To My Atheist (Agnostic?) Facebook Friend

I moved on from our recent, very brief Facebook exchange, thinking it would never come to mind again. I thought, “He’s not even trying, why bother?”

But it keeps circling back. You made me think about how my beliefs might look from your point of view, and you asked a couple of questions that deserve answers.

I’ve decided this, though: I’m not going to try to answer your questions in the messy, more-heat-than-light environment of social media. Instead, a friendly open letter.

One disclaimer: I’m not good at finding things on Facebook once they’re no longer in my face. So I’m answering what I remember as the gist of your questions.

  1. Can you prove that there is a God?
  2. If there is a God, why should I think I owe Him obedience?

I want to offer a challenge before I dive in to my answers. You seem to be a pretty open minded person. You were open minded enough to consider, at some point, that there might not be a God.

Can you be open minded enough to consider how it could make sense to believe there is a God? Let me clarify. I’m not trying to change your mind here. What I mean is open minded enough to imagine my point of view and understand the basics of what I believe and why. Some atheists have gone to the trouble to do this with Christianity. (This article in The Atlantic may provide some examples.)

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Why Christians Say “You Were Never a True Christian”

By Jordan Standridge. Reposted from The Cripplegate.

Rhett and Link, former CRU missionaries who have become famous through YouTube, have recently joined the chorus of “former Christians” who feel the need to share their “faith deconstruction” stories for all to hear. They are now agnostic.

As part of their healing process, they are all told to declare to the world their reasons for why being a Christian is wrong. As a result, they are surprised and hurt by Christians who promptly said that they never truly were of us (1 John 2:19).

Their response has been very interesting; they have lamented this by retorting something like “if there ever was a Christian, I was”. Some describe the hurt that it has caused them and they then, in Philippians 3:4-6 style, describe, like a pre-converted pharisaical Paul, all the reasons why they were actually Christians. They described their Christian lives like, “I prayed, I shared the Gospel, I went to church, I read my Bible, I believed the Bible, but then as I met LGBT folks and as I studied evolution, I discovered that the Bible could not possibly be true and therefore Christianity is false.”

This grieves my heart. And perhaps the main reason for this is the fact that most of these “former Christians” love declaring that they were true Christians. This leads thousands of young people questioning their faith and wondering if their heroes could be right. Can I simply stop being a Christian?

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