August 14, 2011
Christianity tells us that we are all sinners and doomed to Hell, unless we accept Jesus as our Savior. The reason we are doomed is that we are all sinners. The Apostle Paul says in Rom 5:12:
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
The reason that we are all sinners is that we “inherit” the “Original Sin” of Adam. As sinners we deserve death. Only Jesus’ death could atone for Original Sin.
That puts Christians in an awkward position.
Christians have to hold that there really was an Adam and Eve and a talking Serpent in the Garden of Eden. They have to accept the creation story of Genesis. Most Christians have abandoned this position in favor of concepts like “divinely guided evolution”. A few Christians still argue in favor of creation a la Genesis but the arguments have been exposed over and over as baseless dogma and have rapidly lost traction among all but the most fundamentalist of Christians.
Or, Christians can accept evolution, even if they qualify it as divinely guided evolution. Then there was no Adam in a garden with Trees of Life and Knowledge. If there is no Adam, there is no Original Sin. There is only our nature (is it sinful?). And our nature is the product of evolution (is it divinely guided?). If there is no Original Sin, then why did Jesus die?
December 23, 2009
I am curious why Christianity seems to be the most targeted religion for atheists to attack. While I recognize that Christianity is the religion with the most followers worldwide, it really seems less like a strictly scientific numbers issue, and more like emotional personal vendetta most of the time. I see so much effort from the atheist community to debunk Christian beliefs, but very little going toward Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist fallacy for instance (also very popular religions).
With so much emphasis on Christianity, I would think atheists would realize how much it weakens their “reason”. First, it suggests that Christianity is the only religion worth attacking, which may just be insulting to other religions as well. Second, it gives the appearance of a hidden (anti-Christian or even satanic) agenda to most Christians. Third, it makes these atheists just look like angry kids rebelling against their Christian parents or the Christian society they were raised in. None of these things are very compelling to a Christian to abandon the faith they work very hard to keep. Just sayin’.
October 5, 2009
Well, I can’t believe that I am writing to an Atheist website for insight. You see, I’ve been a theist my whole life, although for the most part that was by default because I was not a part of any faith community.
My belief in intelligent design extrapolates naturally to a creator(s), ergo; God!
I have flirted with various religions at different times, particularly when they seemed to offer answers to my deepest questions. Unfortunately, when my questions became too awkward, I was generally told that I had been given the answer and must accept it by faith – not a very critical form of deliberation.
Eventually, I stumbled upon some very learned, contemporary Christian apologists and my path to Christ was gradually laid. These ’scholars’ were very convincing in their arguments for Christianity and after commiting to that faith I was soon immersed in learning and teaching (at the lay-level).
I even taught a course on how to debate with atheists. This was done with the assumption that their objection to theism was either philosophically or scientifically based. I tell you this because I don’t want to come across as a gullible nutcase (as many Christians are perceived by those outside the faith). My primary instruction in the atheist course was to tell those attending to put away their Bibles because they might as well bring a copy of Bram Stoker’s Dracula for all the credibility it will carry with an atheist.
Well, that’s enough history, where I am now (philosophically) is what is germain. The answer in a nutshell is that I am still a theist but my faith in the Bible as ‘inspired’ and my belief in the claims of Christianity are unravelling at an alarming rate. The problem is that I am still active (spiritually, socially, etc) within the faith.
A group of us who were teachers and lay leaders within the church split away because of the institutional church’s lack of motivation to do the social work required – taking care of the disenfrancized, etc. As a result we formed a house church with no leader, denominational affiliation, established doctrine or theology, etc. We each naturally take leadership in areas where our talents lie. Despite what the institutional church members who oppose us believe (and there are many) it works beautifully and we are making a difference in our community. The trouble is that I now feel like a fraud due to my ever-widening disconnect with the Christian theistic position.
So here’s the $64.000 question – how do I gently break away without damaging a lot of people?
As a teacher I was very effective in rationalizing the faith of others so that they grew in confidence. My change of perspective has the potential to effect a lot of people, including my wife.
Please don’t offer platitudes such as be true to your conscience, because I know that’s what I should do – and damn the consequences – but I just can’t. I need to find a way to do it gently. Your insight will be greatly appreciated.
p.s. I came here because it would be impossible to get realistic advice from a Christian forum.