Thursday, January 7, 2016

The atheists respond

In yesterday's post I asked why atheists spend so much time trying to disprove the existence of a God they don't believe in. That post generated more Twitter comments than any post I've ever written. Most of the comments were negative ones from various atheists, and most of them contained personal attacks on me. I was called an idiot, a village idiot, and other similar comments. Included in the personal attacks were demands that theists provide objective evidence that God exists.

I found the level of personal attacks interesting. I've posted nearly 17,000 tweets on Twitter and never once been personally attacked for any of them until this one. Obviously, I hit a nerve! The personal attacks did not bother me. As I've told people recently, once you become medicare-eligible you really don't care what people think of you! This is especially true of those you don't know and are unlikely to ever meet.

I did click on a couple of the people who responded to that post and found that they attack anyone who challenges atheism. It seems they often make derogatory comments about the person advocating for God, demand evidences that God exists, and then accuse the person of running off instead of providing such proof.

First of all, it's a little difficult to prove the existence of God in a 140-character tweet. Personally, I quit debating people on social media a long time ago, and I refuse to engage in any conversation with people who make personal attacks on those with whom they disagree. This is not only true of atheists but other Christians as well. Some of the nastiest people I've seen on social media are Christians, and I refuse to respond to their comments as well.

From looking at the Twitter accounts of some of those who attacked my post, it appears they really aren't interested in anyone providing evidences of God. If they were, they could read any number of excellent apologists such as William Lane Craig, J. P. Moreland, Gary Habermas, or Ravi Zacharias. These individuals do an excellent job of responding to the various challenges many atheists have towards theism.

To be fair, many atheists are sincerely seeking answers to their questions regarding the existence of God. They are willing to engage in serious debate without resorting to personal attacks. I also have to admit that too often when they look to the church for the answers they seek they are disappointed. As one whose previous ministry required me to be in different churches almost every week I will admit that it would have been difficult to have found evidences of God in some of them.

One of my favorite books continues to be Jim and Casper Go to Church: Frank Conversation about Faith, Churches, and Well-Meaning Christians. It is a true story of Jim, a Christian, who paid Casper, an atheist, to attend church with him every Sunday for several weeks. Casper was willing to believe in God if he could find sufficient evidence to prove God's existence during this experiment. They attended some of the best-known churches in America, but in the end Casper was not convinced. As the subtitle states, the book contains frank conversations between Jim and Casper about their experiences in these different churches and why Casper never found the proofs of God's existence in any of them.

The book provides a powerful indictment against the church and its failure to address the concerns of both those who do not believe in God as well as its own members. We should not be surprised that so many Christians are also abandoning the church and seeking other ways to experience God that go deeper than a commitment to attend a 60 minute service each week.

There are those churches who understand the spiritual concerns of people today and are intentionally addressing those concerns. May their tribe increase and include all churches.

I'm sure I'll get hammered again for this post, but that's OK. I don't hate atheists, even those who attack those of us who believe in God. I do feel sorry for them because they are missing out on the blessing of having God in their lives. And I pray that one day they will realize that only God can fill the void they feel in their lives.

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