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Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
#71
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
(May 26, 2018 at 4:03 am)vulcanlogician Wrote: Our fourth question comes from Jörmungandr:

Do you feel that by associating with atheists on an atheist site you are not putting Christ first in your lives?

Since debate activity is lower than it was, I say we only spend three days on this question (rather than four). That means answers to the question are submitted on Saturday 5/26, responses/rebuttals on Sunday 5/27 and final comments on Monday 5/28. Further discussion of questions can happen in the parallel thread if you wish.

No. Jesus commanded us to "go into all the world and preach the gospel". Putting Christ first is a position of importance, not of time management.
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#72
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
I don't see an issue with it. I'd say I was corrupted long before I became a member here, and I've been here since November, 2009. Wink  Anyway, since this little debate thread started for the forum's Christian members I've been doing something I haven't done in a while. I'm opening up my Bible and reading it again and I'm studying old notes on scriptures that I wrote down and saved over the years. So, for me, this turned out to be a good thing.
"Inside every Liberal there's a Totalitarian screaming to get out"

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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.
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#73
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
Exactly why would we be doing anything other than putting Christ first, that is what Christ taught us. He is to be first in all our circumstances and He was just that in a circumstance that was very hard and He is the reason I'm doing okay.

Do atheist think themselves so specially that they can take first place from Christ. I remember when the Beatles stated they were more popular than Jesus, not true now, then or never, Christians understand who is first. It is why everyone else becomes more important than they would have been.

GC
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.
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#74
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
Our final question is taken from a thread by Jörmungandr:

Are theists in it because they desire to know the truth, or are they simply in it for the swag?

In this case, the swag is: A sense of meaning and purpose, better health, an eternal life, and whatever other goodies that theists imagine come along for the ride.

I would also add that it provides a sense of belonging to an in-group, complete with all sorts of out-group boogeymen (gays, atheists, Muslims, liberals). It seems to me the parable of the good Samaritan explains the perils of an in-group out-group mentality pretty well.

Are you personally motivated by the truth of God's existence or the swag? What about the majority of Christians?

This is the final question. I am waiving the limitation on posts per day. Post and discuss as much as you'd like, but try to wrap up discussion on this question by Thursday. Just remember to not quote each other using the quote feature. Friday will be final statements.
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#75
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
I'm sure it probably depends on the theist, though I haven't had any reason to think thus far that anyone who calls themselves a theist doesn't truly believe their faith is truth. Nonetheless, I will speak on my own behalf only.  

Part of having a religious belief is having faith and hope. Meaning there is no solid, scientific, lab tested proof that God exists, and I know that. I believe based on evidence that is sufficiently convincing to me. (As Neo has pointed out many times, there is difference between evidence and proof.) This evidence is enough to tip the scale for me in favor of the existence of God, rather than His non existence. It leads me to believe it is more likely that He does exist, rather than to believe He does not. From there, my belief is strengthened through my choice to have faith and hope in it. Faith is what takes my belief from "just enough to tip the scale" to "very strong".  

I know people hate this analogy, but it resonates with me personally, and since I'm talking for myself, I'll use it here. There is no solid, scientific, lab tested proof that my husband loves me. Many people will even say there's a good chance the love isn't anything permanent and we will eventually divorce, or cheat on each other, or at least have loss of love in the marriage... because "that's what eventually happens in most marriages." I believe based on evidence that is sufficient to me (evidence being the type of man he is, his values and beliefs, the sacrifices he's made for me, the way he treats me, etc), that he loves me in a permanent way and will be committed to me for life. Nonetheless, since there is no solid proof of this, my belief that he will always love me goes from just enough, to incredibly strong - because I have faith that he loves me, and I have hope that he loves me.

It is because of evidence combined with faith & hope that we strongly believe things that don't have solid proof.

So to answer the question, yes, I believe God does exist and it is in my desire to find truth that I believe this. But faith & hope make the belief stronger than they otherwise would be. Is the faith part of it considered "swag", making my answer actually be a combination of the 2? I don't think so. Because the truth is primary. Faith doesn't come into play until there is already enough objective reason for me to believe it is true.  

As for the in-group thing, there hasn't been much of that for me personally. Catholic mass is a one hour ordeal once a week where we sit quietly, listen to the priest talk, pray, and have communion. It is not a social event by any means lol. It's actually pretty boring, and I would rather spend my Sunday morning relaxing at home, rather than getting up at a decent hour and getting prettied up for mass. I consider it a small sacrifice as an expression of my commitment. Also, growing up I was the only one in my friends group to even be Catholic, much less to go to church regularly. Maybe it's different for others, but for myself, I had no in group type benefits from being religious.[/i][/i]
"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." 

-walsh
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#76
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
I would ask the questioner why she seems to believe these are mutually exclusive. It is somewhat appalling that many an atheist will only ascribe self-serving motivations to Christian beliefs. Could it not simply be that seeking to live an authentic life also entails gaining a deeper understanding of Providence, relationship with the Divine, and appreciation of transcendent aspects of reality, such as Goodness, Truth, and Beauty, that go beyond the evolved instincts of a pretentious primate?

Scripture teaches us that faith in Christ leads all men and women, not just to proximate truths, but to the very Truth that gives life.

“…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10

“…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John 14:6

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:82

Scripture also teaches us that apart from the saving Truth of Christ we are slaves to sin, embracing falsities and prone to various evil obsessions and compulsions.

“… all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We therefore were buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life.” – Romans 6:3,4

Salvation is not limited to participation in some distant paradise. “Eternal life” is not just enduring temporal extension. It is the promise of eternally present joy in every moment.

”Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4

Salvation is freedom in the here-and-now that comes from knowing the Truth. It is overcoming using the power of His strength. It is the privilege of serving, not from enlightened self-interest or supporting a worthy cause to feel good about ourselves (these being incidental); but rather, first and foremost, to bring glory to His Grace working through us.

Finally, why is it wrong or suspicious to hope for a world in which the following will be true?:

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” – Revelation 21:4
"Anyone who believes the laws of physics are mere social conventions is invited to try transgressing those conventions from the windows of my apartment. I live on the twenty-first floor." - Alan Sokal
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#77
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
I've already answered this question in the thread "Truth or swag." If anyone is interested it is post #26. I have nothing further to add because I saw this question as needing only a short sweet answer.

GC
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.
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#78
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
(May 30, 2018 at 12:14 am)vulcanlogician Wrote: Our final question is taken from a thread by Jörmungandr:

Are theists in it because they desire to know the truth, or are they simply in it for the swag?

In this case, the swag is: A sense of meaning and purpose, better health, an eternal life, and whatever other goodies that theists imagine come along for the ride.

I would also add that it provides a sense of belonging to an in-group, complete with all sorts of out-group boogeymen (gays, atheists, Muslims, liberals). It seems to me the parable of the good Samaritan explains the perils of an in-group out-group mentality pretty well.

Are you personally motivated by the truth of God's existence or the swag? What about the majority of Christians?

This is the final question. I am waiving the limitation on posts per day. Post and discuss as much as you'd like, but try to wrap up discussion on this question by Thursday. Just remember to not quote each other using the quote feature. Friday will be final statements.

Two quick points:

1. I think that Christians see Christianity as the best explanations for the reality they perceive. 
2. I think the fact that there have always been Christians persecuted in some quarter of the world with still today "215 million Christians experience high, very high, or extreme persecution" answers the alternative that is proposed.
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#79
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
Alright, all questions have been covered. Now all that remains is for each of the participants to make their final remarks.

No time limit really, but try to have something in by Monday. It was a pleasure moderating this debate for you guys.  Smile
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#80
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
(June 1, 2018 at 12:20 am)vulcanlogician Wrote: Alright, all questions have been covered. Now all that remains is for each of the participants to make their final remarks.

No time limit really, but try to have something in by Monday. It was a pleasure moderating this debate for you guys.  Smile

 Because Huggy wasn't around when this thing started I think we should give him a chance to answer any of the questions posed if he so wishes, too.
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.
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