These are from e-mails exchanged with an atheist who wrote an anger e-mail after visiting my www.stories.org.br website.
I do not understand what you are afraid of. There are not atheists. Every man is born with the knowledge of God in his heart. He BECOMES an atheist by arguments. You know there is a God, but you hate Him. I cannot prove to you that God is real. Once I was blind, but now I see. He did it, not my mind. For a long time I looked for God and could not find Him until the day I gave it up. Then He found me. And He will find you too if you let Him.
Adam, if I am wrong there is nothing to loose. However, if you are wrong you lost everything. Ask God. Earnestly. If you do, of a true heart (are you afraid?) He will manifest Himself to you. You know but you fear. I am not your enemy. If you like to have a plain talk about the matter, I will be here. I respect your position but you are wrong. If you are brave enough to enter into a true and earnest search, write back.
Excuse me for taking so long to answer your letter. I didn't want to do it in a hurry, but to think carefully about what you wrote. Even if I do not agree with you, I respect your position because, at least, it seems more consistent than what I have seen at atheistic pages around Internet. Most of the pages I have visited seem to be done by angry kids who have no other purpose than to chock. They seem to be the same kind of persons that write on public restroom's doors. In this sense, you must have also noticed that Internet has provided not only many "pages", but also "doors". I will try to follow your arguments. I am a Brazilian, so you will probably not find my English perfect.
[Adam] I am afraid of nothing because I do not believe in a supreme judge that will send me to Hell for my actions. Speaking of fear, why don't you go out and kill someone? Why don't you steal from someone? I don't do these things because I feel that, morally, they are wrong.
You have a moral standard. Every one has. The human kind has a moral standard and it is always one that is above our possibilities. Have you noticed that even the Indians or those considered primitive (but they aren't) people have a moral standard. Call it God's will, moral, or whatever you like, but everyone has it. But the point I call your attention to is that this moral standard is always higher. The hypocrites put it lower for their own purposes, but this is another story. The standards are there, and they are more than man can achieve, no matter what kind of standard or what society you look at.
The Bible says (Sorry, but I have to mention it. It is God's Word and His standard) that men know that God is, not only by what they see in the Creation (Romans 1:19) but also by an inner sense (Romans 1:21) that God has put into men's heart. I cannot find it now, but there is a verse that says something like God putting the eternity in man's heart. This is why you do not kill (perhaps you would like to do it to me :-)) or steal. You KNOW it is wrong. But where is your standard? Well, it is not the Bible, but something inside yourself. An animal does not have it. Who has put it there?
[Adam] But Christians abstain from these things because they are afraid of His judgment.
Well, there is Christianity and Christianity. Perhaps what you learnt at Sunday school was not exactly what the Bible says. Nominal Christians perhaps abstain from these things because they are afraid of some judgment, but not real Christians. Let me explain. In spite of having these moral standards that were given to me by God Himself (He created me in His image and after His likeness), I am a fallen creature. No, I have not eaten an apple (there are not many apples in the Bible and the first one appears much latter than Adam and Eve). Being free to decide, Adam (not you, but the first one) and Eve have chosen to be like God ("...and ye will be as God..." Genesis 3:5) and do whatever they wanted to do. In a Portuguese expression, (I don't know if you have that in English), they wanted to be the boss of their own noses.
Well, that was the fall and the result is that every human being is born selfish and in rebellion against God. We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners. This is our nature. To sin is just the natural consequence of being a sinner. This is why every man is born addressed to the lake of fire, a place originally prepared, not for men, but for rebel angels.
As soon as Adam (the other) and Eve fell, God killed an innocent animal to cover them. Can you see a type in it? An innocent being had to die to cover man's sin. Well, this God did Himself latter, becoming a man (I am not telling you to accept this - you can't if you do not receive this from above) and receiving on Himself the judgment that is due to sin.
What is the Gospel now? Be good? Be religious? Go to a church? Give your money to the preacher? NO! The Gospel is that God is offering, in grace, free salvation to whosoever accepts the Lord Jesus as his Savior. If it is free, and if is grace, does not depend on what I do. God knows I am a sinner and cannot do any good. He wants to give. I must want to receive.
As soon as I receive His free gift, He makes me a new creature, ready for heaven. Perhaps now you can understand what real Christianity is like. Christians do not go to heaven for what they do (they always do wrong) but by what God gave them free. I had to die and be condemned forever. Christ died in my place so I could be free.
Here we come to another point that is the eternal security of the believer. What God gives, He does not take back. So now I am saved, not by what I do, but by what Christ did. So I have eternal salvation. It would not be eternal if I could loose it. So, no matter what I do, I will not loose it! Well, many Christians do not know this. So they live a terrible life of fear. I have no fear of going to hell, because it is impossible to happen. So, why do I want to do God's will (not killing or doing anything that is not according to His nature)? Because I want to please Him. This is part of the new nature He has given to me. This is true Christianity, according to the Bible.
[Adam] I'm afraid you have this backwards. You see, every child is an atheist. Every child, even from the young age when they learn to talk, will ask questions such as "Who made God" that their parents can not answer. Their parents teach ****this babble**** to them but cannot even answer simple questions. Then, when a child should be learning logic, how to make an unbiased decision, open-mindedness, etc, they are confounded by their parents with the paradox of "faith." I myself cannot understand why someone would believe something that makes no sense...simply because your parents and friends do and say that you must have "faith." And if an adult doesn't understand this, neither does a child. Parents simply confuse their children the way they were confused by their parents.
I think you are taking your own experience as a rule. Of course, parents do that - in every human group! Not only Christians do, but also it is something universal. This is the point I want to call your attention: There is an universal knowledge of God, no matter in what way. You can fight Christianity, but you cannot deny that every tribe has the notion of a Creator. You talk about logic. It would not be logic if the parents would not give their children this knowledge, so linked it is to the human nature.
Yes, my parents thought me in the catholic religion. However, I left it when I was eighteen or so. I saw no logic, as you would say. Then I began my search that took me to defy God to reveal Himself to me if He existed. It was a painful process. Do not think all the Christians you see around are home made Christians. Christianity must be personal for being real. No one can decide someone else salvation. Every one must have a personal encounter with Christ, with God Himself; otherwise, his Christianity will be as real as a parrot that learns some verses from the Bible.
I was in the architecture college when I had to bow my head to the evidence: There was a God Who was very interested in me. Christ died to save me. (you cannot understand this, at least for the moment). By that time I bought two books: one trying to prove that there was no God. The other was about Bible prophecy. The first one presented reasoning (and you need an amount of faith to believe in the human arguments). The other had facts: The 100% of accuracy in the Bible prophecies already fulfilled and, as a consequence, the 100% of chances of the other to fulfill. I was convinced by facts (are facts reasonable?), not by a blind decision.
No, I am not a catholic anymore. I do not even belong to any traditional or organized religion. I just gather with a group of Christians to read the Bible, praise God and pray. No leaders, no denomination, no organization, etc.
[Adam] It's sad that the world (or a majority of it, like the Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, etc.) can't rise above their Faith and find Reason. However, I take solace in the fact that the Roman, Incan, American Indian, and other religions are all but vanished and Christianity is going downhill. Perhaps there will always be people weak-minded enough to fall into religion (or unfortunate enough to have been conditioned by their parents...and not able to rise above the conditioning like people ***such as myself have done***.
Do you want applause? :-)
[Adam] You wrote " You know there is a God, but you hate Him." This statement is both true and false. No, I do not believe in Him, but let us just say for a moment, for argument's sake, that God does exist. Then yes, I do hate a being that watches his own creation suffer with AIDS, cancer, homelessness, wars, and loneliness just to prove themselves "worthy" of him in their eyes. God killed children (remember Sodom and Gomorrah, remember the rain for 40 days/nights? In both of these instances, all of the people that died were "wicked." I beg to differ. I have never met a "wicked" baby or small child in my life... what's more, I have never met a wicked animal in the forest. Yet God killed them all in both of these instances.) Yes, I would hate God if he existed, because if you read the Bible with an unbiased mind, God is evil.
Dear Adam, there are things that happen in your family that you would not waste your time explaining to me, because I would never understand. They are personal subjects and only a member of the family would understand. This does not mean any different degree of intelligence or whatever. One must to be a member of a family, know their personality, etc., to understand some things from that family. The same about God. There are things you cannot understand about God, unless you become a member of His family. So I could take to much of your time trying to explain these things for no profit. Everything you have mentioned above happens just because men decided to be independent from God. An act of rebellion has always its consequences. What else would you expect? Just to mention the animals, they suffer because of men (Read Romans 8:20-23 for the answer. Yes, I know you have a Bible). I cannot prove to you that God is real.
[Adam] Correct, and I cannot prove that he doesn't exist, either. That is why we have to look for _proof_ to support either side. Atheism says that there is nothing there, thus it states the null hypothesis; it needs no proof. Theism states that there is something; it demands proof. Last I heard, there was no proof for either side. And even you must admit that such a stalemate forces us to look towards Reason.
Perhaps I did not use the right words. I cannot prove what you must discover by yourself. But I can show you facts, if you are interested. What about the evidences in Creation of in Bible prophecy? I will not, unless you are interested to hear. Once I was blind, but now I see.
[Adam] No offense, but I think we can go without quoting hymns, ok?
I was not quoting a hymn, but John 9:25. But you have mentioned a hymn and probably it was Amazing Grace, written by John Newton, who died in the beginning of 1800s. Before he was converted, he was a slave ship captain and perhaps you will be surprised to read this from his biography: "Long ago he remembered his mother saying: - If you do what is right, God will love you and look after you - But his mother was dead. And since his father married again, John felt that no one wanted him, let alone God. Except that he decided there was no God". (Slave Ship Captain - The Story of John Newton - Carolyn Scott - Lutterworth Press). I respect your position but you are wrong.
[Adam] Ah... the sound of a true fundamentalist. You attempt to sound as if you understand your debate opponent, but you can't because you are so close-minded.
Adam, excuse me for having to tell you this. Yes, I understand you because I have been where you are. This has no meaning to boast myself, but just to let you know that we have a common ground. If you like it or not, be sure of my prayers.
As ideias aqui não são originalmente minhas, mas são fruto do que tenho aprendido da Palavra de Deus fora dos sistemas denominacionais com irmãos congregados ao nome do Senhor e também com autores de outras épocas que congregavam assim, como J. G. Bellett, C. H. Brown, J. N. Darby, E. Dennett, W. W. Fereday, J. L. Harris, W. Kelly, C. H. Mackintosh, A. Miller, F. G. Patterson, A. J. Pollock, H. L. Rossier, H. Smith, C. Stanley, W. Trotter, G. V. Wigram e muitos outros. Uma lista completa em inglês você encontra neste link.
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