Question from an agnostic


#1

So I was talking to my agnostic htb and he basicly said:

“i dont want religion for myself because in terms of how i think, i only see evidence of god and jesus in the collective human need that they should exist, beyond that i see nothing to prove their existence and for me it almost seems a laughable concept that people funnel into churches each sunday or whatever day they meet to pray and worship something they cant possibly know anything about, if there is anything to know.”

how to i respond to that WITHOUT quoting scripture or anything with christianity. Keep in mind that we started talking about Summa Theologicae when we were first dating and while that was somewhat satisfactory to him since it was just focused on the general proof of existence of God and no mention or influence of religion in the arguments, he still had trouble believing it. I need somewhere to go to have him see the true existence of religion and not just blame it on some psychological factor that some humans need, without it being influenced by already established religions.

And he brought up another thing:

“how you’re brought up predisposes you so much toward what you feel, and if that’s the case, religion and faith are based on thought processes and learned behavior rather than an actual supreme being”

I don’t even know how to respond to that one :stuck_out_tongue:

Help me out guys! Thanks!


#2

I would say:

“Were you to wipe my memory and drop me in the middle of a desert, I would know I needed water. And here in this earthly desert, my soul thirsts–it thirsts for God. I have a longing in the depths of my being for something unfamiliar and unknown, a longing unable to be satisfied by anything but him. No matter how hard I try, I can find no substitute. My entire being craves him.”

I would say:

“As a human, I have to believe in love. If I believe in love, in true and pure and self-sacrificial love, then I must believe in God.”

I would point out that our desire for God, our innate sense of morality (which is inexplicable), both direct us toward the same conclusion. I would say that the conundrum of mankind–our inner struggle between good and evil–has no better explanation than the Christian one: That we who were basically and essentially good betrayed our original design and thus corrupted our race, causing war between flesh and spirit.

Part of the Christian religion is the conviction that there is the possibility of obtaining absolute certainty concerning matters which our senses cannot help us to resolve via supernatural faith. Faith, Scripture says, is not a human faculty: but a divine gift. This certainty can never rightfully be attributed to ourselves but to God.

We all have presuppositions (including your agnostic friend). How many atheists were born when, ostracized and scorned by their peers, they were left to conclude that (having never experienced it for themselves) unconditional love, and therefore God, was a farce? Quite a few. Work with presuppositions–but test them. I grew up in a non-practicing Baptist family, dabbled in mythologies and world religions, Judaism, Islam, and finally Catholicism.

One who sincerely seeks God is already on the right path.

Then, after telling your agnostic friend all this, I’d say, “HEY! Let’s go get a sundae.”


#3

You could focus on evolution. Why would evolution create creatures (us) who needed so strongly to believe in something that doesn’t exist? No other animal has evolved with that need, so why us? What possible survival benefit does it provide us to believe in a lie? What possible survival benefit does it provide us to deny ourselves in this life when there’s no afterlife?

Obviously, faith runs against the current of evolution, because it often causes people to not act in their own best material interests - and if there’s no God, those are the only interests that matter. The belief in God (in whatever forms it has taken throughout history) is an evolutionary disadvantage, not an advantage. And yet it is strongly wired into the human species. Why?


#4

You will find this helpful. You don’t need a Ph.D.in philosophy to understand it. .

bringyou.to/apologetics/philos.htm

This one works too.

doxa.ws/Menues/DoxaGod.html

Brows around. Pick a page, print it off.


#5

great answers, guys i have a couple of arguments. The only problem with the argument that man has this need for God is that my htb was raised with no religious background whatsoever. HIs parents wanted to give them an “open” background. but b/c of this, he claims that he has never felt that need for God and he feels perfectly fine, making a point that how you are raised predisposes you. I was looking into CS Lewis and while I’ll still give it to him to read, I know that Lewis was brought up in religion even though he left it later on and then return. So in his argument Lewis was already “predisposed” to believe. GAHHH hahaha


#6

I’ve often pointed people to Peter Kreeft’s “Handbook of Christian Apologetics”. It deals with many things, among them the existence of God. He uses reason and logic to walk the reader through twenty arguments for God’s existence, with answers to common rebuttal questions. The book also goes into the existence of evil, the nature of Jesus, and many other things.

You may find this to be a book to let him read and reflect on.


#7

I was raised on secularism and materialism.

I was drinking from age 12, stealing from age 8. and doing drugs from age 15. I was first arrested at 15 in our middle upper class neighborhood. I was in Boys Town for my high school years. As a child, I went to church once or twice with my neighbors who were very kind, but I would rather have sex with them than go to church. I was homosexual from an early age.

After a few more years of terrible living, I was asked a question one day by a pastor. He asked, if I were to die that day, where would I go? I said “straught to hell” and started crying uncontrollably. I knew intuitively that I was going to hell, and it took no one else to tell me that. I also knew somewhere deep down inside that there was something much bigger than me out there. The pastor asked me if I wanted to go to heaven, and I said yes, crying more uncontrollably. He asked me if I believed I was a sinner, I said yes, and he told me about Jesus having died for our sins on the cross and that this is how much He loves us, that He would actually lay down His life for us, and then rise again, showing us we have power over the grave. I said a prayer asking Jesus to come into my heart and life, and I have never cried this hard, feeling the relief and forgiveness that immediately came upon this broken young man, sitting there in that jail cell with ten other guys in orange jumpsuits, bawling my eyes out. And at that moment, I could care less about heaven, because the desire to drink left me, and drug, and homosexual desires, and sttealing, were all taken from me in the blink of an eye! Nothing else could even begin to suppress these desires, but Jesus Christ, the Living God, removed them from me and reversed my whole moral thought process in the blink of an eye.

It is odd, that when looking at pictures of my childhood room at age 10, I see this sacred heart of Jesus statue on my dresser that I had prurchased for .25cents at a garage sale. I had remembered drawing a picture of the crucifixion at about age 5 from a brand new bible I had found in a drawer at our house. Today I get to make beautiful crucifixes for a living.

You see, I was always drawn to Jesus Christ and His loving sacrifice, even before I really knew who He was, or what He was all about. No one had to tell me, I was drawn. a few years back, as I was reading John, I came across this passage in John 12:32-33 where he says that he will draw all men unto Himself through His being lifted up from the earth, the way in which he would die.

so I can see today that I was drawn by his crucifixion, His sacrifice.

Heck, people in no man’s land are drawn to God without ever being shown anything about God by anyone else. It is intuitive. we drown it out with the materialism, sex, drinking, cars sports, temporal happiness. but death is the great equalizer, and when each person lies on that death bed, then they will truly understand the concept and reality of God, either before they die, or after.

peace, Justin


#8

Jeez…all of these long explanations…

Either you believe or you don’t. If he’s been presented with the evidence (The Bible) and fails to see the importance of God’s relationship to man and Jesus’ subsequent relation to God and man and still doesn’t believe then no amount of apologetic will change that. It’s belief which requires faith. If it could be known, it wouldn’t require faith. (Duh.)

But since you’re attempting NOT to use the Bible (which seems silly since that’s the only evidence we’ve got), why not ask him how he knows that his entire life (mental and physical experiences included) are not the result of some mad scientist probing his brain in a large vat?

Truth is, none of us know: but we believe that our life experience is real, and that’s what matters: we believe.


#9

it is not apologetics, it is sharing my experience as a human being with another human being. did you even read it> i doubt it. let me repost it for you since you jumped to conclusions and were contempt prior to investigation.

I was raised on secularism and materialism.

I was drinking from age 12, stealing from age 8. and doing drugs from age 15. I was first arrested at 15 in our middle upper class neighborhood. I was in Boys Town for my high school years. As a child, I went to church once or twice with my neighbors who were very kind, but I would rather have sex with them than go to church. I was homosexual from an early age.

After a few more years of terrible living, I was asked a question one day by a pastor. He asked, if I were to die that day, where would I go? I said “straught to hell” and started crying uncontrollably. I knew intuitively that I was going to hell, and it took no one else to tell me that. I also knew somewhere deep down inside that there was something much bigger than me out there. The pastor asked me if I wanted to go to heaven, and I said yes, crying more uncontrollably. He asked me if I believed I was a sinner, I said yes, and he told me about Jesus having died for our sins on the cross and that this is how much He loves us, that He would actually lay down His life for us, and then rise again, showing us we have power over the grave. I said a prayer asking Jesus to come into my heart and life, and I have never cried this hard, feeling the relief and forgiveness that immediately came upon this broken young man, sitting there in that jail cell with ten other guys in orange jumpsuits, bawling my eyes out. And at that moment, I could care less about heaven, because the desire to drink left me, and drug, and homosexual desires, and sttealing, were all taken from me in the blink of an eye! Nothing else could even begin to suppress these desires, but Jesus Christ, the Living God, removed them from me and reversed my whole moral thought process in the blink of an eye.

It is odd, that when looking at pictures of my childhood room at age 10, I see this sacred heart of Jesus statue on my dresser that I had prurchased for .25cents at a garage sale. I had remembered drawing a picture of the crucifixion at about age 5 from a brand new bible I had found in a drawer at our house. Today I get to make beautiful crucifixes for a living.

You see, I was always drawn to Jesus Christ and His loving sacrifice, even before I really knew who He was, or what He was all about. No one had to tell me, I was drawn. a few years back, as I was reading John, I came across this passage in John 12:32-33 where he says that he will draw all men unto Himself through His being lifted up from the earth, the way in which he would die.

so I can see today that I was drawn by his crucifixion, His sacrifice.

Heck, people in no man’s land are drawn to God without ever being shown anything about God by anyone else. It is intuitive. we drown it out with the materialism, sex, drinking, cars sports, temporal happiness. but death is the great equalizer, and when each person lies on that death bed, then they will truly understand the concept and reality of God, either before they die, or after.

peace, Justin


#10

I wasn’t even referring to you. And I’m sorry, but I didn’t bother to read your second acclamation either.


#11

I was raised on secularism and materialism.

I was drinking from age 12, stealing from age 8. and doing drugs from age 15. I was first arrested at 15 in our middle upper class neighborhood. I was in Boys Town for my high school years. As a child, I went to church once or twice with my neighbors who were very kind, but I would rather have sex with them than go to church. I was homosexual from an early age.

After a few more years of terrible living, I was asked a question one day by a pastor. He asked, if I were to die that day, where would I go? I said “straught to hell” and started crying uncontrollably. I knew intuitively that I was going to hell, and it took no one else to tell me that. I also knew somewhere deep down inside that there was something much bigger than me out there. The pastor asked me if I wanted to go to heaven, and I said yes, crying more uncontrollably. He asked me if I believed I was a sinner, I said yes, and he told me about Jesus having died for our sins on the cross and that this is how much He loves us, that He would actually lay down His life for us, and then rise again, showing us we have power over the grave. I said a prayer asking Jesus to come into my heart and life, and I have never cried this hard, feeling the relief and forgiveness that immediately came upon this broken young man, sitting there in that jail cell with ten other guys in orange jumpsuits, bawling my eyes out. And at that moment, I could care less about heaven, because the desire to drink left me, and drug, and homosexual desires, and sttealing, were all taken from me in the blink of an eye! Nothing else could even begin to suppress these desires, but Jesus Christ, the Living God, removed them from me and reversed my whole moral thought process in the blink of an eye.

It is odd, that when looking at pictures of my childhood room at age 10, I see this sacred heart of Jesus statue on my dresser that I had prurchased for .25cents at a garage sale. I had remembered drawing a picture of the crucifixion at about age 5 from a brand new bible I had found in a drawer at our house. Today I get to make beautiful crucifixes for a living.

You see, I was always drawn to Jesus Christ and His loving sacrifice, even before I really knew who He was, or what He was all about. No one had to tell me, I was drawn. a few years back, as I was reading John, I came across this passage in John 12:32-33 where he says that he will draw all men unto Himself through His being lifted up from the earth, the way in which he would die.

so I can see today that I was drawn by his crucifixion, His sacrifice.

Heck, people in no man’s land are drawn to God without ever being shown anything about God by anyone else. It is intuitive. we drown it out with the materialism, sex, drinking, cars sports, temporal happiness. but death is the great equalizer, and when each person lies on that death bed, then they will truly understand the concept and reality of God, either before they die, or after.

peace, Justin


#12

great answers, guys i have a couple of arguments. The only problem with the argument that man has this need for God is that my htb was raised with no religious background whatsoever. HIs parents wanted to give them an “open” background. but b/c of this, he claims that he has never felt that need for God and he feels perfectly fine, making a point that how you are raised predisposes you.

Put a bunch of infants on a desert island, let them grow up (imperfect scenario, I know), and they will construct some sort of religion.

Your friend does have a desire for God. Does he want to be loved in spite of himself, unconditionally, and perfectly? Does he want friendship? Does he want fulfillment in life? Does he want hope? Does he want meaning, an explanation for all man’s paradoxes and all the great mysteries? Does he want true happiness and peace?

Undoubtedly, he does. Not only does he want each and every one of these things, he needs them. He will try to find them in a multiplicity of things–when, in reality, they are fully wound up in God. The proof? No one thing or person can give us even one of these things permanently. We may think we’ve found it for a while, but inevitably we move on in search of it again. We’re always looking for “the next greatest thing.” The saints lived impoverished lives, difficult and unimaginable, in order to bring into practicality God’s supersufficiency.

They tested the hypothesis and it stood up.

Peace


#13

during my lifetime some countries have tried to live without god. their social and economic restructure is a testament to that disbelief.

in truth, we need god.


#14

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