Friday, November 21, 2008

Conversation with an Atheist..."it leaves the feeling that God could be a bit sadistic."

A comment was made by an atheist on the article I wrote early this week in regards to a question sent to me from a teenage Christian. He made some good points and I think there is some valuable dialogue we can have. That being said this is the comment made on the blog post "How can there be a loving God when there are 33 million people in Africa with HIV?"

"You seem to imply that the Africans with HIV lack faith in some way, or they are being punished for completely unrelated people lacking faith. Either way, it leaves the feeling that God could be a bit sadistic.

On the topic of that video, I have heard that story a bazillion times, but never actually seen a citation saying who this professor is. It also implies that atheists are horrible oppressive people designed to turn Christians into more of these horrible evil Atheist monstrosities. As an Atheist, I always find this incredibly offensive just as a Jew would find being accused of having gold, a Christian of hating Jews, books, and free thinking, or a Muslim being accused of being a terrorist.
The entire video implies that there is only one path, as if there is what about the numerous chains of Christianity, are some left out? Or what about the Jews and Muslims, they still believe in the same God. Or what about the Buddhists, they only try to help people and seek inner peace by doing good deeds. I may not believe in heaven, but if there is a big club in the sky for those who are good, shouldn't it be open to everyone who has helped one another?" -Kaiserbill

He responded three arguments to which I would like to engage in dialogue on each one in consecutive posts. Before I start I want to say that I have a lot of respect for Atheist’s. They are generally very well thought out and well educated and I appreciate that. My intention is not to engage in a competitive argument but in healthy conversation.

1. The Bible clearly states that our faith, as Christians, will be tested by hardship. And the result of this testing produces amazing things: maturity, endurance, strength, compassion and hope to name a few. Romans 8:28, Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-3, 1 Peter 1, etc. As I addressed in the previous post man brought sin into the world which caused this world to be "broken", but God uses all things to work together for good for those who love Him.

Rather than implying that Christians in Africa with HIV lack faith, I would say exactly the opposite. Men, women and children of faith, when faced with dire circumstances come face to face with death, while those of us living in prosperity often fail to contemplate the timeless question, "What happens when I die?" In these circumstances our faith is tested and men react in two ways. Either they reject God or their faith in Him grows infinitely stronger.

I happen to be very close with a man who was supposed to die of cancer. He came face to face with death and he had to weigh whether Jesus truly is the way. In this moment his faith was put to the test. Despite the doctor’s predictions of death, he beat the cancer and is alive to this day. The hardship of this disease became a turning point in his life and his faith in Jesus. God used leukemia to perfect his faith. As a result his love, faith and relationship with Jesus are many times greater because of this awful disease.

Secondly, Kaiserbill said, "or they are being punished for completely unrelated people lacking faith".
Romans 3:23 says, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" and Romans 6:23 says, "for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Every man is guilty because of the sin in our lives and God is just, the price for sin is death...BUT, the FREE GIFT of eternal life is Jesus Christ. This gift is offered to everyone.

John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

I pray that this helps Kaiserbill understand our faith a little bit more. I am eager to understand his thought process better myself.

More conversation to come...

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