Critical Thinking

“Hate The Religion, Love The Believer”


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Is this a reasonable position for Atheists or Secularists to take?  Atheists have often argued that the Christian slogan to “hate the sin, but love the sinner” is tantamount to their claim to oppose religion but love religious people.  However, I think this would not sit well with me (and many people of faith) because we DEFINE ourselves by our faith, whereas sinners do not define themselves by their sin.

Actually, I can think of only one type of sinner that defines themselves by their sin, being homosexuals.  So to hate their sin is (to them) equivalent to hating them, the same way Christians feel an attack on their Christian liberties is an attack on them as individuals (as citizens and as humans).

Can you think of other sinners that define themselves by their sin?  Maybe Nazis or the KKK, who define themselves by their hatred and superior feelings against people of colour.  If we hate their sin, can we claim to still love them?

In general, Christians can love people, despite their sin without attacking their identity.  For example, we love teenage girls who abort and seek to help them, though we hate their sin.  We love criminals in prison for murder and visit and pray for their healing, though we hate their sin.

The essential point I am making is, though you can separate the sinner from their sin, you CANNOT separate the believer from their belief.

For this reason, I would disagree that it is possible to hate the religion and love the believer.  If this differentiation cannot work with religious beliefs which are an essential part of the religious person (that we claim to love), how then can we deal with our strong views against religion in general or a religious belief or practice in particular?

I would love to know your perspective, whether Christian, religious or not. Please share your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks!

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If you liked this post, you might like THE INTOLERANCE OF RELIGION IN A TOLERANT SOCIETY

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39 replies »

  1. I think you’ve really hit on one of the biggest problems when it comes to dialogue between believers and nonbelievers. To atheists, there is a huge difference between the religion and its adherents. When we criticize your religion, we are not criticizing you personally. When we make fun of the religion, we are not making fun of you personally.

    This can often make it difficult to have a conversation because so many Christians do in fact see their religion as being a part of themselves (if not what is perhaps *the defining part of themselves). We can tell you over and over not to take things personally, but that’s not always possible if your religion is part of who you are personally–as a person.

    I realize you would disagree, but from my vantage point, you yourself are not Christianity. There are many other things that make up who you are. Some of those I’m sure I would probably like a lot if I got to know you. For this reason, I’m comfortable saying that I can love Christians but hate much of Christianity itself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Jon,

      Thanks for joining the conversation and airing your views. I always appreciate that.

      I want to use the example of homosexuality which I used in my post.

      While Christians are able to dissociate the man from his lifestyle choice of sleeping with other men and call that evil, while extending love to the man, the man cannot accept this judgement/treatment. To the homosexual man, his practice of sleeping with other men is an essential part of his expression of his own identity and humanity, so no matter how much we say it is not personal, our push to delegalize such practices is equivalent to making him extinct as a person. It is received as oppressive.

      As Christians, that will remain a challenge for us to address, because this is a particular unique case of one’s sin being part of their identity.

      As Atheists or Secularists, you also need to accept that religious beliefs are identity issues, not mere social issues. Using Christianity as an example, every Christian believes that they are part of the Body of Christ. To attack the Body is therefore to attack us. If we cannot practice our faith, we seize to be Christian, which is essential to how we view ourselves and how we cope with a lot of life issues.

      We appreciate that you, who reject God, do not need Him to understand or cope with life, but you also have to appreciate that we do.

      Now, there needs to be an alternative way to address this issue on a grand scale, due to the growing divide between Atheists and Believers. Minimizing our faith to the status of a mental defect (which is what many Atheists have begun to do, as they critique that God is a made up coping mechanism) will only offend our sensibilities, the same way homosexuals are offended by Christians who propose that they were not born with those desires, but do it consciously and rebelliously.

      We have to sensitively move forward from this point. In the case of religion, I think the only way is not by hating the religion, but by respectfully disagreeing with it.

      What do you think? Is there still room for respect?

      Cheers, Ufuoma.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You bring up some interesting points, and I agree with a fair amount of what you say. Homosexuality is a good example because it is one of the few “sins” that people use as part of their identity. You don’t hear people justifying murder with “that’s just who I am.”

        However, there are other instances of religious condemnation of identity. The Mormon church, for example, has until recently taught that black people are the cursed remnant of a evil, sinful people. I think that you and I would agree that it would be absurd to say, “I love the people, just not their skin color.” Yet, how do we extend that analogy to your views on homosexuality and to mine on Christianity. I’m not sure I have the answer to that one.

        The key difference, as I see it, lies in your “push to delegalize such practices.” There’s no question that I’m not a fan of Christianity. I have no problem even saying that I think religion has long since served its purpose and that the world would be better off without it. However, I would never try to make religion illegal or even to make people convert under duress. Thinking that homosexuality is a evil, sinful lifestyle and legislating against its practice are two different things.

        To answer your question though, yes, I think there’s still plenty of room for respect. The problem, however, usually comes down to a difference in opinion as to where we draw the line on ‘disrespect.’ I do enjoy a little blasphemy and satire at times. However, I enjoy dialogue even more, so I usually try to rein that in around believers (for the most part anyway). Some people think I’m respectful because of my approach; others would still say I’m disrespectful because I openly challenge belief and doctrine.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Jon,

        Your claim that you wouldn’t support a move to delegalize religion is what I find hard to accept. When I read posts with such sentiments… talking about challenging the “respect we accord to religion” and see you avatar underneath (showing that you agree with the post), I can’t help but be confused.

        If the government took a poll on the nation’s stance on religion, so as to make a decision about whether to eradicate it or not, I’m sure that, not only will you support the idea of the poll, but would tick the box that says eradicate.

        Sure you are not among the Atheists strategizing or campaigning to delegalize religion, but you’re very firmly on their side. In the same way, I’m not among the Christians strategizing and campaigning to overthrow the Supreme Court’s decision on homosexual marriages, but I am firmly on their side.

        Do you get what I am saying? The point is, neither of us are in the middle. We know what we want and what we support and why.

        Like

      • I will agree that I’m not in the middle, that I know what I support, and why I support it, but I still don’t think that necessarily implies a desire to eradicate something through force or legislation.

        As an example (something I recently came across), in America’s never ending parade of unbelievable business ventures, there’s a restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill:

        The menu includes “Single”, “Double”, “Triple”, “Quadruple”, “Quintiple”, “Sextuple”, “Septuple”, and “Octuple” Bypass” hamburgers, ranging from 8 to 32 ounces (230 to 910 g) of beef (up to about 8,000 calories (33,000 kJ)), all-you-can-eat “Flatliner Fries” (cooked in pure lard)… Customers over 350 lb (160 kg) in weight eat for free…
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_Attack_Grill

        There’s no doubt I think this is horrible. Not only is it obviously extremely unhealthy, but it promotes and glorifies obesity (not to mention mocks health and medicine). It’s a disturbing sign of our nation, but I still would not support anyone who wanted to close a business down because they didn’t agree with it.

        So in the same way, no, I certainly wouldn’t tick the box to eradicate religion, and actually, I would have a huge problem with such a poll itself. Such fiats by majority-rule have led to some of the biggest travesties in history. There are countries where I could be killed because of my lack of belief. Regardless of whether the nation has taken a poll and decided its religion, that doesn’t justify the convert-or-die mentality. I hate that that is done to atheists. I hate that that is done to Christians. And I would have no desire to perpetuate that.

        As for posts I have ‘liked’, first I will note that this does not necessarily mean I agree with them in full. I like posts that bring up good points and are well stated. Ultimately, I like when people make me think. I have ‘liked’ posts on James’ site and on other Christian sites. I may not agree with every point, but I have no problem acknowledging a fair point, especially if it’s something that I haven’t thought about before.

        However (without know the exact post to which you’re referring), yes, I agree that religion should be challenged. And no, I don’t think religion should get a ‘pass’ on ridicule just because some people find it sacred. As I have said before, that is not my personal approach. Ark, for example, has an extremely different style than I do. I may think he goes overboard sometimes. I may think that he often isn’t accomplishing much with his attacks. For that matter though, he may think that I’m too soft and that I’m a pansy.

        Ultimately, though, I think it takes all types in this world. There are Christians who are acerbic and condescending. It takes people like Ark to talk to some of them. There are some atheists who talk about being deconverted by that in-your-face approach. They needed that ‘slap in the face’ to really assess their beliefs.

        I respect people and their rights to believe whatever they believe; however, I don’t think that the beliefs themselves always deserve respect. I can point out that I think something is silly and still show respect for the person who believes it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Jon,

        You cleared up some assumptions for me, thanks. I also much prefer your approach than Ark’s.

        I understand what you said about not enforcing laws against other people’s freedoms, even with that horrific example you used.

        Let me ask you in a different way:

        If there is a shop called GET AIDS, and they were actually injecting people (knowingly) with infected needles so that they can have HIV, with the belief that once everyone gets it, there will be no more need to fear or ostracize those who live with AIDS. Would you look the other way and think it doesn’t concern you? Would you not be moved to challenge its entire existence?

        I’m using this example because this is the way Christians see sin, and acceptance of it and celebration of it. We believe it will ultimately kill those who indulge in it. We liken it to cancer. We cannot look the other way. We have a mandate to resist it. That is why, we are less tolerant and more critical than you would find reasonable.

        Cheers, Ufuoma.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Speaking of points that give me pause to think and which I haven’t considered in that manner before….

        From the Christian perspective, I can see how it would very much seem like sin is “infecting” the world in much the same way as HIV. However, I would note that with HIV, there’s one simple thing that makes it extremely easy to protect yourself–education. All the fear and ostracism ultimately stems from a lack of education on HIV and AIDS and how it is transmitted. There’s really no need to infect the world when we can simply educate it.

        Still, I get the point, and I understand that from the Christian vantage point, all the education in the world will not, by itself, eliminate sin. The problem is that with diseases such as HIV, we have a qualitative, objective understanding of what disease is and what the specific diseases do. Sin, however, is quite subjective. There is huge variation in the ‘sins’ of each different religion. Even within Christian circles, there is no consensus on on the ‘heavier’ issues like homosexuality, abortion, contraception, etc. I realize that you can look at these people and question how they are getting their beliefs from the same Bible you are reading, but many of them do defend their positions with scripture and can cite passages to back up their beliefs. You may think that they’re obviously ignoring the passages they don’t like, but they would probably say the same about you.

        Whose definition of sin do we use?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry… wasn’t intending to dodge that; I’m just not sure the analogy is perfectly valid. In all honesty, I’m not sure what I would think about that. Like I said, that is definitely making me think.

        One one hand, I could say that it doesn’t in fact affect me. I know where risks lie, and I know how to make sure I’m at risk to the least extent possible, if at all. There have actually been cases of people knowingly transmitting HIV to other people. This is certainly wrong if the recipients are unaware. If they receive it knowingly….. I don’t know.

        On the other hand I’m very well aware that no matter how much I try to protect myself, there’s always a chance that I could wind up in an at-risk situation. Obviously the higher the infected population, the higher the risk should such a situation arise.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Jon,

        Thanks for giving your honest perspective. Even the GET AIDS shop could be defended by some people on the basis that we are all going to die any way, so why not live fearlessly? Or another way, if we all have AIDS, then it is only a matter of time that a cure will be found, because even the rich and those in power would be plagued by it.

        However, I am glad you could see what was so objectional about it, and make the connection I was trying to make to how we see sin.

        You wrote:
        “Sin, however, is quite subjective. There is huge variation in the ‘sins’ of each different religion. Even within Christian circles, there is no consensus on on the ‘heavier’ issues like homosexuality, abortion, contraception, etc.”

        The subjective nature of sin is really the issue here. Sin is not a concept that the ‘world’ can accept! When we are able to convince people in the world of the existence of sin and convict them of their own sin, they enter a different domain.

        The closest concepts to sin that the world accepts are crime and injustice. That is why the Church has tried to change the world’s perspective by having an influence on what is considered legal and not.

        When we say “hate the sin” there is no reason for someone who doesn’t accept or understand the concept of sin to be offended. It should mean as much to them as a bunch of idol worshipers of a wooden god saying “hate the fire”, would offend me.

        It is a slogan for Christians, made by us to educate ourselves on how to relate with the world! It isn’t a slogan for Christians to teach the world. To us, it makes sense, because we understand sin and its nature.

        Now, to address your point about the different scales for sin and whose definition should be used… That’s where appreciating that sin isn’t a concept that the world will understand comes in! If you have a revelation of sin, as people of faith do, then you will know that the scales we use in judging sin are all flawed, and that any amount of sin, any size of sin and any quality of sin is sufficient to lead to our eternal death! So every minute sin is relevant to the believer!

        Unfortunately, due to hypocrisy and self-righteousness, we exalt some sins as greater than others. Also, some sins which have more visible, widespread and/or long-lasting effects, are also more heavily judged, than those that may be hard to identify or confirm (e.g. murder vs hate, robbery vs greed, rape vs lust etc). It also helps us that many of the sins that bare social impact are already recognised as crimes (in many societies). However, when trends are shifting so that crimes are being legalised or being overlooked (due to how hard it is to enforce), then we have cause for concern.

        It really isn’t about the denomination, the Church or even the religion. The general consensus for people of faith is that sin is anything that is displeasing to God or done by self-will and not by faith in God! It could be absolutely legitimate on a normal day, but if you have disobeyed God in doing that legitimate thing (by not waiting on His time, or confirmation, e.g when Saul made sacrifices without Samuel the Prophet and God forsook him as king), then you should expect God to judge you for it, or know that you need to repent and ask for forgiveness.

        All I am saying now, will certainly go over your head if you are “of the world”. You don’t need to know what sin is, when and how, etc etc if you have no intention of living your life in obedience to God. Sin is only important to you if you believe in God, and want to walk in His will.

        Cheers, Ufuoma.

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    • Hey Jon. Why is it atheists have to make fun of religion at all? I get a lot of personal insults from grown people and they are directed right at me, not my faith.

      While I don’t take it personally or let it bother me much, it makes me instantly loses respect for the people doing it.

      James

      Liked by 2 people

      • First, I will way that I have a problem with people who wage personal insults about a person’s beliefs. Are atheists any smarter than Christians? Certainly not. I have read works by some brilliant Christians who are far more intelligent than I am. Besides, that would imply that someone would somehow suddenly get smarter when they leave a religion. So, arguments like, “You’re an idiot because you’re a Christian.” are pointless and nonsensical. Personal attacks based on personality, attitude, or assessment of evidence are a little different matter though. If someone is being a pain, I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to call them on it. Even then, however, I don’t think a volley of name-calling is productive.

        As far as making fun of religion itself, that’s a trickier matter. Some atheists are very direct and confrontational. They don’t mind mocking beliefs, even to the point of being deliberately offensive. This is not my approach–it really just doesn’t fit my personality. There are lots of atheists who will debate over whether this approach does more harm than good, but personally, I think it takes all types of people in this world. This approach has it’s place (though if you decide that place is not in the comments section of your blog, I fully support that too).

        I’m not going to claim that I’m above mockery. I certainly do my share, though I try to tone it down when talking to believers (at least until I get to know them well enough for them to know how to take my odd sense of humor). However, if someone holds to a belief that I find absolutely ludicrous, I don’t think I need to simply say, “Well, good for you.” I had a Wiccan priest tell me once that he believed a dragon lived on top of his house. It was perched there at all times to protect him, his family, and his property. This wasn’t a metaphor, and it wasn’t a joke. He believed a literal, physical dragon lived on his roof. I had no problem telling him that was one of the most absurd things I had ever heard.

        Now, in a group of atheists, I enjoy some good blasphemy as much as anyone else. I love irreligious memes, mockery, and ridicule. For some people it’s a matter of bonding. For some atheists who come out of religious backgrounds, this can even be cathartic to mock what was once (for many) so terrifying and fear inspiring. I didn’t have much of a religious upbringing, but I live in a highly religious community, so I appreciate the chance to interact with like-minded people.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jon, well said. As a christian, I identified with christ in the cross. Oswald Chambers and Watchman Née were my teachers. This is followed up by the constant reminder that you are nothing, christ is all. Anything good in me is because of christ in me… the hope of glory. Self immolation, spiritually speaking, is the very heart of christianity. And wh=n christ is all and you are not even a worm, then someone attackimg, challenging or otherwise questioning your faith is questioning and mocking christ himself and in turn he’s mocking you at your very core.
    This is why even those inside the walls of the church get hammered for asking the most simple of questions.
    There is no love without obedience and conformity. It’s just veneer over a fomenting hatred ready to strike if you say the wrong thing, ask the wrong question, cross the wrong line.

    -KIA

    *Edited with permission from KIA*

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  3. (my previous comment without the line about the other people or the scrutiny. thx)
    Jon, well said. As a christian, I identified with christ in the cross. Oswald Chambers and Watchman Née were my teachers. This is followed up by the constant reminder that you are nothing, christ is all. Anything good in me is because of christ in me… the hope of glory. Self immolation, spiritually speaking, is the very heart of christianity. And wh=n christ is all and you are not even a worm, then someone attackimg, challenging or otherwise questioning your faith is questioning and mocking christ himself and in turn he’s mocking you at your very core.
    This is why even those inside the walls of the church get hammered for asking the most simple of questions.
    There is no love without obedience and conformity. It’s just veneer over a fomenting hatred ready to strike if you say the wrong thing, ask the wrong question, cross the wrong line.
    -KIA

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Isn’t the whole formula a bit disingenuous? I mean, people are defined by their sin in the Christian tradition. It makes Jesus necessary, it determines their fate in the current life and it determines their fate in the afterlife. I don’t see how splitting off the sin is successful in that case.
    Saying, “Love the sinner; hate the sin”, is really to say, “I wish you were different, because my doctrine instructs me to, and thus I wish it, so that I don’t fall into sin and condemnation myself.”
    It works, only if the response is, “Yes, you are right. I convert to Christianity and repent.”
    If the response is, “I disagree.”, then the speaker is a willful sinner (with an associated psychological/character defect, i.e. they want to live it up, they don’t want to be bossed around, they are too proud to acknowledge that they are sinners, though they really know it deep down, yada, yada, yada) and is naughty in the eyes of the Lord, deserving of a sound spanking or an eternal dip in the lake of fire.
    The love/condemnation dichotomy has been a chronic problem for Christianity, which, despite all the sophistry dedicated to it, has never been adequately resolved. This little aphorism is another manifestation.

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    • Hi Keith,

      I started responding to your comment yesterday, but clicked send by accident. I deleted the half expressed thought, so I could settle down and respond properly. Thanks for your patience.

      Thanks also for joining the conversation.

      I have to disagree with your statement that Christians define people by their sins! While the world may find it hard to accept a murderer back in the community, Christians are commanded to love these sinners, to reach out to the ostracized and to defend the oppressed. The Christian thing to do is to restore, to forgive, to empower. Yes, that also means that we do not DENY what the person has done. We recognise it, we expect that the person will accept it and own up to it, which is the first step to healing. It is for this reason that we always have to address sin where we find it, because if we deny it and refuse to own up to it, we stop our healing.

      In any case, even if people do not confess their faults or ask for forgiveness, even if they are adamant on repeating this behaviour, as Christians, we are duty bound to extend the grace of God to them, the same way we expect God to be gracious to us for the big or small sins we still commit (as we too are still human).

      This is what Christians are supposed to do. We often fall short. But our motto to “hate the sin, love the sinner” is not a motto to condemn people, but to help them to find healing, and help us to be gracious in our dealings with them (knowing that we also sin).

      I hope I have been able to clearly express the Christian view point.

      Like

      • Actually, I don’t see you disagreeing with me. You are describing your response to people who are sinners as defined by their status as sinners. Just because the state might send a dissident for a pleasant stay at a re-education facility rather than put a bullet in her head, doesn’t mean that the state is interacting with her on a different basis – the central issue is her sin against the state. This is a corollary to the thesis of your post; I don’t see how you escape it.

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  5. Hi Keith, if that is your response, I don’t know what your issue with my statement is. Unless you are advocating for anarchy, and each man to his own rules, and no judgement (even at the state level), then there really isn’t an issue to Christians being able to identify and distinguish sin from the individual. It’s at least a good thing, that they do not have the mindset that once a murderer, always a murderer, or once a cheater, always a cheater, or once a sinner, always a sinner! We believe that everyone sins, and everyone can forsake their sins!

    If your issue is the fact we we label anything sin in the first place, then that’s a different issue altogether. Crime is labeled crime by the state, but we do not ALWAYS agree with what is called crime! In the same way, you can reserve the right to not agree with us on everything we label as sin. However, you can’t then use that to say there is no such thing!

    Sincerely, Ufuoma.

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    • My issue is with your claim that you do not view people as defined by their sin in the same way, or at least to the same degree, in which you view them as defined by their belief. To carry on the analogy of the state and the dissident a bit further, however empathetically the state treats the political prisoner (claiming that the offender is redeemable, a potentially valuable member of the society, etc.), the prisoner is still primarily a criminal in the eyes of the state.
      I do not think that the notion of a disembodied mind is a coherent notion. It seems that the God of Christianity must be a disembodied mind, whatever else it is. So, I cannot believe in the Christian God. No God, no sin, from my point of view. Does that viewpoint, which itself is a sin to you, not define me in your book, whatever else we agree or disagree on?
      I understand the aphorism in question, “love the sinner, hate the sin”, to imply that hating the sin is a way of loving the sinner, but I am saying that that only goes so far – repentance is ultimately required, and if repentance is not in the cards, then what? The whole thing falls apart, and that is because the sin was the central issue all along.

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      • Hi Keith,

        I’m struggling to follow your train of thought. I think you are seriously confusing the issues with your comparison of Christianity (or God) to the State. It seems to me that you don’t have a basic understanding of Christianity.

        First of all, ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ is not just about people outside the Church. It is also about people inside the Church! We recognise that we still fall short and fall into sin, even after we’ve come to know Christ. This slogan or counsel helps us to address the sin, while still reaching out to the person in sin with love (whether within or outside the Church).

        Secondly, Christians are made up of all sorts of people with all sorts of pasts. We also have this expression, based on scripture: “there is neither Greek nor Jew, slave nor free”. In Christianity, we are all equal. Once we come to Christ, we are not condemned by our sinful past, nor do we condemn others. There is no “hey, that’s the adulterer”, or “remember that jewel thief” or “be careful, she was a whore” when relating with each other. We see each other as NEW CREATURES created for good works. So your State analogy that the criminal will always be treated as such is wrong! If Christians do that, they are wrong.

        Thirdly, you are right with the expression “no God, no sin”. There’s nothing truer! It is God that convicts us of sin! It is what God defines as sin that is sin, not what we define as sin. Even what we consider harmless could be a sin, and what we consider sinful could be righteous! The Spirit of God (which is love and truth) sheds light on these things for us. Christians use their understanding of sin to define morality and influence social justice and laws. But if God did not exist, no one would be convicted of sin!

        Fourthly, “hate the sin, love the sinner” is not based on repentance. That is the way God loves each of us. The Bible says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. To God, we are loved and redeemable…until we come to the realisation that we are loved and redeemable…so that we accept that love, and become REDEEMED. But even if we never accept His love so that we can be redeemed, we are still loved and redeemable… The onus is on us! Until the last day, when by our rejection of God and His love, we make ourselves irredeemable.

        Lastly, no person identifies themselves by their sin (except for the case of homosexuality I’ve already mentioned). Even prostitutes, do not define themselves by what they do, though it is their profession. They separate mind from body in that respect, to keep their sanity. Theives and murderers do not proudly hold their evil deeds as their identity. Shame prevents people from exalting their sin and identifying with it as part of who they are. To them, it is just what they do (now and then). It is not who they are. Where there is no shame, that is when people boast of sin and try to make what is evil legal (by claiming that it is natural or that they are born that way).

        But, in faith, there is no shame. Our belief is our liberty. It is our joy. It is our hope. It is our sanity. As such, it is an essential part of our identity, in a way that sin cannot be to a sane human being!

        I hope I have addressed all the different points you raised, so that you can now see how sin and belief are different in their ability to bring definition to human existence.

        Sincerely, Ufuoma.

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      • I’m afraid I haven’t been very clear. The issue isn’t with the application of the statement within the group, but with application of the statement outside the group, which is the subject of your post in the first place.
        If someone does not, in the end, subscribe to your schema of sin and salvation, then does that not leave them condemned? If they are condemned, are they not defined by the cause of their condemnation, in the same way that the dissident who refuses to recant, must remain a prisoner, defined by their dissent in the eyes of the state?

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      • I’m afraid we’re going around in circles. The subject of my post was not those outside the group. The subject of my post was the concept of “hating the religion, loving the believer”. You actually haven’t even aďdressed that. You’re more interested in sin!

        Now, I’ve said to you and to Jon, who I’ve also been corresponding with that sin should be of absolutely no relevance to you if you do not believe in God, because “no God, no sin”. If you’re losing sleep over being condemned for your sins, then maybe you believe in God afterall…

        Now, the issue of condemnation was also addressed in my last comment to you. When it comes to God, you are self-condemned. Why? Because He offered you love and redemption until the Last Day and you scorned ans rejected it. It’s the same as the man drowning in the sea rejecting a lifeboat, while expecting God to automatically transpose him to safety! God reaches out to us all, and we either accept or we die.

        Now, concerning ‘definition’, when you die eternally, is your concern really about the idea that you were defined as a “sinner” or “fornicator” or “heathen”, whichever label you put? God is not interested in any of those labels! All He wants is your humility and obedience. No Christian is interested in labeling you. If you label yourself, that’s your limited understanding of a concept of sin that as an unbeliever, you do not even understand!

        I don’t know who you are or what you do. I can’t define you in anyway, except acknowledge that you are an unbeliever. To me and God, you are LOVED and REDEEMABLE, until the Last Day, when you will either join the rank of the REDEEMED or the IRREDEEMABLE by your acceptance and submission or rejection of God’s love… but not by your ignorance.

        Sincerely, Ufuoma.

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  6. This is a good post with a lot of food for thought. Hate the religion, love the believer goes against the mock and ridicule them in public mentality shared by many atheists.

    Christianity has been around more than 2,000 years and is not going anywhere so, I think the goal of evangelical atheists is to break Christians individually with ad homing attacks.

    James

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi James,

      Thanks for checking in 🙂 I’m actually not for the expression myself. I don’t think it’s feasible seeing as one’s religion is tied closely to their identity, unlike one’s sin.

      However, despite the expression, attacks against religion has tended to become personal as some people who are considered extreme are made as scapegoats or ‘specimen A’ on what’s bad about religion.

      I appreciate your contribution 🙂 thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Let me agree with the others when I say that this was a very thought-provoking post. Good job! Yes, we Christians DO think 😉

    Now, what do I think? I don’t know about the atheist’s brain, but I think it is perfectly possible to love someone despite their self-identifying sins or religion. The reason is that we as Christians can love others because of their intrinsic value given unto them by their Creator. Even though the homosexual may claim we can’t love him because of his close identity with his sinful lifestyle, the opposite is true. We love because God first loved us. Our love is not a natural love, but a divinely inspired one meant to see people for whom they really are: creations of God for whom Jesus died to save.

    If nothing else, the Christian recognizes the existence of an eternal soul which cannot be what the body does. Therefore, we can love the soul, despite what is done in the flesh.

    That’s my thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts! We are not the sum of our sins, or even the sum of our beliefs… we are much more precious than that.

      I wish you a wonderful day 🙂

      Like

  8. I have a hard time loving the religion, but I certainly don’t hate the believer. I once read about this church that was Biblical to the core and tended to handle matters in house and hated to have any outside interaction. It’s members would often do business with each other rather than go to an outsider because they were all deeply connected. So when sexual abuse was discovered in their midst, they kept it quiet, they took it to the elders, who told the victims that the Bible says that they have to forgive their abusers. Though the law had been broken, the elders persuaded the victims to not press charges long enough for the statute of limitations to expire. I hate how Christianity was twisted to protect the sinner and throw the victims under the bus, I hate how Christianity forced the victims to pretend it was all okay and it denied them justice, I hate how Christianity left the dangerous element unchecked and the congregation in the dark so as to allow it to happen again and again in their midst. Yet I understand how all the players involved are pictures of humanity, the guilty, the innocent, the bystanders, each a flawed individual capable of doing great good or great harm depending on what they were taught. Since they were told never to question the elders decisions, they were powerless, and since the elders chose to do nothing, then they – as representatives of God – were the ones who were the guiltiest of all. I’m sure none of them are outright evil, but because their beliefs were what they were, they did what they did and they didn’t do what they should have done. Ultimately, this darkness had to come to light and once the full of it was know, the congregation imploded and many believers left the church. I can’t love a Christianity that does things like that, but it doesn’t mean that all Christians are guilty by association and should be hated as representatives of the religion.

    Liked by 1 person

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