Thursday, March 10, 2011

RE: The Atheist Experience #654

0:15-0:20 - Christian says, "How do you know that God isn't real?"  Atheist says, "Have you demonstrated that he is?"  My response:  Why would I need to demonstrate who God is?  If God exists, he is more powerful and capable than me to demonstrate his own existence.  As a Christian, I look at the historical person of Jesus and conclude from his life, teachings, and actions that he is God.  If this I am correct, then I don't need to demonstrate that God is real, he has demonstrated that for us. Then I'd see where the conversation goes.

0:27:-1:01 - The Christian then begins to quote Romans 1:20, which says that humanity can tell that there is a God from what he has made.  In other words, the world reveals that there must be a creator.  Before he can even quote this verse, the atheist interrupts him, and asks. "Why are you even quoting the Bible?  It means nothing to me.  Why should I listen to the Bible?"  My response: I personally wouldn't have gone to quoting the Bible at this point in the conversation.  I think it would naturally bring up a brick wall.  I previously would have set the conversation up on the historical life of Jesus and examining his life, words, actions, death, and resurrection (for the atheist, "supposed" resurrection).  This instantly gets to the heart of Christianity!  Jesus Christ.  Going to Romans 1:20 only serves the purpose of showing that from observations in the world, there must be a god.  That doesn't tell us who that god is, which isn't as helpful as showing the atheist who God actually is, Jesus Christ.  And yes, I personally agree with the atheist, the Bible doesn't mean anything to him, so why quote it?  Especially if all you plan on showing from quoting is that there is a god who exists from what we can see, tell, hear, and touch a part from the Bible.

1:03-1:18 - The atheist says he's upset because Christians are calling in asserting that atheist don't believe in the existence of God and says that's not what their stance is.  My response:  No, that's what an atheist is.  A = against.  Against God.  No God.  There is not God.  Maybe they're actually agnostics and claim to not be able to know one way or the other, but as you can tell from their arguments to come, they are atheist and don't believe there is a God.

1:20-1:37 - The atheist asks again, "Why should I listen to the Bible?"  The Christian responds that it's true and he knows it is true because it is through faith!  The atheist then throws out, "Well, how do you know the Qur'an isn't true?"   My response: The Christian here is using a faulty argument.  His answer, although I believe can be very much true for himself, opens up a can of worms - if truth comes from an inner subjective knowing or feeling, then how can anyone be certain of what is true?  The Qur'an might as well be true, just as a Spider-Man comic book might be true! People do the same thing against the Bible though. Atheists use the same circular logic that the Christian caller in this video made.  Atheists say that miracles don't happen and God doesn't exist. Then they say that the Bible isn't a reliable historical document because it contains God and accounts of miracles.

1:45-2:05 - The atheists claim that the God of the Bible is based on the same God of the Qur'an.  My response: The Bible isn't based on the same God as the God of the Qur'an. Christianity teaches that God is a Trinity, three persons who all share in the same divine essence. Islam on the other hand teaches only the oneness of God and rejects the threeness of God as revealed in the Bible. Jesus claimed to be God, and Christians believe he is God. Islam says Jesus is not God, they reject that he ever made such claims, and teach that he is just a prophet.  Clearly, it's not based on the same God.

2:08-2:59 - The Chrstian changes the topic back to looking at the world and being able to deduct that there must be a God.  He says, "How did we all happen to be?  We can't just come from nothing."  The atheists then say they came from their parents.  The Christian then traces it back further to the universe.  The atheists move on to say that the sun came from gravity acting on particles.  My response: Where did the gravity come from?  Where did the particles come from?  Everything must come from something?  Where did the matter of the "Big Bang" come from?  How did it originate?  We came from our parents as you said?  Where did that matter come from?  What produced it?  Nothingness? 

3:00-3:13 - The atheist says, "We didn't have to be here at all.  Fortunately, the laws of the universe were such that physics prompted things to happen in such a way that we are the current state of life on this planet."  My response: Where did the laws come from?  Do laws appear naturally?  How could such laws have come into existence and remain constant if the universe and life as we know it happened based upon random chance acting in a, as you said, "fortunate" way for us to exist?  All the laws we have in our governments were created by lawmakers, and those lawmakers work to enforce and keep those laws.   Why would the laws of the universe be any different?  Wouldn't such laws indicate that there must have be lawmaker?   

3:25-4:18 - My response: Jesus was a historical person. His life and death and Christianity's claims that he rose from the dead can be investigated and evaluated just as any person, place, and event of ancient history can be investigated. This clearly means that Christianity can be tested.  It is demonstrable.  If it can be proven that Jesus did not rise from the dead, then Christianity is not true. How do we evaluate other historical claims about events, places, and people from ancient history?  Let's take that same criteria and apply it to Jesus of Nazareth.  After we do this, I think we can then decide if there God is real? 


  1. It's like the chess game Rosenblatt taut us in college. I prefer, at least when dealing with atheists, to try and find common ground from past experience. I was not raised a Christian and usually I can find a line of reasoning or a shared experience which we both will be able to relate. Then slowly work out from there, showing how I was wrong, and were I was in error in my atheism, and by default they are wrong.

  2. Thanks for sharing, David. It's good to hear that you have the ability to make the type of connection you just mentioned. I always remember having faith in the God revealed in the Bible, so it's more difficult for me to do what you are mentioning. The best I can do is make little connections like Paul did in Acts 17.

  3. There are some atheists that have the "no-God" POV, but there are others who do not. Those that think there is a creator, but question the religious authority of the bible or priests, are called "soft atheists" or agnostics.

    As a teen I was a hard atheist who is now soft. I call myself a Diest for that reason- I now accept that there is a God of some kind so I use the Latin word for God (Dei) as you use the Greek/Hebrew word (The). (I have not studied either language so I may be wrong here)

    I don't need God revealed to me. I see God everyday in nature. One reason I love to take nature hikes is to contemplate on God and nature.

    I look at the history of the Christian church (people who follow St Paul?) or any other set religion and I see the fingerprint of mankind- arrogant mistakes. So it appears that what they are worshiping isn't perfect.

    I was turned away from God by a student teacher that convinced me that I was too smart to believe in Christianity. I was pushed even further by Christians trying to heal me of epilepsy (turned out to be a brain tumor) and blaming me that it didn't work.

    Now, I am on my way back. I have accepted that a God exists, but I won't jump to conclusions about whether Jesus is my savior. If it is true then I will get there. What if I am gone before I make up my mind? I would rather believe truly than like a gambler covering his odds. I doubt (I don't know) that God will ignore my attempts to be honest.

  4. Thanks for sharing.

    I have always categorized atheists and agnostics in two different categories. I've never heard of hard or soft atheists.

    In terms of judging Christianity on Christians, I think that is confusing the message (Jesus) with the messengers (Christians). I would suggest judging Jesus and not us at all. Christians will always fall short of our God. I know a song that says, "There isn't a lot of difference between a sinner and a saint, it's all about where you put your faith." I think it's accurate. Christians are sloppy, messed up people like everyone else. We're going to do bad things, and a good thing to remember is that just because someone claims to be Christian, they might not actually be Christian (they may not have faith, they might just be culturally Christian).

    I agree with you. I see God everyday in nature too. I see the fingerprints of God in nature, showing me that there is a creator. That nature certainly doesn't tell me who God is so I do need more revelation if I want to know who God actually is, what he thinks of me, and what he wants of me.

    Keep searching.

    Peace be with you in the process.