This past weekend I spent a lot of time hanging around with Atheists in chat rooms (mainly Sapient and Infidel Guy’s rooms). They had some discussions with 2 Christians on there: Ergo Caner from Liberty University and some deacon that was a Presbyterian. After listening to these Christians I was quite amazed at how easily they became ‘irrational’ or ‘contradictory’ and their arguments about Adam n Eve and two different kinds of ‘loves’ from God made little to no sense. I thought – those guys in no way represent the whole of Christianity – do they?
That same night I got into a small debate with a few atheists about my belief system. One scripture came up as a point of contention: Matthew 5:18-20.
They say that Jesus was trying to fulfill the ‘law’ and that the ‘law’ has not passed on – so as Christians we are obliged to follow those laws. I merely think something much easier about that passage and it’s in verse 20. The Pharisee’s were likely the best examples in their time of ‘righteousness by law’ and yet Jesus tells his hearers ‘unless you exceed their righteousness’. It changes the whole scripture – and is backed up by the teachings that come afterwards in the sermon in Matthew 5-7…Jesus seems to be pointing to himself as accomplishing the law – and his teachings should be taught as authoritative (which in some places seem to get to the heart of the law and even challenges them – ex: love your enemies).
But the atheists were making the same exact mistakes that I think a lot of Christians do when they pick one scripture here and another over there to back up their point – which almost always takes everything out of context. You see Matthew 5:18-20 is within a chapter of a sermon (Matt 5-7) – which also resides in a whole book (Matthew) – so this has to be considered to get to the heart of what those scriptures mean (in context). The atheists arguments were just choppy at best and did nothing to ‘de-convert’ me.
My biggest problem with their ideals is a lot of them consider anyone of faith to be tantamount to an idiot (non-thinker, stupid, deluded, mental, etc). However, I have noticed people that throw names like that around say something unmentioned about their own character – just think back to childhood when you did this to others. Is it a subtle way of saying – are these traits also in me or even worse ones? You can only call the kettle black for so long before you notice only your reflection in it.
I know lots of people with faith in God that are very rational people – and to top that off great examples of what human character can be. I never treated a single person in those chat-rooms with dis-respect or dis-honor – yet if I say I am X-tian – I get labelled with baseless names (since no one really knows me that well on those chat rooms – yet they blindly label anyways). It made me realize never to do that to another – which is a great reminder – since it debases anothers self-esteem and can make them feel ‘very worthless’. Which is in itself ‘illogical’.
But I also realize my take on the faith is quite a good one – when subject to testing – it stands up fairly strong. I was more than happy to have them critique my beliefs and pick them apart – and I am still happy when others do. I am by no means ‘absolute’ on my ideas – but on my ideals – that’s another story – and those ideals come from Jesus’ teachings oddly enough. So in the critique of the texts there is a lot to be solved – but how can another critique personal faith and someone’s paradigm? I know what has happened in my life (and in my family’s life) and I am more than proud to say – ‘you know what I am a Christian…love it or hate it…and I personally love it’s viewpoint’. I may not agree with all Christian viewpoints but if we chalk up our faith – really it’s only two commands – and in the end they both contain the word ‘love’ in them.