Abrasive Atheists and Contrary Christians

For whatever reason, I got to thinking this morning about the fact that atheists have a way of accusing Christians of trying to “make converts.” It is common to see a topic on internet forums discussing the fact that Christians (and sometimes other religious groups) only want to convert you and convince you that you’re going to hell if you aren’t a Christian. Christians, apparently, can be a very contrary bunch. We are apparently very unpleasant to be around (for those who aren’t Christian) and constantly impose on other people.

I remain unaware of whether or not atheists realize that they are equally offensive to the spiritual population, regardless of “religion.” I have encountered atheist after atheist who wants to convince me that after death there is nothing. I find it at best irritating and at worst downright disheartening.

Before I continue, please recognize and understand that my purpose in this article is not to tear down any person of a particular belief structure, religion or denomination. Rather, I am writing to hopefully shed some light on the ways in which the behaviors exhibited by both Christians and Atheists alienate ourselves and one another.

The Basis of Belief

Faith is a strange thing. A person can have faith in anything. For example, I have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow morning the same as it has every day for the last twenty-nine years that I have been on earth.  I have faith that the warm season follows the cold season. I base these beliefs on observations throughout a lifetime. I make assumptions based on what I have seen, heard and felt.  

This is how beliefs are formed. We spent our lives, from the time that we are brand-new babies until our moment of death, learning about the world around us. Even a very young baby is developing a system of belief and trust. When she cries and her mother answers her, she develops the belief and trust that her mother will come when she cries. When he smiles, his grandfather smiles back.

We continue to learn in this way throughout our lives, and learning is nothing more than the development of a very specific set of beliefs.

Belief is also largely based on trust. When we are very young, we trust our parents. We trust that they will do what is right and good for us and that they will not lie to us. We learn this through specific disciplines and cause and effect. When we first reached for something hot, we didn’t understand the word “hot” when our mother used it. We only understood it after we touched that something hot and were burned.

Our parents guide and lead us using our trust. They tell us about Santa Claus and we believe because we trust our parents not to lie to us. As we get older, there are more adults and knowledgeable and trustworthy people in our lives, including first our teachers. While our parents might have taught us about Santa Claus and God (intangible things) our teachers tell us about science, about physics and biology, fact and theory. Later on, our friends teach us about ourselves and often teenagers build their self-image on the esteem of their peers.

Belief is established through a variety of sources, based on personal observations of things that we experience with each of our six senses.

Choosing Your Religion

Many of us grew up not being given a choice. We were either baptized soon after birth or perhaps some of the men were circumcised without being given so much as a choice in which god they would follow and worship. Most children of spiritual parents were dragged to church Sunday after Sunday or made to attend religion classes. Some have been sent to private religious schools. Children who stray from their parents’ own religious convictions are often ostracized by their parents and might be made to feel that they are no longer part of the family.

But at the end of the day, we all have a choice as adults. We all have the opportunity to choose our religious beliefs and there are sufficient resources available for you to make an informed decision about what most resonates with you. You might choose a religion that is far more spirit than “religion” such as Buddhism or Wicca or you might choose something with more structure such as Hinduism or Islam. Or you might even choose science over traditional religions.

Looking back at the previous segment, bear in mind that your decision largely based on the experiences that you have had and the observations you have made of the world around you. Religion is, in large part, the way in which we relate to our world.

Putting the Pressure On

I believe (based on my personal observations and experiences) that most world religions aren’t fanatical. Most practitioners of world religions do not attempt to force their viewpoints onto those who believe differently. I have never met a Hindi who cannot share gracefully her experiences with Hinduism. Most Muslim women I know are the same, though Muslim men can be quite exuberant about their faith in the right environment. Buddhists and Jewish men and women have also been more open minded in my experience. Even pagans, who can harbor a deep and hidden resentment of Christianity, tend to keep their feelings to themselves under most circumstances.

So what is it about Christians and atheists, and why can’t each group see what they are doing to the other?

First of all, let me state that I identify a religious group as being a group of people who are brought together by a particular set of beliefs. This means that atheism is a religion. I know that there are some atheists who will be offended by this statement, but I want to make myself clear.

The fact is that amongst others, these two groups deal in absolutes. Christians believe that if you don’t believe that Christ died for you that you will burn in eternal hell, and atheists (appear to) believe that scientific fact proves that spiritual people are inferior intellectually.

Christians want to save people from Satan and atheists want to save people from themselves. The truth is that both groups have the best of intentions, but often a poor attitude towards people who disagree with them.

The Problem with Christian Evangelism

I spent many years spiritually in the dark. I had religion, but I didn’t have spirit. I was much the same as many atheists except that I believed in a goddess. Throughout this period of time I was often accosted by Christians. They would scream at me, telling me that I was evil and that I was going to go straight to hell when I died. They were loud, they were rude, and they were often just incredibly inconsiderate of the feelings of someone who didn’t believe as they do.

For those who don’t know: Christians are called to evangelism. We are called to use the Gospel to bring others to salvation through Jesus Christ we (yes, we) believe that those who have not been washed in the blood of the Lamb are destined to hell. Some Christians become desperate to save others. Some believe that their salvation is based on the number of souls they save. These are the screamers and the yellers. They are also often the liars, the Christians who will tell you that your life will suddenly be different (better) once you have accepted Christ as your personal savior (it won’t).

Ladies and gentlemen, this behavior is just incredibly offensive. I’m a Christian and I’m offended by it! Don’t grab me and don’t shout at me. I have a history of dealing with verbal abuse and I do not want someone in my face and shouting about how I am going to go to hell. If you don’t know someone and don’t know their past, don’t make assumptions.

And therein is the primary problem with Christian evangelism: it is often based purely on assumptions. “I have not met you, therefore you don’t go to my church and therefore you are not saved.” I live in a city with literally thousands of (Christian) churches in every denomination. The fact that you don’t know me doesn’t make me an unbeliever or non-Christian!

Doing it the Christian Way

I don’t believe that the aforementioned “scare tactics” are Christian behavior. I accept that in the Gospels one can see that Jesus himself had quite a temper. He was quite rough on the Pharisees. But one must carefully observe the way He spoke to the woman at the well and how he handled Mary of Bethany as she sat at His feet while her sister worked around the house. Remember how He spoke to Nicodemus, and his kindness to the adulteress.

Jesus didn’t have to make assumptions, but I don’t believe that he would have. He judged people based on their actions and on His observations of them.

Remember that these people are no more evil than you are. They simply have different life experiences that have led them to form beliefs that are different from your own. It isn’t your job to “set them straight.” It isn’t your job to inform them of the risks of their current path in life. Your job is to reach out to them and to show them the love of Christ. Your job is to put your reasons before them and to give them your testimony (in a calm and rational way). Your job is to live as a testament to Jesus Christ every day. If you do, they will come to you as they have come to me just in the past one year as a Christian.

Atheists are Zealous Too!

Often enough, atheists are also zealous. I have had many occasions when I have been browsing a debate forum and have stumbled upon the atheist segment (usually larger than the spiritual segment) posting argument after argument for why science proves that Christians (it is almost always specifically Christians, and I will confess: I can’t blame the atheists with all the screaming going on!) are mentally ill in order to retain their belief in something that is spiritual.

I often read complaints about prayer requests on a public (non-religious) forum and atheists often get up in arms when someone offers to pray for them (a truly innocuous statement!). These statements are annoying, at worst, and I believe often give Christians and other spiritual segments a reason to consider the feelings of others before making the usual assumptions (in this case, that someone is a spiritual person!).

However, some atheists are truly abrasive, seemingly wishing to convert everyone to their way of thinking. These individuals feel that they are free to complain about Christian evangelism but their continued mockery and the pressure they place on the spiritual population to continually justify their beliefs is simply a different kind of evangelism.

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Comments 46 comments

wandererh profile image

wandererh 7 years ago from Singapore

If there was a fire and a fireman smashed your door to rescue you, I'm sure you will be very grateful. But if there is no fire and a fireman smashed your door to rescue you, you'd probably tell him that he'd better pay for your door or you are gonna call the police.

Christians see the fire, the atheists don't. Christains approach atheists like the atheists can see the fire and would be grateful to be saved. Unfortunately, I think this approach works against them and actually pushes the atheists further away.

Just my 2 cents. :)


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

Your point is a valid one, wandererh.

Many Christians seem to assume one of two things:

The first is that their quarry are somehow spiritually inferior to them (the Christian). This is what causes the more obnoxious behavior. Pressing upon the "unbeliever" that they are going to be damned to the fiery pit for all eternity is certainly *not* the way to go about winning souls!

The other problem that Christians sometimes face is the assumption that the person they are attempting to woo has rejected God. By this I mean that they assume that the "unbeliever" believes in God but has chosen not to make Him a significant part of his or her life. In some cases, the "unbeliever" simply does not believe in God.

What did you think of the first video I posted?


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 7 years ago from South Africa

I believe that there are many roads to reach whatever one might define as "salvation" or "enlightenment" and each person has to find the right road for themselves. I think it is fine for believers and unbelievers to share what they believe and why they believe it but it is definitely not OK for them to expect, still less demand, others to believe exactly as they do.

Love and peace

Tony


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

Tony,

I think that as believers in ... we have a responsibility to spread knowledge about the thing in which we believe, be it a concept, a deity or an ideal. After all, if it's worth believing in, then who doesn't want to share that with others? I don't mind atheists sharing their ideas about evolution: in fact, it interests me a great deal! But I don't want to be called names or ridiculed for my personal faith, either.


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

Thank you :) I appreciate that and understood it to be a compliment :)


RichardSpeaks profile image

RichardSpeaks 7 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area

Am I welcome here?


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

Yes, Richard, you are.

I meant to state something to that affect, that my posting this didn't have anything to do with you... Something else entirely!


Whikat 7 years ago

Hi, Everyday Miracles, You had my attention until you stated, "For those who don’t know: Christians are called to evangelism. We are called to use the Gospel to bring others to salvation through Jesus Christ, we (yes, we) believe that those who have not been washed in the blood of the Lamb are destined to hell." The issue of telling people that if they do not believe what you believe they are going to hell, is that you are talking in a different language than what they understand. What you need to know is that most if not all atheists do not believe in hell, so you may as well be telling them that if they do not believe in your Christian God, they will be going to fairyland. You will never convert an atheist into a Christian if you continue to talk in your language instead of trying to communicate with them in theirs. I hope that makes since?

Basically, I am stating the same thing as Wandererh. Some of you Christians keep screaming fire, when there really is none. Just to let you know I am not an atheist, but I am no longer a Christian. I believe in a creator but not a in personal God who Judges his own creation. I do not believe in Satan, and I do not believe that innocent babies are born sinners. In your eyes, I am going to hell, but in my Creator's eyes. I am perfect and beautiful.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Very well reasoned and presented hub. I like Wandererh's analogy, too. I believe the best way to impress your views on someone else is to lead by example. Live your faith, don't shout your faith. Use "attraction" not "promotion" to open people's minds and hearts to your cause.

I'm beginning to wonder if I am not a real Christian after all. I believe in God, Jesus and Holy Ghost. I believe in the hereafter. I do NOT believe that anyone who does not share my exact brand of Christianity is automatically going to Hell. That is just ridiculous.

Good hub!


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

Whikat,

I've edited this now, because I think I figured out what you mean.

Christianity teaches that salvation is through belief in Christ. I suppose I cannot speak for all Christians in terms of this because for my father, for example (Catholic), one needs to attend confession on a regular basis in order to enter into the Kingdom. So this obviously differs from denomination to denomination.

Regardless of what I believe, I feel that people skills need to be exercised in all things, including in evangelism.


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

Mighty Mom,

I am non-denominational. I believe that salvation doesn't depend on the following of a particular set of "rules." The rules are clear: Love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. I also have determined that I am not fit to judge whether or not someone is saved: that is between them and God.


wandererh profile image

wandererh 7 years ago from Singapore

Hi, you were asking about what I thought of the first video. Rather intriguing actually. I will give full marks for the guys dedication. But maybe the reason that he was so successful was because he was one of few who was doing it at the time.

I would like to explore that from another angle. In the video, it said that the old man's reward will be great in heaven. Also you mentioned that "Some believe that their salvation is based on the number of souls they save." Just an observation but doesn't sound like the world of man and not the world of God?


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

I might just be tired, wandererh, but I don't understand what you mean and I'd rather be honest about that than try to respond with nonsense ;)

And by the way, *I* believe in salvation by grace alone.


wandererh profile image

wandererh 7 years ago from Singapore

Okay, the video said that the old man's reward will be great in heaven. That implies that there are different degrees of reward. Do you think this is accurate?


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 7 years ago from New York

What a well-written hub! Bravo.

Discussions between believers and non-believers here in Hubbersville oft times deteriorate into exchanges that can be very ungodly to say the least. From my perspective, this happens because both sides become victims of the same false assumption. Both believe that they are living in the same "world" when in fact they are not. Actually, each is living in a unique "world", vastly different from the other, that has been defined by different perceptions and experiences. In each world, their perception is their reality. One side says, "I live in a world where there is a God." The other side says, "I live in a world where there is no god." They are both correct and neither will ever fully understand the world in which the other lives.


Chichina profile image

Chichina 7 years ago from Houston, TX

I really enjoyed reading this. I'm trying to think of something better to say, but I just can't find the words....


Ivan the Terrible profile image

Ivan the Terrible 7 years ago from Madrid

A couple of thoughts.

You mention that you have faith the sun will come up every morning, etc. Those are habits we come to expect. Having faith that the sun will come up does make it happen and neither does it make it always so. One day the sun will not come up any more, even if one has faith that it will.

Next I do not see why people need religion. Yes, if they want it, then so be it. But I get angry when people try to prove to me that their beliefs are superior to others. Personally, I do not agree with any of their beliefs. Until the time you can prove to me with more than just faith or belief that something is so, I will not believe what you believe about religion, god, etc. Just as I donot believe what people say about other races or cultures without seeing it myself, I can't believe there is this magical place where we all go after we breathe out last. This does not mean I will not deny god if he or she comes to me and makes me certain that a god exists, it just means I don't buy all the faith and mystery part of what any religion seems to propose.

Many of my good debating friends are devout religionists of some sort. We agrue and debate over coffee here in Madrid and remain close friends because we have other interests that bind us together. One of my best friends still living in the US is mormon and we agree not to discuss coverting me to her religion of mormon LDS and we get along fine. They do tell me what their faith means to them and I tell them what my ideas mean to me.

As for christians, many use the bible to prove that the bible is true. I'm sorry but I learned at an early age that using a book to prove the book true does not work. I could easily use the books of harry potter to prove that Hogwarts is a real place, if only you have faith.

Very nice writing, done with passion and verve, glad you wrote it but I basically disagree with most of what you say about faith & the need for faith in god or gods.


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

Thank you Chichina. I have to take that as a compliment!

Ivan, I'm not sure that I said that people need to have religion. I did, however, state what I *believe*. I believe that Christianity is the "right" religion. I believe that I am on the right path. My experiences (what I have seen happen time and time again, like the sun coming up) are what set me on this path. I didn't become a Christian because of the Bible or because of what it says. It is simply a book that I use as a great guideline for living and which explains many unexplainable things. God has proven Himself to me in a way that works *for me*. We're all different. But I have seen things happen first hand that science cannot prove. Even doctors have told me that my daughter's life is a miracle and that they had nothing to do with her surviving her birth (and other things that happened to her during my pregnancy).

These are the things that led me to faith in a god or gods. Something else entirely led me to Christian faith. When I figure out what that is, I'll let you all know. But that "not knowing" is part of what faith is, isn't it? ;)


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

It's a good hub. I think, though, that to entertain a belief that most people are going to suffer eternal torment is a serious flaw in character. Because to believe that, one must also believe that is what they deserve, and that is extremely disrespectful of one's fellow humans. Atheists simply don't believe in God. That shouldn't be a problem.


Shop4business profile image

Shop4business 7 years ago

Surely the point is that tolerance for other people's beliefs is difficult. I don't think that people who are religious are mentally ill or inferior, however I do find it difficult to understand how they can believe in something that often doesn't make sense. I would never try to convert a Christian to athiesm because there's no point and equally I don't expect anyone to try to convert me to a faith. Throughout history religions have never been tolerant of each other and unfortunately I don't expect this to ever really change. What I will say though is how much I enjoy debating with a Christian about religion because it's interesting how each side manages to justify their argument. Sadly for me no-one else seems to enjoy it!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

"Something else entirely led me to Christian faith. When I figure out what that is, I'll let you all know. But that "not knowing" is part of what faith is, isn't it?"

I find it interesting that you don't know what led you to Christianity, and that not knowing is a "good" thing. I know *exactly* what led me to Wicca and why I'll never again be part of any religious group that tells me what to think and what to believe, but can't tell me *why*.

It's been my experience that followers of organized religion, even non-denominational, do so for the feeling of "belonging" to something. Anything.

You said: "I think that as believers in ... we have a responsibility to spread knowledge about the thing in which we believe, be it a concept, a deity or an ideal. After all, if it's worth believing in, then who doesn't want to share that with others?".

That sounds wayyy too much like the rah-rah speeches at training seminars for salesmen and telemarketers. This may come as a big surprise, but you do NOT have a "responsibility" to spread the word and make as many "sales" as possible.

Scam artists and con men make millions from the fact that people are gullible if they (the con men) use the right phrases. They also know people *want* to believe, and that if the phrases are flowery enough, most won't 'look behind the curtain'. I DO look.

Ivan...Harry Potter books: great analogy!


lotn 7 years ago from family

I enjoyed your views on rweligion we all have a higher power whatever our beliefs we all believe in something regardless of who or what it is. I always get disgrimanated against because my father is baptist and my mother was wiccan. usally people call me a witch or a devil worshipper or my favorite a tree hugger. what matters most is that we realize we are all human, we all have feelings and it doesn't feel good to be judged when we die we all will be judged not by man but for how we lived our lives the good the bad and the ugly! xxxooo's


Eaglekiwi 7 years ago

Fantastic and insightful hub.!

I have been having similar like discussions for my sons 21 and 17 yrs, boy have we covered some teritory.

While it appears my sons are leaning toward atheistic or agnostic veiws Im inclined to think its more confusion ( wonder who is also known as the author of confusion?) bought about by education and professors in higher places i.e University and more an more High Schools encourage their students to look at Christianity as just Religion ,therefore its studied at a head level and not holistically.

Shame on them I say ,for not at least presenting a balanced view.

I agree that debates have become the fashion of the day ,we humans are good at avoiding the main issues or dare I say commandments specially if it makes us feel uncomfortable.

Thankyou once again ,really enjoyed your hub and the spirit it was written in.

Inspiring!


Raven King profile image

Raven King 7 years ago from Cabin Fever

Good hot hub!


mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 7 years ago

Nice hub. I'm not an atheist. I believe in God. I am not religious however. I don't like to see atheists argue with Christians (or others) about their beliefs. Nor do I like to see Christians (or others), condemn atheists. We all have a right to believe what we wish.  For me any type of spirituality is personal. It should not govern nor should it be pushed upon others. I am far more convinced by those who quietly live according to their faith and reach out to help when help is needed in a respectful and loving way. Whenever we segregate ourselves into these types of categories or groups, we tend to alienate, to see one as better than/or more "right" than the other...it's a dangerous and destructive cycle that, to me, has nothing to do with God. If God exists, I'm sure he wants us to love and tolerate each other, to guide when needed, but not to pass judgement. He can handle that.


Ivan the Terrible profile image

Ivan the Terrible 7 years ago from Madrid

I also wanted to comment with tongue in cheek about the cartoon you have at the top of your hub. A lot of people do not know that Darwin was a very strict religionist and attributed his theories to god, saying that in the end god was the force behind it. Funny how he stirred up so many religious people against him! Ha-ha!


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

Isn't that amazing, Ivan? That's something that my husband points out a LOT!


ledefensetech profile image

ledefensetech 7 years ago from Cape Girardeau, MO

You do make several interesting points, but like with many modern versions of Christianity, you don't know your own history. Not that that's a bad thing, to my knowledge all Christian sects suffer from amnesia. For example you believe that grace is necessary for salvation. That's what got John Calvin into trouble and made his Calvinists so intolerant. They were known as Puritans in England and they were one of the reasons the Founders wanted no state religion. It's not that there is a separation between church and state, it's more like there is no state religion. The difference is small, but significant.

I'd even go so far as to say all evangelizing, both Christian and otherwise goes against the teachings of Christianity. Often times it's not about belief, but about who is right and who is wrong. The Arabs say God has a thousand names. That's very profound if you think about it. God is infinite, how can we presume to know the mind of God, especially when we can't conceive of infinity.

What makes someone a zealot is an unbending belief that they know Truth, irrespective of what other people bring to the table. That's foolish. A wise man knows that wisdom and truth can come from the unlikliest of places.


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

If I don't come back to this within the next two days, send me another comment, please. I am in the middle of doing some serious writing and I need to look some items up in order to do a reply any kind of actual justice :)


jacobt2 7 years ago

nice hub!


ledefensetech profile image

ledefensetech 7 years ago from Cape Girardeau, MO

EM, how's the research coming?


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

Mom to baby syndome... I totally forgot about it! Ack!

I'm so sorry!

To be honest, when I was thinking about your previous comments I found myself confused as to what you meant. Would you mind clarifying (I don't mind if you get lengthy) so I know where to look for the information I need?


ledefensetech profile image

ledefensetech 7 years ago from Cape Girardeau, MO

It would take quite some time to go into the history of the Church, the different Councils, Synods, etc. Let's just say at Nicea in the fourth century, leading Christian bishops debated what "true" Christianity should look like. At this time there was no standard Bible, indeed there were several versions of each of our familiar gospels and other gospels now consigned to apocrypha or heresy.

The funny thing is those Councils never really settled the questions. Over the following centuries hereses would spring up that threatened the dominance of orthodox Christianity. Then came the Great Schisim in the begining of the last millenium that split the Christian world into two parts, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox.

Another great heresy emerged with the Protestant Reformation in the early part of the 1600's. It was at that time that scholarship into the early years of the Church really came into vogue and some of the precursors to various Protestant churches had their start.

One offshoot in particular, led by John Calvin, preached that grace was not obtainable by good works, but the Will of God alone. This was to counteract the indulgences sold by the Church which allowed people to act as they wished, then bascially buy a get out of jail free card before death.

Protestantism in general has a strain of Calvinism running through it due to their opposition to indulgences. In some sects like Anglican or Episcopalian the strain is faint or non-existent. In others like Lutheranism or Presbyterian, the strain is moderate. In several, like the evangelical movement: Pentecostal, Baptist, Southern Baptist, Victory Baptist (especially the last), the strain is strong.

One of the consequences of Calvinism is an arrogance due to their belief in the elect. Basically the elect are chosen by God before birth to be saved. According to their theology, the elect are naturally drawn to living good and Godly lives and should be given power in a community to keep that community on the straight and narrow.

Perhaps you can see the great flaw in that line of thinking. Modern churches don't come right out and say they believe in the elect anymore, now it's more like if you go to a certain church and believe a certain way, you're saved. If you don't, you're not. It's that old Calvanist arrogance, slightly muted by the long years, but still there.

You'll note that I don't quote Scripture or reference the Bible. That's deliberate. Too ofthen the Bible has been used to justify some of the most henious crimes in the long sad history of humanity. What is important is how the ideas of Christianity, God, history, the world all play out over time. We can never really come close to understanding the designs of God, but we can get an idea from studying what has come before us. Saying that, the Bible is an excellent tool to understanding our ancestors, what they did, what was a good idea and what wasn't. The Bible isn't just a codified book it's living history and we only grow in wisdom by studying it as such.


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

Okay... Oddly it took all that for me to be able to establish that I understood your original statement correctly. I apologize if I'm being dense. I've been facing some intellectual roadblocks lately.

From here I suppose that I need to ask you where the mistake is in my personal reasoning (other than statements regarding being saved by Grace -- I will need to either find scripture reference to that or confess that it isn't there, and right now I need my bed).

All in all I have noticed that there seem to be some general assumptions about me being made (not by you personally, but in general) due to my personal spiritual persuasions. I have never claimed to be a "religious" person and I consider myself to not be particularly judgmental. I believe what I believe and choose to share it but not to attempt to force others to share my own belief. It's just too personal for that and I feel that faith is based largely on experience anyway.


ledefensetech profile image

ledefensetech 7 years ago from Cape Girardeau, MO

Most of the problem that I have is with evangelical Christians and atheists both claiming they're right. The mind of God is infinite and we are not. We should be very careful when making statements about Truth and Knowledge.

I suppose that comes from the type of society in which we live. Too many people think that they have to be right and that being right allows them to act as they wish. That belief usually signals the death of a particular society. I imagine that's why people make general assumptions about you and your faith.

I found your statement about Christians and atheists not being able to rationally discuss their beliefs and your statement that Buddhists, pagans, Muslims, et. al. are able to a bit uninformed. Any religion can fall into the "We're the holders of absolute truth, believe as we do or die" trap. Your beliefs come from you personal experiences, but it is within the realm of possibility that you can find a militant Muslim, Buddhist and pagan. All you need is a belief in your innate superiority.

Don't get me wrong, overall I agree with you. In reading your page, however, I did notice a few assumptions made. Many times people forget to challenge their assumptions and treat them as fact. I rely on others to point out when I do that and I feel as if I need to return the favor, sometimes it's not appreciated, but I believe the effort is worthwhile.

Personally I don't believe Christians are called to evangelize the masses. Sure it says as much in Acts and other places in Scripture, but in the end Christ died to save us all. Indeed, he lived his life in such a way that he exemplified certain virtues. It beehoves us as Christians to study how he lived his live and try to emulate it as much as possible. Everything else is just commentary.

The best way to persuade people to live as Christ did, is to do it yourself and to do it humbly, much as he did two millennia ago near the Sea of Galilee.


GeneriqueMedia profile image

GeneriqueMedia 7 years ago from Earth

"Christians want to save people from Satan and atheists want to save people from themselves. The truth is that both groups have the best of intentions, but often a poor attitude towards people who disagree with them."

Well said. I like Mormons...sure, they come around a lot but many don't push their beliefs on you..they help you with everyday things!

G|M


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

I am glad that you agree, G|M. I honestly thought the comment you quoted would create some flack for me! I'm glad that it didn't. On Digg I've dugg an of article from an Atheist backing up that statement, by the way :) I need to find more!


Ivan the Terrible profile image

Ivan the Terrible 7 years ago from Madrid

Just a few points of curiosity, ledefensetech. How do you know that the mind of god is infinite? How do you know anything at all about god? How do you even know a god or gods exist? This is a matter which turned me away from religion years ago and which no person has been able to answer. Apart from the bible, you would have no concept of who or what your god is like, would you?


ledefensetech profile image

ledefensetech 7 years ago from Cape Girardeau, MO

Not exactly.  The bible can tell us what the writers thought of God over time and in whatever era they were written.  I believe more like the deists did, that there is a creative force and it set laws and rules as a part of creation.  By using reason and intellect, by observing the natural world we can identify some of these laws and from these laws deduce something about the creative force.

You can believe one of two things.  You can believe that all of this arose by chance, many atheists take this view or you can believe that there was some sort of creative force behind all of this.  This is the belief of the theists.  I happen to believe the latter.  I have no proof, but it may be that there is no way to find proof.  At least while we're a part of creation.

If there is a creative force, it must exist outside of creation.  Again the only proof I can offer is negative.  The absence of a heavenly choir above us and the absence of an infernal court below us argue that any sort of creative force must exist outside of creation. Likewise the absence of a planet Hell or a planet Heaven argues against there being such a place within the bounds of the universe.

Science tells us that all matter in the universe was at one time concentrated into a superdense singularity.  At some point before time for whatever reason this singularity exploded, creating time and unfolding into the universe we see today.  The universe is finite, expanding into infinity.  Being members of a finite universe, we cannot comprehend the infinite, it lies beyond our comprehension. 

Since, for the reasons I pointed out above, we are finite creatures, we cannot comprehend the infinite.  That doesn't mean that the infinite doesn't exist.  As for my God, well if I believe in natural laws, then I have to believe that such a God would wish us to live in accordance with those laws.  There doesn't have to be divine retribution because if one chooses to ignore the consequences of violating natural law, then one must face the consequences, sooner or later. 


Ivan the Terrible profile image

Ivan the Terrible 7 years ago from Madrid

So does a Theist then believe in a power that takes little part in the everyday lives of individuals? The power does not interfer either for the good or the evil of things? In other words, does a theist believe that this power simply created all there is and then let it be? That would be an interesting thought. Please expand more on it. Thanks!


ledefensetech profile image

ledefensetech 7 years ago from Cape Girardeau, MO

A theist may believe that. Specifically Deists, of which you find many in the Founding Fathers of the US believe that. The problem with trying to pigeonhole people intotheists and atheists is that everyone has beliefs that are unique to them. So really there as as many religions as there are people in the world. Enough people who believe the same sorts of things coalesce into churches and groups, so that's where the organization of religions comes into play.

Basically Deism looks at the world thorugh a Newtonain lens. They see creation as being made up of laws and rules that we can discover using reason. They see the Creator as a master craftsman who created the universe according to these laws then set it in motion and let things play out according to the consequences of natural law.

As for good and evil, we can use reason to determine that which is good and that which is evil. The ancients who wrote our holy books saw the world from their perspective, which may not have been unbiased or they may have overlooked natural law when setting down holy writ. A deist believes that we can understand the nature of good and evil by watching and observing the consequences of human and natural actions.

This is in opposition to the belief that God created the cosmos and takes an active interest in humanity and our history. God in the past has intervened for various groups of people and this history of that intervention is described in the Bible. True believers also believe God intervenes in people's personal lives, some believe that you have to cultivate a personal relationship with God in order to merit the blessings of God.

So as you can see, the atheist and theist arguments are not the only bones of contention between the faithful. It's the curse of humanity that we forget and argue the past with little understanding of it. Thanks for being open minded and seeking more knowledge. It's a much more interesting ride than the usual fare on these sorts of commentaries. I look forward to our future conversations.


someonewhoknows profile image

someonewhoknows 7 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

Be an example if you want to show others the way,to true christ consciousness.Be AWAYSHOWER!

It's not what other's think about you,that matters.

what matters is what they do in response to what they feel about you, that counts.

Actions speak the louder than words Faith with works is dead.

Which reminds me of one of Tony Mac's favorite saying's.

If you want to know that,your just have to checkout his profile,concerning peace.

One of my favorite sayings ,do unto other's that which you would have them do unto you

To;ledefensetech

I believe grace is needed by those who need it,but only God can dispense it.John Calvin was wrong ! Indulgences were scams for money,even the Church's need Grace,

Scam artists are everywhere,even the Church's

It may be true that some individuals like Jesus,Budda,confusious and other's were born to lead the blind masses.

As far as comprehension,it can increase overtime if the mind is willing.

As ior devine retribution,it is inherent in the self or the Ego.What goes around comes around.

To; Ivan the terrible

It's like trying to convince someone born in the middle of a the ocean far from any other land that there are other land's far away,that he's never seen ,since he was born.

Fom a Universal perspective certain christian's Buddist's,Hindu's and other Diest'sr and Atheist's will come together side by side in peace when science and theism can agree to some middle ground when it comes to the origin of life in the universe.

Both of them are arguing about the same thing from oppisite sides of the same spectrum.

Which ,is why they are so far apart in their views.As religion and science become entwined in contraversy about how life came to be in the universe,both sides will generally see the light!

.


thevoice profile image

thevoice 7 years ago from carthage ill

freedom of belief is of God in Jesus its why free choice of life was given to humnaity, people believe yet live of God Jesus its them the go to heaven first


Ivan the Terrible profile image

Ivan the Terrible 7 years ago from Madrid

Someonewhoknows, I understand your analogy except that if one journeys across the ocean one will eventually find land.  To claim faith is one thing, to discover that it is true or not demands death, does it not?  Otherwise there is no proof, other than voices you might hear and believe to be divinely uttered, or acts such as miracles that you believe to be divinely inspired.

Recently there was a big evangelical event in Barcelona where a famous preacher from, I believe, the U.S. gave his oration about belief and why his brand of Christianity was right and Catholicism was wrong.  Now this kind of preaching has been going on here in Spain since the Napoleonic times and probably before.  Just the same, he was basically saying the same thing Protestants always say about Catholicism, that the Pope is ruler of the Whore of Babylon and other stuff lifted directly from Revelations.  When someone in the audience asked what proof this man had for Revelations he simply said, its in the bible.  When the audience member held up his own version of the bible, he said it wasn't the same thing this man was saying.  The two were using two different versions of the bible, one King James and the other approved by the Catholic Church.

Naturally the preacher said that only the King James was correct and all others were false. I fail to see the logic that because he said so, it is therefore true.

To return to your analogy, if I heard there was land out there but did not know for a fact that it was out there beyond my ocean home, I would be one of those who would go and discover it.  Explorers have gone to discover new things.  That is why we have such a fascination with the ocean bottom and outer space.  But if someone claimed to me that to sail in search of land was evil, I would laugh and say, prove it.  Unfortunately, all too often the religious leaders have proclaimed in ignorance (meaning lack of knowledge, not stupidity) that to search for the truth outside of the holy books is evil and satanically inspired.  Look at the number of theologians who say that evidence of evolution and even tectonic plates were put there by Satan.  One preacher told me flat out that the reason there are sea shells in the rocks of the highest mountain was proof that Satan was decieving us. Another said it was from Noah's flood.

Others have claimed that Noah's ark rests in Turkey, yet they have no evidence of that other than speculation and a curiously shaped rock they say is the hull of the ark.

OK, I've gotten off mark again, but I think that where there is ignorance of the wide world and universe around us, science, and not religion, has been at the forefront of discovery. Science gets it wrong some of the time, but it self-corrects false discoveries, while religious doctrines tend to remain the same because they are declared infallible.

Again, thanks for the reply and as always, feel free to disagree and write more.  I love the discussion so far!


Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 7 years ago from Indiana, USA Author

I'm turning off comment approval on this hub since I'm not reading all of your discussion with one another ;) I hope that helps you both a little bit and anyone else who joins in the conversation!


someonewhoknows profile image

someonewhoknows 7 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

Sorry, I made a typing error in my last post

Where I refer to Faith and works ,I ment to say faith without works is dead.

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