7/03/2015 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Ben Love ~
THE CHRISTIAN: Why won’t you believe in God?
THE ATHEIST: I have no reason to.
THE CHRISTIAN: You exist, isn’t that reason enough?
THE ATHEIST: My existence is reason enough to wonder and question, but it is not reason enough to draw a definitive conclusion of which I cannot be certain.
THE CHRISTIAN: I feel there is more than enough evidence to be certain.
THE ATHEIST: Certain of what, exactly?
THE CHRISTIAN: That God is God.
THE ATHEIST: Which God are you referring to?
THE CHRISTIAN: My God, the Christian God.
THE ATHEIST: And what is this evidence which has made you so certain?
THE CHRISTIAN: The Bible.
THE ATHEIST: So let me see if I understand this. You believe in the God of the Bible because the Bible tells you that he is God, correct?
THE CHRISTIAN: Correct.
THE ATHEIST: How does the Bible know?
THE CHRISTIAN: It was inspired by God.
THE ATHEIST: But you just said you only know God is God because of the Bible. Now you’re saying that only know that because God makes it so.
THE CHRISTIAN: Yeah, so?
THE ATHEIST: Well, if I said I know the Loch Ness Monster is real because the Loch Ness Monster himself told me so, what difference would that make to you?
THE CHRISTIAN: It wouldn’t make any difference. That’s circular logic.
THE ATHEIST: Is it? How silly of me. You do realize, of course, that the same applies to your logic.
THE CHRISTIAN: With faith, all things are possible.
THE ATHEIST: How nice. Tell me, how would you define “Truth?”
THE CHRISTIAN: Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
THE ATHEIST: But how do you know he was telling the truth?
THE CHRISTIAN: I have faith that he was.
THE ATHEIST: Why?
THE CHRISTIAN: Because I choose to put my faith in that definition of truth.
THE ATHEIST: Fair enough, but doesn’t this mean you could just as easily have chosen to put your faith in some other definition of truth? I mean, if it’s up to you, then you can decide whatever feels right to you.
THE CHRISTIAN: I know Jesus is the truth; that is why my faith is in him.
THE ATHEIST: Wait a minute, you “know” it? Then why is faith required? If you know, you know.
THE CHRISTIAN: God asks for our faith.
THE ATHEIST: So you have faith because this pleases God, but all the while you know what you know.
THE CHRISTIAN: Yes.
THE ATHEIST: How can you arrive at truth without first needing to know what it is?
THE CHRISTIAN: What?
THE ATHEIST: What I mean is, you can only know what truth is after you’ve found it. You can only know truth after the fact. If you set out already knowing it, and then look for it, won’t you just be led right back to yourself?
THE CHRISTIAN: I don’t understand.
THE ATHEIST: Clearly. What I’m saying is, I order to discover truth, you have to first admit that you don’t know it. Otherwise, why are you searching?
THE CHRISTIAN: I’m not searching. I know the truth.
THE ATHEIST: Then I will ask again: how do you know it is true?
THE CHRISTIAN: Because I was raised to believe so.
THE ATHEIST: Ah, okay. Now we are getting closer to the reality of the situation.
THE CHRISTIAN: How do you know it is not the truth?
THE ATHEIST: I’m glad you asked. I know it is not the truth because I have investigated the matter using unbiased tools. I came to the question without an agenda, and I let the evidence lead me to conclusion I know hold, the only conclusion that could be reached.
THE CHRISTIAN: I disagree. I feel the evidence leads unequivocally to the Christian God.
THE ATHEIST: But you viewed the evidence after you believed, not before.
THE CHRISTIAN: That’s not true.
THE ATHEIST: You said so. You said you were raised to believe all of this.
THE CHRISTIAN: But when I was old enough I looked into the matter for myself.
THE ATHEIST: Did you suspend your faith while you did this?
THE CHRISTIAN: Of course not.
THE ATHEIST: Okay, that’s all I needed to know.
THE CHRISTIAN: What you don’t understand is that you rely on God every day.
THE ATHEIST: Is that so?
THE CHRISTIAN: How do you know it is wrong to commit murder?
THE ATHEIST: I know because I feel it.
THE CHRISTIAN: Ah, but feelings cannot be a standard, because they change with the person. An outside source is needed. See? You looking to God for morality even though you don’t believe in him.
THE ATHEIST: Do you support ethnic cleansing?
THE CHRISTIAN: No, I do not.
THE ATHEIST: Why not?
THE CHRISTIAN: It’s wrong.
THE ATHEIST: How do you know it’s wrong?
THE CHRISTIAN: God, my standard, says so.
THE ATHEIST: Where exactly does he say it?
THE CHRISTIAN: In the Bible.
THE ATHEIST: But the Bible is rife with ethnic cleansing, and most of it is not only condoned by God, it is ordered by God. How do you explain that?
THE CHRISTIAN: That’s the not the end of the information. If God wanted it to be, it must have been right.
THE ATHEIST: How do you know?
THE CHRISTIAN: I just feel it.
THE ATHEIST: But you said God is your standard for morality, not your feelings.
THE CHRISTIAN: God is my standard.
THE ATHEIST: Then shouldn’t you support ethnic cleansing?
THE CHRISTIAN: No.
THE ATHEIST: But your standard does! He ordered it. He sanctioned it. And he obviously condones it. Again, it’s all over the Bible.
THE CHRISTIAN: As I said, there must be some missing information that can explain this.
THE ATHEIST: You want there to be, but there isn’t. You of all people should know that your theology calls for you to believe the entire Bible is inspired by God. If he didn’t want us to think of him as a murderer, why did he allow the Bible, which he presumably inspired, to portray him as such?
THE CHRISTIAN: Well, obviously I don’t believe that God condones murder, so I will just write off the entire thing through my faith.
THE ATHEIST: Very noble of you, I’m sure. Perhaps the rest of us aren’t as eager to do so.
THE CHRISTIAN: That’s your loss.
THE ATHEIST: Is it? Suppose I said that I couldn’t understand why I feel compelled to kill you, and since I cannot understand it, I’ll just write it off through my faith and assume that it is indeed okay to just go ahead and kill you.
THE CHRISTIAN: Well, that would be stupid.
THE ATHEIST: So it’s okay to invoke faith based on your own agenda, is that it?
THE CHRISTIAN: No, we must invoke faith where faith demands to be invoked.
THE ATHEIST: Who gets to decide that?
THE CHRISTIAN: Again, God is my standard.
THE ATHEIST: Clearly, we are getting nowhere.
THE CHRISTIAN: Here’s a question for you. Doesn’t the Second Law of Thermodynamics insist that there must be a God?
THE ATHEIST: Tell me, what is the First Law of Thermodynamics?
THE CHRISTIAN: I don’t know.
THE ATHEIST: What is the Third Law of Thermodynamics?
THE CHRISTIAN: I don’t know.
THE ATHEIST: So, in truth, you don’t actually understand Thermodynamics. You don’t really possess the information to allow you to wield these concepts with any authority.
THE CHRISTIAN: Well, no.
THE ATHEIST: But you’re happy to pull the Second Law of Thermodynamics out of your pocket whenever you need to, because, even though you don’t understand it and actually have no idea what you’re talking about, you think this is some sort of trump card up your sleeve.
THE CHRISTIAN: Isn’t it?
THE ATHEIST: I have no idea. I am poorly educated in Thermodynamics, which is why I don’t refer to its Laws to save me.
THE CHRISTIAN: But surely you can admit that there is likely more to reality than we currently know.
THE ATHEIST: I can admit that, yes. I’m not sure you can.
THE CHRISTIAN: Of course I can.
THE ATHEIST: I don’t know. You seem to think you possess the final word on all these mysteries.
THE CHRISTIAN: When did I say that?
THE ATHEIST: The Bible is your authority, is it not? All you need to know can be found there.
THE CHRISTIAN: Well, yes, I do believe that.
THE ATHEIST: Then that is the end of the story for you. The Bible is the ultimate answer to any question you have. There need be no mystery for you. Everything has a nice, tidy answer.
THE CHRISTIAN: That’s the beauty of faith.
THE ATHEIST: Beauty? Hmm. That’s one word for it.
THE CHRISTIAN: So is there anything we can agree on?
THE ATHEIST: I don’t know, is there?
THE CHRISTIAN: At the end of the day, God is in control.
THE ATHEIST: What exactly is God in control of?
THE CHRISTIAN: Everything.
THE ATHEIST: Everything? So, when that family of five dies in their sleep from a carbon monoxide leak, God was in control of that? When the gunman stalks into the church and blows nine people away, God was in control of that?
THE CHRISTIAN: No, those things happen outside the parameters of his will.
THE ATHEIST: So God’s will has parameters? It has limits? If things happen outside of his will, then aren’t they happening outside of his control? Doesn’t that mean he actually is not in control of “everything?”
THE CHRISTIAN: God controls those who submit to his will, but he doesn’t force his will on them.
THE ATHEIST: What you’re saying here, essentially, is that God does not control you, but if you submit to his control, then yes, he will control you. Okay, well, this would seem to suggest that we have a measure of control. After all, doesn’t this mean that God’s control is contingent upon our compliance? And if that is true, then God really isn’t in control at all.We are.
THE CHRISTIAN: We cannot outmaneuver God.
THE ATHEIST: You just said so. You just said God controls those who submit to his will. This would have to mean that he doesn’t control those who don’t.
THE CHRISTIAN: No, he controls them, too.
THE ATHEIST: You just said he doesn’t force his will on anyone.
THE CHRISTIAN: He doesn’t.
THE ATHEIST: Sigh. Actually, no, I don’t think there is anything we can agree on.
THE CHRISTIAN: Me either.
THE ATHEIST: Amen.