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Let’s Not Be wrong on the Internet!

October 27, 2014

I have never liked stories of confused or mistaken identities (such as The Comedy of Errors or Accidental Hero); truth is so important to me that I find even fictional misunderstandings painful. This is why I so often find myself arguing with atheists online; their portrayal of my faith is simply not accurate, and I can’t stand people being wrong – even on the Internet!someone is wrong

Not that Christians are necessarily correct in their statements either – which is even worse, seeing as we claim to follow a man who said he was Truth incarnate!

So here are four statements that are simply not correct, and should never be used in serious debate:

  • Faith is believing without evidence. Really? I am quite a sceptic, and don’t accept claims without having good reasons for doing so. There is a lot of evidence for Christianity (see e.g. Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Christ); nobody should accept Jesus simply because I say so!
  • Atheists have no morals. Easy to refute: there are lots of atheists who are faithful to their spouses and care a lot for social justice. Their moral system might be different from mine, and I would argue that it stands on shaky ground – but ‘no God’ doesn’t equal ‘no ethics’.
  • Science is incompatible with faith. Again, a rather stupid thing to say: there are innumerable Christian scientists (John Lennox, Edgar Andrews and Francis Collins spring to mind), and there are aspects of blind faith in certain scientific hypotheses (e.g. nobody has as yet found the Oort cloud). Believing that God can make a donkey talk or raise a dead man doesn’t contradict the scientific observation that normally, neither donkeys nor dead men tell no tales…
  • Atheists believe in God deep down, they’re just denying it because they don’t want to repent of their sin. This is of course casting serious doubt on the intellectual integrity of atheists. Yes, there are people who try and keep away from God because they don’t want to change their lifestyle; but that proves they do actually believe in God – otherwise they wouldn’t worry! Genuine atheists are convinced there is no God, and base their lifestyle on that conviction. Hopefully they would change their position if presented with convincing evidence; but let’s not be condescending and question their intellectual integrity.

The truth is out there, for everyone to seek and find. The one thing we mustn’t do is spread misconceptions or outright lies about others. Deception never helped anyone!


From → Christianity, Faith, Jesus

  1. “Faith is believing without evidence.”

    Then what is ‘faith’, and what makes it different from ‘trust’? If it’s the same, why the different word?

    • Good question! Biblical faith is much nearer in meaning to “trust” than the English word suggests. I would say that the real difference is between “belief” (pure intellectual accepting of facts) and “faith/trust” (staking your life on the facts you believe in). You can believe Jesus is real, and it still not make any difference to your life; you can believe that he is serious when he calls us to follow him, and choose to live your life trusting that his promise of eternal life is true.
      The Bible calls us to look into Jesus’ claims and trust him with our lives; that’s what “faith” is all about. Pure acceptance of facts is not what the Bible means by “faith”; nor is it claiming to believe things without any supporting evidence (which I think is very difficult, if not actually impossible). I find there’s a lot of evidence supporting faith in God’s existence and Jesus’ resurrection!

      • “I find there’s a lot of evidence supporting faith in God’s existence and Jesus’ resurrection!”

        Ok. I disagree.

      • So do a lot of people, sadly. You have to take my word for it: I am a Christian because there is plenty of evidence that support the claims of the Bible. I wrote about them in a couple of previous blogs (especially “Defending Your Faith on Twitter Is Hard Work” – look through my posts and you should find it). Or read Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ” or Warner Wallace’s “Cold-case Christianity”.
        Ultimately, you’ll have to decide for yourself – but don’t just blindly accept the claim that there’s no evidence for Christianity!

      • “You have to take my word for it:”

        Oh, I believe you. You’re a Christian because you think you have good evidence to support the claims of the Bible. You’re wrong about that, but I don’t doubt you think it.

      • Well, I guess that’s as far as we’ll get. Just remember: there’s a lot of “blind faith” (e.g. in oft-repeated but inaccurate statements about what Christians believe) in the atheist camp as well…

      • I disagree. Although, I can’t speak for anyone other than myself. I don’t have faith in anything, or use faith for anything, or see faith as a good thing to want to have.

      • Now I don’t believe you. Every time I drive my car, I have faith that the car will obey my wheel movements, and that other drivers will obey the same rules as me. I have faith that my electricity company isn’t suddenly going to cut my supply. I believe that I am currently discussing with a real person and not a very sophisticated computer… I believe on authority that America exists (I have never seen it myself, all I have is the word of people who claim to have been there, plus maps and photos that might be faked). I think “faith” is much more common that atheists realise – and yes, that’s the same kind of “faith” as biblical faith in God.

      • “I have faith that the car will obey my wheel movements, and that other drivers will obey the same rules as me”

        I don’t. I trust based on evidence and previous experience. If you would call that trust ‘faith’, then I would say you are changing a word to give it a religious flair.

      • Well, that is exactly what I do call “faith”: trust based on evidence and previous experience. And that’s not changing the meaning of the word; that is the biblical meaning of “faith”. Well done; you got it!

      • Well done, you’ve made the same mistake as people who say “god is love, so if you believe in love then you believe in god!”/

      • Surely not! All I did was point out that in your daily life, you do exercise faith – not in God, obviously, but in many other things. The difference between us isn’t faith, but that I also have faith in God, an entity whose existence you deny and therefore can’t be expected to have faith in.
        I’m sorry I’m going to have to quit now, but thanks for your input!

      • No. I use trust. You choose to call it faith. I think, based on how many religious people use that word, that it would be ridiculous to use it when a perfectly good word (trust) already exists.

  2. It’s very refreshing to see a pastor who advocates a bit better understanding of those of us who do not believe in the divine.

    While I suspect that we would greatly disagree on the strength of evidence for the divine, I am thankful to see that you are making a true and concerted effort to treat atheists in an irenic and honest manner.

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