The creative energy that perfunctorily comes from Madison Ave is positively mindboggling. The abundance and flow of the characters I’ve been coming across this past year has me enamored at times.

The lifestyles of these folks, however, are not the choices I would encourage someone to make: Many smoke and drink, and revel in their drunkenness. Many of the men glorify porn. Most use sex to sell in some capacity. And often they tempt the unfortunate to purchase that which they cannot afford. And the list goes on…

Now, I don’t dispute religious issues because having a relationship with God is not something to argue about, but this week, I almost got into a bit a theological debate with a colleague and it got me thinking…. and convicted.

My point is that even in these dark cultures, we have no place to judge. We have no idea what’s truly going on inside these people’s hearts. As followers of Christ, we are no better and cannot condemn anyone for their lifestyle choices. We’re all sinners. God Loves them just as much as He Loves His followers. Recall, or if you don’t know, God still loved us while we were sinners. So much so, he died for us. Roman 5:8

I’m drawing attention to this because there are Christians out here who condemn and judge those who have the lifestyles mentioned above; however, we are no better and it’s not our place. So, if you’re a believer, consider those words from Romans (and these from Ephesians) before you condemn people for their behavior. God did not die for us in vein. He made the impact that He did so that we could have His word in our hearts and we would have love and pray for others.

If you’re reading this and you’re not a believer you may be wondering what the heck this crazy born-again is talking about, but it’s true: God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth does love you, He does desire to have a relationship with you, and He does have a specific plan for your life. You and your life only. Ask Him about it, He’ll tell you. ;-)

Join the discussion 18 Comments

  • dieter says:

    Good to see that there are ‘normal’ christians in the USA who don’t judge and don’t consider themselves as the ‘better’ or only religion.
    I am a very convinced atheist myself, something that’s more common in Europe than in the USA I believe, and I believe more in the power of nature and science.
    But after having seen a few documentaries about some fundamentalist christians in the USA, I really consider them as evil as the so-called ‘terrorists’. As far as I’m concerned it’s up to noone to judge.
    I’m still not convinced about the existence of any god though, look at all the misery, unequality, racism, oppressed people, animal abuse and the huge decadently lifestyle of a large part of the Western world and tell me again there is a god.
    Anyway, everyone has the free choice to believe in whatever he likes, and that’s a good thing.
    Without diversity we would live in a sad world. Just my 2 cents.

    Nice design by the way.


  • Dieter –

    I do not doubt the sincerity of your beliefs.. but if Christ rose from the dead and was seen by over 500 people in the flesh in time and space (1 Cor. 15:5-6), we must come to grips with this. Christianity isn’t simply a man-made religion, but something that occurred in reality and was recorded by those who saw him living and breathing. The 12 apostles then saw him bodily ascend into heaven where he sits as our judge and king.

    In light of this, God calls all men everywhere to repent and believe in Christ, who WILL save you from the wrath of God (Romans 6:23). Your guilt will become his who died in the place of all who trust him. (Romans 4 & 5)

    Christiandom is admittedly full of charletons who cheat, lie, murder and muddy the truth about Christ (e.g. “faith” healers)… the Bible predicted it long before it happened. (Read 1 Peter) In the end, those people will be judged more severely because they did it as “christians” making christianity into a means of getting rich. They will receive their reward in Hell for muddying the water like they have.

    Thanks for being honest about your thoughts and putting it out there.

  • @dieter- Thanks for the comment. Also, thanks to you, I’ve had a dcTalk song stuck in my head all morning long. ;-) The intro has someone saying:

    The Greatest single cause of Atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowlege Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and they’re not by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.

    And the chorus is:

    What if I stumble, what if I fall, what If loose my step and I make fools of us all. Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl. What if I stumble and what if I fall.

    Why God allows the catastrophes to happen is beyond our understanding, but the tendency for man to commit sin (separate ourselves from that which is good) is due to our inherently evil nature.

    Now, as Christians, we are called to be salt and light of the world (which is different from other theologies). We are to lead with the heart of servant; put others before ourselves. That’s instructional. Know this: God gives us free will to choose either right or wrong, though. So, our choosing right and good is what He desires. Again, though, the choice is ultimately ours.

    Also, dieter, I found it interesting you’d come by because I just went by your site the other day after your helpful comment at snook’s. (I still have the Apress tab open, just have’t purchased yet. :-)

    I think I know the documentary of which you speak. I saw Jesus Camp in the footer of your site amongst the other movies. I have seriously mixed emotions about that movie. I saw it and the overt indoctrination and imposition on the children seems a bit self-serving for the adults.

    Going back to my point, following God and discipleship is a choice. The age at which those children are being taught to “pray in tongues,” is still the “black and white” age. Not sure if getting them to do what is 100% from God.

    It’s true, the faith of a child is uninhibited by the crap this world cakes on, but in my opinion, they were too young for that kind of teaching; they still have to make the choice on their own. Jesus Camp just seemed a bit… theatrical and hypocritical. (the Bible tells us to not pray as the hypocrites do on the street corners, drawing attention to ourselves.)

    Now, that said, we ARE instructed as Christian parents to raise our children in His ways; however, ultimately, it is their choice to follow. We cannot force it; just be it.

    @Priestap – Thanks for your insight, bro. Your last paragraph is right on; however, we must remember those folks on the shallow and wide path to Hell for muddying the perfect water still have the opportunity to repent and be saved. Oh, and also on the point of Christ dying for us. If we didn’t need a savior, why did he have to die?

  • dieter says:

    I must admit I find this a very interesting discussion.

    I’m still not convinced though why anyone should base his beliefs on words written in a book that is based on several stories by different authors that didn’t witness all those facts themselves, and even dated from a time where science at 1/1000th of where it is today. That’s no evidence for me.

    It’s easy for stories to change as they go through time (hey it’s been 2000 years) and interpretation of facts are completely different when one knows less.

    For how long have certain civilizations thought the Earth was flat? And then science had mathematical and factual evidence that it is round and that we don’t live in a geocentric universe. People got burned for telling the truth in the Middle Ages. Now everyone (at least in the ‘civilized’ world) knows the Earth isn’t flat.

    My point is: just because a huge amount of people were convinced of something a very long time ago doesn’t mean it is the truth, even if ‘the Church’ has gained a lot of power throughout history (but that has more to do with money and power than with religion imho) and the stories have managed to survive thanks to that. There were a lot less people and almost no media back then.

    I’ve been on a very catholic school for 6 years but they never convinced me with their stories, although I must admist the bible makes a good read.

    Besides that, where do the other religions fit in? 20% of the world is Hindu or Buddhist, and I guess they’ll have their reasons too.

    In the end I think it’s most of the time the environment that will blindly impose a religion on you: when you live in a muslim-area it’s more likely to be a muslim than a christian, and vice versa. If your parents are strong believers it’s more likely that you will be a strong believer.

    Concerning the documentary: it was indeed Jesus Camp I was talking about amongst others. What they are doing is completely over the top imho. They should put such people in jail if you’d ask me: that pure child abuse.

    Fascinating it is though, this discussion.


  • Dieter –

    Your candor is appreciated. Obviously I disagree. ;)

    You said, “I‚Äôm still not convinced though why anyone should base his beliefs on words written in a book that is based on several stories by different authors that didn‚Äôt witness all those facts themselves, and even dated from a time where science at 1/1000th of where it is today. That‚Äôs no evidence for me.”

    I anticipated this objection but decided not to address it initially. Your objection assumes that what scientists tell you is 1) monolithically the same 2) usually you can trust what they say and 3) they are unbiased by their own faith. We all believe something..the way we report facts is always effected by our opinions, particularly when we hate one side of the argument (we hate God by nature).

    I whole-heartedly invite you to compare the transmission of the Scriptures to the transmission of other literature if you can look at it considering that it might be true. You can compare the ancient documents yourself – the data is all available for people to study. Concluding that the scriptures have changed significantly over the past 4000 years is not an accurate conclusion. There’s no way I can prove that to you here – the info is all out there if you’re interested in digging it up. I recommend Dr. James White for starters – he’s done a huge amount of work on this subject and is very accessible.

    Further, the books of the New Testament actually WERE written by people who witnessed the things themselves. All the writers of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) were eye-witnesses, as was Peter, James, and others. The only exception was Paul who saw Jesus in the flesh later on. It is an eye-witness account. Yes, it is an eye-witness account that has been copied by people through the years, but so are the books written about King Henry VIII, yet we all believe that he murdered his wives.

    Dieter, you have chosen to believe scientists over the testimony of hundreds of people who witnessed Christ’s bodily resurrection, many of whom wrote it down for us in the scriptures. People who saw him, talked & ate with him, and touched him AFTER he rose from the dead. Keep in mind that testifying to these facts meant a death sentence for all but 1 of the disciples (John was banished). Science will change – they are always discovering new things that change their beliefs… not all scientists are the same either. Many actually agree with what I’m saying. Which scientist will you trust? Which historian will you trust? Is the truth completely unknowable?

    As a side note… the Bible has many internal proofs of authenticity, namely the multitudes of fulfilled prophecies about Christ and also others about Persia, Greece, Rome, et al. The Book of Daniel for example predicted the rise and fall of Alexander the Great at LEAST a hundred years before he lived. It predicts the rise of Rome, the birthplace of Christ, the type of death Christ would endure, and hundreds more.

    Regarding other religions – if Christ rose from the dead (and he did), and he said that there is no other way to the Father (God) but through Him (he did), then we may conclude that other religions are false. Why do other religions exist? Romans 1 tells why – it’s not a fun read. Basically because we all hate God by nature. We’re born hating him and construct religions that we like..that we can relate to or that make us feel better.

    Christ is my hope, my eternal rest. I am a sinner – I have no other hope but Christ of escaping the wrath of God. If he is not risen I am a fool. I have chosen whom I will believe by God’s grace – the testimony of the many who saw him.

    Thanks for the interaction Dieter – wish I had more time!! :)

    ps. The roman catholic church gets a few things right, but denies an essential truth: salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ. Your school is not giving you an accurate depiction of the Christian faith. I’m not sure where you live or I’d recommend a gospel preaching church. As I said, there are many charletons. That’s why the reformation happened in the 1500’s and why there are continual upheavals — the Devil makes a name for himself as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Wolves like to eat sheep.

  • dieter says:

    So, you’re actually saying that people who never had any contact at all with the bible or the christian beliefs are all wrong when they’re fans of another religion (one they might have had for ages)? For example some ancient tribes?

    Getting the answer of why other religions exist out of the bible is not really an answer, as it’s very obvious that the bible will tell you that all other are false. (Duh, what did you expect? :-) ) That’s probably one of the reasons we had those bloody crusades in the Middle Ages…

    Regarding believing in science: it’s good that it’s constantly changing and that there are different opinions. We can never know the truth completely as we’re all learning all the time. We’re just beginning to see the light. That’s the good thing about science: it’s always evolving as we gather more facts and evidence, otherwise it would make no sense.

    I’m not born hating Him and I don’t hate Him right now. I had never heard of him until in school as my parents weren’t actually believers themselves. If they didn’t tell me about Him in school I might have even never heard of him and it wouldn’t have made any difference for me personally at all as I’m not fearing the wrath of God. I can live in balance with our Earth without needing a God.
    Besides, if I had to fear God, I would have to fear all other ‘gods’ as well, otherwise I wouldn’t be honest to them, would I?

    But as a matter of fact, I’m considering reading the bible again, as this is such an interesting science :-)

    Have a nice day.

  • @dieter –

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, bud. It takes some guts to come out and speak your mind like that in a public forum.

    It looks like the picture is coming in clearer. What I’m understanding and tell me if I have this right:

    • You were raised in a non-believer home and went to a Catholic school to learn about Him (Jesus).
    • You’ve had some disagreements with the way religion and activities of the “Church” has played out in this world.
    • It’s hard to believe that a document written thousands of years ago could still be accurate.
    • Science (i’m reading as Theory of Evolution) is appealing and sensible.
    • You feel that if you acknowledge and fear God, you’d have to acknowledge and fear other gods as well.

    I think I know how you feel because I was pretty much in the same place until my early twenties. I don’t argue, I just want to share what I know and what I’ve learned:

    In terms of facts, truth is, we have found original biblical manuscripts, and the uncanny, unwavering accuracy with which our current copies have with those, makes the facts undeniable. This is in large part because replicating the Bible was never like the game of “Telephone.” Scribes who committed their lives to replicating by hand (pre-Lutherian era and the printing press) would destroy entire manuscripts ‚Äì which could take months or years to write ‚Äì should there be even one error. There was a serious motivation to be accurate.

    What we’re getting at here is that, God’s word, the Bible, is unchanging. Him, His truths, His Love, His teachings do not change. Ever. That means it’s stable. It’s dependable. We can always count on it to provide a reliable foundation. Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to, we can’t say that about anything man has ever created, including religion.

    That may sound contradictory, but the point is, religion does not get us closer to God. Only the choice to follow a desire to have a RELATIONSHIP with Him gets you closer. That is the free gift He gives us. It’s just up to us to receive it.

    Children are not born hating God. They are born into sin. That’s not an active hate against Him, that’s a separation from Him. In fact, children receive Him more easily not because they’re easier to persuade (I have a strong-willed child I who has received Christ as Lord and Savior. So, I know.), but because it’s easy for them to grasp that we have a Creator who Loves us and has a plan for us. They have not been contaminated by the crud of this world.

    Church with a capital “C” is different than the church of the Bible and that where a lot of folks are confused. (I was totally confused at one point) The Catholic Church is an organized religion based on works. If you do this and that, you might do just enough to squeak your way into Heaven. So, you’re always kept in fear if you’ve done enough, given enough, etc. The truth is, through faith, you are saved by God’s grace and mercy, not by any works that you produce. Ephesians 2:1-10. One of my old pastors who is now on missions in England used to say, “Here a do” “there a do” “everywhere a do-do.” Because that’s what our own works without God are worth: do-do.

    The true church, as the Bible teaches us, is about the people. It’s not the place you go or the club to which you belong, it’s the point in which you gather with another in His name. In fact, technically, we’re in church right now. And He is here.

    Scrutinize and criticize the Crusades. That was not of the Lord.

    On the Theory of Evolution: Firstly, it is just theory. Secondly, if it were true, where would be our hope? What would be the point of life? There is no doubt that each and every one of us has a purpose (greater than even we know). We need hope to see that come. Where does hope come from?

    Lastly, to believe that we came from a series of vast genetic mutations into where we are now requires more faith than to believe in God. Consider the simplicity.

    Even Richard Dawkins, renowned Darwinist has conceded there is design and order to the Universe. Helllloo?? How can we have a design without a Designer? ;-)

    Fear of God’s wrath is only for the NON-believers.

    I want to encourage you, bro. There is so much more to life that we just cannot see. If you’re considering reading the Bible some more, go for it. You never know what God might speak to you. Definitely read around (John 3:16)

    I found this video for you:

    You might want to check out the other videos too.

    Also, you’re a Web design guy: Check out and the forums there.

  • Roger Gordon says:

    My friend Dieter invited readers of his blog to come over here and participate. I’ve found this debate very interesting so far. Unfortunately it’s past 2am here in South Africa, so my mind isn’t in the best state at the moment. Perhaps I’ll have time to add my 2 cent’s worth tomorrow.

    Nice design, by the way! I like the static header bar.

  • Hey Roger, Thanks for the compliment. Your site’s got a nice design as well.

    Yeah, come by whenever and jump in. It’ll be here. ;-)

  • Roger Gordon says:

    Regarding the crusades…
    Well, as far as I can tell, they were motivated more by political power than any real moral or philosophical issue, although I’m sure many of those who were recruited into the wars were duped into believing that it was the “will of God” to kill their Muslim enemies. People have used religion as an excuse to get their own way since time immemorial.
    Also, anyone who kills in the name of Christ clearly hasn’t understood Jesus when he says ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ and didn’t read the story about him willingly going to the cross…

    As an aside, and this is a thorny comparison, there have been more deaths due to atheistic regimes in the 20th century than probably all the religious wars put together. Since 1950, it is estimated that about 60 million have been killed by the Chinese Communist Party alone…
    For a disturbing view of what happens when you remove all higher moral authority from a society, read

    We all have a sin nature, whether we are religious or not. Fortunately Christ offers a way of dealing with our past, present and future sin, and even offers to change our hearts so that our sin nature is dealt with.

  • dieter says:

    Roger, I don’t think it’s wise to compare the chinese communist party with a common – sensed wide-thinking atheist.
    That’s making the same mistake as blaming the crusades on god.

  • Roger Gordon says:

    But I don’t think I made that comparison.

    The common-sense you’re referring to comes not from within the broad minded atheist, but from the society around them. Remove that environmental influence and you’re left with “survival of the fittest”, fittest in this case being those politically connected, wealthy and loyal to the party.

    I think it’s important to realise that while atheists might claim not to believe in a God, in many ways they live as if they do. If you’d like more clarification, I’d be happy to oblige.


  • dieter says:

    “I think it‚Äôs important to realise that while atheists might claim not to believe in a God, in many ways they live as if they do.”

    Didn’t it ever occur to you that it could be the other way around?

  • jessica says:

    It is very difficult for me to even begin to understand Christianity. I no longer try to impose rational argument on why it is not the “Truth” for me and the others out there who subscribe to good ol’ rational thought and common sense. Having just watched Jesus Camp last night, I am scared of these people and continue to be confounded by them more and more. I am not scared of them for the reasons they think, but because they are teaching little kids not to think but just blindly do and say as they are told. This type of blind faith is dangerous. I don’t think I even need to give examples about how many people not thinking as an individuals can lead to disaster. I could go on and on about the discrepancies regarding scientific thought, medical practices, treating all people with respect, etc…but I won’t because I know I am talking to a brick wall. So I pose this question: How is it that I am a person who genuinely respects all people, animals, the environment, etc.? I truly think all people just want to be happy, healthy and feel love. It is not my place to tell them one way to live or think, because we are all born with the capacity to do that for ourselves. I have never seen the inside of a church and am a firm atheist. Yet, I feel as though my way of looking at the world is much more forgiving and loving then what I have heard preached by the Christian faith. I have heard complete disregard, disrespect and bigotry for the environment, animals, people who do not share their belief system, our own human biology, women, etc… It’s hard to not want these people out of my country. I feel like this is where hate comes from. I see Jesus Camp and other extreme Christian groups and I see idolatry, greed, exclusion, intolerance and Hate. and Hate certainly is not what your friend Jesus intended. I understand that I will not change your mind and vise versa, I just had to say something…

  • Kirsty says:

    I kinda agree Jessica – there are a lot of hypocrites around.
    As Christians, we are called to hate the sin and love the sinner, but sometimes it seems most Christians can only remember the first one.

    “Yet, I feel as though my way of looking at the world is much more forgiving and loving then what I have heard preached by the Christian faith.”
    That might very well be true – I don’t know. What I do know however, is that God already loved you enough to die for you, and that this is what sets people free from everything you just mensioned: idolatry, greed, insecurity, intolerance, hatred and more.
    “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. …” (Gal 5:22-23)

  • Hey Jessica, Thanks for stopping by and your comments.

    A lot of what you mentioned has been discussed. I’ll try to remark best I can.

    One thing I make very clear is that I don’t argue and breed contempt. I’m always more than happy to share, though.

    Let us first address your question: How is that you’re a caring, forgiving, loving individual without choosing to have God in your life?

    Partly to your point, we all have this desire to be loved and in fact, I know you find it hard to believe, but that emptiness is from God. As we grow, because of that design, we look for ways to satisfy this lack, often times by giving what we want to others. For example, such as when we are very young, we do many inconsiderate things that require correction. Our social interactions with friends, parents, teachers, etc. around us will teach us what is proper and how to keep people from being upset with us. I believe this is from where non-believers learn it.

    Fact is, by nature, we are selfish people, when a baby is first born, it doesn’t come out and go, “oh mommy and daddy, let me help you clean up this mess we made here on the delivery room floor.” right? They need: food, and coddling (security) there are couple other main needs but those are critical for a baby and that’s all they want and care about: their needs, satisfied. Makes sense right?

    So some questions are: Where did the people who taught us how to behave know what was right? And how did the folks who taught them know, on and on?
    And If we’re just animals in this Darwinistic theory of survival of the fittest, how would we ever have compassion to teach others how to succeed and gain in life?

    As mentioned above, Jesus Camp disturbed me as well. And as for the other hypocritical behavior you mentioned: again, the heart of humans is naturally wicked (selfish). We all fall short of God’s glory, some fall shorter than others. Women and men who profess their bigotry in the name of Jesus will be dealt with harshly on their day of judgment. Even more severely will the leaders and teachers be judged because God holds them more accountable.

    Jesus said,

    6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

    If those children are in fact in sin because of what those teachers are teaching, them… they’re screwed.

    I’m in no position to judge those people though, or anyone for that matter, but I can inspect their “fruit.” Meaning that which other people produce in their lives (all human creations). I pray for those people. Speaking in tongues is a questionable and debatable issue – even amongst theologians.

    As for the bigots, hypocrites, and false teachers, I pray for them, because they are going to be hosed when the die and Jesus turns them away because they never cut their crap and developed a true relationship with Him. But, think about this: How cool would it be if their hearts were changed and they became the peacemakers they ought to be instead of the antithetical hate-mongers they are, before they die?

    You talked yourself into the point that we Christians make all the time: Our friend Jesus did not force himself on others. Anyone cramming the Gospel down the throats of others are not acting Godly. Not sure what their problem is, but it’s certainly not how Jesus’ true teachings tell us how to act.

    As I said, I don’t argue or debate, but I do have questions about a couple of your statements, though:

    People do want true happiness and contentment. Are you there? Do you have an everlasting contentment in your life? And if you do, as an atheist, why don’t you care that your life will one day end?

    Jessica said:

    “It is not my place to tell them one way to live or think, because we are all born with the capacity to do that for ourselves. I have never seen the inside of a church and am a firm atheist. Yet, I feel as though my way of looking at the world is much more forgiving and loving then what I have heard preached by the Christian faith.”

    True, the Bible does teach us there is only one God given gift that we have that can _never_ be taken away: free-will. We have our right to choose our own behaviors, but don’t forget we will have to accept the responsibility and the consequences from those behaviors.
    I guess what concerns me about your statement is, if you never stepped foot in a church and you’ve never made the choice to even know God, how do you know your way and POV is more forgiving and loving?

    Also, what is your opinion about this forum for discussion? Would you say this forum is considered a gathering, or does the technology between us separate us too much to consider it as such?

    To conclude, see as Christians, we don’t have to wonder what this whole meaning of life and death is ‚Äì we already know. And it’s really more simple than you can imagine. Darwin’s theory for example is just that, a theory. One that changes and rewrites itself and becomes more complicated and difficult to understand as time goes on. God Word is not. It’s never-changing and always consistent. (If you question the translations through time, the game of telephone, etc. read the above comments) Knowing that God has got my back, gives me a security no man’s theory could ever touch.

    If you want to get more on this conversation, we took it over to Dieter’s site for a little while as well:

  • Roger Gordon says:


    Yes, in many sad cases that is so.