caused many Christians to refrain from explaining how homosexual conduct destroys lives,” Carter wrote.

Some Christians fear that opposing homosexuality could cause them to lose their jobs and “haunt them forever,” Carter says.

“It’s easier to just go along,” says Carter, who is also author of “How to Argue Like Jesus.” “You don’t want to be lumped in with the bigots. That’s a powerful word."

Edward Johnson, a communication professor at Campbell University in North Carolina, says we are now living in a "postmodern" era where everything is relative and there is no universally accepted truth. It's an environment in which anyone who says "this is right" and "that is wrong" is labeled intolerant, he says.

There was a time when a person could publicly say homosexuality was wrong and people could consider the statement without anger, he says. Today, people have reverted to an intellectual tribalism where they are only willing to consider the perspective of their own tribe.

“They are incapable of comprehending that someone may have a view different than theirs,” Johnson says. “For them anyone who dares to question the dogma of the tribe can only be doing so out of hatred.”

Sprigg, from the Family Research Council, says his condemnation of homosexual conduct does not spring from intolerance but a desire to protect gays from harmful conduct, he says.

Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at the council, wrote in a council pamphlet that homosexual men are more likely to engage in child sexual abuse than are straight men. He also wrote that gay men are also afflicted with a higher rate of sexually transmitted diseases and mental illness as well.

Sprigg says he does not believe homosexuality is a choice and that “personal testimonies" and "clinical experience” show that some people “can and do change from gay to straight.”

“Maybe we need to do a better job of showing that we are motivated by Christian love,” Sprigg says. “Love is wanting the best for someone, and acting to bring that about.”

'That's a lie'

Potok, from the Southern Poverty Law Center, has little use for the love Sprigg talks about.

He calls it hatred, and his voice rose in anger when he talked about the claims by Sprigg and other Christian groups that gay men are more predisposed to molest children and that homosexual behavior is inherently harmful.

He says the Southern Poverty Law Center didn’t designate the Family Research Group a hate group because they view homosexuality as a sin or oppose same-sex marriage, Potok says. There are plenty of Christian groups who hold those beliefs but are not hate groups, he says.

A group becomes a hate group when it attacks and maligns an entire class of people for their “immutable characteristics,” Potok says. The Family Research Council spreads known falsehoods about gays and lesbians, he says, such as the contention that gay men are predisposed to abuse children.

“That’s a lie,” Potok says. “These guys are engaging in straight-up defamation of a very large group of people. There are not many things much worse than you can say in America about somebody than they are a child molester.”

Potok scoffed at Spriggs’ claim that the council and other evangelical anti-gay groups are victims of intolerance.

“That’s whining on the part of people who spend their days and nights attacking gay people and then some people criticize them and they don’t like it,” he says. “That’s pathetic. It reminds me of slave owners complaining that people are saying ugly things about them.”

What the Bible says

What about the popular evangelical claim, “We don’t hate the sinner, just the sin” – is that seen as intolerance or hate speech when it comes to homosexuality?

There are those who say you can’t hate the sin and love the sinner because being gay or lesbian is defined by one’s sexual behavior; it’s who someone is.

“Most people who identify as gay and lesbian would say that this is not an action I’m choosing to do; this is who I am,” says Timothy Beal, author of “The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book.”

Beal, a religion professor at Case Western University in Ohio, says it should be difficult for any Christian to unequivocally declare that the Bible opposes homosexuality because the Bible doesn’t take a single position on the topic. It's an assertion that many scholars and mainline Protestant pastors would agree with.

Some people cite Old Testament scriptures as condemning homosexuality, such as  Leviticus 18:22 - “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” But other Christians counter by saying they are not bound by the Old Testament.

There are those who also cite New Testament scriptures like Romans 1:26-27 - “… Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men. …”

Beal, however, says Jesus said little about sex. And the Apostle Paul, who wrote Romans, was probably referring to male prostitution and men having sexual relations with boys, a practice in the Greco-Roman world.

“Paul does not understand genetics and sexual orientation the way we understand it now as something much more than a choice,” says Beal.

Some evangelicals say Christians can’t change their view of biblical truth just because times change. But some scholars reply:

Sure you can. Christians do it all the time.

Denying a woman’s ability to preach in church was justified by scriptures like 1 Timothy 2:11-12 - “… I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” But many churches have abandoned that teaching - and some scholars say a woman preached the first Christian sermon, when Mary Magdalene proclaimed that Jesus had risen.

Slaveholders in 19th century America justified slavery through a literal reading of the Bible, quoting Titus 2:9-10 – “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything. …” And anti-Semitism was justified by the claims that Jews killed Jesus, such as Matthew 27: 25-26 - “Let his blood be on us and on our children.”

Litfin, from Moody Bible Institute, acknowledged that the Bible once sanctioned slavery, but he said that practice was a “cultural expression” that changed over time. Evangelicals who oppose same-sex marriage by citing the Bible are on more solid ground, he says.

“Marriage is a universal and timeless institution that God set up for maximum human flourishing. He set it up in the first book of the Bible with the story of Adam and Eve. It is consistent throughout the whole Bible. … Marriage is in a different category than those cultural things.”

Public jousts over the Bible's stance on homosexuality rarely change people’s minds. What changes is when people get to know gay and lesbian people as friends and hear their story, says Beal, author of “The Rise and Fall of the Bible.”

“If you open up to that other person genuinely, you basically come to a point where you have to sacrifice them to your ideology or crack open your ideology to make a hospitable place for them,” Beal says.

One Christian pastor who is gay says the uproar over the ESPN commentator’s comments can actually be good,  because debates help settle moral disputes.

“What appears to us as antiquated and prejudicial now was once a disputed issue that required debate,” says the Rev. Richard McCarty, a minister in the United Church of Christ and a religious studies professor at Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania.

Until the debate over homosexuality is settled - if it ever is - there may be plenty of evangelical Christians who feel as if they are now being forced to stay in the closet.

Carter, the evangelical blogger, says he foresees a day when any church that preaches against homosexuality will be marginalized. Just as many churches now accept divorce, they will accept sexual practices once considered sinful.

“It’s getting to the point,” he says, “where churches are not going to say that any sexual activity is wrong.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Culture wars • Protest • Sex • Sexuality • Sports

soundoff (10,982 Responses)
  1. AJD

    The bible is a work of fiction. It is no more real than the Greek myths. They were stories that were constructed for the purpose of manipulating people to do or be a certain way for good or ill. That's it and that's all. If you use the Genesis story of Adam and Eve to state that "god" created marriage and all that, you're standing on pretty shaky ground if you take into consideration all that archaeology and anthropology have taught us about our true origins, the existence of creatures for millions of years before man, etc. You can't believe in Adam and Eve and believe in those things that we have actual proof for. I simply can't take anyone that believes in talking snakes seriously, sorry.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Christian's think you'll be punished forever, for not believing a book, that is so convoluted that not even 2 Christians would agree on any 2 verses.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • asygifvasi

      No.. Dude! You know the Bible is true because God actually NEEDED to steal a rib from Adam in order to make Eve....

      ROFLMAO!!!

      Creator of the Universe needed to steal a rib from his creation to make a woman!!!

      LOLOLOL!!!!

      No, I just can't say it with a straight face. Anyone who buys into that garbage needs his/her head examined.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
  2. Justin

    This is what I think about the needless hate in America. Every crime hurts the economy.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpl3gHayhO8
    and there is a solution I know the answer. Love each other and talk to each other.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlkeIyaMKgM

    May 5, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Justin

      Go to my video on YouTube to watch all 4 parts of the second video.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Portrate??????

      May 6, 2013 at 1:05 am |
  3. Klaark

    So sad that bigots can't be bigots without being labeled bigots. Maybe you hateful people can come to terms with your evil in secret meetings together. Maybe wear hoods to cover your faces, make your own special flag. Self immolate, whatever.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • simplyput

      Hark! A new level of bigotry..I thought this was the secret meeting place for hurt LGBT, Christians that stay up too late, all covering their faces with internet anonymity under the special flag of CNN Befief. Self immolate yourself, hiigh and mighty.

      May 6, 2013 at 12:48 am |
  4. faith

    r we going to send in inspectors to see who is doing what with whom? do polygraphs to check on harry and gary? did u have a lustful thought for him? then what?

    god knows our hearts. he is with the broken hearted and resists the proud. there r about 442,087,011 sins we can commit or omit. but he isn't a cold, inanimate, massive supercomputer. he was flesh and blood and tears and grime and sweat and he sympathizes with our frailities cause HE LOVES US

    May 5, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • Tommy500

      Right you are, Faith! An open, searching heart knows that the Lord exists and deeply wants to come into saving relationship with us.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • Athy

      How can a sane person of normal intelligence possibly believe such bullshit? You would have to lack one (or possibly both) of the aforementioned attributes. Do you religies understand that?

      May 5, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • biggles

      U idiot. Y ask someone who is brainless, as u contend, if she can understand u? How dumb r u, u stupid moron!

      May 6, 2013 at 12:47 am |
    • skytag

      There is no evidence whatsoever that anything you said is true. None. Nada. Zilch. You believe all that stuff because you want to believe it and you want to believe it because it comforts you.

      Every religion is a narrative its adherents choose to believe because they like that narrative better than the alternatives. And there have been thousands of such narratives (religions) over the course of human history. If you study enough religions you'll quickly figure out the only thing they all have in common is the believe in at least supernatural power without evidence. (Some religions postulate the existence of multiple gods.)

      Christianity isn't even a religion in my opinion, it's more of a collection of religions that have one belief in common. The Amish, Catholics, Mormons, Methodists, the Westboro Baptist Church, the people who handle snakes and speak in tongues, these are all Christian denominations but they subscribe to very different sets of beliefs.

      And since no religion has any evidence supporting its teachings, it is the height of arrogance for anyone in any of them to have the audacity to say his is any more correct than any other. Just has you believe in Jesus there are people in hundreds of other who believe very different things just as strongly.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:40 am |
  5. Reality

    Only for the newbies:

    Hmmm, another Sunday CNN headline and the Belief blog lights up like a holiday tree. To put things into 21st century perspective:

    The Apostles' Creed 2013 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (References used are available upon request.)
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    May 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • Hepcat

      I'm always glad to see you doing your thing, Reality. It provides a certain amount of continuity in narrative, I think.
      What do you think of the new pope, being an ex-catholic?

      May 6, 2013 at 1:25 am |
    • Reality

      The new pope? Nice guy but as with all popes his theology is significantly flawed and his job is based on flawed history.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:16 am |
  6. John 3:16

    ....

    May 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
  7. Vic

    Truth Be Told

    When Christians say that Marriage is between a Man and a Woman, they are right. That is God's Natural Law for Procreation.

    But, when Christians say that the Bible condemns h o m o s e x t u a l i t y, or any sin other than disbelief for that matter, they are wrong!

    Jesus Christ did not come to this world to judge it nor condemn it! Jesus Christ came to this world to SAVE it!!!

    The FREE GIFT of Salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ came into effect after the price for our sins was PAID IN FULL at the Crucifixion in Calvary, Defeating Death, and then Rising From The Dead on the third day!!! The Dispensation of Grace reigned in thereafter.

    Since the Dispensation of Grace, Blasphemy/Disbelief is the ONLY unforgivable sin!

    Matthew 12:31,32
    "31 Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come."

    John 3:16,17
    "16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him."

    Ephesians 2:8,9
    "8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."

    [Scripture is from the New American Standard Bible (NASB)]
    http://www.biblegateway.com

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9MstWFM_vw

    May 5, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      SicVic, you're absolutely nuts. God is a fairy tale no more real than unicorns and leprechauns.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • Athy

      Wow, another one. Where do these half wits come from?

      May 5, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • faith

      prove it,

      Peteyroo
      SicVic, you're absolutely nuts. God is a fairy tale no more real than unicorns and leprechauns.

      May 6, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • skytag

      Still waiting for any evidence anything you believe about all this is true.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:43 am |
  8. Eat pork and drink beer

    FŪÇK all non-Christians.... All I want to say

    May 5, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • Athy

      Fuck all Christians. That's all I want to say.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
    • faith

      "Eat pork and drink beer
      FŪÇK all non-Christians.... All I want to say"

      wanna bet?

      May 6, 2013 at 12:02 am |
    • LinCA

      Only fuck those that are adults and consent to being fucked.

      May 6, 2013 at 12:02 am |
  9. simplyput

    Just as hatred has a mind, so does Christ; whether practicing Christians attempt to reveal it to you or not. Christians will be hated, because they hated Jesus first. None of this is new, only new to those that don't know that the law generates sin, but love conquors it. If you're in denial about sin, Jesus can tell you how to relieve the pain it gives your mind. Because it you're a thinking person, you can look at almost anything and know there is God. However, there are *eyes that cannot see, and ears that cannot hear.*

    May 5, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      SimplePud, no way my confused friend. God does not exist anymore than unicorns or leprechauns do.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • Observer

      A thinking person realizes that there is no PROOF that God exists or doesn't exist.

      Looking around proves nothing. The world could have been created by God, Zeus, the 3 Stooges, a committee of zombies or an INFINITE number of other possibilities.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
  10. Tommy500

    The Catholic Church presents the argument most completely and convincingly. Marriage is between one man and one woman for life, open to children, reaching out to all others. Some of these other "experts", whether Potok or even liberal Protestant pastors and professors of "religion", really are on another planet altogether from the teachings that the Lord Jesus laid down for us and his Church has held out to us from the beginning. But we have to be humbly open to His Word to benefit.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • Hillcrester

      It is fine with me if you believe that, but please don't try to impose that on me through civil law.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • Jeff

      The Catholic church for centuries interpreted the bible as the earth being the center of the universe

      May 5, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      TomBoy5, if the Catholics are so wonderful, why do they have pedophile priests? Where does the Bible allow that?

      May 5, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
  11. jon

    What's with this "bible" anyway??? Was you there Charley?

    May 5, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • faith

      i wrote it, r u kiddin?

      May 5, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
  12. Jeff

    Faith, the examples are obvious, that is what this article is about

    May 5, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
  13. snyskies

    "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." [Romans 6:23; NASB]

    “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." [John 3:16; NASB]

    This is good news for all of us – regardless of the sins we've committed past, present and future!

    May 5, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      SnickerSkivvies, God doesn't exist. Anything attributed to him/her comes from humans. It's a giant con game.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • Hillcrester

      It is even better news that there is no such thing as sin, and only violations of civil law carry punishments.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Observer

      "whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

      Apparently this can't be taken at face value. There is fine print. Believing alone supposedly doesn't guarantee eternal life.

      People really shouldn't quote this without full disclosure. Not really honest.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      SnickerSkivvies, I have a question for you. If Jesus is his only BEGOTTEN son, who are the UNBEGOTTEN ones? How many are there? Does the Bible 2.0 mention them?

      May 5, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • snyskies

      God believes in you even though you run ... He loves you so much – regardless of what you've done, and will continue to pursue you.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • Hillcrester

      Snyskies–How is my live affected by my disbelief that there is a god whi pursues me?

      May 5, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • snyskies

      Observer, not sure how you're twisting this passage ... it is pretty clear that if you believe you will live.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • snyskies

      Hillcrestor, that is a good question. Jesus said he is Life ... those who are with Him will experience Life – now and fully forever! This is truly good news.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
    • Hillcrester

      Snyskies–You call it a good question but make no effort to answer it,

      May 5, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • Observer

      snyskies,

      I'm not twisting a thing. Is believing in God ALL it takes to make it to heaven? So it doesn't matter how miserable of a person you are as long as you believe in something that can't be proved?

      May 5, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • snyskies

      Observer, yes it is that simple ... "9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." [Romans 10:9; NIV]. Now, the Bible does not tell us this life is easy if we believe, but Christ does promise that He will never leave us even in hard times.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Observer

      snyskies,

      So Adolph Hitler, raised as a Catholic could be in heaven, but the world's nicest non-believer is sent to hell.

      So for THOUSANDS of years, it didn't matter how good a person ANY of the millions of people who lived in the Western Hemisphere before 1492 was. The loving God sent them all to hell.They had ZERO chance of being saved. Sounds fair to God, if no one else.

      Bottom line, go against EVERY word of the Bible and it doesn't mean a thing if you decide God is real on your deathbed.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • snyskies

      Observer,

      I am careful to say who has believed and truly accepted Christ and who hasn't. The Bible tells us that those who are connected with Christ [no, will not be perfect] but should start to live differently – as Christ is the model.

      Yes, if one believes in Christ and follows Him – whether on the deathbed or not, they will spend eternity with Him in paradise. I'm not sure if you are familiar with this story but when Christ was on the cross there were two criminals being crucified with Him ... one mocked him and one asked for mercy in his final breaths ... Christ told the latter that he would be in paradise. The problem is that in a twisted world we don't understand mercy and forgiveness. If you kill someone – even if you serve your time, you will always be seen as a murderer – this world does not really understand God's forgiveness.

      The Bible tells us that 'all have committed wrong and have fallen short of the glory of God". I once heard a story of two men – one was a great swimmer the other less than. Both were thrown overboard ... one died near the boat and the stronger swimmer just meters away from the shore ... both died. It doesn't matter how good someone is – there is a 'sin' problem. Jesus said "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

      All you have to do is confess and accept Christ and He'll esentially do the rest ... sounds to good to be true, but that is the good news.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Observer

      snyskies,

      There were millions of people who lived in the Western Hemisphere before it was "discovered". Without any doubt there had to be many great people who possessed all of the qualities that we most respect and admire in people. You say God didn't care about them at all and sent them to hell without any chance at heaven. Apparently you believe that these people DESERVED to spend eternity burning in hell like God does.

      Meanwhile, God may be sitting next to Adolph Hitler, Attilla the Hun, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, etc. Those people God may have felt were WORTHY of getting to heaven.

      So God apparently is totally HEARTLESS and doesn't sound remotely loving or bright.

      May 6, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • snyskies

      Observer,

      I just tried to reply and something happened to it???

      I get your frustration – I do, but I also thank God that he is slow to anger and compassionate. Jesus said there was no greater love than to die for a friend. He considers us friends – died for us so that you and I and all may experience life eternally. Unlike many of us in this life Jesus talked the talk and walked the walk. He also told us that to have ears and to listen. I continue to pray that you will 'hear' him and experience His life.

      Thank-you for a respectful discourse ... it sadly doesn't happen too often on these sites. It was an honor to chat with you and may we both have the courage to be open and to wrestle with things. Blessings.

      May 6, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • Observer

      snyskies,

      Thank you for your respectful discussion. Regardless of point of view, we need to see FAR more of that on this website. Unfortunately there are too many children and mental midgets on here for both sides.

      May 6, 2013 at 12:30 am |
  14. Jeff

    Troy, as I said I do not know...i just don't believe in things without evidence

    May 5, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • LinCA

      You should try the reply button.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • faith

      u had me worried

      Jeff
      Troy, as I said I do not know...i just don't believe in things without evidence

      May 5, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • Hillcrester

      I think it is more important how one lives his/her life than what the person believes or doesn't believe–although the standard story is that the two are closely intertwined. For example, whether I believe we will be "judged" at death or not–and I don't believe that at all–upit us more important that I cannot think of a single way my life is affected by that lack of belief.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Evidential are we? Whose evidence will be found worthy of your appraisal? Over there, those folks or them round about the wayside? I cringe whenever I dare guess the fruits of one's follies! Oh the gayness in it all!

      May 5, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
  15. Peteyroo

    God doesn't exist and the writings, pronouncements, or whatever all come from humans–hateful ones.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Good, Christian or any organized religion that tries to discriminate towards people shouldn't exist. Everyone has their part in the cycle of life. Science is the biggest proof that we have. From very early on people try to control groups of people by creating a religion based on fear. We need to do away with religion and all of the hocus pocus holidays.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
  17. Captain Crunch

    Christians have spent much of history trying to portray themselves as a hated minority when they in fact control western society...

    May 5, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • faith

      lol

      May 5, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
  18. Jeff

    Faith, i agree with you. The problem is that many try to force their beliefs on others

    May 5, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • faith

      for example

      May 5, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
  19. Jeff

    True. I have yet to see evidence supporting the god theory. Although much evidence that counters it, such as evolution, geology, Dna evidence, fossil record and so on.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Troy

      You are thinking in terms of a christian god, which obviously doesn't exist. Those people are nuts. There could have been a god that started everything and doesn't interfere. Or, we could be part of simulation and someone forgot to turn it off. Who knows? No one.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • Athy

      Even without the extensive evidence, common sense would be enough to refute the existence of any gods.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • Troy

      @Athy, a christian's "common sense" says the opposite. Your logic is no different.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • Athy

      Whose "common sense" is more preposterous, fantastic, and utterly unbelievable by any reasonable intelligent person who can think logically? Do you need a hint?

      May 5, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
  20. faith

    let it go. each person is free. pick your faith, where and how to live. what to eat, whom to love, not love.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • faith

      permitting marriage isn't forcing people to love others. and if two people love each other, not allowing them to marry will not stop them from loving each other. who cares?

      i wanted to marry Marilyn Monroe. the law said i was too young. DAG

      May 5, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • Akira

      What a lovely sentiment, faith.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • Troy

      If it were a matter of people keeping it themselves, then yes. This is the real world where jihadists, branch dividians, isreal/palestine and a nasty bunch of folks that use their "faith" to manipulate the masses. Religion is a poison on humanity. Maybe it was once a necessity, but it's time to grow up. Even children stop believeing in fairy tales. We can do this as one race if we defeat the psychological evil that is religion.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • Chupy

      What has happened to "obedience" when it comes to God? Maybe it's time to take a step back and consider what "obedience" means.

      May 5, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • faith

      troy, you're an idiot

      May 5, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
    • Troy

      Yeah, I'm the idiot. What color is the sky in your world?

      May 5, 2013 at 11:10 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.