Author R.C. Sproul Jr. has a "doctorate" in the non-subject of Theology. It shows. Here are his five things for Christians to remember when they converse with atheists. What's wrong with this picture?
"1. There are no atheists. Romans 1 tells us that unbelievers suppress the truth of God’s existence in unrighteousness (vs 8). They want not to believe, but they know there is a God, and know that they stand guilty before Him. Do not think you are dealing with a disinterested scholar who is just lacking good information. You are dealing with someone angry and frightened, someone rightly terrified over his own guilt. If they get angry, chances are they are angry at God more than you. No matter how smart they may be, they are more afraid of you than you are of them.
"2. Their deepest need is to deal with their guilt. The best thing about dealing with atheists is we not only have what they need, but we have what they know they need. That is, because they dread their guilty standing before God they are ripe for hearing about Jesus’ solution to our guilt problem. Denying His existence is just whistling in the dark. Repenting of our sin, on the other hand, is singing in the heavenlies. As you remember point one, keep coming back to the atonement of Christ, and the offer of forgiveness for all who trust in His finished work.
"3. They are using our stuff. Their worldview allows for no transcendent morality, or purpose. But no one can live this way for ten seconds. Even their participation in the argument is grounded on the premise that it is better (a concept that is meaningless if we are grown up germs) to believe the truth than a lie. On the one hand this should be cause for hope. This borrowing that they do happens because of the remnants of the image of God in them. On the other hand, never let them forget that they have no ground to stand on, that they can’t even participate in the argument without conceding transcendent morality and purpose.
"4. As with point number 3, every time they express a moral judgment against you, or the Bible, or believers, remind them that such is out of bounds based on their foundation conviction. If there is no God, then my moral perspective is as valid as theirs. Do not be shy of using their assumptions on them. When they judge you for judging, point out that they are judging you. Remind them that they shouldn’t be privileging their own narrative against yours. This not only confuses them, but shows them that you are familiar with their tactics and won’t be intimidated by them.
"5. Remember such once were we. The difference between the believer and the atheist is not found in the believer’s superior character, more astute mind but in the grace of God alone. Without the grace of God in our lives we would be as caught up in folly, as self-referentially absurd, as blazingly hypocritical. Indeed even with His grace we are often guilty of these sins. It is sin, not stupidity that is the root of all our problems, and what sets us as believers apart is the glory and power of repentance. Don’t be shy about owning your sin. Jesus isn’t. Be bold about the truth, humble about yourself."
A leader's most onerous duty is pandering.
It's doubtful that Sproul believes what he says.
A leader's most onerous duty is pandering. It's doubtful that Sproul believes what he says.
Poe rides again.
Religious routinely make statements so stupid and outrageous it's scarcely possible to think anyone-- even the authors themselves-- seriously believe what they say. But lots of people believe much more outrageous things.
It doesn't matter if Sproul believes his own pack of lies or not. Sproul's attacks on atheists would be no less vile even if they were an insincere effort to impress followers into paying for more.
I think Sproul means every word.
Interesting that Mr Sproul doesn't believe that atheists really believe what they say, and Mr Sarbeck doesn't believe that Christians really mean what they say. Both groups think that what the other says is so outrageous that they can't imagine anyone actually believing it, it must be a cover for some sinister plot or their own guilty consciences or whatever. Interesting how symmetrical this is.
Not symmetrical, Mark.
My saying that leaders pander says nothing about what Sproul's listeners believe.
It seems that every time you Google one of these "PHd apologists" they come up "charged". Paedocommunion, I had to look that up.
The difference between the believer and the atheist is not found in the believer’s superior character, more astute mind but in the grace of God alone.
He recommends; "Don’t be shy about owning your sin".
In January 2006, Sproul and the Session of Saint Peter Presbyterian Church, its governing body, were deposed from office by the RPCGA under charges including "abuse of authority in an inexcusable manner" against several families, alleged illegal use of the ARP's tax identification number, planting a church without authority, and practicing paedocommunion.The SPPC Session issued a letter of apology and asked to be released from general membership in the RPCGA....
Paedocommunion, I had to look that up.
Ditto. OED says 'paedo' is British for 'pedo' and some of America's Catholic priests know what that means.
If 'communion' is a British euphemism for 'philia', I can see why church folk find euphemisms convenient.
This guy has a doctorate in fairy tales and he thinks atheists are lacking good information? What a hoot.
May His Holy Noodleness open his eyes to the truth.
I have had the misfortune of talking to theists who believe what this man has said. She told me I could not be an atheist because atheists don't exist. I assured her that I did not, in fact, believe in the existence of any deity, no matter what she believed to be true. Yadda, yadda, yadda, and so on and so on.....
I am sure she regurgitated everything she had been fed about atheists and reality, thinking she was really smooth. In the end, I was no less an atheist than before. My purpose had never been to change her faith, but to speak up as an atheist. She's probably still praying for me.
Diane, her praying for you gives her life a purpose.
I hope I've given purpose to a few believers' lives.
The reverse of all 5 of these is more true.
What part of "I don't believe in god, I understand the possibility of such a thing is absolutely impossible" do they not understand ?
Understanding that such a thing a thing does not exist, on the basis of thinking out of the box, and analysing the lack of evidence, and knowing that god was made up by human beings due to their primitive understanding of life and everything to assume a conclusion, and this being used to control the population.
Confronting someone like this believes they understand your thoughts when they don't can get frustrating.