I sometimes speak of this Christian society I used to go to. The post I spoke about it the most recently is this one. If you have time, look at it first. But it’s not vital for this post.

So earlier this a year a friend of mine in my politics class read an allegory by Friedrich Nietzsche. He did this as part of a philosophy assignment he had. This allegory really bothered him. It is about men having killed God. Look it up.

For a few days I could see him really wrestle with his own soul as he was in the difficult position of having to give up a belief in God. He was never a “born again” Christian, but he nonetheless went to a superficial church and believed in God.

I can only imagine what that must feel like. To accept the supposed reality that you are all that you are. And the impact this must have on a believing family. The emotional turmoil. I had a deep sense of empathy for him.

While he was in the process of doubt we spoke about God and the Bible and I gave him a few videos to watch, mostly testimonies and a debate or two. Recently I also lend him a book.

But all of this is very shallow. I cannot just lent him a book or tell him to watch a few videos and expect him to become a Christian. No. If I honestly want to help, I should take in interest in him and in his interests. So I started watching debates by Christopher Hitchens and I’m busy with one by Sam Harris. All of this, the videos I recommended and those of Hitchens and Harris are more philosophical and ethical.

But this week I was wondering what exactly caused him to lose his faith. I was under the impression that it was philosophy, hence I watched these videos and read C. S. Lewis and Chesterton and was planning on reading Beyond Good and Evil by Nietzsche.

Then yesterday happened.

After class as we walked to his car, he talked about evolution. About how a lot disciplines draw from it and that those disciplines in themselves prove it. He also talked about how it allows biologists to make predictions and progress – for instance in vaccines – by using evolution as their lens. He said a lot more than this. We talked for probably half an hour, but most of it was me listening to him.

I did not have any answers for two reasons. Firstly, a few years ago I shut down my interest in the creation/evolution debate. Back then it seemed like a bunch of highly intelligent people with doctors’ degrees disagreeing, both highly educated Christians and atheists. What sense do I have to think that I can discover the truth for myself when these highly educated people cannot even agree? Also, I saw this debate as incredibly diverse: I would have to be an expert on biology and astronomy and physics and religion and geology and and and. Otherwise if I am only an expert on one,  I would have to believe those who are experts on the other topics. While I’m writing this I realise this to still be a valid point. Even evolutionists still have to take the words of their comrades on faith.

Secondly, I thought he was doubting God for philosophical or ethical reasons. Although he did mention evolution before, I did not suspect it to be the main factor. I did not expect someone studying politics and having philosophy as an additional module would be convinced of atheism by biology, a subject not at all in the humanities. He did research it, but still as I’m writing this I can’t help but doubt the seriousness of his self-study. But what the hell, he looked seriously at evolution and I have not yet. So I’ll give him that.

So I was rather pathetic in my questions. Only later on did I think of one or two things which I should have said. But hindsight is an exact science.

What worsened all of this was my own doubts about the earth being young. You see, a few years back Kent Hovind and his videos made an immense influence on me. Knowledge of his videos are perfect for the discussion on evolution, and I’ve watched them countless times. What held me back was the age of the videos, being more than a decade old. I hoped that Kent Hovind would catch up with the last ten years of research and make new videos, but it doesn’t seem as though he does. Because of this I was beginning to doubt the narrative of a young age. And I know that to accept and old earth is to invite a lot of problems.

Thus, when this friend of mine mentioned biology and the age of the earth and how Christians reinterpreting a six-day creation are compromising, I had to agree. There is to be no compromise. My own doubts prevented me from defending the young earth theory.

All in all I guess to him I seemed clueless, with good reason.

As I was walking to my flat shaken with this defeat I passed by the church where this previous Christian society of mine gathers at certain times. I left it a few months ago for other reasons which I think I explained in the post I referenced in the beginning of this one. If I didn’t, I’ll explain it in another post.

As I walked by I had a flashback of two events concerning this fellowship. The first time I went there I met a lot of new people. On that day I mentioned Kent Hovind’s videos to one of them. That guy brushed Hovind off as a “doing christian”. You know, a kind of Christian who actually DOES something. They think he believes in some kind of works salvation which is absolutely not true. It was the way he simply brushed off this whole young earth thing which bothered me.

A few months later I was talking to one of the friends I made in this fellowship but has since gone to another campus. When I talked about how amazing it is that God can be proved in science, philosophy, theology, history and a lot of other topics – in other words, that one does not have to have blind faith – he told me of a time when he was arguing with a nonbeliever who kept asking for proof of God’s existence. This friend of mine simply kept telling the man that he has to accept Christ. My friend, and this whole fellowship, sees philosophy and all the different kinds of debates on Christianity, as mere distractions from Christ himself. I consider this extremely narrow.

When I passed the church I thought by myself: If this christian-turned atheist friend of mine were to go to this fellowship in seek of answers, they would have given him nothing. They would have had no answers and they would have strengthened his belief that Christianity is rationally indefensible. Their narrowness and blindness would not have saved the soul of my friend.

So as I passed by that church I paused and looked at it. With a very strong anger I said in a rather too loud voice, “Damn you”.

 

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9 thoughts on “Blind Christians and Saving an Atheist

  1. The issue with the evolutionary debate is that Creationists will often employ a fallacy in which both sides of an argument are to be seen as equal, similar to the issue with climate change debates. Yes, scientists on both sides of the issue have posited different positions, but the overwhelming scientific consensus is that evolution is the basis for our biological development. Creationist arguments will try and poke holes at one transitional fossil or some timeline that’s been put forward, but it’s always in order to preserve the validity of the Bible. And these creationists are always religious. Show me a handful of atheists who believe in the tenets of biological creationism, and you may be onto some unbiased science.

    As an atheist, I think it’s great that your friend found a text that made him question his beliefs. The “God is dead” theory is a powerful one that has converted a lot of people. And I think the issue with trying to refer the conversation back to Jesus or the Bible is that atheists just aren’t convinced in the first place with the validity of those things. You DO need facts, not philosophy. And even from a philosophy standpoint, I personally don’t see the existence of a god and many atheists don’t. I think your friend needs evidence that just isn’t possible to come up with, and that’s a good thing.

    Thanks for your time, and I’d love to discuss further if you wish. Have a good day! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That fallacy of making both sides appear equal is the very reason I did not mention famous creationists – because I myself was (am?) having doubts about them. I did or do not consider them equal, especially after the amount of reasons he gave me combined with my own doubts. Nonetheless, if he really wants to make sure he has to look into it.

      On philosophy I’d say there is an even stronger disagreement on God’s (non-) existence. In this case I’d say there is an equal validity to both, if not more in favour of theism. The philosophical debate for his existence is long from settled.

      About referring things back to Jesus, I totally get your point. The Bible itself cannot usually be a reason for it’s validity. I think the only way it can be proof of itself is through prophecy. That’s why I don’t, like others, quote Bible verses in atheist’s faces if their question is about the validity of the Bible. Though like I said, prophecy is perhaps another matter.

      Yes, we do need facts. But you can arrive at facts with philosophy (think of Descartes) so I do not think the two mutually exclusive.

      Thanks for the comment though. I like to have these kinds of discussions.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yikes that was not the ending I expected. I read the prior post and there did not seem to be anything in it to say that they are not Christians or are heretical. We are all at different places on the sanctification road and have different roles in th e Body of Christ – apologetics may be a weakness with them. Why the anger? Do they preach the Gospel?

    As for friend, There is a ton of information out there on the illogic of evolution and the science supporting evolution, Ken Ham, Institute for Creatoon Research and others and 10 years on the issue of creation is not a long time. I find though that the issue usually is at heart Jesus, if you properly understand Jesus as God and creator then the other questions become less difficult.

    I had a friend who was hung up on the sun standing still with Joshua in the OT. Yes he was arguing science and I argued right back but the core of his problem was he simply did not believe in all powerful God. It seems like Your friend was likely to get tripped up by any number of things if he was not making faith his own.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right. Even as I said those words I realised I was being harsh.

      I guess I wanted to be angry at something.

      I do believe they are saved and are truly Christians. But I still think that their approach (or lack thereof) to any intellectual discussion on the truth of Christianity is narrow.

      Nonetheless I confess it was harsh. Afterwards I thought the word “damn” to be particularly… unfitting.

      I have heard of Ken Ham and ICR and all those, but I never bothered much about them. Like I said, I closed off the whole evolution/creation debate. I can’t just tell my friend “Hey, go look at those guys” if I am myself ignorant of what they believe and how good they are. This in essence was my whole problem: I cannot convince him of something I myself know little about.

      So I am now at a bit of a cross-road: either I throw myself into the whole debate again, or I do something radically different: I could study the proof of Christ’s resurrection. The proof thereof is what turned David Wood to Christ. I asked him today for where I could get started on that topic, and he recommended a book to me.

      My point is, either I sort of attack the whole creation/evolution thing from the inside by studying it all, or I can FIRST study the proof of the resurrection. If I can proof conclusively that Christ lived, died, resurrected and claimed to be God, then everything else will either be irrelevant or fall into place.

      Anyway, thanks for the comment. I almost never get comments. I was angry and I do regret it to an extent. While I wrote this article I already regretted it, but I still posted the story because this whole incident with my friend and my anger afterwards is something I want to remember.

      Thanks and God bless.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just want to add something else. I like to have a bit of knowledge about every Christian/non-Christian debate. Therefore if I do not have answers, I at least (usually) know who to refer a person to.

        For instance: philosophy -> David Wood/William Lane Graig, Islam -> David Wood/Nabeel Qureshi. My reference for evolution had always been -> Kent Hovind/Ken Ham, but because of my own doubts about those two (both their personal states and their beliefs), especially about Dr. Hovind, I thought it would be wrong to refer him to them. I can’t sell a product I don’t believe in.

        But in hindsight I think at least I should have mentioned them. I should at least have said, “Hey, I don’t have the answers, but I believe Ken Ham and ICR has.”

        Like I said in the post, hindsight is an exact science.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ok gotcha and I have been there so I certainly get it. It took a long time after I left a prior church for me to stop being mad and appreciate them for what they are – somewhat squishy doctrinally but still brothers preaching the Gospel.

        I think your idea is a good one – if your friend is truly seeking answers you can just ask – do you really want to examine the issue of creation? If the answer is yes the you can offer resources or offer to look at it with him.

        Ultimately though it is the Holy Spitit that your friend will have to wrestle things out with no matter how good our witness is so you can rest in that. Many walked away from Paul or Billy Graham or even Jesus. It is between them and God.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m writing this as an update to. I’ve just found out a hell of a lot more about this “society” and their borderline heretical, cult-like views. This forum is filled with testimonies of people who left that… thing. One of the testimonies are mine, but I’d rather not say who.

      (If I do, then a search engine will make connections between this blog and my profile on the site. I’m tired of people being able to “google” me. This blog is meant to be unconnected with any part of my online presence)

      http://localchurchdiscussions.com/vBulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=9

      God bless!

      Like

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