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. The real Tom

    Why is it that fundies like Austin proselytize here and tell others that lying is wrong, and then turn around and do so at every possible opportunity?

    Austin claims, falsely, that the problem Christians have with gays is that they are having s3x outside of marriage. That the issue has nothing to do with their s3xual orientation. What a lying sack. if that were the case, legalizing gay marriage would be something that Christians should support–it would enable gays to enjoy s3x within the bounds of a legal and holy union.

    Yeah, sure, that sounds like something you'd endorse, you little twerp.

    May 6, 2013 at 8:42 am |
    • lol??

      Get the gubmint usurper church-god out of it, socie.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • The real Tom

      What's a socie? What's a gubmint? What plunger? What usurper church god are you talking about, you moronic babbling idiot? You make less sense than LL, and that's really going some. Either write in English or be ignored.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • lol??

      You spun yer wheels, tommy tommy. Fighting all those churches and kings from europe was for naught since you turned right around and created a gubmint god.

      E you roped alright.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • The real Tom

      You're a babbling idiot. It's as useless to attempt to decipher your drivel as it is to wade through LL's nonsense.

      When you decide to write a coherent sentence with actual words, notify the media. If you had anything of import to say, you'd have said it with something approximating a known language.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • Akira

      Can you imagine telling someone that if they were not married in a church, they aren't really married? Can you imagine leaving it up to the churches who may get married?

      May 6, 2013 at 9:10 am |
  2. faith

    "sam stone
    yes it is. like saying we are all sinn ers"

    por widdle sambo

    May 6, 2013 at 8:40 am |
    • The real Tom

      Gosh, faith, you must have caught a speech impediment from lolly.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:45 am |
  3. Misrepresentation

    I think it's sad that there are so many people who have been turned away from Jesus because of the way certain Christians have portrayed the love of God. From a few comments I've read, some even believe that God is imaginary, and doesn't exist, which also breaks my heart. I don't want to argue the existence of God, because I think the fact that the earth itself, rotating around a giant ball of heat and energy, is proof enough.

    I urge people to not let the misrepresentation of a few discourage you from the truth of how much Jesus loves you. I think doing your own research, maybe even reading the one of the four gospels will be more of a help to see what kind of person Jesus asks us to be. Sometimes we Christians get it wrong, and we will be held accountable.

    May 6, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • Primewonk

      "I don't want to argue the existence of God, because I think the fact that the earth itself, rotating around a giant ball of heat and energy, is proof enough."

      So because you choose to be ignorant about gravity, fusion, and orbital mechanics, the answer must be "goddidit"?

      May 6, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • Science

      No one is held accountable to a fairy in the sky !

      Free speech helps to educate the masses..............POLITICIANS TOO !

      Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

      The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

      The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

      Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.


      The fact...............the earth is to old ...........time to EVOLVE !..................Creationists...........ID believers and christians !

      Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

      Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.


      Maybe they should not have created the wedge !!!

      The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Insti-tute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Insti-tute manifesto known as the Wedge Docu-ment,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to defeat materialism, naturalism, evolution, and "reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic


      Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

      Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.


      Education works for children

      Where do morals come from?.............the answer is not the bible read and find out !

      By Kelly Murray, CNN


      Gravity is not up for debate ! ............E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas..........that do not lie or sin !!!...


      May 6, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      I did not turn away from god.
      People started teaching me a story from a book, and started telling me it was true. I questioned it because it did not make sense.

      I rejected the "teachings" of the bible because it is as real as the tooth fairy.
      I figured it out when I was 6.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:49 am |
    • Rupert

      Just because you choose a position of ignorance, doesn’t mean others should as well.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • NCT

      @Science. Yes, God did do it. Evolution cannot prove itself. I see apes giving birth all the time in this world. I have never yet seen one give birth to a human. It is foolish to think this world just happened all by itself without influence from someone.
      Just remember, God loves everyone, he just hates the sins. Thank God for Jesus who took our punishment.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Misrepresentation

      I don't think I'm ignorant to the idea of fusion, gravity, etc., but those things didn't just come out of no where did they. Is it silly to think God created science? Is it silly to believe that a higher power created us over a what some believe to be a big bang? I think these are legit questions to ask ourselves

      What caused you to reject the teachings of the bible? Does it not seem realistic that someone, could part the Red Sea? Phenomenons happen today, just as they did then. Look at the atom bomb, something of that size leveling a city.

      My goal isn't to convert anyone to Christianity, or make anyone feel stupid for their beliefs.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • Science


      The ORIGIN story is bullsh-it...............so is the bible............... nasty !

      From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life


      Scientists have unearthed the first direct signs of cheesemaking, at a site in Poland that dates back 7,500 years.

      Human Evolution


      May 6, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • Primewonk

      NCT wrote, "Evolution cannot prove itself. I see apes giving birth all the time in this world. I have never yet seen one give birth to a human"

      Point 1 – In science we explain things, we don't prove thinks. Proofs are for maths, ethanol, and yeast dough.

      Point 2 – Humans ARE apes. Specifically, we are great apes.

      Point 3 – You clearly don't have a fucking clue about what evolution is, or how it works.

      Point 4 – If god loves everyone, why does he command you to kill gay folks?

      May 6, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Science

      Misrepresentation......................do you have a Y ?

      The wrong path is Adam and Eve !

      Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

      Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.


      Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:32 am |
  4. faith

    "sam stone
    yes it is. like saying we are all sinn ers"

    por widdle sambo don't like people calling her names

    May 6, 2013 at 8:39 am |
  5. eleven

    All belief systems, religious or otherwise, will be a hated minority at one point or another. Get in line Christians! 😛

    May 6, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • faith

      let us hope christians remain the hated, minority or not.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:43 am |
  6. Charles

    holding to a beleif in God as you undertand that God to be is an inspiring human trait...organized releigion on the other hand is the bane of humanity

    May 6, 2013 at 8:35 am |
  7. emintey

    If fundamentalist Christians think that marring a gay person is a sin I suggest they not marry a gay person. problem solved.

    May 6, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • emintey

      it's when they start to tell other people what to do when people become resentful

      May 6, 2013 at 8:35 am |
    • faith

      it's when they start to tell other people what to do when people become resentful"

      you mean like when sambo directs christians to shoot their heads off?

      May 6, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • militarymom777

      In the last days it will be like Sodom and Gomorrah. So be it.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • The real Tom

      How will you know, mom? Were you there in Sodom?


      May 6, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • faith

      your momma tomma

      May 6, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • Cant Resist

      Ah,but they just can't resist meddling in other people's lives can they! Those who believe in smaller government sure like to govern Big in a person's life don't they! Apparently, they don't have enough to do with their own affairs..

      May 6, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • faith

      can u imagine what kind of hog she must b to have given birth to tom?

      i won't let my mind go there

      May 6, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • militarymom777

      The question is was you their? I assume not. As it should be.You would be thousands of years old. What you want be to tell you how wrong you are and how I feel sorry for you. I will not. You have the right to to believe anything you want. I will not stand in your way. Mock all you want it don't effect me in the least. Because I will not hate like you do. Yes I stand on what I believe for it is my right. The haters having been able to take that away.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • militarymom777

      No by all means I am not Toms mom. My children have been taught honor dignity and morals I would never let my kids spew out of the mouth rude and insulting comment to anyone no matter what they believe. I am an American Airman.
      I am a Warrior.
      I have answered my Nation’s call.
      I am an American Airman.
      My mission is to Fly, Fight, and Win.
      I am faithful to a Proud Heritage,
      A Tradition of Honor,
      And a Legacy of Valor.
      I am an American Airman.
      Guardian of Freedom and Justice,
      My Nation’s Sword and Shield,
      Its Sentry and Avenger.
      I defend my Country with my Life.
      I am an American Airman.
      Wingman, Leader, Warrior.
      I will never leave an Airman behind,
      I will never falter,
      And I will not fail.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • The real Tom

      Maybe, mom, but the real question is when will you learn to speak English?

      May 6, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • militarymom777

      I am also Christian and I am very proud of that to.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • militarymom777

      Will Tom I do speak English and I am a proud American! Thats that.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • emintey

      Fundamentalists have a right to their beliefs but they like to tell other people what to do with their lives, it's what they do. it's annoying and when they attempt compliiance to their personal religious beliefs people get annoyed and it's opprrssive, is that too hard to understand? let others lead their lives as they see fit and you lead yours, problem solved.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  8. MM

    Here in the south, many 'Christians' have sent their kids to private-Catholic school to avoid having to expose their kids to the dark-skin folk. But the numbers of Hispanic kids enrolled is growing rapidly. I now know many that are looking at other alternatives to keep their 'Christian' kids on the white & narrow.

    May 6, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • faith

      Here in the south, many 'Christians' have sent their kids to private-Catholic school to avoid having to expose their kids to the dark-skin folk. But the numbers of Hispanic kids enrolled is growing rapidly. I now know many that are looking at other alternatives to keep their 'Christian' kids on the white & narrow."


      u got none– liar

      is that the best made up garbage the heathen can come up with 2day?

      May 6, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • The real Tom

      faith wants "proof." That's hilarious, coming from a turd who never provides any of her own.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:49 am |
    • faith

      it is rectum sambo
      i mean tom
      i mean dodo

      May 6, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • faith

      don't want none

      cause there ain't none

      but u girls is used to lyin and i love puttin u in your place

      with satan

      in hell

      May 6, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • faith

      o yea. nearly forgot

      thank u dear 4 answering for m and m

      i think it shows a lot of teamwork that u girls answer for others

      i love sambo

      May 6, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • MM

      faith, lol. Come live in the south for about 30 years.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • faith

      oh dodo, i believe u

      u just don't have evidence–none–to back up what u claim, but of course i believe u.

      i have faith in u

      May 6, 2013 at 9:11 am |
  9. llDayo

    They're called hateful bigots because they pick and choose what they want to speak out against. Where's the christians talking about mixing threads in their garments? How about the ones pushing for stoning for women who are virgins at their wedding? Oh, those are inconvenient and you don't agree with them? Yeah, you're a bigot.

    May 6, 2013 at 8:26 am |
    • llDayo

      are virgins = aren't virgins

      May 6, 2013 at 8:26 am |
    • militarymom777

      I am glad CNN put this out there. Now by the responses they know that Christians are hated. Look at the responses of the Christians and the ones that hate Christians. Who hates who????????

      May 6, 2013 at 8:42 am |
    • faith


      have it your way. we will speak out on everything


      u idiot

      May 6, 2013 at 9:09 am |
  10. chiz3914

    If a group tries to make everyone else conform to their religious beliefs, of course they'll be disliked. they want gov't out of their affairs, but have no problem getting in gov't/public policy affairs

    May 6, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • jungleboo

      Excellent post.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:23 am |
  11. skytag

    I can understand why Christians in this country feel threatened. They're used to living in a society where few people had the audacity to challenge their beliefs. /As time goes on more people are willing to call them on the fact that they have no evidence to support the things they believe.

    It's easy to embrace a fairytale went others around you validate your beliefs by sharing the same fairytale and no one else challenges it. That's how it's been for a long time in this country, but that's changing rapidly, and that makes a lot of Christians feel threatened.

    May 6, 2013 at 8:18 am |
    • Reality

      Continuing the challenge to Christian beliefs:

      Only for the newbies:

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • Mirosal

      They are also mad because NO church has any legal authority in this country at all.. NONE of them.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • Nope

      Skytag, I think I love you.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • nclaw441

      sky– I don't believe it is the challenge to Christians' beliefs that bothers them (us) so much. It is the hatred and vitriol with which it is done, by people who at the same time demand tolerance for their views. This country was largely founded on freedom of (and yes, from) religion. The tone from many today suggests that they would be happy if Christians could be forced to shut up and refrain from exercising their freedom of faith.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • The real Tom

      Their "freedom of faith" does NOT include withholding rights and freedoms THEY enjoy from others simply because of something THEY believe.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:24 am |
    • Science

      So true.............Tom the Real.


      May 6, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • Science

      Oops sorry ....The real Tom............god damn ass backwards this morning .


      May 6, 2013 at 8:33 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      "It is the hatred and vitriol with which it is done"

      So telling gays that they are sinners and deserve to burn in hell for all eternity isn't hate and vitriol? You reap what you sew.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • nclaw441

      Tom, individuals have no power to deny rights to others. They do have the right to vote their conscience, of course.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:44 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      sew = sow

      May 6, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • The real Tom

      They're not "voting their conscience," anymore than racists were voting theirs when they opposed equal rights.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • Primewonk

      nclaw441 wrote, "The tone from many today suggests that they would be happy if Christians could be forced to shut up and refrain from exercising their freedom of faith."

      Perhaps if the fundiot nutters would stop trying to get their hate and bigotry ensconced into our laws you might have a point.

      Perhaps if the fundiot nutters would stop trying to force their anti science agenda into our schools you might have a point.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • faith

      "The real Tom
      They're not "voting their conscience," anymore than racists were voting theirs when they opposed equal rights."

      normally tom moron says stupid stuff. not today. she's spouted a winner 2day.

      after careful research, she can now demonstrate with evidence who votes their conscience. thanks honey

      May 6, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • The real Tom

      Stuff it, faith. If you ever provided any cites for anything you posted, you might have a point. As it is, the only point you have is the one on top of you empty skull.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • faith

      nclaw441 wrote, "The tone from many today suggests that they would be happy if Christians could be forced to shut up and refrain from exercising their freedom of faith."
      Perhaps if the fundiot nutters would stop trying to get their hate and bigotry ensconced into our laws you might have a point.
      Perhaps if the fundiot nutters would stop trying to force their anti science agenda into our schools you might have a point."

      not gonna happen

      May 6, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • The real Tom

      Got proof it's "not gonna happen," faith? Yeah, I thought not.

      Nobody has to worry about you accomplishing anything. You can't find your ass while holding it.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:58 am |
    • faith

      "It is the hatred and vitriol with which it is done"

      "So telling gays that they are sinners and deserve to burn in hell for all eternity isn't hate and vitriol? You reap what you sew."

      who is going to hell for being gay? who said that?

      u r going to hell

      y lie? if u r going to hell, big deal. your choice

      May 6, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • faith

      "The real Tom
      Got proof it's "not gonna happen," faith? Yeah, I thought not.
      Nobody has to worry about you accomplishing anything. You can't find your ass while holding it."

      it is rectum Dorothy

      u r my proof

      as long as god-hating Nazi fascists r allowed to lie, u will twist and lie about our intentions.


      u twit

      May 6, 2013 at 9:28 am |
  12. jungleboo

    I have come to realize that the fundamentalists, whether religious or 2nd amendment types, are the fringes of society. They maraud about in public as some kind of VIP group, but, upon investigation, they make up a tiny percentage of the citizenry. They are very vocal about forcing their belief systems on the entire community, citing end-of-the-world and government-tyranny scenarios, but they are doomed to failure. Rational, civil society will trump the angst of fringe elements, knotted and frayed as they are. They are annoying, but a good vacuuming will smooth them – out for a while.

    May 6, 2013 at 8:17 am |
    • lol??

      Once you start lobbing nukes you're gonna see how rational the race is.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • FFighter46

      2nd Amendment Types? Wow.. Ok well.. How about the those lousy 1st Amendment types.. They should either shut it or give up their sources. Because you know they lie all the time.

      Ohh and how about those 19th Amendment Types.. You know.. those morons who vote because they wanted a black president.. They shouldn't vote because of racial reasons.

      How about those 5th amendment folks. They should just be thrown in jail. Because common.. you KNOW they did something..

      And you know.. Those people who hide behind the 8th amendment need to be beaten!

      May 6, 2013 at 8:56 am |
  13. Austin

    its a struggle being single but I trust that God has a will and way , a reason that Im here, even if this trial has an unknown end. I put a way that pleases God above all. Do I go out and look to get laid? No because if I go that route I will miss God's blessing, I will get into a relationship that He maybe does not bless. then i am on a futile road and emotional burden for who knows how long. This is what I pride my self to avoid. being enslaved to a futile burden.

    May 6, 2013 at 8:13 am |
    • imabck

      I might argue that the futile burden you are enslaved to is religion. Seems like you have thought about "getting laid" yet you cant because of what you were taught. Futile.Burden.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:17 am |
    • Mirosal

      So you willingly suffer to appease your "god"? And you think this is what your "god" wants you to do? Your "god" is a sadist who enjoys seing others suffer in "his" name. Most children grow out of their imaginary friend phase by the time they start school. When will YOU grow up? Tell us, do you self-flagellate like they did in the 14th century?

      May 6, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • The real Tom

      Nobody gives a crap what you do with your life, Austin. What they resent is your attempts to force others to live as you choose instead of allowing them the freedom to do as THEY choose.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      It is possible to have a mutually loving, healthy, happy and se/xually fulfilling relationship without Church sanction.
      I've been with the same person for nigh on a decade, living together and raising a family, with no wedding rings or ceremonies.
      Neither one of us were virgins before we met each other, and I'm glad for it. Becuase of our prior experiences, we both knew what we wanted in a partner and, more importantly, what we cannot tolerate in a relationship.
      Trust, respect and attraction are things that take place between people – no clergy, ceremonies or gods are needed.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Karakaye

      Let the mockers, mock. Let those that are resigned only to their own understanding and reject God's law choose their destiny. Strength, courage and peace are yours, my friend.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:38 am |
  14. My2Cents

    I take issue when people want to restrict others based only on religious beliefs. Somehow they feel their religious beliefs should be the law.

    May 6, 2013 at 8:12 am |
  15. Austin....

    found god during a drunken night of crime. figures that if he asks for forgiveness he is no longer a criminal but yet a criminal record and doing harm to another person is a sin and dooms him to hell for eternity.

    May 6, 2013 at 8:10 am |
    • Will

      Not if he repents. That's the beauty of your cult. Do whatever you want as long as you ask for forgiveness and mean it you're g-man will let you through the pearly gates.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:13 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Is God not omnibenevolent?
      Do not all fall short of God's glory?
      "Let he who is without sin..." and whatnot...
      Minster Roy Ratcliff will tell you that nobody is beyond redemption.
      He received the call to adminster a baptism to a monster.
      After speaking with the person and discussing the relevance of Romans 13, Minister Ratcliff became convinced that the man's soul could be saved and thus Jeffrey Dahmer was baptized in prison.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:05 am |
  16. skytag

    Religion makes people stupid. Seriously. Lacking any evidence to support anything they believe about God, believers often resort to using some of the dumbest logic imaginable. Earlier in this discussion someone put forth the following argument:

    "Just because you can't see something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. You can't see your brain but you believe you have one."

    True, I can't see my brain, but since every person autopsied since the dawn of time has had a brain I feel confident in assuming I have one as well.

    May 6, 2013 at 8:08 am |
    • Mirosal

      Samuel Longhorn CLemens said it best ... "Faith is believing in something you know isn't true."

      May 6, 2013 at 8:10 am |
    • Nope

      I agree. It takes a ton of courage for a seemingly rational, sane adult to admit to having an imaginary friend.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • Boisepoet

      I saw my brain one time; on a CT scan.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • nclaw441

      Calling people stupid because of their faith seem pretty mean-spirited to me. You may disagree with their faith, but there are pretty many extremely intelligent people who believe in God and try to follow what they believe are His teachings. There are many things the existence of which we cannot prove, but we inherently seem to know exist.

      Do you believe love exists? How would you prove it?

      May 6, 2013 at 8:36 am |
  17. babooph

    Delusional people should not be "hated",but their organizations shoulld not be free of local & fed. taxes...

    May 6, 2013 at 8:07 am |
    • MM


      May 6, 2013 at 8:29 am |
  18. charmaine

    As a Christian it is not for me to judge others sin but embrass them with love kindness and teaching. Most Campaigning Christians for get no sin is greater then the next and who is without sin let him cast the first stone. No trueperson that has a relationship with God would be acting like this. Who would want to learn Gods grace with people who are yelling and screaming at them. Again I am a Christian who loves the Lord. I have my own morals and beliefs I can share with you how good He has been to me, but it is up to you to seek and search Him for yourself. If people truly felt Him they would know that by judging these people they are judging themselves and not understanding that they also have sinned. You may not agree with another but you have no right to condemn, torture or mistreat people. Be cause you have no authority unless it is given to you and I doubt you have been given any because you take the low road of hats versus love, kindness and truth. Ask yourself this question, how does a person I do not know or may no relationship effects me? It doesn't unless you are meddling. You can agree to disagree and you can also not like something but love is the key and through love most people will eventually see the errors of there ways. One things for sure we will all be judged at the appointed time and remember when Jesus said He who is without sin let him cast the first stone and no one did they walked away. Look at all your sins and just walk away. Be blessed and ask God for understanding and give you a new heart!

    May 6, 2013 at 8:05 am |
    • jungleboo

      "...embarrass them...?"

      May 6, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • skytag

      You sound like a very nice person, but there is no rational reason to believe any of the stuff you believe about God and Jesus is true. You are a very nice person who has embraced a comforting narrative because you like it better than any of the other narratives of which you are aware.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:10 am |
    • Ken

      Why would God regard the way people are born, supposedly the way he made them to be, a sin?

      May 6, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • Honey Hush

      What the hell were you blathering about? In your vernacular, ain't no jesus, ain't no judging, just a scam run by people that want your money, honey.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:20 am |
  19. Mike The American

    I still think it's a sin. You won't change my mind. That being said, I'll never treat a gay person any differently than I'll treat a hetero. I have probably sinned worse than any gay person has. I am no better.

    May 6, 2013 at 8:04 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Way to damn another with faint praise.
      You just said what they do is sinning.
      It is not. It is as natural to them as your $exuality is to you.
      Sin is a man made construct of religion, and is not to be used to judge another, only yourself.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:07 am |
    • skytag

      I still think you don't have a single shred of evidence to support anything you believe about God, sin, or anything else in that arena.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:12 am |
    • Kalle

      "You won't change my mind."

      Yeah, this right here is why faith can exist. There are people that will not ever change their mind even when facing cold-hard facts of reality. While I consider myself an a(nti)theist if someone could provide any evidence for existence of a supreme being I would accept it knowing my world-view is less wrong than it was before.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  20. Bill

    Ladies and gentlemen, and children of all ages, welcome to your front row seats to the second fall of man.

    May 6, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • imabck

      Ahhh..yes the use of fear to manipulate people into behaving a certain way. Perhaps one of the reasons Christians are becoming a "hated minority". The irony of your post Bill is amazing!

      May 6, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • jungleboo


      May 6, 2013 at 8:08 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      The second fall....when was the first?...man seems to be pretty much in charge 'round here.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:10 am |
    • skytag

      I prefer a seat a few rows back so I can take in the whole experience without having to constantly be turning my head.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:19 am |
    • Science

      Hey faithy...the troll.....all creationists...........chadie too ...............COMEDY GOLD links at bottom of post !!!

      The pesky meteorites/chondrites = life .........................not the nasty bible. and Adam and his bone.

      No horn-y red beast needed.......no heaven either..........but they (meteorites) where hot when they where coming in.

      Life-Producing Phosphorus Carried to Earth by Meteorites

      June 4, 2013 — Scientists may not know for certain whether life exists in outer space, but new research from a team of scientists led by a University of South Florida astrobiologist now shows that one key element that produced life on Earth was carried here on meteorites.



      And faithy chew on native iron stones all your life...............it drives the medical tests nuts !

      19. Solar nebula (repeat)
      Most meteorites are very old, as old as the solar system (4.6 billion years). Because meteorites haven't changed much since then, they are the best clues we have to the origin and history of the solar system and of the Earth. (Painting by Don Dixon, NASA JSC photo S76-25001)





      Application Timestamp: 5191e7aa

      June 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Science

      What a joke below !...............that damn matrix .............cod is great.


      June 24, 2013 at 9:15 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.