August 8, 2007

Why "Know Them By Their Deeds?"

Regular readers will know that I periodically post reports of crimes committed by Christians (and yes, they are real Christians). I often include the phrase "Know Them By Their Deeds" in the post titles of such reports and have received criticism for doing so. So, why do I do it?

The meaning of the "know them by their deeds" phrase comes from the Christian bible. Matthew 7:16 reads, "Ye shall know them by their fruits," and translators of the Greek and Hebrew generally interpret "fruit" as "deed," "act," or "work." The meaning is that it is often misleading to base one's impression of someone on their words and that we are better off focusing on their acts. That is, know them not so much by what they say but what they do.

I use this phrase to highlight Christian hypocrisy. We all know that believers are fond of claiming moral superiority over nonbelievers. And yet, their deeds often suggest otherwise.

My use of this phrase is not intended to signify that I believe all believers are wicked. I use it to point out the hypocrisy inherent in claiming that their religion makes them morally superior to the rest of us.

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