And a literalist, and I love you all.
There, that should get the waters chummed right up. It's true though.
So I was perusing the site and saw Angieb's apologetics thread and I was pretty disappointed that she did not respond, as I sense all of you were as well. I'm here to fill those shoes for you. I read the complaints listed in that thread about apologists and I will do my very best not to tread on those boundaries: no lying and misrepresenting you, no believing that every one of you thinks the same thing, no huge walls of copy pasted scripture fired into the darkness, and no canned lines of questions based on logical fallacy and poor understanding of philosophy. I find those things every bit as distasteful as you do when listening to my fellow christians engage in interfaith (exofaith?) debates. I confess, I'm a bit of a presuppositionalist, in my internal monologue, but I also gather that discussing things from that footing is a bit useless in this setting, so I will try my best to step outside that and do my homework to present all of you with the honest best I can do.
A little about me:
- I was raised by christian parents, but not as a christian (they had a denominational dispute between them and had agreed not to push religion on me for that reason)
- I used to be a hard core nihilist atheist, team science and reason through and through.
- I went to Georgia Tech for Computer Science, not your typical Kentucky baptist
- I was raised by two US Marines, so I'm not from Georgia, or anywhere else, really (I've lived in dozens of places from GTMO to Hawaii, and I've travelled extensively around the globe)
- I converted to christianity in late 2011 after a series of near death incidents in Afghanistan (no, not the "I went to heaven and saw Jesus" type stuff, just "whoa I almost died back there" type stuff, and no I wasn't in the military)
- I consider myself non-denominational, and my primary place of worship is a home church with no name and about a dozen people, although I drift in and out of the local churches that will let me. Again, not your typical Kentucky baptist.
Here's the fun one, though:
- I have three confirmed atheist kills. No, I don't actually kill people, but I have convinced three very smart people who didn't believe in any god to believe in mine, and they all worship with me today.
Boy, I've really puffed out my chest, haven't I? I feel like you folks enjoy a bit of mental sporting, though, so this should be a fun conversation. I'm no seminary student, so there are no professors for me to run back to, but don't hold back, excepting the pejoratives and polemics. I love to exchange ideas with people who believe (or don't believe) anything strongly, and to understand why they believe (or don't) what they do (or don't). I have always enjoyed hearing the thoughts of the people who enjoy thinking. I think we can have a friendly conversation and really learn some stuff. I want to make this clear, as well: I respect everyone's viewpoint, and I don't think mine makes me a better person, it's just the one that appeals to me the most. This is the same attitude that underpinned my former atheism, and I am hopeful it is something we have in common.
So, to get us started, I'll address the number one thing I see while reading this site that's being demanded of those who are religious: evidence. This will probably be pretty basic to you all, as I'm sure many people take this approach, but I will submit as my evidence the prophecies contained in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. I read someone on this site who brought up that Jesus did not fulfill all of the messianic prophecy, but I didn't see the specifics mentioned. I'd be interested in going down that road if it comes up, but all responses are welcome.
Also, just so you all know what to expect out of me, I like to take my time to think about what I will respond with, so this thread may grow slowly. I also expect many of you to reply, so it may take me some time to address some points. And further, I have no doubt that some of you are going to throw me some real curve balls, and I'm not going to have the answers. That's the fun, though, because then I get to go learn some more. Either way, I promise to stick around and keep at it as long as you all are interested in having a discussion of my faith or your non-faith together.
Well wishes, and prayers :)
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