A Christian on the Sidelines

July 23, 2007 at 4:53 pm 58 comments

Christian Commentary

Player on SidelinesWell I have a bit of a confession to make to this website…I have been struggling as of late as to what to contribute (especially since traffic has exploded the past couple weeks). During my time on the sidelines, I have enjoyed reading the various posts and people’s reactions to them. I admit that I have not jumped in as frequently as I once did due to an upcoming move I am preparing for.

It was during my time on the outskirts of this forum that I began to ponder the (for lack of a more sensitive term) “point” of agnostic/atheist websites such as de-conversion. Now this is not meant to be an insult, but maybe more of a sociological question and hypothesis. To do a comprehensive study on the posts of this blog would take a substantial amount of time. However, in my informal examination, I came to a few conclusions.

Agnostic and Atheist contributors/commentors usually come from one of two backgrounds (I apologize for the dichotomy, but the simpler the better). In one camp, there are the individuals who lost their faith because of resentment towards Church establishments. These individuals could not deal with the hypocrisy of their particular religious institution and began to turn away from their faith – and who could blame them? The unfortunate corruption of scripture (through the travesty of strict literalism) has put a big black spot on “religion”. Not too long ago, a post was done on this blog that criticized people for saying they were “spiritual”, not “religious”. I think that this distinction has to made given the nature of “religion” today (particularly by the 20th century Christian fundamentalist movement.) In the effort to avoid digressing too far, I will just say that separating spirituality from religion coincides with Jesus’ irreligion purpose:

“…How terrible it will be for you experts of religious law! For you crush people beneath impossible religious demands and you never lift a finger to ease the burden.” (Luke 11:46)

“How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, but you ignore the important things of the law – justice, mercy and faith…” (Matthew 23:23)

It is clear that many Agnostic/Atheists walked away from Christianity (or whatever religion) because they were tainted by the hypocrites, and were burdened with “impossible religious demands” (perhaps The de-Convert falls into this category as I recall him once saying how free and clear his conscience felt once he renounced his faith). Sadly, religious fundamentalists tend to avoid the “important things of the law- justice, mercy, and faith”. Agnostic/Atheists in this group are often angry, and their writing/comments reflect their displeasure with corruption.

The second camp of agnostic/atheists are usually individuals who feel that it does not make sense logically, scientifically, etc. for the events that are recorded in say, the Bible, to have occurred. Posts by these contributors tend to create interesting “online debates” in the comments section. Naturally though, there is a distinct flaw within having such “debates” because, in most cases, definitions are improperly defined and there are too many assumptions made on both sides. In other words, the paradigms of the individuals are holding back any real progress in regards to Atheists and Theists. The Agnostic/Atheist is attempting to explain religion through empirical methods while Theists attempt the same by using theology. The mixing of these concepts into the other field is a clear injustice to both disciplines.

If you can recall, the purpose of this post was to try to figure out the point of such forums like this one… it is quite apparent that the main goal is to provide a haven for like-minded (and sometimes “unlike”-minded) individuals to have a community to fall back on…hm, kind of sounds like a Church :) . In other words, everyone wants to know others who believe the same. Yet what is it that Atheists and Agnostics believe? If the “De-Conversion Wager” on the side menu bar is an indicator of anything, then it appears that perhaps Atheists and Theists are not that different. Beyond the corruption, close-mindedness, and ignorance of both the religious and a-religious camps lies a similar desire. Boiled down, it looks as if the only difference that remains is determining where that “desire” comes from…and frankly, it doesn’t matter, because Atheists and Theists alike still have not fully embraced the concepts of love, mercy, compassion, and tolerance.

- Justin

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Declaring War on ‘Saint’ Paul The Astronomical Cheesologist

58 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cragar  |  July 23, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Good post.

    When I first started blogging a few months ago I had no idea how large the atheist/agnostic internet population was. This was one of the first sites I found and is still one of my favorites.

    In my real life it isn’t feasable to talk to most people about my religious beliefs. As is the old saying, religion along with politics are not necessarily the best topics to maintain working and personal relationships. Hmmm, that would be a good name for a blog. :-)

    On the internet I can have good discussions on this site with both theists and atheists much more versed in the Bible than I am. Or you can hit some other sites for all out brawls on creation vs evolution, etc. And either way there is no repercussions with anyone I work with, am friends with, or married to.

  • 2. Dan  |  July 23, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    Nice post and I agree about the two camps as I deal with the same types but I would say they are being fused together because most read and converse together and get like minded thoughts plus they all want to love Richard Dawkins the most confused man on earth, but I digress.

    I believe religion destroys and keeps people away from God; another reason why Jesus was sent. Jesus had the harshest words for the scribes and Pharisees. The mere fact there are different denominations negates the one true way as talked about in Jeremiah 32:38-40. Most religions like Catholicism, Mormonism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or Muslims are all “work based religions” and are of the devil for many reasons. God says that there is nothing that we can do to earn our way to heaven and that is what all these religions are about, that if you follow that 5 pillars or confess your sins to a man or if you say hail to Mary, fast, meditate and do good works enough that it will get you to heaven, nothing can be further from the truth. Besides not trusting in Jesus alone they believe they can do something to earn salvation, it is a gift from God, nothing you do will earn your way to heaven. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Works count after salvation to show gratefulness, but will not get you to heaven. That is why they drove the planes into the towers because they believed they could “do something” to earn heaven but they were wrong and most all religions are wrong. It doesn’t mean that all people who are religious are not saved but you must be careful of your theology.

    We are to look to Jesus for leadership not man. The Bible says to evaluate everything to see if it is of God by their fruit, good tree = good fruit a bad tree can never bear good fruit. We don’t even have to address the Catholic Church and the mass pedophiles to determine the fruit, it is obvious.

    I have collected verses that may contradict that we are to look to man for teachings such as a Church. Assembly yes, Church no

    For Him,
    Dan

  • 3. Brad  |  July 23, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    I’d like to add also, that it is important for ALL contributors (site contributors and visitors alike) to remember that online/written discussion simply cannot flow like a conversation, and thus cannot expect it to. For example, introducing multiple points that may or may not be on topic creates tangents, confusion, and compells people to start posting in response, thus hijacking the original post, and very rarely accomplishing a constructive purpose. I have been very guilty of this at times on this blog and my own!

    This is a long way of saying that blogs will never take the place of personal dialog and one on one conversation. That said, if any of you are ever in St. Louis, let me know and we can move this from “virtual” reality to real reality (if that is even a legitimate phrase).

    Some very good insights, Justin.

  • 4. Brad  |  July 23, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    Oh man… case in point:
    Dan said,
    “Most religions like Catholicism… are all “work based religions” and are of the devil for many reasons.”

    Dude, I’m NOT a fan of Catholicism either, but they are still Christians and saying they are “of the devil” just proves the point of those who run this blog. Ridiculous…

    “The Bible says to evaluate everything to see if it is of God by their fruit, good tree = good fruit a bad tree can never bear good fruit. We don’t even have to address the Catholic Church and the mass pedophiles to determine the fruit, it is obvious.”
    Ooops… You must be sinless then?

    Nevermind that the Catholic church also does very positive social work around the world as well. Non-Christians also do some amazing things to help their fellow man. You betray your won bias, as it is not works that give one identity, but their acceptance of Christ. Catholics very much qualify, and while I disagree with most of their doctrine, do NOT claim their are “of the devil” when they confess Christ as Lord.

    Ridiculous….

    Justin,
    I rest my case. I still gave in to the temptation to tangent after writing a response condemning it! Oh well.

  • 5. karen  |  July 23, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    Hi Justin, good to have you back here again.

    I don’t really see the split between two “camps” of atheists. In my experience it’s more both-and than either-or.

    For instance, I notice a lot of Christians assume that I was hurt by people at church, or that I was upset about the hypocrisy, or that something else “happened to me” to make me leave the fold.

    Actually, that’s really not true. I was well-liked at church, I headed up several committees, worked on various projects, I even was on the church payroll part-time for several years. It wasn’t other people who started me on the de-conversion journey – it was very much my own internal questions and struggles finally coming to the surface after being pushed down for many, many years.

    As I began allowing myself to entertain the questions I’d always rejected, the intellectual problems, inconsistencies and logical fallacies started to crystallize in my mind. Yes, Internet research and reading books and listening to tapes and podcasts did start to “click” with me – so there was an intellectual process going on.

    But it was only later, as I had one foot already out the door, that I began recalling things that bugged me about church, about the people there, about inconsistencies in what we were supposed to do and what really happened and the way I was treated. It was like I had buried all my emotional complaints deep down right along with my intellectual uncertainties, and they came bubbling up after I began to entertain doubt.

    So, for me at least, both components apply but it was a personal, intellectual process that sparked deconversion, not some trouble I had at church.

    Oh, and you mentioned anger. Yes. I think that’s inevitable when you become convinced you bought into a lie and spent XX many years (30, in my case) devoted to it. The wasted time and the many decisions I might have made differently – and better – do make for some angry thoughts. In general, I think they tend to fade with time.

  • 6. Heather  |  July 23, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    Both cragar and Brad have mentioned the concept of everyday conversation in matters of spirituality and religion. I’m curious about those who post here in general — for me, I don’t have conversations like this on a daily basis. Most of my socializing during the week is via co-workers, and topics tend to drift towards weekend plans, sports, or boyfriends/girlfriends. If I tried to introduce anything like this, they’d look at me as though I had grown a second head.

    And I really like discussing the deep topics such as these, which is why forums like this are so useful. It’s an outlet that I really can’t find in “real life.” Well, I probably could, if I looked really hard — but another benefit from this is that it doesn’t discolor any face-to-face friendships. We can discuss, and then walk away without it affecting anything else.

  • 7. Justin  |  July 23, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    I like the picture that was put into the post, haha, it’s perfect (thanks aA)

  • 8. Dan  |  July 24, 2007 at 2:22 am

    I agree with you Heather (rare I know) I can gather what I am trying to say in a concise manner and explore way more subjects then the face to face, so I see value in a blog such as this. I enjoy your, as well as others, intellect and I am still concerned for your soul. :)

    As for me Heather I try to spark this type of conversation wherever I go with tracts or asking “Would you consider yourself to be a good person?” and off I am witnessing to that person. But to sit and have the deep conversations that you and I have had with references to the bible and such would be very difficult for me personally.

    Brad

    I believe i am on subject , friend. A conversation is an exchange of views or ideas. It sounds a little formal and legalistic to say stay on one subject when introducing a volatile subject on a blog. I have had many conversations that I cherish here and elsewhere.Just ask Heather, we have argued and bickered and stirred the pot and conversed with each other and explored so many fascinating subjects. Heather and others have challenged me many times and I love a great conversation. I enjoy witnessing for the Lord and genuinely feel sorrow for the lost. Why is this subject explored so much, have you ever wondered that? It is in our soul to look up and ask why are we here and what got us here. God made us that way. Otherwise he wouldn’t have made the heavens so interesting. There would just be black sky. God gave us eyes and ears and a brain to observe and yes to observe and be inquisitive towards each other.

    We are all here on earth to find out life and how can we do that by sticking to one subject. So do you suggest we all agree and say goodnight? Catholic Church is of the devil and is proven in scripture. If it is not of God, it is of the devil and that is what it is. I can list the reasons I believe this to be so if you would like. I also said “It doesn’t mean that all people who are religious are not saved ”

    When you pointed out “Nevermind that the Catholic church also does very positive social work around the world as well.” Isn’t the definition of work based religions and it made me think of the verses Matthew 7:21-23. I am grateful that God is allowing us to see the hypocrisy of that church and so far a billion of tithing’s have gone to victims of molestation. I also believe Jesus is our sabbath and that on the 7th day God didn’t rest because he was tired of creating but that it was complete and Jesus is the real sabbath and we are in His rest. Just another subject to talk about. Go to my blog and we can talk about it. I for one am honored to be part of technology that allows us to fellowship thousands of miles apart and in a safe environment for exploration of our minds. We can only benefit if we are thinking about God tonight

    For Him,
    Dan

  • 9. Jon Featherstone  |  July 24, 2007 at 2:52 am

    I’m in the painful process of “de-converting” and I can identify with both of the “camps” you name. For sure some people in the church have let me down. But so have people in my family, work, football club, etc. Christianity stands or falls, intellectually, solely on your attitude to the Bible, from which Christianity is derived. Once you no longer presuppose it to be true, it is a very quick process to reject almost all of it, or at least no longer give it the same importance it had before. It is almost impossible to be “a Christian” without the presupposition that “the Bible is God’s Word”.
    Jon

  • 10. Thinking Ape  |  July 24, 2007 at 2:53 am

    Dan, this may be a topic for another article, but what do you consider to be “work” in this context?

  • 11. pastorofdisaster  |  July 24, 2007 at 7:46 am

    I liked Karen’s description of de-converting. When we are in denial or pushing down any of those things that should be bothering us it only makes sense that when a major change occurs they will bubble to the surface. That has been my experience from leaving fundamentalism. All those years in between I remember saying, “oh I am not angry.” “This was merely an intelletual change from my study of the facts.” As I changed I made the painful discovery that my intellectual/social change away from an ideology that had dominated my life for over 30 years was obviously intertwined with my deep seeded emotions. They wanted to be acknowledged.

    I do not believe that we are rational beings seperated from our emotions. Especially when it comes to our accepting our rejecting things that we have participated in. Believing in that seems…well…irrational. Plus, I think it is negative to ignore our feelings and emotions. Justin thanks for reminding me of something that has been an important part of bringing me peace and acceptance in leaving an abusive spirituality.

  • 12. superhappyjen  |  July 24, 2007 at 9:35 am

    it is quite apparent that the main goal is to provide a haven for like-minded (and sometimes “unlike”-minded) individuals to have a community to fall back on…hm, kind of sounds like a Church . In other words, everyone wants to know others who believe the same. Yet what is it that Atheists and Agnostics believe?

    Interesting. Does one require common beliefs to participate in a discussion forum? I have participated in discussion forums with topics ranging from Star Trek to pregnancy, from dream analysis to adventure games. And yes, all of these various message boards and blogs are like Church in that they are places for people to congregate, but unlike Church they are not based on any deeply held religious faith. What do atheists and agnostics believe is not really the question (the answer, of course, is that we believe a variety of things, and no two atheist is the same). The point is we don’t believe in God. “I don’t believe in God” is not a belief any more than “I like to play adventure games”, but both are valid reasons to have a discussion forum. We need these forums because we need to not be alone in the universe. I believe the discussions here are especially important, but I don’t think you have to believe in their importance to participate.

    …and frankly, it doesn’t matter, because Atheists and Theists alike still have not fully embraced the concepts of love, mercy, compassion, and tolerance.

    Very true and we are trying. But beyond a nice sign off about us all being the same, what does this have to do with the point of this blog? Are you trying to replace religion with this blog? If so you will invariably be disapointed. This blog will not offer any morals to live by, nor will it give you the comfort in knowing that paradise awaits when you die.

    The point of this blog is to talk about atheism and agnosticism. Period.

  • 13. Simen  |  July 24, 2007 at 10:00 am

    Superhappyjen, you nicely summed up my feelings on this post. I don’t think it’s very honest to try to extrapolate from “people like to discuss topics they care about”, which is obviously true, to “everyone wants to know others who believe the same”.

  • 14. Good stuff! « blueollie  |  July 24, 2007 at 10:51 am

    [...] From a (reasonable) Christian (via deconversion): It was during my time on the outskirts of this forum that I began to ponder the (for lack of a more sensitive term) “point” of agnostic/atheist websites such as de-conversion. Now this is not meant to be an insult, but maybe more of a sociological question and hypothesis. To do a comprehensive study on the posts of this blog would take a substantial amount of time. However, in my informal examination, I came to a few conclusions. [...]

  • 15. Brad  |  July 24, 2007 at 10:58 am

    Dan,

    1.) Staying on the topic of posts helps conversation be constructive in exchanging ideas and information. With multiple tangents, the amount of time spent increases dramatically and it can start to be very confusing in communicating and discerning what each other is trying to say. That was my point.

    2.) I would love to hear how you believe the Catholic church is “of the devil.” I suspect your standards could be applied to any other faith/religion (including protestantism), so that sounds very ambiguous. You judge them by illustrating their works-righteousness (which I do agree with), and I would agree with you that they could very well be “of the devil” if they did not confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. But they do. I will agree that there are people in the Catholic church who do the work of the devil (pedophiles priests, for example), yet to say the faith itself is too, is just contradictory to scripture.

    TA,
    I would consider “work” in this context to be anything we do to try to earn our salvation or get “right with God.” As Jesus points out, it is the reason why we do things (where our heart is in the matter) and not the things themselves. If we do good “works” because we are grateful to God for His love, this is fine. But to do the same act because we feel we need to in order to earn His love, is wrong.

    i.e. “I am accepted, therefore I obey,” and not “I obey, therefore I am accepted.”

  • 16. The Astronomical Cheesologist « de-conversion  |  July 24, 2007 at 11:27 am

    [...] – A Christian on the Sidelines [...]

  • 17. Thinking Ape  |  July 24, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Brad says ““I am accepted, therefore I obey,” and not “I obey, therefore I am accepted.””

    I really like the way you explained that. But for this explanation, could you not change the words around for any various religion?

    i.e. Buddhism: “It is true, therefore I obey, and not “I obey, therefore it is true”

    I don’t know – I just made that up on the spot, but it seems to work. You can call me on that. I just find that when Christians refer to other religions as “work-based”, they really have no clue what other religions are about and that the term “work” in this context is very western or semitic oriented.

  • 18. karen  |  July 24, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    Dan, you should watch out where you’re casting those stones.

    I know several people – male and female – who were molested by church “youth leaders” in Protestant churches growing up. One of my best friends had an affair in her teens with her youth pastor while he was married to a lovely woman in the church.

    Sexual immorality may not be nearly as institutionalized and widespread in Protestant churches as it has been in the Catholic church, but it’s there all the same. And I suspect it’s much more widespread than has come out publicly.

  • 19. Brad  |  July 24, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    TA,

    A very good point. The exception however, is that “acceptance” (particularly how I am using it) cannot be divorced from the Cross (justification, atonement, the whole gammit). The acceptance is what God did in human history, not because we “worked hard” for it or any other basis of merit, but because He loves us. THAT is the only motivation that makes us even WANT (key word) to “obey.” Otherwise, it is the other way around: “I obey, therefore I’m accepted.” Make sense?

    Karen,
    I agree, and thank you for making that point in Re: to protestantism. Just because we know Jesus does not mean we are now perfect. We are forgiven of all sin, past, present, and future, but sin is sitll in the world and we still act sinfully. Even those with a “grace-based-faith” still sin. And that doesn’t mean they are “of the devil” either.

  • 20. Thinking Ape  |  July 24, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Brad, yes, I was not critiquing how you put it, I completely agree. I am just wary of how unique the idea really is. This could really turn into a whole other discussion, but, just thinking out loud and not meaning to make light of the very real differences, wanting to believe we are “accepted” based on ancient revelations appears similar to a dharmic way of “seeing reality as it really is” and then wanting to “obey” based on seeing that reality (i.e. works of compassion, meditation, etc.).

    Again, I don’t mean to squander the real differences between two very different religions, but I simply know more about Buddhism than I do Islam or Judaism. It just seems to me that Christians tend to refer to the “works” of those two semitic religions when comparing faith and works.

  • 21. Brad  |  July 24, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Hmmm….. I appreciate the disclaimer TA, and the intent. I kinda see what you mean, but am not as familiar with the “dharmic way.”

    “wanting to believe we are “accepted” based on ancient revelations”
    What is the source for those revelations according to their tradition?

    “It just seems to me that Christians tend to refer to the “works” of those two semitic religions when comparing faith and works.”
    That is probably very true and case in point for me. I am not as familiar with Buddhism as I am the other two, so that is why I mention it. What an opportunity for us? hehe. Also, from my understanding, Buddhism starts with works, or rituals/practices/meditations, while the other three ideally start with faith. Is that always practiced? Not really. But it is an aspect that (at least from my understanding) separates them.

    I’m really enjoying this discussion. Works v. Faith – based righteousness is a big topic in the “emerging church” and evangelical circles right now. I imagine it will be for the next several years.

  • 22. Heather  |  July 24, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    As Jesus points out, it is the reason why we do things (where our heart is in the matter) and not the things themselves. If we do good “works” because we are grateful to God for His love, this is fine. But to do the same act because we feel we need to in order to earn His love, is wrong.

    Do Judaism and Islam define themselves as work-based religions along the same lines as the Christian definition? For example: if I said to a Jewish person that s/he believes she want earn/merit heaven through good works, would that person agree with me?

    I know the New Perspective on Paul covers this, with EP Sanders beginning the process and saying that the good works and keeping the law were out of a grateful response to being a part of the Covenant with God, rather than done to achieve salvation.

  • 23. Thinking Ape  |  July 24, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    Brad says,

    “What is the source for those revelations according to their tradition?”

    The Buddhist source is like the Christian one in that it follows from a longer Indic tradition (what we now call “Hinduism”), but was radically reformed by Sakyamuni Gautama. Especially in the Mahayana tradition, however, Gautama is not unique in their own system (unlike Jesus), but was the source of the new revelation.

    Also, from my understanding, Buddhism starts with works, or rituals/practices/meditations, while the other three ideally start with faith.

    I think the culture-comparison breaks down here a bit, which is why I asked about clarification on “works”. Buddhist’s “have faith” that the revelations of the Buddha about the “way the world really is” are true, and so they practice how they believe they can also experience and see how the world really is. I am not sure whether my critique is that Buddhism is similar or if it is so radically different that you can’t use terms like “faith” or “works.”

    I am confused about that last sentence I cited above. You understand that Judaism and Islam begin with “faith”? Maybe we are confusing ourselves here. Is precedence the important thing here (i.e. what starts before what). I would say that every religious system “starts” with a “faith” of some type. I thought we were discussing what is required for “salvation”? I was considering Judaism and Islam as “works-based” whether they “start” with faith or not.

  • 24. Dan  |  July 25, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Wow, great back and forth all. Well I don’t have to say much hear just a few points.

    TA: Brad said it better then I could about work based religions so we will leave it at that. Thanks Brad

    Brad said “yet to say the faith itself is too, is just contradictory to scripture.”

    I stay on the belief that if it is not of God then it is of the devil. Man pushing God out of the way (religion) is an example of this. I believe it is of the devil by their fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit. Now scripture: Matthew 23:9 says not to call anyone your father for one is your Father and priests want to be called Father (contradiction of the Bible #1). Second it says in 1 Peter 5:3 “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.” Yet the entire Church is a political hierarchy all the way to the top (Pope). Third 1 Timothy 2:5-6 contradicts the current priesthood that says you must confess to a man instead of repent to God himself. Fourth,my favorite, is 1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. John 14:26 says the same thing.

    Karen said ” know several people – male and female – who were molested by church “youth leaders” in Protestant churches growing up.” I know doesn’t that just make you cry, I am so sorry for those kids having to go through that. Now come on does that glorify God? A comedian once said they should instill pedophile crucifixions to stop that.

    Thanks Karen for proving my point putting trust in man (religion) is not fruitful. I believe all religions are of the devil. They forsake the assembly of the saints as said in Hebrews 10:25 and divide into denominations and the one true way talked about in Jeremiah 32:38-40 is lost. Do Lutherans glorify Martin Luther or Jesus? Doesn’t the Mormons just follow founder Joseph Smith instead of Jesus like Scientology follows L Ron Hubbard. These are all examples of man interfering with the perfect teachings of Jesus and his message. Proverbs 3:5-6 and John 10:27 says it all for me.

    Please someone prove me wrong, ever since I found the Lord 15 years ago I have had the view that religion is a very bad thing and study of the Bible, time, prayer and circumstances has proven that to be the truth. Goodnight all and of course God bless.

    For Him +†+
    Dan

  • 25. Thinking Ape  |  July 25, 2007 at 1:08 am

    Dan states,

    Please someone prove me wrong, ever since I found the Lord 15 years ago I have had the view that religion is a very bad thing and study of the Bible, time, prayer and circumstances has proven that to be the truth.

    I’m curious, do you have any thoughts on my “I’m Not religious, I’m a Christian” article?

    http://de-conversion.com/2007/07/11/im-not-religious-im-a-christian/

  • 26. Dan  |  July 25, 2007 at 2:28 am

    TA: Yes I have a comment or two. I believe I will nail it on the head if you are ready.

    I have answered already why I do not associate with religious groups on this post. Religion to me is man made and separates the one way of Jesus. That being said I know why you went on a tyrant against Christians.

    TA said “My conclusion? These Christians are dishonest about their religiousity. They are dishonest because they are embarrassed. They are dishonest because they are ignorant. They are dishonest because they proud. They are dishonest because they are arrogant. They are dishonest because they want to be more special than they actually are.”

    I agree with Richards input “While “Thinking Ape” claims this person is being dishonest about their religion, I think it is (at least in principle) possible to distinguish between the two. Religion, according to one definition is “an institution to express belief in a divine power”1. By this definition, perhaps “the church” and “religion” would be synonymous. My major gripe with religion has always been the institution associated along with it. It’s for this same reason that I disagree with organised atheist evangelism.
    For me, the first step away from religion (although I was never raised in a particularly religious family) was when I rejected organised religion. I was inclined to think that, while the beliefs may have been true, the institutionalisation and control from the Church was problematic. An irreligious Christian would, I imagine, reject the various denominations of Christian churches, like I did. ”

    My friend you are angry and wrong and I understand why. Search your soul to see if this is true or not. It comes down to atheists who include Christianity in religions such as the co founder of Freedom from Religion, Dan Barker. In his book “Losing faith in faith” he says the beginning of his atheism began when he started as a preacher, became more of a liberal Christian and kept on doubting (opposite of faith) until “blam” he was an atheist. Now Dan Barker and any fan of his cannot accept that Christianity is not a religion because that would negate their existence.

    They would have to create a sub chapter called Freedom from Christ (why don’t they just call it that anyway, I digress). I know many atheist, possibly yourself TA, that have no problem with buddist or even satanist but when someone mentions the name of Jesus Christ they foam at the mouth.

    I’m not religious, I’m a Christian!

    This is a true statement. Call a Catholic a Protestant and he will fight you, call a Lutheran a Baptist and he will get cross. Call all of them a Christians and they will thank you. I have no association with denominations or non-denominations either. I will fellowship with any brother and sister in Christ.

    Bad tree = Bad fruit and religions are too separative and cause dissension and discourse (bad fruit). We all deserve hell but through the sacrifice in Jesus Christ we can all be saved and is who I call Lord, not Martin Luther or hail to Mary or the Pope or any other person. Your thoughts TA? That is why i do all this…

    For Him +†+
    Dan

  • 27. Zoe  |  July 25, 2007 at 8:23 am

    Thinking Ape…are you an atheist?

  • 28. karen  |  July 25, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Dan:
    It’s for this same reason that I disagree with organised atheist evangelism.

    Sorry, I’d like to reply to this, but I’m late for my atheist evangelism training course down at the atheist recruitment center.
    :-)

    Dan – where do you get this stuff!? You seriously crack me up with some of the assumptions you make.

    1) There’s very little organized atheism in the first place. A handful of groups exist with relatively small memberships, most with agendas to promote science and skepticism or separation of church and state.

    2) None of the groups that I’ve heard of do any kind of “evangelism,” organized or otherwise. One humanist group finally scraped up enough money to finally station a full-time lobbyist in D.C. about a year ago, and she’s spending her time fighting faith-based funding and restrictions on free speech and freedom of religion, not pushing any kind of atheist agenda.

    3) The Blasphemy Challenge is the only phenomenon I can think of that might be called “evangelism,” but though that got a lot of publicity, it involved no more than a few thousand people at best. And it wasn’t so much evangelism as it was a chance for non-believers to stand up and declare themselves publicly – something most of us are frightened to do because of the enormous social and financial implications.

  • 29. Brad  |  July 25, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    *sigh*

    I hate missing a couple days on a post and having to catch up… ugh.

    OK, TA,

    Re: to #23:
    I appreciate the background info. That is news to me and I will have to chew on it a little more.

    “Maybe we are confusing ourselves here. Is precedence the important thing here (i.e. what starts before what)? ”

    I think it is of vital importance. The author of Hebrews writes to a jewish congregation of Christians and talks about how they should not give in to the Judaizers (Jews saying that new Christians should continue making sacrifices, keeping practices, etc.), but should put their fiaht (“pistos”) in Christ’s “once and for all” sacrifice. The “fruit” of where they put their faith (either in sacrifices or Christ) shows where their faith actually is (which is quite important for salvation!). Thus, the order is of GREAT importance.

    Also, I would say that Jews, in keeping their practices and doing works do so because they put their faith in a future messiah (which has already come), while Christians do so by putting their faith in the messiah that has already come. So, they would agree with you, in essence, yet many do begin with their works (the fruit) instead of their faith (tree which bears fruit). Islam, I am not as familiar with, but the Koran definitely implies a beginning with works and practices.

    Christians, conversely, who start with works largely come across as hypocrites, as it is faith that transforms and not their works. By beginning with works, they are moe concerned with their image and how they come across to others (and themselves for that matter) than with what Jesus was concerned with: their heart.

    Make sense? This is good stuff….

  • 30. Brad  |  July 25, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    Dan,

    *sigh*

    OK, I agree that the Catholic church has much doctrine that is contradictory to scripture (for a variety of reasons, such as their authority placed on tradition, definition of canon, etc.). So, that said, PLEASE define “the Catholic Church.” Are you talking about the followers? The priests themselves? Their doctrine? History? Please be more specific. Because even demons recognize Jesus and his authority, but NONE of them confess Him as Lord AND Savior (which almost any Catholic will agree to).

    Dan said:
    “I stay on the belief that if it is not of God then it is of the devil. ”

    Sadly, it is not so black and white. The Fall was caused by the devil’s introduction of sin into the Garden, yet we are still held responsible for the act. We live in a fallen world, and some “bad fruit” comes from the sheer fact that we live in it. We struggle with the “principalities” of evil, but also the “temptations of the flesh.” You CANNOT say that because the Catholic Church bears bad fruit that it is from the devil. The Catholic Church ALSO bears good fruit. You bear both bad and good fruit. As do I. There are a myriad of factors causing each.

    If you said that “the doctrine/practice of _____ is of the devil,” I would be more willing to agree with you. But sweeping generalizations are dangerous and harmful to others as well as your personal witness. Do you think that a Catholic, upon hearing your condemnation, would just change their mind, or even be willing to listen to you? Let’s think a little more about what it means to “speak the truth in love.”

    I want to also issue a disclaimer with this, as I am speaking from experience. I told a friend and fraternity brother of mine (yes, I am/was in a fraternity) that “Catholics aren’t Christians” because of their idolotry of Mary. He was a Catholic and, needless to say, upset. I was wrong, and have since understood very clearly HOW wrong I was. That day, I not only damaged my witness, but lost a ton of credibility. In such an open and public forum as this, it is even MORE vital that we speak the truth with love and respect.

  • 31. Heather  |  July 25, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Karen,

    There’s very little organized atheism in the first place. A handful of groups exist with relatively small memberships, most with agendas to promote science and skepticism or separation of church and state.

    I’m trying to figure out how organized atheism would even work, let alone how one would evangelize it. How do you go around telling people how they don’t have to believe in anything? It’s an amusing picture, though.

    Brad,

    Sadly, it is not so black and white.

    Agreed. Very few deep topics such as these ever are. And if we want to be technical, every single religion out there has produced both good and bad fruit.

  • 32. Brad  |  July 25, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Heather,

    I agree on both points.
    1.) The same could go for anarchists. It is fundamentally contradictory, isn’t it?

    2.) As do all things that sinful and fallen man has touched. Just part of the world we live in (for now).

  • 33. Dan  |  July 25, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    Karen:  The quote “I disagree with organised atheist evangelism.” was Richard’s comment about TA’s blog. I interjected that I do agree with it as I do. To publicly denounce God and his existence to also persuade others is evangelism in atheism.

    Brad: I understand that my words are not popular but should that bother me? My methods have a ecumenism goal. You said “I told a friend and fraternity brother of mine (yes, I am/was in a fraternity) that “Catholics aren’t Christians” because of their idolotry of Mary. He was a Catholic and, needless to say, upset.”

    I understand that frat boys seek approval of others but that is not a Christians priorities. :) MLK jr. once said “Christian’s should not be thermometers that merely record and reflect the temperature of popular opinion. Christian’s should be like thermostats, responsible for transforming and setting the temperature or standards of society.”

    Look buddy, true perfect love is a constant confronter. It takes far more love to confront then to just ignore the situation. acceptance and conformity are not Christians priorities. (Romans 12:2)

    Then Heather added “every single religion out there has produced both good and bad fruit.”

    Heather this totally opposite of what the Bible tells us.Matthew 7:16-18. This also is my point, if it is of God it cannot be bad fruit. If a priest molests a child he is not a Christian he is what is called a false convert. That was the purpose of Matthew 7:21-23. Remember the parable of the seed sower in Luke 8:5-8 Not everyone that confesses Jesus is Lord will inherit the kingdom.

    This is the truth I tell you, never take man’s (my) word for it read it yourself in the Bible. Catholics have a tremendous amount of bad fruit, current Pope was a Nazi in his past (I know we all sin but come on here) and the largest collection of pedophiles in the world to date, ever. Doctrine and practices that are man made and has nothing to do with the Bible. Martin Luther recognized this evil and did some very radically positive things to change that mindset. So what happened,  people made the mistake and followed Martin Luther instead of Jesus like he did. People that followed Jim Jones thought they would all go to heaven also.

    Are all religious people of the devil? I would say no. Are organized religions sent from God to categorize people into levels of believers? I would say no. Nothing good is coming from organized religion it is man made don’t any of you see that? You have people who today are post modern, atheist, agnostic and such all because of the suffocating religious movement (which is no excuse i might add). I will stand on my premise that religions today are not of the Bible or God. I would love anyone to prove me wrong… Biblically of course.

    Brad to touch one more point you said “You bear both bad and good fruit. As do I.” I hate to break this to you but I don’t bear bad fruit and if you do then you are of the devil according to the Bible. Let’s clarify what is bad fruit Luke 6:43 for the word bad it uses the word corrupt and a great example of that is the catholic church and all those pedophiles. Now do I sin? Yes I sin at times and I hate it and I ask for forgiveness and make effort to stop sinning (repent) but do I live in sin? Do I enjoy sin for a season? No way. Does the catholic church live in sin and bears corrupt fruit? Oh Yes they do.

    For Him +†+
    Dan

  • 34. Heather  |  July 25, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    Dan,

    To publicly denounce God and his existence to also persuade others is evangelism in atheism.

    Except evangelizing is associated with deliberatly seeking people out — you handing tracts to people is evangelizing. What Paul did in the letters, when travelling and preaching, is evangelizing. If the people on this blog are actively pursuing people with a message, then they’re evangelizing. And to the best of my knowlege, they aren’t. Rather, those who post here are those who seek this blog out.

    Heather this totally opposite of what the Bible tells us.

    And for people who lived horrendous lives and had a turnaround by becoming Islam or Mormon, and made them more loving, kind, compassionate, just — that’s good fruit. A religion that drives someone to make the world better produces good fruit. If every religion other than Christianity produced bad fruit, then only Christians would be doing good acts. The Matthew quote says that people/prophets will be recognized by the fruits they bear. Gandhi wasn’t a Christian, and look what his actions accomplished.

  • 35. Dan Barnett  |  July 25, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    Let me make sure everyone knows I;m a different Dan.
    What Dan has done in his over-the-top-go-tell-them-they’re-sinful approach to evangelism(just look at his site), as well intentioned as I hope he is, he has nailed down what a lot of people find so disgusting about Christians. We grow up hearing every day everything we’re doing wrong from our parents. The world doesn’t need a parent, they need a loving savior who can transform their life. I’m a Baptist. As a kid I looked up to a man who led the children’s ministry at our church. I looked up to him until he molested his two young son’s friend as they spent the night. To label one organization “of the Devil” because of a sin that goes on in EVERY organization on Earth is just stupid. I know many Catholics who follow some traditions of the Catholic Church, and Believe in Christ as their only ticket to eternity. They join the Catholic church for many reasons.
    Dan, you need to stop looking at eveyrone else to see the sin. See who you are, how you live, what you value, and make it clear to everyone around you by simply letting it shape your life. That will speak so much more for Christ than your judgemental in your face evangelism. CHill out and love on people. Jesus said to love God and Love people. He’ll take care of the rest. You can;t love God and judge people. You can’t Love God and condemn people. It is so unfair that he chose you or I. Jesus warns about lording the grace you;ve received over others. Be blessed and live God.

  • 36. Dan Barnett  |  July 25, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    I’m sorry. I have a habit of throwing in extra stuff after I comment. Dan, you should be ashamed of yourself for thinking God can’t love a former Nazi. You, Dan, were born to sin. Your salvation was 100% God and 0% you. He chose you despite your sin. Chuck Colson was a greedy criminal. Look at him now! Get off your sopa box, because the crap coming form your mouth is dissolving the soap. Go find Christ for real and then lead people to him.

  • 37. Dan  |  July 26, 2007 at 12:59 am

    Mr. Barnett said “Dan, you should be ashamed of yourself for thinking God can’t love a former Nazi”

    You are correct and I am ashamed of that statement. I am merely looking at the fruit, though I admit I went too far with that Nazi comment. If God could save such a wretch like me he truly can save anyone.

    Now Mr. Barnett it is actually OK to judge in righteous judgement. So I am justified as a loving brother to judge to say hay stop molesting the children God does not approve. Jesus wants us to, really. John 7:24

    It is a misconception that we shouldn’t judge but we should remember we are thermostats. Thank you for judging me by telling me not to judge. :) You said something judgemental:

    “Dan, you need to stop looking at eveyrone else to see the sin.”

    The mere fact that you said hay you shouldn’t judge is a judgement of your own and I love you for it. Thank you

    I feel I didn’t get out enough of what I was trying to say so humor me and we will be schooled on what is good fruit and bad fruit. I am getting help from Ray Comfort to save orginization and thought. I will post it next.

  • 38. Dan  |  July 26, 2007 at 1:00 am

    What fruit will grow in a True Christians life:

    1. Repentance – A 180 degree turn away from sinful behavior and towards Godly behavior.

    2. Thankfulness – A thankful heart that is grateful for what God has done… and shows itself in a cheerful disposition.

    3. Good Works – A life that becomes others centered (helping the aged, feeding the poor, teaching children, etc.) Not self centered (all free time consumed in personal hobbies and interests)

    4. Fruit of the Spirit – An ever-growing capacity of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self control in the life of the believer.

    5. Fruit of Righteousness – Doing the right thing according to the way God defines it in his word. Not according to the way man defines it in his own mind.

    We are here to get fruit bearing Christians not decisions for Christ to fill pews.

    If we understand the parable in Mark 4:3-13 then it unlocks the secret to all parables: Foolish virgin=false convert Wise virgin=Genuine conversions. The good fish, the bad fish. The man who built his house on rock and the man who built his house on sand. The one who built his house on sand is the one who hears the word of Jesus but doesn’t keep them. False Convert.

    6 characteristics of a False Convert:

    1. Mark 4:5 – Lack depth of understanding. Immediate results impressive changes occur quickly then false convert will fall away from their faith over time and the results and changes disappear.

    2. Luke 8:6 – False convert lack moisture in other words they lack the life-giving and life-sustaining power of God’s word. To a false convert the Bible is dry and uninteresting and struggles with daily devotions.

    3. Matthew 13:6 – False convert have no roots like a plant that dries up when the heat comes because it’s roots aren’t deep enough to reach water to sustain it. So is the false convert who’s faith dries up where persecution comes his roots of faith don’t run deep enough to reach the life sustaining water of God’s word and Holy Spirit.

    Mark 4:16 – False Converts receive the word with gladness. Hears the gospel message with gladness and really seems to latch on to it. He may express, for example, with tear filled eyes of joy. How this is the answer he’s been looking for. When any test or trials comes his way, excuses become his trademark he falls away from following Jesus.

    5. Matthew 13:20 – Repeats that same point false convert receive the word with joy (at first)

    6. Luke 8:13 – Because they do believe for a season this is the one that fools the most people because they do believe, for a short time, the Gospel message. These false converts walk and talk a very good game. They often sincerely believe the Vital truths. That Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a sacrificial death and rose from the earth and that he was fully man and fully God. they believe those things in their mind. When it comes time to deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Jesus into test and self sacrifice the false convert displays, slowly but surely, the truth that they never believed in their hearts. Never made that commitment to Christ and eventually becomes distracted by the worries and opportunities of life and lives for himself not Christ.

  • 39. Dan Barnett  |  July 26, 2007 at 5:15 am

    I appreciate your humility, Dan.

  • 40. Brad  |  July 26, 2007 at 10:12 am

    Dan Barnett,

    Thank you. You are dead on in all of your comments. It is abusive crap like this that pushes people away from the faith. It is very non-representative rhetoric like this that gives so many people the wrong impression on what true, loving Christianity is.

    Other Dan,
    “I understand that frat boys seek approval of others but that is not a Christians priorities. :) MLK jr. once said “Christian’s should not be thermometers that merely record and reflect the temperature of popular opinion. Christian’s should be like thermostats, responsible for transforming and setting the temperature or standards of society.””

    – If I were physically near you right now, I would “lay hands on you” (Neh. 13:21). You have no idea about what you speak. I started a bible study in one of the most sinful environments in college and many of my brothers came (not because of me, I assure you). The law of God is written on all our hearts, do NOT underestimate the truth affecting even “frat boys,” especially since I am an alumn of my Fraternity and still consider myself a “brother.” Watch where you throw your judgments.

    And you are correct about MLK’s quote, but when he said that, he meant it to be applied by LIVING that example, and NOT shoving it down people’s throats. MLK would NEVER voice the kind of abuse you have on this post. He would be ashamed at how his quote was used.

    And let me remind you, Dan, that even Jesus Himself (who is the ONLY man who has the right to judge) did not condemn prostitutes, tax collectors, thieves, or other sinners. He spoke to them in love, kindness, and respect when all they had yet produced was “bad fruit.” It didn’t matter if they were “of the devil” or not, and no amount of uncontextualized tract pulling is going to convince me otherwise.

    We are called to be “wise as serpents,” yes, but also as “gentle as doves.” Loving, respectful, and kind words to people will do far more to bring them to Jesus than the most truthful abuse.

    “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,”
    (Ephesians 4:15)

    And lastly, I will resist from speaking out in frustration as to what you are intending with the information on false converts. So please explain yourself before I vehemently disagree with you.

  • 41. Dan  |  July 26, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    Brad,

    I knew that frat boy comment would stir you up a little. I love you enough to tell you how wrong you truly are. We are to judge righteously and yes we are also to be kind and loving doing so.

    We should love sinners and enemies, true. I never said I hated anyone have I?

    Love for God requires us to hate evil though. (Psalms 97:10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.) there are countless examples in the Bible that agrees that we are not to just love the wicked but try to deliver that person from evil.

    So Brad do you propose we just hug them until they burn in the lake of fire forever. If a child is playing in a house that you notice that is on fire, do you scream at that child to “GET OUT, YOU WILL BURN!!” or do you just go over and hug them saying “it’s OK to play, have fun child” and then you walk away?

    You said “and NOT shoving it down people’s throats.” Look if I have to shove some truth down your throat to deliver your from hell then so be it. It is ok to get angry and hate evil, my friend. People’s souls are at stake here. Do you disagree?

    I can quote Bible verses all day on this subject (Deuteronomy 7:25-27, 1 John 2:15-17, Matthew 6:24) The issue is not whether we love or hate, but what we love and what we hate. Because of the things we love, there are things we must hate. It is impossible to love everything, because some things are direct opposites. If you love one, you must hate its opposite. The more you love one, the more you hate its opposite.

    Love for truth and righteousness also requires us to hate evil. (Psalms 119:104, Psalms 119:127,128, Psalms 119:163, Romans 12:9) Psalm 36:1-4 – One of the characteristics for which God rebukes wicked people is that they fail to abhor evil. Instead, they devise evil and think their evil will not be discovered and hated. It is not wrong for us to hate evil. The people who are wrong are the ones who do not hate evil and who criticize us because we do hate it! We speak out against sin, not because we are mean and hateful, but because God gives us no choice! If we keep quiet, God will condemn us!

    Often the reason people don’t want God and His people to hate evil is that those people themselves are practicing evil. They have not found where God’s word says it is wrong to oppose evil, but they themselves are evil and they don’t want their evil to be rebuked. They want to be free to continue to practice it! (John 3:19-21.) Do you need more proof?

    Sin must be rebuked, do you agree?

    If you doubt that Jesus believed in rebuking sin, I challenge you to actually read the gospel accounts of His life. Count how many times you find Him telling people they are wrong. Then read the book of Acts and see how often His faithful followers told people they were wrong. You will not go far till you have found more instances than you care to count. And note that most of these examples were cases in which religious people were rebuked, including people who thought they were faithful servants of God! Indeed, we do need to have the love of Jesus. If we do, we will not keep quiet about sin, but we will rebuke it in love like He did.

    Proverbs 9:8 – Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Reproof based on God’s word is good for people, so a wise man appreciates it. People who don’t appreciate it are the ones who have an attitude problem.

    So Brad Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? (Galatians 4:16 )

    But when we love the sinner and we love truth, we will have mercy on the lost and try to snatch them from the fire, hating the stains of the flesh. This is what it means to “hate the sin, but love the sinner.” We have so much love for the soul of the one who did wrong that we want him to repent and do right, so we must oppose his sin.

    When we do this, there will always be people who object. There always have been. But the reason they object is either because they have misunderstood the Bible teaching or because they themselves are sinners who want to continue their sins without the embarrassment of being reproved. In either case, they are the ones who do not have a proper concept of Bible love.

    For Him +†+
    Dan

  • 42. Dan  |  July 26, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    Do you need more proof?

    (This link didn’t work at first)

  • 43. Brad  |  July 26, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    1.) As I have already said, I agree that sin is vile, to be hated, and to be rebuked. But tell me, how effective is impersonal, detached, long distance rebuke? How much more effective is loving and respectful rebuke within the context of an established and trusting relationship? You do not know me, at all, yet said the” frat boy” comment to “stir me up.” Tell me, what was the desired effect of that comment? What possible good could it have done?

    2.) Congratulations, you can quote bible verses. I have one too:

    ICorinthians 5: 12-13
    12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. Purge the evil person from among you.

    Very clearly, it states that we are NOT to judge non-Christians. If you believe the Catholic Church is “of the devil,” then you are not to judge them. That’s Jesus’ job. If you DO claim right to judge them, then you must admit they are Christians. Either way, your argument fails.

    And in reference to me, notice that it says “among you.” This is referring to their individual congregation in Corinth. This implies relationship. See point #1.

    3.) Theologically (in reference to sin), you and I are not in disagreement. I am very much aware of the doctrine of sin, and am a student at Covenant Theological Seminary. Where you and I differ is on our tact of ministry. No, I do not expect that hugging someone will save them. To use your analogy, I would run into the burning house and carry them out. Shouting warnings and yelling from the outside, while making them aware of the fire, does nothing to bring them out of it. For more information, please see the apologetics of Francis Scheafer, founder of The L’Abri Institute.

    “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,”
    (Ephesians 4:15)

    4.) You have no need to continue quoting Bible verses out of context to me. I am well aware of the scriptural foundation for sin, salvation, and evangelism.

    5.) I have no illusions to my own sinfulness. I do not claim to be perfect or have it all right. What I do claim is that you will make many more enemies than Christians by the way in which you communicate the truths of scripture. To start, NEVER say anything to “stir someone up.” Where is the truth OR love in that? Quoting Bible verses to justify negative reactions to your “truth proclamation” is a cop-out and incredibly unbiblical.

    For all those on De-Conversion (Christians and non-Christians alike), I beg of you not to judge all (or even some) of those who call Jesus Lord and Savior by this man’s rhetoric.

    Dan,
    I hope you accept my own rebuke, since you so clearly understand the need to rebuke sin where it rears it’s ugly head.

  • 44. Brad  |  July 26, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Consequently, I just wrote a post on my own blog in relation to this topic.

    http://bradedwards.wordpress.com/2007/07/26/on-truth-and-kinda-truth-part-4-transformational-truth/

    Give it a read.

  • 45. Steelman  |  July 26, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Brad said: “For all those on De-Conversion (Christians and non-Christians alike), I beg of you not to judge all (or even some) of those who call Jesus Lord and Savior by this man’s rhetoric. ”

    I think most of us here wouldn’t judge other Christians by the rhetoric that Dan copied and pasted. ;)

  • 46. Brad  |  July 26, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    *smacks forehead*

    I… oh man… the pain…. so… frustrated….. ugh.

    Why?

    Thank you, Steelman, for pointing that out. And I thought those verses were pulled from their context BEFORE your comment… wow.

  • 47. Dan  |  July 26, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    I looked to see if placed the intended source and I forgot to and I was wrong not to do that. When looking up verses I came across it and it said what I wanted to. I should of just sent the link but I felt that would lose the point. Yuck, egg on my face.

  • 48. Brad  |  July 26, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Dan,
    It was not that you did not give credit to the source that I had a problem with (bloggers, I am sure, do this ALL the time….), but that you did not seek to engage the questions personally. Copy-pasting prepared answers to uncontextualized questions does not constitute the “love” half of “speaking the truth in love.” Speaking the truth, no matter how true, without the foundation of SOME kind of relationship and mutual understanding, will not be communicated as it is intended or meant to be.

    Honestly, you illustrated my point perfectly. I was not asking or challenging any of the questions found on the website you sourced from. When I stress the importance of tone, context, etc. I do so because I WANT you to be more effective in your evangelism, truth proclamation, etc. Truly.

  • 49. mysteryofiniquity  |  July 26, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    I’m sure no one will notice this in the fray, but Justin, I loved the post! In case anyone is interested I left fundamentalism because I was disillusioned about what the church professed to be and how it was actually run. I was betrayed by pastors and labeled “smart enough to be dangerous.” I attempted to be transparent with my feelings and confessions, but was met with derision and ostracism. Yet, I have hope in the emerging/emergent church that this is changing. I also hold out hope, via this blog, of the beginnings of conversation between theist and atheist.

    In the last few months, I’ve grown closer to God without going to church.In fact, in direct proportion to my un-involvement in church, I can feel my faith regenerating. My prayer life has returned and my mind is clearer. Perhaps there is room for me someday “at the table” even though I believe in women’s rights in church, am inclusive not exclusive when it comes to piety, and do not believe in theocracies.

    You are correct that theist and atheist/agnostic alike come to the same questions of justice, love, and mercy from different source viewpoints. Theists claim they “practice” these for God or eternal reward. Atheists/agnostics for humanity and the satisfaction of taking care of fellow human beings. Regardless of where we get our motivation, we are working for the same ends, I’d like to think. Where it gets scary is when people assume we must all think alike to get anything done, especially where the bible is concerned. No one seems to be able to believe that I read the bible for inspiration but don’t consult it for the weather, for a history or geography lesson, or before I conduct a science experiment. It can be inspiring without even being “true” in the factual sense. There is spiritual truth and there is factual truth. One need not exclude the other for dialog to take place.

    Well, anyway…. thanks for the post Justin and the forum to discuss aA. It serves a good purpose.

  • 50. Dan Barnett  |  July 26, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    MOI, I didn’t miss it. Your comment is actually very encouraging. Keep seeking.

  • 51. mysteryofiniquity  |  July 26, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    Thanks Dan.

  • 52. Justin  |  July 26, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    Mystery of Iniquity,
    thank you for your compliments, they mean a lot to me and I am happy that you found the post worth while.

    God Bless,

    Justin

  • 53. Brad  |  July 27, 2007 at 10:22 am

    hehehe, I certainly didn’t miss it either. It’s good to see you back! I hope you had a great and relaxing vacation!

  • 54. mysteryofiniquity  |  July 27, 2007 at 10:36 am

    Brad,
    Well, it’s not quite over until Sunday, but, yes, I feel more relaxed. :-)

  • 55. Eric  |  July 27, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Most of the atheists I know would probably be described as having “grown away from god” from your perspective.

    From mine, they decided that god wasn’t relevant to their lives. That may or may not be accompanied with an attitude towards a church or organized religion in general.

    Atheism being – at least until recently – a non-evangelical belief system, it’s hard to know who are the atheists, especially since athiests don’t have lives that revolve around their lack of belief the way christians have lives that revolve around their beliefs.

    Or, to put it another way, you can often find out easily that somebody is a christian, because they tell you.

    The wager is, to my mind, more than a bit satirical. First of all, Pascal’s wager carries little weight, and second, in most christian religions it is faith, not acts, that get you into heaven.

  • 56. karen  |  July 27, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Most of the atheists I know would probably be described as having “grown away from god” from your perspective.

    From mine, they decided that god wasn’t relevant to their lives.

    Eric, are you an atheist?

    If not, why would you think that your perspective on the issue would be more valid than the perspective of people who’ve actually “been there, done that”?

    I try hard not to impose my perspective on what motivates Christians to make the decisions they do – even though I was a Christian for 30 years. I think it’s more respectful to take people at their word, and ask what their motivation is, rather than second-guess them.

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  • 58. Free Ipod Music Downloads  |  October 26, 2011 at 7:14 pm

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    [...] I’m impressed, I have to say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me inform you.. [...]…

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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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