Just curious...


#1

I was wondering what you guys would say in response to this… I was in an argument with a friend of mine about a great deal of things, and it is her belief that religion is merely the product of man’s fear of death- his invention to cope with death. I held out that fear did not neccessarily lead to “invention” of religion, but rather indwelling religion inspires fear of God… I seem to be inadequate in responding however- any advice?


#2

Hey Gangsta! I’m happy you’re still around. I don’t know the answer, but this verse talks about the fear of the Lord:

Psalms 110

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A good understanding to all that do it: his praise continueth for ever and ever.

Out!

<>
McKevin


#3

I’d ask him who he thought Jesus was? It’s a historical fact that the man Jesus lived. Who was he?

His choices are: Jesus was either the Son of God - as He claimed OR he was a crazy nut who died for nothing.

So here’s how I know He wasn’t a crazy nut: His disciples… they may have been “duped” up until He died… and then, if he was just an ordinary man … that’s the end of the story right? If they believed in Him before he died, they would’ve realized how foolish they were if He hadn’t be ressurected like he fortold. But we KNOW He was ressurected because they saw him afterwards. How do we know that? Because His followers were willing to die for Him - and not just ordinary deaths… horrible deaths.

Nobody would be willing to die for a lie… obviously they knew the truth about Jesus.

So anyhow, long answer… if all religion is just made up … what about Jesus & His followers?


#4

I’ve always felt that this argument is among the weaker ones to make, especially in an age, like ours, where 900 people are willing to drink poison koolade over some twisted religious conviction. In fact, you can look back quite a ways in time and find many instances of religious fervor driving people to give themselves over to death. Look at the suicide bombers among the Islamics. Personally, I would position this as part of a larger argument that the Catholic Church is an ancient instition without parallel in the world. An unbroken line of apostolic succession, the preservation of the kernal of the faith thru centuries of severe persecutions, etc etc. This way, you make the persecution case, and also frame it within Catholicism. After all, the Protestants often use this argument, too, but have no 2000+ year old Church to prove God’s guiding presence and protection. I’d say that the reality of the Catholic Church is one of the best proofs not only for the existence of God, but also the truth and inerrancy of the Bible.


#5

Once, I heard a communist saying the same thing.

If we are afraid of death, how come there are so many saints die for Christ. They were not afraid of being executed, were they?


#6

I’ve always felt that this argument is among the weaker ones to make, especially in an age, like ours, where 900 people are willing to drink poison koolade over some twisted religious conviction. In fact, you can look back quite a ways in time and find many instances of religious fervor driving people to give themselves over to death. Look at the suicide bombers among the Islamics.

I have ruminated and prayed over this argument as well. However one could say (as you did) that the koolade drinkers twisted religion did not survive, nor did the WACO crew, or the Heaven’s Gate folks or any of the other cultish “religions”. Islamic suicide bombers are a much tougher phenomena to explain. Although I would suggest that this is a recent aberration in their religous convictions and may not sustain itself for very long.

I would also suggest reading C.S. Lewis “Mere Christianity”. He gives a wonderful, thorough, and completely readable defense of the faith and why it goes completely against human nature to “invent” religion, especially a complicated religion like Christianity.


#7

Thank you for your help one and all… I will consider these things, and I will read “Mere Christinianity”, definitely- I need some more ammo… Any other reading suggested would be helpful…

I liked all of your suggestions- saints willing to die such awful deaths seems to kind of refute what she is saying, although to that she would seek to say that it is because those saints were brainwashed themselves… However, if you look at the clarity of those saints’ thoughts (in writing), you can see they are completely of a free spirit, and the fact that the Church has endured through 2000 very topsy turvy years is good evidence to point to a guiding God.

She tried to liken current Christian idea of God as absurd as how we regard the Hellenistic gods. According to her man will eventually look at the Judeo-Christian God as smugly as we now heckle the Hellenistic pantheon, however, she errs in that the Judeo-Christian God is way ancient, and its not like the Hellenistic religions way pre-existed Judaism… I need to do my research for exacts, but its not like our God is “new” compared to the pagan gods. Our God merely conquered those gods by the evangelization and witness to the Truth… Of course I was too dumb of an ox to think of that at the time… alas, I hate debating.


#8

saints willing to die such awful deaths seems to kind of refute what she is saying, although to that she would seek to say that it is because those saints were brainwashed themselves… However, if you look at the clarity of those saints’ thoughts (in writing), you can see they are completely of a free spirit, and the fact that the Church has endured through 2000 very topsy turvy years is good evidence to point to a guiding God.

It’s also helpful to point to the “fruits” of the saints. By their fruits you shall know them.

Another absolute must have book in your arsenal is Handbook of Christian Apologetics, by Peter Kreeft. Another wise forum member suggested this book to me, and it has been invaluable for debate.


#9

She tried to liken current Christian idea of God as absurd as how we regard the Hellenistic gods. According to her man will eventually look at the Judeo-Christian God as smugly as we now heckle the Hellenistic pantheon

I would ask her how or when did the pagan gods reveal themselves? Did they provide inspired scriptures? Did they break into human existence by taking on the form of man? Did they proclaim themselves publicly as god? Did they have witnesses to attest to this? As a previous poster already wisely stated, your friend has the little problem of Jesus to explain away. How do the pagan gods stack up against this little matter of Christ dying and rising again? You should put the onus on her to answer questions.


#10

I’ve always felt that this argument is among the weaker ones to make, especially in an age, like ours, where 900 people are willing to drink poison koolade over some twisted religious conviction. In fact, you can look back quite a ways in time and find many instances of religious fervor driving people to give themselves over to death. Look at the suicide bombers among the Islamics.

It comes to me that the common thread among these examples is that these folks all committed suicide, in addition to the other examples I gave (Waco, Heaven’s Gate). However, Christian martyrs were not and are not suicides. They do not take their own lives in the name of God, but rather, they lay down their lives for God. Quite different I think.


#11

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