Thoughts on Christianity Straining Credulity

As I am prone to do, I’ve gotten into a discussion related to a blog post by the head pastor at the church that Alissa and I now attend.  I think it’s a great post, but somehow the discussion spun off into a conversation about evolution, and that’s where I jumped in.  I won’t recap the whole comment thread for you, as it’s available for your reading. 

What the discusssion brought to mind was a serious mistake that Christians often make in relation to those who don’t share our faith.  The mistake is to assume that Christianity makes any sense whatsoever.  It doesn’t.  No, let me correct myself.  It does not make sense without faith.  In it’s purest form, Christianity is a religion that operates counter to the way the “real” world operates. Moreover, the more is operates in harmony with that “real” world, the less pure it becomes. 

Think about it.  Jesus calls His followers to give all they have to the poor.  He calls us to non-violence, to humility and mercy.  He calls us to do justice and to share his message without violence or coercion.  The world does not work that way. The world calls us to take care of ourselves, to accumulate money.  It tells us that it’s violence justifies other violence and even conquest.  He calls us to all these things as an attempt to follow His example, knowing that His example is impossible to duplicate because he is the only sinless person in history.  He’s sinless because He is God,  but even though He is sinless, He had to die because the leaders of His people feared His challenge to their power to enforce His law, and that by His death he was able to secure entry into Heaven for all that acknowledge their sinfulness, accept His forgivness, and follow His teachings!  Huh?  He could have easily appeared in a cloud and gotten all sorts of obedience out of fear and awe, but He chose a path of humility that put Him in opposition with the wealthy and powerful and in solidarity with the poor and marginalized.

So He was killed.  Christians, based on the testimony of a whole lot fewer people than claim to see Elvis at the supermarket in a given day believe he rose from the dead and left a ghost (what?!) to empower His followers to continue His work.  His followers, over the centuries have endured persecution, torture, poverty, social ostracism and death to act in support of these beliefs. 

And of course, we don’t always get it right.  The Crusades, the Inquisition, Colonialism, Slavery, Imperialism, all in the name of Jesus have filled far too many graves and hardened too many hearts against the Gospel message of God’s love for all of humanity.

If you’re a Christian, look at your faith from the outside.  If you didn’t already believe, wouldn’t the story strain credulity?  So the next time you’re in a conversation with someone who thinks that your faith, our faith, doesn’t make sense, agree with them, because it’s true.  Christianity is not self-evident without faith, and that faith is not built on an assumption.  It’s built on relationship, intimacy, prayer, love.   

I’m no scholar on this material.  I’m just kind of throwing out thoughts.

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About Andrew

I'm a Christian, American, liberal, geeky, thoughtful, Northwest-transplanted Angeleno husband, father, and pundit who writes about anything he can think of.
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26 Responses to Thoughts on Christianity Straining Credulity

  1. “The mistake is to assume that Christianity makes any sense whatsoever. It doesn’t.”

    I, literally, could not stop laughing for a solid ten minutes. I applaud you for being able to proudly admit that your belief is predicated on faith, almost exclusively.

    On a more serious note, however, I would be remissed if I didn’t actually why you do still believe. I’m really not looking to start a debate (I’m in about 10 at the moment and would not be able to handle another one). I’m just genuinely curious.

    • Andrew says:

      It’s a fair question, and I’m afraid I don’t have a short satisfying answer. I guess I’d reiiterate my point that Christianity looks irrational from the outside, but from the inside, I’ve been able to experience God in community with other believers, to explore these questions and to see God at work in my own life. I don’t have a story of a miraculous transformation or revelation, just little things like the way that I feel God working in my life. I realize that’s not proof of anything. I guess it’s just faith.

  2. Lamont says:

    Even “Musician” wouldn’t believe! Even if God appeared to him in a cloud! His problem isn’t one of knowledge of God. Musician knows God exists, but suppress’ that knowledge (Rom 1:18ff). He thinks he is smart (and he probably is!) Yet, alas, he is a fool! Exchanging the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

    Unless God grant’s him repentance…. he will likewise parish!

    • Andrew says:

      I was very reluctant to approve this comment, but I ended up doing so because Lamont is making my exact point. I don’t know either Lamont or Musician, but looking at the latter’s own blog reveals his beliefs, at least some of them, on the question of religion and the supernatural. He characterizes himself as “devout atheist.” (Musician, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.) In that case, I would assume that he doesn’t consider The Bible authoritative, so quoting Romans as evidence of God is not going to convince him.

      That being said, I’m all for robust discussion, but let’s keep the name calling and condemnation out of it.

      I thank you both for your comments.

    • Has this method of “evangelism” ever been effective?

      • Andrew says:

        I guess that would depend on how you define effective. First, I would be very cautious about characterizing it as “evangelism.” I would not want my non-Christian friends to think that I’m just in relationship with them to do some kind of stealth evangelism. That’s not the case. There’s a particular group that I’m thinking of, and the fact is that I am part of their lives because I genuinely like being their friend. But as their friend, I try to be real about who I am and what I believe, and I make myself accessible to get into conversations with them.
        So what is effective? Can I claim to have led someone to Christ (apply all theological spiritual caveats to that statement…I think you know what I mean)? No, I can’t. Can I say that I’ve had conversations about Christianity that have ended well? Yes. Can I say that I’ve modeled a Christian life in a positive way? I hope so. I think so, but you’d have to ask someone other than me.

      • Lamont says:

        The question is, has your method of evangelism “EVER” saved anyone? One would have to go to the ‘Word of God’ for support, wouldn’t one?

  3. For clarification, I would not call myself a ‘devout atheist’. I did refer to myself as a ‘devout atheist’ in one of my replies to a comment posted on my blog, but I was merely being facetious. The sentiment was correct, but I would rather say ‘adamant’ than ‘devout’. I refrain from using ‘devout’ because a) the term is usually implied with a theistic connotation and b) I do not want to give the impression that I am unable to be persuaded when presented with sufficient reason and evidence. I realize that ‘devout’ does not necessarily presuppose my two objections, but I would rather avoid confusion.

    Also, I would prefer it if you didn’t castigate me to an eternal hellfire in your comments and I have multiple reasons:

    1) As a recently ‘deconverted’ atheist, the concept of hell is still ingrained into my psyche. I actually wrote a post about how traumatizing of a concept hell is (http://somemusician.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/how-they-got-me/). So, for civility’s sake, I would prefer it if hell would be left out of the conversation. Unless, of course, we happen upon the subject of hell as a topic of discussion. Apart from the topic of hell, I really don’t mind ad hominem comments. I know that religious debates can become very impassioned.

    2) Because I was a Christian for the first twenty years of my life (again, I have only become an atheist within the past couple of months), according to Scriptural doctrine, I would not be going to hell.

    “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” John 10:28 (KJV)

    Of course, you could cite Mark 3:22-30 or Matthew 12 (which would apply to me, in this case), but this just reveals one of the many inconsistencies in the Bible, which I am more than happy to discuss.

    Now, for the matter at hand, Andrew is correct in positing that you cannot use the Bible as evidence for the Bible. The simplest reason being: how do you know the Bible is true? Saying, “Because the Bible says so,” is not an acceptable answer, either. I could ascribe to Hediod’s portrayal of the cosmogony, but that does not mean what he wrote was factual, even though he himself, as well as the majority of the ancient Greeks, believed it to be true.

    • Lamont says:

      Andrew (A) & Musicman (M).
      Thank you for at least the hearing! I found (M’s) mocking cockyness needed to be quenched (Christ gave grace to the humble, but resisted the proud i.e. pharisees)
      I find it disheartening that you would consider “not” allowing my comments soley based on the fact that I have quoted the bible and what it say’s about the condition of the unbelieving heart. Christ said the truth will set you free, but let’s not talk about the truth?
      If M ever read the Bible, he would come across the very same words from God Himself. That truth, applied to both you, and I, at one time. That’s the reason (M) does not want to talk about the consequences of his sin and rebellion. That is what Paul is telling us in Romans 1, and, why they suppress the truth.
      Your right. I should not have called M a fool! I should have said “according to God’s word, that “makes him a fool,” thereby removing the ad hominen, yet, staying true to the word of God, and not watering down God’s word, allowing it to have its affect (as you can see it does). (M), (like you and I did) must come to terms with his condition, and repent and trust in Christ and His righteousness, and not in his own. He must stop playing God, and humbly submit to the Lordship of Christ now! Jesus is very serious. He warned that one should leave the city, go and make peace w/the King while He is far off, lest when He comes, He cut him to pieces. In fact, Jesus talked more about hell then heaven. Why is that? It is a warning! And if the bible is just a bunch of myth and baloney, why the fear of such foolish talk? (The conscience bearing witness to the truth Rom 1 above).

      My heart does go out to (M) in this way… the failure of the church to really teach and preach the gospel, instead has spent its time “entertaining people.” The church has done people like (M) a disservice! We owe you more! We owe you the truth!

      Lets take a Biblical look at M’s response if you will.

      (M) said: “Because I was a Christian for the first twenty years of my life…”

      and then quotes Jn 10 28:

      “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” John 10:28 (KJV)
      then (M) claims an inconsistency w/Gods word. There is no inconsistency on the bibles part, but a misunderstanding on (M’s) part.

      For John tells us: “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” 1 Jn 2:19.

      Saying that one’s a X-tian does not make it so, and, if you left the faith (apostatized) and deny Christ’s Lordship, it only tells us “true believers” that you were never converted in the first place, and that’s what the apostle John said above. I’m not trying to be harsh with you, but to merely tell you what the Bible states on this matter. Therefore, there is no inconsistency with the word of God.
      As for Mark 3:22-30 that you say applies to you, are you attributing the works of Christ to the Devil? If you are, your really saying Christ is Lord, and confirming the existence of the God of the Bible. Then, you may correct on that one, though some say that that sin doesn’t apply any more.

      This is what I really want to discuss…

      (M) said: “Now, for the matter at hand, Andrew is correct in positing that you cannot use the Bible as evidence for the Bible.”

      Sure I can! My apologetic method is “Presuppositional.”
      I presuppose the Bible is the Word of God (which it is), just like you presuppose there is no God!
      The difference being, is that the Christian (Biblical) worldview (WV) has all of the necessary preconditions for “all” intelligibility i.e. Origen, Uniformity of nature, morality, reason, laws of logic, epistemology, purpose, destiny etc…
      You, the unbeliever, borrow these preconditions from our (WV) to attack our (WV).
      Its my aim (Lord willing), is to show that because of your rejection of the Triune God of the Bible, “you” can’t prove anything!
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presuppositional_apologetics

      “The simplest reason being: how do you know the Bible is true?”

      Because I was dead in sins and trespasses, but made alive in Christ. Col 2:13.
      I have been “Born Again” Jn 3. And Now Gods Spirit (the Holy Spirit) testifies to my
      spirit.
      …God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” 1 Cor 2:10.

      Then Paul goes on to say… “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” Vs 14.

      Remember how you “Mocked” (A) earlier? “I, literally, could not stop laughing for a solid ten minutes.”

      The Bible say’s the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. It also say’s that God will not be mocked.

      (M) said: “Because the Bible says so,” is not an acceptable answer, either.”

      Q. Say’s who? On what Authority? What/who, could you possible appeal to?

      (M) said: “I could ascribe to Hediod’s portrayal of the cosmogony…”

      Go ahead, let’s see how that works for ya? In the meantime, I will pray for you, and ask “you” to consider your station in life right now. For the Lord said: “he who does not believe, is condemned already.

      I thank Andrew for the space he’s provided, and pray God be glorified by his ministry!

      SDG.
      Lamont.

      • Andrew says:

        Lamont,
        I considered disallowing your comment because you called one of my readers a fool.

        Now, you’ve thrown down the gauntlet calling on me to “defend my apologetic method” (on Fibonacci Faith). I call on you to defend yours.
        There are people, very intelligent ones, who are not Christians. Some belong to other faiths. Some are agnostic. Some are atheists. Some may even be receptive to a Christian message but have not heard it in their own “language” (literal or figurative). Their commonality is that they do not consider The Bible to be an authoritative source for whatever Truths may elude them for whatever reason. Now, you declare your presuppositionalist (or whatever it is) method to be completely internally consistent.
        If you think I sound dismissive of your method, I am. You call it presuppositionalist apoligetics. I call it a circular argument, and your argument on works for people within that circle. You seem to think that someone who does not accept that circular argument is actively choosing rebellion. Some may be; that’s undeniable, but Christ calls us to go beyond our safe little circles and reach out to people all of them, to meet them where they are. The father of the Prodigal Son ran out from his home to meet his son. Jesus left Heaven to reach humanity. Oh, and He did not rely solely on presuppositional apolgetics. He taught in parables, using the experience and wisdom of his audience to illustrate His teachings. We are called to do the same in our own lives as Christians. Sometimes that’s active evangelism. Sometimes it’s relationship. Sometimes its conversation or a blog post. Sometimes it’s tough love…although I believe that needs to be predicated on a relationship. In ALL cases, it involves respect and love and not acting in a way that leaves people with a negative view of Christians and the Gospel.

    • Lamont says:

      (M)
      First-off, thank you for responding, and a “hat-tip” to (A) for allowing me the space, and, esp. the Lord. I prayed that if (A) would have not allowed my comments, I would not have pursued this as a sign that this was not His will, and plan, and moved on.
      Concerning (A) and intent…
      (M) “My intention was not to deride or degrade Andrew in anyway.”

      It was the: “I, literally, could not stop laughing for a solid ten minutes.”
      So, if you gave me the benefit of the doubt, perhaps your intent wasn’t clear?

      (M) “I’m quite truthful in my replies…”

      If you’re asking me not to tell the truth, or evade it, Jesus didn’t, neither will I.

      (M)”…even though I was already castigated to hell, but you persisted in your hellish vitriol and continued to cast me into the lake of fire…”

      I quoted Scripture. That would have been a sin had I said any such thing. (A) would have called me on it. Your problem is w/God, not me.

      (M) I find it quite condescending of you to presume that I have never read the Bible…”

      I had to! I don’t know that you have? The point being is that “anyone” who reads the Bible cannot avoid the topic of hell, and I rightly pointed out the Jesus talked more about hell then heaven.

      (M) “…or that I was never saved…”

      You are correct! The word “saved” is “past tense” therefore, you weren’t/aren’t. The good news is that, it doesn’t mean that you “can’t” be saved though! See 1 John 2:19 and its context, which I quoted as a proof-text.

      (M) Yes, it truly takes a petty God to create people just so we can worship Him, lest we suffer the consequences of eternal damnation where ‘the worm dieth not’.

      How do you determine what is “petty?” Where do you derive the standard that determines “what” is petty, from “what” is not petty?

      (M) “I suppose, also, that I should not have bothered to go to foreign countries on mission’s trips, or worked in children’s ministries across America, or been an adamant ‘Bible-thumper’ all those years since I was not truly saved.”

      I’m not trying to haunt you here, but, I do need to remind you of Christ words, and explain to you what is going on…
      Please read http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%207:21-29&version=ESV
      The Bible tells us that there are two types of people, “believers, and unbelievers.”
      The people that did prophesy, cast out demons, and “many mighty works” though done in “Jesus’ name” did not do it by faith.
      What Jesus is ultimately saying here is that these people think they will earn heaven because they are “good” people. Their working in soup kitchens, washing people’s feet, giving very sacrificially, money, time, effort, just like you describe yourself above. In themselves they are noble things. But, no man can merit Heaven. We’ve all broken Gods commandments, every last one of us. I guarantee you, “I” deserve the darkest hell for the things I’ve done. My brother has spent years of life in Max security in Walla Walla Fed Pen. I’m not as bad as he is! Why should I go to hell?
      The Bible say’s that to merit heaven you must be absolutely perfect. Because no one can do it, God “in Christ” did it on man’s behalf.
      Those who trust what Jesus did i.e. suffered in this life like us. Was brutally murdered by those he created. He took on the “penalty” of sin that man deserves, (this is called Christ’s “passive obedience.”) His “active obedience” is the sinless life He led, perfectly living out the Ten Commandments, and, the ceremonial laws.
      By doing this, he paid for the “perfection” that is missing from those who trust in Him.
      The nut shell… I gave Jesus my sin, and the judgment I deserve. He gave me Perfect righteousness. (This is one heck of a deal here!) I can go to heaven, not because I’m good, I’m not. But, because Jesus is good. That’s the gospel.

      (M) “I guess none of it really mattered anyway, since even Gandhi deserves to go to hell and born-again rapists enjoy blissful heaven by God’s standards (and you presume to lecture me on justice).”

      CHRIST DIED FOR “SINNERS!” Are rapist’s sinners?
      Even repentant murderers like myself! Even repentant idolaters! Because, someone who commits murder, has also committed idolatry too! Good people do not need to be saved!
      The only problem is… “There ain’t none!”
      Here’s question for you….
      Name two perfect people in all of human history (I’ll give you the first one; Jesus Christ.)
      Your turn…
      Then explain where you get your moral standards from?
      Explain how you determine what is “just” in a “Godless” universe?
      You reject the existence of God, yet, you keep trying to apply moral values.
      Why is that? Why do you atheists keep pushing your morality on people, as if there is some kind of “transendant” law that “YOU” have determined we should all obey, in this Godless purposeless, lawless universe?
      Lecture? You bet! Since an atheist has no basis to complain about “injustice” in a Godless universe! Why not? What moral authority are you going to appeal to?

      (M) “I always chuckle a tad whenever the 1John 2:19 is proffered, as it seems to be saying that the people who decided to start thinking for themselves instead of swallowing everything that was fed to them were never really saved.”

      Me to! I always chuckle a tad whenever I hear atheists regurgitate the same “atheist talking points” and can’t think for themselves, instead of swallowing everything that was fed to them by other atheists! Nothing original there! “Freethinker” are you? That’s hypocrisy!
      Next time, perhaps, you should try to deal w/the text?

      (M) “Oh, you were a pastor before, but you’re an atheist now? Well you were never really saved, then!”

      I’ve dealt w/this. No response to the text from you, so I’ll move on.

      (M) These impudent remarks are childish at best and simply serve to highlight one of the many un-savory characteristics that so many Christians display”

      Did I mention that Christians are sinners? Christians are to live exemplary lives, yet, at the same time the Bible say’s they “will” sin. That’s what Paul talked about in Romans when he said there was a war raging within himself, and the good he desired to do, he found he couldn’t do, proving that sin dwells w/in his mortal flesh. That’s why Christians need a savior. They recognize they are “not good” like you. Therefore, at least, our (WV) is consistent. Which is more then you can say for yours! Our (WV) can account for our failure to be perfect. It’s in the Bible.
      Also, please do explain how an atheist determines what is “savory vs. un-savory?
      Is it with the senses? Can you tell by the taste? Or, is it something that is seen w/the eye? Perhaps there is scientific testing in a lab somewhere so we can look at evidence?
      But then, I’d have to ask you what scientific evidence you used that proves that scientific evidence is how you determine what scientific evidence is? Ad infinitum-ad nauseum!

      In reference to Mark 3.

      (M) “I am surprised you drew the wrong conclusion from this citation for two reasons:
      1. This passage is very widely known to be the one ‘unforgivable sin’ and, so, I assumed my reference would be readily recognized.”

      Saying I’ve come to the wrong conclusion, and “PROVING” that I’ve come to the wrong conclusion are two different things. I guess you forgot to prove it?

      (M) “2. For someone who so readily chastised me for not reading the Bible, I find it quite ironic that you did not bother reading the whole passage…”

      Hmm… I thought I said something like… “…attributing the works of Christ to the devil” which “is” the unpardonable sin. If you’d a read Mark 3 “you” would have kknown that!
      And, I said if you did that, then you really do believe Christ is Lord, then perhaps you may be correct on that one, (though you never said you attribute Christ’s works to the devil, which I’m thankful you have not done that) though some say that that sin doesn’t apply anymore. So much for your assumptions!

      (M) (I’m a big fan of irony, btw).

      Me too! Isn’t irony “IRONIC!”

      (M) My 12 year old sister can proffer a better argument than ‘Presuppositionalists’.”

      There’s a great Hindu proverb: “Whatever a vessel is flowing with, will spill out when bumped.”
      Sounds like yer (WV) is collapsing? That’s usually when we X-tians hear the: “yer just a big poo-poo head argument.

      (M) “This credulous and disingenuous argument of, “Well, I believe ’cause God and the Bible tells me!”, is not only elementary and pathetic, but has the possibility to be quite dangerous.”

      You still haven’t provided me with your answer to: “On what authority I cannot use the Bible as my presupposition.” Therefore, there’s no need to answer this until you can provide the answer. (ask your sister?).

      (M) “Since, you have no qualms about lecturing me about ‘spiritual matters”,

      I thought you were an atheist? Spiritual matters? “The natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is “NOT ABLE TO UNDERSTAND THEM” because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor 2:14.
      And, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; INDEED; IT CANNOT.’
      (Conscience = w/knowledge See Rom 1 18:ff). logical fallacy def: “See Atheism”

      (M) ‘ The problem with your argument is a problem of ‘circular reasoning’, a logical fallacy that is taught to be avoided in rudimentary high school classes the world over. I ask you to provide evidence for the existence of God, you appeal to the Bible.”

      Reason? How do your brothers and sister naturalists in the elementary school around the world account for reason? You should know? In a chance universe, reason could change tomorrow. Not so in (A)’s and my (WV)!

      (M) I ask you to validate the infallibility of the Bible, you say because God says so.

      Yes! When praying to God the Father for the disciples Jesus said: “…your word is truth (Jn 17:17). The Bible claims to be the word of God. Jesus is God. God cannot lie. Therefore the bible is the word of God, w/o fail!

      (M) Are you just used to making such trite and contrived arguments, or have you truly never met anyone who has pointed out this mistake to you?”

      I’ve failed to meet anyone who could tell me how they determine what “trite and contrived arguments” are? And, how they know what “trite and contrived” arguments? Again, how do you know it’s a mistake? How do you tell right from wrong?
      What “is” the absolute standard that you are implying that I should adhere to? Why won’t you just tell me? Once you tell me what the standard is, I’ll be happy to answer you!

      (M) … is unintelligible on multiple levels.

      Atheism is unintelligible. Think I’ve just proved that!

      (M) “I began believing there was a God, remember? Or did you gloss over that part, as well?

      I did not gloss over anything you’ve said! I’ve tried to do my best. I owe it to you, and, esp the Lord (not that I don’t fail. Remember, I told you I am (not was) a sinner)!
      I can tell you are struggling! But, that is O.K.! We’ve all struggled! God breaks us! We must come to the end of ourselves before we will relinquish the throne of our hearts, to which “ONLY” Christ belongs!
      The next verse has great significance to me. I think it rather “providential” that you used it! I actually smiled (cause I really think you’re a good kid, and deep in side you know the Lord reigns!)
      There is some hokey “freaked-out” things that pass as Christianity out there, and I’ve been a part of some of it. But the Lord said there would be! There is a mul;titude of lies out there, but, only one TRUTH! His name is Jesus! God is faithful (though I am not) and I trust Him with my soul!

      (M) I did not presuppose anything. I came to my current world view after reading 1Peter 3:15. Since I do not trust that you will look up the correct passage:”

      I’m bummed you didn’t trust me! (Serious!) This verse is all about presupposing the Word of God! Interesting at how we both look at it different. Lets look at the verse!

      “”But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
      1 Pete 3:15.

      Remember when Thomas touched the Lords nail wounds etc…? What did He tell Thomas (that’s my brothers name BTW)? You believed because “you have evidence!”
      More blessed are those who believe, who do not see (read: have evidence)!
      Back to the verse. Then, Peter said to “Sanctify (“set apart” means the same thing as holy) Christ in you heart (“heart” is synonymous w/the mind). That’s what (I believe) I have done, by not using my own fleshly human arguments, but I’ve set apart Christ in my mind, taking “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Tearing down strongholds and every lofty thing that sets itself up (this is key) “AGAINST” the knowledge of God!

      (M) “I sought out answers to justify my beliefs. It was only after I realized that there was absolutely no evidence for the existence of your God that I came to my current world view of atheism.”

      I pray that the Lord used me to show you the futility of atheism! The very fact that you’re arguing w/me is not w/o purpose. Remember those songs you sang in church? “The battle belongs to the Lord?” That’s why I’m a presuppositionalist. Its Spiritual war! I need Spiritual weapons! The Word of God! God sent the boy out to destroy the giant, not the army. Remember how Goliath mocked David? Who had the last word? God!
      He (The Lord) told Paul that His power is made perfect in weakness? The world laughs and mocks! So what! That’s exactly what The Lord said they would do! He always tells the Truth!

      (M) Secondly, the current definition of atheism is that there is no evidence for the existence of God.”

      I know, it all depends who ya ask. A=not theos=God hence no God.
      I just think they need to keep it simple. Why even use the label if your not gonna have the ole “twig’n berry’s” to defend it what you believe?

      (M) “Now, I’m sorry to say, it appears as if you do not even read your own religion’s apologetics as most theologians would say that many of the ‘preconditions’ you listed are axiomatic properties of the universe.”

      There are different schools of apologetics. Therefore, there are varying degrees of disagreement with one another. Which one(s) are “You talking about?
      Also, I am of the Reformed camp of theology, so, I probably wouldn’t agree w/non Reformed theologians anyway, nor they w/Reformed.
      Axiomatic, meaning “self evident” “For his INVISBLE ATTRIBUTES, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, IN THE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE.” Rom 1:20.
      God didn’t put them there, they are a part of His “divine nature.”

      (M) “For example, the TAG argument that theologians use assumes that the laws of logic and reason are axiomatic properties of the universe”

      They are! You use the laws of logic and you reason every day. In this debate. Therefore, this is an accurate statement proving that the laws of logic are “axiomatic” i.e. “self evident.” Thank you! “Why” are they self evident? See Rom 1.

      (M) “Atheists do not borrow your world view. Do not flatter yourself.”

      Reason, and the laws of logic come from “where” in a Godless, changing, chance universe? I’ll be flattered when I get an unbeliever to answer such a basic question.

      (M) “The difference between us, however, is that atheists are humble enough to admit that we do not know why this is the case.”

      No! If you were humble, you’d repent! (great answer though!)
      I hear a sucking noise, and the distinct sound of gurgling bong water! Bahahahahaha! 

      (M) “I would like to make myself perfectly clear, since you have the penchant for misinterpreting what I say. I do not think all Christians are dangerous. I do not even believe most Christians are dangerous. I am saying that your line of reasoning can lead to dangerous circumstances.”

      I would like to make myself perfectly clear, since you have the penchant for misinterpreting what I say. I do not think all atheists are dangerous. I do not even believe most atheists are dangerous. I am saying that your line of reasoning cannot be accounted for in a Godless changing, chance universe, and why you would spend time arguing about something that doesn’t even exist (even though its not self evident) is beyond me?

      (M) “You base your entire belief on the whim of a capricious, malevolent god (I reference Dawkins’ “God is a…” sentence).”

      I was quoting one of your poets. Like Paul did on Mars hill (see Acts 17).

      (M) “Your belief is predicated on the false assumption that God will not revert back to his old O.T. ways.”

      The Book ends at Revelation. We Win! You should join the winning side whilst you have the opportunity.
      (M) ‘Presuppositionalists’ can never presume to lecture an atheist on the issue of morality as I would contend that atheists are much more moral and ethical than those who adhere to these archaic and barbaric traditions.”
      Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Rwanda. “Guinness book of world records!” O.K! So, atheism beats Christianity at some things! Oh, one more thing! A person should judge a philosophy by its “CONTENT, not its ABUSES! Where does the Bible tell Christians to commit atrocities? Murder, rape, “lawlessness” is the logical outworking of atheism.
      (M) “If you would still like to continue this debate, I will encourage you to start using empirical evidence to support your claims…”
      Thank you (M)! I could always use some encouragement. I will encourage you to repent. Plus I will continue to pray for you, and that God would be Glorified!
      (M) “…as opposed to frothing at the mouth and saying, “You’re going to hell!”
      Hey! There’s that “penchant” for misinterpreting me again! I guess this is the moral, ethical, thingy you atheists do that you were splain’n to me earlier?
      S.D.G!

      • “I quoted Scripture. That would have been a sin had I said any such thing. (A) would have called me on it. Your problem is w/God, not me.”

        The problem is not ultimately between me and god on this point, it is between me and you. Irrespective of whether or not the existence of hell is viable, I asked you politely to refrain from insisting that I need to repent, lest I go to hell. I said the reason was personal and you should have exercised your ‘Christian morality’ and acquiesced to this request. It is recommended that rape victims also ‘confront their rapist’ in order to overcome their traumatic experience. However, they are not pushed into it. If they do not want to do it, then the matter is not further pushed. This is a similar situation. If you ‘quote Scripture’ again in an attempt to tell me that I am going to hell then I will not continue this discussion.

        “You are correct! The word “saved” is “past tense” therefore, you weren’t/aren’t. The good news is that, it doesn’t mean that you “can’t” be saved though!”

        This statement makes no sense and I’m sure you are aware of this fact, given that you contradict yourself even within this statement. “Saved” is a term that is applied in the present tense. Would you say, “I am save!”? Of course not. Seriously, I don’t even know if I still want to continue this conversation based on the fact that even your understanding of the English language is sub-par.

        “How do you determine what is “petty?” Where do you derive the standard that determines “what” is petty, from “what” is not petty?”

        What on earth are you talking about? “Petty” is a word that is used to connote a characteristic, it is completely arbitrary. The word could have been “ajjie”, but the point is that there is a characteristic that “petty” describes. Look at it this way, we are on the planet “earth”. The word “earth” could have been something else, but that does not take away that we are on ‘something’. “Earth” is used to describe what we are ‘on’. If you do not know what petty means, then I suggest a dictionary.

        I brought up my ‘works’ not to say that I was trying to earn my way into heaven. I truly thought I was saved and me doing those deeds was solely because I thought I was already saved. I say it is “arrogant of you” because you presume to know my state of mind. Also, you do need to continue on ‘educating’ me on your theology. I am aware of what you believe. So, your rantings about theology is a moot point. I would argue on your theological standpoints, but seeing as you are having trouble grasping my basic premises, I think that me arguing theology with you on a hypothetical premise would be a bit too much for you to handle.

        “Explain how you determine what is “just” in a “Godless” universe?”

        The ‘problem of morality’ was not the original intent of the post. The post was to say that your reasoning is circular (trust me, I will address this again, seeing as you completely missed the point). For the issue at hand, you must simply accept that morals exist. Going off on tangents like this is another common tactic that theists, like yourself, frequently employ in order to simply wear the other person out. For future reference, if I make an allusion to anything moral, just take at face value that you and I have almost the same understanding of morality.

        “Me to! I always chuckle a tad whenever I hear atheists regurgitate the same “atheist talking points” and can’t think for themselves, instead of swallowing everything that was fed to them by other atheists! Nothing original there! “Freethinker” are you? That’s hypocrisy!
        Next time, perhaps, you should try to deal w/the text?”

        I believe I did directly address the text. Perhaps you have a misplaced anger from dealing with other atheists?

        “Also, please do explain how an atheist determines what is “savory vs. un-savory? Is it with the senses? Can you tell by the taste? Or, is it something that is seen w/the eye? Perhaps there is scientific testing in a lab somewhere so we can look at evidence? But then, I’d have to ask you what scientific evidence you used that proves that scientific evidence is how you determine what scientific evidence is? Ad infinitum-ad nauseum!”

        It is after reading this statement that I have determined that you have absolutely no understanding of the world and how it works. “Savory” and “unsavory”, as I explained with “petty”, are just words. Also, your comment on ‘scientific evidence’ insults the intelligence of Christians, I’m sorry to say, and I feel bad that Andrew has to be associated with people who do not grasp basic understanding of science (or the world). While I do not want to get into a metaphysical debate (really off topic), I feel that this complete ignorance must be addressed as it is appalling to even witness. Our understanding of the universe, our theories, our laws are contingent on a premise that these theories/laws can be consistently verified. Your frame of mind is intrinsically (and, apparently, inexorably) framed in the ‘anthropic principle’. Theists think that we exist because our universe was made so that we may be able to live. This is utter and complete nonsense. The universe would exist irrespective of whether or not humans were here to witness it (please do not spout off on a cosmogony tangent, because I already feel it coming…). A rock on the earth would still exist if you or I were not to here to witness it. Now, our scientific principles are based on a universe that is what it is. If it were different, then our scientific models would be different. You must think outside of your little world from time to time and simply consider why so many scientists agree on so many things.

        “Saying I’ve come to the wrong conclusion, and “PROVING” that I’ve come to the wrong conclusion are two different things. I guess you forgot to prove it?[…] Hmm… I thought I said something like… “…attributing the works of Christ to the devil” which “is” the unpardonable sin. If you’d a read Mark 3 “you” would have kknown that! And, I said if you did that, then you really do believe Christ is Lord, then perhaps you may be correct on that one, (though you never said you attribute Christ’s works to the devil, which I’m thankful you have not done that) though some say that that sin doesn’t apply anymore. So much for your assumptions!”

        Given your grammar and syntax, I am beginning to question how intelligent you are. You say that “i forgot to prove it.” If you would have just read a few lines more, you would have seen my evidence. Now (this applies to the whole post as most of your reply is utter nonsense that would not have been written had you bothered to read my entire comment before replying to every sentence), you really must read everything before you write. Also, your theology is remarkably unfounded. The ‘unforgivable sin’ is traditionally understood to be blasphemy or, if you prefer, a rejection of God. Please learn about your religion.

        “Sounds like yer (WV) is collapsing? That’s usually when we X-tians hear the: “yer just a big poo-poo head argument.”

        Seriously, don’t make asinine comments like this if I explain myself later. All it does is make you like you don’t know what you’re talking about (which, I must admit, is a legitimate possibility at this point).

        “You still haven’t provided me with your answer to: “On what authority I cannot use the Bible as my presupposition.” Therefore, there’s no need to answer this until you can provide the answer. (ask your sister?).

        Ah, your wit is as penetrating as is your intelligence. Since this is the entire point of the discussion, I will save it for last.

        “I thought you were an atheist? Spiritual matters?

        Yes, spiritual matters. I openly say there are no spiritual matters. That is why I put the quotation marks around “spiritual matters” in the first place. My reference was to you incessantly quoting scripture. Try to keep up with the grammar.

        “Reason? How do your brothers and sister naturalists in the elementary school around the world account for reason? You should know? In a chance universe, reason could change tomorrow. Not so in (A)’s and my (WV)

        Again, if you had actually read the entire comment instead of just replying to every sentence there would be no need for you to write this.

        Yes! When praying to God the Father for the disciples Jesus said: “…your word is truth (Jn 17:17). The Bible claims to be the word of God. Jesus is God. God cannot lie. Therefore the bible is the word of God, w/o fail!”

        Again, since this what we are actually supposed to be talking about, I will save it for last.

        “Remember when Thomas touched the Lords nail wounds etc…? What did He tell Thomas (that’s my brothers name BTW)? You believed because “you have evidence!”
        More blessed are those who believe, who do not see (read: have evidence)! Back to the verse. Then, Peter said to “Sanctify (“set apart” means the same thing as holy) Christ in you heart (“heart” is synonymous w/the mind). That’s what (I believe) I have done, by not using my own fleshly human arguments, but I’ve set apart Christ in my mind, taking “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Tearing down strongholds and every lofty thing that sets itself up (this is key) “AGAINST” the knowledge of God!”

        And this, in a nutshell, sums up your entire argument. You freely admit that you compartmentalize reason and religion. So why are we even having this discussion if no amount of evidence will convince you that you might me in error?

        They are! You use the laws of logic and you reason every day. In this debate. Therefore, this is an accurate statement proving that the laws of logic are “axiomatic” i.e. “self evident.” Thank you! “Why” are they self evident? See Rom 1. […] Reason, and the laws of logic come from “where” in a Godless, changing, chance universe? I’ll be flattered when I get an unbeliever to answer such a basic question.”

        Seriously, what are you talking about?! Is the principle of axioms out of the grasp of your knowledge? If they are axiomatic why do you insist on asking for there origin?

        “I am saying that your line of reasoning cannot be accounted for in a Godless changing, chance universe, and why you would spend time arguing about something that doesn’t even exist (even though its not self evident) is beyond me?

        This universe doesn’t change. We may not understand it all the time, but the properties of the universe are consistent. That is the world view of an atheist. The ‘changing universe’ is a construction that theists have attributed to atheists, even thought that is the opposite of what we believe to be true. You ask why I argue on religion. Quite frankly, you are the reason I argue religion – you and people with a similar mentality. I cannot tolerate the constant stultification of education that you wish to impose on society.

        “Where does the Bible tell Christians to commit atrocities? Murder, rape, “lawlessness” is the logical outworking of atheism.”

        Wow. Have you never read the Old Testament?

        Now, to the issue at hand. I will re-quote everything you said on the matter:

        “”You still haven’t provided me with your answer to: “On what authority I cannot use the Bible as my presupposition.” Therefore, there’s no need to answer this until you can provide the answer. (ask your sister?). […] Yes! When praying to God the Father for the disciples Jesus said: “…your word is truth (Jn 17:17). The Bible claims to be the word of God. Jesus is God. God cannot lie. Therefore the bible is the word of God, w/o fail!”

        Even though, I explained why you cannot use the Bible as an authority in my previous comment, I am forced to repeat myself. Since this is the intent of the original post, I will only be addressing issues that pertain to this topic from now on. You say you believe the Bible because God says its true and then you add that God does not lie. How do you know he doesn’t lie? You assume God does not lie because that is what you read in the Bible. I really don’t see how I can make it clearer for you, but let me try. Your argument is essentially:

        Why do you believe in God? “Because the Bible says so”

        Well, how do you know the Bible is true? “Because God says so and God doesn’t lie!”

        If God did exist, how do you know God doesn’t lie? Because the Bible says he doesn’t!”

        If you truly can’t see the flaw in your argument then I can’t help you. You choose to be willfully ignorant in light of flaws in your argument. You persist in your world view in spite of an inordinate amount evidence that shows that the Bible is full of errors. You choose to be blind because it is comfortable, because it’s what’s easy. You yourself admit that you do not use reason for your belief. How can one debate with someone who has this mentality? I really am thankful that the majority of Christians are not like yourself, as it would put our knowledge back in the Bronze Age. If you persist on ignoring what is being said, then there is no reason to continue in this discussion at all; if you persist on ignoring evidence then you bring shame to the intelligence of your fellow Christians.

      • Lamont says:

        (M) “The problem is not ultimately between me and god on this point, it is between me and you… the reason was personal and you should have exercised your ‘Christian morality’ and acquiesced to this request.

        The problem is ultimately between you and God, and that’s why we are having this conversation in the first place.
        There are several reasons why I won’t unload the rounds from my clip.
        One reason being that I am dealing w/an apostate who has made it his business to attack the Christian (X-tian) faith, and, attempt to lead other souls, lost, or X-tian away from the faith as well.
        The Lord has serious warnings for people (esp. apostates) who engage in this.
        Perhaps you should seriously consider another line of work?

        Concerning the word ‘saved.’
        You are correct, and, you are not correct. When speaking of salvation, the Greek uses all three; past, present, and future tenses. You must also consider what the Bible say’s about the topic of salvation as a whole. http://www.pbministries.org/Theology/Simmons/chapter28.htm
        And, I recommend you also check out Ch 14 of the Westminster confession of faith http://www.reformationfiles.com/files/displaytext.php?file=wcf.html#XIV on “Saving faith or, 1689 London Baptist confession on the same.
        So, you were never saved. Perhaps you’d like to go into this further at a later date?

        (M)-” What on earth are you talking about? “Petty” is a word…”

        Please read carefully. I asked you: “How do you determine what is “petty?”
        I did not ask you “What” the word petty meant. I did not ask how to use it. The question is epistemological. I am asking “How” in your Godless (WV), do you determine what is petty, from what is not petty, Savory from what is unsavory? God gave man his understanding (Col, Gen).
        What is the source of the objective standard from which you make moral judgments against ‘anything/anyone’ esp. God? Please explain?
        The X-tian (WV) not only explains the source of all morality, but also where knowledge, and language come from, and, why we have different languages too.

        (M) “The ‘problem of morality’ was not the original intent of the post. The post was to say that your reasoning is circular…”

        You ‘presuppose’ moral (also epistemological, reason, logic & etc…) standards for which you ‘cannot account’ for, therefore, ‘your reasoning’ is circular.
        My Biblical X-tian (WV) i.e. presupposition ‘can/does’ provide the necessary preconditions for all intelligibility, i.e. morality. Therefore, I’m correct when I say that you have to borrow from the X-tian in order to refute the X-tian.

        (M) “For the issue at hand, you must simply accept that morals exist.”

        I never said they didn’t exist! God has put them in every human (Rom). They are part of the image of God, that’s why they are universal (Gen 1). They are written on the human heart so plainly, that God says that man is w/o excuse.

        (M) “Going off on tangents like this is another common tactic that theists, like yourself, frequently employ in order to simply wear the other person out.”

        The name for the tactic is called ‘The Impossibility Of The Contrary’ or, ‘exposing the utter folly of atheism!’

        (M) “For future reference, if I make an allusion to anything moral, just take at face value that you and I have almost the same understanding of morality.”

        For future reference, if you make an allusion to anything moral, just take at face value that you will be asked to account for the origin of your standard (which we know you cannot account for, that’s why you borrow it from X-tianity). I have maintained this from the beginning!

        (M) “Also, your comment on ‘scientific evidence’ insults the intelligence of Christians, I’m sorry to say, and I feel bad that Andrew has to be associated with people who do not grasp basic understanding of science (or the world).”

        Not at all! The reason that science works at all is because of the God of the Bible.

        (M) “While I do not want to get into a metaphysical debate (really off topic) …”

        You can’t avoid it! Unless (of course) your going to be consistent w/your (WV)? Then you wouldn’t be able to communicate at all!

        (M) “I feel that this complete ignorance must be addressed as it is appalling to even witness.”

        I feel that this complete ignorance must be addressed as it is appalling to even witness.

        (M) “Our understanding of the universe, our theories, our laws are contingent on a premise that these theories/laws can be consistently verified.”

        Theories? Laws? This will be an excellent discussion! Will you be using reason? Logic? What did you say about metaphysic, and “off topic” above?

        Concerning the unpardonable sin…

        (M) “Given your grammar and syntax, I am beginning to question how intelligent you are.”

        God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise!
        He also said “thinking themselves wise, they became fools…” Rom 1.

        (M) “You say that “i forgot to prove it.” If you would have just read a few lines more, you would have seen my evidence. Now (this applies to the whole post as most of your reply is utter nonsense that would not have been written had you bothered to read my entire comment before replying to every sentence), you really must read everything before you write.”

        Evidence? What evidence? Your answer (and the support for it) reveals that you don’t understand what you’re saying. You claim to know the Bible, and, my theology, but, it’s obvious you do not! To say its “unfounded” well, those are just words! You’d have to actually ‘engage’ in some scripture to show that. I’m confident that you’re not going to go there!

        (M) “The ‘unforgivable sin’ is traditionally understood to be blasphemy”

        There are ‘oodles’ of different types of sins and blasphemies with varying degrees of offenses and punishments.
        Jesus said that: “Therefore I tell you, “every sin and blasphemy” will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” Matt 12:3
        That’s why I responded the way I did.
        To review what I said…

        “attributing the works of Christ to the devil” which “is” the unpardonable sin. If you’d a read Mark 3 “you” would have kknown that! And, I said if you did that, then you really do believe Christ is Lord, then perhaps you may be correct on that one, (though you never said you attribute Christ’s works to the devil, which I’m thankful you have not done that) though some say that that sin doesn’t apply anymore…”
        What is Blasphemy…
        See… http://www.olivetreelibrary.com/cyclopedia/index.php?title=Blasphemy

        (M) “And this, in a nutshell, sums up your entire argument. You freely admit that you compartmentalize reason and religion. So why are we even having this discussion if no amount of evidence will convince you that you might me in error?”

        I was in error, but now I’m not! God saved me by His You said you’ve read the Bible right? Did you miss this…

        “NO ONE CAN COME TO ME unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” Jn 6:44
        “And he said, “This is why I told you that NO ONE CAN COME TO ME UNLESS IT IS GRANTED by the Father.” John 6:65
        “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” Rom 8:7
        Unless God removes the heart of stone, puts in a heart of flesh (Ezek), and grants repentance (Born from above Jn 3ff), the person will remain in a state of unbelief and rebellion. No amount of evidence will “EVER” convince a spiritually dead sinner to believe. Grace is what saves a person. Grace is not obligatory, or it wouldn’t be grace. To define it, Grace is getting something you don’t deserve. Mercy is not getting something you do deserve. That’s why God in Rom 9:15-16 states:
        “For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”
        “…No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Matt 11:27, Luke 10:21
        In summary, Scripture tell us that due to mans fallen nature he will never come to Christ, unless God enables him (Jn 6:65). No amount of ‘scientific evidence’ or, ‘anything natural’ will convince man to come to God. Only the ‘foolishness'(to unbelievers that is)of preaching the gospel empowered by the Holy Spirit to remove the scales of unbelief (Paul on the Damascus road)will convince anyone.

        Jesus said: “…I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. Luke 10:21
        (M) “Seriously, what are you talking about?! Is the principle of axioms out of the grasp of your knowledge? If they are axiomatic why do you insist on asking for there origin?
        Of course not! My (WV) accounts for these universal, immaterial, absolute laws. That’s why you know them! They are the evidence you steal from God to deny Him! Atheists automatically expect everyone to reason the same way. What absolute standard are you going to invoke that everyone should keep? Where do they come from (these laws?) Why do you have a tantrum if someone doesn’t reason like you? Perhaps the laws of logic have changed? Anything can happen in a chance universe! Once there was nothing and now there is, and it all just…‘happened?’

        (M) “This universe doesn’t change. We may not understand it all the time, but the properties of the universe are consistent. That is the world view of an atheist. The ‘changing universe’ is a construction that theists have attributed to atheists, even thought that is the opposite of what we believe to be true.

        News to me! Is there a 2nd law of thermodynamics in your universe? Does your universe expand?
        So, if there are atheists that think the universe is in a state of decay i.e. running down? It X-tians fault?

        (M) “You ask why I argue on religion. Quite frankly, you are the reason I argue religion – you and people with a similar mentality.”

        “Similar mentality,” meaning… One that is not yours?
        Because you have taken council w/yourself, and have determined what is best in your unchanging universe? The world has seen your mentality in action! The most brutal, bloody century in the history of mankind was due to people who thought as you do!

        (M)” I cannot tolerate the constant stultification of education that you wish to impose on society.”

        Yes! Those fine secular schools you guy’s are producing! Excellent!
        The high moral standards, the quality of education in America and Europe as a whole since the NEA (Naturalism in Education association) is now in the wheel house steering the ship! I’m impressed by how well education is evolving since your patron saint, ‘Madeline Murray O’Hare’ saved education from those religious zealots! Bully for you!
        And, I might add, their willingness hear viewpoints other then their own! Like… the Nazi’s!

        (M) “Even though, I explained why you cannot use the Bible as an authority in my previous comment, I am forced to repeat myself. Since this is the intent of the original post, I will only be addressing issues that pertain to this topic from now on. You say you believe the Bible because God says its true…”

        Correct!
        “For there are three that testify: 8the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. 9If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. 10Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son.” 1 John 5:7-10.
        And 1 Cor 2:11-12a. “11For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God…
        Yes it’s true. His Spirit testifies to my spirit of the truth of His word! That is why I now believe.
        (M) How do you know he doesn’t lie?
        God is Holy by nature. He is incapable of it… lying. It say’s in His word. I thought you said you read the Bible? You should know this!
        (M) You assume God does not lie because that is what you read in the Bible.
        I know God does not lie. What He say’s in His word, comports to reality.
        Here’s one for you. Does a man have more value then an animal or an insect? Why, or, why not?
        (M) “If you truly can’t see the flaw in your argument then I can’t help you. You choose to be willfully ignorant in light of flaws in your argument. You persist in your world view in spite of an inordinate amount evidence that shows that the Bible is full of errors.”
        WORDS! SIMPLY WORDS! No spine in them! You presuppose God doesn’t exist, then you filter all the all the evidence for His existence through your presupposition. That is why I am not an evidentialist! As I’ve showed you above, unless God changes your heart, you will ‘NEVER’ believe (hence, why I am a Calvinist, and reject freedom of the will. The Bible doesn’t teach it!) Errors? All you have done so far is talk ‘Nomen Inane!’ ‘Where’s the beef?’
        (M) “You choose to be blind because it is comfortable, because it’s what’s easy.”
        You choose to be blind because it is comfortable, because it’s what’s easy!
        (M) “You yourself admit that you do not use reason for your belief.”
        You’ll provide my quote for that last assertion correct?
        Christianity is the ‘only reasonable belief!’ You’ll provide the source for all the reason, logic, epistemology, meaning destiny morality (all that metaphysical stuff)… right?
        (M) I really am thankful that the majority of Christians are not like yourself, as it would put our knowledge back in the Bronze Age. If you persist on ignoring what is being said, then there is no reason to continue in this discussion at all; if you persist on ignoring evidence then you bring shame to the intelligence of your fellow Christians.
        I really am sorry that the majority of atheists are like yourself. They cannot account for knowledge, logic, reason, morality etc… either, and persist on ignoring what is being said by God, and suppress the truth about God. But God will not be mocked!
        For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

        Soli Dei Gloria!
        For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:21
        Amen!

  4. Andrew says:

    Musician, I do appreciate the grace in your response. As I said, I was conflicted about whether or not to approve LaMont’s comment because I feel like it’s precisely in opposition to the message that I want you, and others non-Christians who may be reading this post to receive. I ultimately chose to allow it in the interest of open debate.

  5. Ironica says:

    Fascinating post, Andrew.

    I come from the other side of it, of course. But I realized a long time ago, that I do NOT want to convert anyone to atheism. I want to be as open and honest about my beliefs as I feel safe being, so that others who doubt, question, wonder, or perhaps already believe as I do but have not been able to admit it to anyone yet know that they are not alone, and that I’m willing to talk.

    But there are a lot of people out there who strongly believe that God is their reason for following Commandments, for being good to people, for all sorts of important things. And I would never, ever try to take that away from them. The world I live in, where we are social animals that depend on each other, and we do good things just to increase the amount of good in *this* world (and get ever closer to Heaven on Earth), makes no sense to them. And no amount of explaining will change that.

    So I don’t try. If god works for you, great, glad something works. If it’s obviously broken, I’ll try to deal with the problem (legislating morality, gender inequality, civil rights, etc.) but changing the core belief isn’t going to happen or help. There are plenty of people with some screwed up morality on the atheist side, too… it’s not an answer. It works for me, but YMMV.

  6. Andrew says:

    Thanks for joining in Ironica. I think it would be unwise for anyone, Christian, Atheist, or otherwise, to claim a monopoly on morality. I find my moral code in my faith, but others find it elsewhere. People may disagree on matters of faith, but that does not and should not keep them from being friends and working together in areas where their values allow them to. For me as a Christian, it also gives me an opportunity to be open and honest in representing my faith, hopefully in a way that lets non-believers take away something positive from a given interaction and even invites relationships that can lead to deeper conversations. It doesn’t mean I go into every interaction with an evangelical agenda, but it does mean that I try to be conscious of my behavior because I am open about my faith, and people will judge me as a representative thereof.

  7. @Ironica

    I feel like I am about to flirt with the line of ‘policing atheism’, but I must urge you to be more careful with how you speak, especially when talking about atheism. For example, simply using the word ‘convert’ would make me a bit squeamish. One must not give the impression of proselytizing. Also using the word ‘belief’ when describing what your world view is also very dangerous. ‘Belief’ is too often associate with ‘faith’, this is especially dangerous when your world view is predicated on reason/logic/evidence.

    More importantly, I don’t think that atheists should ever bring up religion with the intention of debating the other’s beliefs. This is not to say that one cannot discuss the subject, but the atheists’ (of course, I cannot speak for all) problem is not with belief/faith itself, however silly we may think it is. The problem arises when that faith/belief interferes in the daily activities of a secular society. Bringing up atheism as a topic of conversation is treading dangerously close to witnessing.

  8. Andrew says:

    Now, this is an interesting statement. Musician, as someone who seems to be quite outspoken (take that in a positive) way about your…thoughts? feelings? opinions?…on matters of faith, how do you feel about the recent trend toward what some call Evangelical Atheism. I’ve heard the term used (and I admit that I’ve used it myself) to describe efforts of groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation to actively put out an atheist message into the public square. I would contrast this with the live and let live (and just respect that I don’t share your faith) attitude of many atheists that I’ve known. Ironica, feel free to jump in as well.

  9. I think there is a very thin line between proselytizing and advocating what is right. There are certain actions that I support and some that I do not. For instance, the recurrent ad placement that arises during the Christmas season is one action that I do not support. It is one thing to argue against the display of religious artifacts (the nativity scene, for instance) in public areas and it is another to proactively ‘promote’ atheism. There is nothing to promote. One thing that I will advocate, however, is the opposition seen for displaying anything religious in public areas (i.e. prayer in public schools, religious influence on legislation, etc.)

    For clarification, I do not mind ‘putting the word out’ about atheist groups. For instance, a show that I have really come to appreciate is The Atheist Experience, which uploads videos to youtube. They do not proactively promote atheism, they simply put on a weekly show in order to discuss pertinent topics.

    • Andrew says:

      I think we’re largely in agreement here. I don’t have much of a problem with the advertising campaigns. I don’t think they are terribly effecitve, except in getting some Christians to react in really stupid ways. But that’s not the fault of the advertisers.

  10. Ironica says:

    If it weren’t for the @Ironica, I wouldn’t have known you were talking to me.

    I know a number of atheists who think that it’s a good idea to try to talk people out of religion. If that’s not “converting,” I don’t know what is.

    Belief is something you think to be so, but do not know. Faith is belief in something that you not only cannot know, but cannot gain any evidence of, or that you may have to ignore evidence against. I believe there is no god. I don’t KNOW there isn’t; I can’t prove it… but what I observe of the natural world, as well as of the religious world, leads me to the conclusion that it’s very unlikely any of the postulated gods exist, or that any unpostulated god exists. But without the ability to prove it, to say that I “know” it would be disingenuous at best.

    As Thomas Huxley put it, an agnostic believes it is immoral to purport to knowing anything in the absence of direct evidence. The sun will rise tomorrow; we have direct evidence of its position and our orbit, as well as the principles of mass and motion that govern our relationship… so I can know that. But I can’t know that there is no god, even if I’m pretty darned sure.

    So I’m an agnostic. But I’m also an atheist. One can be agnostic (declining knowledge) and still believe in god, even be religious. An atheist is one without theism, without religion, without a god belief. But if you say you “don’t believe,” you have two problems: one, you are defining yourself relative to those who do; and two, those who do believe may see your absence-of-belief as a void to be filled by their personal lord and savior. Asserting a positive belief in a natural universe governed by laws of physics that as yet are not wholly understood by humans, but *are* internally consistent, makes it harder for people to justify considering you a potential soul to save.

    Your last paragraph, you seem to be entirely agreeing with me. Atheists shouldn’t bring up religion, period. Religion is a private matter. If it *does* come up, I try to be honest. “Where did you and your husband meet?” at an Atheist’s United meeting. I didn’t bring it up. (If I don’t feel safe revealing that, I say “at a community meeting.” Let them interpret that as they wish.) “Where do you go to church?” “Pray for me, will you?” It comes up. Constantly.

    When I’ve done outreach, it’s absolutely to make the presence of the group known to those who might seek it. There’s no attempt to recruit those who aren’t already atheists; the whole idea is to raise awareness that this group *exists* for those who have come to atheism on their own. People walk up to *us* and start asking questions, often trying to start a debate. I refuse to debate them, though. The most frequent conversation went like this:

    Them: “Okay, so, I’m not *religious*, either, but… I mean… when you look around at *all this* [gestures widely to take in the Mann multiplex theater, the homeless guy, a group of tourists, and a Gap], there’s gotta be SOMETHING, right? Where did it all COME from?”

    Me: “I dunno.”

    Them: “But– wait, you don’t know?”

    Me: “Nope.”

    Them: “How can you just not know? I mean, don’t you want an answer?”

    Me: “It’d be nice. But I’m not trying to build another universe. I don’t *have* to know how this one got here.”

    So I feel strongly that we *shouldn’t* engage… but we should be visible, so that others who share our beliefs can find us. That’s all.

    • I completely agree with you. I think I was mainly concerned about terminology as this seems to continue the misinformation concerning atheism, such as ‘the belief there is no god’.

      Honestly, I am probably more vehement about atheism, but that is probably more a result of my character then my world view, since I think I am always right and I have to show people why…

  11. Well, I must applaud you in completely misconstruing the intent of my original comment. My intention was not to deride or degrade Andrew in anyway. I was being truthful when I said that I applaud him for admitting that his belief is based on faith. Perhaps you are used to using snide sarcastic remarks, but I’m quite truthful in my replies and am usually fairly cordial. I tried to be congenial to you in my first response, even though I was already castigated to hell, but you persisted in your hellish vitriol and continued to cast me into the lake of fire when I politely asked you to refrain from that for personal reason. I will not be spoken to as a child and be talked to in such a disrespectful manner. Since you insist on using such a pernicious tone, I shall no longer restrain myself (don’t worry, Andrew, I’ll still keep it civil).

    I find it quite condescending of you to presume that I have never read the Bible or that I was never saved; though, I suppose I should not be surprised since such narcissistic tendencies are indicative of the Christian belief that the entire universe was created to placate to God’s egotistic and inflated ego. Yes, it truly takes a petty God to create people just so we can worship Him, lest we suffer the consequences of eternal damnation where ‘the worm dieth not’. I suppose, also, that I should not have bothered to go to foreign countries on mission’s trips, or worked in children’s ministries across America, or been an adamant ‘Bible-thumper’ all those years since I was not truly saved. I guess none of it really mattered anyway, since even Gandhi deserves to go to hell and born-again rapists enjoy blissful heaven by God’s standards (and you presume to lecture me on justice). I always chuckle a tad whenever the 1John 2:19 is proffered, as it seems to be saying that the people who decided to start thinking for themselves instead of swallowing everything that was fed to them were never really saved. “Oh, you were a pastor before, but you’re an atheist now? Well you were never really saved, then!” These impudent remarks are childish at best and simply serve to highlight one of the many un-savory characteristics that so many Christians display.

    As for my Mark reference, perhaps you should have read further. The main verse in that passage is found in verse 29. I will provide it for you, since I am not sure if you will be willing to look it up:

    “Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith whosoever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.” Mark 3:28-29 (KJV)

    I am surprised you drew the wrong conclusion from this citation for two reasons:

    1. This passage is very widely known to be the one ‘unforgivable sin’ and, so, I assumed my reference would be readily recognized.
    2. For someone who so readily chastised me for not reading the Bible, I find it quite ironic that you did not bother reading the whole passage (I’m a big fan of irony, btw).

    As far as your world view is concerned, it is really sad on your part that my 12 year old sister can proffer a better argument than ‘Presuppositionalists’. This credulous and disingenuous argument of, “Well, I believe ’cause God and the Bible tells me!”, is not only elementary and pathetic, but has the possibility to be quite dangerous. Since, you have no qualms about lecturing me about ‘spiritual matters’, I will be more than happy to divulge to you how both my claims are accurate.

    First, I will address my assertion that the argument is ‘elementary and pathetic.’ The problem with your argument is a problem of ‘circular reasoning’, a logical fallacy that is taught to be avoided in rudimentary high school classes the world over. I ask you to provide evidence for the existence of God, you appeal to the Bible. I ask you to validate the infallibility of the Bible, you say because God says so. Really? Are you just used to making such trite and contrived arguments, or have you truly never met anyone who has pointed out this mistake to you?

    Being slightly tangential, your claim, “I presuppose the Bible is the Word of God (which it is), just like you presuppose there is no God!”, is unintelligible on multiple levels. I began believing there was a God, remember? Or did you gloss over that part, as well? I did not presuppose anything. I came to my current world view after reading 1Peter 3:15. Since I do not trust that you will look up the correct passage:

    “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (KJV)

    I sought out answers to justify my beliefs. It was only after I realized that there was absolutely no evidence for the existence of your God that I came to my current world view of atheism. Secondly, the current definition of atheism is that there is no evidence for the existence of God. While I cannot speak for all atheists, many will claim that they do not know if there is, indeed a god in the Deistic sense, but they all know that there is no evidence for the god that you believe in.

    Back on topic, you say, “The difference being, is that the Christian (Biblical) worldview (WV) has all of the necessary preconditions for “all” intelligibility i.e. Origen, Uniformity of nature, morality, reason, laws of logic, epistemology, purpose, destiny etc…You, the unbeliever, borrow these preconditions from our (WV) to attack our (WV).” Now, I’m sorry to say, it appears as if you do not even read your own religion’s apologetics as most theologians would say that many of the ‘preconditions’ you listed are axiomatic properties of the universe. For example, the TAG argument that theologians use assumes that the laws of logic and reason are axiomatic properties of the universe(there are logical fallacies in the TAG argument, but that is not the issue at hand). Atheists do not borrow your world view. Do not flatter yourself. The difference between us, however, is that atheists are humble enough to admit that we do not know why this is the case. You say, “I know because God told me.” This kind of argument is reminiscent of two toddlers arguing, “…because I said so!” I must urge you, if you seek to debate intelligent and confident atheists, that you at least read your own apologetics as (and I can almost assure you on this point) most atheists on here have read nearly all of your religion’s apologetics (google is a wonderful tool).

    As for my ‘dangerous’ claim, I would like to make myself perfectly clear, since you have the penchant for misinterpreting what I say. I do not think all Christians are dangerous. I do not even believe most Christians are dangerous. I am saying that your line of reasoning can lead to dangerous circumstances. You base your entire belief on the whim of a capricious, malevolent god (I reference Dawkins’ “God is a…” sentence). Your belief is predicated on the false assumption that God will not revert back to his old O.T. ways. Indeed, I have even met Christians who would still not question what God “tells them to do.” (you can even find these lunatics on youtube) “You want me to gut my kid, God? Ok!” “Commit genocide in Your name? Sure thing!” ‘Presuppositionalists’ can never presume to lecture an atheist on the issue of morality as I would contend that atheists are much more moral and ethical than those who adhere to these archaic and barbaric traditions.

    If you would still like to continue this debate, I will encourage you to start using empirical evidence to support your claims, as opposed to frothing at the mouth and saying, “You’re going to hell!”

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  14. Andrew says:

    @Lamont: No the question was “Has this method of “evangelism” ever been effective?” To that question, I stick by my answer except to add that I am certain that in at least one very important case, my efforts were fruitful in the end.

    Now, you asked if my efforts have ever saved anyone? Of course not, and neither have you. No one is saved by human effort. Only Jesus can save.

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