It was a long, hard-working week . . . so, the three amigos--me, wifey and Isaac decided we needed a "break today" and went for a big night out . . . to McDonalds, heh . . . and . . . well . . . every so often when we are out I get a prompting to engage with a waiter, waitress . . . cashier or other service person and . . . well . . . I sense that an unusual person is there--someone thoughtful, a seeker, an "individual" and not just a typical drone lost in the cultural/societal mass trance . . . .
And this happened last night. The fellow behind the counter instantly struck me (in the Spirit, I dare say) and I looked at his name tag. "Christian" is what it said and so I asked him, "Your name is 'Christian' . . . ?
"Yes," he replied.
"Are you? . . . a Christian?" I asked.
He frowned quickly and smirked slightly saying, "No . . . no . . . ."
Then, in a quick flurry of back and forth--(I, noting there were no customers in line behind us, so could talk for a bit more)--I learned that he had once been L.D.S. but was now an "atheist/agnostic".
I blurted, "So you believe something can come from nothing?" . . . To which he replied, roughly paraphrasing, "Yes, and your belief is just a "god of the gaps" argument . . . . "
Whoah! The young McDonald's cashier just countered my evangelizing with the "god of the gaps" argument! How many Christians even know about the "god of the gaps" argument and one of the standard atheist rebuttal apologetics?
As we talked, rapid fire back and forth across the counter I learned that he not only knew who William Lane Craig is, and was well aware of and had watched Craig's renowned "Does God Exist" debate with Christopher Hitchens, he also informed me that Craig had just been on CNN a week before in a segment with "The Amazing Atheist."
Christian also admitted that Craig fairly well mopped the floor with Hitchens . . . and likewise he didn't seem too impressed with "The Amazing Atheist's" arguments (which are indeed little more than ad hominems, belligerence and bellicosity, loud opinion--lots of smoke and no fire) . . . .
But wow! I was so pleasantly surprised and pleased, atheist/agnostic or not, here was a young fellow who obviously was engaged, intelligently studying the arguments, fair-minded, polite and did not dismiss my queries like so many these days who are either utterly (intellectually) lazy or so vainly close-minded that they have no interest in any other belief or opinion than their (un-thoughtful) own!
I suspect, though know too little about Christian to say for sure, that he may be one of those discerning, truth-seeking ex-Mormons--(a rare breed, btw)--who . . . have sincerely looked into the doctrines and history of the L.D.S. church . . . and have been stunned by the massive foundation of lies and deception it is built upon, feel burned by "religion" in general, and so, turn from God altogether assuming that the whole thing is man made and not to be trusted.
It is indeed one of the saddest and downright diabolical consequences of the L.D.S. Church's grim history of deception . . . where it claims to be "THE" church of Jesus Christ . . . and uses the Bible as support--that it turns so many of those who discover the truth of it's shady founder's life and practices . . . into disillusioned atheists and advanced Bible skeptics. Those Mormons who DO find the real Jesus and His real teachings almost always say that one of the most deplorable things that Joseph Smith did . . . was to inculcate doubt in the Bible, where he taught that it was partially the Word of God "insofar as it is translated correctly."
I told Christian I was going to blog about him today and he kindly said he would check in here and was open to "debating" with me further about such things as the "god of the gaps" arguments . . . .
I intend to continue my response in general to him tomorrow here . . . and overall I am simply just thrilled to run into someone who obviously has a passion for top shelf apologetics, reasoning, searching--especially these days when so few young folk seem even capable, let alone interested, in fighting past all the propaganda and indoctrination that is being heaped on them via the culture, the government, and false teaching churches. It may go nowhere--he may not be as interested in conversation as it seemed at the time . . . and/or we all may simply too busy (surviving) to go much further than this initial meeting, though I hope that through some email's, over time, perhaps I can hear his ideas as I am always grateful for independent, sincere, concerned thinkers/seekers . . . and enjoy sharpening my own arguments/responses to the God/no God debate . . . .
I remember when I was an atheist . . . for about a week . . . in high school, and remember being not at all impressed or convinced with school chum "Roland's" argument: "Of course there is a God--just look around . . . the trees, the birds . . . creation."
My belief in God, which I had prior to--and then forever--after that week of disbelief . . . initially came from experiencing His presence and also deducing that this life, this world--reality and the very fact of existence itself . . . was just too ridiculously poignant and real to NOT have a more transcendent and "divine" purpose and meaning . . . than the mere "accident" of random matter and energy colliding somehow . . . out of nothing . . . meant for nothing . . . ultimately meaningless and irrelevant . . . where IN MY SOUL, IN MY MIND, IN MY HEART . . . there screamed a yearning for meaning and purpose . . . beyond this short flash of mortal existence . . . and . . . answering me IN THE SPIRIT was a Being, other than myself, saying "Yes, there is a meaning and purpose to this."
It made no sense to me that a purely material creature, wrought from purely material chemicals, energy and matter, with no soul--just fizzing neurons and banging around random atoms--would EVER develop such an obvious desire, longing, intuition for spiritual purpose, AND actual mode of living (caring, love, compassion, empathy, morality, integrity etc.) . . . where there would be no origin or basis for such things . . . in a merely material, spiritless, pointless, meaningless, infinitesimal CHANCE of something-from-nothing colliding energy, particles and whatever other quantum fill-in-the-blank . . . current "science" claims "started it all."
Naw . . . that's just . . . too . . . desperate . . . and, honestly . . . dumb and requires more faith and magical thinking than anything the Biblical Theist is proposing . . . .
The Truth is written in our hearts. We suppress it . . . because we don't want to submit; because we actually don't WANT to die . . . whereas the Truth--Jesus--requires that we MUST die, to have life.
Our sinful, rebellious, fallen egos . . . want to live . . . with no consequences, no judgment, no answering, no need to "obey" . . . .
The beauty and glory of Biblical Christianity compared to Mormonism and other "works-based" religions (which is nearly ALL other "religions") . . . is in finally realizing that we do not and can not EVER obey . . . as we should, in our present fallen condition. JESUS, however obeyed perfectly and HIS righteousness, HIS works . . . are presented to the Father on our behalf, and HE bore our sins and judgment that we deserved . . . so that now, we are FREE . . . and, so grateful for that liberation . . . that now we delight in pleasing God, not out of guilt or fear or because some "church elder" says we must . . . but from sheer, Spirit-led faith and thankfulness at the amazing grace the Creator offers to those who but believe and trust in His Son . . . .
Hey, Christian, if you are reading this . . . thank you for the quick conversation last night--the three of us (me, my wife and one of my sons) were mightily impressed and rather shocked . . . at your level of knowledge and intensity for those issues, which, frankly . . . are all that can really ultimately matter in this life . . . . So few . . . arghh! SOOOO FEW . . . even care enough to bother with such things . . . .
God bless, one and all:)