Saturday, June 14, 2008

Common Ground

Atheists and Christians have a commonality in that neither likes religion. Religion is seen by both as a man made construct consisting of moral laws and spiritual rituals in attempt to earn acceptance by a deity. Atheists rightly deconstruct religion to reveal hypocritical adherence to laws, absurd religious practices, and no evidence of any connection to the divine. Moreover, this often appears to be all there is to Christianity as well because for many American Christians all they know is Christianity as a religion in the aforementioned definition.

Looking at or experience religion can understandably lead one to doubt the very existence of God. It is a reasonable test to watch those who claim to know Him to see if there is anything at all in their life to warrant further investigation into their claims about God.

Real Christianity is not about religion at all as Jesus was never about religion and often rebuked those who were religious. Did you know that the word Christian was bestowed upon followers of Christ in a derogatory manner? It literally means “little Christ”. However, the name stuck because it aptly describes who we are to be. A real Christian is one whose life is in a process of transformation of becoming like Jesus, in that we love like He loves and we learn to reflect His nature in our lives. This is not accomplished by working hard to keep a system of rules and traditions. It’s actually not about rules at all.

Jesus said He fulfilled all of the law. He also said that all of the law rest on two commandments: to love God and to love people. Because all laws and commandments are fulfilled in Christ, Christians don’t guide their lives by any law, but by Christ alone. Therefore, we don’t love God and people because that makes us righteous, but we love God and people because we are made righteous through Christ and the finished work of the cross. We are changed by Him and for Him into a new creation. We are restored to life with God as He intended it to be. Thus our lives ought to be a visible living testimony of the reality of the Gospel and the love of God.

I appreciate atheist for demanding authenticity of our claims to God’s existence. However, I ask that you always seek the truth even if the reality you find to be authentic is different than what you thought it would be. I also ask that when you find authentic truth you will let it touch your life.

I firmly believe that all the answers you seek are found in the person of Jesus Christ. I hope you will return to this blog to read more in your quest for truth.


Jeanine said...

Loved it. Keep more coming, I will keep reading.

Karla said...


McQ said...

Thanks for visiting us, Karla. It's interesting you should bring the topic up on our blog, because as you might or might not have seen- I'm a Christian, too, and DB is almost an atheist (when he comes here he might say it more firmly).

Atheists and some Christians alike tend to create a God that is not described in the bible. Atheists see our God as a megalomaniac, unforgiving, sadistic god. Lots of Christians like to see God as the complete opposite. All love, non-judgemental, non-condemning. A god of convenience, so that everybody but Hitler and serial killers will attain salvation.

It's amazing what a little reading can do for you.

DB said...

I actually agree with McQ on this one, as him and I have discussed this at length for many years. From a viewpoint of ones faith, you have to take the Bible as it is and cannot make it "more believable" simply to recruit more people (hence god of convenienc). Appealing to the masses by changing the Bible dillutes the argument for faith, if you only have to believe what you want to believe and "interpret" the rest.

But to me this is a double-edged sword as I think the only way for me (and the many like me) to believe any of it would be to make those concession, thus changing the Bible's meaning itself. I don't think you can get many people like me to follow by sticking by claims we view as unbelievable, but by not sticking by those claims, you are not giving them the truth (as you see it).

Karla said...

mcq, you sum it up well when you say both atheist and Christians like to create a God that is not described in the Bible. It gets confusing when this happens. Like DB says if you divert from the Bible to appease people then you really have no standard to proclaim. It's kind of a take it or leave it. It can't be half way. But then DB brings up the things he finds unbelievable which it seems brings him to leave it. What if though some of those unbelievable things could be shown to be believable and that you aren't forsaking all logic and reason to accept it. Wouldn't that make some of the other parts that we might not have evidence for yet more likely to be true as well?

A.W. Tozer writes that if he believes Genesis 1:1 all the rest is easy to believe. God created the heavens and the earth. If that's true, if that's how we got here, then I would think Noah's Ark, parting of the red sea, the resurrection of Christ etc, would be a piece of cake.

C.S. Lewis said he was the most reluctant convert, but he who was an atheist and a quiet reasonable man, saw the truth and believed. Once opening his heart to Jesus, he could understand even more of the things he did not yet understand. Sometimes we will never know this side of heaven. But there is so much to explore about who God is. I want to know Him, not just about Him, and He made that possible through Jesus Christ. Knowing Him is the most amazing and exciting thing in the world.

DB said...

Karla said: What if though some of those unbelievable things could be shown to be believable and that you aren't forsaking all logic and reason to accept it.

My comment will ask a simple question on those unbelievable things: Why does it matter if someone believes that stuff if they believe in Christ and that salvation is through Christ?

A.W. Tozer does bring up an interesting thought, but inversely, if you don't believe Genesis 1:1, why believe any of it? But I won't dwell on that symantic argument, rather...

Do you have to believe Genesis 1:1 to be saved? How come simply believing that salvation is through Jesus to be saved is not enough? Where in the Bible does it say that someone should have to do more than simply accept Christ into their life to be saved? Is that not the minimum...belief? If you believe in Christ and you accept him as your savior, why should it matter if you think Genesis 1:1 is just a story or literal truth? Does it matter?

Is it possible to believe in Christ without believing in a literal Bible interpretation of the creation? Will not believing in the literal creation story prevent one from salvation through Christ?

Karla said...

DB, good questions. As for the inverse, I believe that is a correct assessment. If someone doesn't believe God created the world (whether he did it in 6 days or 100 million years) I'm not sure how they could get to the point where they trust Jesus for salvation. Genesis 1:1 only posits God's existence and that he created all that exist. If someone doesn't believe in God they can't really believe in Jesus either, since He is God.

So sure, believing the flood really happened or not isn't a requirement of salvation. We can't add anything to Jesus being the only way, truth and life.

I see the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation as the story of Christ and our place in that story. I see it as one package. But, no salvation doesn't rest on what you believe about Noah, but about who Christ is to you in your life.

Though I'm not sure how you could believe in Jesus as being able to save you if you didn't believe he rose from the dead. That's a pretty incredible claim -- His rising from the dead, but all of Christianity hangs on that truth.

Remember when Jesus asks the disciples, Who do you say that I am? I think the answer to that question is what it all boils down to.