Reality Check: What Must Be the Case if Christianity is True?

26) That although it's claimed God got the attention of Abraham, Moses, the Pharaoh, Gideon, Mary, Joseph, and Saul (who became Paul) and that he knows how to get the attention of anyone and everyone, there is no objective evidence he's trying to get the attention of the billions of people who don't believe. In fact, Christians are much more concerned than God is that non-believers are converted. Just compare the lengths to which Christians will go in order to convert non-believers, with a God who has the means to convert everyone and yet does nothing to help them do this. If you say God is helping to convert non-believers then tell us how to objectively know God is actually doing this.

11 comments:

mindyourmind said...

Another inextractable nail.

John, I may have asked about this in the past, but I hope to see this series expanded into a book.

We tend to always deal with Christianity on its own terms, but when you logically apply to reality that which they ask you to accept the picture is not that pretty for Christianity - as this series is showing.

My one old prof always told us "It's good to have your own argument, but if you can defeat the other side with their own argument you are really winning."

Kev said...

John, I would like to counter your post on behalf of most of the Christians I know:
God actually isn't trying to reach everyone. He has predetermined who will go to heaven and who will not for some absolutely crazy reason. This makes him look like the most morally repulsive being imaginable, but he actually isn’t. We humans have corrupted reason, so we just have to trust God. All you have to do is assume God is good, and it follows that he must have a reason. That’s a pretty deep insight, so you might want to let it sit in.
I should also note that when God does reach out to people, he does so in ways that make it impossible to observe. For example, when someone converts you can trace it to their upbringing, social movements, personality type, certain events in their life, etc. but really it is the Holy Spirit doing the work. There is also the geographical distribution of different faiths throughout the globe (ie: more Muslims in the Middle East, more Christians in Latin America). This appears to have natural causes, but the real explanation is God’s mysterious ways.
So really it is your philosophical close-mindedness that makes you think God doesn’t reach out to people anymore. You assume God isn’t hiding for unimaginable, mysterious reasons, even though technically it’s a possibility.

GearHedEd said...

Or that God doesn't exist, which is FAR simpler and doesn't rely on an appeal to "mystery" for explanation.

Paul Rinzler said...

Kev, you just wrote that God's reason [for predetermining who will go to heaven] is "absolutely crazy."

I completely agree with you.

Hendy said...

I LOVE this one. I have struggled with this myself. I am in an active Christian men's group despite my continued doubting of Christianity for the last 6mos and came to group one day with a proposition: everyone should just blame Jesus for all of this.

They were a bit surprised, but I really think it's true. Every human is unique and only god, if he exists, knows them better than they know themselves. Therefore only god knows my threshold of belief and has not given me enough to cross it.

My best prayer to pray during these times is simply, 'Jesus, give me something I can't deny.' That's all it would take. I'd much rather believe based on facts and evidence, but if it honestly came down to it, I would believe based on something miraculous like the regrowing of an amputated limb or something else I just couldn't possibly deny, especially something witnessed by others as confirmation.

This really is a frustrating aspect. I didn't really ask for doubt... I just started seeking answers and found natural ones far superior to my former faith. How is this my fault?

It's especially ironic that Christians constantly tout that 'faith is a gift.' I can't demand it or do anything to earn it then, right? So Ken is exactly right: god has simply decided from the beginning who will receive it and who won't.

Lastly, it's even more ironic that on one hand I'm being told by fellow believers that I can't prove Christianity and need to have 'faith seeking understanding' but on the other hand when I voice objections I'm told that I need to read and study more, don't have all the right evidence, need to talk to this theological guru they know, etc.

Which is it,then? Do I need to know more or less? Do I think too much or not enough?

You can't win. This is the true prison of religion. Each of them has built in a device which prevents there ever being a rational rejection. There are a thousand fall backs: lack of an open mind/heart, bitterness, being burned by a church representative, ignorance of the facts, etc. Unfortunately, this keeps the world divided, which is also ironic since every religion hopes everyone becomes members of their religion but none actually encourage exploration.

Papalinton said...

Hi Kev

You say, .."God actually isn't trying to reach everyone. He has predetermined who will go to heaven and who will not for some absolutely crazy reason."

I say: If it's all been pre-determined why go through life with all the total crap? That's the absolutely crazy aspect of faitheists. Why go through all the pretense throughout your whole life, knowing full well that your fate has been pre-determined. Your response tells me you have absolutely no clue or any evidence for the veracity of the supernatural. The story simply does not add up. In fact that is all it is; a story.

Cheers

Kev said...

@Hendy I really liked your response. You sound like you are going through what I was going through a year ago. So do you still consider your self a Christian, but just one with doubts? I don't know how closely you have been following Loftus, but have you taken the Outsider test for faith?

@Papalinton No, it certainly does not add up, not one bit :)

Wesley said...

Hendy, keep asking questions based in logic and reality. If you value intellectual integrity over the warmth and comfort of church life (and sometimes that is a hard choice to make), then you will probably join the rest of us who could not support the shaky edifice of christian faith ruling our lives - let me paraphrase Jesus, when he said "like a house built on the sand...".

I think this is one of the weaker "What Must Be The Case..." entries. Christians will respond that the whole point is that god gave his followers the responsibility to win others, probably as a test to see how they would obey Jesus's command, "Go ye into all the world...". God didn't want to make being a christian too easy now, did he?

Hendy said...

@Kev:

I would consider myself an agnostic/atheist who wants to continue reading to 1) be confident enough to walk away from his former faith and 2) not have believers try to accuse him of not searching or trying hard enough.

Essentially my belief is gone. Funny enough, when I started to doubt 6 months ago, the best way that occurred to me to test Christianity was to assume it was false and try to prove it to myself. This was before I even heard of John or DC! My nature is that of a researcher. I'm an ENTP (with leanings toward I) and I attack/devour information when I need to make a decision. Buying a house, best digital camera for the money, buying a car, van, guitar, to vaccinate our child or not, whether homeopathy is for real, snopes checks on emails constantly... Stuff like that.

My nature is such that I don't believe based on credentials but on track record. I have suspended belief in personal preference and trust in brands when buying things and so a similar principle was at work with my doubts. I thought that suspending preference toward Christianity and attacking the information would be the most reliable and objective way to see if it was true.

Some think this was wrong and I have been told by a close believing friend that him finding out I did that without me talking about it in our men's group was like finding out I had an argument with my wife and then coming back a month later to say we were divorced. I thought it was slightly different than that... I actually had quite a bit of faith in god when making this decision as I recall wondering 1) how he could be mad at me for seeking the truth and 2) how I could wind up anywhere by back to him given that he is the author of all truth.

Six months later I'm lacking any intellectual reasons for belief but want to read the necessary apologetics to do my due diligence just to be sure. It's definitely difficult in limbo land, though. I lack any belief but emotionally find it hard to 'make the call' until I'm sure. I set Christmas as my deadline. If I don't find anything convincing enough or god doesn't respond to my prayer to simply 'give me something I can't deny' (that's all it would take), then I am walking away.

Emory said...

@Hendy: We are in a similar position except my decision is already final...no xmas deadline involved. For me the decision was simple once I read the Bible. It is so ironic that we had a theme at church 3 years ago: "If you want to get to heaven, read the Bible in 2007". Well, it backfired on them. There were many deal breakers, but here is one particular example. It is quite clear and evident that people are born with distinct sexual preference. Now, how is it the fault of that person if they "sin" and therefore go to hell? It took me a while to break free of the mental bonds of eternal fire in hell, but now that I have I feel so much better. Well, it will be better if I can ever get thru to my family that religion is just a delusion. Right now I have to hear my 6 year old girls (twins) say that they're smarter than me (because they've been taught that only a fool says there is no god!). I'll get thru to them eventually I hope.

Hendy said...

@Emory:

I can relate to that. My wife is a believer and I have a 2 yr. old and on the way. I'm not sure how to move forward. I am sensitive to wanting to create a loving and calm environment for my children but also want them to be critical thinkers and not believers just because they were raised believing something. My wife obviously wants to raise them as Christians. I would almost just go along with it except for fear that at later ages they won't actually be able to separate themselves from it enough to see if they really believe it.