I am always involved here or there in discussions/debates with atheists. And while SOME other Christians will either avoid them or abruptly leave without giving answers to the key questions, I courageously hang around until those questions have been answered. I WANT PEOPLE TO HAVE FULL UNDERSTANDING OF OUR FAITH.
I’ve found that most Christians are missing the big points with atheists as they get all tangled up in discussions about things that really don’t matter. In order to break through the surface, you need to figure out the core of the problem and work with that first. The purpose of this blog is to explain misunderstandings that many non-believers have about Christians.
WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN?
The first thing I would like to address is this: most atheists “believe” they were Christians at some point in their lives. This is the one of the most common false claims atheists make. Being raised in a Christian home, going to church, being baptized, attending a Christian school, or even saying you believe in Jesus DOES NOT MAKE ONE A CHRISTIAN. There is a difference between talking the talk, and walking the walk.
Being a Christian IS GIVING YOUR LIFE TO CHRIST. Placing HIM first in your life above all else including money, your desires in life, even your family is what being a Christian is about. It is seeking His guidance in all your decisions, and relying on Him for your needs. For atheists to say they were once a Christian is like a chicken saying it was once an elephant.
Atheists also don’t seem to understand that most self-professing Christians are just like they were; people that only mouth the words, not really believing them or understanding them. There are false conversions everywhere and for this reason I can understand the bad name given to Christians. These false conversions appear like everyone else in the world: they drink, they swear, they worship sports teams, they worship money, they listen to vulgar music, and watch vulgar movies. They live in the “secular”, not separating themselves from the world as would accompany a true conversion.
These false conversions are everywhere in the world – but mostly in America and Canada. And these false conversions most definitely include pastors, priests, teachers, etc.
We born again Christians know them “by their fruit”. If they are acting secular outside of their teaching, promoting false doctrine, and worshiping things of the world, their fruit is rotten and worthless.
DISAGREEMENT ON BIBLE DOCTRINE WITHIN CHRISTIANITY
I mentioned Christians having a bad name. Atheists too will often bring up how there is division in the Christian realm regarding the Bible; that Christians can’t agree on things of the Bible. This claim is true. Christians often do NOT agree on “interpretations” of the Bible. Most often, this is because of false conversions. Many of these false conversions will rely on their own understanding of the Bible, which is the wrong thing to do. Without some knowledge of Jewish heritage, studying commentary from respected theologians, reviewing translations, and cross referencing WITHIN THE BIBLE, one will often take verses out of context, not understand the full meaning, and this leads to debate with those more knowledgeable in the Word who have invested more time studying and learning. We also MUST BE BORN AGAIN in order to have the Holy Spirit – which gives us better discernment to the Bible. Without that, we can be terribly misled into corrosive and destructive interpretation of the Bible. Again, pastors, preachers, and teachers are not immune to this.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ‘BORN AGAIN’
Being born again is one of those things that yet again is said loosely by many, not fully comprehending the meaning of it.
Giving your life to Christ is a series of events that can take time, or happen quickly, depending on the person. For example – my own conversion was a long process. And one of the KEY ingredients to this is: WE MUST BE CALLED BY CHRIST FIRST. He calls us in various ways and at various times in our lives. It doesn’t matter if you’re raised in a Christian atmosphere, or a Muslim atmosphere – He has ways of tugging at our hearts that we choose to either ignore, or investigate. If you are reading this blog, you want more information. You are seeking TRUTH, and this is a good thing. 😉
After you are called and start investigating the faith and claims of the Bible, He can bring you to a place of humility and repentance. You somehow start to realize your own frailty, and you start to understand that you really ARE a bad person – not in the world’s eyes, but in His. We lie to ourselves for a long time trying to tell ourselves we’ll get to heaven because we are good people. If we deny heaven altogether, then we have far deeper heart issues that need to be addressed.
When we repent of our sins (admit them to Him, ask for forgiveness of them, and turn from them), an immediate change starts happening. For me, my eyes were opened to things I had never seen before immediately after I did this. I understood things in ways as never before. The weight of my sins were taken off my shoulders (the heavy burden), never again to be felt. I had new vision, I felt lighter, and I gained an intense thirst for more knowledge about Him. It was a supernatural experience for me that I cannot fully explain in words. The event itself was so profound, I’ll never forget it – as others who have also gone through this don’t forget.
Then I went through a phase of God revealing Himself to me. Through His Word, and events in my life. I tested Him, and every time I was amazed at how He revealed Himself…often in impossible ways, or in the strangest of places. I would pray and ask Him to help me with a problem or give me an answer, then open the bible randomly with my eyes closed and the answer was right there on the page I flipped to randomly. I remember an instance later on in my walk where I was intensely praying, seeking His guidance, and I asked him a specific question and slowly in my mind the verse came to me: “Galatians……5……..8”. I didn’t even know if there was a chapter 5 in Galatians, let alone a verse 8. But I looked it up and it was a warning to me….a valid warning that I didn’t heed and paid the price for later.
These are just samples of how God reveals Himself to us, and His truths. I know it may sound hokey to some, but we are all different, and He works with those He’s called in the ways in which work best for them. These were things that worked for me.
I lived 10 years or so learning about Him, His Word, and learning what I could. But I STILL hadn’t given my life fully to Him yet. I was still in the “secular”, doing things my own way, not fully understanding what it meant to give my life to Him. And then I was put to my knees. He made me realize I just couldn’t do things on my own anymore because I was foolish and making too many mistakes. I was struggling in so many areas in life. I finally pushed Satan away, and Christ came in. My life has not been the same since. When I used to hate my life, now I find peace. When I used to love this world, now I see it for what it is. When I used to always want more and more and more, and the more I got, it was just never enough – now I am thankful for everything I have (and find I really don’t need more) and thank Him often for the many blessings in my life. Before my life had no purpose, now it has every purpose imaginable. My husband too went from being a porn addict and a selfish, lazy man to a selfless, giving, loyal, supportive husband who works hard for our family and has full accepted the proper role of the husband – as stated in the Bible – and he did this practically overnight – and it was because he too gave his life to Christ. He too had new vision, new sight, new understanding of himself, our marriage, what his role in the family was, etc. And together, we have one of the greatest, most enduring marriages, with God as the head of all. MANY born again Christians will give you this same testimony in how God completely turned around a failing marriage.
THIS IS BEING BORN AGAIN.
It is being cleansed from the inside out. It is like dying to your old self, and being born into a whole new person.
It’s the testimony of a changed life….completely and utterly altered into a new person, with new ideas, new thoughts, new hopes, new goals, new desires. THAT’S what atheists should be asking Christians:
How has God changed your life?
You will know them by their answers. If they are a true conversion – they will tell you with elation how Christ has changed their lives. If they really don’t have an answer – it means they have yet to give their lives to Him and are still walking without Him. They have yet to go through the transformation of being born again.
I hope this answers questions some of you have had. I hope it enlightens people to the Christian truths that aren’t spoken of enough out there. My hope is to do more of these blogs down the road to answer more questions about our faith that come up in conversations with atheists.
A quote from my friend Eric:
Without God, there is no such thing and right and wrong because there would be no objective point of reference. Without God, then they (atheists) have to say all comes from random chance which then means life has no meaning, no purpose, and no value.
And I’m sorry but I am disabling comments for this blog. I was slammed for three days with hate mail on another atheist blog I wrote and that’s not something I care to contend with again. Life is too short to endure so much hatred from those who don’t know me, and simply don’t understand the faith. There’s no need for all the hate. My prayer is that those who don’t believe will learn to be more respectful to those who believe something different than they. After all, they (atheists) claim to want equality, and it comes from accepting the differences of others first.
The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.
[ The World’s Hatred ] “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
1 John 3:13
Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.
To know more, watch the powerful video below – it represents the life of just about every Christian quite well. It might even represent your own life, you just haven’t reached the end yet. 😉
Peace to you all, today and every day 🙂