Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

A look at how a former skeptic changed his mind about God’s existence

Reformed Seth sent me this post from the ultimate object blog.

Excerpt:

“There has been some confusion and more than a few requests for explanation about what is going on with my core beliefs. Some time last week, I realized that I could no longer call myself a skeptic. After fifteen years away from Christianity, most of which was spent as an atheist with an active, busy intent on destroying the faith, I returned to a church (with a real intention of going for worship) last Sunday. Although I know I may struggle with doubt for the rest of my life, my life as an atheist is over.

The primary motivator in my change of heart from a Christ-hater to a card-carrying Disciples of Christ member was apologetic arguments for God’s existence. Those interested in these arguments may pursue them in the comments section, but I don’t want to muddle this explanation up with formal philosophical proofs. Briefly, I grew tired of the lack of explanation for: the existence of the universe, moral values and duties, objective human worth, consciousness and will, and many other topics. The only valid foundation for many of those ideas is a personal, immaterial, unchanging and unchangeable entity. As I fought so desperately  to come up with refutations of these arguments – even going out of my way to personally meet many of their originators, defenders, and opponents  – I realized that I could not answer them no matter how many long nights I spent hitting the books. The months of study rolled on to years, and eventually I found an increasing comfort around my God-believing enemies and a growing discontent and even anger at my atheist friends’ inability to kill off these fleas in debate and in writing, an anger that gave birth to my first feeling of separateness from skepticism after reading comments related to a definitively refuted version of the Christ Myth theory, the idea that Jesus Christ never even existed as a person at all. Line after line after line of people hating Christianity and laughing at its “lie,” when solid scholarship refuting their idea was ignored completely. It showed that the motive of bashing and hating Christianity for some skeptics wasn’t based in reason and “free thinking” at all, although it would be unfair to lump many of my more intellectually rigorous and mentally cool skeptic friends in this way.

As time went on, I reverted the path I traced after giving up Christianity so long ago: I went from atheist to agnostic to … gulp … *leaning* in the direction of God, to finally accepting that he very well could exist, and then to coming out and admitting (quietly) He did exist. After considering Deism (the belief in a God who abandons His creation), Islam, Hinduism (yes, Krishna, don’t laugh), Baha’i, and even Jainism briefly, I have decided to select Christianity due to its superior model for human evil and its reconciliation, coupled with the belief that God interacted with man directly and face-to-face and had *the* crucial role in this reconciliation. This, of course, doesn’t prove that Christianity is absolutely true (although I can prove that God exists), but rather reflects my recognition that Christianity is exactly what I would expect to be the case given that God exists.

I feel guilty when I read posts like that… I think to myself “you shouldn’t be so mean to people who disagree with you, maybe they are like this guy – honestly thinking things through and willing to change their minds”. Sigh. I feel so guilty right now.

I really like what he had to say about reconciliation, though. I feel the pressure to reconcile people to God through Christ’s offer of forgiveness – that’s why I work so hard on apologetics, and to have money to buy people things they need for their studying. To really get people to be reconciled, you have to be convincing. You have to be persuasive. And you can’t do that without having studied the arguments and the evidence.

I also agree with him about the reconciliation. The resurrection is a good argument, but it’s inductive – it’s the best explanation based on the historical bedrock that we have. But what clinches the case for Christianity in the end is Christ descending from his glory to suffer with us – and for us, too.

In case any of you haven’t read my testimony, it’s right here.

Seth also found evidence that this guy really was a skeptic before. (That link goes to John Loftus’ “Debunking Christianity” web site)

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Audio debate: Muslim and Christian converts debate their former religions

This is one heck of a good debate. I really liked the Christian guy, who is a former Muslim from Pakistan. He speaks as though he had a lot of experience debating this topic, and he is a medical doctor, too. I like it when people have the calm, experienced tone that comes from having had lots of debates and being very confident about what you believe. If only we Christians all sounded like Nabeel.

Description of the debate:

Unbelievable? 11 Jul 2009 – Islamic & Christian converts debate – 11 July 2009

Nabeel Qureshi converted to Christianity from Islam after being convinced that the weight of evidence was in favour of Christian faith.
Yahya Seymour’s story is the opposite – he became a Muslim after having a Christian upbringing.

They discuss the issues in advance of debates coming up in London.

For more information on the debates from Sun 12 Jul 09 to Sat 18 Jul 09.
See http://www.thedebateinitiative.com or http://www.answeringmuslims.com

The MP3 file is here.

Filed under: Podcasts, , , , , , , , , , ,

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