Is This the Most Meaningless and Moronic Meme Ever?

Some memes are utterly useless – this one certainly is:

OK, this is a very loaded question to ask. After all, there are kazillions of memes floating around out there on the social media, and millions of them would be bad, awful, cringeworthy, idiotic, illogical, senseless, ridiculous, and just plain dumb. So trying to pinpoint one that really takes the cake is risky business indeed.

But this one surely is in the running. Sure, I need to narrow things down here. This one would fit into Christian, biblical, and theological categories. And yes, there have been plenty of lousy memes just in these particular categories, and I have seen far too many of them. But the one I want to discuss here most certainly could be our prize-winner.

It starts off this way: “Man made religions”. It goes on to talk about John Smyth, who “created the Baptist religion,” Charles Parham who “created the Pentecostal religion,” Joseph Smith who “created the Mormons religion,” Charles T Russel who “created the Jehovah’s Witness religion,” and William Miller who “created the Seventh Day Adventist religion.”

But wait, there’s more. The second half of the meme says this:

“Constantine, the first Christian emperor, introduced the pagan doctrines of
-Trinity
-Easter
-Lent
-Sunday worship
-Christian cross
-Christian fish
Christianity, First Council of Nicaea, 325AD”

Good grief. This is perhaps the most idiotic and brainless meme I have seen in a very long time. It manages to get just about everything wrong. Only an ignoramus could claim most of this stuff. Perhaps those without a basic understanding of Christian theology and church history might push it, but no biblical Christian who actually uses his brain could ever run with it.

But sadly, I have even seen some good Christians who should know better happily sharing this meme. The abysmal state of Christian knowledge and understanding nowadays is certainly a matter of grave concern. Is this the most undereducated and biblically illiterate generation of Christians ever?

Let me then look at just some of the foolishness being presented here. First of all, lumping legitimate, orthodox and biblically based denominations such as the Baptists with heterodox heretical cults such as the JWs is just ridiculous. Oh, and it would help if whoever made this meme learned how to spell, including the name Charles T Russell.

While orthodox and biblical Christians may have differing views on Pentecostalism and the charismatic movement, except for a few fringe groups, they are hardly heretical. Most are quite solid when it comes to major biblical doctrines and teachings.

Not only are there clear-cut cults being lumped together with mainstream biblical groups, there is also a group that basically fits somewhere in between. The SDAs are a mixed bag. Cult expert Walter Martin did not feature this group in his very important 1965 volume, Kingdom of the Cults. I discuss them further here: billmuehlenberg.com/2014/02/26/ben-carson-potus-and-the-sda/

And one of the key teachings of the cults is a denial of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. So first this meme warns against several actual cults (that do of course deny the Trinity), and then it informs us that the Trinity is a pagan doctrine! Um, so which is it?! The Trinity is of course a fundamental doctrine of orthodox Christian teaching. Always has been. See more detail on this here: billmuehlenberg.com/2018/07/03/the-trinity-for-dummies/

And here: billmuehlenberg.com/2017/04/23/thinking-about-the-trinity/

And the nonsense about all these teachings suddenly appearing with Constantine and Nicea is really the stuff of nutter fiction writers such as Dan Brown (recall his The Da Vinci Code book and film). But I have dealt with him and his claims elsewhere. In one piece I said this:

The idea that Constantine changed Scripture, by creating a new Bible, while suppressing the old one, is ludicrous. There would have been thousands of copies of Scripture circulating at this time. Does anyone seriously believe he managed to track down every single copy of the original version of Scripture, destroy them, and then circulate his new improved version? Talk about the greatest cover up in history! This Constantine must have had superhuman powers to carry out such a feat.

 

And what of the claim that the deity of Christ was here for the first time advanced? As was just mentioned, the church from day one proclaimed the deity of Christ. What the Council of Nicea did at this time was to refute the heresy of Arianism (which denied that Jesus was co-eternal with the Father, but was in fact the first being created by God).

 

This was done by writing a creed to challenge the Arian writings, and this in turn became the blueprint for the Nicean Creed. The Creed merely formulates what had been held to for several centuries: “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made.” billmuehlenberg.com/2006/04/26/the-gospel-according-to-dan-brown/

Consider also the six “pagan” doctrines that this meme says we must totally reject. I have already discussed the Trinity. As to Easter, this is another bit of foolishness, something we get each year when a small group of loons try to insist that it is somehow a pagan festival that believers should have nothing to do with. I deal with this claim in some detail here: billmuehlenberg.com/2013/03/29/easter-of-pagan-origins/

As to Lent, this is also something like Easter that believers can have freedom to participate in if they like, or give a miss to if they would rather. It of course involves a period of fasting and/or self-denial around the time of Easter, and both Catholics and some Protestants have run with it. There is no compulsion here, and Christians are free to decide if they want to get involved with it. Fasting, and more importantly, repentance, is something the Christian should constantly be involved in, not just at certain times of the year.

Sunday worship was a practice established early on by the first Christians, following on from the resurrection of Christ. It became a key Christian day to commemorate the rise of Christ from the dead. We read about this in places like Acts 20:7. There is nothing at all sinister about it. And Paul warns against making a big deal about things like sabbath days, etc (see for example Colossians 2:16). Those desiring more info on this can consult D. A. Carson, ed., From Sabbath to Lord’s Day: A Biblical, Historical and Theological Investigation (Zondervan, 1982).

And the Christian cross is pagan? Really? These folks think that the very heart and soul of the Christian faith is to be eschewed? Not according to Scripture. The Apostle Paul for example says he will boast in nothing but the cross (Galatians 6:14). And he wants to know nothing other than Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).

If what the creator of this meme really has in mind – but was not bright enough to state correctly – is the crucifix, that is a somewhat different matter. It is an image of a cross with Jesus hanging on it. That has long been a part of all sorts of various Christian groups, including Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans and Lutherans. As long as it does not become an object of worship, believers are free to decide if they make use of such things, as well as things like jewellery featuring a cross.

As to the fish symbol, this also goes way back to earliest Christianity. It was a means by which believers could communicate with others in a hostile environment. With persecution rife in the first few centuries of the church, this symbol helped Christians easily and safely find and identify other Christians.

The symbol itself contains the Greek word icthus (fish). It is actually an acronym, using the first letter of five Greek words which in English read: “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Saviour”. And of course fish had strong Christian connections, including the words of Jesus to the disciples that they will become fishers of men (Mark 1:16–18). Absolutely nothing wrong with that either!

All up, this is NOT at all a helpful meme. The whole meme is so very idiotic that it serves no good purpose at all, except to demonstrate how NOT to think about such matters. Indeed, it demonstrates how NOT to think – period! Christians are commanded to love God with their minds, and not throw away their brains when they come to Christ and become his disciples.

As I have said so often before, it is incumbent upon every single believer to carefully know and study the Word of God, and to have at least a modicum of awareness about basic theology and church history. If they do, they will have little chance of being lured into cults and heretical beliefs and movements.

And they also will not be all that likely to endorse and circulate utterly useless and foolish memes such as this.

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21 Replies to “Is This the Most Meaningless and Moronic Meme Ever?”

  1. I’ve had few run ins with these idiots, but I will usually hit right back at them.

  2. Do I pick up are hint of righteous anger there Bill? Nothing wrong with that. There needs to be a lot more of it coming from those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ. With everything that is going on, the church still seems silent on issues of importance. You are right though, we do need to know more about our history and why we believe what we believe, but somehow we have to make it more accessible to the believers especially the younger generation who for the most part have no idea. Perhaps a small booklet that can be passed out amongst the churches…….sorry that is just my mind working overtime, but I have addressed this with are couple of Pastors. Our younger people should be taught about our Christian history in Australia along with the issues you have addressed. Maybe in some churches they are, but not in the churches I have attended for over 30 years. The Jews keep their history alive, so why don’t we? Clearly history is important, because if it was not, why are those who wish to keep us ignorant trying to destroy it all.

  3. And about Mormonism – I would have thought this wouldn’t be a question when the 19th century fictional Book of Mormon gives an imaginary history of America well before Europenas arrived – yet is embarrasingly full of obvious mistakes like elephants, horses, sheep, wheat, etc etc that never existed before the Europeans arrived. It boggles the mind that anyone could take that book seriously today. It’s like believing in a flat earth – when you can measure the curvature on the surface of a lake. (it’s 80mm per km – which is pretty easy to measure with a dumpy level or laser)

  4. You hit the nail on the head here, Bill.

    As a former librarian, I observe that we in the developed world have access to an abundance of information, but we don’t know how to use it discerningly, or use critical thinking and research skills.

  5. New to your resources, thanks so much for what you do in defending the Christian faith, freedom, and liberty.

  6. Is this the most undereducated and biblically illiterate generation of Christians ever?

    If they were raised in public schools or nonreligious private ones,even a few religious, yes yes it is! Most Christians know nothing of their faith as most westerners known nothing of their history.

    If you throw out the bunny and the eggs and make it solely about the resurrection your fine. I think he was born on Tishri 1 but I celebrate Christmas and as long as it is about his birth your fine. (I like the gift giving because I always liked an excuse to give gift to my little cousins.)

    The cross is THE symbol of Christianity worldwide because it was on IT that the sins of humanity were paid for, it was THERE the transaction took place. I heard how some in other faiths are impressed we took a symbol of death and turned it into a symbol of life.

    Personally I think Good Friday, though most certainly it was a Thursday, doesn’t get the importance it should from Christians.

    Yes the early Christians didn’t know always who was friend or foe so a half fish in the ground met with another would be a sign you were both believers.

    I think there are some traditions that have been elevated beyond their place in some churches and others are quite ritualistic but lifeless, I’m not for the dancing in the aisles style or rock back hands up like in a trance style but certainly some could use more enthusiasm for the Lord even the old hymn can be sung with enthusiasm and joy OR without passion and joyless, and low on truth and there are cults that claim to be Christian yet are not but to lump all together has only one point – to discredit Christianity and get people into other faiths or no faith.

  7. Oh Ross yes we live in an age of an ABUNDANCE of knowledge but a woeful LACK of intelligence!

  8. Thanks Gail. I don’t think much of it at all. He manages here to push two heresies: there is no hell, and everyone gets saved in the end. Of course if that were true, what a complete waste of time telling people the gospel. Indeed, what a waste of time for everything: no ultimate justice and all sinners get off without any need to repent or believe. A joyous gospel for sinners who hate God and have ever bowed the knee, but a damnable gospel for anyone who believes the Bible and the clear teachings of Jesus. But I have written on both issues often. See for example:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2011/03/11/on-hell/

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2008/06/26/whatever-happened-to-hell/

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2011/03/12/against-universalism/

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2019/10/15/the-olivet-discourse-vs-universalism-and-annihilationism/

  9. Sorry I can’t help but get my 2c worth in. Long article, but I got the gist of it and agree with Bill. It is called the Fear of God isn’t it? We really no longer preach hell, so where is the fear of God? Honestly if I had to go through eternity not knowing God, being loved by God, knowing the peace of God. To me that would be hell. It is like that parable about the poor man who sits with Abraham while the rich man is watching from afar and yearning to be where the poor man is. That would be hell. Then of course there is the hell here on earth for the many who are in bondage to sin and to the depravity of their minds which unfortunately they take with them to the grave and beyond if they don’t receive the love of Christ in their lives. That would be hell, but may not to them because they have never known anything different and in are sense they are already dead. “Let the dead bury the dead” Jesus says. Hell can be so many different things to so many different people, but at the end of the day lets just preach the love of Christ to the lost and broken hearted and not threaten others with hell because clearly it did not work years ago and it won’t work now. No one knows another man’s heart but God, and we are not to judge for that very reason. Just trust God and keep it simple and please forgive me if I am trying to make it seem simple, but if I am to be truly honest with myself, I am are simple minded person at heart. I don’t dwell in my heart what hell will be like, and for that matter I don’t dwell on what Heaven will be like either, I just trust that our Lord has the best for me and for you all too.

  10. Thanks for your thoughts Ingrid. However, on a few points you may need to think things through just a bit more. When someone goes without a cup of coffee for three days – or whatever – and says ‘That was just hell for me,’ that is not what Jesus and the biblical writers meant when they spoke about the reality of hell. It has real objective existence totally apart from any hardships or torments that we might experience in this life. So we are not talking about hell on earth here. Hell is fully real, and real people go there who refuse to accept the offer of forgiveness and salvation that Christ gives when we come to him in faith and repentance. And Jesus warned about hell and future judgment more than any other biblical writer.

    And who says preaching hell does not work? Where did you get that idea from? There would be countless people who came to Christ when they became aware of their lost condition as sinners and their eternal destiny in hell apart from Christ. And of course to preach only the love of God is to preach only part of the gospel. The good news that God loves us and wants us in heaven only makes sense to people when we first tell them the bad news that they are sinners headed to a lost eternity if they do not repent. But see more on this here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2009/02/28/in-praise-of-bad-news/

    There is nothing wrong with being simple in our faith, but we are not to be simplistic. We are to love God with our minds as well as the rest of our being as Jesus commanded. That involves seeking to have a careful, thoughtful and biblically informed faith. But thanks again for sharing here. Blessings.

  11. Thanks for your thoughts too Bill, but I guess we just won’t see eye to eye on that one. Hell may very well be fire and brim stone, however threatening people with it in my eyes is not the way to go. It certainly did not work for me being brought up as are Catholic. It was Jesus’s love that drew me to him and that was not until into my 30’s. How can the threat and fear of Hell and damnation if you don’t receive Christ into your life even compare to being drawn to Christ through his love and forgiveness. It is not fear that draws people into are personal relationship with Jesus, it is love. If you are right with God and you know your bible, you know what it says about hell, but you don’t dwell on it like the gentleman who wrote that article. Honestly Bill I do not understand why Christians need to keep correcting each other and arguing with each other over scripture, how many of us ever can agree on anything and we read the same bible for crying out loud. The Lord showed me one day just how harmful it is. I was sitting in front of three young people on are plane and overhead one of them witnessing to the married couple, it brought joy to my heart. However, as we got up to leave what disappointed me was that an elderly Christian lady sitting in the seat behind them also overheard the conversation, pulled the couple over as they got up from their seats, and proceeded to give her interpretation of his witness of Christ. Need less to say the couple walked away very confused.
    There is so many different denominations today, each professing to know the truth and we wonder why the people of this nation have no respect for us anymore. A house divided against it self will fall and I think I can safely say that knowing doctrine certainly has not been our savior.
    I came to Christ as a empty vessel, I repented and I was saved, no doctrine saved me.
    I came to Christ as are babe, I drank milk till I was ready to eat meat and till this day I still have that appetite for meat, however I witness to babes, and babes respond better to love then fire and brimstone. However if that works for others, then praise the Lord. As I said before, we are all so different, and we all respond in different ways. So as are simple person, (which puts me in good stead with the first followers of Christ who were fisherman), I choose to also witness in are simplistic form like the women at the well. After all we just plant the seeds and God waters, and I am sure he uses those like yourself to fill in the details.

  12. Thanks again Ingrid. Since you are keen to share your thoughts once again, allow me to share a few replies if I may. It of course does not really matter that you don’t see eye to eye with me. That is fine. What does really matter – massively – is that you see eye to eye with God and his Word. That is paramount. As to fear, I will stick to what God has clearly told us. And that includes things like this:

    Psalm 2:11 Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.
    Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
    Proverbs 14:2 Whoever walks in uprightness fears the LORD, but he who is devious in his ways despises him.
    Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life.
    Proverbs 28:14 Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always.
    Revelation 15:4 Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy.

    See more on this here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2013/11/19/love-fear-and-god/

    And why do passages such as Jude 23 spring to mind here: “save others by snatching them out of the fire”?

    Also, you say that we should not be ‘arguing’ with each other over Scripture and the like, yet you seem to have been doing that here all along! So we could go on and reply to some of your other thoughts – eg, point out the obvious fact that not all the early disciples were fishermen – Paul would have been a leading PhD of his day. Again, do not confuse a simple faith with intellectual laziness. We ARE to love God with our minds, and not to do so is a sin. It is not a Christian virtue!

    And as you said: we are all different! If you were the only person on earth who became a Christian, then we might make your story the norm, the template. But there are millions of others who have also become Christians, and many of their stories differ markedly from yours, including the countless number of folks who came to Christ when confronted with their sin and the prospects of eternal punishment. We can and do respect your journey, but you must respect the journeys of others! But thanks again for sharing.

  13. Actually I think the most moronic meme is “Love Wins” because it’s mostly used by selfish people to justify wickedness. It should rather say, “I love to be perverse and sexually deviant because I love only myself”

  14. well ted I would have to ask those people the Haddaway question “what is love?”

  15. I have worked with a lot of kids and know that not all learn the same way. Some are visual and some are better with written stuff. Others are auditory learners, and not all respond to the same punishment. Some need spanking because NOTHING else will work while some can effectively learn through time outs and loss of privileges. Having different ways to reach them helps them learn. The same for Christians: some will respond to the fire and brimstone approach and others the strong love approach. So having BOTH helps all people be reached. True, we must give the whole picture but some will respond better to the emphasis of one versus the other.

  16. Yes Paul God has not made us in some cookie-cutter fashion, and we all differ, so some approaches will be better than some other approaches – depending on the individual. We need not insist that only one approach is the way to go. There would be countless conversion stories of how folks came to Christ. So it is best not to put God in a box here, and insist that only one way is the right way.

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