Thinking Out Loud

July 12, 2012

To My Skeptic Friend

Filed under: Religion — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:38 am

Dear __________,

Here’s an idea.

There’s nothing I can say or do today that will convince you that God exists, that the Bible can be trusted, or that Jesus has a legitimate claim to be God. But humor me for a moment.

All I’m asking today is that you begin with a God-exists hypothesis. Not the Bible. Not Jesus. Just that there is a God, in the more or less traditional way that’s understood.

Now then, ask all your questions, and frame your answers along the lines of the hypothesis. In other words, “Why is there so much evil and suffering in the world?” becomes, “If there is a God, why does he permit so much evil and suffering in the world?”

And so on.

What possible answers might you come up with to your various questions? Maybe some fairly crazy ones!

I’m not saying assume anything or commit to anything. I’m just saying take your toughest questions, your philosophical questions, your metaphysical questions, your ethical questions; and instead of framing them within a vacuum, frame them within the hypothesis.

Oh yeah, one more thing: For 48 hours. Do this for a couple of days, not a couple of minutes.

You might even want to say this — don’t think of it as a prayer, but more as a role play to get you in the right head space — “God, I don’t believe you exist, but for the next couple of days, I want to see how the world adds up if I were to believe you’re really out there.”

Think of this ‘let’s pretend’ game as meeting me halfway.


August 6, 2009

The Problem With Atheists: They Don’t Go To Our Church

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:49 am

I’ve written about Nate Phelps before.  The son of radical conservative Evangelical Fred Phelps has embraced atheism.   You can hardly blame him.   Every once in awhile I visit his blog.   I’ve tried to leave comments, but the thing glitches when I try to enter the word verification.   I was greatly puzzled recently by an entry where he reported that someone accused him of being anti-Calvinist.  Seriously!   Apparently, this is the problem with atheists, they’re anti-Calvinist.  Has it come to this?   Has militant Calvinism reached the point where atheists are attacked not on the basis of any rejection of God, Jesus, Creation, The Bible, The Cross, etc.; but because they have rejected predestination and limited atonement?   This is beyond redemption.    It’s like a Catholic telling an atheist that he or she is in error because he/she has rejected the Pope.   Or a Baptist telling an atheist that they are missing out because they haven’t been baptized by immersion.   Or a Pentecostal telling an atheist that their beliefs are wrong because they haven’t spoken in tongues.   Talk about mixed up priorities.

A is for Atheist and apparell
The picture features an advertisement for “Scarlet Letter A” t-shirts promoting atheism.  If you’re wondering where they got the idea to wear their beliefs on their clothing; you’re probably not too far wrong if you believe that Atheists borrowed the concept from Evangelicals.  How long before Atheists start buying television time for their own talk shows? What goes around…

When Atheism Becomes ReligionSuggested Reading:  Why I Am A Calminian by Craig Blomberg on Koinonia Blog
Book Recommendation:  When Atheism Becomes Religion by Chris Hedges (Free Press, 2009)

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