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Tony Campolo’s surprise reaction when his son came out as a humanist

Tony Campolo, a progressive evangelical leader who has counseled former President Bill Clinton. Photo courtesy Tony Campolo

 

Tony Campolo, a progressive evangelical leader who has counseled former President Bill Clinton. Photo courtesy Tony Campolo

Tony Campolo is a progressive evangelical leader who provided spiritual counsel to former President Bill Clinton. Photo courtesy of Tony Campolo.

Bart Campolo decided he was no longer a Christian after being injured in a bike accident in 2011, but he waited until last Thanksgiving to break the news to his father.

That’s because his dad is Tony Campolo, an influential evangelical leader and author who is famous for having been a spiritual adviser to former President Bill Clinton. Following that memorable family dinner, Bart sat his parents down and explained that he was now an agnostic humanist. His father’s response was unexpected.

“You know me. I am not afraid you’re going to hell because the God I believe in doesn’t send people to hell for eternity for having the wrong theology,” Tony responded, according to Bart. “I’m sad because Christianity is my tribe, and I liked having you in my tribe. ”

Looking back now, the elder Campolo said he doesn’t remember what he said, but describes the conversation as “upsetting” and “traumatic.” Even though Tony says he believes in hell and “Jesus is the only way to salvation,” he won’t speculate on his son’s eternal destiny.

“I leave judgments in the hands of God,” Tony said. “I don’t know what’s going on in Bart’s heart or mind or soul. I have faith in God and I have faith in prayer, and I have confidence that this thing is not over until it’s over.”

Tony Campolo, front, with son Bart Campolo. Photo courtesy of Bart Campolo

Tony Campolo, front, with son Bart Campolo. Photo courtesy of Bart Campolo

The two remain close despite their theological differences and speak on the phone regularly. They are even co-authoring a book together that Tony says is tentatively titled, “A Painful Dialogue Between an Evangelical Father and His Agnostic Son.”

But Bart’s rejection of his father’s faith shouldn’t come as a total shock to those who’ve been watching his life and ministry.

“I passed just about every stage of heresy on my way to apostasy,” Bart said. “It wasn’t until I exhausted every option for staying a Christian that I gave it up.”

The younger Campolo recounts becoming a Christian in high school. He says he was drawn by the sense of community and the common commitment to love people, promote justice, and transform the world.

“All the dogma and the death and resurrection of Jesus stuff was not the attraction,” Bart said.

His first step away from orthodoxy occurred while doing inner-city ministry near Philadelphia. Bart encountered a girl who had been gang-raped at age 9 and who rejected Christianity after her Sunday school teacher said God could have stopped the act but allowed it for a reason.

Bart decided that if he was going to remain a Christian, he had to believe that God did not authorize that child’s rape and was not in control of the world. He began to imagine God as engaged in a battle with good and evil rather than a cosmic marionette pulling the universe’s strings.

The next rejection occurred as a student at Haverford College in 1981, when two of Bart’s roommates came out to him as gay. Though evangelical Christian teachings repudiated same-sex orientation at the time, he chose instead to jettison the biblical verses that spoke negatively of homosexuality.

“I decided I was going to make room for gay people in my theology, and I became very open about the fact that I would ignore certain Bible verses and underline others,” he said.

Having rejected the sovereignty of God and authority of the Bible — two cornerstone Christian beliefs — he was already substantially outside the evangelical fold. But then Bart committed what many would call an unpardonable sin: He became a universalist. He simply couldn’t fathom a God who would condemn his nonbelieving friends to hell for eternity.

“I was only interested in a God who would save everybody,” Bart said. “It didn’t matter that the Bible had some verses that said something different.”

This unholy trinity of Christian rejections sent Bart into a spiritual tailspin. He was thrown out of conferences and churches for preaching unorthodox beliefs. Then he published an article in “The Journal of Student Ministries” laying out his scandalous theology. After vicious pushback and cries of “heresy,” the article was pulled.

“I started rejecting the supernatural stuff, the orthodoxy. I no longer believed God does miracles or that Jesus was raised from the dead or that other religions were false,” he said. “My Christianity had died the death of a thousand nicks and cuts.”

But it wasn’t until the biking accident in 2011 that Bart lost whatever remained of his tattered faith. “While recovering, I thought, ‘When this body dies, I think that will be the end of Bart Campolo. I don’t think I will be going anywhere. I don’t believe in eternal life in that way anymore.’”

Today, Bart serves as the humanist chaplain at the University of Southern California. He is only one of a few individuals in such a role on a U.S. campus.

While his new community is neither orthodox nor theistic, he believes it will still be a place of hope. Bart said he wants to create a humanist community that Christian people can celebrate — what he calls “a church for people who don’t believe in God.” He wants to curate experiences with inspirational talks, uplifting music, service opportunities, and perhaps even potluck suppers.

“One thing I learned from Jesus was that if you want to gain your life, you have to lose it for the sake of the gospel,” Bart said. “I may have a different gospel now, but I want to give my life to it. I still have good news to share.”

As it turns out, you can take a man out of the ministry, but you can’t always take the ministry out of a man.

About the author

Jonathan Merritt

Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He has published more than 2500 articles in outlets like USA Today, The Week, Buzzfeed and National Journal. Jonathan is author of "Jesus is Better Than You Imagined" and "A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars." He resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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  • Right…The Gospel of Bart…and who is the saviour? human. right…logical isn’t it? We save ourselves even though none of his friends could save themselves…

    He is in the process of sinning against Jesus “he is the light that lighteth every one that cometh into the world.”…HOW? By making what is known about God plain to man so they are without excuse:

    “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man” Romans 1 says it all.

  • So Judy, would it be accurate to say you believe?

    THE HERETIC UNBELIEVER SHOULD BURN FOR DENYING JESUS!!!!!

  • This was a very calm and sensible interview and I appreciated it very much. Faith is as much about expressing doubt as much as it is being convinced of something. Tony Campolo did the right thing in his reaction.

  • “His first step away from orthodoxy occurred while doing inner-city ministry near Philadelphia. Bart encountered a girl who had been gang-raped at age 9 and who rejected Christianity after her Sunday school teacher said God could have stopped the act but allowed it for a reason.”

    God could have also sent angels to rescue his only Son from an excruciating death on the cross, but he didn’t. If we begin to craft a God of our own understanding, it is easy to despise the God of the Bible. As Brennan Manning said, “Jesus alone reveals who God is. His is the source of our information about transcendence/divinity. We cannot deduce anything about Jesus from what we think we know about God; however, we must deduce everything about God from what we know about Jesus.”

  • the judgmental comments on this thread don’t help. do i share Bart’s conclusion? hardly but condemning a man because of his worldview isn’t exactly Christ like. God will judge and sort it out. Let’s do our job of loving and being truthful and let God judge. It’s amazing to me though how humanists purport a hope and what have you. At least Nietzsche and Camus were realistic given if there is no God life is absurd. It simply is. It’s completely arbitrary at that point. That doesn’t mean you can’t live a life existentially this is “good” or be a “good” person or experience “meaning” but that good and meaning has nothing to do with reality. That’s the only honest option as an atheist and living this side strictly “under the sun”.

  • A classic case of one you start ignoring certain parts of the bible it leads to absolute heresy and an abandonment of faith. So sad.

  • I, for one, am not even a little surprised by “Tony Campolo’s surprise reaction.” When you’ve given up so much of the gospel already (only seeing it in terms of “tribes” rather than a matter of life and death), why would one more step matter? All Bart did was have the courage to follow Tony’s trajectory out farther and faster.

  • A reaction of anguish, wrestling with the fact that his son has rejected God’s messiah and the only name under heaven by which we may be saved–THAT would have genuinely been a “surprise reaction” from Tony Campolo.

  • It’s our constant presentation of a God who’s “all about wrath” (rather than all about love) that has pushed so many millions of young people a little further from the reach of the Gospel, I’m afraid. The God of the Bible is the Prodigal Father who hikes up his skirts and runs without shame to welcome home the son who has sinned and now seeks mercy.

    Not saying the theology about us being separated from a holy God by our sin isn’t important (and that’s clearly what demonstrates God’s amazing love for us), but I think too often we spend all our messaging energy on shaking our long bony finger at the “sinners” when we should instead be seeking to serve and love them to Christ. That’s what Jesus would do (and did).

    The very word “Gospel” means “Good News,” after all.

    Let’s give a little grace, just as Tony is seeking to do as he wrestles with his son’s situation.

  • I don’t know. I’m the only believer in my family of five adult children, mother, father, hell even as far as I can tell my wife has fallen away from the faith and I’m not sure my kids ever had it even though we did the whole church every Sunday, Sunday school thing with them for 18 years good parent type stuff. My point is that I’ll never, ever give up praying for family, wife, kids, pets or anything. God lets us wander off into the wilderness. Sometimes, for a very long time and through a lot of different beliefs. This is common. I’m not surprised by the elder Campolo’s reaction. It’s all in God’s hands and in His time.

  • What I find most instructive is Bart’s observation that what initially drew him to the church was love for people, promoting justice, and changing the world but, “all the dogma and the death and resurrection of Jesus stuff was not the attraction” Did we hear that? The death and resurrection of Christ was not the attraction! This the Gospel, the way God draws us to Himself, the sum of everything we believe and do, and yet this young man says it wasn’t what drew him in. I say this not as an indictment against Bart but the Church as whole today. He is clearly a thoughtful young man but without the foundation of Christ Himself crucified and raised for him why are surprised? He can now promote “love, justice, changing the world” without Christ because it appears it was never really done because of Christ to begin with. We will have plenty of personal and intellectual struggles with things in the Scripture but Christ crucified and raised for us is the firm ground of all Christian conviction. Is the Church losing so many to the world because they draw them in with everything but Christ?

  • Our God is a God of love. Our God is a God of judgment. This article is very provoking in that it causes you to take a side based on your own world view. My knee-jerk reaction was to immediately condemn Bart Campolos for his heresy, or as he describes it, apostasy. As I read through the comments, I realized I was judging the heart of a man I did not know or care to know. There is the problem. Before judging another, we don’t even care to know the how or why. “When you look down on another, you cannot look up at the creator.” James Merritt.

    God is patiently waiting for Bart. Bart is right. God is not fair. To quote Dr. Merritt one more time, “Thank God He is not fair.” If God were fair, we would get exactly what we deserve. Now that is a dreadful thought. My prayer is that someone who knows and loves Bart will not cease pouring into his life.

  • I’m thinking we shouldn’t forget or dismiss the target Bart is by the enemy given his father and family. The enemy who can be deceptive beyond our imagination. God is still in control, though.

  • So here is my question (53 christian who is having doubts) and I am honestly looking for a real answer. An 18 year old non believer (call him Rick) is out partying all night and is walking home because he wrecked his car. Another 18 year old non believer (call him Steve) is out all night helping the homeless and sees the other guy walking so he stops to pick him up. While he is driving he tries to tell Rick that his lifestyle is going to keep him from enjoying life and that God can help him. Steve goes on to say that God loves us all and that whether it is Jesus or another method it doesn’t matter as long as he finds God. Seconds later an 18 wheeler plows into the car killing Steve instantly. Rick survives and becomes a christian based on what Steve told him. Based on what I have been taught in church eternity is millions of years long so do you really believe that Rick would live millions of year in heaven and Steve (who lived 18 years helping others) would spend millions of years in hell? Sorry but I need help with this…

  • So you don’t want to Judge his confession .. let us Lutherans do it for you. we at least judge righteously
    through faith in Jesus being perfect in our stead ..
    There is no reason to believe this Bart fellow is lying about his confession of no faith in Jesus .. so he is preparing himself for destruction in hells fires..

    IF ANY OF YOU PROTESTANTS HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT ..
    I suggest strongly you make use of our pastors evangelism sites..
    either
    http://www.whataboutjesus.com
    or
    http://www.learnaboutjesus.com

  • I could not agree more. Its truly sad. I feel for hom, but you cannot discount portions of the Bible. We cannot shape God into a being of our choosing. We must see God for who He is

  • Witchsmeller Pursuivant Oct 6, 2014 at 2:24 pm So Judy, would it be accurate to say you believe? THE HERETIC UNBELIEVER SHOULD BURN FOR DENYING JESUS!!!!! –
    ====================
    allow me to answer ..its awfuly stupid of the unbeliever
    to burn in hell considering Jesus did all the work perfectly to save them .. yet their unbelief would have non of Jesus saving THEM or his heaven won for them..
    So now they will go with there master Satan AND THE HELL God did not want them to endure..

  • I agree Larry with the solution, but love means nothing until we fully understand why we need a savior and the price that was paid for the grace that is freely available. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to hear about the depth of their sin but we must. Only then can see how much we are loved and forgiven. That’s real grace not the cheap grace of “I am loved because I deserve to be loved.”

  • Pure tragedy. Let’s repeat it: PURE TRAGEDY. And many Christian parents are fighting against the same or similar tragedies.

    I absolutely.commend Tony Campolo for hanging in there. Please don’t give up, sir, don’t give up. Keep praying, keep fighting, don’t ever give up the fight, even as you keep the communication lines open in love.

    Also, I have to commend Jonathan Merritt on this one. He has very effectively allowed this painful, horrific tragedy to speak for itself, and that requires a talented journalist.

    So kudos to Merritt for what may be his best article in quite a while. But it’s a story of loss, not of gain. Bart’s loss.

  • I think, Bill, that God uses people who cross our paths for His glory. He works in mysterious ways:

    Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

  • Clapped-out middle aged man drawing a salary from an institutional sinecure who has adhered to nothing resembling Mere Christianity in more than thirty years elects to tell us he made himself abrasive to his father at a holiday dinner last year (maintaining for effect that his father had not long ago figured out there wasn’t much there there).

    Heartwarming.

  • Jesus commanded his followers to treat all who did not repent “as tax collectors and sinners.” GUESS WHAT? How did Jesus treat tax collectors and sinners?? WITH LOVE AND ASSOCIATION, for those deemed Unworthy by Religious Folks.

  • I think you already know the answer on that one, Bill.
    Both Rick and Steve have a terminal sin problem. Both are sinners. If “good works” such as helping the homeless, could wash away either man’s sins, (or even yours and mine for that matter), then sure, Steve would go to heaven. Or Rick too if he did good works.

    But that’s the rub, isn’t it? We cannot wash off our own sins with a bunch of good works. We cannot buy off our own sins with a bunch of good works. We cannot get lucky with God by bribing Him with a bunch of good works. Nope.

    Well, why not, you might ask? Well, check this out:
    Helping the homeless is cool, but if you got a killer Ebola Virus inside of you, helping the homeless will NOT stop your tragic death. You need specialized hospital treatments and medicines that address what’s REALLY wrong with you.

    Well, sin is like that too. There’s only ONE antidote to it — and either you hook up with that one Antidote, or else that sin problem will take you straight down to spiritual death. Take you to an unimaginably horrific eternal separation from God.

    Jesus is that one Antidote to anybody’s sin poison, no matter how many or how few “good works” a person has done. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever BELIEVETH in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

  • @dee bee
    Jesus does not want people to be happy in their sins.. He wants them in heaven with him ..wanted and kept sin can very quickly destroy faith that Jesus needed to die for that sin .. I AM GUESSING BUT I WOULD JUST BET .. That is exactly how this Pastors Son shipwrecked his own faith in Jesus.. over some wanted and kept sin,, HE CHOSE TO KEEP AND DEFEND HIS WANTED SIN,, RATHER THAN FAITH THATJESUS HAD TO DIE FOR FULL AND FREE FORGIVNESS OF THAT SIN OF HIS ..

    the danger of sin is not the sin itself .. its our sinful nature that no longer
    considers sin sinful and so it convinces us we no longer needs to trust in Jesus forgiveness
    won on the cross for that sin..

    you see there is no such thing as Mortal sins for the believer in Jesus FORGIVENESS all sins for them are JUST Vernal.

    Yet even the vernal sins for the unbeliever in Jesus forgiveness .. are Mortal sins..

    simply said
    MORTAL MEANS HAVING ETERNAL consequences
    vernal means not having eternal consequences ..

    yet every sin of both the unbeliever and believer is a sin against the first commandment .. though shalt have no other Gods ,,

    and that sin is a sin against all of Gods laws..

    that’s why Jesus said break one and you have broken them all..

    http://whataboutjesus.com/grace/actions-god-series/how-could-god-send-someone-hell

  • I am saddened by this article. Bart is my friend. I debated with him when he was wrestling with these ideas in 98-99. I did ministry for Mission Year in Philly, the ministry he and his father started together. He was preaching a lot about a wideness in God’s grace, or simply universalist teaching. I recall him telling me about his sister and how she left the faith. He didn’t seem concerned because he most likely held to the view that hell wasn’t real. I still pray for my friend. I do believe in an Almighty, sovereign God who holds the universe by the word of his power.

  • lets not forget the MANY days kind David lost his faith that some day JESUS would COME and would win forgiveness for his sins of adultery and murder .

    God is always faith full and remembered his promise to Abraham .. and so he sent his profit Nathan to king David who repented of his distrust that God needed to send him a savior from his MORTAL sins to.

    King David because God sent Nathan realized how his wanted and kept sins prevented him from being part of God’s promise repented ..

    THE QUESTION REALLY IS and remains .. DO Gods Christians HAVE the HEART TO BE Gods NATHAN
    to LOST SOULS…?

  • “I’m sad because Christianity is my tribe, and I liked having you in my tribe. ”

    So cruel.
    I would disown someone who said that to me.

    JESUS – I WANT YOU TO TURN YOUR LOVED ONES INTO YOUR ENEMIES

    “Brother shall betray brother to the death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death…ALL for ME.” – JESUS (Matthew 10:21)

  • Bart Campolo is a brave and honest man and I admire him wholeheartedly.

    His father should be proud that his son is strong enough to think for himself. Instead his dad is lost in a Christian fog of nonsense.

    Bart said. “I may have a different gospel now, but I want to give my life to it. I still have good news to share.”

    Indeed he does. The Best Good News is that there is very likely no God! And No Satan! No supernatural big brother is watching you.

    People like Bart are paying a price for their honesty.
    Christians who object show their indecency on their sleeves.

    No decent person should object to honesty. Good going, Bart. Cheers!

  • “….on[c]e you start ignoring certain parts of the bible it leads to absolute heresy and an abandonment of faith.”

    Don’t Christians ignore much of Leviticus?

  • Jose R. your friends time of grace is not over,

    ,God is patient with us not wanting any of us to parish..

    for us to convert some one who has known Jesus and then turned their back on him
    is not possible, yet its not impossible for God..

  • “Is the Church losing so many to the world because they draw them in with everything but Christ?”

    Can the Church lose a person whom you seem to think the Church didn’t really have in the first place?

  • A max..

    Satan yanks your chain and here you come again waging your tail and barking..
    CHRISTIANS hate to see any one in such total slavery..

  • @Rob,

    “CHRISTIANS hate to see any one in such total slavery.”

    This is not true. Have you read your Bible? Slavery is very special to Christians:

    “Slaves, stay and be subject to your masters
    with all reverence, not only to those who are good but also to those who are PERVERSE.” (1 Peter 2:18)

  • @Ethan,

    “we must deduce everything about God from what we know about Jesus.”

    Okay.
    What does all this tell you about God, then?

    remember, I’m only following your claim.
    JESUS – I WILL DISMEMBER PEOPLE WITH A SWORD
    “The master shall cut him to pieces” – Jesus (Luke 12)
    JESUS describes what he intends to do to his own enemies.

    JESUS – I SHALL RETURN TO EXECUTE MY ENEMIES
    “..bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King, and execute them in front of me.” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    JESUS – YOU SHOULD DROWN THEM
    “Drown him with a millstone” (Matt 18:6)

    JESUS – KILL YOUR CHILDREN THE WAY GOD TOLD YOU TO
    “And why do you break the command of God
    for the sake of your tradition? …. ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ ” (Matthew 15:3)

    JESUS – YOU MUST JUDGE OTHERS HARSHLY
    “…if they are unworthy..REMOVE your blessing of peace.” – JESUS (Matt 10:13)

    JESUS – I CAME TO BURN UP THE WORLD AND DESTROY IT
    “I have come to bring FIRE…What constraints! I am impatient to bring NOT PEACE BUT DIVISION.” – Jesus (Luke 12:49-51)

    JESUS – HATE THOSE WHO LOVE YOU
    “Hate your parents…hate your life” – Jesus (Luke 14:26)

    JESUS – I’M A MAFIA GODFATHER. DO IT, OR ELSE.
    “Eat of my body” and “Be baptized and believe” or “Be condemned to Hell” – Jesus (John 6:53-54) (Mark 16:16).

    JESUS – I WILL KILL THE CHILDREN MYSELF
    “I shall kill her children with Death” – Jesus (REV. 1:22-23)

    JESUS – I WANT YOU TO LIVE IN A HOUSE FULL OF ENEMIES
    “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death…for ME.” – JESUS (Matthew 10:21)

    JESUS – I’M HERE TO RUIN YOUR LIFE AND ALL THAT YOU LOVE
    “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his daughter, and a daughter against her mother, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.” – JESUS (Matthew 10:35)

    JESUS – JUDGE OTHERS FOR GOD’S WRATH!
    “And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet AS A TESTIMONY AGAINST THEM.” – JESUS (Luke 9:3-5)

    JESUS ENDORSED the stoning laws – He rejected any change to the stoning laws of Moses.

    JESUS – KEEP ALL 500 STONING LAWS AS GOD COMMANDS
    “For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commands and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” – JESUS (Matthew 5:18-19 RSV)

    JESUS – STONE PEOPLE TO DEATH EVEN THOUGH I SEEMED TO SUGGEST IT WAS WRONG BEFORE:
    “not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law” – JESUS (Matthew 5:18-19)

  • At least Tony allowed love to conquer his theology. Love is much more clearly recognized and understood than theology. Tony loves Bart. That should be the basis of all relationships including those who group themselves in families and churches.

  • Perhaps because not every non-believer is an atheist, Agnikan.

    At any rate, according to Bill’s story, both Steve and Rick were non-believers at the time of the auto accident.

  • @Doc,

    “not every non-believer is an atheist”

    Yes they are.
    Atheism IS the lack of belief in a god. That is the meaning of the word.

    Agnostics say they have no ‘knowledge’ of god.
    Atheists have no ‘belief’ in god.

  • If someone is an Agnostic, they are necessarily non-believers.

    Because If you are ready to say “I don’t know if God exists” (Agnostic) you might as well admit you “do not believe in god” (Atheist)

  • I classify myself as an Agnostic, namely because I don’t wish to practise any strain of religion.
    I’ve done my time as a “Christian”, having a childhood as the child of missionaries, but what was being preached and what was being practised had little relation to each other and so I wandered into clearer air.

  • The person in chains is the person who believes in something because they are to scared not to.
    If after examining the many possibilities of faith, one chooses the one (or lack of all) that truly works for them and believe it because it does so, then they are free of chains.

    However if the conditions of ones faith are that one must ram it down anyone and everyones throat, then best to start again, because you’ve probably missed the whole point.

  • gilhcan,

    You say:
    “At least Tony allowed love to conquer his theology. Love is much more clearly recognized and understood than theology. Tony loves Bart. That should be the basis of all relationships including those who group themselves in families and churches.”

    Thank you, well said. Those who are not believers, but dismiss the fact that people believe when they address these article topics, using their atheist platform in a demeaning manner, which is clearly NOT what Bart did when he moved away from the ‘theology’ and practice of his upbringing, do not understand the complexity of the emotions involved, or the intimate personal experience that accompanies it. I look at Bart’s move as a natural part of growth. I have seen many in the process of healing go from “a place” of belief to not finding belief ( a place within several parts) making SENSE within their experiences … and I have seen them come into a more esoteric and formidable strength of belief, much less dogmatic, as they accumulate experience, weighing these within their relationships with others. Loving neighbor as self is a mature response to the big question: Love the Lord your God with HEART, SOUL, STRENGTH and MIND …

    I have seen that some Atheists fear this more esoteric “belief” … through attacking the SPIRITUAL EXPRESSION of some, because they do not understand the language. These are not acquainted with the nature of gnosis, and how this modifies and ignites.

    Peace

  • In addition, it is one thing to call out the hypocrisy on the actions of religious organizations due to adverse influences throughout the world, it is quite another to attack BELIEF, as a measure of responsibility in loving neighbor as self. The Atheist choosing to attack the liberties of a believer based solely on the fact that they believe is poor etiquette, and shows weak parenting as a member of a civil society, and is quite possibly in violation of basic human rights, depending on the nature of the attacks. Now, if the Atheist has an issue with passages of a believers “bible”, citing it incites violence, they would need to prove how and where this occurs, for clearly it is not the case that ALL believers act violently. Also, they should come into a better understanding of who translated both oral and written from the original into the words they read today—the words they despise, and ridicule, and claim is dangerous.

    Peace

  • Take the following passage, which one Atheist on RNS has used repeatedly in his posts:

    But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them–bring them here and kill them in front of me.'”

    One of gnosis reads this ‘first’ (seek) with questions.

    1. What is meant by enemy. Is it symbolic?
    2. What is meant by king OVER them?
    3. What is “them”?
    4. What is meant by “in front” or “before” ME; what is ME?

    The language was of a different purpose and rectitude back when it was written, and again, it had its oral and written, which changed under the understanding of the mindset that suited those doing the translating. And what was this?

    Also, I have seen the word EXECUTE in place of slay and kill. Execute used dynamically in expressing action, such as …

    It would be good to execute this in a timely fashion.

    Execute can be seen as FOLLOW, follow up, or carry out, and not necessarily punish. The words/expression to follow and carry OUT are highly symbolic in Holy Scripture. It would be a more profitable method of procuring Truth in Scripture to become better acquainted with the PURPOSE within the verse … and not through using violence 😉

    Peace

  • what you said is not what the preacher said you should have been his pastor..

    we all at times are foolish just like the preacher son and trust in nothing but dust..
    our own reasoning power.. we humans almost worship guys like Richard Hawkins . yes that guy thinks he knows all the secrets of the universe ..yet can he even lift a spoon to feed himself? he also is just but dust and ashes.

    what are atheists really ? nothing but dust truster’s ..

    they trust their limited thinking forgetting that even that God
    can take away from them in a snap..

    yet God the son Jesus he Loves these dust truster’s any way..
    may God keep us from dust trusting..

  • Doc, I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. This is an honest issue that I am really struggling with and I struggle just as much with your answer. Just to emphasis my delimma even more let’s say that in this scenerio that Steve was born in the inner city with violence and drugs all around him. He sees things at a young age that no one should ever have to see yet he fights to stay on the right path. Everywhere he turns there is temptation and he does his best to stay on track. The night he dies he gets invited to a party but chooses to go help the homeless. The upcoming Sunday he is invited to church and he is thinking about going but not sure. That night he dies and God says “sorry you never believed in my son so even though you fought to do the right thing for 18 years and you made decisions that helped many other people you are going to hell and be tortured for millions of years. Maybe it is just me but no canned response about “good works won’t save us” will ever be enough for me to understand how this could be true.

  • I tell you a little secret that Luther believed in and told us Lutherans ..

    in heaven even Luther”s little dog Topel will have a golden tail…

  • Bill go to

    http://www.whataboutjesus.com and tell them you were never taught the bible doctrine about your election before the creation of the world .. They will know the best way to explain it to you with out you falling into error of Calvinism that teaches its Gods fault if you then,, Do not believe in Jesus..
    make sure your bible is close at hand as you study.. The biblical doctrine of Election..

  • no ATHEISM IS NOTHING more than DUST TRUST..
    trusting in ones own reasoning power or other humans brains ..
    it humanism—- humans who cant help but just turn to dust and ashes..
    Richard Hawkins he thinks he knows the secrets to The universe yet he cant even get up off his butt to get himself a glass of water .. if he really was so smart why is that ? its because he just dust like you A-max .. Yet Jesus still loves you both..
    AND YOU BOTH CAN NEVER CHANGE THAT FACT..

  • @Bill,

    “Maybe it is just me but no canned response about “good works won’t save us” will ever be enough for me to understand how this could be true.”

    Keep thinking for yourself, Bill. You are on the right track.
    Sometimes we all feel an emotional pull toward religion. We can’t help it.
    It is like the urge to quit work and take a vacation early: “Just believe” is such a tempting tagline. Sounds so easy.

    But thousands of different religions and gods say the same thing. One of them may be right and the rest false. Or they may ALL be man-made (as it appears).

    The time to believe something is when there is some evidence to show it to be true.

  • @bob lots of family members now days are being cremated they then
    pre arrange to have there ashes in a urn and given to family members to be spread out some where..

    if you receive such a thing .. rather than spread it out put it some where you see it every day it will remind you of what you place your trust in.. how stupid is that.. placing trust in Gods creation that just turns to dust rather than God the creator..

  • @Rob,

    I don’t claim to know anything
    about whether a god exists. Maybe he does.

    I don’t believe god is anything more
    than something in your imagination. But he might exist. I don’t know.

    I’m somewhat confident that he does not exist. But I don’t claim god is impossible.

    Why bother with gods if everything about them is so hard to pin down?
    It is just nuisance philosophy.

  • Sad he could be a great asset to the kingdom. I will say a prayer for him to return to the truth.

    Little children, it is the last hour. Just as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really part of us. If they had been part of us, they would have stayed with us. But by going out from us, they showed they all are not part of us.

    Who is the liar? Isn’t it the person who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This person is the antichrist: the one who denies the Father and the Son.

    I write these things to you about those who are attempting to deceive you.

    And now, little children, remain in relationship to Jesus, so that when he appears we can have confidence and not be ashamed in front of him when he comes. (‭1 John‬ ‭2‬:‭18-19, 22, 26, 28‬ CEB)

  • “I have seen the word EXECUTE in place of slay and kill.” Seems like the interpretation is in the hands of the believer, which isn’t good.

  • @DeeBee,

    “How did Jesus treat tax collectors and sinners??”

    Jesus didn’t like people who rejected God’s laws. Don’t kid yourself of any story which tells you otherwise:

    “Bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King and execute them in front of me.” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    This is from the parable of the Minas and Jesus is preaching to his followers a lesson of obedience and fear of the Master.
    In this story a Nobleman leaves his servants (slaves) for a period of time to maximize the value of the nobleman’s property – in the end the servants who do well are commanded to kill the servants who do poorly.

    This is an immoral story and a recipe which validates “Righteous Indignation”.
    It is profoundly disgusting and fascist.

  • do you want to know what aged atheism really looks like and how smart it is to trust in ones own reasoning power.. just talking with some old person with a bad case of dementia should clue you in about ..

  • @ a max
    Jesus Loves you A max ..

    human reason always twists scripture according to its pleasure

    I was talking about Your slavery to sin death and the devil not the far different slavery of the believer
    told about in 1 peter 2:18

    and you know it ,,,A max the dust trustee.

  • It is clear from his own testimony that he never believed in the gospel enough to know he was transformed. He liked the by-products like community and connection and justice, on and on. But that isn’t the truth where law and grace exposes real sin and pride and sets you free through redemption and gradual assurance. One could easily predict where his idealism would lead as he faced dilemmas and real world hurt.

  • @ gilhcan
    what love? all he showed was a lack of love for Gods word Jesus and also his own son..

    none of us are really faithful people,, the only really faithful one is… Jesus
    who still loves us,, in spite of our faithlessness.

  • Cathy Wynn,

    You say: “I have seen the word EXECUTE in place of slay and kill.” Seems like the interpretation is in the hands of the believer, which isn’t good.

    Prove to the world where and how this interpretation in the hands of the believer is not good. Or, if you prefer, ask Government, Science and other methods and means to prove where and how interpretation of the word execute in the hands of the believer is not good. I am up for the Atheists, and others to challenge Government and Science … in this. I would like to see this come forth. It would be a heck of a lot more interesting than reading the same old arguments, or even the same old answers from opposing sides.

    Peace

  • O- “Prove to the world where and how this interpretation in the hands of the believer is not good.” …Ugandan witch burning that just happened last year…that sort of thing comes to mind. Religion? more trouble than it is worth.

  • Religion, well … Cathy, I agree … and what we may find if serious studies are done is that RELIGIOUS BELIEFS can and do foster poor and atrocious behavior more than belief in God/Spirit. So, how does a country prevent violence, or even predatory behavior within this, and this includes “non believers” acting within what they believe about believers?

    Let’s take the Christian Bible, for example … have a team go through it and pull out all verses that use language that most would agree is violent according to civil society. This team then cites cases where (in society: America, for instance) these verses were used in a way that caused violence, yesterday, and is causing violence today. The government can do one of two things:

    1. As law, have those passages banned.
    2. Offer those using these passages to change them.

    This might send a message through example to places like Uganda, and places where RELIGIOUS TOOLS are causing mistreatment, and especially, horrific crimes. I do not believe that children should be brought up with images of Jesus nailed and bloodied hanging on a cross, nor do I believe they should be reading words like kill and slay if referring to person, any person (or even animals, but that’s just me). Now, one problem you may run into is in the area of religious military, but I am not going there in this suggestion.

    Peace

  • But you really cannot get rid of religion altogether as many Atheists would like, because the elements that constitute religion are found throughout many organized (or disorganized as I have often said) groups believing in “something” or working toward “something”. Certain aspects of government, and even some clubs conduct themselves religiously, and this having nothing to do with belief of God. People can make anything their “god” and pursue it religiously.

    Peace

  • “Though evangelical Christian teachings repudiated same-sex orientation at the time …”

    LOL! They still do.

    “Having rejected the sovereignty of God and authority of the Bible — two cornerstone Christian beliefs — he was already substantially outside the evangelical fold.”

    You don’t have to believe in a “universal marionette show” to believe in God’s sovereignty. Google “Wesleyanism” sometime.

    *sigh*

  • I thought the article was very good. Thanks for sharing the story. My only question is the following:

    Why was Tony’s response shocking ?

    Tony has always been a man of grace and he is sharing about his son.

    Maybe his reaction is kinda like our Heavenly Father’s reaction to us when “we stray”.

  • Oh, Geoff, I think we don’t want Tony to be a nasty killer of whole races when individuals “stray”, like your vicious “Heavenly Father” is stated to have done in your nasty Christian book of tall tales AKA the bible.

  • Great point, Max. On a similar note, it really is funny that the pathetic Christian sky creature, their “god”, a purportedly omnipotent creature, can’t do better than a book to get its message out, especially one for which the words can be so readily twisted. One might well ask, where is god’s website (no, fundies, religious shill sites don’t count), and why can’t he even push a few tweets out? 2000+ years without a peep from him is more than sufficient grounds for doubt, to say the least.

  • Sir, you clearly have no idea of Biblical hermeneutics and most of those are amazingly out of context.

  • @George Wallace,

    If a work of literature is too dangerous to take literally, what does that say about the quality of the literature?

    “Slay them wherever you find them” – Surah (Q’uran)

  • @George Wallace,

    “amazingly out of context”

    Really?
    Then please take one of my examples and put it in context.
    I would love to see whether it can survive your context.

    I’ll explain this one.
    JESUS – KILL YOUR CHILDREN THE WAY GOD TOLD YOU TO
    “And why do you break the command of God
    for the sake of your tradition? …. ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ ” (Matthew 15:3)

    I’ll explain the context:

    In this situation Jesus is scolding the Pharisees
    for being hypocrites. Because the Pharisees claim to be righteous in their faith.

    But Jesus yells at them (I’m paraphrasing) :
    “You claim to be righteous but you do not follow God’s laws. You don’t even know what righteousness is! 
The law states that you must kill unruly children YET YOU DO NOT!’

    CLEARLY JESUS IS ADMONISHING THE PHARISEES FOR NOT FOLLOWING GOD’S LAWS.

    Which law is Jesus referring to that the Pharisees are being accused of not following?

    All laws requiring death to unruly children:

    “All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense.” (Leviticus 20:9)

    “Kill unruly children”
 (Exodus 21:5)
    “Stone your rebellious son to death” (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

    PUTTING SUCH EXCERPTS “IN CONTEXT”
    DOES NOT IMPROVE THE IMAGE OF JESUS OR GOD
    OR THE MESSAGE.

  • the fact is 99% of ethnic groups have disappeared as nations over history, whodunnit is another matter.
    The Chinese, Arabs, Jews and Italians are some of the very very few that are still here.

  • Reading through these comments reminds me of why I no longer call myself a Christian and rarely attempt to dialogue with believers. I also have lost patience with evangelical atheists. There are a few bright notes, but the angry and demeaning comments seem to me to demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of both the younger and the elder Campolo. Whatever happened to compassion?

  • Jim-You no longer call yourself a Christian because you look at people.
    Look to Jesus/the Bible. If you look at people you wiil always get let down
    so look to Christ because Christ loves you. Psalm 118:8 is the exact middle
    of the Bible and it says it’s better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in
    man. People will always let you down and many people don’t preach the
    Truth so when someone preaches Repentance/the Truth some aren’t
    used to that but preaching Repentance is Biblical. We all must Repent!

  • It’s easy to believe (though, I understand some have a problem here for a variety of reasons) but the real commitment comes from being a follower of Jesus Christ. I believed early in my life but went down roads that led me to see that belief is not enough. Satan believes in Jesus and look what he accomplishes. I realized many years after believing that following was what was required. That meant leaving some other beliefs behind, submitting, studying, praying. My life, and the lives of my family around me, have drastically changed. That’s not just “being good” (…I’m not!), it’s humbly letting go of who I think I am.
    Note that I haven’t talked about the world and what’s going on in it. I didn’t talk about man’s inhumanity to man (as some comments on this board demonstrate). All that is in the world and the world is truly broken. What I’ve learned is it begins with me surrendering because He is God and I am not (even though my nature tries to be in many ways).

  • How can I defend my FAITH? The very word FAITH, a strong belief or trust in something or someone without the necessity of evidence, would lend itself to a mute argument. A person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument. I believe, I have FAITH, because I have had an encounter with the Living God through his Son, Jesus. I am not threatened by those claiming to “leave Christianity”, because a person with a true life changing experience with Christ cannot intellectualize their way out of the life transformation He gives. How can I explain “knowing, just knowing?” I will never be able to satisfy the questions of a person who’s heart has not been quickened. I can only say that I believe, that I know, that I have FAITH, and it runs so deep down in me that it affects every area of my life. Unbelievers, open your hearts, put aside silly arguments, Taste and see that the Lord is good. He came to give you life and life to the full. Look to something outside of yourself! See Jesus.

  • You can’t cook up faith. So in reality you are taking credit for having faith and can’t explain how you got it. Faith is a gift so don’t harass others who don’t have the same faith you do.

  • Wally, the point essentially is that the Christian book of nasty AKA the bible explicitly presents its god as doing killing of whole races, and other horrid acts, while Tony’s reaction is compared with that. Kapish?

  • “So now they will go with there master Satan AND THE HELL God did not want them to endure..”

    So the answer to my question is yes. Good to know.

  • Judy, the whole Jesus-sacrifice thing is a steaming pile of bull output. Christians, how is it again that your omnipotent being couldn’t do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus’ death a “sacrifice”, when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic “god” that you’ve made for yourself there.

  • v1 Then some *Pharisees and some men who taught the *Law came to Jesus from Jerusalem. v2 ‘Why do your *disciples not obey the *traditions that our grandfathers gave to us?’ they asked. ‘Your *disciples do not wash their hands before they eat!’

    v3 Jesus replied to them. ‘Why do you not obey God’s command?’ he asked. ‘Why do you only obey what you yourselves teach? v4 God has told us, “Give honour to your father and mother.” God also said, “Anyone who speaks evil against his father or mother must die.” v5 But you allow people to avoid these commands. “I was going to help you with a gift. But now I have given that gift to God”, people may say to their parents. v6 So then they need not help their parents, you say. They no longer give honour to their parents. In that way, you make God’s command mean nothing. You make your tradition more important. v7 You act as if you are good! Isaiah was right when he wrote God’s words about you long ago.

    v8 “These people say that they give honour to me.

    But they never really think about me.

    v9 They do not *worship me sincerely.

    Instead, they teach rules that men have made”, the *Lord said.’

    Verses 3-6 Jesus spoke to the *Pharisees and to the men who taught the *Law. They considered that their *traditions were more important than God’s commands. Jesus reminded them about one command as an example. God said that people should give honour to their parents. When parents need something, their children have a responsibility to help them. But the *Pharisees had another *tradition. People could put things aside that their parents needed. Then they could say that they had given those things to God. Sometimes they only pretended to give these things to God. But this avoided the need to help their parents. The *Pharisees made serious promises in front of God that they must keep. But they were making a *tradition more important than their responsibility to their parents.

    That’s the context. Makes a bit more of a difference doesn’t it? Seems like God is TELLING you as a child that you should be a bit more respectful of your parents.

  • His own words tell the story.

    “The younger Campolo recounts becoming a Christian in high school. He says he was drawn by the sense of community and the common commitment to love people, promote justice, and transform the world.”

    “All the dogma and the death and resurrection of Jesus stuff was not the attraction,” Bart said.

    His own words tell you he never was a believer. All the ‘dogma’ is what the faith is about. Jesus lived, atonement (was put on a cross for the sins of the world), was crucified, buried and rose again on the 3rd day is the very least of faith.

    What his words say he was, was a guy who loved hanging out in a club. Just like he’s trying to do now.

    Find Christ Bart… find Christ

  • You have faith every day my friend. You get in a car and have faith that someone else won’t pick you off. Sit on a chair that won’t break and you break your back. Won’t get fired from your job. That your air will still be here for you to enjoy life…

    Faith in yourself that you have the answers to all questions. That you understand when the world began, how it runs, how air even came into existance…..

    Oh… you have faith…. but can’t admit it.

  • @whodatperson1,

    “You have faith every day my friend. You get in a car and have faith that someone else won’t pick you off.”

    What!?
    That is NOT faith, that is “confidence based on past performance”!
    Faith is belief WITHOUT ANY past performance!
    You have never seen a person rise from the dead.
    It is foolish to have faith. Faith is poison to the brain.

    “Sit on a chair that won’t break and you break your back.”

    Right. But if the chair worked before…THAT IS NOT FAITH.
    THAT IS “CONFIDENCE BASED ON PAST PERFORMANCE”

    “Won’t get fired from your job…”

    THAT IS NOT FAITH.
    THAT IS “CONFIDENCE BASED ON PAST PERFORMANCE”

    “That your air will still be here for you to enjoy life…”

    THAT IS NOT FAITH.
    THAT IS ‘CONFIDENCE BASED ON PAST PERFORMANCE’

    “Faith in yourself that you have the answers to all questions. That you understand when the world began, how it runs, how air even came into existence…”

    WHAT?
    EVIDENCE OF AIR IS SCIENTIFICALLY PROVABLE.
    Including where it came from!

    “Oh… you have faith…. but can’t admit it.”
    ARROGANCE LIKE THAT IS WHY I HATE RELIGION.

    Faith is pretending something is true REGARDLESS Of EVIDENCE.
    All the things you listed ARE NOT FAITH – THEY DEPEND ON EVIDENCE!

  • @Jim,

    “Whatever happened to compassion?”

    Why do you think we Atheists are so furious?
    We have compassion and we are begging Christians to stop promoting this bigoted, hateful philosophy of life on everyone else.

    Look at what the Christian Father said to his own son!

    “I’m sad because Christianity is my tribe, and I liked having you in my tribe. ”

    He is saying, ‘son, You are not part of MY TRIBE’

    The cruelty is not coming from the honest Atheist son, it is coming from the Christian Father who has decided to let Christianity be more important than his son. He clearly doesn’t mind hurting his son’s feelings. Instead of re-examining his own beliefs or to at least acknowledge that his son is brave for being honest, he pulls the Christian blanket over himself.

    Complete lack of compassion. I would never let my beliefs become more important than my son!

  • A better question to ask would be why anyone is stupid enough to believe the Christian myths as presented in the horrid Christian bible, when there is no testable evidence to support them, and when those myths are not even self-consistent.

  • It is clear from his own testimony that he never believed in the gospel enough to know he was transformed.

    And never acted in more than 30 years to land an ordinary job. Instead, he made a nuisance out of himself peddling the bathwater left when he chucked the baby out the window.

    His wife, an ‘artist’, is still in Cincy.

    Terry Teachout once said of the film maker John Sayles, “His subject matter is not film, or other films, but people, usually unglamorously ordinary people, trying to make the best of the moderately bad situations that life presents them.”

    Aye. Don’t think I’d consult the ‘humanist chaplain’ in the course of that endeavour.

  • @whodatperson1,

    “They were making a *tradition more important than their responsibility to their parents….That’s the context. Makes a bit more of a difference doesn’t it?”

    ABSOLUTELY NOT!
    Jesus wants the Laws of Moses (His/Yahweh’s Laws) to be followed:

    These are the Laws about killing children
    who misbehave:

    “All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense.” (Leviticus 20:9)
    “Kill unruly children”
 (Exodus 21:5)
    “Stone your rebellious son to death” (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

    Jesus is scolding the Pharisees for being hypocrites, for being prideful, self-righteousness and being unwilling to carry out God’s Laws exactly as they should – because they have allowed stoning to lapse.

    Jesus is angry because the Pharisees have allowed their tradition to supersede the LAWS OF MOSES!

    Jesus is scolding them FOR NOT KILLING THEIR CHILDREN as God commands.

    To Repeat: Jesus is angry because the Pharisees claim they love God but have instead allowed God’s Laws to lapse! For their Tradition!

  • @Bill,

    “Based on what I have been taught in church eternity is millions of years long so do you really believe that Rick would live millions of year in heaven and Steve (who lived 18 years helping others) would spend millions of years in hell? Sorry but I need help with this…”

    You already know that sending someone to Hell is completely unfair.
    By the way, it is even unfair for a bad person.

  • @Bob,

    “why anyone is stupid enough to believe the Christian myths…”

    Christians can’t help it. But is is NOT because they are stupid – the philosophy and the book are what is profoundly stupid.

    Christians and Muslims are indoctrinated.
    They are told to FEAR and OBEY at infancy – and it is very hard to shake it off even as an adult.

    We need to appeal to the religious and ask them to pay attention to their own thoughts, to respect their doubts.

    When I discovered I was Atheist I did not become smarter.

    “Just because you figured out the most obvious thing in the world doesnt make you a genius.” – Matt Dillahunty

  • You’re exactly right Frank. We must fully understand the putrid heap of darkness that is our sin before we appreciate God’s saving grace. Young people are at a distinct disadvantage. They are raised in a culture that promotes self esteem, they are told that they are special, and everyone gets a trophy. Those that influence them the most are humanists, and haters of the Gospel. The answer is not to conform to a worldview that will ultimately send them to hell.
    Their’s is not the only generation that rejects the Gospel. Pride has always kept men alienated from God, and it always will. My father, 84, and Father-in-law, 67, are both unsaved. I suspect that there are many warming pews in the visible church belonging to older generations who are only cultural Christians. It used to be considered a good thing to be a Christian, or at least appear to be one. This is largely no longer the case.

  • whodat, there’s nothing for Bart to find, Jesus, at most, was merely a popular human being. His remains rotted away long ago.Nothing divine about him.

    The whole Christian Jesus-sacrifice-salvation tale, one of the founding (and crumbling) pillars of the Christian superstitions, is actually complete nonsense. How is it again that an omnipotent being couldn’t do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus’ death a “sacrifice”, when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic “god” that you’ve made for yourselves there, Christians.

  • One gets the impression that he does what he does faux de mieux, perhaps with an affection for the sort of work that lacks operational measures of competence. Still, 30 years of this shizz. You’d think he’d get bored with it.

  • Bob-Read Romans1:18-25. God is real! For you to look at creation and
    then say that is just all accident/random it takes more faith to believe the world came about by chance than to believe in God. You are loved by Christ.

  • @Art,

    Bob asked a good question and you ignored it.

    “And how was Jesus’ death a “sacrifice”, when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers?”

    And your comment that this is a ‘non-developed argument’ is not true. The argument against the Jesus story is numbingly clear.

    You can’t answer his question because there is no good answer to it.

    Instead you want everyone else to think like you do about these matters.
    To shut down the questions.

    So your position is not about developed arguments as you suggest – it is about self-stiffled minds such as your own.
    Like a hermit, you shun reality.

  • Karla,

    “You are loved by Christ.”

    God’s plan was to send some hit men after his son and it worked.
    Jesus was killed and the plan went forward. This was the only way god could possibly save humanity from the Hell he created.

    What does love have to do with this?

  • Karla, I’ve read that, and it does not provide any valid response to my questions. I’m already very familiar with the content of your horrid Christian book of nasty AKA the bible, but it seems that you are less so. For your part, you should give the following quotes a read, about the nature of the claimed Christian “god”. Note especially the following text about context issues, too:

    Numbers 31:17-18
    17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man,
    18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

    1 Timothy 2:11
    “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.”

    Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

    Leviticus 25
    44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
    45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
    46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

    Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don’t get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

    Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it’s in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god’s mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

    And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your “god” couldn’t come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken “out of context”, and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you’ve made for yourself.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

  • “Out of context” is getting to be the off-the-shelf reply of anyone whose words are quoted against them. (Cf Mitt Romney’s 47 percent idlers remark in 2012 for a recent public example.)

    You would do better to take one or two of the quotations and tell us what your hermeneutics says they really mean. Just saying “It isn’t so” changes no minds.

  • @ Frank–and Steve also I guess: When was the last time you checked your clothing to make sure you weren’t wearing any mixtures? Better hop to it. It’s a clear Biblical prohibition.

  • Opheliart: The United States Government can’t do either of the two things you suggest as remedies. Either would be a violation of our Constitution.

    Do you live in a country where book burning is a legal option?

  • Max: I have a feeling that the father and son are both okay with their interpersonal relationship. The picture indicates there’s still a warm relationship, as does the fact they’re jointly writing a book about this experience.

    It’s one thing to say you’re sorry your son left a community you hold dear; quite a different thing to say “My beliefs are more important than you.” It’s the first I read as the father’s reaction. I don’t find him saying the words you imply is his message.

    One of the two is where you find yourself; the other has not traveled there. I think they’ll work it out.

  • Like Bart I am agnostic. It always amazes me how people will lose their faith and still find a way to stay in “ministry.” Well, it’s indoor work, no heavy lifting and beats the hell out working a real job. Still conning the suckers!

  • I wondered about that too, but then I’m not into the gathering-with-a-whole-bunch-of-folks-on-Sunday-morning thing. I also find it hard to distinguish what a humanist college chaplain does beyond guidance counseling and lending a shoulder to cry on when asked. I guess I’d have to ask USC to find out what they believe they’re paying for when they employ a humanist chaplain.

    Then again, there are a lot of people who do find something in a weekly Sunday morning gathering and seem to miss it when they leave the fold of believers. Denominations like the Unitarian-Universalists welcome any and all to their services I know they are attracting agnostics and atheists, who must know what they are and aren’t buying when they attend and toss coin in the basket.

    Life is short. If that gives some folks comfort along the way, who am I to look down on it?

  • The Jesus I know had nothing to do with that 9 year old girl’s rape. In John 10:10, it states the thief comes to steal kill and destroy, I came that you have life and have it more abundantly. The devil in that person who raped that girl caused that not Jesus. I serve a just and righteousness God and the bible is God speaking to us. It is all about faith. I just know Jesus does exist and he lives inside my heart. No one can prove to me he does not exist because he does and he is real.

  • bart unfortunately came into the faith for the wrong reasons. We enter the faith realizing our utter hopelessness without Jesus. I ave been at this for 32 years and I see more and more that without Him I am beyond hope. The road back from where he’s at begins with coming to a place of philosophical logic. The culture has lost the ability to discern between objective and subjective truth. When one of our subjective thoughts rubs against objective truth we deny the truth and yield to our subjective thinking and become vain in our imaginations.
    We so often think if we don’t believe something is true it’s not true but the truth is true whether I believe it’s true or not.

  • I had the pleasure of meeting both Campolos while attending Eastern University (Eastern College then) in the mid-eighties. Both men are tremendously intelligent and kind people who have made the world a better place.
    Easy to sit around and debate theology. Difficult to actually love and serve others unconditionally. I thank God for families like the Campolos. Christendom needs a lot less talk and a lot more action.

  • Quote:
    “The younger Campolo recounts becoming a Christian in high school. He says he was drawn by the sense of community and the common commitment to love people, promote justice, and transform the world.

    “All the dogma and the death and resurrection of Jesus stuff was not the attraction,” Bart said.”

    If Christ was not the attraction, motive, object of desire to become a Christian, then he never became a Christian in the sense of what is said in John 3. He merely became religious – huge difference.

    I think this explains a lot of the later development.

  • @Bob

    What’s the difference between moral and civil law? Political, historical, literary genre or poetics? Descriptive or prescriptive text? Historical, cultural, literary, philosophical or theological context? (that buzz word, ‘context’ again.) The function of early-century, near eastern jurisprudence and the role of eyewitness testimony? Archeological discovery and its relationship to historicity?

  • Wow… reading through these comments? (Including the tiring repetition of the same names saying essentially the same stuff over and over?) I’m beginning to understand why someone like Bart Campolo would decide to move on from this dysfunctional group. It’s not that often I am ashamed to count myself a Christian… but when I read some of what’s appeared here? Alot of dogmatism and wrath and all that Old Testament hate… Very little love like Jesus said would be the proof of our discipleship. (That’s John ch. 13 for the Scripture quoters above.)

  • My wife and I are currently serving in Ethiopia as educational missionaries. My wife teaches full time and I am advising an educational outreach in rural Ethiopia. We came to Ethiopia after we retired from a lifetime of working for Christian non-profit organizations around Wheaton, Illinois. I can honestly say that I am a follower of Christ in spite of, not because of, my long experience in those organizations. I believe that we need to own our depravity as we advance through the eternal life Christ has provided for us, But I see man people who need the love of Jesus first and only as they heal from damage done, often by well meaning Christians and Churches. I trust the Holy Spirit to work in each new believer’s life as they seek to know Christ more fully every day. According to God’s plan is good enough for me.

  • Humanist does NOT equal atheism! The actual term was used by the reformation leaders John Calvin and Martin Luther. It’s called I am agnostic/atheist not humanism. People can be a humanist and be religious or not that doesn’t define their belief or disbelief in God.

  • Yeah, I realize that a crucifixion isn’t something anyone wants to go through. But if the death that follows is only a weekend away after which you ascend to heaven to be master of the universe along with your dad and be worshipped and adore by billions… then sign me up!
    When you really look at it Jesus death was hardly a sacrifice. In contrast to being tortured in excruciating agony in hell for eternity, (what Christians say happens to non-believers) a mere crucifixion is a Sunday picnic.
    If instead Jesus was tortured forever in hell, now THAT would be an impressive sacrifice. Think of it… Jesus roasting in hell forever (along with atheists, Muslims and other heretics) to pay for your sins so you could could spend eternity in heaven doing your favourite activity… grovelling and worshipping Yahweh the father.
    Now THAT would be some sacrifice!

  • An evangelical Pastor’s son rejects his Christian faith? No surprise there. Apart from a rapidly growing atheist trend, it’s a documented phenomenon in human psychology that children with religious zealots for parents are more likely to leave their faith or turn atheist. The bedlam of relentless in-your-face religious indoctrination is too much to bear for many of these kids so they escape any way they can.

  • 2 Corinthians 11:24-29New International Version (NIV)

    24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

    Paul keep preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ after this.
    We’re a bunch of spiritual pansies today. We preach save the whales not souls.

  • All most all of the organized church has given up thinking God’s instructions can be understood by all Christians the same way as the author intended it to be understood as. They have pitted love and following the spirit as opposed to follow the simple meaning of Bible passages. Where as God is clear in the bible that if we truly love God and others we will keep His commandments. The church won’t separate from those claiming to be Christians who don’t hold to all professing Christians needing to follow the simple meaning of biblical passages so we should expect that the people in church to get leavened (1 Cor.5). If you aren’t going to hold to the passages on women not speaking in church, all the Christian men going after using their gifts in the church service 1 Cor. 14 etc and instead have a pastor appointed who speaks service because you say God’s instructions of a church service in 1 Cor. 14 was just for what was happening in that particular church and culture at that time and is not something we have to follow today. then – Reality is honest logic says then to be consistent you would have to say the same thing could be true about the bible passages that say homosexual acts are sin, hell is the destination of people who don’t repent, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was needed to forgive sin, …is just because of the culture of that time also and not something we have to hold to today. I think Bart Campolo is wrong and my heart hurts for him but it doesn’t surprise me knowing the church he was brought up in.

  • I grew up Catholic Charismatic so we’d go to Mass on Saturday evening- and 5 or 6 other Protestant churches during the week so I have been exposed to all sorts of beliefs across the Christian family- and always knew he was OUTSIDE mainstream Christianity. From the very beginning (when I was 16) though when I had friends who thought Tony Campolo was “cool” I knew something was wrong with him. Being Liberal isn’t a sin- but he denied everything supernatural about God and the Bible and made it all about “just be nice to everybody” and you could tell in his books he was kinda embarrassed with Jesus. It’s funny that he runs some supposed “Red Letter Ministries” now focusing soley on Jesus’ own words when Jesus explicitly said no man can come to God except thru Jesus- and Tony Campola has denied that over and over. No wonder his son is like this. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  • The REAL Good News is that there is no God – that we have the power to affect change and make our own way in the world.

  • That we don’t need to bow to superstitions, pray to ghosts, or plead to non-existent beings to save us.
    That we can say ISIS is wrong because there is no God, and therefore, they saying God told them to kill is a lie.
    That we recognize we have only one life and we need to be the agents of change, not pray idly and foolishly for change in our world.
    That we recognize the Truth.

  • And Muslims quote their book to prove their religion is the right path.

    Let’s get rid of all religion and really save people.

  • ‘Many an atheist is a believer without knowing it just as many a believer is an atheist without knowing it. You can sincerely believe there is no God and live as though there is. You can sincerely believe there is a god and life as though there isn’t.’ – Fredrich Buechner

    Bart, you are no less Christian (imho) because your beliefs have changed. You are still doing the work of God, with a heart and a spirit for others. Sometimes it is a blessing to ‘lose’ our faith – that is often the only way we will ever come to a truer, more genuine place of belief down the line (if that happens). Faith is not static during ones life – it evolves. My prayer for you is peace. God never leaves us, regardless of how we may think, feel, or believe – you are still held in his grace, always. Be free and rest – this time in your life is a blessing where you can be unencumbered by the heavy weight of ‘dogma’ and ‘expectations’ that are so often imposed upon the Christian believer. Your freedom from all of this is your gift from above (in my personal opinion!). 🙂

    Lauren
    (A theology school dropout – i speak from experience!)

    P.S. have you ever explored mysticism? It is spiritual in nature but spans across all religions & theologies – not a promotion of any particular one. You might enjoy it. 🙂

  • If that was what I believed, I would do whatever it took to make it in this world. There would be no reason for me to be “good” because it’s all up to me to make it in this world.

    Thank you again for your response.

  • Some may, because they realize prayer doesn’t do anything. And why should it?
    Do people really think they can get a god to change its mind because they really want to pay rent, or get a job?
    And if prayer worked at all, why don’t Christians pray for world peace, the end of hunger or end of disease?
    Are Christians too selfish to pray for that?
    Or, do they realize prayer doesn’t work?

  • No reason to be good? Really? No obligation to your fellow human being who might want to be nice to you for mutual benefit?
    Thought experiment.
    There is no god, you decide to rob your neighbor.
    Then what happens?
    Neighbor says, ” aw, you got me. Because there’s no god, I’ll never get that money back… I guess everyone in the community will want to live next to you, not me!
    And, of course, I can’t steal from you because you did it first!”

    Think! There is every reason to be good without god.

    All gods do is give the belive a false sense of righteousness. If they hate gay people, their god hates gay people and they feel justified in lashing out.

    I’d challenge you to read up on Humanist ethics. You have a very archaic view of the issue.

    Watch the William Lane Craig vs. Shelly Kagan debate.

  • You’re right. We don’t always pray and if we really believed, we would pray more and for all those things!!

  • Just Because your view might be modern, doesn’t mean it is right. I need more faith to believe everything that is seen just came into existence, honestly.

    But in regards to those who hate gays, I apologize for all that they have been through from people who claim to love God. But that’s just it, they “claim” to love God. There is no justification to treat someone in a degrading way or to lash out at them.

    Also, I believe “goodness” is when you do something for someone with no expectation of a reward or getting something back, from them. That is only possible if one does it for God.

    I do love William Lane craig. Will be sure to watch the debate.

    Happy new year 🙂

  • And also, yes, if there were no God, that means it is up to ME to make it in this world, I would be desperate and when that sets in, people normally don’t think rationally. Also, that doesn’t mean it’s not wrong.

  • And what about death? And what about the moral convictions each one of us know we’ve violated (ie sin, that the modern world say is an illusion, but somehow deep inside us it’s there and we know we’re convicted)? And what about the world’s getting dragged into a hellhole? And what about humanity getting deeper into lust and greed? And so no justice then for the 6 million Jews Hitler massacred? Or the 60 million Mao slaughtered? Or the 50 million of Stalin? Will there not be justice in the end? God did not hear Christ when he begged off at Gethsemane. At the cross he cried, “Why have you forsaken me?” That’s the answer to the world’s suffering. And the resurrection is the hope Christ offers that will answer all questions concerning suffering, sin and death. What does a secular humanist have to offer me? I’m 6 feet under the ground in a few years? Why do I have to live like Bart, to sacrifice for others? What for? That’s not really natural selection friendly! The sun’s gonna burn out and the universe die a heat death and all go caput. Heck, let’s eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die! If Bart is right then i’ll go Nietzsche instead–it’s all about the WILL TO POWER baby! Bart is an out of place sentimentalist. He is in a twilight zone. Nietzsche lambasted guys like Bart who rejected the foundation but still irrationally held on to its pillars. No thanks.

  • What does a secular humanist have to offer me? I’m 6 feet under the ground in a few years? Perhaps even tomorrow? Why do I have to live like Bart, to sacrifice for others? What for? That’s not really natural selection friendly! The sun’s gonna burn out and the universe die a heat death and all go caput. Heck, let’s eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die! If Bart is right then i’ll go Nietzsche instead–it’s all about the WILL TO POWER baby! Bart is an out of place sentimentalist. He is in a twilight zone. Nietzsche lambasted guys like Bart who rejected the foundations of the Christian worldview but still irrationally held on to its pillars (eg values). No thanks. So what about suffering? God did not hear Christ when he begged off at Gethsemane. At the cross he cried, “Why have you forsaken me?” That’s the answer to the world’s suffering–God knows it intimately! And the resurrection is the hope Christ offers that will answer all questions concerning suffering, sin and death.

  • Hebrews 10:23: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for He who promised is faithful”; 10:25: “Let us not give up meeting together…”; 10:26: “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left (27) but only a fearful expectation of judgement and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” 10:28-29: “Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the convenant that sanctified him, and how has insulted the Spirit of grace?” 10:35-36: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” 10:38-39: “My righteous one will live by faith…But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” It’s not too late Bart. Just like there are physical laws that govern our universe cannot be redefined, there are spiritual laws that govern our current and future lives, temporal and eternal. Gravity cannot include some new idea. It is simply GRAVITY. Things fall when dropped. Period. We cannot say, “things fall, except this pencil or that feather; I determine that they will stop mid-air”. That is idiocy. The journey is not over yet. Hoping Bart will come to his senses and discover Truth behind truth.

  • Cornelius VanTil destroyed humanism. Greg Bahnsen showed us that presuppositional apologetics is the only answer. R. J. Rushdooney handed us The Institutes of Biblical Law. Gary North, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, James Jordan, David Chilton, George Grant, Anthony Sutton, et al., have written extensively on what we are to do.
    I doubt Tony Campolo or Bart Campolo have read anything these men wrote. I wonder if either of them read the Bible through. I recommend they read it, and I particularly recommend the 1599 Geneva version sold by American Vision.

  • I wonder if anyone whom is or claims to be a believer in the Creator God known as Abba, and his Son Yeshua (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit could please lay down their Law and Religions for a minute and actually quote real stories of Gods love and faithfulness in your life? Could you please stop hiding behind Bible scripture to try and defend your faith and or belief and show me your relationship of your faith? Real live testimony would be nice? I know lots of Bible believing people and good scripture head knowledge people, but not much “Walking by the Spirit” though they will beat you over the head with scriptures and the Book of Books! Yet are not the Children of God lead by the Spirit of God? In most churches I’m not so sure anymore!? Maybe more like lead by the Spirit of man and where the money is coming in from.

  • How do you call someone foolish and then have the love to pray for them? Just curious!?

  • It sounds like the “Christianity” he had was the rules and the fellowship without the relationship with Jesus Christ. That is what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7:21-23. May he get the relationship!

  • Very simple Troy. To say someone has done something foolish does not mean you hate them.

  • Hmm- Well if such an arrogant and self-delusional postulation were actually true, I might respond by saying- why have we not properly utilized this power in all of mankind’s previous history? Therefore, what would lead you to assume that we are now all of a sudden capable of doing so?

  • OK, So for the people who suffered under cruel leaders where was their power to affect change when they were imprisoned or slaughtered? Where was their justice? We all reap what we sow and vengeance is God’s; justice will be meted out if not in this life, then the next; and,in the afterlife there will be NO MORE Tears, but peace and joy. There’s more but this will suffice.

  • Jesus did not hate gays. Who told you that? Christians who HATE gays are not Christian, but in name only.

  • I’m sure he’s very happy now. Most people like Bart end up creating their own God because they don’t like the Christian God. Same for his father. Unable to fully comprehend the holiness of God, he has twisted scripture to make one that he can live with.

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