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At the Olympics, thousands of missionaries compete for souls

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (RNS) — To those watching on TV, religion may seem absent from the Winter Olympic Games. Away from the spotlight, though, an estimated 3,000 missionaries are on hand.

About 2,000 missionaries — South Korean and international — are working in the city of Gangneung, where the indoor Olympic events are being held. The remaining 1,000 are working in Pyeongchang, site of ski, snowboard and other events.

There is no reliable count of missionaries at Olympics past. But the number of local missionaries here far exceeds previous games, said Marty Youngblood, leader of the Georgia Baptist Convention mission team, who is at his fifth Olympics this year.

South Korea, which is 29 percent Christian, and among whom Protestants predominate, enjoys high levels of religious tolerance. Buddha’s birthday and Christmas are both national holidays.

The Winter Games have attracted teams of Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons also abound, each group sharing the gospel in its own way. The United Christian Churches of Korea, a coalition of 144 local congregations, is helping foreign mission groups to arrange housing and ministry sites and learn about Korean culture.

Local churches are taking advantage of an Olympics at their doorstep. Many have set up welcome stations in parking lots, where they give away snacks, coffee and Christian literature.

In addition to its coffee and snack giveaway, Somang Presbyterian Church — located in the shadow of the Olympic venues — is showcasing a live orchestra and church members dressed in traditional costume. It’s just one of the 26 local churches in Gangneung with Olympic outreach ministries.

Then there’s the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Helping Hands Center, a two-story building on prime real estate across the street from the train station in Gangneung. Working there is Coloradan Chandler Petry, chosen by her church with a small group of other Mormon missionaries already in Korea to serve at the Olympics.

Missionaries and volunteers gather outside the Mormon Helping Hands Center in Gangneung, South Korea. Photo courtesy of Helping Hands Center

The center’s multilingual staff will give athletes, members of the media and any Olympic spectator a warm drink and a place to recharge their phones. But its main goal, according to the church’s website, “is for as many as possible to see the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the eyes of the members and missionaries.”

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have sent about 1,000 missionaries to the Winter Games, far more than to previous Olympics, said Steven Park, public information officer for the Jehovah’s Witness Korea branch. He says that the work they do in Gangneung and Pyeongchang is no different from the ministry they do elsewhere and that some missionaries will remain in the area after the Olympics.

Trading lapel pins is one strategy missionaries use to start discussions with Olympic athletes and visitors in South Korea for the games. RNS photo by Madeline C. Mulkey

One of the most popular tools of ministry for these Olympic missionaries is lapel pin trading.

Myungsu No, a campus minister in Seoul, says his students from the Baptist Student Union use pin trading — a pastime at this and previous Olympics — to spread the gospel. While athletes and spectators trade pins that typically depict a certain country, sport or team, mission groups give away a “More Than Gold” lapel pin, borrowing the slogan a consortium of missionary groups adopted in the 1990s to brand their Olympic outreach.

Psalm 119:127 declares that the commands of God are loved “more than gold.” The reference to gold at the Olympics, where athletes’ highest reward for their performance is a gold medal, is borrowed by the missionaries to suggest there is a higher reward to be sought through faith.

Veteran missionaries trained in the art of Olympic pin trading are passing down the skill to the new generation. The missionaries make an initial pin trade using a nonreligious pin they have collected — say, that of the USA ski jump team. This often prompts a conversation and a chance for the missionary to offer the trader the “More Than Gold” pin as a gift.

Some missionaries who work elsewhere in Asia have decided to take a break to focus on the Olympics.

Kathryn Daniel traveled to South Korea in order to evangelize at the Olympics. RNS photo by Madeline C. Mulkey

American Kathryn Daniel, based in Asia, says she felt called to evangelize at the Winter Games because of her personal connection with Korea. She spent 12 years of her life in the country with her missionary parents.

Nine months ago, she heard her father was getting a group of other retired missionaries to go to the Olympics, and she thought, “I think this is God telling me to go, ‘Kathy, just go.’” Daniel is staying in Korea for a week, working with the group from the Georgia Baptist Convention.

The first weekend of the Olympics, mission groups passed out Christian literature in the Olympic park unimpeded.

Then Olympic park officials posted signs informing visitors that passing out religious material in the park was banned, and any materials found would be confiscated.

Youngblood, of the Georgia Baptist Convention, said he is not concerned. His missionaries are also using the pin trading and only give pamphlets to those who want to learn more.

And A-lim Jang, a recent university graduate and student leader with Baptist Student Union missionaries, said pin trading has allowed her and her colleagues to share the gospel “with many people that God puts in our path.”

(Madeline C. Mulkey is a senior at the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She is doing a special online documentary and a series of articles on “God at the Game.” Her project is funded in part by the Magellan Scholarship Program.)

About the author

Madeline C. Mulkey


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  • “At the Olympics, thousands of missionaries compete for souls”

    A more accurate title for this article might have been . . .
    At the Olympics, thousands of hucksters compete for customers.

  • Gee whiz. So many missionaries to choose from, each representing the Sole and Only Truth about god and his/her/their/its message to the world.

    What if I choose the wrong one? Instead of harps, will I hear sad trombones?

  • Fred Clark (a graduate of Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is so right on target with his commentary today about the Billy Graham legacy of saving souls — as exemplified in Rev. Graham’s son Franklin: Fred writes (,

    “The folklore/doctrine of Hell is a hell of a drug.

    And Billy’s otherworldly, inconsequential gospel of hollow conversion — of conversion to nothing more than the claim of having been converted — offered Franklin no antidote to the lessons he was learning about the nature of God and the nature of his damnable neighbors.”

    The phrases “otherworldly, inconsequential gospel of hollow conversion” and “the nature of his damnable neighbors” are brilliant: with this style of exported American hucksterism-cum-“evangelism,” it’s ALWAYS about someone else’s damnation and sins.

    Never my own. It’s about making a “harvest for God” of all those other damnable souls.

    But never my own.

    Must be easy, this cheap-grace doctrine of salvation that allows me to focus obsessively on “harvesting” other “sinners” for God, while my focus of moral and spiritual examination never turns to my own self.

    What any of this has to do with Jesus Christ and his gospel is beyond me to grasp.

  • Yes, that is a huge concern for you.

    On the other hand, you’ve already picked the absolute most rationally bankrupt religion of the entire planet — atheism — so whatever Olympic missionary you sign up with, can only represent forward progress for you. Go get one.

  • There is no need of missionaries for non belief. The greatest advertisement for atheism are the actions and attitudes of smug religious believers. 🙂

  • Atheism: I have no belief in any god. You have no evidence that convinces all of the rest of the religions. Sounds rational.

    Your comic book view of atheism (with apologies to comic books): it’s a religion. Being gay is a religion. Bring a democrat is a religion. Being a liberal is a religion.

    Your religion: of the hundreds of thousands of the gods of men, of the thousands of religions, the hundreds of varieties of Christianity, you alone have the correct one. You have no more evidence of yours than do all of the others.

    Who is irrational?

  • I just pictured the turkey vultures gathering in the clearing near my southern home looking for mates…and some easy access to carrion.

  • Rationally bankrupt… have you even noticed the members of your own flock of fools behaving dangerously towards their own?! Bags full of morally bankrupt blackened souls among your brethren. Might I suggest you do some sectarian house cleaning before reaching out blacked claws to trap the unsuspecting?

  • Maybe not. 🙂

    “Why Winter Olympic Athletes Are Getting More Condoms Than Ever


  • What’s your criterion for morality?

    Can you point to an “atheist code of conduct”?

    Or is it like a religious belief – you just believe you know the answers?

  • 1) Not yours, obviously. I’m concerned about guns killing people. For you, it’s just the price others pay for your fetish. See #3
    2) Of course not. atheism is not a philosophy or a religion and has no code of conduct. Religion often provides a code of conduct, but religionists, lacking their own morals, often feel free to ignore it. See #1
    Yes. YOU just believe you know the answers. See #2

  • 1) I’m concerned about guns killing some people: me, my family, bystanders, other innocents. I hope that when used properly guns actually kill some people: the bad guy holding a hostage, the sniper shooting at innocents, the murderer holed up with a firearm shooting at police, John Dillinger and his successors.

    That’s morality, making distinctions between what is good, and what is not, and being able to explain why.

    2) So, you’re saying you don’t have a code of conduct. It’s like art – you may not know anything about morality but you know what you like and don’t like.

    So it IS akin to a religious belief, or faith.

    And in a way it’s better, because religion often provides a code of conduct, but religionists, lacking their own morals, often feel free to ignore that code and suffer censure, whereas an atheist is completely unrestricted and cannot be held accountable for failing to meet the code of conduct.

    3) There was no #3. However, it is not clear to me how not having a code of conduct and not believing in any morality beyond whatever you happen to make up today is somehow more rational than believing in a deity and touting, say, the Decalogue.

  • The greatest advertisement for religion is the actions of atheists given a little power, starting with the French Revolution and going right through modern day North Korea and Red China.

  • Actually, several posters in this forum, each with their own distinct beliefs, have already presented enough rational, scientific, and scriptural evidence (and occasionally texts from non-Christian religions!), to clearly defeat the empty husk of atheism.

    Their presentation of “facts, logic and evidence” (a familiar phrase, is it not?) have cumulatively removed any rational support for your atheism.

    You don’t even have atheist songs of afterlife hope & healing & heaven. No atheist songs giving balm to bereaved & troubled families at atheist funerals.

    Ben, there’s simply no reason for you to remain in that hopeless scam.

  • You can’t even hide behind the sins of others, NavyLady, because RNS is currently reporting on a Christian man who was NOT a “morally bankrupt blackened soul.”

    (And his wife Ruth was top-of-the-line too, with fully clean hands as well. So if you didn’t like Billy’s gig, you could at least follow Ruth’s clear example. So you got no excuses for YOUR atheism either.)

    Atheism gives you zero. No hope, No healing, No heaven. You can’t fly high like you want to, because atheism = quicksand.

    But you could drop all that atheism right now, and get yourself hooked up with Somebody who could really re-write your book and give you wings. Why not do it?

  • B: “I’m concerned about guns killing people.”

    J: “I’m concerned about guns killing some people: ….”

    (of course guns themselves kill no one)

    B: “See #3″

    J: “There was no #3.”

    B: “atheism is not a philosophy or a religion and has no code of conduct.”

    J: “So, you’re saying you don’t have a code of conduct.”

    B: “Religion often provides a code of conduct, but religionists, lacking their own morals, often feel free to ignore it.”

    J: “… religion often provides a code of conduct, but religionists, lacking their own morals, often feel free to ignore that code…”

    Of course some of that is what you actually said.

    An amazing performance – value judgments, morality, and minority rights out of thin air!

    David Coppefield has nothing on you.

  • Like language, “morality” happens whenever humans come together.

    The standards of behavior adopted by humans vary in different places and different times. There is no one perfect standard, nor is there perfect agreement either within or among communities.

    I can observe some moral codes and conclude that that structure does not create the type of society I would want to live in. I would not like to live under the accepted morality of the antebellum South nor under the accepted morality of 1930s Germany. OTOH, current Scandinavian countries seem to have created a good society to live in.

    No matter what lies you are told or choose to believe, your moral system is not special. By some standards, it isn’t even very good.

    Atheism is simply the conclusion that there is no evidence that supernatural beings or imaginary friends exist. Accordingly, believing in supernatural beings or imaginary friends is dumb.

    The moral code / standards of behavior that I think work best are those that do the most good and the least harm. For example, what consenting adults do with their private parts doesn’t hurt anyone, so is none of my business.

  • B: “atheism is not a philosophy or a religion and has no code of conduct.”

    J: “So, you’re saying you don’t have a code of conduct.”

    This is strawmanning. The fact that atheism is not itself a moral code has no bearing on whether a person has a moral code.

    You can see how ridiculous you sound by referring to the following variations below.

    B: “the conclusion that imaginary friends are make believe is not a philosophy or a religion and has no code of conduct.”

    J: “So, you’re saying you don’t have a code of conduct.”


    B: “the conclusion that the tooth fairy is make believe is not a philosophy or a religion and has no code of conduct.”

    J: “So, you’re saying you don’t have a code of conduct.”


    B: “the conclusion that asparagus is disgusting is not a philosophy or a religion and has no code of conduct.”

    J: “So, you’re saying you don’t have a code of conduct.”


    B: “not owning an elephant as a house pet is not a philosophy or a religion and has no code of conduct.”

    J: “So, you’re saying you don’t have a code of conduct.”

  • Graham got rich selling lies. He may have sincerely believed his lies and he was slightly more transparent than the shysters that followed in his wake, but there wasn’t that much to praise.

    By their fruit shall ye know them. Graham’s offspring currently running his business are nasty, hateful, hypocritical and greedy.

    So much for the power of God.

  • Your religious piety gives you a sense of superiority. I have no need for such arrogance. If more of your self professed Christians lived like Ruth Graham, a lot of you would have been taken to the woodshed for some old school discipline a centuries ago. Be more like Ruth Graham and get off the street corner with all this grandstanding piety. Matthew 6, 1-18.

  • “Humor” is your middle name.

    “No”, of course, is your first name.

    “Atall” appears to be the last name.

  • Like language and morality, “evil” also happens whenever humans come together.

    Taken at its face, your argument treats the two as of equal value.

    While the standards of behavior adopted by a community vary in different places and different times, most people agree they do not want to live in fear or be on the menu at the next dinner.

    So, whether one’s moral system is not “special”, and perhaps by your standards isn’t even very good, it beats no moral system hands down.

    The question is not whether atheism is the conclusion that there is no evidence that supernatural beings or imaginary friends exist. The question is how, in the absence of a defined moral code, we develop something to judge morality.

    What you describe is not a “moral code” or a “moral system”. It has no authority at all other than your personal subscription to it.

    My correspondent has been unable to even begin an answer to that question.

    When you write “The moral code / standards of behavior that I think work best are those that do the most good and the least harm”, you’re begging the question.

    Without defining “good” and “harm” you’re simply restating the same proposition: I know what I like and what I dislike. Your approach probably lowers the risk of a punch in the face, but it doesn’t do anything to use in response to another atheist who says “I know what’s good for everyone, and might makes right.”

  • “So, you’re saying you don’t have a code of conduct.” is not “strawmanning”. The question was about what source he used for a code of conduct beyond his personal impression of what he likes or dislikes.

    The entrance of atheism, and the statement it has no moral code, was all his.

    You would see how ridiculous you sound were you not in the same circular reasoning pattern he is in.

    No one denies your right to moral judgments based on the barometric pressure, or a point spotted on the wein, or anything else.

    I am sure all of us are glad your personal code is not “eat as much human flesh as possible”.

    Josef Stalin, an atheist, did not bring that sort of good luck to those around him or the people he governed.

    You, and Ben, seem to be completely unable to provide any insight into why his moral code was not as good your own personal moral codes.

    In addition, Ben speaks of “minority rights” that appear to come out of a hat since he not rejects not only a deity, he rejects natural law.

    Aristotle neither of you are.

  • More nonsense from a guy who continually Says “might makes right.”

    That you don’t understand that people can have moral systems without benefit of religion, and especially without “benefit” of YOUR religion, is one of your greatest deficiencies.


  • Misstating your opponent’s argument is the very definition of strawmanning.

    Ben never said he does not have a moral code. He said the moral code that he does have does not come from atheism.

    Stalin was Russian Orthodox. He opposed anything that might challenge his power, including the leaders and structure of his own religion. The “Oooh. Atheists are bad and immoral because Stalin was an atheist” nonsense has been thoroughly debunked. Find something original.

    You claim your moral code comes from your eternal, unchanging deity. But the evidence shows that the moral code of followers of your deity varies from group to group and generation to generation. And what morals your community has often directly contradicts your holy book. There simply is no absolute morality associated with your religion or your deity.

    Your morality and my morality and Ben’s morality and the morality of every other human, good or bad*, come from the exact same source. The community(ies) which we are a part of determine what behaviors are acceptable in that community.

    Southern Baptist Christians today say owning humans is immoral. 200 years ago, they said owning humans was part of God’s plan. Your community says sex between consenting persons of the same gender is wrong but some leaders of your community say sex without consent within marriage is fine. Blech. My community says that the opposite is true. Morality is constantly in flux.

    * Good and bad are judgments from the perspective of our time and our community. A few hundred years ago, European protestants viewed themselves as moral and in compliance with God’s eternal standards as they burned Catholics alive tied to poles.

  • LOL. You have to go to go far and wide to find examples. All I have to is use someone like you. They are more common than dirt.

    I can think of no better advertisement for atheism than the malicious crap that conservative Christians do allegedly in service of their faith.

  • Bang on. I couldn’t be bothered to answer his stupidity. Trying to blame all atheists for the actions of a few atheists, or to blame atheism for fascism when we know tTHAT has nothing to do with reality, shows a moral and intellectual deficiency that is simply breathtaking.

  • What “piety”? Everybody thinks they got some kind of piety or ethics. Forget about me and my piety mess.

    I’m talking about a living and active, experiential Solution that truly works, that comes to you as you are, and then rewrites, renews and recharges your entire life, your purposes, your dreams, your very soul, from the inside out. I tried the Solution; and it did work.

    Your words already suggest that you agree that the Solution worked for Ruth Graham. So what’s stopping you from adopting Ruth’s Solution for yourself?

  • More nonsense from a guy who can’t explain why he believes what he believes, what he believes, or why anyone should believe him to a guy who believes in majority rule, which you describe as “might makes right”, and natural law, which was the basis for this country’s founding.

    Nothing up this sleeve, nothing up that sleeve – Voila! minority rights.

    I can’t understand people can have moral systems without the benefit of religion if you can’t explain your moral system – in fact even describe your moral system – in the absence of religion beyond you know what you like and what you do not.

    That much you’ve made clear. Oh, and you’ve also made clear you have a negative view towards religion.

    To this point the impression is that you would be better off point to this:

    as a close approximation, although the material on page 41 on religious minorities seems a bit out of character.

    Since I have not touted any religion, you’re treading water with this additional broadside at religion, which of course we know you don’t like.

  • LOL. As humanity’s good luck would have it, few take-overs of nations by atheists occur.

    Without exception every one has been a catastrophe.

    In fact all I have to do is point to you.

  • Since I did NOT say that Ben did not have moral code, and this is the second time I have pointed that out, it is pretty obvious who is setting up a straw man.

    Stalin was an atheist. No sh-t, really.

    As to “your morality and my morality and Ben’s morality and the morality of every other human, good or bad*, come from the exact same source. The community(ies) which we are a part of determine what behaviors are acceptable in that community.”, that particular position was rejected flatly at the Nuremberg trials. Also, you might note that Ben thinks majority rule, i.e., the community determines what behaviors are acceptable in that community, is “might makes right”.

    Two hundred years ago some Baptists said owning humans was immoral, and some said owning humans was part of God’s plan. The Southern Baptist Convention formed in 1845 in Augusta, Georgia, in a split with northern over the issue of whether Southern slave owners could serve as missionaries, not over the morality of slavery. Since the polity of Baptists of all stripes is congregational, attributing a particular view to this or that convention as though it were the Episcopal Church is an error.

    Yes, some morality is constantly in flux, and some is not. It would appear that Ben’s consist of knowing what he likes and what he does not. If yours are more robust than that, you have not shared it.

  • Minority rights: exactly the same rights afforded to the majority.

    Natural law and ountry’s founding: in your dreams.

    You can’t understand moral systems without the benefit of religion? You should get out more, read more, listen when people talk to you. But you are too busy being smarter, moraller, religiouser, and superior to understand much of anything.

    I have a negative view towards religion? Apart from thinking that religion is silly? No, towards dominionists and people who hide behind their religious belief. And even though I think religion is silly, I still respect religious people if they are respectable. I’ve said so many times, and I act that way.

    The rest of this is just a silly,

  • Uhh, yes you did. This is why I don’t bother to get into long arguments with you any more. You’re too busy strawmanning and being superior to notice what you say.

    I am an atheist. You have repeatedly said that atheists are immoral. It’s a constant refrain. No morals without religion, without god. Especially without YOUR hyper catholic version of god.

    You demand an atheist explanation of where I get my morals, but when I tell you, you say the reichwing Version of “piffle”.

    Speaking of piffle: you make statements like this. “In addition, Ben speaks of “minority rights” that appear to come out of a hat since he not rejects not only a deity, he rejects natural law.” What you are basically saying is a) nothing I have ever said, b) a good example of my morals, which apparently you lack, c) a non sequitur ofgargantuan proportions, and d)there is nothing I could ever say that would not produce a sneering, strawman response from you,

    Your version of morality frankly doesn’t impress me. Nor do you, but feel free to impress yourself.

  • You said to Ben

    “So you are saying you don’t have a code of conduct”

    I can’t imagine why I thought you accused Ben of saying he didn’t have a code of conduct.

    Silly me.

  • You had exactly the same rights afforded to the majority; marriage of one, and one only, person of the opposite sex not closely related, not underage, not under duress, not already married, capable of giving consent, and so on.

    What you wanted was a special deal, a deal with no counterpart in any non-pagan society of the last two millennia.

    Natural law and country’s founding: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”.

    If I have to wait on you, I will never understand moral systems without the benefit of religion, since you’ve never explained such a system beyond telling us what you like and do not like when the occasion arises.

    Yes, you think that religion is silly, that your imaginary “dominionists” and people “hide behind their religious belief”. And apparently you’re okay.

    Reading your material over at JoeMyGod I don’t believe you respect anyone who does not agree with you.

  • Uhm, not I did not.

    What I said is what you said – there is no atheist morality. Whatever morality you have, it is self-generated and self-endorsing. It also appears to be unexplainable. It is certainly not a “standard” by which anything can be judged.

    As to “when I tell you”, you haven’t. If something comes up, you opine as to whether you like it or not. If you don’t like it, you often state that it is “immoral”.

    Your cohort, Lark62, seems to believe that morals come from the community. But when you were faced with the suggestion of a constitutional amendment to quash same sex marriage by another poster, you raised “minority rights” and “might makes right” in opposition.

    You raised “minority rights” but for the life of you, after multiple requests, you can’t explain where minority rights might come from. In the case discussed they did not come from the community, or a vote of the populace, or the plain words of the Constitution.

    In fact you were asked in the context of the Declaration of Independence, to wit:

    “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. No Creator, no unalienable rights, thus no minority rights.

    Silence from you, and I am sure we will get silence again.

    Of course my version of morality doesn’t impress you.

    Yours impresses even fewer.

    I am willing to put it up for a vote. Are you?

  • Yes, silly you.

    He was asked if he had a code of conduct. He replied “atheists don’t have a code of conduct”.

    Then he was asked about his personal code of conduct, and its source, and we’re still on that discussion.

    Silly, silly you.

  • HOLD ON. Let’s be a bit technical here – literally. As in textually.

    How does this actually work, again? “To spread the gospel … mission groups give away a ‘More Than Gold’ lapel pin … to suggest there is a higher reward to be sought through faith … [because] Psalm 119:127 declares that the commands of God are loved ‘more than gold.'”

    But Psalm 119:121, 126-127 reads: “Do not leave me to my oppressors [O God]. … They have broken Your law. Therefore I love Your commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold.”

    How’s that going “to spread the gospel” during this Olympics?

    More questions:

    Who are the said “oppressors” in this case? North Koreans? The Americans?

    Who “love [God’s] commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold”? America? No. The American Prosperity Gospel Churches of the Christian Right & the Evangelical Nationalists? No.

  • Referenced to by those stupid “‘More Than Gold’ lapel pin[s]”, Psalm 119:121, 126-127 reads: “Do not leave me to my oppressors [O God]. … They have broken Your law. Therefore I love Your commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold.”

    How, again, is that going “to spread the gospel” during this Olympics?

    How is this even a Christ Jesus-centered evangelism?!

  • Much like those countries which have established religion or rule according to religious principles like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Franco’s Spain, Montt’s Honduras (a noted genocidal evangelical), Taliban Afghanistan, or what Dominionists want to turn the US into.

  • Yes, yes, we know how you hate religion.

    I’m sure your winding up in hell, which is about 99% certain, is not going to improve your attitude on the topic.

  • Whatever makes you feel better about using religion as an excuse to be an obnoxious and immoral person. 🙂

    I have nothing against religion. The actions and attitudes of a small subset of focal believers on the other hand, demand opposition . 🙂

  • It doesn’t matter if many aren’t listening. Many also abandoned Christ because of His “hard sayings.”

  • Then you have to question why they believed. Since Jews don’t believe in original sin and the need for atonement, I don’t understand why they would suddenly believe in this need for a savior.

  • I was referring to those who did NOT believe but abandoned Him when it became apparent that He had no interest in throwing out the Romans.

    Of course the Sermon on the Mount, as well as most of Jesus’ other discourses, was all about demonstrating the truth about fallen hunan nature and the futility of human attempts to approximate God’s holiness on our own merits.

  • Our born-again Christian brother, Billy Graham, was “a Christian man who was NOT a ‘morally bankrupt blackened soul'”, brother floydlee? Notwithstanding these, what he had said on record, you mean?

    (1) “We have many divisions. … There are a lot of divisions … But the main divisions are, of course, theological. We pay a tremendous price for the divisions. I wish we could all be united. So a few years ago, I started inviting everyone – Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, everyone–to come. We got a tremendous response because people want to be with each other.”
    – Billy Graham, Detroit Free Press, January 12, 1997.

    (2) “I think that everybody that loves Christ or knows Christ – whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the Body of Christ. And that’s what God is doing today. He’s calling people out of the world for His name. Whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their heart that they need something that they don’t have, and they turn to the only light that they have. And I think that they are saved, and that they’re going to be with us in Heaven … I’ve met people in various parts of the world in tribal situations, that they have never seen a Bible or heard about a Bible, and never heard of Jesus, but they’ve believed in their hearts that there was a God, and they’ve tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived.”
    – Billy Graham, Robert Schuller’s “Hour of Power”, May 31, 1997.

    (3) For President Bill Clinton’s sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky sex scandal, “I forgive him because I know the frailty of human nature and I know how hard it is, and especially a strong vigorous young man like he is – he has such a tremendous personality. I think the ladies just go wild over him.”
    – Billy Graham, NBC Today Show, March 5, 1998.

    (4) “I hope and pray for [President Bill Clinton’s] sake, the sake of his family and our nation, that he is not guilty of the things he is alleged to have done. … But ultimately … when we point a finger at the President, let’s point another finger at ourselves for our sins.”
    – “Billy Graham’s Letter to the New York Times”, New York Times, March 17, 1998.

  • Korea had a thriving Buddhist community long before missionaries began to lobby for their various views of Christianity. Buddhism, in its actual essence closer to a way of life than a religion, is decidedly opposite in its view of how to approach questions involving how to live one’s life. The Buddha’s admonition to not believe Anything unless one has proven it to one’s rational satisfaction is completely opposite of the call for “ belief” espoused by Christianity. Trying to change the world view of an entire culture is puerile in its assumption that people need to be convinced to abandon a long- established way of life based on rational compassion for all sentient beings in favor of a system based on relinquishing one’s reason in favor of belief in a religion which denigrates human suffering by offering easily dismissed fantasies of an omnipotent father- in-the-sky who must be worshipped and petitioned by prayer to relieve suffering which , according to Christian “ reasoning”, is the result of human disobedience to the desire for knowledge. Missionaries, mind your own business.

  • Ben, I’ve liked your statements and replies ; it’s obvious that you know that there is no reasoning with the “ religiously- bent” but you still take the time to answer them. Mostly I admire that, but those folks are generally so far removed from rationality that you’re wasting your time trying to explain yourself to them. ( I have to admit to also doing the same at times!)

  • Thanks, Richard. I appreciate it.

    I don’t write for people like Jose or Bob A. I have been dealing with these people for over 45 years, and “religiously bent” are good words for them. What they don’t deny outright, they project onto others. There is no reasoning with them.

    I write for the people who read but don’t comment often, if at all. I’ve been told many times over the years by those very people that they have appreciated what I have to say, my reasoning, my concerns.
    That’s where something can be accomplished, not with the people who consider themselves god’s BFFFs.

    I still remember an Irish woman a few years ago, who, though not vehemently antigay, was going to vote no in the Irish referendum on marriage equality. In the end, she voted yes on marriage equality, and thanked me for showing her the errors in her thinking and her compassion and biblical interpretations.

    Her comment: “you reminded me of what my bible has always said to me, not what other people told me it meant.”

    Thanks again.

  • There is no “ god” in Buddhism. It is s rational way of life concerned with avoiding suffering here and now. I assure you that as a Buddhist I am Not a part of the Body of Christ or any other superstitious beliefs.