August 8, 2007

Why "Know Them By Their Deeds?"

Roman Urdu Bibles are used by many Christians ...
Roman Urdu Bibles are used by many Christians from the South Asian subcontinent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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 titles of such posts 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 of the phrase 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 behavior. 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 believe no such thing. Rather, I use the phrase to point out the hypocrisy inherent in claiming that their religion makes them morally superior to the rest of us.