The Bully

The bully sat four seats behind me on the bus ride home from school. As usual, he singled me out for ridicule. “Johnson’s too scrawny to get on any sports team.” “He’s so dumb he should be riding on the kindergarten bus.” “Every girl in school thinks he’s a weirdo.”

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Thank you Kim. You are always relevant, insightful, encouraging and eloquent!! Bless you.


This sentence succinctly describes Christianity, in general, and most specifically, Seventh Day Adventism.

Of course, religionists must bully others in order to make the world a better place, as their god-if he could be proved to exist would necessarily be crowned The Biggest Bully in The Cosmos-never does anything personally, sending instead prophets, missionaries, gossipers and supposedly his only son.

But then, as if a life lived in the constant fear and shame of making a mistake weren’t PTSD-inducing enough, this insidious tormentor is going to really punish us error-prone people after we’re dead because those mistakes we’re constantly making aren’t just mistakes. They’re called “sins” which are an affront to this invisible monster god, who is going to set about torturing the sinner even further for our misdeeds, and perhaps eternally, after we’re dead.

Fortunately, there’s no reason to believe in such a cosmic cretin as there’s not a shred of physical evidence to suggest that he is real.

Sadly for those who do believe, however, any sin against this almost certainly nonexistent god is unpardonable as he there is probably be no one there to forgive him, either now, or when he dies.

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Wow, Bruce. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were trying “to make someone else feel upset, scared, or ashamed.”

What a strange straw man role reversal you concoct for this God, who sent this Son to heal the brokenhearted, to stand up to the world’s bullies, to battle injustices, to honor free will and yet put an end to suffering forever. Instead of bullying others to make the world a better place, Jesus serves others selflessly. He attacks prejudices (even when people use them to “defend” God), and sticks up for those who are systemically bullied–women, Samaritans, tax collectors, and lepers. He spends much of His time loving and healing unconditionally. He comforts the challenged and challenges the comfortable. He doesn’t confuse mistakes with sins. He doesn’t condone torture in any form–especially not in the afterlife. (You must not be acquainted with Adventist biblical theology if you believe in eternal torture.) He forgives and pardons without limit as we ask, and even changes murderers, thieves, and cowards into new-and-improved Pauls, Matthews, and Peters. Jesus is constantly saying, “Do not be afraid” and “Peace to you” and “Fear not.”

If you wish to demean God, pick on Jesus, the clearest expression of what God is like. You wouldn’t be the first, of course: Jesus was picked on and stigmatized HIs entire earthly life. Step right up. It’s all there in the biographical books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John–about 180 pages. Examine the evidence. Take your time.

Consider this “insidious tormentor,” Jesus of Nazareth.


Thank you, Kim, for an excellent and poignant piece. Reframing is a wonderful tool.

(For more on reframing, I recommend the book Don’t Think of an Elephant! by George Lakoff.)

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These are stories, none of which Jesus wrote, himself.

When you have something tangible to show that this superhero Jesus survived being crucified, or actually still exists anywhere other than in people’s imaginations, I’ll be happy to examine that and will do so at my leisure.

Oh, and before you take the easy way out and label me “godless”, know that I know my creator is real, not because of what I read in the Bible but in spite of all that noise.


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Thanks, Kim Allan Johnson.

This should be a movie.


Thanks Kim, i could tell similar stories from my childhood, i had many bloody noses

Sorry Bruce, i see that you don’t see Gods character as i do, since God is love, he will not force people to be nice, He let’s us make our own decisions

You don’t know me at all and haven’t asked one question about how I see god so I agree, you are sorry.

Further, if you think the OT god cares about whether or not people are nice you’ve been reading a different Bible than me.

Even your NT, which you claim tells you what god wants from us, says Jesus didn’t come to bring peace into the world, right?

Sounds like a not-nice bully to me.

And please don’t get me started on how judgmental, intimidating, scary and unkind much of EGW writings are…


i was just saying that i felt bad that you or others, see the God of the bible in such a negative way, I see God lovingly just trying to work around our decisions without taking away our freedom to choose.

I’m convinced our creator loves his creation, his creatures and me but this is in spite of what I learned in church school or read in the Bible, and is only possible because I ignore much of what people tell me is “supernatural”, “divine” or “holy”.

Further, I find it sad to the point of being comical that so many people think that the best way to understand our maker is to read a 2,000 year old book rather than going for a walk and experiencing him, her, or it, in its most intimate and immediate form.

If that makes me a pantheist I’m okay with that as I defy you to name one pantheist who advocates the terrorism, rape, slavery, genocide, genital mutilation, etc., as required by the god of the Bible.

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