Hi all,

I wanted to start a discussion to listen to adherents and hear what they have to tell us based on some questions I'd like to pose to them. In other words, I want to sincerely play the role of a seeker and ask them how I would know that their god is The One, True God. The purpose is not to deconvert or convert, I just want to walk through a seeker conversation where I'm allowed to ask questions of adherents and see what they have to say ... to listen. I am willing to expand on what I mean by "The One, True God" if a reader asks for that, to the extent that I think the definition is sufficient for the discussion.

This is the adherent's golden opportunity to proselytize; to convert me.

In order to do this effectively I need to ask the adherent for their imprimatur on a rule by which I can do this without bogging it down so that I can never get my questions asked. So, here it is. I'll ask a question as a hypothetical. It may be that there are more assumptions to the hypothetical that one could add, but I'll ask for the sake of discussion that we allow only the assumptions of the hypothetical I offer. This way, I can at least get through a few questions. If someone thinks the assumptions are insufficient just state that with your answer and we'll accept that as your answer informed by the assumptions of the question.

So, here's my question. I'll ask it and see if I can get a useful answer, recalling that I am a lifelong atheist who has never believed and who is sincerely trying to sort out all the gods out there and figure out which one to follow:

How do I know that your god is The One, True God?

Tags: Evangelical, Socrates, adherents, atheism, atheists, conversion, debate, deconversion

Views: 1739

Replies to This Discussion

Hey Sarah,

Why don't we do it this way. Let's go back to the police officer analogy just for a sec. Now, in that question I asked I framed the same thing a different way.

Suppose I'm in a parking lot and am suddenly surrounded by several people claiming to be The One, True Police Officer. But suppose each one is giving me orders none of which are compatible? Well, which one then is The One, True Police Officer?

What could I ask to figure out which one is The One, True Police Officer?

I mean, clearly, I want to obey legitimate authority, and if all of them are giving me contradictory orders, I really want to know who The One True Police Officer is. And if I only knew, I would take no issue whatsoever with obeying them, because I certainly would want to obey The One True Police Officer.

So, that's what I would like to ask you:

What could I ask to figure out which one is The One, True Police Officer?

- kk

Hey Sarah,

It's not a trap and no that's not what I'm trying to do. I agree, it does seem like it would be a waste of time and that leaves us without an answer. It's okay if you don't know, I'll just put it out there and see if I get any takers:

How do I know that your god is The One, True God?

- kk

How is it not relevant to study each god? Why only pick one or two?

They were/are all worshiped by thousands, millions, of people at their respective time periods. It is necessary to study them, because through studying them we find where the gods that came after them copied their myths and stories, and thus can disprove them all.

Sarah - it's deceptively deep and profound.  It needs a lot of unpacking.  It's the bare dry bones of the whole thing.  It's the biological foundations of Jesus' message and God's love. 

There's a lot more to say, but this is just the foundation.  I can say, if you go with it [love God] you will be helped; if you repent you may be forgiven and get another chance; sometimes bad things happen anyway; pray and you will find answers; follow it and you can become happy.  Religious doctrine can be successfully and coherently written in these terms.  This is why it's interchangeable with religious texts at certain points. 

The whole thing is rather like mathematics.  I have developed the ideas further, including a description of the state of enlightenment, but I've come to the conclusion that the theory is dry as dust and needs some serious expansion, no matter how much I say about it.  Somebody needs to make it into a proper book, or various books aimed at different audiences.  As for reaching enlightenment, well everyone has their own issues and there is no universal recipe for getting there in my opinion. 

"at certain points."

All the way through. 

Remember you said to me which one is the real cop? Remember I said look at his shoes? The answer was that my God is the only God who ever had shoes, and he walked in mine. That was the answer to your cop question. That's the answer to my riddle.

Reminds me of one of my favorite sayings: "Don't judge someone till you've walked a mile in his shoes, because then you're a mile away and you have his shoes."

Fyi to all,

Just so you know, I've asked the question,

How do I know that your god is The One, True God?

and I wanted to be clear that all I'm going to do is ask questions. I'm not going to try to give anyone a conclusion, or force one. You will reach whatever conclusion you want to reach.

And I'm certainly not going to try to trap anyone.

Additionally, you can ask me questions also.

- kk

But Muslims have Muhammad and the Q'ran. Buddhists have Gautama and a body of scriptures as well. It has seemed obvious to me that people find the religion they grew up with and which is held by family and friends has primacy over all others most of the time for most people. Do you think your adherence to Christianity is an exception if that is the rule?

It's refreshing to meet a truly open-minded person. More power to you!

Absolutely.

And reading through Sarah/Jessica's journey on this site shows the difference between someone who came here with honest intent, and a desire for knowledge, versus the drive by doomsayers, and apologetics we normally get.

You just have to look to the posts by Angelo on the "Why do the big names in atheism refuse to debate WLC" thread to see what I am talking about.

Hey Sarah,

The Christian faith would argue that God has revealed himself to humanity primarily through the person of Jesus Christ.

This does sound familiar. But what if I haven't preceived that revelation myself? I mean, what if that doesn't tell me that YHWH is The One, True God? I understand it may for you and others, but what about for me? How would I know?

Secondly, through the revelation of what we now call the Bible,

Okay, but what if I read the Bible and I am unable to tell from that if your god is The One, True God?

... and through our own personal relationship with him if we seek him through prayer, the reading of the Bible and being involved in a community, (church).

But wouldn't I need to identify The One, True God before I could have a relationship like this? I mean, from the start I have over 1000 choices so clearly I couldn't get to know all of them in order to answer this question, right?

... Christians would argue that no other God has revealed himself so completely throughout human history, therefore our God is the one true God...

And that makes sense, too. But what if 200 other gods tell me the exact same thing? What then?

We're at a crossroads and I'm not sure which avenue you're trying to take. Do you want to know for the benefit of the group what Christians believe that makes their God true above all others? Or are you wanting to simply understand on an intellectual level what Christians believe and what their faith stands for?

No, none of those things. Look at this from my perspective. I'm a lifelong atheist, born that way as far as I can tell. So, as a seeker I have more than a thousand gods from which to choose. So, what I'm trying to figure out isn't how other Christians would know, or how you know, but

how would I know that your god is The One, True God?

You hinted earlier that maybe we can't answer that question (the idea that it would be a waste of time to round-robin every god and check with each one).

Do you think that maybe we can't answer this question, at least not as formulated? I'm not saying that's the case, I want to know what you think.

- kk

 

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