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Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
It's hard to know where to start this post so I guess I'll take it in the order of the post that are after my last post.
Alpha I can understand that you are tired of this, it does get tiresome when it seems no one is listening and when I feel that way I take a break from the site and i once left to never return but found myself drawn back because I knew there were people in need and I'm not specifically speaking of regular members or lurkers (peekers). It is hard to know if anything we do is resulting in positive actions, but as Neo and Drich says respectively, the Holy Spirit convicts and Jesus saves, we are only to give a testimony and defend it through scripture. We will only see the results in the next life and that should be good enough for any Christian. Alpha you asked for scripture and here is what Jesus says, you and I both know this deals with the spiritual more than the physical, it's one thing that separates us from the world and in this case the atheist here to be specific. Luke 6:27 "But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you, 28) bless those who curse you and pray for those who abuse you. 29) To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also..." 

I encourage you to read the rest of the verses through 36. Matthew 5:13 " You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost it's taste, how shall it's saltiness be restored. 14) You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill can not be hidden. 15) Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand to give light to all the people of the house. 16) In the same way, let your light shine before others, so they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven."   I do not have to explain to you what these verses mean as a witness, but I would like to remind you that Jesus did not specify what kind of people and I think all Christians understand, anyone who does not believe in God is an atheist whether they want this particular name associated with them or not.  So any Christian here that believes we can't glorify God's name on this site needs to re-read the bold phrase above.

Neo, CL and Alpha, we do not have to preach to help people, our actions through words can be beneficial and our unwavering stance in what we believe and know the scriptures say will be powerful, God says that His word will not go out and come back unfruitful.

Drich you and I do differ in things about God but we do agree that only Jesus can save. I have known people that have claimed they have saved people and that they were good at it, those I  find lacking in their faith that God can and will save. They forget that a person is saved through grace and grace is not something man possesses. If we did it might be possible to save ourselves, I can not think of one person who loves completely, who loves the unlovable, as we see them. God sees all as lovable and will always extend His love to everyone for salvation for the sake of the Son. It's good you want to correct the thinking of the atheist here it's what I want to do, to show others that the scriptures support each other as each thread in a tapestry support each other. The Bible when studied is the finest tapestry there will ever be and it's sad that the church is full of people who do not know this, so we must expect the atheist here want believe this unless God through us reveals these things, we can't ever forget this is God's work that we have been invited to participate in, the creator of an entire universe has included us in His work and we each should be grateful.

To those who are considering leaving I will say take a break and come back if you feel God moves you to. Each of you are better at expressing yourselves with words than I am, and is an important thing, what each must remember is to express things with God in mind that way we can control what and how we say things. I lose it at times myself and slap back, we are human and we act upon that part of us when it would be better to turn the other cheek. CL you as far as I know have never said anything out of the way, you above the rest of us understand that the best. Well I didn't do a good job of taking things in order but I did get most of what I wanted to say out. Remember I'm not criticizing anyone, we all have made mistakes and we need to limit them as best we can. I do wish RR would participate a little he is a sensible person who thinks things through, I've encouraged him to say at least a little something maybe the rest of you will as well. I've not heard from Steve hope he will come on board also. 

God loves those who believe and those who do not and the same goes for me, you have no choice in this matter. That puts the matter of total free will to rest.
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums

PREFACE: I have never had a more difficult time writing a post here. I have been taking a break from AF for over a month and I am still struggling with the question of any participation here. Anyway, here are my thoughts on the subject.

BACKGROUND: Years ago I debated Christianity with a distant relative on Facebook. He believed Christianity was full of holes, science and historical discoveries undercut it at every turn, and the Christian version of morality was indefensible. He had a PhD in Psychology and was a professor at a university. He was well-read and wrote well. I was not prepared for the initial arguments.

I will say that while I couldn’t initially articulate good answers, I did not have a crisis of faith because of the challenges. I knew there were many books addressing these issues—I just hadn’t read any since college (a long time ago). I researched and eventually addressed the issues as much as you can in a FB thread. I found I liked the research and I liked the debate. I was having trouble instigating more debates on FB so I went in search of another forum. I found AF.

Regarding the topic of this discussion, I think the first thing you have to do is distinguish between any personal reasons why someone may frequented AF with any “role” they might perceive. Any “role” that any member assumes is self-imposed. Let me explain what I mean.

Personal reasons are inward focused. Could be that AF is a catalyst for additional learning and re-examining old beliefs and exploring new topics. AF could be a way to hone writing or argumentation skills. As CL mentioned, make some “internet-friends”—or you can go in the opposite direction and rail against some stance or group, and make yourself feel better/smarter/or something.

A ‘role’ in an environment like AF is self-assigned/claimed. It is the performance of a function (outward-focused) that one thinks is necessary, addresses a particular need, or generally adds value to the greater community. 

Using these distinctions, I’ll address what I think is the role of a Christian on Atheist Forums

First, someone can be a Christian on AF and not consider themselves having a role. If I were asked, I would advise such a person to get their personal goals/needs met somewhere else. There is significant hostility here and unless there is a purpose to endure that hostility, I can't see any reason to seek it. Life is hard enough without assholes making you angry or feel stupid.

Second. Competence comes into play. If you cannot competently execute the assumed role, a Christian does more harm than good. You have to address issues in context, understand the knowledge of and beliefs of your audience and provide only the most basic answers required in a clear, concise and non-combative way. 

Third, I think there is a role for Christians here for two reasons:

a. Most non-Christians do not understand Christianity. I'm not talking about a simple lack of knowledge, I am talking about wholesale misunderstanding and believing things about Christianity that is not true. One legitimate role is to correct and educate those that lack knowledge so that 1) they don't propagate their ignorance and 2) that some who read the post might be prompted to engage in a civil discussion of which the goal is to understand the other side.

b. Planting seeds. Most atheist do no understand that their worldview has some features that make less sense then they realize. If circumstances in their lives ever move them to the point of seeking more, I think the knowledge that in general, Christianity has been addressing every issue under the sun a thousand time over and that Christianity consist of a framework of reasoning and beliefs that have withstood the test of time might prompt them to seek more when they are ready. People way more skeptical and smarter then the average denizens of AF become Christians every day. 

HOWEVER, it has become clear to me that it is very hard to assess whether these roles are being accomplished and are worth the considerable effort it takes to do it right. The level of discourse regarding religion is mostly juvenile nonsense. The small pockets of legit discussion get derailed by people who's goal is to derail discussion and return things to the happy fog of ignorant misunderstanding of other positions.


I think you have a unique position among the Christian posters. You have a gentle spirit that is hard not to like. You remind atheists that Christians are normal people that you can disagree with but still like. Only you can assess the value of that in relation to the time it takes to post here.

I too have very strong opinions on doctrine. However, I have developed a basic version of Christianity that I usually defend here because opponents are not equipped to understand full-on systematic theology. I think all that needs to be said in most discussions HERE is something like the Roman's Road. 

I completely understand you frustration and your point that any role you thought might be legit is not worth the time. 

My personal thoughts are that you put a massive amount of effort into your posts, but a mostly talking past those you are addressing. While I don't think our views are very different about the status of the Bible, it is difficult method of conversation to use as much Bible as you do with people who don't think very much of the Bible. You seem to have a very rich Christian life. Try sharing how God has changed your life and how that might relate to people on a personal level. My 2 cents--take it or leave it. 

I will get to the rest later today.
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
I'm done with this site. Have fun!  Smile

alpha male has left the building
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
Now that we've made our initial introductions and follow up responses, anyone up for discussing another topic? In my intro I mentioned a few questions that I would like to pose to the group for discussion once we got our first topic of out of the way. I think we made our points about how we felt and why we are here and I believe the topic has run its course lest we get caught up in a continuous and nowhere back and forth with other AF members about who's more right and who's more wrong, or which members mistreated the other members the most. 

Just because I don't put my beliefs into practice anymore doesn't mean I don't like discussing the Bible and discussing our view points on different topics related to the Christian faith. 

So, my first question, if anyone's interested:

Can Christians be perfect? After all, Jesus said, Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect. In Revelations the church of Sardis was warned, Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain and are ready to die, for I have not found your works to be perfect before God.

Is it really possible for Christians to attain that perfection which Jesus expects from everyone who follows Him? If not, then why would Jesus lay such a heavy demand on Christians that's impossible to attain?

Thoughts? Ideas?

Just something a little extra for inspiration:
The choir in this Church Of God is amazing. An old Hymn sung with great conviction and it's all done without musical instruments.

"Inside every Liberal there's a Totalitarian screaming to get out"

[Image: freddy_03.jpg]

Quote: JohnDG...
Quote:It was an awful mistake to characterize based upon religion. I should not judge any theist that way, I must remember what I said in order to change.
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
I would like to applaud SteveII for better expressing the difference between meeting personal needs/goals motivations and roles. Recently the larger culture, not just AF, the amount of cross-over between personal life, professional duties, and social roles has become so extreme that people find it nearly impossible keep them separate. Businesses fire executives for their private political contributions. Academic departments and student groups demand the resignations of professors who express opinions on their personal social media accounts. Senators openly impose “religious tests for office” by opposing the nominations of candidates with mainline religious convictions.

Generally, I consider this blurring of the line between public and private to be very bad for a free country. That is why I generally oppose commercial boycotts; I trade with the expectation of getting quality goods at a fair price regardless of the personal beliefs and private behavior of those from whom I buy. Similarly, I do not care what politicians do in their bedrooms so long as they strive to serve the public good. I could be wrong.

So I am intentionally using this debate to challenge my own personal feelings about this by adopting the stance that Christianity demands more from us, i.e. to “be not conformed unto this world”, and that being a “new creation” means that your whole being is transformed, not just adopting religious practices like going to church and praying. Secular atheists expect us to check our religion at that ballot box and bristle at the idea of Christians allowing their religious convictions to inform their political opinions, particularly in hot-button issues such as abortion and traditional marriage. They mock the idea of public officials calling for prayer in times of disaster. They also seem to feel we are free to practice our religion…but only inside our churches.
Is that even possible?

(On a side note, my taking this stance seems to offend the sensibilities of those outside the discussion. They seem to believe that someone cannot present and defend a position during a debate without being disingenuous or hypocritical.)

This is why (for debate purposes only) I am challenging the notion suggested by Catholic Lady that not everything a Christian does must bring glory to God, especially when I see Holy Scripture arguing otherwise:

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” - 1 Corinthians 10:31.

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” - Ecclesiastes 12:13

“If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” - First Peter 4:11 (my emphasis)

So also say the greatest Christian thinkers:

“Man seeks God in all his human acts inasmuch as in all these acts he seeks what will please, and satisfy, and fill up needs and desires, and crown his human quest with enduring joy. In this, man differs from all other earthly substances, minerals, plants, animals. For, while all these things are the products of divine goodness and exist to reflect and manifest that goodness, they do not seek to attain the infinite good subjectively; only man does that.” – Thomas Aquinas, Summa Part 2A

“Question 1: What is the chief and highest end of man? Answer: Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.” - Westminster Confession

Just to be clear, I am NOT saying that seemingly mundane activities are somehow unworthy. Nor must our work be explicitly Christian – like didactic “Christian” movies or “Christian” Rock. I say that even eating a brownie is not a neutral activity, nor is flying a kite, or arguing over which IPA is superior. To enjoy abundant life, in—and-of- itself, is to glorify God, and that can include savoring the blessings of good food and the sensual pleasures shared by husband and wife. These as opposed to gluttony and promiscuity. Nor must Christians limit their professional lives to pastoral work. Paul says that even a servant glorifies God in the performance of his duties:

“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him. .” – 1 Timothy 6:5-9

The clear message seems to be that the end of Man, how we glorify God, is through the right use and proper enjoyment of our life in accordance with our God-given nature as rational animals, everywhere and at all time - at home, in the marketplace, and the public square. How this plays out on AF is something that intrigues me.
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
(May 8, 2018 at 12:06 pm)A Theist Wrote: Can Christians be perfect? After all, Jesus said, Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect. In Revelations the church of Sardis was warned, Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain and are ready to die, for I have not found your works to be perfect before God. Is it really possible for Christians to attain that perfection which Jesus expects from everyone who follows Him? If not, then why would Jesus lay such a heavy demand on Christians that's impossible to attain?

Thoughts? Ideas?

Look at how the word "perfect" (in the greek also means complete) is used: Yes Jesus said we are to be perfect like God is perfect, but how specifically? are we to assume in all aspects of law and life? or was their an example given? one verse before was how Jesus suggest we be perfect as God is perfect.

how to love your enemies.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[k] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. 45 If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong. 46 If you love only those who love you, why should you get a reward for that? Even the tax collectors do that. 47 And if you are nice only to your friends, you are no better than anyone else. Even the people who don’t know God are nice to their friends. 48 What I am saying is that you must be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

None of This has nothing to do with keeping the moral law. So then why assume we must keep the whole of the moral law as God keeps it when 7/8 of the passage highlighted speaks on forgiving your enemy? Why assume anything other than we must be perfect in forgiving those who sin against us, as God is perfect in forgiving those who sin against him??? Just that alone makes more sense as Jesus was simply summing up what he had said in the first 7/8 of that paragraph.. But even so the absolute proof of this is found in the revelation passage:

He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, [a]but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds [u]completed in the sight of My God. [/u]
Your translation says perfect rather than complete but the idea is the same. in that Jesus is judging the church not perfect/have not completed the things God requires.

Which is what again? it ties to the mat 5 passage that we must love our enemy as God loves us we must forgive them as we ourselves will not be forgiven. I know you subscribe to a different kind of understanding to salvation but according to our lord's very own prayer, we all have been taught to pray. that God tie our forgiveness on our ability to forgive others. meaning if we can't forgive our enemy then we ask god not for forgive us.

"Forgive our sins AS WE Forgive Those who sin against us." So then why is Jesus calling us to be "complete perfect" as God is Complete/perfect when it comes to forgiving our enemy? because in truth we are at war/enemy of God in our sins. And like the parable of the servant who was given much we can not look to collect a smaller debt against someone else when we have been forgiven such a large debt.

This was the sin at the church of sardis. they seemed alive meaning they were active but the could not forgive as they had been forgiven.

How do I know this is the only answer, because of what Paul has to say about sin in the book of Romans. Romans explains our whole sin nature in great detail. in short we will always be slaves to sin. Now if you believe the bble is the inspired word of God these two passages can not conflict with one another. he boils all of this down in romans 7:
14 We know that the law is spiritual, but I am not. I am so human. Sin rules me as if I were its slave. 15 I don’t understand why I act the way I do. I don’t do the good I want to do, and I do the evil I hate. 16 And if I don’t want to do what I do, that means I agree that the law is good. 17 But I am not really the one doing the evil. It is sin living in me that does it. 18 Yes, I know that nothing good lives in me—I mean nothing good lives in the part of me that is not spiritual. I want to do what is good, but I don’t do it. 19 I don’t do the good that I want to do. I do the evil that I don’t want to do. 20 So if I do what I don’t want to do, then I am not really the one doing it. It is the sin living in me that does it.

21 So I have learned this rule: When I want to do good, evil is there with me. 22 In my mind I am happy with God’s law. 23 But I see another law working in my body. That law makes war against the law that my mind accepts. That other law working in my body is the law of sin, and that law makes me its prisoner. 24 What a miserable person I am! Who will save me from this body that brings me death? 25 I thank God for his salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So in my mind I am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful self I am a slave to the law of sin.

It sounds like a cop out but Paul is saying we are of two natures. the soul who hates sin and the body who is a slave to sin. He points out here that so long as we hate the sin we do, then it is not us who sin but the spirit/the governing animalistic controller of the body who sins. While we are together in this life we/our souls will be made to sin.

Remember this is a saint/apostle speak who pretty much established the church as we know it. and if he could not abstain from sinning what chance do you have?

Again not a free passage too sin, but the explanation of our dual nature.. which means if our soul and spirit agree on sin then it is something God will not forgive.

If you take away the idea that Jesus in Mat 5:48 is speaking about the moral perfection of God and we must emulate that. (despite what he teaches about his reason for being here qnd what paul has to say) and put the idea of perfection/complete forgiveness back on to loving your enemy as the passage indicates then there is no conflict between what Jesus taught and what Paul teaches.

In short Jesus is teaching we must forgive how God forgives other wise we are endanger of not being forgiven ourselves. which is very consistant with the teaching of the rest of the chapter.

my favorite hymn accepella as well

This is the greatest commands put to song.
Love one another, for love is of God.
He who loves is born of God;
And knows God.
He who does not love, does not know God,
For God is love, God is love, God is love.

Love bears all things,
Believes all things,
Love hopes all things,
Endures all things.

God is love, God is love, God is love.
God is love, God is love, God is love.
God is love, God is love, God is love,
God is love, God is love, God is love.

Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
With all thy soul, all thy strength,
All thy mind.
Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
For God is love, God is love, God is love.

Why do i love this so much? each group expresses their understanding of God love to the absolute best of their ability. each set of words are different, yet they all have the common theme of a group of people loving God to the end of their ability. Now if this were compared to a structured denomination all would have to sing the same way in the same cords. This is a shinning example of how biblical Christianity differs from all other forms. it allows each of us with like ablities people to express our understanding of the love of God (the words) to our fullest physical ability (vocal range) be different, rather be obtrusively different almost to the point of distraction to anyone outside looking in.. yet be in perfect harmony with each other and God.

20+ years singing this song and I still can't make it through it with out blubbering 1/2 way through
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
Alpha - I'm sorry to see you go. If you want to keep in touch shoot me a PM and we can exchange facebook/email/skype... whatever you would feel most comfortable with. If not, that's fine too. I understand.

GC - Though I often fail at this myself, I love the verse about loving our enemies and turning the other cheek. It's my favorite of the bible. I think what you're saying is that we should be fine with taking whatever hostility comes our way and just be here as a good example of Christianity and dispel any misunderstandings about the faith, in hopes that this will plant seeds. While I much prefer this approach to the "preaching" approach, I still find that it's a bit of a long shot. However, I can see how you can justify staying here on the premise that you really don't know for sure that seeds aren't being planted. I can't really argue with that, and if that's why you're here, I can certainly respect your approach and optimism.

Steve - Glad you could join. I like your posts very much as well as your cool and collected demeanor on the site. I wish you'd post more! You bring up an interesting point, and it's this: "One legitimate role is to correct and educate those that lack knowledge so that 1) they don't propagate their ignorance and 2) that some who read the post might be prompted to engage in a civil discussion of which the goal is to understand the other side." I hadn't thought about that as a Christian role here, but I like it. Whether or not it is doing any good is a different story, as you said, but it's something I can certainly see myself striving for here. As I've stated, my reasons for being here have been entirely personal, but I suppose I just hadn't thought about your points #1 and #2 as a way that some good, outside of myself, can come from being here. I like it and will definitely think about this more.  

A Theist - I'd like to address your question here as I address you. My answer is much more simplistic than I'm sure everyone else's here will give. Maybe too simplistic, which makes me feel inferior to all the rest of ya'lls giving deep, lavish answers lol. But I take those words from Jesus as ideals to strive for. We should always strive to love everyone, always turn the other cheek, always forgive, always be merciful, always be giving, etc. We should always strive for perfection in that way. But the fact of the matter is that we are, by nature of being human, not perfect. I don't think God expects us to be perfect, because He knows we can't be. But He does expect us to strive for that ideal, and feel remorse for the times we fail. And that is how I take Jesus saying to us "Be perfect."

Neo - I can see better now what you mean about simple, mundane things "glorifying God." I guess I was putting a little more weight on the glorifying bit than I should have. In that sense, I would say me being a part of the AF community glorifies God in the sense that it benefits me in a positive way. By being here I am better able to handle the difficult thing I'm going through because I have this as an escape and a distraction that I enjoy. It is therapeutic in that way. By being here I am glorifying God by getting to know more people and making connections, and hopefully having something positive to offer to them as a friend. By being here I am glorifying God by learning to see things through other people's perspectives so that I can better understand differences and in doing so, becoming a more empathetic, more tolerant person. By being here I am glorifying God by learning more about my faith and growing stronger in it through being challenged and being forced to really dig deep and think things through and seek answers.

Drich - I like your answer and it was much more eloquent and in depth than my own. I must admit, being Catholic means I am not very well versed on the parts of the bible that don't involve the life and teachings of Jesus. Us Catholics can tend to get lazy when it comes to the bible because the Church already kind of interprets everything for us and organizes all the tenets of our faith in the Catechism. I am well versed in that! Lol. Anyway, my point is that I can certainly learn from your knowledge of the bible as you portray it on the forums. Thank you for that.

Edit to add. Since we are all sharing favorite church song's here's mine. It's called Gather Us In and is super popular in Catholic churches. I grew up with this song in church and it is one of my favorites. Hope you guys enjoy it too: 

"Of course, everyone will claim they respect someone who tries to speak the truth, but in reality, this is a rare quality. Most respect those who speak truths they agree with, and their respect for the speaking only extends as far as their realm of personal agreement. It is less common, almost to the point of becoming a saintly virtue, that someone truly respects and loves the truth seeker, even when their conclusions differ wildly." 

RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums


RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
A Theist your question on being perfect is good for all of us to dwell on, you asked if it's possible to be perfect as God is perfect, the simple answer is no, if it were then what Jesus did would not have been necessary. As a matter of fact if any man could be perfect as God is perfect then God the Son would not have had to come and fulfill that role so there could be a perfect sacrifice for mankind, the sacrifice to end all other sacrifices because even the sacrifices were not perfect. Only God is good so only God is perfect, there has been nothing perfect since the fall of man except for God, even the creation itself lost it's perfection to corruption. So outside of God nothing is perfect nor can anything be perfect until the second coming of Christ.

You also asked why Jesus would ask us to be perfect as God is perfect and I believe Drich has answered that most appropriately. Jesus is asking us to love everyone as God does and that would be with an unconditional love. Jesus said we are to love our enemies, now our enemies are going to be the hardest ones to love it's why Jesus used them as the example, if we can love our enemies everyone else should be easier for us to love. Jesus went on to say that we should cloth them give them food and shelter, in other words we are to supply their needs as our Father in heaven supplies our needs and His enemies needs. As Drich pointed out God causes it to ran on the evil and the good alike, He treats all of us as equals. So are we to treat everyone as equals and to do so means we need to love them as we love others. Now does this mean we are to love everything about them, by no means, for God hates the sin of all mankind and we even as sinners are to hate the sin. It is this that Jesus wants us to strive to perfection, can we, I'm doubting we can because of our fallen condition, but we are to try our best by asking God's guidance in this area of our lives.

Here's something else to consider, in Leviticus God tells his people (Israelites) to be holy as I am holy. Now I'm sure God never expected fallen man to be able to be as holy as He is, we do not have the attributes He does to be able to do this, so why would God say such a thing that is impossible for us to do. Just as in Matthew when Jesus said we should be perfect as God is perfect Jesus gave us the example ie. the area in which we were to try and accomplish this. God had given the Israelites the food laws previous to saying they are to be holy as He is holy. Those food laws were for a specific reason, the animals, insects, fish and mammals that the Canaanite people were eating was put off limits to the Israelites so that they would have a distinction from those people, circumcision is part of this as well. God did not want them to eat what was common to the Canaanites so that they would be separate from them, this is what God meant by being holy. Separate yourselves from those who do not believe in Me as I separate Myself from sin. These customs and /or laws were given so the Israelites would be a separate people. But why, because God wanted them to stand out among the other people so they would be noticed, because He was bringing a message to the world through them about himself and to do so they could not be like those around them that rejected God. as long as they were obeying these food laws and other laws given them by God they would be avoiding living as the unbelievers did, separate from a sinful people, separate as God separates himself from sin. 

So no we can't be perfect as God nor as holy as God but we are to strive to be, so that we will be separate from the world in which we live and participate daily. In this way people will take notice of us as different from the world and might just listen to what we have to say about the God who actually made us different. Only with God's help can we be different, being different is part of the gift of salvation through grace and being different is one sign we have that salvation.

God loves those who believe and those who do not and the same goes for me, you have no choice in this matter. That puts the matter of total free will to rest.
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
Let's try and keep this debate on topic please. The topic of the debate is "our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums". I can't see how a side-discussion on "Can Christians be perfect?" is in any way relevant to the topic.

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