11/16/99

Hi,

I have only time to address two of your topics. My email server has been out over the weekend and just returned to service on Mon.

Why do I think that there are many atheists who pretend to be Christian. A short answer is that people who truly have a relationship with God should have some change in their lives. It's the "fruit of the spirit". Yet the majority of people who identify themselves as Christians say that they almost never pray, almost never read the Bible and that their faith doesn't enter into their daily lives. Pollsters have taken these surveys and they are pretty consistent. Further I note that there are lots of good social reasons to pretend to be a Christian. One good reason is that it immunizes against other Christians trying to evangelize. Another reason is that many people are suspicious of the moral values of an atheist. But it doesn't work in reverse, i.e. Christians are not permitted, by their own beliefs, to deny God and act as atheists. My point is that if I try to evaluate the truths of Christianity by looking at the actions of people who say they are Christians, much of the time I'm going to be fooled.

Why do I think that atheists are really polytheists? You wrote: "My creativity and creations are my own, they are not derived from some unobservable, all-powerful and all-knowing force. I am the power and force behind my creations, I am my own person, and it would be pointless to share my glory or agony with something that doesn't exist."

I understand denying God's involvement in your ability to create, but are you also denying nature? Science is the study of "cause and effect" in nature. Do you exempt yourself from "cause and effect"? Are the processes that go on in your brain part of nature or are they supernatural? From your words, it seems the latter. If you truly think you are a creator, exempt from cause and effect, then you must also think that you have the god-like power to create. It's a limited power, so I compare it to that of a demi-god. If you're not claiming to be exempt from cause and effect, then your creativity has nothing to do with you anymore than a cue ball can claim the creative power to have won a game of pool.

Let me ask you a question as a thought experiment. If you became convinced, through some means, that God exists, would you try to search and find Him? Why or why not?

Cheers,
Lynn

11/16/99

Hello,

You claim that "people who truly have a relationship with God should have some change in their lives." Who says? Should people who grew up Christian suddenly have change in their lives or else they're not Christians?

What do you think the true meaning of a Christian is anyway, and how can you back that up? Who says that just because you almost never pray, almost never read the bible and your faith doesn't enter into your daily life means you're not a Christian? That is simply your definition of what a Christian isn't. I can ask five different people what a true Christian is, and all responses can be different and can be backed up. Maybe one of them would say that you're not a true Christian. Maybe one of them would say that they're all true Christians. Can you really tell me that you know for sure?

Sure, there are good social reasons to tell people you're a Christian. But I bet that most of these people really consider themselves Christians. Maybe they don't practice the same type of Christianity that you do. I can tell you from experience that atheists don't usually go around pretending they're Christians. In social situations it might not be the best idea to announce that you're an atheist, but saying that you're "not religious" doesn't necessarily mean you're an atheist, and leaves a better impression.

I am curious as to where you get your information from. Just how many atheists do you suppose are out there pretending to be Christians? I still don't believe it's fair that you label so many Christians as non-Christians simply because they worship differently than you, or because they're trying to fool other people.

You say you'll be fooled if you "try to evaluate the truths of Christianity by looking at the actions of people who say they are Christians". The Lutherans say that they are Christians. How can you be so sure you weren't fooled by them? Maybe they're atheists pretending to be Christians in order to avoid paying taxes. I'm not trying to be disrespectful, I'm trying to point out that there is really no way to know for sure, is there? Unless your god comes down and tells you you'd better follow the Baptists or the Mormons, or tells you he really doesn't care whether or not you pray, you're just guessing. And if you're just guessing, then you're not in a position to tell other people they're not Christians, since they're just guessing too.

I am not exempt from cause and effect. If I was, then I suppose I wouldn't come back down if I were to jump right now. I have the god-like power to create, within the limits of the human body. You can't compare the limits to a demigod; that assumes there is a more powerful being above you. Since I'm a human atheist (not a polytheist or any other kind of theist), there's no point in measuring my power against the powers of something that doesn't exist. On the other hand, you believe that your power is sorely limited because you believe there is a being infinitely more powerful than yourself. Academically speaking, if you compare me to a demigod, it doesn't make sense to say atheists are like polytheists: demigods are not polytheists, they are part of a polytheistic religion.

Let's say I became convinced that the Christian god exists. I ruled out hundreds of other gods and goddesses. I wasn't convinced by any other Christians, but came to believe on my own. Would I try to search and find him? The real question is, how would I do it? I'd have to investigate so many different sects of Christianity from Jehovah's Witnesses to Lutherans to Anglicans and decide which ones want to brainwash me, which ones are just pretending to be Christians, and which ones seem the most real. I'd have to study the bible for years to try and figure out which parts are supposed to be taken literally and which ones are just guides for life. And when that's been half-way settled, I'd still be troubled by whether I chose wisely or not. People might still claim I'm not a Christian! I think if people were to really search out a religion/god and not be taken in immediately by the most popular religion (Christianity), if people really thought about it, they probably wouldn't settle on something until they were sixty, if at all.

Meretricula

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