“You have no morals”

ID-10091061An old couple go to the doctor. The old man goes first to have his physical. When the doctor is done with him, he sends the old man back into the waiting room and calls the old woman in.

The doctor tells her, “Before we proceed with the examination, I would like to talk to you about your husband first.”

The old woman says, “Oh no, it’s his heart. I told him to lay off the eggs.”

The doctor says, “No, physically he is OK, but I’m worried about him mentally.”

The old woman questions, “Whatever do you mean?”

The doctor says, “Well I asked your husband how he is feeling and he told me he felt great. He said that when he got up to go the bathroom, he opened the door and God turned the light on for him. When he was done, he would shut the door and God would turn the light out for him.”

The old woman responded, “Son of a gun, he’s peeing in the fridge again!”

 Ok, the Joke had nothing to do with this post but I bet you laughed.

Usually when a Christian responds to an atheist with something like “You have no morals” they are not prepared for the response they will get. First, it is just not true and second the atheists have given this subject a lot more thought than most Christians have.

Anyone can have morals. They are just an individual’s unique standards for behavior they hold themselves to regarding what is and is not acceptable for them to do. So atheists indeed do have morals. They get morals from diverse places. Some of the most common responses I have come across as to where atheist get their morals are the golden rule, society as a whole determines correct morals and they are innate and a result of the evolutionary process.

I think what Christians should really be saying to the atheist is “You have no basis for holding other people to your standard of morals.” They cannot know ultimately if their morals are right or not. In their worldview, morals are neither right nor wrong but a subjective opinion of what is right and wrong. There is no absolute right or wrong. They can have reasons or a basis for saying that murder is wrong but if no ultimate authority exists then they really cannot say if murder is morally right or not.

Christians believe the bible teaches morals that come from God the ultimate authority because He made the cosmos. He, as the creator, gets to decide the morals and what is acceptable behavior or not instead of the made thing.  Many atheists and some Christians for that matter may have an objection or even an abhorrence to some of the morals taught in the bible. I get that, but that is a different discussion not related to what behavior is acceptable.

Before I was a Christian I believed same sex marriage was ok. Now as a Christian I believe the bible as it says same sex marriage is a sin. I really only hold to that view because I trust the bible to be the very word of God. The ultimate authority. So Christians should not rely on themselves to decide morality. They should rely on God’s word. And when you think about it no atheist in good conscience should call a Christian a bigot because they disagree with same sex marriage. They can only honestly say “I disagree with you on this issue but you are just as right as I am.” But that rarely happens.

The issue is who has the authority to decide right and wrong. For the atheist it is only the individual that needs to come to that conclusion themselves. For the Christian it is God’s word. So when atheists expect others to behave in a way that is against their particular morals they are being irrational and prideful. I, as a Christian, can say to a murderer that what they did was absolutely wrong, all the atheist can honestly say is that they think what the murderer did was wrong but the murderer’s opinion is just as valid as theirs. Atheists will use a lot of words and arguments to wiggle out of this but ultimately they cannot get away from this problem. They cannot decide for everyone else what is morally acceptable.

But never tell an atheist “You have no morals”

 

Image courtesy of patpitchaya at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Best Love Song Ever

One of my favorite songs. Only Jesus can love you like this.

Lyrics

I’ve heard it said that a man would climb a mountain
Just to be with the one he loves
How many times has he broken that promise
It has never been done.
I’ve never climbed the highest mountain
But I walked the hill of Calvary

Chorus:
Just to be with you, I’d do anything
There’s no price I would not pay
Just to be with you, I’d give everything
I would give my life away.

I’ve heard it said that a man would swim the ocean
Just to be with the one he loves
But all of those dreams are an empty emotion
It can never be done
I’ve never swam the deepest ocean
But I walked upon the raging sea

Repeat chorus

(Bridge) I know that you don’t understand
the fullness of My love
How I died upon the cross for your sins
And I know that you don’t realize
how much that I gave you
But I promise, I would do it all again.

Just to be with you, I’ve done everything
There’s no price I did not pay
Just to be with you, I gave everything
Yes, I gave my life away.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/user/Mino283

Lyrics: https://www.thirdday.com/music/songs/love-song

 

“There are no contradictions in the Bible”

ID-10019262There was a barber that thought that he should share his faith with his customers more than he had been doing lately. So the next morning when the sun came up and the barber got up out of bed he said, “Today I am going to witness to the first man that walks through my door.”

Soon after he opened his shop the first man came in and said, “I want a shave!” The barber said, “Sure, just sit in the seat and I’ll be with you in a moment.” The barber went in the back and prayed a quick desperate prayer saying, “God, the first customer came in and I’m going to witness to him. So give me the wisdom to know just the right thing to say to him. Amen.”

Then quickly the barber came out with his razor knife in one hand and a Bible in the other while saying “Good morning sir. I have a question for you… Are you ready to die?”

Really? Here is the deal. When this is said to an atheist it usually gets an “oh geese” response. Then the atheist will list off many obvious contradictions that us Christian’s google around and try to stretch the fabric of space-time to come up with an answer. When the correct answer is “I don’t know”.

What’s wrong with stating “I don’t know the answer to your question” or “There is no answer anyone has come up with that satisfies me”.  We as Christians do not need to have an answer for every contradiction claimed in by others. For sure many, if not most contradictions can be resolved with just using basic reading skills.

For example it is brought up that in Exodus 20:4 it commands people not to make a carved image. But then in Exodus 25 there is a command to make images of cherubim’s. It is claimed that these are contradictory but if you just read the words in context in Exodus 20:5 it goes on to say to not worship an image. That is the command, to not worship images. In Exodus 25 it is commanded to make the cherubim but never in the Bible does it say to worship them.

Some claimed contradictions are a little harder to explain but they can be if you use proper exegesis. One example is Matthew 5:16 and 6:1. One states to let your good works be seen by men while the other says to hide your good works from men. This seems contradictory on its face but can be explained by examining the context of each passage. In Matthew 5 the context is of using God to work in us to draw people to Jesus. It is not our work at all but Gods work to glorify His Son through us.  In Matthew 6, Jesus is talking about doing good works to bring glory to yourself which is sinning.  A little more study can dispel some claimed contradictions like these.

Then there are some that do not have a good explanation. Matthew 21:18-20 says this:

In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once? ~ ESV

In Mark’s account of this same story it states in verses 11:12-14, 19-21:

On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

…Jesus Cleanses the Temple…

 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. ~ ESV

So did the tree whither immediately or later? There are of course solutions that can be put forth but none of them adequately explain this obvious contradiction. There are many Christians that would disagree with me and latch on to a solution without really thinking it through. As Christians though we should be honest with our faith and Bible.  Science does not have all the answers either and just like science our faith does not have the ability to answer all questions posed.

Faith is irrational. So as irrational religionists we simply say “I don’t know, but have you heard about what God did for you?”

https://cockamamiechristian.wordpress.com/the-gospel/

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

“I have proof the flood actually happened”

Say this to an atheist and you will just get a “seriously” look back.  The flood in Genesis 6-8 is one of the stories that most people know something about and atheists use this story to show that the stories in the Bible are not accurate history. Many Christian apologists have looked into the flood evidence and have come up with “proof” that the flood actually happened. This is problematic at best and something we Christians should be wary of. There actually is no scientific proof the flood ever happened.

There are many theories as to what events actually took place that the flood story is recounting.   It has been proposed that it was made up, pure fiction. It has been put forward that the flood was not worldwide but local to the community of the ancient Hebrews around the Black Sea area. Many more ideas have been proposed as well but the actual story in the Bible indicates an actual flood that engulfed the entire world and killed every living being and as Christians this is what we should believe without scientific evidence.

Entire documentaries have been devoted to finding the ark. Here is a webpage that explains one of the most well-known proposed locations. SEENOXNoah-Ark-Top

Looks like rocks to me.

Where enough water would have come from is a great mystery to many. Could it have come up from the ground, a comet, water rings that were surrounding the earth since the creation? Many more hypotheses have been proposed but the very reason there is a debate indicates that the Bible is not clear in this detail. All it says is that it rained for 40 days. The story is not written in scientific terms but as a historical narrative of actual events.

In general it is problematic as Christians to use science to try to prove the histories in the Bible. If scientists want to do that they can go ahead. Christians should not. The problem is that if we use science to prove the Bible is true then what then when science is in direct contradiction to the scriptures? It is a live by the sword die by the sword kind of thing.

It also gets us off message. Jesus did not tell us to go forth and prove the bible is scientifically accurate. He said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” ~ Matthew 28:16-20 ESV.  Some people spend 29.5 million dollars on building a life size museum to “prove” the story is true.  Ark Encounter.  Why do we do this? It is a scientifically unprovable story. This is just a waste of money that could be used elsewhere for better good.

Our faith is irrational, so how can we use rational science to prove the irrational. That is irrational in itself. When I talk to atheists about the flood I tell them I believe it happened through irrational faith. It is a miracle of God and I am good with that. They are usually not. And if they are still interested I tell them about the true ark that is Jesus Christ that has saved humanity from the flood of God’s wrath due to our sin. If you are in Him you are spared the righteous judgment of God for your transgressions against Him.

 

“You think your ancestors were monkeys”

ID-1003214All the scientists decided to tell God to retire, now that they had figured out a way to make a human being from the soil itself. So, a delegation went in His holy presence, and said Lord, now that we are independent and we are creators in our own right, give us the power and retire. The Holy One asked, indeed, what have you accomplished? The scientists said that they can now independently make a man, the highest of his creation! The Holy One said, okay let me see it done. So the scientist went to pick up some dirt… and the Lord answered… no, no, no… Don’t use MY dirt, create your own!! 

I literally cringe when I hear a Christian say this to an atheist who endorses evolution and I still hear it often. It is untrue. Scientists do not believe humans evolved from monkeys. They believe that humans and monkeys had the same ancestor at some point in history. When an atheist hears this from a Christian why should he/she engage in further conversation? The Christian has just proven that he/she does not know enough about the subject to have a meaningful conversation.

I am a Christian who believes in the biblical account of creation where the theory of evolution does not fit into that belief. However, I am not unaware or discount the evidence that supports evolution. Contrary to many Christians I have interacted with most scientists do not have an agenda to disprove God. They use science to find truth and that necessarily excludes supernatural causes. I agree that evolution is the best non supernatural explanation for our current biology today and if I was not a Christian I would believe it as well.

As Christians we believe in the creation story by our irrational faith and not by science. Our attempts to use science go to undermine our faith. It gives the impression that we Christians are not satisfied with our faith and must somehow prove that God created everything as the Bible says.

Examples include intelligent design which is not science. It is an attempt by Christians to use science to prove what we believe and that is not science. Science has one agenda and that’s to get the truth, scientific truth which excludes supernatural causes. Intelligent Design researchers have a bias and are looking for ways to use science so the outcome indicates God created everything. It compromises our integrity and does not strengthen it.

Evolution is not evil or good it just is. Christians must recognize the good that has come out of the science of evolution such as better and more environmentally friendly pesticides, keep animals from extinction, disease control, understanding gene functions which leads to better drugs, new and better vaccines, advanced cancer treatment, evolutionary algorithms to advance technology and many more I bet I could find.

I am not advocating the veracity of evolution only that we as Christians should know about evolution and should not discount the good that has come from it. There are many Christians and non-Christians who have problems with the theory based on science and we should be pursuing that as science and not as theological ideas. Our faith simply requires us to believe something else. It does not require us to disprove the theory of evolution

One last point. As Christians we need to rightly understand evolution and teach our children about it. It needs to be taught in our schools as all of the current scientific knowledge needs to be. Teach science in the classroom and teach theology in the churches. I believe every word below about creation.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth… …And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. ~ Genesis 1:1,31 ESV

But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. ~ Genisis 2:18-23 ESV

 

Image courtesy of Tim Seed at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“I Have Proof God Exists”

No we don’t and we should be honest about that.

medium_3940612302ARGUMENT FROM PRAYER

(1) God exists.

(2) [Atheist makes counterarguments.]

(3) I will pray for you.

I have heard this one from many apologists. They have some kind of argument that if they could only get the atheist to understand it, they would have to conclude that God does indeed exist. They range from the Kalam argument to the Efficient Causality argument to the argument from Design to the Transcendental argument and many, many more. Some are simple and some are complex and all of these have merit and are good to reason through but in the end all have flaws that are not going to convince an atheist who trusts science to discover truth.

If this was true and we can prove God exists to atheists, then why are atheists not convinced? Atheists are very diverse in their beliefs. I don’t want to put them all in one camp but in my experience the ones that will discuss theology honestly with Christians are very logical, have good critical thinking skills and have put their trust in science as the best way to find truth. In the end Christians do not have a rational explanation as to why we believe.

The Christian faith is an irrational faith. We cannot in any way explain our belief in talking donkeys, people living in fish, people transported to different places instantly or even explain our belief in God in any rational way. So let’s just stop pretending we can.

So why do we Christians believe in God? Well, the answer is that God has made us all to believe. Now I am going to presuppose that the Bible is true just like atheists presuppose science is the best way to find truth.

Romans chapter one is a favorite verse from presuppositionalists who believe that all people believe in God but some such as atheists deny it because of their sin. Here’s what it says:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the mortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.            ~ Romans 1:18-23 ESV

Now I 100% agree with this verse. We all know God does exist. The presuppositionalist will beat up the atheist with this verse without any explanation or understanding that from the atheist point of view they do not believe. The atheist will and with good reason be offended because you are telling them what they think when they think differently without any proof that they would require. The Christian then puts the blame on the atheist for not believing in God because of their sin and that is in the wrong place. The blame should rightfully be put at Gods feet so to speak.

Romans goes on to say:

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. ~ Romans 1:28 ESV

Our faith is a free gift from God (Romans 5:1, 12:3) and is not rational but supernatural. Jesus is the author of our faith (Hebrews 12;2) and God is responsible for how much faith we get as well (Romans 14:1) so we cannot blame the atheist for their lack of faith. We can take it to God himself.

In the end it is God that gives faith and does not give faith for His purposes. We cannot prove God exists only god can prove He does indeed exist to people. One reason I know God exists is that I have faith in the first place and that is not a rational argument that any thinking atheist would accept.

So what should Christians do? We should preach the Gospel to everyone including atheists and trust that God knows what He is doing. Faith is given to us by God through hearing the Gospel not by scientific proofs or logical arguments.

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching? ~ Romans 10:13-14 ESV

photo credit: Dani P.L. via photopin cc

Introduction

file6261340645980A Jew, A Catholic, and an atheist are rowing in Lake Erie when their boat springs a huge leak. The Jew looks skyward, and says “Oh, Adonai, if you save me, I promise I’ll sail to Israel and spend the rest of my days trying to reclaim the land you gave us.” 

The Catholic looks skyward, and says, “Oh, Jesus, if you save me, I promise I’ll fly to the Vatican and spend the rest of my days singing your praises.” 

The atheist says, “Oh, guys, if you pass me that one life preserver, I promise I’ll swim to Cleveland.” “And how will you spend the rest of your days?” the Jew and the Catholic ask. “Well,” says the atheist, “I’m not sure, but I can tell you one thing: I’ll never go rowing with other atheists.”

I became a Christian about thirteen years ago and about twelve years and eleven months ago I started getting my rear end handed to me by skeptics and atheists regarding my new faith on forum web sites. Yes, I am one of those people. This may have been one of the best things to happen to my Christian faith. That experience has enabled me to refine my faith, to really know what I believe and become comfortable with questions that do not have reasonable answers.

Early on I wanted to justify my faith with science. I figured if I could prove god existed through science then I can really beat those atheists and not be so embarrassed about believing in Jesus. I became consumed with reading and listening to renowned Christian apologists, who all declared two things; that we can prove god exists and that the Bible is compatible with the current scientific theories. Two ideas that I now believe to be false.

I went naively headlong into the fray with smart and studied atheists and lost time and time again. Badly. All this did at first was to make me study more, and to want to believe people who had “sciency” explanation for bible history or claims. I studied Christian PhD’s and agreed with their explanations for the flood, creation, Genesis chapters 1 and 2 etc. It seemed that every contradiction in the Bible could be resolved by someone on Google. My reading and studying time for years (yes I am slow sometimes) became all about reconciling god and nature it seemed and not about learning the word of god to let Him sanctify me.

I soon realized that skeptical atheists had good answers for most of these arguments and evidences that seemed more plausible than anything I argued. I wondered why I could not convince atheists that god exists or at least make them think about the possibility He exists.

So then I was exposed to a way of thinking that took me away from reasoning with skeptics to appealing to their conscience. It was a revelation to me that I could not prove god exists but that god would prove it to them by pricking their conscience through the knowledge of sin and let god do the converting. I believed I was on to something that I could now bring to the skeptic/atheist forums and win. Of course they would realize they had done wrong and were bad people, right? Wrong. I was once again receiving my own behind at the hands of those atheists.

So what now? Well. The next trendy thing was pre-suppositional apologetics. I dived unabashedly into the abyss and when I looked up I could not see any atheist/skeptic being able to even crack this one. In fact, at first I did not think any of the so called refutations were very valid. I was convinced this is what I had been looking for. I tried it out on atheists and it seemed to make them mad and irritated. It must be working I thought. Finally I have made them believe that god exists whether they would admit it or not.

I was wrong. It dawned on me from watching YouTube video debates between atheists and pre-suppositionalists that I did not know the atheist world view. I was trying to refute atheism but I had no clue as to what they really believed or what their world view was. If I am a Christian looking for the truth, then I needed to start with what the atheist thought was truth and how they came to truth conclusions.

This blog is a collection of questions and statements I hear regularly that Christians give to atheists and why most of them are actually detrimental to our cause. They are usually thought of by atheists as childish and actually show that we Christians do not understand the atheist’s arguments and/or world view. It also has my thoughts on how better to engage atheists with these issues.