hi everyone, I need your help with a short, but kind answer. I’m in discussion with someone who is having a hard time understanding why a godless society (he uses a small ‘g’ …) would be so bad, since, according to him, so many wars, the dark ages, and the spread of AIDS came down to religious causes. (I have no idea about the’t AIDS reference, but that is what he said). I’m at a loss on where to go from here. He won’t read a long explanation and I don’t want to give him a snippy or sarcastic response since I’m hoping what I write will at least make him think a little. Any suggestions on how to respond to such a statement?
Remind him that to date there has never been a Christian society. We have never tried to live by God’s laws yet. Christ said to love your enemy and laid down his sword to be taken away to his death. So you can’t blame God for wars since his death. God TOLD us to not to make war but we still do not listen.
Regarding the dark ages, there are many myths that people tend to believe. Try this to start : cracked.com/article_20186_6-ridiculous-myths-about-middle-ages-everyone-believes.html
He probably thinks that AIDS spread because people didn’t wear condoms because of religion. Right? AIDS is spread by the sharing of bodily fluids. There are many other diseases that are spread that way too. This means that the problem is sex with unknown partners, sharing needles or other medical situations (Mother to her baby for example). It has been shown time and again that by supplying condoms, you encourage more sex with strangers and has no effect on reducing disease spread.
He’s trying to make the case that the cause of AIDS being spread is because people are being told not to use condoms out of religious sensibilities. :rolleyes:
I’m at a loss on where to go from here. He won’t read a long explanation and I don’t want to give him a snippy or sarcastic response since I’m hoping what I write will at least make him think a little. Any suggestions on how to respond to such a statement?
You could ask him whether ‘godless’ (i.e., atheistic) societies / cultures / leaders have done any better. You have some pretty strong counter-examples that you could offer (Hitler/Nazis, Stalin/Soviets, Pol Pot / Khmer Rouge)…
Think about the “atrocities” committed by the really atheistic societies… the US of A, the Scandinavian countries, the Benelux countries. All of these are grounded on secular principles, one of which is utmost tolerance toward religion - all sorts of religions.
The sad point is that religion is inherently divisive. Our religion is right, yours is wrong. Our God is right, yours is wrong. We are chosen, you are hell-bound. Only very recently did the concept of tolerance start to appear in the mainstream Christianity. Jews used to be the murderers of Christ, Muslims were infidels, pagans or atheists were heathens. Only a few decades ago did some of them (not the atheists, of course) become our “wayward” brothers, whose beliefs might be acceptable in some respect, but they are still incorrect in most respects. Only WE have the access to the WHOLE “truth”!
You would be outraged if the atrocities of the Inquisition would be blamed upon the teachings of Christianity, even though the witches, the devil are parts of the Christian belief system. Atheism has no basic “teachings”. The only tenet of atheism is the lack of belief in a god or gods. Some atheists are kind, some are evil. Just like with Christians. You cannot draw generic conclusions about individuals or societies based upon their religious affiliation.
No one has “first dibs” of good or evil attitude. That is the answer you should present to your conversation partner.
Get him an article about the research done by the AIDS Prevention Research Center at Harvard. It shows that condom distribution in Africa actually causes AIDS to spread more rapidly. It should blow his mind and challenge the beliefs that he has formed from consuming superficial, thoughtless, and agenda-driven media. If he is ready to listen more carefully, then check out some writing by Dinesh D’Souza, who has formulated easy-to-understand arguments from history and philosophy supporting the positive influence of Christianity on civilization.
He doesn’t want to read anything with substance, but doesn’t want anything quick that could be construed as snippy? Sounds like he just doesn’t want to listen at all.
I find comments about war and desctruction being primarily caused by religions to be a very naive accusation. Sorry, but institutionalized atheism has only been around for a little over a century, and is responsible for more deaths in that one century than all religious violence of the entire history of humanity combined.
The French Revolution killed more people than ISIS has, and in a smaller amount of time. Yet atheists celebrate the French Revolution.
The Russian Bolshevik’s, which was an openly atheist revolution, killed tens of millions of people.
Likewise, the Chinese revolutionaries were also explicitly atheist, and they killed even more than the Russian’s and German’s.
If the secularist wants to complain about body counts, violence, etc; they really have no moral high ground to stand on.
As far as the dark ages, AIDS, etc; that’s just straight-up propaganda. The claims simply don’t correspond to reality.
You also may need to be prepared for the possibility that your friend isn’t seeking the Truth. Some people have a preconceived opinion and nothing will change it. Jesus knew this quite well.
Yeah, because atheism isn’t divisive. It’s not like atheists say they’re the only ones that are right about the “ultimate question,” while everyone else throughout all of human history,in every other culture, in every other time period, has been completely wrong…
oh, no, wait a second…
Our God is right, yours is wrong.
“Our knowledge of God’s non-existence is right, every other culture throughout all of history is wrong.”
We are chosen, you are hell-bound.
“We atheists are the ‘brights,’ you theists are the ‘dull’” (this, according to the “New Atheists”)
Only very recently did the concept of tolerance start to appear in the mainstream Christianity. Jews used to be the murderers of Christ, Muslims were infidels, pagans or atheists were heathens. Only a few decades ago did some of them (not the atheists, of course) become our “wayward” brothers, whose beliefs might be acceptable in some respect, but they are still incorrect in most respects. Only WE have the access to the WHOLE “truth”!
Those attitudes are only recent, eh? Sounds like you’ve never read any of the Church Fathers.
Maybe you should read what the early Church Fathers actually taught about Pagans and their relationship to God before claiming that Christians have always dismissed them as being totally lost?
Try reading Justin Martyr before making such a claim.
(Justin was KILLED by the Pagans, and he spoke better of them than atheists speak of Christians! Justin Martyr taught that Pagans have access to God and have a natural knowledge of Him, and that God builds upon what they already know… whereas atheists just dismiss Christians today as stupid “dulls” who need to be reeducated… so much for tolerance somehow being “new” and found primarily among atheists, and not existing until recently within Christianity)
You would be outraged if the atrocities of the Inquisition would be blamed upon the teachings of Christianity, even though the witches, the devil are parts of the Christian belief system.
I have no serious problem with the Crusades or Inquisition, properly historically understood.
The witch trials took place in Protestant England and North East America-- not related to the Inquisition.
Atheism has no basic “teachings”. The only tenet of atheism is the lack of belief in a god or gods.
It doesn’t have a single Holy Book containing one moral code; but it certainly does have a belief system of which different beliefs are orthodox or unorthodox.
As a famous foundational philosopher of atheism once said:
“If there is no God, everything is permissible.” --Jean-Paul Sartre
All societies and businesses and churches have good and evil. In the first 12 Apostles, there was Judas. Judas was connected w money. There would be evil in the church. There is evil in business and societies. Mexican Cartels-godless society. atheist society that took prayer out of school and behavior deteriorated. We,.Christians are persecuted. Read the SERMON ON THE MOUNT. EPHESIANS 3:14-21
JESUS TOOK A TORTUOUS JOURNEY TO THE CROSS FOR US.
Other people have suffered besides Christians. there is a godless society.
Jesus said through Jeremiah the Prophet, I have a plan for you. It is a good plan.It is not a plan for evil. It has a future and a purpose. Jeremiah 28/11.
in Christs love
I don’t see that this question will help you, because we can only respond to you: We can’t respond to him, and it’s his needs that must be met. To best answer this question, we would need to get a feel for his needs by listening to him.
That being said, based on what you’ve written, you might begin a study with him on non-Christian and atheist governments, e.g. Stalin, I hear Pol Pot cited as another, China today, perhaps even Cuba to some extent, about how life actually has been for people living under atheistic governments.
First: It doesn’t have to be an atheist society to go to war. Have their ever been wars that were not for religious reasons? The answer is yes. Being religious does not automatically assume a war will break out, being atheist does not negate the possibility of war. Sometimes people are selfish and make evil decisions for purely selfish and evil reasons.
Second: Is there ever a GOOD reason to go to war? Again, the answer is yes. The defense of all things good and beautiful is a GOOD reason to stand up and fight. Again, sometimes people are selfish and evil, and they should be stopped.
In counter: How does an atheist determine the difference between a just war and an unjust war? When someone truly believes that their selfish and evil decisions are ‘right’ what is the justification for stopping them? How do you know YOU are not the selfish and evil one in that circumstance? Might makes right?
A godless society will probably be worse because religion is used to control the population to an extent. Without it we would probably revert back to ape society (think of jails where society breaks down and inmates turn ape). Religion and government together help keep society going.