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Quit Complaining, Your Suffering is Nothing Compared to What Jesus Faced

passion of the christ

Snark Ahead! Easily offended Evangelicals should avoid reading this post. You’ve been warned!

One way Evangelical preachers shame complaining congregants into silence is to remind them of Jesus’ suffering on the cross for sin. One such example of this kind of thinking was posted on the Seeking His Kingdom blog (now defunct). In a July 18, 2016 post titled Why Do You Make Me Suffer?, Andi Garcia — a woman who believes she is “supposed to share His [God’s]  message and to let others know that we are to seek Him at all times” — had this to say about those who complain:

I said to a coworker who are we to question God about anything? Like when will He answer our prayer or ask Him why do we suffer? Why this or that?..I said did any of you ever think that our little problems, the problems our kids give us, are nothing compared to what He suffered for us all. I continued on and said I have 3 kids plus myself and yes worry for them and the problems they may have or situations they may put me through and it hurts me, of course, I’m their mother…BUT..He..He carries all of our sins …ALL OF OUR SINS for us. Can you imagine that suffering?? I said so whatever problems we have or our kids put us through aren’t problems..we shouldn’t worry, we shouldn’t complain, we shouldn’t ask WHY DO YOU MAKE ME SUFFER? See, 2 weeks ago I was going through some things with my 2 older children, 19 and 23, and I actually asked Him, I said it out loud, God why do you make me suffer? As soon as it came out, I slapped my hand to my mouth and legit, heard this in my thoughts, You are suffering? I felt ashamed. So I took some inventory and thought I’m alive, I wake up with no pain, I have a home, I have my 3 kids with or without problems, I have a job, food to eat, a car, the list goes on. I sat back that night and said I’m sorry about a million times because I thought to myself, if I hurt for my 3 kids when something or someone hurts them or their behavior is less than acceptable, can we imagine what He feels for every single one of us who sin? We will never know that pain.

I told myself, I will never complain or think that I suffer. I also will always remember the immense love He has for us, His children. Amen? Amen!!!

Now, Garcia is not a preacher, but her post reflects that she has been taught to never, ever voice complaints about whatever difficulty she might be facing. Just remember what Jesus suffered on our behalf, Evangelical preachers say, as if saying this is supposed to magically take away pain, suffering, heartache, and emotional distress. This thinking flows from the belief that Jesus is the answer for every question and he is cure for every ailment. As former Evangelicals well know, the curative power of thinking about a man being beaten and executed is grossly overrated.

According to the Bible, a man by the name of Jesus was beaten and executed for crimes against the Jewish people. Jesus’ suffering took place over a short period of time. Yes, if the Bible account is accurate, Jesus suffered greatly before he was executed. I certainly don’t want to minimize his pain and agony, though I have to wonder if Jesus, being God in the flesh, perhaps made it look like he was horrifically suffering, but in reality he actually turned off all his pain receptors and felt nothing. I know that’s what I would do TODAY, if I could. No more pain! Regardless, his suffering was short-lived. After he was taken down from the cross and placed in a borrowed tomb, the Bible tells us he went to Hell to preach the gospel to its captives. (Ephesians 4:7-10Luke 23:39-43, Luke 16:19-311 Peter 3:18-20) The traditional English version of the Apostles’ Creed states:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic* Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.


According to God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible Word and the Apostles’ Creed, after his evidently fake death, Jesus took a vacation to Hades/Paradise to do some soul-saving preaching. And then, several days later, on a Sunday, Jesus — in Arnold Schwarzenegger-like fashion —  walked out of the grave and said I’m back! Time to start a new religion! His body should have shown the marks of a man brutally beaten, but all that remained for people to see were the holes in his hands, feet, and abdomen — reminders of his recent crucifixion. Evidently, no plastic surgeon was available, so Jesus had to go through his last forty days on earth with ugly-looking hands and feet. I wonder if he wore socks with his sandals to cover the holes in his feet?

Was Jesus’ suffering worse than any human has ever experienced? Of course not. Only those who are religiously blinded to reality dare to make such false assumptions. Having watched numerous people die, I can tell you that some of them suffered far greater agony and pain than Jesus. Think of all the horrific things you have watched people experience or you have gone through. Are all of these experiences, to quote Garcia, “little problems” and “nothing compared to what He suffered for us all”? Are Garcia and others like her diminishing the suffering of others, treating their agony as little more than inconveniences?

This kind of thinking finds its roots in Evangelical belief about the purpose of this life. Most Evangelicals think that their present life is little more than preparation for the life to come — eternal life. According to Amos 4:12Hebrews 9:27Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14, and other verses, life is all about preparing to meet God. Through frequent reminders from pastors that this life is temporary and transitory, Evangelicals are conditioned to believe that in this life comes suffering and loss and in the next life God will reward them with perfect, pain-free existences for being his faithful servants. This is why Garcia can so easily dismiss the suffering of billions of people. With a wave of the Bible Wand®, Garcia declares that all of humanity’s sickness, diseases, and sufferings are little more than minor inconveniences. In Garcia’s mind, Jesus was biggest bad-ass sufferer of all time. No one can kick Jesus off the Throne of Suffering!

Thinking this way causes Evangelicals to be callously indifferent towards the suffering of others. Hungry? Thirsty? Have AIDS? Infected with the Zika virus? On a respirator with COVID-19? Have cancer? Carrying a severely deformed fetus? Unrelenting pain? Homeless? Mentally ill? Victim of sexual abuse? Victim of domestic violence? Stroke? Alzheimer disease? Dementia? Ebola?  S-h-i-t, such suffering is a walk in the park when compared to Jesus’ 24-hour beat down and death, says Evangelicals. Don’t sweat it! Get saved, and then when you die a horrible, miserable death you will get to go to Heaven. This is why Evangelicals can oppose universal healthcare, birth control, and any other program meant to ease human suffering. Better to go to Heaven with an empty stomach than to Hell with a full one, Evangelical preachers say. Life is all about getting saved, not getting healthy, and living a better life. Sure, if Jesus wants to give Evangelicals fancy cars, expensive clothes, organic food, private schools for their children, health, eye, and dental coverage, and vacations to Fiji, they will take it, but those who are left groveling in the dirt of human existence, why they should get saved, thank Jesus for being worthy of such suffering, and quickly die so Evangelicals don’t have to pay for their care.

Did you, at one time, view life and suffering as Andi Garcia does? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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    Well, to be honest, when I was heavily into it, I hadn’t had a rough life. Christian till 20 years old. I was raised in a loving Christian household. Good parents…good siblings, lots of love. I never personally felt I suffered at all. Not because Jesus’ suffering was worse than mine…I never suffered.

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    Nope, I did not think of suffering as anything except something to avoid at all costs. From the time I was old enough to think about it, I just thought ‘oh, please.’ All this folderal over the suffering, the SUFFERING! Wait a minute, thought the smartass, if it was such a ‘Big Deal’ (Dr. Evil air quotes) that Jesus withstood torture and suffering for ‘my’ sake, then why did *I* necessarily need to do any suffering? If the debt was ‘paid in full,’ then why the hell are you asking me for frackin’ weekly installment payments of groveling, forelock tugging, and emptying of my bank account? Not to mention the criminal waste of time that I don’t really have and am not in the least motivated to make room for.

    Not just ‘paid in full’ but also ‘offered for free.’ Yeah Jesus, you’re lying too. Ain’t no such thing as a ‘free’ anything, but so many of their marks have to learn this the hard way. Including me, even though I was always pretty half-assed about it because, again, it just didn’t make any sense. Too many loose and dead ends and anything else you can do to write the shittiest book possible.

    I’m glad I finally decided to say it out loud – to make it real – because I was increasingly stressed and troubled by the demands ‘tha church’ tried to make of me, a woman with not just any old job, but a career. I’m not sure but I suspect they thought they could get more out of us because we didn’t have kids, but they figured out quickly that yeah, Jada probably did care more about her career than jeezus and now she’s going to hell because she won’t let her husband ‘lead’ her ‘christian walk.’ DH did humor me for a while, but he’s always been an atheist and he sure as hell would never WANT a woman who expected him to ‘lead’ her anywhere. He’s always there to lean on, of course, as am I for him; but we’re companions and equals, not – sorry if this is too squicky – ‘daddy and daughter.’

    “Ooo, no, I can’t do that project because it will get in the way of gettin’ my jeezus on. What, you expected me to actually ‘work’ for my pay? Blasphemer! Halp, I’m being oppressed! *squawk squawk squawk* “How dare you offend me by being offended at the truly execrable filth I spew!” say all our favorite various and sundry fundie internet trolls. So much irony; so little self-awareness.

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      Thanks for this, Jada! My devil black murderous cat woke me at 4:30 a.m. to get out into the field to kill mice and voles and the sparrows watched over as well, so I opened the blog to have a read and chuckled away as I read your entry… Andi Garcia is deeply harmed and knows it. She has a Gawd bug that makes her think she is a wuss and that no matter how much she has to endure, sweet Jeezus took it all and more. Evangelical fervor reveals more than anything else, how a biped can royally hate themselves for just having had the nerve to breathe at birth! Tis a sad and ugly way to live, harming the self and others with holy smoke.

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    This is the evangelical equivalent to “eat your peas, kids are starving in Africa”.
    If you think about it, if the Romans hadn’t been the imperial brutes that they were, conjuring up a simple but brutal form of payback, the Christians wouldn’t have such a great narrative.

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    Your comments on Andi’s post is sad with no spiritual insight. How can you have any since you apostatize. The reason you felt the way you did is because the seed (God’s Word) was planted in your heart but Satan came and took it away, thus apostasy occurred. It is a shame that you started in the right track but couldn’t finish. I guess for conscience sake it’s easier to believe that “Nothing” was the creator since you don’t have to give in account for the sinful lifestyle you live. Atheists are in a pool of evidence but they refuse to believe because they love their sins rather than truth. Here is a verse that explains your apostasy:

    Psalms 10:3-4
    3 For the wicked one boasts about his own cravings;
    the one who is greedy curses and despises the Lord.
    4 In all his scheming,
    the wicked arrogantly thinks:
    “There is no accountability,
    since God does not exist.”

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        Your right I don’t know but God does and according to His Word we are all sinners and need forgiveness. The Bible condemns you and I because we were born in sin. I don’t know about you but mine sins were forgiven. I don’t know how you will pull that off without Jesus. For an apostate as yourself you will get a much more stronger judgment. Very very sad.

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          ok. What possible “stronger judgment” does Bruce get? I thought, regardless of the type of sin, you folks believe we all get chucked into the same lake-o-fire? Are you saying hell is structured just like Dante Alighieri imagined in L’Infero? What circle does Bruce get thrown in?

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          Is it not true that Christians believe god is the judge of who goes to heaven or not? I say this because you are doing a fair bit of judging yourself and your god would not be pleased with you so I would not be too certain your sins are forgiven and you may end up in the same fire pit with your atheist friends.

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      Michael Mock

      Quick question, Spaniard: do you even know your own theology?

      You say, “I guess for conscience sake it’s easier to believe that ‘Nothing’ was the creator since you don’t have to give in account for the sinful lifestyle you live.”

      Okay, follow me on this.
      God is all-knowing, right? He knows everything we do, sees all our secret thoughts and hidden sins.
      God is all-powerful, right? There is no escaping His judgement.
      And we know this, right? Because everybody knows this: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” Right?

      So what, exactly, do you mean when you say that as atheists, we “don’t have to give in account for the sinful lifestyle [we] live”??? Your own theology tells you that not only can that not possibly be the case, but that we ourselves know better.

      I mean, it’s either that, or the Apostle Paul was full of it.

      Think this through. Don’t give your judgemental “I guess it’s easier…” and then follow it with self-evident nonsense. Stop guessing and think.

      Why would someone be an atheist? If we really know that God exists, and what He’s like, then claiming that He doesn’t exist accomplishes nothing. Saying that God doesn’t exist isn’t going to make us feel any better if we know it isn’t true. Saying that God doesn’t exist certainly isn’t going to hide us from His awareness, or exempt us from His judgement. So where’s the benefit? What could we possibly gain by claiming not to believe in God?

      And yet, here we are, making that claim. How can that be?

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        It’s simple you don’t believe in the Bible but that doesn’t erase the fact that you will be judged. Atheist believe in no judgment after they die. Your point is futile.

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          Bruce Gerencser

          Can you prove there will be a judgment after death or that there is anything after death?

          Why should we accept the Protestant Bible as an authoritative text? I would love to discuss this with you. Have you read any of Bart Ehrman’s books?

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            Let’s start with the Bible being authoritative. Here is an excerpt from “Cross”

            Bart Ehrman was mentored by Bruce Metzger of Princeton University who was the greatest manuscript scholar of the last century. In 2005, Ehrman helped Metzger update and revise the classic work on the topic– Metzger’s The Text of the New Testament.

            What do Metzger and Ehrman conclude together in that revised work? Melinda Penner of Stand to Reason writes,

            Ehrman and Metzger state in that book that we can have a high degree of confidence that we can reconstruct the original text of the New Testament, the text that is in the Bibles we use, because of the abundance of textual evidence we have to compare. The variations are largely minor and don’t obscure our ability to construct an accurate text. The 4th edition of this work was published in 2005 – the same year Ehrman published Misquoting Jesus, which relies on the same body of information and offers no new or different evidence to state the opposite conclusion.

            Here’s what Ehrman says in an interview found in the appendix of Misquoting Jesus (p. 252):

            Bruce Metzger is one of the great scholars of modern times, and I dedicated the book to him because he was both my inspiration for going into textual criticism and the person who trained me in the field. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him. And even though we may disagree on important religious questions – he is a firmly committed Christian and I am not – we are in complete agreement on a number of very important historical and textual questions. If he and I were put in a room and asked to hammer out a consensus statement on what we think the original text of the New Testament probably looked like, there would be very few points of disagreement – maybe one or two dozen places out of many thousands. The position I argue for in ‘Misquoting Jesus’ does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.

            So why does Ehrman give one impression to the general public and the opposite to the academic world? Could it be because he can get away with casting doubt on the New Testament to an uninformed public, but not to his academic peers? Does selling books have anything to do with it? I don’t know. I just find the contradiction here quite telling– the man who gets all the attention for casting doubt on the text of the Bible, upon further review, doesn’t really doubt it himself.

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            Bruce Gerencser

            You have quickly gotten off on the wrong foot. Please don’t cut and paste stuff you’ve found on some website. Having read all of Bart Ehrman’s books — and I assume you haven’t done the same — I can tell you that he does not believe the Bible is an inspired, inerrant, infallible text.

            Why should I accept your claim that the Bible is the Words of God (note plural use of word)? What evidence, apart from the Bible, is there for your claim that the Bible is a divine text? Saying the Bible says it is divine (supernatural, inerrant) is not proof for your claim.

            I assume that you believe the Bible is inerrant. On what basis do you conclude that the Bible is without error? If you read Ehrman’s books you will learn that the Biblical text is littered with textual conflicts and contradictions. Based on this fact, it is impossible to claim that the Bible is inerrant. Perhaps you will say that the “original” manuscripts are inerrant. Fine, where are the original manuscripts? Uh, they don’t exist. All we have are thousands of manuscripts that have thousands of variants. While it’s possible to generally reconstruct a text that is similar to the original manuscripts, we can never know for sure if they are one and the same.

            Then there is the issue of internal contradictions, places where the Bible says one thing in one place and then contradicts itself in another book/chapter/verse. Again, Ehrman spells out many of these contractions in his books.

            While the Bible does have some literary/moral/ethical value, it is a compilation of outed, irrelevant, contradictory books written, for the most part, by unknown authors. Surely if the Bible is all that Evangelicals say it is, we should be able to know who the authors are and exactly what they wrote, right: We don’t, so, at best, all we have is an approximation for what the Biblical authors intended to say.

            Let’s assume you can somehow wiggle your way through what I have written above, you are still faced with the question of why should any of us believe that the Bible is THE one and only, true authoritative text? Why should the Bible be considered the authoritative text and not the Qur’an or the Book of Mormon?

            If the Bible is God’s words, and the Holy Spirit lives inside of every believer and is their teacher and guide, why is there thousands of Christian sects? These sects disagree on even the basics: nature of God, salvation, baptism, communion. The Bible says, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, yet there are numerous Lords, faiths, baptisms. What evidence do you have for your beliefs being the right beliefs?

            I encourage you to do several things:

            1. Buy several of Bart Ehrman’s books
            2. Read the Bible in a vertical fashion, allow each authors words to stand on their own two feet.
            3. Don’t try to harmonize the contradictions. Harmonization is inerrantists trying to put square pegs in round holes.
            4. Read the Bible without presuppositions, as someone who hasn’t been taught what this or that verse is meant to say.

            Doing so forces the Christian to conclude, for example, that there were multiple Gods in Genesis 1-3. Evangelicals read Trinitarianism unto the text, whereas someone not schooled in the teachings of Christianity would conclude that there is more than one God. i.e. Iet US (plural) man in our own image.

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          Michael Mock

          Well, that’s actually better than some responses I’ve heard — you’re acknowledging that we actually do mean what we say. I was going to ask how you square that with the quote from Romans 1:20, but A) I think you’re actually doing better to ignore that passage and take us at our word, and B) I think the discussion of Biblical authority will probably be more useful and interesting anyway. So, never mind; carry on.

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    Great post, I often think how lucky I am because I am living in Australia and have a good life compared to the thousands of poor, hungry and sick people on this planet.

    If religious people however believe that Jesus paid for all this suffering and disaster for every human life, why does he allow 20,000 babies and children born to suffer and die in agony every single day? Is it to remind the world about his own suffering on the cross and to convince everyone of his love for humanity…. Huh?

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    Not really a suffering story, but it follows a similar vein. When I was 15 or 16, my step-mom threw away my GI Joe action figures, while I wasn’t home. I came home, saw they were gone, and asked her about it. She said they weren’t good for me and I needed to grow up. I said, “That’s all I had”, meaning toys (which was the truth, in the 80’s every toy was evil somehow). She replied , “All you had! Jesus gave all he had”. I’ve never forgotten that, and it’s been close to 30 years. Somehow, giving up GI Joes was the equivalent to Jesus leaving behind his glory in heaven to be murdered on a cross.

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      Hey Ian, I am sorry your step-mom was a fucking creep. I think that her small-minded, withered-heart mean act was indeed something you suffered and that it shoule be called what it is…. What a wicked witch of the church, she was to take a kid’s toys and toss them out and then talk about Jesus on the Cross. The fact that you have never forgotten it tells me clearly how deeply it hurt. It makes me remember some shit too, how we could not play with simple cards because they were demonic somehow, how every fucking way we turned we ended up staring at stupid Jesus bleeding away. He did that for me? God allowed that horrendous bullshit for me? Shit-spray!
      GI Joe! GI Joe, fighting man from head to toe, on the land in the sea in the air! Ha! I remember.
      Tell your step-mom to report to my office immediately… we have something to put-right. What a little shit she was. I can imagine some of the other harm she doled out to evil little Ian. Thank-you dear Lord for your message of love.

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    This is one of the ideas I hated most of all. So yeah, Jesus endured a painful 24 hours. Talk to my sister-in-law, who lived for 117 days after her cancer diagnosis. Or my friend Kay, who lived with cancer for 2 years before she died. Or the wife of the pastor of my first fundagelical church, who went through breast cancer treatment twice in 5 years. And the second time was in bed for months battling vertigo so bad she couldn’t sit up. Yeah, they suffered a lot longer. And I do mean SUFFERED: intense pain, starvation, wasting away, the works.

    This is just another manipulative fundagelical trick to get people to QUIT THINKING. Because suffering and pain make them think, “Hey, that’s not what the pastor said in his sermons about God wanting us to live an abundant life!” If they start thinking, and reasoning, and looking things up, they’ll realize that what they were taught is just a bunch of prosperity gospel crap. Eventually, they may leave the church, which means they’ll quit giving MONEY. And we can’t have that, can we?

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    What you expressed in this post was one of the major reasons I left catholicism. Being evangelical you might not be aware of the concept of “redemptive suffering.” It’s is a uniquely catholic belief which maintains human suffering actually brings us closer to god because we get to share in jesus’ suffering on the cross. At one point the concept of redemptive suffering gave me some comfort…until my own suffering became overwhelming.

    At 34 I was diagnosed with an incurable, crippling disease. I will be in agony until I die because unfortunately this disease will not shorten my lifespan, nor can I afford the treatment which costs $80,000 a year. At age 38 I gave birth to a son (abortion wasn’t an option to me as a believer)…he was diagnosed with autism, and he will suffer every day for a full life expectancy of around 85 years. GIVE ME FUCKING JESUS’ DEATH ON THE CROSS INSTEAD! Less than 24 hours of agony? Fuck that shit, it sounds like a goddamn party to me. Sorry about the swearing, but the idea that Jesus’ short suffering on the cross somehow negates the overwhelming suffering on this earth makes me fume like nothing else can. I think your post is spot-on and should be included in your book.

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    I see now that it doesn’t matter what proof I show you, you will not except it and claim that I have no proof. Your own Bart man doesn’t even agree with you which by the way he as a two face. I can show you the Dead Sea Scroll and the earliest manuscript’s 250 AD. I can show the scriptures on the matter that Jesus proclaimed that His Word can’t be destroyed. I can show you plenty but with your responses it is clear that your apostate decision has destroyed what little bit of faith remains. I’m not going to waste my time with someone who made up their mind already. I hope that you enjoy the only enjoyment in this life that you will only receive because in your death those like yourself who reject Jesus Christ will go to the Lake of Fire. I’m done farewell.

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      Having listened to hours of talks by Bart Ehrman I am bemused by your interpretation of his views.

      The irony is that the key factor in Ehrman moving away from Christianity was the matter of suffering in this world, which is relevant for Bruce’s post. To ehrman the pointless suffering seen in the world just did not accord with the broader Biblical narrative of a all powerful deity with a close interest in human affairs.

      You might think you have come here to fly the flag for the Gospel, but the way you interact with others does nothing to but confirm the view of most here, that the Bible is a human not a divine book.

      If Christians were obviously transformed and showed something about their life that differentiated them from non believers in a positive manner then the Gospel would be seen to have power. But judgemental folk seeming to look forward to non believers suffering eternal torment shows a meanness of spirit that goes against the Spirit of Love that Christians claim to be the central message of the Gospel.

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      Ohhhh…a bar-b-que!!!
      Spaniard, you don’t have proof that god is real. Not only your god…but ALL gods. All the stories in the OT are mythological. Please…creation, the flood, the exodus, Jonah, Sampson, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego…ugggg. Do you actually believe Moses wrote the first 5 books? On what? Do you think he had the time to sit and chisel away on a clay tablet or write on paper (like they had that in the desert) things? Why does he write about himself in the 3rd person? He writes about his own death. PLEASE

      The NT with your “dead sea scrolls” is still not “original manuscripts”. And EVEN IF THERE WERE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS…IT STILL WOULD PROVE IT WAS TRUE. Just as finding the original manuscripts for Harry Potter doesn’t make the story true.

      Glad you are leaving the conversation…you are to a religious conversation like Trump is to politics.

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        Nicely done Michael. When I read Spaniard’s comment, I almost laughed out loud. It was painfully obvious that Spaniard was trying to blatantly lie. There is a HUGE difference between saying a translation is accurate and that the resulting sentence is true. Perhaps such bullshit works with those who have no desire or ability to think critically, but it doesn’t work with me and I still believe in some sort of Divine Presence. And Spaniard may be in serious trouble because I was taught that saying even “true” things but twisting their meaning was exactly the same as lying, which is even one of the Ten Biggies on the sin list. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in Spaniard’s shoes if Spaniard’s own theology is true. When one’s attempted argument makes even a believer laugh, it’s pretty pathetic indeed.

        Bruce– The major piece of “evidence” that still sustains my belief happened 36 years ago, has not been and most probably cannot be replicated, and only 3 people ever bore witness to the event. so therefore it is useless as any sort of real “proof”, at least in a scientific/academic context. I’ve never believed in the inerrancy bullshit and I no longer believe in the exclusivity of Christianity either. I certainly never believed it my job to try and pluck the mote out of a stranger’s eye- I’m such a klutz I’d probably hit them with the beam sticking out of my own eye and then be in trouble for assault. It would be my luck. lol That “prosperity gospel” shit never worked for me either, btw. I’ve been trying to write the story of my “evidence” but so far haven’t been satisfied with any of my attempts. If I manage to get it written, I thought of submitting it as a guest post. If not for this single event, I probably would have lost all faith years ago and frankly, I’ve sometimes resented it. Would such a post be welcome?

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      Bruce Gerencser

      So, you refuse to answer any of my questions and then you wipe the dust off your sandals and say that you are done with me. I thought Christians are supposed to give an answer for the hope that lies within them?

      I am not closed minded. If you have evidence that supports your claims — beyond saying the Bible says — please share it. Of course, having spent 5 decades reading and studying the Bible, I know there is no evidence to be had. Let me again encourage you to read several of Bart Ehrman’s books. Your local library should have his books. If you are a sincere seeker of truth, you’ll read his books and not rely on what someone else “says” about Ehrman,

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      Becky Wiren

      Typical Christian fundie…wishing suffering on others. Where is that “love your neighbor as yourself” mindset? Seems to be quite lacking in you.

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    Spaniard, you’re a lazy thinker, or perhaps severely deluded, with his head buried deeply in the sand.

    If you are disconcerted with what Bruce said then you really do have a problem, because I’d suggest he’s only scraping the surface in terms of the evidence. If you’re throwing in the towel this soon then I’m afraid you really can’t support your beliefs in any sort of evidentially challenging environment.

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    Michael Mock

    Well, that was weak.

    “I can show you plenty…”

    Permit me to doubt you. If you had it to show, you’d be showing it. Instead, I suspect, you’ve suddenly realized that things you would use to convince us are the very same things we need to be convinced about.

    “…but with your responses it is clear that your apostate decision has destroyed what little bit of faith remains.”

    Well, yes. That’s what “atheist” means. Why are you surprised by this?

    “I’m not going to waste my time with someone who made up their mind already.”

    Again, why are you suddenly surprised to find that we actually mean what we say and believe what we believe? I mean, yes, those of us who are atheists have genuinely concluded that God isn’t out there, so we’re not going to go “Oh, there are ancient manuscripts telling these stories, we must have been mistaken!” It’s not like we didn’t know that already. But surely you realized that before you started this conversation… didn’t you?

    “I hope that you enjoy the only enjoyment in this life that you will only receive because in your death those like yourself who reject Jesus Christ will go to the Lake of Fire.”

    I’m sorry, did you just say One day you’re going to find yourself suffering for eternity and then you’ll wish you’d listened to me…? Because that’s sure what that sounded like.

    Also, I find it a little amusing to be told that I’m “rejecting” Jesus Christ, when as a matter of simple fact I see nothing there to reject. I’d be happy to meet the guy if he ever decided to drop by, but he never does.

    “I’m done farewell.”

    {sarcasm voice}No. Wait. Come back.{/sarcasm voice}

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    Having been an atheist all my life and always looked upon Jesus as just a fictional character, of course I never viewed his suffering as Evangelicals do. However, the question does raise some obvious issues.

    1) Many people were executed by crucifixion in the Roman Empire. Assuming for the sake of argument that Jesus existed, it’s not obvious that his suffering would have been greater than that of anyone else executed the same way (as you say, if he had godly powers, it might well have been less).

    2) The suffering of the countless people burned at the stake by Christians during the Middle Ages was arguably comparable or greater. Evangelicals could just as easily cite that as grounds to dismiss present-day problems by contrast, but they never do, for obvious reasons.

    3) The attitude you cite is just another example of “Problem A can/should be ignored because problem B is worse”. By this argument, we should never worry about anything other than the one thing we decide is the very worst in the world, which is obviously a stupid way to do things. It’s especially inane in this case since, even if Jesus existed and his suffering was the worst thing ever, there’s nothing anyone today can do about it, so it’s better to focus our attention on suffering that can be alleviated now.

    This blog post (by a former Evangelical turned moderate Christian) has another take on it — see the comments too.

    Finally, can someone more familiar with Evangelical (or general Christian) thinking answer a question? You mention the Biblical statement that Jesus descended into Hell and preached to the captives there. What was the point of doing that? As I understand it, people who are already in Hell are supposed to be beyond redemption. Why bother to preach at them?

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    This broke my heart. Jesus’ sufferings began way before the cross. He thought about dying and suffering ALL the time. That is why he came to earth: to die; but he kept His love on the Father, was led by the Holy Spirit and kept ministering. The most difficult thing Jesus had to endure was not even taking every sin, past, present and future, upon Himself. (That caused him to sweat drops of blood.) It wasn’t being whipped to being unrecognizable. His greatest agony was being separated from His precious Father. Some say it was because the Father is holy and He could not look on sin. I believe this, but the Word says, “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Mark 15:34
    I thank Jesus for what He did for you and me. Lived without sin, loved the Father and people, gave His life and rose again, so we could have life eternal. I encourage anyone to read the book of John several times before you give up on Jesus.

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      Bruce Gerencser

      What evidence do you have for these claims? Regurgitating the Bible proves nothing. Want to convince me of your claims? You are going to have to do better than quoting Bible verses and interpreting them for me.

      Read the book of John? I preached expositionally through the book — 100+ sermons over the course of 2 years. I’d say I know the book of John inside and out, upside and down. What is it you think I don’t know?

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    MJ Lisbeth

    I have to admit that I am fortunate in not having much physical suffering during my life. I have, however, experienced a lot of mental and emotional torment–some of it from seeing the suffering of others.

    I have seen friends and relatives die, sometimes slowly and painfully, from illnesses, including some related to HIV or COVID. When I apologized about complaining about whatever was troubling at the moment, they almost invariably waved it away. “You just can’t compare suffering!” the late husband of a friend of mine exhorted me. Another, who spent much time in Zen study and practice, would say, “life is suffering. ”

    If they believed that comparing one’s own suffering to that of another living person is pointless, what does that say about comparing whatever we experience to whatever someone who may or may not have lived 2000 years ago might or might not have experienced?

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      It irks me when people try to guilt others into feeling sympathy, period. It’s a blatant attempt to hijack someone else’s emotions, which is never okay.

      It’s even more ridiculous in light of the fact that we have no objective basis for comparison. Pain is a subjective, internal experience and we are not neurologically identical. Some of us can grit our teeth and keep going with a bad illness or injury; some of us can experience excruciating pain to a light touch on an afflicted limb.

      And nobody is in a position to determine whether “Jesus” suffered more or less than another human, or indeed whether he suffered at all – it’s entirely possible that the CruciFiction is cut from whole cloth, written to jerk believers’ emotions around but with no actual deities harmed (or even inconvenienced) in the creation of the narrative.

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    I remember church sermons during the Easter season focusing on what some call torture porn in order to make us all feel guilty for Jesus’ suffering and death.

    If we look at human history how many people have suffered weeks, months, years of suffering? Thousands? Millions? It’s all horrible. Jesus isn’t special.

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    Jesus didn’t suffer for our sins, he suffered because the Romans were intolerant dicks. Likewise if anyone else said they suffered for our sins I would ask how that works. I mean is it my fault someone is tortured? I would fight for his freedom, but it isn’t my fault he was there to begin with. I wast even born yet. Loads of people were tortured like Jesus but never got to live again.

    And many of the far-right who believe in this ask why give African-Americans recreations for slavery…because we are still living in a segregated society today:

    And what about all the torture done in Jesus’ name:

    If this was part of God’s plan, then I need to ask if this was necessary? Like are the victims of Mother Teresa saved because she withheld proper treatment to get others to convert:

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    John Arthur

    Spaniard viii has rebanned me from his blog. His orucular certainty sometimes makes me angry. He allowed me to make some comments, but deleted others.

    I suppose that I was strirring him up when I suggested that Jesud was the first socialist. On another post, I suggested the Jesus was a liberal and his disciples should be also.

    His response was that I was serving my father, the devil. He said that he was done talking with me. He claimed thst all I wanted to do was to spread my demonic doctrine.

    Apparently Jim Wallis, and the Sojourners Magazine have been spreading demonic news and demonic political ethics since 1971.

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Bruce Gerencser