I'm dealing with some atheists... help!

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Ekimklaw, Jul 9, 2002.

  1. Ekimklaw

    Ekimklaw
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    These atheists are adamant that God, who is loving and kind, would not destroy the Midianites and the Amalekites, etc.

    They claim that the Bible advocates rape, and murder as well as stealing land.

    How do I explain why it appears that the Bible condones this.

    -Vance
     
  2. untangled

    untangled
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    Hey,

    If this may help let me try and give an example.

    For example: Moses was a murderer. God did not condone what Moses did, however God still used him although he took these actions.

    About Joshua, one way I could explain it is that God knew what would happen if they were not destroyed. They could have wiped His people out. God did not condone rape and stuff. There are stories of things but God never said, "Go ye and rape....." People are always coming up with things to criticize our faith about. Sometimes it all comes down to them not wanting to admit that there is something greater than them. One that they must someday face in judgement.

    From my experience dealing with atheists they will always look for anything they can question. Also, remember what Jesus said "People will hate you because of me." I have faced many people like this and at times let it get me down. My brother, don't let them get you down. I've learned in the last few years that there are many people that love to attempt to break your faith. They love to debate. They love to humiliate people. They hate everything Christian about you and I. Some have just had bad experience in Church and feel angry. But that's just my opinion. Pray hard for those people.. I'm dealing with one person in particular at the moment that confronts me about my faith whenever we see each other out and about.

    Anyway, sorry this was so long. Be blessed. Sorry if this was not what you were looking for. There are some extremely smart people on here that have been Christians alot longer than myself (I've really only been following Christ for 6 years) that can really give you some good information.

    In Christ,

    Brooks
     
  3. tfisher

    tfisher
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    Vance,

    I would suggest a trip to the local Christian bookstore to the apologetics section. There are a lot of books on the subject. There are no quick and easy answers that will help you. You will have to study the issue for yourself and be confident in what you believe. A good book to start with might be "The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell.
     
  4. Chris Temple

    Chris Temple
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    There are no atheists. Find out what they believe in (earth, science, naturalism, etc) and show them that that is there god.

    Also, by what standard are they judging rape, murder, etc as wrong? If there is no God, no Universal source of Truth, then there is no "wrong" at all. They don't disbelieve in God; they are using Him to argue against Him.
     
  5. jmbertrand

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    Something doesn't sound right here. If these are atheists, then they deny God's existence. How can they argue that God is loving and kind if there is no God? It sounds like what they're really saying is that the Bible presents a contradictory picture of God, and is therefore unreliable. If the Bible claims that God is loving and kind, and then claims that He has done things that are not loving and kind, then either: a) God is not loving and kind, or b) the Bible is wrong to attribute these acts to God.

    Chris is on the right track with his suggestion. You need to develop a moral argument. By what standard is an atheist going to measure God's actions? The simplest response to the problem above would be to say that the Biblical acocunt of God's actions is accurate, and that it was both loving and kind for God to do what He did with reference to the Midianites, the Amalekites, etc. The problem is our conception of 'loving and kind.'

    So we need a standard -- what is 'loving'? But you and I might have different opinions on this. What is 'loving' in my book might be cruel in yours. Sure, we can have a subjective, personal standard for love, but it can't be used to judge the actions of others. To do that, we'll need a standard that is in some sense transcendent. For Christians, God is that standard. So His actions are, by definition, loving.

    On a practical basis, if you are new to apologetics, I would suggest Bill Jack's video Simple Tools for Brain Surgery, which is available at http://www.worldview.org/resources/resources.html. Bill teaches four 'killer questions' and then uses actual man-on-the-street interviews with various types of unbeliever. The material is aimed at high school students, but when I saw it live I was very impressed.

    Mark
     
  6. Helen

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    Hi Vance,

    These accusations are incredibly common and you would think they would try for some others occasionally!

    OK, here: go to Genesis 15:16. God tells Abraham the land will belong to his descendants, but not yet. Why? "Because the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached full measure."

    We see the same thing at Sodom. Only ten righteoud men present in the city would have saved it.

    The same before the Flood. ONLY Noah was found righteous...

    God does not destroy a culture or civilization until the full measure of sin/evil has been reached. This means that there is no good in it left to save. This means that the little kids will grow up only knowing evil and never having the choice of choosing anything else!

    I am not a Calvinist and I am firmly convinced that the Bible means what it says when Peter says God is not willing that one should perish but that all should come to repentance. That means that each adult person at least has a choice somewhere along the line. In a society where the full measure of sin has been reached, no choices are left, and that does not go down with either God's justice or His mercy!

    On rape: it is NEVER advocated, but rather punished by death.
    On murder: is said by God to deserve the death of the murderer. Killing as a judicial punishment or in warfare is not forbidden, however.
    On stealing land: it belongs to God. He can give it to whom He pleases.

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. tfisher

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  8. Helen

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    Tfisher, I began to realize that when I tried to look at things from 'outside' the human perspective. In other words, we can go to a child's funeral and be reassured "He is now safe in the arms of God" or something like that.

    How much better for the children that way, even if there was some temporary pain or fear or suffering on this side than to live in a culture where all they were ever exposed to was rebellion and evil.

    Then I started thinking about Sodom, and Abraham's 'discussion' with God. Abraham was not 'talking God into something' -- rather God was giving us all a lesson through Abraham. On our side, one person can do so much good! On the other side, when there are not enough 'one persons', the society is doomed.

    So at least God rescues the children...

    In the Promised Land, the cultures that were there when the Israelites arrived were involved in some of the most horrid things involving their children you can imagine. Boys and girls both were sold into temple prostitution at very young ages, or as sex slaves to the rich. Child sacrifice to Molech and possibly other idols took place by heating the metal cast idol to very hot and placing the child on the metal outstretched arms where the child was burned to death.

    There are tears in my heart even as I type that.

    Far, far better for God to command all these people be wiped out than to allow these things to continue.

    We just rarely see it from that oint of view. What pagans, and often we ourselves, see, is from our side -- "What kind of God would command execution of innocent children?"

    Answer -- the very God who appreciated their innocence and preferred them home to their growth in evil.

    Once I started seeing things from that perspective, I started understanding a lot more of what was happening in the Old Testament and the lessons God wants us to learn.

    The tares will grow with the wheat, Jesus said, until harvest. It's the same lesson.
     
  9. Will

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    Vance,

    Here's an interesting article on the subject:

    http://www.christian-thinktank.com/rbutcher1.html

    Here is another article on the subject from Leaderu.com (a great resource, especially for students):

    http://www.leaderu.com/socialsciences/clark.html

    One suggestion when discussing topics with Atheists, set the ground rules upfront (such as I'll answer one question, the you answer one.) To do this you need to understand and be able to defend why the Christian worldview is correct. If you don't do this then they will keep you on the defensive playing stump the Christian.
     
  10. onevoice

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    There are no atheists. Find out what they believe in (earth, science, naturalism, etc) and show them that that is there god.

    Also, by what standard are they judging rape, murder, etc as wrong? If there is no God, no Universal source of Truth, then there is no "wrong" at all. They don't disbelieve in God; they are using Him to argue against Him.

    -------------------------------------------

    This is so much more true than they will admit. Well said.

    I dealt with an athiest once in school. . a science teacher. He used to assign us papers to write like "How earth was created" or "where life came from". My papers were full of scriptures and for a LONG time for some reason I got F's, but to me that was a sacrifice I was willing to take in order to stand for what I believed in.

    Every day I would tell this man that I loved him, that God loved him so much that he died to give him eternal life, even if he wouldn't accept it, and that I was praying for him.

    Several years later I received word from a friend of mine that he had the opportunity to lead this man to the Lord. What a blessing. He said that the strength and persistance I had shown him and the fact that I would rather fail than deny my God had proved to him that there was something more to the Bible than he had initially thought.

    Be persistant and consistant in your beliefs and your dealings with these people. It is hard to deal with these people because they view any scriptures that you quote or read to them as garbage, however, it is important to continue to give them God's word "Line upon line, Precept upon precept" because his word will NOT return into him void. Most imporantantly . . live Christlike. The love of God flowing through his children preaches sermons.
     

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