...about things that interest me and are (hopefully) edifying!

But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases. Psalm 115:3

Soli Deo Gloria!!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Why I read and post on an Atheist forum

Every once in a while, I get one of these.

From a poster named Chunk:

Hi
Ive been reading lots of threads on this forum, and Ive noticed the vast
majority of people are non christian.

In one of the threads it was pointed out that people with a good knowledge of Christianity and the arguements for saying it isnt based on any fact, post here and are Christian.

It would be good to hear from you how you are still Christian after knowing so much about the counter arguements.

At the moment im kind of stuck trying to make my mind up about Christianity.

If you have MSN or something, it would be cool to chat on that.

If so, let me know, thanks.


Hey, Chunk!

Thanks for taking the time to PM me - I have been so busy lately that I haven't been posting much.

So - why do I remain a Christian in the face of such "overwhelming evidence" against it and so many really smart people giving such good reasons to give it up?

4 quick things:

1. Purpose vs purposelessness - too many things happen for a reason in my life and in my investigation of natural and human history to align myself with a worldview that promotes fluke causality as the origin of all things.

2. General human ignorance - take a look at history - how many worldviews have been promoted as the answer to the life, the universe and everything only to have the entire cosmology topple with the advent of some new discovery. I am skeptical of objective human understanding and interprative capability. One man's fact today is another man's foolishness later on.

Try this - draw a circle representing all there is to know about the universe, then draw a circle of what you think we [b]really know[/b] about the nature of reality.

Depending on the size of your circle (mine would be a house sized circle for the universe and a molecule sized circle for our knowledge) you will begin to see how precarious it is to depend on human based knowledge as the basis for everything.

3. The "fuzziness" of the past - it is hard enogh to rightly intepret current events as they truly happened - and the lens grows murkier and murkier the further back we look to try and reconstruct forensically the origin of everything, so why should I concur with the atheistic and naturalistic interpretation? I assure you many reasonable and intelligent folk do not.

4. Finally - I firmly believe that once your eyes have been opened to the Truth through the Holy Spirit that you may run from it, but you can never escape it. No matter what the "deconverted" say - faith is a gift from God and true faith is "undeconvertable"! :) That is: it may diminish or grow, but it will never go away.

I encourage you to continue your examination of all things - it is very healthy.

Scripture even says:

1 Thessalonians 5:21
21Test everything. Hold on to the good.

Hope this has been helpful.

In Christ's Love,
-JD

16 comments:

David Mc said...

Good post JD. I have just discovered your blog and enjoy it.
I haven't heard from you in quite a while.

jdlongmire said...

Hey dude!

email me sometimes:

jdlongmire2005-tek10r@yahoo.com

-JD

jazzycat said...

Great post. I bet you can sing good to. I have also discovered those atheists. They are everywhere.

Chunk said...

Hey

Should have replied to your PM. Sorry, yeah I dont mind you posting this here.

Im having difficulty in accepting Christianity to be the truth, for a number of reasons. I dont know if these will interest you or not, but ill post them here.

The lack of any source mentioning Jesus, outside of the NT, in the first century. You can make the case for Jospehus, Tacitus etc. Ulitmately, there is no reliable source that mentions Jesus.

This strikes me as very odd. I would have thought that if the son of God came down to Earth and performed all these miracles, somebody would have written about it.

The fact that the NT appears more as a work of fiction, rather than accounts of a mans life. Ill go into this more:

Paul doesnt mention the Earthly life of Jesus. You can make arguements that he does ... ive read them before. However, Paul had every chance to make reference to the things Jesus did in his life, yet he doesnt. This doesnt make sense to me, if Jesus had been alive so recently.

Differences between the gospels. If each author were writting about the life of a man that was well known, why are the accounts so different. Why do some not mention the virgin birth? You can say they were being written by different people, for different audiences, but in my eyes that doesnt account for how different they are.

In my eyes, if Jesus had been a real man, performing all these miracles, we would have a similar picture painted by all of the gospels and Pauls letters. Whats more, they would all make specific reference to things he did on Earth. This is not what we get. The gospels are all different (in places) and Paul makes no reference to any event written about in the gospels (except the last supper).

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Chunk.

jdlongmire said...

Chunk,

Hey, sorry, but I'm not willing to buy into the whole skeptical rationale to invalidate the Gospels.

It seems much more likely that the harmony of the Gospel accounts is more miraculous than any slight disparities contained within.

Paul met with the disciples and testified of the Gospel that he had shared with the folks he wrote his pastoral letters to, so I don't buy that rationale, either.

I also noticed that you did not really respond to the points that I had raised, so I believe you are trying to position yourself to substantiate your own rationale for abandoning Christianity.

It is a really a very predictible progression take a look at another post I did -

http://jdlblog.blogspot.com/2006/02/path-to-atheism.html

Remember - you can never lose the gift of faith - so it is more probable that you never really had it.

Blessings in your path - I pray you are the exception.

In Christ's love,

JD

Chunk said...

Hey

Sorry about ignoring your points. That wasnt on purpose. You make sense, and what you say is basically the reason why I believe in God.

However, you seem to conect a belief in God with Christianity. Just because I believe God exists, doesnt mean Christianity is true.

Im finding it hard to become Christian, because the bottom line is, when you look at what facts we do have, the NT is made to look like something developed over time by man rather than the word of God.

I am yet to find anything to convince me otherwise.

jdlongmire said...

Hi again, Chunk!

I think I am starting to understand the direction you are moving toward.

I am not going to get into a long debate with you on the reliability of the Scriptures.

I would like to point you to some resources that speak to the subject much better than I, if you would like?

In the end, Scripture is not about human history or science or textual criticism - it is about God's plan of redemption for Man and a book of timeless truth for living a holy (that is - set apart) life.

BTW: Early Christians did not have the Bible and yet they were what I would consider some of the most fervent of believers - and these were folk that ranged across the spectrum - from highly trained and skeptical rabbinic scholars to Roman educated elites.

Why do you think that would be?

Finally - I belive that doctrinally clear Christianity is the most reasonable faith in existance, since it is based on faith, grace and mercy as opposed to conditional or rewards based salvation.

Grace to you and peace,

-JD

jdlongmire said...

One quick resource to examine:

http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/bib-docu.html

-JD

Chunk said...

Thanks for the link. I have no problem accepting both the old and new testament we have now, as being basically the same as when they were first written.

However, that does not prove that they describe real events that actually happend.

The first detailed account we have of the resurrection is in Marks Gospel, which was written about 40 to 50 years after Jesus died.

Paul tells us about a belief in Jesus being resurrected, but he doesnt set that in the present day and he doesnt make any reference to anything that Jesus did in his life time. This, to me, does not make sense.

From Mark towards the end of the NT (chronologically), claims get more and more wild. Revelation for example is full of events that are very difficult to believe as being true.

To me this just suggests that the story of Jesus is something that developed over time, rather than being an actual historical account of events.

By the time Mark is written, too much time has passed for people to remember Jesus. We dont even know if he intended it to be taken as fact.

People will believe in many things, for many reasons. You only have to look at what terrorists will do for what they believe to be "true", to see that.

Thanks for taking the time to reply to me.

jdlongmire said...

Not to debate by quote mining, but:

"To be skeptical of the 27 documents in the New Testament, and to say they are unreliable is to allow all of classical antiquity to slip into obscurity, for no documents of the ancient period are as well attested bibliographically as these in the New Testament."

-pax-

-JD

Chunk said...

I found this quote from Robert Price. It basically sums up my opinion (mainly the stuff in bold).

How would you counter it?

in the case of someone like Caesar Augustus, around whom many of the same myths clustered, we know there nonetheless was a Caesar Augustus, because he's intricately tied into the history of the time and many secular historians talk about him. You can't rewrite history without Caesar Augustus. But at the very two points that Jesus appears to be locked into history these stories are either still mythical like the slaughter of innocents arrived right out of the book of Exodus or they contain outrageous improbabilities, such as the Jewish supreme Council meeting on Passover Eve to get rid of this guy. It's just out of the question. Or Pontius Pilate letting go a known killer of Romans and insurrectionist, Barabbas, and just letting Jesus being thrown to the mob after, however, trying to get him off the hook, as if he has to have a vote on it. It just defies any kind of historical verisimilitude. And that when you realize, well, you know, there were other ancient Jews and Jewish Christians that believed Jesus had been killed a century before under King Alexander Janaeus or in the Gospel of Peter it says that Herod had Jesus killed. Well how could this be a matter of such diversity if it was a recent event that people remembered? It just begins to make you wonder is this man really part of the historical time stream or does it begin to look like someone has tried to put a figure originally mythical into a historical framework and made various stabs at it?

jdlongmire said...

I would start here:

Argument from Incredulity is an informal logical fallacy where a participant draws a positive conclusion from an inability to imagine or believe the converse. The most general structure of this argument runs something like the following:

I can't imagine how P could possibly be false
Therefore, P.
A simple variation on this is

I cannot imagine how P could possibly be true
Therefore, not-P.
This is a fallacy because someone else with more imagination may find a way. This fallacy is therefore a simple variation of argument from ignorance.

Stan said...

If you read Lee Strobels book "The Case For Christmas" you will see from interviews he conducted that the gospels might have actually been written a lot sooner than most think. Say, within 10-20 years or less of the actual events. All of Confucius's(sp?) writings were made some 500 years after his death, but that doesn't stop millions of people from believing that they are true. Read Dan Story's "Defending Your Faith" and you can see that people like Aristotle and Socrates didn't have their works written and preserved until hundreds of year after their death, but no one questions them. The NT gospels were written maybe 30 years maximum after the actual events, yet their autenticity is questioned by millions.

Stan said...

Plus, arcaeological evidence has shown that most everything in the Bible that can substantiated has been proven. So if everything physical that Luke wrote about can be proven, then why should the supernatural events he wrote about not be believed also?

Chris Mangum said...

I'd be curious to know what reaction an athesist might have if each of the four gospels were exactly similar. It has already been said that the intent of the authors of the gospels was NOT to be similar but a specific witnesses account.

I for one would be very suspicious as this would appear to be collusion. Like a detective would be from exact matching testimonies from 4 different sources about a traffic accident.

Chris Mangum said...

"So if everything physical that Luke wrote about can be proven, then why should the supernatural events he wrote about not be believed also?"

Let's remember how and why one believes. It is not by "evidences" or "proofs." This is how we silence unbelievers. Besides , "even if a man should raise from the dead" [in front of you] this will not make you [unbeliever] believe.

One believes becasue God enables them to believe. He gives the gift of faith. We believe as a result of being born again of God.

"Evidences" "DNA" "investigative reporting" do not convince - the Holy Spirit convinces.

...about things that interest me and are (hopefully) edifying!

But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases. Psalm 115:3

Soli Deo Gloria!!


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