By Their Fruits

It might seem strange for an atheist to quote the Bible; but from the stopped-clock-right-twice-a-day department…

Trump’s never-ending lies made me think of Matthew 7:15-20.  Near the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns against false prophets.  He says that, just as you can’t expect to get grapes from thornbushes nor figs from thistles, so you can’t expect to get the truth from those who customarily lie.

Will “Bible believers” who “love Jesus” be moved by teaching that’s actually attributed to Jesus in a gospel?  A few might; but for the most part, nope, not a chance.  “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (KJV)


  1. Bruce says

    Trump has single-handedly redefined Christianity out of existence. The word no longer refers to any concept other than political bigotry.

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    There’s also Matthew 25:40

    The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    ‘the least of these’ being the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked and the imprisoned. It’s not just Christians who ignore basic decency, but the Christians who forget this, or don’t know it, have no excuse.

  3. Katydid says

    Which Jesus are you talking about? The one that said to love everyone…or the one who destroyed a fig tree because it didn’t have any fruit *out of season*? The version in the creepy culty “he gets us” ads, or the one who says you have to hate your family?

    Decades ago, my first semester of university, I lived in a dorm room with 3 born-again Christians. They lied, they smoke, they drank, they had sex with their boyfriends in the room, they stole from each other and from me and from the student union’s convenience store, they were always feuding with each other…and yet, the one going to hell was me, the person who didn’t believe in hell. Because I wasn’t “a Kreeschun”. I haven’t spoken to them in decades, but I’m certain they’d be MAGA now.

  4. billseymour says

    Katydid is right, of course; but I wasn’t really talking about the fictional Jesus* portrayed in the gospels.  I was talking about the self-described “Bible believers”, including the “he gets us” folks, who don’t actually read the whole Bible, just the bits that make it seem like their god agrees with them.  It’s those folks to whom I think “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” ought to be applied.

    *I understand that whether the Jesus of the gospels is based on a real person is controversial; and since I’m largely ignorant of ancient history, I can’t reasonably have an opinion about that.

  5. billseymour says

    I should probably add that general statements like mine @5 can’t be applied to individual persons because real people are really complicated.  (That’s probably why I became a computer programmer:  machines are so much easier to understand.)

  6. Peter B says

    >machines are so much easier to understand
    Amen, bro, this long-time software engineer agrees 100%.

  7. Katydid says

    This software engineer also agrees; computers are so much easier to understand!

    As for “Bible Believers”, what I didn’t explain very well was that the Bible–being a collection of myths and fables copied from other myths and fables circling around the area around that time–isn’t at all consistent. Do we believe in an all-loving, all forgiving heavenly father, or the same deity who tells his followers to go into a community and rip open the pregnant women’s bellies, bash the children’s brains out, kill all the men, but keep the young women for themselves as sex slaves? Some people choose to feed the hungry, some choose to kill the infidel, and they equally claim they’re doing it because of the Bible.

    Here’s my take on the Biblical Jesus–he’s likely a composite character with lots of wishful thinking added.

    For example, I use the story of Paul Bunyan (can be found at, the midwest legend. Could there have once been a man named Paul Bunyan? Sure, why not. Was he taller than most? Again, plausible. Did he work as a lumberjack? A lot of men did that in that time and place, so could be true, or maybe not. Did he travel around the country looking for work? Why not? Did he have an ox as a beast of burden? Okay, that’s nothing unusual for that time and place.

    But where the story starts veering from the plausible is when suddenly he’s 10 feet tall, and the ox was also 10 feet tall. And blue. And Paul and the ox together created the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls and the Great Lakes and other geographical points of interest.

    So, the character we know as Paul Bunyan may or may not have existed in a much-more-mundane form than the stories told about him. The same with Jesus of Nazareth.

    One big difference is that the believers of the Paul Bunyan story are not trying to load the Supreme Court and force others to believe. No Bunyan-ites are trying to take away women’s lives because they think Paul Bunyan would want them to. Bunyan-ites are not burning books (or people) for “not respect-ing their authoritay”.

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