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Greetings -- A Freindly Atheist Who Wants to Know: Why Christ?

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Member
Hello.

I am an atheist. I live in one of the world’s great secular, pluralistic communities. I was raised nominally observant (Jewish) and, outside of specific religious activity, none of my social interactions have depended upon faith. Very few of my friends are atheist, but those who do believe in some god are generally nonobservant and none of them challenge my atheism – we are a close-knit social set. To the best of my knowledge, none or few of them believe in literal salvation and I know for a fact none of them believe in any literal Hell. Of the believers among my friends, I think they all agree there is an afterlife and some sort of creative spirit behind creation.

I do not.

Anyway, I am absolutely obsessed with understanding the nature of existence. And I try never to discount any premise merely on my current assumptions from day to day. I do read/watch/listen to Christian media but, as any thinking person of 2015, I take these all with a grain of salt. My past experiences (going back almost 20 years or more) with devout Christians were intensely unpleasant, but they were always situations where overarching, worldly issues made friendly inspection of the basis for belief impossible.

I’m here to strike up a conversation with a real believer(s) who might be interested in… well… saving me, and also might want to hear why I feel that belief is wrongheaded – I don’t mean to say that as an insult. If I DIDN’T think belief was wrongheaded, then I would, of course, believe. I don’t have faith in anything, even my own conviction that there are no gods. So, I welcome the chance to see if that weak conviction bears up, or if I can be shown the need for faith.

I hope I can look forward to a friendly tussle.

Kirby
 
Active

RJ

friendly tussle.
Well, I believe and it is all too real to me, and I am not looking for a tussle or a debate, but I am open to a friendly discussion. I must warn you, I am not a Moderator, but you must remain objective, truly seeking any truth. This is a Talk Jesus forum, and any talk that ridicules him or his existence and his power over salvation will eventually lead to problems with your stay here. Again, truly seeking the truth about Christianity, explaining your belief but no trying to convince anyone here, we are all " Born Again" Christians here.
 
Member
I'll take it as assumed: you believe in God and the Jesus is Christ. Do you believe in the Devil and in Hell?
 
Active

RJ

'll take it as assumed: you believe in God and the Jesus is Christ. Do you believe in the Devil and in Hell?
Oh sure. That actually comes easy for me. I was not raised up an atheist or otherwise had any influence of atheism in my life.I was raised to know of of God but I did not know God and, if you will pardon the expression, I was just as lost as you are now. Yes, I believe in it all, because God speaks of these things often in the Bible.
 
Active

RJ

Oh sure. That actually comes easy for me. I was not raised up an atheist or otherwise had any influence of atheism in my life.I was raised to know of of God but I did not know God and, if you will pardon the expression, I was just as lost as you are now. Yes, I believe in it all, because God speaks of these things often in the Bible.
I said it was easy!
 
Member
Okay. So Hell is where the unsaved spend the rest of eternity. My understanding from literature, scripture and Christian media is there is no appeal process. Is that so, by your understanding? And, if that is so, could you explain your take on the justice of an eternity of punishment after (at most) 80-100 years of imperfect and un-reborn living?
 
Active

RJ

Let's get something straight here, according to my belief, since you are who you claim to be, anything I say will be pure folly to you.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
But, I will answer your questions to the best of my ability:
So Hell is where the unsaved spend the rest of eternity.
You have to first understand that there is a spirit world, another dimension, where we all come from and will return to. With that concept in mind, this physical existence is on the beginning and what is to come lasts for ever. Once you can imagine or believe that, then yes, God is the creator of all things and a eternal life with him would be akin to heaven and an eternal life without his presence would be hell and where all unbelievers will go for ever.
My understanding from literature, scripture and Christian media is there is no appeal process. Is that so, by your understanding?
Yes, but it is not as simple as that. A true Christian is a person who has been born a second time. This is not like from your mother but from God alone and a spiritual birth. A true Christian, not a false Christian, but a true Christian has the spirit of God living in them. If you die before receiving God's promised spirit, there is no appeal process after death. But, you have as long as you live to receive the promise of complete appeal and salvation.
And, if that is so, could you explain your take on the justice of an eternity of punishment after (at most) 80-100 years of imperfect and un-reborn living?
I am not sure I understand your question, but to truly believe is to know that God , in his perfection, is just and you don't question it!
 
Member
Yeah, that's all consistent (and well put) with what I think I understood. But, at the risk of repeating myself, how is that just? Or fair? I assume I am able to be convinced in the existence of God and of Jesus, but even so, I think I still wouldn't be able see the justice, love, or fairness in being cut off from the grace of God for all eternity because I simply had not been reborn prior to my physical death.

I am someone who questions and examines everything (bugs a lot of people in my life, as you might guess). Would this be a an obstacle to my ability to be reborn?
 
Active

RJ

Yeah, that's all consistent (and well put) with what I think I understood. But, at the risk of repeating myself, how is that just? Or fair?
I never considered myself an atheist before, just no belief actually, I was just too busy living my secular life, if you will understand that. I think we all, believer and non-believer alike, have this innate sense that there must be something greater than just me, than just this life and that's it? I eventually found out that there was something and that was God. Like I said, this is all foolishness to you without God's spirit in you. I am sorry, other than supported by his word (Bible), I have nothing to offer than, with God in you, you just understand that with out a hell for unbelievers to go to, he is a unjust God!
I still wouldn't be able see the justice, love, or fairness in being cut off from the grace of God for all eternity because I simply had not been reborn prior to my physical death.
Now , it is my turn to repeat again; without him in you, you will not understand.
God in you is a gift from God. If it is a gift, it is free, nothing to do but receive it.
Once you have the gift, called grace, you would see justice, love and mercy...there would be no questioning it!
Would this be a an obstacle to my ability to be reborn?
No, the only obstacle is a hard heart...not even giving yourself a chance.
 
Member
Actually, that is a bit enlightening. Not convincing, but informative. And, at least for you, this devoted faith renders questions like "why were humans led to sin in the Garden" and "why is that sin communicated to every generation ever since" unnecessary?
 
Active

RJ

Actually, that is a bit enlightening. Not convincing, but informative. And, at least for you, this devoted faith renders questions like "why were humans led to sin in the Garden" and "why is that sin communicated to every generation ever since" unnecessary?
Why are you here? You said:
I’m here to strike up a conversation with a real believer(s) who might be interested in… well… saving me
Well, I am interested in your salvation but I have nothing to do with that, that is entirely up to you and God.
 
Moderator
Staff Member
Yeah, that's all consistent (and well put) with what I think I understood. But, at the risk of repeating myself, how is that just? Or fair? I assume I am able to be convinced in the existence of God and of Jesus, but even so, I think I still wouldn't be able see the justice, love, or fairness in being cut off from the grace of God for all eternity because I simply had not been reborn prior to my physical death.

I am someone who questions and examines everything (bugs a lot of people in my life, as you might guess). Would this be a an obstacle to my ability to be reborn?
Hello Kirby!
Hope you don't mind if I join in the conversation? :)
I'll assume you don't mind ;)

Jesus is the easy part believe it or not. At least Historically speaking. There's enough documents both in and out of religious circles to confirm that the person of Jesus existed, died, and rose again after dying. As far as the coming back to life part, those outside believers are evidence that there were those in their time who claimed that it had happened. They of cause did not accept it, but their documentation of it, allows that it was a common theme both in and out secular circles during the time it was supposed to have happened. Most people familiar with history no longer attempt to disprove the existence of Jesus.

It's the other stuff people have issue with. Rising from the dead, miracles of healing, be God in the Flesh etc. This in turn would require a back tracking to the concept of God. Believe has no direct correlation to intelligence, or education. To give you an idea. I have one Brother-in-Law who is a Professor in Physics (Head of the Physics Department), and a Niece whose husband is a Practicing Scientist for (need to keep it mum) who both believe in a God, believe in Jesus as the Son of God. One would tell you why he believes through high level math, while the other uses reasoning to come to his conclusion. One has an upbringing in religion, while the other does not. Looking through history one can find no direct or influencing data outside of "theology" why this would be so.

I would go on........but.......my awesome wife has just told me that dinner is ready!!!! Let me know what you think so far, and I'll continue where I left off or answer questions you might have.

Just to let you know Brother RJ is rock solid in what he is saying. We can tell you all about it but until you step out in what we would call "faith" it will always just be conjecture.
C4E
Normally, I check my posts twice but.......... :)

As to His deity it would require you to then start at the God concept first then travel towards Jesus.
C4E
 
Member
Well, to me these questions are fundamental to why I don't accept Christianity. Maybe God is pressing me to ask them? It's also my understanding that born agains have an understood duty to evangelize, so I thought here I would find people who wouldn't mind answering some of my questions.
 
Active

RJ

Not convincing
Hmmm, that is what I have been saying. I have no control on your wants and desires. If you have none...well, you have none! No one can convince you but God. Your task is to question why you are here and if you will ever be willing to give God the green light to proceed....you see just like Adam and Eve, the choice is ultimately up to you!
 
Active
My past experiences (going back almost 20 years or more) with devout Christians were intensely unpleasant, but they were always situations where overarching, worldly issues made friendly inspection of the basis for belief impossible.
Hi Kirby and welcome to the forums,

If some day you find the time I would be interested to hear what made some of your past experiences with devout Christians intensely unpleasant.

I think you might find some good answers here to a few of your questions at least. Whether you like them is another thing altogether though ;),

I hope you are blessed by being here,

Travis
 
Member
Hi, C4E! Thanks for hopping in.

I definitely understand that religiosity is no measure of intelligence, or social class, or (I would assert) moral fiber. I do think it is closely, though complexly, tied to upbringing.

But, If I get what you're BOTH saying, a prerequisite to being born again is an initial acceptance of the existence of God.

I don't have a general aversion to the notion of an all-powerful, supernatural being. For many years I just assumed there had to be one since most everybody seemed to think so. At some certain point, I decided I just have never encountered anything that supports the premise more than a purely naturalistic view. As I said, what's much more important to me than my atheism (my version of which is worthless, 'cuz it's the absence of belief) is knowing how the world really works. I know RJ defines a resistance to belief as having a "hard heart," but I am entranced with wonder at the universe and see miracles wherever I look, etc. Miracles of a beautiful natural universe which, for me, would lose some luster if I thought they were contrived by a thinking being who is also responsible for causing (or at least not stopping) killer tsunamis.

So, my question is... what (from your perspectives) am I doing wrong? Or... how am I looking at things wrong?
 
Member
Hiya, Travis. And thank you for the welcome. Just real quick, my last and worst interaction with a born again was with my cousin, who had become born again and married a kindred spirit. My father -- a secular Jew, an agnostic and a nuclear engineer -- was dying of cancer, in hospice in our home. He was too young and it was a miserable, agonizing way to go, though he bore up admirable. 3 days before he passed, my cousin and her husband came to spend some time with him. At the end they left him with a note, which I opened and read to him. Now, she had never evangelized to us before and we had always accepted her conversion with respect and support. The letter she wrote was a heartfelt plea for Dad to accept Christ and avoid the eternal woe of damnation... Forgetting its good intentions, it was received as a rebuke of a man on his deathbed who had led a moral, just and (humanistically) pious life all his days as he saw fit. I'm sure she thought she was bravely doing the right thing, making a last ditch effort to save Dad's soul. She obviously screwed up the math on her chances of succeeding versus the certainty that she would inject some extra, needless sadness into his last hours with us. I haven't seen or spoken to her since. As I said, it was a situation when other, worldly matters made it difficult to have a decent discussion of the issue. If she had still be in the house I would have been tempted to chuck her out a window. (It was a 1 story house, so... wouldn't have been THAT bad...)
 
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