This post was provoked by Walter earlier, in the quote of the day, who asked, "Aren’t Christians supposed to be guided to the truth by the Holy Spirit? Are John’s arguments more powerful than the Third Person of the Trinity?"
Starting with Walter's quote - pure hogwash. No one becomes a believer without God's direct and complete action. So no, John's arguments are no where near as powerful as the Holy Spirit.
Workers go on strike when they are overworked and underpaid. So I got to thinking what would happen if Christian believers from around the world went on strike. This strike would be against having to do all of the evangelistic and apologetic work themselves. What if they stopped praying for others to be saved? What if they stopped telling others about Jesus? What if Christians stopped evangelizing and arguing on behalf of Christianity? What if all evangelists, missionaries, and apologists went on strike?
God does work through Christian believers to save people. But there are people who become saved without direct input from Christians. Who do you think prayed for Saul before he became Paul? What about the villages in South America where all missionaries had to do was discipleship because people in the villages had dreams about Jesus.
I'm serious! What would happen? Think about this. I know Christians think they have a commission mandate to do evangelistic work, so it'll never happen. Consider it a thought experiment instead. Can God do this work himself? If he can, then why does he need for anyone to do this work at all? If he cares, really cares for people, then he should do something himself. Would God step in and show he cares? Would he do what is right because it is the right thing to do regardless of whether Christians helped him? Would Christianity survive and even thrive into the future? Or, would Christianity die out as God lets the world and its people go to hell? If God sits back and does nothing while the world goes to hell then he cannot be a good God, or perhaps he's just too lazy. ;-) Read to the bottom where I make a reasonable prediction that could very well upset your apologetic cart for good.
God does not need us. We have the privileged to be used by Him. This reminds me of how Loftus blames God for his infidelity instead of taking responsibility for his sin. We need God. We become born again by surrendering to God. Because Loftus does not understand this I don't think he was ever born again. Sure, he used to live a Christian life, but that is not the same thing. The fact that he has fallen away shows that he had no relationship with God.
If Christians went on strike there should be no cause for concern. If God is really inside the Christian faith then it cannot fail. The theme of the book of Revelation is about God's victory in the end. So the faith response is to relax since this is assured. "Be still and know that I am God," believers are told. Actually, the Hebrew is better translated, "Cease, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10). Even if believers didn't do anything the victory is assured. So don't be frustrated. Don't lose any sleep over it either. God is winning and will win in the end. After all, Jesus reportedly said, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:30). Imagine that, me, offering devotional advice!
And He has a point: we don't need to be frustrated or worry. God does have it all in hand. He is missing a very important point: our part is to obey - tell others what God has done for us.
5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. - 1 Corinthians 3:5-9
It seems to me believers feel they must comment in order to keep others from being persuaded by what I write. "Oh" they say to themselves, "I must say something lest others be led astray."
I speak up because Loftus makes it too easy. I can't stand the thought of someone thinking that these arguments are good ones. They aren't.
That's because they don't believe God can keep people away from my arguments.
I see people who speak out against such "arguments" as being used by God. Face it...rocks could refute them.
They don't believe God can give believers an extra jolt of the God juice, or that he is able to answer a prayer in a spectacular way in order to mitigate my arguments, or that God can speak to believers in dreams, or audibly, or visibly appear to them at night, if needed. They simply do not believe God could blind people from sites like mine. They don't believe God could change the search engine hits so that susceptible believers would not find skeptical sites like mine. They do not believe God could keep any thought of reading something by a skeptic out of the minds of susceptible believers. They do not believe God can take away enough critical thinking skills that even if susceptible believers did find skeptical sites like mine they would not be led astray.
LOL!!!! How do you know God doesn't? He does all the things that Loftus asks about, but He takes away the critical thinking skills from those who believe him.
Believers act and talk as if God isn't helping them at all, as if God doesn't care to do anything if they don't do it themselves.
They really do not believe the Parable of the Lost Sheep applies to God, that he will do everything he can to shepherd his sheep. Christians claim to "pray as if it's all up to God, but act as if it's all up to us."
Again, who? That's not what Scripture says.
Yet, that's not what I see. Many Christians simply do not believe God does anything to help at all. No, I cannot convince them of this, I know. But having been on the other side and seeing what I have seen for six years of Blogging, this is my informed opinion. It's what I see on a daily basis. Christians act and talk as if God doesn't do anything at all to help them. Not only this but they do not think prayers to God will work either.
The Faceplants sure pile up.
Christians really do not believe. That's my conclusion. They can't. The way they comment here to defend their God against every argument I make proves it. It proves to me they don't believe God can defend himself. They don't believe their God will take the necessary steps to defeat arguments against his existence and his plan of salvation. It proves to me that God needs humans beings to do this work because he doesn't exist at all.
People who try to talk to people like Loftus are being used by God to try to help him and those who listen to him so that they don't go to hell in ignorance. If you are going to hell, you might as well know why you are going.
If Christians all went on strike then Christianity would go out of existence. That's MY prediction. You know it. I know it. Everyone who is not a Christian (however you conceive it to be) knows it. The Christian faith needs, depends on, is necessitated by people of faith who proselytize it. This is true of every religion. Without people of faith any given faith would die out because there is no deity behind them. That's what Christians think of other faiths other than their own. That's what seems equally reasonable to conclude about the Christian faith as well.
Totally Wrong. God uses us but He does not need us.
What's your prediction? If you think the Christian faith would die out then your God isn't helping you at all in your present attempts to help convert people and keep others in the fold. If you think the Christian faith would die out then you don't believe the book of Revelation. If you think the Christian faith would die out then your God does not care at all. If you think the Christian faith would die out then your God is not a good God. Yet, it seems utterly reasonable that it would die out, doesn't it?
God doesn't need me to proclaim His word. He has been gracious and merciful to allow me to do that. One thing the past 2000 years should have taught us that God's work is not dependent on us. Notice the Gospel keeps getting preached although John Loftus and Dan Barker are no longer preaching. It was getting preached long before I was born and will be preached after I am gone. Christianity has survived all manners of attacks and good and bad intentions. Jesus said.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. - Matthew 16:18
I doubt Loftus' rhetoric comes even close to being as big a threat to the church as the "gates of hell". Paul wrote:
7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 2 Corinthians 13:7-8
Debunking Christianity: What Would Happen If Christians Went On Strike?