Took the whole thing over to churchaccomplished.com
Click here to go there!
Yesterday I posted a question I got via a website for students. Read the question here. Today I’m posting my answer to James request for help in convincing his Christian girlfriend to be an atheist. It’s longer than a normal post, but hopefully worth the read.
Thanks for writing to me. You’ve asked a question that I’ve never answered. I’m happy to give you what help I can in getting your girlfriend not believe in God or the afterlife.
I think you’ve got quite a challenge. These sort of “persistent delusions” of faith are common, often reinforced by experiences. If your girlfriend is typical, she’s probably quite convinced and has even tried to get you to believe these things too.
To convince her to not believe in God, you’ve first got to overcome her reasons for believing in God, and wanting to have a relationship with Jesus. I think you’ll have to explain away the reasons that the vast majority of the world believes in God. I’d suggest reading this article and giving logical refutations to the issues raised, particularly the argument of design. If she’s well studied on the topic, you’ll probably have to overwhelm the philosophical issues raised by Bill Craig since he’s one of the top minds of theism.
A significant issue to overcome for most Christians is the person of Jesus. You’ll likely have to help her see Jesus wasn’t God despite his claims to be God. The world’s near universal respect for Jesus, his teaching, and his morality, will be a problem. You’ll probably have to convince her he is either an evil liar, or a lunatic and not really the Lord. You can study up on this issue at here.
To change what is often a thorough-going faith of Christians, it helps to read what they read, and understand their views to effectively refute them. This may require a thorough study of the life and claims of Jesus. You’ll need to account for his miracles, his resurrection, prophecy about him written hundreds of years before his birth, the lives he changed, etc. I’d start with Gospel of John and see where she is wrong to believe in Jesus.
Once you’ve disproved Christianity and discredited Jesus, the next step is to convince her that an atheistic world view explains the universe far better than a creator God. Without this step, she’s likely to embrace some new faith. You’ll really need to go on the offensive here since it’s probably why you’ve chosen to be an atheist.
Help her to look past the logical impossibility of proving the non-existence of anything, and encourage her to embrace the belief that God doesn’t exist. Quickly you’ll need to roll-out your enduring basis for morality that doesn’t reside in transient issues of culture, preference, or subjective terms like “goodness.” Since there is no metaphysical evil, she’ll need your help see that Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, and terrorists are just people who act “differently” and should not be judged. Make her see that if she did judge them as evil or bad, she’d have to rely on a trans-cultural, transcendent, universal standard of justice that doesn’t exist.
Remind her that science has explained all the mysteries and there is nothing that exists outside of the physical realm. Explain to her that non-material things like love, beauty, and the mind aren’t real, just figments invented to explain what confuses people. Help her to see that life is better without the pretense of transcendence and enduring meaning.
Help her understand that the effects she attributes to the cause of “God” are merely her psychological or bio-kinetic projections rooted in her innate fear. But be careful or she may say fear isn’t material and therefore an unsatisfactory explanation. She must be disabused of the notion that her experiences are valid, and understand that your lack of experience on the same issue is what she should trust.
One of the most challenging issues you’ll face is that embracing atheism will highlight her natural tendency to slip quickly into nihilism. Once she’s rejected the possibility of anything being transcendent, people often, quite logically, reject anything as meaningful. Since we all are nothing more than evolutionary accidents it is easy to conclude life is pointless and cruel. You’ll have to quickly explain what value life has other than some existential semantic invention. Tell her how everything is random chance yet remains significant.
A risk at that point is for her to conclude her affection for you isn’t transcendent, and to cut you loose. So persevere carefully while stoking that psycho-kinetic projection.
That is the path I think you should take. I hope it helps. Please write back and let me know how it goes.
A few years ago, I was answering emails from college students on a Christian website about the Bible, faith, and life. One of my favorite questions came from James (not the name he used). Here is what he wrote.
I’m in love with the most wonderful girl in the world. She is a lot more spiritual than me though. She is concerned about making sure she has a personal relationship with Jesus and god and that she goes to heaven. I’m perfectly happy accepting the fact that this life is all we get and that’s the way it has always been. There are no supernatural powers of good and evil (just good and bad people), never has been, never will be.
How can I help my girl friend not believe in these fearful delusions that make her feel guilty about not going somewhere that doesn’t exist?
- How would you respond?
- What would you think is important to convey?
- What tone would you use?
I’ll post my response tomorrow.
Today, many Americans are tweeting and facebooking about the death of Osama Bin Laden. It is a historic occasion when the President of the United States personally announces the death of one man. It seems many are spontaneously celebrating the death of a terrorist.
But I cannot celebrate.
I understand the joy. There is an inherent happiness when justice, long-delayed, is finally fulfilled. My connections to the 9/11 attacks were powerful. I was hurt because our nation was hurt. Seeing the World Trade Center buildings fall was viscerally etched in my memory. I wept for those lives extinguished by terrorists. Through my tears I vowed to never forget, and I doubt I will. I was encouraged when President Bush said we would bring the guilty to justice. I long for justice in the face of evil.
As well, as a 16 year-old at a church retreat, I vowed through tears to give my life to Christ. I surrendered in hope to the One who made me. I relinquished my will and my values in exchange for the redeeming love of my Savior. Countless times I’ve sung songs of allegiance to my Lord, vowing nothing will come before him.
The world is safer today than it was, I have no doubt. Bin Laden rejoiced at the loss of life on 9/11, but I cannot do the same at his demise. God doesn’t rejoice at the death of sinners, even infamous sinners (2 Pet. 3:9; Prov. 24:17). My allegiance to my nation is strong. Yet my love for my savior is stronger. Because of who He is, I long for God’s blessings of mercy to be known well beyond the shores of our great nation.
I long for justice, but not for me. For myself and my family, I want mercy.
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. (Romans 5:6-9, ESV)
It may have rightly been God’s hand of justice that took his life. Yet it would be that same hand that takes no pity on me apart from the Son. I too was an enemy of God. Because mercy and rescue are available, and it seems he did not find them, I am saddened by the death of Bin Laden, and the dozens who perished with him.
I long for justice, but only after God’s mercy has been poured out to all who will come to the feast of the Kingdom. For those who did not come to the feast, I feel pity.
Hope is launching a new campus!
Once again we are bringing Hope to where you are! The folks in west Cary are driving 20-25 minutes to attend services. While many of you are willing to do that, it’s too far for your friends and neighbors…the people you see in the grocery store, to come consistently. So we are bringing Hope to where you are.
We plan to launch in September 11 in West Cary. Our location is up in the air but we are pursuing numerous options from RTP to Apex. We are praying God provides a weekend rental location with 300 seats and plenty of room for all Hope ministries.
Jon Miller is the campus pastor. He and his family will be looking for 600 people to join him. It will be a full Hope campus with live worship, KidCity, Middle School, High School, First Impressions and Mike’s sermons.
You need to seriously pray about joining this campus core team and helping us launch in your neighborhood. We are looking for people who will pray, go, and serve! You can get info here, or email Jon, or just call him at the church office (919.532.0620).
If you teach, lead, or communicate, this should move you! How you communicate your message is crucial.
As a church, we have the greatest story ever told (hey, that could be a movie title). The creator of the universe engaged his beloved and estranged children to bring them life in the midst of death. He sacrificed his own glory and perfection that we would not have to suffer for our sin. It’s a cosmic love story of global proportions.
But too often we make it common. We pad, cover, and obfuscate with our familiarity. Instead of illuminating the beauty of God’s love and passion, we besmirch it with lifeless and tedious teaching. We strip the truth of its glory.
- How do we compellingly tell God’s story ?
- Who have you seen bring the majesty and power of words to life?
- How do you fuel your creativity?
Yesterday, more than 40 tornados touched down in central and eastern NC, doing massive damage to our community. It was brief and devastating. Many families in our church have had their homes and vehicles damage, including one family whose home has been destroyed.
Hope Community Church took an offering today at both campuses to help those affected in Wake County. If you want to help, you can do the following:
1. Pray – There are nearly two dozen confirmed fatalities. Thousands of homes were damaged and many were wiped out. People will need hope and God’s comfort in the midst of loss. Many will need lots of physical and emotional assistance to recover. Pray the Lord uses this to draw people to himself.
2. Give – You can give through a wonderfully effective relief group, the NC Baptist Men, who are already organized and heading out today to begin repairs and trying to make people’s homes whole again. Or you can mail a check to Hope Community Church, 821 Buck Jones Road, Raleigh NC 27606 with a note saying it’s for Tornado Relief and we’ll put 100% into the community.
3. Go – NC Baptist Men are organizing volunteer teams all across central and Eastern NC. Get more info or sign up here.
Where is God in all this? I wrote last week about perspective we need in the midst of tragedy. You can read it here.
Here is a link to some brief media coverage of the damage.