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Thread: The Honest Atheist?

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    tWebber Thoughtful Monk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    I see. My experience of being a Christian is that the difference in moral conduct comes mainly from seeing more things as wrong, I.e abortion or various purity aspects such as right conduct of sexuality.

    However beyond that it is not my experience that Christians are significantly better morally or necessarily show anymore integrity. Christians are quite capable of spreading falsehoods and rumors of their own. We definitely saw a lot of that during the whole cdesign intelligent proponentists era.

    I lean more towards being sinful and struggling with vices is not what separates a Christian from an atheist.

    I’m curious though what conspiracy theories do you have in mind?
    I agree with you that sinfulness and struggling with vies is not what separates a Christian from an atheist.

    I believe the separation is the Christian believes and thus acts that God is real and they have a relationship with God. One of the things I get when I read Acts is that they acted out on their believe God exists. They believe in the supernatural world and that we can draw on those resources to help in this world. The atheist by definition is a materialist and is stuck believing only this world matters.
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  3. #12
    Technology Staff Leonhard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    So do you believe that the honest atheist exists?
    Honest in the sense that they genuinely don't believe in God? Yes.

    I don't think they're lying. I don't think it's plausible to believe that they know God exists, but act as if they don't. I do believe God can be known rationally by seeing the world, and even from mystical experiences. Their lack of knowledge about Him, isn't that they're lying, it is that they don't even knock on the door to find out.

  4. #13
    Technology Staff Leonhard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seanD View Post
    There has to be something supernaturally tangible that sets Christians apart. Otherwise God putting his spirit in us is ineffectual and pointless here and now if it doesn't distinguish us from the nonbeliever. But we know from scripture this is not the case. There is a real divine source (Holy Spirit) put in us that produces a change, and that distinguishes us from the rest of the world, albeit the change is obviously gradual and not consistent in everyone, and we do struggle with this duel nature within us (Romans 7:15-20). This serves as a restraint at least to a degree. IOW, if you see a spirit-filled Christian acting in wicked ways, without that spirit they'd be much much worse. I also believe that if they nurture that spirit, they'll get progressively better, whereas without the spirit, they'd get progressively worse. Positions of power and/or immense wealth I believe also plays into that equation and can amplify that condition in individuals, but that's a whole other story.
    There is something that sets you apart. Christ. You've come to know Christ, and His deeds on the Cross. You've entered the mystery of reconciliation with God. You expect the coming Ressurection. And you love Him.

    All of those were supernatural gifts. We know that "Flesh and blood has not revealed it to you." as Christ told St. Peter. As for the particular doctrines of spiritual restraint I don't believe in those interpretations of those works. I believe any good in the world, whether secular or Christian is ultimate a work of God, because He is Goodness. There isn't anything noteworthy, praiseworthy, excellent, kind or anything that shares even the faintest mote of the good that doesn't come from God. However if there is anything I believe it a possibility to grow in virtue, that is unique to Christians.

    Christians can grow in Love of Christ, in Hope of the Ressurection and in Faith. This isn't possible outside of The Church. "Gentiles" can't enter into this, and they don't.

    As for the secular good, if you love God you'll also strive to be good there. This does give Christians a motivating factor in being better people, and certainly, devout Christians who pray a lot often can be better people. But I don't believe for a second that it is impossible, or significantly harder for seculars to grow in virtue.

    I think in the end it is more a matter of being blinded to truth. Because they've bought into the materialist or relativist narratives, there's a lot of things they don't accept as true and their actions reflect that.

    I'm curious though about something you said earlier, which you haven't answered: what sorts of conspiracy theories do you entertain about atheists?

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    There is something that sets you apart. Christ. You've come to know Christ, and His deeds on the Cross. You've entered the mystery of reconciliation with God. You expect the coming Ressurection. And you love Him.

    All of those were supernatural gifts. We know that "Flesh and blood has not revealed it to you." as Christ told St. Peter. As for the particular doctrines of spiritual restraint I don't believe in those interpretations of those works. I believe any good in the world, whether secular or Christian is ultimate a work of God, because He is Goodness. There isn't anything noteworthy, praiseworthy, excellent, kind or anything that shares even the faintest mote of the good that doesn't come from God. However if there is anything I believe it a possibility to grow in virtue, that is unique to Christians.

    Christians can grow in Love of Christ, in Hope of the Ressurection and in Faith. This isn't possible outside of The Church. "Gentiles" can't enter into this, and they don't.

    As for the secular good, if you love God you'll also strive to be good there. This does give Christians a motivating factor in being better people, and certainly, devout Christians who pray a lot often can be better people. But I don't believe for a second that it is impossible, or significantly harder for seculars to grow in virtue.

    I think in the end it is more a matter of being blinded to truth. Because they've bought into the materialist or relativist narratives, there's a lot of things they don't accept as true and their actions reflect that.

    I'm curious though about something you said earlier, which you haven't answered: what sorts of conspiracy theories do you entertain about atheists?
    Atheist leaders killing tens of millions of people in the last century would be an example of conspiracy. I'm sure at the time, this was covered up to the best of their ability (at least in some of the instances that could be covered up). Like if you were in the Soviet Union or China at the time Stalin or Mao was killing these folks, I'm sure the perpetrators involved would have denied it and classified you as a conspiracy theorist (hypothetically assuming the word existed at that time, which it didn't).

    So how do you reconcile Genesis 8:21, Jeremiah 17:9, and Romans 1:21, just to name a few passages like this, with Christians being born again?
    Last edited by seanD; 05-16-2020 at 08:54 AM.
    "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

  6. #15
    Technology Staff Leonhard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seanD View Post
    Atheist leaders killing tens of millions of people in the last century would be an example of conspiracy. I'm sure at the time, this was covered up to the best of their ability (at least in some of the instances that could be covered up). Like if you were in the Soviet Union or China at the time Stalin or Mao was killing these folks, I'm sure the perpetrators involved would have denied it and classified you as a conspiracy theorist (hypothetically assuming the word existed at that time, which it didn't).
    I wouldn't call those conspiracy theories as much as I would call them history. I understand what you mean then.

    So how do you reconcile Genesis 8:21, Jeremiah 17:9, and Romans 1:21, just to name a few passages like this, with Christians being born again?
    I'm a Catholic, we don't really have a concept of 'born again', except by baptism. You enter into the Church when you are baptized. This doesn't kill the old man, you are still you. All the habits and vices you've accrued throughout your whole life are still there, all the inclinations are there. But what has changed is that you're now a member of the Church, and you've entered into the mystery of reconciliation with God.

    I'd consider the first two passages to apply to all men, including Christians. The latter seems to be more specific about the gentiles who were judged and had their hearts darkened.

    I'm not saying that grace is ineffectual. I believe if a person works with it, you can grow as a Christian. But as a Catholic, I believe it takes your own participation as well. God might be holding out a hand, but if the person doesn't take it, then he doesn't benefit. However, all of this is also available to people outside of the Church, but atheists can't grow in the theological virtues.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    I wouldn't call those conspiracy theories as much as I would call them history. I understand what you mean then.



    I'm a Catholic, we don't really have a concept of 'born again', except by baptism. You enter into the Church when you are baptized. This doesn't kill the old man, you are still you. All the habits and vices you've accrued throughout your whole life are still there, all the inclinations are there. But what has changed is that you're now a member of the Church, and you've entered into the mystery of reconciliation with God.

    I'd consider the first two passages to apply to all men, including Christians. The latter seems to be more specific about the gentiles who were judged and had their hearts darkened.

    I'm not saying that grace is ineffectual. I believe if a person works with it, you can grow as a Christian. But as a Catholic, I believe it takes your own participation as well. God might be holding out a hand, but if the person doesn't take it, then he doesn't benefit. However, all of this is also available to people outside of the Church, but atheists can't grow in the theological virtues.
    RCC doesn't believe in the Christian concept of "born again" as described by Jesus and Paul, or am I misunderstanding you? I honestly didn't know that. Can you elaborate?
    "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

  8. #17
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    The bible also says everyone has sinned. So can there be such thing as an honest anyone?
    Abe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    So do you believe that the honest atheist exists?
    I think "honest" is too broad a category. Can an atheist do good things? Sure. Can an atheist honestly answer questions? Of course. Can a Christian be dishonest in answering questions? Of course.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

  10. Amen Roy, RumTumTugger amen'd this post.
  11. #19
    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    The bible also says everyone has sinned. So can there be such thing as an honest anyone?
    Noah was a sinner yet God found him to be righteous.

    I'm always still in trouble again

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    tWebber NorrinRadd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seanD View Post
    RCC doesn't believe in the Christian concept of "born again" as described by Jesus and Paul, or am I misunderstanding you? I honestly didn't know that. Can you elaborate?
    While we wait for the "official" answer, I'll butt in. We'll find out whether I'm right or wrong.

    Catholics are in the portion of the Church that believes in both "paedo-baptism" -- baptism of infants -- and "baptismal regeneration" -- rebirth occurs at baptism. (However, I think "Confirmation" comes in there somewhere also.) I think Lutherans and possibly Anglicans/Episcopalians also hold this view. Evangelicals are generally more familiar with "credo-baptism" -- believers' baptism -- where baptism occurs *after* one has become a believer, i.e. been "born again."

    FTR, "born again" was used only by John (quoting Jesus) and Peter, not Paul, though Paul did use the related term, "regeneration."
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