So you “say” you were/are a Christian?
I often have atheists telling me that they used to be a Christian. These atheists use their “claimed” Christian background as a rallying point of authority for their arguments against the Holy Bible, Christ Jesus and those who follow Christ Jesus.
Many of these atheist claims include that they were raised a fundamentalist Christian, some with many years of private education in Christian schools and colleges and even some state that they were/are actually pastors. I am sure that the majority of these atheists are telling me the truth that they were in fact raised in a Christian household, they did have many years of Christian education, were/are actually pastors in a Christian church and did “say” that they were a Christian at one point in his or her life.
What I have not heard from these atheists who “say” that they were a Christian is that they truly had a loving personal relationship with Christ Jesus while they were “saying” that they were a Christian. Nor have I heard that they had honestly committed their life to be devoted to following Christ Jesus forsaking their own will to follow the will of God in their life when they “said” they were Christian. Also during the timeframe these people “said” that they were a Christian, I have not heard any of them say that their following God’s will and having a loving personal relationship with God positively changed their life as it has my and millions of other people’s lives all around the world.
These atheists who “say” that they were a Christian may realize that if they admit that they actually had a personal relationship with Christ Jesus that they would be openly admitting that God exists thus they can’t honestly call themselves an atheist. My thoughts about most of these atheists who “say” that they were a Christian is that they did not ever fairly study the Holy bible nor were they honestly committed and devoted to actually following Christ Jesus and as such never allowed Christ Jesus into their lives to truly have a personal relationship with Him. My thoughts on the rest of the atheists who “say” that they were a Christian is that they are not being honest and are merely “saying” that they were a Christian for the leverage they think it gives to them in their arguments against Christ Jesus.
There are people who go through the motions of “things” (for my lack of a better word) without ever devoting the time and effort needed to study and understand the details of what it means to be involved in it nor actually wanting to grow in understanding of it so to become fully aware of it to become proficient at it and fully committed to it. This apathy towards whatever it is that the person is going through the motions of is a choice the person made to not become fully involved in it. The reasoning used by the person which apathy is the outcome is always a selfish one and varies from person to person.
Take for example a college baseball or football player who has a great deal of skill at his (or her) position yet lacks the dedication to excel in the position. This player is just doing the minimum to get by to stay on the team but because he has some inherent athletic abilities he may out perform some of the new players next season or maybe all of the new players in the coming seasons but the likelihood that he will become a professional player is very slim because he does not have the drive to excel in his position as may some of the other lesser players who play the same position he does.
The same apathy as in the example above in playing a game happens in all religions including people “saying” that they are a “Christian.” Many people today “say” that they are a Christian when in fact they are not dedicated to actually following Jesus Christ. For a number of years I went through this apathy for myself and you can read about it in my article, “A Testimony of a Sinner.”
Being a true Christian is more than just believing in Jesus Christ because even the demons believe in Jesus Christ. (James 2:19). A true Christian actually goes beyond mere “belief” and places absolute trust into Jesus Christ. This absolute trust in Jesus Christ is what makes a person a “true” Christian having “faith” in the promises that Jesus came to this world from a virgin birth, living a sinless life by fully doing His Father’s will, suffering and dying on a cross for our sins so to redeem us of them, and coming back to life to give us a narrow path to which we can freely choose to follow to have eternal life with God instead of eternal life without God ( Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 13:24). Jesus himself said that if you are not dedicated to following Him that you are not a Christian: “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:16)
Many people “say” that they “used to be” or “are” a fundamentalist Christian however for all the ones I’ve met and have talked with, many of them have never really had or have placed their faith in Christ Jesus and truly had or let Him lead their life’s direction thus they never had or have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We know from Jesus’ telling us that if we are merely lukewarm that He will not accept us as following Him and therefore Jesus Himself is saying that those who only go through the motions of following Him and are not truly dedicated to following Him, are not following Him. If a person is not following Christ Jesus, the person is not really a Christian because by definition a Christian is a follower of Christ Jesus. To follow Jesus Christ, one must take up his/her cross and follow after Christ Jesus. Jesus said: “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matthew 10:38)
The people “saying” that they used to be a Christian did not let go of their own selfish desires to do what they wanted to do thus they fell into the temptations which came their way and find that it is what they want to do because it is easier to just go with the flow than to follow the narrow path (Matthew 7:14). It is a personal choice that each one of us makes either to honestly follow Christ Jesus or not. The people who merely “say” that they are Christian who do not honestly place their faith into Christ Jesus do so because they choose to not do so for whatever reason it is that they want to use to not place their faith into Jesus Christ as their savior.
If these people “saying” that they used to be a Christian had truly gone the extra step and had honestly and actually placed their faith into Christ Jesus and had truly accepted Him as their savior taking the time to seriously study the Holy Bible, they would have experienced the purest loving relationship they had ever experienced and their outlook on life would be full of a hopeful future as I and millions of other people have today (Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 29:13; Revelation 3:20). Having a loving personal relationship with Christ Jesus once experienced is something only a truly fully and purely insane person would give up.
I too once merely “said” that I was a Christian but it was not until I honestly took the step of faith, placed my will aside to follow the will of Christ Jesus and accepted Jesus Christ as my savor that I encountered the most drastic life changing experience I have ever encountered. The trust a person places into Jesus Christ as their savior brings about a wonderful and loving personal relationship between Christ Jesus and the person which is felt deep within the person in such a way is indescribable.
What selfish reasons do you have that influences your choice to not place your faith in Christ Jesus as your savior today? Why not place them aside and open your heart to the love which awaits you in Christ Jesus? It is a choice only you can make for yourself and not making it is saying no to God’s gracious gift of His love for you.
Nice No True Scotsman fallacy. Of course they been living all the delusions you have, with all the personal relationship bullshit you convincing yourself of. They just realized it’s all nonsense and nothing more than self deception. Take some of the more prominent examples like Dan Barker, Michael Shermer, Matt Dillahunty and many more. Listen what they have to say you and realize they accepted the same thoughts as true as you are. They just got past their own biases and tried to find out what’s true. As result you have to either abandon your belief or keep lying to yourself.
HerrKuh, what makes you so sure they and you are not the deluded ones who are self deceiving and living in nonsense? If you or they “did” have an actual relationship with Christ Jesus as I and millions of other people have, you and they could never honestly say that you are an atheist because you would be lying not only to yourself but also to others due to the intimate knowledge of the existence of Jesus Christ.
From reading your comment MovingToMontana, you confirmed my article’s premise in that you never placed your faith into Christ Jesus during that 16 years because you said; “As I gained reason I didn’t lose my faith, but instead I placed my trust in other people—despite many very good reasons not to.” For you to be placing “trust” in other people says that you didn’t have faith in Christ Jesus so you didn’t have faith in Christ Jesus to lose because you put your “faith” and “trust” into as you said, “other people” instead of Christ Jesus.
Also, it sounds like that you were in a cult because you said that you, “attended intense prayer meetings and spoke in tongues, and induced mass hypnosis with incantations and laying on of hands.” Creating mass hypnosis with incantations isn’t having faith in Christ Jesus. Christ Jesus didn’t use incantations nor did he do any mass hypnosis and if that was going on in what you called was a church, then you were in a cult.
You said hearing, “logical arguments wasn’t exactly a staple of my Christian upbringing” which too says to me that you were in a cult. Logic and reason come from God as He created us in His image which is why we are logical and reasoning people instead of instinctual animals.
Yes, I agree with you there are many past and current, “Church sponsored political campaigns” and that even wars were started and are being started because of religion. If during your 16 years that you “say” you were walking with Christ you had actually read the Bible and in particular the New Testament, you would know that not everything that mankind does is approved by God.
I also agree with you that, “there are legions of people who love and care for one another” and that’s because God has placed it within each of us to be caring for each other and not that as you said,” not because they’re frightened of what might happen when they die, but because they’re just good people.” There are no “good people” because each of us, you and me included, are always looking out for our self in some way because we are selfish. Only God is “good” and thus we know from God being “good” what is both “good” and “evil.”
You said, “. I’ve never met an atheist who thinks it’s moral to teach lies to children in science class,” and this is amusing to me because science books get re-written each year because so many things are found to be “lies” after more is discovered about them. Also, if atheism is true, what difference would it make to tell lies to a child? If atheism is true, lies are at times a vital part of survival of the fittest, are they not? Be it a lie of deceptive color or a lie about a set of large eyes on wings, or a lie about the universe and life starting from nothing as an atheist could say. Everyone knows that it is immoral to lie because God has placed this within us yet many of us choose to lie because of our selfishness.
I almost agree with your statement, “Religion only divides people when you let it” but I have to take it even farther than you have for it to be true. Religion divides people. This statement I can agree with because Religion dividing people is the lesson we learn from Jesus. Not only does religion divide people, Jesus (and His apostles) teaches us that religion leads people to destruction and death. In fact, there is only one religion which is called out in the Bible that is pure and undefiled; (“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:27) Now I don’t see many people practicing that undefiled religion today, do you?
I find the continuation of your “Religion only divides…” statement by you amusing too, “and there is no greater justification for that, than fanatic adherence to the various allegedly holy scriptures people who don’t understand Quantum Electrodynamics cling to.” This is amusing because you think we today understand Quantum Electrodynamics!
I agree with your statement, “They don’t worship the God of mystery and awe at the universe around us, they worship a book of myths.” In that many people who do not truly worship God who say that they do are in fact worshiping themselves or as you stated, “a book of myths” as in any book which came after the Holy Bible stating it is from God; i.e., the Watchtower publications, the Catholic’s addition to the Bible, the Quran, Mormon publications, etc.
Let’s break down your last statement, “So you might not like it, but I was a full blown, no doubt about it evangelical Christian” no, you were in a cult which taught religious practices. You only “said” you had faith in Christ Jesus because if you had placed your faith into Christ Jesus and let Him into your being and lead His direction, you would know beyond doubt as I and millions of other people know that He is very, very, real. Also, if you had honestly placed your faith in Christ Jesus and did let Him into your life to lead you and for selfish reasons known only to you and God have turned your back on Him, you are not only a liar stating that you are an atheist (because you know He exists) you are purely insane because any sane person would never give up the beautiful love that Christ Jesus brings into his or her life.
Continuing to look at your last statement, “and I wouldn’t go back to sleep now for all the tea in China.” I don’t want you to go back to what you “said” you were in that cult you were in for 16 years either and I am glad that you found your way out of it. If you are truly seeking truth, you will find it.
What does it mean, Faith in Christ Jesus
MovingToMontana, as you indirectly noted in your comment, atheists worship science above all else and have made an assumption of faith that God does not exist.
For 16 years Christ walked with me everywhere I went. I believed wholeheartedly. There was not a shadow of doubt in my mind I had a personal relationship with the creator of the universe. I followed His Word and felt His love in my heart.
Then I read a book called Why I’m Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell. Then I carried on going to church and pretended nothing had happened. Then I read it again. Then I realised that not only didn’t I need to believe in the supernatural anymore I didn’t understand why I ever did.
Hearing logical arguments wasn’t exactly a staple of my Christian upbringing. It was by no means a strict household, but I attended intense prayer meetings and spoke in tongues, and induced mass hypnosis with incantations and laying on of hands.
As soon as I understood Russell’s teapot analogy of classic agnosticism, I understood why I didn’t believe in any other gods than Yahweh, and why other religions didn’t believe in Him any more than I did Allah or Jehovah.
As I gained reason I didn’t lose my faith, but instead I placed my trust in other people—despite many very good reasons not to. This, to me, is true faith—not believing you are “saved” because you believe in things that aren’t true, but because you know that despite all the wars and hatred, Church sponsored political campaigns against equal rights, pedophile priests and Vatican sanctioned Mafia money laundering, somewhere out there, there are legions of people who love and care for one another, not because they’re frightened of what might happen when they die, but because they’re just good people.
I’ve never met an atheist who thinks it’s moral to teach lies to children in science class, but I’ve never met a Christian, Hindu, Muslim or Jew I couldn’t get along with either. Religion only divides people when you let it—and there is no greater justification for that, than fanatic adherence to the various allegedly holy scriptures people who don’t understand Quantum Electrodynamics cling to. They don’t worship the God of mystery and awe at the universe around us, they worship a book of myths.
So you might not like it, but I was a full blown, no doubt about it evangelical Christian, and I wouldn’t go back to sleep now for all the tea in China.
Sarah, the quotes are where I placed them because there are people who “say” as you did that they “were” a Christian and are “now” an atheist. The focus is on the word “say” because just “saying” that one is a Christian is not what it means to be a follower of Christ Jesus. The focus is also on the word “say” because if a person truly was following Christ Jesus, that person (as I do and millions of other people around the world) “knows” that Christ Jesus is real because of the “real” loving personal relationship between Jesus and the person, and because of all of the evidence that points to Christ Jesus being the only begotten Son of God who lived a sinless life, suffered and died on the cross for your and my sins, then overcame death so that you and I through our faith in God’s promise can have hope and loving relationship with God in heaven forever and ever.
Your statement of ‘I thought I did have a personal relationship with Jesus and God.’ goes hand in hand with your declaration that you are now ‘actually an atheist.’ If you “did” have an actual relationship with Christ Jesus as I and millions of other people have, you could never honestly say that you are an atheist because you would be lying not only to yourself but also to others due to the intimate knowledge of the existence of Jesus Christ.
Neither you nor I know if Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, or anyone else for that matter is going to Hell because neither you nor I are God. The only standard of “good” that counts is God’s standard of what “good” is which is a standard you, I and everyone else does not meet without accepting Christ Jesus as our savior. What I do know is that God’s justice is ultimately pure and that only those people who choose to go to Hell will go to Hell.
First off, you’re incorrectly placing those quotations marks…they are, in fact, literally saying they were Christians. If you really want to use quotation marks for what you’re trying to say, you should put them around the word “Christian.” They’re allegedly “Christian,” not allegedly “saying.” Just wanted to clear that up.
Secondly…I WAS a Christian. I thought I did have a personal relationship with Jesus and God. But rather than me being selfish for becoming an atheist, I began to think that Jesus was selfish. I mean, the only people in the world who are going to Heaven are the people who believe in him? And everyone else in the world, even really amazingly good people (like Gandhi or the Dalai Lama) is going to Hell? If God would really condemn people like that to Hell, I want nothing to do with him, real or not.
So, now that I’m decidedly not Christian (and actually an atheist), I’ve dedicated my life to working on human rights– especially LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) issues– rights that the “not selfish” Christians currently trying to keep away from homosexuals.
And you have the audacity to call me selfish?