Hot, Cold, Lukewarm? Or not at all?

May 13, 2007 at 10:49 pm 45 comments

HikingPicnicEarlier today, my wife and I took some close friends out to the hills for a hike. With the hunger built up from the hike, we settled into camp for a barbeque, picnic, then lots of fun and laughter. It was a great day to escape from the routine of our lives at home.

The funny thing is that our religious beliefs never came up for discussion. I know that the majority of our friends are devout Catholics, but our beliefs never once influenced our day. In fact, unless we are headed for mass or similar church functions, they never do. In general, we keep our spiritual lives safe behind stained glass to be visited only on Sundays – and there they stay the remainder of the week.

This is true for the vast majority of people who call themselves ‘Christian’. Most Christians are on the sidelines, unless they were like me, a self-serious Christian who found that kind of belief to be tepid and lacking in power. If Jesus was who he said he was, God incarnate and the Messiah for the World, I figured I had better take him seriously, and allow him to dynamically impact my life. Tepid Christianity seemed pointless to me; after all, Jesus threatened to spew the lukewarm church of Laodicea out his mouth (Rev 3:16). Jesus preferred a cold believer over a lukewarm one, and I looked at people, like the Catholic friends that I enjoyed today with, with pity.

Well, I thought it was pity. Was it actually pride? Superiority? Self-Righteousness? Yeah, in hindsight, I think so.

I was a devout Christian for most of my 43 years. After spending a year *really* studying the Bible and how we interpret it in our modern world, after a year talking with my wife and debating Christian friends, of prayer, contemplation, reading, and more than a few tears, I concluded that there was no way The Bible was Divinely Inspired, much less inerrant, suitable for all our needs and the exclusive path to our salvation. So the last couple of months, I have had to come to grips with the fact that I have no Christian beliefs. With the exception of a rare few, my Fundamentalist friends have pretty much forgotten me. My catholic friends? They enjoy going to the hills with me for a fun hike, and a picnic no matter what my beliefs are.

So do most people. If most of the people I know could not care less what my religious beliefs are, why is it so important?

Why is it important whether I believe or not? Life seems to continue just as it always has. So what is the big deal about leaving Christianity? Why not just ease the transition away from Christianity? Why not continue to believe and just become ‘lukewarm’?

Many reasons. Your beliefs shape your worldview. Without a Book of Divine Authority to tell me what to believe, what my ethical standards are to be, what my life’s devotion is to be, I am left with nothing higher than myself and my wife to figure it all out. I feel like I have left playland and entered the real world – as hard and cold as it can sometimes be – to fend for ourselves. There is no protective hand from a guardian angel or heavenly father to guide us. It is about us – not God.

And I gotta tell you – that freedom to discover and explore is truly exciting.

The de-Convert was kind enough to invite me to occasionally contribute to this site. My name is HeIsSailing – named in honor of a song that describes the hope of an all-saving, universal Messiah who will rescue mankind from all their ills. It is a Savior, a Messiah, a Childish Hope that I desperately wish existed, but in truth exists only in the imagination. I now understand that Christianity, while having many positive attributes, can render its most faithful with a childish and under-developed worldview. The root of that view is the Church Creed which the faithful accept, and the Scripture that is interpreted to fit that Church Creed.

As critical as I can be of Christian beliefs, I am still fascinated by the whole belief system, and find the Bible more interesting now that I ever did, even as a devout believer. I am not much of a debater – despite my sometimes tough questions – but do I enjoy sharing my views and learning from others. So let’s contribute, learn and have some fun!

- HeIsSailing

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Christian response to the Atheist vs. Christian Debate Is Jesus mentioned in the Talmud?

45 Comments Add your own

  • 1. agnosticatheist  |  May 13, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    HIS,

    As critical as I can be of Christian beliefs, I am still fascinated by the whole belief system, and find the Bible more interesting now that I ever did, even as a devout believer. I am not much of a debater – despite my sometimes tough questions – but do I enjoy sharing my views and learning from others. So let’s contribute, learn and have some fun!

    I can relate to this. I’m constantly reading the Bible even though it is through different eyes than I did before. If you walked into my home office, you would think I’m still a preacher :)

    aA

  • 2. Heather  |  May 14, 2007 at 12:03 am

    No matter where my beliefs lead me, I can relate to that, as well. I have seven or eight copies of the Bible, tons of websites bookmarked and an entire bookshelf filled with theological and historical Judeo-Christian books.

    I think part of the fascinating that the Bible holds is because so many people find it to be a special book, or use it as a moral compess, or say they can discover who the ultimate Creator is. And since this is a common belief that really can lay the groundwork for an entire personality, we want to understand that belief, in order to relate to people — or just understand why they behave they way they do.

  • 3. Karen  |  May 14, 2007 at 12:18 am

    Wonderful essay! Really glad you posted it, and that you had a great day with non-judgmental friends.

    I’ve found that most/all of my fundamentalist friends from church stopped trying to connect with me as soon as I stopped attending services. The nice thing has been renewing friendships with a few people who left church before I did, and finding that they have gone through similar experiences in terms of re-evaluating religion. I never, ever would have predicted that!

    And I gotta tell you – that freedom to discover and explore is truly exciting.

    Yes! That is the best, isn’t it? And it’s amazing to honestly feel that kind of freedom for the first time in your life. :-)

  • 4. Dan  |  May 14, 2007 at 4:06 am

    It’s like a bunch of teenagers getting into mischief and getting into trouble and I (as an adult) say “Hay! your parents are going to be very upset at all of you when they find out what you’re doing.”

    The teenagers response is “F$#@ you dork, go tell someone who gives a crap” and “you liar, a$#hole”

    You are all shooting the messenger, according to the Bible there is no distinction between atheists and satanists. Please don’t believe what I am telling you, look it up yourself. Does that mean I have no compassion by stating that? Does that mean I don’t care enough for all your well being to tell you that our Father will be very upset at your wickedness (again according to the Bible)? Did I really hit a nerve? You all seem to be fine and tolerate buddhism, muslims or yes even satenism but when it comes to Jesus you get a deep hatred foaming at the mouth and slander whoever brings up the name Jesus Christ.

    Is it a toothache you all have? I am touching it saying “hay that one there (press) looks black” and you all scream “OWWWW” in pain. I did not make up the Bible but the atheist experience people (as well as you) are declaring WAR against God by being public activist against him. I am merely (as a concerned human brother) pointing out that if you don’t address that tooth then it will infect your whole body and turn gangrenous and you will perish. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-11

    I have told the atheist experience people many times as they were slandering me to never take my word for it that they could look it up themselves in the Bible, to do the research. I pointed out the verses that I was addressing and giving an adequate debate. What was the response? More ad hominem fallacies and they came back with the troll comment or calling me stupid or pathetic and such. To me it is just sad to waste good minds to pride and destruction for being like little brat teenagers.

    You must know by now that there is accountability in nature and the universe. If you jump out the window you will go splat because of the law of gravity. If you try to live with grizzlies or lions because they are so cute, you will get shredded because you are breaking the boundaries of nature. If you take your mask off underwater you will drown because of conditions that are not suitable for sustaining life for humans. If you take your helmet off in deep space you will implode because of the laws of pressure and physics and such. So if there are so many laws to follow why are you all ignoring God’s law?

    You will be held accountable for your actions and in my opinion it fits for the conditions that surround us. That is why we don’t rape children, because it is wrong to us in our hearts. The atheist experience people tried to explain it was because society said it was wrong and that was it. Isn’t that absurd to you? So I tried to reason with them but they ended up blocking me and giving out my IP address to the world. So be it, we move on, but we don’t have forever here on earth. My urgency and enthusiasm is not to harm but to warn as a friend. Would you let your friend get behind a wheel after it’s apparent that he is very drunk and will possibly hurt himself or worse, others? They are reckless and they know it, and so do you if you search your heart. I love you enough to take your keys, punch me if you must because of your drunken rage but, deep in your heart you know what is at stake here.

    For Him,
    Dan

  • 5. Heather  |  May 14, 2007 at 5:28 am

    Dan,

    **You all seem to be fine and tolerate buddhism, muslims or yes even satenism but when it comes to Jesus you get a deep hatred foaming at the mouth and slander whoever brings up the name Jesus Christ.** No — I don’t hate Jesus, nor the name Jesus Christ. What bothers me is how people have used that name in history to justify really awful behavior.

    **I have told the atheist experience people many times as they were slandering me to never take my word for it that they could look it up themselves in the Bible, to do the research. ** That’s just it — most of the people here have done the research, and not just in reading the Bible. They’ve researched how Christianity developed, or the cultural context in the Old/New Testament accounts.

    Honestly, this post come across as though you haven’t really listened to any of the reasons as to why people might no longer be Christians. You seem to be telling us that you know us better than we know ourselves, and we’re simply responding like bratty teenagers who really just want our own way. It ignores the problems people have with some of the Biblical stories, or the fact that it’s difficult to find historical justification for a lot of the Biblical events, the textual criticisms with the Biblical texts, just to name a few.

  • 6. HeIsSailing  |  May 14, 2007 at 6:35 am

    Dan asks:
    “Did I really hit a nerve?”

    Honestly? no – not really.

    Dan continues:
    “Is it a toothache you all have? I am touching it saying “hay that one there (press) looks black” and you all scream “OWWWW” in pain. ”

    No Dan – no pain at all. How many sermons like yours do you think I have heard in the last 43 years? So no, it really does not convict me in the slightest. And the reason for that is because I did not leave Christianity based on an emotional response. I did not get angry at God because I did not like keeping his laws or keeping out of a life of sin.

    I just looked at the claims the Bible made and found they were of human origin. It is fascinating for what it is, but it has no more Divine Authority than any other piece of literature – and I am not devoting my life to that. There was no hatred of God involved at all – no anger and no bitterness.

    Heather sez:
    “Honestly, this post come across as though you haven’t really listened to any of the reasons as to why people might no longer be Christians. ”

    Dan, I gotta agree with Heather here, and in fact I have to confess something. I googled key phrases in your sermon to see if it was a cut and paste job that you put into blogs like this. It is that generic. But nope, to my surprise it appears to be made especially for us. Please take Heather’s advice here – before you say we are foaming at the mouth and slander whoever brings up the name Jesus Christ (you almost sound like you are wishing we do that to yourself), at least read some of the things folks say here – we are a little more reasonable than that. Also, and more importantly, do the same courtesy with the sinners that you know in real life. People are more open-minded than you think. You might get a better response if you stop preaching a generic sermon and instead just listen and give honest responses.

  • 7. Karen  |  May 14, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    Dan, “hay” is for horses. The word you are looking for is “hey.”

    You’re welcome. ;-)

    Dan, I gotta agree with Heather here, and in fact I have to confess something. I googled key phrases in your sermon to see if it was a cut and paste job that you put into blogs like this. It is that generic. But nope, to my surprise it appears to be made especially for us.

    Not so fast, HIS. I also read Hemant’s blog, FriendlyAtheist, and interestingly enough I noticed that Dan’s rant – word-for-word, spelling errors included – is posted there this morning also.

    So, I guess we’re not that special after all. ;-)

    Why do these people think that their cut-and-paste sermons are even remotely effective? Hemant’s site has just been INnundated over the past couple of weeks with these folks, and it amazes me how insulting and even vicious they can be. I guess what they’re thinking is that the magic of the holy spirit is going to kick in and make their generic, insulting preaching into something effective. Oy.

  • 8. cragar  |  May 14, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    HelsSailing–Great post.

    Dan–”You are all shooting the messenger, according to the Bible there is no distinction between atheists and satanists. Please don’t believe what I am telling you, look it up yourself.”

    Since atheists don’t believe the Bible is the written word of God does it really make a difference to us if how the Bible categorizes us?

    “You will be held accountable for your actions and in my opinion it fits for the conditions that surround us. That is why we don’t rape children, because it is wrong to us in our hearts.”

    I don’t quite understand what you are trying to say here. I don’t even know if I really want to tread these waters but are you trying to imply that atheists are more prone to rape children? And that all of us that are discussing such things on the internet are promoting such activity? I guess since it’s a cut and paste sermon as Karen said you could be generalizing but still…

  • 9. tobeme  |  May 14, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    Good article that you have written. Interesting how some people can get so very upset when you speak of a message that is different than their own. In any other aspect of life, people would recognize this type of response as a sign of insecurity with what you are saying or how you are living. If I am secure in my belief structure, then I have no reason to get upset, matter of fact I should welcome the opportunity to listen, to possibly learn how and what other people are thinking. Stay open to the possibilites! We live in a Universe of infinite wonder.

  • 10. Radec  |  May 14, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    **Heisailing said; there is no protective hand from a guardian angel or heavenly father to guide us. It is about us – not God.
    And I gotta tell you – that freedom to discover and explore is truly exciting.**
    Did it not scare you a bit once you realized it was all up to you?? Once you accepted that maybe your thoughts, actions, responses were just that, yours and only yours?? Truthfully, this has been a difficult thing for me to deal with. I’ve had my “Guardian Angel” with me for 33 years or so. I truly believed old cliché, you are never alone–and that was comforting to me. Now however, when I’m alone in the car or taking a shower in the mornings (these were normally my “prayer” times, when I was alone) it is a bit strange, even a bit eerie and uncomfortable to think that it is just me. Exciting? Yes but there are a few other less comfortable feelings that also have gone along with it.

    Good blog, thx

  • 11. Dan  |  May 14, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    It was originally to “The alpha” but then since I have talked to other atheists I thought I would share the wealth. The message can still be sincere even if duplicated. If a building was on fire and I went to all the neighbors to say the exact phrase “Hey! The building is on fire!” doesn’t negate the sincerity. It was to Alpha originally though if that means anything to you. (notice the correction of hey… thanks)

    How many copies of books do you see? Are they less sincere since they are reproduced? So to say that all books duplicated and copied are less sincere is an ad hominem fallacy don’t you agree? Here is another copy and paste from a private letter but I am sincere when I share it to all of you as if it were written to all of you.

    I read that book “Losing faith in faith” by Dan Barker as you suggested did you read “A case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel yet?

    First, let me start out, I believe atheist have the capacity to have morals and have the capacity to also not have morals. Atheists are no different then any other human being. The difference is, as it says in Romans 1:28-38, what you do not have is righteousness. I used to love my sinning before I became a Christian. It feels good to sin (fornication, getting drunk) I loved it, but when God changed my heart forever I did not want to sin anymore, to me that is impossible without God. I can go on for days about all the things that changed in me forever after that moment. To be able to quit all my vices at once was an act of God.

    I can list all my vises here but without all the gruesome details I will say it was “like” being a heroine addict for 15 years and just in one hour stopping cold turkey without one single withdrawal symptom, not one. I was truly born again and I went from a belief in Jesus to having experienced Jesus. My life was changed forever.

    I started as an atheist by my family and my father literally taught me how to lie to get or take advantage of a situation (he was a true salesman) jump ahead to almost dying 4 times then finally when I was 23, I just broke up with my satanic girlfriend, I read the Bible for the first time in my life and then I became a “believer” in Jesus and I did that famous cliché “asked him into my heart” without any repentance. I think I even got high that night anyways, I went to church for years thinking I was a Christian because the church I was going to said all you have to do is say that prayer “very misinformed church” and I was saved. I didn’t know it at the time but I was a very liberal Christian. Then one day recently there was a truly repentant moment and I trusted in Jesus with my entire life and at “that” moment it felt like a hundred angels carrying me and caring for me I knew without a doubt I was changed forever and there was no turning back or failing or going back to my old ways. I was born again.

    Anyway I found Barker’s book to be a very hard book to read and I cringed at most of the book. But what I found fascinating is that Dan Barker was a dedicated and devout Christian who after a period of time slowly he “began doubting” (without faith) and became that same liberal Christian as I was. Then he kept getting more and more liberal until one day bam he was a nonbeliever (atheist). We actually had an exact parallel opposite experience. Except I now know he never really had that experience that I had, he was never born again. I went from starving to milk to solid food and grew into a true conversion, our friend Dan Barker was drinking milk but then got sick of milk and started to starve himself until he died and withered away exactly like the parable of the seed on rocky ground in Matthew 13. If you read Matthew 13, and study what happened to you I bet you will find which seed you were. Please write me and let me know after you read it what you came up with. Please do not get a defensive posture towards myself it will do none of us any good. Man to man tell me which seed were you and we both can learn from all of this. Psalm 51:17, and Psalm 34:18, both say we need a broken and contrite heart to come to the lord and I must tell you honestly that is what happened to me, exactly! I have a true righteousness within me that is not mine and I feel Jesus working miracles with my wicked heart everyday and I am very thankful for him to lead me to a true eternal life. The book should have been called Without Faith, BTW.

    Thanks again for the recommendation and I have healthier view of atheists. I don’t know if I could ever change an atheists mind but the Lord sure can, it worked for CS Lewis and Lee Strobel.

    Have a great week and let me know what part you liked best about Lee’s book. That was a good experiment thanks for that suggestion but I believe it was God who suggested it. God even is working through you, rofl. I think I pointed it out before but here is true and false conversion , for your perusal see if one of them fits you. Let me know what you think about all of this. Peace!

    For Him,
    Dan

  • 12. Heather  |  May 14, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    Dan,

    **How many copies of books do you see? Are they less sincere since they are reproduced? So to say that all books duplicated and copied are less sincere is an ad hominem fallacy don’t you agree?** No, because you’re addressing individual people — what works for one doesn’t work for another person. And copy/pasting like that again shows that you’re not listening to the actual person, you’re just trying to get your message across. It really does lack sincerity, especially since it’s the message that everyone has heard before. And it is going to push away a lot of people. Books are, in general, written to tell a story to a mass audience.

    Nothing in your comments so far has really addressed why the people here might not embrace Christianity, or the problems they have with Christianity, or why they have walked away. If this is how you intereact with people in general, then, yes, they are going to be hostile towards you, because you aren’t listening to them, yet still trying to give them advice. This: **I now know he never really had that experience that I had, he was never born again** is one such example, because I’m sure Dan Barker would say that he was ‘born again’ at one point. If you’re going to dismiss what he says about himself, how can you expect anyone to listen to you?

    I think it’s great that your belief in God helped you end the destructive behavior, and that you’ve found peace, and a healthier lifestyle. But based on the amount of behavior the Bible lists as sin, people can stop that behavior, even without God.

  • 13. HeIsSailing  |  May 14, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    Radec asks:
    “Did it not scare you a bit once you realized it was all up to you?? Once you accepted that maybe your thoughts, actions, responses were just that, yours and only yours?? ”

    This is a good questions – and there is no easy answer here. Because Christianity influences so many aspects of our lives, it can be a relief when some aspects are released from the clutch of God, and a bit scary with others.

    I suppose this would have been more of a concern for me 10-15 years ago. I used to evangelize the Gospel to my buddies and on the street. I used to point out that common experience told us that our minds and hearts are never trustworthy to direct our actions, because we are fallable. So when somebody told me to just ‘trust my heart’, I took that to mean trust in something wholly currupt and prone to sin and disaster. But if we trust the guiding hand of Jesus, who will never fail us, then we are on God’s infallable moral plumbline, and will also lead our lives to fullfillment and contentment.

    And I fully believed that. It was a great comfort to me that I did not have to trust in my own wisdom – which often got me in a lot of trouble. And getting into trouble by trusting themselves (or making bad decisions) is something that we can all relate to.

    If you would have taken my trust in God away from me 10-15 years ago, I think I would have a hard time knowing what to do with myself. I would have had nothing to anchor me down.

    What has changed? I don’t know. I guess as I lived the Christian life longer, I realize that the morality imposed to us by the Bible is constantly changing. When I was younger, I could not listen to rock n roll, go dancing or to the movie theater. But those moral standards are rarely set on today’s youth – because society has changed. This is just an example of a phenominon that I have noticed over time – that we actually bend the Bible to fit our own moral standard, whether we realize it or not. So I was relying on my own morality all along, and knowing that makes the transition a lot easier.

    There is a longer answer to your question, but that would require a lot more thought to do it justice.

  • 14. Dan  |  May 14, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    Heather,

    “especially since it’s the message that everyone has heard before.” I agree so you are angry that I copied a message that you heard before? There is one Bible and one message. How do you want me to tell you what God says?

    “Nothing in your comments so far has really addressed why the people here might not embrace Christianity, or the problems they have with Christianity” What do YOU believe? Forget the others they can speak for themselves what about you, what are your beliefs?

    “I think it’s great that your belief in God helped you end the destructive behavior, and that you’ve found peace, and a healthier lifestyle.” that is the exact opposite of what Christianity has done for me. You are completely wrong. Remember the only guarantee for us Christians here on earth are persecution, temptations and tribulations. Sounds fun huh? I am in more of a destructive behavior now then when I fornicated and drank. I wouldn’t consider getting spit on and cussed at peaceful and healthier lifestyle either. I simply trust Christ because I am so grateful that he saved me and gave me salvation. You know the words to Amazing Grace right?

    Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me -I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now, I see.

    T’was Grace that taught – my heart to fear. And Grace, my fears relieved. How precious did that Grace appear – the hour I first believed.

    For Him,
    Dan

  • 15. LaShawn  |  May 15, 2007 at 2:00 am

    You are all shooting the messenger, according to the Bible there is no distinction between atheists and satanists. Please don’t believe what I am telling you, look it up yourself. Does that mean I have no compassion by stating that? Does that mean I don’t care enough for all your well being to tell you that our Father will be very upset at your wickedness (again according to the Bible)?

    Dan, telling atheists to look for proof to your claims in the bible is irrational. You fail to realize that we believe it is written by humans, and has no divine authority whatsoever. Just because something says its true doesn’t necessarily mean that it is, so your “according to the bible” statements really have no merits to them.

    You all seem to be fine and tolerate buddhism, muslims or yes even satenism but when it comes to Jesus you get a deep hatred foaming at the mouth and slander whoever brings up the name Jesus Christ.

    This is not true at all. I, for one, actually have a deep respect for Jesus. I don’t believe that he was the incarnation of God, but that doesn’t take away from his example of how to live a benevolent and humble lifestyle. Despite what you think, atheists do not foam at the mouth from the mention of Jesus’ name—at least not any more than we do if someone says George Bush ;)

    I did not make up the Bible but the atheist experience people (as well as you) are declaring WAR against God by being public activist against him.

    I’m not quite sure what you mean by “atheist experience people.” Could you clarify? I have to point out though that atheism is a life without God, as opposed to one against Him. There is a huge difference. I think it is perfectly fine for people to believe in God, but personally I have found no reason to. That is not acting out against Him, but doing without.

    I have told the atheist experience people many times as they were slandering me to never take my word for it that they could look it up themselves in the Bible, to do the research.

    Actually, I think you’d be surprised at just how many atheists research and study religion. I think it is safe to say that many of us know more about Christianity than Christians do. I’m not just talking about being able to find random quotes and passages from the bible, but actually knowing the history behind the texts, and why they were written. I have a multitude of books on the subject matter, and it was research that made me realize that the bible couldn’t possibly be written by God.

    You will be held accountable for your actions and in my opinion it fits for the conditions that surround us. That is why we don’t rape children, because it is wrong to us in our hearts.

    I think this is true more so for atheists than those who are religious. We do what is morally right because it is in our hearts, and not because we fear punishment from God otherwise. How many Christians could you honestly say would do the right thing, and live as morally as they do if they didn’t have to worry about eternal damnation later?

  • 16. Heather  |  May 15, 2007 at 6:48 am

    Dan,

    **agree so you are angry that I copied a message that you heard before? ** I’m not angry — I’m saying that it won’t be effective.

    **that is the exact opposite of what Christianity has done for me. You are completely wrong. ** Okay, but if you say that you’ve suddenly stopped all your vices and experienced an incredible forgiveness, that will come across as a sense of peace and a healthier lifestyle.

    **What do YOU believe? Forget the others they can speak for themselves what about you, what are your beliefs?** As I said in my own blog, why would I answer this if I don’t feel you’d listen? Because even this question is circumventing my point — that you aren’t specifically addressing the reasons for why people behave as they do.

  • 17. Heather  |  May 15, 2007 at 6:49 am

    LaShawn,

    **I have a multitude of books on the subject matter, and it was research that made me realize that the bible couldn’t possibly be written by God.** Your bookshelf probably looks like mine. At present, I have three shelves filled with Christian history and theology books. And the research is absolutely fascinating.

  • 18. Radec  |  May 15, 2007 at 11:10 am

    You know, I don’t want to sound like a jerk or anything, but I’m pretty sick of the old “life changing” conversion stories. Honestly, I don’t think they do as good in convincing people as those who preach them think they do. I know it is pretty exciting for the story teller, but what they don’t understand is most of their audience isn’t strung out, suicidal, longing for purpose like they think they are. Most are just normal people who are going about life as best as they can. They have good times, they have a crappy boss that they have to deal with, their kids take much of their free time, etc. Telling a story about how you were a mean suicidal drug addict who liked slapping old people and how in a moment god changed that doesn’t apply to most. For me, if you want to convince me, debate logical reasoning why the bible says that a normal guy like me who loves his children, adores and is a faithful husband to his wife, and overall isn’t such a bad guy needs a god in his life. That is what most of your “target audience” needs (at least from what I have seen)
    Sorry to rant.
    R

  • 19. Heather  |  May 15, 2007 at 11:33 am

    Radec,

    ** That is what most of your “target audience” needs (at least from what I have seen)** I think this brings up valid points. The ‘target audience’ would have a hard time relating to the extreme stories — the audience would see why the person in question eventually believed in God, but would also have no reason to believe that they have a need for God.

    The other problem I see with sharing conversion stories such as these is that to the audience, it could easily come across as going from one extreme to another.

  • 20. Dan  |  May 15, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    LaShawn,

    ”You fail to realize that we believe it is written by humans, and has no divine authority whatsoever.”

    Again, if you run out in the middle of the highway and say I don’t believe in trucks it doesn’t mean you will not get run over. If you jump out of a window screaming “I don’t believe in gravity” doesn’t mean you will not get hurt. What matters is the truth. God does exist and He came as a man here on earth to pay for all of your sins. The Bible was written by God and was penned by man. If you think about it of God created the entire universe and everything in it don’t you think he can preserve his word? He could have made it anything he wanted and the words you read is what God wants you to read.

    It’s like someone writing you love letters and you never read them. Wouldn’t that upset them? Well God gave you 66 love letters called the Bible and he wants us to read them everyday.

    atheist experience people have a blog and some public access TV show in Austin and they gave nothing but ad hominem fallacies and slandered my name the whole time talking to them and eventually they gave my IP address out to the world to have. Plain evil people in my opinion.

    ”I think you’d be surprised at just how many atheists research and study religion. I think it is safe to say that many of us know more about Christianity than Christians do.” Really you believe this? How arrogant of a statement. You actually you know more then the entire populace of Christians, huh?

    ”I think this is true more so for atheists than those who are religious. We do what is morally right because it is in our hearts,” In my opinion, you are so prideful and highminded. You heart is wicked and deceitful, you want proof. If a pedophile follows his heart then a lot of children will be harmed. The heart is selfish and if you have been following your heart (desires) then that is where you went wrong. To even compare ourselves to other people is relative Sodom Hussein looked real “good” compared to Hitler so the measure of good is God’s law which is the Ten Commandments. He burned them into your “Brain” and that is why you know right from wrong. You can go to any civilization and universally any of them believe being a liar and a thief is wrong (8th and 9th Commandments). That is why there will be no excuse on Judgment day. You will not be able to say to God “but, I didn’t know that was wrong” You know it is wrong when you do it.

    ”How many Christians could you honestly say would do the right thing, and live as morally as they do if they didn’t have to worry about eternal damnation later?” Umm all of them, They are all born into a new heart led by Jesus we have an alien righteousness. We do the right thing in God’s eyes because we are so grateful for saving us. Now there are people out there called false conversions and they are not Christians but the ones with a true conversion live to please God not man. I am not scared of hell because it was not created for me as a Christian, it is sad that people like you will not understand until it may be too late. It is you that needs to worry about eternal damnation. BTW, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 9:10

    Oh Heather,

    ”why would I answer this if I don’t feel you’d listen? Because even this question is circumventing my point — that you aren’t specifically addressing the reasons for why people behave as they do. ” This is so funny you don’t even see how hypocritical this is, you say “I” am circumventing the point when “you” won’t answer or address any questions. Now that is comedy. You are cracking me up. I am asking question to specifically address the reasons for why you behave as you do. Get it?

    ”I have three shelves filled with Christian history and theology books.” All writen by people and I am sure you believe all of it. Are you and the author willing to die for what is written and what you believe?

    You have heard of Julius Caesar and I am sure you believe that he existed right? Well there were 10 manuscripts of antiquity that explained who he was as we know him today. 10 that is it, in one language, everything we know today about him came from just those 10 manuscripts. Do you know how many manuscripts of antiquity about Jesus? Any guess?

    The New Testament we have either in fragments or partials within 25 years, 40 years of events we have 5,400 partials or complete manuscripts in Greek (the original language) and 19,000 other languages. You want a reliable book and you believe Julius Caesar existed? You can believe that Jesus existed and he did exactly what it says in the Bible because you have eye witness accounts that were willing to die for it.

    Radec,

    ”if you want to convince me, debate logical reasoning why the bible says that a normal guy like me who loves his children, adores and is a faithful husband to his wife, and overall isn’t such a bad guy needs a god in his life. ” OK you got it. First Jesus said “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” But the real reason you “need God” is salvation. You say you are good but you are not none of us are because we all have lied or lusted or coveted. These are called sins. By sins I mean the Ten Commandments which are God’s law. The law was made as a mirror for us. In the same way, we don’t realize what a bad state we are in until we look into the “mirror” of the Ten Commandments. Have you stolen, lied, dishonored your mother and father etc. then you broke his laws and the penalty is death. Revelation 21:8 says all liars have there part in the lake of fire. But God doesn’t want that to happen to you and I don’t either. I don’t want you to drink and drive but if you do then you will go to jail, and if you lie then you will spend eternity in Hell. Now someone came to pay your fine so you wouldn’t have to spend time in jail. Jesus came to pay your fine for you so that justice would be satisfied and you could go free. All you have to do is Repent which means turn away from sin and trust Jesus that he did what he did for your salvation. Pray to God and ask his forgiveness and he will give you a life without death and you will not spend forever in hell. Then read your Bible everyday and stay in his word.

    For Him,
    Dan

  • 21. DagoodS  |  May 15, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Dan: The New Testament we have either in fragments or partials within 25 years, 40 years of events we have 5,400 partials or complete manuscripts in Greek (the original language) and 19,000 other languages.

    Wow! I mean….Wow!

    Do you have any support for this claim?

    Thanks.

  • 22. Radec  |  May 15, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Dan,
    I should have expanded a bit on that statement, adding more of a “belief” aspect to the question. That is what I was trying to convey with “logical” explanation. Quoting scripture and then attaching an emotional connection in an attempt to inspire me to believe again is not a logical argument. You first have to prove to me that what the book says is genuine and inspired before you can use it as a reference.

    Funny though, your response is classic and proves my point even more that most Pro-Christian arguments do not connect with their intended audience. You stated nothing on your soapbox above that I have not heard time and time again in 32 years in the pew (oh and that also includes 4 years at a very conservative Christian College where one is required to take a religion courses regardless of major). I have read my bible as you said, and the more I have read, the more questions and doubts arise. I have prayed (harder than you know) for my doubts to go away and yet here I am today. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m afraid it’s going to take a different approach than the one that you are currently trying.

  • 23. Heather  |  May 15, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Dan,

    **This is so funny you don’t even see how hypocritical this is, you say “I” am circumventing the point when “you” won’t answer or address any questions** My point was that why would I answer any of your questions when you don’t seem to have understood what I’ve previously said? You’re not coming across as someone who honestly cares, but rather someone who wants to tell everyone else how wrong they are. There’s no room for dialogue.

    ** Really you believe this? How arrogant of a statement. You actually you know more then the entire populace of Christians, huh? ** Actually, there’s quite a few polls that show quite a few Christians know very little about the Bible. There was something like 1 in 8 didn’t know all the Gospel names.

    **The New Testament we have either in fragments or partials within 25 years, 40 years of events we have 5,400 partials or complete manuscripts in Greek (the original language) and 19,000 other languages. As DagoodS said — what’s the support for this?

  • 24. martin  |  May 15, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Hey folks, new here.

    I am a former Pentecostal and now an Atheist with a touch of agnosticism. All I can say is I had similar experience when i left the faith and mush of that unconditional love has vanished and been replaced with condemnation, verbal and emotional abuse, and childish fear tactics.

    As far as arguing with Dan, he sounds like most fanatic i know. I bit emotionally stunted and quick to defend even the most obvious errors in the bible because he derives his entire self-worth and self-esteem from the book and his beliefs.

    Been there, done that.

    Hey Dan, I assume you are a preacher of some sort and know the bible really well. Explain this please. Not one pastor has been able to since my becoming “dead-again.”

    Gen 1:30
    “And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.”

    Please explain the Great White Shark eating plants… What plants would it possibly eat? SEAWEED? There is no seaweed in the deep ocean where they live. Please, believing Jaws was a “veggie” before Eve ate the forbidden fruit is a stupid idea at best?

    AND…

    What about carnivorous plants? What purpose would a non-sentient life that kills sentient life for food serve? Are venus fly traps pre-fall or post-fall creations?

    AND…

    What about parasites and viruses?
    What would god re-introduced them after the flood or perhaps introduce them in the first place when there only purpose is to kill and destroy other beings? Were they all on the ark? Why didn’t they kill off the crew and animals then? They could not have survived in salt water. Why are they still around?

    I have plenty more real arguments for
    how dumb the bible can really be.

  • 25. Dan  |  May 16, 2007 at 2:33 am

    DagoodS,

    Yes I do have references. This is well known and is mentioned in debates debates all the time. All the research and references are in this book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell.

    Even atheists don’t refute it. It is also mentioned on pg 367 of Dan Barker’s Book Losing Faith in Faith. The back of his book has a slew of references for this information but it is common knowledge. Maybe Wiki has it also. lol

  • 26. Dan  |  May 16, 2007 at 3:18 am

    OK martin your turn,

    No I am not a preacher I don’t believe in religions, but I do street preach and witness as instructed by Jesus. Great White Sharks are the vacuums of the ocean they eat dead whales and injured fish in the ocean, without them the natural system would break down. Because Genesis 1:30 mentions beasts of the earth are you assuming it says beasts in the ocean? I looked up beast and creature and I couldn’t find anything that states ocean dwelling, did you?

    What about parasites and viruses? What about cancer in children also, it is a great question the question of suffering. The Bible is very clear and it says we live in a fallen creation. In the beginning God created the world with no disease, no cancer, no suffering, no death. As by the sin of one man death entered into this world and death passed onto all because all have sinned. Don’t use suffering to reject God because it is a very real reason to accept him. I may have had HTML in my post that this blog rejects so I will watch out for that sorry for the multiple posting all.

    For Him,
    Dan

  • 27. agnosticatheist  |  May 16, 2007 at 7:38 am

    NOTE: I “unspammed” Dan’s comments. Every once in a while, real comments get caught in the SPAM filter. I will normally catch these.

    aA

  • 28. DagoodS  |  May 16, 2007 at 8:18 am

    Dan,

    Haven’t read Barker. I’ve read McDowell, but don’t have a copy. Perhaps you could quote from him. OR, better yet, since you’ve “researched” (and I use the term as loosely as possible, here) it, you could answer a coupla questions for me.

    1. What are four (4) of the 19,000 languages in which we have partial or complete manuscripts within 40 years? (I am granting you Greek, with the occasional Hebrew and Aramaic word. What is that fourth language?) Surely out of 19,000, asking for one language would not be too much?

    2. What are three (3) manuscripts within 40 years of the events? I’ll even give you P52 at 125 CE (albeit, it is a smidgen of the Gospel of John, so it doesn’t technically qualify for being within 40 years of the events.)

    Dan, rather than read McDowell, if you did some research on your own, you may learn some historical facts about the manuscript evidence regarding the New Testament. If you are truly interested, I would be happy to give you some links.

    I am sorry, but what you have said is flat wrong.

  • 29. Dan  |  May 16, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    To be as accurate as possible here is what I found to be true. There are now more then 5,300 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Add over 10,000 Latin Vulgate and at least 9,300 other early versions (MSS) and we have more then 24,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in existence today. No other document of antiquity even begins to apporach such numbers and attestation.

  • 30. Dan  |  May 16, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    more:
    “…there are thousands more New Testament Greek manuscripts than any other ancient writing. The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure. That is an amazing accuracy. In addition there are over 19,000 in copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000. “

  • 31. Dan  |  May 16, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    Author, Date Written, Earliest Copy, Time Span, Copies (extent)
    Secular Manuscripts:
    Herodotus (History) 480 – 425 BC 900 AD 1,300 years 8
    Thucydides (History) 460 – 400 BC 900 AD 1,300 years ?
    Aristotle (Philosopher) 384 – 322 BC 1,100 AD 1,400 years 5
    Caesar (History) 100 – 44 BC 900 AD 1,000 years 10
    Pliny (History) 61 – 113 AD 850 AD 750 years 7
    Suetonius (Roman History) 70 – 140 AD 950 AD 800 years ?
    Tacitus (Greek History) 100 AD 1,100 AD 1,000 years 20

  • 32. DagoodS  |  May 16, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    Good, Dan. I am glad you looked it up.

    Let’s look at what you said previously;

    Dan: You have heard of Julius Caesar and I am sure you believe that he existed right? Well there were 10 manuscripts of antiquity that explained who he was as we know him today. 10 that is it, in one language, everything we know today about him came from just those 10 manuscripts.

    Actually, if you look at your chart, it is listing the number of documents we have authored by the person. We have more than 10 documents about Julius Caesar. (Not to mention coins, statutes, and historical references.)

    Further, there are articles written by enemies that acknowledge his existence and his own writings. With Jesus we have none of that.

    Dan: Do you know how many manuscripts of antiquity about Jesus? Any guess?
    The New Testament we have either in fragments or partials within 25 years, 40 years of events we have 5,400 partials or complete manuscripts in Greek (the original language) and 19,000 other languages.

    Now we see that there are over 5300 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament in total; not within 25-40 years of the events. Your own source (found it per google) cites 230 manuscripts (and this includes partials, such as the postage stamp sized P52) prior to 600 CE.

    However, I would certainly agree that the New Testament is one of the most prolific texts we have for that period. Not that this has a whit to do with whether any of the contents are true or not, of course.

    I love the percentage “99.5% pure.” Just debated that with another person. If it is that miniscule, can you kindly point out the “.5%” that is in doubt? Should be easy enough, such a small percentage and all…

  • 33. Richard T Scott  |  May 16, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    For once I’m speechless. Enjoyed the essay.

  • 34. Dan  |  May 19, 2007 at 12:03 am

    DagoodS,

    We have more than 10 documents about Julius Caesar. (Not to mention coins, statutes, and historical references.

    No matter what comes your way of proof you won’t believe until it is too late but I will keep trying for your sake. So is this how you gauge to see if something is real or not? If this is the case then I have slam dunk proof of Jesus. I will add even another example of Jesus’ existence, Jesus had 11 apostles and people love and adored them so much they named places and building after them like we do here in the US.

    There is no building named after atheists of any sort that is known to me. There are not as many buildings named after Buda or Mohamed. You all are denying history in its entirety, to say that Jesus did not exist is to say that the apostles didn’t either and there is HISTORIC PROOF that they did once exist. Are you all saying that St. Peter
    doesn’t exist or to say St. John Lateran or St. Paul or Santa Maria Maggiore (Virgin Mary) are all just fake or made up people to just put up nice looking buildings?

    What about the statues of famous people, Lincoln Memorial is a great example, we have more apostles honored in this manner also James, son of Alphaeus and Mark the Evangelist are more proof. Do we really need more examples? These were real people and real lives with real history and to refute it, is an absolute absurdity. Wake up!

    You said Wow! I mean….Wow! Do you have any support for this claim? Thanks.

    So now you are brushing it off because I said 5400 instead of 5300. Come on truth is staring at all of you in the face and you are looking around with your wyes closed saying “where, where” Who are you all trying to convince, me or you?

    For Him,
    Dan

  • 35. Heather  |  May 19, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    Dan,

    **I will add even another example of Jesus’ existence, Jesus had 11 apostles and people love and adored them so much they named places and building after them like we do here in the US. ** Within what time frame? The problem with the comparison is that the coins and such would’ve been created pretty close within Caeser’s lifetime. That, and many of the documents that reference Caeser’s existence were written in his own lifetime, and some even by his enemies. As DagoodS says, it’s much more difficult to apply that to Jesus. Besides, you are saying that people named buildings after the apostles — as I state below, lack of belief in the existence of Jesus doesn’t translate into lack of belief that the apostles existed.

    **So now you are brushing it off because I said 5400 instead of 5300. Come on truth is staring at all of you in the face and you are looking around with your wyes ** No, what he’s saying is that there are 5,300 Greek manuscripts in total, between when first written and today. Only 230 of those are prior to 600 CE. The balance of those manuscripts are simply copies.

    **You all are denying history in its entirety, to say that Jesus did not exist is to say that the apostles didn’t either and there is HISTORIC PROOF that they did once exist. ** No, it’s not the same. Those that say Jesus didn’t exist do believe that others did, and spread the message about Jesus.

  • 36. Dan  |  May 20, 2007 at 2:31 am

    Your own source (found it per google) cites 230 manuscripts of those are prior to 600 CE. The balance of those manuscripts are simply copies.

    Funny I didn’t read that. Heather, Do you have proof of this claim you and Dagoods is making? I couldn’t find that part of the info. I have been looking though and there is nothing that I can find that says this at all. Can you or Dagoods point me in that direction?

    “Those that say Jesus didn’t exist” Are you a part of this group Heather?

    Heather are you here to try to induce doubt. Are you trying to defend the other side without stating your position because you believe that sitting on the fence, you will not get hurt? I have news for you, God says he will spew you out if you are lukewarm. Heather are you lukewarm? Do you believe in Jesus?

  • 37. Rose Red  |  May 20, 2007 at 4:51 am

    Dan, with all due respect…calm down!
    there is no way you are ever going to get through to anyone by shouting at them via the internet, it makes people immediately defensive-not a good situation in which to debate about the Bible.

    From a two years worth of debating about things like this, i have learned that one of the best ways (so far) to talk about things is to ask questions and really listen to the answers. Of course I am not perfect, and so I don’t always do this myself, but I usually get the best debates when using this method.

    And before you say that I am a luke-warm cup of water, let me say that I consider myself to be a fundamentalist Christian, albeit one who is interested in others view points. I believe that the Bible is the Word of God, full stop. However MANY people, including a few of my friends don’t think so, and thats fine. If God wants to convict them (and I am personally persuaded that He does) then He will do so, in His own time and in His own way.

    From what I have seen, heard and read, people are not convinced of God’s existence by shouting.

    I am not saying to back down, just to be slightly more calm, and you might get further…..or you might not, but at least you would have learned something!

    Personally I would love to debate this subject with the people on this forum, but I have restricted internet acess and plenty of other things to do.

    Shalom

    ~*RR

  • 38. DagoodS  |  May 20, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    Heather,

    I was being deliberately brief with Dan. It has been my (sad) experience that people of that mindset are more interested in telling than in learning. All I can do ask a question and hope that they go out and research on their own and discover. (They certainly will NEVER believe it if an atheist provides the information, no matter how founded it is.)

    I secretly always hope they come back with an open-mind and say, “Hey, you were right, and I learned what I previously said was complete bollocks. Who knew that the McDowells of the world would be so disingenuous in their writing?”

    But in order to be clearer–I was questioning Dan’s following claims:

    1) The New Testament in fragments or partials within 25 years of the events;
    2) 5,400 partial or complete manuscripts within 40 years of the events;
    3) That the 5,400 manuscripts were in 19,000 languages.

    Taking the first claim. The last record of history would be at the end of Acts, which has Paul headed off to Rome. Maybe 62-63 C.E. (We could also claim that the Revelation of the Apocalypse of John was the last recorded event, but I would leave it up to the various apologist as to what possible date that could be.)

    So to be safe, say 64 C.E. This would mean we would need the New Testament in fragments or partials by 89-90 C.E.

    Obviously, the first claim is untrue. No manuscripts are dated that early. (Although I am aware of Theide’s very questionable work, and the almost ridiculous claim of a sentence of Mark in the DSS.) I was looking for support for this claim by Dan.

    I didn’t expect any. I didn’t get any.

    Or, take it the other way, dating back from the earliest manuscript, P52. Which is dated to 150 C.E., +/- 25 years, or 125-175 C.E. This is a few partial words from the Gospel of John. A Book that the most judicious claim would place the last date of 36 C.E. Taking the latest date of John (36 C.E.) comparing to the earliest date for P52 (125 C.E.) we are still talking a period of 89 years. Nowhere near 25 years, of course.

    Taking the second claim of 5,400 manuscripts within 40 years. As we can see above, we don’t have one (1) manuscript within twice that period, let alone 500 or 5000. I was looking for support for this claim by Dan.

    I didn’t expect any. I didn’t get any.

    As to the 19,000 languages for these non-existent manuscripts—well, I don’t think anything more needs be said.

    As far as the last count I was aware was in use was 33,000 manuscripts. But the question, of course, is over what period of time. I think (but don’t quote me) this would be from the 13th or 14th Century back.

    Look, by 100 C.E. we have none. By 200 C.E. we have 4 or 5. By 300 maybe a dozen. By 400 up to 120 or so. According to Aland, 230 by 600 C.E. (Dating is a range, so I am being non-specific.) Certainly, at some point we can say, “We have 5400 manuscripts,” although what date they use, I am uncertain. If they continue on in time, eventually they can say, “We have 33000 manuscripts.” All depends what the final date one wants to use.

    Dan, the only thing I found close to your claim was here:

    http://www.biblestudymanuals.net/quran3.htm

    If you are truly looking for resources, I suggest Metzger’s “The Text of the New Testament.” (Never fear—a Christian.) If you are looking for on-line resources:

    http://www.kchanson.com/ANCDOCS/greek/johnpap.html
    http://www.trends.ca/~yuku/bbl/rylands.htm
    http://www.skypoint.com/members/waltzmn/ManuscriptsPapyri.html
    http://www.cob-net.org/compare_uncials.htm

    Oh, and if you want to learn of buildings named after atheists, here in Michigan we have

    1) The Henry Ford
    2) Henry Ford Hospital.

    Now you know two. If you want places, we have “Disneyland” and “Disneyworld.” (And the irony of your mentioning “Lincoln Memorial” and not knowing a building named after an atheist is too funny. Lincoln was very probably an atheist who made very cryptic references to an “Almighty” to pacify theists in order to unite the country.)

  • 39. Dan  |  May 20, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    DagoodS said earlier However, I would certainly agree that the New Testament is one of the most prolific texts we have for that period. Not that this has a whit to do with whether any of the contents are true or not, of course.

    So now with this additional information that you looked up, you are ready to admit that in terms of history that Jesus Christ is divine and Holy Deity? That history does recognize Jesus and he did what he said he did by documentation and history accounts of his existence.

    Rose Red said : “Dan, with all due respect…calm down! it makes people immediately defensive-not a good situation in which to debate about the Bible.” So that is a bad thing?

    They are claiming there is no God or no such thing as Jesus and such. They better be ready to defend that position. I don’t understand when you say that I am shouting on a keyboard. That doesn’t make sense.

    When someone in a public forum is in“debate” about the Bible’s validity they are literally declaring war against God. They are storing up the wrath of God. We are held accountable for our actions. They are blaspheming when they speak against him, Luke 22:65. Breaking the third commandment is not wise for us to do. So do you hug a pedophile that has no remorse?

    Rose Red, I will let you know how to preach: law to the proud and grace to the humble. That is the exact reason for Matthew 7:6 “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” If you just talk about Gods mercy then you will not reach people that need the savior. You will just get a bunch of people to “invite Jesus into their heart” and not get any true repentant souls.

    Is this shouting? The Bible refers to the fate of the unsaved with such fearful words as the following: Shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2), Everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46), Weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:51), Fire unquenchable” (Luke 3:17), Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish” (Romans 2:8,9), Everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:9), Eternal fire…the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 1:7,13) Revelation 14:10,11 tells us the final, eternal destiny of the sinner: “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone…the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night.”

    Martin Luther King Jr. said “Christians should not be thermometers that merely record and reflect the temperature of popular opinion. Christians should be like thermostats, responsible for transforming and setting the temperature or standards of society.”

    God is teaching me all things when I continue my walk in life 1 john 2:27. I am very humble and grateful that I was chosen and I want to tell every one of you that I found something wonderful and God loves you this much. I truly wish you all the best in life and hold no ill will towards you at all. Without repentance and Jesus forgiveness of all your sinning, then you will perish. I will shout that from every mountain top until we are all saved.

    Rose, it takes far more love to confront then to ignore the situation, perfect love is a constant confronter. Acceptance and conformity are not Christian priorities. Romans 12:2

    For Him,
    Dan

  • 40. DagoodS  |  May 20, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    dan: So now with this additional information that you looked up, you are ready to admit that in terms of history that Jesus Christ is divine and Holy Deity?

    Oh, I didn’t have to look it up. I already knew it. I only asked to see if you could learn.

    As to Jesus’ existence (let alone divinity) I don’t confuse textual criticism with historicity or higher criticism. While they can overlap, they are much different fields with much different questions.

  • 41. Dan  |  May 21, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Let me know when God changes your viewpoints on all this because every one will bow to Jesus. You can choose when either in this life or the after life but every knee will bow to his glory.

  • 42. Slapdash  |  June 25, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    **The Bible is very clear and it says we live in a fallen creation. In the beginning God created the world with no disease, no cancer, no suffering, no death. As by the sin of one man death entered into this world and death passed onto all because all have sinned. ** (Dan)

    I am genuinely curious about how Adam’s and Eve’s sin of eating fruit was transmitted through to all other living creatures, creating parasites, cancers, tornadoes, and earthquakes, and every other ‘bad’ thing in this world that we shrug off and attribute to living in a “fallen world”?

    Quite literally, what was the mechanism? One act of disobedience somehow, magically or supernaturally, sent the *entire* system into convulsive death throes?

    How could Adam and Eve have done this unless they had supernatural powers?

    This has become such a “duh!” moment for me that I can’t believe I used to blithely accept the fallen world argument. I was never willing to consider that God himself created cells that could become cancerous. Weather patterns that could kill people. Creatures whose survival depends on the death of another living creature, etc.

    God had to be the author and creator of everything that is ‘fallen’ in this world. I don’t see any other way around this.

  • 43. HeIsSailing  |  June 25, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    slapdash sez:
    “How could Adam and Eve have done this unless they had supernatural powers? ”

    slapdash, I think the text of Genesis is even weirder than that. I think Genesis implies that the Tree had supernatural powers, not Adam or Eve. If not, why was YHVH so concerned about them eating of the Tree of Life – which would cause them to live forever?

    slapdash continues:
    “God had to be the author and creator of everything that is ‘fallen’ in this world. ”

    Proponents of ID have created a great escape hatch for God in this instance. IDers will look at the beauty and complexity of the world and say that such an amazing universe is obvious testamony of a loving designer. When obvious flaws in this design are pointed out, like hurricanes, rogue asteroids, birth defects (an endless list, really), the IDer will pull out the trump card – the Fallen world due to Adam’s Sin.

    In other words, the IDer is having cake and eating it too.

  • 44. Slapdash  |  June 26, 2007 at 12:06 am

    Yes – the trump card. Well stated. I think the next time I encounter this argument, maybe I’ll press the point and ask them to explain how exactly–as in, what are the physics involved?–man’s original sin infected everything.

  • 45. Heather  |  June 26, 2007 at 11:39 am

    **When obvious flaws in this design are pointed out, like hurricanes, rogue asteroids, birth defects (an endless list, really), the IDer will pull out the trump card – the Fallen world due to Adam’s Sin.** This happens with human behavior, too. All the good humans accomplish, or a nice thing that one person does for another, is attributed to God. You had nothing to do with it. But anything bad is completely and totally your fault.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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