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I’m a Herald, not a Negotiator

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Since I am getting a fair number of atheists and materialists to this blog as of late, I thought this article, written by my friend Tony Miano from his blog The Lawman Chronicles, will answer the myriad questions that are posed by them about what I believe and why I believe it.

But I’m almost positive that I’ve opened a whole new can of worms.

I’m a Herald, not a Negotiator

by Tony Miano

God exists. I know that God exists. How do I know? He has revealed Himself to me by the power of His Holy Spirit, and through the sacrificial death and glorious resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. He has caused me to be born again, resulting in my repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has given me spiritual eyes to see, the desire to know Him and obey Him, and the ability (although I still have much to learn) to understand His Word.

Whether you or I believe God exists is utterly irrelevant. One’s belief in God has no impact, positive or negative, on the existence of God. God is God. He always has been. He always will be.

I’m a herald, not a negotiator.

The Bible is true. How do I know?

God has declared in the Bible that the Bible is true; therefore it is true. I know that God’s Word is inspired and perfect because God has told me in His Word that it is inspired and perfect. The Bible is not true because I believe it. The Bible is true because it is true. And the truth has set me free.

God has declared in His Word that the fool has said in his heart that there is no God (Psalm 53:1-3). Therefore, it is foolish and illogical to deny God’s existence.

God has declared in His Word that what can be known about Him is plain to every person, because God has shown it to them (Romans 1:19). Therefore, it is foolish and illogical to deny God’s existence.

God has declared in His Word that those who deny His existence and refuse to worship Him do so not because of their superior intellect and common sense, but because they love their sin and suppress the truth about God in their unrighteousness. (Romans 1:18, 20-22). Therefore, it is foolish and illogical to deny God’s existence.

These statements regarding God and the Bible are commonly referred to as logical fallacies, of the type most often categorized as a “Circular Argument” or “Begging the Question.”

My response: I don’t care.

I’m a herald, not a negotiator.

Yes, these statements regarding the existence of God, my relationship with Him, and the authenticity, veracity, inerrancy, infallibility, and inspiration of the Bible are illogical; but only to the lost. They are fallacious; but only to the lost. The only truly faulty logic is to deny the existence of God and to refuse to submit to His authority.

A herald is a messenger who proclaims important news; one that gives a sign or indication of something to come; a harbinger. A herald is one who announces the coming or arrival of a king. A herald communicates the messages of his king, from one kingdom to another. A herald’s loyalty is to his king. A herald announces. He doesn’t negotiate.

Yes, within the king’s court there are negotiators, liaisons, solicitors, scholars, and diplomats–each having a legitimate role to play. I’m just not one of them. I’m a herald.

So, to the unbeliever–whether you call yourself an atheist, an agnostic, or an intellectual: I’m not interested in debates. I don’t care what arguments you have against the existence of God and the authority of His Christ. They mean nothing to me.

Why would I entertain such false notions that run contrary to the infallible and inerrant Word of God? Why would I continue to rummage through the wasteland of secular humanism and godless religions and faux spirituality, looking for something that is not there–something that can only be found in God through Jesus Christ? I have found the truth and the truth has set me free.

I’m a herald, not a negotiator.

I am singular in my focus. My motivation is simple. I want to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. What drives me is love for my King. I want to know Him more. I want to obey Him more. I want to represent Him more.

And I want to love my neighbor as myself, in obedience to my King.

Loving my neighbor is not coddling their unbelief.

Loving my neighbor is not ignoring or applauding their sin.

Loving my neighbor is not treating their doubts about my Lord Jesus Christ as if doubt is some sort of holy right, when it’s nothing more than an unholy sin.

Loving my neighbor is not being afraid to tell them they are wrong when they are wrong.

Loving my neighbor is a willingness to sacrifice a friendship for the soul of my friend.

My God has taught me through His Word to love all people, even my enemies. And the most loving thing I can do for any person, whether friend or foe, is herald His message.

Here it is:

Repent and believe the gospel!

Oh, I welcome questions from unbelievers. I spend my life looking for opportunities to engage unbelievers in conversation.

But let me ask you this, unbeliever. If I answer all your questions to your satisfaction, will you drop to your knees, repent before God, beg Him to save you, and submit to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

If you just hesitated, or if you honestly answered “no,” then the reality is this. You’re not looking for answers. You’re simply and sinfully looking to justify your unbelief. And I won’t play your game.

I’m a herald, not a negotiator.

It’s been said that religion is the opiate of the masses. I agree with that, to a certain extent. Every false religion, every false gospel is an opiate to those who seek to create a lifeless, impotent, unrighteous god to suite themselves–one that can neither save nor destroy–one who is a mere figment of their sinful imagination.

Ah, but there are other equally powerful opiates. Atheism, Secular Humanism, and Darwinian Evolution are also opiates of the masses.

There are no atheists in hell. There are no unbelievers in hell. One day, my unbelieving friend, you will crash from the artificial high created by the narcotic analgesic of unbelief. And you will spend an infinite number of lifetimes going through the torment of spiritual withdrawals, which you will suffer in God’s eternal prison–hell.

One day everyone will believe. You will believe.

Everyone will declare Jesus Christ as Lord. Some will make the declaration as God welcomes them into His kingdom forever and ever. Sadly, many more will make the same declaration as the Lord sends them to hell for all eternity, as the just penalty for their sins against Him. Either way, every knee will bow–whether atheist or born-again follower of Jesus Christ–and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Unbeliever, whom will you see on that day? An angry, wrath-filled Judge who will righteously punish your sin? Or a loving, merciful, gracious, and kind Father who will welcome you into His joy and His kingdom forever and ever?

I’m a herald, not a negotiator. And as such, I must herald this message to you.

You will one-day die and stand before the Creator, Almighty God, whom you’ve denied and mocked. He will judge you according to the perfect, moral standard of His Law. If He finds you guilty of so much as one lie, or one theft, or one greedy desire, or one selfish act, or one lustful look, or one hateful thought, or one blasphemous utterance; He will find you guilty of breaking His Law. The sentence you will receive will be just and good: eternity in Hell.

Your arguments against the righteous justice of Almighty God, my King, are irrelevant. My King is sovereign. You are not. And any man who tries to defend himself before the Great White Throne of the Creator and Judge of the Universe has a fool for a client.

God, who is rich in mercy, who is loving and kind, has provided only one way for you to escape His just and holy wrath. This is your only hope, whether you believe it or not.

Two thousand years ago, God the Father sent His Son to Earth in the person of Jesus Christ–fully-God and fully-Man, but without sin. Unlike you and me, He never once violated the Law of God in thought, word, or deed. He couldn’t. He was God in the flesh–the sinless Lamb of God. He was born of a virgin, just as the prophet said He would be, 750 years before His birth.

Thirty to thirty-three years into that earthly existence He voluntarily went to the cross. He suffered, shed His innocent blood, and died a horrific death. The Bible says that he was so badly beaten and mutilated that He could barely be recognized as human. He suffered and died, taking upon Himself the punishment you and I rightly deserve for violating God’s Law. Three days later He rose from the dead and forever defeated sin and death. Unlike the false gods of every other religion on the planet, Jesus Christ is alive and He will return at a time of the Father’s choosing.

What He commands of you is that you repent–that you turn away from and forsake your sin; and that you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Jesus said that unless a person is born again he cannot enter the kingdom of God. If God causes you to be born again, then when you die and stand before Him, instead of receiving what you deserve for breaking God’s Law (which is eternity in hell), you will receive what you don’t deserve (which is grace, and mercy, and everlasting life in heaven, with Jesus Christ).

So, repent and believe the gospel while my King has given you time.

That is the message my King would have me bring you. I’m not here to discuss terms with you. My King does not negotiate.

I’m a herald, not a negotiator.

Used with permission. See the original article here.

73 Comments

  1. Hey Steve thank you for posting that. It was encouraging.

  2. Great post!

    I couldn’t help but to think of Bones and Captain Kirk on Star Trek when I saw the title.

  3. He does have a tendency to go on, doesn’t he? 😉

    The crux of what he’s saying to those of us who are interested in having a discussion and learning about why you believe what you believe and, more importantly, why we should believe what you believe is this:

    Shut up and believe.

    Well, sorry, but that’s just the sort of thing that any cult would say when trying to recruit new members. It just doesn’t fly.

    Saying “I’m a herald, not a negotiator” (and yes, Wayne, I thought of Star Trek too!) no matter how many times, is still just a cop-out. It shows that you are unable to form a coherent and cogent argument for the existence of God that doesn’t rely on logical fallacies (as Tony said, he doesn’t care).

    Your inability to empathize with unbelievers only hinders your ability to evangelize to us. If you can’t understand us, you can’t communicate with us. If you can’t communicate with us, we’re not going to trust what you have to say. It’s that simple.

    Cheers,

  4. ‘I’m a SHOUTER, not a Convincer’

  5. A couple of comments about this rant against the imaginary unbelievers:

    1. Tony wrote: “I’m not interested in debates. I don’t care what arguments you have against the existence of God and the authority of His Christ.” Well then, it’s a good thing I’ve never even thought of presenting such arguments. I assume that this is common for imaginary unbelievers, but I wouldn’t know (because they’re mostly imaginary).

    2. Tony wrote: “But let me ask you this, unbeliever. If I answer all your questions to your satisfaction, will you drop to your knees, repent before God, beg Him to save you, and submit to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?” While there are some issues I have with “to your satisfaction”, I’ll assume Tony means, “to show you that I (Tony) am correct in my description of God”, then the answer is “Yes”. What choice do I have? Follow Satan, the biggest loser in Loserville? That’s idiotic.

    As it has been said many times before, and this is why we got into this particular discussion in the first place:

    Evangelism tends not to work on non-believers because you guys do not understand non-believers, and you don’t appear to make any effort to do so when we communicate.

    I am convinced that I do make every attempt to understand believers, or else I wouldn’t be on their blogs and in their chatrooms, talking with them.

  6. Matt –

    It’s not Tony’s job, Steve’s job, Ray’s job or any evangelists job to convince you of God’s existence or convict you of your sins; that’s the Holy Spirit’s job.

    They do understand you. They were once like you. Right now, the gospel is foolishness to you just like it was to them.

    When they herald the gospel they are proclaiming what the Bible commands all Christians to do; “Repent and believe the gospel”.

    You’ve heard the gospel many times.

    “I’m a herald, not a negotiator” is not a cop out. It does not mean that they are unable to form a coherent and cogent argument for the existence of God; they have! You just refuse to believe –

    Your blog friend,
    Dawg

  7. In other words, shut up and believe. No, I don’t believe for an instant that those people “understand nonbelievers”. Not one instant. Ray Comfort even claims on his blog that even before he was a Christian that he “knew” God existed.

    All Miano is doing is using circular reasoning. The conclusion in built into the premise. A believer in any deity could do that.

    And, it would be just as impossible to “disprove” as it would be for the christian god.

    I remember trying to post a reply to Miano when he posted that speech on his blog, but of course, my comment didn’t get through.

    He only seems to allow those who agree with him to post on his blog. I hope the man was smarter when he was a cop than he’s showing himself to be on his blog!

    Bottom line, “Dawg”, it is exactly and only a cop out. Our “refusal to believe” is just the atheists’ stubborn insistence on EVIDENCE for your God.

  8. Wayne,

    “It’s not Tony’s job, Steve’s job, Ray’s job or any evangelists job to convince you of God’s existence or convict you of your sins; that’s the Holy Spirit’s job.”

    I didn’t say it was their job, I said it would be helpful.

    “They do understand you. They were once like you.”

    Really? You know how arrogant that sounds? This is what happens when you divide the world into ‘the saved’ and ‘everyone else’ you think that ‘everyone else’ is some homogeneous blob where everyone is the same. This is simply not true and it’s insulting to be treated as though it were.

    Besides, just read through Steve’s ‘You might be an atheist fundamentalist if…’ series and note how few of them (there are 35 in total) bear any resemblance to reality. They certainly don’t give the impression that they understand non-believers and, as Reynold pointed out, Ray believed in God before he believed in God, so it’s not exactly the same, is it?

    “Right now, the gospel is foolishness to you just like it was to them.”

    Where did I say that I thought the Gospel was foolishness?

    “When they herald the gospel they are proclaiming what the Bible commands all Christians to do; “Repent and believe the gospel”.”

    No problem with that. But when they try and argue from a position of logic or evidence, then they’re going to need to be able to back that up. Isn’t that fair?

    “You’ve heard the gospel many times.”

    Yes I have. So? What I’m asking for is an explanation as to why I should care what the Gospel has to say.

    ““I’m a herald, not a negotiator” is not a cop out. It does not mean that they are unable to form a coherent and cogent argument for the existence of God; they have! You just refuse to believe –”

    Really? Name one coherent and coherent argument for the existence of God posted by either Ray, Tony or Steve in the past 6 months. I’d love to see it.

    Take care,

    Matt

  9. “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1 18:20)

    A skeptic’s ultimate argument is not with man but with God.

  10. Paul,

    Were you under the impression that none of us ignorant heathens have ever heard that passage before?

    What we’re asking you to do is appreciate that, to the unbeliever, this passage carries just as much weight as any other (ie, none) and so using it to avoid having to provide a rational response of your own comes across as a cop-out.

    Now I’m not saying that you’re not right – maybe you are (I mean, maybe the Bible is) and we’re all just suppressing the truth. What I’m saying is that if that were the case, then trying to get us to see that as being true by quoting Bible-verses at us is not going to work.

    Can you at least appreciate that?

    Aside from that, please tell me how this quote from Romans is any different to what any cult says about non-members. They all say that non-members ‘know’ the truth but just won’t admit it – or are hiding from the truth – or haven’t done the right thing to have the truth ‘revealed’ to them. It’s a very common technique to reinforce the position of the believer.

    Again, I’m not saying that it’s not not true (and I’m not saying that Christianity id a cult), I’m merely saying that from the outside it doesn’t come across as convincing. It’s just a flat assertion with nothing to back it up but the sincerity of the one delivering it.

    “A skeptic’s ultimate argument is not with man but with God.”

    That would be the same skeptic that doesn’t think there is a God, right?

    Odd.

  11. Hi Matt:

    You asked: “Were you under the impression that none of us ignorant heathens have ever heard that passage before?”

    No. I KNOW you have heard it many times before, just like you have heard the gospel many times before. (And I never called you folks ‘ignorant heathens’. That would be downright unloving.)

    “…using it (Bible verse) to avoid having to provide a rational response of your own comes across as a cop-out.”

    It IS a rational response. The response is from God who is infinitely perfect. How can I compete with that?

    “…trying to get us to see that as being true by quoting Bible-verses at us is not going to work.”

    Don’t be too sure. Even though I was highly doubtful and reluctant 10 years ago, it was by the power of God’s Spirit through His word in the Bible that arrested me and led me to my salvation.

    It is God who regenerates one to believe. We (Christians) are just the messengers. We proclaim and leave the rest to the sovereignty and power of God. We can’t convince you of the truth, but God can. And ALL those Christ died for will be saved. Not one will be lost.

    You have heard the gospel, many times. I just don’t see the point in repeating it to the same people over and over and over again. Jesus preached the gospel but he never debated it. And he never went chasing after those who heard it. He proclaimed it once and moved on.

    Something I gotta do right now. Still praying for you.

  12. i would like to add a little something to the thoughts of the skeptics above. i wish to use the following example of my own experience. not the same setting mind you but, the same intensity.

    i will borrow an example of a wonderful scene in the great movie “forest gump”. do you remember the character of gary sinese (lieutenant dan)? he lost his bet to forest that he would become his first mate on the shrimp boat which forest proclaimed he was going to purchase. do you remember the scene…forest and lieutenant dan on a shrimp boat during a BIG storm that devastated the shrimping industry? do you remember when lieutenant dan was riding on top of the tallest sail pole while pointing his finger up to the sky (implying his beef with God). screaming at the top of his lungs…”You call this a storm…hahahahaha! Ohhhhhhh, it’s time for a showdown…you and me. I’m right here, come and get me…hahaha! You’ll never sink this boat…hahahahaha!

    what my point is as you try to take up arguments with Christians, we apparently will never satisfy you. go take up all your arguments with God/Jesus/Holy Spirit…that’s who you should be waving your finger at.
    your criminal condition has made your heart hard as a rock. and if the time comes that you lay your guns (fists) down, and repent then you will experience The Peace that comes after the storm.

    <

  13. I’m amazed that people still aren’t getting this.

    Everything that you, Paul, and you, dede, have said is predicated on the idea that the unbeliever already believes. You know, there’s a reason we’re called unbelievers!

    Examples..

    Paul: “It IS a rational response. The response is from God who is infinitely perfect. How can I compete with that?”

    dede: “what my point is as you try to take up arguments with Christians, we apparently will never satisfy you. go take up all your arguments with God/Jesus/Holy Spirit…that’s who you should be waving your finger at.”

    Can I ask you both, are you like Ray Comfort where you already believed there was a God before you got to know Him?

    Regards,

  14. ExPatMatt:

    1) To answer your question: the god I believed in before I came to believe and know the one and only true God was the god of ME. I believed there had to have been some form of diety and creator just by logically concluding that this perfectly formed universe and life had to have had a designer and creator with a purpose.

    Where I was wrong, however, was believing it was “I” that ruled this “higher power”, not the other way around. In my mind I made a god to suit myself and believed that no matter what I did my eternal reward was deserving because of the goodness of ME. I believed that the immoral part of my life (sin) had no bearing on my eternal soul whatsoever. But that was me.

    2) You may claim that you are “unbelievers” and I know what you mean by that. Personally, I agree with the Word of God that says you DO know God exists but you purposely suppress the truth by your sins and rebellion.

    And just because you do not believe in the existence of God does NOT negate the FACT that He does. The existence of God is proveable through His creation alone, just as He says.

    You, however, CANNOT prove that He does not exist.

  15. expatmatt said…i’m amazed that people still aren’t getting this.

    ok maybe i don’t. but can you answer this question…”if your an UNbeliever, why in the world do you hang around Christian blogsites/websites? this site and others are based on a belief that God (of the Bible) truely exists. so what’s the problem? or are you secretly a closet Christian? : )

    w/respect,

  16. Dede wrote:

    if your an UNbeliever, why in the world do you hang around Christian blogsites/websites? this site and others are based on a belief that God (of the Bible) truely exists. so what’s the problem? or are you secretly a closet Christian?

    I’m not Matt, but this question would apply to me also, so I’ll reply:

    I hang around Christian blogs (and chatrooms, and Muslim chatrooms, and Psychic chatrooms, and so on) for two main reasons: 1. I enjoy talking with people who think differently than I do, and 2. I find people who think they know what I think better than I do to be utterly fascinating… to the point where I’m a moth to that flame.

    That’s why I’m here. The fact that you’re Christians is ultimately not the issue for me, only because fundamentalist Christians think very differently than I do.

  17. Paul,

    First things first: Get well soon.

    Secondly, your answer to Matt’s first question (ignoring your mis-use of the word “logically”) shows that at least you were never in Matt’s or my shoes. That is, you were never a nonbeliever, and you haven’t appeared to ever try to understand why nonbelievers are nonbelievers, or what our answers are.

    Furthermore, I think the same can be said about nearly every Christian who has posted a comment to Steve’s blog, as not a one seems to understand what the word “emergence” means, judging by the silence that follows every time Matt and I use the word.

    Lastly, you wrote: “You, however, CANNOT prove that He does not exist.” Correct. Just as I cannot “prove” (even though proofs only exist in math) that the Muslims are incorrect, or that Zeus does not exist, or that the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not exist.

    Paul, if I was to claim, “Paul Latour owes me $100,000”, is it up to you to “prove” that I don’t? Why, or why not?

    If you view it as something important that Matt cannot prove that God does not exist, then you must see it as something important that you cannot prove that you don’t owe me $100,000.

    So pay up, already; I’ll even take a check. 🙂

  18. To everyone,

    Paul wrote: “You may claim that you are “unbelievers” and I know what you mean by that.” But then he follows it up with: “Personally, I agree with the Word of God that says you DO know God exists but you purposely suppress the truth by your sins and rebellion.

    My first question is to Paul:

    1. Paul, what exactly do you think we mean by that?

    The rest are for anyone, and I’m going to assume, for the sake of this loonytoons discussion, that what Paul said in the second sentence I listed above is correct:

    2. Do you think I’m aware that I know that God exists?

    3. Do you think I’m aware that I suppress the truth?

    4. What benefit do you think I gain, from my point of view, by suppressing the truth?

    5. What benefit do you think I gain, from my point of view, by lying to you about my nonbelief?

    6. Do you think I’m aware how dumb it would be to suppress the truth of God, if doing so means that I will go to Hell for suppressing the truth?

    7. Do you think I’m aware how dumb it would be to suppress the truth of God, if not doing so, and repenting instead, means that I’ll go to Heaven?

    8. Do you think I believe that Satan exists?

    9. Do you think I’m aware how dumb it would be to follow Satan, considering that it’s predetermined that he’ll lose (and lose BIGTIME) in the end?

    Ok, that’s it for now. I’m very interested to see the answers for these questions.

  19. That’s an easy question, many of us enjoy discussions! It’s hardly as if this is the only blog I discuss things on. I’m on many blogs and forums. Hometheater, RiffTrax, Magicians, Science etc.

    But like many people I also can’t let lies about myself (and frequently others) stand with out a response. This is the “secret” to the success of Ray’s blog. Usually we post knowing that the majority of people are in too deep to change their mind, but there will be others reading who are on the fence who we can talk to. And we do. For example we’ve definitely had positive feedback on outsiders reading Ray’s blog, the people who don’t participate but read the discussions.

    So it’s not so much for you or Steve, but say a few months down the track someone looking around stumbles onto a blog “Atheists Eat Babies” and hopefully they will see some rational discussion under it and come to the conclusions ‘hey maybe Atheists don’t eat babies’

    And if Steve wants us to leave he only has to say so, I don’t think anyone here would stay if he said ‘please leave’.

  20. Paul Latour said:

    “2) You may claim that you are “unbelievers” and I know what you mean by that. Personally, I agree with the Word of God that says you DO know God exists but you purposely suppress the truth by your sins and rebellion.”

    Back that claim up, please. How’d you feel if a Muslim said that nonsense to you about why you don’t believe in his god?

    “And just because you do not believe in the existence of God does NOT negate the FACT that He does. The existence of God is proveable through His creation alone, just as He says.”
    —-
    Except for the fact that all of physical reality around us has been shown to be far older than the bible teaches, and that the order of the appearance of things is totally off from what Genesis teaches.

    Nice try.

    You, however, CANNOT prove that He does not exist.

    You’ve gotten it backwards. YOU’RE the one with the claim, YOU are the one who has to prove that he DOES exist. Just like the Muslim has to prove to you that his god exists.

    Various sites out there like

    http://www.virtualyeshiva.com/counter-index.html pretty much blows away the messianic prophecies and any chance that “Jesus” is “God”.

    As for proving that NO god exists, well, since Christians have already examined the entire universe and have disproven the existence of every other god, then all we have to do is show that yours doesn’t exist! (little tongue in cheek to show how stupid that thinking really is).

    How’s about “proving” that Allah does not exist?

  21. I’m going to ‘pull a Steve’ on this one and refer you to Nohm and BathTub’s responses which cover my position quite nicely. Well done, guys!

    Paul,

    This ‘god of ME’ you speak of, is this something you’ve realized after becoming a Christian or were you actively and purposely living your life with those things in mind?

    Either way, it is a FACT that you, Paul, along with dede and Steve are merely pretending that you believe in God because you are scared of dying and you want to believe you’ll live forever instead. Of course, deep-down you KNOW that there is no God, but you deliberately self-delude yourself because you’re unable to face the world without this mental crutch.

    The whole of the universe screams out that there’s no God and you know it – but you’re too scared to admit it.

    Regards,

  22. yawning and lol!

    i bet you all would make some great company. too bad we can’t have these discussions face to face over a cup of coffee/tea. w/biscotti’s. : )

    see ya next round. gotta go…tons of laundry to catch up on.

  23. dede, do you have any answers for the questions I listed above?

  24. Anyone? Please check out my questions in this comment, please.

  25. Nohm: I just preached a message on this passage in general: Romans 1:18-25.

    When I post it this week you will understand what Paul means and you will get the answers you requested, though they won’t be answers you will agree with, nor like, because they are biblical answers.

    Thanks!

  26. Steve, of the eight questions that I asked to everyone, six of them only require a yes or no as an answer. Only the two “benefit” questions would require a slightly longer answer.

    I might be cynical, but I’m thinking that your post will not cover those questions, but will instead cover questions that I didn’t ask.

    That’s been my experience.

    Lastly, when you wrote, “you will understand what Paul means”, are you talking about Paul in the Bible, or Paul Latour?

    For the record, as with any question I ask, I don’t care if I agree with or like answers. I can only accept that the person giving me the answer believes that is the answer (in other words, I accept that people believe what they say they believe, fortunately).

  27. Nohm: Here are my yes/no answers:

    My first question is to Paul:

    1. Paul, what exactly do you think we mean by that? He”ll have to answer that.

    The rest are for anyone, and I’m going to assume, for the sake of this loonytoons discussion, that what Paul said in the second sentence I listed above is correct:

    2. Do you think I’m aware that I know that God exists? Yes.

    3. Do you think I’m aware that I suppress the truth? No.

    4. What benefit do you think I gain, from my point of view, by suppressing the truth? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    5. What benefit do you think I gain, from my point of view, by lying to you about my nonbelief? I don’t think you’re lying.

    6. Do you think I’m aware how dumb it would be to suppress the truth of God, if doing so means that I will go to Hell for suppressing the truth? Possibly. I don’t think you are dumb.

    7. Do you think I’m aware how dumb it would be to suppress the truth of God, if not doing so, and repenting instead, means that I’ll go to Heaven? Yes.

    8. Do you think I believe that Satan exists? No.

    9. Do you think I’m aware how dumb it would be to follow Satan, considering that it’s predetermined that he’ll lose (and lose BIGTIME) in the end? Yes.

    I’ll be happy to clarify later on. I appreciate your questions, and even more so if you are sincere. Since “love believes all things, I’ll assume the best. Really. That’s why I’m answering.

  28. Steve: If you don’t think that Nohm’s lying by “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness” then what do you think he’s doing?

    What IS “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness” then, if it isn’t lying of one form or another?

    This must be the two-faced way that christians can agree with their holy book when it comes to slandering non-believers, yet still pretend to be respectful and polite when called on it.

  29. Hi Steve,

    First of all, I am sincere with my questions; I want to better understand how other people think.

    Secondly, the two following answers appear to contradict:

    2. Do you think I’m aware that I know that God exists?
    Yes.

    What benefit do you think I gain, from my point of view, by lying to you about my nonbelief?
    I don’t think you’re lying.

    They appear to contradict because you say that you believe that I know that God exists, but yet I’m not lying if I say I don’t believe?

    If I know that I believe in God, then saying to you that I don’t believe in God would be a lie, right?

    Lastly, how is it possible for me to both be aware that I know there is a God, but also not be aware that I’m suppressing the truth?

    If it helps to clarify, every time I used the word “God” in my list of questions, I was talking about the God that you love and worship, not a god of my own making.

  30. You want me to repent i.e. forsake my sins and believe the gospel? I get the believing the gospel part but what I don’t understand is how exactly i can forsake my sins.

  31. Steve,

    So you think that:

    Nohm knows that he knows that God exists (although he doesn’t believe that Satan exists (but he does know it’s dumb to follow this being he doesn’t believe in)) but he’s not aware that he’s suppressing this knowledge. Even though he knows he knows it, but won’t accept it, he doesn’t know that he’s suppressing it.

    You think he does this, despite knowing that there are no benefits to holding this position and he’s also aware of how dumb it would be to do this (given the after-life ramifications).

    But you don’t think he’s lying or dumb.

    Wow.
    Your combination of answers make no sense whatsoever.

    But then, that’s what I’d expect from a belief-system that’s based out of a fear of death.

    Cheers,

  32. Mat: You said it. I couldn’t have put it more clearly myself.

  33. Ok, I’m really confused now.

    Steve responded to Matt’s comment with: “You said it. I couldn’t have put it more clearly myself.

    Steve, both Matt and I are saying that your answers don’t appear to make sense. But you then say that Matt couldn’t have written it more clearly, yet I’m betting that Matt thinks that it’s completely unclear (as do I).

    Please clarify when you have a chance. I don’t see how it’s possible to not know that I’m suppressing the truth about something that I believe, and also not be lying to you when I tell you that I don’t believe that something.

  34. Nohm: you’ll get my answer before I go to bed tonight, God-willing.

  35. Steve’s answer is why we need to have reason in our witnessing and responses. I am confused by Steve’s answers as well. But I do believe him when he says he will clear it up.

  36. Thanks, Steve; I’m looking forward to it.

    I hope you understand why we’re confused and why it *appears* that your answers cause a contradiction.

  37. Okay here goes a nutshell version.

    Of course you understand that we live by the Bible and believe it is God’s Word.

    Your questions, my answers and explanations:

    2. Do you think I’m aware that I know that God exists?
    Yes. According to Romans 1: 18: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,” it is implied that you know the truth but supress it.

    How do you know it? Rom. 1: 19-20– “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

    To Christians, it is obvious that there is a designer. To you, not so. I will recommend a book by Lee Strobel: The Case for a Creator which covers design from macro to micro and disproves Darwin (to my satisfaction at least.) I won’t debate the merits of design because God clearly says that He has revealed himself. I see it, I believe it, regardless of the perceived flaws you may present whatever they are. You supress the truth by your idolatry. “…so that men are without excuse.”

    In the remaining passage, there are three “exchange…gave them over” sequences. As people reject the truth as it has been revealed in general revelation they become more and more depraved and debauched. Idolatry is the root of the problem.

    Rom. 1:23 “–and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”

    The first idolatrous act is the worship of man, where I think the atheist is at. You may not see it as such, but science appears to be your god. Whatever science says trumps the truth of God.

    3. Do you think I’m aware that I suppress the truth? No. I beleieve that God has given you over according the first “exchange…give them over” sequence, so you are deluded into thinking that there is no God.

    4. What benefit do you think I gain, from my point of view, by suppressing the truth? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. As you know, unless you repent and believe, God will continue to give you over to a place where you can’t believe anymore. I don’t know where you are at right now.

    In the next 3 answers I have nothing to add:

    5. What benefit do you think I gain, from my point of view, by lying to you about my nonbelief? I don’t think you’re lying.

    6. Do you think I’m aware how dumb it would be to suppress the truth of God, if doing so means that I will go to Hell for suppressing the truth? Possibly. I don’t think you are dumb.

    7. Do you think I’m aware how dumb it would be to suppress the truth of God, if not doing so, and repenting instead, means that I’ll go to Heaven? Yes.

    8. Do you think I believe that Satan exists? No. Belief in satan is not a prerequisite to salvation, only belief in Christ. Your belief in the rest will come with Christian growth and knowledge.

    9. Do you think I’m aware how dumb it would be to follow Satan, considering that it’s predetermined that he’ll lose (and lose BIGTIME) in the end? Yes.

    Nohm, I remember reading somewhere that you believed you were a Christian and even evangelized, but the proof of saving faith is persevering until the end. 1 John clearly says that you weren’t with us because you went out from us. From your standpoint, of course you thought you were a Christian, but the Bible has a different standard: continuing to the end. My conclusion is that you never were a real Christian.

    I may have missed some other questions, so please reask them and I’ll try to give an honest response.

    I do appreciate your asking, though I suspect that you already knew these would be my answers.

    May God bless you!

    Steve

    BTW, you may listen or read my sermon on this passage if it’s available on Tuesday. I’d love your feedback.

  38. Also, I just noticed this… how is this also not a contradiction?

    You wrote: “unless you repent and believe” followed immediately with “God will continue to give you over to a place where you can’t believe anymore“.

    If I’m in a place where I can’t believe, then how can I “repent and believe”? How am I able to do something that I’m unable to do?

    Lastly, writing the following:

    The first idolatrous act is the worship of man, where I think the atheist is at. You may not see it as such, but science appears to be your god. Whatever science says trumps the truth of God.

    shows again that you don’t appear to understand how I think.

    That’s an observation; not a judgment.

  39. Steve,

    Your answers are far clearer now, thank you.

    I would, however, very much appreciate some expansion and discussion of the meaning, intent and ramifications of this point;

    “3. Do you think I’m aware that I suppress the truth? No. I beleieve that God has given you over according the first “exchange…give them over” sequence, so you are deluded into thinking that there is no God.

    Perhaps in a new post at some point?

    Cheers,

  40. Hi Steve,

    I very much appreciate your answers, and I might have more to say about them later, but I still don’t see how the following is not a contradiction, from your point of view:

    I asked: “Do you think I’m aware that I know that God exists?”

    You answered with: “Yes […] you know the truth […]“.

    Ok, so with that, it appears that you think that I know that God exists, and that I’m aware that I know that God exists.

    But later, in that same answer, you wrote: “To Christians, it is obvious that there is a designer. To you, not so.”

    Also, in the answer to the “Do you think I’m aware that I suppress the truth?” question, you wrote: “you are deluded into thinking that there is no God.”.

    With that, you appear to think that I think there is no God.

    How is it possible for me to think that there is no God, and also be aware that I know there is a God? How is that not a contradiction?

    Lastly, we already talked about Lee Strobel, in the thread where I asked you where you learned about evolution, and you said you got your information from “A Case For A Creator”. I probably even replied with something snarky like, “well, that explains it.”

    Getting info on Darwin (please, please understand that he’s nowhere as important to people like myself as you seem to think he is) and evolution from “A Case For A Creator” (and I’m talking about the specific Strobel book) is like getting my information on Christianity from Dawkins’ (again, not as important to us) book “The God Delusion”.

    So, you got all of your information about evolution from an anti-evolution screed, and now you think it’s a bunch of garbage.

    Yep, that’s pretty much how disinformation works.

    (For the record, when I was a Christian, real or otherwise, “Case for a Creator” was an eye-opener for me; it, and “A Case for Christ”, were my first experiences with recognizing disinformation in something I was supposed to support.)

  41. Nohm wrote: Also, I just noticed this… how is this also not a contradiction?

    Steve wrote: “unless you repent and believe” followed immediately with “God will continue to give you over to a place where you can’t believe anymore“.

    Nohm: If I’m in a place where I can’t believe, then how can I “repent and believe”? How am I able to do something that I’m unable to do?

    Steve’s response: You now have that opportunity now, don’t you? You can now repent and believe if you wanted to. Since you won’t, that is proof that you can’t, which shows that God has given you over. Either way, God is proven correct. I mean no arrogance at all. This is what Scripture says, and this is how it works out. To the human (depraved mind) it is a contradiction.

    This passage from 1 Corinthians explains what is happening and why you won’t/can’t understand, and why all of my explanations seem as foolishness to you:

    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]

    20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

    26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

    ****

    Steve wrote: “The first idolatrous act is the worship of man, where I think the atheist is at. You may not see it as such, but science appears to be your god. Whatever science says trumps the truth of God.”

    Nohm wrote: [This] shows again that you don’t appear to understand how I think.

    Steve’s response: I used two qualifiers: “I think” and “appears.” You may be quite right in that I don’t appear to understand how you think.

    Nohm wrote: How is it possible for me to think that there is no God, and also be aware that I know there is a God? How is that not a contradiction?

    Steve’s response: You have suppressed the truth of God’s existence by your “wickedness,” according to Scripture, which blinds you to the fact that God has revealed himself through creation.

    It does not surprise me at all that you don’t believe there is a God. Ignoring the obviousness of design, to me, proves that you are suppressing the truth. It also is not surprising to me that you see all my answers as contradictory. I refer again to 1 Corinthians 1.

    In regard to Strobel, eliminate all the anti-Darwin screedish writing, I’m okay with that. Let’s assume that most Christians are uninformed about evolution (at least we are not as smart as you and your ilk), or a lot of us are blatant liars, or have been misled about evolutionary teaching in general. Okay? Done.

    Let’s narrow it down to just the evidences of design in the book. Since the book was written in 2004, I’m sure there are a lot more of them, and even then what he used was a random sampling. Wow! There sure are a lot of evidences of design!

    Frankly, I wouldn’t need all those evidences. Just looking at my wife shows me God is an artist, a brilliant Designer. Looking up at the stars tells me the same. God has indeed revealed himself. I’m truly sorry that you refuse to recognize it, but of course, you probably never will, fulfilling the mandate as outlined in Romans 1.

    I am not being sarcastic, just firm.

  42. Hi Steve,

    First of all, I’d like to clear up some possible misconceptions you might have of my motives:

    1. I am not trying to persuade you to change your religious beliefs.

    2. I am not trying to persuade you that your religious beliefs are wrong.

    3. I am not trying to persuade you to think like me.

    4. I am not trying to persuade you to be an atheist.

    5. I am not trying to persuade you to accept the theory of evolution as the best explanation for the diversity of life.

    6. I am not trying to persuade you that what I see as a contradiction means that your religious beliefs are wrong.

    7. I am not trying to persuade you that what I see as a contradiction means that the Bible is wrong.

    8. It doesn’t matter to me whether or not I take your explanations as “foolishness”, and so I don’t tend to take them as “foolishness”.

    9. It doesn’t matter to me whether or not I take what you’re saying as “arrogance”, and so I don’t tend to take it as “arrogance”.

    10. Whether or not people are as smart as my “ilk” is irrelevant to me, and does not factor in to my view of their opinions.

    11. I don’t assume that people of my “ilk” are smarter than anyone else.

    Ok, I hope that cleared up some things.

    Steve, when I say that what you’re writing appears to be a contradiction, I mean that it doesn’t make sense to me how something can both have a particular attribute and also not have that same particular attribute.

    For example:

    Steve: “Hi Nohm.”

    Nohm: “Hi Steve. I have a pet dog named Riley, and he’s my best friend.”

    Steve: “That’s great to hear. How long have you owned him?”

    Nohm: “I got her when she was a kitten, and she’s 5 years old now… cat years, of course.”

    Steve: “Wait, I thought you said it was a male dog.”

    Nohm: “Correct, he is a male dog.”

    Steve: “Oh, ok then… I must have mistunderstood… I thought you were describing a female cat there for a second.”

    Nohm: “Correct, she is a female cat.”

    Steve: “So… wait. Do you have one pet, or two?”

    Nohm: “I have one pet, named Riley.”

    Steve: “Is it a hermaphrodite? A half-dog half-cat… kinda like the crocoduck?”

    Nohm: “No, don’t be silly, Steve! She’s nothing like that! He’s a great dog. You should hear her purr.”

    Ok, Steve. If that happened, wouldn’t “confusion” be your main issue here, and not whether I’m right or wrong?

    That’s why I keep asking the questions about what seems to be a couple of contradictions. I’m not trying to make a point; I’m just confused by how it appears that you think I am one thing (I know God exists or that I can believe) but I am also not that thing (I think God doesn’t exist or that I can’t believe).

    How can I know something exists, and also think that something does not exist?

    How does the statement “I know that God exists, but I think that God does not exist” make any sense?

    If I said “I know that 2+2 equals 4, but I think 2+2 does not equal 4”, wouldn’t you think I wasn’t making sense?

    How does the statement “You can now repent and believe if you wanted to. Since you won’t, that is proof that you can’t” make any sense?

    This is why I’m trying to point out what seem to be contradictions. Not to try to make a point to you, but to try to explain that it doesn’t make any sense to me. Read my “Riley” story again.

    Lastly, I just couldn’t let this go:

    Let’s narrow it down to just the evidences of design in the book. Since the book was written in 2004, I’m sure there are a lot more of them, and even then what he used was a random sampling.

    If nothing else ever comes from our discussions, I hope you think about this:

    Steve, please make it an interest to research just exactly what the progress of the Intelligent Design Movement has been since 2004.

    Don’t do it for me, but do it for your own education. See what they’ve been up to for the past six years. Really dig into it, since you seem possibly interested in what’s been going on in Intelligent Design studies and maybe situations where they had the chance to really show what they’ve been working on.*

    I would be fascinated to see a report about your findings after a year or so of research. Take your time.

    Oh, and I’m ok with you being sarcastic or firm with me. Doesn’t bother me either way.

    Thanks,

    *Maybe even check out a film that claims people are expelled but when the writer of said film is asked just who was actually expelled, he admits that only one of the people “came closest”. Not actually expelled, just “came closest”.

  43. Steve,

    I was directed here by your latest post because you said something about Christian reason….

    *looks around*

    I’m not seeing it.

    I just see you, trying to make excuses for the blatant contradictions that are created by your blind adherence to the Bible.

    Perhaps if you weren’t so terrified of death, you would be able to apply some critical thinking and realize that you don’t actually believe there’s a God; you’re just fooling yourself.

    It’s pretty obvious and it saddens me that you don’t recognize this fact. The fact that you don’t is proof that you can’t and suggests that you won’t; you’re clearly trapped in your fear-of-death-cult.

    Oh dear.

  44. Nohm, I believe that you are sincere. I’m not worried that you would be trying to convert because by the grace of God, I’m confident in my beliefs, though I may not have all the answers and may not understand everything.

    I’m using the disclaimers, “firm” and “sarcastic” because my tone may not always be right given the limitations of my type pad. I want to be gracious at all times with you.

    As far as clarifying any perceived contradictions all I can do is appeal to these verses:

    Romans 1:18-20 again:The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

    I gave what i thought to be a pretty clear explanation…. So I’ll just have to say that is what God says. I know that doesn’t pull much weight in the atheist community though. :0

    Let me now throw away all evidences of design as explained by the ID movement and hearken back to my original answer plus one: Frankly, I wouldn’t need all those evidences. Just looking at my wife shows me God is an artist, a brilliant Designer. Looking up at the stars tells me the same. God has indeed revealed himself.

    I don’t have the time to research this for a year and won’t.

    So I will appeal to my primary Source and what He says:

    Psalm 19:1-4

    1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

    2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they display knowledge.

    3 There is no speech or language
    where their voice is not heard. [a]

    4 Their voice [b] goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

    ExPat: You are a funny guy. Thanks for injecting some much needed levity into the discussion, bro.

  45. Steve, let me see if I can try to get us on the same page.

    1. What do you mean when you use the word “contradiction”? I want to see if we’re meaning the same thing. What I mean is that a contradiction is “a proposition so related to a second that it is impossible for both to be true or both to be false“, such as “Something is both X and not X”.

    2. If I said “You can have a cookie, and you can’t have a cookie”, would you be confused by that statement? Would you call that statement a contradiction? Why or why not?

    3. If I said “I know that cars exist, but I think that cars don’t exist”, would you be confused by that statement? Would you call that statement a contradiction? Why or why not?

    Thanks.

  46. I don’t have the time to research this for a year and won’t.

    Bummer, because it would be so interesting if you did.

    Seriously, there’s little that I would find more fascinating than a research report from you about “Progress of the Intelligent Design Movement since 2004.”

    Talk about levity? That, my friend, would be funny to read.

    I’m not trying to make the point that intelligent design did not happen. I don’t know if we’re a result of intelligent design or not. I just know that “What has the Intelligent Design Movement been up to since 2004”, which it appeared you were wondering about (but don’t care enough to research), is completely separate from “Is Intelligent Design the best explanation.”

    Lastly, my questions about the contradictions have absolutely nothing to do with your source. It’s not an issue of your explanations not having weight in the “atheist community”, or anything like that.

    It’s all about the Riley story again. Your reaction to such an explanation, if given to you, would be confusion.

    Whether or not what I’m describing is correct, or what my sources are, or anything like that is irrelevant. The point is that by describing Riley as both a male dog and also a female cat would CONFUSE you, and understandably so.

    Your explanations have confused me. I am not rejecting them due to your religious beliefs, or my lack of religious beliefs. I am asking my questions for clarification in the same way that you would about Riley.

  47. I don’t have the time to research this for a year and won’t.

    Aren’t you at least a little bit interested in what they’ve been up to?

  48. For even further clarification:

    If you had written

    Nohm, you know that God exists, and you’re not being honest when you tell me that you think that He doesn’t

    or

    Nohm, you can believe in God, but you don’t want to

    I would have never talked about contradictions in your statements, because neither of those two statements contain a contradiction.

    My confusion initiated when you said that you don’t think I’m lying when I say that I’m a non-believer, because I thought that you would say that I’m lying, since that’s the only way that situation makes any sense to me.

  49. Oh Steve, I’m serious. You need to address this fear of death thing – it’s clearly affecting you because you won’t even acknowledge it.

    The first step to beating a phobia is to accept and acknowledge that which you are afraid of.

    Are you afraid to die?

    Cheers,

  50. Nohm: I can’t get any clearer than what I already wrote. In essence, as you look at creation, you know that there has to be a Creator. Since you don’t acknowledge that a Creator created all that is before you, though it is painfully obvious that it is has some design, you “suppress the truth.” Are you aware that you are doing this? I don’t think so… but maybe?

    You have suppressed the truth of God’s existence by your “wickedness,” according to Scripture, which blinds you to the fact that God has revealed himself through creation.

    It does not surprise me at all that you don’t believe there is a God. Ignoring the obviousness of design, to me, proves that you are suppressing the truth.

    As for ID, again let me restate the most simple and plain answer that I can: Frankly, I wouldn’t need all those evidences. Just looking at my wife shows me God is an artist, a brilliant Designer. Looking up at the stars tells me the same. God has indeed revealed himself.

    So I will appeal to my primary Source and what He says:

    Psalm 19:1-4

    1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

    2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they display knowledge.

    3 There is no speech or language
    where their voice is not heard. [a]

    4 Their voice [b] goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

    Thanks!

    Expat: I’m not afraid to die whatsoever. That’s one of the benefits of belief and trust.

  51. Steve,

    Let’s ignore everything else that we’ve been talking about, for a bit, and just focus on the following:

    I still have no idea what you mean by “suppress the truth”. Please explain how that works.

    Your sermon just restated the “suppress the truth” statement, using the exact same words.

    Please explain what you mean by that statement.

    As for the ID issue, it’s again not important to me that you share my opinion on the matter. I just find it interesting in the same way I would if you wrote: “So, that Ted Haggard… what’s he been up to? I haven’t looked into what he’s been doing lately. Is he still running the megachurch? He’s still one of the top evangelists in America, right?”

  52. Steve,

    “Expat: I’m not afraid to die whatsoever. That’s one of the benefits of belief and trust.”

    Ah, I see! So….you’re not afraid to die….because of the belief and trust that you have (in God, I presume?).

    In other words, without the belief and trust you have, you would be afraid to die. It’s no wonder then, that you have convinced yourself that there is something to believe and trust in; it helps you hide from your fear of death.

    Very interesting.

  53. Sorry, I recognize that my last comment I said that I wanted to focus on one issue, but I brought up two issues.

    So, let’s ignore the ID issue for the time being, and focus on “suppress the truth” instead.

    I still have no idea what you mean by “suppress the truth”. Please explain how that works.

  54. You atheists lovely as you are keep missing the point. You take evolution on pure faith, believing we came from a rock and soup and a BANG that came from nothing. We tell you that man came from God; you say we evolved from a rock. Put a sane person in a chair that has not ever been exposed to all the debate, and ask “do you believe we came from God or from nothing?” There’s only one answer to that question unless he’s nuts. Nothing comes from nothing unless there was really something in the nothing which questions where did the something come from? Your answer: “nothing”. So what we are dealing with is a severe mental case of suppressing the truth that there’s a creator- God.

    You are taking it on faith either way you go, with evolution or with the logical conclusion, God. The question I had was why side with a faith that is less logical? My theory is that atheists are prideful and can’t handle the truth; that is that they have no knowledge at all for the position of something from nothing. Faith has no merit where human reason supplies the proof, and you do not like the fact that you have to stand on completely illogical faith to believe we came from a rock, that came from soup, that came from nothing. Lashing out at the message of God is like kicking a brick wall with no shoes. Why? Why do it? Because it is just as simple a decision [maybe easier] to believe God than to believe nothing in origins, there must be another underlying reason that is motivating the less logical and weaker decision to believe we came from nothing.

    Steve posted scripture that is clear that men choose willingly to suppress the truth because their deeds are evil. Now that makes perfect sense. A God who says, “Do not lie, steal, lust, hate”, etc. A guilty conscience that runs from authority. It may not be that you have a motive as bad as homosexuality or worse, but that has been the case many times in my discussions with others. One atheist lady I talked with finally conceded when I asked her to call to remembrance the first time she decided for atheism over faith in God, and why she chose. She admitted it was because she was lesbian by choice and took the path of least resistance to her lifestyle. Faith in God was actually more logical to her.

    Maybe some of you if you would honestly jog your memory as to why you chose not to believe in God, the real reason why was not scientific at all. Maybe it was peer pressure or some lifestyle like that lady.

  55. THE NARROW PATH

    There are two paths in front of me,
    But which one should I choose?
    Choosing one I’ll get all I want,
    But on the other my life I’ll lose.

    The first one’s so enticing.
    It’s smooth and very wide.
    But little do the people know,
    that all their souls have died.

    The second one is smaller.
    It’s rough and full of stones.
    And instead of hearing laughter.
    You often will hear groans.

    Although the narrow path is often not as “fun”.
    You have a great thing to look forward to,
    meeting God’s only Son.

    If you choose the first path, you may be happy all the time.
    But little do you know, it’s out of a pit that you must climb.

    And even though the narrow path is lonely and sometimes bare.
    You’ll have someone beside you, ’cause Jesus will be there.

    So you and I both have a choice, which path should we now choose?
    I want to see Him face to face so it’s my life I’ll choose to lose.

  56. CHILD OF MINE

    Dear Child of Mine~
    Why do you sometimes doubt, that I exist at all?
    Do you not see me catch you, every time you fall?
    Why do you always question all I do for you?
    Don’t you see it’s me that’s there, or haven’t you got a clue?
    Do you see the beauty, surrounding you each day?
    Or do you just ignore it and go along your way?
    Why don’t you spend time with me, I long to know your heart.
    Don’t you understand I see you as my piece of art?

    I’ve created the Heavens and I’ve created the Earth.
    And I was there before the moment of your birth.
    I’ve loved you from the very start, though you may turn from me.
    My plan for you is perfect, although you may not see.
    And when you think I’ve left you and am no where in your sight.
    I’m standing in your footsteps, putting up a fight.
    You see I’ve never left you, though that may be what you feel.
    Don’t think that I don’t care for you, for my love for you is real.
    And may I just remind you that the path to me is small.
    But if you trust in my love, I’ll never let you fall.

  57. Val wrote: “ou take evolution on pure faith, believing we came from a rock and soup and a BANG that came from nothing.

    and also: “you say we evolved from a rock

    and also: “Nothing comes from nothing unless there was really something in the nothing which questions where did the something come from? Your answer: “nothing”.

    and also: “and you do not like the fact that you have to stand on completely illogical faith to believe we came from a rock, that came from soup, that came from nothing.

    Here’s an idea: maybe it would be worth listening to you if you presented what we actually think and say, and not this distorted caricature straw man.

    Val, when you tell us that we say or think something, that bares little resemblance to what we actually say or see as our point of view, it’s very difficult for me to take you seriously.

    “do you believe we came from God or from nothing?”

    And when you see us say that we came from “nothing”, in the exact context that you’re using the word there, then that false dichotomy of a statement might have some validity.

    Currently, it does not.

    You are taking it on faith either way you go, with evolution or with the logical conclusion, God.

    I do not accept evolution due to faith.

    My theory is that atheists are prideful and can’t handle the truth; that is that they have no knowledge at all for the position of something from nothing.

    and also: “there must be another underlying reason that is motivating the less logical and weaker decision to believe we came from nothing.

    When you try to psychoanalyze someone (that you don’t know) based on an incorrect premise (e.g., “the position of something from nothing” or “believe we came from nothing”), you probably shouldn’t try in the first place.

    I can handle the truth, as soon as you present me with some. But Val, if you can’t get right things that I actually know about and understand, how could I possibly trust you to be right about things that I don’t understand?

    Lashing out at the message of God is like kicking a brick wall with no shoes.

    Please show where I have lashed out at the message of God. If you read carefully, you’ll see that I am politely asking Steve to clarify what I see as a contradiction, and I haven’t even mentioned anything about scripture.

    Why? Why do it?

    I don’t believe that I do it, unless you can show otherwise.

    Steve posted scripture that is clear that men choose willingly to suppress the truth because their deeds are evil.

    Please note that I have not argued this point with him. For the sake of the discussion, I have accepted that I suppress the truth in unrighteousness. That still leaves us with a situation where I’m aware that I know that God exists, but that I believe and think that God does not exist, and that seems like a contradiction to me. Therefore, I’m confused.

    Maybe some of you if you would honestly jog your memory as to why you chose not to believe in God, the real reason why was not scientific at all. Maybe it was peer pressure or some lifestyle like that lady.

    That idea certainly would be more comforting to you, I’m sure. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for myself or any atheist that I personally know.

    For the record, I did not lose my faith due to peer pressure; nearly all of my friends at the time were Christians.

    For the record, I did not lose my faith due to “some lifestyle”.

    To further clarify, I didn’t lose my faith due to negative experiences or what someone else told me, or even “scientific” reasons.

    So, maybe you shouldn’t attempt to speak for other people when you clearly have no idea what their point of view is.

    Thank you,

    Nohm.

  58. Ack.

    I wrote: “I do not accept evolution due to faith.”

    I should have written: “My acceptance of evolution is not due to faith.”

  59. Nohm: Okay, final answer: You know that God exists, and you are lying when you say that you don’t think God exists.

    Phew! Glad to get that off my chest.

  60. She’s got a smile that it seems to me
    Reminds me of childhood memories
    Where everything
    Was as fresh as the bright blue sky
    Now and then when I see her face
    She takes me away to that special place
    And if I’d stare too long
    I’d probably break down and cry

    Sweet child o’ mine
    Sweet love of mine

    She’s got eyes of the bluest skies
    As if they thought of rain
    I hate to look into those eyes
    And see an ounce of pain
    Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place
    Where as a child I’d hide
    And pray for the thunder
    And the rain
    To quietly pass me by

    Sweet child o’ mine
    Sweet love of mine

    Where do we go
    Where do we go now
    Where do we go
    Sweet child o’ mine

  61. Nohm: Okay, final answer: You know that God exists, and you are lying when you say that you don’t think God exists.

    Wooosh, thank you. That at least clears up the main contradiction.

    So, “suppress the truth” means to lie, correct?

    We now have to get back to a couple of the questions I originally asked, since I assumed (when I asked them) that you would say that I was lying when I say I don’t think God exists.

    For these questions, we are assuming, for the sake of discussion, that I do believe that God exists, but that I’m lying to you when I say that I don’t believe He exists, and it assumes that I’m aware that I’m lying to you (right?):

    4. What benefit do you think I gain, from my point of view, by suppressing the truth?

    5. What benefit do you think I gain, from my point of view, by lying to you about my nonbelief?

    7. Do you think I’m aware how dumb it would be to suppress the truth (i.e., lie about my belief in the exist) of God, if not doing so, and repenting instead, means that I’ll go to Heaven?

  62. Phew! Glad to get that off my chest.

    How long have you thought that I was lying about this, Steve? Since the first time I wrote a comment here? Sometime later? Just now?

    (For the record, from my point of view, I’m not lying about this at all… but I understand that you think I’m lying.)

  63. Steve, you say to Nohm:

    “Okay, final answer: You know that God exists, and you are lying when you say that you don’t think God exists.”

    I presume this answer goes for all of us atheists, doesn’t it? I guess that means that you think you know the contents of our minds better than we do ourselves. Offhand, I can think of three possible reasons for your thinking this:

    1. You are convinced that you are a mind reader.

    2. You are convinced that it is impossible to not believe that God exists.

    3. You are convinced that what the Bible says about what unbelievers think, for instance in Romans 1:18, trumps what unbelievers actually say that they think.

    Somehow I doubt that reason 1 applies, although not being a mind reader myself, I can’t be sure. Val Scott, in the comment above, shows reason 2 at work, and I’ve come across many believers who simply cannot imagine not believing in God. Reason 3 often goes hand-in-hand with 2- if God says that we unbelievers are “suppressing” the truth, which we know in our hearts, who can gainsay Him?

    All I can say is, all three of these reasons are conversation-stoppers, because when someone arrogates knowledge of other’s thoughts and motives, they are not talking with these people any more, but merely talking at them.

    As Matt mentioned above, it’s quite possible for us to turn the spit, and claim that Christians only believe because they are afraid to die. While I suspect this may be true in many cases, I wouldn’t go so far as to impute this motive to any one Christian, much less all of them- it wouldn’t be honest of me, and it wouldn’t further conversation: how would you react if I claimed you were lying if you said you were only a Christian because you were afraid of death? And while it may well be true that there are self-proclaimed atheists who believe in God and hate Him, and suppress this, it is most certainly not true of all of us. When you claim that all atheists believe in God but lie about it, you are simply making yourself risible.

    Val Scott- you say:

    “We tell you that man came from God; you say we evolved from a rock. Put a sane person in a chair that has not ever been exposed to all the debate, and ask “do you believe we came from God or from nothing?” There’s only one answer to that question unless he’s nuts.”

    I actually pretty much agree with you, but your statement must be qualified. The key here is that the person has “not ever been exposed to all the debate”, i.e. the person is one who has not learned about evolutionary science, which means most Christians, in my experience. It does seem inconceivable that we came from rocks, doesn’t it? But although we don’t know exactly how it happened, we do know the broad outlines, and to any sane person who has examined the evidence, whether or not they believe in God, it is obvious that evolution provides the only explanation for the mindboggling degree of order seen in living things.

    And while there are still unanswered questions about abiogenesis and the beginning of the Universe, and probably always will be, positing a God who did it all merely begs these questions: where did God come from? All the answers to this question amount to sweeping it under a rug: God “exists outside of time”, or God is the “uncaused Cause”, or some other such wordplay. In fact, my answer to the Christian’s claim, based on our real-world experience, that “the Creation must have a Creator” is that, based on our real-world experience, any being as complex as God must have evolved. The question is, where and how? Anyone interested in a humorous answer that I wrote some time ago can look here: http://stupidevilbastard.com/2005/12/designer_genes_a_rapprochement/

    cheers from snowy Vienna, zilch.

    P.S. if any of you ever come out this way, drop me a line, and lunch is on me.

  64. Steve,

    “Nohm: Okay, final answer: You know that God exists, and you are lying when you say that you don’t think God exists.

    Phew! Glad to get that off my chest”

    So were you lying when you said previously that Nohm wasn’t lying?

    This just comes across like you trying to end an uncomfortable conversation that you don’t have an adequate response to. However, I take it that this means you’ll be moving on to a post admitting that your faith is purely based on your fear of death?

    Looking forward to it.

    And yeah, Val, telling people what they think – and getting it so, so wrong – is not cool. Sorry.

  65. Val, I agree with Nohm here. You are lumping him with a “standard” atheist. He has never posited these beliefs on this board.

    Based on what he has said, I gather Nohm may believe that something created the universe, but he’s not sure it’s our Lord. He’s asking why he should believe the God of the Bible is the God he should believe in.

    Is that in any way accurate Nohm?

  66. Bizzle,

    You’re a star.

    Cheers,

  67. Hi Bizzle,

    Val, I agree with Nohm here.

    Thanks!

    You are lumping him with a “standard” atheist.

    Well, I don’t know what a “standard” atheist is. Is it like my grandparents, who just don’t care about religion, and would never get into a religious discussion with anyone, out of politeness? Or is it like a screeching teenager on youtube who’s rebelling against his fundamentalist parents? Or is it someone like myself or ExPatMatt, who take this stuff seriously?

    You’ll have to explain to me what a “standard” atheist is.

    Regardless, I know a lot of atheists, and I don’t know a single one who would agree with what Val wrote above, concerning their beliefs and opinions.

    In fact, it seems to me that Val is like the last person in a game of “Telephone”. You know, where the first person whispers a sentence to the second person, and on down the line. Then the last person says aloud the sentence they heard, and everyone has a good laugh comparing it to what the first person said.

    In the same way, we have the scientists who are interpreted by the media who tries to put things in laymen’s terms, resulting in a loss of the precision of the scientists’ nomenclature. Then a creationist interprets what the media wrote, and puts their own spin on it to mock it. This then again goes down the line through a few other creationists, as it changes and is modified. Val reads it somewhere and that’s how we get from “we are carbon-based lifeforms” to “you atheists think you come from a rock.”

    Also, regarding the whole “something from nothing” issue: if I was to say that I have nothing in my refrigerator, would you then think that the inside of my fridge is a void? If you ask me what I’m thinking about, and I answer with “nothing”, does that mean that there is literally nothing going on in my brain?

    I would say “no”. I would say that this is the result of reading “nothing” and not taking the context into account.

    Lastly, I should note that Val seems to think that the theory of evolution deals with the origin of life. She is incorrect; that’s abiogenesis. Evolution only deals with how life changes and diversifies, once we have life.

    He has never posited these beliefs on this board.

    Thank you, Bizzle. You are correct, I have never posited these beliefs on this board. In fact, when I have posited my opinions, I have explained that I’m a determinist who thinks that what you call “creation” is really just a large collection of emergent systems. I’ll talk more about my opinions later in this comment.

    Based on what he has said, I gather Nohm may believe that something created the universe,

    Well, I think that “created” kinda rigs the statement, as the word implies that there is a creator. I prefer to use the word “caused”, as in “something caused the universe”.

    Now, as to what that cause is? I don’t know. I definitely don’t think it had intelligence. Anything with “intelligence”, it seems to me, would require its own cause. How far this line of causality goes back, I don’t know. It might be infinite, it might not; I don’t know.

    but he’s not sure it’s our Lord.

    I’ll say that I’m pretty sure it’s not your Lord. Mostly because I don’t believe that your Lord exists.

    He’s asking why he should believe the God of the Bible is the God he should believe in.

    That’s a fair assessment, although I’d add that before I’d ask that, I would ask why I should believe in one or more god(s) in the first place, and then I’d ask why I should believe in just one god… then we can talk about just which God it is.

    Is that in any way accurate Nohm?

    I hope that what I wrote was able to answer this question for you, Bizzle. I very much appreciate that you are asking me what I think, instead of telling me what I think.

    Be well,

    Nohm

  68. Nohm,

    Thanks for answering. When I mean “standard” (notice the quotes) I mean Val’s definition. Many Christians have Val’s ideas regarding atheists and it’s not true. It’s like you said, they think they know what you believe when in fact they have no idea. And I cannot fathom how one can go about trying to tell people about God if we don’t understand their viewpoint.

    One of my best friends is an atheist, and he is one of the most intelligent, family-oriented and ethical people that I know. In fact, he behaves better than some Christians I know! He just doesn’t believe in God.

    I apologize if it seems like I put words in your mouth. I’d agree that “caused” is probably better terminology than “created”. I’m just trying to get your POV.

  69. Nohm,

    I also agree with you that Val, as well as many other Christians, think evolution deals with life origins. I didn’t know the name of the word, so thanks for telling me about abiogenesis. Once again, it stems from their ignorance of the issue. I can see why that is, to a certain extent though. Why focus your time on something that your beliefs tell you is wrong? We don’t study the Qur’an because we don’t believe it’s correct. Same thing with evolution.

    Now I know a bit about it because of what I learned in school, but I don’t discuss it because frankly I am not knowledgable enough about it.

  70. Hi Bizzle,

    1. “I apologize if it seems like I put words in your mouth. I’d agree that “caused” is probably better terminology than “created”. I’m just trying to get your POV.

    No apology needed. I appreciate that you’re trying to get my POV, especially by asking what it is.

    In other words, we’re all good. 🙂

    2. “Why focus your time on something that your beliefs tell you is wrong?

    I’m assuming that this probably a rhetorical question, but if I replace “focus your time on” with “learn about”, then I would answer “I learn about things that I think are wrong for that exact reason… because I think they’re wrong. I learn about them to see if I’m actually the one who’s wrong instead (in which case I would want to correct my viewpoint), to better understand why someone would believe in something wrong, and to better understand my own viewpoint.”

    In short, I view exploration, especially of issues that I disagree with, to be incredibly important to better understanding myself. And I view the process of better understanding myself to be a top priority.

    So, for example, I don’t think that the Qur’an, or Islamic belief, is correct… but I study it because I want to understand why I think it’s incorrect.

    Also, for the record, I’ve found that people, whether they be Christian, Muslim, atheist, or other, tend to incorrectly think that evolution deals with life origins. I’ve found that there’s a lot of (mostly unintentional) misinformation about the theory of evolution out there, starting with what the word “theory” actually means.

    I understand that you weren’t defending this behavior, though.

    Pleasure chatting with you, Bizzle.

    Be well,

    Nohm

  71. Same here, Nohm. 🙂

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