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A discussion donated by a site visitor

An Atheist and a Christian have
a theological discussion. Part 3

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This discussion is a continuation from Part 2

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Letter 4: Ben's answers (Cont'd):

You wrote:

"I would love to see you become a Christian, but I will never force that upon you. That is not the example we were given."

Well said, my friend. And if every person who believed in their God believed that, and practiced it, the world would be a better place. I wish Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron understood the example that well...

My first real “retort” as it were:

From the Global Assessment Tool "test" I had to take:

“Spiritual fitness is an area of possible difficulty for you. You may lack a sense of meaning and purpose in your life. At times, it is hard for you to make sense of what is happening to you and others around you. You may not feel connected to something larger than yourself. You may question your beliefs, principles, and values. Nevertheless, who you are and what you do matter. There are things to do to provide more meaning and purpose in your life. Improving your spiritual fitness should be an important goal. Change is possible, and the relevant self-development training modules will be helpful. If you need further help, please do not hesitate to seek out help from the people you care about and trust – strong people always do. Be patient in your development as it will take time to improve in this area. Still, persistence is key and you will improve here if you make this area a priority.”

The above response was for the following questions:

  • Answer in terms of whether the statement describes how you actually live your life.
    • I am a spiritual person.
    • My life has a lasting meaning.
    • I believe that in some way my life is closely connected to all humanity and all the world.
    • The job I am doing in the military has lasting meaning.
    • I believe there is a purpose for my life.

  • From a Muslim website showing the contradictions in the Bible:
    • Does God change his mind?
      • Yes. “The word of the Lord came to Samuel: “I repent that I have made Saul King...” (I Samuel 15:10 to 11)
      • No. God “will not lie or repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent” (I Samuel 15:29)

    • Does every man sin?
      • Yes. “There is no man who does not sin” (I Kings 8:46; see also 2 Chronicles 6:36; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20; and I John 1:810)
      • No. True Christians cannot possibly sin, because they are the children of God. “Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God.. (I John 5:1). “We should be called children of God; and so we are” (I John 3: 1). “He who loves is born of God” (I John 4:7). “No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God” (I John 3:9). But, then again, Yes! “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8)
      • Yes. “And the Lord repented that he had made Saul King over Israel” (I Samuel 15:35). Notice that the above three quotes are all from the same chapter of the same book!

        In addition, the Bible shows that God repented on several other occasions:
        • “The Lord was sorry that he made man” (Genesis 6:6)
        • “I am sorry that I have made them” (Genesis 6:7)
        • “And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people” (Exodus 32:14).

There are obviously a ton of small, who cares type discrepancies in the bible, but the two listed above are kinda huge.

And I firmly believe in this definition of Atheism:

The following definition of Atheism was given to the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Murray v. Curlett, 374 U.S. 203, 83 S. Ct. 1560, 10 L.Ed.2d (MD, 1963), to remove reverential Bible reading and oral unison recitation of the Lord's Prayer in the public schools:

“Your petitioners are Atheists and they define their beliefs as follows. An Atheist loves his fellow man instead of god. An Atheist believes that heaven is something for which we should work now – here on earth for all men together to enjoy.

An Atheist believes that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction, and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue it and enjoy it.

An Atheist believes that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment.

He seeks to know himself and his fellow man rather than to know a god. An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist believes that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man.

He wants an ethical way of life. He believes that we cannot rely on a god or channel action into prayer nor hope for an end of troubles in a hereafter.

He believes that we are our brother's keepers; and are keepers of our own lives; that we are responsible persons and the job is here and the time is now.”

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Letter 5: Eric's response:

I am not saddened by what I know is true. Fault can be found in anything that we personally do not want to believe. I know there are difficulties with the Bible. However, many of them are taken out of context by those who want it to be false. An agenda is a difficult thing not to have. I should know.

Are you asking me to refute some of these claims? I could, but it seems like a conversation with you about the Bible is a bit out of order. God has to exist first for any of it to be relevant. I have a couple good arguments for that too.

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Letter 6: Ben's response:

Up til now:

The contradictions I sent, as I mentioned, are from a Muslim website run by a person who is following his god's words and preaching/witnessing/attempting to convert people to Islam. Many contradictions are in the Torah, and the Koran as well. One can find fault in anything, regardless of whether they believe in it or not. Nothing is perfect. I merely presented them as an example. No need to refute them, unless you'd like to. I have no problem believing in God for argument's sake, to make things relevant. Even the greatest debaters must argue the side they do not believe in.

I am interested in the following:

I would love to hear your arguments for the existence of God.

And in a bit of compare/contrast/see where we stand, I would like to know your answers to the questions you asked me earlier.

1. What is the nature of God?
2. What is the origin of the world?
3. What is the nature of reality?
4. What is human nature?
5. What is the source of human knowledge?
6. What happens to humans after they die?
7. What is the origin of ethics?
8. What is your understanding of the flow of history?

And I'd like to add two more:

9) Do you believe in evolution?
10) Do you think the burden of proof for God should lie with the skeptic or the believer? Why?

Eric, thanks for being a good friend and understanding; not merely dismissing. It is not my intent to question or attempt to shake your faith, as I know it is unwavering, so if it came across that way, I apologize.

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To be continued, I hope

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