Posts tagged ‘pharyngula’

April 4, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: Charlie

by Max Andrews

I was raised in a few different households. My mother was addicted to drugs and my father was running around on her. I was taken in by my father when my mom was deemed unfit to have custody of me. My stepmother was the woman my father had been seeing while he was married and saw me as a reminder of my mother, but played the part of caring mother to please my father.

I was beat, harassed, and ridiculed by my stepmother for the sole reason of not being her child. To her, I was a constant reminder of a burden that she had no intention to bear. I recall her taking me with her children to church on the “important days” of Easter and Christmas. She claimed she was a believer of God.

My grandmother, who had adopted my mother, got to see me every other weekend. I recall that she would take me to church whenever I was spending the weekend with her and worked hard to get me to see all that Christianity had to offer. She truly was a loving woman. When she was seven years old she was given 7 months to live and she lived to be 70, dying 7 days after being admitted to the hospital and 7 hours after I had last visited her. I did not see it then.

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April 4, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: Miles

by Max Andrews

I was not raised in a religious home (unless you count praying over dinner to be religious). I don’t recall having many, if any, conversations about religion with my parents when I was a child. I went to maybe two or three Catholic Masses with my grandparents (not of my own volition). I had no idea what was going on during these services. Moreover, I’ve never really had a “religious” experience, that I can recall except a minor one a few months ago.

I’ve believed in God as long as I could remember, although my definition and concept has not always been clear, consistent, or obvious to me. When I was younger I reeled at the concept of God, not quite understanding His nature fully (perhaps from some terrible definitions and explanations given by my parents and others). I also found myself dumbfounded at the possibility of the universe being infinite in volume (extending in each direction forever), and also the fact that I would cease to be (I was about 8 years old, for reference). So, I’ve always been curious and interested in deeper “philosophical” issues. My parents were not much help in consoling me over the latter concern of death.

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April 4, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: Nick Peters

by Max Andrews

I grew up in a small town in Tennessee and went to church regularly with my parents. At the age of 11, I gave my life to Christ and my faith was always an integral part of my life. I was a unique child as at an early age I was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum having Asperger’s. This caused me however to have a difficult time socially and was usually to myself a lot of times. I would not even spend much time with my family as I wanted to avoid such situations.

When I was in High School, I started suffering from panic attacks and depression. That started me on a long quest to see what my life really meant. The one area of interest I really had when I graduated from High School was the Bible and I went to Bible College with that. Already, I had been doing online evangelism as the internet had been for me, like it has been for many on the spectrum, a way to improve my social skills.

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April 3, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: Juan

by Max Andrews

I am a Christian because I didn’t choose God, rather He chose me.

I was 18 years old in college. After experiencing the human condition; the lack of love, care, charity and the abundance of pain and suffering in the world and in myself. I realized that although I had a very good life, I was loved and cared for, and suffered comparatively to others very little; my own struggles always took precedence over others and realized that even when I did something good it was often with selfish reasons (It felt good or I will be liked). I looked in the mirror attached to my combination dresser/desk of my small dorm and wondered, why are we the way we are? It was then that I realized that there was something intrinsically wrong with all of us.

In my search for answers; I engulfed myself in searching for that silver bullet that could explain this predicament. It wasn’t until my second year in college that I really started to get depressed over this seemingly unattainable goal; I saw no explanation in sight. Until one night as I cried on my mother’s lap and she asked me what was wrong. I asked her in the hopes that maybe she knew the answer but she didn’t.

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April 3, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: Allison

by Max Andrews

Sometimes I think about how crazy it is that I believe in God. I mean really! Why do I believe in someone who claims to be an All-Powerful, Knowing, Loving, Creator of all, and Great in spite of all the unanswered questions in life and bad things that happen?  Why do I continue to cling so tightly to a particular way of life and faith that is most of the time so hard.  HAVING FAITH IN GOD IS HARD.  I have thought to myself,  “Man, it would probably be so much easier NOT to believe in God, not to hold on to these values that seem so difficult and impossible sometimes.  Plus, some people ‘without’ God seem to be doing alright”.

But that is a lie. And I honestly would never trade my faith in Jesus Christ for anything.  I don’t want to live one day without trust, hope and faith in Him.

My faith is my own.  It is very personal to me.  I believe some things others may not.  I believe things in the Bible not everyone does.  And I believe God is alive supernaturally in my heart, in my soul, and in life and creation itself.

God is not dead.  He is not non-existent.  He has miraculously and supernaturally made himself very real to ME in ways that I could never doubt His existence.

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April 3, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: Kevin

by Max Andrews

I departed from Christianity as an act of rebellion from the cold religion that my parents raised me in. I was blinded, most likely by my ambitions, to the rich, colorful, robust Christianity that laid in wait for me.

I went to a secular State college and Jesus found me. Woke me up with reason and thoughtful reflection from the slumber my mind was in. It was by reason (and the Holy Spirit’s leading) that I became a Christian.

Why do I stay a Christian?

Experience, Reason, the Universe.

The first three, despite their short comings, tell of the Glory of the Lord. They tell of his love, mercy and Grace,

They tell, each in their own ways, of his existence in a way that denying his existence does not make sense. 

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April 3, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: Bryan

by Max Andrews

I hear about so many people who come from broken backgrounds.  Often their spiritual journey takes them into amazing locations and their conversion to Christianity results in more than a spiritual change, it creates something like an entire lifestyle and change of worldview as well.  My story does not take me to the far edge of the spiritual universe.

My home was a great one.  My father is the man I want to become and my mother is not only the most intelligent woman I know, but also the hardest working.  Both will drop everything to help a stranger so you can imagine what they do for their kids.  They are both solid Christians.  From the burned Honduran girl they housed and treated to the hitchhikers who have been given a new start to the children who they have bailed out of troubled times, my parents have ALWAYS lived far below their means because of their willingness to help others.  I want to be like my parents.  They have influenced my Christianity more than any single person but I am not a Christian because of them.

My church was a typical backwoods Baptist church.  Perhaps every stereotype would apply to some of the churches I have attended.  What stands out from these churches is a pastor who adopted me as a sort of son and whose own sons are still my best friends.  Their friendship has shaped my life more than any other friendships but I am not a Christian because of them. 

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April 2, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: James

by Max Andrews

I have written elsewhere of my long, difficult spiritual journey. I was a disobedient, rebellious person even after I started becoming convinced of the Truth. I have wandered down many dark paths, seeking for answers but often refusing them when they were right before my eyes. But now I thank my Lord and Savior that he is long-suffering and merciful and kept goading me until I admitted defeat and surrendered to Him.

During this long journey, I looked for wisdom in many places. I have read the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, Buddhist sutras and the Book of Mormon, the teachings of the Baha’i and pagan/occult works. It wasn’t until after my mother died in 1976 that someone led me to the Bible- and I could tell immediately that this book was different. I had found the explanation for why I- and the whole world- was such a mess. More importantly, I had discovered the One who had the solution. It would be many years before I would really have the desire to live by the precepts taught in the Bible, but thereafter that Book and its Author would never let go of me.

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April 2, 2012

Tell Us Why You’re a Christian

by Max Andrews

The popular atheist PZ Myers has had a running series on his acclaimed blog, Pharyngula, titled “Why I’m an Atheist.” I see this shared on Twitter all the time and it’s very sad to read these atheist testimonies. All too many of these posts are stories of people who claim to have been Christian and have left the faith. I wanted to start a counter-series here on your story. The series will be, “Why I’m a Christian.” All you would need to do is send me an email at maxeoa[at]gmail[dot]com and tell me why you became a Christian and why you continue being a Christian. Your story can be however long you want it to be. Unless you note otherwise (if you want last name, last initial, anonymity, etc.), I’ll only use your first name. I hope to spread your stories to demonstrate the glory and work of God in your lives. Another benefit in doing this is so we can encourage other Christians to persevere in the faith and hopefully some of your stories will resonate with the hearts others–Christian and non-Christian. Please share this with anyone you think may be interested. I’ll post them as they come in.

October 20, 2011

Dawkins and PZ Myers on William Lane Craig– That’s It?

by Max Andrews

I was quite surprised as I checked my Twitter feed this morning to find out that Richard Dawkins released another statement declaring his obstinate refusal to debate Christian philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig.  To much disappointment, the only excuses were based in mockery, arrogance, and hypocrisy.

Dawkins’ arrogant mockery of Craig. Dawkins minimizes Craig for who he is in academia by suggesting that “maybe he is a ‘theologian.'” I can see the Oxford professor doing the air quotes and saying with his germane English accent.  He acts as if no one in academia has ever heard of Craig and that he’s the equivalent of a community college professor trying to make it big.  Craig doesn’t need anything added to his CV, it’s already quite extensive and accomplished (as well as his publications).  I’m not sure how he can honestly say that he has not heard of Craig (being that he shared a stage with him at Ciudad de las Ideas).  Obviously, he knows who he is now (at least some aspects of him) but he needs to stop playing the tune of not knowing who he is and this CV jargon.  All Dawkins mentions on his schedule is that he is promoting a film “No Dinosaurs in Heaven” for October 25 when Craig is to debate Dawkins (leaving an empty chair with dire hopes of Dawkins showing up).  Oh, by the way, don’t pay attention to William Lane Craig’s events listed on Dawkins’ schedule.  Evidently, Dawkins doesn’t manage his own schedule because, as you’ll recall, he doesn’t know who Craig is…

Dawkins’ hypocrisy.  Dawkins caricatures Craig’s position with his megalomaniac-of-a-God argument by suggesting Craig argues for a God of genocide.  Okay, make the claim that this is what Craig believes, which isn’t true, but he goes on to construct an argument against Craig in this press release.  Wait a second, is he engaging in Craig’s thought here?  If yes, then why not commit to a substantive dialogue focused on, say, divine command theory?  If not, then it’s quite hypocritical.  Additionally, the hypocrisy shines when he will debate Alister McGrath and John Lennox (who both believe in inerrancy and would [I believe] defend divine command theory) but not Craig.  Surely, atheists have to be seeing this.

PZ Myers’ tomfoolery.  Myers posted an article on his blog this morning titled “Standing up to William Lane Craig.”  Most people in the scientific and philosophical blogosphere familiar with this arena of thought understand that Myers is admittedly outspoken, rude, and angry.  Sure, that’s not my preference but okay, he can be that way.  I don’t care too much about that.  What I find interesting is that he supports Dawkins’ refusal to debate Craig and considers it a “terrific put-down.”  He goes on to say,

I was pleased to see that one of Dawkins’ points was one that is not made often enough:William Lane Craig is a nasty, amoral excuse for a human being.

My only reaction to this is simply laugh.  No serious academic or inquirer for the truth can take these comments seriously.  I think it’s an amazing demonstration of lack of substantive retort and refusal to dialogue.  Dawkins and Myers simply want to monologue and when someone wants to engage, shame on that fool for thinking differently.  So much for free thought, right?

The thing is, Craig has already taken on the leading atheists and to top Dawkins would be too much of a blow for the atheist camp. He is their last hope for saving face in the public sphere.  Now, I’m not going to suggest that atheism has been dismantled in academia, because it hasn’t.  The purpose of debating is to bring the issues to a public forum and let the premises and arguments, which underlie these competing worldviews, be heard, examined, matched against peers, and argued against (which helps prevent strawmen).  Debating isn’t an academic double-blind – journal and no one ever said it was.  I suspect Dawkins isn’t the most adept debater and that’s okay.  I would be content with him saying that he isn’t sufficient in a formal oral debate and would prefer more of an academic review/written debate (and leave formal oral debates to those who can).  That’s fine with me.

Paradoxically, I believe Dawkins’ lack of debate is a bigger defeat for new atheism then if he did debate Craig.  It says so much more than if they were to engage in substantive dialogue because it demonstrates the new atheists’ desire of monologue.  They want to shout on their blogs and books that there is no God (or on busses that there probably isn’t a God).  If you stand up to question them they have nothing to respond with but strawmen arguments.  So much for standing up to William Lane Craig, this is more of a stepping-to-the-side and getting out of his way.