Dumb Memes, Quotes and Posts, #17

More quite unhelpful memes:

Because there is never a shortage of not very helpful and often quite silly and reckless posters, memes and sayings floating around, especially on the social media, I need to keep adding to this irregular series of articles. Yes, I know that things like memes, by their very nature, can often not be great vehicles for sharing truth, but still…

Too many of them can actually do more harm than good. Sure, I also share memes and the like quite often, but I try to be a bit careful about what I do post. And since so many have to do with biblical and theological topics, even greater care is needed. So here are some more that I have found online that need to be assessed and if need be, critiqued.

“Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does.”

This is another one of those posts that presents a false dichotomy. Both things make you a better person, and we need both. For the Christian, we need both right beliefs and right behaviour. And quite often the latter flows out of the former.

That is, if you believe wrong things, or false doctrines, that can result in sub-par or even anti-Christian behaviour. Misleading beliefs can result in less than biblical actions. To be sure, one can have a head-full of right doctrines and beliefs, and still act in less than Christian ways. So again, having both is the ideal we should aim for.

“Love comes naturally. Hate is taught.”

I have already dealt with versions of this two times previously. In a recent appearance of this on the social media on a Christian site, the accompanying picture shows a white woman with a baby on a subway car. She has turned away from looking at a Black man on the seat facing her, but he is smiling as he holds the hand of the baby.

Three things can be said here. We do not know the context of the photo itself of course. Maybe she had been friendly with the man just before, or was about to. So pictures in isolation can be misleading. Secondly, the message the meme is trying to make of course is that racism is wrong.

Quite so. Christians of all people should not be racists. And yes, often a child raised in a home with quite racist parents can learn to be racist himself or herself. In that sense alone we can agree that racism can be taught or passed on.

But biblically and theologically speaking, the wording with the picture is quite misleading and amiss. It implies that we are all born as perfect little angels, and only later do we have the chance to go wrong. Scripture of course teaches that we are all born with a sinful nature, and we do not need to be taught how to hate or be angry or greedy or selfish – it comes naturally to us.

It is the opposite with love then. We are not born with a lovng unselfish nature. We are born with a selfish and self-centred nature, and love, caring and sharing have to be taught to us. In fact, we need the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us really love. Without God we are not going to properly love anyone.

“As a Protestant, you have to believe that the full truth of Christianity did not arrive until Martin Luther revealed it in 1917, and that 1500 years of luminaries such as Justin Martyr, Jerome, Augustine Aquinas, and others got it all wrong the whole time. Think about that for a moment.”

There are plenty of these sorts of things appearing on the social media. When I saw this one I posted this as a reply:

Respectfully, I usually do not comment on such posts. But I feel compelled to do so here.

-Those who know me know that I try to avoid sectarian debates.

-I fully expect Catholics to defend their beliefs, as I expect Protestants to defend theirs.

-But when a meme gets everything so utterly wrong, and is guilty of the grossest of falsehoods, then one really has to speak up.

Sorry, but NO Protestant believes any of the nonsense found here, not even Luther. We Protestants ALL draw heavily upon the church fathers and doctors. I just recently quoted from Augustine and Aquinas as but one example. Luther, like many Catholics before him, simply tried to offer some reforms in areas where they were strongly needed. They were rejected however.

Catholics will really need to lift their game and do much better than this if they want the slightest chance of reaching non-Catholics. All this does is turn them off even further. Bearing false witness is a sin of course, and this meme is utterly full of this. Think about that for a moment.

“Where did the church meet?
Acts 2:46 ‘house to house’ …”

The meme goes on to list a number of New Testament references that speak of believers meeting in houses. The point is that we should do the same today, and that any church building and the like is somehow unbiblical. Well, yes and no. Did the early Christians meet mainly in homes? Yes, but that is because that was about the only option they had.

There were no ‘church buildings’ back then, and meeting in the synagogues was not a viable option. And as the persecution ramped up, places like the catacombs also became a place where they met. But description does not always mean prescription.

The early Christians also did not use the internet or fly in planes. Does that mean we should not either? As Christianity became more established, and more believers were entering into local Christian fellowships, homes soon became too small for worship services and the like.

So using or erecting larger facilities to hold bigger crowds was a sensible move. Nothing wrong with that as such. Sure, some folks today might think only some sort of church building is the way to go. But house churches today are also acceptable. The church is the body of believers, not a certain type of structure.

“Everything you can imagine is real.” Pablo Picasso

Sadly I have seen Christians sharing this one. They must be into the faulty name it and claim it theology. No, not everything you can imagine is real. I can imagine a unicorn, but that does not make it real. Too many believers run with these teachings that are really no different than New Age thinking. I have written about this often. As I said in one piece:

The story is told of a boy who went to a Christian Science practitioner and asked him to pray for his father, who was very ill. “Your father only thinks he is sick,” the man told the boy. “He must learn to counter those negative thoughts and realize he is actually healthy.” The next day the boy came back, and the minister asked how his father was doing. “Today he thinks he’s dead,” replied the boy.


The New Age Movement very much emphasises these themes, especially visualisation. Visualisation, as practised in the NAM is the “use of mental concentration and direct mental imagery in the attempt to secure particular goals, whether physical, psychological, vocational, educational, or spiritual,” as Ankerberg and Weldon write.


In very simple terms, it is another type of ‘name-it-and-claim-it’ thinking. It emphasises bringing desired ends into actualisation by means of positive-thinking, will-power, use of incantations and chants, etc. The origins and/or connections of the practice of visualisation with the occult and eastern religions should serve as a warning to Christians. https://billmuehlenberg.com/2014/06/20/positive-confession-and-the-new-age-movement/

As I say, memes by their very nature usually fall quite short of useful truth telling. But some memes are actually false and quite misleading, and they do little more than bear false witness. And that, the Bible clearly tells us, is a sin. Some of the memes I have seen should be pulled immediately and those who posted them should repent immediately.

Again, there is a place for them, but we must be careful and prayerful in how we use them.

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4 Replies to “Dumb Memes, Quotes and Posts, #17”

  1. Just light-heatedly, Bill:
    There was a faith healer from Deal,
    Who said, ‘Though pain is not real,
    when I sit on a pin
    and it punctures my skin,
    I dislike what I fancy I feel.’

  2. Bill that is the thing about silly arguments, if when you win you are silly. Just don’t waste too much of your valuable time on these never-ending arguments, you know it takes two to play catch. Like the belief’s behavior thing you started off with, we try to teach this to our folks.
    “We behave wrong before we believe wrong, but in the end we always, ALWAYS believe how we behave”.

    Keep the faith, be in the fight

  3. I find the church buildings one also ignores all the times the believers did meet in the temple and synagogues, and other public places like lecture halls, river banks etc.

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