Atheists often object to christianity and other religions because they believe that if a all powerful and all good God existed he would not allow such suffering in the world. I contend that not only does the Christian model do more to explain the suffering in the world than Atheism, but it also explains suffering better than any other religious view, and here is why: we all desire that the suffering on earth is not only some day taken away and gotten rid of of, but also that there is some purpose or reason for that suffering.
I recently was confronted with an objection to the existence of God that I hadn’t really heard of before. It’s taken me some time to put my thoughts together in a way that I feel like asses the objection well, but I think I’ve come up with a reasonable solution.
To the best of my ability this was basically the argument: God, if he exists would want to find the most efficient way in which to reveal himself to us. Unfortunately, the evidence seems to point that God is not being efficient in revealing himself. This can be seen by two factors. First, some people go throughout their entire lives and never hear the name of Jesus. Second, there is suffering and hardship in this world which has not been alleviated by Christianity. Because, God has therefore not been efficient in revealing himself to mankind then he must not exist.
So what is the solution?
Our culture today has become overtly focused on tolerance. In a way tolerance has become king, in the sense that if we do anything whether in action or deed that is viewed as intolerant we are encouraged, or even forced to abandon that belief or action in the name of tolerance. The odd thing missing from all of this, is how intolerant such a forced tolerance has become.
In Colorado Springs a Ratio Christi Chapter has been told by the University of Colorado that they cannot force their officers to have a profession of religious faith in the name of tolerance or ‘non-discrimination’. Similarly, Intervarsity has been told a similar thing by Vanderbilt University. In essence Universities are now telling religious organizations that they are allowed the benefits of being a recognized student organization so long as they have they accept all students even if a students goal is diametrically opposed to the organization. Keep in mind these organizations are not limiting students attending their organization if they have different views but simply does not allow them to be members or perhaps just not hold positions of leadership. Continue reading
Every now and then I find myself wandering the depths of YouTube stuck on some atheists channel. Often I find their videos less then compelling in their arguments against God, but every now and then I cross some YouTuber that has some genuinely honest arguments and questions against Christianity.
One YouTuber in particular that has time and time again earned my respect is jaclynglenn. Now I will say right away that Jaclyn’s satirical style is not for the fainthearted Christian (Some of her videos I would deem downright inappropriate for Christians). If you are one of those Christians who has a tendency to get angry with people when they disagree with you, or even think you have the slightest inclination that you may get too angry to react in a manner honoring of Christ, then don’t watch her channel. Jaclyn rarely does her videos expecting a Christian audience and as a result she does not pull any punches, and is why some of her content is inappropriate for a Christian audience. She lets loose her disbelief of Christianity in a satirical way that a Christian could easily find offensive, but remember it is satire. Jaclyns channel fits her atheist audience well, and is why she has a strong following on YouTube. I do think Jaclyn has an appropriate respect for Christians that doesn’t really come out in her videos because of the audience she is catering to.
I recently watched another video in which she was interviewed by a pastor, and frankly the video was embarrassing; not for Jaclyn, but for the pastor, and for the many Christians that this pastor is an exemplifies . Jaclyn conducted herself in a respectful and dignified way, while the pastor continued to highlight his own ignorance of atheism, satanism, homosexuality and other issues he brought up. He dishonorably tried to dig up dirt on Jaclyn’s father, and generally conducted the interview a disrespectful and unprepared manner. At one point he even said ‘you don’t look like an atheist’ and when Jaclyn asked what an atheist looked like he said ‘I don’t know . . . kind of like Satan.’
The reason I mention this video and highlight Jaclyn is to thank her and others for creating reasonable dialogue. Jaclyn and many other atheists on YouTube and other social media sources bring up honest questions against Christianity and try to have reasonable dialogue with those that disagree with them. I think Jaclyn and other YouTube artists for creating a space for meaningful dialogue.
On the flip side I have found many of the Christians Jaclyn interacts with, via their own videos or in the comments section, are horrendous in their reactions to her. Like I said Jaclyn is not always peaches and cream herself, but especially in the comments the Christians are often less than dignified. Other Christians like the pastor mentioned above show a complete ignorance of the subjects they are trying to dialogue about.
So, the second reason I write this blog is to encourage Christians to dialogue with with people that disagree with Christianity, but do so Biblically. I Peter 3:15 tells us ‘always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is in you but do so with gentleness and respect‘. Commenting on videos like these, is a great way to learn what atheists or other non-Christians believe. They are ready to dialogue and most of them are ready to do so respectfully. What an opportunity for us as Christians not only to learn about what other people believe, but to also reach out to those who have either never heard the Gospel or have rejected it, for what may be reasonable objections. There are answers out there for them, but they won’t hear them unless we dialogue with them.
If you’re thinking you want to jump into the fray, so to speak, here is my one piece of advice.\: Ask questions. Don’t go in with guns blazing like you know the answers to every question they may have, you probably don’t. Even if you do you will find that you may misunderstand their questions if you go in with that attitude. First seek out to really understand where they are coming from and then do your homework to make sure your giving a good answer and not just the first thing that comes to your head.