Mark from Proud Atheists does it again! He manages to prove his general and willful ignorance of religion even while attempting to mock it. His latest diatribe is a thoughtful post titled “Dear Christians, ‘I Simply Do Not . . . .‘” It’s a fascinating line of crap from start to finish. Let’s see what we can make of it: Read the rest of this entry
I think it’s unfair to say that Christians dislike atheists, as Mark of Proud Atheists seems to think.
Rather, Christians are attempting to speak the truth in love to our atheist friends. We are trying to communicate to them that God is real, not an outmoded concept that science has killed. We are trying to communicate the message that humble repentance before God is the only action that can save your soul.
I don’t think that hell is the best way to evangelize. While the topic shouldn’t be avoided all together, neither should it be our first resort. Christians are accused of being judgmental, holier-than-thou, or just plain unloving to even think that someone will go to hell for living life without repenting before God.
The idea of hell should motivate us to evangelize more out of love. When George Carlin died, I read a memorial thread on TheologyOnline where the Christians were rejoicing that Carlin is now in hell. That is unloving. We should never rejoice over a soul in hell. We should mourn the lost opportunity.
“Threatening with hell” seems to be a common reason that atheists think Christians dislike atheists. But we really don’t. We care enough about someone’s eternal soul to speak the truth of hell in love, to try to give that person a chance to avoid the inevitable results of a rebellious lifestyle.
Mark, however, thinks that we Christians dislike atheists and offers the following suggestions as to why: Read the rest of this entry
Mark from Proud Atheists (who I’ve bashed in a few recent posts; boy, I need some new reading material!) has just made an argument against the use of billboards to advertise for Christianity. He posts this picture of an atheist billboard contrasted by this video highlighting the use of billboards for Christianity. Then, he asks two questions to close the post:
* We already know about Christianity. Will the Christian billboards prove the divinity of Jesus?
* Will a billboard depicting “The Flintstones” make the show any more valid or real? We know the Geico cavemen on billboards weren’t really cavemen.
My head is reeling from the stupidity. When you argue against something a certain way, you have to first make sure that your own position is immune from the same criticisms. Atheists in many countries have posted billboards. The purpose is to bring more atheists into the fold, to let the unbelieving community know that they are there, and to foster community among unbelievers. And, perhaps, to instill some doubt into the heads of the believers.
Pretty much the purpose of theistic billboards in reverse.
Therefore, the same questions apply in reverse:
- We already know about atheism. Will the atheist billboards prove there is no God?
- Will a billboard depicting atheistic arguments make atheism any more valid or real?
Of course, I’m the theist, I’m making the positive claim, the burden of proof is on me, yada, yada, yada. But I always point the atheist who says that to Romans 1, because it neatly predicts and answers this type of argument:
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 immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
In their sin and rebellion, atheists are effectively supressing the truth. God is plain in the things that are made, but atheists seem to want more than that. They want to see the hand of God in something. The problem is that they’re not looking for it precisely because of the rebellion against God in the first place! Paul drives that point home in the next part of the passage:
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
As punishment for their rebellion, God has given them over to their lusts and allows them to continue suppressing the truth. The more times you sin, the easier it gets. The quieter your conscience becomes. Eventually, it seems that God hardens your heart and you become completely immune to further evangelism (2 The 2:11).
But, when someone dares to counter your claims about God with the truth that Jesus is risen, as these billboards are attempting to do, it becomes necessary to attack this campaign. When a Christian does something like this in faith, God will reach out to the hearers of the message and reveal himself. The pangs of conscience that result in unbelievers like Mark are necessary to quiet. Thus, the attack and belittlement of the effort.
Seems like it’s more effort than it’s worth to be an atheist. Let’s pray that they submit to the Lord before it’s too late.
Chris Roseburgh is not a Calvinist, but he is against the Pelagian heresy same as we are. Chris runs two excellent blogs, A Little Leaven and Extreme Theology. Extreme Theology has had two posts (here and here) that offer a great commentary on what is wrong with churches today. The first talks about “decision theology” and the second talks directly about free will and its connection to sin.
Again, Chris isn’t a Calvinist so he doesn’t speak of predestination to glory or shame when he speaks of decision theology, which is what the Calvinist would speak of. However, his post highlights some excellent Bible verses that show that we don’t have the free will to accept or deny Christ; in fact, it is the Holy Spirit moving within us that makes that decision possible. The Calvinist would call this “Irresistible Grace”–the “I” in TULIP. By denying the total depravity of man, even to accepting eternal life, churches today are preaching sermons that are not used by God to draw his elect to himself. And that is a tragedy.
We are to preach the gospel and repentance, but the sermons found in modern, seeker-driven churches are little better than self-help pop-psychology.
While the Calvinist believes that God’s elect will be found by him eventually, it is perhaps tragic that God won’t draw them sooner because modern preachers have the message all wrong.
In the second post, Chris makes the point that those set in the flesh cannot please God. Since the seeker-driven churches aren’t preaching biblical messages that will be used by God to draw his elect to himself, the people in those churches are very likely unregenerate. That isn’t to say that they aren’t trying to love God with all their heart, minds, and souls. But that isn’t what the Gospel is; that’s what the Law is. Since they are trying to follow God through works of Law, they are, in effect, displeasing to God.
Trying to make it to God on your own merit is the old Pelagian heresy coming back to haunt the church.
I know your church says you are supposed to do this and that you’ll win friends and magic Jesus points for your efforts. I know your bible makes you think that this is what your god wants. I even know that your failures are more important than your successes because they reinforce your persecution complex. But don’t do it.
First, Jesus–not the church–says that we are supposed to do this (see Mt 28:19-20). As disciples of Him, I don’t see us disobeying the words of our Lord because VJack says so.
Second, what exactly are these “magic Jesus points” and how do I earn them? The last time I checked, the Bible teaches that it is Jesus who saves us and we cannot earn salvation. Following His commands are done out of love and free choice rather than some sort of compulsion or game.
The best witness to atheists, I think, doesn’t come from words but the way we live our lives. As St. Francis of Assisi said, “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.” Along the same lines, he said, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” Living the Word of God to the best of your ability (Rom 12:9-21) will show the atheists that our chosen lifestyle is superior to their own. The atheists will want what we have. The words that VJack hates so much won’t even be necessary.
Recap: Witnessing to atheists? Do it with enthusiasm!