Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What would it take for you to be an atheist?

I asked some friends of mine (Christians of various backgrounds) what would make them take the atheist worldview over the Christian worldview to see what kind of answers I would get and I must say, I've been given very good answers.

The Christians I asked have come to Christianity in different ways and so, have different backgrounds. Some are philosophical, some practical, and others simply religious. While their answers may vary, they all have something in common, which is, they're all devout. I didn't ask those that are flaky because I didn't want to give you, the reader, a flaky answer. I didn't think that would be of benefit to you.

Mark, an every-now-and-then contributor to this blog, answered with the following:

"I have to look at it in a different manner, so how about a long answer in, the start would be not taking responsibility for personal actions, and in doing so, placing the blame on God. I have done that in the past, and I know many others who have done the same thing. And it is easy to do. Instead of taking the responsibility, it is easier to place blame. But the bottom line is always responsibility. To God, Family, Friends, and those who need to see God and Jesus through us.

I have a friend in Michigan who walked out on her husband of 25 years. When I asked what was up, she felt she was owed more then she has. She felt like her husband just didn't care, and he wasn't making the changes that she was saying he needed to make. Lose weight, be more attentive to her emotionally and physically. Like that is simple, knowing what a woman wants! When he didn't do as she demanded, she left him, filed for divorce. She felt that God had failed her, because she wasn't getting what she needed. She had switched churches joined a choir, and in her mind, was doubting her belief in God. So, she started talking to me, asking me questions, and I had simple answers for her. They kept going back to what she wanted, and expected from God.

She joined the choir, and started having an affair with a married guy, who had cheated on his wife before. She started to say, she didn't believe in God anymore. Yet she continues to go through the motions. She has lost her faith, and her belief, yet she continues to play the game, cause that is what is expected from her, and if she were to stop, others would question why.

So, what was her cause of losing belief? Not accepting responsibility for her actions, not bending and allowing change in the later years of her life and marriage. But she is happy sexually, and that is all that matters to her.

As for my own life, not accepting responsibility and moving forward, instead of allowing life to happen to me, and just taking it. Not using my faith to correct things in my life. Will I ever say, there is no God? No, God is very real to me, and for not accepting the responsibility for my actions. I should have done more with the free schooling that I had gotten, I should have used my time more wisely, and I forgot, God does hold us to be accountable. We do owe God answers for what we do with our life. Not just for our sins, habitual and otherwise, but for what we have done with our time, with our faith, with the things that God has given us, talents and abilities that are for God's use and praise.

Have I felt alone, and felt that God has abandoned me? SURE HAVE, but I also remember at those times that God never forgets us, and to use the old saying, if you feel that God isn't there, who moved? God never leaves us, is always waiting for us to make up our mind, and to seek HIM, to seek the purpose HE has for us. And at 50 years old, I still feel that way, and I was baptised in 1972, so I have, at times, child like faith, and at times I feel like I will never get the forgiveness. The spiritual battle that rages takes prisoners, and tortues them.

And as I am sure I have run around the topic, and not given a straight answer, remember, When the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future!"

Wes Widner of Reason to Stand answered my question with the following:

"I've often been asked this question by non-Christians, especially ones who subscribe to the theory of falsifiablity.

My standard answer is that in order for me to lose my confidence in Christianity, two things would need to happen:

1. Sufficient defeaters would need to be posed for the core tenets of Christianity. Specifically the tenets of a. God's existence and b. the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

2. Better answers would need to be provided that are able to stand on their own merit. I asked a question on Quora recently about the positive arguments for atheism ( and, instead, got nothing but negative arguments for atheism based on the supposed absurdity of theism.

Thinking about it some more, I'm inclined to include the inner witness of the Holy Spirit in point 1. I simply don't see how any form of nihilism could present a sufficient defeater for the philosophical problem of   'the other'."

Brennon of Thinking God's Thoughts followed up on Widner's response.

"I'd largely agree with Wes. I'd add that a sufficient defeater would not only have to be strong enough to tear down all of the traditional arguments for God, but also to overcome our properly basic knowledge of God. It would have to be shown that the Holy Spirit's testimony with our spirit that we are children of God is somehow not real."

and then Wes added to Brennon's answer. 

"Yes, in order for me to convert to an atheistic worldview (ie. atheism, Buddhism, pantheism) I would need to have a good case for why I should think that non-theism should be seen as a properly basic epistemological state." 

A friend of mine named Craig gives his answer to the question.

"The easy answer here is to say that nothing could make me an atheist. That was my first instinct. After all, Christianity isn't a religion; it's a relationship. It's not just a simple belief in God; it's a relationship with God. Christians talk to God, and He talks to them. We see His daily intervention in our lives (or we should). How could we cease believing in a God that we interact with daily any more than I could stop believing in my wife, who I also talk to and interact with daily? On the face of it, it seems absurd.

After giving it more thought, however, I remembered the ill-spoken words of Simon Peter: "Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death." (Luke 22:33) Yet before the night was over, the threat of simple embarrassment was enough to persuade Peter to curse and declare that he did not know Jesus. Similarly, after being cast into prison, John the Baptist sent messengers to ask Jesus "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" (Matthew 11:3) This was Jesus' cousin! John had baptized Him, witnessed the Holy Spirit descending on Him, and heard the very voice of God the Father affirm Jesus' identity, yet here, John still has doubts. If these two men, much exalted by God in other passages of Scripture, men who stood in the very presence of Jesus, witnessed His miracles, and heard Him teach personally could be swayed and made to doubt, what manner of hubris would it be on my part to declare that nothing could make me an atheist?

What would it take? I don't know. Sadly, my study of scripture leads me to conclude that it wouldn't take as much as I'd hope it would. Given that our souls are eternally secure at the point of salvation, Satan's next goal is to ruin the testimony and effectiveness of every born again believer. Rather than pridefully declare that we cannot be swayed, I believe our best strategy is to not be ignorant of Satan's devices and prepare ourselves for them. Consider every potential attack as an area in which you are weak. For example, we know that Satan will appeal to the intellect, suggesting that there must be a logical, natural explanation for everything in the universe and that any so-called miracle can be explained away using the laws of nature. We should study these so-called "logical, natural explanations", and in doing so, we will see that they are often woefully inadequate theories spun to give comfort to those seeking to escape the reality of the existence of an all-powerful, just God.

When it comes to Satan's attacks, there is, as the writer of Ecclesiastes says, nothing new under the sun. Satan uses the same tactics today that he did thousands of years ago. This isn't because Satan is so stupid that he can't come up with something new, it's that we're so prideful that he doesn't have to. We keep falling for the same old stuff! Guarding ourselves against his tried-and-true methods is the best defense against being overcome by any heresy, be it that of atheism or otherwise."

Finally, Wintery Knight, of the blog Wintery Knight gave me his answer.

"An eternal universe."

What are your thoughts?

I plan on asking more people the question and, with their permission, I'll post the answers in a new post.

I answered the question here

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