Wednesday, June 08, 2016
You're a Christian because you were born into a Christian family...
"But Andrew," replied Tom, "Your parents were Christians, but you're not."
"Yes, I know, but that's only because I've come to see that exclusive religious beliefs are not warranted."
"Are you serious? If there are any religious beliefs at all, they must be both exclusive and warranted."
"Tom, Tom, Tom, you Christians only think you're right. You damn Muslims, atheists, and all the like, while sitting on your throne of expertise."
"Andrew, if any person is a Christian (a true one) they are the first to admit they aren't always right and they don't deserve anything like a throne. Christians confess they are sinners, deserving of judgment, and hopeless."
"Eh, the only reason Christians admit that sort of thing is that it scratches some itch of wish-fulfillment where the Divine comes in and fixes your mess."
"Well, actually, the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 1, says if there's any human wish-fullfillment going on, it's a wish for God not to exist so we humans can do anything and everything we want."
Tom continued, "In fact, Andrew, I think that's why many people raised Christians end up leaving Christianity altogether. Christianity says we aren't autonomous and free. But that goes against the message of the day. I think the reason people perceive Christians as 'intolerant' is that 'tolerance' of other religions is a smoke screen to excuse people to do and believe whatever they want. How else could liberal atheists be so supportive of Islamic jihad or Sharia Law?"
Andrew chimed in, "I can't judge those Muslims for what they've been raised to believe any more than I can judge you."
"But you are judging me...we all judge each other. I'm actually not opposed to making judgments and using discernment. What's confusing is that by denying One God, One Religion, One set of moral truth claims, you have no sure footing for judgment. This is why modern ethics and philosophy work more like chameleons than structures to build your life on."
"But your claim to moral principles flies in the face of other people's claims."
"Then, let's decide what is true. This is how the founding fathers of America argued for their right to oppose England. 'We hold these truths to be self-evident...' They argued that there are self-evident truths that must be recognized and embraced for individuals and societies to flourish."
"But how could we ever know which are true and which are not?" demanded Andrew.
"Well, for centuries, scholars have said reason, human experience, tradition, and Scripture are 4 different sources of truth to understand reality. Certainly for the Christian, the Bible stands as king over all, but even if you aren't a Christian you can compare various religious scriptures against reason, human, experience, and tradition and at least start moving toward making better claims than 'we can't know anything.'"
"You just want everyone to believe as you do."
"Doesn't that mean I care? Especially, if what I believe is necessary for everyone to believe to be forgiven of sin, welcomed by God, and assured eternal life?"
"All that is pish posh. Carl Sagan once said, 'Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
"Isn't the empty tomb of a crucified Jesus extraordinary evidence? Isn't 2000 years of Christian martyrs, churches, and existence extraordinary evidence?"
"Not enough for me," Andrew expressed with finality.
Tom with a tear down his cheek, "Well, that's all I can offer...a crucified and risen Jesus, making himself available to you."