Posts Tagged ‘Are Christians intolerant?’

Hate 3.15As soon as I saw this graphic on an atheist website, I felt sorry for Patricia Ruth Barker. Sorry that she ever thought she had to “hate” anyone before becoming an atheist.

Who taught Patricia this kind of warped thinking? Did she consider murderous terrorist groups and decide this is how “religious” people think? (I follow Jesus of Nazareth, but I’m absolutely not “religious” and this blog reveals why: http://wp.me/p2wzRb-cP.)

Did she interact some religious people who, sadly, DO hate gay people and people of other faiths and figure this is standard thinking for spiritual people?

Since encountering this graphic, I’ve racked my brain to think of all the Jesus followers I’ve met who hate gays or people of other faiths. I can’t come up with a single person. And when I do encounter these misguided people, I’ll remind them of these passages from ancient documents and original-source biographies of Jesus (who many people believe is God’s Son):

  • Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
  • God loved the world so much [and that means EVERY PERSON in it] that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him would not be lost. but have eternal life.
  • God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

Most Jesus followers take these passages seriously. They tell me that Jesus  came for ALL people — gay or straight, Christian or Muslim or Atheist or Buddhist, criminal or Nobel prize winner, male or female, young or old. No exceptions. Ever.

This is one of the reasons I decided in my 40s to follow Jesus and trust in what He’s done for everyone who believes in Him. He died on a Roman cross to make up for ALL the wrong things I’ve done and ALL the right things I’ve failed to do. He made up for all the times when, despite my best efforts, I end up living as if there is no loving creator who wants to be part of my life.

I also follow Jesus because I know that by doing so, I welcome Him into my heart, mind and soul to make me more like Him. That means hating ONLY the wrong things I’ve done and the right things I don’t do.

It also means I believe in what many people call the “Golden Rule”: Do for others what you want them to do for you.

I want atheists and people of other faiths to respect me. So I darn well better respect them. When that exchange takes place, I get to tell them, like I’m telling you now, about my faith in Jesus and how He can change them (and YOU) for the better – for now and for all eternity.

What are your thoughts on this? Post a comment below and let’s have a conversation.

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Bible diversity intelligent happy tolerantAccording to this meme, found on an atheist website, I’m probably not “saved”.

Here I am, a follower of Jesus of Nazareth (who many people believe is the son of God) and yet:

  • I’m reasonably happy, however one would define that word and apply to our culture.
  • I’m intelligent enough to have graduated high school and earned a college journalism diploma & a university management development certificate.
  • I have yet to write a single word on this website, or during my 26 years in journalism, condemning diversity.
  • Mentally stable? There have been times when I was taking a mild anti-depressant, just like millions and millions of other people (it’s safe to write that some of them are atheists).

I guess following Jesus has failed to save other people like me, too. Churches all over the world are attended by black men and women, Asian men and women, African men and women, native North American men and women. And some of those people are gay and/or divorced and/or alcoholics and/or convicted criminals and/or mentally challenged.

Intelligence? Ooooo, lots of failures there, too. Among them are university professor and committed Catholic Brian Kobilka, an American Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry. There’s also Christian paleontologist Mary Higby Schweitzer and 2007 Nobel Prize Winner (for chemistry) Gerhard Ertl.

That’s just the beginning; Wikipedia lists more than 60 Jesus followers active in biomedical sciences, physics & astronomy, chemistry and engineering. Gee, I’d call that an EPIC failure on the part of Jesus. (Chances are, most of these folks are mentally stable, too.)

Beyond all this sarcasm, I hope it’s obvious to you that deciding to follow Jesus — His life and teachings, His sacrificial death (to make up for all the wrong things his followers have done and all the right things we’ve failed to do) and His resurrection — often helps people become happy, intelligent, tolerant of diversity and mentally stable.

Following Jesus helps us understand that God loves us, and everyone else on this planet, equally and beyond measure. That love comes not from what we’ve done or not done. It comes because that’s who God is.

Serious Jesus followers also understand that just as we have been forgiven much, we should turn around and forgive much in others.

There’s more: serious Jesus followers appreciate science because it helps us understand how God does stuff. Serious Jesus followers believe something that famed evangelist Billy Graham said: “It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict (people of their moral crimes), God’s job to judge and my job to love”.

Do we fall short of this? Absolutely. But most serious Jesus followers have it in our sights and strive after it daily. And doing that makes us better people.

Interested in striving with us? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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