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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. Seoras

    So now its acceptable to hate an entire group of people because of the actions of a few?

    May 6, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • sam

      Christians have lots of practice at that.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • lamb of dog

      No. But the few are running the party and making the rest look bad.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Seyedibar

      It hasn't all that much to do with actions. It's simply harmful to believe in fiction and apply it to life in a giant mass delusion.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Too funny. lamb of dog complains about salty Christians that know Jesus' truth.

      May 6, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  2. joey

    Only thing wrong with this article is calling Christians a minority...

    May 6, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • AmericanPatriot

      there are actually more muslims than Christians. Article is right. And you are wrong...again.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @AP
      There are more Muslims than Christians in America?
      Geez – you'd think US relations with the MIddle East would be a bit less antagnostic...

      May 6, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Red

      AmericanPatriot

      Over 60% of Americans self-profess to be Christian. Your opinion isn't just irrelevant, it's willfully ignorant.

      May 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Rupert

      @AP

      Muslims are not a majority in the US, or globally.

      May 6, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Patriot is lying as he focuses on listening and abiding in man made lies (traditions of men), losing his soul versus Jesus' truth that save his soul.

      Matthew 23:29-36
      Matthew 27:20-26
      T itus 1:10-16
      1 S amual 8:4-9
      A cts 9:10-23
      Revelation 2:8-11
      Revelation 3:7-13

      Amen.

      May 6, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      "jesus truth", which is the lies of men.

      May 6, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
  3. Dyslexic doG

    it's all copied from Horus from 3000 BC (Jesus is a copy of Horus), or Attis from 1500 BC (Jesus is a copy of Attis), or Mithra from 1200BC (Jesus is a copy of Mithra), or Krishna from 900BC (Jesus is a copy of Krishna), or Dionysus from 500 BC (Jesus is a copy of Dionysus) .... or any of the DOZENS of other gods predating the bronze age book character Jesus who were born of a virgin on Dec 25, traveled as a teacher, had 12 disciples, performed miracles, was killed and lay dead for 3 days and was resurrected.

    You Christians are not even original! What a joke!

    May 6, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Peter

      Yep.. and all that is a fact! (NOT 🙂
      One just has to do a bit of googling for: jesus copy of horus
      and you'll find tons of articles which prove it otherwise.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Seyedibar

      All of the Abrahamic religions are borrowed from Egypt. The Ten Commandments were swiped from The Confessions of Maat. Moses was the pharoah Thutmoses. Israel was only ever an ancient name for Egypt. The christian legends are half borrowed from Egypt and half from eastern cults, but the main theme of it comes from the mystery plays of Horus worshipers.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • Seyedibar

      *sorry, Israel was a name for Memphis, I meant to say.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • Rupert

      @Peter
      One just has to do a bit of googling for: jesus copy of horus
      and you'll find tons of articles which prove it otherwise.

      As long as those articles are coming from christian apologetic sites, then yes you are correct.

      May 6, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      dog, is another liar listening and abiding in man made lies (traditions of men), losing his soul versus Jesus' truth that will save his soul.

      Matthew 23:29-36
      Matthew 27:20-26
      T itus 1:10-16
      1 S amual 8:4-9
      A cts 9:10-23
      Revelation 2:8-11
      Revelation 3:7-13

      Amen.

      May 6, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
  4. lamb of dog

    End times are here. Wait I thought that was a few years ago. This end of times thing is so tricky to call.

    May 6, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Reality

      And again more th-umping of Mark 13 about the end of time:

      As with all NT passages, Mark 13 has been thoroughly analyzed for historic authenticity by many contemporary NT scholars. None of it passes muster via a rigorous review. See for example, Professor Gerd Ludemann's analysis in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 87-93. See also

      http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb265.html

      http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb002.html

      http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb064.html

      May 6, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    Christianity is nothing more than a pagan religion that caught on. It has its roots in other, older pagan religions that were common in the Mediterranean region before the supposed life of Jesus. There isn't a single original thing about it. Every tenant, and every story is borrowed from other religions. From the Garden of Eden, to the Great Flood, to the virgin birth, to the miracles, to the resurrection – all borrowed concepts from other religions.

    Mark wrote the first gospel several decades after the supposed life of Jesus – yet he is able to quote him, word for word? How is that? He never met him. And the other three gospels were copied from Mark. Whether Jesus was divine, or just a prophet, was an item of debate amongst early followers, and wasn't decided for good until the council of Nicea in the fourth century. It was put to a vote, and "divine" won by a narrow margin! A vote!

    Christianity is no different than astrology, fairy tales, and psychics. It's nothing but a conglomeration of myths, perpetuated by those craving money and power.

    May 6, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Science

      By the numbers ?..........................Money = g factor.........not a fairy in the sky !

      Monkey Math: Baboons Show Brain's Ability to Understand Numbers

      May 3, 2013 — Opposing thumbs, expressive faces, complex social systems: it's hard to miss the similarities between apes and humans. Now a new study with a troop of zoo baboons and lots of peanuts shows that a less obvious trait - the ability to understand numbers - also is shared by humans and their primate cousins.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130503132719.htm

      May 6, 2013 at 11:35 am |
  6. Obamanation

    The Bible Belt is also the epicenter of retards, serial killers, inbreeds and drunken hicks. Coincidence? I think not.

    May 6, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • God is Dog

      You forgot to mention southern idiots like eating paint chips and go to family reunions to meet hot chicks.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Bilo

      "retard" – very mature in your name calling (that's sarcasm, in case your intellect is actually that limited)... it must hurt to be so poorly educated...

      May 6, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • PossumGrease

      Way down in the Bible Belt,
      We do things kind of strange.
      We got everything we need
      and we never complain.

      Well yeah the schools, the roads, the people,
      the homes all need repair,
      but we got the Ten Commandments hung
      and babe, we don't care.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • SJGG

      You really don't help your side talking like that, if you don't have anything productive to give to a conversation your probably better off sitting there and letting the people who have more than one brain cell speak... maybe you'll learn something.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Truth

      Wow, what a wonderfully "tolerant" and sensitive comment.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  7. Laura

    These are the signs of the last days of this system of thins. The bad will be t he norm, and the good will be criticized.

    May 6, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • midwest rail

      Nonsense.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • TXLady

      shut up please...I bet you are going to say next, all good like you right? Go take a hike!

      May 6, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • lamb of dog

      The bad christians treating gay people poorly was the norm. The good of treating everyone equally is coming.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • NTG

      Braiiiiiinns!

      May 6, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • sam

      Yeah, I have a feeling your idea of 'good' is kind of creepy.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Laura
      The 2nd Coming was supposed to have happened a long time ago.
      “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
      —1 John 2:18

      That was 2,000 years past.

      Christians have been waiting on tenterhooks for the Second Coming since the Bible itself was written.
      Many have prophesied the exact time of date of His return and ALL have been wrong.
      George Rapp said it would be September 15th, 1829.
      William Miller predicted October 22, 1844. Jesus’ failure to arrive is known as “The Great Disappointment”. Many of his disillusioned followers went on the found the 7th Day Adventist Church, who are still patiently awaiting His return.
      Charles Russell, 1st President of the Watchtower Society told his fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus would be back in 1874.
      Rudolf Steiner maintained that from 1930 onwards, Jesus would grant certain people psychic powers to enable them to witness his presence in the “etheric plane”.
      Herbert Armstrong, Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God said 1975.
      Bill Maupin managed to convince his followers to sell all of their worldly goods in preparation for Jesus’ return on June 28th, 1981.
      Benjamin Crème stated that on June 21st, 1982 Christ would make a worldwide television announcement.
      Mark Blitz, Pastor of El Shaddai Ministries says it would be September 30th, 2008
      Jerry Falwell said it’d happen between 1999 and 2009.
      Harold Camping told everyone that the Rapture would happen May 21, 2011 after failing in his first predicted date of 1994.

      Conversely, many believe He’s all ready come in the form of Sun Myung Moon, Emanuel Swedenborg, Baha u llah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, David Koresh, Hailie Selassie, John Thom, Arnold Potter, William Davies, George roux, Ernest Norman, Krishna Venta, Ahn Sahng-Hong, Jim Jones, Mashall Applewhite, Hulon Mitchell, Wayne Bent, Ariffin Mohammed, Mitsuo Matayoshi, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, Inri Cristo, Thomas Provenzano, David Icke, Shoko Asahara, Hogan Fukinaga, Marina Tsvigun or Sergei Troop.

      It would appear that the much lauded Jewish carpenter has been thoroughly dead for 2000 years and will remain so.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • fintastic

      I like wheat thins!

      May 6, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  8. TXLady

    well said!

    May 6, 2013 at 11:17 am |
  9. 2 Km N of GZero

    Problem is one of degree: Broussard can say Collins is in "open rebellion to God" but if LeBron James is living unmarried with girlfriend Savannah Brinson what would people say if Broussard said, ON AIR: "because LeBron is living in sin with a woman, he is in open rebellion to God"? Would it be any more or less "intolerant" to say in that case that Broussard is an idiot and should shut up? The hard-core Christians might agree in both cases, but I would say that in both cases it's none of Broussard's business.

    May 6, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • lamb of dog

      People watch ESPN to hear sports news. Not listen to some moron spew his darkage hatred towards someone that never did anything to him. Broussard can save his spiteful comments for his church on sunday.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • TXLady

      well said..pheww! I thought I was the only one...

      May 6, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  10. Adam

    Oh shut up. You're not persecuted because you're a christian, you're persecuted because you're a bigot. I know plenty of Christians who don't promote hate speech. Just because you hide behind a Bible doesn't mean that you follow the teachings. If I started molesting children because the Bible said it was okay, could I claim to be a "hated minority"?

    May 6, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • TXLady

      Agree! I really hate it when these people have the audacity of playing victim and speaking for the entire Christian faith!

      May 6, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • dj75

      Telling someone to shut up is rude. telling them they are a bigot just because they disagree with you is intolerance. telling someone that their religion is stupid, bigoted or any other insult is intolerance. Trying to shout someone down because their religious beliefs are different form your personal beliefs is you being a bully. Everyone in the US has a right to their religious beliefs and a right to state them – no matter how distasteful you find it.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • sam

      @dj – it's called being intolerant towards intolerance. Get over it.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  11. lamb of dog

    I think all this end of times talk is about the church. I think the church saw its own demise. 2000 year old dogmas cant survive forever.

    May 6, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  12. Jim Price

    The bible also says that slavery is OK, as long as the slaves are from foreign lands. So why did my Christian friends get so upset when I told them I had two French tourists locked in my basement? Don't they believe in the Lord's teachings?

    May 6, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  13. Bubba

    Minority? A PEW report from 2012 shows that of the prople belonging to the major religious traditions in the U.S. 78.4% are Christian. I think there is a minority that desires Christianity to be a minority.

    May 6, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Jim Price

      When a writer puts something in quotes ('hated minority', in this case), it means that it is not to be taken literally. Kind of like the 'Old Testament'.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • sam

      Yes, sooner or later we'll get there.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • NTG

      It will be a great day for humanity when ALL religion is a minority.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  14. My Dog is a jealous Dog

    I can't wait for DOMA to be overturned by the SCOTUS (and it will, because it is no different than overturning bans on interracial marriage).

    Of course, that won't stop the fundies anymore than Roe vs Wade stopped them. They will however start to look like the fools they are to all of the reasonable people in this country.

    May 6, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      amen!!!

      May 6, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  15. Shakingmyhead

    We Christians have been told already that these times were coming. Plus He also talked of a lukewarm church that He will spit out of his mouth. All the analysis is white noise. We do know what this is and there is no longer denying it. God Bless all.

    May 6, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • midwest rail

      Please elaborate what "times" are coming.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • ME II

      "these times" have always been here.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • snowboarder

      if i had a nickel for every time some nut invoked the "end of times" over the past 2000 years i would be very wealthy.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • The real Tom

      Who's "we"? I know plenty of Christians who laugh at nutters like you. You head-shakers have been mumbling about the "end times" since the day your religion began.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Yes indeed, the ancient prophecies are being fulfilled.
      As the Holy Text tells us:
      "The age of evil has come to the world . Everyone steals and hoards great wealth, and sensual sin rules the day. The end of the world is at hand – yet men are hard and cruel, and listen not to the doom that is coming . No one heeds the cries of his neighbour, or lifts a hand to save."

      The End Times are here! Repent and pray that Odin has mercy upon us during Ragnarok!

      May 6, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Reality

      Hmmm, th-umping Revelations (3:16 and mouth spitting) yet again.

      And again,

      "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther once "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      And all that th-umping from Mark 13 about the end of time:

      As with all NT passages, Mark 13 has been thoroughly analyzed for historic authenticity by many contemporary NT scholars. None of it passes muster via a rigorous review. See for example, Professor Gerd Ludemann's analysis in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 87-93. See also

      http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb265.html

      http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb002.html

      http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb064.html

      May 6, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  16. John Duckner

    WHAT IT TAKES–PAYING THE PRICE

    A people with a deep love for the Living God and His Kingdom.
    A people who know Jesus personally, believe His blood is the only way our sins are washed away, and know He is the only way to Heaven.
    A people who believe Hell is a place of eternal torment from which there is no escape, and those who die in their sins will go there.
    A people who know they are sinners saved by grace, yet believe that with God's help you can overcome and live above sin.
    A people with compassion who realize love and mercy are greater than the law and that they can't force anyone to believe as they do.
    A people who realize they need a spiritual covering and who desire fellowship with a family of genuine disciples.
    A people humble enough to admit they need God's help and guidance, realizing they don't know it all and they don't have all the answers.
    A people who believe God always has their good in mind and that all things work together for good for those who love and obey Jesus.
    A people who believe God still speaks to His people and that God's Word, both written and spoken, holds the answers to all our questions.
    A people who know that God desires to dwell in their midst, filling them with His Holy Spirit and bestowing Spiritual gifts upon them.
    A people who live by the moral laws of God, believing their bodies are the temple of God and should be respected as such.
    A people who believe in the virtue and value of hard work.
    A people willing to submit and subordinate their desires, dreams, and ambitions to God, letting their lives be used to accomplish His will.
    A people with enough faith to abandon everything and come follow Jesus wheresoever He leads, trusting Him in all things.
    A people who know Satan and demons are real and that the kingdom of Hell is organized, militant, and determined to destroy God's people.
    A people who know they are soldiers in God's army and that they are part of a war machine engaged in conflict with the forces of evil.
    A people willing to stand at their post of duty, endure hardness as soldiers under command, and take orders for the sake of God's Kingdom.
    A people who are non-violent in the physical, not needing carnal weapons, for God is their defense.
    A people willing to stand valiantly and contend courageously for the truths God has given them, even if it means sacrifice and persecution.
    A people dedicated to the mission of taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world that others can be liberated from the bondage of sin

    May 6, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • lamb of dog

      Looks like it takes alot of crazy.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Reality

      And in rebuttal:

      The Apostles' Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of 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 descent into Hell, 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 knowWarn 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 6, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Madtown

      The people you describe are no different in terms of human value, than anyone else who's never heard of Jesus, or been exposed to christianity. God doesn't prefer you, or hold you in higher esteem, than any other sub-grouping of human beings. You're not special.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      A people dedicated to a book written by ignorant men who stole many of the stories from previous cultures.
      A people so delusional, they cannot see the fallacies in the bible and will not accept it when science proves their story book wrong.
      A gullible people who want others to think for them.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • ME II

      "A people who know they are soldiers in God's army and that they are part of a war machine engaged in conflict with the forces of evil."

      I hope you mean this figuratively. We don't need more Army of God types.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • snowboarder

      that sounds pretty darned loony!

      May 6, 2013 at 11:22 am |
  17. rofl

    Christains are a hate group that have killed countless more people than the KKK ever did.

    May 6, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • PossumGrease

      The KKK are christians.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Reality

      o WHERE WAS YOUR GOD(S) WHEN THE FOLLOWING TOOK PLACE:

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things GOD'S CREATURES Have Done to Each Other:

      M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Christians)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      *:" Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

      A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion."

      Q: So, what you're saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

      A: Arrgh... You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many doc-umented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it's more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don't even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

      In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under "Communism", 24 under Colonialism, 2 under "Railroads" and 2 under "Scapegoats". Make of that what you will."

      May 6, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • gf

      America is a hate country and Americans have killed many and keep killing for their own selfish interests.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Bubba

      God didn't kill them ... people did ... people just like you. You don't have to believe in God prior to murdering someone, all you need is bad parenting and a hot temper.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • blob

      And have you forgotten Islam and the attacks out of Medina PRIOR to the crusades ? Quite a few folks died in that growth spurt of that religion as well.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  18. palintwit

    Countless studies have indicated that there is a higher incidence of incest and beastiality among bible belt evangelicals than in any other group that participated in those studies.

    May 6, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • PossumGrease

      That's because southerners are more honest.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • lamb of dog

      And I am sure in some of those small towns you dont have as many options.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Bubba

      What studies might those be, oh quoter of stats??

      May 6, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • lamb of dog

      Its Palin. Shes allowed to make stuff up.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • These Pretzels Are Making Me Thirsty

      "Countless studies"? That's quite the citation. I hope that's not how you construct bibliographies for research.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Billy Joe Jim Bob

      I went to marry this girl down here in 'bama, until I found out she was a virgin.
      If she's not good enough for her own family, she ain't good enough for mine, I broke off the engagement.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  19. Publius Novus

    I get upset when these so-called Christian groups coopt the Bible for their own ends. Many Christian sects do not read the Bible in the same way as evangelicals. Moreover, for Litfin to characterize the Bible's treatment of marriage as universal and timeless is ridiculous. The ancient Hebrews practiced poligamy. Abraham, the founder of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, had children–notably Ishmael–by his maid with the sanction of God; David and Solmon–just to name two–had multiple hundreds of wives and even more concubines. Does this mean modern American men should also have as many wives as they can afford to support, along with twice as many concubines? Inquiring minds want to know Mr. Litfin.

    May 6, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Seyedibar

      Even the Christian/Jewish god himself had multiple wives. El had three we know of: Asherah, Eliat, and Rahmay.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      All christians use the bible to their own ends. No interpretation is the same.
      That is one of the reasons there are more than 40,000 version of christianity currently.

      Sounds like god was crystal clear in the instruction manual.

      Or... Men created the whole thing.
      Join us in reality.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  20. PossumGrease

    Christians won't stop until there is a church in every town and city in America.

    May 6, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • ME II

      lol, okay they can stop now.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • LOL

      . . and if enough of them knew how to count, they would realize . . .

      May 6, 2013 at 10:56 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.