The Core Reason Your Kids Might Leave the Faith

By Sean McDowell Published on May 27, 2017

There has been a lot of discussion recently about why kids leave the faith. People have rightly drawn attention to the role of poor theology, the importance of kids owning their faith, the significance of intellectual issues such as the apparent tension between science and religion, and more.

But there seems to be a core issue that is often overlooked — to develop a lasting faith, kids need to grasp their need for God. Let me explain.

C.S. Lewis and the Four Loves

In his book The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis makes a distinction between “Gift-love” and “Need-love.” As for Gift-love, he gives the example of a father who works and plans for the future well being of his family, even though he will die without seeing them benefit. As for Need-love, Lewis gives the example of a lonely and frightened child who comes to its mother’s arms for comfort and protection. Such love is neither selfish nor improper, because children are intended to have nurturing mothers, and mothers are intended to care for their kids.

According to Lewis, God’s love for mankind is entirely Gift-love: “The Father gives all He is and has to the Son. The Son gives Himself back to the Father, and gives Himself to the world, and for the world to the Father, and thus gives the world (in Himself) back to the Father too.” God does not need our love or worship. Rather, He freely loves us as an extension of His grace.

We Need God

We desperately need God both in this world and the next.

But our love for God is different. While we may be able to offer God Gift-love, our love is primarily need based. Lewis explains: “But man’s love for God, from the very nature of the case, must always be very largely, and must often be entirely, a Need-love.” We desperately need God both in this world and the next.

And then Lewis makes an additional (and helpful) distinction — while our objective need for God will never change, our awareness of that need can. And if our awareness of the need for God fades, then so may our faith. Thus, Lewis says:

There seems no reason for describing as hypocritical the short-lived piety of those whose religion fades away once they have emerged from “danger, necessity or tribulation.” Why should they not have been sincere? They were desperate and howled for help. Who wouldn’t?

In other words, if someone believes in God because of an immediate need for safety or comfort, then as soon as the danger or pain ends, so may the faith. How does this relate to students? Think about it. If a young person believes in God for social or relational needs in the family, church or school, then when those needs fade, so will his or her faith. If belief in God fulfills some external need, then as soon as that need fades, or another venue provides satisfaction of that need, the student will likely abandon his or her faith (or minimally, have a marginalized faith).

Young People Need to Know Their Own Need for God

As a child, I remember asking my mom why I really needed a Heavenly Father. After all, my earthly dad spent time with me, and cared for me, as a father should. I simply didn’t feel any further need for a Heavenly Father that I couldn’t see, touch or talk to.

My faith in God became real when I understood the gravity of my own sin, and experienced the grace that comes from embracing Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

It wasn’t until I matured, and came to a personal realization of the depth of my own sin, that I grasped how deeply I personally needed a savior. My faith in God became real when I understood the gravity of my own sin, and experienced the grace that comes from embracing Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

Young people today ought to go on mission trips. They need mentoring. They need space to ask tough questions. And they need good theological training. But if these experiences are to make a lasting impact on their faith, young people (and really all people) will need to realize that their brokenness requires a savior. They need to experience God’s forgiveness and grace.

When students understand their personal need for God, and experience God’s grace firsthand, they can develop a faith that lasts.

 

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, best-selling author, popular speaker, part-time high school teacher and the Resident Scholar for Summit Ministries, California. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.

Originally published on seanmcdowell.org. Reprinted with permission.

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  • John Doane

    As Jesus said, the well don’t need a physician, only the sick. He didn’t come to bring the righteous to repentance, but sinners. It was only after I realized I was a sinner that I came to the Great Physician.

    • glenbo

      >>”It was only after I realized I was a sinner that I came to the Great Physician.”<<
      Why were you a "sinner?"

      • You’re probably never going to understand his answer until you can come to a true grasp of the interaction between the synergy of Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23 with your own life. In other words, when someone asks, “How you doing?”, the only fully accurate answer is, “Better than I deserve.”

        • glenbo

          >>””How you doing?”, the only fully accurate answer is, “Better than I deserve.””<<
          And how is it determined what I am or am not deserving of?

          • The answer is in what I already wrote.

          • glenbo

            >>”The answer is in what I already wrote.”<<
            So you used to be a sinner because Adam ate fruit?
            And is that the reason I am undeserving of being well?

          • Quit acting like an idiot and reread what I wrote. I will give no more responses on this, because you are behaving like an idiotic, immature troll, and I don’t have time to waste on intentional fools.

  • Timothy Horton

    That scheme works quite well for drug pushers too. Establish a need in children by hanging around the schools and giving them free / low cost drugs. Then when the kids are addicts they’re hooked and exploited for all the $$$ they have. The similarities are amazing.

  • Tom Rath

    Unlike earlier generations, today’s youth also have the entirety of actual science and other knowledge at their fingertips, and are able…at a younger age than some of us did….to get an understanding of the origins and history of all forms of mythology and superstition, including religion.

  • glenbo

    So let me see if I understand this.
    God created me as a sinner, or “broken” and only God can “save” me from God’s eternal torture.
    In other words, God created me ill and demands I that become well under penalty of eternal torture.
    Makes perfect sense to me. How sad children can’t understand this.

    • Hannah

      *God created you. Period.

      *Our history makes us sinners from birth.

      *God did not create “eternal torture” as punishment for not believing – He created Hell out of love. When we choose not to accept Him, we cannot abide in heaven simply because we do not want to be there. In His Gift-love, though it makes Him hurt beyond understanding, He made a place separate from Him where those who refuse Him can remain. Problem is, we were made to be by His side and our souls know it, regardless of whether or not we acknowledge it. That’s where the “eternal torture” part comes in – our souls yearn for Him but will not find Him. I’d advise reading “The Great Divorce” by C. S. Lewis for a better explanation.

      In summary, out of love does He seek to rescue us from our ancestor’s mistakes. Out of love did He send His Son to die. And out of love does He accept our decision, though we make it out of belligerent ignorance.

      • glenbo

        >>”He seek to rescue us from our ancestor’s mistakes.”<<
        So I'm a sinner because Adam ate fruit? I don't see why I deserve punishment for my "ancestor's mistake."

        • Hannah

          The rebelliousness of our past is perpetuated daily, as is evidenced by the world at large. You can argue otherwise, but if you’re only here to argue and not to understand, nothing I can say will take root in your heart. Judging by how you picked *an* aspect from my previous post, you really don’t want to learn; even still, I’ll answer any questions you have so long as you please at least try to understand. I want to help however I can. 🙂

          • glenbo

            >>”children were born spiritually dead as well because of their parents’ mistakes. Children beget children and so on, thus we were born with original sin. It’s impossible to escape the curse, which is why God through Jesus offers salvation.”<<
            So what you are clearly saying is I'm a sinner and "cursed" because Adam ate fruit.
            And if I don't seek salvation, I'm doomed to an eternity of torture.
            And you believe this eternal torture is deserved and just…because Adam allegedly ate fruit?
            I'm not here to start an argument. I'm just wanting to try to make sense of it.
            Please don't blame me if it doesn't make sense.

          • Hannah

            If pride keeps you from understanding this, nothing I can say will make any more sense. It’s hard to wrap your head around it when you don’t go in with an open heart. If you believe yourself not in need of saving, then naturally it won’t add up (something something “light shone in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it”…).

            Here’s the gist: only when you put aside preconceived notions of grandeur and self-righteousness, only when you truly go searching for truth apart from what you know….that’s when you’ll begin to understand what the Bible means when it says in Matthew 18:3, ‘”I assure you,” He said, “unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”‘ I know the Bible to be true based on personal investigation geared towards authenticating the Gospels as eye-witness accounts, the scientific and historical claims of Scripture, and the verification of Jesus’ existence and life based on historical accounts, not just from Christian historians but also secular historians. I don’t believe the Bible to be the Word of God just because it says it is – that’s a logical fallacy know as “circular reasoning”. I’ve studied many different angles and come to the conclusion that the Bible is indeed the Word of God. With that in mind, I quote Scripture to prove any claims I present in regards to theology. Who wouldn’t?

            When dead in sin, you don’t – rather, you can’t realize you need saving unless you acknowledge the depth of your own depravity. We are all guilty of it, so don’t think this is a one-sided argument. I’ve been a reprehensible human for as long as I can remember, but only through His grace has my relationship with the Creator been permanently repaired. I still screw up moment to moment but because He’s my King, I am forgiven. That’s gotten me through a *LOT* of stuff. I’ve undergone severe trials for the past seven months and if this were just an imaginative faith based on feel-goods, I’d have abandoned it long ago.

            Sorry for the rant – hope this helps in some roundabout way. 🙂

          • glenbo

            >>”I’ve studied many different angles and come to the
            conclusion that the Bible is indeed the Word of God.”<>”you can’t realize you need saving unless you acknowledge the depth of your own depravity. We are all guilty of it”<<

            Why am I depraved?

            Why am I guilty of it?

          • Hannah

            Basically, it’s critical analysis. “What is the Bible? What does it allege? Why does it say x, y, and/or z? What are the timelines presented and how do they line up with established history?” etc. If the Bible makes claims, I research it. I’ve found Lee Strobel and J. Warner Wallace to be excellent resources. Strobel used to be an editor for the Chicago Tribune, and Wallace used to be a cold-case detective for the NYPD; while they were both atheists, they used their workplace skills to analyze the allegations of Scripture and the Gospel’s eyewitness accounts. I’d recommend anything they published, for all of it is excellent. I’m currently going through Wallace’s second book, “God’s Crime Scene”, and his deeply analytical approach to all given evidence and the subsequent examination of each detail is refreshing to my logical brain.

            As for your second question: we are all depraved because we asserted that we are better and know better than God. We worship/idolize things, people, events, and ideas in place of God. We refuse to acknowledge Him as the Creator of the universe and the Lord of our existence. We hate those around us, tear them down with our words, and do anything for the betterment of ourselves. We lie, cheat, slander, murder, and abuse. No matter who you are, you are guilty of this – but this is not the end of the story, but rather the beginning. In a world that teaches the inherent good of man despite evidence to the contrary, God says you are evil but can be made good through His loving mercy and grace. It takes a real effort to love those who hate you, but God says to do so. It goes against everything we are to pray for those who seek our demise, yet God commands it to be done.

            C.S. Lewis asserted in his book, “Mere Christianity”, that if we were to behave as though we like someone whom we do not, in the end we end up liking them a little bit more than before. I’ve put this to the test at my work, where I deal with irate customers on a daily basis; while they may or may not still act towards others this way, when confronted with kindness in spite of their disdain, their behavior changes, be it drastically or minutely. One could argue that this is just common decency, but I counter with this: why then is it so uncommon? Why don’t more people act this way rather than lash out at those who hurt them? Matthew 16:24-26 explains why we as Christians are different at the core: “….If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?” It’s all about dying to yourself and seeking Him every second of every day; no other way will save you. 1 John goes into great detail about this, if you’re wanting more information.

          • Timothy Horton

            We hate those around us, tear them down with our words, and do anything
            for the betterment of ourselves. We lie, cheat, slander, murder, and
            abuse.

            That describes almost exactly how you religious conservatives treat your LGBT fellow humans.

          • Hannah

            Duly noted.

          • Timothy Horton

            You misspelled “dully”. 😀

          • glenbo

            >>”That describes almost exactly how you religious conservatives treat your LGBT fellow humans.”<<
            Now now, Tim…let's be nice and try to keep this conversation cordial.
            They don't need to have their noses rubbed in their prejudices.

          • Timothy Horton

            They don’t need to have their noses rubbed in their prejudices.

            A debatable topic for sure, but point taken. 🙂

          • Hannah

            glenbo, I appreciate you trying to mediate, but it also grieves me to be labeled thusly when I’ve given you no reason to do so. Have I done or said something that leads you to believe this? Have I treated you with contempt or bias in our conversation on here? Have I gone against what I believe/preach in discussing theology with you? I’ve been patient and kind, trying to offer as much information and resources as possible to support my claims and opinions, only to be passive-aggressively knocked to my knees by your words.

            As for you, Timothy – I’ve defended you when Gary was cruel, and I meant every word of it. What I don’t understand is why you choose to keep at me with slanderous comments and allegations about my character. What on earth did I ever do to you? I shouldn’t be surprised given your history on here, but really? Is your hatred for Christians so prominent that given the opportunity, you’d run me through rather than speak with me? I love you both more than I can describe, but it still wounds me to see this. You’re both worth more than the sum of your parts; if you want to understand those you hate, hold your tongue and learn. Learn about us, what we believe, what our Manual says. Go to websites like The Stream and investigate our claims. Don’t be content to simply exist in the echo-chamber. Open the door and go outside. Only then will you begin to understand your enemy.

          • glenbo

            >>”it also grieves me to be labeled thusly when I’ve given you no reason to do so.”<>”why you choose to keep at me with slanderous comments”<>”I’ve been patient and kind, trying to offer as much information and resources as possible to support my claims and opinions,”<<
            Please, Hannah. Don't take it as a personal attack if you fail to prove a point or provide a reasonable, rational and logical explanation.

          • Hannah

            How else am I to take it? These are my beliefs. They make up who I am. To say without saying that I’m arrogant, ignorant, and prejudiced cuts to the quick. I want to help you, but how can I when you don’t want to hear what I have to say? I know regardless of my own actions, God’s in control but even so….I’ve got a comment waiting for approval from The Stream (it’s got a website that you might find useful), so I’ll just wait for that.

            By the way, the second point you referenced was for Timothy, not you. Sorry, that wasn’t terribly clear.

          • glenbo

            >>”God’s in control”<<

            No he isn't if he allows 20,000 children to die every day of disease and malnutrition and lack of medical care.

          • Jim Walker

            We the human race have failed to take care of these dying kids around the world. Why blame God ?
            We have enough food and clean water yet only a fraction of each donated $ to charities reach these kids.
            Many of my friends have stopped donating to charities and use their money to buy and send the food, equipment and medicine directly. Every cent is used to help.
            I intend to do that as well.

          • glenbo

            Thank you Jim.
            Well said.

          • glenbo

            >>”Why blame God ?”<<
            Because God is in control.

          • Hannah

            It took me a bit but I found something that might be of some help. It’s a compilation of quotes from C. S. Lewis and J. Warner Wallace regarding how the existence of evil in fact evidence of a Divine Creator:

            [C.S. Lewis]

            “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because the man is not a water animal: A fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of Justice ilby saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too – for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist – in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless – I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality – namely my idea of justice – was full of sense.”

            [J. Warner Wallace]

            “Unless, as Lewis suggested, we are prepared to dismiss evil as nothing more than whatever fails to please our ‘private fancies,’ we’re going to need a transcendent ‘straight line’ by which to evaluate the ‘crookedness’ of evil. Unless there is a transcendent, Divine standard of ‘straightness,’ evil is simply a matter of opinion. If this is the case, we can eliminate evil tomorrow. All we have to do is change our opinion of it.”

            Apologies for this being so late, but I had to do some research to find this quote. Hope it helps! 🙂

          • glenbo

            >>”A man does not call a line crooked unless he has
            some idea of a straight line.”<>”Unless there is a transcendent, Divine standard of
            ‘straightness,’ evil is simply a matter of opinion. If this is the case, we can eliminate evil tomorrow. All we have to do is change our opinion of it.”

            I have never needed to “change my opinion” of evil. My moral compass consists of a simple understanding of a strong compassionate desire for the well-being of others. If you need a dictator and a flawed guidebook to do so, and you are unable to do so without said dictator and guidebook, you have more problems than meets the eye. And if this dictator and flawed guidebook
            allows and/or encourages you to negate your humanistic compassionism, you have a dysfunctionally deep seated problem with your overall acceptance of your fellow man. No God or guidebook can fix this deep seated problem that was likely created in the first place by your chosen God and his irrational dictates.

            All the atheists I know including myself care deeply about the wellbeing of others whether they be religious, non-religious, LGBT or belonging to any other group. Yet, far too many so-called “Christians” do not
            as The Church doesn’t approve of and perpetuates the persecution of non-conformers.

            By virtue of this fact, Atheists are more moral than
            Christians, as they do not discriminate against anybody and especially for irrational reasons.

            And if you think all Atheists discriminate against
            Christians, you open up a Pandora’s Box of hypocritical dichotomy.

            You either:

            A) Assume (incorrectly) that all Atheists hate all
            Christians. (Not true) Or you:

            B) Accept that one’s beliefs alone are sufficient to allow
            discrimination against anyone who simply doesn’t conform to their belief system.

          • Hannah

            You have created an impossible thing – you assert that you have a moral compass but say that it exists out of a compassion for your fellow man. Why? Where did this compassion come from? If truth and goodness are not static ideas, then what you deem as “good” is just your personal interpretation of it, just like Lewis said.

            If you have already established what is your truth, you are not here to learn but to lecture; it’s unbecoming of one who comes with seemingly honest questions. A truly logical person – in this case, one such as yourself who asserts that God does not exist – is loathe to make assumptions about things that he had not seen, heard, or experienced. If logic is your god, listen to it. This willful ignorance is unscientific.

          • glenbo

            >>” Why?”<>” Where did this compassion come from?”<>” you are not here to learn but to lecture”<>” one such as yourself who asserts that God does not
            exist – is loathe to make assumptions about things that he had not seen”<
            >” This willful ignorance is unscientific.”<<

            There is nothing “scientific” about the bible and about any God alleged to exist.

            Calling others ignorant simply they don’t believe in
            non-existent imaginary invisible magicians is disingenuous of you. You plummet credibility with this statement which implies you have run out of debate points and now you resort to demonizing me. I can same the same thing about your belief in Santa Claus and about your belief in Leprechauns.

          • Timothy Horton

            What I don’t understand is why you choose to keep at me with slanderous comments and allegations about my character. What on earth did I ever do to you?

            You mean besides the last few weeks of well-poisoning, jumping into numerous conversations and telling people I was nothing but a troll? Now you whine because I give you a teeny tiny taste of your own medicine? Too funny! 🙂

          • Hannah

            Oh, I’m not whining. Rather, I’m asking with genuine desire why you hate me. If anyone is poisoning the well, it’d be those who sling mud without cause and name-call without any heed to those around them. This is an open forum, as you well know; “jumping in” is not discouraged, nor is it looked down on – given you’ve got something to add to the conversation. (See your comments above) As for my alleging that you are a troll, you have given the rest of us little evidence to the contrary, so that one isn’t on just me.

            Timothy, I don’t know the reason behind your caustic vitrol, but I still hope this somehow is retained in your heart.

          • Timothy Horton

            Oh, I’m not whining. Rather, I’m asking with genuine desire why you hate me.

            You insult me, call me a troll, try to get people to blacklist me then when I give you back 1/10 of what you gave to me now I must hate you???

            Oh, I forgot. Being a poor innocent victim with zero accountability for your own actions is your Christian birth right. And yes, you are whining quite loudly.

          • Timothy Horton

            Don’t be content to simply exist in the echo-chamber. Open the door and go outside.

            Congratulations. You just fried every Irony-Meter within a hundred miles.

          • Kevin Quillen

            Hannah; it is obvious to me that you are a sweet soul and my sister in Christ. glenbo and timothy are just of the type who choose the wrong world view. There two choices, God created the universe and all in it, or everything came from nothing and matter is all there is and ever was. Romans says no one has an excuse. God made Himself known through nature. These two know God exists. They just do not want to have to live as their Creator demands. They want to be the captain of their own ship and the master of their own fate. They ask lots of questions never really wanting to know the answers. You are trying hard to reach them but it is useless. It is so easy to prove that their world view is wrong. Darwinism is dying and new info coming to light such as soft tissue in dino bones, irreducible complexity, and very specific design will bring their view down to ashes. Ask people like them this question….where does information come from if matter is all there is? How does a caterpillar know what to eat when it emerges from it’s cocoon as a butterfly? Where did that info come from?
            God shows Himself in many ways. These guys just do not want to see. But, rest assured, someday they will. Our Father will redeem even them!
            God bless you sister.
            You did your part, now just let God do His.

          • Timothy Horton

            They want to be the captain of their own ship and the master of their own fate.

            That’s infinitely preferable to being a brainless sheep being led by the nose who has to rely on other to know how to think, speak, and act.

            They ask lots of questions never really wanting to know the answers.

            I’d love to hear your answers. The problem is you never provide any, just lame excuses and deflections.

            Ask people like them this question….where does information come from if matter is all there is?

            Information in DNA is the arrangement of base pairs in the genome and/or the resultant amino acids. For the evolutionary question you asked the information in DNA comes from random genetic variations (which happen every generation) filtered by selection from the environment and/or retained by neutral drift. Now you know.

          • Hannah

            Thank you so much for saying this, Kevin. In all seriousness, you’re a response to prayer. God go with you, brother.

          • glenbo

            >>” If the Bible makes claims, I research it.”<>”We’re all depraved because we asserted that we
            know/are better than God.”<<

            What mechanism do I use to determine God is real?

          • Hannah

            I just said that I don’t subscribe to the circular reasoning fallacy. And the authors aren’t anonymous.

            There’s no true mechanism, to be honest, but I’ve found this method to be rather convincing: how do we know, as people, what is good and what is bad? We assert that killing children is evil, yet in the same breath, we say we cannot know God. The question ought to be how can we know what is bad when the argument states that true Good doesn’t exist? If there is no original dichotomy, then good and evil are relative. Regardless of location in time or geographical existence, every society knows what is good and what is bad.

            It makes sense when you acknowledge that God is the true good and anything contrary to that is evil. Take Him out of it, and it is an open-ended question with no answer.

          • Jim Walker

            God did not make robots to simply obey. God made man to be capable to Love.
            So for Love to be truly displayed, I think has to have a choice.
            That is why the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is there.
            It is that choice when Adam and Eve chose to eat of that fruit that made mankind accursed from the knowledge of evil.
            God did not leave human alone to die as from the Bible, God displayed his Love by sending Jesus, the perfect sacrifice to die for us so that we all can be redeemed and reconcile back to Him.
            That too has to have a choice, to choose Him or to reject Him.

          • glenbo

            >>”It is that choice when Adam and Eve chose to eat of that fruit that made mankind accursed from the knowledge of evil.”<>”God displayed his Love by sending Jesus, the perfect sacrifice to die for us so that we all can be redeemed”<<
            "Redeemed" from what?

          • Jim Walker

            that “mistake” permanently changed the course of human race to sin and death, all of us are the bloodline of Adam n Eve.
            In order for sin to be cleansed, sacrifice has to be made on behalf of man. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice, his blood cleansed and redeem all of us from sin to be reconcile with God.

          • glenbo

            >>”that “mistake” permanently changed the course of human race to sin and death, all of us are the bloodline of Adam n Eve.”<<
            Do you feel that the death and suffering we are subject to because of original sin and the fall is deserved? And fair to the rest of us? Are you implying that the thousands of children that die due to disease is deserved because Adam ate fruit?
            And you find this just and fair treatment of children as per God's plan?

          • Timothy Horton

            I see. So when God murdered all those millions of people in Noah’s Flood, including women, little babies, and the unborn, it was OK because they had it coming. All those murder victims brought in on themselves by having Adam’s sinful blood in them. What I don’t get is why God drowned even more millions of innocent animals – puppies, kittens, ponies. etc. What did they do do deserve being exterminated with such painful violence?

          • glenbo

            www (dot) youtube (dot) com/watch?v=h6omFJhKr6o

          • Timothy Horton

            LOL!

            Check this out. Replace the ** with ss

            http://www (dot) jhuger (dot) com/kissing-hanks-a**

          • glenbo

            Ha!
            Wieners…I get it!

          • Jim Walker

            Your understanding of the Bible is wrong because you cant understand it even you read it hundred times without faith in God or an anointing from Him.
            It’s not a book it’s the Living Word.

          • Timothy Horton

            As I expected, no answer, no explanation. Just the same lame “you don’t understand” and “God can’t be wrong because God says God can’t be wrong”. Then you wonder why people roll their eyes at you.

          • Jim Walker

            Do speak with a church pastor regarding Noah’s flood.

          • Timothy Horton

            I asked you. But thanks for admitting you have no clue and are blindly following your brain washing.

          • Jim Walker

            Not no clue. You arent looking for answers from me or from anyone here. So it’s best if you are truly interested to know more speak with a pastor.

          • Timothy Horton

            Not even a sniff of a clue. Just make an excuse and squeeze your Bible tighter until those mean old questions you can’t answer scroll off the page.

          • Jim Walker

            Of course I know but such info it’s better you discuss with a pastor and not with me. You don’t believe anything I say anyway.

          • glenbo

            >>”that “mistake” permanently changed the
            course of human race to sin and death, all of us are the bloodline of Adam n Eve.”<>”In order for sin to be cleansed, sacrifice has to be made on behalf of man. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice, his blood cleansed and redeem all of us from sin to be reconcile with God.”<<

            So God created us ill and demands we be well lest we suffer
            an eternity of torture?

            And this makes sense to you?

          • Jim Walker

            God can do all. But He do it in his time. I can’t explain why it takes so much time but a day in God is like a thousand years.
            Anyway do find out more from a nearby church or a Christian friend.

          • glenbo

            >>”God can do all.”<<
            Then why doesn't he eradicate evil and suffering?

          • Jim Walker

            Sometimes it’s hard to tell a friend why his wife had passed away fro. Cancer or another friend why his kid died in a freak accident.
            But we are living in a fallen world where sin is the order of the day.
            This Earth is under the dominion of the Devil.
            We can’t have all the answers too but we trust that Jesus has victory over death by his perfect sacrifice.

          • glenbo

            >>” But we are living in a fallen world where sin is
            the order of the day. This Earth is under the dominion of the Devil. “<<

            Sorry but I do not accept this poor excuse for a God who
            allows “the Devil” to take control over his creation and then turns his back on 200,000 children dying daily.
            Unacceptable.

            This makes no sense and it is illogical for any God to be so clumsy.

            However, when one takes the non-existent imaginary invisible magician and his foolish dictates and sex obsession out of the equation and replace it with Nature, one then can easily see that Nature is uncaring, un-intending and devoid of tithing mandates and is truly in control and that we are truly at Nature’s whim.

            Nature makes more sense to me especially when it comes to how living organisms survive unsupervised.

            But thanks for trying.

            I’m staying with Nature. At least I don’t have to worry
            about an eternity of torture for simply not having been convinced of a god, or if I have sex the wrong way.
            These pitiful excuses you give explain why young people are turning away from religion.
            It doesn't make sense and demands mendacious apologetics and ridiculously absurd excuses.

          • Jim Walker

            It’s your choice. Believing in Nature still does not save the dying children.

            Do more search to find The truth.
            I hope you will find peace and the answers you are looking for.

          • glenbo

            >””It’s your choice. Believing in Nature still does not save the dying children.”<<
            Neither does prayer.
            There is no way to determine the bible is "truth."
            But thanks for trying.

          • Jim Walker

            Thanks for being civil.

          • Christian Cowboy

            Why is nature allowing 200,000 children to die daily?
            God uses man to take care of the earth. He gave us dominion – it is really us that are allowing those children to die.

          • glenbo

            >>”Why is nature allowing 200,000 children to die daily?”<>”it is really us that are allowing those children to die.”<<
            Well said! And under the Trump administration, more children will be forcibly born to unwilling women via abortion and birth control restriction and more will die via the squeezing of badly needed funds helping the destitute in order to make the filthy rich even richer.

          • Jim Walker

            Do speak with a pastor to know more.

          • glenbo

            >>”Do speak with a pastor to know more.”<<
            I intend to.

          • glenbo

            >>”That is why the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
            is there.”<<

            Did God know what would happen if they ate the fruit from
            this tree?

            If so, why did God place the tree in the Garden of Eden in
            the first place?

          • Jim Walker

            That Tree is there for man to choose.
            For Love to exist man has to make a choice.

          • glenbo

            >>”That Tree is there for man to choose.”<<

            Did God know what would happen if they ate the fruit from
            this tree?

          • Jim Walker

            Of course God knows but for Its necessary for man to have a choice.

          • glenbo

            Ah…Free will.
            I get it.
            Thank you.

    • Tom Rath

      In the real world, glenbo, there is an actual, observed thing called empathy. Real morality and knowing the difference between “right” and “wrong” is linked to empathy, which is known to even exist in lower species.

      “Sin” is an imaginary condition invented and linked to “wrong” behavior by those who sought control and power by their promise of an equally-imaginary “cure”.

      • glenbo

        >>”In the real world, glenbo, there is an actual, observed thing called empathy.”<<
        And here in the real world that actually exists, we attain our moral compass from the simple concept of caring for the well-being of our fellow man, not from a flawed guidebook that condones bigotry, slavery, rape and the murder of children, right?
        No wonder young people are turning away from religion. With scientific evidence accessible at their fingertips, they aren't as easily duped as they were a mere generation ago.

        • Timothy Horton

          No wonder young people are turning away from religion. With scientific evidence accessible at their fingertips, they aren’t as easily duped as they were a mere generation ago.

          There’s a large amount of truth in that which most of the religious conservatives here fail to realize. 50-100 years ago it was easy to pass off the Bible’s claims as factual. That the Earth and all species were created only 6000 years ago, that humans were given the planet’s resources to squander as they pleased, that LGBT people are really hetero ones who consciously choose to be evil sinners. Today’s younger generation has a lot more understanding of scientific reality – The Earth and all species weren’t POOFED 6K years ago but evolved over billions of years. That the Earth has limited resources and we’re messing up the environment big time. That LGBT people are a naturally occurring and harmless minority in the human population who don’t deserve being ostracized.

          Many intelligent Christians have managed to keep the important parts of the Bible – how to treat your fellow man- and adjusted their other beliefs accordingly. The religious old guard has dug in their heels and refused to learn or grow. That’s why they’re on the way out, and good riddance to their willful ignorance andprejudices.

          • glenbo

            >>”The religious old guard has dug in their heels and refused to learn or grow. That’s why they’re on the way out, and good riddance to their willful ignorance and prejudices.”<<
            That's what Judge Judy said about the same-sex marriage "battle."
            Well said!

  • What I’m observing in all these comments so far is how much quicker it is to ask a question than to answer it. This isn’t unique to Christianity or even religion. Examples: Why is there something rather than nothing? What gives humans unique value, if indeed we have it? Is capitalism superior to communism, and why or why not? Are eggs good for you? What’s the best answer to terrorism? Is the American Constitution best understood as a “living document”? Is high art really better than popular art, and how would you convince someone of that fact who disagreed?

    See how easy it is to ask? Who could give even a halfway formed and well-informed explanation of their opinion on any of those things, in the space of a single comment here?

    There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, but there is something wrong with blazing question after question without showing the patience to listen to the complete answer. For the great majority of the questions on this page, a complete answer, suitable for a skeptical mind in an age like ours that knows next to nothing of the groundwork underlying the answers, would run at least a few thousand words if not more.

    There’s also something deeply wrong with making triumphal assumptions that just because an answer hasn’t been given to questions — especially questions asked abruptly and impatiently — there is no answer to be given.

    A thinking person who wanted an answer would wait for one. Questioners here aren’t showing that sort of patience I can only conclude that they don’t really want an answer, or else they’re not thinking persons. Or both.

    • By the way, if you happen to be a thinking person who wants the answers, one accessible source for it is Greg Koukl’s The Story of Reality.. Even more accessible, though less complete, is my “Turning Points” series, which you can find by doing a web search on my name plus “Thinking Christian blog.” There are links to that series at the top of every page there. If you actually want the answers you’ve asked for, that is.

      • glenbo

        >>”By the way, if you happen to be a thinking person
        who wants the answers, one accessible source for it is Greg Koukl’s The Story of Reality.”<<

        You may not think of me as a “thinking person,” or a person
        who “wants the answers,” (which I find offensive) but as far as reality is
        concerned, magic and the suspension of the laws of science, physics, nature and gravity are not part of the reality I know in addition to a massive scientific
        community devoid of agendas. You might accept all the above as outlined in the bible you hold dear, but it is not “reality.” And while you may believe the
        story of Christianity is “true,” there is no mechanism to determine that it is
        indeed true.

        Merely wanting to believe something is true and/or merely
        proclaiming it to be true does not in fact make it so.

        • I hate to say it, but no sociologist of science, no philosopher of science, and no psychologist would or could possibly believe the scientific community is devoid of agendas. That’s not a well informed view, unfortunately. Even if you want to believe it’s true.

          • Timothy Horton

            Of course the scientific community has an agenda. It’s to test, analyze, and draw conclusions from collected data as honestly and fairly as possible to provide the best possible understanding of the natural world. This is in direct contrast to the religious Fundamentalist agenda which is to twist, ignore, or just plain lie about the same data in order to prop up their preconceived Biblical narratives.

          • glenbo

            >>”no sociologist of science, no philosopher of science, and no psychologist would or could possibly believe the scientific community is devoid of agendas.”<<
            At least you seemingly admit that religion does indeed have an agenda.
            But what agenda do scientists have? (Other than the discovery of evidence) And is it a common one?

          • Glen, if you want to get caught up on this, start with Thomas Kuhn’s classic, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

            Religion obviously ha so an agenda. I’d call it the God-initiated human search to discover, enjoy, and share goodness, truth and life in Jesus Christ. There’s nothing hidden there.

            Scientists obviously seek knowledge of nature; that’s their prime agenda qua scientists. Besides that, though, many have strong, non-scientific philosophical commitments, which many seek to support through their science. And they have preferred theories, preferred methodologies, preferred expected outcomes, and so on.

            This is common knowledge and not at all controversial, by the way.

          • glenbo

            >>”I’d call it the God-initiated human search to discover, enjoy, and share goodness, truth and life in Jesus Christ.”<<
            What makes it "true?"

        • glenbo, the point of that wasn’t to cause offense but merely to point out that if a person asks a question and doesn’t wait for a proper answer, there has to be some reason. The ones I gave are the two most likely ones I could think of. If that’s offensive I don’t know why.

          There are ways to know that Scripture is true. Merely saying that’s not true doesn’t make it so.

          • glenbo

            >>”There are ways to know that Scripture is true. Merely saying that’s not true doesn’t make it so.”<<
            I can say the same thing back.
            What mechanism does one use to determine the bible is in any way "true?"

          • It’s a book of history, and as such its accounts can be corroborated. That’s one way. There are also corroborating miracles happening all the time (I’ve experienced several; see Craig Keener’s or Eric Metaxas’s books to know how miracles are distinguished from coincidence, and for your own integrity don’t dismiss them before you know what they say). There are philosophical reasons to believe God exists. My favorite reasons though, are the ones you’ll find by googling “Tom Gilson touchstone legend gospel” or by searching here at The Stream for Lydia McGrew’s work on Undesigned Coincidences.

            I’ve barely begun to answer, by the way. There’s tons more.

            I wouldn’t use the word mechanism, though. No one determines the truth of anything by a mechanism. You can use mechanisms to measure things; that’s about as close as you can come to that.

          • Timothy Horton

            Of course you can’t give us your definition of “miracle” or any objective way to tell if one happened which doesn’t involve your personal incredulity.

            I’m sure you have a wonderful answer which for some reason you won’t be able to tell us here. BTW I thought this was suppose to be a discussion forum. Merely saying “go read this book” in response to questions isn’t intellectual integrity, it’s intellectual cowardice.

          • If you would content yourselves with one question we could discuss it.

            If you want to know the answer to this one, then ask it in a manner that makes it believable that you want to know.

          • Timothy Horton

            Please give us your definition of “miracle” and your objective way to tell if one happened which doesn’t involve large amounts of your personal incredulity.

          • The widely accepted definition is that miracle is generally some event that would not have happened through the natural course of nature, and which happens in a religiously or spiritually significant context.

            They can be identified where knowledge (not credulity or incredulity) leads one to know what would happen in the ordinary course of natural events, and where something else happens instead, in a religiously or spiritually significant context.

            Obviously that knowledge must take probabilities into account, with the full awareness that the improbable is not impossible, in the natural order. I do not usually consider coincidences to be miracles, in other words, even if they’re extremely unlikely.

          • Timothy Horton

            You say you have personally experienced several corroborated miracles. Please describe them and provide the probability calculations you say are required to establish a miracle from an improbable event. What is the probability threshold for “miracle”? 1 in a million? 1 in 10 million? How did you determine what that threshold is? Remember, we’re doing this objectively and not based on your personal incredulity.

            They can be identified where knowledge (not credulity or incredulity) leads one to know what would happen in the ordinary course of natural events, and where something else happens instead, in a religiously or spiritually significant context

            Interesting. So not having omnipotent perfect knowledge of nature would make you misidentify phenomena belonging in the first category and erroneously placing it in the second, right? One unlearned man’s miracle is just a learned man’s naturally occurring event. In WW2 there were primitive tribes in New Guinea who had never seen an airplane before and though the big metal birds were miracles from the Gods.

            How do you guard against false positives caused by your ignorance of what nature can actually produce?

          • davidrev17

            Timothy: (What follows is sent in absolute sincerity, as once again, you unnecessarily demonstrate this very curious revulsion of professing “Christian” people (period!) – myself included, experienced from past exchanges, even after having sent you loads of provocatively helpful “facts”; like Tom, Gary et al., of whom at least try and direct you to information of which just might profoundly challenge, or unsettle your intellectual comfort-zone. Yet you still seem unwilling to even peruse this challenging [or helpful] information outright? Why??)

            Anyway, one last opportunity on my part: since you continue to demonstrate utter obliviousness re: the embarrassingly “incoherent,” thus clearly illogical predicament into which your naturalistic worldview enslaves ANYONE; namely, being forced to hopelessly argue from inside, or against, the logical straitjacket called the “Law of Noncontradiction” – one of the Four Fundamental Laws of Logic – I’m hoping that by providing you with a recent, and thoroughly relevant quotation from world-renowned analytical philosopher Alvin Plantinga’s penetrating, updated essay, “Religion and Science” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Archive – Spring 2014 Edition), that you just might humbly consider, or perhaps then realize, the philosophical & scientific error(s) against which you’re so mightily, struggling – in mind-boggling Sysyphean futility at that.

            Please, take the time to genuinely digest what this world-class philosopher has to teach mankind in general, by reading this very long, detailed presentation of all the relevant, though misunderstood, and so often misrepresented issues very carefully – while hopefully avoiding the challenge of making use of the “Genetic Fallacy.” And in this case, I implore you, not to allow the fact that Dr. Plantinga is an evangelical Christian, to otherwise dissuade you from considering some of these seriously challenging facts.

            I know I’ve brought this to your attention before: but “Miracles” are scientifically tenable, acceptable, thus highly plausible, under the “new physics” of quantum mechanics, which has long-since falsified (some 90-years now?) the “old physics” of Newtonian mechanics (or classical physics) – including that of Rene Decartes & Pierre La Place; of which most tragically, had bequeathed to the Western mindset the now-falsified “a priori” reductionist and/or deterministic assumption that Homo sapiens’ were hopelessly, as “Automaton-like creatures” – under the control of a so-called mechanistic universe…”red in tooth and claw.” However, “science” inexorably moves on, in its “notoriously self-correcting” ways!

            * * *

            “It is the Laplacian world-picture that apparently animates Gilkey, et al. It is worth noting, however, that determinism and the Laplacian world-picture don’t follow from classical science. That is because the great conservation laws deduced from Newton’s Laws are stated for closed or isolated systems. Thus Sears and Zemansky (1963):

            “The principle of conservation of energy states that the internal energy of an isolated system remains constant. This is the most general statement of the principle of conservation of energy. (p. 415)

            Newton’s laws (as well as Maxwell’s later physics of electricity and magnetism) apply to isolated or closed systems; they describe how the world works provided that the world is a closed (isolated) system, subject to no outside causal influence. But it is no part of Newtonian mechanics or classical science generally to declare that the material universe is indeed a closed system. (How could a thing like that be experimentally verified?) Hence there is nothing in classical science (at least in this area) incompatible with God’s changing the velocity or direction of a particle, or a whole system of particles (or, for that matter, creating ex nihilo a full-grown horse). Energy, momentum and the like are conserved in a closed system; but the claim that the material universe is in fact a closed system is not part of classical physics; it is another metaphysical or theological add-on. So here there is no conflict between classical physics and special divine action in the world.

            “This classical, Laplacian picture has of course been superseded by the development of quantum mechanics, beginning in the first couple of decades of the 20th century. According to quantum mechanics, associated with any physical system, a system of particles, for example, there is a wave function whose evolution through time is governed by the Schrödinger equation for that system.

          • Timothy Horton

            Thanks for the new age, stream-of-consciousness word salad.

          • davidrev17

            “Facts are stubborn things” Timothy! Once again, you categorically dismiss the opportunity to engage in considering any factual information that would cause you to consider uttering those three unthinkable words: “I WAS WRONG”!

            And Tom was absolutely spot-on, in making the observation that you really don’t want to engage in rational dialogue – obviously because you’re unable to. What you do specialize in however, is firing those infantile, emotionally-laden Ad Hominem invectives, toward anyone with whom you’re in disagreement – aka those mindless, flat-earth believing, bible-thumping evangelical Chrisstians.

            My Disqus portal has been open to the world for years now, so anyone can examine anything I’ve ever said; in whose archives, one could easily locate loads of helpful (though no doubt philosophically uncomfortable) counterfactual “facts” from world-class thinkers, of which I’ve taken the time to both diligently and exhaustively convey to you in very many posts. Yet you’ve never even attempted to consider the conclusions from these professional thinkers. And you’ve demonstrated this same emotionally-stunted volitional intransigence again, on this article as well. That’s your “MO” Timothy? Rational DIALOGUE??? You just demand to be seen-and-heard, that’s all.

            So the longer that writer’s, and contributors on this blog continue to respond to someone who’s only here to do the work of the “adversary of men’s souls”; of whom agonizingly struggles with the baggage you tragically refuse to admit is there – even after so many here have humbly implored you to consider the irrebuttable “truth claims” of Israel’s Messiah, Yeshua of Nazareth – then the more WE demonstrate our collective Christian disobedience to the clear command regarding individuals such as yourself, found in the Word of God:

            “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” (Titus 3:10)

            You’ve long-since worn-out the longsuffering Christian welcome you’ve experienced here on “The Stream” – and have thus clearly earned the “right” to be ignored!

          • Timothy Horton

            More drivel. tl; dr

          • You’ve earned the right to be ignored.

          • Timothy Horton

            No problems. Everyone else can still see you dodging the questions you have no answers for. 🙂

          • “New age … word salad”? Alvin Plantinga ?????

            Oh, you have absolutely no idea how wrong that is.

            “Incomprehensible”? That’s no one’s fault but your own. You skipped it without trying.

          • Timothy Horton

            Whenever someone starts blithering about quantum mechanics as their evidence for God the only rational thing to do is skip to the next post. There’s no use wasting time with such woo.

          • Timothy, there are two primary reasons a skeptic like you might ask so many questions here. One is to discover the answers. The other is to enjoy watching Christians jumping to your command, and to laugh and call them incompetent if they won’t.

            I’ve told you where to find answers if you want to discover them, but you insist we answer here instead. That allows you to try to make us jump to your command.

            You will undoubtedly (again) conclude that my refusal to let you control me that way is equivalent to an admission that I have no answers. You’re committing the worst kind of illogic there, a false dichotomy: “Either they do as I insist or it means they can’t.” There are other possibilities, for example, “Either I do as Timothy Horton insists or I decide not to let him run my life that way.”

            For a complete answer such as you’ve insisted on would indeed take a long time to write, and Mr. Horton, my day is not yours to run. Stop trying. It’s a fallacious approach, it’s obviously wrong on a logical level, and it’s obviously rude.

            If you want answers you know where to find them. If you want answers here you have mine already: No.

            Go look where I’ve already written them.

          • Timothy Horton

            The answers I ask for would take you 1-2 sentences at most. You could C&P them in seconds if you had them. But you don’t. Once again you take the coward’s way out. No one is the least bit surprised.

          • An unexplained, unargued answer would take a paragraph or two — a bad answer, in other words. If a bad answer is what you want, you could write it yourself.

          • Timothy Horton

            Another lame excuse for not answering added to the list. Today looks like a banner day! 🙂

          • Timothy Horton

            Anyone else want to pick the argument “miracles” are evidence for the Christian God? Tom has thrown in the towel when the questions he can’t answer were asked.

          • Timothy Horton

            Merely saying it is true doesn’t make it so either.

    • Hannah

      You’re right on, unfortunately. It grieves me to see so many throw questions out there, cherry pick the “weak” points, and then demand proof/evidence of our claims…only then to ignore or dismiss it as “insufficient” or “not accurate” without giving any reason or counter-evidence. I don’t often respond because I can sort of sense when it’s a losing battle – you’re either not educated enough or they’re not wanting to talk, just to assert their intelligence over yours – but sometimes, I will venture forth into the rabbit hole in hopes it helps someone, be they the one I was speaking to or someone who happened to read it. Either way, it is maddening, I agree.

      • glenbo

        >>”you’re either not educated enough or they’re not wanting to talk, just to assert their intelligence over yours – but sometimes”<<
        Your message is "I am incapable of providing a logical, reasonable. rational or scientific explanation and/or answer and it's your fault."

        • I am quite happy to admit I’m incapable of providing a reasoned answer on your terms. See my previous, longer comment on persons who are impatient to hear complete answers. Note that I’ve provided references to answers that I actually have given.

    • glenbo

      >>” I can only conclude that they don’t really want an answer, or else they’re not thinking persons. Or both. “<<
      Ummm… You left one out.
      Maybe they simply aren't satisfied with the "answers."
      To accuse one of "not wanting an answer" or "not being a thinking person is derogatory and arrogant.
      There's a difference between an actual answer and a mere response.
      It troubles me that far too many advocates of religion refuse to say "I don't know" and resort to boilerplate bible verses many od which make no sense.
      It is this arrogance that drives young people away from religion.

      • Timothy Horton

        It’s Tom’s favorite avoidance technique.

        “I have a devastating rebuttal answer to your points but I can’t tell you what it is!”

        Otherwise known as the “dog ate my homework” defense. 🙂

        • glenbo

          >>”It’s Tom’s favorite avoidance technique.”<<
          I might add that it is also arrogant, irresponsible and immoral to not admit that something is barbaric, inhumane and/or irrational (like killing gays and Sabbath day sinners, and scrambling the languages for starters) in order to comfort one's self in his/her belief in God.

          • Gary

            If there is no God, then morality is a subjective human opinion. And there is no reason why I should agree with your subjective opinions about it.

          • glenbo

            >>”And there is no reason why I should agree with your subjective opinions”<<
            Well said. Now you know exactly how LGBT people and atheists feel.

          • Gary

            “Secular morality” is still just someone’s opinion. It is not objective at all. Ensuring the well being of others cannot be objectively moral unless there is an objective moral standard to judge by, and there is no such standard in atheism or secularism. Objective moral laws require God to make them. You and I have no authority to define good and evil.

          • glenbo

            >>”there is no such standard in atheism or secularism.”<<
            Incorrect. The "standard" is caring about the well-being of others. If you need an instruction book and a threatening dictator to accomplish this, you have more problems than you think.
            Are you asserting that I as an atheist am incapable of being a moral human being?

          • Gary

            Who determines if that is the right standard? In your worldview, there is no one to do that but people. But people don’t have the authority to make that judgment. Just because you think I should care for others puts me under no obligation to do so.

            I am asserting that if there is no God, there is no such thing as objective morality. Prove me wrong if you can, but I know you can’t.

          • glenbo

            >>”Who determines if that is the right standard?”<>”In your worldview, there is no one to do that but people.”>”Prove me wrong”<<

            Sorry, the burden of proof lies with the one making a claim. You claim there’s a God and that the specific God you chose out of thousands is the source of morality. And you claim morality is impossible without said God. You have the burden of proof to demonstrate your God is more than just a figment of your imagination. I have already proven morality is possible without a God as I am living proof of that.

            I’ll ask you ONE more time. Are you saying that I as an atheist am incapable of being a moral person?

          • Gary

            Opinions vary. Your opinion is that you know what is moral. Fine. But that is nothing more than your opinion. Your subjective opinion. It has no affect on anyone but you. And only affects you if you want it to.

            I don’t care if you are an atheist. I’m not trying to convince you that God is real, only that objective morality cannot come from people.

            In your worldview, whether you are moral or not is a matter of human opinion, which means nothing since humans lack the authority to make moral rules.

          • glenbo

            >>”I’m not trying to convince you that God is real,
            only that objective morality cannot come from people.”<>”humans lack the authority to make moral rules.”<<

            Then who or what does?

          • Gary

            God. Moral laws must come from God in order to be objective. If God is not real, then neither is morality. God is the only one who has the authority to define morality for everyone. People can’t do that. Without God, morality becomes a matter of opinion. If you are right, and there is no God, then there is also no objective morality.

          • glenbo

            >>”God. “<<
            Since you cannot prove God exists your moral "authority" doesn't apply to me.
            Will you please answer my question? YES or NO: Am I incapable of being a moral person?

          • Gary

            Since you cannot prove there is an objective moral standard, your question has no answer.

          • glenbo

            >>”your question has no answer.”<<
            This is an immature cop-out response.
            Of course I can be a moral person. So can anyone else. And it is possible without the dictates of a slavery and rape condoning murderer of children.

          • Bryan

            Everyone is a moral person. Morality is part of our understanding of how the world works. If we were completely amoral (eg without moral), we would essentially be unable to reason beyond what keeps me alive or not. That’s simplistic but it’s the short answer. Morality separates us from all other animals.
            In general, most of the population can tell you whether something is good or not. Even a child has some understanding of what is ok versus not ok without understanding the entirety of US Constitution and all of the codified laws on the books. That sense of right or wrong is morality.
            Now if you’re asking if you are capable of being a good person, that’s a completely different question. This is where a longer answer is required and there’s really not enough room in a comment section on a blog. Suffice it to say, according to my world view, you are capable of doing “good” deeds. The reason for this takes more explanation. Assuming you get through that explanation, the next question is does the good things you do matter or make a difference. In a fleeting, temporary way, maybe. It often depends on who is the recipient of the “good” deed and how they feel about it. If you subscribe to my worldview, then all the “good” deeds you can possibly do, do not make any difference on the whole, without total submission to Christ who alone has the power to wash you clean of all impurity and imperfection in order to present you as sinless as himself when the whole of your life is judged by the one who imparts morality in the first place.

          • glenbo

            >>” according to my world view, you are capable of
            doing “good” deeds. The reason for this takes more explanation.”<>” If you subscribe to my worldview, then all the
            “good” deeds you can possibly do, do not make any difference on the whole, without total submission to Christ”<>” who alone has the power to wash you clean of all
            impurity and imperfection”<<

            And when you successfully answer the previous question:

            2) Exactly what is my “impurity and imperfection”?

            If your response is “Adam’s original sin,” we have to go
            back to question 1.

          • “I have already proven morality is possible without a God as I am living proof of that.”

            No, glenbo. You’ve proven morality is possible without belief in God; which was never in debate. No one doubts it. It’s well covered in the Bible, even (see Romans 2).

            You aren’t proof there’s such a thing as morality without a God unless you prove that you exist without a God. You haven’t done that.

          • glenbo

            >>” You’ve proven morality is possible without belief
            in God”<>”You aren’t proof there’s such a thing as morality without a God unless you prove that you exist without a God. You haven’t done
            that.”<<

            I am not burdened to prove that I can exist without a God. I
            am not making that claim. I am merely questioning the claim God exists and that morality depends on said god.

            But if you are claiming that I cannot exist without a God,
            then the burden is upon you to prove this claim.

          • glenbo

            >>”Ensuring the well being of others cannot be objectively moral”<<
            Incorrect.
            Ensuring the well-being of others is all one needs. This does not require a specific goal or instructions. If you care about others you are moral.
            You didn't answer my question:
            Are you saying I am incapable of bring a moral person?

          • nudetuna

            I was censored elsewhere, but this seems like a good place to try and post this again. Let’s see if ethics and morals allow this difference of opinion to get through and maybe we’ll open up an intelligent discussion of ideas.

            There is flawed logic in this post. I invite an open discussion to address it. At the very least you can see a different point of view.
            “Morality does not exist without God” is the single most common and arrogant expression that religion offers. It says that without this ONE PARTICULAR god (read, “of course I mean MY God”), that mankind would be in total chaos because it would be without morals. But what about your neighbor’s god and the scriptures that govern THOSE morals?
            Let’s assume for one moment that both you and your neighbor are Christian. You are Baptist, but your neighbor is Lutheran. Same god, DIFFERENT MORALS. If your neighbor is Methodist, same god, DIFFERENT MORALS. Now let’s say that your neighbor is Jewish. Almost the same god,, DIFFERENT MORALS! How about if your neighbor is Muslim? Different god, different morals. See a theme here? No matter the god, people have different morals. One god says that you should love your neighbor unconditionally, another says you should love your neighbor so long as your neighbor isn’t gay, and yet another says you should pity your neighbor because they are going to burn in hell because they haven’t been dunked in a river by a holy magician speaking incantations of god.
            Now you can choose to say the next line in the script. “Those other people’s religion is wrong because A-B-C”, or “Those other people aren’t real Christians because of A-B-C”. But doesn’t it make more sense to look at the bigger issue? Human morals are subjective and cultivated within one’s social environment by upbringing, positive and negative consequences, and the fear or desire of those consequences in the constant need to be accepted within one’s society. It is flawed to assume that your particular scripture is the reason that people have morals, because even if your particular scripture was the ONLY available source for morals (which of course it is not), that scripture is viewed in many, many different ways, deciphering many, many various and contradictory moralities. That’s not a source, it’s a viewpoint, an idea, ONE PARTICULAR EXPLANATION for the way things are.
            “There is no evidence that any other god exists…” Um, which god is that? Because all religions claim that. And if there actually were evidence of ANY god existing, there wouldn’t be so many religions because we would all unequivocally follow the god that has proven itself. That’s how Atheists view the problem in a nutshell. The only “evidence” anyone can claim about their religion is a feeling they get “in their heart”. It’s emotional. It’s individual. If that’s all it took to prove the supreme creator exists, we could all be worshiping chocolate, or drugs, or that first cup of coffee in the morning, because all those things create such a pleasurable, emotional feellng.
            “If the God of the Bible is not real, then there is no objective reason why one belief or behavior is any better, or worse, than any other. We will all soon be dead and cease to exist. There is no Heaven or Hell, and no consequences for anything we do in this life”. It is flat-out wrong to say there are no consequences for what we do in this life if there is no Heaven or Hell. There is a difference between Eternal Reward or Punishment and consequences of action. There are ALL KINDS of consequences for our actions in this world, no matter what god we believe or don’t believe in, and if you don’t think that’s correct, ask any religious or non-religious person in prison if they agree. Or any religious or non-religious millionaire for that matter.
            “But many atheists disagree. They think it is very important what everyone believes and does.”
            Here it is, from an Atheist. In my head (and many like me), BECAUSE there is no Heaven or Hell, there is only one life. A good run in this life will give you 75-100 years of life. Considering how many gazillions of things that could go wrong in the universe, the fact that we’re here at all is pretty amazing. We don’t allow a fear of death get involved in how we live our life NOW. We don’t allow a fear of eternal damnation dictate how we treat each other in this world. We don’t expect our sorrow and misfortune in this world to be corrected in Heaven as eternal reward. We go out and fix it ourselves! Why is it important what we believe and do? Because we can spend our time and resources and entire short lives making each other happy and living in love and improving our lives instead of dumping it all, or leaving it up to an idea of an afterlife and a creator to fix everything. We build hospitals with the resources others spend on churches. We discover the reality around us without assuming that the only answer to all of life’s questions is god. We learn and we improve and we better our surroundings and our lives through progress instead of stopping at a book that described life over 2000 years ago.
            Atheists believe that this is the only chance we got so we make the best of it. That’s why and how we have morals and care what people believe. Because progress only happens when you ask questions, not when you assume answers. And we have precious little time to get all this right before we “cease to exist”.
            Here’s the last thing. Atheism is an idea, just like all the religions are ideas. Ideas should be discussed, because no ONE PERSON can know that their particular idea is correct. I say again that I invite an open discussion to my idea, because I’m no more “right” than you are.

        • LgVt

          And there’s the mocking assumption of bad faith that’s your hallmark, Mr. Horton.

          • Timothy Horton

            No bad faith, just an empirical observation.

        • I can’t tell you here, because it’s too long. But I’ve told you where it is. That’s not avoidance, that’s intellectual integrity.

          • Timothy Horton

            Actually by claiming there is an answer and making excuses instead of providing it is intellectual cowardice.

          • If you can ask in a manner that makes it believable that you want a long answer, and that you’ll engage with that answer rather than wupkth your preconceptions, I’ll write you the long answer you’re asking for.

          • Given your history here, it’s going to take some change in your whole pattern before I’ll believe you really want the answers we have to offer.

          • Timothy Horton

            Given your history here, it’s going to take some change in your whole pattern before I’ll believe you really are capable of providing the answers we keep asking for instead of the lame excuses we get.

          • My capability is demonstrated elsewhere, and I’m not here to prove that to you or anyone else. I’m here to have legitimate conversation with people who ask questions to which they legitimately want an answer. You don’t care about answers, only about your triumphalist, though fallacious, argumentum ad fragenblitzen (look it up). It’s a game not worth playing.

          • Timothy Horton

            If you spent half the time providing answers as you do making excuses you could have answered all the questions 10x over by now.

          • Actually, no, I couldn’t have. I’ve written books before and I know how long it takes to start from the beginning and carry through an explanation to the end.

            Your game isn’t worth playing. Not only do you insist on arguing in bad faith, you insist on being a very unpleasant person about it.

          • Timothy Horton

            I find it amusing to see how many lame excuses you can come up with for running from all questions about your claims. Like most evangelicals you’re only here to preach, not willing or able to defend the fluff you spew.

          • davidrev17

            Tom, I realize you’re part of “The Stream’s” collective brain-trust, if you will; but as your brother “in Christ,” I’m prayerfully hopeful that the children of God here, would begin to see the wisdom of obeying our Father’s Word (i.e., Titus 3:10-11) when faced with someone who’s clearly here to do the disruptive work of the adversary?

            “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him,knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” (Titus 3:10-11)

            I’ve already made this clear to Mr. Horton not too long ago, on this thread, that I would begin ignoring him; because he’s consistently refused to consider the work of world-class thinkers, of whom several on this blog have recommended (myself included) on I can’t recall how many occasions. Timothy is not here to “dialogue” Tom – and hopefully if he’s simply ignored by us, maybe he’ll either repent, or just go away?

            After all, it’s not our words, or our attempts at providing sophisticated arguments that will bring him safely into the Kingdom of God; it’s only the Holy Spirit “drawing” him, as the “Holy Spirit of Truth” Himself “convicts [Timothy], of sin, righteousness, and the judgment to come.”

            “No man can come unto the Son, unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44)

          • I’m done with him too.

          • Timothy Horton

            Tom admits he can’t support the religious-based claims (i.e “miracles”) he has been making. No surprises there. Most evangelicals work in Transmit Only mode. Answering questions or providing explanations about the things they repeat by rote is beyond their capability.

          • davidrev17

            Amen brother! And thank you.

      • I don’t know how you can draw a legitimate conclusion that you’re not satisfied with Christian answers when you won’t wait to hear them.

        An actual answer takes time. I’ve referred you to some actual answers. Have you gone ther?

        Yes, there is something derogatory in what I’m saying here. I can’t help it. A person who asks hard questions, won’t wait for a complete answer, then says triumphantly (as you have done), “See, you can’t answer!” Is a person who’s not conversing in good faith. I don’t know of a way to make that sound any better than it is.

        • glenbo

          >>” Christianity involves a view of reality — It’s
          necessary to start at the beginning”<<

          The beginning is what prevents me from accepting scripture and how it impacts society. It is “Christians” who are presumptuous by assuming that not only God exists in the first place, but that I and the rest of society
          must abide by the beliefs of others that I vehemently disagree with. This is why I have a problem with so-called “Christians” insisting they own marriage
          and LGBT rights and women’s pregnancies.

          They all start with a mere presumption and nothing more and then take it straight to legislature ignoring and rejecting science and the lives and autonomy of millions.

          My problem started on my first day of Sunday School. I
          remember it clearly. Very near the beginning of the first class, I raised my hand and asked “Who made God?” I was obviously not satisfied with what one would call an “answer.”

          My atheism manifested itself at the onset, literally on day one of my attempted indoctrination.

          And so we arrive at today, with a president who could not possibly have won and is disassembling the government in order to prosper the filthy rich and how did he get there? Evangelical voters presuming they have divine authority over their fellow man with whom they share this planet.

          So if you are telling me I have to “start at the beginning”
          and with a view of “reality,” you have a difficult if not impossible task. If I and society are to accept the “Christian view of reality” and all it brings into the lives of many forcibly against our free will, you first must convince me as well as many others whose lives you are taking liberty to control one thing: Why should I accept that there exists a God at all in the first place that
          allegedly gives people authority to control society by throwing the lives of millions of LGBT people and women under a bus? If you cannot do this, you hold
          an empty sack and your “beginning” comes to an immediate abrupt end.

          I will patiently await your answer and I will examine it thoroughly. But the answer has to come directly from you, Tom please. I won’t read book after book until we pass this first hurdle.

          • Your Sunday School teacher might not have known how to answer “who made God?” but it’s really not a hard problem for those who have studied that kind of question.

            It’s still the case — and this is very clear from the distorted picture you paint — that you’ve rejected something you don’t understand. Even your charge of “giving authority to control society … ” and being forced “against our will” displays a misunderstanding.

            If you want an answer directly from me, read the series I referred to earlier: Search for “Thinking Christian blog Tom Gilson,” then click on “Turning Points” at the top of the page. I won’t try to give a shorter answer than that, because you have so much to unlearn in your false conceptions of Christianity, any short answer I might try to give you would be distorted by your mistaken understandings of terms, purposes, background, definitions, and so on.

            Or, rather than thinking about “book after book,” just think of one: Greg Koukl’s relatively short The Story of Reality. If you want to understand, that’s the one best place for you to go.

            I really don’t think you want to understand, though. Let me know if I’m wrong on that. I hope I am. If you are I’ll pursue it with you as far as you want to go — with the caveat, it can’t be done in just a few words.

            If I’m right, though, and you don’t actually care to know much more, I’ll let you continue as you prefer to be. It would help us all if you would let us know. If we’re just pretending this matters to you, I’d rather quit pretending.

          • glenbo

            >>” If we’re just pretending this matters to you, I’d
            rather quit pretending.”<<

            What matters to me is truth. You have failed at convincing me that the existence of God and/or Jesus is true.

            I will not pretend to “believe” in something that is non-existent and purely imaginary.

            And I refuse to accept the denial of human rights based only upon those that pretend a God exists.
            I can clearly see why so many young people are rejecting religion. There's no substance to it nor does it accomplish anything but bad things as I have outlined.

            But thank you for your patience and conversation.

            It has been a pleasure.

          • Jason Baker

            Why should I accept that there exists a God at all in the first place that
            allegedly gives people authority to control society by throwing the lives of millions of LGBT people and women under a bus? If you cannot do this, you hold
            an empty sack and your “beginning” comes to an immediate abrupt end.

            You do not have to accept that God exists. You have free will. As for the rest of your statement, we live in a Constitutional Republic. Our laws are formed through the process we have agreed upon as a society. You have just as much right to attempt to change those processes as anyone else. I can empathize with your feeling of despair about elected officials and the direction of the country. I have felt that way for the last 8 years, I am on the fence right now.

  • Majoritysense

    Christian kids leave the faith.. one main reason? WOW!
    How about the primary reason? This is the problem Christians have today. They will not take the time to study the Word.
    Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
    2Tim 2:15.
    Failing to study will prevent one from literally applying the teachings of the Bible to their life.
    There is being born again and an additional instruction to get Baptized in the Holy Ghost. Parents who instill this knowledge to their children results in a strong foundation and an inner witness (Holy Spirit) that will never leave the children.
    Instead of on them (born again) the Spirit of God will be in them. Notice the difference on them and in them.

  • Kevin Quillen

    there are two reasons: indoctrination in public schools and the Christian industry(oops I mean) ministry full of hypocrisy, and the teaching of foolishness, tickling the ears and reaping a profit for it. Confusion, caused by multiple denominations, dispensationalism, and man made religion. Christianity is a relationship between the individual and their Creator. Period.

  • Gary

    Real Christians, regardless of their age, don’t renounce Christianity. Those who have become genuine believers will always be believers. The confusion is because there are many people who attended church, and maybe even claimed to be “Christians”, but who never really were. I have watched it happen for years. Most of the kids who grew up in the churches I have attended stop coming to church when their parents stop making them go, UNLESS they are really believers.

    • davidrev17

      Amen brother! (1 John 2:19 clearly describes this behavior.)

      Besides, this empirical reality of which Sean is discussing, that’s no doubt been taking place during so-called Church history – and quite prominently in recent decades, across-the-board, but particularly amongst young people – was actually prophesied by the Lord Yeshua/Jesus in what’s called the “Parable of the Soils.” Only those of whom “finish the race,” were the “true children of God” to begin with! (See in exact context: Matthew 7:21-23; 2 Timothy 2:19; Galatians 4:8-9)

      This just represents more confirming evidence with regard to the objective truth claims found throughout the Word of God; just like in “predictive proohecy,” where it’s been confirmed time, and time again, that “fully 1/4 (roughly 27%) of the 66-Books in the Bible,” contain predictive historical declarations about people, places, events etc. – that’ve been confirmed with unerring 100% accuracy. However, there is one LONE exception to this biblically historical fact: those still-yet-future prophesied events associated with the eschatological/final “Day of the Lord,” or the “end of the age.”

  • Gary

    glenbo, For some reason unknown to me, the website would not allow me to respond to your last post to me below.

    You stated your opinion, but you have no way to prove it is valid.

    Question to you: If I violate the morality you say you go by, what happens to me?

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