the debate between Christianity and evolution has been going on for decades

How I Got Attacked by an Atheist and What I Did to Get Even

Peter Guirguis Online Evangelism 73 Comments

Have you ever been attacked by someone for no good reason? I don’t mean attacked physically but through a person’s words or through their tone of voice?

When you do, you almost always end up getting your feelings hurt. Additionally if you’re not careful in the way that you react, you can end up in a heated argument that will steal your time and lead you nowhere.

I had a recent experience that I’d like to share with you while I was trying to share Christ with someone on Twitter.  I’d love to hear your feedback and to see how you would handle things if you were in the same situation.

Some background info

Sometimes I start following people on Twitter who have the word “God” in their Twitter bio. You’d think that the majority of them would be Christians but to your surprise, you’ll find that some of them are actually atheists.

They usually have the word “God” in their bio to express their disdain for any form of deity or religion.  Sometimes I start following these folks just to see what they have to say and to see if maybe we can start a friendship.

Some of them are friendly and they start following me back. Others politely tell me that I’ll be offended if I read their tweets. I always reply back by telling them that I like to meet new people who have different views than I do.

I’m not even offended by their tweets against God because I remember that I too  was once His enemy. (Colossians 1:21)

I very rarely start by giving someone the gospel right away. I almost always try to build a relationship first. That way, the person is more receptive to what I have to say.

The best way to tell you the story

I debated whether I should mention this person by his Twitter account or not since our conversation was public via mentions. I decided that I won’t because I don’t want my atheist friends to think that I’m targeting them.

Disclaimer: I want to clearly state that some atheists are nice while others are not so much.

I want to make the point that all atheists are not created equal :-). Some of them are very nice and decent people while others can be rude and feisty.  Unfortunately, the same thing can be said of Christians :-(.

By the way, I have some very nice friends of mine that are atheists. We go to dinner together, have fun, and we engage in all sorts of conversations including topics about God.  They hope that they will convince me that there is no God and I hope that the Holy Spirit will convince them of just the opposite.

The conversation on Twitter

Ok, here it is:

Atheist: hey, new follower. Have you heard the rumor? There is no #god. Not a shred of proof either. Your God did not create technology.

Peter: hi there, I beg to differ, there is irrefutable evidence that God does exist. You interested?

Atheist: Helllooo…. I’m still waiting for my proof. (it took me 1 day for me to respond so I guess he was eager to see the evidence that I was talking about)

Peter: okay here is a good link. Please read it in its entirety without skipping any parts and then we can discuss.  (link to Charlie Campbell’s evidence for existence of God)

Atheist:  you’re an idiot. This backward thought never approaches fact, and you should be embarrassed for presenting it as such. Shameful. (I didn’t respond right away)

Atheist: do yourself a favor and get a real education. Reading one easy book is not the same as reading a bunch of hard ones. Go away.

Peter: okay, thank you very much for your feedback, God bless you sir 🙂

Atheist: you’re a strange person. Wake up and educate yourself. Living in a fog like yours is no way to live. #biblethumper

What I did to get even

Love AttackI decided to follow  biblical principles that I believe apply to the situation.  These 2 verses are what I used to justify my response in which I had said, “Thank you very much for your feedback, God bless you sir :-)” Luke 6:27-28

[quote]But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.[/quote]

It’s been my experience that if someone is this closed off to the things of God and attacks you, then taking it any further at the present time will lead to arguments and debate only.

What would you do?

Here’s your chance to lay it on me.  Did I do the right thing? How would you respond if you were in this situation? 

[images via istockphoto & Shad Fox]

 

Comments 73

  1. There’s definitely a rise in the Anti-Theist population, thanks to Hitchens so many who are skeptics are now attacking those who simply believe. A friend of mine just moved from atheist to anti-theist.  His behavior ins much more “I need to make you look like an idiot so I can look smarter” and its quite cold and callous. 

    Peter I think you did great, I may have responded back a little more aggressive and attempted to chop off his ear, but I’m under renovation. 

    I think what really makes people angry about religion is its blatant rejection of science.  I think that the rejection of science dangerous and it shows a lack of faith on our part.  I could ramble on forever, but I’ll leave it at that and reply to any inquiries. 

    1. Thank you Logan for those very insightful comments. I’m sad to hear about your friend because I think it’s one step farther away from being closer to finding out the Truth. I totally see a lot of people being more anti-theist and the attacks and ad hominems are increasing in our current day.

      I totally loved how you said that you would chop off the guys ear off but that you’re under renovation, LOL!

      As for Christianity totally rejecting science, I’ve seen quite a number of well-known Christian scientists or apologists talk about science and how it fits in the Bible. What are your thoughts?

  2. Thank you for your encouraging words Kent. I totally agree with you that we are not always going to be able to reach everybody and we will get attacked in the process. I’ve always thought that we should do our part of sharing Christ with others and we’ll leave the results up to God.

    By the way, I’m glad that you left a comment. I sent you an e-mail too the other day because I need to publish your guest blog post but I’m missing some information. Did you get my e-mail?

  3.  Its funny that you have brought up this subject. I’ve challenged some of my friends from my men’s group on “can they defend their faith”. I shared how I’ve been trying to reach out to atheists online. I too, have been attacked by them….and as always, I respond “we can on and on about our views. I have no hatred with you…. just want to show the love of Jesus, who has changed me forever…I just would love others to have what I have…still would like to be your friend and that I pray for you.” I still feel that I need to know more of my faith as they like to debate….however, I do feel that just being real with them makes it more powerful.

    1. I think you are absolutely right. Being real shows a vulnerability that I think is very attractive to anybody that we’re witnessing to. The only thing that sometimes makes it difficult is when those people personally attack your character for no good reason like I shared in this post. It’s not like this is my first time either, I was just trying to make a point and to encourage others.

      Either way, our Lord told us that we are blessed when we get persecuted, attacked, and hated.

  4. You did the right thing, it was very mature & well put. Everyone has their own opinion, but you handled it in a respectable manner. 

  5. Spot on in my opinion. Christ came for a hurt and dying world but you can lead a horse to water but not make him drink. I fear that sometimes Christians seperate themselves too much such as in social groups, retail stores and the such. Others are put off by us because they feel we are flaunting something in their face or guilt grips them and they do not know how to handle that. Great article and I like your view on building a relationship first.

    1. Thank you very much DeWayne, I really appreciate your feedback. One of the things that I really like about your comment is that I think that it’s a great reminder for our brothers and sisters to not live in a Christian bubble. We need to be salt and light and penetrate the social areas that God has placed us in.

      Also, no need to rub other people’s noses in the Gospel like you were saying. That’s very unchristian 🙂

  6. I agree with the final assessment continuing in a  pointless argument because of Proverbs 26:4 (copied from blue letter bible)
    Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him.

    1. It’s funny that you mentioned that Tyler because just this morning I was reading in my devotions Psalm 53:1, “the fool has said in his heart, “there is no God.” However, in all fairness, that used to be me. I used to be a fool thinking that there was no God even though I knew that the theory of evolution had its problems. But praise God, now I know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior 🙂

  7. I have to say well played. Its not an intellectual pursuit. As a preacher’s wife once told me, “when you start to argue religion you have already lost”

  8. I’ve had the same thing happen to me on Twitter quite often..until I got over 100,000 followers on Twitter – bullies don’t like an audience. I wrote a book for Christians on Twitter and give them similar advice.

    We need to choose if we need to to ignore like Nehemiah, confront like Jesus but in either case we need to choose to forgive and bless.

  9. Seeing as we do not have an established online relationship, I hesitate to comment.  But… since you asked, I will. 😀 It seems to me like you handled the conversation in a mature and biblical way.   I have not spent a lot of time looking around your site, yet.   Therefore, I cannot make a fair assessment of your tactics. Based on this post, however, I have one concern. You stated that you build relationship so that a person is more receptive to what you have to say. Saying that, you come across as one who seeks relationship solely for the purpose of evangelism.  Most people can see right through that and are not interested.  It’s kind of like a multi-level marketer who seeks relationship for the purpose of building up their business.  Obviously, your purpose is more noble.  An atheist, however, probably would not see it that way. Jesus built relationships with people because he loved them.  He came to seek the lost because they were once his, because of who they were… his creation. I think that’s what people need.  They need us to build relationship with them because we are genuinely interested in them, not because they have the word “God” in their bios. If I have misunderstood you, it is likely that anyone of your twitter followers could do the same.  Would you want an atheist to read your words and understand them as I have? I pray you take my words as they are intended, spoken in a spirit of love.  God bless you.

    1. Yes, I totally take your words in a spirit of love sister 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your comments honestly and openly, I can’t tell you enough how much they mean to me.

      You make a very excellent point and I am definitely very open to being corrected in this area. I truly do love my brothers and sisters who are not believers and that’s why I want to share with them the ultimate gift which is salvation through our Lord.

      I’ve always been a believer that people don’t care what you know until they know how much you care about them. I’m very interested in what you have to say about this subject. How can we love people through the Internet? That is something that is truly worth dialoguing about.

  10. Thank you very much for your honest feedback. I always welcome all sorts of comments and I’d love to have an open and respectful dialogue with you. I’ll be following up to your e-mail that you sent to me a few minutes ago.

    While I do understand the points that you are making, what I disagree with you about is that you automatically began to defend the atheist that I’m writing about. I believe that there is no justification for anyone to call another person “an idiot” especially after only sharing a link that he (myself) believes points to the existence of God. If someone disagrees, then please disagree respectfully but no reason to engage in ad hominems which are just hurtful.

    As for the three reasons that you lay out in your comment, there may be some other evidences as to reasons to believe and I’ll be following up with those to you in an e-mail.

    One of the main reasons why I’m not an atheist is because atheists believe that the universe came from nothing which is an impossibility. I’m not debating the Big Bang but what I am debating is how did the Big Bang come to exist. Who or what caused it to happen?

    I ask my atheist friends this question and they either tell me that they don’t know but science is currently investigating this or they try to tell me that it’s possible that the universe came from “nothing”. It’s easier for me to believe that there is a God then for me to believe in this fallacy.

    1. And the usual response to the “something from nothing” question, is to ask who created the Creator… And then you will reply that God is timeless and has always existed. But why not just cut out the middle-man as it were, and assert that the universe has always existed?

      There are some things to which we will never know the answer – not because the questions are too difficult, but simply because there is no way to know. No-one was around to witness the start of the universe, so all that science can do is look at the clues and work backwards.

      For example, a very simple question is “How many birds are currently in flight around the world”? There is simply no way to know this, even though the answer is nothing more complicated than a positive integer. In some cases it is ok to not know – and that is the default position of your average atheist.

      What the atheist will not do however, is guess at the answer. They will simply say “I do not know” and this is a perfectly reasonable default answer. In fact, it is the *only* reasonable answer to an unanswerable question.

      To assert that you know the answer, either to the origin of the universe or the number of birds in flight at any given moment, is seen by many as quite simply a lie. Given current scientific knowledge, there is simply no way to know for sure.
      To scientists, the default “I don’t know” answer is like a red flag to a bull. It spurs them into action, to seek out the truth and remove one more unknown from the box of mysteries. It is a repeating cycle of science vs religion, from flat-earth and geocentric models of the world to the present day arguments over evolution. What once was unknown, can now be explained.Perhaps one day, the ultimate question of the origin of the universe will also have an explanation and humanity will look back on these discussions with the same sense of mild amusement as we do now when Galileo asserted the sun to be the center of the solar system, or when Newton believed the motion of the planets to be too complex and therefore could only be understood by a Divine power.

      But with every scientific discovery, and every new or revised theory, the pocket of unknowns that God occupies grows ever smaller. Maybe we will never know all the answers – but to simply assert that “God did it”, is disingenuous at best and an active hindrance to knowledge at worst.And this is what frustrates and angers atheists. It is not a personal attack on the individual, but a venting of frustration at the dogma and blind faith that can *never* provide honest, truthful, relevant or correct answers, while quoting from a 2,000 year old book written by people with an extremely limited worldview.

      1. I can’t agree with you for several different reasons. The number one reason that I’d like to point out is that we cannot come to the conclusion that the universe is eternal like you mentioned in the first paragraph of your comment. 

        Nearly 100% of scientists agree that the universe began to exist at a certain point in time. This is due to Hubble’s Law which states that 
        galaxies are flying away from each other at tremendous speeds as the fabric of space they occupy stretches, such that the greater the distance between any two galaxies, the greater their relative speed of separation.  Basically this means that the universe is expanding and if it’s expanding then it must of had a single point of origin i.e. a certain time when it came into existence..
        I’m not exaggerating when I say that almost the entire scientific community agrees on this fact. That’s why there must always be something that has always existed because something cannot come out of nothing.

        We can do all the research that we want for centuries and it will always lead to the same conclusion and that is for something to exist it must have been created by something or someone. And since the universe exists today and it is not eternal therefore, something that is eternal must have always existed.

        1. I would suggest you watch this video, that explains the issues far more eloquently than I could ever hope to do. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uabNtlLfYyU Even the description of the video is better than anything I could write.

          I do not pretend to have all the answers, but I am certainly not satisfied with “God did it”, for that is not an answer. It is simply the precursor to even more questions.

          The greatest minds on Earth have been asking this question for thousands of years – I do not think that either of us will ever know the truth. The big difference is that I am willing to admit that.

          1. I’ve laid out my argument in the comment before and logically speaking, it is air tight and can’t be proven wrong.

            1. Premise 1: Something exists

            2. Premise 2: Nothing cannot create something

            3. Conclusion: Something must have always existed

            We know through science that that something that has always existed cannot be the universe because there was a point in time when the universe began to exist. We also know that something cannot create itself out of nothing can accurately conclude that the universe did not create itself. Therefore, there must be something eternal that has always existed which to the Christian is God.

            1. Either you did not watch the video, you chose to ignore the segment on God, or you are wilfully ignoring the fact that the very existence of God leads directly to the question “How did God get here?” or “Who created the Creator?”It is logically invalid to assert that something must have always existed, while at the same time claiming that “nothing cannot create something”. The question of the creation of the universe has not been answered, it has simply been shifted to another entity, in a perfect example of infinite recursion: Who created the Creator? Who created the Creators Creator? and so forth.

              There are many, many theories regarding the question of the origin of the universe, from the collision of multi-dimensional branes in string theory to a rapidly expanding singularity. I do not claim to know the answers – far brighter people than I cannot answer these questions, so what hope do I have?However, what I can say is that the argument for a Divine Creator is one that makes no logical sense at all. If you wish to rephrase the default answer of “I don’t know” to “God did it”, to appeal to your religious nature then that’s fine. But let’s at least be honest with ourselves, and admit that really…. neither of us has a clue how it all started, what came before, whether the universe is finite or not, and if not, what is outside it.

            2. There are many theories that explain ways in which our bubble of spacetime (the universe) came into being.

              Just because something exists outside of our universe does not make it a god, and even if it was a god of some sorts, there is no reason to believe it is the Christian god out of the thousands that exist amongst human beliefs and the likely BILLIONS of religions that exist in the universe.

              Look up Ockham’s Razor. Basically it states that any explanation which introduces an unnecessary variable is a worse explanation than one with fewer variables that equally explains all observed phenomena.

              Adding god is an unnecessary variable since all other phenomena have been explained naturally, therefore there is no reason to believe the creation of the universe is any different.

              Just about all the theories regarding the creation of the universe (in essence what caused the Big Bang) involve elements of reality that exist outside of space-time. Therefore your point of something being eternal is moot since you can have eternal things that are not god.

              So your logic is sound, but the assumption that the eternal thing which creates the Big Bang is god is not sound, it is just an assumption based on your faith.

              1. Oh my gosh, I totally love your comment! You are the first person to truly be an example of what a freethinker should be like. It’s such a breath of fresh air to read your comment because any of the other people who do not believe in God tend to get either emotional or jump from one topic to the other. However, you are very polite and you speak rationally. I appreciate all those qualities about you 🙂

                Now to answer your comment, the logic that I presented in my comment was only to prove that there must be an eternal something or someone that has always existed in order for this universe to come into existence. It actually does not go any farther than that and is not proof of the Christian God. But before I go to my second argument, may I please ask you if we are both in agreement that it is logical to conclude that there must have always been an eternal someone or something that has existed?

              2. It is logical to conclude that if you assume atemporal causation, or in other words that everything even outside of the dimension of time must have a cause. What Aristotle called the “Unmoved Mover”.

                There really isn’t any evidence either way, but I believe it is quite possible there is something outside of our universe which may have been the cause of our universe. However I am hesitant to call that something a “someone” because that implies intent, consciousness, etc.

                Thus why I consider myself an agnostic atheist. I cannot disprove god anymore than I can disprove invisible elephants, but I don’t see any reason to think there is a god (or invisible elephants), and if there is something higher than us, there is no reason to believe it is one of the many human gods, a god at all, or even something conscious or caring about our universe.

              3. I’m glad Mattan to hear that you do think that there could be something or someone that exists outside of our universe. I think that the facts to lead to this conclusion. Additionally, I also believe that the facts do lead that it is a someone that does have consciousness. Here’s why:

                Imagine that you have the very first jet engine that was ever created. You can ask the question, “How did this jet engine come into existence?”  The answer could be that it was created in a factory and that answer could be correct but it would be missing a critical point.

                That critical point is that  the first jet engine was created by Sir Frank Whittle. We can have millions and millions of years pass by but it’s impossible that all the parts of a jet engine could come together naturally (or using the laws of physics) to produce a piece of machinery that  is so complex and has a purpose. And that purpose is for the jet engine to be in an airplane so that the airplan can fly.

                The same thing can be said about our universe. It is so complex and so finely tuned.  Just like the jet engine couldn’t have come from nothing and with out a designer putting all the parts together, the same thing should be said about our universe.

              4. This argument with the jet engine is an old one that has been refuted many times. I don’t say this to belittle your argument, just pointing out that my response will be a poor approximation of much better secular writers and thinkers than I, and I urge you to look into their responses.

                Now for mine. The argument for the jet engine is one that can only arise from the inherent limitations and biases of the human mind. We give ourselves goals and purposes, and we build things with purpose, so we then apply the need for purpose to anything else that seems familiar.

                The same complexity argument is used by the “intelligent design” groups when they say the human body is too complex to have evolved, they often use the eye as an example. However there are quite good explanations for how an eye could have evolved step by step over millions of years, providing useful function to the organism the whole while. There are also numerous animals with proto-eyes showing how such transitionary organs are possible.

                This shows that our concept of complexity is only as good as our understanding of the mechanisms that create it. There are natural crystal formations with enormously complex and beautiful geometric patterns which absolutely look designed and aesthetically shaped to the ignorant mind, but in reality we fully understand the chemical processes which lead to these geometric shapes without any designing mind necessary.

                Yes our universe is finely tuned and complex, and it is that very reason we are even capable of asking the question. This is a classic case of selection bias. As I stated earlier, there are likely infinite number of universes out there with the whole range of possible physical laws, parameters, and forms. In universes where these physical laws and parameters allow for complexity to arise (an atomic process we understand fairly well and is not a mystery to us), then there is an increased chance of life eventually evolving, and some of that life gaining self-awareness and the ability to observe the universe that gave rise to it.

                Thus universes which are fine tuned are more likely to have people in them which can question that fine-tunedness.

                Lastly, even if one were to accept the argument from complexity, it is not evidence of a creator entity who created the universe for us, or cares about us anymore than any other part of the universe or the likely many other intelligent races out there. We are no different from physics’ point of view than anything else.

                In other words I understand far more why one would believe in a creator being than I understand why one would choose an organized religion such as Christianity when there are so many other equally valid and believed-in religions out there and dead ones in our past.

              5. Even the whole idea of multiple universes (m-theory) is a weak theory that has very little scientific proof. Even when we take a look at M-Theory we are still left with the original question which is: “What is it that is eternal that has caused this universe to be created?”

                Every effect has a cause. I think that atheists tend to look to these very complex answers and somewhere along the way they forget that the answers that they give are not fact. They are theory and they are perfectly content with saying things like “we don’t know everything but we will find out one day.”

                “One day” will always be too late because one would have died and they would find out that there are eternal consequences and rewards for how they live their life on this earth.

                I believe that the overwhelming proof is that there is a Creator. You can disagree all that you want but it all comes down to what you choose to believe.

  11. Thank you Jacqueline for that feedback and sharing your heart. I do agree with you that for too long Christians have made some fatal mistakes that have turned off many from turning to the Lord. I think it’s time that we patch up and that we begin to truly show in a practical way what you mentioned in your comment: “Agape love”.

    May the Lord bless you richly 🙂

  12. It’s amazing, sad, and perhaps a tad humorous that someone would point to the human creation of technology as proof of God’s nonexistence – and arrogant really. Because what are our bodies, what are animals, what are plants – except highly sophisticated instruments, or if you will, technology. Talk about not seeing the forest through the trees…Compared to God’s creation, our creation  is laughable.

    1. I love your insight and feedback Nicole because you brought up a point that nobody else has. It’s so true when you think about how highly complex we are and it’s all because we are God’s creation just like you said. Very powerful indeed…

  13. I’m glad that you see it as encouraging because that was really why I typed it up into a blog post. You make a really good point, that I need to continue to pray for this gentleman. Please also keep him in your prayers. I found that I’ve been including a lot more people on twitter in my prayers lately. How about you?

  14. Peter do you remember these words..nest of vipers whited Sepulchers from the lips of Jesus.Ok it was directed at the so called pillars of the Temple but Jesus didnt hold back and sometimes Christians have to defend the Word of God without trading insults but with knowledge.This is why William Lane Craig is known as the atheists nightmare his knowledge not just of the bible but science also makes him a powerful adversary and is the reason why Richard Dawkins avoids him like the plague.So first gain more knowledge about the weaknesses of atheism and study those questions that atheists always throw at Christians eg why is there pain and suffering in the world etc.But if you do debate an atheist say if heshe becomes abusive then you will just end the debate.Ive had a few online debates with atheists and have held my own and if I didnt have an answer to a question I would tell them I will study it and come back with the answer…anyway hope you will keep on defending Gods Word

    1. Thank you Frankie for that feedback and advice. I’ve only come across the name William Lane Craig one other time but now that you are recommending him I will definitely have to look him up.

      I usually scour the Web for different apologists and some of the guys that I use are Charlie Campbell and Frank Turek. The only thing is that sometimes it is just exhausting to argue and debate back and forth especially that sometimes with our atheist brothers and sisters it seems to be leading nowhere. But I guess you never know how the Holy Spirit is going to use it. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  15. I get some really “lovely” comments.  I have chosen not to debate thought it would be very easy.  I tweet “this is the sound of me turning the other twitter. Peace.”  I haven’t had a negative reply to it.

    I do find the comments that I receive assume that I am an uneducated, self righteous, idiot, who lives in a trailer.  I am always curious as to the discrimintory assumptions that people express to someone with different views.

    1. That has been my experience too. I think this is just God telling us that we need to pray more. Thanks so much for sharing your feedback, it really means a lot to this community.

  16. I liked the way you answered him back. He got confused 😀 Like the Bible says: Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. You did good brother, we just have to pray for him now, that the way you responded to him is not going to leave him at peace to the point that he has to go back to you and find out more about Jesus that he’ll become a one of His follower 😉

  17. Why didn’t you do what the man suggested and go read a few science books? The enlightenment started 250 years ago, and mankind has spent that time learning that the mythologies of bronze-age shamans are just that. Each new scientific discovery removes another piece from your belief structure.

    Your god is no more real than any of the other thousands of gods humans have created over the millennia. And there isn’t even any documented evidence that your Jesus existed. 

    If, instead of just repeating the same old mantra to yourself, you actually took the time to find out what we now know to be true- from the age of the universe through the origins of the chemical elements found on Earth to evolution (which is a fact, by the way, the theory of evolution is how science explains the mechanism by which this evolution occurs).

    And please; never forget that when you’re in conversation with an atheist, you’re generally talking to someone who was brought up in a religious environment, went to church and Sunday school, sang in the choir etc. We know where you’re coming from, but have learned to see past the indoctrination.

    I wish you a happy and peaceful Sunday.

    1. Good point.  Please, never forget when you’re in conversation with a Christian you might be talking to someone who has studied philosophy, science, law, history, literature and other religious systems and philosophies, who has practiced yoga, chanted, medidated and subscribed to Buddhism, who wasn’t raised by someone who went to church and Sunday school and sang in the choir and who is sickened by some of the displays of hate masquerading in the guise of religion.

      I know where you’re coming from but I’ve learned to see past the futility of going through the religious motions to find the one Thing that spawned all the conversation in the first place which is God, Creator, That Which Has No Name, That Which Always Was. Not all of us are hunkered down on a hard pew with a Bible on our lap and both fingers in our ears.

      I pray for you and wish God’s love to be poured out on you that you will see past indoctrination to the Reality we fail to adequately explain.

      1. Of course. Unfortunately such Christians seem to be in a minority of those who join conversations on Twitter or the blogosphere. There are obviously many people who have studied religion widely – there are loads of theological colleges where this is the case – and remain Christian.

        Such people do not, in my experience, tend to proselytize to the extent that their tunnel-vision cousins do. And much less scream that atheists/gays/[your pet hate here] should be murdered so they can get to hell faster. (Not the case with the original poster above, either, that’s his point!)

        On the other hand, most atheists over 35 were probably brought up in a religious household since that’s all there was then – even in Europe.

        Thank you for your prayers. However, if you want to spend time praying to your god, I’d rather it be for the thousands who die each day from starvation, or from the malaria parasite you apparently believe he created, rather than for me. But as such efforts are 100% likely to go unanswered, it would be infinitely preferable to do something more constructive, however small, about some of the world’s problems.

        Peace.

        PS I say “Christians” but it also applies to Muslims. I wonder why Jews are less likely to be in-your-face. Perhaps the race/religion mix of Jewishness means that they don’t expect many people to convert, so they don’t try.

        1. Interesting post and interesting conversation post-post! 🙂

          From a purely historical point-of-view, longpete’s original comment “And there isn’t even any documented evidence that your Jesus existed.” – is incorrect.

          If you know anything about Roman Emperors or The Great Fire of Rome, you would have heard it via the Roman historian Tacitus (56AD-117AD). Tacitus is the only historian to record the events of Emperor Tiberus’ life.

          Tacitus also recorded the crucifixion of Jesus Christ by Pontius Pilate!

          So longpete, all religious/atheist bias & rhetoric aside, if you wish to hold firmly to your statement, then you must also toss out a solid portion of Roman history.

          As far as the Gospels go, they are considered by genuine historians to be very accurate & reliable ancient documents – when addressed from a historical angle. It is entirely up to the reader however, whether they accept or reject their philosophical concepts.

          1. Tacitus was 8 at the time of the fire of Rome and probably moved to Rome no more than 10 years after it – it would still have been in people’s minds, especially since Nero was building a new palace on the site! There would certainly be many people around to give a first-hand account to him – and there were many rumour about how it started.

            Tacitus’ account of Jesus’ life is limited to his using the term “Christus” and a mention of his cruxifiction under Pilate, as you said. His mention is in the form of an explanation as to what “Christians” were since he thought his readers might not know. (He was explaining the arrest, torture and execution of Christians, who Nero blamed for the fire.) His details will have been gleaned from people around him and have absolutely nothing to do with historical fact.

            The gospels are considered to have been written between 60CE and 100CE. This is at least 30 years after Jesus is supposed to have died. They are re-tellings of re-tellings of what was written in 3 proto-gospels. They contain many historical inaccuracies and elements of total farce.

            For example, Luke 2 tells of the census that caused Joseph to have to go from Galilee to Bethlehem because he was “of the house and lineage of David”. David lived 1000 years beforehand. Could you go to the town your ancestor came from 1000 years ago, even if you were still in the same country? How many Roman censuses do you think gave a hoot about what lineage a Hebrew was from? What’s important in a census is knowing who’s where now! On top of that, the only census around the supposed time of Jesus’ birth was in around 6 or 7CE, nearly ten years after the death of Herod, who Matthew 2 says was king at the time! Very reliable historical works indeed!

            1. Dear longpete

              I sense that you are more of an atheist than a historian and thus less concerned about the details unless they help you. You could accuse me of something similar I am sure. 🙂

              Please note we are dealing with archaeology – and as a rule, Antiquity didn’t go about logging artefacts so they could prove this or that 2000+ years later. We have to take what we can get and fill in the gaps…much like evolution really!!!

              As for your confident assertion about Herod & the census – it wasn’t a question – but an assertion. Herod was keen to identify what his biblical scholars told him was a potential threat to his throne. This threat would come from Bethlehem as prophesied in OT books. He would use the Roman request for a census, purely as a tool to find this threat and extinguish it. One didn’t hold power in his day by being democratic – only the iron fisted, cunning fox survived for as long as he did.

              And the request for a census from Rome could have been years old…how long would it have taken to get the news out to every province after the royal decree? How long could a Governor procrastinate before engaging in what had to be the most laborious of tasks. And the Romans did them every 14 years from memory. Who’s to know if one census didn’t just roll into another? How one Provincial Governor did just one census and diddled the books to make his Royal Highness happy!! Were they done every 14 years…or just reported every 14 years?? But this threat to Herod’s throne gave him instant motivation to lure in any perceived new leader to one geographical location – Bethlehem. A stroke of genius really…don’t you think? Hitler or Stalin would have been very proud!

              And the fact that little is recorded about the murder of the “boys of Bethlehem” goes less towards being “proof of error” or exaggeration and more towards it being a common vicious tactic of Herod’s that scarcely bears a mention because of the low-ish casualties? What constitutes a ‘low casualty rate”?

              I am also fairly sure that Herod died in 4BC with Jesus born 7BC-6BC. I’m pretty sure the history books say Herod died after Jesus’ birth. Going on memory now…

              And regarding Quirinius, that elusive Governor that Luke inserts and you use as PROOF that Luke is full of crap! There are certainly some difficulties in positioning him…although one archaeologist I read talked about coins with a variant of Q’s name on them from Luke’s suggested time frame. But I guess you would prefer an autographed scrapbook? At this stage though, there appears to be nothing solid (pun intended). And a quick question: If something archaeologically convincing turned up tomorrow confirming Luke’s positioning of Quirinius in his time frame…would you accept that maybe Luke’s history is accurate?

              Last few words: Lysanius of Abilene! For decades, scholarly atheists such as yourself crushed Luke’s authorship as being historical rubbish when the only record of a “Lysanius” was some 50 years earlier. They wrote in books and magazines as you did above…UNTIL…a new piece of stone work was discovered with his engraved name and confirming him in authority at the time Luke proposed in his writings. No one seems to bring up the Lysanius thing anymore. Now its Quirinius. #sigh

              Your angle is purely cynical because you come from this atheistic militant attack mode – like all those others. Yet these works – separated from their philosophical message – contain so much imagery & history about the lives of ancient people…and how similar they are to us now. Not evolved at all really. Still the same needs for love & craving peace & harmony, plus the same greed, lust & anger as today.

              And don’t get so excited over the very short time between Christ’s death & the commencement of writing of the Gospels & NT letters. They SMASH by centuries the majority of other ancient works that historians accept in a breath. Keep the playing the field the same – historically – as we do for other figures forming our past and possibly informing our future.

              And remember that these are Jews – exceptional at writing and record keeping….(and movie making!!!)

              Have a great day longpete.

              1. Er … I never mentioned Quirinius, much less said he was proof Luke was full of BS. I merely said that, according to Luke, Joseph had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for a census and that this was ridiculous since censuses want to know who lives where,not who’s ancestor 1000 years ago lived where!

                And if Herod thought the threat came from Bethlehem, why would he attract people to the place to make the job of weeding out the potential threats greater? Better to just deal with what you’ve got!

                But what’s logic and fact when you want to fulfil the prophecies of scriptures, eh?

                I fully agree with your comments on record keeping and movie making. However, the most pertinent film at the moment was made by a Taiwanese guy. If you haven’t already seen Life of Pi I strongly recommend doing so. I treats this subject masterfully.

                Take care, and Happy New Year.

      2. Thank you Raina for making that very good point. Most people see those things that you mentioned as being harmless but as Christians, we know what they’re all about. Thanks for your feedback and God bless you 🙂

  18. I’m in this situation right now after tweeting last night to find this article.  Had one guy jump all over me on a blogtalkradio’s chat while my co-hostess was on a live show, then when I tweeted to ask for the link to this article 3 more atheists decided to engage me.

    Naturally a picture of Westboro Baptist Church’s demonstrations showed up along with comments about my ‘silly’ book, the Bible.  In the middle of dialogue now but why do I get the feeling the deck has already been stacked against us?

    1. As a student of history, my concern is less about the fors & againsts of religion…this conversation has been running ad nauseum for millenia and no doubt will continue. As it does here…

      My greatest concern is the arrogance involved. The aggressive commentators often imply a greater knowledge & intellect today, than those in generations past. Because we have computers and the internet, everyone else who ever lived MUST have been slightly better than idiots!

      The use of knowledge as weapons, and hiding behind computer screens to fire those weapons, has robbed us of valuable character-shaping conversations, like those C.S.Lewis, JRR Tolkien and others used to have at their local pub every week (the Eagle & Child). These legends of prose would share their forming stories & poetry with each other, have them lambasted & applauded – lovingly – in face to face conversations.

      Legends of literature like Lord of the Rings & Chronicles of Narnia were formed in these gatherings. Today we just assume we’re right…because we read a blog that agreed with our stance…and aggressively attack anyone who disagrees. There is no learning here…

      The historical truth is a large majority of esteemed universities throughout the world were started by men & women of faith of some form…who are today disrespected by the very people who learn in them. Disagree with their beliefs – no doubt – but respect these people’s efforts.

      Do you want to change the world? Then learn from those who already have!

      1. I couldn’t agree with you more. I had to tackle on all of these atheists all by myself on the day that this blog post got published and it took me hours to do. But thank the Lord, He was with me and He gave me an answer for every single objection that they gave.

        What it really comes down to is Satan blinding the eyes of those who don’t believe. That’s why we need to pray, “Lord, please open up their eyes…”

      2. Firstly, thank you for the post. It’s always nice to see a Christian who actually understands what it means to act and respond as a Christian is intended. I’ve cringed at the far too often horrible depiction of pseudo-christian responses to many topics. Those topics that the media jumps at any opportunity to depict yet another ‘nutty bible-thumper’. Unbeknownst to many watching that those emotion-driven hack-jobs on scriptures are being spewed out from someone acting, at the very least in that moment, not at all Christ-like. Many people take great pleasure from hiding their own twisted anger and righteous indignation behind the genuine belief of others. But they are fools, and ‘truth will out’.

        And to History Buff, I couldn’t agree more. I see this regularly, and in the past, when I had a youtube account and a couple forum accounts, I found this attitude an ever appalling and constant annoyance. I wasted more hours than I care to recall building posts with referenced sources for my information, polishing up the work I’d put together, finally posting. Only to be met with abrupt emotion driven responses, with no intellectual reply or information to the contrary to what I had provided, no rebuttal to the facts I’d posted, nothing. Just ignorance, emotion, and most often insult.

        I found in time, that the internet is, more often than not, a platform for opinion. To know something takes a little work, some study or cross-reference to prove something true in more than one study, diligence to stick with the study, and ultimately the ability to first accept the fact that you do not know that thing, and so are willing to spend time to learn of it.

        However, anyone can have an opinion on something. Opinions are easy, they take little to no work, require no study or source of reference, and certainly don’t need cross-reference to prove the original source is truth. Except for perhaps the most vague recollection of some foggy sentence read, or show watched long before, no diligence is required on the part of the opinionated.

        This is the domain of opinion, and here it rules supreme.

        Any effort to educate is far too often met with insult, emotion, and disdain unfortunately.

        “The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
        ― Bertrand Russell

  19. I love those type of conversation, I prefer by far a person who’s against the Gospel instead of someone that just don’t care.

    I would have just maybe, copy-paste what the link you said to him… because it was on twitter… might wouldnt have been possible.

    PRAISE THE LORD! GOOD JOB! :DDDD

  20. That’s awesome David! And what is so cool is how God transforms our hearts. I’m thankful that we aren’t the same people and that we are being changed by day by the power of Jesus 🙂

  21. This is an awesome comment and filled with great resources. Thank you so much for that Greg. Who knows how the Lord is going to use these, maybe somebody stopping by is going to check out your comment and click on these links.

    May God bless you abundantly, Greg!

  22. Hmm, I find a few things wrong with this story. Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m not trying to correct you, but a curios question. Isn’t it also bad to “get even” with someone as well? Of course, it could just have been meant as an example of non revenge. Also, you say you weren’t offended by his tweets insulting God, but wouldn’t God be offended? We’re supposed to hate what he hates, and love what he loves. But again, I could be misinterpreting what you meant. Maybe this was a form of patience/understanding. But anyways, I was wondering if you had the time if I could get your imput.

    1. I understand where you are coming from Kuro. The getting even part of this headline wasn’t really about getting even, it was about not retaliating and responding in kindness. That’s why I responded by blessing the man instead of cursing.

      I believe that God is very gracious toward sinners and He’s not willing that any would perish but that all would come to repentance. People say bad things about God every day but yet He is so willing to forgive them.

      When I was a former atheist I said bad things about God but He extended His loving kindness to me and was gracious to forgive me.

      Anyways, I hope that helps answer some of your questions Kuro. God bless you

  23. Atheists are not, as you say, against god. One cannot be against what is not there. Rather, Atheists and Nones recognize that god(s) is/are not real. These ancient ideas provide the foundation for many a story — human stories — some with a valuable message, but most without anything of use at the present time — but that is all they do (not counting all the thousands of years of hate and suffering. Your Twitter vignette is another story that rings false.

  24. I get into a lot of conversations with atheists on Pinterest. I try my best to be nice, but I really don’t now how well I’m doing. They keep saying “Give me proof that God exists” and etc. Someone said, and I quote, “Evolution vs. Creation – logic and reason vs. superstition and ignorance.” I replied with, “The argument isn’t Evolution vs. Creation: It’s Lies vs. TRUTH.” I really really hope I don’t sound rude or mean whenever I get into a conversation like this, but I think I do. Any advice?

  25. Hey,
    thanks so much for sharing this. I have a very dear friend who constantly presses me about “backing up” my faith. He is a die-hard atheist and religion hater. It was nice to see that you too take the path of compassion and not arguing, because, while we should always rely on God and defend him, he also gives us the power of knowledge and wisdom to be graceful in what we do and say. Sometimes the ones who fight God the hardest are the ones who need him the most. Cheers.

    Hope

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      I’m so glad it helped you out. I pray that your atheist friend would come to know Christ as Lord and Savior. May God give you grace, strength, and wisdom to show you how to share Christ with your friend. God bless!

      1. Hello,
        I really think you handled your situation in a very mature way. I like how you didn’t really argue with him, and let him just say his mind. And it was good that you gave him that article so that he could read it, I actually read it myself and it was very profound. I don’t know if you really noticed this but it seemed like in the last comment that the atheist said, he kind of backed off you know kind of just couldn’t really understand why you were not really challenging him. Because i’m sure when he argues with Christians, he is used to them being rude and saying that he will die in his sins and go to hell. But no, the Bible says “They will know we are Christians by are love.” So very well handled. Also I am also currently having a argument with an atheist on Youtube, how do you think I should handle this without getting out of love?

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