What I Would Have Said to RV

I have a young friend, an acquaintance  by e-mail, who was raised as an evangelical christian, as a young man entered into liturgical christianity, became greek orthodox for a while, and has recently come out as an Atheist!

He is very articulate and highly educated, but tells me that he just can’t remain a christian, or even a theist, and maintain his intellectual integrity.

We exchanged several e-mails, he was touched that I cared for his soul, and agreed to dialogue with me. I was going to give him an apologetic,(from 1 Peter 3:15, “always be ready to give an apologia for the hope you have in Christ…”)  that is a reason for my hope.

But in the preliminary exchanges I mentioned to him that I really do not believe Atheism is an honest position. He took an exception to that, feeling I had already impugned his character. I explained that I was coming from Paul’s letter to the Romans, which gives an analysis of the mindset of the godless, that they suppress the truth in unrighteousness, making them liable to God’s wrath.

I assured him that I believed that he was operating in good faith with me, but that he was deceiving himself , but it was too late. The dialogue was called off, he is not open to hearing anything more from me, because I believe that Atheism is a suppression of truth, a denial of that which is known of God.

I have to confess that I am grieved. This encounter has made me more aware of the ravages of what is called “the New Atheism” on young people, as well as the bitter, toxic fruit of our increasingly secularized education system, which is to the point of being hostile to God and religion, (unless of course, it is Islam)..

There are a good many young, bright, articulate young people who are not ashamed to identify themselves as Atheists. They are going on you tube and other venues to present their sophisticated philosophical rebuttals of christianity and Theism in general.

Oh, another contributing factor to this Atheistic revival,is the man centered, shallow but pervasive “evangelicalism” of the last forty years, that in the interest of being relevant, have presented a contemptible spirituality, denuded of the real gospel, the real Jesus and the true Spirit of God.

What would I have said to him if I could have? He claimed that he had weighed the claims of christianity; scientifically, historically, epistemologically, and empirically and found them wanting. Where to begin my apologetic?Believe me when I tell you I prayed earnestly about it.

God gave me a direction, point to fulfilled prophecy. The Word of God is unique, there is no other “Holy Book” like it. We serve a God who makes predictions through His prophets, amazing predictions that come to pass in startling detail.

I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:(Isaiah 46:9-10)

I would have begun with Israel, the Billboard of God that shouts out to the world, God is Real! The Bible is indeed the Word of God! Look to God and Be Saved O Ends of the Earth!

* The Bible proclaims that in God’s sight there is something special about the Jewish people, and it has nothing to do with their own ‘goodness’ it is an election of God himself.

* In the first book of the Bible, the promise is given to these people, that Gd himself would “bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you, and that in you all families of the earth would be blessed!”(Genesis 12:3).

History has born this fact out , that those who curse the Jews have always been cursed and those who have blessed them have consequently been blessed! Just in the last century, ask the British, Germans, and Soviet Russians, all of whom were punished for what they did to the Jews.

* The Prophet Daniel predicted that the Messiah would come to this people, and that he would be “cut off”, but not for himself but for the sins of the people. Daniel predicted the Messiah’s coming to the very year. Also that His cutting off would occur before the second temple would be destroyed by the Romans. (See Daniel 9). This had to occur before 70AD.

* It also predicts that this people, so loved and favored by God would one day defect from Him, and consequently be scattered from one end of the earth to the other, by God! The time would come when there would be no Jewish nation, only a scattered oppressed people.

And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you. (Deut. 4:27)

I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them. (Jer 9:16) 

* But here is the billboard part; the Hebrew prophets predicted that after a long time, the Jewish people would be gathered back into their ancient land, over the objection of the rest of the world, And this ingathering would precede the end of days.

Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6. I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7. Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. (Is.43:5-7)

For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. 4. And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. (Jer. 30:3-4)

Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: (Jer. 32:37)

Of course this is it in a nutshell, I would ‘flesh out” the details. The miracle of 1948 up till now, the gathering of a people, literally dead and scattered to the winds, and the fact that this very people, and the disposal of the God-given land they now dwell in, takes up more than a third of the time of the U.N., is a Billboard shouting to the World repent while there is still time!!!

 

But this is no mere academic excercise, I weep and mourn for the soul of RV and a whole lot of other disaffected young people, who have listened to the slick “New Atheistic” message, and cast off any faith in God. God help us to reach them!

We will have more to say to and about this “New Atheism” ahead…


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12 Responses to What I Would Have Said to RV

  1. Darcie says:

    This is so sad. Intellectualism stripped of real, profound intelligence. I would refer all Atheists to read Blaise Pascal’s “Pensees.” If you want to strip religion and belief in God of its essence – faith – and analyze it coldly, Pascal’s Wager is something you need to read before you make the decision.

    In his wager, Pascal challenges people to view belief in God as a game:

    “God is, or He is not”
    A Game is being played… where heads or tails will turn up.
    According to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.
    You must wager. It is not optional.
    Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
    Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (…) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.

    In its essence, what Pascal says is this: If you bet that God exists and He does, you win the lottery: eternal life, glory on high and all the dreams Man has ever had about Heaven and God. If you bet that God exists and He doesn’t, you’ve still gained because you’ve lived a good life as though He existed. You die, there is nothing more and you suffer no penalty, but actually gain from the moral benefits.

    If you wager that God does NOT exist and He does not exist, you lose because of the immoral choices you are tempted to make when you live your life without consequences. If you believe there is no punishment, what would you do? What, then, is out there to prevent you from murder, robbery, adultery and all the temptations life has to offer? You might say social law or the police, but let’s face it…those things have never done a lot to stop those who don’t believe in consequences.

    And now we move on to the final possibility: You wager that God exists and He DOES exist. What is your punishment? Hell for all of eternity. You lose it ALL and there is no escape. The human mind is not even capable of conceptualizing the truth of eternity.

    I may be a little different in my conceptualization of Hell. I don’t really see it as a place of fire, brimstone and torture. We’ve lost our bodies, so physical torture is out of the question. What then is the worst thing you could ever have done?

    The answer is to remove all hope.

    Yes, Hell is the absence of all hope. God IS hope. Even when our physical lives are at their lowest, there is always that small spark of hope that things will get better. It’s a spark that, while we live, can never be completely extinguished. Now, imagine that spark completely gone and picture the most horrific and desolate situation you can think of, and KNOW you will never – EVER – be removed from it. You will not die – you are already dead. And this situation will continue forever. THIS is Hell. The sad thing is, if you are living your life without God, you are already living your life with one foot set in Hell – you’ve removed yourself from a true and pure hope that belief in yourself or science can never imitate. A cold hope is a false hope. I would rather base my hope in the perfect.

    So, what is the intellectual and intelligent decision for those tempted to strip faith from belief in God? In Pascal’s words:

    “Since you must choose, let us see which interests you least. You have two things to lose, the true and the good; and two things to stake, your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to shun, error and misery. Your reason is no more shocked in choosing one rather than the other, since you must of necessity choose. This is one point settled. But your happiness? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.”

  2. Travis says:

    I pray that RV will have a change of heart, a supernatural drawing by the holy spirit of God to reconsider his position.

    Blessings,
    Travis

  3. Darcie says:

    Okay, major correction to a paragraph:

    And now we move on to the final possibility: You wager that God DOES NOT exist and He DOES exist. What is your punishment? Hell for all of eternity. You lose it ALL and there is no escape. The human mind is not even capable of conceptualizing the truth of eternity.

    • billrandles says:

      Thanks Darcie, that is awesome! did you know Kristin and I started a church? We have services every Sunday morning at 10 am – tell your husband to bring the fam out here- Love-Pas bill

  4. Darcie says:

    And this is proof that God has a sense of humor!

    Seriously, though, you are completely right. I get the hint. LOL

  5. Christina Gilbert says:

    Thanks for the post on this subject Bill. We are currently half way running an Evangelism Training course with 15 people at CWMF Eight Mile Plains Qld Australia. Yesterday at the end of our session we watched an interview of an individual who for all intents and purposes appeared to be a Christian, until the end when he declared himself to be an atheist. Atheism is increasing out there on the streets and we need to be prepared as Christians to refute their claims and defend the Gospel at every opportunity. Looking forward to your ongoing posts on this one. In the meantime we hope to distribute to the class your message on “God Centred or Man Centred Gospel” delivered at the CWM Conference 2009 in Kingscliffe NSW Australia. God bless you Bill we pray for you regularly. Gary and Christina Gilbert.

  6. angryoldfatman says:

    The New Atheists think somehow that reason and logic are diametrically opposed to a belief in God. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact that we find law and order (or that we even seek it) in the universe instead of chaos and capriciousness is because God is the Creator.

    Francis Bacon put it best: “[A] little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.”

    An excellent DVD series to point intelligent young people to the goodness of Christianity, in particular Protestantism, is Francis Schaeffer’s “How Should We Then Live?” This would be an excellent thing to show to youngsters in your church who are just old enough to ask some of the “big” questions about God and about the supposed injustices they see around them.

    If you don’t have a big venue to show this DVD series that would justify the $45 expense, then you could direct the children and/or their parents to a low-resolution version on Youtube. Warning: it’s chopped up into small increments there due to data storage restrictions, but it’s all there, you just have to keep following the “related videos”.

    Finally, let me link you to something that’s helped me out in my study of the opposition: Squashed Philosophers. There you will find all of the big names in philosophy, good and bad, and their works condensed into digestible nuggets. The one that opened my eyes the most was the most horrifying one, the Marquis de Sade. His is a completely Satanic philosophy in every sense of the word, and the thing about it is it’s the only philosophy where the founder actually practiced what he preached.

    When I meet a particularly stubborn New Atheist, I will sometimes drop a bit of Sade on him and ask him why it is wrong. When he answers with the inevitable “it’s horrifying/disgusting/illegal/immoral/insane”, I follow up by saying that’s just his personal opinion, that doesn’t make Sade wrong. If he appeals to popularity (e.g., “it’s wrong because society says it’s wrong”), I remind him of many things society thought was wrong decades ago that are suddenly right today (I usually try to pick something close to the atheist’s heart, like gay rights or abortion), and ask him why are those things OK now? If he gives some sort of fluff answer, I return with another horrid sin of Sade’s, like pedophilia or murder, and ask him if society decided those things were suddenly legal, why wouldn’t they be OK with him? If at any point he acquiesces, then I point out that his moral view is inconsistent, which is why a belief in God is necessary as illustrated by Jesus’s parable of the two builders (Luke 6:47-49). The atheist can build as beautiful a house as a Christian can, but he builds it with no foundation and when the earth shifts even slightly the atheist’s house begins to crumble.

  7. Raptor says:

    Dear Pastor Bill, This is a watershed blog article! In all the articles I have been reading lately, the actuality of Atheism being the chief corner stone of the New One World Religion has been missed. This is because most young people today, live in a world they see with their eyes, trying to do ‘the best they can’..actually, becoming part of the support system for the endemic Darwinism found in Scientism and Technocracy..Those who are older, liberal, progressive, Darwinists who have tried religion and found it wanting, are also falling into this pattern, and even the idol worshiping of the accomodation to all religions and panentheism has fallen into the solution of expunging and melding individuals into the the ‘greater good’ The danger of this is that some sort of ethics/nee religion, will become the new norm; man-centered decision- making, aided by the technological innovations which bring slavery to all who are not in the higher order of non-human contributions . Thank you for sharing your concern for your blog friend, and for sharing his retreat into the cold darkness. It is so sobering to know that these young people are drinking from poisoned waters, and that only the Tree of Life, cast into that water, can make it safe to drink, and give them life and health, in the only Name above Names: Jesus Christ. In His Strong Grip of Grace, Raptor

  8. Margaret Webb says:

    WOW! This is a blog to follow and consider because we are all confronted by the phrase; “thats your opinion”.
    Jesus used scripture to respond.
    We need to wrap our arms around His word, it has power, our arguments seem lame by comparison. The problem is that His word is not accepted for what it is and so: they have eyes but do not see, and ears but do not hear. But we still are admonished to tell them, regardless of their rejection.

  9. Paul Song says:

    Quite simply put, God’s regal stature is manifest in His few words that He has to say. God truly stands up to His own standard, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise” (Pro 10:19) , for He never entertains the idle babblings of the so-called “wise and the learned” of this world. Just as there is no obligation to respond to a worthless remark, so God doesn’t waste His words on matters that He already has made obvious to the world (Rom 1:18-20). Jesus said that even if a man came back from the dead, those whose minds are resolute in rejecting God will still refuse to believe. This has been shown to be true, for many reject the evidence of Christ’s Resurrection, and the more contemporary evidence of the Resurrection of the nation of Israel whom Christ embodies (Hos 6:1-3). The nation of Israel is God’s emblem of His faithfulness, and her survival directly translates to the proof that Yahweh indeed is God. In other words, the most assured way of disproving the authenticity of God is to completely uproot the Jews from the face of the Earth, and it is no wonder why history links the most vehement and heinous atrocities to this end. God offers no other proof to this world of His Godship, than what He already has ordained – His Kingdom:

    That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
    - John 17:21

  10. julie says:

    Bill, I weep with you. My son sounds exactly like your young friend. However my son was not raised in fake Christianity, but true. Yet he turned away to follow lies and myths rather than the One true God. Our grandfathers believed that they could have morality without God. Our generation believed that we created everything ourselves. No wonder our children think that aliens put us here. I believe that this is one more symptom that our nation is under God’s judgment.

    I think you were spot on with what you told him about atheism. The Bible begins with “In the beginning, God…” It never sets out to *prove* God’s existence. I don’t think we should either, because those who say there is no God are suppressing the truth. I think it is so interesting that he was insulted by the very notion that he might be suppressing the truth, but yet what does he think you are doing? The fact is that someone is either wrong or lying. His pride doesn’t want to admit it could be himself. He is not being intellectually honest, because he also believes that you are either wrong or lying.

    He also isn’t being honest with himself. If he is an atheist, then what does it matter if you are insulting him? Who cares? Why are insults any worse than compliments? I think he realized you are too biblically wise for him and he went elsewhere to find naive, ticklish ears.

    My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. (Hosea 4:6)

  11. Luke says:

    Pastor Bill,

    After reading this yesterday and pondering what I would have said to RV for the rest of the day, I went home and caught up on your sermons. I listened to the recent sermon on the Parable of the sower… WOW! There is your answer there.
    Absolutely we need to be prepared. But when they don’t listen it is no more due to a lack of might or skill on our behalf as it is not due to our skill or might when they do. When they do it is due to God having prepared the soil.
    Thanks for the insight
    Cheers Luke

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