Debate With An Atheist

On another website I frequent a Christian has recently become an atheist because she didn’t think that a God would restrict people from having abortions or practicing homosexuality. I responded with:

So, basically God has to exactly fit your expectations and standards? What you perceive as perfect has to be what perfect really is?

Another atheist replied with:

So basically, you’re saying god has to be the god of your bible, and not any of the other millions of religions that have come and gone over many thousands of years? Religion is guilty of precisely what you’re accusing an atheist of believing.

When someone’s in your religion, you tell them exactly what god wants them to do, what to eat, who to mate with, how to behave, etc. Who are you to say whether the bible is godly? Are you god? If someone makes a decision on their own, of what they think is moral and what isn’t, then don’t be claiming divine knowledge on the matter and then accuse someone else of blasphemy. That is just about the most hypocritical statement you could make.

I admit I’m stumped. Any help is appreciated. :slight_smile:

For God, there are three possibilities:

  1. Christians make up attributes for God

  2. Christians add to attributes to God

  3. God revealed Himself to Christians

Number one cannot be correct because Christians are bound to believe He is Holy, Just, and Love and Mercy, even if some of them don’t like His attributes. If Christians could simple make up attributes, than God would not be a god but be whatever Christians needed Him to be at whatever time or place. For example, under persecution, if God was whatever Christians needed Him to be, they could say He is the enemies’ god, and so, be freed from persecution. Or, Christians could say God is evil in order to justify evil works like murder, lying, stealing, homosexual acts, etc.

Number two cannot be correct because Christians are bound to believe He is who He is. Some Christians add attributes or make up attributes, though, whereby they are no longer Christians. For example, Mormons believe God is a human being. They cannot call themselves Christians because God is not a man. God did become man - that is, God became incarnate - when He had assumed human nature, but, His Divine Nature was unchanged. If Christians could add attributes to God over the years, than Christianity would no longer be the religion of Jesus Christ, who had revealed God to us in Himself.

Number three is correct because in the Bible God says He is slow to anger and quick to mercy, He is the only existing god, He is the Creator of all things, He is the Redeemer of Israel, etc. In addition to the Bible, we have Apostolic Tradition, which is the teachings of the Apostles passed down through generations (equivalent to the Jewish Oral Tradition); the Apostles taught others what Jesus had taught them, and Jesus had taught them that He is God in the flesh and that God is merciful, loving, holy, all-powerful, glorious, etc.

Most atheists, though, don’t believe Jesus is God and don’t believe the Bible is correct. But that’s not my problem. Let them come up the evidence themselves that Jesus is just a man and the Bible is corrupt, if they wish to argue against the beliefs of Christianity.

It’s interesting that people start with something they don’t like about the earthly implications of a religion and then work backwards in order to proclaim God doesn’t exist. This is tortured logic.

Eucharisted makes a lot of good points but I would like to expand on his last one. The fact Nick said that atheists have a difficult time believing in the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the essence of the Bible is completely they problem. Their opinions toward the Bible are clearly satanic. If you’re on youtube a lot, or get the chance to read a lot what Atheist have to say (ESPECIALLY ON THE INTERNET) most non believers state over and over that Jesus Christ didn’t even exist. Then they come up with pure garbage and indirectly claim the Church was under control by Constantine at 325. So not only do they disbelieve in the mere existence of Christ, but they believe that Christianity was either created by Constantine or the Religion lost its original message throughout time. Notice how they offer no evidence at all.

How am I supposed to debate an atheist about Jesus Christ if he doesn’t believe He even existed? I mean, what about encyclopedias and historical books that deal with Christianity. What about Myrtors and all the Christians who got persecuted before Constantine? What about the year 2009, I’m sure they celebrate New Years as much as we do. Don’t they realize its the year of our Lord?

They leave no room in their soul to even question God. But that is because they filled their gaps with ignorance. The Bible hit it right on the dot when it says “Only the fool says in his heart: There is no GOD”.

As we know, Atheist, agnostics are more interested in trying to disprove God and religion then trying to prove their position, largely to frustrate a person of religious conviction. In that sense, it really is a game to them and it allows them to be different then convention and custom.

Your usually wasting your time arguing with them. Let them know it is a free country and they can believe what they want but add that religion is really just a metaphysics=a complete explanation for the nature of human reality. Can you prove it is correct? No, of course not but then again I cannot prove the law of gravity is going to work tomorrow but I accept it because it works as an explanation. Metaphysics speak to the total reality of our human experience. Atheism just leaves one alone. As the Pope has said, " in the end self-meaning has no meaning at all."

Ask this atheist whether any of the current (even past) religions we have believe that abortion and homosexuality is morally right (a virtue)? You should also bring up the natural moral law as a way to make him understand that there are moral absolutes that exist and it is through our conscience that we perceive it (that is why for the most part religions (not cults) share a common moral ground).

Hi,
I think as Christians we want to plant a seed. Then maybe someone will come by and water it. Then maybe someone else will shine some light. We might not get to see it grow in our first contact but let Christ reflect through you.

I try to go from athiest to deist. I usually start with the cosmos. How did it come into being? Eventually you get into making something from nothing. That creative force is God. I think going from deist to Christian is a bit harder. Now you have to take on those hostile questions about why we are so sure about our perception of God.

I really think it’s hard for faith/belief to take-on that kind of logic/reason head-on. In the end, I find it comes down to people skills and interpersonal relationships. More than likely anyone who is hostile towards religion needs some emotional and personal healing. Can you cultivate a friendship? Let them know there is a Christian community who would value them. Let them see the good fruits that we bear by having Christ in our lives.

I know that wasn’t much help. Say a prayer and good luck with this little mission.

God Bless You,
-paul

Nice comment Paul.

God Bless

Good morning,
More ramblings…

My last comments were targeted at folks who need healing + conversion. However, there are some atheist who can be pretty balanced, happy, and healthy - secular humanist. Unless they are in an academic community, they probably don’t have the support that the Christian community can offer.

So what kinds of ideals do these people hold? Usually liberal leanings - social justice, equality, environmentalism, health, reason, science. Maybe they have eastern leanings and look for something holistic. Actually, not all that bad, right? We can show them that the Bible and Jesus teaches all these things too. God’s plan for us was the Garden of Eden, not this complex modern world where Satan has a great hand. Search the Bible - if this is the right message for that person, I (we) can help

Share the joy, share the wisdom of our Creator, and let Christ’s character reflect through you.

Eventually, we can show them Jesus is “the way” and not just “a way”.

God bless you,
paul

Why qould you even bother debating an atheist? They are the thickest people on the face of the planet.
And they like to throw the most ridiculous statements. Look at what the atheist said to you…“When someone’s in your religion, you tell them exactly what god wants them to do, what to eat, who to mate with, how to behave, etc”. Of course, as a catholic you don’t tell people what to eat. As catholics we can eat what we want. We can tell them how God expects them to behave. Based on Gods words. wether they listen or not is up to them. And as far as i know we don’t tell them who to mate with…(this is one of the most ridiculous claims i have heard an atheist make) Its an old ploy. Make a stupid claim/s. So you get side tracked from making them look like idiots (which is easy.) Don’t get me wrong . some atheist are normal people. It’s just the majority that ruin it for them. But what can you expect from a group of people who suffer from a mental illness. I mean. They don’t believe in God but they spend hour after hour day after day. raving on about how cruel something that they don’t even believe to be real is so unfair. Ya know what i mean? I don’t believe in fairies. But i don’t spend all of my days on the internet. debating those who do.

The 2nd atheist’s response didn’t answer the question. The question was of rejecting God, once having beleived, because you believe you are more capable of determining truth.

The 2nd atheist is talking about the many different religions throughout all time, but the question is about Christianity. Christians believe that God has revealed Himself to us and that God is truth. The first atheist was once a Christian, so he is rejecting revealed truth for a self-determined truth.

The 2nd atheist is attempting to portray Christians as egotistical people who want to impose their opinion on others, who think that their idea of truth is superior to all others’. This isn’t about pride in our own opinion.

In contrast to the 2nd atheist’s idea of Christianity and truth, Christians say that it is so because God says it is so.

Interesting . . .

So basically, you’re saying god has to be the god of your bible, and not any of the other millions of religions that have come and gone over many thousands of years? Religion is guilty of precisely what you’re accusing an atheist of believing.

When someone’s in your religion, you tell them exactly what god wants them to do, what to eat, who to mate with, how to behave, etc. Who are you to say whether the bible is godly? Are you god? If someone makes a decision on their own, of what they think is moral and what isn’t, then don’t be claiming divine knowledge on the matter and then accuse someone else of blasphemy. That is just about the most hypocritical statement you could make.

I would first challenge the atheist to demonstrate that there have been, in fact, "millions of religions . . .over many thousands of years? For an alleged rationalist and evidentialist this seems mathematically improbable, to say the least. Otherwise it is just bluster. Another typical atheist tactic is to point to the similarities between religions as evidence that they are nothing more than wish-fulfillment, hopes that are common to ignorant people . . .so which is it? Should we ignore religion because there are so many different takes on reality or because there are so many similarities? Which stick shall we whip Christianity with today?

Thes list of “what to’s . . .” is pure rubbish. Catholicism doesn’t tell you what to eat, although it may prescribe what not to eat at certain times and encourages moderation as opposed to gluttony. Given the health care crisis and the secular push for cheaper access to health insurance, and adding in the health risks and costs of obesity in this nation, whose position is preferable? Catholicism doesn’t tell you who to mate with, just that you should restrict your mating to a monogamous, and married relationship. You can mate with anyone else in the world you choose to, given they are not already married and of the opposite sex; otherwise, “mating” is not even possible . . .copulation perhaps, but not mating, Look at the STD stats, the unwanted pregnancies, the abortion rates, the divorce rates and the social and emotional costs of promiscuity and infidelity, pornography, etc., and ask them for a better practical solution to these social problems than simply pretending that there is no causal link between them.

As for telling people how to behave, ask the atheist if they are against parental supervision; school exams; traffic laws; job qualifications and performance standards. . .etc., etc.

As for asking “who are you to say the bible is godly? Are you god?” I would simply reply . . no but then turn the question back upon them, The atheist is hung on the horns of their own dilemma. In order to “prove” there is no god and that the bible is not inspired the atheist would have to have exhaustive knowledge of everything . . .they would have to claim omniscience. In short, to claim there is no God and that God did not inspire the Bible requires an attribute that belongs only to a Being the atheist claims does not exist. Rubbish , , ,

As to the last . . .I suppose that the atheist is okay with folks making a decision on their own as to what is and is not moral as long as they claim to have no divine knowledge on the issue. In short, they support the right of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Nero, the Marquis de Sade, Machiavelli and any host of other quacks out there to prescribe and then enforce what is and is not moral as long as they don’t do so in the name of God.

Perhaps, you could tag your remarks with an appeal for them to live up to the atheist ethic of thinking for themselves, and to do so with the prerequisite of actually thinking in the first place.

All my best . . .

LOL, exactly my thoughts!

Millions of religions ? can they supply me with a list of at least 1 million, or is it as as I expect, they’re talking blarney.

Fulton Sheen argued that way too. He once met a woman who said she spent every day in London’s Hyde Park denying God existed. He said that he was happy she believed God existed. Confused, she said she didn’t. Sheen then asked what she would think if he spent all day in the park denying centaurs existed, to which she said that he’d be mad. When she realized what he had done, all she could do was blurt out, “I HATE YOU!” :smiley:

Paul,
The world would be a better place with more people like you in it. Thanks for seeing through to the person inside.

I live in a world where being an atheist is quite normal and I can’t say that I’ve met more than a couple who really care one way or another about what religious people believe as long as religious people don’t expect them to take the slightest notice of what they believe.

I suppose that it’s like ‘Catholics’ or any other group, most don’t spend days on the internet debating with others, they just get on with life.

Granted the great majority of atheists don’t spend their time debating with Christians on the web. However there are some who do, and I think the original question had to do with a supposed Christian who had become an atheist, and was arguing this point on the web.

I’ve seen some woeful arguments from atheists on the web. But I’ve also seen some rubbish from Christians also, including some very judgmental statements.

For a start I wouldn’t be surprised if she’d had an abortion herself. Denying God is one way of denying one’s own guilt. But I may be wrong. What is clear is that she’s had no real experience of God.

However any belief is going to start with some presuppositions, whether it’s Christianity, Atheism or New Age-ism.

And so it behoves one to know why the Catholic Church disproves of abortion, homosexual behaviour etc. and to say so. But you can’t change her mind for her. Only the Holy Spirit can do that, insofar as coming to Christ is concerned.

Sorry if I seemed to be derailing the thread but I was just making an observation on a general statement about atheists.

On the other hand . . . .

For a start I wouldn’t be surprised if she’d had an abortion herself. Denying God is one way of denying one’s own guilt.

Or it could be that, faced by ‘guilt circumstances’ (whatever, of a greater or lesser degree, they may be), the individual begins to question the whole structure of belief in ways they’ve never done before. Just as, in the ‘opposite direction’, sets of life experiences set people off on the road to belief.

Why did this person who became an atheist think that God or some other religion’s deity would not restrict people from having abortions or homosexual relationships? What benefit does this person see in these things that they are so sure they should be allowed, because I don’t see how murder and homosexual relationships benefit humanity.

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