Inquiring Christians want to know.... What do you think about us?...and Why?

I really want Christians to HEAR what YOU think of them....good, bad, or ugly.

Brief stories and examples would be most helpful for them to understand your perspective.

Since most Christians won't visit ThinkAtheist to read it, please submit your comments via this site: http://tinyurl.com/245dov5. If you don't use my site...that's fine too...it will just take me longer to read through and summarize the points.

Some disclaimers:

I am not here to attempt to save your soul or preach to you. I'm not here to set you up or attempt to trap you. I don't have any ulterior motives.

My mission is to help Christians live what we preach. Among other things...to love one another...and that includes atheists and non-believers. I want us to coexist. We can't do that if Christians are adding fuel to the fire and visa versa. We must seek to understand and respect each other if we are to coexist in peace.

Again, I'm not trying to change YOU...I'm trying to change Christians...for everyone's benefit.

Tags: Christianity, Christians, of, opinions

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That would be an accurate representation of my experience with more than one, sadly. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I know of at least one Christian who, when asked why they were opposed to learning about science, said that they saw no reason to learn anything, because mortal knowledge was flawed and when she died God would answer any question she had.

In addition, I've talked with a frighteningly large number of theists, Christians and otherwise, who disdain education as a flaw. It's not very hard to find an example of one sneering at a scientist or a historian or anyone with an education. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is Don McLeroy (of the Texas School Board), who stated that "Somebody's got to stand up to experts", mainly because the facts disagreed with his personal beliefs. (In case you are not familiar with him, he's an avid Young Earth Creationist and rejects any science that shows that the earth is more than 6000 years old)

Ignorance I don't have a real problem with, everyone is ignorant on one topic or another and it is easily remedied by learning about the topic at hand. It is willful ignorance, the insistence on maintaining ignorance even when presented with the evidence, that annoys me to no end. This takes many forms, but religious belief is one of the most common reasons for rejecting fact in favor of fiction.
very well said...and I agree with your point. I've ready plenty of science, and have no desire to stop learning about the world we live in. It takes all kinds. But, I for one am not afraid or averse to learning and learning and learning...
Learning, to me, is one of the great joys in life. I have a hard time understanding people who actively dislike learning something new.
My problem is that the Christian worldview is so entrenched in western culture, and is being constantly reinforced, that even people who could barely remember who Jesus' dad was have very strange notions about the world we live in, as well as the current knowledge available to us. To illustrate - I once told a girl I know, who I don't remember ever showing signs or religiosity, about how the atoms we are made of came from the first generation of stars. She asked me how I knew that. I started telling her what little I know about the Big Bang and formation of stars, when she interrupted me with "oh yeah, I know, it's that alternate theory to the Bible". I wept inside.

The bottom line is that often, when talking to people that are otherwise smart, knowledgable people, faith rears it's ugly head when you touch certain subjects, particularly anything related to natural sciences and philosophy. This isn't even about Christianity in general, it's just a single manifestation of what I see as a big problem for humanity.
good point. I think the point that Christians would argue (and back and forth with no progress on either side)...is that you can never quite go back far enough in time to prove your scientific point...any better than we can convince you that God created it all. If atoms are star fragments, where did the stars come from? Who made the atoms in the stars...so to speak. Science can't PROVE creation...because you can't accept the one possibility that makes it all possible.

...but round and round here we go :-)
Technically, science does not prove anything. It gives us the most probable solution based on the current data that we have available. This is why scientific knowledge continues to grow, change, and be refined. Finding any scientist who is willing to state that anything is 100%, no doubts, absolutely proven is rare. And they'd be wrong. New evidence can always overturn existing theories, provided that the evidence is strong enough, can be replicated, and satisfactorily accounts for all previously existing data as well as the prior theory did. One of the prime examples of this is Einstein's Theory of Relativity replacing Newton's Theory of Gravity.

As far as the Big Bang and cosmology go, what we currently know suffices to give us a pretty good idea of what happened back to a small fraction of a second before the Big Bang. (Planck Time) Before that instant, our current understanding of physics is insufficient to tell with any degree of certainty what happened. We have some ideas of what might of happened, but without more data, a better understanding of quantum gravity, and a more comprehensive understanding of physics as it applies to matter and energy in the hot, dense state the universe was in at that time, they are just beginning hypotheses.

However, as I mentioned before, "We don't know" is not an invitation to substitute "GodDidIt". It would be just as viable for me to claim that a giant trans-dimensional space duck started the big bang by laying an extremely hot egg. There is an equal amount of evidence for both, which is to say, none.

The reason that scientists postulate hypotheses that rely solely on natural forces to explain the Big Bang (a couple of which might actually be able to become testable and thus disprovable once the LHC gets up to full power, which is very exciting) is that we know natural forces exist. We have evidence of their existence and understand how they work, to a degree. We don't have any empirical evidence of a supernatural being, and Occam's Razor dictates that we not add in complicating factors which are not required to solve the problem.

Once evidence of a deity is available, then it can be postulated that it had a hand in things. Until then, there's no point to it, any more than there is a point to my proposed space duck.

(As you might have guessed, science and religion's attempts to combat, undermine, and destroy it is one of my hot buttons. :) )
Dave...humor me for a second. I know you don't believe there is evidence of a deity. But, if there WAS evidence for a deity...what would that evidence have to look like for you to consider it believable?

If you were God, how would you prove your existence to your creation?
He could simply show himself!
How about this. How would you prove your existence to me? How would you prove your existence to your children? Aside from the fact that children know they must have a biological father, how would you prove you were their father? This line of questioning could go in several directions, but what I'd really like to know is: how would you convince people that you exist?
Sorry for the delay, I was out of town at my brother's wedding and had minimal net access.

This is actually a subject which has come up many times, and I've come up with several possible things which, for me, would be sufficient evidence for me to consider the existence of a deity to be a viable possibility.

First, and least significant overall, would be what Doug suggested - a personal meeting with the deity in question. Knowing how the mind can play tricks on itself and misinterpret things it would take a lot more than just 'Hi! I'm here, so believe now!'. I'd want to spend a good amount of time with the purported deity is question, asking questions, verifying the answers, and otherwise checking the evidence of my senses with the real world. An omniscient god ought to be able to provide information that humanity hasn't discovered yet (the nature of dark energy, Pi to a trillion digits, why the Voyager probes are slightly off course, the locations of any still-extant-but-undiscovered ancient texts, How many coins I have in my pockets along with their denominations and years, etc).

However, while a personal experience might suffice for an individual, it would be completely inadequate in providing evidence for anyone else. Personal experience is just that, personal. That is why I list it as being the least significant.

One a more global level, there are several ways that the existence of a deity can be supported by verifiable evidence.

Here's one that I came up with a while back. Upon reaching the age of reason, every single person receives a mental communique from God. God basically introduces him/her/itself, answers questions, and otherwise makes themselves known to the youngster newly arrived at the age of reason, allowing the individual to make an informed decision on whether or not to worship said deity. And to ensure that no one is cheated of their chance to make said informed decision, no one dies before they have the conversation. Fire, falls, flood, violence, disease, until someone has their talk, they are unkillable.

Since the conversations would occur across all cultures, and the answers to questions would be consistent (unless God is deliberately lying to/deceiving people and for this thought experiment I am assuming an honest deity) this would provide a strong significance towards the deity's existence, supported further by the switch in mortality upon having that conversation.

Admittedly, there could be other possibilities (everyone's talking with a supercomputer buried under the Moon's surface, we're all in a computer simulation and the conversation is basically the end of the tutorial, etc), but for me it would be enough to consider the possibility of a deity.

Another, which has been suggested elsewhere, only applies to a deity which interferes in the world on behalf of its adherents, either on its own volition or in response to prayer. (So, a deistic or hands-off god couldn't be tested by this premise.) If there is a deity, and this deity responds to the supplications of its worshipers or otherwise blesses them, this should be detectable. If careful studies showed that the followers of a specific deity generally had better lives, got sick significantly less, were victims of fewer crimes, and so forth, while worshipers of other deities did not enjoy such fortune while having the same base situation (similar jobs, skills, locale, etc) that would be of significant interest. This can work within sects of a religion as well. If the Catholics are immune to disease while the Baptists get sick like anyone else, clearly something is going on.

Then there's the method proposed by the Why Won't God Heal Amputees? website. If an amputee's limb grew back any time they prayed for it, that'd be significant. Even more so if it only occurred when praying to a specific deity.

That's the thing about skeptics (and many atheists). If you ask us 'What would it take to convince you that you are wrong?', usually we can give you an answer. Or several answers. Far too often when conversing with theists, when asking what it would take to get them to think that they may be wrong about their god existing, their response is that nothing could ever change their mind. Being unable to consider that one might be wrong is the surest sign of a closed mind.
As doone and Dave G have pointed out, scientists are actively working on finding out more and more, and are making progress, but even if that wasn't so, the fact that we don't know what happened in the first millionths of a second of the universe's lifetime is only good for an argument for a deist god.Christians, as well as all other theists, make the mistake of thinking that if there is a chance that some kind of inteligent outer influence took part in the beginning of the universe, that it means this intelligence cares about people, answers prayers, performs miracles, etc., for which there is no evidence what so ever.
It's like if you and a friend find that someone has shat on your front lawn, and you say that it was probably a dog, but it could have been some other animal, and your friend immediatelly jumps to the conlusion that it was a manticore. And then claims that his idea is as good as your's, because you can't prove that it is dog shit. Of course, in this theoretical scenario, you could have an expert examine the shit and conclude with probably a near 100% certainty that it was, in fact, a dog. Going back to the universe, it's just like this shit, we just don't yet have the lab equipment to determine how it got on our damn lawns.
You use that wonderful phase "going to hell". I would like someone to scare me with the "your going to hell", bit. I've been an atheist for 50 years. I will join you in whatever religion your want if you can just scare me. I've had ministers tell me things about hell you couldn't print on this page. Tell me something so horrendous about hell that I'll jump on the bandwagon to heaven.

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Posted by ɐuɐz ǝllǝıuɐp on July 28, 2014 at 10:27pm 4 Comments

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