Please help! Dealing with atheism and Christianity


#1

I have a friend who claims to be atheist. However, he states that if he were to believe in God, he thinks that God would be controlling our every action and that practicing a Christian faith would be unreasonable due to the fact that God has already predestined us to heaven or hell. Furthermore, he wonders whats so special about Christianity that he should become Christian in the first place…
I have no idea where to start looking for answers because i have found few books in my Church library talking about these exact matters and I havent had time to fully talk about this to my preist.
I was hoping someone had some answers on how to refuke the statements being made by my friend.
Thanks and God bless! :]


#2

I have a friend who claims to be atheist. However, he states that if he were to believe in God, he thinks that God would be controlling our every action and that practicing a Christian faith would be unreasonable due to the fact that God has already predestined us to heaven or hell. Furthermore, he wonders whats so special about Christianity that he should become Christian in the first place…
I have no idea where to start looking for answers because i have found few books in my Church library talking about these exact matters and I havent had time to fully talk about this to my preist.
I was hoping someone had some answers on how to rebuke the statements being made by my friend.
I have posted this in another forum as well because I would like to be able to end these beleifs quickly.They are spreading to his friends and especially his girlfriend and I would not like to see them brought down with him.
Thanks and God bless! :]


#3

Hello,

I’m not that good at giving advise, but 2 things you wrote stood out to me.

he states that if he were to believe in God, he thinks that God would be controlling our every action

I would ask your friend if he has ever heard of free will. God loves us so much that he gave us the gift of free will.

Furthermore, he wonders whats so special about Christianity that he should become Christian in the first place…

Jesus is pretty special, does your friend know of Him? Maybe if he got to know more about Him he would have a different opinion.

I know I’m horrible with giving advise, just wanted to share my POV. There are really good Apologetics on this forum who I’m sure will be able to answer your dilemma better. God Bless.


#4

He thinks that God would be controlling our every action - and therein lies the problem.

He only needs to look at parents and children to see that most parents who love truly give freedoms to their children, even though those freedoms are often abused.


#5

I have no idea where to start looking for answers because i have found few books in my Church library talking about these exact matters and I havent had time to fully talk about this to my preist.
I was hoping someone had some answers on how to rebuke the statements being made by my friend.

Well you would have gone past the answers if you did not look at the*** “Bible” ***Every answer is in there. You may not be conversant with it so have a look at the words in the differeance between those of the world and those of the spirit.
For instance What does the world offer what does the spirit offer? ( Galatians 5) (1 Corrinthians 12, most of) ( 1 Corinth -13) (James 3, 5- 23-25). These are all good reanings. There are other references that go off these that you will see when you read any of these.
Remember that this is NOT a contest we are to love, God’s will be done not ours.

God bless
littleone


#6

May God’s peace, love and mercy be with you all!

God, Who is All Goodness, All Loving, All Powerful, Creator of heaven and earth, all things visible and invisible, with all things subject and obedient to Him except for ONE thing, He gave us humans free will. This free will Adam and Eve have exercised freely in the garden of Eden (out of pride and disobedience) that is why they ate the forbidden fruit even though God had forbidden them to do so causing man to fall out of grace. This is where original sin comes from and from then on sin and death has entered humanity. The perfect example of the wrong use of free will.

Adam and Eve were already in a state of grace, were already with God, but yet they rejected His Love, His Goodness, His Commandment and disobeyed Him that’s why they were banished from the garden of Eden. If they were predestined, why would they even have to be banished? They were already there in paradise to begin with. It was not God Who failed, it was surely not God who controlled them, they, out of there own pride and disobedience, using their God given gift of free will the wrong way, decided for themselves to disobey Our Good God.

God, Who is All Holy, banished from the garden of Eden, for sin cannot be combined nor withstand God’s Utmost Purity and Holiness.

God Who is also Just, after banishing them from paradise, now required man to till the earth (from where he was taken from and to where he will return) and through labor (sweat of his brow), will man eat his food.

Now God, Who is also Infinitely Merciful, promised to send a redeemer. He sent His Only Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ to redeem us, so that we may once again enter paradise and be with God for all eternity. He could have sent His Son Jesus to redeem the angels when they disobeyed God but He did not. Instead He came down from heaven and became man 2,000 years ago to redeem humanity. He horribly suffered, died for all our sins. And even if there was only one soul to redeem, He would still choose to die that horrible death just to redeem that one single soul. That’s how special we are and so is Jesus!

Why did Jesus have to come down from heaven to redeem us? Because we are only human, finite in nature and cannot redeem ourselves. Even if we combine all the strength, prayers, deeds of all humanity 'till the end of time, it is still finite without God. So, only God, Who is infinite in nature, can redeem humanity and expiate for our sins. God Himself, in behalf of humanity, atoning for the offenses made against an infinite God. So, this Jesus, is not only human but also is God. The second Person of the Holy Trinity. That’s why He is special!

What’s so special about Christianity? To be a Christian is to be a baptized follower of Christ, to be a follower of God Himself. Now 2,000 years ago, Jesus, Our God, founded only ONE Church, the holy Catholic Church. It existed then and still exists now 2,000 years later throughout the world. He appointed Peter to be the head of His Church. 2,000 years later, through an unbroken line of succession from Peter, we have Pope Benedict the XV1, the 266th Pope.

What’s so special about Catholicism? Well, not only do you get to hear about Jesus when the Scriptures are read during holy mass, you also get to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood as He promised 2,000 years ago. This Jesus, Who is Our Redeemer and God, we get to eat, as a source of nourishment for both our body and soul. He has kept His promise to be with us 'till the end of time.

You also get to go to Confession and know that the sins that you confess with a contrite heart are forgiven since Jesus has also given the power and authority to the apostles 2,000 years ago, to forgive and retain sins.

You get to belong to the ONLY Church that God Himself founded, not just by another human being.

For God is All Truth, you also have the assurance of having the FULLNESS OF TRUTH, instead of only a part of it, so that we may be able to know God, love Him and serve Him better and be with Him throughout all eternity. Now that is awesome!

Now, if we think that after all these that God, Who has died for us to redeem us from the sins that we have committed, is unreasonable, how about we try having someone else nail us to the cross every time we or others offended God? Jesus, Our God has done nothing wrong but we all did. Maybe that would put things in perspective and we can then start becoming more grateful to Our Good God, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and start serving better and loving Him the way He needed to be loved.

God Bless!

Blessed be Jesus and Mary!


#7

Thanks so much for your answers!!
Well, the thing my friend is wondering is what makes Christianity right? When i told him about how long its existed, he pointed out that other religions have existed just as long. When i told him about the number of people who believe it he says that just as many people believed the world was a square long ago but now we know that they were all wrong.
He also points out that the Bible itself tells us that our Lord controls us when he hardened the pharohs heart against Moses, therefore meaning we don’t have control over ourselves.
I don’t know what to do, it makes me sick just thinking of how far from God he is, and i really want to help…


#8

I haven’t read this book, but the title sounds like it would pertain to your situation.

catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0226.htm

The apologetics section at the site above has alot of great articles.


#9

Sometimes prayer works better than attempting to reason with someone who won’t listen to reason.


#10

Well here you have a classic case. If he were athiest why would he believe such? Second ask him to explain is moral/ethical base, tell him athiests from all over the world can not seem to answer that question, so he can be a millionair by simply publishing the answer as they will gladly buy it from him.


#11

well, i used to be agnostic once, in the sense that I believed that God existed and that there were many paths to reach Him. I have since given up on that position and come back to the Catholic Church

Why? Because
a) only the Catholic Christian faith has an unbroken lineage spanning 2000 years. No other religion (not even Hinduism has such a claim) The claim is based on the unity of scripture and doctrine. Where else can you find the same teaching continuously over millennia?

b) being an engineer by profession, I was convinced that all questions would be answered by science someday in the future. Implicitly I had substituted a belief in God for a belief in Future Science (or Sci-Fi as it is commonly called :smiley: ). After reading books I found that even scientists with better educations than mine have belief in God

c) So I decided to study what Catholicism taught and what it stood for. I found that the Catholic church has helped more people through charity and education than any other single entity over 2000 years. Read - How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas E. Woods Jr - for a collection of such data
On the whole, as Lord Jesus said in Matthew 7:17-18 Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.

The Catholic Church is that good tree.

d) see the gifts which the Holy Spirit confers on some people so that others may see(or hear) them and believe - I have personally seen during a Charismatic Retreat the person on stage filled with the Holy Spirit, informing people he had never met about what God had done for them. You have see some Catholic Charismatic Retreats to see this yourself.

See the fruits of other religions - individualism, non-unity, materialism and finally a disenchantment with all religions. This is the devil’s ploy to confuse people from the true faith by distorting the truth

In the end, after seeing the fruits of the Catholic Church, the humbleness of Christian believers, the simplicity of the truth in Lord Jesus’ message and I’m sure with more than a nudge from the Holy Spirit through the prayers of people praying for my conversion, I came back to the Church.

Pray for the person. Someday the Lord might decide to show him the light. We might never know, we can only pray.

PS: other good books/topics for reading are
a) Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (himself an atheist who became Christian)
b) Karl Keating’s books on Catholic faith and traditions
c) Catholic Church History
d) Faith of the Early Church Fathers.


#12

Indeed. I’ll never see how you can reconcile an all-whatever creator with anything worth calling free will.


#13

Just because God knows the outcome of every possible action/decision you might ever take/make, doesn’t mean that God will force your will to take the path which leads to Him. He will nudge you, sometimes even put you in situations that require His help, but you are still free to ignore him.

That is why God is all-powerful, all-knowing but because of His love for us he has given us free will to reject him if we choose.


#14

Why does this convince me you have yet to raise a child?


#15

I think the best position to take is certainly NOT to try to convert him. That can only be done by God. The more you try to quote scripture, the less he will listen to you. You might as well be reading out of a cookbook as far as he is concerned.

That being said, just keep asking him questions. Be honest about it, let him know you are earnestly trying to understand his side and he will relax a little. Ask him why you would be happier without God in your life. That always seems to put the breaks on them a little. If you are perfectly happy worshiping a turnip, why should it matter to him? I mean, obviously the universe is meaningless and cruel, shouldn’t you be allowed to find whatever happiness there is in it for you without him judging you for it? Try to stay on the ‘what’s in it for me?’ line of questioning. And try not to let “…because God said so.” be the answer to any of his questions. :smiley:

Sometimes these debates can degrade into ad hominem attacks. Just be ready for it and try not to take it personally. If it happens, politely tell him you don’t care to continue with the conversation at this time.

In the end just remember that the fate of the universe and the existence of God in no way hinges on the outcome of this debate. He is betting his eternal soul that he is right, that’s quite a steep wager if you ask me. He will probably be ready to defend it to the death, just don’t follow him down that path. Keep it light and upbeat. He will walk away with a good impression of you and of religion as a whole. Maybe in your next discussion he will open the door by asking you about YOUR beliefs. :wink:

The Holy Spirit will help you find the words to say. Let him speak through you. :crossrc:

Good luck, my prayers are with you! :thumbsup:


#16

Thanks sooooo much!!!
I think this is the way I will handle the situation.
I just hope I havn’t already gone to far into this trying to convert him…?
I have talked to him about this twice and both times attempted to convince him he was wrong, obviously the worst way to handle it…:confused:
Anyway, I thank you all so much for your help!!!
Please feel free to offer other suggestions as well~! :]
God bless!!! :smiley:


#17

It is my absolute pleasure.

One thing I forgot to mention, the topic of evil done either within the church, or in the name of God will likely come up. Be ready to take ownership of it. Admit that it was something horrible and you feel bad it was done in the name of God. Also gently remind him that things done in the NAME of God are not actually done BY God, and that the world is full of sinners, just as the church is full of sinners. We all could stand to do better at our relationships, whether we are individuals, religious groups, or nations.

Never try to make excuses for sinners in the church. Always accept the blame we have coming to us. We, unlike Christ, have earned the lashings that we take.

You are doing Christ’s work, you can only succeed, even if you never see the fruits of the labor.

God Bless :slight_smile:


#18

Frank Sheed makes a very good point in his book "Theology and Sanity"
He points out that everything comes from something else. We come from our parrents. Ellaments come from atoms combining and sepperating. Think of our plannet. It is made of Stuff. That stuff came from something, and that stuff came from something, and that stuff came from other stuff, and so on. There HAD to be a beginning of where stuff came from. There has to be a starting point of where stuff was created by something that was not created it self. That being God. He not only created us, but everything. How he did that and how long it took is a whole nother debate that I’m not getting into.
I had mentioned this to an atheis friend of mine and his jaw droped. He said thats a good point. I’ll look into it. I gave him the title of the book.


#19

We’re talking about an all-knowing creator, right? By allegedly creating a universe just as intended, we’re left with the illusion of free will at best. If your god didn’t want anything turn out the way it does, it could have created a different universe…

He will nudge you, sometimes even put you in situations that require His help, but you are still free to ignore him.

Either we’re free to make our own decisions or we aren’t. Nudging and entrapment aren’t charming theological concepts.

That is why God is all-powerful, all-knowing but because of His love for us he has given us free will to reject him if we choose.

You must use a different definition of love than I do.


#20

FYI - For the Record

Internally this is known as “predestination” The Church writing would take a team of lawyers a couple of years to decipher. However many of us ( Christians) to not see the issue as presented here. I would rather liken it to a game : It will start at Tuesday at 6:30pm the score will be 0 to 0, there will be 9 innings 3 out per side per inning, the highest score is declared the winner. So the game is predestine however the outcome is unknown. Also please remember this is a common opinion, the lawyers can explain the official definition.


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