real conversation between a Christian and Atheist (part one)

Please note that due to the unedited nature of this post, the language deems it necessary for us to give this post an “R” rating.  If you are sensitive to 4-letter words, do not proceed.

So, this dude came out swingin’.  Matt posted a link to my write-up “The Slut, Righteous Judges, and Savior” on the Emery facebook page and things got nasty. Examples?  Sure, here’s one comment posted on facebook: “this is fucking disgusting.” and yet another: “Wow, seriously? Such a shame such a great band is so fucking stupid. I don’t give a shit what any of these righteous idiots want to respond with, you’re just as fucking stupid as they are. Open your eyes and get a life already.”

Well, for some of the angry folks that talk like they want you to literally eat poison and die, there’s probably no good reason to engage in conversation, so I didn’t.  However, some of the angry folks that really have something reasonable to say?  Sure.  One of the conversations that i was engaging with publicly, I decided to make private (facebook inbox to inbox instead of facebook wall).  What came from this was some valuable dialogue that spanned throughout the good part of a week.  Both of us were stretched, both of us were forced to think, and both of us are better for it.  I thank him for letting me use our conversation and hopefully this conversation exemplifies that constructive dialogue between a Christian and an atheist, although quite rare, can exist . . . even on the internet.  


UNlearning Reader: Hey, thanks for delivering your opinion in a clear manner.I’m also glad that you understand my perspective (doesn’t happen too often :P ). Let me also say that I understand your perspective as well. Like you said, it all boils down to believing in god or not. If it is true that Jesus existed, would you not agree that there is a lack of evidence to indicate that he rose from the dead/performed miracles? In my opinion, eye witness testimonies that were written down by anonymous authors thousands of years ago is not sufficient. As one once said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Joey Svendsen: The extraordinary evidence is that Christianity was able to spread despite the persecution and resistance. This spreading would be WAY more of a miracle if the resurrection was questionable. The authors aren’t anonymous & their writings are vastly more substantiated than those of Plato & Aristotle. Did you know that various historians in Jesus’ time wrote about him as well? If you don’t believe he existed, it’s an irresponsible approach to history at best. Since He DID exist, it’s laughable to think that there didn’t at least APPEAR to be a resurrection. Ppl died for this & the Roman government was eventually converted. Then, they botched the hell out of it up & misrepresented Christ but that’s besides the point. Paul also writes a letter about eye-witnesses & the vast majority of historians (many of them non-believers) support the authenticity. This letter would have immediately been snuffed out if it were a lie because people would have said “I didn’t see anything.” if it’s a big hoax, many people died for it & were tortured. Mighty strange extremes to take for a hoax. If these folks were mindless followers of a cult, the spread of Christianity would have died with Jesus because he would have never rose.

Joey Svendsen: There’s a LOT more extraordinary evidence but if & when one approaches it with a narrow mind, they don’t see it because they don’t want to.

UNlearning Reader: Ok, you’ve obviously done more research with seeing if Jesus did exist or not. I’m just skeptical with the whole resurrection thing. Even if it WAS true that he dissapeared from the tomb, and many historians wrote about it, I would be questioning God’s method for spreading the truth. Why display a miracle during a time and a place where people are uneducated and technologically handicapped? I would assume that this high power would understand what evidence is.

UNlearning Reader: And also, even if EVERYTHING was correct (including all of his miracles), how does that prove that the bible is true and that he was the son of god? Thursday

Joey Svendsen: hey, Dave.

1. throughout biblical history, which is way more validated than you give it credit for, God manifested Himself in overtly clear ways; miracles right in front of people. HIS people still rebelled because they had a sinful nature. bottom line is that “not enough proof” is not the issue for most people. it’s “i don’t want to believe.” an example? the ridiculous theories out there on origin of the universe. amazing measure to take in order to avoid the notion of God. If anyone truly wants to know whether He exists, and seek Him with an open mind, they’ll find Him as I did.

2. second question. the chances of Jesus fulfilling all of the old testament prophecies by chance is IMPOSSIBLE. secondly, you mean to tell me if some one says, “I am God,” does MANY miracles, raises the dead, says “i’m going to die and rise again,” and then does it, that doesn’t prove He’s God?? you are right. it doesn’t TOTALLY prove it. However, my daughter waits for me after school EVERY DAY. she can’t prove that i’m going to pick her up, but she knows I will. Many people treat the notion of God in a way that they don’t treat anything else. “well, you can’t prove Him,” they say. You also can’t prove that the plane you are in is going to take you to Chicago, but when the pilot says, “We’re about to touch down to Chicago,” you believe him. Normal folks don’t live daily life with an “I need proof” approach to everything.

UNlearning Reader: Hey Joey, I’m enjoying this discussion by the way. Since I’m done my studying for today let me tell you what I think on those points.

1. If he did all of those miracles in front of people, why that specific place and time? In front of a bunch of peasants who could have been easily tricked. And why not perform miracles in other places in the world? It’s unfortunate that his ‘mysterious ways’ cause billions of people to burn in hell. These people just happen to not be Christian (they could be Muslim, or not be born into a religious family). It’s not like they’re denying Christ in their heart, they just didn’t hear about him! I also have to strongly disagree on not wanting to believe. Science has not come to it’s conclusions based on the desire to disprove god. It is built upon reality. Nothing is concluded out of faith. I must say that has much more validity than “biblical history”/eye witness accounts/word of mouth. Also, you speak about having an open mind. I must ask, have you ever looked up anything in search of disproving your god? Such as various scientific theories or even other religions? What about similar stories like Jesus that were before him? Such as Attis of Phrygia?

2. As for the prophecies, all I can say is that it is highly likely that whoever wrote the new testament referred back to the old one and told stories that would match it. And lastly, I must say that your analogy isn’t very valid. Your daughter knows that you will pick her up based on her past experiences and especially that you told her you would (she spoke to you physically). And of course I would expect to land in Chicago if a pilot told me…I’m in a jet, I’ve paid for a ticket that has Chicago on it, I’ve seen Chicago on tv/drove through it, seen air planes with my own eyes etc. I would say that it is waaaay more unrealistic to believe that there was a man thousands of years ago who performed miracles, and rely on books about it. From those sources, I’m expected to base MY LIFE on Christianity?!! Or else I burn in hell for eternity?! That is horrendously unfair! Would you not agree?

Joey Svendsen: enjoying our convo too. before continuing it though, i want to know this: if Jesus proved to you beyond any reasonable doubt that He IS God’s Son, He showed you that His word in the Bible IS true, and told you that you should follow Him or there will be eternal consequences, would you?

UNlearning Reader: It’s not exactly a black and white answer. How would he show me? I would not believe in a creator of the universe from a man who does magic tricks. I would expect the big boss himself to come down and say “Sup doods, I’m fucking God!!!” Since he’s all powerful and wants to spread his truth to as many people possible. Are those not reasonable standards?



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