Side Quest Discussions is my series of articles in which I interview people and we have a discussion about theology.
By God’s providence I met David on Twitter and he has become my good friend. He loves the Lord and loves digging into the Word of God.
David was an Atheist for a year but he eventually came to know and believe the gospel. We discuss apologetics and we refute common objections that are made by self-proclaimed Atheists (according to Romans 1:18-21 there is no such thing as an Atheist…everyone knows God exists but they suppress that knowledge in unrighteousness) and other opponents to orthodox Christianity (Ex-Evangelicals).
The background to our discussion is that a conversation with an angry Atheist on Twitter led to me being swarmed by more angry Atheists and by Ex-Evangelicals.
It is my hope and prayer that our conversation will edify you.
Ricky: It is sad to me how it seems that so many today reject God. Atheists are so angry about God. Who knew a simple tweet would lead to an onslaught from angry atheists against me. Just have to pray for them and continue sharing Christ. God’s Word is right when it says unbelievers hate God.
David: Yes I know brother all too well…I grew up with a cousin we are almost like brothers. He became an atheist a while back. At first it was so upsetting and still is disappointing, he is a pastor’s son. I have had many debates with him and I learned something. About 97 percent of atheists are atheists because of emotional issues not intellectual ones. They are angry apparently about something that doesn’t exist. Makes no sense.
R: Hey, I was wondering what your story is…how long have you been a Christian?
D: Well, I grew up in a Christian home. Mainly my Mom was teaching me about the word of God. Unfortunately the only thing I knew growing up was TBN and the prosperity Gospel. After my mom died when I was 14 I felt free to go to church if I wanted to or not. My dad didn’t go so I didn’t feel I had to go. I started working with my dad in construction and we came along a Peruvian man who picked up scrap metal shared the Gospel with me for the first time in my life. It was bittersweet but I decided to go with him when he invited me to church. I went and I heard things I never heard before in those megachurches. A Pentecostal church with loving people and I felt like family for the first time in my life. I looked to have many friends to fill the void of being attached to the body of Christ. There was good preaching but no apologetics and very little teaching. I was in love with the Lord. This was August 2007 by the way. Then seven years later I had doubts about my faith and had conversations with atheists and I had no idea how to defend my faith. Besides a few scriptures. I gave in and became an atheist for about a year. Looking to destroy others faith as well. I challenged the Lord if he was real to strike me down. Why would I ask something I believe didn’t exist to strike me down? Simple answer: atheists suppress the truth. I remember it was a Sunday night when I challenged him. Well he answered. That week I got MRSA and was sent to the hospital. I was afraid, I never have been at a hospital before. I reconciled with God. In January 2015 I made a decision to study the Christian faith and never be decieved again. Long story short here I am to this day by God’s grace
R: What do you think about President Trump? I personally didn’t vote this past election but I know a big argument coming from Ex-Evangelicals is that because “white evangelicals” voted for him that was the final straw. “How could Christians vote for a racist sexist homophobe” is the argument. What is your view of him and this accusation? I also personally believe as Christians our main focus should not be politics but Christ and the gospel. I think the Christians that see trump as our savior are in error but I don’t hate Trump and I’m not convinced he is a racist sexist. I think he is immature and speaks too much and in an unchristlike manner.
The label “white evangelical” is so dumb in my opinion. I’m white and I’m a Christian…I don’t identify as a white evangelical. I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I don’t think the older generation is aware of the impact of social media, forums, the internet and how easy it is for doubting Christians to be mislead.
I went to community college after HS and that was my first major experience with other worldviews especially new atheists and LGBT. I honestly didn’t know how to engage them. I was taught arminianism/synergism and classic apologetics where you debate and argue but now as a presuppositionalist and calvinist/monergist I see how unprepared I was. It’s such a relief knowing it’s not up to me to convince people to follow Christ…that is the Holy Spirit’s job. My job is to spread the gospel and be a witness not change people. That revolutionized my interactions with others.
D: My opinion first of all what you said is very important, our place is not politics but it’s proclaiming the Gospel. My honest opinion about the whole Trump ordeal doesn’t effect me much. I agree with him on certain issues such as pro life. Let’s be honest he is not regenerate believer in Christ like you and me. Therefore I don’t find the need to defend any of his accusations true or not. White evangelicals is a term created by the left. Pre supposing the body of Christ is mainly white. They are so ignorant when it comes to the church because it wasn’t built on race it was built on the cross. I would rather educate the non believer on what the church is and it’s purpose. As well, I despise the term homophobe it’s a word that’s always used out of context. I always ask people who use that term to define it then define phobia. If you are debating leftists it’s always great to ask for definition of terms. They always trip over their own feet. I don’t hate Trump either. The scripture tells me to pray for him so that’s what I do.
The only label we share that matters is brothers in Christ.
Definitely Ricky it’s easy to be misled on the internet. There is no filter to what’s true and false.
That’s why it’s necessary to do our research diligently
I would have to agree that presuppositional apologetics is the way to go. Nothing against classical apologetics it’s just very easy to get carried away from the true message.
R: Yeah, I disagree with the classical apologetics approach. I was in a young adults small group (with 4 or 5 attendees) the person leading said when we do apologetics we shouldn’t use the bible. This person doesn’t deny that the Bible is true, but he believed that we should avoid using the bible when defending the truth against atheists/unbelievers. The thought is that since they don’t believe the bible is true then they will write you off because you believe the bible. But that misunderstands the fact that God is judge not man. God is not on trial…God is the judge. God is God whether or not you believe in Him.
Also I agree with something that Dr. James White often says…if you can convince/reason someone to the faith then they can be reasoned angry convinced out of it.
D: I think his point was they don’t believe in the Bible so don’t use it. I think contrary to that statement if anything it’s a good way to start. The unbelievers hatred for scripture should be highlighted. They need to know they are totally depraved and God hating sinners. That God will be merciful in showing them their wickedness so they might repent. Agreed God is God, like it or not he is the unshaken established truth.
R: So I guess you would be an Ex-Ex-Evangelical then?
D: I guess so. I have been given so much Grace by a forgiving and patient God.
R: Yeah, that’s what all our testimonies should be…it’s not only amazing that God gives grace to undeserved sinners he then desired that they enjoy life and the blessing he gives on earth.
D: God’s grace is truly divine because it has the power to do what no man can.
R: What was your view of the Word of God when you were growing up and then when you were an Atheist?
I think that is the main attack of Atheists and even some who claim to be Christians…they get you to doubt the Word of God. If they can convince you that there is error in the bible then that is enough to send doubts and lead someone away from the biblical Christ. Even “friendly atheists” cast doubt on the Word of God. They use their reasoning that God gave them to critique Him. They hate the God they claim doesn’t exist.
D: The word of God was just a moral guideline for me growing up. As an atheist it was just some book written by crazy men who wanted either attention or power. A subjective set of rules by an ancient people. Once you do the research you find out that’s not the case.
This is the thing about new Atheist’s and other opponents. They think by driving us away from faith they are sincerely doing you and society a service. Rude or not their motive is to deconstruct your belief system. They believe if religion was destroyed that they would get rid of most of the hate and evil in the world. Most Atheists were poorly taught Christians that never understood the doctrine of total depravity. Most Atheists never studied the Bible in detail until they were Atheists. Unfortunately not in it’s appropriate context.
R: New atheism really makes no logical sense and it takes the work of God to reveal that to people. Seriously how can you justify any claims or arguments if you have no moral grounding or basis for reasoning? If there is no truth then why do they vehemently oppose God and Christians…because as Romans says they know God exists but suppress the truth.
What was your view of God? The “vindictive genocidal maniac sky god” that commits moral atrocities and sends “good” people to hell?
The making of human minds and borrowed from pagan religions?
As well as your view of Jesus?
D: Atheism doesn’t make sense but the emotional anger and bitterness always seems to shadow your rationality and logic. They oppose the church for the reasons of all the dastardly things so called Christians do such as rape. Well when you are an atheist you fit in your head there is no God. So your presupposition is you have to find your own moral basis and have to craft it over time not realizing it’s already been established.
Truth for them is an illusion lost in many perspectives
R: They are outraged mostly by bad theology and hypocrisy…and that led to doubt of Scripture and to doubts about God which led to anger towards God.
They lump all Christians into the mold of what they believe Christians are like.
D: My view of God was some careless father who neglected his children if he did exist. He had the same attributes as us if he did exist. I thought even if anyone proved he existed he couldn’t prove that he loved us. We look back at all the times we felt unloved and we remind ourselves how much God let us down. A stubborn brat who just wanted his way. I was ignorant to the true attributes about God.
The borrowing from pagan religions is enticing and fits an atheistic narrative. Once you do research and dig deep it’s just foolish myths that Christianity borrows from other religions.
You hit the nail on the head with bad theology and hypocrisy.
R: But the thing is most churches didn’t teach us about those kinds of attacks. A Christian would be taught the basics and then go on an Internet forum or to college or workplace and see atheists talking about Jesus being derived from mithra and other cults and then seeds of doubt are sowed. Or that the Bible has contradictions and is made up by men.
D: As an atheist I had no problem with the person Jesus he was like mother Theresa to me. Once someone tried to claim he was divine I would be enraged. I knew other Atheists that would deny his existence all together to kind of get him out of their minds. Don’t think about it or talk about it.
Satan has definitely taken advantage of some Christian leaders to get into the mindset of educating God’s people is taboo and unbiblical, but the Bible states that a people is destroyed because of a lack of knowledge.
R: Hypocrisy runs rampant in leftist circles too. You have adoration for rappers like Jay Z, Snoop Dogg, Tyler, the Creator, Eminem, etc. that talk about getting rich and mistreating women but then outrage over hollywood scandals…they pick their morality to suit themselves.
D: As I stated before they look to structure their own morality. No matter how illogical it is.
Depending on their emotions it dictates their morality. However they are feeling at the time it dictates their view of morality at that point in time.
R: What were some the ways or arguments you would use to try to create doubt in Christians?
D: One that I used and many others attack as well is the account of Genesis. Our mindset is if we deconstruct the need for a creator we don’t even have to worry about the rest of the Bible. I would think if we could prove Genesis false the rest would fall like dominoes. Science is the god of Atheism. Use it against them. Not knowing that sound science went against everything I believed as an atheist. Atheists commonly love the god of the gaps argument. Science can disprove the Bible. There are so many different arguments I used. Saying the authors of the Bible weren’t credible. The main thing I did to try and make doubt was through speculation on every single point the biblical worldview offered. To make others seem intellectually inferior no matter their educational status.
R: Also I think atheists know more about what the Bible says than most Christians even though they don’t understand it because as Scripture says in numerous places:
1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the intelligence of the intelligent. 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? 21 For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of what is preached. 22 For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. 24 Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, 25 because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. Boasting Only in the Lord 26 Brothers and sisters, consider your calling: Not many were wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. 27 Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. 28 God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world — what is viewed as nothing — to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, 29 so that no one may boast in his presence. 30 It is from him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom from God for us — our righteousness,sanctification, and redemption, 31 in order that, as it is written: Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.
1 When I came to you, brothers and sisters, announcing the mystery of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. 2 I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness,in fear, and in much trembling. 4 My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not be based on human wisdom but on God’s power. 6 We do, however, speak a wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory.8 None of the rulers of this age knew this wisdom, because if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.9 But as it is written, What no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived — God has prepared these things for those who love him. 10 Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, since the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except his spirit within him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. 13 We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. 14 But the person without the Spirit does not receive what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually. 15 The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, and yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone.16 For who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:1-6
Therefore, since we have this ministry because we were shown mercy, we do not give up. 2 Instead, we have renounced secret and shameful things, not acting deceitfully or distorting the word of God, but commending ourselves before God to everyone’s conscience by an open display of the truth. 3 But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’s sake. 6 For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
Many that claim to be Christians don’t read the Bible and don’t know the bible.
Total depravity…can you share what you thought of it as an atheist and then now as a Christian why it actually makes sense according to Scripture?
D: First of all Atheists can have a basic knowledge about the Bible but not have the discernment to understand which the Holy Spirit gives to the children of God. Most of the time Atheists are looking for errors not to correctly read into the context. Hardly any Atheists look for Truth when they open the Bible.
It’s like me reading about how life is in Pennsylvania. I can’t possibly know more about Pennsylvania than someone who actually lives there.
Same with Atheists trying to interpret the Bible.
D: I didn’t really believe in total depravity growing up or as an atheist. Always this feeling that deep down we were all good people. We just let our bad side show more at times. After leaving Atheism I really got into hermeneutics. Trying to understand scripture more precisely. As I read the Epistles I realized there are no good people. There is not one good as stated in Romans by the apostle Paul. The only way to be good is through Christ dwelling in us. Any good work we do is of the Spirit not our own doing or will power. I questioned myself and said if we are good then why did Jesus come to die for our sins? If we are self sufficient as we presuppose. Why do we sin. Without the doctrine of total depravity we would never see our need for Christ.
Another thing we have to understand as Christians is that Atheists look for reactions. That’s why they joke and be sarcastic. It’s all part of the intellectual superiority that they think it’s ok to make light of others they deem inferior to their intellect.
If they get a reaction from us. They say see you have no grace and love that your savior had. They always work that angle
R: They probably hope to get Christians to make an emotionally charged rebuttal and just add that to the list of attacks against them and Christianity. What about the wrath of God. Atheists think God’s wrath is just evil and wicked.
D: Yes that’s what I used to look for, emotional reactions. To discredit any rational argument presented. Atheists play the victim card as well that they and the whole world suffer because of God and religion. For them, God’s wrath is uncalled for and spiteful. When it comes to God, justice is an illusion but when it comes to social justice they seem to be the front-runners which is very strange.
Since Atheists claim to have their own moral compass they have the authority to pick and choose their own systematic justice.
R: In their worldview it just cannot be possible that God is loving but also wrathful. They don’t understand the attributes of God. They make the claim that Christians claim God is loving but then use the reality of God’s wrath to create a supposed contradiction in the character of God.
D: Exactly. As a former Atheist we have a huge problem defining terms such as love. Confusing love with tolerance is normative for Atheists. They don’t understand what true love is.
R: There’s also the arguments they use against Christians that refer to the OT laws like eating shellfish. They see the God of the OT as a vengeful God that inflicts wrath on people and commits atrocities.
They don’t realize the purpose of the laws. God’s law was and is intended for the good of His people. So when Jesus talks about the two great commandments those are the commands we should follow if we want to live a good life. And sin stems from not loving God with all our hearts soul mind and strength and loving ourselves more than loving others.
D: Leviticus is the Atheist’s favorite book. Where everything is easily twisted. As I said before they don’t really care for the context. It’s all about cherry picking.
R: Did you ever use “hypocrisy of Christians” arguments? You mentioned attacks on the faith regarding “so called Christians that rape” earlier…any other examples you used or that you would say atheists try to use?
D: Yes many of times. I used mainly the argument that you guys are preaching the same Gospel you violate. In other words, held Christians accountable to their own beliefs. When they strayed from the biblical worldview I pointed out that they had a broken belief system. Christians are hypocrites, therefore Christianity is false or at least broken was my mindset. I also used all the false pastors who divorce and run off with women. The fact the church is run more like a organization instead of a biblical view of the church.
R: How have you handled the fact that you tried to mislead people and may have misled people? Did you try to shake the faith of Christians in person as well as on the internet? Did you experience any guilt?
D: Well mostly it was my co workers I was around most. Didn’t talk too much about it with my family because it would have stirred up alot of trouble at home. In public I shared my views as much as possible. My daily life is me trying to evangelize to whoever I can. Social media, street evangelism, it seems to be a lost work in the church. More than trying to convince Atheists Christianity is true. I provide the evidence and let them decide. The evidence is so overwhelming it speaks for itself. I try to study as much as I can. Scripture first, apologetics second, and theology as well. Become as educated as I possibly can to educate others. That the truth of the Gospel be known. I was shaken with guilt for about 6 to 8 months after leaving Atheism but it was good and it motivated me. Yes, I constantly tried to shake the faith of any religious person. I felt like I was saving them from themselves. Almost like an intervention. I don’t know why but on the internet you are not face to face you feel the freedom to be more rude and disrespectful. The evil of your heart seems to spill out over the internet as an atheist. It seems almost therapeutic all the rage inside is let go on unsuspecting strangers on the internet. Thank God I didn’t convince many to be Atheists.
R: Reading the Word is the most important thing we can do as Christians. All of the Word, not just pick feel-good verses and motivating thoughts that are pulled out of context. How many self-proclaimed Christians do you think have read Obadiah or Haggai? I would argue there is a very small minority. That’s all we are called to do, speak the truth of the gospel and let the Holy Spirit change people. We all have to watch out for the temptation to be rude and disrespectful on the internet. Christians need to be aware that atheists don’t hold back. It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to win a debate that we forgot we are talking to real people. Christians do this too. Indeed, I’m thankful as well.
D: I agree, the word of God should be read as a whole. You are right, not many people read the minor prophets besides Daniel and Jonah. The minor prophets have amazing messages. Well I saw study last year don’t remember the name of the person who conducted this study. He stated about 70 percent of Americans claim to be evangelicals but only 10-20 percent are biblically literate.
At first it was hard because I tried to convert every Atheist on the internet. I was so ambitious to spread the Gospel and deconstruct Atheism. I realized two things: only through the work of the Holy Spirit can people see the beauty of Christ. As well I didn’t need to deconstruct Atheism as if it was this big monster. It constantly refutes itself. When you come to logical conclusions, Atheism has no feet to stand on. God has helped me speak to others on the internet the same way I would speak to them in person. That is something God changed in my life. I may press someone for an answer. If there ever was a time I would be rude or disrespectful I would give public apology as well as personal apology. There is nothing wrong in admitting we are wrong sometimes. We keep moving forward. Excellent point, I’ve seen many try to win the argument and I use to try to win the debate instead of winning the soul.
R: It’s probably very difficult for an atheist to have their mind changed through a Christian on the internet. What do you think about that idea? It seems they are so hardened to the gospel it almost that fruitless to engage them. Did you ever consider anything Christians said back to you in their responses or did you pretty much just ignore them or mock them back? You were an atheist for a year and Christians probably used bible verses and shared the gospel with you online and in person. The Holy Spirit worked in you when you got MRSA. Does that mean all online interaction and in person gospel sharing is fruitless?
It probably is wise not to spend too much time engaging atheists online but I won’t limit God and say that He couldn’t use an online debate to open the eyes of an Atheist to the truth of the gospel.
Also, you’re a stranger on the internet…they will most likely just ignore anything you say. Seeds may be planted. Yet it seems the opposite for Christians. Many Christians are persuaded to forsake Christ through atheist arguments on the internet.
D: This is our problem as Christians and something we struggle with. We want them to accept Christ, or at least some of our arguments. Reality is they will probably try to throw down every argument. That doesn’t mean it’s fruitless, we don’t know the work the Holy Spirit is doing in this individual, that is if he was one of the elect. There are so many walls that God has to break to break the person’s will power. The sad reality we have to know and accept is that there are reprobate Atheists that will never come out of their delusion. We have to be diligent in prayer and keep sharing the Gospel to whoever is willing to listen. We are not called to convert just preach and teach the word of God. God needed to break me in order to see my need for Christ.
We plant seeds of the Gospel through social media. Others through street preaching. Still others have family that evangelize to them. We are seed planters but God gives the life giving water. I mostly discarded what religious people said but there were times I felt open to hear the arguments objectively. Mocking is a sign of insecurity or superiority. Insecurity because when you get stuck in a debate or feel trapped in a corner. I would go on a rant of how religion was evil or ridicule the traits of God. Don’t be discouraged, it’s necessary we be mocked. Jesus said we would. It wasn’t just the MRSA. God was chipping away at my pride. It was a process. Stranger or not, Atheists are in danger of hell. Knowing of the terror to come for those who die in their sins. Christopher hitchens was defiant to God even through his terminal illness. He still didn’t turn to God. Christians are so enticed to turn to Atheism because lies seem more intriguing than truth. Atheists really market the banner of Atheism as the club of the elite. It’s almost like a country club. Come enjoy your self and indulge while you can is their message. Hold dear to the sin you love because sin doesn’t exist in our realities. The Christian message is repent and forsake the sins you love. Run from them. Life isn’t about you, it’s about others. Become selfless. The two messages are polar opposites. Human nature gravitates towards the flesh. Many choose the path of destruction over the path of life.
R: Thanks for the encouragement. I get discouraged easily. It’s especially a problem here in America. We want instant gratification. We expect immediate results. As Christians, we share the gospel and expect people to change right away when as you correctly noted, it is a process. The Holy Spirit draws us to God through the hearing and preaching of the Word. It is easy to slip in to the mindset that if we really preach the truth with passion that people might be more willing listen to us but you’re right, there are some that will never repent.
D: God will show us to be patient and fill us with grace to speak. The greatest preacher and teacher of all time (Jesus Christ) was mocked and ridiculed. Being the only begotten son of the almighty God, he suffered this oppression. Who are we? No student is greater than his teacher.
R: After reading many of Christopher Stroop’s (prominent Ex-Evangelical who primarily stirred up the swarm) articles and tweets, I have come to the conclusion that he was not properly taught Christian theology. He had doubts and questions but it doesn’t seem like people accurately explained reformed theology to him. Then his teenage years were spent in seeker sensitive church growth movement. While that was happening and he was doubting and suicidal, he probably started to become aware he was queer had attractions for same sex. He then chose to reject a theology that would say LGBTQ poeple are sinning. Now he calls Evangelical Christianity abusive and any attempt to share bible verses or say he didn’t understand theology is labeled as gaslighting
Can we say, for example, that someone was pushed away from the faith by being taught bad theology or as presuppositional reformed people do we say he simply chose to love his sin and suppress the truth? Or can we look at what he was taught and make people aware of what was done wrong but also realize that currently Stroop is suppressing the truth?
D: There are many factors here. The seed of doubt can only grow where there is either bad teaching or no teaching. As you noticed most of his analysis is based on emotions not anything of factual substance. Being a PhD in history I’m fascinated he never understood church history. That’s one sign he is blatantly suppressing the truth. He won’t admit because his eyes have been darkened. When speaking about the attributes of God he appeals to emotional arguments. He also tries to wrap up his terminology with his emotions. Which, he is very confusing logically. He deflects questions with “he has already answered a lengthy response”. It’s the same rhetorical tactics to cover up a faulty philosophy. He stated he rejected my epistemology, I find that weird since he was speaking in ontological terms. He didn’t know the difference between epistemology and ontology. It’s very hard to understand ex evangelicals from a rational view point. He was no different than me a couple years ago. His pent up rage oozes through his Twitter page and articles. Yet he wants to be taken serious as an intellectual with horrible terminology and critical thinking.
He states “it’s gaslighting” to cover up his ignorance of the context of scripture. This is common. Ask yourself why do every Atheist/agnostic get angry when we point out their biblical ignorance?
R: His articles are almost all appeal to emotion and anecdotal fallacies. Also uses strawman like: negging sky god. Generalizations like the label “white evangelical”.
His argument is essentially: “Calvinism and orthodox theology are abusive and enable authoritarianism. People use theology because of their persecution complexes and insecurities. They use gaslighting and manipulation tactics. Read my articles where I have explained myself.”.
But he never makes any logical claims. As you said it’s all stories. Many of his followers are LGBTQ also.
D: Exactly! Brother he has so much irrationality in his worldview it’s hard to interact with him. Especially when you try to interact he says this an apologetics plot to make me look irrational. It’s his worldview. When exposed makes him seem ignorant.
R: Also history can be pretty subjective. You almost always have two views of something that happened. If your worldview consists of a sociological lens then you will look at history different then you would with a theological lens.
But as we have stated he contradicts himself so much. He is clearly making truth claims and morality claims but based on subjective morality. Makes no sense. May God open his eyes. He can see the falsehood of prosperity gospel, cultural fundamentalism, and seeker sensitive church growth movements. May he embrace the truth of the gospel.
D: History can be seen through different view points but not all view points can be correct. That’s logically incompatible. Hitler for example, what he did was either justified or condemnable. There is no in between. He as historian should know better. Self refuting statements is usually the best he could come up with.
I don’t have an “obsession” with them. They are making erroneous claims about God. They are essentially blaspheming Him when they say sharing the gospel is abusive. They say that the “god of calvinism is sadistic and irredeemable”. I haven’t seen many challenging their claims so that is why I have taken the time to document what they say. And now it is clear to those with eyes to see that they hate God. They are emotionally angry about the God they claim to not believe in.
D: I learned this from the apologist Jim Warner Wallace ,there are four groups we essentially interact with. Pro Christians, doubtful Christians, doubtful Atheists, pro Atheists. The two groups you want to reach are the ones having doubts from both sides. Not someone who will neither hear or see any proof or evidence for God’s existence. Therefore when I see someone with this mindset, it would be best to interact little and then just not respond if they press issues that don’t exist.
R: Yeah, I agree. So my aim with my writing is to reach the doubters. God will work and save those who He wills. Best thing to do is pray that God would open the eyes of people.
D: Amen. He will open the eyes of any atheist/Ex-Evangelical he chooses. The rest remain in darkness.
R: Let me just point out the irony of this one tweet:
AnStarfire responded to a screenshot of one section of my article that Chris shared. This person clearly only responded to this out of context screenshot, because if they had read the whole thing they wouldn’t be able to say I was devoid of compassion. The last sentence is absurd. Even if that were so, why would that be wrong? Don’t they believe “their” way is right too? The absurdity and contradictory nature of the anti-Christians worldview is clearly demonstrated in a tweet like this.
Why should someone be compassionate according to their worldview?
That is a genuine and reasonable question to ask…but they would just say: that is a manipulative question. It’s not.
D: I agree, it’s very contradictory how their own views systematically deconstruct themselves. One thing I found out about Atheists/Ex-Evangelicals who are in an emotional uproar is that they tend to ask about twenty questions at a time. This kind of irrational dialogue is not coherent. Someone who is rational would debate on one issue at a time. Then come to a conclusion. I have spoken with many Atheists/Ex-Evangelicals and the dialogue seems to always be the same. Many have different approaches but they quickly resolve to ad hominem attacks once their worldview is exposed. What do most people do when they are exposed? They cover up. The problem with Atheists/Ex-Evangelicals is they are so exposed and there is nothing they can do to cover up their irrationality.
The reason that’s such a good question is that it exposes their lack of substance or foundation to any argument they try to convey.
R: True words brother. Also another ironic thing that I really don’t understand. So in a tweet I said “Ex-Evangelicals don’t want to dialogue with Christians”. I didn’t use a hashtag but some people found the tweet by just searching for the phrase Ex-Evangelical. So someone retweeted me and said she doesn’t mind talking to Christians but that she isn’t willing to be “preached at by bigots”. The irony and hypocrisy. They make claims, retweet you, and then when you respond to them they don’t want to engage you. So I responded to her retweet of me by sharing the link to my article and she blocked me.
D: The internet is quite strange. Social media is probably the strangest. So many illogical arguments and actions. I don’t take anything personal on social media because most people don’t interact with strangers in person as they do on the internet. It would be easy for anyone to insult and ridicule on the internet but not in real life. Even if they do we are hated because they hated Jesus Christ first. Anyone who believes on him and his words are automatic enemies of the world. No matter how nice or compassionate we might be we will be hated. When we speak the truth we believe we are heroes but in reality we are preaching as villians to them. We try to take away their freedom and joy. They have failed to realize their freedom and joy are drowning them. They have become slaves to sin. Claiming freedom with heavy shackles on their wrists.
R: Is there anything else you would like to say? You’ve been very insightful and I appreciate your testimony brother. We go through difficult seasons and God uses our experiences to help others.
D: Lastly always be kind to Atheists. They will automatically shut you off. They won’t listen. They will at least listen when you are calm. Use scripture often. Let the holy Spirit do his work through the scripture. Don’t be discouraged if they disagree, we are being obedient to God by sharing the Gospel. There are still many more people God is going to save. So keep Proclaiming the good news.
R: That might be the most important thing people need to hear. We as Christians are to be kind to everyone. Thank you brother! May God use our testimonies to save some and create awareness in the church.
Speaking the truth in love is the key.
D: Amen brother. That God would do his redemptive work through us and many others. The kingdom will keep expanding despite the enemy’s plan. Let’s speak firmly but with love.
I hope David’s words have helped you become aware of the need to know your bible and to be prepared when faced with objections. I also hope it helped you to become aware of the different ways people will try to create doubt about the Word of God and doubts about God. A lot of Christians might write off Ex-Evangelicals as whiny liberal entitled millenials but I strongly discourage that kind of talk. The fact is, there are a lot of Ex-Evangelicals and some of them don’t use social media. They are right to be outraged at the ridiculous nonsense that helped turn them away from God but they are people and they need to hear the gospel. I believe Christians hurt their own witness when they say things like:
May God be glorified, may Christians be strengthened, and may God reveal Himself to Ex-Evangelicals that they would have their eyes and hearts opened to the truth.