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October 12, 2008

Comments

"He asks a Christian if he's so sure he's going to Heaven and it's a better place then why doesn't he commit suicide?"

What a crazy question!

Let's see, maybe because I think heaven is so good, I want others to go there as well. Therefore, even if suicide wasn't a moral wrong within my worldview, I would still want to stick around for as long as possible so that I could share the good I've found with others, in the hope that they might have it as well.

It seems to me that the question assumes it's a self-evident truth that everyone should do that which will make them happy in shortest time possible, reguardless of the loss of good that might mean for others.

It's not only selfish, but also a juvenile way to think about good, about as juvenile as Maher's question.

That, and our lives are not our own. They belong to God.

Here is where a tactical approach to this should be applied. A lot of the ways that fundamental atheist like to discredit Christianity is to go back to the Old Testament where it is hard to give evidence for anything. Here are a few of their favorites objections:
Snake in Eden
Noah's Ark
Old Covenant/New Covenant conflicts
Miracles in general

Tactically, I think Christians should parry these attacks. Give a little, "You know what, those are great objections. However even if I successfully "rationalize" my way out of those objections, my response would not satisfy the objection's intent. Any religion can be twisted and turned into "reality" in that sense. So let me propose a better way to deal with your concern. How about we put aside those objections, for now, and deal with more pertinent things with regards to Christianity's truthfulness."

I think Greg Koukl teaches this tactic also because it is foolish to die on an Old Testament hill when the first century Christians didn't even do that. Christians need to remember that Christ is the central subject of their faith and if they can't defend that, well... they are to be pitied. On the other hand, if they can defend the existence of Christ and of His deity, they are going to do a lot better than being stumped by a "How did all the different types of animals fit into the ark" kind of question.

I actually think that if Christians even attempt to answer these types of questions, they have lost half the battle. They put themselves in a position where they hold the burden of proof when there is "little" "evidence" to support those claims. I applaud the historians that do extensive research (Paul Maier) on these issues and have an air of authority around what they say, but the average Christians is going to look like a "irrational" individual when in the same position.

So equipped yourself where it matters and learn tactics to direct the topic where the ground is not skewed in the skeptic's favor.

Just so that it is clear, I do think that the Old Testament is reliable and that the miracles in the Old Testament happened. I cannot explain them and I will definitely ask God about it when I get to heaven. With that said, I do think that there are atheist who are asking themselves these questions but are willing to have an intellectual discussion on Christianity. Christians, in general, too often fall into the mental trap of thinking that they must defend every letter of the Bible when that isn't the case. Some things should be put aside until a later time.

What matters? What should a Christian have so they aren't caught with their pants down?

I think a Christian should be equipped in the following areas:

Reliability of the Gospels and their account of Jesus
Textual criticism and the way the Bible was transmitted
The issue of the God breathe scripture with regards to the canonization
And book end it with Christ again; what he said and did.

I think this is essential, if anyone has an objection or would like to add something to what I said, please go ahead. I am just a youngling who is just so passionate in making Christianity relevant in today's world.

Hahaha, everyone who reads this blog would probably have known all of this stuff and I am probably making a fool of myself by putting myself out there.

I think that Stand To Reason should have a forum so that STR member can communicate to each other. I feel so isolated in my beliefs at the church that I attend... Christianity is just a social event for them, it's not a thing that is engaged with the mind.

I feel really bad for this guy if this is how he makes money. I'm going to pray for him so he may see, understand, and accept the truth before Judgement Day.

"I think that Stand To Reason should have a forum so that STR member can communicate to each other. I feel so isolated in my beliefs at the church that I attend... Christianity is just a social event for them, it's not a thing that is engaged with the mind."
I second that thought.
Would it be okay if we shared e-mail addresses, because I find myself to be quite alone as well.

Augustine, your advice to Christians is correct.
Too often we let atheists frame debates against us with their leading questions.
Atheists will ask, "How could a God (fill in the blank with an example taken out of context)?"
Since they don't believe in God anyway, are they really seeking information about God's character? More likely, they want to make you doubt your own faith and knowledge of the Bible.
It usually doesn't take much time to figure out if someone is an honest seeker or just an atheist evangelist looking to score points on a "big bad Christian."

First of all, did those questions really come from him or a ten year old?
Yes Irreligious people unite!!! Oh wait, they did.
It was called the Third Reich, The Soviet Union, The Peoples Republic of China and Khmer Rouge.
And we all know what Utopias those were. Has this guy ever cracked a book? I noticed he didn't bother "looking for answers" with anyone who could give him cogent ones. Greg Koukl, J.P. W.L.C. et al.

Let me see if I have my facts correct about Bill Maher the Comedian:
Absolutely certain that he is right about everything he believes, the Comedian is trying to convert the rest of the world through the tools at his disposal. His film "Religulous" features a call to action uniting nonbelieving people to take the world back from the religious.
Atheists, isn't your guy Maher exhibiting many of the characteristics that you say you loathe in Christians? Absolute certainty? Evangelism? Calls to "follow him" toward a better a better way of life?
This just goes to show that you can't move God out of the picture without trying to replace Him with something, or someone.

Funny! I was asked the exact same question about talking snakes - and in a very sarcastic tone.

My simple answer which promptly ended the question was "Miracles are an intellectual problem only if you don't believe in God."

It is interesting that Maher and other atheists say religion should be squashed so that pure rationalism can make this world a better place. Of course, they ask everyone to hold that view on "faith" !!!

"My simple answer which promptly ended the question was 'Miracles are an intellectual problem only if you don't believe in God."

I wonder what ended the discussion...
1. He was convinced that your argument was strong
2. You came off as someone knowledgeable and couldn't be picked on
3. He just didn't want to continue into a deep discussion
4. He thought you were dogmatic
5. He thought no reason would reach you

It couldn't have been the first because most people who are faced with new revelation are going to be curious, he would have continued the conversation because of curiosity.

It may have been the second option because these kinds of people like to pick on weaker individuals. If that was the case, I don't understand why you didn't press your case when you had the upper hand.

The third option happens all the time; a lot of people just don't want to think deeper.

The forth and fifth option is what I would want to avoid altogether. As Christians, we need to adjust our vocabulary, increase our knowledge, grow in wisdom, and develop our attractiveness so that we can continue the discussion. Ending discussions are not victories. Discussions that end without us putting a stone in their shoe is more than likely a loss.

So... Maher "wrote" his movie by lifting material directly from atheist websites?

I know an atheist who is so afraid of hearing the gospel he will not attend this movie. This person is fearful that the movie may feature a scene with street preachers, etc. He recoils at any possibility of being confronted with is own sin, mortality, and destiny. It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

Augustine and Wanda, yeah, this blog is the only forum we have right now, but check out our friends over at Apologetics.com. If you click on the "Discuss" tab, you'll find all their discussion boards. Enjoy!

Bill Maher asking you if you believe in a talking snake is like the Pope asking you if you believe in talking popes. :-)

All kidding aside, why doesn't Greg invite Maher on his radio show for an interview? That would be worth the price of admission, IMHO.

Frank

Maher and the rest of the new atheists all have the same approach.

Ridicule..."You are stupid".

So rather than ridiculing me, why don't they tell me how their approach makes more sense than Christianity and how their approach would have provided me with something appropriate to say to my eight-year old daughter, lying in that hospital bed with stage five neuroblastoma, just before she passed from life to life after death.

And let them be honest. Their collective axe to grind is with Christianity, not "religion".

The problem with not arguing or being knowledgeable about the Bible is people like Bill Maier can make you look foolish. He did in this movie by focusing on extremists and on those with deeply held beliefs that had never been critically examined. There are arguments to be made against Maier's film that can lead to the type of discussion he claims to be interested in.

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