August 24th, 2013
08:40 AM ET

Should Christianity be so boring?

Opinion by Jon Acuff, Special to CNN
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(CNN) - No one has ever accused us Christians of being fun.

No one has ever said we are a laugh-filled group.

No atheist has ever said, “I might not love Jesus, but his followers sure know how to party!”

And yet, in my favorite story in the Bible we actually see Jesus paint the opposite picture.

If you’re a Christian, you’ve heard the Parable of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke referenced in approximately 42 million sermons. If you’ve missed it though, allow me to summarize.

A young son said to his dad, who represents God, “I want my inheritance.” This was the cultural equivalent of saying, “I wish you were dead!” The father gives him the money. The son immediately runs off to the Jersey shore and fist pumps the night away with 4 Loko and Skrillex. [Not a direct translation.]

After squandering all the money and awakening in a pig pen, the son devises a plan. He will come home, apologize and throw himself at the mercy of the father. His greatest hope is that the father will let him be a servant. He can’t even imagine getting to keep the title “son.”

He comes home expecting punishment, but instead something weird happens.

The father sees him from a distance and sprints toward him. He runs toward him and embraces him. Before the son can even get his whole apology out, the father has already started planning the last thing he expected.

A party.

Instead of punishment he gets a party.

The idea that God fixes problems with parties is crazy.

Who does that?

Life doesn’t work that way. Imagine that you messed up at work. Your boss called you in and said, “Johnson you lost our biggest account! You just cost this company more than 3 million dollars. You know what that makes me want to do? Throw you a party!”

Or think about this in the context of a marriage. Have you ever had an argument with your spouse? Not a fake argument but one that lands you on the couch overnight.

You come into the kitchen and your wife is doing that “mad dishwashing” move we all do when we’re upset. Just power scrubbing pots and pans with a vengeance, mumbling the entire time.

You approach her slowly and say, “Heyyyy baby, how do you feel this morning?” Without looking at you, she takes a deep breath and says, “You really hurt my feelings. Last night, you really surprised me by what you did. My mom was right about you. I’m so angry and disappointed. This whole thing makes me want to get an inflatable bounce house and throw a huge celebration in your honor!”

That would be ludicrous.

Our worst mistakes don’t end in parties, but in this story in the Bible, it did.

When given the opportunity to talk to a group of people, the picture Jesus drew of his Father was of a party giver; someone who met sinners with welcome home banners.

What if Christians were like that?

What if churches became the place where failures found new beginnings?

What if we were known for our parties, not for our Pharisees?

It all feels a little crazy, but I don’t think it’s impossible.

Christians should offer hope in exchange for hurt, new in exchange for old, parties in exchange for pain.

Are we there yet?

Nope, we’ve got a long way to go. We’ve still got a lot of things to work through, a lot of progress we have to make.

But when you think about the prodigal son story, I hope you will remember something.

Two people moved.

One walked.

One ran.

And we prodigals are the walkers.

We still have a running God.

And he is ready to throw a party.

Jon Acuff is a keynote speaker and the author of four books including The New York Times best-seller, START. Acuff is also the author of the popular blog, Stuff Christians Like.net.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jon Acuff

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Opinion

soundoff (4,711 Responses)
  1. Ozzie

    I read these articles on Christianity on CNN and they always descend into two extremes arguing with each other. The atheist calls the Christian "stupid" and the Christian calling the atheist "Damned". You know, there are a lot of good people out there and a lot of good churches. Churches where everyone is welcome just as they are. Churches that feed the hungry and house the homeless. Churches that teach self sacrifice and love for their neighbor. And there are atheist out there who are nice people, living their lives at peace with everyone.

    The rest of you are giving your people a bad name.

    August 24, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • franco

      Well said.

      August 24, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      The atheist social/political agenda has suppressed science sine 1919. Stupid is not a word atheists should bandy about.

      August 24, 2013 at 9:34 am |
      • One one

        How have atheists suppressed science ?

        August 24, 2013 at 9:37 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          When Einstein offered general relativity to the atheists at the Nobel Committee they rejected it and he was compelled to manufacture the mathematical contrivance of the photon. There are now entire branches of physics based in the imaginary mass of light, but there is no dark matter and no black holes; as light has no mass.

          August 24, 2013 at 9:41 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          General Relativity also eliminated the false notion of the big bang in 1919, but it is still talked about as though it were science.

          August 24, 2013 at 9:43 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          Way to twist the facts around to try to fit your agenda JPT. You are massively misrepresenting what happened.

          For any who want to know what really happened, search out nobel prizesfrom around that time and see what was happening. They were trying to tighten up the requirements of being considered for a Nobel Prize, to make it more in accordance with Alfred Nobels vision as spelled out in his will.

          August 24, 2013 at 9:46 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          The problem with your idea dick, is that general relativity is still a fact almost 100 years later and atheists still suppress the knowledge. Nice try though.

          Although right now things have begun to change inside the physics community.


          August 24, 2013 at 9:51 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          Form you see Dick, Einstein was making fun of the Swedes when he told them light has mass. Real real stupid atheists still believe in the mass of light.

          August 24, 2013 at 9:57 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          False. Photons have zero rest mass. You either have no idea what you are talking about or are intentionally misrepresenting the data.

          August 24, 2013 at 10:03 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          Einstein manufactured the mathematical contrivance of the photon tom make fools of relativity deniers and it still works today. Explain to me Dick, when is light at rest? Light here in this universe travels at the speed of light c, but that is special relativity.

          August 24, 2013 at 10:06 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          Would you be quoting a retard in a wheelchair Dick? That tool of atheist fake science?

          August 24, 2013 at 10:08 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          There isn't room on this blog to explain it to you. Go take some classes.

          August 24, 2013 at 10:08 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          Yet I explained why you are wrong in a couple of sentences, Dick. My science education is in good shape already and the MSEE is enough for me.

          August 24, 2013 at 10:14 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          No you didn't explain it in a couple sentences. It would take far more than a couple of sentences to explain the science behind the subject, and the impact the understanding has had. To claim that it is an atheist agenda to block science is just conspiracy theory lunacy.

          August 24, 2013 at 10:21 am |
      • Richard Moore

        Your tinfoil is showing.

        August 24, 2013 at 9:45 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          Is a tin foil hat part of the atheist science kit? Is a tin foil hat how Wiki justifies having a fake definition of general relativity online?

          August 24, 2013 at 9:48 am |
      • One one

        Are you saying scientists disagreeing about a proposed scientific theory is "suppression" of science ? Apparently you don't know how the scientific method works. Challenging theories is a fundamental and necessary part of the process. It promotes further research to gather more facts until the theory can be proven.

        August 24, 2013 at 9:49 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          General Relativity is still a theory under the scientific method and the big bang has been false for almost a century, which one do you hear more about?

          August 24, 2013 at 9:53 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I am interested, Tarver. I am also interested in your conclusion on why Einstein never found the Christian god to be worthy of belief.

          August 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Gravity is still a theory as well.
          A theory is what one or more hypotheses become once they have been verified and accepted to be true. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. Unfortunately, even some scientists often use the term "theory" in a more colloquial sense, when they really mean to say "hypothesis."

          August 27, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
      • Colin

        Since the term god refers to an idol why would Einstein consider it.

        August 24, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
      • Mark

        Atheists holding back science? oh thats just funny. Atheists are generally very pro-science – something that cannot be said of Christianity. But I do not want this to devolve into yet another pointless x vs. y, it serves no purpose. But you had to be called on this one – its utter nonsense.

        August 24, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • dfasdfsdfs

      I am a Christian, and if an atheist believes I am stupid I do not become upset. When a Christian tells an atheist they are "Damned", that is not the proper response and it saddens me that people who claim to be Christian resort to anger as a defense mechanism.

      August 24, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • rolick

      Your right, and that's great, we just need to hear more from the sane churches when extremists try to legislate their social agendas into law. Then a lot of this division will go away.

      I do believe that religious organizations should get their tax exempt status pulled if they preach politics and I think they need to start reporting the revenue they take in. Their is too much money laundering going through religious organizations, the are not accountable for the monies they take in. It's not fair that they enter into our politics.

      If a religious organization can afford billboards and advertising promoting themselves, they have too much and should be taxed.

      August 24, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • humanistJohn420

      Do the churches that help people use most of the funds they receive for helping people or do they spend it mostly on admin costs and so forth? Go do some research and you might be surprised what you find out.

      August 27, 2013 at 11:56 am |
      • Susan StoHelit

        And... what do they call "helping people"? Far too often (and definitely NOT always), 'helping' disaster victims is going over and offering them a bible. Or food, but only in exchange for being saved.

        August 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  2. John P. Tarver

    Too many addicts at church for a party.

    August 24, 2013 at 9:29 am |
  3. blf83

    A bit fluffy as a story.

    August 24, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Tom Sawyer

      Agreed. Is the message that we're supposed to celebrate failure?

      August 24, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  4. tom LI

    its sorta funny, in a sad way – how many of these of stories we see over the years. Xtians should DO, Xtians NEED to be more, Xtians aren't all bad, etc, etc...

    Too bad Xtians have to keep being reminded to do what are basically the simplest of all Religious, Faith based tenets in any Religion! Be nicer to others! Dont throw stones, stop judging others, stop the finger-pointing and focus on doing Right over doing what your emotions and bad'r-side tell you!

    Also, authors like the above have a seriously poor grasp on what the Bible actually says. The story quoted is about excessive forgiveness, an example of HOW far one should strive to forgive – and the party shows an extreme example, and absurd example.

    It also examples one of the great contradictions in the Bible. This Father (metaphor often used for God the Father) is forgiving his sons trespass, his cashing in early on his inheritance, taking what is not yet his – and is forgiven and that forgiveness is celebrated.

    Compared to what God the Father does to poor old Adam and Eve. One simple trespass, taking what is not theirs (yet, but eventually would have been) and they get banished, kicked out into the cold, cruel world – after ONE – repeat ONE transgression, two naive innocents – like children – booted out of the house and cursed for all time with hardships.

    So we have yet another contradiction of behaviors – in a series of stories all using analogy, metaphor, etc, to tell us about both Humans and this God The Father and their relationships and what to expect in that lop-sided relationship.

    The Dad in the prodigal Son story is a better Dad/Father than God the Father in the A$E story!

    August 24, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Richard Moore

      “Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.”

      Excerpt From: Robert A. Heinlein. “The Notebooks of Lazarus Long.” ZappTek, 2010-12-05. iBooks.
      This material may be protected by copyright.

      August 24, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • dfasdfsdfs

      The younger son represents repentance/forgiveness. We do not see that in the story of Adam and Eve. In a sense God did forgive them with punishment. Death is the wages of sin. God did not cast mankind away due to what Adam and Eve did. the 2nd thing is the old testament way of dealing with sin is much different compared to the new testament (Jesus).

      August 24, 2013 at 9:34 am |
      • tmiletus

        Are you trying to tell is that after a while, "God" got in a better mood?

        August 24, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  5. dfasdfsdfs

    Jon, really. We are not 'qualified' to "throw a party" as you state. We are all the young son (or older son)...none of us are the Father. If you really read the story closely, we are all called to be the "servants" in the story, not attend parties. So, no, Christianity is not suppose to be fun in the sense you elude. Yes, we welcome people into the Church, study the Bible, and serve God. This is where a Christian joy comes from. My biggest joy is going to church with other people who understand who Christ is, and serving others. And yes, welcoming other who are new to our church so that they to can know what it means to be welcomed into the house of the Father.

    August 24, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • tom LI

      Yet everyone next to and all thru the pews ALL have a different IDEA of the God and the Hows he will behave towards them, as opposed to others.

      Its nice to think you're all on the same page, but you're not...in fact, most of you are not even in the same book! Despite the presence of the Bible.

      Also Xtians – especially American Xtians, need to do less Bible study (which its not really, not really study, but rote and selective reading) need to do less study and MORE DOING! More doing what is right, more doing what YOUR told to do in some rather simple and direct messages from your Jesus. As he never tells anyone to STUDY and memorize (as if that made you smart) a book, that he never commissioned, never mentions, or alludes to be as important as Xtians make the Bible.

      In America the BIBLE is worshiped more'n the God...its become the center of worship, its Icon worship at this stage.

      August 24, 2013 at 9:28 am |
      • dfasdfsdfs

        First, being different in how you believe is fine. We're not robots programmed "by God". I am a protestant, but I do not see my Catholic brothers view of the world as wrong. I simply disagree and believe that we are saved through Christ, and if a Catholic goes another route and ends up at the same destination, that is fine. Both brothers in the Prodigal story have the opportunity to be saved, but neither brother had the same history or outlook. Regarding the Bible, I tend to agree with you to a certain extent. Discussing the Bible is fine, it's one of the joys we have in understanding God's word. But actions alone do not give you a ticket to heaven. see Ephesians 2:8-9

        August 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  6. Jay Shawn

    Islam is just another "exotic" religion to the dumb westerners that fall for its trap.

    August 24, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • tmiletus

      You know Jay, all religions are exotic when you get right down to it. Right?

      August 24, 2013 at 9:13 am |
      • Jay Shawn

        Well, Christianity is pretty flexible with cultures and language. When westerners here the original preservation of Islam in its native tongue, they are attracted by it. THe mistake they make is not actually listening to what's being recited, which is really hostility towards non-Muslims. 5 times a day this rubbish goes on, but it seduces you and gets a pass because.....well....it's exotic.

        August 24, 2013 at 9:22 am |
  7. Buck Rogers

    There is nothing 'boring' about Christianity, the Bible or serving the Lord. He is preparing a place (New Jerusalem) as well as a banquet (marriage supper) for when He calls His elect into the Kingdom of God (not of this earth). Earth will be burned up and dissolved – physically – as well as the heavens. Of course the removal of the present creation has to take place before He "creates all things new". Boring? This is exactly what the Scriptures plainly teach, so for those who are patiently looking for His return, don't look for Him in "Sodom and Egypt", i.e. old Jerusalem, which too will be burned up.

    The fall of Babylon is coming soon, and it definitely will be far from 'boring'....

    August 24, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • Richard Moore

      That threat can only dupe the masses for another couple of millennia...
      It really seems that the dinner show is the same as the evening.

      August 24, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • tmiletus

      And you "know" this because?

      August 24, 2013 at 9:11 am |
      • Buck Rogers

        Christ compared His return to that of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were destroyed by volcanic bombs. This is a historical fact. He also compared His return to the Great Flood, in which the Earth was literally "overturned" and washed by water and now there are marine fossils strewn everywhere. This is a scientific fact. Mankind began to 'rebuild' post flood in Mesopotamia and Babylon was built by the descendants of Noah. This is a historical fact.

        Scripture is supported by facts, hence is is truth. Christ promises a a better place, and since He is the truth and this world is filled with lies, then I know that He does not return to "Sodom and Egypt", which will be burned up and dissolved.

        August 24, 2013 at 10:02 am |
        • G to the T

          You honestly believe Noah's flood is considered a "scientific fact"? I'm sorry but you are sorely mistaken...

          August 26, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • One one

      Thanks for the heads up.

      August 24, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • MagicPanties

      Damn, that just isn't making any sense...

      Oh, wait, I've run low on tinfoil. Lemme fix up my hat...
      Hallelujah! My invisible pink unicorn and I now agree with you.

      August 24, 2013 at 9:13 am |
      • Troll Hunter

        Found one.

        August 24, 2013 at 9:37 am |
        • G to the T

          Me too!

          August 26, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Ozzie

      You all are invited to my church. We have a great time. We serve together. Laugh together. We have a lot of fun and everyone is welcome.

      August 24, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Larry in 'Bama

      Gee, an eternity at a banquet with god! Wonder what we'll talk about after the first million years or so? And will there be bathroom breaks?

      August 24, 2013 at 9:31 am |
      • Buck Rogers

        There will be plenty to talk about and indeed restroom breaks. We will have new bodies and will consume food, as the Bible plainly teaches. We don't turn into 'ghostly plasmic semi see thrus' like some mystics believe......

        August 24, 2013 at 10:06 am |
        • G to the T

          Is there free will in heaven?

          August 26, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  8. Richard Moore

    Of course Christians and Christianity is boring. What else would you expect from people who have given up on this life for the promise of the mythical next?

    August 24, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • Buck Rogers

      Richard, it's the resurrection that we look forward to, and Christ will resurrect everyone. The dead are truly dead, i.e. 'sleeping' in the grave. If Christ did not go to the cross and be crucified by the "religious", then the dead will always remain dead – no resurrection, no future, no nothing.

      August 24, 2013 at 9:14 am |
      • Richard Moore

        Yeah, except no one is coming to resurrect anyone and hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of people were crucified.

        August 24, 2013 at 9:22 am |
      • One one

        "If Christ did not go to the cross and be crucified by the "religious", then the dead will always remain dead – no resurrection, no future, no nothing."

        And you know this how ?

        August 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
        • slickteigkcmo

          All is based on faith , which is a gift for all who hear and believe....it will get you through this life much better than without and you will go and share and make life better for others too by being a light for them . Life is too hard not to have faith anymore. God knows this and that is why He gives us Faith, to help us and others live each day with faith and hope.....without it, wow what a tough place this would be to live in anymore. Praise be to God. May He bless and save us all.

          August 24, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • slickteigkcmo

      We haven't given up on this life, quite the contrary. It's the promise of a better life after doing our best to serve Him through this one as He promises "better to come for all who believe and follow Him". Our world is actually boring in a sad sense,with repeated stories of death , violence etc ....if you let them become boring. This is what "bores" our teens to go kill, so our challenge is "don't get apathetic and bored or you give "acceptance to all the evil here" . So we all must not get bored, instead get involved, care, throw a positive party and be a part of society that strives for better , this is what Christians must do. We do not need to be entertained all the time, with immoral ways of living. If that is boring , oh well, we will party later, forever. It's not the norm to wait anymore, we selfishly want it all "now". We who think as Christians , will strive to do good here, let God be our hero and goal. If that is all boring, ok, we will wait, hope and not be filled with bored hearts here......this is the Faith of Christians which is a blessing to all who join the Christian "party" , a group of faithfilled people here and now and later. It's your choice to be bored with your life or get busy and care and believe you are called to do better.

      August 24, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Maani

      You seem to misunderstand Christianity, which has two "parts." Yes, one is the expectation of the "afterlife"; of salvation and redemption based on faith, grace and works. The other, however, is very much "here and now." After all, Jesus' ministry was comprised of elevent precepts: love, peace, forgiveness, compassion, humility, patience, selflessness, charity, service, justice and truth. But there are virtues for a Christian's temporal life – i.e., here and now, in "this" world – since they are "automatic" in the next.

      So far from "giving up" life in this world for the "mythical next," Jesus' ministry teaches us that we have a great deal to do (and to be) in "this" world before we get to the next.

      August 24, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  9. MagicPanties

    I would add to the author's "What If's".

    What If god made himself known to the world rather than requiring faith?
    Just appear in the sky everywhere around the world simultaneously for everyone to see. Should be easy for a "god".

    But no, let's leave it to mortals like this author to paraphrase ancient fairy tales on god's behalf.
    Yeah, that's the ticket.

    August 24, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • Troll Hunter

      Do you really think your opinion matters here? Go away little Troll.

      August 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
      • G to the T

        Found one!

        August 26, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Scott

      I don't think you'd see God if He did make Himself known. Jesus made Himself known through miracles...many people still did not believe. It's because we all have the wrong idea of who God is. It's easy to miss Him when He doesn't fit our preconceived notions.

      August 24, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Maani

      There is good reason that God does not do as you suggest. it is because He does not want "automatons." Consider. If god were to do as you suggest, you would "believe" in Him because you HAD to; i.e., because there would be no other choice. But that is a clear violation of your free will – which includes the free to will to accept or reject the existence of the very God who GAVE you that free will. God does not WANT you to "believe" (a word that would then have no relevance) in Him because you HAVE to; He want you to believe in Him "on faith" – because you CHOOSE to.

      August 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
      • OTOH


        Are we "automatons" to know that if we jump off of a 20-story building without mechanical assistance we will go splat because of gravity? Fact. Your god is not a fact. Your "God", if it existed, would be a devious trickster (not to mention a petulant monster) for not making its existence as clear to everyone as simple gravity is.

        August 24, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
      • G to the T

        How can I properly exercise my free will and make the right choice if I'm not given the proper information to base my choice on?

        August 26, 2013 at 10:59 am |
  10. Sara

    Islam is about the most boring religion I can think of and it still gets converts. People seem to like boring. I think when people are confused they go for strict rules and simple answers. And if you don't let the kids read other information and punish conversion that's a big help, too.

    August 24, 2013 at 9:04 am |
  11. Alan

    You totally missed the point! The 'celebration' was about the reunion between the father and son, not a celebration of the son's loss of his fortune or his mistakes. And how did you become a published writer?

    August 24, 2013 at 9:03 am |
  12. One one

    It must be difficult to feel elated when your religion teaches from the moment you are born you are a fallen wicked sinner who deserves to burn in hell. And the only way you can escape eternal damnation is to worship the deity who placed the curse upon you in hopes he will lift the curse and spare you an eternity of horrific torture.

    August 24, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • Maani

      Actually, only a very small number of churches still teach that; most do not. Even the Catholic Church no longer teaches the kind of black-and-white "heaven and hell" view that you suggest. It is mostly the deep evangelical denominations (Pentecostals, Charismatics, Adventists, some Baptists) who still teach that, mostly due to their belief in Scriptural "inerrancy" (a view that was actually quite rare prior to the late 19th century).

      Every church that I have been in over the past 30 years has taught a message of love, compassion, forgiveness, charity, etc. – not one of condemnation and judgment.

      August 24, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
  13. Ozzie

    Bob, I invite you to my church. We are a refuge for sinners not a warehouse for saints. We have a lot of fun, a lot of love and everyone is welcome.

    August 24, 2013 at 9:03 am |
  14. Alan

    You totally missed the point! The celebration was about reunion, not about failure and loss of fortune. How did you become a published writer?

    August 24, 2013 at 9:02 am |
  15. hharri

    i'd rather spend my life trying to denounce christianity. that is fun, baby. searching for every piece of minutiae to make it look bad is where it is at

    August 24, 2013 at 8:59 am |
  16. franco

    Wow!!! this guy pretty much missed the point. This is a Bible story about repentance and how God is always willing to accept and love a repentant heart. This story was not a party at all. True Christians will live in Heaven with God, experience the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, live in eternal fellowship with God. I can care less about about a 'party'

    August 24, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • tmiletus

      You are correct. It is a "story". I'd rather attend the church of the Three Little Pigs, than a Christian church.

      August 24, 2013 at 9:03 am |
      • terik ororke

        Typical response of a party goer who has no idea what religion really says...go to a night club or rock concert and find salavtion –yeah, sure!

        August 24, 2013 at 9:09 am |
        • tmiletus

          Don't misunderstand terik. I think some of the things said are quite good. It's just that they tend to be surrounded by voodoo. If I could find a church with the simple creed of "Be Nice", without the added nonsense, I'd join it.

          August 24, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  17. JA Gambini

    You want to rewrite the Bible? You want to do that to make the tabloids and the celebrities happy? WHO ARE YOU? You are nothing, remember who created us and remember that we are NOTHING to tell Him what to do. Be humble.

    August 24, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • Becky

      I guess I missed it, where does he say that?

      August 24, 2013 at 8:56 am |
  18. tmiletus

    Jon, Jon, Jon. You trivialize our lack of interest. We don't avoid Christianity because it isn't fun. We avoid it because we dislike the premise. "No way to the father except through me". You can keep that nonsense while you party all night.

    August 24, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • Becky

      Bad for you in the end. Better rethink your reasoning.

      August 24, 2013 at 8:54 am |
      • tmiletus

        On the contrary. Good for me in the end. You are quite mistaken. You still have time to break free of the scam though.

        August 24, 2013 at 9:00 am |
      • Sara

        Becky, if you want to criticize someone's reasoning it helps to point out where the logic went wrong.

        August 24, 2013 at 9:06 am |
  19. bostontola

    The problem with Christianity isn't that it's boring, it's not that its members are boring, it's that its members and leaders have gone exclusive rather than inclusive. They shun all kinds of people in our modern society not good enough for them.

    The biggest innovation of Christianity was its inclusiveness. Judaism was exclusive, the chosen people. Christians could be anyone. Inclusiveness shouldn't be too complicated for the masses, but apparently it is.

    August 24, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Maani

      Actually, ALL religions and belief system are "exclusive" to one degree or another; i.e., the all have "rules," "regulations" and/or restrictions on "behavior" of various sorts. However, given this, Christianity STILL remains the MOST "inclusive" faith. There are no restrictions on what one can wear, what one can eat, where or how often or in what direction one needs to pray, when or how often one needs to fast, etc., etc. The SOLE "requirement" for salvation through Christianity is Paul's saying that, "If thou shalt profess Jesus is Lord with thy lips, and believe in thine heart that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Period. This is based on Jesus' claim that, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me."

      That's it. The rest is details, which may ENHANCE one's "standing" in the afterlife, but will never take away from one's salvation.

      Keep in mind that "Religion is about laws, rules and behavior; Faith is about a relationship with God" (and, for Christians, with Christ). In Christianity, one's faith – if humble, honest and sincere – trumps the "religious" aspects. (Though what one finds is that as one's faith grows, one WANTS to follow some or much of the "religion.")

      No other religion or belief system can make this claim.

      August 24, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
      • G to the T

        I see where you are coming from, but I would disagree to some extent. Religion/philophoshies like Buddhism, for instance, are completely inclusive and don't require worship (religion) of any kind. It doesn't even require "faith" (except perhaps for a level of belief in the precepts themselves I suppose).

        August 26, 2013 at 11:17 am |
        • Maani

          There are many aspects of "exclusivity" and "inclusivity." Worship is just one. However, as I noted, the only ABSOLUTE requirement in Christianity is Paul's words, based on Jesus' claim about Himself. Yes, the remaining doctrine and dogma include many details, including rules and behavior, but these are not REQUIRED for salvation. In Buddhism, unless one is going to cherry-pick, there are dozens of rules that MUST be followed in its actual practice. First, there are the "four noble truths." Then there is the "eight-fold path." After this, one must follow 30 rules for avoiding "offenses." And there are 92 rules that apply to just ONE of those offenses. There are 75 rules for a person first entering a Buddhist order. There are rules of discipline: 227 for men, 311 for women.

          I could go on, but I hope you get my point. The "Buddhism" that many people (particularly Westerners) practice is a "feel-good" Buddhism that has little or nothing to do with what Buddhism realy "requires" of its followers. Indeed, it has often been referred to as "Hollywood Buddhism," since so many celeb-types seem to think it's trendy.

          August 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  20. David Jeremiah

    I would rather be called a 'joyful' Christian rather than being called a 'laughing' Christian

    August 24, 2013 at 8:50 am |
    • Proverbs 17:22


      August 24, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • Grace 101

      No atheist has ever said, “I might not love Jesus, but his followers sure know how to party!”

      –One can laugh their way to heaven, the road is narrow and arduous but HIS grace is sufficient!

      August 24, 2013 at 9:00 am |
      • Grace 101

        One CANNOT laugh their way to heaven, the road is narrow and arduous but HIS grace is sufficient!

        August 24, 2013 at 9:01 am |
      • Grace 101

        "Christians should offer hope in exchange for hurt, new in exchange for old, parties in exchange for pain."

        -Absolutely agree with that statement. Let's reach out to the hopeless, the hurt and those in pain.

        August 24, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • A wonderful parable to medidate on!

      What does the parable of the prodigal son teach us?

      The wayward son, having disobeyed his dad, walked away with what he thought were treasures that will last him a lifetime, he soon realizes that what he had was temporal, he spent his money foolishly, was soon wallowing with the pigs and fell into rough times.
      He repents and goes back home to his father in whom he knows he can find forgiveness and acceptance.

      A very powerful story about God's forgiveness, love and acceptance of a repentant sinner, a great lesson on how the temptations of the world lead to destruction but hope can be found only in one place and that is in Christ Jesus

      August 24, 2013 at 9:48 am |
      • Susan StoHelit

        We learn that the responsible son was a sucker?

        August 28, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
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About this blog

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