CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Christians Can Say the Dumbest Things

Apr 25, 2019

It can happen to the best of us: we all can say some rather silly and stupid things from time to time. But sadly some folks seem to have made an art form out of this. And it is even much more disturbing when Christians habitually do it. We find this happening far too often, especially with all the new social media platforms that allow anyone to spill their thoughts in public in an instant.

I come across these rather embarrassing and often just plain appalling comments and remarks all the time. Some appear on my website or social media pages, and some I just find floating around in cyberspace. In the past these ridiculous remarks were thankfully more or less limited in circulation and impact.

But now these reckless and thoughtless comments can reach countless folks via the web. There is no shortage of this. On any given day plenty of such statements, claims and opinions can be found. And as mentioned, the big worry is to see Christians coming out with so much nonsense, uninformed commentary, and just plain loony remarks.

The five examples I offer here are just a tiny sampling of course, and they are not meant to reflect on the ones saying these things. They are simply representative remarks of representative believers who would do well to perhaps speak out a bit less and read, study and think a whole lot more.

Example One. Some of these comments have to do with vital social and cultural issues of the day. I regularly have to answer Christians who offer rather sloppy thinking on key issues of the day. One person a while back said this in relation to the homosexual marriage debate: “Trying to forcing people who aren’t Christians to live by Christian rules is not the way to bring people to Christ.” I replied as follows:

What does standing for the true definition of marriage have to do with forcing anybody to do anything? Are Christians no longer allowed to share their views in public? And if something is right, it is good for all people, not just Christians. Should non-Christians be allowed to run red lights because they are not Christians? What a bizarre thing to say!

And just how do you bring people to Christ? By avoiding every controversial issue, by siding with the world, and by pretending that great social evil is something we can simply ignore? People come to Christ when they are exposed to truth, are convicted by the Holy Spirit, and repent of their sins and flee to Christ for mercy.

Example Two. Pseudo-spirituality, Pharisaic believers, and arrogant Christians are always among us. Consider as an example this comment I got some time ago: “Agreeing I am out of my depth regarding the entire libraries penned on this by men & will repect your request. Thanks again for allowing this much. Xx”

Oh dear. We had been going back and forth on a particular issue and I did what I usually try to do: use evidence, reason, facts and the like. But instead of dealing with the evidence, this hyper-spiritual type pulled the lame ‘Oh I am not into human wisdom – I only believe the Bible’ card.

I replied to this person as follows: “Respectfully, don’t get rather silly here. You of course are a man and most of what you are running with you have got from other men. So don’t try to elevate yourself spiritually here. We ALL depend upon various men, be they teachers, pastors, friends, etc., just as Christ intended us to, all under the Word of course. Blessings.”

But these folks think they are somehow so very spiritual that they have no need of human teachers and teaching. I have written before about this faulty and unbiblical thinking: billmuehlenberg.com/2018/03/18/divine-or-human-teachers/

Example Three. Sometimes it is not just what a person says that is so bad, but the cause they have decided to champion – at all costs. And one of the dumbest causes out there that some Christians will incredibly run with is the loony flat earth madness.

I recently saw one flat earther discussing Daniel 4:11 as part of his proof that the world had to be flat: “The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth.” This guy provided a picture to “prove” that this could not occur if the earth were a sphere. Oh for heaven’s sakes (no pun intended). Um, the book of Daniel is filled with apocalyptic language, symbolism and imagery, much like Revelation.

And the context here is quite clear: a pagan king had had a vision of things to come in a dream. The Bible here was NOT describing any sort of scientific description of how this world is. Indeed, this becomes absolutely clear when Daniel interprets his vision. As he says in Daniel 4:20-22:

The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth, with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit, providing food for all, giving shelter to the wild animals, and having nesting places in its branches for the birds—Your Majesty, you are that tree! You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth.

Obsessed flat earth Christians can damage the cause of Christ so very much. These flat-brain Christians have managed to cling to one of the dumbest things out there as their pet cause and their big-ticket agenda item. But for a great rebuttal of all this flat earth idiocy – both biblically and scientifically – see the many helpful articles found here: creation.com/search?q=%22flat%20earth%22

Example Four. Sectarianism can always bring out the worst in some folks. Some Catholics absolutely hate Protestants, and some Protestants absolutely hate Catholics. I try to give both the cold shoulder on my site. These things can be argued ad infinitum and ad nauseam elsewhere. But here are two examples – one from each camp. Both came in as comments to my site – needless to say neither one was posted.

The first comes from a Protestant, obviously. I had written an article on “Three Easy Steps to Become a Cultist or Heretic” and this is what he said in a comment: “G K Chesteron was a Roman Catholic , the biggest cult of all time. Why not quote from the bible? Heresies divide the body. The Word of God properly understood unites us.”

UM, when you can’t even spell Chesterton’s name right, that is enough for me to have concerns. He is one of all my all-time favourite authors. Of course as an Evangelical Protestant I have some major theological differences with the Roman Catholic church.

But as I have said so often, I will take truth wherever it is found – within reason. And his silly remark about just quoting from the Bible was instantly rebutted by him given that he did not quote the Bible, but just gave us his own opinion! Good grief.

I so tire of folks like this. Brainless wonders who usually don’t have a clue. But for more on why I take the position that I do on these sectarian matters, see here: billmuehlenberg.com/2017/06/17/defence-protestantism-response-catholic-friends/

Example Five. My last example has to do with a very bizarre and rambling rant by a certain type of Catholic zealot. The entire comment is far too long to print here, so let me offer just the beginning and the end of it:

The Bible says 15 times … it *is not* the authority on Faith. Listed on my site at *****
The *BIBLE* says the very definition of Christianity are the Sources of Dogma of the Church. *Caution* > The Catholic Church has not had any physical properties since 8 December 1965, there has not been a Pope since 1914.
The Catholic writings of the new Testament do not even apply to heretics (“evangelicals”, “lutherans”, “methodists”, “presbyterians”, “anglicans”, “calvanists”, “vatican-2-ists”, etc.) since the Bible is a Christian writing and heretics are not Christian. Please see mountains of citations that heretics are not Christian on Sections 2 and 8 of the above site….

If you believe there is a website … besides THIS site, that is Catholic … please e-mail the site’s domain name to ***** … you will be quickly forwarded where it is wrong (the heresy) … and is thus working for your eternal damnation

Oh dear. This guy is fruit loop city. He is one of those folks who probably thinks that only him, his uncle, two of his friends, and his pet Chihuahua, are the real deal, and everyone else is doomed forever. Yikes stripes. Sadly there are plenty of others out there just like this guy. And now with the internet they can spread their mindless and moronic remarks far and wide.

Of course the point of this article is not to pick on certain individuals but to remind all believers that we must be very wise and careful in our public pronouncements. Thoughtless, uninformed and reckless comments and statements really can do great damage to the cause of Christ.

Everything we do we should do so that God is glorified. Offering silly, irresponsible and just plain false remarks online is not how we do this. So please think prayerfully and carefully before you speak – especially in the vast public world of cyberspace. Our Lord’s reputation is at stake.

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18 Responses to Christians Can Say the Dumbest Things

  • Another excellent summation Bill.

    I had two instances where Christians said some really dumb things on Facebook.

    I believe in a Pre-Trib Rapture, but I don’t force anyone to believe this. It will happen or it won’t. I just believe that it will. The best argument to stop all the fussing over this non-essential doctrine was made by a friend of mine. He said, “Whether it not the rapture takes place, it is best to always be ready whether it happens or not.” This we can connect with the Parable of the Ten Virgins.

    Anyway, I had a guy on Facebook tell me that I “was going to hell because I believed in a Pre-trib rapture.” Trust me, my flesh was rising up and my New Jersey attitude almost got the best of me. But I didn’t respond because I did not want to dignify that with a response. FORGETABOIUTIT.

    The second was this guy saying that if a Jew wanted to be a Christian, they had to turn their back on their Jewish heritage. Wait, what? So I asked him to back it up with Scripture. His Scriptural proof…Ready…James 1:8. No context, no explanation as to why he thought this meant for Jews to surrender their heritage, just the verse.

    I think it behooves Christians to study Systematic Study before trying to be theological online. It just might save themselves from saying things that come out of left field and make absolutely no sense. Not to mention, Scriptually wrong.

  • Thanks Richard. Yes a good grasp of basic theology is not exactly a strong point for most Christians today.

  • Too right Bill. I’m a proud Catholic and yes of course we have differences but tribalism in Christianity helps no-one. The most important divide now it seems is those who seek and love the truth and those who hate it.

  • I remember an experience with awkward statements that occurred while doing visitation with the local pastor’s wife. We were in the home of a relatively new family in the community, and we soon learned the mother, as a child, had survived World War II in Europe. She was so thankful to be living in America, and she rightfully could say her children were honor students who never had been in any kind of trouble. In an attempt to identify with most folks, the pastor’s wife mentioned the recent discipline problems in the local high school. She said to the lady of the house, “All people today have trouble with their kids, even the born-again Christians, and if they say they do not have problems with their kids, they are lying!” Of course, the mother of the honor students was shocked. A truly awkward moment followed, and I turned the conversation to the woman’s surviving World War II as a child and how God must have protected her and must have had a purpose for her life and for her family. Later, as we were leaving the home, the pastor’s wife asked me how effective I thought her witness had been. I said, “When you told Mrs. So-and-So that all born-again Christians have trouble with their kids and then lie about it, you just told an unsaved woman that Jesus Christ has nothing for her! I am glad I thought of turning the conversation to her survival story to get things back on a positive footing.” I do not know if the woman ever accepted Christ, but the incident showed the bad influence of an unwise comment.

  • Dear Bill, your article takes me further than comments via social media. Surely what you describe occurs in our Churchs either behind our back or face to face. I think I need to read R C Sproul
    Keep it up Bill thanks
    Mark Bryant

  • Sheila, I’d suggest the incident not only shows unwise comments, but also the potential for people to view things differently. The woman who said her children had never been in any kind of trouble could have meant they’d never been in legal trouble, or she could have meant they’d never been expelled or suspended by their school, or that they’d never had detention – as far as she was aware, or that …

    Conversely the pastor’s wife might have taken trouble to mean any event that required any measure of discipline or correction by the parent.

    People can think they’re sharing a conversation, yet if they’re referring to radically different concepts they can be talking at cross purposes (no pun intended) without even realising it.

  • The inherent risk with having a bee or bees in one’s bonnet is that they are liable to sting the wearer severely before one has the presence of mind to raise one’s bonnet and release the unfortunate, vengeful creatures upon the world at large!

  • It may be worth reading up on schizophrenia – it is a common disease. Sometimes one can recognise the signs in what people write.

  • That “Catholic fundamentalist” (#5) has to be a one-off! I can’t imagine his Church would be very big!

    Bill

  • Telling people how to live a holy live is not the way to bring people to christ?? Of course not we must LOVE them to christ. We must have a BARNEY type of christianity (i love you you love me). We have a preschool level knowledge of the faith and consider ourselves learned in some cases we think we know more than the greats of the faith from 100+ years ago maybe even more than the apostles. We think humans are getting smarter and so we know more than those rubes of the first century. We know God is love period paragraph and God is tolerant of all and Jesus maybe have been a bit on the fabulous side. modern man (and modern christians) believe they have figured out what people for 2000 years were too stupid to know or too bigoted to know – as long as you are nice and kind and ‘good’ and say a few hallelujahs and amens now and then you are guaranteed a spot in heaven because God owes you that.

    As the saying goes all you need is love. I would be willing to be there are christians who think christ said that. Since some of the same ones are into rock etc even it’s so called christian version in CCM it is not surprising that they would confuse John Lennon and christ. Heaven isn’t going to look like a rock concert. Jesus isn’t returning to earth to a monster ballad played by head banging angels.

  • Sorry for being off-topic but I’m not sure where this can go:
    https://www.austfamily.com.au/election_volunteer_2019

  • “Christians Can Say the Dumbest Things” – Then you may enjoy the “Church People” movie currently in production. I am looking forward to seeing it. After all, it’s good to be able to laugh at oneself.

  • I’ll take this article as advice never to engage with flat earthers. I wouldn’t have the patience.

  • Sheila, that was quick thinking on your part. I think it is the case that some parents see the good in their children very quickly and the not so good very slowly. I believe that some parents display disappointment in their children and that can be very destructive indeed.

    I have been suspended from school once. I hit a boy over his head with my tray while in the lunch queue since he touched me inappropriately; Well, I hit him twice, as I hit him again because he smirked when he was asked what happened. It was only a one-day suspension.

    I have won student of the year twice, that is voted on by the staff and pupils and at the same time broke the record for detentions in one term. The detentions just about all related to problems arising from the SRE class where I was being taught morals against my dad’s teaching.

    If you asked my dad about my behaviour, he would say I am a sinner in need of a saviour, but at least I have the right saviour. As Christians, we differ from the secular types in that we believe we are by nature bad, where the secular consider we are by nature good and any bad comes from being influenced by society. It was true that I was influenced to hit that boy due to his actions. However, you do not have to have a degree in philosophy to realise that if the secular atheistic view of man as that of being good then all influences on their children would be good (If ‘man’ is good, then society is just made up of ‘man’ so if society is good how could it influenced someone to do bad who was good). If that boy were good, he would not have done what he did.

    I believe that I do not have to receive untruth and accept it since I am a Christian. If I did, I would have spent less time in the detention room, which would have made me ‘good’ and good doesn’t come from accepting immorality, it comes from rejecting it.

    The best outcome, however, was that you allowed that pastors wife to speak the truth but created an environment without conflict so that mother could later think through what that pastor’s wife meant. so well done.

  • Mr Woerner,
    “The second was this guy saying that if a Jew wanted to be a Christian, they had to turn their back on their Jewish heritage”.

    I did laugh when I read what that person above said.

    I would have responded with “You do know Jesus was a Jew, right?”

    I was reading somewhere I think it was in one of William Lane Craig’s books that historians have rediscovered Jesus’s Jewishness. I think I am right in saying it was conveniently lost in the 1940s due to the war. It may have been that the German historians revised history to remove the Jewish from Jesus. I bet Mr M will correct me on this where I am wrong.

    WLC went on to say that it has helped historians to understand better some of the events of Jesus’s time.

  • “Christians Can Say the Dumbest Things”.

    I’m thinking, Mr M and Mr Mason when I read the title of the article above it occurs to me one Molly M, not Sarah C, said the dumbest thing about moa/mao. I think someone with a very dark sense of humour could copy Mr M’s article and re-edit it to have the name Molly M or Alice S inserted.
    Not that I would do such a thing.

  • Shelia rather than react in that way why not have asked her to explain what she meant. what you said was needlessly hurtful. christians don’t have perfect children and yes even christian parents will lie about the less than perfect things their children do. you also seemed to elevate yourself in your comment to her. while I don’t know you so I can’t accuse you of this your comments to her are along the lines of ones made by the super-pious folks. difficult conversations are the ones we need to have more of not the comfortable ones. comfortable christianity got us into the mess we are in today. We need to get the word out yes and it WILL be uncomfortable. but we can show people we too are human and we too make mistakes and we too lie about how great are kids are or how perfect our spouse is. We can present a false version of christian life to the world and expect them to convert. we are still fallen not yet in perfection and we must show ourselves to people as we are “warts and all”. I don’t see how her comment could possibly be translated as Jesus has nothing for you. As someone mention meaning of words is important ‘trouble’ could mean many things and is open to interpretation. So it would be something that would be best to ask “what do you mean by trouble” to have it defined first. I wouldn’t call it UNWISE but maybe misunderstood. and From from what you shared I can’t say it was a bad influence just perhaps offensive.

  • Thanks for this article, Bill.
    It seems people can no longer think clearly. Surely some of the trouble is caused by the incorrect use of everyday language. There are many examples, such as catalogues promising “great prices”, when they mean “low prices” — they don’t really mean “great prices”, because ‘great’ means ‘big’. Another I find rather amusing is “hot deals on fridges” — cool deals, surely?

    Many media articles are simply padded with waffle. It’s pointless saying “period of time”, when ‘period’ would do, because ‘period’ includes a time component in its meaning. It’s silly to say “report back”, when ‘report’ means to get back to someone with the desired information. Another foolish saying is that someone has “signed off on” an agreement, when just “signed” the agreement would do.

    Perhaps the title of this article is a test…? After all, no-one can say anything dumb, because ‘dumb’ means you can’t speak.

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