Below are some of the votes and comments submitted by readers who took last month's survey.
Brian - Edinburgh, Scotland
Response: A conversation
about Young Earth Creationism with an atheist. He was ruthless in showing
the silliness of their arguments, merciless in attacking their reasoning.
Only thing was, he didn't seem to accept that I wasn't a YECcie. He'd
been told that was what Christians believe, leaving me lumped in with
the nutters- er, people who have this belief.
Kevin - Lima, NY
I believe in the Bible. Except I don't believe that Jesus is God and that
he is the only way to the Father. Oh, that whole, 'I am the way the truth
and the light...' part? That's just your interpretation of it. Other than
that, I think what we believe is the same!"
THO's Response: Kevin, that's a
lot more like a monologue than a conversation. We'll give you the benefit
of the doubt, though; because there is sort of an implicit "Do you
believe in the Bible?"
Daniel Devoe - Lincoln, NE
Response: One time
I was a little mellowed out because I was having some problems with my
parents. I was just sitting and thinking alone, all quite, when this guy
walks up to me and says, "You know, whatever's going on, God is in
control." Then I was all like, "Ah, arrggh, uhh" and making
my arm all tense like I was trying to resist before I smacked him in the
face real hard and said, "You're right. Sorry, man. I couldn't stop
it." Then I walked away.
Nikki - Clanton, AL
the rapture, and using the same scripture to back it up, but using them
in different ways.
THO's Response: Are you okay?!?
You sound like you're having a stroke. You know, you can't just throw
any ol' clauses together in any order and call it a sentence!
Don Key - Butte City, ID
Response: Is the
word "ass" a bad word? After a great rendition of "What
Child Is This?," members of my congregation sought to ban the song
due to the inclusion of "ass" in the song. I was very frustrated.
Why mess with a classic due to the slang meaning of the word "ass."
Who ever heard of an ass sleeping unless it is an animal? Now some people
will counter with the saying, "get your a** out of bed," but
are they using the true meaning of the word "ass?" Boy this
is frustrating. Why should we get rid of a totally good word that is included
in the Holy Scriptures?
THO's Response: Yeah, no kidding!
You have to admit, though, Don — between "ass," "babe,"
"incense," and "laid" that song does reek of sex and
drugs a little.
Bill Wilson - Allentown, PA
Response: It has
to be the "God won't give us any more than we can handle" bit.
Well, I guess I can't handle more than a $21,000 a year middle management
job, a studio apartment, and '91 Geo Metro.
Jones - Ohio
Look, I put tracts on every urinal in town. You want me to TALK to people,
too? What are you, nuts?
THO's Response: Certainly not!!
Don't talk! We can't emphasis this enough. Guys generally consider it
socially unacceptable to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger
while standing in front of urinals.
Jay Watson - Phoenix, AZ
was trying to tell me that the answer to the problem of evil is that this
is the best of all possible worlds. Have you ever seen Rosie O'Donnell?
This is NOT the best of all possible worlds!!
Kurt - Buffalo, NY
Response: The most
difficult conversation I've encountered is when people say they are "married"
to Jesus. What does that mean? Does that mean polygamy is correct if all
these people are married to one person? Who proposed, was it Jesus? I
don't understand, can someone clear this misconception?
THO's Response: Kurt, we'd be happy
to clear this up for you. The concept of being "married" to
Jesus is generally used by two groups of single Christians. The first
group uses it when looking for a polite way to turn down a pursuer. It's
basically an "I'm not interested!" and potentially has the added
bonus of perceived spiritual health. More common, though, is the second
group's use. This group, comprised mostly of homely females, uses the
phrase "I'm married to Jesus" as a defense mechanism after having
been turned down by all the boys they like. It's an attempt to make other
people think they're single by choice, even though they really want a
Al Canada - Long Beach, CA
Response: I was
speaking with an older gentleman regarding God's initial aims in relationship
to the theory of the ongoing problem of primordial chaos when he asked
me what I thought about Jesus.
THO's Response: Wait - which one
of you was frustrated?
Kelly - Plymouth, MI
Non-believing friend: "I hate this 'Faith Based Ministry' idea."
Non-believing friend: "Well, they're giving this money for the Baptists
to have a soup kitchen for the homeless, when everyone knows they're only
going to serve the ones who are Baptists."
Michael Gardner - Fremont, CA
to explain to my friends how me becoming a Christian was different from
being a Taoist for one semester, a Hindu for one semester and an atheist
for another. I mean the difference should be obvious: I stopped doing
Michael - Emory, VA
Response: Any conversation
with a conservative, right-wing republican. They are too proud to realize
how wrong they can be sometimes.
THO's Response: We're sorry, Michael,
that's incorrect. "Any" conversation may indeed be frustrating,
but wouldn't necessarily be about religion. Please try again.
Brenda - Boston, MA
Response: Any conversation
I have had with someone with a "Purpose Driven Life." Usually,
they go something like this:
Other Person: "Do you know what Rick Warren says about worship? It
is not just something we do on Sunday. Doesn't he have great insight?
Have you read his book? It is wonderful."
Me: "That's nice..." (and then I run away as quickly as possible
so they can't hear me say "DUH").
Stu - Sisters, OR
Response: It takes
place daily and it just drives me up the wall! You see, I have this little
angel and a little devil perched on each of my shoulders. And when I am
trying to have a spiritual discussion with someone, they start arguing
so loudly that I can't hear what the person across from me is saying.
Then I start arguing with the little angel 'cuz she's Armenian and I'm
a Calvinist and then the little devil starts laughing and then the person
across from me usually gets up and leaves or dials 911. It's so frustrating!
Dave - OK
Response: At Applebee's,
this (intoxicated) rodeo clown told me that Jesus loved the rodeo and
liked to get drunk. Then he told me that his life was like an episode
of Quantum Leap. Then he told me he was Han Solo. Really.
THO's Response: Dave, you don't
have to put adjectives in parenthesis.
Dan - Turlock, CA
1) "Well, that's what you say, but I read in 'Left Behind' that.
2) "Well, that's what you say, but I read in 'The Da Vinci Code'
that. . ."
3) "Well, that's what you say, but I read in my Christian Romance
novel that. . ."
4) "Well, that's what you say, but I read in 'The Holy Observer'
that. . ."
THO's Response: Hey now!
Jeremy - Newburgh, IN
Response: One time,
on a message board, we were discussing original sin. And this guy, just
out of the blue makes a post that says, "Well, I think Paul was wrong
on his assertion of the human condition. I think man is basically good."
Needless to say, he never posted on that thread again. After all, who
in their right mind would say that Paul was wrong on something? That's
like saying the Pope is right on something. It's obviously not gonna happen.
Ben Walker - Cincinnati, OH
Response: I was
once speaking with my friendly neighborhood Mormons when elder Snow (real
name) asked me if I was having a "good Sabbath" I tried to explain
to him that it was Sunday, and that I was a Christian minister and not
Jewish... he looked hurt, as though I had stomped on his puppy (looked
to be a 19 year old elder... no sense understanding the meaning of the
words used). This ridiculous conversation concluded with him assuring
me that if I prayed in faith that I would "know it was true."
It's true, with enough faithful prayer you too can experience a major
scrambling of religious holy days. Thank you for the insight, elder Snow!
I've further discovered that with enough prayer, every Friday is actually
THO's Response: Man, you totally
should've made every Friday be Christmas! Or one of the other no-work
Stew - Dayton, OH
Response: I was
talking to a man once about allowing a girl to serve as a counselor at
a camp. He said, "You know that she has tongue ring?" I said,
"You mean hear tongue is pierced?" and he said, "Yes."
I said, "What does that have to do with Jesus?" He said, "Well
she can't be teaching Jesus at my camp with a hole in her tongue!"
I just walked away scratching my head and saying, "huh...?"
THO's Response: Awh Stew, that
would've been an awesome time to throw back one of those clever
Alan Edmondson - San Anselmo, CA
Response: I once
asked a friend who was going through a divorce to come to church with
me, and he said he was really more interested in spiritual matters! (I
am not making this up. He needed Jesus, not a church meeting.)
Adam Congdon - Rochester, NY
today I had the "Jesus was a great teacher, I just don't think He
was God" discussion. It continues to baffle me that people claim
this statement to be true. If He was a great teacher and He said He was
God then wouldn't He be God. If He isn't God then how good of a teacher
was He? The frustration hit it's peak when my counterpart tried telling
me that Buddha and Christ we're alive at the same time and Christ learned
from Buddha. Yeah, right... so that would have made Buddha about 500 years
old at this educational meeting with Christ. Oh well!