Among the incoming comments we received from readers of A candid admission was this absolute gem from Neil W., of Australia:
“I had a similar experience with an anti-Christian. The conversation started with him stating that ‘the science is settled’, ‘it’s a science fact’ and all the other usual soundbites they use for evolution. So over a few weeks I questioned his assumptions, refuted his ‘facts’ and simply kept asking the who, where, when, how, why questions to try and get to the absolute core of his beliefs. He eventually either through anger or frustration gave me the absolute basis for his belief and I quote as close as I can from memory:
“I have never cared about the ‘evidence’ one way or the other, I know God exists, I just refuse to bow down to anyone.”
So to sum up, I believe that most agnostics, atheists, anti-Christians are simply ‘stiffnecked’, ‘hardhearted’ and ‘willfully rebellious’ against God and Jesus because they do not ‘want’ to follow God’s laws.”
When I presented this comment as part of an address to a church congregation recently, one man, Mario, came up to me after the service to talk about that correspondent’s comment—he was very excited.
“Yes!”, said Mario, “that’s exactly how I’m finding it, too. I go onto a creation/evolution forum, and it’s not long before one or more atheists are ‘engaging’ me in argument. We go back-and-forth, back-and-forth, and they throw up all kinds of challenges and objections. But then they start attacking me personally, name-calling and the like, rather than address the issues I and other creationists raise. However, here’s the punchline. Among the many who stubbornly refuse to accept the truth, some of them get to a point where they admit that they HATE God—that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about the evidence, it’s that they hate God and don’t want to serve Him.”
Mario was very excited to hear that his experience of the atheists’ pattern of behaviour online was not unique. I asked him about the “other creationists” he’d mentioned who’d joined him in debating the atheists on that blog. He gratefully paid tribute to them.
“I confess that there were times that I was actually quite intimidated by the ‘weight of evidence’ and angry objections that the atheists would throw back at me,” said Mario. “I was new to all this. But then from out-of-the-blue came other creationist Christians, weighing in on the blog, to help me. They were great. In the face of the ‘scattergun’ attacks from the atheists, these other Christians would address the issues, one-by-one, often linking to articles on creation.com, and that’s when the atheists would ‘go to ground’. Not only did that encourage me and shore up my faith, but by watching their example I learnt a lot from them too about how to debate online effectively.”
Sounds like those online warriors-for-Christ (2 Timothy 2:3) knew how to convert a gun battle into a tennis match. Thankfully there’s a growing ‘army’ of them taking up the battle in the ‘blogosphere’. It’s not hard to find their handiwork. Wherever there’s a news item relating to origins, the public comments section soon turns into a battleground on the creation/evolution issue. On the Christian side, some of the bloggers are very adept at making short, but strategically adroit, comments.
We should note, too, that it’s not only the atheists-versus-creation debates where creationist Christians are battling over truth, but also in the warring over the authenticity and readability of God’s Word as straightforward history. Here’s a sample contribution to the comments section of a Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia) blog titled “Which Genesis story should Christians believe?”3 (which had sought to throw doubt on a straightforward reading of the Bible’s historical account of origins):
We hear from people submitting feedback to us that these online debates on the various internet blogs concerning origins are in fact influencing people’s lives for good. Sometimes it’s not just the information being presented that influences people positively but also the protagonists’ demeanour. Just as it was in the pre-online days when people attended events such as the infamous Ian Plimer versus Duane Gish debate in Australia in the 1980s [If this debate DVD is available then it will be visible in the right column of products within this article]. CMI–Australia associate speaker Dr Mark Brunacci (already a Christian at the time but uncertain of his views on Genesis) testifies that it was his seeing the ferocity of the non-Christian side (where Dr Plimer devoted his time entirely to ad hominem vitriol, scorn and accusations rather than engage in any meaningful scientific or theological debate) that was the decisive factor in resolving the question for himself. As Mark recalls, “truly, the Emperor had no clothes”—there appeared to Dr Brunacci (a then recent medical graduate) to be no cogent scientific, evidence-based defense of the evolutionary position.4,5
So the presence of creationist Christians on the internet is surely not just helping to strengthen their compatriots in battle such as Mario, but who-knows-how-many sideline observers of the fray, also.
And the great thing about the internet is that even aged and house-bound Christians are right there on the frontline of battle, too. I remember mentioning in a presentation that older folk are some of the most active participants in online debates re creation/evolution and afterwards an effervescent elderly lady bubbled with glee as she told me, “I’m one such cyber-warrior for Christ!” Agnes had a particular heart for the young, lamenting that they are only being taught ‘one side of the story’ these days.
“At first, they are fervently opposed to me,” she said. “And when I present them with information from your website, some are even more enraged, but others mellow. ‘I’d never heard of this’, they say. And sometimes, ‘You actually seem to be a nice person,’ they say, surprised. They’re even more surprised when they find out how old I am—a real, live ‘cyber-granny’!”
Agnes concluded, “The world wide web allows me to nurture young hearts and minds far beyond the children and youth I know in my little town. I might be increasingly decrepit physically, but from my comfy fireside I’m a missionary with an international outreach, and it’s thrilling. And for all the objections and nastiness I come across, I do indeed see some hearts and minds changed—for Christ.”
Good on you, Agnes. And Mario. And thanks, too, to all you other ‘blogosphere battlers’, you are indeed making a difference. May there be many more online ‘soldiers for Christ’ joining your ranks.
Mark Brunacci’s testimony on this can be viewed in the 30-minute documentary on the Plimer-Gish debate, Facing the Fire DVD. If this DVD is available then it will be visible in the right column of products within this article. Return to text.
Similarly, long-time creation speaker Dr Carl Wieland has written that “it is not uncommon to hear that public creation presentations when hecklers are active generate life-changing impact in at least one person in the audience. One guy who became a medical missionary was wavering on Genesis and the Bible’s authority and had had a lot of correspondence with me on that; he came to a creation seminar I did in Melbourne many years ago, heckled by attending Skeptics members. He came up to me on that occasion with tears in his eyes, in effect repenting of all compromise, and has stayed solid ever since”. See also Bring on the hecklers?Return to text.
The hyperlink takes readers to: Williams, A.,
Mark Brunacci’s testimony on this can be viewed in the 30-minute documentary on the Plimer-Gish debate, Facing the Fire DVD. If this DVD is available then it will be visible in the right column of products within this article.
Thank you for this article. It is very encouraging, but be careful what you say about grandmothers! There is nothing ordinary about them. Some are raising the grandchildren in the capacity of a "full-time mother" while the part-time mother goes to work. Just because people are "housebound" does not mean they are less intelligent than others.
Daniel M., Australia, 13 September 2012
Thankyou for this article and your ministry. This has definitely been my experience in online debates and forums. May God continue to help all of those warriors giving an answer for what they believe. CMI continually gives me evidence to use in online debates. Again Thankyou!
Curtis C., United States, 13 September 2012
This was a wonderful read, as I'm one of those that tries to spread the gospel and knowledge of God's Word and creation via comments sections and such. It's so encouraging to know not only that there are many others out there but that it is being noticed.
I really think this is one of the most powerful outreach opportunities we have today; as the atheists and secularists are closing off their minds and admitting they are afraid to debate, comments sections give Christians an open floor to engage that debate and put out important (usually censored) information where anyone can find it.
Often it seems to have completely taken the atheists by surprise, even though they have been aggressively using the same platform themselves. And yes, the most important thing we can do is to exhibit Christlike love to all, and clearly show the contrast between the peace and joy we have in Jesus and the misery, hatred, and vitriol that living without him produces. To make it clear that what we oppose is the false philosophies that have led the lost astray, rather than the lost themselves.
Imagine how fast the gospel might spread now and start another Awakening if every Christian took at least some time out of their week to humbly, lovingly shine Christ's light and knowledge of creation to the lost via these opportunities! It's good to know, which I didn't, that many older Christians are doing this already. ^_^
Jack C., Australia, 13 September 2012
Many thanks for the article. I really never thought of atheists being haters of God, not even a subset of them, and then refusing to bow down to Him. I always thought they were simply deluded in their beliefs about evolution and the like, and that they have never given it much thought about the real evidence and the logic of it all. I'm sure there are those who fit that as well but I now realise the driving force behind non-believers who refuse to even contemplate that God exists must be haters of Him. If that's the case then by default they must be admitting He does exist! In reality it means they refuse to follow Him. That opens up a new dimension into the way non-believers think. Very interesting indeed.
Aaron T., United States, 13 September 2012
Thank you so much for this article. It has really lifted my spirits and encouraged me to continue my efforts. I have been running my website for 3 years now and I have increased my knowledge exponentially thanks to Creation/Evolution topics and articles like the ones I find on your website. I hold Creation.com to be the highest caliber resources for information on creation and evolution related topics. Nearly every time I check feedback or posts, especially in groups or forums, there is a group of angry Atheists attacking me and God. I have debated some for a solid week and demolished every argument they threw my way and by the end of it all (usually not even half way through it) they have resorted to slander and fallacious arguments against me and rarely has any one of them ever addressed the evidence I present. I have never seen such hate filled, illogical people in my life as I have while debating Atheists from a pro-biblical stance. Thank you for encouraging all us small timers to keep going and don't any of you ever give up spreading and defending God's perfect Word either. Thank you and God bless. Aaron Tullock, webmaster for TrueDinos.com
Fergus M., Germany, 13 September 2012
"I have never cared about the ‘evidence’ one way or the other, I know God exists"
So he's not an atheist then?
Hi there Dr. David,
It was really a pleasure reading this article of yours :) Although the "other side" hardly gets a chance in our public education systems, it is a good thing that power has limits (as that wise man Sowell once pointed out), and that every creationist blogger cannot be censored, even if they wanted to do so. And so Christians are starting to have answers again against the pseudo-intellectual attacks against Christianity, thanks largely also to the tireless efforts of CMI :)
One word of caution though: As someone who has seen some of these debates, I must say that the protagonists and antagonists are not always well-informed. This is sadly also sometimes true of the creationist side (and I am not necessarily referring to the arguments mentioned on the Don't Use-page, though sometimes these are encountered too). That is why creationist internet apologists should also keep up with quality creation information, and I am very relieved that CMI's material is of a very good standard (also scientifically), and available with the click of a button! :D
With the new wave of Christian cyber apologists emerging, I am very excited when a colleague of yours announced recently that a new apologetics book by CMI is being (re)published! Seldom do internet debates around creation not involve other questions about the Bible and Christianity, as non-believers will often resort to any last efforts in order to dismantle their opponents.
May God keep on blessing this ministry which is making rigorous internet apologetics possible.
David Catchpoole responds
Thanks E.v.N., and I wholeheartedly endorse your "word of caution".
For the benefit of other readers who don't yet know, the colleague of mine who E.v.N. mentioned is Dr Jonathan Sarfati, who has recently worked with original author Dr Steve Kumar to revamp his Christianity for Skeptics. (The original edition won an 'Angel Award' for excellence in media, which is a major reason why the new Christianity for Skeptics [Updated and Expanded] version has been produced.)
Gary H., United Kingdom, 13 September 2012
Exactly. I have had many 'conversations' with people on forums lately regarding this issue. They think that we are all idiots for believing in creationism, but it is amazing how quickly their language changes to outright abuse once the facts are presented. I always think that they have lost the argument at that point. Even after revealing the original title of the 'Origin of the Species' and the comments Darwin made as a consequence of his theories, they honour him. It is very true to say that they have replaced the Creator God with one of their own making. It is difficult to cut through the narrow-mindedness and bigotry, but we must continue to try. Each tap will weaken the dam eventually.
Ken Q., Canada, 13 September 2012
This article was encouraging for me too. I have many, many online debates with atheists & evolutionists about Christianity and creation. Invariably it goes back and forth a few times as they regurgitate the 'sound bites' they've been taught, I refute them, and then once they run out of talking points they digress into ad hominem attacks. We Christians always need to remember that God's Word tells us that EVERYONE knows the truth about God, but that they suppress the truth in unrighteousness. I debate mainly for the purpose of strengthening the faith of fellow believers and to a lesser degree to try and stop the mouths of the unbelievers, but God can also use these discussions to bring people to Him as well.
Victor B., Australia, 13 September 2012
Thank you for an encouraging and edifying article. I particularly enjoyed reading about "Agnes - cyber-Granny". Many thanks to CMI's ministry in empowering and providing the insight, resources and example in being "Soldiers for Christ".
olivia J., United States, 13 September 2012
I am new at creation ministries and am greatly thankful that I am finding others who think as I do. This forum is a wonderful way of educating ourselves and our loved ones. There are so many intelligent and loving people out there and now I can learn from them.
Don J., United States, 13 September 2012
Yes, yes. I've been debating evolutionists online since the days of ARPANET. It always boils down to a matter of the heart. The hardest nuts to crack, however, are the theistic evolutionists. Go figure.
Philip R., Australia, 13 September 2012
The contrast between the civility of anti-creationists and creationists is astounding. There are many examples of anti-creationists vilifying creationists, but I was mildly surprised recently to see Professor Larry Moran of the University of Toronto (who confuses Intelligent Design proponents and creationists) say the following on his blog:
"When I use the word "IDiot" I fully intend to bash the IDiots for their stupid ideas. … The idea is to plant in the public's mind the notion that these creationists are crazies and kooks, not respectable scientists with a different, but scientifically valid, opinion. We tried treating them politely for several decades [I hadn't noticed—Philip R] and what did it get us? It got us leaders and politicians in many countries who think it's perfectly respectable to believe that evolution is false."
Phil Plait, a sceptic, talking about other sceptics, has noted that "Instead of relying on the merits of the arguments, which is what critical thinking is really all about—what evidence-based reasoning is all about, it seems that vitriol and venom are on the rise."
In contrast, one of the most vitriolic anti-creationists around had this to say about creationists in his review of the anti-creationist book "Among the Creationists: Dispatches from the Anti-Evolutionist Front Line":
"…there’s something that comes through loud and clear, that I’ve also experienced: [the creationists are] all so damned nice. They haven’t got a leg to stand on with the nonsense they’re talking about, but they try to make up for it with friendliness and manners …"
michael S., United Kingdom, 13 September 2012
I debated with hardcore intellectual atheist evolutionists online for a period of about 8 years on and off. I consider it the biggest waste of time in my life and greatly regret the personal torture I put my own mind through because at the time I was immature and young, and allowed myself to be a vitim.
But that's an example of the lion's den, most people aren't educated scientists but most of the people I were debating had some form of education, and they were the worst most proud, arrogant and stiffnecked people I have ever encountered in my life.
The good news is that they greatly helped me to realize the truth of faith because they were such a great example of hypocrisy and pride. They have played a foundational role in building my faith. They also forced me learn and use my mind which I had never done before. I became a kind of bizarre intellectual machine in order to reach them, but the highest wisdom was not heeded, even though God changed my mind and gave me tremendous powers of reason. I think ultimately, the Lord was doing it to work on me, even though it was very painful at the time.
Marten Z., United States, 13 September 2012
From my experience, the comments from Neil W. are right on the mark. I have to admit, I have published an atheist blog under a different name in the past, and in doing so have come in contact with other atheist bloggers. What they all admit behind closed doors, but never in public, is that we know God exists, but, for a variety of reasons, continue to spread the false religion of atheism.
David C., United States, 13 September 2012
I can't remember the times that I was in an online argument with an evolutionist/atheist and became stumped by something they had said. It wasn't that they were correct, it was that I didn't have the info at hand to rebut what it was they had brought up. What else could I do, other than pray, but go to CMI and look up the info that I needed. Everytime I've found exactly what it is that was needed to directly and correctly answer the question posed by the atheist. Thank You, CMI and God Bless all that you do!
Also, to touch on the way that atheists, once broken down, admit that they just plain don't like God, I say this: It all comes down to accountability. They do not want to have to be held accountable for their actions. It's interesting to note that there is a trend that says people who are atheists or who have a dim view of God or Christianity also had a very poor relationship with their father or didn't have a father at all.
Jerrall W., United States, 13 September 2012
It has been known for many years that willful unbelievers choose their path because they do not want to obey anyone but themselves
Peter D., Australia, 13 September 2012
This is very encouraging and motivating.
My first real exposure to Biblical creation came via Margo Kingston's blog in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2005. I missed the formal debate itself, but watched with great interest (and soon joy) from the cyber sidelines as Dr. Sarfati and Dr. Walker and others had the vanquished skeptics again on-the-hop during a follow-up thread. Alex Ritchie, in particular, as I recall, was still smarting from losing the formal debate and it was quite amusing watching him scurry from here to there tripping over himself -- I was in my late twenties at the time and had never witnessed anything like it; a small handful of Christian apologists parrying and skewering anything, any obstacle, that got in the way of the truth.
And I think it's true of the Internet that while the direct opponents of your arguments may at times not appear to be conceding an inch, and indeed it may feel as though you're interacting with a brick wall, it's the many more silent "lurkers" and witnesses that may have their eyes opened and views changed. I remember at the time I was clinging to some of Dr Hugh Ross' work. Within a few weeks I'd consumed dozens of hours of CMI material, and, if I may say so, I've never looked back -- a far more coherent, robust and energized faith has resulted. Thank you CMI!
David Catchpoole responds
Peter, thanks so much for letting us know that you were one of those positively impacted by the SMH-hosted debate. (It was enormously demanding of our professional staff resources at the time, so it's great to hear of yours, and others, feedback.)
For readers who don't know about the debate, click here to see a short summary/gateway article with onward links to further reading about it, including a link to a pdf of the debate itself, which is also available from our web store as the booklet Skeptics vs Creationists: a formal debate.
Greg A., United States, 13 September 2012
Great article and encouraging. I recently had a 2 week debate over Biblical inerrancy (Luke’s & Matthew’s genealogies and also the date of Quinirius’ rule in Judea) with a Professor @ Butler University that others were watching—I used creation.com (and some other) and of course my Bible. I was able to develop a very strong fact based position and I learned a great deal in the process too. I had been discouraged at the time it took but believed it possibly made a difference—this article affirms that!
Denis W., Australia, 14 September 2012
As a mature age recent convert to internet/social media ( Facebook ) etc I do tend to spend a lot of time blogging to a limited field of friends, 100+ , but some are atheist or " don't care ". I also share as many of your pages as I find suitable, in the hope that some will take the time to read them. Some of these friends are quite intelligent, but intelligence is not in itself enough to lead people to a belief in God as demonstrated by men like Dawkins and Hawking. We can only put it out there, and trust in the Spirit of God to make it take root and have an effect on their lives. It's a good work you're doing, keep them coming.
Marita V., South Africa, 14 September 2012
Thank you so much for this article! I have almost been losing heart.
Responses to creationist comments are mostly extremely aggressive and disheartening, patronizing and insulting. I always try to stay positive and respectful, and have even been called "sweet, but we know how you creationists work, sounding sweet and being evil".
I have been contemplating stopping to read these on-line chats and stopping responding to them. It is upsetting to me and the most upsetting is that these people hate God so much that they even say that "if God will stand in front of me today, I will refuse to worship Him anyway".
But, I have also come to realize that no one can be convinced by arguments or with the mind. So now I try to stop before responding with my mind and think first what the Spirit says: Should I say something or not, and what should it be?
I have even started to wonder if Young earth creationism is a false religion (which will increase in the end times), but again, when I read your articles, I am encouraged again since you are always only defending the in-errancy of the Bible and always quoting the Bible, so how can that be false?
Thank you for your hard work!
Jonathan M., Canada, 14 September 2012
It`s always nice to hear that there are others working hard to spread the truth. I have spent a lot of time in such discussions and sometimes it seems like a losing battle. However, each discussion is a learning experience and I do from time to time get some meaningful dialogues. I have recently changed my strategy by first establishing that biology is a dead end for evolution. Genetic entropy and the destructive nature of mutations, the death of junk dna, the kinds of changes we observe and the speed they can occur (as well as their limited scope) really shuts down the debate on that front. Then I suggest that if there is evidence for evolution, it must be in the fossil record, since biology itself is silent. By isolating the fields, it helps to focus the discussion. Once we get to geology and there is nothing left but geology, the one-legged stool easily topples and we can then talk about the real issues at stake. Thank you creation.com for arming us with the facts. Your ministry has given me the intellectual confidence to be bold about my faith in a very secular university environment.
This is an interesting article indeed. I am another one of those who occasionally gets involved in the fray of forums and post-article comments. Like in the two comments you pointed out as examples, I frequently link creation.com articles. There is no way to know exactly how much of an impact these links are making, but I've wondered how often CMI is able to detect the fruit of these? Do you ever receive comments from readers (disgruntled or otherwise :) ) who found creation.com for the first time due to a shared link?
David Catchpoole responds
Indeed yes. Links shared on Facebook and other 'social media' are increasingly being mentioned by 'first-timers' (both irate and friendly :-) ).
Paula S., United States, 14 September 2012
I've been engaging in these online debates for about 10 years or so, and have often wondered if I was just wasting my time. It's encouraging to see that these online debates may have had some positive impact. Two things I have learned to keep in mind: 1. don't argue with the idea that you are going to change the minds of your most vociferous opponents-instead keep in mind those sideline readers who may well be in need of hearing the arguments you present (especially high school and college students). 2. don't let the debate become about you personally. When you leave your ego and your feelings out of it then your opponent's personal barbs will merely present an opportunity to point out the illogic and irrationality of their thinking (be prepared, this usually enrages them). Lastly, I often refer to CMI when a response requires more detail and have come across a couple of popular arguments. One is that CMI articles are not peer reviewed, the argument being that because they are only reviewed by other creationists that it doesn't count as 'popular' peer review. The other argument I get is to quote your statement of faith which states that any scientific evidence which contradicts the Bible is considered invalid. This is used as an excuse to ignore your entire website as 'unscientific.' I'm sure others will probably get similar arguments.
One has to ask why would any rational evolutionist go to so much effort, time and emotional hate to protest something they don't believe in? Even under their own belief system if notions of God had evolved then why is it wrong? I am sure most people don't believe in fairies at the bottom of the Garden but no rational person would spend their life spewing hatred and malice at people who do. We would say to those that did that they had the greater mental disorder.
The truth is as you have observed, they really do believe deep down but are just rebelling and going into competition with God. If they hate God then it stands to reason they hate those who put him infinitely above them as the ultimate authority and that also that we can't be deceived with their false religion.
Pat G., United States, 15 September 2012
Years ago, I got involved in a creation/evolution debate on FidoNet. I began to ask Socratic-type questions, nothing more. Before long, one particular participant (I seem to recall he was an astronomer) started to attack me. He claimed to be a Christian, a theistic evolutionist. Oxymoron? After awhile, he started telling me that I didn't have the technical background, effectively labeling me too stupid to understand. I ignored these comments and kept asking questions, and he kept getting more and more agitated. Anyway, this kept up for quite awhile, and eventually something gave and it was over. But I am sure plenty of people were watching, and I can only hope and pray that my questions got other people started questioning, and eventually recognized how empty evolution truly is.
Adrian C., United States, 16 September 2012
I humbly submit that this reveals a need to address people's issues with God, not to dismiss them for being mad at Him. My heart goes out to anyone who hates God. Quite honestly, I've been there before myself. If nothing else, I think we should pray for people like this.
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." Matthew 5:44-45
Martin Y., United Kingdom, 19 September 2012
May I say how encouraging this article is. It can feel very lonely battling away at some supposedly Christian site against those who claim Christ but refuse to accept His words. It is good to see that there are others who are doing the same, just as it is good to have occasional assistance from those qualified but busy experts. As someone has already said, you know you've won when they call you a liar. The abuse that CMI and others receive also demonstrates that you are making a difference, please keep up the good work.
Robert S., Australia, 21 September 2012
Scripture also clearly explains the reason why some confidently deny God.
Why do the wicked renounce God?
He has said in his heart, "You will not require an account." Psalm 10:13
David B., Canada, 21 September 2012
Thanks for this encouraging message. I find another mental road block that you will face is that people just can't believe that their schools, and thus ultimately their government, have been lying to them their entire lives. This is a very tight chain that binds the hearts of unbelievers. They may not admit it, but it is a very hurtful thing to know your whole life has been a lie and thus a waste. This makes people very angry and magnifies a sense of abandonment from the world, the only foundation many people know.
I have been a believer since I was a teenager, but it took me well into my 30's to finally deal with the fact that my government would lie to me. This was akin to my parents lying to me. This, of course, is a violation of God's order and one of the deepest and most subtle moral wrongs out there. It is also a very scary prospect for many people to face and for many of them, they would rather cling to a lie than to go it alone because many believe they are alone. Especially if they then turn to the churches and find the same lies!
If we, as Christians, can show people that they are not alone, I think it will help more to have the courage to make the break. I think this is where the warm hug and kindness of Christianity has to come in. If people know that they can be in close contact with us and know that we are there for them as a sounding board, it will help many more of them to make the break from the betrayal that they then discover to be all around them.
That is why it is imperative for us not to be hostile on these boards but to be a loving and kind witness. Huge pillars and foundations are falling down for these people and they don't need to come to the church doors for a sound thrashing, but for a refuge and for someone to bind their newly discovered psychological wounds made fresh by the Truth that the world is their enemy and not their friend.
David Catchpoole responds
Very well said!
Philip K., United Kingdom, 21 September 2012
This is so true. In my home town when I used to go out on the streets as a Street Pastor, one night/morning, quite incredibly at one of the towns and then at the other I encountered two separate and unconnected young university graduates both of whom asked me "You don't believe in that 7 day 24 hours creation rubbish do you?" (not necessarily with those words exactly but the gist was the same). On both occasions I chose to answer with the Earth's magnetic Field decay, which has now been measured over a period of c.150 years. I explained that with a half life of c.1400 years, life could not have existed more than c.10,000 years ago (Tracing the graph backwards, at that point earth would have been a magnetic star)and tracing the graph forwards, life would cease in about 2,000 years from now. I explained that the EMF deflects harmful radiation and no EMF means we all die from it or putting it another way, the Northern Lights look pretty from here but you really don't want them visiting you! This meant that there simply has been no time for goo to you evolution. I told them to check out the science for themselves and if necessary search for non Christian scientific web sites (On one such site I discovered that this uncomfortable fact was buried away in a very long paper and not commented upon).
The first graduate told me that "I am not going to let the facts stand in the way of what I believe" and the second just kept repeating "I am a geneticist/scientist - I cannot believe that you're arguing with me" (I wasn't but he didn't want to check out this scientific measurement).
It was the first time I had encountered intellectual people who were very far removed from behaving intellectually. As an ex lawyer ( but now a full time Pastor), I had expected a reasoned debate. Silly me!
Don S., United States, 22 September 2012
As Christians, we shouldn't really be surprised when an "atheist" reveals that their fundamental objection is that they hate God - that just confirms what Paul taught us nearly 2,000 years ago in Romans 1:18-32. But God can overcome anyone's hardness of heart - Romans 8:30 says, "Those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified."
Geoff C. W., Australia, 22 September 2012
This is a VERY interesting conversation. On the basis of what has been said, we should perhaps consider altering our approach a little in our blogs.
When the responders turn to vitriol, perhaps our next port of call should be to ask them something like: "Supposing there was a supreme being who created everything, what would you think of him/her/it?" If the response to that exposed a hatred of God, that might then lead to a more fruitful discussion about the origins of that hatred. I guess I'm talking about getting to the heart of the issue, now that we see what it is.
Or in the case of people who are held by a belief that their teachers/government wouldn't lie to them, we could turn the conversation to one of where responders first heard about evolution, and what they were told (and why) – again, getting to the heart of the issue.
Perhaps the effects of the absence of a father, or of a loving father, at home (as one contributor here noted as a cause for atheism) might also be addressed, although I suspect that the blogosphere might be a little too public a place for a conversation about that, but you never know…
I suppose that the quicker we can get to the root issues that people are facing, the less likely they will be to (through argument) paint themselves into a corner from which they cannot extricate themselves without losing face.
Note: I'm sure we would all agree that our aim must never be to "win the argument", but to present the Truth firmly and in love (as I believe is continually done by the CMI representatives who write here, I hasten to add).
P.S. I have been reminded here about a comment I heard from a well-known Melbourne ABC radio presenter (who unsurprisingly claims to be an atheist), who said that he wouldn't want to believe in a god who would let happen the things we see going on in the world around us (rape, child abuse, and so on), when he had the power to stop it. This seems to exemplify the person who has decided that since God isn't nice (in his view), He doesn't exist. Strange logic from an ex-lawyer!
T. R., New Zealand, 25 September 2012
The God of the bible is a creation of human minds. I am a Christian and have no belief in any God(s) .Christianity is a way of life ,and a good one at that .I see that the meaning of the word God is Love .Not some super being as described in the bible .
Stephen K., United States, 25 September 2012
I can't help but be reminded of Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost, who "preferred to rule in Hell rather than serve in Heaven", who devoted his existence to the "study of immortal hate", who knew that he could never win against God, but preferred to go down fighting a lost war rather than surrender, and wanted to revenge himself on God by desecrating God's earthly creation.
JOHN ROWLAND T., Australia, 26 September 2012
It is amazing that God offers so much in the way of everlasting peace and happiness for anyone who will simply accept,believe and follow Jesus that multitudes would be scrambling to get there. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain, or everything to lose and nothing to gain ...
Jesse M., United States, 20 October 2012
@T.R., what in the world are you talking about? How do you know that God is a creation of our minds? To quote from CMI, "To say there is no God is to say you have enough knowledge to know there is no God. But an atheist can never have enough knowledge to be certain there is no God. He would have to know everything, because if there is something outside his area of knowledge, that something could include God. An atheist would have to be everywhere in and out of the universe all at one time, because if there is anywhere he cannot be, God could be there.
No atheist can claim total knowledge, therefore atheism is self–refuting, because knowing everything and being everywhere is to be like God. Since no one can prove ‘there is no God’, the question becomes irrelevant and so does atheism."
Also, by default, you CANNOT claim to be a Christian without believing in God, as Christianity is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.