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We're Not Lost: An Open Letter to Campus Crusade for Christ

Northwestern’s chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ, an evangelical Christian organization otherwise known as Cru, has an edgy new campaign.

It’s called “I Agree with Markwell” and consists of the following: students wearing bright orange shirts that say “I Agree with Markwell,” covering the campus with chalk writing and posters that say “I Agree with Markwell,” and making videos in which they explain why they agree with Markwell.

Who’s Markwell? He’s a senior here at Northwestern who was asked by Cru to be the face, so to speak, of this campaign. His first name is Matthew.

The purpose of the campaign is ostensibly to convince people that, like Markwell, they too can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And the way to do this is by placing this quizzical phrase all over campus so that people will be compelled to look it up and find out what it’s all about.

Once they find themselves on the campaign’s website, they’ll learn a bit more about Markwell’s beliefs:

I believe in God. Not just any god, but the God who loves us more than we can imagine. I believe all people are sinful, messed up, jacked up, broken, whatever you want to call it. We intentionally rebel against God and choose to do our own thing, separating us from God and leading us toward death.

Well then.

As someone who vacillates between Judaism and agnosticism, I can say that this is definitively against my beliefs and I find it disempowering, depressing, and completely contrary to what I believe human nature to be.

However, that’s just my belief, and both Markwell and I are entitled to our own beliefs. And if that were all there was to it, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post right now.

The reason I am writing this blog post is because our campus magazine interviewed Markwell about this campaign. Here’s what he had to say:

When I see people here at Northwestern who don’t believe in God, I see them as lost, and that’s not probably how they would identify themselves. But from this side looking out, the best thing I can do to care for people is to show them why I believe what I believe. If anybody were to step into our shoes — step into my shoes — and see the people at Northwestern the way that I see them, then I think that the most loving thing you could do in that scenario is tell them about this opportunity to know the God of the Universe.

So, to rephrase: Markwell sees it as his loving duty to help us all find our way to Christ, because otherwise we’re “lost.”

Now, nothing I’m saying here is meant to apply to most Christians, because I’m hoping that most of them don’t see us non-Christians this way. But those Christians who do insist on proselytizing in such intrusive and condescending ways need to realize that, not only are they completely failing at being decent human beings, but they’re also pushing away the very people they’re trying to reach out to.

Cru is pretty well-known for their invasive tactics. As soon as I posted about this on Facebook, several Christian friends pointed out that they disagree with Cru. One said:

I remember last year they were handing out surveys and if you filled it out they gave you Play-Doh. And being a naive freshman, I was like “Yay! Play-Doh!” Little did I know they would use the information I gave them to show up at my door unannounced and harass me. While I was slightly creeped out, I actually kind of liked what they had to say and I was exploring my religious beliefs so I agreed to go out to coffee with this girl and talk some more. But after I did that she just kept calling me and texting me and emailing me and I tried to be polite by just telling her I was busy but she wouldn’t take the hint. If they really want to spread their message, this is not the way to do it. And they need to accept that not everyone is going to share their beliefs and that that’s okay.

Cru also realizes that people wouldn’t actually check out this campaign if they knew off the bat that it was about Christianity. From the NBN article:

The Christian faith is pretty well-known…[s]o if people just see a bunch of people wearing shirts that say ‘I Agree with Jesus’ then we probably won’t get as many conversations as ‘I Agree with Markwell’ and ‘Who is Markwell and why do you agree with him?’

Does anyone know why that is? It’s because people tend to already know whether they’re interested in Christianity or not. So tricking them into going to this website to learn more about it seems a bit disingenuous to me.

Supporters of the Markwell campaign attest that it’s their right to express their beliefs, just as I’m expressing mine right now. They say that their belief that we’re “lost” is equivalent to our belief that we’re not.

But it’s not the same at all. Because our beliefs about not being lost concern only us, whereas Markwell’s beliefs about us being lost concern someone else. Someone else who may want absolutely nothing to do with Jesus.

These supporters also pull out the argument that we’re just getting offended because they’re expressing those beliefs, which they have the right to do. But this campaign isn’t offensive to us because it’s religious. It’s offensive to us because it’s telling us that we don’t have the capability to choose our own beliefs, for ourselves. It’s offensive because it refuses to acknowledge that not everyone must believe in Jesus.

It’s telling that the organization sponsoring this campaign has the word “crusade” in its name. (Granted, it’s tried to rebrand itself as “Cru” to escape that.) I’m not suggesting that Cru is in any way equivalent to the actual Crusades, but I don’t think the use of that word was arbitrary. I think it says something about how much–or rather, how little–the members of this organization understand the fact different people choose different beliefs for a reason.

And no, that reason is not because we’re “rebelling against God.”

I don’t agree with Markwell. We’re not lost. We’re not “sinful, messed up, jacked up, broken” either. We just don’t believe in Jesus Christ. Can Markwell please get over that?

Edit 4/18: Here is a response to this post from a Cru member, and here is a post from an awesome friend of mine.

Comments

  1. M says

    Can I just say that I hate when people use verses from the bible, completely out of context? The one he quotes here has no relevance whatsoever to the evangelical effort that he’s criticizing. That verse specifically refers to not praying/worshiping in public so that people will think that you’re righteous. It’s more about being proud that people see you as “religious” when in fact the intention behind the actual prayer, etc. isn’t there.

    I myself am Christian but I don’t agree with Cru’s tactics either. It’s very easy for Christian evangelists to come across inadvertently as condescending because they so very often believe they are doing everyone a favor by spreading the gospel. Personally, I do believe that it’s a message worth spreading, but that people should still remember how to do it without offending others. Lots of Christian jargon (such as “lost”) can seem offensive but it’s based on the idea that everyone, including Christians, are fallen from grace and fall short of God’s glory.

    It’s an interesting issue because at its heart, Christians who practice this kind of evangelism do it to “help” and to “love” non-Christians but it sometimes alienates them. The fundamental beliefs of Christianity beg this kind of behavior though – because of what we believe–which is that all people, regardless of who you are, or where you’re from, or what you do in this lifetime, die because we are sinners. We are unable of ever reaching God’s level of holiness or goodness, and we deserve death. but the only hope is that God had mercy on us and bestowed grace & forgiveness by sending his own son to die on the cross. John 3:16, one of the most important verses, says ” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This is the basic tenant of Christian belief and is the reason why we feel urgent to spread the message. We’re not practicing religion because we feel better than anyone – we’re rejoicing because there’s hope in this message that life can mean something more than now and here. We do it because we feel grateful for the opportunity to know a God who loves us.

    At a certain point, though Christians and non-Christians have to agree to disagree – and I respect that.

    The reason why Cru has launched this campaign is because they feel a certain responsibility, as followers of Christ, to continue the mission. Their approach isn’t the best since it depends on curiosity…And while it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, it is a message meant for everyone regardless of race, age, creed, or nationality, which I WISH more Christians would acknowledge. It’s not up to us to determine who’s “lost” or “worthy” – the bible clearly tells us that it’s only in the hands of God.

    But why the bible, you ask? How can we trust a compilation of what seems to be random scribblings compiled by totally dead people? It’s essential to our understanding of the divine being because he believe that people who wrote it were inspired – and there was once a meeting in which all of the documents were compiled and people determined whether or not they were consistent with the image of God that they knew through the various scriptures that were available. Many book didn’t make the cut, but most of them stated the same ideas – and seemed to have no connection with each other, suggesting that there was some basis for what was written. There are actually a large number of accounts of Jesus’s life, works, death, and resurrection apart from what we see in the bible – which is more than there exists for Alexander the Great or for Aristotle.

    Part of being Christian is acknowledging that we can’t know everything about this world. This doesn’t mean that we should be ignorant, reject empirical evidence, or condemn people. This doesn’t mean that we should tell our friends that they’re going to hell – this demands that Christians point people in what we believe is the right direction. It’s ultimately up to you to decide whether or not you want to listen to what we have to say, but we believe that it’s too good to pass up. That’s why there are people launching this “crusade.”

    I know that I may be starting a shitshow on this comment thread, so I’ve pasted it also on the blog page. Feel free to disagree with me – to poke holes in my argument or in my beliefs. I’m not trying to impose them on anyone, but I just wanted to clear a few things up. These aren’t fanatics, these are believers in someone who’s bigger than life to them and want to share their joy… and while Universalism is a nice concept, it’s ultimately incongruent with the teachings of the bible.

    tl:dr The bible teaches us that everyone deserves a worser fate, but that there’s hope in Jesus. Because only people who are perfect can go to heaven- since we’re not perfect, God has to give us grace and make us clean again in order for us to enter heaven. Jesus is how that was done, and Christians just want to share it.

    • E says

      Your entire comment made me want to drill nails through my skull. Starting with the fact that you refer to the author as he when the post was written by a very articulate young WOMAN, and just going on from there. If Cru members are truly Christian and know “it’s not up to [them] to determine who’s ‘lost’ or ‘worthy,” then why do I have multiple tales from friends in which a Cru member told them they were going to burn in hell for being Jewish? I’ve been arguing about this campaign (or Crusade, if you will) all night, and the only further thing I’m going to say on the matter is this: No.

      • M says

        I’m sorry about presuming the gender of the blog post. It’s kind of a reddit syndrome in which I didnt realize her name was Miriam. Apologies

        Cru told that to your friends and was insensitive to her about it. Christians aren’t perfect people, and I hate when they use that to try to attract people to the religion (it obviously ends up doing the very opposite.) If you want to talk about exclusivity, before Christ came along, the Jewish people believed that they were the chosen people, the only ones who could receive their God’s promises. Christs message was that everyone of every nation can receive God’s blessings as long as they acknowledge Christs’s sovereignty. The difference is that you don’t have to do ANYTHING whereas in many other religions you have to earn salvation/nirvana/reincarnation etc. I wish people would stop framing in a way that condemns and instead start caring for people, believers and nonbelievers alike, as people.

        It saddens me that for many Christians, it has become a number game instead of focusing on Jesus’s greatest commandments- to love God and to love everyone. If that last point was more emphasized, would Christians still be rejected? Probably. But we do it because we believe that there’s a greater purpose in life that is outside of ourselves and outside of what this world has to offer.

      • Lauren Linzmeier says

        Historical evidence outside the Bible for the existence of Christ: (these are non-Christian historians)
        1. The Roman historian Tacitus, writing in about 115 A.D., records the events surrounding Emperor Nero in July of A.D. 64. After the fire that destroyed much of Rome, Nero was blamed for being responsible:

        Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus [Christ], from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition [Christ's resurrection] thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular.

        2. The Jewish historian Josephus,writing for the Roman government in the 70’s A.D. records some incidental things regarding Christ and the church. He confirms that John the Baptist died at the hand of Herod (this same incident is recorded in the gospels) as well as the death of, “The brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James. . . he delivered them to be stoned” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVIII, ch. V, p. 20; Book XX, ch. IX, p. 140 ).

        These sources external to the Bible that demonstrate the historical reliability of the text. Josephus, who was probably alive during the time of Christ, is attesting to the reality of his existence. What this also tells us is that within 40 years of Christ’s death, the knowledge of who he was was widespread enough that Josephus could reference him and expect his readers to know exactly who he was talking about.

        If you have additional questions, feel free to email me at laurenlinzmeier2013@u.northwestern.edu.

        • BlackHumor says

          I should say here that:

          1. Both of these only mention that Christians believe in this person; neither has any direct evidence that this person existed besides taking Christians’ word for it.
          2. Both of them*, are suspected to have been edited by Christians in later times because the style doesn’t match the style of the surrounding text.

          *: It might’ve just been Josephus, but I think both of them.

      • Read a book, it has facts (except the bible) says

        Yes! Agreed! SO SO MUCH!!
        A simple google search shows you how flawed the bible is…but people just don’t like it. It hurts their feelings to say it is wrong.

          • Read a book, it has facts (except the bible) says

            I also forgot that the bible is always right. This coming sabbath, when you are working or doing anything busy work related, i will make sure to stone you to death. And if you see your neighbor doing the same, make sure you stone him to death too. (Told you that feelings would be hurt…)

          • M says

            I’m not fighting you. Please don’t cite the bible out of context.
            No amount of evidence will change your mind. I’m done.

          • Read a book, it has facts (except the bible) says

            no worries, im done too :). it’s quite ironic hearing the quote “no amount of evidence will change your mind” come from someone religious.

    • Sam says

      It’s fantastic that you say “I’m not trying to impose [my beliefs] on anyone.” I’m all for that. However, the whole top part of the post WAS arguing for people trying to impose their beliefs on others! It’s unfair that you can defend them for explicitly insulting and attempting to change others’ beliefs but that you yourself would never dare to impose your beliefs on anyone. Do you see what I’m saying?

      You can’t argue that what they’re doing is okay when you went out of your way to make sure you weren’t overstepping your bounds. I have nothing against Christianity or Jesus except for when my beliefs are demeaned and belittled to the point where I can’t even have a reasonable discussion about religion with a member of Cru. It’s sad!

      If you want to spread your love of Jesus, fine. If you want to try to help others to be better people, fine. But don’t make a college senior the poster child of your movement, because if you do, he is the one condemning me even though – as far as I can tell – he doesn’t have the authority to decide my fate in the afterlife. Using trickery to get to people is wrong in any situation, but having one of my peers disparage me like that makes it so much more personal.

      But M, with all that being said, I’m open to hearing your side. How do you respond to this?

      • M says

        I know that I seem to contradict myself but I’m just trying to frame it from another perspective. Cru is evangelical because it says to spread the message in the bible – to demonstrate love for all human beings, Jew and Gentile alike. It is likely to be met with resistance because it’s seems, especially in this day and age, to contradict what you might think know about the world and who’s really in charge.

        I think it’s important for Christians to also consider the perspective of the non-Christian by being sensitive to the things they say and do. I honestly dislike the fact that they are masquerading this as a political movement of some sort, but they did it because many people have a broken picture of what this religion is about. And that comes from the Christians who act out and condemn other groups- which, by the way, is NOT what the bible tells us to do. The bible calls for us to spread the gospel but not in a way that offends others. The new testament says: 
        “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.  For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.(1 Peter 3:15-17 (NIV))” Of course, most people don’t feel ashamed of putting down Christianity or Christian beliefs nowadays but it emphasizes a kind of pacifist attitude, doing what is right by Christian standards an not feeling bad for being rejected because of it. I wish more people would follow the words of Peter here and carry the attitude of kindness and respect that Christianity calls for. It makes me sad that Cru had no idea that this campaign would raise this many eyebrows, but I don’t blame them for trying. It’s an interesting and different method to say the least. 

    • R says

      Thanks for this. I am a member of Cru and I’e been trying to find a way to respond to all the reactions we’ve been getting for the IAWM campaign, both to people who might ask me and for myself. I think the way you explained things is perfect. “We’re not practicing religion because we feel better than anyone – we’re rejoicing because there’s hope in this message that life can mean something more than now and here. We do it because we feel grateful for the opportunity to know a God who loves us.” That’s totally it. I know our methods are kind of obnoxious. I feel kind of annoying every time I put on my bright orange shirt. But I do it because I think it’s worth it. Not because I think I’m better than anyone else or I want to tell people they’re going to hell. But because if I believe I have the gift of a connection with the creator of the universe and his unconditional eternal love, it would be wrong of me NOT to try and share that with people. Maybe we could have chosen a less offensive less obnoxious approach, but we do what we do because we believe that directing a person toward the gospel is the most loving thing we could possibly do for them. I’m really sorry if our methods offend someone, but if it’s our message that they find offensive then I can’t really change that.

      • BlackHumor says

        …you realize, then, that IAWM isn’t actually going to get anyone to convert to your very specific brand of Christianity, right? People know whether or not they agree with you already, and if they don’t, they have REASONS they don’t.

        You do not live in a Chick tract where all you have to do to convert nonbelievers is TELL them about Jesus. Actual people have reasons they believe things that are as compelling to them as your reasons are to you. Would you abandon YOUR beliefs if someone told you they disagreed with them? Then why do you expect anyone else to?

        • Peter says

          Hey BlackHumor,

          One thing I would like to say about the expectations of the Christian students of the I agree with Markwell campaign is that their expectations are not what leads people “convert” or “abandon their beliefs.” It is the message of the gospel that leads people to realize their spiritual reality and turn their life towards Jesus. Yes, the people in I agree with Markwell campaign do have expectations that people who do not know Jesus personally will find Jesus, but can they force you to have faith in Jesus? The answer to that is no. Their goal is to give people a chance to hear the gospel and also provide a chance for the person to put faith in Jesus or not. If they reject it, then there really is not much more we can do. Why? Because again, it is the gospel that changes the person, not a campaign, markwell, or people with orange shirts that changes the person. The students at Cru are doing this campaign, because it provides a unique way of having mature spiritual conversation with friends and colleagues, and also a way in which we can share the gospel.

  2. says

    Hah! I had the exact same situation with Cru, minus the creepy “Who is John Galt?”-esque campaign. They had a little draw where you had the chance to win a free prize, but didn’t explicitly state that they were a Christian organization, I assumed they were from a Sorority actually, they’d often throw little events like that in the dorm. A week later, I had two girls from Cru at my door, being artificially chummy with me, trying to invite me out for coffee or their church concerts, and leaving leaflets in my mailbox with cutesy notes scribbled on them, like “Something for my friend Leah Jane<3<3"
    I held steady and didn't let them whittle away at my defences, so eventually they gave up on me, but I'm sure other people ended up blowing their stacks at such obnoxious tactics, and I can't say I blame them.

    • Llewkram says

      That John Galt analogy is absolutely spot on. Markwell is an egotistical clown and these Jesus freaks should leave campus.

  3. Richard says

    How are they “tricking” us into visiting their website? It’s the individual’s choice to follow their curiosity prompted by the flyers. I think you’re totally overreacting and misunderstanding their intentions. I do think the advertising is a little annoying, but no more annoying than all of the “KAM=STEVEN” everywhere.

    As for your quote on Cru harassing a person, I tend to doubt the veracity of its claims. I’ve filled out probably the same survey and you had to indicate you wanted to talk to someone from Cru and fill out your room number. The survey had “Christian Ministries” on the bottom, so I’m not sure why anyone would confuse it for some agenda-less group giving out free Play-Doh.

    • says

      My ire isn’t really directed at their tactics, which I merely think are annoying. It’s directed at their supposition that they know better than me which faith I should choose. That’s condescending and offensive, in my opinion.

      • Richard says

        It’s definitely a little condescending, but I think you’re misinterpreting their intentions. Their blurbs on their website are pretty poorly worded. I just think that this is a pretty innocuous campaign – like, is it really a surprise that faithful Christians think that their lifestyle is the best and want you to subscribe to it? It’s pretty easy to ignore the flyers.

    • BlackHumor says

      Cru definitely harasses people. I’m in SSA (Secular Student Alliance) and more than one person has reported Cru harassing them, even besides the deceptive “fill out this survey for cookies OOPS WE’RE GONNA COME TO PREACH” thing they do.

      • Richard says

        I guess it’s a pretty big organization. I’m sure there are bad eggs. My experiences with them have been pretty positive (I’m a spiritually curious agnostic). I’m not sure what “harassment” is going on, and, again, the survey people have to fill out involves listing your room number and dorm and whether or not you want to hear more about Christianity.

        • BlackHumor says

          No, it’s not “bad eggs”, it’s the organization. We don’t get complaints from any of the other Christian organizations on campus (and there are PLENTY), only Cru.

          And “do you want to hear more about Christianity” meaning “would you like us to come to your room and preach” is definitely deceptive.

          • G says

            Cru is seen differently than other ministries for one reason and one reason only: They are an outreach-minded group. It’s what they do – try to talk to people who checked “interested” on the bottom of the sheets that get you to fill out in exchange for play-doh. No, it’s not tricking anyone. Like Richard said, it’s pretty clear that they’re not agenda-less.

            And though you claim/doubt that they do not help or “convert” anyone, you don’t actually know that. Admit it, you don’t. You’re assuming, and it is truly making an ass out of you. I don’t know the statistics, but I personally know 5 students who are super strong in their faith now because they were reached out to – they never would have had the courage to seek out a group themselves because their faith wasn’t a big priority before they were provoked to think about it more. Cru’s outreach gave them a chance to explore their faith without taking a huge initiative by themselves.

            You can hate every last one of them without knowing them if you choose, but just know it only puts the broken human condition more on the surface.

          • says

            G, Markwell explicitly states that he wants to convert people:

            If anybody were to step into our shoes — step into my shoes — and see the people at Northwestern the way that I see them, then I think that the most loving thing you could do in that scenario is tell them about this opportunity to know the God of the Universe.

            So we didn’t have to “assume” anything.

          • G says

            Re-read my comment. I was saying that he (in a different string of comments on here) was assuming that Cru doesn’t positively affect anyone. Which is an assumption for which he has no statistics, and I would argue is untrue.

  4. BlackHumor says

    Again, I am all for going around with a piece of chalk and writing “I don’t” next to all of them.

  5. AW says

    While I agree that the campaign has its flaws, I don’t think I necessarily agree with your evaluation of it. I think that there may be some misunderstanding on both sides of the discussion and I would like to address some of the things that have been said below.

    (Disclaimer – I’m not trying to start any arguments by my comment. I merely want to speak from another viewpoint. The author makes a lot of good points and is totally validated in what she said. I’m just trying to point out that there is more than one way of looking at the situation.)

    1- I do think Cru’s message is flawed, but not necessarily for the same reasons you do. You’re correct in taking their evaluation of others as depressing and condescending – because that’s absolutely how they come across based on the quotes you’ve shared – but I don’t believe it was meant to be that way. Christians believe that all people have fallen short of the standard God requires (essentially what they are trying to get at by saying we’re “jacked up”). However, they find hope in the belief that Jesus died and in doing so took mankind’s due punishment upon himself. THAT is supposed to be the message — hope and salvation, not condemnation. You’re right – the way they’re going about it is condescending and hurtful, but again – I don’t think that’s what they’re trying to do. Or maybe I’m wrong. Some Christians do use guilt tactics to proselytize, and I hate that. I certainly hope that’s not what they’re doing.

    2- Some members of Cru may be overstepping their bounds when it comes to sharing their faith with others, but I think those claims need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. When I read that one girl kept texting and calling your friend I couldn’t help but wonder whether she was trying to be friendly rather than focusing on getting your friend converted. Yes, they may want to convert people (it’s part of their faith, and I’m getting to that), but I hesitate to assume that’s all the only thing they think about. But, then again, maybe I’m wrong and in this instance this girl only was thinking about talking to your friend about God. I just don’t want to make that assumption and extend it to the whole of Cru. Just as this is an example of something bad (or annoying) they do, there may be other examples of good things they’re doing as well.

    3- In terms of sharing their faith, well, that’s part of it. The belief of most Christians is that there is a heaven and hell and that belief in substitutionary atonement (i.e., Jesus dying for everyone to be saved) will cause a person to be saved from hell. I personally don’t have much respect for Christians who don’t share their faith. If you believe that someone is going to hell if they don’t accept this God or that one, you are essentially condemning people to hell by NOT telling them how they could be saved. In that vein, I don’t think any Christian will ever be able to “just get over [the fact that others don't believe in Jesus Christ].”
    That being said, that doesn’t mean they have to be condescending or shove things down our throats. I do think many Christians take it too far – to the point where they force beliefs upon others or verbally condemn others to hell (*cough-Westboro Baptist Church-cough*). Most aren’t that extreme, but many well-meaning Christians can neglect to step back and realize that no amount of effort on their own part will cause someone to believe something they don’t, and that that is their own choice. I think that Cru may fall into this category sometimes, but I don’t think it’s the norm, at least in my own experience.

    4- I hesitate to bring this up, but I can’t refrain from pointing out that the verse used at the end is taken out of context. This verse is talking about Christians who go out of their way to act religious so that others – other Christians included – will see them and go, “Ooh, look how holy they are!” The bible actually does talk a lot about sharing the “good news” with people that don’t know it or don’t believe it. It does not advocate that the faith be hidden and practiced in private, which is what I think they author was trying to convey by using it.

    Overall, I think the best way to change the way Cru goes about doing whatever they do – be it this campaign or the next – is to discuss with them these things you have brought up with them. Find out whoever their leader is and say “Look, you may not realize it but you’re message is coming off as condescending and here’s how…” It may not change anything, but it might and it’s worth a try. I think it’s better to build a community where people from multiple religions can get along and respect one another without insulting someone along the way and part of that is kindly pointing out when someone is falling short of that.

    • BlackHumor says

      1. The core message is pessimistic, very pessimistic. There is no changing of their framing that could prevent them from coming off as pessimistic.

      God is willing to forgive us all for being horrible people by a standard that he himself made up is not an optimistic message, it’s a sign that you live in an H.P. Lovecraft novel.

      2. The problem with not making assumptions is, a LOT of people have had Cru do this shit to them. I’m in SSA and the exec board has had to complain to the administration about Cru going around and proselytizing in violation of school rules several times. No other Christian group, and there are a lot of them on campus. Only Cru.

      3. That is not what most Christians believe, because most Christians worldwide are not of Cru’s very specific denomination. In fact, I believe Catholics are a majority of Christians worldwide, and THEY certainly don’t believe that.

      And all that said, even for Cru’s denomination going around and proselytizing is still annoying. (And I believe that doing it deceptively like this is specifically prohibited somewhere.) We don’t care what they believe, we want them to stop.

      4. No part of the Bible says “don’t try to convert people”, but that verse is pretty unambiguous that you shouldn’t announce your faith in public.

      • P says

        Okay, you’re making all the non-Christians look bad now. You really need to watch your arguments: “We don’t care what they believe, we want them to stop.”

        If someone in Cru said that to you about the SSA, you would be oober pissed. Take a deep breath, and if you don’t believe in this stuff, rise above. Stop pointing fingers like that.

        Also, being annoying is not illegal. Sorry that that breaks down like 75% of non-Christian’s arguments, but it’s true. Lots of things are annoying, you’ll get over them.

        4. Please please please. If you’re going to use their own scripture against them, fact check. If no one talked about their ideas on faith, no religion from the beginning of time would have ever spread. It is also super clear that they are called to love others as themselves, and if they believe that the Gospel has saving power yet they don’t share it with us, that is definitely hating others and acting self-righteous. Not to say Christians never hate or act self-righteous. Cuz they do. They are sinners. They’ll admit that, and if they don’t, they’re unsure of their own doctrine.

  6. IagreewMarkwell says

    the problem with telling us not to share our beliefs is that you’re ignoring the implications of our beliefs. we believe that everyone on earth is broken and sinful, and deserves to go to Hell (you might say “has chosen to go to Hell”). God, in his mercy, made a way for us to be saved from this fate through his Son Jesus. Christians are no better than other people, except that we have accepted God’s forgiveness. Because we care about others, we want them to also be saved from Hell.
    So ultimately it boils down to whether we are right or wrong. IF we are right, than it would be worse than a crime not to tell everyone we could about it. To deprive someone of the chance of eternal life, condemning them to Hell because we are afraid they might reject us or write angry comments, is beyond selfish.
    But if we are wrong, then we have no right to force others to believe some ridiculous story about a man who rose from the dead. If humans are not sinful, if they are not broken, and if they are not lost, then we are in fact incredibly obnoxious and a disgrace to the college.
    The fact of the matter is, if this is all true, and we truly believe it is, then we want to share this good news, not out of pride or arrogance or self-righteousness, but out of love.

    • says

      Nobody’s telling you not to share your beliefs.

      What we ARE telling you is that your beliefs apply to YOU. They do not apply to US. We aren’t sinful, lost, broken, etc. If you want to believe that YOU are these things, then that’s your right. But we aren’t.

      • M says

        > Nobody’s telling you not to share your beliefs.

        What we ARE telling you is that your beliefs apply to YOU. They do not apply to US. We aren’t sinful, lost, broken, etc. If you want to believe that YOU are these things, then that’s your right. But we aren’t.

        ^ The fact that all men have sinned is fundamental to Christian doctrine. We can’t change that. It’s what’s been told to us by the big guy.

        If you want to define sinful as not doing what God wants, then yes, all of us are sinful to some capacity. No one is more sinful or less sinful – everyone is equal in God’s eyes. If what we believe is true, which we believe it is, then not spreading the message is the worst thing we can do. I know you’re annoyed, shut off, cynical, skeptical, but it’s really that simple. We believe that God wants us to spread his word to everybody, because we believe that everybody is God’s child.

        “Nobody’s telling you not to share your beliefs” and “they do not apply to us” are two contradicting ideas in your argument, from the perspective of a Christian.

        • john smith says

          You people make me angry.

          There, I said it.

          You really do. Your obsession with evangelism ignores many things about the wide and deep world of Christian belief, firstly the fact that not everyone who believes in Christ needs to have a deeply personal relationship with God. Plenty of people live good lives and worship Christ without having some “personal” relationship with Him. (Assuming one can have a “personal” relationship with a deity is another thing I take issue with, but let’s not go there just now). Furthermore, the assumption that God cannot tolerate wrongdoing directly contradicts Jesus’s acts of grace (eating with prostitutes and tax collectors, for one example). God must be an all-loving deity, based on the evidence we’re given.

          Furthermore, you believe that God takes direct action in the world around us, right? I simply can’t accept that. God doesn’t affect miracles in the world in the way depicted in the Bible any more.

          Finally, the thing that REALLY bugs me about your doctrine is that yours is the one, true way—that all other interpretations of the good news of Christ are flawed and inferior to your understanding. Not only is it just annoying to talk to someone who thinks they have all the answers, but it creates a climate where learning about God’s universe is discouraged. Why investigate the world if we already have a perfect understanding of God’s word?

          So please, do as Jesus said: “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6: 5-6.

          The highest calling of Christ is humility in the face of God and your fellow man.

          • M says

            The fact that Jesus ate with prostitutes does not contradict God’s not being able to let people with sin into heaven. You are sorely taking this, along with the verse that you quoted, out of context. God loves all humans, which is why Jesus was sent in the first place as an appropriation for our sins.

            The verse you quoted has to do with hypocrites who worship in the open (Jesus was referring to the Pharisees) in order to look “holy” and righteous. I agree, humility is a calling, but the greatest calling is Love. Love for God and love for men, even our enemies.

            I’m not going to try to defend the bigots and people who condemn others. Not all Christians are the same, because we are just flesh and bone. Ones level of personal relationship with Jesus is up to our free will- but the bible does make it clear that Jesus wants a relationship with everyone. The difference between someone who actually prays and someone who does lip service once a week at church is that the latter is religion. The former is a relationship- and, as in all relationships, takes some work to experience the joy from it. I know that you’re probably still shaking your head. I have nothing more to say.

          • BlackHumor says

            The Bible does not make it clear that Jesus wants a relationship with everyone. The Bible does not even make it clear that Jesus CAN have a relationship with ANYbody.

            Cru people, I hope you realize that your form of Christianity is not the only or even the most popular form of Christianity. It’s a very fundementalist-friendly version but it’s not true for Catholics or Orthodox or Mormons or even most other Protestants.

            So, when you say that that verse “doesn’t mean that”, that’s YOUR interpretation. There are denominations that interpret that verse exactly as john smith does. Hell, there are denominations of Christianity which say you can go to heaven without being Christian at all (Catholicism, Unitarianism).

          • Lynn says

            Can you further unpack this paragraph for me? I really want to know what you think!
            “Cru people, I hope you realize that your form of Christianity is not the only or even the most popular form of Christianity. It’s a very fundementalist-friendly version but it’s not true for Catholics or Orthodox or Mormons or even most other Protestants.”

            Can you tell me what you have seen/learned that makes “Cru’s form” different than many other sects? (Besides Mormonism, because that is very different because they base their teachings off a book discovered in Missouri…. which is definitely different.)

          • BlackHumor says

            Alright. For future reference, here’s their message, They seem to have changed it some since this was posted, but since I don’t have good access to the original I suppose I’ll have to use this version.

            First paragraph, a belief in a loving God is common among Christian branches (though not universal: see the Gnostics and some Unitarian branches for some different opinions.) However, the idea that not sinning is a struggle is a uniquely Protestant thing; the Catholic Church believes that it’s possible to avoid sin enough to enter heaven without going to purgatory (this is their definition of a saint) as well as that it’s necessary to make a real effort to avoid sin in order to be saved.

            Second paragraph, not every Christian branch believes that a “relationship with God” is at all possible. I’m pretty sure that’s a uniquely Presbytarian thing, but I could be wrong. Besides that, I’ll just say that everything is common but not universal.

            Third paragraph is the big one: this is a specifically Protestant paragraph and the Catholic Church would not agree with a single word of it. (Also, when I say “the Catholic Church”, I also mean Eastern Orthodox, because they split from the Catholic Church before Protestants came up with this stuff.) Besides that, it’s not universal among Protestants that it’s even possible to freely do this; there are branches of Protestantism that believe in a thing called predestination, which is essentially that God has already fated who will be saved and who won’t be and it’s therefore impossible to change whether you’re going to heaven or hell.

            Fourth paragraph, the only thing even most Protestants would believe in that paragraph is that faith in Jesus frees you of your sins. That it also creates a relationship with God or will improve your earthly life in any way is a specifically evangelical thing that is actually very rare among Christian denominations.

          • Lynn says

            ALL Christian denominations believe that Jesus’ death was an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Catholics and orthodox people and protestants still sin. If you know one that claims otherwise, then they don’t understand why Jesus is even important. Without sin, we wouldn’t need forgiveness. Jews wouldn’t need Yom Kippur and Christians wouldn’t need Jesus. What you are called to do in order so receive the “benefits” of Jesus’ sacrifice may be emphasized differently among sects. But ANY Christian sect 1000% recognizes Jesus’ death as the forgiveness of sins, and thereby necessary to get right with God. There are a lot of different wordy ways of saying that, but I promise you that Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants alike believe that.

            This might be a better explanation. Yes, it is a more protestant view, but the important things do not change. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyYFxp7apl4

          • Lynn says

            Also, to address the second paragraph, the idea that God is not loving in absolutely anti-biblical, so I don’t know how any sect that claims to be Christian could get away with that. God’s love for us is absolutely clear. He loves us more than we could EVER imagine. That it not something I find it productive to argue about.

    • Read a book, it has facts (except the bible) says

      I’m just curious, on what basis do you have to claim that any of this is true? This is one hell of a claim that you are making. Funny enough though, there are millions of people on the other side of the world that are making this same claim about a different god and different religion. Why are they wrong and you are right? I’m just curious, what information have you been privy to that others can’t access (or weren’t born with)?

      • P says

        Sure, we can discuss what makes Christianity convincing for me. As long as we both promise to remain as respectful as possible. First, what are your views? In other words, what should I be comparing it to – a different religion or atheism? Do you believe in a higher power?

    • Afroman says

      Yeah, sorry mate, but you’re not fooling anyone. Nice try though. But your campaign had nothing to do with love, it was a “look at us, and we’re standing up and getting in your face” – kind of deal and that’s that. You can slice and dice it any way you want, but when other Christians even point this out, you probably should be aware that you f-ed up. :)

      Cultural evolution is leaving the abrahamic religions in its wake, and there’s very little that you or I can do about that, but my advice to you would be to just leave other people alone, and live your life the way you want to. Its just the natural trend of things. Do you think in the time of the Greeks people took it on the chin if you were to tell them that the whole Zeus thing is a myth? I’m sure you probably got your head chopped of for that kind of “blasphemy”. And today they are our literary entertainment. Just like you will be to the next 50 generations.

      So take off your ugly-ass T-shirt, settle down, have a cupcake, and use your time to study something useful like science.

    • PeaceLove says

      Has anybody ever questioned why G-d would exclude people who do good works? Honestly. Gandhi did not believe in Christ. I think people need to start questioning their own faith, especially those who think that good people should be punished. And don’t tell me that they are just “lost.”

      It’s not only Christianity, but there are multiple other religions who alienate people of other faiths with these scare tactics. Think about it. I agree with equality.

  7. Sasha says

    Here’s the thing:

    1) Regardless of how annoying seeing those four words everywhere may be, it’s working. If this campaign is what I think it is, which is an extremely bold attempt at getting the name of Jesus on everyone’s lips, then it is most definitely working.

    2) There is a reason the shirts say “I agree with” and not “YOU must agree with.” By wearing those shirts, those Christians are showing that they themselves are unashamed of the Gospel (which literally means “the good news”) and are saying that God is continually working in their lives. Not yours, theirs. They are making themselves available to share their stories with you, should you choose to ask. If you’re annoyed that the shirts “trick” you into starting these conversations, oh well. It’s just a shirt. I seriously doubt that any Cru member who you weren’t already friends with has “preached” at you this week. Nothing Cru does on a personal level is unsolicited. By that I mean, Cru only goes to the doors of people who fill out a card saying they would like more information, and if you flat out tell them you are no longer interested, they will never try to reach out to you again. This happened to me my freshman year, I told them I wasn’t interested, and they kindly let me be.

    3) Just as it’s not about Markwell, IT’S NOT ABOUT CRU. They ALL acknowledge that. Sorry if it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, but it’s about the opportunity to know Jesus. To the comment: “We’re not lost, we just already know that we don’t believe in Christ” I say, that is just fine! That is the only goal of the campaign: to give you the chance to know just who Jesus is, if you ask, and the rest is between you and God. YOU make your own decisions. Christians just want you to make the most informed decision you can, and understanding what Jesus said is a valuable piece of information to millions of people. Also, if you identify as a Christian of any sect, but don’t agree with Markwell, you are not a Christian. I say that boldly. Agreeing with Markwell is NOT agreeing with the campaign. It is NOT agreeing with Cru as a movement. It is agreeing that you have made mistakes and that Jesus’ death on the cross is what rectifies your relationship with God by an extremely powerful and unfathomably loving grace. End of story.

    Thanks for reading this. Thanks for agreeing and disagreeing. That’s why it’s worded like that: to show you that you can’t have it both ways: you either agree or you don’t. And that IS your decision. I just pray that it’s an informed one.

    • BlackHumor says

      Everyone knows who Jesus is. If they had said “I agree with Jesus” nobody would care. Instead it’s “I agree with some random senior”, which is clearly deceptive marketing to get you to google it.

      Nobody will be CONVERTED by this, and getting people to just TALK about Jesus is of no use if all that comes of it is that they resent Cru’s deceptive tactics even more.

      • Sasha says

        I disagree with both of your points. While everyone knows Jesus’ name, many people don’t understand why it is important to millions of people. By asking good questions, this campaign is giving you a platform to learn more about why we believe His life and death are the epitome of love.

        Regardless of how people react to this message, I believe that it will be of importance to some people. Neither you nor I have any authority to say whether it will or not, so we can just agree to disagree. If people hate the members of Cru for this, well, that is something they are prepared for. People who are bold in their faith will be persecuted. That’s the way it is. But trust me, they are not TRYING to offend you. If you don’t believe what they are saying, then what is there to be offended about? I guess that’s something you understand better than I, but, yes, talking about God will offend some people. Some people will be intrigued, but some offended. I have talked to both in person, and obviously those who have been outspoken online have felt offended.

        What won’t change, in Christians’ eyes, is that God still loves you as passionately as He loves any other human being on this planet. They believe that he happens to prove this love through Jesus. Those last two sentences are really what I am agreeing with by agreeing with Markwell. Not with Cru’s tactics, but with God’s love. If you disagree, that is your prerogative.

        • BlackHumor says

          Frankly, I think none of your post has any basis in reality.

          First paragraph, clearly the IAWM people don’t have any idea why other people’s beliefs are important to them, so, moot point.

          Second paragraph, I find it darkly funny that Christianity has not only gigantic political power all across the US but the social weight to do shit like this and expect to not be criticized AND you still say you’re persecuted

          Also, you clearly don’t understand why we don’t like this. But just to start you off, it is certainly not merely because it is advertising a religion; Cru and all the other religious groups did plenty of that at the beginning of the year and nobody minded. Well, except when Cru gave people free stuff to trick them into agreeing to let them come to their rooms and preach.

          I know lots of Christians in this school. Most of them agree that Cru is “creepy”. It is not just the SSA that has problems with Cru, it is EVERYONE.

          Third, on the exact flip side of that, a being that doesn’t exist can’t love anyone. Not that the Christian God strikes me as particularly loving, but this probably isn’t the place to debate the implications of hell.

    • Nope says

      Yeah, it’s “I agree with-“, but it’s agreeing with someone who says “you must agree with me, lest you be one of ‘the lost'”.
      What did they think would happen? People would be intrigued, go to the site, not be annoyed by being dragged into another Jesus thing, and think to themselves “hmm, maybe he’s right, maybe it IS odd that I managed to avoid the largest religion in the country for the past 18+ years. Surely, this will turn me around and set me straight!”
      This could not possibly have worked out for them, in any stretch of the imagination.

  8. Matthew Kim says

    “But after I did that she just kept calling me and texting me and emailing me and I tried to be polite by just telling her I was busy but she wouldn’t take the hint”
    I don’t think its fair to accuse Cru for their invasive tactics when all that was given were “hints.” I’m a christian, and when I told them that I wasn’t interested, they left me alone.

  9. Afroman says

    I have not had time to read all the comments on this, so maybe someone already brought this up, but I think people need to also stand up to NUcuisine for allowing the members of CRU to sell their attire and merchandise, and accost students about their beliefs in the dining hall. As a residential hall coordinator I have already emailed them and said that it was making myself and many of my residents feel unwelcome in the dining halls. Their reply to me was that since CRU is a registered on campus organization that they had no choice to let them hand out their message in the dining hall.
    But this is completely misleading and cowardice. Recruiting members for your IM basketball team, or your chess club, or whatever, is NOT the same as walking up to someone that you have deemed “lost” and asking them if they have found Jesus yet.
    Religion is a really sensitive topic for many people, and randomly just bringing it up with strangers that you have never spoken to before, show’s CRU’s lack of respect for the topic and how out of touch they are with reality.
    I believe a perfect analogy is to that of sex. If you are dating someone, then you and that person could discuss your sexual relationship in as much detail as you want, because it is an intimate protected environment, but if you walked up to random people in the dining hall and asked them what their favorite sex position was, you would get yourself arrested, never mind thrown out of school. I believe the same should go for religion. I don’t need to defend myself and my beliefs every time I want to go grab a cup of coffee or an apple and neither should you.

    • says

      You…are actually my hero. :)

      By the way, if you read the post I wrote right after this one, I actually made the analogy between religion and sex, too. Would anyone go around demanding that others use the same sex positions as they do? No.

      • Afroman says

        Haha, of course they would. Why do you think its called the “missionary position”? These people have no end when it comes to trying to control other people’s lives. Its a certain narcissistic trait that is delivered to them during their childhood, and they never seem to be able to shake it off. Sad really. :(

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