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!
Reg, don't you agree that an argument is just a way of presenting evidence? The evidence is found in the premises of the argument and can be examined, affirmed, or disputed. For example:
1). If it's Sunday, Chick-Fila is closed.
2). It's Sunday.
3). Therefore, Chic-Fila is closed.
One can check evidence for premise #1 by researching Chic-Fila's policy on being open on Sundays, or whether a business called "Chic-Fila" even exists!
Evidence for premise #2 can be seen by consulting a reliable calendar, etc. and this would be objective evidence (existence of company policy, eyewitnesses who have eaten at or seen Chic-Fila).
So if there is evidence supporting the premises, the conclusion follows, and that serves as further evidence for the proposition (or argument). Do you agree so far? Why or why not?
This is so boring it is going nowhere slowly. How many different christian faiths are there? And they all claim to be the true and only true faith. I have been told so many times " but they are not true christians" by christians condemning other christians faith. They can not even agree amongst themselves. And every one of these different faiths will interpret the same book , the same versus in different ways. At least as Atheist we agree that there is no god. We belief in critical reasoning and thinking.
Jorita, what you're correctly pointing out is the differences in the application of certain key doctrines, The major denominations of Christianity are united on the Essentials, but differ on peripherals. So, there is only one Christian Faith. It's up to us to make sure we're accurate about it.
BTW, critical reasoning and thinking is certainly not the sole domain of atheists!
Any rumination on what constitutes a fool vis a vis scriptural injunctions is a de facto acceptance that there are things in the Bible worthy of respect. I don't believe there are; therefore, it is meaningless to me.
I do have my own perception of what constitutes a fool, however; and it's anybody who puts any value whatsoever in any religion. All religions are based on the fear of death; and many people choose to allay that fear by being foolish. I do not begrudge them that choice, but to characterize anyone a fool for being an atheist is the supreme example of the charred pot calling the kettle insufficiently black.
First, just because people disagree on a source does not necessarily mean the source is false. Just because people interpret a source in different ways does not mean the source is false (or that it doesn't exist). Because people misquote a source does not necessarily invalidate the source.
Secondly, when looking down the corridors of church history and examining the creeds and teachings, etc. one sees certain Essentials of the Christian Faith emerge. And those Essentials can be checked by the Scriptures themselves. They are basically:
Things like how or when one is baptized, how often to take communion, whether one can lose one's salvation, etc. are important, but there is room for disagreement on those things.
Kevin in that lies my problem with religion, nun of the different faiths belief that they are miss quoting. They all belief that they are right. If the different christian dominations can not agree on the interpretation so many of the points in the bible , surely you have to question the validity of the bible. I would love to know what science would be like if scientists took that aproach what a nightmare! Amasing how their is always room to tweak it so that it fits within ones own perseption. How religion is the one thing where you can chop and change the meaning or interpretation of something to fit your viewpoint. And last but not least what are you doing on this site? My personal opinion if I whanted christian company I can talk to my family the whole day or go and star posting on christian sites. I am curious as to why you feal the nead to post here? Are you bored? Are you not sure about your own faith? Are you on a mission from god to try and convert us? What is your agenda?
Jorita, I don't blame you for having a problem with religion. We all do! The subject can be emotional, troubling, and affect us on the deepest levels of our lives.
I define "religion" as our attempt to find God (or something transcendent), know God, please God, or reach God, and show devotion in that attempt via various rituals and beliefs. (BTW, I think Christianity is the opposite of "religion", in that it is God reaching to us through Christ).
So the question becomes whether there is a "religion", or something in religion, that is true. And because we are human, we can botch up truth pretty badly, and fight, and disagree!
Scientists disagree all the time. There are about 10 different interpretations of Quantum Mechanics, but that doesn't mean there is nothing going on at the quantum level! Because there are disagreements on the Bible does not mean the Bible is not a source of truth.
But you're making an important point. If the Bible is inspired by God, why is there any disagreement at all? Theologically, I think this is the Problem of Evil. God has allowed evil (temporarily), and it is an evil that we are so fragmented, hardhearted, selfish, dull, etc. so we can get things wrong. Nevertheless, we can examine whether the claims of Christ are true! He said, "Seek and you shall find...".
Finally, I'm here because I am interested in these topics, but mainly because I hope I can give some good input and knock down any unnecessary road blocks people have which keep them from following Jesus.