Christian Fruit

Introduction

According to Jesus himself we shall know Christians by the fruit that they produce. In this sense fruit is figurative, he's talking about the results of their actions and words, the effect that they have and things that they do. The Bible specifies quite a few things that Christians are supposed to be able to do and it's these fruits that we are to "know" them by. Looking at the Bible however many of these attributes read like a list of superpowers rather than characteristics one would expect to accompany religious devotion.

The point of this hub is to show that either most Christians aren't at all Christians or that Christianity itself does not produce any supernatural results (mostly the second one :) )

Christian Miracles

The Gospels say that the disciples around Jesus performed many miracles themselves both during his life and afterward. They too went out and healed folks and cast out evil spirits. According to Jesus Christians are meant to be able to do more, they are even supposed to be able to raise the dead and move mountains with a small fraction of faith. Whether moving mountains is to be taken literally is open for debate however it is clear from the story that Jesus really meant what he said about them raising the dead.

There are two billion+ Christians on the planet and while it is true that every so often you hear an anecdotal story about a resurrection one would think that it would be far more common AND would be something easily documented by science. Yet there is not one instance of science actually verifying a Christian's ability to raise the dead - all we get are stories.

In some sense it seems Christians are a lot like Jedi in the Star Wars Universe, the further back into history you go the more powerful they seem. Old Obi-Wan could barely hold his own against Darth Vader, their sword fight was pitiful compared to the one young Obi-Wan had against Vader on Mustafar twenty years prior. Yep, early Christians were far more legendary, Saints were able to slay dragons and perform all sorts of wild miracles but now-a-days the best we seem to get is Mother Mary on a slice of toast.

Miracles continued

Two Billion Christians and yet we don't see many of them performing miracles of any kind. You do get the anecdotes about how they prayed for one of their loved ones and voila their cancer went into remission or their surgery went well, etc. But you don't hear of any documented, verified, or truly magical cases.

In many ways Christ's miracles were meant to foster faith in the people that saw him. Jesus himself remarks that for those in later ages it will be harder to believe because they will not see him for themselves. They are meant, however, to do all sorts of supernatural wonders and miracles in the name of Jesus. I have to admit that if such miracles were demonstrably real it would certainly make Christianity seem more compelling. Indeed if even one percent of Christians could perform real verifiable resurrections or healings that defied scientific explanation I would be forced to convert. Instead we see anecdotes and stories of isolated incidents, we see legend and word-of-mouth, oral tradition and a total lack of evidence.

Christian Morals

The more mundane result that Christianity is meant to produce is that of moral goodness. Jesus has quite a few excellent pieces of moral advice, such as telling Christians to love thy neighbor. Jesus also fosters tolerance in quite a few cases, such as the story of the Good Samaritan and in his own personal associations with tax collectors and harlots. Jesus wasn't afraid to hang out with his fan-base regardless of their social class or occupation however sordid it might be. So we would expect to see his followers be FAR more moral, far more gracious, and far more loving.

It should be obvious that we do not see Christians being better people than everyone else. There are good moral Christians and there are bad Christians. This problem might stem from the fact that few Christians follow their savior's moral advice. More likely it is because people are not going to change just because some book says so, they have to want to change themselves. This is why there are no miraculous moral 180s in Christianity. Even people leaving behind drugs for Jesus are merely using religiosity as a motivator to do this for themselves.

We do not see a massive increase in morality from Christians. Most Christians I've known have been ordinary people who draw their morality from parents and the people around them and from experience far more than from the dusty pages of the Bible. Thankfully Christians do not delve too deeply into Old Testament law (even Jews don't follow it) because if they did the world would be a distinctly LESS moral place.

So if two billion Christians on this planet show no marked improvement of morality or behavior why is it that the term Good Christian is so prevalent in our society. Whenever they want to establish the moral report and honesty of an individual they describe them as a good church-going Christian or as a Salt of the Earth type person. These are both Christian images. The implication is that people who are not Christian are not as moral, that an atheist, Hindu or Jew doesn't have the same moral virtues as a Christian - such as honesty, loyalty, compassion, etc. I find this implication to be offensive and obviously untrue, one does not need to be Christian to be moral and Christians are not more moral than most other groups.

Christians following Christ

How many Christians honestly follow Christ's teachings? How many rich Christians give their money to the poor and follow Christ to avoid having to struggle like a camel passing through the eye of a needle? How many Christians shun public prayer in favor of praying only in secret? How many Christans can honestly say they love Christ MORE than their family members.

One of the common hypocrisies heaped upon Christians is that of judgment, for Jesus says they are NOT to judge others. Yet how often do we see Christians casting judgment not just on people outside the Church but even on members within it. Now I have no issue with an organization policing it's own and scripture does say to watch out for false prophets but Jesus is also pretty specific about not judging others as well. Turning the other cheek is another one.

Osama Bin Laden, terrorist and mass murderer, was killed by US forces about a month ago and the outcry of positive emotion from Christians instantly got on my nerves. Jesus said love thy enemies, and turn the other cheek, he didn't say celebrate when they were assassinated. I'm not the only atheist to point this out and I know some Christians probably realized it as well.

I don't expect Christians to be perfect in following Christ's words but from what I've seen very few of them even attempt to follow Christ in any real way.

How many Christians honestly stop and remember Matthew 7:3 before criticizing someone?
How many Christians honestly stop and remember Matthew 7:3 before criticizing someone?

Conclusion

So what conclusion can we draw from the fact that Christians do not bear fruit according to what the Bible says? Can we conclude that most Christians are not Christians at all or do not have the faith required to complete these tasks? Or is it something bigger? Is Christianity simply NOT TRUE in the supernatural sense. And what of the moral sense? Are Christians simply not living up to their Savior's commands? Why are they praying in public? Why are they lusting after women just as much as they rest of us? Why aren't they loving their enemies? Why do some own guns for self-defense when they are meant to turn the other cheek?

We don't see the fruit Christians are meant to bear. Instead we see just more human beings trying to make their way in the world. For an atheist such as myself this makes perfect sense, since there are no supernatural abilities or magical moral assistance, there's just us on a pale blue dot spinning around a medium sized star. The supernatural can be a tempting answer and a comforting cover for uncomfortable truths but in the end we don't need it and the world is slowly waking up to that fact.

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Comments 15 comments

Stump Parrish profile image

Stump Parrish 5 years ago from Don't have a clue, I'm lost.

I agree with you on this. I have yet to get an answer as to why the rest of the world is supposed to live their life according to the teachings in the bible, while the majority of so called christians get a free pass. I don't expect to ever receive an answer to this question either. I don't know if it is an inability to answer or just the mindset that they don't have to explain anything to anyone. It probably comes from their belief that they are the chosen people and therefore special. They don't mean short bus special but I feel that is the best description for a whole lot of them. This is the only way a person could know everything about anything with out the need to study or learn. Here in the bible belt here are countless experts on every aspect of our human existance that never studied anything and a lot of these experts never even finished high school.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 5 years ago from back in the lab again Author

"Here in the bible belt here are countless experts on every aspect of our human existance that never studied anything and a lot of these experts never even finished high school."

Yep, it requires no academics to become a preacher or priest and tell people not only what to do "spiritually" but often who to vote for and what to invest your money in. It also doesn't appear to require any supernatural qualifications either, shouldn't each pastor or priest at least have to raise one person from the dead or heal a few cancer patients before being considered legit :D


Stump Parrish profile image

Stump Parrish 5 years ago from Don't have a clue, I'm lost.

I simply don't understand the mentality of people who when confronted with a question they don't understand, will run full speed to the least qualified person they can find for an answer. It is this total disregard for education that is causing the rapid drop in the quality of our graduates. More people from each generation are being taught to ignore the importance of education. Then again it is a whole lot easier to read one book than it is to read a bunch of hard ones. It seems that the majority of people in this country are hell bent on making America the land of the fat and home of the stupid. I just don't understand how these same people can stand on a street corner and scream about America's exceptionalism. The only thing we excel at is raising ignorant people. The world is preparing to move into the 22 century and America is on the fast track to the 13th.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Hey Stump - I'm fat! But not stupid (and I'm trying my best to do something about the fat). So turn your cheek and don't look at people's fatness, please.

My brother is a Nazarene and they believe fully in faith healing. I've been to some of the revivals and they are a southern addiction it seems. Strangely, the same people keep coming back again and again to be "healed" again and again. I find it funny, but my brother thinks it's gospel.

While it is true that the placebo effect is real in some people, I think it is their natural ability of the body to heal itself. I don't see a divine force there at all. I can actually look at the red and white blood cells under my microscope and witness the biological process of healing. I can measure it. But it comes from a biological process and not some kind of invisible deity.

It's so hard to change people's attitudes and what they have always known to be "true" because that's how they always did it. Parent to child transmission is formidable.

Fortunately for us, change is accelerating and the human presence on this planet is developing in intelligence far faster now. And as Stump points out there are a lot more books to read now. We don't have to rely on the one. This by itself will bring people into the new century faster than anything else we can come up with. Kindles for everyone!


Stump Parrish profile image

Stump Parrish 5 years ago from Don't have a clue, I'm lost.

Hey Austin, Being down here in deep fried heaven it's impossible to not see the problem this country has with weight. As I grow older I am developing a second personality that weighs in at about 22 pounds right now. I have noticed a possible growth spurt that has me concerned, lol. I could get a handle on mine but I would have to stop smokin for my health. I would rather deal with the problems caused by the munchies that what the weed is controlling.

I bring that remark up a lot and primarily whan I hear how much the immigrant population is costing our health care system. I believe obesity is in excess of 4 times the setimated immigrant costs and is sky rocketing.

I have a serious problem with faither healers/ witch doctors. In 44 states in this country they even be charged with a crime for killing a child by with holding needed medical care. If I obstructed someone from providing medical care and the person died, I would be doing time. Since the faith healer is sacrificing the child to god, they get a get out of jail card. Quite a few of these states are seeking to have witch doctors paid by the insurance companies at the same rate as a real doctor would be paid. Just think, kill one child that needs a heart trnsplant and they could open their own tax exempt church/doctors office. Hell they would save a fortune on malpractice insurance since they plan on killing most of their patients anyway. Peace and I'll see you in the snack section of the grocery store later. I'll be the guy with the peanut butter, pickles and a loaf of bread. Gotta love a PB and pickle sammich.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Don't quit smoking! That's what I did and I gained 100 pounds! Over 10 years and a few surgeries later for this and that. Couldn't exercise, couldn't control my appetite. It sucks. I have a handle on it now and I've lost 15 pounds last month which is the first time I've lost weight in years and years. I can almost exercise again. When I lose 50 lbs, I plan to buy some scuba gear again. Best exercise in the world.

peanut butter and pickles? Whoa, are you preggers? I like the PB and banana sandwiches. I did have a friend that liked PB and onions though. I guess everything goes well with Peanut Butter.

I would convert to Christianity if they could just eliminate the obesity gene or market the hormone that makes people skinny! Now that would be a true miracle. They would make enough money to give to the poor and still have money left over!


AntonOfTheNorth profile image

AntonOfTheNorth 5 years ago from The Land Up Over

Again, clever article.

I'm missing something, though. I'm not really sure what it is, but it is troubling me.

I keep coming back to the notion that the conflicting views (no god vs no god but mine) are both emotional opinions, since no opinion however reasonably supported is arrived at without emotion.

Arguing science to replace faith is like arguing water to replace fire. They do different things for different reasons.

A person of faith does not require proof, so demonstrating that there is no proof does not advance your case, it merely tells the theist why you yourself have no faith.

A person of science wants evidence for claims. There is no evidence to be had where faith is concerned (by definition) so offering evidence to support a faith based argument is self-defeating. If there were evidence (If I raised a dead man to life as per your example) than faith wouldn't be involved. You would have proof. But only proof that I could raise the dead, this one time. It does nothing to prove a 2000+ year old story.

What does an atheist viewpoint offer theists to replace their beliefs? Generally, they get offered the opinion that they are or have been under-educated, unintelligent, prone to hypocracy, or at the very least unable or unwilling to face the 'truth' that science demonstrates to the world.

What does the theist viewpoint offer to atheists to replace their beliefs. Generally, they get offered the opinion that they are cold, cynical, amoral, faithless heathen. Theists offer nothing that can be proven, hence nothing of value to the rationalist.

Both sides are asking the other to change or at least see their point of view. Both sides are generally giving the other no benefit in doing so.

It doesn't matter how polite or clever we are in our positions. What we are asking of the other side in this debate is to give up something that is valued and replace it with something that is antithetical to the emotional reason for the opinion in the first place.

Based on what I read of yours, you value that which can be proven. So do I.

A theist does not value objective proof so much as they value their own experience. Me too.

So what are you offering to the theist; a person of faith who believes that there is more to reality than that which can be determined rationally?

If you value only rationality while the theist values only faith, this dance will continue, and our supporters will sing our praises for our astuteness as it agrees with their point of view.

Our detractors will simply ignore us eventually as irrelevant.

And nothing will change.

cheers


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 5 years ago from back in the lab again Author

@Anton

Neither viewpoint appears to offer anything and to those emotionally invested in their theist or atheistic views it can indeed seem like a conversion or de-conversion would actually take away rather than offer something new. I don't think this is the case however, both realistically and, often times, in the mind people will find justifications for a change in viewpoint. A former agnostic or atheist turned Christian might claim that they are so much happier or their life is so much better with the "love of Christ".

Indeed we can not neglect the influence of emotion upon people's views which is precisely why I advocate being extra-skeptical of claims that you WANT to believe. This is to filter out biases and assumptions as best as we can.

It may very well be that we value different things. The thing that I value most is the truth and one does not arrive at any "real" truth without applying skepticism and doubt to ALL claims.

Thanks for the comment Anton, enlightening as usual :)


AntonOfTheNorth profile image

AntonOfTheNorth 5 years ago from The Land Up Over

"The thing that I value most is the truth and one does not arrive at any "real" truth without applying skepticism and doubt to ALL claims."

And yet isn't our own personal view of 'truth' what is at issue here? Truth is a subjective concept, no?

You define truth as that which can be verified rationally. A pure theist does not. I think the objective reality is somewhere in between those viewpoints, but it could easily have nothing to do with either.

Here's a challenge. (For all of us, not just you)

Write an article to support the opposing viewpoint. Try it on for size. See where it takes us.

"Before you judge someone, always walk a mile in their shoes. That way, you'll be a mile away. And. . . you'll have their shoes" (okay, that last is an old joke, but I couldn't resist) ;)

cheers. Fun as always.


Cris Putnam 5 years ago

I can feel your frustration with your perception of unfruitful Christians. You have raised some valid criticisms. Too many Christians are enamored with the world. However this essay is loaded with misunderstandings and logical fallacies. Science is based on repeatable predictable results from experiments. Miracles and the supernatural are by definition extraordinary and not repeatable.

1. Can you weigh a chicken with a yardstick? Does this prove it has no weight?

2. Does science measure the natural or the supernatural?

3. Then it can’t, even in principle, rule out the possibility of the supernatural, just as the limitations of a yardstick can’t rule out the possibility of weight.

4. This is called a category error.

On Morals:

Christians do not claim to be more moral, in fact they claim to be depraved sinners in need of a savior. Over time our characters are changed by God and we can can see this as very personal evidence of God in our lives albeit subjective it is evidence to the one in the process.

It is also a common fallacy to say that we think atheists or non believers are not moral. The argument is more that if no one is keeping score, then it really does not matter if you cheat - there are no rules. However moral rules do seem to exist and atheism has no coherent answers for why. Moral laws require a moral law-giver.

Following Christ:

The "Judge not" argument also reflects a profound ignorance of Jesus teachings. The context of that was not to judge unrighteously or hypocritically. Paul writes that, "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one."

And 1 Corinthians 6:2

"Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?"

You have some valid criticisms but you are failing to accurately understand Christianity. Christians are in a process of dying to self - of picking up their crosses and following Christ. This is NOT easy... its painful and we are at different points in our journey. Do not assume that the bad behavior of a few prominent televangelists is representative of the majority. Its not. Read this guys story: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Elliot

Jesus came to save the ungodly. He came for lost sinners like me. He changed my life and freed me from addictions I could never quit by my will power. I know its subjective but its an inside job, he doesn't just perform for skeptics on demand, rather those on their knees in brokeness. Believe and live.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I can say as a former believer that when I realized there really was no God that it felt as if a giant weight had been lifted from me. Isn't this enough of a benefit to offer someone?

I suffered greatly watching what religion did to people. I watched a baby die when I could have saved him. I had to testify in court that this baby could easily have been saved with a blood transfusion and it could have. But I had to stand there and watch it die a horrible painful death. No God could do that on purpose. No God could allow the "devil" to do that. No God could convince the parents to save their child because it states in the Bible that blood is not allowed. The Bible killed their child. Not God.

I've seen babies thrown into trash dumpsters. I've seen suicides by teens who were confused about religion and their burgeoning sexuality. Teen suicides frequently have a religious theme.

Why people refuse to see that religion is dangerous and no more than myths and legends is beyond me. But I can tell you that religion causes far more pain and suffering than it does good. There are even cults that worship pain and suffering as a way to experience what Jesus experienced. And this will somehow save their immortal soul?

I'm very tired of trying to save people from their religion. I'm proud that Titen-Sxull is going to carry on. I'm thanking you for coming forth and hopefully freeing some of the young from the brainwashing and mindless "Obedience" that is religion today.

At least I have lived long enough to see an increase in atheism and a decrease in people like the ones at the Westboro Baptist Church of the total ignorant. I will probably be gone before the stranglehold of the "Moral Majority" gets booted out of the country. But maybe I can steer a few of them to the right way of thinking before I go.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 5 years ago from back in the lab again Author

@Anton

I already did my time as a Christian Anton, I've walked a mile and more in those shoes before.

@Chris Putnam

"Miracles and the supernatural are by definition extraordinary and not repeatable."

Jesus disagrees with you. He's said to have healed the sick, the blind, and cast out more than one set of demons in his time. He also says 'Ask and you shall receive'. He doesn't say 'Ask and you shall receive, but just one time, we don't want science to get the idea that this stuff is real.' I get what you're trying to say though, miracles are meant to be impossible according to everything we understand, they violate the laws of nature and thus science might not be able to quanify them. But that's exactly HOW science could show a miracle to be just that, by NOT being able to find any NATURAL explanation.

"evidence of God in our lives albeit subjective it is evidence to the one in the process."

As someone who spent his entire teenage years asking God to change him I find this most telling of all. I experenienced no moral change, either subjective or objective, in my time as a desperate sincere Christian crying out to God.

"It is also a common fallacy to say that we think atheists or non believers are not moral."

To be fair some believers do think we are the scum, in fact some fundamentalists go so far as to think atheists are in league with Satan. I know it's not the view of ordinary moderate Christians but then again it's not the moderates we atheists typically end up in discussion with.

"However moral rules do seem to exist and atheism has no coherent answers for why. Moral laws require a moral law-giver."

I recommend doing some research on evolution and social animals. In nature morality exists typically where social animals exist, where survival is based upon group cohesion empathy typically exists. Human beings are moral because we evolved that way to survive, no law-giver required, just natural empathy.

"Do not assume that the bad behavior of a few prominent televangelists is representative of the majority."

In no way do I think that all Christians are bad, FAR from it. In fact my argument is that because Christians are just like the rest of us there doesn't appear to be anything supernatural beyond Christianities claims. Jesus suggests that Christians are meant to stick out to the rest of the world and be known by their fruit, yet what we see are ordinary people with ordinary flawed human morality.

"I know its subjective but its an inside job, he doesn't just perform for skeptics on demand"

Well, it depends on what part of the Bible you want to look at. He sure performed for Elijah and the prophets of Baal, but I suppose there was at least one believer present for that. A God that shows no evidence of his existence has no right blaming, let alone punishing, someone for disbelief, any more than Santa has a right to give coal to the kid who's grown to old for him. I spent the beginning of my life on my knees broken before a God I assumed was there mainly because I was taught, but like the kid who's grown to old to believe in Santa I realized why the jolly old man in the sky never returned my letters and was only ever present as a warm feeling.


AntonOfTheNorth profile image

AntonOfTheNorth 5 years ago from The Land Up Over

@Titen

Yes Titen, I just couldn't resist the old joke about stealing someone's shoes. No disrespect to your history was intended.

cheers


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 5 years ago from back in the lab again Author

@Anton

I know it was a joke, I'm just saying I spent so much time in those shoes there were holes in the bottom :)


someonewhoknows profile image

someonewhoknows 5 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

TO : CRIS PUTNUM

This statement you posted here -

The "Judge not" argument also reflects a profound ignorance of Jesus teachings. The context of that was not to judge unrighteously or hypocritically. Paul writes that, "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one."

Consider the source - Paul seems to be refering to himself here when talking about the natural person.Is he refering to the lords of karma,Jesus or God as spiritual persons when he refers to spiritual persons or things.

If,God is the father and Jesus the son then God alone judges ultimately.

Jesus,never judged anyone because of their sin.He,said he who is without sin cast the first stone.He only admonished sinners for their sins.

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