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April 04, 2013

Comments

Jason,

"All good/bad morals are within us and we have to choose. I choose love. It's as simply as that."

We agree on that. Why would you say we disagree?

Jason,

I know you are insulted when someone tells you that natual selection has valued, developed, and retained even our "ugly" drives.

That is the point. Your sense of insult is proper. It is telling you something.


Jason,

"I did "dive into him", for 35 years, sincerely."

I don't know what you mean by "him"?

What person did you dive into?

Or was it all books and videos and religions and mental gymnastics?

I think we are talking about two different entities here.

I mean to direct you toward that nuance that just is person over there inside of prayer, and not towards all those other things. For me at least, it is all those other things out there which have had to measure up to the One Who has slowly manifested Himself to me in all sorts of avenues in my life rather than the other way around. "God is love"? What? Well, whatever. Let's see if that measures up to the Real God Whom I've come to know. For me it was in that order, and not the other way around. But I think it is different for everyone.

What I know is that He is Love. As for any framework down here in our world, well, they will have to measure up to that if they had hoped to get a foot into my door.

scblhrm,

I know you are insulted when someone tells you that natual selection has valued, developed, and retained even our "ugly" drives

You missed my point. I was insulted because you put your own definition on atheism, applied that definition to me, and implied that either:

1. I couldn't value love over rape within atheism.

or

2. I didn't actually "believe" in atheism because I did value love over rape.

That is a false dichotomy and a preposterous proposition. Equating love with rape and tying that equation in any way to me or my atheism, in any sense, simply because I am not a Christian, is insulting.

Of course the ugly drives are retained, but as explained, they are minimized in our species. If they weren't minimized, then we wouldn't survive. If they weren't minimized, then we would all be going around raping each other. Obviously, our species values love over rape. And since the majority of us aren't Christians, then the lack of raping is not in response to Christian morality.

Again, I don't require an apology, but you seemed to have entirely missed my side note about reconciliation. Do you only apologize to your wife when you are wrong, or do you sometimes apologize even when you don't think your wrong, simply because your wife's feelings were hurt? If so, probably because you value her as a human being. I apply that logic to all human beings. Which is the greater morality?

"I don't know what you mean by "him"?

Did you read the part of my story I shared with Carolyn?

I fully believed and understood that "god is love". I fully embraced the "finished work of Christ". I lived and breathed "identity with Christ" and accepted it intellectually and emotionally for many, many years. I understood faith as a "relationship", not "religion". I lived that, taught that, ministered that. I fully accepted the person of Christ.

My entire life revolved around that. You will have to take my word that you are not speaking of things that I do not understand. I realize that you are probably thinking to yourself right now "That can't be right. If he knew/saw/felt/understood what I do, he never could have walked away", and I get that. I really do. But I really did, and I did walk away, because I had no choice.

The evidence was only in my head, only in my emotions, and never in reality.

Jason,

As I already said, we all know you value love over all the ugly things. Natural Selection does not. If mathematical frequency is going to be your definition of morality, then let us examine the sheer amount of pain and slaughter in this world…. on this planet.

I gave you this as an example:

“Sex trafficking is on the rise worldwide. That drive in the male so use, so abuse, his female counterpart is morphing and on the rise towards higher frequencies as those tendencies are perpetuated via the offspring of those abuses (the genome). That is simple mathematical observations of natural selection at work. Yet we all are disgusted with that behavior. And we should be even though those tendencies are increasing in frequency within mankind.”

What you seem to be arguing is that the higher the frequency, the higher the “goodness”.

I think you are incorrect in that assertion.

If you feel that “High Frequency” [equals] “What we should all do” then I would disagree with you on that point as all sort of things are increasing in frequency which are quite ugly.

If “what helps the species survive” is what [equals] “what we should do” then I will again disagree with you for there are all sorts of ugly things which have helped keep us alive.

“Of course the ugly drives are retained, but as explained, they are minimized in our species”

No, Jason. Sex trafficking is increasing in frequency. The appetites which drive the genome are alive and well and the trafficking is merely the fruit of that genome within.


I think you are mistaken about frequency and morality. Love is good unless something stronger develops. I do not think you believe that.

You are stuck with:

1) Love is good, but when something better for the species’ durability comes along and displaces it, then, well, okay, so-long to love and that is fine with me.

2) Love is good, but when something tougher for the species’ durability comes along and displaces it, then, well, love will still be the Highest Good.

Your mathematical model of frequency cannot support number two. At least on the terms you’ve given.

If you really think number two is a valid statement, how do you reconcile that with natural selection’s frequency model which you seem to believe in?


"The evidence was only in my head, only in my emotions, and never in reality"

For me His seeming paucity in this world was quite painful for a long time. I can only point you towards Him, Jason. I've come to know Him as, well, "love", and from there outward my journey moved into other arenas........Actual Actuality is the God who is Love. I know you are not thinking of yourself as you disagree with me. I know you are not thinking "how can he be so stupid?" about me.

I'm not thinking that way, either, Jason.


scblhrm,

It appears that we will never agree on the morality question. We are simply coming at it from two completely different world views that can not be reconciled. Let's just lay that aside.

Since this is the "evidence" thread:

Are you willing/able to provide direct personal evidence, and have that evidence examined, that the Christian god is real?

I have an open mind and I am totally open to evaluating and discussing such evidence.

Jason

Jason,

I should clarify:

When I said, "For me His seeming paucity in this world was quite painful for a long time. I can only point you towards Him..."

I mean specificaly Him in prayer. There are better people than me who will be able to give you a better "pointer". But ultimately it must be person and not all that other stuff, and (for me) that seems to be tied mostly to time in prayer. I called. He answered. I know your experience has been very different thus far.


Jason,

I agree that the two cannot be reconciled. Number two of my two options above cannot be reconciled with the mathematical frequency model.

"But ultimately it must be person"

Once again, I TOTALLY get that. I totally lived that. I know you are sincere in your suggestion, but I've truly "been there, done that" :)

"But ultimately it must be person"

Once again, I totally get that. I totally lived that. I know you are sincere in your suggestion, but I've truly "been there, done that, believed that" :)

Lack of actual personal (non thought and emotion) evidence is what made that untenable at some point. That's why I asked you for such evidence. Do you have any?

Hmmm.... gotta love the delays on this site's posting....

Lack of actual personal (non thought and emotion) evidence is what made the belief in the person untenable at some point.

That's why I asked you for such evidence.

Do you have any?

Lack of actual personal (non thought and emotion) evidence is what made the belief in the person untenable at some point.

That's why I asked you for such evidence.

Do you have any?

Go there again :)

Sorry about the multiple posts...site is acting weird.

Help me to "go there again" by giving me the evidence necessary to make that attempt.

Jason,

If you will try to reconcile option two above with your frequency model, you will have (at least one) proof.

How is the person that is one's wife "only in my head"?

I'm not following your logic.....

schblhrm,

For the umpteenth time, let's lay aside the moral basis argument including your frequency model question. An intellectual exercise on something we will likely never agree on is clearly not "evidence" in my book, and nothing that would inspire me to "go there again".

I have clearly stated the evidence I am looking for, evidence that should be entirely simple and easy for any Christian to produce on demand if Christianity were true. Evidence that could cause me to take another look at Christianity.

Once again: Can you provide me with direct personal evidence (not including emotions and thoughts) that the Christian god is real?

-----------------------------------

"How is the person that is one's wife "only in my head"?

I'm not following your logic....."

I have no idea what you are referring to or asking here.

Jason,

That love is our ultimate ethic is giving you (and me) a proof. Your worldview cannot support option two above. If you believe option two is a truth statement about reality then your mathematical model must be false where reality is concerned.

We have to start there, because, quite simply, it all boils down to Love and to Person.

scblhrm,

So, you don't have any evidence? Or you are unwilling to provide it. It's OK. You can say it. That's why it's called faith, because there's no actual proof.

It's amazing to me that I required more proof to buy a used car than I did for a belief system that I spent 35+ years in.

When buying my last used car, I didn't rely on a picture of a car or others descriptions/reviews of the car or take the previous owner's word that it worked or meditate on the concept of the car until I believed in it or go to meetings where everyone else also meditated on the car.

I actually had to see the car, start the car, and drive the car down the road.

Jason,

If you believe in option two listed above, which reads as:

"2) Love is good, but when something better for the species’ durability comes along and displaces it, then, well, love will still be the Highest Good."


If you believe this is a truth statement about reality, then you have (at least one) Proof that something which transcends this world Is Love.

It's up to all of us to choose Love, Jason.

scblhrm,

"If you believe this is a truth statement about reality, then you have (at least one) Proof that something which transcends this world Is Love."

If I agree with you that there is "proof" that something transcends this world (and let's say I do for the sake of discussion), I then need actual evidence to confirm that this something is the Christian god.

Can you provide that direct evidence in your own life outside of your thoughts and emotions?

Jason,


Again, for me it started with Him-As-Love.


The Proofs that follow that Proof can only follow if you (in my experience) start there and begin walking. What that leads to in the world out there will bring in more textured compliments. For me in that journey whatever frameworks I encountered out there had better measure up to that certain Him-As-Love which I already knew. For you it will be that or some other thing, but it will certainly be.


But there is a problem with trying to know Person through books and videos and mental gymnastics: those things never deliver and since you don't really believe that certain sort of Him-As-Love (or do you?), I don't know where to point you, since, in my experience, none of the other pieces fit outside of that. Since you seem to still be holding onto your frequency equals morality model of genomic mutations, I am not sure you can believe that Love transcends the genome, that Person transcends the genome.

You are asking someone (me) to tell you what he knows, and, more importantly, how he knows it.

Well, I am telling you.

scblhrm,

You don't seem to be listening to me at all. Either that, or you are simply finding new ways to evade my question because you have no answer.

I told you multiple times that I did in fact "start with Him-as-Love", that I did fully believe in his person. When one believes that, everything else fits into it. I get that. Once again, I lived that for a very long time.

And once again, I no longer live that life of belief in a person because the actual evidence never came. I wasn't even consciously looking for it. I simply realized one day that it wasn't there.

For the sake of discussion, I conceded all your points, i.e. "There is an immutable god with an immutable love". You simply will not answer my question.

Either you have direct personal evidence outside of your thoughts and emotions that this immutable god with immutable love is the Christian god or you do not.

You clearly do not or you would have offered it by now.

So, it's all in your thoughts and emotions. None of it is measurable, objective reality. Your god in fact does not EVER do ANYTHING practical and physical that it promised in the bible.

I get that. That is why it's called faith. That's my entire point.

Jason Blue,

In one sentence, what were you trusting Jesus for?

Regards,
John

John Willis,

Every aspect of my entire life was centered on my faith in Jesus.

Jason

John Willis,

Did that answer your question? I wasn't exactly sure what you were asking.

Nice to meet you BTW.

Jason

Jason,

“I did fully believe in his person”

I think you and I mean by this phrase two entirely different things. I think you mean something like this: “In all intellectual honesty I agreed with the validity of the truth claim that God is Love and I also adhered to that same intellectual framework as it related to His Person and genuinely agreed with it. I fully believed.”

Now, this is precisely what I do not mean and this is precisely what I have been warning you about by repeatedly suggesting to you that all of that stuff about intellectual coherence and logical proofs and books and videos and CD’s and DVD’s and so on simply will in the end fail. They never replace meeting the Person. They will never deliver Him because He is not in them and nothing short of Person can bridge that gap which you think a healed broken bone will fill.

The starting point, and the only point from which all proofs will both flow out of and lead back to is meeting someone. My own experience was somehow something like this: “I didn’t really believe anything in particular and in midstride in the middle of doing all the usual things stupid young men do someone met me. I had no awareness at all of any intellectual construct or set of logical proofs or frameworks of logical proofs and so on. It was and is Sheer Person and from there I simply began to see, or, taste, or, know, or dialogue with that Someone.

There was no intellectual framework to worry about. That came second. Jason, who needs that when you have Him?

If you are telling me that you spent some number of years with a real person Whom you came to know just is love, and, then, later, Religion-X didn’t match up to Him (the person you knew all along) then I will say to you just drop Religion-X and continue on with the God Whom you have been knowing prior to all those Religion-X’s.

I am saying this: I know my wife. Religion X had teachings about my wife which I knew were intellectually bankrupt simply because they didn’t line up with my wife, that particular woman I have come to know. Now there just is no way in the world any set of intellectually bankrupt statements about my wife are going to magically convince me that my wife is not real; how can they when I already know her one-on-one prior to ingesting any set of statements made about her by others claiming to know her too?

But I don’t think that is what you are saying. I think you never have known Him because, just like you really can’t fall out of belief in the existence of, say, your mom or you dad since you have met them, you just can’t fall out of belief in someone you already know.

How can any set of truth statements about your mom or dad, should they prove to be false, change anything about you and your mom and dad? If you know your dad likes chocolate, and Religion-X says his favorite flavor is vanilla, how does that in any universe mean your dad does not exist? How could it given you have for quite awhile known your dad?

You dropped the God you met and Who you knew is love just because Religion-X said something about Him you knew was off ( via knowing Him ) ? You need to drop Religion-X instead don’t you?

That was sort of how my journey went. It started with that One True One Who just is love and nothing else. Then from there all sorts of claims come along, and in this life you have to weigh them all. Now, had none of them matched up with Love Himself I would be, today, saying this: “I know the Living God, and His name is Love, and, there are no X’s here which reflect enough of Him for me to buy into.”

In other words, there could be zero evidence within any particular X and that would have changed very little for me then.
Of course now I see His hand in all sorts of places here in this world He has created.


Now, you have been going about this in the exact opposite direction. While I started with, let us say, “my wife” and then proceeded to explore all the houses she built, all the books she wrote, and all the DVD’s written about her, I found some things that complimented and fit in with the woman I already knew, but none of them had any hope of ever replacing her.

I think you have been using replacements because you are trying to meet her by studying the books she has written, the houses she has built, and the DVD’s made about her. It’s an impossible sequence. All those things about her will never deliver her. And the result is exactly what we see with you and that result was inevitable. Your wife will never be inside the book she wrote or the house she built or the DVD someone made about her.

Of course, once you meet her then all the Cosmological and Scientific and Moral and Historical and Neuroscience and Personhood and Mind and Intent and Will and Physical and Time and Space and, and, and, and….well, all those things have her fingerprints all over them, but at the end of the day I will tell you I find myself closing all those books about her and I simply retire into her embrace.

And without her embrace all those other things would never do. But with her? Well, who needs books and DVDs and Religion-X's when you got the girl?

scblhrm,

You are 100% wrong about me. I don't know how else to say it.

I didn't come into Christianity intellectually. I came into it relationally, as a child, with a child like faith. I stayed with it as an adult, through my marriage and raising my kids.

Yes, I some point, religion got in the way as it does with most believers, but I saw that, and determined once and for all that it wasn't about religion, but about knowing him. I dropped all religion more than ten years before I dropped the relationship. I lived more than a decade in a state of total identity with the person of Christ.

I don't know how many more ways I can say that. For you to say that wasn't real or I didn't do it right is audaciously presumptive and a straight up logic fallacy known as the "no true Scotsman". It's an extraordinarily weak defense of your faith.

I didn't critically intellectually study Christianity until after I had left it, i.e. I didn't leave for intellectual reasons. Once again, for at least the 10th time, I left it because I realized one day that none of the practical promises of the person of Jesus laid out in the bible ever happened to me or to anyone I ever knew in 35+ of active Christianity.

Enough with the word games please. Yes or No? Can you give me direct personal evidence outside of your emotions and thoughts that the Christian god is real?

I have been extremely patient. Can you please answer that question? You have avoided it by many means, most recently by implying that I am either delusional or deceived as to my former status as a Christian. You weren't there. You don't know.

It's a simple question. It's your choice whether to keep running and hiding from it.

Jason

Jason,

You mean a person you met and knew?

I mean, like your mom or dad, and, then, someone said their favorite flavor is chocolate but you knew it was really vanilla, so you said, "That means my mom and dad are not real." ?

How on earth can anything Religion-X says about someone you already met convince you you've never met them?

At best it would be a reason to drop Religion-X.

But why drop the God who is love, who you already know? Why not just drop Christianity instead?

Jason,

If Christianity does not line up with Someone you know is Everlasting Love then just drop Christianity.

But why drop the God Who Is-Love?

scblhrm,

I told you that I dropped all religion. Religion X isn't my problem.

I once felt that I knew Jesus as well as my parents or wife, but when I look at that objectively and critically now, that's ridiculous. I can physically see, smell, converse with, and touch my wife. You can't compare that type of knowing a person with the mental/emotional/spiritual knowing of a deity, as in with the same provable certainty.

You are insulting me by continuing this line of questioning when I have so thoroughly answered it.

You are insulting me and your own faith by not answering my most basic singular question to you.

Jason

scblhrm,

Any more evasions to my simple question will prove you a dishonest conversationalist and render you completely disingenuous to anyone reading this thread, atheist or Christian.

Jason

Jason,

"You can't compare that type of knowing a person with the mental/emotional/spiritual knowing of a deity, as in with the same provable certainty"


Well, as I said, for me it wasn't like that. Isn't like that. I think this is why I don't understand how you say you "met someone" and then somehow came to think you didn't just becasue someone said something about that person which you knew to be false.

Person knows Person in my experience. I think my weakness here is that I only have my experience to reflect to you.


I can promise you this: you'll never find Him in a book or song or mountain or galaxy. But in the reverse direction C.S. Lewis said something like, "I do not see the sun, but by the sun I see all things."

Now, I know that odd God Who is Love, but I have never seen Him with my physical eyes, though I have seen His Hand touch my physical body, my literal mind, my spirit. But, telling you of my answered prayers can never satisfy your request because He is not in the few typed sentences on the screen.

Answered prayers? My body? Yes.

Well?

It's not enough is it Jason?

And it shouldn't be. It can't be.

He isn't there in those sentences.

Person isn't found like that.

I'll take a risk here so be nice:

One on one with Him. Go there. That painful paucity of God in the world begins to fade only there. Others may have better, or more helpful, approaches.

It seems to me that you actually do believe in your heart that love is our ultimate ethic and therefore I feel comfortable telling you to follow your heart. It’s telling you the truth of the matter. How you reconcile that with the world outside of you is fairly straightforward.

No one can show you Love Himself except Himself Jason. I think you may know that already. You’re going to have to trust what you discover of Him in prayer with Him at some point. We will never bypass Trust. Logic and Reason and Love will all confirm those vectors breaking through in prayer quite easily.

You won’t find what you are looking for in reading books and seeing miracles and pushing through rigorous mental gymnastics Jason. Reading books about my wife are in the end of no help whatsoever if my desire is to dive into her embrace. Reading books written by my wife are in the end of no help whatsoever if my desire is to dive into her embrace. I am going to have to dive into her embrace. The element of Person is the only thing that is going to measure up to your desire.

I know that because we all have to go through the same processes and struggles. We all at some point settle for cheap little games and fancy books and clever little logic-runs and in the end it all falls apart because they never deliver. Because in all those things there is no Person. He isn’t there.

I will tell you this: When you see a blind man see it will in the end be of no help whatsoever to you if your desire is to dive into His Embrace. The miracle of His touch in my mind and body and in my life, were, and still are, but pointers, void of Him. All the stories about Him, all the pages written by Him are but preliminary shadows void of Him, and thus they disappoint. You will not find Person in black leather bibles, you will not find Person in watching any blind eye restored, even when it is your own. And nothing but Person is going to pass the test.


Logic and Love and Reason have been of great help to me, but, if they stood alone and peaked at some ceiling of verbiage like, “See we can paint a coherent picture of Him” I can tell you I would not today believe what I believe. Had Person never been finally tasted, finally known, then all those other things would have been, at the end of the day, hollow mental and emotional exercises.

Like diving into my wife’s embrace, my feelings and my mind and my thoughts are all, let us say, involved somehow, but, they are all simply, short of her, just not that certain something which I desire. Short of the dive into her embrace all those other things ( things which I actually do use with her ) are just of no use to me at all and leave me wholly unsatisfied: they will never be anything more than stories and feelings and emotions and reasonings and thoughts. They will never be her.

What good are they without her when it is my wife I desire? It is her that I desire and short of her I can promise you that nothing else will do.

All those other things, void of her, taste like cruel lies for they promise to deliver her to me but they never deliver her to me. And they never will.

It is her, my beloved wife. It is there, in her embrace. Love is Person within Me and within Her there inside of that unique embrace that just is the singular We of our marriage. Love is this. Love is not some other thing.

This is what Love is like, Jason. Love is not going to be some other way. It never will. And God is love.

Jason,

"Any more evasions"

I've mentioned my answered prayers to you several times. But I know it will not, cannot, be enough.

And it hasn't been.

Jason,

For what is worth, the God Who Is-Love has been wholly silent at times when I really could have used Him. And, He has often answered my prayers. Mind. Body. Spirit. You name it. There are many No's. Many Yes's. Many Silent No-Responses at all.

I'm not lying.

So, is it enough?

scblhrm,

You make the mistake of thinking I don't understand your reasoning. I understand it perfectly. I experienced the same type of relationship you describe and possibly more. There is nothing that I can do with the fact that you refuse to accept it. I do understand that your faith does not allow you to accept it, and that's ok.

A generic response of "Answered prayers? My body? Yes" is not in any way a specific response to my singular question, and you know it. You didn't answer my question because you can't answer my question. It's as simple as that.

You have proven that your relationship with god exists only in your thoughts and emotions. I know it's very real to you. I don't doubt that. It was very real to me, but your lack of actual evidence makes it undeniable.

I appreciate you talking with me. I really do. You have reinforced to me that I made the correct decision leaving the faith. If someone as mentally and emotionally committed as you to your faith has no direct personal practical evidence to exhibit, then none exists.

Jason

I am not going to monitor this thread very much longer, so if you choose to answer the only question I've asked, please do it soon.

Jason,

"I experienced the same type of relationship you describe and possibly more"

No you haven't. Mine equates to the realness of those I have with people here around me. I mean by that that no one could tell me that my wife's favorite color is black (it isn't) and by that statement convince me that my wife does not exist.


I know you had an intense relationship. But it seems to have been something different than the sort I'm sharing with you in that regard.

"A generic response of "Answered prayers? My body? Yes" is not in any way a specific response to my singular question"

He heals our body, and, that is not enough?

I only have my experience to share with you.

But I know it will never be enough. He isn't there inside that thing.

Jason,

I'll post this and then give you the last word. I apologize for the prose thing.... some of what I write I write for a sort of cathartic fun. If that combination makes any sense.....


My last for this thread:


If you actually have met, do know, the God Who Is-Love, then I feel comfortable telling you to stick with Him. Even if it means dropping Christianity. I feel comfortable saying this to you (near blasphemy or heresy or something I’m sure) because sooner or later the God Who Is-Love will spread His arms wide and pour Himself out for His Beloved. And His Beloved will be you. And, then, when you see Him thus poured out for you, into you, Love Himself will be there manifest, and then we will be close enough to the same blurry reflection of Actuality Himself that the rest will take care of itself. Or He will take care of it. Who cares. All-Sufficiency will have poured Himself into Insufficiency and we thus glorified will in loving return glorify Him for in like manner we too will spread our arms wide and pour ourselves out and into Him. And He into us. And we into Him. And He into us. Such is love’s everlasting embrace amid The-Self and The-Other there within the Singular-We of Love’s Triune wherein that Eternally Sacrificed Self is forever emptied and the Beloved forever filled.

scblhrm,

I'll make this my last post for this thread as well. I truly appreciate your responses. Your prose no longer bothers me. I see that it is just how you communicate :)

I don't think you ever quite understood my question, but that's OK. I may not have ever quite understood you either. I think we had a lot of meaningful dialog along the way.

I actually took your suggestion and dropped Christianity as the first step to holding onto god. That lead me through a brief phases of Christian universalism, then deism, and eventually to atheism. It was a logical, rational progression, and I am honestly better for it.

I've never been happier and more fulfilled. My marriage has never been better. My relationships with my kids have never been better. I've never had better friends.

Peace,

Jason

I don't know if this thread is closing itself up, but I felt like commenting here. If this disappears, well...it disappears!

First off, and I mean this in the most sincere and positive way possible, this back and forth between you (Jason) and you (scblhrm) has been the first time I've ever completely grasped everything that you (scblhrm) were saying. I felt as though you were purposefully selecting every word to maximize what you had to say so that it would be exceedingly clear. And it was clear and it was awesome!! But I instinctively guessed that, for all its profound meaning and clarity, it was not going to be on the same track that Jason was getting at. You did one heck of a job explaining something so intangible and complex and you nailed it. Really, really well done!

I went back and reread all of the comments and I noticed, (Jason), that your remarks and concerns seem to come from a more pragmatic "nuts and bolts" sort of place. You mentioned several times about the promises God makes in Scripture and how you'd never seen them fulfilled--ever. You've never experienced it personally and you've never known anyone else who has experienced tangible fulfillment of any of His promises. (Would you say that is a specific part of your objection to belief?)

You wrote:

"I didn't critically intellectually study Christianity until after I had left it, i.e. I didn't leave for intellectual reasons. Once again, for at least the 10th time, I left it because I realized one day that none of the practical promises of the person of Jesus laid out in the bible ever happened to me or to anyone I ever knew in 35+ of active Christianity."

So I would like to ask you, Jason, if you'd give us just 2 or 3 or those promises that you would have equated fulfillment of as proof that God is real. Then, perhaps, we can address those and try to figure out what was missing. Are you up for that or are you bone-weary of typing? If you're game, I think it would make for an interesting discussion...

Hi Carolyn, I spent a lot of Sunday afternoon reading the several thread that have erupted from the colluded efforts of the anti theist cadre, all seeming to ask the same or similar questions, getting answers but not engaging genuinely. In this thread, I hesitated to jump in since I have very limited time right now, but want to make a few comments of observation.

I have quite a bit of experience reading scblhrm and had noticed even early on that even though with the idealist/spiritual language, scb is a very consisten logical thinker--contra our interlocutor Jason Blue who seems to be truly blinded to his incoherent worldview by the light of his own "rationality". Anyway, I'm glad to know that you see the albeit unusual style of scb, the insights he offers are usually worth the digging. I have to admit I may have enjoyed that it might've been scb that frustrated ToNy enough to take his broken record schtick about "collection of elements" elsewhere. By contrast ToNy was/is a much more consitent thinker than this latest bunch.

A few scriptures that come to mind are:

"Mat 7:22 Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
Mat 7:23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'"

Luk 16:30"But he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!' Luk 16:31 "But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'"

"Jhn 10:28 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
Jhn 10:28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.
Jhn 10:29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

"1Jn 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us."



Hi, Brad,

Well, I have a really bad stiff neck from sitting here so long, so I need to make this quick! (Besides, it's after 1 AM!) I'm trying to imagine right now that I'm Jason Blue and I'm reading your post. I don't know you because you haven't engaged in this dialogue up to this point, so I'm reading something from you for the first time. I think I might feel like I've been lumped in with a mighty questionable group from some previous round of talks, and I'd probably feel like I'm at a big disadvantage because it doesn't sound like a very sterling group to belong to, judging from the comments! And, as Jason Blue, I think I'd feel like I had given this thing my best efforts and am now being sort of...dismissed? (Can't think of a better word right now.)

Look, I really do think Jason jumped in this thing at the beginning with a bit of an axe to grind, but then it seems he settled down and started trying to get somewhere with the conversations; I, for one, really appreciated that! I found him to be earnestly expressing the void he experienced with Christianity and sincerely trying to communicate how he felt about the journey that led him to his decision. I can't imagine what insight he can come away with if this is how we leave him!

Let me say that it's usually pretty apparent when folks come in here with deaf ears, ready to just rip and shred. But we've got to remember that each one is an individual, so I don't think they can be easily dispatched by clumping them all together and stamping a label on them! It seems that Jason is looking for something really "concrete" to pin down, and esoteric talk isn't getting him there. My gut tells me it all has something to do with the nature of the spiritual life he led before. And, yes, it strikes me as odd that someone could have operated on a sort of "auto-pilot" for 35 years if there was so little real Life there, but that's why I think it has to do with the nature of his walk. At least it's something we can explore if he's willing to do so. Does that make sense? (Remember, it's now almost 2 AM!)

In any event, I think we should walk softly and try to hear the heart behind the words. We may never meet Jason's needs here, but we MUST try.

Thanks for chiming in, Brad!

"Can you give me direct personal evidence outside of your emotions and thoughts that the Christian god is real?"

Wow. Um..I do have an answer to this question. Direct personal evidence of God is all around me. I see it every day. The Sun. Trees. Our unfortunate inherited sin nature. The birth and development of my children. And on and on...

The issue is not lack of direct personal evidence, it's our starting point. Mine was dramatically altered about nine years ago, and it was not by my own doing. I thank God every day that he opened my eyes and granted me faith, repentance, and belief in his Son.

Carolyn,

Thank you so much again for your thoughtful and kind comments. I think you see the situation pretty clearly, and I will answer your questions.

I feel like I need to address Brad B first. Thank you again for "defending" me against his thoughtless comment.

Jason

Brad B,

I almost didn’t respond to your comment because it was so unjustly dismissive and disdainful of me, but I think it deserves a response. I assume that you read all of my comments or you would not have specifically judged me at all, much less so harshly. If you rendered judgment without reading all of my comments, that’s another matter all together.

I’m not sure how any reasonable person could read all of my thoughtful, patient, respectful comments and conclude that I did not “engage genuinely”. The one time I did step over the line with scblhrm, I sincerely apologized to him, and even when I did not get an apology in return for what I felt were insulting comments, I did not abandon the conversation or hold it against him. If you viewed my comments as disrespectful simply because they disagreed with your faith, then perhaps you should not be engaging in any debates.

I am troubled that you could read my comments and judge them as incoherent. I was very coherent and consistent in my thoughts. I consistently engaged scblhrm and answered his numerous questions and objections even when I felt that he never answered my singular question. I am also troubled at the glee you felt when Tony (apparently another non Christian that used to comment?) was run off. As a former Christian, your apparent stance and indifference on witnessing is quite baffling to me.

When scblhrm gave me the final word in the thread, did I take evil advantage of that? Did I blast him or Christianity? No. I was respectful, thankful, and thoughtful. I was conciliatory in my conclusion - that the problem was that scblhrm and I simply didn’t understand each other, as opposed to railing on him for not answering my question. I ended my final comment to him with “peace” and I meant it.

You also blasted me as part of some part of a “colluded effort of the anti theist cadre”. For future reference, there is a difference between “atheist” and “antitheist”. An “atheist” is someone without a theistic belief. An “antitheist” is someone against a theistic belief. I am not an antitheist. I was a Christian. I am not against god. I didn’t want to leave my faith. I would return to my faith if the evidence convinced me he was real. Comments like yours do not help.

Finally, you concluded your comment by quoting scriptures. First of all, quoting scriptures to someone that does not believe in god or the bible is pointless. Second, if you were going to quote scriptures, why wouldn’t you quote scriptures about the love and kindness of god? I can think of several off the top of my head that I would have used if I was trying to love someone back to Jesus.

I suggest that you take a look at your motivation for commenting. Are you loving the unbelievers and trying to win them back? Or are you trying to flex your muscles in front of other Christians to make yourself look better? Hopefully, you will read my perspective of your comments and reevaluate your tactics going forward.

Jason

Carolyn,

The rest of my day is pretty packed, so if I don't come back to this thread today, it's because of that.

To answer your question, I guess it would help me to know if you believe the same way I believed with just two questions.

1. Do you believe that the bible is "the inspired inerrant word of God?"

2. Do you believe that "signs and wonders" are for today or just for biblical times?

To be clear, I have ZERO interest in challenging your faith. I'm glad you are happy with your faith. I'm simply looking for evidence.

BTW, I would hang out with you anytime Carolyn. If you were in the DFW area, I would invite you to coffee :)

Thanks again,

Jason

S.S.,

Thanks for the reply. I didn't see it before.

In response to my request for direct personal evidence outside of your thoughts and emotions, you said:

"Wow. Um..I do have an answer to this question. Direct personal evidence of God is all around me. I see it every day. The Sun. Trees. Our unfortunate inherited sin nature. The birth and development of my children. And on and on..."

Please don't take this the wrong way. My response is genuine, and not any attempt to mock you.

This is not the type of evidence I am looking for. The sun and trees are not personal evidence. The sin nature is in your thoughts and emotions, not something physical. The birth and development of you children is personal, but it is a natural process that happens to every one regardless of their faith, i.e. not something that can not happen if one is not a Christian.

Do you see what I mean?

Do you have any direct personal evidence, i.e. something you have seen with your own eyes or that has happened directly to you that can not be explained by any other means than the Christian god, e.g. "Have you ever prayed for a paraplegic and they walked again from that point forward in their life?"

Thanks again. I appreciate your time.

Jason

P.S. I am probably going to be absent the rest of the day/evening for work.

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