The readers and commenters on this blog are a rare group, pursuing a higher and more civil level of discourse than I have seen on any other blog. Now that the post An Atheist’s Testimony has nearly a hundred comments and is still going strong, I’ve been asked to raise it again, before it moves into the archives. So feel free to continue the discussion here, with reference to the above link.
To recap where we are, Michael the Little Boot has told us with great honesty about how, after being raised in fundamentalism, he became an atheist. He says that he does not believe in sin, though he strongly agrees that we are imperfect (which is what Christians mean by sin). He does not have the conception of God that Christians do, as someone who is wholly “other” than human beings, so that differences are showing up about the deity in which he does not believe. Nor does he understand what Christians mean by “faith,” demanding instead clear, rational knowledge rather than trust, dependence, and the evidence of what is not seen. A key issue is the gospel, which seems to have been obscured in Michael’s rather legalistic upbringing. He does say that he cannot shake that fundamentalist background, try as he might. Frank Sonnek makes the intriguing suggestion that it was GOOD that he lost that legalistic faith, a loss that might lead him to the real thing. I’d like to hear more about the Christian belief that God is INCARNATE–not an abstraction far above and looking down, but that He came down from Heaven to suffer and die with us and for us.
Anyway, it’s an excellent conversation on both sides, and I invite its continuation here.