Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Preaching to non-Christians.

School starts today and we'll all be interacting with non-Christians everyday. I'm going to share what I've learned in my humble experience.

The only testimony any true Christian can give for her faith is in John 9.
He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.” 
So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”

He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”
I don't have God.  I don't have Him and I can't give Him to anyone no matter how hard I try. God gives Himself to those who truly seek Him and are ready to receive Him.  All I know, and all I will ever know, is that I was once blind, and now I can see.  My sight is not permanent.  Frequently I am blind, but when I wash my eyes of my pride as Christ told me to, I see again.  All I can give to anyone is an example of someone who cannot live without God and who hopefully keeps trying to see Him.

I can talk to you about my life as a Christian and I can tell you what I believe.  But if you want me to prove to you that God exists, or that my God is true, sorry, I can't. You'll have find out yourself.

To the non-Christians:
But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29)

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)

To the Christians:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)

If you love Me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15)


  1. Hello,
    I totally agree that you, nor anyone, have god to give to non-believers and that it is up to the would-be-receiver (for lack of a better word) to open herself up.
    I'm an atheist and I say the same about "converting" a believer to a non believer. It doesn't just happen. Just as you have no god to give, I can't take it away.
    And I wasn't always an atheist. I too was blind once, and no I am no more. I've been there, and now that I'm out it's crystal clear: believing in god and religion in particular it's all the result of a mass delusion.
    So, to me, in both examples above we have different meanings for the same thing i.e. I can easily use the same arguments to support the opposite cause.
    That you believe in a god, whatever god, should be up to you alone. However, it's not so simple.
    For me, I just can't understand why you decide to take on a path, to make certain decisions, based on a thing outside of you that you explicitely don't know if it exists (believing it exists without proving it exists is like saying "I hope it exists but I'm not sure and I really don't care to think much about it").

    Worst: most religious people (including you?) have no problems about imposing their religion-inspired lifestyle on other people, regardless of their faith/or lack thereof. That, for me, is the ultimate silliness. Actually, it's not silly, it's tragic.

    Again, I don't have a god to take away from you. I don't hold the ultimate truth and thus I'm not trying to convince you that god doesn't exist. If you ask me to prove that it doesn't exist, I will respond by simply stating that the onus is on you to prove that it does.

    1. Thanks for commenting Norberto!

      That's really interesting that you think it goes both ways, that faith or lack of faith is just something one has to ultimately "see" for herself. Now that I think about it, I definitely agree.

      In response to believing without proving:
      We believe a lot of things without having absolutely unshakable, concrete proof for them, in particular because it's impossible to have that kind of proof for most things. For example: how do you know your house won't collapse today? How do you know a beam isn't rusted or shaky and that after all these years, it's finally going to collapse? Do you check your house on a daily basis to make sure it's in perfect shape? Maybe you should, because you and your family could die if it collapses. But you don't, you just take it on faith, just assuming that it will be fine, since it always has been. It's not a perfect analogy, but I think it's a similar thing going on when I believe; it's not that I've never thought about whether God exists and Christianity is true (I spend my life thinking about it), but when it comes down to it, it's always proven to be beneficial to me, so far it has always made things make more sense to me.

      In response to imposing:
      I think you're right, it is wrong to impose a certain lifestyle on anyone else, regardless of how great and true I believe it is. I can't take away anyone's freedom to live and act as they please. But I do think that is VERY different from explaining my faith and showing that I do believe it would lead to a better lifestyle. So I think it's a difference of imposing vs. explaining. Imposing is wrong, but there is nothing wrong with a good debate =]

      In response to the burden of proof being on Christians:
      After majoring in philosophy, I don't believe it is possible to deductively proof God's existence. Ultimately, what is most "rational" to believe is agnosticism, claiming that "I don't know whether God exists or not" because atheism is also taken on "faith," the faith that He doesn't exist, and living accordingly. That's why I would never ask you to "prove" to me that He doesn't exist, and ultimately anyone who asks an atheist to prove that is asking the wrong question. So I don't think the onus of proof is on anyone. Just like you were saying, it's up to the "would-be-receiver" to open up and see for herself.

      “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” - C. S. Lewis

    2. Hi Martha,
      You're right, I don't go about having to constantly prove to myself every single thing around me. I'd be mentally institutionalised immediately! However, I'm afraid depart from two very different starting points. My starting point is that the structure is right there, I can see it, I can touch it, I can have it analysed, I can ask an engineer to measure it, etc. I *can* do this and if I don't do it it is because I have no reason whatsoever to think it should collapse and I have facts, figures and statistics to tell me so. It would cost too much, both in time and money. But again, it can be done if you have the resources. Obviously, nothing's foolproof, mistakes can me made, but the world at some scales just behaves in a certain way that, all factors being equal, there is absolutely no point in believing something as unlikely as my house falling down and that that concern should be kept in my radar. Again, we'd all go crazy if we were constantly worrying about such "basic" things. Taken to the extreme, we wouldn't have time to do even the most basic things in life, we'd shrivel, die and not leave offspring.

      Now compare that with the belief that god exists. Your starting point is one of certainty without any proof whatsoever. No proof except stories, traditions, hear say. So many things given off as fact in the bible are impossible or, if possible at all, it would be a parade of circus freaks. I'm talking about burning bushes, departing seas, vanishing waters after 40 days of non-stop rain, a wrathful god, tales of such immorality that would blush the most ardent right winger today, a plethora of impossible beings. Impossible, immeasurable, unlikely facts.

      It's quite the same phenomenon as me not having to worry about my house falling down - I've never seen any of this in real life so I have no concern at all, I just don't think it happens. In the end, there in the bible and other religious texts things are so fantastic, flimsy, far-fetched, natural-law defying, miracle working, that they can only be the figment of the imagination. Any kid would ask "Is that for real?" until religious people beat that healthy skepticism away from them, making them believe it is rude to ask such questions. These stories lack depth too! Any argument writer today would write more believable things.

      So, two very different stand points. One of facts, of things you can see that work; the other... non-facts. Imagination. So, no comparison. And your argument about not having to prove constantly something... again as with your original arguments in this post, I can use it to argue in my favour.

      Regarding agnosticism, and I quote myself loosely here, it is for wussies - pardon my French. It's for those people who haven't (yet?) mustered the courage to say "what a load of baloney". If there is not prior *reason* to believe something (by *reason* I mean exactly that; faith and tradition don't count as reason), then don't. I'm sure that being rational means also to be skeptic (maybe not about everything, all the time, but only about the things that continue to count to many as fact when not only there is no kind of proof whatsoever of god's existence, but also that its existence raises so many other questions that are even more difficult to answer. Roman Catholicism says that they are 'mysteries' - in a vain sweep of logic that at once says that you can't question this nor to advance another alternative. Now that can't be rational by anyone's standards, is it?

      Think about it. Not too long ago if we were to have this conversation we'd be burning at the stake. That today that kind of intolerance is no longer tolerated is a testament to the secular society, not to religious societies that claim a moral high ground because they are 'closer to god'. Yes, maybe a wrathful, vengeful god, definitely not the god of the new testament.

  2. Haha, my friend just shared this with me in response to me telling her about how I was worried about interacting with my non-Christian friends. You posted it around the same time that I was messaging her. I don't believe in coincidences.
    Thank You :)

    1. Thanks for commenting Louise! And thanks for following my blog! =D

      I'm really glad you found it beneficial. =] I hope more of my posts turn out to be as beneficial as you found this one!

      I think living as a Christian and giving a testimony to others is much more natural than we think. I'm a philosophy and psychology major, I know every philosophical proof there is out there, as well as all the psychological benefits of our beliefs and moral principles, but I do believe that God ultimately gives us a choice: He made the world so that we do in fact have to have faith to believe, and no rational argument can give that to us. That's how He truly loves us, by never infringing on our free will, never imposing Himself on us, always giving us a choice. If it just depended on proof, then being rewarded for believing wouldn't be fair, it wouldn't depend on your will and your heart in that case, but rather how smart you are.

      "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (Proverbs 3:34)

  3. Thank you for this simple, clear, and fantastic post.

    1. Thanks for commenting Phoebe!

      No problem =] "Let this, I say, be our way of overpowering them, and of conducting our warfare against them: let us, before all words, astound them by our way of life. For this is the main battle, this is the unanswerable argument, the argument from actions." – St. John Chrysostom, homily on 1 Corinthians