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theism1

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My Journey To Theism
« on: June 11, 2016, 07:38:37 am »
My story is possibly quite a common one. I suppose I will aim to keep it short, but full of the important details.

My journey all began 2 odd years ago, no older than 18/19 years of age. Naturally, I always believed in God in some way, and was raised in a 'Christian' family'; in that we affirmed Christianity, but only went to church on occasions, and never really spoke much of it. Perhaps this is the same with many Christians. I was truly seeking, though, to find answers to what i felt to be my self-evident belief in God. "Okay, I believe, but why?". That was my attitude. And so where did I go? The internet of course. This is where something happened. My epic pursuit of theism began. I went on YouTube, and searched something pertaining to whether god existed. At this time, I should say that YouTube was not so full of anti-theistic content.

What i stumbled upon, was a debate with none other than William Lane Craig. I cannot remember who the opponent was. It may have been the Parsons debate, or Atkins. All I remember is that I was astonished at the polished performance of Dr Craig. He simply had a an answer with a justification to each question. I was new to these debates; but I could tell the atheists were certainly not expecting such an opponent as Craig.

After this - my pursuit stopped. I was quite content; God can be defended on reasonable grounds.

Fast forward several months - and something sparked me into the pursuit and debate again. General rhetoric in the media regarding religion or belief in God as, well...beneath being smart. And so I thought to myself "Okay, I am going to really get to the bottom of this". And so, I watched more of Dr Craig's debates and videos. He just never stopped. He seemed to be like a machine.  I was even more impressed, and thought that theism was certainly a reasonable affirmation, and that objections were simply weak. But I was not as entirely sure of Christianity, however. Dr Craig gave me a satisfactory case for theism - but whenever he spoke of the Holy Spirit, I sort of cringed. "Don't speak of that after you've provided logical, evidence based arguments!" - I would think to myself. Not that I thought it was false - but because I knew people simply would reject it on emotional grounds; mockery, anger and so forth - more so than they do general theism. People seem too closed off to it.

As time went by, I realized again, more anti-theistic and anti-religion rhetoric. I cannot distinguish whether this is just a part of getting older and out in the world, or whether more people were becoming atheists. Regardless, it puzzled me. "How could such people have weak arguments and be proud so angry?".  So then I again, sought to seek if theism had more to it than I knew. To cut it short - I immersed myself into the videos and writings of MANY theologians, and Philosophers - AS well as listening and viewing the atheist side, too. I wanted to hear both sides.

It was truly after a year of such, when I was certain theism was reasonable - but not only this - I became machine like too - I could counter so many atheist retorts and 'arguments'. Not only this - but i began reading Aquinas, Aristotle, Plantinga, along with Craig - and many other philosophers. I also listened to, with respect, the more so apologists than Philosophers. For every atheist retort - I immediately found flaws on in the atheist's reasoning.

Long story short, another year went by, leading us to today; and I am a theist, and a Christian + an avid reader of scientific literature

I have come to realize/have gained three things now;

1) I realize most atheists HATE God; they do not want God to exist.

2) I am so upset with the level of low level, unsophisticated yet proudly regurgitated anti-theistic rhetoric - that not only have I read and learnt so much science and philosophy, that I am able to offer arguments, and reply to objections - but I have this inner drive and desire now, to if ever faced with anti-theistic rhetoric or arguments in day-to-day life - I utterly destroy such positions; appealing to nothing but logic, reason and evidence - with grace.

3) Emotional, angry reasons play a huge role in rejecting Christ. One, if ever they arrive to Christ, will do so in their own time.

These Days

I probably spend...2-4 hours per day reading an engaging in philosophy, science, theistic literature and perfecting my debating skills.

I have become a very good debater, listener, talker, communicator regarding theism. I literally have an answer now to all the common atheist claims - which leave the everyday person who does not dedicate hours per day on this topic, with nothing to say. At risk of sounding full of myself - I am relentless in my polite defense of theism and answering of atheists. And this is what all theists, and Christians ought to do. Know your 'stuff'; never stop learning, and converse with people politely, but be so well read so as to be a formidable opponent in every day debate.

I have come to conclude part of the whole debate is truly based upon a massive culture war, with opposing views in what is good and evil, and that some depraved people truly are behind the spread of atheism. Atheists it seems, are not seeking to find what is true. They believe atheism IS the only intellectual position; and they do not want to look below that. The atheists I have encountered most commonly hold intellectual contempt; and patently unfounded epistemological views.

So not only have I gained beautiful foundations and logical reasons for my beliefs; but I can, with ease, refute the atheist rhetoric of Dawkins and co - the popular writing, which in turn means I easily answer the everyday atheist who relies on such content. I can also hold my own against real serious atheist arguments. I live in an increasingly secular country - in which most atheists are so due to the unsound work of Dawkins and Co (which I now refute with ease, able to do so in every day conversation).

But I speak too much of the debate. Personally, and spiritually; I have a richer life in that I have theism and Christ. It is this feeling I still cannot explain. It's wonderful! And that is the most important thing. I think it is too easy to fall into the trap of treating it like a debate all the time. Truly, the spiritual side is of greater value, personally.

Thank you Dr Craig - and thank God!


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Snoochies

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Re: My Journey To Theism
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2016, 03:11:28 pm »
Thanks Theism1 and welcome to the boards. Be great to hear you engage on here in the future. Great place to have these discussions and one where it is mostly respectful.

Bless you
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear." Psalm 46:1-2

* Forum members please note:- Just because I ask you lots of questions, this does not mean I know something better. I am merely asking to seek clarification and arrive at truth the best I can

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TheCross

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Re: My Journey To Theism
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2016, 06:30:49 am »
Bravo!
Gal 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

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Keith_

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Re: My Journey To Theism
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2016, 12:55:21 am »
I am a convert from naturalism before the New Atheism began (~2008). I was an atheist and rejected God, but due to my own reasoning and the great thinkers of the past rather than today's New Atheism which tells atheists they need no reasons to believe. I denied being an atheist and called myself agnostic because I knew atheism to be an untenable position. I liked Cristian's and on moral issues I held Christians in high esteem. Not today's internet atheism.

Those who organized the New Atheists behind the scenes obviously knew this as well. It amazes me how easily people are used and credulous they become when stoked with anger over politics; we have a Saul Alinsky community organizer as President (he taught the subject). The methods have divided this country so deeply I think it will take a serious loss to get the left to stop using hate tactics (Like they do against Trump) so constructive political dialogue will be possible in Washington again. Enough politics.

When you talk about cringing over theological talk, I can identify. The media has thoroughly stereotyped us. As a new Christian I found "Holy holy holy is the Lord God almighty" to be meaningless. Spirit filled and in love with a God as tangible as the material objects, I could not be deterred by cognitive dissonance, but it was rough. I'm a scientist, son of a college professor in the sciences, and was raised doing science projects, natural history, science fairs, and science museums, but it was not science that created an intellectual crisis for me, it was a kid saying "we don't even know Jesus existed", rhetoric I'd heard in college decades earlier. That was a big problem, and I had to know if it was true (Jesus mythers rank with Roswell conspiracy theorists in intellectual merit). That sparked my interest in apologetics, and like you I developed a passion for the topic. I've studied it daily for ten years now but focused mostly on the sciences and historical. Other apologists specializing in specific areas know the critical topics in these areas far better than I do as a generalist.

Welcome to the forum. Have fun, and God bless.

-Keith



« Last Edit: July 02, 2016, 12:58:47 am by Keith_ »
Eccl.1:9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

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Pragmatic

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Re: My Journey To Theism
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2016, 02:32:57 pm »
I am a convert from naturalism before the New Atheism began (~2008).

Hi Keith. Having a lot of trouble believing this. What naturalist philosophers did you read prior to 2008?
Religion was born when the first con man met the first fool.

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Bill McEnaney

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Re: My Journey To Theism
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2016, 12:53:44 am »
Thank you for a fine, very well-written post, theism1.  I crave knowledge.  So I spend most of my time studying philosophy and theology.  But I'm sure you're a much more convincing apologist than I've ever been.

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JTT

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Re: My Journey To Theism
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2016, 01:11:17 pm »
I really enjoyed reading your Journey and have some questions I would like to ask you if ever you are interested.

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BleeBlat

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Re: My Journey To Theism
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2016, 03:50:20 pm »
Looks like a fascinating story. I have a bunch of questions as well. I read a lot of philosophy because it's fascinating but am not much into debate. But if you feel like answering, I'd be curious. The one thing I can see we might have in common is that there are a lot of misleading things going around in various communities calling themselves spiritual, so it'd be interesting to see where you're at and how you got there. Maybe you could point me at what you were reading. I read a bunch of logic books and was studying computer science at one point but that's another story. I only bring that up because it might be relevant here. You might be able to help me sort out some logic I'm unsure of. I've got my own anger at various authorities and spiritual teachers clearly spouting nonsense, so you might have some advice that might be workable.

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rap2017

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Re: My Journey To Theism
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2017, 08:11:55 pm »
Ladies and Gentleman
Atheism is an absence of evidence that a God exists.
There is not a single shred of evidence that a man called "Jesus the Christ" walked the planet in the early first century. Firstly you have to invent another name because there was no such name used in the first century. In fact the name  "Jesus" is a composite.
Consider Jupitar and Zeus and now you see where Jesus comes from.
Pre Renaissance period that's pre 15th Century, 95% or more of Europeans where unable to read or write. Yes our ancestors have only been documenting their history for the past 600 years. 
The alleged life of "Jesus" as written in the New Testament is questionable. Because people could not read or write. Therefore who is the audience. In that period people were too concerned with finding food, clothing and shelter they were not concerned with any religious system.
Do your research.
I await comments.
Thank you.

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Gordon Tubbs

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Re: My Journey To Theism
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2017, 04:18:53 pm »
@rap2017

Welcome to the Reasonable Faith Forum. You may find this forum to be very active with plenty of avenues for thoughtful engagement and critique of both amateur and scholarly positions. That being said, if you want to be taken seriously on this forum or any public forum, it would be best to argue your points with the Three R's: Research, Reason, and Rhetoric... rather than asserting your points as undisputed. A great deal of history, theology, and philosophy is of upmost dispute, so being cavalier with your positions won't convince anyone.

If your primary areas of research have been YouTube and private webpages administered by people with zero credentials, you need to start branching out. I would suggest you read The Triumph of Christianity by Rodney Stark and Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth by Bart Ehrman, then return to the Forum with any questions regarding your assumptions and assertions.

That being said, I did want to correct/challenge a couple of your points simply for sanity...

1. The vast majority of scholarly historians consider that a man named Jesus did in fact walk the Earth. Even the Jesus Seminar - the most critical association of non-Christian scholars - concluded that a Historical Jesus can be confidently constructed from a wide array of 1st century sources.

2. "Jesus" is actually a Hellenization of the Jewish name Yeshua, which translated to English is "Joshua." The name "Jesus" was ported from the Greek Iesous, which had a strong "J" pronunciation sound for the "I." Long story short, after getting translated to Latin Iesu, Germans spelled it with a J to reflect the phonetics, and the rest is history. What is not historical is the portmanteau of Jupiter and Zeus, which is merely coincidental.

Ordained Minister of the Word and Sacrament (PCUSA)
Regent University, Master of Divinity (Chaplain Ministry)
US Navy (Active 2004-2009, Reserves 2012-2018)

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Aurirn

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Re: My Journey To Theism
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2020, 08:42:14 am »
Thanks, I liked reading it

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Khaos

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Re: My Journey To Theism
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2020, 04:03:44 pm »
A lot of people who are atheistic have been traumatized emotionally by being socially pressured, often by their parents, to force them into believing enthusiastically something that they don't understand and that ends up resulting in a boomerang effect, myself included (my dad only, my mom no). As someone who is not a Christian, what you are stating above IS completely true, but is also completely preventable if the church does not mess up. The number one way I see Atheists hating Christians is when Christians try to convert Atheists to the point of harassment and then the Atheists use their energy against them to make themselves hate their faith. I wish it was not like this, but it is. I have to constantly remind myself that Christians are not like my father. Often what he did wasn't even that bad, but it felt that way because he was one of the people I respected the most in the world.