My atheist friends often have Psalm 14:1 lobbed at them as if the verse ends the conversation like a holy grenade! It says, "The fool has said in his heart there is no God".
But the verse does not mean all atheists are fools. It means anyone who "says in his heart" there is no God is a fool. In other words, anyone who denies God for merely emotional reasons is foolish. An issue this profound is not to be determined by one's psychological state or emotional disposition.
The person who has genuine intellectual questions or objections concerning God's existence is not the biblical definition of a fool. God will honor and answer in the humble quest for truth. The honest inquirer is in a better position before God than the emotionally closed-minded.
Since I'm talking about the Hebraic-Christian Scriptures, they repeatedly say we must humble ourselves before God. Think about it. If God exists, humility is certainly in order in seeking Him. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you". "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God", etc.
This shouldn't be hard for the atheist intellectually. Most of my atheist friends agree that humility is in order in the quest for any truth. Don't you agree?
(On the other hand, I can see how horrible I would feel (at least at first) if, say, Islam was proven to me to be true. I would be forced intellectually and emotionally to acknowledge Allah and Muhammad. I would have to begrudgingly and reluctantly bow before them. That would suck! I would acknowledge Allah's existence, but probably continually resist any relationship or love for him until he smote me!
But I must say that my emotional resistance to Islam is mostly for intellectual reasons! Thankfully, I am confident there is nothing forthcoming in Islam that will serve as an adequate defeater of Christ's claims.)
BTW, I am aware of Christ's injunction against calling anyone a fool, yet he himself did. Keep in mind that Christ is forbidding unwarranted name-calling (literally "empty head") from people who are themselves often foolish!
I am holding my breath with anticipation of Kevin's answer...
Don't take too long here Kevin, the fate of our immortal souls rest in your hands!
I don't have time for the fate of my immortal soul to be resting in anybody's hands but mine! Of course, some theists would say it does rest in my hands and depends on whether or not I choose to believe in not only a deity, but a certain one. I contend I do not have that choice. I have a lot of choices, but not that one. I cannot simply believe, as some so blithely assert.
I don't have time for this either, but apparently can't resist.
Diane, I agree that none of us has time to place our immortal souls in someone else's hands... unless that someone has the qualifications and credentials to actually affect one's immortal soul! I only know of one person in history who is a good candidate for that!
Is it Oscar Wilde?
He once worked a telepathic typewriter into one of his works (Tommyknockers?). If he makes that a reality, he totally has my nomination. I would totally be a writer if it weren't for all the god damned writing involved.
It has to be a typewriter though. Hook that up to a computer and suddenly everyone's stream of consciousness with be pouring into the internet. I'm... I'm just not sure I could handle it.
That's all well and good if you believe, but I don't. As far as "history" goes, I am sure there some historical accuracy in the Bible, but I do not believe it's claim that Jesus is the son of a deity is part of that. That crosses over into mythology as far as I am concerned.
Believing something does not make it true or false. And whether something is mythological or actually happened is a matter of historical investigation. Professional historians who study the New Testament documents do not consider them mythological, but biographical. That does not mean there is nothing disputed, but that the documents generally don't have the earmarks of mythological development. And, they were written down too soon after the events for mythological corruption.
I am by no means a Biblical scholar so I can't get into a meaningful discussion on its presentation as biographical vs. mythological. However, my guess is that the ancient Greeks thought their myths were biographical when they were not looking at them through the lens of time as we are. I contend that 3000 or 5000 years from now Christianity will be also classified as a collection of ancient myths.
It is the way things go in this world. Deities and belief systems come and go. We are a very creative and fickle species. We create and destroy deities as time passes and cultures merge, clash and change.
I agree with you that belief does not make something true or false. This includes Christianity. Many people believe it to be true and try to sell it to others but all they have is their belief to back it up. That is simply not enough for many of us.
How can you historically investigate whether or not Hercules, who was allegedly half deity and half human, really was so? Most people would think it absurd. To an outsider like me, the supernatural aspects of the Bible are every bit as absurd and unverifiable. If I am wrong, may Zeus strike me dead.
Hi Reg! Good to hear from you! It's a valid question, and you and I know that we must agree on definitions before we continue. So please give me (1) your definition of evidence, and (2) what you think would constitute evidence for God. Please be specific. I'll return the favor. Thanks!