A Doubter Challenges Christianity

July 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

A friend posted this image to my Facebook, prompting the following dialog.

Skeptic

A god needs you to stick up for him?

Mike Johnson

‎”Needs”, no. God wants us to love Him, and “sticking up for Him” is a natural part of a loving relationship.

Skeptic

Why would a deity have such a petty vanity as to care if people believed in him or not?

Mike Johnson

Because He is not a God who created then abandoned us. Why would a personal, self-giving God not desire to give us the best thing He could, which is Himself?

Skeptic

Is a God who creates something in his own image, gives that creation free will, and then punishes said creation when they don’t do what he wants, really the best thing?

Mike Johnson

I believe it is. God gave us choice. Choosing to oppose His will is sin, and a just God must punish sin. In a logical universe made by a logical Creator, justice makes sense. What would be a better alternative?

Skeptic

He sets you up for failure. No one is perfect and if we are made in his image, that suggests that he is imperfect also. So if an imperfect “god” creates a flawed people and establishes for them, flawed rules for how they can or cannot live their own lives, ultimately the populus is going to fail their creator. And because no one is without sin, everyone is going to hell. But wait! Like the phone-a-friend option on a game show, you can save yourself from a fiery demise if you beg for forgiveness.

Mike Johnson

We are made in His likeness but that doesn’t mean we are perfect like Him. God made people, not other Gods. He made a “good” creation (Gen. 1) and it was through Adam that sin entered the world (Gen 3, Rom 5). Your paraphrase of Rom. 3:23 is right on, all sinners are destined for hell, because God is just. God is also merciful and offers salvation and freedom from sin thru the atoning sacrifice of His Son. That’s also our choice, but a foolish gift not to accept. 🙂 Why does that seem unfair or unbelievable?

Skeptic

Genisis 1:27 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” It wasn’t likeness. It was his image. People make gods. Sin is an imaginary illness and prayer and forgiveness are imaginary remedies. There are numerous cases of Mediterranean religions dating 2000 years before Christ’s existance that state that there was a son born of a virgin (Hebrew translation of virgin: A woman who has not given birth. Nothing about sex.), Was baptized, performed miracles, and claimed to be the son of whatever god it happened to be. It is foolish to not educate yourself in the working and promises of many gods before deciding which one to place the fate of your salvation with. You wouldn’t buy the first car you drove, would you? But Proverbs 3:5 tells us,”Trust in the lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not.” So why even bother?

Mike Johnson

The very next verse, Genesis 1:28, is “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” God uses likeness interchangeably with image. The Hebrew צלם (tselem) for “image” (Strong’s #6754) is literally a likeness, shade, resemblance of the original.

Re: “numerous cases of Mediterranean religions dating 2000 years before Christ’s existence that state there was a son born of a virgin” etc., Mithra, with roots older than the New Testament, is a pagan deity claimed to bear striking similarities to Christ. The Messiah’s virgin birth and other details about Him were prophesied in Isaiah, written about 700 BC. Other Messianic prophesies date back to the beginning of Judaism with Abraham, about 2,000 BC, and in written form through Moses about 1400 BC. Mithraism has no codified writings that old. The oldest date for Mithraism as a Persian religion is said to date back to 1500 BC, but there is actually no literary or archaeological evidence to support such a date. Mithraism most likely copied elements from Judaism/Christianity.

I agree that educating yourself on other beliefs is helpful, but everyone settles on one belief exclusive of all others. For many Christians, Christianity is not “the first car they drove”. But the reason Proverbs 3:5 says to trust God before our own reason is because Christianity is actually the only worldview that makes sense out of our use of reason. Apart from the God described in the Bible, reason, the laws of logic, morality, uniformity in nature, trusting our senses, can’t be explained. Prov 9:10 and Ps. 111:10 say that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” because ours eyes then are opened to the folly of rejecting the knowledge of God that we all have (Rom. 1:18-20). A God who values reason gave us reason and invites us to use it (Isaiah 1:18), but man’s wisdom and reasoning is secondary and in fact can only be accounted for on Christianity. That’s why, while reason is never discarded, faith must come first.

Skeptic

Thank you for the perspective. I’m a doubter and I’m trying to educate myself. I apologize if I seemed rude or out of line. I was merely prying for information and your sincerity with what you believe and information you could convey has taught me a lot. Enjoy your summer!

Mike Johnson

Thank you for the questions and the discussion! I always learn from them too. And I didn’t think you were rude at all, no problem there. The best to you in your search for truth. 🙂

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