Christianity

The Wrap Up – Part 2

My last post was five months ago.  You know, the one that I called “Part 1” and promised a “Part 2” follow-up post?

So, Seth, what gives?

Well… ever feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew?  Or that you have so much to say about something, but don’t want to publish a novel on your blog since no one would probably read it?  Yeah, I know the feeling.

So, check this out:  I make a promise to my readers to compile and discuss (in a single post, mind you) all the evidences that I believe exist for the Christian faith.  Yeah yeah, I hear you skeptics chuckling out there — I can hear you thinking, “Well, that should be a short article!”  Go ahead, have your moment… I’ll give you a minute or two to enjoy your cleverness…. (more…)

What Has Convinced Me?

One of my favorite people with whom to discuss, hero4thought, recently asked me a question:

What are two or three top factors in your mind that convince you that a God in fact exists?

It’s such a great question that I wanted to expand my answer into a separate post.  As always, comments and thoughts are welcome 🙂 As I said in my original response, I’ll arrange these talking points in a somewhat logical order, rather than anything reflecting any chronology of my particular faith journey. (more…)

A Christian’s (Biased) Response to an Atheist’s Examination

The article I’m referring to is this one, which (by the author’s own immediate admission) is a lengthy one.  However, I like the style of this new blogger, and I admire the caliber and volume of his material — and I thought his comprehensive evaluation of the historical basis for the Christian faith warranted not only a full reading (a task in and of itself), but also a full response.  I hope the author perceives this response to his thoughts in the manner in which they were intended: as a show of respect for his ideas and efforts.  I look forward to continuing to read his thoughts in the future.

I will be intentionally brief in both my summaries of his arguments (though I will quote him directly where possible) and in my responses to them; I will forgo, for the moment, my normal preference to back up every one of my claims with reasoning and evidence, for the sake of brevity.  Questions and requests for clarification can take place in the comments.

Also, I usually like to be a bit more personal when responding to others’ thoughts — the focus of this blog is to emphasize people and relationships before ideas, for the former IMO are what are really important (and often lacking in such discussions of this kind, especially online).  However, this particular post will be a bit more formal, which is weird for me — but since this writer and I have yet to have had any kind of personal exchange, I think it would be more weird to employ my normal, colloquial style with him.  Who knows, he might be offended at my familiarity when we’ve never, really, had words with each other before.  So, because it feels so strange for me to address just the ideas without addressing the person behind it, I feel I need to offer this reasoning as way of a disclaimer as to why my style in this post is so distant and impersonal.  I mean no offense to the writer whose ideas I am countering — in fact, I mean the opposite.

Anyway, too much ado already!  Let’s get started 🙂 (more…)

My imaginary friend revisited

I just wrapped up my long discussion with tildeb, which I genuinely enjoyed but felt it was time to throw in the towel — I felt we just could not take the discussion to the next level.  What I gained from his comments, in an extremely tight nutshell, is that I ought to abandon my Christian worldview because it is based largely upon subjective experience, and thus is just as reliable as delusion or fantasy.  In other words, God is my imaginary friend — or, at least, I have no way of determining whether He’s real or not, so I should favor the delusion hypothesis a priori based solely on the subjective nature of my methodology.

Now, I’ve spoken of the imaginary friend hypothesis before, and I would encourage my readers to give it another look (frankly, I was expecting it to garner more response when I wrote it, but such is life in the blogosphere I suppose).  Today, I would like to springboard off my points from this previous post and ask my readers (mainly those from the naturalism/materialism camp): What compelling reasons are there that I should regard my experience with God, in particular, as delusional?  I mean, sure, I’ll grant you the possibility that God does not exist, that subsequently my experiences of Him have been mostly fabrications of my mind — but what is there beyond mere possibility that this is the case that ought to compel me to accept this as the most likely situation? (more…)

Can anyone prove there is a God?

An excellent post by The Isaiah 53:5 Project that echoes my conversion experience almost perfectly. Well said, friend!

The Isaiah 53:5 Project

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Is There a God?

I was an atheist at one time. And like many atheists, the issue of people believing in God bothered me greatly. What is it about atheists that we would spend so much time, attention, and energy refuting something that we don’t believe even exists? What causes us to do that?

When I was an atheist, I attributed my intentions as caring for those poor, delusional people…to help them realize their hope was completely ill-founded. To be honest, I also had another motive. As I challenged those who believed in God, I was deeply curious to see if they could convince me otherwise. Part of my quest was to become free from the question of God. If I could conclusively prove to believers that they were wrong, then the issue is off the table, and I would be free to go about my life.

I didn’t realize…

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I hope I’m wrong

Before typing a single word of this post, I knew it was going to be a raw one.

I hope my readers don’t mind a little personal transparency — but even if some of them did, it would probably go to show that this may not be the place for them anyway.  I set out on this blogging endeavor hoping to foster a community of individuals who could handle honest, forthright theological discussion without feeling the need to score rhetorical points or use manipulative debate tactics to twist the truth or evade it completely — where people can be open about their own doubts and questions, can admit that they don’t have all the answers without fear of losing the respect of others, can have at least one place in this online world where people are more important than ideas, and ideas are more important than winning.  So, bound up in that vision is this concept of being real — and part of being real is being willing to share at least one real part of you, unadulterated, without makeup, warts and all.  And since I got us into this mess, I suppose I should lead by example.

So here’s my confession, and I imagine it has the potential to alienate people on both sides of the God issue: I hope I’m wrong about God. (more…)

I believe because I WANT to believe

It’s a common story:

I’m having a stimulating discussion with someone who happens not to share my faith in Christ — perhaps the discussion started by my commenting on their blog, or vice-versa.  We’re in the thick of it, and things are just starting to really get good — ideas are flying, experiences and perspectives are being shared, a grand time is being had by all.  And then, it happens: I find myself the unwitting victim of psychoanalysis.

I never made an appointment, I never laid myself down on the leather couch, I certainly never remitted a copay for the visit — and yet, the shift in the situation is explicit, palpable, and undeniable: I am no longer an equal contributor in a horizontal conversation.  I have become, rather, a patient in desperate need of psychological diagnosis — or so I am, in more or less words, made to understand.

I find myself being told why I am a Christian.  And it’s invariably because I want Christianity to be true. (more…)